Roan pulled open the glass front entrance door and stood on the threshold. He scanned the large open-concept space. He so did not want to be here. However long he had to be here would be pure torture. If given a choice, he would rather face down a hundred armed men in battle than go inside this place.
"Well? Are you going to stand there all day or what? You're going to make me late for my hair appointment." Roxie gave him a hard shove from behind.
Reluctantly, Roan stepped into the hair salon and moved aside so Roxie could enter after him. He tried not to take many deep breaths. The smell of perm solution, hair dyes and other such chemicals assaulted his sensitive werewolf nose. Considering Roxie was a werewolf too, Roan had no idea how she could stand the harsh smells. If they bothered her, she showed no signs of it. She walked up to the front desk and gave her name to the girl who sat behind it.
Roxie crossed back over to him and led him to one of the unoccupied pansy-assed looking straight backed chairs that lined the wall. Roan sat down slowly expecting the chair to break once he settled his full weight on it. The spindly wood legs didn't look as if they were made to support a man of his size. Being six foot nine and weighing over two hundred and sixty pounds, he was by no means a lightweight. As he planted his ass on the seat and leaned back against the backrest, the chair groaned ominously, but it held together.
Roan looked over at Roxie who had taken the empty chair next to his. She shook her head and sighed. "If you're this uncomfortable you should have let me come alone like I wanted to in the first place."
He scowled at her. "It's my duty to protect you."
And Roan took his duty seriously. Roxie was special. She was the foretold one, the one who now ruled over all the werewolf packs. For hundreds of years, Roan, along with his brothers and sister-in-arms, had trained to be the foretold one's protectors. Even though Roxie thought she could take care of herself, Roan and the rest of Roxie's protectors weren't prepared to leave her unguarded. Even if it meant that he had to sit inside a mortal hair salon while the fumes from perm solution slowly burned the inside of his nose.
Roxie scowled back at him. "Since I'm stuck with you, would you at least loosen up a bit? People are staring. You look as if you're ready to kill the next person who looks at you the wrong way."
Roan did a quick scan of the room. Roxie was right. All eyes, all female, were turned their way. Some of the mortal females looked as if they were ready to run away if he so much as said boo, while a few gave him looks that said they liked what they saw.
The chair creaked as he shifted his weight and turned back to Roxie. "What's the holdup?"
"Ansley is finishing up with another client then it'll be my turn."
"I thought you had an appointment."
"I do. Sometimes Ansley gets a little bit behind. I don't mind waiting."
"Well, I do. The faster I can get the hell out of here the better."
Roxie eyed him. "I'm guessing you've never been to a hair salon before."
Roan snorted. "This will be my first and only time."
"Then where do you get your hair cut?" Roxie looked pointedly at his shoulder-length hair.
"Saskia cuts it for me." Saskia who was his sister-in-arms and his leader tended to take care of things like haircuts and such.
Before Roxie could say anything more, the girl from the front desk came around it and called her name. "Roxie? Ansley is ready for you now. If you want to follow me back we'll get your hair washed."
Roan would have followed Roxie, but she shoved him back down on his chair and shook her head. "Park it, buddy. I'll be perfectly fine. You'll be able to keep an eye on me from here."
He watched Roxie follow the girl to one of the sinks at the very back of the room where another woman stood waiting for her. Roan figured the other woman had to be Ansley, Roxie's hairdresser. He let his gaze run over her. From what he could see of her from this distance, Roan thought her pretty enough. Her looks didn't compare to a female werewolf's, their race was known for their extreme good looks, but her looks appealed to him nonetheless. She wore her straight, brown hair down past her shoulders. He couldn't see the color of her eyes since she stood in profile as she motioned Roxie to sit down on the chair in front of the sink.
Roan spent the next half hour bored out of his mind while he watched Ansley cut Roxie's hair. The two women chatted away, sometimes laughing over something one of them had said. At one point, both women turned their heads to look directly at him. Roan crossed his arms over his chest and stared back. He gave Ansley a cursory glance before he focused on Roxie. There was something about her smile that said she had to be up to something.
He soon found out he hadn't been too far off on his thinking. Once Ansley finished with Roxie's hair, Roxie signaled for Roan to come over to where she sat. Feeling as if he'd made a mistake by volunteering to be the one to take Roxie here today, he stood up and walked to the back of the salon. Prepared for just about anything when it came to Roxie, Roan wasn't at all prepared when he caught the first faint whiff of Ansley's scent. Feeling as if he'd just been punched in the gut, he filtered her scent out from the many others in the building the closer he came.
He barely managed to hold back a growl of need as he drew even with the women. His eyes locked on Ansley--his mate. Even though the harsh chemical smells that hung in the air burned the inside of his nose, Roan couldn't stop himself from dragging in great gulps of Ansley's scent. His cock went instantly rock hard inside his jeans. He looked Ansley up and down. She really was a small thing. She couldn't be any taller than five-foot-three. Her hazel eyes locked with his light blue ones. Her lips parted slightly. She craned her neck to look up at him. Roan fought the urge to yank her to him and see if her lips were as kissable as they looked.
"Well, well. Isn't this interesting?" Roxie said with a chuckle.
Roan dragged his gaze off Ansley and turned to Roxie. "What?"
"I think you just got more than you bargained for by tagging along with me." Roxie wrapped her arm around Ansley's shoulders. "Ansley, this is my friend Roan Haver. Roan, Ansley ended up having her next client cancel at the last minute. She has kindly agreed to let you take that opening."
He shook his head. Even though he spoke to Roxie, Roan kept his gaze on Ansley. "I don't need my hair cut."
"It's my treat," Roxie said. "You can trust Ansley. She won't shave you bald."
Ansley chuckled. "God, no. It would be a shame to cut off all that great looking hair. I promise to be gentle."
With a curt nod, Roan followed Ansley to one of the sinks. He knew he was in trouble, but he walked to his doom anyway. With the mating urge already riding him hard, he knew when Ansley laid hands on him it would be three times worse. He would have a hard enough time trying to hide the hard-on he sported, but it would take all of his self-control to hide what he truly was from Ansley. If he didn't watch it, he'd be growling while his eyes mutedly glowed with arousal. Seeing how Ansley was mortal, Roan didn't think she even knew werewolves existed. He found himself stuck in a catch twenty-two situation. He wanted Ansley to touch him even though he knew if she did he could very well lose control. Reluctantly, he sat down on the chair and pushed back until the back of his neck hit the sink. As Ansley leaned in to turn on the water Roan knew he was a goner.
Ansley let the water run and tried to look as if she knew what she was doing. Normally she could wash a client's hair without much thought, but that wouldn't be the case this time. She had a hard time focusing on anything but the very large, exceptionally gorgeous man who waited for her to wash his hair. Her heart thudded against her ribs. She pushed Roan's hair back so it fell into the sink. Much to her disgust her hands shook. It wasn't as if she was afraid of him. Yes, Roan towered over her and probably could snap her in two without even trying, but those things didn't cause her to shake. No, she definitely didn't fear him. Quite the opposite in fact. Just the mere sight of him caused her body to go up in flames.
When Roxie had first pointed Roan out, Ansley had taken one look at him and felt her mouth fall open. After she had managed to stop staring at him as if he were a large piece of chocolate she wanted to savor, she'd tried to keep her attention focused on the task at hand. But she found her gaze straying over to where he sat more often than not. To say she was attracted to Roan would be an understatement. His male model good looks and large muscular body had her wanting to touch and lick every inch of him.
After Roxie had found out Ansley's next client had cancelled, Roxie had asked if Roan could take that opening. Ansley had been quick to agree. Not that she thought she would have a shot at Roan. Guys who looked like him did not go for girls like her. But cutting his hair would at least give her a chance to have him up close and personal for a little while.
Now here she stood shaking like a teenage girl with her first crush. The way Roan had stared at her while he'd walked over to join them had taken her breath away. The intense way he'd gazed at her with what she had thought could be lust in his light blue eyes had sent her body into overdrive. Her breath had caught and her nipples tightened beneath her t-shirt. Her pussy had started to throb as wetness pooled between her legs. The way Roan had looked her up and down when he came to stand in front of her made Ansley think of hot, sweaty sex that lasted all night.
Ansley took a deep breath and she tested the water to make sure it wouldn't be too hot, then proceeded to wet Roan's thick light brown hair. As she washed his hair, her thigh pressed up against his shoulder. That small contact was enough to send a wave of awareness through her body. Rinsing out the shampoo, Ansley let her gaze fall on Roan's face. He had his eyes closed. She traced his firm lips, straight nose, chiseled cheekbones and square jaw with her gaze as she shampooed his hair for a second time. She had to resist the urge to climb onto his lap, sprawl on top of him and kiss him until they were both breathless. With her luck, Roan would more than likely dump her on her ass if she ever tried such a stunt. Dragging her gaze away, she leaned in closer while she massaged his scalp.
A strangled noise that sounded pretty close to an animalistic growl drew Ansley's gaze back to Roan's face. Her hands went still as she caught the intense look in his now open eyes. Her mouth suddenly dry, she swallowed and licked her lips with the tip of her tongue. Roan made the same strangled sound and for a split second she swore his light blue eyes glowed.
Thinking her eyes had to be playing tricks on her, Ansley quickly finished washing Roan's hair. After she toweled it dry, she had him sit in her chair. His eyes followed her in the mirror in front of him as she draped a cape over his front and did it up at the back of his neck.
She picked up her scissors and a comb from the small counter in front of Roan before she turned back to him. "How would you like me to cut your hair?"
Roan's gaze locked with hers. "Just a trim."
Ansley nodded and moved to stand behind him. She went to work combing the snarls out of his long hair. "So you're a friend of Roxie's?"
"You could say that."
When he didn't offer anything more, Ansley tried to think of something else to say to keep the conversation going, a feat in itself considering she was so turned on she could barely think straight. After she rejected more than one likely subject, she blurted out, "Are you single? Considering how good looking you are, I can't picture you being single." She cringed inside. Real subtle. Not. Where the hell had that come from?
Roan stiffened his shoulders. The chair creaked. He seemed to be holding onto the armrests in a death grip. "Can you just hurry it up?"
Way to go, dumbass, she berated herself. Now he thinks you're an idiot. Her curse, at least she called it her curse, had just risen its ugly head. Whenever she became attracted to a man, especially a hunky one like Roan, her mouth spewed nothing but garbage. She'd driven away more than one man that way. Ansley kept her eyes focused on the back of Roan's head as she trimmed the ends of his hair. Now more embarrassed than aroused, she kept her mouth shut and made sure she didn't make eye contact with him in the mirror. Given the way Roan stiffened every time she touched him, she figured he couldn't wait to get away from her.
She didn't take any longer than she needed to finish his hair cut. When she went to pick up the hair dryer, Roan stopped her. "Let it dry on its own."
With a nod, Ansley moved back behind him and undid the cape. She was just pulling it off Roan when Roxie came over. Roxie looked from Ansley then to Roan. She scowled. "What did you say to Ansley, Roan? The tension between you two is so thick you could cut it with a knife." Roxie gave Roan a meaningful look. "I thought you would have used your time more wisely, if you know what I mean."
Ansley had no idea what Roxie meant by that last part, but she quickly jumped in before Roan could answer. "It wasn't Roan's fault, Rox. I sometimes don't think before I speak." She turned to Roan. "I'm sorry. I should have kept my mouth shut. I'm sure you don't need someone like me asking about your personal life. You probably get enough women throwing themselves at you. Not that I was throwing myself at you. Okay, I'm going to shut up now."
Feeling her face heat, she blushed profusely. Ansley figured she couldn't shove her foot any further into her mouth than she already had. She snuck a quick look at Roan and felt her heart try to beat out of her chest as their gazes met. The way he stared at her as if she were the only woman in the room had her body once more going up in flames. A deep ache inside her pussy caused wetness to pool.
Unable to tear her eyes away, Ansley watched Roan's nostrils flare. He took a deep breath. He walked closer and crowded her with his big body. Ansley backed up until her butt hit the counter behind her. Roan didn't stop until their bodies were almost touching. She placed her hands on the edges of the counter to stop herself from pulling his lips down to hers so she could kiss him senseless.
Roan bent his head down until their noses almost touched. "You can throw yourself at me any time you wish." He pushed his hips against her so she could feel the large bulge in his pants. "I think it would be something we both would enjoy."
Ansley had to bite the inside of her cheek to stop the moan of need that threatened to push past her lips. The feel of Roan's hard cock pressed against her stomach made her pussy clench. She clutched at the counter behind her as he lowered his head even more. Her breath caught thinking Roan would kiss her, but instead of going for her lips he pushed his face into the crook of her neck and took a deep breath. If she didn't know better she would think he sniffed her. When he pulled away to meet her gaze once more, Ansley felt as if her legs had turned to rubber.
As Roan's gaze locked on her lips, he asked, "When do you get off work?"
"Ah ... ah six."
Roan gave her one last look that made her blood heat even more before he turned away and walked out of the salon. Ansley stared at the door and tried to force her body to cool down. The sound of Roxie chuckling brought her out of the daze Roan had put her in.
"I had better go catch up with Roan," Roxie said. She gave Ansley a wink. "Don't do anything I wouldn't do." Roxie then went over to the front desk to pay.
Ansley sat down in her chair once Roxie left the salon. She looked up at the large clock on the wall. She had another four hours to get through before she could leave. Ansley had a feeling it would be the longest four hours of her life.