Elizabeths Wolf (Breeds #3) - Page 9
His eyes went to the television, narrowing on the report as the reporter spoke into the camera.
“Took them long enough to report it,” he grunted as he walked over to the bed he had lain his leather case on.
He pulled out a black plastic bag, stored his dirty clothes then repacked them. The weapons were tucked beneath his pillow.
“You killed him,” she repeated, careful to keep her voice low in case Cassie woke up. Dash turned back to her. There was no regret in his gaze, no sense of remorse or apology. His gaze was steady, though slightly quizzical, as though he didn’t understand her shock.
“He was a diseased animal, Elizabeth,” he said with a distinct air of unconcern. “He was waiting on you, certain you would come back, and intended to make you and Cassie pay for getting away. Anyone else who tries for you will die just as quickly.”
Silence filled the room. Elizabeth could only stare at him as he moved away from the bed, taking the other chair and pulling two of the platters free as well as the last cup of coffee.
“You need to take a shower and sleep the rest of the day. From now on, we travel at night. If this blizzard has blown over by evening then we’ll head to a ranch just out of town. I fought with Mike overseas. He’s dependable, and he can put me in touch with some people who can help us.”
Elizabeth shook her head, wondering at the dream-like fog that seemed to fill her mind. He was talking as though he hadn’t been forced to kill a man because of her and Cassie. As though his life had never been in danger and he had done nothing out of the ordinary.
She could feel her heart racing at the knowledge, her mind scrambling to accept what he had done. No one had been able to stand against Grange’s goons before. They always fell, one way or the other. And yet here Dash sat, remarkably unconcerned about the danger involved. Of course he wasn’t concerned. She blinked warily. He was stronger than they were, tougher and smarter and evidently a hell of a lot more determined. For the first time she realized just how intent he was on protecting her and Cassie.
He glanced over at Cassie, a light frown creasing his brow as her little snuffles of sleep filled the room. Following his gaze Elizabeth watched as the little girl moved beneath the blanket, a little smile tilting her lips, her legs stretching out as though in play.
“She sounds like a little pup when she sleeps.” Elizabeth shook her head, trying to accept the changes occurring so quickly. “She’s always done that. At least I know she’s sleeping, not dreaming, when she does.”
She shook her head. Cassie had nightmares. Sometimes, she couldn’t sleep well for days straight. Right now, she was stretched under the blankets, her slight body relaxed and comfortable. Her dark hair framed her sleep-flushed features as she breathed softly, evenly. No. There were no nightmares now.
“I want you to wake her up. She needs to eat and shower, then she can sleep until we head out tonight. I want her alert and focused.”
Elizabeth swung around, anger erupting through her system then. Protector or not, she wasn’t about to allow him to ruin the only true sleep Cassie had known in weeks.
“Do you have any idea how long it’s been since she’s slept so well?” she hissed. “I’m not about to wake her up.”
He sighed deeply. There was no returning anger, just determination.
“If you don’t wake her up, keep her up for a while, then she’ll sleep while we’re awake and be asleep when we all need to be at our best. Or even worse, too damned tired to hold onto us, or run if she has to. We have only a few nights to get her ready for the trip we’ll hopefully be making next. Now wake her up, or I will.”
His gaze was level, commanding.
“You can’t just make these decisions without talking to me first, Sinclair.” She was shaking, fury nearly robbing her of any control. “That’s my daughter. And I won’t allow you to jerk her out of a perfectly sound sleep just because you say so. And you sure as hell aren’t making any more surprise trips with her without letting me in on what’s going on first.”
Her fists clenched with her anger as she stared up at him. He watched her with that cool, assessing gaze, as though she were an amusing little insect under inspection at the moment.
“Tonight, with any luck, we head to Mike Toler’s ranch, just outside town,” he repeated, then surprised her further. “Mike is former C.I.A. and has some contacts and information I need about a possible safe house in Virginia. Until I find out if that house is available to me, I don’t want to say more. Mike will shelter us as long as we need, but I only want to stay a day or so. Long enough to acclimate Cassie to me, and to give you a chance to rest. Period. Then we leave. Satisfied?”
She pressed her lips tightly together. He wasn’t being mocking or sarcastic. He seemed perfectly serious.
“Let Cassie sleep a while longer,” she stated firmly. “Another hour. She’s just a baby, Dash. She needs this.”
She moved to step around him then, to make her way back to Cassie’s bed, when the pain in her thigh suddenly intensified, sending her stumbling as she forced herself not to cry out with the shocking strike of agony through the muscle.
She knew better, was her next thought, to move without thinking first. The pain from the flesh wound had been growing steadily and she had a feeling it was going to bring her problems. Now, it had thrown her back against Dash’s body as he caught her against his chest, then swung her into his arms. She gasped. His chest was just as hot, just as firm, as it had been in the bathroom. His arms flexed beneath her back and thighs, muscles rippling with strength as he stalked to the sink counter across the room.
“I forgot about your leg.” Self-disgust filled his voice. “I should have taken care of that first thing.”
He sat her on the counter before she even had a chance to get used to being in his arms.
“Stay put,” he growled, giving her a hard, fierce look.
She stayed put. But she watched him closely as he went back to the bed, pulled out a small bag from his larger case then lifted one of the chairs and carried both back to her.
“Let’s check your side first,” he announced. “I know you cut yourself shimmying out of that window.”
She looked back at him in surprise.
“A piece of your shirt hung on that broken window,” he said. “There was blood on it.” He pointed out the rip as he started lifting her shirt.
Elizabeth tried to breathe in deeply, naturally, as his fingers probed the tender area gently.
“It’s not too bad,” he murmured. “When you get out of the shower we’ll put some salve on it and bandage it.”
She nodded silently as he lowered her shirt again and then watched her expectantly.
“I’m going to put you back on the floor. Take off your jeans so I can check that leg.”
Elizabeth blinked. Out of her jeans? “No,” she snapped hoarsely. The wound was high on her thigh, several inches above her knee and to the side. There wasn’t a chance in hell…
“Don’t make me cut them off you, Elizabeth.” He sighed, staring down at her. “We’re both tired and both riding our tempers. If I don’t take care of this it could become infected and then you won’t have a chance of helping Cassie. Is that what you want?”
Her eyes narrowed. “That’s dirty,” she hissed.
His expression grew harder. “That’s the truth. Now take the jeans off, before I take them off for you.”
His hands went for the snap. She slapped them back, almost laughing at the look of startled surprise that flashed across his face. His eyes narrowed, the dark golden-brown depths glittering in determination.
“Fine,” she muttered, sliding off the counter, thankful her T-shirt was at least long enough to cover what was most important. “I’m starting to think you’re too bossy, though.”
He grunted. He didn’t say a word, but the sound held a wealth of male superiority. She flashed him a resentful look as she eased the jeans down, biting her lip as the material scraped over the wound.
“Up.” He gripped her hips and lifted her back to the counter; the jeans still hung at her knees. “You forgot your shoes.”
Elizabeth forgot her sanity. He lifted her foot, propping it on his thigh and unlacing the cheap sneaker carefully. His long hair feathered forward, the roughened, damp strands caressing her upper knee as he removed the shoe. He shifted to the next, his hair stroking the skin over her other knee as he removed it as well. Her whole body flushed.
Had a man ever affected her this deeply? Had one ever made her long to just touch him, to just stroke his flesh and revel in the feel of it?
As the last shoe fell to the floor, his hands—amazingly gentle hands—pulled the material from her legs, his head rising, his eyes meeting hers as he undressed her. The heat she saw there took her breath. It made his eyes lighter, appear almost amber rather than dark honey. His high cheekbones flushed, his lips becoming heavy with sensuality.
“Shouldn’t need stitches,” he whispered hoarsely as he checked the line of raw flesh. “You were lucky, baby.” The endearment sent a shaft of heat vibrating through her vagina and into her womb. He opened the first aid kit and took several items out, though she had no idea what they were.
“This will hurt,” he whispered and she saw his eyes blaze in fury at the thought. “I need to disinfect it, then cover it so you can shower.”
She was entranced by his face, his expression. It was savage, so filled with hunger it took her breath and almost made her forget the pain in her leg.
“I cleaned it. At the diner,” she said nervously, tucking her hair behind her ear before gripping the edge of the counter desperately. “It’s not too bad. It stopped bleeding.”
He shifted in his chair, his broad, calloused hands probing at the wound as she grit her teeth at the feel of his fingers against her skin. They were so warm, gentle.
“I killed that bastard for this alone,” he whispered shockingly, causing her heart to race in her chest.
“And I would do it again, Elizabeth.” He raised his gaze, watching her closely. “It wouldn’t matter who it was. I’ll kill them before I allow them to ever hurt you or Cassie again.”
He glanced back down at her leg before moving to his feet. She tried to ignore the tenting of the soft fleece of his pants. She really did. But he was huge. He ignored his own arousal, though. Removing a bottle of antiseptic from the kit, he dampened a large square of gauze before turning back to her. His eyes were filled with pain. “I hate seeing you hurt, Elizabeth,” he whispered. “I can’t bear it.”
She would have reassured him. Would have told him how she had doused it herself with alcohol in the diner if he hadn’t shocked her past speech.
His lips covered hers as he laid the gauze on her leg. Fiery pain shot through her flesh as his lips swallowed her cry, then replaced it with such amazing sensation she wanted to whimper in return. He licked her lips. He didn’t steal her kiss. He didn’t take it. He cajoled it from her. His tongue swiped over the curves, pressed gently at the seam, licked at her heatedly until she opened her lips and allowed him entrance.
Did he growl? A short, rough sound echoed in his chest as his hand fell away from the gauze, both arms coming around her, pulling her against him, his lips slanting over hers as he began to feed from her mouth. There was no other way to describe it.
His cock was a length of hot steel pressing against her suddenly fiery pussy as he kissed her. It ground against her clit, made her body moisten, made her feminine cream slide free of her vagina and saturate her panties. He had to feel it, even through the fleece of his pants, had to know she was wet, her body wild from his touch.
He nibbled at her lips, his tongue raking forcibly past them to conquer her mouth with hot, ecstatic licks and smooth thrusts. He dared her to return each caress. Challenged her to give as good as he gave. And Elizabeth was helpless against the ravaging onslaught.