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For weeks now Zacharias had tried to pretend that fall wasn't coming now simply because it meant that All Hallows' Eve was right around the corner. The problem was Zacharias hadn't found a female that appealed to him in over two hundred years, but in less than two weeks he had to find a woman and bed her.
That was going to be no problem at all.
Less than twenty minutes later he stood in the midst of a human meat market. All around him females were parading their wares, hoping to be purchased or, in this case specifically, wed.
He glanced at a woman across from him. She was the comeliest of the girls on display. Her smile was vivid and shocking. Her hips were small and graceful. Her breasts were large and firm. She was a woman of perfection. Even in the long dress she wore, Zacharias could see the woman's legs were long and shapely. Arianna was an exceptional woman.
Too bad the sight of Arianna's ruby lips made him want to snarl. It should have made him happy, excited ... aroused. But it did none of the above. It made him want to howl at the moon.
The woman was beautiful, sexy, and desirous, but she wasn't what he needed. No, she was another woman in a long line of women who could never satisfy his needs. His gaze moved down the line, looking at the many women the villagers had lined up for him. Not one of the women appealed to him.
"You have chosen one on your own?" The voice belonged to the wizened witch priest who had gathered the women for his perusal.
"No," Zacharias said with a sigh. He ran his fingers through his hair as he eyed the women. One had to be better than the others. One of them had to appeal to him, right?
"I will choose one forthe Black Crescent Moon."
"You will choose one now."
Zacharias's green eyes darkened at the priest's bold words. "I will choose one when I am ready. Never think to tell me what to do, human."
The priest backed up at his growling tone. He knew he'd overstepped the boundaries. He had no right to tell the Krim Guardian what to do, but the old man knew of Zacharias's ... issue with the opposite sex.
For some time Zacharias had felt there was something unnaturally wrong with him. It wasn't that he liked men. He loved women. Zacharias just didn't get aroused. He had even sought out the priest's knowledge on the subject, only to find he had not been cursed. Zacharias just had not found a woman to stir his blood in centuries. The priest attempted to appease him when a loud commotion broke through Zacharias's thoughts.
The whole room turned around at the sound of the boom.
Zacharias slowly rose from his throne. The crowd parted as he made his way toward the source of the commotion. The priest reached out one feeble hand. His fingers almost touched the thick wool jacket Zacharias wore.
Zacharias turned and stared at the weathered hand seconds before it would have reached him. It stopped instantly. He turned back and caught a glimpse of bright red fabric before the villagers swarmed and blocked his view.
Zacharias didn't realize he'd growled until he saw the villagers scatter and run. They parted and allowed him a view of the newcomer.
She turned toward him and smiled.
He took a deep breath, taking in the scent and sight of the woman before him.
Her midnight hair was in disarray. Her bright red wool coat was dirty and stained. There were black coal streaks on her cocoa face, and her matching leather suitcases were ripped.
She looked like hell.
He took another step toward her.
"Hi there," she said with a fluttering wave. "Thank goodness I stumbled onto this place. I was so lost and scared and then my car broke down and I--" She stopped suddenly. Her mouth dropped open and her eyes widened. "Jesus, you're a big one," she muttered.
Zacharias took a deep, steadying breath and smiled back at her. His eyes almost immediately narrowed. Her scent was thick and strong. She wore perfume, lovely smelling perfume, but beneath that was her scent and it called to him.
Zacharias took another whiff of the woman and rolled it over his tongue. It tasted like perfection. It tasted like home. And it made him feel.
Heat coursed through his veins. Arousal spread through every inch of his body, and desire like nothing he'd ever felt before consumed him.
"I guess I'm not in Kansas anymore," she said with a soft chuckle.
"No, you're not. You're home," he responded.