Predator's Refuge

By: Rosanna Leo

“Bart,” Marci said with a sweet tone of warning in her voice. “Be nice. The man’s a long way from home.”

His lip curled so much, Marci wondered if he was trying to do a Billy Idol impersonation. “I am the epitome of nice, Marci. We’ll make sure he gets the welcome he deserves, won’t we, Killian?”

Killian gave him a look. “Don’t look at me. I’m a mentor. I’m paid to fix problems. I don’t create them.” Even still, he aimed another look of clear mistrust at Anton. At the same time, he reached a discreet hand toward hers, smoothing his thumb over her palm, but she pulled it away.

She sighed. “Come on, guys. There will be no crap on my watch. I have enough to think about.”

“Yeah,” Charlotte chimed in. “Like spreading your l—”

“Charlotte. Don’t you have some rooms to clean?” Marci glared at her.

“Whatever,” her friend said on a moan. “I’m outta here.” She wiggled her way down the hallway, Bart’s gaze trained on her ass.

Without even a word of good-bye, Bart followed her down the hall and disappeared.

Marci stared after her friends and silently thanked the Lord she wasn’t such a prey to her animal desires.

Come again? Her lynx threatened, clawing in Anton’s direction.

She couldn’t help wondering why the lynx wasn’t getting a little more excited with Killian standing right there. After all, he was the one who’d popped a certain cherry for her. She darted a glance at her old pal. Drop-dead gorgeous, with his golden hair and muscles, her stupid cat should have been all over him but didn’t seem to notice him anymore. Oh, the lynx had been pretty excited on the occasion of Marci’s deflowering, submitting to Killian with ease and gratitude, but the mangy cat seemed to have forgotten that minor detail.

Maybe that was the problem. She felt grateful to Killian, but wasn’t passionate about him. He had treated her with patience and consideration when they’d had sex the one time, helping her feel unlike a virgin, but their spirit animals hadn’t connected in any way. And despite his obvious sexual knowledge, he hadn’t managed to make her body sing with lust.

Anton shifted his stance inside the payroll office and a strange chorus built in her core, as ominous and demanding as a Beethoven symphony.

“You sure you’re okay?” Killian asked, disturbing her bizarre train of thought. He ran a hand over her head and pulled her in for a hug, kissing the top of her head. “You look pale, Marce.”

“I’m fine.”

He cocked a brow at her and offered her a grin that would make most women’s panties fall of their own accord. “Is it your lynx? Because if you need me to scratch another itch, I’m always available. I enjoyed our last itch-scratching session.”

She pulled away. “No, all my itches have been scratched quite sufficiently, thank you.”

He gazed at her, eyes hooded, glowing with something less than total understanding. “Well, I’m here if you need me. For anything. Day or night. You know I care about you, Marci.”

Killian threw a look toward Anton, frowned, and walked away.

As he left, Marci’s insides roiled with confusion. A sexy man had just propositioned her. Why hadn’t she accepted? It might have shut her lynx up for a while.

She was so out of her league here, so inexperienced it wasn’t even funny. And she just knew it was because she’d waited longer than many to become sexual. Hell, she might only be twenty-three, but she felt like fifty some days as a result of her repression. It wore her down.

Of course, it wasn’t as if anyone had ever expressed an inkling of desire for her before her lynx came into its own. And frankly, she’d been too caught up with work and school for so many years to care. But since her lynx made its belated appearance, all hell had broken loose in Marci’s nether regions. Before sleeping with Killian, the pressure in her womb had played havoc with her mind. The need to open her legs to a man had had her clenching them so hard she’d gotten bruises on her knees. Thank God things were better now.

At least, they had been until the prince of freaking Hungary had shown up.

She’d managed to put a harness on her lynx, but with Anton’s appearance, the animal was determined to free itself of its flimsy bonds.

No. It was better to concentrate on her job, show Ryland she could run the resort, and deal with any animal urges later. Her assistant manager role was at stake, and she wasn’t giving it up for anybody.

Anton finally escaped the vipers in payroll and stalked toward her. Her lynx mewed and rolled onto its back, showing its belly, begging to be stroked by him. Marci bit her lip hard to punish the satyr-like cat.

He glanced at her bottom lip. “Stop gnawing, Ms. Lennox. You have made yourself bleed.”

And then, as she stood by, helpless to react with anything other than gobsmacked lust, Anton reached a hand toward her face. He brushed his thumb across her bottom lip and showed her the drop of blood there. And then his eyes grew dark, and he brought his thumb to his mouth. While she watched, he sucked it in and licked off the blood.