Authors: T. A. Grey
Thane rested against the wall as he seemed to collect himself. He washed under the water one time, giving her one last searing memory as he pulled his cock under the water to clean himself. He shut off the water then headed towards the bathroom stalls. Jackie tensed then looked around wildly before pulling away from the door and squatting over the toilet, hoping like hell he didn’t choose this stall.
She heard the stall at the far left of her open and she breathed a deep sigh of relief. After a minute, she didn’t hear the toilet or anything else and her gut tightened in worry; this couldn’t be good. Leaning forward again, she braced herself on the door and peered out the sliver of space between the door and stall. Maybe he’d grabbed some toilet paper to blow his nose or something and was back at his gym bag.
She found the bathroom empty. His gym bag was still open on the bench, the shower floor wet, and he was nowhere in sight. Maybe he was still using the bathroom...just very quietly.
Suddenly she felt as if a dozen pairs of knowing eyes were trained on her. She looked wildly up the stalls but didn’t see any dark-haired warrior glaring down at her, nor under the stalls was a head peering up at her.
Okay, get a hold of yourself, Jackie. He doesn’t know you’re here. She heard the creak of the stall door and almost sighed in relief. Leaning against the door again with her hands she peered through the slot to see.
Suddenly the door pitched open and she went diving face first towards the tile floor. A pair of hard arms wrapped around her waist a second before her face concrete, she was launched back up.
“I can explain,” she said quickly. She backed up against the corner of the stall door and never even felt it digging into her back.
Thane stood before her a naked, towering man with a blank expression on his face. Jackie trembled like a damn newborn babe. He took a step towards her and she took one back, only further lodging her against the stall. Eyes wide, she searched the room and considered dodging right so she could run out of the bathroom. His eyes narrowed on her as if he read her mind and then he caged her in. This was the second, or was it the third, time he’d done this. It managed to both fuel her with arousal and make her feel small all at the same time.
It seriously didn’t help that he was naked—and dripping—over her clothes as he leaned over her. She couldn’t help it; her eyes fell to his lips. The same lips she’d kissed the other night. His bottom lip was a little fuller than usual from his biting it. Seeing this gave Jackie the nearly insatiable urge to lick it and suck it into her mouth.
“Why hello, Jackie.” His voice was dark and alluring, husky either from the orgasm he had or because he was trying to sound sexy. She wished she knew which.
“Hi,” she squeaked. His lips pulled into a smile, a real one, not a grin. He pressed even closer, his chest now touching her, pushing the cotton of her shirt and the sports bra she wore against her hard nipples.
“Did you like what you saw?”
Her eyes widened and she quickly shook her head. “Excuse me but I have to go.” She started to duck under his arm, but then he pressed his entire body against hers. She was too short for him so he bent his knees until they were neck to neck.
“Don’t leave so soon, Jackie. How about I help you with that?”
“With what?” she said, genuinely confused, happy that the squeak in her voice was gone. He pressed his lips to her ear, a soft kiss.
“With that wet pussy you have.”
Jackie stiffened so hard her neck flared with pain. “Fuck you. This was all your fault.” Her cheeks were so red they burned like a sunburn. He smiled down at her, his hands squeezing her hips, pulling her towards him. She gasped at the sensation. He was hard again. Hard as stone and pushed right up against her needy core. She forced her gaze to the far wall, anything to distract herself.
“How was it my fault that I came here to take a shower and you happen to be watching me?” His voice was so husky and dark. It sent shivers down her spine.
She glared at him. “You knew I was in here the whole time?”
One eyebrow cocked and a grin formed at his mouth. “Course I did.”
Jackie swore fumes actually came out of her ears. “And you—and you did that knowing I was here?” She practically screamed the words she was so angry. He pressed his hips hard against hers, lodging his cock against her sex, and making her eyes flutter.
“Sure did, baby, and you liked it so much you’re dying to be fucked.” Jackie’s heart pounded at his words. It was a combination of his language, meaning, and the fact that he wanted to have sex with her that drove her to use all her strength and shove him away.
He went back a foot and she escaped to the side. She refused to run from him, but she sure as hell walked fast. He came up behind her, quiet as a stalking cat and twirled her until she spun back into his arms.
He looked serious now, eyes hot with desire. “I mean it, Jackie. All you have to do is say yes, hell nod, for all I care, and I’ll take care of both of us until we can barely move off this damn floor.”
Jackie’s mouth open and closed. It seemed like an eternity as she thought it over. She’d never wanted anything more in her life than to be feel his body against hers, to feel him loving her so passionately. Finally she shook her head.
“No, you’re only doing this because you think of it as some kind of challenge. A challenge I want you to forget.”
He laughed at her as if she’d just told some great joke. “Not even close. I told you I won’t stop until you accept us. I’ll do whatever it takes to win you, Jackie.”
She threw up her arms in frustration. “All because of some stupid kiss.”
His smile died. “That wasn’t just a kiss. If you’re not strong enough to say it, then I will.” He speared his fingers into her hair and tilted her lips towards his. “You’re mine. My mate. The woman who will carry my babes. You and I both know it. We felt it from the moment our lips touched.”
“I can never be with you.” She hoped he didn’t hear the hoarseness in her voice or the sadness. He pressed his lips to hers once.
She swallowed over the lump in her throat. “Because I could never go out into town and see the faces of all the women you’ve been with and be okay with that. I can’t...I’m not like that. I can’t do it.” Jackie pulled away at his stunned expression, not knowing who was more shocked. She’d just admitted something she’d never spoken aloud. Before he had a chance to respond she turned and ran out of the bathroom.
As the door slammed shut behind her, she heard the wet slaps of his footsteps coming after her. She ran fast, turning down the hall and sprinting for the nearest exit. She heard the door open and his voice calling after her.
Jackie didn’t stop running until she was safe at home.
It was only then that she realized what he’d said. Before it had been a panicked blur as she sped down the hallway. Now she could clearly recall what he said as if he’d whispered it into her ear.
You won’t be able to resist me, Jackie!
She prayed he wasn’t right.
Willow paced for so long in the office she was surprised she hadn’t created a trench in Lyonis’ floor.
Oh God what had she done?
She tried to take deep breaths to calm herself but it just wasn’t happening. She couldn’t control her breathing no matter how hard she tried, she sounded as though she’d just run a marathon.
She slapped herself in the head. “I told him I’d mate with him.” Aagh, she growled. What was wrong with her? It was the alcohol, obviously.
Yeah, that was it. He wooed her with one really great night in hopes that she’d cave. And boy did she. Well, she couldn’t do it, wouldn’t, in fact. Now she just had to tell him.
She rarely got nervous. She’d always prided herself on her confidence but having to tell the man that she liked that she couldn’t mate with him...oh God she didn’t want to do it. Now she understood why some people broke up with their loved ones through underhanded ways like email, letters, or even phone calls. She got it now! Anything else was better than standing before him face to face and possibly crushing him—and her in the process.
Oh God, Oh God. The door swung open and she jumped back a foot, letting out a little yelp. Lyonis smiled at her. His big body filled the doorway and made her feel trapped inside the office as if the room had suddenly shrunk by half.
“Fine, fine. How are you?” His eyebrows rose at her rushed question.
“Good now that I see you.”
He closed the door then strode towards her. The room suddenly got even smaller as he neared. He wrapped her in his arms then swept down and kissed her. He kissed her hungrily, with a pent up passion that spoke of the release he didn’t take last night. He slanted his lips across her and dove his tongue inside to mimic an act she craved now whether he was near her or not. He lingered over her lips before pulling away.
Willow dreaded this but it needed to be done. “I can’t mate with you.”
“I figured as much.” Not a flicker of surprise shone in his eyes.
“Huh, what?” He stroked his thumb over her cheek.
“I knew you’d say that. Although I believe what you said last night came from your heart; I knew that you’d be ready to fight it once morning came. Don’t worry, Willow. I know you’ll still be mine.”
Well, out of all the ways she’d pictured this situation going, this was not one of them.
“Oh,” was all she managed to say.
He laughed softly. “I have some things to discuss with you.” His big hands rubbed her back up and down in soothing waves.
“I think you’re pregnant, Willow.”
Well if that didn’t just ice the warmth in her veins. She stiffened in his arms and tried to pull away but he wouldn’t let her.
“Here me out.” Willow watched him with a skeptical look. Since when was he so nice to her, giving her choices instead of ordering her? Oh wait, she thought, he’d never been much like that. Much. Not like she thought he’d be. She’d pegged him wrong from the beginning.
“Okay,” she said hesitantly. His eyes all but gleamed with satisfaction.
“This weekend is the Winter Festival. Amy’s challenge still stands. I know you’re not ready but I need you to mate with me, Willow. You can’t fight her with our babe growing inside you.” He spoke so fiercely that Willow was taken back for a moment. Again, she felt as though she was in some surreal place like Wonderland and she had no idea which choice was the right one to make.
She could take the pregnancy test and finally discover the truth, she could fight Amy and put that bitch down once and for all, or she could mate with him and be the new Queen of the pack.
But she didn’t want to do any of those things. The only one she found slightly tolerable was fighting Amy. She almost laughed. She’d rather mate with him than take that pregnancy test. She was that terrified of the answer. That her jeans still didn’t fit this morning and she had to wear yoga pants again scared her even more.
“I can see your mind working. Willow, last night you realized something whether you want to admit it or not. I will be great to you. I promise it. Hell I’ll vow it in front of the entire pack if you want.”
A thought occurred to her. Was she really just running from the inevitable? Lyonis seemed to think so, even the pack did. Her sister Lily did. When they spoke to her about the mating, they shrugged and said it’d only be a matter of time before she agreed. Maybe they were right, she thought. Heck she’d been thinking about it since the day she received that will from Papa. She couldn’t leave him now. Although she never wanted to say that aloud, or in front of him, it was the truth. Otherwise she would have left the moment he dragged her here.
Willow didn’t know what surprised her more, that she knew her answer or that she wasn’t scared of it.
Taking a deep breath, she said, “Okay.”
Lyonis stepped back, disbelief ridden across his face. “What?”
She looked him straight in the eye with a bravado she didn’t quite feel. “I said yes. I’ll mate with you.” Lyonis stood there for a solid minute, then he picked her up into his arms and swung her around, laughing. Willow couldn’t help it, she laughed too, feeling lighter than she had in a long time.
He set her back down and kissed her. “I can’t wait to announce it to everyone. We will have one helluva celebration come the festival. And there will be no fighting,” he added sternly.
Willow pretended to pout. “Come on, just a little fight. I’ve been practicing my right hook.”
A devilish gleam twinkled in his eye as he wrapped his arm around her waist and brought her against him. “I’d recommend using your knee. I know firsthand how strong it is.”
Willow’s snort turned into a full belly laugh as she remembered kneeing him in the face after they first made love. Slowly their laughter faded away until they were smiling at each other like young lovers. She watched as his face transformed turning slowly into a wicked, hot look.
“What?” Butterflies danced in her stomach.
He picked her up by her hips, walked to the desk, and set her on it. Stepping between her legs, he pressed his arms on either side of her and said, “You owe me.”