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Immune(Rylee Adamson #2)(10) by Shannon Mayer

As soon as Adamson passed out, O’Shea pulled over. Leaving the SUV running, he grabbed the repair kit from the back seat and pulled out the duct tape. In a few short minutes, he had the holes patched over, blocking almost all of the wind. What was she thinking? There was no way she could face down a Troll, or more werewolves, or anything as long as this cold weather was hitting her as it seemed to be. Why couldn’t she see it?

“Damn it, she’s not Wonder Woman.” The wind swirled his words away, and he took a slow breath to calm himself. He knew why she did it, knew it better than most. The drive to save missing children, to return them to their families was nigh on an obsession with her. She needed it as much as she needed food and air.

The snow slid out from under his feet, the temperature making it a wet, slushy mess rather than the usual dry cold. It was going to make driving a supreme pain in the ass. Sliding back into the driver’s seat, he reached back to Adamson, and slid a hand under the coat he’d tossed her. While she wasn’t toasty warm, she also wasn’t frosted over like when he’d found her in the Jeep.

“Adamson, you awake?”

She grumbled something and snuggled deeper under the coat and closer to the werewolf, who was now giving him the stink eye. Amber eyes glared at him, narrowing as the elongated jaw dropped open.

“Stop touching.” He growled, pushing O’Shea away. Knowing it probably wasn’t the smartest thing, he said what was on his mind.

“You and me, we’re going to have a chat soon.” His voice was steady, though his heart was suddenly pounding. “And you are not going to like it. Buddy.”

Alex snorted and waved at him, as if to dismiss the agent.

Putting the SUV into gear, making sure the heat was cranked up as hot as it could go, sweat beading up on his skin, he pulled back onto the road, heading for the interstate.

Eyes focused on the road, he almost didn’t hear the ring of his cell phone buried in the console. Yanking it out and answering, he almost wished he hadn’t.

“O’Shea, this is Agent Valley. Where the hell are you?”

Right, his boss didn’t know about this little trip.

“Uh, I’m with Adamson. We are . . .”

Agent Valley laughed. “Tell me you aren’t in bed with her. When I said partner, I meant working partner; you know that, right? ‘Cause if you’re in bed with her, I can’t guarantee you won’t get busted down to traffic. I mean it. We need her on this division and if you mess it up because you can’t keep your hands off her, I will have your ass in a sling.”

O’Shea’ let out a slow breath. “I understand, sir. And for the record, that hasn’t ever crossed my mind.” Yeaaaah, only about every other minute.

“Then, what, pray tell are you doing?”

“Trying to convince her to trust me, to work with me.”

There was silence for almost a full minute before Agent Valley came back on. “Fine. Do what you have to do, but make it happen. We have problems here. A god damned Harpy was sighted flying south. A Harpy. Of all the God damned things we need right now, this is not one of them!”

A distinct desire to close his eyes and lay his head on the steering wheel hit O’Shea. He settled for tightening his grip on the faux leather grips of the wheel. “Understood, sir. I should be back in North Dakota in a few days.”

“What?” The ice in Agent Valley’s voice could rival the cold hammering the outside of the SUV.

“Sorry, sir, you’re breaking up.” O’Shea hit the end button, then turned off the phone completely.

“Fuck, this is bad.”

From the backseat, Alex echoed him, though O’Shea thought it was twisted to be directed back at him, amber eyes watching him closely.

“Fuck is bad.”

“Yeah, that about sums it up,” O’Shea muttered as he pulled onto the interstate and headed south.

Heading out of town, dodging the various spin outs, navigating the winter storm, the SUV was silent except for Alex humming to himself next to me. I was awake now, warmed up to the point of being with it again, but I was trying to stay inconspicuous. The thing was, I knew O’Shea was right; I was in no shape to go after Ricky, not in this weather with demon venom pumping through me. That didn’t make me any happier about the situation.

I stared out the window as the sun set, darkness putting us into a world that looked like we were the only people left on the planet. The snow swirled down around us, cutting us off from the rest of the world, muffling sound and light.

“Where are your parents now?”

O’Shea’s voice startled me out of my nearly hypnotized state. How the hell had he known I was awake?

I crunched lower into my seat. “I don’t know. I haven’t seen them since—” I didn’t want to go back to that time in my life. It was dark and ugly.

He glanced back at me, and I curled up tighter. This was not a discussion I wanted to have with anyone, certainly not O’Shea. So I turned it back on him.

“Where are your parents?”

“Dead.”

Good job, Rylee, real good job.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t know.” Lame, but what else did you say to that kind of confession? Maybe it would put an end to the conversation.

“Not your fault. They died right before I finished my four-year degree.”

Crap, looked like the agent wanted to talk. I squirmed in my seat, and didn’t answer him. Personal stories were not my forte. I didn’t like sharing mine, and I didn’t particularly like hearing other people’s. It was awkward; I never knew what to say. Shit happens, get over it. People didn’t like to hear that. Hell, I wouldn’t like to hear that, but it was the truth as far as I was concerned.

His hands shifted on the wheel and he stared out the windshield for a moment. I thought perhaps he was getting the drift. No such luck.

“They were killed, both of them, by a serial shooter. He was targeting ‘well-to-do’ couples to get back at his employers for laying him off. They were in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

I kept my mouth shut.

Alex shifted in the back, and then stuck his head onto the middle console. “Bad guns?”

Shut up! I wanted to shout, but I satisfied myself with closing my eyes; acting uninterested. The biggest problem? I wanted to know more about him, which was exactly why I needed to pull back.

He was with Milly, my BFF. Right. Which was why thinking about him as anything but a tool to help me get the salvage done was a bad idea.

O’Shea’s deep voice spilled over me, as he spoke to Alex, like I wasn’t even there. He talked about growing up on a small farm in Kentucky, about going away to college, how he hadn’t wanted to be an FBI agent until the death of his parents.

“What were you studying in university?” The question popped out of me before I could stop it.

O’Shea glanced over at me. “Art. I was in taking my Bachelor of Arts program.”

I could actually see him as a sculptor, hands working with clay as he molded shapes out of a lumpy substance. It was far too easy to imagine him shirtless and creating something amazing. Yes, far too easy. I had to say something. Something that would stop this from going any further.

“What the hell, how did you get to be a goddam FBI agent from a fruity art student?”

His mouth tightened. “I was not a fruity art student. I was studying—”

“Nooooo, you were a freaking hippy turned into a gun toting agent. You can’t tell me you had that planned? I mean, I can’t believe the FBI even let you in!” Once I got going, I couldn’t stop myself. There had to be space between us. Had to be. Inwardly I cringed, but didn’t stop.

“They require a degree,” he ground out, fingers tightening on the wheel, vein pulsing in his neck. “They don’t care what degree; it just has to be a four-year degree.”

Forcing a laugh, I clutched at my belly. “Are you kidding me? Sheesh, here I thought I’d had a real agent chasing me all those years.”

It was his turn to play the silent role, and I slumped down in my seat and flung an arm over my eyes. It wasn’t nice what I’d said, I knew that. But what the hell, we weren’t playing truth or dare. I hadn’t asked him to spill his guts.

More than that, I had to stop this attraction. I had to find a way to push him out of my life for good. Because every time he touched me, every time I looked his way and caught a glimpse of heat in his dark eyes, the intensity of what I was feeling increased. Next thing, I’d be throwing myself bodily at him and begging for him to do more than kiss me.

“You can be a real bitch, Adamson.”

“I know, Liam.” I whispered, rolling my back to him and shutting my eyes.

It was going to be a long drive to New Mexico.

7

She’d whispered his name, just that, so simple and it undid him all over again. Damn, the woman could be more mercurial than the weather. Even so, he’d seen her put up her guard, watched her back away from a conversation that was anything more than surface. And now she was feigning sleep to avoid him. He reached over and shook her shoulder, though he knew she wasn’t really asleep.

“What’s the plan, when we get to New Mexico?”

Twisting in her seat, she lifted an eyebrow. “No plan. Go in, strangle some information out of Doran, get the venom out of me. Done, time to go home.”

They were driving through South Dakota and would soon be crossing into Wyoming, but it seemed as if the storm was following them.

“Sounds like all of your ideas,” he paused for effect, feeling a need to knock her down a peg or two. “Stupid and naive.”

She sucked in a sharp breath of air. Good, at least he had her attention now. If she wanted to play hardball, fine by him.

“You ass, what do you know about going after anything supernatural?”

“I know you should have at least an idea of a plan. Maybe even something for a back up.” He yelled, angrier than he’d been in a while; since he’d decided Adamson was someone he wanted for a partner, and that was all she could ever be.