She swayed, her skin lighting up everywhere Reth touched her, until she wanted to purr.
Then he turned her so her back was to his chest and they swayed again. The drumbeats picked up, or maybe there were just more of them. Whatever it was, the entire crowd closed in until her skin was pebbled with goosebumps from the warmth and brush of countless hands and arms.
She put one of her arms up and back, looking for Reth’s neck—something to grip to keep her centered in this ocean of bodies. His hand found her wrist and slid down, down, down her arm as she arched back, lighting fireworks in her blood that followed the trail of his touch.
Then he dropped his chin to her shoulder and whispered into her ear, “One piece of advice before we go any further.” His lips brushed the shell of her ear and she shivered.
“What is it?” she whispered back.
“Follow your instincts.” His breath was heavy and it puffed across her neck sending the goosebumps all the way down to her thigh on that side.
His hand slid to her waist and this thumb strummed her skin like a guitar.
“I’m a human. I don’t have instincts,” she gasped, dropping her head back against the wall of his chest.
“Yes, you do,” he breathed, then nipped the lobe of her ear. “They are buried deeply, but they’re there. Follow your instincts. Follow your gut. Don’t doubt yourself. And don’t doubt me,” he rasped.
“Why would I doubt y—” she hadn’t even finished the words when the warm solidness of him disappeared behind her. She began to topple backwards, but was quickly caught by another set of hands, another warm, broad chest.
She was about to protest, but his fingers danced down her side in a sparkle of sensation the left her breathless. “Who—?”
As quickly as the man had appeared, he was gone, and replaced by another. And as the effects of the smoke heightened her senses, it also dulled her fear, until Elia found herself dancing, turning, swaying from man, to man, to man…
At first he worries she’s too weak for the smoke and she’s been overcome. Feeling her liquid and rippling in his arms had been intoxicating even without the smoke. But when he was forced to give her up to the males, every instinct in him roared against it. Wrong, wrong, wrong!
It had been an act of sheer will to let her go instead of pressing closer. But he knew they needed this—his people, and he and Elia.
Everyone needed to know where they stood. And the ceremony would provide that.
As long as she didn’t lose her mind.
His eyes followed her, the eye at the center of a storm of male bodies, hands, and smiles. At first, she gave herself up, swaying and dancing, her arms over her head, her hands sliding on the nearest shoulder, whomever it might be.
Despite the smoke, he tensed, and it was only the restraining hand of Behryn on his arm that kept him from diving in and ruining his own mating ceremony.
“Caution, brother,” Behryn murmured, his fingers tight on Reth’s bicep. “I know it’s hard, but just watch. And let your scent call to her.”
Reth grunted. If it weren’t for the smoke the entire city would be smelling him by now—his frustration, his tension, his desire.
One of the men wrapped a hand possessively at her waist, and Reth snarled.
Behryn stepped into his eyeline and wouldn’t move until Reth stared up to meet his eye. “We all went through it, Reth. I’ll admit, I doubted your commitment—I thought this was a convenience. Or a plot. But I can see it in you. Smell it. Be well, brother. Watch. Call to her.”
Then, with a hand of comradery right where Reth’s shoulder met his neck—that also just happened to be placed perfectly to catch him should he try to move—Behyrn turned him to face where Elia was, now more surrounded as even the younger, unestablished males began to stalk her as well.
Reth’s entire body went rigid.
WANT TO BE THE FIRST TO READ EXCLUSIVE NOT-YET-RELEASED “BEAST” CONTENT? Join my discord and be a part of my Summer Spoiler Part on 13 June!? Win free WebNovel Coins, chat with other readers, and read NEW, never-before-seen content about your favorite characters!
To join, add the Discord app to your phone, or register on the discord website and manually enter this link: https://discord.gg/e53XjDfj97