Read Vanessa Unveiled Online

Authors: Jodi Redford

Vanessa Unveiled (2 page)

Damn. With great force of will, Rand reeled in the magical threads he’d begun weaving around Vanessa. Almost instantly, the pink bloom riding her cheeks dissipated. Her breathing still shaky, she reached up and shoved trembling fingers through the auburn curls peeking from beneath her hat. Prolonging her sexual fulfillment was a necessary evil, but it didn’t stop the twinge of guilt that gnawed at him. He knew all too well the agony of being denied the ultimate release. Still, an hour or two for Vanessa didn’t begin to compare with the three hundred years he and Braeden had endured, thanks to the curse Fiona had pinned them with all those years ago.

“W-what the hell was that?”

He met Vanessa’s wide-eyed stare. “Let’s just call it a very advanced form of foreplay.”

“Well, stop it.”

Her surliness made him grin. “In case you failed to notice, I did. Or perhaps that’s what’s got your panties in a twist? We could always remedy that, if you wish.”

The rosy hue returned to her cheekbones. Only this time he suspected it had nothing to do with extreme arousal. Pity.

“I
wish
for you to return my car so I can drag both your asses back to your home dimension.”

He clucked his tongue. “Sweetest, you really need to start doubling up on the St. John’s Wart, or whatever the devil you humans use to enhance memory. I told you your vehicle is temporarily unavailable.”

“I think the herb you’re looking for is Gecko biloba. Though why anyone would want to eat anything made out of geckos is beyond me.” Braeden shuddered.

“It’s Ginkgo.” An irritated noise sprang from Vanessa as she tossed up her arms. “And why are we talking about plants?” She adopted the squinty-eyed stare she seemed remarkably proficient at. “I’m on to you two. No amount of ridiculous blabbering is going to distract me from my job.”

Braeden crossed his arms over his chest. “Did she just call us ridiculous blabberers?”

“So it seems.”

“Well, shit.” Braeden drew out the word in his typical lazy drawl, making it sound more like
shee-et
. “Do you suppose that’s an insult?”

Her expression downright homicidal, Vanessa took a quick step toward the stick lying on the floor. Concerned for his and Braeden’s kneecaps, Rand shot a bolt of energy at the piece of wood, sending it flying into the fountain.

Vanessa awarded him a baleful glare. “You can play games with me all night. It won’t do a bit of good. Your asses are still getting hauled in.”

He gave a slow smile that turned her murderous expression into one of wariness. Hot anticipation rolled through him. Oh, the endless fun he would have with this woman. “Sweet Nessie. There’s nothing I’d love more than to play with you all night.”

Fire once again flashed in those vibrant green eyes. “
What
did you just call me?”

“Nessie. It suits you so much better.”

“No, it doesn’t. It’s the name of a stinkin’ monster that lives in a loch.”

“Actually, his real name is Gerald.” Braeden shrugged, his grin unapologetic when Vanessa sent him an incinerating look.

“I don’t care if his fucking name is Moe. Now are you going to come willingly or not?”

Rand took a step closer to Vanessa, unconcerned by the flicker of warning that flashed across her face. Without the stick or weapons he’d found in her vehicle and holster, she presented little threat. “It depends.”

Her chin jutted upward. “On what?”

“You.”

“Me?” Confusion softened a bit of her bravado.

“Yes. You’re the reason we’re here, Ness—Vanessa.”

The perfect arch of her brows instantly slashed toward the bridge of her nose. “Let me get this straight. You illegally jumped the veil, putting yourselves at risk of prosecution and punishment, because of me?” He nodded and she slammed her hands on her full hips. “Okay, I’ll bite.”

He gave her a wolfish smile. “Lucky me. Do I get to choose where?”

Her cheeks flamed scarlet again. “I meant
why
. Or more to the point, what the hell do I have to do with you breaking the law?”

“You’re our mate.”

Dead silence greeted his response, followed by exactly thirty seconds of hysterical laughter from Vanessa. Bending at the waist, she sucked in great gulps of air and wiped her watering eyes. “Oh man. If I had a dime for every time someone told me that…”

“You’d have ten cents?” Braeden countered.

Her squinty look returned, and Rand sighed. “I believe what our skeptical little mate is trying to say is that she doesn’t believe us.”

“Darn tootin’.” Vanessa nodded with enough emphasis to make her curls bounce. “Runaways in your position will try anything to avoid capture.”

“You’re forgetting one minor detail, sweetest. We came to
you
.”

A hint of doubt crept into her eyes. Unable to resist the allure of touching her a second longer, he closed the distance between them and brushed the pads of his fingers across her cheek. Her skin felt softer than velvet and smelled like spring itself. Desire, thick and heady, sluiced through his veins. The only other individual who’d elicited this level of reaction from him was Braeden. There’d been other lovers, dalliances, but nothing could compete with the intoxicating need of claiming a true bond mate. Now that he’d found Vanessa, no force on this earth or any other would stop him from pursuing her.

No matter the eventual cost.

Vanessa returned his stare, her pink tongue coming out to moisten her lips. He tracked the motion, his cock throbbing as he imagined her licking along the length of his shaft, her tongue soft and teasing.

“M-maybe you realized you didn’t stand a prayer of escaping,” Vanessa stuttered, breaking through his vivid fantasies. “So you decided to lure me here in hopes of pulling a fast one on me.”

“I give you my word that’s not the case.”

She reached up and swatted his hand away. “Pookas are notorious tricksters. I’d be a fool to take your word on anything.”

He inclined his head. “Very well. I propose a compromise then.”

She bit her lip. The sight of those pearly white teeth sinking into her lush bottom lip made him give in to a silent groan. Great Titania, if he didn’t bed her soon—

“What kind of compromise?”

“Forty-eight hours. If Braeden and I haven’t convinced you of our sincerity by the end of that time, we’ll willingly turn ourselves in without a fuss.”

She scowled. “Forty-eight hours! I’m scheduled to drop you off at detainment no later than tomorrow night.”

Braeden left his station next to the fountain to join them. “So you’ll be a little late. They’ll understand.”

“Please. Have you
met
my bosses?”

Rand trailed his palm along her arm, letting his thumb graze the outer swell of her breast through the jacket. “We’ll make it worth your while.”

Her lips parted, her breath growing wispy. She gave a disdainful snort that was clearly a ruse to cover her discomposure. “There’s something else that’s just not jiving.” She waved toward Braeden. “If he’s sucking your cock, what the hell do you need me for?”

Both he and Braeden sputtered in laughter. She gave them the stink eye. “What? It’s a valid question.”

Rand scrubbed a hand across his mouth. “Of course. We just weren’t expecting you to ask it.”

She stacked her arms in front of her. “Trust me. Cockasaurus over there talks about giving you the deep-throat special, and I’m left with a few questions regarding my role in things.”

His lips twitched. On the other side of Vanessa, he spied Braeden frowning down at his dick. “The fact Braeden and I are mated lovers doesn’t in any way diminish your importance to our union.” Sweet goddess, that was the understatement of the year.


Union
? You mean the three of us…together…” Vanessa’s face went an entirely new shade of pink.

“That is usually how it’s done.”

“Not in my world, buster. Around here, we’re lucky if two work it out.”

He didn’t fail to notice the faint edge of bitterness souring her tone. Was she thinking of a former lover? Or worse, a
present
one? Before he could press her about it, she jerked away from him. “Sorry, but this
compromise
isn’t going to work.”

“Why?” The devil inside him couldn’t resist baiting her. “Afraid you might enjoy it?”

“Sorry to burst your bubble, but I’m not willing to risk losing my job—not to mention the wrath of my bosses—for some pooka sandwich action.”

Stubborn girl would be the death of him. Caging his impatience, he returned to leaning against the column. It was the only way he could guarantee that he wouldn’t resort to throwing himself at Vanessa’s feet and begging her to throw him a bone. Or specifically, begging her to lick
his
bone. “Very well. But I’m afraid you’ll still have to wait.”

“Why?”

“We have company outside.”

She swiveled toward the glass doors. “What the…?” Her loud gulp echoed off the walls. “Where the hell did those bears come from? And why are they wearing bibs and holding forks?”

“They’re hungry, apparently.”

“You son of a bitch.” Her boots clacking on the marble floor, she stormed at him. She jabbed a shaking finger in the center of his chest. “Get rid of them.
Now
.”

“Have you ever tried to chase off starving grizzlies? Not an easy task, believe me.”


Arghhhh
.” Her frustrated scream reaching an octave only small rodents could hear, she spun and stalked in the direction of the fountain. She halted, did an about-face, and strode to him, her expression fierce. “Forty-eight hours. That’s it. The second your time is up, I’m hauling your asses in.”

He met the challenge in her eyes and forced a smile. Forty-eight hours from now, her heart would belong to them.

Even if it killed him.

Chapter Three

Exactly when did this night go way left of normal? That was the question Vanessa kept mulling over as she paced in front of the fountain. The fact she even had to wonder was insane, considering that nothing about her life was remotely normal. But this? Two maddening, infuriating, and yes, sexier-than-should-be-legal pookas insisting she was their mate?

Yeah, welcome to bizarro land.

More than likely she’d nailed it when she’d accused Rand and Braeden of conniving to weasel their way out of incarceration. Because the whole notion of soul mates and love that lasts forever? Only an illusion. And if anyone was an expert at seeing past the veil of illusion, it was her.

The sound of an approaching whistle broke through her disgruntled musings, and she turned just as a train chugged into the lobby. She stared, completely bemused, as the locomotive slowed just long enough to allow a group of elves, a family of Sasquatch and a chupacabra sporting a three-piece white disco suit to disembark before rumbling through the wall and disappearing.

She started forward, intent on solving the mystery of this hotel by speaking to the Otherworlders, but a hand suddenly cupped her shoulder, making her jump. Spinning, she eyed Rand, her traitorous nipples tightening. Yes, he was aggravating as hell, but there was no denying that the breathtakingly gorgeous pooka oozed sexual magnetism. He’d more than proved his prowess with that little stunt he’d pulled earlier. Her clitoris pulsed at the reminder of her almost-orgasm. He hadn’t even touched her. How mind-blowing would actual sex with him be?

Correction, sex with him and Braeden. The throbbing in her clit intensified, and she stifled her moan. Looking to get her mind off sex, she swiveled back in the direction of the elves and their motley band of traveling companions. They’d vanished. “Damn it.” Irritated that she’d missed her shot at interrogating the Otherworlders, she pinned Rand with a glare. “What’s the deal with the train?”

“It comes through occasionally and unloads guests.” He shrugged as if that were a perfectly logical occurrence. “Are you ready? Housekeeping is just about finished tidying up our room.”

She gaped at him. “What do you mean by
our
room?”

He gave a nonchalant shrug. “We assumed you wouldn’t mind.”

“Well you assumed wrong. And speaking of your partner in crime, where the hell is Braeden?”

“He’s already upstairs, giving the maids a hand.”

Yeah, more like giving them an eyeful, if he was still gallivanting around naked. Determined to track down someone and find out for herself the situation with the lack of room vacancies, she shoved her hands in the pockets of her jacket and took an angry march around the perimeter of the fountain. Frowning, she stared at the vast expanse of empty space between the pyramid and the four towering walls that made up the interior of the hotel. “Okay, I give. Where is the damn check-in desk?”

He made a great show of looking around. “Odd, it was here just a second ago. Guess you’re stuck with us after all.”

Somehow she controlled the urge to fish the stick from the fountain and brain him. “How convenient.”

Cupping her elbow, he steered her toward the adjacent wall. A recessed door she hadn’t noticed earlier slid open, revealing a mirrored elevator. He gestured for her to precede him inside. Soft, sensual music accompanied them on the ride up. Being confined in the cramped space only added to her hyper awareness of Rand. To make matters worse, every once in a while she’d catch him watching her, his dark eyes filled with an intense hunger that made her breath quicken. She half-expected him to rip her clothes off and toss her to the floor of the elevator, where he’d have his wicked way with her.

How pathetic did it make her that she wished he would?

The elevator coasted to a smooth stop and the doors popped open. Rather than exiting into a hallway as she’d expected, the conveyance had delivered them directly to what she assumed was their room. Only it was like no hotel room she’d ever encountered. A massive arched entry led into a large living space filled with tropical plants. Groupings of oversized cushions in vibrant shades of fuchsia and aquamarine provided intimate seating arrangements amongst the exotic blooms. The gentle cooing of doves drew her attention to the dozens of birdcages and jewel-toned glass lanterns suspended in the overhead canopy of foliage.

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