Anarchy (Hive Trilogy, #2)(2)

Written By: Jaymin Eve & Leia St

“You look beautiful,” he said, his low voice growly. I liked it.

As he stepped closer, towering over me even with my heels, I swallowed hard, hit all of a sudden with the memory of him in a towel. That was a good day. Not sure what else happened on that day in the Hive but the towel had definitely happened.

Clutching the yellow daisies closer, I couldn’t halt my grin. “Thanks, I didn’t think you were a flowers kind of guy.”

Jayden popped up behind me. “I’ll put them in some water,” he said as he winked at the lead enforcer.

Ryder reached out and took my hand and just like that we were walking down the hall of the Hive, hand in hand like a … a couple. Ah, if only it were that easy. Ryder was still dealing with the fact that he drained his fiancée Molly to death when he turned into an ash over thirty years ago. But for now this was more than enough. Got to start somewhere, and he was already hitting the right buttons.

After taking the elevator down to the main floor, we quickly made our way into the enforcer garage. Opening the door, I raised an eyebrow as I saw the rest of the sexy six leaning up against the blacked-out Humvee.

Oliver let loose with a catcall whistle: “Dayum, little unicorn, you sure do clean up well.”

I grinned at Jayden’s boyfriend.

“Crashing my date, boys?” I hollered back, only half joking. Seriously, were they coming? Surely Ryder could handle any minor threats.

Ryder turned to me and whispered so softly I could barely hear him. “After the attack from Sanctum and the other incident in the pit … I can’t take any chances.”

Whoa. Date night had officially turned heavy. Of course, the Sanctum was certainly one big scary group of * killers to worry about, but the other incident, the one in the pit, was worse.

Just a week ago Ryder had released a vampire prisoner who had fed from me, only to find out he was human and I had somehow, with my magical unicorn blood, cured him of his vampirism. Ryder said he’d taken care of the body, and no one knew anything about me being the cure, but still, I hadn’t slept well since that night. I didn’t even want to think about what it all meant.

There was one thing I did know: if Ryder thought he needed the entire sexy six out to guard me on our date night, it sure as shit meant I was in trouble.

“We’re going to India Palace,” Ryder said to Kyle.

The huge jovial male, with his mop of dirty-blond hair, was Ryder’s best friend, the one guy he trusted most with his secrets. Kyle was the only other one who knew about my blood being the cure. He had been there in the pit and was helping to cover it all up.

Kyle flicked me a grin before nodding at Ryder. Then he and the rest of the boys piled into the second Humvee. Ryder opened the passenger door of our car and ushered me in. As I slid into my seat, his arm grazed across my shirt, scraping the side of my right breast. I almost jumped out of my seat, and the tension in my body, which was already at its peak, shot up further. Was it actually possible to be so attracted to a guy that literally the slightest touch had me tied up with so many emotions?

Our gazes clashed for a moment and it took everything inside of me not to clench his shirt in my fists and pull him into me, to touch my lips to his, to taste that intoxicating spiciness which was all Ryder.

His full lips quirked at the corners and something dark rose in his ash eyes, the silver swirling in arcs. “Buckle yourself in,” he finally said, pulling away, his body grazing mine again.

Pretty sure that time was deliberate.

He shut the door and I took a second to pull myself together. Holy hot day in hell, he was totally going to be the death of me.

As Ryder got into the other side, I forced my mind out of the gutter and back on the dinner ahead of us. Indian food. Ten points for Ryder. My inner food whore was officially drooling. Bring on the garlic naan and butter chicken.

An hour later I was having trouble breathing because I’d basically inhaled every menu item at India Palace. Ryder smiled, flashing one of his dimple-filled grins.

“I’ll be honest. I’ve never seen a girl eat that much.”

I shrugged. “Just wait until dessert.”

One good thing about being an ash—increased metabolism and inability to get fat—I hoped anyway. I’d never seen a fat ash or vampire, so that had to mean something.

Ryder’s grin widened, turning into a laugh. Goddamn, he had the best laugh. He was always so serious. And the way his eyes remained locked on me, like there was no one else in the room…

Which wasn’t technically true, since there was a scattering of ash and vampires about, though I had no idea why the vamps were here, seeing they didn’t really eat food. It did convey a sense of security, having the sexy six around us. The boys were keeping an eye on me and Ryder, and somehow managing to eat even more than I did. Except for Sam of course. The most serious of the sexy six was patrolling outside. Over-achiever, that one.

As Ryder’s laughter died off, I fluttered my lashes, giving him a subtle wink. “Nice to see you can laugh. For a while there, right after I first met you, I was sure you had a Botox addiction and couldn’t actually smile.”

He chuckled again and let his eyes roam over me, landing on my lips. “I won’t tell you what I thought when I first met you. Wouldn’t be gentleman-like.”

Well, hot damn.

I sat up straighter, and just as I was about to make another attempt at flirting, movement outside the wall of glass just beyond Ryder distracted me. The window looked out over downtown Portland, and until now the streets had been pretty quiet, which wasn’t a huge surprise at this late hour. A shadow flashed again and I relaxed when I recognized Sam, decked out in a black trench coat. He was doing his best to fulfill every stereotype of our sire’s kind—the old tall, dark, and deadly vampire.

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