Authors: Selena Illyria
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Romance, #Paranormal, #Romantic Suspense, #Mystery & Suspense, #Suspense, #Werewolves & Shifters, #Erotica
phone buzzed. He got up and left the table. Within five minutes he returned, a grim look on his face. He waved down their waitress. “Order what you need to go; we have a body up at the Summit. Tor wants me to make sure it’s not something that can make them look bad.”
“Why—?” she started.
“Because your skills could help me.”
He threw some bills down and headed for the front door. She followed him, only to stop in the parking lot.
“Where’s your car? We walked here.” Nadia looked around, but didn’t see a motorcycle or a car that screamed Urban.
“I walked here, but my car is back at La Lune.” He came back and grabbed her hand.
She didn’t resist, and despite his wide gait she kept up with him, savoring the delicious sensations of warmth and comfort that snaked up her arm, swirled around her chest, and arrowed down to her groin. Nadia barely noticed the various people who walked by. All her energy was directed at Urban, but her mind, on the other hand, rolled over what she knew about her case so far: that there were alpha bitches using
at bake sales to lure in customers and that they have a feline-shifter deal them the drugs, which they don’t carry over the border.
And were they working with their alpha husbands? Why would they risk the danger of
wrath during the Summit if they got caught? Things weren’t adding up on the why front. She would have to put a call in to
tonight to let him know that she had information; this would stave off him sending
. Urban squeezed her hand. Her thoughts scattered as she came back to the present with him.
She glanced up at him; his green eyes lit up with humor, and the sides crinkled as he smiled. “No thinking too hard; it will come to you when you need it.” He bent down and kissed her temple before straightening up and guiding her toward his SUV.
Nadia had been so deep in
she hadn’t noticed that they’d managed to get back to their point of origin. “Okay, I’ll try.” She doubted her mind would obey him. Nadia wanted to get this case over with as soon as possible before he found out anything else about her.
They walked toward a garnet-red, 2012 Mazda CX-5. She raised an eyebrow and glanced over at him.
Nadia had always pegged him as a black or gray paint job, but red?
Urban shrugged. “Only color they had on
and I like it, well, until the full moon comes and I have to park in an empty lot. It screams
” He clicked the toggle and opened the passenger door for her.
She hesitated in letting go of his hand. Nadia didn’t want to release that contact yet but had to. She released her grip, and slipped into the seat. He leaned down, slipped his fingers under her chin, and turned her head toward him. Once she faced him, he bent forward and took her lips in a tender kiss that caused her heart to stutter in his rhythm and fire to churn in her gut. She pressed her mouth against his, demanding more of his touch and affection. He opened his mouth, and she reciprocated the action and slipped her tongue inside. With a sigh, she took his kiss and melted into her seat. He grabbed her neck and threaded the fingers of his other hand into her hair. With a growl, Urban took her lips in a biting, possessive kiss. Her lungs burned; her head felt light, and a dull throb began. She groaned, not wanting to break contact, but she had to breathe. Nadia pulled her head back and took a breath. She bent her head to take more of his affection, but he pulled away.
Nadia let out a low hiss and tried to follow him out of the car, but he pressed a hand to the middle of her chest and pushed her back into her seat. He shook his head.
“No, not yet.
Later.” He bent back down and kissed her one more time before he straightened and closed the door on her.
She sunk into her seat, buckled her belt, and waited for him to get into the car.
Get a grip,
she admonished herself. Nadia couldn’t believe how she was acting. Yes, they hadn’t had a chance to spend a lot of time together, and things always boiled down to sex and only sex. She’d never acted this way when she’d had a crush on a boy in high school; the fact
she yearned for his touch, needed to feel that connection deep down and couldn’t get enough of him, set off warning bells in her head. Urban had always been a part of her private life, and to bring him fully into her world would put him in more danger than he’d ever faced.
The Feline Quorum was nothing to sneeze at. Werewolves had a specific hierarchy. With felines, there was constant movement. They were always jockeying for a position, and no one was safe. The fact that her boss,
, had been in charge for the last five years was a miracle unto itself. The fact that she was considered his right-hand woman was a problem, as everyone wanted her out of the way.
Could this be a plot from one of
The thought hadn’t occurred to her until now.
. She ran a hand over her face.
Crossing didn’t have a huge feline presence. Werewolves and vampires ran the town. Felines and witches took third place in the power order.
Great, I could be involved in a power play.
She closed her eyes and leaned her head against the headrest. A large, warm hand rested on her thigh. Nadia didn’t jump; her muscles relaxed. Calm filled her at
As much as she hated to admit it, when she wasn’t around
life didn’t have color; everything was routine.
I miss him when he’s gone
. The thought hit her like a freight train out of nowhere. Tears formed, but she refused to let them fall. They wouldn’t help, and crying didn’t solve anything. Instead, she clung to the peace he gave her. She inhaled his scent and absorbed his presence. Soon enough she’d be gone, and she wouldn’t know when they’d meet up again. A relationship was dangerous to both of them and besides that, given her family history, there was no way she’d allow herself to be that vulnerable or to have children.
Urban squeezed her thigh, and she opened her eyes and turned her head toward him. “What?”
He looked her over. A blush of heat washed over her face, down her neck, and filled her chest. “What?” she asked again.
He said nothing, just continued to stare at her, as if imprinting her features into his mind for some reason.
Nadia shifted in her seat but didn’t remove his hand.
A few more seconds
, she told herself,
a few more moments, and then I’ll cut the tie.
Time drew on with the two of them sitting there staring at each other. Embarrassment pushed at her sense of comfort until she couldn’t take it anymore. Nadia grabbed his wrist and pulled it off of her leg. He released her thigh but still said nothing. Urban turned away from her, dousing her in ice water. She felt cut off from her source of life, all alone and bereft. Swearing again, she slumped into her seat and focused her attention on the parking lot outside the window.
“Why do you hide from me?” Urban asked softly.
She jerked her attention away from the café and looked at him. “What?”
Urban sighed. “You always pull away, never share anything personal, and shut down anything that could connect us. I want more than sex, you know.”
Nadia nibbled her bottom lip. Warmth rolled through her chest, and she felt something inside of her unknot at his words. Despite the happiness that bubbled up inside of her, she had to bring herself back to reality and said, “We can’t do this now. There’s the case.”
her mind whispered to her. Her snow leopard remained quiet, allowing her to battle herself alone. The feline never interjected when emotions came into play. Nadia knew what the cat wanted, but couldn’t give it to them both.
Urban shook his head. “No, while I have you here, you’re going to talk to me. You know I don’t fuck around; I haven’t slept with anyone else since I started seeing you, and yes, I do believe I’m seeing you, not dating per se, but we have something.”
Nadia gritted her teeth in frustration that he wasn’t allowing her to put distance between them and distract her from her emotions. “This isn’t the time and place.”
Urban snorted. “Yes, it is. I have you here, and I’m going to get to know you, break down those walls around you. I can’t guarantee that we won’t get hurt or burned, but I will kill the person who made you this way.” A growl followed that statement.
The sound raised
on her flesh, her lungs constricted, and she couldn’t take in enough air. Nadia jerked her head away, trying to hide and put up barriers between them. Once she was sure she could say something without her letting something slip, she murmured, “What makes you think—?” She couldn’t finish the sentence, couldn’t fathom how to respond, nor did she want to lie to him. Her heart ached at his statement. Only
had made that kind of vow to her.
may be alive, but that was at
whim; any moment her father stepped out of line, he was dust. To hear Urban say it, even if he didn’t know her situation, took her breath away. Conflicting emotions filled her: relief at having someone who wanted to take care of her and protect her from the boogeyman in her past, and anger that he dare presume that she needed that kind of shield. Nadia could handle her father, thank you very fucking much.
“Did you think I wouldn’t notice?” he asked as he turned on the car and pulled out of his space. “You’re trying to keep me at arm’s length. I doubt it has to do with
and what you do for him. It was something else. You pull away from anything personal, you try to change the subject when I’ve tried to talk to you about family, and you refuse to allow me beyond the foyer of your emotions. But you know we’re more than sex.
You know that
She chewed on the inside of her cheek to keep quiet. A tremble began in her hands as her legs started to jiggle up and down. Heavy emotions swirled around her chest, making her heart ache to burst to let some of her old wounds go. But if she allowed that, what would happen to her? What would protect her from Urban or from the disappointments of life? What would be her barrier when he let her down or when
couldn’t help her? Who would stand up for her?
We’re fine without anyone
, she said silently,
we can take care of ourselves. We don’t need you.
The words were on the tip of her tongue to say, but they refused to come out. She wanted to say the words, to shove him back into that space that she reserved for him, but couldn’t, didn’t have the strength to do it. Already, being with him was wearing away some of her resistance.
Urban continued to drive, but she felt his hand back on her thigh again. He gave it another squeeze. “Tell me something, anything.
How about this, answer this one question.
Do you have any siblings? That can’t be too damaging, right?”
Nadia thought it over. It wasn’t like he could find
, right? Besides, he had no clue what her last name was, and telling him wouldn’t hurt too much. It would make him stop asking. Besides, it was a name. She wasn’t going to give him anything else. “I have a sister. I haven’t seen her in a while.” Nadia almost choked on the last part.
Why the hell did I tell him that? I’m not drunk!
She groaned to herself. More of her barrier wore away at that small confession.
Well, at least I didn’t give him her name.
She felt a modicum of pride, but her snow leopard only chuffed in amusement.
Oh, now you show up,
she growled at the cat. It turned with her and sauntered away, plopped down, and went to sleep.
Urban stopped at a red light, leaned over, and gave her a kiss on the cheek. “Thank you. What’s her name? You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to.”
She mulled over the question. The pros and cons were far too many. Nadia looked over at Urban, who looked so relaxed and sexy. He’d rolled down the window at some point. Wind ruffled his hair. She licked her lips. Without a thought, she reached over and ran her fingers over the side stubble. The prickles tickled her skin and set off sparks along her arm. “Your hair got longer.
Time for a cut?”
He shook his head, grabbed her wrist, turned his head, and kissed her palm before going back to focusing on the road.
“No, not yet, and no changing the subject.”