She groaned as he demanded she open her mouth, and gave in. Hard and hot and deep, the kiss could have only one conclusion. She didn’t stop him when he ripped away her T-shirt to expose the sports bra she wore underneath, cried out when he broke the kiss to take her right nipple into his mouth through the soft fabric, his hand covering the mound of her neglected breast, fondling and teasing.
He’d never stopped growling low in his throat, but now that growl became more a quiet rumble than a roar. She was ready when he pushed her down to the earth, ready when he lifted his head and kissed her again, ready when his hand stroked and petted her body with rough promise.
What she wasn’t ready for was for him to raise his head and give her a dazed look. “Indy?”
She closed her hands over the taut muscle silk of his shoulders. “It’s okay,” she said, tugging him back down.
But he resisted, shaking his head as he knelt to straddle her body. A blink, and when he looked at her again, his eyes were the blue of Sierra lakes in sunshine once more. “I hurt you.” He touched the bite mark with careful fingers.
She pushed herself up on her elbows, unable to go any farther—he’d trapped her lower body with his own. “Yeah, well, I’ve clawed you more than a few times during sex and you don’t seem to mind.”
“That’s different.” A thunderous scowl.
Once, her response would’ve been anger . . . but being with Drew had changed something in her, taught her that laughter could be as powerful as fury. “Because it’s okay for you to be a show-off but not me?”
Putting his hands palms down on either side of her, he glowered. “A male doesn’t hurt his mate.”
And there it was. The reason her gorgeous, generous, laughing lover had turned into a crazed beast without warning.
The words seemed to penetrate his mind at the same moment. “We’re in the mating dance.”
They stared at each other for several long minutes. Then Drew began to smile, his eyes shifting from blue to copper and back again. “We’re in the mating dance.”
Falling back onto the earth, she poked him in the chest. “Don’t look so satisfied. Just because we’re in the dance doesn’t mean my wolf will accept the mating itself.” Exhilaration raced through her, along with a healthy dose of panic.
Andrew, able to think again now that the red haze of jealous rage was no longer clouding his judgment, looked down into those stunning eyes, saw the wolf prowling beyond, and knew he’d have to walk carefully. He’d courted her, played with her, and won her. But now the stakes had changed again, become much, much higher. Because there was no “out” once wolves mated—it was for life.
“Yeah?” he murmured, changing position so that his legs tangled with hers, though he kept his upper body braced on his forearms. “Then maybe I’ll just have to seduce your wolf into it.”
She stroked her hands across his shoulders to curve over his nape. “Why didn’t you know?” she asked, her hold possessive in a way that made his own wolf sing. “The male always knows when the dance begins.”
“That’s why I headed out to see you—I felt it kick in without warning.” It had been a shock to his system, a joy he’d never expected, and he hadn’t even thought about not sharing it with Indigo, whatever the consequences. “Then I reached here and heard what Matthias was saying and smelled your scent mixed with his and . . .”
“Kaboom,” Indigo completed with a laugh. “Well, now we know one thing—Matthias can be taken down if you hit him hard enough.”
Andrew’s wolf growled in pride. “I was feeling no pain. I can’t actually remember most of it—ouch!” he cried as Indigo poked gently at his side.
She winced. “Sorry. Let me look.”
Bracing his weight on his opposite side, he allowed her to tug up his T-shirt. Angling her head, she winced again. “I think he probably broke your ribs. The bruise is already forming.”
“Worth it,” he said, nuzzling his nose against hers as she petted the hurt spot with a tender touch. “When are you going to mate with me?”
She nipped his jaw. “When you convince me it’s worth my while.”
Dipping his head into her neck, he kissed the bite mark and hid his smile against her skin.
Because she hadn’t pulled back, hadn’t pulled away. He’d been half-terrified that she would, that all they’d achieved would be buried under her wolf’s savage refusal to surrender to that depth of vulnerability. Instead, that wolf had looked out of her eyes with pure challenge a moment ago. Catch me, it had said, catch me and maybe I’ll be yours.
Dressing for work the next day—and given that she wouldn’t be doing any physical training—Indigo pulled on a pair of jeans that fit her like a second skin and sat easily on her hips, her favorite boots, and a black tee with a respectable scoop neck. When she pulled her hair off her face and into her usual ponytail, the bite mark on the lower curve of her neck stood out like a beacon.
Smiling, she finished getting ready, throwing on a hip-length leather-synth jacket as a final touch. She was about to head out when she hesitated. She wasn’t bothered by the mark—her wolf actually approved of the aggressive way Drew had reacted to what he’d read as a threat to his claim over his mate. But Drew was still beating himself up over it. Every time he saw the mark, he got a black look on his face.
She could cover it up . . . but her wolf rejected the idea. This was who she was, and if the man who wanted to be her mate didn’t know that by now, well, she’d have to beat him over the head with the truth until he got it.