“I’m fine. I’ll be fine. I need to go for a walk. Clear my head. I’ll be back,” and he rushed from the room, and headed down the hallway and out the back door, leaving Pixie gaping in amazement behind him.
He had to get away from her, before he gave in to temptation and ripped her clothes off right there. Of course Pixie would probably stab him if he tried that, and he’d deserve it.
He smacked himself in the face, hard, as he rushed outside. It didn’t help.
At least he wasn’t suddenly overwhelmed by lust for Hillary, or anyone else. Just Pixie. All his thoughts were swirling around Pixie.
He paused outside in the alleyway behind the warehouse building. Normally, he found Pixie absolutely maddening. When she walked in the room, it flipped some kind of switch in him, caused an angry, itchy rage to prickle at him from the inside.
Without the necklace, though, the anger and the irritation were gone…and replaced with raw, unbridled desire.
What lousy timing, to lose the necklace when he most needed to keep his wits about him. He couldn’t go back to Shifters, Inc. to search for it; he was sure that the public health department would have it cordoned off and under heavy guard.
The shaman who’d made him the talisman lived in Dominick’s hometown of Big Timber, six hours to the north, on the coast near the mountains. He wouldn’t have time to go get another one while he was dealing with this crisis. He’d just have to soldier through, somehow.
To take his mind off of Pixie, he grabbed his cell phone. He had half a dozen missed texts from his brother.
He hit the call back button, scowling at the phone. “I’m fine,” he said when his brother answered.
“I heard on the news that a building in your area had been quarantined, but they won’t say why. What’s going on?” Ryder demanded.
“That’s what I’m trying to find out. I’m going to have to lay low for a few days. Tell mom and dad I’m okay. And I’m sorry, we had to leave your car behind in the parking lot, which is now crawling with haz-mat teams.”
“Don’t worry about the car. So you’re all right?”
“As far as I can tell, I wasn’t exposed to whatever was in that building. As for me being all right -what were you thinking bringing that bitch to my office to rub your engagement in my face?”
His brother let out a warning growl. “She’s my fated mate, and my fiancee, whether you like it or not. You need to get past this. We’re getting married in two weeks, our parents expect you to be there, and you had better behave. Do you realize how much grief you’re causing our parents, with your attitude?”
Dominick let out a bitter laugh. “My attitude. Right, that’s a good one. You’re the one who’s hurting our parents. They hate her even more than I do. If you could just see-” But he was talking to empty air. He could hear the click of the phone as Ryder hung up on him.
Cursing, he shoved the phone back in his pocket. What the hell else could go wrong today?
Better not to ask.
He turned and stalked off, striding away from the building. The hood rats and gangster wanna-bes who lurked in doorways and clumped together on street corners cast sullen glances his way, but he met their gaze straight on and they looked away.
* * *
“What’s wrong with him? Are we sure that Dominic isn’t infected with…whatever everyone else was infected with?” Hillary asked.
The room that Fraser had directed them to was as grimy as the rest of the warehouse. The couches were passable, at least. One was plaid, one was pink and had a floral pattern. There was an overstuffed brown armchair that somebody could sleep in. Fraser had probably stolen all the furniture from somewhere, as well as the odd assortment of mismatched coffee tables, lamps, desk and chairs.