Tao leaned against the doorjamb. "I think your uncles couldn't love you more if they tried. I think the majority of the ravens here are genuinely pleased to see you. I think Cynthia, however, would happily rip out your kidneys and slap me around with them, and that Shirley would applaud her the entire time. The parents of those who died in the shooting no longer place any blame on you, and they regret that they ever did."
She tilted her head. "Very observant, aren't you? My raven's impressed."
"Yeah? What about you?"
"Maybe I'm just as impressed. Maybe."
Smiling, he said, "Wait here. I'll be back."
Her brow creased. "Where are you going?"
"My wolf's going crazy knowing his territory isn't marked, so I'm going to fix it." Stalking through the kitchen, he slipped out of the patio doors and onto the rear deck. His wolf pushed against his skin, wanting to be free to explore. First Tao had a call to make. He dug out his cell phone and called Trey.
The Alpha quickly answered. "How did it go?"
"The party went smoothly and she was welcomed just fine by the flock," said Tao. "Wade's mother, however, confronted her after the party along with Riley's archenemy-who also happens to be dating Riley's ex. Both females want her gone."
"What about the ex himself?"
"He seems to mistakenly still believe he has rights to her." It grated on his wolf's possessiveness to no end.
"How is Riley doing?"
"Okay. The confrontation with the females annoyed her, but she's tough."
"She is," Trey agreed. "Keep me updated on everything."
"Will do." Tao slipped his phone back into his jeans pocket, shed his clothes, and shifted.
The wolf stretched, scratching at the floorboards and marking them. It was a warning to any who approached. He padded around the surrounding land, clawing at trees and rocks and leaving his scent to mark his temporary territory.
Only when he was satisfied that his space had been well claimed did the wolf return to the deck. And there was his female, waiting. The wolf rubbed against her, licking at her hand.
Smiling, Riley crouched down and sank her hands into the wolf's coal-black fur. It was thicker than she'd expected, but not coarse. She'd encountered Tao's wolf a number of times and watched as he ran with his pack, but she'd never been this close to him before. In general his wolf was playful and upbeat. But she'd seen the wolf fight from afar, seen him viciously and savagely rip into enemies.
He was powerfully built, standing proud and tall as she petted him. "I'll admit it, you and your human side are pretty impressive in more ways than one." She knew the wolf wouldn't understand the words, but his human side would. And maybe that was why Tao immediately began the shift.
Riley stood and backed away as bones cracked and popped. But even when the shift was complete, she continued to back away, holding golden eyes that gleamed with masculine intensity. She wasn't fleeing, she was teasing. He sensed it and slowly advanced on her with his smooth, predatory walk.
She was so caught up in the sight of those muscles rippling and flexing that she forgot to be aware of her surroundings. Her back met the kitchen counter, stopping her retreat. In two steps Tao was on her.
"Are you going to fight me, Riley?" He fisted a hand in her hair and tugged hard enough to make her scalp prickle. "Are you?"
"I don't think there'd be any point."
His mouth curved. "You're right. There wouldn't." Out of his mind with need, Tao slammed his mouth on hers, plunging his tongue inside. Digging her nails into his shoulders, she kissed him back. With his grip on her hair, he angled her head how he wanted her as he possessed and ate at her mouth. He took everything she had to give, and maybe that was why panic rose up sharp in her scent.
He sucked hard on her pulse until she melted into him
. "Good girl." Pinning her still with his hips, he ripped off her shirt and bra. A pink flush covered full breasts he ached to mark. He sucked one taut nipple into his mouth as he cupped and squeezed her breast. It filled his hand just right, like it was made for him.
"Tao." It was a protest, but Riley wasn't sure what she was protesting against. Did she want him to stop? No. Not at all. But he'd taken over again. One part of her got off on it a little. Still, it made her feel powerless. She needed a minute to think, to get back some control. She tried to push him back, but he growled and sucked her nipple deeper into his mouth-hard enough to hurt.
He bit her nipple. "Don't tell me you don't want this, Riley. It would be a damn lie."
She didn't bother to deny it. What was the point, especially when he could smell how much she wanted him?
"But if you want me to stop, I will. You just have to say it."
She believed him. If she really told him to let her go, he would. He might not like it, but he'd walk away if she asked. And that realization made her feel not quite so powerless. "Make me come."
Rumbling a contented growl, Tao clawed off her jeans and panties and took her to the floor. Draping himself over her, he warned, "I'm not going to stop this time, Riley." He sank two fingers inside her and swallowed her gasp. "Damn, you're tight." He thrust his fingers in and out of her, groaning at how hot and slick she was, but it wasn't enough. He needed to taste her.
Riley made a noise of complaint when those very talented fingers withdrew, but then his tongue slid through her folds and she no longer had a problem. He pretty much wrecked her control as he licked, nipped, suckled, and bit. Her pussy throbbed and ached for more, so when he stabbed his tongue inside her, Riley almost sobbed in relief. She knew she wouldn't last long, not when-
His mouth was gone. "Hey!" she complained. But he'd already risen above her, shoving her legs farther apart and tapping her clit with his cock.
"I want in you." Tao needed to ride her hard, bury himself so deep she'd never be free of him. "Now."
That was fine with Riley. What wasn't fine was the teeth that dominantly locked around her shoulder. With a defiant hiss, she bucked and struggled. He just slipped an arm under her, tilted her hips, and rammed himself deep. Her mouth fell open in a silent scream. He was long and thick and, God, it burned as he stretched and filled her. But the pain barely registered because Tao was slamming in and out of her; the arm curled around her hips held her exactly how he wanted her. She couldn't move. Couldn't seem to get her breath.
Tao snarled against her mouth. "Do you know how long I've wanted to get inside this pussy, Riley? Months. Since minute fucking one." He thrust harder, faster. He couldn't get deep enough. Couldn't get enough of those little moans she made. "That's it, let me hear you."
She grabbed his hair. "Stop talking and make me come." Her raven wanted to mark him, wanted to rake his back and shoulders to leave her brand all over him. Riley closed her eyes against the temptation. No. No, she wouldn't make her raven's possessiveness worse than it already was. But it was hard to fight the urge when it wasn't just the raven who felt it, wanted to see him all marked up, wanted to bite and scratch and brand.
Holding on to her self-control would be a whole lot easier if he weren't wild. One minute he had her flat on her back, pounding into her. The next he'd rolled them both over and was slamming her up and down on his cock. Just when she thought she'd come, he rolled them again, hooked her legs over his shoulders, and began powering into her once more. It was almost too much. "Tao, I'm gonna-" She gasped as his teeth raked her neck, and her pussy clenched.