“I love the way you touch me,” she gasped as his fingers began to stroke her, wash her. Suds rolled down her thighs, mixed with the heady scent of her feminine need. Callan laid his head against her abdomen, one arm wrapping around her upper thighs as he held her steady, the other parting her legs further. He had to taste her. He could wait no longer. His tongue swiped through the satiny folds, then curled around her swollen clit. She shuddered in his grasp. Her hands dug into his hair, holding onto him as he teased the little bud with soft strokes, careful to keep the rougher portion of his tongue well away from it. With only the tip he stroked around her clit, feeling her shudder, her stomach contract. He sucked it into his mouth then, applying just enough pressure to have her grinding her hips against him, her needy moans filling the shower stall as he teased her.

“Callan, please.” She bucked against his mouth as he pressed her against the wall, then lifted her thigh to his shoulder.

She screamed out as his tongue speared into her. Deep, hard, spreading the muscles of her vagina as he sought the addicting taste of her desire. The fingers of one hand continued the teasing strokes against her clit as he ignored her demand for instant gratification. He didn’t want to rush this, he wanted to savor the taste and the touch of her.

He licked at her gently then, moaning as her juices coated his tongue and his lips. So ready for him. She wept for him, pleaded with him, her muscles clenching on his invading tongue as she reached for the release she would only ever attain with him.

“Mine,” he groaned against the folds of flesh, licking in swifter, firmer strokes.

“Mine,” she cried out, her hands clenching in his hair, her voice wild with her need to climax. “Always mine.”

And he was. Hers. She was his. He came to his feet, lifting her to him, pushing between her thighs, his cock plunging inside her in one quick stroke that took him to the hilt. Callan gritted his teeth at the fiery pleasure that washed over his body. She was tight, gripping him in a silken fist so damned hot it took his breath.

A wail of pleasure sounded from her lips. She tightened, rocked against him. He pulled back and thrust

hard again. She climaxed instantly, her release raining over his erection, destroying his self-control. He held her close in his arms, his hips powering into her then as he fought to get deeper, closer. God help him, she was all that mattered to him now. Being inside her, heart, soul, body. This was all he dreamed of and more than he had ever believed possible.

Stroking desperately inside her, he heard her building moans of renewed need, felt the emergence of the barb and knew ecstasy was only seconds away. He held her tighter, thrust harder, faster. Merinus tightened in his arms once again and as his cock lodged deep, his seed spurted into her, he heard her scream and felt her climax rush over her for the second time. And in her arms, for those few endless seconds, he found peace.



They stayed buried in the house for two days while Callan paced the floors and checked the hidden email account he had. Everyone had checked in. They were secure but two of the messages had his instincts raring in self-defense. The first from Dayan, swearing Kane and the Tyler men were seen meeting with the soldiers, coordinating a search for Callan that covered every inch of the mountains. The other from Sherra, informing him that she and a relative were desperately searching for them to relay information. He cursed violently when that email came through. He told her to stay put, to put off the meeting with Kane Tyler. Why had she taken this into her own hands? And who was lying? Sherra or Dayan? For the first time since their births Callan began to question the loyalty of the Pride.

“Is everything okay?” Merinus stood between the kitchen and the living room, watching him in concern. Her hair was tangled around her face, drowsiness still flushed her skin. He had left her sleeping in the bed hours before after another bout of sex that damned near left him drained. She was dressed in one of his T-shirts. The hem of the blue cotton covered her thighs and hung on her slender shoulders. The intimacy of her wearing his clothing left a gut punch of desire that he couldn’t deny. Possession, raw and hot flared in him. His woman.

“Everything’s fine,” he assured her quietly, unwilling to worry her further. He saw the concern in her eyes though, and knew he hadn’t fooled her. Their lives were hanging by a thread now, the dangers inherent in the situation terrified him. Merinus had no scope of the evil that

inhabited the Council and he prayed she never learned.

“We need to contact Kane, Callan,” she broached the one subject he wasn’t willing to discuss yet.

“He’s going to be worried out of his mind. That’s not a good thing, either.”

He could see her absolute belief in her brother reflected in her expression. She thought of her family before she thought of herself. She trusted them when she could trust no one else, especially that damned soldier brother of hers.

“I have to be certain he didn’t betray us first, Merinus.” He shook his head, staring back at Sherra’s email.

He could assume the betrayal came from Kane, or from one of his own. Which was more likely to want to see him and Merinus captured or dead?

“Kane wouldn’t betray me, Callan,” she told him quietly.

There was no anger in her tone, no doubt. She trusted her brother implicitly.

“How can you be so certain, Merinus?” He sighed roughly. “The attack came hours after your call to him.”

“I know because I know Kane.” She shook her head, moving further into the room. She went to the couch near him, sat down and regarded him solemnly.

“Kane went ape shit when Dad showed him the box your mother had sent to him on her death,” she revealed. “I don’t know why, but I know he was hurt. Hurt and angry, but not at you. He spent months gathering evidence, working to reveal the Council members. He has a list from your shoulder to your elbow and a stack of proof against them that would terrify you.”

Callan narrowed his eyes on her.

“Why didn’t you tell me this before?” he asked her.

“I tried to tell you, but you never wanted to hear it.” She rolled her eyes at his abrupt question. “I told you we had everything taken care of. Did you think I would lie to you?”

“The hell if I knew what to think then, or now,” he grunted, shutting down the email program and pacing the floor. “I know we’ve been betrayed by someone close to us, and accusing your brother is a hell of a lot easier than the alternative.” Better than believing that one of his own would do it. He couldn’t get the thought out of his head that one of his own had betrayed him, or the memory of that scent in the caves, lingering on the flesh of the soldier.

“Who is the alternative?” Merinus asked him carefully. “Callan, Kane didn’t know we had mated, or whatever this is. He wasn’t even certain we were having sex. He suspected it, but he didn’t know it was anything deeper.”

“He would have known.” Callan frowned. He knew Kane had at least suspected that his sister was too emotionally involved with her lover to leave. The Council would have suspected the rest based on that.

Merinus sighed. “Maybe he would have, but he wouldn’t have betrayed me or you. He’s put too much into this, taken too many risks himself.”

“Why?” Callan snapped. “Why would he do this, just for a story? He didn’t need anything more than the proof Maria had to run it.”

Merinus bit her lip thoughtfully.

“I don’t know why,” she finally admitted. “All I know is that he did. And I know he’s been very upset since this came about, almost obsessed with it. He wouldn’t betray you, not just because of the risk to myself, but because of whatever is driving him as well.”

Callan growled low in his throat.

“That is such a sexy sound.” He turned in surprise at the aroused amusement in her voice. She was watching him, her body relaxed for a change, her head tilted thoughtfully.

“What is?” he asked her carefully.

“That growl in your voice,” she said, watching him with heavy lidded desire. “It makes me shiver, makes my body want to rub over all yours.”

Her heat wasn’t upon her yet. He smelled the air carefully. The scent of warm, willing woman was there, but not the desperate lust he was used to smelling when she wanted him. Callan watched her carefully, seeing nothing in her expression that would indicate that the chemically induced needs were riding her. There was no smell of it on the air, no desperation or tense muscles showing that would hint at her need. There was something elusive, though. Like the faintest fragrance of spring. He admitted to being more than a little confused now.

“Why are you looking at me like that?” She pushed her fingers through her hair, attempting to restore it to order. She still looked sexy and tousled though, warm and beckoning.

“You want me.” He was more than a little amazed by that fact.

“Well, duh,” she gave him a look that suggested she was beginning to suspect his intelligence. “Just figure that one out, Sherlock?”

Callan frowned.

“Woman, you are a snide creature.” He allowed the rumble in his chest to echo in his voice. Her face flushed, but her expression showed her knowledge that he was tempting her.

“I’m a bitch.” She was clearly laughing at him. “Ask Kane, he’ll tell you.”

The mention of her brother sobered him. He tucked his hands in the pockets of his jeans and paced to the window that he kept covered with heavy curtains. He didn’t look out, there was no need to. There was enough wildlife in the area that if he were being stalked here, he would know it. The birds would

stop singing, the frogs would ease their early evening serenade.

“Do you have a way of contacting him, other than the cell phone?” he asked her. She sighed, sobering. She was filled with laughter and hope, despite their circumstances. Her innocence amazed and terrified him.

“No, not really.” He glanced back as she shrugged. “Kane secured the phones we were using before I left so the calls couldn’t be hacked or traced. Both units have an indicator on them, in case the impossible happens and someone locks onto the channel. He took every precaution with them.”

Merinus’ unit was tucked in his pack. He had felt the vibration of it earlier in the morning when he had dug out the ammunition for his pistol.

“Either your brother or mine has betrayed us,” he told her, watching her face go blank with shock.

“We’re in trouble here, Merinus. The Council knows I’ve mated with you; they will stop at nothing to take you now. They did everything to breed us while we were in captivity, thinking our children would be easier to control than we were. If they take you, then they have me willingly, and they know that.”

He watched the fear that washed over her face. She swallowed tightly, her hands gripping the material of the shirt at her waist, her fingers turning white with the tension that invaded her body.

“What do we do?” she asked him.

He breathed out roughly. “I have two choices, neither are secure. We could leave the country and disappear, but that’s not a guarantee they won’t find us. We’ll never be truly safe and neither will our children be safe. Or I could trust your family and do as you came to ask me to do, but still, no guarantee. Both choices are rife with danger, Merinus. There will be no peace for us, whichever way we go.”

Hope filled her expression. She had such belief in her brothers and her father that she thought they could solve any problem. He wondered what it would have been like to be raised in such a secure, protective environment. To have such faith in someone other than yourself.

“Kane knows what he’s doing, so do the others, Callan,” she promised him desperately. “I have seven brothers, each one of them has been working on this for over six months now. Gray is with the FBI, Caleb is a private investigator, Kane has all kinds of contacts in the C.I.A. and across seas. They have boxes of proof, but need you to back it up. You can do this, Callan. We can do it together.”

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