If only she could.
There had been times in the past when the loneliness had gotten to her. Times when it outweighed her common sense and she’d given in to that need for companionship…Oh, who was she fooling? Companionship she could do without. It was the raw, animal sex she’d craved.
That was what she really missed.
But each time had been a brutal mistake. Being that close to another person overwhelmed her with their emotions, insecurities, and memories. She saw things from them that she didn’t want to see. Old girlfriends and wives, low self-esteem, narcissistic egos, sick fantasies…
Sex never worked out when you could see straight into someone’s thoughts and hear them.
Even worse, she didn’t like lying to get laid or having to hide her fangs and other nocturnal habits. That was the real reason she’d slept with Ethon. He’d known who and what she was both past and present, and honestly, it’d been nice to be completely open and honest with a lover again.
If only his ego hadn’t taken up half the room….
Not to mention the other things she’d seen. Things about him she’d never suspected that haunted her to this day. Poor Spartan. No one deserved his past. She’d had no idea how bad his human life ate at him too. No wonder even as a Dark-Hunter, he was hell-bent on suicide. As a human he’d loved in a way few people could and in a way no one who knew him now would ever suspect.
How she ached for him.
But the bear wasn’t Ethon. And she wasn’t here to find a bedmate. She was here for information….
Dev felt the hair at the back of his neck lift. Someone was watching him. He could feel it with every animal instinct he possessed. Even though he wanted to go find them, he forced himself to remain perfectly still. Let them think he was completely unaware. If they decided to attack, they’d get the business end of his claws.
At least that was his thought until he caught a scent in the air that made him instantly rock hard.
Gah, what was wrong with him that the mere scent of her skin could raise his blood pressure? Probably the fact that she was off-limits to him. The lure of the forbidden fruit. It’d ruined many a man and even more bears.
"I see you, Dark-Hunter." It was a lie. He had no clue where she was, but to say that he smelled her might offend her. Women could be weird that way.
"I see you too, Bear. Hard to miss since you’re standing under a light."
She was to his left. Straightening, he pushed himself away from the wall as she walked slowly toward him. Damn if she wasn’t the sexiest thing he’d seen in a long time. The way she moved…
It was criminal.
She had her jacket back on as well as a pair of opaque sunglasses. Even so, he remembered how pretty her eyes had been and it made him wonder what their real color was. All Dark-Hunters had dark brown eyes. No matter what eye color they’d been born with, the moment they were brought back to life, in addition to being extremely light sensitive, their eyes were so dark as to be almost black. If they were ever lucky enough to get their souls back from Artemis, their eye color would revert to their human color and they’d become mortal again.
For some reason, he had an image of Sam with bright green eyes.
You’re being so stupid.
Yeah, he was. He’d never been the romantic kind of guy. It went with that whole half animal thing. Romance was for men who had to beg for women. Something that had never been his problem. Part of the blessing, or curse depending on your viewpoint, of being a shapeshifter was a deep magnetism that caused humans to seek them out and want to pet them. That allure definitely came in handy.
"I thought you’d be home by now," he said as she neared him. Then he realized how stupid that comment was since he was standing right in front of her motorcycle.
Der…He might as well be wearing a sign that said I’m a moron. Please help me remember where I live. Oh yeah, it’s right behind me.
In my defense it’s late and all the blood has fled from my brain to the central part of my body.
She didn’t comment on his blatant stupidity as she stopped just in front of him and gave him a tight-lipped smile. Those sunglasses kept her eyes shielded from him, but he could sense her gaze on his body like a physical touch and it made him ache for her to brush her hand against his flesh. "I wanted to ask you more questions about your hallucination."
"Please tell me it’s the one I have where you mistake my body for a popsicle."
She let out a short laugh. "Where did that come from?"
Easy. The image he had in his head right now of her nak*d in his bed. "A bear can dream, can’t he?"
"A bear can dream. But those dreams can also get him skinned."
"Will you be nak*d when you skin me?"
She shook her head. "Does everything come back to being nak*d?"
"Not everything. Just when a beautiful woman’s involved and only if I’m really lucky…. Any chance I might get lucky tonight?"
She let out a short "heh" sound. "You sure you’re a bear and not a horn dog?"
He laughed. "Believe it or not, I’m not usually quite this bad."
"Why don’t I believe you when you tell me that?"
"Probably because I’ve been really bad tonight." He winked at her. "I’ll stop. You said you have a question that unfortunately does not involve nudity?"
Sam had to force herself to keep a straight face while he continued to tease her. Don’t let your guard down. Men like Dev only wanted a woman for a few hours and then they were done with her.
No matter how cute he was, he was not her type and she was definitely not interested in learning the inner haunts of his mind.
"That Daimon you think you saw…did he say anything to you?"
"Not really. Just asked when we’d reopen."
"You remember what he looked like?"
He gave her a droll stare before he answered in a flat tone. "Blond and tall."
Sam rolled her eyes at his description. All Daimons, unless they dyed their hair, which was rare, were blond and tall. "Anything else?"
"He had fangs and dark eyes."
Like every Daimon she’d ever seen. "You’re really not helpful…. Would you mind if I touched you?"
His right eyebrow shot north before that familiar teasing light came into his blue eyes. "Touch me where?"
"Stop being a perv for three seconds. I just want to see what you saw that day."
He stepped away from her. "I’m not going to let you into my mind, girl. You might steal my passwords or something."
"I don’t want your passwords."
"Uh-huh." The doubtful expression on his face was actually adorable. "That’s what they all say, then the next thing you know they’re in your bank accounts, stealing money, and using your Facebook account to s p**n others and getting you banned for life. No thanks."
"S p**n ?"
"Porn spam. Don’t get that innocent look like you don’t know what I’m talking about. I know all about you and your Amazon buddies…. I’ve heard the stories. Seen the news and all that. I’m not letting you near my brain such that it is. Last thing I want to do is forget what Ms. February looks like in all her glory. I went to a lot of trouble to memorize that page and I want to keep it."
Sam wanted to be angry at his ridiculous outburst, but he was too funny about it. "Stop being a baby and give me your hand."
He took another step away from her. "No."
"Of course I am. I don’t want you in my head. Last time a woman read my thoughts, I got bitch-slapped so hard, my ears are still ringing from it. And as a guard bear, I need my hearing intact. Could be fatal to lose it."
"I’m going to bitch-slap you again if you don’t stop being a baby."
He growled like a caged grizzly. Impressive sound. But she’d once worn shoes made out of the hides of tougher animals than him and that had been before she’d had her Dark-Hunter powers to back her skills.
"I’m not intimidated."
"You should be. ‘Cause that’s the only warning I plan to give." Dev really didn’t want to do this. He’d never been one to let anyone see inside him. It was intrusive and rude. "I can’t stress enough how much I don’t want you in my mind."
"What’s in there that you’re so afraid of sharing?"
"My dirty underwear."
She scoffed as she tried to touch him. "I don’t want that. C’mon, Dev."
He shied away again. "C’mon Dev nothing. My thoughts are my own and I don’t see you letting me mind meld you."
She kept trying to touch him, but he was really quick and darted just out of her grasp every time. "That’s ’cause I have nothing to show you that’s important to you. I just want to see what the Daimon looked like. That’s the only thing I’ll take. I promise."
"Yeah, right. Can you honestly control your powers that well?"
"Ah, see, I knew it. You’re going to go digging in there and I’m going to forget how to do origami or something. Or worse, I’ll start peeing in corners and burping at inappropriate times."
"Like you don’t do that anyway."
"Are you profiling me because I’m a guy or a bear?" His tone was highly offended. "Lady, you don’t know me well enough to make that comment and for the record, I have a lot of unbearish habits. I even drink tea in a crappy pink-flowered cup. Have I said how much my sister annoys me?"
She ignored his tirade as she brought him back on task. "It won’t hurt."
"Yeah, and the flashy thing is just an eye test."
What in the world was he talking about now? "The what?"
"Flashy thing? Haven’t you ever seen Will Smith in Men in Black?"
He sighed. "You’re so deprived."
"And you’re so peculiar. Is there anyone else who saw the Daimon who isn’t afraid of me?"
"I’m not afraid of you. I’m afraid of the brain damage you’re going to give me. No offense, but I need my last three working brain cells."
"I’ve never given anyone brain damage by doing this."
"Uh-huh." He wrinkled his nose. "That you know of. Have you done CAT scans on everyone you’ve done this with? No. Do you know whether or not you took out their long-term or short-term memory portions of the brain?"
No, but that really wasn’t an issue. She wasn’t going to radiate him or anything. "Paranoid much?"
"Absolutely. You watch this door for a hundred years and see some of the shit that comes through here. You’d be paranoid too. I don’t want no mojo hocus pocus stirring in my head. If I want to play head games, I’ll download Sudoku on my iPhone."
Sam held her hands up in surrender. There was no use arguing with someone who was this stubborn. "Fine. I’ll do it without touching you."
"Ah, now that’s just rude." He narrowed his gaze on her.
Sam knew he had something in mind and when he spoke again, she gaped at his intentions. "Fine then if that’s what you want. You go digging in my head and I’m going to stand here and undress you with my eyes until you’re buck nak*d. Just so you know, I’m putting you in a sheer red thong. No bra…maybe a pair of red pasties…no, better yet, strawberry-flavored nipple paint and I’m coating your entire body in honey."
Sam grimaced. "You’re a male pig."
"I’m a bearswain and you’re lucky I’m tolerating you to pick through my brain. Last person tried that, I ate their head, and besides, I should get something out of this before you destroy my frontal lobe and make me drool on myself and relearn how to use eating utensils. Have you ever tried doing that when you’re a bear? It wasn’t easy the first time. Last thing I want to do is relearn it at my archaic age."
She had to roll her eyes again at his unwarranted hysteria. "I don’t think that’s the part of the brain that controls your drool."
"But you don’t know for sure, now do you? No, you don’t. ‘Cause you’re a Daimon necrologist, not a Were-Hunter neurologist. You don’t know what damage you’re going to do until it’s too late and then an I’m-sorry-Dev-I-burned-out-your-brain ain’t worth squat. Probably won’t even understand the apology because you’ll hose my Wernicke’s area of the brain and set me back to infancy."
Ignoring him, she closed her eyes and reached out to him with her powers. "If it makes you feel any better, I don’t like doing this."
"For the record, it don’t. But while you’re in there if you happen to see where I lost my nano, let me know. Been looking for it for days now. And the least you could do, Ms. Intrusive, is tell me where to find it."
He was so strange.
Sam drew a deep breath and while he was distracted, reached out and wrapped her hand in his hair before laying her bare fist on his neck. She laughed triumphantly while he cursed. But she had him now and he couldn’t pull away without losing hair. She had no idea why getting something over on him made her feel so good, but it did.
Until she realized that she wasn’t reading anything from him.
It wasn’t possible. She touched someone and they bled out thoughts. But not this time. Dev was completely blank to her.
She had nothing.
He snatched her hand away from his neck and grimaced as he lost some hair. "That was a dirty trick."