The Shadows(Black Dagger Brotherhood, book 13)(28) by J.R.Ward
The bad news was that her little dissertation there about the nature of his sex addiction and him trying to do right by her was not anything he was going to hear. And he prayed to God she didn’t keep pushing the subject.
“Selena, I think you need to rest.”
“Don’t tune me out, Trez.”
He shoved his hand across his head. Wished he had some long-ass hair like Wrath’s just so he had something to pull at. “Look, I don’t want to argue with you.”
“So tell me I’m wrong. Even though I don’t believe that. But say something. Anything.”
Trez grimaced and shook his head. “I’ma go now and—”
“No, we’re not going to do this.”
“Why? If we have a thousand nights, what’s one awkward conversation.”
“This is a helluva lot more than awkward, sweetheart.” God, he could hear the sharpness in his own voice. Feel the ramp-up in his body. “Yeah, I think I’ll come back—”
“It’s still going to be here when you return.” She motioned between them with her hand, and for a moment, he was so damned grateful for the movement, he forgot what they were talking about. “Distance is not going to help this.”
His heart started to pound. Like he was afraid or some shit.
But that wasn’t what was happening.
Really. It wasn’t.
“What do you want me to say?” he muttered. “Give me the words and the inflection and I’ll do it. Anything to make this go away.”
“What aren’t you telling me?”
Long pause. “All right,” she said with defeat.
Oh, great. That made him feel soooo much better.
How had they traveled the distance between relief at her survival to all this tension so fast?
He wasn’t about to tell her about the news from the s’Hisbe. She had more than enough to worry about on her own, and he didn’t want her concerned that the Queen’s executioner was going to put him in chains and drag him back to the Territory at any moment.
“Selena, listen…” He shook his head. “Am I embarrassed about what I did with all those humans? Absolutely. Do I have regrets? All the time. Do I believe that I’m tainted? According to my culture, I’m completely contaminated. But you need to know that sometimes, a slut is just a slut. A whore is nothing more than a whore. I had a drive and I had nowhere else to go with it.”
He looked away, tracing the floorboards with his eyes.
The silence grew louder than a scream.
“I think you’re right,” she said.
Trez exhaled in relief. Thank God she was buying it—
“You do need to go.”
“Until you can be honest? I think you need to stay away. Because either you’re lying to yourself or you’re lying to me. Either way, you need to—as the Brothers would say—get your shit together.”
He shook his head. “Yeah. Wow. Not how I saw this going.”
“Okay. Then. So.”
As she just stared over at him, the room ran out of its air supply. At least as far as he was concerned.
Trez cleared his throat. “Fuck … I’ll go then.”
He stalked out, using the door that led into the corridor rather than run the risk of running across Doc Jane and Ehlena in that examination room.
Yeah, ’cuz he really felt like having an audience right now.
Thank fuck iAm had left and gone to check in at shAdoWs, The Iron Mask and Sal’s. His brother was the last person he wanted to be around at the moment.
Moving quickly, he stalked down the corridor and paused before stepping in front of the glass door of the office. When he didn’t hear any voices, he peered around. Empty.
He made it through the supply closet and out into the tunnel without a hitch, and he even jogged down to the staircase. Codes were entered. Steps were mounted. The door under the stairs was opened quietly.
The sound of a vacuum cleaner running in the library was not a surprise. But the lack of any Brothers anywhere was. Usually, at this time of night, the ones who were off rotation were chilling in the billiards room, watching tube. Playing pool. Drinking.
He took advantage of the ghost-town routine and headed for the bar. As he came up to the top shelf display, he paused for a moment to consider his options and then chose Woodford Reserve. And Grey Goose. And a bottle of chard that was sitting out, unchilled, on the granite counter.
Like he was really going to fucking care what he drank.
The grand staircase was a piece of cake, and he was not surprised to find the King’s study empty as Wrath spent most of his nights out meeting with his civilians. Making the turn toward the hall of statues, he pared off before all that marble and opened the door to the stairs that took him up to the third floor.
The First Family’s suite of rooms was hidden behind a bank vault, but his room and his brother’s were right out in the open, just two normal doors close together.
In spite of the argument with Selena, he wasn’t going to bolt to the Commodore. He wanted to be on site in case she …
Closing himself in, he put his three new best friends on the bedside table, and turned on the lamp. The velvet drapes were drawn, and he left them that way as he continued on to the bathroom, shedding his clothes. With a crank of the showerhead, he got the water rolling, and he was careful to leave the lights off.
No reason to meet his own eyes in the mirror.
He waited until things got steamy before stepping into the marble enclave. He’d had more than enough of things that were uncomfortable, thank you very much.
Soap—everywhere. Rinse—everywhere. Shampoo—on his head, followed by conditioner. Razor—on his jaw, his chin, his cheeks.
Then it was a case of out with the towel and naked into his bed.
He got under the covers from habit, his brain studiously checking out of absolutely all thought, only common practice driving him to a place and situation where he could get drunk horizontally.
Cracking the lid on the Grey Goose, he took a good pull and ground his molars as the burn fired down his throat and lit up his gut like Fenway Park.
As V would have said.
How in the hell had the night ended up like this.
iAm was not about to waste time with shAdoWs, The Iron Mask or Sal’s. Screw that. There was more than enough competent staff at all three to take care of business. He’d just told his brother the lie because he didn’t want Trez even more freaked out.
Materializing on the terrace of their condo, he glanced at his watch and then went inside. Pacing around, he turned on some lights, checked the refrigerator even though he knew there was nothing much in it, and poked around the cabinets.
He hadn’t eaten since … Sal’s the night before, actually. And he hadn’t fed in … shit, he didn’t know how long.
Probably needed to handle that, but as always, he had little interest in the vein. Not that he didn’t appreciate and respect the Chosen who served him and his brother. He just didn’t like the whole business of sucking at someone’s wrists when she was a stranger. Yeah, yeah, duty, whatever.
Guess he was far more Shadow-ish than his brother.
In their culture, anything physical like that was sacred. Which sucked, because biological necessity forced him to feed probably six times a year, and every time he did, it was an exercise in self-discipline—and not because he wanted to bang whoever it was.
He was, at his ripe old age, still a virgin.
He blamed the celibacy on the shit with Trez, and the teachings and traditions of his kind, which he sometimes felt like he took waaaaay too seriously—
Wow. He was so wound that he was talking to himself.
About shit he already knew.
Which wasn’t even that interesting to begin with.
He paced around. Checked his watch again and then looked to the terrace. Where the fuck was—
iAm wheeled around at the male voice that came from the bedrooms. Striding forward to the hall, he palmed his forty, but given the inflection? Not much was going to be a problem.
And sure enough, as he rounded the corner into what had been his crib, he found s’Ex stretched out on the bed, the sheets wadded up around his naked body, a double-size bottle of Ciroc nestled in his arms like a baby.
“I thought you were in mourning,” iAm said as he tucked his gun away.
“Am.” s’Ex held up the half-empty bottle. “This is my Kleenex.”
“Doesn’t the Queen want you in the Territory”
“Not really.” The male slashed his hand through the air. “Too embarrassing. I’m okay to fuck behind closed doors, but out in the open? No good. Course, all woulda been forgiven if the chart’d been right. But no.”
iAm leaned against the doorjamb and crossed his arms. “How long have you been here?”
“Since you left—was it last night? You need more liquor up in here. When can you bring it? And I want some females.”
iAm’s first instinct was to tell the guy to go screw. Natch. But he needed something from the bastard.
Copyright © 2015 by Read Best Books Free Online