Her lips flushed under his regard, her pulse thudding in a rapid tattoo that drove his wolf insane. “Scared?” He traced the full curves with one fingertip.
“You do bite.”
Smile creasing his cheeks, he gripped her chin, pressing down with his thumb to part her lips, and then he kissed her. No sweet, playful thing this, but a hot, wet demand that had a moan escaping her throat, her body arching against the hard wall of his chest.
He half expected her to shy as she had that night outside the den, but her fingers clenched on his shoulders, her lips generous and sweet under his voracious mouth. “You shouldn’t give me everything I want,” he chided.
“Because it makes me greedy.” Stroking his hand down over her throat to her chest as he claimed her lips again, he curved his hand over the lush swell of one breast.
Nipping at her lips, he flicked his thumb across the taut peak he could feel through her thin black sweater, had the satisfaction of shocking a gasp out of her. “Now imagine,” he murmured in her ear before kissing that beautiful throat once more, drinking in the quivering intoxication of her arousal, “what it’ll feel like when I rub your ni**les after I’ve stripped you bare.”
Sienna shuddered. “Don’t stop.”
Petting her down from the edge, he took his hand off her body, his lips off her skin, and nudged her until she lay on her back on the earth, his jacket protecting her from the cold. “Is this hurting you?” He’d caught no indication of it, but he had to be sure.
A quick shake of her head. “We disabled that layer of dissonance.”
Which meant there were more, but they wouldn’t talk about the subject tonight, because tonight, he wanted to pleasure her, tease her, indulge her. “Pretty, troublesome Sienna,” he whispered, bracing himself beside her on one elbow and stroking his hand under the bottom of her V-neck sweater to lie over the taut smoothness of her abdomen.
Her muscles tensed under his touch, her eyes dark as the night.
“That feels . . .” A trembling breath. “May I touch you?”
His cock, already rock hard, turned excruciating at the polite question. That was when he realized he didn’t have the patience to play with her, to ease her into the storm of his sexuality. Not today, when his wolf had been pushed to the edge by what she’d shared, the decision he’d made.
More, Sienna needed to rest, to preserve her strength for the op.
Groaning, he kissed her hard and wild, then rolled up to his feet, dragging a bewildered Sienna up with him. Unable to stop himself, he cupped her face, took her mouth again with possessive heat. “We’ll finish this”—another kiss—“later.” A bite on her lower lip. “After you get back.” With that, he bent, grabbed his jacket, and put it around her.
He wasn’t ready for the kiss she laid on him.
Son of a bitch.
His hands clenched on her hips, one step away from pulling her up and against the hard ridge of his cock. From there, it’d be about two seconds before he had her sweater shoved up to her neck, her bra ripped off so he could feast on her br**sts. Another five—maybe ten because he had a feeling he’d be greedy about her br**sts—before she was pinned na**d to the nearest tree.
Wrenching away from the enticement of her, he stalked to the edge of the rise, but he was still too close, the autumn and spice of her lingering in his mouth, in the air, on his skin. Teeth gritted, he scrambled down the slope to the lake and walked to the water’s edge to throw the frigid liquid on his face. Christ!
His wolf, though not normally bothered by the cold, didn’t care for the shock, but it was in control by the time Sienna joined him. He pointed a finger toward her. “Behave—unless you want to be na**d and under me in about five seconds flat.” Or maybe the wolf wasn’t in control.
She blinked, swallowed, shook her head. “I don’t think I’m quite ready.”
Neither did he. Which was why he had trickles of icy water rolling down his neck as he got to his feet. “Do you like the lake?” Not the most subtle change in the direction of the conversation, but he wasn’t exactly Mr. Smooth right then.
“Yes.” She fell into step beside him. “It’s peaceful.”
“I used to play down here with my friends all the time as a child.” Rissa had loved jumping in the water in wolf form.
“Did you love her very much?” Quiet, quiet words.
Though she’d voiced the question, he could tell from the way she held herself, her face wiped of expression, that she expected him to tell her it was none of her business. It was what he’d have done, had it been any other person of her rank. Except it wasn’t any other person asking this. It was the woman he’d kissed senseless a minute ago, the woman he was sending into a potentially lethal situation tomorrow, the woman who’d had a hold on him since the instant their eyes collided in that dark green glade the day of her defection.
“We were children,” he began, voice husky with memory. “I only knew her for three years.” They’d spent those three years in each other’s constant company. “We were two of the lucky ones—we found each other early.”
“How did you know?” There was a deep, haunting curiosity in her face, in her words. “That she was your mate.”
“I knew.” It was a resonance of the soul, a hunger of the heart, a sweet welcome home he’d missed every day since her death. “I was five years old when she was born and seven when we met. I remember walking along the corridors with my mother the first time I saw her.