Lexi Moves in with Mikos
Lexi eyed the dark angel. He didn’t appear surprised to see her. Irrationally, that pissed her off. She didn’t like the idea he might know her better than she knew herself. For Pete’s sake, she’d only known him two days.
“Let’s get something straight.”
She stalked toward him, her strides determined. He may have known she’d return, but that didn’t mean he could dictate her actions. “You don’t get to tell me what to do,” she continued.
“Welcome back, Defender.” Mikos stood. “Once you are settled, we can begin your training.”
“Are you listening to me?”
“I heard you.”
“That’s not the same as listening to me and you know it.”
He sighed. “I am aware of the differences. I simply chose to ignore your statement.”
A deep desire to slug Mikos had her clenching her fingers into fists. Only her backpack and sanjiegun stopped her. She’d have to drop both items in order to belt him.
He ran fingers through his dark hair. Lexi’s fingers curled deeper into her palms.
“It is my job to train you. I cannot do that if you will not listen.”
He had a point. If she was going to do this, Mikos would need to instruct her. Fighting him on every point would only slow things down. The sooner he discovered she was not what he thought she was, the sooner she could return to her life.
She gritted her teeth, speaking through clenched lips. “Fine. In matters of my training, I’ll take your orders.”
Mikos snorted. Lexi stared at him for a minute. He’d snorted? Angels snorted? That was just so wrong. He tilted his head. She read his expression as if he’d shouted.
As she realized the reason for his snort, her lips twisted into a slight grin. “Right.
“At least I’ll take them under serious consideration.” She lifted a hand in case he felt a need to interrupt. “As long as your orders are logical and my instincts don’t tell me to ignore them, I’ll listen.”
“Can I have that in writing?”
“Don’t be a smart ass, Mikos. It doesn’t become you.”
She couldn’t stop the inward smile even though she was careful not to let him see her amusement. That’d be great. Let the arrogant angel see she found him entertaining. A thought occurred to her. “You know, you act nothing like an angel.”
Mikos angled his head, his brow furrowed. “Oh? What does an angel act like?”
“Kind, good, gentle and very supportive.”
He snorted again. Freaky. “I am very supportive,” he said.
Interesting. He completely ignored the kind, good and gentle part. “Sure you are.”
A shrug. “I’m an unusual angel.”
“You’ll have to tell me about that someday.”
His eyes flattened, the amused expression fleeing the ice gray depths. “Someday, I might.”
Uh, oh. What did that mean? For a moment, she considered pushing him on his cryptic response then decided she didn’t care enough to know. Right now, her mind wouldn’t stretch to learn more secrets.
“Okay, so what’s the plan?”
“The plan is to get you rested and start training tomorrow.” He eyed her battered backpack. “This is all you require?”
Her turn to shrug. “I don’t need much. Why?”
“I would have thought you’d like more of your things around you.”
“I have everything I need. Besides, it’s not like I’ll be here long.”
Sure, she was fishing for information. She’d made a promise to stay for training. She hadn’t made one to stay forever.
No response. He just kept his gaze on her, a spark of some indefinable emotion glowing behind the mask of unconcern.
Amusement? Anger? Uh, maybe horny? God help her.
Just when the silence began to grate on her already unsettled nerves, he spoke. “Very well. I’ll show you where you’ll stay. Rest. We’ll start at sunrise.”
“Whoa. Sunrise? What is that? Six a.m.? Maybe you don’t need to sleep, but I need more than,” she paused and looked at her watch, “five hours of sleep if you want me to function tomorrow.”
Mikos frowned then nodded. “Nine o’clock?”
“Terrific.” She swept out an arm, gesturing for him to precede her. “Lead on.”
* * *
Later that night, Lexi stared up at the ceiling. Moonlight danced, casting the room into cool shadows of flickering, waving light. A slight breeze gently shook the branches of the large maples outside her window, a comforting rustle of leaves that determinedly hung on when their compatriots had already fallen to the ground.
Left alone in the strange room to sleep in a strange bed. A whirlwind of thoughts plagued her mind. No matter how much she tried to relax, she couldn’t. Her mind refused to shut down.
Not only that, it was too damn quiet. Mikos didn’t live in any of the more seedy sections of Chicago. His home sat on the edge of one of the more affluent areas in suburban Chicago. And, despite its affluence, Lexi expected some noise. Cars passing, dogs barking, cats fighting. The usual. Instead, nothing.
She sighed. At the same time her breath puffed out, her stomach groaned. Then groaned again. More insistent. When was the last time she’d eaten? A day? Two days? She couldn’t even recall what she’d last eaten much less when.
Another rippling gurgle. Now that she’d settled down, her body obviously planned to force her to pay attention to its needs. She was flat out starving.
Flipping back the quilt, Lexi swung her legs over the side of the bed and stood. Angel or not, there had to be a kitchen. Surely he had to eat.
Padding across the wooden floor, she cracked open the door and peered out. Nothing moved in the darkness of the hallway. A faint glow from the bathroom gave her a modicum of visibility. Enough so she wouldn’t fall on her ass tripping over some unseen object.
Down the stairs, she made a turn to the left. Stainless steel and crisp cleanliness greeted her when she pushed open the door. The kitchen. She didn’t flip on the lights. It wasn’t necessary. The moon’s clean light gave her enough light to find her way across the linoleum to the refrigerator.
She felt her eyes widen. A cornucopia of food filled the bright interior. Stuff for salad, sandwiches and other assorted goodies tickled her senses. Her stomach agreed the rumbling deeper and more urgent.
Grabbing at the sandwich fixings, she put together a Dagwood-size meal. If she was going to train tomorrow, she needed the fuel.
A far off, yet clear, meaty-sounding thud interrupted her enjoyment of her meal. She lifted her head, the sandwich halfway to her mouth. In the stillness, the noise seemed to echo. To her mind, not such a bad thing. At least something broke the thick silence.
Popping the last bite into her mouth, she brushed off the crumbs and stood. Still not sleepy. So, she’d see what’s up. She whirled around and snatched a big handled butcher knife from the block on the counter. Curious. Not stupid.
Even in an angel’s home, she didn’t trust there to be no danger. And, she didn’t trust in anyone except herself so having a weapon made sense.
The noise seemed to come from the large ballroom-type room where she’d confronted Mikos. When he’d set her on her ass. Figuratively. The first time anyone had done that in a long time. Of course, she got her own back. Even if his backside hadn’t dusted the floor, she’d had the satisfaction of seeing him off balance.
Although, if she thought about the scuffle hard enough, she’d have to question as to who actually won. After all, he’d managed to make her feel both terror and lust at the same time.
She neared the double doors and halted. Yep, the thud and thwap sounds came from behind the heavy wooden barrier. Nothing else vocalized led her to believe someone was being attacked, but that didn’t stop her from hammer gripping the knife handle.
She turned the knob and pushed. On silent hinges, the door swung open. Sliding along the threshold and into the room, she froze when she looked at the tableau laid out before her.
Mikos, wearing nothing more than a worn pair of cut-off jeans grappled with a slender, redheaded woman. Equal to his height if not his build, the woman’s crimson hair swung over her shoulder in a tight braid.
Neither one indicated they’d heard or seen her arrival. Despite the distraction of Mikos’s nearly naked temptation, Lexi focused on the woman. Clad entirely in unrelieved black, the redhead matched his move for move.
Lexi studied their movements, wondering why they seemed familiar. Then it struck her. KM or Krav Maga. He and the woman sparred using KM attacks and defenses.
A hybrid of karate, wrestling, jiu-jitsu, boxing, and street survival tactics, KM was commonly used by Israeli Special Forces.
People who lived on the streets as she had didn’t receive formal training on how to fight. They found out the hard way. And if lucky, only ended up with bruises and broken bones.
If not, they ended up dead.
Krav Maga stressed fighting under worst-case conditions and assumed a no quarter situation. Meaning, even when sparring, combatants could, and frequently did, get hurt. The goal is to inflict the most pain possible in the shortest time.
What made the sparring between Mikos and the woman fascinating was the total lack of any kind of body protection. No pads or headgear. The strikes were hard, fast and potentially lethal. Neither the angel nor woman appeared to be landing any hits, yet, to spar without protection meant these two had to be masters.
Mikos may be an arrogant ass but he didn’t strike her as the stupid type.
Without any flicker of warning, the redhead spun around. Lowering into a crouch, the woman bared her teeth in a loud hiss.
Shit! Lexi stumbled back, feeling her eyes widen. The woman had fangs. Freaking fangs. Like a vampire. Even her eyes glowed red.
As if she were an observer instead of a participant, Lexi watched Mikos freeze, his expression shocked at the woman’s reaction. At the same time the woman hissed again, Mikos turned his head.
Silver eyes grabbed Lexi’s and in what must be a mirror image of her own, widened.
She flipped the butcher knife around and went into a modified crouch of her own. If the vampy woman was going to attack, Lexi didn’t intend to stand still and beg for it.
The redhead tensed and sprang.