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Prologue

Terrance Ramsay was married to an absolute bitch, and he couldn’t have been happier about it.

“You!” She climbed over the edge of the luxury yacht, dripping wet, as she would have to be to escape the elaborately secured day chamber on his favorite sailing vessel.

“Good evening, Gem. There’s some dry clothes in the stateroom if you want some.” He sipped a brandy and glanced at the white nightgown that clung to her slim frame. He’d never preferred skinny women. When Terry had been human, skinny meant poor, and the last thing the son of a farmer wanted when he came to the city was a woman who looked hungry. No, he’d always preferred a woman with a bit to hold on to. A generous bosom and bottom were his preference.

But then, one couldn’t always control who they fell in love with.

“I do not want dry clothes, Terrance.” Her voice was clipped and precise. It was the voice she used on her underlings, and Terry ignored how it set his fangs on edge. “I wish to know where we are. I wish to know how I got here. And then I demand to go back to London.”

He wouldn’t grin. No, he wouldn’t. Well, maybe a little. “Well, luv, you can piss in one hand and wish in the other and see which one fills up faster. We’re on our honeymoon. Relax. And if you don’t want dry clothes, you could always oblige me and wear none at all.”

It took a lot to get Gemma to make that face. He tried not to enjoy it too much. Her mouth was hanging open and her blue eyes were wide. Oh, she was angry, all right. The last time she’d made that face had been before they were engaged and he’d had the gall to chat up her maid when she was in the room. Gemma had turned him down countless times at that point, but apparently, she didn’t share. Even dishes that she hadn’t found a taste for yet. She’d clocked him and had the brass to complain she’d broken a nail. They were engaged two days later.

“After all,” Terry continued, “you don’t see me wearing any clothes.” Her wide eyes finally flicked down to the loose towel he wore around his waist. He didn’t care for swimming clothes. He was a water vampire. He was at home in his element and clothes weren’t something he wore unless he was forced.

“I have a charity luncheon tomorrow!” She stamped her foot. It was adorable.

“I’d say I’m sorry, but I’m not. I’m sure Wilhelmina will make your excuses for you. That’s why you pay her.”

She hissed at him. “I need to go back to London. I don’t know what mad scheme this is, but I’m not a fan of your pranks. I have responsibilities, people depending on me. And if you think you can—”

“We’re alone, Gem. Middle of the ocean with no land in sight. I’m almost as powerful as you are out here. Imagine that. No maids. No chefs. No minions scurrying about to tend to your every whim. Also, no meetings. No luncheons. No responsibilities other than the one to relax and indulge the imagination of your new husband.”

She was seething. “Indulge the imagination of—”

“No need to be proper here.” He grinned and let his fangs run out, deliberately looking her up and down like the choice morsel she was. No, he’d never cared for skinny women in the past, but then, Gemma wasn’t precisely skinny. She was just slim. She had a fine waist with a nice curve to her ass. Her breasts… well, he’d become rather fond of those, even if they were on the small side. Even more fond of her reaction when he paid them proper attention. And if he wasn’t mistaken, they rather liked his attention at the moment, despite what their mistress might protest.

Oh, he was going to get it for that, especially when he let her see the full effect of his lazy perusal. He threw off the towel, stretched his arms behind his head, and lay back for her examination. “Get rid of the clothes, luv.”

She couldn’t stop her eyes from traveling over him. Never had been able to, not from the first night they’d met over a hundred years before. Part of her hated him for it. He may have been handsome, but he was a bruiser and a cad. There wasn’t a proper bone in Terry’s body and his manners were rough to say the least. Terrance Ramsay was the last man in the world that Gemma Melcombe thought she should want for eternity.

And Terry knew he was the only man in the world she needed.

She tried to roll her eyes at him. “Stop showing off. Put some clothes on and take me back to England.”

He stood slowly and walked toward her, naked and aroused by anger and desire. The moon was almost full and it made her blond hair shine silver. She was a vision. They were in the middle of the Atlantic, not a bit of land in sight, with no lights other than the stars, and she stood long, slim, and furious with the water shining on her skin. God help him. He was completely at her mercy, no matter what element surrounded them, but he’d be damned if he let her see it.

Her delicate chin jutted out when he approached. Her blue eyes narrowed when he lifted his hands. Then widened when he took the straps of her nightgown in his fingers, tore the thing right down the center, and tossed it over the side of the boat.

Terry grinned when he glanced down. “There. Much better.”

Gemma screamed and leapt on him, knocking him to his back and punching his jaw when his head hit the deck. If he’d had to breathe, he would have been in trouble.

“I hate you!” She punched him again before he had both her wrists in his grasp. When she couldn’t free them, she leaned down and head-butted him. “Take me home!”

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