Staring into glowing cat-eyes, while her attackers lay like broken dolls in the snow around her, shouldn't have been a turn-on. But it was. She shouldn't consider the man who killed to save her from her rapists a hero. But she does. She shouldn't feel as if she belongs to that hero, mind body and soul, but there's no way she can deny it. And the hardest part for Alyssa Aimes to get her head around, besides his extraordinary eyes: the knowledge that she'll never see him again.
But four years later, Colton Blake does come back into her life, just as dramatically as he left it. And this time she's determined to keep him there, even if she has to risk her recording contract and her life to do it.
For Colt, much has changed in four years. No longer a homeless drifter with a dangerous secret, he has found his place among the Scorpio Sons, an elite band of genetically engineered cloned warriors charged with bringing to justice a secret cabal that has been exploiting the world for millennia. But one thing that hasn't changed during that time: his obsession with Alyssa, the stranger he met just once and can't seem to forget. But now his mission has brought Alyssa back into his life. And with her comes a secret she doesn't even realize she harbors; a secret that could bring not only Colt to his knees, but the whole band of the Scorpio Sons along with him.
Colt was the last of the few stragglers to leave the College library as it closed its impressive oak doors for the night. His eyes automatically adjusted to the darkness and took in what his unknown, studious companions, buried deep in upturned collars, eyes trained on the icy paths beneath their feet, could not: The old fashioned lamps shedding meagre light on the paths that led to other parts of the campus; the full moon illuminating more of the building, but still hiding much in its shadows. Hiding much from everyone but Colt. For him, nights like this were as bright as day. No insidious shadows could keep their secrets from him. He missed nothing.
For a moment, he paused to take in the winter scene before him. On a cold, clear night like this the moon seemed huge and glowing. The day-old snow on the grassed recreational areas looked pristine in its light. Pristine, except for the shadows of leafless trees that seemed to leave elongated stains across that purity.
And just as those shadows left no true mark on the ground, neither did he leave any real mark on the human systems that governed his surroundings. Colton Blake was not a register student on campus. There was no record of his existence, here, or anywhere else in the US.
Yet he could come and go without question because he looked as though he belonged. Decent, clean, casual clothes; shiny, sandy coloured hair that was probably a little too long and untidy for the preppy types that attended this high-profile college, but not enough to make him stand out or give an indication that he didn’t belong.
But he didn’t belong. Because he had no more existence than those shadows cast by the moon.
On nights like this he wanted to belong. Wanted to have a warm place to go home to, where he was welcomed and accepted. Instead, he prowled along the path that led to the Sporting Complex, where he slept in the basement in a sleeping bag on gym mats.
Suddenly his acute hearing picked up the sound of a struggle.
Not here. This is my sanctuary. This place is safe. Violence isn't supposed to intrude on me here.
But the female cry and the derisive male laughter was enough to have him turning in its direction. It didn’t matter if his sanctuary had been breached, he wasn't about to turn his back on someone in need, just to preserve what he’d created for himself.
He prowled through the shadows until his keen eyes caught sight of what his ears had identified. His nose picked up the coppery scent of blood. Not a lot. Yet.
Am I too late?
“Jarrod sends his love,” he heard one of the attackers say as he gave another cruel laugh.
“Jarrod? Jarrod Hastings? I don’t understand,” a soft, terrified voice replied. That voice belonged to a girl and it was so sweetly timbered that it sent goose-bumps up his arms.
“You’re not real bright are you? You couldn’t get the little messages he’s sent you before, so this time he's making it obvious. This time even a dumb bitch like you can get the point.” The young male voice became crueller and more ugly as his words went on.
Colt threw caution to the wind and let his beast out. It didn’t matter if he lost his place here and had to be on the run again. No bastard was going to hurt a girl just so she got a message.