Home > Second Grave on the Left (Charley Davidson #2)(11)

Second Grave on the Left (Charley Davidson #2)(11)
Author: Darynda Jones

* * *

I awoke with a start on the floor of my bathtub and bolted upright. The hard slippery surface being what it was, mostly hard and slippery, I dropped just as quickly, my palms sliding out from under me. I hit hard. Thus, on my second attempt, I took it a bit slower, glancing around for Reyes and swearing to get some nonslip bath appliqués.

There was no blood. No signs of a struggle. And no Reyes. What had happened to him? Why was he so mutilated? I fought the image of him in my mind. Mostly because I grew faint the moment it appeared. Queasy.

Then I remembered what he said to me: Beware the wounded animal. Only he’d spoken in Aramaic—one of the thousands of languages I’d known inherently from the moment of my birth. His voice had been a low, pain-filled growl. I had to find him.

After hustling into a pair of jeans and a sweater, I threw on some boots and gathered my hair into a ponytail. I had so many questions. So many concerns. For the last month, Reyes had been in a coma. He’d been shot by a prison guard firing warning shots near a gathering of inmates who looked like they were going to riot. The day the state was going to disconnect life support, Reyes seemed to magically wake up, and he strolled out of the long-term-care unit in Santa Fe like he didn’t have a care in the world. That was a week ago, and nobody had seen or heard from him since. Not even me. Not until today.

Was he still alive? What had attacked him? What could? He was the son of Satan, for f**k’s sake. Who would mess with that? I had a couple of resources I could check out, but as I was leaving my apartment, my landline rang.

“Make it quick,” I said when I picked up.

“Okay. Two men from the FBI are here,” Cookie said. Quickly.

Crap. “Men in black are at the office?”

“Well, yes, but they’re actually in more of a navy.”

Crapola. I so didn’t have time for men. In any color. “Okay, two questions. Do they look mad, and are they hot?”

After a long, long pause, Cookie said, “One, not really. Two, no comment at this time. And three, you’re on speakerphone.”

After another long, long pause, I said, “Okie dokie then. Be there in a jiff.”

Before I could do it myself, a long arm reached over my shoulder and disconnected the call. Reyes stood behind me. The heat that forever radiated off him soaked into my clothes, saturated me in warmth. He eased closer, allowing the length of his body to press into my backside. I responded to his nearness with a flush of adrenaline, and when he bent his head, his breath fanning across my cheek, my knees almost gave beneath my weight.

“Nice catch, Dutch,” he said softly, his voice like a caress.

A rush of delight rippled down my spine and pooled in my abdomen. Reyes had been calling me Dutch since the day I was born, and I had yet to find out why. He was like the desert, stark and beautiful, harsh and unforgiving, with the promise of treasure behind every dune, the allure of water hidden just beneath the surface.

I twisted around to face him. He refused to give up any ground he’d gained, and I had to lean back to look at him, to drink him in. His dark hair curled over an ear and hung slightly mussed over his forehead. His lashes—so thick, he always looked like he’d just woken up—shadowed liquid brown eyes. They sparkled with mischief nonetheless. He let his gaze wander at will, let it slow when it reached my mouth, dip when it reached the valley between Danger and Will Robinson. Then it rose and locked with mine, and I knew in that moment the true meaning of perfection.

“You look better,” I said, my tone airy. The wounds that had been so deep, so potentially fatal, had all but vanished. My head spun with a mixture of relief and concern.

He lifted my chin and brushed his fingers over my throat where it was still swollen from his momentary lapse of reason in the shower. He had a strong grip. “Sorry about that.”

“Care to explain?”

He lowered his head. “I thought you were someone else.”

“Who else?”

In lieu of an answer, he put his fingertips on a pulse point. He seemed to revel in the feel of it, the proof of life flowing through my veins.

“Is it the demons you told me about?” I asked.

“Yes.” He said it so matter-of-fact, so casually, one would think demons tried to kill him on a regular basis. He’d told me about them only last week, when I found out who he really was. He’d said they were after me, but to get to me, they’d have to go through him. I thought he was speaking metaphorically. Apparently not.

“Are they—” I stopped midsentence and swallowed hard. “—are you okay?”

“I’m unconscious,” he said, edging closer, his tongue wetting his full mouth.

My stomach somersaulted, but only in part because of the tongue. “You’re unconscious? What do you mean?”

He had braced a hand against the countertop on either side of me, imprisoning me within his sinewy arms. “I mean, I’m not awake,” he said a heartbeat before nipping my earlobe with his teeth, just hard enough to send a quake skimming over the surface of my skin.

The deep tenor of his voice reverberated through my bones, liquefying them from the inside out. I fought hard to focus on his words instead of the turmoil each syllable generated, each touch. He was like chocolate-covered heroin, and I was an addict through and through.

I’d had him inside me before. I’d known heaven for a brief period of time, the experience so surreal, so earth-shattering, I was certain he’d ruined me to all other men forever. Seriously, who could compete with a being created from beauty and sin and fused together with the blistering heat of sensuality? He was a god among men. Damn it.

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