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So we play a game of snakes and ladders

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Bela dragged her tongue across the line of Jo's jaw and let it dip into the corner of her mouth. She smirked a little at the breath Jo let out, high and surprised, and slid her hand into Jo's hair. Her shampoo smelled clean and fresh, like lavender, and Bela pulled her closer, her own breath suddenly coming faster and harder.

Jo bit at her neck, a swift, sharp point of pain that had Bela gasping out loud before she could stop herself. "Yeah?" Jo murmured, low and throaty, and bit her again. Bela tightened her grip on Jo's hair in retaliation and then slid her foot around to the back of Jo's knee, forcing her leg to buckle and tumbling her to the bed.


It had taken Bela nine days to track down the pendant, which was eight and a half days too many as far as she was concerned. Texas was dry and hot and hell on her skin, and the spirits were being unusually inconsistent. If she could have given the stupid thing up for lost she would have. It wasn't even going to get her much (in the scheme of things), but it was a request from a loyal client and Bela did have a reputation to maintain, after all.

She finally spotted it, though, wrapped around the wrist of a skinny blonde eating a plate of greasy eggs in a diner in east Texas. Bela almost missed it; her intel had specified it was with a hunter, and this chickadee didn't look like she could handle a butterknife, much less a sawed-off. Bela grinned behind her cup of (truly awful) coffee; she could take her, easy as pie.

And then she could get back to somewhere that had a reasonable climate and edible food.


Jo managed to get her thigh pressed tight between Bela's legs and her hand on Bela's ass (under her clothes), which was playing dirty as far as Bela was concerned. She pushed back against the heat and pressure anyway, and slid her hand to Jo's wrist, fingers light and easy on the rough leather cords that wound several times around the pale skin. Jo was moaning into her mouth in a way that made heat course through her whole body and pool deep in her gut. She concentrated instead on controlling her breathing and, as a distraction, rubbed at Jo's nipple through her shirt (a little rougher than necessary) and fucked her tongue deep into Jo's mouth.


It turned out that she didn't have to say a word to get the girl's attention. She could feel the steady gaze on her as she sauntered casually by the girl's table on the way to the toilets (which she didn't use; the place violated all the rules of basic hygiene), and she caught the girl looking at her as she stretched the kinks out of her back (her shirt riding up a little) and as she leaned over to adjust the strap on her boots (cleavage shot, naturally). She sealed the deal by dropping a sexy smirk and a heavy-lidded glance when she went up to the counter to pay for her coffee. The girl followed her out to the parking lot and followed her just as easily back to the motel. Bela couldn't wipe the grin off her face. After nine days of nothing but desert and dirt and roadside diners and truculent spirits, she was about to make her easiest swipe in years.


Bela had her tongue in Jo's mouth and the ends of the leather string loosened when she was suddenly flipped; she found herself flat on her back, immobile and gasping for air, Jo's weight pressing her to the mattress. When she managed to breathe again she realized the pendant had disappeared somewhere; one of Jo's hands (bare-wristed) was wrapped round Bela's wrists tight enough to bruise, and the other hand (slender watch only) was firmly on the handle of the knife that was currently pressed to Bela's ribs.

"What the fuck," Jo said tightly, "do you think you're doing?"


In the parking lot of the motel, the girl said simply, "Jo," which turned out to be her name. The way she got out of the car and the way she carried herself, self-assured but watchful, made Bela think that maybe the intel hadn't been wrong; the girl moved like a hunter. Then she turned to give Bela a look that managed to be both cocky and smoldering, and made Bela's skin feel suddenly tight and tingly. She thought, just for a second, that this was a girl she might have picked up for real.

You know, if she'd been somebody else.


"Do you even know what you have there, sweetheart?" Bela asked, as sweetly as possible to someone holding her at knifepoint. She could feel her pulse racing in her wrists, throbbing against Jo's fingers.

Jo was watching her guardedly, her body tense but in control. Bela thought she could probably take Jo hand-to-hand, especially if she caught her off-guard, but the knife put the odds a little less in her favour.

Jo raised her eyebrow a little. "How do you know what it is?"

Bela smirked. "Why don't you let me have a closer look?"

Jo's eyes didn't even flicker from Bela's face. Damn, the girl was smarter than Bela'd thought. Still, Bela's odds were on the front pocket of those beat-up jeans.

Then Jo grinned suddenly, her lips curving and opening just enough for Bela to catch a glimpse of her tongue hidden behind her teeth. "Why don't you come find it?" she said, and dropped the knife on the floor and stripped off her shirt.


When Bela stormed back into the hotel room, her gun drawn, Jo was still sprawled on the bed, her jeans undone and loose around her hips and a lazy post-coital smile on her face. "Okay, sweetheart, enough playing around," Bela snarled, tossing the worthless leather on the bed. "Where is the real fucking pendant?"

Jo sat up and the flash of her eyes made Bela want to slap that superior expression off her face and push her back onto the bed and kiss her all at the same time.

"Huh," Jo said, and slithered out of her jeans altogether, "wouldn't you like to know?"

Bela did want to know. But it could wait until after she made Jo come hard enough to see stars.