Abby had thought a shower might help her jittery trembling, but nearly an hour under the erratic spray did nothing but shrivel her skin.
She found a robe hanging in the open closet and shivered into it, then climbed under the covers on the queen-sized bed. She stared at the silent, dark television screen as she rubbed a white towel over her hair.
Safe. She supposed she owed the Hamiltons a debt of gratitude, one she still didn't quite understand. Judging from everyone's behavior, what Dylan had done by defying his alpha and saving her was almost unheard of. Unthinkable. But if he hadn't...
She shuddered. Discomfort shot through her, making her skin prickle. The same nervousness she'd thought to ease with her shower resurfaced, strengthened. It almost hurt, and she found herself panting for breath.
Abby closed her eyes and tried to slow her breathing. In, out. In, out. A hot spike of pain twisted her belly, and she whimpered.
A heavy knock at the door startled her, and she slid halfway off the bed. Her knees would barely hold her, but she forced herself to walk across the room and look out the peephole.
Keith stood there, a concerned expression on his face. His gaze focused on the peephole, and he raised a hand. "I can help, Abby." He spoke softly, but she easily heard him through the door. "Let me help you."
She fumbled with the security chain and opened the door. "You can't. I don't even know what's wrong with me."
"I do." Keith stepped through the door and kicked it shut with an absent gesture, his attention already focused entirely on her. He reached out a hand and held it a few inches away from her cheek. "The wolf is trying to escape."
The desire to lay her cheek against his hand almost overwhelmed her, and she backed away from the door. "The moon won't be full until this weekend." Her legs hit the edge of the bed, and she sat, ignoring the yearning that flared within her.
"The moon forces the change," he agreed, taking a step toward her. He dropped to his knees and slid his hands onto the bed on either side of her hips. "But the change doesn't require the full moon. Until you learn control, strong emotions can bring her to the surface."
"Oh." The only strong emotion she felt at the moment involved finding out if his lower lip was as warm and soft as it looked. She realized she was staring, drew in a sharp breath and met his gaze. "What can you do?"
Keith closed his eyes, and in the next second, warmth surrounded her. Power built slowly in the room, an odd energy that tickled her skin and raised goose bumps on her arms. Something inside her reacted to it at once, and she leaned closer to him.
The energy wrapped around her, calming the tension in her belly. A small noise escaped her as she nestled her face in his neck and inhaled his scent, so different from her own and yet the same.
A soft tug of his hands brought her off the bed and into his lap. He slipped his fingers into her hair and held her face to his neck. "That's right," he whispered. "That's right, Abigail. You can feel it, can't you?"
She could feel him, and that was all that mattered. Abby arched against Keith and clutched his shirt, moaning her loss when he stopped murmuring in her ear. He was powerful, strong. She growled lightly and lifted her face to bite his jaw. I need you.
He stiffened, but didn't pull away. He smoothed his hand over her hair and down her back. "You're okay. You're okay, Abigail."
She panted against his skin for a moment, then froze. "Oh God." What the hell am I doing? "God, I'm sorry." She pushed away from his chest, her cheeks burning. "I'm sorry."
Keith tugged her back. "Don't undo everything I just did," he ordered softly. "Relax. You need to relax."
Even now, mortified by her own behavior, she wanted to sink her teeth into his skin again. She wanted to feel him inside her. "I need to get up, Keith. Really. I want--" She groaned and rested her forehead against his shoulder. "I need to get up."
His breath feathered against her ear. "Don't fight it, and it won't overwhelm you. I can keep you safe."
She didn't doubt that. But if she gave in to the need tearing at her, she didn't know what would happen. How far things would go.
She knew. Even as her hands slid up his shoulders and into his hair, she knew. Her tongue snuck out to taste the hollow of his neck, and she moaned again and wiggled closer. "Yes," she answered, though he hadn't asked anything.
She kissed him.
At first he didn't react. His hands stayed on her back, only tightening a little when her lips parted. She licked his bottom lip and went rigid when he stayed perfectly still. You're an idiot, Abby. He obviously didn't want to encourage her, and she'd both bitten and licked him in the space of a few minutes. She closed her eyes and sighed. "I didn't mean--"
"Don't." It sounded hoarse, more growl than speech. His fingers skated up her back and plunged into her hair, and he tilted her head back. "Christ ... Christ--"
Then he kissed her.