Home > Smiley (New Species #13)(4)

Smiley (New Species #13)(4)
Author: Laurann Dohner

Smiley lifted his arm and waved to get the bartender’s attention. The man walked over but he didn’t look happy about it. He kept back from the counter. “What do you need?”

“The female is hot and so am I. Could you please turn up the air-conditioning?”

“Sure.” He spun and nearly ran to the opposite side of the bar.

“‘So much for giving good service after getting a big tip,” Vanni muttered.

“He appeared frightened.”

She glanced up at Smiley. “You think so?”

He nodded.

She glanced at his arms. “You took off your jacket.”


She licked her lips and shifted in her seat. A dizzy spell struck and she gripped the edge of the bar to keep steady until it passed. “You’re really buff.”

“That’s terrifying?”

“He probably realized you could kick his ass.”

“Oh. I’d never attack someone without a good reason. Should I tell him that so I don’t frighten him? I’m no threat to the male.”

She shook her head. “Just ignore it. Some people are paranoid morons.”

Smiley took another sip of his soda. “You’d think I terrified him just by being Species.”

“You don’t terrify me. You’re nice.”

“Thank you.” He lifted his wrist to glance at his watch.

“Do you have to leave?”

“No. I just can’t believe it’s ten at night. It doesn’t feel that late. I guess I should finish my drink and go to my room. I have an early shift in the morning.”

“Yeah. I should go to my room soon but I think I’ll eat something first. I picked at my dinner earlier.”

He studied her. “It wasn’t good?”

“I had to eat dinner with some people who said things that made me feel sick. It kind of killed my appetite at the time. They are idiots. It seems to be going around tonight.”

“So why did you eat with them?”

“I had no choice. I was kind of pushed into it by someone else.”

He seemed to understand that. “They have good food here. I ate dinner at this bar yesterday. I’d recommend the steak.”

He looked like a meat eater to Vanni. Carl was a vegetarian. An image of a white onion with Carl’s face on it suddenly popped into her head and she burst out in giggles.

A firm hand gripped her upper arm. “Are you well?”

She stared up at Smiley and the humor faded. He was really handsome and she noticed he smelled good. “What is that cologne you’re wearing?” She sniffed and wanted to be closer to get a better whiff. She leaned forward and nearly fell off her barstool.

“Vanni?” Smiley gripped her other arm to keep her in place. “What is wrong? Your pupils are dilated and you’re almost panting.”

Am I? The dizzy spell had passed but she still felt lightheaded. She focused on her breathing and realized Smiley was right. “I’m hot and,” she glanced at what little was left of her iced tea, “feel drunk. I think the bartender gave me the wrong drink. I said iced tea, not a Long Island Iced Tea.”

“I don’t understand.”

She lifted her head and stared into his eyes again. They were gorgeous. “One has alcohol and one doesn’t. I, um, think he gave me one with booze. You have bedroom eyes.” She realized she’d said that last part aloud. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to tell you that.”

He leaned in closer until their faces were inches apart. She couldn’t help but stare at his lips. They looked kissable and soft, despite him being so masculine.

“Vanni? What can I do? Should I call someone? Do you have a friend here at the hotel who can escort you safely to your room? I could call hotel security. I’d take you myself but that might be inappropriate.”

She cringed, imagining her roommate tattling instantly to Carl if she showed up two sheets to the wind. He’d ordered her to go upstairs and wouldn’t be happy that she’d gone to the bar instead. He’d lose his mind if Smiley walked her to the door and Mable got a look at him.

“I’m not going to take advantage of you. You’re safe.”

“It’s not that.” She shook her head and regretted it when the room spun. “It’s my roommate. Crap. That would be so bad.”

He helped her sit upright in her chair and released her arms. “You should eat. I’ll order food.”

Her stomach muscles clenched and it almost hurt. “No.” She gripped the edge of the bar and tried to figure out what was wrong with her. She was lightheaded, sweating, and the pain in her stomach intensified and traveled lower to between her legs. Her eyes widened when her clit began to throb as though it had a heartbeat. “Oh shit.”

“Vanni?” Smiley’s voice softened. “What can I do? I want to help you.”

She closed her eyes and tried to slow her breathing. Instead it made her aware of her breasts. They started to ache and she was pretty sure her nipples grew taut. Something was definitely wrong. Another hot flash struck and she fought the urge to tear off her clothes since it felt as if her skin was on fire. It passed and relief swept through her for a few seconds until the chills began. She’d gone from hot to cold in a flash.

“Vanni?” Smiley leaned in, his voice almost against her ear. “Do you need a doctor? I could see if one is staying at the hotel.”

She opened her eyes and turned her head. Her teeth started to chatter and she trembled all over. “I’m so cold,” she admitted.

He frowned and called to his team, “We need help over here.” He raised his voice. “Ned!”

It seemed as though the two men were instantly next to them. “What is it, Smiley?”

“You have medic training, right?” Smiley addressed the dark-haired one. “Take a look at her.”

The man moved to her other side and leaned between the barstools, forcing her to turn toward him when he gripped her shoulders. She stared into light-blue eyes. He studied her then released her shoulder to grip her wrist. Seconds ticked by. He frowned and glanced at someone behind her.

“I think she’s on drugs.”

“I don’t do drugs.” She was horrified at the implication.

Ned frowned and held her gaze. “What did you take?”

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