"You feel it too, don't you?"
Alexa froze at her neighbor's whispered question. Somehow, she'd hoped he would ignore the mating call, that alluring scent that was binding them together more and more as minutes passed. But, of course, he probably wouldn't have sat beside her in this dingy airport lounge otherwise. She took a deep breath and forced herself to relax. Surely he wouldn't act on it if she told him no. "Ignore it," she snapped back, fear making her forget everything her mother had taught her about politeness.
"I can't," he replied. "You smell too good."
She forced herself to turn her head to the left, all the better to glare at him. "It's involuntary. Believe me."
He grinned, dimples appearing on each side of his mouth. "Oh, I believe you," he said. "But I can't help my reaction either. You're in heat, darlin'."
If she could have shifted, she would have right at that instant. Just to be able to sneer at him with her fangs glistening. But no, she was a mixie, a half-blood unable to take her lion form. "Ignore it," she repeated. "I can't mate with you."
"Why not?" He moved his arm so it touched hers, her skin sizzling at the contact.
There was only one way to get rid of him... "I'm not a pure."
His eyebrows rose. "And?" he asked, clearly puzzled.
It was such a weird reaction for him to have that she turned around fully and faced him. "That doesn't bother you?"
"Why would it?" He leaned forward, his nose nearly brushing against the side of her neck. "Fuck, but you smell good!"
She blinked. Usually that was all that needed to be said to make the men run far, far away from her. Between that and her average looks, she'd never had to beat them back with a stick. More to the contrary, really. "I thought pures didn't mate with half-breeds?"
"Is that what they do in your Pride? Who takes care of you when you're in heat then?"
Whoa! The guy was forward, that was for sure. "I can take care of myself."
He grinned again. "Really? Oh, baby, can I watch next time?"
Shit! She hadn't meant it that way! "Get your mind out of the gutter. I don't even know you." She sat back against the hard plastic seat and crossed her arms over her chest.
"Want to know me better? I'm Jay, and I'm available."
"I'd guessed that," she muttered under her breath.
"What's your name, cutie?"
She rolled her eyes. "Are you for real?"
"Give me your hand and I'll show you proof, baby."
He widened his legs so she could see the way his pants tented. "See? I'm all yours for the taking."
"I don't understand," she mumbled, unable to take her eyes off him. She might be in heat, but it didn't matter. It never had. She couldn't shift, so there was no point in mating with her. Didn't this guy get it? "Why aren't you running away?"
He frowned, looking around them as if searching for something. "Are you here with someone? Is that it?" She shook her head no. "Then, am I that ugly you wouldn't take the relief I'm offering you?"
"But...no one has ever... I mean--" Her voice broke. She had no idea what to say to him. His proposal sounded too good to be true. He looked like a god and he wanted to mate with her, even though he knew she wasn't a pure. Something was definitely wrong with that picture.
"You're a virgin?" His shocked gasp rang over their heads.
"Shh!" She glared at him once more. "No, I'm not, but I live according to human rules. When I'm in heat, no one knows but me."
"Oh, darlin'." His arm wrapped around her shoulders, drawing her to him. "And you're okay with that? Doesn't it hurt?"
She shrugged his arm off. "I'm fine."
"So, you really don't want my help?"
Alexa stared at him. Steady blue eyes. Scruffy jaw, as if he hadn't had time to shave that morning. Wind-swept brown hair that curled at his nape. He was wearing an old brown leather bomber jacket and black pants, his white shirt open at the neck showing smooth golden skin. He was yummy as hell; she couldn't deny it. And yet she found herself shaking her head. "No thanks."
She got up and grabbed her purse, hooking it over her shoulder as she forced herself not to look back at him. Her lioness roared inside her, but she'd become adept at ignoring her. It was surprisingly easy to walk away from him. Too bad, she couldn't walk away from her animal...or the rapidly building mating urge that was threatening to undo her.
No, she'd be fine, she thought as she stepped onto the plane taking her home. She'd been ignoring it for years now, and it had always worked. One meeting with a potential mate couldn't possibly change things that much. Right?