Home > Don't Rush Me (Nora Jacobs #1)(3)

Don't Rush Me (Nora Jacobs #1)(3)
Author: Jackie May

I try to break free again, and this time, thankfully, he lets me go with a sigh. “All right, all right, relax.” He rolls his eyes at Parker in the rearview mirror. “Apparently we need to get the virgin a little looser before she’s ready for me. What do you think, should we hit up Club Noir?”

Parker frowns. “That’s a bit rough for her. Let’s go someplace better. Perhaps Vortex?”

“Too many rich white people,” Xavier says. He smirks at Parker. “No offense.”

Parker ignores the jab. Apparently he’s a rich white guy, not that I couldn’t have guessed by the car and the clothes. “What about Motown?” he asks.

Xavier thinks about it and nods. “Yeah, that could work.”

My head starts spinning with ideas. If he plans to take me to a club before dragging me back to his dorm room or some cheap motel, I might have a chance to escape. Especially if I can get him drunk. But I have to get him to let his guard down first, which means playing along a little. Hopefully I can do that without getting sick. “Are we really going dancing?” I ask. “I’ve never been to a club before.”

Xavier grins at me. “It’s your night, birthday girl. You like dancing?”

“I love dancing.”

Batting my eyelashes at him might be a bit much, but he falls for it enough that he slides a possessive arm around me again. He looks down at me through hooded eyes and speaks in a low, husky voice. “You never told me you like to dance.”

The lustful thoughts I’m picking up from him are enough to drown me. Swallowing back my revulsion, I force another smile and shrug. “You’ve never asked. I’m not very good at it, though.”

“I doubt that.” Xavier shivers and graces me with a vision of the two of us grinding on a crowded dance floor. His hands are holding me in places that shouldn’t be touched in public. “Motown, it is,” he rasps, “and step on it.”

“Actually…” An idea pops into my head that I can’t ignore. I wait until I have his full attention before finishing my sentence. “If you’re going to take me to my first club, I want to go to Underworld.”

Xavier’s jaw falls slack, and Parker glances sharply at me in the rearview mirror.

“Underworld?” Xavier hoots in amusement. “Girl, you’ve got a lot more spunk than I gave you credit for.” He smiles at me again, but this time it’s patronizing. “Baby, you are way too sweet for a place like Underworld. Hell, I’m way too sweet for that club.”

“It’s not so bad,” I insist. “A guy who comes into the garage I work at goes there all the time. He says it’s intense.”

“Nora, Underworld is dangerous. Crazy shit happens there. Unexplainable shit. They say it’s cursed.”

“Rumors.” I roll my eyes, faking a confidence I don’t feel. I don’t doubt the place is cursed, considering the creatures that run it and have their fun within its walls. Neither of the guys in this car knows what kind of true monsters frequent that nightmarish place. They believe humans are the only intelligent beings in this world. They believe we’re the most dangerous things out there. They’re wrong. I learned that for myself when I was only six. Since then, my awareness had grown thanks to the message boards and people like SorcererX.

X told me that Underworld is the central hub for the supernatural community in Detroit. Humans stupid enough to go there usually end up being some monster’s prey. With my gift, I’ll have a chance at getting out unscathed, but Xavier won’t. At least, that’s what I’m hoping for. Maybe it’s a cruel fate, but it’s no worse than the plans he has for me. “Are you scared, Xavier?” I taunt, hoping he won’t be able to refuse.

Parker finally speaks up. “Aren’t you?”

He pins me with an intense look that I can’t decipher. I don’t like the way he’s staring. I’ve made him suspicious, and it’s never good to have someone curious about me. There’s too much I can’t explain. Too much I can’t hide. I try to look impassive as I lift a shoulder and let it drop. “Not really.” Glancing at Xavier, I mutter under my breath, “Underworld is no more dangerous than my present company.”

In the rearview mirror, Parker’s eyes narrow and slide from me to Xavier for a brief moment, as if he heard exactly what I said and understands my meaning. He eventually returns his focus back to the road.

Xavier shakes his head. “All right, fine, but I’ll have to call a friend to help us get in.”

I frown at the thought that Xavier knows someone who could get us into Underworld. He even sounds like he’s been there before. Humans can’t get into Underworld on their own very easily—I was banking on my gifts to help us get in. I don’t like that Xavier hangs out with monsters who could grant him access to Underworld, whether he knows what they are or not.

Xavier misinterprets my frown to be confusion. “They’re really selective about who can enter,” he explains. “Without a regular with us, we’re not nearly pierced, tatted, or scarred enough to get in. Not to mention, you aren’t dressed slutty enough.”

“I can get us in.” Parker’s low voice is confident.

“For real?” Xavier asks. “I knew I liked you. Are you a regular there? Or a VIP?”

Parker ignores Xavier and meets my gaze. “If you’re absolutely certain you want to go there. Xavier isn’t wrong about Underworld’s reputation. It is dangerous.”

I’m curious how Parker knows this. He seems to have firsthand experience with the place—which in itself is frightening—but since it’s what I want, I don’t press the matter. The thought of going there scares the hell out of me; no one knows exactly how dangerous that place is better than I do. I don’t want to have anything to do with underworlders, but the enemy of my enemy is my ally, so I steel my resolve and meet Parker’s solemn eyes with determination. “Yes. I’m sure I want to go there.”

He holds his stare a moment longer and then nods. “You’re the birthday girl.”

Underworld is exactly the type of club you’d expect it to be, judging by its name. Deep in the bowels of Detroit, it feels like a gateway from one world to another. It’s dark, dangerous, and magical. Though most humans can’t recognize it for what it is, they feel its power and instinctively shy away. The lucky ones, anyway. The outside of the club matches the abandoned warehouses that surround it. You’d never know it was here if not for the pounding bass and crowd of punk and goth partiers standing alongside of the building, waiting to get in.

Once we arrive, Xavier and I head for the back of the line, but Parker shakes his head and walks straight toward the bouncer. The way the people in line watch us as we bypass them makes me shiver. I can’t tell what they are without touching them, but I can guess at a few. Some are curious, others are annoyed, and some smile pleasantly at us. Those are the ones who frighten me the most. It’s the friendly ones that you really need to watch out for.

Guarding the front door is a man nearly seven and a half feet tall and at least half as wide. If I had to guess, I’d say he’s a troll, but I don’t care to get close enough to find out. His head is so bald the moonlight shines off of it. He has piercings in his ears, nose, and eyebrows, and he’s playing with a stud in his tongue as we walk up. “Parker,” he greets in a low, rumbling voice as he extends an arm the size of a tree trunk. “Back so soon? I thought you’d be busy with—”

“Oh, I am,” Parker says, cutting the man off as he shakes his hand. His eyes flick briefly to Xavier and me before he smiles at the bouncer again. “You know me. Always busy with something.”

The bouncer’s gaze roams over Xavier and me, and he nods slowly. “I gotcha.” He looks back at Parker. “Well, don’t work all night. Make sure you blow off a little steam while you’re here.”

“I will.”

I don’t like this. Something’s going on. Parker’s obviously a regular here, and he’s too interested in Xavier and me. That can only mean one thing. Parker isn’t human, and whatever he is, it’s something powerful enough to be a VIP at Underworld. Maybe I’ve been wrong all along. Maybe my premonition isn’t a warning against Xavier. Maybe my real problem is Parker.

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