For a moment, I paused wide-eyed, staring up at him while his lips moved fiercely against mine. The same man who demanded I’d be the one to reject him was now hovering over me and kissing me as if he’d been starved of my affection for eternity. The same man who swore the council would have our heads if they found out we’re mates. I couldn’t believe Arlo was kissing me after so long. But I was more shocked at the internal war it created inside of me.
I spent most of my time trying to avoid the mate bond at all costs. And up until now, I was doing a pretty damn good job. We’d been keeping our promise to stay friends and stick together through this chaotic time. But he ruined it for us. He ruined me for good.
How am I supposed to forget how good this feels between us?
Instead of overthinking it, I closed my eyes, wrapped my arms around his neck, and let go for the moment. It felt so good to be kissing my mate after so much time had passed. I didn’t realize how much my wolf missed him, this side of him- loving and affectionate. Then again, Arlo was always this way.
Arlo sucked on my bottom lip, and without hesitation, I opened my mouth for him. Our tongues fought wildly, expressing the feelings that were growing stronger and stronger each day we spent together. I dropped my aching hands to feel him. The sparks danced on my fingertips as they explored the warmth of his bare chest, tracing the outlines of his tattoos. And then my hands found their way to his dark curly hair, running my fingers freely through. Something I’d been dying to do since the beginning.
He soon pulled back and buried his face in the crook of my neck. By now, my legs were wobbly, and my panties became wet with my arousal. Arlo licked, nipped, and sucked at the most sensitive spot on my neck. My wolf began flashing images of him sinking his canines in that spot, claiming me as his forever.
We were already pretty close, but it wasn’t enough for me. I desperately needed to be as close to him as possible. I united our lips again and wrapped my legs around his waist. The thought of him pounding into me drove me wild. It didn’t help that he was only wearing bottoms, and I could feel his bulge digging into my stomach. At the feel of him, I moaned inside his mouth and bucked my hips up, desperate to feel some friction.
“Arlo,” I moaned as the tortured teasing continued. He growled lowly at the sound of his name rolling off my lips in an erotic rhythm. He looked down at me with his demonic red eyes, mentally undressing me.
“I want you,” His voice was deep and guttural. I knew his demon-wolf had complete control over him. It would be so easy for him to lose control if I pushed his buttons. I wonder how far I could take this before he cracked completely. A mischievous smiled stretched my lips as I looked him deep in the eyes.
“How bad do you want me?” I whispered against his lips, reaching down to the bulge in his shorts. He felt thick and lengthy, promising to rip my virginity apart. Never in my life had I done something so bold. It was like his demon-wolf brought out this different side of me. Lust and desire clouded my vision.
I was so turned on; I could feel the warm wetness dripping down my folds. My feminine scent spread throughout the bedroom, tempting his self-control. His nostrils flared before he sat back on the bed and brought me with him. I straddled his hips, rocking myself slowly.
“Don’t start something you can’t finish, mate,” His demon-wolf warned me. Was that a challenge?
“Start what?” I asked innocently. I pecked him on the lips and slowly left a trail of kisses down his neck. Arlo made a deep sound at the back of his throat in satisfaction and gripped my hips. I could feel his claws slightly digging into my skin, turning me on even more.
As I ran my hands down his back, I felt something bumpy. A scar, maybe? I moved my hands over the bump to find more faint bumps running horizontally. Definitely scars. Whatever caused them must have been something sharp and powerful. It concerned me for a moment. Why didn’t they heal properly?
“You don’t know the things I could do to you.”
I wanted to ask him about those scars, but his deep demonic voice sent my heart beating out of my chest. I bit my bottom lip, imagining all the things he could do to me. Don’t ask me where this bravery came from, but in the next second, my mouth spoke on its own.
“Then show me.”
Arlo stared at me for the longest time, gripping my hips as if I’d fade away soon. He looked as if he wanted to rip my clothes to shreds and devour me. I would have left him without a second thought. I sat on his lap, waiting for him to make a move, but the sudden obnoxious cawing startled me.
I recoiled, catching the black blur moving from the corner of my eye. Louisa’s stupid fucking crow was banging on the window with his beak while his beady purple eyes glared me down. My first instinct was to toss a pillow at the window, but that crow didn’t budge.
Arlo sighed, pressing his forehead to my chest and closing his eyes. When he opened them again, the silver in his irises was back. It was then I’d realized how close I was to making a huge mistake. I couldn’t have sex with him, not after we’d promised to do the complete opposite. His demon-wolf sexually hypnotized me.
What the fuck was I thinking? I wasn’t thinking…at all.
“Baxter,” Arlo growled, moving me off his lap. My wolf whined at the loss of sparks. “Get out of here.” He opened the window and shooed the stupid crow away. That damn crow glared at me once more as he spread his wings and flew away. I pulled back the covers and quickly hid underneath them, facing my back to Arlo. I couldn’t convince myself to look him in the eyes. Not after what we were about to do.
“Goodnight, Arlo,” My voice nearly a whisper. I could feel him standing at the window, staring down at me intensely. I squeezed my thighs shut and took a deep breath. Please, please, please don’t come near me. I can’t control myself.
“Astrid,” He called for me, taking a step forward. Fuck!
“Yeah?” I said, trying my best to sound casual. He stayed silent for a second and then sighed.
“That heroic shit you pulled today. Don’t do it again.” He warned me and then laid down in his bed. Seriously?
“Why? Did you expect me to let my people do all the work for me? Blair was struggling, and I-“
“Astrid,” He interjected. “What part of “someone has put half a million dollars out for your life” don’t you understand? They won’t hesitate to kill you, and I…I cannot lose you. So, please don’t put me in a situation where I might lose all my sanity because that’s what will happen if they take you away from me. I’ll become the monster they’ve always made me out to be.”
Speechless. His words penetrated through my skin straight down to my heart. I didn’t know what to say after he admitted how important I was to him. It scared me to learn how intense his feelings were for me. But it scared me more to think about how I was beginning to feel for him. How do I really feel about him?
Don’t go there, Astrid.
The sun is barely peeking from the clouds when I wake up and head out for a run. Arlo wasn’t in his bed this morning, so I expect to spot him out in the woods doing the same. Although, I hope I don’t run into him. I need some time to think after that heated moment last night.
As I’m crossing the front lawn and heading out to the street, I spot someone sitting inside a parked car. They’re parked in Blair’s driveway. I was going to mind my business and keep walking, but I stopped and waited.
He was messing with something in the middle console, not caring to look up. For a split second, I thought Arlo was sitting in that car, but I didn’t feel the air shift and my wolf remained nonchalant. He looked so much like Arlo, as an exact copy. Almost an exact copy. The only difference was he’s a lot shorter than Arlo. I noticed when he caught me staring and got out of the car.
“Sorry. I thought you were someone else,” I said. He smirked, shutting the driver-side door, and walked towards me. They even walk the same. It’s ridiculously amusing.
“Sorry, baby girl. I’m afraid my brother will never be as good-looking as me. But don’t worry, I won’t tell him that you were totally checking me out earlier.”
I put the pieces together by his appearance and snarky remark. “Ah. So, you must be little brother. It’s Carson, right?”
“Yup,” He said, nodding towards the road. “You about to go for a run?” I nod in response.
Carson takes off his shirt and leads the way. “Let’s see what you can do. Gotta make sure the future Luna can keep up with us.”
I follow him, shaking my head. “I’m not your future Luna,” I said with a laugh.
“You’re Arlo’s mate, aren’t you?”
“Well, technically, yes, but…”
“Then you’re the future Luna. Now less talking and more running.”
“No thanks. I run alone.”
“Are you scared I’ll beat you?” Carson turns around to give me a pointed look. There’s amusement and determination in his silver eyes. I can’t help but notice how he makes a face at me; it reminds me of Arlo. They really do look alike.
“No, I just enjoy running alone,” I said, jogging ahead of him. He catches up to me and keeps my pace.
Carson laughs. “So, you are scared. I expected nothing less from a female alpha.”
There it is. Those words set me off and strike a fire inside me. I stop and glare at him, but he just laughs and keeps jogging.
Okay, little brother. You must want an ass-kicking today.
“6 miles. The church is the checkpoint.” It’s the last thing I say to him before we’re both running full speed, racing to the finish line.