Luck was on my side tonight.
I waited until my werewolf target descended the stairs, and then I pretended to take a call on my phone, giving me the excuse I needed to leave the bar in order to find a quieter spot. Grabbing my backpack, I meandered down into the basement.
As I pressed my ear to the bathroom door to confirm that he was preoccupied, the door opened a fraction. No way. The fool hadn’t even locked it?
I was doing him a favor then. He was too stupid to live. I went inside.
As soon as I drew my gun and flipped the bathroom lock into place, it hit me: his scent.
Exotic. Spicy. Clean as ocean air. Earthy and pure like mountains and pine. But … complex. Strangely alluring. Surprisingly appealing, in fact.
Old and powerful. I caught the now-recognizable scent of magic on him—the same underlying scent I’d picked up on Raul—differentiating him from a normal werewolf and classifying him as a superbeast.
In an instant, I knew I’d been set up. My “easy” werewolf target was anything but. He was a werelock.
Wyatt would never betray me. Which meant that Wyatt had been set up to set me up. Or his mind had been compromised by a powerful enemy werelock—as Raul had claimed.
He looked enormous standing in the small space of the bathroom at the lone urinal. His back was to me, but the moment I’d entered and flipped the lock, his head had turned ever so slightly to the side, his nose tilted in the air to sniff out the intruder.
The fact that he wouldn’t be able to scent me could possibly buy me a few seconds of additional time—if he was the curious type. Or it might get me killed faster. Because despite the fact he couldn’t smell me, I knew he would definitely smell the weapon in my hand.
Still, I hesitated, my composure shaken by the shock of his scent, of the perfect male beauty of his sculpted, naked ass cheeks on display—and the knowledge that I was fucked.
It was too late for retreat. I’d never make it out the door and back up the stairs if this guy was capable of the things I’d witnessed Raul do.
And if he was anything like Raul, no amount of bullets would stop him anyway.
As I watched, his body visibly stiffened.
I aimed my gun, yet remained otherwise frozen as he inhaled a second time—his upper back expanding, his shoulders rising as his lungs filled with air.
Pull the trigger, Avery.
I’d never had any qualms before about shooting a target in the back when his pants were down. I wasn’t big on heroism or sportsmanship; I stuck to ease and efficiency. But something was stopping me now. Something in his scent felt too … right … to be ended.
And some foolish part of me wanted to see his face. I told myself it was to confirm that he was the one from the photo, to make sure I had the right target.
Slowly, he turned.
He was gorgeous.
His hazel eyes burned bright gold as they took me in—brazenly looking me up and down, his jaw agape.
The gun grew heavy in my hand. I felt my own eyes shifting to that of my wolf as they traveled from chiseled, ruggedly handsome, seemingly awestruck facial features, down a thick neck that caused my canines to extend and salivate, over a T-shirt-encased chest and abdomen that my hardening nipples were demanding to rub up against.
My inner bitch hadn’t been this excited by a male since …
My captivated wolf eyes wandered over beautiful, tanned skin covering densely corded arm muscles, down to a well-formed, huge hand that held … an even huger dick.
That was lengthening and expanding before my eyes.
My mouth watered. I could’ve sworn my vaginal muscles actually jumped.
My inner bitch’s excitement was suddenly overwhelming. I had a mad urge to drop my gun and leap right on him.
But my daughter’s life was at stake. So I forcibly shut my she-wolf down.
And I shot him instead.
The quiet plink sound of the brass casing hitting the tiled floor was horrifying on multiple levels. My wolf was horrified that I’d actually fired at our—this—man. And I was horrified that the bullet hadn’t so much as scratched his skin.
I glanced down and noted his erection was even bigger than before.
Maybe Wyatt hadn’t been set up to set me up. Maybe this guy was like the “Dopey” werelock of his pack, and that made him an easy target?
I fired again.
My she-wolf howled in protest. I pulled the trigger a third time.
I’d hit my target dead in the heart, as evidenced by the burnt hole I’d made in his shirt. But the man—superbeast—beneath was perfectly fine. He reached up and fingered the hole, his glowing eyes never leaving my face. He ceased gaping and an indulgent, lopsided grin stretched his luscious mouth.
Then he chuckled—a rich, masculine sound that caused pure feminine need to pool between my thighs.
He whipped his T-shirt over his head and tossed it aside.
Fuck, that chest.
I didn’t even try not to look. I openly ogled him—my sex pulsing to life against the seam of my jeans.
He took a step toward me. A step that was made awkward by the fact that his jeans were around his ankles. He glanced down briefly, taking note of the issue. A second later, his pants were gone. Vanished.
Fuck. He was one hundred percent for sure a werelock.
A dead-sexy, one hundred percent naked werelock with a massive erection.
The right way.
There was a predatory gleam in his eyes as he took another step closer. But it was also playful. Scary. Yet fun—like he was daring me to do something.
Claim him, my she-wolf chanted.
I shook her aside. Kill him, I countered.
To my ever-loving shame, I actually bit my lip and winced the fourth time I pulled the trigger, aiming the barrel of my gun at his perfectly beautiful, flawless, naked chest. I had the worst sense that it had somehow hurt me more to pull that trigger than it had him.
I was right. This time, he groaned as the bullet bounced off of him and the casing clinked to the floor. It was a groan of pure pleasure. Of carnal lust.
“Fuuuck.” His bass spoke directly to my nether lips. “You. Are perfection.” His words caused my heart to flutter as they echoed softly off the tiled walls. The sound of his voice felt oddly familiar. Warm. Safe.
Werelock, I reminded myself.
A cold sweat broke out over my skin. The gun had begun to shake in my hand. I steadied my arm and adjusted my aim. This was the craziest I’d felt since turning into a crazy Grimm’s Fairy Tale creature a decade ago.
He kept talking, saying something about how beautiful I was and remarking on my mixed heritage. He may have asked a question, but I couldn’t be certain with the way the blood was pounding in my ears now. My ancestry had always intrigued and stumped everyone.
He seemed so genuinely enthralled, his eyes moving over my face as if cataloguing every tiny detail. There was a dazed intensity to his gaze that was throwing me off kilter—making me feel sensations in places I shouldn’t have, calling forth emotions that were foreign.
Conjuring feelings that were supposed to be dead.
“Stop.” My mouth began to work. “Mistake.” And not very well. “Wrong bathroom—I mean—bar …”
What was I saying? Why was I out of breath?
He kept coming.
Why did he have to smell so damn good?
I swallowed. He was almost directly in front of me. And I was just standing there. Doing nothing. I felt my heart rate spike, and I caught the scent of my own fear—something I rarely gave off anymore.
Suddenly, he stopped. His head tilted and his nostrils flared. His Adam’s apple bobbed in his throat. He frowned. His wolf eyes glowed a shade brighter.
Crap. He’d likely caught onto my nonexistent scent.
Another swift move and he’d placed himself at arm’s length, allowing the silencer extending from the barrel of my gun to press against the impenetrable muscle of his chest, directly over his heart—as if the weapon wasn’t in any way a threat.
It wasn’t, I guess.
“I’d never hurt you.” He spoke as if the very notion were anathema to him.
He pressed himself closer, crowding me against the door and forcing my arm holding the gun to bend at the elbow and retract. But not before I’d fired another bullet … straight at his heart.
As before, it did nothing to injure him. But his eyes widened and his frown deepened.
“Fuck. I’m sorry.” Huge warm palms were suddenly framing my face. Heat washed over me at his touch, battling the cold fear that had me in its embarrassing grip.
What the—? Had he … apologized?
After I’d shot him?
He gently tipped my face up to his, his fingertips caressing my jawline in a manner that managed to feel at once familiar and reverent. It was as if he’d touched me like this a million times before. As if he cupped my face in his hands daily and still somehow it was the most important thing he did in any given day.
He leaned in, slanting his lower body away from me—his massive erection standing at attention between us. “I didn’t mean to scare you.”
Sure enough, his mouth was moving. He was speaking to me. Apologizing. For scaring me. Saying something about how he would never harm me. I had difficulty processing his words as the scent of his precum assailed me.
I felt my backpack strap slip from my fingers. Vaguely, I registered the sound of it hitting tile floor below. The mad pounding in my ears was nearly deafening, but I could’ve sworn I heard him reassure me that he wasn’t going to take my gun away as long as I kept it aimed at him.
“I’ll have to take it from you if it looks like you might hurt yourself,” he explained.
His casual slight—the inference that I was ill-equipped to handle my own firearm—was enough to raise my human hackles, if not my she-wolf’s, momentarily jarring me from the mesmerizing effect he was having on me.
“I’m a crack shot.”
One corner of his mouth lifted at my proclamation, and the most annoyingly adorable twinkle lit his eyes. Smiling eyes. Great. He was one of those. The kind who managed to look like they were laughing at the world, seeing humor everywhere they went—delighting in some never-ending private witticism. The confident type who rejoiced uninhibitedly regardless of whether anyone else in the room got the joke. Not our type, I projected to my excited inner wolf.
“I believe it. You haven’t missed me yet. But I’d feel better if you pointed the gun at my head,” he told me with a wink.
An actual. Fucking. Wink.
I was so gobsmacked I didn’t resist as one of his hands traveled from my face down to the wrist of my hand that held the gun between us and brought it up alongside his head.
“If I do anything you don’t like, just shoot, all right?” He repositioned my aim so that the end of the silencer was pressing against his temple.
That settled it. He was for sure the Dopey of his pack.
“You make the funniest faces,” he observed with a giddy, boyish chuckle. His hand returned to my face, his long fingers slipping into the hair behind my ear to rub away at my eroding common sense. I realized he’d removed my beanie at some point.
“Fuck, this is just like my dad said it’d be. But nothing like I ever imagined.” He bit his smiling lip. “He would’ve liked you. My mom would’ve loved the fact that you shot me straight out of the gate.”
I couldn’t follow his crazy talk. Yet I felt an inexplicable tightness in my throat at his words. Maybe because he sounded so sincere. He even smelled sincere.
Or maybe it was because I couldn’t remember when anyone had ever looked at me with quite so goofy-happy an expression. Certainly not at first sight, and not anyone who looked and smelled so good. The man was just so … incredibly … fuckable.
But not our type, I reminded my wolf.
“Have to get going,” I mumbled, evidently at a loss for more intelligent speech. My voice came out breathy again, too. Not at all convincing.
He nodded. “’Course.” His face inched closer. “Whatever you want.” His tongue swept his bottom lip as his heavy-lidded gaze fell to my own lips.
My God. He was seriously going to fucking kiss me. After I’d just shot five bullets into his chest.
“May I?” he asked faintly as his mouth descended.
Slow and tentative as they first brushed back and forth, his full lips felt soft against mine. Sweet. It might’ve been the most innocent kiss anyone had ever given me. Definitely not what I had expected, given how turned on I knew he was.
Oh, hell. This was ridiculous.
I drew his lower lip into my mouth and bit it.
I swallowed his groan of surprise as my mouth attacked his, my tongue dipping inside to taste the powerful male essence that had been taunting me. And fuck, was it heady stuff.
When I sucked his tongue into my mouth, all bets were off. His lips became firm and demanding. His tongue assumed control, stroking deeply as his hands found my breasts … my ass … the juncture of my legs.
I reveled in his touch, pushing my breasts up against him, grinding my center into his palm when he cupped me between my thighs.
“May I?” he murmured thickly as his fingers made quick work of the clasp and fly of my jeans.
I didn’t say no. Didn’t protest. Not even when I felt his big hand wedge its way down the front of my jeans and slip inside my undies as he announced, “Need to touch you, okay?”
In fact, I was so far gone I think I nodded—even as I gripped the butt of my gun tighter and steadied the aim of the barrel pressed to his head.
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