Because blood, pain, and bullets were nothing to a wolf. What was the little matter of death to a beast?


His eyes narrowed on her and Lucas crossed the room in long, slow strides. Stalking me. Goosebumps rose on the flesh of her arms. “Lucas . . .”

He knelt beside the tub. His fingers dipped into the warm water, his knuckles so close to her thigh.

She hunched her shoulders. “I didn’t . . .” Invite you here. “You shouldn’t be here.”

“You’re here. Where else should I be?” His fingers trailed in the water and slid over her thigh. “Don’t you want me here?”

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Yes, dammit. She did. She’d wanted him, secretly, desperately, and quite stupidly, for a long time now. Before they’d ever met.

She stared at his hand in the water. There was no point lying to him. He’d smell her arousal anyway.

Just the touch of his fingers and she was almost trembling.

“I came in just to make sure you were all right.” His voice seemed so deep and dark.

“I’m all right.” Hers was a whisper.

“That’s why I came in . . .” His fingers curled over her thigh. Her nipples tightened. The warm water was no longer soothing. Nothing could soothe her then. “But I’m here now,” he said, “because I fucking want you.”

Sarah swallowed.

His hand tightened on her. She wanted him to move those fingers, to slide them deeper under the water, to press them against her sex, into her.

He released her. “But you’re the one who has to say—”

Her hand flew up and she grabbed his wrist, held on way too tight. “I don’t want you to leave.” Right then, being alone was the last thing she wanted. Remembering blood, pain, death—no, thank you.

She wanted passion. She wanted pleasure. She wanted him. A muscle flexed in his jaw. “What do you want?”

She rose from the tub, slowly, and the water slid down her body even as the steam drifted around her head. “I want you.” Admissions didn’t get more stark than that.

His lips lifted in a half-smile that revealed the sharp points of his teeth. “Then that’s what you’re getting.”

He pounced. No other word for it. Lucas moved in a blur, grabbing her and lifting her out of the tub. Her hands flew out and clutched his shoulders as she tried to balance herself.

“I’ve got you,” he said and he lifted her higher. Strong wolf. He took her breast in his mouth, licking the moisture away, sucking the aching nipple.

Liquid heat shot straight to her sex. His jeans rubbed against her legs, and she wanted to spread her thighs. Wanted to wrap them around his hips and hold on tight as he thrust deep inside. As deep as he could go.

His tongue worked her nipple, making her twist against him, making her pant, making her want.

His breath blew over her skin as his head lifted. “So fucking sweet . . .” His gaze burned into hers. “Are you like that everywhere?”


In four strides, he had her at the bed. He spun, dropping her lightly on the mattress, and then came down on top of her as he caged her against the bed. The mattress dipped beneath their weight and Sarah lifted her hands, wanting to touch him so badly that her fingers shook.

His smile flashed again. “Do anything you want, Sarah. I sure will.” And he licked her other breast. Licked and sucked and when she felt the light edge of his teeth, Sarah bucked off the bed.

Her hips slammed up against his, and there was no mistaking the thick bulge of his arousal. Long and hard. She wanted him inside her. “Lucas!” Her hands buried in the thick darkness of his hair.

The water was drying fast from her skin. Thanks to the thick comforter, his mouth, and his hot flesh. She seemed to burn everywhere she touched him, her body so sensitive, too ready.

Then he started to lick his way down her body . . .

Her eyes squeezed closed and her breath came faster. She heard an eager moan fill the air—me, that’s me. Because the need inside her was blazing out of control. Burning so hot—burning just like Lucas.

She didn’t wait for him to ask . . . when his mouth pressed a kiss to her stomach, she parted her thighs wider. Why pretend? She wanted his mouth on her. No, right then, she needed it. Because her whole body was coiled tight, her sex so eager and hungry, and the pleasure he promised was so close.

How long had it been? How long since she’d just let go with a lover? Trusting him to give her the pleasure she needed? With Rafe, she’d never been able to let go. Not fully.

Lucas’s fingers touched her first. Strong, rough fingertips that parted the folds between her legs and found the center of her need. His lips touched her next, pressing against her clit, sending a fierce, sensual jolt through her body that was so strong that she would have flinched away . . . but his hands were on her wrists—when had he grabbed her?—holding her tight.

Then came his tongue. Wet and warm. Licking. Caressing. Sliding against flesh and then thrusting inside her core.

Her hips arched toward him. More. The whisper in her mind. So close, she was so close and she just needed—

“Even sweeter,” he growled the words against her. Then his tongue plunged deep, his fingers stroked her, and Sarah came against his mouth.

When he growled, a long, ragged rumble, the vibration trembled against her sex and the wave of pleasure lashed through her body.

Then he was moving, shoving off the jeans, jerking on a condom, and coming back to her with eyes that were far too bright for a human’s. But then, she’d known he was more than just a man from the beginning.

He pushed her legs farther apart. The tip of his thick cock pressed against her sensitive flesh, flesh that was still ready and eager for more.

But . . .

But she could see the edge of his teeth. So sharp. And those eyes were more wolf than man.

A shiver slipped over her as the past whispered around her. Her hands flew up and pushed against his shoulders. Lucas froze.

Pleasure still hummed through her body. Lust had her aching, but—but . . .

“Now you’re scared.” Gravel-rough. He shook his head and leaned in close to her, so close those glowing eyes bored into hers. His lips were just a few inches away from her mouth. All the while, his cock lodged right at the entrance of her body. Not thrusting inside, not yet, and not withdrawing.

Her nails bit into the hard muscles of his chest.

“You want me,” he said, voice dark and dangerous, “but deep down, you’re scared as hell of me.”

Not deep down. Right then, the fear was on the surface, fighting her need. “It’s not you I’m afraid of.” The damn memories. Her own past.

Not Lucas—not the man anyway, but the wolf she could see gazing back from the man’s eyes. If a wolf got too strong, grew too wild during sex, the man would lose control, he would—

“That fucking bastard hurt you.”

She flinched. He already knew Rafe had tried to kill her but...

Lucas’s mouth pressed against her cheek. A light touch when she’d expected force and fire. “How many times,” he gritted, “do I have to tell you? All fucking wolves aren’t the same in the dark. We’re not all psychotic bastards.”

His lips trailed down her cheek. Under the line of her jaw. Just lips and tongue, kissing, licking, caressing. No teeth. No pain.

“Trust me,” he breathed the words against her and the fear began to give way once more to the need and the lust that tightened her body. “Let me show you what I’m like.”

Her nails stopped digging into his chest. Her fingers curled over his shoulders, the better to pull closer, not to push away.

His head lifted and those blazing blue eyes stared into hers. “Trust me,” he said again.

His mouth took hers. A hot, open-mouthed kiss of hunger and lust. Of need and—

His cock pushed into her. Not a hard, slamming thrust. A gentle drive of thick, strong flesh, a glide that sent his cock sliding over her clit, making her arch and gasp beneath him.

“Better,” he whispered against her lips.

And it was. He was. The past disappeared as he withdrew. His fingers pushed between them, found the center of her desire, teased, pressed—

He thrust. A little harder this time, a little deeper.

Just right.

Again. Again.

His fingers touched, stroked, knew just where she needed him. His cock filled her, so heavy and thick, and her sex clamped greedily around him as the lust built and built.

His mouth was on hers again. Tongue thrusting. Tasting, taking, even as his body took hers.

He was all she could see, everything she felt. Her sex strained around him, the pleasure pressing close again, and when his cock drove into her, a plunge that stole her breath—Sarah came, gasping, body shuddering, as the release blasted through her.

He kept thrusting. Faster now, deeper. Harder. The pleasure shook her body, had her heart racing as the drumming filled her ears.

She stared up at him, the taut lines of his face, those eyes . . .

His jaw was clenched, his muscles bulging.

Sarah wrapped her legs around him and held him tighter.

Then she saw the wild rush of pleasure in his eyes as he came. Lucas thrust deep and stiffened against her. His hands caught hers. His cock jerked inside her with the hard jet of his release.

And he never looked away from her gaze.

Man, not beast.

No, both. But with Lucas, the man was in control.

His lips brushed hers. She kissed him, closing her eyes. Dammit, why did it have to be like this? A man of power, a man that she might truly be able to trust, and a man that she was deceiving.

What would happen when he found out the truth?

His lips broke from hers, and he searched her gaze.

There’d be no running from him.

“You trust me.” No question from Lucas. Just a statement now.

“Yes.” And it was the truth. But please, don’t trust me. Whatever you do . . . don’t trust me.

Because sooner or later, she’d have to betray him. Life could be such a bitch sometimes.

Chapter 8

Lucas’s eyes opened the instant he heard the light scratch on the door. He turned at once, and his gaze landed on Sarah.


What in the hell was he going to do with her? Careless, mind-numbing sex was one thing—but not what he’d had with her.

She’d been afraid. He’d had other lovers who were afraid. Others who sensed the beast he kept chained, but had still wanted the wild ride in the darkness.

Sarah had been different. Wanting him despite the fear. And the damn thing was . . . of all his lovers, he’d expected her to fear the least.

The woman talked to wolves. She knew them. Maybe that was the problem. Maybe she knew just how strong the beast inside could be, particularly when he wanted something.

Rafe had hurt her. He’d seen that truth in her gaze. I’ve only had one wolf lover.

One who’d taught her to fear a shifter’s touch.

The scratch at the door came again. Shit. Caleb. He’d sent the shifter to make contact with Dane and to get a report on the coyotes.

He needed to go, but . . . his gaze turned to Sarah once more, just as she rolled onto her stomach. Her sheet dipped with her movement, and he saw the sexy curve of her spine, and the long, still-pink scars that marred the flesh on her lower back.

Lucas didn’t make a sound. Didn’t snarl. Didn’t howl with the sudden fury inside him. His hand reached toward her, his claws springing forth, and he didn’t feel the tear of his flesh.

His hand hovered over those lines. A perfect match. But then, there really was no mistaking clawmarks on a woman’s body.

No fucking wonder she feared me.

He leaned in close to her. Didn’t touch her. Couldn’t, not then, because the beast was far too angry then. “He’s dead,” he whispered the words in her ear.

Sarah stiffened. “Wh—”

“And I’m gonna make damn sure the bastard suffers before I put him out of his misery.”

She glanced back at him, her eyes wide, her lips still red from his kiss. “Lucas, I need to—”

He rolled away from her. “Get some sleep.” If he stayed . . . no. Fuck, no. “I’m going for a run.” Because the beast was howling inside.

The bedcovers rustled behind him. “No! Wait, Lucas! We’ve got to talk.”

“Not now.” No time. He glanced down and saw that his claws were still out. Claws just like the ones that had ripped into her skin.

I’ll rip him open.

Her hand grabbed his arm. “Oh, what, you got what you wanted, so now you’re—”

Her touch burned through him. “I’m in the mood to fuck or kill.”


He glanced back at her. “I don’t think you want to be touching me now.” The beast would be staring at her from his eyes, he knew that. And she feared the beast.

Sarah swallowed, but she didn’t drop her hand. “It’s because of the scars.”

The wolf clawed inside, desperate to be free.

Her gaze dropped to his hands, yeah, right to those claws. Razor-sharp. Perfect for tearing flesh.

“Were your claws out during sex?” She shook her head, a frown between her eyes. “I didn’t even notice. I should have, but . . .” Her gaze rose back to his. “I didn’t notice.” There was shock in her voice.

Should he tell her the truth? Lie? Fuck it. “They were out.” It had taken all his damn strength to keep a stranglehold on the beast. Fighting or fucking—the wolf liked both. Sarah would know that, though.

She had the marks to prove it.

Her lips parted.

He stepped away from her, breaking her hold. The wolf wanted out.

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