There were many, many way to rationalize this whole situation in her head.

Clearly, going to Logan while she was like this would be deadly. If the virus didn't kill him, her strength and need would. So Logan was out. So was any human for that matter – Sketch, Normal, Original Cindy. Even if they were willing, Max would do too much damage satisfying the demands of her body.

Joshua was also out. He was strong enough to take her on but…the feline in her would rebel against the canine in him – another deadly combination. And Joshua was too…young wasn't the right word; he was too innocent. Max could never use him like that.

So while justifying all of this in her head between the surging waves of hormones, Max knew she needed a feline-based, super solider who could give her what she needed without getting killed in the process. Wasn't it convenient there was someone exactly like that nearby?

Max controlled her need for more as Alec sighed beside her. It was unusual for an X-5 to sleep like that, but she'd really worn him out. She let him rest because she knew she would need him again soon; her urges were already building again. She tried to buy some time by sliding out of the bed and putting some distance between them, but her movement only stirred the potent aromas in the room.

Gliding to the window, Max inhaled the fresh air from outside; it helped a little, but not enough. This was going to wreck everything, and Max felt helpless to control it. And what was worse, Alec was being sweet about the whole thing. It wasn't like that first meeting in Manticore where he'd been instructed to mate with her - then he was following orders, now he was helping her out. He wasn't being snarky or teasing or demanding payment in kind because he understood like no one else could what she needed and what it would do to her to be without.

Max started a little when Alec's hand slid around her waist. He dropped a kiss onto her shoulder and she leaned her head back into him so he could have better access to her throat. Max tried to hold herself there; let the pleasures and sensations of the moment be enough, but she couldn't fight her instincts and her body demanded more. Max twisted in Alec's embrace, pushing against him, pulling herself up to twine her legs around his waist. Alec easily carried her weight and brought her back to the bed.

Kissing turned to biting; caresses became scratches; both fought for dominance, but at her core, Max knew Alec would win, because he had to; because he'd been engineered that way. All of the intellectual reasons not to do this gave way under the weight of instinct, and regret would have to be dealt with another day.