Kael stretched and groaned. “Gods, I’m glad I’m back.”

 

Robin chuckled quietly. “Don’t like flying, my friend?”

 

Kael snorted, amused. “Hardly. The seats are too tight, I always wind up near a screaming child, and the bathrooms are laughable. And that’s before I get on the plane.”

 

Oh, Robin was growing more and more fond of this one. “After you.” Robin bowed with a grin, aware of the sound of another car pulling into the parking lot. He turned and saw the most mind-searing orange Jeep Wrangler he’d ever been privileged to lay eyes on pull into the parking spot next to his. The grin faded as the engine revved twice before cutting off.

 

Behind the wheel was a dainty female in hospital scrubs. She smiled over at them before reaching down to grab something off of the passenger side floor. He tilted his head, trying to get a better glimpse of the woman.

 

“Robin?”

 

He tilted his head the other way, staring at the tiny figure in the driver’s seat. There was something about her, something that called to him. What was it? Robin sniffed, but all he could scent of was exhaust, rubber, human and pooka.

 

“Robin, we need to go.”

 

Robin turned and nearly snarled at Kael, but the concern on the pooka’s face stopped him. What had he been doing, staring at a human female?

 

A car door slammed shut. “Excuse me, is everything all right?” She practically bounced in place. “Hi, Kael.”

 

Kael’s tense posture visibly relaxed. “Michaela. Just getting home from work?” Kael smiled sweetly at the dainty, brown-haired sprite of a female. The girl barely reached Kael’s shoulder. Robin guessed she’d be roughly chin height on him, were he in his normal form. As it was, she barely reached his shoulder as well. She was passably pretty, with a bottom lip fuller than the top and a square, soft jaw. Deep brown eyes gleamed with good humor over a larger-than-average nose. Scrubs, covered in the scent of illness and some hideous yellow bug-eyed things in brown pants and ties that grinned and capered about her person, obscured her figure. Sensible white shoes graced her feet, and her dark brown hair was bundled up in a tight ponytail. Her pale cheeks were flushed with wind and happiness.

 

Dear gods above. Robin felt faint for the first time in his life.

 

It was her.

 

It was the woman from his dreams, and she stood before him, tiny and vulnerable and tempting as sin.

 

That sweet smile turned on Robin. “You must be Kael’s friend. I’m Michaela. Pleased to meet you.” Michaela held out her hand. “I saw you standing there, looking like you were lost. Let me guess; Kael here is too much of a pain in the ass to show you where the elevator is.”

 

She laughed as Kael took her hand and placed it on his arm. Robin wanted to rip Kael’s arm off and beat the pooka to death with it. “Of course I was going to show him, once he was no longer blinded by your Jeep.”

 

“Hey, no mocking the Punkinator.” She wagged her finger at Kael before turning back to Robin with a sweet smile. “It took me a week to remember where it was when I first moved in.” She shifted the heavy bag on her shoulder and pointed to a concrete column. She hmph’d. “Blind, my ass.”

 

Kael stared at her with something akin to awe. “He’s staying with me for a few days, and haven’t we had this discussion before? Are you sure you should be speaking to a stranger so easily?”

 

The laid-back way Kael spoke to her made it clear they’d been friends for some time. His concern for the female was admirable, but still…

 

Robin fought off the urge as his eyes tried to shift to the green light that spelled death for any who crossed him. Kael had done nothing but be polite to the tiny woman, a friend of his to boot. Robin should have no quarrel with Kael’s actions, but the way Robin was reacting to them was startling.

 

However, Kael had a point. Robin blinked down at the strange, little brown wren of a female. There was no way she could fend off two full-grown men, if they were so inclined to harm her. If Ruby had done such a thing he would have paddled her ass, mate or no. “Indeed.”

 

Michaela smiled up at him serenely. “You won’t hurt me.”

 

Robin blinked again. His brows rose. Apparently the woman was certifiable. On the basis of Kael’s supposed friendship, she trusted him? “Is that so?” Tempting though it was to accept her challenge, Robin was not a complete bastard. His little human was all right for the moment, but her insane belief that the world was a safe place was going to get her killed.

 

“Mm-hmm.” She laughed. Laughed, as if the implied threat were nothing. She headed past the ugly concrete column, still chattering away like the perky little bird she resembled, but this time she looked up at Kael with a frown. “Oh, Kael? FYI, some new tenants moved in while you were gone. They gave me the heebee-jeebies.” She shuddered delicately.

 

“Oh?” Robin exchanged a look with Kael. Perhaps they were sharing space with some Dark Court Sidhe after all. If so, it might be prudent to move their lodgings.

 

Her lodgings. Robin’s instincts were telling him to get her the hell out of here, get her somewhere safe, but he couldn’t. Not now. If he was right, if she truly was his bondmate, the last thing he wanted to do was draw attention to her while at a convention full of Dark Court fae. To do so would be to court disaster on an epic scale.

 

Kael’s stance became protective, hovering over Michaela. “Did they bother you?”

 

“Nah.” She wrinkled her nose, that pretty smile back on her face. She was absolutely adorable, and Robin wanted her on his arm, damn it. “I let them find their own way to the elevator.”

 

She looked like a stiff breeze could pick her up easier than it did a sylph, but she bounced along beside them without a care in the world.

 

“You’re awfully confident for someone the size of a flea bite.”

 

Robin almost laughed at the insult Kael muttered.

 

Michaela did laugh. “I know, but I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve if someone decides to get frisky.” She made some idiotic motions with her hands and feet that Robin assumed were supposed to be some form of martial arts but looked more like a squirrel having seizures. “Take that, bad guys!”

 

Robin couldn’t stop himself from patting her on the head. “You’re cute.”

 

She wagged her finger in the air. “And lethal. Don’t forget lethal.” She waved toward the elevator. “And here we are.”

 

The amusement in her gaze let him know how seriously she was taking her own pronouncement.

 

Interesting. He hadn’t been this hungry for a female since Ruby. He kept the predatory anticipation that filled him off his face, for fear he would frighten her away.

 

This one was available for consumption, and he would feast for many years to come.

 

But for now, he needed to earn her trust before he could claim her body. He kept his expression amused, rather than hungry. “I’m certain thousands live in fear of your mighty fists of death.” Robin pressed the button to summon the elevator.

 

“Damn skippy.” The dainty little thing sniffed and stuck her nose in the air as she stepped onto the elevator with all the grace of a Queen. Or she would have if she hadn’t tripped over thin air, landing against the back of the elevator with a muffled, “Oomph.”

 

“Can we keep her?” Kael stepped into the elevator and helped Michaela to her feet. “I even know what to feed her. Please?” He made puppy-dog eyes at Robin, and Robin reluctantly chuckled.

 

Hell. Robin sighed, more amused than he wanted to admit. He’d let the boy live. He was far too amusing to kill.

 

“Thanks.” She blew her bangs out of her eyes and turned to Robin. “I’m sorry, I’m terrible with names. What did you say your name was again?”

 

Robin took her hand. “Ringo Midori, at your service, my lady.” Robin raised her hand to his lips and chastely kissed the back, but he never once broke eye contact.

 

She blushed, her cheeks becoming fiery red. “I see now why you’re friends. You two are bad, bad men, aren’t you?”

 

Robin cocked an eyebrow, delighted when she laughed. The sound trickled down his spine, lodging in his cock. That uninhibited, utterly happy sound had him harder than anything a lover had done for him in centuries.

 

He needed to know more about her. Where she lived. Was she seeing anyone? What were her favorite foods? Was there anything she did not like a lover to do?

 

For make no mistake, Robin intended to have her before the mission was done.

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Dana Marie Bell.

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