Unavailable (Bound Together Book 3)

By: LJ Baker

CHAPTER ONE





"Watch where you're going, hu—" Dex stopped mid-sentence and looked down at the wide-eyed girl who'd just plowed into him outside the bakery.

"Oh! Dex. Sorry. I was just trying to get back before dark. I mean, you know how things can be, and everything. Well, of course you know, it's just that—."

Dex held a hand up to stop the girl before she rambled herself into tomorrow. "It's fine. Why are you out here alone? Don't you have an escort?"

Kaia was on the small side for a human and didn't look like she could handle herself on her own. But then, humans never did, not when his kind were around.

She looked down and twisted two fingers around each other. "No."

Kaia was one of Ariana's best friends, next to the King's bastard half-brother, and it would upset her to see anything happen to the girl. And as much as he hated it, Dex would do anything to keep Ariana from hurting.

"I'll walk you." Dex stepped aside and waited for the human to register what he'd said.

Her eyes came back up quickly and she smiled ridiculously wide. Streaks of flour streaked her light brown hair and something sat crusted on her cheek. Dex reached out, without thinking, and brushed it off her face. Kaia's skin turned scarlet under his touch, but she didn't look away.

"You uh, there was something on your face." Dex dropped his hand and turned to start walking.

"Okay, slow down. My legs are like half the size of yours." Kaia run-walked to keep up with the flustered vampire.

Dex smiled to himself. The last time he'd heard something like that out of a female, it had been Ariana. Sweet, amazing, and totally taken by his best friend, Ariana.

Dex stopped and waited for Kaia to catch up. "Sorry."

For the first time, Dex noticed her eyes. They were blue, but nothing like the blue eyes he'd gotten so used to staring into. Kaia's eyes were more of a deep ocean blue, dark and mysterious. They drew him in, and for a moment, he stood in silence, lost in their pull.

"Something wrong?" Kaia's eyes were wide and Dex easily picked up her alarm though his vampire ability. Her emotions were open to him, no hiding, no resistance. It was the way humans were supposed to be.

"No. Everything is fine." Dex turned, breaking the awkward moment, and continued in the direction of the little blue house Kaia was staying in. It was the same place Ari and her twin had stayed before she moved in with the king.

"So, I'm off tomorrow," Kaia started rambling. "And I was thinking I'd go spend the day with Ari, but Chase said that I had to talk to you first. He also said I should ask you for a phone, because Ari thought I needed one. I mean, I could have just had her ask you, but then I can't really talk to her without the phone. So I was thinking—"

"Fine."

Kaia paused, stopping a block from her house. "Fine?"

"You can have a phone." Dex's head spun with Kaia's ability to get five minutes worth of words into the span of twenty seconds. He wondered how she could take in a deep enough breath to speak nonstop.

"And go visit Ari?"

"I'll check with her. Now get moving. I have things to attend to."

Kaia hurried to keep up with Dex, smiling the entire time. When they reached the steps, Kaia dug in her purse for the key. She wasn't having much luck, so she started emptying the contents out onto the top step.

"I think you have too much in there. Is that a shoe? And a bottle of hot sauce? What the hell do you need that for?"

Kaia shrugged. "Never know. Ah, I found it." She pulled the silver key out and held it up like a prize. "Can you come in for a minute?"

Dex shook his head. "No, I have to be somewhere."

Kaia's usual happy expression faded and she frowned. "Right, of course. Well thanks for walking me home." She stuffed her things back into her bag and avoided looking at Dex.

Just as she turned to put the key in the lock, Dex put his hand on her shoulder. "Wait."

Something was off.

He opened the door and pushed past her into the house, with Kaia close behind him.

Dex stopped in the middle of the small living room and looked around. "Has someone been in here?"

"What do you mean?"

There was a crash from the bedroom and Kaia jumped, grabbing onto Dex's arm.

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