I crave her like my lungs crave oxygen, and kissing her today was like finally taking a breath.
“Can we trust Grayson to keep her safe?” Conah asks. But it’s more to himself than to us.
“Bit late now,” Mal drawls. “Now that we’ve handed her over to the wolves.”
“Better Grayson than Hunter,” I say. “He was there today. He wants her, and Grayson will make sure he doesn’t get her.”
“But Grayson’s a Loup, too. An alpha male…” Conah inhales and shakes his head. “And Fee…God, if he lays a hand on her.”
My insides clench and twist, and I swallow my rage. I saw the way the alpha looked at her like he wanted to devour her, and I wasn’t so sure she wasn’t amenable to the idea.
“Fee can handle herself. She’s part Loup, and if she decides she wants to…” Rage chokes off my words, and I turn away, hands on hips. “I’ll be checking in on her.”
My soul mark throbs. They can’t know that Fee is my soulmate. No one can. If Lilith found out... No, I won’t think about that. As long as my connection to Seraphina is a secret, she’ll be safe.
I turn back to Conah and Mal. “We need to focus on finding Lucas.”
“The bastard is elusive,” Mal said.
“He’s frightened and confused…” Conah says.
“Or he’s hiding deliberately.” Mal shrugs. “He was a wanker when alive, who knows what shit taints his soul.”
Conah’s jaw ticks. “No. I checked him out. He’s clean.”
“We’ve searched the whole of Necro,” Mal says. “Cora is still out searching.”
I lock eyes with Mal. “Not the whole of Necro.”
He grits his teeth. “I’ll do it,” he says. “If he’s in the Eye, then I will find him.”
“Fuck,” Conah says. “Of course. He’s a perfect candidate for those bastards.”
I suppress a shudder at the thought of the malignant hub. “I’m coming with you.”
Conah nods. “Three sets of eyes are better than one.”
Mal taps a message into his comm. “Looks like I won’t be delivering Fee’s things after all. But I know who can.”
After Eliza and Beth left, I realized how exhausted I was and how comfortable the bed was. Sleep was instantaneous. I wasn’t sure how long I slept, but I woke suddenly to pitch black and the sensation of being watched. As my eyes adjusted to the dark and my Loup vision came on, I found a large figure looming over me.
“How are you feeling?” Grayson said.
I gave my pulse a moment to settle. “Fine.” I stretched and noted how his eyes roved up and down my body. It was almost intimate being in the dark with him. Just the two of us in his bedroom.
We should have him. Have him inside us, beneath us, on top of us.
In a fucking salad with dressing. Shut it, wolfy. But there was no denying that her stupid words in my head were having an effect on my pulse, speeding it up for a different reason this time.
Grayson’s nostrils flared, and his fists clenched at his sides. “I’ll have Petra bring you a tray.”
My stomach grumbled. “Did I miss dinner?”
“No. We’re about to eat.”
Ah, okay. This was what Eliza and Beth had been talking about, and it was the perfect time to deal with the issue head-on.
“Then I’ll come down and join you.”
No,” Grayson said flatly.
“Excuse me?” I swung my legs off the bed and canted my head slightly while looking up at him. “Am I a prisoner?”
His jaw ticked. “No.”
I kept my voice light and non-confrontational. “Then why do I have to eat in my room?”
“Because it’s safer that way,” he said bluntly.
I narrowed my eyes. “I thought I was safe with your pack?”
He made a sound of exasperation deep in his throat. “You are. But I’d prefer if you steered clear of them for the next few days.”
Oh, dear, I was enjoying needling him a little too much. I blinked innocently up at him. “Why? Because your Loup can’t control their cocks?”
He flinched and then let out a short bark of laughter. “You have no idea.”
His tone was condescending, and annoyance unfurled inside me.
I stood to face him. “Yes, actually, I do. Eliza and Beth filled me in on the mating and the pheromone stuff, but you see, I think that’s bullshit. Why should we hide because the males can’t control their libidos?”
He took a step toward me, and I locked my knees to stop myself from backing up.
“Oh, we can control our libidos just fine,” he said. “It’s the Loup inside that doesn’t give a shit. It’s primal and hungry, and it will take what it needs.”
He raked me over with his burning husky gaze, and for a moment, I thought he’d illustrate that primal hunger by jumping my bones and anticipation shot through me. Not me. It was her, the fucking horny beast inside me.
“Right now, your body is telling every male within a hundred-foot radius that you’re fertile and ready to be fucked.”
My heart flipped at the way he said fucked. Slow and deliberate and fucking enticing. Yes, yes, I wanted to be fucked.
His gaze dropped to my mouth. “And they’ll want to answer that call.”
I swallowed the lump in my throat. “I can’t control my pheromones, but surely your Loup can control what they do with their dicks. I mean, how the fuck can you teach me to control my beast when you can’t control your own?”
He inched closer, his head dipping so his lips were mere inches from mine. “Oh, I can control my beast just fine. If I couldn’t, you’d be pinned to that bed with my cock deep inside you.”
I sucked in a breath and, ignoring my throbbing clit, glared at him. “What do you want me to say? Thank you for not forcing yourself on me?”
He flinched and then immediately stepped back. He ran a hand over his face. “Damn it, Fee.”
But I wasn’t done. “Can your men control their beasts or not?” I crossed my arms.
My body was on fire, aching and throbbing for him to touch me, but that was her. This wanting was the beast’s, not mine. I wasn’t even sure I liked Grayson.
Grayson templed his fingers and pressed them to his lips as if he was composing his thoughts.
Finally, he lowered his hands and nodded. “You’re right.”
Huh? “I am?”
He nodded. “You should be able to eat with us. My Loup can control their beasts.”
Okay… “Where is the but?”
“No buts. Let’s go.” He pulled open the door and stood there, waiting for me to go through. “You can eat with us.”
I straightened my spine and walked through the door out into the corridor and toward the lift.
Well, that was easy.
Ten wolves were sitting around the huge dining table. I recognized Dean, Bastian, and a couple of others, and then there was Bobby running back and forth from kitchen to table, delivering the plates of food. But all activity stopped when Grayson led me into the dining area. The tension ratcheted up a notch as every Loup eye turned to me. A musky scent hit my nostrils.
Arousal for me. I was the focus.
They want to fuck us.
I swallowed the lump in my throat.
“Fee will be joining us for supper,” Grayson said.
Bastian’s eyes were bright with interest as he slipped his hand under the table and blatantly adjusted himself.
Don’t look away. Do not cower.
I arched a brow and stared him down until he blinked and looked away.
“Come sit with me.” Dean pulled out a seat next to him.
I walked around the table, through an atmosphere thick with anticipation and the scent of arousal, and sat beside the beta.
“Here you go, Fee.” Bobby placed a plate in front of me with a shy smile.
He was the only Loup who wasn’t giving off an I-want-to-fuck-you vibe. In fact, he seemed perfectly relaxed.
I smiled at him. “Thank you, Bobby.”
His smile grew more confident, and he headed back to the kitchen.
Grayson sat to my left and picked up his fork. “Eat,” he ordered.
The Loup reluctantly tore their gazes away from me and tucked into their meals.
A pie with flaky pastry and lots of meaty goodness inside sat on my plate. I forked up a bite and bit back a moan as the pastry all but melted in my mouth. It was delicious.
One of the wolves made a rumbling growling sound, and Dean tensed beside me.
I glanced across the table at a sandy-haired, slender Loup who had his eyes fixed on me. I locked gazes with him, challenging him to say something. Do something.
He blinked sharply and then ducked his head.
I felt the heat of Dean’s attention on the side of my face, and when I looked across at him, he was frowning slightly.
Forks scraped plates as the wolves ate, and damn it was awkward, but bit by bit, the tension dropped, and conversation broke out.
I looked across at Grayson and caught his eye.
He shook his head slightly as if surprised that this was actually working. Surprised that his wolves were behaving. Had he expected them to jump me? Maybe he’d wanted to illustrate the dangers in a practical manner before ushering me back upstairs, but all that would have done was prove my point—that his Loup weren’t able to control their beasts. No…This had been more of a test for him. He’d wanted to test his wolves, and they’d passed.
He gave me a slight nod as if to say, you were right. They can handle it.
I guess I couldn’t blame him for being cautious and wanting to protect the young Loup females.
“Why the fuck is my glass empty?” Bastian growled from across the table.
Bobby came hurrying over with a jug of water and refilled Bastian’s glass. They were all eating, but he wasn’t. He was serving them, hovering at the end of the table and waiting for their orders. There was a spare seat next to Grayson. Why wasn’t he sitting with us?