Alpha Male Chapter 4

Willow

Rafe Astor was a big softie. Who knew the king of his own shifter se*x club could be such a wonderful cuddler? He untied me from my bonds, let my body slip into his waiting arms, and carried me through a small, darkened door set well into the far wall.

I’d looked around when I walked into the dungeon. My fear and panic skyrocketed when I’d discovered an empty room, a blindfold, and a note.

Str!p.

I’d done as he bid—wasn’t that the game I agreed to play? The cavernous room hadn’t stayed empty for long. Cold, clammy hands had pinched my skin at every opportunity as ropes bound my wrists and stretched my limbs. My joints ached by the time Rafe arrived and turfed my playmate out of his dungeon.

Leaving the room that provided my introduction to Rafe’s sort of playtime gave me a different experience to entering it. His words unraveled in my head until they made no sense at all. He wanted to see me again, and something about pay … I shook my head. Everything became muddled in it.

My cheek pressed to the open collar of his shirt, so we were skin-to-skin in one tiny patch. Enough for me. I hummed against his warmth, snuggling deeper as he plopped into an oversized, over-stuffed pasha lounge and drew a thick throw around us.

He scooped a jar off a side table and coated his fingers in the stuff, then slipped them beneath the throw and between my legs.

I let out a little shriek at the k!ss of the cool gel, but it warmed fast beneath the circular motions he made over my pussy. The sting I’d forgotten faded as he caressed me, the motion of caring for me after the fact somehow more intimate than the initial act.

“Better?” Long fingers caressed the nape of my neck and slid through my hair to massage my scalp.

I answered him with a groan he seemed to understand, holding me tighter. The leather and whiskey scent of him mixed with something wild heightened my sensation of swirling around him. He teased me, touched me, slapped me, and gave me an incredible orgasm that left me … well, here.

Unable to settle, I focused on the things around me. His arms, tight and muscle-bound, could have been constricting but weren’t. The scent of him, his warmth against my cheek. I turned my head, pressing my l!ps to his skin, then flicked out my tongue to taste him.

Rafe answered me with a groan of his own above my head. “If you do things like that, little kitten, all this time will be wasted and we’ll be back where we started.”

“Where was that?”

Him, towering over me. His breath k!ssed my l!ps when his mouth wouldn’t.

My th!ghs trembled in an effort to hold my body up and not collapse in front of him. For some reason, that mattered at the time. I needed to hold up under his assessment because failing him was worse than running from the club. Instinct kicked in, recognizing the predator in him, deadly and dangerous. The sort that devoured little fluffy shifters like me.

Provoking him might be the stupidest decision of my life. Rafe Astor had a wildness about him, exuding power and freedom. The sort that allowed him to do anything he wanted because he could.

Se*xy and dangerous as hell. I wanted him, and that was such a bad thing.

“Me tying you back to those posts and fvcking you senseless.”

“Oh.” His crass words sent a delicious shiver of fear followed fast by desire rippling through me, awakening nerve endings dulled by the euphoria that crashed over me not more than a handful of minutes ago. “I thought we already did some of that.”

The memory of his whip—or whatever he’d chosen as his preferred method of torture—slamming into my tender flesh overtook me. I relived those seconds where it took two strikes on the same spot before my body gave in to a new ache.

Rafe tapped my nose. “None of that. You’ll get both of us going again.”

“You can tell?”

He dipped his head to speak into my ear. “I can smell your needy little pussy. And tomorrow, if you like, I’ll do something about it. If you want me, Willow.”

He knew my name. I gripped his shirt in tight fists and nodded. “Yes, please. And thank you.”

“For what?” His voice held a note of amusement layered over a darker one of desire.

“For replacing my ache with a different one.”

His fingers caught my chin and tilted my head back. I lost myself in his dark gaze, mesmerized by the golden flecks that swirled there.

What are you?

“You think I’m a distraction for your grief?”

I straightened and tried to push him away. “Do you know everything about me? Stalker,” I muttered under my breath as he gathered me back into his arms, nestling me back into the same spot I’d tried to vacate.

A huff escaped him. “I know everything about you, Willow. Everything, except what you are. You didn’t fill that little section in on your form.” He squeezed me between his arms. I swallowed and jammed my mouth shut. “Please?” he coaxed, massaging my scalp.

“Why don’t you go first?” I mumbled into his chest. My eyes fell closed against the rhythmic thump of his chest. “You tell me your secrets, and maybe I’ll share mine.”

“You know I’m supposed to be the enigmatic one.” Contained laughter laced his voice.

“Might be nice, for a change.” I yawned and snuggled deeper.

“Are you going to fall asleep on me?”

“Maybe? I’ll pretend the night was a dream.”

“Not a nightmare? It could have been, if I hadn’t stopped—” Rafe broke off with a soft curse. His heart rate increased beneath my cheek. “Did you know he intended to use needles on you?”

Things that pinch.

His words made a terrible kind of sense. “No.”

“I didn’t think so. Did you know that, applied in the right way, sharps can force a shift? It plays on your nervous system, making you believe you’re in imminent danger. But … it can also prevent the change, leaving you caught in limbo. But not by choice.”

“Not by choice.” I recalled the scaled girl in the foyer, his claws tracing over my body. “You controlled it. In you. Your hands.” I caught one and brought it to the front of my face, but his nails were pink, manicured to neat edges. “What are you, Rafe?”

His gaze swirled, gold and black, and my world dropped away.

His fingers curved around my cheeks, drawing me to his l!ps, and he spoke against them. His skin darkened, shadows flickering beneath, ready to erupt when called upon. “I’m an eagle, Willow. A wedge-tailed eagle.”

I stared into his gaze. “An eagle. That’s … small?” I offered, trying to reconcile the outback bird of prey with the man wrapped around me.

A dark laugh met my l!ps as he gave me a chaste k!ss. “Not that small, sweetheart. Let’s get you dressed. In something rather less fvckable than before, shall we?” Rafe slipped me off his lap and set me on my feet, steadying me until I could stand on my own. His head tilted to one side. “Though I do like that harness. Tomorrow night, seven o’clock. My office.” His gaze searched mine, a flicker of uncertainty in it.

What sort of woman was I to deny Rafe Astor when he’d been such a sweetie?

I smiled and made no move to cover my body beneath his gaze. “If that’s what you want, Sir.”

His smile left me in no doubt about what tomorrow would bring.

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