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Novel: Savage Nature - Chapter 18

Drake Donovan made her so aware of herself as a woman when she was near him. And so aware of him as a man. Somehow all that chemistry had drowned out her good sense and she’d walked right into his lair. She could feel heat radiating off of him, infecting her with some wild hunger she couldn’t resist, no matter how terrifying it was. She should have been poised to run, but instead she held her breath and waited for him to touch her. She craved his touch. “Did he bite you?” His voice was a velvet whisper sliding over her skin like the touch of fingers. His breath was warm on her neck. Masculine heat surrounded her. She closed her eyes and remained still. Her mouth was so dry she could barely manage to get out a single word. “Yes.” Her heart pounded hard, the blood rushing hot through her veins. Sweat trickled down the valley between her breasts. Moisture dampened her cotton boy shorts. His fingers skimmed down one of the long furrows in her skin, the lightest of touches, but she felt it burning like a brand through her skin to her very bones. Her breath left her lungs in a single gasp. “Where?” His mouth was against the raw wound, his lips brushing lightly, the most sensual thing she’d ever experienced. Lightning forked through her body. He kissed his way up the long wound, the shirt bunched in his fist. Electricity coursed through every fiber of her body as if his lips were connected in some way to her nerves. She could feel his knuckles sliding up her back along with the shirt. Nothing had prepared her for the way her body came alive at his touch. Her mind, her body, every part of her responded to his presence. It was both frightening and exhilarating to feel as if a part of her was slipping away to join with a part of him. She should stop him, it was hardly decent, but she was already lost under the spell of his mouth. His lips felt soft and whispery against her skin, cool and firm, but at the same time, left behind tiny little flames that burned hot. She heard his breath catch as he pushed her shirt high enough to reveal the bite mark on her shoulder. His lips drifted over her skin, tasting her, branding her in the most exquisite way. His touch was always feather-light, yet she felt as if his prints sank into her skin and found their way to her bones.
“He marked you on purpose. It was clumsy and very wrong,” he said. “Who was he?” This time there was an edge to that velvet voice, sending a shiver of fear down her spine. “I don’ understand what that means,” she admitted, hating that her voice trembled. He brushed his mouth over each of the puncture wounds on her shoulder and then abruptly dropped her shirt and stood up, backing away from her. The silence stretched to a screaming point. Reluctantly, Saria turned to face him, feeling very alone and lost. Drake stood just inside the French doors, the rain coming down in silvery sheets behind him, silhouetting him. She tried not to stare, but she couldn’t take her eyes off of him. He was physically beautiful to her. The width of his shoulders, the thickness of his chest, the ropes of muscles, so defined he seemed to ripple with power with every movement. His sensual voice and hypnotic eyes mesmerized. The intense sexual desire stamped into every line of his face made her want to give everything to him. Her pulse pounded in her head—and throbbed between her legs. She felt hot and needy and restless. She didn’t know if she wanted to leap on him and ravage him, or claw at him. All she knew was her body crawled with need for him. The other leopard—the one he claimed had marked her—hadn’t left such a need behind, but Drake with his soft kisses had infected her with a violent ache that she doubted would ever go away. “What’s happenin’ to me?” It was frightening to feel so out of control. Saria had directed her entire life and now she felt as if she couldn’t even take command of her own body. Drake rubbed his hand over his face. “It’s called the Han Vol Dan. When a female leopard begins to go into heat in the same cycle with her human, she will emerge for the first time. The two become one. You are both leopard and human.” “In heat?” Saria couldn’t control the violent blush stealing up her neck into her face. She felt in heat. She wanted him—craved him. She . . .needed. Drake was in grave danger of being jumped if he stayed there looking like a sex god. “Like an animal? You’re sayin’ I have a female leopard livin’ inside of me and she wants . . .” “A mate,” he finished for her. She wanted to deny it, but she felt wild, uninhibited. Needy. Hot. Her skin felt too tight and her breasts ached. She hated the feel of clothes on the body and it was all she could do not to pull the T-shirt off—away from her skin. She had a terrible desire to crawl across the floor to Drake and rip his trousers from his body. Her fingers curled in the comforter, holding tight to keep herself in place. She knew she was squirming, but she couldn’t sit still, not with the growing fire between her legs. Her breath came in ragged gasps. She didn’t know whether to weep—or beg. “I can’t think,” she whispered desperately. “My blood is roarin’ in my head.” The plea in her voice was unintentional, but she heard it and she saw the effect it had on him. Drake appeared shaken. Her gaze was drawn to the large, thick bulge in the front of his cotton pants. Her mouth went dry and she shifted her weight before she could stop herself, sliding sensuously out from under the thin comforter.He held up a hand, palm out and stepped back into the cool rain. “Baby, you have to stop right there. I want you more than you can imagine and I’m no saint. We’re going to have to ride this out together.” That wasexactly what she had in mind. She licked her lips, images rising of sliding all that soft cotton right off his hips. She wasn’t certain her shaky legs could support her and she slipped to the floor, arching her back in a long luxurious stretch. Drake groaned, the sound husky, sexy, a despairing note that sent fingers of arousal teasing up her thighs. Her temperature soared until it felt as if she had a fire burning out of control between her legs. She couldn’t stop moving, her body undulating erotically as she stalked him across the floor like the leopard he’d named her. “Damn it, Saria, you’ll hate me in the morning. Breathe through this, it will pass. You have to take control of her. If you touch me, I won’t be able to stop myself. You have no idea what happens to a male when his woman is close to the Han Vol Dan. I’m on a thin edge, baby. Try for me. Saria, please, honey, just try for me.” The pleading in his voice was both an aphrodisiac and a red light. She loved that she made his body hard and that he was nearly as out of control as she was. His eyes had gone gold, that shimmering, priceless gold she couldn’t resist, but he’d called her his woman. She was his. She wanted to be his. She wanted him to bite her shoulder and claim her, not some horrible bastard who cared nothing for her feelings. Drake shook with the effort to hold himself back—for her. She could easily see his concern for her. Few people ever seemed to genuinely worry about her.
She took a deep breath, her head hanging low while her hips pushed up and back, the need so terrible she felt tears running down her face, but she managed to stay right where she was, only feet from him. She could smell his wild scent with every breath she drew into her body. She could taste him in her mouth, an addicting, feral tang she began to crave. “I want you to claim me.” There was sheer seduction in her voice, a husky, desperate pleading that came out more of a wanton purr. “Like he did. Mark me like he did. I don’ want his scent on me. I want yours on me . . .” She raised her eyes to his. Her vision seemed strange, banding with colors. “I want yours in me.”“Baby, you’re killing me,” Drake whispered. His eyes were completely gold, watching her with a heavy-lidded dark sexual intent. Sensuality was stamped in his tough features, on his mouth. Her body inched forward toward him of its own accord and his hand dropped low, to absently stroke that hard bulge. The sight of him, so darkly erotic, sent another wave of fire crashing through her body. She forced herself to stop again, dragging in air, the sound harsh and ragged. “I’ll try if you promise to do it—to mark me as yours.” A sound escaped his throat, half growl, half groan. “Your leopard will settle soon. If you still want me to do it after she retreats, I will. But it has to be your decision when you’re not in the midst of a thrall. You have to want me, not just any male because your leopard is out of control.” She reveled in the hoarseness of his voice. He was suffering just as she was. She could see his need burning just as deep as her own. Tears clogged her throat. She had to find the strength to resist the need to desperately plead with him to take her. It was humiliating to know he was turning her down and she was shamelessly enticing him, but her body burned and throbbed until she was so edgy with need she couldn’t be still. “Talk to me. Anything. Tell me about the leopards.” Anything to take her mind from the clawing hunger. “We’re a species living long past our time,” he said. His voice had an edge of hoarseness to it, but he struggled to soothe her. “There are pockets of us all over the world, mostly in the rain forests. I was shocked to learn you have a lair here. I think Fenton leased his company’s land to the families to give them a place to run free and live without fear of discovery.” She ran her hand down her aching body, trying hard to concentrate on his words when she was burning from the inside out. She knelt back onto her heels, cupping her aching breasts, her fingers pressing hard against her burning nipples. Drake swore. There were small beads of sweat on his forehead. “Damn it, Saria. Give me something to work with here.” He took a step toward her and she willed him to continue, to take the decision from her. She eyed him hungrily. His face was carved with sensual lines, his eyes golden and hooded, glittering with stark, raw hunger. She’d driven him beyond endurance. If she touched him, his control would be gone and he would take her just the way she craved, right there on the floor, wild and uninhibited, his body pounding into hers, relieving the terrible ache. He took another step toward her with a groan of despair. The sound echoed loudly through her mind. Drake Donovan was a man of honor. He was trying to save her from herself. He was trying to save both of them. What the hell was she doing to him? Shocked, she pressed one hand to her mouth and held the other one up to stop him. He’d done everything but pour cold water over her. “I can do this, Drake.” Determination crept into her voice. “Just give me a minute. Tell me how  to control her.”