He pressed the up button and walked in when the ding sounded, holding out his hand for mine. I reached out, eager to feel his skin on mine.
“Chère,” he whispered.
I looked up into his dark eyes and my breath flew from me. He was so gorgeous and masculine, and he wanted me. I gave him my hand and he pulled me to him. His lips lowered to mine as the elevator doors closed behind us. He kissed me hard, punishing, but I couldn’t get enough of him, his taste. He pushed me away when the doors opened. I made a small noise in protest.
“Eager,” he said. “I like that.”
As we left the elevator, he yanked a set of keys from his pocket. I frowned at the unicorn keychain. The oddity of it disappeared from my mind as we arrived at a door. He unlocked it and pulled me inside, flicking on a light as we entered.
“Welcome home,” he said, grinning at me.
My frown deepened. “But you don’t have a home here. You’re from…” I struggled to think. “Somewhere else.” I stared at the slight widow’s peak above his arrogant brow. It was wrong somehow. But that couldn’t be right; he was perfect. I shook my head and tried to grasp my fleeting thoughts.
“Very true. But for now this is my home.” His voice grew deeper. “Look at me, chère.”
I looked, meeting his gaze. I took a quick breath. I wanted him so much. My thoughts were no longer important. He was the only thing that mattered. When he crooked a finger at me, I nearly threw myself at him.
He shoved me against the wall and kissed me, pushing his hard body on mine. Trembling, I moaned and he chuckled under my lips. I pulled him closer, and wrapped my arms around his neck to feel his hair under my hands. I yanked at the holder keeping it confined, and then pulled it off, freeing his flowing mane. As I moved back from the kiss, I took a moment to appreciate the view. His hair framed his face, trailing down over his shoulders. It would be magnificent against his naked chest. I needed to get his shirt off.
As I tugged at it, a vague warning flitted in my mind. I helped him expose his chest and pushed the thought aside. Yes. His dark hair draped over him, making him look even more wild and masculine. I quivered under his gaze, and then the fleeting idea that had been out of my reach since I met his eyes suddenly hit the forefront of my thoughts.
“You’re not Aidan,” I muttered, not sure why that fact was important.
He snarled at me, eyes narrowing, and a low growl escaped from his chest.
“You’re not him,” I said, more certain of it now. Still, I struggled with that bit of information’s importance. I looked away from him, searching my mind.
“Look at me,” he commanded, voice low and angry.
“No.” I tried to move away from the wall, but his arms were on both sides of me, blocking me in.
“You will look at me, bitch!”
Power rolled over me, and my head started to turn so I could gaze at him again. I pressed my eyes shut. Sweat ran down the sides of my face. I wanted to look, so much so it was almost painful not to, but I couldn’t. A cry escaped me, a small sound, weak. That bothered me. I wasn’t weak, dammit.
A veil lifted from my mind, and I could think again, clearly. I lashed out, catching the man—the incubus—square in the jaw with my fist. It wasn’t the best punch I’d ever landed, but his head jerked back, and he stumbled a few steps.
Staring at him, I realized that I still wanted to touch him, to take the pain from his expression. Rage filled me and I shoved the tender thought away. He was the killer. He had Aidan’s face, and he’d brought me here to rape and kill me. Heat still coursed through my body when I met his angry gaze. Freaking incubi.
I felt along my back, but my gun was gone. I’d given the 9mm to someone on my way out of the bar. The memory was vague, but I was certain that person was Kimmy. The apartment, I noticed, was covered in feminine design. A flowery couch, lavender paint on the walls, a vase full of flowers on a table in the hall, next to where he’d pushed me against the wall to kiss me. This was probably her home. How long had she been keeping him here? The whole time he was in town? Or just since the heat turned up on him after he killed a cop? He was using her, enthralling her, for a place to stay and a convenient bar to find victims, no doubt.
“Look at me, chère,” he whispered, moving closer. His voice had calmed, but his wide eyes were still wild, angry. His mouth formed a smile. He was enjoying himself. I glanced down at his jeans and flinched. Enjoying himself indeed.
I smiled back at him, and his posture relaxed somewhat. I took a deep breath slowly so he wouldn’t be alarmed.
Then I screamed.
Glass shattered from the kitchen, and the incubus dropped to his knees and yelled, covering his ears. He was too late. Blood ran down the sides of his face. I reached the end of my breath and sucked in air for another scream as I inched back toward the door to the apartment. Some otherworlders were able to resist the effect of my screams, and I didn’t dare release my full power in an apartment complex to ensure he would be knocked out cold. That kind of power was likely to injure Kimmy’s human neighbors, and knowing my luck there’d be a sick person living next door who would be pushed over the edge from illness to death by my scream. I couldn’t risk it.
As I sucked in one last breath, I reached for the doorknob behind me. Blood flowed freely down the incubus’s face, and he clung to his ears and crouched, flinching away from me. Satisfied he would keep for a few minutes while I got backup, I turned away to find the doorknob, keeping my breath held in case I needed to unleash another scream. Movement flashed behind me. Something slammed against the back of my head.
The world went black.
I awoke to the sound of a car engine purring, vibrating under my ear. I tried to move and regretted the attempt, as pain shot up to my shoulder. Tied up, my arms were behind my back, secured with handcuffs—my handcuffs most likely. My feet were tied with some sort of rope, and a rough fabric filled my mouth, kept in place with a tight gag. I struggled to breathe through my nose, pushing down the panic building in my chest.
Think. There’s gotta be a way out of this. Stay calm.
I tried to move my body, to look around the vehicle, but only succeeded in moving my head. Breathing through the blackness that threatened to overwhelm me again, I checked out my surroundings. I rode in my Toyota, the gray interior flashed into view from the occasional streetlight. The asshole had shoved me into my own car.
Where was he taking me? Mentally kicking myself for turning my back to the incubus, I still couldn’t believe he’d recovered so quickly, fast enough to get up off the floor and hit me with something. The vase from the hallway table? He’d moved quickly enough to get us both out of the building before the police arrived. He was quick. A banshee scream tended to get noticed and reported pretty damn fast. How had he been able to shake off my scream like that? Maybe I’d just lost my touch.
Or maybe incubi were more resistant to a half-banshee’s powers than I’d like.
I’d certainly resisted his seductive abilities better than I expected. Whatever Kimmy had slipped into my drink seemed to make me instantly susceptible to the incubus’ powers. Once under the thrall of an incubus, it was obviously very difficult to break free, which is why the incubus had felt safe letting even Amanda go about her day after he thralled her. Perhaps the power over me was breakable because we hadn’t had sex? Or had Aidan’s influence somehow protected me from the other incubus?
The car slowed to a stop, interrupting my thoughts. The grinding of a garage opening sounded. The engine cut out, and I heard the cargo door open behind me. I held still, unsure of how to fight him in my current state, but unwilling to lose any potential edge. If he thought I was still knocked out, maybe he would untie me to finish his plan. I squeezed my eyes shut, and struggled to play dead, when my instincts were telling me to squirm and fight.
I lost the battle with myself when strong arms grabbed me, and I rose up in the air, only to be caught on a shoulder. As I landed my breath flew from me, and I couldn’t keep the cry from escaping my throat. My gag muffled the noise, and I silently prayed the cloth dulled it enough to go unnoticed.
“Nice to see you’re going to be awake for this, chère.”
So much for the surprise attack.
He was breathing hard. I hoped it was from the exertion of carrying me and not because he was still excited. As we passed the threshold of the garage into the house, light tan ceramic tiles flashed below me. My tile, my house. How did he know where I live? He’d done his homework. He fumbled with the light switches in the kitchen and hallway, before he tossed me onto the bed in my room. His hand snaked up my leg, moving over my stomach to cup my breast, grabbing it painfully.
“I’ll be back for you soon, chère. Don’t worry. I won’t make you wait too long for it. I’m far too hungry from your shenanigans.”
He disappeared and I heard him talking a few moments later from the other side of the house—the kitchen maybe. I couldn’t make out the words, but I suspected he was checking in with Kimmy. I wiggled my leg, trying to get my shoes off. If I could get off one shoe, I might be able to pull a foot through the rope and free my feet. Squirming was difficult with my mouth bound, and I wanted to gasp for air, but couldn’t. I forced myself to slow down so I didn’t have a panic attack over my inability to breathe, and I pulled at my right shoe, using the bed and my other shoe to slowly work it off.
Sudden movement caught my eye and I cried out, almost silently because of the gag. He was back, and there was nothing I could do to protect myself. Desperate, I struggled in vain against the ropes and cuffs.
“Shhhh…” he whispered in my ear. “Hold still, Kiera.”
I began my struggles anew at his words. Hold still, my ass.
He touched my legs, and I opened my eyes to see him pushing on them with his hand, his other hand working the bonds with something—a knife? Suddenly the pressure lifted, and I could move again. I pulled them back to kick him, when his clothes caught my eye. They were different. Surely he hadn’t taken the time to change? There was no blood on his face, and he backed away from me slowly, hands in the air to show he meant no harm. His hair was short.