running scared-Page 33

A burst of possessiveness exploded inside of him. He wasn’t going to let her go. He wasn’t going to let her hide from him. He wanted every part of her. Her body, her mind, her soul. All of it. Forever.

Lexi sucked in a gasping breath and her eyes flew wide. She trembled beneath him and her fingers dug into his shoulders.

“What was that?” she asked in a desperate voice.

Zach didn’t know what she meant, and he wasn’t going to waste what little rational thought he had left figuring it out. He needed that to remember how to get them both naked. Now.

He slid his hands under her shirt, rubbing his knuckles across the satin skin of her belly. Sparks of power poured out of him, sinking into her wherever he touched. Her muscles quivered under his fingers and he felt her breathing speed, saw her nipples tighten under her clothes.

The urge to feel those stiff points against his tongue took over, and he shoved her shirt up onto her arms. He couldn’t remember how to get her bra off, but he pulled the lacy bit of fabric down and what he wanted was right there, tight and eager and begging for him.

Zach cupped her soft breast in his hand and covered her with his mouth. She rose up off the couch in a powerful arc. The movement ground her thigh against his dick, and he nearly came right then. It took several sucking breaths through his nose to calm down, but he couldn’t bring himself to move his mouth. Her nipple was hard against his tongue and the woman taste of her skin filled him up and made him hungry for more all at the same time.

Lexi took his hair in her fists and held him tight, making sexy noises of encouragement. Her hips rocked beneath him, rubbing him just right. Too right. He didn’t want to come yet and end the pleasurable torment. Hanging on the edge of insanity felt too good and he wanted her right there with him when he fell.

Somehow, he managed to open her jeans and his fingers slid down beneath her panties until he felt her slick heat. She was wet and ready for him so fast he wanted to fall to his knees in thanks. He wasn’t sure he was thinking clearly enough to do this right, and he really wanted it to be right for her.

She pulled his head up and covered his mouth in a scorching kiss. Eager, needy sounds filled his lungs and he drank them down, dying to hear more.

“Need you,” she told him.

Words weren’t possible for him anymore.

She pulled away from him, shedding her shirt and stripping out of her bra in record time. Somehow, she got out from under him and knelt in front of him on the couch, working to shimmy out of her jeans.

Zach’s world ground to a halt. The flickering of the candles’ flames over her naked, flushed skin slowed to a lazy caress of heat and light. Her nipples were shiny and distended from the suckling wetness of his mouth. Her pale breasts cast loving shadows over her ribs. The gentle curve of her stomach glistened with perspiration. Slowly, so slowly he thought he’d go mad, Lexi pushed her jeans and panties down, baring herself to him until she knelt there, naked and glorious, offering herself to him.

A gift he could not refuse.

She leaned forward until her mouth was level with his chest and pressed a kiss against his lifemark. Buzzing filled his head and his tree quivered under her mouth.

Her breath swept out over his chest and she looked up at him from beneath long lashes. It was the kind of look a man dreams of seeing just once in his life—full of desire and lust and enough heat to scorch his soul. Even without being able to see inside her mind, he knew without a doubt that what was happening between them was exactly what she wanted.

Her fingers went to his jeans and this time, he didn’t stop her from popping the button. She wanted just sex, so that was what he’d give her. Enough to make her scream with pleasure. Enough to leave her aching for more, because he was sure he was never going to get enough. If this was the only part of her she’d let him have, he was going to use it to his full advantage.

He helped her rid him of his clothes and shoes, then fisted his hands at his sides while her dark eyes roamed his naked body in stark appreciation.

“You are one fine-looking man, Zach.”

“Lay down.” The words came out short and sharp, but at least they came out. It was more than he expected.

Lexi shook her head and scrambled away in a flurry of supple arms and legs. She said something as she left, but Zach didn’t hear it. His blood was pounding in his ears, his pulse a roaring drumbeat of need.

She’d left him. Again.

Zach watched her beautiful ass sway as she walked. The leopard tattoo on her shoulder stared back at him, taunting him with its green stare. She had two of the sexiest dimples he’d ever seen at the base of her spine. Somehow, that didn’t make the sight of her leaving him any easier to bear. All of those nights of hopeless desperation—the nights he’d spent hunting for her while he suffered through horrible, painful spasms—came back to him.

She wasn’t going to leave him. Not now. Not ever again.

Animal instincts—the need to claim his mate—took over and he pounced. He wasn’t sure how he’d gotten across the room, but he had, and Lexi was pinned under him on the carpet, her eyes wide with apprehension.

Zach didn’t care. She’d tried to leave him again, like he was so much garbage tossed into the street. He wasn’t going to let her do that to him. Not this time.

He pushed her thighs open, shoving his knee between them. His dick slid along her slick folds, throbbing and thick and hot. Her breathing sped and her fingers clenched against his chest. He had her arms pinned so she couldn’t move, but that was fucking tough. She’d tried to run away. She needed to know he wasn’t going to let it happen.

“Zach.” His name was a ragged plea for something he couldn’t decipher.

She was so wet, so ready for him. He pushed forward, sliding into her body easily, nudging the head of his erection just inside her. She was snug and hot and the urge to shove his dick into her until he came was nearly overwhelming.

He held back, though he wasn’t sure why.

Her eyes fluttered shut and a dark pink flush spread out over her cheeks. Hot ribbons of power flowed out of him, easing some of the pressure inside him, helping clear his head.

Her mouth was open, her warm breath filling the space between them. Her breasts were soft against his damp chest, her hard nipples stabbing up at him.

He pushed his hips forward, needing to be inside her all the way, filling her up, claiming her.

Lexi went tense and he felt her body clamp down hard on his dick.

“Let me in,” he ordered.

She didn’t respond. She didn’t relax. He didn’t want to hurt her, but he couldn’t stop, either. Not now that he was so close to being part of her.

Zach didn’t know what else to do, so he covered her throat with his hand, locking the two parts of the luceria together. Power rose up in him, churning and bubbling.

He channeled that power through their link and forced it to slide right inside her.

She gasped and arched off the floor, lodging him deeper inside her tight body. Bright blue sparks of energy spilled from her skin, sinking into the soft carpet. She shook, her muscles clenched and her eyes squeezed tight.

He was hurting her.

Zach panicked and lay there frozen, pinning her body in place. He’d hurt her, but he couldn’t pull back, couldn’t stop. He couldn’t let her go.

He found enough strength to say, “I’m sorry.” He was sorry for hurting her. Sorry that he wasn’t going to stop.

Chapter 16

Lexi’s body was not her own. It was an alien thing, needy and desperate, filled with so much sparkling energy she could hardly find the space to breathe. Zach’s weight held her down, giving her nowhere to run. His thick erection was poised inside her entrance, stretching her so tight it almost hurt. She hadn’t been ready for that. She hadn’t been ready for the heat of those tingling ribbons of energy sinking into her from the inside, too.

Bare skin on bare skin.

And he was most definitely bare. Smooth and hard and slick inside her. The thought nagged her, gave her a flicker of worry, but she couldn’t focus on it enough to figure out why. All she could do was shudder under the force of his presence, the intensity of those pale green eyes staring into her.

“I won’t let you leave,” he growled at her, his voice vibrating his heavy chest and the tips of her nipples pressed against it.

Everything had been fine right up to the point where she walked away to go into a bedroom. That was when he’d flipped out and come after her like some kind of wild animal. That feral look was still there. His jaw was bunched. Sweat lined his brow. She could feel the tight cords of muscles as he strained to control himself, the strong beat of his racing heart. She wasn’t sure how long he’d hold out.

The need to soothe him rose up inside her. She wasn’t sure if it was because she was afraid of what he’d do to her, or if she was afraid of what she might let him do.

“I wasn’t leaving you. I just wanted to break in one of the beds.”

“Beds?” He said it like he didn’t recognize the word.

Lexi wriggled her arms free and Zach pressed more of his weight down on top of her, giving her a warning rumble from his throat. She’d never heard a man make a sound like that, and she had to fight back the sliver of fear that threatened to worm its way inside her.

There wasn’t room for fear. She was already bursting at the seams with more sensation than she could handle.

She made her muscles go lax under him, telling him with her body she wasn’t trying to run.

Some of the tension in his jaw eased and she realized in that moment he was acting out of fear, not anger. He was afraid she was going to run away again. And why wouldn’t he be? She’d done it before.

“I’m not going anywhere,” she told him. She stroked his face with gentle sweeps of her fingertips over his forehead, his cheeks, his mouth. “I’m right where I want to be.”

And it was true. There was nowhere else she wanted to be more than with this man, reveling in the pleasure he gave her with his mere presence.

She pulled his head down so she could kiss him, telling him with her lips and tongue that she surrendered. She was his.

Her body softened, relaxing around his erection, easing the way for him to push deeper inside her. He was big, and it had been a long time since she’d had a man—none of whom could have prepared her for this, anyway.

Zach stretched her to the limit, making nerve endings she didn’t know she had zing to life. She was trembling, vibrating under the pressure of so much sensation. With slow, aching progress, he merged their bodies until there was no more room left for him to fill.

He pressed his forehead to hers, his body going still. His breath came out in hot bursts, mingling with her own. His erection moved inside her, throbbing with heat.

Lexi whimpered, shocking herself with the sound of her need ringing so clearly in her voice.

“Hurt?” He uttered the single word in a gritty voice.


A flare of satisfaction lit his eyes; then he slid his arms around her, gathered her body against his own and started to move. The slick, gliding sensation of him leaving her body hollowed her out, making her ache. She clutched at his shoulders and arched her hips toward him as he slid back into her in one smooth stroke.