Mates Since Birth (Half-breed Shifter Series) (3 page)

BOOK: Mates Since Birth (Half-breed Shifter Series)
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Ari choked on air and gaped. “
What
?”

He smiled, his mouth quirking in the sexiest, most mischievous grin she’d ever seen. For a long moment, he spent his time glancing down her body, pausing at her lap as if he could see straight through her skirt and watch the cream drip from her panties. Licking his lips, he lifted his gaze and pointed up.

“Your cat,” he reiterated. “Would you like me to fetch him for you?”

Mouth gone bone dry, Ari could only nod, wishing he’d meant what she’d originally assumed. “I…” On the tip of her tongue to say screw the pussy in the tree, she’d rather him pay attention to the one in her bush—her neatly-trimmed, Brazilian-waxed bush, thank you very much.

She blushed hard as her brain returned. “Y-yes, please. I would love it if you could rescue Whiskers for me.”

He glanced up. Ari expected he’d simply whistle and the mouser would leap down into his arms. Being half-feline himself, he could probably get the kitten to jump to him without any fuss. But the hunk threw her completely off track when he shrugged out of his suit jacket and draped the article carefully over the side of her fallen chair. When he tugged off his tie and began to release the buttons on his shirt, exposing a tawny, muscled chest, she gasped.

“What in God’s name are you doing?”

The stranger glanced from the kitten to her. His smile seemed to goad and yet tempt at the same time, letting her know he was well aware his body aroused hers, and almost daring her to do something about it.

“This is a twelve hundred dollar suit,” he explained as he shrugged the material off his shoulders, baring his entire pristine torso for her inspection.

Her mouth fell open before she could snap her jaw shut. The muscles in his shoulders bunched and shifted under his warm-looking skin as he bent to shuck his slacks down his legs. Either he wasn’t the type to bother with underwear, or he tugged them off with his pants, because once the slacks left his legs, he exposed one magnificent, utterly naked form.

Raw, ethereal need spiked through her.

Ari’s attention darted straight to his arousal jutting from a dark nest of hair. “My God,” she uttered, unable to speak anything else. A small part of her brain told her she should probably look away or maybe even demand he put his clothes back on. But she was too busy gawking to concoct actual words.

He chuckled again. “You like?” As if proud of the heavy column bobbing between his legs, he petted it, smoothing his fingers over the velvet, blushing surface twice before wrapping his wide palm about its hefty girth and giving it a slow, approving stroke. To Ari’s shock, the massive cock grew even longer under his favorable attentions. A bead of moisture welled from the tip.

“You’re…you’re…” She sucked in a lungful, glad she at least remembered to breathe.

“Aroused?” he finished for her, flashing a grin. If his shades weren’t covering his eyes, she had a feeling he probably would’ve added a wink to the question. “Well, what do you expect, sweetheart? Any man who’d just gotten a glimpse of those sweet, red panties you’re wearing would be in a similar state.”

Mouth watering, she felt herself draw a step closer, wanting to cloak him with her own fingers, needing to lap up his pre-cum with her tongue.

But he dropped his swollen shaft and turned away before she could take another step. “Restrain yourself, darling. I’m here for business, not play. We need to talk.”

Talk
? How could she talk with such a glorious dick in sight, just begging her to worship it? And what the hell would he want to talk to her about? She didn’t even know this shifter.

Things were growing weirder and weirder around here.

Gritting her teeth with humiliation from his rejection, she watched, regrettably fascinated, as he shifted into his jaguar--a sleek, speckled beast with fur that gleamed in the light of the swiftly setting sun.

He was glorious. She wanted to stroke him until he purred.

With a mighty bound, the shifter leapt up the side of the tree, his claws sinking into the bark he scaled with feline grace. After all four paws landed on the sturdy bottom branch, he lifted his head up toward Whiskers, two limbs above.

Before he could even meow a greeting to the stupid cat, Whiskers soared toward him, landing on his shoulder, rubbing its face along the stranger’s fur, and clinging to the side of his neck. The jag let Whiskers play a minute before he started down the
trunk, the kitten riding his back through the entire trip.

Once he landed on four paws, his fur melted and the sexy, aroused man returned.

The kitten climbed all over him, dancing up his jaw to rub its body along his cheek, its rising tail ruffling the back of the shifter’s dark hair. When it purred in absolute contentment, Ari wished she could be Whiskers.

It was humbling, realizing both man beast and pet had brushed her off without a second thought. Her insecurities swelled, which only put her in an even more irritable temper.

As the naked man smirked, she glowered, still unreasonably upset he’d turned away from her the first moment she’d licked her lips and wanted a piece of him. “Show off.” Then she flushed, realizing how rude she’d just been to a complete stranger who’d just assisted her. “I mean,
thank you
.”

He laughed, reaching up to scratch his new best friend behind the ears. “Ease up, Ari. He’s a kitten. You’re a wolf. The poor thing is never going to be comfortable around you. You can’t expect him to become your bosom buddy.”

Ari straightened her back, instantly on alert. “How do you know my name?”

He gave a careless shrug. “Because we’ve met.” Glancing sideways at the kitten purring in his ear, he chuckled when he found its eyes half-closed in ecstasy. “Not my fault if you don’t remember me.”

Wrinkling her brow and folding her arms across her chest, Ari tried in vain to keep her attention on his face, though she couldn’t help sneaking a few yummy peeks at his stiff rod, as well as the rest of his body.

Seriously, was it legal to have thighs so muscular and toned? No way would she forget a body like this.

She narrowed her eyes, instantly suspicious. “If we’ve met, then why are you being so secretive?”

He arched an eyebrow. “Am I being secretive?” With a pointed glance down at his erection, he murmured, “I thought I was being rather open and exposed. What exactly do you think I’m hiding?”

“Well…your name, for one. You refuse to tell me who you are.”

His smile melted what was left of her fried, over sensitized hormones until they oozed out between her legs. “I beg your pardon, darling. I didn’t mean to keep you in suspense. The name’s Dane Griffin.”

For some reason, his title resonated with her. It felt familiar, safe, yet exhilarating. She knew it somehow, but she couldn’t place from where, exactly.

Slipping off his shades, Dane studied her from a pair of intensely blue eyes. Her breath caught in her throat. His stare was so direct it startled her. But she still didn’t recognize it.

“Mean anything to you?” he asked in a soft voice, watching her with such emotion, she wondered if her answer could either slay or invigorate him.

Ignoring the trickle of awareness his name wrought, she shook her head with a slow swish, causing her dark hair to shift across the tops of her shoulders.

He shoved on his shades, hiding his reaction. His voice was emotionless, unwavering when he answered, “I’m not surprised. You were barely five that last time we saw each other.”

Okay, that might’ve answered a few questions, but it only made her curious to ask more. “So, how did we meet?”

For a moment, he said nothing. Then with a small sigh, he relented. “We lived next door to one another in a small community for half-breeds.” He glanced around him. “Much like this one.”

She blinked, startled. “You mean there’s another half-breed community out there?” She’d had no idea there were so many other freaks like herself. “Wait a second.” Lifting her nose, she inhaled the air around him but could only detect jaguar. “But…what other animal are
you
?”

Like her, his minor animal must be so diluted no one could sense it.

With a frown, he murmured, “Other? I only have one animal. My father’s human and my mother’s half human. That’s what makes me a half-breed.”

Face lighting with awareness, Dane wandered toward her, eyeing her from head to foot. “Interesting. I had no idea
you
held two animals in you. Since I know Jacyee’s fully human, I assume it comes from your father. But Knox was always so
wolfy
around me, I never suspected he was duo-animagous.”

With a grin, he sniffed her loudly. “Tell me, Ari. What second animal do you have stirring around in there? Can’t be feline; Whiskers wouldn’t abhor you so much.”

“I…I never said I had a second animal. And how do you know the names of my parents?”

The features on his face softened into a fond smile. “Jaycee was nanny to me and my sisters until we were twelve.” Smile falling into a dangerous glower, he finished, “Then your
father
swept you away in the middle of the night without a word to anyone.”

His sour tone alerted her to something that made her skin prickle with unease. Shaking her head, she took a cautious step back. She almost expected him to counter her with a prowling stride closer, or maybe even attack her full force. But he didn’t move. He merely watched her from behind his shuttered lenses.

Frowning, she grabbed his shades and ripped them off. “This is ridiculous. Who the hell are you,
really
, and why are you feeding me such a preposterous story?”

Ari very nearly shoved his glasses back onto his nose when his blue eyes seemed to look deep inside her.

He chuckled out a humorless sound. “Why are you so sure my story’s preposterous?”

After cracking off an incredulous laugh, she answered, “Because I’ve never heard anything like it from my parents before. I have lived
here
my entire life, and my mother has never mentioned anything about being a nanny or knowing anyone by the name Griffin.”

She caught a slight wince—just the barest twitch in his cheek—when she spoke of her mother. His eyes seemed to turn a deeper, more brilliant shade of azure. “I can only assume she didn’t speak of me, my family, or your time in Locks Hollow in difference to your father’s wishes.”

“And why would my father wish something like that to be kept from me?”

He shook his head. “You’ll have to ask him.”

“I’m asking
you
!” Fed up with his evasive answers, she reached out to grab him by his shirtfront and haul him closer for a heated glare-off until she remembered he wore no shirt, or pants for that matter.

Glancing down, she found him still fully aroused. With a growl of impatience because his glorious dick only made her want to ride him right then and there, she grabbed his nose and twisted, snarling, “Now answer me.”

On his shoulder, Whiskers hissed and swiped a paw at her, defending the stranger and catching the back of her hand with tiny claws, immediately drawing blood.

Before she could react much past a pained gasp, Dane snarled out his own booming hiss and grabbed Whiskers by the scruff of the neck. He roared his anger into the kitten’s ear, making the poor creature curl into a frightened ball, whimpering.

“Don’t,” Ari cried, clutching Dane’s wrist. “You’re scaring him.”

His livid gaze seared her way as his solid chest heaved. “He
hurt
you.”

“Oh my God.” Ari rolled her eyes. “He’s a
kitten
. And it’s barely a scratch. Look, it’s already healing.” She lifted her hand to show him how the torn flesh had already patched back together. Just another perk of having shifter blood.

Still looking as if he wanted to commit murder, Dane dropped the cat to the ground, hissing at it one last time. It, of course, landed on all fours, only to scramble back up his leg, desperate to return to Dane Griffin’s good graces. Dane brushed it off and stomped his foot until Whiskers finally fled, dashing off and disappearing under Ari’s car.

Ari huffed out a disgusted breath. Stupid cat. Stupid man. Annoyed about pretty much everything, she set her hands on her hips and glared at the source of it, naked and glorious he may be. She wanted to demand he redress already, but that would only show how much his nakedness aroused—er, bothered—her. It would also take away the spectacular view she had.

Seriously. Yum.

“You have five seconds to tell me whatever it is you’re not telling me, or I swear to God, I’ll go wolf on your ass and take out all
nine
of your lives. Got it, kitten?”

With a sigh, the jaguar didn’t answer, but his eyes filled with an unspoken yearning. Slowly, he lifted his hand and barely touched her when he gently cupped her cheek. “Ah, Ari…you slay me. I can’t even begin to tell you how much it means to be standing here in front of you. I’ve searched so long.”

She shook her head, so confused and frustrated—and yet, captivated—she could’ve chewed nails...or him. Preferably him. “Searched for
what
?”

BOOK: Mates Since Birth (Half-breed Shifter Series)
4.42Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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