Page 7 of Back River Quiver

“Yes, you can,” she whispered, losing some of her common sense in the steam, apparently. It filled the bathroom, making her wonder if this wasn’t all just some big dream. And if it was, maybe there was no harm in exploring the way her muscles grew languid watching Rixen stroke himself, his back muscles flexing in great shifts. A damp rush made her slick between her legs, in a hot, melting way she’d never experienced. Without a formal command from her brain, Morgan unfastened her shorts and let them drop, stepping into the showers and letting the perfectly heated water rush over her body.

It was a full minute before Rixen stepped in behind her, his body crowding her into the far corner. “Your trust in me grows while my control fades, my gift.” He drew closer, a hand wrapped around his sex, pumping it slowly. “It would be so easy to fuck your little pussy right now. Make it bleed for its first man.”

Oh Jesus. “You won’t do it until I ask.” Which she never would. Right? “You’re a man of your word, aren’t you, Rixen?”

“I am,” he heaved, closing his eyes.

Morgan took a white bar of soap off the window ledge and slipped it into his free hand. “If you’re a good, trustworthy man…” Why don’t you let me go? That’s what Morgan meant to say. But instead, she said, “Why do you call yourself repulsive?”

Rixen breathed through flaring nostrils for several beats, before he released his gigantic manhood and started to soap his body, starting with the unbelievable breadth of his chest and traveling sideways to his underarms. “When we became men, my brothers and I went to town to find wives. They found theirs in a matter of weeks. I…”


“I did not appeal to women. They found my way of speaking odd, which did not help matters considering how I look.” He shrugged. “To be honest, they did not appeal to me, either, but I would not ridicule them over something that could not be helped.”

Something pointed stuck in Morgan’s middle. “They were mean to you?”

“Yes,” he said simply. “Unless they were terrified. I’m not sure which was worse.” His eyes found her through the steam. “I came home and started to wait for you.”

Okay, the reminder that Rixen believed her to be a gift should have shaken Morgan from her stupor. It didn’t, though. She couldn’t believe how badly she suddenly wanted to touch Rixen. Her fingers ached to run over the ridges of his chest, the planes of his face. How on earth had she gotten lost in the Everglades and found someone who echoed the same insecurities she’d lived with for so long? Their reasons were different, sure, but the root was there. Buried deep. “I, um.” She took the soap from his hands, lathering it in her palms. “My parents divorced when I was young and I could tell neither of them wanted me anymore. Not for the right reasons. I was a symbol of their failed marriage, you know?” She swallowed her nerves and ran soapy hands up Rixen’s dirt-caked neck, smiling a little as his mouth fell open on a groan. “They made me choose who I wanted to live with permanently. It was the ultimate game for them. And it wasn’t about me—or wanting me. It was just about winning. Owning. When I picked my mother, my dad couldn’t get away fast enough.” She brushed back his wet hair to find him watching her intently. “I know what it’s like not to be wanted. But it’s usually never about you.”

“You will never feel unwanted again, Morgan,” he said unsteadily, leaning down to bring their mouths close. “I’ve been so lonely for you.”

“I’ve been lonely, too,” she whispered.

Their lips brushed together and she felt Rixen’s erection jerk, the heavy weight of it smacking off her belly. “Will you touch me more?”

As Morgan picked up the soap again and rubbed it between her hands, sensations became impossible to ignore. The cling of her bikini material between her legs, the wetness of her triangle top tugging her nipples down via gravity. Rixen’s size. His heat. The way he looked at her. She felt…cherished. Needed. “Close your eyes,” she murmured, lifting her hands to scrub at the filth on his forehead, cheeks and chin. He couldn’t stop turning his face into her touch and a dangerous squeezing began in her chest. “Rinse.”

He put his face under the spray…and came away clean.

Oh Christ. Rixen wasn’t unappealing at all.

No, without the hair in his face and dirt makeup, he was fucking gorgeous. Maybe it was his vulnerabilities that softened the harshness of his features. Or the way he looked at Morgan like she was his entire world. Whatever the reason, the fearsome man she’d encountered in the swamp now appeared different to her. Worthy of touch.