Title: Winter’s Quest
Genres/Themes: Urban Fantasy, Futuristic,
Author: Anne Kane
Publisher URL Changeling Press – Erotic Fiction
Trace wants Winter, and he’s not a man to take no for an answer.
Winter remembers all about the insanity of life as a lab rat, but what she doesn’t know is how she got there. Given the mess she’d made out of her life up to this point, she needs to find the answers to her past before she can get on with her future.
Trace isn’t sure why Winter is so hung up on her past but if she plans on chasing all over the nine provinces looking for answers then it’s up to him to make sure she stays safe. And, while they’re spending all that quality time together, maybe he can convince her that he’s more than just a convenient sex partner.
How could he have possibly found her? She knew his buddies bragged about his ability to track down just about anyone at any time, but she’d been very careful. She’d left no indication of where she was going, in fact she’d left in the middle of the night without even saying good bye to her sisters, and she’d left that damn com-unit behind despite the fact that she felt naked and vulnerable without it. Amazing how quickly she’d come to rely on the instant connection to all of her sisters.
Trace swung his head in her direction as if he knew exactly where she was, pinning her with a glare from his dark eyes.
Silence reigned as all eyes went to the new arrival. He ignored everyone but Winter, pulling his gloves off as he stalked toward her little corner of the pub.
Conversation resumed, although much quieter than it had been. Seems she wasn’t the only one who felt the anger emanating from the big mercenary. He stopped in front of her table, staring down at her without saying a word.
“Hi?” Well what the heck did he expect? Not like she’d invited him to come visit her, far from it. She’d made it very clear she wanted nothing more than a single night with him.
He turned to the barkeeper. “Bring me a pitcher of ale, and something with meat in it.” Pulling out the chair opposite her, he plunked himself down. “So you want to tell me what the hell you think you’re doing?”
Winter blinked. “I beg your pardon?”
“Why did you just up and disappear without telling any of your sisters where you were going? They’re worried about you, you know, and you know why.”
Winter felt a brief twinge of guilt. It hadn’t occurred to her that they might think the Alliance goons had managed to capture her. She hadn’t really thought the whole thing through at all, she’d just realized how badly she’d screwed up and she’d run as far away as she could. She thought she’d done a good job of covering up her tracks but apparently she’d been wrong.
“So how did you manage to find me?”
He shrugged. “It’s what I do. Find people. Or things. But mostly people.”
Well, so much for the fond illusion that maybe she actually meant something to him. Thank goodness he didn’t know what had made her run in the first place. The last thing she needed right now was some bad-assed guy thinking he had any right to decide what she should do. Lying would be necessary to extricate herself from this situation. Luckily that was the one thing she was very good at.
“I just wanted out. I’m tired of running and hiding and worrying about getting caught. I want to live a normal life and that’s not possible in an Alliance run town.”
Trace looked around the bar room, his gaze lingering on the unsavory characters swilling down the local brew. “Yeah. This looks like a big improvement. I can see the attraction.”
Winter felt a smile tug the corner of her mouth. Damn. The guy had an annoying habit of knowing exactly how to get through the wall of ice she’d erected around herself. “It has its good points.”
The bartender reappeared and plunked a jug of beer on the table, slopping the contents over the edge before putting two mugs on the table. Glaring at them as if they somehow were inconveniencing him, he held out his hand. Trace slapped some cred-chips in it, fixing the man with one of his icy glares. “We don’t want to be disturbed.”
The man pocketed the coins, grunting an unintelligible answer before retreating to his bar. Trace’s attention returned to her. “So these good points, are we talking about the ambiance or the cheerful serving staff?”
“Okay. I admit it’s a bit of a dive, but the price is right.” She sighed. “I meant it. I needed to get out of the city and I honestly didn’t think about how it would affect the others so you can just turn around and go back and tell them I’m okay and I’ll be in touch when I get myself sorted out. I need time to think.”
Trace shook his head. Picking up the tankards one at a time he poured them each a generous glassful of the pale liquid. “Think about what?”
He certainly had a way of getting to the heart of the matter. “Things. My life. What I want to do. I can’t spend my whole life hiding in the shadows in some city, afraid of getting caught.”
Traced raised his glass and took a long pull on the liquid.
She had to give him credit for not gagging. The swill they served here was hardly up to his usual standards.
He sat his glass down on the table. “Okay. You need time away to think. I can respect that. I’ll let the others know you’re safe and that we’ll be back when you’re ready to face them.”
“What do you mean we? I don’t need you to stay with me. I don’t want you to stay with me. I want to be left alone.”
She couldn’t believe she was hearing this. He didn’t even try to justify himself. He acted so damned superior, as if he thought he had the right to make decisions concerning her.