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At her desk she tapped the key to open the newest email and smiled a little. Martin was just across the border in Washington State. On the east side rather than closer her way in Seattle or Tacoma, but close just the same. It should surprise her. It didn't.
His nearness might explain why her reaction was strong. Spokane was only about a nine-hour drive from Vancouver, give or take. Sometimes traffic was a snap and other times the damn freeway slowed to a crawl if not a full-out stop, leaving her to twiddle her thumbs for an hour or two. She was anxious to get started. Thank goodness her favorite house sitter was on her way. Cat could almost smell the border. It was any easy flight into Spokane that would save quite a bit of time as well as wear and tear on her butt except she wanted her car within easy reach in case she needed to move in a flash. There were times when the wait at the border was a pain and passports were pretty much a necessity these days. Still, driving was the option that appealed to her at the moment.
She'd like to say that it was for mobility in the case of an out and out battle, chasing down evil and all. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, depending upon how she looked at it, there was a little more to it than that. In fact, there was about six feet six inches of all male, all testosterone to it, in the form of one Spokane Indian named Adam Bell.
Adam was great. No, scratch that, he was fabulous and that was the problem. He was the kind of intriguing and insightful man who shook her right down to the bottom of her little black heart. Five years ago her life before had been a roller coaster ride with huge ups and hell-like lows. Finding the AnimaMundi had helped to level it out. It gave her focus and purpose, explaining her life and the strange gifts in such a way as to make her feel centered for the first time ever. And it was working great until about six months ago when she and Adam were called to Romania.
She'd known of Adam; everyone in Anima Mundi knew of him. Despite their relative geographic closeness, Cat hadn't seen him before, let alone worked with him.
Or touched him.
Or kissed him.
Romania turned out to be quite a trip in more ways than one. Killing a vampire old enough that she couldn't even begin to imagine when he first came into the world was an experience that defied any rational explanation. She had been flying high on adrenaline after that kill and Adam had been there to share the triumph. Even today she couldn't isolate the moment their working relationship shifted into something different. All she knew for sure was that falling in bed with Adam had put a whole new spin on everything. And she did mean everything.
If it had just been the lovemaking, that alone would have been quite a novel experience for Cat. There had been more. She'd seen Adam shift from a striking man into a magnificent wolf, the silver of his fur catching the moonlight. His wolf eyes had held hers and something had passed between them that she was still trying to decipher. Bottom line was it had been unforgettable.
What was more of a mystery to her was how she'd reacted to that odd bit of revelation. Adam's transformation from man to wolf hadn't scared her, and it hadn't even come close to pushing her away. In fact, if anything, it made her want him even more. It had been the most incredible thing she'd ever witnessed and that was saying a lot. Top that off by making love with him, the sex wild and raw, like the wolf she'd seen him become and bam, she'd had the experience of a lifetime.
There wasn't so much as an ounce of shape shifter in her skinny body, but the moment he'd touched her, like the wolf that mated for life, she sensed a connection that went deeper than their skin. It was as if she'd found her soul mate and that had scared the hell out of her. She could face down evil, just not her own insecurities.
True to form she ran and had been hiding ever since. It had been a stupid move, not to mention childish. But the damage had been done the minute she'd stepped on the plane heading home. She couldn't undo what she'd done and so she opted for hiding. The chicken still lived.
Now Martin's e-mail was forcing her out of the safe comfortable nest and back into the fray, complete with a man who made her want to drop her clothes and run for the bedroom the minute she saw him. What a way to hold on to her oh-so-precious dignity. She had to remind herself that the reality was that there was a job to do and sooner or later she was bound to come face to face with Adam again. She didn't doubt that he thought her a fool or even the kind of woman with a fondness for one-night stands, that being the polar opposite of her true nature. She couldn't fault him if he did think the worst of her. She had set him up to believe that very thing, and she had to live with the consequences of her own actions. She only wished she didn't still feel like her heart would burst.
She only wished she didn't want him so much.