He mouthed her name again – Malina. The simple act recharged something inside him like a new battery to a stalled engine. A life-long veil lifted as he took a deep, satisfying breath for the first time in his long life, his ever-present restlessness subsiding. His entire essence focused on her, receptive to the way she moved, the sway of her hips, the slight spring in her step, and the soft curve of her back as she tilted to slide into her car, all causes of many a warrior’s fall. What the hell? I have to complete this mission, and fast, before I…
She looked up, and Asriel held his breath, quieting his thoughts and remaining as still as possible when her amber eyes seemed to lock on him. The moment grew into seconds, surreal, as if nothing else existed.
Asriel finally allowed himself to breathe again when Malina shook her head, then started her vehicle and sped out of the parking lot, ending his self-admonishment and drawing his attention to more urgent matters.
According to what he’d read, Malina would lead him to his wayward charge, Joseph Ward, a man who had not been seen nor heard from in over twenty years. He cloaked himself to avoid being seen, and followed her, lifting his wings again to fly high above her so as not to cast a shadow when she drove away. He frowned, something instinctual rising to protect her when the man she had been speaking to outside the office building followed.
The encroacher’s disregard for Malina’s obvious distaste for him put Asriel’s senses on alert. He squinted, puzzled by his sense of connection to her, and his instinctive reaction to the man’s unwanted attention, his teeth grinding again, urgency and fury warring inside him for first place. Catching her would not present a challenge, but he had no idea what to say to earn her trust once they stood face-to-face?
Daitre stepped into the bedroom bath and dashed cold water on her face to keep from crying, Auriel’s words running through her mind. The fear of being captured, poked and prodded by her father’s enemies haunted her.
She hit the light switch, stepping out of the bathroom with every intention of going straight to her bed for a much needed nap, but as she passed his make-shift bed, she couldn’t help stopping. Daitre sat, tentative at first, but the deafening silence in the room urged her on.
She lifted his pillow to her face and rested her cheek against it, his cinnamon and woods scent prompting her to inhale deeply, eyes closed. The mere scent of him triggered a reaction in her body, causing her to stretch, savoring the pleasant tingle zinging straight to her clit and flashing outward again, a delicious warmth infusing her body – arousal.
She dropped the pillow and jumped up, eyes wide. Joban stood in the doorway, his expression unreadable until his mouth covered hers. She knew he’d used his time-bending ability because she hadn’t seen him move. One moment he watched her embarrassing display from the doorway, the next he was on her, his huge arms wrapped around her waist, lips claiming hers.
Her mind raced but her body responded on instinct, clinging to him, writhing to be free of every and anything separating her from him. As if he heard her plea, Joban released her long enough to respond in his usual dictatorial manner.
“Take these off.” He used his eyes to stress his meaning, stoking her fire with a head to toe gaze, stormy gray depths offering a glimpse of yet another side of him she longed to explore further.
Sable heard his wolf growling to be released. This woman enthralled him with her dancing brown eyes as she spoke, prattling on non-stop as if she knew he and his wolf were the same, and when she smiled, his heart answered. She had no idea of his internal battle, how every part of him wanted to possess her.
The dress she wore accentuated every voluptuous curve as she swiveled her full hips, enticing him to forget pretense. He’d nearly whipped her around to face him, and tasted her lips as they entered the restaurant, but he knew if they tasted anything like she smelled, he wouldn’t stop there. She seemed so comfortable with him, and her desire for him was even more obvious now that she was away from her office. The combination of her scent, her beauty, her…sweetness enveloped him, curling around him, claiming his appetite.
“…so odd. I always keep it in the same place. I always…”
Her phone. She was talking about her phone. He’d returned it when he picked her up, dropping it behind her foyer table. Borrowing it had been necessary in case he couldn’t make it back to his hotel room – at least that’s what he told himself, but his reason didn’t make him feel any better about it. This enthralling woman had already reached him on an instinctual level, driving him to keep something that carried her scent.
For a split second she heard the voices of critics, but reminded herself that it wasn’t as if she would have ever met an eligible sentinel shifter without going to extreme measures. She shook her head. Syreena Adler had no intentions of dying a spinster, and due to her high standards, she’d never met another male before Cord who stood a chance.
She watched the street signs as the taxi driver took her into what appeared to be the heart of the city’s downtown business district. She raised a trembling hand and ran it lightly over her ebony hair, crossing and uncrossing her legs to keep from bouncing in her seat.
He wouldn’t be expecting her, but she simply couldn’t wait any longer. Every part of her recognized him on a level beyond time or distance. He belonged to her, and she had to see him, touch him. They’d never shared pictures–her idea, but her instincts had never led her wrong so far.
Gray walls closed in on her as soon as she stepped through the heavy glass doors and entered the office building, and she wondered how Cord managed to spend so much time here, even if it was a temporary contract. Just a few more feet to the elevator and she could be face to face with him in moments – her reason for trekking all the way from Washington state to Georgia.
She hit the up arrow and consciously stopped her right leg from trembling. There wasn’t much she could do about her shaky hands. They’d gone from a nearly imperceptible tremble to shaking like a loose motor. Damned nerves. Syreena’s wolf scented him too – sexy sentinel, all alpha male, and she didn’t care who she had to go through to get to him.
As soon as she stepped off the elevator, she recognized his deep, sexy drawl. His raspy baritone seeped under her skin like warm molasses and forced her to stand still, seismic waves challenging every ounce of her control. She took a deep breath and glided toward the sound prompting her to move hell and high water, her feet moving of their own volition, stilettos clicking lightly on the linoleum.
She was too tired to argue with the dictator, his unfriendly sister, and their silent, dangerous-looking friends, so she quietly slid into his SUV as soon as he opened the door for her and relaxed against the leather seat. Uneasy about the break-in and the whole situation, she jumped as Torin whipped the seatbelt across her waist and clicked it in place before walking around to the driver seat.
“Um, thank you.” She smiled, unable to remember a time when anyone had ever fastened her seatbelt for her before Torin. Even that strange action was oddly comforting. She found herself wondering if he did that for anyone else.
She turned toward him, struck by the hard lines of his profile and his broad shoulders. His clothes were worn, a black T-shirt washed nearly dark gray to match his eyes, revealing a sculpted six-pack and fitted blue jeans that hugged a perfect, muscular ass and an impressive front bulge. Steph looked away, embarrassed by the direction her mind kept taking with a man who had shown no interest in her other than responsible concern.
She crossed her arms over her breasts. “So…did you get things taken care of?”
Torin shook his head once, watching the road. “No.”
When he didn’t elaborate, she tried again. “Sounded like it was pretty important. I’m—”
“Don’t want to talk about that. You have any neighbors around during the day?”
Now it was Steph’s turn to shake her head. “No, not really. I’m pretty sure most of them work.”
Torin glanced at her with emotion in his eyes just a moment before he turned back to the road. Was that warmth or pity?
It occurred to her that she would have been more than annoyed with anyone else who abruptly changed the subject on her like he’d just done, but somehow she was learning to accept his differences. She realized in the moment that Dr. Torin DuMont could very likely get away with things she wouldn’t tolerate from anyone else.
Steph caught herself staring at his hands as he gripped the steering wheel. She couldn’t help imagining them on her body, replaying steamy scenes from her dreams. She took a deep breath and turned to look out of the window, seeking the same mental escape she’d sought the first time she’d been in his SUV.
Torin glanced at Steph when they arrived at her apartment, silently commanding her to wait until he opened her door.
She took his hand, allowing him to help her out of the SUV. Heat suffused her entire body, an electrical current sizzling along the path from her breasts to her core as soon as she touched him. The intensity of his touch, his very presence, elicited flashes of something wild, uncontrollable.
He froze, a nearly inhuman stillness, a slight frown marring his handsome features. He felt something, too, and he didn’t appear to be happy about it.
Kaden’s Reprieve (Kushiel’s Keep)
Tanya smiled as she stepped onto the elevator. Room 333 – that should give her good fortune. She wasn’t counting on it. Ms. Lillian’s exclusive matchmaking business, “Heaven’s Touch,” was revered and respected by any and everyone with money and power – those who knew about it, that is. No matter how grateful she was, Tanya still hoped to God her benefactor wasn’t trying to hook her up with some clown.
She needed a man’s drama like she’d needed a bullet in her back a few hours ago. Plus, most men seemed intimidated by her…unless they were trying to kill her, that is. She was a big girl, and she’d always been a fighter, but right now, she was just tired and…lonely. The voice in her head that never kept silent long enough spoke up. “Matchmaking is what she does. Getting hooked up with a man is a hell of a lot better than running for your life.”
She blew an errant strand of hair out of her face. As long as there wasn’t somebody in her room, suite, whatever waiting to kill her, it was all good.
Just before the door closed, a huge hand slid inside, causing the doors to automatically stop. Heat rushed through Tanya’s body like a furnace. She glanced around to see if anyone else had been affected by the unseen force, but apparently she was just having a young adult hot flash. At least that’s what she thought until the elevator doors opened to reveal the source of titillating heat.
She covered her heart with her right hand as she gazed into the smoky gray eyes of very possibly the most gorgeous man she’d ever seen in her twenty-nine years. Not a pretty man, but breathtaking in his masculinity. Testosterone rolled off him in waves. Over six and a half feet tall, she had to look up at him. At nearly six feet herself, looking up at a man was a welcome rarity. Storm clouds brewed in his eyes, so dark they seemed to swallow the light, and his skin, dark bronze with muscles so massive his black short-sleeve T and sweats couldn’t begin to hide them.
Her heart kicked up a few notches and she immediately understood the hot flash, stifling the overwhelming desire to fan herself. Her rational side whispered, dangerous, but the other part of her, the part she hadn’t seen nor heard from since her father was killed, purred, Yum.
I prayed he’d stay the night.
Warm brown eyes gazed, sincere. “How can you ask, Helena? How many times must I risk everything for you?”
In sleep I felt hands caressing me – my neck, spine, the sensitive globes of my behind, between my legs, only to vanish when the sun pierced the moon.
“Close the curtains.”
His deep voice resonated from my core, and I turned to see Edgar’s shadow.
Shielded from daylight, his bare chest pressed against my back.
“Only three p.m.? No longer clandestine?”
“Shh. You called, I came. Time matters not.”
He punctured my carotid. I’ll never wait again.