Home > Fire Touched (Mercy Thompson #9)(6)

Fire Touched (Mercy Thompson #9)(6)
Author: Patricia Briggs

I broke and ran—and he was right on my tail. Figuratively speaking, of course. I don’t have a tail unless I’m in my coyote shape.

I dodged around the big dining table, but he put one hand on top and vaulted it, right over the top of Medea, who was taking a nap on top of the forbidden territory. She hissed at him, but he ignored her and kept coming after me. I dove under the table and out the other side, sprinted through the kitchen, and bolted down the stairs, laughing so hard I almost couldn’t breathe.

He caught me in the big rec room, tripped me, and pinned me against the floor. He kissed my chin, my neck, my cheek, and the bridge of my nose before he touched my lips. He put our game right out of my mind (along with any ability to form a coherent thought), so when he said, “Nudge,” it took me a second or two to figure out what he was talking about.

I dragged my thoughts from my enervated and trembling body and thought about how many people would know what we were doing down here. “No?” I said hesitantly.

“What happened to not hurting my feelings?” he asked. Even though his body was evidently as excited as mine, and his breathing harder than our little chase merited, there was amusement in his eyes.

“Izzy, Jesse, Darryl, Zack, Lucia, and Joel happened,” I said. If my voice was husky, well, I think anyone in my situation would have had trouble keeping her voice steady.

He rolled off me but grabbed my hand as he did, so we lay side by side on our backs with our hands clasped. He started laughing first.

“At least,” he said finally, “being a werewolf means I never have to worry about jock itch.”

“Every cloud has a silver lining,” I agreed. “Even being a werewolf has its upside.”

I expected him to laugh again. But instead his hand tightened on mine and he sat up and looked at me. He pulled my hand to his lips, and said, “Yes.”

Of course, I had to kiss him again.

We went upstairs after that kiss, so I didn’t end up embarrassing myself. Sure, there were sly grins from the peanut gallery, but since nothing happened, I was able to keep from blushing as Darryl and Zack got ready to leave. Adam and the others had apparently concluded their business while I was finishing up with Izzy’s mother.

Darryl kissed my hand formally, and said, “You are endlessly entertaining.”

I raised my eyebrow and gave him a “who, me?” expression. Of course, that only made him laugh, his teeth flashing whitely in amusement. Darryl was a happy blend of his African father and Chinese mother, taking the best features of two races and combining them. A big man, he could do scary better than anyone in the pack, but with a grin on his face, he could charm kittens out of trees.

Zack gave me a hug good-bye. Our only submissive wolf, he had been really . . . skittish and worn when he first joined the pack a few months ago. But as he’d gotten used to us, he touched us all a lot. Some of the guys had been taken aback when he’d started, though his touch had nothing to do with sex. But no one wanted him sad: a happy submissive wolf balanced the dominants and lowered tempers. So they’d learned to accept Zack’s ways.

I returned Zack’s hug, and he slipped something into my pocket that felt like one of the vials I’d just bought. He stepped back, looked me earnestly in the eye, and said, “To protect you from the nudge.”

Darryl high-fived him as he stepped out onto the porch. It made Adam laugh.

After I shut the door on the miscreants who didn’t live here, I turned around to see Lucia, Joel at her side, standing in the doorway to the kitchen with her arms crossed and a big grin on her face.

I frowned at her.

“Don’t worry,” she said earnestly. “I didn’t hear the whole thing, but Zack courteously kept me apprised as it was happening, so I wouldn’t feel left out. Why didn’t you tell her to go away before she got started?”

“Because she’s Izzy’s mother—and that sort of thing can have repercussions for Jesse,” I told her.

“And because you didn’t want to hurt her feelings,” said Adam. “Which is why multilevel marketing works. And you bought the oil because you want to see if there’s real magic involved because you’re worried about her,” said Adam.

I met his eyes solemnly. “No.” I patted my pocket. “I bought the orange oil for brownies, and I bought that other as a shield for the nudge attack.”

He raised an eyebrow. “So, do you wear it, or do I?” he asked.

I frowned at him. “I couldn’t actually tell from her story, but I’m afraid it might be fatal for you.” Her manager’s father had gotten a “God rest his soul” after his name when she was talking about him, after all. “I figure the way it works is that I put it on me. Then I’ll smell so strongly that you’ll stay away until you are really desperate.”

He threw his head back and laughed. Adam . . . Adam tried to downplay it with a military haircut and clothes that were subtly the wrong color—I’d just figured that one out—but he was beautiful. Like magazine-model beautiful. I didn’t always see it anymore, the inside being more interesting than the outer package, but with his eyes sparkling and his dimple flashing . . .

I cleared my throat. “Nudge?” I said.

Lucia laughed and turned back toward the kitchen. “Get a room,” she said over her shoulder.

Adam? He took a predatory step toward me, and his phone rang.

So did mine.

I checked the number on my phone, intending to let the voice mail catch it, but when I saw who was calling, I answered it instead.

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