I hesitated. Was that flirting? “Not anymore,” I answered.
He watched me skeptically.
“Where am I?”
“Uh...at our apartment. Mine and Dustin.”
I rolled my eyes. “And Dustin is?”
“My…umm.” He shifted his weight from one foot to another. “...my friend.”
His discomfort was so endearing. I could not help but tease him a little. “Are you sure about that?”
His expression sobered and he glowered at me. “Of course I’m sure,” he said tersely. “I’ve known him for years. I’m like a brother to him.” He said the last part quietly.
That was odd. There was a story there. A story my brain hurt too much to delve into. Not that my heart was eager to know either.
I decided to move forward. “Are you the genius that run me over?”
He hesitated. “Are you going to press charges?”
I leaned back and gave him my best haughty stare. “That depends.” Which it really didn’t because those drugs had done a number on me. Every muscle hurt. I swear even my bones hurt. And the headache? Don’t even get me started on it.
He scowled angrily at me. “On what?” he growled out, stalking closer to the bed.
I knew he meant to scare me, but he just...he just couldn’t. I felt safe with him. I hardly flinched. From the deepest depths of me, I could not muster even a little self-preservation. Scary.
All my life I had been taught that if I ever came in contact with a wolf of enough alpha potential, he would hunt me down and force me to submit to him. Four days ago, when ten wolves broke into my family’s home as we slept, I felt real fear.
Three of them had Alpha potential, but none touched me because they had orders. If they could fight through the Siren lust to obey their absent alpha, then that alpha was someone I couldn’t help but fear.
“Hey!” He was in front of me then, gripping my shoulders. “Hey! Where did you go off to?” I looked at him. His regret-filled eyes bore into mine. “I won’t hurt you.”
I knew that.
“I didn’t mean to scare you,” he said.
That part was laughable.
“Breathe,” he told me.
I took in a deep breath, suddenly hyper aware of every point of contact his fingers had with my body. I felt goosebumps all over my arms.
He felt it too. I could see it in his light blue eyes as they lowered to my lips.
He leaned in slowly.
I didn’t even know his name.
But I had a feeling, an overwhelming one, that this man was my mate.
Buy groceries. Check. Pay the walking road accident to go away…Pending.
That girl could send me to jail just like Diana had.
Over and over again it played in my head.
And somehow, like all my worries did, it had rubbed off on Riley too. The sweet blond had a habit of carrying the weight of all my problems.
I shut the door behind me then realized how quiet the apartment was.
I hurried to my room where the scent of Riley was strongest. What I saw had me stopping cold.
Riley sat on the edge of the bed and he leaned over the girl. There was no mistaking what they were about to do.
Which was strange because.... wasn’t Riley gay? Or at least that was what he had told me.
They leaned in closer and suddenly I felt like an intruder-- and a pervert for how turned-on I got-- watching their tender moment.
Just as they were a breath closer, the girl looked up from Riley’s lips into his eyes. Watching him like he hung the moon. “Your name? What is it?” she whispered.
Riley did not seem to hear her because instead of answering, he brushed his lips slowly against hers.
I wanted the moment photographed. Hell, I wanted it painted. Whatever it took to capture the sheer erotic beauty of it.
“Riley,” my own voice cracked out. And just like that they sprung apart. The girl, gracefully surprised, and Riley well, he looked like a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar.
“I-I-,” he stuttered, looking from me and her so fast, it was a wonder he did not break his neck.
The girl gave him an odd look, a look I’m sure I was giving him too. What was up with him? He was allowed to kiss whoever he wanted. I had no control over him. She turned to me. “Riley?”
I cleared my throat. “His name is Riley,” I said stepping into the room. I looked at him and shook my head. “And usually he’s a lot more...collected than this.”
She smiled, but Riley turned a ghostly shade of white. “I’m sorry,” he mumbled, running out of the room, simultaneously avoiding eye contact with the both of us.
I turned back to find myself at the receiving end of the girl’s odd look. “Boyfriend?” she asked.
I chuckled. “Nah. More like a brother.” She was not the first person to ask me that. Even my mom squinted at us every so often. It was amusing sometimes, other times irritating, but most times….downright uncomfortable.
I stepped up to her and held out my hand. “Dustin.”
She hesitated a second before stretching out her own hand. “Freya.” And then she took my hand in hers.
To this day, I still insist I was shaken to my core.
Heat spread form her hand to mine, then through my arm before quickly spreading to the rest of my body. All too soon and closely behind it was a chill that I felt to my bones, then behind that, goosebumps....lots and lots of goosebumps.
I jerked my hand away and stepped away. Further than was polite.
Freya was staring at her hand with a mixture of horror and disbelief. I would have found it a little cute if not for my own warring thoughts.
“What was that,” I demanded. “What are you?”
She simply shook her head. Slowly, as if she was afraid of the answer.
“Are you like a witch or something?” I asked.
She fixed me a stare that said I was insane. “Have you ever met a fairy?” she asked, raising her brow. “I lack the obvious--” she waved her hands about her,“--wings.”
She shook her head. Then her face cleared and she became much more serious. Which only made her brown eyes more intense, and much more alluring. Funny, considering I had always thought Riley had the most beautiful eyes ever. He had a strong competitor, if not a close second.
I shook my head and forced myself to pay attention.
“Does your alpha know you have me here?” she asked.
She nodded warily.
I continued. “He’s not my alpha. Riley and I are not part of a pack. We came here on business with the New York alpha a few days back. I presume he’s the one you’re running from. Why are you running from your pack?”
“This is not my pack!” she spat, venom dripping from her words. “I was stolen from my home and my family.”
I sighed and run a hand through my hair. I had been afraid she would say that. What she had said in the car had not been crazy rumblings. This reminded me of something. “Why don’t you heal like a normal shifter? Is that why they’re chasing you?”
She frowned and gingerly touched the slowly healing wound on her temple. “I do heal like a normal shifter- much better actually.” She run her hand over her neck, then the arm over her elbow absently. “They drugged me. I can’t even stand up.” She wrinkled her nose. “I need a shower.”
But I barely heard her. I was too busy staring at her disturbingly cute nose. Like a fucking button.
I caught the last of what she said and quickly looked away, trying fruitlessly not to think about her in the shower. “I can’t help with that,” I said raising, my hands.
She smiled toothily. “I wasn’t asking you to.” Freya squinted at me. “You run me over?”
My hand shook at my side. Suddenly I was in my mother’s office again. She had a scowl on her face, her red lips moving, a feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach. She had had to pay Diana off to get me out of jail.
“It’s okay. I won’t press charges,” Freya said, bringing me back to the present.
“It’s your right,” I said guardedly.
Freya raised her brow again. It wasn’t as cute as before, but intrusive.
“I know,” she said. She settled herself back into the pillows and closed her eyes, dismissing me.