“I only wanted to save you,” she whispered as his heat seeped into her body. “I knew rescue was coming, Aiden. I contacted that reporter and told him where the Lab was. I knew help would be there.”

“You forced me to betray my body, my own instincts, Charity,” he whispered in her ear, the sound dark and feral. “You were my mate, and you forced me to betray you. I gave your pleasure, and my seed to another. And you calmly walked away.”

She shook her head desperately. “It wasn’t like that.” She wanted to stay angry, needed to, but her body was weak, worn and so aroused that the clenching of her cunt was more a spasmodic reaction to her overwhelming sexual hunger than a reflection of her mind’s willingness to engage in the act. His cock jerked at her back, hot and hard, a velvet stroke of power that further inflamed her body.

“I’m going to take you. I will take you as I see fit, as many times as I wish.Beginning now, Charity. Fighting me, fighting the need, will only make it worse. I know this from experience, mate.”

He was still angry. His fury stroked her as casually as his hands massaged her abdomen, moving lower, closer every second to the wet heat of her cunt. She was on her knees, held close to him, helpless in his grip and her own needs.

“I can’t wait to bury myself inside you.” The growl in his voice shocked her with the sound of primal heat. “I feel as though my blood is boiling, Charity, demanding you, demanding your tight pussy wrapped around my cock.”

She inhaled sharply. His voice was deep, pitched low, as he whispered at her ear, his breath stroking over the delicate shell with erotic heat. She wanted him, needed him so desperately that fighting against it seemed a useless task.Until she thought of the consequences.

“Aiden, wait.” She shuddered as his lips feathered over her neck, then his teeth scraped the sensitive skin with a nip of barely restrained hunger.

“For what?”His hands stroked upward, his palms molding themselves to the full mounds of her breasts, his thumbs and forefingers capturing her peaked nipples.

Charity lost her breath, and her mind, in that instant. Her eyes closed as her head fell back against his broad shoulder and she pressed more firmly into the grip.

“Do you like that, Charity?” He pressed closer to her, his canines scraping across her shoulder with sensual promise.

His fingers worked her nipples slowly, with just enough pressure to further inflame the lusts building in her body. His palms cupped her with heated warmth, but his wicked fingers only stroked her internal fires higher, hotter. And all the while his lips, his tongue, the sharp points of his canines rasped at the skin of her neck and shoulder. She could feel her flesh tingling, pleading for a deeper caress.

“You’re torturing me. Deliberately,” she panted, her voice rough, trembling almost as badly as her body was.

“I’ve thought of this day for years,” he growled at her ear. “Each time I took another woman and felt her pussy parting for me, taking me, I’ve thought of you, Charity. Thought of you, and wondered just how long it would take me to fuck you out of my system.”

Shock tore through her body a second before she jerked out of his arms. Before he could stop her, she moved across the bed, biting off a cry of painful regret as she lost the heat of his body. She came to her knees, facing him, ignoring the jarring spasms in her womb. He faced her. He didn’t move to pull her back into his arms, or to touch her in any way. The smirk that lingered on his lips tempted her to violence, though. The heavy, bulging thickness of his cock tempted her in ways she didn’t want to consider.

“I am not your mate,” she rasped out. “The pain will go away. The need will become no more than an echo, and when I can walk, I’ll show you just how fast I can remove myself from your pitiful life, Aiden. I want no part of you.”

“Isn’t that too bad,” he snarled, his eyes darkening, muscles tensing with anger. “You won’t leave, Charity. Not now, not ever. Mating is forever, baby.”

“Is it?” She lifted a brow, knowing the sarcastic impression it would convey. “Drugs do not make a mate, Aiden.”

“And all the denials in the world won’t change the nature of the beast, Charity,” he bit out. “Accept it or not. Your body will accept no blood but mine, your body longs for mine. The hormone driving you crazy ismine …”

“It’s a drug,” she cried out, spearing her fingers through her hair. “It’s the damned drugs, Aiden. That’s all.”

He snorted mockingly as he moved from the bed.

“Drugs be damned, woman.” He shot her a hot, angry glance. “Can you tell me you had no desire for me? That your body didn’t melt daily in need? That your pussy didn’t stay hot and wet for me after swallowing my sperm? Tell me it didn’t. I dare you.”

His superior expression, the sneering knowledge in his eyes, inflamed her. She lifted her chin, staring him in the eye as she watched him with a mocking twist of her lips.

“Of course I did, Aiden.” She shrugged. “I didn’t say you couldn’t make me horny. I was as much a prisoner as you were. Of course I would have fucked you. You turned me on. That doesn’t make me your mate. It doesn’t make me any part of you. The drugs did that, not nature.”

She watched his lipsthin, his eyes narrow on her intently.As though he could see past her building fury, past her protestations. She wasn’t about to tell him just how hot she did get in those years before she was caught betraying the Council. No more than she was about to tell him the results of the tests she had run on herself.

She watched as he breathed in hard and deep, his nostrils flaring as he fought for control. His expression was a study in sensuality. His lips looked just slightly fuller than normal, his bronzed skin flushed along the cheekbones.His chest, bare of hair, wide and muscular, tense with his effort to control his own raging lusts.

Finally, his lips quirked.Not mockingly, but with genuine amusement.

“When I can touch you, Charity, and your body doesn’t heat with longing, your cunt doesn’t cream with need,then we’ll discuss whether it’s the drugs or nature. Until then, you are my mate, whether it’s what you wish or not.”

“You’re a bastard, Aiden.” She clenched her teeth as she fought the building fury, the rush of blood that only stroked her arousal higher.

“Most likely,” he agreed softly. “But for the moment, mate, I’m your bastard. Deal with that however you will.”

Chapter Seven

“Time to eat.”Charity watched as Aiden moved slowly to the bed several hours later, his expression set in determined lines as he picked up a pair of long sweat pants from the chair by the bed and approached her. “Come on. I’ll help you get dressed and carry you into the kitchen.”

She shivered at the sound of his voice.

“I’m not hungry.” She shook her head. Right now she was more concerned with keeping herself from jumping his broad body and stuffing his cock up her pussy. She felt like a rabid animal, intent on mating.

“You look hungry.” He frowned down at her.

Oh, he had no idea.

“I’m fine,” she gritted out.

“You don’t look fine,” he pointed out a little too patiently to suit her. She opened her eyes, staring up at him with a lack of amusement or patience.

“I look like a scrawny bitch in heat, which is pretty much what I am,” she said with blistering emphasis.

“So go away and let me die in peace.”

Aiden sighed patiently, the sound further grating on her nerves. He held out the pants. “Dress willingly or I can force them on you.Your choice, Charity.”

She knew she needed to eat. Knew she needed to regain her strength but the blistering arousal tormenting her was unlike anything she had known previously. The pain wasn’t nearly as blinding as the need to be touched. But if he touched her, if he took her, she knew the consequences could be catastrophic.

Gathering her strength and her courage, she sat up slowly, watching him warily as she held out her hand for the pants. He ignored her. He knelt at her feet with a warning look. Likely daring her not to kick his teeth in, she thought with a hidden smile. Oh, how satisfying that would be.

Aiden hid his grin as he watched her. Her expression didn’t change, but the forced curve of her mouth, the stillness about her cheekbones warned him. He remembered in a flash of insight seeing that look on her face a second before she nearly ripped the balls off one of the Labguards years before.Patient, calm. Exacting.

He eased the material over her legs, watching them carefully for any tensing. He would need only a second’s warning, but damned if that warning wouldn’t come in handy. When he reached her thighs he swallowed tightly as the fought the instinctive need to caress her. He could still smell her heat. It was soft and sweet, yearning. Son of a bitch, she was making his head spin, it was so intoxicating.

“Ease up,” he murmured as she lifted her hips.

He jerked the material over the soft curves of her ass, his fingers itching to stroke them. The palms of his hands were nearly sweating with the hunger to caress her.

“All done.”He tightened the drawstringmarginally, making certain it wasn’t snug against her sore midriff. He knelt on the floor again and rolled the cuffs carefully over her bandaged feet. He wanted to resent her.Wanted to resent the necessity of taking care of her. Yet he couldn’t. He had caught himself in the kitchen thinking of ways to ease her, to make things easier on her. Then he would remember he was supposed to be angry. Only to remember the horror stories he had heard in relationship to the experiments conducted on her. She was going to drive him crazy. He was driving himself crazy trying to decide what he was supposed to feel, how he was supposed to act. This mating business was a pain in the ass, and now he knew well why he had wanted nothing to do with it. He had other things to do, other concerns that he felt was far more important than attempting to analyze these unfamiliar emotions.

“There you go.All done.” He rose to his feet before bending down to lift her into his arms. She was too light, almost fragile in his arms. She was also tense as hell and too damned weak to do more than just tighten against him as he carried her into the kitchen.

Once there, he set a bowl of stew before her and a tall glass of crisp, cold milk. She needed energy, food. Something that would stick with her and give her strength for the coming battles ahead.

“I have to go out for a while,” he told her as he watched the delicate manner in which she ate. She nodded sharply.

His lips twitched. She wasn’t gobbling her food, but he’d be damned if he couldn’t tell she wanted to. She kept careful control of herself, though, eating with a steady determination that hinted at the hunger she suffered from.

“Get as much rest as you can, Charity,” he told her long minutes later as she sat back in her chair, replete, and glanced at him. “I’ll be back to check on you sometime today. If you need me, there’s a landline in the bedroom. It connects to the communications building. Just tell whoever answers that you need to speak to me.”

“I’m sure I’ll do fine without you.” He didn’t like the forced unconcern that suddenly surrounded her.

“I’m sure you will.” At least he was certain she would try to make sure she needed him for nothing.

“You need to rest for a few days, Charity. Get your strength back. I’ll stay away as much as I can, but you know as well as I do that it’s only to delay the inevitable.”

She glanced at him from the corner of her eye.

“I need a bath.” She didn’t answer his comment. “Could you get someone to help me with that?”

His body tightened. He could see her, stretched out in the big tub in the bathroom, dressed in nothing but steam and heated water. His cock jerked in reflex.


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