Come the Night

Come the Night
Twenties Werewolf/Vampire series  —  Book 3
Harlequin (October 1, 2008)
ISBN-13: 9780373773152  ♦ ISBN-10: 0373773153

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The Great War has ended and Gillian Maitland is to marry a werewolf of her father’s choosing—ensuring the purity of their noble bloodline. Still, she can’t forget Ross Kavanaugh, the American whose forbidden touch unleashed a passion she had never known. And when Ross returns unexpectedly to England, he’s no longer the man she remembers, but a hard-boiled ex-cop who harbors a dark secret.

The discovery that they have a son makes Ross even more determined to prove his worth to Gillian, despite being merely a quarter werewolf. The a mysterious spate of murders cast him under a pall of suspicion, and, torn between duty and desire, Gillian knows she must drive Ross away. Even as their hunger for each other grows by the hour…

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Come the Night

She’d changed.

Oh, not so much in outward appearance; she’d always thought of herself as plain, but to Ross she’d been beautiful from the first moment he’d laid eyes on her in the hospital. She still was; her features were a little stronger now, a little more fully formed with experience and maturity; the faintest of lines radiated out from the outer corners of her eyes, and her golden hair had grown long, gathered in am old-fashioned chignon at the base of her slender neck.

No, it wasn’t so much her appearance that had altered or even the cut of her clothing. Her suit was conservative, the skirt reaching below her knees, the long jacket and high-necked blouse sober and without embellishments of any kind. Ross remembered when he’d first seen her out of uniform; she’d been very proper even then, as far from being a “modern girl” as he could have imagined. It wasn’t her scent, that intriguing combination of natural femininity and lavender soap.

But her eyes … oh, that was where Ross saw the difference. They were cool and distant, even as her expression registered the natural shock of seeing him again after so many years. The hazel depths he’d always admired were barred like a prison, holding the world at bay. Behind those bars crouched emotions Ross couldn’t read, experiences he hadn’t been permitted to share. And a heart as frigid as an ice-storm in January.

She looked from his face to Toby’s, and her straight, slender body unbent with relief. No, not without a heart. Not where her son was concerned.

“Toby,” she said, her low voice a little breathless. “Thank God.”

Toby stood very still, his face ashen. He began to walk toward his mother, not unlike a prisoner going to his well-earned punishment. Gillian knelt on the rough pavement and smiled, a curve of lips that brought her eyes to life.

“Mother,” Toby said, his voice catching, and walked into her arms.

Gillian closed her eyes, kissed Toby’s flushed cheek and held him tight for a dozen heartbeats. Then she let him go and stood up, keeping her hand on her son’s shoulder.

“Thank you,” she said to Ross, sincere and utterly formal. “Thank you for finding him.”

Ross opened his mouth to answer and found his tongue as thick and unwieldy as a block of concrete. “I didn’t find him,” he managed at last. “He found me.”

“At the police station,” Toby offered, his brief moment of repentance already vanished. He looked from Ross to his mother, wide-eyed innocence concealing something uncomfortably like calculation. “You needn’t have worried, Mother. I was never in any danger.”

Gillian tightened her fingers on his shoulder, her gaze steady on Ross’s. “I’m sorry that you were put to so much trouble,” she said. “I didn’t know he had left England until the ship had already departed.”

“Yeah.” Ross locked his hands behind his back. “Your friend Ethan Warbrick told me the story. He implied that you weren’t coming.” The barest hint of color touched Gillian’s smooth cheeks. “Perhaps Lord Warbrick misunderstood.” She glanced away. “Again I apologize, Mr. Kavanagh. If you’ve incurred any expenses–”

“I bought him a hot dog,” Ross said, a wave of heat rising under his collar. “It didn’t exactly break the bank.” He smiled the kind of smile he reserved for suspects in the interrogation room. “As I told Warbrick, I don’t need any ‘consideration,’ either.”

“I don’t understand.”

That little hint of vulnerability was a nice touch, Ross thought. “Tell Warbrick he can tear up the check.”

“The–-” Her eyes widened. “Oh, no. You mustn’t think such a thing, Ross. You–-” She caught herself, throwing the mantle of aristocratic dignity over her shoulders again. “There was suitcase. “We shan’t trouble you any longer, Mr. Kavanagh.”

She turned to go, taking Toby with her. He dug in his heels and

wouldn’t budge. Ross pushed past the burning wall of his anger and crossed the space between them until he was blocking her path of escape.

Come the Night

“Is that it?” he asked softly. “Nothing else to say, Mrs. Delvaux?”

Most people would have shrunk away from the finely-tuned menace in Ross’s voice. Gillian wasn’t most people.

“I had not thought,” she said, “that you would wish to prolong the conversation.”

“I didn’t know we were having one,” he said. “Not the kind you’d expect between old friends.”

Gillian understood him. She understood him very well, but she wasn’t about to crack. “This is neither the time nor the place,” she said, holding on to Toby as if she expected him to bolt.

Ross showed his teeth. “As it so happens,” he said, “my schedule is pretty open at the moment. You pick the time and place. I’ll be there.”

She looked down at Toby’s sandy hair. Toby was listening intently to every word, his head slightly cocked.

“We will not be staying in America long,” she said. “The ship–-”

“Mother!” Toby cried. “We’ve only just arrived!” He turned pleading eyes on Ross. “Father promised he’d take me to Coney Island.”

Ross had promised nothing of the kind, but he wasn’t prepared to dispute Toby’s claim under the circumstances. He was certain that he saw Gillian flinch when Toby spoke the word “father.” Did she really believe he’d have accepted Warbrick’s lie about the kid being some other guy’s son?

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