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She swallowed hard and pretended she wasn't affected.

Then, she gave him a very pleased, innocent smile. "See. That wasn't so hard, was it?"

For a moment, he looked confused, then a slow wash of understanding, and of self-disgust moved over his face. His nostrils flared and he nearly snarled at her. "Close your eyes, resume your work. Let's get this done."

Petra was no fool. She knew exactly where his mind had gone. He'd forgotten for a moment about the female. He'd allowed himself to relax, to play. She wouldn't try to reason with him. It was not her business. Right now, she needed to complete their bargain.

With infinitely more confidence, and eyes open and watchful, Petra inhaled again and blew. Everything moved more quickly this time. As his skin changed and healed, Petra switched to another section until his entire face was free of burns and blisters. It was truly awesome, this power she possessed. She didn't know what to think of it, how to proceed, but the truth was, her world had just opened up.

Her eyes pinned to his face, she finished her work, used her healing breath on his neck.

"Mr. Wise?"

Her voice drew his attention and he opened his eyes. Petra nearly gasped. The bark-brown color of his irises now glowed with rich, sensual gold. She couldn't turn away, her skin prickled and hummed. She'd never seen anything like it, like him.

She cleared her throat and pushed out her query. "Is the pain gone?"

His gaze moved over her face, and she wondered if he was deciding how to answer.

"The burns, I mean," she amended, almost nervously. "I know the pain of losing-"


"If you wanted to talk about it, you could, that's all I'm saying."

"Petra, please." His lips thinned. "And again, I'm saying please. What happened out there near the caves is my own. It will never be discussed here."

"Okay, but sometimes it helps."

"That is an innocent's perspective."

"And that is a cynic's response."

He sighed, his teeth clenched as he glanced past her to the windows. "Bloody hell. I never thought I'd be pleased to see the impending emergence of the sun." He turned back to face her. "Since we can't seem to finish this . . . whatever it is-"

"Bargain," she finished for him.

"I'm going to need somewhere to hold out."

She stood up. "Come on. The bathroom is the darkest and most shaded room in the treehouse."

She'd never seen anyone look so insulted. She started to laugh. "What?"

His nostrils flared. "I am to nod off in the toilet?"

"It's a very nice bathroom," she assured him, not able to control her grin. "I designed it myself."

"I could try to flash before the sun comes up." He growled. "But I think I'm too fecking weak to risk it." He got to his feet and followed her. "I will remain in your loo if I must, Veana, but I won't wait all day for blood. I want you now."

She whirled around inside the arch of the bathroom door, her skin humming with his words. "Perhaps you would like to rephrase that, Mr. Wise."

He came to stand before her, his gaze taking full command of hers. Petra saw hunger and curiosity burning there, but it was the strain of grief that truly tugged at the muscles in her chest. He was thinking of her. The female he'd brought to the rainforest. Did he feel guilty for being with Petra now, standing here before her, wanting her blood, and maybe something more?

And if he did, Petra thought, her eyes searching his for answers, for a mutual understanding of this attraction she felt, would that guilt send him away the minute he had what he wanted?

She mentally shook her head. Wasn't that exactly what should happen? Wasn't that what she wanted as well?

The knock at the front door stunned them both, and they jerked their heads toward it.

Synjon dropped into a predatory, fighting stance, a low growl sounding in his throat.

Petra made an attempt to shove him into the bathroom. "Get in there." But it was like trying to move a boulder.

His eyes flashed with fierce, hungry heat. The kind that usually led to fists connecting with faces. "Are you sure you don't want me to answer the door for you?"

The knocking grew louder and more insistent.

Petra glanced at the door, then back at him. She hissed, "You want blood, Mr. Wise?"

He sniffed at the thinly veiled threat. "All right. I'll disappear into the loo. But it would be a grave mistake to forget about me."

Petra didn't answer him, just closed the bathroom door the very second he stepped back.

Forget him?

Was he kidding? How could she forget him? She was actually going to let this male bite her again, let him remove, drink, and consume blood from her body. As she headed for the front door and whatever stood behind it, a strange and unexpected rush of heat overtook the nerves inside of her. If she wasn't mistaken, though her mind cringed at the idea of feeding her blood to the dangerously handsome Synjon Wise, her body was more than just able and ready.

It was willing.

Chapter Eight

This was bullocks.

Synjon stood in the very same spot he'd occupied when the veana had left him ten minutes ago. Inches from the bloody door. But now, he leaned against it, listening as Doctor Forgive and Fuck Me refused to get a clue and leave. If this kept on, Synjon wasn't sure he could follow through on his promise to remain hidden. Though his face and neck were healed, his gut ached with hunger. If he didn't feed soon, he would start to grow feral.