Edge of Desire:Primal Instincts 03

By: Rhyannon Byrd

Primal Instincts - Book 3





CHAPTER ONE


Some desires can be deadly…

Saturday morning

He needed a woman. In the worst possible, gut-wrenching way. And yet none of the women Riley Buchanan passed on his way through the quaint seaside town of Purity, Washington, fit the bill. None were quite what he wanted. What he craved. The redhead watering plants outside the floral shop was too thin, the blonde swishing her miniskirt-covered ass in front of him too tall, when what he needed was someone…

He searched, trying to place a mental hold on the words, but they failed him.

Or you’re just too stubborn to admit who you really want. Even to yourself.

“Shut up,” he muttered to the annoying voice in his head, hunching his shoulders against the blisteringly cool breeze blowing in off the Pacific. The salt-scented air-so different from the dry mountain winds he called home in Henning, Colorado-filled his head, and for a moment he caught a flash of scent that stabbed at his insides, striking him like a physical blow. It was familiar and yet mouthwateringly different, and he stopped in the center of the sidewalk, his narrowed eyes scanning Purity’s bustling Main Street, struggling to discern its source. He stood there gripped in a knot of panic, stunned, while his chest heaved from the force of his breaths. But there was no sweet, surprising face from his past. No big, luminous eyes blinking back at him in stunned recognition. No tender mouth curved in a shy, soft-focused smile. No one that he could pick out in the chaotic swarm of townspeople that nudged his memory, taking him back to a time he’d done his best to forget.

Blowing out a rough breath, he accepted that it was just his mind playing tricks on him, which seemed to be happening more and more these days. He thought he’d shoved that period of his life into an impenetrable mental vault, locking it away forever, but the damn awakening was screwing with his sanity, making him remember things, and people, that were best left forgotten.

And yet isn’t she the very thing that you crave?

“Not going there,” he rasped under his breath, pissed at himself for letting his imagination get the better of him. Forcing the wave of unwanted memories from his mind, he set off again down the crowded sidewalk, while the edgy, restless need continued to slither beneath his skin. He knew its source-knew from exactly where it sprang, but there wasn’t anything he could do about it. The ancient Merrick blood within his body was coming alive inside him, and that meant only one thing:

His days were numbered.

Darkness was knocking on his door, but it wasn’t Riley’s life that hung in the balance. It was his soul.

Not that he’d done anything so stupid as to make a deal with the devil-though there’d been times over the years when he’d been tempted. At one point, he’d have been willing to do anything for a chance, the opportunity, to rid himself of the blackness festering within him. A toxic, destructive darkness that had formed the shape of his entire life since the age of seventeen, sculpting the years like an artist manipulating clay.

You’re so full of bullshit. It’s not the darkness twisting you up inside-it’s your weakness. It’s knowing that you won’t be able to handle it when it hits.

Choking back the graveled curse that threatened to erupt from his mouth, Riley shoved his hands into the pockets of his jeans, while the gusting bursts of sea wind whipped his hair around his face. Despite the violent weather, Purity, Washington, was a beautiful place, caught between the rugged, majestic beauty of a towering autumn forest and a sheer rock face that looked out over the thrashing fury of the Pacific Ocean. On any other day he’d have been captivated by the town, but then this wasn’t any other day. He and Kellan Scott had just arrived in Purity that morning, their purpose to retrieve the Dark Marker they believed was buried here in the sleepy little seaside community. His sister, Saige, had only just finished deciphering the ancient, coded map that gave directions to the Marker’s location the day before, and Riley had immediately insisted that he be the one to go after the powerful cross. His brother and sister had argued like crazy, but in the end Riley had won with the sheer stubborn force of his will, as well as the threat that he’d simply leave. Just drive out of Henning without telling them where he was headed, if they didn’t shut up and let him get out of there.

He couldn’t have stayed. His awakening was coming on too strong, which meant that he was, more than likely, already being hunted by a monster. A Casus. One of the ancient enemies of the Merrick, and the very things that were causing the awakenings to begin. With each Casus who escaped from the holding ground that had imprisoned the vile race for over a thousand years, it was believed that the primal blood would awaken within a descendant of the Merrick clan. And though he’d fought it, Riley’s turn had finally come. Now he would join the fight against an unholy evil, and hope like hell that he was able to take at least one of those bastards down before he…

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