Dana screamed as a huge figure dropped down from the ceiling and landed in a crouch. She grabbed the nearest vial and hoped the intruder was after a formula, not a hostage.
The imposing figure, dressed completely in black, straightened, towering over her barely five foot frame. The intruder's eyes deepened from a sky blue to midnight before he turned away. He strode quickly to the other end of the lab--right to the safe where Sairah stored her formulas.
"Hey!" Dana didn't realize she'd thrown the vial until it broke against the man's back. He didn't even flinch as he continued toward the safe. "Hello! Helpless woman over here. Witness to your thievery!"
It could have been the way he'd immediately discounted her ability to stop him, or it could have been the way he looked right through her--like every other man she'd ever known. Except Matthew. But he was married now.
The man put his hand on the safe, and Dana picked up another vial and threw it. It broke against the back of his head. When he turned to face her, his eyes flashed in irritation ... and something else. She hoped it was humor when he took a step toward her.
"I triggered the silent alarm. Security will be here in seconds. Unless you want to go to jail, I'd think about trying to escape." She wriggled, uncomfortable with his scent. Her sex swelled with desire for this stranger. This burglar. Her body responded in a way it had never done before, not even for Matthew. Her every sense, every molecule, stretched toward him in a desire to be touched, caressed, fucked. Visions of the two of them making love, having sex, ravishing each other, ran through her head, making her weak in the knees. No Areyl would have this kind of reaction to any male but her mate.
Her mate? No, that was impossible. What was wrong with her? She was in the middle of a robbery and all she and her body could think of was being taken here on a table hard and fast? Sairah was right. She'd been spending too much time in the lab. Perhaps some time on Cade's ship would help.
While she'd been busy inhaling the intruder's deliciousness, he'd closed the distance between them. His nostrils flared as his hands wrapped around her biceps. "What did you hit me with?" He lowered his face until his breath brushed against her lips. They twitched in sudden amusement. "I said, what did you hit me with?"
What if her senses were right, and this criminal was her mate? How fucking ironic was that? "Common sense?"
His fingers tightened on her arms until pain made her breath catch. Before she could protest, his mouth covered hers. There was no hesitant brush of lips or a slow kiss. Like the way he'd entered the lab, he took possession of her mouth. Hard and fast. His lips moved over hers as his tongue pushed against her teeth. He pressed his lower body against her. His erection--as startling as it was thrilling--aroused her even more.
The motion of his hips dragged a gasp from her. The man--her mate--took advantage and plundered her mouth, leaving her breathless and clinging to him by the time he pulled back enough to look into her eyes again. Condemnation and accusation burned against her and left her confused.
"Do you keep a love potion handy to stop all intruders, or just me?"
"Love potion?" Dana choked on laughter until she realized he was serious. Judging by his expression, he wasn't very happy about what he thought she'd done. "I only threw a vial of--" She turned back and looked at the table with the remaining vials. A giggle escaped, but she tried to control it before she further angered the man.
"Of?" he prompted none too gently, tightening his grip once more.
"You have real issues, you know that?"
"Woman, what the fuck did you hit me with?"
"A love potion."
"Well, normally, yeah. But not for you. They're male pheromones, so they shouldn't affect you. Unless you're homosexual. Are you? Although judging by your member, I'd guess you are very heterosexual. Or at least bi."
Dana didn't wait for an answer, already in instructor mode. "Male pheromones would attract a female, or another male that's already into other males. They can also increase possessiveness and the desire to protect one's territory. That's what these are for. They aren't normal pheromones. They've been chemically altered to only affect the territorial aspects of the male physiology. So although being subjected to these male pheromones might make you more territorial, it won't usually arouse someone. It's something we've been working on to help the less aggressive species that are being overtaken and destroyed by predators not native to their environment."
"Male pheromones?" He shook her, focusing her attention back on the point at hand--the fact he'd broken into her lab and held her tightly against her will.
"Yeah, I mean regular female pheromones should turn you on. I'm not sure why you'd react to the male ones so strongly. They shouldn't do that to anyone." She winced from his bruising grip. "Could you please let me go? I'm losing circulation in my hands."
He made a distinct sound of disgust as he released her. As she rubbed her arms to stimulate the blood to flow again, the door slammed open. Cade and several guards came running in. Cade skidded to a halt, grabbing onto the guards just before they could restrain the intruder. Her mate. "Jacob?"
Jacob? The name suited him. While she wasn't sure what it meant, it made her think of a dark, mysterious man. One who was good, not one who would burgle, and apparently do it to someone he knew.
"Hello, Cade." Jacob took a step away from her.
"What are you doing with Dana?"
"Dana?" Jacob's eyes focused on her once more. They darkened with desire and mistrust, and she knew which emotion was winning by the way his hands clenched at his sides.
She debated not looking for all of two seconds before her eyes homed in on his erection. Any woman would look, and since he was her mate, why shouldn't she look to her heart's content? She almost purred in pleasure at the size of his ... package.
"I asked you a question, Jacob. What is my new second-in-command doing in my wife's lab?"
The pheromones. Shit. "Cade, I had an accident with some of the male pheromones Sairah brought in for experimentation. Jacob is covered in it. Your reaction to him right now is being affected by the pheromones."
Cade shook his head, trying visibly to control himself. It was interesting how differently the men reacted. The two guards still looked ready to attack, and she wondered if they would reach a point where they wouldn't even look to Cade for direction. Another glance at the guards had her reassessing the situation. One of them was definitely not looking at Jacob in an aggressive manner. That was lust, pure and simple, across his face.
Damn. Had they made a mistake? Did the pheromones still contain chemicals for attraction as well as aggression? Was that why she felt so strongly toward Jacob? Did she want him only because of the pheromones?
No. There was no way that could be possible. The sexual aspect of the pheromones might explain some of her body's reaction to him, but not the emotional ones. She needed to get the pheromones on Jacob neutralized and then they could find out what he was doing breaking into the lab. "We need to get this mess cleaned up quickly. Can you ask Sairah to come help?"
Dana grabbed Jacob's arm and started to lead him to the emergency shower. Cade hissed and reached for her. Jacob hissed back, and before she knew it, all four men had partially shifted into feline form. "Shiiiiiiiiit."