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Far from the city he found what he was looking for, a deep forest. Dayan settled to earth, his wings dissolving as he took his own shape. With a wave of his hand he opened the earth and floated the bodies into the deep chasm, tossing the crushed guns on top of the remains. Overhead, he built a storm, gathering in dark clouds and roiling the air above him so that lightning arced, veins of white-hot energy leaping from cloud to cloud. The dancing whips were directed into the hole so that both bodies were incinerated quickly. No one would find this grave. With a wave of his hand, the earth settled back over the ashes. The wind scattered leaves and twigs across the grave so that it looked as if it had been undisturbed for years.

Dayan dispersed the storm and, in the shape of an owl, flew quickly back to the safe house where Cullen waited with Corinne and Lisa. He was eager to get back to her, to be in her company, to see that she was real and not a figment of his imagination.

Chapter 3

Corinne sat curled up in a deep-cushioned chair, her feet drawn under her and her head resting on her arm. Her hair cascaded in a silken curtain around her face. She sat in the dark waiting, her heart tapping out an uneven rhythm. She was trembling inside, feeling very shaky.

Lisa and Cullen had talked quietly for some time in the small bedroom off the hall before Lisa had finally fallen asleep. Cullen eventually sprawled close to Lisa, nodding off himself, his arm flung protectively around Lisa’s waist.

Corinne waited up, fear beating in her like the pounding of a drum, as irregular as her heartbeat. She had no idea how she had come to be so wrapped up in a virtual stranger. Every cell in her body needed to know that nothing had harmed him. She could remember every detail of his face, every fleeting expression. She felt alone and frightened without him, and that was totally out of character for her. Corinne was unsure what to do. She was the one who had always seen to the details of everyday life. She juggled appointments and paid bills, made certain Lisa was where she was supposed to be and that John’s business ran smoothly. She didn’t fall for tall, handsome strangers in bars, certainly not one who was famous. She wrote songs for many famous musicians, but it had never occurred to her to be impressed with any of them.

She heard nothing but her own heartbeat, yet when she looked up, Dayan was looming over her, tall and strong and alive. Air rushed into her lungs and she could breathe again. Corinne had an unexpected and entirely unacceptable desire to trace the angles and planes of his face with her fingertips. She needed to touch him, to assure herself he was unharmed. A small smile found its way to her soft mouth. “I was worried.”

Dayan reached down to lay his hand against her satin cheek. Her stomach did a funny little flip, his touch bringing a strange craving for more. “There was no need, Corinne, but I thank you for your concern.” He said her name like a caress.

She shook her head, astonished at her reaction to him. He was truly lethal. No one had ever looked at her as he did. His eyes were intense, fathomless, dark and dangerous and mysterious, moving over her possessively. So


Could anyone ever refuse such longing? Such intense need? “I should have called the police,” she confessed in a little rush. “I don’t know why I listened to Cullen. I


listen to anyone when they aren’t being logical, but he was so adamant.”

“It is just as well you did not,” Dayan said softly.

She looked up at him from under long lashes. “You aren’t a criminal of some sort, are you? It seemed the only explanation for Cullen to carry on so.”

Again he smiled, a slow, sexy curve accenting the sensual line of his mouth. He hunkered down beside her chair so that his head was level with hers. “Do I look like a criminal?” His voice held that strange black magic, whispering over her skin so that she shivered, but deep inside her a flame began to burn hotly and spread liquid heat like molten lava throughout her body.

“Even if you’re not, you should be totally outlawed,” she blurted out before she could censor her words.

Those black, black eyes glittered with male humor. “I will take that as a compliment. You did not say if you liked my playing.”

She lifted her head, tossing her abundance of hair over her shoulder, the gesture purely feminine, entirely sexy. “You know very well you’re phenomenal, I don’t have to tell you. Everyone says so.”

“But then, not everyone’s opinion counts to me. Only yours.” He was perfectly serious, as if she were the only one in his world. His deep black eyes did not leave her face. Did not even blink.

Corinne wanted to look away, afraid he was capable of mesmerizing her, but instead she felt herself falling into the depths of his eyes. They were so beautiful, unlike any eyes she had ever seen. He was compelling her to answer him. She


to answer him because it was necessary to him. He made her feel that way. “You play absolutely beautifully. I’ve never heard anything like it. I want to hear you sing again.”

“You are C. J. Wentworth. You did not whisper a word about the famous C. J. who can make someone’s career with one of her songs.”

Color crept into her face again, and for a moment it was all he could do not to lean down and fasten his mouth to hers. She looked shy, yet so enticing he wanted to gather her to him and shelter her against his heart.

Corinne shrugged modestly. “I’ve had luck with my songs, but they’re nothing like the ones you and Desari compose. Your music and lyrics linger in the mind.”

“You have tapes of our gigs,” he accused, a faint grin stealing into his eyes.

She flashed a saucy little smirk at him. “They didn’t come cheap, either. I had to pay a fortune. The strange thing is, a few years ago I came across an old record. The band is called the Dark Troubadours, but the recording was made in the 1920s.” She studied his face, feature by feature. It was a handsome mask, giving nothing of his thoughts away. “Most of the dealers know I love rare recordings and that I’m willing to pay for them. When one of them sold me that record, I became obsessed with the music. Its different, incredibly beautiful, almost haunting. You should hear it, Dayan. When I first heard the name of your band, I thought there might be some connection and I had to hear your music. It took a long time and a great deal of money to acquire the black-market tapes. I know you aren’t the same band, but I swear, the similarities are amazing. The music is different, of course, of a different era, but the style, the way of playing is so like yours. I’ve listened to that record over and over, and I’d swear the musicians are the same. You know how you can listen and know who is playing just by the sound?” The words tumbled out of her in her excitement. She was speaking musician to musician.

He raked his hand through the dark silk of his hair, his intrigued gaze on her face, drinking her in. Devouring her with his eyes. That recording had been their one mistake. It had not occurred to them that technology would one day be able to identify individuals by voice. Fortunately, few of the records had been produced. They had quietly set about tracking down and destroying every copy. Obviously, they hadn’t succeeded. “Well, have you heard of them? Did you use their name deliberately?” Corinne demanded, the mystery uppermost in her mind. “You have to hear this recording, Dayan. I’ve studied music all my life and I have a great ear. I’d swear it was you playing lead guitar.”

“That’s because it is me,” he answered truthfully, allowing a mischievous smile to light the dark depths of his eyes.

Corinne blinked up at him. “So that would make you at least a hundred years old. You’re so very well preserved, Dayan.”