The moment he worked two fingers inside me, I shattered. I arched and writhed and chanted his name in my head. Still he didn’t stop. He worked me with his fingers, rubbing deliciously—without ever entering me—until I climaxed twice more.

“That was three orgasms,” I gasped when I was able.

“I’m going to give you an extra one because of the naughty thoughts I’m having.”

I would have laughed if I’d had the strength.

“Am I forgiven for teasing you?” he asked, his chin resting on my pubic bone, his breath fanning my stomach.

God, yes. I nodded.

I thrummed and pulsed from the force of my last orgasm as he climbed up my body and entered me. Hard. Swift. Expertly. I wound my hand around his neck and drew his head to me. Our lips met, our tongues clashed. He tasted hot, like me, like himself. Like pure passion. A taste I already craved like an addiction.

His hands coasted to my hips, gripped them and urged me higher, to take him deeper. His teeth nipped at my lips. I nipped back. We were fierce and growling with our need.

“It shouldn’t be this good,” he said hoarsely, darkly. As he spoke, one of his hands moved to my breast and pinched the golden nipple between his fingers. His hips began a rotating dance that increased my pleasure.

I came again, squeezing his back, gripping him.

His orgasm quickly followed mine. He bit the cord of my neck to contain his roar.So good, so good, so good, my mind chanted as I floated to the stars.

Afterward we lay together, silent. He rolled to my side, keeping me cradled in the strength and torridity of his arms. A sensuous spell wrapped around us. I could have stayed there forever, I think. And that scared me.

Business, remember. I swept my hair from my sweat-beaded face. “Did Jonathan say anything else to you?” I asked, getting back on track.

Lucius didn’t speak for several minutes, and the wall clock ticked away. Finally he said, “After he made the offer to help me, he started acting strangely.”

“Strangely how?”

“He wouldn’t meet my gaze and hurried me out of his office. He’s up to something, I’m sure of it. Something more than acquiring you for me.”

“Any idea what?”

He pushed out a frustrated breath. “I think something’s going down. I think another girl is going to be taken. He got a call and, well, I listened from the two-way. He talked about needing a girl for one of his associates while flipping through a file of pictures. I tried to find out more, but he never brought it up again.”

So. Another girl could very well be taken. I couldn’t let that happen. Not when there was something I could do. “I can find out what he’s doing,” I said hesitantly.

Lucius’s gaze sharpened on me. “How?”

My next words froze in my throat. I’d kept this part of myself secret for so long. Even Michael didn’t know. Telling someone now was difficult. It exposed me, made me vulnerable. Lucius wouldn’t hurt me, would fight to protect me. I knew that deep down. I never would have slept with him otherwise. But…

“I can spirit-walk,” I said, glancing away from him.

His head tilted to the side as he studied my features. “I don’t understand.”

“My spirit leaves my body and roams free on another plane or dimension. I’m like a ghost. No one can see me, but I see them. No one can hear me, but I hear them. I’ll spirit-walk to Jonathan’s, watch him, listen to him, and he’ll never know.”

For a long while, Lucius continued to study me. He stared down at me, his ice-blue gaze unreadable. Then he said, “You’ve done this to me.” His tone was devoid of emotion, as well.

I didn’t try to deny it. “Yes.”

“At Jonathan’s.”

“Yes,” I said again. “How did you know?” I’d suspected then that he’d sensed me, but the thought had been laughable. Then. Not any longer.

“I smelled you. No one smells like you, like rich, warm honey…” He paused. “And sex.”

I expected him to be angry at what I’d done, but he surprised me by adding, “Smart trick. Can you take your weapons?”

“I take whatever is strapped to my body.”

“Does Michael know any of this?”

Looking away, I shook my head.

His expression became pensive. “Why not? What’s the downside?”

I hated admitting to weakness of any kind, but he had to know. “If I’m gone too long, my body grows weak. Plus, while I’m gone my body is left completely vulnerable to attack. Someone can hurt me, kill me, and there’s nothing I can do about it. No way I can fight.”

He paused, tense as my words churned inside his mind. “So if the room your physical body is in catches on fire—”

“I burn with it.”

Pause. Then, “Is yourspirit ever in danger?”

“Only if my body is hurt.”

Silence surrounded us as he pondered everything I’d said. Finally, he nodded. “Then do it. We need to know what’s going on.”

“If someone comes to the door—”

“I know what to do.”

Yes, he knew exactly what to do. He’d kill if he had to. He’d create a distraction if he had to. No one would get into this room without his approval. “Where can I find Jonathan?”

Lucius named several places. I nodded, leaned toward him, and placed a soft kiss on his lips. “No worries,” I told him. “I know what to do, too.”

“You just get back here in one piece. Understand?”

Chapter 18

After I dressed, I lay back atop the yellow sheets and closed my eyes. A deliciously naked, but awake Lucius rested beside me. Not even his sultry scent could distract me from my unease.

I was nervous about doing this in front of him. The fact that I felt his intense blue stare boring into me didn’t help.Just do it.

Deep breath in, deep breath out—more of Lucius’s scent. Concentrate. Another deep breath gradually released. Save the girl.That’s what mattered. Very slowly, my mind faded to black. My body relaxed into the mattress. My energy centered inside my stomach, swirling and pushing for release. My spirit began to rise up, up, and then I was standing beside the bed, looking at myself. And Lucius.

His bare skin glowed in the moonlight. My hair draped over him like a blanket, playing peekaboo with his nipples. The golden hue of my skin complemented the bronze of his. As he lay beside me, his big, hard body could have completely engulfed and overshadowed my smaller, seemingly delicate one. But it didn’t. I looked protected by him. Even…loved?

I shied away from that thought, though a sense of rightness lingered.

He fingered several strands of my hair between his fingers. “Be careful,” he whispered.

The huskiness of his voice sent a shiver through me. I shouldn’t have, but Idid relish his concern for me. Unbidden, I reached out for him, for his heat. I allowed my fingers to caress his chest. Sometimes, with intense concentration, I could actually bring an object into this enigmatic realm with me. Now, however, my fingers simply coasted through him.

He sucked in a breath, and his muscles jerked under my touch.

I forced myself to step away, to leave the house altogether. I had a job to do.

Because I was not bonded to Jonathan in any way, I had to find him on my own, without any invisible tug. When I spied a sedan on the side of a dim road, I slipped inside. The driver, an older male human, tapped his foot impatiently against the floorboards as he waited for the car to finish changing its own flat tire. Soon we were flying down the highway, listening to songs about beer and nasty women and pickup trucks.

When the man swerved down a different exit than I needed, I simply propelled myself through the car door, like mist leaving at morning’s first light. I floated to the ground and treaded over two miles through forest before finally reaching my destination. Most of the inside lights were out, making the home appear dark and littered with shadows. Anticipatory, I slipped over the bridge and past the front door. That anticipation dimmed after a thorough search of every room.

Jonathan was not home, nor were any servants up and around, but I did catch a glimpse of his wife. She lay on a lacy bed better suited for a fairy princess, and I watched as the shell of a woman sucked back a mutated form of Onadyn as if it were her favorite candy. As the drug worked its way through her body, her mind flew higher and higher, as if she were being asphyxiated. A few days of that, and she’d be dead.

Shaking my head, I caught a ride to one of the other places Lucius had mentioned, a dim, smoky private bar. Gyrating music blared from every corner. There were about thirty occupants, a dozen or so men interspersed with naked, dancing women. Some of the women were other-worlders. A Mec, like EenLi, with glowing greenish skin that proclaimed her arousal, slid provocatively up and down a pole. She had no breasts, only a flat chest that appeared softer than silk. Strangely enough, the human men couldn’t get enough of her. They constantly petted her skin as if they were addicted to her touch.

But I’d finally found my man.

Jonathan sat alone, drinking golden liquid from a crystal glass. He watched the dancing women silently, his expression pensive and drawn. One woman, a Delensean with blue hair, azure skin, and four arms, approached him, a seductive pout to her cerulean lips. He growled and shooed her away with a stiff wave of his hand.

I claimed the seat in front of him and studied him, this enemy of mine. His clothes were wrinkled, and lines of tension bracketed his mouth. Here, he wasn’t the smooth, stylish man he’d been at the party.

He remained where he was for the next hour. Why was he here? Was he waiting for someone? He never spoke to anyone, only raised his index finger every so often to signal his need for another drink. After he finished his fourth glass, the wall clock flashed fiveA.M. A look of determination settled over his features, and he very calmly stood and strode from the building.

I blinked in surprise, but followed him. A car and driver waited for him out front.

“Home,” he told the driver, his first word of the night.

He settled in the plush back seat, and I slipped in beside him—just as the door closed on half of my ghostly form. A slight tingle worked through me, my spirit’s only reaction.

The car eased into motion. Jonathan stared out the window the entire drive, and the closer he came to his estate, the deeper the lines of anxiety around his mouth became. What the hell was wrong with him? Damn it, I wanted inside his head.

Once he reached his home, I followed him as he pounded up the stairs and into a bedroom. Not his wife’s, I noticed, but his own, a room with masculine decor in dark shades of greens and blues. I hadn’t had time to study it last time I’d been here. The large four-poster bed had blood red silk sheets, and there were mirrors on the ceiling. A harness hung in the far right corner, and a clear plastic carpet covered the floor below it—to prevent any bodily fluids from staining his pristine floor.

So he liked harsh sexual games. How surprising.

He didn’t change clothes, but remained in his striped slacks, tie, and jacket. He strode straight to the phone beside the bed, lifted the receiver, and said, “Wayne.”

My heart galloping in my chest, I hurried to his side. “Wayne” was a human name EenLi often used.

I didn’t hear the person on the other end answer, but in the next instant Jonathan said, “I changed my mind. Forget the woman you told me about earlier. She won’t work.”

Silence. I cursed under my breath because I couldn’t hear the other voice.

“Just get the Raka.” A pause. Then, “Hunter is willing to pay whatever it costs. Get it done. Soon.”

I rubbed my hands together and grinned. He didn’t want the other girl. Good. They were planning my abduction for Lucius. Even better. Everything was falling into place.

EenLi said something that made Jonathan chuckle, made his shoulders relax. “No,” he said. “Make sure she’s unharmed. For every bruise your men put on her, for every tiny scratch, the price for her dwindles.”

I didn’t doubt that the “no harm” came straight from Lucius.

The men disconnected, but I waited for something more to happen. I watched as Jonathan stripped naked, humming happily under his breath. He wore a smug smile as he climbed into his bed. I hoped the phone would ring, but it didn’t. A few minutes later, Jonathan began snoring. I walked to the edge of the bed and gazed down at him. His features were completely relaxed in sleep, giving him a boyish, innocent quality.

How deceptive.

How easy to kill just then.

Unfortunately, we still needed him. I made my way outside. The moon had already begun its descent, giving way to the sun. I quickened my step, focusing my mind’s eye on Lucius and my own body. Very soon, I felt my spirit being sucked back, closer and closer. I lost my foundation, saw sparkling white lights.

Soon I caught a quick glimpse of the ambassador’s house, an even quicker glance of my bedroom and Lucius pacing around the bed, Luc trailing his every step, before my body and soul collided.Click. For a moment, I saw only darkness. Then my eyelids popped open.

Lucius must have sensed my presence because he was suddenly right beside me, glaring down at me. Luc jumped up and propped herself at the foot of the bed, watching our interaction.

“Where.The hell. Have you been?” Lucius gritted out softly, menacingly. “What took you so goddamn long?”

“He wasn’t at home. I had to search for him.”

His eyes flashed with furious fire as he lowered his head closer to me, so close our noses touched. “Do you have any idea—any fucking idea—what I’ve been imagining?”