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Starting Fires (Sumeria's Sons #3.1, Sumeria's Magi #0.2)
© 2013, Lexi Ander
Instead of leaving, Stan crowded into my personal space. "What do you believe you can present to him that he'll want or even need? You're a pauper and an orphan."
I met his hard unwavering gaze. "I'll be the one who stays, whether it's as his lover, or as his friend has yet to be determined. Either way, I won't leave him."
Stan took a stunned step back, his neck turning an unattractive shade of red. His mouth opened, obviously to give a scathing reply, but the scuff of a boot in the hallway drew our attention. Gregori glanced between the two of us. Gregori scowled with displeasure and Stan's coloring darkened further.
"We'll finish this discussion later," Stan grumbled before brushing by Gregori. The redhead watched him leave, his expression blank.
"Hey." I didn't know what to say. I didn't like how Gregori stared after the alpha. His silvery-gray gaze shifted to me. "Did you want to come in?"
The Magi hadn't been to the bunk houses since the news one had been built. For the second time in a half an hour I closed the door to my personal quarters and had my life assessed by a visitor. Gregori moved slowly about the room, fingering the spines of books, and gazing through the glass at items from my family's history.
"Do you miss your relatives?" Gregori asked as he peered at the photos on the wall. "All of these seemed to be taken when you were much younger. Hasn't the Order allowed you to return home since you enrolled?"
"My family is gone," I replied. "I'm the last." It was as if a tight band constricted around my chest, making normal breathing difficult. I hadn't spoken of the loss to anyone in a long while. But then again, Gregori wasn’t just anyone. "They were lost in a sudden storm at sea after I began attending the Order of Anat. The yacht had been discovered capsized but no trace of those who aboard had ever been found."
Gregori considered me for a long moment before he asked, "You've been alone all this time? If you don't mind me asking, how many members of your family did you lose?"
"Parents. Two sisters. Twin brothers. My grandmother, both aunts, my uncle, cousins, as well as …" I attempted to keep the grief from my voice and failed. They were all gone along with other family friends.
"Do you plan to have children? Surely your family name won't stop with you."
I grimaced. "Yeah, no. It didn't take me long to figure out she-wolves and I…" I couldn't finish the explanation. The memory of the failed attempt at sex with Catalina was mortifying; the heat of my embarrassment spoke for me.
Gregori hooked his hands in his jeans pockets and cocked his head to the side. "How did you know?"
The blush crept up the back of my neck as I rubbed at the skin. "My best friend, Catalina, and I, we believed we would be mates when we grew up. The situation was a mess with both of us grieving for our families. The sex had been… not great. I'd been turned on by the scent of Catalina's brother trapped in a pillow and not her. She accepted the discovery quicker than I did. Believe it or not, the encounter made us better friends. I lost contact with Catalina after her extended family adopted her. She moved to South America and I relocated to Georgia and Tribe Enkidu."
A small smile ghosted across Gregori's lips.
"Any females in your past?"
The red head grinned wider. "No, I've always been attracted to males."
I returned his smile, at a loss at what to say next. I didn't know why he'd come to visit me. Before Stan messed up our lives, I would've been kissing the hell out of Gregori by now. Somewhere along the way I'd become unsure of my place in his life. What I told Stan had been true. I'd never leave this beautiful man. How would he accept me? As a friend or his lover, which would he choose?
"I'm not weak," Gregori blurted. "I overheard part of what he said before you opened the door. I don't need to be shielded."
"You're one of the strongest people I know." To survive the horrors he'd experienced at the hand of the Magi Triad and to continue to be a good, kind man took tremendous strength.
Gregori took a couple of hesitant steps toward me. "Yeah?" One single word coupled with a certain inflection of his voice conveyed a dozen questions instead of only the one. I had a sudden flash of hope. "Why have you stayed away? You watch me from the shadows and around corners. If I didn't like you so much it would seem kinda of stalkerish." He scuffed his boot on the floor and glancing at me with a quirky smile before his expression sobered. "You used to make up reasons to bump into me so we could…" Gregori ran his fingers through his red hair.
We stole kisses in dark corners. How could I forget? The taste of his lips and the smell of his skin both fed the growing urge to take him to my bed and keep him there.
"Why did you stop?" His gaze searched mine, shoulders hunched with his fists trapped in his front pockets. When I didn't respond immediately, he ducked his head, his fiery mane falling to hide his face from me.
My feet became unglued and I crossed the floor. His gaze snapped up, expression full of surprise right before I snatched him up and buried my nose in his neck. He stiffened for a split second, then melted into me, his arms wrapping around my neck. What was it about this man that simultaneously gave and stole my confidence? How did I tell him his friend was a complete ass? That I didn't believe he'd want me since Stan had come back?
"I'd go to battle for you, Juan, for as long as you want me," Gregori whispered into my ear. "There are few who I'd fight to the death for. You told Stan you'd be the one who stayed. You've become an essential part of my life. The first thought after I wake in the morning is when will I be able to see you. It doesn't matter if it's from across the yard or at the breakfast table. I can't think of anything else until I do. How fucked up is that? Tell me why you only watch me from afar now." He shivered and I realized I'd been growling softly into the nape of his neck as he'd whispered to me.
I nuzzled into him and inhaled. "You were so upset when Stan arrived. I could see how much you hurt. I thought… I thought… him not me… him." Gods! I had trouble speaking my fears! The boulder sitting on my chest made the words that much harder to express.
"Don't you know?" he asked his voice low and calm.
Smooth warm palms cupped both sides of my face, forcing me to pull away. Immediately I detested the distance. I didn't know when I'd be able to caress his skin again or be this close to draw in his scent.
Unbelievably soft lips brushed against mine. Oh, Gods, with that one stroke Gregori snapped the restrictions I'd placed upon myself. A simple, tentative kiss bushed away the one hundred and one reasons why I should keep my distance from the Magi. With Stan determined to redirect my attention, and what appeared to be Gregori's indecision, both had been motive enough to give the Magi time to work through the issues he had with his friend.
Yes, Stan continually placed himself between Gregori and me. I allowed him to believe he thwarted my efforts to court his friend. I waited for Gregori to give me a sign or gesture that he needed me. When he did, because I had to trust he would, then nothing, not even Stan, would stand in my way. I understood Gregori needed space. No matter how I ached to be close to him, I had permitted the distance between us. I didn't want him to be suffocated by my persistence. Through it all, I hadn't been far away.
Here was the signal I'd been waiting for. Gregori licked my lips with an insistent tongue, his mouth caressing mine, and I couldn't stop my possessive response. I became a wild animal snarling as I opened and kissed him back. My arms crushed and imprisoned Gregori against me. A small voice warned I had to control myself. I'd alarm the man who I wanted with every fiber of my being. I'd practiced restraint for so long that I loathed to rein in the sudden freedom I found within his arms. I needed him. Keeping my distance from this male had been killing me a little each day. If he'd only… if he'd let me…
A whimper turned into a low groan breaking me out of the semi-feral state. I attempted to pull away but his arms grasped me, his silvery-gray eyes snapping with fire.
"Don't you dare stop, Juan Ybarra! All I dream about is your kiss." A small hop and Gregori wrapped his long legs around my waist, his arousal pressed into my abdomen, and my fucking knees went weak even as my palms slid under his ass to hold him more tightly to me.
Photographs fell to the hardwood floor as the drywall shook from the impact of Gregori being firmly shoved against the wall. The sound of glass breaking had to be loud. All I heard were the noises he made for me as I captured his mouth. I starved for his taste, and attempted to keep the kiss from being too hard or rough. Gregori answered with unbridled vigor, taking everything I gave while demanding more. He fit perfectly in my hands, and it was heady allowing myself to believe, even if a just little bit, that he'd been made for me.
Gregori threaded his fingers through my hair, tugging and pulling, maneuvering my head to exactly where he wanted me. He arched and rubbed his body along mine and I thrilled at the knowledge he was just as hungry, just as out of control as I was.
A sharp tug on my scalp broke our kiss. "More," he panted. "I need more." He arched against me again, his hard cock digging into my abdomen as he threw his head back and moaned. The long line of his neck begged for my mark. "Juan." The pleading note was already there in his voice.
Hefting him off the wall, we listed to the side and bumped the glass cabinet causing a loud jingle. On the way to the bed, my hip struck one of the chairs, moving the table until it banged into the wall. I didn't care. Gregori mewled, sucking on my neck, and I knew he'd leave a mark. Didn't that just make me as hard as stone. My whole body pulsed and my cock ached with each pulling suck.
We fell upon the mattress and clawed at the clothes. The light sweater hooked and had become caught on the Gregori's elbows. I became distracted by all of the exposed skin. Ducking down and starting at his navel, I licked a path up his smooth chest, between his pecs to his collar bone. Gregori freed one of his arms from the clothing and tore at my simple button up that suddenly wasn't so simple. Giving up, he pulled the shirt over my head to have the cuffs trap my hands. The damn thing was stuck and wouldn't come off. My wolf and I whimpered because we were so close to touching Gregori's skin again. We hadn't been this naked together since the ranch had been attacked. The memories of how he looked, how he felt haunted my dreams. We had finally made it back together again and my wrists were stuck—trapped by the cuffs of a shirt I didn't even like!
SEE YOU TOMORROW!!