The Bear Witch Project

Extended Sample

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Midnight Shifters, Book 2

Renee George

Published 2016 by Book Boutiques.

ISBN: 978-1-62517-997-5

Copyright © 2016, Renee George.

All rights reserved.

Chapter 1

Solange “Sol” Tremaine could feel the jackpot getting close as she fed the machine two quarters from her winnings back into its hungry maw and pulled the handle again. She held her breath, seven…seven…bar. The air puffed from her mouth in defeat. Determined, she put in two more coins. She widened her eyes as she squirmed and fidgeted, fingers crossed. Bar…bar…bar!

“Woo hoo!” She leapt from her chair as the slot paid out twenty-five quarters. Not the big jackpot, but satisfying all the same. Sol had been on the same machine for two hours, a Lucky 7 three-reel quarter slot. She’d been playing the max bet of fifty cents and had already filled up one large plastic tumbler. Shaking the cup, she estimated she’d won about two hundred dollars. Yes indeed, after a bad week, the Sun Casino in Oklahoma was just the right way to avoid her problems and parental smothering for a little while. Besides, she was an eighth Osage—at least that’s what Mom had told her, so in a way, when Sol had driven by the casino on her way from Dallas, Texas to Springfield, Missouri, it felt like fate.

Sol loved the Native American casinos. For one, they weren’t federally regulated, and for two, the slots used real money! Not like those oh-so-seductive paper tickets in the riverboat casinos. She’d gotten herself in trouble more than once when she forgot she was spending actual money. Her hands were stained black from the soiled quarters, but she didn’t care. It’d wash. She pushed two more coins into the slot and pulled the handle.

Bar…cherry…seven. Which added up to nada, zip, nothing. Oh well, she sighed.

How had things gone so wrong? She’d taken an accelerated track at the University of Texas and had graduated from college a year early, and then she’d been named one of Texas’s emerging young artists. She didn’t have a boyfriend, but her professional star was rising. That is until her twenty-first birthday several weeks ago. She’d started experiencing headaches, and the way she saw colors had inexplicably changed. She’d even yelled at an exhibitor because she thought he’d changed the lighting on one of her pieces. He hadn’t. It was exactly what she’d asked for, but it hadn’t looked right. Nothing looked right anymore.

She attributed her mental weirdness to the stress of keeping herself financially afloat while pursuing her art career. However, two nights ago, the faucets turned on and off on their own, her garbage disposal whirred without anyone flipping a switch, and her paintings for the Dallas Art Fair had been scattered like someone had played Frisbee with the canvases. She felt like she was stuck in some low-budget horror movie. She got so freaked out, Sol called her mom, and her mother insisted she come home immediately.

Normally, Sol would have argued. She was a grown-up, after all, but there had been something oddly urgent in her mother’s voice, and she reluctantly agreed. She knew stopping at the casino was more about avoiding home than gambling. She loved her mom, but the woman, by definition, was a helicopter parent. She’d hovered over Sol, never giving her a moment of privacy or room to breathe.

“You’re not a teenager anymore,” she mumbled to herself, feeding the slot more coins. “Concentrate on Lucky 7.”

*

Ching. Ching. Ching. Ching. Ching.

Ty Wasape almost jumped out of his skin, ready for battle, when the creature leapt off her seat in front of a slot machine and hooted.

He had to bite back a groan of rising lust as he watched her breasts bounce in the excitement of her victory. His bear snarled. These were not his feelings, he told himself. Her magic drew him. Her hair was auburn and her skin tawny, beautiful. She had wide curvaceous hips and large breasts, soft and feminine. Her oval eyes held the most delicate shade of golden brown he’d ever seen. If she had been just any woman, he would have admired her and moved on, but no, she wasn’t just any woman. He knew inside the luscious package was the soul of a sorcellarie, but the humans would have called her a witch.

When Myron Gray aka the gray man, leader of the shadow warriors, had tasked him to investigate a rogue witch who was killing shapeshifters on his tribe’s reservation, Ty had jumped at the chance to go home. Three men were dead—his brothers by race if not blood. He’d arrived early in the morning, and until this woman found her way onto the casino floor, had not felt any magical presence.

Joseph Big Horse, one of the elders, arranged for Ty to pose as an employee so it was easier to move around without arousing suspicion. He spotted Joseph’s wife, Meredith standing by the black jack tables. She gave him a barely perceptible nod of acknowledgement then turned away.

Good. She was a serious woman, and had the reputation of being fiercely loyal to Joseph. Unlike most the tribe, she knew that Ty was special. Not quite human. His last name Wasape, meaning bear, was more than just his name—it was his legacy. Tribal elders, like Joseph, were aware of Ty’s ability to transform. He’d been born to the Osage Bear Clan. Actual bear shifters were honored protectors for the tribe of mostly human Native Americans. He’d been given the last name at the age of thirteen—the first time he’d shifted into his other form. After he’d mastered his shifting abilities, he’d learned he was also considered an other worlder. The OWs were part of many species that secretly coexisted with or outside the human race. He served the realm of Caledon as a shadow warrior, but his first priority would always be the tribe.

When he’d been a boy his grandmother, Mi Wak’o, told stories of the French sorcerers who discovered the Osage in the late 1600s. She’d used those boogey man tails to frighten the youngster into behaving. According to the legends, the sorcellarie could wield magic powerful enough to make shifters do unspeakable horrors. Ty had never seen a sorcellarie before, but in one of her oft-told stories, his grandmother claimed she’d watched a battle between Ty’s Great Uncle, Red Sun, and a powerful witch. Mi Wak’o had said the magic called to her, and she felt it crawl over her skin. Red Sun—an other worlder, though not a shifter—carried a token from Brother Bear, the tribe’s spirit guide, which kept him from falling under the witch’s spell. Red Sun had gifted him that very token after Ty’s first shift. The magicked flint had been chipped into the shape of a bear. He pulled it from his pocket and squeezed it tightly in his fist, but eased up when he could smell his own blood.

Ty couldn’t stop looking at the beautiful woman. Even with his token’s protection, he felt her strange energy wash over him. Ty held back his bear as it roared inside his human form, desperate to bathe in her magic. She was definitely a witch. He felt the truth in his bones.

But was she the murderer?

The shadow warriors had a strict policy of proof before punishment, so he still had to make sure she was the one killing the shifters.

He reached out with his senses, trying to discern what he could from the woman’s essence. The ability to test auras was a trait in the Osage bear shifters. But her spirit resisted his probing, and like a door, it slammed shut, cutting off the connection. Determined to test her, he reached out once more and strengthened his hold.

*

Stretching her hand for the one-armed bandit’s handle, Sol was stopped mid-grab by coldness and searing pain. The casino around her turned bright pink before melting into a pale shade of blue. She grasped her chest, unable to breathe, unable to scream for help.

Oh, my God! She staggered from the stool. I’m having a fucking heart attack! Just as quickly as it hit, the tight, cold pain drained from her body and the colors around her faded.

Sol gasped, sucking in a ragged breath, and tried to control her shaking limbs.

“Are you all right, Miss?”

She eyed the tall, dark, and dreamy man in tight, straight leg blue jeans and a light blue, fitted Tee with the Sun Casino logo stretched tight across his wide chest. She had to crane her head to look up at his face. His dark, piercing eyes nearly jet in color startled her with their intensity. His dark hair was pulled back from his face and braided. She could see the tail of it when he craned down to help her. The end fell below his waist. He had a broad face with a sharp nose and a wide sensual mouth. To top it off, the man was not only built like a professional linebacker, he also had the height of one.

Oh lordy. This guy, to put it mildly, was a total panty dropper.

“I’m fine,” she said. Her breathing had returned to semi-normal. Though if he stayed this close, she might stop breathing altogether. He was the kind of guy that made a girl’s lungs collapse. “I need a drink. Maybe something with gin.”

He nodded, whipping his long braid around as he turned and retreated to the bar.

“Oo la la.” She whistled low and soft. She rubbed at the ache in her chest, while she watched him lean over the bar to get her order.

Achi-wa-wa, he had a nice ass.

*

Ty had reached out with his other senses, and the act had triggered a violent reaction in the woman. He hadn’t meant to hurt her. He hadn’t even known he could. He had no real training for dealing with sorcellarie because they were too rare to be viable threats. He wondered if any of his ancestors had tried to test the essence of one of her kind with the same result. He would have to ask Red Sun.

If her heart had stopped it would have solved his problem, but he was struck again by the shadow warrior oath: Proof before punishment. He didn’t want to admit that his protective instinct had roared to life when he saw her in pain, her angelic features contorted.

What is wrong with you, Wasape?

Chapter 2

The first Tom Collins hit the spot. The second and the third went straight to her head loosening Sol’s inhibitions. After getting her the drink, the gorgeous man with the nice ass had disappeared. She waited at the bar to see if he would return, but nope, he was gone—just like her luck. She was disappointed she hadn’t even gotten his name.

She turned in her quarters for chips, and then wandered over to the roulette table. It was a fool’s game, but tonight, she wanted to be foolish—to let go of reality and believe in a little magic. She decided to take a gambler’s chance. Placing a five-dollar chip on the table, she picked red for the fifty-fifty. The ball went flying around the wheel and watching it made her head spin. Maybe roulette hadn’t been such a good idea. The ball fell to black. She mentally waved bye-bye to the fiver.

She’d mostly convinced herself that her earlier physical mishap had been due to over excitement. Add in her anxiety about going home, and it was no wonder she was a hot mess. But she couldn’t work up the gumption to leave. Her mother had been blowing up her cell phone, and she’d ignored the calls.

As long as she was inside the Sun Casino, she felt safe.

A glorious god of a man sidled up next to her. She instantly recognized him, even without the employee uniform. He wore a charcoal gray Henley-style shirt, tight black jeans, and cowboy boots. He must be off duty.

He still wore the long braid, and she wondered what he’d look like with his hair out of the tightly woven style. She shivered with excitement as she breathed in his masculine scent. An image formed in her mind of him rubbing his calloused hands over her breasts, his fingers caressing the heat between her legs, trailing his lips across her stomach down to her aching…

“Twenty-six,” he said, his voice snapping her back into reality.

Sol gawked then mentally slapped herself for looking stupid. “Excuse me?”

“Play twenty-six.” His tone softened some, but not much. He seemed a little intense for someone offering betting advice.

She shrugged. What the hell, right? Her luck was obviously changing. She took a twenty-dollar chip and held it over twenty-six. She looked at him, her smile flirtatious. “You sure? Twenty-sex…err…six?”

He nodded, his gaze roving over her mouth.

She placed her bet. The wheel spun, the ball gyrating and jumping around the numbered slots, and much to her surprise and pleasure, landed on twenty-six.

“Woo hoo!” She danced around then threw her arms around the man’s neck and kissed his cheek. He stiffened.

“I’m sorry,” she said, embarrassed. She let him go and stepped back.

“It’s fine,” he said. “I’m glad you won.”

“Thanks to you.” She scooped up her winnings, and haphazardly shoved the chips into her purse. Then she turned around and saw him walking away. She hurried after him. “Wait!”

He pivoted to a stop so gracefully and quickly that she ran right into his chest. Her purse popped out of her hands and fell to the floor, spilling the chips between them. He held her upright, bracing her weight with ease. “You all right?”

“I’m fine really. Just a klutz, ugh.”

He eased her from his arms. Mortification heated her face, and she leaned down to collect the chips.

Apparently, he had the same idea.

She collided heads with him.

“Ow.” He rubbed the top of his head. He looked at her, his lips slightly curved—his version of a smile, she figured.

“I’m sorry!” She didn’t think she could blush any harder. Her whole face felt like she’d dipped it into lava. She finished picking up her winnings for the second time in as many minutes and zipped her purse shut. “Can I buy you dinner to make up for nearly killing you?”

He jolted, his eyes going wide—not quite the reaction she expected. Did he not have a sense of humor?

“I’m kidding,” she said. “I’ve never killed anyone. Promise.”

He studied her for so long she started to feel like a bug wiggling under a microscope. Finally, he nodded. “Dinner would be great.”

“Excellent! I’m Sol Tremaine, by the way.”

He blinked down at her. “Sol. As in an eternal soul?

“As in Solange.” His utter stillness made her nervous. She played with the strap of her purse and blurted, “I was named for my grandmother who emigrated from France as a little girl.”

“Honoring your heritage is important,” he said. “I’m Ty Wasape.”

Hmmm. His last name triggered a primal reaction. She didn’t understand the sudden, visceral emotion, or why she was so drawn to this man. Her attraction seemed to go deeper than just wanting to get him naked. There was something different about Ty. “What does Wasape mean?” she asked.

“Bear.”

She looked him over, taking in his muscled body from head to toe. Her heart sped up its pace, and she felt her mouth go dry as desire wound through her.

Bear, indeed.

*

How had Ty gone from reviewing the evidence from the three murders to having dinner with his main suspect? They’d settled on one of the casino’s diners, and just after they’d been seated, Solange had gone to the restroom.

He needed the time to get his thoughts together.

Think of the evidence. Each man had been gutted with three sharp claw marks across the stomach, which Ty surmised were meant to cause pain and suffering. The severing of their carotid arteries came after the heinous acts of gutting them. The stomach wounds had magic residue—magic that Gray had traced directly to the sorcellarie. Yet, he couldn’t match the brutality of the crimes to the shy, nervous woman who showed no guile. Other than her magic, Ty could get no sense of who Sol really was—an innocent other worlder or a cold-blooded murderer?

After Sol returned, they examined the laminated menus. He ordered a double cheeseburger with fries. To his surprise, she ordered the same meal. Why did Solange make him so uncomfortable? He’d faced greater enemies than she in fierce, bloody battles with no fear in his heart. But he trembled before this woman. In her blue slacks and a silky gray blouse with mother of pearl buttons that puckered slightly at the apex between her breasts, she seemed more like a kindergarten teacher than a murderous witch.

After he’d used his otherworldly senses to help her win at roulette, he already felt the fool. Then she’d kissed his cheek, and his body had reacted with hungry heat reserved for mates. Damn! Her power surrounded him and pulsed within him. He wondered if his attraction to her was a reaction to her magic.

Her golden brown eyes offered no treachery as she watched him from across the Formica table. “So, Ty. Where are you from?”

“Here.” He bit into the burger.

Sol pushed one of her fries into a pile of catsup, a faint blush crossing her cheeks. “The casino?” she teased, “or the reservation?”

“Both.” The flush of pink on her cheeks contrasted appealingly with her tawny brown skin. Ty’s cock stirred, nearly making him choke on a piece of tomato. He wished he’d worn looser jeans.

He put down the burger and wiped his mouth with a napkin. “Are you staying in the hotel?”

“I…well, no.” Her voice quivered. “But I’ll probably stay the night.”

He couldn’t stop the adrenaline rush as his desires threatened to override his mission. Instead of whisking her to the front desk to check in, like he wanted, he asked Sol, “What do you do for a living?”

“I’m an artist.”

“Really?” She was young, but still, he’d pictured her in a more ruthless profession. “What kind of art?”

“Modern impressionism.” When he gave her a quizzical look, she added. “I’m fascinated by light and shadow. Always have been. The colors we see are only real in the sense that we recognize them as real. The idea that the world is mere perception has always captivated me.” She leaned forward. “Like your eyes. They are so dark brown, they are almost black.” Boldly, she touched his chin and moved his face to capture rays from an overhead chandelier. “But change the way the light hits them, and I can see hints of blue and thin streaks of gold.” Her gaze lingered on his face. “Fascinating. I’d love to paint you. You have really strong features, a perfect specimen. I mean, you know, for painting.” Sol’s fingernails danced on the table, tap, tap-tap, tap, tap-tap-tap.

Ty decided to change the subject before he offered to get naked for her right now. “Where are you from, Sol? That’s a beautiful name, by the way.”

“Thank you.” Grinning, she leaned forward. “I’m from Springfield, Missouri originally, but I’ve lived in Texas for the past three years.”

How could she possibly be a killer? She seemed so normal. Human. Except for the way she made him feel. No woman had ever bespelled him like this one. And that was the problem. He worried that she had put a spell on him. Maybe she knew he’d been the one testing her aura, and she was playing innocent to get him into a vulnerable position.

He’d spent a fair amount of time with other worlders. He fought alongside the new queen of Caledon, Benoica Dilian, her two wolf-shifter mates, and other of his brethren in service to Gray as they helped Benie claim the throne. One of her husbands, Ian Arent, had explained to Ty that scientifically, their kind, and all the variations, could be traced to the human branch of the family tree. Evolution was a crazy bitch.

Even so, he’d never met anyone like Solange. He could almost hear her magic like a song in his head. It called to him on every level, and he took a deep breath to regain control of his thoughts. Maybe this sweet and naive act was a mere performance, meant to lull Ty from his true purpose. He had a terrible suspicion she was unaware of her power. Surely, no one was that good at acting the innocent.

Ty picked up his napkin and reached across the table, wiping the red smear from her adorable chin. “You missed your mouth.”

“Thanks.” Her voice quavered, and her eyes were wide. He saw the desire there—and the hesitation.

She was a powerful being and should have been bold and confident. Dangerous. Sol was not living up to the image of the sorcellarie he’d created in his mind. Unable to stop himself, he took her hand and drew it to his lips, placing a gentle, but firm kiss on her knuckles. “You are lovely.” And despite the fact she was a witch, his natural enemy, he meant the compliment.

“Why, thank you.” She laced her fingers in his, and a pulse of energy warmed him. “I think today has all sorts of possibilities. How’d you like to, um, do something after we eat?”

She was stunning, and the physical reaction she caused in him made him want to roar his “yes.”

When he didn’t answer right away, she added, “Only if you want to, of course, no commitment, just some fun.”

“Yes,” he finally said. Her kind were dangerous, potentially the most dangerous of the non-humans, especially to Ty’s people, so he rationalized his answer as if it were part of his plan to get more information…and not just a means to satisfy his rising lust.

*

Sol could not believe she’d just propositioned a man she barely knew, even if he did look like a god. He was charming, but the way he looked at her sometimes was downright hostile. Oh, but there was a certain animal magnetism, and besides, it wasn’t like she’d be back to the casino any time soon. Once she was in her mother’s presence, she was doomed to parental smothering. What happens in Oklahoma stays in Oklahoma didn’t have quite the same ring as the original Vegas slogan, but it worked.

After paying the check, Ty took her to the check-in counter, and she got a room for the night. She texted her mom to let her know she wouldn’t arrive home until tomorrow.

“Elevator or stairs?” she asked.

“Stairs.”

As she led him up the dimly lit deserted stairwell to the third floor, butterflies jumbled around her stomach. What are you doing, woman? You don’t even know this guy. He could be a serial killer. Or worse! Yep, this had to be the craziest thing she had ever done. Sol didn’t do one-night stands. Was that what this was? A one-night stand? The idea of never being with Ty again, never touching him after this night, made her heart ache. She’d never felt such a magnetic pull from any man.

His large warm hand clasped gently with hers, and she could imagine how good it would feel to have him caressing her skin, kneading the muscles of her back, and stroking between her thighs.

She shivered with anticipation. Yep, definitely the craziest thing I’ve ever done.

*

The touch of the witch’s small hand in Ty’s palm electrified his body. He couldn’t stop thinking about her lips, and how good they would taste. How good she would taste. Ty stopped between the first and the second floor in an effort to control himself, but the wall light flickered then died, leaving the stairwell nearly dark.

Had she done that?

The slightly frightened expression on her face triggered his protection instinct, and he pulled Sol into his arms, holding her to his chest. Her taut nipples pushed outward from her blouse. He wanted to rip her clothes from her body and savor every inch of supple skin. Her large pouty lips, ripe with promise—he imagined them wrapped around his anxious cock.

She looked at him quizzically. “Is something wrong?” He felt her warm breath caress the skin on his neck, sending shivers of heat down to his groin.

He wanted to tell her everything was wrong—this whole situation. Yet, he wanted to ravish her all the same—to claim her, to possess as a man and as a shifter.

Why do I want this woman? Ty might not have understood the reason, but his rock-hard shaft and the ache of longing in his chest left little doubt it was true.

Chapter 3

Being in Ty’s powerful arms, feeling the bulge in his tight black jeans, made Sol’s entire body ache for more of him. She barely reached his chin and waited for him to lower his head so she could kiss his firm, full lips. Problem was, he wasn’t cooperating. Stopping in the stairwell and the lights turning off, all seemed very seductive, if not a little naughty, but he hadn’t made a move. Not really.

Impulsively, she traced her fingers down his tightly muscled arms. He felt like raw energy, strong and capable.

If she hadn’t been so maddeningly turned on by him, she might question her choice to sleep with a Sun Casino employee. They did background checks and stuff, right? So, probably not a serial killer.

He stood rigid, and Sol swore he held his breath. His small nipples puckered tightly through his black shirt. Impetuously, she lowered her mouth and bit gently on one of the nubs. He groaned.

She moved in for another bite when he seized her arms and pulled her up his body. Jesus, he’d lifted her like she was nothing, and a surge of pure happiness rocked her when she locked her legs around his waist.

He looked surprised at his own actions. His grip loosened, and she took the opportunity to wrap her arms around his neck.

“Kiss me.” She whispered the words along the smooth line of his jaw.

“I…”

“Shhh.” She held a finger to his lips. “Kiss me, Ty.”

He traced the pad of his thumb over her lower lip, smiling bitterly. Slowly, he moved his mouth over hers, hovering for a moment, then meeting her lips with his—soft, slightly moist, and wonderfully warm. Unable to resist, she slid her tongue along the crack of his mouth, parting his lips, slipping between his teeth. His mouth tasted sweet, of honey and oranges, delicious—strange considering they’d just eaten burgers. The kiss suddenly became fierce, hard, punishing, and oh so exotic.

Sweet heavens, I really could die a happy girl.

*

Ty had stilled for a moment as she probed him, darting her tongue in and out, his own aching flesh crying out for him to surrender. Her legs around his waist, her soaked sex rubbing against his groin, and her large breasts pillowing his chest—it was more than he could take. He closed his eyes and allowed his desire to surface. Pressing in on her mouth, he fed from her warm, hungry kiss, matching her thrust for thrust, inviting more.

Yes, he told himself. He would take all she was, stripping her to nothingness. He cupped her breast then slid his fingers to the fragile fabric that formed a V on her chest, and ripped it aside. He pushed her bra down, exposing her creamy flesh, and rolled her puckered nipple between his thumb and forefinger. She moaned softly against his mouth.

Ty broke from the kiss and lifted her breast to his mouth, suckling the tightly drawn bud, licking the tip, twirling and teasing. She latched onto his neck, sucking at his flesh. He longed to have those lush lips around his engorged shaft, to feel her take him in deeply.

“I want…”

“Yes,” she encouraged him, nipping at his ear. “You want?”

“I want you to suck me.”

“Oh.” Sol licked her lips. “I…Okay. Yes.”

She slipped down from his waist. Her hands worked the button on his jeans. After she got the fly undone, she pushed his pants down to his thighs. His cock sprung forward, eager. He leaned back against the stair rail, watching, waiting, and wanting.

*

Sol knelt on the stairs, marveling at Ty’s wondrously erect and uncut cock. With her fingertips, she touched the soft black hair that formed a neat triangle just above. She’d wanted to taste him, to savor him, from the moment she’d plunged her tongue into his mouth.

What if someone entered the stairwell?

The chance of being caught only served to heighten her lust.

Sliding back the foreskin, she licked the pearl of liquid from the tip before taking his shaft between her lips. A deep sigh resounded from Ty, and his fingers sifted through her hair. Holding Sol’s head firmly, he assisted her up and down motions. It was difficult to manage his choking size, but she opened for him. Her eyes watered as the head bumped against the soft palate of her throat.

A shuddering breath escaped Ty, then Sol heard him speaking what must have been his native language, since she couldn’t understand any of it. But the words were ferocious, demanding, possessive…and fucking hot.

Encouraged, she grasped his balls, pulling them gently, rolling them with her fingers as he thrust into her mouth. His hips began to rock in earnest, and he grunted with every stroke to the back of her throat. Her swollen heat demanded attention. She reached into her pants and slid her fingers between the folds of her sex, stroking, caressing—enjoying the fullness in her mouth, while satisfying her own tingling need. As her climax built, she slid two fingers into her sleek channel, imagining his length stroking between her depths.

Her strangled cry as an orgasm took her triggered Ty’s climax. His fingers tightened in her hair, holding her head as she swallowed every bit of his seed. As his hold on her hair lessened, she slipped off his shaft. Sol stood and leaned into his embrace. She watched his masculine hands with interest and wondered what more the night would bring. In her mind, she painted them with broad strokes of her brush, every angle, bend, and vein, imagining the rare power he might hold in his calloused fingers. Suddenly, his hand seemed to change, grow larger, his nails thicker. She blinked, the image wavered, and when she looked again, his hand was normal.

Your mind is playing tricks on you, girl. Sex-dazed. That’s what you are.

Ty pulled away from her. “I have to go.”

“What?” The thought of him leaving her after what they’d just done, made her feel cheap, and honestly, hurt her deeply. She’d known sleeping with Ty would be a one-off, a diversion, and no more. But they hadn’t even made it up to the room. “You got what you want, so now you have to go. Is that it?”

“I’m sorry, Sol.” He yanked up his pants. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

She gripped her torn shirt closed, her hands shaking. Her temper flared, but she held back, because she knew crying was next, and she wouldn’t give him her tears. “No, you won’t.”

“I will, I promise.” He moved quickly down the stairs in long graceful strides.

She watched him disappear around the stairwell corner thinking his so-called promise sounded like a threat.

“The hell with you.” As she gave in to the anger and hurt swirling through her, she felt an electrical surge within her. All the lights snapped on in the stairwell, and then one by one exploded. Sol gave a surprised shriek, pushed her breast back into the bra, and ran up the stairs.

End of Extended Sample

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