Keeping my gaze firmly on his gradually blanking face, glancing nowhere lower on his delicious body, I stated quietly, “This was a bad idea. I’m sorry, Ezra, but this can’t happen again.” My words were guttural, even if soft, as I made myself voice them.

Quickly turning when he began edging off the bed, I shoved my feet into motion, heading toward the bathroom. “I’m going to take a shower.” A thought occurred in spite of my body’s pulsing need. “You may not want to go outside unless you’ve washed, because you smell like me.” Shifter’s sexual fluids smelled like their animal, so any Shifter would be able to tell he had just slept with a wolf Shifter, and any Shifter who knew my scent well enough would know it was me. My teeth gritted hard as I felt wind brush past me. I halted instantly when Ezra stood before me, staring down at me with his hooded gaze.

Impassive green eyes ran over my features. “Why?”

My lips pinched, but into the quiet I decided he deserved the truth. “I can’t risk you dominating me.” He would know why. I didn’t elaborate.

He hummed, his head cocking. “And if I promised to keep it to the bedroom?” He paused, lifting a single, bored brow. “I know how to keep my sex life private from business.”

Lips thinning even further, I shook my head. “It’ll spill out somewhere.”

After a few moments of dead silence, his hooded eyes opened fully. Honesty radiated in their depths, blatantly showing me his feelings as he cupped my jaw and made me peer directly at him. “I respect you and your handle on the Shifters. This isn’t a relationship, as you know, only sex, kept behind closed doors.” His face lowered, slanting closer to mine. “It won’t leak to arguments or me trying to manipulate you.”

He meant it. I could tell even without scenting as I had the truth in his words. Still… “I don’t know, Ezra.” This was one of those suck-ass decisions in life I was going to have to make, being who I was. “It never ends up being just sex and we both know that.” The same conversation we’d had back at the fore.

He placed his forehead against mine. “As I said before, we’ll deal with any issues as they arise.” His penetrating gaze never wavered. “I promise you, sweetheart, I won’t ever try to manipulate your ruling.” The scent was truth. His lips quirked up at one corner. “You should know this already.”

Yes, I guess I should, since we cared for one another, but being who we were didn’t allow us the luxury of assuming. Which he also understood, so he wasn’t taking my second-guessing him as an insult. My argument was valid. Staring into his eyes, all I wanted to do was throw my arms around his shoulders and kiss him hard, rather than run away from him.

Jaw repeatedly clenching, I debated my decision internally. If I were going to have a sexual relationship with another in power, I would want it to be with a person I loved and who loved me in return. An individual who I respected and trusted completely, and they likewise. Ezra was all of those things. He was also the man in power I wanted to take to my bed.

Inhaling deeply, I stated, “If I ever once feel you’re trying to control a situation because we’ve had sex,” I didn’t doubt he would try to control situations, because he already did at times, but it was the ‘because of sex’ bit I wanted to clarify, “we’re through.” I met his eyes steadily. “And I will have lost my respect for you.” It was brutal honesty, but if he ever did what I had said, it would be one hell of a low blow against someone he called his best friend.

His eyes narrowed slightly at my words, but he slowly nodded. Right before he yanked the blanket off my body, tossing it to the floor. “I’m going to ignore the fact you’re starting to tick me off,” his hands rested on my hips, “actually thinking I would do something like that,” he bent, his warm palms gliding over my skin to the backs of my thighs, and he lifted me swiftly, my legs hooking around his waist and my arms around his neck, as his hands moved to my ass, squeezing and holding me flush against him, “because I want to take that shower with you.”

“That’s very kind of you,” I murmured, automatically arching so my br**sts were flush against his flexing chest. My ni**les pebbled at the contact, and I rubbed them deliberately against his heated flesh. “But I still want to taste you.”

His eyes darkened as he moved us inside the bathroom, kicking the door closed behind us with his foot. “You missed your chance.” As he stepped inside the shower, one of his hands slid lower on my ass, his fingers feathering over my intimate folds and finding I was most definitely wet for him. “I’m going to taste you now.”

Heat unfurled through my lower stomach, my head dropping back as his mouth landed on the crook of my tender neck. Fumbling with one hand, I managed to turn the water on to a decent temperature as he sucked, fanning the flames inside me. Hot water sprayed over our bodies, creating a slick, luxurious slide to our skin as he set me on my feet, our dueling sensual powers already rippling in waves against our fevered flesh.

Dropping to his knees before me, he groaned as he stared at my chest.

Panting, I watched as his eyes flared, matching my own powered eyes, as his hands gently cupped my br**sts. Pinpoints of pleasure warmed my body as he softly squeezed, bringing his face closer. Gripping his slicked hair, I arched, serving myself up for him. His breathing hitching, his tongue flicked over one of my ni**les. I jerked at the contact, and one of his hands slid behind me, holding my back tight so I wouldn’t move as his teeth latched onto my nipple. A cry of need fell past my lips, and his gaze met mine, his lashes wet and speared, making his green eyes sparkle that much more as he suckled hard, pulling and tugging my aroused flesh in his moist mouth, his tongue laving hungrily.

I bucked against him, trying to breathe through the pleasure he was inflicting. Fisting his hair tight, I pulled him against me, not wanting his mouth to stop its exploit. He nibbled and sucked, his eyes closing as he groaned, pleasuring one breast, then the other. My body trembled as I pressed greedily against him, his fingers roaming like luxurious petals down my sides until he gripped my thighs, making me spread them. My whimper of disappointment echoed past the spray of water as his lips left my br**sts.

“Hush,” he crooned gently, and then his lips were on me again, licking and placing light kisses down my quivering stomach. He nipped softly in a circle around my belly button, my breath faltering altogether as I watched him work his way down my body, wanting, no needing, his mouth lower. His hand hooked around one of my knees, lifting and placing it over his shoulder.