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She narrowed her eyes. “What does that mean?”

He slid his hands from her face down to her shoulders. “I met with Brad earlier.”

“Brad as in my uncle?”

“He sent me an e-mail, asking to meet me alone.” Trick raised a hand when her eyes flared with anger. “I didn’t tell you because you would have insisted on coming, and then I wouldn’t have found out whatever it was that he wanted to say because he’d have minded his words in front of you.”

“And what did he want to say?” She clenched her hands when he hesitated. “Trick, tell me.” So he told her. And she gawked. “He offered you fifty thousand dollars to walk away from me?” Her wolf went stock-still.

“He said he was doing it at Marcia’s request, but he was lying. That was all him. She might have known about it—if she did, she’d probably even approved of it—but bribing me was his idea.” Trick rubbed at his jaw. The damn thing ached from how hard he’d ground his teeth. “He also did a background check on me. He found out about Jana—though he’d been told that she was truly my mate—and he threatened to tell you, thinking it would make me walk away so that you’d never have to know.”

Frankie should have been angry at the news. Instead the swell of emotions inside her just . . . deflated, leaving only the ache of betrayal. She wouldn’t have thought that Brad would ever do something so sly and devious—it seemed so out of character for him. But then, he’d lied to her all these years, hadn’t he? So maybe she shouldn’t be so surprised.

Trick tugged her closer. “I didn’t want to tell you about this, because I knew how much it would hurt you. But there shouldn’t be lies between mates. I won’t keep things from you.”

“You kept it from me until now. Yes, I know why. I also can’t disagree that you made a valid point: I would have insisted on going. He would never have said any of that shit in front of me.”

The pain in her eyes gutted Trick. He rested his forehead on hers. “I hate that they do this to you.”

Yeah, so did Frankie. She backed away, swallowing hard. “I’m going to sit out on the balcony for a while.” He moved so silently that she didn’t even realize he’d followed her until he took the patio chair beside hers.

At the impatient look she tossed at him, Trick raised his hands. “I won’t touch you, I won’t speak to you, but I also won’t leave you on your own. I’m here if you want to talk. If you don’t, that’s fine. But I don’t want you to be alone, so don’t ask me to move.”

She turned her gaze to the scenery. “Awkward fucker.”

“I’ve been called worse.” As he’d promised, Trick didn’t say a word as she simply sat there, facing the view, her gaze focused inward. That promise became harder to keep the longer she didn’t move. He didn’t know what was going on in her pretty little head, and he worried that it was something he wasn’t going to like.

Still, he kept his mouth shut and didn’t reach out to touch her as he so badly wanted to. No, not wanted. Needed. Not just to calm and reassure himself that she was physically fine, but because the drive to soothe pounded through him. He hated that she was hurting, hated that he couldn’t avenge that hurt.

His wolf wanted the freedom to hunt, mangle, and kill. Wanted to see and smell and taste Drake’s blood. Not even his mate’s presence was calming him or—

She straightened in her chair and twisted to face him. “Get ready.”

Trick blinked. “For what?”

“It should hit us any minute now.”

“What do you—?” Red-hot arousal slammed into him and flooded his system. Just like that, his blood thickened, his body tightened, and his cock filled to bursting. And then the drive to soothe her disappeared, completely drowned out by the urge to take and claim and mate. He double-blinked. “Fuck.”

She swallowed, her mouth suddenly bone-dry. “Yeah, we need to fuck.”


They collided. Frankie didn’t remember getting to her feet. One second she’d been sitting on the chair, needing him so badly it hurt; the next thing she knew they were both standing upright and he was kissing the breath from her lungs.

Growling and groaning, they clawed off each other’s clothes. She fisted his cock—it was long and thick and warm—and began to pump. He thrust into her grip, sucking on her pulse and grunting into her neck.

She wanted his cock in her mouth. Needed him to feel her mouth around him. It was a primal thing she couldn’t quite explain, but it was all tied up in this undying need to brand him as hers.

Not much took Trick off guard, but he’d been so caught up in Frankie’s taste that he almost stumbled when she suddenly dropped to her knees. Her lips closed around the head of his cock, and her tongue licked and danced. “Suck,” he rumbled. But she didn’t. She ran her tongue along his length and lapped up the drop of pre-come. He growled. “I said suck it, not play with it.”

She finally took him in her mouth, and Trick fisted her hair. “Perfect for bunching in my hands while I fuck your mouth.” He pumped his hips, mesmerized by the sight of his cock disappearing between her lips over and over. “You still look so innocent, even with your mouth wrapped around my dick.” She swallowed, and her throat contracted around him. “Jesus. You’re going to make me come. I’m not ready yet.” He stilled his hips and tugged on her hair. “Get up.” The moment she was upright, he propped her on the patio table. “Lay back and spread your legs. My turn.”

Frankie shook her head. She loved his fingers and his tongue, but she didn’t have the patience for foreplay. Her pussy throbbed and ached. She wanted him in her, fucking her, claiming her.

Trick arched a brow. “I want the taste of you in my mouth. You can give it to me or I can take it.” Her eyes narrowed, but she lay back and spread her thighs. “Good girl.” He sank two fingers inside her. “Soaking wet.”

Frankie gripped the edges of the table as he lifted her hips and swiped his tongue through her folds. He growled, and his fingers bit into her as he feasted. He didn’t just lick and nip, he sucked at her folds, swirled the tip of his tongue around her clit, and repeatedly stabbed his tongue inside her. The friction built, wound her tighter and tighter, until she just couldn’t take any more. “Trick . . .” It was a warning. She was going to come.

Trick hooked her legs over his shoulders, sucked a nipple into his mouth, and plunged deep into her pussy. And she came. He ground his teeth, fighting the urge to explode along with her. His cock throbbed inside her, as if objecting to him holding back.

Panting, Frankie practically melted against the table. That had been one hell of an orgasm, but her pussy still ached. She got the feeling that the mating urge wouldn’t cool until he’d come deep inside her. “Fuck me.”

“Oh, I’ll fuck you all right.” He drew back until only the head of his cock was inside her, and then he slammed home. Her pussy clamped around him, so wet and tight it was sheer fucking heaven. And Trick lost all pretense of control. He brutally hammered into her. And that was no exaggeration. He’d been fighting the drive to claim her for weeks, and all that frustration poured out of him in a frenzy of violent thrusts. “Tell me to stop.” Hearing her say it would be the only thing that could ease that frenzy.

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