Probably. He smiled slowly, but that smile promised she would like the way he ended her.

She wasn’t scared, though. She could take care of herself. What she was, was shocked. Big, strong, okay, fine, still gorgeous even with those blisters, McKell was actually, finally here. Intense relief swept through her, followed on the heels of heat … need … Don’t go there.

“Did you come for revenge?” she asked, gaze immediately lowering to the whip. At the moment, they were the only words her reeling brain could form.

“I’m not healing,” he said. The smile vanished, and he shook the whip at her. “Why aren’t I healing, woman?” He didn’t wait for her reply, but stormed inside her apartment.

His body brushed hers, and despite the clothing between them, despite the situation and the consequences, despite the increase of heat, she shivered. “Come in,” she said dryly. He. Was. Here. She couldn’t get over that fact.

He tossed a feral growl over his shoulder, gait never slowing. “I asked you a question.”

She shut and locked the door, then followed the path he had taken. In her living room, she watched as he fell onto the couch. He studied his surroundings with a single sweep—and she would bet he’d memorized every exit, every conceivable weapon—before glaring over at her. What did he think of her home? Did he see how hard she’d worked for every piece of furniture, or did he merely view her as poor?

There was a flicker of admiration in that gaze, she realized. He knew how hard she’d worked. Now her heart skipped a beat. He shouldn’t have been more beautiful just because he was surrounded by her stuff in her place, admiring, but he was. His black hair hung in disarray, his violet eyes gleamed brightly. His skin, already healing. His lips were parted, kissable.

Don’t think like that. Swallowing the lump forming in her throat, she rested her hands on her hips. “You asked me a question, yes, and I ignored it. Twice. Take a hint and stop asking. So how’d you know where I lived, anyway?” Was that breathless tone hers?

“I have your ID,” he grumbled.

Oh. Duh.

“And I followed you the other night.”

A shattering confirmation of her suspicions. She was delighted to her very soul.

Now she experienced fear. Fear that she was allowing attraction to overwhelm her. Time to paint him in a negative light, and put a stop to the craziness.

“Are you here for revenge?” she asked again, squaring her shoulders.

He ran his tongue over his teeth. Those sharp, deadly teeth. “That will come. Later.”

The thought of this man, this killer, having revenge excited her, she realized, and the fear grew until she had to rub her chest to ward off the ache. She could suddenly imagine tongue-lashings and well-placed nibbling, moaning, groaning, begging. All because of that butterscotch voice.

Oh, yes. Fear. Her attraction was overwhelming, not dulled in the least. Fight it.

“What comes now?” she asked. “The whip?” His answer would determine how they proceeded. Sugar and spice, or absolutely nothing nice.

He looked at the coiled length of leather as if he had no idea it was in his hand. “Oh. This. It’s my preferred method for restraining females.” He tossed the whip aside, the action making him grimace. “As you are unexpectedly cooperating …” He let the thought trail off. “I want to know why I’m not healing.”

How many females had he restrained over the years?

Another don’t go there filled her head. She studied him anew, her gaze dropping to his seeping wound, and the guilt she’d experienced earlier roared back to life, draining the fear, defeating her before the battle could even begin. He wore a new shirt—the tag still hung from the neck—but on his left side, the material was soaked with blood. He was as injured as when she’d left him.

After a second more of consideration, she knew that wasn’t true. He’d worsened.

Her own side twitched in sympathy. “Do you normally heal fast?”

“Yes. The bleeding should have stopped hours ago. Was your blade tipped with poison?”

“No!” She wasn’t a total bitch.

Another growl erupted from him. “What did you do to me, then?”

“Me? Nothing!” Guilt … escalating … If she had to choose between feeling guilty and having her hand chopped off, she’d remove the hand, no question. “Don’t you remember? You walked into my knife.” Though she’d hoped otherwise, the denial didn’t ease the guilt.

“I. Was. Sitting.”


He stared at her, unflinching. “I’d argue your use of the term, but at the moment I’m a little too busy bleeding to death. Fix me!”

“God, you’re irritable. But fine. I’ll fix you.” Maybe then the guilt would truly fade. “Quick question. By fix you”—she air-quoted fix—“do you mean sew you up like I would a human?”

“Is there any other way?” he snapped.

Irr-it-able. “You’d trust me with a needle?”

“No. But I’ll have my teeth ready to rip into you if you try to stab me with it.”

“Comforting. With that kind of threat hanging over my head, I’ll probably be shaking too badly to do you any good.” She was shaking, yes, but fear still wasn’t the reason. The shock of his presence, the guilt of her actions, of course, were both still a cause, but so was an increase in desire. He was a warrior to his soul.

Violet eyes sizzled. “Fix. Me. And if you cause any more damage, human, note that I’ll hurt you in kind.”

“So noted.” With another sigh, she padded into the bathroom and grabbed her first aid kit. By the time she returned, McKell had removed his shirt. The bloody material rested on her coffee table.

Frowning at him, she kicked the offending shirt to the floor. “If the table is stained, you’re buying me a new one.”

He merely raised his chin and motioned for her to get started.

She closed the rest of the distance and knelt between his open legs—and tried not to peek at his man business, covered so demurely by his pants. If she did, she’d be tempted to study every ridge and discover if she affected him the same way he affected her.

She needed a distraction.

“So. Have you fed today?” she asked, resting the kit on his thigh.

“Many times.” There was anger in his tone. Anger she didn’t understand.

“So I’m not in danger of blood loss myself?” Alcohol, cloth.