Damian slid into the driver’s seat of his grandmother’s car, careful not to tip over the contents of the takeout bag on the seat beside him. Starting the engine, he glanced at the radio’s clock and grinned. 11:50 a.m. He was running a little early, since he’d gotten to Murphy’s right before the lunch crowd swarmed the place.
Anxiety and excitement warred inside his head. The deep attraction he had for Cara was unnerving, but also undeniable. He’d always kept his interaction with human women in the casual fling territory, planning on his eventual mate being an Arcturian. Even so, he’d never had strong feelings for a female of either species. Until now. How could he be falling for a human?
What the hell was he worried about? A mate? He’d only spent a few hours with her. And her company was enjoyable, so he wanted to see her again. So what? It wasn’t like he was proposing. He was bringing her lunch. A BLT on white toast, and pickles. Not a fucking engagement ring.
He turned into the parking lot of her studio’s building two minutes after leaving the deli. She hadn’t been kidding about the place being close by.
Spotting her car right away, he frowned at the car parked next to it. A red Porsche. Who the hell is that? He pulled into the space next to it, grabbing their lunch as he got out.
When Damian walked by the open window of the flashy ticket magnet, a faint smell tingled in his nose. A mix of testosterone, drugs, and rage. His gut clenched as he dropped the food and rushed inside. Something was very wrong with the owner of that car.
He entered the foyer, scanning the surroundings for signs of a struggle. Nothing. Just an empty hallway with a staircase at the other end. And, a single metal door on the left side. Must be Cara’s studio.
As he moved closer to her door, the sound of a muffled scream reached his ears, chilling his blood. He lunged for the knob, but it wouldn’t turn. Locked. His mind raced, instincts surging forward. Planting his left leg, Damian rammed his foot through the door, ripping it off the bottom hinge as it flew open, knocking the trim free of the wall.
A man hovering over Cara whipped his head toward the doorway, fury twisting his features. As the guy shifted off, Damian caught a glimpse of her and his heart plummeted to his stomach. Her face frozen in fear, bruises on her throat and cheeks stood out in stark contrast against her too pale skin.
His rage erupted, causing his eyes to shift into flame, and he let out a roar. All higher thought left him. That bastard was going to die.
As the man made it to his feet, Cara scurried behind a table in the corner. He glanced to her, then back to Damian. “Don’t worry, sweetheart. I won’t let this asshole near you.”
What the fuck? Was he insane on top of being drugged up? “I’m not a danger to her. I can’t say the same for you, though.”
Damian didn’t waste time. He shot forward, ducking an uncoordinated punch, and nailed the guy right in balls, dropping him to his knees. As he sat there whimpering, cradling his damaged goods, Damian gripped him by the throat and jerked him to his feet. He slammed him against the wall, his hands like a vise pinning him a couple of inches off the floor.
As Cara’s attacker struggled for breath, she cried out, “Damian, stop! You’re killing him!”
Shit. What was he doing? Killing a man right in front of her? He may have no problem taking the life of his enemies, but she didn’t need that kind of stain on her conscience. Besides, this guy wasn’t really an enemy, was he? He was a drug-powered asshole who almost raped his female, but he wasn’t a Savrati drone. He had to let the humans handle it.
“Call the police while I hold him here.” He looked at her when she didn’t move. “What’s wrong?”
“I’m... worried about him. He’s... an old friend. I don’t know what got into Brian today, but it—this—isn’t like him. At all.” Concern mingled with the fear in her eyes.
Damn. She didn’t want to involve the police. He could hear the hesitation in her voice. The guy was someone she knew and trusted. An old friend. But, he couldn’t just let him go. Not after what he’d pulled. That only left one option. Dazing him, altering his memories.
“Do you trust me?”
“Do you trust me?”
“Good. Just sit tight over there and I’ll take care of it.”
Damian placed his left hand against Brian’s temple. He focused his energy on reaching into his mind. With the drugs in his system, it didn’t take long. Since he wasn’t capable of erasing Cara from Brian’s memory, he sent a kind of mental block on anything related to her. Leaving them with the same result. He would never bother her again. Never even think of her. Too bad he didn’t have dazing skills like Vain. He’d have made the motherfucker become a celibate monk living in
He dropped Brian to the floor. The guy rushed out without a single word.
Damian took a step toward Cara, desperate to comfort her.
She stayed behind the table, eyes shimmering, arm outstretched in front of her. “Just stay over there. Please.”
His heart wrenched.
“I guess it would be better if I just go. Cara, I’m so sorry. I never meant to frighten you.” He turned away, heading for the trashed door.
“Wait. Don’t go. I’m not... afraid. I’m... confused. In shock.”
Damian froze, unable to take a breath.
“You’re not... human. What are you?”
He slammed his eyes shut, dropping his head. Fuck. He should daze her and go. Never to see her again. Humans weren’t supposed to know what they were. Dazing was standard procedure in a situation like this. Right now, he couldn’t give a shit about procedure. But, she would be better off. Besides, he wasn’t planning a future with her anyway. Right?
Taking a deep breath, he faced her.
If he didn’t daze her now, he never would.