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A stranger in her bed, The man from her dreams But could he possibly be real? Loneliness and desire have been Teya's constants for most of the last two thousand years. Desire for a man she'd only dreamed of and loneliness because she had no one to share her life with. Then she woke to a man in her bed. A bed she'd slept alone in for years. Why is he there and what does this mean? Find out what's really going on. Buy your copy of Released by Desire now!
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Also by Melissa Stevens
City of Sin
Revealed By Desire
City of Sin
Also by Melissa Stevens
About the Author
Released by Desire
Books by Melissa Stevens
The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement (including infringement without monetary gain) is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.
Please purchase only authorized electronic editions and do not participate in, or encourage, the electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, or other status is entirely coincidental.
Copyright 2017 by Melissa Stevens
All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever known, not known or hereafter invented, or stored in any storage or retrieval system, is forbidden and punishable by the fullest extent of the law without written permission of the author. Melissa Stevens [email protected]
Editor: Mad Spark Editing
Created with Vellum
Books and series from Melissa Stevens
The Kitsune Collection
(with Change, Fight, Hunt and Live in one volume)
City of Sin:
Released by Desire
Redeemed by Desire
Revealed by Desire
The Dragon Chronicles
(with Released by Desire, Redeemed by Desire and Revealed by Desire)
Diamond Bridal Agency:
Thanks to my Dad, Wilmer Stephens, who patiently answered all my really odd questions about Las Vegas and Quetzalcoatl lore.
To my husband, Daniel. Thanks for all the support, eventually you’ll get to retire.
Other Books in the City of Sin World coming your way
Come play with us. Take a chance. Roll the dice. We dare you
After Midnight by Ursula Sinclair
Released By Desire by Melissa Stevens
The Light by Savannah J. Frierson
Damnation by Taabia Dupree
When Dawn Comes by Ursula Sinclair
Revealed By Desire by Melissa Stevens
The Fight by Savannah J. Frierson
Shameless by Taabia Dupree
The Eventide Hour by Ursula Sinclair
Redeemed By Desire by Melissa Stevens
The Sight by Savannah J. Frierson
Rekindled Faith by Taabia Dupree
City of Sin
Read all 12 books in the Collection. And follow us on Facebook.
Teya woke slowly. Something was off, but she wasn’t sure what. She tried to roll over, but an arm around her waist kept her from moving. Her eyes snapped open. She’d gone to bed alone the night before, as she had for several decades. While she might have a little fun, blow off some steam now and then, she never spent the night, and she never ever brought them home.
Her heart thundered as she lay perfectly still, wondering who was in her bed and how they’d gotten there. There were only two people who had access to her apartment. Neither Rachel nor Neo would come in and get in bed with her. Not to mention, she’d know from their scent if it were one of them. She took a deep breath, letting the mystery person’s scent fill her nose as she tried to place it. Trying not to disturb the person behind her, she eased out from under the arm and out of bed. Once clear, she reached for her red silk robe and wrapped it around her naked body like armor. Feeling less exposed, she turned around to see who had found a way into her sanctuary.
Damn, he was attractive. Dark hair fell long and loose around his face, with full lips and a thick fringe of lashes resting on high cheekbones. She had no idea who he was, yet somehow, his face was familiar. Something in the back of her mind said she’d seen him somewhere before, yet she had no doubt she’d never drawn in his scent in her long life. She would have recognized it if she had, but it wasn’t just that. She would remember the sensations his scent triggered in her body.
Her dragon gave a low growl.
Just crawl back over there and rub up against him until he wakes up. Her dragon’s voice in Teya’s head was something she had long ago gotten used to.
No, Teya thought back. At least not until I know who he is and how he got into my bed. She resisted the urge to back away from the bed. She wasn’t going to let him have any more space in her home than he’d already taken.
Tying the sash on her robe, Teya put her hands on her hips and considered how to wake the stranger. He stirred and his lids fluttered open to reveal deep, clear green eyes.
“Who are you?” She narrowed her eyes at him. He stretched, the sheet falling to reveal his naked torso, yawning as he went. “How did you get in here?” she continued, not waiting for him to answer her first question.
He blinked at her. “Teyacapan, it is me.” His voice was deep and smooth. It niggled at something in the back of her mind, as did the way he’d called her by her given name, one she hadn’t used in centuries. She frowned at him, trying to figure out why she felt like she’d heard his voice before, and where. Folding her arms across her chest, she watched him a moment.
“How did you get in here?” she asked again.
“Teyacapan, this is where I came to be.” He frowned and looked confused. “Why would I be elsewhere but with you?”
“I’m sorry. I don’t know who you are. And I don’t know how you got into my apartment.” She wished she were wearing more than a robe and that his scent didn’t pull at something deep and elemental within her.
“It is me, Teyacapan.” He spoke as if that should answer all her questions. His voice made her nipples tighten and heat pool deep in her belly. “Jericho.”
Teya narrowed her eyes. “What did you say your name is?” she asked slowly as she tried to remember if she’d ever told anyone about her dreams. She was certain she hadn’t.
“Jericho.” He watched her, as if waiting for her to say something.
“Who told you about him?” she demanded, taking a step toward the bed. She didn’t know what she was going to do, but it seemed natural to confront him.
“No one had to tell me, Teyacapan. I am but myself.” He frowned and pushed himself upright. “I am here because you have made it possible.”
She stared at him a moment, not believing a word he was saying. “However you got here, you can leave now or I’ll call security.”
With a sigh, the handsome man slid out of the bed.
“I was afraid this might happen.” He stood beside the bed, as if he hadn’t noticed that he wasn’t wearing a stitch of clothing. “But you’ll have to show me the way.”
You know who he is, now go make friendly with him, her dragon rumbled. Lose that silly robe and let’s have our way with him. Teya clenched her teeth to keep from speaking back at her other half.
“Can you put some clothes on first?”
The man snapped his fingers and a pair of loose, linen pants appeared on his body.
“Sorry,” he said with a wry smile and snapped again. A matching tunic now covered his torso. “I’m a little out of practice. Is that better?”
“Much.” Teya kept her face blank. Keeping her face impassive was harder than it should have been. She’d had a lot of practice keeping her every thought off her face and had long ago perfected it, or she had until he’d come along. Something about this man affected her in ways she didn’t understand. “Is that how you got in here?” She motioned one hand in his direction and gave it a little wave. “Are you some kind of djinni or something?” She turned away, looking for something more to put on before escorting the stranger out of her apartment and the casino she lived under.
“No, I told you. I am Jericho. I have told you many times that I am what was once called a nephilim.”
Teya stopped in her tracks. No one could have known that she had been dreaming of a man who called himself Jericho for the last several hundred years. While she can’t remember ever telling anyone about him, she was certain she’d never told anyone that he had claimed to be a fallen angel. She sighed. Maybe she needed to talk to him. Was it possible this man was who he claimed to be?
“Very well. Can you go in the other room and have a seat, please? I’ll be there in a moment.” She motioned toward the door that led to the main room of her apartment without turning back to face him then continued in her quest to find something more substantial to wear than the robe that barely covered her ass and was thin enough she was certain he could tell her nipples had hardened to tight, sensitive nubs. Stopping a moment, she turned back and saw him in the doorway. “Wait.” He stopped and turned to look at her. “If you’re really Jericho, tell me what your real name is.” He stared at her for a moment, his face giving away nothing.
Teya’s breath caught in her throat and her entire body went cold. She stood for several moments, unable to speak or move. After several long seconds, she’d processed his response enough to react, but he was gone. Giving her head a small shake, she put on a pair of palazzo pants, a camisole, and an over-sized top she usually wore when lounging around her apartment. Once clothed, she felt more ready to face him. In the living room, she found the man who could only be who he claimed, sitting on the edge of the seat of one of the armchairs. His elbows were resting on his knees and his hands woven together between them. He was staring at the floor and didn’t appear to be aware of her presence. She watched him a moment.
“How can it really be you?” she asked from the far side of the room. His head jerked up, and she felt the weight of his gaze as she was pinned by his clear green eyes.
“I told you how my kind were wiped from the face of the earth, did I not?” His voice was calm and patient. Teya knew when she’d told someone something several times she tended to get irritated when they didn’t remember, but she was not hearing that from him. She stepped closer and sat in the chair across from him.
“Do you not recall that I found a way to keep from being trapped in the underworld?” He watched her, as if looking for signs that she remembered any of what he was saying.
“I do. You said that was how you could visit my dreams. Why the dreams with you were so vivid and I remembered them so well once I’d woken.”
“Yes, that was one of the side effects of my actions.”
“That doesn’t explain how you got into my bed, though.” She tilted her head to one side as she waited for his explanation.
He looked down at the floor again. “I was not visiting your dreams simply because of the pull between us. It was strong in the dream realm, but it is much stronger in person. I had not anticipated that.” He looked back up at her. “I was using the dreams to purloin the strength I needed to survive, to maintain my hold in the underworld.”
Teya frowned. It was too early in the morning for her to grasp all of this, at least without the help of caffeine. “Let me get this straight. You were using the dreams to steal energy? Like an incubus?”
Jericho cringed. “I would not have said incubus, in part because I was not feeding, exactly. Also, it wasn’t sexual energy, to be precise.”
“To be precise?” She lifted one brow then shook her head. “I need some coffee if we’re going to go into details here. You want some?”
“I have never had any. However, I would like to try it.”
She felt his gaze on her as she stood, went into the attached kitchen, and put a fresh pod into the coffee maker and hit start.
“Crap.” She hurried and grabbed a cup to put under the spout before coffee began to run. She rubbed her eyes and pinched the bridge of her nose while she waited for the coffee to brew. She preferred a chance to wake up more gradually than she had today, but she’d get through it with a little chemical help.
Jericho watched Teyacapan as she moved around the large, comfortable room. It was unlike any room he had ever been in outside of her dreams. Things had been much simpler the last time he had been on Earth. This new world would take a bit of getting used to.
He wasn’t sure what she was doing exactly, but she had said she was making something they would consume. It looked more like she was standing and waiting for something. He had not expected this to go well, and he had not been wrong. Nevertheless, it appeared Teyacapan might be starting to believe him. He had no way to be certain. However, he thought it was possible. After just a few moments, she came back, setting an earthenware cup on the table between them before backing away to sit down again, an identical cup in her hands.
“You used the dreams to steal enough energy to stay…what was it you called it? The underworld? Do I have that right?”
“Yes.” He watched the way she held her own cup and sipped from it before picking up the mug in front of him and mimicking her. The hot liquid was bitter but not distasteful. It was not like anything he had ever had before and he wondered where it came from. “It took me almost an eternity to build enough strength to regain this realm.”
Teyacapan leaned back in her chair and watched him for several long seconds.
“How many others did you take your energy from?” She lifted one brow in an expression he did not recognize but suspected was not good.
“In the beginning, many more than I ever bothered to count. It did not matter to me where my strength came from. I was desperate.” He turned and looked at a large painting on a nearby wall. “I am not proud of it, but I did what was required to survive. I am not ashamed of what I had to do, but it is not something I would choose to do if given a choice.”
“You said in the beginning there were many.” She paused. “How about more recently?”
He turned back to meet her narrowed gaze. “For the last several centuries, I have been unable to force myself to visit the dreams of anyone but you.” He took a deep breath and let it out in a rush. “I could have returned sooner if I had varied my pursuits of energy, but I could not make myself turn to others. Not even males. It somehow felt like a betrayal. I cannot explain why.” He had no doubt his confusion showed on his face. It had been so long since it had been necessary for him to keep his face blank, he was not certain he still knew how. He looked away again, uncomfortable admitting he had a weakness for Teyacapan, even to her.
Especially to her.
The world had completely changed in the time he had been stuck between realms. He had seen glimpses of the world now in Teyacapan’s dreams, and even those peeks were enough to tell that things were changing fast. He had a lot to learn, both about the way things worked now and about the woman who sat across from him.
“If you still desire for me to leave, I will. I do not know where I will go, but I will not force my presence upon you.” He watched her, waiting for her to tell him once more to leave, but her expression softened. She took a deep breath and let it out slowly.
“No. You can stay,” she said after a moment. “Give me a few minutes to dress to face the day, and we’ll figure some things out.” She stood. “There’s more coffee in the kitchen.” She waved one hand toward where she had gotten the dark drink then went back into the room where they had slept, closing the door behind her.
The excuse of getting dressed allowed Teya to take a moment or two to herself—to take a breath and get used to the idea. Jericho was real. She’d known there was something different and special about him. She’d never imagined that he was or would become real, much less appear in her bed in the middle of the night. After a moment’s mental debate, she turned on the shower. He had appeared in her bed without warning. He could wait twenty minutes for her to take a shower.
Going through the motions of washing out of habit, Teya’s mind raced. What would she do about Jericho?
Keep him, her dragon said, as if it was obvious. He is ours. Things were much easier to her dragon. Her dragon never had to consider Fraction or city politics. In fact, her dragon rarely thought about anything beyond what her dragon or Teya needed or felt was hers. The things that didn’t concern her dragon fell to Teya to worry about. As much as Teya was drawn to Jericho, she also had to consider what a relationship with him would do to the Fraction. She’d worked hard to unite all the regional dragons, and she was afraid if she had a relationship with anyone not a dragon, it would undo all her work. Added to that, she strongly suspected from the pull she felt toward him that Jericho was her mate. She didn’t know if she would be able to resist him for long if she were right.
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