Emo jumped slightly and turned. His handsome, golden face was covered in a fine sheen of sweat and his black eyes swirled with agitation. When he looked at me his lips tightened and then tipped upward in a tortured smile. “Hey, boss.”
“How’d it go?”
He shrugged. I noticed then that he was holding himself very stiffly and worried that he’d been injured. Hurrying forward I reached out and touched the soft knit of his black, torso-snugging sweater.
I gasped as I touched him and he jumped away, scowling. My fingers tingled and felt as if I’d burned them. An impossible amount of heat radiated off his body.
I could feel it from nearly a foot away. “Are you all right?”
Emo laughed. It was a bitter sound. A spot of color caught my eye and I looked down, a pretty, pastel swatch of fabric stuck out of his pocket. I reached for it, pulling it from his jeans. It was a small, lacy scrap of silk. Ladies panties.
Lifting an eyebrow in question, I grinned. “Souvenir?”
Emo’s body softened slightly as some of the tension slid away. He moved around me, taking great care not to touch me as he passed. “Collateral from the assignment. The Troll Queen was trying to fit them on her head and when I told her to give them back she threw them at me. I’m afraid they stuck to my sweater and I didn’t notice until I was back in the Black Knight and heading back here.” He paced slowly back and forth in front his desk, casting me a quick glance and a grin. For just a split second he looked like the old Emo. My friend.
“They look like they’re about your size, Astra…” He cut himself off and flushed visibly, gulping. “You can have them if you want.” He headed toward the office door.
“Wait!” I walked over and stood in front of him, lifting a hand to touch his forehead. He was burning up. “Emo, you’re sick. You need to get to an unplanned injury unit right away.”
He grabbed my wrist and pulled it away. He held on, not releasing me as I watched his eyes darken further and swirls of red and bright yellow enter them. His square, slightly bristled jaw clenched. “Please, don’t touch me.” He ground the words out and trembled.
“Emo, what’s wrong?”
Almost as if he were struggling against some invisible power, he lowered his head and closed his eyes, inhaling deeply and slowly, scenting me.
My body reacted to his nearness and the possessive quality of his behavior. I panicked and tried to yank my wrist from his grip. “No. Emo, the Settling!” My temperature spiked to match his and my senses expanded.
“Exactly.” He murmured. His yummy scent, familiar yet different, with a slight tang that I recognized with a guilty start as lust, rose around me, exploding my senses and closing off all rational thought.
His lips found my throat. I moaned.
My daemon hickey sparked and spat, sending warnings into the musk saturated air around us.
His hands slid under my coat…hot skin and cool air slipped across my body…
His eyes shot toward my face. “You’re naked!”
I opened my mouth to explain but no words formed in my mind.
Groaning, Emo yanked me up against his body, grinding himself into me. His lips ravaged mine. His hot, sweet tongue plundered my mouth, tangling hungrily with mine until I could barely breathe, hardly think. Everything was sensation. Heat. Musk. The brush of hungry skin against starving flesh.
I was lost.
Plowed under by lust.
There was no way I was going to pull back from it. Emo was no help at all. He wasn’t even trying to fight the pull of my Settling.
Wait a minute.
This was my Settling, not his. He couldn’t be under its influence.
I gasped and jerked away from him, swiping a shaking hand over my mouth as I backpedaled, putting much needed space between us.
Emo growled and tried to grab me back. His eyes were no longer even slightly human. They swirled with frantic color and throbbed in a rhythm that matched the surge of blood between my thighs. He panted desperately, beyond reason, and his jeans bulged with clear evidence of his need.
“You and I are about the same age!”
Emo turned away, reason finally sliding in to dull the edge of his raging hunger. “Yes.” His voice sounded strangled, husky from an internal struggle I recognized all too well.
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