Ice Warrior: (Dark Warrior Alliance Book 13), page 8
“Seems you kept busy enough,” she sputtered, her voice shaking. “I see you found a tarp and covered the skylight. Thank you for doing that. I would’ve taken care of it,” she said and met his gaze with a smile.
His heated look had her lowering her eyes. As her gaze landed on his chest, she gasped when she saw what he was wearing. Vincent had left behind some of his t-shirts and jeans and the vampire had helped himself.
“I hope you doona mind. I found them shoved inside a box in your closet,” he admitted. “After I showered, I couldna put those filthy pants back on, and I had no shirt.”
“Oh, no. Definitely not a problem,” Alex confessed as she shook her head.
The raggedy shirt never looked so good. Vincent, although attractive, had a pot-belly and his shoulders weren’t as broad. The cotton fabric strained to cover the vampire’s muscular chest and arms, and it was impressive, to say the least.
As she eyed his bulging muscles, Alex wondered how it would feel in his arms. Safe came to mind. A tattoo caught her eye, and she realized it wasn’t his Feel the freeze. This inked design was a tribal Druid symbol on his right forearm. She’d seen the symbol somewhere before, but for the life of her, couldn’t remember where.
“My ex-husband left them here after the divorce. I haven’t had time to donate them. Guess it was meant to be,” she quipped.
“Meeting you was meant to be,” he muttered. “It was serendipitous. I wasna looking for a miracle, but then you came along.”
“You believe in fate?”
Hearing this big, strong man get philosophical was possibly the best surprise of the evening. She’d seen his sense of humor and caught a glimpse of his personality, but after everything she’d been through and battled, she appreciated the ability to relate on a deeper level.
“Aye, I do. Everything happens for a reason. There are no’ accidents,” he shared as he took a seat at the counter.
“I agree to a point. As an ER physician, I see a lot of meaningless death, and I always wonder the reason for such loss. I’m responsible for delivering bad news, and then I deal with grieving families. It’s the worst part of my job and challenges my belief in a higher power. Speaking of work, I looked in our database for reports of missing men. Unless you’re a five-year-old girl or an eighty-year-old man, there’s nothing on you.”
Deciding on quesadillas for lunch, she put the veggies away and grabbed the grated cheese and leftover fajita chicken. She wondered how much she should make. Her Ice-Man wasn’t average-sized and looked like he had a healthy appetite, despite his bout of nausea.
“Maybe I doona have a family then,” he mused from his perch at her island.
The way his eyebrows crinkled together and his lips pursed made him vulnerable and lost. The doctor in her wanted to fix the situation for him and find his family.
“You have a family, Ice-Man. And, I would bet a sister, or two, as well. No guy is as thoughtful as you without having a woman in his life. Men are mostly selfish creatures who rarely think of others. Not many would have gotten up off the couch to come out and help me,” she told him.
She chuckled at his raised eyebrow. “What? It’s true,” she huffed.
“Damn, Doc, you havena been around many good males then. I know how to treat a female. One must treasure and love females. And, I may no’ remember much, but I know they are the backbone of every family, which is why I question if I have one. If I did, they would be searching everywhere for me,” he replied and crossed tanned arms over his chest.
He was pale the night he arrived at the hospital, but as he healed, his coloring returned. His bronze skin didn’t fit with Seattle weather, and she wondered about his heritage.
“Is your kind a big part of society? I never knew vampires existed and I assume that’s because you’ve kept it a secret from humans.”
He sat up straighter at her comment and his amber eyes brightened. She hadn’t said that to give him hope but was glad she’d mentioned something.
“Shite, you’re right. Hearing you say it, I know we keep our existence secret. My family wouldna call and report me missing. I doona know what they would do. Those memories are beyond my reach, but I might have a family looking for me,” he said, excitement building in his voice.
Her chest clenched and she nodded at him with a smile before she turned to make lunch. He needed to be back with his family, and Alex hoped he reunited with them soon, but she enjoyed his company. Her house was going to seem empty again when he left, and her loneliness would return. The thought was depressing.
“Do you think I will ever regain my memory?” he wondered.
The bigger question was if he wanted those memories back. His time with Alex had been fantastic. She was intelligent, brave and had an inner core of steel.
Her compassion was overwhelming, and he could never repay her for the risks she took on his behalf. Hell, she didn’t even know him when she put her job on the line. Plus, she was easy to talk to, and sexy as hell.
He’d been unable to stop thinking of her throughout the night. It was difficult to sit around and do nothing, so he roamed around, searching for anything to spark a memory. He could’ve left, but he didn’t. He didn’t fully understand why he stayed, other than the thought of leaving Alex twisted his gut.
There was so much he wanted to explore with her. The mutual desire threatened to kill him, and he refused to miss out on that experience. She was a rare treasure.
Did he want to return home if he managed to get his memories back? He wasn’t sure, but, memories, or not, he wanted to be by Alex’s side.
His memories were closer, but still out of reach. He’d had several more flashes throughout the night. One of a bald male turning into a wolf and another was a big grey demon with black horns and bright red hair. They were only snippets and made no sense. Part of him wanted to share it with Alex but feared he’d lose the easy banter between them.
“The brain is a tricky thing,” Alex said as she pulled a pan out of a drawer. “We have a finite number of cells in our brain, which aren’t replaced, so injuries can be devastating. That being said, you aren’t a human, either. I don’t know the first thing about vampires and I have no idea what you heal from, or not. Given how fast you recuperated from a stab wound, I’d say the chances of a full recovery are good. Oh, that reminds me. I have some cream for that brand, if you still need it.”
“Thank the Goddess,” he exclaimed. The mark had been killing him, and unlike his head, seemed to be getting worse by the minute, especially when he was close to Alex. “The stitches healed completely and I took them oot, but this mark seems to be getting worse and hurts like a bitch.”
“First, don’t ever remove stitches on your own. You could’ve reopened the wound. Second, let me have a look at it because that doesn’t seem right. You had a blade shoved at least six inches into your brain and healed from that, but one small brand is giving you fits? Doesn’t make sense,” Alex murmured, shaking her head.
He stood up and crossed to her while she pulled a tube from her purse. Uncapping it, she squeezed some gel onto her fingers. He lifted his shirt, anxious for her fingers to rove over the area.
An electric shock traveled through him the second their skin met. Alex’s touch soothed and incited him, while the gel took away the worst of his pain. She was the one to suck in a breath as she went stiff, and closed her eyes.
Her floral scent intensified and tortured his hard shaft. He wrapped his arms around Alex’s shoulders and held her while they both tried to cool down. As his heart pounded against his chest, he gave in to his need, lifting her chin with his thumb.
The moment their eyes locked he saw the battle she waged. He was going to remove her concerns from the equation. He gently cupped her cheeks in his palms and slowly lowered his head, allowing her plenty of time to turn away if she wanted.
Her tongue slipped out and ran across her lower lip, cementing his decision. He wanted to taste her. He tugged the elastic of her ponytail, an
Sweet vanilla exploded in his mouth, feeding his hunger. Her posture relaxed and Alex moaned, parting her lips. He was going to settle for a quick kiss, but not after sampling her soft lips. His tongue licked the same path across her lower lip before dipping inside.
Alex was his first kiss.
He knew he had tasted another female’s lips, but he couldn’t recall it, and there was nothing that could compare to this first kiss. In their urgency, teeth and tongues clashed. His soul reached out, and hers responded.
He could give this female a part of him and trust she would keep it safe. She’d proven that ten times over.
Her pert breasts pressed against his chest as he pulled her into a deeper kiss, exploring her mouth with his tongue. With one hand, he captured her wrists and held them behind her back, pushing the globes further into his chest.
He nearly ripped her clothes off when her hand ran up his stomach to his chest. The pleasure of her touch was electric. He wanted to lose himself in this female and never come out. He’d found his home, regardless of his memory.
He broke the kiss, not wanting to push for too much. Panting, Alex met his gaze.
“Wow,” they both murmured at the same time. He released her wrists and wrapped his arms around her small waist.
“Best first kiss ever,” she continued and smiled as her arms went around his neck.
“I hope it’s my last first kiss,” he whispered and tugged her closer. He couldn’t get enough of Alex, even when she was right next to him.
“You are a Romeo. Your eyes are glowing. Can you feel it?”
“Aye, now that you mention it, I can. It doesna hurt, but is more a sensation. It’s because I ache to have you,” he admitted and put some space between them.
Pink stained her cheeks, and his resolve wavered, but then she turned to the stove, and he went to sit at the island. His nausea disappeared while he kissed her, but was back full force with the distance between them. The pain from the brand had transformed into arousal but was now on fire again.
“I hope you like quesadillas,” she told him as she took a tortilla and layered it with cheese, chicken, onions and refried beans.
He watched her movements, training his eyes on her hands and not her ass or breasts. It was nearly impossible. She was the sexiest female alive. The feel of her firm breasts against his chest was interrupted when she lit the gas stove, and he caught sight of the flame.
An image of a female popped into his mind. It was the same female he’d seen before. Her long auburn hair framed her face, and familiar amber eyes resonated in his soul. Again, he questioned if this female belonged to him. How could he desire Alex if he had a mate?
It didn’t sit right. When he thought about this other female, there was no guilt plaguing him, only sadness and longing. She meant something to him, but it wasn’t passion-filled. Something tugged, telling him he needed to find her.
He closed his eyes and tried to grab hold of the memories that were out of reach. It was highly frustrating, and he wanted to punch the wall when he couldn’t get anything more.
He’d rather his mind be a complete blank than the jumbled images. There was nothing useful that provided him information to who he was or where he belonged.
Shaking off his turmoil, he opened his eyes and looked around. His lunch was sitting in front of him and Alex was watching him closely.
“Are you okay?” she asked as she took a seat beside him.
“Aye,” he replied as he stood up and looked in her wine fridge. He didn’t know why he was looking for alcohol, but his world had been nothing but stress and confusion from the second he opened his eyes, and he was certain it would relax him. Grabbing a bottle of white, he held it out to her. “I know ‘tis early, but would you like a glass?”
She hesitated for several second before she finally nodded. “Sure, why not. This is dinner for me anyway. Working nights completely screws up my internal clock.”
He grabbed a nearby opener, uncorked the bottle, and poured them each a glass. He lifted his crystal goblet and muttered, “To Fate for bringing us together.”
“To Fate,” she repeated and clinked his glass with hers.
He took a hefty gulp then coughed. “Ugh,” he exclaimed. “Apparently, I doona like wine.”
Her head cocked as she took a bite of her lunch. She seemed to contemplate something.
“That’s interesting. Mind if I make you a mixed drink? I want to try something,” Alex offered.
He shrugged his shoulders. “Sure,” he replied and watched Alex as she got up and grabbed a bottle of rum and some soda.
She went to the icemaker, and he stopped her. “No ice, remember?”
“Oh, yeah, right. Instant freeze,” she added with a laugh.
She poured a cocktail and handed it to him. He took a swig, and the bitterness exploded across his tongue. Shaking his head, he placed the glass on the counter.
“Nay, canna drink that, either,” he quipped.
Alex poured it down the sink then joined him at the island. He took a bite and was pleased when the taste of food didn’t sour like the alcohol.
“Mmmm. This is verra good. I was worried I wouldna be able to eat with my upset stomach.”
She reached over and felt his forehead. The simple act had lust rushing to the fore and he fought the urge to throw her on top of the counter and have his way with her.
“You mentioned not feeling well earlier. You’re still warm, but not as hot as before…” her voice trailed away, and Alex cleared her throat as the pink returned to her cheeks.
“’Tis your fault for being such a great kisser,” he said with a wink and popped the rest of the tortilla in his mouth.
“So, it seems you don’t care for the taste of alcohol. You drank juice this morning and didn’t complain, so it’s not liquid in general,” Alex quickly countered, and he knew she wanted to change the subject.
“I guess so, but…och, nevermind,” he murmured.
There was a part of him that balked at her suggestion. Why was it that when he felt frustrated, his first instinct was to search for liquor?
“What? You can tell me anything. You should know that by now. Besides, I have my theories on your illness,” she shared.
He reached over and tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear. The blonde lock was silk between his fingertips.
“Tell me your theory,” he husked.
The last thing on his mind was theories. He wanted to taste her lips again. He was starving for more of Alex.
“Well, no offense, but when you came into the ER, you smelled like a tavern. Now, a few days without any alcohol, you are running a fever, vomiting, and restless. Those are all signs of withdrawal,” she informed him and another image of the same female flashed through his mind.
She was furious and screaming about him drinking too much. The memory was painful and brought a plethora of self-hate.
“Regardless if you had a problem, or not, it’s entirely possible that after your brain injury, you no longer enjoy the taste of alcohol. The area of your brain that was damaged controls taste and speech.” Alex finished.
“I doona like to think I was an alcoholic but just now when you said that, I remembered being yelled at for drinking too much. I wonder what my family must think of me. They’re probably glad I’m gone.”
“Don’t ever say that. Alcoholism is a disease and requires support, and sometimes treatment to kick the habit. Hey, look on the bright side. You remember more, and that’s a good sign,” Alex observed with a slight smile, but it didn’t match the sadness he saw in her beautiful blue eyes.
“Honestly, I’m nervous aboot getting them back,” he said with a heavy sigh. “I want to know my name, where I live, and who my family is, but mostly I want to know more aboot you. It seems unfair I canna return the favor,” he admitted and met her gaze. He
“Oh…I see. Well, what do you want to know?” she asked as she took another bite of lunch.
“I know you’re a doctor. A verra good one, I might add,” he commented with a grin. “You mentioned an ex-husband. What happened between the two of you?”
“Oh, wow, you go right to the nitty-gritty, don’t you?” she replied and sank into her seat.
“You doona have to tell me.”
“No, it’s fine. It’s an ugly story, though. We were only married a few years before he left,” Alex offered and began wringing her hands in her lap.
“Why did he leave?” he asked and placed a hand on top of hers in comfort.
He wanted to punch the unknown male for hurting this incredible female. Alex carried significant pain from the breakup, and it pissed him off.
“Long story short. I was diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago. When they removed my breasts, Vincent no longer found me desirable. I wasn’t woman enough for him, so he left,” she stated and looked away, her eyes filled with tears.
He grabbed her hands in his and squeezed. She looked his way, and he saw hurt and embarrassment.
“Now, you listen to me, Alex Layne. You are an inspiration. It takes courage and strength to battle cancer, and survive. The male is a fucking galoot if he couldna see it,” he admitted.
A nervous chuckle escaped her and one corner of her mouth lifted in a grin. “My scars,” she muttered as she absently lifted her hand above her left breast, “are badges of honor. I’m not ashamed of them. I just couldn’t believe he saw me as less of a person. He was supposed to love me despite them, right?”
He grabbed her around the waist and pulled her tight. “Aye, he was. And, I wish I was there for you,” he declared and leaned back to search her eyes.
“You are the most amazing female I’ve ever met. And, so fucking sexy,” he murmured and claimed her lips.
BRENDA TRIM SERIES:
Other author's books:
- RamielGuild MasterShattered Warrior: (Dark Warrior Alliance Book 8)Rowan Sisters' TrilogyRavinMaven Warrior: Dark Warrior Alliance Book 20Rivaled WarriorCaptivity
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