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"Nice ring," I murmured after a momentary pause, then casually picked up the pen and wrote down my cell phone number.
"This old thing?" He wriggled his fingers under the lights, so that the fiery eyes of the dragon heads glittered and burned. "It's just a club ring. Not worth much, but it catches the attention of pretty girls."
If he was lying, I couldn't sense it. Not that that meant anything. He was human, after all. "So it's a conversation opener?"
"It always helps to have one." He picked up the paper and tucked it neatly into his shirt pocket. "What time would you like to meet?"
I picked up my coffee and sipped it again. "What time do you finish here?"
"Then would nine suit?"
"Perfectly. Shall we meet somewhere for coffee or just go out tor dinner?"
"Dinner." I paused. "There's an Italian place over on Rathdown Street. Small and intimate. Goes by the name of Riceni's."
He nodded. "Good choice."
"I always make good choices." My voice was a low purr, and heat rose in his eyes. I gave him a slow smile. "In the meantime, would you know if the restaurant upstairs is still open?"
"It never closes. If you head up the stairs now, I'll ring the chef and tell him to 'look after you."
"Thanks." I slid off the stool, picked up my coffee, and headed up the stairs - fully aware of Jin's hungry gaze following me and enjoying every minute of it.
The chef did indeed look after me, giving me a steak that sliced like butter and lashings of chips and vegetables. It was one full but happy wolf who headed out onto the street an hour later.
Once in the car, I retrieved my phone, pressed the vid-enable button, then dialed the Directorate. Jack, not the caramel cow.
"Hey, boss man, it's Riley."
"Good grief, she's reporting in. Miracles do happen."
I grinned. "I can be a good little wolf when I want to be."
"Which isn't often. What happened at Dunleavy's?"
I gave him a quick roundup of events, including my thoughts on Gautier, the details about the ring, and who the little girl's mom was.
"The thing I don't get is how Gautier is getting around after sunrise."
"I don't know. He shouldn't be able to."
"Well, he is, so we'd better find out real quick just how."
He grunted. "It's a shame both victims were dead when you got there. You could have read their minds to see what information they had to pass on."
Which was my cue to tell him about what I'd seen - and heard - in the bedroom. "Well, Dunleavy was sort of alive when I got there."
"Define 'sort of.'"
"He was groaning when I walked in. As I got to his side, his body sort of collapsed, and I saw his soul rise." I hesitated again. "I swear it said Dahaki."
"Yeah. And I'm not sure whether it was simply air rushing out of a dying body or whether his spirit was actually trying to communicate." Or whether I was as crazy as I sounded.
"Given the reports that suggest your clairvoyance is developing strongly in areas that are not the norm, I'd say there's a fair chance you did hear his spirit speak. Which is interesting, to say the least."
"It's creepy, that's what it is."
"Maybe. But the ability to question the truly dead sure as hell would give us an advantage against the freaks we hunt."
"Only if I'm there when they die, Jack."
"Or if their spirits hang around."
A chill ran across my skin. I did not want to think about spirits hanging around waiting for a chat.
"I've asked Cole to send me a transcription of the writing on the inside of the ring as soon as he can, but if you want to have a look at it, it'll be on the recordings I sent via my phone."
"I'll get Salliane to dig them up. I'll also order a check on the design and see what we come up with. What about Trudi Stone - any luck on your follow-up?"
So the caramel cow had gone tattle-telling. Again. "I went to the club where she worked and talked to an Asian fellow. He was wearing a ring with the same design as the ring I found at Dunleavy's."
"Could be a coincidence."
"Could be. I'm doubting it, though. I have a date with him tonight, and I'll do a little mind-probing then, but I was wondering if you could break into the Cattle Club's records and look at his file."
"What's his name?"
"First name is Jin. He was born here, because there's no trace of an accent."
"Human or non?"
"Tread warily, then. Don't let him suspect you're something more than human."
"Boss, I think the only thing he cared about was me being a hot-to-trot female."
"Then keep it that way."
"I will." I paused and started the engine so I could turn up the heater. It was beginning to feel like a tomb in the car, and I wasn't sure whether it was the cold weather or trepidation. "How'd Rhoan's investigation go?"
"It's apparently a regular feeding kill. One of the night boys can follow it up."
I'm sure the night boys - many of whom were hundreds of years old - would be thrilled with that. "I'm heading home to grab a break before tonight. I'll e-mail my report from there."
"Make sure you do. And please, stop harassing my PA."
I grinned. "I needed information fast."
"I'm not saying don't ring for information. Just asking if you'd be less of a bitch when you do so."
"In case it's escaped your notice, I am a bitch. Born and bred. Just shag her, Jack, and get it over with."
"I don't suppose telling you to mind your own business will do any good?"
I chuckled. "Not in the least."
"Wolves," he muttered. "Make sure you report in after the date tonight."
"Will do, boss."
I hung up and headed home.
I had a towel wrapped around my body and was standing in front of the wardrobe, trying to decide what to wear, when Rhoan finally came home.
"Hey, sis," he said, plopping inelegantly down on my big old bed. "Hot date?"
"A hot date that's a possible lead." I pulled out a black dress and showed it to him. "Jack told me earlier that your investigation turned out to be a regular kill. You sure?"
"That dress is too formal. You want something that has him thinking about your bod and what he'd like to do with it rather than the questions you're asking." He pushed up from the bed and walked over to stand beside me. "And yeah, the case isn't connected to our Cleaver case. Peri actually thinks we've got a couple of baby vamps working as a team to feed."
"Like we need that right now," I muttered. "Why can't bloodsuckers keep their kids under control?"
"Most do. It's really only a few who run free of the leash."
"That's a few too many if you're one of the victims."
He shrugged and reached into the wardrobe, pulling out a lime-green ruched dress that had leg slits, a super low-cut front, and open back. "Where are you going?"
"Riceni's. And I'll freeze my tits off in that." Not to mention glow neon bright under the subdued lighting.
"Not if you work this right, babe. He'll be throwing off so much heat and desire, you'll burn."
"That doesn't negate the glow factor of the dress."
"God, the older you get, the less adventurous you get."
"That is a good club dress, not a reserved Italian restaurant dress."
He put the outfit back. I crossed my arms, watching him flick through more dresses. It was annoying to note that most of the ones I'd bought were quickly glossed over. But then, my tastes did tend to be a little more conservative than my brother's.
"So, what did Jack have you doing today?" He pulled out a dark green, stretch-satin dress with long sleeves and cutouts on the shoulders and sides, and held it against me. "Perfect. Sexy without being too revealing."
"Checking out a source, which turned out to be a crime scene." I took the hanger from him and walked over to the bed. "The little girl we found turned out to be the daughter of the source's girlfriend."
"Yep. And Gautier was the cause."
His gaze met mine, cold and angry. "We will get that bastard, you know."
"I know." I wriggled the bottom of the dress over my hips and smoothed down the material. Stretch satin wasn't something I would have picked myself, but I had to admit, it felt smashing against my skin.
"Very nice rear view," Rhoan commented. "I'd skip the undies and the stockings if you can stand the draft. As Liander would say, we don't want ugly parity lines marring the outfit."
I snorted softly. "Liander's not the one who has to put up with the aforementioned drafts." I slipped my heels on. "And speaking of Liander, have you seen him lately?"
"Had dinner with him." He raised an eyebrow. "And if we're going to get all nosy, how about Quinn and Kellen?"
"Quinn's still off hunting demons, and you know Kellen's the reason I was late this morning." I smiled, remembering our early morning chat over my quick breakfast. "He wants to whisk me away somewhere secluded next weekend."
Rhoan grinned. "That man is determined to pry you away from your vampire, isn't he?"
Most definitely. And when the result of his determination was a really good time for me, who could actually complain? "I said no to the weekend because of the case, but I said yes to a three-week holiday somewhere exotic afterward. Jack owes me time off."
"Man, that'll piss Quinn off no end." And Rhoan's grin suggested this was no bad thing. He and Quinn might be friends, but my brother was more than a little annoyed with Quinn's behavior over recent months.
Not that he particularly wanted me to be dating him in the first place.
"Quinn left me stranded in the middle of Airport West and hasn't said boo since. He can go take a long jump off a short pier, for all I care right now."
Rhoan chuckled. "I love it when you two argue. It's always such fun watching the shit fly."
"Glad we're amusing you." I grabbed a dark green handbag then walked over and kissed him on the cheek. "You take care, big brother."
"You too. And don't forget the condoms if you're pretending to be human. Wolves may be resistant to sexually transmitted diseases but humans aren't, and he may think it strange if you allow sex without raincoats."
I grinned and patted the side of my handbag. "Bought them before. Ribbed, studded, and ice."
He raised his eyebrows. "Ice?"
"Blurb says they give a sensation that increases body heat and feels like ice at the same time. I'll let you know if they're worth the effort."
"Please do. I'm always looking for a new experience."
"Heard that about you."
He swatted my rear. "Be polite to your elders. And get going, before you're unfashionably late."
The rain was still pelting down and the roads were slick Of course, that didn't stop idiots tearing past at a hundred miles an hour I found myself wishing time and again I had a cop light to stick on the roof, just to scare the bastards.
By the time I'd found parking and splashed my way to the restaurant, I was about fifteen minutes late The ma?tre d' met me at the door, helped me out of the soggy coat, then led me to a rear table where Jin waited. He stood up as I approached, revealing a dark blue suit and a pale gray shirt that looked absolutely smashing against his complexion. His gaze swept my length and came back full of heated approval.
I grinned and leaned forward to kiss his cheek. His skin was satiny smooth against my lips, his aftershave a delicious mix of exotic woods, lime, and tangerine. "Lovely to see you again."
He smiled, waiting until the ma?tre d' had settled me before sitting down himself "They actually asked me to work a second shift tonight I said no way."
"So am I." He looked up as the table waiter approached "Would you like a drink? A white wine, perhaps?"
And really, the wine, the food, and the company were all that and more We chatted about everything and anything, teasing and flirting and generally having a good time. I liked him - liked his sense of humor, the way he effortlessly moved the conversation from one topic to another. Even the brief silences were comfortable. I kept putting off questioning him until the desserts were cleared and I could delay no longer.
"So," I said, swirling the wine around gently in my glass. I'd probably had a little more than I should have - I could feel the warm buzz running through my veins. Or maybe that was just the excited hum of my hormones. "Tell me, what do you actually do for a living?"
As I asked the question, I lowered my shields and reached out with my mind, carefully feeling for his thoughts. But I hit a protective wall as strong as anything I'd come across in the past - only it didn't feel like the natural shields of a psychic.
Oddly enough, it didn't feel like a nanowire, either. The nanowires were the latest development in nanotechnology and protected the wearer against psychic intrusion. I didn't know how they actually worked, but I did know that they were somehow powered by the heat of the body and offered up an extremely faint electronic tingle when in use.
So if his shields weren't natural and weren't technological, what were they? What else was there?
I didn't know, but I sure as hell intended to find out.
In the meantime, I'd have to uncover my information the old-fashioned way - through sex and snooping - because there hadn't been anything more useful than a home address listed on his Cattle Club personnel file. Even a full search had revealed little more than the fact he had no criminal record, and had studied psychology at a local university.
Of course, it was only five months ago that I'd been so determined not to fuck the enemy for the Directorate. And yet here I was, ready and willing to do that very thing. Though it did help that he was cute. And that I was getting no reading on him along the psychic lines. If he'd looked good but felt bad, it would have been a different story.
He raised his eyebrows. "Is there something wrong with bartending for a living?"
I smiled. "No. But you just don't look like a man who'd be satisfied with a lifetime of bartending."
"Ah." He hesitated a moment, then shrugged. "I'm floating at the moment, doing a bit of this and that. I did the whole college thing, then couldn't be bothered going into the field I trained for."
"So you have other part-time jobs as well?"
"I work at the Hunter's Club." He looked at me like I was supposed to know it. "It's a health club in the city. Runs yoga, pilates, massage, spa therapies, gym. Stuff like that."
A smile teased my lips. "Don't tell me - you double as a masseuse, just to feel up all the pretty girls?"
He reached across the table, picking up my hand and turning it over. He ran a gentle finger from my palm to my wrist and back again, sending little shivers of delight scampering up my arm. "Only the very special ladies get my attention. I normally work in the gym area, as one of the fitness trainers. Did a course in one of my floating years."
"So the ring is a Hunter Club ring?"
"Not really." His grip tightened on my hand, crushing my fingers a little. It was an odd combination - the heated caress of his finger and the wispy ache of pain - and it had a slight tremble running through my limbs. As if I was on the verge of discovering something new. Which was weird, because there wasn't much that was new to me when it came to the realms of basic sex. "Would you like to order coffee here, or would you prefer somewhere more intimate?"
He met my eyes as he said it, and in those warm brown depths I saw desire, barely controlled. And yet I couldn't help noticing the change of subject. He didn't want to talk about the ring - not in detail, anyway. Which was interesting considering he used it as an icebreaker. I raised a teasing eyebrow. "And just where is this 'somewhere more intimate'?"
His smile was slow and sexy, and my ever-ready hormones did their usual little shuffle. "My place. It's actually only a block away."
"Ah, well." I paused, pretending to consider it. "I have no idea whether this 'coffee' will be worth the race through the rain."
"Then perhaps you would like a teaser taste?" He pulled back on my hand as he said it, gently forcing me to lean across the table.
"Love to," I murmured, a heartbeat before his lips met mine. Our kiss was slow and tender, an explorative type of kiss shared by strangers who intended to soon be a whole lot more. Neither of us were breathing very steadily by the time we'd finished.
"So," he said, his breath warm against my lips, "do I pass the test?"
I licked my lips, drawing his taste, his breath, into my mouth. "I think you could."
"Then we'll leave immediately." He released me and motioned to the waiter for the bill. Once we'd paid, he helped me into my coat then guided me out, his hand resting in the middle of my back. Warmth pooled where his fingers rested, even through the thickness of the coat.
It still rained outside, but the pelting force of earlier had at least eased to a fine drizzle. The night was still bitter, but between the amount of alcohol I'd consumed and Jin's heated presence, I certainly wasn't feeling it.
But we'd barely walked half a block when a familiar chill made me realize we were not alone.
Vampires stalked us.
Great. Just great. How was I supposed to deal with them without giving the game away to Jin?
I stopped and took off a shoe, shaking it lightly as I tried to pinpoint the location of the vamps. They were across the street, keeping the shadows wrapped around them as they hurried to get ahead of us. Their hunger mingled with their scent, stealing like a thief across the night, filling my nostrils and sending chills scampering across my skin. Their smell was of the freshly dead. Baby vamps, not mature ones.
So, were they the same ones who'd left the mauled body Rhoan had been sent to investigate, or two completely different ones? And who was making all these vamps and then setting them free?
For no real reason, Gautier's image flashed through my thoughts. It actually made a sick sort of sense for him to be doing this. He knew the Directorate was short staffed. He knew it'd stretch us to the limit and therefore cut down our ability to hunt him.
Jin swung around, his gaze searching the night before coming back to mine. "What's wrong?"
"Stone in my - "
I didn't get the chance to finish, because the two vampires shook off the shadows and attacked. Jin made a sound low in his throat, then pushed me out of the way. I staggered backward for several steps, then caught my balance and ducked under the fist of one of the vamps. He chuckled softly, an amused sound that grated against my nerves. As the vamp came at me a second time, I kicked off my other shoe, caught it midair, then whirled around and smacked the wooden heel of the stiletto across his chin. Flames trailed where the wood touched flesh, and the smell of burned skin caressed the air. He frowned and glanced down at the shoes I held in surprise.
Obviously, he didn't realize the heels were wood, and I didn't give him the time to work it out. I kicked him, with all the force I could muster, in the goolies. Air left his lungs in a whoosh of sound that was all agony, and as he hunched forward, I swung a fist, hitting his chin hard and knocking him out cold.
I whirled around to help Jin, only to stop in shock. The other baby vamp lay at his feet, moaning in agony, his legs and arms bent at odd angles. Jin was barely even breathing fast, but as I watched he closed his eyes and inhaled deeply, as if the scent of the baby vamp's pain was somehow fueling his body.
Which was a very weird thing to think. But chills scampered across my body anyway - if only because no lone human should have been able to defeat a vampire. Not even a baby one.
So, did that mean Jin was something other than human? And if so, why were my senses still reading him as human? Or was it merely a case of him having psychic talents at his disposal ? I glanced down at the vamp, at the pain and fear etched on his face. Psychic talents that broke limbs? I'd never heard of something like that before, but I was by no means an expert. I couldn't even define my own talents, for Christ's sake.
I grabbed my cell and made a quick call to the Directorate to order in a cleanup team - though I made out for Jin's sake that I was just reporting the attack. I'm sure the caramel cow thought I was crazy. But then, she undoubtedly thought that long before this phone call.
Jin blew out a soft breath as I hung up, then opened his eyes and turned around to fully face me. There was a spark in his dark eyes that spoke of something almost alien. Otherworldly. Another chill ran across my skin and yet, perversely, the wolf in me reacted with fierce desire. The strongest alpha in the pack was always the most desirable, and this man, alien eyes or not, had me wanting him so badly it was painful.
As his gaze met mine, he smiled. It was a ferocious thing to witness. The thought of retreat flashed through my mind, but before I could decide he took five quick steps, wrapped a hand around the back of my neck, and kissed me. Hard. His other hand slid around my waist, pulling me against him, so that the thickness of his erection pressed against my groin. It felt so very, very good.
"I want you." His voice was a harsh growl filled with a passion every bit as fierce as mine. The hand at my back slid down my spine, past my butt, onto thigh. Goose bumps flitted across my skin and I wasn't entirely sure whether its cause was desire or the unnatural warmth of his caress. "Here, now."
"Not here." His fingers had slipped under the stretch satin, and it was all I could do not to move, to guide those fingers to where it ached so badly. "Your place. It's warmer."
He made a low sound of frustration then grabbed my hand and pulled me forward, forcing me into a run. Water splashed across my bare legs, but if they were chilled I couldn't feel it. Jin's heat and desire and something else - an energy I could sense but not name - pulsed over me in waves, causing perspiration to dot my skin and my blood to boil through my veins.
If he had been were, I would have thought he was using his aura to make me compliant and ready. And, God help me, I was ready, for whatever he wanted to dish up.
We turned left into a side street. Three houses down, he pushed open a gate and raced me up the front steps. I had a brief glimpse of a white painted, classic double-story Victorian town house, then the paneled door was opened and I was all but pushed through.
"First right," he said, as he slammed the door shut.
I walked into the lounge room, stripped off my coat, and tossed it onto the nearest chair. My shoes were flung in the same direction, but I kept my purse long enough to grab some condoms.
Though I heard no footsteps - despite the wooden floors - he was suddenly behind me, his hot hands briefly brushing my thighs as he grabbed my dress and pulled it roughly over my head.
He made a low noise of appreciation, then pushed a hand against my spine and propelled me across the room toward the back of the big old leather sofa.
"Grasp it," he ordered.
I did. He grabbed the condoms from me, kept one, then tossed the rest onto the sofa. After kicking my legs farther apart, he began to explore, his touch so fierce it was almost bruising as he pinched and caressed and teased, until the need to have him inside was so intense I thought I'd surely explode.
And then he bit me, hard, on the shoulder. Somewhere in the last few minutes pain and pleasure must have become one, because I gasped aloud at the exquisiteness of it.
"You like it rough," he commented, breath harsh and fast against my shoulder.
"No," I somehow managed to say. "But that felt good."
Why was the question. I'd never been into the whole pain for pleasure routine, though I had played around the edges of it a few times.
This was already further than I'd ever stepped before. Further than I'd ever wanted to step. And yet I couldn't stop it, didn't want to stop it, and some deep down part of me worried about that. Worried if it was willingness and pleasure or something else that was allowing previously set boundaries to slide.
But that tiny spark of worry had no hope of stopping events. Not when the tide of pleasure was rising.
His teeth scraped my skin, nipping and teasing as he moved down, then he bit again, this time on my rump. I shuddered, unable to hold back a thick groan that was part pleasure, part pain.
He drew a deep breath, as if sucking in the sound. His fingers trembled against my skin, evidence of the control barely maintained. "Perhaps a little bit rougher?"
Part of me shuddered at the thought but I didn't say anything, too caught up in the moment to protest now.
He slapped my rear. Like the bite, it was hard, and sent little jolts of stinging electricity skating across my skin. I groaned, seesawing between desire and pain, part of me wanting to push it further, part of me resisting and wanting to hit back.
"How good does that feel?"
He gave me no chance to answer, but slapped again, harder still, leaving my butt stinging and my body quivering.
"Very good," I gasped. So why was I suddenly so willing to push the limits here with Jin? I had no idea, and that in itself was scary.
Then I remembered the odd energy I'd sensed earlier. Was Jin using an aura the same way a wolf might? But how was that possible if he were human?
"And this?" His sudden bite was brutal, but the swell of pain was met with a kiss, his heated lips somehow casing away the ache. My knees just about buckled under the flood of sensation.
"Good, good," I somehow said.
He slapped again, this time my thigh, and sharp enough to have tears stinging my eyes. And then he was in me, driving deep, the icy feel of the condom an almost painful contrast to the warmth of my body. Yet it felt so good I moaned.
His grip bruised my hips as he held me still and thrust and thrust, until it felt as if the cool, latex-covered heat of him was trying to claim every single inch of me.
My breathing was fast, urgent, the air thick with need and desire that was both mine and his. The low down pressure built under the sweet assault of his body, and all too quickly reached boiling point.
We came as one, his roar mingling with my cry, his body slamming into mine so hard the whole sofa seemed to shake.
Then it was over and I was trembling, sweating, my limbs so weak they seemed barely able to support my weight. I took a deep, shuddery breath, and released it slowly. "As coffee went, that was damn fine."
He chuckled and kissed my shoulder. "Perhaps we should make our way down to the kitchen and get the real thing."
"We should." I needed it to calm my pulse rate and the odd quivering still running through my limbs.
He took my hand and guided me down the dark hall to the kitchen. He tossed the condom in the trash, then put on the kettle and pulled a rich-looking chocolate cake out of the fridge. Surprisingly, despite the fact that I hadn't long finished a three course meal, I was famished.
We drank and ate and chatted. After nearly an hour, he pulled me to my feet and led me back down the hall to his bedroom. We had sex, harder and rougher than before, leaving me drained and yet satisfied.
It set the pattern for the rest of the night.
When I finally woke, it was to the unfamiliar sensation of an aching body. It felt like I'd run a marathon, and I suppose in some respects I had, yet I was a werewolf, well used to all night sex-a-thons. Sex with a human shouldn't have left me this weary. But it wasn't only aching muscles that plagued me. Hot spots dotted my body, little pinpoints of agony where Jin had bitten or slapped too hard or too often.
And yet there were several times during the night when I'd felt his need to go further, harder.
I was damn glad he hadn't.
I groaned softly and opened bleary eyes. Light flooded the room, an indication that dawn had well and truly come and gone. I shifted, briefly enjoying the caress of silk as the sheets slithered over my naked body, and glanced at the clock. Nine AM Guess I was going to be late for work again.
I rolled onto my back. There was very little in the way of sound in the house. No movement, no whistling kettle, nothing to indicate there was anyone here. I frowned, listening more intently, and caught a noise that had me puzzled for several seconds Then I realized what it was - someone snoring.
So, I wasn't alone in the house But Jin's scent was a distant thing rather than active - an indication that he wasn't actually in the house.
Frown increasing, I tossed off the blankets and got out of bed The aches intensified briefly, and I winced. Damn, if sex with Jin was an everyday affair, I'd be black and blue before a week was out Not that I had the stamina for a week of him - which was a very odd thing for a werewolf to admit.
The bedroom door squeaked as I opened it. I winced and waited tensely for some reaction. Nothing happened. Other than the soft snoring coming from behind the door opposite, the only other sound to be heard was the soft hiss of warm air coming from the vents in the ceiling.
I grabbed a robe from the back of the door, putting it on and lashing it around my waist as I padded softly down the hall.
Jin wasn't in the kitchen, either, but he'd left a note propped up against the salt shaker in the middle of the table.
Sorry to run out on you, Riley, but work called and needed my help urgently. Grab something to eat, or a shower, or whatever you want before you go. I'll ring you tonight.
If not for his snoring mate, the perfect opportunity to snoop through Jin's things and find out a little more about him had just presented itself.
I bit my bottom lip for a moment, contemplating the kettle and whether my desire for an early morning coffee was bad enough to risk waking the housemate.
The answer was a definite no. I spun around and padded lightly back to the living room, collecting my things and taking a quick look around. There didn't seem to be anything odd or strange in the room, and nothing that snagged the interest of my instincts.
I blew out a breath and headed back to the bedroom. I needed a shower, but given the running water might wake the snorer, it was probably better to do a bedroom search beforehand.
I carefully closed the door, then tossed my things on the bed and began to quietly - and carefully - go through his drawers. One fact I discovered straightaway - Jin was a man who liked fine things. His boxer shorts were silk, for heaven's sake.
The only thing I found that snagged my interest was a stack of business cards in his neatly sorted sock drawer. They were black, with the name Hellion Club printed in red, and Jin's name underneath. I took one of the cards, then gathered my clothes and headed for the shower.
Thankfully, it didn't wake the snorer. I just wasn't up to dealing with a stranger right now. I needed to get home, send Jack my report, then grab some rest, because I was feeling shakier than a newborn pup.
The rain had cleared away during the night, and the morning was one of those crisp, sunshine-filled ones that Melbourne often got in winter. It was still cold enough to freeze the balls off a dog, but at least the sun was out.
I gently closed the door, then did up my coat as I padded barefoot down the steps. At the gate, I stopped long enough to put on my shoes, then headed for my car.
I'd barely gone two house blocks when a hand wrapped itself around my arm. I reacted instinctively, kicking backwards at the heated presence I could feel behind me.
Then realized who that presence was.