“Jared may be my Heir, but I cast all final decisions on every matter. He knows this. He respects this.”
The brindle Pit Bull Terrier laid his head on my lap and stared up at me with an almost pleading expression on his face. Don’t worry, I don’t think that the dog understood what was going on and was begging me to take up Antonio’s offer. But I felt like it was a sign – hopefully that sounds less psychotic.
I had my ass kicked. I had my ass kicked by a Sventé vampire. I had my ass kicked by a woman. The guys would never let me live this down. Neither would my brother or Antonio. Neither would she if she had stayed. Sam. It suited her.
I had to laugh inwardly at myself: the whole thing was so weird. She had kicked my ass, embarrassed me in front of God knows how many people, and even called me a pretty girl...and all I’d wanted to do was grab her, kiss her and bite her.
Why couldn’t she have come here to ask to be one of my consorts?! When I’d saw her at the pool I thought that might have been why she had come. Oh I’d have said yes. Who wouldn’t have? There was that amazing body, that great accent, that husky voice. Even her smart-ass attitude was a turn-on. I wouldn’t have cared if she was like the others; not interested in me, just wanting to be ‘the Heir’s’ consort. If it was the power and authority that got the women rolling up their skirts then fine, whatever. Just as long as they rolled those skirts up whenever I told them to, all was good.
But she would never have done what I told her to. Never have bowed down. Never have batted her eyelids. She hadn’t been impressed or intimidated by my authority. Sure, she wouldn’t have known that I was the Heir. But she knew that I was a Commander, potentially her boss. Did she care? No. She kicked my ass. All of that made her different. It made her interesting.
Nothing could have stopped me from offering for her to be another of my consorts. Nothing except for that look on her face when she realised I hadn’t chosen her for the squad. Pure hatred. And, strangely, that had got to me. So did the idea that I wouldn’t see her again. What had got to me even more was that it had felt so...I don’t know, wrong...to watch her go. Like I was watching something go that was mine.
Well, whatever. Maybe I was just horny. I’d get Joy to see to me once I was done in the office. Or maybe Daniela. Or even Tammy. Or maybe even all of them. Only one thing stopped all that from being the turn-on that it should be: I could make it happen so easily.
I shrugged it all off as I teleported from the Squads’ Quarters to my own personal office in the Command Centre. Kind of lazy that I was teleporting to the building next-door, but whatever. As I appeared at the bureau in my office, movement in my peripheral vision snatched my attention. A weird feeling circulated through me when I turned my head to the left. It was a feeling that made me feel sickly and energized at the same time.
It was her.
She was sat on an oak bureau swinging her crossed legs slightly. A tiny part of my brain registered that the bureau was new, and liked how it was situated to my left so that the bureaus together formed an ‘L’ shape. The rest of my brain joined my body in being totally preoccupied with the sight of her. It was weird how good it was to just see her, especially since I hadn’t expected to ever see her again. God she was too tempting. Like a trap. And I’d already stepped in it. With both feet.
She had her head tilted to the side as she returned my glare, but her expression was blank. I could guess why she was here. “Come to contest my decision?” I asked as I leant casually against the front of my bureau. “I thought you wouldn’t want to work for a sexist twat.”
“I earned a spot. And you know it. I suppose whipping you into place didn’t do anything for my chances seen as you obviously have an ego as swollen as a horse’s rigid dick.”
The laugh just burst out of me. “You’re powerful, I’ll give you that. But there’s a lot more to being in the legion than being agile and gifted.”
“Explain it to me.”
I sighed. “Some of the things that the recruits will be required to do...Let’s just say they’re not for the faint-hearted. There’s no space for compassion or even guilt.”
“So...because I’m a woman, I must be faint-hearted, compassionate and prone to guilt-trips?”
My smile widened a little. She couldn’t have any idea how much her attitude was making me want her right now.
“You know what, Commander Michaels” – there was no respect in the title, it was patronising, and I loved it – “I would have thought that today might have at least taught you one thing; women might just be able to handle things better than what you give them credit for. You held blood to my lips” – I’d wanted her to lick my finger badly – “and I didn’t even so much as twitch. You had me playing Tarzan in the forest with that giant ogre chasing me and I delivered on that task as well. Then you purposely left me ’til last for the third task so that I’d have to duel with you...and let’s not butter up the fact that I put you on your backside.”
“But those tasks are not nearly as bad as what tasks you get once you’re in the legion. Some will keep you up at night. Stick with you forever.”
Her eyes narrowed, she slowly slid off the desk with the smoothness of a snake and approached me in a predatory manner. With only a footstep between us, she spoke, “Well let me tell you something. I’ve done things in my time that would make the curly hairs in your pants go straight. Female or not, I reckon I’ve got bigger balls than you have.”
Her voice went even raspier when she was irritated and that just made me want her even more. I found myself wondering what it would be like to bury my fingers in that dark hair or claim her mouth. I didn’t bother masking my desire for her. I let my eyes wander to her full lips. I let the red tint to my irises be prominent. Then I watched her face as she noticed. She didn’t shrink away. Instead more defiance entered her expression as she shot me a ‘not a chance’ look. I strongly disagreed. A part of her wanted me, I could sense it.
“So, you want me to give you a trial-run in my squad?”
She tilted her head again. “No.”
The office doors then opened and in strode Antonio, his bodyguards and Pit Bulls flanking him. The dogs, to my complete shock, trotted over to Sam, sniffing and nuzzling her. Antonio didn’t seem surprised, which also shocked me.
“You have told him the news?” Antonio asked Sam.
“News?” I queried. Something told me that I wasn’t going to like this. Mostly it was her smug expression.
“You will both be working together.”
“We’ll both be what?”
“I’ve offered Miss Parker -”
“For the gazillionth time will you just call me Sam?” she stressed.
Antonio smiled at her indulgently, like a father. What the hell had been going on? “You’ve offered her...?” I prompted.
“The role of aiding you with training your squad to control their gifts.”
“Isn’t that great?” she said with fake enthusiasm.
Antonio looked as though he was stifling a chuckle. Great, the joke’s on me. “You made this decision without first speaking to me,” I said in a low voice, feeling overlooked.
He sighed. “Jared, you know that I hold you in the highest esteem. You know how valuable I consider you to be. You know that I trust in your capability -”
“But I’m apparently not capable enough.”
“I have my reasons for needing the squad properly prepared without delay. I will be holding a meeting tomorrow during which all will be explained to you, Sam and the other commanders. What I will assure you of now is that my employing Sam is not a reflection on you or my faith in you.”
“Yeah, right.” That’s when I walked out.
“Well that went well,” I said after Jared slammed the door shut behind him.
Antonio sighed. “After a little time alone with his thoughts he will be fine.”
“I certainly hope he isn’t.”
“In the meantime, please acquaint yourself with your personal assistant.”
“I have a personal assistant?”
“Fletcher has been Jared’s assistant for the past three years, and now he is also yours. A fellow Brit, too. Fletcher?”
In a blink Fletcher appeared, his hands clasped together and his eyes shining with enthusiasm. I realised that I had seen him at what looked like a reception desk outside the room. The feminine way with which he held himself and the fact that he was so colour coordinated to the extent that he sported designer glasses that had a navy frame to match his navy suit all told me one thing: Fletcher was homosexual. And so cute. He had the cutest baby face that looked almost perfectly circular and was framed by short, tight mahogany curls. The most adorable dimples decorated his naturally pouty lips. I just wanted to pinch his cheeks like a grandmother would do to a child.