Alpha male, coffee.
With eyes still closed, her scent, hearing, and touch registered her environment. She was on a boat and laying on a bed but she wasn’t alone. Lukas was nearby.
The last thing she could recall was hanging off his shoulders and begging for comfort. Lukas must’ve had a field trip watching her act like a damsel in distress.
She sat up and the knitted blanket that covered her shoulders fell to her lap. She examined the aquatic-themed cabin. The room was small and had a single perfectly round window opposite from the door.
She dragged her eyes away from the sea creatures printed on the walls and pushed herself to her feet. Her body was fully recharged after her slumber. Though she was worried about her psychological health, she had priorities to abide by. And getting back to land was on top of the list.
She pushed past the metal door that sat between her and Lukas and began tracking him down. The smell of coffee became stronger as she neared the front of the ship.
A broad set of shoulders and a brown head of hair poured out of the captain’s seat. Lukas had a steaming mug on one hand and a sheet of paper on the other.
He heard a set of stealthy footsteps nearing him. He knew he could only hear her because she wanted him to. Zena was his opposite in every sense of the word. Unlike her, his stature and weight became audible whenever he took a step. While he could use these features for intimidation, they made sneaking around near to impossible.
“I don’t suppose those are instructions explaining how to get off this ship?”
The question caught him off guard. Shouldn’t she be expressing confusion and concern over her breakdown instead of the other issue at hand? She was just going to pretend that she didn’t fall asleep in his arms after shaking like a leaf with fear?
Yep. That sounded like the stubborn woman.
Unlike her, he didn’t want to bury the experience. He wanted to talk about it. The ordeal meant a lot to him. It made him realize something that almost had him having a mental breakdown of his own. He felt worried about her. Worried. Worried over the toughest woman in North America!
And although it sounded sick, having her on his lap seeking protection made him nearly suffocate. Not only because her arms were constricting his breathing but because the amount of happiness in his chest left little space for oxygen.
All of this meant one thing- the ailment doctor Robert diagnosed him with had worsened. “Liking” had evolved to another L-condition. And it wasn’t leukemia.
He was royally fucked.
“Actually. Yes, yes it is,” he said after he realized that he didn’t reply.
He turned and found her just two feet away wearing an oversized colorful shirt that her jean shorts poked out of. The shorts weren’t the only things visible under the shirt. Her long, long legs were available as well. Her short hair was free and messy, completing the sexy look.
She marched to his side and grabbed the paper.
It’s Eva. know you’ll be furious by the time you’re done reading this. Just know that I didn’t do it to humiliate you. I just want the best for you.
Firstly, I’m perfectly fine. I’m not kidnapped and I never was. We tricked you and Lukas to get you two to spend time together and talk. I know that you and your ego will never admit this, but you’re confused and that’s why you keep running. You did it all those months ago on your birthday and I know you well enough to predict that you were going to do it again after what happened this week at Mountain Hill.
Life is too short. You two have been at each other’s throats for nearly a year. It’s time to stop.
I’m out of line for doing this; I know. But I got involved because I want to see you happy. Talk to each other. Don’t threaten, curse and insult one another. But talk it out.
I don’t care what your decision ends up being as long as it makes you happy.
A boat will stop by on the third day to bring you two to shore.
I love you. You’re the best friend a girl could ever ask for.
Below her letter was written the following:
Hurt her and you’ll feel the wrath of the Millers.
Zena turned the page over and found more writing scribbled on the back.
My driving is great.
Don’t mate Zena. She’ll drive you crazy. Run while it’s still possible.
Lukas watched her dark eyebrows rise dramatically. He took a sip of his coffee, patiently waiting for her outburst.
She sighed frustratedly as she folded the letter and pocketed it. Her eyes moved to the morning sky, searching for something.
“That’s it? No anger?” he frowned, almost disappointed that there was no show.
Zena glared at him. “Eva has no ill intentions. Yes, I’m annoyed. But not angry.”
“Does she get some sort of pass for your fury? If yes, where can I get one of tho-” he stopped mid-sentence when his train of thought got scattered by an invasive smell.
Sweat- the smell of male sweat was radiating off her. And it wasn’t his.
Why hadn’t he noticed it yesterday? Was he that distracted?
“What are you doing?” Zena demanded when he invaded her personal space and sniffed her shoulder. Lukas had called her crazy during many instances but it looks like its time for him to evaluate his own mental health.
Lukas growled. “Whos shirt is that? Take it off!” he boomed.
Her face fell. Instead of replying, she turned and walked to the railing of the ship. Lukas and his fury followed her. “What are you doing?” he echoed her question when she placed a foot on the railing.
“I’m jumping off this and swimming back to land,” she explained without turning to face him.
Miles away, Adrian’s body shuddered.
Eva noticed this. “I think you’re coming down with something babe,” she told him and reached up to cup his forehead.
He frowned. “Yeah, I think you’re right.”
Back at the ship, Lukas fisted the back of Zena’s- no, some man’s shirt. He yanked her off the railing with more force than needed, making her back slam against his hard front.
He knew Zena was no virgin. Mates could smell this off eachother. He was as guilty as she was, which is why feeling angry would be hypocritical. Whoever she slept with before meeting him didn’t matter. If she slept with other men within the past few months, however, that would be a problem.
Did she get this shirt after getting pleased by a man? Is that why it smelled of sweat? Who was it? Sylas? Beta Gerald? He would obliterate them! All-consuming jealousy settled into his gut like a black hole, consuming all of his self-control and transporting it elsewhere.
“Who’s shirt is this?” he ground out.
Zena, not appreciating getting manhandled, pulled away abruptly. She spun around and shoved him against the railing.
“Watch your fucking hands!”
Lukas pushed away from the metal, determined to rip the shirt off her if he had to. All of the prancing around caused his wallet to rise out of his pocket. When he took a step toward her, the item slipped out and tumbled into the ocean. “Fuck!” Lukas yelled when gravity claimed the item.
Zena scoffed when he kicked his shoes off. “Oh, come on. It’s just a wallet! I’ll pay you back!”
He glared. “It’s not the money, you annoying little- nevermind,” he growled before throwing himself off the ship.
Zena ran to the railing. She spotted his long body diving under the water to search for his beloved wallet. He resurfaced thirty seconds later, whipping his head around before diving under again.
The brown wallet was slapping against the ship but Lukas was too far out to see it. With an irritated sigh, she jumped off the ship as well.
The chilly water stung her skin upon impact but it wasn’t anything she couldn’t shake off. She swam to the surface and picked up the wallet before it could drift away. It was fully open. As she moved to close it, her name caught her attention. She tugged a red card that was poking out of one of the slots and read it over.
Zena, thank you for loving our products. There is no better fashion combo than a dress with our shoes.
- Vans, Founders
The card was signed by all of the company’s founders. The ink was now running down the card since it was wet, but this didn’t stop her from feeling awe-struck. These were her idols! Why did Lukas have this? Is his why he got so upset when it fell overboard?
She shoved the card back in its place and waved him over when she spotted his head poking out of the water.
“Lukas!” she called out.
He turned and sighed with relief when he saw his wallet in her hand.
Zena turned and began examining the ship for a ladder. She wasn’t interested in sleeping on the ocean.
“I cant see a ladder,” she started when she heard him paddling to her side. “We should check the starboard side of the-”
Lukas pushed her face-first onto the ship, fists clenching the back of the T-shirt.
“WHO’s shirt is this and WHY are you wearing it?!” he yelled out, possibly damaging her eardrum.
She avoided the question, finding that he wasn’t entitled to an answer. “You need to chill out and get off me. Now!” she yelled right back.
“Is it Sylas’?” he continued to interrogate. His hold tore into the cause of his anger, earning the shirt a set of holes.
Zena rolled her eyes at his possessiveness. “Yeah. He fucked me good and hard and then gave me this shirt to remember him.” Her tone was dripping with sarcasm but Lukas didn’t seem to catch on. She could feel his chest heavily rising and falling against her back. Although the water was cool, it wouldn’t surprise her if it began evaporating from the jealousy and anger-fueled heat that was sizzling between them.
It was when Lukas daringly skimmed his nose along her neck that Zena became all-too-aware of the fact that his pelvis was pressed against her ass. She couldn’t feel anything poking her but (pun not intended) that didn’t make the situation any less dangerous.
His nose fanned her flesh with hot puffs of air, making her skin nearly melt off her bones. She had to pull away. She knew that at this rate, things and limbs would go south but Lukas’ warmth didn’t make the task easy. He felt delicious against her- mending into every crook and cranny of her body.
He was close but not close enough. Her body knew this, and this is why it was tripling the sparks between them in hopes of convincing her to spread her legs and welcome him home.
A bolt of lust struck her deep and low when his tongue met her earlobe. Very very very low. She jerked slightly, slamming her chin against the boat.
Fuck. Pull away, Zena. Pull away! The part of her brain that wasn’t clouded by the sexual tension cried out.
“How long did he last? Did he shove his cock inside you and cum thirty seconds later like the inexperienced boy that he is?” Lukas snarled lowly.
Zena’s panties were now not only wet by the ocean water.
She managed to suppress a strange sound that climbed up her throat. Was it a moan? A curse? She didn’t know. She hadn’t been with a man since... well actually, she had never been with a man. Sylas only offered a few seconds of pleasure before rolling off her. Truth be told, her hand had probably fucked her better than he had.
Lukas was right. But he didn’t need his ego stroked.
I’d rather stroke something else...
His fingers were sprawled out on her stomach, terribly close to where her body needed it to be. When he gripped the hem of her T-shirt and pulled it over her head, realized she hadn’t answered him.
“He fucked me longer than you ever will.”
Her voice was barely recognizable- breathless and angry. If her pebbled nipples pressing against her tank top didn’t scream “I’m horny!” then the raspy voice sure got the message across.
Visions of Sylas touching what the moon goddess specifically made for him had his blood igniting. “We’ll see about that,” he assured the witty female alpha.
Zena’s hair was then painfully gripped and her head tugged to the side. She glared into his darkened eyes and opened her mouth to no doubt curse him out. Lukas used the opportunity and shoved his tongue in her mouth. She instantly responded, swirling and pushing her own tongue against his hot and moist one. The calm in his jeans was now gone and replaced by a storm. She felt him- all of him press against her back. The butterflies which swarmed in one’s stomach had migrated south to her most intimate area, awakening an itch that only this man could put out.
If you’re going to pull away, now is the time. She reminded herself.
As distracted as she as, she still had common sense. Sex complicates things and she doubted her relationship with Lukas had any space left for complication. Part of her wanted to stop but the other knew that there was an explosive chemistry between them that wasn’t just powered by the mate bond.
She pulled away from her thoughts when she realized her submissive position. Her front was still pressed against the boat as Lukas pinned her and fought her tongue. She turned in his arms and roughly slammed him against the boat, trigging a growl infused with pain and irritation from Lukas. She pinned him with one hand and dug holes into the boat as she holstered their bodies up with her free one.
With hands still on her hips, he spun their bodies a second time to regain his dominant position. This went on for two more rounds, the ship rocked to the left every time one of them slammed the other against it. Their mouths never separated, their kissing becoming more frantic as they tried to pin one another.
Fed up with him, Zena bit his lip roughly. Lukas pulled away. “Stop being fucking difficult,” he demanded.
Heaving, she scowled. “Stop trying to dominate me or I’ll drown you,” she spat.
His wet eyebrow arced. “Then, by all means, mate. Drown me,” he smirked.
She looked confused. What the hell did that mean?
Lukas was more than happy to turn the innuendo into a reality. He moved his hands from her waist and to the waistband of her pants. With a harsh tug, he freed her. Everything below the water was now available to the world.
He gave her a second to push him away. He looked at her face and was met with wide brown eyes, full lips, and flushed cheeks. When he found no sign of resistance, he dove his head underwater and claimed her lips.
The ones he had never tasted before.