Dead and Loving It (Page 4)

And afterwards! Just the thought of having to tote around a l'il nose-miner who cried and screamed and puked and s**t-and that was just the first week!-was enough to curl her hair. She hadn't liked kids even when she was one. The feeling had been mutually-and heartily-returned. She'd felt that way at eighteen, twenty-three, thirty, thirty-four. Sure, kids were necessary-for other people. Janet preferred to sleep late, and wear clothes that hadn't been puked on, and not watch her language.

“Where to, ma'am?” the doorman asked, breaking her anti-infant reverie. He was ineffectually flapping a hand at the occasional cab. She could have hailed four on her own by now. S**t, she could have jogged to the airport by now.

“Logan,” she practically snapped. It wasn't Door Boy's fault she'd been ordered to leave town, but the big boss wasn't here for her to take her anger out on him. “Quick as you can.”

She thought about leaving a note for Dick, and reluctantly decided against it…better find out what Boss Man Michael wanted, first. And if it wasn't life and death, she'd let him have it, and who gave a rat's a*s if he was the pack leader? She had a life.

Well, before yesterday she really hadn't, but he didn't know that. It was his privilege to snap his fingers and have any one of them come at a dead run, but it was hers not to like it. observed the doorman shivering and realized the sun had nearly set, and the temperature had dropped a good ten degrees. Still, it wasn't that cold. And why did the kid look like he was ready to drop a steaming load into his trousers? She was irritated, but not at him…surely he knew that.

God, the reek the kid was giving off! Like mothballs dipped in gasoline. His fearhis terror-burned her nose. It put her wind up and she cupped her elbows, shivering.

From grumpy to edgy in less than five seconds…a new record!

.

The ball dropped and she understood a half second too late. She was spun around and had time to take in burning blue eyes before there was a walloping pain in her jaw and Dick turned off the lights. And everything else.

Chapter Four

He didn't care. He really didn't. She was fine, and if she wasn't, who cared? He hadn't hurt her. Not really.

He checked on her for the eleventh time in sixty minutes, and was relieved to see the bruise on the underside of her jaw had faded to a mere shadow. Guilt rolled off his shoulders like a boulder.

To save time and steps-if he left he'd just be in here five minutes later-he sat down in the chair beside the bed. He cupped his chin in his hand, leaned forward, and watched her sleep.

Jane scowled, even in the throes of unconsciousness. It would have made him smile, if he hadn't felt so angry and betrayed.

Betrayed? All right, tell the truth and shame the devil…yes. Betrayed! And angry and sick at heart and furious with the little twit tied to his bed. Most of his anger was directed at himself, it was true, but he had a nice helping saved for Miss Jane.

She'd fooled him; that was all. A simple thing, but unforgivable. She made him believe she accepted the monster, when in fact she most assuredly had not. The duplicitous wretch agreed to join him for dinner to placate him, then made arrangements to slink out of town like a thief. If he hadn't shown up early to escort her to dinner, she would have disappeared and he might never have known what had become of her. Would have wasted years of his life worrying about her fate.

Instead, he'd taken in the situation at a glance, and acted accordingly. Well, all right, that was a rather large lie. He had panicked-all he could think of was to get her home, stop her from leaving him. Leaving town, rather. And in his panic, he'd smacked her when he only meant to tap her. The one bit of luck was that it had happened too quickly for the lone witness-the doorman-to see much more than a swirl of cloth.

..

Dusk and speed were his friends, even if Jane was not.

And that was the rub of it. He'd allowed himself to forget, for one evening, that he was the monster in the fairy tales. He had forgotten there could be no relationship with a woman other than the most carnal type. He wouldn't have vampire women, and mortal women wouldn't have him. Well, that was fine. That was just fine.

He was a monster, and was done pretending otherwise.

But Jane would pay for making him forget. She'd pay for making him think, however briefly, that he was a man first and a beast second.

Chapter Five

Jane groaned and tried to roll over. The phone was ringing. It would be Moira, telling her to get her a*s to the Cape. She couldn't see Dick tonight. She had to answer the phone and tell Moira to go f**k herself, and then-

Wait.

That had already happened. So why was she still in bed?

She opened her eyes and tried to sit up. Three alarming facts registered immediately on her brain: a) she couldn't sit up, and b) she was tied to a bed. She was, in fact, c) tied down in the same room with an annoyed vampire. And not a prayer of room service.

“Ohhhhhh, you idiot!” she howled. If she could have slapped her hand over her eyes, she would have. If she could have slapped him, she would have. As it was, her ankles and arms were spread wide and tied to each poster of the bed. “Do you have any idea of the trouble you've landed me in, numb nuts?”

Dick, sitting in the chair next to the bed, blinked at her. He did that a lot…a long, slow, thoughtful blink when he was taken by surprise. It was like a stall for time, or something. She used to think it was kind of cute. “I shouldn't have expected maidenly protestations,” he said after a long pause.

“You should expect a fractured skull, you undead idiot! What the f**k am I doing tied to your bed? Is it your bed? It damn well better be your bed! If I'm in some strange dead guy's bed your a*s is grass!”

He brought a hand up to his chin…then got up and abruptly left. She used the chance to yank at her bonds-no good. They were soft, like cloth, but amazingly strong.

Were her bonds lined with bubble gum, or what?

She strained to hear, and, very faintly, could hear muffled laughter coming from about thirty feet away. Dick had trotted out to the hall to have a giggle at her expense-f*****g great.

The door was thrown open a moment later, and when Dick returned, he was stone-faced. “Sorry about that. I thought I left something on the stove. Now where were we?”

She kicked out at him. The bonds let her leg leave the bed, but not by much.

“We were talking about how you're going to die a painful and horrible death-again!

What the hell have you trussed me up with?”

The left side of his mouth twitched. “It's elastic lined with titanium wire. It won't hurt you if you pull on it, but it's impossible to break. Even I have trouble breaking it, and I'm quite a bit stronger than you are.”

Wanna bet, Dead Man Walking? “Do you have any idea-aarrgh! I'm supposed to be meeting my boss right this minute! What time is it?”

“About two a.m.”

“Aaaarrrgggghhh! Jerk! I'm five hours late!”

“Another date?” he asked silkily.

“No, Deaf and Undead, I told you. My boss called-well, he didn't call, one of his lackeys did-and told me to get to the office, pronto. And when he says jump, we leap, dude. I didn't have time to leave you a note, but I would have come back!”

“Sure you would have.”

Jane was so annoyed, she felt like biting herself. Instead, she yanked impotently on her bonds again. “Yes I would have, dill-hole!”

“Your boss calls you on a weekend, and you must drop everything and race to his side? Really, Janet. I was expecting a better story than that.”

She snarled at him. If he made her much madder, she'd start barking at the goddamned ceiling. “Jesus, to think I was actually looking forward to seeing you! And this is how you take rejection…pervert!”

Something flashed in his eyes then. Way down deep. She was suddenly reminded of the lake back home she used to do laps in. The blue water was pretty and inviting, but the lake was spring-fed, and freezing cold, even in July. You didn't know how cold it was until you committed yourself and jumped. Then you were stuck, and you got moving or you froze.

“So you admit you rejected me?”

“No, doorknob! I told you the truth. You can believe it or you can go f**k yourself.”

“Is there a third choice?”

“Yes…untie me so I can make a phone call!”

“I decline.”

“You can't just keep me here like a…a…” She practically spat the word. “…pet or something.”

“Can't I?”

Suddenly he was standing over her, casually unbuttoning his shirt and sliding it off his shoulders. Her eyes widened until they felt like they were practically bulging. “What the hell are you doing?”

“You're a bright girl. You'll figure it out in a minute.”

“Don't you dare!”

“I dare much, now that my heart-” He cut himself off abruptly, and she heard the click of his teeth coming together. What the hell was going on with this guy?

Off came the trousers, the socks, the underwear. Nude, Dick was exceedingly yummy…long legs, broad shoulders, and a tasty flat stomach that made her think about hot fudge sauce and whipped cream. His chest was lightly furred with blond hair two shades darker than the hair on his head. His muscle definition was excellent and she had a sudden, maddening urge to touch him, see if his skin was as smooth as it looked.

It would be, she thought, like velvet encased in steel. Or marble…he was quite pale.

He reached out and flipped off the light…click. She consciously dilated her pupils and could see him again, a pale blur in the dark. A blur with glittering blue eyes.

She felt his cool hand on her thigh, then his fingers were nimbly unbuttoning her dress. She kicked out again, to no avail. He popped open the clasp on her bra-stupid front clasps!-and with odd care, gently tore her panties down the middle. She hissed at him. Twelve bucks at Victoria's Secret! The b***h's secret was that she marked up her underwear by 600%!

“You are an a*****e,” she said clearly.

“True enough.” He pulled her panties free and spread her dress wide, then pushed her bra out of the way. “Umm. Very nice.”

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