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A Red Hot New Year
If Anna Summers hadn't been busy fantasizing about wild New Year's Eve sex with the man of her dreams, she might have been able to sense the danger that waited for her.
But when Anna stepped out of the elevator onto the ground floor of the parking garage, her mind was completely on Jon York.
Tall, strong, sexy-as-hell Jon York. The man with the midnight black hair and the bright blue eyes. The man that made her mouth dry up and her sex cream.
The man who was way, way out of her league.
Anna sighed as she walked, her keys clutched lightly in her right hand. She'd known Jon for two months now. Her boss, the curator at the Richmond Natural History Museum, had contracted with Jon to spruce up the museum's security. So she'd been sitting in countless meetings with him since then, drinking up his scent, searching for a flash of his dimples.
And wishing that she had the guts to ask him for a night of wild sex.
Her cell phone vibrated with a peal of sound. Anna dug it out of her purse, wincing when she saw the name on her caller ID. Veronica. Ronnie. Hell. Guilt gnawed at her. Why had she stayed in the museum so long? She'd promised her best friend that she'd be at her New Year's Eve party just after nine—arriving in plenty of time to help with setup.
But, oh, no, she just had to stop by and log in a few more items for work.
Taking a quick breath, she answered the phone. "Ronnie, I'm so sorry! I'm on my way, I—"
A low growl sounded from the shadows.
The rumble froze Anna in her tracks.
Then the growl came again. Louder. Closer.
A shiver traced down her spine and fear rose, bitter and hard, on her tongue. She could vaguely hear her friend's voice, rambling softly, but all of her attention was on that menacing sound.
A growl. What the hell? Was there some kind of animal in the garage with her?
"Anna? Anna, are you listening to me?"
No, she was focused on the growl. "I-I've got to call you back, Ronnie." She ended the call, shoved the phone into her purse, and began to move faster. Much faster. Her Jeep was waiting. Maybe twenty feet away. Parked under that nice, bright, slightly flickering fluorescent light and—
Glowing silver eyes stared at her from the darkness.
Anna skidded to a stop.
A howl echoed through the garage and the beast stepped forward. Huge, covered with thick, matted black fur. A dog of some kind—one of the ugliest beasts she'd ever seen. Its mouth was open, filled with teeth that dripped with saliva and were far, far too sharp for her peace of mind.
Oh, no. "Uh . . . n-nice, d-dog." He was stalking forward, getting between her and her Jeep. Not a good sign.
She saw his nostrils flare, his muscles tense.
Anna took a quick step back.
The beast's head lowered toward the ground.
Could she run around him? Jump in her Jeep and—
The creature sprang forward, mouth open, teeth glinting.
She screamed, turned to run, and felt the razor-sharp lash of his teeth sink into her right calf.
Then he was jerking her down, and Anna slammed into the concrete, the impact stealing the breath she'd drawn for a second scream.
This isn't happening. Can't be. It's a dream, a nightmare. There's no dog attacking me—
His teeth sank deeper.
Anna swiped out with her keys, managing to twist and aim for his eyes.
The beast jumped back. She scrambled to her feet, all too aware of the wet warmth trickling down her leg.
Anna started running. Not toward the Jeep; the ugly dog was still blocking her. No, she went for the elevator. She could hear the animal thundering after her, feel his hot breath on her back—
With a soft chime, the elevator's doors slid open. Anna caught a glimpse of a man—tall, muscled, dark-haired, familiar—
"Help me!" She screamed.
The beast took her down again.
Jon York stared down at Anna's face. Her eyes were closed, her face pale.
She'd been bitten.
He pulled in a slow breath, catching her scent, the lush smell of roses and woman. His hand brushed aside a curling lock of her red hair.
Her hair had been the first thing he'd noticed about her. Shining like fire, the strands had been trapped in a knot at the nape of her neck.
Anna. Anna of the big, dreamy green eyes, the soft mouth, and the sweet face.
He'd noticed her the first day he walked into the museum and found her bent over a box of dusty artifacts. He'd touched her shoulder and she'd spun around, her lips parted in surprise.
Jon had wanted to kiss her then. To taste those red lips and see if they were really as soft as they looked.
But Anna had been all business. Assistant curator at the museum, she'd obviously taken her job seriously, and she'd ignored the sexual overtures that he'd witnessed a few other guys make to her.
The lady was smart, dedicated to her job, and sexy. Damn, but he'd always had a thing for smart women.
He'd run a background check on her, as he always did when he had to work closely with someone he didn't know. For him, it was just too dangerous to take chances. So he'd gotten one of his men to check her out.
Anna Summers. Age thirty-one. No criminal record. Single. Her parents had been killed when she was just a child, barely seven years old. After that, she'd bounced around a series of foster homes until she was legal. Then she put herself through college and grad school with student loans and scholarships. She'd eventually taken a job at the museum, following somewhat in her paleontologist father's footsteps.A Red Hot New Year. Copyright © by Diana Mercury. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.