Roxana Leventis spends her evenings blindfolded and strapped into a harness. As living art, she’s appreciated with all the senses. That means being touched, fondled and caressed in the most intimate ways.
Donovan Armstrong thinks his latest assignment is just another security gig, guarding priceless paintings. Boring stuff for a wolf shifter, but he plans to return home to Canada as soon as he finds a suitable mate, the kind of shifter female who’ll stun his pack with her perfection. After four years of searching, however, his temporary stay in New York is starting to look pretty damn permanent.
Until one whiff of Roxi’s scent awakens his dormant inner wolf. Taking her as his mate is unthinkable. She’s not a shifter, and her delicate human body is much too fragile to withstand his animal urges. Still…neither man nor beast can ignore the way she stirs their blood.
Donovan’s job is simple—protect Roxi from overzealous gallery visitors. But who’s going to protect her from him?
Read an Excerpt
He caught her scent the moment he walked through the door.
Beneath the odors of oil-based paint, varnish and sawdust, the sweet aroma of aroused female walloped Donovan Armstrong like a punch to the jaw, bringing his head up and making his nostrils flare.
He narrowed his eyes as he took in the entrance to the small art gallery. It opened onto a room roughly the same size as the bedroom in his apartment. Except unlike his bedroom, this space was entirely taken up by a flock of pigeons made out of what looked to be Styrofoam splattered in ketchup. He tilted his head, but it didn’t make any more sense from a different angle.
“It’s a philosophical statement on the battle of the sexes. Quite striking, wouldn’t you agree?”
Donovan tore his gaze from the bizarre display to face the man who’d spoken. A good five inches shorter than Donovan, he wore a gray suit with patches at the elbows, a white shirt and a bright red tie. His blond hair was slicked back from his face and gold-rimmed glasses sat on the bridge of a long nose.
“Brad Pierson.” The man stuck out his hand. “You must be the new security guy.”
Donovan clasped the outstretched hand and shook it. “Donovan Armstrong. United Security said you needed someone to fill a spot on short notice.”
“Ah, yes.” Brad cleared his throat, suddenly looking uncomfortable. “The last security guard had trouble with… Well, with the job. How much did United Security tell you about what you’ll be guarding?”
“Nothing.” The only information he’d been given was the name and address of the place, along with instructions to show up as soon as possible. When he realized the gig was at an art gallery, he assumed he’d been hired to protect priceless paintings. Now he wasn’t so sure.
“I see.” Brad slid a finger beneath his collar, as though the shirt had suddenly tried to strangle him. “To be perfectly blunt, Mr. Armstrong—”
Brad nodded. “Right. As I was saying, this job is fairly unusual.”
Donovan allowed his gaze to linger on the Styrofoam bird display. “I’m guessing that’s par for the course at Moderne.”
Brad’s thin lips tilted into a small smile but his eyes narrowed, as if he wasn’t sure whether Donovan was mocking him. “I’m very proud of my gallery. It might be small, but I display some of the most unusual modern art in all of New York.”
“Because that’s what New York needs.” Donovan raised an eyebrow, making his skepticism clear. “More art.”
“No doubt you’ve been to the Metropolitan Museum. It’s old and outdated. What this city needs is an infusion of new ideas. New expressions of the application of human skill and creativity. New ways to think about the world.” Brad’s cheekbones took on a reddish hue as he talked, and his gestures grew animated. “Make no mistake, Donovan. Art is all around us. We just choose not to see it. Come, follow me.”
Donovan dutifully fell into step behind his new boss, who led him through a narrow doorway at the far end of the pigeon room. The female aroma he’d scented earlier grew stronger, and the sweet smell flooded his veins with a surge of desire. Then his gaze fell on the next display of modern art, and the flood of lust evaporated like water in the desert.
If he thought the Styrofoam pigeons were odd, this new exhibit was downright bizarre. A twelve-foot statue of a baby wearing a diaper would have been creepy even if the infant didn’t have vampire teeth. But most disturbing of all was the giant, disembodied tit he clutched to his mouth, baby-fangs sinking into the nipple as he balanced on stumpy little legs.
Donovan shuddered and looked away. This was what he’d been hired to protect?
“This way.” Brad paused in the next doorway and beckoned Donovan farther along. He ignored the giant baby and his feeding frenzy, as though the sculpture wasn’t looming over them like some demonic beast.
Donovan braced himself then shuffled his feet as he made his way to Brad. God only knew what kind of horrific sight awaited him in the next room.
“My masterpiece,” Brad said, rubbing his hands together as he stepped aside to give Donovan a perfect view of what lay beyond the doorway. “I call her, Woman Unbound.”
Donovan glanced past Brad to a harness of sorts, hanging from the ceiling—and his jaw dropped. He rubbed his eyes, thinking he had to be hallucinating. After the grotesque spectacles in the first two rooms, this was…
“Incredible,” he murmured.
Brad made a sound of approval low in his throat. “Isn’t she, though?”
Here, the scent was intoxicating. It flooded his nostrils and filled him with instant lust. A growl built in his chest, and he forced himself to stifle it as he focused on the woman before him.
She was strapped into the harness, lying suspended about three feet off the ground—absolutely, stunningly naked.