The bare wall of windows let in the lights of the city against an ink-black sky, silhouetting a solitary figure. Her throat clutched as she recalled the first time she’d seen him there when the building was still a metal skeleton, toeing the edge of the beam, his dark coat billowing behind him like the wings of a fallen angel. His pose was no less dramatic now, sleek, dark and solitary as he stared out into the night.

Cee Cee bit down on her initial impulse to demand where he’d been, knowing her panic would shine through. No pressure. Don’t push. Give him space. Her restraint was rewarded by the quiet murmur of his voice.

“I didn’t mean to wake you. Giles and I were going through the books at LEI, and time got away from us. There’s so much I need to learn if I’m to maintain the masquerade of knowing who I am. I apologize if you were worried.”

He’d been with Giles at Legere Enterprises International tending his inherited ill-gotten and now nearly legal gains. All anxieties addressed and answered. She relaxed.

She could tell by his hesitation that there was more he wanted to say, so she remained silent and let him work up to it. Still, his question took her by surprise.

“What was that this morning?”

“I had a very busy morning. Be more specific.”

“Between us.”

Specific as a heart attack. No use tiptoeing around it.

“We’ve had a sort of psychic connection since we bonded.” Thankfully, he didn’t ask her to explain thatprocess. “We can get inside each other’s heads.”

He had yet to look toward her. She didn’t need a psychic bond to feel him locking down tight to prevent her unauthorized entry.

“How does it work?” How can I stop it? That’s what he really wanted to know.

“I’m not sure. We share thoughts, feelings, dreams.”

“All the time?” Oh, such wariness in that simple question. So Max.

“No. Of course not. It’s not something we’ve explored. It happens rarely, in times of stress or when we . . .”

Have sex. That dropped between them like a ticking bomb.

“Don’t worry,” she concluded, tone brittle. “I knock before I come in, and wait for permission.”

He turned slowly to face her.

The past months of anxiety and fear fell away as she stared at him, heart seizing. Here was the Max Savoie she’d fallen helplessly in love with against all her best intentions. Impeccably dressed, the lines of a designer suit skimming his long, lean and lethal frame, the toes of his athletic shoes peeping from beneath tailored slacks in sassy juxtaposition.

Darkness and shadow carved out features too rough and bold to be handsome, yet too compelling to be ignored. Unblinking eyes, as pale and green as the still waters of the bayou, shone with an eerie intensity from beneath an uncompromising line of heavy brows and unruly black hair nearly tamed by a stylishly short cut. Faint stubble shaded the set of his rugged jaw, lending a harshly dangerous air to his outward sophistication.

He was thuggishly elegant, graceful yet seething with raw power, aloof and still undeniably fascinating. Legere’s enigmatic enforcer turned influential businessman and philanthropist. Traumatized orphan child who’d polarized a group of frightened misfits into a tight community family. Everything she’d ever wanted.

She’d worried over him, missed him, needed him but until this moment, when the unexpected mention of sex reared its wicked head, Cee Cee hadn’t realized just how long she’d gone without the physical side of their relationship. Seeing him standing there fit and fine, wreathed in stillness and mystery, so tempting, so inviting, a fever hot dream personified, her body burned until only a fire extinguisher could cool her intention of coaxing him back into an intimate bed.

Until he spoke.

“How is this possible, you being a human?”

It was her turn to hold back behind silence.

His eyes narrowed into long cautious slits. “What are you, Detective? What makes you different?” What makes you dangerous to me? was tacitly implied.

“I’m like you. I’m more.”