Authors: Jordan Summers
“Is it normal for the Kin to run by Telegraph Road?” he asked.
Mindy lived on Telegraph Road. Hers was one of the few houses out that way. She’d got it for her and Izzy because the rent was cheap and she could keep as many animals there as she wanted.
What was Slade doing out there?
“It doesn’t matter what I was doing. Just answer the question,” he said.
Celina’s stomach dropped to the floor.
Did he just read my thoughts?
She’d never heard of a Were who could do that. The idea was horrifying. Fear cooled her ardor.
“I’m pretty sure the Moonlight Kin only run on Aidan Fortier’s estate,” she said.
“Is he the Alpha?” Slade asked.
“Yes,” she said, then amended her answer: “I think so. I’ve never met him.”
“No surprise there. Alphas are
about the female company they keep,” he said.
It took her a beat to catch the insult. Celina stiffened. “What exactly do you mean by that?”
Slade smiled and kissed her cheek. “Nothing, sweetheart.”
Celina wanted him—wanted this—so bad that she was willing to put up with a lot. That would change once they were mated.
A smile ghosted Slade’s face as he pulled off his shirt and dropped it onto the arm of the couch. Her eyes devoured every inch of his bare skin. Celina had never seen a man built like him. He sported so many hard ridges and shadowed lines that he didn’t look real.
His long, tapered fingers moved to the button on the front of his jeans. She’d had those fingers inside every orifice and still she wanted more, needed more.
Slade popped the button. The denim slipped an inch, riding low on his hips, exposing the indentations that hinted at greater perfection. He didn’t seem to notice her physical response. Without a second glance, he walked into the bedroom.
Celina tried not to drool as she watched him go. The second he was out of sight, she glanced at the phone and debated whether to call Mindy.
And say what? Be careful, werewolves are sniffing around your house? Watch out, werewolves are real?
She’d have her committed.
“Celina,” Slade’s raspy voice called out.
She recognized the tone immediately. He only sounded sexy like that when he wanted some, wanted her. The realization dispersed her doubts and bolstered her hopes.
“What, babe?” she asked.
“I’m hungry,” he said, surprising her.
Celina glanced at the food on the table. “You want me to heat up the plate?”
“I don’t want food,” he said. “I want you to get your butt in here and take your clothes off.”
Desire mingled with defeat. Celina couldn’t resist his call, hadn’t been able to from the start. Slade had come into her life and stolen her soul.
No, not stolen,
she thought. She’d given it to him willingly. Wrapped it in a bow and handed her soul over, along with her self-respect.
Celina reached for the bottom of her T-shirt and pulled it over her head. She hadn’t bothered to put on a bra, since Slade didn’t like them. He wanted easy and fast access. She dropped the shirt onto the floor and slowly strolled into the bedroom.
Slade was lying on top of her white comforter with his back pressed against the wrought-iron headboard. He was gloriously naked, waiting for her. His tight fist encased his swollen flesh, emphasizing his arousal.
Celina gulped, drinking in the sight of him. He was big and thick. Everything about him was sheer perfection. “You’re beautiful.”
He ignored the compliment as if it were his due. “About time,” he said, stroking himself. “This isn’t going to suck itself.”
Celina let out a desperate whimper and dropped to her knees.
“That’s a good girl,” Slade said, as she brushed his hands aside and grasped him, then slowly lowered her head.
* * * * *
The sun had barely peeked its golden head above the horizon, when Nic arrived at work the next morning. He punched in his security code and the large metal gate swung open. Nic pulled through and stopped, waiting for the gate to close behind him.
They’d had a security breach not long ago. Jenna Dane’s “ex” had broken onto the estate and threatened to expose the Kin.
The problem had been dealt with swiftly, but he and the other wolves had become more vigilant about the pack’s security.
The woods rushed by as Nic meandered down the long drive. The concrete and stone manor came into view as the trees parted and the road split in two. If he veered right, he’d go toward the circular drive in front of the house.
He went left. Most of Aidan’s estate was still asleep, but the lights were on in the garage as he pulled his truck up and parked.
Nic walked in to find Josh Dubois and Bernie Macklemore already hard at work.
“Morning,” Nic said, and went straight for the pot of coffee on the shelf.
Josh popped his dark head out from beneath the hood of the sports car he was working on. He was a wiry twenty-something who laughed as much as he talked and had the kind of energy that would shame that battery- operated bunny. “You look like crap. Must’ve been some night.” Josh grinned and his youthful eyes danced with glee.
Bernie slid out from under the sedan he’d been adjusting and hauled himself to his feet with a groan. He looked to be a fit fifty thanks to his shifter genes, but was in all likelihood double that age. Methodical and wise, Bernie considered each word before he spoke. His gaze landed on Nic and his gray brow arched. “What happened to you?”
“Nothing.” Nic avoided his gaze. “Had a little scuffle last night with some pups who were out to test their claws.”
Josh laughed. “They aren’t very bright if they decided to tangle with you.”
Nic laughed. “They weren’t,” he said.
“Want me to talk to them?” Josh asked.
Nic shook his head. “They don’t live here on the estate. I’ve never seen them before. Must be out-of- towners in for the full-moon run.”
Bernie’s eyes narrowed, but he said nothing.
Nic walked to the truck he’d been working on yesterday and set his coffee down on the floor, then slipped under the vehicle. He reached for a wrench to loosen the bolts. The wrench slipped from his fingers and dropped onto the floor with a loud clang. He picked it up, only to drop it again.
The third time the wrench hit the concrete, Bernie and Josh quit working on their cars and came to see if he needed a hand.
“Doing okay?” Bernie asked.
“Fine,” Nic said through gritted teeth. He twisted the wrench and scraped a layer of skin off his knuckles.
Josh sniffed. “Ah, Nic, he said. “I don’t mean to pry, but when did you start wearing women’s perfume?”
Nic banged his head on the undercarriage. He muttered a curse, then slid out from under the truck. He rolled to his feet and walked to the neatly arranged wall of tools on the far side of the garage.
Bernie followed him. “Want to talk about it?”
Nic didn’t look at him. Instead, he continued to examine the tools. “Nothing to talk about.”
Bernie cocked his head. “If it’s nothing, then where’d the perfume come from?”
Nic shrugged and kept his expression neutral. “Just a girl I picked up at the bar last night.”
“She have anything to do with the scuffle?” Bernie asked.
Nic didn’t answer.
Bernie stared at him for a solid minute.
Nic fought the urge to squirm.
“What’s her name?” Bernie asked.
Nic’s face heated. “Don’t know. Doesn’t matter.”
“You don’t know her name?” Bernie took a deep breath and slowly let it out. “How long have I known you?”
Nic looked at him in surprise. “What?”
“How long have we known each other?” Bernie asked.
Nic thought about it. “Ten years, give or take.”
Bernie nodded. “Sounds right,” he said. “In all that time, I can’t recall you ever coming to work smelling like a girl you picked up at a bar.”
Nic turned away, but Bernie caught his sleeve. He looked down at the hand and snarled.
Bernie’s brow disappeared into his hairline. “Okay, now that we’ve established that she’s not just some nameless girl you picked up at a bar, it’s time to talk. Take a seat.” He pointed to a stool in the corner of the garage. “Josh, run to the main house and get me a pastry.”
“Nic, you want anything?” Josh asked.
The younger man nodded and strode out the door.
As soon as he was gone, Bernie leveled his gaze on Nic. “Now tell me what happened.”
“I already told you,” Nic said. “I got into with some pups and hooked up with a girl afterwards.”
“You aren’t a hookup kind of guy,” Bernie said.
“Sure I am.”
“No.” Bernie shook his head. “You’re not,” he said patiently.
Nic shrugged. “I was last night.”
“Hmm...interesting.” Bernie got himself a cup of coffee. He made a show of taking a sip, then returned to Nic’s side. “So let me make sure I have this right. You got into a fight—that may or may not involve a woman—then picked up some random bar girl to have sex with and didn’t bother to ask her name.”
“That about sums it up,” Nic said. His jaw hurt from gritting his teeth so hard.
“I’m confused,” Bernie said. “If it was such a fun night, and you certainly smell like it was, then why are you so grumpy?”
“I’m not grumpy,” Nic snapped.
Bernie watched him closely. “You got into a fight. Found an easy lay. Sounds like a Were’s idea of a perfect night.”
“She wasn’t easy,” Nic said. She hadn’t been with a man in a while. He was sure of that. Just the thought of her lying with another guy made Nic’s head ache and claws flex.
Bernie scratched his chin. “You said she was a bar girl. If she was at Sticks, that makes her a Were groupie.”
“I might have met her at the bar, but she was
a regular. Lucien didn’t recognize her and she had no idea what I was,” Nic ground out.
He didn’t like that Bernie thought the woman was easy or that she was a groupie. She wasn’t. Despite what they’d done in the parking lot, she was an innocent. Far too sweet for her own good.
“She didn’t belong there. And she damn sure doesn’t belong with me.” Nic scrubbed a hand through his hair.
Bernie took another sip of his coffee. “I never said she did. It’s interesting that you brought it up, though.”
“Our beasts don’t know everything,” Nic growled. “They
“I’ve never known them to be, but I suppose anything is possible. We’re proof of that.” Bernie hid his smile behind his coffee cup.
“I need to get back to work,” Nic snarled in frustration.
“Can I come back in now? I have your pastry.” Josh poked his head in the door.
“Yes,” Bernie said. “I’ve learned everything I needed to know.”
Nic scowled at him.
“Jenna has a question.” Josh set the pastry on the workbench.
“What does she want to know?” Bernie asked.
“I’ll let her ask you herself,” Josh said.
Nic didn’t look up when Jenna Dane walked into the garage. His mind was too focused on the woman from last night. He’d been unable to think of anything else. Was she still sleeping? Or was she awake, regretting what they’d done?
Part of him did. While a larger half would do it again in a heartbeat.
Even though the night hadn’t gone as planned, Nic didn’t want her to regret their time together. He scratched his jaw. His fingers encountered stubble. He needed a shave. He needed a shower, but he couldn’t stand the thought of losing her scent. He heard muttering.
“What?” he asked. It was then that Nic noticed Jenna standing next to him, talking. How long had she been there?
Somehow she’d squeezed her pregnant body between the truck and the tray of tools beside it. Her strawberry- blonde curls fell loosely down her back. She was smiling and stroking her stomach while she waited for his response.
“I’m sorry, what did you want?” Nic asked.
Jenna’s grin widened. “I asked when you thought the truck would be ready.”
“Uh.” He reached for a tool and knocked the whole tray onto the ground. Nic flushed. “Might be a while.”
Jenna’s light green eyes twinkled. “Looks like it,” she said. “Don’t worry about it. We can use the SUV.”
“I can probably have it up and running by the end of the day,” Nic said.
Jenna touched his arm. “No rush.”
There was a time when her touch brought him nothing but pain. Now Nic didn’t feel anything, and he had his one-night stand to thank for that. Too bad he didn’t know her name and had no way of reaching her.
* * * * *
Jenna waddled out of the garage.
“Never thought I’d see the day you’d—”
Bernie hit Josh before he could finish the sentence.
Josh’s brow furrowed and he looked at him. “What?”
Bernie shook his head in warning. He didn’t want anything to spoil this moment. This was the first time Jenna had come into the garage and not left Nic tied up in knots.
He watched his friend slip back under the truck, totally unaware of what just occurred. Happiness filled him. It was about time the young wolf stopped obsessing over the Alpha’s mate.
Bernie didn’t know who Nic had met last night, but whoever she was, she’d changed his friend’s life for the better. How long would it take him to figure that out and hunt her down? Hopefully not long. He wanted Nic to move back to the estate. Back home with the pack where he belonged.
* * * * *
Every time Nic inhaled, he smelled her honeyed scent and pictured her writhing beneath him. The aroma distracted him, but not half as much as the instant replay. He banged his thumb twice and lost count of how many times he’d dropped his tools.
After a few hours, he’d had enough. Nic needed to get some fresh air. Needed to clear his head. Needed to stop thinking about her, when there was a very good chance he’d never see her again.
His wolf surged to the surface and stared out through his eyes. It raised its furry head and sniffed the air. The woman’s scent drifted deep into its lungs, then it sank back, hovering just beneath his skin.