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’’Sleep with me and see how you like it.’’

He gently withdrew from her body and rose. ’’This bench is too narrow. I\ll sleep on it and you lie on top of me.’’ He stood and held out his hand to her.

She hesitated and then took it. ’’Paul will worry when he realizes I\m not there.’’

’’I\m an early riser. I\ll take you home to get your things before he wakes. We\ll tell him you\ e safe with me.’’

She imagined her brother\s face if she announced she was getting a place with a New Species. He\d probably lose his shit. He\d told her not to get involved with Mourn. She was pretty certain he wouldn\ be overjoyed or accept it without a lot of yelling first.

’’I\ll stay with you tonight, but I have to think about living with you. That\s a huge step, Mourn.’’

He growled softly at her, and his eyes narrowed. ’’I\ll make you happy.’’

’’It\s not that. It\s just that this is moving too fast for me, and living together is a huge step.’’ She didn\ mention that having se* was too, and she was having a difficult enough time coming to terms with what they\d just done. ’’Let me think about it.’’

His expression softened. ’’I understand. Thank you for staying with me tonight, Dana. I really want to hold you and have you sleep in my arms.’’

She took Mourn\s hand and allowed him to pull her upright. He stretched out on his back on the bench and smiled. She had to admire how incredibly se*y he looked naked. The flag wasn\ wrapped around his waist anymore.

’’Lie on me.’’

She hesitated. ’’I might be too heavy.’’

He chuckled and sat up just enough to capture her hand in his, pulling her down. She ended up sprawled over him, her legs slightly parted so she didn\ smash his cock. It hardened between her thighs. Mourn adjusted her so his chest pillowed her head near his shoulder. He yanked her flag down to cover her ass, and then wrapped his arms around her waist.

’’You are safe. Are you warm enough?’’

He put off a lot of body heat. ’’Yes.’’

He nuzzled his jaw against the top of her head. ’’Good. This is nice, isn\ it?’’

She relaxed and had to admit, it was. ’’Yes.’’

He was big and solid under her. Warm. His arms around her felt nice. She even liked hearing his heartbeat under her ear. He began to stroke her back. That felt really good and relaxed her further.

’’You feel right here,’’ he rasped. ’’Is the light bothering you? I forgot to turn it off.’’

’’It\s not bright.’’

’’Try to sleep. I\m with you.’’

She closed her eyes, but sleep didn\ come right away. Mourn kept stroking her back, his big hand lightly massaging the curve of her ass every few minutes. There was no desire to ask Mourn to take her home. She\d just have to sleep in the guestroom alone. It wasn\ something she wanted to do when being held by him felt so good. She finally drifted off.

Chapter Six

’’I apologize for sleeping longer than I believed I would.’’ Mourn didn\ look sorry when he smiled. ’’That\s the best sleep I\ve had in a long time.’’

Dana had to agree. ’’Me too.’’

’’I usually wake from nightmares. I even worried I might turn in my sleep and dump you on the floor.’’

She grinned, fighting to get her pants on. The still-wet material clung to her legs. She managed to get dressed and faced Mourn. He\d put his wet clothes on too. They were probably a sorry-looking pair with their worse-for-wear clothing and messy hair. It was obvious they\d just woken.

’’I\m glad you didn\ . That wouldn\ have been the best way to wake up.’’

’’You should just wear the flag. Your clothes are still too wet.’’

’’My brother is going to have a conniption fit as it is. I\ll wear my damp clothes. Trust me. He\ll really freak out if I come home without them on.’’

He chuckled. ’’Tonight we\ll sleep in a real bed together with plenty of room. I\ll have housing arranged for us.’’

She was ready to panic when she jerked her head up to stare at him. ’’I\m not ready to move in with you yet.’’

All trace of his good mood faded. ’’Don\ say no.’’ He stepped closer and brushed her hair off her cheek. ’’Try it for seven days. I\ll let you go if you don\ want to stay. This is a compromise.’’

’’That\s putting a lot of pressure on both of us.’’

’’No pressure. Be yourself, Dana. I care about you. Let us live together. I think we will be happy, and I hope you will learn this can work between us.’’

She chewed on her bottom lip, pondering it. The damage was done. She wasn\ going to forget about Mourn any time soon. They\d been intimate. To return to her old life without trying to see if a relationship between them could work would leave her with regrets. She had enough of those to last her a lifetime.

’’Let\s date.’’

He stepped closer. ’’I want to sleep with you every night.’’

’’We\ e already moving too fast. I\ve been told that New Species don\ date, but humans do. We already skipped right to the se*.’’ She glanced around the shed. ’’You have a home, right? Tonight you can take me there and we can spend time together. I don\ expect you to take me out to dinner, or to see a movie. I get that it\s not really possible to do that at Homeland. The bar seems like the only social place to hang out, and that\s not exactly romantic. I haven\ seen a movie theatre here.’’

’’I don\ want to take you to the men\s dorm. I\m worried it will be uncomfortable.’’


’’The males hang out in the living spaces on the first floor. They might be alarmed, seeing you with me, and try to prevent me from taking you to my apartment.’’

Sympathy for him came fast. ’’Because you picked fights with them?’’

He nodded. ’’They\d wish to protect you, believing I\m unstable.’’

’’You don\ think they\d try to stop us from living together?’’

’’We\d be assigned to couples housing the cottages where Species live with their mates. It\s more private and we\d have fewer males to deal with. Darkness might help us get a home. He thinks you are good for me.’’

She remembered that name. ’’Isn\ he the one you fought with when we met?’’

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