SHE LEANED AGAINSt the steel wall of the elevator. The cold caress of the metal on bare skin was a blissful welcome compared to the rising heat of her body.
She looked at a few of her work companions, their lean, slender forms a contrast to hers.
They’d been beautifully thin, and probably never struggled with their weight. Their skin was porcelain, were hers was so dark, bronze danced in the small hollows of her cheeks. They wore short haircuts, or had their long elegant hair slicked back in too tight ponytails. Her hair was pulled taught in a bun full of neatly, retwisted dreadlocks.
Naomi was everything that they were not. She was not the image of business professional, but she would not have it any other way. Her carefree nature, and unprofessional image was exactly what led to her success. Well, that and her unique abilities.
Her father squeezed her hand, helping to settle some of her growing anxiety. It wasn’t often she was nervous, then again it wasn’t often she found out that some bastard had it out for her.
Naomi squeezed her shoulder, feeling the bullet just under her flesh. She didn’t even get the chance to try and remove it. Her body healed too quickly to even attempt the removal of the bullet, so there it would stay.
She looked over at her father. Talis was small, frail in fact. The many millenniums of his life were catching up to him. Naomi knew he’d eventually meet the final death, and there would be no coming back from it. More and more every day, she sensed it in him. She didn’t know what she was going to do without him.
Though they were not related by blood, he had been there for her, every step of the way. Talis encouraged her, nurtured her, and loved her. He was more her father than anyone could ever be.
Naomi couldn’t hide the soft curve of her smile. She was dreading the thought of his death. Who would be her ultimate guidance? Who would ground her when she went too far? Who would remind her of who and what she was when it mattered the most?
He squeezed her hand a little tighter than before. “You’ll be okay, my little dove.” His shaky voice was a bitter reminder of the inevitable. “Everyone dies eventually,” he whispered to her.
His soft brown eyes held reassurance in their depths. Their once brilliant honey color, was becoming darker and darker every day. His once tight, sun kissed skin was now wrinkled by time. Though he once stood proud and tall, his back was becoming slightly hunched. He had shrunken by a couple inches. It broke her heart to see him like this.
“Not this quickly,” she whispered back to him. “Papa, you were supposed to have more years with me.” Naomi had to fight back her tears. It would be inappropriate for her employees to see her cry.
“It’s okay, dove.” He kissed her cheek. “I had many years before you. I am happy I got as many as I did after you.” His smile was still so kind and warming.
With their people, it was common for opposites to have such a strong connection with one another. Talis was her polar opposite though.
Amongst the fae, Naomi held divine powers. She was a spiritual healer, as well as a connection to the afterlife. Her power kept balance, and always stayed true to her emotions. The stronger she felt about something, the more powerful she was. She was truly divine, in all that she was, and her snowy white hair, and silver-blue eyes were the first tell.
Talis had dark, destructive powers. He could raise the dead to do his bidding, and control those whose will was weaker than his. That was most people. Worst of all, was his dark fire, that consumed everything in its path, and made him an incredibly deadly ally to the fae kingdom. It made him nearly, indestructible.
Their relationship was undying. There was a bond between the two of them, that was so powerful, they always knew how the other was feeling, and where the other was located. To some of their people, it was weird and unheard of. That bond was established young with her, and she held it true to her heart.
Naomi could feel his weakness. She could feel Talis’s yearning for a peaceful death. She could feel his soul barely hanging on. Sometimes, she wished she could do something about it, but knew there was absolutely nothing she could do for him.
The elevator dinged, pulling her from a deep entrancement. Her employees had left. Her and her father were alone. The elevator door was wide open, revealing the double doors to her office.
She’d been dreading this meeting since the incident. Naomi was supposed to enjoy her freedom, and act like nothing ever happened, with a bodyguard stuck to her side at all time. How the hell was she going to conduct business with a sweaty, grumpy, energy blocking bodyguard up her ass 24/7?
“After you,” Talis said, ushering her out of the elevator. He put a hand on her back, and guided her. He knew she had no intentions of leaving the shaft.
“Do I really need this?” She gave him a cheesy smile. “We both know my powers will warn me.”
“They didn’t last time. What about the next time?” His demeanor hardened, and she saw the warrior he once was. It sent a chill down her spine.
“It was a fluke.” She shrugged. The sound of her stilettos on the marble floors, echoed in her ears. “It won’t happen again.”
“Can you ensure that?” He cocked a grey brow at her.
No, she couldn’t. He knew that. Fate was always changing, and she was lucky enough to get a warning before bad things happened. She just didn’t get one before she was shot.
A few employees eyed her. They looked a bit flustered. She could sense that a few of them were aroused, but she couldn’t tell why. “What’s wrong with them?”
“There’s a really good-looking gentleman, waiting in your office, Ms. Price,” her secretary, whispered in her ear. Her cheeks were as rosy as can be.
Naomi rolled her eyes. She looked at her father. She was eagerly waiting for her at the double doors of her office. Naomi could make out a wide-shouldered figure in the foggy glass.
She proceeded forwards, exhaling a sharp breath. Naomi didn’t realize she was holding her breath in. “Thank you,” she called back to her secretary.
Naomi shook her head at her dad. She didn’t want to do this; he couldn’t make her do this. This was her life, and he couldn’t decide how she would live it. She didn’t want to live in fear of who or what could be around the corner. Hiring someone to protect her, would only instill her fear.
“Come, dove,” Talis beckoned to her. She was thankful his manipulative ability had no effect on her.
She took long strides, ushing past the double doors. As she took her first few steps inside her office, she kept her eyes to the ground. Naomi wouldn’t entertain this at all.
“Compose yourself,” her father said. Talis swatted the back of her head, and she flinched. Though as harsh as the action may have appeared, he was gentle.
Naomi straightened her back, and stood up tall. Slowly, she looked up. Her eyes started at a pair of brown, leather loafers. A silver buckle held the bottom hem of a pair of long, grey suit pants. She swallowed hard at the firm core, protected by a royal blue button-down shirt.
By the gods, his smile was wonderful. She’d never seen teeth so white and lips so lush. Naomi lingered over the neatly trimmed beard that protected sharp cheekbones from prying eyes. The dark as night color matched the short length of his well-groomed hair.
His eyes! Oh, how lovely his eyes were. She couldn’t stop staring at those pale green orbs, and the flecks of brown that danced in their depths. Naomi could see the tribal tattoos creeping up his neck, the intricate patterns so hypnotic. They did flips and twirls all across his caramel-toned skin.
“Ms. Price,” he said, sticking his hand out to her.
She didn’t shake it. She just stood there, staring at him. Taking him in more. Learning him and all that she was.
He put his hand back to his side. He cleared his throat. “The name’s Micha,” he had an accent, but she couldn’t quite put her finger on it. “My team will make sure no harm comes to your daughter, Mr. Price.”
He definitely sounded southern, but she couldn’t pinpoint the region. It didn’t help that he seemed to speak so proper.
“Team?” Her gaze narrowed on her father. “You said one. One guard, not a whole team.” Her nostrils flared as she folded her arms across her chest.
“Given your special circumstances, I believed it would be a better plan to have multiple people looking after you.” He smiled at her. “Don’t worry Ms. Price, were quite affordable.”
“I’m not worried about price. That’s the least of my troubles.” She motioned to the rather grand office they were in. “What do you know about my special circumstances?” She mocked him.
“Well, considering your special abilities as a fae-.” Micha paused, pulling a lollipop from his pocket. He removed the blue wrapper, and she watched him pop the bright pink candy in his mouth. “I was able to deduce that someone wants you dead because you’re either a threat to their sanity, or they made a deal with you. A dead fae, means a dead deal.”
She could feel her nails digging into her arms. A muscle twitched beneath her eye, and she finally got a sense of who and what he was. Her abilities never failed her. “You must be as impulsive as the rest of your kind, shifter. I don’t make deals. My work is my own. I do not work with contracts, debts, blood magic, or whatever you think my people work through. But I do know that you work based off of your first impulse.”
Naomi started towards him. Her strides were small and sultry. She made sure the sway of her hips was enough to draw him in. She smiled when she watched a flicker of red in the depths of his pale, green orbs.
Naomi closed the distance between her and Micha. His scent of mesquite wood, and bourbon tantalized her senses, putting her slightly off her game.
Micha gripped the edge of her wooden table. His nostrils flared, and another flicker of that red in his eyes gave her all the information she needed to know.
Naomi lowered her gaze, the long, pale length of her lashes casting shadows on her cheeks. She got a little closer to him, and felt the pulsing bulge in his pants. “I know you’ve fucked plenty of your employers,” she whispered in his ear. “You’ve never been with a fae before. I bet you want to know what type of magic lies between my thighs.” Her tongue flicked out against his earlobe.
She knew she was walking a very thin line. She knew this man had great self-control, but lacked it when it came to desire. Naomi knew she was testing the strength of that control. She wanted to see him get out of control. It would give her even more reason to put this beast of a man down where he now stood.
He cleared his throat and shifted. Micha turned away from her, and readjusted himself. She had an effect on him? Good. She would use it to her advantage. “Ma’am.” His accent was so thick on just one word.
“I’ll keep you.” She put some distance between them. “You and your team have one week to prove useful, otherwise I will dismiss you with payment. Good luck.” She could feel her body humming with such delicious energy. His energy.