Ward looked up to the heavens. The gods surely hated him. “I still have that silver infused rope…” For a second he was tempted to agree to letting her have the bed, but something in him resisted. “I’m sure you’ll be comfortable on the floor. I heard vampires don’t need sleep anyway.”
She narrowed her eyes. “A myth. Please be a gentleman and let me have the bed.”
“Sorry, honey, I’m a wolf. That means I’m neither gentle nor a man. I won’t touch you if that’s what you’re worried about.”
Her chest heaved as she took a deep breath into her lungs, holding it for a few beats before slowly releasing it. “We’ll discuss the sleeping arrangements later. How are we going to do this? I need to get clean, but you’re not watching me. I’m not one of your wolves. I don’t undress in front of others.”
“Makes me feel sorry for your mate. It can’t be easy, rutting with clothes on.”
Her eyes clouded for the briefest second before she schooled her expression. “I don’t have a mate.” She mumbled something that sounded very much like no rutting either, but he had to have misunderstood her. She was a healthy female in her prime.
Stephany chewed on her lower lip for a few seconds before she asked, “You really need to stay by my side while I am in here?”
“That’s what I said.” He didn’t trust her to stay put. Hell, if he was in her place he would try and escape too. He would have a hard time believing that his captors would just set him free in a few days. Especially after how Hayden had treated her.
“I can’t believe I’m about to say this”—she shook her head—“but desperate times and all that.” She finally looked him dead on. “I suppose you have to stay but you don’t have to look.”
“You could slip away.”
“You just told me you were a wolf. So start acting like one. Use your senses.”
She smiled briefly. Even under the grime, he could tell that she was pretty with her defined cheekbones made more prominent by her short hair. Her eyes were a little too big and her mouth a little too full to be deemed a classic beauty, but pretty all the same.
“Close your eyes, Mister Ward.”
“Just Ward.” He did as she said. He could make out her heartbeat easily. Hear her breathing.
“Will you keep them closed?” Her voice was soft and timid.
Ward tried to sound bored. “Yes.” He was anything but bored because he‘d zoned in on her scent. On the surface, she smelled mostly of wolf, there was also dirt, the iron tang of caked blood. Beneath all of that, she smelled of vampire. Normally a scent that would offend, only there was something more. Vanilla cookies, the kind his grandmother used to bake with the lemon zest frosting. Freshly baked. Still warm to the touch. As a young pup, he’d been in so much trouble on so many occasions for not being able to keep his paws off those cookies, but damned if he could help it.
His mouth watered.
“If you open your eyes, I swear it will be the last thing you see.”
“I will keep them closed.” Ward swallowed hard not wanting to scare his guest by drooling. Especially since he could hear her clothes as they fell to the ground. It wouldn’t look good if he salivated while she was naked, so he willed his eyes to stay shut. The shower splattered to life. Her breathing hitched and her heart rate quickened as the sound of the falling water broke when she stepped under the shower. Ward scented his soap and heard her frantic movements.
“I thought you vampires were immune to the cold.” He couldn’t help but to smile.