The characters belong to Karen Marie Moning.

This fic takes place after Shadowfever. There is a high probability there will be spoilers for the books in the Fever Series.

Thanks to the darling BonTempsCutie for all she does to help make my writing better. She's written awesome Fever Fics! Check out her Ryodan / Jo fic, Not Your Average Jo

Adventures in Car Collecting

Chapter One

Fifteen minutes until closing time and a pleasant flutter of anticipation tickled me. Barrons would be here any moment and naughty images of what I wanted to do with him later popped into my head. But first, we were going out, he said, with a directive to be ready to go when he arrived. We might bare our bodies and sometimes our souls to each other, but he didn't give me details about our little excursions. All I got from him was that we had "something" to do and "somewhere" to go.

As long as he was with me, I didn't mind being kept in the dark. The "not knowing" enhanced the thrill of our little outings in ways that paid off for him later in bed, and so what if he withheld information on purpose? It had become a little game with us and I trusted he would protect me, just as much as I would protect myself. Whatever he had in mind for later, I'd learn something about Dublin or the Fae or some other part of this I had never heard before. I couldn't get enough of all he knew about such things. I was still his OOP detector, albeit a smarter one, and the only thing that had changed was that I was sleeping with the OOP director. A little moan formed deep in my throat thinking about what "slept" had meant the last time Barrons and I spent the night together.

I started my closing routine, walking around the perimeter, checking windows, doors, and the general condition of things until I made my way back to the entrance. A flash of chrome and gleaming dark metal outside caught my eye. It was amazing. Sleek. Black. Curvaceous. I moved closer to the door for a better look.

Only one car had those kinds of curves. A Jaguar XKSS. It's "hug the road" design made it look like a big black cat stretched out on the pavement, frozen mid-stride, running fast and hard. Barrons. It had to be his, but I hadn't seen this one before. Holy fudge-buckets, what else did he have in his car collection?

Sure enough, a crackle of energy signaled his arrival. He melted out of the shadows, pushing his way inside as if he still owned the place. I might have the title, but he was connected to the bookstore, as much as he was connected to me.

Barrons wasn't dressed in his usual expensive, tailored suit. Oh no. His long black leather coat covered a tight, black t-shirt. I could see his skin beneath the weave of the fabric, the material hugging the arms that held me every night. He stepped in front of me and blocked my view of the Jag. Just to tease him I looked around his perfect body to the car on the street.

"See something you like, Ms. Lane?" he said, the tiny crinkle of his eyes betraying his intent. He was teasing me right back. Heat flared in all the right places. A playful Barrons had the power to melt me.

From his attire, this was to be a stealth mission. No wonder he told me to be ready; if we stayed here much longer, I'd be dragging him to my bedroom upstairs, or his office or any number of other places around the bookstore we hadn't christened yet.

He didn't kiss me. Instead, he orbited around me, assessing me in his own special way. His nostrils flared as he sampled the air, no doubt sensing my excitement over the Jag or maybe it was him. Did it matter? Barrons probably had a hard-on for the car too. I resisted the urge to look.

Instead, I looked back outside. "Is that what I think it is?"

"You like?" He was suddenly behind me, the brush of his lips at my ear the only contact between us.

I leaned back into him and his arms curled around me. "Are you kidding me? There are only sixteen of those in existence. You are going to let me drive it, aren't you?" I turned around to look at him.

He gave me a stunning smile and I felt my knees go a little weak. Definitely playful Barrons. I felt that flutter of excitement again. He turned me around in his arms and looked me over, even checked out my shoes. For a minute, I thought he was going to tell me to go upstairs and change, like the old days. I wore black skinny jeans with a strawberry pink ballet top that showed off my cleavage. His gaze lingered on my breasts before he lifted his head and I saw the heat in his eyes. Images of us in his bedroom flooded my mind.

His eyes watched the rise and fall of my chest, before he stepped a little closer. "That could be arranged, you know."

My smile challenged him to follow up on that idea. He always knew what I was thinking.

"Feel free to try to convince me," he purred in my ear. "Are you are worthy of driving such a fine machine?"

"I know how to drive, Barrons. Let me grab my purse." I brushed my fingertips across his face and turned my flirtation up a notch, hinting at what he might be worthy of if he let me drive.

"Leave it. Just your cell."

I gave him a sideways look. So this wasn't just playtime. "Ok. Are you going to tell me where we're going? And please tell me we're going in that car."

"I thought we'd take a drive. In that car."

"Just a drive, Barrons?." I said, not believing it for a minute.

His smirk told me I was right. There was more to this outing than a drive. Typical Barrons.

"You'll need a coat. The long one."

He wasn't going to tell me where we were going, at least not right away. I didn't mind his little games, because he liked watching me put the pieces of his latest scheme together. He still played Professor Higgins to my Eliza Doolittle in his own Barrons-like way, especially when it came to the Fae. The only difference now was that I didn't fight him about it—there were still things he could teach me, things I wanted and needed to know.

I grabbed my coat and shoved my cell phone in the pocket. Barrons slipped his arm around my waist as he guided us to the door, scanning the neighborhood as I locked up. I ignored his snort as I pulled away and ran across the street. I couldn't wait to see that car up close and personal. I needed to touch it. All over. From the side, the car was all deep, sleek curves, like a woman's body, with its front fenders, rounded and full, narrowing to the seating compartment, and then rising at the rear in another luscious curve. Even though it was parked, its profile rippled as if its namesake had been trapped inside the brilliant black metal, seductive and strong. All grace and power wrapped into one.

Barrons was incredibly patient as I traced my hands over every contour of the car, admiring its design and flawless execution. There wasn't a mark on it. I was starting my second pass when Barrons interrupted my adoration of the thing of beauty in front of me.

"No need to get carried away, Ms. Lane, it's merely an automobile."

I couldn't help but laugh. He actually sounded jealous. Of the car.

"Barrons, you can't bring a car like this to me and not expect me to fondle it."

He stood at the passenger door, holding it open while I hoped I managed to look somewhat graceful sliding into the seat. It wasn't easy. The seats were low and close to the ground, in an interior that could only be called intimate. It explained the wolf smile he gave me as he waited for me to tuck my coat inside.

He slipped into the driver's seat as if it was made just for his body, despite the lack of space. I held my breath as he turned the key. The 3.4-liter, double-overhead-cam inline six-cylinder engine, with a six-pack of side-draft Weber carburetors roared to life, sounding just like the racing motor it was designed to be. With a quick glance, Barrons pulled away from the curb and into the night, the sleek beast of a car accelerating swiftly as he followed the roads out of Dublin. He still hadn't told me where we were going, and we didn't talk for a long while. He knew I'd want to listen to the engine, tuning into the subtle sounds of the car as it shifted through its gears, learning its nuances in the hope he would be letting me drive it later.

It was a perfect night for a drive. For once, it wasn't raining, and the full moon lit the countryside helping us avoid the occasional fairy pothole. We left the highway miles back, and Barrons handled the car expertly, hugging the country roads at just the right speed to keep it interesting. And he knew exactly where we were going. Wisps of hot exhaust flavored the cold crisp air.

About ninety minutes outside of Dublin, I noticed that the grass had become green again. The Shades had left this area alone, the countryside untouched by their gluttony. I opened the car window, and filled my lungs with the smell of the rich soil and green grass.

"I'd forgotten how beautiful Ireland can be. But you didn't bring me out here to smell the grass, did you, Jericho? What are we doing out here?"

"You'll see. Relax. We're only halfway there."

After another hour, Barrons pulled the car into a small garage in a coastal town called Kilrush. I knew from studying maps that it was at the mouth of the River Shannon, in the south-west of County Clare. No wonder it had taken almost three hours to get here. He parked the car and we took a quick walk to a nearby pier, where a small ferry boat waited.

He put his hands on my waist and lifted me onto the boat before he climbed aboard. After a a few quiet words to the captain, he took me to the bow and we looked out over the water as the boat left the pier into the dark river water.


He pointed to what might be an island some distance away. I couldn't tell.

"We're going there? Why?"

"We're looking for something."

"Well, I did figure that part out on my own. Are you going to give me the details?"

The clouds uncovered the moon, and my breath caught in my throat at the sight of his hair blowing in the wind, a smile on his face as the boat raced forward. Playful Barrons. What was he up to?

Barrons is up to something! Where are they going and what are they looking for? More details in the next chapter! Thanks for reading and commenting!