Hunger Awakened(7)

By: Dee Carney


She sighed.

Yeah. Like this would be a tough decision to make.

* * *

Bast couldn’t remember the last time he’d felt like this. Correction. He’d never felt like this. Like something the dog threw up.

His stomach ached. A gnawing, crawling pang that started at the center and then radiated outward. From there it traveled at a snail’s pace, covering his torso, then limbs. Like a creeper vine, except on the inside.

And the hunger?

Christ, every time he came to his senses, all he could focus on was that thick, sweet scent of human. His ears tuned in to the slow knocks of her heart. Each time it sped up, he had to chew on the inside of his cheek to keep from lunging after her.

He’d never been this out of control in his life. Not once in almost four hundred years.

Bringing her here was such a bad idea. The thought of letting her go, even worse. He needed sex and to be fed but was getting neither, and planned on acting like it didn’t matter.

Bast snorted. Who the fuck did he think he was kidding?

The sound of footsteps on the kitchen tile pulled him out of his thoughts. He glanced back to find the human shifting from side to side. She looked ready to bolt, and that seductive heartbeat began to flutter against her ribs. Something to be said that she held her ground when he turned to face her.

“Haven’t left?” He was both pleased and intrigued that she’d stayed.

“Well, yeah, um...you’re still sick.”

His stomach began chewing on itself again. A not-so-gentle reminder. “S’all good, but thank you. For all of it.” Why had she decided to stay? Then he remembered. Something about watching her pennies. “Should I call you a cab? My treat, of course.”

Dark blue eyes refused to look at him, instead moving in the direction of the appliances that never saw use. To bare yellow walls in the hallway. To sandstone tile. “You’re still sick,” she repeated.

“And?” Bast folded his arms over his chest.

“You shouldn’t be left alone. Not until you see a doctor.”

“Because...”

She looked directly at him this time. “What if you passed out again? What happens if you fall—”

“And can’t get up?” he added dryly, channeling the old television commercial.

“Well, yeah.” She suddenly seemed to realize he’d been teasing her with that last line. Her face went a delightful shade of pink, enough to make his teeth pulse.

“I have a feeling there’s more to this.”

“Okay then, what if we made a deal?” Her gaze almost made it to the height of his chin this time.

“A deal.”

“I could make sure you didn’t die or something in the night.”

He almost grinned. If anything, the dark rejuvenated him. “That would be very kind of you.”

“And in return,” she continued as if she hadn’t heard him, “you could let me sleep on the couch tonight.”

Bad idea. Very bad idea. There was no way in heaven or hell he would ever let a human in his life. Not now. Especially not now with the unspoken rivalry between vampires and lycans threatening to erupt into violence. He had a duty to his nation and to the members he’d been sworn to protect. Letting her inside the house was damned near bad enough.

He opened his mouth, poised to tell her absolutely not. What came out instead was, “Fine.”

Inwardly, Bast groaned.

“Only just for the night. I won’t be a problem. Just a couch and—wait. What?”

She’d fired off word after word, barely stopping to breathe. And the persistent thrum of blood lingering just this side of his hearing did wicked things to his thinking.

He studied her face—this woman whose name he didn’t even know—beneath the soft overhead light. Perhaps for the first time since they’d met.

Round blue eyes beckoned for his attention first, but then his gaze drifted to the small beauty mark just above the fleshy part of her cheek. Her small buttonlike nose and kewpie doll lips made her appear very young. Not much more than mid-twenties, he’d guess.

The faded gray shirt she wore made Bast frown as he took in the streaks of dark red staining it. His mind said blood while his memory reminded him it was his. Worn blue jeans hung loosely on her frame. A split-second’s pause made him venture into imagining what she might look like outside of them.

But that wasn’t right. She was a little skinny. Just shy of pretty. Too young. Definitely not his type. His type wore stilettos and designer clothes. Drove expensive cars and moved like silk, leaving behind fragrant trails of Guerlain or Shalimar in their wakes.

Still, he needed to feed. She stood right here in front of him. An untouched human. His for the taking.

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