Samhain has posted an excerpt for Temptress on the book’s store page here, but I like to share. Here’s a tasty tidbit…as hero Tank wakes up from a hard night in Vegas.
Copyright © 2012 Lola Dodge
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication
I jerked awake. I’d gone numb to that harpy’s kiss, but I couldn’t sense her. Or anything short of the obvious. I was in a million dollar penthouse—still Vegas by the skyline—cramped on a pretentious sofa with a missing sleeve and a bandaged arm.
No specs, no data, no measurements.
Silence. No powers.
Temptress. For a guy with a super-brain, I was a royal idiot. She’d slipped by me like nothing, passing under my safeguards and hitting Steel before I could blink. Still, I’d had her.
Then she sucked my soul out. If I couldn’t get my powers back—
No. Screw that. Where was she? And where was Steel?
The penthouse was too quiet. A few dim lights glowed, but other than the red stilettos tipped over on the balcony, the place looked like a model unit. The formal dining room was still set with stacks of plates and folded napkins. Did anyone live here? Or was it meant to be my holding cell?
I slipped into the kitchen. A wineglass stood in the sink, printed with scarlet lipstick. She had to be here. I couldn’t key in on her thoughts to confirm, but my ears worked fine, especially with so little else to distract.
A soft splash echoed from the hallway. I stole toward the noise. Was it Temptress? I wasn’t her match at the moment, but I gritted my teeth. Either way, I was getting Steel and my powers.
I moved through more empty, decorator-sterile rooms. The bedroom was the only one that looked lived-in, with a closet full of clothes and a bottle of cologne on the nightstand. I pressed my ear to the closed door. I’d kick it down if I had to, but for the hell of it, I turned the knob. It eased open.
Temptress lay in the square marble tub, eyes closed, with wet curls plastered to her cheek and shoulders. Asleep, no make-up, the soft light glowed against the curve of her neck. No wonder Steel had been fooled. He might be a red-blooded hero, but he’d screwed us all over for women who didn’t come close to this one. Under other circumstances, I might’ve taken my chances and slipped into the tub.
But they called her Temptress for a reason. I had to assume she was faking.
I pushed the door open further. An empty wine glass and an open bottle of pills sat on the tub’s marble ledge. I froze. She couldn’t be…
Not if she was taking my powers with her. I sucked in a too-loud breath.
Temptress’s eyes snapped open. Piercing blue, they glared fire. Like she was the victim.
“Where’s Steel?” I returned the glare and strode toward her. After two quick steps, power pressed against me. My forehead banged the invisible barrier. So she could do force fields. What other tricks was she hiding?
“Steel’s in police custody until he goes on trial for rape.”
“Rape?” Her words knocked me back. A trial? Temptress was a vigilante. “Who accused him?”
“Bull.” I thumped the wall. Steel liked his women willing. He’d never touch a girl who wasn’t interested. If he had, I’d kill him myself. “He’s my subordinate. Tell me.”
Temptress sighed and rubbed her temples. “Miranda Hutchins. Two months ago, after the Ten saved her life stopping a robbery at First American.”
“He’s innocent.” Miranda was desperate, a divorcee with two kids who could’ve been considered a stalker if Steel wasn’t so good at avoiding her.
“The jury will decide that. Heroes aren’t above the law.” Temptress tucked damp hair behind her ear, shifting the water enough to show the upper curves of her breasts. I couldn’t help noticing, but I wasn’t distracted.
“You want to lecture me about the law?” At least if she was telling the truth, Steel was safe. “After you stole my powers?”
“What about you, Mr. Action Hero? Were you going to drown me until I was dead, or just brain damaged?”
“You’re claiming self-defense?” I’d been foolish to attack her like that, but there’d been no other choice once I realized who she was. I hit the wall again. “When you can do this?”
“That is making my raging migraine worse.” Temptress slumped, tipping her head back as she sank deeper into the tub. “If you can chill for thirty seconds, I’ll let the field down and explain.”
“Fine.” I could use some explanation. The pressure around me relaxed.
“I botched the mission, okay? I was supposed to bag Steel and get out, but our intel said you and most of the others weren’t going to make it to the party. I wouldn’t have gone with the plan if I’d known you’d all be there.”
“Temptress works for the police?” That was hard to swallow.
“Always. Not that you’ll believe me. I’m supposed to be some badass supervillainess who seduces innocent, law-abiding heroes, right?”
“Something like that.” The girl was legendary. She’d taken more supers—villains and heroes—off the market than any other mercenary, and she was one of a handful of us who was unregistered with the bureau. Untraceable. It was assumed that her targets went missing or worse. Not to prison.
“I’ve never killed anyone.” She rolled her eyes.
My chest froze. “You’re using my powers.”
“And they’re frickin’ annoying. I tried to give them back before you woke up, but they wouldn’t stick. It should work now that you’re conscious.”
“What do I have to do?” I gritted my teeth. She lay in the tub, content as could be, flaunting my powers. I knew exactly what that meant. Everything about me was open to her.
“I’d argue that I was about as far from content as a girl could get if I didn’t know what’s coming next.” Temptress drained her wineglass. “Hand me that towel?”
I picked up the towel, but held it just out of her reach. She needed to get out of my head and listen to my words. I repeated them with just as much heat. “What do I have to do?”
Temptress stood, and water slicked down her smooth, knockout body. She grabbed the towel and wrapped it around herself. I would’ve looked away, but it was too late.
“We have to kiss again. But not here. Let me get—”
I couldn’t read minds anymore, but I knew she wanted to say dressed. No more waiting. I kissed her hard, almost savagely, crushing her mouth as I grabbed her shoulders.
She made a noise of protest, but didn’t let loose her arsenal of powers. Instead, she glared for a moment before closing her eyes. Her energy shifted as it had the moment she attacked me, but this was different. I could feel the strength of her spirit and the crushing wave of pain that tried to drown her. My grip loosened, and she shifted, her towel falling as the energy swirled.
Our lips parted, and my tongue found its way into her mouth. She tasted like sweet wine.
Temptress opened her eyes, and her gaze was full of heat instead of powers. Her naked body—hot and still wet from the bath—pressed against my bare chest. I wanted to run my fingers through her damp curls.
God, she was sexy.
If she wanted to seduce me, I could go with the plan. She had the power, and without her good grace I wouldn’t get far. It was the best strategy.
Temptress hooked her thumbs into the waist of my jeans, and her touch jolted down my hips. I gripped her tighter.
I wouldn’t let her wrap me around her finger that easily, but then again, maybe I wouldn’t have a choice.