"You think you’ll find Sam because they’re paying you. But I know I’m going to find him, because I actually care.” Her voice quivered slightly, but there was steel in her eyes.
Another first for him: strong emotion from a Grigori. Interesting.
“Kitten, I hate to tell you this, but caring doesn’t count for much. It tends to be more hindrance than help.” Damien heard the sound of regret in his own voice and immediately tried to pull it back, lock that part of himself back down. Sympathy, empathy…they had no place in his life. In any vampire’s life. He was telling her the truth, even if she didn’t want to hear it.
“Don’t call me that. I’m not a kitten, and I’m not your pet,” she snapped. “It doesn’t matter what you think about it. I wouldn’t expect a man like you to understand.”
It stung him, another surprise, and an unpleasant one. A man like him? What the hell was that supposed to mean? Damien watched her rise, feeling a little like she’d just slid a sharp blade between his shoulders. The pain was just as sharp, and just as unexpected.
He caught her hand in his before he could think better of it, rising to stand only inches from her. Her skin was cool and silken, and Damien pulled her closer. She was surprised into compliance, and Damien used the momentary advantage to move in, murmuring directly into her ear.
The desire that made him shiver at her nearness was nonsensical. He knew it. But Damien could no more fight the sudden attraction than he could just let her walk away. And once again, he found himself using that gentle, unfamiliar tone.
“Wait,” he said softly. “Don’t go storming off. You…surprise me. Grigori aren’t exactly known for their deep emotional attachment to one another, you know.”
He could feel the tension thrumming through her, but she made no move to break away from him. She turned her head slightly to respond, and Damien knew that to an outsider, the two of them looked like lovers, about to go home and do unspeakable things to one another.
“You know nothing about my kind,” she said, “and you underestimate me. Try and turn me in if you want, Mr.…”
“Damien,” he said, amused again at her formality. “Damien Tremaine. It’s not ‘Mr.’ anything. And if you make me bleed on my new shirt, I’m going to be very put out.”
“Damien, then,” she continued. “You can try to turn me in, but they won’t catch me. This is too important. I don’t know what’s going on, but I intend to find out…whether or not you try to get in my way.”
“I believe you can count on that…kitten. And next time we meet, I’ll be stealing that terrible wig.”
She pulled back just enough for him to see her eyes flash angrily as she yanked her hand out of his. He caught just a glimpse of silver as she slipped the dagger back into…gods above and below, was that a garter?
“My name is Ariane, not kitten,” she hissed. “You won’t find me so amusing if our paths cross again. Good night.”
With that warning, she spun on one sexy, spindly high heel and clipped away on those long legs of hers. Damien watched her go, hungrily taking in every tight little swish of her ass as she headed out the door. He wasn’t alone either. There wasn’t a man in the place who wasn’t drooling into his lap over her.
Bemused and frustrated, Damien settled back onto the bar stool to finish his martini. Her scent lingered around him like a ghost. Ariane, he thought. A pretty little kitten with intriguingly sharp claws. He looked forward to “getting in her way,” as she put it. She might want to avoid him, but he planned to show her just how tenacious he could be when he wanted something.
He wanted to win.