Ripley quickened her pace, squinting at the bar’s silhouette as the sun rose behind it like a halo of gold. But there was nothing holy about the building, and she couldn’t shake the ripple of fear that rolled through her stomach as she stared at the dull brick. She hadn’t told her dad the real reason she didn’t want to venture to the bar today—he’d only laugh and tell her to stop living in a world of make-believe. But even as she tried to convince herself there wasn’t anything to be afraid of, a stark chill wove down her spine. It was as if the shadows were darker here, and the air just a few degrees colder.
She’d heard stories, though she was positive they were just that—elaborate stories. There were no such things as vampires or werewolves and standing there freezing her ass off as she decided whether it was safe to dash down the alley and slip in the rear entrance, was only delaying her task. If she didn’t hurry, Sirus might venture out from his suite to play in one of his fantasy rooms with one of the maids.
Ripley’s nipples tightened, and her pussy clenched at the image that formed in her mind. Though she’d never admitted it, more than a few of the rooms had tempted her imagination. While she’d had her share of sexual experiences, they’d all been ordinary, like vanilla-flavoured ice cream. She’d often considered sneaking into one of Sirus’ pleasure areas and experiencing something far more wicked. But she’d never had the nerve…or a partner she’d trusted enough. And she wasn’t about to put her faith in a stranger.
She smiled at the lingering thought. Of all the rooms in Sirus’ place, the doubles area was by far the most intriguing. She’d witnessed a few of the ladies from the bar indulge in multiple partners, but had never accepted any of the offers to try the pleasure for herself. To feel twin tongues caressing her body or have one man lick her while another rode her to completion. Since she’d stopped being Sirus’ accountant two years ago, she’d been lucky to score a date, let alone a night of wild passion.
A sharp gust of cold air startled her from her thoughts. She pulled her collar tighter as she neared the door, avoiding the collection of trashcans piled beside the small set of stairs. She grabbed for the railing and stepped up when one of the lids from the cans clattered to the ground, sending a harsh tone echoing down the alley. Ripley screamed and jumped, clutching her chest as a black cat jumped out of the wreckage and scooted down the street, its claws making faint scratching sounds along the cement. She closed her eyes, trying to calm the pounding in her chest as she forced her legs forward, promising herself she wouldn’t be bullied again. This was it…her last favour.
The keys jingled as she shuffled through them, looking for the small brass oval. The fact she’d kept her set told her more than she wanted to know. A depressing gloom settled over her as she slipped the key into the hole, the familiar sound of the lock tumbling inside the door lighting the cold air. She gave a shove, cringing when a loud creak filled the silence. God help her if Sirus decided to investigate the sound. The man had a way of breaking through her defences until his wish seemed to have been her idea.
Ripley took a deep breath, the cold air tingling the inside of her nose. She held her head high and pushed open the door, stepping into the scattering of shadows laced along the hallway. She’d half expected Sirus to be leaning against the wall, his usual cocky smile curving his lips, and was relieved to be greeted by nothing more than an empty hallway. She headed off to her right, taking the basement steps two at a time. The quicker she found the files, the quicker she got back to her mundane life.
She stopped at a large door, and slipped the key into the lock, smiling as it clicked open, swinging the heavy wood across the floor. A wedge of light opened up across the room, illuminating a stack of boxes off to her right. Apparently Sirus was using the place as a storage room, which meant finding the files would be more challenging.
She cursed her dumb luck and tossed the keys back in her purse as she stepped farther inside, casting more light along the left section of the room. An antique, oak desk shimmered into sight as the door swung away, casting a harsh glare along the back wall.
Ripley turned to flick on the lights when her gaze landed on the dim outline of a half-naked man on the couch, his large form splayed across the cushions. Her breath caught in her chest, the audible rasp whispering through the room. She sensed the air ripple around her a moment before a set of fangs appeared in front of her.