ev took Marissa gently by the arm and led her downstairs and into his bedroom. “So, you ready to hit the hay?” he asked, closing the door behind them.

She looked around his room. “Not really,” she answered.

“It’s almost three in the morning.”

Everything in his room seemed to have passed muster, because Marissa’s eyes landed on him again. “It’s almost three in the afternoon,” she countered. “Back in Normal Land, I’d be making myself a fruit salad for a snack right about now. Why do you flip-flop the times, anyway?”

He shrugged. “We only work topside at night, so switching the time just makes it a regular work day for us.”

“Always at night?”

“Yep. That’s when the bad guys come out, after all.” Plus, I’m a vampire. “Um, you should’ve been given a sleeping pill to help you adjust.”

She shook her head. “I wanted to stay alert, in case…” Anxiety filmed her eyes. “Just in case.”

He exhaled a slow breath. Damn, these last couple of nights had really tangled her up.

“And…” She nodded at the knife set slung over his shoulder. “Should I be worried that you’re still holding onto those?”

He smiled. “Nah.” Crossing to his wet bar, he put his knife set on it. “This is just an occupational hazard, sweetheart. I don’t even go to the bathroom without a knife in my hand, right?”

“That does sound hazardous.” Her eyes came to life with amusement. “You might cut something important doing that.”

He chuckled. Christ, but this woman was cu-ute. So pretty her face made his bones ache.  

She was wearing a new pair of lightweight sweatpants and a T-shirt that, Christ, yes, did show off a nice pair of ta-tas, although he hated to quote Gábor. Her nipples were suffering from a serious case of stick-out-itis, and at the cocktail party, he’d kept them under solid surveillance in his peripheral vision. It’d taken every ounce of willpower he owned not to lean forward and close his mouth over one like the cherry-on-top it was.

“You have incredible eyes,” she said, surprising him out of his nipple reverie. “They’re a gorgeous silver color and, wow, so bright.”

He hooded his lids. Stop thinking about her boobs, you dumbass. “Um, your eyes are also… I like your eyes, too.” Besides being a beautiful green, the pupils were surrounded by starbursts of gold. “They look like little suns shining up from the bottom of a mossy pond.”

Her eyebrows popped high, then she laughed. “My God, who are you, Dev? A big bad GI Joe type, or a poet with a palate for fine wine?” She nodded toward the floor-to-ceiling wine rack across the room, home to his extensive collection.

“All right, all right, don’t get all fired up now. I’m not a high-society type.” He pushed his fingers through his hair, raking it back from his brow. “It’s just that not much dating goes on around here.” Or any. “Uh, small town politics, you know? So hobbies are essential.”

“Really?” She gave his body a slow, thorough once-over. “It’s hard to imagine you not being constantly swarmed by women.”  

The appreciative look in her eyes made his skin jump. “Uh, well…um…” He snapped his mouth closed. What the hell was that? A beautiful woman was flirting with him and he couldn’t come up with anything better to say than something Urkel might’ve spluttered? Though in his defense, he’d always been the flirter, not the flirtee. Vârcolac females weren’t allowed to be flirtatious, and the Dragon women they’d brought into Ţărână before hadn’t exactly been in a welcoming frame of mind, the whole abduction thing putting a real damper on that. So having a woman show interest in him was a real red-letter-day experience.  

“Hey, you want to open a bottle?” Marissa wandered over to his wine rack and carefully eased bottles out of their circular holders to peer at the labels.  

Hmm, let’s pause and assess: hot woman alone with him in his bedroom being flirtatious and in a vulnerable state…plus several cocktails already consumed by both of them…plus more alcohol in the form of wine. Decisions, decisions…  

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