Redeemed: True Mates Book 4 (BBW Wolf Shifter Romance) (A Craggstone Paranormal Romance) (7 page)

BOOK: Redeemed: True Mates Book 4 (BBW Wolf Shifter Romance) (A Craggstone Paranormal Romance)
2.46Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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It was a challenge, and one I was quite happy to accept. I tugged my t-shirt off over my head and tossed it carelessly to the ground.

Her gaze roamed hungrily over my chest, and I fought back the urge to tense and flex, to preen in front of her. A pink tongue darted out, wetting her lips, and I stifled a groan, already imagining that tongue wrapped around my shaft, licking and sucking its way down.

Arching one eyebrow, she reached around her back, tormenting me with her slow, deliberate movements, then the scrap of lace was dangling from one hand, and all hope of going back, returning to my old life, was lost.

 

***

Macey

The way he was looking at me, like he wanted to eat me alive…a shiver rippled down my spine, the vibrations pooling low in my stomach.

It wasn’t warm out today, and even though my shifter blood kept me from feeling the cold, certain parts of me were reacting to more than just the cool breeze skating over my skin. Blood rushed to my breasts, the skin tightening under the heat of his perusal, my nipples contracting into tight aching nubs.

I let the lacy bra fall from my fingers, already forgotten.

I was fighting the urge to stalk toward him, to demand that he ease the ache that was growing inside of me. That he use his big, strong hands on my body to stroke and caress.

It was a primal urge, the same one that demanded I take him as my mate, and that was the one thing I wasn’t sure about yet. And if I
wasn’t
sure, then it sure as hell would be a bad idea to touch him. To let him touch me.

Because then I’d be lost.

“You need to shift before your coyote loses control again.” My voice sounded harsh and too real for the moment, shattering the hypnotic silence that had been cast.

“Macey—” He reached for me.

I stumbled back a step.
One touch and it would all be over.
“You need to shift.”

Turning my back, I shrugged out of my jeans and called the shift to me. Power flowed, stretching and remolding my bones, fur sprouting and nails lengthening to sharp claws.

Shaking off the last of the spasms, I turned and padded toward where he stood, still half dressed. Letting out a whine of disapproval, I pawed at the ground, huffing when he grimaced at me.

“I don’t know if I can. It’s been so long.”

Bullshit!
I yapped at him, baring my teeth.

Grabbing the scruff of my neck, he bent down, putting us face to muzzle. “It’s been over twenty years since I last shifted. Do you know what that means? I don’t know how wild my coyote might be…”

His strong fingers dug into my neck and, despite myself, I leaned in, encouraging him to scratch deeper.

He was worried about losing control? Having never gone that long without shifting, I couldn’t even hazard a guess at how on edge he must feel. But he wasn’t doing this on his own; I was here to help him. He had to know that.

I yapped again, for once wishing that I still had my human vocal chords while in wolf form. I wouldn’t let him turn feral. I could take him down if I had to. I was my dad’s daughter, after all.

Then, it hit me. If we were truly mates, then there would be a bond. Half scared to look, I forced myself to look inward, searching the place deep inside, where my soul lay cocooned and safe.

A thin line of light trickled out from me, floating through the air and landing square between his muscular pecs, disappearing inside. It wasn’t a strong bond, wispy and insubstantial, but it was there.

Metaphorically grabbing it with both hands, I yanked hard, all the while praying to the Mother it didn’t break. I might not have made my mind up about Jason yet, but I sure as hell didn’t want to damage the possibility.

His free hand flew to his chest, blue eyes widening in shock. “What was that?”

This time I didn’t tug on the bond, instead allowing some of my strength and, I hoped, some of my belief in him to flow through. And at that moment, it hit me. My heart believed in him, even if my mind still had doubts.

His eyes closed, his mouth parting in wonder as the connection between us vibrated, growing stronger.

Now that was something I hadn’t counted on.

After a long moment, his eyes flashed back open, the pale blue completely gone, his coyote in charge. Lurching to his feet, he ripped open his jeans and shoved them to his feet, toeing off his boots at the same time.

I gulped. This was a man that didn’t believe in frivolous things such as underwear then. I sent a quick thanks to the Mother, grateful that I was in wolf form, otherwise I was sure that my willpower would have snapped and I would have thrown myself at him.

Jason was delicious to look at fully dressed. But naked, he was a god. As though sculpted from ice, every inch of him looked to be designed with one sole purpose in mind—to drive a woman mad with lust. I wanted to run my tongue over his abs, licking each indent of his six-pack, trace the deep lines narrowing to his groin. And the topping on this delicious scoop of man-ice-cream-goodiness? He was outrageously oversized…everywhere.

His muscles rippled as he dropped to his knees, his lips parted in a silent scream.

He was fighting it, resisting the shift.

Immediately, I started to shove reassurance and soothing thoughts down the bond, wishing to hell this thing had come with a training manual! But it seemed to do the trick as he shuddered, his bones snapping and reforming, his teeth gritted in what looked like resignation.

Why wasn’t
I
feeling anything through the bond? The thought snuck into my mind, and I faltered, the bond slipping out of my grasp.

I skidded back on my paws, watching as a large coyote lumbered to its feet. His fur was mostly white with just a scattering of the usual tan, his ears large and pointed, his snout thinner and narrower than my own.

He shook himself, weaving on unsteady legs, his tail standing straight out.

That’s what happened when you tried to fight the shift, although it must be weird to be on four paws for the first time in twenty years.

In a flash, he spun around, his eyes locking onto me. Deep violet orbs stared at me, the color a dead giveaway for a shifter. There was no way he was blending in with the natural world, not with those eyes.

He was eerily beautiful.

For a brief moment I thought he didn’t recognize me, but then his tail flicked and he bounded over to me, shoving me with his large shoulder, nipping at me playfully with his sharp teeth.

Then we were off, bounding through the forest, leaping over rocks and dodging through the trees. The wind tore at my fur, a myriad of smells assaulting and caressing my nose. This was freedom, the chance to just run and play. No worries, no responsibilities. No words, no misunderstandings.

The sun started to dip low in the sky, the shadows shifting and creeping closer.

We stopped by a small stream to quench our thirst, which quickly turned into a game of who could dunk whom, until we were both dripping wet, our fur plastered to our bodies, panting from exertion.

Lying down on a conveniently placed flat rock, I tried to soak in the last of the fading sun, content, my mind blissfully quiet. When Jason joined me, nudging me over with his large body and curling himself around me, huffing, my heart stuttered.

What would it be like to
feel
like this every day? To be with someone who knew exactly who I was and didn’t expect me to be any different? Didn’t expect me to act strong every second of the day, but didn’t flinch when I did? Someone who saw
me
, not the lieutenant and not the Council Member’s daughter.

I knew part of it was that Jason wasn’t from our world. He didn’t understand the politics or the pack dynamics involved with trying to be a strong female in a world filled with strong men. He just wanted
me
, and accepted that I was strong.

Or at least I thought he did. There was the little fact that he wanted to hide me and protect me from unknown perils. But any mate would want to do that. It didn’t mean that he expected it to actually happen. Or did he?

Niggles of doubt wormed their way into my happy thoughts, crushing my good mood.

I had to keep reminding myself, I didn’t really know the guy. Didn’t
really
know what he had been up to for the past twenty years. For all I knew, he could have been working with Bert and was leading us all into a trap.

The thought tasted wrong in my mind, bitter and just plain
off
, but I had to consider it. I wasn’t just a woman who had found her mate, I was also a lieutenant of the Colstone Pack. My heart wanted get to know her mate, my mind wanted to watch and learn, to wait until I knew for certain that he could be trusted.

Fuck.

Hating myself for even thinking it, I lumbered to my feet, nudging Jason’s prone body with my snout.

Time to go home. Playtime was over. Next stop, Sunclaw Pack.

 

 

CHAPTER EIGHT

Jason

Why the hell was I traipsing through the forest, heading back to a place I had vowed never to go near again?

Because my mate had asked me to. With her big blue eyes and cunning mind, she had talked me into it.

If you take me there, I can do my duty for the pack and we can clear your name,
she had said. And I swear she had fluttered her eyelashes at me. Though I might be wrong, Macey didn’t seem the type to flutter.

I’d told myself I didn’t really have a choice.

Well, I did. One, take Macey to Sunclaw as she asked. Clear my name, therefore removing any doubts from her mind. Two, convince her to abandon her pack and come with me to the city. A much preferred idea, but she didn’t really trust me, and could I live with knowing that deep down, she had doubts?

That was if she even accepted me as her mate. Which she hadn’t. Yet.

I growled my frustration out loud. It was enough to drive a man insane!

I wanted her to trust me without question, but even I could see why she didn’t. And then there was the whole
living as a human
thing. I was starting to have my doubts about how that could work, but I didn’t see how I could live as a shifter again.

It
had
been exhilarating to shift again and run free, but everything was so much more uncomplicated as a human. And I had a business to get back to—one I hadn’t thought about in days! How the hell had
that
slipped my mind?

“How much further?”

Since our race through the forest on four legs, she had been holding herself back, her attitude one of professionalism and restraint.

I could see the heat burning in her eyes, the way she reached for me without thinking, the same way every inch of my body ached to reach for her. I half wanted to sweep her off her feet, wipe away her caution with my lips, melt away her resistance until she was begging for me, unable to hold back. Once we were mated and bound, she would know the real me, would know my inner heart.

She would understand.

I glanced at her out of the corner of my eye, watching her long ponytail bob and sway with each step, the roll of her hips as she smoothly navigated the rough terrain, the pinch of concentration in her lips as she mulled something over in her head.

I couldn’t do it. Maybe I might have when we first met, but now? I wanted her to choose me. To want me.

Though maybe one more kiss…

“What are you doing?”

I tugged her into my arms, desperate to taste her. To feel her lush curves press against me one more time before I faced the ghosts of my past.

“Just a taste,” I murmured, lowering my head, watching her eyes widen, her cheeks flush, her eyelashes flutter, her lips part on a puff of air.

A kiss could be perfunctory, the pressing together of flesh, then release. It could be a promise, a tease, an introduction, a duty, or love. For us, each kiss was a culmination of anticipation and exploration. Through her lips I explored, drinking in every little gasp, every minute inhalation of surprise. I nibbled and licked, tasting and teasing, learning about my mate.

She quivered in my arms, lost in the moment, her lips moving with mine, her fingers threading up into my hair beneath my knit hat, tugging and pressing.

I groaned, deepening the kiss, spearing her mouth with my tongue, all the while wondering if I was being an idiot. If living as a human had made me soft. Would a shifter have waited? Or would he have just taken her, claimed her as his and damn the consequences?

The shifters I had grown up with certainly wouldn’t have waited. They would have taken, and that was the only thing holding me back. I would not be like them.

Like an animal.

I had to be better. I hadn’t given up my pack, my—

A body slammed into us, knocking us apart, sending me hurtling to the ground.

What the—?

I jumped to my feet, eyes immediately searching for Macey. If she was hurt…

BOOK: Redeemed: True Mates Book 4 (BBW Wolf Shifter Romance) (A Craggstone Paranormal Romance)
2.46Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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