Dark Guardian
off duty and in the area. I swear I saw a wolf there. He turned his head and looked at me, and I saw intelligence in his eyes. Real intelligence. It was eerie. He looked at me as if he was measuring my worth or something, deciding whether or not to kill me. Just like in the warehouse. But then it wasn't a wolf anymore; it was a man, and for the life of me, I can't remember what he looked like. Not even his build. You know me, Jaxx. I remember the smallest detail, yet twice now I've seen a wolf where there couldn't have been one, and I can't describe a man I saw, not the one at a murder scene and not the one who saved our lives."
    "What are you saying, Barry?" Jaxon's heart was beginning to pound in alarm again. Had it been Lucian? What was Lucian? Could he have projected the image of a wolf?
    Barry shrugged. "I don't know what I'm saying. I only know I saw the damn thing. It was real. And it looked like the one in the warehouse. It was massive, well-fed. Not some stray dog, like the captain suggested. It had peculiar eyes. Very black, different than an animal's. They burned with menace, and I mean burned. And they held an almost… human intelligence." He shoved a hand through his hair. "I checked to see if a wolf could have escaped from a zoo or wildlife preserve, but no go, and no one else saw the thing. There couldn't have been a wolf, but… I don't know where I'm going with this, but you're the only person I would admit this to."
    I was there hunting the vampire, Jaxon. Stop trying to scare yourself.
    "I didn't see a wolf, Barry, but I've had some strange nightmares myself. Maybe we're both crazy." She managed a faint smile. The sound of her heart pounding was so loud she thought she might go mad.
    "Maybe it goes with the territory, Jaxx. By the way, are the rumors I'm hearing about you true, or another nightmare? I'm your partner. Wouldn't I know something like whether you had a fiance? Especially if he was some hotshot billionaire?"
    Jaxx heard the hurt in his voice, could feel his pain cut through her like a knife.
    Lucian could feel her answering pain. That is the problem, honey. You have way too much compassion in you. You are not responsible for his feelings .
    He's my partner, and I owe him my loyalty. Our little charade will hurt him. I'm telling him it isn't really true , she said defiantly.
    "Jaxx?" Barry prompted, his eyes steady on her face.
    "You know how difficult my life has been, Barry," she began reluctantly, not sure just what to say.
    Lucian's wide shoulders filled the doorway. He was dressed impeccably in a tailored suit, his long hair, as shiny black as a raven's wing, pulled back and secured with a leather thong at the nape of his neck. He took her breath away. His very presence filled the room. He moved easily, fluidly, power clinging to him as he flowed across the floor to bend down and brush the top of her head with a kiss. The touch of his lips made her feel slightly faint. Then her heart found the slow, calming rhythm of his.
    "Good evening, angel. I see you are allowed to visit with your partner. Barry, I am Lucian Daratrazanoff, Jaxon's fiance. Please allow me to thank you for saving her life."
    Barry turned his steady gray eyes back to Jaxon's face accusingly
    Lucian sat on the edge of the bed, his large body crowding protectively close to hers. "Jaxon wanted to tell you about me; she agonized over it all the time. But she was afraid that somehow Tyler Drake would find out about me or that you were her confidant and he would harm you." He curved an arm around Jaxon's shoulders. "It is a difficult life she leads, and those of us who love her know she tries to protect us even when we would prefer she didn't. I know you understand why she kept silent."
    Barry couldn't help listening to the cadence of the man's incredible voice. He looked away from Jaxon to Lucian, and it was like falling into a deep, bottomless sea of tranquility. Of course he understood. Jaxon always protected those around her.

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