The music shut down. A baby wailed a few apartments down, a small dog yapping into life inside another. Heavy footsteps approached from the other side of the door.
One word. One deep, masculine, primal intonation.
Her pulses jerked in response, her nipples beading tight beneath her black leather jacket and tight burgundy singlet.
If this is what he could do to a woman with one monosyllable behind a closed door, she could only imagine what he could do with a whole sentence, and up close and personal.
She cursed under her breath. She’d clearly been too long without a man, someone to ease the heavy ache of her breasts, the deep throb between her thighs. Just as well she wanted nothing more from him than answers.
Hesitating for a beat, she asked, “Mr. Powell?”
A long pause. “Maybe.”
Impatience drummed a loud tattoo behind her skull. A migraine was all she needed right now!
“I’m here on behalf of my father. He is—“ she swallowed back a wave of bitter loss and grief ”—was an archaeologist. You may have heard of him? Professor Thomas Leigh.” At the thick, almost suffocating silence that followed she continued more loudly, “He believed in the existence of human-panther shape-shifters—”
Her sentence ended on a startled gasp as the door flung open and she was jerked unceremoniously inside.
“Enough already,” Blake growled.
She hissed out a breath at the current of electricity sizzling through her arm’s every nerve ending; at the cheek of him dragging her inside. She tugged free, and looked up...and up.
Beneath scruffy dark jeans and a white t-shirt, the man was a mountain of fluid muscle and sinew, repressed energy that vibrated with emotion and patently raw sex appeal.
“Are you mad?” she said through gritted teeth. “All I wanted was a civilized discussion, not to be dragged inside like I’m nothing more than a cave woman!”
He slammed the door shut behind her and pushed home a large bolt. When he peeled off his dark sunglasses—ludicrous inside the near dark room lit only by a naked bulb—she took an involuntary step back. His eyes were an unnatural gold-yellow. Beautiful, but deadly.
She sucked in some oxygen, forcing a calm she didn’t feel. Damn it all to hell, he really was sinfully delicious, with more vague hints of darkness beneath his honey-warm skin that tantalized and teased even as it repelled.
“I know who you are,” he said.