Her eyes remained closed, but her brow was pinched and her face strained. The tight line her lips formed quivered. My gaze traveled down the elegant slope of her neck, beyond the flimsy straps of her top. Her chest rose and fell erratically. The air around her was a dark violet, the sign of fear.
I was drawn to the bed.
A tremor ran down the back of my neck, shooting down to the tips of my fingers.
I really shouldn’t be here.
But I was.
I eased my hip onto the mattress, careful not to disturb her. What I did next was one of those things I knew I shouldn’t do but did anyway. Reaching out, I placed the tips of my fingers on her cheek and followed the straight line of the bone.
Serena’s breathing settled and deepened.
A slight smile tipped my lips up. So trusting in her sleep that a simple touch comforted her? I wondered if she’d feel that way if she were awake.
I did not touch to comfort.
My gaze followed the path of my fingers, drifting over the curve of her stubborn jaw, down the fragile expanse of her neck. And she was fragile, more so than she knew, especially considering whom she and her unfortunate friend had pissed off.
And considering that I was in the same space as her, the statistics of her surviving any of this was really looking bad.
Serena stirred a little when my fingers edged under the thin strap. I waited, wondering if she’d wake up. The energy around her was calming, but specks of red were beginning to appear.
With my other hand, I eased the sheet down and was supremely rewarded for hanging around.
Serena didn’t sleep nude, but a tank top was a poor choice when it came to concealing her body. The heart-shaped neckline had slipped down on one side, revealing the soft swell and dusky peach tip of one breast. Now I knew I was right on the whole curves thing. This little adventure was proving to be fruitful.
she moaned softly.
I stilled, head cocked to the side as I studied. She was still asleep and definitely didn’t know what she was asking for, but that soft plea was my undoing.
There wasn’t a flicker of hesitation when it came to what I did next. I wasn’t fooling myself or anyone. I wanted to touch her and so I did.
Sweeping the very tips of my fingers down to the sweet swell, I discovered that her skin felt like satin and was warm—so incredibly warm and unlike my own kind. And that was why she was in such a precarious position. We flocked toward warmth, and with all that glorious sunlight-colored hair spilled across the pillows, she was in a world of trouble.
I leaned over her, inhaling deeply. Vanilla… and peach filled my senses. One belonged to the bottles in the bathroom, but the peachy scent was hers.
I traced a circle around her hardening nipple. With each pass, I drew closer to the puckering bud and pushed the annoying material farther down until finally my thumb brushed over the tight bead.
Serena moaned sweetly, and I bit back a growl as my sex swelled in response. It wasn’t the only thing swelling. As she threw off more energy, a different kind of hunger was building inside me.
Both were equally powerful, and although I had learned to deny the latter, I hadn’t figured out how to resist the call of the cock yet.
Probably never would.
I wanted more. Hell, I wanted to spread her thighs and sink deep inside her, but as I trailed my fingers over the dip of her concave belly, Serena’s body started to move languidly. Caught by the sensual slide of her hips, thoughts of completely taking her slipped into the back of my mind. My cock was stiff and erect, but I was fascinated by her response.
Her movements caused the hem of her tank top to inch up, baring her to my eager gaze, and, goddamn, this adventure was more than just fruitful.
Serena was bare under the top, the delicate valley of her sex there for me to feast upon.
To feast? Fuck that. I wanted to devour her.
My hands were on her thighs, savoring the supple skin as I spread them.
When the tips of my fingers brushed the apex, her back arched, bowing completely off the bed. Her moan of pleasure broke the silence. I couldn’t stop my response, not for the life of me. A violent jolt of lust fired through my veins and my answering growl shattered the silence.
Serena gasped and her eyes snapped open; the air around her crackling with reds and violets as she jerked up in bed.
I pulled back, slipping into the deep shadows of the room, easily becoming a part of them. I remained there, torn between wanting to kick myself in the balls for having to expel the power required to stay hidden, and the other option, which involved us, the bed, and possibly the wall, and a lot of body slamming sounds.
Serena stared hard into the darkness of the room, one hand scrambling to adjust her top while the other smacked around for the blanket. It was almost cute, I thought, except I didn’t do cute.
But I wanted to do her.
Tugging the blanket all the way up to her chin, her gaze bounced around the room, but I knew it was useless. She couldn’t see me.
“Hello?” she said, voice thick and husky.
Or possibly she could.
What the fuckadeefuck?
Serena couldn’t see me.
There was no way, but then her eyes fixed on where I stood, and I knew she could feel me watching her, probably even wanting her.
Yeah, shit was real awkward the following day.
If Serena knew what went on the night before, she didn’t say anything, but the slivers of red sliding through her aura was driving me bat-shit crazy with unquenched lust. And that need fed another. It wasn’t like I could leave. So I was stuck here, and with every passing hour I was getting more and more agitated.
This wasn’t going to last long.
It was like winning the lottery when Serena dozed off on the couch in the afternoon, sleeping away several hours, providing a respite of sorts. I checked my cell a dozen times over. Nothing from the dipshit officers, and the only way I could get the officers here and Serena out of my house was to get information from her.
And I needed to get her out of the house sooner than later.
Wanting to crawl out of my human skin, I started to make dinner. Cooking… cooking was one of the few calming things in my life.
My brother gave me shit about it, so did Dex. Fuck them, because I was a great cook.
What I really needed to do was take my true form for a few hours.
Serena entered the kitchen then, looking disheveled and rubbing the sleep out of her eyes. She bent over in front of the fridge and grabbed a bottle of water. The thin material of her cotton shorts strained over her ass.
Nah, what I really needed was to fuck Serena senseless and then take my true form for a few hours.
My cock was all kinds of happy about the idea, and I wanted to pick her up, strip the clothes off her, and lay her bare on the kitchen island. Discover a different kind of taste, and then sink into her repeatedly. Lose myself in her softness and warmth.
“You’re making dinner?”
Serena’s voice shattered my fantasy.
I blinked and looked down. There was a knife in my hands, chicken cutlets on the cutting board, and a box of pasta ready to be boiled. Huh. I’d completely forgotten what I’d been doing.
“I guess so,” I said.
“Pasta with chicken.”
She stood on the other side of the island, sliding the water bottle back and forth in her hands. “Can I help?”
My first response was to tell her no, but this could be beneficial. I’d wasted enough time fucking around, staring at sandwiches, stealing kisses and touches, and feeding from a human female. Yeah, it was time to get this show on the road. “You can grab the skillet and the olive oil.”
Serena grabbed a pan from the rack, placed it on the stove, and then started rummaging through the cabinets. When she found the bottle of oil, she regarded me cautiously.
“Do you like to cook?”
Tossing the thick length of hair over her shoulder, she then poured the oil. I wondered how dark her hair was wet. I bet it was a light brown, matching the delicate brows arched over her eyes.
DELICATE BROWS? What the fuck was happening to my brain? Returning my attention to the last chicken breasts, I slammed the knife through them, nearly embedding the blade into the cutting board.
“I like to cook, too,”
Serena said tentatively, as if she wasn’t sure if she should continue to speak after my samurai swing.
“I’m not that good, though.
I tried making Rice Krispies treats once while Footloose was on the TV, and it was the big dance scene in the warehouse, so I didn’t want to miss it. I left the spatula in the pan and when I got back, half of it had melted into the mix.”
I arched a brow. “That will happen.”
“In my defense, I was fourteen and easily distracted.
My mom wouldn’t let me near the stove for years after that.”
She inched her way to the island and went back to messing with the water bottle. A faint blue aura shimmered around her.
She was nervous. “I’m mostly a microwave and carry-out type of girl, but I always wished I could be like the cooks on TV.”
My gaze slid over her downturned face. A faint blush covered her cheeks.
Thick lashes swept up and her eyes met mine for a moment, then she quickly looked away. Tucking her hair back behind one ear, she pressed her lips together. The air around her vibrated a deeper blue.
“Here,” I said, my mouth doing the flapping thing again as I pointed the knife toward the chicken and then the two bowls. “Dip the chicken in the eggs first, then roll them in the bowl with the bread crumbs.”
Her chin jerked up, surprise flickering across her face. For a moment, she didn’t move and then she nodded. “Let me wash my hands first.”
I wasn’t worried about germs. Wasn’t like I could get sick, not like Serena could. When she returned to the island, she squeezed in next to me as she arranged the bowls— eggs first and then the crumbs. The space was crowded and I could’ve moved over to give her more room, but I didn’t.
I liked crowding her.
“Go ahead,” I urged when her hands hovered over the chicken. “It’s not that hard and I won’t turn the TV on.”
A smile played over her lips. “I’m not that easily distracted now.”
I bent down, so that my lips were a hairbreadth from her cheek. “I bet you’re just as easily distracted as you were at fourteen.”
Serena dropped the slice of chicken in the bowl.
Watery yolk splattered across the counter as her cheeks went bloodred.
“You are so wrong,” she muttered.
I chuckled. “I know.”
Watching Serena dutifully dip the slices of chicken was sort of amusing in a weird way. I never cooked with anyone before.
Hell, I never cooked for anyone before.
Not that I was cooking for Serena in the first place. I was hungry and I ate a lot.
As I turned the stove on and watched the oil start to bubble, Serena chatted about her mom, stopping every few moments to glance at me, as if she were testing my annoyance level.
I was fine.
“So you never met your father?” I asked.
She shook her head as she carried the plate of breaded chicken to the stove. “Nope. Absentee sperm donor. What about you? I mean, your kind has parents, right?”