Arctic Fire

By: Erica Stevens


“You know Clint is going to be pissed at me for letting you stay in here after hours.”

Julian shrugged at Quinn’s words. He draped his arm around the back of the chair as he leaned back to watch her wipe off one of the last tables. “Don’t care,” he replied.

She shot him a look as she tucked her rag into her apron and stepped away from the table. That look guaranteed she wouldn’t be as cuddly tonight as she had been last night, but he was willing to have her annoyed with him if it meant keeping her safe.

Plus, he couldn’t deny he liked watching her as she worked. She had her chocolate-colored hair pulled into a ponytail that accentuated the angles of her face. The faint scar running from her right temple to her eyebrow, and the one running from her bottom lip to beneath her chin, were more visible with her hair back, something deliberate on her part.

She saw her scars as displaying to the world what she felt were her sins for killing her uncle when she was first turned into a vampire. It didn’t matter that her uncle would have died anyway or that she’d had no control over her actions. She wore those scars to punish herself for that night. He saw her scars as her battle wounds; ones she should be proud to wear as they marked her as the warrior she was.

He would love her if her entire face were covered in scars. She wasn’t beautiful in the delicate, classical sense, but with her honeyed eyes, proudly pointed chin, pert nose, and high cheekbones, he found her to be more beautiful and alluring than anyone he’d ever known. He also couldn’t deny he enjoyed watching her trim, athletic body as she glided from one table to another. Her ass fit nicely in her formfitting, black pants that hugged her thighs.

Yep, he could definitely get used to watching this, even if he had to endure the daggers she kept sending his way as she worked. He’d offered to help and received a snap of the towel in response, which was fine by him. He was a beer drinking, blue jeans kind of guy, but manual labor wasn’t something he’d done much of since becoming a vampire.

“You’ll care when I get evicted from my apartment, and you’re out on the street,” she said with a huff.

He gave her a wicked smile that caused her to stop scrubbing at the table. The color flushing her porcelain skin told him his smile had affected her even as she narrowed her eyes at him and thrust her chin out. “Then you’ll just have to stay at the motel, in my room, with me.”

Her full mouth pursed. “I’d get my own room.”

“I’d be more than willing to share,” he replied with a wink.

“I’m not.”

“Come now, Dewdrop, you would enjoy yourself.”


Oh, Quinn had no doubt she would thoroughly enjoy herself with him. Looking at him was enough to make her insides turn to goo; what his mouth and hands could do to her was an entirely different ballgame. The worst part was that the conceited ass was also one of the most considerate, kind, and irresistible men she’d ever encountered.

She still felt like a teen in the early stages of puppy love, and couldn’t help but smile every time she recalled their date last night. The picnic on her roof had been perfect; he’d been perfect, which was something she’d never believed possible, given how arrogant he could be and how many times she’d considered giving him a solid punch in the nose.

She’d completely lost her heart to him last night. The realization didn’t make her feel like running through fields of grass while singing; instead, it chilled her to the center of her core. She loved this cocky, brutal, killer of a man, who was vastly more experienced with the world and women, more than she’d ever dreamed possible. She was petrified that loving him would cause her to lose him like she’d lost everyone else she’d loved in her life.

Dropping her rag on the table, she planted her hands on her hips. “Perhaps I wouldn’t enjoy myself.”

One of his black eyebrows quirked up. “Is that a challenge?”

It was a lie, they both knew it, but she refused to be swayed by those ice-blue eyes and entirely delectable mouth—a mouth she knew could make her forget her own name. “No, it’s not. It’s simply a possibility.”

He grinned arrogantly as he leaned toward her. “No, that is not a possibility, and I think it is definitely a challenge. Believe me, Quinn, I’ll make sure you enjoy yourself very much.”

Her toes curled so deeply into her black boots, she felt like she’d bore a hole through the soles. If she had a heartbeat, it probably would’ve beat straight out of her chest. Instead, she thrust her shoulders back as his gaze did a hungry perusal of her body that made her tempted to jump on him. She didn’t know how someone could infuriate and arouse her so much at once, but Julian had somehow perfected the art of it.

She opened her mouth to answer him when she heard the knob on the door turn. “Crap,” she muttered. Her annoyance over Julian’s refusal to leave had distracted her from locking the door. “I’m sorry,” she called to whoever stood beyond the door. “But we’re closed.”

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