New York Times bestselling author Jacqueline Frank reveals a moonlit world of pulsing desire where those known as Nightwalkers inhabit the darkness—and love with humans is forbidden—until it can’t be denied . . .
Kane knows Corrine was meant to be his . . . just as he knows that possessing the lovely human is outlawed. But on the night of the Samhain moon, the beast in every demon is stronger than reason, and Kane’s instinct is more powerful than any punishment. To claim her, he must cross the boundaries between them—body and mind . . .
Corrine doesn’t understand how Kane is able to read her thoughts, or if everything the stranger is telling her is the truth. But it takes no more than an illicit kiss to convince her of one thing: being in the presence of this powerful man is exactly where she needs to be . . .
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About the Author
Jacquelyn Frank has been passionate about writing ever since she picked up her first teen romance at age thirteen. Since then, she’s gone on to write over ten bestselling books, with more on the way. Before Jacquelyn became an author, she worked as a Sign Language Interpreter and substitute teacher.
For more information on Jacquelyn Frank and her books, readers may visit her Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jacquelyn-Frank/371620872548 or visit her website at www.jacquelynfrank.com.
Read an Excerpt
Sweet and bitter all at once, it raced through his blood, stretching every muscle and stripping down his control to the very thinnest of threads. Swallowing down a groan lest the others hear him, he bent forward in his chair and braced his elbows on his denim-clad knees.
This was intolerable. It was a recipe for disaster and devastation. His rushing and pounding heart would not bear the strain of this pace for all the hours that stretched out before him.
Peace, he whispered into his own mind, find peace. Think on it a moment. Here you are, by her side, where you never thought to be again. You thought you would never be allowed within miles of her again, and yet now you can reach out and touch her ...
But he didn't dare reach out to the unconscious form of the woman in the nearby bed. He was terrified that if he began to touch her he would not be able to force himself to stop. The fever in his blood was what made that fear boil so hot and so true. It was a caution he must heed. No matter what. No matter how tempting a figure she was to him.
It wasn't her beauty or shapeliness that captivated him, or even the fiery brilliance of her coiled and curling hair. The former had been starved and drained away from her in by a terrible illness and the latter had been dulled as well by the same culprit. Still, whenever he looked at her, all he saw was the vibrant green-eyed beauty who had stood mere inches away from him, stood within his reach, a sensual, vital, and beautiful creature without compare. He had touched her then. For an instant, a single charged moment that had struck down through him like a killing spear, and he had known the feel of refined pale skin and forbidden human warmth. She had scorched against his fingertips like ignited butane, burning so sweet and clear and clean.
That single touch had nearly written a warrant of death for her.
Kane swallowed in pain that had little to do with the fire of a full Samhain moon crackling in his blood. Oh, yes, the curse of moon madness had flared through him in agonizing ways before, a struggle of morals and conscience every Demon, male or female, young or old, had to wrestle through each time the moons of Samhain and Beltane came around full, but never before had he crossed boundaries and broken laws to reach out and touch a human woman.
This human woman.
Kane whispered her name in a raspy voice, trying out his newfound right to speak it ... just as he was shockingly now permitted to be at her side. The very idea of it was baffling. A week ago he'd stalked her and been duly set back from the forbidden line he had crossed. But now ... now a new truth was known. A new understanding. Maybe it had been madness that had fueled his hunt for her, maybe it had been a curse that had compelled him to break Demon law ... or maybe it had been fate and Destiny. Maybe he had not stalked random prey at all, but instead had been driven by a single, sharp truth.
She was meant to be his.
The truth of it was known now. A single touch of his hand had awakened a change within this human woman who wasn't entirely human. Dormant Druid DNA, the perfect complement to his own Demon genetics, had woken inside her with a vengeance. The reaction was volatile and demanding, needing power and energy to complete the conversion.
Power she simply didn't have living in the simple ways of humanity. It was his power the change needed to feed off of. His and his alone. No other Demon would do. No other man would do. It was his abundant and complementary power she would need to fuel her existence from now until the day one or the other of them died.
And because he had been slapped back by the Enforcer, Kane had not been there to provide that desperately needed energy resource. The result had been the starvation of what had once been a vibrant and sensually stunning beauty, leaving behind a pale-grey and fragile girl who now tottered on the precipice of life and death. If he stepped too far away from her for even a moment, he might just as well shove her over that cliff.
So here he stayed, sitting in reach of her, staring at how she had been ravaged because of their ignorance of what she was. But he had known. Some instinct had called from his depths, demanding he take what was meant to be his. He had been so sure of it, so determined she was his even though it was against everything his brother had raised him to believe.
Kane had known she was meant to be his. He only wished it hadn't taken such brutal damage to her to make that clear to everyone else. Almost as much as he wished to control the fire of need burning in his every last cell.
It was called the Imprinting, this thing between them. Though it was a very rare connection between two Demons, he was quite familiar with the lore of the symbiotic bond. Every Demon was. It was something every Demon longed for just as all young men and women longed for soul mates and true love.
Kane ran a hand back through damp, ebony hair, the already mussed curls licking around his passing fingers in clingy determination that matched the guilt riding deep and sore within him. The Imprinting was a sacred event, the ultimate connection between complementary souls. The couple involved began to exchange the essences of themselves from the very instant they touched. Between Demons it was the emotional and spiritual bond that threaded the two together, but with Kane and Corrine it was the physical one that had been crucial. He was supposed to provide for her and protect her, keep her safe, strong, and treasured. It was his right ... his duty. Destiny had gifted him with her, his mate, and he had ...
He had almost destroyed her. He had driven her almost to the point of death. Kane couldn't stand the thought and it chilled him even as his stomach turned. The sensation of powerful guilt was bracing and welcome. It was the only thing that cooled the fiery call of Samhain in his blood.
Because nothing stood between an Imprinted pair on the night of Samhain. On this night, above all others, they would be driven into each others' arms. The demand to mate would be imperative; there was no ignoring it.
But his mate lay unconscious and inaccessible. He could not touch her ... and he could not leave her side. Only his essential energy could revive her from this state of deathly limbo, and he must stay near for that to aid her. But with Hallowed moon madness screaming in his head, it was taking all of his significant discipline to keep from clasping her to himself, to keep from doing the unimaginable to a helpless, weakened girl.
Kane was literally in hell.
Jacob watched his brother tensely from the outer hallway, hanging as far back as he could so his telepathic sibling would remain unaware of his presence and, more importantly, his overriding concern. Newly Imprinted himself on Corrine's blood sister Isabella, he could easily feel the struggle his brother was wrestling with. It was a credit to the fledgling's mental control that he was sitting there so determinedly. As a Demon of the Earth, Jacob had no access to the thoughts or emotions of others; those were the skills of Mind Demons like Kane. However, he knew the scent of a warm-blooded creature infused with lustful need very well. The mystical force of the Samhain moon would eventually wrest control away from his brother ... just as it would wrest away his own control and force him to make haste to his Bella's waiting arms.
"He will not make it," he said softly to his companion.
"No," the Demon King, Noah, agreed grimly as he glanced into the bedroom. "He is too young by far."
"I am an Elder of great power and control and I do not think even I could keep away from Isabella tonight even if she were lying near death before me," Jacob growled in sharp defense of his brother. It was a grim truth and it galled the Enforcer to admit it. It would horrify any respectable male to no end even to think of using his mate sexually when she was injured or ill, but inside every Demon lay a beast that could devolve into something uncontrollable on the rare occasion. Those occasions always seemed to center around the volatile emotional conditions of lust, rage, possessiveness, and protectiveness. And it was always worse on Samhain and Beltane.
"Sweet Destiny," the King swore softly. "It infuriates me to think we have evolved so little that we would be compelled to something that amounts to rape in order to satisfy a biological urge!"
"Agreed. But this is an urge that ought to be mutual. It ought to be between immortals so powerful and dynamic that things like illness never become a part of the equation. This imperative does not take into consideration that a mate might not be fit for mating and it does not give us conscious control over ourselves in that instance."
Noah already knew this and it was apparent in his hard sigh. The Demon King was the offspring of one of the oh-so-rare Demon to Demon Imprintings that had taken place in their history. He had seen how his parents were driven to one another on a daily basis, connected beyond his scope of understanding, and he had always known that Samhain and Beltane meant he would have no access to his parents as they locked themselves away from the world in order to indulge in each other. No matter what. If they had been arguing for days or angry with one another, they were forced to put their differences aside and left only with the choice of satisfying nature's demand to mate.
It was a nearly foolproof plan meant to forever keep the Demon population thriving on this earth.
Tonight was an example of the horrible hitch in that plan.
Noah lowered his voice to the barest whisper of breath. "We will have to bind him."
"We will have to do more than that or he will simply teleport free of the bindings," Jacob pointed out grimly, feeling a sickly response to the realization that he was plotting to trap his brother in a literal hell on earth. "And we will have to bolt him down right beside her. Too much distance and she will die. By all rights she should already be dead. Only his presence spares her now."
"It will not be so sharp a danger for her with a little time."
"I wish I could say the same for my brother," Jacob replied, reaching up to rub at the wrenching tension in his neck. He could barely think; his psyche was torn with the needs of others. There was his would-be bride, with whom he was sharing an exclusive telepathic connection, inundating him with fear for her sister's life as she waited in the parlor downstairs. On the flip side of that coin was the Imprinting that demanded they come together soon. Very soon. There was his worry for Kane and the stress of knowing other Druids like Corrine had already died horrible deaths because he had unwittingly done his job as Enforcer and kept humans away from Demons, not realizing there were some with Druid DNA that were calling a particular Demon to them. And once they touched ...
And he always made sure to wait until they touched. Once the Demon transgressor touched the human victim, it was irrefutable evidence he or she had crossed the line.
"Better this than the alternative," Noah remarked knowingly as he turned serious jade and grey eyes on him. "We had best get on with it. We shall use Legna to tamp down his ability to teleport for the moment. She is strong enough to master him, I think. But I believe, in the end, it ought to be his Siddah who binds him for the long haul. He will be better able to forgive those of us he loves much easier than those who are less intimate with him."
"I suppose we will see about that," Jacob replied.
In truth, Jacob could not see how his brother was ever going to be able to forgive him for putting Kane's destined mate in such horrible danger. Ignorance was no excuse, in Jacob's mind. In all these centuries as Enforcer, why had it never once occurred to him to question his duties? Why had he never thought to look deeper than the responsibilities thrust upon him?
And why was he the first to be rewarded with the incredible beauty and breathlessness of a Demon and human/Druid hybrid Imprinting? After destroying countless others' opportunities to know the same blessing, however unwittingly, why was he now to be the one to find joy?
Ironically, it was the soothing comfort of his mate's voice in his head that helped ease his guilt and put it to rest.
Corrine awoke very slowly.
She never woke quickly. She had always despised mornings. As necessary as they were, right along with the whole job thing and the responsibility-to-pay-the-rent thing, she just hated motivating herself out of warm and cozy sheets and into wet and bracing showers. Give her Saturday and super lazy Sundays and she was a happy girl. She was as opposite her obnoxiously energetic and efficiently motivated sister as you could get. Especially when it came to Corrine's weekends. But since Isabella wasn't there prodding her awake and waving coffee under her nose, Corrine had to assume it was the weekend.
She cracked an eyelid open and immediately shut it when the blare of colored sunlight struck her pupil. Groaning in complaint and refusal, Corrine burrowed her face back into her pillow's super soft belly. Then she turned and tried to curl up into a morning-resistant ball.
It wasn't until she knocked a knee into a distinctively warm body that she realized she wasn't alone in her bed.
That woke Corrine up like nothing else could have.
She jolted upright like a shot, a rush of cold washing over her and making her realize she was bare-assed naked even as she squinted against the harsh light all around her. All it took was a moment to focus, but as soon as she did, her jaw dropped so far open she heard the hinge pop. She was now staring in utter disbelief at the man ... yes, it was definitely a man and not a freaking doubt about it ... in her bed.
Okay, wait. Not her bed. His bed? Her bed was low and simply lacquered, this was a four-postered monstrosity made of what was probably a long extinct type of oak tree and had had dozens of slaves carving pictures onto it or something. Corrine dismissed that thought immediately though because she could only focus on the absolutely astounding body laid out beside her.
Oh. No. Inaccurate.
Tied down to the bed beside her! This forced Corrine's mind to race madly for some kind of explanation that would make sense.
I got drunk, picked up a hottie who was into kink, passed out before untying him.
That would account for everything, she thought with a kind of hysterical satisfaction. Except she didn't overindulge anymore. Not since college and the time she'd ... well, she'd learned her lesson and had never again wanted to know what it felt like to wake up lost and confused in the wake of bad choices.
Rather like she was feeling at that very moment.
Corrine bit her lip anxiously as she took in the sexy beast beside her. Naked from the waist up, he certainly fit the description. Lean and athletic though he was, he was thick with nicely contoured muscles. Muscles pulled into taut relief by the shackles around each of his wrists and drawn up so tight his knuckles brushed the headboard. Thick cuffs circled each strong lower forearm and linked into dense steel chains that disappeared seamlessly into the wall. A wall made of pure concrete and stone! It was as if the cement had been poured over the chains while the building had been created.
Well, that was just much too kinky for her.
Corrine backed away from her chained stud, even as her darting eyes took in the raw, torn wood of the thick headboard and the whitish-yellow coloring of the wood's wounds. The shavings all around both head and footboards and scattered across the bedding attested to his having violently struggled against his bondage.
What the hell is going on here? Corrine wanted to know this even as she took in his wide shoulders, their breadth obvious even in spite of his awkward position of captivity. His handsome face was so classically beautiful, in a very dark and Romanesque fashion, that it absolutely fascinated her. Thick dark brows, distinct from each other and shaped with an elegant curve, seemed to point down toward the blade of his nose. Sculpted lips were tightly pressed together, as if he was hurting even in his ... sleep? God, was he asleep? Or was he unconscious? Corrine's eyes darted down across the dusting of dark hair that created a light pelt that eventually narrowed to a single line bisecting him to his navel and beyond. It wasn't until she could see his bared belly that she realized his dark skin was painted with perspiration. She reappraised him to check the data, from hip points to the ebony hair curling back from his forehead. When she had determined he had some kind of fever or was in some sort of pain, she continued to let her eyes drift down the denim encasing his thighs and calves, the faded, snug material leaving very little to the imagination.
Excerpted from "KANE"
Copyright © 2017 Jacquelyn Frank.
Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
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