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Distracted by a bar full of customers, it took some moments before she really saw him. Savage satisfaction coursed through Rhett as he noted that she recognized him. Not just from the author reading but on a deeper level of connection and recognition. She halted for a moment there in the middle of the bar and he watched her struggle to get past that shock.

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Her eyes focused on him again and he sent her a slow, sexy smile, pleased that she had to visibly struggle to get hold of herself and calmly continue over to him.

“Your friend is waiting for you over there.” She pointed to Nate. “I…I’ll be over to check on you in just a minute.”

He took her hand—the hand she’d been flapping around in her distress—and kissed the knuckles, inhaling her, and her scent shot through his system like a drug. Jesus. He closed his eyes for a moment and let go of her hand.

“Thank you,” he murmured. Leaving her stunned, he walked over to the bar where Nate was watching him with one eyebrow raised.

“Hey, how was Atlanta?” Rhett asked without preamble as he hopped up onto the barstool.

“Fuck Atlanta. Who’s the redhead?” Nate asked.

“I don’t think it’s a ‘who’ question. I think it’s a ‘what’ question. Now that I’ve been close to her, I can smell her blood. It’s got to be what’s been drawing me to her.”

Nate started to say something but looked up and smiled as she came over to them. “There’s a table that just opened up near the window if you two want to grab it,” she said with a sweet smile that made him slightly dizzy. Fuck, he felt like a teenager again.

“Will you still be our server?”

She blushed and then looked worried. “Well, yeah. Is that a problem?”

He shook his head. “Not at all. Thank you. I think we’ll do just that,” Nate said and got up and they walked over to the small table and sat down.

“Okay, what can I get you two?” she asked as they sat.

“A Mac and Jack’s and can I get some chili cheese fries too?” Nate was suddenly famished. If he couldn’t have her, he’d take some chili fries instead.

The corner of her mouth quirked up. “Sure.” She turned and looked at Rhett expectantly.

“Do I know you?” he asked her, using the power of his gift of thrall.

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She looked at him and narrowed her eyes, shaking her head a bit. “No, I don’t think so.”

Nate raised an eyebrow at the way she threw off Rhett’s thrall. Rhett was exceptionally gifted with his voice and Nate didn’t think he’d ever seen anyone push it off so effortlessly. Most certainly never a human.

He realized then that part of her appeal was that she was clearly more than human. Just exactly what she was remained unclear but he knew that they’d be finding out.

Rhett must have been thinking along those lines because he hid his surprise at the way she was seemingly unaffected by his voice and held out a hand. “I’m Rhett Dubois and this is Nate Hamilton.” She looked at him for a moment, unsure, and then took it, shaking it briefly.

They could both hear her heart pounding, the blood flowing through her veins. Rhett wanted to groan when he scented her desire. Close up she was really lovely. Curvy and lush. Her skin was like porcelain. Her features were pretty, rosebud lips, generous breasts, long, graceful fingers. There was something about her, a combination of the total package that created a sort of 1940s film goddess appeal.

“Uh, I’m Holly. Nice to meet you. Can I get you a drink? Something to eat?” She was flustered and Nate thought that just added to her attractiveness. She appeared to be utterly without artifice and he couldn’t recall the last woman he’d met who could get anywhere near how genuine this one seemed to be.

“Sure. Can I get a G and T? I’ll eat his fries.”

“Okay. I’ll be back with your drinks in a minute.” She smiled and wove her way toward the bar and they both watched her as she gave their drink orders to the man behind it.

“So wow, the way she tossed off your thrall was pretty impressive.” Nate was careful to keep his voice casual.

“That’s never happened before. I’ve never seen a human do that, ever. A few master level vampires, a Faerie I knew once. A witch once or twice.”

“She’s more than human. I can feel that.”

Rhett nodded his head. “Yeah, that makes sense. She does have something very otherworldly about her.”

“Rhett, clearly whatever this thing is between you and her is more than run-of-the-mill attraction. And I have to tell you, I think it’s more than just you.”

“What does that mean?” Rhett hissed but before Nate could answer, Holly was on her way back over with their drinks.

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