Black and Blue (Page 18)

Black and Blue (Otherworld Assassin #2)(18)
Author: Gena Showalter

Like Drew, she flipped him off.

Grinning, Blue programmed the car to head to Michael’s, sat back, and tried to relax as the sensors did the driving for him. Problem was, Evie’s honey-almond scent saturated this vehicle as well. His shaft—which hadn’t shrunk since the counter incident—throbbed, and the hum of his power cranked up the volume, screaming for release.

Not here, not now.

But if he wasn’t careful he would levitate the vehicle and everything around it.

He needed a distraction. “Encouraging jailhouse justice on the preschool playground, sugar muffin?”

She glared at him, and it lightened his mood. “Encouraging the end of a bully’s reign of terror.”

Ah. “I approve.”

Smirking at him, she said, “You do realize you just set yourself up for a horrible insult, right?”

He leaned against the door and faced her. She didn’t wilt under the intensity of his stare, and didn’t look away. She met him head-on, completely unfazed. He had to admire her fortitude.

Had to? Hell, he already did. He’d never met a woman like her. All bark and bite.

“Let’s call a truce,” he said. The moment the words registered, he realized he liked them. He and Evie had never been on sociable terms, and he was curious to know what that would be like.

“I thought we already had.” She rubbed at the goose bumps on her arms. Cold? “I mean, we haven’t killed each other.”

Good point. He tried again. As he turned down the air with a single swipe of his power, he said, “Let’s be friends.” He’d never had a female friend before, had never thought he’d want one; but this one had saved his life, and no matter how he felt about her, he kinda sorta owed her. “After all, you’re the only person I can trust right now, and you’re determined to work with me, so we’re going to be spending a lot of time together.”

Her color was high, just the way he liked it, and her dark eyes were luminous as they searched his features. Her lips were so soft, so red, and already parted; he experienced a sudden urge to lean into her, to breathe her in and taste her, and what the hell was he doing? Stop.

“We’re not good for each other,” she said.

“Because we let our own issues get in the way. We all have baggage, princess. Let’s ditch ours and move forward.”

“What would this friendship entail?” she asked.

“For starters, we need to always tell each other the truth.”

“I already do that. Are you saying you don’t?”

God save me. “Also, you’ll need to guard my back rather than stab it.”

She took no offense, surprising him. Then she nodded, surprising him even more. “I could give that last one a try, I suppose. I’m not making any promises, though,” she rushed to add.

He rolled his eyes. “Just do your best.”

A pause as she fiddled with the strap of her purse. “So, do you really think we’re going to find anything at Michael’s? I’m sure the agency has already sent people to search through the rubble.”

“They aren’t me,” he said simply.

“And you’re the best?”

“Indisputably.”

Now she was the one to roll her eyes. “I seem to remember a certain agent telling me arrogance would get people killed.”

The moment the words left her mouth, her amusement faded. Her expression fell and her shoulders hunched in. Great waves of regret and sadness rolled off her, slamming into him.

What the hell?

He thought back to their first meeting and how much he’d wanted her even then. How shaken he’d been by her attitude. How, when the smoke of his injured pride had cleared, he’d been impressed by her. She’d taken a three-man mission and simplified it down to the bones, all on her own.

“I was wrong,” he admitted. “Your arrogance was deserved.”

“No. No, it wasn’t.”

Something about her tone . . .

He frowned. He couldn’t think of a single mission she’d botched. “Why did you leave the agency?”

“I don’t want to talk about it.”

“Evie—”

“I mean it, Blue. Leave this alone.”

He wanted to push. Her regret and sadness were intensifying. But she was the type to push back, and as he’d proven, he didn’t always come out ahead with her.

Challenges more than sucked.

“Suspicious behavior detected,” a computerized voice suddenly announced.

He was amazed only for a moment. “Your security system?” he asked.

“Yes.” Evie twisted to peer out the back window. “Modified to record and decipher the habits of nearby drivers.”

Extraordinary. And seriously hot.

On alert, he scanned the mirrors and found the culprit. Three cars back was a dark sedan with windows as smoky as theirs. Evie punched a few buttons and a small screen appeared on the console in front of Blue.

“We’re definitely being followed,” she said.

With another punch of the buttons, the camera that was anchored to the back of the car honed in on the sedan. An image appeared on the console screen.

“Can you give me the make and model of the car?” he asked.

Evie was not the one to answer. The computerized voice gave him the details he wanted, adding, “The vehicle has been modified to allow for manual steering. There are automatic assault rifles anchored to both the left and right side.”

Gotta get me one of these. “Can you see past the window tint and tell me how many bodies are inside?”

“Checking . . .” the computer replied. Several tense seconds ticked past. “Body heat indicators suggest four adult males.”

He liked those odds.

Eight

“WE COULD BE DEALING with the men who bombed my father’s house,” Evie said. “Maybe they’re here to end you for good.”

“Maybe,” Blue replied, “but I’m presumed dead, and this isn’t my car. You are a more likely target.”

She shook her head, so close to him the end of her ponytail brushed his arm. “Your body was never found. You’re not presumed dead.”

“No one saw me go into my house. No one saw me go into yours, either.”

“No one that we know about.”

She had an answer for everything.

“I’m sure, Evie,” he said, his tone flat. “I would have sensed if I was being followed. I’m never not aware.”