Strange, twisted carvings and hideous gargoyles adorn the palazzo of the great Scarletti family. But a more fearful secret lurks within its storm-tossed turrets. For every bride who enters its forbidding walls is doomed to leave in a casket.
Nicoletta knows all too well the curse that plagues the house of Scarletti. She has always believed her miraculous healing gifts would set her apart and that no man would ever command her. Then she gazes into the dark, mesmerizing eyes of Don Scarletti and she fears for her future—for it is Scarletti's ancient right to select a bride from among his people . . . and he has chosen her.
Compelled by duty, driven by burning, inescapable desire, Nicoletta surrenders to this powerful, hypnotic man, giving her body willingly into his keeping. But will the tormented don be her heart's destiny . . . or her soul's destruction?
The Beast . . .
Rumor said the powerful Nicolai DeMarco could command the heavens, that the beasts below did his bidding . . . and that he was doomed to destroy the woman he took as wife. It was whispered he was not wholly human—as untamed as his tawny mane and slashing amber eyes.
The Beauty . . .
Impoverished aristocrat Isabella Vernaducci would defy death itself to rescue her imprisoned brother. She’d even brave the haunted, accursed lair of the lion—the menacing palace of legendary, lethal Don Nicolai DeMarco.
The Bargain . . .
Then Isabella met a man whose growl was velvet, purring heat, whose eyes held dark, all-consuming desire. And when the don commanded her to become his bride, she went willingly into his muscled arms, praying she’d save his tortured soul . . . not sacrifice her life.
He woke deep within the ground, and the first sensation he felt was hunger. An overwhelming hunger for blood that demanded satisfaction. But as he hunted the dark streets of Paris for prey, a voice called to him, soothing, calming, giving him the strength to control his craving.
Francesca Del Ponce was a healer, a woman who radiated goodness as powerfully as the sun did light. But surely his obsession with her would turn him as his twin brother had turned, leaving the world with two monsters instead of one.
So Darius warned her when she accepted a position with his traveling troupe. And gazing mesmerized at the merciless slash of his mouth, the implacable resolve on his face, the soulless emptiness of his black eyes, Tempest was afraid to ask what it was.
She had always been different, apart from others. From the moment his arms closed around her, enveloping her in a sorcerer's spell, Darius seemed to understand her unique gifts. But did his kiss offer the love and belonging she sought, or a danger more potent than his own panthers?
Somewhere deep inside herself, Tempest realized she knew the answer. She had no choice but to accept the velvet stroke of his tongue, submit to the white-hot heat piercing her skin, welcome an erotic pleasure like no other….