Read Resisting the Cougar (Cascade Shifters #2) Online

Authors: Jessie Donovan

Tags: #FICTION / ROMANCE / PARANORMAL

Resisting the Cougar (Cascade Shifters #2) (2 page)

BOOK: Resisting the Cougar (Cascade Shifters #2)
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Before she could think of a witty reply, Aidan stated, “I’m going to shift and guide you to where the car is. Stay quiet, just in case.”

“In case of what? No one comes up here in March apart from shifters.”

He finally turned his head to meet her eyes. “I’ve lived here my whole life and I know what I’m doing, so listen for once.”

“For once? When have I—“

Aidan’s shift stalled her words. Watching the process of a man’s body shrink into one of a two-hundred pound cougar was something she had always wanted to see, ever since she was a little girl. The morphing of his head into a feline’s skull, the tail coming from his back, and his hands and feet turning into paws was beautiful but had to be painful.

Maybe someday she would be able to ask if shifting hurt or not.

Aidan’s amber cougar eyes met hers before he motioned with his head and started walking. As the male cougar tracked lightly through the snow, Claire rubbed her hands together and picked up her pace. If she didn’t make the meeting with Kian Murray, she would definitely never have the chance to ask a shifter questions about their shifting process. As much as she didn’t like Aidan’s attitude, she followed his orders and walked in silence.

 

 

Chapter Two

 

 

 

By the time they reached the car, Aidan had managed to exercise away the chill. Walking as long as he had while naked had nearly frozen his balls off, yet for some reason, he hadn’t wanted the human to know she was right.

Claire Davis was so sure of herself, even when standing up to a shifter, which was rare for humans. Or, at least, most of the humans he’d met in his lifetime. Everyone said Lauren, the pregnant human mate of Sean Fisher, was as fierce as any alpha shifter, but he’d kept his distance. Seeing anyone fierce and in love only reminded Aidan of what he’d lost.

And since he was nearing forty years old, his list of single friends grew shorter by the year. Even his old leader, Sylas, had found himself a mate.

Everyone was destined to find love and keep it, except for Aidan. A day didn’t go by when he didn’t think of his dead mate. She had stood up to him when few other females dared. They’d fought often and loved even harder afterward. Her flashing brown eyes were a memory that faded each passing year, but he refused to let go. If not for their surviving cub, Aidan probably would’ve returned to a life of drinking and fighting.

Thinking of his daughter, Chloe, he gave his tail an extra swish and focused back on his mission. The urge to hug his baby girl was overwhelming, but he couldn’t do it until the human was safely with Kian.

Keeping a brisk pace, Aidan guided the human through the forest. Soon they reached the thickest part in the area and he stopped. Once Claire stomped up to his side, she glared down at him. “Nice of you to finally allow me to catch up.”

Since he was in his cat form, Aidan merely tilted his head and then motioned toward the forest. The human’s eyes darted to the dense trees and underbrush before looking back at him. “If we’re going in there, you’re going to allow me to hold your tail so I don’t get lost.”

He pulled back his lips to bare his fangs and growl. Rather than frighten the human, she looked bored. “I know your assignment is to bring me to Kian Murray, so growl all you like because I’m not going anywhere unless I can hold your tail.”

Great.
The human had sass and a brain. That wasn’t a good combination.

Do whatever it takes to finish the mission, Aidan. No one is around to see the human grasping your tail.

As a precaution, he studied his surroundings for another minute to ensure they were alone. Satisfied there was nothing but wildlife nearby, he bumped his tail against the human’s stomach. After repeating the motion, she lightly wrapped her fingers around his tail. “Your fur isn’t as soft as I thought it would be.”

He growled and then moved toward the thick foliage. The human must be on a mission to insult him. He only hoped Kian knew what he was doing with Claire Davis. Maybe Aidan should volunteer to watch over her during the meeting. If she disrespected Aidan’s clan leader, he would make the female understand that wasn’t allowed.

Resisting a frown, Aidan wondered where the hell that thought had come from. He didn’t need to stick around to suffer her insults or attitude. Someone else could watch over her.

As the female stroked his tail, Aidan clenched his jaw and picked up his pace. If word ever got out about a human playing with his tail, he’d never hear the end of it, especially since it had been a long time since a female had brushed her fingers against his fur. If he wasn’t careful, he might start to enjoy Claire’s soft touch.

No.
The only touch he should ever enjoy was his former mate’s. To allow anyone else such intimate privileges would violate his mate’s memory.

Aidan increased his trot. The car wasn’t far. Once they reached it, he could blindfold the female, turn up the stereo, and ride the rest of the way home in silence.

Of course, the human was probably stubborn enough to yell over the music. The image of the female yelling while blindfolded nearly made him smile. Not that he would ever admit to it.

Forcing his face into a badass expression, Aidan guided Claire through the woods and toward the car. He may never take a mate again, but once he dropped off the human, he needed to find a female to ease his tension. His inner cougar’s need for sex was messing with his brain. There was no other explanation for why Aidan suddenly wanted the human to pet much more than his tail.

 

~~~

 

Claire couldn’t resist stroking the fur under her fingertips. Sure, the fur wasn’t as soft as a domestic kitten’s, but it wasn’t too rough, either. Since this was her first time touching a real-life shifter while in animal form, she wasn’t going to complain.

Aidan moved and she tried to keep pace. Dodging the trees and undergrowth were difficult and made her glad she’d worn sensible boots and jeans instead of the slacks and dress shoes her coworkers had suggested.

Claire might have lived in a city just south of Seattle for the last five years, but she’d been born and raised in Western Washington State and loved hiking. Only an idiot would hike in heels.

Well, at least an idiot by Claire’s standards.

No doubt, Kian would understand. If he turned her away for not showing up in a pants suit, then he wasn’t the type of shifter she could see her organization working with. As desperate as she was to gain DarkStalker’s support, Claire wasn’t about to beg anyone’s forgiveness to make it work. After all, she fought for equal standing. She wouldn’t be intimidated by a shifter.

Another two minutes, and they broke through the dense forest into a clearing. Sitting in the middle of it was a little black car.

The cougar stopped, turned, and tugged his tail. After releasing it, the cougar grew into the shape of a man again. Careful not to glance down, Claire asked, “Do I want to know where you kept the keys?”

Rather than answer her, Aidan went over to a tree, reached up, and retrieved a small bundle of clothes. She resisted tapping a foot as the shifter dressed. While she’d experienced her fair share of people ignoring her over the years, for some reason Aidan’s silence irritated her more than usual. After all, she’d just stroked the fur of his tail. In shifter circles, that was nearly as intimate as a body-to-body hug.

Aidan pulled out a set of keys from his jeans pocket and glanced at her. “If you want a ride, then hurry up and get in.”

Unlocking the car, he slid into the driver’s seat before Claire could so much as move a toe. Judging by his behavior, Aidan Scott was used to giving orders and being followed without question. If he were human instead of shifter, she would resist him on purpose just to rile him up. In her experience, male egos needed poking every once in a while.

However, garnering any kind of shifter support was difficult, let alone an entire clan’s, so she half-ran to the passenger’s side. The engine was already running by the time she clicked her seatbelt. Looking over at the shifter, he held up a pink sleep mask. “Put this on.”

She raised an eyebrow. “Is that really necessary? Considering we trekked through the wild forest just to reach your car, I have no idea where we are right now.”

“You might once we reach the road. Now, put it on or I leave you here and you can find your own way back.”

She stared but the shifter never flinched. With a sigh, Claire took the mask. “Why does it have to be pink? I hate pink.”

She swore she saw the shifter’s lips twitch. “Just put it on.”

“Fine.” She removed her glasses, took out the case from her jacket pocket, and slipped them inside. After sliding the pink mask over her eyes, she made a show of feeling around to get her bearings. In the process, she touched the shifter’s forearm. The feel of his hair and warm skin against her fingertips sent a small burst of heat through her body.

What the hell?
She’d never had that happen before. It must just be her excitement at being on a shifter clan’s land.

Realizing she still had her hand on the shifter’s arm, she pulled it away. “Sorry. But with this mask, I can’t really see anything.”

The shifter grunted before turning on the radio. As he turned up the volume, she guessed he planned to spend the rest of the ride listening to blaring music. Too bad she wasn’t about to allow him. Reaching in front of her, she touched the glove box, moved her hand over until she felt the knob of the stereo and pushed it. The alternative rock music ceased playing.

Aidan pushed away her hand. “Don’t mess with my stereo.”

He turned it on again. Claire was about to turn it off and tell him what she thought of the loud, grating music when Aidan captured her fingers with his own. He yelled over the music. “Touch it again, and I will tie you up and toss you into the back seat.”

She felt silly yelling, but did it anyway. “Then at least turn it down. It’s giving me a headache.” A few seconds of blaring music ticked by until the volume became a more bearable level, allowing her to speak without shouting. “Thank you.”

The shifter grunted. “I’ll keep the music down as long as you remain silent. If you start talking, I’ll turn it up again.”

Rather than point out the loud music had to hurt his delicate shifter hearing, Claire merely nodded. Battling Aidan Scott over something as silly as the music wasn’t worth the chance of him turning around and dropping her back at her car.

Tapping her fingers against her thigh, every cell in her body urged her to talk with him and find out information. But through sheer force of will, Claire kept her mouth shut.

Even though she could recite her presentation notes and demands in her sleep, she ran through them again inside her head to ease some of her energy. Aidan’s disdain toward her chipped at her confidence. She hoped that Kian and his team would view humans differently. Otherwise, the meeting could fail and her ballot initiative would never pass in November.

Rather than think of how the last five years of her life working toward shifter marriage equality could all be for nothing, Claire practiced facts and figures. She’d find out how the cougar-shifters viewed her soon enough.

 

~~~

 

Aidan spent the next twenty minutes alternating between tapping his fingers against the steering wheel and gripping it tightly enough to turn his knuckles white. Claire was keeping her end of the bargain and hadn’t said a word. Yet despite her silence, he couldn’t think of anything but the human female at his side.

Her delicate scent of lavender and woman filled the inside of the car, which only made his inner cougar wake up and take notice. All his cat wanted to do was pull over, cup the human’s face, and find out what she tasted like with a kiss. Even Aidan’s cock was semi-hard, and only through his learned self-control as a DarkStalker soldier did he keep it from going rock hard.

More than being tortured with her scent, the human half of him tried to figure out why Claire affected him. He’d ridden with countless females from his clan in this very same car and had never had the urge to pull one into his lap and breathe in the scent from where her neck met her shoulder.

He hadn’t felt this way in more than ten years. The last time a female’s scent had triggered both man and cat, it had been the first time he’d met his dead mate, Emily.

No.
Aidan refused to equate the two. While shifters could have several mates in a lifetime, his inner cougar wasn’t cruel enough to make him want a human female. Humans were the ones who had stolen his mate from him in the first place.

As Aidan made the last turn and pulled into the back entrance to DarkStalker, he pushed all thoughts of mates, both former and future, out of his mind. Once he handed Claire over to Kian, he’d never see the female again. It would be easy enough to forget her.

Turning off the car, he ordered, “Stay inside and don’t take off the mask,” and exited before the human could speak. To clear his head, Aidan took in a deep inhalation of fresh air filled with scents of the surrounding forests and lake. He was home.

With his head cleared, he moved to the passenger side of the car and opened the door. While the top half of the female’s face was covered, he could see the grim line of her mouth, her plump lips tempting both man and cat to taste them.

BOOK: Resisting the Cougar (Cascade Shifters #2)
13.65Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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