Return to the “utterly addictive” (RT Book Reviews), “fast-paced and humorous” (Publishers Weekly) world of New York Times bestselling author Dianne Duvall’s Immortal Guardians.
He awakens encapsulated in dirt with no knowledge of how he came to be there. Riddled with injuries, he can remember neither his past nor who he is. Nor can he remember what he is. But surely no mortal man could survive being buried deep beneath the earth. All he knows with certainty is that the soothing voice and presence of the woman moving around above enables him to endure the agony of his wounds. And he will do whatever it takes to be with her.
When Susan first sees the old two-story house for sale, such warmth and longing fill her that—against all reason—she makes an offer. It will take years of hard work and money she frankly doesn’t have to fix up the place. So she can’t explain why she bought it. She also can’t explain what compels her to spend hours one night, digging in the basement until she unearths a man. A man who still lives and breathes despite having been buried alive. A man whose intense brown eyes glow amber with pain, declaring him far more than ordinary. Susan knows she should keep her distance. He has no memory and possesses gifts that would make most fear him. But as the two work together to unravel the mystery of his past, she finds herself drawn in by his teasing nature and tender touch. So much so that she loses her heart to him even as they find themselves hunted by unknown enemies who are ruthless in their quest to capture them.
She returned her gaze to the dirt. What was down there?
Curiosity seized Susan once more. Jax, too.
As the beagle jumped down into the hole, she reached for the shovel.
A deep voice, full of pain and carrying a… Russian?… accent, filled her head. Careful. Please.
It should concern her. Should actually send her fleeing up the stairs and out of the house. But it didn’t. She had to know what was down there. The curiosity was killing her!
Gingerly, she poked at the dirt with the shovel.
Jax’s claws caught in something just under the surface.
Kneeling, Susan set the shovel aside and reached out to explore Jax’s find.
Something rubbery, with a texture similar to a car tire. Weird.
But very intriguing.
Forgoing the shovel, she shooed Jax back and began to scoop the dirt away with her hands. More rubber. Rounded. Sliced and torn in places. Definitely not a tire. It was more like a rubber cover encasing something solid that gave a little when she tested it. Some of the dirt she scraped away from it was rust colored.
Her heart leapt as her fingers brushed something different. Something harder. She could feel the outline of it beneath the loosened soil and—
“Oh sh**.” It was a man’s boot.
Keep going, that mysterious voice whispered. Don’t stop.
It compelled her as much as the curiosity riding her did.
“Why the hell am I doing this, Jax?” she murmured, uncovering another boot beneath the first.
Jax leapt out of the hole.
“Great,” she muttered. “You started this. Now you’re going to abandon me?”
But he didn’t. The faithful beagle stood above her, tail wagging wildly, making happy little whining sounds as he watched her.
Susan continued to scoop dirt away.
Legs came into view. The odd rubber that encased them looked as though someone had peppered it with buckshot or something. Lots of ragged tears and holes she couldn’t see into for the dirt that had settled in them.
Then a hip. A man lying on his side?
Fear struck, almost instantly obliterated by that strange calm and inexplicably intense curiosity.
Mannequin, the voice whispered in her head.
Doubt rose, again vanishing as eagerness replaced it. She had to see what else the dirt concealed.
A narrow waist. An arm drawn up over a head, concealing a face.
“Please let this be a mannequin or some bizarre art project abandoned by the previous owner,” she murmured.
Why the hell was she even still digging? Why was common freaking sense not kicking curiosity’s ass and hightailing her out of there?
Because you have to know, that deep voice murmured. You need to know.
“I do,” she agreed. “I need to know.”
Her fingers tangled in soft hair.
She stilled, rubbing the short dusty tresses between her fingers until the midnight color was revealed. Flying into motion, she brushed dirt away from the head those soft strands hid. Careful, but urgent, her heart slamming against her ribs.
Breathing heavily, she sat back on her heels and stared down with utter amazement at the treasure she had uncovered.
A man—a very tall man—lay curled on his left side, facing her, his right arm drawn up over his face, a large hand sporting numerous lacerations shielding his head.
He was thin. So thin as to be almost skeletal. But his skin…
It didn’t look leathery or decayed or mummified.
Nor did it appear to be plastic. This was no mannequin.
So why wasn’t she afraid? She should be very afraid. She should be shaking in her proverbial boots right now.
Cautiously, she grasped his wrist and lifted the arm a couple of inches, slowly drawing it down away from his face.
“Oh no,” she breathed. Lowering his arm to his side, she leaned in close and brushed his dark hair back from his dusty face. “What did they do to you?” she whispered.
He was handsome… or would’ve been were it not for the wounds that scored his compelling features. His eyes were closed, his brow furrowed as though he still suffered. His ears had bled, as had his nose. His cheeks, coated with perhaps a week’s worth of dark stubble, were sunken and marred by so many deep gashes and scratches. What had happened to him?
Tears welled in her eyes.
How long had he been buried there? She glanced down his long length. And how had he remained so well preserved? As though he had just lain down and breathed his last breath five minutes ago?
She returned her attention to his face, drew her fingers across his forehead, carefully avoiding the jagged line carved into it.
His skin was gritty from the dirt. Cool to the touch.
She shook her head. “What did they do to you?” she whispered again.
One of his eyelids lifted.
She sucked in a breath.
His brown eye blinked, then focused on her.
Amber light flashed in it.
The fear that she should have been feeling all this time now struck with a vengeance.
Her heart doing its damnedest to burst from her chest, she yanked her fingers back and tried to scoot away.
His hand shot out and clamped around her wrist, preventing her from withdrawing.
“Oh sh**!” she cried, struggling to free herself from his hold while Jax began to bark.
Don’t miss a heart-pounding moment of Dianne Duvall’s “utterly addictive” Immortal Guardians series!