Authors: Celina Reyer
This is a work of fiction. Any names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons--living or dead--is entirely coincidental
Reclaiming Her Alpha copyright @ 2013 by Celina Reyer. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embedded in critical articles or reviews.
Reclaiming Her Alpha
Katherine had lost herself in it, heart racing, sweat pouring down her back, legs turning to rubber. She was gasping for breath when she made it over the finish line first and collapsed on the cool grass, listening to the barely audible cheers of the crowd over her own pounding heartbeat.
Monique came to her first, looking like she had never broken a sweat in her life. Kat envied the way her sister always looked so polished. She knew her own face was bright red from exertion, but only a delicate flushing t
inged her sister's cheeks where the autumn wind had brushed her skin. Likewise, where Kat's long hair was falling out of its ponytail, Monique's locks flowed tidily around her shoulders.
Kat forced a smile and looked past her sister. He was there, lookin
g at her proudly, his blue eyes glowing as he reached past Monique to pull her to her feet. Ridiculously, she couldn't even stammer a "thank you" because her nerves jangled so violently when he took her hand in his. He gave her a strong yank that sent her stumbling against him, and she couldn't stop her body from reacting. Her heart raced, her skin felt feverish, and her mind murmured
as she felt the familiar, solid strength of his broad chest and smelled his irresistible scent.
e was broken when he rumbled, "Nice, Little Kat. First place!" as her sister squealed and clapped and pretended to make a fuss. Her eyes met his and she felt the heat of his gaze, but Nathaniel was her sister's boyfriend now, and there was nothing she could do about it.
The first two days of the Harvest Moon Festival were always family-friendly, the usual carnival rides and games and the annual 5K, which Kat had just won for her age group. The neighboring communities had their suspicions about their little enclave, but for appearances' sake the pack hosted very public events throughout the year, managing to prevent trouble by being "skin-friendly."
The third night, however, was a private celebration held by the pack's Council, and Kat was equal parts te
rrified and determined. She knew she would be forced to see Nathaniel again with her sister, and she always fell to pieces in his presence. Her inability to form a coherent sentence when she was around him was noticeable to everyone and she hated feeling like a fool.
Never mind that she and Nathaniel were mates; no one else knew what had happened between the two of them. She had never told anyone but Monique. And since they had not committed themselves in front of the pack, as far as anyone knew their only
relationship was the one they shared because of her sister.
But it was so much more.
Kat sank against the door frame, her knees weak as she thought of the way he had touched her that sunny afternoon months ago, the way she still caught him looking at her sometimes. The unbearable craving for her stolen mate was agony, both a fiery physical yearning and a powerful emotional pull. And though most of her believed that he was happy with Monique and that there wasn't a chance in the world for the two of them, part of her still believed they were really meant to be together.
Her thoughts turned to her sister, and a nearly violent rage bubbled inside her as she thought of the night Monique announced she was dating Nathaniel. Her sister had made her smug confess
ion at dinner, in front of their parents, and then rubbed her face in it later, when the two of them were alone.
Monique laughed. "Kat, Nathaniel doesn't think of you that way. You're like a little sister to him. Don't be ridiculous."
felt ridiculous, hot tears streaming down her face as she sobbed, "Please, Monique, I love him." She felt a physical pain, like a cramping, in her stomach; she doubled over and wept, clutching the banister as she collapsed on the bottom stair.
rely smiled at her, an infuriating, saccharine smirk, and tossed her hair. "I'm not doing anything to you, Kat. If he wanted you, he'd be with you. He wants me. He chose me. It's as simple as that."
Kat knew at that moment that she had never met a more se
lfish person in her entire life than her sister. But there was nothing she could do. And maybe Monique was right. If there really was something between her and Nathaniel, why was he with Monique? Why wouldn't he be with her?
She would never forgive her sister for stealing Nathaniel from her. It was unspeakable what she had done, but Kat blamed Nathaniel more. He had told her he loved her... he had touched her... he had marked her... and then he turned around and started dating her sister only a month later. Who did that?
With a sigh she pulled herself together and headed off toward the Council Meeting.
The pack Alpha,
Roman, was pacing when she arrived, deep in discussion with Nathaniel. He was tense, energy radiating from his muscular frame as he delivered his orders. Kat wondered what it could be. Every fall brought a migration from a nomad pack of bloodsuckers, and it was likely they were hunting too close to the pack's borders again, though there had never been any serious trouble. Still, she watched Roman's face carefully, concerned by his furrowed brow and steely eyes.
Nathaniel gestured toward her and Roman waved her over.
"Willmont," he said gruffly when she joined the men. "Ready to serve your pack?"
"Of course." Her heart galloped in her che
st and her mouth was dry. "How can I help?"
"I need you to go with Hawke and patrol the northern border. There's a potential breach. We can do without you two tonight. You're the fastest if we need you back."
She nodded, remaining composed but secretly pleased that he had acknowledged her as the fastest. And then she had a sudden, fevered flash of Nathaniel running. They often crossed paths during their morning runs, and just the sight of his tightly muscled thighs pumping and muscular shoulders shiny with sweat was usually enough to break her stride. Even just thinking about it, she struggled to maintain her neutral expression.
"Ready?" Nathaniel asked, and she nodded and headed off beside him. Her legs were weak as it registered that she was going all t
he way to the northern border with Nathaniel - alone.
"I requested you," he said finally, after they had walked nearly a mile together in silence, enveloped by the sounds of the forest around them.
"Oh..." Her insides were aflutter and she knew she s
hould say something more, but she had no idea how to begin.
He was silent for a moment before he spoke again. "You were magnificent today." He turned to her, his face filled with admiration. "You must be training hard."
She nodded. "I feel better when I train hard. It's easier to phase, too, when I push myself. I think it's because I'm more in tune with my body." She didn't say,
Mostly I run to take my mind off you.
She wished she were the kind of woman who could say things like that, a woman like Monique who took what she wanted and made no apologies for it.
Something she couldn't identify flashed in his eyes, and she looked away as they fell into step once again.
"By the way, you don't need to worry," he said. "The border breach isn't a serious concern. We're not going to run into anyone. The only people in this woods are you and me."
She breathed a sigh of relief, even as her heartbeat kicked into overdrive. Nathaniel was so close she could smell his soap, the fabric softener that scented his clothes,
and underneath it all his own earthy, musky male scent. She longed to bury her face in his neck and just breathe him in. And her body, in full agreement, began to tingle. She wondered if he smelled her, too, her soap and hair products and sweat - and arousal.
"We'll probably be out here all night," he continued.
"Fine," she managed to squeak. Again he looked at her, his gaze holding hers a bit longer, and her hands began trembling. She shoved them in her pockets.
"Cold?" he asked, suddenly concerned. Sh
e shook her head and they began walking again.
It took nearly an hour to reach the northern border on foot. Eventually they fell into easy conversation, and she relaxed enough for him to make her laugh. She loved how his eyes lit up when he elicited
a giggle from her. Nathaniel's eyes were like none other - a beautiful, cerulean blue with a halo of gold around the pupils. Even in the dark they shone.
They found a clearing and set up camp. "It's okay. See? No one here," Nathaniel said as he busied himself w
ith the bed roll he'd been carrying. Kat eyed it nervously. No doubt he would call first watch, but there was absolutely no way she would be able to sleep with Nathaniel standing over her. She'd probably talk in her sleep or moan his name in one of the fevered erotic dreams that haunted her nights and completely embarrass herself.
"Should we make a fire?" she asked.
He shrugged. "Might as well. Temperature's dropping a bit and even if they smell the smoke, I'm pretty sure they won't cross the border. If they do, we'll deal with them." She must have looked worried again, because he touched her shoulder reassuringly and promised, "There's no one out here, Kat. Just relax."
They built the fire and sat on the open bed roll. He fell silent again, seemingly dee
p in thought until finally he said the very words she'd been hoping to hear.
"I've always wanted to ask you about that day," he began. In his voice she heard an unfamiliar vulnerability and was surprised at it. "I didn't want to push you, but I need to know, Kat. What did I do to scare you off?"
Kat looked at him, completely confused. "You didn't scare me off... What do you mean?"
He turned to her, capturing her face in both of his hands and looking deep into her eyes. His jaw tightened and his nostrils flared as he gazed intently at her, emotion swirling behind his stare. "I waited for you to come back the next day. To the apricot tree. I told Monique to have you meet me there, but she said you wouldn't come, that you were too scared."
in spite of herself.
, the voice cried, but the words wouldn't come. She tried to look away but he held her fast.
"Tell me why," he urged, and her insides twisted when she heard his voice crack just slightly. "Tell me you felt nothing that day."
His thumbs caressed her jaw as his eyes, clouded with pain, begged for a reason. She was shocked to see him like this, his guard completely down.
And his touch brought her back there, under the blossoming tree near the barn, where he had forever changed h
"Kat," he murmured, gazing down at her intently, drawing her close. Her heart lodged in her throat as he leaned down to kiss her, and the emotion in his blue eyes as he looked into hers took her breath away. She trembled in his embrace, equal parts fear and desire coursing through her veins.
When his lips brushed against hers, his touch was so feather-light that she swooned with need. He kissed her more deeply, and she moaned. Her soft, primal sound triggered the animal in him; he growled in response
and covered her mouth roughly with his own, his tongue slipping easily against hers, probing and claiming. Within seconds she was responding feverishly, gasping as she kissed him back with equal urgency, arching against him and losing all inhibitions as she sank into the joy of his long-awaited kiss.
After a moment he stopped and stared at her, dazed and slightly out of breath. She recognized that hungry
look, though she'd never had anyone look at her that way before. Her mind raced, wondering far he would go and how far she should let him should go--
"Nathaniel, I --" She was tongue-tied. She knew she had to tell him. She had to make herself form the words.
But he spoke again, his voice husky. "I've thought about that day every day since."
"Oh..." It came out like a sigh, and she stopped thinking as he kissed her hairline, just as he had that day, trailing his lips across her forehead, down the side of her face, and finally along her throat, his tongue lingering on the pulse that fluttered in the little hollow. She struggled to remain upright as his lips found a spot that made her blood sizzle. He nuzzled enthusiastically as she made little cries of ecstasy. Her nipples ached, dampness flooded her cunt, and she whimpered and arched her body toward his as his mouth worked magic on her flesh.
"Tell me what I need to do, Kat," he breathed in her ear, his hands clutching her fast. He lowered her to the bed
roll and covered her with his own body, claiming her mouth again as he settled on top of her, his welcome weight pinning her to the forest floor.
She could feel him, insistently hard through his jeans, as he rocked his pelvis against hers. His lips and t
ongue traveled over her collarbone, dipping down to explore the bare expanse of flesh where her jacket was slightly unzipped. With a quick tug he opened her jacket and his fingers began unbuttoning the sweater beneath. Kat stopped breathing as with each button his fingers traced teasing circles on her skin, caressing the hollow between her breasts, gliding over the clasp of her white satin bra and down her naked stomach.