Authors: Aline Hunter
“Do you love him?”
“Did you love him?”
Still calm, he asked, “Is it over?”
She didn’t understand why he didn’t just read her mind for the answers. Then it struck her that he was probably afraid of what he might find. Michael’s profession of love was more than adequate.
“It’s over,” she whispered.
In two beats of her heart, she was turned and pushed against the counter. Wolfe caged her torso with his arms, her breasts flush against his chest. In a deft motion, he removed her glasses. His green eyes were no longer dark and leafy but the shade of bright, vivid emerald. The hands that cradled her jaw were feather light, the touch far gentler than she would have believed possible. His face was so close that his breath marked her lips.
Resisting the allure of his eyes and voice was next to impossible. But she knew that the moment she submitted it was over. One kiss was all he needed. The rest would follow naturally. The attraction between them was undeniable. “We need to talk first. We hardly know one another.”
Turning his head from side to side, he teased her nose with his. “We know each other better than you’re willing to admit. You know it too. This isn’t a minor dalliance that ends with us exchanging phone numbers and meeting for casual sexual encounters. Nothing else matters, only you and me. The rest is irrelevant.”
His succulent scent seeped into her nostrils. The walls of her pussy spasmed and her nipples strained against her bra. She’d never smelled anything like him before. She took a deep breath, awash in the amazing fragrances. Clean and fresh but somewhat earthy, like he’d showered before he took a quick hike through the woods.
“Arden?” Wolfe’s murmur sounded far away even though he was directly in front of her. “Are you okay, baby?”
“I don’t even know why you were meeting with the vampyren,” she rasped and shook her head to clear her thoughts. “I don’t know if I can trust you.” Her eyes slid shut and she bit back a moan when he released her face and trailed his fingers down her arms, conscious of every nerve ending he touched. Desperate to find some measure of balance, she attempted to maintain a conversation. “If Taylor Martinson is a friend of yours, it’s going to be one hell of a problem for me.”
“Look at me.”
She opened her eyes and met his shifting, multihued irises. The green was darker along the edge, his pupils dilated. More of his luscious scent hit her like a punch to the solar plexus, making her want to wrap her arms around his neck and take him to the floor.
“I am not a friend to any of the vampyren, nor to any of the Thymeria,” he said, gravity and seriousness heavy in his words. “I met with Taylor as a favor to Adam. Before he left the city on personal business, he asked me to take care of the pack. Dealing with the vampyren was strategic. Nothing more. There’s no love lost between us.”
Wounding betrayal returned, like a knife slamming into vulnerable skin. She was so close to her goal. Her vow nearly fulfilled. “Why did you have to stop me? Why didn’t you just back off and let me finish what I’d started?”
The hands at her wrists traveled up, until he cradled her face in each of his palms. “I didn’t know about you—
. I reacted before someone got hurt.”
“I won’t stop hunting them,” she informed him softly, resting her hands on his forearms. “Not until I kill the bastard I’m searching for.”
“Why? You don’t need the money. Not anymore.” His thumb caressed her cheek. “You have me. From here on in I’m going to take care of you.”
Talk about making her knees weak. “It’s not about the money, it’s personal.” She wasn’t sure if she was ready to talk about Portia with him, so she didn’t. “You want to take care of me, do you? What did you have in mind?”
His skin felt incredible, so warm and solid; the dark hair along the surface tickled the fleshy pad of her palms. She felt him quiver, and he thrust his hips, shoving his cock firmly against her. Once he got under her skin, she’d never find a way to get him out. Her knees went weak when he gave her a full-on smile.
“What are you grinning at?” she asked, short of breath.
“I didn’t know crickets were so ballsy.”
His lips covered hers—the caress as soft as moonlight—and she was lost.
Her mind swam, thoughts of what she wanted to do to him taking over. She’d drop to her knees, tease his cock and sac with her hands and mouth and listen as he groaned in pleasure. The sound would be intoxicating. Something she’d never forget. He was determined to have her and she was going to let him. To hell with tomorrow. This was her chance to take what she wanted, when she wanted it. No more waiting. No more uncertainty.
This day belonged to her.
He lifted her by the waist and placed her on the counter, their lips never breaking contact. Her leather pants snagged against the wooden surface, causing her panties to rub her sensitized clit. She groaned, needing more friction, rolling her hips. His tongue slid past her lips, taunting her to play. His masculine scent was wondrous, his taste delicious. Her entire body came to life, as though she’d been reborn in some strange way.
His lips left hers, ventured to her cheek, skimmed down her jaw and followed the line of her throat. She whimpered and grasped his arms, allowing her head to fall back. His tongue glided along her skin, increasing the fire coursing through her veins, stoking an agonizingly empty ache in the pit of her belly.
“So responsive,” he growled, cupping her pussy with his hand. “I can’t wait to see if you taste as good as you smell, Arden. I want to drown in you.”
She moaned, remembering how good he’d tasted—his blood had been so thick, rich and addictive. Her canines lowered, her gums pulsating as her fangs lengthened. She would sink her teeth into his throat while he claimed her body. They would give and take, providing for and nourishing one another.
“Where’s the bedroom?”
She shook her head and pressed her face into his neck. She was covered in grime and earth. Her hair was tangled and she looked a total mess. If he was going to take her, she would make sure she was clean.
“The bathroom is down the hall on the left. I need to clean my face. I feel like a mud-infested sewer rat.”
The spine-tingling sound of his laugher drenched her panties. “The shower is even better.”
He slid his hands beneath her, brought her close and lifted her to his chest. She slipped her legs around his waist and crossed her ankles. Their mouths met, tongues touching, lingering and stroking. She was in awe of him as he carried her to the bathroom, turned on by his size and strength. The thrill of submitting to a creature much more powerful appealed to her. She wouldn’t have to be in charge, able to surrender completely.
Wolfe lowered her to the ground as soon as they entered the bathroom. He fisted her turtleneck at the hem and pulled it over her head. He didn’t waste time, stripping her in deft motions. He kneeled and grasped the back of her knees to remove the worn combat boots from her feet. Lustful eyes raked over her as he peered up, his focus lingering on her breasts, belly and finally the see-through material protecting her mound.
She stood before him, covered in nothing more than the black lace panties and bra she’d purchased a month before. She’d figured if she was going to engage in heavy petting with Michael, purchasing come-hither lingerie was the least she could do. Surprisingly, the garments fit better than her less-than-heat-inducing underwear. She had better movement and support. As a result, she’d ditched the old and decided to run with the new.
Sadly, things hadn’t gone according to plan with Michael.
Not only had he not noticed her attempt to be sexy, he’d acted as if every woman came to bed in expensive undergarments. He’d stripped her bare and didn’t give her carefully chosen underwear a moment’s notice. She’d been too embarrassed to mention it, telling herself it was one other thing she’d never understand.
Her life hadn’t been—and would never be—normal.
This time around, her lover actually took her in, looking his fill, appreciating the view. It was as if he was putting her to memory, learning her body before he touched her. The approval in his lusty perusal was evident, his green eyes shifting from light to dark. His warm hand touched her knee and drifted up. He palmed her ass through her thin panties. She found herself unnerved and aroused by the intimidating male at her feet. His lips moved but his words didn’t register, muffled by the blood drumming in her ears.
“What did you say?”
“Your skin’s so fucking soft,
He hooked his fingers in her panties, his callused hand making contact with her bare flesh. Portions of his ink-black hair fell over his face as he bowed his head and placed a kiss on her inner thigh. Undercurrents spread through her erogenous zones, her nipples beaded and her clit throbbing.
She trembled in anticipation, flying high on raw need.
At that moment, there were no vampyren, Thymeria or battles to be waged. Tomorrow would have consequences—ones that would make or break her. She and Wolfe lived separate lives and had different goals. But until the sun disappeared and the moon crested, it was just him and her, alone and eager with nothing to stop them.
When he reached for the sides of her underwear, she captured his hands in hers. He peered up, desire and need evident in his strained features. She didn’t know much about lycae aside from the tales of old, or the things she learned from Greyson. They were a fierce and proud race, secretive and loyal to a fault. But every immortal knew one truth. Werewolves only mated once, and it was forever. They lived and breathed for those they were intended for.
Somewhere deep inside she felt an inexplicable bond taking hold, a dangerous shifting in her heart that revealed the insecurities and fears she fought so hard to conceal. Terror at discovery had always prevented anyone from seeing inside. Until she’d met Wolfe, who knocked down her walls and barreled into her life. She couldn’t hide from this beast among men, who rested so reverently on his knees before her.
And the most terrifying thing was the realization she didn’t want to.
He watched her closely, frowning. “What’s wrong?”
His concern touched her in ways his physicality never could. Hunger rose, but it wasn’t for blood. The promise of tasting another portion of him overrode any craving for the liquid rapture pulsing through his veins.
For once, she
experience the forbidden.
She urged him to his feet and gazed up when he stood tall above her with a curious expression on his face. Before he could figure her out, she went on her tiptoes and pressed her mouth against his parted lips. She slid her fingers over his shirt, bringing them to the top button at his throat. His breath caught, and his massive body tensed when she slid the button free to reveal a tanned thatch of skin.
“Don’t move.” With a sinful grin of her own, she whispered, “It’s my turn.”
Each brush of her delicate fingers against his skin was torture.
Too little yet just enough.
Up until now, Wolfe hadn’t known if Arden would accept him. Even with the attraction between them—even as his body produced the pheromones that enticed her to react and respond to him without hesitation—he wasn’t sure if she’d take things to the next level.
My female. My mate.
A peace came from the knowledge, a comfort he didn’t know he needed giving him a measure of calm. It was as it should be. They were two halves of one whole. Only together would they would find completion. He’d do everything in his power to make her happy. He wanted to see her smile, hear her laugh.
She would care for him and in turn, he would protect her.
Shelter her. Nourish her.
“Your skin’s as warm as the sun,” she whispered in wonder, each delicate syllable like a spoken caress.
“It must be the lycae in him.”
Wolfe tried to stop listening to her thoughts, knowing she resented the invasion of privacy, but he couldn’t seem to help himself. Random portions still slipped past, revealing her intense yearnings and secret desires. She was excited but anxious, fearful of harming him in some way.
He hissed and gritted his teeth, forcing his body to remain still as the last button popped free. She slid the material away from his chest, her fingers flittering over his skin. Once the shirt was hanging over his shoulders, she lifted his hands one at a time and unclasped the buttons at the wrists. She pressed against him, her thoughts telling him she wanted to be closer, and removed his shirt. With a wave of her hands, she sent the material drifting to the floor. As she moved away, she finally touched him, giving him what he’d been only too eager for.
“You’re solid muscle,” she murmured, resting her hands on his chest, her fingers trembling. “I’ve never seen anything like you before.”
He inhaled, wanting to swim in the fragrant musk of her arousal. She was dripping wet, her pussy positively soaked. There was no fear in the air, only the maddening scent that was all Arden. If he reached down and slid a finger into her slit, she’d accept him with ease. He’d part her, stretch her out and get her ready.
“You live in the city with the largest population of lycae in the southern United States,” he teased, lifting a hand to remove a smudge of dirt beneath her eye. “I’m sure you’ve seen others who look exactly like me.”
She shook her head and tendrils of her hair drifted along his forearm. He watched as she brought her mouth to his chest. She nuzzled the skin above his heart and closed her eyes. After several passes, her tongue darted out. He hissed at the contact. She bathed his flesh in sultry laps. He felt the sharp edge of her incisors when she trailed them against his skin, never breaking the surface. The caress of her fingers became bold as her hands ventured lower.
She stilled at the dark hair just below his belly button. “I’ve seen sex demons, master Chimera and alpha lycae. But I’ve never seen your equal.” Her admission was quietly spoken, but he heard her loud and clear. His body went rigid, the length of his cock rising to full mast.