Not many men could’ve stood firm against the impact of her welcome, but since Matthias was built like a tank, he just caught her, giving her one of those small, quiet smiles that had fooled many a woman into thinking him shy. Half an hour after that and most of those women had probably found themselves sprawled na**d under him.
“What’re you doing here?” she asked after giving him an affectionate kiss.
Eyes as dark as mountain skies at midnight met hers as he squeezed the arm he had around her hips. “I’ve been hearing some mighty surprising rumors about you, darling.”
“Is that right?” Arching an eyebrow, she unhooked herself from his body and took enough of a step back that she could look up into his face.
Matthias wasn’t only built like a tank, he was taller than every other male in the pack, coming to something like six feet six. All of which would’ve made him a threatening-looking package but for that amazing face; a haunting mixture of Spain, the Far East, and the warm dark of his mother’s home-land of Tanzania, it had a way of making people forget just how lethal he could be.
But Indigo had known him too long to be bamboozled—and right now, she was very aware of the teasing light in those eyes of liquid night. “And what exactly,” she drawled, “have you been hearing?”
“Something about you setting up house with Riley’s baby brother.”
She knew it was a deliberate dig, meant to get her to give up information, so she plastered an innocent expression on her face. “Really? How interesting.” The hairs on the back of her neck rose at that moment, and she suddenly realized she could scent another male getting ever closer.
“Yeah,” Matthias said even as she was turning on her heel, “so I thought I better come on over and make sure you hadn’t forgotten who you belonged to.”
A growl of rage filled the air an instant before Drew’s body slammed out of the forest and into Matthias’s, taking the male lieutenant down to the ground.
“Fuck,” Indigo muttered as Matthias retaliated instinctively, one of those massive fists clocking Drew in the ribs.
Shaking off the blow as if he hadn’t even felt it, Drew slammed a punch into Matthias’s face, snapping it back. Matthias snarled and shoved Drew off his chest. Except Drew didn’t budge, crunching another fist into the other man’s jaw. This time, Matthias responded with a similar hit.
Indigo, having watched for a gap, jumped in between the two men as they flowed to their feet. “Stop!”
Drew’s eyes were wolf-copper when she looked up at him, and they were focused on Matthias. Who was doing a good job of imitating a wolf in human form. “Get out of my way, Indigo,” the big lieutenant snarled.
Drew’s body vibrated against her palm. “Don’t give her orders!” Reaching as if to pull her behind him, Drew sucked in a breath when she elbowed him sharply in the stomach at the same time that she kicked Matthias in the knee. He was too big to go down, but it did snap his attention to her.
“Enough,” she said, speaking to both of them. “Matthias, I need you to go to the den.”
“Why the fuc—” Matthias froze, blinked, and suddenly he was human again. “Aw, shit.”
Indigo stared at him. “What?” She’d expected to have to deal with his considerable sleeping volcano of a temper . . . except that it looked like he was going to apologize. “What?”
Matthias continued to look at Drew. “I was only kidding, man, you know that. I’d never have said it if I’d known.”
Drew was still growling low in his throat, his eyes that strange, fascinating copper. They tracked Matthias with unrelenting focus as the other man began to back off toward the den, rubbing at his bruised jaw with one hand.
“Matthias,” Indigo snapped. “What—”
Drew gripped the back of her neck, his mouth suddenly at her ear. “Don’t talk to him.”
Snarling, she was about to turn her own temper on him when the pieces fell into place with dizzying suddenness. Yes, Drew was dominant. Yes, Drew had a temper—one he was usually very good at hiding. But Drew was also very, very smart. He’d never have come out at a bigger, stronger opponent the way he had unless he’d been driven by something other than logic and reason.
Barely aware of Matthias disappearing into the trees, she put her hand on Drew’s chest. “Andrew,” she said in a calm, rational tone, “let me go or I’ll make spaghetti out of your insides.”
His hand still around her nape, he bent his head until his eyes were staring into hers—dominant, primitive, and devoid of civilized thought. It didn’t surprise her in the least when he growled and sank his teeth into the tender curve where her neck met her shoulder.
Hissing out a breath, she clenched one hand in his hair. Rational obviously was not going to work. In any other situation, her wolf would have gone for blood. But this wasn’t any other situation. This wasn’t any other man.
He’d bent for her more than once.
So today, she bent for him.
Letting her body soften in welcome, she held his head against her while she shoved her free hand under his T-shirt to lie on the heated skin of his back. Skin privileges. He didn’t change position for several seconds. When she didn’t move either, except to stroke her hand over his back, he finally released the grip he had on her with his teeth, laving his tongue over the small hurt even as his arms came around her in a much gentler—though no less possessive—hold.
His lips on her neck, over her cheek, on her lips.