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|Shadowed(Dark Protectors #6) by Rebecca Zanetti|
The demon pointed the gun and fired at the lock. The door flew open.
Garrett backed away from the open doorway, measuring the demon’s arm span. They were about the same height, but the demon was much broader through the chest. For now. Give Garrett a century or two, and he’d take the guy.
“Walk on your own, and I’ll stop the pain, Kayrs,” the demon said, his mangled vocal cords marking him as a purebred.
The guy knew his name. The horrible images disappeared form Garrett’s mind. The pain ebbed to a low throb.
Demon or not, outside the bars was much better than inside, near the explosives. So he nodded. His hands shook, so he wiped them down his pants. He reached the doorway, and the demon flipped him around to zip-tie his wrists.
The cord cut into his flesh, and he bit back a snarl.
The demon leaned in, his breath heated. “Walk quietly, and I won’t explode your brain. Fuck with me, and you’ll never think clearly again.”
Garrett nodded again. The best place to attack would be topside, where he could jump into the ocean. “Where are we going?”
“My people have been looking for you. Let’s just say we have plans.” The demon shoved him toward the open doorway.
The thought of the hell his uncle Jase had gone through almost stopped Garrett from moving. His ears rang, and his heart raced into battle mode. God. What was he going to do?
Brenna frowned at the new configuration of the living room. “I’m not sure.”
Jase groaned and dropped into an overstuffed chair, eyeing his half-finished bowl of Chunky Monkey on the end table. “We’ve been moving furniture for two hours. The moon is high, the night is dark, and I’m finished.”
“You’re on your fifth bowl of ice cream. If nothing else, you need to burn calories.” With a snort, Brenna flounced past him. Well, she tried.
He shoved out a foot to trip her. Arms windmilling, she plummeted toward him, where he easily caught her. “Are you calling me fat?”
She righted herself, shoving against his chest. “If the tight jeans fit . . .”
His fingers instantly found her rib cage.
“Nooooo.” She struggled, giggling, fire dancing on her arms.
Whoa. He’d forgotten about the fire and stopped tickling her. “Relax, darlin’.”
She sucked in air, and the fire swished out. “I’d be so upset if we burned up our new furniture.”
Pleasure filled him at her use of the word our. “We should probably break it in.”
Delight filled her pretty eyes as she maneuvered to straddle him. “Last time we played in this room, I broke all of your windows.”
She lifted a shoulder. “Maybe.”
Playing hard to get, was she? He kept her gaze, slowly unbuttoning her shirt. Feminine knowledge filled her eyes and provided a natural challenge. Even so, he forced himself to go slow, to stay with the fun they’d had all afternoon. “I enjoyed shopping with you.”
A dimple flashed in her left cheek. “No, you didn’t. You wouldn’t even share your ice cream.”
“I did share.” He smoothed the shirt down her arms.
“Only the first cone.” She slid her hands along his chest, humming softly.
“Well, then.” Reaching for his spoon, he pressed it against her pink mouth. “I’ll share now.”
Her tongue flicked out at the melting ice cream, and he fought a groan. Even playful, his witch was beyond sexy. “Happy now?”
She licked her lips. “No.”
His cock flared to life and tried to punch through his jeans. “You’re a hard woman to please.”
“You should try harder.” Her lids half closed.
“I really should.” So he dumped the bowl over her chest.
She burst out laughing and glanced down at the Chunky Monkey covering her bra and skin. “You didn’t. That’s so cold.”
Yeah. Her pretty nipples had sprung right to attention. “My apologies.” He couldn’t help the grin. Was this what happiness felt like? He’d forgotten.
She dug both hands through his hair. “Clean up your mess, Kayrs.”
“Of course.” He leaned in and licked the ice cream from her skin. The woman tasted even better than the dessert. So sweet.
She breathed against him, her heart clamoring beneath his mouth. A nip of a fang shredded her bra. “I’ll buy you a new one,” he whispered, dipping to capture a nipple.
“Fair enough.” She shoved him away to rip his shirt over his chest. Her eyes softened, and her fingers glided along his scars. “You truly are a beautiful man.” Leaning forward, she kissed the jagged scar above his heart.
She’d done that once before, and he’d felt her touch to his soul. “I’m nowhere near beautiful, Bren.”
She leaned back and frowned. “You are missing something.”
What? He glanced down. “Huh?”
“Aye.” Clutching his shoulders, she shoved her torso into him and rubbed herself along his chest. Wetness instantly coated his skin. With a saucy grin, she leaned back. “Now who’s sticky?”
He glanced down at the mess on his chest. “You’re going to clean that up.”
“With pleasure.” She licked along his pecs and up his jawline to nip at his ear. Then her fingers dug into his ribs.
He jumped, unsettling her. She tickled harder. He chuckled, lifted her with one hand, and ripped off her jeans.
“Smooth.” She reached for the button on his jeans and yanked it free. The disc flew into the far wall. Shimmying down his lap, she tugged the material free when he lifted his butt. Then she straddled him again, nude as could be.
Ice cream had pooled along her collarbone, so he obliged her by licking her clean. She chuckled and tilted her pelvis along his engorged shaft. She was wet and ready, and he couldn’t help but grin. They’d always been so intense, the sudden playfulness intrigued him. Even so, nothing could’ve prevented him from lifting her by the hips to settle down onto his cock.
Her eyes widened as he slowly lowered her, allowing her tight sheath to accommodate his size.
Finally, her butt hit his thighs.
He blew out air, fire flashing through his balls. Control. He needed to keep control or this would be over way too quickly.
She sighed softly, her inner thighs pressing against his legs.
Then her fingers dug into his ribs again.
He jumped, his cock scraping her internal walls. The need to pound roared through his blood. “Stop that.”
“No.” Leaning forward, tilting her body, she tickled him harder.
So he lifted her and then dropped her along his shaft.
She gasped, her eyes widening. “I do like that.” Pressing her knees into the couch, she lifted herself and then dropped back down. He groaned, and she grinned, full of fun. The sprite did it again.
His control snapped. Grabbing her hips, he turned and flattened her on the couch, thrusting hard. Her legs wrapped around him, her hands dug into his biceps, and she met each thrust with one of her own. The smile remained on her pretty face.
He grinned back, pounding harder, the need to come shoving every other thought from his head.
Gliding his finger along her lips, he shoved it inside her heated mouth. She sucked, the feeling shooting straight to his dick. Then, he removed his finger and drew a wet trail between her breasts, over her abs, along her mound . . . to twirl around her clit.
She arched against him, her eyes widening, her body thrown into an orgasm that gripped him tighter than a vise. Seconds later, his balls drew tight, and he erupted.
Seconds, minutes, maybe a lifetime later, he finally relaxed against her. Their upper chests stuck together. He laughed and picked her up. “Back to the kitchen, my ice cream fiend.”
She sighed and tucked her face into his neck.
Home. Jase held her close and wondered. Could this be home? He set her on the counter and reached for paper towels to clean their chests. Then he carried her toward the bedroom so he could get dressed.
She lay on the bed, her eyes sated. “Where are you going?”
“I need to lock the gym but I’ll be right back.” He should work out, but he’d rather grapple in bed some more with Brenna. “I promise.”
She stretched like a lazy cat. “I’ll be here.”
“I’ll hurry.” And he would.
Jase all but jogged out of the house, his heart lighter than it had been in years. The moon guided his way, soft and bright. He had to lock the gym just in case some of the younger kids got curious. There were too many weapons in there to play with.
He’d reached the pathway before Conn bellowed his name. Something in the tone chilled him to the bone. He turned and broke into a run without thinking, halting in front of his brother. Heavy boot steps echoed, and he pivoted to see Dage running toward him.
“What?” he asked.
Fury lit Dage’s eyes. “We have confirmation that a squad of demons found the Kurjans. They’ve taken Garrett.”
All thought and sound screeched to a stop in Jase’s head. His vision narrowed to a tunnel. His heart rate actually slowed. “No.”
“Yes.” Dage pushed inside the lodge and slid open a keypad. A hidden door opened to reveal a large armory. “We traced the message to the warehouse district in Seattle.”
Jase yanked a vest over his head. “Why did the demons take Garrett?”
“Doesn’t matter.” Dage tied a knife sheath to his leg.
Jase stilled. “They’ll want a trade. They want me.”
“I said it doesn’t matter.” Dage tightened his bulletproof vest. “You’re staying here to guard headquarters.”
“No, I’m not.” Jase reached for a knife long enough to decapitate a demon in one slice. “I spent five years with them. Five years learning how to counter their mind attacks. You need me.”
“I can’t afford you right now,” Dage said grimly. “Sorry.”
Conn grabbed Dage’s arm. “Jase is right. We need all the help we can get countering their attacks. Somebody has to keep a clear head.”
Dage stepped into Conn’s space. “Jase hasn’t had a clear head in five years.”
Jase cleared his throat. “I’m standing right here, assholes.” He slipped the knife along his leg. “I know I’ve been on edge, and that I screwed up last time. But I’m dealing, and I’m focused. Plus, I’m an excellent decoy considering the demons want me back.”
Dage turned his head. “Why? Why do they want you so badly?”
“Willa wants me.” Just the words burned down his throat. The fucking female demon had tried to seduce him more times than he could count, and he’d almost fallen into her trap. “Her brother probably just wants me dead.”
“If you screw this up, I’ll kill you myself—and no bringing the Degoller Stars,” Dage muttered. “Everyone else is arming themselves underground. We meet at the helicopters in ten minutes.” He turned and jogged toward the doorway. “Take a moment and say good-bye to loved ones. This is going to get ugly.”
Conn grabbed another gun and pierced Jase with a look. “Don’t make me regret backing your play. If you do screw up, Dage won’t get the chance to kill you before I do.” Without another word, he turned and ran into the night.
Jase swallowed. Two death threats in the span of a minute. Not a bad night, all in all. While he wanted to bring the decapitating stars, he understood Dage’s insistence on adhering to the treaty. Those stars killed vampires as easily as demons. He headed into the night, turning toward his home. What was left of it, anyway.
He found Brenna sitting on a bench overlooking the tumultuous sea. Moonlight glinted off her hair, bathing her like a goddess. The moment hurt. His chest ached.
“So you’re going to fight demons,” she said softly.
She shook her head. “Do you think you’re ready?”
Hell, no. He’d never be ready. “Yes.”
She stood to face him, her head not reaching his chin. “If I asked you not to go?”
His mouth opened but no sound emerged.
She nodded. “That’s what I thought.”
“I have to go. It’s Garrett.” Surely she understood.
“Yes, I know.” She reached up and palmed his jaw.
Everything in him wanted to lean into her touch. To lose himself in her. So he remained still. “I’ll return by dawn.”
“You’ll save Garrett. I’m sure of it.” Her gray eyes glowed with an ethereal glimmer in the moonlight. For the first time, he saw the lineage of witches in her. Powerful, beautiful, feminine witches who harnessed the moon.
“I know.” He brushed a kiss on her nose.
She swallowed. “Will this obsession ever be over? Even after you find Garrett?” Her small shoulders steeled as if for a blow.
“No.” He frowned. “Not until the last one is dead. No more demons.”
“That’s what I thought,” she murmured and stepped back. “Stay safe, Jase.”
He hesitated and then nodded. “Moira is staying to help secure headquarters. You stick with her squad.” Without waiting for an answer, he turned and jogged around the house to the street. Something had just happened with Brenna, but he couldn’t figure it out. The words had felt like good-bye.
He shook his head, breaking into a full run toward the landing areas. There would be time to fix things with Brenna after he got Garrett back. A familiar rage welled up from his gut, and he ruthlessly shoved fury down. Anger wouldn’t help him now. He’d learned young that killing with cold efficiency kept him alive. That was what he needed now—because there was no doubt he’d kill tonight.