“He’s being treated by Jenks, in our mobile center,” Shiva said when Cali inquired as to Morris’s whereabouts.
Jacob was as suspicious as Cali now. Morris hadn’t had a graze. A hole had appeared in his upper chest and blood had poured out.
And Shiva, like the rest of Morris’s team and the man himself, had no scent other than what Mother Nature had doused the area with.
“I’d like to speak with him as soon as possible.” Cali’s voice held an unmistakable chill. “The continuation of my contract with his agency depends on it. Since he just had a graze—”
Shiva held up one hand in a ‘stop’ gesture, her brown eyes flashing with irritation. “Grazes aren’t like what you see on TV. Sure, every now and then someone might just have their skin scraped off by a bullet, but that’s highly unlikely. A graze almost always takes out more than a little skin. It cuts through layers of tissue, fat, muscle, and can even scrape against bone, depending on the body part that’s hit. So unlike on TV, most people who are grazed with a bullet are actually in a lot of pain and are incapacitated to some degree.”
Cali blushed, and Jacob felt his own cheeks heat up.
“I wasn’t aware of that,” Cali muttered. “But I must insist on meeting with him as soon as possible. It’s a matter of trust.”
“Trust?” Shiva had lowered her hand, and now she fisted it and planted it on her hip. “What do you mean? He was shot protecting you.”
Jacob bit back a tart reply. Granted, Morris had been working for Cali, but he hadn’t thrown himself in front of either of them. Morris had been showing them a camp site, and someone had shot him.
“I think he was the target,” Jacob said, because screw it.
Shiva canted her head, reminding him of a wolf listening for sounds. “Why do you think that?”
Jacob glanced at Cali, who gave him a nod. He turned his attention back to Shiva. “Because we were all in the same space, but several feet separated me and Cali from Morris and Jenks. They were closer to each other, actually, and whoever shot Morris could have hit any of us. Especially—” He stopped and bit his bottom lip.
“Especially--” Cali continued, squeezing Jacob’s hand, the slight pressure reassuring him he hadn’t gone too far. “Since we saw him get shot. The bullet hit him here.” Cali touched his own chest, near the top of his shoulder. “In fact, it entered from the front. Entered, not grazed.”
Shiva’s flinch was minute, but it was there, at the left side of her mouth, a tell so small it would have been easy to miss. If Jacob hadn’t been watching her so closely, focusing on detecting any sign of nervousness or deceit, he’d have missed it.
“When something like this happens, it’s easy to get confused about—”
“No.” That one word from Cali had Shiva snapping her mouth shut.
“I know what I saw, and I know you’re lying to me,” Cali continued. “Consider the contract voided. You can tell Morris to send me a bill for anything I still owe. Take your mobile center and your people and leave, immediately. I’ll monitor the refuge from here out, just as I was doing before. The updates to security should help ensure we’re not surprised…hopefully.”
Because considering what happened earlier, there are no sure bets now. Jacob knew it, too.
Shiva narrowed her eyes. “I’ll be certain to give him your message.” She turned on her heel, and had she been wearing a skirt, it would have whipped out, so thorough was her flounce.
“That went well,” Jacob murmured.
Cali snorted softly. “Maybe I should have held back, but I dislike games and lies. I’ve been suspicious for a little while anyway, but Morris being shot-- or rather Shiva lying about his injury—is not something I can let pass.”
“You shouldn’t. Something’s not right.” Jacob watched Shiva until she was out of sight. “Where’s their mobile center?”
“Around back, by the garage.” Cali gestured over his shoulder.
“That would explain why she went around the corner of the house.” Jacob chuckled at himself, then laughed. He was so startled by his reaction, he jerked his hand free and covered his mouth.
Cali pulled him into a hug. “Adrenalin.”
Jacob felt like an idiot. He should have known that. His entire body was all…jangly now, as if his joints were loose. “Yeah. It just hit me and, I don’t know.”
“We need to go in, get everyone gathered up and discuss what’s happened,” Cali said. “Anya’s been watching us from one of the front windows all this time. I’m surprised she hasn’t come out to ask what’s going on. But after we talk to them…” He pressed his lips to Jacob’s ear, then licked the shell of it.
Jacob shivered, his dick beginning to harden as he clung to Cali. “A-after that?”
Cali purred, the rumbling sound shooting right to Jacob’s shaft.
“After that,” Cali whispered, pausing to nibble Jacob’s earlobe. “I’ll take you to our room.” He nipped right under Jacob’s ear. “And strip us both down.” Then sucked the spot he’d nipped.
Jacob whimpered, need coursing through him like a flood in a slot canyon, swift and deep.
“Want you in my mouth,” Cali said. He traced a path down to Jacob’s hip. “I want your lips on my dick. I want you to fuck me. I want anything, everything you want.”
“You,” Jacob forced out. “I want you.”