He reached for her hand. "Come here and stand over me."

She took his hand and straddled him again, feet on either side of his thighs, and remained standing. Her look of eager excitement told him she knew what he was going to do and couldn't wait.

Neither could he. The first lick of her slit detonated his senses, sent an explosion of pure lust rocketing through his blood. There was nothing as fine as the taste of his woman on his tongue. Warm and wet. Inviting.

Prying her apart with his fingers, he laved her channel, getting as deep as possible. Tongue-fucked her as she pressed into his face, rubbing, needing more. He ate her, slow and easy, enjoying every second. As she made little sounds of ecstasy, he took himself in hand, spreading the seeping pre-cum around the head. After giving himself a few strokes, he couldn't wait any longer.

"On my lap, baby," he breathed. "Sit on my cock."

Kneeling, she positioned herself over him. Then, capturing his gaze with those gorgeous blue eyes, she lowered herself, sheathing him inch by inch. "Ah, shit! Good, honey. So damned good . . ."

Twining her arms around his neck, she gave him a feral look. "You like me fucking you like this, Sorcerer? Want me to milk your big cock so good your balls explode?"

Jesus! Who knew his baby had such a filthy mouth? Christ, he was a lucky bastard!

"Yes," he croaked. "Fuck me, honey. I'm all yours."

When she was seated, she began to rise and fall. As promised, she fucked him so fine, her pussy a hot, wet glove that stroked him from base to tip. Again and again. He let her control the pace, every aspect of their lovemaking. She quickened the tempo until she rode him hard, their bodies slapping in perfect rhythm, sticky with sweat, the pungent aroma of sex in the air.

His panther roared in pleasure, demanding that he sink his teeth into the vulnerable juncture of her neck. Especially when she tilted her head in what he believed was an unconscious gesture of submission.

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No. As much as he longed to bite and claim her, he couldn't do that without her agreeing to it. And it was much too soon for that, their relationship too new. Resisting his beast was the toughest thing he'd ever done, but somehow he won the battle.

Instead he lost himself in a red tide of desire and soon felt the familiar tightening of his balls, the quickening in his groin and the base of his spine that signaled impending orgasm. He came with a rush, slamming into her several times, pumping his seed on and on, filling her. Clasping him to her breast, she clutched at him as she found her peak as well and went over. Together they shuddered for long moments, until they clung to each other, replete.

He kissed her moist temple. "That was amazing, just like you. Thank you."

"Likewise."

Sitting back so he could see her face, he grinned at her smug expression. "Satisfied?"

"Very!"

"When did you get such a naughty vocabulary, lady?"

"The potential was always there, but it's just how you affect me, I suppose. You bring out my inner slut." She winked.

"Damn, now I do feel lucky!" Laughing, she eased off his lap. His softened dick slipped out of its cozy home and he winced at the mess. "I think a shower is in order for both of us."

"I think you're right. Was that an invitation?"

"Are you kidding? You can soap my back anytime you want."

"Well, what are we waiting for?"

As they dressed and gathered their clothes, Kalen smiled at this cool, playful side of Mackenzie's nature. He loved it. He tried to recall a time when he'd felt lighter. Happier. Not in years had he felt this way, and he wished with all his heart that it could last.

A man could dream.

And he would, because dreams might be all he'd ever have.

Chapter Six

On the return drive, Mac went back and forth between cursing herself for a fool and basking in the sheer wonderment of making love with Kalen in her favorite spot.

Lord, that had been hot! No man had ever affected her the way he did, made her long to crawl under his skin and stay there. Made her need to hold him, feel his body moving against hers, possessing her.

The man was trouble, but he was her trouble. And she was falling for him harder every day.

There had to be a way to help him defeat Malik, and they'd just keep searching until they found it. Kalen couldn't go on much longer being torn between good and evil. Earlier, when he'd shown such hatred for his parents and when he drifted off a couple of times with that blank expression on his face, he'd frightened her. The Unseelie was doing his best to control the Sorcerer, but the longer she and Kalen were together, the more that seemed to help him come back to himself.

She fervently prayed Malik didn't catch on.

Kalen's hand came to rest on her thigh, bringing her back to the present. He just left it there, and she liked the way his palm on her leg felt warm and sort of possessive, as though he couldn't bear not to touch some part of her even for a little bit.

Stealing a quick glance at him, she admired his profile. She loved how his black hair feathered around his handsome face and fell to his shoulders. It was a noble profile, she thought, his nose straight, brow arched, with a jaw that wasn't square, but curved. His lips were full, and his air of vulnerability was at war with his strength-both figuratively and literally.

And studying his many physical attributes was making her panties wet. Again.

Something about this man made it impossible for her to resist. She felt a very real pull toward him that wasn't just physical but seemed connected to her soul as well. Which could find her paddling up shit creek very soon. However, she knew to her depths that this man was worth the fight.

How sad that only one other person in his life-his grandmother-had ever believed the same.

"Mackenzie?"

"Hmm?"

"I was just thinking that it's been a few weeks since we were together that first time. . . ."

She nodded. "Yes. And?"

"And, um, I haven't had any symptoms," he said slowly. "You know, like Jax or Aric."

"No mating fever, no aches or pains. I'd noticed." Still, she had to quell a jolt of disappointment at hearing him acknowledge that fact aloud.

"You're the doctor. What do you think that means?" Anxiety colored his voice. "Are we not mates? And if we're not, why is my panther trying to shred me from the inside out because I didn't claim you today?"

At that, she cut him a quick glance, unable to mask her surprise. "He is?"

"Shit, yeah." He grimaced. "The fucker's done nothing but snarl at me for the past fifteen minutes."

A glimmer of happiness unfurled in her chest. "I don't know why, exactly. But we do know you're not like other shifters. You're a Sorcerer first, a shifter second. You're magic personified. Your physiology isn't like the others', so it stands to reason there will be differences between you and them."

"So we could be mates?"

Gripping the steering wheel, she cleared her throat, trying not to sound overly eager. "It's possible. You say your panther feels a pull toward me."

"Not just him, all of me," he said.

"How would you feel about us being Bondmates, considering you wanted to break things off before?"

"Jesus." He blew out a breath. "Didn't I make my feelings clear by now? I want you in my life. I shouldn't because of the mess I'm in, because I'm afraid of dragging you down with me, but I can't help myself any longer. Can you give me another shot?"

Could she? There was no question, really. She wanted him. And she had more than her own life and happiness to think about. She laid a hand over his, which was resting on her thigh.

"I'd like that. Let's take it one step at a time, okay?"

"Yes!" Leaning over, he planted a big kiss on her mouth, almost causing her to run off the road. "Thank you, honey. I'll do my best to make sure you don't regret it."

Straightening the car, she laughed. "Just don't run us into a tree before we get to find out."

"Sorry." The wink told her he wasn't very repentant.

The day might've gotten off to a rocky start, but the second half of their outing was definitely a home run. Now if they could keep him safe from the Unseelie asshole, things would be fantastic.

Back at the compound, they walked in together hand in hand. Mac wasn't sure being open about their relationship was the best thing for Kalen. She didn't want him getting more grief from Nick and the Pack than he already had. Like it or not, Kalen was one of the rookies, while the guys had known Mac for years. They were protective of her, and Kalen was still a wild card to them. They were wary of which side Kalen would be on when the dust settled.

Mac was worried too, but she'd sided with her lover. Come what may.

Of course, fate decreed that the first guy they should run into was Aric. The obnoxious redhead was coming toward them down a corridor when he spied their linked hands and stopped in his tracks.

"What the fuck? No way." His lip curled, showing a hint of lengthening fang. "This cannot be happening. Mac, girl, I'd hoped you had more sense than to get down with the Great and Powerful Oz here."

Kalen started forward, snarling. "Shut your stupid mouth, you mother-"

Mac stepped between them, pushing Kalen back. "Stop! I can handle this." Her lover fumed, glaring at Aric, but made no move to circumvent her. She frowned at the wolf. "What Kalen and I do is our business. Furthermore, I don't think you have a lot of room to cast stones when it comes to being smart about a relationship."

His face flushed. "What happened with me and Rowan wasn't the same thing at all!"

"Maybe, but that doesn't change the fact that you were a dumb jerk when you almost killed yourself trying to spare her from mating with you and yet she loves you anyway," Mac pointed out reasonably. "Go figure."

Aric's eyes widened. "Damn, that's harsh."

"But true." She sighed. "Besides, hasn't there been enough animosity between you two? I don't believe either of you even have a clue why you're being such asswipes to each other."

The men eyed each other, both clearly reluctant to give any ground on the matter. But Kalen nodded first, resignation in his tone when he spoke.

"You apologized to me when we had our scuffle yesterday, but I never extended the same courtesy. For what it's worth, I'm sorry. I'm not used to being part of a team, but I'm usually a bigger person than to attack someone with so little provocation."

Aric ran a hand through his hair. For a few seconds he seemed to struggle with his reply; then finally his admission emerged with obvious reluctance. "Don't, man. I know where your buttons are and I enjoyed the hell out of pushing them-at first. As stubborn an asshole as I am, even I can see when it's time to cease and desist. Feuding is bad for the team. What do ya say we bury the hatchet for good and move on?"

After a tense moment, Kalen slowly offered his hand. Aric hesitated, then took it.

"I'm still gonna call you kitty and Goth-boy," Aric said with a smirk. "Out of affection, of course."

"No problem, Red."

As they shook, gradual smiles crept across both their faces. Mac resisted the urge to roll her eyes. Men were such dumb-asses sometimes; it was a wonder the entire planet wasn't dead by now.

"Good luck to you two. In spite of my giving you a hard time, I mean that," Aric said seriously. He looked to Kalen. "Your brothers are all in this fight with you. Remember that when things get rough."

"I will." Kalen looked away.

Mac could tell her Sorcerer was touched. So was she. Leaning toward the redhead, she gave him a peck on the cheek. "Thank you. I guess you're not such a dumb jerk all the time."