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She must have finally sensed the threat in him as he stood before her near the bed. She retreated a couple of steps, only until the backs of her thighs hit the mattress and she dropped down onto its edge. She swallowed hard as she looked up at him, her alabaster face and wide blue eyes gilded in the amber glow of his transformed irises.


“You’re afraid,” Nathan said, the statement rolling out of him like a growl.


She gave a small shake of her head, her long, loose platinum hair tumbling around her like a bridal veil. “Not afraid,” she murmured, her voice somehow more steady than his. “You don’t frighten me, Nathan.”


He grunted, incapable of speech as heat spiked into his bloodstream. Jordana’s lavender robe had fallen open, revealing the flimsy excuse for clothing underneath. Her spaghetti-strap tank did nothing to conceal the buoyant shape of her breasts, nor could it hide her nipples, which stood erect and far too tempting under the pale silk. Her loose-fitting shorts were nothing but a whisper of fabric that covered her hips and the tops of her thighs.


Jordana’s legs were naked and seemed to go on forever. Nathan followed the line of them with his gaze, drinking in every flawless inch.


He could hear her breath racing now. He watched the rapid rise and fall of her chest and the frantic ticking of her heartbeat at the pulse point in the hollow above her sternum.


His own lungs were soughing hard, air rasping past his teeth and elongated fangs. “I only know one way to do this, and that’s me in control,” he said, feeble apology or warning, he wasn’t sure. “Do you trust me, Jordana?”


“Yes.” No hesitation. No waver in her voice or her beautiful, brave eyes.


Nathan swore, low under his breath. He moved closer to the bed, trying to resist the urge to pounce on her. He took off his weapons belt and let the blades and other lethal tools of his profession fall to the floor beside him.


It was all he dared remove for now.


Jordana might truly trust him, but that was more than he was willing to say for himself. He needed to keep a steady hand on the reins; he owed that to her for her trust in him. His focus would be entirely on her.


Nathan moved between her legs, urging them to part wider, and wider still. He drew forward, until the heavy bulge of his erection was brushing against the damp center of her sex.


She gazed up at him, as fearless as a goddess, as pure as an angel. By contrast, standing in front of her now, he felt dirty and unfit. As profane as a demon come to pray in the center of a cathedral.


For the first time in his life, Nathan realized he felt afraid—afraid that he would hurt her, disappoint her. That she would suddenly realize how unsuited he was for the gift of her body, of her passion.


Most especially, for the gift of her trust.


He reached out to move a thick wave of blond hair from where it had fallen into her face. It sifted through his fingers, sleek and shiny as pale, liquid gold.


“Everything about you is so soft,” he murmured, winding the thick, gleaming lock around his hand. “Soft but strong.”


He released the errant tendril and hooked it behind her ear, exercising a care he never imagined he possessed. “Tonight, I need to see that you’re okay at all times. I don’t want you to hide your reactions from me, no matter how small. I need to know if I’m pushing you too far. Do you understand?”


She nodded.


“No,” Nathan said. “I need you to say it out loud. I need you to be clear, Jordana. I don’t want to guess at anything. Not this time.”


She nodded again, then surprised him with a smile. “I understand, Nathan.”


“Good,” he murmured, then he reached down to touch her breasts, rubbing his thumb over one lovely nipple, then the other. “I shouldn’t be your first. Then again, I don’t think I’ve got honor enough to stand aside and let you give yourself to anyone else. Not now.”


“I want this,” she whispered resolutely. “I want you.”


She reached for him as she said it, her hands nearly taking hold of his face before he had the chance to elude them.


A cold panic seized him and he reared back, catching her in a firm grasp.


Her wrist tendons tightened. She gave a small flex of her hands, testing his hold.


He didn’t relent, not so much as a fraction. Uncertainty flashed in her eyes.


“Last night, in the elevator,” he said, trying to keep the hard edge from his voice. “I told you that when we did this, it would be on my terms.”


He could see the question in her eyes now. Apprehension washed over her face, flattening her lips and making her already racing heartbeat drum even harder as he held her, unyielding.


“My terms, Jordana.”


“Yes.”


She relaxed at once. Her hands lay in his grasp easily, her fine muscles loosening, surrendering to him.


He sucked in air, let it out on an approving growl.


Guiding her down onto the bed on her back, he pushed her arms up alongside her head. “Don’t move. I want to look at you.”


He drew back slowly, and simply gazed upon her.


And Jordana didn’t move. She lay there, spread out before him like an offering. Her bare inner thighs were open, warm against the outsides of his legs. Her heat was intense, permeating his combat fatigues and scorching the taut muscles of his thighs.


Need coiled even hotter in him, dangerously close to breaking.


God help him, he wasn’t used to taking things slowly. He wasn’t sure he could now either. She was so beautiful, so arousing.


Everything male in him was hammering hard with the need to take.


To possess.


To vanquish.


He bent over her and drew her robe off her shoulders, letting his palm rasp over the top of her little silk tank. The pebbled points of her nipples teased the underside of his hand as he caressed her breasts. He almost hated to leave them as he skated his touch lower, over the flat plane of her abdomen.


He could feel her strength in every flex and contraction of her stomach as she breathed, sighed, gasped under his fingers. He lifted the hem of her pajama top so he could touch her without the barrier of clothing and feed his craving for her nakedness.


He knew her skin would be as flawless as the rest of her, and it was—as fair and smooth as cream. Her breasts, which felt so incredible under the silk, were perfection unclothed. Round and firm, tipped with rosy little areolas the same shade as her kiss-bruised lips.


Nathan’s gums throbbed in time with his cock, all of his senses fevered with the need to feast on her. He lowered his face to her belly and licked a slow trail along her skin, up the center of her rib cage, before venturing off to the side to capture one of her nipples in his mouth.


He suckled, groaning with the sweetness of her, the purity of her—something he’d never known.


Greedily, he moved on to her other breast, his hand following the path his lips had just blazed. Jordana trembled under his touch, against his tongue. Her fluttering pulse rang in his ears and sent hot need surging into his already granite-hard cock.


As he played the tight bud of her nipple between his teeth, her breath caught. Her hips lifted off the mattress in wordless plea for contact.


Nathan let his hand drift down her body then and beneath the loose waistband of her silk shorts. She moaned as he cupped her sex. She was wet and scorching against his fingers, her juices like liquid velvet. Her petals bloomed even more as he stroked her. Her folds swelled, slickened with each stroke of his fingertips.


The feel of her softness was driving him quickly to the brink. His skin felt tight and overheated, his erection straining so heavy and hard within his clothing, he could barely think straight.


But as demanding as his desire for her was, some distant shred of sanity punched at him with the reminder that she was untried.


As tempting as he found her, she was not at all prepared for the depth of his hungers.


She writhed and moaned with need, but she wouldn’t be truly ready to receive him until she was on the other side of that raw ache.


With a restraint nothing short of Herculean, Nathan drew back from her luscious body, slowly peeling off her pajama shorts as he went. Next, he removed her robe and tank, baring her completely for his fevered gaze.


A curse leaked out of him, as coarse and dry as gravel. “Ah, Christ … you’re so lovely, Jordana.”


Lame praise, hardly worthy of her. But it was sincere. One look at him—at his blazing irises, sharp fangs, and very obvious approval of his cock—would be enough to tell her how the sight of her affected him.


He drank her in from head to toe, a long, unhurried appraisal. Her face was flushed and dewy, her eyelids drooping over the dusky, darkened blue of her eyes.


He could practically see the blood coursing through her veins. He could hear it, every heavy throb of her pulse, the rush of red cells flowing like a thousand rivers under the milky white perfection of her skin.


His vision sharpened even more, and he knew that by now his pupils must be all but nonexistent, winnowed down to the thinnest, catlike slits in the ember-bright furnaces of his irises. His glyphs pulsed across his body, churning and alive with the intensity of everything he was feeling and seeing. All the carnal things he wanted to do with this woman.


His woman, an eager voice promised him from the lowest depths of his consciousness.


He dragged his searing gaze down to the pale blond curls on her mound and the long legs he couldn’t wait to feel wrapped around him as he rode her, buried to the hilt in her wet heat.


The scent of her arousal wreathed him as he moved in closer, unable to resist the temptation of her any longer.


He put his palms on the tender insides of her thighs, exposing her further to him. “Your sex is so pretty, Jordana. So juicy and red and inviting.”


He stroked her, groaning in approval at the way she flushed a deeper shade for him, her wetness coating his fingers like honey. She squirmed as he caressed her, a soft cry curling up from her throat.


“I’ve never seen anything so beautiful,” he told her, his voice deepening, sounding too thick for the presence of his fangs and far less human than he cared to admit. “Your petals are so swollen and ripe. And your clit … I’ve never craved anything more, Jordana. It’s as dark and glossy as a cherry, just begging to be eaten.”


He moved down and sank onto his knees between her legs. The instant his mouth touched her, she sucked in a sharp gasp, arching high off the bed. “Oh, God,” she sighed. “Nathan …”


He breathed her in as he suckled her, murmuring against her flesh how delicious she was. He slid his tongue through her cleft, growling as her intoxicating nectar hit the back of his parched throat.


One taste wasn’t nearly enough. He delved deeper, lapping at her tight opening before licking upward, toward the pert, cherry-dark knot nestled between her folds.


Jordana bucked now, squirming under his mouth. He stoked her even higher, lavishing her with his whole mouth as he teased her with his fingers.


Suckling her clitoris with ruthless demand, he eased one finger inside her. “Holy hell,” he muttered roughly, lost to the silken grip of her channel as he worked his digit in and out of her in a tempo he couldn’t wait to find with his cock.


Jordana panted and gasped. Her sex clenched at him greedily as he drew her clit deeper into his mouth, sweeping his tongue over her in the same urgent rhythm of his fingers.


She moaned, pushing her hips against him as a tremor wracked her in a head-to-toe shudder. A pleasured scream started to boil out of her, but she stifled it, her head thrashing back and forth on the bed.


She tried to rise up, tried to reach for him again.


Nathan growled and put his hand on her belly to press her back down.


“Let it go,” he ordered her. And he kept his mouth fixed on her trembling flesh, merciless in his command of her body. “Let me hear you, Jordana. Don’t hide anything from me. That was our agreement.”


She whimpered and writhed as he coaxed her toward a higher peak now.


And when she came, it was on a powerful roar, unbridled and raw. The sexiest sound he’d ever heard. She climaxed immediately again, grinding against his face in unabashed pleasure, his name tearing out of her throat like a curse and a prayer.


16


HER EVERY NERVE ENDING WAS CHARGED AND THRUMMING WITH a current unlike anything she’d ever experienced. Her skin felt seared, her limbs trembling, boneless.


Deep inside, the very core of her being had gone molten, all of her thought and logic—every last inhibition and fear—obliterated by the shattering intensity of her release.


And Nathan’s scorching gaze promised even more.


Breath racing short and shallow, Jordana lay back on the bed and watched, mesmerized, as he began to strip out of his combat boots and clothing in an economy of movement. Just the sight of his muscles bunching and flexing as he tore off his black patrol shirt and bared his arms and chest to her made more wet heat surge between her legs.


Dermaglyphs tracked all over his light olive-hued chest and shoulders, then lower, along the ridged planes of his abdomen and down below the waistband of his black fatigues. There could be no mistaking he was Gen One Breed. Jordana had seen precious few glyphs on other males, but nothing compared to the complicated pattern of interlocking swirls and elegant flourishes of Nathan’s otherworldly skin markings.


Nothing so erotic as the way his glyphs followed the contours of his body as she yearned to do with her fingers … and her tongue.


Her mouth went dry on the thought and she swallowed the urge, her full attention now caught on his hands as he unfastened his dark fatigues. The black fabric slumped loosely on his tight hips. And not so loosely on the massive bulge straining at the front.


She licked her parched lips, her lungs gone still as he let his pants drop and stepped out of them.


The glyphs that had her so fascinated with his chest and arms now dragged her gaze farther south, where their pattern continued into the dark thatch at his groin and onto the thick, jutting length of his penis. His muscular thighs were wrapped in glyphs too, and all of the swirling, arcing patterns that covered him were alive with deep shades of indigo, wine, and gold—the Breed colors of fierce desire.

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