It was obvious she’d never learned to hide her emotions well. In a way it was nice that he didn’t have to wonder what she was feeling, but at the same time he hated that she hadn’t had someone looking out for her. Regardless of rank, pack is supposed to look after pack. Something she should have had growing up.

Her breathing was shallow and the lust she emanated was almost pure. But it comingled with something else, not fear exactly but…nervousness.

That was the last thing he ever wanted her to feel because of him. He braced his hands on the counter next to her and met her gaze. Keeping his eyes upward when all he wanted to do was drink in the sight of her breasts was damn hard. “You know what you smell like?” His question was a bare whisper.

Her blue eyes flared brighter for an instant, but then he could see her almost withdrawing into herself. Wariness crept over her features as if she didn’t trust why he was asking her. “What?”

“Raspberries and champagne.” He’d thought it from the first moment he’d met her. Fresh and sweet. “I want nothing more than to get drunk on you.”

She blinked once. “Uh…oh.”

He bit back a smile at the surprise in her voice and on her face. When he’d started testing the waters during their emails with flirting, he’d known he had his work cut out for him when she didn’t return his banter, but cut him off instead. Her inexperience was refreshing but he knew once they made it to the bedroom, they’d have fun together. Alaric leaned a little closer until he could feel her feather-soft breath brushing over his lips. “What about me?” he murmured.

She paused so long he wasn’t sure she’d answer but finally she spoke, her voice a husky whisper. “You remind me of the forest, earthy and spicy and very male.”

He smiled at her description. Closing the rest of the short distance between them, he swiped his tongue across the seam of her inviting lips, coaxing them open.

She quickly acquiesced, emitting a sigh of pure unadulterated pleasure as she let his tongue invade her mouth. While she might not have much experience, she gave as good as she got. As she explored his mouth, her hand slid up from his nape. She threaded her fingers through his hair and gripped him in a way he could only describe as proprietary. His inner wolf liked it. Even if her heart and head hadn’t made up their mind about him, her inner wolf certainly had and it trusted and wanted him.

Slowly, he blazed a trail of kisses along her jaw, nipping and kissing and licking her soft skin. With each swipe of his tongue or teeth, she shuddered and held him even tighter.

Somehow he’d kept his hands firmly planted on the counter beside her but he needed more touch, more contact. He pulled his head back from where he’d been kissing the sensitive spot below her ear. As if drawn by a magnet, his gaze tracked down to her breasts.

Her brown nipples tightened and peaked under his appraisal. She sucked in a deep, shuddering breath, but he could tell she was about to say something. He thought about taking her mouth again but simply couldn’t wait to taste more of her. When his head descended over her breast, she moaned out his name and both her hands grasped his head and held tight. Needing that contact, he reveled in the feel of her holding him as he tweaked and teased the hard bud between his teeth.

* * *

Felicia couldn’t believe the way Alaric was touching and kissing her. The two strong hands that had taken off her sweater then grasped the counter next to her in barely concealed restraint now held firm against her waist as he flicked his tongue over one of her nipples. He held her as if he was afraid she’d take off. Not likely considering the way she was feeling. The way he was making her feel.

The erotic teasing of his tongue brought another rush of heat between her legs. She couldn’t believe this sexy-as-sin alpha wolf wanted her. For the first time in ages she decided to stop being such a coward and enjoy herself. When he’d taken her sweater off, she hadn’t even paused to think if she should let him. The action had somehow felt natural, even if she was nervous about being so vulnerable and exposed in front of him. It was obvious he didn’t plan to punish her for leaving her old pack—and if this was his brand of punishment she’d gladly take it.

From the way he looked at her to the way he was currently teasing her body, it was obvious he wanted her as much as she wanted him. This was all about pleasure. For a wolf so old she thought he’d be better at keeping his lust at bay but he was letting everything out. She could scent his desire—it was so strong—and that turned her on even more. That someone like her could bring out such a reaction in him was a heady realization.

She might be inexperienced with the opposite sex but she obviously had something he liked and she planned to use that to her full advantage right now. When he switched breasts, she arched her back, giving him better access.

Lightly, he rubbed his tongue over her beaded nipple, then followed with his teeth. Just a gentle scraping that had her clutching him harder. Her skin felt too tight for her body, as if she could crawl right out of it to feel some sort of release.

She needed more but she wasn’t exactly sure what that more was. It was as if there was an invisible string that linked her aching breasts to the juncture between her thighs and Alaric was tugging on it, bringing her right to the brink of release with each kiss. Right now the need for relief had her entire body heated to the point of combusting.

When one of Alaric’s hands trailed down her stomach and played with the button of her pants, she tensed for all of a second before embracing what he was making her feel. Maybe it was exhaustion from traveling for thirty-six hours straight or maybe she just wanted to let go and enjoy herself. Whatever it was, she knew she could trust him. At least in this. With her body.

He drew his head back and watched her with those dark, dangerous eyes, as if asking for permission. Unable to find her voice, she simply smiled what she hoped was an invitation for him to continue.

He didn’t make an attempt to strip her clothes completely off, and for that she was grateful. The thought of being totally bared to him, especially under the light of the kitchen was a little intimidating. Maybe he sensed that.

When he freed her pants and dipped his hand down to cup her mound she nearly came undone. Lightly—oh so lightly—he rubbed his middle finger over her pulsing clit. The bundle of nerves had never been so sensitive in her life.

She jerked against his hand and he increased his pressure. At the same time his mouth found hers again. His tongue played erotically against her own, matching the sweet tempo of his stroking finger. Soft and sweet, but she needed more. So much more.

Feeling uninhibited, she began grinding against his hand and body. Her primal side wanted to take over and it wanted release in the best possible way. For a brief moment she wondered if she should feel embarrassed by the way she was rubbing her breasts against his very muscular chest, but when he growled roughly into her mouth she let go of those thoughts.

As he rubbed her clit in a steady, rhythmic pattern, he began to trail kisses away from her mouth to the curve of her neck. He raked his teeth under the sensitive area below her earlobe just like he’d done earlier, but this time he practically purred in her ear. That sound made her absolutely crazy with need.

“Come for me.” A demand.

Maybe she should have been startled by what he said but those three words lit her on fire. Holding his shoulders, she did exactly as he commanded because he’d perfectly primed her body for this moment.

She could barely catch her breath as the climax hit her with a sudden, unexpected intensity. He hadn’t even penetrated her, just kept stroking her sensitive bundle of nerves with his finger in a steady rhythm. He seemed to know her body better than she knew it herself and that scared her.

As the orgasm rocked through her he pulled his head back from her neck and met her gaze. She desperately wanted to look away. Everything about this moment was so intimate. Too intimate.

But she couldn’t tear herself away from those espresso-colored eyes. The dark depths of them seemed to suck her in and hold her tight.

Her lips parted slightly as pleasure continued to flow through her veins in a rush of heat and raw need. She might not have much experience with the opposite sex but she had no doubt that Alaric definitely knew what he was doing.

If he could bring her such pleasure so quickly, she could only imagine what he could do if they were completely naked. As the wave of her orgasm crested and fell, she finally shut her eyes and let her head fall back.

A sudden thought hit her with surprising clarity. She had no control where this shifter was concerned, but it was hard to care when he made her feel this good. Tingles raced up and down her spine and to all her nerve endings. After what felt like an eternity she opened her eyes to find Alaric still staring at her.

His hand continued to cup her mound in that totally intimate way, but his finger had stopped moving. And he looked positively satisfied with himself. All male arrogance and it was completely justified. A small smile tugged at the corners of his mouth.

“You look beautiful when you come,” he rasped out.

She blinked at the unexpected compliment. No one had ever called her beautiful before and it took her off guard. Instead of responding she bit her bottom lip. She wasn’t sure if there was a response to that kind of statement.

Thankfully he didn’t seem to expect anything. Leaning forward, he lightly tugged her bottom lip between his teeth before gently kissing her.

A new hunger swelled through her—the kind that made her want to strip off her clothes and then his. Her hands slightly shook with the unfamiliar urgency humming through her. She actually ached to feel his hands stroking over her entire body, and more than anything she wanted to do the same to him. To feel and kiss every dip and contour of his muscular body. He made her forget how tired she was. Who needed sleep? She wanted more of Alaric. Something primitive and needy inside her flared to life and she briefly wondered if this was the mating call she’d heard whispered about growing up. Just as quickly she dismissed that thought because it was impossible.

Jerking her out of her thoughts, Alaric pulled back as she started to slide her hands down his chest and stomach. When he picked up her sweater and handed it to her, she stared at him in confusion.