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Shades of Savage

“Any trouble?” Dak asked as Hendrick stepped out.
“None.  He never caught up to us until I let him after we’d switched vehicles.  He zipped past us with his head on a swivel.”  Hendrick leaned on the roof of the car.
Dak looked at Sophie as she stepped back.  Her face had paled and her pain glowed in contrast.  “Upstairs.”
“Boss?” Hendrick asked.
“She’ll be in the spare beside mine.”  Dak shut the back door and closed the distance between him and Sophie.
“Got it.”  His lips formed an ‘o’ to whistle, but he didn’t make a sound.  With high brows, Hendrick shut the driver’s door and disappeared toward the gym.
“The spare what?”  Sophie rubbed her thumb back and forth over the handle of her purse.
“The spare apartment.  You’re staying here.”  Dak took one step closer to her, but she matched it to back away.
“Shouldn’t that be my choice?”
“You came to me, princess.”
“To disappear.  Not for a place to stay.”  Her lips quivered and while she tried to push her shoulders back, one slumped to keep the pressure off her ribs.
“Sophie.”  Dak laid his hand over the bruise, cursing the fabric covering her skin.  “You’re safe here.”
Her eyes tightened, and she stared up at him.  The question of if he was right or not played back and forth on her face.  Eventually, the pain won and her other shoulder dropped to match the first.  Breaths, short and harsh, rushed out of her.
“This is the longest you’ve been out of bed since he kicked you, isn’t it?”
“How did you know he kicked me?”
“Sophie,” he growled, making it clear he was unwilling to talk around in circles.  Dak wanted his answer.
“Yes.  I’ve only done short walks around the house.  A little longer and held myself a little straighter each time.”
Dak bent and scooped her up against his chest.  She held her breath until he had her settled.  At the private elevator that would take them to the top floor only, he bent his wrist beneath her knees so he could punch in the security code.
“You don’t have to carry me.”  But she didn’t struggle or stiffen in his arms.  She let her weight rest against him, her hands holding his shoulders.
“I’m not an asshole.”
“You sure?  You did pin me to the wall and force my shirt up.  I’m pretty sure that’s something an asshole would do.”
“I can do it again.  But this time it won’t be to look for injuries.”
Her bright pink lips parted.
Why?  Why did he say something so suggestive?  The woman was pure beauty, but the problem was, she was barely a woman.  Too young for his blood.
He let his face turn hard and stepped into the elevator, staring at the closing door.
“Dak?”  That breathless curiosity clutched at him—like long fingers running down his chest and straight to his…
“No, princess.” 

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