Columbus Ohio, Present Day
The elevator pinged and the light for the third floor flashed a harsh white light. I sighed. Only one more floor. Christ on crutches! The air in the elevator was thick with testosterone and not all of it was Dean’s.
Everett stood next to me like he was the last thing standing in the way before my complete obliteration. His navy eyes darted from me to Dean and back again. The glasses he’d worn as part of his cover in Las Vegas were gone. It had taken some convincing but I’d managed to get Ev to chuck them in the trash. He’d been attached to them, reminding him of him dead girlfriend. He’d put on several pounds since Vegas, even in the few days of eating well in the company of real werewolves. His protectiveness was sweet but his useless grandstanding was pissing Dean off and making the air hard to breathe with the heat vibrating off of them both.
Ev had been standing between me and the world since we’d rolled back into town a few days ago. A small part of me was thankful. If I was paying attention to Ev and worrying about him, I couldn’t focus on the strain between me and the men I loved. I should’ve stopped Ev, but what good did that do me?
Yeah, I was a shit. I couldn’t help but smile as Dean went into Alpha male mode, brooding and grumbling under his breath as Ev forced distance between Dean and me. Dean’s broad shoulders tensed as he suffered through Ev’s demonstration and the harsh yellow light from the elevator gleamed off Dean’s clean-shaven head. He wasn’t losing his hair, he just didn’t care what he looked like or want to deal with a trifling little thing like hair. I’d forgotten how deeply tanned his olive skin could get and the shimmering brown flesh made my stomach flutter. Strong. Secure enough in his own power to not thrash Ev about as the kid tried to make his presence known in a very tiny elevator.
Ev couldn’t out bully Dean, but he could physically stand between us. I let Dean stew. Leaning against the back of the elevator with my shoulders pressed against the mirrored wall, I crossed my arms underneath my breasts and waited for the slow rise of the car and the inevitable ping of salvation.
I caught Dean’s Caribbean blue wolf eyes over Everett’s head and shrugged, giving him my most apologetic grin. That was all he was getting out of me. It wasn’t my fault the kid worried. He seemed like the worrying type. It was my fault that I didn’t stop him but that was neither here nor there.
Dean grimaced at my expression and huffed through his nose.
Dean stepped out first and held the elevator door as Ev followed. Grabbing Ev by the scruff of his shirt, Dean yanked him back into the elevator. He glared at the kid like a wayward child being reprimanded.
“Ladies and Alphas first,” Dean growled.
Exiting the elevator, I made the turn to the familiar glass doors of the Trevelyan Dean Construction offices, ignoring the two men behind me. They’d figure it out, or they wouldn’t.
“I won’t hurt her,” Dean snarled down at the much smaller werewolf through gritted teeth before allowing the kid to leave the elevator. “Cool it,” he muttered.
Stopping in front of the glass doors, I searched inside. Tamika, the temp assistant I’d hired before I left and had stayed on through my absence, wasn’t at the desk. Without the bombardment of questions and concern I was sure I would get from her, I had a moment to think, to breathe, and remember who I was supposed to be. Not the Blushing Death, that’s for sure. I was Dahlia Sabin, officer manager extraordinaire. Sometimes, that was a harder transition to make than it should have been.
“No one’s expecting anything of you,” Dean whispered against my ear as the keys jingled in his hand. His breath was warm, caressing my skin in a soft, hot line of desire. Being this close to him and not being able to touch him was almost tortuous. His heat caressed my skin, familiar and hot.
Dean brushed his hard body against mine as he opened the doors and my skin pimpled with gooseflesh at the thought of him surrounding me in that heat. I wanted him to close that distance and wrap his large, muscular arms around me. I wanted him to tell me everything was going to be okay.
Brushing his hand across my neck, he flipped my hair over my left shoulder. His breath grazed my neck behind my ear as his fingers trailed over my skin, sending heat to pool low in my middle. His nose trailed a soft line against my flesh and up behind my ear, barely skimming the surface. Warm lips stoked my desire into a steaming hot need, forcing all thought from my mind.
“That’s not true,” he murmured into my hair. “I expect to pick up where we left off.” A low hungry growl reverberated through his chest, making my knees weak and my heart race. I reached out to steady myself, placing a flat palm against the clean, clear glass. When my body swayed, I reached out with my other hand to the stainless steel handles of the glass door and let the cold metal cool some of his heat.
Dean did things to me with his voice that he shouldn’t be able to do. I should have been scared of how Dean affected me and there was a time when I would have run for the hills rather than face what was between us. Not now. Not ever again.
“We’re in public,” I chastised.
“Don’t care,” he answered with a deep, hungry growl.
Arousal tingled along my skin, making me almost hum with need. Dean breathed in my scent, groaning as desire filled his nose from my heated skin and wet panties.
“Yep, right where we left off,” he teased, striding by me and into the office.
“You’re such a shit,” I spat as I followed him through the double doors.