Authors: Viola Rivard
Tags: #Fantasy Romance, #Love Story, #Paranormal Romance, #Romance, #Shifters, #Werewolves
A low growl was Taylor’s only warning before she was on her back. She had barely registered the pain of hitting the groun
d before his mouth was on hers. The alpha had one thick leg between hers, forcing her thighs apart so that his rigid cock jutted against her pelvis.
Fury and indignation rippled through her, but as she moved to push him
back, his cock pressed against her in just the right way. Her body betrayed her as an involuntary moan tore from her chest. Like the predator he was, Hale capitalized on her moment of weakness and thrust his tongue into her mouth.
She had never been kissed like this before. It was
harsh, rough, and relentless. She could hardly breathe but the part of her that cared about breathing had completely checked out. Hale kissed her like he desperately needed something inside of her—something that no other woman could give him—all the while grinding his cock against her in a rhythm that reduced her to a trembling pile of nerves beneath him.
Pushing her dress out of the way, his hand found her breast. There was nothing tender or gentle in the way he touched her. His hand clamped over her breast in a hard, possessive vice grip.
He growled again and this time she could feel it reverberating through his chest like a deep, appreciative purr.
It wasn’t guilt that finally gave her the will to push at his chest. It was fear. Not fear of Hale, what he was, or what he might do to her. It was fear for what was happening inside of her. Her body felt as though it was being
taken over by a lust-driven animal with no concern for consequences or anything that didn’t involve having Hale inside of her.
He growled again, but this time with much less pleasure. He pulled back, scrutinizing her
with his smoldering eyes. Taylor took a deep breath, and then another, finally realizing how oxygen-deprived she’d been. She tried to move from under him, but Hale kept her pinned. She tried to regain her earlier sense of fury and indignation but Hale was one step ahead of her.
“Don’t you fucking dare,” he warned. His breathing was ragged and his hot breath clung to her face.
Taylor thought she should be screaming or fighting or something, but instead she remained beneath him, still struggling to catch her own breath.
“Don’t what?” Her high-pitched voice sounded foreign to her.
“Don’t you dare act like you don’t want me to fuck you.”
His gaze was too intense and she had to look away. “Please get off
of me, Hale.”
He moved to kiss her again, but Taylor placed a shaky hand over his mouth to block him. She knew that Hale was much stronger than she was. If he really wanted to, he could overpower her and take her right then and there.
A sick part of her wanted him to.
But he just glared at her, rage blazing in his blue and gold eyes. Through clenched teeth, he said, “I can smell how badly you want me.”
“I’m with your brother.”
His gaze hardened. “You’re
to my brother.”
“No,” she said, shaking her head. “I care about him.”
“You don’t know anything about him.”
“I know that he cares about me,” she said. She could feel her eyes begin to prickle. “And he’s pretty much the only person in the world who does and I’m not about to screw that up, so please, get off me and leave me alone.”
A muscle ticked in Hale’s jaw. After a long moment of silence he pushed up off the ground and stood. Taylor saw he was still as hard as a rock before he turned his back to her and walked away.
She sat in the mud, rain falling on her face
, as she watched him leave. She wondered where he would go and if he was going to find another woman to satisfy his needs. She told herself that it didn’t matter.
Hale wasn’t with the hunters when they arrived at the river, carrying their game. Taylor was both relieved and disappointed. Part of her had hoped that seeing him again would dispel some of the anxiety that had taken root in the pit of her stomach. She needed to know that things were settled between them and there wouldn’t be any lingering weirdness.
But by the time she was plucking the feathers from a second unfortunate turkey, Taylor had realized how ridiculous that thought was. Of course things would be weird between them. You didn’t go from being about to have crazy animal sex with someone one minute to being coolly indifferent to them the next. Just thinking about Hale made her feel hot and bothered.
her mind continued to careen down that path, she inevitably began to make comparisons. Alder was the only person she’d ever had sex with. She’d never desired someone as much as him, until she’d met his brother.
Alder made her feel sa
fe, secure, and important. When they’d been together it was deep and passionate. He was the type of man she could maybe, one day, fall in love with.
Taylor wasn’t sure she could ever love an arrogant and abrasive man like Hale. But there was something about him that set her blood on fire.
Last night, it had been confusing. Tonight, it was downright disturbing. She was starting to wonder if maybe it would be better for her and Alder to leave after all.
After a while of mulling over the issue, Taylor tried to put it out of her mind. The fact that Lark had overheard
part of her exchange with Hale made that pretty much impossible. By the time she’d found her way back to Lark and Glenn, they knew almost everything and they hadn’t stopped talking about it since they’d arrived at the river.
Even more annoying was that the other shifters on cleaning duty overheard Lark and Glenn talking and Taylor knew there was no chance of this not getting back to Alder. She could only hope she
could get to him first and could somehow explain the situation in a way that wouldn’t make her seem like a floozy.
Taylor found it hard to believe that she’d only just lost her virginity and already her sex life was a disaster. Was there any aspect of her life that she couldn’t screw up?
Beka and her friends were thankfully absent tonight. That left cleaning to Taylor, Lark, Glenn, and Fenix, the latter of whom was the hawk from earlier. Holly, the fox, was also there, but rather than help she only seemed interested in taunting them.
As Taylor worked on the speech she would give Alder, she picked up on the tail end of a conversation.
“Well, I think it’s a good idea she didn’t couple with Hale,” said Lark. “It’s about time a female rejected him.”
Taylor tensed, knowing Lark was referring to her. She kept her back to the group and continued to pluck at the turkey, deciding not to engage.
“Don’t sound so proud,” Holly muttered. “It’s not as if Hale’s ever come on to you.”
“Only because he knows he wouldn’t stand a chance,” Lark said defensively.
“Oh, you are so in denial,” said Holly. “It’s because you’ve got no tits.”
“And a flat ass,” Fenix added.
Taylor peeked at them just in time to see Lark hurl a rock at the male. Fenix caught it, shooting Lark a scowl. Taylor had recognized Fenix as the tattooed man who’d been conversing with Hale the previous night. With his bulky muscles, she’d been sure that he was a wolf. Looking at him now, with his beak-like nose and keen amber eyes, it was easier to picture him as the hawk that he was.
“Cut the shit,
badger,” he groused. He tossed the rock into the river and resumed skinning a hare. Taylor noted that he wasn’t using a knife, but rather his thick, sharp nails.
“I’m a raccoon. Quit being an
asshole,” Lark shot back.
“Quit being a cunt.”
“Quit with the profanity already,” Taylor snapped, unable to hold it in any longer. “I’m so sick of it.”
They all stared at her, as if only just realizing she was there. Holly was the first to speak.
“I don’t get why you’re being such a bitch,” she said. Leaning back on her hands, she regarded Taylor through shrewd green eyes. “You have the two most desirable males in the pack fighting over you.”
“They aren’t fighting over me.”
Holly smiled, but it wasn’t friendly. “Not yet, but they will. As soon as your scent begins to change they’ll be tearing one another apart to be with you.”
“She’s talking about when you become fertile,” Glenn said. “We can all smell it, but alpha males, it makes them all hormonal and shi—stuff.”
“They’ll fight, maybe even to the death, to breed with you,” Holly elaborated.
“It’s why having two alphas is a stupid idea. Sooner or later, one will want to take a human mate and have her spit out a few pups. The next thing ya know, even brothers are at each other’s throats. I always knew it was a bad idea. The other foxes didn’t believe me. They thought it’d be all peaceful and shit.”
Yesterday, when Glenn had broached the same subject, she’d been able to dismiss it, but it was clear now that this was a real issue. She was pretty good at rolling with the punches and had taken all of the werewolf stuff in stride up to now, but this was where she
had to draw the line.
“I don’t want to get pregnant,” she
Holly shrugged. “You have my sympathies,” she said, actually sounding vaguely sympathetic. “I sure as hell wouldn’t want any children.”
“I wish I could have two children,” Lark said. “One boy and one—”
“No one cares,” Fenix said.
As they began to bicker again, Taylor stared down at the half-plucked turkey in front of her, wondering if her life could possibly get any more convoluted.
Glenn came to crouch down beside her. He wiped his hands on his dirty T-shirt.
“There’s not a lot left to do here,” he said. “Fenix and I can finish up if you and Lark want to go back to the cabin.”
Taylor managed a smile and quietly thanked him.
On the way back to the cabin, Lark continued to chat about her fictional children, oblivious to the fact that Taylor was coping with a whirlwind of emotions. She was still anxious about having to tell Alder about what had happened with Hale, but at the same time she was pissed at him for not telling her that he wanted to
Tired of being stuck in
her own head, Taylor caved and asked, “What am I going to do? This whole situation with Alder and Hale is crazy. I should be running for the hills, but I don’t have anywhere else to go.”
“You don’t have to go anywhere,” Lark said, seeming surprised. “Hale is not even an issue. All you have to do is tell Alder
you want him gone.”
Taylor frowned. “I can’t ask him to force his brother to leave for me. That’s his family. I’m just some girl he met.”
“You’re going to be Alder’s mate,” Lark said earnestly. “The mother of his children.”
“I’m not ready for any of that. I don’t care about their hormones, or whatever. There’s no room in my life for kids.”
Lark nodded, but Taylor could tell that she didn’t understand. She realized that it was very possible Lark envied her and that made her feel guilty.
“You could always choose Hale,” Lark said. “I don’t know that he would make a good mate, but he hates pups. I imagine if there was a way to not get you pregnant, he’d figure it out.”
“I’ll make a note of that,” Taylor said dismissively.
A big grin broke out on Lark’s face. She wagged her eyebrows playfully. “Or maybe you can them have them both. Could you imagine—
Taylor burst out laughing. “Okay, now you’re just being ridiculous.”
The tension between them dissipated and they moved on to safer topics, chatting mostly about the garden project. As they neared the cabin, Taylor could make out a figure on the porch. Her breath caught as Hale came into view. He was wearing nothing but a pair of faded jeans. Moonlight reflected off his bare chest, drawing her eyes. When her gaze moved to his face, she saw a contented smile on his lips.
almost tripped over her own feet. Whatever stupidity had made her think she was attracted to his brother was forgotten. Her hand moved to her chest and for a moment she thought there was something wrong with her heart. She didn’t know it was possible for her heart to physically ache at the sight of someone.
“Do you want some privacy?” Lark asked.
Taylor realized she’d stopped walking. She gave Lark a quick nod. “Please.”
Lark gave her an encouraging smile before heading off in the direction of the den.
When Taylor looked back towards the porch, Alder was already making his way towards her. She grew nervous, worried that he would smell his brother on her before she had a chance to explain, but he made no mention of it as he pulled her into his embrace.
Where Hale was hot, Alder was warm and she melted into his hold. There was so much they needed to talk about, but it could wait.
She relaxed, listening to the sounds of the crickets chirping, the lake water lapping at the shore, and the beating of Alder’s heart.