She straddled him when she came down, the skirt of her dress fluttering over his thighs.

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Convenient.

A startled laugh burst from her lips. “Okay, hard to misunderstand that.” She rubbed against his straining erection, pursing her lips. “But, seriously, I’ve got to be in court in half an hour. I can’t—”

“I don’t want you to walk away from me.” The words fell out, hard and flat. “Not like you did with Ben, with no looking back.”

Her hands rose to push against his chest. The laughter was gone now. “Who says I never looked back?”

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His fingers dug into her hips. He hadn’t expected that. “I thought you said that you and the human were finished.”

“We are.” Her chin titled up and her hair brushed over her shoulders. “But I can still have regrets.”

Not what he wanted to hear. “A human wouldn’t be strong enough for you. He wouldn’t be able to handle things when they got…wild.” Not just talking about the shifter bastard out there.

“Doesn’t always have to be wild,” she told him softly, and her right index finger smoothed down the front of his shirt. “I’m wolf, but I’m human, too. Sometimes—sometimes a woman likes to go slow.”

Slow. Not really his thing.

“Can you handle that, Jude?” she asked him and he really, really didn’t like the look in her eyes. “Could you handle slow with me…and soft?” She tossed a look toward the shut door. A wooden door, but too thin. He could catch whispers and phone calls and about a hundred other sounds too easily.

He stared at Erin, at the elegant lines of her face. “I can handle anything you’ve got, sweetheart.” That was why he’d come to her. To tell her that he wasn’t the kind she could throw away when the danger was over.

He wasn’t just dicking around with her. With Erin, he wanted everything.

You gonna be able to handle things if she walks on you?

“Let’s just see.” Erin’s fingers fumbled with his belt. Eased open his zipper.

With a shifter, generally, the fewer clothes, the better, so he never bothered with underwear.

His cock sprang into her hands and he had to watch her. Had to watch the sight of those delicate hands pumping him, clenching and stroking.

Oh, but that felt good.

“You’re ready.” Her pink tongue swiped out.

Sweat trickled down his brow. Hadn’t counted on this.

“So am I.” With her left hand, she reached under the folds of her skirt. She twisted a bit, the movements clumsy but still sexy, then she had a scrap of lace dangling from her fingers.

Fuck.

“No sounds, Jude. Not fast. Not hard. Not this time.” Another swipe of that tongue.

His head jerked forward and he locked his mouth on hers.

She nipped his lower lip and his cock jerked. Oh, come on, that was just too—

“I said soft,” she whispered before her lips took his. She was soft. Her lips brushed across his mouth. Feathered over him, then broke away.

Not enough.

Her hips rose. Jude glanced down, desperate for a sight of that pink flesh, but her skirt covered her and he couldn’t see a damn thing.

But he could feel her as she slid down onto his throbbing erection. Warm, wet flesh. A straining entrance that took in the tip of his cock, squeezed.

He wrenched his hands away from her and locked them onto the arms of the chair. Can’t hurt her.

Leather tore as his claws dug deep.

She lifted herself higher, bracing against him, then pushed down, taking all of him in one long, slow glide.

His breath shuddered out. “Is…this…some kind of…fucking test?”

She rose, sank down, rose again. “Maybe…for both of us.”

Too slow. He wanted her creamy flesh. Wanted her breasts in his hands, her tongue in his mouth.

Her inner muscles clamped around him, her sex squeezing so tightly that he lost his breath.

Then she smiled that sexy smile. “So far, so good.”

Better than good.

“Let’s see how long we can last,” she murmured and lowered her face to his neck. She swiped her tongue over him, and Jude’s head tipped back against the chair.

The tiger jerked against his chains, desperate for more, faster, harder.

Jude’s hips arched against her when she tried to rise.

He couldn’t help it.

Her gasp said she liked it.

So did the sting of her claws.

Her cream coated the length of his arousal, and when she pushed up onto her knees and then drove down, he met her with a deep thrust.

So fucking good.

Another thrust. Deeper.

His cock slipped over her clit and Erin bit her lip, smothering a groan.

Slow and deep.

Her breath hitched, grew faster. Her lips found his. Their tongues met.

Just what he’d been wanting.

He took her mouth even as she kept taking him. Slow and deep.

His spine prickled.

Her cream thickened and her body stiffened. He held onto his control with all his strength. Held on until he felt the tremors caressing the length of his cock. Those slow, clenching spasms told him Erin was coming for him.

And now he could come for her.

His hands flew to her hips. He drove up and held her as tight as he could.

Jude thrust hard. Once, twice. He bared his teeth even as a roar rose in his throat.

Erin kissed him, muffling the cry, and he climaxed, exploding in her hot depths and plunging as deep into her as he could go.

Mate.

Zane glanced at the closed door. His senses weren’t as good as a shifter’s, but they were a whole lot better than a human’s.

And he’d heard that sound. A low groan.

His nostrils twitched.

Aw, hell.

No mistaking that particular scent in the air.

He shook his head. Lucky bastard.

The cute little redhead with the seriously cold shoulders marched toward him, a file in her hands.

Not really toward him so much as toward Erin’s office…

He stepped in front of her. “Now isn’t a good time.”

Her jaw tightened. “Erin’s due in court,” she gritted. “She needs this—”

He plucked the file from her fingers. “And she’ll get it. Thanks.”

After a hard glare, and another temperature drop, she spun away from him.

“Ah, man, you owe me.”

Erin stared at Jude, her heart rate slowing.

“Did I pass your test?”

Aftershocks had her sex squeezing around him.

“I’ll take that as a yes.”

He could take it any way he wanted. She swallowed, trying to ease her dry throat. Okay, jumping him like that really hadn’t been her plan.

But she’d seen the heat in his eyes the minute he walked into her office.

She’d known what he wanted. She would have been an idiot not to know once he started sizing her up…and then glancing over at the chair like he’d been trying to figure out if they’d fit.

After a second’s thought, Erin had realized she didn’t want to wait on seduction.

And that she’d wanted to break some rules.

Sex in the office.

“Why?” he asked her and she could only stare back at him blankly.

Slow and soft—that’s what she told him, but it wasn’t what she’d wanted. Not really. She’d had slow and soft for too long. She’d wanted loud and wild. She hadn’t wanted to worry about the others outside or—or about anything but Jude.

She’d just wanted him.

The truth was that she would have taken him any way she could get him.

But, yeah, she’d wondered if the sex would be different if she held her primal nature back. If it would be as good.

The answer was…um, oh yeah. She felt freaking great. Sex with Jude wasn’t like being with other men. Never would be.

Soft and slow—still wonderful. Wild and hard— amazing.

The guy was ruining her for everyone else. “Soft and slow with you,” she finally managed, “is one hell of a lot better than the sex I had with other—”

“Don’t go there.”

She blinked at the banked fury in his voice.

“I don’t want to hear about other men, and I sure don’t want to hear about them when I’m still in you.” The edges of his teeth had sharpened and he was eyeing her neck with a little too much attention.

Erin scrambled back, rising off him in a rush and then managing to stand with shaky knees.

She clenched her thighs, aware of the sticky residue from their—

Jude jerked his zipper back up. He straightened his clothes fast, then rose, coming right at her.

Her panties were in his left fist. How had they gotten there?

Hmm…she’d really need those soon. She couldn’t go to court without them. “Jude…”

“I’ll take you any way I can get you, but I’ll be damned if I share you with anyone.”

Her eyes widened. “I wouldn’t—”

His hand, the one without the panties, pressed against her chest. Right over her heart. “Talking about in here, sweetheart.

When we’re together, there’s no room for anyone else.”

This moment was important. The air was thick. His hand was warm against her, and her heart galloped away with that touch. “No one else is there.” It was true.

She was in trouble.

He smiled at her and she thought about jumping him again. “Good,” he rumbled and pressed a hot, fast kiss to her lips.

“And, yeah, for the record, there had damn well better not be anyone else taking that sweet body.”

She didn’t want anyone else the way she wanted him. Never had.

“This insanity with the stalker is going to be ending soon,” he told her. Can’t end soon enough. “You won’t need a hunter anymore.”

She’d always need him. Not for protection or for his strength. She’d just…need him.

Erin hadn’t needed anyone since her father died. No, she hadn’t let herself need anyone.

How had Jude gotten so close, so fast?

He saw past the surface. He saw things that others didn’t. Couldn’t.

He always looked at me as if he couldn’t wait to get me naked. Always looked at me like I was a woman.

Not a monster. Not the way Ben had looked at her hours before.

“I’m not gonna disappear from your life when he’s gone.” His hand was a warm, heavy weight. “And you’re not gonna disappear from mine.”

What the hell? The knot in her throat—what was that? Erin swallowed, shoving it down. “No, I’m not.” She was done running.

And, maybe, she was ready to take a risk on someone.

With someone.

Jude.

He can handle anything I throw at him.

Even soft and easy. The tiger had held perfectly still and let her ride him. What a ride it had been.

She shifted from one foot to the other and realized she’d kicked off her pumps somewhere. Maybe near the chair.

His hand lifted. Her heart slowed.

Jude kneeled before her. He caught one foot in his hand and began to slide her panties back on.

Strength and gentleness. Hell of a combination. How was a woman supposed to resist?

He turned his attention to the other foot, and he eased the soft material over her toes and up her calf.

He pressed a kiss to her knee and lifted the silk even higher.

Erin gulped. She lifted her skirt up for him, aware of a quiver in her belly.

And in her sex.

More, please.

He pulled the panties up. The bikini design rode low on her hips. His mouth brushed her belly, then pressed against the crotch of her panties.

She tried to suck in enough air for her starving lungs. “J-Jude—”

One more kiss, then he pulled away. “This case is ending,” he repeated and rose to his feet, “but we aren’t.”

Her skirt fell seamlessly back into place. The lust gnawed at her, burning and pumping through her.

She stared into his eyes, and there was only one answer to give. “No, we aren’t.” Because she wasn’t an idiot. No way would she walk away from a man who could—

A rap at the door. “Uh…the DA is looking for you, Erin.” Zane’s expressionless voice.

Hell.

Jude licked his lips. “Later, we’ll do things our way again.”

Wild. Sounded great. She held his stare a moment longer and gave a fierce nod. That freaking knot in her throat was back so the nod was pretty much all she could manage.

“I have some leads to follow, but I’ll pick you up tonight.”

He eased away, headed for the door.

Erin scrambled for her shoes. The DA. Court. She toed into her pumps just as he yanked open the door. “Wait! Jude!”

He glanced back at her, and her breath caught. The man was really something.

“Wh-what kind of leads?”

“The kind that I hope will take me right to the stalker.”

He’d told her the case would be ending soon. He’d meant those words, she realized. “Be careful.”

“Always.”

Zane was waiting for him. Jude bent toward the demon and she heard her shifter say, “I’m going to the den.”

Zane seemed to stiffen a bit at that.

Then Jude strode away. He didn’t look back, and Erin stared after him, feeling like she should say something, but having no idea what.

It’s not over.

No, it wasn’t.

Chapter 17

An hour later, Jude entered hell.

From the outside, hell appeared pretty unassuming. It looked just like an old building, one with a few beat-up cars lining the broken lot. A drunk or two sprawled on the sidewalk outside the square, squat structure.

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