Mathias’s chest rumbled as he spoke, his hand moving gently on her back. “Ticking along. We miss you—do you plan to visit?”
“I can’t.” Not yet. “Maybe in a few more months…”
Matthias’s jaw brushed her hair. “No pressure, darling.” They danced in warm silence until Adria caught a scent that made her spine lock—right before Matthias said, “I think someone’s about to steal you away.”
Not wanting to make a scene and mar the celebration, she didn’t protest when Matthias stepped back. “Take care of my girl,” he warned.
Riaz muttered something pithy in Spanish that made Matthias laugh, but all Adria could hear as he took her into his arms was the frantic beat of her pulse, thudding in time to his own. Too fast, both of them, their skin too hot. “Why are you doing this?” she whispered, her voice stripped bare.
Riaz’s answer sounded torn out of him. “I can’t stop myself.” He shifted her closer, the move so unexpected, she didn’t resist—and found herself plastered to the hard strength of him. His arousal pushed into her abdomen, the hot male scent of him seeping into her veins until she could taste the dark forests and biting citrus of him against her tongue.
Breath coming in small pants, she shook her head, but the words she wanted to say wouldn’t come, her brain hazed by need, such vicious need. When Riaz backed off, only to take her hand and tug her deep into the thick black of the trees, she knew she shouldn’t go, but her feet kept moving forward, following him into the concealing shadows. The music continued to play behind them, but here, it was hushed and quiet.
Shoving her against a tree, he kicked her legs apart and suddenly his mouth was on her own, ravaging and taking and demanding. The civilized, rational part of her brain just stopped working. She gripped at his shoulders, her nails digging into heavy muscle as his tongue licked at her mouth, tangled with her own, the kiss an open, wet, voracious fury of contact.
Their gasped breaths were loud in the silence, their heartbeats thunder, and his hand when it closed over her breast, a shocking brand. Her cry swallowed by the rough demand of his mouth, she found herself rubbing up against him, trying to rise on tiptoe to create the perfect fit. Her frustration when she couldn’t was shattered when his fingers squeezed her nipple through the silky material of her top, rolling and tugging. His hand dropped all too soon … to slide under her top and spread on her abdomen, his fingers brushing the waistband of her sleekly tailored black pants.
His hand had touched her there once before.
A thread of reason broke through the blinding haze of passion, but his mouth was on her own again before it could penetrate, his free hand around her throat, and she was drowning. He was so big and strong, and he wanted her so desperately. It stroked the wolf’s battered ego, made her claws prick out and dig into his flesh through the fine black cotton of his shirt.
He hissed out a breath, but it wasn’t a sound that told her to stop. Instead, he kissed her harder, his fingers tugging open her fly to cup her possessively over the lace of her panties. Jerking, she felt herself grow even wetter, and from the growl that poured into her mouth, vibrating against her ni**les, he felt it, too.
Then his fingers pushed aside the gusset of her panties and the thread of reason became a scream.
“I don’t like you.”
Shoving him back with every ounce of her strength, she wrenched herself away from the tree. “Oh God, God.” Her shaken gaze landed on his passion-fevered face, his cheekbones slicing against the dusky brown of his skin, his eyes a dangerous, brilliant gold.
Her wolf lunged toward him.
But she was human, too. Reining in the wolf with an iron grip, she somehow managed to do up her pants and tug down her pretty, silky black top hand-painted with a single stunning butterfly on the back. The material was thankfully immune to wrinkles, and her hair, it was still in place—Riaz had been so focused on her mouth … and lower.
Her lips felt swollen, but the apparent result of a few stolen kisses would catch no one’s attention. As for the fact that she was covered in his scent—she’d just been dancing with him. All that went through her mind in a single split second as her sense of reason, of self, reawakened with a violent howl, her entire body quivering from the shock of halting an erotic dance that would’ve had her pinned against the tree in another couple of minutes, her bare legs wrapped around his waist as he f**ked her.
And that, she thought with grim honesty, was all it would’ve been. Because whatever the cause of the rage she sensed in his kiss, Riaz, tall and strong and blood-loyal to SnowDancer, wasn’t capable of anything else. Not with her. “I’m worth more,” she told him, wiping the back of her hand across her mouth. “Affection, respect, tenderness, I’m worth all of that, so don’t you dare come near me again until you’re ready to offer it.”
RIAZ SHOVED SHAKING hands through his hair as Adria turned and walked away, her h*ps swaying in unintended provocation beneath the exquisite fit of her pants, the insubstantial silk of her top alternately floating and caressing her body. His hand flexed, the sensory echo of her so warm and responsive a mocking taunt.
Gritting his teeth against the urge to drag her back, he punched his fist into the tree where he’d almost had her. He knew he could find another lover tonight. It wasn’t simply that people were in a celebratory mood. As Eli had pointed out earlier, he’d been offered a number of invitations since his return from Europe, and not all of those women wanted anything from him other than a good, hot tussle in bed.