A deadly cycle…a haunting legacy.

From the moment Detective Caitlyn Decker arrives at the scene, she knows this crime is anything but a routine killing. The cryptic note. The contradictory evidence. The violence. There’s no doubt in her mind her life’s about to get complicated. Add Special Agent Deacon McGraw into the mix—a man she’s had an unfortunate crush on for the past six months—and it’s shaping up to get downright messy.

Deacon has waited twenty years to solve his father’s murder. If his calculations are correct, this recent killing is connected to it, and the start of something grisly. After nearly convincing himself his father’s outlandish theories on a cold case were nothing more than a slow slide into madness, Deacon’s suddenly faced with a harsh truth—no one’s going to believe him, either.

Caitlyn’s not sure what to make of Deacon’s claims. But she’s willing to give him a chance—one that quickly translates into more than just a working relationship. Becoming lovers carries more risks than simple heartbreak. One miscalculation, or a loss of faith, and they just might lose their souls.

Deke stepped into her personal space, his body mere inches from hers. “Would you stop worrying about being some badass superhero chick for one moment and let me assure myself you’re okay? Christ, when it attacked…”

His hand landed on her waist on her other side, his fingers hot against her skin. He didn’t make a move, simply stood there, his forehead nearly touching hers, his fingers flexing and releasing against her flesh. The spicy scent of his cologne teased her senses, but it was tainted with the underlying hints of sulfur and blood.

Cait forced herself to look up, meeting his gaze while he watched her, his nostrils flaring as his tongue swept across his lips. She inhaled when the tip brushed against her mouth, a ghosted taste of the man lingering on her flesh. A hushed curse preceded the kiss, the gentle caress of his mouth on hers pulling her under. She closed her eyes on a sigh, the soft sound muffled between them. Fingers wove through the hair gathered behind her head as he dipped forward, slightly deepening his possession.

Caitlyn hummed as his tongue slid inside her mouth, playfully dancing across hers. A subtle hint of Stacy’s coffee mixed with a heady flavor that was unmistakably Deacon. Masculine with a touch of spice that seemed to ignite every nerve ending between her mouth and her groin. Her skin tingled, arcs of awareness fluttering her stomach as she raised her hands to his chest, leaning into his embrace.

He stiffened, the fingers in her hair clenching before he must have forcibly relaxed them. But he didn’t fully crush the groan as he broke the kiss, resting his forehead on hers.

“Shit.” Cait lowered her hand, shoving against him. “Damn it, I know you’re in pain. Hell, I feel your muscles bunched beneath my hands.”

He cracked a smile, the slightly smug tilt so fitting with his character. “Did you ever stop to consider I’m tense because I finally have you in my arms?”

“Liar. Show me your chest.”

Deacon chuckled as he took a step back. “Why, Detective, I didn’t know you wanted to move this quickly. Though I suppose since you’ve already removed your shirt…”

His voice morphed into a grunt when she swatted his shoulder.

“Nice try, but I’m not that easily swayed.” She motioned to the patches of blood on his shirt. “Nor am I blind. And I’m betting your injuries are worse.”

“They’re not.” He held up his hand. “Trust me. They can’t be worse than those bloody claw marks. Which reminds me…” He grabbed a package out of the first aid kit, ripping it open before handing it to her. “Hold this over the wounds until your brother gets here. Might stop the bleeding by that time.”

“Is this how you typically react after you kiss a lady? Because, damn, I see why you’re not in a relationship. You change gears so fast, even my head’s spinning.”

“Your head’s spinning because you likely have one hell of a concussion.” Deke smirked. “And I hadn’t actually planned on kissing you.”