Karla Alves listened to her friends’ hushed arguing—back and forth—over using the word “over.” She wanted to step in and tell them all to forget about the stupid word and remember the scenting ritual. After all, that was the whole reason they were using the stinking radio devices in the first place. The entire conversation was ridiculous, and she wished there was a mute button she could press. She peered into the woods and tugged on the ear piece.
“We are wearing frigging black spandex for you. I draw the line at painting lines on my face and hauling army gear. I am not going to end each thing I say with over,” Jordan threw in.
Thank you, Jordan. If Karla hadn’t agreed to help video the ceremony so Jordan could write a book for their friend Ellie, the only wolf shifter in the group, she’d never have thought to show up and peep into the ancient ritual.
Karla glanced down at the ceremony area. The Sexy Four—Ellie’s fine and fabulous brothers whom they all secretly loved to crush over—had just spoken to their parents before they separated and moved into the woods. Nerves and something like excitement sizzled in Karla’s blood. Great. She must be nuts if she thought being out there with the very real possibility of getting caught was exciting.
Emma barked out another radio command. That did it. She yanked the earpiece out. She was getting a migraine listening to all the orders from her friend. She loved Emma, really, she did. But she couldn’t handle any of her drill sergeant commands tonight.
Karla pushed another curl behind her ear while she ground her teeth. Her clothes were uncomfortable, and she kept stomping her feet in restlessness as if she was waiting for something big to happen.
The last time she’d felt this way, her brother Kelvin said she’d get into trouble. Sure enough, later that night, she’d had a fender-bender with a cop. Kelvin told her to stop ignoring her instincts and listen to what they said. Right now, they told her to get the heck out of there because she was in over her head. But did she listen? Oh, hell no. The excitement of seeing wolves in a mating ritual was just too enticing. Who in their right mind could turn the offer down? Obviously, this wasn’t something humans should be privy to, so her group of friends were to hide and stay quiet the entire night.
Karla had been tempted to point out all that was wrong with their plan, but she’d held back.
- She hadn’t appreciated the black clothing request. She was hot. The damn yoga pants were from last year. They were a size too small and cut off her tummy, giving her a muffin top. She tugged at the front of the black tank and blew air into her boobs. It was hot.
- They hadn’t eaten first. Now she was sweaty and hungry.
- She has a perfectly good home that she could be in. Far away from trees, dirt, and creepy noises in the dark. Oh how’d she’d love to be wearing her stars and moons pajama pants in her too cold house.
Crouched down, she glanced at the ceremony area. Her thoughts turned back to the Sexy Four, and particularly Nate—the man no one else had ever measured up to. Nate, with his muscular body and tribal tattoos over his arms and chest. He had enough that she could spend a full day drawing each line of them with her fingers. Nate, with his pierced ears and all the making of a bad, bad boy she should really stay away from. But she couldn’t.
She remembered the first time she’d met him at Ellie’s house. The way he’d smiled. She was never the same again. Christ. That was almost seven years back. He’d come to her rescue multiple times. She’d blown a tire once, and he’d shown up out of nowhere to fix it before she had a chance to call a tow truck. And she would never forget the time they’d gone to the masquerade ball Ellie had for one of her birthdays. That had been the very first night Karla had worn a girly dress and done her best to look pretty. Or as pretty as she could get away with. The gold medieval gown she’d borrowed from her drama class had allowed her to look the part of a beautiful princess. Nate had worn a pirate outfit. The one with his chest all bare. At the time, his hair had been longer, shaggy and tempting her to run her fingers through. The tight pants and almost wild features had played havoc with her thinking ability.
When she’d seen him, all she could think of was touching his half-naked chest, running her nails down the washboard abs, and biting a nipple that continued to peek from the white shirt. One look. That’s all it took for some kind of magic to happen. Her heart beat fast and her palms moistened with perspiration. She’d rushed away to grab a much-needed breath of fresh air. He’d followed her outside and kissed her. A single kiss under the moonlight, and she’d become infatuated with him for the rest of her college years. The memory of his firm warm lips over hers rushed blood to her head. Her lips tingled with the reminder of how much he’d turned her on.
Her infatuation with him wasn’t healthy, and it bordered on pathetic. Tired of feeling like a failure in the relationship department, tired of waiting on a man who might never be, she needed to start dating. She wanted a family of her own. She wanted a man who would be there long term. She wanted more.
Of course, none of her other friends ever mentioned her lack of social life, but that was because they didn’t have much of one either. Emma didn’t think they noticed how obsessed she was with Mason, and Nic tried to hide her attraction to Jake to no avail.
Besides, Karla had never dated much anyway. And unlike what her sister believed, it wasn’t because she was curvy. Not at all. She loved her smaller waist and bigger hips. Heck, most men loved her big boobs and ass. Latinas were proud of their bodies, and she was no exception. But she didn’t have much of a social life because her mind was always running rampant with thoughts of Ellie’s older brother. No matter what she tried, her brain didn’t listen and focused on Nate and all his sexy tattooed glory for most of her daydreams.
A warm breeze ruffled the trees, and she glanced at her camera. The stupid tripod didn’t want to stay in place. She grumbled under her breath. Squatting down, she jiggled the tiny metal legs into the earth, hoping to steady it. A couple of rocks would help. She grabbed a few of the biggest ones and circled the tripod legs with them to keep it stable.
Long strands of frizzy hair kept falling forward out of her ponytail, tickling the side of her face. She tugged the annoying hair behind her ear and continued to mess with the tripod.
“Stupid, friggin’, piece of—”
A low growl sounded close. Too close. She whipped up to her feet, still holding one of the rocks in her hands and turned in a flash. Unfortunately, she was also one of the clumsiest people and tripped on her own feet. She lost her balance, and she fell on her ass.
A howl sounded from the ceremony site, and she scrambled to her knees to watch one of the wolves, she’d guess it was Marco because he was bigger, sniffing Kelly’s behind.
“Just like a man to go straight for the goods.” She snorted.
But she didn’t get a chance to keep watching. Something bumped her backside, pushing her forward. She tangled on the tripod and fell on her face.
“Oh, for crying out loud.” Clearly, she sucked at being inconspicuous. Strands of hair fell forward, covering her vision. She lifted on all four and flipped to sit on her ass. There he was, the one shifter that drove her absolutely crazy in every way possible.
“Spot? What are you doing here? And why did you bury your nose in my ass, you pervert?”
Not that it turned her on that he put his nose in her ass. It was…weird. He growled. The low deep sound twisted her belly into all kinds of knots. Oh, boy. She was in trouble. Staring at his cute furry face, she was very tempted to lift a hand and pet him.
Nathan, big, bad, sexy, pierced hunk of male candy stood not more than five feet in front of her in his wolf form. The form that looked like a cute Dalmatian-wolf with a white spot over his muzzle, hence the name she’d given him, “Spot.”
His eyes glittered in that golden shade from his animal. A shiver raced down her spine.
“I know how this must look, but it’s not what you think.” She felt like a moron talking to him when he was a giant wolf. He took a step toward her. She squiggled an inch further away. With a quick swipe, she moistened her dry lips with the tip of her tongue. “We were invited to be here. I swear.”
Where the hell was the conviction she always spoke with in front of him? Oh, gone into the depths of hell it seemed. He took another step closer, between her open legs.
“Spot? Nathan—Nate,” she murmured, hoping he’d forget she was there and not tell the others he’d found her. “I’ll go now. I…I’m here for research purposes only.”
Her mind ran a million miles per hour. What should she do? Another step. His muzzle got too close to her crotch for comfort.
What was he doing?
“Hey!” She instinctively slapped his nose and scooted back. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?”
Her temper rose and deflated as she watched him shift in front of her. Wow. She’d never actually seen him do this up close before. Okay, she’d never seen him go from wolf to man, only man to wolf and that had been one time. This was…new. Different. And very interesting. There was no looking away. Bones popped, fur receded, and oh dear God, what was left behind should be on a calendar of lickable hot bodies. Hell, she wouldn’t mind having a photo of him on the ceiling of her bedroom like a teen heartthrob. That body was one she wouldn’t mind panting over for hours.
Muscles replaced fur. Bulging arms and legs replaced paws, and yes, there it was, a straining erection between his legs. His big body loomed over her.
She swallowed hard. “You’re…um…you’re naked.”
She’d never seen him naked. Ever. She’d definitely imagined him naked, but this was better than her imagination. A quick flare of curiosity burst free. Stop it! She would end up in even bigger trouble if she did what she wanted and ran her nails down his body. What a body.
His nostrils flared. “I know.”
“No. I mean…you’re really, really naked,” she repeated in stupefied fascination. He had the kind of body she could stare at for hours and not get bored. The kind of body she could pet and kiss and lick and suck and erm, yeah, that kind of body.
Good God she was in trouble. Deep trouble. The kind of trouble her brother said followed her around. Her throat went sandpaper dry watching his cock gleam with his own need. And the way he said her name, rough and low and possessive, it deleted all thoughts of everything but him. Him and his big sexy body and the fact she’d wanted him for too damn long. Their eyes met, and heat spread down to her pussy. He crawled between her legs, coming closer and closer, so slowly she held her breath and dared not move. He continued moving forward, pushing her to lean back on her elbows, until he was on all fours above her.
“What…um…what are you doing?” She asked in a voice sexy, husky. She had a hard time believing it was her own. She breathed hard, as if she’d been running for dear life instead of sitting still watching him crawl all over her.
He rubbed his nose on her tummy and growled. “It’s for research purposes only.”
What the hell kind of research was he doing that he needed to be sniffing her? She tried, but couldn’t stop the wetness that pooled in her panties.
“Baby,” he groaned. A quick flick of his wet tongue and he licked her belly in a circle. “You smell delicious.”
She did? She was sweaty and hadn’t showered since they left hours ago. “Are you drunk? I thought your kind couldn’t get drunk?”
He chuckled into her tank top, his hot breath slipping between the threads of the fabric to caress her overheated skin. Her nipples scrunched up into tight little points.
“Not drunk…” He growled, rubbing his nose up her collarbone. “Want you.”
Well it was about damn time. She grinned, watching the lines of his face tighten with arousal. Truth was, she wanted him badly. Enough she couldn’t think straight. It was good to know he was feeling some of the same desperation. Instant sparks of heat melted in her blood and turned the butterflies in her stomach loose.
“Nate?” She met his gaze and licked her lips. His eyes flashed, and she saw the wild side of him deep in his gaze, waiting to pounce. “Kiss me already.”
“Baby.” He nuzzled her lips with his, making her almost crazy with the need to deepen the contact. “I’m going to kiss every inch of you until there’s no doubt who you belong to.”
Her heartbeat thundered hard in her chest. The sound hard and booming. She could hardly hear him above the errant beats. Passion heated her blood to boiling.
“Promises,” she said breathlessly, glancing from his eyes down to those smirking lips of his, unwilling to be the one who gave in first.
Then he pounced. Lips met in a hot demand of need. He attacked her mouth like she was the only woman he’d ever want to kiss. Like he owned her. They fell back into the grass, bodies plastered together. Arousal curled into a thick ball in her stomach. She dug her nails down his back to grip his bare ass.
He groaned, rubbed his erection between her thighs, and sucked on her bottom lip. She smiled in between kisses, loving how good he felt pressing her down on the grass, his warm body blanketing hers. She wiggled her hips.
“Keep that up, and I won’t be responsible for my actions,” he murmured kissing her jaw and neck. Each brush felt like a slide of satin over her skin.
“Who said I want you to be responsible?” Goosebumps broke over her skin at his scorching look. She couldn’t stop herself from telling him how she felt. “I want you too. Now. So bad I think I may go crazy if you don’t do something soon. Stop hedging already.”
That was the first time she’d ever told a man how much she wanted him, and by the smile on his face, she was sure she’d done the right thing.
“I don’t have protection with me, sweetheart.”
For a split second she considered telling him to stop. And then she sent those thoughts straight to hell. Stop? No way! “I’m on birth control for medical reasons.” She puffed the words out because she knew what she said next would be very revealing. “I’ve only been with one other man. I trust you. Besides, I know you don’t carry human diseases.”
Nate’s eyes brightened to a liquid gold she could get lost in. His nostrils flared and he inhaled sharply. “Are you sure?”
“More than I’ve ever been.”
He kissed her again. Deep. Hard. Hungry. Each swipe of his tongue over hers drove her a little closer to the edge of reason. Every brush of his lips melted more of her willpower and any thoughts of stopping. Clothes came off in the time it took her to take a breath, and then his body was over hers again, lips branding her as his. That all-consuming kiss lasted but a short moment before he moved to her chest. Her gasp of pleasure as his mouth encased her nipple was loud. She didn’t care. She could only feel at that point. Feel his tongue flicking back and forth over her hard little tip while his hand molded the flesh of her other breast in his grasp.
When he sucked hard on her nipple, she swore lights exploded behind her lids. Her body shook. She couldn’t stop the rocking of her hips, searching for his cock to enter her. To fill her. Another full body shiver, and his dick slipped to the entrance of her sex. That didn’t last.
With every moan out of her lips, he moved further down her body, until he was lying between her thighs. She dug her nails into the spikes of grass at her sides and glanced down, past her quivering belly to meet his golden stare.
“You and me, babe.” His look turned possessive. She groaned. “There’s no going back after this.”
“Yes, please.” She whimpered and lifted her ass off the grass, hoping he’d get the picture.
He licked around her clit, in a slow, lazy circle. Her whimper tore from her dry throat. “Nate…please.”
“I’ve got you.”
Another slow lick and she groaned, gripped his short hair in her fists, and pushed him into her crotch. “No more games or you’ll be in trouble.”
“What do you want then?” He asked in that playful growly voice she adored.
“Make me come. Or go for broke and make me come twice.”
He licked at her clit in quick flicks. Her muscles tensed in expectation.
“Oh, God!” she choked out.
His hot breath caressed her folds as he swiped his tongue repeatedly over her pussy and drove it into her channel. The sensation was unbelievable. She squirmed in his hold, gripping his hair and rocking her hips over his lips. Her blood felt on fire from how hot she was inside. She couldn’t form a coherent sentence if her life depended on it. All she knew was that at any moment, Nate’s licks were going to bring her over the edge. He shoved his face in her pussy, burying his tongue into her channel.
He reared back. She struggled to breathe as she met his gaze. “This is only the beginning, sweetheart.”
He went back to fucking her pussy with his tongue. Over and over. Each glide erotic. Like silken heat. She could only take choppy breaths and moan through it all. And when he growled, she came apart. The tension inside her unraveled so fast it left her breathless. A quick explosion of bliss and her body filled with joy as she rode the pleasure wave.
She screamed his name. Loud. With her body still shaking from how hard she’d come and her legs jellified, she tried to grasp enough air into her lungs not to pass out. That’s when he crawled up her body, kissing her with lips that still held the taste of her own climax.
He slipped into her pussy in a quick, hard drive. She dug her nails into his slick shoulders and panted. Their gazes met. Passion flared bright. White-hot. She tugged his head down for a kiss, raking her nails into his short hair and clutching the strands at the back of his head.
Tongues tangled. Breaths mingled. And the world ceased to exist. She curled her legs around his waist, crossing her ankles at the small of his back. She clung to him, letting him own her with each thrust. Her body no longer hers but his now. Owned by him.
The wild kiss turned scorching. Nothing but the feel of his tongue delving deep into her mouth at the same time he filled her with his cock. He slipped a hand between their sweaty bodies and rubbed circles over her swollen clit. She tore away from the kiss with a moan.
“Oh, God! Nate…”
He swiped his cool wet tongue over her neck, rubbing over her harsh beating pulse. “Let go, baby.”
One tap on her clit and she flew. Colors danced in a rainbow of lines and shapes behind her lids. A scream lodged in her throat as her back arched off the ground with how hard she came. Her body vibrated with each new wave of pleasure flooding her core.
Taking choppy breaths, she opened her eyes to meet his bright ones. With his cock still rock hard, he pulled out of her. In the moment it took her to gasp, she was on her stomach with him lifting her ass high in the air. She glanced over her shoulder to see him clenching his jaw.
“Stay this way, baby,” he said with his voice low, rough. “I need inside you.”
God, she needed him inside her too. Digging her nails into the grass, she leaned down and waited. He slid his hands down her back, kissed her cheeks, and a moment later pushed the head of his cock into her pussy. His thick shaft stretched her as he took her in a quick thrust.
“Oh!” She whimpered low. Tension wound into a tight ball of need in her core. He drove forth and pulled back. Each slide slickening her pussy. Each thrust tore louder moans from her throat. His fingers bit into her hips, holding her in place. Another thrust. Harder now.
“Yes! God, that feels good.”
Her words seemed to propel him into increasing his speed. All she could do was enjoy the ride. His cock rubbed her pussy walls in a friction she’d pay to feel forever. A shiver raced down her spine, sparking never used pleasure cells to life. She squeezed her pussy muscles around his cock.
He dropped to all fours behind her, not once missing a beat. His body surrounded her, cocooning her in his warmth. It was sexy and erotic. The position wasn’t new, but it was Nate with his large body covering her with his heat that tattooed the moment into her brain. Unforgettable. His strokes continued in a rapid pace that increased the sizzle in her blood with each glide. She was lost to the sensations. Lost to how close she was to flying.
Then he did it again. He rubbed her super sensitized clit in quick flicks and sent her soaring.
“Oh. My. God!”
She was lost in the pleasure. In the bliss of adrenaline that filled her veins and took over. His teeth scraped the back of her shoulder in a bite that only enhanced her orgasm. Kept her mindless. His thrusts stopped suddenly, his body tensed, and then he growled.
“Mine. Only mine.”
His orgasm shook him hard enough she felt it when he plastered his chest to her back. The bite turned painful enough to make her scream louder as he filled her with his seed. For long moments she continued to have aftershocks of mini orgasms. To her pleasure, he continued to jerk in her channel. Her pussy squeezed at his cock not willing to give up a single drop of his cum.
When they could finally move, he turned her over to lay on top of him on the grass.
“I know.” He sounded more than satisfied with himself. She couldn’t fault him. She had no words.
“You know,” she said in a barely audible whisper, “I would’ve never imagined you’d do something that—”
“Amazing?” He chuckled.
She lifted her head from his chest and frowned at him. “Full of yourself much?”
“I think you should get a tattoo with my name on it.” He grinned, eyes sparkling with mischief.
“You are drunk!” She accused, slapping his sweaty shoulder.
His laughter boomed with the rustle of the wind in the trees. His chest lifted her with each chuckle. “You should. You belong to me now.”
“Belong? Yeah.” She felt his forehead. “You’re either drunk or sick to be speaking that much nonsense.”
He had to be drunk. She’d been in love with him for years. And other than the kiss he’d given her during Ellie’s party, he’d never really done anything near like what he was doing now. A sound alerted her to turn toward the trees. The idea someone was near wasn’t one she liked. She hurried to dress before someone caught her naked.
“I’m going home, Spot.”
He helped her stand and cupped her face. “At least you’re not calling me Furball like Jordan does Aric. I’ll go see if there’s anyone in the area. Give me a few minutes, and I’ll take you home.”
She shook her head. “Not necessary. I’m…I need to think.”
“You’re not suddenly changing your mind about what happened here, are you?” He asked.
“No, but I don’t do these kind of things. You know that. It’s best if I go home, and we see each other in a few days. Take a break.”
“Not a few days. Tomorrow,” he said in the bossy voice she wasn’t very fond of.
“I’ll think about it. You know, for a mutt you’re quite bossy, Spot.” She spun to gather the equipment, but he turned her to face him.
She had to go. All kinds of confusion clouded her mind. She and Nate had finally done something special and incredible. She had a hard time stamping her own claim on him. And there lay her problem. Her heart pounded in her chest as fear flowed through her veins, urging her to move. To go. To run back to the safety of her home and keep away from the man making her want things she didn’t normally need. Emotional attachments frightened her, and she steered clear of them. But it didn’t help her idea of wanting a true family. No matter how she looked at it, at some point she would have to take the step to get past the emotional stuff that seemed so scary. Being always closed off really made her life difficult.
“I’ve made multiple attempts at asking you on dates, and I can never get you to say yes.”
“I didn’t really think you were being serious.”
His brows dipped low. “Why not?”
Why not indeed? There wasn’t a single valid reason for her to have rejected his advances all this time other than the fact she was afraid of the future with any man. Afraid of becoming a clingy copy of her mother. “I…”
“See, you don’t have a reason. This putting me off ends now. Tomorrow we’ll spend some time together. Just you and me. Now, say yes.”
What she wanted to say were a couple of choice words her mouth refused to let loose. But how could she say no again? She’d be turning him down when what she really wanted was to be with him. If she didn’t give it a chance, she knew she’d live with too many what ifs. “I will consider seeing you tomorrow, but I make no promises of any other time.”
He stalked her. Tension poured out of each of his steps toward her. Her hackles rose at the line bisecting his brow into a deep frown. Then he moved forward, crowding her and kissed her one more time before taking a step back from her. “Tomorrow.”
She nodded in defeat. “Tomorrow.”