Janna Thompson believes she’s going downright mental. In the past few weeks, she’s seeing things no one else can see and can’t shake an ominous presence. Yet, when a hot cop with a protective instinct moves into her apartment building, things might be looking up.
Cade Lanter is no ordinary being. The son of a human policeman and a Queen of the Fae, he lives in the mortal world for now. When an enemy of old threatens the balance of both the human world and Eiru, Land of the Fae, he must fight the would-be usurper in the human realm. Of course, that might require more focus than he can muster lately since a certain, sexy neighbor keeps him distracted.
Their two, unlikely worlds collide when he becomes The Fae Next Door.
Notice me. Notice me. Notice me!
Janna glided down the hall toward her apartment door, a grocery bag in each hand. She slowed as she padded behind her undeniably hot neighbor Cade. He stood in front of his door, his head bent over the mail in his hand. He still wore his dark blue police uniform and was probably just coming home from his overnight patrol. It was a testament to her recent goal of smarter decisions and more restraint, with just a dash more truthfulness, that she didn’t jump up and down to get his attention. And to be perfectly honest, she wasn’t entirely sure what would happen if she got too excited. The last thing she needed was to expose the fact that strange things, unexplained, almost magical things, had happened to her and around her lately. No one else had noticed yet, but she didn’t like taking chances, especially with her sexy new neighbor.
Over the past month, since he’d moved in, they’d spoken several times. They’d even become a little close, and as far as men went, he was a Louisville slugger among broomsticks. Her last disastrous relationship had brought her to a momentous decision. Every woman deserved a good man, even her. Of course, she had to get his attention first. She should probably just say hi, but each time she spoke with him, she was afraid the intense attraction she fought so hard to hide would shine big and bold in her eyes. And that would ruin the fun for everyone, especially since he’d clearly put her in the friend-only zone and would probably run screaming in the opposite direction if he knew her feelings had moved way beyond that.
Oh, well. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. “Hey, Cade. Just getting home?”
He looked up, and she nearly melted as a sexy smile slid onto his gorgeous face. His deep blue eyes looked a little tired but lit up as he turned toward her. “Yeah, long night. You?”
“I’ve been running errands this morning. I’ve got class in an hour, so my day’s just starting.”
“Well, somebody’s got to learn how to relax people in this world. When you’re working your massage magic, less people will go crazy on the roads. Make my job easier.”
She laughed lightly, but soon grew serious, her breath caught in her throat, as he took a step toward her. A ribbon of heat enveloped her mid-section when he reached her, but rather than wrapping around her like she’d fantasized all too often, he just took the bags from her hands and stepped toward her apartment.
“Thanks, you don’t have to do that.”
“Just being neighborly.”
Oh, her thoughts were anything but neighborly as she watched his fine ass in his uniform pants. Despite the seemingly universal attraction to men in uniform, not every man could actually look hot in one. But Cade did. Too hot--that was if she wanted to keep the drool in her mouth and off her chin.
When they’d first started hanging out on weekends occasionally and in the evenings every once in a while, one of the first things they’d almost-discussed was past relationships. It had come up briefly because of Gertie, Cade’s beautiful white Maltese. Gertie was with him because after his ex- and he split, they’d put the choice to the dog, and Gertie had chosen him. Janna wasn’t at all fooled, though. He loved that little dog.
In the end, he hadn’t elaborated other than to say the relationship ended a year ago, but she’d gotten the impression he’d sworn relationships off for a while, so it must have been a rough finish. Janna decided to slow-play her attraction, but it was getting harder and harder to hide.
He stopped in front of her door. She unlocked it and tried to think back to where she’d dropped last night’s pajamas--in her living room floor or the hamper in the bedroom. Had she put her dishes in the sink? Maybe, if she were lucky, a fairy had whisked in while she was gone and cleaned things up for her.
As the door swung open, she saw her hot pink sleep shirt and black thong between the coffee table in front of her couch and her flat-screen. Yeah, no fairies here.
She rushed inside and picked them up. “Oops. Guess I was in a hurry to get out of here this morning.”
A quick look in his direction floored her. He was framed in her doorway, his gaze roaming down her body, lingering around her abdomen and breasts, and back up again. The heat in his eyes was anything but friendly. It sizzled with lust, but just as quickly, it was gone, replaced with an easy-going smile as he walked inside. “No problem. I’m not exactly Mr. Organized. Where do you want these?”
“Um, just set them down there. I’ll take care of them.”
He set the bags on the hardwood just inside the door but didn’t immediately leave. “I’m off duty the next couple days and there’s a game on tonight. You want to come over?”
The idea she was a professional basketball fan persisted still. But in her defense, she had been to a game once with an easily forgettable date, and though she wouldn’t officially qualify as a fan, so much as a spectator when it was convenient, she couldn’t really confess the truth now. Of course, it didn’t hurt that watching a game gave her an opportunity to spend time with Cade.
“Sure, I’d love to.” She cringed and suppressed the heated glow low in her abdomen that signaled a craptastically paranormal activity was imminent. She couldn’t get too excited or the result could be disastrous. Things would be donions—completely over—before they even got started. She should have played her cards a little closer to the chest anyway. She’d probably sounded like someone had just sprinkled pepper on her brain and all her thoughts just sneezed their way out. She needed to keep the “inside-the-mind-crowd” to a whisper, or at least a dull roar. That’s cool…sure, dude. Couldn’t take it back now. Hopefully he wouldn’t read too much into it, and she could control these weird new happenings before they…well…happened.
“Great. I’ll see you around seven or seven-thirty.”
He left and she carried the grocery bags to the kitchen. That could have been eagerness in his voice. And what was with that lustful look? Could he be attracted to her too? No way. He’d probably run screaming if she even so much as sat too close to him. One thing she knew for sure, if she didn’t get a grip on this fascination with him soon, she was going to be headed for a check-up from the neck up.
She reached mindlessly for a box of cereal and turned to put it into a cabinet hanging next to the refrigerator, but came to a screeching halt, dropping the box to the floor as she took in the view before her. Every cabinet door was standing wide open, as if by magic. What the hell was going on?
Had the darkness found a way inside? A haunting was completely out of the question, wasn’t it? Or was she going completely crazy? Note to self: head-check, not a bad idea.
She picked up the cereal and glanced around cautiously before setting the box into the cabinet and closing it. She carefully closed all the doors and went back to pulling groceries from the bags. Nothing else strange happened the rest of the morning, but the damage was done now. Now, she was sure something was off, like off inside her. So unfair. She’d met the man of her dreams, and now she was losing her mind. Wasn’t that always the way it went?