Feral Heat--Except Eight (Final Excerpt)
Feral Heat, by Jennifer Ashley
Chapter Four (continued)
In the middle of the night, Collar payback hit Jace.
He opened his eyes in the dark, sweat rolling down his face, pain smacking him in the gut. He stifled his groans—no use waking up the rest of the house.
Payback happened when a Shifter prevented his Collar from going off while he was fighting. Helped a lot during the fight, but afterward there was always a backlash. The systems relaxed, the Shifter’s adrenaline dissipated, and the suppressed pain woke up and said hello.
Jace’s nerves were on fire. The pain started at his throat and poured from there into his body. He doubled up, still on the couch, rolling onto his side and silently fighting the agony.
Smooth, cool hands touched his skin. Jace had stripped down to his jeans to sleep but hadn’t put on anything else—he’d found enough blankets in the linen cupboard to keep his bare torso comfortably warm.
Deni’s touch cut through his pain. She knelt on the floor next to him, the fabric of her long T-shirt brushing his body. She wore a bracelet on her right wrist, a thin gold chain with a small charm that soothed when it touched him. She hadn’t been wearing it earlier tonight, but maybe she hadn’t wanted to risk it getting lost at the fight club.
Jace took a deep breath, trying to still his racing heartbeat. Deni drew her hands up his chest and across his shoulders. A few hours ago, Jace would have found the touch sexual, invigorating. Same hands, same woman, but now she calmed.
He laid his head on the arm of the sofa, forcing his body to open up from its cramped position. Deni moved her hands down his chest and to his abdomen, her touch firm but caressing.
Jace drew in another breath. Deni left swaths of relief as she pulled her hands across him, paths free from pain.
She leaned down and kissed his chest. Jace wound an arm around her and pulled her closer. It felt so natural to hold her to him like this. Maybe he’d known this woman in another life, perhaps they’d had a love for the ages there. Shifters didn’t believe in reincarnation, but Jace’s fogged brain liked the idea.
Deni kept kissing his body, kept stroking with her hands. Her lips were soft points on his hot skin, her hands so beautifully skilled. If Jace weren’t in so much pain he’d be aroused. He’d love to pull her up to straddle him, to hold her while she found pleasure in him.
He let out a whispered groan. Deni kissed his lips, stifling the small sound.
Jace held her, moving his lips to kiss her back. Wonderful, sweet woman. Her touch unclenched the tightness in him, feathering comfort through his body.
She’d risen from her bed, somehow knowing he was in pain, and had come out here, even after the wary good night they’d shared. Jace had made sure he’d been as quiet as possible, but she must have heard him or sensed his pain.
Jace kissed her lips again, stroking her hair. If they had time and freedom, they’d find so much together. He was Feline, she Lupine, he from the Vegas Shiftertown, she from the Austin. Distance, family, and laws kept them apart, but at this moment—who cared?
Deni raised her head. She kissed the tip of Jace’s nose and brushed her hands down his chest once more, the gold chain whispering.
“Better?” she asked.
“Good.” She unfolded to her feet, the hem of her long T-shirt brushing her knees. She leaned down, bathing Jace in her scent, and kissed his lips once more. Then her touch and kiss were gone, Deni moving down the hall to her bedroom.
Jace lay back, the vestiges of his pain fading. “Good night,” he whispered, and fell into a deep, untroubled sleep.
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End of Excerpts
(Copyright 2014 by Jennifer Ashley)