Megan's Mark (Breeds #7)

Chapter 6

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"Don't bet on it." She narrowed her eyes, staring up at him furiously even as her body screamed with the pleasure of being so close to him. "I don't want or need you. And the next time you manhandle me, I'm going to shoot you."

His lips quirked in amusement.

"You try to shoot me, and I might have to bite you again." Her eyes widened in shock as his head lowered, his lips settling at her abused ear lobe to draw it into his mouth and lick it.

She jerked her head to the side, trying to slam it into his.

Moving back, he chuckled, the sound rough and heated as he stared down at her once again.

"Keep your damned vampire teeth to yourself," she snapped. "And let me go or I'm going to scream bloody murder on your ass. This is called harassment, you know. Sexual harassment."

"Hmm, that's not sexual harassment, baby. When I decide to get sexual, trust me, you'll know it." He did let her go though. Slowly. Too damned slowly. "Now sit down and we'll talk this out." The latent warning in his tone caused her to tense.

"You talk it out." She drew herself up stiffly, staring back at him indignantly as the urge to scream became almost overwhelming. He had to be the most infuriating, most stubborn man she had ever met in her life. "I am going to breakfast. A nice quiet breakfast. Without you. Then I am going on patrol. Without you. I do not need your help. I do not want it. Do you understand this?" Damned dimwitted male that he was, he probably hadn't even heard her.

"We'll see if we can reset your schedule while we're at it. For the moment, all patrols are out. Lance rescheduled you for today, but I thought you might like to have some input on the rest of the week."

Shock shuddered through her. He was ignoring her, but even worse, he had her schedule reset?

You reset whatever the hell you want to." She snarled, shaking, on the verge of a violence she had never imagined herself capable of. She couldn't believe he was running over her like this, or that Lance was allowing it. This was her life, damnit. She had enough problems dealing with the curse she fought daily. She did not need this. "I'm finished with you and my Benedict Arnold of a cousin. Go sleep in his bed, because none of mine are free."

Before he could stop her, she jerked the door open and stalked down the hall. Reset her schedule, did he? Canceled her patrol, had he? Screw him. There was always something to do, even if it meant going home. She would be damned if she would stand there and put up with his highhanded attitude. No matter what her body wanted to do.

Chapter Three

Megan knew she was in trouble. She wasn't stupid; she wasn't being stubborn just to be stubborn. She was terrified, and that fear wasn't directed where it should have been. It wasn't the Council or their beasts of war that terrified her. It was her response to one arrogant, too-sure of himself Breed.

She wanted him. And it didn't make sense. She had given up on physical pleasure years ago, preferring to do without rather than suffer the thoughts and emotions that poured from her partners during sex. The stress from that alone was enough to pull a woman back from any orgasm she may be nearing at the time.

Yet her heart was racing, her flesh heated, the soft folds between her thighs were tender, sensitive, swollen with need. And she was wet. And not just from the hot water that covered her as she stepped into the steaming water of her bathtub.

Her ear was tingling, burning. Megan pulled at the offended lobe as she relaxed in the huge claw-foot tub, fuming over Braden's complete arrogance.

She hated arrogant men. And she hated how easily her body betrayed her when Braden was anywhere near. One day. She had known the jerk one freakin' day, and her body was clamoring for his touch.

Let the bastard just try to move in with her. She would show him exactly how fast she could shoot. She would blow his balls to dust.

Steam enveloped her from the hot water, soaking into her flesh to ease the aches and pains of the numerous bruises that marred her upper body. Her ribs looked like Christmas decorations, abraded red, deep blue bruises and a multitude of scratches that burned like hell from yesterday's battle.

She was pissed off and worried. The worried part was going to keep her awake for a while, she knew.

"Woof." The soft snuffle of the shepherd/chow mix was a soothing comfort. It also helped to pull her thoughts away from a certain Lion Breed and back to the present.

Mo-Jo had refused to allow her to touch him when she first stepped up on the porch. Again. As though yesterday hadn't been enough. The smell of the Breed had been an affront to his canine pride. Or something.

He had taken one sniff and growled at her as though she was the enemy and it was his job to dispose of her. Baring the wicked, sharp, perfectly white teeth in his mouth, he had made her wonder why she even kept him around as she snarled back at him. She had earned herself a doggy sneer as she unlocked the door and he pushed past her. He plopped down on the air-conditioning vent as she fixed herself snack. Well, fixed him a snack that he allowed her to share.

Now he lay at the bathroom door, watching her with that confused doggy expression as she bitched and raged about Lion Breeds for the last thirty minutes. He was a good dog when he wanted to be.

"Mo-Jo, go get me a beer." She sighed whimsically as she glanced over at him, wishing he were a little less temperamental and stubborn. If he had been, then that school for stubborn pooches might have worked out for him. He would have known to go get her a cold one instantly.

Instead, he tilted his head and lifted his nose disdainfully, as though she had asked him to do something distasteful.

She reminded herself not to share the next beer with him.

"Must be an animal thing," she muttered, thinking of Braden's expression when she had sneeringly referred to him as Puss in Boots the day before. That brought a smile to her face. Pure male outrage had reflected in his expression.

Score one for the female deputy; she mentally marked the invisible scoreboard of life. She deserved that mark after the shock he had attempted to give her today.

Move in with her? She didn't think so.

Mo-Jo heaved a sigh when she glanced back at him, his big brown eyes drowsy as he enjoyed the climate-controlled coolness of the house. The temperature outside had reached a hundred, and though he survived just fine in the higher temperatures, he still preferred it inside.

"Are you lying on the vent again, Mo-Jo?" she asked, pretty damned drowsy herself now as she noticed the position of his body.

He gave her a disinterested growl.

"One of these days, I'm going to trade you in for a poodle." She yawned.

Or a lion. She grunted at the image that suddenly appeared before her mind's eye. Six-four. He had to be sixfour.

Height was her weakness in a man. Height and those wide, strong shoulders, and the thick, long goldenbrown hair. Broad hands. Boots. He had worn boots and jeans and a black T-shirt that stretched across that amazingly broad chest as the material strained around the bulging biceps of his arms.

Snug jeans had hugged those long powerful legs, cupping an impressive bulge she had made certain to check out when she aimed the barrel of her police-issue Wounder at him yesterday. It had been just as

impressive today.

Not that she would have shot. Not there, anyway. Some things were just a crime to destroy, and if that bulge was any indication, that was prime male flesh.

The thought of it made her mouth water and a moan tremble on her lips. How long had it been since she had actually had sex?

"He was fine, Mo-Jo." She sighed then. "Really fine, And he knew it. Damned Tomcat."

That one sucked.

Not that she had anything personal against the Breeds. Hell, she had even campaigned for the HumanBreed rights law when it had come up the year before. She wasn't prejudiced. Just cautious. That was all.

He was wild and untamed. She could see that in his devil-may-care smile and in the brilliance of his dark amber eyes. He was an adrenaline junkie, not the stay-at-home type, or the happily-ever-after kind. He could, and if she let him, he would break her heart.

But he had let her fight. For once in her life she had been able to join the action. She had personally battled the bad guys and won.

The rush of pleasure that suffused her at that thought was nearly sexual. She had trained for this job most of her life. She had fought for it only to have her curse rear its ugly head.

Her empathic abilities had shown themselves during her last year of high school, and had only grown steadily worse.

To the point that working in the field she had dreamed of was now denied her. she was a hazard to a team. and to herself. The stronger the emotions of the people around her, the worse they seemed to affect her.

"Maybe I should have gone into day care." She sighed with a grimace before groaning in resignation. Day care would not have done at all.

She shifted in the water, sighing as the heated liquid caressed her sensitive body.

"Woof." Her head jerked around as Mo-Jo came quickly to his feet, turning to the door as he watched it suspiciously.

He might have flunked Politeness at that expensive canine school, but he had excelled at defensive/protective training. And what he was displaying now was pure male aggression. His territory was being invaded.

The most terrifying part was, she couldn't sense it. As she tried to sense a presence, all she felt was cold, dead space.

Coyote Breeds. It had to be. She might not be able to sense Braden's emotions, but she would have recognized his warmth and comfort reaching out to her. The only time she had felt nothing, not even echoes of awareness, had been yesterday when she stared into that Coyote Breed's eyes. She had felt them just before they attacked. The evil and the malevolence.

Shit. Shit. She didn't need this. She couldn't afford for Braden to be right. Dammit.

Megan moved silently from the water, grabbing the long, thin silk robe that hung on the wall and pulling it on quickly. Next came the gun she had left lying on the back of the commode. The forty caliber Glock 22 handgun was a little heavy in her hand, but comfortable, secure. The Glock was a bit outdated, but reliable. She liked reliable.

And the clip was full and ready to fire.

Mo-Jo was in stalking position at the door, his body tense with the need to attack whoever or whatever was invading his self-proclaimed territory.

One thing the canine school had taught him was how to defend Megan and her home. One of the major reasons she kept the ill-tempered bag of fur. That, and the fact that she secretly loved the hell out of him. Especially now.

Following his body signals, she gripped the doorknob and opened the door slowly, allowing him to move through the entrance first as she followed silently. She kept the gun braced at her shoulder, her opposite hand gripping the wrist that held it as she moved into her bedroom.

Mo-Jo was at the door now, silent, nearly quivering.

She tumed the doorknob carefully, cracking it slowly as Mo-Jo began to force the opening wider to allow his broad body freedom.

Megan was more cautious. She peeked around the doorframe, lowering the gun and flipping off the safety as she surveyed the silent hallway. Mo Jo stood at the stairs, crouched and ready as he waited on her.

She was moving silently toward him when he suddenly tumed, a look of canine calculation on his face as he stared back at her. She couldn't hear anything, not the squeak of a floorboard or a whisper of sound. But she felt it.

Malice. Evil. Just as it had been at the gully. As though the destructive energy of the Coyotes drifted on the air itself.

It wasn't emotions. No fear, hopes or dreams. Just cold, deadly intent instead of dead space. It wrapped around her, tightening at her throat and her chest until she was forced to regulate her breathing and stamp back the fear. They were closer, in her home, moving in for the kill. She felt it, just as she had felt it in the gully.

She backed up, watching as the dog followed her. If Mo-Jo didn't want to tackle whatever was downstairs then she would be damned if she was going to.

She flicked her fingers to the bedroom door, commanding the animal to follow her. They moved quickly back to the room. Locking the door silently, she raced to the window, threw it wide and slipped over the windowsill to the porch roof.

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