Wicked Game ~ Chapter 1

THE SAPPHIRE BLUE BMW crossover was parked in the designated turnout on US 50 northeast of Pollock Pines, but the air carried no clue of its driver’s whereabouts. Even in her animal, Phaedra didn’t sense him anywhere near. Her wolf grinned, and she retreated into the woods, away from the freeway, and raised her snout to the breeze.

There was time to play, if that’s what he wanted.

In less than a minute, she caught the scent she sought and took off through the trees and underbrush, alive with the hunt. Her heart raced as she closed the distance. Her prey’s panting and padding over the dirt gave him away, just ahead, on the other side of that live oak. She bounded around the tree and lunged—then yelped in frustration. The wolf escaped her bite with a taunting bark and her jaws snapped shut, unsatisfied.

She sat on her haunches and yowled. <You’re only making things worse for yourself!>

<Promise?> His laugh danced in her head.

Too fast, he dodged behind a massive granite outcropping, and as she came around it on his tail he lost his footing and rolled in the dirt. She leaped onto his back and bit his shoulder.

<Shift!> Her teeth sank into his flesh.

Feeling him relax under her dominance, she let go and backed away, then followed the shimmer of his feralen stage and shifted herself. When she came out of feralen into her human form, his clothes had already come back.

“Take off your jacket,” Phaedra ordered.

He complied, smiling, saying nothing.

“Your boots.” She kicked off her own reconstituted sandals.

He obeyed.


He pulled off his top, a long-sleeved blue Henley that matched both the color of his SUV and the dark jewels that were his eyes. His body was so beautiful, slim without being skinny, muscles lean and defined. His strong arms were a seductive trap; even when they were apart, she constantly ached to feel them around her.

His hands moved to his belt, looped through expensive, finely tailored slacks.

“No.” Had he ever worn jeans in his life? “Stand still, Sir Galahad. I’ll do that.”

“Sir Galahad.” He scoffed at the nickname she’d given him when they were children.

“They say Galahad was the noblest knight.” She finished unbuckling the brass clasp, her eyes never leaving his gaze, pulled his belt through the loops, and dropped it to the ground. “Move your hands out of my way.”

“Maybe.” He laced his fingers together behind his head and flexed the muscles in his arms and shoulders. “But he was surely the stupidest.”

“Why?” She was tired of talking. The nearness of him—not merely his muscle, blood, skin, and bone, but his attitude, his dry humor, and his desire for her—was always too much in the end. He always won their wicked little games, though she’d never tell him so.

“Sir Galahad was granted the right to choose the day of his death, and he chose to die before he had even lived. I mean to live. With you. A long, happy life.”

“It’s a beautiful dream. Who knows? Maybe someday it will come true.”

“Why would it not?”

She hooked her thumbs inside his open slacks and ran them around his hips, tracing the taut skin until her hands met in the back at his spine and her breasts were pressed against his bare chest.

“Mm.” She spread her fingers down over his ass, and her lips found a nipple. He groaned as she teased him with her tongue. And her teeth.

He cupped her breasts, and she looked up into those sapphire eyes. “Kiss me.”

His tongue was thick and desperate in her mouth, and when she swooned a little she let him catch her weight. So good. If only she could give herself to him utterly, completely. She took hold of his cock and thumbed the rim, felt it swell and harden even more for her. She pulled away only long enough to slide his pants all the way down and off.

On her knees, she ran her hands up his hard male calves, the inside of his thighs. She caressed his balls lovingly, as he deserved (though he’d never know she felt that way), and teased his shaft with her mouth.

“Gods, Phades…”

“Did you bring a condom?” She kept her tone casual, matter-of-fact. Did you brush your teeth? Get enough protein in your diet today? Not that pregnancy was a worry; she’d gotten an IUD a while ago.

“I did, but you don’t have to worry.” There was a fond smile in his voice. “I’m clean.”

“Maybe I can’t be sure that I am.”

His smile faded. Good. She’d never let him know she’d never been, would never be, with any other man. That would be admitting the power he had over her heart. She ripped open the wrapper and rolled the condom over his cock, a glorious thing to behold.

“There now.” She got to her feet and turned her back to him. “Take off my clothes and fuck me from behind.”

A flurry of movement and she was naked, leaning on her forearms and pushing back against his thrusts, surrounded by trees and brush and granite boulders under the open sky. She reveled in the fury of his need. He thrust into her, filled her, reached under her belly and found a breast, teased a nipple. She leaned down more, her face pressed to the earth, her bottom raised higher, offering herself to him like a dog. She was his bitch, but he would never know it.

“Phaedra, dammit.” His breath was warm on her neck. He half kissed, half bit her shoulder, and she clenched around him, needing him, pulling him in, deeper, deeper.

“Ah!” She lost control then, but he was with her. He rammed harder, the way she liked it, and wrapped his arms around her as she began to shudder.

“Yes. Come for me, Phaedra.” He held her like that, her back to his chest, until all the spasms of her orgasm were spent. But she wasn’t finished with him.

“Lie down.”

He hadn’t come yet, and he was huge. She straddled him and eased herself down over him, still so swollen, so wet. Holding his gaze, she began to ride him. Her plaything. Her toy. Her secret and forbidden lover. He caressed her breasts, and she rocked to bring him deeper inside. Why he let her treat him this way, she didn’t know. She didn’t care. Another orgasm began to build, and she bent down and murmured, “You can come this time.”

“Thank you, ma’am.”

What a goofball. No one else knew this side of him. To the rest of the world, he was always so serious.

He pumped harder and she started to tingle, little spasms building to more powerful ones. She pulled him up to a sitting position and ground her pelvis against him, dug her fingernails into his back and bit his earlobe. A breeze tickled the sweat on her back, and he ran his hands through her hair, grabbing clumps of it in his fists.

He lost everything to her then, and in that delicious moment, Rhys Madoc’s famous iron control and cool reserve were as nothing. He was hers, utterly and completely. You belong to me, her heart sang out. And it was true.

He came with her. So hard. So all consuming. So, so good. It wasn’t love, but it was better than that.

It was satisfaction, with no strings.

The way it had to be with them.

Slowly he left her, flowing away like the inexorable tide, returning to the keep of his own separate identity, safe within the perimeter of his mind, his body, his family, his pack. All that made him who he was. All that meant he could never be hers. Rhys Madoc would one day be his clan’s Alpha, and she was a Castell.

She’d known from the very beginning they could never be together.