Rune of Passing by Lia Davis

Will the truth destroy them both?

Nat is anything but normal. Having a gift that allows her to see into other dimensions and create portals doesn’t mean she needs a vampire to look out for her. She can take care of herself.

Just like she took care of the demon who killed her father. Or so she thought…

 

I opened my apartment door and immediately felt something was off. My skin tingled from an unknown power in the air. My wards hadn’t alerted me and were still intact, but I trusted my instincts. Slowly, I unsheathed the knife I kept at my side and crept farther inside. Sitting at my kitchen table, cool as a cucumber, was the stranger from Father’s remembrance reception a couple months ago. The one who had been watching me like a creeper.

He was going through my laptop.

“What the fuck are you doing?” I demanded, tightening my grip on my knife. “Who are you, and how did you get in here?”

The man—the vampire—turned, his dark eyes calmly taking me in. Then his eyes roamed over my body, and damn if it didn’t feel like a physical touch. Shaking off the feeling, I glanced at my laptop. On my screen, my research notes and entire browser history was pulled up. I’d deleted those. However, even I knew nothing was deleted forever. Who the hell did this guy think he was, breaking in and snooping through my stuff?

I dug my claws into that anger, holding on tight because it hadn’t escaped me how hot he was and how my body heated in his presence. He looked even better in plain jeans and a dark t-shirt than he did in the suit. That was probably due in large part to the pale muscles of his arms that were now visible. I felt a strange pull to him and grit my teeth, fighting against that, too.

Angry. Stay angry.

He stood, and I estimated him at just over six feet tall. It wasn’t difficult to make me feel short, but I especially envied people over six feet. That was just cruel to those of us who weren’t so vertically gifted.

“Zakariya Hawkins,” he said, shoving his hands in his pockets. “I’m your new guardian. You need to come with me. Grab only what you need.”

Not so much as a handshake? Excuse me? Oh no, I don’t think so.

“I’m not going anywhere with you,” I argued, tightening the grip on my knife. “You need to get the fuck out of my apartment. Now.”

Chosen or not, I didn’t want a new guardian, didn’t need one, and definitely not this asshole. I’d spent the better part of two months proving that. For him to just barge into my life, especially like this—well, I’d say he wasn’t going to like me much if this was how he played with others.

He took a step toward me. “You don’t understand—”

“No, you don’t understand.” I stormed past him and slammed my laptop closed. “You show up here after two whole months of nothing and just expect me to come quietly?”

“You think I wasn’t watching?” Zakariya frowned, his tone hardening. “Who do you think owns the company you work for?”

My jaw dropped. Shit, shit, shit. Hawkins. Of course.

“So, you’re stalking me?”

“I was trying to give you some semblance of freedom.” He ran his hands through his inky hair, and I ignored the sliver of midsection his shirt exposed and the flame that ignited inside me. “Things have changed. You need to come with me.”

“Damn right, things have changed.” I pointed toward the door. “I can take care of myself. You can just go back to the shadows where you came from. Watch me from there if you must, but I’m not going anywhere with you.”

He stalked toward me until we were separated by inches of air. My heartbeat increased, and I squeezed my thighs together, but I straightened my spine and stared into his eyes.

“I don’t trust easily, and I’m aware there are guardians out there who will use the Chosen for their own benefits. Not today, Satan.”

One corner of his lips twitched as he leaned in closer to me.

“Fine, I’ll leave, but I’ll be close by. Don’t forget it.”

It took me a few to relax. If I quit my job, would it be obvious why? I was afraid Zakariya would find me no matter where I went. Fine. If he wanted to be my guardian, he could do it from a distance.

I damn sure didn’t need him distracting me from finding the runestone. Zak was definitely a distraction with his panty-wetting smirk and dark eyes. With that thought, I needed a cold shower.

He was going through my laptop.

“What the fuck are you doing?” I demanded, tightening my grip on my knife. “Who are you, and how did you get in here?”

The man—the vampire—turned, his dark eyes calmly taking me in. Then his eyes roamed over my body, and damn if it didn’t feel like a physical touch. Shaking off the feeling, I glanced at my laptop. On my screen, my research notes and entire browser history was pulled up. I’d deleted those. However, even I knew nothing was deleted forever. Who the hell did this guy think he was, breaking in and snooping through my stuff?

I dug my claws into that anger, holding on tight because it hadn’t escaped me how hot he was and how my body heated in his presence. He looked even better in plain jeans and a dark t-shirt than he did in the suit. That was probably due in large part to the pale muscles of his arms that were now visible. I felt a strange pull to him and grit my teeth, fighting against that, too.

Angry. Stay angry.

He stood, and I estimated him at just over six feet tall. It wasn’t difficult to make me feel short, but I especially envied people over six feet. That was just cruel to those of us who weren’t so vertically gifted.

“Zakariya Hawkins,” he said, shoving his hands in his pockets. “I’m your new guardian. You need to come with me. Grab only what you need.”

Not so much as a handshake? Excuse me? Oh no, I don’t think so.

“I’m not going anywhere with you,” I argued, tightening the grip on my knife. “You need to get the fuck out of my apartment. Now.”

Chosen or not, I didn’t want a new guardian, didn’t need one, and definitely not this asshole. I’d spent the better part of two months proving that. For him to just barge into my life, especially like this—well, I’d say he wasn’t going to like me much if this was how he played with others.

He took a step toward me. “You don’t understand—”

“No, you don’t understand.” I stormed past him and slammed my laptop closed. “You show up here after two whole months of nothing and just expect me to come quietly?”

“You think I wasn’t watching?” Zakariya frowned, his tone hardening. “Who do you think owns the company you work for?”

My jaw dropped. Shit, shit, shit. Hawkins. Of course.

“So, you’re stalking me?”

“I was trying to give you some semblance of freedom.” He ran his hands through his inky hair, and I ignored the sliver of midsection his shirt exposed and the flame that ignited inside me. “Things have changed. You need to come with me.”

“Damn right, things have changed.” I pointed toward the door. “I can take care of myself. You can just go back to the shadows where you came from. Watch me from there if you must, but I’m not going anywhere with you.”

He stalked toward me until we were separated by inches of air. My heartbeat increased, and I squeezed my thighs together, but I straightened my spine and stared into his eyes.

“I don’t trust easily, and I’m aware there are guardians out there who will use the Chosen for their own benefits. Not today, Satan.”

One corner of his lips twitched as he leaned in closer to me.

“Fine, I’ll leave, but I’ll be close by. Don’t forget it.”

It took me a few to relax. If I quit my job, would it be obvious why? I was afraid Zakariya would find me no matter where I went. Fine. If he wanted to be my guardian, he could do it from a distance.

I damn sure didn’t need him distracting me from finding the runestone. Zak was definitely a distraction with his panty-wetting smirk and dark eyes. With that thought, I needed a cold shower.

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