Twice Tempted Page 55

’’That's right,’’ the monitor tech said with faint surprise.

Brisk nod. ’’I designed a similar system for my old job.’’

I leaned in next to Cat, pretending to be fascinated by the security details. In reality, I palmed a pen and stuck it in my skirt pocket. Then we moved to the next station, where I swiped a paper clip. By the time I'd feigned interest in every workstation, my skirt pocket was full of stolen items.

Cat helped by angling her body to shield what I was doing, but I could only hope that if a sharp-eyed employee had seen anything, he'd chalk it up to me being a kleptomaniac. Now, to beat a hasty retreat. I'd used up every minute of the half hour I'd arranged for releasing Maximus. With luck, by the time Vlad heard where I had really been, I'd already have psychically sorted through my stash to see if any of the employees on this shift were the traitor.

’’This has been great, thanks,’’ I told the group as we left. Once in another hallway, I gave Cat a grateful smile.

’’I owe you. Now, get the hell out of here.’’

She grinned. ’’You've made Christmas come early for my husband, you know. Vlad once mocked Bones for his overprotectiveness by saying he should've married a docile girl who wouldn't stray too far from the kitchen.’’

Then she enveloped me in a quick hug before dashing off with a cheeky ’’Karma's a bitch!’’ thrown over her shoulder. In the next blink, Cat was gone.

I was still smiling over that when I rounded the next corner - and almost ran right into Vlad. Ice Ice Baby, too cold! rang across my mind as I gave him my most guileless look.

’’Hi. Cat was just keeping me company until you came back.’’

He glanced in the direction she'd disappeared to before returning his attention to me.

’’Fourteen hundred and thirty-one.’’

I blinked. ’’What's that?’’

’’The year I was born, which is not, as you'll note, yesterday.’’

I stifled a groan. Busted already. ’’Vlad, I - ’’

’’Not here,’’ he interrupted, grasping my arm. Then he propelled me down the hall and into our bedroom far less romantically than he'd done last night. Once the door shut behind us, I started back in on my defense.

’’Look, I was being careful. See? No blood, no problem.’’

Vlad leaned down until his mouth was near my ear. ’’Before Maximus walked out of this house, I hadn't paid your bride price yet. You could've picked using your powers to find the traitor instead of his freedom.’’

’’That is not fair,’’ I hissed, my voice equally low.

A light kiss preceded his response. ’’Neither is life.’’

I pushed him away, sending my next message with my mind because I was too angry to trust keeping my voice down.

You can't expect me to do nothing when my abilities could find the traitor that leaked information to Hannibal AND probably helped the person that blew up the carnival, too.

Vlad crossed his arms over his chest almost casually. ’’When it could kill you at any moment, I can.’’

I'm fine! I mentally shouted.

’’You were also fine the time before when your powers caused you to hemorrhage to death in my arms.’’

Spoken in a whiplike tone I'd seen centuries-old vampires cower under. All it did was add to my growing ire.

Oh, but all's well if I bleed to death in your arms while you're turning me into a vampire?

Not a hint of shame colored his tone when he said, ’’Yes.’’

Pride stiffened my spine.

Unless you lock me in this room, you can't stop me from using my powers to find the traitor.

The grin he flashed me said I'd made a critical mistake.

’’Don't you dare,’’ I said out loud.

He closed the space between us, that charming wolf's smile never leaving his face. Then his arms went around me. I remained stiff despite things inside me reacting to the feel of his body.

Seriously. You try it and there will be DIRE consequences.

His lips brushed my ear again. ’’Imprison my new bride in our bedroom? I'd be a walking Dracula caricature.’’

He wasn't giving up that easily. That's why I didn't relax my rigid posture even when he sensually nibbled on my earlobe.

’’But if you use your powers again,’’ he murmured, ’’I will coat you in enough of my aura to suffocate them for months.’’

Son of a bitch! For all I knew, he was doing that right now. I shoved him, but he didn't budge this time.

’’You're safe for the moment, and you're right - I can't stop you from doing what you feel you must. But then I'll do what I must, and you can't stop me, either.’’

Using the words I'd once challenged him with against me. Now he decided to act like a modern man.

His mouth slid to my jaw, showing the slight curl to his lips. ’’Be careful what you wish for, isn't that the saying?’’

Before I could answer, he kissed me with such raw carnality that I responded despite my frustration. Anger gave an edge to my lust, and I grabbed him hard enough to yank out a few strands of hair when I pulled his head down to kiss him back.

A chuckle vibrated against my mouth before he flung me to the floor and ripped off my skirt with one hard swipe.

’’Looks like we're having angry se* after all.’’

Chapter 32

Hours later, I got up, wrapping the sheet around me as though it were a huge towel.

An amused snort sounded from the other side of the bed. ’’It's a little late for modesty.’’

My bladder urged less talking and more walking to the nearest bathroom. ’’It's not for you. It's in case one of your staff decides to clean the lounge when I'm crossing through it.’’

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