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“You grew wet for me before the drugs,” he charged, staring down at her, daring her to deny it.

“It was only lust,” she cried out. “Lust and some measure of caring, of hope that you would survive.”

“You lie.” She watched him warily as he bit the words out with enough force to cause the primal, instinctive growl to echo through the room. “Do you think, Charity, had I marked you before the drugs, that you would have escaped this need for me?”

“All we have to do is find a cure.” She arched uncontrollably, her thighs clenching on his hand as his fingers moved gently inside her.

That gentleness was so at odds with his expression that she felt held on an edge of fear and excruciating pleasure.

“A cure?” he asked her carefully. “Do you believe there is a cure for this, Charity?” His fingers moved, pulling back,then plunging forcibly inside her once again.

Charity couldn’t halt the scream that escaped her throat, or the pleasure that ripped through her body. Tiny fingers of electric energy stroked through every nerve ending. Her cunt spasmed around the two broad fingers as the hard caress drove her ever closer to the brink of climax.

“Aiden, don’t torture me this way.” She shivered, feeling his fingers inside her, stretching her, preparing her.

He leaned closer as she watched him, his expression tight, angry and aroused. He bent to her until his lips were almost touching hers, tempting her until she licked her lips in anticipation.

“Take my tongue as you did the last time, Charity,” he whispered. “Show me how desperately you want me.”

As she had last time, sucking it, glorying in the unusual taste that filled her senses.In a distant part of her brain, she knew she should be wary of doing such a thing. The sensations had increased, had inflamed her senses in such ways…

His tongue slipped between her lips, and before she could help it, her lips closed over it, her tongue stroking it back as she suckled it into her mouth. She tasted a burst of sweet spice in her mouth, a summer rainstorm, a fiery shock of need that completely overwhelmed her. Her arms went to his shoulders, her nails gripping at his flesh as he kissed her. Carnal, greedy, his lips moved over her, his tongue stroking hers even as she fought to draw more of the incredible taste into her mouth, her senses.

The arm beneath her shoulder dragged her closer as his head tilted to deepen the possession of her mouth. The hand between her thighs worked her pussy into a furious flame of need. The sounds of moist thrusts and her strangled moans mixed with his hard groans, echoing around her in a heady symphony of hunger.

When he tore his mouth free of her, she cried out in longing, reaching for him, desperate to experience

the mix of fiery temptation and sweet longing she could literally taste against her own tongue.

“You’re killing me,” he groaned, his lips moving along her jaw to the sensitive skin of her neck, then her shoulder.

When his lips clamped on the wound, and his tongue began to stroke her with moist, hot swipes, she fought to breathe through the pleasure, and the rapidly rising heat in her body. Her blood felt as though it were boiling in her veins. Heating her from the inside out, burning her alive with the need for his touch over every inch of her body. The light stroking thrusts of his fingers inside her cunt only drove her higher, made her wilder.

“Mate,” he growled as he moved over her, his fingers sliding free of her body as she cried out in protest.

“Admit it, Charity, you are my mate.”

“Yours.”She would have screamed the word if she could have found the breath to do so.“Yours, Aiden.”

He moved between her thighs, his groan matching her strangled cry as his cock nudged against the wet opening of her pussy. Then she felt it again.The hard spurt of thick liquid warmth. She fought to clear her head, to analyze what it could be.

“Don’t think,” he whispered, pressing the head deeper into her opening. She felt it again, felt the rippling response of her sensitive tissue to it. Feathery fingers of reaction seemed to quake inside her, driving her crazy with the hard vibrations of longing that washed over her. She needed him inside her.Deep.Hard.

Her senses were overwhelmed, her body screaming for relief as he slowly pressed in, filling her, possessing her. She was aware of the ejaculations from his cock at alternate phases of the entrance. Each one shook his body, heated her further. She stared up at him, dazed, fighting for sanity and realizing he had no intentions of allowing her to grasp it once again.

“There, baby,” he whispered gently when he was seated fully inside her. His cock nudged against her cervix, feeling as though it were now lined perfectly to receive his release. She trembled, watching the stormy depths of his eyes, seeing the sexual intent in his expression.

“What are you doing to me?” she cried out, her hands sliding to his arms, her thighs spread wide for him, knees bent as she pressed harder into the impalement.

“Mating with you, Charity,” he whispered deeply. “Feel our bodies. Will you ever fit so perfectly with another male? Ever feel so deeply?”

Mating her.Hewas possessing her.Owning her. Tears sprang to her eyes, though her body gripped him with greedy intent.

“Drugs,” she whispered desperately, denying his claims. “It’s the drugs.”

Her neck arched as he pulled his cock nearly out of the clutching depths of her pussy, only to return with a hot, full thrust that stroked her nerve endings with delicious fire.

“Drugs?”His voice vibrated with lust, with anger. “Feel me, Charity. Did the drugs shape your body?

Did they shape this hot little pussy to fit me so perfectly? Feel me, damn you.” He pressed deeper into her. “The opening of your womb aligns perfectly to my cock, its greedy mouth opened for my seed, and you callthis drugs ?”

“Aiden, please.”She was shuddering convulsively, so desperate for release now she felt as though the need would kill her.

As though he could no longer help himself, he began to thrust inside her, hard and heavy, taking her, stroke after stroke of fire as she panted and fought for breath.

“I will prove to you, mate,” he growled as one hand caught in her hair, pulling her head back to the side as his lips lowered to her shoulder. “I will prove to you whether it is a mating or the drugs. Feel me, Charity. Feel me all the way to your soul.”

His lips covered the mark at her shoulder, his teeth scraping it as he began to fuck her hard, fast. Her cunt tightened around the piston strokes plunging inside it, opening,then clamping around his cock as she lost the last shred of sanity she could have claimed.

Brilliant arcs of pleasure whipped through her body, mixing with the pinching pain as her cunt stretched to accommodate the breadth of his cock. She couldn’t fight the pleasure, couldn’t fight the needs that tore through her body. Her legs lifted, her ankles locking at the small of his back as she arched closer. The new position placed her swollen clit in line for his pelvis to caress it heatedly on each downward stroke as she pressed harder into the thrust.Her cunt spasmed around his cock, drowning her with pleasure. It was too good.Too hot.Too much. Her nails bit into his shoulders as his thrusts increased and she felt the hard, deep swelling in his cock begin.

“No.” She fought his hold on her hair, but the tugging pressure was just another caress, another sensation adding to the others. “Aiden, please,” she screamed out his name as she felt her pussy clamp harder on him, instinctively preparing for what was to come. Her womb shuddered, her nipples swelling harder against his chest, the blood surging through her veins, harder, faster, erupting…

When her orgasm hit her, she lost herself. All she knew, all she could feel was the agonizing pleasure that pulsed over her as Aiden locked inside her, his cock filling her, his seed spurting inside her with heated blasts of yet more sensation.

The pleasure/pain whipped through every cell, every molecule of her body. Nerve endings exploded in rapture, muscle and tissue filled with ecstasy. Her keening cry as her legs locked tighter around him was rife with her pleasure, with her agony as her womb responded with a hard, breath-taking tremor. It stole her breath, washed over her with an echoing orgasm so fierce, so hot she knew it would change her forever.

“Mine.” His growl was a vibrating, animalistic sound at her shoulder as his body jerked with his own release.

A hard spurt of seed shot inside her. The knot anchoring him to herthrobbed, pulsed, as he shuddered in reaction. Seconds later, the action was repeated. Each throb of his cock was another pulse of agonizing

pleasure inside her body; another pulse of hot, rich semen through her womb. Her legs slid weakly from his hips, her arms falling to her sides as the swelling inside her cunt began to ease, the hard throb slowly fading away. Aiden’s body was a comforting weight against her,a warmth she had thought she would never know.Until he moved.

She opened her eyes, watching carefully as he moved slowly to her side. Echoes of pleasure still trembled through her body, though the torturous arousal had, for the moment, been eased.

“A mating.”Confidence surged through his dark voice as he watched her. Regret filled her, washed over her as a small bitter smile shaped her lips.

“A mating?” she asked him sadly. “No, Aiden, not a mating.A reaction.Nothing more.”

Chapter Sixteen

“Your feet are doing much better. Evidently the fucking drugs were good for something.”

He had fed her, bathed her, dried her, helped her dress, then re-bandaged her feet after apply the healing salve to the rapidly healing welts on her feet the next morning. He hadn’t acknowledged her denial of the mating the night before, or this morning.

It infuriated him. He could feel the knowledge of their mating clear to his bones. It was a part of him. His body would not lock to her, the swelling would not occur, if she wasn’t his mate. And it had occurred before the drugs had been given to her. He knew and he knew she knew it. Yet still she denied it.

“I need to see Armani,” she told him as he straightened before her and picked up the comb he had laid on the night table, beside the bed.

She sat on the edge of the mattress, watching him warily.

“I’m aware of this. Turn around and I’ll comb your hair.”

She turned slowly, sitting cross-legged on the bed as he began to work the tangles free of her damp hair.

“Aiden.”Her voice was tired. Even after the hearty breakfast he had forced on her and the long bath, she still looked too pale, her body trembling at the least exertion.

“I called Armani while you were soaking,” he told her quietly, knowing he couldn’t put it off any longer.

“No tests, Charity. Your body isn’t ready for it, even though you believe it is. The arousal and resulting sexual activity is too much as it is. I won’t allow you to push yourself further than absolutely necessary.”

Her body relaxed, though only marginally.

“Thank you.” He heard the relief in her voice and wondered at the clenching of his chest.

“Charity,” he whispered, leaning close to her as she trembled beneath his hands. “You have your hopes set that there is a cure for this need you have of me. There is no cure. It is natural.Whether you admit it or not.”

He heard her breath hitch as though she were holding back tears. He didn’t check to see if it were true, didn’t want to know if it was. To know she cried because of the bond they shared would shatter something inside him, he thought. He had somehow, in the space of a few short days, lost the hatred that had sustained him for six long years.

That change alone was abrupt enough. To realize his acceptance of her as his mate, and to have her deny it, more than bothered him. It infuriated him.

“It’s a virus,” she said simply. “I’ve tracked it that far. It’s triggered by a hormone in the male semen that infects the ovaries…”

“Stop, Charity.” He smiled, though with an edge of sadness as helay his finger against her lips. “I don’t have any desire to know how or why it occurs. If you need this to accept what cannot be changed, then I won’t fight you. But neither will I allow you to harm yourself in the process. Armani knows this, and she knows to take care. But you will hear it as well. If I see it affecting you adversely, then I will put a stop to it.”


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