Carlos followed and caught Brianna around the waist at the foot of the bed. She laughed and pummeled his arm with her fist. She sounded happy, even playful, but he sensed some fear and let go of her. “Don’t let me do something that bothers you. Please speak up.”
“I didn’t mind it. I don’t mind when you touch me. You surprised me, that’s all.” She put her hand flat against his chest. “I’m starting to enjoy touching you, too.”
“Then feel free to do more of it.” He held his hands out to his sides. “Whatever you want.”
She frowned and took a step back. He had no idea what he’d said, and he wasn’t sure he should ask. Instead he lay down on the bed and looked up at her. “Remember how you told me to stop thinking?”
“Yeah.” She took a deep breath and lay beside him. “Landmines. That’s how Tareth puts it. I’m discovering I have more than I thought.”
“Am I setting them off?” He would wait as long as she needed to become her mate if anything upset her.
“No, I’m doing it to myself.” She rolled her eyes. “Thinking bad thoughts. It’s stupid.”
“No. It’s understandable.” He rolled onto his side and rested his hand on her hip. “We can stop. There’s always tomorrow, or next week, or whenever you can do this without landmines going off.”
She shook her head vehemently. “I told you I’m not stopping. I told you I wanted you tonight, and I do. I’m just overthinking, and I need to knock it the hell off. I’m better at giving advice than taking it. I think I should just shut up and pick up where I left off.”
“Wait.” He sat up and took off his shirt, then looked at her for any sign of discomfort. He saw nothing except the faintest orange glow in her eyes. Despite her discomfort, she was turned on at least as much as he was. He felt her desire with his own and gave up trying to separate how much was whose.
He lay down again and smiled at her. “Okay. Proceed.”
She put her hand on his shoulder, lightly at first then adding pressure. Without the fabric of his shirt in the way, her touch warmed his skin, fueling his need.
Something wrapped around them, joining them even though the only physical contact between them was her hand on his shoulder.
Her eyes widened. “You feel it?”
“We’re mates.” He laughed with the sheer joy of something he hadn’t been sure he would ever experience. “I’m yours. That’s all it means. I’m yours.”
“And I’m yours.” She paused. “It doesn’t scare me. I never wanted to belong to anyone because it would trap me. Give them power over me. But you aren’t like them.” She slid her hand over his skin to rest on his chest. “I feel your heart.”
He wasn’t surprised. His heart was pounding, and his cock throbbed in time with his heartbeat. He didn’t remember the last time he had been so painfully hard. His wolf wanted to take her now, make love to her, fuck her, however it ended up. Wanted to solidify their bond so no one would ever be able to take her away. His human side wanted the same thing but knew enough to wait. It will happen. Rushing it won’t help.