Wake a sleeping tiger, p.11
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       Wake A Sleeping Tiger, p.11
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         Part #22 of Breeds series by Lora Leigh

  Dark, apricot flesh, her breasts swollen and topped with cherry-ripe nipples. Slender legs, well-toned thighs and the prettiest pussy in the world.

  Fuck, he loved her pussy. The fact that she didn’t wax or shave fascinated him. Neat, well-trimmed little curls framed the dark pink bud of her clit. Moisture beaded on the curls covering the swollen folds below, her sweet juices a subtle, tempting scent that made him crazy to taste her.

  Stripping his jeans off, Cullen watched her with narrowed eyes, his breathing sawing from his lungs as he fought for control. Just enough control to relish the sweet taste of her before the imperative need to take her overwhelmed his desire to just enjoy her.

  As he eased onto the bed, spreading her legs and sliding between them, his lips were poised above the little curl-shrouded mound. Watching, he let a finger slide through the slick moisture-laden slit.

  “How pretty,” he groaned, his voice deeper, darker than before. “So wet and sweet. Just thinking about eating your pussy has me ready to come.”

  “Stop thinking about it and eat it, then.”

  The sensual demand had his cock jerking against the blankets and the taste of the mating hormone flooding his mouth. Helpless against that hunger, Cullen lowered his head and with the sweet heat of the hormone spilling from the glands, he drew the sensitive bundle of nerve endings to his mouth.

  “Oh God . . . Oh God . . . Cullen,” Chelsea cried out, her hips jerking as his hands slid beneath her rear, fingers clasping the rounded flesh as he lifted her closer to his mouth.

  The most incredible heat and blazing pleasure tore through her clit. It was unlike any sensation she’d ever known. As he sucked the swollen bud, his tongue lashed over it, sending her senses burning with the friction he was creating.

  Lifting her knees, she tried to pull herself closer, desperate for more of the extreme heat, more of the agonizing pleasure.

  “Oh God, it’s so good.” As she fisted the blankets in her fingers, wild whimpers fell from her lips. The extremity of the pleasure was tearing through her, burning her and gathering in force.

  Shudders worked over her body, through her senses. Her clit was so swollen, so sensitive that each lash of his tongue was like a stroke of ecstasy itself.

  She couldn’t bear it. The suckling heat of his mouth, the hungry flicks of his tongue and growls of male pleasure added to each lash of sensation until she was fighting to breathe. She was certain she couldn’t survive it any longer before orgasming only to have him push her higher.

  “Cullen, please,” she cried out desperately.

  He lifted her closer, and his lips and tongue went lower. Licking forcefully past the entrance to her vagina, he stole her breath.

  He licked, stroked. The furious waves of pleasure were sharper, brighter, her inner flesh flexing with increasing strength as her need for orgasm became agonizing.

  Just when she was certain she couldn’t bear another second of the increasingly fiery bands of sexual tension gripping her, Cullen’s lips lifted, wrapped around her clit, and his fingers were tunneling through the rippling tissue of her sex.

  The explosion was a cataclysm. Imploding waves of rapture burst through her, forcing a cry past her lips as shudders tore through her body.

  Before the first wave had time to ease, Cullen covered her body and the heavy width of his cock began pushing inside her. She couldn’t stand it. She was certain she couldn’t.

  Until her greedy senses made a liar of her.

  Cullen couldn’t restrain the harsh groan that tore from his chest. Working the head of his cock inside the snug depths of her pussy, he let each sensation, each harsh wave of pleasure, wash over his senses.

  The absolute need to imprint his possession on her and hers on him was desperate now. As desperate as the need for release.

  Pumping fully inside, pushing through the clenching depths of her pussy was almost painful in the pleasure squeezing his cock.

  He wasn’t going to last.

  Writhing beneath him, arching into every thrust, he could feel Chelsea rushing into orgasm again and lost all sense of reality.

  His teeth gripped the mark at her shoulder. The cum boiling in his balls exploded from him, the rush ripping through his senses as the barb extended from beneath the head of his cock, locked inside her and heightened every lightning stroke of sensation with dizzying force.

  For long seconds he wondered if he’d survived the force of it. The power of his release was like nothing he’d ever experienced before and he knew he’d never have it with another woman.

  If she was taken from him, it would be more than just his soul that he’d lose. He’d die of grief and he’d do so quickly.

  Fighting to catch his breath as the barb slowly retreated, Cullen rolled to his side with his last remaining strength, then pulled her into his arms before dragging the comforter over them both.

  Tremors still shook Chelsea. Occasional whimpers escaped her throat. Perspiration soaked both their bodies. He’d get up in a minute, he told himself, and at least clean the drying sweat from them.

  Just as soon as he caught his breath.

  No wonder her sister, Isabelle, rarely left her Breed husband’s side, Chelsea thought the next morning. Besides the fact that Isabelle was completely in love with Malachi, there was the most incredible, most explosive sex in existence.

  Breeds joked about the tabloid stories. They’d grin or outright laugh when asked about it and claim it was Genetics Council propaganda.

  That wasn’t propaganda that locked Cullen’s cock inside her, and it damned sure wasn’t propaganda that had hurled her into a series of orgasms that had melted her mind.

  Standing in front of the bathroom mirror after her shower, Chelsea stared at the faint mark on her neck. It wasn’t as dark as the one on her sister’s neck, it was lighter, but no doubt the same mark the tabloids swore all Breed mates carried.

  How had the Heat supposedly started? The stories differed. A kiss, sex, the bite, riding next to a Breed on the bus or breathing the same air. They ranged from far-fetched to ridiculous. There wasn’t a doubt now that they were true, though.

  Turning away from the mirror, she hurriedly dressed in jeans, a tank top and hiking boots before striding back to the bedroom, grabbing her pack and heading to the kitchen for coffee.

  And there sat her very reluctant mate—oh God, had she really thought that?—sprawled in a kitchen chair, one hand resting, fingers fisted, on the table as he scanned the e-tablet propped in front of him. He was dressed in khaki desert gear and beige hiking boots; his dark blond hair fell over his brow in disarray as though his fingers had pushed through it often. He looked far too tempting and, if the look in his eyes when he glanced at her was any indication, far too aroused.

  Popping a coffee pod in the machine, she slid a cup under the brewing spout. Seconds later she lifted it free, brought it to her lips and sipped—

  No.

  It wasn’t possible.

  Turning back to the coffeemaker, she opened the brewing head and pulled the used pod free and checked the underside for the little green dot that indicated it wasn’t worth drinking.

  And there it was.

  Narrowing her eyes, she turned and met Cullen’s gaze. He stared at her with a steady watchfulness that assured her he was behind the switch. Turning back to the cabinet, Chelsea opened the cabinet above her and drew the box of extra pods free, checking each one.

  That little green dot indicating a decaf product marred each pod in the box.

  Son of a bitch.

  She dumped the pods in the trash, emptied the still-full, still-hot cup of coffee in the sink, then grabbed her pack and headed for the front door.

  “Where the hell are you going?” The deep, rough growl in his voice reminded her that despite that nifty little injection Graeme had given her the night before, she still ached for him.

  As she reached the front door his fingers wrapped around her elbow, pulling her to her a stop as she swung around t
o face him. She lowered her eyes to where his fingers gripped her firmly, then lifted them to meet his once again.

  “You’re going to lose those fingers if you keep that up, Cullen,” she warned him, fighting against the need to just touch him.

  His jaw clenched so tight she wondered if his molars were cracking yet.

  “Stop pushing me, Chelsea.” He released her, though, slowly, very slowly. The fact that he was restraining himself was readily apparent. “We need to talk.”

  She laughed at that; she simply couldn’t help it as she stared back at him incredulously. “Talk? To you? Without caffeine? What dream world are you living in? And you threw away my coffee.”

  She still couldn’t believe it. He’d replaced her coffee, her caffeine, with some pathetic facsimile of a substandard decaf.

  Decaf.

  What was the point in drinking coffee if she didn’t get her jolt? Besides, decaf just tasted flat. That crap wasn’t coffee in any shape or form.

  “The injection Graeme gave you last night isn’t as effective if you swill that damned coffee like it’s water,” he argued, his gaze fierce, his body practically humming with tension and no small amount of anger. “Caffeine will lessen its effects.”

  And God forbid anyone actually know she was his mate—mate. Good God, wasn’t nature just having the last laugh on every human who came in contact with the Breeds for the horrors a few had committed.

  Propping one hand on her hip, she lifted her chin and glared up at him. “Look, I understand the problems you’re having with this, I really do.” Like hell she did. “Tied to a woman you don’t really want, and the animal coming awake inside you refused to save the woman you loved.” She lifted her hand quickly when he would have spoken. “Well, you’re not by yourself. Trust me, I want to be tied to someone who doesn’t love me just about as much as you want to be tied to someone you don’t love. And I’ll be damned if I’ll give up my coffee for it. Tell your brother to up the dose next time if that’s such a problem.”

  Jerking the door open, she stomped from the house, slamming the panel closed behind her and fighting back the tears that wanted to fall.

  She wasn’t crying for him.

  She wouldn’t cry for him ever again.

  Swinging herself into her truck, she was moving out of the driveway just as Cullen strode purposefully from the house, the look on his face more than a little put out.

  He looked pissed.

  And that was just too damned bad. He should be in her shoes right now. She was so damned horny she could barely stand it, she hadn’t had her coffee and she’d just spent a sleepless night reliving every word she’d heard in that damned kitchen the night before.

  He wanted a cure, did he? Well, she’d give him a damned cure if it killed her. And if she got much hornier, it might do just that.

  CHAPTER 11

  From Graeme’s Journal

  The Recessed Primal Breed

  The Primal Breed instinct is to protect his mate at all costs. To shield her. To cover her. To stand between her and the world.

  A strong, independent mate is hell to shield. Especially one determined to stand at her mate’s side.

  Chelsea was aware of Cullen just behind her during the drive to the Bureau.

  She stopped at the coffeehouse drive-thru first and ordered the largest cup of coffee they sold and made a mental note to stop at the grocery on the way home and rebuy her coffee. Graeme would just have to fix that injection next week to allow for her one and only true vice. Doing without it endangered everyone she came in contact with otherwise.

  Swinging into the entrance of the VIP parking of the Western Division of the Bureau of Breed Affairs, she waved to the Breed on duty before checking her rearview mirror. Cullen drove by slowly, tipped a finger to his forehead and continued on his way. No doubt to the Covert Law Enforcement Agency.

  That was definitely where he needed to be, out of her hair and occupied with things that so did not concern her any longer.

  Parking her truck in the assigned spot, Chelsea grabbed the coffee from the drink holder and swung out of the vehicle. Bumping the door with her hip to close it, she hit the auto-lock on the key fob and lifted the coffee to her lips.

  The first drink was hot, with that faint bitter bite and an assurance that it was not decaf. Not that she’d drink the whole cup. She’d be wired for days. She didn’t even intend to drink her normally allotted amount.

  She wanted her coffee, but she did not want children for Cullen’s crazy brother to influence. At least, not for a while. Not until she could raise her children herself, instead of using a daycare or babysitter.

  Pushing through the door leading to the lobby, she sidled up to the security counter and flashed the Breed on duty her normal bright smile.

  “Hey, Code,” she greeted the Lion Breed cheerily. “Cassie and Ashley are expecting me.”

  Whiskey-colored eyes were speculative as he stared down at her, his nostrils flaring with the subtle sign that he was drawing her scent in.

  She waited, pasted a polite smile on her face and told herself she was going to be really nice about things this morning.

  Lifting the coffee cup to her lips, she took a fortifying drink, waited another second or two and then frowned.

  “Code. Wake up!” she demanded firmly. “Cassie. Appointment. Can I go up now?”

  No one got on the private elevator without first going through Code.

  “Sure, Ms. Martinez.” He gave her another odd look but input the passcode and hit the floor for the elevator. “Better drink what you can of that coffee before the elevator stops. Ashley has some unique ways of ruining it otherwise.”

  “Only if she wants to die in a unique way,” she snorted, stepping into the cubicle. “Later, Code.”

  The elevator doors slid closed and moved upward smoothly. Before she could take more than a single, lingering drink of the coffee, they were sliding open again.

  Chelsea blinked at the Coyote Breed standing in front of the entrance, sending a sharp, momentary flash of wariness shooting through her.

  “Cavalier.” She cleared her throat and stepped from the elevator, expecting him to step inside.

  When he didn’t, she moved to step around him and head down the hall to Cassie’s suite.

  “Ms. Martinez?” He didn’t touch her but stepped slightly in front of her, his black eyes cold, his scarred features emotionless.

  Chelsea retreated as he moved, suddenly tense, uncertain as she watched him carefully.

  “What?” she finally asked him, tensing when he said nothing more, just stared down at her unblinking.

  “Director Breaker asked me to show you to his office before you join Ms. Sinclair.” He extended his arm in the opposite direction to indicate Rule’s office. “After you, ma’am.”

  After her, huh?

  Taking a deep breath, she turned and walked quickly to Rule’s office, stopping at the closed door and stepping aside.

  Cavalier knocked firmly on the door, opening it for her when Rule’s “Enter” could be heard.

  Chelsea stepped into Rule’s office and caught his gaze as it flickered to her coffee cup.

  “We’re not discussing my coffee,” Chelsea informed him, taking a seat in front of his desk.

  “I’ll agree with that,” he chuckled before returning to the large leather chair and sitting back comfortably.

  “I just got off the phone with Cullen,” he said smoothly, his gaze still warm but cautious.

  “Really?” she drawled.

  That snake.

  “He has good reason to be worried,” he said, his tone more sympathetic than she liked. “On the whole there are few mated Breeds that we’re aware of. Protecting those we have is of the utmost importance.”

  Chelsea stared back at him suspiciously, feeling the coming letdown.

  “Are you getting ready to fire me, Rule?” she asked carefully, pushing back her reaction until she heard him say it.

  Understandi
ng flashed in his eyes, though his expression smoothed into determined lines.

  “Cullen’s call has nothing to do with your assignment,” he stated firmly. “Which is why I asked to see you. The mating scent isn’t as overwhelming as normal, but it is detectable. Every Breed in the same room with you will pick that scent up. And they will never believe a Bengal Breed would send his mate out to a bar or club without him at her side.” He gave a heavy, disappointed sigh. “And that being said, I think we’re both aware how difficult that will make your job.”

  “Say it,” she demanded, her voice scratchy now. “Go ahead and say it, Rule.”

  He sighed at the demand. “I’m sorry, Chelsea, but I have no choice but to let you go.”

  She was fired.

  Chelsea rose slowly to her feet, the hurt barreling through her. She swallowed, and it took a moment before she could speak.

  “Do Cassie and Ashley know?” she asked.

  Rule shook his head. “I only made my decision after determining the strength of your scent. They’re waiting for you in Cassie’s suite.”

  Chelsea shook her head even as he spoke.

  “Please . . .” She swallowed again, the ragged emotions brewing inside her and filling her voice. “Please give them my regrets. I have to go.”

  “Chelsea, you’re still welcome here, always,” Rule protested, coming quickly to his feet, a frown creasing his brow.

  Chelsea shook her head.

  Turning, she hurried from the office, not bothering to close the door behind her, terrified she would slam it instead.

  She walked quickly down the hall, her head down, unaware of the door opening down the hall.

  “There you are.” Ashley’s voice was filled with laughter as she met Chelsea at the elevator. “Oh, bad girl. Coffee.”

  Chelsea pushed the cup into the other girl’s hand, ignoring her surprise, and stepped into the elevator.

  “Chelsea?” Ashley pushed her hand against the frame, the pressure holding the doors open as confusion and worry filled her normally happy voice and dove gray eyes.

  “I have to go.” Chelsea forced the words past her lips.

  “But we have a girl date, remember?” The faint hurt in the Coyote female’s voice had Chelsea forcing back her tears.

  “I was fired, Ashley,” she whispered, meeting her wide, shocked gaze. “Rule just fired me.”

  Ashley dropped her hand slowly, allowing the doors to close, still holding the coffee Chelsea had pushed into her hand.

  Seconds later the doors slid open again, Code’s curious gaze easing away when he saw her. “Everything good?” he asked.

  Chelsea only nodded before rushing through the lobby and back into the parking garage. Reaching the relative safety of her truck, she gripped the steering wheel, pressing her forehead tight to her hands as she fought to get her emotions under control.

  She had been fired because of that damned scent thing?

  She could feel the bars of the invisible cage moving in closer, her knowledge that the Mating Heat just might have given Cullen exactly what he wanted causing her breath to hitch.

  Chelsea locked away from life, safe and protected.

  And it hurt.

  Cassie stepped into Rule’s office and closed the door quietly before walking across the soft cream carpeting. She ignored the director’s wary look but sat down in a chair across from him and leaned back into her seat slowly.

  She didn’t make him wait long to learn why she was there. She folded her hands in her lap and met his gaze firmly.

  “I’ll be returning to Colorado once I’ve packed. I’ll require a heli-jet for the trip.”

  His expression went from curious to brooding rather quickly, his dark blue eyes narrowing in surprise.

  “This is about Chelsea,” he finally sighed heavily. “She’s a danger to herself as well as the operation . . .”

  “Do you think I was unaware of her mated status, Director Breaker?” she asked, trying to force herself to be calm. “I knew even before it became a status. Where have you been for the past sixteen years to ever consider that I was unaware of such a thing?” Her extrasensory knowledge was well-known to him, and she knew it.

  He knew it.

  “She’s Bengal,” he stated softly. “One of the most sought-after mates in our society. She endangers herself as well as you . . .”

  “You gave me control of this operation.” She could feel her calm beginning to unravel. “Complete control.”

  “Not in this situation. The risk is too high and you should have known it,” he stated firmly. “Reorganize your team. It’s not dependent on her.”

  He sat forward then, dismissing her as he p
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