Authors: Selena Illyria
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Romance, #Paranormal, #Romantic Suspense, #Mystery & Suspense, #Suspense, #Werewolves & Shifters, #Erotica
“Urban, not here,” she murmured as he felt the brush of her nose against his chest.
He chuckled. “Then we should take this party somewhere else.” Urban peppered her jaw with soft kisses. He didn’t want to let go of the sense of calm that she brought out in him. “All my stuff is at Tor’s place.
So no toys.”
“Don’t need toys.” She tunneled her fingers through his hair and brought his head up. Liquid brown eyes gazed up at him; he could see the desire spark deeply in her eyes. “Just need you.” She placed butterfly kisses on his lips, setting off bursts of fire on the sensitive flesh.
He groaned and sighed. “Where do we go?” He slipped his tongue into her mouth and swirled, teased, and tormented hers until she moaned and ground her hips against his.
Her phone rang, and for the first time in his life he hated technology. He pulled his head away and traced her features with his lips. “Don’t.”
“Case,” she murmured and stepped away from him, but not far enough. Urban drew her forward and began kissing her neck again while his hands kneaded her ass. She moaned but didn’t stop him. “What?” she
voice husky and rough around the edges.
“Uh-huh, yeah, okay.
She ended the call and stepped back again. “We can’t, and besides, you haven’t eaten, so you eat, and I’ll watch and pick your brain.”
That got him to stop. He gazed at her, a sense of joy filling his chest. “You want my help? Let’s go to Eddie’s Diner on Chaplin.” Urban grabbed her hand and pulled her with him down the street.
Their first meal together.
He tried not to get his hopes up or get too excited. She could easily disappear come morning, and he hadn’t missed that she hadn’t told him where they could’ve gone to finish their hello kisses and affection.
* * * *
“Why did you have to kill my husband in our cabin? I have to sleep there. Where will I stay?” Caro demanded. She paced around the room, her frustration crackling in the air. If Poppy didn’t know any better, she’d think that Caroline was about to shift.
Poppy shrugged her shoulders. “Stay at the Ritz for the rest of the week, on me. Get full-service spa treatments, use the
, whatever, but don’t
nothing will be tracked back to you.” Poppy twisted her wedding band.
“Now about our bake sale.
out, we need to bring in products, maybe more pies and cookies and some tarts, we’ll need to make a run to a bakery, see what the competition is all about. Remember, we’re raising money for werewolf orphans and abused spouses of shifters. That’s our story.”
Caro rolled her eyes. “Yes, Poppy, I know, I remember. I’m not a dumb blonde.” She flipped her strawberry gold tresses over her shoulder. “You know I haven’t heard from
since she took off. Have you spoken to her?” Suspicion filled Caroline’s big, blue-green eyes. Yes, Caro had studied to be a lawyer but hadn’t taken the bar. Stan had found her and taken her out of law school. Poppy reminded herself that she had to watch what she said around Caroline.
Poppy smiled. “Don’t worry, honey, she’ll come up for air once she’s ready.
Probably sunbathing with a hot, young stud now that that boorish husband of hers is gone.
Now, we have a funeral to plan and a bake sale to make sure goes off without a hitch. Get the ladies
and I’ll be back with the info.”
Caroline’s eyes narrowed but she said nothing; instead she left the room, probably to make the phone calls and check in on the investigation. All of these deaths were becoming far too complicated, but the end justified the means, right? And changing the pack structure and gaining more power would definitely be worth it in the end.
Poppy strolled off as calmly as she could. The body count was getting too high for her comfort. Two husbands dead were two too many. She wasn’t sure how long they could keep this up for. And that
dealer made her nervous for a reason she couldn’t quite place. All her other contacts had landed in jail for stupid charges. It wouldn’t matter, so long as they met their goal and got in and out without
being the wiser. All the coroner had to do was rule it natural causes. She had used enough of the powder she’d been given. That was enough for only one person. Besides, they had other methods if something came up. She arrived at her cabin, took a deep breath, and composed herself. An icy finger raced down her spine as she heard the TV on a baseball game, or so she thought.
With her head held high, she opened up the screen door and headed into the building.
“Get me a beer and some peanuts,” Michael called from the lounger in front of the twenty-five-inch flat screen. “I’m
go hunting in the woods tonight.”
Poppy pursed her lips. Annoyance churned in her gut. She’d spent most of the morning trying to figure out the kitchen in their cabin and then cook a whole ham baked in a homemade honey-mustard sauce, even rose at the ass-crack of dawn to get fresh vegetables for a side, and had a batter chilling in the fridge for biscuits. Then there was the expensive imported beer she’d picked up that was now useless because it could only be paired with the ham. Rather than complain, she bobbed her head and said, “Of course, dear.”
Michael looked over at her, eyes narrowed to slits until only a thin line of dark brown could be seen. “
me?” He turned his body toward her, hands balled up into fists.
Poppy bowed her head. “No, dear,” she whispered.
“You better not be sassing me; you know what happens. I don’t
have to get my wolf involved, understand. Now
where’s my beer and peanuts
, bitch?” He turned away back toward the television.
“Of course, dear, on the way.”
Poppy scurried into the kitchen. Maybe there needed to be one more victim. For now, Michael served her purposes, but not for long; for now, the bake sale was her priority.
* * * *
This was some weird shit,
Nadia thought. She had seen a lot of weird things in her life, but this made her uncomfortable in a whole new way. Urban sat across from her with a large T-bone steak, sunny-side-up eggs, home fries, and some sort of slaw, along with another smaller plate of biscuits and a bowl with pats of butter piled high. Feline-shifters ate meat, but not like this, and this was only his breakfast. She watched, fascinated as he placed another forkful of meat with spears of buttery broccoli into his mouth and chewed. For a second she got lost in the movement of his jaw, the pinkness of his lips, and the relaxed, pure bliss on his face. Watching him eat was a whole new pleasure she’d never indulged. Fear tickled the back of her brain, and her inner snow leopard stretched and stared, not feeling the least bit odd about this situation.
Things were getting far too comfortable for her taste. They fucked and that was it, end of story, but now, seeing him like this, she found herself wondering if after all those nights together she should’ve stayed. She wondered how he’d look in the mornings coming out of the daze of sleep.
Or after a long day at work.
Nadia didn’t know where he lived, only that he’d confirmed what she’d always suspected: he was a spook, and spies didn’t have a long lifespan, depending on their line of work. Then again, neither would she if she kept working for
. With a sigh she signaled the waitress, who had been giving Urban the eye when they’d walked in.
“I’ll have a coffee, and can I get a menu?” she asked.
The waitress answered without looking at her. “Sure,
, be right back.” She put a little extra sway into her walk, not that Urban noticed.
He either looked at her or his food. “You should get the steak,” he mumbled around a mouthful of beef.
Nadia waved him off.
“Too early for cow.”
Urban snorted and said, “Never too early for cow.”
Nadia rolled her eyes and replied, “Tell that to the cow. Anyway, I need your brain cells to be focused, okay?”
Urban gave another snort. “Can do two things at once, more than two things, you know that.” His eyes darkened to a green that looked almost black.
She squirmed in her seat as a rush of heat washed over her. Oh yes, she knew that very well. With a shake of her head, she came back to her purpose for this breakfast meeting. “Case,” she muttered. “I have a case, very important.”
“Uh-huh, and?” Urban made a rolling motion with his fork. “Spill it, Spots.”
Nadia glared at him. “Just because I’m a snow leopard-shifter doesn’t mean you can call me Spots. Anyway, why would werewolves sell
to feline-shifters?” It was the one sticking point she didn’t understand, not when alpha bitches were involved.
That single word hung heavy with disgust.
Nadia shook her head. The most prominent packs present at the Summit were all wealthy. “But if they already had money, why would they want more?”
Urban cut into his meat and answered without looking up.
Nadia let out a frustrated puff of air before she pointed at him and said, “First, cut the monosyllabic crap, and second, they would risk
wrath for more money? I highly doubt that.”
Urban waved his fork and shook his head. “Explain from the beginning. I need all the details, honey.”
Nadia thought it over, trying to figure out how much she should tell him. “
sent me here to find out more about a
ring selling the drug to feline-shifters. The casualties may be low, but they’re still our people. That guy you saw me talking to had info for me. Once I find out more, I’m to turn the
, and if he can’t handle it I’m to call
thick, blond eyebrows rose up. “And do what?”
She shrugged. “He’d take care of it.” Nadia didn’t want to discuss
methods of doling out punishment. She’d been his instrument in his numerous power plays and attempts to keep his status on the Quorum. Urban didn’t need to know that.
Like he doesn’t need to know about my past or what I do. This is business
, she tried to tell herself. One look into his green
and for a moment she forgot all about the outside world. The waitress’s arrival allowed her a reprieve. She accepted the menu and the coffee.
“I don’t want to know. Okay, so why’d they risk it?
Because they may want to take over
Alpha of all Packs status for themselves.
Money doesn’t mean prestige; it means you have money to burn. The title would need to be earned by battle or with proof that he can’t take care of all the packs. So this
thing has to be a separate issue.”
She mulled over his words. “Okay, so this person or these persons are doing it for entirely different reasons. Just need to figure out why.”
Urban finished off his sides and the steak. He pushed away the plates and started in on the biscuits.
She could only shake her head.
Urban chuckled. “We shifters use up a lot of protein, you know that. Anyway, why would
need a why?”
She ignored his implication. “Say what you will about
, but he’s helped me out more times than I can say.”
Urban narrowed his eyes. “Excuse me?” A warning growl vibrated through his voice.
“Not sexually.” She could only roll her eyes at him and started to look over her options.
master in this relationship.” He went back to eating his biscuits.
“We’re out of the bedroom,
.” She sipped her mocha and tried to figure out what she wanted to snack on.