She went to the other side of the bed to tie up his free hand before coming to his feet. The jaguar didn't think this was okay anymore - claws pricked at his inner skin and a roar pushed at his throat. Forcing the beast to back down, he spread his legs to help her. But he knew there would come a point when he'd lose the battle with the cat. "The doors are closed," he told her, voice very low. "If you have to run, don't give me any warning and don't stop to get dressed. Just go!"
Faith stood at the end of the bed and met his eyes. "Why do I trust you more than you trust yourself?"
"You don't know the beast. Do what I tell you."
"Vaughn, I can fight back."
"Yeah, but can you kill? Because as far as I know, that's the only way you have to incapacitate me."
"You won't hurt me. But" - she held up her hand when he would've spoken - "I promise I'll do everything you've asked if you go cat on me. Promise."
He nodded, satisfied that she'd keep her word. Then he watched her as a cat watches prey. Except this time, he couldn't pounce. He wondered what she'd do, whether she'd torment him. The thought wasn't unpleasant - a little tormenting in bed could be very interesting. The one thing he didn't allow himself to think was that she'd complete the act and accept him into her body.
She crawled onto the bed to sit on her knees beside him. "May I touch you?" Such a polite question, but there was an inferno in her eyes. A Psy not sure she could fully break conditioning. And yet gutsy enough to try. Was it any wonder she was his mate?
"Anywhere." He wished he could kiss her. Unable to gratify the wish, he indulged himself with thoughts of how the softness of her lips would feel against his. The tart sweetness of her mouth was a remembered sensation that tightened his already impossibly taut body.
Lightning-shot eyes met his. "I like your kiss, too."
He loved being able to arouse her with his most erotic thoughts. "Then come here."
"Vaughn, should I drop out of the Net before - What if my shields collapse?"
"You can drop out the second your shields fail. I'll catch you." He'd already caught her, but she wasn't ready to accept the depth of their connection.
"Then I'll wait until it becomes unavoidable," she whispered, "I have things to do."
He smiled, using sex to banish the taint of sadness. "Yes, you do. Kiss me."
"I think that's an excellent idea." She braced her hands palms down beside his head and placed her mouth over his. It was an utterly feminine kiss, gentle and exploratory, not ravaging but coaxing. To his shock, Vaughn found he enjoyed being coaxed. The cat settled, too, pleased. It liked being petted and this was the most intimate kind of petting.
When her tongue whispered across his lips, he opened his mouth and allowed her to taste him as he tasted her. He could feel her knee against his side, but she remained out of reach, her br**sts not pressing against his chest where he wanted them. He imagined her kissing him naked, her body pasted along his, a sizzlingly intimate meeting of mouths that might short-circuit all of her nerves.
Gasping into the kiss, she broke it. Her eyes were filled with white lightning, her lips moist from his kiss, her skin flushed with a soft glow that signaled arousal. He took pleasure in the markers though he didn't need them - the scent of her acted like a drug to his senses. Breathing deep, he fed the hunger, stoked the fire, and waited.
Faith's whole body felt tight, as if her skin had been stretched too thin and was close to bursting. She wanted to rub herself up against the beauty of the male in front of her. He was a stunningly sensual creature, an invitation to every one of her starved senses. Her conditioning warned that too much sensation after a lifetime of numbness could cause the most brutal kind of mental cascade, but she wasn't listening.
Licking her tongue over her lips, she put one hand flat on his chest. A shudder shook his powerful frame. Startled, she looked up to find his eyes closed. He was making no effort to hide his pleasure in her caresses and his unflinching surrender gave her the confidence she'd lacked to this point.
Removing her hand, she ignored the low growl that came from his throat and put her hands to the bottom of her T-shirt. The growl cut off. His intense focus was a physical touch as she lifted the soft material over her head and threw it to the floor. Her bra might've been practical white cotton, but the look in Vaughn's eyes made her feel as if she were encased in something designed to bring a male the most exquisite pleasure.
He jerked at the bindings without warning. "I want a taste. Come here."
Wondering at his meaning, she leaned over, her lips brushing his as they spoke. It was deliberate on her part - she liked kisses with Vaughn. "What do you want to taste?"
He caught her lower lip between his teeth in a playful bite and she shivered. "Your pretty br**sts."
"I'm still wearing my bra."
"Take it off." It was a demand.
Faith's reaction to his attempt to exert dominance in bed surprised her. There was no fear and more than a frisson of sexual pleasure, a dramatic contrast to her negative response to his attempts to dominate her in other situations.
It was an interesting dichotomy and if she'd been thinking with the cerebral discipline of her race, she might've explored it further. But the fact was, she was thinking with her body. And she was coping. More than coping. She was enjoying. Much more of her conditioning had failed than she'd initially estimated. She didn't care.
Sitting back up, she reached behind her to unhook the bra and slide it down her arms and off her fingertips. Knowing that Vaughn couldn't touch her, couldn't push her, gave her courage, but it also increased the heat. There was something highly erotic about what they were doing and Faith knew it had to do with trust and intimate secrets. Vaughn would never let anyone else tie him down as she'd done.