Evie Byrne: Fantastik Romance
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    Bound by Blood
Book Two of the Faustin Brothers Trilogy
Releasing May 5th, 2009 from Samhain Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-60504-518-4 $4.50

bound by blood cover

Set up: This is Maddy and Gregor's second encounter. In the first, he ran her down with his BMW. The opening chapter is available at Samhain.


An empty cab appeared in Maddy's line of vision just as she was about to bite down on a steaming hot frank smothered in relish. "Damn."

Quickly she wrapped the foil back around it and ran forward with her arm upraised. If she got it she may not be late to her herbalist after all, and that would almost make up for the sin of eating a nitrate-and-preservative-packed hot dog on the way there.

The cab slowed down and pulled over about twenty feet away. She ran for it, juggling her bag and her dinner, dodging bodies. Even a short run was proving too much for her any more. She put one hand to her chest, feeling the disturbing, lurching rhythm of her heart. Nitrates are the least of your problems, Maddy girl.

As distracted as she was, she ran straight into someone--someone trying to steal her cab.

"Oh no, buddy. This one is mine." He was so close, and so tall, that his chest blocked her whole field of vision. Black tie, black shirt, black suit, black overcoat. Color me morbid.

"Madelena?" the wall gasped.

She craned her neck upward to see Gregor Faustin gaping at her like he'd seen his own death.

"What is your problem?" She meant it all sorts of ways. "Let go of my cab."

Faustin recovered enough to return to his usual unpleasant self. "It's not 'your cab'. I hailed it."

"You lie like a rug." Her mind boggled trying to figure out how he could be there. How they could possibly meet again. It had to mean he was stalking her.

"What--you think I'm stalking you?" His incredulous expression, she realized, was less than flattering to her as would-be stalkee. And did he just read her mind?

"You're right," she snapped. "Why would you go through the trouble of stalking me when you can just break into my apartment and suck my toes whenever you like?"

Faustin folded his arms and glared at her down his crooked nose. "I have no idea what you are talking about."

Nothing was more hateful than a bald-faced lie, with the possible exception of an arrogant bald-faced lie. "Look, I don't know what you intended that night, but if you meant to do some kind of memory wipe, you failed. At the very least you could have taken away my coat and pants. The damning evidence, you know? Sloppy work, Faustin, very sloppy."

He arched a brow. "Tell me, did you ever get checked for head injuries, Madelena?"

"Bite me." She smacked his hand off the door handle and claimed the cab.

As quick as a blink, Faustin jumped in on the other side. "Oh no," he said, "You're not stealing my cab."

Maddy met him halfway across the seat and gave him a hard shove toward the door. "Get bent, Faustin. It's mine."

Faustin's eyes narrowed at her in the most evil way, and she suspected he wanted to kill her. With a growl he forced his way in and closed the door with a decisive slam.

"I do as I please." His tone was soft and even, but chilly, and she knew what he said was the truth. But it didn't scare her. Maddy wasn't afraid of him. She wasn't afraid of anything much--except suffering more at the hands of doctors. Twice she'd died on the operating table, and twice she'd seen the tunnel and the light. Death was no bad thing. Her will was written and she didn't have pets.

Not that she expected this cab ride to go that wrong--though who knew with Faustin?--but it was a perspective thing. Nothing was worth getting worked up about. So all she said to his icy threat was, "Nice grumpy face you got, Faustin."

As soon as she said that the driver, who seemed pretty pissed off himself by this time, chimed in. "Tell me please if maybe somebody is going somewhere tonight? Or do you use my cab as a social club?"

"Chelsea" said Maddy, while at the same time Faustin said, "Columbus Circle."

"I'm late," she hissed at him.

He shot her another black look, and then said to the driver, "Go to Chelsea first."

Maddy resigned herself to sharing; he was too big to bludgeon. The cab began to roll. Maddy took off her beret and unwound her scarf, glancing at him out of the corner of her eye. She admired how well Faustin played the injured party when she was the one who had been run over and sucked on. He was without doubt the reigning Dark Lord of Sulk. What else he was, she was not sure.

With nothing more to fight over, they both sat back against the seat, arms folded, facing forward.

Maddy entertained herself thinking about what she could say that would annoy him most, because no way was he going to enjoy this cab ride in peace. It took her an embarrassingly long time to remember she had the solution in hand.

"Like my lunchbox?" She balanced it on her knees for him to see. Buffy the Vampire Slayer the logo said in bloody red letters. It was the rare one with David Boreanaz on it, her prize of prizes, evidence that she was the reigning queen of eBay.

Faustin turned his head incrementally to glance at it, then resumed staring out the front window. "I don't know how a guy named Buffy is going to kill a vampire."

Maddy sighed. "I take it you never watched the show. This is Angel. Angel is a vampire."

All Faustin did was snort at the idea.

All week she'd played with the possibility that Faustin was an honest to God vampire. It was unlikely, admittedly. Well, actually, it was impossible if she wanted to keep her speculation within the bounds of reality, but when did she ever do that? And besides, the idea was so much more appealing than him being a foot fetishist with a skeleton key.

"You got opinions on vampires, Faustin?" Nettling him so directly made her a little breathless. "Theories, maybe?"

Faustin wheeled in his seat and leaned into her space, his big hand spread on the seat, way too close to her thigh. There were rules about personal space, and he was breaking them all to breathe down her neck. "You seem to have all the theories, Madelena. Why don't you tell me what they are?"

Goddamn he was a sexy jerk. His voice reminded her of suede. Maddy met his eyes square on. Something dangerous lurked there, and her poor heart fluttered at the sight of it. She shrugged and put aside the lunchbox. "Just making conversation. Excuse me for trying."

Faustin went back to his corner without a word, and she remembered that her dinner was going cold.

The driver had to have ears like a fox to hear the soft rustle of the foil. Or maybe it was the relish smell. At any rate, he caught on just as she was about to take her long-delayed first bite. "No food in my cab! No garbage in my cab! Thank you!"

"Relax Mr...Mr. Patel," she said, reading his ID. She gave him her best smile in the rear view. "I promise I won't leave a trace of evidence."

To whit, a dangerous blob of ketchup and relish was sliding off the dog. She caught the blob with her tongue, and then sucked the end clean. As she did, she happened to catch Faustin's expression. His face was shining with naked hunger.

"What the--?" For a second she thought he wanted the dog. Then his mouth was over hers.

"Hey, I was..." Even in protest, her lips moved against his, and he turned that protest into a kiss.

Oh. My. God.

Who in the world kissed like this? His mouth was sweet and hard at the same time, his hands coiling around her, drawing her in, drawing her under. All of the frustrated desire of that strange night came flooding back and she found herself kissing him back, even if she hated him, because...damn.

There was no sparring in the kiss, despite all their bickering. That didn't feel right. What felt right was softening under him, opening to him. Her lips yielded, her neck wilted, her whole body relaxed in his arms, and strange as it was, she felt safe.

Very yin and yang, she thought. Whatever she had, he could take. Whatever he gave, she wanted, though it made her heart slam as sure as running.

The force of his kiss drove her back against the door, and as his weight bore down on her, she slid lower and lower onto the seat, one hand on the back of his neck, the other just managing to hold her hot dog aloft.

As they neared horizontal, their legs tangled. Like a complete slut, Maddy hooked one leg around his hips and pinned him to her. Now there wasn't a bit of air between them. She needed the full body contact. She needed to feel his hard-on. And he obliged, grinding slowly in the saddle of her hips as his tongue swept her mouth.

Maddy answered him by circling her own hips, finding her rhythm and holding strong. Slow and steady. Hot as lava. Heat flashed and gathered in her toes, and ran up the insides of her thighs like summer lightning. She held him tighter. Miercoles! I am dry humping Gregor Faustin in the back of a cab.

His mouth left her bruised lips, and fastened ruthlessly on her neck instead, delivering a line of deep, sucking kisses under her jaw. Maddy arched under him, her nipples stiff and sore against his chest. "Jesus!"

"You drive me fucking crazy," he whispered against her skin.

Maddy sought and found his mouth. Their tongues twirled hot and desperate, and they moaned in unison. Just like that night he visited her room, she was sopping wet, open and ready. She wanted to take him deep inside and ride him until they both dropped with exhaustion, and she begged for it now, mewling and writhing, far past coherent speech.

"What do you want, Madelena?" he asked. "This?"

His teeth, sharp as razors, scraped her throat.