The Hounds of Annwyn, 1
As guardian of the gate to the spirit world, hellhound Adrian Mason is responsible for apprehending errant necromancers, and now he has his hands full with a demon on the loose. When all evidence points to Miriam Spencer, she swears she's not to blame. Though she is descendent from a family of powerful witches, Miriam can barely divine answers from a magic eight ball, let alone raise spirits.
But, if she's not the culprit, then who—or what—is wreaking havoc on the small upstate New York town? Falling for his prime suspect isn’t on Adrian’s agenda. Duty-bound and with time running short, he must bring Miriam to justice, or face his own.
Adrian pulled back from their kiss and hugged Miriam tightly, pressing her breasts against him. He nuzzled his nose into her hair, inhaling her cinnamon-sandalwood scent, filling him with warmth. He knew Miriam could feel his need, the hardness of his cock pushing into her stomach and pulsing with every heartbeat, but she just felt so damned good to hold.
His hands never ventured beyond her waist, though he perceived her clothes as a barrier between him and pure bliss. Her form-fitting jeans and blouse had him on edge the entire time he’d sat in the kitchen, wishing for a moment he would be able to tear them off. The need to feel his flesh against hers, to have her wrapped around him as he thrust into her over and over, tempted his restraint as he breathed in her scent.
“Incredible,” he said into her hair. “No witch should smell this good to a hellhound. It’s dangerous.”
“It’s called shampoo,” she said into his chest with a gentle smile in her voice. “It wouldn’t hurt you hounds to use it either.”
Adrian cupped her face with his hands and kissed her again, harder this time. Her lips, as soft and delicious as he imagined they would be, molded into his so perfectly. So dangerously. Everything about their union was wrong, forbidden by both their clans, and yet he had never felt such peace. For now, he reveled in the gentle sensation of her mouth latched to his and how perfectly her curves felt pressed against his body.
Mixed in with the spice, her feminine musk grew stronger. Her arousal drove the animal in him beyond his control. He could feel his canines lengthening, and the dull prick of claws trying to push from under his fingernails. Reluctantly he broke their kiss, drawing a sound of disapproval from Miriam. Stubbornly, she reached her hands under his shirt while her lips travelled across his neck. He inhaled sharply, letting her explore with her tongue and fingers.
“No,” he said, placing his hands firmly on her shoulders.
“I need to touch you,” she insisted, sneaking her fingers into his waistband and grazing the sensitive skin beneath.
“Please,” Adrian stated decisively. If Miriam went much further, he’d lose complete control, and he was already nearing the edge as it stood now. It wasn’t fair to her, and the least he could do was try and give her the pleasure he would need to deny himself.
Miriam’s faced was flushed, her lips parted. She seemed to avoid looking at him as she spoke, her sentence punctuated with rapid breaths in between words. “I know. I don’t know what came over me. I guess it’s my penchant for sleeping with hellhounds.”
Adrian couldn’t help himself and laughed.
Pulling away abruptly, she hugged her arms around herself, almost as a shield. “What do you find so amusing?”
“There’s another hole in your story, love. No hellhound has ever mounted you.”
Her red face grew pinker by the moment. “Not that it’s any of your business…”
“If you ever had sex with a hellhound, you would have been able to cast back those demons that were chasing you down the street, but you didn’t even try. In fact,” he went on, stepping closer to her and giving her a predatory smile. “I don’t think anyone has ever touched you before.”
“Again,” Miriam said, dropping her arms and poking one sharp index finger into the center of his chest and taking a step back. Adrian conceded and let her go. “It’s none of your damn business who I’ve slept with, or if I’ve slept with anyone, or who I want to sleep with. And I find it a little unnerving that you can tell just by sniffing my hair.”
He laughed again. “It’s the pheromones you’ve been emitting since you walked in here,” he explained. “They’re stronger than any human or witch I’ve ever smelled, but it’s clear you have never been attached to anyone. I don’t know how to describe it. You smell innocent. And I love it.”
Silence stretched on for a few long moments, the air thick with tension. Nothing in the laws of his pack or Miriam’s coven would permit him to mate with a witch. It was considered treason, a conflict of interest between his duty as a hellhound to guard the spirit worlds and the rituals of the witch that played with that delicate balance. Jacob’s encounter had resulted in the young hellhound becoming spellbound. This was the precise reason behind the laws that prevented sex between the two clans.
Her voice was guarded, heavy. He was convinced now the flush on her skin was an echo of the lust she tried to tamp down in her voice as she spoke. “Why should I trust you, after everything you’ve done to me?”.
It killed Adrian that he couldn’t have her completely, to never prove to Miriam just how much he wanted, no, needed to protect her. Her innocent words, the way she worried her hands together as she stared up at him expectantly, reminded him why he was so taken with Miriam when he went with her as the guardian for her first ancestor summoning.
Adrian was also reminded of why he broke off their friendship in the first place. He wanted her, and that was unacceptable to his kind.
“Why should I trust you?” she repeated.
Adrian stepped closer to her, leaning his hands on the wall and pressing Miriam against it with his body. He ground his hips into her while she whimpered helplessly with fear and need. He lowered his mouth to her ear, his lips curling away from his teeth. “You shouldn’t.”