Lead guitarist of the Dark Troubadours, Dayan was renowned for his mesmerizing performances. His melodies stilled crowds, beckoned, seduced, tempted. And always, he called to her. His lover. His lifemate. He called to her to complete him. To give him the emotions that had faded from his existence, leaving him an empty shell of growing darkness. Save me. Come to me.
Corinne Wentworth stood at the vortex of a gathering storm. Pursued by the same fanatics who'd murdered her husband, she was risking her life by keeping more than on secret. Fragile, delicate, vulnerable, she had an indomitable faith that made her fiery surrender to Dayan all the more powerful. This was the e woman whose loss would destroy him, even as her love promised to heal his soul.
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By Christine Feehan
Copyright © 2003
All right reserved.
The need crawled through his body and pounded out a rhythm in
his mind. Music seethed and roared, filling the large bar, an
edgy, compelling melody as dark and driven as he was. The
notes ripped from deep within his soul, moved through his
fingers to the guitar cradled in his arms as he might cradle a
woman. The music was one of the few things that reminded him
he was alive and not the undead.
He could feel the stares, although he never looked up. He
could hear the breathing of the crowd, the air moving through
lungs like the rush of a freight train. He heard blood ebbing,
flowing in veins, beckoning, a sweet seductress, teasing his
senses until his cravings were an obsession as dark and
relentless as the shadow across his soul.
They whispered. Hundreds of conversations. Secrets. Pick-up
lines. The things whispered in bars under the cover of music.
He heard every word clearly as he sat on the stage with the
young, rather enthusiastic band he was jamming with. He heard
the whispers of women as they discussed him. Dayan. Lead
guitarist for the Dark Troubadours. They wanted to bed him for
all the wrong reasons, and he wanted them for reasons that
would have terrified them.
The song ended, the crowd roared, stomping and clapping and
yelling approval. Dayan glanced atthe man waiting at the bar.
Cullen Tucker raised a glass of water toward him, his eyebrow
up. What are we doing here? Dayan read the expression clearly,
read the man's mind. What were they doing there? What had
compelled him to go into the bar, pick up his guitar and play
for the crowd. It would only draw unwarranted attention to
them. It wasn't safe. They were hunted, yet Dayan had no
choice. He needed to be in the bar. He was waiting for
something ... for someone.
Dayan's fingers were already picking up another rhythm. Dark.
Moody. The melody took hold of him, demanding to be released.
His voice stilled the crowd, beckoned, seduced, tempted. He
called to her. Commanded her. His lover. His lifemate. His
other half. He called to her to complete him. To give him the
emotions that had faded from his soul leaving him an empty
shell of growing darkness. A creature living in the shadows,
fodder for the crouching beast. Save me. Come to me. The words
took the breath from the listening crowd, brought tears to the
eyes of the women.
They pushed closer to the stage, unaware that they did so.
Unaware of the power of his voice, his eyes. He mesmerized
them. Seduced them. Compelled them. He cast his spell, a
dangerous predator among easy prey. Save me. Please save me.
His voice washed over them, seeped into pores, soaked into
brains so that they stared up at him completely enthralled.
Hunger rose, a response to his heightening senses. He kept his
eyes closed, blocking out the sight of the crowd, losing
himself in his song to her. His lifemate. The one woman who
could save him. Where was she?
The door opened, allowing the night breeze to rush into the
room dispelling the odor of too many bodies crushed together
in a small space. It was the sound of a heartbeat that made
him lift his head. The heart was weak and irregular, yet
beating too fast, laboring too hard. Dayan looked up and
literally lost his ability to breathe. There she was. Just
like that. His lungs burned for air and his fingers lost their
age-old rhythm. His heart began to match the strange rhythm of
Dayan forced a breath into his body. First one, then a second.
The band was staring at him uncertainly. His fingers began a
melody he had never played before, but it was there, locked in
his heart, a light he thought long gone. Dimly, he was aware
the band had taken their cue from him, following his lead, but
he was playing on automatic. He couldn't look away from her,
watching as she paused while her light-haired companion spoke
with several acquaintances.
What was wrong with her heart?
His black eyes moved over her possessively, marking her,
claiming her. She was small, curvy, with lush dark hair and
enormous eyes. He watched the way she moved, watched the sway
of her hips. To Dayan, she was incredibly beautiful. And she
was human. He knew it was possible for one of his kind, a
Carpathian, to have a human lifemate, but it had seemed so
improbable to him he had not really conceived of such a
She paused for a moment to stare up at him in shock, her wide
gaze colliding with his for the briefest instant. Her perfect
mouth formed a round O, as she recognized him. She swung her
head toward the tall blonde who accompanied her. The blonde
laughed and hugged her, led the way through the crowd to a
booth in a dark corner of the club. He heard the soft murmur
of her voice and at once his world changed. Where the club had
been dark with shades of gray, it was now brilliantly alive
with vivid dazzling color.
Emotions were crowding in fast and hard, so many he couldn't
sort them out, he could only sit very still with his fingers
flashing over his beloved guitar. He felt that. His guitar. It
amazed him so much he could feel tears burning behind his
eyes. Dayan was almost paralyzed with so many emotions
bombarding him. The music. Hunger. Colors. Lust. It was a
volcano, molten hot, adding to his edgy feeling. And there was
jealousy. Dark. Dangerous. He realized he didn't like to see
the men crowding around her booth, leaning over to talk to
At once the thought triggered the rising of the beast in him
and he forcibly had to crush it down. He was very dangerous in
this state, an unexpected complication. The music poured out
of him, through him, so much emotion he was choking with it,
so many colors he was blinded by them. He took a deep calming
breath, fought for control and won. What was wrong with her
He kept his head bent over his guitar, but his empty black
eyes were fixed on his prey, the only woman who mattered to
him. He played to her, poured his heart out to her, allowed
the beauty of his music to speak to her. He wanted her to see
the poet in him, not the predator. Not the darkness. All the
while he listened to their conversation, listened for the
sound of her voice.
"I can't believe it's really him, Lisa. That's Dayan, of the
Dark Troubadours. He's practically a god among musicians. I've
never heard anyone play like him. What in the world is he
doing with this band?" That was her voice, soft and feminine.
She spoke in a reverent tone. Her fingers were tapping out a
rhythm on the table, following the melody of his.
Lisa leaned across the booth to be heard over the noise in the
bar. "I heard he was vacationing, he's just jamming here
tonight, Corinne. I know how much you love music and I wanted
to give you a surprise."
That was her name. Corinne. Even her name fit the music in
Dayan's mind. He unashamedly eavesdropped to learn what he
could. She was listening to his music, her body responding
naturally, but she wasn't staring at him in rapt adoration the
way the other women in the bar were staring. The way he would
"But how did you know? He's not just anyone, Lisa. He's a
genius when he's playing. How did you know he'd be here
"Bruce, you remember Bruce, Corinne, he works for my
photographer. Bruce knows you're a huge music fan. He stopped
in for a drink and called me to tell me a member of the Dark
Troubadours was jamming here tonight. Bruce said that man at
the bar is supposedly a friend of the lead guitarist's and
that he travels with the Dark Troubadours." Lisa indicated
Cullen. "Everyone's hoping it means The Troubadours are
looking for new places to play."
"Well they do prefer the smaller, more intimate clubs, but who
would have ever thought they would play here." Corinne said.
Her gaze strayed to Dayan, their eyes met and she hastily
The impact shook him. His fingers nearly lost their rhythm,
his stomach gave a funny lurch and his very breath slammed out
of his lungs.
"Is he really that famous?" Lisa asked, grinning at Corinne.
"He's absolutely famous, you heathen." Corinne's laughter was
affectionate, teasing. "His band doesn't have a contract with
any label. Some people try to tape their music when they go to
their concerts. Their tapes are worth a fortune."
"You have an old record and several tapes, don't you?" Lisa
Color swept up Corinne's face. "Ssh! For heaven's sake, Lisa,
those tapes are black-market. What if someone hears you?"
Guilt was in her voice. "The band travels and plays mostly in
small places like old-fashioned troubadours. That's probably
how they came up with the name of their band."
Lisa leaned her chin into her hand. "He's looking this way, I
swear it, Rina, I really think he noticed us."
"He's gorgeous. I had no idea." And Corinne meant it. She was
never one to fall for any actor, musician or athlete. It
wasn't her style; she was too down to earth. But Dayan
resembled a sculpture of a Greek god. He was tall and sinewy,
gave the impression of great strength and power without being
obvious about it. His hair was very long, but well-kept,
shining like a raven's wing, pulled back at the nape of his
neck and secured with a leather thong. It was his face that
caught and held Corinne's attention. It could have been
chiseled from marble, a dark sensuous male, one with the
ability to be very sensual, or very cruel. She couldn't get
the impression of danger out of her mind when she looked at
His mouth was beautiful, as was the shape of his jaw with its
faint blue-black shadow, she had always liked that on a man,
but it was his eyes that ensnared her. She made the mistake of
looking directly at him. His eyes were beautiful, shaped like
a cat's eyes, dark and mysterious, empty, yet filled with a
thousand secrets. She felt almost pulled into his gaze,
captured for all time. She couldn't look away from him.
Mesmerized. The word came to her out of nowhere. She was
definitely mesmerized by him. His head was bent toward his
guitar, but his gaze seemed fixed on her face. Lisa, with her
striking looks garnished attention easily and was comfortable
with it. Corinne could barely breathe with his gaze locked on
Her fingers curled into a tight fist, her long nails digging
deeply into her palm. Her heart was doing a crazy somersault,
and her breath seemed stolen right from her lungs. "I've never
heard anyone play so beautifully." Her mouth was so dry she
could barely get the words out.
"He can just sit in my bedroom and play me to sleep every
night," Lisa said.
Color crept up Corinne's neck to sweep into her face at the
idea of this man in her bedroom. Playing his guitar would not
be what she had in mind. The thought was immediately shocking
to her. She had never thought of anyone like that. Not even
John. Not only did it seem disloyal, but it was totally out of
character for her. Suddenly she was very afraid. She wanted to
run like a child and find a place to hide from his mesmerizing
eyes and the strange effect he seemed to have on her. He
frightened her, truly frightened her. Perhaps it was his
music, so intense, so hungry, like his eyes.
"Corinne!" Lisa said her name sharply, breaking the spell.
"Are you alright, do you need your medication? You brought it
didn't you?" She had already grabbed Corinne's purse and was
rummaging through it hastily. There was an edge of fear to her
"I'm fine, Lisa," Corinne assured. "I think my hero took my
breath away for a minute there. He's potent. I wish he'd sing
again." She forced herself to laugh.
"Oh, yeah," Lisa said dreamily, "he has a sexy voice."
"Be still my heart," Corinne teased, clutching at her heart
dramatically. It made Lisa laugh, wiping out the sudden fear
in her eyes, just as Corinne knew it would.
With his superior hearing, Dayan could hear every word. He
sorted through conversations easily, dismissing them from his
mind, but not hers. Corinne. The other woman had called her
Corinne. Although happy to know he had managed to steal her
breath, he was busy assessing the situation. Medication. What
medication? What was wrong with her heart? It was important to
find out as soon as possible.
Dayan directed his attention toward Cullen. Go to the far
booth and strike up a conversation with the two women. He
pushed hard, making the compulsion a command. He didn't like
using Cullen, it wasn't in Dayan to use someone he was fond
of, and now that he could once again feel emotions, he could
feel the friendship he had with the human male. He needed an
emissary, someone to act quickly before Corinne bolted. It was
in her mind, he could read her easily enough, and he could not
allow her to flee from him.
Cullen turned his head and spotted the beautiful blonde. To
his astonishment he recognized her face. Lisa Wentworth. She
was a model often seen on the cover of magazines. Ordinarily,
he would never have the nerve to speak to her, but for some
reason, he later could never fathom, he found himself covering
the distance between them. He had been in love one time in his
life and had lost his fiancée. Since then he had never really
looked at another woman. He couldn't help but see Lisa
Wentworth. It wasn't just the fact that she was beautiful-it
was something shining from deep within her.
"It would be an honor to get you two whatever you're
drinking," he greeted. "My name is Cullen Tucker." He wished
he had a pick up line that would make him stand out among all
the men staring at her, but he hadn't tried conversing with a
woman in years.
"Lisa Wentworth." Lisa stuck out her hand and flashed a
blazing smile while Corinne seemed to shrink back into the
shadows, her face slightly averted, hair spilling down in a
silken shield. "This is Corinne, Corinne Wentworth."
Cullen raised his eyebrow in inquiry. They looked nothing
alike, although he thought them both beautiful. "What would
you like to drink?"
"We're both just drinking water," Lisa offered, a flirty smile
curving her soft mouth. "I'll let you get it for us if you
promise to sit with us."
"I'll be right back," Cullen commented, rather pleased that
Lisa wasn't staring up at Dayan with that look he recognized
in so many women. He had learned, in traveling with the band,
that few of the women who pursued them, cared what the band
members were like, only that they were famous and played in a
"What are you doing, Lisa," Corinne hissed. "Are you crazy?
You never pick up men. What are you thinking? Tell me you
aren't using him to meet the guitar player."
"Of course I'm not. I don't know, there's just something about
him. He's cute. He isn't looking at me as if I'm something to
drape on his arm and show off. It gets tiring. Do you mind so
much if he just talks to us? You can stare some more at Dayan
while he plays." There was a hopeful note in Lisa's voice.
Corinne took a deep breath and let it out slowly. She wasn't
being fair to Lisa. Lisa needed to have fun. She had been
taking care of Corinne for months now, and Lisa had lost John
too. Carefully Corinne hid her trembling hand in her lap out
of sight and forced herself to shrug causally. "I suppose I
can do that. But I'm not looking at him anymore. Just hearing
him play is overwhelming. He's almost too good."
Lisa's eyes were on the man at bar, signaling to the
bartender. There was something about Cullen that drew her
interest. His shoulders were square and he stood very
straight. She liked the way he looked her right in the eye.
There was something else, something that touched her heart,
she couldn't define or explain to Corinne, but he looked like
a man with the weight of the world on his shoulders and no one
to ease his burden. The plain truth was she liked the look of
"I'll take Cullen," Lisa was half serious, "you can go for the
Corinne flashed a saucy smile. "He's too good to be true. Men
like that break hearts everywhere they go. They have that
element of danger because they really are bad boys. Women
think they can change them, but the truth is, they're bad and
there's nothing to be done about it. If you're a smart woman,
which I am, you only stare at them and fantasize, you don't go
near them or you get your fingers burned. I'll just listen to
him play and be very happy."
Cullen made his way through the crowded club back to the booth
where the two women were seated. He had no idea what he was
going to say to them, the blonde was striking terror in his
heart. He couldn't possibly become interested in a woman, not
with a pack of murderers hounding his footsteps. Very
carefully he set the bottled water before each of them.
Excerpted from Dark Melody
by Christine Feehan
Copyright © 2003 by Christine Feehan.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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