Authors: Jordyn Tracey
Copyright © May 2010, Jordyn Tracey
Cover art designed by Sugar and Spice Press © May 2010
This is a work of fiction. All characters and events portrayed in this novel are fictitious or used fictitiously. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book, or portions thereof, in any form.
Sugar and Spice Press
North Carolina, USA
From his vantage point propped against the stone wall, Noah watched his father sleeping. His breathing was labored, and he hadn’t regained consciousness for the last two hours. Any minute now, the old coot’s healing powers should kick in, and he’d be good as new. They’d taken a lot of blood, but the dragon shifter was known to be resilient. Reproducing blood cells shouldn’t be a challenge.
Noah refocused his gaze on his partner, Owen. The man was brilliant. If anyone on the planet could discover the secret to waking up his dormant dragon gene, Owen could, and Noah had already promised to make it worth his while. That is if he kept his mouth shut about what they’d done. If not, well, Noah would deal with that when the time came. Owen seemed to get off on just the discovery, having no interest in fame or winning the Nobel
or whatever reward scientists were given.
With a sigh, Noah pushed off the wall and went to peer over his partner’s shoulder. “Any luck?” His patience was growing thin. He’d already been searching for the answer for longer than he cared to wait. Unlike the damn shifters in his family line, his lifespan did not border on immortality. “I don’t have many more years left, you know.”
Owen smirked but didn’t swing his attention from his microscope. “You’re thirty-four, hardly decrepit yet.”
Noah grunted. “I want this thing done while I’m still good-looking and able to move with ease. There’s no telling if the awakened gene will reverse the aging process. Besides, I have plans to enjoy my life in a whole new way. I don’t want to do it like
.” He nodded toward his father.
“You’re a cold-hearted bastard, you know that, Noah?” Owen commented.
“Your own father.
How old is he anyway?”
“You didn’t have a problem pulling half his blood supply, did you? So don’t hand me that cold-hearted bullshit. You’re in this with me.” Noah ran a hand through his hair. “I’m just tired of waiting. You cannot imagine what will open up to me when I am able to shift. Everything I am hangs on our success. You could never understand.”
“You’re right. I can’t understand it,” Owen admitted. “What I love is the challenge, the discovery. You’re probably also right about me being just as cold as you. All I needed to know is that he would heal.” Owen glanced at Noah’s father lying on the examining table. “He hasn’t moved or awakened. I’m beginning to worry.”
“Just get it done. You let me worry about my father,” Noah spat. He’d hated the bastard from the time he was five years old when he’d discovered his father used his charm to cheat on Noah’s mother. Funny, the same gift that made him despise his father was the one he would almost kill for today. “And for your information, he’s over three hundred years old.”
Owen gasped, his beady black eyes widening. “You’re kidding!”
Owen sighed and turned back to his work. He removed his horn-rimmed glasses to pinch the bridge of his nose. “Take a look for yourself. No change. I’ve done more than a hundred variations of my tests on his blood, and I’m coming to the conclusion that it’s his age. I had no idea how right I was.
Owen scratched his head. “Are there any younger shifters we can draw blood from? I know you said they are rare, but there must be one.”
Noah’s vision blurred as he thought of the one person he didn’t want to bring into this.
was a whole other issue, one that Noah wanted to avoid. Still, if his father wasn’t going to be of use, then he had no choice.
“There’s one.” He stuffed his hands in his pockets and reared back on his heels as he developed a plan of action. “My cousin Stone is the only other shifter that I know of, and he’s my age. I’ll get his blood, one way or another.”
He’d been watching her all night. Tielle had felt his dark eyes follow every move she made, especially when she walked on the dance floor. She hadn’t lacked for dance partners, not when she was dressed as she was in a slinky red dress that hugged every curve and showed off her cleavage to the point that the guys were foaming at the mouth and fighting each other to get closer.
But not him.
He hadn’t moved from his spot in the corner although she’d sashayed by with her girlfriend a couple times.
And he was interested. Tielle knew when a man wanted her, even when he wasn’t given to roaming hands and a lustful expression in his eyes. This man hadn’t shifted one muscle. He swirled his drink in his glass before bringing it to full, thick lips that made her want to taste him. He was built too, massive shoulders, bulging biceps, visible because of his short-sleeved shirt. His head full of dark curly hair and chiseled jaw line started fantasies in her head that dulled the fun of being with men.
She’d dated white men plenty of times. In fact, they were her personal preference, but every one of them
of average to good looks. All had been mild-mannered, sweet, and fun. None compared to Sexy over there. This guy was dangerous with a capital
. Tielle should keep it moving, but something about him made her want to forget her usual ploy of making a guy come to her and just march right over there.
On impulse, she began dancing in his direction—with subtlety, she hoped. Her partner followed, grasping her hips and moving closer than Tielle liked. For the moment, she let it slide. When they were within steps of Sexy, she stopped and swung around to the man whose name she’d forgotten the second he uttered it. She began gyrating with her most sensual moves, raised her hands above her head and tilted her head back a little, closing her eyes.
Her lips parted, she danced for him and not the guy in front of her. Still, her tease set her partner off. He whooped in excitement. “Damn, I’ve never met a woman like you before. Let me take you home tonight,” he shouted in her ear.
She pushed him back and whirled. He grabbed her hips right away and tried grinding into her ass. She moved again.
“Baby, don’t tease me,” he pleaded.
When the music ended, he made another offer to take her home, and she put a hand up to his chest, smiling. “Sorry, baby, I’m here to unwind and have fun. I’m not taking anybody home tonight.”
“Dance with me again.”
She didn’t even elaborate or give him some lame excuse. His lust was starting to gross her out, although she couldn’t blame him after what she’d done to the poor man. At her limit waiting on the one she wanted, she closed the steps between them and stopped just between his jean-clad legs. “So you’re just going to stare all night or what?”
“If you wanted to dance, you could have said so,” he replied. A shiver ran down Tielle’s back at the deep, slightly accented, timbre of his voice.
She put her hands on her hips. “You should have come to me.”
“Like all your other trained puppies?
I don’t think so.”
She sucked her teeth and rolled her eyes. When she swung around to walk away, he stood up in one swift motion and wrapped his arm around her waist. His huge palm splayed over her belly made her sag against his hard body. She should tell him to get his damn hands off her, but she didn’t want him to.
His hot breath brushed her neck, and when a slow beat started up, he moved her and himself to the seductive tones. “Is this what you want?” he whispered.
“Or something more?”
She’d worn a thong for the night, but right now, she needed a whole lot more protection with the pool that had started between her legs. The man was in another league than the guys she was used to. Maybe she should run now and cut her losses. Again, she didn’t want to. Her eyes drifted closed. She tilted her head back against his chest and rocked with him.
All of a sudden, she wanted to kiss him, to feel him inside of her while they had sex, but she never took a man home she didn’t know. The rule crumbled with each caress from this guy’s body and with each word he spoke.
“What’s your name?” he asked.
“Pretty…no…beautiful, just like you.”
She blushed. What the hell was she doing? She did
blush. “Thanks. What’s yours?”
“Mm,” he breathed.
Yeah, he was a stone all right, solid. The rock that had grown out in his pants pressed into her back as he was several inches taller than her. Stone slid his hands up her sides and let his fingertips tease the beginning swell of her breasts.
“So what does a man have to do to sample all of this?”
She glanced up to find his dark gaze aimed at her breasts. He licked his lips, and it had a different effect than what she’d experienced with the other men. To her shame, she started thinking about those lips wrapped around a nipple. She shook her head, trying for some clarity. “That’s not how I do things. I don’t jump into bed with a man on first meeting him.”
He lowered his mouth toward hers. Tielle was mesmerized. She parted her lips, ready to accept his kiss. Desperate anticipation coiled in her belly. The heat from his mouth and body tantalized her. Giving into him seemed the right thing to do. Their lips brushed.
She jumped and drew back. Blinking as if drunken, she swiveled her head around to her friend. “Jamie,” she muttered, half disappointed, half relieved.
Jamie jerked her away from Stone, and he let go. The expression in his eyes showed reluctance. Her friend curved an arm over her shoulders, cheeks pink. Her protective nature was in full force from the look of it. “Come on and have a drink with me, Tielle. The company over here looks unsavory.” Her aqua glare accused Stone.
Tielle covered a chuckle. She didn’t want to walk away from him, but it was probably best. Another song, a few more words, and she’d have stripped butt naked in front of him.
look when she dragged her gaze from his said he believed the same.
“Nice meeting you, Tielle,” he called. “We’ll do it again
Jamie sucked her teeth and flipped her bottle blonde hair over her shoulder. “He’s bad news, Tielle. I can spot them a mile away. I don’t think you should give him the time of day. From the looks of it, you were ready to give him a whole lot more than the time.”
Tielle sighed. “Girl, you don’t know the half of it. If you hadn’t come over when you did, I’d probably have been already knocked up with his baby.”
Jamie burst out laughing. “You’re crazy. Hey, you’ve rescued me enough. I figured I’d return the favor.”
Tielle tugged a lock of her friend’s hair. “It’s the
I told you, and the fake boobs.”
They reached the bar, and Jamie put in their order before turning back to Tielle. “You don’t bite your tongue. That’s for sure. And if I didn’t get these boobs, how would I ever compete with you. All the white men run behind
and the black ones too.”
“Please, don’t even. You get your fair share. Every other week you have a new man. I pace myself.” She winked at her friend. “I keep one until he gets on my last nerve and start getting clingy.” She picked up the drink the bartender sat in front of her and drank down a few swallows. Funny enough, the alcohol restored her a bit after her experience with Stone. “But you’re right, girl. We’re here to unwind from school. Going after that nursing degree is kicking my ass. I need fun on the weekend.”
“I hear you.” Jamie clicked her glass to Tielle’s in toast to fun.
For the rest of the night, Tielle stayed away from Stone, although he kept watching her. Every now and then, she looked over his way. Each time she did, he caught her eye and lifted his glass. The raised eyebrow challenged her, but she wasn’t going for it. A man like that took away her reason, and if there was one thing Tielle valued, it was rigid control of her senses. That was why she limited drinking to one glass. Alcohol went to her head and made her tipsy if she had too much. Then she would end up dancing on someone’s table acting a fool. No thanks. Her goals were firm, get her Bachelors in nursing and make enough money to live comfortably.
She didn’t need to be rich, but she did need to pay the bills. And a few extras now and then couldn’t hurt. Life for her had been tough growing up. After her dad had left the family, her mother fought to feed and clothe Tielle, only to contract cancer and pass away before Tielle was ten. After that she’d been raised in one foster home after another. The dreaded disease might have claimed her mother, but Tielle was determined to be a small help in caring for others in need, along with more than meeting her financial need. She was in her final year. A couple months to
and she was home free.
Thoughts of marriage and children didn’t fit into her dreams, so Stone, a man she could too easily see making her love him with everything in her being, was out of the question. No, occasional affairs were just fine. She and Jamie had their ways. They worked. She’d leave it at that.
At one in the morning, Tielle took one last look in Stone’s direction and found him gone. She spun about, disappointment swirling inside her chest. By the front door, she caught sight of him. He seemed to be waiting for her to notice before he left. Since they weren’t too far apart, she read his lips with ease.
“We’ll meet again.”
Her heart thundered. If she did see him again, would she be able to resist him a second time? Would she even want to?