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Sheila is tired of it. Tired of him. She adores the sexy Hunter she works and lives with, loves him madly, but all he will give her is a good time in bed. And what a time that is. But she wants—needs—more. When Rafe makes it clear that sex is all he will offer, she leaves.
Rafe can’t believe that Sheila walked away—he’ll be damned if he just lets her go. Throwing caution to the wind, he sets out to track her down and bring her home. But when he finds her, she’s lying in the arms of another man. Rage and jealousy overwhelm Rafe…and a whole mess of trouble ensues.
An enemy of the Hunters has set up a playground in this land that seems to call to Rafe. He and Sheila, and the motley crew they assemble, must defend and cleanse this land of the evil that dwells there. And Rafe must lead them through horror and sacrifice as he comes into his own—a Master, defending his land, who must bring his woman home. But, to his home, his heart…
Rafe scowled as Sheila left the house, head low, her steps slow. She had donned the dark, close fitting clothes she wore when she Hunted and he couldn’t keep his eyes away from the way the black fatigues stretched across that delightfully round ass.
He had missed her.
Gone three weeks to Excelsior, and all he could think about was her.
He had sensed her the moment he stepped back on Eli’s lands and his blood seemed to burn inside his veins, hunger throbbing in his cock, in his head, tightening his muscles. Seeing her, he had wanted nothing more than to sink to his knees in front of her and wrap his arms around her, burying his face between her full, rounded breasts.
She made him weak.
And he hated it.
So he had ignored what he wanted, ignored the hesitant smile in her eyes, keeping his attention focused on Erika, ignoring the pain he felt coming from her.
She knew the score, damn it. After giving Erika a slight smile, he had left the kitchen, the scowl deepening on his face once he was out of their sight.
Now, a day later, he couldn’t stop craving a taste of her. Sheila hadn’t been in her rooms today—he had no idea where she had slept. And he refused to go looking for her.
Just after sunset, she had returned, her eyes hooded, the long sweep her rose colored skirt flowing down the length of her thighs, a pretty sweater, shades darker than the skirt, giving color to her creamy complexion. Rafe had watched her from the greatroom where the Hunters of Eli’s enclave had gathered for the night, watched as she sauntered in and dropped onto a couch between Mike and Jonathan. Lori was sitting in Jonathan’s lap, so the two of them took up a little more room, meaning Sheila had to sit closer to Mike than Rafe could stand. Studiously, she ignored the looks he had slid her, staring at Eli with intent focused eyes.
That had sliced. Deep.
Mike’s dark gray eyes had slid to Rafe as Sheila sat there, and Rafe had scowled, jerking his gaze away from the Inherent, knowing his anger was naked for all to see.
Now, hours after the meeting had ended, she was leaving for her night of patrol with her shoulders slumped and her eyes on the ground. Damn it. The southern belle looked about as happy as he felt.
In his hands, he held a short sword, polishing the surface that really didn’t need it. The blade all but glowed in the dim light, reflecting his face back at him as he tore his eyes from Sheila’s form, forcing himself to look at the sword as he ran the cloth up and down.
But barely a moment passed before he lifted his gaze, searching for Sheila once more. She was gone from sight.
Walking away from him…
Hunger, pain, guilt, need, they all ran together and wrapped a tight fist around his heart. Laying the sword aside, he spun away from the window to pace the floor.
She knew. He’d warned her from the beginning he wasn’t the man for a relationship. Not that she ever asked for anything. But he saw the disappointment in her eyes every time he pulled back. Sheila wanted more. Hell, that was what she was made for. And he couldn’t give it to her.
But he’d be damned if he let her walk away.
Seeing her warmed something inside him he thought had died long ago. Any man that so much as looked at her had him ready to kill.
He stalked into her rooms, ignoring his own as he dropped down on her bed, closing his eyes. Her scent was everywhere—her touch all over the place. Wrapped in it, he let it soothe the ache in his gut while he waited.
* * * * *
Sheila came to an abrupt halt just inside her door.
Rafe lay on the bed, his long, lean limbs sprawled sexily on the bed, the mellow gold of his skin gleaming against the white eyelet comforter. He wore jeans. Just jeans.
Her heart leaped into her throat, dancing a jig as his eyes opened.
A light dusting of hair trailed down the center of his chest, thickening into a darker line that disappeared under the waistband of his jeans. In the dim light, he stared at her from hooded eyes, his mouth curved in just the slightest of smiles.
The muscles in his belly worked as he sat up slowly, his eyes dark, all but glowing with hunger.
Her own hunger was a pulsing thing in her belly, throbbing and hot. The urge to leap atop him and kiss him senseless rose, but she beat it down.
Two days. He’d been back two bloody days, and he hadn’t said so much as a word to her. But now, he was in here waiting for her, and she knew damned well why. Not to talk to her, not to hold her or tell her that he’d missed her.
Just to fuck her. His cock strained under the sturdy denim cloth and she could hear his heartbeat picking up as he stared at her.
Nothing more. She loved him, with every fiber of her being and she was nothing more than a way for him to slake his hunger.
Sheila wasn’t doing this any more. He ignored her, except when he wanted to fuck her. And she just couldn’t take it any more.
“Get out, Rafe,” she said quietly, walking away from the bed, sitting down on the chair in front of her vanity, her fingers going to the band that held her braid together.
“Rough night, belle?”
His voice, as always, made her shiver. Sliding him a blank glance, she lifted one shoulder and said, “No. The night went fine. Get out.”
In the mirror, she could see him as he rose. That vampires didn’t cast a reflection was a lie. They all had one. And his was moving closer to hers. Her hands fell away as his took the thick cable of her braid in his hands, slowly unwinding it, combing through the wavy locks, taking an inordinate amount of time doing so, smoothing it down along her shoulders and back, stroking the down the locks that spilled over the upper mounds of her breasts.
As the flats of his hands brushed against her nipples, Sheila bit back the whimper that rose in her throat. Throwing off his hands, she stood up and moved away, walking to her closet and kneeling down to unlace her boots. “How many times do I have to tell you to get out, Rafe?” she asked quietly.
For a long while, he was silent, and when she raised her head to look at him, a shiver raced down her spine at the intent, hungry look in his eyes. “You kicking me out, belle?” he asked gruffly.