Those three things made absolutely no sense, but I was pretty sure that the kids were in Pennsylvania.
Why that was such a big deal, I wasn’t sure. And Project Eagle? Sounded like something straight from a James Bond movie.
But I knew there was more —there was something Mel had said that was on the tip of my thoughts and every time I grasped for it, it slipped away.
“Damn it,” I muttered, closing my eyes as I continued to rub my temples.
“You look stressed.”
I squeaked at the unexpected sound of Hunter’s voice. Twisting in the seat, I saw him sitting in the chair on the other side of the table. “Holy crap, are you part ninja?”
One side of his lips tipped up slightly.
No sunglasses this morning.
The skies were cloudy and overcast, the scent of rain heavy in the air. “I can be very quiet when I want.”
“No shit.” I placed a hand on my chest, feeling my heart pound. “Being able to turn into smoke and shadows has its benefits, doesn’t it?”
“It does, among other things.” He tipped his chin up, squinting at the gray sky. “We need to talk, Serena.”
I wrapped my arms around my legs. “We do.”
He looked at me, his striking face impassive. “I almost killed you last night.”
Wow. Hearing him put it so bluntly didn’t make it easier to accept. I tore my gaze from his face, focusing on a little robin hopping from branch to branch. “You didn’t,” I said finally.
“I wanted to feed from you. I wanted to feed from you while I fucked you. I would’ve drained you completely.”
A shiver danced down my spine. I let out a low breath.
What was I supposed to say to that?
Yes to the fucking part, but please don’t kill me in the process?
“But you stopped.”
“Barely,” he replied in a flat, emotionless voice.
“Next time I might not.”
My head swiveled toward him. Whoa, buddy. “You think there’s going to be a next time?”
Arrogance poured into his face and his lips spread into a sardonic smirk. Go figure that was the emotion he showed. “There will be a next time.”
My brows rose. “That’s unbelievably cocky of you.”
“The longer we’re together, it’s inevitable.”
He dropped his feet onto the deck and twisted to face me. “And you came harder than you probably ever have. You’ll want to do it again, to feel that again.”
I gaped at him. Okay.
The attraction was still there. I couldn’t even think about what he did with his fingers and that wonderful mouth without wanting to drop panties, but I didn’t have a death wish.
He met my astonished stare. “You still want me even after what I did.”
“You just said you would feed on me and fuck me until there was nothing left of me. Exactly why would I want to do that?”
His pale eyes darkened.
“You want to do the fucking part. Even now, I can see your arousal. It covers you. Makes it hard for me to resist it.”
I stared at him, torn between wanting to laugh and to punch him in the face. “Are you kidding me?
You make it sound like it’s my fault!”
“You shouldn’t be attracted to me.”
“What?” I threw up my hands. “You cannot be serious.”
Hunter arched a brow.
“Do I not look serious to you?”
“You look like an arrogant, pompous ass!” I jumped to my feet and headed around the lounge.
I reached the door, but Hunter freaking popped in front of me. I was too pissed to be amazed by his super-special alien speed or to be scared.
“Get out of my way.”
He freaking grinned at me.
I tried to sidestep him, but he just blocked me. I squelched a frustrated scream. “It is not my fault that I’m attracted to you and you wanted to eat my soul or whatever the hell that you do when you feed on me, you dick. If you think it’s too dangerous or whatever, then maybe you shouldn’t come on to me.
Did you ever think about that?”
“Eat your soul?” Hunter burst into laughter, and it was a really nice sound, but hell if it didn’t make me want to kick him in the junk. “I drain you of your energy—all living things have energy in them.
Souls? Who knows if that exists?”
I sputtered. “Who gives a fuck what you really do?
It’s not my fault. It’s yours!”
His grin didn’t fade.
“Damn, you have a mouth on you. I like it.”
Exasperated, I managed to get around him. I got as far as the living room before he ended up in front of me again. This time I did scream.
“Jesus! Would you stop doing that?”
He crossed his arms. “I can’t. It’s too fun.”
My eyes narrowed.
He sighed. “You’re right.
It’s not your fault. It’s mine.
You haven’t done anything to bring this on.”
“But you shouldn’t be attracted to me.”
Rolling my eyes, I plopped down on the couch. “It’s not like I’m trying to. Trust me, I know it would be better if I wasn’t, so just stop being so, so…”
“Sexy?” I sighed, feeling my cheeks flush. This was such a stupid, unimportant conversation. “Why did you turn last night like that?
You’ve kissed me before, but you haven’t acted like that.”
Hunter didn’t answer immediately. He looked like he was trying to work out a complex puzzle in his head.
“Feeding and fighting makes my kind want sex.”
Well that explained everything. Not.
“And sex makes me want to feed,” he added, almost like an afterthought.
“Even if I’ve fed.”
Jesus. That made sex… complicated. “Is it always like that?”
Surprised, I looked up at him. “It’s not?”
“I can usually separate sex from feeding. With you, I cannot.”
“I don’t understand.
I mumbled. I could think of a few better words. Like a mailbox full of different words like messed up, weird, not cool— mailbox. I sat up straight, my eyes going wide. “Holy shit.”
“What?” He sat beside me.
I shook my head, seconds away from clapping like a seal.
His brows furrowed. “Are you okay?”
“Yes. I just remembered —”
Hunter shot to his feet suddenly, head cocked to the side.
Startled, I almost jumped clear off the couch. “Would you stop moving—”
“Go upstairs,” he said, not looking at me.
“Uh…” I had no plans on going upstairs.
“What’s going on?”
Hunter stalked around the couch, heading toward the foyer. “Go upstairs and stay there, Serena. I’m not joking around.”
Irritation spiked like a football in an end zone.
“Excuse me, but you need to tell me—”
The look he sent me was pure warning, strong enough to send most people scurrying to do his bidding. A knock on the door resonated through the house. My brows shot up.
“Did you know someone was coming?”
“Not until a few moments ago,”
“Serena, please go upstairs.”
Curiosity raged inside me, more potent than his growly attitude. My mind quickly turned over.
“Okay,” I said sweetly.
A dubious look crossed his face. “Serena…”
The knock came again, louder this time. “I’m going.
Just going to grab a drink first.”
He stared at me a moment and then spun on his heel, going to the front door. I darted into the kitchen. Not the best plan and maybe not the smartest, but I wanted to know who was at the door and what was going on.
And I was tired of Hunter telling me what to do.
“Surprised to see you here.” By the closeness of Hunter’s voice, I knew they were in the living room.
“This is the last place I’d expect you to visit.”
There was a very deep laugh in response.
Obviously this guest was a male. “Surely you’re not that surprised, Hunter.”
I crept toward the entrance, hoping I could see who was here.
“I’m not surprised that you’re in the state,” Hunter replied evenly.
“I’m surprised that you’d show up at my door.”
“Are you?” Cold humor laced the stranger’s voice.
“Now really isn’t a good time,” Hunter said after a gap of silence. His voice still held a level of calmness that should’ve been reassuring but wasn’t. “Maybe we could pick up this conversation later?”
“I’m afraid not.”
“Then I’m afraid that I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”
“Would it have to do with what you have stashed away in the kitchen?” The question sent a chill down my spine.
Oh. Shit. I squeezed my eyes shut.
“It has nothing to do with her.” The calmness in Hunter’s tone took on a razor-sharp edge.
There was the soft sound of movement and a low growl that reminded me of the noise Hunter made last night.
“You might as well come out and join the conversation,” the stranger called. “I don’t bite. I promise.”
My eyes snapped open.
Heart in my throat, I was rooted to where I stood.
“Stop staring at me like that, Hunter. It’s not a very attractive look.”
Boots thudded off the floor and then, “Come on out. I want to see you.”
I knew it was best if I remained hidden, but I couldn’t very well hide.
Taking a deep breath, I pushed away from the wall and stepped into the doorway. I saw Hunter first. The hard set to his jaw, the muscle flexing there, and the steely glint in his eyes screamed that he was pissed. For a brief second, our eyes met and I swallowed thickly.
Stomach twisting into knots, my gaze flitted across the room.
I sucked in a sharp breath and took a step back, my gaze darting to Hunter and then to where an identical copy of him stood.
Same black, wavy hair.
Eyes a light blue like the early morning sky stared back into mine.
They shared the same broad cheekbones and wide, expressive lips. Identical height and broad shoulders, but where Hunter was dressed in jeans, his…his twin was wearing black leather pants and a black button-down shirt that was half undone. That wasn’t the only thing that was different.
His twin’s complexion was more golden than alabaster, as if he spent time in the sun.
Holy Arum everywhere, there were two of them.
The twin stepped forward, but so did Hunter, their steps matching each other. It was unnerving, having both of them advancing on me from separate corners. Instinct kicked on my fight or flight response.
“Well, well, well…” the twin murmured, lips tipping up at the corners, so much like Hunter’s smug smiles that I blinked. “Who is this pretty lady?”