Chapter 36

Sara stood naked in front of the mirror in Alexander's bedroom, her skin still damp from the shower. Tipping her chin up, she inspected the bruises on her neck, ran her hand over them, and swallowed. The throbbing pain had her gritting her teeth. No more fear, Dr. Donohue. Trainer's dead--the threat of him gone for good.

And yet she remained here, in this house, his house.

"Cruel, cruel girl."

"You're back," Sara said, the pleasure in her tone blatant.

Alexander came up behind her, dressed in black combat gear and looking like something the U.S. military would keep a secret from their enemies.

Grinning, he looked in the mirror at her. "How are you?"

"I'm not sure yet," she said honestly.

"Your brother . . . ?"

"Is sleeping. He still won't talk to me."

"You'll try again."

"And again." She smiled weakly. "What about you? How are you? What do you need?"

Wrapping his coat around her naked flesh, he breathed her in, then shook his head. "For now, I need your excessively brilliant brain. Some ideas, profiling."

She liked that. "Okay."

"After running from his previous residence, Ethan Dare continues to elude me.

Trainer's memories gave me little. I see room after room of simplicity, but it's not an apartment or condo, and I can't tell if he's remained in the city or not."

Sara let this information sink into her brain for a moment, then said, "Well, I think that after leaving his home--or feeling as though he was forced out of his home--he'd find somewhere completely opposite, somewhere he feels no positive connection to. In fact, he may have run to somewhere he could do real damage and not care."

"Damage ..." Alexander nodded, his eyes heavy and thoughtful. "I'll think on that, run it by my brothers."

"Hey, Alex?"

His gaze lifted to hers, his expression surprised at what she'd called him. "Yes?"

Sara turned in his arms, looked up into his beautifully fearsome face. "I want you to do it."

"Do what?"

"Take the memory from Gray."

"But you--"

" I," she interrupted passionately, "am a fake."

With a soft growl of reproach, Alexander cupped her face. "No, Sara."

"And a phony," she continued, nodding. "You were right--back at the hotel. I am worried about the risks to Gray's mind, but honestly I'm more worried about myself. Half of my life was paying for the accident I caused, the other half was spent trying to fix it.

It's like, what am I without the pain, you know? The guilt? What am I without the constant cause?"

"You are the woman I love."

The woman. Not the veana. She'd never be his veana. Her heart stilled with momentary sadness, but she asked again, "Will you do it?"

He leaned down and brushed his lips over hers. "Yes."

A loud rap on the door startled them both.

"The 'eyes' have come through, Alex," Nicholas called through the wood. "We have a location."

Alexander nodded at Sara. "We will talk of this more later."

She didn't want him to go, but she released him. "Be careful."

"Of course."

"No, I mean really careful. As in, don't give Bronwyn anything that needs to be healed, okay?"

"Bronwyn has gone home."

It was as though the sun had risen in her chest and she nearly squealed with happiness. "She has?"

He nodded, grinning. "She knew, as I always did, that we were not true mates."

He took her in his arms then and kissed her, hard and sweet, his tongue grazing her teeth.

But when he broke away, his smile was gone, and his eyes registered concern.

"What is it?" she asked him.

"Nothing." He frowned, backed up. "You will wait for me."

She nodded. She wasn't going anywhere.

Turning, he strode to the door, but when his hand reached for the handle, he froze.

"Room after room," he muttered. "A place he would hate, would want to destroy." Then he suddenly roared, "That's what I saw--the credenti!"

From the other side of the wood, Nicholas yelled, "Yes! How the hell did you know?"

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