Then he opened the bakery box in his hand to reveal a slice of New York cheesecake. “Since I ruined the experience of the other one.” Putting it on the blanket between them, he placed several fresh berries on top and nudged it her way. “It’s all for you.”
Indigo’s heart threatened to melt, but she held firm. Sure, he looked woebegone, but she’d known him far too long to fall for that. “Thanks.” Taking the cheesecake, she picked up the fork and ate a bite, watching as Drew packed up the rest of the stuff and moved the basket so he could sidle up right next to her. “Watch it,” she muttered.
Startled, she glanced at him—to see that those always-laughing eyes had gone truly solemn, his expression intent. “About what?” Her wolf had to be certain. Neither part of her liked shades of gray.
“About the way I acted the other night.” A sheepish smile. “You were right. I was high on adrenaline—I should’ve crashed instead of hitting on you.”
Suspicion whispered through her veins. There was something he wasn’t saying, she thought, but she couldn’t quite figure out the loophole. “Why didn’t you say this earlier?”
“I wanted to do it right—and you were too mad to listen.”
Yes, she admitted, she had been. Her sense of betrayal had been—she could now admit—out of all proportion to what he’d actually done. Except that it had been him, a wolf she’d given her deepest trust.
He nudged her shoulder with his own when she stayed silent. “I hate that I’m worried about touching you now,” he said. “And I know it’s my fault.” A pause. “Indy, come on. Do you know how early I had to get up to go get your cheesecake?” Big blue eyes that looked as guileless as a newborn pup’s.
She knew half of it was an act—but her wolf liked his playfulness. She always had. And . . . he had apologized. Flat out. No reservations. Most dominant wolves—and Drew was categorically a dominant, for all that he fooled people into thinking otherwise—had trouble with the s word, even when they were utterly in the wrong. Maybe he hadn’t been avoiding her because he was sulking, she decided; maybe he had actually been figuring out how to apologize. As a dominant herself, she understood exactly how hard it had to have been for him.
So she scooped up a bite of the cheesecake and lifted the fork to his mouth. He accepted it, a smile creasing his face. Then he nuzzled at her neck, and her wolf allowed it . . . welcomed it.
That was when Indigo realized she’d hated not being able to touch Drew, too.
Andrew fisted a hand on the blanket behind Indigo, drawing the rainstorm and steel scent of her into his lungs. His wolf was starved for it, rolled around in it as if it was drunk, unable to get enough. When she didn’t push him away, he allowed himself another precious, excruciating second to indulge in the silken heat of her skin before raising his head.
She lifted another bite of cheesecake in his direction. Giving a huge sigh, he held out a hand. “No, no. I told you it was all for you.”
A tug of her lips. “You’re terrible, you know that.” She put the fork to his lips.
He parted them, let her feed him, the small intimacy making his wolf want to sing in thrumming pleasure. “That’s why you love me.”
A shake of her head, but her lips curved upward, her eyes shimmering with laughter. “How did Riley ever put up with you when you were a child?”
“You know Riley. Nothing bothers him.” Except Mercy, Andrew thought. His brother, the Wall, had fallen. And so would Andrew’s smart, stubborn Indigo. “I’d do something stupid, he wouldn’t yell, wouldn’t snarl, he’d just dump me in the lake. Rinse and repeat until I got the point.”
Indigo snickered, and it made his wolf go motionless, c**k its head. The sound of her happiness . . . yeah, he’d do anything for it.
“Too bad you’re too big to be dumped in the lake now.”
Lying back on the blanket with his arms folded beneath his head, he stared up at the leaves outlined against the excruciating blue of the sky. It was a stunning beauty, but it couldn’t hold his attention. Indigo’s scent, her warmth so close, her hip brushing his, it scored him to the soul. “Oh, I dunno,” he said, keeping it light because there was no way he wanted to spook her again, “he did it a few weeks ago.”
He all but saw Indigo’s wolf prick up its ears. Twisting her body, she leaned over to put the empty bakery box beside the picnic basket, then placed one hand on his chest, gave a little nudge. “Tell me.”
Her touch locked the air in his throat, threatened to steal his words, his soul. Indigo nudged again when he didn’t answer. “I’ll find out anyway, you know.”
Glad she’d misunderstood his silence, he made a face at her. “All I said was that he should shave.”
Leaning down until her nose almost touched his, she narrowed her eyes, “Uh-huh. Which part of him did you suggest he shave?”
He grinned, his wolf delighted with her. “His head.” When Indigo touched her nose to his, he dared raise one of his hands and play with strands of her hair, her ponytail having tumbled over her shoulder. “I might have hinted that he was turning old and gray. Oh, and maybe losing his hair anyway.”
Indigo’s body shook. “You know newly mated men are touchy about things like that.” But her hand clenched on his T-shirt before she fell away and onto her back beside him, the sound of her laughter husky and open. “God, I wish I’d seen his face.”