Being a supe DSR agent is just about as fun as having to choose between walking on tacks or broken glass—neither are appealing in the least, and you won’t be happy no matter which one you choose. The same can be said of deciding loyalties: your supe race, or the DSR. The DSR needs the supe to stay in good standing with their race in order to gain useful information as it pertains to any crimes, but they essentially need the supes to ‘rat out’ their fellow people. The agents have to carefully filter what they do and do not say, and damned if you do and damned if you don’t has a hard time finding a better situation to apply itself.
In a way I could sympathize with Agent Warren and the precarious position he was in, because I, too, walked a path where I rarely won. As Danika, Lord Kieran, and Keeper Voss took their leave, after Kieran said goodnight to Meriel, Agent Warren remained behind after they left–much to the dismay of Danika. My heart fluttered and my stomach did a trapeze act, and I could only wonder why he’d chosen to stay behind.
It was late, so the older girls went off to bed, while Meriel was already in hers. On her way down the hallway, Mina waggled her eyebrows at me in the most inappropriate manner when Agent Warren couldn’t see. I shooed and shushed her, but once again the heat rushed to my face in a blush to end all blushes. She just grinned and followed Talitha down the hall to their bedrooms. With all the doors closed and children to bed, I hesitated before going back to the kitchen.
My mind was frozen in indecision, but my body knew exactly what it wanted, the damned traitor. I was jolted from my vacillation by my kitchen faucet starting, and the muted clink of dishes. Feet quick, I came out of the hallway to the bedrooms and looked across the living room to the kitchen, where to my profound horror Agent Warren was doing the dishes. The southern hostess in me almost died on the spot.
“Oh, no, Agent Warren, you don’t have to do that!” I almost yelped, and nearly sprinted across the living room before he shrugged, but never turned around.
“It was a delicious meal and you weren’t expecting me, so the least I can do is help out,” he said, the low bass of his voice rumbling out like thunder, and sending warmth flooding through my lower body.
“But you’re a guest…” I started, but quieted as he turned a resolute look at me over his shoulder. I snapped my mouth shut, and he gave a small, satisfied smile before turning around.
The sleeves of his dress shirt were rolled up to just below his elbows, exposing well-defined forearms and a small hint of the bottom of a tattoo. The black stood out well against his olive complexion, and the little I could see indicated something tribal, or maybe Celtic. I wasn’t an expert by any means, but the tantalizing taunt made me want to see how far it went and what the tattoo was.
His back to me, I got to watch the exquisite muscles move beneath the fabric of his shirt. I had to busy myself with gathering more dishes from the table before I did something embarrassing, and set them next to him on the counter.
“Thank you,” he said, but he was thanking me for more than the dishes.
“I need more employees like you, if you’re going to thank me for handing you dirty dishes,” I joked, and moved back to the table for more. It was easy to forget how many dishes were used for eight people.
“For that, yes,” he chuckled, “but really for not asking about the Nameless thing the second we were alone,” he finished, and put another rinsed plate into the dishwasher.
“I…well, I guess it’s not really any of my business,” I said, and he stopped his work at the sink, wiped his hands on a towel and turned to me, interested. He leaned his tight derriere against the counter and crossed his arms over his chest. His brawn wasn’t so much that he couldn’t do so, but just enough that it wasn’t easy, either.
With his complete and undivided consideration leveled at me, I started to babble.
“I mean don’t get me wrong—I’m curious, no two ways about it, but I figured you’d tell me if you wanted. No need for me to pry,” I said, almost desperately, and he started to move toward me, slow and self-assured like a lion creeping through the grass toward prey.
I backed up until I hit the table, and I still held silverware in my hands as I brought them up close in front of me.
“Also, Agent Warren, it would be a poor way to repay you for not treating me, a half-kin, like most full-bloods typically do. The Nameless thing seems like something painful, and I do my best not to cause others pain, if I can help it.” I continued taking, as though it were a shield to ward him off, though mind and body were still conflicted on whether him moving toward us was a good thing, or not.
The barrage of words did nothing to slow him down, like a superhero shrugging off a fusillade of bullets, and a second later he stood close enough that the silverware was the only thing keeping us from touching. I looked up at him, which sent a jolt of electric surprise and liquid delight through me. It was tough finding guys taller than me, when I actually looked, and men tended to be intimidated by a woman their height, or taller—especially if I wore heals.
He leaned down, and I tilted my head back to keep eye contact though, I couldn’t get a read on his thoughts. Lips stopped just a hairsbreadth away from mine, and sorrow filled his greyish-blue eyes like rain filling a small depression in a weatherworn rock.
“Do you know how rare that is in a person, supe or not? You are quite refreshing, kind, beautiful, and you are wasted on the likes of the clans,” he finished, and with no more than a sigh was able to close the distance between us for a gentle brush of lips.
Dark Goddess, were they soft. My breath hitched as he drew back, just enough to take the silverware from my limp hands and set it back on the table, and then leaned back in. His scent filled my nose, clean like the moisture on the air after a storm came through and washed everything away.
This time one strong hand went behind my neck, cradling the base of my skull, while the other went to the small of my back to draw me closer. With a small moan, one of my hands came up under his arm to his upper back, while the other went around his right shoulder, my fingernails digging in a touch where the muscles connected his neck and shoulder. I melted against him, and the hard length of him pressed against my belly.
At my response, his lips parted and his tongue met mine, a slow dance and exploration of two people who had never been intimate together. Time slowed, and instead of giving into the need of every movement, caress, and breath, he remained unhurried.
After a time he ended the kiss, and drew back enough for us to look into each others eyes. His were dilated. The pause gave enough time for my lust-hazed mind to catch up, and put my libido in the backseat for a moment. Agent Warren’s eyes cleared as well, and the two of us exchanged languorous smiles.
“That was…lovely,” I said, breathy, words not quite enough to describe it. Agent Warren chuckled, that deep, masculine sound they reserved for moments such as these, when they knew they’d pleased the lady and themselves.
“Yes, and I don’t want you to take it the wrong way, but I thought it prudent to stop before things progressed,” he said and I tilted my head in question, requesting, not demanding, an explanation.
“Not that I disagree with you,” I said, voice still low from the kiss and passion, letting him know I wasn’t complaining. Certain parts of me were in protest, but my mind had cleared enough to kick them from the helm. “But why, for you?”
His thumb absentmindedly stroked across my neck and scalp, and sent shivers down through me. I closed my eyes and enjoyed the simple, yet intimate touch. It had been a long time since…anything.
“Multiple reasons,” he said, and just when I thought that would be it, he continued; “With everything going on the situation isn’t ideal, I’ve been burned before, and we just met,” he whispered the last, and I let out a lethargic, ‘hmm,’ in agreement. He chuckled again, and laid a gentle kiss on my forehead.
At the touch I sighed and opened my eyes, and met his gaze. It was full of want, charged as lightning with the promise of more, plus a hint of frustration and a dash of caution. The recipe left me with a fluttering somewhere in my midsection and hoping against hope it wasn’t some cruel dream.
He didn’t move, despite his words, and I couldn’t back up because of the table. I cleared my throat and my mouth crept into a rueful smile.
“Agent Warren, if we’re going to finish the dishes I need you to back up so I can move.”
Just as I’d had my internal battle earlier about him finding me, Agent Warren had his battle now, on what would be the correct action versus what he wanted. With a sigh, the logical one won out and he stepped back, our hands and arms sliding away from each other. His shirt was wrinkled and I couldn’t say I was sorry to see it that way.
“Warren,” he said.
“What?” I asked, somewhat confused, and I gave my head a slight shake, lost.
“You keep calling me Agent Warren, which is odd sounding anyway since it’s usually Agent Berg, but now I think you can safely call me Warren,” he teased.
I huffed and crossed my arms over my chest. Not out of anger, but to keep my hands to myself.
“Warren, then,” I said, and at the sound of his name on my lips, he smiled in a way that had me struggling to catch my breath. It was a bedroom smile, no doubt about that, but instead of doing anything about it we acted like responsible adults and proceeded to finish the dishes. Sometimes being a responsible adult sucked…no, can’t think of sucking at the moment, bad choice of words. Ahem.
Once we were done he lingered for a few minutes, though we didn’t speak, and just made our way slowly to the door. At the front door he collected his jacket.
“I’ll get to work on this new information about the Dragons and see where it takes me. Be careful,” he whispered the last, and took one of my hands in his. He raised it to his lips for a kiss, and goosebumps lifted the hairs on my body making my skin more sensitive.
“I will be,” I whispered back, and he nodded.
“We’ll talk more about…everything, once all this clears up. See you soon.” He turned, opened the door.
“Bye,” I softly replied.
One last smile, and he walked out. The door closed gently behind him, the click barely audible to me a few feet away. I stood there, staring at the door, a big, goofy smile on my face.
“I can’t believe you left it at that!” Mina squeaked from behind me and I whirled, surprise sending my pulse thudding and my stomach nearly to my throat.
“Were you watching the entire time?” I asked, voice one-part hostile and three-parts shrieking embarrassment.
She scoffed and shook her head. “As if. I was just curious because I heard the water at the sink and the dishwasher, nothing, and then they went again. So, did you smooooch?” she asked in that teasing, annoying way kids learn from their peers in elementary school.
I blew out an exasperated breath. “You are incorrigible. Go back to bed, now,” I said, tone final and impervious to persuasion.
She rolled her eyes. “Whatevs.”
As she turned to walk away, a knock sounded at the door. It was late, and Warren had been there moments before, so as I moved to the door I merely thought it was him. Car trouble, maybe?
But when I opened the door a different face greeted me, and the split second later when I realized they were half-kin, it was too late. When he shoved his way in, something smashed through the sliding glass door and Mina screamed, full of rage and fear.
Before I could let anything process and react accordingly, let alone shift to my other, more deadly, form, a hand clad in brass knuckles made its way toward my face. To that I did react and turned enough to go with the punch instead of full against it, but it still met my face with the force of a speeding train. Even half-kins can punch through steel if they choose to do so, and this half-kin held nothing back.
Color and light flashed across my vision. The last thing I heard was Mina screaming, and though I struggled against unconsciousness I slipped away into the painful darkness.