Happy birthday, sweet thing.” He punctuated that with a little nip on my upper ear, making me laugh. “Though I think I’m the one who got the present.”

“Oh, I’m not complaining,” I replied with a breathless little laugh. “I…um…thank you.”

“Anytime, gorgeous.”

“And for rescuing me from the bear.”

His whole body froze and something rumbled deep in his chest. “You don’t want to know how close I came to killing that drunken idiot. Seeing him with his hands on you—I damn near snapped.”

“And you hadn’t even met me yet.” Jack was a lot more chivalrous than he let on if he got this protective of every new customer.

“The minute I saw you I knew you were something special. I was locked on you like a laser beam as soon as I laid eyes on you, and damn near everyone in the bar probably saw it. My two friends who came out after me? They weren’t there to help me take care of Marshall. They were there to keep me from taking him apart.”

“But aren’t bears usually stronger than wolves? Couldn’t you have gotten hurt?” The thought of that made me almost physically ill. The last thing I wanted was anyone getting hurt because of me.

Jack laughed. “A wolf who keeps in shape can take a lazy, drunken bear any day. Don’t worry about me, sweet thing.” His hands moved from my arms to cup my breasts, which were still swollen and tender. Slowly, gently he massaged the flesh and traced his thumbs around my nipples.

Without thinking I arched my back, pushing the mounds farther into his hands, even as I shook my head at his words. “I know I’m not gorgeous. You don’t have to pretend.”

“Pretend?” His hands froze in place. “Are you crazy? The minute I saw you sitting in my bar in that fluffy little sweater, I went hard as a rock. All I wanted to do was eat you up like an ice-cream cone.”

“But…”

“But what? You can’t really believe I wasn’t attracted to you. I’m still inside you and still hard if you hadn’t noticed.”

If I could have moved, I’d have banged my head on the nearest solid surface. He totally wasn’t getting it. “Of course I noticed. I just can’t figure out why. Why me?” Aside from the snobbishness I mentioned earlier, vampires and werewolves got along most of the time as far as I knew, but the two groups didn’t usually mingle when it came to long-term relationships. Not that I had any real hopes of this being anything more than a one-night stand, damn it.

“Somebody has really done a number on you, haven’t they? What do you think is wrong with you, other than a nasty sensitivity to sunlight?”

“And the need to bite during sex?”

This was more than a little awkward, and I wriggled on his lap, relieved and disappointed at the same time to discover that he’d softened just enough to allow me to lift off him without hurting myself. His hands gently eased me to my feet then he stood up behind me. His grip on my shoulders was gentle but firm as he turned me to face him. Before I could pull away and go find a bathroom where I could clean up, he pulled me close and lowered his face to mine.

His kiss was…mind-altering. This was the one thing I’d missed during the sex since he’d taken me from behind. Forgetting all about awkward conversations for the moment, I looped my arms up around his neck and held on as his lips shaped and molded mine. When he finally pulled away, I was gasping again and had forgotten everything I’d intended to say.

“Honey, I knew you were a vampire when I asked you to come home with me. You can bite me as much as you want and it isn’t going to bother me. My blood regenerates fast enough to keep up with you. And I notice you didn’t complain when I bit down on you.” He rubbed the spot on my neck where his tooth prints would have already healed—though a sensitive tingle remained that made my knees wobble again.

“It isn’t—” I buried my face in his chest, unable to look him in the eyes. “I’m not attractive. I mean—honestly—who ever heard of a fat vampire? I’m a freak even among the undead.” There. I’d said it. My size-fourteen curves were a major embarrassment. Even though I never ate more than the bare minimum, of blood or human food, I hadn’t lost a pound since the day I was turned.

I expected platitudes. He was too sweet to shoot me down, I knew that. But I didn’t expect him to laugh. It wasn’t a polite chuckle either. His all-out belly laugh practically shook the room.

“You have got to be kidding me. Fat? I’ve spent the whole damn night hard as an axe handle because you’re the first woman I’ve seen in ages who isn’t built like a fucking skeleton. Whoever gave you the idea that men want nothing but a bag of bones is out of his mind.” His hands gripped my ass and squeezed. “I like curves, and your ass is just perfect. Makes me want to fondle it, bite it, even fuck it. And these…” He moved his hands up to cup the sides of my full breasts then leaned down and buried his face in my cleavage before coming back up with a smile. “These were made to drive a man insane. Full, ripe, luscious…perfect.” If his predatory smile hadn’t convinced me, the fact he’d gone hard against my stomach again should have. Insecurities don’t go away that quickly, but I did believe, at least for the moment, that this man liked what he saw. And that realization made my head spin.

“Now I’d happily lay you down on the floor right here and prove to you just how hot I think you are, but I only had one condom in my pocket and the others are up in my bedroom. So would you rather have something to eat, or just go upstairs and get back to fooling around?”

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