“And your sister would not survive it,” Callan answered him quietly. “Do not make that mistake.”

“Harm her—”

“I could no more harm her than I could harm myself,” Callan bit out. “Your sister is not in any danger from me. But she can’t leave me now, for her own safety, it’s out of the question.”

“She’s in more danger with you.” Kane bit out.

“She is tied to me now, Tyler, in ways you do not understand,” Callan sighed. “You may see your sister. You may speak with her, but at a time that is of my choosing.”

“And you expect me to calmly accept your decision?”

“No, knowing Merinus must have learned her willfulness from somewhere, I would suspect I had better be watching over my shoulder for a while now.” Callan grimaced. “But never fear, Mr. Tyler, I have grown quite used to that habit anyway, so it will be no hardship.”

Callan happened to glance up at that moment, Merinus’ scent drawing him, heating his blood. She stood in the doorway, her arms folded across her breasts, a frown marring her expression

“You’re wasting your time,” she told him patiently. “If that’s Kane on the phone, then you won’t convince him of anything.”

“Who says I wish to convince him at all?” he asked her, allowing a smug smile to tip his lips. “I merely


grew bored with my own company.”

“Let me talk to her, Lyons.” Tyler’s voice was suddenly imperative, coldly furious at his ear. Merinus stood patiently in front of him, her hazel eyes suspicious, hopeful. He sighed roughly. He should have never answered the damned phone.

He covered the mouthpiece carefully, watching her.

“I won’t mention the others,” she said softly. “But if you don’t let him talk to me, he’ll become dangerous, Callan. I don’t want you or my brothers hurt. And you can bet Kane’s not alone.”

Callan snarled softly. A complication they of course did not need.

“Talk to him, but Merinus, remember. My Pride would give their life for yours. Don’t betray them.” He didn’t think she would, but they hadn’t survived this long on faith alone. She came to him slowly, her slender arm reaching out for the small phone. Callan handed it to her, watching her, assessing her soft expression as she brought it to her ear. He listened to her talk to her brother. He heard the tremble in her voice, her unwavering faith in Kane as she talked to him. Argued with him. Assured him.

“It’s not that simple, Kane. I can’t leave him,” she finally said softly. “I know you don’t understand, but I’ll explain it all when I understand it myself.”

Callan reached out, his fingers gripping her other arm lightly.

“Tell him we will meet with him. You and I and Dr. Martin. Alone, Merinus. I will not have your whole tribe breathing down my neck.”

She looked at him in surprise.

“As though I don’t know he has your whole family in that plane with him.” He grunted. He listened to her relay the message. She was silent for long moments, sadness filling her eyes.

“You and Dad only, Kane,” she finally said firmly. “Or I can’t do it. You know I wouldn’t ask if there were any other way.” She was silent for long moments, then came back with a sharp edge to her voice.

“Listen, asshole, this isn’t your decision. Stop playing He-Man on me, you know it doesn’t work.”

Callan winced. At least the brother didn’t have to deal with the Lion-O crack. Then she started arguing with Kane. Furiously, her tone steel hard, her smartass cracks causing him to wince in sympathy. Long moments later, it appeared she had won, though.

“You can set the details with Callan. If you two can manage to talk civilly?” She arched a dark brow at Callan.

“I am always civil,” he informed her archly.

She rolled her eyes, extending the phone to him. “Try to be a little more civil then. Because your version

of it definitely leaves something to be desired.”

He accepted the phone from her, watching as she then turned her back on him and stalked into the kitchen.

“I see you are as successful in getting your way with her as I have been,” he said snidely into the receiver. “I hope you train your lovers better than you have trained your sister.”

“I’m going to kill you, Cat Boy,” Kane bit out, furious, no longer able to hide his ire. “Slowly. Painfully.”

“You may wish to,” Callan agreed, his tone pure sarcastic implication. “But I doubt she will give you her permission.”

He could hear teeth gnashing over the line. He knew his assumption that Merinus controlled the strong men of her family was correct. She was like a tiny general, directing their movements where she was concerned at all times.

“When you land, there will be a woman awaiting you. She has natural, pure white blond hair and light gray eyes. Her name is Sherra. She will know who you are, and approach you herself. She will give you the details of the meeting. Will you abide by this?”

A strange, tense silence filled the line. As though Kane were holding his breath, or his surprise.

“Sherra,” he whispered the name on a sigh that had Callan frowning in confusion. “I’ll watch for her.”

Callan sighed. The brother was no easier to deal with than was the sister.

“Be certain you do,” Callan sighed. “For the sake of your sister’s sanity, Tyler, hold your rage at a simmer long enough to hear the problems surrounding her. Perhaps you will draw a bit more sympathy for my position by then.”

The phone disconnected. Callan grinned mirthlessly. He well understood Kane’s problem. Just as Callan felt sympathy for his plight as Merinus’ brother, unwillingly of course, so too did Kane feel sympathy for Callan. Though Kane was furious at the suspicions he had regarding the relationship between Merinus and Callan.

“You two finish consoling yourselves?” The scent of her hit him like a fist to his loins. She stood in the entrance way once again, a sandwich in one hand, a glass of milk in the other. She walked over to the couch, her movements graceful, her body tempting in the soft jersey shorts and light sleeveless T-shirt she wore. Her nipples were hard little points beneath the material; her eyes were dark with the lust building in her body. And she seemed determined to ignore it, and him as well. She lifted the remote from the coffee table, scanned the channels quickly, then settled on a blood thirsty action adventure that set his teeth on edge. He sighed restlessly, dragged his fingers though his hair then stalked from the room. He would be damned if he would sit there, her scent making him crazy for her, while she watched television. If she wanted to ignore it, and him, then by God let her have her way. He

would see which of them came crawling first.


Merinus watched Callan stalk the house as she ate. When she lay down on the couch, her thighs clenched tightly together to try to finish watching the movie, he growled and stalked back to the bedrooms. She sighed wearily. Her cunt was so hot it felt on fire. She could feel the dampness on her panties, the slick juices coating her bare cunt flesh.

She was miserable. Empty. So empty she wanted to scream at him to take her, to fill her, to ride her hard and deep like he had in the forest. That dominance, the rougher sex, the utter loss of control he displayed only spurred her lust higher. She shivered, remembering his teeth locking onto the sensitive skin between neck and shoulder, the sharp incisors barely piercing the skin, the sensual pain edging her pleasure higher. She hated that. Hated knowing that she was so depraved she would enjoy it; that she needed it again, only hours later.

She shifted her position on the couch, her head cushioned on the pillowed armrest, her thighs pulled up to her abdomen. Oh God, she hurt. The muscles of her vagina clenched, spasmed. It wept slowly in hot, pulsing arousal. She bit her lip, her eyes going to where Callan stomped into the kitchen. The refrigerator opened, a lid popped. He stalked back to the doorway, his gaze heavy lidded, dangerous as he watched her. He lifted the bottle to his lips and took a long drink.

“I can smell your scent all through this house,” he growled as he lowered the bottle, now only half full.

“What are you trying to prove by denying us both?”

Merinus felt drowsy, sensual as his eyes went over her. She wanted to roll to her back, spread her legs and plead. She fought the desire, her muscles tightening as she stared at him, denying herself and him. He looked so damned sexy standing there. Tall and broad and aroused. His face was tense, his body taut. The muscles in his abdomen were tight, drawing her gaze to his thighs. Oh man, he was like a perfect sculpture of some sex god.

“I can’t take the chance,” she whispered, turning her gaze back to a show she had little interest in. “I won’t conceive—”

“There is little chance of that as of yet.” Callan shook his head. “You are grasping at excuses, Merinus.”

She was, she knew. She was terrified, not of Callan, but of herself. She was terrified of the building needs, the utter lack of mercy her lust had on her emotions. She couldn’t separate emotional need from sexual need anymore. Not since this morning. Not since he had taken her, hard and dominating, controlling her body, her responses. Not since he had held her those minutes afterwards, his tongue rasping gently over the small wound on her neck.

The mark was still there. She could feel it throbbing, pulsing in time to her heartbeat, begging for his kiss, his caress. The sharp little pain of his teeth clenching it.

“I have to control it,” she whispered.

Her brothers would be here soon. They would have an answer. She knew them, but she would have to be careful. They would take her from Callan and she couldn’t allow that. She barely controlled her whimper of emotional pain, not just sexual. Her body ached for him, but her heart hurt. She didn’t want to leave. Not yet. She just wanted this ‘thing’ tormenting them to ease. She wanted to lie in his arms, without the sexual heat building. She wanted to be held by him, touched, cared for. And she was terribly afraid it was nothing but the chemical lust for him. He seemed to have none of these needs. His cock was hard. It strained against the soft material of his sweat pants, tenting the cloth, drawing her gaze and holding it. She swallowed tightly, licking her dry lips as she wondered how he would taste. In the heat of the frenzy of lust in the last days, it was an experience she had not been given time for. She realized now that she wanted it. She wanted to run her tongue over the bulging head of his cock, feel it jerk against her lips, discover the difference in it that occurred as his orgasm neared. She closed her eyes, fighting the need. Fighting not just his desire, but also her own.

“Merinus, this will not work,” he warned her, his voice hardening. The latent male dominance that lurked just beneath the soft growl had her trembling.

His voice was rough when he took her, too. When he climaxed, his chest rumbled with an animalistic grumble that made her shiver to think about it. He was the ultimate male animal, sexual, arrogant in his prowess and his abilities. Muscular, strong, every bone and muscle in his body in perfect shape. She wanted to taste the skin stretched over those hard planes and angles. She wanted to lick him, nibble at his flesh and hear him groan her name. She wanted to stretch over him, rub against him, find some relief for her aching nipples against his hot flesh.

She opened her eyes, focusing on the flames and explosions playing out on the television. It was safer than staring at the hard cock threatening to burst through Callan’s pants, but it provided little distraction from the flesh between her thighs pulsing and screaming out its demand.

“I can make it work. I’m incredibly stubborn, ask my brothers,” she told him, her voice sounding much more determined than she felt.

“I need to ask your brothers nothing,” he bit out forcefully, his voice beginning to rumble. Oh, she loved that sound. Even though it did feel as though the vibrations of it echoed in her womb. “You are the most aggravating female I’ve ever met in my life.”

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