She stood under the shower, washing the musky scent of cum and sweat from her body. The hot water beat down on her, loosening muscles sore from days and nights of marathon sex. The glide of the cloth across her clit caused her to hiss as the overly sensitive bundle of nerves reacted by shooting a streak of fire straight through her womb. "No! You've had enough," she told it. As it was, she wouldn't be walking straight anytime soon.
It was hunger that finally drove her out of the shower. If she didn't get some food into her system soon, she'd pass out. She'd expended too many calories and eaten nothing to replace them. Her stomach cramped, a reminder of its emptiness. She rubbed her abdomen, trying to soothe the knotted muscles. "And you, give me a second, will ya? Let me get out of the bathroom, and then I'll feed you."
Already mentally cataloging the contents of the refrigerator, she opened the bathroom door. He was on her in an instant. Before a cry could escape, he had her back pressed forcefully against the wall beside the bathroom door. His menacing growl sent chills down her spine. Lifting her to eye level, he spoke out of a mouth already partially shifted to wolf, revealing a jaw full of razor-sharp teeth. "You washed off my scent."
Before her mind finished deciphering what he was saying, his tongue was in her mouth and his cock in her pussy. All thoughts of food forgotten, she wrapped her legs around his waist and hung on.
"More. Need more," he growled. He grabbed her by the thighs and bent her in half until her knees pressed against the wall along the sides of her torso, holding her immobile.
Not being a contortionist, the position should have been uncomfortable, but she was too aroused. Her nails dug into his shoulders as her head bounced off the wall with each upward thrust. She fought him, wanting to move, needing to move like she needed her next breath.
She could feel her orgasm building, tightening every muscle in her body. She couldn't catch her breath. It felt like she was going to explode. She opened her mouth to scream...
Bzzzzz! Bzzzzz! Bzzzzz! Shayla Morgan jumped as her cell phone vibrated, goosing her. Shit! She'd been dreaming. Again. This had to stop. She looked around to see if anyone noticed her strange behavior. A crowded plane was not the best place to have a wet dream. No one was looking at her, thank God. That meant she hadn't cried out in her sleep...this time.
Her breathing was labored, just as in the dream. Her nipples were tight and so sensitive even the gentle abrasion of her T-shirt irritated them. Her clit throbbed. She was right on the edge. Just one stroke, one simple touch and she would explode.
Bzzzz! She jerked again and snatched her cell phone out of her cargo pants' thigh pocket. A new text message was in her in-box. She didn't recognize the number but retrieved it anyway, needing a distraction.
What the hell? Must be a wrong number. She shoved the phone back into her pocket. It would be another forty-five minutes before she could get off the plane. She should have brought her laptop or a book to read. All this sitting would drive her crazy, and she couldn't chance taking another nap.
Bzzzz! She jumped again. What now? She took out her phone and pressed the Display Message button.
Same number. It wasn't familiar. She didn't even recognize the area code. She closed the phone. Before she could stick it back in her pocket, it vibrated again. Eyes narrowed, she flipped it open.
The hairs on her nape rose. Thumbs moving rapidly on the keypad, she typed, Who's this?
Shayla shook her head. It couldn't be him, the one who was still haunting her dreams three weeks later--Rory McFelan.
The reply was swift.
Shayla. Mate. Mine.
Oh damn. It was Rory. Her cousin Kiesha must have given him her number. She stared at the message. As she did, the curve of her neck throbbed, a reminder of the marks on her shoulder. Time to stop the madness. She punched the words in the keyboard.
Not yours. Sex. Fun. Over.
There. That should be plain enough.
Agreed. Claimed. Mine. Forever.
Then again, maybe not. She'd forgotten whom, or rather, what she was dealing with. The man was possibly more stubborn than she. Her conversation with Kiesha came back to her.
"So, if I were to find myself extremely attracted to a shifter and wanted to indulge, I could do so as long as I didn't let him bite me?"
"Shay, don't even think about it. If you're attracted to one of them and you don't want to find yourself mated, don't let them close to you. A strong physical attraction is a major sign of a true mate. It's not simply a matter of not getting bit. If you have sex with one, you'll be so caught up in the pleasure that you'll never notice him biting you, not until it's too late," Kiesha warned. "This is no time to indulge your curiosity."
"They're that good in the sack?" Shayla asked as her neglected libido raised its head in hunger.
"Shay, seriously, this is not something to play with. These guys are serious, and they play for keeps. They won't put up with your games."
Shayla had ignored the warning and indulged her curiosity at the first opportunity that presented itself. Three days and four nights of continuous, mind-blowing sex had been the result. Almost a month later and she was still dreaming about it. She shivered, and her clit pulsed again, begging for attention.
Bzzzz! Bzzzz! She looked down to see a new message.
Waiting. Will claim what's mine.
Well, hell. Now she'd gone and done it. Kiesha was going to kill her. In three weeks' time Shayla was returning to Refuge, North Carolina, to be in her cousin's wedding, and it sounded like Rory would be there waiting. There would be no way to avoid him. He would ensure it. And she couldn't appeal to Kiesha for help. She'd been warned. Now it was up to her to deal with the consequences.
Rory McFelan smiled as he closed his phone.
"That's a mighty feral smile, my friend. I pity the person it's directed toward."
Rory gazed across the table at Caleb Jones, his second in command and the closest thing he had to a friend in the Sparrowhawk pack. At one time he'd anticipated having this man become his brother-in-law, although he knew now it was not to be. "The systems analyst we hired to streamline the pack's operations. She'll be here soon."
"Our systems analyst, hmm? I can smell your lust. With all that's going on in the pack, are you sure bringing your latest conquest here is such a good idea? Especially a weak human?"
Shannon's defection to the Raven pack had left a void for the position of alpha-fem. The few eligible females that remained after the hunt were driving him crazy, each hoping to move up and take her place. The infighting was getting ridiculous. Shay's arrival would put an end to all of it.
"She's my one." Rory watched carefully to see what Caleb's reaction would be. This was the first time he'd revealed to any of his pack that he'd taken a mate.
Caleb jerked forward in his seat. "You found a mate?"
"A true mate. Mine."
"I thought that was just a myth," Caleb stated, brows furrowed in puzzlement.
"I didn't believe it either, not at first, but turns out they're real enough. The Raven pack's alpha and beta both found theirs," Rory reminded him. The bear had found his, and even his sister, Shannon, had found hers if the bloodsucker she'd mated was to be believed. One thing was for certain, there was a bloody mating epidemic going on in these mountains.
Caleb shook his head, clearly not convinced. "You're sure she's your one? Things can get confusing during a blue moon."
Rory didn't question how Caleb knew the blue moon was involved. It was the only time in the last month that he'd been away long enough to meet and mate with a woman not of the pack.
"Very. She carries my mark." There was a wealth of satisfaction in his voice as he made this declaration.
Caleb's eyes bulged out. "You marked a human? Are you insane?"
Am I? There were days he wondered. "It was fate. I fought it but..." The blue moon, Shay's heat, the fight--circumstances had all conspired against him. Made him a believer in destiny, however reluctantly.
Caleb continued, "If this woman is truly your mate, why the wait? She should be here with you now."
"She ran," he quietly admitted.
Caleb gaped. "After you marked her? What is she doing, trying to break the bond?"
"Aye." Rory could understand Caleb's surprise. The mate bond was almost impossible to break. He'd never heard of anyone accomplishing it, although no shifter would be crazy enough to try. Though they'd all been taught about true mates and how the process worked, none of them believed mating was possible with someone not of their species, not even the elders who'd taught them, so there was a lot he didn't know.
"How long has she been gone?"
"A little over three weeks now."
Rory could almost see Caleb's mind working, examining this information from every angle and calculating what impact it would have on the pack. His intelligence was the primary reason Caleb was his second, not to mention he was a damn strong wolf. A good man to have at his back.
Finally Caleb whistled. "She's strong."
"Damned strong...and cunning," Rory informed him, feeling the same sense of reluctant pride he'd felt since Shay's escape. That she'd managed to fight off the mating fever long enough to sneak away from him without his knowledge, even with his enhanced senses, still astounded him.
"Wait a minute. If she ran, how'd you get her to agree to come here and take this job for you?" Caleb asked.
The same wicked smile from earlier crossed his face. "She doesn't know it's me. I used the pack's lawyers to negotiate the contract."
Caleb whistled again. "This ought to be interesting."
They both fell silent.
"Again I ask, are you sure this is wise, bringing her here, with all that's going on?" As the head of security, Caleb had every right to question him. The pack was a mess. He knew it. Caleb knew it. Hell, even the pack knew it. Not only were the women fighting, but there was an undercurrent of rumblings questioning his ability to lead. There were always dissidents in any pack, but lately their numbers seemed to be growing. Even as distracted as he'd been, he'd noticed.
He debated telling Caleb the whole of it but in the end settled for simply stating, "I've no choice."
Caleb silently absorbed this. "You told Mac any of this?"
Michael MacDougal, his third in command. Not by choice but by pack hierarchy. "No."
"Hmm, if she's really your mate, he'll know as soon as he gets a whiff of her. So will the rest of the pack."
"That's what I wanted to talk to you about. I need you to keep this quiet, at least until I'm ready to make an announcement."
Caleb's lips quirked. "That will be difficult with the way everyone runs in and out of here." As alpha Rory had to be accessible to the pack at all times, which frequently meant little to no privacy.
"All I'm requesting is a few days. Give me a chance to get my mate settled. As far as everyone else is concerned, Shay is the consultant I hired to streamline the pack's computer systems, nothing more."
"And how do you plan to explain her staying with you here, in the house?"
"Easy. She's human. They'll expect me to keep her close, to make sure she doesn't discover what we are," Rory answered.
Caleb sighed. "I'll do what I can to keep everyone away. You know once the truth comes out, the council will want to vet her, make sure she's suitable to be the pack's alpha-fem."
"Unnecessary. The true mate bond supersedes council authority," Rory reminded him.
"They'll still try."
"Let them." The smile on Rory's face was lethal.