Thea fluffed the voluminous skirts of her pink bridesmaid dress, the tulle sticking to her fingers with static. Meringue was an understatement. So was pink. This thing was a cotton candy nightmare. And how had her sister found the exact shade that made her look too hot and ill? The fact that she was feeling sick had nothing to do with it, and there’d better be no open fires nearby. This being late March in Texas, that seemed unlikely, but she wouldn’t put anything past Ladonna right now.
Her sister had turned into double bridezilla with a cherry on top. But Thea knew better than to argue about her gown. With Ladonna shrieking in the background, her hysterical tears growing worse, damage limitation had to go into action. And she was it.
As she moved to leave the changing room, her left nipple popped out of the top of the corset bodice. Sighing, she stopped to force it back in. She’d never last a whole wedding and reception without disgracing herself. Taking a moment, she shoved her breasts down and lifted the corset up. Maybe a bit of tulle from the skirt might come in handy as a wrap. But she wouldn’t be looking in mirrors dressed like this.
When she took a deep breath, black spots danced before her eyes and the room whirled around. She blinked to clear her vision. The chair holding her clothes clattered to the floor as her skirts swept it over, but she didn’t have time to cope with that now.
Outside, the owner of the boutique, hands propped on her curvy hips, glared at Ladonna. Since Thea’s sister was making enough noise to drown the sound of a battleship with all its horns going, she couldn’t do much else.
Thea’s heart sank. The video operator was taking in the whole of the scene. Marching over to him, Thea tapped him on the shoulder and ignored his double take when he caught sight of her in all her––magnificence. His eyes bulged. Risking another accident, Thea leaned close. “You can turn that off for now. In case you’ve forgotten, we employed you. I want to know that you’ve destroyed this. She’s got wedding nerves, that’s all.”
Grinning, the man turned the small camera off and lowered it. “So not an Instagram teaser, then?”
Now he laughed. Thea hated him. Turning her back, she gathered enough of the skirts for her to march over to her sister and stand right in her field of vision. “What’s wrong?”
“Pink!” With a shaking hand, Ladonna pointed to a side table that sported an innocuous slice of cake. “That’s not pink, it’s peach!” Only it came out like “PEEEEECH!”
Shit, fuck, and ass. Saying she saw nothing wrong wouldn’t help calm Ladonna down at this point. At least the screaming had stopped. “I think it makes a great statement. Very modern.”
“You’re fucking kidding me! Modern? Wrong, that’s what it is!” And she went off again, yelling. When she swept toward the table with the clear intent of knocking the plate off it, Thea’s gown pulled at her waist. Automatically, she grabbed the bodice, and the sound of a rip gave her the bad news. At least it had happened to her dress and not her sister’s hugely expensive––and plain huge––wedding gown. Maybe she should rip some more off the fucking thing. How could she spend a whole day in this? Already she was hyperventilating. And food––forget it.
Out of the corner of her eye, Thea saw the other customers in the boutique leaving––fleeing would be a better way of putting it. This place was damned exclusive, hushed, full of people being nice to each other. But it was a wedding boutique. So had people acted that way before?
Renata, the owner of the place or, rather, the person who rented this concession from the hotel, deliberately flattened her hands against the slim skirt of her royal blue dress. The twin skintight bangles she wore on each wrist gleamed in the sun. She stepped forward. “Ms. Rossi, I’m sure we can sort this matter to your satisfaction. Maybe the chef can do something. Or we can replace the bows on your gown.”
Because Ladonna had insisted on having bright pink bows festooned over the skirts of her wedding gown. After all, it was Chester’s favorite color, or so she said. Hence the cotton candy. Thea didn’t care if she never saw the color again. Ever. And she used to like pink. She had thought that no shade of pink looked bad on her, but Ladonna had performed the miracle.
“Ms. Rossi, if you would listen––”
“Dot, do something, Dot.”
Thea hated that whining tone, she really did. Her sister was just building up for round two, when she’d add frantic tears to the volume.
Thea winced. She should really do something, but the suddenness of the crazy had taken her by surprise, shocked her into panic.
“Ladonna, for fuck’s sake––”
Her voice bounced off the walls in the sudden silence. Ladonna faced the door, mouth open, but with no sound coming out of it.
Pushing back a lock of hair that had fallen from the elaborate up-do, Thea slowly turned around, the swish of her skirt the only sound in the hush.
And there he stood. A tall man, dressed in an immaculate charcoal suit that didn’t conceal the contours of the perfect body beneath it, stood in the doorway, filling it. His face was the most perfect Thea had ever seen, each crisp line placed there by a master. And she should know. She’d talked to this man, researched him online, imagined that she knew what he looked like.
Fuck, was she wrong.
Her jaw dropped.
He smiled. At her. “Ms. Dorothea Rossi?”
Thea snapped her jaw shut and nodded.
“I am delighted to meet you, at last.” He walked forward, every muscle on his taut frame in harmony. Shit, this man could dance with himself. Every move he made, every glance he shot around the room, reminded her of what he was. This man was dangerous, the peril only lightly hidden. But that wasn’t what struck her dumb. It was the sheer perfection of the man.
Bracing herself, she stuck out her hand, her fingers shaking. He grasped it warmly and placed his other hand on top. “You are most efficient, Ms. Rossi, which is a pleasant change from some planners I have dealt with.” His barely-there nod to the cameraman made the video start again. “You look…” He scanned her body, top to bottom and back, heating Thea in places she preferred not to think about this weekend. Her pussy dampened, as if he’d ordered it to.
His voice fell away for a brief, telling moment. He cleared his throat. “Magnificent,” he murmured before turning smoothly away to face Ladonna.
He kept his body between Thea and the cameraman. Was that on purpose? He’d certainly spotted her breasts, bulging like balloons above the too-tight gown. His gaze had fixated on them for a full second before he’d moved on.
“Ms. Ladonna Rossi, I believe, but not for much longer.”
Blushing, Ladonna smiled, and Thea could have sworn she bobbed the beginning of a curtsy. Insane. This man had stopped everything dead just by coming in here. “My fiancé is arriving later today.”
“Good. I feel you are burning on empty. Allow me to treat you to dinner in the restaurant tonight.”
“Oh!” Ladonna gasped.
“That’s very kind of you, but there’s no need.” Was this gorgeous man really thinking of sitting down with them tonight? How could Thea even imagine eating a crumb? And yet she’d been starving herself for weeks to get into this gown. What a waste of time that had been.
He swung to speak to her. “Order whatever you wish. Unless you have other plans, of course?” He raised a brow.
“N-no.” It had taken a lot of effort to get Ladonna to have her bachelorette party last week before they arrived here. Thea shuddered to think of what Ladonna and her friends could have done to this beautiful house. Their parties tended to the riotous. Even getting engaged to a scion of New York high society hadn’t stopped her. “He loves that about me,” Ladonna had said and carried on regardless.
To hear her sister so meek and mild shocked Thea even more than the entrance of Blade Goldclaw, playboy, billionaire, part owner of the Goldclaw Ranch, and a shape-shifting tiger.
And, as it turned out, her fantasy man.
“I’m not used to this.” She caught her bottom lip between her teeth. So plump and tempting, like those magnificent breasts he longed to worship. Their shadowy shapes swelled against him, nearly touching him, a potent temptation he wouldn’t resist for much longer.
Renaud kissed the back of her shoulders. “So good,” he crooned. “You are too good to waste, bébé. And you’re ours. Let us guide you. If you don’t want something, then say so.”
That was good enough for Blade. His hands on her shoulders, he went in for the kiss he’d been longing to take. Drawing her close, he pillaged her mouth, plunging his tongue inside to claim her.
With her satin skin against his, Blade knew what heaven felt like. Her response to his kiss was eager, probably a bit overmuch. Now that she’d decided to take this chance, she went at him like she had a plane to catch and was running out of time. He eased her, stroked her flank, as if calming an anxious horse, from breasts to hips and back again and then cupped her ass. Such a gorgeous ass. When he touched her tiny opening, gently circled it with the tip of his forefinger, she made an “Mmm” into his mouth. She liked it.
Since Blade had opened his mind to his breed partner, Renaud knew what he was doing. The sound of the nightstand drawer opening came dimly to his ears, so he distracted Thea. He deepened the kiss before he finished it and kissed down her throat, to the little hollow at the base. Delicate and sweet, a spot made just for his tongue.
He explored her anew, discovering her satiny skin, her soft, full curves, tasting and exploring, slowly but surely driving her up to the place where he wanted her. Behind them, Renaud was doing the same. They shared her breasts, one each, caressing and tasting. When Blade sucked her nipple, Renaud tweaked and tickled the other one, and their hands slid down her body to touch and tease. First Blade tickled her clit then Renaud, taking turns to drive her insane, each with their own technique but combining to drive her wild.
Renaud’s need for her burned through Blade, pushing him to fever pitch. Sweeping a finger through her pussy juice, he tasted it, needing everything she had to give. Her waist curved sweetly, a perfect place for his hands when he rolled onto his back and took her with him. Her eyes widened, but the edge of fear had gone. Good. He never, ever wanted her afraid in his bed again. Just turned on and wanting him. And, of course, Renaud.
Knowing his breed partner was here, that they would watch each other taking Thea, was enough to drive him to the brink of insanity, which was new. They’d shared women before, although he couldn’t remember any of them right now. There was only her and the here and now.
“If I don’t fuck you soon, I’m going to explode,” he groaned. Although he wanted to take his time, he’d been thinking about her all the way home, and he couldn’t wait any longer.
“Put me in you. Put it where you want it, Thea.” Even her name had his cock growing a little harder. He partially shape-shifted, not enough to make a visual difference but to enhance his senses. He smelled her arousal, her feminine musk surrounding them with sensual need. He heard the little sounds she was making deep in her throat, although he doubted she was aware of the sweet little whimpers. Right now she was thinking of nothing but sex, and that was exactly the way it should be. Sex with him and with his breed partner. No one else, ever.
The intensity of that last thought knocked Blade sideways. How could he be thinking that way? Ever? He didn’t have an “ever” in his life. Nothing was permanent. Nothing stayed the same.
He’d do well to remember that.
But that didn’t mean that his cock wasn’t hard or that he needed this woman unlike any other. That part he’d take and make sure she had a good time. The best.
He loved that when he lifted her, he had an armful of woman, soft in all the right places, not a stick he was afraid of breaking. Slowly, showing off a little, he brought her down. She landed on her knees, one on either side of his needy body, and his cock kissed her clit in welcome.
“Hello,” he said softly and cupped her neck, bringing her down for a kiss. As their tongues met, he slid down her cunt, bathing his cockhead in her juices and notched it in her. Only slightly, although he was so hard he could ram through a concrete wall with it.
Her scent changed, something he wouldn’t have noticed if he was wholly human. It deepened and strengthened, becoming more earthy. Briefly he felt Renaud at her cunt, collecting her juices, and linked with him. He was gently circling her ass, had been for some time. He had lube by his side, and he was already sheathed. Either Renaud would have her ass, or he’d take her after Blade.
He knew better than to ask her. He would assume she was fine until he sensed that she wasn’t. Her eyes were slumberous, but sparks of alertness showed him what she was feeling—she wanted him, and right now, he was the center of her concentration. Although she felt what Renaud was doing, it wasn’t impinging on her consciousness.
Blade reached down and held his cock, pushing the head into her. Or, rather, sliding. So easy, until he met the slight resistance her tight hole caused. Closing his eyes, he held her steady and let her finish the job.
His eyes rolled back in his head. Silk and heat, so perfect. “So good.” She devastated him. “You are so fucking sexy.”
“You got that right,” Renaud murmured, still working her gently.
She moved, and his world fell apart. Holding her gaze, he worked her, thrusting up into her, every stroke finding its mark. She flinched, then inside, she clasped him tightly, sliding up and down his shaft, each time she accepted him wetter and hotter.
Her breasts grazed his chest, her stiff, hard nipples little points of arousal. She cried out, and quivers of an orgasm ripped along his solid flesh. Not enough. Not nearly enough.