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Novel: Savage Nature - Chapter 19


He took a deep breath and ran his hands up and down the strong columns of his thighs as if his skin itched, or was too tight—just as hers was. “She is you, honey,” he explained. “You’re feeling both of your needs. It doesn’t help that I’m in the room with you. If we’re mates, as both my cat and I believe, we’ve known one another in at least one past life, and we’re familiar with each other’s body. The addiction is already there. You’re fighting all of that.” She swallowed hard. “Step out of the room. Just for a moment. Give me a moment.” She knew he would, although she didn’t know why she trusted him so much. Or how she could behave in such a terrible wanton fashion and still look him in the eye. She was unashamed of wanting him—just ashamed of her behavior. If he would be honorable, so could she. Drake looked at her for a long moment, his gaze hot, revealing he was skating to the very edge of his control before he moved away from her. The tension in him was tangible, as it was in her, a torturous, skin-crawling, belly-clawing need neither could hope to ignore. “You won’t make me dishonor him,” she hissed to the entity living inside of her. She took a deep breath and willed the female leopard to retreat. “I need time to get used to you. Give me some breathing room.” Her skin itched and her jaw ached, but the terrible fire eased a little without Drake in such close proximity. She closed her eyes and let lust wash over her, accepting the terrible, almost violent desire rushing through her like a fireball. Her blood ran hot, and she just kept breathing to try to cool down.

It took a few more minutes of deep breathing before she dared look around her. Her vision slowly cleared. Her body trembled uncontrollably. There was no way to get to her feet, but thankfully, reason was creeping in. Grateful, Saria crawled to the bed and pulled herself up so she could rest her stomach against the edge, lean over and lay her face against the cool comforter. She wept for a few minutes, unable to stop. Nothing in her life had prepared her for such violent need. What would have happened if she’d been with a male other than Drake and her leopard had been so needy? She couldn’t just blame it on her leopard. From the moment she’d laid eyes on Drake Donovan, she’d wanted him. She couldn’t help it—maybe because he was a handsome stranger with some undefined power clinging to him. Maybe she was just a raw country girl who had no real experience with such a man, but whatever the reason, he’d set her blood rushing hotly and her pulse pounding. That had to have added to the clawing hunger entrenched inside her. Drake stood at the edge of the doorway, watching Saria as she leaned against the bed and wept. The T-shirt rode up over the curve of her bottom, revealing small pink-striped underwear. The material fit lovingly, showing the smooth undersides of perfectly rounded cheeks. His cock, already pulsing with urgent desire, dripped, the tightness intense. Every nerve ending seemed centered in his groin. She was everything he’d ever dared to dream of. He wanted a woman of courage. Of passion. One who preferred the outdoors and was unafraid to be his partner. He wanted a lot of sass and a little ferocity. Saria was the embodiment of all those things. He knew she belonged to him, but she was young and inexperienced. The idea of being a shifter was new to her and the intensity of the mating cycle of their species had to be frightening. “Saria?” Drake kept his voice gentle, tried—without much success—to keep the lust and passion from his tone. The craving for her didn’t let up, not for a second, and he knew it never would even if she rejected him. Saria slowly turned, sliding to the floor to sit with her knees drawn up and her back to the bed. She sent him a tentative smile and his heart did that strange stuttering. He knew what courage that little smile had to have taken. She didn’t flinch away, but looked him straight in the eye. “I think you’re safe now. I’m not goin’ to jump you.” He gave a soft, self-deprecating laugh. “I’m not certain that’s good news. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted anything more in my life than I want you. It’s not going to go away.” He wanted her to hear the ring of truth in his voice. “I’m afraid we might be in a little trouble here, honey.” He pulled a water bottle from his pack, opened it and handed it to her. Saria took the bottle and patted the floor beside her. Drake hesitated, afraid of what could happen that close to her, but she didn’t drop her gaze from his and he couldn’t resist the temptation of her trust. He sank to the floor beside her and drew up his knees. Their hips and shoulders touched. One soft thigh rubbed along his as she shifted a little, taking a long drink and handing him back the bottle. “This is goin’ to happen again?” “Yes. And next time this will end far differently.” He set his mouth over the rim of the bottle, where hers had been. He could taste all that pent-up lust—or maybe it was his. “How many times have you been through this with a woman?” He frowned at her. “I’ve seen a woman go through the Han Vol Dan, and of course my leopard was affected, it sets males on edge, but she wasn’t my woman. I didn’t have to fight like this for control. This is . . . beyond imagining.” “Do you want this to happen again—with me?” He shook his head over the absurdity of the question, his gaze drifting possessively over her face. “I think of you as mine. Of course I want it to happen and if we’re together, Saria, it’s inevitable. You have to face that and I meant what I said. The next time you’re in that state, I’m going to be inside your body. Once I take you, I’m not going to stand aside, so know what you’re getting into before you make a decision.” She reached for the water bottle, took another sip and licked her lips. Her dark eyes met his again. “Kiss me.” He studied her face. “You like playing with fire?” “I don’ understand. It’s a kiss.” He took her hand and curled her palm over the large bulge in the front of his thin cotton pants. Heat spread through both of them. An electrical current surged through both of them. “It’s not just a kiss, Saria. Don’t try to fool yourself.”

“I have to know.” He arched an eyebrow at her. “You have no sense of self-preservation. If I were any other kind of man . . .”“But you’re not,” she pointed out. The confidence in her voice shook him. He swore and took another cooling drink. She hadn’t removed her hand and damn him to hell, but he didn’t want her to. He curled his fingers around the nape of her neck and tipped her face up to his as he brought his mouth down on hers. He tried to be gentle, but he didn’t feel gentle, he felt raw and desperate and she tasted like heaven. “Open your mouth.” He growled the demand. She obeyed, her lips trembling, and his tongue slid against hers, drawing her sweetness deep inside him. The room spun away as he indulged himself. It was all he could do not to devour her. Her mouth seemed to have a direct connection to his every nerve ending. His groin hardened impossibly, an ache he feared would never go away. She melted into him, so that he breathed for her, exchanging something intangible as they devoured one another. He was the first to pull back, afraid they would burn out of control again. They stared at one another a long time, gazes locked, breath coming in ragged, harsh gasps, with that strange electrical current sizzling between them. “Does that answer your question?” If it didn’t,Drake wasn’t certain they could ever touch one another again. His mouth on hers was like lighting a stick of dynamite. She nodded, touching her lips with trembling fingers. “I’ve never liked kissing,” she explained. She pressed her lips together, as if holding on to his kiss. “That was definitely not my normal reaction.” “Thank God for that,” Drake said, meaning it. The thought of her kissing any other man like that was enough to make him want to commit murder. “I had to know.” Saria looked a little dazed. She looked up at him expectantly. “So, okay then.” Her lashes were incredibly long. He leaned close and brushed the corner of her eye with his mouth. “Okay what?” “Do it. I want you to do whatever you said that leopard did to me. I don’ want him. If I’m goin’ to really turn into a female leopard totally out of control, I want you.” She stared directly into his eyes. “I’m makin’ the choice. I want it to be you, not some other male I don’ want to be with.” His cock jerked beneath the warmth of her palm. His fingers shackled her wrist and he gently lifted her hand away before he lost all reason. His mouth went dry and his heart pounded too hard, too loud, too fast. “Honey, you don’t know what you’re saying. If I put my mark on you and your leopard accepts me, we’re making a lifetime commitment. I would never let you go. We’d be married, have children and do all those things you’re not so certain you want to do. I’m not a boy to have a crush on. You have to be certain you know what you’re getting into.” “I’m tryin’ to figure it all out,” Saria said, and took the water bottle from him again. She tipped the contents down her throat. “You told me this is goin’ to happen again, right?” He leaned over to lick a lingering drop of water from the edge of her lip before he could stop himself. They stared at one another. He felt a little as if he were falling into that dark expanse of chocolate as he barely managed  a nod of assent.