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“Yes,” she whispered. “Except how will I know where it is?”

“I can take care of that.”

She went for her purse. “I know this sounds weird, but I have a little laminated map of Caldwell in here and I—”

“Elise.” When she looked up, he smiled again with those huge fangs of his. “Watch me.”

With that, he pulled up the sleeve of his black leather jacket, exposing the inside of his wrist. And then he lifted his forearm to his mouth … with a hiss, he bit himself, driving his sharp canines deep into his flesh.

Elise parted her lips on a shocked gasp … and then licked at them as the heady, wine-like scent of his blood rose between them.

When he extended his arm toward her, he said in a low voice, “This should help you find me—wherever I am. Take from me, Elise. Let me watch you drink. Now.”

Her own fangs tingled as they dropped down, and she didn’t even think for a second about the twelve different protocols she was breaking if she did this: commoner!, out in public!, unwitnessed!, arousal on both sides!

Fuck it. She refused to be derailed as she grabbed his muscled forearm and dragged his wrist right to her mouth. Forming a seal with her lips, she sucked on him, his taste the strongest intoxicant she’d ever known, the rush going through her making her dizzy.

“Oh … yeah,” he groaned. “Shit … yeah.”

Abruptly, there was an unexpected shift in the power dynamic—him collapsing against the building, his knees seeming to buckle, as she became the aggressor and he her prey.

And the entire time she took from him, she stared at the straining length behind his fly.

That was what she wanted, she decided as she looked at his erection.

And he was not going to deny her.

“I came back for my phone.”

As Peyton repeated the very words he’d spoken to her, Novo smiled a little. “You said that already. So why aren’t you looking for it.”

He made a show of patting his suit jacket. “Oh. It’s here after all. Go figure.”

“Yeah.” She nursed what was left of her Scotch. “Where are your three friends?”

“I don’t know. I don’t care.”

“Selfish.” She deliberately recrossed her leather-clad legs and rubbed her thighs, one atop the other. She hated the way her core warmed for him. “You’re a real shit, Peyton, you know that.”

“Yes, I do.”

“So?” she prompted.

“You want to get a drink?”

“I have one.”

“How about going to my place.”

Novo cocked a brow. “Your father’s mansion, you mean.”

“No, I gotta place. It’s a suite at the Sterling. I crash there sometimes.”

“I should have known,” she said dryly. “No Super Eight for the likes of you. And tell me, if I go back to this suite with you, what are we going to do there?”

His eyes went from her mouth to her breasts to her thighs … and then took their sweet time returning to her face. “Whatever we want.”

“Are you fucking me right now in your mind, Peyton?”

“Yes,” he growled.

“Back in that fancy hotel room of yours?”

“It’s a suite, not a room. And no. I’m picturing you bent over that sofa right now, your leathers off, my tongue in your sex as you come against my face. Then I fuck you with my cock.”

The bolt of electricity that went through her was the good news and the bad news: The last thing she wanted was to feel that way anywhere around someone like him.

Nature didn’t care about that shit, though, did it.

“Does that turn you on,” he drawled.

“Maybe.” She finished her Scotch, put it aside, and slowly got to her feet. Meeting him right in the eye, because she was as tall as he was, she said, “But I have an even better idea.”

“What’s that.”

Tilting toward him, she put her hand between his legs and relished the way he sucked in a hard breath as if she’d surprised the fuck out of him. Stroking him through his fine, perfectly tailored slacks, she was of half a mind to make him come for her in the midst of the crowd.

But no, he didn’t deserve the release. Not after he’d spent all night staring at someone else. Wanting someone else. Wishing he were with … somebody else.

Running a fang up the side of his neck, she whispered in his ear, “I think you should go to that suite of yours, take off all your clothes … and imagine Paradise like that as you squeeze a couple off.” She dropped her hold on him and stepped back, narrowing her eyes. “I’ll be damned if I ever play substitute for another female. You want that, there’s two hundred human women in here who’ll take your sperm donation.”

With that, she walked away. And didn’t look back.

Part of that was because she didn’t want to give him the satisfaction. But mostly it was because she would die before she let him know how much he’d hurt her just now.

No one, male or female, was going to see that.

Ever.

TWENTY-THREE

“Oh … my God … how exquisite is this?”

As Axe shut the back door of the cottage, he gritted his teeth. He should have brought Elise in through the front door so she didn’t see the kitchen in the moonlight.

Too late. And clearly she wasn’t going to be satisfied with a quick walk-through.

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