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“Does the place feel lived in yet?” Toby grinned, pulling me back against his chest.

“Uh, yeah. Just a little.” I looked around at my new apartment. I still didn’t quite believe the place was all mine. Floor to ceiling windows gave us a perfect view of Central Park. It was the kind of apartment I’d dreamed about as a teen but never in a million years thought I’d live in.

“I don’t think I could ever get enough of you.”

“Yeah. I can kind of tell.” I could feel how hard and ready he was. I wondered if he’d ever be fully sated. I wasn’t sure whether I wanted him to be.

He brushed his lips against my ear. “I’d say I’m sorry about that, but I’m not.”

“We need to talk first.”

“About?” He settled back.

“You know what, but we need to get dressed beforehand.”

“Why? I like you dressed just the way you are, especially when you’re in my arms.”

I pulled away, and stood up, unconcerned that without the blanket, I was completely exposed. “Because I’m not talking about my family while naked. I’d also love if you would put on some underwear too.”

“You’re no fun.” He stood up, giving me a full frontal view of his body. He was aroused and just as gorgeous as always. I tossed his boxers at him, knowing I’d change my mind if he didn’t get covered up soon. I was beginning to understand that the Pteron side of me was sexually charged. Jared had brought it out before I transformed, and it hadn’t stopped. Things weren’t quite as out of control with Toby, but they were better. We were more equals, and the emotional part matched the physical. Sex was way better that way.

“That’s not what you were saying a little while ago.” I pulled on his t-shirt. I figured I didn’t need to get completely dressed.

Toby watched me as he slid into his boxers. “Do you want another glass of wine?”

“Quit stalling, Toby.”

“Okay. Let’s talk.” He settled back down on the couch, and I joined him. I pulled my legs up underneath me and turned myself so I was looking right at him. “I had a little chat with your cousin.”

“What?” I shot up off the couch, crushing Toby’s leg in the process.

He seemed unconcerned with his leg, but very concerned with my reaction. “He won’t remember the chat though.”

“What do you mean?” I struggled to keep my voice calm. “What did you do to Rhett?”

“He’s fine. Nelly just erased his—”

“Nelly! You subjected my cousin to that bit—” I stopped myself before I could say the word I really wanted to.

“She’s paying me back for the hell she put us through. It was necessary. I’m trying to be completely honest with you. I could have left this part out, but I want it all out on the table.”

I looked down at him skeptically. “Yeah, you really want this all out on the table. That’s why you’ve been so excited to tell me about it.”

He stood up and took both of my hands in his own. “Can you blame me? Things are finally going right for us. I didn’t want to mess anything up. But I don’t regret what I did. We need information, you said so yourself.”

I reluctantly agreed and sat back down. He followed, taking my hands again after I pulled them away to sit.

“Vera went willingly.” He didn’t look at me.

“What? No way.” There was absolutely no way that was true. Vera couldn’t have left me that way.

“I know it’s hard to believe, but he seemed sure of it. I guess she told him goodbye.”

“She didn’t say goodbye to me.” I spoke the words softly, not wanting to hear them uttered out loud. Vera and I had always been close. I didn’t want to believe it. I knew Toby wouldn’t lie about something like this. Nor would Rhett. My heart sunk.

“I’m sorry, Casey. But maybe there’s more to the story.” He put an arm around my shoulder.

“There has to be.” My spirits rose. “Maybe she didn’t have a choice.”

“We’ll figure it out either way.”

“You’ll still help me find her?” I needed his help. Willing or not, Vera had left my life. I needed her back in it, or at least some closure. But was closure possible if she was choosing to spend her time with Murphy? With someone who obviously had something not so wonderful planned for me.

“Of course. Why would that change?”

“I don’t know. Maybe now that you know that she wasn’t kidnapped, it doesn’t seem important enough.”

He looked right at me. “She’s your sister. We’ll find her.”

“Why do they want me? And if they did, why not take me when Vera left? Why wait?” There were so many unanswered questions. My head spun.

“I can’t answer that. I wish I knew.”

“Did Rhett tell you where Vera is?”

“He didn’t know. I have a feeling if he did, he would have done something stupid trying to find her already. She may have left willingly, but he doesn’t like that she stayed with them anymore than you do.”

I pulled a hand back from Toby and rested my forehead in my palm. “So now what? What are we supposed to do?”

“I have my whole team searching for them. As soon as I know something, we’ll plan from there.”

It was my turn to make an admission. “Murphy told me she went willingly, but I didn’t want to believe him.”

“My gut tells me there’s more to the story.” He rubbed small circles on my back. “But promise me something.”


“Promise you won’t tell anyone about your mother being a bear. Especially not the Laurents. We need to keep that a secret for now.”

I nodded. “I will.”

He smiled lightly. “Is that enough information for tonight?”

“I don’t know. Are you sure you’ve told me everything?”

“Yes. You now know everything I know.”

“Then, yes, it’s enough.” I still had tons of unanswered questions, but I wasn’t sure how much more I could handle, or how much more Toby could tell me.

He nestled his chin on my head. “Any chance we can get back to where we were earlier?”

“Do you think about anything other than sex?” I teased.

“Yes. I think about you.”

“Do those thoughts involve sex with me?”