She drew the outline of her Wolf. The darker and lighter browns would blend together, the colors of her fur melding with his skin. The Wolf would stare out at the viewer with golden brown eyes. She was lying on her side, her expression serene. Behind the Wolf sat Alex’s Bear, its massive head dwarfing her Wolf’s. The Bear gazed down at the Wolf, his body hovering protectively over hers. Behind them a Wolf cub and a Bear cub frolicked in the mouth of a cave, a den for all of them.

Alex was going to love it.

She took the sketch to him and showed it to him. “What do you think?” He stared at it so long she started to get worried. “Well?”

“I want it in color.” His voice was reverent, his finger tracing over first the Wolf cub, then the Bear cub.

Like she would ink it any other way. It was going to look magnificent in full color.

“I just need you to do one more thing for me.”

The ease with which he said that had her smiling like a love-struck groupie.

His lips curved up into a wicked smile. “Going to have your way with me?”

Now there’s a thought. She shivered. The thought of riding him while he sat in her chair had her nipples hard in seconds. “Maybe, afterwards. But first I need to know what you look like.”

One eyebrow rose. “I’d think by now you’d be intimately acquainted with how I look.”

She giggled. “I want to see your Bear, you perv.”

“Oh,” he drawled. He looked up at the ceiling and sighed. “Okay. You asked for it.”

She watched him undress, amazed anew at how lucky she’d been in the mate lottery. Alex truly was stunning when naked, all rippling muscle under smooth brown skin. Her fingers twitched. God, he had the best ass.

She nodded. She was eager to see him, draw him. She wanted them on the tattoo, not two random animals.

Alex began to shift. Her eyes grew wide as his body grew, and grew. His head easily hit the height of the eight-foot ceiling and he bowed down, landing on his front paws. She figured he had to break the ten-foot mark when upright. As it was, his head was still above her own. “Um. Big.”

His head dipped, brushing against her chest. She took the hint and rubbed his massive head. His eyes closed, his chest rumbling, the Bear equivalent of a purr.

“Damn, Alex.” His eyes opened and he stared at her. It was hard to read his expression. “You’re beautiful.” His eyes closed on a sigh. She suspected it was relief.

She ran her hands all over him. She fingered the lethal five-inch claws, giggled at the huge hump of muscle on his back. He sat down, watching her move around him. When she reached his face again, his tongue reached out and ran up the side of her face.

“Blech.” She wiped away the Bear drool and picked up her digital camera. She snapped off a shot of him sitting there. The tattoo would show him from the front.

She frowned absently and used the USB cable to plug the camera into the photo printer. She pressed the button to print out the picture of her Bear. So what? Ah, there we go. The picture was almost done. She’d have to make sure no one else saw the image of her Bear sitting in the middle of the tattoo parlor. Well, maybe I’ll show Cyn and Glory. They’d get a huge kick out of it. “Almost done. Let me make some adjustments to the sketch, make the transfer and we’ll get started.”

He settled back into her chair, still naked, and watched her while she cleaned off his chest. She shaved off any stray hairs, making sure there was nothing that would interfere with the clarity of the design. She transferred the image to his chest, smiling at the sight. It looked perfect. Tabby mixed her inks and snapped on her rubber gloves. “Ready?”

“C’mere.” Alex pulled her down, kissing her so sweetly she damn near melted at his feet. “Mark me, Tabby. Make me yours.”

She shivered. She kissed the center of the tattoo. She’d lined it up so that his Bear rested at his heart. “Mine.”

He settled back down with a smile and closed his eyes. “Yours.”

Tabby picked up her gun, dipped it in the ink, and began to draw.

She hadn’t freaked. She’d seen his Bear and, instead of being terrified, she’d been fascinated.

He was such a goner. If he hadn’t fallen for her before, he certainly was in love now. She’d reacted with joy, told him he was beautiful, played with his claws . No one ever played with his claws.

She’d touched him like he was a treasure. She’d made him hers more thoroughly than any mating mark could.

He’d almost had her move the image so that her Wolf rested over his heart, but changed his mind at the last minute. Bear had led him to his mate. She was healing his heart, and that heart would protect his Wolf with everything in him.

Having her image there, below his Bear and his heart, forever protected and loved, was just right.

She was so close to him, her thigh brushed his leg. She hovered over him, her gaze intent on the art she was creating. The sting of the needle was nothing. He watched her etch their love, their life, into his skin and smiled. This was what he wanted, his Wolf, his family, and a home of their own. His cock hardened at the thought of Tabby round with his cubs.

He wondered if she’d freak if he told her. “My new ink.”

The needle didn’t stutter. “You’re okay with pups?”

She looked up at him through her lashes. “Pubs?”

He tried not to laugh. “Cups?”

She wrinkled her nose. “I don’t think so.”

He moved his hand, let his fingers brush her thigh. “Children?”

For a second, she sounded breathless. He nodded. “I’m okay with it.”

“Good.” She took a deep breath, her expression once more intent. The needle hit his flesh, the ink sinking into his skin. A deep peace settled over him. Funny.

Usually he had to do an hour of yoga and mediation to achieve this level of just…

being. He knew it had nothing to do with the tattoo and everything to do with the artist.