Ashaya had a very bad feeling about that smile - but it was the kind of bad that had her body melting from the inside out. "Dorian, maybe we should go inside the house... I assume there is a house close by?"
He smiled widened. "Sure."
Wary of his agreement, she waited until he moved back and then quickly got out. He followed a few seconds later, stopping to get her pack out of the back. "This way." He jerked his head toward a heavy mass of foliage.
Her eyes widened as he nudged aside a sweep of trailing vines dotted with tiny white flowers and put his hand on a high-tech scanner, unlocking the door. She entered to find that the entire place was - but for a corridor that she assumed led to the bathroom facilities - a single large room shaded with the green dark of the forest.
"Lights," he said a second later, and cunningly placed fixtures bathed the cabin in what felt like sunshine.
"It's all glass," she breathed, taking in the way he'd brought the forest inside. The leaves and flowers felt so close, she was tempted to reach out and touch. While the greenery was all shadowed curves outside, clean lines dominated inside. The bed took up the left section, but with plenty of room to move around it. To her right was a comfortable seating area, and beyond it, a small kitchen.
Suddenly, and though she'd heard no voice command, the lights all dimmed, except for the one that lit up the sleeping area. Turning, she opened her mouth to ask him - "Oh."
Dorian was unbuttoning his shirt.
Her throat dried up as inch after inch of golden male flesh was revealed. A strange heat washed through her body, a turbulent internal storm. This afternoon, she'd held on to him because she needed to forget. Tonight, she knew she'd remember every touch, every caress... every hard male demand.
He shrugged off the shirt, and she saw it glide to the floor in a motion that seemed ridiculously slow to her heightened senses. In front of her, he was all sleek muscle and heat, a leopard contained in a body blessed with quicksilver grace. Whenever Dorian moved, she felt compelled to watch, it was such a beautiful thing.
Now, with his shirt off and an intrinsically male look on his face, his grace turned into the stalking prowl of a big hunting cat. And she knew very well she was the prey. Still, she stayed in place as he circled around her without speaking before stopping at her back. Tugs on her braid, her hair being released into a wildly curly mass. Then strong male hands stroked over her, sliding her cardigan down her arms.
She should've resisted... except she could find no reason to do so. What he'd done to her on the sofa - it had been beyond pleasure. She wanted more - to touch him as he'd touched her, to explore, to taste. And, given that her PsyNet shields were miraculously solid, she had no cause to fear. As for the rest... she didn't know how the chaos of what she felt for Dorian kept Amara at bay, but it did. For these stolen moments, she was free. To live. To touch. And be touched.
The cardigan made a soft shush as it hit the floor.
"I'm going to take that as a yes," Dorian said, his fingers resting on her hips, at the very edge of her waistband. "If you want to say no, do it now." Taut strain in every syllable.
The practical question should've broken the sensual spell, but all it did was unlock her tongue. "You're distracting me from my work on your DNA," she said, trying to tease him. It came out wrong - she wasn't used to this kind of play. And her mind wasn't quite functioning, her body having taken complete control.
"I'm latent, not broken."
Something stilled inside her, the primal heart of her - a heart that had come to screaming life entombed below the earth - understanding that his words weren't a statement at all. "You're a lethal, dangerously skilled sniper," she said, speaking the absolute truth because she seemed unable to lie to him. "In many ways you're tougher than those who know they can fall back on the strength of their beast."
Clever fingers slid up and under her T-shirt, stroking skin that quivered at the first touch. "So why bother?"
She drew in a shuddering breath, put her hands on his wrists. "Slower."
His fingers played over her ribs. "I told you the time for saying no was over."
Despite the harsh words, she knew he'd never hurt her. She knew in a way that she'd never before known anything. As if the truth was carved deep inside her soul. "I'm not going to say no." Against her skin, his fingertips were slightly rough, quintessentially male in a way she couldn't define. She just knew that the feel of it was an erotic sensation she'd never have expected. "But sensuality is a drug I need to get used to in small doses." She thought she might've surprised him when his fingers paused.
An instant later, they began moving again, stoking the fire within her with dark precision. "I'm patient."
"I know." He was also incredibly focused - he'd become a powerful and respected member of his pack despite being born with what many would've considered a handicap. But... "You hurt, Dorian." A whisper that froze him. "I might be Psy, but I can feel your hurt at being unable to shift." The knowing bewildered her, but that made it no less true.
Dorian felt as if she'd knocked him flat with that single quiet statement. He'd done such a damn good job of moving past his genetic flaw that he'd convinced everyone - even himself - that it didn't matter. And on one level, it didn't. He was proud of what he'd become, a changeling fully capable of defending his pack, his family. But... "I couldn't save her." A gut-wrenching confession.
Ashaya's hands slid under the tee to clench on his. "From all I know, Santano Enrique was a monster in every way. Don't allow the echo of his evil to taint your memories of your sister."