Karen’s phone alarm woke her up at 8 AM. With a satisfying stretch, she moved her sheets aside. Stone was long gone, making her experience of waking up much colorless. One day, she hoped to wake up tangled in both the sheets and her mate’s generous arms. Reaching that day would be a challenge, though, considering that the man stopped breathing whenever she leaned too close.
Inside the adjoined bathroom, she washed the sleepiness off her body and slipped into fresh clothes. When she entered the kitchen and found Stone by the stove, a small cry of dismay left her.
“Good morning,” he greeted with a boyish smile.
His chest was covered by a grey shirt, making her disappointment all the more poignant.
“I wanted to make breakfast,” she grumbled as she took the fork from him.
“I didn’t think it would matter if I made it.”
She poked at the bacon and sighed before looking at the giant. His hair was still wet, and his face curved with confusion. She flipped the bacon before replying, “I have two years to make up for.”
“That’s my line.”
Stone took a seat as she finished breakfast. A knowing silence filled the space, and only the popping of the grease occasionally interrupted it. Karen stared at the pan while Stone stared at her, both of them seeing could-haves instead of the present.
A few minutes later, she produced a heaping plate of food. She placed it on the table before sitting on a stool next to him.
“Where’s your plate?” Stone observed.
Karen stabbed at the plate and then expectantly pointed the fork at his mouth. Stone nearly toppled off his seat. She mate wanted to feed him? The idea made him both want to chuckle and squeeze her in his embrace.
Karen moved the fork closer to his mouth.
“I’m not a baby,” he felt inclined to remind her.
She snorted, poking his abs with her free hand. “I noticed, big guy.”
Stone squinted at the fork, and then at her face which looked much more edible than the food she was offering.
“I don't know about this,” he hesitated.
“Cynthia isn’t the only woman here now. You’ll have to get used to that idea.”
She smiled, her lips looking as plumb like the rest of her. To avoid the urge to eat her beautiful lips instead of the food, he opened his mouth. Karen gently fed him the forkful before scooping more up. The intimate exchange wasn’t as awkward as he expected it to be. Her gentle care filled him with a warmth that had nothing to do with the food’s temperature.
Their eyes remained connected as she continued to feed him, although hers occasionally fluttered down to his lips. He refused the next forkful with a turn of his head, looking more like a stubborn toddler than a Beta werewolf.
“Can I…” he shifted in the stool. “Can I touch you?”
Karen placed the fork on the plate, figuring that he wanted to return the favor by feeding her. Instead of taking the fork, Stone encased her hips with his hands and stole her from the stool. Now that she was sitting on his lap, Karen grabbed his forearms to ensure her balance. Panic subsequently grabbed her. “The stool won’t hold,” she choked out with humiliation.
Sensing her insecurity-fueled unease, he made their chests one by wrapping an arm around her back. She was off his lap and on the table from one moment to the next. The vase of tulips she had placed on it wobbled threateningly, and she threw a hand out to save them from a cruel end.
Stone dreamt of this position. He had pictured placing his mate on the cool table, laying her on her back, and warming her up by lapping at the pussy that was probably as deliciously fleshy as the rest of her. He wanted to make those dreams come true more than ever, but the fear of messing up stopped him. It would cripple him to see her run away again.
He chose to lay his head on her shoulder instead, inhaling her and wishing she smelled like his skin instead of soap.
The sweet, affectionate move was so him. Karen placed her smaller hands over his and trailed them up his broad arms. Stone’s heart and tone disagreed with his name and build. He was skittish around her, not the brute most of the world expected him to be.
His back was bent. Although he was standing between her legs, he made sure that his pelvis was far from hers. The distance failed to hide the truth from her eyes, though. She could see an indentation of his desire through his jeans. The sight empowered her, made her feel something she had little experience with– sexy.
Reaching his shoulders, she dove into his hair and began to massage his scalp. Stone groaned like a defeated man.
“Cynthia doesn’t have shit on me,” she said as she turned her head to kiss his nose.
“No woman– human, werewolf, lycan, vampire, or artificial intelligence, has anything on you."