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THE FIVE DEATHS OF ROXANNE LOVE
by Erin Quinn

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy

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Something flickered in the black depths of Santo’s eyes and then it was gone, leaving Roxanne feeling oddly cheated.

He caught a strand of her hair between his fingers and his thumb and rubbed it with a look of absorption that echoed through her body. Then his hand was on her throat, then her jaw, cupping her head as he pulled her in. There were a thousand reasons she should resist him, a million why she should scramble off the bed and put as much distance between them as possible. But before his lashes lowered, she’d seen something raw and aching in his eyes. Something that reflected the loneliness inside of her. A part of her had given up on intimacy long ago, resigning herself to a life where everyone thought her sweet and happy while inside she withered. She scared most men for reasons she didn’t understand and thus couldn’t change. Something they sensed in her, about her, that sent them on their way before they ever got close.

But Santo seemed immune to whatever it was that frightened the others. More than that, he seemed captivated by it.

He searched her face, giving her time to back out. Common sense urged her to take it, but his touch had lit a fuse that hissed and sparked. It took forever for him to close the distance between their lips. Forever, while her heart thumped excitedly and her breath caught with anticipation.

Then his mouth touched hers. His kiss felt like fire in the middle of the darkest winter. Hot and welcoming, it burned in her blood and flared with her pulse. She couldn’t get close enough, and it seemed that neither could he. The blankets had tangled around her hips, and they both tried to free her without breaking the kiss, fumbling. Clumsy. So desperate that each failed attempt added to the spice. The taste of him set off a chain of reactions she’d never known. It made her ravenous for more. She wrapped her arms around his neck, wanting to shed clothes and press her skin to his, but as she twisted closer, she tore at her still-healing wound and a cry burst from her lips.

From somewhere in the distance, an eerie sound rose up and banked against the window, piercing the sexual haze that drove her. A cross between a bay and a shout, it howled like a northern wind, shredding the quiet and leaving behind a gritty foreboding. Immediately, Santo stiffened and his eyes narrowed as he listened. It came again, that shrill and oily wail, racing across the miles, unlike anything Roxanne had ever heard. He caught her hands and stilled them as goose bumps broke out on her skin and a dance of shivers tangoed down her spine.

“What is that?” she asked.

He closed his eyes and his shoulders slumped. “You better get dressed.”