Hunting Season Excerpt
“Maybe we should make a few things clear, Lawrence.”
Could she kill him? Could she possibly get away with it? Nah. The doorman could I.D. her. “Such as?”
“What I feel for you has nothing to do with Odin or Skuld or anybody but you and me.”
“You and me?” What in hell was going on? “Have you lost your mind?”
He took a step toward her, but she refused to move away from him. She didn’t back away from anything. Never had, never would.
“I like you, Neecy. A lot.”
He liked her? What? Was she back in high school? Next the man would ask her to the prom.
“That’s great and all, but I don’t know what that has to do with me.”
Yager sighed. “You are such a difficult woman.”
“No. Just a confused one. I don’t get you, Yager.”
“Yeah. I noticed.”
She ignored him, and kept right on talking. “I mean, I don’t exactly see why one of the Odin Chosen would have any interest in a Daughter of Skuld.”
“Did that hurt?”
She blinked in confusion. “Did what hurt?” She sounded frustrated even to her own ears. Neecy didn’t get frustrated. Damn him! He kept bringing out all these weird emotions from her and she didn’t like it one goddamn bit.
“On your throat.” Instinctively her fingers reached out and touched the brand on the left side of her neck. Once you agreed to join her, Skuld marked you as one of The Gathering. From a distance, her brand resembled a tattoo. But up close, you could see the Naudhiz rune for what it was. A five-inch, pitch-black burn mark resembling a slightly askew cross, placed on her flesh by a god.
“Yes. It hurt. Just like yours did.” She remembered that day better than any other. Yager all big and half-dressed, looking unbelievably hot-kind of like now. Neecy could see every one of the Valkyries creaming over him, hoping once the Elders completed the ceremony, Yager would take one of them somewhere and fuck her brains out.
While Neecy was making bets with herself on which slutty Valkyrie Yager would pick, an evil-looking Raven Elder pulled a brand out of a pit fire not five feet from where Yager stood. Pushing his head down, the Elder brutally slammed it against Yager’s neck.
She waited for it…a cry of pain. A sob of pure torture. Something. But Yager didn’t do anything. He didn’t flinch. He didn’t cry out. He didn’t ball up his fists or plant his feet firmly. The son of a bitch didn’t even blink. He just stood his ground and took it.
Suddenly she was no longer at the Call of the Leader rite, watching Yager get marked like an animal. Instead, she was waking up in bed with Yager next to her, on his stomach. That damn unruly hair of his partially covering his face. White sheets wrapped low around his narrow hips and what she automatically knew as her little bite marks all over his shoulder and neck. Those long scratches down his back were hers, too. As she stared at him, he opened his eyes, looked at her with a smile, and sighed her name.
Then, like that, Neecy brutally snapped out of her little daydream and found herself back at the ceremony with her panties soaked, her nipples hard as rocks, her heart beating like she’d just run fifty miles in thirty seconds, and Wilhelm Yager staring at her. For a moment, she thought she zipped out during the rest of his boring speech and he busted her over it, but then Mike Molinski shoved him and he turned away from her. She realized he’d gone somewhere himself and, to be honest, she was too afraid to ask where he went.
Never before or since had Neecy been so turned on by anything and it terrified her.
A year later, and Neecy now watched Yager’s hand reach out, his big fingers sliding across her jaw, settling on her cheek. His thumb dragging across her bottom lip. He did it so casually. Like they’d been lovers for years.
“Christ, what is with you?” She wished she put more force behind that statement. Instead her voice broke and she couldn’t stop staring into his steel-grey eyes. His unruly shoulder-length, golden brown hair fell across his face as he bent down. She always wanted to comb that hair and never understood why he didn’t. Especially since his out-of-control hair made her absolutely insane. She saw it and her nipples got hard.
Staring, mesmerized, Neecy watched as those delicious lips of his came nearer, finally settling across her mouth.
Her body jerked at the contact. She’d kissed quite a few guys, but no one had ever kissed her like this. Slow. Sure. Like he had all the time in the world.
Yager’s tongue swept across her top lip, then her bottom. He dipped casually between and Neecy opened her mouth to him and, in usual Norse fashion, he grabbed the advantage. She stared straight ahead, debating how much his kitchen cabinets cost, as the tip of Yager’s tongue rubbed the roof of her mouth.
She really had no idea what to do with the man. When she came here today, she had it all planned out. She’d mentally prepared herself to deal with him like she would deal with any Raven. She would be in charge, confident, and determined. She wouldn’t let him put her off by calling her “baby” or asking her out on another goddamn date. She’d been so ready to deal with him and his bullshit.
But she never expected to see him in his way-too-small white towel. All wet and delicious from the shower.
Damn. Damn. Damn.
Both his hands framed her jaw as he tipped his head to the other side, his lips slowly taking her, claiming her. She held her tongue back. But he didn’t seem to care. Instead, he used it as an excuse to delve further.
She knew she could pull away. She knew she should. He wouldn’t stop her. Not slow-witted, nice-guy Yager with his amazing sense of honor. But the man really knew what he was doing. His tongue curled around hers, coaxing it to join in. That’s when it all changed. They both groaned at the contact and her eyes slid closed as his grip tightened on her jaw, pulling her closer.
Part of her knew she should be ripping herself away from this man. Ripping herself away and beating the living hell out of him with his very fine Calaphon pots and pans.
Instead, one hand grabbed his shoulder while the other wrapped around his waist.
The man felt so good under her hands. All hard muscle and smooth skin. She slid her hand across his ribs and felt the ridges where her talons once tore and ripped into his flesh during a fight. A complete accident, but she couldn’t help but feel Yager somehow now belonged to her. He shuddered at the feel of her fingers against his old wound and held her tighter.
She had to stop this. He had to let her go. She had to let him go. But dammit, she wasn’t made of stone. Her last boyfriend had ended their relationship four months ago. He turned to her one day and suddenly announced, “You don’t love me at all, do you?” She shook her head and replied, “No.” Of course, it wasn’t that big a loss. The entire Jersey Gathering didn’t call him Mr. Tiny Penis Man for nothing.
Yager, however…Well, he was one of Odin’s finest. Every Valkyrie in the Tri-State area would give their left tit to be in this man’s bed. A true warrior, Neecy had seen him grind men into dust at his feet. She’d also seen him save those who couldn’t fight for themselves.
Now here she stood, in his really nice kitchen, letting him kiss her. And, Jesus Christ, what a kiss.