“I am always with you, Mina, as you are always with me.”
“It is not the same.” What she was going to say next was cut off when she felt his arms wrap around her. Her eyes snapped open and she realized that this time it really was him. He pulled her tightly against him, his hand stroking down her hair. His lips were close to her ear, and she could hear him whispering to her words of love and understanding.
“I know it is not the same. I wish that I could give you what you want, what I want, but we will have to be patient.” He pulled back to look at her. His thumbs brushed softly across her cheeks, wiping away tears she had not realized she had shed. “It breaks my heart to see you sad,” he told her gently.
“It breaks my heart to know you are leaving, so we are even.” Alina’s lips twitched when he chuckled at her petulance. His arms tightened slightly and her skin heated as she realized that they were alone and being quite affectionate. It was extremely unfitting and if her father happened upon them, she knew she would die of embarrassment.
“Mina that does not quite apply the same way for us as it does for a single female and single male,” he told her obviously catching her thoughts.
“We are single,” she pointed out.
He shook his head. “No, we are not,” he said pointedly. “We are mated; we just have not bonded yet. As long as I do not steal your virtue, I am within my rights to hold you and to perhaps even steal a kiss. The impropriety happens when a male and female not meant for one another fraternize. That my love would be extremely inappropriate.”
Before she could stop it, her mind jumped to the night Serghei had kissed her. Vasile dropped his arms immediately and stepped away from her. The rejection hurt, but she could not blame him. She would not want to see another female kissing him either.
“I am not rejecting you, Mina.” The low growl deep in his throat and the glowing eyes showed her how close his wolf was to the surface. “I was afraid I would hurt you. Apparently my wolf and I are in agreement that hearing about the kiss and seeing it are two very different things. It is a good thing I did not see it in your thoughts while I was near the pup. I would have injured him. That he would be so disrespectful as to put his mouth on yours.” His snarl was menacing and Alina found herself taking a step back.
She watched him for several minutes as he regained his control and then a thought occurred to her. “Why have you not kissed me?” She felt a wave of desire hit her that had her stumbling, and her eyes widened as she met his still glowing gaze.
“Because you are not of age, my love, and a kiss is not all I would want. Let us leave it there for now.” She could tell he was embarrassed, which was an odd thing to witness as Vasile was always so sure of himself. But if he did not want to talk about it, then she would not push him.
“I want to ask you something, but I do not want to incite your wrath,” he says, effectively changing the subject.
“Then I guess you should choose your words wisely.” Alina’s brow rose as she looked up at him, and she liked seeing the shocked look on his face at her boldness.
He cleared his throat before he finally asked. “About your markings?” He paused obviously waiting to see if she was going to snarl at him as she had the other night. She simply stared at him the way her father had done so many times to her when she had to ask him difficult questions. “I should never have asked to see them in front of your father, or anyone for that matter. They are a very private matter between a female and her mate. I disrespected you, and for that I owe amends. What can I do to show my remorse for disrespecting my mate thus?”
Alina felt her mouth drop open and quickly snapped it shut. She had not been expecting his words. Initially, as soon as he said the word markings, she assumed he was going to ask her if they had appeared. But once again Vasile Lupei surprised her. She stared into his blue eyes as she considered his request and felt her heart speed up as she realized what she wanted him to do.
“A kiss,” she breathed out before she lost her nerve. “I want a kiss from my mate for disrespecting me.” She could tell that he had not been expecting her answer. Apparently they were both good at surprising the other. His eyes never left hers as he took slow measured steps until he was standing inches from her. Alina tilted her head back to look up at him and tried to keep her breathing even. As his arms came around her, one hand gripped the back of her neck while the other wrapped around her small waist pulling her close against him. He tilted her head back even further, and as his head lowered her eyes fluttered closed. Her lips parted slightly as she waited to taste him. The taste never came. His head continued to lower until his lips were next to her ear with his warm breath blowing the tendrils of her hair around and warming her skin.
“Everything in me wants to give you what you want,” he whispered in his deep, gravelly voice, and she knew he was telling the truth. Even with her lack of experience, she could hear the desire in his voice, and more than that she could feel it through their bond. “But this I cannot, not yet.” He pressed his lips to her neck just below her ear. Before he pulled away he nipped her skin enough to sting but not draw blood. “Mine,” he whispered and then kissed the tender spot soothing the place his teeth had just been.
Alina was glad that he held her a few moments longer because she was sure if he had stepped away immediately after the kiss on her neck she would have fallen ungracefully to the ground. Her whole body felt warm and tingly, even in places she had never tingled before. That thought had her giggling, and she was not sure if it was because she was somehow drunk on his scent or because in her mind the words sounded ridiculous.
“I think it is time I get you home, my love,” he told her gently as he pulled away, but he did not let go until he was sure she would not crumble.
“Is the tingling getting to you too?” she asked innocently.
Vasile’s jaw clenched and his eyes narrowed as she grinned up at him unrepentantly. “You are nothing but trouble, Mina,” he muttered as he took her hand and began leading her back to her home.
After several moments of silence, as they walked she asked the one question that she did not really want the answer to. “When are you leaving?”
“In three days’ time,” he answered. She felt his eyes on her but kept her own straight ahead. She wanted to be strong. If she was going to be the mate of an Alpha, she had to be strong, so she swallowed back the tears and turned her lips up in a smile as she finally met his gaze.