Seeing the question in her eyes, Trick said, “I stuffed them in my overnight bag in case we used the tub.” He drew her to him, skimming his hands down her body, shaping and caressing. Possessiveness pounded through his veins. She was his. All fucking his. He tugged on her lower lip with his teeth and bit down. “It’s tempting to forget the tub and strip you naked so I can have my way with you now.”
“Later,” she promised with a wicked smile.
It didn’t take long to get the tub ready. As she sank into the curved seat, she let out a contented sigh. Trick sat opposite her, bracketing her legs with his, and curled his hands possessively around her calves. The tub was big enough for four people, so they had plenty of room to stretch out.
Goosebumps rose on her arms as she draped them over the back of the tub. The bubbling pressure from the jets deliciously hammered at her muscles. She closed her eyes and leaned her head back as she listened to the splosh and burble of the water and enjoyed the rising of the steam as it warmed her face.
Trick gave her calf a light squeeze. “Listen, I’m going to tell you something that I should have told you before. I wasn’t deliberately keeping it from you, but it occurred to me earlier that you might want to know.”
Unease crept over Frankie. Lifting her head, she opened her eyes. “Okay.”
“I told you I’ve never been in a relationship. That’s true. My past has been nothing but flings and one-night stands.” He paused. “I had the occasional one-nighter with Marcus.”
All right, well, that was a shocker. Frankie sat up straighter. “Just to be clear, you mean your pack mate, Marcus? The enforcer who’s mated to Roni?”
He nodded. “We’re close friends, but we were never close as partners. We didn’t have a fling. We just scratched each other’s itches from time to time.”
Frankie’s brow furrowed. It was just hard to imagine them together, since she’d never detected any attraction there. “So you’re bisexual.”
He grimaced. “I’m not really into labels. For me it’s not about gender. It’s about the person.”
Maybe so, but it occurred to her that he likely enjoyed the kind of fun she couldn’t physically provide, considering she didn’t have a cock. Was that going to be an issue? Would he miss that kind of fun? If so, it was possible that she wouldn’t be enough for him sexually, that she couldn’t fully satisfy him.
Trick growled. “Get it out of your head that this could mean you won’t be enough for me.”
Frankie gaped. “How did you—?”
“I know how your brain works. I knew your mind would go there. It’s a whacked place to go. Look, I get that your maternal family made you feel that you’re not enough. That’s bullshit. I don’t have needs that you can’t fulfill or anything stupid like that. The only thing I need is you.”
His voice rang with truth, but she couldn’t quite relax. “So there was nothing serious between you and Marcus?”
“Not at all,” he said.
“You were more like friends with benefits?”
“Not even that, because there was nothing regular about it. They were random encounters. To me this isn’t significant. It has no bearing on what’s between you and me. But I didn’t want you to find out another way.” Leaning forward, he slid his hands up to her thighs. “Tao once wanted to imprint on Taryn.”
Her mouth fell open. “No.”
“Yes. This was before Taryn and Trey knew they were true mates. Initially they were faking it so that Taryn could escape an arranged mating and Trey could then have access to her father’s alliances.”
Wow, thought Frankie. Having seen how tight the Alphas were, she found it hard to believe that they were originally brought together by nothing more than a deal.
“The plan was that she’d leave after a few months, and Tao made it clear that he was willing to leave with her. He didn’t love her, which was probably why that willingness died pretty quickly. There was never any lingering jealousy or a yearning that he tried to hide. It was just one weird, very short period in his life that none of us ever even thought about—it just faded to the backs of our minds. It was so insignificant to him that he didn’t think to mention it to Riley. But Greta did.”
Frankie winced. The old woman was such a bitch.
“She blindsided Riley to hurt her. I don’t want Greta blindsiding you with anything from my past, so I’m telling you straight up about Marcus. In your position I’d want to know anyway.”
“I’m glad you told me.” Even if it did pluck at her jealous streak. Her wolf didn’t like hearing about his past either.
“And you believe that it doesn’t mean I have needs you can’t fulfill,” Trick pushed, stroking his thumb down her cheek, which was pink and warm.
Frankie inhaled deeply, breathing in the moist air. “I believe you when you say I’m enough for you.” He’d never given her any reason to think differently. “But if it turns out that you lied about that . . . well, there’s a good chance I’ll stomp on your spine until I hear something crack.”
Trick smiled, perversely finding the threatening glitter in her eyes kind of hot. He cupped her nape. She’d tied her hair up into a high ponytail, but curly tendrils hung around her neck. “You’re not only enough for me. You’re everything.”
She really didn’t know how to handle it when he said stuff like that. He didn’t say it shyly or with any hesitation. He spoke boldly yet casually, holding her eyes the entire time. As if he sensed her discomfort, he gave her a lopsided grin that made the claw marks on his cheek darken. She tilted her head. “Can I ask you a question?”
“You just did, baby. Not really giving me a choice here, are you?”
Frankie gave him a droll look. “Funny.” She bit her lip. “You can tell me to mind my own business if you want—”
“I’m yours. My business is your business. What do you want to know?”
“How did you get the scars on your face?”
“I’m surprised you didn’t ask about them sooner.” He’d sensed that she was curious about them. “It’s not a pretty story,” he warned her, slowly smoothing his hands up and down her legs. “When I was fourteen and still part of the Bjorn Pack, a twelve-year-old girl declared to me that we were true mates.”
She blinked. “Wow. Just wow.”
“Jana was adamant that she was right. She truly believed it, but I didn’t. There was no doubt in my mind that she wasn’t mine. The moment was awkward as fuck, and I felt like a bastard when I refuted it, but I had to make her see that it was just a crush. She wasn’t hearing me, though. She believed I was hers. Said she knew her own mind and her own feelings. She accused me of denying it out of fear of mating.”
“Which is something you’ve never feared.”
He exhaled a heavy sigh. “I’ll admit I lost my temper. I didn’t want to hurt her, but I knew that being firm about it was the only way to shut that shit down. I wouldn’t have in a million years suspected that she’d attempt suicide.”
Frankie’s eyes bulged. “She what?”
“She wrote a note and said she didn’t want to live a life without me in it. Then she slit her wrists in the bathtub.”