Gemma lay smiling into Mac’s eyes, then lifted up her head and kissed him softly. It was so delicious, she did it again. And again, again, brushing happy little kisses over his lips while his hands came up to cradle her head and hold her as he joined in. He deepened the kiss, tilting her back gently along the length of the desk until she was resting on the surface, cushioned by his palms, and he hitched himself up beside her, leaning over to kiss her intensely.
She slid her hands into his tawny hair, and raked them gently through the tousled locks as his tongue explored her mouth, his breathing beginning to deepen and roughen, the shimmer between them seeming to strengthen. Gemma sank into his kiss, breathing in the increasingly musky scent of his arousal, the sense of him all around her, cradling her to him, and a little sigh escaped her as the her limbs softened while her core tightened to his touch.
Her sigh was echoed from Mac’s chest, and he lifted back slightly, nibbling her lower lip, running a light hand down the side of her chest and circling up, tracing a line between her breasts. Her breath hitched and her fingers stilled in his hair, she felt him smile against her lips as his hand circled down again, and then closed over her breast. He began to gently tease the sensitive skin, sending shimmers of sensation tingling down her spine, then abruptly he bent back over her to thrust his tongue deep into her mouth. A pulse of pleasure throbbed in Gemma’s belly.
Breathing deeply, he gently withdrew, then thrust again, squeezing her breast and tweaking the nipple as his tongue invaded her throat. Gemma moaned into his mouth, feeling her heart pounding erratically as liquid heat began to seep between her thighs. Mac withdrew, and thrust again gently, deeply, squeezing the sensitive peak while he tilted her head to get the right angle. Then he parted her lips fully with his and began to slide and thrust his tongue deep within her throat, his breathing deepening as his own excitement grew.
Gemma could feel herself melting under his touch, melting into him, the tug at her heart easing and strengthening, as the demand in his kiss increased. He was kissing her as though there was no limit between them, no barriers, and her excitement seemed melded into his, no barriers, no separation, they were tuned together as he laid gentle, sure claim and she welcomed him in.
Then abruptly Mac lifted himself above her, and Gemma moaned and arched up to reach for him, pulling his head back down. He chuckled, and kissed her hard, but pulled back again, sliding off the surface of the desk, breathing deeply, tugging her after him. She landed swaying on her unsteady feet and slid her arms up his chest again, whimpering, to pull that tawny, proud head back down to hers. She moaned in satisfaction when he lifted her off her feet, kissing him deeply as her legs wrapping around his waist.
A hot, throbbing hardness pressed firmly against her slit as she tightened her legs, and a jolt of white lightening shot down Gemma’s spine, shuddering through her limbs and shaking loose her tenuous thread of regained control as she fell back against his encircling hands, gasping for breath. She moaned again. Held herself steady, then gently rubbed against that jutting hard cock beneath his clothes. They both shuddered, and Mac hitched her a little higher, away, sliding her back so that her buttocks rested on his hardness instead.
With a frustrated little moan, Gemma struggled to shift against him, to press his throbbing erection back against the right place, then stopped abruptly as she realised they were out in the corridor, Mac pacing soundlessly towards the stairs. He murmured breathlessly into her ear, a thread of laughter to the hoarse sound, “Wait, my little picchu. We need a bit more room – and to find something for you to tie me to first.”
She sucked in air abruptly as her heart stopped. Then it began to pound frantically against her ribs. They were really going to do this. Tie him up. Shit.
She could feel his chest reverberating on a chuckle at her reaction, but all that emerged was an almost silent breath of sound, “And be quiet. The police are still downstairs.”
Gemma pressed her forehead to his chest and clung to him, shuddering, as they silently ghosted their way up to the top storey and the greenhouse under the glass roof. As he carried her into the fragrant, damp warmth under the leaves and the heavy door shut behind them, she felt a little coil of tension in the body carrying her release. Mac breathed deeply, shutting his eyes, then opened them and the hot gleam smiling down at Gemma made her heart jump again. She reached up, pulled down his head and kissed that smile, deeper, deeper, as both of their hearts began to race, until she had to pull back, gasping short little breaths. Mac was trembling a little as he turned and began to brush his way past the overhanging leaves of the larger plants towards the outer wall, the dull orange light from the streetlights outside filtering through the large windows.
“Good,” he grunted, setting her on her feet beside him. Gemma blinked and he wasn’t there, then her eyes were caught by the shimmer of light on the tawny hair at her waist height; he had squatted down was reaching under the end bench. She leaned against him and caressed dreamy fingers through the ruffled locks, then bent over and nibbled his lips, upside-down, enjoying the way his breath hitched and his eyes glazed over slightly as he stilled, shuddering under her lips. Then he sighed and a hand came up to tangle in her hair, tugging her backwards then pushing her down to flop cross-legged on the floor half a foot away as he muttered, “Wait.”
She giggled, and focussed on what he was doing – or undoing. Undoing one of the four huge bolts holding the metal roof column to the heavy cross-beam across the floor – with his fingers. Her first incredulity faded into awareness, tingling across her skin, as he pulled out the inch-thick metal bolt and instead threaded through the slim grey cord he had brought from downstairs. He looped it through a second time, while her breath shortened and began to get a little ragged. Then he turned to her with that wicked little hot smile playing around his lips and she felt her insides melt even as a huge lump formed in her throat.
“Now, Gemma,” he murmured softly.
And she watched, slightly disbelieving, uncertain, incredulous, as he shucked off his shirt, lay down on the floor on his back and relaxed, wrists crossed above his head, smiling at her teasingly, challengingly.
She was staring back, wide-eyed, caught by that wicked black-and-green gaze, the knowing gleam in the depths. She swallowed.
“Come and tie me up,” he said gently.
“Uh,” Gemma managed a short little grunt, her eyes escaping from his, then they were caught by the expanse of his chest gleaming under the soft light. The ripple of muscles in his arms. The little scar on his chin, and the crease of his cheek from the little smile on his lips. Her eyes returned to his. She swallowed again.
“Won’t it hurt you?”
His eyes softened on a smile, “Argen against the skin only constrains us, it doesn’t do any damage. It’ll stop me turning. Now please, Gem. At least come and kiss me.”
His eyes had softened, and were beckoning her over.
How could she resist?
Through a flood of kisses, gentle persuasion, instruction, and assurances that it didn’t hurt, Gemma wrapped each end of the cord several times around Mac’s strong wrists and tied off the ends, the excitement building deep inside her as she did so. Then she watched, breathlessly, as the muscles in his arms rippled with strain and his back arched off the floor as he put out formidable power to break the binding. Then he did it again, formidable muscles etched sharply against the skin. Wow.
She lent down to kiss him, feeling a hot, tight urgency in her belly at the thought that all that power was now for her. “Wait, Gem, let me try a third -,” she cut him off with her mouth, kissing him deeply again, before pulling back, laughing, “You’re not in charge here, Mac.”
Abruptly, a menacing expression flashed dangerously across his face, his eyes darkened, and the long, low, stormy growl she had heard as he faced Nick rolled around the room as he arched against the bonds holding him, struggling, lips curling into a snarl.
Gemma froze, startled, and sat back on her heels by his side, staring at him, a faint tremble inside her at the menace in that sound, that look. This time aimed at her. He stilled. There was a frozen pause. Then with a long sigh, he deliberately relaxed. “Sorry, Gem,” a soft whisper, “There’s nothing a wolf hates more than being constrained – he can’t believe we agreed to this.”
She leaned back over him, the inner tremble subsiding. This was Mac. And there were stronger feelings smothering the caution as she bent down to his lips. Wolf-shmulf – he wasn’t getting out of this now. “Don’t be so feeble. I’ll be gentle.” And she stopped his reply with a kiss. A nice, long kiss. Suddenly she was ecstatic – he was a captive kissee and she could play with those lips as long and as deep as she liked.
Like this. And this. And – mmm. Although he knew a lot of sneaky ways of stealing her control. She could learn a lot from this. If only she could keep stop sinking into a puddle of mindless sensation. Damn. Mmmm.
Mmm mmm mmmm.
Eventually, Gemma’s lungs reminded her that she had to breathe, and she collapsed back into a heap on his chest. Dazed. Happy.
“OK, he’s beginning to change his mind.” The chest under her rumbled with the whisper.
“Just shut up or I’ll gag you too,” she retorted dazedly into his throat. And felt the reverberations of his laugh trembling through her. Her breasts tingled where they vibrated against the soft hairs of his chest, even through her clothing. Hmmm. She slid a finger down his throat into the soft brush of hair. His breath hitched, then quickened, and Gemma felt her blood simmering at the sounds, the pleasure of making him make those soft sounds.
Swiftly she sat back upright and hauled off the lab coat, tossing it aside as her fingers moved to the base of her sweater and she pulled it overhead, focussing on his face to avoid the tremble of uncertainty in her belly as she settled to sit firmly pressed onto his stomach wearing only her cami, bra and boots. The stormy, gleaming light in his eyes as they roved over her scantily clad frame soothed her inner tremor, and she leaned forwards, arching her back over him with a small, naughty smile, murmuring, “Although you’re allowed to moan.”
His eyes narrowed briefly, amusement in their hot, hot depths. Make me, the challenge was calling in the shimmering gaze. Irresistible. Gemma leaned back over him and tilted his head gently to the side to accommodate her lips more comfortably. His blood was shuddering through the veins close to his skin and she could feel the faint echoing tremor in him as, smiling, she traced her lips and tongue sensuously over his, putting the recent lessons she’d learned into practice. His lips parted on a breathy moan, and she began to kiss him in earnest. Mmmmm.
Gemma resurfaced to find herself buried against his chest, moaning softly, crushing herself as close to his muscular torso as possible. Long, shuddering ,deep breaths were raking into her aching lungs, and every inch was on fire. Damn. Damn. Damn, she had to maintain better control. Although the tremor in the chest she was resting on was not laughter any longer. Not this time. Those powerful arms were straining against his bonds, wrestling against the constraints, and Gemma set her palms to his and leaned against his hands, trying to force them back as she kissed him deeply again, rubbing against his powerful body, nudging against his straining erection, and he collapsed on a groan.
“Careful, the police might hear you,” she whispered teasingly in his ear, then traced the outline with her tongue, and dipped inside. He shuddered, and his lips parted. Shuddered again, then stilled, and a breathless murmur left his lips, “One’s just coming upstairs for a brief check.”
Gemma froze. “You’re kidding me.”
“No. He probably won’t come in here. But you’d better get your alibi ready just in case.”
She bit his earlobe. He snorted, and muttered, “Toothless.”
“Quiet! And what’s your excuse for letting a tiny little girl tie you up, anyway?” she whispered into his ear, sure he was joking now.
He snorted again. “Are you kidding me? It’s a male cop, he’ll totally understand.”
They lay quietly together. There wasn’t a sound to be heard, although Gemma could feel small chuckles vibrating the chest she was lying on. She growled under her breath – she’d known he was making it up – and gently slid a hand down his stomach, teasing her fingers around the tip of his hard cock, squeezing gently through the soft denim. “Are you sure you want to play games with me just now, Mr. Wolf?”
Mac froze beneath her touch and caught his breath sharply, shuddering. Then, “Absolutely,” he managed to gasp out on a hoarse whisper.
Gemma yanked her cami over her head and stuffed it into his mouth. “I warned you I would gag you too.”
He spat it out instantly, “You do realise my teeth will shred that scrap in seconds?”
Gemma looked mournfully at the long cut in her favourite underwear. Damn. Ruined.
She glared down at the culprit. Then squeezed tighter around his magnificent hardness, pulling lightly. He gasped again and his eyes glazed over slightly.
“Well, I’ll just have to shut you up some other way.”
His mouth opened to retort, and she squeezed again, stroking her hand further along the throbbing length. All he managed to emit was a slight grunt, and this time his eyes closed as his head fell back against the floor, breath suspended for a moment, before exploding in a sigh.
“Looks like I’ve found it.” The smugness around here was contagious. God he was gorgeous. He cracked open an eye and glared. She stroked that throbbing, magnificent hardness, jutting hard against his pants, and the eye closed again.
A tremor ran through the powerful frame. Wow. Wow. Wow. All hers.
Gemma leaned forward to brush a kiss over his exposed collar bone as she stroked a thumb over the tip of his cock, whispering, “This is going to be so much fun.” And began to delicately unpick the buttons on his fly. He was trembling, and she kissed her way up his throat as she did gently parted the soft material.
“Gem -,” he was cut off again as she ran a finger along the exposed flesh jutting out proudly, eagerly. He was not wearing anything underneath the soft jeans, which made life easier. And his breaths even shorter, to her melting delight.
“Yes?” she queried, naughtily, and brushed her thumb over the tip just as his mouth opened. Another grunt exploded, and he opened his eyes and stared into hers, a demanding sparkle shimmering deep within the black, a soft smile tilting his mouth. His eyes slid down to her bra-encased breasts and his cock twitched in her hands, seeming to harden, lengthen. His lips parted, “You -.”
He didn’t get any further, breath drawn sharply on a gasp as she ran a nail lightly along his throbbing length, thigh muscles clenching. She couldn’t see them properly through the jeans, though – and she wanted to see those taut thighs – mmm – so began to tug ineptly at the material with her free hand. His buttocks lifted off the floor and she let go of his cock for a moment to slide to his feet and haul the pants all the way off, murmuring tauntingly, “Good Wolf.”
He growled, long and low, and Gemma slid back up to straddle him, to rest, perfect poised. Brushing. There. The growl broke off on a sharp intake of breath – but it wasn’t just his this time. Gemma shivered at the aching want building, tightening within her; growing, spreading.
“You are so perfect.” The whisper was soft, and Gemma opened her eyes again to find his eyes roving over her small, curvy form, poised above him, before focussing on her hanging breasts. Damn. He had obviously regained the ability to talk – and while she didn’t exactly mind what he said, she liked stopping him speaking more.
Gemma reached behind her back and the flush in her cheeks deepened as she unhooked her bra, but the way the blaze in his eyes brightened and his breathing grew more harsh, eyes fixed to her torso as she slowly slid the scrap of material down her arms – it was so enticing, so compelling. So empowering. Yes.
She leaned down and brushed her lips over his, the pulse within her belly aching so hard she was shivering. He caught hers, hard, and deepened the kiss, sliding his tongue inside her mouth, lifting off the ground to follow her as she backed away, laughing deep in her throat.
“No, no, Mac. My party.” And bent to kiss her way down his chest. The soft hair brushed her nose and a shiver ran down her spine as her peaked, aching nipples were caressed by the soft fur. The almost painful tightness in her chest made Gemma whimper lightly, and her kisses began to get deeper, more serious. She could feel that magnificent hardness pulsing more and more fiercely against her belly as she slid progressively further down, exploring, enjoying, testing his reactions as she nibbled, licked and kissed her way downwards. It was so hard not to just dive in.
Abruptly a jolt ran through her as her nipple brushed against a cold, shiny patch on his skin, and she reared back on a gasp. Stared down. The scar. From the spear. Her fingers brushed over it and he groaned. It was so cold – alien to the shimmer of heat pulsing off the rest of his taut frame. He groaned again, nudging her belly with his aching erection, and Gemma bent to nibble on his flat stomach skin, smiling at the heady sound of his quickening breath, even as she frowned at the smooth, grey cold patch on his abdomen.
“Go lower,” he murmured. “Please. You’re killing me with slowness.” His breath echoed in the air, tension in the sound, and Gemma chuckled again, softly, heat smothering her at the sound. She rolled to rest her head on his hip and slid a hand back around his throbbing cock, hearing his breath catch again.
“You know what I do when you won’t shut up, Mac.”
He groaned more loudly, pressing himself into her hand. “Counting on i-,” the last word was lost in a gasp. It was bewitching; arousal shuddered through her as she teased him, tested the way he moved, watched him against within her embrace. She taught herself what made him catch his breath, groan, gulp, heard his breathing change, watched with gleaming, heated eyes as he began to tremble when she snuck her head nearer, and breathed softly on the throbbing, taut head. The heat was intoxicating. The scent, the hard pulsing, and the soft, broken noises he was making.
Abruptly, she could wait no longer, and leaned over to close her mouth gently around the end of his cock, and suckling lightly. He jerked under her, a quiet cry leaving his lips and he begged, “Can’t -,” and jerked his hips out from under her lips. Heat exploded through her at the denial, and abruptly she wriggled out of her panties.
“Shh. Shh. I’ll make you feel better,” she leaned back down to suck on his throbbing length again. Teasing, licking around the head and sucking deeply, sliding back to kiss the tip as she held herself to his hips, a taste of salt exploded against her lips.
Mac surged, swelling within her mouth, groaning denial low in his throat as he shifted his hips to evade her. Then abruptly he snarled, straining against the rope, and hitched his thighs hard of the floor, knocking her, breathless, up to land with her nose buried against his collar bone and breasts squashed to his muscular chest. His throbbing, eager cock was straining against the join of her thighs, and a strong leg had wrapped around hers , holding her pressed against that seeking, thrusting cock as the leg flexed, sliding her closer, closer, to his goal.
Oh god yes, yes, yes – but no, not yet. My party.
Despite the lack of air in her lungs, Gemma managed to whisper, “Bad wolf,” admonishingly, and snaked a hand back between their bodies to squeeze around his cock, restraining him from his goal. “You have to remember I’m in charge here.”
He snarled again and his powerful thigh tightened her against him as he jerked his hips against her, smearing precum across her belly.
“Let me go, Mac,” she murmured teasingly. “You aren’t going to win like this.”
He glared at her, then his head bent to hers and their lips collided in a hard, demanding kiss which soon softened into a gentle tasting, exploring. He lifted his thigh off her and fell back with a groan and a laugh.
Gemma smiled down at him and leaned forwards, looking down between them with hot cheeks as she gently teased her hot, slippery pussy over his straining heat. Mac moaned and jerked up towards her again, thrusting along her belly, and then growled, long and angrily as he dropped back, straining against the cord around his wrist, cursing with a curt, hoarse bark, “Dammit. Dammit. Gem!”
She bent forwards so that her breast were again swinging over his face, and then gasped out an abrupt moan as he lurched upwards in a move so swift she missed it, and engulfed one in his mouth, suckling impossibly hard, pulling, pulling her to meet his aching demand, sinking her into heat as she arched her back towards him involuntarily, pushing her mound further into his mouth, losing track of thought, time.
Suckling, suckling, so so hard, tight pressure – Gemma collapsed with a moan against him and he transferred to the other breast, leaving the first nipple tingling fiercely, puckered to a hard nub in the cool air that shimmered across the wet skin.
Oh oh oh – this was just too-.
Gemma jerked backwards suddenly, slithering down his body and came to rest with the inside of her thigh tingling with awareness against his throbbing member, heaving breaths into lungs – oh oh oh oh he knew what to do with those lips. Wow. Wow. Urgh. Shuddering, shuddering, she rubbed gently against his huge, hard cock and smiled back up at him through her lashes as he groaned and surged his hips up against her.
“Remember -” her voice broke and she gasped in a breath as he surged against her, sliding his throbbing hard cock along the crease of her thigh. She drew another breath and pressed hard down against him, frowning, “-my party.”
Mac groaned again and turned his head back to glare at the wall above his head, clenching his throat so hard that the lines stood out in stark relief, quivering, before he settled back with a sigh, muttering darkly, “I never knew you were into torture.”
“I’ll be gentle,” she promised. He groaned again.
She bent over to kiss his shoulder. Better to avoid his lips for now. There were so many other things she wanted to try – she wet her lips as a sudden surge of moisture dampened her mouth and the throbbing ache in her belly intensified to near pain. Kissed him again. Lower. Oh this was good – the sweet sound of his hoarse breathing, growing shallower, faster. Liquid moisture was beading the light thatch between her thighs.
She lifted her hips and brushed him with her damp slit, coating the tip of his cock, hearing his breath hitch, feeling the surge of his hard member against her sensitive slit making her own heart stutter in her chest. Oh. It caught the bud at the head of the crease and her brain stuttered with the surge of pleasure.
Oh – that was so -. She pressed a little harder, intent on rubbing her clit against that velvet-soft head at the end of his straining cock, feeling it give slightly, sway, tease. Oh. Wow. Again. Again. Again.
Each time the jolt of sensation through her notched up the burning demand in her belly further, and she wanted more, more. But his cockhead wouldn’t stay put, it slithered teasingly out of reach, brushing her straining nub, then retreating – she could hold it steady with a hand, but she had an aching, hollow feeling further down, her pussy burning with want, and she just couldn’t hold on much longer.
Gemma became aware that Mac had clenched his hands around the beam above his head and was mouthing silently, eyes closed, as he shuddered each time she brushed against his straining erection, forcing himself to remain still. She sighed and bent to kiss his taut belly, before sliding gently up across him to bring the head back to her vulva. Oh she wanted it in her. She could feel her juices seeping down over the soft head, and groaned, wanting, needing.
She looked down into his face and saw that his eyes had opened slightly, were burning into hers, demanding silently, willing her, and she held his hot, hot, glittering, hardening gaze as she pressed softly, feeling a shiver shimmer out from her core as the delicious hardness gently breached her. Oh – the stretch was almost unbearable, but glorious, gorgeous – oh.
Gemma stilled, pressing her hands on his hips to hold herself from sinking further as she whirled in a fury of sensation, a whimper escaping as the incredible stretched, filled feeling rose within her -waiting, caught by his fiery gaze as a small smile played over his lips.
“More,” he murmured. But still he held still. Gemma groaned, longing, stretched, and gently relaxed her arms. A long moan was driven from her throat as she slid slowly half-way down his large, throbbing cock and her pussy convulsed deliciously around the stretch. She paused, panting for breath, then sank further on a last groan, almost sobbing as he bottomed out and she could barely move, barely breathe through the incredible, impossible feeling of completeness. Overstretched and straining to keep still, not daring to move, longing to move.
Mac’s gentle sigh reached her and she felt the cock sheathed in her surge briefly. She groaned. Beautiful. Unbearably, deeply, complete.
But she wanted so much more.
She moved against him, hitched her hips, and moaned at the delicious friction where they joined, melting in the sigh from his lips. Moved again, tried to quicken, but her knees were stretched so wide against his impossible girth, and her body was melting into a pool of want, and she couldn’t get the angle right, the rhythm, she was just so frustratingly slow. That angle – wow – a surge of sensation suddenly exploded through her body and her arms gave way. Gemma collapsed with a frustrated sob against his chest. She wanted faster. Harder. More. Now. Now.
“You only had to ask, picchu.”
Mac rolled, and then abruptly she was underneath, realising she’d sobbed the last words aloud. He lifted his weight off her by his grasp on the beam, and gently ground his hips down into hers, making her breath catch on a sob.
“Wrap your legs around me,” he breathed, eyes gleaming as he swooped in for a taut, hard kiss. She lifted her legs, crossing them over his lower back as he began to thrust, gentle jerks into her pussy.
“Now – I believe my picchu requested hard and fast?”
Gemma opened her mouth to agree, and the word was smothered in a grunt of air exploding from her lips as he slammed down into her, hard. Glorious. Her body tightened exquisitely around the hard, invasive length and she lay shuddering with pleasure.
“What was that?” he smiled, stopping. Gemma glared, damn him, and drew breath to remind him not to play games here. It escaped on a whimper as he thrust again, and again in quick succession. Then he paused a second time.
“Who was it in charge here, again?”
“Mac!” she moaned, the protest exploding as he thrust into her, driving her back into breathless silence. Oh my god this was unbelievable. He continued a series of quick thrusts, and simultaneously bent to press deep, suckling kisses to her nipples, tightening further the ache in her belly, torturing her with the overload of sensation.
“What?” he stilled again, teasing, lifting his head and smiling gently as he watched her struggle to regain the ability to speak. Her eyes pleaded up at him, and the smile faded from his lips but remained in his eyes as he bent over to press a gentle kiss to her lips.
“As you wish.”
Then the smile returned, wickedly, and he lifted his hips, and began to slam into her. “Like this?”
She groaned, nodding.
Gemma glared at him as well as she could – he cheated by grinding his fully embedded cock against her, so that her eyes slid closed as she arched up against him and groaned again, then he brushed a spot within her and she screamed in pleasure, exploding in an overload of sensation as her back bent into a full bow, pussy convulsing around his hard length. Mac froze and his breath stopped.
Gemma’s eyes were half-open again, dazed, as she admired the taut angles of the powerful frame poised above her. She absorbed the rapt expression on his face, his head tilted back and lips slightly parted as her inner muscles tightened around his cock, milking.
Carefully, she tightened her passage again, a shimmer of pure pleasure pulsing through her veins at the knowledge that she could give him this – that look, as he stiffened again, glazed, staring up at the ceiling. Then his head slowly tilted back down towards her, and the look in his eyes stopped her breath. The heat was incredible, but the deep undercurrent of warmth in the glowing green depths – she could feel herself melting, letting go, relaxing fully into the call of his eyes, his care.
There had been something to say. Something to give him – to return some of the pleasure of that – oh. Yup.
“Please?” she murmured, and his smile reflected in her eyes.
Mac thrust deeply. Circled his hips, grinding her against the floor, then lifted himself and began to penetrate her with swift little jerks. Oh yes. Eyes half closed, he concentrated on the delicious feel of the slick sheath around his swollen cock, and the little gasping sounds he could draw from her with the staccato, sharp rhythm of his thrusts. Yes.
He began to withdraw further on the thrusts, deepening the sweet friction and watching as she arched wantonly underneath him, incoherent begging noises escaping her kiss-swollen lips in response to each lunge, her legs clamping desperately around his buttocks. God she felt good. Looked good. Delicious. He could feel the haze of mating lust beginning to thicken in his blood, clouding his mind as the wolf in him began to rise to the surface.
She moaned on an increasing crescendo with each thrust, mating scent thickening, and abruptly he slammed himself hard, deep, and felt a surge of exultation as she arched into a full bow on a low, half-screamed cry, her full breasts thrusting up to him and her tight passage convulsing again. Sweet, sweet, glorious. Again.
The heat, the glorious intense pleasure of her response clouded his mind and he began to thrust harder, repeating again, again, pounding, faster, the slick, sleek walls of her around him and the shudder, the soft, driven cries, the shine of her skin in the soft light, the scent of her wet warmth under him. Perfect. Perfect. Then more – no – more.
Mac began to snarl as his eyes shimmered and he struggled against the rope around his wrists, fighting the binding even as he quickened the hard, driving slap of his hips against her. The cord through the beam snapped, and he braced himself to drive at a better angle, but he couldn’t twist his wrists free, and it was driving him insane, driving him to pound, surge, hammer his need down into the girl in an impossibly hard, fast pace. He couldn’t bear the block, the barrier between them and tore at the bindings.
She screamed in pleasure and arched against him again, tightening the grip of her legs around him, slick pussy milking around his cock, and he thrust through the tight, rippling passage, delighted, unbearably stimulated as he felt the slow burn of his seed begin to tingle down his back. Still fighting, fighting, ripping at his wrists with his teeth to free the wolf before – before – the feel of himself gliding inside her in the inexorable rhythm heightened, heightened, forced tight the shuddering demands of his wolf. There. There. More. Harder. His. Now. Every muscle was tightening, burning with each pounding thrust as he rode harder on a cresting wave of frustration, fire building, simmering down his spine, driving him deeper, deeper, driving through exquisite, bittersweet incompleteness.
She moaned, begging wordlessly as she arched in another fluid explosion under him, and he bent to bite her lower lip possessively, sucking the swollen nick in a healing kiss. His. But he couldn’t -. He ripped again at the damned unyielding Argen, tilting his hips and grinding her harder as his balls tightened and threatened to burst with each forceful slam of his full, deep length into her, feeling her inner muscles rippling, tightening unbearably about his cock again, again. His.
He could feel the explosion building as he lost himself in having her, her scent, the staccato, sweet, grunting little cries forced from her each time he penetrated. He was snarling his frustration with each slamming thrust as her cries echoed around him, could feel every single muscle in his body locking down to explode, ready, nearly, indescribably, mercilessly.
White lightening shot down his spine and he reared back, groaning in ecstasy as he exploded, grinding himself into her, shuddering as he spurted stream after stream of his seed into her convulsing passage.
Gemma was curled up on Mac’s chest, half on her side, surfacing slowly, leisurely. Happily. His left arm was cradling her against him, holding her cushioned from the cool concrete, and his other curled over her hips and stomach, holding her tucked in against him. Slowly her mind slid back into focus under the brush of his thumb against her shoulder, and she turned her head to kiss the pad of that roving thumb.
Bliss. Oh. Wow. Again. Aching. Aching. Tender. But ohhh it felt good. Damn good. Indescribable.
“Are you OK?” his voice sounded impossibly deep, his chest vibrating under her head as she teased the short hairs of his forearm with her fingertips. Her own voice was stuck somewhere in beneath her breastbone. She considered the question a bit stupid. OK? Hah. Feeble description.
Her brain also seemed to be lost in a daze, on a very very slow feedback loop.
“Gem?” he sounded a little concerned, which bothered her.
Give me a bit longer.
She lazily curved her head back and kissed his jaw, nuzzling gently, contentedly. Why did he want to talk? This was so good. Amazing. Fantastic.
Couldn’t he read how good she felt in her boneless sprawl across him, nibbling his neck?
“Gemma.” He lifted himself up slightly, tilting her head back so that he could look into her expression, and then sighed at the dreamy, dazed look in her eyes.
“I got pretty – uncontrolled, there. Demanding. Brutal. Are you ok?”
Oh she loved the fact that she could make him lose control. Loved it. But brutal wasn’t right and ok didn’t even begin to cover the smallest corner of it – demanding was just – wow. Better and better. Mmm hmm. Bliss – just. Mmmm.
She could feel the big, stupid grin covering her face and bent down to kiss his throat again, curling her fingers around the muscles on his upper arms.
“Is that a yes?” the teasing note was back, and he relaxed slightly underneath her slight frame. She nodded emphatically and lifted her head up to his lips for a long, long kiss. Soft, sweet, perfect. He relaxed fully and snuggled her back against him.
“Wow – so this is how I shut you up, picchu.”
She nipped the skin on his chest and he sighed and tugged her head back up for another kiss, cuddling her close.
A long, long, beautiful pause.
Then slowly, filtering into the haze, Gemma thought she recognised – what was the scent teasing her nostrils – that tangy, tingly smell – the smell of -. Suddenly, she sat bolt upright, or would have if the arm around her had moved. As it was, she just heaved against it, and subsided into that comforting embrace with a frustrated yip.
The scent was blood. His.
She tried to say something. But even the grunt hadn’t made it to the surface. Purring seemed to be the only verbal option, and it wasn’t exactly going to get the right message across.
This was harder than it should be. She managed a contented sigh of “nngh”, and could feel him exuding smugness as she struggled to become more coherent. And also to break free. No chance.
Get a grip.
“Let me up,” her voice was hoarse, only a whisper, but she eventually managed to force out enough air past the cloud of peaceful bliss smothering her insides.
“I like you fine where you are,” he responded lazily. His voice was sated, a quiet purr of satisfaction, as his fingers traced back along her collarbone, mouth nuzzling down the side of her neck.
Gemma felt herself relaxing back into his calm, heart easing under the gentle glide of his fingertips.
Oh no you don’t.
“You’re hurt.” It was easier to squeak the second time.
Silence. She could feel him ignoring her as he brushed kissed over her skin.
“Mac.” She struggled against his arm, but it was as futile as ever. And she was fighting both of them. She so wanted to just lie here, but that scent was also unsettling her. She didn’t want him hurt – what if his wound had torn open?
A shimmer of tease to his voice as he eventually replied, huskily, “It was worth it.”
Gemma muttered something rude under her breath into his shoulder, the words ‘stupid wolf’ somewhere in the phrase. She wished he’d stop repeating ridiculous things she’d said back at her- although in her case she’d been right.
Then she saw them – deep gashes on his right wrist around the shred of torn cord, where his teeth had torn into the flesh. Fuming, she slid her fingers to the knot and began to work at it in silence, but even as she picked as it, she saw that the wounds were slowly closing over. Mac’s nose snuffled against her neck and he nibbled little kisses over her pulse point, making her shudder.
“Stop trying to distract me,” she muttered tersely, annoyed that he was hurt – he had said it wouldn’t, and just look at his damn wrists now – she’d never have agreed if she’s known. Who was she kidding? It was hard getting her fingers to work; like the rest of her, they just wanted to melt back into a soft puddle of sated contentment, curled up against him. And he was encouraging that attitude. Angrily, she threw aside the broken half of the cord.
Her breath jerked as, suddenly, they were lying on his left side, a mirror pose to before, and his right fingers were beginning to explore the valley between her breasts even before the vertigo from his swift roll caught up with her head. Damn he moved fast. He was also still distracting her. Quite successfully.
“So what is Argen?” she asked as she began to work on the second knot. This one had been yanked really, really tight. A small smile played on her lips, smug, slightly twisted. OK – worth it – from her point of view maybe. Well, definitely. Absolutely. Irrefutably. If you remember -. Shut up and work on that knot. Oh. Yes.
“A silver alloy,” his voice calling her back was a lazy thread of sound, breath whispering over her skin as he snuggled around her. “This isn’t true Argen – we lost the ability to make it centuries back, in the dark ages – this is just a rough copy, as close as anyone can make it now. The last real Argen was destroyed long ago.”
Gemma digested that slowly. “So silver itself isn’t the real problem for wolves?”
She felt a ghost of a shiver through the powerful frame supporting her.
“Silver is total poison. The spear was silver etched – hence the chemo – our doctor’s still leaching it out of me daily, it’s hard to eradicate. But the body recognises it as poison, and goes into overdrive trying to get rid of it, or contain it. That’s why the cold skin of my scar, Gem – the body creates a barrier around it.”
She shivered in sympathy. So that was why that wound was still visible, when these on his wrists were already fading. He must have to open it every day to drain the poison – eugh. “Chemo?” she queried.
“Some poly that absorbs the silver. It’s almost done, I’ll be healed soon, and not so feeble” he rolled them onto his side and hugged her, nuzzling the back of her neck, nibbling at the sensitive skin over his old bite.
Damn, he was really managing to distract her now. She had to somehow -. Um. Say something. Sometime. Something. Anyth…
Much later, she recalled their conversation, and began to work on the knot again.
“Then Argen’s not as bad as silver?” Her voice was a squeak again. Why couldn’t she go sexily husky when breathless?.
“Argen -.” he halted, and she could feel him tense into sudden stillness. Maybe she should leave this subject. His breath stopped entirely and she could feel him frozen, thinking, heart beating furiously and a flush of increased heat shimmering along his flesh. The hard, tight knot under her fingers finally gave way – and she began to carefully unwrap his healing wrist. He began to breathe again as she lifted off the cord.
“Gemma – do you know someone called Elaine Singleman?” A breath of gentle query. Incongruous. Unexpected. Exasperating change of subject.
“Do you know some-”
“Of course I know Professor Singleman, she’s written half the papers on metals-.”
“My people found out – it was her – I refused to bite her, so Nick set us up instead,” the wolf curled around her murmured quietly over her sharp reply.
“-harvesting, but what on earth -?”
She broke off abruptly. Metals. Her own field. Gemma’s heart started to pound, slowly, hard against her ribs. Nick carried a strip of this false Argen in his pocket, which could bring down an Alpha in pursuit; Nick had wanted Mac to bite a metals specialist. And then to bite her himself. Mac had warned her before that a new werewolf found it almost impossible to disobey – the relentless pursuit was beginning to make some sense now. A tremor began deep within her. Mac’s heart, in contrast, was slowing back to peace.
They lay entwined together, the thoughts almost tangible, twisting in the air around them. Gemma was shivering despite his warmth, and Mac curled her closer in against his large, comforting form, brushing his fingers soothingly over her skin. He felt satisfied – now he knew why Nick was being so persistent in stalking Gemma. He could protect her. No worries.
He ignored the small voice inside himself querying why he was so pleased that he should have to keep this little human close.
“Argen,” he began again on a soft rumble of sound, “even the feeble version you hold there, is a forbidden substance to wolves. Because it is a poison that the body does not recognise. A silent killer. We almost wiped ourselves out using true Argen in chemical warfare back in the Fire Wars. Since then it has been forbidden to possess any form of silver or alloy.”
Another shudder rippled through Gemma’s slight frame – this time of fury. “So why the hell did you let me tie it around you?!” she hissed, incensed.
“And don’t you dare say it was worth it,” she snapped out.
He tucked her in tighter against him, a chuckle vibrating through his chest. “You and intimidating don’t really fit into the same space, picchu.” He dropped another kiss on her hair, which she failed signally to avoid. As she wasn’t going anywhere. “And it was worth it – oh, most absolutely, definitely, indescribably worth it.” His voice dropped deeper, growing slightly hoarse on the last phrase and Gemma’s blood pulsed sweetly through her veins, stopping her breath. Damn.
The chuckle ran more strongly this time, and he engulfed her in his large figure, encircling her as he tightened his embrace to a full bear hug – a wolf hug- murmuring ticklish breath in her ear, laughter reverberating through his voice, “What did you call me?”
Damn. Said that aloud.
A whisper of a chuckle in her ear, “Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf?”
A flash of memory – Nick’s glittering, feral eyes as he glared hatred at her – and Gemma shuddered deeply, feeling the arms around her tighten almost unbearably.
They lay still for a moment, then his voice was sombre, heavy with promise. “I’ll protect you from him, picchu – take a week off and I’ll take you up to the Range. You’ll heal fully in a week.”
Overprotective. She could get used to it. Overly autocratic?
Gemma lifted her head and twisted in his now relaxed arms, to look down into those warm, welcoming green eyes.
“Say please,” she challenged.
There was a short pause as they stared at each other, eyes smiling. Then his narrowed, and little bubbles of black fire rose to shimmer in the green irises as his lips twisted in a slow, dangerous smile. Gemma’s breath caught, as he tangled his fingers in her hair, gently pulling her lips back down to his.
“Bet you say it first.”
Half an hour later, dry-mouthed and dreamy, Gemma was again lying in a boneless huddle on the floor, watching Mac. She didn’t want to blink. He was smoothly, casually, pulling up those soft jeans and the material slid seductively, slowly up the rough-haired, taut planes of his thighs, strong muscles rippling in the light while he shifted weight from leg to leg. Abruptly he stiffened, lifted his head and tilted it, focus elsewhere, as a frown crossed his features. Then, before she could blink, he had bent, swiftly grabbed up his shirt and a couple of other scraps from the floor, and was out the door, buttoning up his trousers as he barked over his shoulder, “Stay here.”
What now? She rolled over face down on the floor with a sigh. Bossyboots.
Gemma lingered as long as she could, enjoying the weightless sense of bliss floating in her limbs again, savouring the remainder of her recovery – he really didn’t play fair, but he had said please himself in the end too. And she wasn’t averse to spending a week with him at this Range. A small smile curved her lips.
Eventually, she began to get cold, and slowly, reluctantly slithered back into her own clothes. They were remarkably in tact. But she wrinkled her nose. Boy did she need a shower. There were showers in the basement.
Mac still hadn’t reappeared.
She worked out the tangles in her long dark hair as best she could with her fingers, then tiptoed over to the door, pleasantly aching, and listened.
It was beginning to get faintly unsettling. And irritating. She cracked the door open a little and listened again. There was a murmur of distant voices, rising and falling in heated discussion, away down the stairs, and she crept closer to the stairwell, listening intently for the cultured vowels of the grey wolf. Sometimes she caught the echo of Mac’s voice, low, responding with a calm phrase to the accusatory tones of the others. No-one else she recognised.
Gemma hesitated at the top of the steps, but her blood was shimmering a call, left-over from their play, and she wanted to be down there. Wanted to be with Mac. She also wanted to find out more of what was going on – she could almost catch the words from down here- the tenor was definitely accusatory, but she couldn’t make out anything clearly. She needed to know.
Her socks made no sound on the stairs as she crept downward, boots in hand, ready to swing them if necessary. An increasing crescendo of angry noise covered her approach as the rumble of voices grew more bitter, staccato. Then she turned the bottom corner towards the door at the base of the stairwell and abruptly the stormy words were clear.
“… further action? How is that possible when some of Tzo’s have been caught using this stuff, and now we find you in Marsh territory with a whole -,” the sharp male voice cut off abruptly, and Gemma froze, caught, as the door below her whooshed open and the stairwell light flashed on, illuminating her stricken face. A tall, dark, clean-shaven, craggy man of around 50, dressed in a pair of jeans and a loose ski-jacket over a rugged shirt, stood in the doorway, smiling up at her reassuringly.
“Oh, hi, honey. Sorry if we alarmed you, we didn’t realise there was anyone still in the building. We’re here for the conference and were just looking around with Dr. Mayn-.” Abruptly, he cut off the smooth explanation, eyes zeroing in on the mottling on her neck as he sniffed the air loudly. Gemma managed not to squeak as the next second he was beside her, and a warm, immovable clasp had closed around her forearm. He had leaped up over the banister railing before she had a chance to blink -moving with the same graceful, powerful fluency as Mac.
“Satan,” he swore, and then as she blinked again, her other arm was also clamped in a hold, the cool air rushed past and she was placed gently on her feet in the entrance-way, beside a tense circle of seeming humans. “Look what I found,” the male holding her added.
There were four other people in the hall besides Mac, Gemma, and her escort, all facing her old flatmate with various levels of aggression in their stances. The older woman in the centre was sleek, tall, and blonde, standing relaxed, a cold glint in her cornflower blue eyes and a faint look of amusement on her beautifully preserved face as she tapped the fingers of her left hand on her cheek, eyeing Mac.
Antagonism reverberated off the heavily-built 30-ish platinum-haired male to the woman’s left, fury shooting from his wide-set eyes as he glared at Gemma’s former flatmate. The gangly young redhead had a faint frown of worry on his face, hands pushed deep into his jeans pockets, shoulders hunched as he started at the floor, pondering over some problem. And the short, wiry man opposite her – Gemma was shocked as she met the hard black sparkle in the eyes of the associate professor, Dr. Maynard. He sighed deeply, sadly, as she was put down among them, and the others all focussed abruptly on her. Or more specifically, on her neck.
There was a reverberating silence, and Gemma felt a chill spreading throughout the room, as slowly the tension level increased. Her eyes shot across to Mac’s, and he smiled a rueful little smile at her, rolling his eyes in reassurance. Gemma relaxed slightly at his air of unconcern.
The woman murmured, a bite of cool amusement in her refined tones, “I believe that you were instrumental in passing the recent amendments to the Human Relations Act, were you not, MacKeld?” An infinitesimal pause. And sarcasm dripped from the smooth tones, “You do happen to recall the current penalty for biting one?”
The muscled platinum-man snorted, a cold gleam of satisfaction in his eyes as he flexed his fingers, cracking the knuckle joints, “The irony – fighting so hard to bring in another law that will demand your own death.” His accent was hard to place, clipped consonants and long vowels.
Death? Gemma froze incredulously, eyes leaping back to Mac’s, but he was coldly holding the antagonistic glare of the platinum blond guy. There was an unspoken battle going on in this room, she could feel her skin tightening in goosebumps and began to shiver, reacting involuntarily to the aggressive power shimmering through the air.
“For turning or savaging, not biting,” corrected the redhead casually, although his frown hadn’t lightened, and he was now scowling at Mac.
“And we mustn’t jump to conclusions – why would MacKeld do something so irrational?” the man holding her murmured.
“That is his seedscent on her,” Platinum Muscles stated baldly, viciously. “The bite has obviously reacted. So he tried to cure her but failed – the risk is still there, increasing, and the wound is days old, not fully healed, so the human may develop into-.”
“Not yet,” interjected Mac coolly, “But it’s already better than yesterday.”
Silence reverberated in the wake of his words, and the chill in the room deepened, a strong echo of repugnance and disapproval shimmering around the circle. A blur of movement she couldn’t catch, and abruptly Mac was in front of her, Platinum Man glowering aggressively at him from inches in front of his face.
“Why the hell didn’t you heal it immediately?” snapped the redhead, clearly frustrated at the stupidity of Mac’s behaviour. Gemma wasn’t clear whether the ‘it’ was referring to her or her wound. Wolf manners were really beginning to grate on her nerves. It would help if the feelings bouncing around the room weren’t making her skin tingle with tension.
“I couldn’t,” responded Mac, a faint edge starting to stain his words. “I will explain to the council. If you are going to arrest me, then would you please make sure the human gets back to Macintyre, Johnson. The Grey seems to want her for some reason.”
“The Grey? The Grey?” Platinum was spitting rage into Mac’s face, “Always your petty, senseless, pack feud – why would The Grey bother with a simple little human, MacKeld?” He gestured wildly over Mac’s shoulder, drew himself up and sneered, “There is no reason to it, this is just the MacKeld throwing blame at the Grey as part of the usual bickering between your people.”
“I have no idea why Nicolas wants her,” replied Mac tautly, his eyes glaring into the glittering black ones facing him. He straightened and seemed to expand in silent power in response to the aggression facing him. “But until she is clear of my shiele she is to some extent my responsib-.”
Is that al-?
“Oh come off it, Ulf. She’s an analytical chemist.” Dr. Maynard’s exasperated tones cut across the room, “Metals recovery specialist. You stand there beside that handful of semi-pure Argen and tell me you can see no reason why The Grey would want to collect her?”
His words were like an electric shock through the entire group.
Mac stiffened, shooting the lecturer a look of incredulous, angry frustration, and the tension in the circle around him suddenly pulsed, a rumble of thunder echoing deafeningly around the room as snarls erupted from the throats of all the males. The air shimmered with rage, someone was biting out words of a challenge as the dark-haired wolf holding Gemma pushed her aside and abruptly faced off against Mac with the platinum and the growling redhead. “So you may have your own reasons for turning her also, MacKeld?”
Dr Maynard moved up to stand behind Mac’s shoulder, looking troubled, realising belatedly the double edge of his pronouncement. Mac was quivering as he held back his own feelings, glaring at his accusers through a slit in his eyes as he held steady, lip lifting slightly in a quiver as he retorted coldly, “I will answer to the council. Or were you planning to kill me here, untried, Caspar?”
Gemma could feel the leashed power in the frame quivering in front of her, more reverberating off the trio facing him, and had to fight an urge to back away. If this did erupt fully into a fight…
“Caught with Argen and intending to turn a human alchemist- you’re already dead, MacKeld,” hissed the aggressive platinum blond, shuddering with the desire to rip into his opponent.
“Ulf, -,” Dr Maynard began to address Mac, but was drowned out as the redhead snarled in his turn, “What the hell are you up to, Mac?”
“I will answer to the council.” Mac’s voice was deepening on a growl.
“Why waste their resources in wartime, when you’re caught red-handed?” Deep within the platinum one’s eyes the eerie, angry glitter was beginning to shine, and his form was shimmering, dark fur starting to erupt along his body. Gemma felt cold beginning to spread out from her stomach.
Mac also began to shimmer involuntarily as he snarled back, “Aster Alpha killing Aster untried? Can you not see any underlying reason why you might all have been lured here tonight, Vanilchov?”
“I can,” cut in the sleek female in chill tones, abruptly cooling the fire in the room, “And I think you both forget where you are.” The front door beeped open and a horde of people began to prowl in, cautiously taking up vigilant positions all around the room, encircling the antagonists, who carefully, slowly, lowered their hackles, the platinum alpha continuing to glare.
The cool woman’s voice continued. “Marsh pack will take care of your human until this is resolved, MacKeld. One way or another.” Gemma did not care for the hollow echo in that second phrase, or the way Mac stiffened in front of her, and lifted his head regally to glare broodingly past the woman’s shoulder. “But even if it does heal, I will be fascinated to hear you present your feeble defence as to how you come to be running around with illegal weaponry.” While she spoke, the elegant, slender woman picked the light grey cord out of Mac’s palm and twisted it between her fingers, shivering slightly as she ran a finger along the smooth surface. “I can scent no hint of the Grey anywhere here.”
Mac was standing straight, looking past the poised, curvaceous figure out into the darkness through the windows by the doorway. He distained to answer, and the woman’s tone took on an additional bite.
“Or does this include your fairy story about his being able to mask his scent? That tale has already been tested, and laughed down several times – as with the kidnap, the holding, the circling. Why do you persist -.”
Gemma had had enough of this.
“Some of Nick’s – fluid – is on my left knee,” she interrupted abruptly.
A jolt ran through Mac and his fingers flexed into claws, but he stilled again, breathing slightly more deeply as he now glared at the floor, a muscle working in his jaw.
The sleek blonde stared haughtily past him at Gemma, who held her unnerving gaze and looked back. Not challenging, just meeting that cold gaze.
“What fluid do you-.”
Gemma was damned sure that the woman could guess, that she just wanted Gemma to have to announce it, and she interrupted for a second time, “And his clothing is stuffed in with the rubbish in the common room here -.” She gestured with a hand at the door opposite the police-tape cordoned lab entrance.
“We can smell what happened here, human,” cold sarcasm dripped through every word, “We don’t need your feeble circumstantial ways of figuring out what went on.” The woman was now coldly glaring at her, but Gemma refused to back down.
“Then how do you account for my miracle leap from the lab to the trees? Nick picked me up in the lab and dropped me out there -.”
“You can’t even tell the difference between them, can you, manu?” The disdainful tones cut across hers, “Mackeld carried you out to the trees.”
“The second time,” Gemma retorted angrily. She felt a swift shimmer of something in the air around her, something echoing between the four males staring in a circle around her and Mac, and she tensed uneasily at the tingling feeling it evoked, unconsciously leaning closer to the warm back just in front of her.
Then suddenly the door swung open again and a new figure stepped through it, a tall, tired-looking broad-shouldered male in an elegant tuxedo. The power shimmering in the room seemed to thicken, redounding suffocatingly from figure to figure, and Gemma shivered with the burn of it on her skin. The people posted around the room all bowed to the man entering, and the circle of accusers around Mac, together with Mac himself, also all turned and inclined their heads politely to the newcomer. He nodded back, flicking his rich brown hair out of his eyes and sighed, tapping a finger on his thigh.