Her laugh was husky. Releasing him, she sat up on her knees and hooked her hands into the sides of his sweatpants. He let her draw them down, fascinated by the vision of her in that pink satin and white lace thing she was wearing. It was strappy and about as substantial as cotton candy. "You look like strawberry ice cream," he managed to say as she got rid of his clothing and retook her kneeling position between his thighs.
"Do you like strawberry ice cream?" She shrugged and one strap slid down, exposing the upper curve of her breast.
He dug his hands into the bed, cursing the freckles that laid a teasing path across her creamy flesh. "Oh, yeah. I like to lap it straight up." His mouth watered.
"Nuh-uh." She waved a finger in warning. "I get to do the lapping - and licking - today." The other strap went down, lace catching on the peak of her nipple.
"Jesus, Tally." His gaze was fixated in the shadowed valley between her br**sts. "When did you get this mean?"
She ran her finger down that valley, teasing him. "You ain't seen nothing yet." Talin was...having fun. It was the oddest thing for her. Sex wasn't about fun. With Clay, it was wonderful and hot and pleasurable beyond her understanding, but she'd never expected this. It made her want to laugh and pepper his face with kisses.
"Drop the slip," he said, voice raw. "Please."
She fisted him instead, delighting in his bitten-off curse, in the way he lay there and let her play. Loving this man was so easy, it almost terrified her. Almost. "What do I get in return?"
"My damn c**k thrusting you into orgasm."
Her hand tightened. He hissed out a breath but seemed to like it. So she kept it that way. "Well, that is very tempting." She stroked up, then down. "But I have a feeling I'll get that anyway."
His eyes became slits, cat-bright in the muted light of the room. And that was another thing - Clay never forced her into the dark, never belittled her for her childish fear. He just fixed the lights so no room was ever wholly without illumination. How could she possibly not be crazy for him?
"You want something," he accused.
She smiled and bent down to flick her tongue across the head of his erection. He almost came off the bed and the swear word he used this time was considerably bluer. "Nice," she murmured, licking her lips, hovering inches from his aroused length.
"What do you want?" He was breathing hard. She thought she heard something rip, wondered if he'd torn into the bed-sheets with his claws. She waited for the spike of fear. What came was another rush of damp need. Her body had learned that for her, his strength meant only pleasure. She loved the way he could pick her up and do all sorts of wicked things...when she wasn't in control, that is.
"I want you," she said. "Naked."
His nostrils flared as if he was soaking in the scent of her arousal. "Tally, honey, I can't get any more naked. That's my c**k you're playing with."
She grazed him lightly, very lightly, with her teeth for that remark. He swore again but didn't make any attempt to take control. "I want you," she said, "naked and on your front."
"Why?" A suspicious growl.
"So I can stroke you. Pet you. Love you." She ran her nails along the inside of one thigh, felt him shudder. "At least half an hour." Bending again, she closed her mouth over the top of his erection without warning.
Something definitely tore this time. "Fuck!"
She released him. "Yes?"
"Yes! Damn it, yes! Now suck me or I'm going to have you on your back so fast, you'll - " His threat ended in a roar as she took as much of him in her mouth as she could fit.
Clay, she decided, tasted good. Very good. She liked giving him this pleasure. But more, she liked that he allowed her to see the extremity of his reaction, no holds barred. So she loved him, learned him, tasted him. And when he tugged at her hair to pull her off him, she resisted. But Clay had reached the end of his patience.
Reaching down, he pulled her up by her shoulders and flipped her onto her back. His hand was tearing away her panties a second later and then he thrust into her in one solid stroke. It made her scream.
He froze. "Tally?"
She gripped his shoulders. "Move!" And that was all she had breath to say because he did exactly that. Wrapping her legs around him, she urged him on, vaguely aware that he'd snapped the straps of her flimsy little slip and that the material lay crushed between them, an erotic sensation. But nothing was as erotic as his hand on her breast, his hardness moving inside of her.
Then he licked a line across the freckles decorating her br**sts. "I want to eat you up." His teeth closed over her nipple.
Her mind went blank.
"So this stroking thing," Clay asked some time later, his chest against her back. "When were you thinking of doing it?"
She snuggled into his embrace. "Whenever I want. So be ready to drop 'em and spread 'em."
He stroked his hand into the curls at the apex of her thighs, tugged. "Brat."
"Bully." With that familiar exchange, she suddenly knew the answer to the question she hadn't yet asked. "We're mated, aren't we?"
His hand rose up to lie flat on her abdomen. "Yes."
She couldn't argue with that, because the truth was, she had been born for Clay. "I'm sick - "
"It doesn't matter."
"It matters," she whispered. "Leopards only bond once."
"Would you leave me if I was sick?"
"That's not fair."