She reached up, rising to her tiptoes to try to get it, but her fingertips brushed the bottle. She saw a big tanned hand stretch past hers and grasp the bottle before lifting it off. She turned, wanting to know who was behind her and if they could grab a bottle for her. She found herself staring at a broad chest.
Muscles rippled beneath a blue shirt. A rich fragrance that reminded her of the forest surrounded her. He smelled wonderful.
She ran her gaze over the hard angles of his high cheekbones and dark chocolate-brown eyes. His honey-blond hair looked as if he’d recently run his fingers through it.
“Hi, if you’re grabbing that for yourself, do you mind getting one for me? It’s a little out of my grasp.” She smiled up at him.
Lord, he was a big man and gorgeous. His teeth gleamed a bright white. The heat in that gaze sent a thrill of hunger through her. She wondered if he’d like a date. Nothing might come of it, but if it did, she’d savor every moment.
“This is for you. I saw you trying to grab it.” He extended the bottle to her.
Gorgeous and nice. She liked the combination.
She took the cleaner. “Thank you. That’s thoughtful of you.”
“Not a problem. I’m Tony Landon.” He extended his hand.
The name sounded familiar, but she couldn’t quite remember where she’d heard it. She’d recall if she had met him before.
“I’m—” she began.
“I know that bitch came this way. I saw her. She’ll pay for what she did to Carl.” A growl sounded, carrying in the store.
Chloe gasped. Every muscle in her body tensed. Her heart pounded in her chest. Carl was the name of the man who broke into her house. Damn it, who the hell cursed me? Why is this week getting worse?
She’d learned the man’s name when she went down to the county sheriff’s office to make a formal statement. Carl Tunney. He’d been charged with breaking and entering and some other things. The police were investigating the possibility of his involvement in other crimes.
Two women strode onto the aisle. They growled again. Chloe expected to see fur and claws bursting from their skin, but the two women still looked human. They weren’t here to yell at her. They wanted to attack. They stopped when they saw the man in front of her.
“Get out of our way, bear. The bitch ruined the life of one of ours.” The petite black-haired woman straightened and glared at the man.
“I don’t give a shit what you think she did. To get to her, you go through me, my partners, and my den.” The man put himself between her and the women.
Chloe’s mouth fell open. That wasn’t some chivalrous boast of protection. A whyrbear didn’t offer the protection of their den to just anyone. Family and extended family comprised a bear’s den.
Bears offered a den’s protection to those related by blood or marriage and intimate associates. Not a lover though. A mate, a friend as close as family, or something like that would qualify.
“She’s not claimed, bear.” The brown-haired woman’s chin lifted.
Chloe eased back a step, leaving her basket, but grabbing her purse. She didn’t hang around to find out why the big man thought he had a claim on her.
Luck seemed to be on her side. He didn’t notice her edging farther away. At the moment, the foxes weren’t worried about her. The women’s attention was locked on him.
He advanced on the women, backing them out of the aisle. His voice was deep and rumbling when he spoke. She heard the hard, clipped words, but couldn’t make out what he said.
Realization hit her with the force of hammer blow. No one was paying attention to her. She took the opportunity and hurried away.
Her heart pounded as she left the store. She looked over her shoulder, half-expecting the man to come rushing out after her. No sign of him yet. When she drew close to her car, she fished out her keys and unlocked the doors. She heaved a big sigh of relief when she slid inside.
Before her luck ran out, she started the engine and left. Although part of her wanted to go home and hide out there, she had to get some food or the isolation would be short-lived.
She headed across town. Nervous energy thrummed through her while she did her shopping at the second store. She raced around finding the items on her list.
The implications of that meeting and the two women’s actions kept circling in her mind. She didn’t know the man. He would have one reason to put the protection of his den out there at all.
Mate. He thought she was his mate. Not that she believed he was wrong. Whyr didn’t make a mistake about that unless something interfered with their senses.
The women and the threat they posed offered a different problem. Carl had known where she lived. If the women had talked to him, then they had her home address.
She thought hard on the way home. She needed a place to stay and think, at least for a few days. Somewhere she could take her dog. She wouldn’t hang around and let them hurt her or Odin.
With the mate thing and that big bear from the store, she couldn’t chance staying with one of her friends. They might know the bear, especially Dixie. Dixie was a whyrbear.
Fear and confusion flooded through her. She hadn’t wanted to find a whyr mate. The males were possessive, macho, demanding, and unreasonable. And bears sometimes mated in multiples. The blood drained from her face. There might be more bears to claim her than him.
“Let’s get you out of these clothes. I might rip this pretty dress if we get caught up in kisses and touching. I also crave the honey I can smell spilling from your body.” Logan’s fingers went to her front closure. He unfastened them and tried to lift the dress over her head. The garment rose to her breasts before it wouldn’t go any farther.
“There’s a tie at my neck and a few closures near midback. If you’ll let me reach back, I can get them.” She ran her hands over his chest.
She didn’t reach back herself, because she remembered he’d had some concerns about her leaving or doubting the connection. She didn’t want to intensify that doubt. It would delay the hard fuck she craved. If she could get her clothes off, they’d soon be down to action.
“I’ll do it.” His hands slid over her ribs and trailed over the back of her shirt over her spine until he found the tiny catches. He flicked them open and the fastenings loosened. A moment later, the ties fell and dangled in front of her.
She began easing open his shirt. Her fingers weren’t quite as nimble. The clumsiness frustrated her. She’d like to run her hands over the warm skin she could feel beneath fabric. With frustration pushing at her, she edged her fingers inside his shirt, slipping over the skin she could touch. He hummed and a smile stretched across his lips.
In a smooth move, he pulled the dress over her head, before dropping the green garment to the floor. His big hands cupped her shoulders and stroked over her arms. The slow, controlled movements revealed his strain. Tension corded his muscles and showed in the hard lines of his face.
He seemed determined to move slowly, but if his body ached half as much as hers did, it wanted physical connection now. She couldn’t take the slow torture any longer. He might be afraid of scaring her off, but he could handle a little aggression from her.
Chloe took a half step forward, bringing them almost body to body. She grabbed one of his hands and guided it to her breast. His fingers curled over the flesh without any encouragement. Blunted by the fabric of her bra, the touch left her aching for more. She slid her hand down and cupped his cock through his jeans.
“I want this. I don’t want to play or be soothed. Would you like me to ride you, or do you plan to fuck me?” She stared up at him. While she thought about the possibilities, she tilted her head to the side.
His eyes widened. She swore he stopped breathing for a moment. He exhaled. The rough sound exploded from him. His free hand swept around her. He pulled her body tight against his. She tightened her fingers on his cock, letting him know that she wouldn’t sit back and wait.
“I’m going to fuck you and sink my teeth into your shoulder as I drive deep.” He leaned down.
His breath brushed over her ear. The light puffs of air sent tingles prickling through her. He lifted her off her feet and put her on the bed. The soft mattress dipped.
He flicked open the closure of her bra, pulling it off first. Her silky panties went next, leaving her bare and ready for him. She opened her legs, hoping to entice the big bear into fucking her. He was moving too slowly.
“I know you’re aching and wet, but I have to taste you a little. I’ve been going crazy. I didn’t have a face to put to the feeling inside me.” He dropped to his knees and gripped her thighs, urging them wider.
“My face is up here.” She tangled her fingers in his hair, not that she hoped to dissuade him from his plan at all.
“This sweet smell is coming from down here though.” Logan leaned close and inhaled. A slow smile lifted his lips. “Don’t come.”
“You’re planning to lick my pussy and you tell me not to come?” She grinned. He was asking for a lot with the way desire flared through her.
“Hold on for me. I need to taste you, but then you’re going to come around my cock.” He drew his hands up and down her thighs.
It wouldn’t be easy to hold onto her control. The image sparked by his words excited her. Chloe would try. She wanted to feel his dick sliding into her.
His tongue glided over the slick lips. A shiver ripped up her spine. Her thighs tightened.
“Let me take in every scent, every taste. Damn, you’re sweet.” His tongue swept between the lips and stroked upward over her clit.
The words vibrated against her. She clenched her hand on the blanket and drew in a desperate breath. If he kept that up, she didn’t know how much she’d be able to take. His mouth roamed downward. He lapped at her entrance as if he hoped to take in her essence.
When his tongue speared into her, she gasped and shivered. Her inner muscles clenched. Frustration rose in her. She craved what he promised. Her stomach muscles tightened. She could feel the swell of tension building within her, warning of the impending climax.
“Logan, I don’t think she’ll be able to hold on much longer. If you’re going to feel her come apart underneath you, you better get to it.” Tony’s voice cut through the haze building in her mind.