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Years of experience had taught Meg the perfect flying height if she wanted to spot supers in action. Even so, sometimes she circled the city for hours without seeing anything worth shooting. It was the luck of the...
What was that?
She braked into a hover, attention caught by a human shape standing on a rooftop, silhouetted against the lights. The guy was so broad-shouldered, he just had to be superpowered. Meg shot down for an invisible fly-by.
He stood with one leg bent, bracing a boot against the low rooftop wall. Soft brown leather armor emphasized his narrow waist and the contrasting width of powerful shoulders. A leather helmet in the shape of a cat's head covered his face. The cat's roaring jaws framed his lower face and the grim line of his mouth. She'd always found that mouth perversely sexy.
Meg's heart began to pound as her instinct to run like hell battled her need for a closer look. New York's premier hero had fascinated her since she was a scared fifteen-year-old watching him battle her father. Every time Gerald had reeled under one of those powerful punches, guilt, terror, and hope had warred in her soul. Secretly, she'd dreamed Cougar would rescue her.
And in the end, he'd done just that.
Meg was twenty-three now, and Cougar still starred in her fantasies, though her dreams had taken a distinctly adult turn these days. He was just so ... male, so dominant, so hard-edged and grimly handsome. You just knew he'd be the type to go for handcuffs and kinky sex.
She'd even told Richard about those fantasies one night after three glasses of really good champagne. Richard being Richard, he'd offered to rent a costume, butshe hadn't been quite that drunk.
Now there he stood in the flesh. Cougar. All by himself. Not fighting anybody. She could actually get close and just look at him, instead of snapping a shot and fleeing for her life.
Meg drifted down to hover ten feet away. Taking her time, she floated closer, slowly enough to avoid creating a rush of air that would betray her to Cougar's hyperhuman senses. He didn't seem aware of her presence. He just stared down at the street below as though watching something, still as a hunting cat.
Damn, he was big. Had to be six-four at least. Meg was willing to bet his armor wasn't padded, either. It exposed his arms from shoulders down to the beginning of his clawed gauntlets, and those biceps were mouth-watering. Eyeing the elegant curve of hard, tanned skin, Meg imagined what he'd look like naked, all that glorious brawn on display. His body must be as delicious as Richard's.
Except Cougar was a good guy. She wasn't so sure about Richard.
She was right in front of him. He could smell her. The hint of jasmine in her floral shampoo blended with the rich, complex scent of woman.
But good as his feline senses were, Cougar couldn't see her. She was completely invisible.
Wait for it, he told himself. Let her get closer. He had only one shot at this. If he blew it, she'd make damn sure he never got close again. And he wanted to get very, very close. It was a good thing he wore armor over his groin, or she'd have seen his hungry erection.
Cougar spared a thought for Lynx, ready to pounce from the shadows. They hadn't dreamed she'd be brazen enough to approach him head-on. He doubted his brother was even aware she was here. The serum they'd taken as teenagers had given Lynx speed and agility instead of acute senses and superstrength.
Cougar breathed in slowly. The light breeze brought more of that wonderful female scent, as though she was coming closer, flying right up to the edge of the roof he stood on.
Wait for it.
Meg wondered what color his eyes were behind his mask's opaque eye slits. The only thing she could really see of him was the lower half of his face.
She'd always thought Cougar had a grim, hard mouth, but now she realized his upper lip had a deliciously sensual curve, while the lower pouted ever so slightly. God, she wanted to kiss him.
Why not just zip in, steal a kiss, and zoom off before he could grab her? He'd never know who it was. Hell, he might not even be sure what happened.
Her heart thudded an eager adrenalin beat. It was so risky. If he got those big hands on her...
She'd love it.
No, Meg, you would not, she told herself sternly. You'd go to jail.
Well, probably not. It wasn't against the law to steal a kiss, and he didn't know she'd been Sneak Thief. Where was the harm? Besides, Cougar might be big and strong, but speed was Lynx's talent. She was pretty sure she could fly off before he could catch her.
Meg floated closer. One inch. Two. Sloooowly. Holding her breath. She could smell him now, leather and man. His armor was exquisitely made in contrasting shades of warm brown, trimmed in metallic gold. It looked faintly Roman and extremely butch, unlike the spandex many heroes wore. She'd seen it stop bullets, so it had to be made of something more than just leather.
Her gaze focused on his seductive mouth. She licked her lips. Her heartbeat thundered. She was close enough now to reach out and kiss him. Tensing, ready to fly, Meg leaned forward the few inches she'd need to make contact with those velvet lips...
Powerful arms snapped around her like the jaws of a trap springing shut. She slammed against Cougar's chest so hard, the breath left her in a stunned whoof.
As Meg gasped, a white grin spread across the mouth she'd wanted so badly to taste. "You've been a bad, bad girl, Paparazzi."