Read Stunner Online

Authors: Trina M. Lee

Tags: #Vampires, #urban fantasy, #paranormal romance, #Paranormal, #Gothic, #werewolves, #romantic urban fantasy

Stunner (3 page)

Here we go. This is how it always went
with us. I resisted his advances. He took that as an invitation to
try harder. Conflict ensued.


But you already have.
You’ve shown me exactly what I mean to you over the years.” I let
my lips brush against his as I snarled, “Nothing.”

A growl rumbled low in his throat. His
hands tightened on my arms and I made a tiny, pained sound. He was
hurting me and instinct drove me to react. I brought a knee up,
ready to slam it into his groin. His reflexes were stellar but he
wasn’t faster than me. The blow landed, crushing the breath from
him.

His reaction came swift and shocking as
he backhanded me, hard. Stars exploded behind my eyes, momentarily
obstructing my vision. I tasted blood from my split lip. It had me
rounding on Raoul with a psi ball burning hot and ready in my
palm.

A pained expression marred his face. He
leaned over the desk, gasping for breath. Pain rolled off him in
waves to taint his energy with a flavor that was both enticing and
bitter. I would have let that psi ball fly if Shaz hadn’t chosen
that moment to open the door.


Alexa?” He stopped dead in
the doorway, taking in the scene before him. Confusion registered
in his jade green eyes, followed quickly by
understanding.

I didn’t hesitate to flee the room.
With Raoul otherwise occupied, there was nothing to stop me. I
shoved past Shaz, almost knocking him off balance as I went. He
turned to follow me, my name laced with worry on his
lips.

He caught up with me at the front door.
With a warm hand on my arm, he pulled me to a halt. Shaz’s platinum
blond hair was in disarray and he reeked like Belle. So that’s why
Raoul had come to me. His regular plaything had turned her
attention to a much younger playmate. Typical.


Alexa, are you alright?
What’s going on?”


I’ll be fine once I get the
hell out of here. I knew I shouldn’t have let you talk me into
coming here.” I needed someone to blame but Shaz wasn’t the one. I
tried to rein my temper in. He didn’t deserve to take the brunt of
it. “That jackass doesn’t understand that when I said it was over
between us, I meant it.”

Shaz gazed toward the den, his features
hardening. “Did he do this?” His touch was gentle when he brushed a
finger over my cut lip.


Yes. But to be fair, I did
kick him in the balls first.” I threw my hands up in
exasperation.


That doesn’t give him the
right to hit you.” Shaz wasn’t known for having a temper but the
heat in his gaze betrayed his anger. Just another reason to adore
him.

I yanked the front door open, sighing
as the cool night air caressed me. “Honestly, Shaz, it’s nothing
compared to the scars he’s left behind. I’d rather take a smack any
day over the hell he’s put me through.”


Wait.” Shaz followed me out
onto the front step. “Are you heading home? Do you want me to come
along?”

I looked past him to the party still
going strong in the kitchen, overflowing into the backyard. I
wasn’t going to ruin Shaz’s fun because of my own personal
issues.


You should stay here and
continue your good time. I just need to blow off some steam.” As an
afterthought I added, “Don’t get into it with Raoul. Just let it
go. Ok?”

His jaw clenched and his face was a
mask of disapproval. Finally he relented. “Fine. I won’t say
anything. This time.” He pulled me into a hug and pressed a kiss to
my forehead. “Call me later. And stay safe.”

I savored his scent, finding comfort in
it despite the stink of Belle clinging to him like a musty second
skin. Beneath that was the scent of pine and wolf. Being with Shaz
felt like home, no matter where we were. There were many reasons we
were so close. His uncanny ability to know what I’m thinking
without me having to give voice to it was just one.

Driven by the kind of hate that could
only have been born of what was once love, I headed into the night.
I had no destination in mind. My goal right then was simple.
Escape.

Chapter Three

 

 

 

I wrinkled my nose in distaste at the
bitter swill in my glass. Compared to the quality stuff at Raoul’s,
the local bar selection was seriously lacking. I choked down the
cheap stuff and gestured to the bartender that I wanted
another.

Lucy’s Lounge was a small town bar that
tried desperately to project a big city image. It didn’t work. Rock
music boomed through the building. The bar divided the place into
two sections. A dance floor on one side and pool tables on the
other. A small staircase led to an upper floor that I rarely saw in
use.

I sat at the bar fueling up on whiskey.
I wanted so badly to go back in time an hour and kick the crap out
of Raoul. It was better that I left when I did. I knew that. Still,
I couldn’t shake the need for a good fight. I could have headed
into the city to hunt down a vampire up to no good but after the
incident with Octavia the week before, I wasn’t keen on doing that
without some backup.

A nice drunken haze was settling in. I
was going to have a hell of a hangover but it would be worth it.
The liquor stung the cut on my lip with each sip I took. It did
little to dampen my anger. Raoul was impossible to deal with. Yet
we were the Alpha male and female of our pack. When our stint as
lovers ended, that had not.

I grumbled obscenities to myself,
ignoring the rest of the patrons. They were having fun, partying
and drinking with loud music and laughter as their background
noise. Some of them started having a little too much
fun.

It didn’t take long for the laughter to
become shouts as two guys began to brawl. I planned to ignore it
since it had nothing to do with me. At least it didn’t until one
guy shoved the other right into me.

The impact jostled me, causing
my drink to spill into my lap.
Fucking fantastic.
I spun around on my bar stool to fix the
idiots with my best glower. I wasn’t expecting the beer bottle that
came flying my way next.

Instinct took over. I threw my hands up
to block the bottle. An erratic burst of power accompanied the
motion. The bottle exploded against the bar next to me. The guy who
had thrown it took the slap of my power and went down hard several
feet away. He was drunk and there was a lot of commotion. Nobody
present could visually see the energy I’d thrown. He would never
know what hit him.

The guy that had fallen next to me
struggled to get up. He grasped my stool to haul himself up,
effectively dumping me off in the process. My temper surged past
the breaking point and I snapped.

Grabbing him by the throat, I dragged
him in close so I could fix him with a deadly stare. “I really hope
you’re working up a good apology right now.”

His dazed expression didn’t convey
understanding. He stank of booze and his eyes were bloodshot and
red rimmed. I felt my wolf rise up inside me and I fought to keep
it from showing in my eyes. The guy sputtered something
incomprehensible. I shoved him away, hard enough to get his arms
flailing as he went down on his ass.

The dude that threw the bottle was
suddenly there, in my face, shouting a stream of curses. Apparently
he was ticked that I had gotten involved in his pseudo macho fight
moment. I had no patience or desire to listen to him. I let loose
with a mean right hook, catching him in the jaw. I nailed the sweet
spot and he dropped, out cold.

I felt like I was just getting started.
A glance around revealed that the fight was over. If the bouncers
moving in fast were any indication, my time at Lucy’s was up for
the night.


We’re going to have to ask
you to leave, Alexa.” One of the bouncers shrugged apologetically
and gestured to the door.


Even though that asshole
threw a beer bottle at me?” I was instantly on the defensive. Could
I not just have a normal evening without some shithead ruining it
for me?


This is the third time
you’ve clocked a guy in here in the last few months.” The bouncer
shook his head and hid a grin. “I’m not saying who started what. I
just have to ask you to leave. I’m kicking those guys out
too.”

Since my night had come to a premature
end, I gave the bouncers a sarcastic salute and headed for the
door. Maybe the walk home would do me some good. I could get some
air and clear my head.

The moment I stepped outside I felt it.
A cool wind swept through me, bringing with it the promise of
power. Vampire power.

I tensed but my steps never faltered.
He must have followed me here. I’d been too quick to assume that
getting tossed out of the bar would be the last of my troubles for
the night. The sinister caress of the power I felt nearby had me on
guard. Maybe I was going to get a good fight tonight after
all.

The parking lot was empty. Traffic in
town had died down hours ago. I hesitated on the edge of the lot
for just a second before crossing the street. He was following me.
I could feel it. But did he know that I could sense him? It was
bizarre the way I felt his energy as if it was inside me rather
than flowing around me.

A shiver crept up my spine. I could
feel those midnight blue eyes upon me. So this was a game of cat
and mouse to him. If he thought he could catch me off guard, he was
mistaken.

He drew closer though I had yet to see
him. Like most vampires he was adept at clinging to the shadows and
stepping without a sound. I should have been afraid and maybe on
some level I was but mostly I was just curious.

I kept up a steady pace for several
blocks. When nothing happened I wasn’t sure if I should be annoyed
or downright creeped out. Impatient and unwilling to let him make
the first move, I reached out metaphysically, concentrating on his
heavy energy. By reaching out to him I was issuing a silent
challenge. You want me, come and get me.

I reached the Brown Street apartments
and the little park nestled beside them. It was as good a place as
any to lure him out. I sure as hell wasn’t going to let him follow
me all the way home.

A small copse of trees accompanied a
few benches and a swing set. I walked the perimeter of the park. I
had no intention of sitting down. I wasn’t going to make this easy
for him.

Because I expected him to draw the game
out until I was ready to crack, I was completely surprised when he
stepped out of the dark in front of me. I jerked to a halt, a few
choice curse words on my lips.

I didn’t give him a chance to move or
speak. I hit him with a blast of wild energy that exploded against
his chest with a spark of my yellow gold power. I wasn’t going to
make the mistake of letting him get the drop on me.

Arys stumbled back a step but otherwise
took the blow with little problem. He held his hands up in
surrender and shook his head.


What the hell was that
for?” He was incredulous though a smile tugged at his
lips.


Are you kidding me?” I
snapped. “You’re the one following me. What the hell do you want?
I’ve reached my capacity for men’s bullshit tonight, if you don’t
mind.”

Arys chuckled but there was a
seriousness in his eyes that didn’t match his laughter. His
midnight eyes followed me from head to toe and back up again. I
raised a brow, glaring my hardest.


You’re a real fighter,
aren’t you? Calm down, lovely wolf. I’m not here to get a face full
of claws. Or another bitch slap of a psi ball. I just want to
talk.”

He stood there in jeans, a t-shirt and
a leather jacket looking gorgeous and deadly. His black hair was
stylishly messy, taunting me to run my hands through it. There was
a seductive vibe to his energy. I was starting to think it was just
a natural part of him. No vampire should have that kind of sex
appeal.


I don’t trust you and I
sure don’t like you creeping around my town. Start talking before I
get impatient. I may not have as much power as you do but I have a
hell of a mean right hook.” I swallowed my apprehension but I
didn’t relax my ready stance.


Is that how you welcome
someone who is new to town?” He raised a dark brow, studying me
more intently than I was comfortable with. “And besides, you have
no reason not to trust me. I let you go, didn’t I?”

I knew it. I should have stayed home in
bed tonight. “New to town? No. Just no. There is an entire city of
people for you to pick off just ten minutes down the highway. You
are not coming here to terrorize my small town.”

Arys watched me with thinly veiled
amusement. “I assure you, there is only one person in this town I
want a taste of.” He laughed when I scowled, flashing fangs in the
dim glow of a nearby streetlight. “I bought a house here. Looks
like I’ll be around a while. It’s quiet. And good to have a place
outside the city. The wolves run this town. I know that. Which is
why I’m here. To proclaim my intent to live peaceably among you and
your pack.”

It smacked of suspicious. I let my
feelings show on my face with a skeptical frown. “I hope you don’t
think I’m stupid enough to believe that. I don’t know what you’re
up to, but I’ll be ready when you slip up.”

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