A warm chill ran through Brianna and her lower body tightened. She smiled, aware she was blushing. “I wouldn’t mind staying. But we’ll have all night, right? And they say anticipation makes it better.”
“They do say that.” He leaned forward and stopped. “May I kiss you?”
“You don’t have to ask.” She touched her lips to his but didn’t let the kiss linger. “We’ll have plenty of time later.”
“All the time we need.” He looked into her eyes with so much love she caught her breath. “Actually, I’m glad we’re going out. I want to show you off. Are you ready? It’s pretty warm, so that jacket should be enough for you.”
“I always thought Boston was cold in the winter.” She turned to lock her apartment door. “Is it usually like this?”
“It’s usually freezing in January. Must be global warming.” He took her hand again. “Ready? We’re taking the T across the harbor, and we’ll walk around from there unless you get tired.”
“I’m a werewolf. You think I’d be tired?” she teased. “I think you’re the one who’d better watch out about getting tired between walking and what we’re planning for later.”
“Going to wear me out, huh?” He winked. “I’ll believe it when I see it.”
“Sure.” She looked away. Did I go too far? She couldn’t tell from his tone, and she didn’t dare to ask.
“I’m glad you’re comfortable enough with me to tease me,” he said. “And it’s definitely making me anticipate what’s coming later. I love you, Brianna. You don’t ever have to worry about what I think of you, okay? Not ever.”
“I love you too.” She turned to find him smiling at her even more broadly than before. “I’m kind of messed up. You already know that. It’s going to take me time to become used to a man who actually thinks it’s a good thing when I flirt with him and want him.”
“Any man who doesn’t think that is an idiot,” he said firmly. “You aren’t messed up. People treated you like shit and tried to break you, and from where I stand, you didn’t let them. If you have things you want to work on, we can work on them, or I can help you find someone to work with you. Suzannah, maybe, or there are a couple of my packmates who work as counselors who wouldn’t mind talking to you. But you aren’t messed up. Think good things about yourself, please.”
“I need help,” she said. She wasn’t going to give herself a free pass. Whether he called it being messed up or something else, she had problems, and she didn’t want him to have any illusions about her.
“We all need help sometimes,” he said. “I see a psychologist at work at least twice a month to deal with the things I see every day, and I talk to the counselors in my pack about what happened in Pennsylvania. There’s nothing wrong with needing help. Asking for it is a sign of strength, not weakness, no matter what you might have been told before.”
“You keep reading my mind.” She was somewhat relieved by it. She didn’t have to argue with him if he heard her thinking the argument.
“Mate bond.” He squeezed her hand gently. “If you’re done trying to convince me something’s horribly wrong with you, I’d like to take you out now.”
She laughed and shook her head. “I guess I failed. Okay, let’s go.”