Immune(Rylee Adamson #2)(6) by Shannon Mayer
He couldn’t make the SUV any warmer. Already, he second guessed what he’d done, taking her away from the paramedics, hospitals, and the ability to have her warmed up medically.
She let out a groan. “Please. Don’t hurt her.”
“Adamson? I need you to wake up. Now!” O’Shea caught Alex cringe out the corner of his eye in the rear view mirror.
“No yelling.” The werewolf whimpered.
How long would he have before she was past being able to help? At the next exit, he pulled off, searching for a place to get her warm.
The blinking lights of a cheap, cheesy motel flashed from out of the white blanket pulled over the world. Good enough. He skidded to a stop, the SUV sliding on the slushy snow. He stared up at the sign. It was one of Rylee’s usual stops, one he’d followed her to more than once while trying to prove her guilt. Leaving the vehicle running, the heat on full blast, he ran to the motel door, stomping off the snow when he stepped inside.
O’Shea got a key from the motel clerk who was wearing a beat up old cowboy hat, his legs up on the registration desk.
“You got a dog too?” The old man asked, squinting out at the SUV, a large canine-like head clearly visible. Damn it all.
“Yes. Is that going to be a problem?”
The owner shrugged. “Long as he don’t wreck anything. I only ever let one other person have their dog in here. She’s a hell of a lot cuter than you though.” Laughing, the old man shuffled around the edge of the desk. “Good day to hunker down. Ring me up if you need anything.”
“Actually, have you got any salt?”
Lifting his eyebrows, the old man reached under the desk and O’Shea tensed. But all he brought out was a wooden salt shaker. “This do?”
O’Shea shook his head and made his way back to the SUV, fighting the cold wind the whole way. After scooping Adamson up, and with Alex tight on his heels, he jogged to the room, lucky number 13. It looked as though it had been repaired recently. Shoving the door open, he hip-checked it shut behind them. The muted darkness felt muffled from the outside, snow falling steadily, blocking out much of the daylight.
After laying Rylee out on the bed, he put two fingers to her neck. Her pulse was irregular and barely discernible, not to mention her skin was ice cold and clammy. He strode to the thermostat and cranked it up full blast, then stripped off his trench coat.
“Alex, go turn the heat up in the bathroom.” The werewolf bounded off, claws clacking on the linoleum when he hit it.
“Yuppy doody, gots it!”
Shaking his head, O’Shea took a deep breath. “I’m doing this to help you, Adamson.” A large part of him was hoping she would wake up, give him hell, and then they could be off on their way. But no such luck.
Moving quickly, trying not to think about what he was doing, O’Shea stripped her down. He couldn’t help it, but his eyes tracked the scars on her body. From the fresh one on her left arm, to the ones across her hips, stomach and legs, he took it in. She had not had an easy life, yet still she fought to help others. And he’d been the ass standing in her way.
Again, focusing just on what needed to be done, he scooped her back into his arms. The shock of her nearly blue cold flesh could be felt through his shirt and set his heart hammering. “Come on, Adamson. Get mad at me. Yell. Give me something.”
She was silent; her auburn hair a bright splash of color against her pale skin, the dark eyelashes against her cheeks a deadly contrast.
He carried her to the bathroom and cranked on the water, filling the tub while he cradled her. Using the water was the only thing he could think of; not just because it was warm, either. When he’d been spelled by the Black Coven, Rylee had used water and salt to break it. Maybe this was the same?
“Alex, bring me the salt.”
The werewolf did as he asked, even pouring it into the water for him, stirring it around with the tip of one claw before retreating with a frown on his face.
Instinctively, O’Shea stroked her hair. How could he not have seen her for what she was? For so many years, he’d accused her of murdering her own sister, blinded by his own ego to the point where he couldn’t admit he was wrong.
When the tub was full, he slipped her body in, but she couldn’t hold herself upright. Without another thought, he pulled her back out, stripped himself down to his shorts, and put her back in the tub. Shifting her forward, he slipped in behind her, and put one arm across her clavicle, the other around her waist. Already, the water and salt seemed to be doing the trick; her face pinked up and her eyelids fluttered.
“Liam.” She whispered his name. He sat very still, suddenly aware of a large set of eyes watching him from the doorway. Frowning, golden, werewolf eyes. He frowned back.
“Rylee mine. Not yours.” Alex snapped his teeth at O’Shea then sat down in the doorway, continuing to glare at him.
If he hadn’t been sitting in a tub of water, a na**d woman in his arms and a serious problem with his body’s reaction to the na**d woman in his arms, he would have dealt with this. He’d had dogs before, knew that the minute they thought they were dominant you were in trouble. No doubt it was the same with werewolves.
Blissfully warm, I snuggled under the covers, recognizing the smell of my usual stop at John’s motel. I didn’t remember actually pulling in, the details of the last few hours were fuzzy. Stretching out, there was the familiar weight of a werewolf across my legs, but that wasn’t what stilled my movements.
The hand resting on my hip, the deep breathing in my ear, and the rather distinct and unfamiliar feel of a large man pressed against my na**d backside had me questioning what exactly had happened. I opened my eyes to see the still tattered curtains from our last visit giving me glimpses of the heavy snow falling. I felt like I was in some kind of weird time warp.
“You awake?” O’Shea’s voice rumbled in my ear, the vibration from his chest against my back too pleasant by far.
I sat up fast, my head spinning. “Yeah. What the hell happened?” I clutched the blanket around my body, not shy, just feeling more vulnerable than I could have imagined without clothes and a weapon or two. Go figure.
O’Shea sat up, then leaned against the rickety headboard; a smile ghosted across his lips. “You don’t remember?”
Staring at his broad, deliciously na**d chest, I opened my mouth, but no sound came out.
The demon. Faris and Berget. The Jeep flipping over. It all muddled up inside my head; I groaned and shut my eyes. “My gear?”
I peeked out at him between the fingers of my one hand. Of all the men I had to go and lust after, it had to be one, the FBI agent who’d been after me for ten years, and two, Milly’s current boy toy. Fuck me, I had bad taste.
The bed creaked and my eyes flew open, but O’Shea was just shifting his weight, crossing his legs. He was still wearing his pants at least. His dark eyes watched me carefully, but he didn’t seem angry.
“Talk to me, Rylee. What’s really going on?”
Come on, Rylee, be a grown up. Let him help you. I chided myself, knowing indeed, I did need his help now. At least until I could purge this venom out of my system.
“Apparently the demon we fought while rescuing India was a Hoarfrost demon. I got a sting from it.” That was an understatement. “And now I am affected by the cold to the point of . . . .”
He finished for me, “Passing out.”
I blew out a breath, not wanting him to know it could, in fact, kill me. Some things were better left unsaid. “Yeah. And I’m headed into Bismarck to meet up with a single mom.”
“You need to take care of yourself before you go after a kid. You’re no good to him or her in this kind of shape.”
My arm muscles tightened, and I did my best to rein in my anger. He had, after all, saved my bacon. “I’m going after this kid. Now I know I just have to stay warm; there isn’t an issue.”
Snorting, he leaned forward, stomach muscles bunching into a perfect six-pack. I clamped my hands around the sheets, blood pumping at the sight of him.
He nodded. “I know better than to try and stop you.”
Dark eyes narrowed. “Which means you need to see how bad this really is. If you can walk from this hotel room to the SUV without shivering, then I’ll help you go after this kid. Right now.”
Oh no, he wasn’t going to try and manipulate me, was he?
“And if I can’t?” My voice was deadly soft.
“We take care of you first. Then come back for the kid.”
I was already shaking my head. “No deal. I do this my way.”
He stood up, looming over me, bare chest a serious distraction for my thoughts. “You almost died, because of cold weather that isn’t even that cold. It’s barely hovering around freezing. You can’t go after this kid—”
“Don’t tell me what I can and can’t do! I didn’t ask you to look out for me!” I forgot I was na**d and rose to my knees on the bed.
We were nose to nose, screaming. Right back to the first day we’d met.
O’Shea put his hands on my shoulders, and then shoved me back onto the bed. “You are the most arrogant, delusional person I have ever met. You can’t help this kid if you die. If you’re dead, how many other kids are going to go unfound?”
God damn it, that hit below the belt.
“This could be a quick salvage, but I won’t know that until I go see the mother.” I was bargaining; I knew he had me. How had I lost control of this situation? The sheet slipped down further, baring even more skin to the open air. It wasn’t cold, but a shiver traced through me as O’Shea’s eyes dipped, widened and dilated.
The air between us all but crackled with tension. His jaw twitched and ever so slowly he lifted his eyes to mine.
“Wherever you go, I go too.”
My teeth ached from gritting them. “Fine.” I took great pleasure in seeing his eyes widen and his eyebrows climb with my agreement.