“What are you doing?” Disappointment surged through her.

“You need to get dressed.” His breathing was harsh and uneven.

Clutching the sweater to her chest, she frowned at his darkening expression. She knew he wanted her. The sharp scent of his lust permeated the air, wrapping around both of them in a hot, almost physical embrace. “Why?”

“Because I want to take you on this counter hard and fast and you deserve better than that.” His words were a soft growl.

They could go to the bedroom if he was concerned about the counter. “I don’t care—”

“You’ve been traveling for days and I want you clearheaded when we take this next step. When I sink deep inside you, I don’t want there to be any room for regret from you.” It sounded as if he’d swallowed gravel and his dark eyes smoldered with something that put her on edge. The look he gave her was primitive and possessive and made the animal inside her slightly wary.

Felicia wasn’t sure what surprised her more. The fact that he was so turned-on yet still willing to give her time or the fact that he’d was being so brutally honest. She wasn’t sure what she’d been expecting from him but it hadn’t been that.

Confused, she tugged on her sweater and slid off the counter when he stepped back. After what they’d just shared she wanted to say something flirty or witty but couldn’t find the words. Instead she cleared her throat. “You want to show me where I’ll be sleeping tonight?” Inwardly she groaned at herself. Real smooth.

He opened his mouth once and then closed it, growling something under his breath, and he motioned with his hand for her to follow him.

Chapter Four

Felicia jerked up in bed as she came fully awake. The unusual silence around her was deafening. She was so used to hearing explosions and gunfire in the distance, for a moment she forgot where she was. Until the past few hours crashed in on her like a tsunami. She was at a house with Alaric. And very recently he’d brought her to an intense climax with barely any stimulation. Her entire body still tingled from the memory. The thought was too surreal. Too weird.

Slivers of moonlight shone through the slat blinds and a glance at the clock told her only a few hours had passed. She should have passed out and slept for days but her mind was too wired. She kept reliving the way Alaric had kissed and stroked her to such exquisite release and wondering what it meant to him.

Now that her mind was clearer, panic started to set in. She wasn’t afraid he’d punish her anymore, but she was afraid of what would happen if—when, he’d said—they took the next step. There had been no hesitation in his voice about them sleeping together. He’d been so sure about it and she hadn’t said anything to contradict him. Why would she? She wanted him as much as he seemed to want her and a few hours ago she’d been ready to strip bare and let him inside her.

Her chest constricted as she thought about going to bed with him. She could only imagine how much experience he had with women. The way he’d played her body so expertly was all the proof she needed. Taking a deep breath, she fought the onslaught of dread coming on with the thought about how inadequate she must be in comparison to the woman he’d been with. Feelings she thought she’d buried two years ago when she’d moved away from her pack bubbled to the surface.

What if Alaric saw what everyone else in her old pack saw in her? A weak mongrel whose parents hadn’t cared enough about her to stick around. They’d abandoned her at such a young age she didn’t even remember them.

Alaric might view her as fine to warm his bed but in her heart she knew it would be a temporary arrangement. And she couldn’t stand by only to be pushed to the side once he found someone better. She knew that was what would ultimately happen. It would be torture to live in the same pack and watch him mate with someone else, knowing he hadn’t viewed her as good enough. Absently she rubbed the middle of her chest, hating the familiar ache of loneliness that began to spread.

Over the last couple years she’d made a decent amount of money so at least she could take care of herself. Living as a lone wolf with no pack protection would be hard but that’s basically what she’d been doing her whole life anyway. Even if she joined this new pack, being around Alaric would cloud her judgment. Clearly. She’d been ready to let him take her on the kitchen counter barely hours before. Not exactly smart thinking. She needed to get away from him.


Easing off the thick comforter , she cringed when the hardwood floor creaked beneath her feet. The next step she took was silent. So were the next and the next. The weight pressing on her chest lifted as she neared the door to her bedroom. Leaving with literally only the clothes on her back sucked, but she’d be able to go shopping soon enough. She just needed to find her wallet and passport and get out of there.

With a clammy hand, she turned the handle. She exhaled in relief when it opened soundlessly. Easing out of the room, she silently pulled it shut.

“Going somewhere?”

She stifled a scream at the deep voice behind her.

Swiveling around, she found Alaric sitting against the wall in the dimly lit hallway. His long legs were stretched out casually, but his gaze was sharp and knowing. She pressed a hand to her chest. Her heart pounded erratically. “Are you trying to give me a heart attack?”

“I asked you a question.” In a swift, fluid movement, he stood and towered over her.

The man could move fast. Her throat seized for a moment. “I was thirsty.”

“Don’t lie to me, she-wolf.” There was an edge to his voice that sent a shiver of alarm curling through her. His eyes smoldered in the muted light, reminding her that he was one hundred percent a predator.

She opened her mouth to lie again but he quickly silenced her with a finger over her lips. “For whatever reason you’re feeling insecure right now, but that doesn’t mean I’ll let you lie to my face.”

Felicia hated that he could sense her unease. Especially since she was trying so hard to hide what she was feeling. “I’m not afraid of you,” she said against his finger. Nervously and out of instinct, she moistened her lips. When she did, her tongue flicked over him. His dark eyes flared with unbridled desire.

She shook her head when she realized he thought she meant it as an invitation, but he didn’t give her time to protest before his mouth covered hers.

His kiss was demanding and raw and made her toes curl. This is exactly what she’d been worried about. All he had to do was kiss her and coherent thought fled. She wanted to let him strip her bare and take everything she had to offer regardless of the consequences. Regardless of the fact that in the end she’d be the one who ended up hurt and alone.

There was just something about him that made her aware of herself in the most feminine way. She’d felt it after their first meeting years ago, but had chalked it up to him being her first crush.

The need and draw she felt to him was exhilarating and strong but also terrifying. She didn’t like the loss of control she experienced around him. Even so, her hands slid up his bare chest and her fingers dug into his shoulders. His muscles flexed under her touch.

As she savored the feel of all that strength under her fingertips his hands fisted tight around her hips and he hoisted her up against the wall.

Without pause she spread her legs and wrapped them around his waist. He growled low in his throat as their tongues intertwined and he pressed her against the wall with his hard body. His cock pressed insistently against her heat. They might have clothes on but she felt so exposed and open to him like this.

The way his tongue flicked and teased hers was almost frenzied. She could feel the intense energy rolling off him. It wrapped around her like a thick blanket, threatening to make her lose all common sense.

Somehow she tore her head back. Panting hard, she stared at him. In the dim light of the hallway everything about him seemed darker. Edgier. The heated look in his eyes was almost enough to make her lose what was left of her willpower.

But not quite. “We need to stop.”

“Why?” he growled.

Since she wasn’t going to admit all her insecurities she said, “Because we barely know each other.”

“My inner wolf knows all it needs to know about you,” he said softly.

Frowning, she started to ask what he meant but he continued. “I know your favorite color is purple and that you have a spine of steel for a shifter so young. Leaving the way you did a couple years ago took guts. I also know that you took a lot of risks while in Afghanistan. Risks you didn’t have to. Going into certain territories and refugee camps when even members of your organization wouldn’t.” There was an underlying note of respect in his voice.

Wondering how he knew that, her scowl deepened but he kept going. “It only took you two and a half years to earn your degree because of how hard you pushed yourself. I also know you hate coffee but love tea. You’re one of the most gifted healers I’ve ever met. It only makes sense you chose a field like nursing. You don’t seem to realize the gift you’ve been given or how much I need you, but you’re a very special wolf.” His voice dropped a notch and her toes actually curled as he said, “I also know that your eyes glitter and your cheeks turn the sweetest shade of pink as you come.”

When he stopped she could only stare at him for a moment. She understood how he knew some of the stuff, like the fact that she hated coffee. It had come up during one of their email conversations. Still, she was surprised he even remembered such an innocuous detail about her. But she didn’t know how he was aware of the times she’d gone into dangerous situations when none of her coworkers would. “How do you know all that?”

“I remember every email we’ve exchanged.” He shifted slightly against her, pressing his erection even harder against her spread legs.

Wetness instantly flooded her core at the not so subtle movement. She fought for control of herself. “Not that stuff.”

A wicked grin played across his face. “I know how you look when you come because—”