Without a word, she leaned over and pressed the series of buttons necessary for darkening the tint on the windows. A black film thickened over each one, until no one could see inside. They still had a view of the outside world. Not as clear, but Hector would soon be grateful for the privacy.

Full-on seduction would have to wait. He needed something else right now. Tough love. The same thing he’d given her the day of Ava’s wedding. Knowing him better now, she was absolutely certain that’s exactly what he’d done.

“I know you grew up here, but once a gutter rat always a gutter rat,” she sneered. “As if perfect, amazing, and, it can’t be denied, gorgeous Noelle Tremain would ever offer to suck you off again, now that she’s seen where you used to live.”

“I’m not a fucking gutter rat.” He threw the words at her, each one like a baseball.

That’s it, darling. “You sure? What would you call this place and the people who live in it, then?”

“Or you’ll what?” Pretending to ponder the answer, she tapped two nails against her chin. “Wait. I can guess. Nothing, that’s what. Because you don’t have the balls to take what you want. If you did, you would have grabbed me the moment I got into the car and screwed me brainless. You wanted to, I could tell, but you didn’t. You just sat there stewing about where you used to live, condemning me for condemning you. You’re a pussy, Hector Dean, and I do not suck on—”

His roar filled the interior as he slapped his big hands against her hips and dragged her onto his lap. For a moment, she had no anchor. Then his mouth was on hers, his tongue thrusting deep, and her blood thrilled with sensation.

The taste of mint hit her, and she moaned. His cock was a steel pipe between her legs, and the thought of taking him inside her made her instantly wet.

The vise grip on her hips tightened further, and he rammed her forward, against him, then shoved her back, then forward again. She loved every second, but if he accidentally hurt her, he would never forgive himself.

“Put your arms behind the back of the seat.”

He froze. “Shit!” As he panted, his head fell back against the neck rest, his eyes simmering with horror. “My arms are hot, and I touched you. Are you—”

“Oh, no, you don’t. Put your arms behind the seat. Now. I need this as much as you do.”

Though his expression didn’t change, he obeyed.

Noelle shoved aside the V of her blouse, letting the material catch on the sides of her bare breasts. “Flick your tongue over my nipples,” she commanded.

“Yes.” Hector fit his lips over her berry pink nipple and bit down, tugging the bud, making it swell with a rush of achy blood. Licking away the sting was one of his new favorite things to do.

He should stop this. He knew he should stop. He’d touched her with hands that could have blistered her. Only reason she wasn’t injured was because he wore the gloves, and she wore that sinful skirt. Had she been naked…

Oh, God. He’d lost control, wanting her so desperately he throbbed, ashamed about who and what he was, who and what he’d been—who and what he would always be.

As she’d shouted at him for being a pussy, she’d razed him with the disgust he’d expected—but that disgust had been directed at his behavior, at his resistance to her. Not at his past. She’d goaded him, and he’d let her. Now he was on fire for her. Had to see this through. Couldn’t stop.

When she reached between their bodies and unzipped his pants, he anticipated her next sinking down on him, taking him all the way inside. Instead, she let him go, licked the palm of her hand, wetting the skin, and oh, damn, he’d never seen anything sexier.

Silver eyes flashed brightly as she fisted his cock. A heated breath whooshed from between clenched teeth. Up and down she caressed, his hips arching into the touch.

“I want this,” she whispered raggedly. “Can I have it?”

She released him, and he groaned at the loss of contact. He didn’t mourn for long, though. She shoved aside her panties, giving him the briefest glimpse of pink and wet, and set herself at his tip.

Fingers shifted through his hair, and she tilted his head back for a drugging kiss. Down… down… she slid, taking him all the way in, just as he’d longed for. She swallowed his every groan of passion.

“Love.” His thoughts short-circuited. There was only here, now, this moment. This woman. Her intoxicating flavor in his mouth, a sweetness only Noelle possessed.

Her nipples rubbed at his shirt, but he wanted them on his skin.

At first she didn’t seem to hear him, so he growled the words at her. Her eyelids blinked open, and she tilted, resting her back against the driver’s console. The new angle gave his pleasure a sharper edge, and he gritted his teeth to stop himself from coming.

With shaky fingers, he ripped the buttons down his shirt, causing the fabric to gap open and revealing his chest. “Up,” he commanded now.

This time there was no hesitation, and she pressed against him. Skin to heated skin, and hell, the most delicious torture. She rode him, slamming down, faster and faster, until she was clamping down tight, shouting his name, tugging at his hair.

Just like that, tingles of sensation sparked in his balls and shot up his length, and he jetted inside her. He had to grip the rim of the seat to stop himself from grabbing hold of her. Already he could smell smoke.

When she stilled, collapsing against his chest, his muscles tensed and he tried to buck her off. “Noelle, please.”

“You want to go again?” she asked with a wicked smile.

“Oh, all right. I know the drill.” Frowning now, she wiggled to her seat, ending the connection.

He looked his arms over. Holes in the material, but smoke no longer wafted through them, and there was no longer any hint of the glow. “Are you hurt?”

Like she’d really admit the truth, though. “Let me see your hips.”

“No.” She fisted her hands over the waist of the skirt, but not before he spotted the charred waistline.

He had burned her. Had probably blistered her.

She must have read the horror on his face. “Hector, I can’t feel them. It’s fine. I’m fine.”

No, it fucking wasn’t. “We are not doing that again,” he said. And he meant it this time.

An innocent smile. “Whatever you say, darling.”

SIDE BY SIDE, HECTOR and Noelle entered the dirty building.

He’d donned his jacket to hide his decimated shirt, but a patch of skin was visible between the lapels. Gorgeous, Noelle thought, already hungry for him again.

Eyes ahead. “Are you sure you don’t want to field this one solo?” she asked with a shudder. Threadbare carpeting snagged on her boots. A different porno played on each of the walls, moans and groans echoing from speakers placed throughout the lobby.

Once again with the snappy answers. Fabulous. “One hundred percent sure or is there a way I can talk you into changing your mind? Because I’m pretty confident I came into contact with a flesh-eating bacteria when I opened the door.”

Anyone else would have pretended not to notice the grimness of their surroundings, thinking to spare his feelings. But he would have seen through the pretence, and that would have made everything worse. He didn’t need coddling. He needed someone to prove he was better than the location of his birth. “Little tip for you. Now that you’re blissed out,” she said, “you should be nicer to me. Otherwise I might start to think you’re serious about never again getting busy with me.”

He scowled at her. She smiled.

Several men sat on well-used couches, each of them eyeing her like a slab of ribs as she passed. Feel so special.

“Since you’re actually making me do my job,” she said to Hector, pausing a moment to let him pipe in that yeah, okay, she could head back to the car. He didn’t. “I’ll handle this first part.”

Don’t laugh. At the reception desk, Noelle propped her elbows on the counter, just in front of a girl who reminded her of the AIR agent, Kitten… whatever. A Teran, only this one was mocha everywhere but her hands. Those were white, as if she were wearing mittens. Her outfit consisted of an ill-fitting black bra, wrinkled black-and-white panties, and fishnet stockings with a run in the thigh.

“Can I help you?” Purring tone, probably seductive to most humans, but Noelle heard the boredom laced through it.

“You sure can. You can listen. One way or another me and my guy are getting back there. I’ll let you pick the way we handle things. Easy way or the hard way?”

A flash of irritation in that feline face. “Fuck you, bitch. Only one rule here and that’s customer privacy. Now if you wanna book a session, be my guest.”

“Easy way, then.” In less than a second, Noelle had her pyre-gun palmed, aimed, and the trigger squeezed. A blaze of blue, and the otherworlder was stunned, unable to move or speak.

Behind her, curses and footsteps resounded as the men on the couches beat feet outta there.

“Of course. Now she can’t fight us.”

“Well, we need her print to open the back room doors. What the hell are we supposed to do?”

“Hello. Cut off her hand.” Problem meet solution. Practically skipping, Noelle rounded the desk, pushed the girl out of the way, and did a little typing on the computer. “Our guy’s in room six. With Olga. A very popular girl, our Olga. I wonder if she’d be willing to share trade secrets.”

“Here’s another idea. I’ll just carry our key. Though this seems like the hard way.” He did, hefting the Teran’s body over his shoulder. He carted her to the side door, then motioned Noelle over. “Place her hand in the ID box and hold it there.”

“I don’t know if you’ve realized this yet, but had you not utilized my services in the car, you wouldn’t have been able to handle her. Think about that and get back to me with an apology for your attitude, then a poem of your own creation about my amazing thoughtfulness.” As she spoke, she did as commanded, and a flash of yellow light descended over the girl’s palm.

Beep. The door slid open, and they strode into the hallway. Several otherworlders strode this way and that, hustling in and out of rooms. The moment Noelle and Hector were spotted, the “masseuses” took off running in the same direction. Outside.

“They’re going to give me a complex,” she sniffed.

What do you know. His tenor had actually lightened.

At room six, they repeated the process with the Teran and that door slid open, too.

Hector eased his bundle to the floor and palmed a weapon.

Gordman was lying on a long table, face up, his clothes on but open, a naked Delesean giving him a blow job, while at the same time her six arms caressed his body. He had his hands in her hair, forcing her to take him deeper and harder than she probably wanted.

“Might want to stop,” Noelle said, her own gun aimed and set to kill this time.

Gordman’s eyes popped open and his dark eyes flashed daggers. “Get out before I fucking gut you.”

Ignoring her, Hector flashed his badge. “Threatening an agent. Not wise.”

Noelle anticipated paling, stuttering, even the emptying of bowels. A nice way of saying Gordman should be shitting himself from fear. I’m so classy! But the big brute pushed the otherworlder toward the door and sat up to right his clothing. The moment the three of them were alone, Hector reached back and closed the door.

“So, agent, mind telling me what this is about?” Gordman asked, all smooth and suave now. “I’m human. You have no jurisdiction with me.”

“Sure we do. But let’s disarm you before we get to that, hmm.” Hector closed the distance and flipped Gordman to his stomach, patting him down, tossing a pyre-gun and three blades to the floor. No protest from Gordman, no aggressive moves.

After toeing the blades as far away as possible—to be bagged and tagged later—Noelle used the hem of her shirt to pick up and shove the gun into the waist of her skirt. They couldn’t match the crystal to the burn marks found in Bobby’s chest, one of the disadvantages of using a pyre, but they could test to see how many times the weapon had been fired recently.

When Hector finished, he backtracked to her side and rapid-fired questions at their suspect.

“What were you doing inside Bobby Marks’s home yesterday evening?”

A flicker of surprise passed over Gordman’s rough features, then anger, both swiftly masked with indifference. “We were friends. I was visiting. Paying respects to his family.”

“Then why didn’t you knock on the door?”

Gordman next unveiled a cocky grin. “Maybe he’d given me a key. Maybe he told me to enter any time I felt like it.”

Noelle so wanted to squeeze the trigger of her gun. Smug bastard. “Let’s see that key.”