Read Zeno: #8 (Luna Lodge) Online
Authors: Madison Stevens
Tags: #Romance, #Military, #Paranormal, #Romantic Suspense, #Werewolves & Shifters, #Mystery & Suspense, #Suspense, #paranormal romance
“Glad we agree,” the thug said.
The door chimed closed, and Zeno let out a sigh of relief.
They stood there at the bottom of the stairs in the dark for a bit longer, waiting for the all clear. He nearly jumped when the old man swung the door open.
“They are all over the street,” he said. “But you’re safe here.”
Zeno sighed. Relying on others wasn’t something he liked to do, but the old man had proved to be a worthy ally, and he was grateful for the help.
“Now let’s get you settled.”
Zeno’s stomach growled loudly.
Ava listened as Zeno talked quietly on his cell phone to Apollo while she laid out the clothes from her backpack. She knew he was irritated that he hadn’t been able to take out Antonio’s men.
Maybe it all would have gone differently if she hadn’t been there, but this was for the best. If Antonio’s men were killed in the restaurant, it’d be Luís and his nephew who would suffer. It wasn’t like Zeno could take out Antonio’s entire organization.
A small knock came from the door. After a second it opened and revealed Luís. She was grateful to see him carrying a plate of food. They had skipped lunch to help Anita get out of town, and it was already well into the afternoon.
She turned to let Zeno know and found him watching them as he continued to talk on the phone.
The attic space was larger than she had expected. There was a full size bed and a small table. She had even found a little mini-fridge that worked when plugged in. The most surprising piece was the bathroom. It wasn’t large, but it was better than the bucket she was expecting.
It wasn’t a nice hotel room, but it wasn’t exactly a bad place to spend a day hiding from murderous thugs.
Luís set the food on the little table. “I used to rent to a man, but he recently found work on the other side of town.”
Ava nodded, not really paying too much attention as she focused on the food.
He smiled when her stomach rumbled and placed the plate of food in front of her.
“Churrasco de Res,” he said. “And a side of ceviche with tortilla chips.”
She stared down at the thinly sliced beef and side of rice. The smell made her mouth water. The ceviche was something she’d had before. She dipped a chip in the seafood mixture and put it in her mouth. The sweetness of the shrimp combined with the fresh spices and lime popped in her mouth.
“Thank you,” she said, already reaching for a bit of the beef.
Zeno slid out the other chair and sat down on the other side of her.
“Thank you,” he said quietly to Luís.
The older man smiled at him and slid a glass over.
Zeno grinned back at him. “I think I better not,” he laughed.
Ava glanced into the cup. She sniffed it. Alcohol. A slice of lime rested on top. She picked up the cup and took a drink. It was heaven after the last few days of hell.
She set the cup back down. Zeno raised a brow, and she shrugged. At this rate, a little relief was more than called for.
He turned to Luís, who was placing a few sandwiches and drinks in the little fridge.
“My friends won’t be able to get here until tomorrow night,” Zeno said. “I’m afraid we’ll have to rely on your hospitality until then.”
Luís waved a hand. “You’re taking on the big boss,” he said. “He’s a monster. No one here will stand up to him, but you have. So you have my respect. Just make sure you get in a jab for me.”
Ava snorted. Seemed like Antonio and his men had picked a beef with nearly everyone they came in contact with.
“We’ll be closed in a few hours,” Luís said.
They nodded. After they day they had, a few more hours seemed like nothing.
Luís stepped out and closed the door behind him.
Ava pulled out a spiral notebook she’d picked up from Antonio’s office and started flipping through it.
“What’s that?” Zeno asked between bites.
She held it up so he could see.
“Antonio’s finance ledger,” she said. “I was hoping there might be something we could hand over to the authorities, but I haven’t seen anything yet.”
Zeno snorted loudly. “Did you expect he’d have it laid out for you? Big bold letters saying drug money or smuggling profit?”
Ava glared at him. Maybe she had hoped to come across something like that. People were idiots after all. And arrogant people often did foolish things when they thought they were untouchable.
She closed the notebook and sighed. Maybe it was silly. She just wanted to see that asshole get what was coming to him.
They ate silently, and when they had finished, Ava took the notebook to the bed while Zeno set up post by the window. Every now and again, she’d glance at him. His eyes remained fixed on the world below.
* * *
Zeno stretched when Luís shouted his departure up the stairs. He listened to the door as it chimed after his exit and was glad to be able to move around again without worry. Vigilance was exhausting.
Ava jumped off the bed to rush to the bathroom.
Two hours had somehow seemed much longer than it was. Despite his best effort, his gaze kept drifting over to her. She sat with her head over the notebook, trying to find something to beat Antonio.
The door to the bathroom banged open, and on instinct, he reached for his gun.
“That son of a bitch,” she said, hair loose around her face, toothbrush in hand.
He frowned. “What?”
She stomped over to the bed and picked up the ledger. For the first time he noticed she’d changed into a lacy black camisole with indecently short shorts to match it.
He didn’t have time to even process all that skin before she was shoving the book in his face.
“Here,” she said, pointing to a date in the ledger.
Zeno frowned. “What am I supposed to be seeing?”
“That son of a bitch was on a business trip when we met.”
He looked at the name next to the date: Potestatem Corp. He’d never heard of them before, not that he was exactly an expert on companies or large organizations other than the Horatius Group. He handed the notebook back.
“Plenty of people combine business with pleasure,” he said.
Ava shook her head. “No,” she said. “People don’t pick up cargo while on an island-hopping tour. And he does it over and over again. I thought it was weird how everyone seemed to know him so well. I just thought he had been friendly with them.”
He looked back at the page again. Maybe she was on to something. It did seem strange that Antonio would pick up cargo while they were out at sea, and going on so many trips to the same place was more than suspicious.
Someone who understood more of the big picture needed to know.
Zeno pulled out his phone and waited for Apollo to pick up.
“Trouble?” Apollo asked after the first ring.
“Potestatem Corp. Ever heard of them?”
The phone went quiet before Apollo spoke again. “Not that I remember.”
“Send it in to Titus. Might be where he got those special helpers we ran into in the basement.”
“I’ll make the call.”
“We might be looking at more than what we saw,” Zeno said. “Looks like our friend has been very busy.”
Zeno looked over at Ava. She was sitting on the bed, staring down at the ledger. He sat next to her.
“I was so stupid,” she said, her voice low.
He slipped a hand under her chin and tilted it until she was looking at him.
“Not stupid. Tricked.”
They stared at one another. Something passed between them. The air thickened in the room, and her warm vanilla scent called to him. Zeno shifted his lower half, torn by the need to protect her and the need to possess her.
Ava cupped his hand and placed her cheek where her chin had been. She closed her eyes and sighed.
He leapt from the bed. Her soft skin still warmed his palm. Not trusting himself any longer, he raced to the bathroom and slammed the door.
Cold shower. He needed a cold shower.
Ava lay quietly in the bed, waiting for Zeno to emerge from the bathroom.
He’d disappeared the moment things started to heat up between them. It was hard not to think that maybe he just wasn’t interested in her.
Frustration passed through her. Everything about the way he’d been acting suggested he was attracted to her, but he kept running away. Maybe she was mistaking his concern over his duty for actual desire.
The door opened, and he stepped out into the room with only his jeans on. The top button was flipped open, revealing hair below his pantline. His upper half was still damp and fully on display, firm muscles and all.
Ava let her gaze rove over him, taking in every last detail and every muscle shift. Her center tightened at the sight of him there cast in the light of the bathroom. His deep woodsy scent filled the air and only managed to set her even more aflame.
Zeno stilled his movements and breathed in deeply. Spurred by his reaction, Ava flipped back the cover on the other side of the bed. He growled and ran a hand over his face.
“Ava,” he rumbled. “This is a dangerous game you’re playing.”
She sighed loudly and stared at him with all the heat she felt.
“I’m not playing a game,” she said. “Now come to bed.”
He glanced over to the window and then back at her. She knew he was debating about staying at his guard post to keep her safe. His shoulders sagged as he walked over to turn off the bathroom light, and for a moment, she thought she’d lost.
It wasn’t until the other side of the bed dipped that she let out the breath she’d been holding.
She sought his eyes: two amber gems, glowing in the night.
“This is a bad—” he began.
She didn’t want to hear his excuses. Every part of her wanted him so badly she couldn’t hardly move without feeling the tug toward him.
Her mouth pressed hard against him, kissing and nipping as she did so.
Zeno moaned. His hand fisted in her hair, and he slanted his mouth over hers so he could press his tongue inside.
Her body moved on its own now, sliding over him and straddling his hips as she ground herself over him.
One hand slipped out of her hair and down to her hips. He helped her move against him as they continued exploring one another, pushing the kiss deeper and deeper.
She slid a hand down his hard chest and let her fingers glide over the hard planes, exploring all the dips she’d wanted to before.
Ava pulled back from his mouth and sat up to look down at him. He stared at her with a sort of awe she’d never seen before from any man. Her face burned with embarrassment, and she wished he would always look at her that way.
She let her nails trail back up his chest and then gently ran them back down. Zeno shifted so his thick member pressed against her.
A wicked smile spread over her face as she stared down at him.
She slid a leg over him and stepped off the bed. She stood next to him, forcing him to watch her. She slowly lifted the camisole tossed it to the side. Then came her shorts. Even slower than before, she slipped them down her legs.
“Ava,” Zeno growled and reached out to her, but she stepped out of his reach.
Now naked, she climbed back into the bed and planted herself between his legs.
She stared up his body as she ran her hands up his thighs. His breathing came out in little bursts, and she knew he wanted this just as much as she did.
Her fingers grazed the side of his sack, and he sucked in a sharp breath. When she reached his zipper, she could see the relief on his face.
She tugged it down. He sprang out from behind the zipper. His thick member pointed straight up.
Ava leaned forward and swiped her tongue around the tip, swirling it around.
His hand fisted in her hair.
“Fuck,” he grunted when she slipped him into her mouth and sucked in as far as he’d go.
She smiled around his large cock and pressed even harder against it. It slipped in deep, bumping the back of her throat.
Ava glanced up at Zeno, his cock still deep in her mouth. She could feel the rumble from his chest. His bright eyes fixed on her.
“Keep looking at me like that, and I’ll return the favor,” he ground out.
Her fold grew wet at his words. She was half-temped to let him, but if he left her wanting like last time, she might just have to kill him.
She continued moving her mouth over him, letting him bump the back of her throat as she did.
With a loud pop, she pulled her mouth off of him and slid over his body. Her bare center lined up over him.
She leaned down to kiss his lips and was surprised when he kissed her back and held her body close to his.
She slipped her hips along his thick cock, the juices from her center more than enough to create the friction she craved.
She jumped when his head bumped her clit. Tingles spread through her body.
“Zeno,” she moaned, not quite sure what she wanted but knowing he was the only who could help her.
“I got you, baby,” he said tenderly. His hands came up to cup her breasts and tweaked her nipples.
A few more times he pressed hard against her, and she shivered.
“I need you,” she whispered, surprised the words had come out of her mouth. “I need you inside me.”
Zeno growled with pride. She needed him.
Slick from her sweet pussy, his dick twitched at the thought of being inside her.
His hands came to her hips, and he pulled her over his aching cock. He slowly guided her down. Her snug center squeezed hard around him.
Ava moaned loudly and tossed her head back.
He stared up at her body, which was flushed with excitement. His heart thumped hard in his chest. She was beautiful, more so than he could have ever thought.
She rolled her head until her hair hung over him, framing her face.
Ava lifted her hips slightly and sank back down on him. Her mouth formed a silent O as she did.
She lowered herself on him, then rose up again, over and over, taking him in all the way each time. It was sweet torture to be so deep inside.