Once downstairs, I slip out the back door. Tate is still swimming laps and hasn’t noticed me yet. I stop at the edge of the pool, right by the diving board. Tate swims toward me and stops at the edge, lifting his head out of the water.
He swipes a hand over his face and smiles up at me. “Hey. I didn’t know you were going to come out here.”
I shrug. “I finished my phone calls early. Thought I’d enjoy the night air.” I flourish a hand about the pool. “Do you swim a lot?”
Still looking up at me, he rests his arms over the edge. “All the time. You should jump in.
“That’s okay,” I say, laughing as I glance down at my clothes. “I didn’t bring a swimsuit.” Total lie, but it’s all I can think of to get out of swimming.
A wolfish grin spreads across his face. “Oh, you don’t need a bathing suit.” I don’t have time to react before he grabs my legs and tosses me into the pool. The water muffles my screams.
I surface fast and splash him in the face. “You’re such an asshole.”
He splashes me back, and a water war ensues. “You should’ve known better than to stand near the edge.”
Laughing, I charge after him and push him under. He reaches around me and takes me with him. His deep laugh echoes under the water, and I smile. I don’t want to fight against him with his arms around me, but I can’t let him know how good it feels. Pushing him away, I swim over to the edge, and he does the same, only leaving about two feet between us. He looks at me and laughs, and I splash him one more time.
“I’ll pay you back for this,” I tell him.
He winks. “I look forward to it.” We stare at each other for a few seconds, and then his expression turns serious. “There’s something I want to talk to you about.”
My heart stops, and I hold my breath. “What is it?”
His eyes flash to his wolf’s, and when he closes and opens them back up, they’re his usual bright blue. “Anson asked me today if I’d let you spend time with the other males in the pack.”
Taking a deep breath, I let it out slowly. “And what did you say?”
He looks away. “I told him no.”
Heart racing, I freeze. When his eyes meet mine, it’s like he can sense how much I want him. His need washes over me, drawing me closer. “Why did you say no?”
This time, he’s the one who swims closer. We’re now only a foot apart. “I said no because I don’t want to share you. But then, it’s not my place to deny you. If you wish to spend time with my pack, I won’t stop you.” Mouth gaping, I can’t find the words to say. He moves closer, and we’re only a breath apart. I can feel the heat from his lips. “I wish you knew how fucking bad I want you as my mate. Your face is all I see when I close my eyes at night.” I want to kiss him, but he swims away and gets out of the pool. His swim shorts ride low on his hips, and I can’t hide my attraction to him. Even the cool water can’t ease off the heat of my skin. He picks up his towel and runs it over his face. “I can sense what your body does around me. It drives me crazy not to act on it.” Still keeping his back to me, he turns his head to the side but doesn’t fully look at me. “What kind of mate do you want, Faith?”
I don’t want to lie to him. Climbing out of the pool, I walk over to him, but he still keeps his back to me. “If I had my choice, I’d want someone like you.” A few seconds pass, and I resist the urge to touch him. It gets harder and harder the longer I’m around him.