Nightshine, p.17
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       Nightshine, p.17

         Part #4 of Kyndred series by Lynn Viehl
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Page 17

 

  “This is crazy. ” Her dazed eyes met his. “We don’t know each other. ”

  “Yes, we do. ” He shifted his hips so that his shaft parted her folds and dragged along her inner tissues. He could feel the small protrusion of her clit as his cock head nudged over it, and shifted again. He moved just enough so that the heavy ridge of his glans slid over the little knot before he went still. “Go ahead, Charlotte. Use me however you like. Let me feel your pleasure. ” He cupped her buttocks as her thighs tightened against his hips. “It’s only fair. ”

  “No, it’s not, you wicked man. ” Her hands clutched his shoulders as she moved, rocking herself slowly against him. “But, God, you feel so good. ”

  Taske braced himself, watching her face as she rubbed herself over him. Her sweet lips parted as her breath quickened and the water churned around them. The delicious glide of her sex tugged at his foreskin, pushing his own needs to the brink, but he held back, unwilling to find his own release until he saw hers.

  When she came, it was with a long, graceful roll of her hips, her folds engulfing the straining head of his penis. It took every last shred of his control not to push in and pump himself deep. He drew his hips back, just enough to position the tip against her clit, and then with a groan that came from his heels let his climax jet against her.

  “Sam. ” She came again, this time with a cry, writhing under his hands as the tremors racked her a second time.

  Taske tucked her face against his neck and held her, soothing her through the aftershocks by stroking his hands along her spine. Her breathing slowed and her body gradually went limp, and when he murmured her name, she barely stirred.

  Like an exhausted child, she’d fallen asleep.

  Taske shifted her so that he could support her legs, and carefully stepped up and out of the pool. Water streamed down his legs as he stood for a moment and realized what he didn’t feel. Yesterday lifting something as insignificant as a briefcase had been impossible for him. Now he held Charlotte without difficulty, without even thinking about it. He barely felt her weight at all.

  As a boy Taske had been as healthy and active as any other child, and had spent every moment he could outdoors. When he’d joined in games with other children, his size had given him some advantages, but his physical strength had never been anything out of the ordinary. Now something was changing him on the physical level, and from the surges of energy he felt, he suspected the process was continuing. As if whatever had healed him hadn’t finished with him yet. He could almost feel the power growing inside him.

  Taske looked at the villa, and then at the woman sleeping in his arms. Twenty-four hours ago he had thought only of saving one more life before he ended his own. Now, because of her, everything had changed.

  Now it was time to find out why.

  Drew stood on the whitewashed steps outside the hillside home of the fifth witness to Tacal’s murder and watched as Agent Flores spoke to the old woman who had answered the door. After being unable to speak to four of the witnesses, he was convinced they were only wasting their time, but his companion had insisted on trying one more address.

  Drew didn’t mind letting her take the lead, not when she spoke the language and knew every street in Manzanillo. He’d left his rental in the guest lot at the small but scrupulously clean hotel Gracie had recommended, and from there had let her drive them around town in her old but well-maintained Subaru, both out of deference to her and to have time to think over the situation.

  Someone had set up Samuel Taske and the paramedic for Tacal’s murder; of that Drew had absolutely no doubt. Even if somehow Taske had been physically capable of beating a man unconscious, he was too intelligent and fastidious to do so in front of a crowd in a strange country. There was always the possibility that his friend had been drugged or had suffered some kind of psychotic break as a result of being abducted, but if that were the case, why would he stop and let the EMT finish the job?

  At first the old lady seemed only a little suspicious, until Gracie asked a question and gestured toward the bay. A few sharp words, a shake of the head, and the elderly woman scurried back inside.

  “Let me guess,” Drew said as the door slammed shut. “The witness left this morning on an extended trip and won’t be back until sometime near Christmas. Again. ”

  Gracie closed her notepad and tucked it away. “I do not understand this. How could every witness to this one murder leave the city at the same time?”

  “By not leaving and telling their families to say they did. ” He glanced out at the horizon, where the sky was darkening from deep purple to black. “It’s getting late. We might as well call it a night. ”

  “Of course. ” She gave him a perplexed look. “What else would we call it?”

  “That’s American slang for ‘it’s time to quit,’ ” he explained. “Or ‘it’s time to go and have a drink with me. ’ ”

  She started down the steps toward the narrow street at the base of the hill, her heels clicking against the stone. “Well, which is it?”

  He grinned as he followed. “I’ll leave the interpretation up to you, Agent Flores. ”

  “I have to work in the morning. ” She stopped to unlock the passenger door before she went around to the driver’s side. She glanced across the car roof at him. “And you are returning to the U. S. tomorrow, no?”

  He couldn’t lie to the only person interested in helping him. “I’m not leaving until I find out what really happened to these people. I’d also like to know why you were taken off this case, and why you decided to help me anyway. ”

  For a moment she looked as if she wanted to turn and walk off. “Bueno. One drink. ”

  Gracie drove back toward the police station, but parked on the next block over in front of a small café. As soon as Drew stepped out he smelled coffee and burned sugar, and saw two women wearing colorful aprons removing trays of pastries from the glass cases inside. “It looks like they’re closing for the night. ”

  “Not yet. ” Gracie gestured toward a small garden courtyard beside the building. “Go, sit down. ” She went inside, and one of the women came out from behind the counter to hug her.

  Drew watched them chat for a moment before he walked back to the courtyard and sat down at a table in one shadowed corner. A few minutes later Gracie joined him, a small tray in her hands.

  He eyed a plate heaped with tiny pastries and two steaming mugs. “More hot chocolate?”

  “Café de olla y conchas. ” She unloaded the tray before setting it aside and sitting down next to him. “Mexican coffee and pastries. ”

  He tested the drink, which was dark, flavored with cinnamon, and came with a powerful kick. “That’s not just coffee. I thought you had to work in the morning. ”

  “That is why I bought the conchas. ” She selected one, nibbling at the edge of the shell-shaped pastry before she licked the crumbs it left on her lips. “You’re staring at me, Agent Frasier. ”

  “You’re more interesting than the garden, Agent Flores. ” He reached over to rub his thumb over some sugar she’d missed. “So why are you helping me?”

  She cleared her throat. “It is only a professional courtesy. You would do the same if I were in your country. ”

  “Oh, I’d do a lot more. ” Drew grinned. “You’re blushing again. Admit it. You like me. ”

  “If I were a man,” she countered, “we’d be in a cantina, drinking and talking about women. ”

  “If you were a man, I’d be too busy crying. But we can talk about women, if you like. ” He sat back. “What made you decide to become an environmental cop?”

  “It was the right thing to do,” she said slowly. “Mexico has not always been a poor country. When your ancestors were living in animal-skin tents and hunting with bows, mine were building temples to the gods. ”

  “Actually my ancestors were probably drinking, poaching deer, and thieving from the Bri
tish. ” He studied her expression. “You take your job very seriously, don’t you?”

  “How can I do anything else?” Idly she broke her pastry into small pieces. “The first invaders, the conquis-tadores, came here looking for gold. They burned our cities and butchered thousands trying to find it. Today the oil companies, the tourists, and the sportfishermen are not so brutal, perhaps, but they, too, have no conscience. If we let them do as they please, they will steal or destroy the few treasures we have left. ” Her lips twisted. “It would be easier if I were not a woman. Men in my country think we belong at home, cooking their meals and having their babies. ”

  He glanced at the police station across the street. “Do you think that’s why they took you off this case? Because you’re a woman?”

  “I did not—” A ring from her mobile phone interrupted her, and she retrieved it from her case. As soon as she looked at the display she rose to her feet. “Excuse me for a moment. ”

  Drew watched her walk a short distance out to the curb, and then checked his own mobile. His signal status still stood at one-half bar; he’d have to ask her what service she used so he could piggyback a call to their tower once he returned to the hotel.

  Gracie returned after a minute. “I am sorry to rush you, but that was the clerk from your hotel. He says a detective is there, waiting to see you. ”

  Her back was to the streetlights, and her face shadowed, but Drew heard the tension in her voice and saw the rigid set of her slim shoulders. She wasn’t looking at him, either.

  His gaze shifted as a dark car pulled up to the front of the police station. Two men emerged and stood for a moment beside the car; one was the police chief.

  The other was his old boss, Jonah Genaro.

  Drew slid off his copper bracelet, holding it in his hand briefly before opening his fingers. His ability reshaped the dark metal cuff, straightening and elongating it before it blunted itself on one end and formed a point-tipped blade on the other.
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