Ghosts, corpses and four hot men—what’s a girl to do?
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Hunter didn’t remove his hand from my mouth. It made me realize he was also entirely pressed against me, and despite it not being possible, he felt better than he’d looked. His skin was warm, even through my robe.
He took his hand off my mouth but didn’t move away. “Stay still,” he whispered against my ear.
“Why? Is it coming back?”
“No. I just really like looking down your robe.”
As soon as his words sank in, when I moved past the adrenaline and the purr of his voice, I realized that yes, my robe had bagged open and he had a perfect view down the front.
I elbowed him, but he didn’t seem to even feel it. He released me, though the way he did it implied my little move hadn’t meant a thing.
“I am so tired of people breaking into my house,” I said.
“You aren’t human, and you don’t have any wards. That’s the same as a ‘come on in’ sign in our world.”
“I am human.”
“Sure, shadow-girl.” He sent me a conspiratorial wink, as if we were on the joke together.
“No, I actually am. No funky teeth, no freaky eyes. Human.” I pointed at my face as though that drove the point home.
He waved at himself. “No funky teeth, no freaky eyes. Very much not human. Sure, though, if you want to pretend, I’m not one to turn down a bit of good roleplay. You want to be innocent Little Red Riding Hood? I’ll play the wolf.”
His suggestion derailed me. How could it not? Any girl who claimed she hadn’t had entirely inappropriate dreams about the wolf in that story was a damned liar. Once I’d reached a certain age, ‘all the better to eat you with’ had taken on a very different meaning.
I pictured a dark, heavily wooded forest as I ran, something on my heels, gaining ground. His warm breath on my neck when he caught me…
Suddenly I didn’t care what he’d said, why he was there or what exactly he meant by him ‘not being human’.
Until I recalled he’d broken in, and clearly him showing up at my office wasn’t a coincidence.
He snorted. “I liked where your mind was going before.”
“What are you doing here? And what was that thing?”
“Don’t we have better things to discuss? Or we can do away with talking all together.”
“I don’t sleep with people who might kill me, but thanks.”
“If someone might not kill you, are they even worth sleeping with in the first place?”
I nodded, then handed the ice pack back to him. When he took it, he frowned at a red mark that remained on the white pack.
“Sorry.” I turned my hand over, the one Grant had cut, to find that sure enough, I’d managed to tear open the scab.
“Grant needed my blood for the wards.”
He frowned, as though he disliked the idea. “He could have done less damage.”
“That’s what I said, but he said it was about the sacrifice of the action.”
Kase lifted his thumb to his mouth and pressed it against the tip of his fang. He didn’t grimace, didn’t show any reaction to the wound.
Blood welled at the top, a red so dark it was almost purple.
Which sent me bolting. I jumped to my feet, wanting that blood nowhere near me.
Kase didn’t grab me—and I knew damn well he could have, because vampires were terrifyingly fast—but he stared. “Really?”
“I may not always love my life, but I do love being alive. No thanks to that.” I waved at his thumb.
“How can you be so ignorant of our world? You can’t be turned into a vampire from a little blood.”
“That sounds like men who say a girl can’t get knocked up because it’s just the tip.”
“I am sterile, so that isn’t an issue I deal with.” Kase spoke with such flatness of his voice, I almost missed that he’d made a joke, even more so because he so quickly moved on from it. “To be changed from mortal, a person has to die. My blood will help to heal you, but it won’t change you since I, again, don’t plan on killing you.”
I pressed my lips together, then responded slowly. “You know, I normally don’t spend so much time around people who have to keep telling me they don’t plan on killing me.”
“Would you rather I not tell you that?”
“I’d rather you not need to tell me that.”
“You need to do something,” I said as Kase and Troy struck a wall and knocked off a painting. Sure, it was a cheap one I’d picked up at a chain store, some mass-produced image of cherry blossoms I’d always thought would make me a calmer person, but it was my stupid painting and they’d ruined it!
“You’re right,” Grant said and snapped his fingers, whispering a few words.
The two fighting seemed unaffected, however, as Troy flung Kase off him and Kase sailed back, almost faster than my vision could follow.
I was about to tell Grant it hadn’t worked when I realized he held a bowl of popcorn now.
Had he really used his magic to summon popcorn? Hunter reached over me to grab a handful.
“You said you couldn’t use magic for frivolous things,” I stammered.
“You used it to get popcorn!”
Grant lifted the popcorn as though to make a point. “This isn’t frivolous, Ava. There is a man-on-man fight here—that requires snacks to properly watch. Get your priorities straight.”
My mouth hung open. Every time I thought I had my feet under me with these men, they showed me how wrong I was.
“They could kill each other,” I finally said.
“Sure, but they won’t.” Hunter stole another handful of popcorn and tossed some in his mouth, a few pieces falling to the couch. “Troy hasn’t fully shifted and Kase isn’t biting. This is just one of those macho alpha dominance shows. Let’s all be glad they’re doing this instead of actually measuring dicks. Trust me, that just hurts feelings.”
I went to get up, but Hunter wrapped an arm around me to keep me there. “Nope. This? This is the sort of thing where an accidental stray punch could end a fragile thing like you. Best to stay out of fights between immortals.”
“They’re wrecking my place,” I complained and winced as they destroyed yet another small table. It splintered into a million pieces, and even though I couldn’t for the life of me recall where I’d gotten it from, the loss made me sigh.
“They’ll fix it. Hell, they’ll probably get you nicer stuff just because they feel bad. Make sure you milk that. I want a large-screen TV here,” Grant told me before offering me some popcorn.
And, really, what was a girl to do? I couldn’t stop the fight and the two people who could—Hunter and Grant—didn’t seem all that driven to do so.
So I took some of the popcorn and joined in on the show.
Apparently saving the world would need to wait for these two to work out their little testosterone-driven fight.
It seemed all men were alike, immortal or not.
Jayce Carter lives in Southern California with her husband and two spawns. She originally wanted to take over the world but realized that would require wearing pants. This led her to choosing writing, a completely pants-free occupation. She has a fear of heights yet rock climbs for fun and enjoys making up excuses for not going out and socializing.