“I’m heading straight home since we had several big orders come in. Marcus says he can cope, but it will be easier for everyone if I’m there.”
A loud crash on the path in front had them stilling and throwing out their senses. Anita lifted her head and dragged the air deep into her lungs. He did the same.
“Deer,” Anita said.
“Aye, we must’ve given it a fright.”
They continued walking along the marked path, the dead pine needles muting the thud of their boots. The fresh scent of pine filled the air, and Rory caught the gurgle of a mountain stream, but it was somewhere out of sight.
“Do you want to stop for a drink?” he asked.
Rory set down the picnic basket and pulled one of the attached water bottles off the side. He opened it and handed it to Anita. Surreptitiously, he watched her and the way her throat worked as she swallowed. His gaze settled on the fleshy spot at the base of her neck where wolves marked their mates. God, he wanted to do that to her in the worst possible way. And that was only the first on his long list of things he’d love to do with Anita Gatto.
He must’ve made a sound because she paused and lowered the bottle. “Aren’t you having a drink?”
“I thought we’d share,” he said while trying to will his body to obedience. His wolf, now, that was another matter. A low growl escaped Rory without his volition.
Anita scowled. “There’s no need to get testy about it. All you needed to do was ask or tell me what you intended.”
She thrust the water bottle at his chest, and Rory took it with nerveless fingers. Get a grip,man.This one is skittish, and if you want to win her, you need to woo her. Throttle back.
“Thanks,” he said, aiming for casual. He drank down the water without tasting it and finished the bottle. “Did you want more?”
“I can wait until we get to the waterfall.”
Water wasn’t the only thing they’d wait for until reaching the waterfall. Every time he glimpsed that pouty pink mouth, he wanted to savor. He craved…he wanted touching rights—the freedom to run his fingertips over that smooth skin, to test the silkiness of her hair. That was all he’d allowed himself to think at this stage, but it was damn hard not to let his gaze wander her shapely form. Walking behind her and watching her round arse move beneath the pair of jeans she wore was turning his dick to stone.
In desperation, he diverted his thoughts to work and the pack. His grandmother.
Yeah, that did the trick.
The rush of water grew louder, which told Rory they’d almost reached the waterfall. Anticipation built in him as they rounded a corner. Water tumbled over rocks, dropping around eight feet to the round pool below. The outlet ran over more rocks, fell into a valley, and disappeared. Trees surrounded the pool, but a small grassy clearing made the area perfect for a picnic. Somewhere in the distance, an owl hooted, and closer, smaller birds tweeted and flitted from branch to branch.
“It’s a lovely spot,” Anita said, her body language contradicting her words. She held her muscles tense as if she wanted to flee rather than relax.
“Are you frightened of me?”
She froze, her gaze fixing on him. “No.”
“Then why are you behaving as if I’m about to attack you? And you realize that running isn’t a good idea, anyway?” Rory forced a grin. “My wolf would impel me to chase.”
“Haha,” Anita muttered.
“Do you not trust yourself with me? Are you tempted to jump me and have your wicked way?”Rory opened the picnic basket and drew out a red-and-black tartan square. He spread it out on the ground and gestured for her to sit. She sat as far from him as possible, making it necessary for her to stretch to her full extent to accept the bottle of water he handed her. His mouth twisted. “You don’t seem to trust yourself.”
Anita snorted. “I can resist you.”
“Prove it,” he snapped back.
“How?” She took a sip of water, her throat working as she swallowed.
“Kiss me.” Rory let the dare simmer in the air between them. “Kiss me and prove you can resist my Highland charms.”