Damian was a grade-A, choice cut asshole. He should have dazed Cara back at the studio and then watched over her from the shadows until any danger had passed.
He should not have told her anything about him or his people. But as he’d stared into her powder blue eyes, his desire for her had won out. Now, Cara was suffering for it. He could smell the sadness coming off of her as she’d walked into her bedroom.
The sound of running water stirred a different guilt in him, images of her flashing through his mind. Naked and dripping wet, body soft and flush from the steam. Hands running over her body, suds trailing down her breasts to the apex of her thighs. Head tilting under the spray as her long waves cling to her back, eyes closed, lips slightly parted. Drawing her tight against him, skin to skin, his arm wrapping around her waist. Sliding his tongue along her bottom lip before plunging inside, claiming her mouth.
His throbbing cock, pressing against his zipper, tore him from the sinful fantasy. He looked at the front of his jeans, shame and disgust filling his heart. Cara had just gone through a day of hell, her world never to be the same. She needed his comfort, not his hard dick.
A knock on the door had him palming his SIG, easing his way over to glance through the peephole. Holding a pizza box, a boy wearing a Carini’s Pizza t-shirt and a big ass grin waited on the other side. The delivery boy.
Damian swung his head to Cara’s bedroom door as he heard the water cut off. She was naked back there. He bit back a growl. No other male would get inside the apartment while she was undressed.
He ripped his wallet from his back pocket and snatched a twenty from the billfold. Flinging the door open, he shoved the money into the guy’s hand, jerked the box away from him, and slammed the door in his face.
Smooth. Real smooth, D. Well, it was better than beating the guy’s face in, which is exactly what he would have done if he’d seen Cara naked.
Damian turned to the kitchen as Cara’s bedroom door opened. He sucked in a breath, frozen in place, his eyes absorbing her image. She was wearing a light blue tank top and matching striped shorts, revealing a lot of skin. Bruised skin. All over her shoulders and thighs. He struggled to maintain control, clamping down on his rage so his eyes wouldn’t shift to flame and scare the crap out of her. Again. Holding the pizza box in a death grip, he forced his feet to carry him into the kitchen.
“I guess that was the delivery boy knocking on the door? How much did you give him, so I can pay you back?” She headed for her purse, but he threw up a hand to stop her.
“Don’t worry about it. My treat.” He flashed a smile as he placed the box on the table.
“You know, it is okay to let the woman pay sometimes. You don’t have to take care of me.”
Damian grunted. Every bone in his body disagreed. It would be my honor to care for you, always.
Strange how quickly and easily his heart laid claim to her. But he could not voice it—would not. He was to become a Guardian, and in the process gain the thousand year life span his mixed blood had denied him. Tying himself to a human was out of the question.
“What can I say? I’m an old-fashioned kind of guy. Have a seat, and I’ll get us some plates.”
As he rifled through the cabinets behind him for the dishes, a male voice invaded his ears, simultaneously punching him in the gut.
“Hey, it’s me. I’ve got big news, but I can’t tell you over the phone. Can I see you tomorrow? Call me back. I love you Care Bear.” A loud beep followed the message.
He whirled around, a pang of jealousy stabbing his heart. Someone else loved his Cara. Even had a cute nickname for her. His gaze flew to hers, and his heart stopped beating, the anger disintegrating in an instant. Tears streamed down her cheeks, panic set into her features.
“I...I can’t see my...brother tomorrow. Not so soon after...Connor can’t know what happened.” She collapsed into her chair, hands covering her face as her body quaked with sobs.
Damian’s heart shattered. He could make it right, give her back a normal life. She deserved to be happy, to live a life free of guilt, unburdened with hiding her pain. He had it in his power to take it all away, with just a touch to her face. But something deep inside wouldn’t let him daze her against her will. So he’d have to convince her it was the right thing to do.
He eased over to her, gently resting a hand on her shoulder as he stroked her hair with the other. Before he could speak a word, she bolted to the kitchen sink, splashing water on her face.
“I’m sorry. I know you don’t want to be here babysitting a blubbering idiot. I’ll be fine. I just need a second, that’s all.” Her voice shook under the strain.
He approached slowly, afraid she would flee again. His hands gripped her arms, turning her to face him, but she didn’t meet his eyes. “Cara, please don’t pull away from me. You don’t have to deal with this by yourself. Let me help you, please. I need to take care of you.”
She remained silent, unmoving in his arms. But she wasn’t running away either.
“There’s still time to fix this. I can daze you, take this horrible day from your memory. I can watch you from a distance and keep you safe. You have no idea how much it’s gonna kill me to do it, but every part of me screams out to make you happy.”
Her gaze lifted, not a trace of fear or doubt lingering in the pools of blue staring back at him. “If you think removing yourself from my life will make me happy, you’re wrong.” She wrapped her arms around his neck, lifting to her toes as her mouth hovered just millimeters away. “What I need is you.”
The air around them shifted as the heat of her desire plowed over him in waves. Her soft lips brushed a tender kiss to his, her tongue lightly teasing him to open for her. The thin thread of his resolve snapped and his hands gripped her waist, crushing her against him. He deepened the kiss, taking control as his tongue danced with hers, the taste of her burning him from the inside out.
His hands trailed down the curve of her hips to cup her ass. She lifted her legs, encircling around him as she rubbed against his cock. The friction through their clothes was a delicious torture, pushing him to the precipice of losing himself.
Cara moaned against his mouth, and he surrendered the last shred of control. He was powerless as his legs carried them to her bedroom.