Authors: Jessie Donovan
Tags: #FICTION / ROMANCE / PARANORMAL
Chloe already loved Claire, but he wasn’t about to give his daughter false hope. While bubbly on the outside, his daughter could be stoic on the inside. He knew she yearned for a mother. If she grew even closer to his human and then Claire left at the end of the month, it would devastate his daughter.
Not only that, but the vote in November was important to his entire clan. He needed to figure out a way to keep Claire Davis and pass human-shifter equality. What had once seemed like a good idea for others had become personal. Fool that he was, he saw himself keeping Claire forever. Hell, maybe even taking her as his mate.
Before he started thinking of all the reasons why that was fucking ridiculous, Claire’s soft, sexy voice interrupted his thoughts. “I think we have time for one more go, but this time, I want to be on top.”
Shifter males were dominant for the most part, yet the image of Claire riding his cock and him at her complete mercy already had his dick growing hard again.
He rolled his body until Claire was laying on his chest. Pushing herself up, heat danced in her eyes. “I’m going to take that as a yes.”
Growling, he caressed her ass. “That’s a hell yes, but you’d better get started.”
Picking up the bed sheet, Claire cleaned between her legs and tossed the material away. With a wicked smile, she grabbed his cock with her soft hands and squeezed. As he sucked in a breath, she murmured, “Just checking you’re ready.”
When she tightened her hands around his cock again, he gripped her ass cheeks and then slapped one. His female squeaked and he chuckled as he slapped her other cheek. The heat in her eyes told him she liked it. “Just making sure you’re ready, too.”
Claire smiled a little too sweetly. “Just remember, payback is a bitch.”
“Then, my human, game on. I will always win in the bedroom.”
As Claire guided his cock inside her pussy, she clenched and he barely resisted a moan. Her voice was husky as she answered, “We’ll see about that, Aidan Scott. I somehow think I can turn you into putty in my hands.”
And true to her word, Claire Davis did exactly that.
An hour later, Claire resisted looking over at Aidan. They’d already shared half a dozen glances since Hector had arrived to set up her secure, tamper-proof Wi-Fi access. Any more looks and Hector would guess what had happened between her and Aidan right before Hector had arrived.
Much to Aidan’s grumpy displeasure, they had both showered separately and changed clothes. The sheets and everything else, which hinted at their encounter in the bedroom, had been stashed in Aidan’s apartment. Shifter senses were sensitive, but Claire was hoping the scented candles had been the last touch needed to hide it.
Not that she wanted to hide what she and Aidan had done because, damn, all she could think about was jumping back into bed with the cougar-shifter. Dominant one minute, and then teasing the next. If only he’d act that way always.
Hector snapped his fingers, turned, and smiled at Claire. His white teeth against his deeply tanned skin only enhanced the man’s sexiness. “All set up, tested, and double-checked. I think that might be a new record for me.”
Claire smiled back at Hector. “Thanks. Living without the internet just isn’t possible for me anymore. You’re sure no one can hack my access or my computer?”
Hector stood and took a step toward her. Even without looking at Aidan, she could feel his eyes on her.
Ignoring him, she focused on Hector, who answered, “Our security was greatly upgraded a few months ago. Only highly experienced hackers or high-powered government agencies could break through. I’m guessing you don’t have any of them after you, right?” He lowered his voice to a whisper. “You can tell me if they are and I won’t tell a soul.”
Claire resisted a blink. Three days ago, she would’ve flirted back with Hector the cougar-shifter. Tall, teasing, and warm, he would’ve been her dream man. But it wasn’t three days ago, and if she didn’t usher the shifter out, Aidan would end up punching the man in the face. Claire may never have dated a shifter before, but she’d done her research and had several shifter contacts in the city. To say they overreacted when it came to their girlfriends or boyfriends would be an understatement.
Of course, Claire wasn’t anyone’s girlfriend for the moment. Still, Hector had helped her and she didn’t want him to leave with a broken nose or worse.
She whispered back, “No, I’m just a boring organizer.” Raising her voice back to normal volume, she continued, “And this boring organizer has a lot of work to catch up on. Thanks for your help, but I’d really like to get started.”
Hector bobbed his head. “No worries. But if you have even the slightest trouble or have a computer question, I left my phone number next to your laptop. Call me anytime.”
Just the fact yet another shifter male was interested in her warmed her heart. “I will. Thanks again.”
Hector gave a mock salute and then waved to Aidan. “See you later, Aidan.”
After Aidan grunted in parting, Hector shook his head and left.
Alone, she frowned over at Aidan. “So you’re grumpy with more than just me.”
Between one beat and the next, Aidan had her cornered against the wall, his breath hot on her face. “Considering I wanted to punch his teeth out, I would say I did pretty well.”
She poked his chest. “Don’t go all alpha shifter on me. I may need Hector’s help again if something goes wrong with the internet.”
“He was flirting with you.”
Raising an eyebrow, she smiled. “You’re jealous.”
A grunt was all the reply she received.
Laughing, she pushed playfully against Aidan’s chest. “That’s sweet in a weird way, but I have work to do.”
“Give me a kiss first.”
Staring up into Aidan’s eyes, she searched his gaze. While there was heat and desire, she didn’t see anything else. Before she could think better of it, she blurted out, “And what happens when Chloe gets home from school? Are you going to pretend none of this ever happened?”
For a second, he said nothing. Then he laid his forehead against hers and let out a sigh. “I don’t know.”
A lesser person might push Aidan away and take offense, but Claire understood what he meant. “I’m not expecting you to kiss and hold me in front of your daughter today or even next week. But while the ‘where is this going’ conversation can usually wait, I’m not a usual person. I always have to think three steps ahead, especially with the vote in November. If you want out, that’s fine, but I need you to tell me directly.”
Lifting his head, Aidan cupped her cheeks and strummed his thumbs against her skin. He simply stared into her eyes for a solid minute, as if he could read his future in her gaze. Finally, his voice was low when he replied, “Let’s try for the month you’re here and see how it goes.”
While she still didn’t have a plan for what to do if it worked out with her shifter, a little of the worry eased from her heart at the fact he wanted to try. “So, we keep it secret?”
Aidan moved one of his thumbs from her cheek to her lower lip. It took everything she had to concentrate on his words. “For now. Dani will guess, as will Kian and Trinity. But I want to try. For reasons I can’t explain, I feel alive when I’m with you, Claire Davis, and I don’t want to go back to being half-dead.”
She stopped breathing a second. Careful to keep her tone even, she whispered, “You make me feel alive, too, Aidan Scott. Now, give me a kiss so I can get to work.” As he hauled her against his body, she added, “Just a kiss. Kian is expecting information tomorrow, and I need to type something before his press release is delivered. Not to mention I need to contact Ryan, my second-in-command, and rearrange my schedule. So I mean it when I say just a kiss, okay?”
One corner of his mouth lifted and it made her heart warm. “In all my years of being a DarkStalker soldier, merely kissing you and letting you go will be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.”
Before she could reply, he kissed her.
Wrapping her arms around his broad back, each stroke of his tongue only made her melt a little more against him. When he finally broke the kiss, her brain and her pussy had different ideas of what she should do next.
Aidan made the decision by releasing her and stepping away. She wanted to shout for him to do more than kiss her, but merely cleared her throat instead. “While I’m working, maybe you can think of what to make for dinner.”
He raised an eyebrow. “Do I look like your personal servant?”
Giving him a slow once-over, she nodded. “Yes, I think you are.”
Mischief flashed in his eyes. “For that, just know I’m going to plan in my head every way I want to take you tonight when Chloe spends the night with my brother.”
“With your brother?”
“Yes, because I have some very important duties to attend to tonight.” He lowered his voice to a husky whisper. “And just know that I was holding back earlier. Get ready, human, because I’m going to take you the shifter way later tonight.”
With that, Aidan turned and walked into the kitchen. She followed his fine ass until it was hidden by the counter. With a sigh, she went to her laptop and opened a new document. It was barely noon, which meant she had hours to think of just what “the shifter way” entailed.
The responsible thing to do was think of solutions where she could both pass shifter equality and date a shifter. But Claire took the easy way out and began typing information for Kian. Planning three steps ahead could happen tomorrow. She could afford to live in the moment for a day.
Right before Chloe was due to return from school, Aidan took a cold shower.
Watching Claire for hours without being able to touch her had nearly killed him. His cock had been hard almost all afternoon, straining against his jeans, urging him to pick her up and fuck her against the wall.
Yet his human half won out, understanding her need to work. In a way, listening to her give orders and change strategies with her second-in-command had made Aidan want her all the more. She may not direct men and women in battle, but she was a commander in her own right. If she’d been a shifter, Claire Davis would’ve been an alpha lioness.
When Kian’s press release arrived, she ended her phone call and worked in silence. At least, when she’d been on the phone, Aidan could pretend to be working while he listened to her voice. While man and cat hoped to one-day share a comfortable silence with Claire, their connection was new. Aidan wanted to pick apart her brain and then take her to bed and make her scream. All the silence did was taunt him.
Turning the knob to make the shower cooler, he pushed thoughts of Claire aside. His daughter would be home soon, which meant no touching Claire until his brother stopped by to pick up Chloe. The self-enforced no touching rule would ensure Claire and Chloe had time to bond. After all these years, his daughter deserved a mother-like figure. That meant Aidan needed to share Claire Davis, especially if they were to have a future someday.
His cat growled. Of course, they would have a future with her. She was their female.
Rather than argue, he stepped out of the shower and dressed. Then Aidan headed to the living room, where he found Dani standing with a grim expression and Claire looking puzzled.
Fuck, what happened now?
He asked, “What’s going on?”
Claire beat Dani to say, “I don’t know. Dani said we had to wait until you showed up, so I’ve been sitting here thinking the worst.”
He looked to his friend. “Well, I’m here now, so tell us what’s up.”
Dani nodded toward the couch. “I think you’d better sit down.”
Her tone was commanding, which meant something serious had happened.
Obeying, Aidan sat next to Claire. “I’m sitting. Now, tell me straight what’s going on.”
Dani sighed. “Human Purity has released something to the media.”
He frowned. “And what of it? They do that all the time, but most of it is bullshit.”
“Not this time,” Dani said. “I don’t know how they did it, but they released a photo.” She took out the tablet she had under her arm, swiped across the face, and turned it toward them. “Look for yourself.”
The picture showed him standing naked in the snow across from Claire. Her face was turned toward the camera, her cheeks flushed from both the cold and her irritation with him. Across the bottom was a caption, “Shifter Equality Alliance President Claire Davis and her shifter lover.”
Claire’s groan garnered his attention. Looking at her with her head in her hands, he wanted to rub her back but resisted. Instead, he looked back to Dani and switched into head sentry mode. “Where did this come from?”
Dani turned off the tablet. “One of the online tabloids picked it up first, and it’s slowly gaining traction at all the other local media stations.
have it on their online sites. No word about the
, but if they can verify the source, they may run with it too.”
Claire finally spoke. “The
has been on the shifter marriage equality side for months now. I might be able to tap my contacts and start damage control. But…”