Laney leaned back into the shadows and sipped her drink. She had been here an hour, hiding in the darkest corner of the bar. Tonight was a long time in the planning and she would let nothing ruin it.
The door opened and Heath walked in. His slow, confident stride carried him over to the bar with a grace most catwalk models would have killed for.
She had waited five years for this night. Five long years of cold lonely nights, dreaming of nothing but his shoulder-length white-blond hair, and that six foot plus, hard muscular frame. Taking another sip, Laney watched as he leaned casually on the bar and ordered a drink. Heath Marsterson had starred in all of her dreams since she had walked out of her father's office and found him talking to one of her brothers.
With one final sip she placed her glass down, pulled herself out of her chair and walked up behind him. She saw the second he caught her scent. His spine went rigid and his shoulders tensed. He always did that around her as if he were expecting trouble. Laney waited as he slowly turned to look at her.
He opened his mouth to give her the lecture she knew he would deliver. She could practically hear him now. "Laney-girl, what are you doing here? Who did you come with? How are you getting home? Do your brothers know you're here?"
The words she knew he would have delivered if they hadn't caught in his throat when his gaze finally fell on her.
She was proud of the results an all-day makeover session had achieved. Gone were the trainers, jeans, and old T-shirt with a long-forgotten band on it. Her short brown hair feathered around her face and framed it like a picture, or so her sister-in-law had said when she'd finished working her magic. Her pale complexion was enhanced with neutral makeup that highlighted her ice-blue eyes. The only real colour was the cherry red staining her lips.
Laney watched as Heath's gaze stroked down her face to her body and the dress she had poured herself into. The dress was strapless, sinfully tight, short, black, and slit up the right side almost to the waist. She watched him swallow hard, take a deep breath, then growl low and deep.
"Evening, Heath." She smiled up at him. His eyes narrowed as he looked back at her. Laney willed her legs not to tremble when he took a step closer to her and leaned down to breathe softly into her ear.
"Do you have a coat?" he asked in a low whisper. Laney's breath caught. She had expected interest but she hadn't expected him to move this quickly. She leaned back and looked at him. He seemed to be angry--really angry--if the tic in the corner of his eye was anything to go by.
"No." Laney shook her head.
"Good. We're leaving now." Heath took hold of her arm and started to pull her towards the doors. Laney was in shock until the night air hit her body. Finally she realised he was heading towards his car.
"Whoa, buddy." Laney dug her heels in, her four-inch stilettoes not allowing her much stopping power.
Heath didn't miss a beat when he swung around and unceremoniously threw her over his shoulder.
"Put me down!" Laney yelled, trying to keep the skirt of her short dress covering her butt.
"You want down? Fine!" Heath dropped her on her feet.
"What the hell is wrong with you?" Laney asked as she pulled her dress back into place. She let out a squeak when Heath dropped his leather jacket around her shoulders.
"Not a thing." Heath pulled the collar of his jacket closed around her. Leaning down, he looked into her eyes. "Who is he?"
Laney looked back. She could see the caged animal just under the surface.
"Who is who?" Laney was confused. This sure as hell wasn't going as she had thought. Right about now Heath should be sweeping her into his arms and kissing her until she couldn't remember her own name. She may not have dated much in the last few years, but she didn't think she would get it this wrong.
"The guy you got dressed up for. Who is he?" Heath asked again. Laney could feel the barely controlled aggression under his skin.
"You think I got dressed up for some other guy?" Laney frowned. How could he think that?
"I promise, Laney, I won't hurt him. I just want to talk to him," Heath assured her.
Laney's nerves hit her full force. What if he didn't want her? Surely he had to know she wanted him. She'd wanted Heath from the second he'd moved into the area.
Who was she kidding? She was just a grease monkey in her father's garage. There was no way he would want her.
So you are giving up? Is that the St. Clair way, now? I don't think so.
No! No, she had waited too long to back away now.
Laney took a deep breath and decided it was now or never. Leaning just a few inches forwards, she kissed him. Not a modest peck on the cheek like she had given him in the past, but the full-on, no-holds-barred kiss of a woman who knew what she wanted and exactly how to get it.
From the second Laney's lips touched his, Heath's body went up in flames. It had taken all his control not to pin her to the closest wall and take her the moment he had seen her dressed like that.
Where had the tomboy gone? If you needed an engine fixed or a drain plunged you called for Laney; she was magic with a hammer and chisel. The woman kissing him now was so different. He always thought she was pretty under the dirt and grease she always seemed covered in, but this woman had nearly knocked him on his ass when he'd seen her.
It had taken a minute for him to realise there was only one reason she was in the bar dressed like sin on legs. She was meeting a man, and with that one thought he had growled low, his anger spiking. His wolf fighting him for control had caught him off guard too.
Whenever he was around Laney the stupid animal practically vibrated. He had ignored it, not wanting to acknowledge what the animal was trying to tell him. But now his wolf was growling low at the thought of anyone else touching her.
The man in him screamed for him to push her away, to remember this was sweet, innocent Laney. The wolf in him told his human half to shut the hell up and find the closest flat surface.
He felt her hands run up his T-shirt clad chest and around his neck; such a simple touch, but the feel of it burned him, setting his blood on fire.
He stepped closer still and pushed her back against his vehicle, trapping her with his body. Kissing his way down the column of her throat, he found the soft skin at the join with her shoulder. Gently he let his fangs extend and graze over her neck. The shudder that ran down her body made him want to howl at the moon.
"Please." She spoke softly but that one word made him realise who exactly he had pinned to his truck like a barfly. What the hell was he doing? This was Laney, for crying out loud!
Heath took a step back from her warm, inviting body, growling low when she went to follow him.
"Laney we can't do this," he said in one rushing breath. He watched the tempting little vixen take a deep breath of her own, grabbing for control before she looked up at him, the confusion and hurt clear in her eyes.
It was a simple enough question for her to ask. After all it was barely a minute since he'd had her pinned up against the truck, but to answer her truthfully could lead to more, so much more than Heath could handle right now. Bringing Laney into his life would be dangerous for them both. The old Alpha--the man who he had ousted--was back and had started to cause problems for the pack. But he couldn't explain that to Laney, at least not now.
"Because we can't, Laney. Do you know what your brothers would do to me if they found out I kissed you?" he said instead, making his wolf howl in protest as he pulled his coat more securely around her body.
Just like that, Heath watched as the sexy, cool, well-kissed woman disappeared and the woman he knew, the rough-edged tomboy, came roaring back. Her eyes, full of cold fury, turned on him.
Slowly she pulled both lapels of his coat out of his hands and stepped to the side away from him. Never once did she break eye contact with him.
"I apologise." There was nothing but contained fury in her voice. "I should have realised you wouldn't do a thing without checking with every male in my family." She snapped each word at him.
"Now come on, Laney-girl, don't be like that." He reached for her again. He figured he had hurt her feelings and that didn't sit well with him.
"No, it's okay." She stepped back out of reach. "I understand if you're not man enough to stand on your own without my family backing you up. I understand you're scared of them. It's okay." She shrugged out of his coat and handed it back.
"But you need to realise I am not some sweet innocent girl. I'm nearly thirty years old, and this is not the Middle Ages where only the married females have sex. I was away at college for four years and I know exactly what I like." She ran her gaze down his body. "I thought that I liked you, that maybe you could help me scratch an itch, but I am woman enough to admit I was wrong. Have a good evening, Heath. I plan to." Laney's gaze wandered over him one more time before she walked back into the bar.
Heath watched her go. For once both his wolf and his human were in agreement, and both were confused. Laney knew damn well he wasn't scared of her brothers; he only had a healthy respect for them that any sane man would. But the one thing that seemed to focus both sides of his soul was her reminder that she wasn't a child, that another man had laid hands on her.
That's where his confusion came from, because both sides had growled one word when she had talked about her past, a word he had never thought of when talking to a woman--any woman--until now.
Laney had walked back into the bar, furious. Heath could smell her anger as it hit him full force. He took a breath before following her. He needed to stay in control. He knew Laney well; she would be out for trouble now, but he would put a stop to it.
As he returned to the bar he watched her walk over to the table where he figured she had been hiding before he had arrived, and she caught the eye of the waitress.
"Jack straight," she said. Her request was met with raised eyebrows but thankfully the woman didn't say anything and placed Laney's order without comment.
Heath kept out of her line of sight as she sat back to scan the room. If Heath didn't know better he would say she was hunting. The wolf in him howled a greeting to her at the thought.
Over on the far side of the bar he watched as she spotted her prey, an out of towner standing at the bar. She stood and smoothed her dress. Heath bit back a growl and moved quickly. He knew she hadn't seen him; she was too focused on her prey. She walked straight into his chest
"Where do you think you're going?" He narrowed his gaze, letting her know he knew exactly what she was up to.
"And that would be your business because?"
He could see the message clear and bright shining back at him in her eyes. If he thought he could come in here and tell her what to do, then he had another think coming.
As he leaned down Laney started to pant as he allowed his eyes to turn to wolf.
"You made it my business, Laney-girl," he told her, his voice almost a growl.
Laney took a step back and in that second they both knew she had made a mistake. His nostrils flared, taking in her scent. Dropping his head lower, his gaze held her captive as he took a step towards her. "Where are you going, Laney?" he repeated.
"What business is it of yours?" Her voice was barely above a whisper this time. Heath heard her breath catch as he reached forward and took hold of her chin. Slowly he leaned down and kissed her, a kiss so soft he could feel her melting.
Heath took hold of her hand and led her back outside to his vehicle. He didn't know whether it was a good thing that she didn't fight him. Keeping silent, he bundled her into the truck before climbing in himself. He didn't know why she had shown up tonight or why she'd decided to target him, but she had made her bed now and Heath fully intended for her to lie in it.
Heath could feel the tension and excitement radiating from her. He knew Laney wanted this but he also knew she had no idea what she was getting into.
"Do you know what I am, Laney?" he asked after a few minutes of silence.
Laney turned, leaning back slightly on the car door so she could face him. "Wolf," she stated matter-of-factly.
"Yeah, I guessed you knew that about me, but what else am I?" He needed her to understand before they took that final step.
Took the final step? He couldn't believe he was sitting here having this conversation with Laney St. Clair. Someone must have slipped something into his drink or this was just a crazy dream. Heath took a breath and growled deeply. If it was a crazy dream, it was a dream that smelled so good right now.
"Hmm. Well, other than the fact you can get real hairy, what else do I need to know?"
Heath smiled over at her. She may be all dressed up but underneath she was still his smart-mouthed Laney-girl.
Nudging her knees around so she sat forward again Heath tapped her legs apart.
"When you are alone with me your legs are never to be closed." He stroked his hands over her thigh.
Laney looked down as his thumb stroked lazy circles by her knee, then back over to him. Heath felt her frown more than saw it.
"I'm sensing that you getting furry is the least of my worries," Laney ventured.
"That's because you're smart, Laney-girl." Heath gave her his best wolfish smile and started the truck.
It took no time for them to get back to his home, a small cottage on the outskirts of their town. Heath cut the ignition and sat, looking out the windscreen.
"You need to understand something before we go in there, Laney." Heath lifted his hand from her lap and refused to look at her. He needed her to understand and make this decision on her own.
"Here I thought I was nervous before," Laney muttered.
Heath gave a small smile.
"I am the Alpha of my pack," he told her. "I have to be in control of everything to make sure we stay safe. When Christophe, the last Alpha, let dissension set in I took on the Alpha role. Not just because it was the only way we could survive, but because of who I am. I control every aspect of my life. I am a dominant person, Laney."
Silence followed his little announcement. He turned to look at her, expecting shock and fear, but what he saw made his heart lift and his cock go harder.
"You realise I will not let you chain me to the bed, right? Seriously, have you seen how pale I am? I will bruise like a peach," Laney said as she held out her arm for his inspection.
Taking her wrist, Heath lifted her hand for his kiss. "Trust me, sweetheart, I have never needed chains to keep a woman in my bed." Slowly he licked a small circle around the centre of her palm. He watched as her breath caught and the pupils of her eyes dilated.
"I think it's time I introduced you to all of me," Heath said as he climbed out of the truck. He hid his smile when he heard the breath whoosh out of Laney.
Laney had been to Heath's house more times than she could count, but this was the first time she had felt nervous. Perching on the end of his overstuffed brown leather couch, she watched as Heath came back into the room carrying two beers.
"I figured you would want a beer even though you're dressed like a woman more used to drinking white wine spritzers." He sat down on the far end of the couch from her. Taking a swig from his bottle Heath flicked a glance at her legs before he looked at her with a raised eyebrow. It took a second for Laney to realise she was sitting with her legs crossed at the ankles. She pushed herself farther back onto the seat and sat with her legs slightly apart. Looking back at Heath, she saw the small smile on his face.
"So if you don't tie people up to have your wicked way with them, what exactly do you do?" Laney asked. She had always thought that BDSM involved someone being stripped and tied to a bed with chains or ropes.
Laney watched as Heath took another long drink from his bottle. This night was not turning out how she imagined it. For a start, she was sitting in his living room watching him drink from a bottle, which had suddenly become one of the most erotic things she had ever seen. The butterflies in her stomach were flapping up a storm.
Heath put his drink down before reaching over and catching her hand. "On your knees." He said the words casually as if he had asked her to pass the TV remote.
Part of Laney wanted to argue. Who did he think he was, telling her to get on her knees? The other part of her, the part that dreamed of Heath naked more nights than she cared to remember, told the other part of her to shut the hell up and get on her knees.
Slowly she slipped off the couch. His hardwood floors were cold against her skin, sending a shiver up her spine. Gently Heath pulled her until she knelt in front of him. Sliding forward, he sat on the edge of his seat with his jeans-clad legs on either side of her, effectively trapping her without touching her.
With a knuckle, he tilted her chin, allowing better access to her mouth. He's going to kiss me. Laney's whole body vibrated waiting for the touch of his lips on hers, but he didn't kiss her. He didn't do anything, only sat there looking at her.
Just when she thought she couldn't take the staring anymore, he spoke. "My lifestyle isn't about chaining you with ropes or ties, although that can be all kinds of fun. It's more about you having a trust in me that allows you to give over all control--complete and utter control--to me. That's why before we go any further I think you should have a safe word."
"Why would I need that?" Laney asked. She trusted Heath. She wouldn't have shown up tonight if she didn't have complete faith in him.
"Laney, it's my job to know your boundaries both soft and hard. Soft boundaries mean I will push you to them and further if I think you can take it, but hard boundaries won't be touched. Those are things I know you cannot and will not do. With a safe word you have the power to stop me completely if you really want to."
"I trust you, Heath. You have to know that," Laney assured him. She wanted so badly to kiss him, but a simple finger under her chin kept her still.
"Pick a word, Laney."
"Cheese grater," she said with a shrug. Heath chuckled and tapped her nose.
"Yep, definitely still Laney under that dress." Slowly he let the finger that had been holding her chin up slide down the column of her throat, lower still until he reached the top edge of her dress. "Shall we see what else is under it?" He stroked his finger under the collar and along the upper swell of her breast.
Laney's breath caught in her throat and her panties got wet. Dropping her shoulders back she pushed her chest forward, giving him unspoken permission to do as he wanted.
Heath ran a finger down the front of her dress and over the hard peak. The greedy nipple stood up, begging for more attention. Laney could feel her pulse quicken and her body started to burn for his touch. Dear Lord, the man had barely touched her and she was almost ready to come.
Running a hand around the back of her neck, Heath pulled her close and kissed her. Laney was shocked. She thought he would ravage her mouth, but this kiss was so soft and gentle she didn't know what to expect. He was definitely keeping her off-kilter.
Heath knew she had expected him to take her hard and fast. He had every intention of doing just that later when she was used to him. This first time he wanted to take his time, learn her body, learn her boundaries and, most importantly, find out if she would scream his name when she came.
"Unzip your dress," he said against her mouth. Laney did so without argument. That small move pleased him more than it should have.
As the dress loosened he pushed her to her feet so he could slip it off her chest. Braless, nice. He kissed a path down her throat to the crest of one breast and he took the nipple into his mouth. Laney groaned as he sucked gently at the taut bud. Reaching up, she took hold of the back of his head, trying to pull him closer still.
Heath pulled away and looked up at her.
"Lesson number two." He gave a half-smile at the lust-filled frown she sent him as he caught her hands. "No touching unless I say, and right now I want your hands right here." He tucked her hands behind her, folding them at the base of her spine. The move brought him close to her breast again. He ran a slow lick over her nipple, dragging another moan from Laney. God, he loved the sounds she made.
"I am a generous man. I understand this is your first lesson with me so I will give you three chances, Laney. Three chances to stay still, no moving, no touching until I say. But if I have to put your hands back a third time I will punish you, and trust me, sweetheart, I am not necessarily a spanking type of guy but I have a fantastic imagination." He spoke whilst he ran soft butterfly kisses down her body to the top of her panties. "Do you understand?" Heath looked up at her when he nipped the skin just below her belly button. He watched as she caught her bottom lip between her teeth as she looked back at him. "Do you?" he prompted. Touching her like this, this close to the core of her heat was driving him insane.
"Yes," she told him on a rushed breath.
That was all he needed. In a quick move, he stripped her of the dress and her underwear. Sliding back on the couch, he pulled her with him until she was straddling his lap. Heath pulled her forward until he raised her up on her knees, giving him perfect access.
"Remember, Laney-girl, no moving," he said a second before he buried he face between her legs.
"Sweet Mother!" Laney hissed when he licked her. Heath blew gently across her already wet clit, forcing another shiver down her spine. Taking hold of her hips, he pulled her closer, giving him even greater access. He was like a man starved as he ate her. Every one of her moans and gasps drove him on.
His wolf panted, trying to wrestle control from him. Heath wanted Laney more than he could ever remember wanting any other woman, but he knew if he let his wolf take over this wouldn't be a temporary thing, as he knew it had to be. His wolf would mark her as his and Heath knew--even if his beast didn't--that Laney wasn't strong enough to handle all that his mate would have to.
The feel of her hands on the back of his head had Heath reluctantly coming away from her.
"No, please!" Laney moaned as she looked down at him.
Heath leaned back and looked at her. "That's two, sweetheart." He was breathing hard. It had been harder to pull away than he thought. He had never had a problem keeping control before, but this full human was pushing his buttons and he hadn't even fucked her yet.
He reached forward and put her hands behind her back again. "Stay still." He brushed a kiss over her belly, which dragged a whimper from her.
"Okay, please, just don't stop; I was so close." Laney almost pleaded.
"Close? Do you really think I'm going to let you come yet?" he asked with a raised eyebrow.
"What?" Laney's lust-filled brain clearly had problems processing what he was saying. He liked that he affected her so.
"You don't get to come until I let you and, trust me, Laney, if you keep breaking the rules I may not let you come at all tonight." When he spoke he stroked a single finger down her body before dipping it inside her pussy. He watched as her eyes closed on a silent groan. He couldn't help the wolfish smile he gave her when she opened her eyes again.