The words were rough gravel, a deep rumble that vibrated through her spread fingers, which were still pressed against his chest.


The low thunder of his voice traveled into her limbs. Into the suddenly quivering center of her body.


Jordana yanked her hands away from him, cradling her crossed fists to her breast. “I’m just … I’m going to go now, then.”


God help her, but he kept on staring at her, watching her dangle on the strings of her own unease around him. His harsh, handsome face was so unreadable, she wondered if he was actually looking at her or through her.


The way he studied her, Jordana felt … exposed. She felt stripped and vulnerable under his penetrating eyes. Completely at his mercy.


His dark eyes drifted to her mouth and she was instantly reminded of the kiss they shared. Well, not shared exactly, considering she was the one who’d done all the kissing.


Nathan had stood there much the way he was now, rock solid, unshakable.


Maddeningly cool and in control.


Jordana wondered how he did it—how he could seem so unaffected yet hold her in a gaze that made her instincts come alive with an anticipation bordering on the profane. Ever fiber in her body was tuned to him, even though her head was telling her to run away. Telling her to avoid this dangerous man and the dark temptations that lurked in his stormy eyes.


What did her senses know about Nathan that her mind had not yet grasped?


Maybe if she kissed him again, she could figure out what it was about this Breed male that had her so flustered and confused.


A low snarl gathered at the back of his throat now. “Come with me.”


It wasn’t a request. It was a command, and even though she wanted desperately to refuse, her feet were already moving beneath her, following his gruff order.


Jordana assumed he was bringing her back to the residential wing of the estate. Instead, she soon found herself trailing him down another snaking corridor, heading for a closed door near the end of the passageway.


Nathan opened the door, then turned to her. “Inside.”


She glanced past him to the unlit room on the other side of the threshold.


And apparently her body still trusted him more than her head, because she walked into the inky gloom without so much as a word of doubt.


He followed her in, so close she could feel his body heat searing the length of her back.


It was impossible not to acknowledge the danger of walking into a dark room in a long, empty corridor with the most lethal man she would probably ever know.


And yet her pulse was kicking in her veins. Her skin felt tight, too warm. Not with fear, even though it should be.


Expectation was a taut coil, twisting in her stomach … and lower still.


When would he touch her?


It wasn’t a question of if; she knew that in the same way she knew that when he did finally put his hands on her, she would let him.


Jordana waited to feel his fingers against her skin, his breath in her hair. She craved it, wanting it so badly in that moment, she could hardly breathe.


Nathan shifted behind her. He moved even closer now, and Jordana closed her eyes, lungs frozen.


A light flicked on overhead.


After the engulfing darkness of a moment ago, it blared jarringly bright, illuminating the small, enclosed surroundings.


“The supply room,” Jordana whispered, trying to convince herself she was relieved.


Nathan stepped past her and prowled over to a tower of sturdy metal shelves. He grabbed a thick roll of clear tape from among a variety of stacked office products and tech equipment.


He returned, tape in hand, but drew it back when Jordana reached to take it from him.


“Carys is moving out today.” When Jordana nodded, he narrowed his eyes on her. “Because of what happened last night between her and Aric?”


Jordana shook her head. “No. Because it’s time. She wants to live her life.”


Nathan made a dubious noise in the back of his throat. “What kind of a life do you expect she’ll have with a male like Rune?”


“It’s not my place to judge,” Jordana replied. “Besides, she’s moving in with me, not him. What happens between Carys and Rune is their business.”


“Until he hurts her. Or worse,” Nathan warned.


“Rune would never hurt Carys. He loves her—”


Nathan scoffed. “That what he’s telling her?”


Jordana frowned. “He’s told her as much, yes. But I see it when they’re together too. Carys and Rune are deeply in love.”


“And you’re some kind of expert in that emotion, I suppose.” Something dark glimmered in his unwavering gaze. “You can tell what’s in a man’s heart just by looking at him?”


Jordana had to work to keep from squirming in his presence. He wasn’t talking about Rune and Carys now. She knew that, but imagining he might be talking about himself was a path she didn’t dare tread.


Not here.


Not when she had nowhere to escape, even if she wanted to.


“Carys is a grown woman,” Jordana said, hoping to put the focus back where it belonged. “If she decides to be with Rune—even if she takes him as her blood-bonded mate someday—that’s entirely up to her. No matter what you or her family thinks would be best for her.”


“If you really believed that, I doubt you’d be with someone like Elliott Bentley-Squire.”


Jordana couldn’t even try to hide the fact that she was totally taken aback. “You know Elliott?”


He lifted his shoulder in a negligent shrug. “I know everything I need to know about him. I don’t find him all that interesting. Which makes me wonder why you do.” It was an impolite question, but Nathan didn’t seem to care. “You and Elliott Bentley-Squire have been a foregone conclusion for the past year, give or take.”


“Yes,” she answered.


“Long time,” Nathan said. “And yet no blood bond.”


Jordana frowned, feeling a need to defend herself. Elliott too. “He and I have known each other forever. Elliott has been a family friend since I was a child.” When Nathan’s face remained impassive, she said, “We’ll make things official when we’re ready. We’re in no hurry.”


“Apparently,” he agreed, but his tone was anything but light. “From what I’ve seen of the man’s professional résumé, it doesn’t indicate an inability to close a deal. So I’m guessing the problem must lie with you.”


“There is no problem,” she insisted, surprised at how desperately she wanted to convince him of that. Right now, standing just a foot away from Nathan in the seclusion of the supply room, she needed to convince herself that she belonged to Elliott Bentley-Squire. Jordana lifted her chin. “You seem to think you know a lot about Elliott and me. Do you make a practice of invading civilians’ privacy?”


“No. Only women who make it a practice of kissing me, then insisting to their presumptive mates that they have no idea who I am.”


Oh, God. Before he left the museum, Nathan must have heard her deny knowing him to Elliott. Jordana winced, remorseful now. She gave a mild shake of her head. “I’m sorry.”


He shrugged. “If you have to lie to Bentley-Squire to keep him happy, it’s none of my concern.”


“No,” she said, ignoring the jab. “I mean, I’m sorry about that night in my apartment … when I kissed you.”


“Are you?” He didn’t believe her. His tone was cool and level, but it contained a dangerous edge.


“Of course I’m sorry. I don’t know what came over me. I’ve never done anything like that before.”


“Then why did you?”


She glanced down, searching for an answer that would make sense to herself as well as to him. “I did it because I was afraid.”


“You didn’t seem afraid, Jordana.”


“I was afraid of what you might do if you found out Carys was there with Rune that night. I only wanted to stop you from finding out. I just wanted to distract you.”


His face darkened in challenge. “There were a dozen different ways you could’ve done that, none of which would’ve involved putting your mouth on mine.”


She groaned, feeling her cheeks go warm and red. “I know. I’ve already apologized. It was a mistake, and I’m sorry, Nathan.”


The way he looked at her brought every nuance of their kiss back to life in her senses—the cushion of his mouth beneath hers, the softness of his lips combined with the rough abrasion of his dark-shadowed jaw. The powerful stillness of his body as she threw herself against him.


Punishing muscle and lethal strength caged inside a rigid, total control.


Some brazen part of her she barely recognized throbbed with the want to know that kiss again—to have a taste of what it would be like to press against this deadly male and see if he ever let his iron discipline slip, even a little.


More uncomfortable heat flooded her face at the uninvited direction of her thoughts.


And deep inside her, another unsettling heat bloomed …


Nathan’s gaze lingered on her, those eyes seeing everything about her. Knowing everything. Ruthless in their study of her.


Jordana grew anxious suddenly, afraid that Nathan might touch her.


Afraid he might kiss her.


Afraid he wouldn’t.


“I’ll take that tape now,” she said, her voice thick and raspy.


He didn’t give it to her, didn’t move. “Tell me what you see in Elliott Bentley-Squire.”


Jordana stared up into Nathan’s dark eyes. She shook her head.


“Tell me,” he insisted.


Although talking about Elliott was the last thing she wanted to do in that moment, Jordana drew a breath and tried to conjure words. “He’s kind and affectionate,” she murmured lamely. “He’s loyal and steady and attentive …”


Nathan’s lips twisted with dark amusement. “That’s how I’d expect you to describe a pet, not the man who’s fucking you.”


The frankness shocked her, embarrassed her. But she was also unwillingly aroused by Nathan’s lack of delicacy. There was a rawness about him that was unlike anything she was accustomed to.


She was playing with fire where this dangerous male was concerned, and it only made her want to dance closer to the flame.


“Elliott and I are not lovers,” she said, pushing the words out of her mouth before she was too afraid to bite them back. “I’ve never been with him in that way.”


Something flickered in the depths of his dark eyes. “And you don’t want him like that either.”


Jordana frowned, hating that Nathan could know that about her so easily. “I’ve never wanted anyone like that. There’s been … no one.”


“No one?” Nathan seemed to go even more still where he stood. The only movement she could detect in him was the ticking of a tendon along the line of his jaw. “He wants you, this Elliott Bentley-Squire. He’s waited a year to bond you to him by blood. How long do you think you can keep him from claiming you, Jordana?”


“Elliott is a patient man. He’ll wait until I decide it’s time.”


Nathan gave a harsh grunt. “Then he’s not the kind of mate you need. Not the kind of male a woman like you deserves.”


She collected her courage enough to meet his challenge with one of her own. “What could you possibly know about what I need or deserve?”


He stepped in tighter to her, crowding her backward with the massive breadth of his body. “Have you ever kissed Elliott Bentley-Squire the way you kissed me?”


She didn’t answer, couldn’t form words with him this close to her.


“Has he ever made your cheeks flame just by looking at you, or made your pulse beat like a hammer in your veins because of the things you wish he’d do to you?”


Jordana swallowed. She exhaled a shaky breath edged with a humiliating whimper. Somehow she managed to find her voice amid the tumult of confusion and dark, unwanted desire that was swirling like a tempest inside her. “I suppose you’re arrogant enough to believe that I should want someone like you instead?”


He chuckled then, low and humorless. “No, Jordana. I’m the last kind of man you should want in your life … or in your bed.”


And yet he didn’t move away from her. He just kept her caged with his body for a seemingly endless moment of time.


His irises crackled with tiny sparks of amber as he stared at her. Only the barest tips of his fangs were noticeable behind the lush line of his upper lip.


Jordana felt him reach between the scant distance of their bodies to take her hand. His fingers were warm and strong, so large and commanding as he held her in his firm, guiding grasp.


He uncurled her loose fist, only to place something hard and round, cold and sleek, in her palm. Of course. The roll of packing tape.


“Go back to where you belong now, Jordana.” He drew away from her at last, leaving her standing in a chilled, confused state of arousal and rejection. “Get out,” he said, a warning in the curt command.


Jordana held the tape to her chest and could hardly scramble for the door fast enough.


As she started to rush for the corridor, he added, “That kiss was a mistake, Jordana—for both of us. But don’t expect me to believe you’re any more sorry than I am that it happened.”


6


IF HIS MORNING HAD STARTED OFF IN A BAD WAY, BY AFTERNOON it hadn’t improved a bit. After his encounter with Jordana, as much as Nathan craved an outlet for his tightly leashed aggression, he didn’t want to risk killing any of his teammates if he joined them in the day’s combat exercises in the weapons room.

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***P/S: Copyright -->Novel12__Com

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