I blinked at my mate. He did not just say what I think he said.
He gazed steadily back, his power growing outward again until it enveloped me in its electric warmth. Goosebumps sprung up over my skin.
“I almost hate to go back to the city,” he said. “I like looking at you like this.”
I knew what he meant. My first glimpse of him with expanded power was seared into my mind, and I had to fight a near constant internal battle not to drop my shields and stare at him through it. There was no reason to fight it now, out here where no one could feel me, so I let my power slide free and brushed it against him. Goddess, he was beautiful. How had I not seen it right away? His heart thudded beneath his ribs, slow and steady, keeping mine in check when it threatened to pick up speed.
“You have a meeting first thing Monday morning,” I reminded him.
“Fuck the meeting.”
I rocked back. It was the first time I’d heard him swear, and the vehemence in his voice caught me off guard. “You don’t mean that.”
“Oh, but I do. I would happily cancel it if it meant gaining another day out here with you.”
I raked my hands through my hair. “Are you sure, Michael? This doesn’t seem like you. I don’t want you to start skipping out on things that are important because your judgement is clouded by the bond.”
He shook his head. He looked just as determined as he felt. “I am quite positive. This isn’t the first meeting I’ve wanted to skip, and I assure you, even without your presence in my life, it wouldn’t be the last. The only thing that’s changed is my inclination to actually skip it.” He reached out and pulled another long strand of my hair through his fingers. “I think this is very much me. Who I am when I don’t suppress. When I do what I want to instead of what I have to.”
It was hard to argue when he put it like that, but I still gave it the old college try. “Won’t you acting out of character be noticed?”
He twirled the strand of hair he held, staring down at it with fixed concentration, learning each shade like I’d wanted to learn Emma’s.
“Michael,” I said when he didn’t answer.
“Hmm?” he asked, his gaze slowly rising. It stopped when it met my own. He sat on the floor of the cave with his legs spread out in front of him, feet crossed at the ankle. One hand was braced behind him, holding him up, while the other continued to ply my hair. For the first time since we’d met, he looked at peace. Like he was finally comfortable in his own skin.
No way in hell was I going to do anything to ruin this moment. “We can stay here as long as you like.”
He nodded. “I’ll let my team know that we’ll be delayed through Monday.”
The fire popped by our feet. I clambered up and added a few more logs to the flames. It had finally caught, and warmth suffused the stone chamber, turning it toasty. I shrugged out of Michael’s sweater and sat back down beside him. He reached out to take it from me, but I hugged it close to my chest and took one last deep pull of his scent.
His fingers froze inches away. “You know, I’m right here. You’re more than welcome to come take a pull off of the real thing.”
I shook my head and lowered his sweater. “I don’t know if I trust myself to.”
He stilled, gaze locked on me. “Because you’re worried about what it might lead to?”
“You have feelings for me.”
He leaned closer and waggled his brows. “Sexual feelings.”
This was payback from the car ride. I couldn’t help but laugh, grateful that he’d broken the tension. “Yes, Michael. Sexual feelings. And even though the past few days have felt like an eon, we really just met. I don’t want to let the forced intimacy of the bond confuse things between us before we get to know each other.”
He leaned back on his hands, away from me. “You know me better than anyone.”
“Do I? When’s your birthday? What’s your favorite color? Where is your favorite place to ski?”
“Those are just facts. Most of them useless.” He lifted a hand and tapped the side of his head. “You know what really matters. You know me.”
The honesty in his words reverberated over the bond. I stared at him. Well, damn. I did know him. His steady presence, his careful thought, how he selected each and every word. The way he worked to put my own needs and wants above his own even as I tried to do the same for him. How he looked out for me, already cared for me. What did his favorite color really matter compared to such knowledge?
“Fine. I won’t argue with you.”
He sniffed, a hint of snobbery creeping back in, but with it, a whisper of humor, so that I knew his next words were teasing. “Good. Because you’d look childish if you tried. I am very logical and intelligent.”
I grinned. “Yes. I know.”
His humor fled. “Then what’s holding you back?”
“I’m worried that if we jump into something romantic too soon, eventually, one of us will regret it. The bond is overwhelming at first, and only gets worse before it gets better. Previously sane wolves have turned reckless. Done things out of character that they never would have otherwise. I’ve seen it firsthand with friends and packmates.”
“And you’re worried that we’ll join their ranks?”
His eyes bored into mine. “Tell me, in the time you’ve known me, have I given you even the slightest inclination for foolish behavior?”
I thought back to dinner with his family and how even though a torrent of anger had run beneath his calm exterior, he didn’t let it show or give into it, of the night we escaped his house and how his cool logic and decisive action had gotten us out of there, and then his deadly focus with the vampire.
I shook my head. “No.”
“Then trust me on this, I’m not being irrational now.”
He pushed off of his hands and moved toward me, shoulders rolling like they wanted to realign beneath him. His eyes were a muted brown halfway between human and wolf. I froze beneath his focus, suddenly knowing how deer must feel when I ran them down. Michael had me cornered. He’d logicked my back against a wall. I had wanted him since the first night we met, when I realized there was more to him than detached politeness and cultivated condescension. I’d hungered for the feel of his big body beneath my hands since I’d first seen him strip off a suit jacket.
He stopped only inches away, the warmth of his breath brushing over me like a caress. He lifted his hand and ran his fingers through my hair, pushing it back off of my face. “I want you,” he said. “Every part of you. All to myself. I covet your smiles. Seeing them directed at anyone else makes me want to snarl like some sort of Neanderthal.”
“Oh, good. So it’s not just me.” I’d been aiming for teasing, but the words came out breathy.
Michael’s gaze dropped to my lips. “The sight of you grabbing that vampire out of the air…I know your feelings on what happened are conflicted, but you were absolutely glorious, Layla. I’ve never seen anyone move that fast. Not even his decomposing body, your shock, or the presence of the witch could cool my ardor. I wanted to push you up against the wall of the alley then and there.”
So that’s why he’d locked down the bond afterward. I should have been repelled by the fact that Michael had wanted me in a moment like that, but, Goddess help me, I wasn’t. The dark desire flaring between us was an unfamiliar, base thing, triggered by a primal part of myself I’d denied for years, right along with my anger and aggression. Even my conflicted feelings over the vampire’s death weren’t enough to stop an image of what Michael described from popping into my head. Of him fucking me against the wall, a body behind us, the witch watching, horrified.
Heat gathered low in my belly. My limbs turned supple. I leaned back, welcoming, and he pushed forward to close the distance between us. I spread my thighs for him. He settled between them and fitted his hips to mine, his erection pressing my underwear against me, making it impossible to ignore the fact that they were already soaking wet. My nipples tightened within my bra, each breath becoming a divine torture as they rubbed against the constricting fabric. I was ready and aching, primed for him to shove his way into me right here on the dirt floor of the cave.
A low, approving growl slipped through his lips. Power splashed over me. His eyes bled to amber as he dropped his head and pressed his nose to my neck, breathing deeply. I sucked in a slow breath of my own, savoring the heady scent of musk and arousal. His lips parted. Sharp teeth brushed over my skin like a threat.
All my life I’d been taught to hide. To suppress. To never let anyone see who I really was or what I was trully capable of. But I couldn’t hide from Michael. He knew me just like I knew him. And he still wanted me. Maybe even more so because of it.
“Do it,” I said, pressing up into his teeth.
With a groan, he bit me. Pleasure and pain roared through my body and then burst outward, showering him with explosive sparks. Our minds crashed against each other, tearing apart our shields. They fell, and I tasted copper – the echo of my blood on his tongue. The feeling of his mouth on my neck, of his teeth sinking into me, was indescribable.
I reached down and grabbed the hem of his shirt, my fingers ghosting against my own skin when I tried to rip it off of him. Michael released my neck and dragged his tongue over my wound. Pleasure rolled through me in a long, hard shudder. He leaned back on his heels and tugged his shirt the rest of the way off. Dirt was smeared over the heavy muscles of his chest and stomach. He looked down, saw it, and didn’t seem to give a single fuck. His t-shirt hit the floor and then he was back, hands braced on either side of me, hips pushing insistently against my own.
I lifted my legs and wrapped them around his waist, pulling him closer. He dropped those full lips to mine and kissed me, torturously slow. With the bond open between us, there was no hiding. He took his time, learning just how I liked to be kissed. His tongue probed into my mouth and met my own, then retreated. The warmth of his hand flared over my ribs and pushed up until his fingers brushed over my nipple. I moaned into his mouth. He synched his movements, tongue and fingers and hips moving in tandem until I was so turned on, I felt like I could spontaneously combust. My desire echoed over the bond, so that Michael felt exactly what he was doing to me.
He broke the kiss only to murmur, “Your nipples are so sensitive. Even through these layers.” He made a low sound of male approval and gently squeezed one between his fingers. I arched up into him. “I could make you come like this.”
Yes, yes, he could. And I could tell from his mounting arousal that he would come right along with me.
I leaned up and dragged his lower lip between my teeth, biting it hard enough to draw blood. Lust blew through him with a force that had us moaning into each other’s mouths.
Well, well, well. Michael liked it a little rough.
I growled and rolled us. He landed flat on his back, grinning darkly, beyond thrilled by the fact that I was able to pin him. I paused and stared down at him. Before, I’d always had to be careful with the men I slept with. Pleasure was distracting. Sometimes too much power leaked out of me and triggered their shift. Talk about an awkward form of coitus interruptus. I sometimes forgot my strength as orgasms built. I’d even broken a boyfriend’s hand – like, all of the bones in it – when I grabbed it as I came.
And men, I’d learned, didn’t like to feel lesser than the women they were with. They were the larger, physically stronger sex. Many of my kind had been raised alongside humans. They might have fought against human culture, but some of the subliminal misogyny from it always found a way through. More than one wolf I’d been with had pursued me thinking that they were drawn to my superior physicality only to then try to dominate me in some way.
I didn’t have to worry about any of that with Michael. He was almost as strong as me, and almost as powerful. And, unlike my previous partners, he actually reveled in the fact that I was damn near indestructible. It made me want him with a fervor that couldn’t be contained.
I sat back, between his legs, and dropped my hands to the top of his jeans. With a flick of my fingers, the button popped loose. Michael’s erection strained against the fabric, begging for release. I looked up to see him watching me with hungry amber eyes as I slid his zipper down. The smile on his face was flat out despotic. He tucked his hands behind his head to get a better view.
I tugged his boxers down and freed his dick. It was proportionate to the rest of him: wide and well-formed. He was so hard that it lay flush against his lower abdomen. I reached out and brushed my fingers down its length. I had to pause afterward, gasping, because it felt like I’d just stroked myself too.
Michael let out a shaky breath. “When you said we shared pleasure, I didn’t imagine this. I warn you, I won’t last long.”
Neither would I at this rate. I’d barely touched him and already a familiar pressure built between my legs, which he could feel, which only increased his pleasure, which then rebounded back to me in a carnal vortex that threatened to drag us both under.
I leaned forward and licked the entire length of him, tasting salt and musk on his skin. His dick strained against my tongue. When I reached the tip, I opened my mouth and fastened my lips over the sensitive nerves of his head, sucking lightly. Pleasure burst from my clit.
Near desperate now, I fastened my lips over his girth and took the entire length of him into my mouth. His head hit the back of my throat, but he wasn’t big enough to cause me to gag, and I rejoiced in the fact that I was able to do this to him without fighting the urge to choke.
I swirled my tongue over the sensitive underside of his dick, twirled it around the base, and then sucked my way back up. Two more strokes and our orgasms threatened. Michael didn’t have to warn me that he was close. Nor did he have to ask me where I wanted him to come. He knew what the taste of him was doing to me, and that I craved the salty warmth of his release coating my throat.
I grabbed his hips and sucked him down harder, letting my canines gently scrape over his delicate skin. It proved to be his undoing. He fisted his fingers in my hair and pumped into me. His dick swelled inside my mouth and then stiffened.
Yes, Michael. Come for me.
He lost the rhythm and called out my name like a benediction. I swallowed his seed, struggling against the undertow of pleasure that threatened to drag me down.
Michael was on me before his orgasm fully passed. I blinked and landed flat on my back. He pushed my shirt and bra up, fastened his lips over my nipple, and shoved his hand into my pants so hard that a button popped off.
His fingers brushed over my clit and then pushed hungrily inside. I didn’t come, I disintegrated. There’s no other word for what happened to me, to us. My orgasm hit with the destructive force of a tempest, dragging Michael into the wind field with me. Light burst from behind my eyelids, my spine bowed, and my inner muscles clenched down so hard on his thick fingers that he was forced to still them.
Afterward, he collapsed on top of me, both of us spent. I clung to his shoulders, shaking. The sound of his ragged breaths filled my ears. The taste of him still coated my tongue. Belatedly, my vaginal muscles unclenched. He tried to pull his hand out of my pants and brushed over my clit with the entire length of it.
We both came again.
Not only did I lose math, but I forgot my own damn name.
Copyright © 2019 by Navessa Allen
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.