Rule breaker, p.14
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       Rule Breaker, p.14
 

         Part #20 of Breeds series by Lora Leigh

  see them now. The young man was positively miserable, and Cassie was glaring at the Breeds.

  What hell her life must surely be. Always followed, never left alone, never able to truly have friends.

  “She never makes it for long,” Emma revealed with a heavy sigh. “She talked Jonas into letting her go out while they were in Virginia last year. The Breeds he sent with her terrified anyone who even considered asking her to dance. She sat and got puke-faced drunk instead.”

  “Yeah, then the Breeds who took her out got their asses kicked for letting her get drunk,” Ashley revealed with a slight smile. “I told her, she should have got hold of me before that bastard put a hole in my chest. Me and Em would have showed her a good time. We would have had to leave Sharone at home, though.” Ashley nodded to the blonde on the other side of Gypsy.

  “I bet that would have just upset the hell out of you.” Gypsy laughed over at the disgusted look the other Breed female cast Ashley.

  Sharone rarely got into trouble and was known to keep an eagle eye out for the other two girls. It often took both Sharone and Emma together to keep Ashley out of trouble, though.

  “Why aren’t the three of you out there dancing too?” Gypsy nodded toward the dance floor.

  “With all those Breed Enforcers in attendance?” Emma looked at her as though scandalized. “I really don’t want my alpha jerking me home and shortening my leash to the point that I strangle. None of us do.”

  “Just for dancing?” Gypsy tugged at her ear in confusion as she frowned out at the dance floor and the smooth, sinuous flow of bodies that moved in beat to the music.

  “Our alpha is convinced we’re pure and sweet with no sex drive and damned sure we know none of the moves we use while teasing those cowboys. If he even heard of us dancing as we do, he’d never let us out to play again.” Emma even looked properly horrified.

  “Is your alpha here?” she asked, looking around suspiciously. She usually heard when there were any alphas in the area.

  “No, not the alpha, just every Breed who would ever tell on us.” Emma grimaced. “Wherever Cassie goes, Jonas’s best enforcers go. That means our alpha would be told because one of those Breeds this month is one of the Citadel’s team commanders. He would tattle on us in a heartbeat.”

  They had sacrificed their own fun to give Cassie what she wanted, even knowing the total lack of fun the other girl would have.

  Looking up, she watched as Cassie Sinclair stalked back to the table, lifted a glass of amber liquid and tossed it back furiously before giving in to a rough, shocked bout of coughing.

  “There, there,” Ashley murmured as she smacked the other girl on the back a few times. “That’s it. Fine whiskey just makes everything better. Would you like another shot, dear?”

  That gleam in Emma’s eyes was positively devilish as she indicated to the waitress that she wanted another.

  It wasn’t going to make it better, Gypsy thought as she watched Cassie sit back in her chair, her gaze slashing mutinously to the dozen Breeds who moved to the table.

  “They even have two female enforcers to go into the bathroom with her.” Ashley leaned across the table as she indicated that Gypsy should move closer. “Or we would have just slipped her out the bathroom window.”

  She glanced at Cassie, seeing the damp gleam in her eyes as the other girl quickly ducked her head to hide the tears she had to blink back.

  Damn, to let her go, then to send a dozen bodyguards to make certain she was miserable, was just cruel.

  “Why not just slip her out of the hotel?” Gypsy asked, her gaze flicking to the furious Cassie. “They can’t follow if they don’t know she’s leaving.”

  “It’s hard to slip away from six Breeds parked on your ass every minute of the day,” Ashley answered with a twinge of sympathy. “Besides, there’s not a bar in a hundred-mile radius that doesn’t have at least one Breed who would report where she was.”

  Oh, they so didn’t know the area, or the bars, as well as they thought they did.

  “What about the underground bars?” Surely Ashley and Emma had been to a few of them. “The Breeds there would die and go to hell before they’d tell on her. If she was caught there, so would they be. If there were even any there, which is damned rare. They might watch out for her, but they’ll damned sure not ride her ass like a herd of ponies after a prized female.”

  Ashley’s eyes narrowed as the others, even Sharone, laughed in surprise at the description. “You’re kidding me. They have those here?”

  Gypsy had to laugh now. “At least a dozen that I know of. Come on, bars are still strictly banned except along the reservation’s borders. Even then, they’re not allowed within the city limits. Do you really think we always want to make that drive? Especially those who live much farther from here?”

  She could see Ashley’s mind working now, the gears beginning to move, at first with a hesitancy that indicated she might still be recovering, then with enough strength to put that gleam she had lost back into her eyes.

  Ashley hadn’t changed, perhaps, Gypsy thought. She was getting bored. And that was something Gypsy well understood, the boredom. But she had also managed to snag the attention of the other women as well.

  “I want to go.” Cassie breathed out in sudden excitement. “Just one night, I want to be someone other than the crazy Breed Cassandra Sinclair.”

  Cassie wanted to be anonymous. That was something else Gypsy could understand. But a discussion on how to accomplish it wasn’t going to happen here.

  Suddenly, Cassie’s gaze jumped to hers, narrowed and appeared brighter, a sky blue, lighter than Rule’s, but so deep and pure it was almost mesmerizing before her gaze slid to Gypsy’s side.

  Cassie frowned, grimaced, then shook her head.

  Gypsy glanced beside her, saw nothing but Emma, who had lowered her head as though intensely interested in the top of the table.

  “Is there a problem?” Gypsy asked as she turned back to Cassie, letting the other woman read her lips rather than hear her words over the loud pulse of the music.

  “Probably.” The other girl could barely be heard. “But not yet.”

  Oooh-kay.

  Yeah, she’d heard the stories about Cassie, and whatever it was the other girl saw or heard, Gypsy simply didn’t want to know.

  “Well, girls.” Lifting her beer, she finished the cold liquid quickly before placing the bottle on the table and giving them all an amused look. “My bodyguards aren’t here, if I even had any. And Daddy hasn’t worried about my dancing since I was fourteen because he was never aware of it to begin with.”

  “I wouldn’t be so sure about the bodyguards.” She read Cassie’s lips, as she seemed to have muttered the words to herself.

  Whatever.

  She hadn’t had a protector since Mark . . .

  Rising to her feet, she tipped her fingers to the other girls, ignoring their glares, and moved to the dance floor.

  She was there to dance, and in her teasing, playful movements and flirtations with several of the males on the dance floor, she gained bits and pieces of the information she would later give to her contact. The pass of information would be deliberate tonight, though.

  Gypsy had let them know several nights before that she needed specific information concerning any odd questions any of the Breeds were asking lately. She’d allowed them to believe she was asking because of Rule’s interest in her when one of them had asked worriedly if she was being targeted, possibly, because of her brother’s death and information it was rumored he might have had at the time.

  This game could become dangerous fast, though. Breeds had exceptional hearing, and she wasn’t the only one who was well aware of that. But she knew at least one of them had learned something. SLAP HAPPY’S. BEFORE MIDNIGHT. XOXO. The message she’d found tucked beneath the wiper blades of her Jeep that evening held the distinctive XOXO that she’d asked them to use.

  Tonight, something was definitely going on. Even ami
d the loose-knit crowd where there were few real couples on the floor, getting a chance to get close enough to any of the four men became impossible.

  A subtle wink by one of the older cowboys her brother had once been friends with identified the messenger, but getting close enough to get the information became hazardous. Each time they danced close to each other, one of the Breed Enforcers on the dance floor became noticeably nosy.

  What the hell was going on?

  Moving into step with the contact, James Herndon, she let his arm wrap around her waist. He pulled her to him, swaying, twirling her once, twice. She landed against his chest laughing as his lips moved directly to her ear. “Later.”

  The word, a distinct warning that would have had her tensing if he hadn’t swung her around again, laughed at her as she caught herself against his chest, then glanced over her shoulder.

  His expression stilled. All laughter, all humor wiping away.

  Releasing her, he stepped back quickly.

  Another arm came around her, twirled her around until she was staring into Rule’s brooding, narrowed gaze.

  He didn’t look happy, and he didn’t look in the mood to be teased.

  In that instant the music moved from the hard, pulsing throb she was used to, to a slow, sensuous ballad that crooned the singer’s hunger, her aching loss and need.

  “You don’t want to do that,” he growled when she moved to push away from him. “Not here. Not now.”

  The warning in his voice was firm, dominant, and pushed some feminine button she hadn’t known she possessed that urged her to just relent. To obey him, just this once, just in case he had a way of enforcing it in some erotic manner she couldn’t fight.

  “I don’t slow dance,” she bit out from between her teeth, her body longing to relax and melt against him even as she fought to remain stiff and unyielding. “Slow dancing with you will imply a relationship that doesn’t exist.”

  She didn’t want that. It would change the dynamic of who she was and the information to be gained in the circles she moved in.

  “A relationship that doesn’t exist? Who are you lying to, Gypsy? Because I sure as hell know better and you do as well,” he informed her warningly as he moved against her, cajoling her, seducing her into sharing the dance, to share the intimacy he was inviting.

  “You’re taking far too much for granted,” she retorted furiously, yet she wasn’t fighting him either.

  She was breathless.

  She could feel the blood heating, pounding through her veins, the sensual side of her nature weakening far too quickly.

  She ached for him. The flesh between her thighs became hotter, wetter, her clit throbbing as her sex melted and creamed for him.

  It was impossible to deny she wanted him when her body refused to cooperate and remain cool and unresponsive.

  “I haven’t yet,” he said softly as she tilted her head back to stare up at him. “But I’m certain I will before the night’s out, Gypsy Rum. I’m very certain of it.”

  Before she could argue the statement or tell him to go to hell, he brushed his lips against hers, his tongue flicking in a quick little lick against her lips before he pulled back no more than a breath of distance.

  The pleasure was shocking.

  It held her in his arms, staring up at him in confusion as impulses, hungers and needs began firing through her body with a heat she hadn’t expected.

  It surprised her.

  Shocked her.

  His lips had lifted just far enough from hers to tease her, to make her wonder if he would speak, and when he did, if his lips would stroke against her again.

  His gaze was locked on hers, unblinking, the blue of his eyes deeper than Cassandra’s, more mesmerizing, holding her, making her wonder at what she saw reflected back at her.

  There was so much in his gaze. A hint of another color, perhaps, a world of hunger, of need, a deep, brilliant pool of male lust so vibrant it made her wonder if he was even aware he was revealing it.

  “Why?” she whispered.

  Why her? Why was he pushing this when it was more than obvious she was hesitant to begin anything with him?

  “Why not?” It wasn’t the question, but the tone of voice, the look in his eyes, that shocked her.

  Steel-hard determination, pure male hunger and narrow-eyed possessiveness struck at her, wrapped around her and made her wonder if she was smothering from fear, or breathless from anticipation.

  “Leave with me,” he asked her then.

  Eyes widening before she could stop the reaction, she parted her lips to refuse, though forming the word didn’t come easily.

  “Just to talk.” His finger landed against her lips, holding back what she wanted to say but couldn’t. “I want you, bad enough to wait if I have to. But if I have to wait, at least torture me for a few hours.”

  “And that would be enough for you?” she quipped mockingly despite the flush of arousal that was beginning to heat her body.

  God, how long had it been since she had allowed herself to want a man? If she even thought she would be attracted to one, she ran in the opposite direction as fast as possible.

  “It’s more than I have otherwise.” The seductive roughness of his voice stroked against her senses as she wondered why she wasn’t trying to run as hard and as fast as possible from him.

  Gypsy breathed in slowly, deeply.

  “I promise, no means no,” he said.

  For a moment, she wondered if he could read her mind, if he knew things about her that even the Unknown didn’t know.

  Things no one should know.

  Slowly, she nodded, her senses exploding in disbelief as she realized what she had done. Then he was stroking his hand along her arm, catching her hand in his and drawing her from the dance floor.

  There were too many eyes watching, she told herself. She had to leave alone. She couldn’t leave with him. If she did so, then the rules would change. She would no longer be everyone’s “friend” and would then be seen as a possible fuck instead.

  That could destroy her ability to do the job she had been doing for so many years now.

  She had to stop this.

  She had to make him let her go.

  So why was she moving with him instead, allowing him to curl his fingers with hers, hold her hand possessively as they moved through the exit and into the parking lot?

  His arm slid around her, his fingers curling over her hip as he drew her closer.

  “Your car?” he asked, pausing just outside the door.

  Gypsy swallowed tightly. “My car. My apartment.”

  He nodded, following her lead to the Jeep, silent, watching her as she slid behind the wheel before he moved to the passenger side.

  She was surprised he didn’t insist on driving. She was surprised when he simply slid into the seat, buckled his seat belt and stared back at her expectantly.

  “I’ve lost my mind,” she muttered, then activated the engine, lowering the roof and then sliding the vehicle into gear and pulling from the parking slot. “This is not the smartest thing I’ve ever done.”

  “Do you always do what’s smart?” he asked.

  “If possible. Always, if possible.”

  He smiled back at her rather than assuring her it wasn’t possible this time.

  She had lost her mind tonight, but she promised herself she would find it as soon as he left. The second she was alone again she would find it, lock it up tight and make sure he couldn’t steal it from her ever again.

  CHAPTER 10

  She was going to make him crazy.

  Rule could feel it coming.

  The need to touch her, to taste her and to have her was burning through his system, engorging his cock and tightening his balls to a near-painful degree.

  Watching her dance on that damned dance floor, her body swaying and moving against those other men as she laughed and flirted with them, had caused more than one growl to escape his control.

  All that had kept him
from tearing those men apart was Dane’s order that the enforcers at the bar converge on her and ensure that she wasn’t the contact their suspected spies were passing information to.

  Jonas wanted that link, just as he wanted to know the threat they could become where Claire Martinez was concerned.

  Jonas was certain Gypsy was connected. He was certain she was either one of the links who gathered the information and reported it to an upper contact, or one of the last links in the chain of information.

  Protecting her ass was becoming difficult. Hazardous maybe, because Jonas was just a little too complacent about the direction and lack of results in this investigation.

  Added to that, her parents’ attempt to smuggle that damned audio recorder into the meeting was only increasing the attention on Gypsy, as well as the suspicion.

  And none of it mattered right now.

  Tonight, he didn’t fucking care what Jonas was doing, was up to, or how he would handle it.

  Tonight, Gypsy was his, in whatever way he could claim her, and as often as he could make it happen.

  Giving her the information about the recording device her mother had brought to the meeting would wait. Not long, but it would wait.

  ...

  Pulling the Jeep into the small parking lot of her apartment, Gypsy parked, activated the roof and waited until it was secured before turning the motor off.

  She drew in a hard breath, even as the scent of her need intensified, along with her confusion.

  She wanted him, yet she didn’t know why she wanted him. Why she was burning for him.

  Stepping from the vehicle, he moved to the driver’s side, opened her door and waited until she slid from the seat, swallowing tightly.

  “I have a car coming for me in two hours,” he told her, his lips quirking into a grin as her gaze flashed up to him. “Rest assured, sweetheart, what I want will take far longer than two hours to even get close to finishing. You’re completely safe for the night.”

  He made a mental note to send Dog the message to pick him up at the appropriate time. He had a feeling it wouldn’t do to allow her to catch him in even the smallest white lie.

  “I haven’t figured out what made you decide you should even be here,” she told him, though she turned and led the way to the stairs leading up to her apartment. “You’ve just totally destroyed any peace I have when I go out at night now. Every Tom, Dick and Breed will think he can go home with me now.”

  Oh, he didn’t think so.

  He’d make sure every Breed who considered it knew the hazards and informed Tom and Dick of the claim already made on her.

  “I don’t think it will be the problem you’re imagining,” he told her, though, as she unlocked her door, her fingers tightening on the knob in preparation of turning it.

  His fingers closed over hers slowly, stopping her.

  Gypsy stilled, her head down, breathing hard. The warmth of her spread from her back to his chest, his entire body aching to feel her in ways he knew she wasn’t ready for.

  “I want you,” he told her. “Until I ache with the need for you. But I won’t take from you, Gypsy. I want nothing that isn’t freely given. Nothing that you don’t want just as badly as I want it.”

  She paused for long seconds, obviously battling not what she knew he wanted, but what she wanted as well.

  “I believe you.” She finally nodded, but that hint of fear still lingered in her scent. “Sometimes, what a person wants isn’t always best for them, though.”

  He released her fingers, allowing her to turn the doorknob and push the door open before he carefully, casually maneuvered himself inside the apartment ahead of her.

  His senses registered everything in less than a heartbeat. The animal genetics that raged so strong inside him were closer to the surface tonight, even before he’d left the hotel.

  The scent of her permeated the apartment, sliding over his senses like a sensual caress. There were more subtle, softer scents. Those of her family, perhaps friends. There was no scent of sex or male intimacy. No other man had placed his mark on her territory as he intended to place his tonight.

  “The light switch is on your left,” she told him, waiting, her irritation edging along her scent now.

  His lips quirked as he reached out and flipped on the light before drawing her inside.

  “Sorry, habit,” he assured her. “Some habits are better not broken, no matter the situation.”

  She nodded, moving into the apartment and closing the door behind her, automatically stopping to lock the deadbolt as well as the heavy chain lock between the door and the frame.

  “I’ve lived here since I was eighteen,” she told him, though he swore he could feel something that she was leaving unsaid.

  “Your sister still lives with your parents?” he asked, following her from the small foyer into the combination kitchen and living room.

  “The apartment downstairs.” She gave a little shrug of her shoulders. “She moved into it last year.”

  The apartment was large, open and roomy. Large windows dominated three walls, while the other held an open door that revealed her bedroom and a large, neat bed.

  She turned on several low lamps before moving into the kitchen.

 
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