Obsession - Page 16

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Taking a deep breath, I blurted out my request before I lost the nerve. “Can I see you in your true form?”

One eye opened.

“What?”

“Can I see how you really look?” I rushed on.

“Back in my apartment, I had been so scared and—”

“What you saw then was frightening.”

Both eyes were open now. “And that’s not going to change now.”

I wasn’t so sure about that.

With all the adrenaline and fear pumping in my veins, my memories were blurs and God knows what my imagination had tacked on.

But I also remembered that there had been a beauty to him—a terrifying beauty.

Like when confronted by a predator in the wild. A panther was gorgeous, but you didn’t try to pet that type of beauty.

“I know,” I said, sitting forward. “But I want to see you as you really are.”

Hunter didn’t move for several moments, and then he laughed hoarsely.

“Are you insane?”

“I feel like it.”

He looked away, a muscle popping in his jaw.

I knew I shouldn’t push him, because he was like that panther. Likely to bite if pushed too far. “Please?”

Another hoarse laugh, and then he was on his feet in front of me within a second. His eyes were narrowed; his cheekbones abnormally sharp, as if he was already preparing for the change. “Are you sure you really want to see this?”

Now I wasn’t so sure, but I nodded.

A deep breath shuddered through him.

His eyes drifted shut and the first thing I realized was that he’d stopped breathing. Like completely.

My hands tightened on my bent knees.

Then the edges of his body shaded out like he’d been drawn in charcoal and someone had smudged the lines of his body. Weirdest damn thing to see, but then the blurred effect spread and his entire body lost most of his descriptive features. The clothing seemed to seep into him, disappearing as his striking face also faded.

My breath caught as Hunter became more smoke and shadows than anything else, a wispy human form. A second later, he solidified.

Holy God in heaven, he was… There were no words.

Hunter had the shape of a human male, but… different.

My gaze dropped to his feet. They were such a deep black I couldn’t really see if he had toes or not.

But he had legs. They were widespread, thick, and muscled. His torso and arms were the same— defined muscle, like he’d been carved out of polished black marble.

Cheekbones that were broad in his human form were more angular now, as was his jaw. His eyes… I let out the breath I was holding.

His eyes were still the same, a pale blue even more stark than before.

Hunter’s head cocked to the side. Ssscared?

Caught off guard by hearing his voice in my head, all I could do was stare. Was I scared? My heart was throwing itself against my ribs like a patient in a padded room, but it wasn’t out of fear.

More likely spiking from the fact there was an alien standing before me. A completely nude alien, who was—holy hardness— definitely endowed like a really lucky human man.

“No,” I said. “How can I hear your voice in my head?”

I thought he smiled.

There was a rippling motion to his face.

HUMANSSS CANNOT UNDERSSSTAND OUR SSSPEECH.

I’M PROJECTING my thoughtsss to you.

His voice had a snakelike quality to it. Not in a creepy way, but like a whisper of an exotic, foreign language.

I shifted forward, stopping when it felt like the temperature in the room plummeted. “When it gets cold…that’s you?”

YESSS. IN OUR TRUE FORM, WE AFFECT ENERGY AROUND USSS, DRAWING IT IN. HEAT isss energy.

Struck by all that Hunter could do, my gaze traveled his body. This was the first moment where I truly understood the enormity of the knowledge I held. It was confirmation of intelligent life-forms existing in the universe— life-forms that were more physically advanced than the human race. What I was seeing would not be witnessed by most of the human population.

I could have one of two reactions: freak the hell out or be awed by what I was seeing. I decided on a mix of both, but mostly awe.

This…this was astonishing.

“Can I touch you?”

Hunter stilled again. He didn’t move, didn’t respond. I figured that if he didn’t want me to he would’ve said it. So I scooted to the edge of the couch and slowly reached out. My fingers brushed over his arm.

His skin was cool like stone and smooth. I ran my fingers up his arm. He shuddered, and I started to pull my hand back. “I’m sorry.”

NO.

IT’SSS OKAY.

I’M jussst not usssed to… “Someone touching you in this form?” I guessed.

He nodded.

More confident with what I was doing, I stood and flattened my palm, moving my hand upward, over the curve of his arm and sinew muscle.

The cool, seamless texture of his skin was strange, yes, but it wasn’t ugly or frightening.

I lifted my gaze. His true form didn’t bring on the warm fuzzies, but like that damn panther, he was frighteningly beautiful.

When I realized I was basically feeling him up, I should’ve stopped, but I didn’t. I trailed my hand across his shoulder and then over his chest. I could feel his heart beating, or at least an organ like a heart.

I started to ask, but Hunter moved.

Not away, but closer.

My breath stalled. Thin slices of brighter blue appeared in his eyes, churning slowly. As cold as it was in the room, I should be freezing, but I felt too warm.

He stepped away and his body blurred out and then returned to the Hunter I knew. Worn jeans and all.

“Neat trick,” I murmured.

He cocked his head to the side. For a moment, he looked like he was going to say something, but then he backed away, turned, and disappeared into the kitchen.

And he never came back out. When I checked in there later, he was gone.

But knowing that Hunter could very well be any number of the shadows in the room, I cleared my throat and called out his name. When there was no answer, I tried again, and ended up feeling slightly nutso when there was no response. Either he was hiding from me or he’d snuck off somewhere.

I headed upstairs and spent an obscene amount of time going through the bags he had left there.

Earlier, I’d only grabbed the first few items I’d seen, but now that I had them all spread out, Hunter had to have spent hundreds of dollars. Feeling guilty that he spent so much money, I went back downstairs in search of him, but came up empty once again.

I made myself a cold cut sandwich from what I dug up in the fridge, and as a way to say thank you, I made one for Hunter, leaving it on the counter, covered in plastic wrap I’d found in a cabinet.

Heading back upstairs, I moved my new clothes over to the lounge, unwilling to put them in the dresser. Doing so seemed too permanent. Like I was accepting that this could very well be my new home, at least for the time being, and that I would never get back to my job—and that like Mel, I would simply be no more.

Frustrated and weary, I took a quick bath, then slipped a tank top on that hit at the thigh. The moment I climbed into bed, I sunk into it. Maybe the feeding had sucked a lot of energy out of me, or it could just be the emotional and mental stress of everything. Either way, I was out the moment my eyes closed.

… Fuck.

That was all I could think as I stared at the wrapped sandwich on the counter.

Why in the fuck had she made me a sandwich? Did I seem like that kind of guy who couldn’t fend for myself?

I’d been standing there way past the acceptable time limit to be staring at a goddamn sandwich.

Something about it pissed me off, which wasn’t anything new. Anger was what I knew. It was what I was bred in.

What little part of Serena I’d taken from her still lingered inside me like a tiny ball of warmth and light residing in my core.

I’d fed from humans before. Never felt that way afterward, but Serena… My hands twitched.

Along with something else that had been twitching from the first moment I’d laid eyes on her. Hair like spun sunlight and eyes a warm mixture of brown and green. Those two things alone would make me want to covet her, but the whole package?

Fuck.

She was a tiny thing, barely reaching my shoulders, but she had one hell of a throwing arm. Her petite size was misleading.

The female was strong and she also had a mouth on her. I kind of liked her feisty tongue. It provoked the domineering nature in me, sparking the need that existed in my kind: to control and dominate.

Fuck.

This wasn’t going to turn out good. No way. No how.

There was a good chance that if Serena wasn’t killed for what she unwittingly stumbled upon, I would break her.

In two.

I didn’t know what the hell the agents were thinking by dumping her on me. I hadn’t heard from them since the day we hit West Virginia. She’d be safer taking the risk with the agents. At least they operated by basic right and wrong. I operated by want and need. There was no such thing as “wrong” to me.

Of course, I’d shadowed her all afternoon and evening. Even watched her stand outside the door she’d believed separated us while she nibbled on that plump lower lip of hers. I had liked watching that. A lot.

I even watched her make that damn sandwich.

Serena was an antsy thing, buzzing from one room to the next, like a little hummingbird, and I was drawn to that, tethered by the allure, the need that never really went away. And that wasn’t a good thing.

It was the last thing anyone would want.

My eyes picked the energy wavelengths and my body sought out those patterns. And she was throwing off a lot. Staring at the damn sandwich, I could still feel her soft hand on my skin—my true skin. Hell, I could still feel her body under mine, and the problem was I knew she was feeling me, and that made it all the harder not to indulge.

At twenty-three, she would naturally be a ball of a thousand types of energies, but there had been a whole hell of a lot of red surrounding her most of the day.

She made me a sandwich.

Fuck.

And I needed. I wanted.

It didn’t matter that she was in a vulnerable position. What did matter was that she had taken a bath earlier and I’d wasted a shit storm of energy keeping out of that room.

Now I wondered if she slept naked, which made my jeans too tight.

I shouldn’t be jonesing for a fix right now, but I was.

So, yeah, fuck.

I grabbed the sandwich and stalked toward the front door. Opening it, I threw the damn thing as far as it would go. I wished I could do the same to the fucking ball of light bullshit.

Shutting the door, I resisted the urge to slam it, because that would make— A soft cry came from the second floor, and I whipped around, cocking my head to the side.

Humans had nightmares.

No big deal. Drifting to the foot of the stairs, I listened. The sound didn’t come again, but I found myself gliding up the stairs anyway.

Curiosity was a stone-cold bitch.

Opening the door to where she was, my gaze fell to the bed. Serena was lying on her back, the sheet draped over her chest. Unfortunately, she didn’t sleep nude, which made this trip upstairs sort of pointless.

I started to back out, but then her head turned to the side, and I stopped, going completely still. I didn’t even breathe.


Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout Romance
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