The Wild Adventure of Jasper Renn Page 4

Or at least have something to wake up for. It was maudlin, but a little happiness didn’t seem too much to ask.

Barefoot, he walked into his room, rubbing his hand in his hair to make the waves dry faster. He had just taken three steps in when he froze. Jasmine. Sunshine. He knew that scent. His heart slammed against the inside wall of his chest. His mouth dried up like the Nevada desert.

“Hey, Jas.”

That voice. He closed his eyes. Was this a joke? Had he finally lost his ever-loving mind? Now he was imagining her there—smelling her, even!

But that tingle between his shoulder blades—that was real. That sensation of knowing that if someone had a knife to bury in your back you’d be dying at that very moment. Very slowly, he turned, his hand instinctively going to his hip.

“You gonna shoot me with a towel?” There was mockery in that husky tone. “Or you got something under there I should know about?”

Jasper forced his shoulders to relax. Forced himself to relax. “Cat. What the blue blazes are you doing in London?” How had he managed to sound so calm and collected? She was in his bedroom—and he remembered things they’d done in hers—sitting there with dust on her boots, as if she owned the place. She’d removed her hat, and all her hair, that glorious riot of corkscrew curls, fell over her shoulders.

She had the best hair.

Gracefully, she rose out of the chair and walked toward him. Instinctively, he placed his hands in front of his privates, because she had the look of a woman intent on damaging a man. “Why, Jasper. I came to see you, of course.”

Were that but true. His heart reacted as though it was gospel and not a honeyed lie just to torment him. “The only way you’d come to see me is if I was hanging by a noose.” He knew it was true, because he had hurt her, and Cat was one of those women you could fight with, curse and wish to the very devil, and she’d still come back. But hurt her...

She stuck out her lower lip. She also had the best lips. Red and soft, he’d kiss them if he didn’t think he was in enough trouble already. “You make me sound evil.”

“No room for evil in you with all that pride takin’ up space,” he retorted. “Be honest, Cat. You didn’t come here for me. You’d rather poke out your own eye than confess to missing me, so why are you here?”

Something flickered in her eyes. Something strange. Could it be that she had actually missed him? He was such a dolt. Of course she’d missed him. Her feelings had been as sincere as his own.

“Sparrow,” she said softly. “She’s gone.”

Jasper frowned. “Gone? Oh, Cat. Do you mean she’s...dead?”

She shot him a look that said exactly how low she thought his intelligence. “No, I mean she ran off with a rich white man who promised her chocolates and flowers and pretty dresses.”

He swore. She chuckled dryly, as though he’d understated it. “How old is she?”

“Fifteen just this week.”

“How old is the bastard she ran off with?”

“Six and twenty.”

More swearing. Other girls would have squealed in disgust, but Cat looked as those she agreed wholeheartedly. “Do you know who he is?”

“Yeah. Fella not far from here, but that doesn’t matter now.”

“The hell it doesn’t! We’ll go get her and I’ll teach the bounder a thing or two about the dangers of molesting young girls.” Maybe six things—straight out of his Colt.

“She’s not there anymore.”

He hadn’t expected to hear that. “Where is she?”

“Not the foggiest.” She lifted her chin and met his gaze with a direct one of her own. “You and I are no good together, I know that, but I need your help. I know I’m not the easiest woman to get along with, but I wouldn’t come to you if it weren’t important. You and your friends know this city. I can track, but in a place this size it’s next to impossible unless I have a place to start. Will you help me?”

She made it sound as though maybe their breakup had been her fault. Maybe in a way it was, because of her criminal activity, but he’d been the one to run out. “You don’t even have to ask. The others are busy trying to find Emily, but I’ll help you.”

Cat’s brow puckered. “The one you had with you the day you came to collect your belongings?”

“No, that was Finley. Emily’s a sweet little Irish gal who has a way with machines. She disappeared—looks like abduction.”

“It’s contagious.”

If someone else had made that callous a joke, he would have blackened their eye, but somehow Cat managed to say these sorts of things and make the situation a little palatable. “Appears so.”

“Well, you don’t have to help me. I can do this on my own. You should go find your friend. It’s obvious you have a lot of tenderness t’ward her.”

Surprise took hold of his face. He could only imagine the hideous expression that surely had to be convulsing his features. “Miss Emily’s my friend. She has her fella, and I couldn’t be happier for the two of them.” That was a lie. He was happy for them, but sometimes he wondered why it seemed so easy for some people to engage in relationships, while others would never, ever find that sort of happiness. “They don’t need me anyway.” And that was just him being a spoiled brat.

“I don’t need you, either, just so you know.”

Prev Next
Romance | Vampires | Fantasy | Billionaire | Werewolves | Zombies