Home > Night Owl (The Night Owl Trilogy #1)(7)

Night Owl (The Night Owl Trilogy #1)(7)
Author: M. Pierce

So. Cute.

Never mind the sexy guy and the ridiculous charm of the scene. The animal itself was adorable. It was the size of a football. Its eyes were big and round and black and its coat was patterned black and white like a tux.

The man stared off. Geez, a**hole wouldn't even look at me.

The rabbit hopped toward his feet.

"Sorry, I... am I scaring him? Him, he?"

The man's jaw tightened. He gave an almost imperceptible nod. He was staring at a splash of street art like his life depended on it.

Evan hovered on the sidewalk a few feet away, obviously intimidated by the young god and his rabbit.

"He is sooo precious," I crooned, crouching to get closer to the bunny. "Can I pet him? Will he let me?"

The man didn't move. What was his deal? Maybe he was stoned out of his gourd.

I reached toward the rabbit and it flattened itself to the ground.

Finally, the man crouched and collected the frightened animal. He gathered it against his stomach and began to stroke its head and ears. I smiled. When I didn't move, the man's dark eyes flickered over me. He smirked.

He reached for my wrist. I let him guide my hand along the rabbit's body.

"So soft," I whispered. I stared at the man's long fingers covering mine. The alcohol must have been working on me; desire shivered up the skin of my arm. I wanted to lean in and smell his clean scent. I wanted to press my hands to his chest.

I don't know how long I stayed crouched there, the man's hand over mine and the bunny's warm body beneath my palm. The stroking motion relaxed me totally.

The young god, on the other hand, grew more and more tense until I thought he would explode. Only his hand on mine was gentle. I could see the sinewy muscle clenching on his forearm and cording along his beautiful neck.

He frightened me.

I wanted him.

Guiltily, I remembered Matt waiting for me to get home and call. I pulled back just as the man stood. We stumbled apart.

The man hurried up the street, disappearing around the corner. I watched his hot ass go. Even his stride was sexy, prowling and sweeping. Damn.

Dazed, I returned to Evan.

"How was the rabbit whisperer?" he said, throwing a fleshy arm around my waist.

"Evan, eat a dick."

I shoved Evan back and stalked away, fishing for my phone in my purse and halfheartedly trying to hail a cab. I knew I could call Matt, but suddenly the city felt huge and anonymous and the thought of meeting that demanding stranger scared me.

Besides, I was still reeling from whatever had just passed between me and the guy outside the bar. Why did that silent encounter feel so charged? Why wouldn't he speak? Why wouldn't he look at me?

A cab pulled up beside me and I climbed in gratefully.

When I got home, I saw dad had already set up my bed in a room in the basement.

So, I was going to be a genuine basement dweller now. I guess I couldn't complain. The basement was finished and would be cool all summer, not to mention private.

The room itself was bleak and impersonal at the moment.

Tomorrow I would start unpacking my books. Books can fix any room.

I flopped onto the bed and called Matt.

No answer.

I tried again after twenty minutes.

No answer.

I miss you, Matt.

I sent the text and stared at the ceiling. There is no such thing as loneliness, I told myself. A lump formed in my throat.

If there was no such thing as loneliness, what was I feeling?



Come over tonight. I'll pick you up. I need you.

I looked at the text I had written.

I deleted it.

I wrote it again and deleted it again.

I couldn't think.

I ranged through my apartment stripping off clothes, shoving down my jeans and boxers to free my erection.

"Hannah, god, Hannah," I whispered. I filled the rooms of my apartment with feverish pleas. I gripped my hair and stood aching in the dark kitchen. I braced my arms against the doorframe of my bedroom.

I already knew I was going to see her.

I was going to see her tonight.

And even as I paced and agonized, some part of me remained paralyzed on the lawn across from Lot 49. God only knows what I was doing out there in the dead of night with my rabbit. I thought I had hours to kill before Hannah called.

I had strapped on Laurence's little harness and leash, carried him down to the nearest green space, plopped him into the grass for a bit of exercise—and saw her.

She was dancing.

Through the glass front of Lot 49, she appeared and disappeared in the crowd on the dance floor. Her hands were in the air. Her unmistakable brown curls fanned across her back and a small skirt spun around her hips. Her beautiful face was tilted up, eyes closed. Was that how she looked when she came for me?


I couldn't make myself walk away.

I couldn't make myself look away.

I drank in the sight of her strong, full thighs, her tiny waist and round ass.

What were the odds she would end up in this bar, now, steps from my apartment?

I lost sight of her in the dim building. Hannah in her satin thong, just steps away from me. I needed to feel that garment between my fingers. I needed to touch her intimately. The thought had me shivering in the summer night.

I lapsed into a fantasy, and the next thing I knew, Hannah's kind, familiar voice was addressing me.

I didn't dare speak; she would know my voice.

I hardly dared to look at her. My eyes would scream who I was.

We were so close. Her knees bumped mine. I felt the pulse in her wrist. I saw her chest rising and falling under a loose beaded tank top.

Everything else disappeared.

The world was me and Hannah and the electricity between us. I saw when she felt it, her brow knitting in confusion. It took all of my strength not to speak her name—and not to pull her against me as she leaned in.

God, what was happening to me?

I was wound tight enough to punch a hole through the drywall. Instead, I smoked a cigarette and studied the picture of myself and Bethany in Miami Beach. I made myself stare at it. I made no excuses.

After all, I could tell myself whatever I wanted about Bethany—that she was suffocating, that she was like a second mother, that she harassed me about my writing more than ten Pams put together—and it would never make what I was going to do okay.

I had wanted Bethany once. I wanted her enough to move her into my apartment and live with her for two years. But I wanted Hannah more, and there was nothing else to say.

I showered slowly, suffering through a hellacious case of blue balls. I didn't put on any cologne. I brushed my teeth, toweled my hair semi-dry, and took my time dressing, choosing a dark pair of jeans and a black V-neck t-shirt.

At every opportunity, I met my eyes in the mirror.

You are doing this. You want her. You're taking her.

I paced to calm my nerves.

More than anything, I wanted to be that calm, confident man Hannah had met on the phone, back when this was a silly game. Yeah, back one day ago. Fuck. How did things escalate so quickly?

By the time I drove out of the parking garage, an hour and a half had passed. Hannah had called twice and texted once.

I miss you, Matt.

I couldn't find a damn song I wanted to listen to. I drove in silence, killing another half hour on Denver's familiar streets. Maybe I was giving myself time to change my mind. If I did this, I didn't want it to be a mistake.

I didn't want Hannah to be a mistake.

At half past midnight, I put Hannah's address in my GPS and drove out of the city. I was sorry to leave it behind. Denver's chill vibe might have been all that was keeping my emotions from spinning out of control.





I found the house easily. The street was dark. From what I could make out, the house was old and sprawling, set far back on a big lawn and surrounded by trees. I killed the ignition.

God, now I felt super creepy, parked uninvited outside Hannah's house.

But she wanted to meet me. And she missed me. And she did say they have an open door policy, which hopefully didn't expire after midnight.

Only then did it occur to me that Hannah might be asleep. The house was dark. So were most of the other homes on the street. Plus, she'd had a long day.

I thought about Hannah in her bed. Hannah stretched out on her back, sleeping in a cami and thong, her beautiful br**sts heaving slowly and her legs crooked apart. Or Hannah on her stomach, her heart-shaped rump in the air.

I could climb over her, wake her with a kiss. Brush my body along hers.

I felt a throb between my legs. I glared down at my cock.

"Hold your f**king horses," I muttered.

God, fuck... was this seriously my life? Stalking a girl I'd met online, parked outside her house at midnight, speaking to my dick?

I flipped down the visor and checked myself in the mirror. I laughed at what I saw.

Though I was freaking out on the inside, on the outside I looked typical: bored, annoyed, and severely impatient. And one hundred percent a**hole.

I smirked at my reflection.

"Right," I said. "Got it."

I pulled out my phone and sent Hannah a text.




I was tired and wired.

How does that work?

I got up at the butt-crack of dawn, took out Wyoming in a marathon drive, and capped the night with a super strong Long Island Iced Tea. I should have been asleep before my head hit the pillow.

But Matt wasn't answering my calls. And then there was the weird encounter outside of the bar. Call me crazy, but as I tossed and turned in bed I began to feel like I had broken my Matt spell with that intense jolt of attraction.

Like I said, call me crazy.

Still, it kept bothering me. There were plenty of good-looking guys at the bar, some of them eyeing me, and I wanted nothing to do with them. I wanted to dance and think about Matt. Matt watching me, Matt touching me, Matt whispering in my ear.


No one ever made me shiver with desire the way Matt did with his voice alone—until a stranger outside a bar made me feel the exact same thing.

So it wasn't something special about Matt. It wasn't Matt and I together, insane chemistry. It was just me being horny. God, I couldn't stand to cheapen that feeling... that feeling I got when Matt's voice faltered with need...

I have to. I can't help it. Hannah... god, do it. Come with me.

I sat up in bed and checked my email. Nothing. I opened Safari. What was that weird phrase Matt said on the phone? Optima... something. He said it was Latin.

I Googled "optima latin phrases."

There it was. Optima dies. Optima dies, prima fugit. The best days are the first to flee.

My eyes began to sting.

Why would he say that? Was it some kind of hint? Had he intended all along to drop me like a bad habit when I reached Colorado? The best days... the first to flee.

Matt said he was scared to have me close. He told me not to make plans. Suddenly, I knew it was over. Whatever it was—our silly flirtation—was over.

I looked at the webpage again. The quote was from Virgil, popularized as an epigraph in My Ántonia by Willa Cather.

Huh. Cather. Why did that name sound familiar?

After racking my brain for a few minutes, I Googled "M. Pierce epigraphs."

I knew it. The epigraph to The Silver Cord was a Willa Cather quote: "Whatever we had missed, we possessed together the precious, the incommunicable past." And it was from the novel My Ántonia. What a weird coincidence.

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