“My Qadesh, I mean you no harm.” His voice was compelling, but at least I didn’t want to rub against him like a cat anymore. “I see you have a new friend. Although I am grateful he was there to help you yesterday, I do not appreciate his interference now.”
I sat up, still touching Zeke’s fur, and looked around. The table had been replaced by a big canopied bed. Gauzy curtains surrounded Zeke and me. Zeke’s jowls were pulled back, and he growled menacingly deep in his chest. I put my arms around his big frame.
Then I noticed Ellasar sitting on a thrown-like chair, watching us through the curtains. He was the essence of masculinity, with one leg stretched out, one leg slung over the arm of the chair, and his muscular torso bare. The tattoo around his shoulders seemed darker and more detailed than I remembered, and his dark leather pants were tight in all the right spots. My eye caught the ripple of muscle across his chest and followed a faint line of hair to the loose laces of his pants. My eyes stuck on that small flap of material. It seemed to beg to be peeled apart. My mouth was suddenly dry. I licked my lips and sat up to get a better look.
“I am glad you approve,” he said, motioning down his body as if he were displaying a prize on a game show.
Damn, busted ogling, plus I just noticed I was naked. The combination of shock and embarrassment helped me pry my eyes away. I used Zeke’s body as a shield. Ellasar noticed and waved his hand. I was instantly wearing a white silk gown that hugged my curves.
“That’s better, but I’d prefer something with a little more coverage.”
“This is still my dream too, Qadesh,” he said with a raised eyebrow.
“Gosh, I’m so sorry that my pesky free will has to ruin it for you! And stop calling me that.”
Zeke tensed in my arms, and I noticed that I was naked again. I grabbed the sheet and covered myself with it. It was silk, and—dammit—felt good slipping over my skin, which didn’t help my resolve. Zeke nudged me with his head, and I tried to focus.
“Well, that’s pretty shitty. Why allow me some control, and then just take it away?” I complained.
“Because I CAN.” He stood with silent grace and sauntered to the curtain. Zeke stood, forcing me to come to my knees to keep hold of his neck. Ellasar paced around the bed. I did my best to cover my assets while still holding Zeke.
“Your pet doesn’t like the control I have,” he said thoughtfully. “He is angry that he can do nothing to protect you from me.” Zeke growled in response.
Ellasar ran his hand along the gauzy curtain. “Alexandria, if I’d wanted to hurt you, I would have done so by now. You need not fear me.” He parted the curtain, and Zeke lunged for his hand. Ellasar didn’t flinch, but he stayed on his side of the curtain. Zeke, on the other hand, bounced back from some sort of barrier. He shook his head in confusion.
“I’ll allow you to keep your pet, but he must be taught some manners.” Zeke paced the bed inside the curtains. As soon as my hand lost contact with his thick fur, I felt Ellasar’s influence. His silky voice rubbed against my will, and I had no doubt who’d win.
With the last of my rational thought, I reached out to Zeke. Instantly the silky hands slid away. I could think more clearly. I hugged Zeke tighter, and he let out a tremendous howl. Maybe we gained some strength from each other.