Could this exquisite female be a spy sent by the very Valkyrie Rune hunts? Rune knows he must not trust Josephine, yet he’s unable to turn her away. When Jo betrays the identity of tSweet Ruinhe one man she will die to protect, she and Rune become locked in a treacherous battle of wills that pits ultimate loyalty against unbridled lust. Kresley Cole’s Sweet Ruin is on sale now.


He leaned against a lamppost, studying the female. Ghostly makeup, black clothes, combat boots. What did mortals term this style? Ah, she was a Goth. Why anyone would harken to that human age perplexed him.
But with ethereal looks like hers, she had to be an immortal. Perhaps another nymph? No, too edgy.
Maybe a succubus? If so, she would crave semen, which he couldn’t give, even if he weren’t poisonous. Still, not a deal killer. Rune had seduced his share of seed feeders, promising them a teeth-clattering ride. He’d always delivered.
Even those tarts had wanted more of him. After just one bedding, non-nymph females uniformly grew attached to him, becoming jealous and possessive.
Over his lifetime, thousands had sought monogamy from him. He shuddered. The concept was incomprehensible to him.
The voyeur possessed no secrets he wanted, and he risked her attachment. So why was he inhaling for more of her scent?
What is she? He had a healthy measure of fey curiosity in him, and it demanded an answer.
Only twenty feet separated them.
If she was a halfling like him, then had he never in all his years and travels scented her combination? That didn’t make sense.
Ten feet away. He moved to block her.
She raised her face, blinking in surprise.
“Hello, dove. Were you wanting to join the party in the courtyard, then?” He backed her to a wall, and, naturally, she let him. “The nymphs would’ve been happy to share me. And there’s plenty to go around.”
Her surprise faded. She craned her head up to cast him a measured look.
“You were watching, no?” The thought of those spellbinding eyes taking in his action hardened his cock even more. Would she deny it?
“I did watch.” His voyeur’s voice was sultry, with not an ounce of shame.
Phenomenal looks. Sexy voice. Would she have curved or pointed ears? He prayed for the former. “I know you enjoyed the show.”
“You know, huh?” She tilted her head, sending glossy curls cascading over one shoulder. “You were passable
The scent of her hair struck him like a blow. Meadowberries. They’d grown in the highlands of his home world, far above the sweltering fens he’d worked as a half-starved young slave. Their scent had tantalized him to distraction.
Wait . . . “Did you say passable? I assure you that word has never been applied to my performance.” He watched in fascination as her lips curled. The bottom one had a little dip in the center he wanted to tongue. But never could.
“ ‘Performance.’ ” Her vivid eyes flashed. “Exactly how I’d describe it.”
Damn it, what was she? Then his brows drew together at her comment. Over the last several millennia, he might have consolidated his sexual . . . repertoire. His poison limited his options. But performance? “I get zero complaints.”
She shrugged, and her breasts bobbed in her tank. He licked his lips before he caught himself.
“You want my honest opinion?”
As if he cared what she thought! Yet his mouth was saying, “Tell me.”
“You showed hints of game at times, but nothing I’d strip for.”
Game? “Then you didn’t watch the scene I partook in.”
She gave him an exaggerated frown. “My honesty hurt your feelings. It wasn’t all bad. How about this: there’s a live-sex club right around the corner—I bet you could place in their amateur-night competition.”
He leaned in. “Ah, dove, if you’re the expert to my novice, I’d appreciate any hands-on instruction.”
“Here’s a tip. Maybe settle in enough to take off your boots. Or, hey, how ’bout removing your bow and arrows?”
“Sound advice, but I never know when I might need my weapons. Even when I fuck, I still listen for
enemies.”
“You must have a lot of them. What kind?”
“All kinds. Untold numbers of them. In any case, I’m leery of removing my bow; it was a priceless gift.” Ages ago, Orion had loosed Darach into a foreign realm with scant guidance: Find the Darklight bow with a black moon and white sun etched above the hand grip. A week later, Darach had returned, wild-eyed, bow in hand. Orion had given it to Rune, saying, “Your new weapon, archer. . . .”
“Priceless?” The voyeur’s gaze flickered over his bow with a touch too much interest. “Sure would hate for it to get stolen.”
“Never.” Why had he bragged to her about his weapon? Information flowed to him, not from him.
He could talk for hours and never say a meaningful thing.
Yet something about her had made him boast? He’d taken prettier women. He’d had demigoddesses beneath him. Why did he find her so captivating?