"Roman. Roman Draganesti."
Laszlo spun around a corner too fast.
She slid against Roman. A huge, rock-hard Roman. "Sorry." She tilted her head away from his erection. He was getting bigger by the minute.
"Where do you want to go?" Laszlo asked. "The lab or your home?"
Roman's hand moved from her shoulder to her neck. His fingers gently stroked, drawing little circles on her skin.
She shivered. Her heart started to race.
"We'll take her to my home," he whispered.
Shanna swallowed hard. Somehow, she knew she was taking a turn tonight, a turn that would change the rest of her life.
The car came to an abrupt stop. Her head wobbled with the car's movement, rubbing against the strained denim of Wolfman's beastly-sized erection. He groaned and fixed his eyes on her face.
She gasped. His eyes were red. It couldn't be. It had to be a reflection from the red stoplight.
"Are you sure she'll be safe at your house?" Laszlo asked.
"As long as my mouth stays shut." He smiled slightly. "And my zipper stays up."
Swallowing hard, Shanna turned away. She should have appreciated boredom when she had it. This much excitement could kill a girl.
So much for keeping his raging lust a secret. As far as Roman could tell, the lovely dentist in his lap had finally realized the futility of escaping his erection. Each time she succeeded in putting a little space between her head and his crotch, he rose to the challenge and filled the gap.
He was a bit amazed himself. He hadn't experienced this much desire in more than a hundred years. Now, instead of bumping against him, Shanna was lying very still against his zipper. Her smoky blue eyes were focused on the car's ceiling as if nothing was going on. But the blush on her cheeks and the occasional shudder that rippled down her warm body told him otherwise. She was extremely aware of him. And she knew he wanted her.
Roman didn't have to read her mind to know this. He could read her body instead. The distinction was new to him, and the result was powerful, fueling his lust to a higher degree.
"Roman?" She glanced at him, her blush deepening. "I hate to sound like a nagging kid, but are we there yet?"
He glanced out the window. "We're at Central Park. We're almost there."
"Oh. Uh, do you live alone?"
"No. There are a number of.. people who live there. And I have security teams on duty day and night. You'll be safe."
"Why do you have so much security?"
He continued to look out the window. "To feel secure."
"You don't want to know."
"Oh, that's informative," she muttered.
Roman couldn't help but smile. The lady Vamps in his coven were too busy trying to seduce him to ever show displeasure with him. Shanna's attitude was a refreshing change. Though he did hope her irritation wouldn't lead to another knee in the groin. Somehow, he'd managed to exist for a total of five hundred and forty-four years without experiencing that particular form of torture. Vampire killers went straight for the heart.
Though to be honest, Shanna was assaulting his heart. The dried-up husk in his chest was beating to an ancient, primeval drum. Possess and protect. He wanted this woman. And he wouldn't allow his old enemy to have her or harm her.
But it went much further than that. He wanted to know why he couldn't control her. She was a challenge that mentally, he couldn't resist. And obviously, given his current condition, he found her physically irresistible, too.
"Here we are, sir." Laszlo slowed to a stop, double-parking next to one of Roman's cars.
Roman opened his door. Lifting Shanna's head a fraction, he slid out from under her. She started to sit up. "No. Stay down until I make sure it's safe."
She heaved a sigh of frustration. "Okay."
Roman climbed out and closed the door while Laszlo did the same. He motioned for the chemist to follow him a few yards from the car. "You did well, Laszlo. Thank you."
"You're welcome, sir. Can I go back to the lab now?"
"Not yet. First, I want to you to go inside and warn everyone that we have a mortal guest. We need to protect her, but at the same time, she must not discover who we really are."
"May I ask why we're doing this, sir?"
Roman surveyed the street for any sign of the Russians. "You've heard of the Russian coven master, Ivan Petrovsky?"
"Oh God." Laszlo clutched at one of the two remaining buttons on his lab coat. "They say he's vicious and ruthless."
"Yes. And for some reason, he wants to kill the dentist. But I need her, too. So we have to keep her safe without Petrovsky figuring out that we're the ones interfering with his plans."
"Oh dear." Laszlo twirled the button furiously. "He would be so angry. He.. he might declare war on us."
"Exactly. But there's no reason for Shanna to know about that. We'll keep her as ignorant as possible."
"That may be difficult with her living in your house."
"I know, but we have to try. And if she finds out too much, I'll erase her memory." As CEO of a major corporation, Roman was constantly struggling to remain invisible in the mortal world. Mind control and memory wipes made the task much easier. Unfortunately, he wasn't sure he could erase Shanna's memory.
He climbed the front steps to his townhouse and punched in a security code on the keypad by the door. "Explain things as quickly as possible."
"Yes, sir." Laszlo swung open the door and was greeted by a long dagger aimed at his throat. "Eek!" He stumbled back, bumping into Roman, who stopped him from falling down the stairs.
"Begging yer pardon, sir." Connor slid his Highland dirk back into the sheath hanging from his belt. "I wasna expecting you at the front door."
"I'm glad you're vigilant." Roman pushed Laszlo into the entryway. "We have a guest. Laszlo will explain."
Laszlo nodded, his fingers fumbling once again for a button on his lab coat. Connor shut the door.
Roman hurried down the steps to the Honda. He yanked the back door open to find Shanna pointing her Beretta at him.
"Oh, it's you." She blew out a sigh of relief and dropped her gun back into her purse. "You were gone so long. I was beginning to think I'd been abandoned."
"You're under my protection now. I'll keep you safe." He smiled. "At least, you no longer want to shoot me."
"Yeah, that's always a positive sign in any relationship."
Roman laughed, a rusty sound, but a definite laugh. God's blood, how long had it been since his last laugh? He couldn't even remember. And there was beautiful Shanna, returning his smile. The lovely dentist had brought a spark of life back into his godforsaken, endless existence.
Still, he should fight this compulsion to be with her. After all, he was a demon. She was a mortal. Historically, he should be seeing her as lunch,craving her blood, not her company. But he did want her company. It was as if his mind was waiting for the next words to come out her mouth, just so he could have the pleasure of responding. And his body was waiting anxiously for the next accidental touch. Hell, accidental wasn't enough.
"I probably shouldn't trust you. But for some reason, I do." She climbed out of the car, and instantly his entire body wakened to her proximity.
"You're right," he whispered, lifting a hand to touch her cheek. "You shouldn't trust me at all."
Her eyes widened. "I.. I thought you said I was safe."
"There are different kinds of danger." He skimmed his fingers along her jaw.
She stepped back, but not before he felt a shiver run through her. She turned toward his townhouse, shifting her purse to her shoulder. "So, this is where you live? It's very nice. In fact, it's quite lovely. Great neighborhood."
"Which floor are you on?" She rushed her words, apparently trying to pretend there was nothing going on, that the air between them wasn't sizzling with sexual awareness. Maybe she didn't feel it. Maybe it was just him.
"Which floor would you like?"
She glanced his way, then her gaze locked with his. Her chin lifted slightly, her mouth slowly falling open. Oh yeah, she was feeling it. She sounded breathless. "What do you mean?"
He stepped toward her. "They're all mine."
She retreated a step. "The entire townhouse?"