Knox stared at the petite vampire before him and fought to breathe. Angela Lavigne. Angel, to him. The nickname had driven her crazy for some reason. Same pale gray eyes, same midnight-black hair, much different haircut. It was shorter now, falling around her face in a messy, sexy look that he knew wasn't intentional. She'd been fighting his wolves and running for her life so it was only natural. The moment he'd seen her on one of his security cameras running for the house he'd been floored, then had instantly gotten rock hard. The reaction was embarrassing but she'd always had that effect on him. Ninety years later, it didn't matter. He hadn't had much time to tell his pack to back down as they attempted to intercept her. Not that it had mattered. She'd run in here like she was on a suicide mission. "It's been a long time, Angel." Her eyes narrowed to slits. "Don't call me that. Where's Natalia?" He was surprised by her question but he didn't move. Instead he allowed the anger he'd been holding at bay to rush through him, knowing she'd sense it. "You're here to retrieve her for your tribe leader? You're a bit young to be a death merchant." He practically spat the words. Angela jerked back at his words. "What are you - ?" The door to the bedroom flew open and Natalia barged in. On instinct he put himself between the tall blonde and Angela. His former lover might be smaller than the other female but after seeing her in action tonight, he wouldn't underestimate her. And Natalia was extremely young and untrained, having just been turned into a vampire less than a decade ago. Natalia grabbed his forearm - definitely much too young to have any sort of fear of him - and stepped around him. "Don't hurt her. She's only here to protect me!" Angela stepped closer to them but ignored him. "I don't understand, I thought you were taken by the wolves." Natalia's face flushed a deep red as she faced her friend. She cleared her throat nervously. "I was taken but not the way you think. I, uh, fell in love with a werewolf and when I told Titus, he threatened to kill me so I ran." Angela fell silent and it was obvious she'd had no idea her friend had left on her own. Finally she spoke. "Why didn't you tell me? I...thought we were friends." The last part was said softly and even though Knox knew she was trying to mask it, her friend's deceit had hurt her. More than Natalia realized. "If Titus questioned you, I didn't want you to know anything. I thought keeping you in the dark was best for your safety." Natalia's voice was pleading. Angela's eyes hardened as she turned away from Natalia. She was completely cutting her emotional ties with her friend. He could see it in her expression as clearly as if she'd taken a pair of scissors and sliced through a string. Natalia probably didn't understand it but Angela didn't give many chances to people and she had few friends. Or at least she'd been that way when she was human. He could only guess that now as a vampire some things hadn't changed. Turning from the blonde vampire, Angela focused on him, her gaze hard. "So what's my punishment? Torture? Death?" He could think of a dozen ways to "punish" her but kept his thoughts to himself because of their audience. Without turning away from her, he spoke to her friend. "Tell everyone we have a house guest and they're to treat her with respect while she's here." "Angela, I'm so sorry. If I'd thought you'd come after me, I would have told you." Natalia spoke quietly, desperately. Angela wouldn't look at her. Instead she tightened her jaw and continued to glare at him as though he was to blame for all this. Natalia paused, but eventually hurried from the room. He held out his arm to Angela and for a moment, felt as if he'd been transported back to when she was still human. Back when he'd been courting her. Before she'd turned into a vampire then run from him. She'd held on to his arm then, everywhere they'd gone. Just the feel of her fingers grazing his skin had turned him on. "You can stay in my room." Those pale eyes of hers turned icy. She snorted and took a step back. "I don't know what kind of games you're playing but I'm not staying in your room." "It will be daylight soon and unless you can - " "I'm a day walker," she said quietly, as if it were no big deal. As if her kind weren't the rarest of vampires. Practically extinct. The admission surprised him. Most day walkers kept their existence quiet, often even among their own kind. Being able to walk in the sun caused hatred and jealousy in those who couldn't. So he had no reason to keep her. Not truly. He sure as hell wasn't going to hurt her. No matter what her kind thought of him, the day he learned that Angela had been turned into one, his views of vampires had changed as well. Like a switch flipping, his entire world had shifted. Suddenly he hadn't thought of vampires as soulless monsters anymore. Not when the woman he loved had become one. Unfortunately she'd run from him before he could tell her that their differences didn't matter. That he didn't care what she'd become. He didn't know for certain that's why she'd left, but it was better than the idea she'd run off with a vamp over him. A little over fifty years ago he'd hunted her to Alaska but then he'd lost the trail. Some days he'd wondered if she was even still alive. The last thing he'd expected was for her to show up on his doorstep. Now that she was here, he wasn't letting her go. "Day walker?" She nodded tightly. "My maker was one so..." Her shoulders lifted in what he was sure she meant to be a casual shrug, but it came off jerky and unsteady. He had so many questions for her, but he kept them to himself. By law, he could keep her as long as he wanted. She'd trespassed and gone against both their species' laws. "You will stay in my room - " "No way, you freaking animal!" Knowing she was baiting him, he took a deep breath. "Unless you wish me to lock you in our dungeon with the feral wolves waiting to be judged, you'll stay in my room." She wrapped her arms around herself and shivered. Because of his tone or the threat, he wasn't sure. And he didn't care. "Fine, but don't think that means anything." He advanced on her, partially because he needed to assert his dominance but mainly because he wanted to touch her. To run his fingers all over her. He kept going until she bumped against the edge of the bed and before she could react, he had her pinned on the mattress. She yelped as he settled on top of her, pinning her back against the soft covers. She was leaner than he remembered. Stronger. But she was soft in all the right places. Her breasts pressed against him, making it hard to breathe. "You trespassed on my land, hurt members of my pack - " "I used tranquilizers," she hissed as she struggled against him. " - and damaged my property. You will stay as long as I say." "That doesn't mean I'll sleep with you." Her voice was cold, determined. "Why not? We've done it before," he murmured. "So what? You're going to force me?" Her voice slightly trembled. Anger surged through him that she could actually ask that question. "I wouldn't have to force you." Growling, she shoved at his chest. The strength behind her push shocked him to his core. Whoever had turned her must have been a powerful vampire. Considering she was a day walker, he had no doubt. Instead of moving off her, he tightened his thighs around her then leaned closer so that their noses touched. "I can smell how much you want me, Angel." And he could. It was so potent, like fresh spring rain and it nearly bowled him over. She was doing her best to hide it from him but failing miserably. "That means nothing," she muttered. Instead of pushing up from her, he shifted against her, letting her feel his erection. The heat and sudden burst of lust she emanated threw him off-kilter. Taking him by surprise, she half smiled and rolled her hips against him. "Some things haven't changed, I see." The way her soft pink lips curved up made his brain short-circuit. The abrupt change in her made him falter. Maybe she was remembering how good they'd been together. How was it that he'd been thinking about this moment for years but couldn't think of one intelligent thing to say now? He'd always been better with actions anyway. As he leaned down, her pale eyes flared with heated desire. When he cupped her face, she reached out and splayed her fingers across his chest. Yeah, talking could definitely wait. As their lips touched, he felt a sharp jolt through his groin as she kneed him. Before he could react, she twisted and elbowed him across the face. Using her momentum, she lunged up and flipped him over until they tumbled to the ground. The thud when they landed made his teeth rattle. "I'm not some whore and if you think you can play with me, you're wrong. I don't care if you're the Alpha of this pack or not, I'll tear you to shreds if you try to touch me." Angela's words were laced with a deadly promise. And that turned him on more than it should have. He could easily flip her off him but he liked the feel of her body on top of his. He couldn't remember the name of the last woman he'd slept with. But he remembered everything about Angela. The way she'd willingly opened her body to him. What her tight sheath had felt like as he sank into her. How she moaned when she climaxed. "I didn't realize I'd insinuated you were a whore, Angel. I'm simply offering you hospitality even when you don't deserve it." His inner beast roared at him to assert dominance. He was almost always in control of his inner wolf but right now his human side agreed with his animal side. Snaking his arm around her waist, he jumped up and brought her with him. Her eyes widened but he didn't give her a chance to fight before he threw her over his shoulder and jerked the door open. Two young male pack members stood there, obviously eavesdropping. One cleared his throat as Angela pounded against his back with her fists. "Uh, we weren't sure if you'd need backup or anything," the older of the two muttered as he averted his gaze to the floor. Knox shook his head and easily subdued Angela's attempts to get free. "As you can see, I'm fine. Tell Alaric to meet me in my study." Without waiting for a response, he headed down the long hallway. His bedroom was on the opposite side of the house and he didn't want to put Angela on display for longer than necessary. "Let me go, you bastard!" He ignored her and tightened his hold. When he felt her teeth sink into his back, he flinched and shook his head. "Hellcat," he muttered, mildly annoyed. "I changed my mind...put me in your stupid dungeon. Anything's better than being stuck with you in your room!" She wriggled against him and bit him again. Harder this time. Gritting his teeth, he swatted her butt. That only earned him another bite. Thank God vampire bites weren't deadly to his kind. He ignored the curious and blatantly surprised stares of the pack members milling around the house. Once he was finally inside his room he dropped her onto the big bed in an unceremonious heap. When she scrambled to her knees and started shouting profanities at him, he headed right back for the door. A pillow hit him in the back of the head. When he turned back toward her, he had to duck a vase sailing through the air. It smashed against the wall by the door. "Make yourself comfortable, you'll be here for a while. And don't think about trying to escape. I'm putting two guards at the door and three more outside my windows. They're under strict orders to shoot you if you try to escape. With silver bullets." The last part wasn't true but he didn't want to deal with hunting her down. It would only waste time and prolong the inevitable. As he shut and locked the door behind him, he scrubbed a hand over his face and had to bite back a smile. He'd missed her more than he'd realized. What the hell was he going to do with her now?