Of the way he used to torture me until I forgot everything and lost myself in him.

I dream of him . . . and wake up wet and throbbing, my body empty and aching for his possession. Like an addict going through a withdrawal, I am desperate for a fix, for something to take the edge off my need.

I am not ready to date, but my body doesn’t care about that—and finally, I decide to give in.

Dressing up, I grab my old fake ID and head to a local bar.

The men swarm around me like flies. It’s easy, so fucking easy. A girl alone in a bar—that’s all the encouragement they need. Like wolves scenting prey, they sense my desperation, my desire for something more than a cold, lonely bed tonight.

I let one of them buy me drinks. A shot of vodka, then one of tequila . . . By the time he asks me if I want to leave, everything around me is fuzzy. Nodding, I let him lead me to his car.

He’s a good-looking man in his thirties, with sandy hair and blue-grey eyes. Not particularly tall, but reasonably well built. He’s an attorney, he tells me as he drives us to a nearby motel.

I close my eyes as he continues talking. I don’t care who he is or what he does. I just want him to fuck me, to fill that gaping void inside. To take away the chill that has seeped deep into my bones.

He rents a room at the front desk, and we go upstairs. When we get into the room, he takes off my coat and begins to kiss me. I can taste beer and a hint of tacos on his tongue. He presses me to him, his hands hot and eager as they begin to explore my body—and suddenly, I can’t take it anymore.

“Stop.” I shove him away as hard as I can. Taken by surprise, he stumbles back a couple of steps.

“What the fuck—” He gapes at me, mouth open in disbelief.

“I’m sorry,” I say quickly, grabbing my coat. “It’s not you, I promise.”

And before he can say a word, I run out of the room.

Catching a taxi, I go home, sick from the alcohol and utterly miserable. There is no fix for my addiction, no way to quench my thirst.

It starts off as another erotic dream.

Strong, hard hands slide up my naked body, callused palms scratching my skin as he squeezes my breasts, his thumbs rubbing against my peaked, sensitive nipples. I arch against him, feeling the warmth of his skin, the heavy weight of his powerful body pressing me into the mattress. His muscular legs force my thighs apart, and his erection prods at my sex, the broad head sliding between the soft folds and exerting light pressure on my clit.

I moan, rubbing against him, my inner muscles clenching with the need to take him deep inside. I’m soaking wet and panting, and my hands grasp his tight, muscular ass, trying to force him in, to get him to fuck me.

He laughs, the sound a low, seductive rumble in his chest, and his big hands grasp my wrists, pinning them above my head. “Miss me, my pet?” he murmurs in my ear, his hot breath sending erotic chills down the side of my body.

My pet? Julian never talks in my dreams—

I gasp, my eyes popping open . . . and in the dim early morning light, I see him.

Naked and aroused, he’s sprawled on top of me, holding me down on my bed. His dark hair is cut shorter than before, and his magnificent face is taut with lust, his eyes glittering like blue jewels.

I freeze, staring up at him, my heart thudding heavily in my ribcage. For a moment, I think that I’m still dreaming—that my mind is playing cruel tricks on me. My vision dims, blurs, and I realize that I literally stopped breathing for a moment, that the shock has driven all air out of my lungs.

I inhale sharply, still frozen in place, and he lowers his head, his mouth descending on mine. His tongue slips between my parted lips, invading me, and the hauntingly familiar taste of him makes my head spin.

There is no longer any doubt in my mind.

It’s really Julian—he’s as alive and vital as ever.

Fury, sharp and sudden, spikes through me. He’s alive—he’s been alive all along! The entire time while I mourned him, while I tried to mend my shattered soul, he’s been alive and well, undoubtedly laughing at my pathetic attempts to get on with my life.

I bite his lip, hard, filled with the savage need to hurt him—to rip his flesh as he ripped apart my heart. The coppery tang of blood fills my mouth, and he jerks back with a curse, his eyes darkening with anger.

I’m not afraid, however. Not anymore. “Let me go,” I hiss furiously, struggling against his hold. “You fucking asshole! You bastard! You were never dead! You were never fucking dead . . .” To my complete humiliation, the last phrase escapes as a choked sob, my voice breaking at the end.

His jaw tightens as he stares at me, the sensuous perfection of his lips marred by the bloody mark from my teeth. He holds me effortlessly, his hard cock poised at the soft entrance to my body. Enraged, I twist to the side, trying to bite him again, and he transfers my wrists into his left palm, restraining me with one hand while grabbing my hair with the other. Now I can’t move at all; all I can do is glare at him, tears of rage and bitter frustration burning my eyes.

Unexpectedly, his expression softens. “Looks like my little kitten grew some claws,” he murmurs, his voice filled with dark amusement. “I think I like it.”

I literally see red. “Fuck you!” I shriek, bucking against him, heedless of our naked bodies rubbing together. “Fuck you and what you like—”

His mouth swoops down on me, swallowing my angry words, and my teeth snap at him in another biting attempt. He jerks away at the last second, laughing softly. At the same time, the head of his cock begins to push inside me. Maddened beyond bearing, I scream—and his right hand releases my hair, slapping over my mouth instead. “Shhh,” he whispers in my ear, ignoring my muffled cries. “We wouldn’t want your neighbors to hear, now would we?”