Focus (Page 37)

“Have you heard anything about the fire? Was anyone hurt? You said Tiffany is okay, but what about everyone else?” I wondered how Nick was doing after Levi dropped him like a sack of potatoes.

“No one died, if that’s what you’re asking.” He said it nonchalantly but the very thought that someone could have died made me sick.

“I still don’t understand why Martin did it. Aren’t there easier ways to get at me?”

“Yes, much easier ones.”

Clearly he wasn’t trying to put me at ease. “Then why burn down a frat house?”

Bryant turned to look at me. “Martin’s a little bit dramatic sometimes.”

“It sounds like you know him well.”

“I do. We were best friends growing up.” He moved his right hand back to the wheel.

“Oh. I had no idea.” The Pteron social circle could make a good soap opera.

“It’s not something I advertise. He’s had it out for Levi and his father for years.”

“Why? Is he jealous or something?” I belatedly tried to comb out my hair with my fingers. I’d been in such a rush to get out that I hadn’t even bothered to fix it. I quickly gave up and tied it back with an elastic.

Bryant kept his eyes glued on the road. “Or something.”

“Are you going a different way? Wasn’t that our turn?” I peered out the window.

“We’re not going to Tulane, Allie.”

“But you said you were taking me home.”

“I’d think you’d be used to being lied to by now.”

My stomach lurched. “Okay, what’s going on? Does Levi know I’m with you?”

“No, he has no idea.” His voice was as cold as ice.

“Then where are we going?” I grabbed the door latch with my right hand. My left hand moved to my seat belt.

Bryant grabbed my left wrist. “You can relax. You’re not going anywhere.”

“Why not?”

“Because I said so.”

I struggled but his grip was too tight.

He pulled to a stop in the loading dock area of an abandoned warehouse. I glanced around for someone—anyone. Surely it couldn’t be that desolate in the middle of the morning.

“We’re going to make this easy. Don’t fight me and you might live through it.” He pulled me over the console and out his door. His grip was so tight, I knew I’d have bruises. He pulled me inside the warehouse and moved over a chair to block the door.

I tried to appear more in control of my nerves than I actually was. “What do you want from me?”

“Now that’s an interesting question.” His eyes raked over me.

“I doubt you went through all of this effort just to get some.”

“No. I didn’t actually, but if that’s a side benefit, I’ll take it.”

I needed to stall whatever plan he had. “Does this have to do with the Blackwells?”

“Of course it does.”

“So you’re going to turn me over to them?”

“Maybe, maybe not.” He held up his hands like a scale.

“What do you mean?”

“My job was to get you away from Levi. Where we keep you is up to me.”

As I listened, I tried to formulate a plan. There was no way I was getting locked up by some crazy Pterons for the rest of my life. Being kidnapped by Cougars was bad enough. I couldn’t believe I was going through it again.

“What are the options?”

“That depends on you.”

“How so?”

“I see the way you look at me. You want me as much as I want you.”

My first impulse was to argue, but I realized that wouldn’t help. I had to somehow convince him he was right. “So? I’m sure lots of girls are attracted to you.”

He smiled. “True, but none like you.”

“Do you usually flatter your kidnap victims?”

“How many girls do you think I’ve kidnapped before?”

“Lots.”

“Nope, you’re the first.”

“You’re supposed to be giving me my options.” I tried to make myself sound flirtatious.

“Oh yes, how could I forget?” He took a step towards me. “I can hand you over to the Blackwells and let them do what they please, or…”

“What?”

“You can stay with me.”

“Stay with you?”

“Yes. I think we’d have a good time together.” He grinned impishly.

“You don’t think Levi would find me?”

“Not a chance…you wouldn’t want him to find you, would you?” He reached a hand out to stroke my cheek.

I forced a smile. “I choose option B.”

“That quickly?”

“You already pointed out the obvious, Bryant. I want you.”

“If that’s true, then how about right here, right now.” He pulled the elastic out of my hair, breaking it into two. His heated look terrified me. He wasn’t someone whose advances I could fend off.

“You have to get me in the mood.” God, if anyone could see me, I’d die. Maybe if all else failed, I could go into acting.

“My pleasure.” He reached a hand out to touch me again, but I stopped him.

“Show me your wings.”

“My wings?”

“Yeah. I kind of have a thing for them.”

He grinned. “You really are meant to be with a Pteron. I’m guessing it’s true what they say about certain humans being tailor made for us.”

I ignored his comment, even though I wanted him to explain it. I had to keep things moving along.

I gave him the most flirtatious look I could muster. “Aren’t you going to show me your wings now?”

He pulled off his t-shirt, tossing it to the ground. I took in a breath as I waited for his wings to appear behind him. Now came the tough part.

“Can I touch them?” I bit my lip. Maybe I was overdoing it, but he didn’t seem to notice.

“Yeah, you can touch them. But then I get to touch you.”

I smiled and moved closer to him. I reached behind him and ran my hand over one wing. “Nice.”

“My turn.”

“Not yet.” I slowly moved around him until I was directly behind him. “I need the full effect.” I knew I only had seconds. If he figured out what I was doing, I was as good as gone.

I put my hand on the exact spot Jared had shown me and pushed up.

“What the f**k?” He reached to move my hand but I pushed harder and held it. He cursed but didn’t struggle. He couldn’t move.