Nigel Cordaro takes a job on a remote research station, hoping to escape his problems. But trouble just has a way of finding him wherever he goes. This time it takes the shape of Katie Randle—intelligent, beautiful, and bored—everything he needs, nothing he wants. Then a shuttlecraft explosion places Nigel in the spotlight, right where he doesn’t want to be. He’s the primary suspect in the crime, needing to clear his name, but what he really wants most of all is for Katie to return his love.
Nigel is now aging rapidly but that’s the least of his problems. Turns out an old feud has been re-awoken. Serge Raynard, the man that murdered Nigel’s father, is hell-bent on uncovering a secret Nigel conceals so deeply it’s hidden even from himself. To stop Serge’s devious plan, Nigel must turn to the very people he doesn’t want to trust. He’s willing to sacrifice himself, but the hard part will be sacrificing the people he loves the most.
|Author||J. D. Waye|
|Series||The Shadow People: Book 2 [Inner Demons Book 1}
|Genre||Paranormal Romance Science-Fiction|
|Release||February 21, 2017
|Tags||Paranormal, fantasy, science fiction, adventure, romance. Legends, Unique vampire, shadow people|
My old brownstone loomed ahead, casting shadows into the dwindling dusk. The building was oppressive, the townhouses all the same, but it was hard to find something different in a city this big. Everything new was harsh and sterile. Not for me.
But it was what the townhouse contained that thrilled me the most: her.
I’d been away too long.
The taxi skirted traffic, rounding the corner and double-parking in the shade. The cabbie got out and opened his trunk, fetching my luggage.
“Where would you like your bags, Doctor Cordaro?”
“The sidewalk is fine,” I said, swinging my dry-cleaning bags over my shoulder.
He deposited my luggage onto the front porch, despite what I had said, waiting for me to move them securely inside.
“You must work some rough neighborhoods.”
“Yes, sir, I do.”
“Come back in two hours. She should be ready by then.”
Right away the heat brought a sheen of sweat to the simple job of moving a few bags inside. There was no air movement down here at ground level, no promised breeze from the lake. The real estate agent had lied about that when he sold me the place, but really, that was my fault. I should recognize a fellow liar.
I keyed open the front door, cold indoor air blasting my overheated body.
“Hello,” I shouted to the echoing hallway, kicking the door shut with my foot. Wrappers on dry-cleaning bags crinkled as I moved upstairs, the sound of running water drawing me. She must be in the shower.
“Hello?” I lay her dry-cleaned dress on the bed, careful not to wrinkle the contents. My suit had been already chosen, hanging on its hook behind the bedroom door. The purple or white shirt—my choice—hung in front, along with their matching ties. Black diamond ear studs and matching cufflinks—not my choice—lay in the leather dish on my dresser. They’d look out of place with my antique ring hanging on its chain. But this was her event, her award, her special night, and she should get to choose what I wore.
Running water led me into the bathroom, steam fogging the mirrors, humidity hanging heavy just like outside. A shadow moved inside the shower.
“Miss me?” I said to the fog.
I stripped out of my clothes, leaving them on the floor. Anticipation snaked through my body, my heart beating faster. Sliding open the shower door, I stepped inside the stream of hot water.
Her back was to me, one elbow resting on the tiled wall, water streaming down her delicious limbs, her blonde hair darkened to buckwheat honey. Two hours might be enough time to get ready, maybe. The cabbie would wait.
Tempting, inviting, her body teased me. Hungry for having waited such a long time, I kissed her shoulder. “I missed you.”
“Did you?” She turned. Mascara and shadow dripped from her eyes, obscuring their beautiful shape.
“What’s wrong?” Her whole body shuddered, but it was her pupils that gave her away. “You’re high.”
“You promised not to do this anymore.”
“I saved some for you.”
There was a time when I would have partaken in this delight, getting stoned and making love, but not tonight. She didn’t need a lecture about what her habit was doing, robbing her of her looks, which robbed her of work.
“You need to get ready for tonight. Remember? The cab will be here soon.” I turned off the water and wrapped a towel around her body. She’d been in there so long that her skin was wrinkling. She caught me staring as I wiped her dry.
“They only give Lifetime Achievement awards to old people.”
“You’re not old.”
“You don’t get it. See? That’s part of the problem,” she said, her words slow and slurring. “Why?”
I ignored the question as I squeezed moisture from her hair, using the towel to remove the last dregs of paint from her face. Like an obedient child she let me tug her to the end of the bed, plopping down, allowing me get her ready. She was good at that, letting others take over—a lifetime of regime.
“You never answered the question,” she said as I zipped up her dress. “Why?”
“You know why. This award is important.” I slipped into my tuxedo, tucking the ring on its chain under my white shirt. I wasn’t ready to wear that ring, not yet. Not tonight.
“That’s not what I meant.” She turned, her beautiful face sad and stoned. “Why do I keep getting old, and you don’t?”
“You’re stoned,” I said, smiling. “Things will seem different when you’re sober.”
“No. It won’t be any different. I just won’t have the courage to ask.”
Maybe I had stayed with her too long. Maybe I had gotten too attached. Or not attached enough to invite her over to the dark side. She wouldn’t age there, but she wouldn’t be any happier, either. The things wrong with her life wouldn’t magically change, and that fact would eat her up inside, kill her.
She was a celebrity here in this world. Her audience expected her to get old, or crash and burn, or retire, or something. I was just the guy on her arm. I could be replaced.
It made me sad to think about leaving her, more than I was willing to admit, because she was a comfort and a good friend, and that combination was hard to find. But I was not willing to transform her, to make her one of my kind. I didn’t love her enough to spend an eternity with her.
I knew I had stayed too long already—but it wasn’t fair to drop this on her right now, before she got her award. She should have a special night, her night. She deserved that.
“Jane, you know that I love you, right?”
She staggered down the staircase, toward the front door where the cab waited outside. “Sure, baby.”