Excerpt: Lark opened her eyes, taking in the pitch black hotel room, illuminated only by the moonlight. Sweat beaded around her neck and brow. Hair stuck to the nape of her neck. She sat up and looked around at the barely visible furniture. Movement by the window caught her eye.
Devon stood at the window arms crossed over his chest. His broad shoulders accented by the bright white of the moon. Lark stared at the fine plains of his bare back. She licked her lips taking him all in. Her body shuddered recalling the way he’d felt pressed against her – the way his lips had caressed hers a day ago.
Lark blinked the images away. Thankful for the darkness that hid the heat creeping across her face. Her throat parched, she pushed the covers back to get a drink of water from the sink.
The cool water alleviated some of the heat, and glided down her parched throat. She pushed the wet strands out of her face and walked to the window. Devon hadn’t moved. Preston and the three other guys lay sound asleep on the floor. They’d been kind enough to give her the only bed.
“Do you not sleep?” Lark joined him at the window. Her eyes glued to the door across the street. To think, her sister was in that room. Lark wondered if Sarah was okay. Was she sleeping? In pain? Would they hurt her? The list went on and on.
“It’s my turn to keep watch. Daniel said they wouldn’t leave till morning, but I don’t want to risk it.” Devon looked over at her for a moment his eyes slipped down to take in her plaid pants before he turned back to the window.
She’d gone with Preston to the store earlier to pick up a few things. They’d both needed the distraction. She normally slept in boy-shorts, but after her run in with Devon the other morning, and considering she was sharing a room with five guys, she had thought better.
“Oh, I didn’t realize you guys were keeping watch. I can keep a look out if you want to rest.”
“It’s okay. Preston will take over in another half hour.” Devon shrugged. “I’m used to the late nights; it’s actually been a little bit of shell shock to get used to days. As an EMT I worked the twelve hour night shift. Most incidents happen at night, you get used to being up all night. My nights off I usually spent out too. Vincent likes to party. I went along for something to do and keep him out of trouble.”
“I can see that about Vincent. I bet you’ve seen some interesting things on your job?”
Devon smiled, the moonlight lit his hazel eyes. “People never cease to amaze you. I’ve seen the traumatic to the dramatic.”
Lark laughed. “I can imagine. You see stories on the news every so often, where someone calls 911 for a cheeseburger, or something ridiculous like that.”
“Those are the people who don’t understand the absorbent bill they get in the mail for our services either,” Devon chuckled.
The smile lit his entire face. It gave her a rare glimpse of him. Lark wondered what had happened in his past to make him so distant. Slowly, he seemed to be opening up to her. She hoped he continued to do so.
“I’m sure you get interesting characters in The Cookie Jar.”
“Yeah, about half my customers are regulars. It’s kind of nice getting to talk to everyone. You’d be amazed what people tell you though. I’ve heard so many things that I really didn’t want to know.” Lark placed her hands on the windowsill, leaning forward. She peered out the sheer curtains.
Her thoughts drifted back to Sarah and Emily; at least they had each other.
“They won’t hurt her.”
Lark looked up at him surprised, taking a moment to register his words. She nodded and sighed, eyes darting back to the door across the street. The street seemed to stretch endlessly. It felt like miles separated them instead of mere feet. She would feel better once she could hold Sarah in her arms again.
“Have you ever thought about becoming a doctor or a nurse? You know taking your training to the next level?” Lark needed a distraction and she was curious about Devon.
“My bedside manner sucks.”
Lark met his smile. “But would you?”
Devon leaned forward before rocking back on his heels. “I don’t know. I never really thought about it.”
Lark nodded. “I always enjoyed baking. I never in my life thought I’d own my own bakery. But I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.”
“I do like the blueberry muffins.”
“You guys do seem to have a sweet tooth. Well, actually, I’ve noticed you guys eat just about anything.”
Devon laughed. “It’s our metabolism. Especially when we shift a lot; it makes us hungry.”
“I can tell.” Lark looked over at him. “Do you do it often? Shift I mean?”
“I try to once a day; some days, like when I worked, I couldn’t. The wolf is a part of who we are. Shifting is important for our mental well being. As a rule, we try to shift three to four times a week. The only exception is when women are pregnant. The shift is harmful to the fetus since the body transforms from a human into a wolf.”
“Does it hurt when you change?” Lark couldn’t stop herself from asking.
“It’s a pleasure pain.”
“I imagine it’s exhilarating.”
“You really are genuinely interested aren’t you?” Devon turned to her eyes locked on hers.
Lark swallowed at the intensity of his gaze and lowered her eyes to the floor.
“I…I’m not trying to be rude.”
“I know.” Devon’s fingers grazed her chin, tilting it back up. “I’ve never met someone who’s been so understanding – who’s wanted to learn more.”
His thumb cupped her chin softly eyes glued to hers. She licked her lips in anticipation.
Slowly his face inched toward hers, their breath mingled. Her heart raced, and body scorched with arousal. His woodsy scent filled her nostrils. Eyes closed, his lips grazed against hers. Devon’s stubble scratched her chin; his lips so soft against hers.
A cell phone blared, lighting the room. Lark sprung back, tripping and falling into the curtains. Preston jolted awake and stood up, the other three men grumbled rolling over.
“Any change?” Preston rubbed his eyes as he walked to the window.
“No,” Devon ground out.
Lark let out a long breath, quickly righting herself. She walked to the bed and slid back under the covers. Sleep would not come anytime soon, she was too wired from the almost kiss with Devon. She sucked in even breaths hoping Preston nor Devon realized how worked up she was. What was it about him that did this to her?