I should be dead. But I’m not human, am I?” She swiped a tear of frustration off her face. “Whatever I am makes me stronger, faster, and scary as hell when fighting. I changed, scaled the top of a moving truck, and fought a guy shooting a gun at me.” She ran her hand across her face to wipe away the tears. “I’m a mess. The mud in that ravine got in all the cracks, even my underwear. But the injuries are already almost gone, and somehow, I know all this will heal. Based on you being all pissy, I assume your meeting didn’t go well.”
“It took an unanticipated turn.” His tone was odd as he continued to stare at her.
“What exactly do you do that involves secrecy and the Crown?”
“I can’t tell you.” Something about how he looked at her was different. Her skin tingled like it had before she’d shifted. Survival instinct flared.
“Did they order you to…kill me?” It came out of her on a fatigued exhale. Her shoulders drooped.
His face remained remote as if trying to wall off emotion. He neither confirmed nor denied, which might as well have been a screaming affirmative.
She dropped her chin.
He said nothing, so she looked up. He stared intently at her, making her almost shrink in place under the gaze of those thunderous eyes.
“Is this when you tell me to leave again?” she asked. “Would you go?”
“If they ordered you to kill me, wouldn’t you be forced to come after me? To hunt me down? So, what’s the point in me running unless you like the hunt?”
He pushed his hand through his dark hair and stepped away from her. Frustration oozed from him. Seeing him start to lose some of his composure made him less threatening. He wasn’t the robot assassin. She wanted to run her fingers through his thick hair and down his scruff-roughened chiseled jawline to soothe him. Would her touch, if done in comfort, affect him the way she suspected his touch would destroy her?
From the way he simply stared at her, she guessed yes. The silence was killing her. “What’s going on here?” “No idea.” He muttered something under his breath that she couldn’t make out.
He stepped toward her and slid a finger under her chin to tilt her face upward. Their eyes met and held. “I’m sorry someone hurt you. That you had to fight for your life and went through a windshield.” In a whisper, he added, “I should’ve been there.”
The grit in his voice, the despair, as if he’d let her down, packed one hell of a punch.
What was she supposed to do with that?
Oh dear…God. His hold on her face, how his thumb gently stroked over the skin on her jaw…
How he moved in so she could feel the hard surfaces of his body, the concrete chest and abs…
All of it swirled together, turning her mind to mush, which was bad when she needed to remain alert. Death… her death was on the line. But she was about to make a very bad decision to let him do whatever the hell he wanted after that declaration.
“I made a promise to erase Dom’s kiss. To make you forget. I never go back on my promises.”
Like his promise to help her get answers?
He didn’t lower his head, but stood there, hesitant. “You’re too hurt right now.”
“Oh, for heaven’s sake.” She slid her good hand up his shoulders and neck. His muscles twitched under her touch, and his chest rose and fell more rapidly. Feeling how much just her hand on him affected him encouraged her to continue. Cradling the back of his head, she pressed her body into his. As she pulled him toward her mouth, his incredible size and power registered but didn’t intimidate. Didn’t scare her.
Her mouth touched his. Warmth on warmth. Once… Twice… Three times. His lips were a lot softer than they appeared. The roughness of his facial scruff scratched her skin.