Authors: J.C. Daniels
. I grabbed the katana Chang had given me and climbed out, drawing it and tossing the sheath back into the car. My other blade was tucked in behind the passenger seat but I wasn’t about to ignore the threat long enough to get it. Casually, I rested my hand on the firearm strapped to my left thigh. The Glock XT23 was strong enough—and fast enough—to put a hole through a vampire.
All I had to do was…
Shadows gathered in front of me.
A good thirty feet separated me from that cluster, but it was still too close.
I had the Glock leveled by the time the shadows cleared and his face emerged.
The sight of Abraham Allerton didn’t make me feel
Penetrating gray eyes stared at me. His hair, thick, black and straight, flowed back from a widow’s peak to his shoulders. He was tall and slim and he carried himself with military bearing.
His gaze landed on the Glock and he cocked his head.
“Do you intend to use that?”
I smiled. “I’m thinking about it.”
“Then I’ll stay here until you’ve made up your mind. I recall how fast you are.”
Ah. Yes. He’d seen me use a gun before—right before I blew the brains out of a friend of his. My finger tightened convulsively on the trigger and I forced myself to let up. “Why are you here?”
“I’m looking for Justin Greaves.” His lids drooped. “You’ve seen him today.”
“And you know this…how?”
A second later, I was ready to kick myself. I shook my head. “Never mind. I dunno if anybody’s ever pointed this out, but the smell thing is
“Your lover is a shapeshifter. His sense of smell is keener than mine.” Abraham lifted a shoulder, looking unconcerned. He lifted an elegantly arched brow, his expression patient.
Like most vampires, his expressions were
perfect. Practiced almost.
The only time I’d ever seen what seemed to be
emotions from vampires…
Don’t go there, Kit
, I told myself, wrapping a choke-chain around my memories.
“Have you seen Justin?”
I stared down the barrel of the Glock at him, debating. Slowly, I lowered it. Not because I trusted Abraham, but because I trusted Justin and Justin trusted Abraham.
I wasn’t going to stand there all night with a weapon pointed.
I kept it unholstered there, hanging at my right side, while I gripped the katana in my left hand.
Abraham’s gaze slid from one weapon to the next, lingering on the blade.
Just as I was about to respond, he murmured, “I know that blade.”
I think I hid my surprise better than he hid his. I
“Yeah?” I angled it, letting the streetlights dance off the surface. There was only one way he’d know this particular blade and that would be if he’d been in Chang’s inner sanctum. My skin crawled at the thought of it, but Chang was Damon’s top man. He was going to have odd bedfellows.
His gaze slid to me and if I wasn’t mistaken, he looked somewhat disgruntled. “Yes.” Eyes narrowed, he said, “I offered a fair sum to buy it from Mr. Tanaka."
“I guess it wasn’t fair enough.” Mr. Tanaka—Chang—wasn’t going to sell his toys.
“I’ll pay double.” His gaze rested on the blade with a covetous greed that I could completely understand and I found myself relaxing. Odd, that. He was all but drooling over a deadly weapon and that made me breathe easier.
“I didn’t pay him anything.” I smiled as I said it and watched as the expression ripple over his face.
We were interrupted before he could formulate his response and I mentally chanted:
The last thing I wanted was to have one of the top vamps for the Allerton family squaring off with my lover because Damon didn’t like how edgy I was.
The loud rumble of his engine went silent as he pulled up and parked next to me. Casually, I shifted my body and slid my Glock back into the holster although there was nothing to be done about the blade.
Abraham’s face went blank, smooth as glass.
Damon could be as silent as he wished—when he chose. If he wanted, he could move without making a sound and when he came at you, you wouldn’t know until it was too late.
On the flipside, there were times when he damn well wanted you to know he was coming.
This was one of those times.
The door to the classic Dodge Challenger closed with slow deliberation. I didn’t look away from Abraham, but the sound of Damon’s booted feet striking the ground sent a thrill rushing through me. Or maybe it was a chill. His mood had slid into dangerous territory—all at the sight of Abraham Allerton.
His shadow fell across mine, swallowing it.
I slid him a glance.
“Hey.” My smile was firmly in place.
His lashes swept low, shielding his eyes for a long moment and then he flicked a look at Abraham. “You’re keeping strange company, Kit.”
“I can’t say he’s company.” I lifted a shoulder. “Abraham came by looking for Justin.”
Abraham inclined his head. “Alpha Lee.”
Damon took one step forward. “Greaves isn’t here, as you’re perfectly aware. Get lost.”
Abraham’s gaze moved back to me. “Miss Colbana, if you will let him know I need to speak with him, I’d appreciate it.”
“She doesn’t need to be passing messages along for you, leech,” Damon said, his voice dropping into a low growl.
I pushed past him and caught Abraham’s gaze. “I’ll let him know, Abraham.” As the shadows wrapped around him, I shot Damon a fulminating look. “You do
speak for me.” He opened his mouth and I whirled on him, driving my finger into his chest. “
Teeth bared in a snarl, he bent his head.
I rose up on to my toes and shoved my face into his, jabbing him once more for effect. “
,” I said again.
Then, with a disgusted sneer, I moved to my car and gathered up the rest of my gear. Storming over to my front door, I mentally cursed the damn cat that I couldn’t seem to live without.
I didn’t hear him, but I knew he was following. I ducked inside before he could touch me, but I didn’t slam the door in his face, as much as I was tempted. If I’d thought about it for another five seconds, though, I might have.
Especially once the intensity of his anger jacked up.
Standing in the middle of my bedroom, the katana in one hand, my blade in the other, I stared at the floor and cursed Justin in one breath, Damon in the next. It was faint, but Justin’s scent still lingered. If I could smell it, so could Damon.
Ignoring him, I placed both blades near my bed and moved over to the table where I kept my other weapons. Glock, dagger, throwing knives—
Hands came down on my shoulders.
A headache pounded between my eyes. Putting the garrote down, I focused on the wooden surface.
“You want to tell me what’s going on or do I just go kill him?”
Shrugging out from under his grip, I moved over to my bed and sat on the edge. “Seriously, you’re really going to kill Justin because he came into my bedroom?”
My plan had been to unlace my boots.
I hadn’t even been able to bend over.
Damon was suddenly looming over me and my heart lurched up into my throat.
Green-gold swam in his eyes as he bent over me, his hands coming down to pin me in place. “No, I’m going to kill him because I smell him all over your bed.”
was going to kill Justin—for being a pain in my ass.
Reaching up, I laid my hand on Damon’s cheek.
“But you don’t smell him on me, do you?”
Closing his eyes, Damon ducked his head. “That’s not…Kit, I didn’t think…”
“I know.” Lifting my other hand, I cupped his face in my hands. The dark crown of his head was bowed and I leaned in, pressed a kiss to his scalp. “He’s just being evil. I mentioned you were coming over later and he flopped his ass down on the bed just to get under your skin.”
His head came up then.
“It looks like he’s done just that,” I said softly.
His hands flexed on the sheets next to me. “I’m going to get under
Leaning in, I pressed my mouth to his.
I all but held my breath…waiting.
The soft, gentle kiss wasn’t what I wanted.
It wasn’t what I needed.
My heart raced and my body begged…and he soothed.
While that edgy need climbed higher and higher, I twisted my arms around his neck and hooked one knee around his hip.
He broke the kiss immediately.
As he put the width of the room between us, I clenched my hands into fists.
Maybe the only way to do this was to get naked.
The idea had merit.
Yeah, he’d probably try to coddle me through it—and maybe I’d end up needing that—but at least he’d get the point.
“Why was Allerton here?”
The question was a splash of cold water.
Jerking my head up, I met his gaze. The grey was a warm haze of smoke and his jaw was a rigid line, but the words had been delivered in a cool flat tone.
Interesting segue, Damon
I ran my tongue across my teeth and immediately wished I hadn’t because I tasted him on me. His gaze dropped to my mouth and I shuddered. A muscle pulsed in his jaw and he looked away.
“Fuck this,” I muttered, shoving upright.
I moved toward the door, my sock-clad feet silent on the hardwood.
Damon moved out of the way—away from me—like I carried some sort of contagious disease. I wanted to grab him and shake him and beg him to touch me. How did I tell him that I needed it?
Just do it
But the words lodged in my throat, trapped.
Shooting him a dark glare, I continued into the kitchen. I needed chocolate or a drink or a huge pot of tea—or sex—but clearly, I wasn’t going to get the option I really wanted, so I had to make do.
“He was looking for Justin,” I said. “Just like I already told you.”
He was quiet as I opened the fridge. Milk. There was milk. I grabbed it and opened the cabinet next to the fridge. Perfect. A half bar of real chocolate. Hot chocolate—not quite sex, but almost as good.
“And why was Justin here?”
“Because we’re gearing up for a job.” I focused on heating up the milk instead of looking at him. I wasn’t quite ready to talk about that job just yet—or Shanelle. Not considering how pissed off I was getting.
“What’s Allerton got to do with this?”
I jerked a shoulder. Breaking the chocolate into pieces, I added it to the milk. One piece went into my mouth and I hummed in appreciation.
Heavy arms came around me, surrounding me.
My body reacted to the nearness of his. Heat grabbed me, shimmering through me. I turned to face him, one piece of chocolate still in my hand. Lifting it to my mouth, I stared at him as I licked it off my fingers.
His eyes flared.
“I don’t know what he wanted from Justin,” I said, deliberately choosing those words. I had a bad feeling I knew exactly what Allerton wanted with Justin, but I wasn’t going there right now. “He just wants to speak with him.”
Damon’s gaze stayed on my mouth.
The taste of chocolate lingered.
I wanted the taste of
Licking my lips, I shrugged casually. “Now…can you back off?”
Instead, he reached up and touched his finger to the corner of my mouth.
I felt that touch jolt through me from head to toe.
I turned my head and caught his finger in my mouth and sucked on it.
He was on the other side of the room in a blink.
Swearing, I spun around.
The milk was starting to steam, but suddenly, I didn’t want it. Hot chocolate wasn’t going to do it. I hit the button to turn off the heating element. Fury pulsed, twisted and pounded within—but it wasn’t just fury.
He’d treated me with kid gloves the past few months. Yes, part of me had appreciated the patience…at first.
But I was coming out of my skin and I
him. I didn’t know what to do about it, though, and this indecision was killing me. I didn’t know how to handle it—or him.
“Don’t.” The word ripped out of me with a viciousness that stunned me. “Just
I spun on my heel and stalked toward him. “You know what?” I slammed the heel of my hand against his chest. He didn’t even budge. I did it again and my lack of ability to make him move infuriated me. “Just get out. You hear me? If you can’t stand to be around me and treat me like a real person then just
get the hell out
The fury inside me was a beast and I couldn’t make sense of it.
Damon’s eyelids flickered.
He inclined his head and then turned on his heel.
“Yeah,” I sneered at his retreating back. “You go ahead and run.”
. I’d just told him to go.
He stopped right where he was and dropped his head. “You told me to go. I’m just doing what you want.”
“You don’t know what I want!” I shouted.
With a half-scream, I turned away and left the room before I made myself look anymore the fool. I was going to blister my skin off in the shower. And maybe try to relieve some of the pent-up frustration in there as well, since Damon still didn’t know how to handle touching me.
But when I went to slam the door, a heavy hand stopped me.
My breath caught in my throat as Damon came inside.
“It seems to me that you want to fight,” Damon said after I’d backed myself up against the sink.
“Do not.” Oh.
sounded mature. I folded my arms over my chest and jutted my chin up. “Well, maybe I do, but you only have yourself to blame. You have no business interrogating me over things that connect to my work.”
His eyes narrowed as he reached up and cupped my chin. “No right…” His thumb swept over my bottom lip and it sent a shiver through me. He noticed, too. His pupils spiked. “You got any idea what it did to me to see you standing in the parking lot here, alone with a vampire, baby girl?”