Raiden glared at the nurse who stood next to the bed monitoring his vitals.
“I’m fine,” he snapped. “I need to get out of here.”
“You’ll get out of here when the doctor finishes going over your scans,” she said blandly.
“On whose authority?” he demanded.
“Your boss’s,” she said, giving him a mocking stare. “Now, be still. Your blood pressure’s just going up, and you’ll be laid up in here on your ass chained to this bed.”
He growled at her, and she gave him a Cheshire cat grin.
A knock at the door and then it opened. Raiden waited to see who the intruder was, hoping it was the nameless doctor come to liberate him and send him back to work.
He couldn’t sit here knowing trouble was coming. His wolf was edgy and eager.
“Hartland,” the cool voice called his name, no. The way he said it was like a light caress to the cheek.
His wolf’s head came up and lunged for the warm scent that came toward him. It was a hint of cedar, tantalizing and seductive.
Raiden watched him stroll over to the bed with a duffel in hand, but his gaze was on the nurse. That pissed his wolf off enough that he wanted to bite her, teach her not to bat her lashes at a wolf’s mate.
“How is he?”
“He’s alive, but that’s for the doctor to decide,” she said, giving him a look of pursed lips as she headed for the door. “When you’re done slapping him around, come buy me a cup of coffee?” she asked, and Raiden snarled at her.
“Fuck off, tart,” Raiden growled at her.
She rolled her eyes. “You’re so butch,” she muttered and gave Alimi a hopeful look.
“Not today,” he said.
“Not ever,” Raiden muttered. “Unless you it’s over your dead body.”
Alimi growled, giving him a chastising look. “Enough, pup,” he said. “I think we’re all going to be busy for a while. The chief healer is waiting for you, nurse. He called an emergency meeting.”
She nodded and hurried from the room.
“You’re cleared for duty, but you have to take it easy, which means staying by my side until you’re fully cleared,” Alimi told him. “Now, get dressed and don’t bite the nurses for looking. I’m not yours yet.” He tossed the bag onto the end of the bed.
Raiden growled. “Damn cat,” he said coldly. “Accept defeat. I will claim you.”
Alimi chuckled, his eyes dancing merrily. The look heated Raiden’s skin from the inside out.
“Hurry up. We’re expecting an attack in a few hours,” Alimi said and headed from the room.
Raiden climbed out of bed a little breathless and unable to take his eyes off Alimi despite a twinge of pain prickled at his side. Alimi’s eyes darkened and Raiden’s pulse kicked seconds after a low growl rumbled in his chest.
Alimi winked at him and his wolf went crazy wanting to get to Alimi, to touch him, just one stroke over that angular jaw.
Losing the battle, he took a step and stopped himself as he regained controlled.
Raiden looked away deciding to follow orders. His claws sliced out allowing him to cut the plain hospital gown down one side and he grunted from the stab of pain. He tugged the tattered pieces away, casting them to the bed.
He opened the bag and found some toiletries on top. Grabbing the leather bag, he headed into the bathroom to shower in the small cubicle.
At least the damned cat wasn’t in denial. But where would that lead them? How could he even think of claiming the man under these circumstances?
Relationships formed in times of intense emotional situations never lasted. Passions were high and burned hot, burning out any chance of a relationship even before it began. So, why wasn’t the wolf listening? All his animal wanted to do was get to know his mate.
Raiden wet his hair and grabbed the liquid soap, which smelled suspiciously like the cat who’d brought it. He inhaled the fragrance, taking the scent into him as if committing it to memory.
The wolf growled softly, and it was a vow to remember.
Raiden finished his shower and dressed, ignoring the twinge of pain. He drew in a breath, hoping he’d be able to work through it. That his wolf healing wasn’t kicking in puzzled him. Wolves tended to heal even faster than cats.
“Hey, man,” Tiernan, a wolf packmate and friend, said when he stepped out of the bathroom.
Tiernan was lounging on the click-clack sofa, his expression a little tenser than he’d seen it in a while.
“We have a briefing,” he said. “The cats are expecting The Order to attack. Alimi wants us to be ready.”
“Who is he anyway?” He went to jerk books from the bag.
“All I know is he’s one of Saxon’s pridemates.”
“Then why is the freaking cat given jurisdiction and not Jody?” he demanded. “We’ve been in this fight with them longer than the Nightshade cats.”
“Ask someone,” Tiernan said in a distracted tone as he got to his feet.
A blast lit the air, rattling the windows and shaking the ground. Tiernan swayed, stumbled.
Alimi gave him a soft smile. “One day when this is over, I’ll give you the kind of courtship you should have had.”
Raiden rolled his eyes. “I’m not a dewy-eyed schoolboy. Just try not to get killed because I’m looking forward to our first anniversary.”
Alimi nodded. “Ditto.”
Raiden grinned and then kissed him again. Alimi took over the kiss within seconds, turning the lazy kiss into a hot caress of tongues that left Raiden clinging to him.
Raiden tugged Alimi’s shirt from his pants and pushed his hands beneath, stroking heavy muscle. He moaned as heat swelled inside him. The wolf stirred in the building sensual storm.
His nails threatened to become claws as he scrubbed them along Alimi’s back, straining closer.
Alimi broke the kiss and pressed his lips to Raiden’s jaw. “Mmm.”
“Don’t stop,” Raiden whispered in a pleading tone. “Not yet.”
Alimi groaned and claimed Raiden’s mouth roughly. Raiden’s claws emerged, and he dug them into Alimi’s back as he arched into him. He needed more, was aching for it enough to beg.
The first time with a mate shouldn’t be like this, but his control was quickly fading as the animal emerged, wanting what it wanted. Its mate.
Alimi stepped back, and Raiden growled his displeasure.
“If you want me, come get me, wolf.” Alimi’s voice throbbed with hunger that gleamed in his brown eyes as he backed out of the room.
Too hungry, too intent, Raiden slid from the vanity and opened a couple of drawers, looking for lube. That gorgeous man in the other room wasn’t getting away without Raiden making him scream.
He found a tube of lube in the second drawer and followed. He stood in the doorway of the bathroom, watching his cat lock the door and dim the lights using the switch on the wall. Then, Alimi moved to the sofa, each step one of grace that mesmerized the wolf.
Raiden joined him, dropped the lube on the couch, and reached out. He grabbed a fistful of shirt and tugged Alimi toward him. As they came together, Raiden growled softly and then kissed Alimi. At the same time, Raiden reached between them and worked Alimi’s belt free and unbuttoned his pants.
Alimi broke the kiss to look down at him, eyes glowing cat-green in the semi-dark. Raiden’s heart beat faster, and the heat already lit inside him flared higher.
“Let’s take this off,” he said and tugged Alimi’s T-shirt over his head and cast it onto the couch behind him.
On the bare brown skin that met his gaze was a silver chain and a set of tags in the shape of a cat’s paw. Scars marred the hairless chest, and shoulder and arm were marked in black ink while the dark nipples stood erect.
Raiden ran his hand over the tattoo of a panther’s head, the eyes green. Scrolling around the arm beneath it were Chinese characters that Raiden didn’t know the meaning of.
Raiden exhaled a slow breath. “You’re so hot,” he murmured and glided his hand over the firm muscle to Alimi’s flat stomach before tracing a finger over his fly. “I love chocolate.” He pushed Alimi back onto the couch.
Alimi gave him a wicked smile and reached for Raiden as he allowed the momentum to carry him back. Raiden followed, straddling Alimi, anticipation making him shiver.
Alimi tugged Raiden’s T-shirt over his head and lowered his head to kiss his shoulder. Raiden moaned softly, the desire burning through him, making his skin hot from the inside out.
Alimi traced kisses along Raiden’s throat before running his tongue along the taut flesh. He nipped the delicate skin lightly before licking a path to a flat nipple. He curled his tongue around it, and Raiden groaned roughly.
Alimi drew the taut peak into his mouth, sucking hard before scraping the soft flesh with sharp teeth.
“Oh fuck,” Raiden cried, caressing the back of Alimi’s head. “Your mouth is so—” He broke off as Alimi’s moist tongue lashed at the other nipple. “So good!”
Alimi grazed the tender bud with his teeth before laving it while he worked the belt of Raiden’s pants free. He flicked the button from its mooring and dragged the zipper down before pushing his hand inside.
He palmed the warm, stiff cock inside drawing a growl of approval from Raiden.
“Alimi,” he said breathlessly.
Alimi fisted him, working his cock gently, and Raiden’s eyes slid closed, the caress nothing less than a sensual assault on his senses.
Alimi kissed the side of Raiden’s neck before biting him, and Raiden growled, stroking his hand over Alimi’s nape.
“You feel so good,” Alimi said roughly and withdrew his hand, reaching for the lube.
“I want you,” Raiden murmured. “Bad.”
“You’re going to get me, sweet thing,” he crooned and traced his damp finger down the crease of Raiden’s ass.
Alimi penetrated him with a broad finger. Raiden sucked in a breath, and Alimi pushed his finger in a little deeper and withdrew it to add more lube.
The digit sank into the depths of his ass, sticky and wet. Alimi thrust his finger in and out while his teeth nipped at the side of Raiden’s neck. The pinpoint pricks of pain were a sharp pleasure that drew groans from him.
“Raiden you’re so fucking tight,” Alimi muttered and bit him again. He drew his finger out and added more lube. Then, he slid two fingers into Raiden, making him shiver.
“Oh damn, that’s good,” Raiden groaned as he rocked his cock against Alimi’s swollen dick.
He could tell the man was big and couldn’t wait to feel his big shaft inside him, laying claim to him.
Alimi thrust his fingers into Raiden’s ass, drew them out, and spread them, stretching him.