Marguerite smiled at the sight of Wren coming in her arms. It wasn’t until he started to pull out that a horrible thought occurred to her.
"We didn’t use protection."
He frowned at her. "What?"
"I just realized that I could be pregnant! I could-"
"Maggie," he said firmly. "Don’t worry."
"That’s easy for you to say," she said, angry at the typical male response. "You’re not the one-"
"Maggie, listen to me," he said in a calm, rational tone. "I can’t make you pregnant. I can’t."
She frowned. "What do you mean?"
His face was sad as he brushed the hair back from her forehead and kissed it. "I’m sterile, okay? I know this for a fact. There’s no way I could ever make you, or any other woman, pregnant."
She let out a relieved breath. "You’re sure?"
She felt better until a new thought struck her. "But what about diseases?"
He scoffed at her. "I’ve only been with you. I told you that."
Was he telling her the truth? Honestly, she had a hard time believing it. "Are you sure about that? You don’t make love like a novice."
He made a small X on his bare chest, over his heart. "Cross my heart. You are the only woman I’ve ever wanted to be this intimate with. I swear it."
Those words touched her deeply. She smiled up at him. "I’m so sorry you’re sterile."
He gave a short, bitter laugh. "Don’t be. Believe me, it’s for the best."
But how could that be? A man like him should have a house full of kids. He was protective and gentle. Patient.
She reached out to touch his cheek. Closing his eyes, he kissed her palm as he unbuttoned her blouse.
Marguerite shivered as he ran his hands over her right breast and caressed her through her bra. She could see he was already growing hard again. "How do you do that?"
"I don’t know. I only do it around you."
She shook her head. "You keep saying all the right things, and I just might have to keep you."
He peeled her blouse off of her before he reached around and unhooked her bra, then he slowly removed her skirt. Marguerite swallowed as she found herself nak*d in her living room. Wren kicked his shoes off, then removed his pants completely.
The look on his face scorched her as he reached for her and kissed her. She ran her hand down the colorful tattoo on his forearm. It was such a beautiful work of art that featured a hiding tiger that was peeking out through jungle grass.
Wren pulled back with a devilish grin. "You know what I want to do with you?"
"I think you already did that."
He laughed, then pulled her toward the sliding glass door that led to the small courtyard in the back.
Marguerite balked the instant he moved her curtain aside. "What are you doing?"
"I want to make love in your pool."
She made a noise of complete disagreement. "Are you insane? It’s broad daylight. Someone could see us."
"No one will see us."
"Bull! You don’t know that."
He dipped his head to lightly lave her breast. Marguerite groaned at the sensation of his hot tongue on her skin.
"No one will see us, Maggie. I promise." He straightened up. "Trust me?"
This was so not something she should do. "For all we know there could be reporters out there with cameras."
"If there are, I’ll kill them before they can turn the film in."
"I swear, there’s no one out there, Maggie. C’mon, be adventurous with me."
Marguerite bit her lip as she considered it. Her father would die…
But this wasn’t her father’s life. It was hers. She’d never done anything like this before. It was strangely exciting… invigorating.
"Okay, but if we get caught…"
"I’ll let you geld me."
She gave him a faux angry stare. "I will."
She bit her lip in trepidation as he opened the door and pulled her out onto the patio. This was absolutely horrifying and yet it was strangely titillating to be outside in the sunlight, completely nak*d.
She looked about nervously, half-expecting to find someone spying on them, but to her relief it was just the two of them. Always paranoid about privacy, her father had hired gardeners to plant high shrubs all around her yard. There really wasn’t any way for anyone to spy on them.
Wren released her to dive into her pool. He broke the surface of the water to find her still standing on the cement, covering herself as best she could with her hands. She was absolutely beautiful with the sunlight kissing her skin.
"Join me, Maggie."
Her smile was shy an instant before she waded into the pool with him. Like all tigers, Wren loved to play in water. He could hold his breath under the surface for a lot longer than a human.
He dove under and propelled himself toward his prey. He nipped her thigh under the water before he broke the surface.
Marguerite shivered as she felt Wren’s nak*d body up against hers in the water. He nudged her thighs apart to place his h*ps between her legs. She moaned at the sensation of the water lapping against the tenderest part of her body as the tip of his swollen c**k pressed against her core.
She stared up at Wren. He was gorgeous with his hair slicked back from his face. His features really were perfect. But it wasn’t until then that she realized he no longer hid his eyes from her. In public, he still kept his gaze down and his hair over his eyes.
But around her he didn’t. If she brushed the hair out of his eyes, he left it that way.
"Why are you looking at me like that?" he asked.
"I was just thinking of how different you are from the night we met."
She closed her eyes as he slid himself inside her again.
How could any man be ready to have sex again so soon?
"I’m not different, Maggie. I’m still the same."
But not around her he wasn’t. He was much more open and trusting. He spoke to her, while he didn’t normally speak to others. It made her extremely tender toward him.
Hissing, she lowered herself onto his shaft, taking him all the way into her body, before she pushed him away. She swam away from him.
"Maggie?" he called. "Did I do something wrong?"
She treaded water. "No. But if you want me, you have to catch me."
He smiled before he dove under the water and headed for her. Marguerite squeaked before she raced him toward the cement steps that led out of the pool.
Wren caught up to her just as she reached the steps. To his shock, she actually flipped him over in the water and pinned him against the steps. Of course he wasn’t really pinned, he could easily overpower her. But he was curious as to what she had planned for him.
She kissed his lips before she cupped him in her hand. Pleasure blinded him as she gently stroked his c**k from tip to hilt.
She moved herself so that she was between his legs. Wren sank down to the steps, then moved up them so that she could get on top of him if she wanted to.
Instead, she cupped his butt in her hands and lifted his h*ps until he was out of the water. He started to ask her what she was doing, but before he could speak she took him into her mouth. Stunned by the unexpected pleasure, he let his hand slip and ended up with his head under the water.
Wren came out of the water, sputtering to see Maggie’s brown eyes teasing him. "I didn’t mean to drown you."
He couldn’t speak as he continued to cough.
She nudged him closer to the edge so that he could lean his head on the dry concrete while she returned to teasing him with her mouth.
Wren’s head reeled in ecstasy as he watched her pleasure him. He cupped her face in his hand as her tongue swirled around his cock. The sight of her there… it was more than he could stand. He’d never known anything more blissful or sweet.
He came in a fierce, blinding wave of pleasure. But still she didn’t pull away. She continued to tease him until she had wrung the last bit of pleasure from his body.
Wren was completely stunned by her actions, by the strange tenderness inside him.
He looked at his hand, expecting the mating mark. Surely no woman could make him feel like this without being his mate, But still there was no burning on his flesh, no magic sign that they were destined mates.
Grinding his teeth in frustration, he wanted to curse in disappointment. He pulled her body flush to his and held her in his arms.
"Thank you, Maggie," he said before kissing her cheek.
Marguerite sighed in complete bliss as she held him close. If she could, she would stay lost in this perfect moment for the rest of her life.
She never wanted to leave the pool.
"Wren?" she asked, lifting her head up from his chest to stare at him. "I don’t want to be a downer or anything, but I need to know that you’re not going to walk out on me again. I’ve never felt like this before and I don’t want you to think that I just jump all over any guy who comes into my house."
He teased her cheek with his fingers as he offered her a timid smile. "I would like to keep seeing you, Maggie. Let’s just take it one day at a time and see what happens. Okay?"
She nodded, then leaned her head back on his chest.
Wren closed his eyes and held her while his thoughts churned inside him. Katagaria and humans didn’t mix. Not to mention there were a lot of Katagaria and humans who wanted him dead. He didn’t even know if he had a future at all.
All he knew was that if he did have one, he wanted her in it.
But that wasn’t up to him, either. He better than anyone else knew the cruelty of the Fates. One moment they blessed you and the next they cursed you.
And he’d been cursed enough to know better than to expect something better. No, something was going to happen. He could feel it deep inside. His time with Maggie was limited. He only hoped that when the trouble he sensed came, it fell solely to his shoulders. The last thing he wanted was for Maggie to be hurt because of him.
But one thing was sure. He would gladly lay down his life to protect the woman in his arms, and he would kill anyone who ever threatened her.
A mysterious island off the shores of Australia
At least for the moment…
Dante Pontis paused to get his bearings as he materialized into the large circular chamber that was decorated in burgundy and gold. Through the open windows that spanned from the black marble floor to the gilded ceiling, he could see and hear the ocean on all sides of the room.
Savitar, their dubious and mysterious mediator, liked the water…
The room was reminiscent of an ancient sultan’s tent. It was lushly decorated, with an enormous round table in the center that had always made Dante wonder what the rest of the palace looked like. But no Were-Hunter had ever received an invitation to venture into the rest of the palace.
Their mediator seriously guarded his privacy. To the point of extreme paranoia.
The human saying that "curiosity killed the cat" actually came from the Arcadian panther who had once tried to sneak past the council’s door to take a look around the palace.
Savitar had killed him on the spot.
As a point of interest, satisfaction didn’t bring the cat back. There wasn’t enough magic in the world to reanimate the big black, smoldering spot that had once been a living creature. That one incident had gotten Savitar’s point across with panache. Don’t screw with the big man.
He didn’t really have a sense of humor.
For all his laid-back persona, Savitar could break medieval on your ass at a moment’s notice. And since Dante had once lived in the Middle Ages, he understood that concept better than most.
Dante let out an aggravated breath as he heard the seagulls cawing outside. The summons to appear at the Omegrion couldn’t have come at a better time… insert all intended sarcasm.
His brother Romeo had been down with a bad case of the flu for the last three days while the panther’s cubs ran amok through Dante’s house without their daddy there to corral them.
Dante’s wife, Pandora, was about to drop an entire litter of panthers any second, and his other two brothers, Mike and Leo, had decided they could run his bar without him.
Yeah, he needed to get back home before they burned the place down or, worse, Pandora went into labor without him. In which case his pantherswan had promised to see him thoroughly gelded. He cupped himself at the mere thought. Knowing his spunky little pantherswan, it would be most painful indeed. And given the discomfort of her pregnancy with his cubs, she would thoroughly enjoy it.
He scanned the small crowd that was already gathered there for the meeting. Eight members, all of whom appeared as thrilled to be there as he was. The only ones here so far were all Katagaria. Not that that surprised him. The Arcadians tended to appear at the Omegrion together, as if they were afraid to face their animal cousins alone.
And well they should be. There wasn’t a Katagaria family who didn’t owe a blood debt to the Arcadians who loved to hunt and kill the animals.
It’d always amazed him that the Arcadian and Katagaria leaders or Regises of each clan could come and sit together without fighting. Not to say that there hadn’t been outbursts in the past. But those transgressions were dealt with swiftly and painfully by the Omegrion’s mediator.