His mouth curved into a smile so dark and dangerous, I felt my heart squeeze inside my chest. “That’s for each of us to decide. We can promise you, however, that we will never hurt you. You can say no to anything, and we will obey.”
“You’re talking about sex, aren’t you?” A few snickers echoed behind me, but I resisted the urge to turn around and glare at them.
Leo shrugged. “If you’re to be our mate, Jade, you’ll have to at one point or another. You know that, right?” I nodded. “However, there are no set rules for this. Like I said, as long as we don’t hurt you or make you cry. We revere females in this Pride, remember?”
I bit my lip, remembering all too well what it was like to be the only one. Why couldn’t they have found a lioness from another Pride? Why did they have to be so damn stubborn? Sure, their race was nearly extinct, but I knew there were still some in Asia and Africa. Why me when I was just a human stray? I guess I’d get the answer to that one soon.
He leaned forward and grabbed my hand, pulling me after him without another word. A menacing growl warned the others to stay away as I stumbled forward in my cheap flip flops, trying to quell the fear rising inside me at the thought of being alone with Leo after so long. I knew what he’d want to discuss, and I wasn’t too sure what scared me the most: his questioning or his kissing. Or maybe, it was both.
It was Leo, after all.
“Chill, baby. I’m not gonna bite you,” he said, his voice husky as he lounged back against the floor cushions. “Yet.”
“Very funny,” I snapped back, holding myself very straight as I sat cross-legged opposite him. I decided to ignore him for now and instead focused on my surroundings. I’d always loved his house. Sure, he was what one could call anal-retentive, everything in its place and all that, but the house was still comfortable and inviting. I knew this was thanks to his mother and the way she’d brought him up. Once I’d loved coming here, lying with him on the brightly colored pillows and thin mattresses, watching the fan lazily turn over our heads. I’d been in love, or in lust, I’m still uncertain which. He’d been my everything back then.
I came back to the moment when a bright light suddenly appeared. My eyes wide, I watched him take his lion form, admiring the sleek planes of his body as they transformed into massive paws and a thick black mane that echoed his dark hair. Green pupils glittered as he came to a stand only inches from me, his wet nose touching mine for a second in silent recognition. It was a familiar gesture, a friendly one too. I couldn’t help myself; I reached out and wrapped my arms around him.
Fur caressed my cheek as I pressed my face against his side, my breathing slowing down, my body relaxing too. I no longer held myself like a ramrod soldier. I knew he’d changed so I’d be more at ease, less afraid of what he might want to talk about. To do too… And it had worked, just like he’d probably planned it.
Nevertheless, I let him lie down, his head on his front paws, and I laid beside him, curving my body alongside his. He felt hot, too hot in the furnace that was his house, but right now, I didn’t care. I’d missed this intimacy. I closed my eyes and forgot this was Leo, forgot about our past and what our future would be. My palm immobile on his muscled back, I listened to his purring…and found myself again.
I woke up hours later, disoriented at first, my mouth dry and my clothes sticking to my body. I was sweating from every pore, even wearing only a simple tee and cotton shorts. I groaned as I turned around and laid on my back.