Home > Arctic Bite (Forgotten Brotherhood #2)(3)

Arctic Bite (Forgotten Brotherhood #2)(3)
Author: N.J. Walters

   She was just too tired to do it anymore.

   “I’ll keep an eye on him,” Buck promised her.

   “Order up,” the cook called from the back at the same time.

   “Thanks.” Although, what the older man could do if Alexei decided to go on a rampage, she didn’t know. But she appreciated the sentiment. No one had ever worried about or looked out for her. She’d been the one taking care of all of them.

   After retrieving two of the plates from the pass-through, she headed toward the man at the other end.

   “Here you go.” She slid the plates in front of him and went back for the rest. When all his food had been delivered, she stood and stared, unable to help herself.

   His eyes were crystal blue, the same color as a pure lake frozen in the winter. She couldn’t see much of his face, covered as it was by a bushy beard and moustache an unusual combination of white and brown. The long hair falling to his shoulders had the same unique shades. It had to be natural. This was not a man who’d dye his hair.

   It should have been unkempt, unattractive. But it really worked on him. He could make a fortune modeling. Put his picture next to any product and women would flock to buy it.

   “How is it?” she asked after he’d taken a couple of large bites.

   “Good,” he told her after he’d finished chewing and swallowed. He wasn’t much of a talker, but that was okay. She didn’t mind carrying the conversation.

   It was the curse of her kind to need to be around people. It also made it harder for her to hide from the ones looking for her. She couldn’t exactly run off into the wilderness by herself. Well, she had. That had lasted about two weeks before she’d started growing weaker.

   She needed to be around humans in order to keep up her own strength. She wasn’t sure if she siphoned off some of their life force to keep herself going or if it was something else. It seemed more symbiotic to her and less parasitic.

   It also hadn’t been something she’d known before. And why would she, since she’d always been on the job?

   “Want some?” he asked.

   Shit, she’d been simply standing here watching the man eat. How pathetic was that?

   When she didn’t immediately answer, he pushed one of the untouched plates toward her. Maybe he thought she was staring at his food and not at him. Yes, she was drooling a little, but not because she was hungry for a burger and fries.

   She was attracted to the big stranger. Not smart, but now that the idea had taken root, she couldn’t seem to let it go. Beyond an impersonal pat or hug, she hadn’t dared touch anyone for long, fearful she’d accidentally drain their energy and harm them.

   Maybe not a huge risk, but she’d decided not to tempt fate. She’d almost faltered a couple of times but hadn’t come close to pushing her luck. Until now.

   Alexei was a big man, brimming with healthy vitality. Surely they could have sex without her hurting him. That was assuming he was even interested. She wasn’t vain enough to imagine every man she met wanted to rip off his clothes and get naked with her.

   Although, she had been propositioned by more than a few of the single men who’d come into the place. Buck had laughingly teased that if he was a few years younger, he’d have asked her out. It amused her that he thought he was old enough to be her grandfather—his words, not hers. He had no idea she’d been around since time began. No one here was aware of her true identity, and that was the way it had to stay.

   Making a decision, she propped her elbows on the counter and smiled. “So, what brings you to Nome?”

 

 

Chapter Two


   The burgers were cooked to near perfection, but what he really wanted wasn’t on the menu. The only thing that would satisfy him would be to strip Cassie bare and taste every inch of her lush body before driving into her tight heat and fucking them both into oblivion.

   Her blood would be so sweet.

   Not going to happen.

   He swallowed heavily and tossed back another whiskey.

   He was vigilant during sex, keeping his blood needs strictly separate. He couldn’t live with himself if he ever injured an unsuspecting woman. And it would be so easy to do, in the heat of the moment. But there was something about Cassie that tempted him to take the risk.

   Stupid. Definitely not a good idea. Remember the contract.

   He shifted slightly on the stool, trying to ease the discomfort as his jeans suddenly seemed a size too small. His stomach growled, reminding him of what he was supposed to be doing.

   But first, he needed to answer her question. “Traveling.” He shrugged. “I want to see the North.”

   Her brows lowered and her smile slipped away. “Ah, don’t you have enough snow and ice in Russia? I mean, Siberia and all.”

   “I like the cold.” As a polar, he hated any kind of warm temperatures. Since the vampire bite, he could tolerate warmth, sometimes even craved it, but he loved the icy chill of the snow. There was nothing better than being in his animal form and sliding on his belly across an icy lake. Pure heaven.

   She shivered. “Who in their right mind likes the cold?”

   “You’re here.” And that was a puzzle. He was fond of puzzles, enjoyed figuring them out. And he was good at it. One of the many reasons he excelled at his chosen profession. He had patience, a keen mind, innate curiosity, and tenacity—the total bear package.

   “You got me there.” Her voice was low and sultry, but he didn’t sense she was trying to be that way. It was her natural tone. It didn’t help the situation with his jeans one bit. Thankfully, the sweater he wore came down long enough to cover his crotch. Not that she could see it when he was sitting.

   “So why are you here?” Since his burgers were getting cold, he picked up one and took a bite. Sex and blood might be off the table, but he could satiate one hunger.

   She nibbled on her bottom lip. It was plump and moist, and he longed to taste it. A low groan escaped him.

   “Enjoying the burger?”

   Good thing she had no idea she was the real cause. That would be awkward. He nodded and swallowed before he spoke. “It’s good.”

   “I’ll be sure to tell the cook.” She walked away without answering his question.

   Interesting. She was friendly and seemingly outgoing, but she kept her cards close to her chest.

   Too bad there is a contract on her life.

   But he hadn’t come here to fulfill it. Not yet. He was still gathering information—something he did before signing off on any job. And for the life of him, he didn’t understand why someone wanted this woman dead.

   But he, better than anyone, knew appearances were deceiving. Some paranormals were masters at deception, monsters hiding behind a pretty face. He’d have to hang around town and get to know her better.

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