Dinah's Dark Desire, страница 1
Praise for the writing of Mechele Armstrong
Blood Lines 3: Crimson’s Rose
Mechele Armstrong has done a fantastic job of bringing this story and its rich, in-depth characters to life to the point that you don’t want the book to end. Sensuality and passion radiate throughout this entire book, drawing you in and never letting go.
-- Tammy, Fallen Angel Reviews
This is a very entertaining, delightfully sexy read. The sexual as well as suspenseful tension are thick as Rojo tries to keep his mind off sex with Crimson long enough to find a way to protect her. Rojo has a secret that just may be the only way to save her. You’ll love this book, the perfect end to the series.
-- Karen H., The Romance Studio
Mechele Armstrong has written another masterful story, erotic page in and page out, with a storyline that holds its own.
-- Stacey Landers, Just Erotic Romance Reviews
Again in this book Ms. Armstrong brings her balance of humor, heat, sexual tension, suspense and compassion to the characters and makes you cheer for them even as you are not sure what side they are on.
-- Jo, Joyfully Reviewed
Thoroughly enjoyable, Crimson’s Rose lives up to the caliber of writing from the previous two books. I highly recommend it to fans of erotic paranormal romance and I can't wait for the next tale in the series.
-- Phillipa Ann, Romance Reviews Today
Blood Lines 3: Crimson’s Rose is now available from Loose Id.
DINAH’S DARK DESIRE
This e-book contains sexually explicit scenes and adult language and may be considered offensive to some readers. Loose Id e-books are for sale to adults ONLY, as defined by the laws of the country in which you made your purchase. Please store your files wisely, where they cannot be accessed by under-aged readers.
* * * * *
This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable (homoerotic sex, ménage, some violence).
Dinah’s Dark Desire
This e-book is a work of fiction. While reference might be made to actual historical events or existing locations, the names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Loose Id LLC
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Carson City NV 89701-1215
Copyright © August 2006 by Mechele Armstrong
All rights reserved. This copy is intended for the purchaser of this e-book ONLY. No part of this e-book may be reproduced or shared in any form, including, but not limited to printing, photocopying, faxing, or emailing without prior written permission from Loose Id LLC.
Available in Adobe PDF, HTML, MobiPocket, and MS Reader
Printed in the United States of America
Editor: Erin Mullarkey
Cover Artist: Sinamin
Taylor Graham hesitated outside the door. He cocked his head to the side as he listened. He’d knocked twice already but there’d been no answer.
“Dinah?” he called softly, then louder. “Dinah?”
His best friend’s car was parked in the lot outside the huge ground floor apartment. She hadn’t shown up to their weekly lunch, nor to work that day. Calls had resulted in a busy signal at her home and no answer on her cell. He drew up his mouth in puzzlement. This wasn’t like her.
If she’d been sick, she would have called work and called him. Ditto if she’d gone on a spur-of-the-moment trip. She was the responsible one. The good girl. But now where was she?
He tried the knob. It was locked.
He’d been told once upon a time not to set foot in there. But that had been by the jerk, Brad. He sighed, debating what he should do next.
His gut clenched with the inner feeling that something was wrong. No jerk’s car, but Dinah’s sat in the lot. They always took her car when they went together. He had to know. No one was around to give him a key, he’d already checked. He’d fix the door for Dinah later if everything was O.K.
He braced his shoulder and slammed it forward. He gave the door several good hits and kicks before the wood gave way by the lock.
“Dinah?” He pushed the door remnants open. “Dinah?”
A groan reached his ears. He stepped forward, following where he thought the sound came from.
Behind the bar in the small kitchen, Dinah lay still on the hard tile floor with the phone receiver pulled down, her arms outstretched. She’d been pulling herself toward the wayward phone.
“Dinah! Oh darling.” He knelt down by her and slowly eased her onto her back. Bruises marred her pale skin, along with blood. She had a big bump on her head. “Dammit.”
He grabbed the phone, quickly hung up and dialed 911. She opened her eyes as he knelt down beside her. “Taywer?”
He brushed a strand of hair back. “It’s me, darling. Shhhhh.” She grabbed his hand. “I’m here.”
“Don...t tew. Please, don’t tew ...”
It took a minute to process what she was telling him. Don’t tell.
His mouth tightened as he stroked her hand. He’d never hated anyone more than he hated Brad at that moment. Bastard.
“Shhhhh, darling. Don’t talk.”
He closed his eyes, fists clenching by his side. He’d watched Brad chip away at Dinah’s already low self-confidence piece by piece over the last year much like Taylor chiseled wood when he carved. Brad had been an expert at it, starting slowly and working Dinah over gently at first. He’d watched him bully her into getting this apartment above both their means. Watched him push her around, push friends out of her life. Was this the first time he’d hit her? When Taylor had asked, she only said Brad loved her. Yeah, he’d loved her so much, she was now going to be in the hospital a few days. But it was the last time the asshole would get a crack at Taylor’s friend. He’d see to that.
He heard the sirens in the distance as he called Ian. He needed the sound of his lover’s voice. And Ian loved Dinah as much as he did. “Come to All Saint’s Hospital. Dinah’s been beaten.”
Ian made a strangled sound. “Is she O.K.?”
“It’s bad. She’ll live, but he did a number on her.” And he would do a number on the asshole if he ever caught him.
“Brad?” Anger laced Ian’s voice. “Did you catch him?”
“No, he’s not here. And he’d better be glad.”
Hanging up, he held Dinah close as the paramedics came streaming into the room.
* * * * *
Dinah Summers sat up in the hospital bed. She stared out the windows, watching the leaves blow on the trees. A brown one blew off and floated lazily to the ground, swinging around as it fell. That was her. She was blowing in the wind, with nothing to guide her, keep her grounded. She closed her eyes, tears seeping through her lids.
Brad was gone.
His last words echoed in her mind. She’d been on the floor. “I’m leaving you for someone who can fuck. Like a real woman. You fuck worse than those fags you hang around with.” His foot had lashed out again. Blinding pain had exploded in her stomach.
Shudders rocked her body as she wrapped her arms around herself, ignoring her fractured ribs. Numbness was all she could feel. All her emotions seemed muted.
What was she going to do now?
“Hey, now, none of that.” Ian McNab
She forced a smile as her two friends surrounded her. After pulling it closer, Ian plopped in a chair right beside the bed. Taylor sat on the bed beside her, putting a firm hand on her leg. “How are you doing today?”
“I’m O.K.” She bunched up the sheet in her hand. “What are you two doing here? Isn’t that party tonight? Clung’s, I think his name was?”
“Chip’s.” Ian chuckled. “And we decided we’d rather spend it with a pretty lady.”
She snorted, swallowing the whimper that came up from her throat. The pain from the wounds was nothing compared to the ache she felt inside.
“It’s the truth. Would I lie to you?” Taylor batted his eyelashes at her.
“Yes. Yes, you would.” And she loved him for that. Luckily, they had Ian, who spoke the direct truth.
“Well, I’m not lying about that.” Taylor patted her leg. “We also snuck you in a treat.” He leaned in to whisper conspiratorially, “A candy bar. Had to sneak it past the nurse Gestapo.” Ian slid up, giving her a peek at it from his leather jacket pocket.
Her favorite, chocolate with almonds. How was it they knew that, and Brad had never learned it the whole time they’d been together? Because Brad hadn’t wanted to. The crux of it hit her hard in the stomach as it clenched. “Thanks, guys.” But she couldn’t prevent her eyes from filling up with new tears.
Her vision was clear enough to see that Taylor frowned, and his eyes met Ian’s. He slid closer and pulled her into his arms. “I’m so glad your IV is out. I’ve wanted to do this ever since ... ever since the first day.” She still had the IV site; she’d lose that right before she left, but the bag and pole had been taken off.
Ian slid up on the bed, slipping his body as best he could around both of them. “Me, too.”
She leaned into the warmth of their bodies. Taylor put one hand on her back, and so did Ian. They continually stroked up and down, their hands occasionally meeting in the middle, touching so gently that it was the barest of pressures to her ribs.
“Oh ... my ... I didn’t mean to interrupt.” The nurse on duty bustled into the room. “I need to get your stats, and you can get back to your visitors.” She arched a brow at Dinah. “Your male visitors.”
Her cheeks heated from the nurse’s comment. The nurse probably thought they were freaks. How many times had Brad snapped at her for hanging around with them? Same with her father. Both said they were perverting her. Anytime she’d done anything Brad hadn’t liked, he’d called her a whore. Like her father had. She’d moved from her father’s house into Brad’s.
She stiffened in their arms. But the loss of their warmth made her cold as they both pulled away to let the nurse take her vital signs.
“Doctor Evans is going to release you tomorrow.” She eyed Taylor and Ian as she pumped up the blood pressure cuff. “Who’s going to be picking you up?”
“I will,” Taylor announced, standing near the chair Ian sat in.
Dinah’s head came up. “You have work tomorrow.”
He shrugged. “I can miss a day.” He leaned back against the wall, his tall frame dwarfing the nurse’s. “You’ll be coming home with us.”
She opened and closed her mouth a few times. “What?”
The nurse finished taking the reading. “I’ll be back in a few to give you some pain medicine. Visiting hours will be up then, too.” She strolled out of the room.
“You’re coming home with us, Di.” Taylor’s voice left no room for argument.
“I can’t do that. You two have your own lives ...” They had their own house and had settled into it. They didn’t need her hanging around.
“We’ve talked about it. You’re moving in with us for a while.” Ian’s voice sounded as steely as Taylor’s. His hair gleamed golden in the sunshine from the window.
Taylor’s jaw tightened, and he folded his arms in front of his chest. “You’re not going back to Brad.”
“No. No, I’m not. He ... left anyway.” Somehow she’d expected to see him when she’d woken up. How on earth did she feel about that? She wasn’t sure; everything was so muddled in her mind, her emotions so shoved down. Something she was used to doing.
“Good riddance.” Taylor unfolded his arms and sat back down beside her. “We want you to move in. It will be fun. You’re our best friend.”
Dinah hesitated, picking at the sheet covering her legs. She hated the huge apartment that Brad had picked out for them. She bit her lip. The empty space would be lonely without him, too. Maybe ... no, he wasn’t coming back. “Won’t I infringe? I mean on you two --” She paused with a heavy sigh. “-- and your scenes.”
Ian and Brad had been lovers for two years. While they were deeply in love, Ian was bisexual. He liked to have women, so sometimes they partied to fulfill his need. Taylor had bisexual leanings as well; he’d been with a few women before he’d discovered men. So they had fun finding a willing woman. A willing woman probably had fun with them, too.
“Not an infringement.” Taylor shook his head. He ran a hand through his dark brown hair.
She and Taylor had met early in college, their freshman year. She’d been in a study group with him for a biology class. They were the only two in the group who did a damn thing. He’d been a philosophy major; she’d been an English major, living at home.
The first time she’d actually seen him, he’d been crossing the street after exercising, wearing nothing but a pair of tight biker shorts. A group of teenage girls in a pickup had come to a complete stop to whistle and scope him. Not that Dinah blamed them. He had a tight ass and legs that put runners to shame. He’d turned up the next day in her biology class. Odd,she’d never used anything that she’d learned from the class in life but they’d become fast friends, and he’d come out to her about his sexuality. Somehow that had freed her even more to talk to him about anything.
Tiredness seeped through her bones as if she were weighted down by a thousand pounds. She didn’t want to argue with him, not when the idea didn’t sound bad to begin with. She could lean on them awhile, linger in their friendship. “O.K. For a little while.”
Taylor patted her knee. “Good.”
Ian slipped the candy bar into her hand. “A little something for you.” His fingers lingered on hers with the pass.
“Thanks, guys. I needed this.” She’d stay with them for a week or two. Until she was back to normal. Then, figure out what she was going to do with the rest of her life.
* * * * *
Three months later, Dinah spread peanut butter on a sandwich and then grabbed a jar of grape jelly.
“Peanut butter is better on a warm body.” Ian winked, sitting at the square wooden table, drinking his morning cup of hazelnut coffee from his “Accountants Are Sexy Numbers” cup. The sun streamed in through the windows in the open kitchen surrounded by a long bar that separated it from the living room. The light made patterns on the dark brown ceramic tile floor. She patted a white-socked foot on one of them.
“I think the office would object to that. Besides, I don’t exactly have any volunteers.”
“Volunteers?” Taylor stalked into the kitchen, running a hand through his wet hair. He wasn’t wearing a shirt. What a beautiful man. He was her best friend, but even she could appreciate a view every now and again. Light splashes of dark hair peppered one well-defined, tanned chest. He worked hard every day doing carpentry, and it showed. His abs were washboard hard.
And she’d told him things she’d told no other man. Sometimes, when she became aware of him as not Taylor, her friend, but Taylor, the man, it amazed her how much she’d opened up to him. He’d always encouraged her to be freer, to express herself sexually. Next to him, she’d felt repressed, the echoes of her father’s words always repeating in her brain. Of course, next to him, most people would have felt repressed. He’d had a heck of a lot of experiences.
“Volunteers to be Dinah’
Taylor grinned at him, holding the flannel shirt rather than putting it on. “I’m in no hurry. And I’d volunteer.”
Dinah slapped more jelly on the sandwich, trying to ignore the gorgeousness and the lover’s banter before her. “Yeah, right.” She put the knife in one side of the double stainless steel sink before reaching up into the oak cabinets to get a sandwich bag.
“I would, too.” Ian’s emerald eyes sparkled. “I’d make a great lunch.”
“Oh, yeah, you do.” Taylor’s eyes sparkled with mischief and desire. “We’d both volunteer for fun with peanut butter ... and you.”
Dinah ignored them, putting her sandwich in the plastic baggie. She didn’t know how to respond when they teased in this way. And it was becoming more and more frequent.
Taylor stood behind Ian, and Ian leaned into his body as he spoke. “You know you take peanut butter every day. You could buy. Or take something different.”
She shrugged, putting the baggie in her plain plastic lunch bag. “I like peanut butter.”
“But variety can be a lot of fun, too.” Ian smiled, showing even white teeth. His long blond hair needed a trim, but longer, it matched his personality -- mischievous and smartass -- more than short hair did. “Variety can be a lot of fun.”
Dinah swallowed, her mouth dry. Somehow Ian wasn’t only talking about her sandwich habits. “It can be. But I like peanut butter ... for now.”
Taylor dropped his hand on Ian’s shoulder. “One day, I’ll sell you on the merits of turkey.”