“I’m serious. I used to know some sailors that you could easily put to shame.”
“Stop it!” She suppressed a giggle. She should be mad, she really should.
“Also, you cheat when you play Horse with Joshua. It’s sad really.” He winked at her.
“How did you know?”
“I’ve seen you. You distract him and then take a step or two forward closer to the basket.”
She sighed, “I can’t stand his victory dance when he wins. It’s rather annoying.”
He allowed that. “It doesn’t hurt that you’re also a sore loser.”
“I am not!”
“Yes, you are. Everyone says so. I think everyone suspects you cheat at other games as well, but they don’t say anything. Mostly because you’re so a horrible cheat and you lose anyway.”
She placed her hands on her hips. “Should we go over your shortcomings then?”
“Sure, I have a minute before I have to handle your blackmailer. Let’s see.” He looked at her small make-up mirror and ran his hands through his hair. “I’m arrogant, I’m annoying, I have a hell of a temper that would make the devil quiver, I get extremely cranky when I’m hungry, I hog the covers to keep you in my arms at night, I take too many showers and for far too long, I hog the hot water, I get jealous easily when it comes to other men and you.”
“Really?” Her smile was small, unsure and cute as hell.
All humor left his face. He looked at her through intensely possessive eyes. “Oh yes, Madison, you have no idea. I want to tear apart every man that looks at you. I hate it when some other man earns one of your adorable smiles that reaches your eyes, or gets to be there to make you feel better. I hate it, but I accept it. If I didn’t it would drive me to distraction.”
“You’re also a bit possessive,” she added with a wry grin.
“That I am. I’m sorry if it bothers you, but I do love you, Madison. I’m not some controlling ass**le that expects to keep you to myself and I would never hurt you or control you. I just want to keep you safe. I know I step on your toes sometimes. I’ll try to work on that, but not with ass**les like Trevor. That I will not tolerate.”
She took in a deep breath. “It’s okay. I know you only did this to help me. I’m not a complete idiot. I realize I was in over my head. It’s just that I’m so used to taking care of my problems. I don’t like having to depend on anyone.”
He pulled her into his arms. “That’s because no one’s ever been dependable in your life. In time I hope you’ll realize that I am that person, Madison. I’m the man who will always be there for you and I will never consciously hurt you. I do love you, Madison, more than you’ll ever know.”
She wrapped her arms around his neck and hugged him tightly. “I know. I’m just stubborn.”
His chuckle rumbled through his chest. “I know, baby. Now, I have to go take care of a little matter.”
Madison pulled back from his arms and looked him over. She didn’t realize until this moment that he was wearing his shirt and tie along with his badge and gun. “Are you going to work?”
“No, sweetheart, I have the weekend off. I’m doing this for him.” He gestured to his clothes.
She looked in the direction of his room. “Speaking of which, can I ask what the hell happened? Where have you been? How did you pull this off and most importantly why is he in there ha**ng s*x in your room, in this house?”
He looked at his watch. “I suppose I can answer your questions. Quickly though and no interruptions. I really need to get in there. Paula is charging me by the hour you know.”
“How much?” She was curious about how much a transvestite prostitute charged. Who wouldn’t be?
He winced. “Two hundred an hour. Actually, he is charging me an extra five hundred dollars, because Trevor’s an ass**le.”
“He always was,” she agreed on a sigh.
“To answer your questions, and quickly mind you. I went home first. I haven’t taken a vacation in three years and I wanted to see my home.”
“You went to England? “
He pressed a finger to her lips. “No, interruptions, remember? Yes, I haven’t been since the war. I had some thinking to do and I always did my best thinking at two in the morning walking along Hyde Park.”
“We have parks here too you know.”
He shot her a wry look. “I know, Madison. I needed to go.”
“You were thinking of leaving for good weren’t you?”
He nodded, reluctantly.
“The way I feel about you scares me.” He held up his hand. “I love you, Madison. I know you don’t understand. That’s fine, but please let’s not argue about it.”
“I couldn’t stay away, Madison. It took only a minute to know that. The rest of the time I used for negotiations.”
He held up a hand to stop her. “I negotiated with a very powerful group that’s been after me for the last hundred and twenty years. A group called Sentinels. Before you ask, they are god’s natural defense against vampires.”
“Ten Sentinels are born every ten years. They are marked at birth for their position in life. They’re not exactly human. They’re stronger, more difficult to kill and can heal quicker. They live longer as well and they will look young until they stop fighting and retire.”
“Like Buffy the Vampire Slayer?”
He laughed and shook his head ruefully. “I guess you could call them slayers. They also have another very unique quality.”
“Well, they have to be born as a twin. A human soul has to bring them to earth as a guardian. Most of the twins die. It’s very difficult to share a womb with a Sentinel. The special thing is they are born with their soul mates already in line. Five males and five females are born. It’s a gift. True love from god to keep them dedicated.”
“How do they-“
“They know when they find their mates because their marks will change to red, once they’re a mated pair it turns black. It’s along the same lines as a marriage. Before you ask the mark is a crescent moon with a tiny cross just below the navel and it’s originally a light brown color. Most won’t know what they are until another Sentinel finds them and takes them in to train or…” his voice drifted off.