Tidal / Page 57

Page 57


He opened the door, fully expecting to see a raccoon, Harper, or Jason Vorhees. Instead it was just Penn, smiling in that suggestive way that she always did.

“Hey, handsome,” Penn purred.

“What the hell are you doing here?” Daniel asked, but instead of answering him, she slid past him and walked into his house. “Sure, come on in. That’s what I meant.”

“I love what you’ve done with the place,” Penn said as she admired the cabin. “Much nicer than the last time I was out here.”

Daniel sighed and closed the door. He set the bat on the butcher’s block in the kitchen. Right now it didn’t look like he needed it, but things could always take a turn for the worse with Penn.

“How did you get here?” he asked. “You’re not all wet, so you didn’t swim.”

“I flew.”

Her halter dress was open all the way in the back, allowing room for her massive black wings to spread out. They were away now, so her smooth flesh appeared normal, but Daniel had seen the monster that lurked underneath.

“Oh, right,” Daniel said. “You’re that bird-monster thing, too. I almost forgot how friggin’ hideous you really are. Thanks for reminding me.”

Penn appeared unfazed by his comments. She hopped up on the kitchen counter, crossing her legs languidly and deliberately, and Daniel averted his eyes.

“Your girlfriend was out here forever. I thought she’d never leave. I was about ready to swoop down and pick her up and drop her off a cliff.”

His heart stopped beating momentarily. “You didn’t, though, right? Harper’s alive and safe?”

“I didn’t touch a hair on her pretty head,” she assured him. “I knew it would put a damper on the mood if I hurt her, so I didn’t.”

“Mood? What mood?” Daniel asked. “And did you just admit to spying on me all night? Are you stalking me?”

She shook her head. “‘Stalking’ is such a strong word.”

“It’s also an accurate one, apparently.” He leaned back against the wall and crossed his arms over his chest.

“I was just thinking about what you said yesterday, and I wanted to talk to you about it.” Penn spoke cheerily, like they were old friends catching up over Sunday brunch.

“What did I say? I don’t remember anything that would imply I wanted you to stalk me.”

“I wanted to talk to you alone, and I knew I couldn’t kill your girlfriend, so I waited until she left. That’s all that happened, okay?” Penn sounded annoyed, and Daniel decided not to push it. Things went better when she wasn’t pissed off or homicidal.

“Sure. Okay,” he said. “Now, what did I say that prompted this visit?”

“I’m lonely,” she said, but without the vulnerability he’d seen in her before.

“I thought you had your sisters to keep you company,” Daniel reminded her.

“I kinda hate them.” She thought about it, then wagged her head. “Well, I don’t hate Thea. I don’t know if I hate Gemma yet. She’s a pain in my ass, though. But I do hate Lexi. She’s awful.”

“Yeah, families are tough.”

“But I’m lonely in a different way.” She slid off the counter, her dress briefly pulling up very high on her thighs. “It’s been so long since I had a real man in my life.”

He held up his hands. “I have a sense of where this conversation is going, and I can head it off right here. I am not that man in your life. I never will be. Ever.”

“We got off on the wrong foot, and you just need a chance to get to know me,” Penn said, but she hadn’t taken any steps closer to him, so that was probably a good sign.

“Well … Penn, I mean this nicely, but I think you’re evil. So I can’t see us being compatible—ever—because I don’t think I’m evil. Or at least anywhere near as evil as you are.”

“This is ridiculous. I could have anyone I want.”

“Then have them. Go.” He moved his hands in a shooing gesture. “I encourage you to do this. Or them, as it were.”

Penn had started walking toward him with slow, measured steps. “But I don’t want them. I want you.”

“That is flattering, but…” He shook his head.

“Do you know how many men I’ve slept with?” Penn asked him.

“I don’t know why you think I would find that fact appealing.”

“Daniel,” she snapped. She stood in front of him, staring up at him with her dark eyes. “Stop. Listen to me. Do you care about your girlfriend?”

He licked his lips. “I think you know I do.”

“And you care about her sister?”

“What are you getting at, Penn?” Daniel asked, growing increasingly nervous with this line of questioning.

“I will make a deal with you. I want you to sleep with me.”

“Penn.” He laughed emptily. “No, I can’t.”

“I won’t kill them if you sleep with me,” Penn said, her tone seductive and velvet.

Daniel scoffed. “You think you can threaten me into loving you? Is that your plan?”

“No. I think I can threaten you into sleeping with me, and once you have, you’ll never want to leave,” she replied matter-of-factly.

“Penn, that’s…” He lowered his eyes. “It’s disgusting, and I won’t do it.”

“Really?” Penn arched an eyebrow. “I’m promising you that I would leave Harper and Gemma alone, if you have sex with me one time. I would spare the people you care about most, and I would give you the best night of your life.”

He decided to go with a different approach to turning her down, and asked, “Do you realize how desperate this makes you sound? How pathetic this offer is?”

“Oh, trust me, Daniel, I get it,” Penn said, and her expression led him to believe that she did. “But I’ve thought about this a lot. I want you, and I will do anything to have you.”

“I’m really not that great,” he insisted. “You can ask some of my ex-girlfriends. I think I’d end up disappointing you.”

“Are you a virgin?” Penn asked.

He hesitated before saying, “No, but it has been a while.”

“Then what I’m asking really isn’t that big a deal.” She smiled up at him. “Let’s just do it. I can make you feel things you’ve never felt before.” She stepped closer to him, so she was almost pressed up against him. “I’ll show you ecstasy you didn’t even know your body was capable of. Let me make you happy.”

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