Scions: Revelation (Harlequin Nocturne)

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9780373618002: Scions: Revelation (Harlequin Nocturne)

Caine Grennard is a werewolf, living among humans and lacking purpose—until the night he meets a woman with an exotic, irresistible scent. A woman who might be his deadliest enemy.

When her aunt is kidnapped, Emma Gray swears she'll do anything to get the older woman back. Even if it means trusting the mysterious—and sexy—stranger named Caine.

But more is at stake than one woman's life: Emma's past holds the last key to unlocking a prophecy Caine's clan is depending on. The fates of both their clans rest on Caine and Emma trusting the impossible, electric connection between them, even in the midst of betrayal....

"Sinopsis" puede pertenecer a otra edición de este libro.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Why would an alluring smell make me feel so free? Emma Gray wondered as she waved good-night to her boss before pushing the café's door open. Her pulse raced and every nerve in her system worked overtime. She hurried across the street, heading toward the nightclub Squeeze. Despite her social hang-ups, she was finally going into that nightclub. Come hell or high water.

She stepped up on the curb and inhaled, trying to recapture the glorious smell's deep earthy notes, the essence that brought her out here in the first place. She knew if she could conjure it, the scent would help solidify her resolve and calm her stomach that felt like a snake had taken up residence inside, coiling tighter and tighter.

Nothing but car exhaust, lingering hints of rain and alley trash filled her nostrils. Damn.

She'd always had a keen sense of smell, something Jared, her boss at Jared's Java and Pastries café, often relied on. "You think these eggs are still good?" he'd ask as he held the carton under her nose, to which she could accurately predict, "You've got two days before you have to chuck 'em." Jared thought her talent was "wicked uncanny." Emma thought her "gift" was just plain weird.

Until yesterday.

She was cleaning up coffee cups left by some of the patrons, whose lingering musky smell on them made her body tingle all over. She smiled and she didn't know why. But she just felt... exhilarated, like she was flying down from the highest hill on a roller coaster—buckled in and safe, but completely free.

Then, tonight at work, she'd caught the scent again and her heart nearly jumped out of her chest, she'd been so excited. This time the smell had been very fresh—as if the person or persons had just been there. She'd lifted her gaze from gathering the cups in the dirty-dish container in time to see a tall, dark-headed guy leave the café and accompany an auburn-haired man to the popular Manhattan nightclub across the street.

Now, here she was, an hour later, her throat closing as she stood at the end of the long line of people waiting to get inside the nightclub. In the two years she'd worked at the café, there'd been many nights that she'd stared out the big display window at Squeeze's black double doors, wondering what it was like with music blaring and patrons packed inside like sardines. But curiosity wasn't enough to overcome her social ineptitude. She wasn't a sexy siren. Just a normal, average-looking woman, who'd rather talk about the latest marketing strategies being used in businesses today than prove how well she could hold her liquor or how fast she could tie a cherry stem with her tongue. Yep, she'd crash and burn the moment she opened her mouth.

If it weren't for that earthy, musky aroma that had imprinted itself on her psyche since yesterday, she wouldn't be standing here. But she had to at least put a face with the appealing, soul-wrenching scent. Maybe then she could let it go.

Techno music thumped and the crowd inched their way through the frigid, damp air, waiting to be let in. As she waited, Emma noted the distinct difference in her own attire: jeans, bulky sweater and black wool pea coat, compared to the other young women her age. Sporting big earrings, spiked heels and heavy makeup, the girls wore clubbing clothes of tight pants, miniskirts and cropped tops underneath their winter coats.

While they giggled and flirted with the guy manning the door, Emma's insides churned. These girls have mastered the art. I could never compete. With each step closer to the entrance, Emma's body tensed to the point she thought she might pass out. Breathe. They're people, just like you. Well, except for the I-suck-at-flirting-and-idle-chitchat part.

"You don't look twenty-one," the burly guy at the door said after he'd checked Emma's driver's license to make sure she was legal.

"I am twenty-one, but it doesn't really matter. I'll only be in there for a few minutes." She'd always been told she looked young, but was it because she didn't have on any makeup or was it because she wasn't wearing three-inch heels? She was sure her five-foot-six height made her appear much shorter and younger than the girls he normally let in. Even if half those girls were probably three years younger and sporting fake IDs.

"You still have to be twenty-one to be allowed in." Frosty plumes expelled from his nose, reminding her of a dragon.

Emma followed his frown to her feet. Her boots had mud spatters all over them from her jaunt through the woods this morning, looking for Casper. She instantly regretted not changing her shoes before she went to work. Meeting his gaze, her smile turned sheepish. "I'm going for the grunge look."

The streetlight shone on the man's bald head as he scanned her clothes. Crossing his arms, disdain laced his tone. "We have a dress code for a reason."

Emma stiffened and outraged, embarrassed heat shot up her cheeks. She didn't need to be reminded her pea coat had threadbare elbows and a frayed collar or that her jeans were so old and worn they were naturally faded. "Are you saying I'm not good enough to enter this club?"

She had to get into the club so she could at least see the guy with the innerving scent, even if she didn't speak to him. Maybe his face would ring a bell or something. There were no guarantees he'd come to the café again just because he'd been there two days in a row. Plus, working up the nerve to enter the club was a big deal for her. Seeking out this guy was a perfect excuse for her to finally get a peek inside Squeeze without feeling like she was there on a social basis.

A snotty look crossed the bouncer's thick jowls. "That's exactly what I'm—" At that moment, a thin guy burst through the club's double doors, took a couple of steps and hurled on the sidewalk. Baldy turned to him and growled, "Hey, go puke somewhere else, moron."

When he walked over to send the guy on his way, Emma's heart rate ramped. She didn't have the flirtatious skills the girls in front of her had used to make him wave them in with a lopsided, dopey smile. Instead, she'd challenged the guy. Way to go, Emma. Better take the opportunity to quickly slip inside the club while he was occupied.

Inside, the nightclub was so dark, the neon manga murals painted on the walls on either side of the entryway glowed vividly. When the closed door opened with a swift jerk behind her, Emma's pulse jumped. She pulled her pageboy hat low on her head and ducked past a tall guy, moving farther into the room.

It didn't take much effort to be sucked into the crowd; the nightclub was that packed. It was like she'd entered another world, full of drinking, dancing and erotic decadence. Emma was enraptured and invigorated by the laughter, talking, partying and life going on around her. And the smells. There were so many: thick, sickly smelling perfume, heavy musk-based cologne, strong deodorant soap aromas laced with sweat... all were mixed in with alcohol's distinct sharp scent.

Hanging above the DJ on the other side of the club, glittery gold cages held half-naked girls sliding up and down poles. The sunken dance floor three feet below the main floor was so crowded that she couldn't tell where one person began and the other ended. The partiers were one big mass of arms, legs, bobbing heads and gyrating bodies, moving to the beat of the music.

Fog floated through the room in a heavy haze, carrying with it images of excitement, aggression and... lust. She saw it in the way the people moved, the way they touched. Especially one group of three, who were dancing on the fringes of the dance floor.

A tall, broad-shouldered man with pitch-black hair danced in front of a woman with short dark hair, while her blond girlfriend plastered herself to his backside. When the blonde raked her nails down his cotton T-shirt and then along his denim-covered thighs as she leaned close and bit his shoulder blade, Emma's stomach tightened. The man laughed and turned to say something in the blond woman's ear. Emma could tell by the way the woman's eyes narrowed into pleased slits that his comment was very suggestive.

She felt like a voyeur watching the three of them, their bodies moving in tandem to the suggestive beat of the music, but Emma couldn't look away. She was totally mesmerized by the sight. The man held the brunette's waist with a gentle touch that surprised her. When he ran his lips along the woman's throat, Emma found herself tilting her head as if he were kissing her.

Her pulse thrummed and her palms turned sweaty. Sudden heat spread through her body, making her dizzy. Seeking a distraction, she unbuttoned her thick jacket and gazed around the room, looking for the auburn-haired man. He'd be easier to spot in a crowd than the dark-headed guy. When she returned her gaze to the threesome on the floor once more, the man lifted his head and stared right at her.

Embarrassed to be caught staring, Emma quickly turned and made her way through the crowd toward the bar. Maybe the two men were having a drink. Frat boy and sorority girl were making out on the stool to her left. She ignored them and leaned across the bar to scan the patrons sitting on either end.

The bartender's military-style buzz cut shifted forward with his raised eyebrows. "What'll you have?"

Emma nodded. "I'll have a dark beer." More than once she'd shared a beer or two with her aunt. Mary might be in her mid-sixties, but she could hold her own against any sailor out there.

"Come on, baby. You don't need a drink," a woman said beside Emma, drawing her out of her musings.

Glancing to her right, Emma froze. The man from the dance floor had walked up to the bar. But it wasn't his face that shocked her. It was his smell...that intriguing musky scent she'd come looking for. The blonde stroked his waist and hips, dancing in place behind him, while the brunette hung on his right arm.

Emma stared at his profile as he raised his hand to get the bartender's attention. Nothing about him looked familiar. She knew she'd never met him in her life, yet his scent evoked something strong...

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