She bit his lower lip instead.
Snarling, he held her in place as he tangled his tongue with hers. She wrapped her body around him, giving back as good as she got.
Then Dorian began to move.
"Faster," she said, tearing her lips away from the seduction of his mouth.
Male heat in those bright blue eyes. "No." He drew out inch by torturous inch... then pushed back in the same way. It was like the first time all over again, her muscles stretching, her body quivering with a thousand tiny quakes.
Teeth nipping over her lips, releasing. "You wanted slow."
Her hands slipped over his sweat-slick body as she tried to urge him to increase the pace. It was impossible. He was pure lithe muscle to her soft female form. "Now I want fast."
"No." Another smile, another slow withdrawal and reentry. "I want to play."
Yes, she thought through the erotic haze of sexual need, a cat would want to play. "What game?"
"I'll go faster if you can talk me into it."
She wasn't even sure she could put together a coherent sentence at this stage. In desperation, she squeezed her internal muscles. It made him shudder and drop his head. "Do that again." A demand that held hints of the predator he was, the dominant sentinel used to command.
"Go faster first." Ashaya scratched him again, having realized his skin could take it, and not only that, that he liked it.
A low growl that shouldn't have been able to come from a human throat. He tore her hands off his body, pinning them on either side of her head. "Messing with a leopard, sugar? Not smart."
She tightened her muscles again, and saw his face suffuse with pleasure. It made her stomach clench, along with other, lower things. Her curiosity, always her biggest asset in the lab, was now fixed on Dorian. She wanted to explore his body in every way she could. Then she wanted to do it again in a thousand different positions. She wanted to make this cat purr.
"I can read your thoughts," he said, eyes gleaming.
"Can you?" She moaned as he continued those oh-so-slow movements of his.
He bit her shoulder again, harder this time. She felt her body coat his with another layer of hot dampness even as lights started sparking behind her eyes. "Let go," he said in a voice touched with a rough tenderness that undid her. "I'll hold you safe."
Yes, he would, she thought. So she rode the wave of pleasure, let him ride her through it, and when the next wave crested, she buried her face in his neck, licking at the salt of his skin.
Something very close to a purr rumbled through his chest. And at last, he began to move faster, the hard heat of him a pounding beat inside of her. She held on, was held safe... even as she held him safe.
Dorian was feeling very much the cat when he blinked open his eyes - after his heartbeat finally calmed. His first instinct was to check the security panel. Still okay. Good. 'Cause he had no intention of moving - his body was loose, his limbs relaxed, and his leopard curled up in a sexually satisfied ball, complete with smug feline smile. Not to mention, he had a damn sexy woman half-comatose next to him. He grinned at her complaining moan when he ran his fingers over her abdomen.
Ticklish, he thought, delighted. She was ticklish.
Flattening his palm on her, he rolled the good feeling through his mind, wrapping it around himself like a cloak. The guilt he'd deal with later, he thought, caging it when it began to rise. But it wasn't so easy. The thoughts ate away at him. His sister's death. His parents' pain. His own violent rage. And now his pleasure.
But though the realization hurt like hell, he couldn't regret it. Not this. Not his mate.
Ashaya turned her head, looking at him with those perceptive eyes. "Emotion is a complex system, isn't it?"
He traced her profile with his fingertip. "One way to put it."
"A plus B doesn't always equal C." Her tone was contemplative, her luscious skin warm and a little damp under his palm.
"No." Yawning, he glanced at the bedside clock. "It's almost one in the morning."
"Hmm." She gave a delicate yawn in response to his own.
"That's called the pandiculation reflex, you know - the urge to yawn when you see someone else do it."
"Now that's what I call pillow talk." He yawned again and had the surprise of seeing a tiny smile light up her face.
When sleep came, it was in a soft whisper. He slept curved around her, his senses alert for any hint of an intruder. But when he awoke no more than ninety minutes later, it was to the awareness of Ashaya watching him. "You look like you've never seen a cat in your bed before."
Color brushed across her cheekbones. "You know I haven't."
He was about to tease her some more when he caught the edge of a scent that didn't belong. Even as he moved to grab his jeans from where he'd left them, the security panel pinged to warn him of a breach in the outer perimeter. "Get dressed." Smile wiped off, he zipped up the jeans and headed to the door. "Be alert, but don't come outside."
He stepped out without waiting for a response. A minute later, another man appeared from the silky dark of the trees. Andrew had clearly been in his animal form, because he was na**d now - and at ease with that fact, as was the way of changelings. Though Dorian was leopard to Andrew's wolf, they understood each other. The SnowDancer male's sister had also been taken by Santano Enrique. Unlike Kylie, Brenna had survived, but only after going through the worst kind of torture.
However, Dorian's acceptance of Andrew only went so far. And it was nowhere near enough to allow him this close to Ashaya. "What are you doing here?" Though SnowDancer and DarkRiver had free range over each other's territory, the wolves preferred to stick to the higher elevations.