Kane shifted to human form and dressed. After a nearly non-stop drive, they parked off a secluded fire road below a canyon. He slept near their parked vehicle. His ears and nose attuned to any hint of danger. Gaby slept in the back of the car. After he told her about the princess claiming him, she remained distant. He couldn’t blame her. She’d been hurt when she learned a man she dated was married. No way would she repeat history. He hoped another dream resolved his questions, but this time he didn’t dream or had no memory of them. Her alluring moisture and his constant state of arousal kept him in his own frustrated purgatory. Shifting into wolf form helped stave his lust, but not by much. The sexual tension had to end. One way or another. He took in a long breath and walked down to the car just as she opened the door. “Morning.”
“Hey.” Gaby blushed and grabbed a roll of toilet paper. “Call of the wild.” She headed behind a bush.
He smiled. “I’ll meet you in the car.”
He heard a rattler in the underbrush, but far from where Gaby went to relieve herself. Nonetheless, he sniffed the air and tuned in for other dangerous creatures. In less than five minutes, Gaby returned. She yawned. “Need coffee.”
“Me, too.” He started the car and returned to the main freeway toward Las Vegas.
“Any more revealing dreams?”
“Not this time.”
She threw him a suspicious look as if saying, “Yeah right” and stared out the window.
He snorted. “Gaby, don’t be jealous of a dream.”
Her mouth slackened. “I’m not.”
“Did you know werewolves can detect the scent of emotions such as fear, anger and even jealousy?” Not to mention her sexual needs.
She huffed. “Well then, your emotion radar is off.”
He grinned. “I like a female who refuses to share her man.”
“You are not my man, or wolf, or whatever.” She shook her head. “Wolf charmers and werewolves don’t mix. We are frenemies, remember?”
Kane laughed. “Come on, you know we are more.”
Gaby gave him an insufferable look. “What about princess she-wolf? The one that claimed you.”
“If you take my dreams literally, why didn’t she stop my pack from mind wiping me?”
“The way she tried to attack me in my earlier dreams, I wonder if she ordered the werewolf lobotomy.”
“Hmm. You might be right.”
“Also, why would I have a mate and then be sent on a dangerous mission?”
“Happens all the time. Look at all the military widows and widowers.”
“My wolf claims, if I had a mate, our bond would not allow us to separate for long.”
They pulled into a truck stop, filled up the car and grabbed breakfast and coffee.
Gaby opened her pack and counted her money. “Just a little over two hundred dollars.”
“Sweetie, by tonight we’ll have enough money to fly first class to any place in the world.”
“Without ID? Some security systems are not human.”
“Once we get to a safe haven, we’ll find someone who can make us false papers.”
“I look forward to seeing how a wolf gambles. Or do you just plan on compelling someone to hand over his winning chips?”
His wolf snarled. Only compel humans in an emergency. Never steal!
I know, but in this case, we can’t make a clean escape from danger without it. “I’m not a thief.”
She blew on the still hot coffee and smiled. “Just a gambler with an advantage.”
At least she didn’t say cheater. “Precisely.”
Gaby bought the perfect little cocktail dress and high heels at the casino boutique. Kane used his winnings to buy a dark suit. After they checked into their suite, he returned to gamble in the gentlemen’s area. She stayed to shower and then dressed. Ready, she stepped out. He had better know when to quit.
Gaby straightened and walked into the casino. What was she doing wearing a black open backed cocktail dress and stilettos? Maybe I should go back and wear something less sexy. Too late.
Before she could turn, Kane dropped the cigar out of his mouth and stared at her with amber wolf eyes. He laid his cards down. “Wow. You look damn hot.”
His gaze raked every inch of her. “You like?”
He stood. “I love.” Men stared at her and Kane immediately scowled at the onlookers, causing them to divert their gaze. He pressed her close, one hand on her lower back possessively. “I’ll meet you for a bite in two hours.”
“A bite of food,” she corrected.
Thus far, Kane had won over ten thousand dollars playing black jack. He’d taken a break and turned in his chips to buy a nice suit. He looked hot naked and ruggedly handsome wearing blue jeans, but in a suit, he appeared devastatingly gorgeous. The quintessential alpha male on the cover of one of those billionaire romance novels. Every female gawked at him as if he was the only male they’d seen in years. She kept him on a tight leash by holding his arm in a vise grip. Mine. Or rather borrowed until he remembered his identity and his true mate.
He looked at his watch and winked. “Go on and make reservations at a ritzy restaurant.”
Gaby made her way to the hotel to arrange dinner. Earlier while shopping at the mall, she bought a small laptop to keep tabs on the news and get more general information about werewolves. Back in their room, she opened the laptop and found a posh restaurant then caught up on news and scanned websites on werewolf legends. When she finished, she decided to go down to the gambling floor to fetch him so they could enjoy their winnings.
When she caught sight of him, he continued gambling. This time poker. He’d taken off his suit jacket and red tie and unbuttoned the collar of his white shirt. Holy hot. A crowd had gathered around him. Three attractive women flirted for his attention. Gaby worried the casino manager would have him thrown out as a suspected card counter. Then he would have to compel him and who knows how many people he could compel at once? Instead of telling him to quit, the manager encouraged him to continue playing. The security men, probably called to throw him out, kept the crowd back. Yep, Kane had to have compelled everyone. She wondered if charismatic leaders were werewolves.
He smiled at Gaby. “Here’s my beautiful lucky charm.”
Everyone, especially the women hoping to be his companion, stared at her as she stood at his shoulder. She bit her lower lip. Mortified. Never had other women viewed her as competition for a man’s affections. Finally, she uttered, “That’s not awkward.”
Kane chuckled. “Sorry.” He gazed at the crowd. “Mind your own business.” They did just that. A few left, but most stared at the floor as if told they were bad. “Come on, sweetie, sit by me.”
Gaby rolled her eyes. “Don’t call me, sweetie.”
He winked. “Sure thing, Gabriela.”
She’d always been called Gaby, but the long version coming from his deep voice sent a shiver down her spine. She leaned in and whispered, “Reservations for dinner at seven.” They had an hour.
Kane nodded and called over the manager. “Cash in my chips and put my winnings in your safe. I’ll pick them up in the morning.”
“Yes, sir. Anything else?”
“No. That’ll do it, for now.” Kane extended his elbow to Gaby and she complied. “Let’s freshen up before dinner.”
They stepped into the elevator. Finally, privacy. “How much did you win?” Gaby asked.
“Wait, what?” She shook her head. “Unbelievable.”
He feigned hurt. “I used my senses, nothing else.”
“You know they have cameras?”
“I compelled security to turn them off.”
Gaby doubted all the cameras had been turned off. The door opened and they walked into their posh suite. She locked the door. “We could use the indoor Jacuzzi.”
Kane drew her in. She practically swooned at the sound of his husky voice, “I’d rather you warm me up.”
Her nipples as well as her nether area tingled. Making love to him would be mind-blowing, epic, but oh so wrong. “We can’t.”
“But your body—heart, says you do.”
She sighed. “Yes, but without protection we shouldn’t risk it.”
“You are not ovulating.”
“You can tell?”
“Yes. And we are both free of sexually transmitted diseases, which I sense I can’t get anyway.”
How convenient. And hot! Bold seduction took over. Time to end the thick blanket of sexual tension, she smiled and frantically unbuttoned his shirt. “What are we waiting for?”
Kane let her undress him, enjoying the wicked smile on her face. “Have you ever painted a nude?”
She licked her lower lip as if getting ready to taste ice cream, hopefully, not vanilla. “When I do, you’ll be my first.”
She traced a finger down his chest to his abs and he moaned. “I only paint wildlife.” She chuckled. “Though technically you fit in that category.”
Gaby did as instructed.
He slowly unzipped the backless dress, revealing her delectable body. Her black lacy panties accentuated her pale alluring round ass. He knelt down to pay homage to such sensual beauty with a kiss and bite. Gently. She wiggled and he held her still. “You are so fucking hot.”
“Please, I can’t wait.” She didn’t wear a bra and when he turned her around her nipples were fully erect, waiting for his mouth to taste them.
He growled. “I can’t believe I waited this long to see your beautiful perky breasts.”
“Feel free to sample.”
Holy shit. An invitation. His mouth pillaged her nipple while squeezing and pulling the other. Sucking as she went boneless and moaned. One hand found her cleft and, instantly, she melted. He held her while she released short breaths as her ecstasy rose. So sensitive.
He too almost went over the edge, but before anything more happened, he carried her to the bedroom and gently placed her brazenly naked body on the king-size bed. Inflamed and ready for him. “Woman, you drive me mad.”
She bent her knees and opened her legs in invitation. “I’m so ready.”
“Not as ready as I’ve been during the entire road trip. Hell, even while locked up and gazing at your beautiful jade eyes.”
Kane paused. “I can’t promise I’ll be gentle.”
“Who says I prefer gentle?”
“Careful what you wish for.” He lowered himself over her and kissed her long and hard, as his hot flesh slid into her moist warmth. Her soft breasts pressed against his sensitized chest.
Gaby gripped his face with her hands, kissing him with equal adoration.
He delved deep, doing his best to be gentle, but not for long as he slammed into her.
She arched, meeting each powerful thrust. Her breath shallow and fast. She joined his rhythm.
With every inch of his will, he waited as she convulsed in rapturous pleasure beneath him. Moaning softly. “Oh, yes, oh.”
Kane groaned and stiffened in release. “Mine.” He convulsed and together they rode waves of glorious bliss. He landed on his back and pulled her in, enjoying her warmth. Gaby filled the emptiness of his soul. He stroked her arm. To hell with my past and lycan rules, I only want her in this moment and for the rest of their lives. “We are good together.”
She circled his nipple. “I have to agree.”
He kissed her hair. “Although, now I’m starving.”
She sat and stared at the clock. “Dinner in ten minutes.”
“Are you sure we shouldn’t order in?”
“Trust me, the restaurant upstairs is awesome.”
He smiled and got up. “Then awesome it is.”
Gaby felt deliciously sore and still tingled as they stepped into the restaurant owned by a popular television chef. It would have been nice to order in, then more sex, but they needed, or at least she needed some cool off time. Sex was bound to happen, but she couldn’t confuse it with love. Not the happily ever after romance.
Kane took in a long sniff. “Wow. Impressive.”
Interesting that aromas rather than visuals were what he noted. Now it’s my turn to show off my charm. “Reservations for Jones, party of two.”
The headwaiter nodded. “Yes. This way.” He seated them at a candle lit table overlooking Las Vegas’ glittering skyline. He handed them the wine and liquor menu.
Kane went into alpha millionaire mode, ordering the most expensive items on the menu. “Your best bottle of champagne and then a bottle of your finest red blend for dinner.”
“Yes, of course, sir.” The waiter left.
“An entire bottle?” Starving, the last thing she needed was to drink on an empty stomach. Especially while still drunk with lust.
“To celebrate our escape.”
The waiter brought the champagne and popped the cork. He poured them a glass and then placed the champagne back in the iced bucket. “I’ll return with the menu and chef specials.”
Kane raised his glass. “To escaping with the most charming woman on the entire planet.”
She laughed. “And most charming wolfish prince.”
They clinked glasses and drank.
Bubbles tickled her nose. She shuddered. “Wow. Good.” She downed the rest.
“You might want to slow down.”
“I finally escaped Project Sabertooth. Pour me another.”
“Okay.” He filled her glass. “We better get you fed.” He called the waiter over to take their order. “What do you recommend?”
“We’ll start with caviar and a crab dish specialty followed by black truffles and our chef’s special lobster, and beef Châteaubriand.”
Kane turned to Gaby. “What do you think?”
“Very well, that will do.” The waiter nodded and left.
Gaby lifted her glass. “I propose another toast.”
Kane’s feral gaze held her in his alpha force field. He raised his glass. “Yes?”
“To frenemies with benefits.”
He laughed. “And to the one and only wolf charmer, who I vow to protect with my body and soul.” His tone softened. “Forever.”
Gaby gaped, seeing the wolf shadow him. The werewolf who during the heat of his climax claimed her as his. Like a commitment, and now he appeared to confirm his intention. “You mean that?”
He reached for her hand and gently kissed it. “Yes, I do.”
She closed her eyes and savored the moment of complete bliss and happiness. No. I can’t be in love. Doubt darkened her lovesick contentment. He needed to come back to reality. “Steele, eventually, you will remember and I’m afraid I won’t be allowed in your life.”
Without letting go of her hand, he met her eyes. “Why did you call me Steele?”
“It’s your real name.”
“I don’t want it to be.”
“The name Steele reminds me of a life without you.”
“But it was your real life.”
“I’m happy the way things are. You, me, and once we settle, we can adopt a shelter dog or two. We can move by the coast.”
Gaby’s heart skipped a beat. She too imagined them together. A cottage by the ocean. Throwing a ball on the beach with a scruffy terrier chasing after it. Quiet candlelight dinners. Her artwork, dog training and he tinkering with a sailboat. She shook her head. “How soon before they find us?”
“Trust me. I’m on guard. No one will find us.”
“Sounds great and I bet after more dreams your memory might snap back.”
“Even if I manage to remember my identity, we’ll never part.”
Gaby drank the entire second glass. Frank too had promised her the world after they made passionate love. They would travel and on their return, he promised a bigger house near headquarters. How opportune for Frank. Her face reddened. He would have two homes, one for his wife and one for his mistress.
“Nothing…everything.” She shook her head. “Let’s not ruin the best day of my life.”
He lifted a brow. “Let’s plan on making each day as good as today.”
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. She braved a smile. “Okay.”
The first course arrived and though he couldn’t remember his past, she told him everything about hers. He wanted to know. The good, the bad and the very ugly, including the year of torture after her attempt to escape. “Giles used electroshock until I swore to never run away again. But the dark isolation room was by far worse.”
He sighed. “The ass told me what he did to you and if the lion hadn’t killed him, I would have.”
“After he released me from isolation, things got better. I was allowed to get my online art degree and even my own home away from the facility, but still stuck on his property.” She sighed.
“It’s over, I’m glad you told me.”
The waiter brought the main course and then poured the red wine for Kane, waiting for his approval. Kane savored it as if trying to identify every ingredient. “Exceptional indeed.”
Gaby drank her glass. “Yes, the best red wine I’ve ever tasted.” The food melted in her mouth. So good. Telling him had almost dampened her mood. Time to start anew. “Let’s talk about something fun.”
He poured her more wine. “The night is young. Any ideas?” He smiled. “Besides trying out our Jacuzzi.”
“A sightseeing walk would be nice.”
“How about cocktails and then dancing or a show?”
She was not a party animal, but maybe he had been. “Sure.”
He finished the meal as if it were fast food. “We’ll hire a limo and take a tour of the city.”
“Sounds like a former wolf prince showing a peasant girl a good time.”
“I’m sure I’m not that type of prince and you are no peasant.”
Except no one has ever referred to me as a princess. They finished their meal, and shared dessert of tiramisu. All the alcohol, food, dessert and the presence of the handsomest man on earth made her giddy. Surprisingly, she managed to walk without stumbling. They went to the lobby and ordered a private limo and more champagne.
The limo pulled up and the driver opened the back passenger door. Kane bowed, “Princess Gabriella.”
“Yes, my prince.” She stepped in. More champagne poured. Like a fairy tale she hoped would never end.
Kane said. “Don’t move.”
“As if I would.” For one, she was in heaven and two, she felt quite inebriated. Coffee might be good, except they needed a good night’s sleep. Then again, she knew the minute they returned to the hotel, hot sex would be in order.
Kane knocked on the driver’s window. “Give us the grand tour and then we might stop at a club for dancing if you can recommend one.”
He nodded. “Yes, sir.”