Touch of Temptation

By: Rhyannon Byrd


Dark temptations lead to darker pleasures…

Sunday morning

THE PROBLEM WITH TRYING to act like a good guy was that good guys played by the rules. They didn’t lust after those in need of their help. They didn’t act on their baser instincts. Didn’t think about what was between a woman’s legs when they were meant to be saving her life.

Since the moment Kellan Scott had set eyes on the youngest Harcourt witch, he’d been struggling to be good. But Christ, he wanted to be bad.

Bad. Dominating. Dirty. If it was explicit and it was sexual, he wanted it with her. Didn’t matter how hard he tried to fight it, or how determined he was to keep himself in line. He still wanted her. And the news wouldn’t have shocked anyone who knew him. In fact, it was exactly what they would have expected from a guy whose existence could be defined by four words.

Watchman. Werewolf. And world-class fuckup.

The first was easy enough to explain, if one had an open mind. Though most humans were clueless about such things, the truth was that many paranormal species lived hidden among them. They were called the “ancient clans” and for the most part the various species lived in peace with humanity. But…not always. And that was where the Watchmen came in. A highly skilled organization of shape-shifters, it was the job of the Watchmen to keep “watch” over the clansmen and -women. Though the majority of their work consisted of surveillance assignments, ensuring the secrecy and security of the clans, there were times when they were called on by their superiors to kill something that needed to be killed—which was why Kellan was one hell of a soldier, trained both in weapons and hand-to-hand combat.

And the werewolf part—well, that pretty much explained itself. Perhaps the only clarification that could be made was that he could control the changes in his body, rather than having them dictated by the cycles of the moon. And contrary to modern beliefs, he couldn’t be killed by a silver bullet, though it hurt like a bitch whenever he managed to get himself shot. Still, despite the fact that the werewolves’ healing abilities were some of the strongest among the shifter clans, he could die before he reached the natural end of his life if he bled out. For that reason, the simplest way to kill a Lycan—a werewolf—was to slash its gut open, spilling its insides. A fate Kellan had been lucky enough to avoid.

But while the first two distinctions were things he could be proud of, it was unfortunately that last one—fuckup—that best defined the true essence of his character. That, Kellan was most widely known for…and that was the one thing he truly excelled at.

As far as truths went, it was a bitter one to swallow, which was why it’d jammed in Kellan’s throat a few months before…and he still hadn’t managed to swallow it down.

In fact, it was that choking sense of guilt that had landed Kellan in his current set of circumstances. Those circumstances being his incarceration in the secret hideout of a raging psychopath who was out to turn the world into a living hell for humans and clansmen, alike.

When the idea for this harebrained rescue had first come to him earlier in the month, after he’d finally tracked down a lead on where Chloe Harcourt was being kept prisoner, it’d seemed so straightforward. Find the witch. Protect the witch. Save the witch. Suicidal, no doubt, but a beautiful plan in its simplicity—until lust had jumped in to complicate the hell out of it. Still, Kellan had seen the situation as the perfect answer to the burning question of what he was meant to do with his embarrassing waste of a life. It was hard to live up to expectations when your older brother was one of the most righteous badasses around, but that was Kierland for you. Kellan loved the guy like crazy, but he’d have been lying if he said he wasn’t tired of feeling like the proverbial village idiot when measured against his paragon of a sibling.

Then again, he didn’t need to be compared to Kierland to look like a tool. No, he’d managed that embarrassing distinction all on his own.

In the midst of a war, he’d made the ultimate blunder: he’d listened to his dick instead of his brain and unknowingly screwed one of their enemies. To make it worse, Kellan hadn’t even figured it out until it was too late. Until he’d almost cost an innocent woman her life—a woman who was now engaged to one of his closest friends.

Talk about a mistake that you’ll never live down….

Choking back a harsh growl, he used the back of his forearm to wipe the sheen of sweat from his brow, narrowed his eyes and kept on with his task, his muscles burning as he fought to force open the door of his jail cell. Though he’d already picked the lock, the door, which was made of iron bars, was fitted with a counterweight that would have taken at least three human males to lift, and Kellan was doing it on his own. Cold air prickled against his skin, the flickering flames of the fire in a nearby hearth doing little to take the chill from the air, and yet, he continued to sweat from exertion. Continued to push himself to the point of agony, a grimace curling his mouth as his mind churned over that fateful night last fall when things had gone so wrong.