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Kira Talbot fought the rising tide of nausea. It funneled dark fingers into her vision, shrinking her sight into jagged, unfocused spots. A cool sweat crawled down her neck and around her shoulders. Groaning, she dropped her forehead on her desk.
Dog. Everything smells like singed, wet dog.
Her stomach lurched.
"You aren’t looking well, Kira. Working late doesn’t agree with you." Mr. Lovatt, her boss, stood in his doorway. She didn’t question how s he knew without looking. Or how she knew he wore a smirk.
Girding herself for the internal sloshing of her brain, she nonetheless lifted her head. She’d never been anything short of professional. She would not start today. Lovatt looked down his nose at her. His lips shrank back in the semblance of a secret smile.
"I’m almost done with the reports, then I’ll lock up. I just need water."
His eyes sharpened on her. Kira struggled to keep him in focus. The sound of her pulse filled her ears, over-laid with another, similar sound. Two pulses? Not possible. Just her throbbing head playing tricks on her.
Mr. Lovatt came into sharp zoom. Every pour became visible, each individual coal lash spiked forward over black eyes that reflected salacity for-’her? Her head twinged and wet dog assaulted her nostrils. Wet, aroused, dog. She might vomit yet.
"It’s probably the flu."
"No," he said softly. "You need food."
Kira clutched her stomach and shook her head.
"Meat," he insisted.
Sizzling hamburgers and greasy fries, pepperoni pizza, crisp bacon. Oh, God. She swatted her hand out, hoping to catch the waste receptacle. Lovatt’s footsteps pounded away, echoing in her head as though each step had been taken by an elephant and not the sly steps of her boss.
She hauled the receptacle to her lap, pressing her forehead on the inner rim. Her moans echoed off utility plastic, wafting the stale air of old sandwiches and dog. Always the damn-fucking dog.
Mr. Lovatt’s steps thumped toward her. The closer he came, the more irratic her pulse grew. She could not make herself sit upright as her body shivered through another wave of drilling nausea.
Her skin felt his proximity near her like part of herself had returned. She couldn’t make sense of it. Mr. Lovatt barely noticed her on a personal level until a couple of weeks ago when he’d asked her to feed his dog over the weekend.
Damn thing bit her before she got through the front door. Nasty teeth and a hairless muzzle from the ugliest dog alive were the only things she’d seen. Mange, probably. She’d slammed the door20and left.
Mr. Lovatt’s voice raised goose-bumps on her arms. Her reaction confused her. He wasn’t particularly attractive. Mostly creepy. But she couldn’t shake the unnatural desire to absorb him through her pores, through whatever got him closest. She craved it.
Something sifted the air by her ear, moist and dully flapping against dust particles, as though it could make sound. In her state, did make sound. Rumbles, like hunger-become-living tumbled up her throat, dragging her from the shadowed depths of her trash bin and stupid logic one second to the teeth-sinking sex of succulent meat the next.