Cheri was on her feet and almost out the door when it was blocked by John’s large frame. His broad shoulders filled the doorway and made the small room feel tiny.
“Going somewhere, Flynn? You’re not heading down to Central Booking, by any chance?”
Cheri tried for a smile, but it wobbled and fell flat. She was torn, emotionally battered, and it was too much to be able to smile on top of that. Her big brother, her first hero in the world, was killing himself one day at a time, and she knew there was nothing she could do about it. She had already tried everything she could, and he was still living the dangerous and chemically altered life he chose.
“I’m just heading home,” she said. She didn’t bother saying anything else. She was too soul-tired to think up something clever to say.
“I’ll drive you,” was his quiet response, and she felt the tiny room spin.
His partner goggled, and Cheri suppressed her surprise. It wasn’t just her, then. His behavior wasn’t normal for him.
“No, thanks. I’ve got my car here—” She began, but stopped when his dark eyes fired with anger. For a second, she thought she saw actual golden sparks flaring in their depths.
A cool draft of air swept through the room, and she shivered.
“You’re not driving, so forget it,” he said flatly. “Your hands are shaking, your pupils are dilated, and you look like a war survivor. I’m not getting a call to attend the scene of an accident because I let you walk all over me to get out of here when you need care, damn it.”
“Why are you shouting?” she asked, unable to fathom why he should give a damn what she did. They weren’t friends or anything. They hardly knew each other. His arrogance annoyed her, and his powerful male physique gave her thrills, but she couldn’t imagine a woman alive who wouldn’t feel just a little flash of interest in a man like him, a warrior and an alpha. It was more than clear that he called the shots and the rest of the world obeyed or else.
And even though Cheri didn’t take orders worth a damn, there was a small secret part of her that found the alpha part of him seriously tempting. How wonderful would it be to be able to relax and let go, just for an hour or a night, and know that someone else was strong enough to catch you?
With an effort, she dragged her mind back out of fantasy land.
“I’m not shouting.” John stopped and ran a hand through his longish black hair. “Fuck. Okay, maybe I was shouting. Sorry.” His tone was quieter, but no less aggressive. “But I’m only sorry about the shouting part. I will be driving you home so that you’ll get there alive. Just so we’re clear, I’m not asking.”
She watched him, taking in the fierce eyes and determined jaw. As strong and agile as he obviously was, she calculated the chances of getting out of the room without him as less than zero. She figured they would still be there arguing when the sun came up, if he didn’t just throw her over his shoulder and have done with it.
“Thanks, then,” she said.
He opened his mouth as if to argue further, and immediately closed it. Cheri had the insane urge to giggle at the surprised look on his face when it dawned on him that he had won. Did she really come across as such a tough chick that even John Commander thought he would have a hard time with her?
He smoothed his hands up her arms to link his fingers with hers and flex. Listening to her sweet, little moan raised his temperature to a roaring fever, but he held to his control with grim determination. He was a predator first and foremost, animal or man, and he was cunning. If he could coax his mate to come to him, if he could lure her into his arms and that’s where she wanted to be, then they would both win. He felt a surge of satisfaction. He didn’t care how long it took. She was his only mate.
He moved up and brushed a soft kiss over her mouth, that mouth that spelled trouble in his darkest fantasies. He wanted that mouth wrapped around his cock, but he didn’t trust his control the first time. Hell, he was already twitching and breathing hard. He was miles ahead of his mate.
He continued with kisses—wet, open-mouthed kisses—down her white throat and over the swell of her breast. He got busy with buttons and clasps too and bared both glorious breasts, pale and tipped with rosy pink. When she raised her hands and tugged at his hair, he shuddered at the feel of her cool fingers on the back of his neck. He lost it for an instant and sucked a bright mark on the sweet undercurve, where her heartbeat fluttered against his lips. Her gasping cry shot straight down his spine, and his cock jerked hard.
“Damn, Flynn, you burn me up,” he whispered against her belly. He grazed his teeth over her giving flesh. Her curves and her delicate spicy scent captivated him until he felt almost drunk.
“John,” she moaned.
He panted as a wave of intense lust seized him. He didn’t know that he had waited to hear his name said just that way until she said it.
He pulled her nipple into his mouth and sucked strongly, working his tongue all the while. If he was going to fly tonight, he wasn’t going solo.
She writhed under him, her legs flexing in rhythm with his mouth. Her thighs parted, her skirt rode up, and he was captured between her legs. He grappled with the mating urge as it rose up in a burning rush and threatened to swamp him.
He was right where he wanted to be, and he wasn’t going to take his eyes off the prize. He wanted a mate who would always turn to him, not away, and he was instinctive enough to know that he had to set the tone for that kind of intimacy right from the off. Steady, Johnny, his deepest instinct seemed to whisper.
He took hold of his control and pressed kisses down her body until he reached the sweet treasure he sought. He swept the back of his hands up and down along her soft inner thighs until her legs parted farther to make room for his wide shoulders. He stroked her swollen frills open with his thumb and circled the hard, little nub, spreading her wetness. He circled again, exposing her to the air and then his avid mouth.
Her startled exclamation was music to his ears. He licked all the way up and down, savoring the salt-spicy taste, and felt her body rise to chase his mouth. He looked up into her clear blue eyes, and the surprise in them was unmistakable.
“Don’t tell me no one ever gave you this, Flynn?” That would be a damned shame in his opinion since she tasted like a sweet and spicy treat. He could get addicted, he really could.
She took a breath as if to answer, but it came out on a shaky sigh when he slid his thumb up inside her wet heat. She was so tight he almost came right then. He was shaking like a stallion scenting a mare. He pressed his thumb up and rubbed gently over the raised spot. Her body rippled and gripped him, and her legs fell open all the way. Fuck, he wouldn’t last two minutes once he got inside her.
He licked and sucked all along the pink petals, gathering her hot cream as it slid down around his working thumb. “You need to answer me, baby,” he said against her flesh. “I have to know.”
She took another breath, and he eased the pressure a little. He didn’t want to make her come yet. He wasn’t finished by a long shot.
“You, Johnny. Just you.”
He rewarded that soft whisper with a dark, swirling lick followed by strong suction at the top of the stroke. Her legs quivered, and he lifted her legs to his shoulders and settled in for some serious play.