Exclusive Excerpt from Handsome Death
by Sara Dobie Bauer
I startle when I hear him in the hallway outside the apartment, talking on the phone, plus the clatter of keys. I didn’t expect him, but I should have, no doubt freaked after my inexplicable exit from the club. He already suspected what I was; now, I imagine he’s sure. And I’m usually so careful.
I consider jumping from the window to my hideout across the street, but don’t. I stand there, waiting, but waiting for what? I can’t get caught in his fucking apartment. This is how vampires end up in jail. Messy, Ethan, messy.
“I realize this sounds completely insane,” he says through wood, “but I swear he was there.”
I linger back in the shadows when the door swings open. He slams it behind him, locking the deadbolt and chain. At least he’s smart enough to do that, although neither would have stopped me from getting in.
He walks inside and stops in the center of the apartment—which, small as it is, only takes three of his long strides. “Please, just pull up the security footage and look for a massively tall hot guy with dark hair.”
The volume on Tris’s phone must be turned all the way up, because I hear whoever’s on the other side of the line: a man, bass beats behind him. It’s someone at the club. The voice cusses. “Tris, I got him, and you’re right; he disappeared. Your coffee shop boyfriend is definitely a vampire.”
He buries one hand in the shaggy hair on top of his head. “I knew it.”
“I’m worried you’re being stalked,” says phone person. “Vampires know it’s illegal, but some of them don’t care. Look, just come back to the club. Come—”
The words continue, but Tris must have just noticed the window is open. Shit, the room is positively filled with the scent of his fear. His heart rate is off the charts as he slowly lowers the cell phone from his ear, his buddy still begging him to come back to the club, saying he’ll be safe there.
Might as well come clean.
I turn on the lamp to my left, and Tris spins to face me. His phone hits the ground as he takes one step back. He huffs a quiet, “Fuck,” as we stare at each other. “What are you doing in my place, Ethan?”
I stay as still as possible because he resembles an underfed kitten about to flee. “I’m not going to hurt you.”
He stands there, frozen. “What do you want?”
What do I want? It hits me like a fist to the jaw. “You.”
He nibbles that pink bottom lip, and I can’t take it anymore. Self-restraint be damned, I move quickly and crowd him against the wall. My hands cage him in. When I reach out and rub my thumb over his cheek, his breath hitches—and there it is: lust in the air.
I trail my fingers down the side of his neck and press my mouth against his forehead. I feel his palms resting against my chest—not pushing me away, just resting. Despite knowing better, I can’t hold back with him so damn close, vibrating a heady mixture of fear and want. I cup the back of his neck and take a deep breath. It’s official: fuck Africa. I’m moving here to this tiny hallway with Tris’s body close to mine.