Read Twist Online

Authors: Dannika Dark

Tags: #paranormal fantasy

Twist (6 page)

BOOK: Twist
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He would stay, politely drink his coffee, and leave.

“Cream?”

Fuck
. “No, black is fine.”

“You don’t talk much, do you?”

She placed the steaming cup in front of him and his eyes brightened. He never liked the taste of coffee, but he appreciated the smell.

“Do you hate women, or is it just me? I won’t be offended.”

Knox took a long sip, not giving in to provocation. Some women were always looking for a fight. Through his peripheral, he watched her mashing the tips of her toes against the carpet as she stood beside him. Purple polish. He noticed.

“I don’t want to frighten you—just watching what I say.”

“You don’t scare me, and I don’t mind the way you talk. In fact, I kind of like it. I don’t know why, but it makes me feel…” She hesitated. “You put me at ease, and that’s saying a lot.”

“I’m not the kind of man you need to feel comfortable with.”

She squeezed a few drops of water from the back of his hair and he shuddered. “I’ll be the judge of that.” Her voice tickled his spine and he tried to drown out her fresh rain scent with the steam from his cup. “After what I saw tonight, I know there’s a decent man in there.”

“I don’t put up with lowlifes, I was just…” He stopped before he felt the flush in his ears. Damn, how he hated that dead giveaway of his embarrassment. In school, kids taunted him for it, and as a result, Knox learned how to fight.

“Well, you can come to my rescue
anytime
.” Sunny drifted over to her seat.

An impulse surged through every muscle in his body. Maybe it was pride talking, but women never spoke that way about him.

“I’m beginning to think I really should carry that pepper spray I’m always threatening to use,” she smiled. “I usually don’t have to deal with that kind of thing.”

Her fingers cupped the mug as she took baby sips. A fluff of steam obscured her face and made the tip of her nose glisten. He took a big mental eraser and tried to work on that emotion swelling inside of him.

“What do you do to earn a respectable dollar?”

Women loved this part. You merely had to suggest you worked in the military and all the visions of uniforms danced in their heads like sugarplums. Of course, the only uniform he wore was all black.

“Military. Top secret shit,” he said, with a double arch of the brow.

“Sounds
riveting
,” she mocked with a sly smile that had the hairs on the back of his neck standing erect. “Do you work with Adam, is that what he does?”

“No. His kind employs their own and keeps separate from us humans. I don’t know what they do precisely.”

“So you’re human?” she asked warily.

“Born and bred. Your friend—she’s been through some rough shit,” he said, derailing the subject.

She rested her elbow on the table and it tilted, so Knox planted his boot on one of the legs to steady it. He grimaced at the burnt flavor of the coffee and set his cup down.

Sunny cleared her throat. “I was seeing this guy who kept asking about her, but I didn’t think much about it because I thought he was just trying to show an interest in my life. The night Zoë disappeared, I went to his place, and… he said he was finished with me. He deceived me,” she said angrily. “Led me to believe there was something more between us. I was an idiot. I can’t believe I actually fell for his lies. That’s karma coming back to sink its teeth in my rear, and I probably deserve it.”


He
was the fucking idiot.” Knox placed his arms flat on the table.

“I’ve never led a guy on, Knox, but he did with me. I was so upset by the things he said that we started arguing, and I got even more upset when I couldn’t understand half of what he was saying because it was in Italian. When he called me a name—that much I understood. I threw a bookend at him and…”

Her delicate brows pinched together forming a worry line, and he didn’t like where this story was going. Knox had zero tolerance for a man who raised a hand to a woman.

“What did he do?”

“He moved so fast. I guess that’s something that they can do, right? Well, I was just flabbergasted.” Sunny smiled sweetly and it melted him. “Sorry, sometimes I sound a little old fashioned.”

He liked the way this woman spoke; it was confident and not muddied up with profanities that came as natural to him as breath. Her voice was clear and bright, like church bells.

“Marco grabbed my arm and threw me out the front door like Monday’s trash.”

Knox wanted to find the prick and throw him off a cliff.

“I always suspected that Marco had something to do with her disappearance. That’s why I moved; I was afraid of him. Now that I know
what
Silver is, everything makes sense. He used me just to get to her; he was probably conspiring with that monster that made her.”

She got up and sat on the edge of the bed, dropping her head in her hands. “She’s never going to forgive me when I tell her everything.”

Knox lowered his eyes to the floor. “You’d be surprised what people can get over.”

It was time to make an exit before he started to sound like a greeting card. As he brushed past her, he stopped dead in his tracks as her fingers reached out and curled around his.

“Stay with me tonight.” Her voice was quiet, and his heart raced.

“You don’t want that.” But god,
he
did.

“How do you know what I want?”

“You want to talk about your feelings over a cup of coffee,” he said, staring down at her eyes, “but I’m not that guy.” Knox bit his tongue. He needed to be crude; it was the only way to smother any idea she held that he was a decent man. Taking a woman whenever she offered was something of a religion to him, but it didn’t seem appropriate to do this with her, not just because she was a friend to Silver, but he didn’t see her like the other women. “Unless you want to be with someone who will make you feel like a cheap whore, then let go of my hand.”

She let go, and hooked her fingers in his jeans. He sucked in a sharp breath, feeling the cold tips against his warm stomach. It triggered a reaction—a need to warm her—and he threaded his fingers through the soft waves of her damp hair. It was silky, just like he imagined.

She rolled up the end of his shirt, spreading slow kisses across the flat of his stomach.

Possession crashed through him like a tsunami. He lifted her by the arms and her body rubbed against his, every curvy inch of it.

“You
don’t
make me feel cheap,” she said in a breath touching his neck. “I want to know who you are, and I’m asking you to stay with me tonight,” she said, rising to her tiptoes to meet his lips.

The kiss, her lips, and the firm way that she gripped his arms were more than he could process. He didn’t lean in or offer. She took what she wanted. Knox had always been the aggressor—the pursuer—and he wasn’t prepared for a woman to take charge of him this way.

He liked it.

That first feathery brush made his knees lock up. She was insatiable. Her tongue found his and she gripped the back of his neck, pulling him to her even more. Rain and flowers filled his senses, and she deepened the kiss, coaxing him to respond with more passion than he was giving her. She tasted like butterscotch, and their tongues twirled.

“This isn’t right,” he said, breaking away. She needed someone—anyone—and Knox was nothing more than a convenience of proximity. He refused to be her regret.

“It doesn’t have to mean anything,” she said.

Those words slammed into him like a brick wall, and it scared the shit out of him. Following her home was a mistake, so Knox moved away and walked out the door.

Chapter 5

 

“What are you and Knox up to?” I asked.

Adam rapped his fingers on the dining table with confidentiality etched all over his face.

“I can’t say.”

“The same reason you can’t say why he was at my apartment that night?”

Adam rubbed his eyelids with the tips of his fingers and yawned. God, the man was impossible.

A dim candle on the wall sconce flickered out, so I replaced it with a fresh one and lit the wick. I never won the battle for electricity, but I did manage to convince Justus to install it in the bathroom so I could see in the shower.

“Knox isn’t trying to become a Mage, is he?”

A sharp laugh flew out of his mouth and his eyes crinkled. “Hell no. Why would you even think that? Knox would never contemplate being anything but human.”

“I trust I’ll find out soon enough, Captain Confidential.”

It was the first time that we had a chance to talk privately, and I struggled with bringing up the topic. “I need to ask you something, and I want you to be honest with me. Do you resent me for the choice you made that night? I knew there was a risk you could die, and that killed me, Adam. But I had no idea that Novis was a Creator and would give you a choice to become something you despised.” I paused for a moment as I stood by a chair. “You had every reason to hate us.”

His lips formed two thin lines; he didn’t appreciate the question.

“It was my choice to become a Mage and I knew what I was bargaining for. I know where you’re going with this, woman, and you can rest easy. A Mage murdered the one person who mattered to me, but I feel differently about it now. I can’t blame an entire race for the actions of one man. I have no regrets.”

I stared at a painting on the wall.

“Are you really upset about this?” he asked.

“It’s not the same.” I shook my head and wrapped a lock of hair around my finger. “I never wanted you to give up your life, or to make that choice. You had to give up photography, your home, and—”

“And nothing. If you’re worried about my career then you need to get your priorities in check. I did that to find meaning in my life when I had none. You’re forgetting that it
was
a choice, and not forced on me like…”

Like me, he meant to say. I never had the choice.

He dropped his eyes. “I have peace of mind knowing you never have to see that motherfu—”

“Okay,” I said, raising a hand. “Let’s not talk about him. I refuse to let that man haunt the rest of my life, and I don’t want to make his name part of table conversation, if you don’t mind.”

It wasn’t just how Samil treated me, but I felt robbed of the experience others had with their Creator and first spark. Watching Novis change Adam was a beautiful moment, and part of me would always be envious of that bond.

“If you knew it could have been offered, why were you so willing?”

Adam lowered his eyes without an answer.

I left the table and entered the main room with its majestic warmth and solace. Although we were underground, the ceiling was high, and gave the illusion of a larger house than it was. Justus enjoyed his fire, but I hadn’t lit one since he left. The wall on the left contained a deep bookshelf, and a brown rug spread on the floor before the hearth. It was my favorite room. The leather complained as I sank into the chair.

“Your Ghuardian lives in the Stone Age.”

“Tell me about it,” I chuckled, turning on my side. “Do you know how long I had to beg to have power installed in the bathroom? Justus likes his peace and quiet; you can’t imagine how irritated he gets when I start running the hair dryer.”

“Is it too late to find another Ghuardian?”

I wondered if he was joking. “I would never do that. Justus won’t change overnight, but I trust him with my life. He’s more lenient than he used to be. It’s not as if I can’t go out, but I’d rather not because of all the women licking him up like ambrosia. At least he gives me time alone with Simon.”

Adam took a seat on the floor beside my chair and cracked a knuckle.

“Are you and Simon an item?” His throat cleared.

“Can you light a candle? I’m about to fall asleep in this chair.”

Adam stretched over on his right arm and lit one of the candles by the fireplace. I lifted the wallet from his back pocket before he could stop me.

The Mageri provided us with new identities to use in human establishments, so I was dying to know what Adam’s alias was. Those who monitored law enforcement databases would spread the word to the proper Breed authorities if you were in trouble, and they made sure our names were uncommon. I curled it against my chest when he tried to take it, although I was tempted to snap him with my light. Simon and I often played around, sparking one another with tiny increments of energy—like static, only stronger. I was wary of starting that with Adam. He had never tasted my light as a Mage, and I had to be careful about throwing my power around.

“I want to see your new ID, Adam.”

“You didn’t answer my question about Simon.”

I squinted in the candlelight. “Your name is Lucan Riddle?” Of course, I had no room to talk, because I ended up with Ember Gates. We had no say in what name the Mageri assigned us. I tucked the card back in the sleeve.

“Simon and I are nothing more than friends,” I said, fumbling through his wallet.

BOOK: Twist
3.63Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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