The Awakening Page 8

Her hands moved up her narrow rib cage on the path she wanted him to take. She cupped the weight of her breasts in her hands, an offering, a blatant temptation. She needed to feel him touching her, his thumbs teasing her nipples into hard peaks. Maggie’s skin was hot and flushed, her body aching for release. When she moved, it was a sensual flow of muscles and curves, her hands following the lines of her body, drawing attention to the fiery triangle of curls at the junction of her legs.

Her thighs felt smooth, her hips rounded. She ached for her lover to find her, to come to her, to touch her skin and find every secret place on her body. Her long hair fell around her like a silken cloak, strands sliding over her breasts and back as she moved, caressing her breasts and buttocks. The sensation caused her body to clench tightly in reaction, her blood to thicken and her breath to grow labored.

Maggie placed her hands on the glass pane. She wanted. She hungered. For whom she didn’t know, but the feeling was strong in her. And it wasn’t sweet or pleasant. The erotic images dancing in her head were rough and consuming, not of a gentle, considerate lover, but one taking her in a wild frenzy of lust, of elemental, savage desire.

The pictures in her head bewildered her and she turned away from the window. Maggie padded barefoot to the shower, hoping to wash away the strange ideas in her head. The strange sensations in her body. She wasn’t at all prepared for the way the tropical forest affected her, and she just wanted it to go away.

The water was cool on her skin. Maggie closed her eyes and savored the feel of it, the way it seemed to absorb into her tissues and pores. She was exhausted, wanting only to sleep, yet the fever in her blood was strong. A force of nature. She leaned against the wall of the shower and allowed the water to cascade over her breasts, massaging the terrible ache. If she belonged in this wild, primitive setting, did it mean the reaction of her body would never go away? Maggie patted her body dry, leaving some of the cooling water to dry beneath the fans.

She lay on the bed in the dark, listening to the rain. Outside her window the wind blew, and unfamiliar sounds of the jungle penetrated the walls of the house. She lay still with her heart beating in tune to the rain. She could feel the sheet beneath her skin. She found herself rubbing her body along the material, wanting to feel every inch of her skin touching it. She rolled seductively, stretched, came up on her hands and knees to push her bottom up in the air. All the while she throbbed and burned and nothing she did gave her relief.

Brandt watched as she was caught in the throes of the sexual heat of their race. She was the most sensuous creature he had ever seen. His body was on fire, painful, as she moved against the sheets. He watched her fingers move over skin that belonged to him. Touch places that were made for him. A snarl escaped, a low moan of hunger. The lust, the need was so strong he no longer cared about honor, about the future. He would have her tonight. Now. There would be no waiting.

And then she buried her face in the pillow and wept as if her heart were breaking. The sound stopped him cold.

He stared at her, seeing her easily in the dark, and felt her fears, her loneliness. Felt her confusion and humiliation for things she couldn’t hope to control or understand. He hadn’t thought what changing her life so drastically would do to her, only what it would do for him. He crouched on the balcony and listened. While she cried herself to sleep. Unexpectedly, his heart nearly shattered.

Chapter 3

Maggie dreamt of a man’s soothing voice. Of comforting arms. Of fur sliding sensuously next to her skin. Over her skin. Of padding through the darkened forest on four legs, not two. Of behaving outrageously, seductively, rolling and crouching to entice a male to her. She dreamt of torches flashing and the sound of gunshots. She dreamt of a man with a scent that filled her with longing.

She woke in late afternoon, her body sprawled naked, tangled in the sheet, with the memories of strange, disjointed dreams etched clearly in her mind. She became aware of sensation first, then sound. The raucous calls of birds. The hum of insects. The chattering of monkeys. The rain.

It was already humid and the fans were whirling to provide a semblance of relief from the sultry air. She turned her head toward the window and was surprised to find mosquito netting surrounding her bed. She reached out idly, not quite all the way awake, and pulled the netting to one side. She found herself blinking up at the most compelling, mesmerizing eyes she’d ever seen. Molten gold. Liquid. Hypnotic.

Her heart jumped and then began to pound out a rhythm of joy. Her small teeth bit into her lower lip. “What are you doing here?” Her voice came in a rush. He was the most physically intimidating man she had ever seen. She lay paralyzed, unable to move. She could only stare at him helplessly, shock mixing with a strange excitement.

Brandt pushed the netting into the corner, his gaze sliding possessively over her body. The sheet was tangled around her, revealing more than it hid. Her silken hair spilled around the pillow, a spun reddish-gold that matched the thatched curls peeking at him from the shadow between her legs. He swallowed the sudden dryness in his mouth. “I wanted to make certain you were all right. It occurred to me it wasn’t safe leaving you alone in an unfamiliar house in the middle of a rain forest, so I stayed to protect you. I’m Brandt Talbot.” One rounded breast was tantalizing him, drawing his heated gaze no matter how much he tried to impose discipline on himself.

Maggie felt the brush of flames from the burning intensity of his eyes as he looked at her body. With a small gasp of alarm, she sat up, dragging the sheet over her. “Good heavens, I don’t have any clothes on!”

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