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Chapter 5

Knox watched Angela cautiously. She looked ready to bolt. To jump out the window if necessary. Her pale eyes were wide and...worried. He'd known they had a lot to talk about but when she'd told her leader she was staying he'd assumed everything would work itself out. "Why won't you give us a chance?"

"If we mate and you regret it, you'd resent me for the rest of our lives. Considering we're pretty much immortal..." She trailed off because she didn't need to finish.

She was right. If they mated and he later regretted it, they'd be stuck with each other for a damn long time.

Angela looked up at him. "You...you need to clean up. The scent of your blood..." She took another step back. For the first time he realized her eyes were slightly dilated. Even though she'd fed from him, he'd forgotten that the scent of his blood would still affect her. In another lifetime he would have hated that but now...the knowledge turned him on.

He knew the blood and grime covering him wasn't what was bothering her. Maybe he'd come on too strong with the whole mating thing but he wasn't letting her go again. If he had to play dirty, he'd do it. He wanted to stay and finish their conversation, but instead nodded tightly. "Give me a few minutes. I'll wash this off." And by the time the blood had swirled down the drain, he'd be healed. Unlike most of his pack, he healed at lightning speed. One of the many reasons he was Alpha.

After his shower, she wouldn't be able to put this off any longer. He stalked toward the bathroom but didn't close the door behind him just in case she decided to join him. After stepping into the wide stone enclosure, he flipped the water to hot. It didn't matter how much it heated up; it would be no match for the raging inferno inside him.

As the strong jets of water rolled down his body he saw he was already healed everywhere. He was slightly weaker than normal, but compared to the strongest wolf of his pack, he could still take better care of himself and Angela if necessary.

His thoughts were interrupted when he heard a sigh and then movement. It was slight but combined with that familiar fresh spring rain scent, he knew it was Angela.

When he turned around he found her standing at the opening of the shower enclosure - naked - with her arms wrapped around her chest.

Not that it mattered. Everything about her he'd memorized long ago.

He wanted to pull her hands away so he could see all of her. Those light brown nipples he'd teased with his tongue so many times... Instinctively he took a step toward her but she held up a hand. When she did, she gave him a perfect shot of one of her breasts. He couldn't help the low growl that built in his throat. She was definitely trying to kill him. What they'd shared earlier had just been an appetizer. A tease. He needed to feel all of her and not just with his tongue.

"Damn it, Knox. Let me check on you first...I can't believe you're already healed." Her voice held a touch of awe.

As she looked him over with a clinical eye he wasn't sure if he should be insulted. He was ready to pounce and she was staring at him like he was a specimen under a microscope. Until her gaze landed on his erection.

Then her cheeks flushed and she immediately raised her head. "How can you be so sure you want to mate with me? We've been separated a long time, Knox." Instead of letting him answer, she quickly continued. "And how do you know you still want me? And what if your pack doesn't accept me? I'm a vampire. I know your pack is giving Natalia shelter but you're an Alpha. Mating with me is different than if you were a regular wolf. There are just too many reasons this would never work. I can't go back to my coven and I want to stay with you so maybe we can just..." She trailed off so he jumped in.

"Maybe just sleep together? Or have something casual? I don't think so. I'd planned to mate you when you were human. That hasn't changed. A wolf doesn't always get to choose their mate, but I'd have chosen you even if my inner wolf hadn't. You. Are. Mine." The words ripped out of the most primal part of him. "My pack will accept you because I'm their leader, and in time they'll come to see all that strength in you that I do. When you stood up against your tribe leader tonight, you probably brought most of the pack to your side anyway." She'd certainly floored him with her incredible bravery..

"Oh." She bit her bottom lip in that seductive way he loved.

His abdomen clenched as he took a step toward her. The need to be inside her was overwhelming. His cock felt like a heavy club between his legs. Right now he wanted to run his hands over her entire body, cup her breasts with his hands and then tease them with his mouth. "Ninety years hasn't dulled my attraction or feelings for you. I still love you, Angel." His words came out as a guttural growl.

She swallowed hard but didn't respond. Not that he'd expected her to. He should have told her how he felt long ago. Now he'd just have to show her how much she meant to him. Prove it to her once and for all.

"If I take you tonight, I will mark you. Tell me to stop if you don't want this." He loved and respected her enough to tell her now. Once he was inside her, he knew his beast would demand the marking. Ninety years was a long time to keep a shifter from his mate. Now that she was in front of him, his control was thin.

"I don't want to stop." Her voice had dropped a couple of octaves, taking on a raspy, seductive quality. Letting her arms fall, she stepped farther into the enclave.

It was difficult to remember to breathe as he stared at her naked body. Despite being a vampire she'd retained the light bronzed coloring he remembered so well thanks to her heritage. Her nipples were rock hard and begging for him to kiss them.


The word rang in his head loudly but he shoved it back down. He just wanted inside her. Selfish? Hell, yeah. His inner wolf so didn't care right now. He'd make it up to her later. Covering the distance between them, he cupped her cheek and backed her up until she was against the wall. She lightly shivered, probably from the cool tile, but she immediately arched toward him. His body created a barrier from the pulsing water but a few rivulets had tracked down her neck and between her breasts, creating a river he wanted to follow with his tongue.

She seductively rolled her hips against him. "Are you going to stare all day?" she murmured.

That's all he needed to hear. Leaning closer, his chest crushed against her breasts as his lips sought hers out. The feel of her nipples rubbing against him as her tongue stroked inside his mouth was the most erotic thing. He hadn't realized he'd been craving this type of closeness with someone until now.

Palming her hips, he lifted her up. As her legs wrapped around him, his fingers dug into her. He wanted to ease up but felt as if he couldn't get close enough to her.

Before he could slow down, she hoisted up by using her hands as leverage against his shoulders and impaled herself on him. When she did, his eyes flew open and he pulled back slightly. She was like warm silk wrapping around him.

Her lips parted as her eyes flashed with hunger. "I needed to feel you in me," she rasped out.

And she did. Angela needed to feel him with such a burning desire it scared her. When he'd left her to shower, she'd been unable to resist following him into the bathroom despite her earlier protests. Taking this next step scared the holy hell out of her. She couldn't deny it, even to herself.

But she'd been running long enough. If she could go back and do things differently she didn't know if she would have stayed and taken the chance. Ninety years ago she'd been terrified of what he'd do to her. Now she was terrified of losing him again. The one thing she knew for sure now was that she had a second chance with the man who'd never left her heart or thoughts. She wasn't going to walk away again.

Her inner walls pulsed around him as she adjusted to his size. She'd never felt so filled, so satisfied in her life. His breathing was erratic and his canines had already extended. Her own fangs had elongated the instant he'd pushed into her.

As if by instinct.

She knew how wolves took their mates. Hard and fast, from behind. The males would sink their teeth into their female. It was an act of submission on the female's part, but it didn't feel right for her. Not with Knox. Not this first time.

Angela wanted to claim him, too. To show him what he meant to her. She wanted the entire world to see her marks on him.

Holding her up with his weight, Knox didn't make a move to start thrusting into her. Instead he cupped both her breasts and lightly teased them. As he brushed the pads of his thumbs over her nipples, she shuddered.

Unable to control herself any longer, she leaned forward and tugged his bottom lip between her teeth. The raw energy flowing from him was almost palpable but he was restraining himself for her. She could feel it. He was keeping his inner wolf in check.

For the moment.

That definitely wouldn't last long. As their tongues danced against each other, one of his hands slid down her stomach and reached between them. When he rubbed his finger over her clit, she jerked against him. Her inner walls tightened with that light touch, needing more stimulation.

She wanted Knox to let go and to take her the way he wanted. The way they both wanted.

Kissing a trail along his jaw, she sucked and teased him until she reached the spot she'd fed from earlier. He'd already healed but this wasn't about feeding. She wanted to mark him. When she raked her teeth over his skin, his entire body reacted.

He shuddered beneath her and began thrusting inside her. Slow at first, but when she broke his skin with her teeth, he pumped harder. The taste of his blood was sweet, but for once in her life she didn't crave it. She just wanted to let him know he belonged to her.

And she wanted him to claim her. He was right. They might have been separated for a long time but some things - some feelings - simply didn't die. If anything, hers had intensified with time.

As their bodies united, her fangs extended even longer. When she sank deep into his neck, his groan sounded loud in her ear until she felt the sharp sting of his canines against her own neck.

The feel of him marking her - claiming her for his own for the world to see - pushed her over the cliff. She instantly withdrew her fangs. Her climax was abrupt and urgent, rushing through her like a tidal wave. It rose and crested in a wild freefall until all she was aware of was the need and desire rushing through her. Her fingers and toes tingled as pleasure shot to all her nerve endings.

When she felt his hands tighten around her hips and his thrusts increase, she knew he was close, too. The instant he pulled his mouth from her neck, a primal growl tore from his throat as he emptied himself inside her.

She tightened her arms and legs around him as he rode through his orgasm. Eventually he stilled but kept her tight against the wall. They were both breathing hard and erratically, but when he started feathering kisses along her jaw, she smiled.

"I don't want to let you go," he murmured.

Loosening her grip around his waist, she wiggled against him. "You can't keep me pinned on this wall all day."

He didn't respond but when she loosened her legs from around his waist, he reluctantly stepped back and let her down. But he still didn't remove his hands from her hips. And she didn't let go of his shoulders. She might not need him to stand, but she wanted to keep him close to her.

Lightly she stroked her fingers over where she'd bitten him. The two marks were tiny and already healing, but she loved seeing it on his skin. Even when they disappeared she'd remember seeing them every time she looked at him. "I didn't hurt you, did I?"

A ghost of a smile played across his face. "Not possible."

Turning from him, she stepped under the pulsing water and let the wet warmth roll over her. The shock of the jets against her sensitive skin sent an involuntary shiver spinning through her. As she brushed her wet hair back from her face, Knox came up behind her and lightly held her hips while he nuzzled her neck.

"I didn't know mating would be like that," he rasped out.

She slightly stiffened. "What do you mean?" Did he not like it when she'd bitten him? It had just felt so natural and he hadn't tried to stop her.

"You know how wolves mate. We..." He trailed off as he brushed her hair over to her left shoulder. When he rubbed his thumb in small circles over a section on her upper back, she turned to face him.

Wrapping her arms around his waist, she pulled him tight against her. "What are you doing?"

"You have a tiny bonding symbol on your back. It's an olive branch." A universal peace symbol.

The corners of her lips pulled down a fraction. "What does that mean?" When vampires mated, nothing particular happened. Other paranormal beings could simply scent that they were taken and off-limits.

Knox didn't respond. Instead he turned in her embrace so that his back faced her. With her fingers she traced over the tiny black, tattoolike symbol in the middle of his upper back. It wasn't visibly raised but when she touched it she could feel the outline. "You have one, too. Is that...normal?"

When he turned back to face her, he looked almost smug. "No, it's not normal. Werewolves usually mate for life but only if they're true mates will a symbol appear somewhere on their body."

Like a bright tattoo, branding them together for life. "But we're a different species, how is it even possible that - "

He silenced her as he kissed her. His kisses were hungry and needy and just what she wanted. His erection was already back and pressing insistently against her abdomen. Looked like they were in for a long night.

Pulling back slightly, she stared into his eyes. A sense of wonder filled her. "I didn't say it before but...I love you, too. I don't think I ever stopped."

His dark gaze flashed hungrily. As he devoured her mouth again, she felt him shift toward the shower knobs and then the water turned off. Before she could ask what he was doing, he'd scooped her up in his arms.

"Bed. Now." His voice was hoarse.

A shudder snaked through her. She remembered that side of Knox. When he could barely get out a few words let alone say a full sentence, she knew she was in for a long, hot night.

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