To Catch A Cheetah
Delilah bolted through the door, sprinting down the hallway to the front door as fast as her legs could carry her. A scream clawed at the back of her throat, begging to be let out, but she didn’t dare, not wanting to draw the wrong kind of attention.
She’d barely made it out of the hall before Chase tackled her to the floor. They went down in a heap, and this time Delilah did scream, her shrieks echoing off the walls, as she kicked, punched, flailed, and did everything she could possibly do to get Chase off of her.
“Stop screaming!” Chase clapped a hand to her mouth, and pressed the full weight of his body against her, squashing her into the living room carpet. Fuck, the bastard was heavy, she thought dimly, her mind flashing back to her first memory of him naked, as he’d stood by the door to the private room they’d rented, slowly stripping off his clothing for her. Her body warmed beneath his, and she cursed. What the fuck was she doing, thinking about such a thing at a time like this? “Stop fighting me, Delilah. I’m not going to kill you.”
Delilah paused, then sagged to the ground in relief. He wasn’t going to kill her? Oh, thank God. But then why was he pinning her to the ground like this?
“Please,” Chase amended, twisting his handsome face into a grimace. “try to calm yourself.”
He squashed Delilah back into the ground when she started flailing again. “Stop that, would you? I need to talk to you about what we’re going to do, but if I have to knock you out to make you calm down, I will.” Delilah stilled again, her heart pumping wildly at the thought of being knocked unconscious and dragged off to who knew where. This was so not on the list of sexual fantasies she’d written out in her mind for what she’d wanted to do if she’d ever run into Sam again. Except that Sam wasn’t Sam, he was Chase. An assassin. Who’d been hired to execute her father? And was now supposed to kill her.
Oh my God.
“If I remove my hand from your mouth, will you promise not to scream?” he asked gently. She thought about it a moment and then nodded.
“Okay.” He lifted his hand from her mouth, and she took in a huge gulp of air, then reared up and slapped him.
“What the hell?” Chase rubbed his face, where a red mark was now forming. “What the fuck was that for?”
“For coming out here to kill me,” she snapped. “And then for scaring the shit out of me.”
“I wasn’t trying to scare you,” he snapped back. “I was trying to – ” He cut himself off, and shook his head. “I don’t have time for this.”
“Then maybe you could get off of me?” Delilah scowled, “I can’t breathe.”
Chase raised an eyebrow. “You’re not going to make a run for it, or call the cops?”
“Not unless you decide to try to kill me.”
“Fair enough.” Chase lifted himself off of Delilah, then helped her to her feet, and back to her apartment, and then to the couch. He took a seat in the recliner opposite her, which gave Delilah some relief since his proximity was wreaking havoc with her hormones. This whole ‘he’s going to fuck me’ ‘he’s going to kill me’ ‘he’s going to fuck me’ ‘he’s going to kill me!’ thing really wasn’t good for a girl’s mental state.
“Okay, so, why exactly do you have to kill me?” Delilah asked when she finally felt as though she’d gathered her thoughts together.
Chase smiled wryly at her, leaning back in the recliner as though they were simply talking shop – which, in his case, she supposed they were. “The short answer to that question is ‘because my boss told me to’,” he told her. “When an assassin is given a target, they don’t ask questions beyond whatever pertinent information they need to know. They just carry out the assignment.”
“Right.” Delilah gulped. She was finding it awfully hard to reconcile the sex god who’d given her mind-blowing orgasms, with the assassin who’d killed her father, but she was going to have to work on that if she wanted to get out of this alive.
“But, from what I know, the reason I have to take you out is because you do your father’s books,” Chase went on. “The mafia considers you an accomplice to the nefarious activities that he’s been refusing to pay taxes on, and so they want you gone as well. Nothing personal,” he added with a shrug.
“Nothing personal?” Delilah nearly jumped to her feet. “This is my life we’re talking about! Nothing personal my a-”
“Calm down.” Chase held up a hand for silence. “I understand that for you it’s personal; after all, it’s your life. But for the mob, this is just part of the way they do business. And for me, this is all business. Or at least, it’s supposed to be.”
Delilah glared at him. “Well if it’s just all supposed to be business, then why don’t you just kill me, and go cash in on your paycheck? How much do you even get for offing me, anyway?”
“My cut’s fifty-thousand,” Chase answered.
“Oh my God,” Delilah whispered. “You’re serious.”
“Yeah, I’m serious,” Chase replied, running his fingers through his hair. She could see he was stressed out, and struggling with what to do. “The reason that I haven’t killed you yet is because all of a sudden my conscience is having a bit of a hard time reconciling it, and because…for some crazy reason, I seem to actually care about you.”
The snarky part of her wanted to retort that she didn’t think assassins had consciences, but the girly part of her stuck on the last thing he said. “You care about me? You don’t even know me!”
Chase’s expression softened. “Yeah, doesn’t make any sense, does it. I guess I’ve got a soft spot for sexy women,” he growled. “Especially when they’re being oppressed by their drug dealing vampire fathers.”
Delilah’s lips curved slightly. “Bet you run into a lot of those, don’t you?”
“All the time, sweetheart. All the time.”
Delilah sighed. “So, what happens if you don’t kill me? Do I just get to go on living my life, and you get to go on living your life?”
Chase pressed his lips into a thin line. “If only it were that simple. The Guild will just send another assassin to finish the job, and he will track you, find you and kill you, so running away isn’t much of an option unless you’re willing to constantly be on the run… and considering your background, I don’t think you’d last very long.”
Delilah tried to steady her voice, her lips quivering in fear. “And what will happen to you?”
“The Guild will send out an execution order once they’ve discovered I’ve failed the task,” Chase said flatly, his dark blue eyes hard, and serious. “They don’t tolerate mistakes or insubordination of any kind. If someone isn’t willing to follow orders, they’re let go… and their definition of ‘letting someone go’ is a bit different from most other organizations, as you can imagine.”
“My God.” Delilah clapped her hand over her mouth. She felt like she was going to be sick. “Then you really do have to kill me.”
“That would be the easiest thing to do,” Chase agreed. “But it isn’t my only option.”
“What other option do you have?”
“To protect you.”
“But I thought you said – ”
“That you probably wouldn’t survive on the run?” Chase grinned wryly at her.
“Yes, that’s true if you were on your own. But if I come with you, your chances increase exponentially.”
“You… you’re saying that you would run away with me?” Delilah gaped at him. “That… that’s crazy. Why would you do that?”
Chase shrugged. “Yeah, I guess it is. This whole fucking this is crazy,” he said, and then chuckled. “But then, to most humans, so is the idea of shifters and vampires.”
“That’s true,” Delilah grumbled, wondering why the hell fate had chosen her for this fucked up life.
Chase nodded, deadly serious. “But Delilah…if you want to survive, we have to move quickly. Are you ready for this?”