"This bond," she said, "it's so deep, I can hear you in my heart."
Smiling, he put his own hands over hers. "Good."
Lips on his skin, soft, gentle, possessive. "No more blood, Dorian." A whisper. An order. "The need for vengeance in you - it's destructive."
He turned to tip up her chin. "It's who I am. The cat wants retribution."
"No," she said, passion in her eyes, "you're a beautiful, charming, dangerous leopard. But you're not ugly in your anger. I'll allow you to keep us safe - I won't get in the way of that - but if you begin to obsess over this until it burns a hole in your psyche" - she stabbed a finger into his chest - "I'll tie you up and teach you exactly what an angry M-Psy can do to the man she loves."
He blinked, taken completely by surprise. The leopard, too, was chastened enough to retreat from trying to dig its way out of Dorian's skin. "Shaya - "
"No." She kissed him. And kept doing it until he groaned and thrust his hand into those incredible curls of hers. "Enough," she said. "The threats have all been neutralized."
Something niggled at him, something he'd seen. A flicker of an image - a dark car with opaque windows. "I'm not sure that's - "
She nipped at his lower lip, breaking his train of thought. "Forget vengeance. It's time for us to learn each other."
He retaliated with a kiss that left her breathless. "I already know you." In his heart, in his core, to the depths of his changeling soul. "I just want to play with you now." It was another kind of bonding, a kind that spoke to the cat even as it seduced the man. Maybe it would even be enough to heal the leopard's broken heart.
"Why are you sad, Dorian?"
He couldn't lie to her. "The leopard wants you to see it."
"I see it every time you look at me, kitty cat." A kiss pressed to the hollow of his throat. He shuddered under the caress. "But I'm working on the DNA. Give me a little more time. Tonight, let's play." A husky whisper that spoke of sex and hotter, richer things.
He slid his hands under the tails of the shirt she'd pulled on to cup the smooth warmth of her bu**ocks. "What about - ?"
"Keenan sleeps like a log, and I'll know the instant he wakes." She nibbled at his lips. "Don't you want me?"
He knew when he was being handled. He decided he liked it when it came from his beautiful mate. "You're definitely a fast learner, Ms. Aleine." Grinning, he tugged her away from the cabin and into the dark blanket of the trees. "Now, where was I?"
She shivered as he cupped her bottom again before trailing his fingers down to stroke over her cleft. "That's... nice."
"Nice?" He rubbed lightly, gratified to hear her moan. "I think you need an education in how to talk to me in bed."
"Oh?" She was standing on tiptoe now, trying to escape his fingers but rubbing back against him at the same time.
"Hmm." He nipped at the line of her neck, taking his time teasing the dampness of her. "Lesson one - use words like 'magnificent, ' 'amazing,' 'mind-blowing.' "
She pretended to bite the line of his jaw. Almost purring, he slipped a finger into her. "Be good."
"Make me," she gasped as he pushed one hand up under the front of her shirt to cup the heavy weight of her breast. Ashaya was shaped like a woman should be, he thought, all curves and softness. As far as he was concerned, she was his own personal sensual banquet. And right now, she was hot and wet around him. He moved his finger with slow precision, coaxing her to ride him.
Her muscles clenched as he stroked a second finger into her liquid heat. He grazed her ear with his teeth. "Now would be a good time to use 'mind-blowing.' "
She was melting around him but she didn't surrender. "You have a high opinion of yourself."
He brushed his thumb over her nipple. "The truth's the truth, beautiful. Let me teach you all about it."
Ashaya had seen flashes of Dorian's charm during the course of their unusual courtship, but that night, out in the soft dark of the forest, she found out exactly how indulgent he could be with a woman he considered his. There was husky male laughter as he teased her, lashings of the most incredible pleasure, and tenderness, such exquisite tenderness.
When he withdrew his fingers from inside her, she whimpered. It got her a kiss. Then he opened her shirt and pushed it off her shoulders and to the forest floor. "Mmm." A sound of complete satisfaction as she stood bathed in moonlight.
He licked the curve of her collarbone, making her shiver.
"Did I tell you I want to see you na**d in the sun?" His hands squeezed her bu**ocks. "All smooth and pretty and mine." Those strong hands stroking up over her back, then sliding down again. "Definitely mine." Another bite along her neck, this one with a teasing flick of tongue.
Her breath was already coming in gasps, but she somehow managed to speak. "You seem to have a strange fascination with seeing me na**d in daylight."
"It's my fantasy." He shrugged, unrepentant. Then he dipped his head and bit her nipple.
She jerked, her hands clenching in his hair. "Stop that."
"Why? You like it." He did the same to her neglected breast.
Her heart felt as if it would thud out of her chest. "Dorian, I don't have your control."
"Baby, as I recall, I came with a single touch," he said, between nibbling kisses. "It's your turn." Making a sound incredibly akin to a purr, he bent his head to suck at the pulse in her neck, even as he thrust two fingers deep inside her. Once. Twice.