Bite Me(7)

By: Shelly Laurenston

Livy, however, had much less in common with Vic, but they’d worked together once when helping Toni rescue her baby brother from Delilah’s cult.

“Before we go any further,” Vic said to Livy, “my house?”

“What about it?”

Vic raised an eyebrow.

Livy rolled her eyes. “I haven’t been back since the last time you threw me out.”

“I didn’t throw you out. I asked you nicely to leave so I could call the contractor to fix all the holes you’d put into it.”

“I had to get inside, didn’t I?”

“But you have your own place.”

“I ran out of honey.”

“So you came all the way out to Westchester for honey?”

“You have really good honey.”

Vic blew out a breath. “Just tell me if I’ll be facing holes when I get home.”

“No holes.”

“Do I have any honey left?”

“Yes. You have honey left.”

“I don’t know why I’m getting the tone. You’re the one who keeps eating all my honey.”

Livy smirked. “When you have rum-infused honey in your cabinets—you’re asking for it.”

That made Vic smile, something he didn’t do very often. Then again . . . neither did she.

Using his bamboo stalk to point at them, Shen admitted, “I don’t get the thing you two have for honey.”

They stared at him while he chomped on his bamboo until Vic turned back to Livy and asked, “You need a ride home?”

“Toni went to get a cab. She should be back soon.” She studied Vic a moment. She hadn’t seen him in months; his work took him out of the country very often. “What are you doing back in the States? Or are below-freezing East Coast temperatures where you come to get a break from those balmy Russian winters?”

“I have information on our old friend.”

“That Whitlan guy? Are they still looking for him?”

Vic nodded. “Yeah.”

“You’d think they’d have gotten him by now. How hard is it to find someone in this day and age?”

“The man knows how to disappear.”

Livy shrugged, not really caring. Honey badgers didn’t concern themselves with the problems of other shifters. They saw themselves as honey badgers, not as part of a bigger shifter universe. A good thing, since most of the other breeds didn’t really like them and some didn’t even know honey badgers existed.

“What about you?” Vic asked. “What are you doing here?”

“Just coming in from Washington.”

“Visiting family?”

“Dead family.” Livy chuckled at her own joke, but when Vic and Shen just stared at her, she said, “Sorry. Bad joke. I was at a funeral.”

Vic frowned, which made him look even more terrifying, but Livy knew that was just his face. His handsome but terrifying face. God, those cheekbones are amazing.

“I’m sorry, Livy. Who died?”

“My father.”

Both men blinked and she realized she’d surprised them.

“Livy . . .” Vic looked at Shen, back at her. “My God, I’m so sorry.”

“It’s okay.”

“It is?”

Livy shrugged. “We weren’t close.”

“Still. It’s your father.”

“I threw a baseball bat at him once,” she admitted to the two men. “Clocked him right in the head. He was out for, like, a good thirty minutes.”

Shen blew out a breath. “Oh. Okay.”

But Vic refused to be put off. “He’s still your father. I know this must be hard for you.”

“Not as hard as when he woke up and came after me with that baseball bat. Didn’t catch me, though. I’m superfast when running . . . away.”

Vic stared at her a moment before finally stating, “I want to awkwardly hug you.”

Livy looked up at him. “Awkwardly?”

“Neither of us is very good with affection, so I pretty much assume that any physical encounters between us will be awkward.”

That made Livy laugh, and without thinking about it too much, she stood up and wrapped her arms around Vic’s waist, giving him a hug she hadn’t given her mother when she’d left for the airport to return to New York.

Vic hugged her back and, if Livy wasn’t mistaken, kissed the top of her head.

“If you need anything,” Vic said, “you just let me know.”

“Thanks, Vic.”

Livy pulled away. Not because she was tired of that hug—it was surprisingly nice—but because she sensed someone grabbing the rolling case she’d brought with her for the trip.

Using her foot, Livy rammed the case down, spun around, and nearly had her hands around the man’s throat when Toni came running up, screaming, “He’s the cabbie! He’s the cabbie!”