Samantha had shrugged. Having no idea why he did.
Tossing her black hair defiantly, Aloira slinked away.
Samantha had rubbed her neck and gone to the river to wash the other girl's sticky fingerprints off.
But Jaecar had waited near a tree by camp and when Aloira passed it, he caught her by the throat and rounded to slam her against a tree.
Her brown eyes were huge, and she clawed at his large brown hand. Gagging against her compressed trachea.
"I thought you and I had an arrangement. But it appears you not when to leave well enough alone."
He released her abruptly and let her slide down the trunk.
"I'm sorry, Jaecar." She bowed her head and backed up from him. A submissive pose it wouldn't occur to Samantha to assume.
"Know that any touch you put on her will be thrice times as done unto you."
"I understand." Keeping her eyes averted she rounded and scampered off to her hut. Ashamed at having been caught taunting the other female.
The youngest of the pack.
"Jaecar?" Samantha's quaking voice drew him from the memory of enacting penance on the camp whore.
"No." He said flatly. "I don't need Aloira. I've another woman in mind this year."
"You've chosen a mate?" Samantha took a step forward from the mantle.
"Have you?" He countered. Turning to cast an intense look over his shoulder at her.
"You know I will not! I've no wish to have a male sweating upon me. Trying to get me with pup and then biting into me to show I've become his property...And that's if I survive it. Which we both know...I'm small..."
She held her nightdress out as if to emphasize her tiny frame and miniscule height. She was back before that fire again.
"Damn you, Samantha!" He charged toward her.
She scampered backward to corner herself next to the mantle and wall again. Ducking behind the corner of the mantle as though putting it between them would save her from him if he truly wanted to take her there.
Jaecar eyed her face. Round with large eyes and a small, pointed chin and pert upturned nose. He abruptly lunged and pinned her into the corner with one hand on the wall near her shoulder and the other against the fire. "Do you see how easy this is?"
"E-easy?" She stuttered. Eying him in shock.
"A male could have you cornered and be inside you in moments." That thought had him already leaning his pelvis forward to pin her into the corner.
She tilted back. Her face roving his face to decipher if she was threatened.
Of course, she was threatened but she didn't have the sense to scream or scurry away. Far too trusting...
"He could have you in moments and what would you do with no one here to protect you."
"You protect me!" She objected leaning forward and nearly stepping against him. He could just feel the brush of her small nipples through his tunic as they grazed his chest when she drew deep breaths.
He was already so over sensitized from the moon that he found himself groaning against the desires of his beast.
"Then mate with me." He said under his breath.
She laughed outright. Ducking his arm against the wall and pushing his elbow aside as she gathered a candle to light in the fire. "No. I won't let you do that! I won't be mated by force or out of pity."
"You've picked a mate, you've just told me. I will be fine and well enough without you." She gave him a chiding look as though he were a fool to think otherwise.
His jaw went a little slack.
"I have my hut. I'll be fine."
"And what if a bad wolf were to make his way in?" He found his eyes skittering to that hatch in the roof.
"Well, he'd have me to deal with." She lifted a small fist and held the cuff of her nightdress aside so he could see her fierceness.
His face crumpled.
She wasn't taking this seriously at all.
Jaecar stalked across her hut and put a palm on her upper chest just below her collar to press her back until she was against the wall.
Her candle slipping from her fingers and hitting the ground.
He reflexively caught it with the toe of his boot and tipped it back up on its little metal tray on the floor and skid it aside. His gaze never leaving Sam's face.
His hand slid up her neck and caught a fistful of her hair to hold her in place.
"Jaecar!" She objected but he slammed his lips over hers to swallow the sound. Driving his tongue into her mouth to taste her honeyed sweetness.
An addictive flavor.
Without meaning to, he found himself grinding against her. His other hand sweeping beneath her hair to brace her cheek as he deepened the kiss. Stealing her breath as he tilted his head and swallowed her further.
Finally, he drew back and let her gasp for air.
"You're trying to scare me!" She blurted. "Like you do every year."
"No. I'm warning you." His gaze flared yellow, and he deeply wanted to rip that nightdress open and feed on her there. Put his mouth to her lower lips and taste her deepest sweetness. That scent that was teasing him and making his monster roar beneath his skin.
"Tomorrow, Sam. You'll have to be mated. The Alpha will no longer tolerate you running free."
"Well, he certainly can't have me."
Jaecar stopped at the door and rounded. "You're an easy target. Mistake me not. Someone will have you tomorrow."
"They won't, Jaecar." She assured softly. "I'll be careful."
Groaning in frustration he tossed his arms.
"I will!" She leaned out the door to shout at his back as he strode into the darkness.