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Sela Marin rounded the corner of Denver’s Park Meadows Mall, head down, searching in her bag for an elusive receipt, and ran into a warm wall of hard, sinewy flesh.

“Hey! Careful there. You all right?” The laughing masculine voice licked at her nerve endings.

“Yes, I’m fine.” She answered automatically, then lifted her gaze to his, locking on blue eyes, warm and friendly. Sparks skittered along underneath her skin. A deeper flame ignited. What the hell?

Drawing back from the hands that steadied her, Sela saw flashes of satin sheets and her own back arching in an offering. Even the hairs on her arms stood at attention.

Who was this man with his dark good looks, and why was she so in tune with him? As a Crainesian she’d learned to keep a certain mental distance, especially with strangers, because eavesdropping on another’s thoughts was viewed as rude, and the offender inconsiderate. But this man sliced through her walls of defense like they were made of paper. That alone was reason to take a second look.

She lowered her sunglasses to the end of her nose, and the jolt of awareness made her gasp. He drew in a deep breath, the laughter in his gaze replaced by a dark light. Her fingers flexed with the need to burrow into his thick hair.

You feel the attraction, too.’ She sent out the mental message as a kind of test and felt it bounce back. The desire to run her fingers up his arm and across his chest was like a living entity. It was more than attraction, significant in that she could smell his elevated pheromones. She wasn’t just suddenly horny, she was hot for him. Was this man, then, her mate? She lowered her defenses even further and was surprised to receive his inner dialogue, loud and clear.

Damn. Fine is right. I’m standing here getting hard. How can I want a woman so much, so quickly? What’s going on here?’

His eyes widened slightly, and Sela pulled in a sharp breath. How was it she could hear his thoughts so easily? That had never happened before without intentional probing which was considered the height of rudeness by her race. She’d had vague impressions, even an intuitive knowledge of other people’s feelings, but never anything like this. Mother had warned her this would happen someday.

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