Ryder woke in the dead of night unable to say where he was. A bed sagged under him, so soft it made his back ache. Next to him lay Lia. He recognized her by scent first and then registered the sweetness of her weight pressed against him.
They weren't in the strip club anymore. That was obvious. He smelled woods, not the musty smell of vampires and the sour scent of old booze from the club's patrons. As his eyes adjusted to the dark, he could see pine trees through the window on his left. If the moon was out, clouds had blotted its light.
Lia sighed next to him and he rolled onto his side, pulling her back against him, the lush curves of her hips and ass making his groin tight. He'd been in and out on the car ride to Marie's cabin but had overheard enough to know they'd found her sister and the vampires were gone. Plus, Mason was dead. It seemed all their immediate problems had been dispatched or disappeared as necessary. And Lia knew who she was...sort of. He knew what she was to him...his.
His wolf gave a low woof of agreement. Mine.
The fact she'd chosen to share the bed with him said she knew it, too. They'd both felt the pull of attraction between them this whole time. Maybe now they didn't have to turn their backs on it anymore. When he hadn't been fighting for his life, it had been damn near impossible to keep himself from ripping off her clothes and bending her over so he could claim her the way his animal nature demanded.
She was intoxicating as the moonshine his grandfather used to make, but smelled much nicer. He winced and then chuckled as he recalled his first taste of moonshine. Swallowing paint varnish and chasing it with a lit match would've tasted better, he was sure of it.
Lia stirred at the sound of his laugh and turned toward him, her eyes drifting open. He watched as consciousness filtered through the drowsiness clouding her gaze and smiled when recognition dawned.
She struggled to sit. "Ryder. You're up." She pressed a soft hand to his forehead. "Are you okay?"
"Better now that you're here." He sat up as well and reached for her, pulling her in for a kiss. Her lips had a floral flavor with a bitter yet pleasant herbal aftertaste. He drank it in, taking his time to explore her mouth and possess it fully.
Lia arched into his chest and moaned. "Ryder," she managed to whisper around his lips and tongue.
"Lia," he whispered back, although not as elegantly as she had.
Enunciation didn't matter. He was more interested in sucking her bottom lip, drawing the flesh out and scoring it gently with his teeth. She gasped at the rough edge of his kiss and a hot arousal flooded her scent. His hand slipped between her thighs to check.
Yep. She was wet.
His wolf howled so loud in his head that, for a moment, he couldn't hear anything else.
She squirmed as he slipped his hand down her pants and invaded her nether lips. Her breathing stopped for a second when he found the magic spot.
"Oh," she sighed and bit down on his bottom lip.
"I've wanted to touch you like this for a while now." He moved his finger faster and her hips spun in urgent little circles with him.
She gave a small whine. "Ryder, we can't."
He considered listening to her and stopping. He should probably ask about her sister, about what had happened, but he was afraid the outside world would rush in and take over. They'd been puppets to other people's agendas the last few days. This—right here, right now—was their time. If he gave it up, he had no idea when he would have another chance like this. The death of Mason meant he had loose ends now in his old pack and his new pack still waited. He refused to let that sweep him away from Lia. Not yet.
"Yes, we can," he said, nuzzling her neck and nipping the flesh above her collarbone. He let his teeth sink in deeper, making his mark. At the same time, he worked her faster and harder with his finger, demanding more from her. "I need you. Tell me you need me, too."
"Yes." She drew the word out in a long, hissing howl.
Pushing her back on the bed, he shoved her T-shirt up to her shoulders, revealing the curve and heft of her breasts. He took a second to pull off her pants, as well. Then, straddling her stomach, he cupped a breast in each hand and leaned down to plant soft kisses on both mounds. With his lips, he blazed a slow trail around her nipples, refusing to touch them even when she tried to thrust her chest at his mouth.
Finally, when he couldn't take it any longer, he brought each nipple into his mouth, using the velvet of his tongue to start and ending with sharp nips of his teeth. Lia yelped and threaded her fingers through his hair, holding so tight his scalp burned. Her hips danced under him, causing her stomach to jostle his cock.
Just that little bit of contact was almost too much.
With a groan, Ryder left her breasts and moved to her core. He needed her to come so he could bury himself inside her and relieve the throbbing ache that had taken over his cock. He wouldn't take her until she was screaming with pleasure.
She tasted as sweet as she smelled. Her juices flowed over his tongue and he drank in both the flavor and scent of her until his head spun. Working his fingers inside her wet passage, he searched for the spot that would cause her to explode. She arched her hips as he found it and begged him to finish her.
"Please, Ryder. Yes, like that. Please."
He slowed down and let his fingers go still. When she groaned in frustration, he lifted his head to smile at her. She was on the edge of bliss, but he wanted to hear it in her voice. "How bad do you want it?"
Lia gave him a wide-eyed look as if she couldn't believe he'd stopped touching her. "Ryder." She drew his name out in a low howl of frustration.
He gave her a nudge with his fingers and admired the way her breasts moved as she squirmed. "What do you want, Lia?"
"I want...anything. Anything you want."
"I want you. I'm going to make you wet, and then I'm going to make you scream. But is that what you want, too?" He held his breath. If she said no, he didn't know what he would do. He needed her in a way he'd never needed anyone before. It left him vulnerable and he had to resist the urge to pull away and protect himself. This wasn't a fight, where letting his guard down meant losing the match. This was his mate. To win her heart, he had to give her his.
She went quiet for a moment, even her body going still. Giving a slow nod, she said, "Yes."
"You're mine." He covered the nub between her legs with his mouth and growled loud and hard into her body.
She jumped, every muscle taut as a cable about to snap. Her breath came in fast pants that caused her entire chest to heave.
He stopped again. "Say it." When she couldn't muster a response, he gave her a little shake. "Tell me, Lia."
"I'm yours. Please, Ryder. Make me yours."
He buried his face into her core, his tongue merciless and his fingers demanding everything she had to give.