Cursed By Destiny Page 46

He glanced down at me, making sure to fire another dimple my way. “So, you’re Celia, the tigress I’ve heard so much about.”

I shrugged. “I suppose.” My tigress found him curious and tried to figure him out. “And what might you be?”

“Take a guess.”

My tigress urged me forward. Her interest in him surprised me, but something about him tugged me closer. I leaned forward, stopping about six inches away from his chest to inhale deeply. I rolled my eyes at Aric’s audible growls. Hypocrite.

The were smelled feral, like the Serengeti. I scented trees, tall grasses, and dry scorching air. It intermixed with a hint of musk and a stronger smell of salaciousness. I knew then why my tigress had taken an interest in his aroma, and the realization made me smile. I’d met another big cat. “You’re a lion.”

“No, sweetheart. I’m the lion.”

I raised my brows. “Oh, and a modest one at that.”

He analyzed me from big hair to pointy shoes, his cocky grin becoming wider. “You’re a lot smaller than I thought,” he said. “How could a little thing like you piss off the Tribe enough to command your death?”

Hmm. Interesting. Even the lion believes the Tribe is the culprit. I didn’t answer him and removed my shoes. He watched me, the gleam in his eyes suggesting I remove a little more than just my footwear. I shifted quickly and surfaced behind him, poking him with my right toe to get his attention. He whirled around, admiration easing the surprise on his face. Thanks, Ying-Ying.

I lowered my foot back down slowly. He followed it down with his gaze. Aric’s growls escalated, bordering on murderous. The lion ignored him, keeping his attention on me.

“Looks can be deceiving,” I said with a grin.

“And sexy,” he added with a playful smile. “I’m Tye Gris de Leone. Would you like to dance with me? You know, one cat with another?”

Aric no longer growled. His sounds were more like deep sadistic rumblings, similar to clouds before the thunder cracks. I angled my gaze around Tye, convinced Aric had gone full-out wolf. His human side remained intact . . . although the human appeared ready to munch on lion. Damn. Tye seemed neither upset nor worried. In fact, amusement played like a fiddle across his features.

I’d only just met the guy, and while his arrogance didn’t sit well with me, he seemed decent enough. It wouldn’t be right if Aric, like, killed him. I smirked. “I’d better not. My ex-boyfriend is a lunatic.”

Aric’s murderous snarling only reinforced my point.

I slipped into my shoes and went to the restroom to freshen up. Aric was standing outside the ladies’ room waiting for me when I exited. I scanned the area. Good thing for those sluts of his they’d stayed behind.

“I see your list of admirers has grown,” he said in a really nasty tone.

I frowned. “Why do you care? You have the naked tramp twins following you around.”

“Would you prefer we all dressed the same way, like you and Misha?”

Okay, Aric. You and your crazed beast are going down. I ran my fingers playfully between my full br**sts, then slid my hands down my body, paying close attention to my waist and thighs. My lips pouted and my voice came out in a purr. “What’s wrong, wolf? Don’t you like my dress?”

Aric’s eyes traveled slowly from the center of my halter and down to my legs. He swallowed hard before answering. “No. I don’t.”

I smiled bewitchingly. “Really? Well, you could have fooled me. You looked at me like you wanted me. Just like you used to before Boobless came along.”

“Who the hell’s ‘Boobless’?”

“You know—Barbara, your former fiancée?”

As furious as Aric was, he couldn’t suppress that grin I loved so much. And as hard as I tried, I couldn’t help smiling back. We locked eyes, and for a moment it was as if we’d never been apart. He stepped closer. When I didn’t move away from him, he took another step, and another. He was so close I could feel his heat, the same heat that intensified in my presence and soldered us together. His eyes softened. “I never wanted her. Or anyone else. You know who I want,” he murmured.

A burning sensation built deep within my core. “I miss you,” I whispered. I covered my face with my hands. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t tell you this, but I do.”

Aric clasped my wrists and gently pulled them down. “Don’t hide your beautiful face or your feelings from me. I can’t stand being without either.”

His touch sent enticing chills across my skin. My heart drummed madly. This time I stepped forward, close enough that my br**sts grazed his hard chest.

“Aric?”

Martin’s baritone voice echoed the length of the long hall. Instead of jerking away from me in the presence of his Alpha and Elder, Aric released my hands slowly. I inched away from him, guilt heating my face despite that we hadn’t done anything wrong. Or maybe we had. Sweat glistened Aric’s forehead and my entire body tingled with anticipation and need.

Aric’s timbre was as cool as a March breeze. “Yes, Martin?”

The angles of Martin’s face reflected his serious tone. I couldn’t scent anger per se, but his displeasure at finding us alone tensed his shoulders like a burdensome load. “Perhaps it’s best that you visit with our honored guests in the ballroom. Don’t you think?”

“Of course, Martin.”

Martin had helped raise Aric, and became a father figure when Aric lost his. Their current state suggested they’d never been close or exchanged a kind word. It saddened me, knowing I’d caused this rift between them. My inner beast chuffed. The strain between them made us restless.

Martin nodded in my direction. “Celia.”

“Hey, Martin.” I waved awkwardly, not knowing what else to do. Shaking his hand didn’t seem right and I wasn’t what anyone would call a “hugger.” I didn’t mean to act like a dweeb, but sometimes my inner nerd shoved my tigress aside and took over. Aric grinned. The most subtle twitch of a smile curved the edges of Martin’s lips before he turned on his heel and left.

I didn’t want to leave Aric just yet. It soothed my essence and enlivened my soul to be near him. And if he could do that for me with just his presence, his riled beast must have felt a sense of relief around me, too. Already his temper had hushed and the ire surrounding him had dispersed like dry leaves in a storm. I took a chance. “Aric, would you like to—?”

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