Evan hesitated as he lifted his hand to knock on Lorelai’s door.
It wasn’t the inevitable confrontation that made him pause; he was used to that and could handle himself. No. It was what her scent and being near to her was doing to him.
When his father told him he had moved Lorelai into the room next to Evan’s, he hadn’t anticipated just how much his desire would grow for her. He’d lay in his bed and listen to her move around her room, hear her talking to herself. His groin would tighten, his cock would harden and he’d have to fight with himself to stay put and not burst through her door.
How could she stand it?
If he could smell her, she could smell him. It was nigh on impossible to ignore the scent of one’s mate and even if the human side of her was resolute in her rejection of him, her wolf would be salivating.
With a sigh, he knocked on the door, rubbing the back of his neck in a nervous gesture. From behind the door, he could hear her growl of irritation, the rustle of clothing, and he bit back an amused smirk. He cleared his throat, so he was sure she knew it was him waiting, half expecting her to turn away.
When she opened the door, only a robe covering her body from him, he kept an even expression, somehow. She raked her gaze over him, her lip curling slightly.
“Yeah, yeah. You’re not happy to see me. You want me to fuck off.” He shrugged and offered her a crooked smile. “But I want to talk. Can we talk?”
Lorelai’s eyes searched his, the silence between them stretching into long, painful minutes. He was sure she was going to turn him away and could hardly believe his luck when she stepped aside and gestured him into the room. Not giving himself time to question it, he followed the direction of her arm and stepped inside her bedroom.
It was as comfortable as his own, decorated similarly with a huge four-poster bed and a built-in fireplace along one wall. There were soft furnishings and a vanity table filled with knickknacks to her liking, and a shelf groaning under the weight of books from every genre imaginable. His father had gone out of his way to make Lorelai as comfortable as possible, and yet judging from the look on her face, she didn’t appreciate it one bit.
“You wanted to talk?” She said, taking a seat in front of the fire. He followed her example, opting to sit opposite her rather than join her on the couch. He was trying to respect her personal space, even if every fibre of his being yelled at him to jump her. “I’ll presume you haven’t come to your senses and let me go back to my pack.”
He sighed and ran a hand over his eyes, suddenly exhausted. Perhaps that is exactly what he should do. Forcing her to stay with him was doing him no favours, and if he was honest with himself, he wasn’t sure how much more rejection he could take from her.
“That’s not why I came, But Lorelai, if you want to go, you should go.”
His wolf whined in protest, a sound that made his heart ache. He knew if she left, it would break him. And his wolf would cease to function. But his job as her mate was to put her happiness above his. To care for her and provide her with whatever she needed. It never occurred to him that his mate would need another man, but all they were doing was making each other miserable. What else could he do?
“That was too easy.” She tilted her head, her eyes searching his. He could see the suspicion in her eyes and bit back another sigh.
Damned if he did, damned if he didn’t.
He rose to his feet, unable to find the words to break down even an iota of the wall she had built around herself. He felt pathetic, emasculated. If only he could be the type of wolf she took him for. A brute whose actions only served his desires. But he couldn’t be that wolf. He couldn’t be that man. And between her happiness or his, she would always win.
“So what? You’re going to give up on me that easily?” Her words made him pause. Standing still and replaying them in his mind, he felt himself tense. Was she going down this path? Did she even have the right? He spun on his heel, taking a step towards her. Grabbing her by her arm, he pulled her to her feet, so they were at an even height. Even with his anger towards her, he’d never make her feel like anything but his equal.
“You’re a real bitch, you know that?” He spat his words at her, keeping his eyes on hers. He focused all his attention on the shock of her expression and not her body so close to his. Her quickening pulse. She could say what she liked. She wanted him, too. Her body gave her away, even if her eyes never would. “You spend all this time rejecting me, only to get your way and question me about it? Fuck you, Lorelai. Fuck you and your mind games.”
Her breathing came in quick gasps. She didn’t fight his hold on her or break eye contact, but he could see the fire building within her. Her tongue darted over her lips and he watched the movement with unbridled desire.
He was going to be mauled by his angered mate, or receive the fuck of his life. It still wasn’t clear which way she was leaning.
“I just didn’t take you for a quitter,” she said. “Especially when you know Liam is out there. Never giving up. Never stopping. Coming to take me back.”
The mention of her little side piece did nothing to calm the emotions building inside him. If she wanted to play this game, he was only too willing. He loosened his hold on her arm, searching her eyes for just a moment. Pulling her closer, until her body pressed against his, he moved his hand under her chin, tilting her face towards his.
Still, she didn’t fight him.
His mind was buzzing with the various outcomes that could come from this. That she might trick him was an obvious choice. Get him riled until he could no longer control himself and then label him as the barbarian she thought he was. Less likely was the idea that maybe, just maybe, she wanted him too. That so long in his company was driving her as crazy as it was him. Hell, she might even try to distract him in some vain attempt to incapacitate him, laughable though the idea was.
“I’m no quitter, bonnie lass.” He traced the curve of her lip with his thumb and heard her sharp intake of breath that made his groin tighten. “I just value your happiness above mine.”
“Liar,” she said. Though her tone lacked any conviction. Her eyes had darkened now, her breasts flat against his chest so he could feel her hardened nipples.
“I’m not lying, Lorelai. I wouldn’t. Not to you.” His tone was low. Sincere. Filled with purpose.
“I don’t believe—.”
“I know. You don’t believe me. Shush now.” He closed the gap between them, his lips brushing over hers in the sweetest of caresses. His wolf howled in victory, his heart hammered in his chest. Waiting for the moment she would push him away, he savoured the moment. If this was the first and last kiss he would ever share with her, he was going to make sure neither of them forgot it.