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Page 27

So she wanted to play, did she? Lupines were like that, playful about the most serious things. Look at Ellison, dressing up in his Stetson as the overboard Texan, or Glory in her spike heels and black leather. Cats had much more dignity.

But if Andrea wanted to challenge him, Sean was up for it.

Connor pulled out the last pair of briefs, blue and covered with smiley faces. “Try these on Sean. I have to see this.”

“Shut it, Connor. I—”

The scent came to him like a stinging slap. Sean dropped the spatula, and grease flew.

“Sean?” Kim’s concern cut into his alertness, but not far. He smelled woods, mint, and the acrid tinge of the otherworld.

“Son of a bitch.” He ran for the living room, grabbed his sword, and bolted out the back door.

Connor shouted after him. “Sean, what is it? What’s wrong?”

“Stay inside,” Sean shouted back. “Guard Kim.”

Rain poured down as Sean ran, the cold casting fog in the green yards behind houses. Nothing was fenced in the back—the yards ran together under stands of towering trees, providing space for kids to run and play, although not today. The sun was setting, the fog darkening.

Sean found him in the middle of a circle of trees not ten yards from Glory’s house. The man was tall and unnaturally slim, his hair hanging down his back in a braid like twisted white silk. His face was clean shaven, unlined, perpetually young, and bore a cruel sharpness. He wore, not robes, but a mail shirt that looked to be made of beaten silver, leather leggings, boots, and a longbow across his back. Dressed for battle in a Lord of the Rings sort of way.

Sean unsheathed the sword and pointed it at the man’s chest, feeling a hell of a tingle as the sword touched the gate between the worlds. “What the f**k do you want?”

The man looked down at the blade in some disdain. “Feline. She summons me. Don’t interfere.”

“Who? No one here would be daft enough to summon a Fae ...”

He trailed off as the man’s cold black gaze moved to Glory’s house. Andrea was in there, alone, because Glory had gone off to find Dylan.

“Shit,” Sean whispered.

He ran for Glory’s house, finding the back door unlocked. He pounded through the unlighted kitchen and up the dark staircase to Andrea’s bedroom, bursting in to find Andrea on her bed in a fetal position, her eyes closed, her breathing rapid.

“Andrea, wake up. Wake up, love.”

She wouldn’t come out of it. Sean dropped the sword and got up on the bed with her, shaking her. “Wake up, now.”

Andrea’s eyelids fluttered. She looked at Sean in half-focused confusion, then awareness hit her, and she gasped. “Sean.”

Sean gathered her into his arms, kissing her damp forehead. “It’s all right, love. What were you dreaming?”

She shuddered. “The same. The same nightmare, except ...”

“There was someone there.”

Andrea nodded, her eyes full of fear. “I hear his voice sometimes. This time I could see him.”

“White-haired Fae bastard with ice-cold eyes?”

“Yes,” she said, then she jerked in his arms. “How the hell do you know?”

“I just saw him. He says you summoned him.”

“Saw him? What you mean, saw him?”

“He’s standing out in that circle of trees behind this house, large as life.”

Andrea gaped. “But I didn’t summon anyone. I never would.”

“Not on purpose. You did it through the dream.”

Her eyes darkened with fear. “Oh, Sean. Oh, crap.”

“Not your fault.” Sean rubbed his hand down her back. “Not your fault.”

She raised her head. “I need to see this Fae.”

“Not a good idea.”

Andrea wrenched herself from his grasp. “I don’t care. Stop protecting me. Show me where you saw him.”

“Andrea.”

She was strong and fast as she twisted away and to her feet. She was halfway to the dark window before Sean got off the bed, but instead of climbing out and running off, she stopped and pulled off her shirt.

Sean couldn’t move. He saw black lace cupping the generous curve of her br**sts before Andrea unhooked her bra with one hand and started peeling off her jeans with the other.

Her naked br**sts were firm and high, round peaches tipped with dusky red. Another slash of black lace enclosed her hips, and Sean lay transfixed as she stripped off the panties. Her slim waist flared to lush hips, with a wisp of black between her thighs. For one instant, Andrea and Sean looked at each other, she a woman bare for the man who wanted her. Then she shifted.

Shifter wolves were larger than natural, wild wolves, the females almost as large as the males. Andrea wasn’t as big as Sean’s wildcat but looked every bit as strong. Her fur was black, like her hair, her gray eyes the same shade as her human eyes, which was unusual. Most Shifters’ eyes changed with the shift—Sean’s became very light blue as did Liam’s; Glory’s turned to silver. Not Andrea’s. Hers stayed the same, smoky gray and beautiful.

These thoughts shot through his head seconds before Andrea turned and gracefully leapt out onto the porch roof. Sean sprang from the bed, tore off his clothes, shifted, and followed her.

Andrea, as a wolf, nosed around the clearing behind the house. The rain had stopped, the wind tearing gashes in the clouds, revealing the waxing moon. Sean sniffed the wind, but the air was clean. All scent of Fae had gone.

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