Home > Don't Rush Me (Nora Jacobs #1)(5)

Don't Rush Me (Nora Jacobs #1)(5)
Author: Jackie May

The woman looks Xavier over, and a brief smile flicks across her face. “Is that so?” Her hand falls gently to Xavier’s forearm, and her voice becomes a purr. “I can get pretty wild myself.” Slipping her finger from Xavier’s arm over to his chest, she drags it up and down his abdomen. Xavier shivers beneath her touch. The woman’s pupils swell in response. “I have a private room here in the club. Would you like to join me there?”

“I…” Xavier blinks and shakes his head. He meets my eyes, frowning in confusion. “I came here for Nora. I…we…”

The woman pulls his gaze back with a finger under his chin. She leans in close to him and takes a deep breath. “Nora can come with us,” she purrs. “I don’t mind parties of three.”

Xavier is gone now, lost to her seductive allure. He nods his head, unable to take his eyes from her. She grins victoriously. As she stands up from her stool and takes Xavier’s hand, she smiles at me. “Shall we, lovely Nora?”

I flash her a big, fake smile and step back so that I’m out of her reach. “Oh, you guys go ahead. I’m more of a one-on-one kind of girl. I’d spoil your fun.”

The succubus cocks her head to the side. The way she’s watching me, I’m afraid she’s figured out what I’m doing. After a moment, she lets the suspicion pass. “Suit yourself.” Her eyes slide to Parker. “And you, Parker? Care to join us? You know you’re always welcome.”

I’m not surprised that the succubus knows Parker, and I don’t wait around to hear his answer. As soon as his attention turns from me to the woman, I slip away as quickly and quietly as I can. I hurry past the bar and out the club entrance. My new friend, the troll bouncer, sees me before I can completely escape. “Leaving so soon, Trouble?”

I smirk and lift a shoulder into a shrug. “No offense, but it’s a little too tame in there for me.”

He matches my grin, and my smile becomes sincere. If he weren’t an ancient magical creature that likes to eat the occasional human, I could almost like him.

“Aren’t you missing a few companions?” he asks.

I feign a look of surprise and glance to either side of me. “Well, I suppose I am. How ’bout that?” When he frowns, I wink at him. “It’s like I told you. I’m all about self-preservation.”

His confusion turns to comprehension, and a look of pride washes over his face. “You hurry yourself home, then, Trouble. And be careful. These streets get rough at night.”

I give him one last smile and a salute, then spin on my heel and hurry away from the club. My gift has settled, but I’m not out of the woods yet. I’m still a woman alone on the streets of Detroit after dark. If I can just get to the nearest bus stop without running into a gang or any stray underworlders, I should be okay.

A soft, low voice suddenly speaks from right behind me. “Going somewhere, Nora?”

I jump at the noise. My feet freeze, and I cringe. I knew Parker wouldn’t fall victim to the succubus, but I was hoping he wouldn’t find me before I disappeared. He’s on to me. He knows I did what I did intentionally. But exactly how much of the truth has he put together? What does he suspect about me?

Steeling my gaze, I glance over my shoulder. “I’m going home. The club scene isn’t really my thing.”

His eyes narrow. “You want to tell me what all that was about, then?”

“Not especially. Have a good night, Parker. It was nice meeting you, but you’d better get back in there before Xavier gets in trouble or something.”

I start walking again. Parker won’t let me go, but maybe he’ll let me get as far as the bus stop. If I can stall him until a bus comes, I’ll be safe. There’s not much he can do to me with an audience.

“Nora.” He grabs my hand, whirling me around to face him.

I could pull out of his grip—he’s not holding me tightly—but I stand still and let his thoughts and intentions hit me. I need to know what I’m up against.

He stares at me for a long time, unsure what to say. He’s confused. His thoughts are on a beautiful Middle-Eastern woman. She’s missing, and for some reason he’s wondering if I’m involved.

“Nora, what you did to your friend back there—”

“Xavier is not my friend,” I snap, anger and fatigue bubbling up inside me. My premonition has finally left me, and my system is crashing like I’m coming down from an adrenaline rush. “I don’t know if you noticed, but he basically abducted me back there. All I did was bring him to a place where I knew he’d find someone shinier and more in the mood to play his sick games. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve had a long day, and I just want to go home and crawl into bed. Alone.”

Parker’s still gripping my hand, not ready to let me leave. He’s frustrated. He doesn’t understand how I know about his world—if I even do. He thinks I do, but he’s not positive. He intends to get answers, but he’s not sure how to go about it.

It’s hard not to get lost in his eyes. They’re beautiful—piercingly blue and hooded by mile-long thick, dark lashes. The rest of him is just as gorgeous.

His pupils dilate, and his grip tightens the tiniest bit. He senses my attraction to him, and it’s driving him mad. Watching me stand up to Terrance—who I assume is the troll—and ditch my psycho neighbor is the most amazing thing he’s ever seen a human do. If I weren’t a suspect in his case, he would take me somewhere right now and have his way with me until the sun comes up.

But there’s another desire growing in him as well. Thirst. I smell mouthwatering. He’s trying to convince himself that I’m not involved with Nadine’s disappearance and to let me go. I’m too tempting. With his current state of excitement, he’s afraid he might lose control. He doesn’t want to hurt me.

When I realize what he is, I tear myself out of his grip, unable to stop the horrified gasp that escapes me. He’s the worst of all monsters. I loathe his kind above any other. They’re ruthless, bloodsucking, twisted killers. Parker is one of the same soulless abominations that killed my mother.

Vampires can smell fear—this I do know for a fact—but I can’t help the terror that surges through me. It’s suffocating. Paralyzing. My entire body trembles as I back away from him. I need more distance between us—not that it would matter, if he decides to attack. He can move inhumanly fast. I’ll never escape him.

A deep crease forms in Parker’s brow. “Nora? What’s wrong?”

I’m unable to make more than a whisper of a sound. “Stay away from me.”

He jerks with a start as realization sweeps over him. My heart skips a beat or two. He knows I know. I’m so dead. “You know what I am,” he says.

I shake my head frantically. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

I take another step back, and he grabs me again, gracing me with his thoughts once more. He’s beyond frustrated now. He knows he should hand me over to Henry, but he wants me for himself, and he’s afraid Henry would claim me. Or destroy me.

That’s enough of that. I yank myself out of his grip.

Parker’s eyes flash red, and in a blink he’s holding me painfully tight against his chest. “Don’t lie to me. You know the secrets of the underworld, don’t you? How?”

I keep up with my lie. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

His fangs haven’t descended, but I know they’re there. The hideous creature makes my skin crawl. I don’t want him touching me. I don’t want to be inside his head. I’m so afraid I can’t breathe, and my eyes prick with unwelcome tears.

Parker sees the revulsion in my eyes, hears my unsteady heart, smells my fear. He’s confused by it, and angry, but he’s also hurt. He doesn’t like my instant rejection of him or his kind. “I’m not going to hurt you.”

I don’t believe him. He’s going to kill me.

He keeps me pinned to him. I try to fight him off, even though it’s futile. He’s too strong. I can’t escape. “Let go of me!”

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