Rule breaker, p.7
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       Rule Breaker, p.7
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         Part #20 of Breeds series by Lora Leigh

  making enterprise.

  “I’ll be there,” she promised, though her job as image consultant was one she tried to ignore whenever possible.

  “Good.” He nodded before his jaw tensed and he glanced at the bank of windows, carefully covered by heavy drapes. When he moved his gaze back to her, it was concerned once again. “I got your message earlier. You talked to Kandy the other night?”

  “She was upset with me for some reason,” she admitted, though she rarely did more than ask Jase what her sister’s problem was whenever Kandy seemed out of sorts. Which wasn’t often.

  “I think she’s upset with the world lately,” he sighed heavily. “That damned Coyote, Loki, sniffing around her isn’t helping matters either. Hell, I’m convinced he’s making it worse.”

  The anger that filled his voice as he mentioned Loki didn’t surprise Gypsy. Jason hated Coyotes. Hated them to the point that he was well known for it. His resentment toward Breeds in general wasn’t hidden either.

  “Loki’s okay, Jase,” she warned him. “You can’t blame all Coyotes any more than you can blame all men for one serial killer, murderer, or—”

  “Rapist?” he snapped.

  Gypsy flinched.

  “God, Gypsy, I’m sorry.” Regret thickened his voice as he pushed his fingers restlessly through his hair before staring back at her in self-disgust. “I’m so sorry.”

  “It’s okay, Jase.” Moving to the refrigerator and pulling out a bottle of wine, she poured herself a glass before lifting it in his direction questioningly.

  “Might as well,” he nodded. “Then I’ll head out of here.”

  She set the wine on the counter in front of him before sipping at her own and pushing her emotions, her equilibrium back into place. No, Jase hadn’t meant to hurt her, she knew, but it had hurt all the same.

  “So tell me,” she suggested, leaning against the counter once again. “Taking Loki out of the equation, exactly what is Kandy’s problem?”

  Jase snorted again. “Can you ever take the Breed out of the problem if one is near? If you want my opinion, Loki is her problem. But she has no intentions of getting rid of him, so I guess we’re just stuck until he leaves and she gets her heart broken.” He shook his head wearily. “God, Gypsy, none of us have healed, have we? Even nine years later. Does Kandy really think this Breed is going to exorcise those ghosts for her?”

  He finished his wine when Gypsy didn’t comment, only ducking her head to stare at the floor, the tip of her boot, anywhere but at him. She didn’t want to talk about Breeds. That wasn’t Kandy’s problem. She didn’t know what was wrong with her sister, but she knew Loki wasn’t the “wrong” in Kandy’s life.

  “Thea still has nightmares,” he said when the silence became uncomfortable. “She still cries out for him in her sleep.”

  Her brother’s fiancée had been attacked by a Coyote and nearly kidnapped as well the night Mark died. Thea had lost far more than her fiancée that night, though. Gypsy doubted the other woman would ever be completely over it.

  “The attack she suffered that night nearly killed her, Jase,” she reminded him. “It’s the reason why she went into law rather than getting a business degree.”

  He shook his head slowly. “She always loved law. She was taking business because she wanted to be Mark’s partner.”

  Jason stared off into space as Gypsy watched him sadly. He had loved Thea even before Mark had proposed to her, but Gypsy knew Mark had always been the other woman’s first love. Likely, her only love.

  “I’ll see if I can get a minute to talk to Kandy tomorrow,” he said, turning his gaze back to her and giving her a warm, tired grin. “I hear you’re just driving all the men crazy as usual. Especially some Lion Breed commander that you’re not giving the time of day to.” Approval lit his brown eyes.

  Gypsy shrugged. “The Breeds are okay, Jase, I just don’t want their problems.” It was her standard excuse.

  “Thank God,” he sighed. “Now, if I could just get Kandy to take the same stand, then I wouldn’t have to worry about the two of you near as often, Peanut.”

  She forced herself to smile back at him even though she nearly flinched at the pet name. She hated it. It made her sick to her stomach every time she heard it. Yet she could never seem to tell him . . .

  Don’t cry, be brave, Peanut . . .

  No, she wouldn’t remember.

  She busied herself putting away the wine, cleaning the glasses, chatting with Jason about Thea’s long hours and anything and everything that would put distance between her and her memories.

  Long minutes later, Jase said his good-byes and left. Hearing his car pull from the drive, Gypsy moved to the window and lifted the curtain cautiously to check for Kandy’s truck.

  It still wasn’t there.

  Where the hell was her sister and what was she up to?

  It was time, Gypsy decided, that she figured out the answer to that question. And she had a feeling she’d better do it quickly.

  CHAPTER 4

  Two nights later, Gypsy was still trying to figure out where her sister was going after work every night. This had been going on longer than the Breeds had been in town, so she couldn’t attribute it to Loki. Besides, she’d seen Loki at the last bar she’d been in, and he’d been confused as hell when she asked if Kandy was with him.

  “Gypsy Rum!” An inebriated college boy, barely twenty-one, his alcohol-glazed eyes squinting, called out the greeting as Gypsy stepped into one of the busiest band bars on the Navajo Reservation border.

  “Sober up, Slim,” she ordered the kid, knowing the consequences if his father caught wind of tonight’s overjovial state. “Daddy will be after your ass in a few hours if you’re not home.”

  “Fuck him,” Slim drawled, slurring the insult. “He needs a beer.”

  And no truer words had ever been said, she thought, throwing the boy a wave as she contained her laughter and moved for the bar while watching the crowd carefully for the sight of her sister among the throng.

  Slap Happy’s was filled every weekend with drunks, wannabe punks, biker dudes and biker babes, wicked Breeds and rogue Breeds, soldiers, warriors, male and female and every sort of desperado in between.

  Tonight, she was betting it had maxed out the limit of allowable bodies, if the time it took her to get from the door to the bar was any indication.

  Cops and criminals were known to share space here, as well as rogue Coyotes and Bureau of Breed Affairs enforcers along with any arm candy or wannabe sweet that could be had.

  It was also one of the best rumor mills and gossip socials outside the private weekend or illegal desert parties that often sprang up on the reservation itself.

  Unfortunately, patrolling Breeds and rogue Coyotes looking for trouble had managed to make the desert parties all but impossible to have. The private weekend parties had been scarce as well, due to the isolation of many of the ranches and small estates where they were held.

  There were actually several scheduled in the coming weeks since news that the Bureau of Breed Affairs and the Navajo Nation were negotiating the possibility of locating a central Breed office in Window Rock. One that would focus on the enforcement of Breed Law, for both Breeds and humans, in the western states.

  Until then, Gypsy was forced to resign herself to the larger, rougher bars instead to find the sister still two years away from being able to legally enter.

  Loose lips and secrets discussed in the so-called anonymity of a crowd was another reason she was there tonight, though. According to one of the enforcers at the bar where Gypsy regularly met friends on Friday nights, Kandy had been seen here the night before with several of her friends. And that did not sound like her sister.

  The band was taking a break for the moment, the holographic substitute band pelting out music instead to please the crowd on the dance floor.

  She let a smile play at her lips as she wedged herself between two recognizable hard bodies at the bar and leaned over the teak
counter.

  “Kenny C,” she called out to the bartender on the other end of the bar. “You’re as handsome as ever, you baldheaded lothario.”

  Kenny laughed back at her. “Be there in a sec, honey.”

  Satisfied she had complimented her favorite bartender to his satisfaction, she wiggled between the two men, pressing at each of them until they shifted marginally, then waited.

  “You are trouble waiting to happen, Gypsy Rum,” Rule warned her as Kenny handed her the beer and smacked her an air kiss with a smile.

  “So everyone keeps telling me.” Turning her head, she shot the Breed a look from the corner of her eye, taking in all those sexy dark looks and sensual-as-hell features.

  Her heart kicked up a few beats, just as it always did whenever he was around, while she became slick and wet, her thighs clenching as her moist interest for him threatened to cause her no small amount of embarrassment.

  After all, Breeds could smell a woman’s sexual interest.

  Thankfully, if he sensed it, he never commented on it.

  “One of these days, I might stop warning and start spanking.” Too-long, too-lush lashes lowered just enough to make her breath quicken just that little bit as she turned to face the cavernous room and lifted the beer to her lips.

  He followed the journey, his gaze lingering several seconds as she took a drink of the alcohol, clenching her teeth at the little bitter bite that hit her taste buds.

  Rule and his sidekick, Dane, enjoyed the busy talk-filled bars just as much as she pretended to, it seemed.

  “Careful there, sweetheart,” Dane drawled, his South African accent sexy as hell but nowhere near as interesting as Rule’s dark, growly tone. “You know what they say about teasing lions, right?”

  She gave her eyes a playful little roll before sliding Rule another sideways glance.

  “And I have a habit of shooting men who touch when they’re not invited,” she reminded them both. “Besides, I think Commander Breaker is intelligent enough to understand the word ‘no.’”

  Rule lifted the short glass of dark amber liquid to his lips and took a leisurely drink, his gaze holding hers as he obviously tried to hide his grin from her.

  Evidently, she tended to amuse him, because he did that a lot while she was around.

  “So tell me, luscious.” Dane surprised her with the little pet name and sudden flirtatious air. “What exactly does one have to do to earn an invitation to touch?”

  No way!

  He did not just ask that question! And he did not just give her that suggestive little wink! After weeks of obeying her no-touch, no-sex rules, this heir to some imagined South African throne was breaking the rules?

  This could get interesting.

  A little dangerous, but interesting considering his family was one of the Breeds’ main financial supporters.

  “Overlook Junior there,” Rule drawled, his voice lazy and mocking despite that little hint of a rasp beneath his smooth tone. “His keeper was called home and there’s no one left to smack him around when he gets out of line.”

  Now wasn’t this little sideshow quite the surprise and not exactly what she was used to from them? Not that a little flirting from them wasn’t normal. It was. But this was just a shade beyond flirting from Dane.

  Lifting the beer to her lips once again, more to kill time and watch the dance floor than out of actual thirst, Gypsy took another long, leisurely sip.

  On one side Dane’s emerald green eyes watched her with amused attraction. On the other side, Rule’s dark blue eyes had her breasts suddenly tingling, her nipples tightening. And between her thighs her clit was so hard and swollen she knew she’d be masturbating the second she walked into her bedroom when she returned home.

  “You’re scaring her off, Breed,” Dane accused Rule then, his voice smooth and mocking. “You should run along and finish chasing shadows.” With a little flip of his fingers he dismissed Rule lazily. “I’ll see that this luscious little morsel is well taken care of.”

  She nearly spewed her beer at the outrageous proclamation even as her senses skipped a beat, along with her heart, at his reference to Rule chasing shadows.

  “You’re joking, right?” she laughed incredulously when she managed to swallow the mouthful of beer.

  Straightening from her slouched position against the bar, eyes wide, she stared between the two friends.

  “He always acts out when Rhys isn’t here to watch after him,” Rule drawled, the lazy amusement in his tone at odds with the sudden spark in his vivid blue eyes.

  Was that anger?

  Not quite, she decided, but whatever it was had her finely honed instincts instantly wary.

  What game were these two playing?

  “It’s starting to sound to me as though both of you need a keeper,” she suggested, amused by them, despite her wariness and sudden curiosity about Rule’s supposed search. “Is Rhys due back soon?”

  Rhys or Ryan Desalvo, Dane’s friend and sometime bodyguard, was always deflecting attention from the other man. She often wondered if Dane’s habit of watching everyone was the reason why Rhys did it. So his friend could dissect and probe the psyches of those around him.

  “Not real soon.” Dane shifted a little closer, his large body crowding her, forcing her to slide to the side, her eyes narrowing up at him.

  Despite his rough, blond good looks, emerald eyes and lazy humor, she could always sense his detachment, his overly intent curiosity whenever his attention settled on her.

  As it was, now.

  “Should I have a few of my enforcers toss his amused ass out the door?” Rule’s lips were at her ear, his voice lazy and wicked, causing an indescribable warmth to slowly infuse her body.

  Turning her heat to meet his gaze, she realized only then how close she had moved to him. Too close. Standing between his spread thighs, though he hadn’t taken advantage of the position.

  He wasn’t touching her, though he surrounded her almost protectively.

  His gaze held her.

  Warmth and quiet amusement gleaming there, along with hunger.

  A wicked, sensual, confident hunger that had her heart racing faster than before as her breath began to feel tight.

  He made her want—

  He made her want things she couldn’t have, hunger for things she knew he could never sate.

  Never even attempt to fulfill.

  She wanted him to touch her. She wanted it even though she knew it would only make the need clawing at her worse.

  Dane was saying something, his voice faintly mocking. She ignored him, as did Rule. His gaze was locked with hers, his lips so close to hers, tempting her, drawing her—

  ...

  The scent of her need—it actually outmatched the suspicion and that white-hot flare of curiosity that tinged the air.

  Absently Rule ran his tongue over his teeth, just to be certain the glands beneath were still dormant. The scent of her need had his erection throbbing imperatively, his balls so tight with the need to spill his seed that it was nearing agony.

  Jade green eyes were wide, filled with so many shadows and barely perceptible fears that he wanted nothing more in that moment than to see pleasure filling them. Hell, that was all he wanted every time he looked into the pretty green spheres and sensed the lust pulling them closer.

  Her lips parted, that plump little lower lip feeling the damp caress of her tongue as it ran over it.

  He could hear the thump-thump of her heart as it raced between her lush breasts, the curves defined and perfect beneath the snug little red tank top she wore.

  That tiny bit of cloth paired with those butt-snug jeans and moccasin boots that laced up the sides of her shapely legs had him all but panting for her.

  She made him hotter than he’d been in—hell, harder, hotter than he’d ever been. And now, as she stared up at him, her lips parted, that hunger blazing up at him, he was a second from taking that kiss he’d been longing for.

  “Gypsy—


  The faint, barely perceptible buzz of a sat phone vibrating in one of her pockets—again—in a distinctive rhythm had Gypsy suddenly drawing up short.

  Rule was going to hurt the caller, he decided.

  Those intoxicating eyes widened, and a heartbeat later she moved from between his thighs, hurriedly stepping away from him.

  Pulling the phone from her pocket, she quickly checked the number before her jaw tightened and that hint of fear became anger.

  “I have to leave.” Shaking her head, her scent suddenly tinged with an emotion he couldn’t quite define, she hurriedly slapped a few bills on the bar.

  There was a shadow overtaking her, a hint of fear and one of worry.

  “Gypsy, wait—” Fuck.

  Before he could stop her she turned, moving quickly to the door before disappearing into the night.

  His eyes narrowed at her exit; the scent of her heat and hunger, marred by her fear, still lingered in his senses.

  Along with it was the knowledge that until the small phone in her pocket had gone off, she had nearly been his.

  Turning slowly back to Dane, he met the other Breed’s narrowed, suspicious gaze.

  Lifting the short liquor glass to his lips, the hybrid glanced to the exit she had taken before turning back to him with a shrug.

  “Well,” he drawled. “It would seem she may have a leash after all. Proprietary claim, I believe it was called.”

  Rule’s glass slapped to the bar as his jaw clenched furiously. Turning, he followed the exit she had taken, determined to find out exactly who her leash might be. And when he did, as he told her before, he’d be taking fucking ownership.

  Catching up with her, even on a good night, was a pain in the ass, and if he didn’t keep his eye right on her, then she was gone just as quickly.

  And he was damned sick of her disappearing acts.

  Stepping outside and catching sight of her taillights as the little Jeep sped from the parkway, he turned to Dane questioningly as the other man stepped behind him.

  “Loki tagged the Jeep at her last location, but there was a complication,” Dane informed him somberly before he could ask.

  “What kind of complication?” He strode quickly to the Dragoon, aware of Dane following quickly behind.

  Dane was sliding into the passenger side as Rule closed the driver’s-side door and activated the motor with a quick flick of a finger against the ignition pad.

  “No sooner than he’d tagged it and finished programming the signal, the device malfunctioned. Returning to where she parked, he found the Jeep gone and the device dropped carelessly to the gravel.”

  Rule accelerated quickly as he pulled from the parking lot.

  “Dropped? As in someone dropped it, or as in the mechanism that holds it to the vehicle failed?” he asked.

  “The mechanism was still working, and at no time did Loki see her exit the bar by the front exit. Mutt was watching the back exit, and she didn’t leave from there either. Though there were several windows on the other side where she parked, and one was open enough to have allowed her to slip away.”

  Gypsy was escaping rather than leaving?

  Damn her, the evidence was racking up that she was possibly the contact Jonas was searching for, and it was starting to piss him off. Mostly because he couldn’t deflect attention from her and cover her movements.

  “Jonas wants that Jeep tagged, Dane,” Rule reminded him, his voice short, wondering how the hell he was going to keep Jonas from tagging it. Pretty soon, one of Jonas’s men would figure out someone was warning her of those devices.

  Dane chuckled. “Perhaps it’s time little brother learns he can’t always have what he wants. Because it seems other interested parties are just as determined that it not be tagged.”

  Rule wisely refrained from commenting.

  As the Dragoon pulled from the parking area, the comm link to the vehicle’s communications beeped in summons. Flicking the control on the steering wheel, Rule answered it with a brief “Go.”

  “Commander, I have the vehicle in sight,” Mongrel, one of Dog’s Coyotes, reported with icy efficiency. “She picked up a tail just after pulling onto the main road. It’s riding black on a parallel course and staying close.”

  Riding black. Moving with all lights extinguished to avoid detection and most likely using one of the side roads that ran along the highway to keep sight of her.

  “Can you identify?” Rule questioned.

  “Not without being seen.”

  Rule grimaced, wishing he’d driven one of the faster, more maneuverable desert vehicles rather than the Dragoon.

  “Keep the shadow in sight if possible, but remain eyes on target until I arrive.”

  If Gypsy had picked up a tail, then he sure as hell didn’t want to give whoever was following her a chance to get to her before he could. Just in case it wasn’t friendly.

  ...

  Pulling the Jeep into the parking spot beside the stairs, Gypsy breathed out wearily before slapping the steering wheel in frustration when she saw her sister’s truck wasn’t back yet.

  Damn Kandy.

  She’d promised she was on her way home when Gypsy had spoken to her on the phone. That was the reason she had left so quickly rather than waiting to see just how terrified she would become if Rule actually tried to kiss her.

 
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