It wasn’t a lover’s kiss. It wasn’t sweet or gentle or at all romantic. It was a feral attack by the animal Sloan kept caged. The one Reese had seen with Rylan. The one that prowled at the edges of what seemed to be his endless control.
He forced her mouth open, ravaging her with his tongue. She stood still for a moment, stunned by the power of his kiss, and then all of her inhibitions crumpled under the heat and pressure of his lust. With a strangled moan, she dug her nails into his shoulder and climbed him like a tree until her legs could wrap around his waist.
Sloan used his lower body strength to pin her to the wall. A commanding palm angled her jaw until he could plunder her mouth mercilessly. She dug her boot heels into his lower back and leveraged his own body against him, while her hands moved to claw his neck, score his scalp, marking him with everything she had.
“Fucking hell,” he groaned against her mouth. Then he grabbed her ass and held her while grinding his hips into hers. His cock was hard enough that it felt like iron between her legs.
She’d always worried about losing him. Always relied on his control whenever hers was weak. Except now he’d lost his, and if they were going to survive this, she had to find the will to break away.
But any semblance of rational thought was being pulverized with each invasion of his tongue, each pulse of his steel shaft against her core. The fervid attraction that had simmered between them for so long, that had been pushed back to the dim recesses of their minds, was coming to life. And it would devour them if one of them didn’t slam on the brakes.
As always, it was Sloan who found the strength. His lips gentled and the hand on her ass dropped away. He broke contact with her mouth and rested his forehead against hers, his chest bellowing like a thoroughbred’s. His heart beat wildly against her chest until he finally straightened and stepped away.
The loss was so acute, she nearly snatched him back. But if he could find his control, so could she.
“Go then and be careful,” he said gruffly.
Dry-mouthed and aching at the loss of his touch, she whispered, “Always.”
He drew a shaky hand through his hair before spinning on his heel. When he threw open the door, Rylan was behind it, his hand raised and a smile on his face.
One look at Sloan’s thunderous face and Rylan’s grin faded. “Did I interrupt something?”
Sloan didn’t look back at Reese, but she didn’t miss the slight slump of his shoulders. He thought he was being replaced, she realized.
But why? Why now? Sloan had never cared whom she slept with in the past. He’d always known that she relied on him more than anyone alive, but in that dip of his broad back, Reese now read fear. Fear that he was being replaced by the man in her bed.
She wasn’t sure if she should correct that assumption. If she did, she’d be risking a repeat of what had just happened. Sloan was her heart, even more than this town, and she refused to let her own selfish desires cost her the very last thing in her life that she cared about.
So she licked her lips and said, “No, Rylan, I need you.”
The words were like a shot to Sloan’s spine—or maybe a knife. He didn’t take Rylan by the throat, but he might as well have.
“She comes back with so much as a scratch and I’m peeling the skin from your bones, one painful inch at a time,” he hissed at Rylan. “If she dies, you better run, because when I catch you—and I will—you’ll wish you’d bled out beside her.”