He reluctantly withdrew his hand, almost groaning as her pussy sucked at his fingers, trying to keep them inside. "Look at me, Riley. Open those eyes, come on." Glazed eyes met his, and he almost shoved his fingers back inside her. "Next time, I won't stop there." It was a warning and a promise. "I'll fuck you in every way I can have you. And then I'll do it again and again."
She was not happy about the flutter of excitement in her stomach. "Oh really?"
"Really. I'm letting you go now because we have to leave. But tonight, that pussy is mine." Her eyes narrowed dangerously. It had to make him weird that her anger made his cock twitch.
"Actually, it's mine. As for whether or not I let you use it . . ." She shrugged. "It does help your case that you've got as much dick in your jeans as you have in your personality."
Smiling, he watched as she went to pick up her duffel. "I'm going to fuck that attitude right out of you, Riley; trust me on that." The look she gave him was hard as stone.
"You better hope you're never on fire, Tao, because I'm more likely to relax and pull out some marshmallows than help you."
Chuckling, he snatched the duffel from her and strode to the door.
Waiting in the gate terminal, Riley leaned her head against the floor-to-ceiling windows, watching the luggage trains, the ground crew, and the planes speeding along the runways. Beside her, Tao was idly flicking through a newspaper that she doubted he was actually reading. Others lounged around, reading and chatting to pass the time.
Some were also passing the time ogling Tao-one human in particular was pretty obvious about it. Incensed, Riley's raven aggressively flapped her wings at the little bitch. She was a territorial creature and she felt somewhat possessive of the male who'd marked her. Wasn't that special.
Riley rolled the shoulder that was stiff with carrying her duffel. Tao had repeatedly snatched it from her, but she kept snatching it back just to poke at him. Honestly, being in an airport with Tao wasn't so bad. She was used to being jostled, having wheels clip her heels, or having perfumes sprayed in her face the moment she stepped into the duty-free store. No one got in Tao's way. They parted for him and, by extension, for her.
The only downside to having him there was that it was stopping her libido from cooling down. The damn bite seemed to throb almost as bad as her pussy. The memory of what had happened in her room kept replaying in her mind. She couldn't believe she'd come that hard from just his fingers; it was almost embarrassing.
Catching movement in her peripheral vision, she noticed that the blonde ogler had angled her body toward Tao. A low guttural sound rattled up Riley's throat before she could stop it-the warning came from the raven and made Tao's head snap up. He glanced around, looking for the threat, sparing the blonde only a passing, disinterested glance. That kind of made Riley feel better.
"What is it?" he asked. His minty breath blew into her face, washing away the array of perfumes, colognes, and baked goods that felt like an assault on her senses.
"My raven's just on edge," she told him quietly.
Tao rolled back his shoulders. "I can relate."
Riley almost smiled; he always looked so uncomfortable surrounded by humans. It was almost cute. "What is it about humans that bugs you so much? It's not just the prejudiced ones that annoy you."
"I don't like what I don't understand, and I just don't get the human race. They do the weirdest fucking stuff. Dress their pets in little outfits. Lie that they walked on the moon. Vote for Donald Trump
. None of that makes sense to me."
Her mouth twitched. "I'll bet we're as strange to them as they are to us."
Tao grunted, not bothered one way or the other. He didn't hate humans or wish them gone from the earth, but he had no time for them either. "Tell me about the Exodus Alphas. I know about the flock, but I don't know them."
"What do you know?"
He stretched his legs out and crossed them at the ankles. "The Alphas are Sage and Ruby Everett. They've been mated for almost thirty years and they've run the pack for almost as long. They have twin daughters, Cynthia and Lucy."
Riley nodded. "That's right. Sage is a good Alpha. Fair. Wise. Strict without being too restrictive. Ruby's good at her position. Supportive, compassionate, and a wicked fighter."
"You like them a lot," he sensed.
"I do. And I admire how tight a unit they are. Out of all the imprinted couples in the flock, they're the most solid." Shifters that weren't true mates could still have a mating bond through the process of imprinting. Plenty of couples took that route, since there was no guarantee a person would find their true mate.
"Are there a lot of imprinted couples in the flock?" asked Tao.
She nodded. "The ravens in my flock believe in fate and destiny, but they don't necessarily believe that their fate lies with their true mate. They believe that if they find someone else they care for or who suits them, it's possible that their fate lies with them."
Tao figured it made a strange kind of sense. Unlike most shifters, he wasn't completely sold on the true mate deal. His brother had spent years searching for his true mate. Given what Joaquin had found, Tao often wondered if his brother had ever wished he hadn't bothered looking. It perfectly showed not only that true mates could be unhappy together but also that sometimes a person could spend so long daydreaming about their intended mate-building them up in their head into the perfect person-that they were disappointed by the reality. Joaquin's mate had expected a white knight and found herself with a guy who was almost as much of an asshole as Tao. And she never let him forget just how far from perfect he was.
Many of the mated pairs in Tao's pack were deliriously happy and devoted to each other-perfect examples of how true mates complemented and completed each other. But Gabe and Hope were just as close and well suited, and they were an imprinted couple.
"Back to the Alpha family," he said. "I've met Lucy; she seems nice enough. What about the other daughter, Cynthia?" He smiled as Riley's upper lip curled. "You don't like her."
"We clash in a major way. She's slightly below me on the dominance scale and she's always hated that-probably almost as much as she hates me." Riley's chest tightened as two children ran past, making her think of Savannah and Dexter. Damn, she was going to miss the little buggers.
"So it's fair to say that she won't be so happy to see you."
"It would indeed be fair to say that. Then again, she might relish that she can show me she's now dating my ex-boyfriend. She always wanted Sawyer and she's petty enough to be smug that she has him."
"You jealous?" Tao rumbled, claws almost slicing out at the idea. Riley barked a laugh, and the tension left him.
"No. I was the one who ended the relationship. But Cynthia will believe I still want him if it makes her feel better about herself."
"Personally, I doubt she'll want you in his line of sight."
"I'm not the only one in the flock that he dated."
"Does she hate the other females as much as she hates you?"