Read an Excerpt
The Master of Ecstasy
By Nina Bangs
Darach MacKenzie watched the white cat from his tower window
and smiled. The slide of his lips across his fangs stirred the
familiar hungers: for nourishment, for sexual pleasure. The
two needs seemed always entwined. He pushed aside both. He
must first know what threatened him. His smile widened, a
savage baring of his teeth. He suspected his smile would not
be a comforting thing to see.
"Something passing strange creeps in on wee cat paws." His
murmur was soft, thoughtful, and meant for no human ears.
His smile faded as he raked his fingers through his hair then
allowed the strands to settle across his shoulders again.
Ganymede had brought another of his kind to aid him. It would
do him no good because even their combined powers would not
make Darach abandon his duty.
"'Tis a mighty nuisance ye'll be." He frowned. He knew not
what Ganymede and the cat were, but he'd felt their power, a
power that was not human. "Mayhap I should know what ye're
He focused his mind on the cat and slipped into her thoughts.
It was no hard thing to do. Not only did she do nothing to
keep him out, she seemed almost to welcome him.
As his thoughts touched hers, he widened his eyes. He found no
plans for death and destruction, only ...
Sex. Sex in all its conceivable forms. Naked bodies spread and
open to every erotic act. An explosion of sensual stimuli,
darkness, heat, and insatiable sexual hunger.
Darach stepped away from the window and turned back to his
room. She was a strange helpmate for Ganymede, but one that
Darach could understand. Both he and the creature masquerading
as a cat appreciated the joy of all that was sexual. And with
his heightened senses, all that was sexual was a wondrous
experience. Darach had lost many of his human characteristics
when he became vampire, but he had compensated. His smile
returned as his gaze touched his bed with its massive posts
hewn from native wood, its silken coverings, and its memories.
Aye, he had compensated.
He strode to the door then paused. Closing his eyes, he willed
his return to human form, breathing out sharply at the smooth
disappearance of his fangs like the sheathing of a cat's
Absently, he put his hand over his heart. Even after a hundred
years, his heart's beating amazed him.
With his eyes still closed, he searched for her, the woman he
had sensed but a short time ago. She was there in the room
beneath his, all warm female, a temptation to the sensual
hunter in him. He had meant to feed this night, but it would
do no harm to amuse himself first.
He would meet her, then go down with her to the meal Ganymede
had prepared for his guests. It would give him a chance to
measure the danger from Ganymede and the cat while they were
together. Ganymede would do nothing while all his guests were
gathered around him for fear of upsetting them.
His guests. Darach had heard Ganymede speaking to them, people
from far distant times who had paid Ganymede for the pleasure
of staying in this castle while they sought sensual enjoyment
from each other. But the castle belonged to Darach's clan, and
Ganymede had not asked permission to use it. Mayhap Ganymede
and his guests would experience far more than they had
Darach opened his eyes, settled his plaid across his
shoulders, and opened the door. Humor touched him, blunting
the hunger still gnawing at him. Ganymede's guests would find
much to upset them with their first meal. The vile odor
drifting from the castle's kitchen suggested a witch's brew.
Darach wondered idly if he would find all of them changed to
toads after eating. It would certainly solve his problem. With
that cheerful thought, he strode from his room and closed the
door behind him.
As he moved silently down the winding stone steps, he wondered
about the woman. Was she young or old? Would she meet him with
heated welcome or cool disdain? He could touch her thoughts,
but he chose instead to savor this small mystery. Though it
mattered not. If he wanted her, she would be his. It was
always so. He did not question why, only enjoyed what the
fates brought him.
Darach reached the bottom of the steps and stopped before her
door. He knew his smile was predatory and attempted to
rearrange it into something less threatening. He could not do
it. Shrugging, he raised his fist to knock.
Excerpted from The Master of Ecstasy
by Nina Bangs Excerpted by permission.
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