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“I do.” Luc hopped off the desk. “Come back tomorrow and I’ll have something for you.” He glanced at Serena and winked. “And make sure you’re in a more pleasant mood. You’re killing my happy vibe.”

“Tomorrow?” I moved my neck to the side, trying to ease out the tension. “I wasn’t planning on this trip to be an overnight one.”

“But I’m sure you’ll find a way to pass the time.” Luc wiggled his brows suggestively, and even I was a bit disturbed by that.

He walked around his desk and opened a drawer.

Pulling out a key, he tossed it to me. “You can stay at Paris’ place for the night. He won’t be there and it will be safe.”

Paris’ face screwed up.

“What the hell, Luc?”

He smiled sheepishly.

“What? He’s not staying at my place.”

I pocketed the key, pleased by the anger creeping across the Luxen’s face. “Address.”

Luc scribbled it down on a pad of paper and handed it over. “Be back here tomorrow, a little before noon.”

I gathered up Serena and headed for the door, but Luc stopped us. “And Hunter?”

I turned, already not liking the odd look on the kid’s face.

I prepared myself for whatever fuckery that was about to come out of his mouth.

“Yes?”

Luc’s smile was mysterious.

“Humans aren’t as frail as you think they are.”

Chapter 24

I’d expressed my concern about trusting Luc the moment we got in the Porsche, but Hunter didn’t seem to think we had anything to worry about.

Apparently, the strange kid was the least of our problems.

We stopped and got fast food on the way to wherever Paris lived, and I ended up eating my food before we pulled into the secluded house in The Woods resort. Even at night, I could see the glitter in the driveway and corners of the two-story structure.

“Beta quartz,” Hunter explained, snickering.

“Very smart. There are no natural deposits around here, so he brought it in. It blocks us from seeing them, disrupts their wavelengths.”

Stepping out of the car, I frowned at the tiny flecks glittering in the moonlight.

How many times could I have seen something like this and disregarded it? I turned, eyeing the thick trees crowding the driveway, as Hunter pulled our luggage out of the trunk.

Once inside, I realized Paris’ flavor could easily be seen. Gold paint on the foyer walls. A golden chandelier hung from the ceiling, and all the doorknobs were painted a golden color; even the grand staircase had golden treads.

“Gah,” I said, shaking my head.

Hunter’s lip curled as he looked around. “Wow.”

I cracked a smile. Hunter relatively speechless, and all it took was really gaudy interior design. We did a little investigation of the downstairs and then we headed up. It was obvious which room was the main bedroom.

Hunter headed right for it.

“I’m sure there are extra bedrooms.” I nodded down the hall. “Maybe we should take one of them.”

He glanced over his shoulder, grinning. “What fun is that?”

I laughed softly. “You’re terrible.”

But I followed him into the lavish master bedroom. It was huge and in the middle was a four- poster canopy bed. Hunter dropped our luggage on a settee as I checked out the bathroom.

“Holy garden tub,” I murmured. “This thing is huge.”

“That’s not the only thing that’s huge.”

Hunter wrapped his arms around me from behind and tugged me back.

I flushed as I felt him against my lower back.

Need swelled in me, warming my body. “That’s pretty low-grade.”

Hunter chuckled as he brushed his lips over my cheek. “It was.”

Then he backed off, and I leaned against the large sink—painted in gold, of course—and watched him.

I was breathless already, and all I had felt was his erection. Ridiculous.

His lips curved up like he knew what I was thinking. I ignored the warmth flooding through my veins and between my thighs.

“Are you tired?”

It was late and we hadn’t gotten much sleep last night, but I shook my head. Hunter’s gaze turned knowing. “I know you want it.”

My belly tightened as desire swirled through me.

“You do?”

He nodded, but then he did the unexpected. He stepped out of the bathroom. “You want to enjoy that tub. Go ahead.

I’m going to check out the place, make sure it really is secure.”

I gaped at him as he shut the door. His deep chuckle from the other side of the door made me want to find a blunt object and throw it.

Bastard.

Sighing, I turned to the tub.

The thing was glorious, round and deep with several faucets at the front. I turned them on, cranking up the hot water as I searched the bathroom for something to add to it. There were a ton of products in the linen cabinet and I settled on something that smelled like peaches. Adding that to the tub, I was quickly in a frothy heaven.

I stripped off my clothes and slipped into the water.

The scrapes still stung a bit, but I stretched out, resting my head on the back of the tub as the bubbles grew around me, covering my chest.

“This is the absolutely most beautiful thing I’ve seen.”

Squeaking, my eyes popped open as I jerked up. Water and bubbles sloshed over the sides.

“Oh my God…”

Hunter stood by the tub, completely nude. All the chiseled, rippled goodness on display, and he was hard.

Really hard.

I followed his gaze. He was staring at my breasts.

“You’re such a guy.”

He shrugged. “I think you need help bathing, and I’m in a real generous mood.”

“I am feeling a little dirty.” I wanted to stick my head under the water, but the way Hunter’s eyes flared, I knew I had no reason to be embarrassed.

He liked it.

I scooted up as he climbed in behind me.

Steam rose from the tub and the water stirred, causing bubbles to tickle my sides as he slid his legs on either side of my hips, his skin wet and smooth against mine.

Hunter brushed my hair over my shoulder, and then I felt his lips against the space between my shoulders.

The kiss…I don’t know what it was about it, but it turned my insides to mush.

It was official.

No denying it. I wasn’t falling in love with Hunter.

I was already in love with him.

Knots filled my tummy as the realization shuttled through me. Loving Hunter was absolutely insane, but the heat blossoming in my chest wrapped around the knots, unraveling them. My life was in absolute ruins.

The government and another alien race were after us, but none of that mattered to my heart.

Loving him was wrong in all the right ways.

His arm snaked around my waist and he pulled me back between his legs. I turned my head toward him. “Did you check out the house?” I asked.

He pressed a kiss to my cheek, and I melted even more. “The place is like Fort Knox.” He lowered his head and nipped at my jaw as he reached around me, picking up a bar of soap.

“Let me wash you.”

That was as much of a request as I’d ever heard from him. He lathered his hands up and then curved one down my arm, to the very tips of my fingers and in between them.

“You’re very thorough,” I said.

Hunter chuckled as he slid his hands back up, bringing water along with him. “That’s my middle name.”

I laughed. “I just realized I don’t even know your middle or last name.”

His cheek rose against mine in a smile. “I don’t have one.”

“None?”

“None.” He moved on to my other hand, and his knuckles brushed the swell of my breasts. I jerked at the contact and he did it again as he washed away the soap. “You like that?”

I bit down on my lip.

“What do you think?”

“I think you do.” He ran his hand down my back and over the flare of my hip. “My real name isn’t pronounceable, and when we came here my family never adopted a last name.”

“Coming here had to be overwhelming.” Words left me as his soapy hand slid over my stomach. “Right?”

“It was at first.” His hand smoothed up my stomach, brushing my breasts once again, and I found it hard to concentrate. “I was with my own kind—a pretty large group. We landed in the Baltic Region.”

“Landed?”

Then I laughed. “Sorry. Picturing spaceships and stuff.”

He chuckled again and cupped water in his hand, rinsing away the soap. I held my breath as he moved a soapy hand over my right breast and then the left.

My nipples tightened into aching points and I bit down on my lip.

“My family eventually came to America. I was still young.” Both of his hands were involved in the cleaning process now and his thumbs moved over my tips. I guessed he was being extra sure about my nipples being cleaned.

“We’re very adaptive creatures, and it’s also in our nature to wander. So I traveled a lot.”

“What about schooling?”

He plucked at my nipples before his hands left them and dipped into the water.

“I never went to school, and knowledge isn’t always gained from a classroom.

Besides, our adaptability allows us to pick up things quickly.” Water cascaded over my breasts, causing my muscles to flutter. “The assimilated Luxen went to human schools, but our process was never like that.”

I wondered how many more old classmates were actually ETs. “So the DOD released the Luxen and they live like humans, but you all…?”

“Not so much.” His arms circled me. “We weren’t treated the same. I think they saw us as something lower than the Luxen, than them. When they find us, we aren’t given the option of playing human.”

“That’s not fair,”

I whispered.

“Life’s rarely fair, sweetheart.” He slid his hands over my thighs as his lips brushed the curve of my jaw once more.

“We’ve always been seen as a weapon. That’s what we are.”

“No.”

Heat unfurled inside me, spreading sizzling shivers. “You’re more than a weapon, Hunter. So much more.”

“With you?” His voice was thick. “I am more, but not with anyone else.”

I didn’t have a chance to process that because his hand slipped between my thighs. Pleasure thrummed in a heady dance as his fingers brushed my sex.

“I’m still being thorough,”

he said.

My head fell back against his chest. “I see that.”

“I don’t want you to think I’m not taking this seriously,” he continued.

His fingers moved slowly.

“Because this is the most fucking serious thing I’ve ever done.”

“I believe you.” My hips jerked as the pressure of his touch increased. I wiggled, trying to get him where I wanted him.

“Hunter…”

His other hand rose, cupping the back of my neck. He guided my head back and to the side. His lips hovered over mine. “I love hearing you say my name.”

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