Page 17

She desperately wanted to say something, to respond to what he’d just told her. But she couldn’t find the words. When she’d been dying not so long ago, she’d held on to a mental picture of him. Of them, actually. They’d been in the ocean, entangled in each other’s arms and legs, and the outside world hadn’t existed. He’d told her he wasn’t a beach person, but she’d changed his mind when she showed him just how much fun the ocean could be. Her life had been so different then. Complicated, yes, but still so much easier. As much as she wanted to dwell on what Jayce had just said to her, she couldn’t allow herself to. His admission made her think about being tortured and dying and right now she couldn’t go down that road.

Her gaze drifted over his face in a lazy assessment. The deep scars crossing over his left eye were like a warning to anyone who thought they could mess with him. It took a lot to scar shifters—or so Kat had been told. Even though she and Jayce had shared so much with each other, he’d never told her about his scars.

Reaching up, she traced her index finger over one of the long-healed gashes. He shuddered under her touch. Not overtly, but since she was in his lap it was hard to miss. She also didn’t miss his very insistent erection pressing against her hip, but she chose to ignore it. For the moment.

“You never told me how you got these scars.”

One of his hands slid up her leg and rested lightly, mere inches from the hem of his jacket, which barely covered her upper thigh. His fingers tensed slightly as he spoke. “My brother gave them to me.”

She knew a little about his family history but not much. Just that his parents had died centuries ago and his younger brother had been missing for so long that Jayce wasn’t sure whether he was dead or not. “I thought you guys were close before he ran off.”

“We were, but he was angry and I let him take it out on me.” His voice was almost devoid of emotion.

“You let him?” Scarring someone to that extent—someone you loved, no less—seemed excessive even for a male shifter.

Jayce paused so long that Kat wondered if he would even answer, but he finally spoke. “Aldric’s mate had just been killed by a rogue coyote turned feral. She’d been pregnant and weak as a human, unable to defend herself. It was a massacre.” The last word was barely above a whisper.

Kat’s throat tightened with emotion at the pain she heard in his voice. His brother had been suffering, so Jayce had let Aldric hurt him. To the point where he’d allowed him to actually mutilate him, probably almost blind him. If it wasn’t for their ability to heal so quickly, Kat guessed that Jayce would have lost his eye.

She didn’t understand why he was opening up to her or even why he’d followed her out here. Maybe he sensed her vulnerability. Whatever the reason, too many emotions were swirling inside her. It was hard for her to remember the need to keep their relationship on a professional, even footing when he was letting his guard down in a way he never had before. And when his hand was inching up her thigh.

As she looked into gray eyes that made her feel things she didn’t want to feel, that dark scent she’d smelled earlier wrapped around her, stronger than before. She didn’t know what it was but her own lust spiked sharp and fast. Warmth spread through her lower abdomen to the aching between her legs.

Kat told herself to stop him. But God help her, she didn’t want to.

Chapter 7

Jayce growled low in his throat at the rich scent Kat was throwing off. She always smelled like roses, but when she was turned on it was even more potent. He’d only come out here to talk to her. After the hurt look she’d given him in the barn, he hadn’t been able to stay away. Her expression tore at his heart. He didn’t like thinking he’d hurt her, even inadvertently.

Now she wasn’t feeling anything other than desire. He could scent it clearly on her. No pain, no anger, just want. His hand continued inching up her bare, creamy leg. Even if he wanted to stop—and he didn’t—he didn’t think he could get his body to obey him. Kat’s tantalizing scent was like a sweet siren’s song.

Luring him in. Taunting, teasing him. Reminding him of everything he’d once had and couldn’t have again. Maybe temporarily, but not permanently. He couldn’t have a place in her life forever, but for now . . . His hand stopped when her thighs clenched together, caging his hand between them and effectively stopping him inches from his destination.

Her breathing was ragged as she stared at him. There was a silent question in her eyes, one he couldn’t read and didn’t understand. Doing the only thing he hoped would relax her, he covered her mouth with his.

He intended to keep his kisses soft and tame, but the moment their lips touched it was impossible. In a frenzy he hungrily tangled his tongue with hers. The need to take her on the forest floor was damn near overwhelming, but Kat wasn’t ready for that. Hell, he didn’t think he was either. Just the thought of being inside her again after so long pushed at the threads of his control.

Before that happened, he had to taste her. He’d been fantasizing about it for too damn long not to indulge. When she’d left him she’d taken a piece of him with her.

Covering the short distance up her thigh, he cupped her mound with his hand. Soft and wet, she tensed under his touch, so he kept his hand immobile. Just savored the feel of the most delicate part of her body. A place he’d kissed and stroked too many times to count. He still had no clue what had happened to her in that barn or if she’d been raped—something he couldn’t and wouldn’t think about right now—but he knew he needed to go slow.

“You’re so fucking beautiful,” he murmured against her mouth.

As they continued kissing, she gradually relaxed. Her body became pliant and her thighs loosened around his hand, spreading wider and giving him what he wanted. The pressure on his chest eased as she let her guard down with him. Slowly, he rubbed one finger along her wet folds.

Even though he could scent her arousal, to feel the slick proof of it made something primal inside him growl in satisfaction. She was turned on because of him. Not some random male.

She became bolder in her kisses, almost needier as her tongue invaded his mouth. The already strong rose scent she emanated completely surrounded him. When she started to shift positions, he froze and pulled his hand back. He couldn’t risk moving too fast and scaring her.

But she swiveled and straddled him in a fluid movement, making her intentions clear. “Touch me,” she murmured before pressing her lips to his once again.

Gladly. Her wearing only his jacket and nothing else was probably the sexiest thing he’d ever seen. Instead of resuming his stroking of her wet heat, he brought his hands up to her face. Threading his fingers through the mass of her long, dark hair, he cupped the back of her head with one hand. He slid his other hand under the jacket until he grasped her behind.

Her muscles clenched for a moment, but then she thrust forward until her pelvis ground against his. His entire body tensed at the feel of her long, lean body on top of him. His cock pressed painfully against his zipper, begging to be unleashed. He might have jeans on but she had no such barrier and every part of him was aware that all he had to do was free himself and he would be inside her tight sheath in seconds.

Moaning into their kisses, she began slowly riding him. More than anything, he wanted to tear away the barriers of their clothing, but he didn’t want to risk separating from her. For all he knew, she was lost in the moment, and he couldn’t bear to tear her out of it. All her body language said that she trusted herself with him and he had to show her that she could trust him. Implicitly. Some primal part of him craved it with frightening intensity.

Despite his clothing, the heat from between her legs was enough to scorch him. Unable to stop himself, he reached for the front of his jacket and drew it apart. The instant he palmed one of her breasts she arched into him. And that sweet scent of hers grew even stronger.

He’d been with her enough times to know it wouldn’t take much for her to climax. She was stimulating her clit each time she moved over his cock. That was something she used to do back when they’d first been together. Back before they’d actually had sex. In the beginning of their relationship when he hadn’t trusted himself with her.

As a human she’d been physically weaker, and her mere presence had gotten him hotter than any naked woman ever had. So they’d fooled around a lot. She’d been so sexual yet oddly innocent as they’d explored each other’s bodies. By the time he’d finally gotten inside her, it had been fucking heaven. When he eventually died, he was pretty sure heaven wasn’t somewhere he was headed—if heaven even existed at all. But with Kat, it was like he’d gotten a taste of it.

It was like . . . coming home.

That thought had struck him then, and it hit him even harder now. But he ignored it. Some primal part of him desperately needed her to climax. He hadn’t been able to save her before, but he could give her pleasure. Hopefully enough to make her forget her pain.

Tweaking her nipple between his thumb and forefinger, he pulled, but not too gently. The instant he did, she tore her mouth away from his and moaned. Still writhing over him, she blazed a trail of hot kisses down his jaw and neck until she nipped his shoulder through his shirt.

His cock jerked at the hungry action and he continued teasing her breast. With his extrasensory abilities he could hear her heart rate increasing. Each time she moved over him and each time he teased and rubbed one of her nipples, her heart rate ratcheted up in tune with her erratic breathing.

The sounds were like an erotic symphony, pounding out until finally she threw her head back and moaned his name. He grabbed her hips as she rode against him through her climax. Though he wanted to stroke her with his hands, to push his fingers deep inside her as her orgasm pulsed through her, he held back. If she’d been sexually assaulted, he was afraid he might trigger a memory. He couldn’t handle seeing pain on her face.

The sweet scent of her pleasure intoxicated him as much as the sounds she made. His hands itched to tug his zipper down, free himself, and plunge deep into her. Feel her tight walls clenching around him, milking him. His beast clawed to the surface, the most primitive part of him wanting out. He wanted to take her hard and fast and make up for months of celibacy. His body practically demanded it.