“Holy Taj Mahal, Batman. You could fit the whole downstairs cottage in here.” Maizie gazed over Gray’s shoulder at the bedroom as he carried her into the master bath. “Including the sunroom.”
The room was enormous, bigger than any bedroom needed to be. The king-sized bed, light wood color with thick, spiral-carved posts and matching swirl designs across the tall headboard, would’ve dwarfed her bedroom at the cottage, but in this room it was just a piece of furniture. It matched the armoire, dresser and chest of drawers, and the nightstands too.
The sitting room with its upholstered beige leather chair and matching ottoman, the classy fireplace, the small wooden minibar and compulsory floor globe was straight out of the decorating guide for rich-guy bachelors. The only thing that kept her from thinking she’d stepped onto a photoset for Architecture Magazine was the open masters chest with the gaming system and TV inside along with an impressive stash of games. One controller was stretched across the floor in front as though someone had been sitting on the leather-cushioned storage bench at the end of the bed, playing.
Gray sat Maizie on the counter. Her leg and shoulder throbbed dully, but a strange heat and excitement surging through her veins seemed to overpower the worst of the pain. Adrenaline is a wonderful thing. “This is your bathroom? Seriously?” She’d stayed in hotel rooms smaller than this bathroom.
“Yes, Maizie. My bedroom suite is large.”
“You’ve established that. Now answer my question. What were you doing out there? You’ve been told since you were a child to stay on the paths. To stay away from this part of the forest.”
“How do you know that?”
“You know how.” He squatted, reaching to the cabinet doors underneath. He tapped the inside of her knee, coaxing her to spread her legs. When she did he opened the door behind them. “Your grandmother and I have been friends for a very long time.”
Maizie swallowed. Seeing that thick mane of silver and black hair bobbing between her thighs brought a rush of dirty-girl ideas to her head.
“You’re too young to have been Granny’s friend when I was a kid. You can’t be more than ten, maybe twelve, years older than me.”
He glanced up. “I’m older than I look.”
His gaze dropped to the V of her legs. His expression melted from distraction to focused interest in an instant. He licked his lips then glanced to her face as though remembering she was watching. His cheeks warmed a shade then he went back to his search under the counter.
“There are things about my family, about me, you need to know. Especially after tonight. You see, we’re not exactly normal.” Gray stood, his hands stuffed with gauze, tape, scissors, disinfectant and what looked like three different boxes of Band-Aids, one of them featuring the characters from Scooby-Doo.
“Not normal. Yeah, I got that the last time I was here.” She scooched back, closed her legs, remembering the interplay between family members on the patio. “A real…close-knit family.”
How could she forget? Power struggles with his nephew, battles with his sister-in-law, a niece who seemed pissed at the world and a mother-in-law apparently oblivious to it all. Gray was stuck in the middle, trying to make everyone happy, which to her mind was only making matters worse. She kept that opinion to herself.
“Close-knit. That’s one way to describe us.”
A deep breath felt warm in her chest. Her clothes squeezed her body, the air grew heavy, seemed to press in on her. “Why’s it so hot in here?”
Gray set the medical supplies on either side of her and pressed the back of his hand to her forehead. His brow creased with the familiar scowl but he didn’t comment.
Maizie closed her eyes. His hand was cool against her skin and brought the yummy scent of sweet male cologne and fresh forest closer to her nose. She tried not to enjoy it, but things were turning a little loopy in her head and the heat was making her body feel tingly, oversensitive.
The fact that she’d been considering every possible way to be alone with the ruggedly sexy man since she’d nearly jumped him by the quarry lake might have had something to do with it. A lot to do with it, actually. Not that it mattered. She was chicken when it came to letting a man know what she wanted. But tonight, somehow, she wasn’t so chicken anymore.
He hooked his finger on the collar of her T-shirt and tugged enough to peer underneath.
“Looking for something?”
He let it go. “This shirt’s ruined. And I need to get to the wound.”
“Oh. Okay. So what do you want-”
A hard yank and he ripped along the seam from the collar to her shoulder before she finished the sentence. It jerked her whole body and made her heart leap into her throat.
The most provocative thing about her shoulder was her bra strap, but he stared at her exposed flesh like a man starved, male hunger flaring in his eyes. His hands held the torn edges of her shirt as though he struggled with conflicting thoughts, his chest rising and falling with deliberate breaths.
Excitement flooded through her system, tightening muscles, quivering through her belly and drenching the channel of her sex. “Far enough or are you planning on ripping it off me completely?”
Not that she’d have a problem with that.
Her hands fisted her sweats on her thighs. She held her breath. Tried not to imagine it. She met his gaze. Was he thinking the same thing? He hadn’t answered, his face sober, brows furrowed in concentration.
After a deep breath he tore off a piece of gauze, dousing it with disinfectant. When he turned back to her, he was the picture of self-control. He dabbed the sopping pad against the torn flesh where she’d been bitten.
He could’ve stabbed her with a hot poker and made it hurt less. She hissed. “Son of a Cheech and Chong.” So much for the adrenaline masking her pain.
He shrugged. “Yeah. This may sting a little.”
“Sorry.” He stepped toward her to see the backside of her shoulder. His leg pressed against her knees so she opened them to allow him closer. The position pushed the bulge at his pants zipper against her knee and let her know his unaffected demeanor was only surface deep.
She swallowed hard, fighting the powerful urge to reach down and coax his semi-hard cock to rock hard and ready. She licked her lips, then bit the inside of her cheek. The need to touch him was nearly irresistible. What the hell was wrong with her?
Gray was sexy as hell, smelled like man-on-a-stick, with a voice that could melt butter and a body that could probably fuck her blind. But she’d never been this ripe and ready in her life. Besides, she barely knew him and what she did know about his life was twisted to say the least.
“It looks bad now, but it’ll heal quick.” He straightened, balling the bloodied gauze between his fingers. “I’m sorry about this. Really. But if you’d listened to your grandmother for once…”
“Hey. Let’s not get into each other’s family dynamics. Okay?”
He tossed the ball across the room toward the toilet and hit the wastebasket beside it without touching the rim. He stepped back and hooked his hands in the tears of her sweats at her calf. A quick yank and the material ripped. With no seam to follow the tear was uneven, ending well up over her knee.
“Confess. You like doing that, don’t you?” She was trying to lighten an uncomfortable moment, but the rawness in her voice made it sound more like a come-on.
His small laugh was tight in his throat. “Yeah. Right,” he said like he was joking-but not really. He took off her sneakers and socks then grabbed another wad of gauze soaked with disinfectant.
He knelt. His big hand smoothed soft as silk down her leg, careful to miss her wound. He felt over her heel and along the bottom of her foot then back to her ankle. The sensation sent a warm shiver to the top of her head and down to settle between her thighs.
He cleared his throat and started talking as though he hadn’t just caressed her for no good reason. “Joy is my mother-in-law.” He brought her foot to rest on his knee. Eyes alighting to hers he said, “It’s going to sting again.”
She nodded, clenching.
He cleaned the wound as he talked. “ Lynn is my wife’s sister. Rick and Shelly are Lynn ’s kids. Their father, Shawn, wasn’t…one of us when the twins were conceived. They’d had an affair. He was married with no intention of ever leaving his wife and somehow in Lynn ’s mind that’s my fault. He’s not good enough for her. That’s just the way I feel.”
He shook his head and grabbed more gauze. “Anyway, after my father-in-law was killed by a rancher in Utah -”
“Killed? You mean murdered?”
Gray paused for a second to look at her. “Yeah. The guy caught my father-in-law killing his sheep. It’s a common problem with wolves in that state. There were rumors. They couldn’t prove any of them were werewolves. The fucking ranchers started using silver bullets just to be on the safe side anyway.”
Werewolves? A chill raced down Maizie’s spine despite the sweat sticking her T-shirt to her chest. The implication was pretty clear but too bizarre to accept. Combined with everything else-Granny’s beloved silver wolf, more human than animal, and Gray’s family, more animal than human and the wolf she’d met in the forest-maybe the bizarre was possible. Either Gray’s father-in-law was mistaken for a wolf. Or he was one.
No. Werewolves don’t exist.
Gray stood, tossing the balls of gauze. “His death left me as the oldest male. I kind of slipped into the alpha role without even realizing it. They’re my responsibility now, Joy, Lynn, the kids. That’s how it works. It’s my job to see to their needs, food, shelter, clothes…sex. The last is really only an issue with Lynn, and then only because she knows the law and wants to make me pay for her disappointment.”
He looked at her as though trying to gauge her reaction to the last. Maizie was still rolling around the word alpha in her head. “Sex? You have sex with them? All of them?”
“No. I could, but I haven’t. Except… Lynn. Once.” He looked to his hands, rubbing at the bloodstains along his fingers. “We have different instincts. It’s not like a human family.”
Human? “I have to go.” To hell with her sexual fantasies about Gray and the first real chance she had of making them come true. This night had just shot into the red on her weird-O-meter. She tried to scoot off the counter but Gray stepped in front of her, his hands grabbing her hips, holding her to the spot.
“You can’t, Maizie. It’s not safe.”
“Why not? Frankenstein and Dracula waiting somewhere out there for me too? Or is it just your family I have to worry about? That was them, wasn’t it? They’re the wolves that attacked me, almost killed me.”
“Yes. But I don’t think they meant to hurt you. Not really. The wolf in us is still a wild animal at heart. Unpredictable. Ruled by instinct.” He sighed. “Listen, I know this seems strange-”
“Strange? No. We passed strange about three days ago.” She squirmed, trying to break his grip, and trying not to feel the ripple of excitement at being so easily restrained by him.
“Okay. We won’t talk about it anymore tonight. Promise. Just…stay. Please. I need you to stay here tonight.” He sounded sincere, as though it meant everything to have her here with him. Why? What did he want from her?
Her mind filled with possibilities, the ripple of excitement grew. Her hands wrapped around his forearms, feeling the steel corded muscle under the gentlemanly dress shirt. Her breath shuddered, she closed her eyes.
As though he could hear her thoughts, smell her rising lust, Gray’s fingers flexed on her hips, clenching the stretchy fabric of her sweats on either side. He stepped closer, wedging his hips between her legs. One easy yank and he pulled her to the edge of the counter, her groin flush with the full hardened shaft of his cock.
“Stay with me, Maizie.” His voice was low, rumbling in his chest and vibrating through her body like distant thunder. “I want you here. You don’t know how hard it is for me to admit that. I tried to pretend you didn’t affect me, that I was making the choices. To convince myself the way I felt around you was controllable, ignorable. I was wrong. Stay, Maizie.”
“You plan on keeping me here against my will?”
“No.” He put his lips to her ear, her mouth to his chest. “But I’d love the chance to persuade your will to stay.”
His breath was warm, soothing and erotic against her skin. She felt like a kitten on catnip. It’d been a strange night, scary and exhilarating. The over-hot room, the scent of him, the fight for her life, it all made her dizzy and left her body wanting. It was just too hard to fight. She didn’t want to anymore. She wanted him, had from the start if she was being honest with herself. So she stopped fighting.
She breathed him in, her hands going to the belt loops of his slacks. Her legs wrapped around his. She pulled, pressing her wet needy sex against the hard length of him. “Convince me.”
It was both an invitation and a challenge. Gray was good with both. Admittedly he wanted her to stay for her own safety, for her own sanity. The first shift was hard and scary as hell. But there was a part of him, a large part and growing larger by the second, that wanted her to stay for purely selfish reasons.
He liked how he felt with Maizie, comfortable, at home. He’d never felt like this before, not even with Donna. It wasn’t fair. He should’ve been able to give her that, to fit with someone so perfectly like this. He hadn’t. But he was so tired of punishing himself for the failure. For one night he’d accept that maybe he did deserve to feel happy.
Gray kissed Maizie’s ear, then tasted her-just a quick flick of his tongue. Sugar and spice. Jeezus, he’d always thought that was just a nursery rhyme. Maizie’s profession made it a distracting reality.
She pulled back. “Oh. Sorry. I was running before and it’s hot in here…” She bent her head down to her shoulder and sniffed.
“No. You smell…great.” She smelled like dirt, cookies and sex, his three favorite things. “Your wounds, though… You’ll be more resistant to infection, but I don’t want to take any risks.”
“Oh.” She laughed, but there was a nervousness about it that came with first-time lovers. The sound made his muscles quake and sent the same nervous thrill through him.
He stepped to the side and scooped her up, carrying her to the glass-walled shower. The molded corner seat was wide enough for three but Gray had no intention of sitting beside her. He reached for the bottom of her T-shirt. She leaned back, clutching the hem.
“I can manage by myself.”
He couldn’t help the lopsided grin. “What fun is there in that?”
Understanding flashed in her eyes, lust warming the color of her cheeks. She dipped her chin, coy and sexy, peering up at him through the tousled red strands of her hair. “You first.”
The virus was working through her system faster than he’d expected, enhancing her basic senses. He’d never seen anyone go through the initial stages besides himself and all he remembered from those days was pain…food…and sex. Intense was the catchword of the experience. The virus didn’t make you do things you didn’t want to, it just made everything taste, smell, feel better.
Gray snagged the edges of his shirt and pulled, sending the matching sea-foam green buttons tick-tacking off the glass and over the shower floor. The shirt was already ruined with Maizie’s blood, but he’d have done it anyway just to see her eyes go wide like that again.
He pulled his arms free, tossed the shirt out of the shower and cocked a brow at her. He didn’t say it, but he knew his look told her it was her turn.
Maizie grabbed the torn edges of her shirt and pulled. She widened the tear by an inch, but little else.
She nodded, catching her bottom lip between her teeth when he reached for the ragged edges. One quick pull and the cotton shirt opened across her body. She gasped, her breasts rocking in her pretty white-lace bra from the force. She was breathing heavy, and God help him, he couldn’t look at anything else for three solid heartbeats.
“Stand. I’ll help with the sweats.”
She shook her head, a wicked grin teasing across her face. “Not my turn.”
Gray didn’t hesitate. He worked out of his slacks, pulling his underwear with them to save time. He wasn’t wearing shoes or socks when he’d heard Maizie’s screams, so after tossing his clothes to the bathroom floor, he was completely naked and harder than stone.
Maizie’s wide green eyes stared at his cock wagging straight out from his body as though trying to reach her on its own. Her focused attention made his muscles coil, twitching the meaty shaft even more and pulling a bright hungry smile across her face.
Jeezus, he hated that they’d done this to her. But he couldn’t help his excitement at her awakening senses and the enhanced need that would come with them. He wanted her. He had from the moment he’d seen her at Green Acres.
His wolf had known all along, and he’d tried to ignore it. But now with the virus pumping through her veins, the wild scent of the pack rising through her skin, he couldn’t deny it, couldn’t resist her. He was helpless. His wolf wanted its mate.
Maizie reached for him. Her long slender fingers lightly feeling over the smooth head of his cock, the ropey veins bulging along the shaft. Even seeing it coming, Gray’s lungs seized at her touch, his body tightening. Her gaze flicked to his, her smile a permanent fixture on her face. She held him, not a firm palmed grip but enough that when she tugged he followed.
Three steps was all it took and Maizie’s soft red lips parted over him. Her tongue explored the textures, swirling and flicking, making him lean into the feel of it. He pushed deeper into her, her right hand loose around the base, stroking what she had left to take. Her mouth pulled on him, sweet, wet suction that drew sensation from every part of his body like strings on a puppet.
She went down on him farther, and back with greater suction. Down and back and then again to the hilt. Gray’s hips pumped with each draw, until he was fucking her mouth, as hard and fast as she could take him. Every thrust he went deeper, and Maizie took it, grabbed his balls, his ass and demanded more.
He held her head with both hands, his fingers digging into her thick fiery hair. His hips rocked, thrusting his shaft between her lips, feeling the sharp scrape of teeth, the hard pull of suction. He’d come like this if he wasn’t careful.
Fuck. Sensation thrummed through his veins, swirling, building in his groin, feeling better and better by the second. He wanted to come. It felt so damn good. No. He could hold off a few seconds longer, enjoy it just a little more. Maizie’s hands began a wicked tease. She rolled his balls through her fingers, caressed, and tugged. Her other hand slipped around his ass, traced the line of his cheeks, teasing, searching for his anus.
The sensation stormed through his body faster than he’d expected, a wash of heat and delicious pleasure crashing through his tenuous control-a flash of release.
He came before he could stop himself. He pulled out, holding her back before he lost any more of his load. Jeezus, it’d been decades since anyone had out-fucked him. He controlled his body. He couldn’t remember the last time someone had managed to seduce that control away, even a little.
Maizie licked her lips, tasting him, eyes questioning. “What’s wrong?”
“Your turn.” The wolf growled in him, panting. She’d awakened the beast as she’d been doing for days, only this time he’d have his fill.
Gray pulled her to her feet, held her until he was sure she’d found her balance. She kept most of her weight on one leg, her hands braced, one on the back tiled wall, the other on the glass wall.
Arms out, her breasts seemed gifted to him, and he couldn’t resist a quick caress, feeling the roundness, the supple give when he squeezed, the hard nipples straining beneath the lace. Her back arched, pressing into his palms and Gray gave a final squeeze, a quick pinch, a gentle tug.
He knelt, hooked his fingers on the waistband of her sweats, catching her panties as well, and drew them down over her hips.
He teased them both, pulling slow over the round of her hips until the first reddish curls peeked over the edge. A little lower and he could see the top slit of her pussy. He stopped, leaned in and flicked his tongue in the crease.
She gasped. He pushed his tongue firmer between the lips, tasting her cream even as he found her clit. She moaned, tried to open her legs further, but her sweats held her. She curved her hips, pressing her sex into his face and Gray breathed her in.
No sugar here, but plenty of spice and the heady scent of woman. Sweet Jeezus, he could live in that scent. His teasing, slow reveal had suddenly become a torture. He yanked her sweats to her ankles and only remembered her injured calf when she cringed.
“Fine. I’m fine. Don’t stop. Please God…” She lifted one foot free and opened wide, grabbed his head and pulled his face to her pussy.
Gray smiled even as he drew his tongue from the opening at her sex up to her clit. She moaned loud with the feel of his mouth on her and so he did it again. It was most likely the virus that made her so bold, but he didn’t care. He liked it. A lot.
The tops of her inner thighs were wet, her curls glistening, and Gray slipped his finger between her swollen flesh, finding the tight slick entrance. Her muscles pulsed, gripped his finger and welcomed a second, her cream hot on the back of his knuckles. She was on fire, so needy he fought to take things slow, to please her before he gave in and fucked her so hard she’d scream his name. Every primal instinct inside him hammered his brain, so he could hardly think, barely see straight.
He spread the hood of her lips from her clit, flicking the plump nub with his tongue, making her body quiver even as her pussy milked his fingers. Her hips rocked against him, riding his hand, driving his fingers deeper. He arched his fingers inside her, curved along her channel to find the spot that made her head fall back, her eyes close and her hips set a frantic pace.
Her hand fisted the hair at the back of his head. “There. Right there. Yes.”
He latched onto her clit, sucked and toyed, pulling the juicy flesh into his mouth, coaxing the small spasm trembling through her muscles into a full-on orgasm.
“Gray…” She fell back. He caught her, his fingers still pumping her pussy, his mouth still suckling her clit until her hips slowed, her hand in his hair went slack and the last spasm of her sex fluttered around his fingers.
Dear Lord he wanted her to come again. He leaned in, mouth open, gaze flicking up to her face. The back of her shoulders leaned against the wall, her body angled out to him where his arm still held her around her ass. Maizie’s eyes were closed, her face flush, chest rising and falling with deep breaths. She needed a moment to recover.
Gray couldn’t resist one last playful bite on her pussy as he pulled his fingers out of her. She squirmed a little, made a soft laugh.
She was utterly pliant to his touch, not even opening her eyes when he stood and removed her bra. He tossed it over the glass wall then turned and set the temperature for the shower. It’d turn on when the water in the pipes had warmed enough. The process took less than two minutes.
He stood shielding her from the sudden rush of hot water that would come. She had yet to open her eyes or let her pretty smile falter. He stared at her, the pale creaminess of her skin, the delicate features of her face. Long reddish eyelashes, nearly translucent, shadowed almost-there freckles high on her cheeks. Lips so soft that rose petals couldn’t compare, bowed with a smile that flipped his heart, made him happy to be a man. When had Granny’s Little Red become such an enchanting woman?
His gaze dropped to her breasts rising toward him with her slowing breaths. He reached out to one, his finger tracing along the outside curve, bringing a rush of tiny goose bumps shivering over her body. Her smile brightened but her eyes remained closed.
He feathered a single finger up to the darker flesh of her areola. The skin reacted like a delicate flower, puckering at his touch, her nipple growing, defining, hardening. His hand opened on her without thought, fingers squeezing gently, catching the hard nub. His heart picked up a beat, blood rushing to his cock, muscles tightening.
There was nothing like the feel of a woman’s breast so perfect, so sensual, he had to feel it in his mouth. Gray slipped his free arm around her waist, his hand sliding down to cup her ass. He pulled her close. His cock twitched against her, the wet hairs of her pussy teasing him. He bent over her, flicking his tongue over her nipple, hard as a cherry pit.
Grrr… He’d like to squeeze his teeth on that sweet pebble of flesh, to bite and nibble. Gentleness wasn’t easy, but he didn’t want to hurt her. He knew he’d failed when she gasped, flinched away. He stopped instantly and met her gaze. There was laughter in her forest-green eyes that set his worry at ease.
“Not so hard.”
He growled his apology as he kissed her breast, then drew as much as he could into his mouth, careful not to pull too hard. The puckered flesh of her nipple felt wonderful on his tongue and he swirled around it, reveling in the sensation. She arched into him, pressing her body flush against his, from her ribs to her sex. Gray pressed back, his arms wrapped tight around her.
A soft beep warned him before perfectly warm water sprayed from three walls and overhead. His body shielded her but she flinched anyway.
“Wow, that feels good,” she said.
Gray released her, stepped back, allowing more of the steaming water to patter over her body. He reached for his sea sponge in the silver basket suctioned to the back wall and showed it to her.
“You mind? It’s almost new.” It was still a little stiff, but the water would soften it enough. “I have washcloths if you’d rather…”
She laughed. “I just had your penis in my mouth. I think I can handle your bath sponge on my back.”
The image of her lips wrapped around his hard cock flashed through his head. He hooked his hand behind her neck, pulled, bringing her mouth to his. He had to feel those soft lips again, somewhere, anywhere on his body.
Her surprise only lasted an instant and she kissed him back, just as needy. He felt her hands on his hips, her nails digging in, not hard but enough to send a jolt of painful pleasure racing through his system. Her tongue flicked against his, traced the roof of his mouth then darted away. He chased with his own, gathering her body to his as he did.
The quick movement sent her off balance, forced her to put too much weight on her injured leg. She grimaced, breaking the kiss as she stumbled against him. Gray caught her, practically lifting her off her feet.
“Shit. I’m sorry. I… Dammit.” He set her down, waited for her to find a comfortable footing. “This isn’t me. It’s just that you smell so perfect, and you feel… I…”
She laughed, holding his shoulders. “I know exactly what you mean. Really. Everything just feels so right, so good, with you. I swear I’ve never been like this, but I have to admit, it’s kinda great.”
Tension rippled off his shoulders with her smile. He held out the sponge, let it fill with water, wrung it out and did it again until it was soft and heavy in his hand. He filled it with soap, squeezed until it was white with suds, then turned Maizie around so the water cascaded over her long hair and down her back.
She leaned her head into the spray, running her hands through her hair, eyes closed, as Gray smoothed the soapy sponge down her neck and over the swells of her breasts. He washed her, every luscious feminine inch of her. He touched her in places he’d likely miss while making love to her and he enjoyed every minute of it. He even washed her hair, something he’d never done before and very much wanted to do again.
When he’d finished and had rinsed the last shimmer of shampoo from her hair, smoothed the last bubble of soap off the round of her ass, she turned and took the sponge from the basket where he’d put it.
She squeezed, soapy white lather bubbling out between her fingers. She smiled. “We still taking turns?”