• Rules of Contact (Play by Play #12) Casino Royale (James Bond #1)

    Julia—Jules, this is . . . Anna’s blue eyes glinted with excitement as she twisted her toward the most beautiful man Julia had ever seen in her entire life. I’m sorry. What did you say your name was again?

    His words shocked her, jolting her entire system. She didn’t know if it was because she liked the idea of what he said or the knowledge that he probably meant nothing by it. Or maybe now that the cool air was getting in between their bodies, common sense was returning with a vengeance.What in the world was wrong with her? She’d sworn she was not going to fly those horny wings again, especially not in a hallway where anyone could walk up on them.

    Redeemed (House of Night #12)

    Julia stiffened as she averted her gaze, making the mistake of looking down. Sweet Lord, he was still huge even when he wasn’t—okay, she wasn’t going to think about that. She focused on his shoulder. I—Don’t say it shouldn’t have happened. His voice was hard as he leaned to the side, fixing his gaze on hers. Don’t say you regret it or that I should forget it.Her nostrils flared. Don’t tell me what to say.

    Shame on Me (Fool Me Once #2)

    Don’t stand there and pretend like what just happened wasn’t fucking amazing for both of us even though I was the one who got off.Julia’s month dropped open. Wow. Your ego is actually limitless.

    It has nothing to do with ego. He craned his neck to the other side when she looked away, snaring her once more. I know for a damn fact that you enjoyed that just as much as I did.

    Really, he shot back. How do I know? Because that’s the first time I’ve heard you laugh since the night at the bar like you actually couldn’t help yourself. Like you were actually enjoying yourself. It was a real laugh just like a few seconds ago that was a real smile.Okay. You don’t need anything. Maybe your partners do. And I need something. Just one thing. To explain what happened with Paka when I walked away from you.

    My heart clenched with remembered pain. But no new pain. No desire. No nothing. I said, I already knew about your unfinished tattoos. Paka spelled your werecat and bound you with some kind of weird cat magic. You had no choice except to follow her off the dance floor. She spent the next months biting and clawing you on the full moon to bring about the shift into your wereleopard, all the time eating pieces of your soul and your magic. Torturing you. And then when you turned, she did something else, something magical to that tattooed spell, to keep you in werecat form.Who told— He stopped. Nell. It was a growled, angry syllable. Nell worked for him. Nell and I were friends of a sort.

    Transcendence

    Yeah. I narrowed my eyes at him, wondering if he was being mean to the little gardener. The same Nell who fixed the damage Paka left spelled into your tat, your werecat-problem. You owe her. I enunciated the last three words in case he was still as stupid about women as I remembered.Rick frowned at me as if thinking that one over.

    I smiled, or thought I did. My lower face didn’t seem to be working properly. And she’s my friend, so you will not be mad at her.Friend. That was interesting. With the exception of Molly Everhart, I’d been a total loner until I came to New Orleans. Now I had friends and family everywhere. We talk every now and then, I added. Mostly when she needs info she can’t get through PsyLED databases.

    Nell seemed to think I needed to be told how Rick was doing. Everyone seemed to think I needed to be told about him. I got that. Our parting was public and humiliating. It hurt.Rick put my comments together and one side of his mouth went up in a broken smile. I’m sorry, Jane. I can’t fix what I was or what I did. But I can use my gifts to help you rescue your people.

    Behind me, Alex said, We might need him, Janie.I wanted to snarl. Instead, I said, Follow orders. Do what you’re told. Stay out of my way. I gave him my back in a catty insult and went to my room. Shut the door and leaned against it, eyes closed in the dark. I wasn’t grieving for losing him. I wasn’t angry, not even at the public betrayal. I was more, just, empty. There was some tiny dark hole in my soul home, a place where Rick LaFleur had taken root, and that small dark place was still empty. Empty where those roots had been ripped away. I had healed around it, but the soil there hadn’t regrown. Bruiser . . . he was rooted down inside me someplace else, had filled a different empty place. Bigger, stronger. Better. But Rick’s empty place was still a void.

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