Read Primal Bonds Online

Authors: Jennifer Ashley

Tags: #Romance, #Paranormal, #Fiction

Primal Bonds (3 page)

BOOK: Primal Bonds
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“I didn’t notice you mentioning that you had healing magic when you arrived. I didn’t notice Glory mentioning it either.”

“Glory doesn’t know,” Andrea said without turning around. “I had a hard enough time convincing Glory’s pack to let me move in with her, not to mention the pair of Felines who run this Shiftertown. I figured, the less of my Fae part I revealed, the better.”

Sean turned her to face him. His eyes had gone white blue, an alpha not happy that a lesser Shifter hadn’t bared every inch of her soul to him. As much as Andrea’s gaze wanted to slide off to the left, she refused to look away. Sean might be an alpha, but she’d not be a pathetic submissive to his big, bad Feline dominance.

“Why keep such a thing to yourself?” Sean asked. “You could do a hell of a lot of good with a gift like that.”

Andrea slid out of Sean’s grip and walked away. First, because it proved she could; second, it got her away from his white-hot gaze.

“The gift isn’t that strong. It’s not like I can cure terminal diseases or anything. I can boost the immune system, heal wounds and abrasions, speed up the healing of broken bones. I couldn’t have magicked the bullet out of Ronan, for instance, but I could relieve his pain and jump-start his recovery.”

“And you don’t think this is something we should know about?”

When she looked at Sean again, his eyes had returned to that sinful, summer-lake blue, but his stance still said he could turn on her anytime he wanted. If Andrea hadn’t been intrigued by Sean the moment she’d laid eyes on him in the Austin bus station, the man would terrify her. Sean Morrissey was different from Liam, who was a charmer, in your face, laughing at the same time he made damn sure you did whatever it was he wanted. Sean was quieter, watching the world, waiting for something, she wasn’t certain what.

It had been one hell of a long ride from Colorado to central Texas, but Andrea had had to take the bus, because Shifters weren’t allowed on airplanes, nor were they allowed to drive cross-country. Glory had brought Sean with her when she’d picked up Andrea from the station. Tall, hard-bodied, and black-haired, Sean had been dressed in jeans and a button-down shirt, motorcycle boots, and a leather jacket against the February cold. Andrea had assumed him to be Glory’s latest conquest until Glory introduced him. Sean had looked down at Andrea, his hard-ass, blue-eyed stare peeling away the layers she’d built between herself and the world.

She remembered thinking,
I wonder if he’s black-haired all the way down?

Sean, being the alpha he was, had sensed her distress and exhaustion and pulled her into his arms, knowing she needed his touch. He’d smelled of leather, maleness, sweat, and cold February air, and Andrea had wanted to curl up in a little ball against him like a wounded cub. “You’re all right now,” Sean had murmured against her hair. “I’m here to look after you.”

Now Sean stood patiently, waiting for her explanation. The damn stubborn Feline would stand there all night until she gave him one.

“I wasn’t allowed to talk about it in Colorado,” Andrea said. “The Shiftertown leader gave my stepfather permission to let me use it, but they didn’t want me telling people how I healed them. I understand why. Everyone would have freaked if they thought I was using Fae magic on them.”

“That’s a point,” Sean conceded. “But we’re not as easily, as you say,
, around here. You should have told me, or Glory at least.”

Andrea put one hand on her hip. “My life as a half-breed illegitimate orphan hasn’t exactly been pleasant, you know. I’ve learned to keep things to myself.”

“And you thought we’d treat you the same, did you, love?”

Damn it, why did he insist on calling her
? And why did it sizzle fire all the way through her? This was crazy. He was a
. If Sean Morrissey knew little about her, Andrea knew still less about him.

“Well, you’re part of us now.” Sean came to her, again stepping into her space, a dominant male wanting to make her aware just what her place was. “You’re right that not all Shifters are comfortable with Fae magic, but my brother has to know about your healing gift, and my father. And Glory has a right too.”

“Fine,” Andrea said, as though it made no difference. “Tell them.” She moved to the door, again deliberately turning her back on him. Alphas didn’t like that. “We should go help clean up out there. Does the bar get shot up often? I should get hazardous duty pay.”


He was right behind her, his warmth like sunshine on her back. Andrea stopped with her hand on the doorknob. Sean rested his palm on the doorframe above her, his tall body hemming her in. She remembered the feel of him on top of her on the floor, the tactile memory strong.

“Glory says something’s been troubling you,” Sean said. “Troubling you bad. I want you to tell me about it.”

Andrea shivered. Damn Glory, damn Sean, and no, she didn’t want to talk about it.

“Not now. Can we go?”

“It’s my job to listen to troubles,” he said, breath hot in her ear. “Whether I’m your mate yet or not. And you will tell me yours.”

Andrea’s tongue felt loose, her pent-up emotions suddenly wanting to spill out to this man and his warm voice. She clamped her mouth shut, but Sean stunned her by saying, “Is it about the nightmares?”

She hadn’t told anyone about the nightmares, not Glory, not Sean, not anyone, though Glory might have heard her crying out in her sleep. The nightmares had started a week after she’d moved in with Glory, when they’d risen in her head like a many-tentacled monster. She didn’t know what they meant or why she was having them; she only knew they scared the hell out of her. “How do you know about my nightmares?”

“Because my bedroom window faces yours, love, and I have good hearing.”

The thought of Sean sitting in his bedroom, watching over her while she slept, made her shiver with warmth. “There’s nothing to tell. When I wake up, I can’t remember anything.” Except fear. She had no idea what the images that flashed through her head meant, but they terrified her. “I really don’t want to talk about it right now,” she said. “All right?”

Sean ran a soothing hand down her arm, stirring more fires. “That’s all right, love. You let me know when you’re good and ready.”

From the feel of the very firm thing lodged against her backside, Sean was good and ready now. One part of him had definitely shifted.

Andrea deliberately leaned on the door and pressed back into him. A jolt of heat shot through her, the fear of the nightmares dissolving. After Jared, Andrea thought she’d be afraid of Sean, turned off, ready to run. Instead, Sean made her feel, for the first time in years ... playful.

“So, tell me, Guardian,” she said, lowering her voice to a purr. “Is that where you carry your sword, or are you just happy to see me?”


amn but the woman could ignite the mating frenzy without even trying.

Andrea’s backside fit right into Sean’s groin, her wriggle of hips teasing his hard-on for all she was worth. She smelled good, better than good. Even her overlying Fae scent couldn’t change the sensory goodness that was Andrea.

The frenzy wasn’t supposed to start until they were officially mated in ceremony, blessed by the clan leader under sun and under moon. Then they would be a recognized mate-pair, similar to a human marriage, together until death. The mate-claim alone shouldn’t be enough to start the frenzy. But Sean’s libido and instincts were busily overriding the stringent Shifter rules drilled into his head since before he could talk.

Andrea had pulled her ringlets of dark hair into a ponytail tonight, baring her slim neck to his delectation. Sean leaned down and bit her skin, right above her Collar.

“Not now,” he growled.

“Are you implying that there will be a later, Feline?” she asked in that throaty, sexy voice.

“If you want one.” His own voice sounded thick, his tongue wanting only to taste her.

She had no right to smell this good. She was a bloody Lupine, like Glory. Sean had never understood his father’s fixation with Glory, but damn it, Andrea was getting under his skin. He couldn’t make himself stay away from the bloody woman. And then she did things like

Sean wanted to jerk Andrea back into him, peel off her clothes, make love to her on the sagging sofa or maybe the desk. He wanted to lift her in his arms, rush her home, and tell Liam he was ready for the mate blessing.
Under sun and under moon; get on with it, man.

“Not now,” he said again, directing the words to himself.

Andrea straightened and turned, putting her back against the door, her stormy eyes making him wild with wanting. “You know I’m grateful for what you’ve done for me, Sean.”

“Aye, and your undying gratitude is what I live for.”

“Really?” She looked him up and down with a hint of a smile.

“Sure it is.” He heard the bitterness in his tone, but he couldn’t keep it out.

Her brows moved upward, her smoke-colored eyes looking straight into his heart. He had to wonder what she saw there.

Sean had pictured her, before he’d met her, as a submissive little she-wolf—shy and scared, grateful to him for making it possible for her to relocate to Austin. But what he saw in front of him now was a sensual, curvaceous female with eyes the color of smoke, who lifted her head and met his gaze without flinching. She didn’t glance to the side or bow her head, as someone low in a pack should. It was as though Andrea couldn’t be bothered to remember she was supposed to be a submissive little she-wolf.

“We should go,” Sean heard himself saying. “They’ll be wondering what we’re doing back here. You know how Shifter gossip is.”

“Rampant,” Andrea said.

So was Sean, at the moment. He leaned down and nipped her cheek. “I’ll walk you home.”

“That’s sweet, but Glory’s walking me home. She’s plenty scary. I’ll be fine.”

“And tonight, with humans running about shooting up places, I go with you.”

Andrea squarely met his gaze. She always did that, making it clear that she knew that Sean was dominant to her but she didn’t give a damn. Her mouth softened into a smile. “What an offer. A walk with something that worships a scratching post.”

Her teasing made him want to pin her against the door and nip her until she couldn’t speak for laughing. “Lupine humor, as inventive as ever,” he said, exaggerating his Irish lilt. “I’d offer you a doggie biscuit, but I don’t want to soil me dignity.”

“Not a rawhide bone? Stingy.”

He leaned toward her again, heart pounding. “If I were to offer you a bone, that’s not the type I’d be thinking of.”

Her answering smile fanned the fires all through Sean’s body. “Good answer, Guardian. There’s hope for you yet.” She turned the knob behind her, and Sean forced himself to let her go.

ean did walk home with Andrea and Glory, letting the two females stride ahead, the pair of them talking like they hadn’t seen each other in days. The bloody women lived together; you’d think they’d have had enough time to talk about shoes and things without having to go on and on about them now.

Mostly Sean walked behind them so he could watch Andrea’s sexy rear end sway beneath her jacket. The feeling of it rubbing against him in Liam’s office still tingled across his crotch, guaranteeing ’twould be another sleepless night.

He was trying to go slowly with Andrea, knowing that she was worried and uncertain after what that bastard in her old Shiftertown, Jared Barnett, had done to her. When Andrea had rejected his mate-claim, as was a female’s right, Jared, amazed and affronted, had terrorized the hell out of her. He’d followed her around, threatened her and her stepfather, had his friends leave roadkill or lighted rags on her doorstep, and even had them beat up her stepfather. It got to be so bad that Andrea hadn’t been able to leave the house. Her stepfather’s pack refused to extend her protection: first, because she was not related to them by blood, and second, because they thought she should take Jared’s offer. Jared was giving Andrea, a nobody Lupine half Fae, a chance to be safely mated, and she’d had the gall to refuse.

Andrea had finally managed, with her stepfather’s help, to sneak away to Colorado Springs to the human government’s Shifter oversight office and request a transfer to the Austin Shiftertown. A lot of paperwork and calls to Texas later, and Andrea had their approval. Which had led to the problem of Glory’s pack accepting her, and then Sean’s mate-claim.

And now his wanting for the woman was driving him insane.

Andrea and Glory said good-bye to Sean in front of Glory’s house. Sean pulled Andrea into a full embrace, inhaling her scent. He liked that Andrea hugged him back, not fighting the Shifter way of saying good night. Her body felt good and warm, the strength and softness of her making him want to hold her for hours. Glory’s hug wasn’t nearly as intoxicating, and her embraces were always accompanied by a flood of perfume.

Sean waited until Andrea had safely shut the front door behind herself and Glory before he jogged next door and up the steps to the Morrissey house. Sean went straight to his room to put away the sword and from there heard Liam come in and up the stairs. In the hall, Sean found his sister-in-law, Kim, Liam’s human mate, in the doorway to the master bedroom, arms folded over her pregnant abdomen.

BOOK: Primal Bonds
12.53Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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