Killing her. The two words echoed in his mind. Killing her. Killing her. Did he want her to have surgery if there was a chance she would die? He didn’t ponder the answer. He thought he already knew what it was, and he didn’t like the kind of person that made him. Selfish, greedy, callous.

Damn it! He craved action, consequences something to be considered only in hindsight. Now he felt helpless, and the consequences of his actions could actually destroy a person he, what? Cared about? Yes, he cared for Mishka, he realized. Not love, never love, but there was caring. He couldn’t deny that.

Being with her had rocked him. Every time surprised wonder had flickered over her lovely features, his own pleasure had intensified.

He’d never come so hard.

“Jaxon?” Mishka suddenly said, her voice filled with worry.

He turned his head and looked down at her. She hadn’t moved, hadn’t even stiffened, but her eyes were wide open and glistening with panic. His heart skipped a beat. “What’s wrong?”

“I can’t move. My body is frozen in place.”

His brow puckered in confusion. “Frozen?”

“Yes,” a smug, unfamiliar voice said. “Frozen.”

Stiffening, Jaxon searched the hazy bedroom, sifting through the golden moonlight and shadows. He found a tall, excessively muscled man. No, not a man. An alien. Those amber eyes were too bright to be human. Glittery skin, handsome face women probably drooled over.

“Who are you?” Jaxon demanded as he slowly, stealthily reached for one of the knives on the nightstand. If this alien tried to hurt Mishka, Jaxon would kill him.

“He’s the man who’s going to save your ass.”

At the new voice, Jaxon stilled. “Dallas?”

His best friend and fellow agent stepped into a lone beam of moonlight. Familiar brown hair and sun-kissed skin came into view. Dallas was tall and lean and covered in black from neck to toe. His eyes were glowing just as brightly as the alien’s, only Dallas’s were azure and filled with shock.

“Now isn’t this cozy?” Dallas’s gaze had shifted to Mishka, and the shock quickly morphed into anger. “Wrong hair, right face. Freaking great.” His attention returned to Jaxon. “Not exactly how I thought to find you, cavorting with the enemy.”

Frowning, Jaxon gripped the sheet and jerked it over Mishka’s nakedness. “Why can’t she move?”

“I won’t let her,” the stranger said with a grin. “She’s very pretty. May I have her when you’re done?”

Jaxon fought a homicidal urge as jealousy roared to life. Mine, his mind screamed. “Stop whatever you’re doing. Now.”

“Uh, no. She has murder in her eyes. I don’t trust her to behave like a good little girl.”

“Dallas,” Jaxon growled. “Tell your buddy to stop.”

“Sorry, my friend, but I agree with Devyn. She’s bad news. Now, do you want to tell me what’s been going on? We’ve been worried about you.”

The lights suddenly switched on, even though no one had moved an inch. Jaxon figured the otherworlder bastard had used his obviously considerable mind powers to control it.

“Free the girl,” Jaxon said, “and I’ll tell you everything that’s been going on.”

“Jaxon,” Mishka said. The sharpness of her voice cut like a dagger.

He tightened his arm around her in a silent demand for silence. She didn’t know Dallas or the man’s lightning-fast temper. One wrong word and he feared Dallas would turn a weapon on her. If that happened, Jaxon wasn’t sure what he’d do. Dallas was his best friend. They’d known each other for years, had fought together, had killed for each other. But Mishka was…he still didn’t know what she was to him.

“Just let her go, all right?”

“Did you hear that?” Dallas asked the alien, his tone layered with incredulity.

“Yes. I’m standing right here,” was the confused reply.

Dallas rolled his eyes. To Jaxon he said, “Aliens. They never get our sense of humor.” His eyes slitted with menace. “I yell at Jack. For you. I call Mia. For you. I call assassins. For you. I form a crew and let them mess up my house to save your ass. I spend hours breaking into this hellhole. I—”

“I broke into it,” Devyn interjected. “You watched me work.”

“Whatever. The point is, we go to all this trouble because we thought you were dying, being tortured, the usual fare, but here you are. Naked. In bed. Pleasured.”

A low growl emerged from Mishka.

Okay. Off the subject of sex, like, now. “I called you,” Jaxon said. “I told you I was fine.”

Now Dallas frowned. “For all I knew, you made that phone call with a gun to your head, every word forced.”

Shit. Yeah, Dallas had a point. “Mishka, tell the nice men you aren’t going to hurt them if they free you.”

“I’m going to peel the skin from that alien’s bones and make a coat. I’ll wear it when I invade his planet and slaughter his entire family.”

Dallas’s mouth fell open. Devyn’s eyes nearly bugged out of his head, though his amusement lingered.

Jaxon rubbed a hand down his face. “Let’s go to the living room,” he suggested.

“You are not leaving me in here,” Mishka growled. “Not like this.”

Sighing, he slid from underneath her and threw his legs over the side of the bed. The sheet slipped from his waist, revealing every inch of him to the men. Unabashed, he said, “Go. I’ll be there in a minute.”

Dallas turned on his heel, but he didn’t leave. “Thanks for the peep show,” he grumbled. “I need to sandpaper my corneas now.”

“Damn it, Dallas. Just go. I need a minute alone with her.”

“Do not release her,” Dallas said to Devyn before stomping from the bedroom.

Devyn remained in place. “I was told the little woman was a viper in angel’s skin. While I would love to challenge her to a naked duel, I will do as Dallas has so sweetly requested and, with a heavy heart, take her energy molecules with me, leaving her unable to move.” He gave them a final nod and followed the same path Dallas had taken.

Jaxon remained on the edge of the bed, his elbows on his knees, his back to Mishka. “You couldn’t play nice? Even for a few minutes?”

“There was only a sixteen percent chance of being released,” she snapped, “so there was no reason to play nice. They would have seen it as weakness, anyway, and used it against me later.”