“You can’t hurt Rafe. He saved me from the streets. Took me in and gave me all I needed, he’s been like a father to me.”
“Yet, you don’t sound like you’re happy with him.”
She shrugged. “He told me some things earlier today that gave me more of a reality check than I was prepared for. Doesn’t mean I want you to go kill him or seriously injure him. Which, by the look on your face before, was what you were planning on doing.”
He squeezed her hand tighter for a moment, before releasing her. She pulled her palm back and thrust it under the table where she wouldn’t be tempted to touch him again.
“Of course that’s what I planned to do. He broke supernatural law by hiding an Alpha Mate. I am perfectly within my rights to kill him. Considering the club he owns and the reputation it has, I can only imagine why he kept you for himself. Is it his intention to attempt to continue to keep you from me?”
She didn’t miss his choice in words. That Rafe would “attempt” to keep her from him. She shook her head. “Apparently he got all he needed from me last night and is firmly on the side of us hooking up today.”
The temperature seemed to lower around them and Erin glanced around, wondering what happened. Then she saw Denzell’s face. She’d thought he was mad before, but that was nothing on how he looked right now.
“Do you know what he did to you last night?”
Her eyes widened as she caught on to where his mind had gone. “He kept me locked in my bedroom in his penthouse on the top floor. No one touched me. He wouldn’t do that. I guess the scent of my Alpha Heat was strong enough to go through the floor to the levels below. He used my heat to get people to do things they wouldn’t normally do so he could use it as blackmail against them. He’s never physically harmed me.”
Denzell’s hands were on the table top and she watched as they clenched and released a few times. “I believe I’ll need to have a long talk with this Rafe at some point.”
She winced as she focused back on finishing her meal. She couldn’t see that being a pleasant conversation and hoped it never actually took place.
The waitress brought the check when they declined ordering dessert and she smiled when, like a true gentleman, Denzell paid the bill.
“Erin, I wish I could give you more time but I simply can’t. Tonight is the second night of your Alpha Heat. It will be worse than last night, you will be delirious with it. And I’m told it will hurt terribly. Will you allow me to claim you tonight? Ease your suffering and bond us together? If you choose not to, the third and final night will be even worse again. I don’t want you to have to hurt like that, love.”
She shook her head. “A little pain will not force my hand in this decision. I never planned on marrying and having a family, not after what my mother did. I can’t just forget all that because you barge into my life and tell me fate said I have to.”
He leaned forward and cupped her cheek in his palm. “Give me what I ask tonight, and I will spend the rest of our lives showing you how grateful I am. Being predestined is more than simply fate telling us to be together. It means we were designed to be each other’s perfect fit. You won’t regret choosing me.”
Closing her eyes, she couldn’t resist the urge to rub her cheek against his palm. It did feel incredibly good to have him touching her.
“Give me this afternoon to think about it. And don’t think that’s a yes. I’m serious, I need some time.”
“Okay, Erin. I’ll give you until nightfall, then I’ll be coming for you.”
She pulled away from his palm. “How do you think you’ll find me, you don’t know where I live?”
“Your heat, baby. I’ll be able to scent it a mile away once it starts tonight. The only way I won’t scent it is if you’re at that club. So trust me, I’ll find you.”
Without another word, she smiled and rose to leave. She had no doubt he would find her when the sun set in several hours’ time.
Denzell stayed seated as she walked out. Even at the door when she looked back over her shoulder, he continued to sit in the same position, watching her. She waved and pushed out of the front door. The heat of the day hit her after spending so long in the air conditioned restaurant and she looked up at the sky while she took a couple deep breaths.
What was she going to do? She needed to process everything she’d learned today. To decide if she could spend her life with Denzell. Would there ever be any love between them? Children? She certainly felt a connection to him, but she wasn’t sure she could label it as love. The other thing she needed to work out was how to barricade her apartment in case she decided against going with Denzell.
With her mind clouded by thoughts of sleek black panthers, along with husbands and babies, she wasn’t paying attention as she walked up the street toward her apartment. Suddenly there was a large man blocking her path. She tried to step around him but he grabbed her and threw her down a side alley, where her back slammed against the brick wall. Gasping in shock, it took a moment for her to gain her wits. The second she did, she tried to flee as she palmed her taser, and cursed it wasn’t the kind that spat out pins. She needed to be able to touch it against her attacker like she had Denzell the other night.
She didn’t make it far down the alley before the man was on her, again he shoved her against the wall and she raised her arm to shock him. The bastard brought his hand down on her forearm and she screamed in pain as she dropped her taser. With tears of pain clouding her eyes, she cradled her injured arm to her chest. She hoped it wasn’t broken.
“What the fuck did I ever do to you?”
She’d never seen him before, and at the size he was, she was certain she’d have remembered him. The man was huge, like seven feet tall, and built like a linebacker.
“Nothing to me, but my employer returned home last night most distressed and she stunk of several people, one of which was you. So how about you tell me what you and your friends did to her?”
Erin’s heart sank and she pondered killing Rafe herself. Denzell wouldn’t get a chance.
“I didn’t do anything. Another used my scent for their gain.”
Footsteps sounded at the end of the alley. Hope made her glance in that direction. Had someone heard her scream? The man released a growl that sounded suspiciously like a wild bear before he grabbed her shoulder and before she could attempt to get out of his hold, he pressed hard on a pressure point and everything went black. At least her arm stopped hurting.
Denzell’s expression softened and he lowered his face to hers. When his lips were about to touch hers, he paused.
“Your heart is safe with me, Erin. I’ll never break it, only cherish it.”
“Cross my heart.”
Then his mouth was on hers and all her worries melted away. She threaded her fingers through his hair as he kissed her like no one ever had before. Fire licked over her skin, and with a moan, she rolled her body against his. The heat was rising again, the ache between her thighs becoming painful. Ripping her mouth from his, she panted through the pain.
“Shh, baby. I’ve got you. I’ll make it all better, and you’ll never suffer like this again.”
Thoughts began to tumble together in her mind, tears pricked her eyes. She hated this. Actually, no, that wasn’t strong enough a word. She detested this. Every month since her cycle started when she was eleven, she’d suffered through three days of hell. A growl of frustration left her, when her fingers fumbled as she tried to undo her shirt. Denzell didn’t seem to mind her sudden lack of coordination. With gentle care, he took over and stripped her of her clothes. Every movement of the clothing, no matter how small, had shocks of arousal shooting through her system. She couldn’t recall it ever being quite this intense before, of course, she couldn’t be sure as she barely remembered anything from her nights of heat.
Denzell’s whispered words rang with awe and as she twisted beneath his gaze, she realized she was now completely naked. She should probably feel embarrassed. He was basically a stranger, after all. But she didn’t, not at all. What she felt was empowered, like some goddess that deserved to be revered, which was what he was currently doing to her. She groaned when he laid his hands on her body, stroking over her shoulders, breasts, and stomach before he pushed her thighs wide.
“Please, help me.”
Her voice was a broken whisper and under any other circumstances, she’d be mortified at what she was doing. She was begging this man to fuck her. She’d only had a few lovers over her years. Every one of them had been on her terms and she’d made sure they knew the score. That there was no commitment involved.
Since the day her mother tossed her out so carelessly, Erin had never begged for anything. Let alone sex.
“I’m dying for a taste of you, baby. I’ll be quick. I know you need me inside you, but I need to have your cream down my throat first.”
Before she could tell him to hurry up, he had his mouth over her pussy and his tongue sliding up through her slit. With a curse, her body jolted and her back arched. Heat exploded throughout her as she came. Hard.
Trembles racked her body as Denzell purred while he lapped at her, cleaning up every drop of cream she’d given him. Still struggling to get her breathing and heart rate under control, she watched through hooded eyes as he rose up over her. Somewhere along the way, he’d stripped out of his pants and his thick, hard cock jutted out from a nest of black curls. The tip was wet with pre-cum, which had her licking her lips. How would he taste? With a growl, he fisted the hard length, stroking and bringing more fluid to the tip. She chewed her lower lip and he responded by swiping his thumb over the head, before bringing the offering to her mouth.
His growly voice had a shiver passing over her. Gone was the gentle lover she’d woken up to find, this was the alpha male within Denzell. She opened her mouth and sucked his thumb. Swirling her tongue around it, making sure she got every drop of his essence. He tasted of forest and night. With this one taste, she knew she was now completely addicted to his flavor.
He kept his thumb in her mouth, caging her jaw with the rest of his fingers, as he lined his cock up with her entrance. Her entire body was shaking with her need. Despite him having licked her clean just minutes ago, she could feel how wet she was once more.
“Look at me, my mate. I need to see your eyes when I claim you.”
Without thought, her gaze locked with his and the moment it did, he thrust deep. Her eyes wanted to roll back at the burning pleasure, but she fought the reaction. She didn’t want to lose sight of the way his green irises darkened and flared as he thrust into her again and again.