Authors: Dannika Dark
Tags: #paranormal fantasy
“I don’t like games.”
His face soured. “I don’t play them.”
“Why can’t you
me the donut?”
“To you it may seem insignificant, but to the Chitah, it’s a sign of trust. There’s a lot you don’t know about my kind, Silver. We have different customs, and what may seem like a simple gesture to you, holds meaning to us.
I want you
to trust me.
I want you
to see me as something more than I am.
I want you
to eat from my hand.”
I knew what he meant, but behind all those words the only thing I heard him say was, “
I want you
Logan’s eyes widened when I let him feed me—sugar coating my lips. I became self-conscious as I chewed, embarrassed that this might be a joke. Logan didn’t laugh, and when I leaned in for a second bite, he pulled it back so I could only get a small nibble.
He was trying to make this last, so I snatched his wrist and ate the whole thing. When my lips came together, sucking the sugar from his fingertips, Logan moved so close that his breath touched my face. I swallowed my bite with a satisfactory grin.
He examined my lips, sizing them up like prey.
“I’m going to kiss you now,” he decided.
Before I even registered what he said, Logan sampled my lips like a man enjoying a decadent dessert. He adored me with his kiss, and lavished me with an affectionate pause.
I was dizzy from the unexpected passion at breakfast. Something kept me from responding, and it was the thought of his poisonous bite.
He opened his eyes, and without fear, hesitation, or regret—I looked right at him. The rims never looked so dark against the pale coloring, and if the eyes were the windows to the soul, I felt as if I were breaking and entering.
“I don’t ever want you to be afraid of me,” he said, stroking my cheek. “I will never harm you.”
“No one can promise that.” I looked at the sunlight pouring through the window.
Logan tilted my chin to face him. “I can, and I just did.”
“Maybe you lie really well.”
He sniffed. “To what gain, getting in your pants? Female, I could have stripped you down and seduced you three strawberries ago. If you want to debate, we can do that later. But right now, I want to kiss you,” he said softly. “Kiss me back, not because I asked you to, but because you want to. And I
little raven, that you want to. Your words may be sharp, but your scent is soft and tells me that you crave this as much as I do.”
I couldn’t understand the feelings that surfaced. This wasn’t about impulse or lust, nor was it about anything that made sense. An intangible force pulled me towards Logan, and my feet dragged across the ground.
When his cheek nuzzled against mine, we were right back where we started in the woods. I tasted honey on the words that dripped from his tongue. “
Kiss me back
Our cheeks touched and I inhaled, smelling a faint trace of soap on his skin. I moved my head to the side, brushing along his smooth jaw until I found his mouth. He waited, letting me do all the hunting. Fire burned as our lips reacquainted—no introductions necessary—and we fell into a deep, insatiable kiss. Our tongues glided in and out, tasting nothing but explosive desire. His body surged forward, arms trembling where his hands rested on the mattress. Sweet strawberries and velvet strokes stirred a hunger inside of me.
His kiss was not crushing as I expected, but molten. A heat spread across my skin and filled my body, and that heat was the pulse of my light.
Logan encouraged me to take the lead, to make the choice to stop whenever I needed to. But I didn’t need to.
I didn’t want to.
The sugar melted between us, and when I nibbled his bottom lip—his body went rigid.
“Behave,” he growled in a deep voice.
“Make me,” I dared.
A challenge rested between us, and I waited for his reaction.
Logan’s eyes prowled over my body, and he took in my scent like a flower in bloom. Without warning, he dove for my neck and licked the tender spot just beneath my ear in one seductive stroke.
“Never dare a Chitah,” he cautioned, biting my neck gently.
There was no danger in that bite, unless you counted the raw need culminating between us—the one that had my heart in his clutches as it pounded against my chest.
Logan broke away, and when he did, I found myself upset with the abrupt cessation. His hooded eyes hung lazily on me as he wiped a smudge of sugar from my chin with his thumb.
“A kiss is all I asked, and a kiss is all I will take.” He placed the tip of his finger in his mouth and slowly pulled it out.
Was every man in my life becoming a kiss and run? I knew it shouldn’t have mattered—I wasn’t seeking a husband—but I was still a woman with feelings. He must have scented my irritation.
“I know better than to get a Mage overcharged,” he laughed. “I don’t think that would end very well for me, don’t you agree?”
I threw my legs over the edge of the bed, pushing him away. “I should have known better.”
In a flash, I was thrown on my back.
Logan dipped his nose down to my chest, slowly taking in my scent in one long inhale until he reached my neck. I felt that breath to the core of my being.
“I want you,” he declared. “I want to undress you, and taste you. I want to see the flush in your cheeks, and feel your legs tremble when they can no longer hold against me,” he spoke against my neck. “I will not take a female whose lust mingles with doubt. I will
take you here in this hotel room out of convenience. Impulse leads to regret, and I
like a good seduction,” he purred.
My body trembled when his feathery kisses moved along my neck. I wanted to touch him, and feel his skin against my hands. That dark, heady scent he carried was attractive, and it subtly shifted with his moods.
“I can feel your energy,” he noticed. “It’s tremendous.”
He traced the line of my clavicle with this finger and kissed the corners of my mouth. “Not even if I ask? I want your fingerprints all over me like a crime scene.”
I clung to each word that fell from his lips like a spider to a web.
“Am I just prey to you?”
“Some things are worth chasing.”
“Some things can’t be caught.”
His finger outlined my jaw as if he were putting me to memory.
“I have spent a lifetime being chased by females, and I know what it means to run. There’s something different about you, Silver. You incite the hunter in me.”
My saddened eyes wandered up to his, and I made a promise I didn’t know if I could keep. “I’ll never love again, Logan. If that’s what you’re asking, then I won’t give it to a man that I can’t trust with my life and my heart. You kill without regret, and I never know from one minute to the next what your intentions are. I don’t want an indecisive man in my life any more than a controlling one.”
A torch lit behind those eyes, burning bright as he leaned in and whispered softly beside my ear. “Sweet little raven, dusted in sugar—I
possess your heart.”
After returning to Cognito, we gathered in the living room with a bottle of wine, preparing to discuss the details.
You could smell the anticipation in the air like chimney smoke on a winter’s night. Logan walked up to the fireplace, commanding everyone’s eye—everyone being my Ghuardian, Simon, Adam, and Remi. I didn’t know Remi very well, but I guessed that Justus was seeking advice over the Marco situation.
Remi was not a Mage, but a Gemini. They’re ancient immortals, and few exist. They have a dangerous streak triggered by negative emotions, so Remi appeared detached. Outside of the dragon tattoo on his neck, he didn’t appear menacing. His brown hair was unusually soft in appearance, but his eyes were the most fascinating thing about him; they shifted colors with the light. Justus warned me not to provoke him, and I took his advice. If my Ghuardian was even the slightest bit intimidated by him, then I knew to be respectful.
“Before we get started, there’s something I want to say,” Logan began.
I took a seat in a chair facing Adam. He was uninterested in what Logan had to say and tucked a bored fist against his jaw. I enjoyed a slow sip of wine, privately admiring the way Logan took command of the room as he rolled up the sleeves of his shirt.
“Silver is a remarkable person; you should commend her for the job she’s done. I was impressed by her eagerness to take risks. I will continue to offer my services per our agreement, and would like to extend that beyond this case, if the need arises.”
It was then that I noticed something was off with Logan. He wore confidence like an ensemble—straight back, head up, arms hung at his sides—whereas most men with insecurities hid their hands, and found places to scratch. When Logan folded his arms and lowered his chin, a flutter of nerves took over.
“I am announcing my intent to court Silver.”
Simon’s wine went down the wrong windpipe. While he was choking and gasping for breath in animated movements, Justus sat very still. The room grew warm, and he narrowed his eyes at Logan like missiles.
“Obviously, I don’t have your blessing, nor do I seek it. I’m not asking your permission, so there is no need for the drama. It’s my right to court whomever I wish. If there are other suitors, they can challenge me for the right of free competition; I will accept that challenge
it is given.”
Logan spoke to the room as a man of worth, a man who knew what he wanted, standing with proud shoulders and a lift of his chin.
Hell, I was flattered.
The odds weren’t in his favor, either. He was a man of questionable integrity, but I finally knew where I stood with him. Simon and Adam may have crushed on me, but not once did they declare their intentions for all to witness. Logan had a backbone, and I liked it.
I, on the other hand, sat with my mouth on the edge of the glass not saying yes, no, or hidey-ho. Justus was in a realm of pissed off as I’d never seen. Adam never acknowledged Logan. His dark, brooding eyes bore a hole through my skull, and I poured more wine down my throat.
“Now that we have the cat out of the bag,” Logan chuckled, “let’s discuss Marco.”
Justus rose from his seat. “You are not welcome in my house.”
“Be that as it may,” Logan countered, “I will still court her. I am aware this is not a preferred match—Mage and Chitah—but I will wait as long as it takes, Justus De Gradi. You don’t have to like
, but you’ll treat her with respect in my presence, despite how you feel.”
“You’re a Chitah. What could you want with a Mage?”
Logan’s tongue flashed across his lower lip and his eyes flicked over to mine. “I like a strong female.”
“Go to the gym; there are plenty of strong women there,” I blurted out.
I knew he liked me, but I was provoking him to see how much of that ground he was willing to stand.
Logan’s brows pinched together. “I find you most agreeable, Silver. Aside from the fact you stuffed me with enchiladas and then tried to kill me.”
“I think it was the other way around.”
He half smiled.
Logan snapped his fingers at Simon. “Don’t think I have forgotten you called her a tart, you arrogant prick.”
“What the bloody hell are you talking—” When Simon remembered the offhand remark he made on the phone the night of my abduction, he pressed his lips together and threw his hands up in defeat.
Logan turned his attention to Justus. “If you have an issue with this pairing, you will address it with
, not her. Don’t put a fracture in your relationship, because she needs a positive influence. As long as Silver lives under your roof, she must not feel bullied by her caregiver for a choice that is hers. You can only have so much control of her life, and you know it.”
Adam’s eyes were venomous. “Is this what you want?”
“Do you realize what he is? What he is capable of? That a Chitah can—”
Let her finish,
Mage.” Logan stepped forward, and his angled features hardened with anger. “When you ask a question, do you want an answer, or are you just puffing out smoke? Allow her to speak. Do you understand me?” Logan flexed a hand at his side and I looked between the two, not sure whose side to take.
get all fucking territorial on me,” Adam barked. “You are not one of our kind. You have no right to stand there and stake your claim on her like a piece of property.”
“Why?” Logan asked, as a man losing patience. “Because you didn’t put your flag down first?”