Authors: Rose J. Allister
“I like the way you think,” Dillon said with a sardonic grin, “but I doubt another ride’s gonna help you get back any faster.”
Kyle grunted. “It’s exactly that no-other-track mind of yours that proves my doubts about leavin’ you here with an innocent virgin are well founded.”
“I may be inexperienced,” Aimee cut in, “but after tonight I don’t think ‘innocent’ is quite the word for me.”
“You were under his spell. A spell that won’t exactly break if I get up on out of here.”
She stared at him. “What spell? Don’t tell me you guys do magic, too?”
“Not that kind of magic. It’s more like your mate holds you under a certain thrall that’s hard to resist.”
“I won’t do nothin’ of the sort,” Dillon said. “She can sleep on one side of the cave, and me on the other.”
“Don’t kid yourself. You are just as much under her spell as she is yours.”
“I can’t blame Dillon for my actions,” Aimee said. “I wanted to be part of what you two were doing.”
Kyle shook his head. “You were standing there hypnotized, darlin’. Swayin’ back and forth, lost in his pretty eyes like a snake and its charmer.” He walked up to her and grabbed her chin. “Why else did you kiss him without any qualms about the blood on him?”
He licked a thumb and brushed it over the corner of her mouth, coming back with a small smear of brown that he held up to her. Aimee’s eyes widened and shot over to Dillon. Most of the smears from his meal were still present, save around his lips. “Oh, God,” she murmured in disbelief. “I didn’t even notice.” She dragged a forearm across her mouth, her stomach twisting with the repulsive idea that she had blood on her. Jesus, Kyle had to be right. Dillon must hold some sort of enchantment over her for her not even to think about something like that.
“I’m sorry,” Dillon said. “I wasn’t thinkin’, neither.” He turned a gaze on Kyle. “But what happens when you go back and get questioned about your disappearance? You know it’s impossible to lie to an alpha.”
Kyle shook his head. “I’ll take care of it right now. Be right back.”
He shifted without another word, and his black wolf trotted out the tunnel to the entrance of the cave. Aimee glanced at Dillon, who just shrugged. Moments later, an eerie wolf howl sounded outside that was answered from a distance. Barks and growls between locations went on for a short time, and then she saw a pair of glowing yellow eyes lighting the dark tunnel from wolf height. Kyle barely missed a beat in transforming back as he walked into the rear room of the cave, water streaming down his body from the still-pouring rain.
“Damn wet out there,” he said, wiping his arms and chest down with his hands. He nodded to Dillon. “Catch any of that?”
“Not all of it,” Dillon said. He pulled up one knee and draped an arm over it.
“I told the pack that I got caught in the storm and am gonna weather it out in a shelter.”
“Giving you an alibi for tonight,” Aimee said.
“And it ain’t no lie,” Kyle went on. “Ain’t fit for man nor beast out there.”
Dillon raised a dark eyebrow. “And if you are specifically asked if you were with anyone?”
“Don’t see why it would come up.”
Dillon tilted his head. “Our woman over there has your sweater on. Plannin’ to march up to the pack with her beguilin’ scent all over you?”
Aimee shot a glance down at the red sweater, feeling a twinge of guilt.
“She can hang onto the sweater. I’ll wash both your scents off in the stream on the way back, same as always. It’ll work, trust me.”
Dillon sighed. “You’re the boss. I just hope to God you’re right.”
Kyle turned to Aimee. “Let’s get some water in you, feed you the jerky and trail mix I have stuffed in my jacket, and settle in for the evenin’.”
Her stomach growled at the mere mention of food, and Dillon laughed. “Guess that’s a yes.”
“Definitely,” she said. “And maybe while we’re settling, you guys can explain to me about wolf politics and why you’re sneaking around with Dillon.”
Aimee awoke to gray light barely spilling into the dimly lit cave, her head tucked against Kyle’s chest and her arm circling his slender waist. His jacket was draped over her so that her nose was pressed to the heady scent of male and leather.
The thunderstorm had eased during the night. Even while it still raged overhead, it had sounded comforting with her safely in the back of the cave, tucked under the crook of Kyle’s arm. Her short curls were barely damp now as she lifted her arm from his waist to push strands from her face.
She lifted her face to see that he was still asleep, with his back propped against the cave wall and his chin on his chest. His head had lolled to one side, offering her a close view of the scar. Her fingers itched to stroke it, to trace over the mark his past had left behind. Had he gotten the scar while caught in the thrall of the full moon? Or had it happened before he’d been turned?
“My God,” a voice said from across the cave. “Are you always this beautiful in the mornin’?”
She glanced over to find Dillon awake, sitting cross-legged on the ground. His jaw was stubbled with the same dark scruff that clung to his upper lip, and his dark hair was tousled from sleep. Dirt still streaked much of his body, but both Dillon and Aimee had washed off the blood with rainwater brought in by Kyle the night before. Her stomach churned at the thought of kissing a man smeared in animal blood. How could she have gotten so carried away that she hadn’t even realized it?
“Good morning,” she said, pulling herself upright. “You had something of a busy night.”
He nodded. “But better than any I’ve had since the pack broke up.”
Dillon had been restless, phasing in and out of wolf form several times. Kyle had removed the animal carcass from the cave after the wolf had taken its fill, but the animal paced back and forth on the short leash of the neck chain, occasionally barking or growling in Aimee’s direction or staring into the tunnel. Then he would shudder and morph back, lie down on the ground and curl up to sleep. And this had been one of the “low” moons?
Several times she’d wanted to go to him, feeling the odd pull that might have been mere sympathy or might have been more along the lines of the draw Kyle had warned them about. He had kept Aimee on the far side of the cave, though, where they stayed awake for some time.
“Looks like you wore Kyle out.” Dillon grinned, and a mischievous twinkle lit his eyes.
“Kyle ain’t all that wore, thank you,” the other man said from beside her.
She turned to see his head still slumped to one side, but then his eyes popped open. “You’re awake.” She smiled.
“I’m a light sleeper.” He shifted his body, cracking several joints in his neck and arms. “Ready to find your way back to the real world?”
Dillon growled. “We gotta feed her breakfast, at least, before we go shovin’ her on her way.”
Kyle glanced at him. “We’re out of food, unless you’re plannin’ on huntin’ her up somethin’ we would eat.”
“We can cook it first.”
“That’s okay, really,” Aimee said, getting to her feet and trying to ignore the queasy feeling that stirred from the image of Dillon tearing into a raccoon carcass. “I suppose it would be best if I got on my way.”
“That eager to get rid of us?” Dillon said, that dangerous gleam still in his eye. “You need us as guides, you know.” He tugged on his neck chain. “Can I get the hell out of this thing now?”
“Patience, cowboy.” Kyle chuckled as he dug around in his jeans pocket. “You usually ain’t in such a hurry to get out of bondage.” He turned his head to Aimee. “In fact, he kind of likes it. Gets him hot.”
A little tickle licked at her stomach, but Dillon just scowled. “Yeah, well, it ain’t gettin’ me hot right now. I gotta take a piss.”
Aimee smiled. “Is he always this grouchy in the morning?” She wandered over to where her shirt had been spread out to dry. It was still damp, but not soaked anymore.
Kyle knelt behind Dillon’s back and used the key he’d pulled from his pocket to unlatch locks on his collar and torso chains. “Nope,” Kyle said. “Guess somethin’s got him riled.” He opened the collar hinge and slipped it off.
Dillon rubbed at his neck, which bore reddened marks. “Aside from spendin’ the night forcin’ my way back to human form a dozen times?”
Kyle went to work on the chains. “Maybe you were hopin’ Aimee would forget she was lost and stay here in the cave.”
The chains fell to the ground with a loud clatter, leaving Dillon with embedded marks crossing over his chest. He rose, completely naked, and stalked across the cave floor toward her while holding her in his unsettling gaze. This was the first time she’d seen him loose, not to mention upright and fully bare. Her mouth went dry at the sight. He was taller than Kyle, only by an inch or two but enough for her to feel engulfed when he drew up in front of her. His soft but long cock was close enough for her to reach out and touch. She curled her hands at her sides to ward off the impulse.
“I might have been thinkin’ somethin’ like that,” Dillon said, still staring at her.
Everything about him—his heavy scent, his glittering eyes, the sensuous rhythm of his breaths—pulled her senses into overdrive. Her heart jumped into a frantic rhythm. Kyle was right about Dillon. While Kyle commanded undeniably heightened attraction, Dillon’s very nearness was enough to all but obliterate anything else in her surroundings.
She swallowed. “I have to go, Dillon. People will be looking for me.”
“People?” He reached for her hand, and a tingle shot up her arm when he took it. He raised her hand between them and tapped at the back of her ring finger. “David, you mean. Your
“I told you, I haven’t given him an answer yet.”
“Might as well have, keepin’ his ring on your finger. You know, that could give him the wrong idea, the way you’re wearin’ it and flashin’ it around.”
She pulled her hand away. “I’m not flashing it around. And you don’t have the right to dictate what jewelry I wear.”
“No, but I have the right to do this.”
He pulled her to him and crushed her mouth against his. Her automatic reflex to struggle faded in an instant as the feel of his tongue sliding between her lips unleashed the first shockwave of desire in her.
When he yanked back, the gold in his eyes was flickering like candle flames and her pussy was already dampening with need.
She sucked in a deep breath to steady her shaky voice. “And I have the right to leave.”
“Come on, Dillon.” Kyle came up behind him. “Let’s clean up and get her back safe.”
* * * *
The three of them were underway within the hour, striking out from the cave in the opposite direction from the way Aimee vaguely remembered coming. Their feet squished through the wet forest floor, and their breaths puffed out in front of them with every step. Aimee wore Kyle’s jacket and sweater to ward off the chill in the air, her own shirt slung over her shoulder. Though the rain had stopped, the sun was nowhere to be found behind a thick veil of gray and white clouds. The morning air was crisp enough to burn her nostrils with each intake of breath, though Kyle seemed to have no trouble striding along in a tank top and jeans.
“You’re quiet,” Dillon said to her as they navigated a small incline through a maze of trees and boulders.
“I was just thinking about last night,” she said. “About the things you and Kyle told me.”
“Hope it didn’t confuse you too much,” he said. A fiery blue gaze shot through her from under the brim of his hat.