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Authors: Hazel Gower,Jess Buffett

Claimed by Her Panthers (6 page)

BOOK: Claimed by Her Panthers
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Angelica
opened her eyes and smiled. It was forced, but she’d still tried. “I liked it,
too.”

With
that he and Stephan walked out of Angelica’s home and hoped she would accept
them.

Chapter Three

 

Angelica’s
mind felt like it was about to explode. Shifters were real. She had family members
that were Shifters, and two men she’d gown up with were panthers. Angelica
debated if she should call her aunt, but she knew she would say something she
would regret if she spoke to her right now. How could her own family keep
something like this from her? Why hadn’t they told her? Didn’t they trust her?

Owen
had said that they had rules, and weren’t allowed to tell her, that the only
reason they could now was because she was their mate. That was another thing
Angelica was finding it hard to wrap her mind around. How could she be their
mate? They said she was both of their
mate
. Angelica
couldn’t have a relationship with two men. Last night had been unexpected.
She’d never been attracted to Owen and Stephan before, or so she thought.

Angelica
had never done anything like she had last night. She’d never slept with two men
in all her life. Now that Angelica thought about it, she’d never been attracted
to boys, men. Her last boyfriend, Brenton, she’d broken up with because she’d
been with him for a year and felt nothing but affection. He’d told her he loved
her, and she couldn’t say it back.

She’d
never had an orgasm with her first boyfriend or her last. Angelica had thought
something was wrong with her. Last night had been different with Owen and
Stephan. She hadn’t even told her best friend
Jenika
how she couldn’t seem to find a man that affected her the way Stephan and Owen
had last night. Last night she’d felt a connection. Last night she’d had not
one but two orgasms the first time they’d had sex.

Closing
her eyes she brought up an image of Owen and Stephan. They were both tall and
had dark skin reminding her of the finest chocolate. Owen had big baby blues
that she had gotten lost in before, but never thought anything of it. She’d shaken
it off. Owen was hot, she admitted. Stephan’s skin was darker than Owen’s,
almost black. He was big and muscular, and any woman would find him attractive.
Her body was coming to life and getting turned on at just the thought of them.
Would her body have done that before last night? Or maybe because she’d never
thought of them that way it never clicked?

Angelica
got up off the sofa and went to her room to get changed. She needed to go out.
Angelica needed to stop thinking about what had happened. Everything was so
confusing, and she didn’t even want to think on what her brother would say and
do if she decided to try a relationship with Owen and Stephan.

Could
she have a relationship with two men? She couldn’t even have one with one man.
Running her fingers through her hair she took a deep breath and slowly let it
out. Angelica couldn’t believe after one night with Owen and Stephan she was
willing to give them a go.

****

They
didn’t hear anything from Angelica for days. Stephan had found out she’d been
and talked with her aunt and cousins. It had been a long talk. She hadn’t
admitted they’d told her and she was their mate.
Tamon
,
Angelica’s Aunt Stacey’s mate, had told him after he and Owen had admitted what
Angelica was to them at a mating party.
Tamon
had
said that Angelica had asked a lot of questions, even about the mate bond, but
she hadn’t mentioned them.

Joel
had come home this morning, and Stephan and Owen were supposed to go over for
dinner tonight. Angelica hadn’t rung to cancel. Stephan sat in his office doing
paperwork for his and Owen’s pilot flights and
security
company
. He read over the same proposal for the tenth time before he
gave up and told his receptionist that he was done for the day. Stephan needed
to let his panther out before he went over to Joel’s and Angelica’s house.

Walking
out of his office and to his four wheel drive, he got in and drove towards the
mountains. After the twenty minute drive home he parked and let himself inside
the house, stripping out of his clothes and letting the change take over. His
panther took full control, and they roamed for a while before climbing trees
and chasing after possums, rats, and magpies. Slowly he wondered back home
feeling refreshed and certain of what he was going to do if Angelica let it go
another day. He would see how she was tonight at the dinner and let her have
tonight and tomorrow with her brother before he came at her again.

Changing
as soon as his feet hit the floor of his room he got into his shower and got
dressed. Stephan met Owen dressed and ready at the door waiting for him.

“Did
you need a run, too?”

Stephan
nodded. “Yeah, I couldn’t concentrate. I left work after reading a proposal for
the tenth time. We haven’t heard anything from her since we left her house. I’m
giving her tonight and tomorrow morning before I go and find out what she
wants, and if she’s willing to give us a chance.”

“I
agree. We give her tonight and tomorrow morning, and then we find out how she
feels.”

Stephan
felt calmer now that he and Owen had a plan. He just hoped that tonight didn’t
cause more problems. He was sure if Angelica had told Joel what had happened he
would have been here by now.

****

Owen
wasn’t sure what to expect when he entered Joel and Angelica’s home. Joel
didn’t act like he knew that Angelica knew about Shifters and that she was
their mate. Angelica seemed her usual bubbly self. She acted like nothing had
happened between them. If it wasn’t for his Shifter smell and eyesight, he
wouldn’t have caught the heated glances or the mango and peaches intensifying
any time he or Stephan were near.

Angelica
was attracted to them, that
was
sure, but would she
let them do something about it again? Would she be their mate, or would she
deny them?

As
they sat eating the apple pie dessert Angelica had made she placed her spoon
down and glanced at them, then turned to her brother. “Why didn’t you tell me
about Shifters? Why did you want this kept from me? I have cousins that are Shifters,
and your own close friends are them.”

Joel
choked on his dessert spitting it across the table. Joel shot him and Stephan a
glare before he turned back to Angelica, who sat with an innocent look on her
face. “Who the hell told you?”

Angelica
shrugged. “Does it matter? I want to know why I’m the last to know.” She stood
out of her chair and placed her hands on her hips.

Joel
let out a long drawn out sigh. “There was no need for you to know. I thought
once you got your university degree you’d move and never need to know. You’ll
never be one or be with one. I want you to be safe. I love you. I want the best
for you. ”

Owen
narrowed his eyes on his friend. Did he think Shifters weren’t dangerous and
not good people?
   

“Do
you want me to move out? Do you want me to move away?”

“Angelica,
that’s not what I meant. You know I love having you here. I just want you to
have better. I don’t want you to settle.”

“Have
I ever given you the impression I would ever settle? If I was willing to settle
I would be married to Ryan. I love this city, and I love my friends, and most
of all I love you, but you have to stop making decisions for me. I will be
forever grateful to you for raising me, but I have to start making decision for
myself. And I think you’re right on one thing ... I’m moving out.”

“That’s
not what I won—”

“I
need to. I’ve relied on you too much. I’m twenty-two, Joel. I learnt the other
day that there are other beings out there and they can change into animals.
Since you’ve been gone I’ve had a lot to think about. I’ve made a decision.”

Owen
watched as Angelica went over to her brother and hugged him. He shot a hopeful
look at Stephan that Angelica’s decision involved them.

Angelica
pulled away from her brother, and a wicked gleam came into her eyes. “I’m
moving in with Stephan and Owen. They have the room.”

Joel
turned to them and studied them for what felt like hours before he said
anything. “Why? I’m sure if we looked we could find you a place in town.”

Suspicion
was clear on their friend’s features, and Owen knew this wasn’t going to end
well.

“Because
there is something else you need to know,” Angelica stated, her gaze darting to
Owen and Stephan, before landing back on her brother. He watched as she visibly
took in a deep breath. “Joel. Stephan and Owen … they—”

“You
have got to be kidding me. Are you trying to tell me you’re their mate?” Joel
suddenly cut her off, standing and knocking back his chair. The aggression
pouring off of Joel made Owen stand, too, moving to place himself between
brother and sister. The move just served to piss his friend off more. “Do you
honestly think I would hurt my sister?”

He
knew Joel wouldn’t, but his panther was snarling just below the surface,
reacting to any form of aggression near their mate. “No, but you need to
understand, Joel.”

Hurt
and anger
were
a cold mask on the other man’s face.
“Oh, I understand. How long have you known that she was your mate? How long has
Angelica known? Were you actually going to tell me before you moved out?”

“Joel,
I—”

“No,”
the man said adamantly. “I forbid it. Their world is too dangerous.”

“Excuse
me?”

They
all froze at the ice cold tone Angelica had spoken in.
Oh shit, this is bad.
Angelica stared daggers at her brother as her
hands rested on her hips and her foot tapped. She looked hot.

 
“You forbid me? I am a grown woman, and while
you may be hurt that I didn’t tell you straight away, your reaction only
proves
I was right to doubt how you would respond.” Joel
went to speak, but their mate appeared in no mood to listen now. “And as for
keeping this from you, I might remind you that in your own words, you kept the
existence of Shifters from me, the true identity of our family from me, and you
would have continued to do so. So don’t you dare be angry at me for holding off
from telling you, since at least that is more respect than you were going to
pay
me.

Their
mate didn’t give her brother a chance to respond. Walking over and grabbing her
purse and a duffel bag, she indicated for Owen and Stephan to follow. “I’m
moving in with my mates. It’s supposed to be a trial, to make sure this works.
I already have a few things over at their house, so I’ll come to grab some more
tomorrow.”

With
that, Angelica spun on her heel and left. One shared a look with his friend,
and Stephan followed, casting an apologetic look towards Joel. For his part,
the human appeared in a state of shock more than anything else. Whether it was
because he had discovered his best friends were mated to his sister, or that
Angelica had raised her voice for the first time at him, Owen had no idea.

“Joel,
I’m sorry.”

Joel
frowned.
“For what?
For the scene you just
witnessed,
or for mating my sister?”

“No,
I will never be sorry for mating Angelica, and neither will Stephan.” Owen sighed,
swiping a hand down his face. “I’m sorry things between all of us are strained,
that you had probably your first real fight with her. But I need you to
understand … she still loves you, she is just hurting.”

“She
isn’t the only one,” Joel grumbled.

Owen
smirked. “She is a lot like you.
Stubborn, opinionated,
independent.
And cautious.
You can’t stay mad
at her for being everything you raised her to be. And I hope … that you don’t
stay mad at us. We love her, Joel. We have been in love with her for years. We
waited to make sure. She is so very important to Stephan and me. Please, just
think about it.”

When
all Joel did was grunt, Owen knew his friend would need time, and so he left,
joining Stephan and Angelica in the car. Casting a glance in the mirror, he saw
that the pain and stubbornness that warred within Joel were mirrored on Angelica’s
face. Owen was right. The siblings were so very much alike.

Chapter Four

 

After
the failed dinner last night, Angelica had returned the next morning to grab a
few more things. A few had turned into a lot, and she now sat outside of Owen
and Stephan’s home, wondering if she had made the right decision to move in so
quickly. Granted, it was only a trial, but she had decided in the heat of an
argument with her brother. And a fight that still weighed heavily on her,
making her feel ill. She’d never argued with her brother like she had last
night before. She knew how much he’d given up
to raise
her.

Getting
out of the car she pulled some of her bags from the trunk and walked to the
front door, knocking.

“It’s
open, cupcake.” A shiver of anticipation ran through her at the use of
Stephan’s nickname. It had never been sexual before the other night, but now
every time she heard it she melted.

BOOK: Claimed by Her Panthers
11.14Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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