He’d touched her with exquisite tenderness when he’d brought her to pleasure this morning, but at this instant, he was pure demanding wolf, nipping at her lower lip, sucking at her upper one, stroking his tongue inside her mouth until she knew she’d carry the taste of him into her very dreams. As for his hands, one fisted in her hair, the other gripping her hip—proprietary didn’t even come close.
The temptation to submit was crushing. She’d wanted him for so long, and now that he’d given her the right to touch him, to hold him, she had to fight with her own hunger not to grab at the crumbs he offered. Maybe he was right, maybe they would never mate—but she knew, she knew, that this man with his beautiful wild heart was capable of giving far more than he was willing to risk.
Wrenching away her head, she twisted out of his hold using a trick Indigo had taught her and ended up on her feet on the other side of the desk. “Hawke, there’s—” !! The wordless warning from the primal part of her brain slammed through her a fraction too late—he was already launching himself over the desk and toward her.
Instinct punched to the surface, and she found she’d formed a wall of cold fire between them. He skidded to a halt on the other side, then angled his head in a move that was distinctly not human, touched his finger to the fire. A hissing breath, those wolf-pale eyes meeting hers through the rippling sheet of crimson flame licked with yellow. “You burned me.”
“Well,” she said, shoving tangled strands of hair off her face as her heart thudded double-time, “you didn’t seem to be willing to listen to reason.”
Not giving her any warning, he thrust his arm through the cold fire. But she’d already doused it and was out the door . . . to run headlong into a very hard, very wide male chest.
“Hey there, darling. Careful now.” Strong, unfamiliar hands on her shoulders.
Feeling Hawke exit the office, she took her chances and twisted around behind the solid bulk of the man she belatedly recognized as Matthias, all dark, dark eyes and rich brown skin shaped over a face that held hints of so many cultures, it was impossible to define him as anything but stunning. The big lieutenant gave her an odd look but shifted to intercept Hawke when he went to move around Matthias.
Saying a silent thank-you, Sienna took to her heels. It was self-preservation. In his current mood, Hawke might get her to agree to anything he wanted . . . even an existence in which she would forever be second best.
WALKER was on his way out of the infirmary after having had a late dinner with Lara, when he saw Kieran about to head in. The handsome young soldier carried a bouquet of colorful blooms.
“Are those for Lara?” He didn’t move out of the doorway.
“Yeah. I thought since she’s been working so hard, it might be nice for her to have these in her office.” A flashing smile. “Do you think she’ll like them?”
Walker didn’t have to think about his answer. “She won’t be getting a chance to see them.”
Kieran might’ve been human, but he’d grown up in a wolf pack. His gaze went flat with challenge. “How about we let Lara decide.”
“No.” Walker held the other man’s distinctive gray-green eyes until Kieran jerked his head away.
“Fuck.” Fingers crushing the slender stems in his grip, he thrust the bouquet onto Walker’s chest. “You might be more dominant, but I will skin you if you don’t treat her the way she should be treated.”
As Kieran stalked away, Walker looked at the crumpled flowers in his grasp and considered why he’d felt compelled to keep the other man from getting anywhere near Lara. Kieran had only been trying to look after her in his own way. Except, Walker realized, he didn’t want anyone else looking after the SnowDancer healer. Bringing her dinner when she worked late, making sure she got enough sleep, holding her when she cried, those were Walker’s responsibilities.
. . . you don’t have any other rights—you didn’t want them . . . They belong to the man with whom I’ll build a life, have children.
She’d been furious the night she’d thrown those words at him but that made them no less true. So . . . either he backed off right now, or he asked for the rights he’d once rejected. There was no guarantee she’d say yes. In fact, there was a high chance she would refuse, having moved on in her personal life.
His hands clenched around the already bruised stems in his grasp.
HAWKE growled at Matthias as he sensed Sienna disappearing down the corridor. “Get the hell out of my way,” he said to the big lieutenant.
Matthias folded those arms, which were the size of small tree trunks, and sighed. “I’m only looking out for your dignity. Chasing women down the corridors is not done.”
“I’ll chase whomever I want.” But the wolf’s temper was retreating.
Matthias grinned. “Pretty little thing, your Psy. And fast. What’d she do to get you in a hunting kind of mood?”
“None of your business.” Scowling, he jerked his head toward the office. “Since you refuse to leave.”
Matthias ambled in. “Nice to be here, even under these circumstances.”
“Primed and ready to go.” Matthias raised an eyebrow at the mess on Hawke’s desk but didn’t comment. “They know den territory, but I’ve got them doing a run to refamiliarize themselves.”
“Good. Make sure they don’t overdo it—I have a feeling the shit is going to hit the fan sooner rather than later, and I want them rested.”