Full Blooded

Page 17

I’d lived up to this point as a human, and killing one for no other reason than to keep his silence wasn’t going to happen if I had anything to say about it. When the time came, and if it was up to me, I’d find another way. There had to be another way.

“Well,” I said. “We’ll just have to make damn sure Raymond Hart doesn’t step in any deeper, then. We’re going to have to make sure he follows up other leads. The ones we plant.” I closed my eyes both physically and figuratively on the topic. My eyes burned and I needed sleep. It was safe to say I could add exhaustion to my list of newborn traits. My body was still adjusting to the changes. It was going to take time, and I planned to use that time curled up in bed.

The ride home took fifteen minutes and I dozed off completely. Nick pulled into my parking lot and turned off the car.

I opened my eyes and yawned. “Thanks for the ride. But now you have to walk—” Screaming ripped through my consciousness. I lunged forward, grabbing on to the dashboard. My fingers punched right though the plastic. Shit. This night was just getting

WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU? Jessica! Jessica! Can you hear me? Jessica …

Tyler, I’m here! You can stop yelling now. I yanked my fingers out of the dashboard one at a time. Molded plastic didn’t puncture uniformly, it cracked. What is it? What’s wrong?

Nick glanced over at me, one eyebrow slightly raised. I lifted my freed index finger and placed it on my forehead.

He gave me a sympathetic smile.

What’s wrong? Tyler grumbled. What’s wrong is I’ve been trying to get into your head for the last fucking hour. You start calling some guy an asshole and then I feel this wicked pulsating anger thing, and then nothing. Completely blank. You blocked me. How in the hell did you cut me off?

My dad’s words rang as a warning in my head. I trusted Tyler with my life, he was my brother, but the last thing I was going to do was place him in jeopardy. Caution was my new best friend. The less any wolf knew at this point, the better, and that included Tyler. I selected my words carefully, knowing he’d be able to sense a lie if I didn’t believe what I was saying to be true. I have no idea, Ty. Blocking you wasn’t a conscious thing on my part. I can assure you that much. I must have cut you off accidentally when the fight started.

What goddamn fight? His impatience was loud and clear.

I fought the imp we were tailing tonight when he grabbed a teen. He turned out to be more than I bargained for, but I won.

How in the hell can I possibly protect you if I can’t even find you? Tyler shouted. I put a finger up to my temple and pressed. Being yelled at inside my head was making my head ache. Nick was supposed to be with you tonight! Where the hell was Nick?

He was with me. It was my choice to go after the imp. Nick had nothing to do with it.

My brother’s emotions simmered as images of my death floated through his subconscious. It startled the hell out of me. Quit doing that! I can see what you’re thinking!

Jess, I thought you died tonight. His voice wasn’t above a whisper. Again.

My heart jumped. Tyler, honestly, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you. It wasn’t anything I did on purpose, I swear. If I would have heard you, I would’ve answered. I promise. Even if it was only to tell you to get the hell out of my head so I could concentrate on the fight. I formed the next thoughts carefully. I think it’s safe to say a female werewolf is a complete unknown, just like we talked about today. My mind may not work the same as yours. I have no idea what’s happening to me. Or what will happen in the future. None of us do. I took a deep breath. I have a feeling this is going to be one giant clusterfuck, just like everyone has always predicted, and I’m recommending we wake ourselves up. It’s time to face facts.

Well, shit. The old Tyler was back.

My sentiments exactly. But right now, instead of trying to fix everything and figure it all out, I’m going to sleep on it. And while I’m at it, I can hopefully scrub the bloody pictures of my grisly death courtesy of your brain out of mind. I yawned.

James and Danny are still trying to track you down. I’ll give them a call and tell them you’re safe.

Thanks, I appreciate it. I know you haven’t had to watch my back since I left the Compound, but it feels good having you there again.

It’s what I’m here for, sis. Just do me a favor and don’t get yourself into any more trouble tonight.

It’s not on the agenda, trust me. I can promise you that much. I’m going inside and getting some much-needed sleep.

There was a brush against my senses and he was gone.

I laid my head back on the headrest and turned to Nick, who had patiently waited for me to finish my conversation. He frowned with concern, and his eyes held a questioning look that hadn’t been there a few moments ago. “Oh no,” I said. “You can’t start in on me tonight. Please don’t say anything. I don’t want to hear it.” I swiveled my head toward the ceiling and closed my eyes. “Please, Nick. I don’t think I can take any more tonight.”

“Um …” he started. “It’s just …”

I waved off his sentence with my hand. “I mean it, Nick.” My eyes were still closed. “In all honesty, this whole wolf thing is completely freaking me out. I’ve kept a lid on it all day so I could stay focused on pretending to be normal. I don’t need you to freak out along with me. You’re my rock. You’re my best friend. I need that right now. I don’t need an interrogator. I have no idea what’s going on, and I don’t have any answers for you anyway. So let’s curtail this question-and-answer thing until I know more.”

Nick reached over and grabbed on to my hand. For the first time, I realized I’d been smelling Nick’s scent clearly for a while now. He smelled like a mixture of cedar and fresh rain. It fit him perfectly. And, as an added bonus, it calmed me and made me feel happy. I guess it always had, and I just never knew it.

“Jess, I’ll always be here for you. No matter what,” he said. “I pledged my life to you, and to this Pack, a long time ago—but even more than that, I love you. You’re my sister and my best friend. I’d gladly fight anyone to the death if they ever threatened you. Well, except for Drake, who you got to handle on your own. But, honestly, there is nothing I wouldn’t do for you.”

“I know, Nick. I love you too.” I smiled at him. “I promise, we can talk soon, but I’m going to need time to process everything. It’s been so much at once and such a major change in my life. I just need to figure it out before I’m ready to dissect it and put it all on the table. That’s all I’m asking.”

“I hear you.” He released my hand. “But, honestly, can we just talk about the eyes for a minute?”

I laughed. There was nothing about Nick I didn’t love. “Nope.” I stretched my arms out in front of my body, trying to rouse myself. “No eyes, no strength, no weird anger smell, no nothing. It’s all off the docket for now.”

Nick eyed me. I could feel him evaluating my mood, wondering if he could push the issue a teensy bit more. Instead, he shifted in his seat, leaning over and placing a small kiss on the top of my head. “Do you want me to walk you in?”

“Nope. I saw Danny today and they have it covered. Go home. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Gotcha. I think I’ll go for a run.” Nick slid out of the car. “I could use a good run right about now, let the stress out. Try to make it in before noon tomorrow, okay?”

I laughed. “The alarm will be on.”

He shut the door and I watched him take off through the parking lot, his graceful body moving fluidly like the shifter he was.

I slumped back in my seat, thinking about everything that had happened tonight. My brain still whirled and I wanted to put everything to rest. Blocking your Alpha was impossible. It was clear evidence that something was wrong—I was officially a problem my father couldn’t control. If that information got out, the Pack would never accept me. The Alpha was in place for a reason; he was at the top to control all others. If I didn’t fit into the hierarchy, they would take me down. Wolves needed structure and hated change. They feared the unknown and hated anything they couldn’t explain.

I was the epitome of those things wrapped into one.


I was almost to my apartment door when a rich, unfamiliar voice reverberated along the folds in my mind. I stopped in my tracks and glanced around.

Nobody else was in the hallway.

The voice brushed along my brain again like a soft, steamy caress. It was less concrete—more like it was being manifested from inside my brain, rather than outside. It didn’t sound like my brother or my father’s voice at all. Thank goodness, because what it had just said to me was filthy as hell.

It came again, whispering along my senses, and I finally recognized the timbre. The voice in my head was Colin Rourke, my potential new client. I listened for a moment and then blushed like a madwoman.

What’s going on? This has to be a trick.

Rourke’s throaty voice washed over me again and tingles erupted on the pads of my fingers all the way to my toes, hitting all the important parts along the way. I couldn’t help shivering.

Um … chocolate syrup goes where?

Sex and food. It was too much. I shook my head, trying to knock it out of my brain. Marcy had to be playing a joke on me, getting me back for making her worry. It was the only real explanation. What else could it be? What a minx. I glanced down the hallway again just to make sure she wasn’t giggling behind someone’s door.

The voice continued without pause. Graphically.

No, no, caramel can’t go there. It’s too sticky for that.

Before I could do anything to stop myself, my nipples budded to hard peaks under my shirt. I was totally and completely turned on. Damn you traitorous body parts. No guy’s voice should be in my brain without my permission, but it didn’t stop me from imagining what he smelled like. Rich pine boughs or salty ocean was my best guess, possibly with a hint of fresh rain. Yum.

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