Table of Contents
PRAISE FOR THE NOVELS OF KATHLEEN DANTE
"Stupendous! Exceptionally written with interesting characters and clever dialogue ... with sizzling-hot erotic love scenes and the touch of magic.” —
Coffee Time Romance
"Masterful ... fabulous.” —
Fallen Angel Reviews
“[E]xpert crafting of setting and mood . . . The reader is drawn in to a world of magic, danger, and sensual heat . . . a feast for the senses.” —
Paranormal Romance Reviews
“The characters are complex, the romance and sex [are] hot, hot, hot.” —
Romance Reviews Today
“I was absolutely blown away . . . Brava!” —
Fallen Angel Reviews
“A triumph.” —
Just Erotic Romance Reviews
“Enticing . . . stupendous.” —
Midwest Book Review
“Sexy, smart, and touching . . . Prepare to be spellbound.”
Romance Reviews Today
Berkley Heat titles by Kathleen Dante
THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP
Published by the Penguin Group
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Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
This is an original publication of The Berkley Publishing Group.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
Copyright © 2008 by Kathleen Dante.
Dreamwalker / Kathleen Dante.—1st ed.
eISBN : 978-1-4406-3125-2
1. Intelligence officers—Fiction. 2. Parapsychology—Fiction. I. Title.
Thanks to Marc A. Almagro, who started me down my path; Surajit F. Agarwal, for grounding me in reality; and especially the P-1, for urging me to pursue my dreams.
He’d gotten it right. Damon forced down a surge of excitement at the realization, careful to keep the emotion off his face. Somewhere in the milling crowd was the elusive master thief who was his target. The focused anticipation stood out in sharp contrast amidst the bored humdrum buzz of daily life. As he’d suspected, the upcoming exhibit of Oriental art had drawn out his thief . . . who was a
He nearly missed a step in his surprise. The aura he sensed was unmistakable—a rich, changing spectrum of “colors” or “scents.” Definitely, enticingly female. He took a few slow breaths to recover his equilibrium. Although he’d tried not to make any assumptions about his target, that discovery had taken him off guard.
Ignoring some boys skylarking around a group of stone statues a few feet away, Damon parked his ass on a low brick planter and surveyed his surroundings casually, trying to identify the source of the potent emotion.
The park was crowded with ordinary people taking advantage of the rare sunny day. A pair of sweaty, red-faced joggers huffed along a trail winding among the trees. Some office workers were clustered around a taco stand at the corner. An artist sketching the marble fountain. Tourists posing and taking pictures. An old woman knitting on one of the park’s cast-iron benches with a large bag at her feet. He made a note of the last item, knowing appearances could be deceptive.
None of the women in sight was doing anything remarkable, not that he expected to locate his target that easily. To date, his master thief had yet to slip up.
His scan led to a trio of nubile college students lying on the grass, sunning their next-to-naked bodies. He made the mistake of allowing eye contact, resulting in a blast of arousal from that direction and an eruption of giggles.
High-pitched titters drew Rory’s attention from the sinuous curves of the fountain and the museum beyond it. The teenagers making the noise were posing in blatant invitation, their attention focused on a man lounging near the sidewalk.
Rory had to admit the recipient of their favors was a prime specimen. If she were truly the artist she was pretending to be, she’d be after him to model for her.
Still, she’d learned what she needed to know, so her time was now her own. There was no reason she couldn’t indulge herself.
Since it would be in character, Rory flipped to a blank page and made a quick sketch of the Adonis. Slashing brows. A strong nose and jaw. Deep-set eyes. Dark, wavy hair rising from a sharp widow’s peak and flowing down to brush broad shoulders. Definite pectorals.
Hard to miss that, given that muscle shirt.
With his Mediterranean coloring, it was a good bet he was hirsute like her brothers. She added chest hair to her sketch, including a treasure trail down the abdominals.
Once she had, it was as if her hand took on a mind of its own. Lines bloomed beneath her pencil, presenting her with an anatomically correct nude sitting in that typical American male spread-legged stance.
When Rory looked up, the Adonis had left. Which was too bad; she’d have wanted to ask how well she’d done. As she made to close her sketch pad, a shadow fell across the page.
“I’m bigger than that.” The lazy bass growl sent a shiver of awareness racing up her spine.
She looked up to see her erstwhile model standing over her, his expression indistinct against the bright sky. “Really?” She inspected his pelvis critically, the body part under discussion conveniently at her eye level, though shrouded by the loose fit of his slacks. “It’s rather hard to tell.”
He snorted at her response.
As Rory watched in fascination, his pants tented with an undeniable bulge that spanned several inches.
Presented with temptation, she licked her suddenly dry lips and sallied forth, stretching her fingers along the ridge, the webs of her hand protesting the strain as she tried to span it.
He caught her wrist and pressed her palm against him, guiding it over his hard length and bulbous head before releasing her with a leisurely stroke on the back of her hand.
Rory quivered with sensual delight. Unable to resist, she palpated him and nearly groaned when he proved to be broad and firm beneath her fingers—all man. Her core clenched with hunger. Too bad she was here on business; she could think of several things she wanted to do with that hard-on.
“You’re right. You are much bigger. Sorry about that.” Feeling overly warm from her exploration, Rory turned back to her sketch and quickly corrected it. “Here. How’s that?” She presented the final drawing to her critic.
“Better.” He eyed her appreciatively, a thorough head-to-toe with a polite stopover at her average bust and a definite invitation in his chestnut brown gaze that sent a delicious shiver of desire through her. “But there’s still room for improvement. With some help.” He shifted his weight, moving a slim hip in her direction and drawing her eyes back to that tempting bulge. “How about we discuss it over drinks?” He extended a dark hand to help her up. The heated look he gave her said he wanted to drink her . . . or perhaps vice versa.
Rory grinned at his confident stance, the thought of taking that thick cock in her mouth making her nipples tingle. The way he stood over her, blocking the light, was pure male posturing, but it also made him look that much taller and his chest seem impossibly broad.
“Tempting, but you’d need more than that to satisfy me.” It was a real pity she was here on business; she would have liked to spend a few days exploring that lean body. Unfortunately, she still had a lot to do before the day was over.
The Adonis grinned back. “I’ve also got a mouth, two good hands . . . and imagination,” he added in a deep, tantalizing drawl that resonated in her core.
“I’ll bet you think so.” Deciding to cut the teasing banter short, Rory checked her watch, then made a show of needing to leave for class. “Too bad I’m out of time.”
“Your loss. I have an extremely fertile imagination.” Damon fought back a laugh as the pretty artist walked off with her chin in the air, her perky brown ponytail bobbing in time to her sensual stride. She had sass to spare. To think someone with her wholesome, girl-next-door looks had drawn him nude with a hard-on, albeit a puny one.
Shaking his head, he turned back to survey the busy park. Sometime while he’d been distracted by the sunbathers, his thief’s focused anticipation had vanished, lost in the surrounding buzz. Then he’d been disarmed by the artist’s unblushing, forthright manner and playful desire.
No problem. He’d felt his thief’s aura. Even better for their purposes, it had none of the avarice one might expect from a thief. No anger or sense of injustice. Just objectivity and calm professionalism. She was doing something to the best of her abilities and she enjoyed it. Precisely what they needed.
He had her now. So long as she remained in the city, he’d find her when she slept.
Fighting back the temptation to follow the pretty artist, Damon took a deep breath, forcing his arousal to subside. Although her bawdy appraisal had heated him faster than a striptease, he really didn’t have time to pursue her. Besides, despite her boldness, she didn’t seem the type to welcome an assassin into her bed.
Damon waited until it was past midnight to reach out to his master thief. She had to be asleep for his attempt to be successful. Inexplicably, it occurred to him to wonder if she slept in the buff. Some of the heists she’d pulled off had required a high degree of athletics, so he imagined she was in good shape. Maybe with a compact gymnast’s body?
He shook his head at the irrelevant thought. Just one more sign that he was better off with his regular missions. What did it matter how she slept? He wasn’t going to seduce her. He was on Company time, not his own.
Stripping down to bare skin for comfort—this was just a fishing expedition, after all, not an assassination—he stretched out on his hotel bed, closed his eyes, and let his mind soar free. Probing the night with mental fingers for nuances of his master thief’s aura, he homed in on her dormant thoughts and slipped into her dreams.