EXCERPT: Birds of Paradise by Anne Malcom

I was trapped in the house with a man that had meant to kill me.

Might very well still mean to kill me. But not by locked doors, force, or ropes or chains. Not physical ones at least. The man who very well might kill me gave me the impression that he wanted nothing more than for me to walk out that door.

I was not his captive.

I was my own.

I could very well die here. If there was anything left worth killing.

If there was anything left in me that wanted to live.

He collected dead things, after all. And with every day that passed, I found myself wanting to stay, even if that meant I was part of his collection of dead things.

Especially if I was part of collection.

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“If it’s a choice between saving your life or preserving your feelings, I’ll choose your life. Always, solnyshko.” He stepped forward, and despite his icy tone and marble-glazed stare, the air around us blazed with heat as he brushed my body with his. “I’ll live with you being pissed at me, hurt by me, even hating me. But I won’t live with you dead. It’s that simple. Your feelings don’t factor into this. You do. And you’ll need to learn that I’ll do anything to keep you alive, even if it means killing what we have between us. Even if it means destroying your soul. I’ll do it.”

“I think—” I swallowed. “—you’ve already done that.”

He regarded me with the same cold blank look, not depicting any sort of feeling or reaction from the words. “No, solnyshko. You’ll know when I do it. No thinking about it.”

My stomach dipped as he knelt in front of me, like he was a man praying, worshipping. They fastened over the exact spot Eli’s grip had bruised. His thumb moved over the tender skin. “I think the thing that’s troubling you the most about what just happened is not that it hurt you or sickened you,” he murmured from below me, his hand moving upward. “It’s that it excited you.”

I choked on the air around us, the stuff that was swirling with death, fear, filth, and most of all, sex.

Unlike Eli’s, his hands didn’t move slowly. They quickly snaked up my legs, one brushing at the electrified skin, one bunching at my dress and yanking it upward. The cold air kissed at my hips, at my panties when he yanked it over my hips, his palm ghosting over my sex before continuing up my stomach.

My dress was over my head and fluttering to the floor before I could rightly understand that he’d managed to navigate my slip too. The same with my bra. My nipples stiffened in the open air, screaming out for Lukyan’s attention.

His thumb brushed my areola before he pinched my nipple between his thumb and forefinger. Hard.

I cried out. Both in pleasure and in pain.

I could make that sound now. There was only Lukyan and a dead man to hear me. Wetness pooled between my legs.

His mouth ghosted toward my neck, his teeth meeting the skin first. More pain. My panties soaked with the power of my sickening arousal.

“Didn’t you, solnyshko?” he asked.

My breath was coming too harshly for me to answer, my brain too scrambled by his words.

Meet the Author: Anne Malcom

Anne Malcom has been an avid reader since before she can remember, her mother responsible for her book addiction. It started with magical journeys into the world of Hogwarts and Middle Earth, then as she grew up her reading tastes grew with her. Her obsession with books and romance novels in particular gave Anne the opportunity to find another passion, writing. Finding writing about alpha males and happily ever afters more fun than reading about them, Anne is not about to stop any time soon. Raised in small town New Zealand, Anne had a truly special childhood, growing up in one of the most beautiful countries in the world. She has backpacked across Europe, ridden camels in the Sahara, eaten her way through Italy, and had all sorts of crazy adventures. For now, she's back at home in New Zealand and quite happy. But who knows when the travel bug will bite her again.

Find Anne Here: AnneMalcomAuthor.com | Facebook | Amazon | Goodreads

Instagram: @anne.malcomauthor

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