The Awakening Page 19

Maggie tilted her head back to look up at him. Instantly she knew she’d made a mistake. His eyes were dark, liquid, melting her, tugging at her heartstrings. She shook her head, knowing it was too late. The hurt, the anger was slipping away while her insides turned to mush. She took a deep breath, let it out slowly, and forced her hungry stare away from his hypnotic eyes.

“Take me to the village. I want to see what it’s like.” She needed a space from him, breathing room. She needed a semblance of normalcy and a reprieve from the continual sexual assault on her senses.

He rubbed the bridge of his nose, looking thoughtful. “All right, we’ll go, but just remember I’m as on edge as a male leopard when a female is…”

She whipped her head around, glared at him, provoked beyond endurance. “Don’t you dare say I’m in heat. I am not in heat!” She flushed a bright scarlet, stepped away from the temptation of his masculine body. “What a thought!” Though she’d been thinking it herself. She had all the signs of a feline in heat, but Brandt saying the words aloud was humiliating. Suddenly her eyes widened and her hand went to her throat. “Wait a minute. Are you implying I can conceive? Is that it? I’m ovulating and I want to have sex because I can conceive?”

She backed hastily away from him as if he might contaminate her. When he started to follow her she pointed an accusing finger at him. “You stay right over there, away from me. Far away from me.”

He was grinning at her and Maggie found herself staring at his mouth, fascinated. Intrigued. Her mouth curved in an answering smile in spite of her intentions to be serious. “It isn’t funny. Stay over there where I know I’m perfectly safe and explain this to me. Do…” What in the world did they call themselves? “Do leopard-people only have sex when the female ovulates?”

Brandt burst out laughing. “You’re looking disappointed, Maggie, which I’m thankful for. No, we are a highly sexual race and lovemaking is frequent. But, yes, when our mate nears the time of ovulation, the need becomes much more intense. Sex can be rough. That’s why I was concerned with your being a virgin, not because it displeased me.” His gaze was hot as it moved over her. Possessive. “We’ll get around it.”

“We won’t need to get around it! You aren’t coming near me! I’m not getting pregnant. I’m not! So you can just stop looking at me like that. Unless you have a box full of protection, you can forget it.” She felt wild, upset, needy. Raging hormones out of control. She felt sorry for every female cat she had ever come into contact with. “Weren’t you even going to tell me?”

“Eventually. I’m taking things slow, letting you get used to the idea of what you are. It carries a certain responsibility with it.” He shrugged his wide shoulders, and she nearly groaned at the way his muscles rippled enticingly.

“I’ll say.” She glared at him when she wanted to fling herself at him and beg him to rip her clothes off. The village was the only safe place. They needed people, not privacy, not an exotic rain forest with its flowers and trees and steamy assault on the senses. “Get away from me, Brandt. I’m feeling extremely catlike toward you just about now, and raking my claws down your face seems a good idea.” Raking her claws down his body would be better. Over his back. Clinging to him. The image the words evoked sent her body pulsing with need.

He saw it in her expression, inhaled her beckoning scent. Male satisfaction gleamed in his eyes.

Maggie rubbed her hands up and down her thighs. “For heaven’s sake, do we have litters? Cubs? Inquiring minds want to know.” She couldn’t stand still, she couldn’t think clearly. Another wave of need was rushing through her body like a fireball.

Brandt’s gaze narrowed, focused on her completely. He simply reached out and caught her hand. “Neither one of us is in any shape to go visiting, Maggie. You’re going to have to trust me to know what to do.”

Night was falling fast as it often did in the rain forest. She felt tired and muggy and her clothes felt uncomfortable against her skin. She could tell she was getting edgy, wanting to rake at Brandt. The best thing was to be alone, somewhere quiet and soothing.

Chapter 6

Maggie woke unbearably hot, a soft cry of protest on her lips. She heard the echo of the haunting sound as she lay in the dark room with her heart beating too fast and her mind racing. The room was pitch black, yet her vision was remarkably good. Instead of reassuring her, the fact left her curling her fingers in the sheets. Her body had awakened her with urgent need, burning for relief so that she couldn’t control her restless shifting.

It was only then that she thought to inhale. At once she went still, her stomach flipping and hot liquid heat surging through her body in instant invitation. She smelled fruit and the musky scent of a male. Her male. Brandt. She would know that masculine scent anywhere, a blend of outdoor and spice. She knew immediately he was as aroused as she was.

Maggie moistened her lips. “What are you doing here?”

“Looking at you.” The words were soft, seductive. Truthful. His voice came from the chair positioned in the deepest corner opposite from her. “Watching over you.”

She smiled in the dark. “Do I need watching over?” The thought of his eyes on her, intense and burning, was a powerful aphrodisiac. She moved along the sheets, trying to get comfortable when every nerve ending was alive and sizzling with awareness.

“You were moaning in your sleep. The sound tore me up.” Brandt was sprawled out in the chair, his long legs stretched in front of him, his eyes devouring her. He had positioned the chair at the best advantage to watch her. She was so beautiful, so real, lying on his bed, all lush curves and gleaming skin. He ached to hold her. To lap his tongue along her throat and in the deep valley between her breasts, to swirl it in that intriguing little belly button he had such difficulty tearing his gaze from.

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