I lay back, letting out a low groan. I had been without the opal for just a few hours, but I was already feeling the effects like a damn addict. And that’s what the Arum had become. An addict bred over centuries of feeding off Luxen.
I was restless, skin itchy and my throat was parched. My dick was hard, too, but that had more to do with the curvy body beside me than the lack of opal.
I was still mind-blown by the fact Serena had asked me to take my true form to heal after seeing our kind at our worst. I wanted to say that it was shock that had propelled me to do something so stupid like taking my true form without the opal. Doing so required energy, and energy required that I feed.
But I had done it like a jackass, not because I was surprised by her request, but because Serena had asked me to do it, and I had wanted to please her.
Fucking please her.
And I really wanted to please her into oblivion.
The smart thing would’ve been to go straight for the opal, but I should be able to maintain for a couple of hours. I’d need to feed, though, no matter what. To see this shit through I had to be at top power.
See this shit through exactly how?
Another good question, I thought, grimacing. Man, I really didn’t think this shit through.
Shutting down took longer than normal. I slept.
For how long, I really didn’t know, but when I woke up, I was in the same position as I’d been the night prior.
My body curved against hers and my arm around her waist.
In her sleep, Serena wiggled her bottom as she got comfortable against me, making my veins run hot.
Opening my eyes into thin slits, I glanced over my shoulder. Thin streaks of bright sunlight slipped through the gap in the curtains. We’d have to get up soon and get on the road. There were at least five more hours to get where we needed to go.
I was harder than I was a minute ago.
I inhaled and all I got was Serena’s scent. It should’ve suffocated me, but it didn’t. It ended up having the opposite effect, relaxing me. It struck me then that I could’ve lost Serena in the woods.
A cold ache drilled a hole the size of my fists through my stomach. Her life was not safe now, not with me and not without me, which brought along a deep sense of helplessness—a feeling I wasn’t accustomed to.
That pissed me off. Anger racked my insides until she made a soft, mewling sound in her sleep.
I closed my eyes and counted to ten. PULL IT together. When I reopened my eyes, I focused on the flare of her hip. Serena was alive. She was strong —stronger than she probably even realized.
Most humans wouldn’t have lasted as long as she had against one of my kind.
And she survived an attack from a Luxen, but… But I was catching motherfucking feelings for her.
Feelings were not something the Arum inherently had. Dex had, but that Arum had taken a sharp turn into offhisfuckingrockerville.
I was right behind him.
In her sleep, she shifted until her back was against my chest. I froze when her ass pressed more firmly against my groin. I wasn’t going to be falling back to sleep anytime soon.
Pushing further up, I peered down at her. She felt so small against me, and that brought out another strange feeling.
One that made me want to stash her away where no one could touch or look at her. Sounded like a really messed-up protective vibe.
I ran my thumb over her smooth cheek, tracing the fine bone. My touch was featherlight, but she stirred sleepily, pressing that rump back once more.
Lust pricked my skin and my gut wrenched. I moved my fingertips down her throat, over her shoulder. I liked that she was in my shirt again.
A small sigh escaped her, and she rolled onto her back, looking up at me with those wide brown eyes. I couldn’t gain crap from her expression, but I knew she had to have felt my hardness pressing against her. When she didn’t launch from the bed like a projectile, my curiosity knew no limits.
Slowly, I moved my hand to the neckline of the borrowed shirt, my palm pressing against the swell of her breasts. A familiar flush had crept across her cheeks. I wondered just how much more of her body flushed like that.
Serena placed her hand on my side, moving it toward my back, kneading the cords of bunched muscles. The sensation of her touch rippled through me, shocking the hell out of me.
Lust blasted, making my head swim.
Enough with the thinking about this—I was a creature of action not thought. I needed to touch more of her and I needed it now. I dropped my hand to her hip and tugged her down below the mound of pillows. Then I rose above her, using one arm to support my weight. My erection fit against her core, like it was made to, and when I moved against her like I had the night I’d tasted her, she gasped my name.
Hell to the yeah.
I rocked my hips again, loving the way her lips parted.
“We probably shouldn’t be doing this.”
“I know.” But her body betrayed her words as her hips tipped up.
My next words came out as a low, harsh growl. “I can promise you that sex with me won’t be about long, soft pets or whispered words. I like it rough and raw, but your pleasure will always come first. Every single time.”
Her heavy, hooded eyes drifted shut. Thick lashes framed her cheeks. “Every single time?”
“Every. Single. Time.”
Each word I punctuated with a thrust of my hips, making me bite back a growl.
“That’s a pretty bold statement,” she whispered, spreading her thighs, cradling mine.
“Not a statement.” I lowered my head, moving my lips across the cheek I’d caressed moments before. “But a promise.”
My remaining hand slid up the flare of her hip, up her stomach. I stopped just below her breasts, my thumb brushing over the swell. Her sharp intake of breath reverberated in my skull.
Her breath caught as my kisses reached the corner of her mouth. She turned her head slightly. Our lips brushed, and I pulled back suddenly, remembering that she was injured.
“Are you feeling up to this?” I asked, and then wondered where in the fuck the decency just came from.
Her fingers curled against my shoulders. “I feel fine.”
I lowered my head to the space between her neck and shoulder. Grabbing her hips, I nuzzled her neck, realizing that I never smelled anything better than her. I let my hand stray higher, nearly reaching the peak of her breast.
She didn’t tell me to stop, didn’t say anything or move. Just waited…waited to see what I’d do. Then she grabbed my wrists but didn’t pull my hands away.
She just held them. There was hesitancy in her eyes, but her breathing picked up, bringing her breast into contact with my hand more fully.
I growled low in my throat, and her back arched clear off the mattress, pressing her breast into my grasp. I answered, smoothing my thumb over the taut pebble straining against the shirt.
My eyes remained latched to hers as I teased her nipple through the clothing. She moved her other hand down my chest, and my stomach muscles tightened. I had to see her breasts again, touch them, taste them. I slipped my hand under her shirt. Silky smooth skin concaved softly as I pushed the fabric up, exposing her stomach and then slowly pulled the shirt off. Anyone else I would’ve ripped the shirt off, but with her…not with her. Not now, most likely later, though.
Yeah, who the fuck was I kidding? There’d be a later.
Her breasts were gorgeous.
Round and perfect, and even more beautiful in my hand. She made a soft sound as my fingers skimmed over the peak of her breast. My mouth watered as I lowered my head, flicking my tongue over one pert nipple.
She moaned as both of her hands now clutched my sides. “Hunter…”
“Mmm?” I pressed down, moving my hand to her other breast. My tongue swirled over the nipple. “Do you want me to stop?”
Her head went back as her breath came out in short gasps. “This…this wasn’t what I had in mind when I said you could sleep here.”
I drew the rosy peak into my mouth as I caught her other nipple between my thumb and forefinger. Her skin tasted like the sweetest drug, and her cry was like a siren’s song. “It wasn’t?”
“Okay. Maybe it was.”
Before I could feel smug about that, her lower body started moving in tiny circles and, good God, I was so hard that I could feel my pulse against the leather of my pants. I gnashed my teeth together, holding still as she came alive under me.
… Desire swirled inside me, leaving me feeling out of control and dazed. Tendrils of fear curled under the raw heat, though. Even as my body arched into his, ached for him, I knew Hunter was like no other man.
He could lose control, and then I was going to be in big, big trouble.
But staring into his face, I saw Hunter. I didn’t see a predator or a threat. I saw him, only him. Sliding my hands down his chest, I felt Hunter. Under this wonderful skin of his, something totally different existed. I knew that, but I trusted him with my life and my body. That was what mattered.
And when his mouth tugged on my breast and his tongue rasped my nipple, I stopped thinking.
It was all about feeling and the raw, exquisite sensations shooting down to my sex, warming and dampening me. All I knew was that I wanted to feel this— really feel this.
My hands slipped over rock-hard abs that dipped and rippled. His skin felt like cool silk. Masculine perfection. My hips rocked against the thick muscle pressed against my core.
God, he was huge. Had to be an alien thing, because damn.
“I want you so badly.”
His voice was thick, smoky; his lips moving against my breast. At this point he could be speaking in pig latin, and I’d find it deeply sensual.
He lowered a hand to my hip, urging me to move, to take what I wanted. When he caught my nipple between his teeth, I cried out again, surrendering to what my body demanded, wantonly rolling my hips against his hardness.
Tension between my legs built quickly, stealing my breath, shocking me. With startling quickness, he slipped his hands under me and lifted me as he rocked back on his haunches.
In his lap— OH SWEET Jesus—I could feel the tip of him straining against me. Somehow his pants had become unbuttoned. I could’ve done that. He could’ve done it. I didn’t know or care. His lips were cool against my neck and the warring heat/coldness tightened me everywhere.
My hands sunk deep into his hair and I tugged his head back, surprised by my aggressiveness.
Lowering my mouth to his, I kissed him deeply, ignoring the flare of pain from my bruised lip. My tongue slipped between his lips and I moaned as I grinded against him.
Suddenly he gripped my wrists, pulling them down and capturing them in one hand. I was on my back and he was above me in a second. From the brief glimpse of his eyes, I saw that they were a brighter blue. Beautiful.
Holding my wrists pinned to my stomach, he moved further down, kissing his way from my chin to my belly button, coming so close to where I wanted him—needed him.
“Spread your legs for me.” When I followed his order, his free hand slid up my thigh, halting mere inches from my core. “I bet you’re ready for me.”
I was. God, I was so ready I was drowning.