When monsters stalk the darkness of Prohibition era Chicago, it takes a special kind of hero to kill them.
Private detective Mark Van Ryn’s supernatural power over shadow has made him an outcast his whole life. When a mutated creature starts eating Chicago’s gangsters from the inside out, Mark is the only man in the city who can hunt it down and destroy it. But a dangerous lady has a job for Mark too, one that might cost him more than his life.
Gifted perfumer Eliza Karlova needs a man. The most evil man Chicago’s got. And she needs Mark to find him for her. Because Eliza has a deadly power of her own and a family legacy she’s doomed to keep. But when forbidden passion flames up between Eliza and the angelically handsome detective, she has to decide between her destiny, and the man she loves.
War brews in the city as the Century of Progress World’s Fair draws near, and Mark and Eliza must find a way to trust each other if their love, and Chicago, are to survive.
Gritty and gripping, powerful and sexy, Shadow and Poison will have your heart racing with each kill and every searing kiss. ~ Max Watson, author of Chains of Nurture
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Shadow and Poison Excerpt 2
Eliza was trapped between Mark’s body and the wall, but strangely, there was none of the panic she might have expected from being so vulnerable. Instead, she felt . . .anticipation. She settled into the warmth of his coat and waited to see what he would do next.
His eyes on hers, he reached up to his throat. Slowly, he loosened the knot of his tie, and pulled it off in a whisper of silk. He shoved the tie in his pocket and raised his hands to his collar. He undid his top button, revealing the strong, smooth column of his throat. He slipped another button free, and another. The hollow between the graceful wings of his collarbones appeared, and the beginning swell of his chest muscles.
Her breath stuttered in her throat.
Slowly, gently, he curved his big, callused hand around hers, the one that was holding the jacket closed. He lifted it to the opening of his shirt and placed it against the firm flesh there, pressing her palm against him.
She stopped breathing altogether. It was incredible to touch another person with her bare hand like this, not to influence him with her poison, but simply to feel his skin. Warm, and smooth as silk over muscle as hard as steel. Beneath her palm, his heart beat a fast, hard rhythm.
“You see? You can touch me.”
“I’m not using my power,” she whispered.
The muscles of his chest moved as he shrugged. “Doesn’t matter.”
She ought to pull away. This wasn’t right, no matter how delicious it felt.
But his eyes held her captive, his white lashes half-veiling irises the color of melting ice. She stroked her fingertips over him. His chest heaved in an unsteady breath. “You like touching me, don’t you?” His voice was a velvety rasp.
“I . . .”
Slowly, he moved their clasped hands down, away from his throat, over his chest. The buttons of his shirt pressed against her palm. His flesh was like a furnace beneath the thin cloth. Slabs of muscle over heavy bone, and under that, the quiet storm of his breath and the thunder of his heart.
He pushed her hand lower, down the iron ridges of his stomach. She marveled at how strong he was. But he wasn’t using his strength against her as he gently pressed her hand against his body. She knew he would let her break away at any time.
She should. She should stop this right now. But she didn’t want to. She wanted . . . wanted . . .
Good God, what was she doing? She tore her hand away from his grip. He let her, but then he placed his palms on the wall above her shoulders and bowed his head down until his lips were only a breath away from hers. “You’re so beautiful, you drive me crazy. After you left me today, I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat. All I could think of was kissing you again, Eliza . . .”
“N-not here. Someone will see.”
He shook his head. “No one can see us.” The surrounding darkness rippled with his power. He was drawing the shadows around them, she realized, hiding them from prying eyes. “Kiss me,” he said, his voice low and rough.
“Not here,” she said again, trying to regain her scattered wits. Not on a filthy street in the middle of a slum.
Without a word he scooped her up in his arms. The shadow rushed through her, sweeping her up into the storm of darkness. An instant later the real world closed around her again. She blinked hard, trying to orient herself. She was high in the air on top of a building, perched on the roof. She looked down into the deep shadows below and realized that five stories down was the street she had been standing on mere seconds ago. Mark had brought them straight up the wall she had been leaning against.
His arms were still around her, steadying her. She looked up into his face. “Goodness,” she managed to say.
He grinned. “Is this more like it, angel?”
She looked out over the rooftops marching off into the night, the canyons of the streets dimly glowing. A cool wind swirled over the roof, washing away the stink of smoke and concrete with the scent of the lake. She tipped her face up to breathe it in. Through half-closed eyes she saw the crescent moon sailing high overhead, and even a few brave stars pierced the city night.
She looked back at Mark. He was as wild and beautiful as a white tiger, hair ruffled in the wind, clothes half-undone, eyes full of hunger. His hands were still wrapped around her waist, holding her safe. “Amazing,” she said. And she didn’t know if she meant the city below them, or him.
“Yeah. I like to come up on the roofs sometimes and look out over it all.”
“Master of all you survey?”
He grinned. “Something like that.” He flexed his fingers over her hips. “Is this a better place for a kiss?”
“What if I say no? What if I ask you to take me home instead?”
His smile dimmed, but his eyes stayed keen on hers. “I’ll do whatever you say.”
“Because I’m the boss?”
“You’re the boss.”
She smiled. Her hands stole up to his shoulders, his flesh fever hot against her palms. “What if I say I don’t want to kiss you here? Will you take me somewhere else?”
“Where do you want to go?”
His eyes sparked at her challenge. He wrapped his arms around her again and the world shifted into a chaos of shadows.
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