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Golden Eyes (Wild 1) Maya Banks 2022/8/5 16:58:45

“I’ll be waiting. Oh, and Duncan, what was it you needed last night? You sounded distracted.”

Duncan paused. “Nothing. It wasn’t important.”

Doc grunted. “Whatever. I’ll be at the clinic.”

Duncan hung up and glanced over at Nick. “Can you handle things here?”

Nick nodded. “Where are you off to?”

“I need to go back to the office and run over some maps. If I can get a chopper out tomorrow morning we can do an aerial recon of the area. See if we get lucky.”

“Good idea. If nothing else, we can rule out a lot of ground to cover on foot. I’ll radio dispatch and have them send an off-duty deputy. I’ll catch a ride back to town with him when we take the lion out to Doc’s.”

“Thanks, Nick. I appreciate it.”

Nick eyed him curiously. “It’s my job.”

“Yeah, I know, but thanks anyway.”

“Duncan, are you sure everything’s okay? You’re taking this awfully hard.”

Concern and curiosity flickered in Nick’s eyes, and Duncan felt a surge of guilt. He wasn’t one to keep secrets. Aliyah, though? One secret well worth keeping. Especially if it kept her in his arms a little longer.

“I’m good, man. Keep me posted.”

Duncan started back to his truck. He tried to view the lion’s death as he would any other animal’s demise, but he kept imagining a golden-eyed cheetah lifeless on the ground.

It could have been Aliyah. It would have been Aliyah if he hadn’t found her when he did.

The idea of her running for her life, helpless against the hunters pursuing her, sent a cold chill down his spine. As long as he lived, he’d never forget the sight of a cold, shivering Aliyah lying naked on the floor of his mudroom, an arrow protruding from her thigh.

He wanted to get back to her. Make sure she was safe. Not hurting. But first he had to do what he could to ensure the hunters were no longer a threat to her.

He was eager as hell to see Aliyah again, and he knew it had little to do with police procedure, his investigation or anything else. He wanted to touch her. Run his hands over her body.

His groin grew heavy, and an ache began as his cock stiffened.

He climbed into his truck and stared down in disgust at the bulge in his crotch. Then he shifted in an effort to alleviate the discomfort. All the way home, he thought about the coming snow. Ice. Frost. Cold showers. Anything that would make it less likely that he’d walk into his cabin with a hard-on from hell.

It was late when Duncan turned into his drive. He pulled up to his house and sat there for a moment, his hands gripped tight around the steering wheel. Fatigue worked deep into his muscles, but at the same time anticipation licked up his skin. He realized, as he walked toward the front door, that he wanted her to be here. He didn’t want to walk into an empty house like he did every other day.

He inserted the key into the lock, turned then paused as he slid his hand down to grab the handle. Quietly, he eased the door open and stepped inside.

Relief lightened his chest.

Curled up on the couch in front of the fire was Aliyah. Lying on her side, her knees drawn up and one arm dangling over the side of the sofa, she was sound asleep.

It looked frighteningly domestic. Like a man returning home after a long day at work to find his woman waiting. Soft. Beautiful.

He walked forward, drawn to the alluring image she presented. As he moved closer, he frowned. Her skin rippled with tiny quivers. Her muscles twitched and jumped, and her brow was creased, her lips drawn into a tight line.

He knelt in front of the couch and laid his hand on her shoulder. She was wearing one of his flannel shirts. He slid his hand down her arm then over her hip and to the bare skin of her leg. His fingers tracked back up to the hem of the shirt, and he pushed until it revealed her wound.

It still looked painful, though he couldn’t imagine anyone else healing this rapidly. And she seemed to think it was taking much too long.

He pressed his lips an inch below the jagged seam of the closed wound and kissed. Beneath his mouth, she stirred. He glanced over to see her looking at him. A smile curved her full lips.

She put her hand down to push herself into a sitting position. He clasped her shoulder and helped her up.

“You doing okay?” he asked.

She rubbed her hands over her arms and expelled a shaky breath. “Yeah, I’m good.”

He touched her cheek, outlined her lips with his fingers. Her eyes simmered liquid gold as she nuzzled her face into his palm.

“I’m starving,” he said. “Come keep me company while I whip up something to eat?”

She smiled and nodded.

“You want something?” he asked as he helped her to her feet.

“If you’re offering to cook.” She grinned. “I snacked on some of the stuff in your fridge, but I’m a disaster in the kitchen. Opening a can is about the extent of my culinary expertise.”

She glanced down at her bare legs then back up at Duncan. “I don’t have anything to wear. Your shirt was all I could find. I hope you don’t mind me borrowing it.”

He reached out to finger the lapel and ran the tip inside over the strip of flesh bared by the V. “That shirt never looked that good on me.”

She smiled again and started for the kitchen.

“I should have thought about getting you some clothes,” he said as he followed behind her. “Everything will be closed now, but I can go out tomorrow morning first thing and pick you up a few things.”

She gingerly perched atop one of the barstools, her bare legs dangling down. “That’s sweet of you. I’d appreciate it.” She cocked her head to the side and studied him. “You look tired. Long day?”

Warm pleasure surged through his veins at her concern. He set a skillet on the countertop and reached over to touch her hand.

“We found a dead lion.”

Sorrow filled her eyes and then she looked down. He raised his hand to her cheek.

She looked back at him, her eyes shining with a sheen of tears. “He was taken from the same game preserve that I was. He was a beautiful animal.”

“Aliyah, I’ll find the people who did this to you, to the other animals. I promise. They won’t hurt you again.”

She nodded, sadness still etched into her features. He pulled away and began preparations for a quick dinner.

A few minutes later, he dished up omelets for both of them. She dug in with enthusiasm and sighed in pleasure as she put a bite

“Real food. I’m in heaven.”

He looked up from his own plate. “Yeah, I guess you haven’t exactly had decent food lately.” Then he remembered his own offering of the raw steak and grimaced.

She ate quickly and with great enjoyment. When she pushed back her plate with a yawn, he felt the prickle of fatigue skate up his neck as well.

“We should probably get to bed,” he said as he picked up their plates and headed for the sink. “I’ll, uhm, take the couch.” He didn’t want to assume anything even though they’d had sex the night before. Maybe she already regretted it.

He turned around to see her staring intently at him, those golden eyes glowing in the light.

“I don’t want to sleep alone,” she said softly.

His chest tightened. He didn’t want to sleep on the couch. He’d much prefer having her in his arms again.

She walked forward, stopping mere inches in front of him. Their bodies were so close they were nearly touching. Her warmth reached out, curling around him, soft and feminine like her.

She put her hand on his chest and gazed up at him, her eyes beseeching.

“What are you asking?” he said hoarsely.

“For you to hold me. And maybe…”

He cupped his hand over hers, sliding his fingers over her wrist and to her fingertips.

“And maybe you could touch me,” she whispered.

“Do you know what you’re asking?”

She touched his cheek. “I know what I’m asking for, Duncan. The question is, can you give it to me?”

Duncan stood in the doorway of his bedroom, arm resting against the frame. Aliyah was lying on the bed. Naked. The flannel shirt she’d worn a few minutes ago was carelessly strewn on the floor.

She stretched on her side and stared up at him, eyes glowing a golden, iridescent glitter. There was clear invitation in her gaze, and he quickly unbuttoned his shirt then peeled his pants off. As the material gathered around his ankles, he hastily kicked off his boots then stepped out of the jeans.

He moved forward, drawn to the enticing figure she posed. As he put a knee on the bed and crawled forward, she rose up on her elbow. Her long hair fell forward, sliding over her shoulder.

She wasn’t shy at all. He liked that about her. She reached out and cupped his erection, boldly stroking over the length, up and then down again, her fingers curling around his sac.

He loved the way he filled her tiny hand, how she could barely get her fingers wrapped around the thick base of his dick. Each caress sent a sharp bolt of pleasure ricocheting up his spine.

Finally he pried her hand away and pulled it high over her head. He moved