Title: That Killer Smile
Series: Bite Nights, #3
Author: Juliet Lyons
Pub Date: February 6, 2018
THERE WILL BE HEAT…
Vampire Catherine Adair gave up trying to find her perfect match ages ago. But that didn’t stop her from founding London’s super successful vampire dating site. When a smoldering vampire overlord from her past launches an interspecies speed-dating service, Catherine vows to crush the competition….
WHEN THESE TWO COMPETE
Ronin’s new venture is purely about getting Catherine’s attention. He hasn’t stopped thinking about her ever since the night she gave him the cold shoulder. Nobody gets away from Ronin McDermott that easily…
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Praise for the Bite Nights series…
“Combines the familiar with the new to bring a fresh spin on the vampire romance.” – Kirkus
-A madcap adventure of biting humor, steamy chemistry, eclectic characters and some over-the-top antics. A strong and personable heroine delights as she navigates her way through the treacherous waters of online dating.- RT Book Reviews
-Charming and racy romance meets rousing mystery . . . relatable characters and a well-crafted setting make this a promising start to an intriguing series. – Publishers Weekly
“Lyons delivers with hot and heavy scenes that take the sexy vampire trope to an all new level.” – Booklist
“If you’re looking for a story both light and sexy, this may just be the one for you.” – Heroes and Heartbreakers
“Guaranteed to keep you reading well into the night.” – BookPage
My first thought when I see the smashed lock is, How on earth did a burglar make it past Mrs. Colangelo?
I shove the door open and step inside. There, sitting—no lounging—in my Laura Ashley recliner and stroking Wentworth, is Ronin fuck weasel McDermott.
My eyes bulge as I absorb the preposterous scene of him sitting with my pet in his lap. He looks like an infuriatingly hot James Bond villain.
“Evening, Catherine,” he says with a nod of his head.
I glare into his intense blue eyes, fists clenching. “What the actual fuck are you doing in my apartment?”
He cocks a brow before rising from the chair, taking Wentworth with him. The latter stays snuggled under his arm, as docile as a newborn lamb.
Pointing at Wentworth, I hiss, “Did you glamour my cat?”
A cloud of confusion passes across his handsome features. “Why on God’s earth would I glamour a cat?”
Without missing a beat, I snap, “That’s what you do to get people to like you.”
He feigns an injured look before setting Wentworth down on the carpet. Then he reaches into his shirt pocket and pulls out a tiny object. It twinkles beneath the light. “You dropped this earring in my office. It must have fallen out when you kissed me.”
I snort in derision. “Ha! Yeah, I kissed you. Good one. And you came all the way here, broke in to my apartment just to return it to me?”
“I’ll get the lock fixed,” he says, placing the earring on the coffee table. “And I didn’t break in as such. One of your neighbors let me up.”
I shake my head. “Let me guess, an Italian lady in a robe?”
He smiles and I try not to notice how it softens the hard lines of his strong features, how his cool-blue eyes are suffused with warmth.
“There’s a chance she believes lover boy next door is bisexual.”
“What the hell did you tell her?” I ask, folding arms across my chest. The mention of Peter comes as a shock. Being in the same room as Ronin McDermott, I’ve already forgotten he exists.
“Nothing she didn’t secretly long to hear. So who is this guy anyway? Should I be jealous?”
My stomach flips, my mind skipping back to that moment in his office when I left him with a hard-on in the presence of Playboy bunnies. “Jealous?” I try to inject venom into my voice, but my heart isn’t in it. “Tell me, did you enjoy yourself with those girls the other afternoon?”
His brows knit. He looks genuinely flummoxed. “What girls?”
I toss my bag onto the sofa. “Meant that much to you, did they?”
He stays frozen to the spot, brows drawn. “Do you really think I care about other girls?”
His voice is low, as cracked as splintered glass. Suddenly, it seems as if all the oxygen has been sucked from the room. As I meet his burning gaze, it’s like the last couple of days—work, my date with Peter—never happened. I’m back in his office right before his lips landed on mine.
Except this time neither of us budge.
“You’re a sickness,” he says at last in that same fractured tone. “Don’t you see? A sickness in my veins.”
My brain sifts through responses at a hundred miles per hour, but my vocal chords remain frozen in my throat. I watch him like he’s a tiger, waiting for him to strike.
But he doesn’t pounce. He sighs instead, his jaw tightly clenched. “I’ve never wanted to upset you, Catherine. I’m sorry for what I did that night—biting you and giving you my venom. I shouldn’t have lost control like that.”
“No, you shouldn’t have,” I snap.
“I’ll be honest,” he continues. “I’d be lying if I said I didn’t start the speed-dating nights to get your attention. But I had no intention of ruining your business. In a way, it’s a compliment.”
My jaw drops in disbelief. “A compliment? Are you completely unhinged? Do you really have your head shoved so far up your ass that you don’t get why I can’t stand you?”
He shakes his head, holding out his hands, palms up. There’s desperation in his voice I’ve never heard from him before. “I’ve never once tried to play the ancient card with you. I never will, no matter how badly you piss me off.”
I stare at him, half believing he doesn’t have a clue, half-angry this is just another of his manipulative games.
“This isn’t about details. It’s about the bigger picture. One you’ve never bothered to try and get your arrogant head around. Who am I, Ronin?” The happiness the evening brought is leaking out of me faster than air from a burst balloon. To my horror, a sob escapes my throat. “What am I?”
“Is this one of those bizarre feminist questions?”
“For fucks sake, what am I? Answer me.”
His eyes flash in anger, but he doesn’t flinch. “A woman. A vampire. A neurotic shrew half the time.”
“A vampire,” I repeat, ignoring the last bit.
He looks utterly and completely blank.
“You have no idea. Do you?”
When he doesn’t answer, I open the busted door as wide as it will go and wave an arm toward it. “Goodbye, Ronin.”
If he wasn’t such a misogynistic playboy, I might experience a pang of guilt as I watch him skulk past me, defeated.
Outside he pauses, spinning around to face me. “I rang you,” he says. “Every day for a month after we slept together.”
“I know,” I whisper, staring at my Dolce & Gabbana boots. “I changed my telephone number on day three.”
He emits a short, hollow laugh, and when I look up, the hallway is completely empty. I hear the slam of a door as he exits the building onto the street.
For a few seconds, I’m lost for words. But as I stare between the bag on the floor and Ronin’s chiseled face, it all becomes clear.
“This is about you wanting me to owe you, isn’t it?” I hiss, fixing my gaze on his left ear. It’s a trick I learned from the last time we met. If I don’t look directly into his eyes, there’s less chance of being drawn into their swirling, blue depths.
He smiles, shaking his head. “You’re unbelievable, do you know that?”
“Pfffft,” I erupt. “I’m unbelievable? I’m not the one trying to tank my business by spreading rumors and launching a dating service. I’m not the one going out of his way to ensure our paths keep crossing in the worst possible ways.”
He frowns, displaying the first sign of irritation since I crashed into the room. “I’ve already told you, mo chridhe, it wasn’t me who started those rumors. And as for the speed dating, well, it was a free country last time I checked. I’m offering you the cash because the fella was injured in my club. Which means technically he’s my responsibility. If you don’t take the money now, I’ll have someone deliver it to his lawyer’s office later. I have their address now, after all.”
He waves the letter in the air like a victory flag.
“I’ll call them up,” I blurt out, voice quavering. “I’ll tell them you’re a madman and not to accept it. I’ll say it’s not your money at all, that you conned the life savings from some poor old man with dementia.”
Ronin arches a brow, tucking the letter into an inside pocket of his jacket. “That’s some novel you’re writing there, Catherine, but I doubt they would argue if I write them a Coutts check, do you?”
I’m all out of ammunition. “I loathe you.”
For a split second, his cocksureness wavers, the steely-blue eyes darkening. But only for a moment. “The problem isn’t me, Catherine,” he says, edging closer. “The problem is you.”
I straighten up. “That’s the most irritating thing about you, Ronin—you always think you know better than everybody else. I’m not sure whether it’s because you’ve been around longer than the rest of us or because you’re just a massive asshole. Either way, you don’t know the first thing about me.”
He flashes a cocky grin, raking his gaze over me as if he has X-ray vision. “You don’t loathe me, mo chridhe. You just can’t get over the fact you’re an uptight puritan who loved the kind of sex I gave you that night we spent together.”
I let out a high-pitched laugh. “That’s right, Ronin. Let’s not forget for one second that the world revolves around you and your penis. Actually, I’m surprised you’re even bothering to get dressed these days. I would have thought you’d have developed a penchant for silky, red pajamas and slippers by now.” I motion to the cigar on the carpet. “Looks like you’ve nailed the smoking part, and God knows the Playboy bunnies must be hiding around here somewhere.”
He scoffs. “Jealous?”
“Please, you’re not that good in bed.”
Except he is—or was. Better than good. But I can’t think about that right now. Or ever again, actually.
“Paulo was right about you,” he murmurs. “You are a mad bitch.”
I close the distance between us in a single stride and smack him across the cheek. It’s like hitting stone. He doesn’t so much as flinch. For some bizarre reason, this ignites a hot stab of lust in the pit of my stomach. His scent—a masculine blend of whiskey, leather, and woodsmoke—infiltrates my senses. I’m transported back to that night some years ago when we went at it like two wildcats in his bed.
I never wanted to come up for air.
I’m standing too close to use the ear trick. His eyes drag me in, two penetrating blue flames, dark with anger. I gulp, allowing my gaze to wander over his chiseled-from-rock cheekbones, rosy Celtic skin, copper hair slicked back from a noble forehead. He may be an asshole, but there is no denying his beauty.
For what feels like an eternity, neither of us move. We remain locked onto each other, energy—good and bad—swirling between us like thick fog.
Quite without thinking, I hiss, “Fucker.” After spending my human life afraid to speak, I never managed to rewire the connection between my brain and mouth.
His blue eyes flash. At once, his lips are on mine and his arms are around my waist. Instead of struggling, I mold myself into the hard contours of his body, my tongue sliding over his, my hands pulling him closer, and I hate myself—Lord, how I despise myself—for how good it feels. It’s as though he brings a magnifying glass up to all the base urges I long to forget, including this—an utterly ridiculous sexual attraction to a demon playboy who’s murdered God knows how many during his thousands of years on earth.
I don’t pull away. I can’t. He absorbs me like a drug. Before I can help myself, my fingers are tangled in his thick, red hair and I’m allowing his hands to cup my ass, grinding against the hard rope of an erection bulging beneath his trousers. We devour each other, eyes and mouths open, until I’m no longer sure where he begins and I end.
But then he takes his mouth from mine, trailing kisses from jawline to neck. Along with the rasp of stubble, I feel a scrape of fangs, sharp as knives, glide across my skin. I shove him away, panting slightly, averting my eyes to the lacquered walnut desk in the center of the room. If I don’t stop this now, I’ll end up sprawled across that table just like all the other women he’s had in here. The worst part is, I’d enjoy it.
“Consider the debt paid,” I say.
Other books in the series
Silver Harris is over clingy men-maybe men altogether. But when she shares a toe-curling kiss with a sexy Irish vampire on New Year’s Eve, she wonders if maybe it’s human men she’s done with. Silver turns to a popular vampire dating site, but soon she’s in over her head and her mysterious hottie is nowhere to be found…
Logan Byrne can’t get that sassy redhead out of his mind-or that kiss! When his boss assigns him to spy on the dating site’s members, he meets Silver again. As the snark and sparks fly, feelings between Silver and Logan grow deep and suddenly Logan isn’t so sure he can betray her, no matter how dangerous the consequences might be…
Swipe right for Mr. Bite…
Mila Hart’s first experience with the hot new vampire dating site is a complete disaster. Turns out, her date is wanted for murder!
But things turn around when she’s rescued by dashing vampire cop Vincent Ferrer.
Dangerous and drop dead gorgeous, he’s just the vampire hottie Mila was hoping for.
Haunted by his past, Vincent can’t risk falling in love again, even if Mila charms him more than anyone he’s ever met.
But when the killer from Mila’s first date seeks her out, Vincent is the only one who can protect her.
Protecting his heart is a different story…
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About the Author
JULIET LYONS is a paranormal romance author from the UK. She holds a degree in Spanish and Latin American studies and works part-time in a local primary school where she spends far too much time discussing Harry Potter.
Since joining global storytelling site Wattpad in 2014, her work has received millions of hits online and gained a legion of fans from all over the world. When she is not writing, Juliet enjoys reading and spending time with her family.
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