“Fifteen minutes. The usual place.”
A click and they hung up. It was all he needed to change into his tight, leather, riding gear before grabbing his helmet, keys and wallet and heading out into the night.
He’d be there in ten.
The motorcycle purred beneath him in greeting, giving him a buzz that nothing else could replicate. Revving the engine, he took off down the street, a black shiny streak in the darkness. Arriving only eight minutes later, he parked and pulled off his helmet, his shaggy black hair brushing the tops of his shoulders.
Cops must’ve already gone, he thought.
“Roman, over here,” a man called to him.
The man was about his height, with a solid frame, dark hair slicked back, his carriage powerful and confident. He followed him around to the back of the bar, where he could already scent the stench of blood and entrails.
It wasn’t a pretty sight.
A young woman, most likely college age, was standing a good distance away. It seemed his alpha, Diego, had taken care of things so far. Jinx, one of their hunters, was doing a half-assed job at reassuring the frightened young woman. He could tell she’d much rather be out tracking the rogue responsible for this mess.
“So? What d’ya think?”
Looking over the mutilated corpse, he noticed the female was about the same age as the young woman with Jinx. Perhaps they were friends, judging by the salty tang of tears tinging the cool night air. Or maybe she was just traumatized.
“Girl say anything?”
Diego glanced over at the girl.
“She said they were roommates. Went out for a night on the town. The other female went to the bathroom and didn’t come back, so she went to check up on her and heard her scream. When she found her, the bastard already high-tailed it outta here.”
“Guessed that much. The fucker’s a rogue. Young, rash, he’ll be easy to track.”
“Ghost and Sly are already on it.”
Diego glanced between the girl and his second in command. His beta probably wouldn’t care for what he was about to say.
“I want you to take her home. This sicko might come back to finish her off.”
White, hot anger flooded through his veins, and he had to grit his teeth in an effort to keep himself from arguing. His alpha’s word was law, and as his beta, he had no choice but to serve him with unquestioning loyalty. But that didn’t mean he had to like it. What was Diego thinking, putting the girl under his protection? Deciding against opening his mouth, for fear of letting something he’d regret slip, he nodded and left the gory scene.
“Oh, thank fuck,” Jinx snarled, “I was beginning to think I’d be stuck with babysitting duty. She’s all yours, big boy.”
Clapping him on the shoulder, he smirked as Jinx swiftly made her exit, leaving him alone with the girl. Up close, he was startled by her delicate, fey-like features; pointy nose, heart-shaped face, glistening, almond-shaped eyes; a striking aqua. Her hair was a pale blonde, nearly white, hanging loose over her breasts. His eyes roamed over her delicious curves; a full, hourglass figure.
He could imagine tracing the outline of those curves with his tongue…
“What’s your name, beautiful?”
A pretty flush spread over her high, lightly freckled cheekbones, gazing up at him, only now just noticing his presence.
“Liv,” she murmured, voice a bit shaky, hesitant.
She must have been terrified. Turning on his charm, he gave her a lopsided grin.
“Well, Liv, I’m sure you’d like a shower and a hot meal.”
Stretching out his hand, she paused a moment before taking it, staring at her smaller, delicate hand in his larger, rougher one. Leading her to his motorcycle, he slid his helmet over her head.
“C’mon,” he said, straddling the beast, motioning for her to get on.
She stood there staring blankly at the seat behind him, until she resolved to climb on behind him. He felt her arms wrap around his waist, feeling her heart beating rapidly against his back.
“Tighter,” he growled; gravelly and deep.
Who’d have thought he would meet such a rare beauty tonight? Taking off down the road, he heard her yip in surprise, spurring him to accelerate. She clung onto him for dear life all the way back to his apartment. The parking lot was dead-quiet as he pulled off the main road, feeling the girl’s grip ease up a little.
Cutting the engine, he waited for her to dismount before following suit, taking the helmet from her before leading her up. Opening the door, he waved her in, close behind as he made sure to lock the door and slide the chain for extra security. Not that he thought the rogue who killed her friend would come knocking, but one could never be too careful in this part of town.
She shook her head; maybe she still had those awful images of her friend ripped to pieces on her mind. Licking his lips, he stepped into her space, enfolding her into his arms. When she began to shake, he stroked her hair.
He was shit at comforting, but it seemed she didn’t mind, relishing in his warmth. His scent was a mixture of tobacco, leather and pine.
“Thank you,” she breathed.
Slowly, they parted, standing awkwardly in his dimly lit living room.
“Don’t sweat it, honey,” he gave her a half smile and she returned it with the same, the quirk of her lips gave his heart a little squeeze.
Now she smiled for real.
“Okay, this way.”
Picking out a fresh towel from the linen closet, he flipped on the light in the bathroom, grimacing at its state. He hoped she wasn’t a clean freak. It wasn’t messy, just sparse, with only the essentials. But he wasn’t the type who liked things sparkling clean. Hanging the towel on the rack beside the shower, he turned to address the girl still in the hall.
“All yours. I’ll make us something to eat.”
She nodded, that precious tug of her lips so endearing, so inviting…
Jesus, get your head outta the gutter.
Leaving her, he strode to the kitchen and prayed to god and anyone else that he had enough for at least a sandwich.
Hearing the shower starting, he snatched the list of numbers off the fridge, trying to guess what would tempt his little blonde fairy.
Pizza? Nah, too heavy… Mexican? Ugh...no! Hm...what about Tavi’s? They’re open late Friday nights.
Just the thought of authentic, Armenian food made his mouth water.
Has she ever had it? Will she like it?
Why he was concerned if she would enjoy his native country’s cuisine, he hadn’t a clue. It seemed that in the brief time he’d known her, he was already turning into her whipping boy.
Not that I would mind much...
Shaking his head, he dialed the number and waited for it to connect, knowing immediately when ol’ Tavi’s son, Eugene, answered.
“I swear to god, you piece of shit, this better be important,” Tavi junior grumbled.
“Fuck off,” he chuckled, used to his friend’s moods.
“Yep, but double portions.”
The line was silent.
“Uh-huh, yeah, man,” came his friend’s stilted reply.
He heard Eugene sigh.
“You’re calling at fucking two o’clock in the morning. You got company, right?”
“Yes...” Roman drawled, getting annoyed.
“Alright! Be there in twenty!”
Eugene chirped, his tone suddenly chipper.
The fuck’s he on?