In this explosive GhostWalker novel by #1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan, a trained killer meets his match in a woman whose very kiss can stop a heart.
The Cajun dive in the middle of the godforsaken swamps wasn’t exactly Trap Dawkins’ idea of fun. But the GhostWalker wasn’t there for a good time. He was looking for her. Cayenne. It’s where she found her victims. Poor suckers. Then again, who wouldn’t want to leave a place like this with a woman like her?
It’s not Cayenne’s fault. Locked up, experimented on and never knowing kindness, she was bred this way—with a heart of pure venom. Trap understands her. He survived his own dark past and he shares her desire for getting even. But now Trap’s greatest danger is Cayenne herself. Because what’s inside her is hard to control—especially when it’s aroused by a lover as reckless as Trap.
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Christine Feehan is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Carpathian series, the GhostWalker series, the Leopard series, the Shadow Riders series, and the Sea Haven novels, including the Drake Sisters series and the Sisters of the Heart series.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Trap Dawkins sighed as he tilted his chair on two legs, automatically calculating the precise angle and vector he could tip before he fell over. He was bored out of his fucking mind. This was the fifth night in a row he’d come to the Huracan Club, a Cajun bar out in the middle of the fucking swamp for God’s sake. Peanut husks covered the bar and round, handmade wooden tables with a crude variety of chairs covered the floor. The bar was constructed of simple planks of wood set on sawhorses surrounded by high stools also hand carved.
To the left of the bar was a shiny beautifully kept baby grand piano. In the bar that was mostly a shack out in the middle of nowhere, the piano looked totally out of place. The lid was open and there wasn’t a dust spot—or a scratch—on the instrument. It was also completely in tune. The piano sat on a raised dais with two long steps made of hardwood leading up to it. There were no peanut husks on the platform or on the stairs. Everyone who frequented the bar knew not to touch the piano unless they really knew how to play. No one would dare. The piano had gone unscathed through hundreds of bar fights that included knives and broken bottles.
Trap glanced at the piano. He supposed he could play. Sometimes that helped his mind stay calm when it needed action. He couldn’t take sitting for hours doing nothing. How did these people do it? That question had occupied his brain for all of two minutes. He didn’t really care why they did it, or how, it was just plain a waste of time. He wasn’t certain he could take much more of this, but on the other hand, what alternative was there?
He’d come looking for her. Cayenne. In spite of the fact that no one could accurately describe her, Trap knew she frequented the bar. This was where she chose her victims. The robberies in the swamp were only rumors, whispers, the men too embarrassed to say much. They were always drunk. Always on their way home. They were men with bad reputations, men others steered clear of. She would choose those men and they wouldn’t be able to resist her. Not her looks. Not her voice. Not the lure she used.
He sighed again and glanced toward the bar, wishing he had another beer, but seriously, it was nearly one in the morning. She wasn’t coming. He would have to endure this nightmare again.
“Fuck,” he whispered crudely, under his breath. He had discipline and control in abundance. But he couldn’t stop himself from the destructive path he was set on. He had to find her, and that meant coming to this hellhole every night until he did.
“How you doin’, Trap?” Wyatt Fontenot asked, as he put a fresh bottle of beer on the very rickety table in front of his fellow GhostWalker and toed a chair out so he could straddle it. “You ready to leave? You’re lookin’ like you might be startin’ a fight any minute.”
Trap would never, under any circumstances start a fight. But he’d finish it, and he’d do that in a very permanent way. That was why half their team came to the bar with him.
“Can’t leave,” Trap said. Low. Decisive.
Not that he didn’t want to leave, Wyatt noted. Trap said can’t. There was a big difference. He’d told Wyatt he was looking for Cayenne, the woman he’d rescued from certain death, but knowing Trap, that was so far out of his reality that Wyatt hadn’t really believed him. But now . . .
"Trap.” Wyatt kept his voice low. Steady. His gaze on one of his closest friends.
Trap was a very dangerous man. He didn’t look it, sitting there, legs sprawled out in front of him, his chair tipped back and his eyes half closed, but there was ice water running in his veins. More, he had a brain that worked overtime, calculating everything even as he observed the minutest detail of his surroundings.
He had a steady hand and the eyes of an eagle. He was silent and deadly when he stalked an enemy, and he was known to go into an enemy camp alone, death drifting in and the reaper drifting back out. He killed without a sound and thoroughly, taking out the enemy without raising an alarm. When he returned, he was the same exact man—cool and remote, his brain already moving on to solve another problem.
Trap raised those piercing glacier-cold eyes to his. An icy shiver crept down Wyatt’s spine.
“I’ve known you for years,” Wyatt continued. “You get caught up in problems, Trap. Problems that need solvin’. Your brain just won’ let it go. This woman is a problem. That’s what this is.”
Trap sighed. “You know better. You, of all people know better.”
“You don’ become obsessed with women. Hell, Trap, you hook up for an hour or two and then you walk. Not a night. An hour or two at the most.”
Trap didn’t deny it. “I fuck ’em and then walk away because I don’t need the entanglement but I need the release.” He stated the fact mildly. Unashamed. Uncaring.
“This woman is a problem to solve to you. That’s all she is. This has nothin’ to do with the woman herself, just the mystery of her. You have to know that.” Wyatt’s Cajun accent was becoming more noticeable, the only thing that betrayed his wariness.
Trap’s expression didn’t change. His icy gaze didn’t leave Wyatt’s face as he took a long pull on the beer and set it down. “You grew up in that family of yours Wyatt. You got your grandmother. Sweet and kind. You had all this.” He gestured toward the swamp where Wyatt had grown up. “Running wild. Living a life. Having a family. You know what that’s like.”
Wyatt remained silent. Trap never talked about his past. Not ever. They’d met in college when they were both still teens and worked together on numerous projects that made both of them very wealthy. Wyatt had joined the service, and ultimately the GhostWalker psychically enhanced Special Forces unit. Trap had followed.
In the years they’d known each other, Trap had never once alluded to his past. He sounded like he was gearing up to do just that, and Wyatt wasn’t about to blow the opportunity to learn more about what had made his friend as cold as ice. He simply nodded, keeping his gaze just as steady on Trap’s, mesmerized by the blue flame that burned ice-cold under the glacier.
“I had two sisters and a brother. Did I ever tell you that?” Trap’s fist tightened around the neck of the beer bottle, but he didn’t lift it to his mouth. “My name wasn’t Dawkins back then when I had them. It was Johansson.” He said the name like there was a bad taste in his mouth. “Changed it legally in order to keep that shit out of the spotlight. To keep my enemies from finding me. Didn’t work with the enemies, but it did with the press.”
Had. Wyatt’s heart clenched hard in his chest. He regarded Trap as a brother. He had for years. He shook his head slowly. What kid had enemies they had to hide from? Enemies so dangerous they needed a name change? Wyatt remained silent. Waiting. Letting Trap take his time.
“My brother, Brad, and my sister Linnie were younger than me by a couple of years. Drusilla was older by a couple of years. Dru took care of us while our mother worked. She worked because our father didn’t.” He raised the bottle to his mouth and took a long pull. Through it, his eyes didn’t leave Wyatt’s.
Dread built. This was going to be bad. Really bad. Many of the GhostWalkers had difficult lives, which was probably why they made the military their home, but Wyatt knew the hell that was there under all that ice, those blue flames that burned white-hot and glacier-cold, meant whatever had happened to Trap was going to be bad.
He felt movement behind him and knew Mordichai, another GhostWalker and member of their team, was coming up behind him. He dropped his hand low, down by the side of the chair and waved him off, counting on Mordichai to understand—to know not to come near the table or allow anyone else to.
“My father despised me. I was different, even then, even as a child. He wasn’t in the least bit logical and half the time he didn’t make sense. He hated the very sight of me, and Dru took to stepping in front of me when he was around, because the moment he laid eyes on me, he had to beat the holy hell out of me.”
Trap shrugged, the movement casual. “I didn’t understand what I did wrong, and poor Dru tried her best to shield me. I was so young, but already too old in my mind.”
Wyatt understood that. Trap rivaled some of the greatest IQs in history. Wyatt was intelligent, but like many others he was especially gifted in certain areas. Trap was just plain gifted at everything. Along with the brains, he had the fast reflexes and superb body of a warrior.
“My father wasn’t proud of me for being gifted. If anything, he took it as an affront. Dru always said he felt threatened by me, but I was a little kid and I didn’t see how I was a threat to him.”
Wyatt didn’t make the mistake of letting compassion or anger show in his expression. Trap would close down immediately. Trap kept his emotions under tight control and Wyatt realized why. There was rage coiled deep. So deep that it was never—ever—going to be purged.
“We never told mom about the beatings, but one day she saw the bruises and the swelling. He’d broken my arm and a couple of ribs. She took me to the hospital, and he was arrested. While he was in jail, she packed us up and moved us out of the city. I was eight. Dru, ten. We went clear across the country. His family bailed him out. He had two brothers, both as worthless and as vicious as he was.”
The chair never moved, remaining balanced on two legs as Trap took another long pull of his beer. He put the bottle down with deceptive gentleness on the table. The movement was precise and deliberate. Just like Trap. Just like everything Trap did.
“They found us when I was nine. My father came into the house late at night while his two brothers, poured gasoline up and down the walls inside and outside the little house we rented. He dragged my mother out of bed, down to the room where my little brother and sister slept. He shot them both and then shot Mom in the head.”
Trap’s expression didn’t change. His tone didn’t change. He might have been reciting a story he’d read in the papers. Wyatt’s fist clenched beneath the rickety table, but he didn’t allow his expression to change either.
“Dru and I were talking together in our secret hideaway. When we first moved in, we found a closet that was really shallow and after Mom went to bed, we’d sometimes get up and read or discuss something interesting we’d learned that day. We heard the shots and we went to find Mom, to see what was going on. Dru threw herself in front of me when he came at us. He shot her twice and her body landed on top of me. I could see her eyes, Wyatt. Wide open. Blank. She had beautiful eyes, but all of sudden, there was no light. No brilliance. My beautiful sister, so smart, so funny, the only one who could relate to me, who really saw me, saw into me, was dead. Gone. Just like that.”
“Fuck, Trap,” Wyatt said softly. What else was there to say? This was far worse than anything he had imagined.
“He should have just shot me,” Trap said softly, almost as if he was talking to himself. “If he had any intelligence at all, he would have just shot me like he did Dru. She was so smart, Wyatt. A gift to the world. She could have done things, but he took her life for no reason other than he was a fucked-up asshole.”
Still, even with the language, there was no change in Trap’s voice. None. That rage was buried so deep, so much a part of him, Wyatt doubted he actually knew it was there anymore. He held up two fingers, knowing Mordichai was watching them closely. Most likely the other members of his team were doing the same, not knowing what was going on, but willing to help in any way they could.
The GhostWalkers who had come with them were spread throughout the bar, one sitting on a barstool, one lounging by the famous piano the owner of the Huracan Club, Delmar Thibodeaux, guarded with a baseball bat, and a couple of others sitting at table across the room. All would be watching Trap’s and Wyatt’s backs, and at same time appearing as if they had no cares in the world.
Neither man spoke until Mordichai plopped two icy cold bottles of beer on the table and sauntered away, pretending like all the team members were that he had no clue Trap and Wyatt were in a nightmarish discussion.
“How’d you stay alive?”
“He dragged me out from under Dru. I think he wanted to beat me before he shot me, but as I came up I rammed my head into his groin and twisted the gun from his hand as he went down. I’d already calculated the odds of success and knew I had a good chance. I shot him twice before he was on me. He had a knife in his boot.”
Wyatt had seen the wicked scar that seemed to take up half of Trap’s belly. He’d been what? Nine, he’d said. His own father had wiped out his family, killing his mother and brother and sisters. Wyatt pushed down the rage swirling deep in his gut. He drew in a deep breath to keep from annihilating the room. The peanut husks on the floor jumped several times like popcorn in a popper and the walls of the bar shimmered and breathed in and out. He took several breaths to get himself under control.
“He stabbed me twice. Once in my belly and again in my thigh. I hung on to that gun, but I went down in all the blood. That’s when my uncles came in. They came at me, but I lifted the gun and both backed off fast. I guess they were either cowards or they knew my father was done for, because they left him there bleeding out, threw gasoline all over the floor, lit a match and told me to burn in hell. They got out. I crawled out. Still got the scars on my legs and feet from the burns.”
Wyatt clenched his teeth and then carefully brought the bottle to his mouth. He needed action. Something. He almost wished a fight would break out as they habitually did in the bar. When he was younger, he often came there to drink, fight and find a woman, just like most of the other men in the swamp and bayou did. Now he came to drink and fight. He had a woman waiting for him at home.
“I had one living relative, my mother’s sister. She was fifteen years younger than mom, barely twenty-three, and single, but she came and got me and I lived with her. We changed our names, moved and thought we were going to be all right. At twelve I founded my first company after selling two of my patents. We lived good for a while.”
For the first time something moved in his cold, piercing eyes. Trap raked his hand through his blond hair, hair that definitely identified him as an outsider there in Cajun country. Had he not been with Wyatt, he would have been the first target chosen for anyone looking for a fight. The fight wouldn’t have ended well. Trap wasn’t a man who enjoyed a good friendly brawl. You didn’t put your hands on him. You didn’t threaten him. Even there in the Huracan Club with his team around him, he kept to himself. Wyatt could see the name Johansson suited Trap far better than Dawkins. Trap definitely had some Swede in him, with his build and blond hair.
Wyatt didn’t want to hear what happened to Trap’s aunt, but he had to know. There were too many flames burning icy hot behind the blue glacier of Trap’s eyes.
“For a while?” he prompted.
“Yeah. For a while. I made a lot of mon...
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Buchbeschreibung Brown Book Group Piatkus Little Jan 2016, 2016. Taschenbuch. Buchzustand: Neu. Neuware - In the new GhostWalker novel by the No. 1 New York Times bestselling author of Viper Game, a trained killer meets his match in a woman whose very kiss can stop a heart. The Cajun dive in the middle of the godforsaken swamps wasn't exactly Trap Dawkins' idea of fun. But the GhostWalker wasn't there for a good time. He was looking for her. Cayenne. It's where she found her victims. Poor suckers. Then again, who wouldn't want to leave a place like this with a woman like her It's not Cayenne's fault. Locked up, experimented on and never knowing kindness, she was bred this way - with a heart of pure venom. Trap understands her. He survived his own dark past and he shares her desire for getting even. But now Trap's greatest danger is Cayenne herself. Because what's inside her is hard to control - especially when it's aroused by a lover as reckless as Trap. 'The queen of paranormal romance - I love everything she does.' - J.R. Ward 464 pp. Englisch. Artikel-Nr. 9780349410340