Her entire body ached for this. She’d known for a while that her feelings for him went well past friendship, but she’d been too afraid to admit it out loud.

This weekend had proved to her that he viewed her as an equal. They might be physically different, but that didn’t matter. He valued her in every way that mattered and she couldn’t get enough of him. She wanted to be his forever.

One hand tightened on her as one moved away. She heard the door swing open behind them, but he didn’t take his gaze off her. He was breathing hard as he stared down at her. “I’m playing for keeps, Essie. I want you for my mate and eventually my bondmate.”

At the word bondmate, she slightly jerked back, but he just tightened his hold. When they mated they’d be linked, much like humans who married. Other supernatural beings would know they were off limits but if they eventually wanted to part ways they could. It would be the equivalent of humans divorcing one another.

That couldn’t happen if they were bonded. It wasn’t as if they could bond tonight anyway. They could only do that under the full moon. His admission honored her, yes, but it still stunned her. “Nikan . . .” She didn’t know how to respond.

“I don’t need you to say anything. I’m just telling you how I feel. I love you, Essie. Have for a while. I want to live with you, have kids with you—”

Her heart swelled at his words and she couldn’t keep her own feelings in any longer. “I love you too.” Reaching up she clasped his face between her hands. “I want to be your mate, I want to feel you inside me tonight and tomorrow and—”

Her words were lost as his mouth crushed over hers. His tongue invaded her mouth, frantic and hungry as his hands grasped her behind, hoisting her up so that she had no choice but to wrap her legs around his waist.

Feeling his erection press against her, she moaned and gripped his shoulders. She was vaguely aware of them moving inside and the front door shutting behind them.

Nikan was walking them somewhere. She didn’t care where as long as it was a flat surface. The wall, floor, a couch, it didn’t matter as long as he was inside her.

For a brief moment she felt as if she was falling. Her eyes snapped open and she pulled back just as her arms collided with something soft. Twisting to the side she realized he’d laid her on a giant pile of blankets in a living room. Right in front of a fireplace.

He stood as she propped up on her elbows, already missing his warmth. “What are you doing?”

His expression was dark, almost feral and she could tell he was struggling with control. “Give me just a second . . .” He turned away and felt along the wall by the fireplace. “I had Connor call the caretaker and make sure this place was set up for us.” He flipped a switch and a fire flared to life in the stone fireplace.

She blinked, trying to figure out how he’d done it when she realized it was gas and the log set and fire must be fake. The heat was real though. But she didn’t care about any of that. She only cared about the very sexy man staring at her as if she was the most precious thing in the world.

When he crouched down on his knees in front of her she didn’t make a move toward him. First she wanted to see what she’d been fantasizing about for too long. She’d seen him naked in that house but it hadn’t been the time or the place to stare. “Take off your sweater,” she ordered.

His eyebrows raised. “That sounds like a demand.”

“It is.”

Nikan’s lips quirked up at the corners. He grasped the hem of his sweater and tugged upward until she got the perfect view of his chest. A few scars nicked the sharp planes of all those muscles. They only added to his raw sexiness. She wanted to run her fingers then mouth over every single one. Mesmerized, she raked her gaze over his bronze skin, drinking in her fill while the firelight flickered around him. She might have seen his chest in the hotel room too, but now she wanted everything.

“Now the pants,” she whispered.

His long fingers played with the button of his dark, well-worn jeans until he finally slid it out of the hole. She let out a breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding. But then he suddenly stopped.

“What are you doing?” she demanded, needing to see all of him.

Grinning, he reached for her. Sliding one of her pant legs up, he unzipped her boot and slid it off. “If I get naked, I’m going to be on you then in you. Let me give you some foreplay, woman,” he softly growled.

“I guess I can deal with that.” She couldn’t bite back her smile.

His gaze flicked to hers again. “I love it when you get feisty.”


He slid her other boot off then quickly followed with her thin socks. “Really. I like that you don’t hold back, that you’re not afraid to be yourself with me.”

How did he say exactly the right thing? Only she knew he wasn’t paying her lip service. He was being completely serious. Something she loved about him. He only said what he meant. No bullshit from Nikan Lawless. Something she should have realized earlier. He wouldn’t have said he wanted to mate with her without being absolutely sure.

As he started unbuttoning her pants and sliding them down her legs she reached for the tie on her wraparound sweater and pulled the bow free. Her top fell open, revealing the lacy purple bra she’d worn for Nikan. It was purely for show. Tiny crystals meant to look like diamonds dotted around the demi-cups, drawing the eye directly to the rounded curves of her breasts.

His hands froze at her knees as he stared at her. His gaze cut a scorching path down her stomach to the matching lace thong. He wouldn’t know the skimpy cut until she turned over, but the front was a sheer, tiny triangle, leaving very little to the imagination. Watching him watch her so intently made a slow burning heat build inside her.

“Do you wear sexy stuff like this all the time?” he rasped out, hunger in his voice and in his dark eyes.

She couldn’t help it. She laughed at his very male question. The sound seemed to jerk him out of his daze.

He looked back at her face, his expression apologetic. “Sorry. I just meant . . . you look beautiful.”

Just like that he was back in action, tugging her pants the rest of the way off. While he moved she did the same, slipping her sweater off. She’d never felt so exposed before, but she’d also never felt so wanted.

The way he devoured her with his eyes, without him saying a word, she could clearly see how much he not only desired her but how much he treasured her.

Now that she was almost completely bared to him she didn’t know what to do with her hands. Nerves hummed through her with a vengeance. She sat up fully and started to cover herself but he clasped her wrists and pushed her flat on her back. Stretching out on top of her, he covered her body with his, loosely holding her wrists above her head.

“You don’t get to cover yourself around me anymore, Essie. You’re mine.” He nipped her jaw, raking his teeth along her skin.

His words set off an explosion inside her. Arching her back, she rubbed her covered breasts against his chest. They felt swollen, the tips aching for his touch.

Still holding her wrists with one hand, Nikan reached between their bodies and cupped one of her breasts. “Mine,” he murmured against her mouth as he gently squeezed.

Pulling one of her hands free she reached between them and grasped his cock over his jeans. “Mine.”

“Hell yeah it’s yours, sweetheart.” He playfully tugged her bottom lip between his teeth. Letting her other wrist go, he moved lower until his face was right over her breasts.

He stared for a long moment, his breathing unsteady, until finally he unsnapped the front clasp of her bra. As it fell apart to completely expose her she had to resist the urge to cover up.

Any insecurities she had died at the look on his face. He let out a low, primal growl before sucking one of her nipples into his mouth. She gasped at the warmth surrounding her aching flesh, feeling the erotic tug all the way to her toes. Spreading her legs wider, she wrapped them around him, rubbing herself against his covered erection as he teased her sensitive flesh.

Each time he stroked one of her nipples with his tongue, he followed up by softly blowing on it. The hot air on her wet flesh made her shudder and arch into him each time.

She was already so wet she knew that once he finally got inside her it wouldn’t take long for her to come. Her inner walls clenched with the need to feel him. A raw urgency hummed through her as she imagined what it would feel like to come around his fingers again.

As if he read her thoughts, he reached down and cupped her through her skimpy covering. Using the same skilled movements he had at that club, he shoved the material to the side and slid one, then two fingers inside her. He began stroking in and out of her, slow and steady and not fast enough for her to reach climax.

Writhing against him, she rolled her hips, trying to make him move faster, to find that same rhythm he’d made her climax with before.

He just laughed softly against her breast. The sensation made her shiver. He knows exactly how much he’s teasing me.

Continuing to slowly push inside her then withdraw with an equally frustrating rhythm, he moved away from her breasts, kissing and nipping a path down her belly until he was crouched directly between her legs.

Though her instinct was to tense up under such intense scrutiny, she let her thighs fall farther apart and watched him. Every part of her being trusted this man. He was just as entranced as she was, staring at his fingers moving in and out of her.

“I’ve fantasized about this from the moment I saw you.” The low-spoken words seemed to be torn from him.

She looked up to meet his gaze which had turned molten hot. His dark eyes seemed to practically glow with need. She opened her mouth to respond but no words came out because in the next instant his mouth was fully on her exposed sex.

Her hips rolled up to meet his face as pleasure swamped her senses. She heard a slight tearing sound and it registered that he’d ripped her thong off. She didn’t mind.

As his tongue delved inside her she grasped his head with her hands. Threading her fingers through his thick hair, she didn’t bite back her moans. With each long stroke he ended on her clit, circling and putting just the right amount of pressure on the sensitive area that she kept jolting off of the soft blankets.