“Kane?” He paused, keeping his back to her, knowing if he looked at her he would go to her, touch her, take her. And once again the truth would eat him alive.
“Yeah, babe?” He kept his voice soft, hoping to hide the regret.
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“You aren’t staying?” she asked, her tone equally soft, though confused. He drew in a deep, hard breath.
“Not tonight, Sherra. If you need me, you know where to find me.”
The silence behind him was louder than fury could have been. He tapped his fist against the doorframe as he kicked himself. Damn, he’d made more of a mess of this than he had the first time around.
“Night, Sherra.” He left her bedroom, ignoring his arousal, the pain slicing through his chest, and realized that perhaps the love he had seen in her so long ago truly had died. God he was f**king tired. He hung around this damned compound like a puppy nipping at her heels demanding her affection. It was senseless and was beginning to grate on his pride daily. He hadn’t betrayed her, he hadn’t left her in that hellhole deliberately. If he had things to do over, he would have never left her there while he went for help, he would have taken her, despite the risks. But the past couldn’t be undone.
She blamed him for the loss of the baby. Hell, he couldn’t blame her, he blamed himself, even though he had been unaware of the conception. That loss haunted him as few other things could. His child. His and Sherra’s.
He shook his head as he entered his bedroom. Sitting on his bed he pulled his boots from his feet, then rose to shed his clothes before lying back on the bed. His fingers wrapped around his cock, stroking over it slowly as his eyes closed and imagined her, touching him. A grim smile tugged at his lips. Her hands were softer than silk, warmer than fire. She could bring him to his knees with a smile, make his heart and his dick swell with no more than a look from those gorgeous green cat’s eyes. And her body. His groan was low, hungry. Her body made him sweat with lust. All sweet curves and satiny warmth that beckoned and drove a man mad with the need to f**k. His fingers quickened on his erection as his mind filled in the blanks. Syrup-sweet juices coated her soft pu**y, hard ni**les topping firm br**sts as his tongue stroked them, sucked them into his mouth. His fingers dipping into her cunt, hearing her hot little moans in the air around them as he f**ked her easily, pushing into her, feeling her stretch around him as she cried out her need. His balls tightened, his thighs bunching as a low growl left his lips and his se**n spurted from his cock. It eased the ache, left him gasping, still hungry, but he prayed, relaxed enough to sleep. He rolled over, burying his head in his pillow and tried to ignore the fact that once again, he slept alone.
Sherra stared at the door in bemusement. What the hell had happened? Had he cracked his head during the explosion? And what the hell did he mean that she knew where to find him? Since when did he expect her to find him? He had been on her ass since finding her in Sandy Hook, never letting up and damned sure never giving up.
She propped her hands on her hips, more confused now than she ever had been. She had smelled his arousal, hotter, more demanding than it had ever been. And he had just walked away. She turned from him. Pulling the towel from her body, she threw it into the bathroom before dressing in a
long caftan and quietly leaving her room. She padded downstairs, drawn by Callan and Merinus’ voices in the kitchen and a need for advice.
Advice wasn’t something she usually looked for. She had tried, over the years, to burden Callan the least amount possible with her own problems, knowing that the protection of the Pride was more important.
“Hi, Sherra, I thought you had retired for the night.” Merinus smiled as she sipped a glass of cold milk. Sherra watched her with a faint grin.
“I see you found the Oreos Kane sneaked in for Cassie.”
Merinus grinned in conspiracy. “I knew he would do it. Kane’s kept me in cookies all my life.”
Sherra frowned at that as she looked at Callan. “Why don’t you buy her cookies? You’re not exactly a pauper, you know.”
Callan grinned as he leaned back in his chair, his fingers playing with his wife’s hair as he watched his sister.
“It pleases him to provide them and allows him to retain a feeling of possessiveness. Why would I take that from him? Kane’s protected her all her life, cared for her, even now. I don’t have a problem with the cookies.” Callan shrugged carelessly.
Sherra looked at her brother oddly.
“But she’s your wife,” she stressed. “Your responsibility.”
Callan’s eyes narrowed thoughtfully for a moment. He was her beloved older brother, but she could see where Merinus had been unable to refuse the story once she saw his picture. He was exceptionally handsome in a rough sort of way. High cheekbones, a narrow, savage face. Sensual lips. He had the Lion’s cast to his face, but it didn’t detract from his looks in the least.
“She is.” He nodded. “But Kane was a part of her life first. And for longer. Why should I resent or interfere in the relationship that he cherishes so dearly?”
Merinus hadn’t said anything. She dipped her Oreos placidly in the glass of milk and watched Sherra with eyes that were far too knowing.
Sherra shrugged. “I was just curious.”
“You are never just curious, Sherra,” he reflected. “What’s the problem? You’re still in heat, yet you stand here asking me questions rather than taking time to bond with your mate.”
She stilled, blinking over at him in confusion. “It’s sexual…”
Callan breathed out heavily. “Sherra.” He shook his head. “I won’t argue your beliefs with you, though I highly disagree. The heat isn’t just physical, I’ve warned you of this.”
He had. He had lectured on emotional, physical, and spiritual bondings. It hadn’t made sense then, and it
didn’t make sense now.
She hunched her shoulder as she walked over to the doors that led to the sheltered grotto outside.
“So where is Kane?” Merinus asked casually, though Sherra could hear the hint of anger warming her voice.
She shrugged. “His room, I believe.”
“And you’re here, why?” Merinus asked. “What happened?”
She turned back to them, frowning in confusion. “I don’t know. I came out of the bath and he appeared…almost sad…melancholy, as though the weight on his shoulders was too heavy to bear. I assumed the heat was the cause and reminded him that I had warned him of the consequences.” She looked to her brother, frowning as she tugged at her lower lip with her teeth. “He just walked away, Callan. I can’t understand why he just walked away.”