“Twelve tops. Sixteen is giving you too much credit.”

He bit the air. “Look who’s talking.”

My voice was so bitter I could taste it. “It doesn’t matter. I thought you wanted to be with me. You made me want”—I struggled with words—“things I didn’t think I would ever get. I thought we had a chance. But it’s over now. Thank you, Your Majesty, for curing my temporary madness and showing me how it was all my fault. I apologize for trashing your love-me gym. It was a mistake on my part. I will replace your bench and comforter. You can leave now.”

He stared at me. If he didn’t leave, I would kill him.

“Do you want me to spell it out? I’ll speak slowly. You broke my heart and now you’re stomping on it. I hate you. Get the hell out of my apartment, or I swear I’ll beat you bloody.”

His face was dark. “You want me to grovel? Is that it?”

“Come to think of it, groveling would be nice, but no, I just want you to go. Leave.”

His eyes flashed at me. “Make me.”

I lunged left and kicked him. He made no move to avoid it. My foot smashed into his stomach. Like kicking a tree sheathed in rubber. The kick knocked him back a couple of steps. He grunted. “That’s it, baby?”

I whipped about, picking up momentum, and kicked him in the head. He staggered back, looking a bit unfocused.

I forced a grin out. “Rang your bell, baby?” Shit. I’d hit him with everything I had and he didn’t go down. He should’ve been out like a light.

Curran shook his head and spat blood onto my carpet. The gold in his eyes burned me. He started toward me, his jaw set.

He wouldn’t take another kick to the head, and kicking his body was useless. I snapped a sidekick to his knee. He knocked my foot aside and grabbed at me. I dodged and hammered a punch into his side. He turned into it and my fist bounced off his back. Ow. I sank my heel into his knee again, driving it with all my power. He grunted, but kept coming. I grabbed a lamp off the nightstand and bashed him with it. He caught it, ripped it out of my hands, and tossed it aside.

I was almost to the wall. My room to maneuver shrank to nothing.

I smashed my knuckles into his solar plexus. He exhaled in a sharp breath and drove me into the wall. His forearm pinned my left arm. I hammered my right fist into his ear. He growled, caught my wrist, and locked it against the wall above my head.

I had no room to move. Game over.

He crushed me against the wall, bracing me with his body. I strained, trying to break free. He might have been made of stone for all the good it did me. Except he was made of flesh and he was stark naked.

I strained every muscle I had. Nothing. Outmuscling him was beyond me.

“Feel better?” he inquired.

“Lean over to the left, Your Majesty.”

“Want a shot at my jugular with your teeth?” He leaned to the right, exposing his thick neck. “Carotid’s better.”

“My teeth are too small. I wouldn’t cause enough damage for you to bleed out. Jugular is better—if I rip it a bit and get air bubbles into the bloodstream, they’ll be in your heart in two breaths. You would pass out at my feet.” A normal human would die, but it took more than an air embolism to bring a shapeshifter down permanently.

“Here you go.” He leaned his head to me, his neck so close to my lips, I felt the heat coming off his skin. His breath was warm against my ear. His voice was a ragged snarl. “I miss you.”

This wasn’t happening.

“I worry about you.” He dipped his head and looked into my eyes. “I worry something stupid will happen and I won’t be there and you’ll be gone. I worry we won’t ever get a chance and it’s driving me out of my skull.”

No, no, no, no . . .

We stared at each other. The tiny space between us felt too hot. Muscles bulged on his naked frame. He looked feral.

Mad gold eyes stared into mine. “Do you miss me, Kate?”

I closed my eyes, trying to shut him out. I could lie and then we’d be back to square one. Nothing would be resolved. I’d still be alone, hating him and wanting him.

He grabbed my shoulders and shook me once. “Do you miss me?”

I took the plunge. “Yes.”

He kissed me. The taste of him was like an explosion of color in a gray room. It was a fierce, possessive kiss and I melted into it. His tongue brushed mine, eager and hot. I licked at it, tasting him again. My arms slid around his neck.

He growled, pulling me to him, and kissed my lips, my cheeks, my neck . . . “Don’t make me leave.”

Not a chance. I gulped to catch my breath. “If you leave, how will I strangle you?”

He hoisted me up onto his hips and I molded myself to him and kissed him on the mouth, stealing his breath. I didn’t want to let go. His hands slid over my body, caressing my neck, moving to my shoulders, then my breasts. His fingers brushed my nipples, sending shivers through me. I arched my body, grinding into him, faster and faster.

He made a noise, halfway between a growl and a purr. It triggered something deep, on a primeval female level, and I pressed tighter to him, running my hands over the cords of the muscles on his back, licking his neck, kissing him over and over, so he would make it again.

Curran swung me off the wall and carried me across the room, bumping into things. We stumbled onto the bed, tipped over at an angle. Curran pulled it down with one hand and we fell on it, his big body on top of mine. He dragged his mouth from my lips and kissed my neck, painting heat down my throat. My nipples ached. He pulled the gown down off my shoulder and sucked on my breast. Heat shot through me, making me hyper and impatient. I felt so empty and I wanted to be full of him. His scent and the heat coming off him made me drunk.

Curran caught my arms and pushed them above my head. His left hand closed on my wrists. He kissed me with a low hungry growl, teeth nipping at my skin. His hot hand slid up my thigh, sending me into shivers, and I heard my underwear rip. He tossed it aside, thrust his hand under my butt, lifting my hips, and bent down between my thighs.

Oh, my God.

I screamed.

He licked me, sucking, and all of me faded except for the hot knot of pleasure down below. Every stroke, every touch of his tongue, made it grow hotter and hotter, building the pressure, unbearable, wonderful, overpowering. Finally it burst through me in a searing jolt, from inside all the way to my skin. Curran released me. I cried out and grabbed at him. The heat dissolved into a cascade of waves.

“Condoms,” I breathed.


Tags: Ilona Andrews Kate Daniels Vampires
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