sudden, none of it was like anything she’d ever experienced—not the wildfire sizzle in her veins, the yearning ache in her core, or the sudden clawing need to be skin on skin with him, to have him surrounding her, filling her.

She had dated a rookie cop from the gang task force for a few months the year before, and had gone out a few times with a guy who worked at the electronics shop on the corner two blocks down. She’d kissed them both, had slept with the cop. And she had wondered whether she was missing something, or if sex, like baseball, was one of those things the media had hyped into something far more interesting than it actually was.

Apparently not. Or rather, yes, she had been missing something, but it hadn’t been the sex. It had been Dez. It always had been.

But as much as she had thought she knew that, she hadn’t known it would be like this. She arched against him as he kissed her lips, her throat, his mouth as rough and demanding as his touch. She slid her hands beneath his leather, into the layer of heat that was trapped between the jacket’s slick satin lining and the soft fabric of his tee, which she bunched up and dragged out of his waistband to touch him. He groaned and leaned into her, deepening a kiss that had already been impossibly deep.

Cool air touched her skin as he unzipped her sweater the rest of the way, pulled it off her arms and chucked it, then shucked out of his coat and tee. He still had her braced up against the wall, their bodies fitted together through the frustrating barrier of their jeans as they kissed and twined together, bare-skinned above, save for her lacy bra.

She was wet and ready, greedy for their jeans to be gone and him to be inside her. His bedroom, hers, the couch, the floor, up against the wall—she didn’t care about the where; she cared only about the what, who, and when. Sex. With Dez. Right now. But when he swept her up in his arms and carried her to his bedroom, kissing her as they went, her heart shuddered in her chest. His bedroom. God.

In the small, sparsely furnished room, wan illumination came from a set of working emergency lights on the building across the way, limning his body in a sodium yellow that traced his muscle-ridged abdomen, then gleamed on the width of his shoulders as he lowered her to his bed and followed her down. She raked her fingernails down his spine, then down along his ribs until he shuddered against her.

He pressed his hot cheek to hers, so he was breathing warmly in her ear when he whispered, “Gods, Reese. Tell me I’m not dreaming this.”

Her answer died on her lips. Gods? “What do you—”

He cut her off with a kiss that quickly became a clash of lips, tongue, and teeth, held more passion than finesse, and brought the salty tang of blood.

Without warning, he jolted against her and gave a strange, strangled cry that was more surprise than passion. Then a slash of electric awareness raced through her, sweeping her up and carrying her with a crazy-hot wave of passion and connectivity. For a second, she felt like she was inside him, feeling his heartbeat, his arousal, his confusion as the air around them took on a hint of red-gold sparks. She heard a strange buzzing noise and felt a hot, rushing sensation that was partly sexual, partly something else. Then the connection snapped as he tore himself away from her.

She blinked up at him in shock as the lights flickered and the power came back on, turning the darkness back into the reality of the two of them together in his normally off-limits bedroom. He was kneeling on the mattress beside her—shirtless and buff as hell, with his jeans unsnapped to show the sharply defined interplay of muscle and bone at his hips. If she had taken a picture just then, it would’ve read as sex personified. But this wasn’t a picture, and the look in his eyes didn’t read as passion. It was more along the lines of “oh, shit,” and the sight turned the heat of moments before into a sharp stab of pain.

Heart thudding, she started to reach for him, then pulled back and curled her fingers into a fist. “Dez,” she began, but then stalled on a slashing wave of disappointment, because what was left for her to say? She had made her play, and it hadn’t been enough. He was already pulling away.

“I’m going out,” he grated, avoiding her eyes.


He stood, grabbed a shirt from the lopsided bookcase that served as his dresser, and pulled on the tee with jerky motions. He stalled at the bedroom door, though, made like he was going to put his fist through the wall, but slapped it flat-handed instead. Pressing his forehead to his knuckles, he grated, “This isn’t about you. I’m . . . Hell, I don’t know what I am these days, but it’s not good. And I can’t put that on you.”

She glared at him, letting him see the hurt and the gathering tears. “Yes, you can, damn it. We’re a team.”

But he shook his head as he pushed away from the doorframe. “Not this time.” Moments later, the door banged shut, and he was gone.

The weather was even shittier than it had looked from inside the apartment, but Dez stalked out into the teeth of the storm, hoping it would kick the crap out of him like he deserved. Damn it, he’d let things get way out of hand. And he’d made Reese cry.

Shit. He rubbed his chest, where throbbing pain had replaced his heartbeat. But as the cold rain killed the last of the electric sizzle that had come from lightning hitting right outside the window, he was damned grateful for the searing jolt, because it had slammed him back to a reality that said he couldn’t take what he wanted.

She had been dead-on in everything she’d said: The apartment was just a place, safety a state of mind, and they were damn good together. And, hell, yeah, he loved her. He had for far longer than she probably guessed, but had sworn he would wait until she was old enough to make a real choice. By then, though, he’d had another problem, one that might’ve lost traction when she started kissing him, but was bigger than all the others put together: He was losing his fucking mind.

It had started with a deep, searching restlessness that had driven him out onto the streets after something he couldn’t name, couldn’t find. Then had come the dreams—sometimes dark, bloody scenes of wars past and present; other times native-dressed men and women bowing to him before slitting their own throats and bleeding out. The nightmares had gotten worse over time, as had his usual drive to do the most, be the best, get the hell ahead, until those urges had eclipsed everything else. He was pushing too hard and knew it, but he couldn’t make himself slow down, couldn’t bring himself to talk to Reese about it. Instead, he stalked along the parallel rows of warehouses late at night, looking for something that wasn’t there and unraveling more each day.

He headed there now, past the pitch-black tenements to the empty warehouse husks, which echoed hollowly in the rain.

He had tried to tell himself that the restlessness and nightmares came from subconscious fears about the idea of him and Reese taking the next step. It wasn’t like he’d grown up with a good role model when it came to relationships, and while she might be a street kid now, she had come from wealth and comfort. She should be Ivy League–ing it right now, with a varsity boyfriend, a blinged-out cell phone, and a sports car out in the lot. He couldn’t give her any of that.

And like that wasn’t enough to give a guy mental heartburn, there was Hood, the cobra de rey, king of the Cobras. The sick bastard was coming up for parole soon, and rumor had it that he was even more fixated on Reese than before. Dez figured he was due a few nightmares on that one . . . but that didn’t explain why, three times over the past month, he had awakened kneeling on the floor beside his bed holding a knife—twice a kitchen knife and once a switchblade he’d snagged from a street punk who’d been hassling the old guy who ran the convenience store on the corner. That third time, he had been bleeding from his palms: two shallow slices right along the old scar lines. Then last week he had woken up halfway to Reese’s room, carrying a six-inch blade he didn’t recognize. That had scared the shit out of him, point blank.

After that, he had added a second lock on the inside of his bedroom door, hidden the key, and booby- trapped the hiding spot to make hell and all of a racket if he went for it. He hadn’t yet, but that didn’t make him feel any better, especially as the restlessness had gotten even worse over the past few days. He could feel it now as he stalked past Warehouse Thirteen, his eyes slitted against the shit that was pelting out of the sky and cutting straight through his clothes, chilling him to the bone.

I’m here.

He stopped dead at the whisper, which hadn’t carried over the sound of the storm. It was inside his godsdamned skull.

“What the fuck?” He could barely hear himself over the pounding rain. His head was spinning, his body numb, but his shock was blunted by a second surprise as he realized loud and clear that something inside him

Вы читаете Storm Kissed
Добавить отзыв


Вы можете отметить интересные вам фрагменты текста, которые будут доступны по уникальной ссылке в адресной строке браузера.

Отметить Добавить цитату