HEAT

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Chapter 24: Sit Up & Beg

Leander

After I touched base with Ever to confirm our plans, I quickly made my way up the stairs.

My Wolf was flying high on his mate. Completely blitzed and full-out addicted. Spending hours running, playing and lazily lying around, was exactly his definition of perfection. There was nothing better than having her close to him…well, except for under him. I couldn’t agree more. She was better than any drug. Everything about our mate was intoxicating.

Rounding the corner and heading down the long hallway, excitement coursed through me, leaving my skin tingling, and my manhood itching to get free. That particular part of my anatomy only ever had one goal—to forever bury himself in Hycinth’s hot and tight flesh. Pure bliss. But alas, as much as I wanted to indulge that train of thought, I had more to focus on than just my carnal desires. Not to mention it would be hugely uncomfortable and inconvenient to walk around with a hard-on all night, so I exhaled and forcefully pushed away my arousal. Which was not easy. Nor was it particularly 100% successful. I readjusted myself in my pants, trying to make my still-interested-but-not-quite-a-full-blown-erection more comfortable.

Entering our room did nothing to deter my on-edge libido because the first thing I ran into was Hycinth—standing in a shockingly sexy black dress. Her hair was wet from her shower, and her lake blue orbs stared up at me expectantly.

My mind went completely blank.

My Wolf was just as frozen.

The dress hugged her curves, coming to about seven inches above her knee, and had two horizontal peekaboo stripes of sheer black fabric, quite high on her legs, revealing even more of her luxurious thighs. There was another enticing stripe just below her breastbone. And to top off the madness, the tantalizing garment had a plunging neckline that pushed up and accented her pert breasts. It was enough to make a Wolf sit up and beg.

All we could do was stand there dumbly as our eyes slowly progressed down her body and back up again to her face, to find her smirking. She was enjoying herself, completely aware of the effect she had on us.

My Wolf snapped out of it first and hissed into my head, “Say something, you idiot!”

“Uh,” I grunted, trying to fill the silence, so we didn’t look quite so foolish, but that was about as far as I got.

He shook his head in annoyance, giving up on my ability to pull us out of this. And pushed his own thoughts straight into her head with a low rumble, “So beautiful.”

Her eyes opened wide, still unaccustomed to hearing his voice in her mind. It was just two words, but she understood the depth of meaning behind it. The smirk fell away, and her eyes softened. “Thank you,” she whispered.

Silence reigned again.

Giving an irritated huff, my Wolf growled at me, “Your turn!”

Finally, I snapped out of it and eagerly made my way toward her. My sudden advance and the likely-predator-expression on my face caused her to throw her hand up, her palm in the air toward me. “Oh, no! Wait a minute!”

Like that little defensive tactic would stop me. I wrapped my arms around her and pulled her tight to my chest. She gave a little squeal. Dipping my head down, I inhaled deeply into her neck. “You smell so good,” I rumbled appreciatively. Sweet cinnamon accented with just the right amount of spice and mandarin orange. My nostrils flared as I sucked in another deep breath. “Delicious.” She shivered.

“Did you do as I asked?” My voice was husky with desire, dying to know if she had followed my instructions of no panties. I reached my hand to the bottom of her dress. With just a little bit of maneuvering…

I would be able to answer that question myself.

“No, you don’t!” She pushed against my chest with her hands. I sighed and reluctantly let her put some distance between us. Her hands were on her hips, her little body defiant. “You promised me a night out.”

Her posturing and challenging words just made me want to bend her over the couch and drive myself so deep inside of her she could never get rid of me. I edged back in close, reaching to touch the inside of her creamy thigh, purring, “We can still go out…later.” The dress was short enough it would only take a few inches for my fingertips to…

“Stop right there, Wolf!” She stepped back out of my reach, her finger pointed at me in the air, her voice breathy, “What did I tell you before? My undergarments—or lack thereof—are my business.”

I narrowed my eyes, not willing to give up. Okay, maybe she didn’t have to tell me. Maybe I could figure it out on my own. I took a moment to study her expression, trying to decipher any clue as to the answer….but her face was smooth, giving away nothing.

My lips curled down. She fully intended to keep me in suspense. I didn’t like it. And her cheeky response right then just further heightened my desire to know. From her renewed smirk, she knew it.

Clever, clever little mouse...

“Stop pouting.” She quirked an eyebrow and pointed toward the bathroom door. “Besides, you stink and need a shower.”

Well, just damn. “I’m not pouting,” I huffed petulantly and trudged over to the bathroom.

A giggle bubbled up from her throat. “Of course, you’re not.”

I couldn’t help grinning over my shoulder at her. I loved when she laughed like that.

Uninhibited

Carefree

……….

I took a shower and dressed in record time, keeping it simple with black dress slacks and button-downed shirt. I walked out of the closet to find Hycinth had finished her hair and makeup and was also ready to go. Her striking red hair was down around her shoulders in curves, and her eyes were lined in smoky kohl making them appear even more dramatic than they already were. But that dress…

I walked around her to see it properly from every angle. “Where did you get the dress, by the way?”

“Gwen let me borrow it,” she replied, glancing over her shoulder at me as I came around her back. “Do you like it?”

I wasn’t sure if she intended for her voice to drop seductively, or if she was just as carried away by the bond as I was. Either way, her words and the husky tone she used drew me to her like a magnet. Once again, I snuggled up behind her, with my hands on her hips and breathed deeply into her neck. “You have no idea what you do to me.”

A breathy giggle released from her throat and she pulled out of my embrace, taking a step toward the door. I snatched her hand and fell into step beside her, muttering, “So eager.”

“Yes, I’ve never been to a shifter club.” Her features were animated with excitement as we walked down the stairs. “Tell me what it’s like.”

“Music. Dancing. Alcohol,” I ticked off a list. “Just like every other club, I guess…just maybe a little more animalistic vibe.”

“Hmm…alcohol, huh?” She murmured, almost to herself.

I raised an eyebrow. “Out of all of them, alcohol is the one you fixated on? Should I be worried?”

There was a sparkle in her eye, a hint of mischievous I’d never seen before. “Certainly not. I enjoy dancing and music just as much.”

“Uh huh,” I replied, not at all convinced by her innocent act. It seemed I was definitely going to have to keep an even closer eye on her during the evening.

When we reached the living room, Ever and Gwen were waiting for us, as well as Asher and Willow. Gwen wrapped Hycinth in a bear hug. “You look gorgeous!”

I was surprised to see Hycinth blush. But she recovered quickly. “Thanks so much for letting me borrow it!”

“Ready?” Asher grinned.

I gave a hard nod. “More than ready.”

……….

We decided to use drivers rather than drive ourselves. Knowing myself, Ever and Asher, none of us would be in the best shape to drive later. When Hycinth and I climbed into the back of the Cadillac, she settled comfortably into the plush, oversized leather seat next to me. The driver closed the door, and Hycinth nodded toward the empty rear-facing bucket-seats in front of us. “Aren’t the others riding with us?”

I stretched my legs out comfortably and wrapped her fingers in mine once again. “No. They’ll ride together in the vehicle behind us. Whenever we can, we prefer Ever and I not to travel in the same vehicle.”

She contemplated my answer. “That makes sense. But what about Asher and Willow?”

I grinned and tightened my hold on her hand. “Easy. I’m selfish and want time alone with you.”

A beautiful blush crept up her neck. She turned away and changed the subject, “What kind of Cadillac is this?”

I was impressed she identified the vehicle. But maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised, given her overall bad-assness—I didn’t know many females who loved tattoos, combat boots, and motorcycles. She couldn’t have been more perfect for me. I answered, “Escalade ESV. It’s been customized by Becker Automotive Design.”

She nodded thoughtfully, running her fingertips over the folded burl wood aviation table tucked into the side panel as her eyes traveled slowly around the interior, ending on the open partition separating us from the driver. She quirked an eyebrow. “A privacy divider?”

I couldn’t help my wicked grin, meeting her eyes again, my voice husky with innuendo, “I like privacy.”

Her lake blue eyes widened, and she tried to tug her hand from mine, but I only held tighter, gently massaging the back of her hand with my thumb. She squirmed in her seat, turning away again, her heart beating faster.

My curiosity was piqued. I wondered what images my words had conjured in her mind, and asked gruffly, “What are you thinking about?”

“Oh!” She almost looked startled for a moment, her head swiveling to meet my gaze, and answered quickly, “Dancing…I like to dance.”

I snorted. Somehow, I was 100% certain dancing with not what she had been contemplating, but I let it go…for now.

……….

We made small talk during the forty-five-minute drive to Club Equinox. When we arrived, we were escorted by Club Guards directly inside to a VIP area on the second floor. The VIP section had large comfortable couches in hues of purple and aqua and was sectioned off by sheer curtains, held open with tiebacks. Rather than sit down, Hycinth immediately went to the connected balcony, overlooking the large dance floor below. She peered down at the crowds, her hips swaying unconsciously with the music.

I came up behind her, wrapped an arm around her waist and spoke loud enough in her ear so she could hear me over the music, “What do you want to drink?”

She barely glanced in my direction, too caught up in the activity below, but replied loudly, “A Manhattan would be nice, thank you.”

I turned to the concierge waitress patiently waiting behind me, and relayed Hycinth’s order as well as ordered a local craft beer for myself. She turned and collected Evers and Asher’s orders, as well as their mates, before disappearing down the long hallway of VIP sections. In less than five minutes, she returned with a tray full of drinks.

Hycinth thanked her, took a deep pull on her drink, her eyes bright, and sat down next to Gwen. I leaned against the balcony railing, watching her, while I turned up my beer, letting the cold liquid slide down my throat. Gwen grabbed Hycinth’s hand, her sable brown eyes just as bright. “What do you think?!”

“I love it!” Hycinth answered, taking another drink. “What are the three table games they are playing below?”

Asher interjected, “Beer Pong, girl! If you’ve never played, we definitely should. They have a House version here that gets very…interesting.”

“‘Interesting’ is putting it mildly,” Ever snorted. “In addition to the regular drinking game, this one includes dares for the teams to complete. Depending on the players, it can get a little crazy.” His wiggled his eyebrows at her, his tone turning to an obvious tease, “Sure you’re up for it?”

I watched Hycinth’s features change. She bristled and purred, “Oh…I’m ready to meet any challenge you want to toss out pup.”

Oh shit! This was about to get very interesting.

Ever’s eyes widened.

Asher burst out laughing and took another swig of his drink, chortling, “Damn, Ever…sounds like she wants to take you to school. Think she can?”

Honestly, I wasn’t sure of that answer. Asher, Ever and I, played the traditional version often at the Pack. We were good. The girls didn’t participate as regularly, but they could hold their own. Hycinth was the wildcard. I had no idea what to expect from her. But I just couldn’t imagine she spent most of her time hanging out in bar playing drinking games, particularly with her protective brother.

Before she could get roped into something she truly wasn’t ready for, I walked to her side and sat next to her, my hand resting on her thigh. “Don’t listen to him. He just likes to hear himself talk.”

I didn’t get the results I expected. Clearly, she wasn’t looking for me to patronize or protect her because her eyes narrowed dangerously, her annoyance ringing loud and clear through the bond. Shit, this wasn’t going the way I planned. Trying to backtrack just a little, I carefully expanded on his earlier statement, “Some of the dares get a little…risqué.”

She tilted her head to the side, eyeing me up and down. “And you’re worried you’ll be embarrassed by something you have to do?” she asked pointedly, causing a round of giggles from the girls, and a snort from Ever.

“What?” I blinked. “No, I wasn’t referring to me, I was—“

“You should probably shut up now,” Asher interrupted wisely. “Looks like the shewolf is more than ready to play. I’m just gonna put our names on the waiting list.” He got up and strode toward the stairs.

She smirked as she watched him walk away, pleased with herself. Okay, so the little shewolf was ultra-competitive. But so was I. And we were about to play a game that would push all of her boundaries. A slow, wicked grin spread across my face. I nuzzled into her neck. “All right, little mouse, don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

Her little chin went up. Before she could get riled up again, I abruptly pulled her to her feet. Her eyes went wide in surprise. I took the drink from her hand and set it on a small round table next to the couch, and wrapped an arm around her, pulling her down the hallway. “Dance with me.”

Instantly, her features transformed into eagerness.

Excellent.

We made our way down the steps, but when we rounded the corner, Sydney’s Elite fighters were on the outskirts of the dancing throng. They were banded together, talking and laughing. Sydney was missing, still recovering from her punishment. But when her team saw Hycinth and me, their conversation ended, and they eyed me hungrily.

I hadn’t touched any of them, but I wasn’t naïve…every single one of them would have given me an instant yes. And from the way they were eyeing me openly and boldly, in front of my mate, nonetheless, I wondered just how much they’d had to drink. They looked at me like I was a tasty morsel they wanted to eat. I cursed under my breath. The last thing I needed was Hycinth seeing their desperate behavior, and thinking there was some kind of history between us.

I abruptly spun Hycinth to the left as we continued to walk toward the dance floor, trying to turn her away from the vultures, but I hadn’t been quick enough. I felt it like a punch in my gut. Hycinth’s fury exploded out of her, seething and hot.

Oh fuck.

She ground to a halt, the hair on her Wolf’s spine sticking straight up, quivering with animosity. She was going to bolt. I knew it just as much as I knew we were both standing there. Before she could get away from me, I grabbed the back of her neck, my fingers curling into the hair at the nape of her neck. My other hand gripped her hip tightly relentlessly. I forced her to look up at me and growled, “No! I never touched any of them.”

She stared up at me, her eyes flashing furiously. I brushed my thumb against the crescent mark on her neck. She shuddered.

Never…I swear it. I only want you…no one else.”

She searched the depths of my eyes, and then slowly, I felt the tension release from her body. “That’s it,” I cooed in approval, relaxing my hold just a little. She was cooling down, but the storm was still very present in her eyes. I coached softly, “Just take a minute, love…and breathe.” I knew a little something about calming down riotous and out-of-control emotions—I had to do it myself often enough.

Hycinth’s gaze stayed locked on mine. She inhaled slowly, her chest rising as it filled with air, and released the breath with equal slowness, her chest relaxing back into position. “Just like that,” I murmured and affirmed fervently, “They mean nothing...only you.”

While she was calming down, my Wolf was contemplating how he was going to end each and every one of their lives, painfully. He was pissed they’d upset her. While I understood his anger, I pulled back on his lethal intention. Their behavior didn’t deserve a death sentence. And Hycinth would always have shewolves who would think they were more than they were and had to put them back in their place. It came with being a Luna.

Her expression finally cleared, shewolves forgotten. I brushed my thumb along her neck again, teasing my mark. A little whine slipped her throat. The sound caused my manhood to stiffen. I began to move our bodies to the music. The base was low and deep, pulsing out an erotic beat.

I wanted total control over every part of her. I craved it. I had to have it. My Wolf was in full agreement, chanting in my head, “Mine, mine, mine…”

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