Read Resisting the Cougar (Cascade Shifters #2) Online

Authors: Jessie Donovan

Tags: #FICTION / ROMANCE / PARANORMAL

Resisting the Cougar (Cascade Shifters #2) (3 page)

BOOK: Resisting the Cougar (Cascade Shifters #2)
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Pushing aside his cougar’s desires, Aidan kept his tone brisk. “In case you haven’t figured it out, we’re here.”

Claire turned her head up in his general direction. “Can I take off my mask now?”

“No.”

She sighed. “Then how am I supposed to walk? And please don’t tell me you’re going to carry me because that’s not going to happen, buddy.”

When she slapped a hand over her mouth, Aidan struggled to keep his face neutral. Thankfully, more than twenty years of training won out. “I’ll guide you through the passageway.”

She removed her hand and revealed her pink, enticing lips again before raising a hand. “Thank you. I greatly appreciate your help.”

He resisted a growl. Her sudden politeness and distance grated against his inner cat.

Taking her hand, he pulled her up to her feet so fast she fell into him. As her soft breasts and belly pressed against his chest, a surge of heat shot straight to his cock. Images of Claire Davis naked and him caressing her skin as he sucked her hard nipple filled his mind.

The human’s heart rate kicked up and her voice was breathy when she finally spoke up. “Are we going to stand her all day or are we going?”

Her sass snapped Aidan out of his fantasy of taking long licks between Claire’s thighs. Afraid the human felt his hard cock pressing against his jeans, he stepped back and turned her until she stood next to his side. “Get ready to walk.”

With her hand on his arm and his other hand on her lower back, he pressed her forward. Her standing next to him was too close, and no matter what image he tried to recall to soften his cock, nothing worked. It seemed his cat wanted Claire Davis.

Not that he expected to find an answer in the five minutes it would take to bring Claire to his leader, Aidan ran through all the ways he could purge the human female from his system, because there was no way in hell he was going to pursue her, let alone fuck her. For once, his inner cat wasn’t going to get what he wanted.

 

 

Chapter Three

 

 

 

Claire knew she should be rehearsing the data one last time before meeting with DarkStalker’s leader, but all she could think about was the shifter at her side. In particular, her skin was still hot from falling against his chest. She only hoped that Aidan, let alone other shifters, couldn’t scent the betrayal of her body to his touch. Being aroused when she met Kian Murray wasn’t exactly what she’d planned.

Yet she couldn’t ignore the wetness between her thighs or Aidan’s strong hands as he guided her down a series of passageways. For such a tall, muscled man, his touch was delicate against her back.

Of course, it could be because he didn’t want to touch her, but she ignored that possibility. She would enjoy a few moments of a shifter’s strong touch because that would be all she would ever have.

Sure, she’d done what most teenage girls did and dreamed of having her own shifter to marry. By the time Claire was twenty years old, she’d given up that fantasy. Not only was the marriage between shifters and humans illegal, she’d dedicated herself to her studies, which had brought Claire to her present position as head of the Shifter Equality Alliance. She couldn’t afford to be connected to any shifter, not even a one-night stand. The reason so many politicians and other humans listened to her was because the fight wasn’t personal.

Well, to the public it seemed impersonal and Claire planned to keep it that way.

Aidan moved his hand from her lower back to her side and squeezed, bringing her back to the present.
Okay, Claire. Stop with the teenage shifter fantasies. No sex with shifters until after the vote in November; that’s the rule.
She needed to reinforce boundaries with Aidan.

She turned her head toward Aidan. “Squeeze me again, and I don’t care if I’m blindfolded, I will find a way to trip you and call out for help. I’m sure someone will hear me since my voice would echo down the hall.”

He grunted. “Stop talking so loudly.”

Claire listened for a few seconds and heard a snort a few feet behind them. “Who’s there?”

A woman’s voice spoke up from behind them. “It’s about time someone wasn’t drooling over you as they stared into your eyes.” The voice became high-pitched. “Oh, Aidan. I want to feel that hard body over me. For someone as handsome as you, I’ll even let you take me from behind, no strings attached.”

Aidan tightened his grip on her side. His voice was gruff. “Shut up, Dani. If you’re as all-seeing as you claim, then you know who this is. You’re giving a bad impression of the clan.”

The woman who must be Dani replied, “Oh, I know who she is, but I’m curious as to why she’s snuggled into your side.”

Claire was tired of being talked about. “I’m right here and I don’t appreciate what you’re implying, especially since I can’t see you.”

The woman sounded amused. “So, you do have a backbone. Good, I was starting to wonder if my information on you was correct or not.”

If Claire’s eyes were open, she’d blink. “What information?”

“Nothing of importance to you. Now, Aidan, hurry up. You’re late and Kian’s waiting.”

She half expected Aidan to place the blame on Claire’s shoulder. Then he spoke. “I would’ve been there already if you hadn’t butted your nose into my business. We’ll talk later.”

Aidan pressed against her back, and as they walked, she heard, “Oh, I bet we will. You’re not going to like your new assignment.”

More confused than ever, Claire moved her head up in what she thought was Aidan’s face. “What is she talking about?”

The shifter grunted. “I have no fucking idea.”

 

~~~

 

Aidan didn’t like the tone of Dani’s voice when she mentioned his new assignment. Ever since Sylas Murray had mated the wolves’ clan leader, Aidan and Dani had been put in charge of all of DarkStalker’s soldiers and security operations. After more than a decade working with Danika Fisher, Aidan knew that particular tone meant nothing but trouble and irritation for him.

Forget it.
To be honest, Dani had every right to tease him. As soon as one of DarkStalker’s males had walked by, the other male’s gaze had drifted to Claire’s breasts. The urge to punch him had been overwhelming. At least, until he’d placed his hand on Claire’s hip.

His hand remained on her hip. The combined warmth and softness only made his cock harder.

Then the door to the conference room came into sight and Aidan struggled to get his dick under control. In the next few minutes, Claire would no longer be his responsibility. Lusting over her curves was pointless.

Just outside the door, he brought them both to a halt. Claire turned her face toward him and he zeroed in on her lips. If he could only take one kiss, then he could prove to his cougar the human wasn’t for them.

As she let out a breath, his head moved forward of its own accord. Her voice was breathy. “Aidan?”

He was half an inch from tasting her sweet lips when the door to the conference room opened and Aidan moved away from Claire’s face. Thanks to his shifter reflexes, he was merely standing next to Claire when Kian Murray peeked his head out. “I was wondering where you were. Come, bring her inside.”

Claire whispered, “Can I take the mask off now?”

“No.”

Claire readjusted her grip on her glasses’ case. “Then hurry up because I want to be able to see again.”

Aware that every shifter in the conference room could hear them, Aidan merely guided the female into the room and shut the door. All eyes looked from him to Claire and back again.

Before he could say a word, Kian’s mate, Trinity, chimed in, “You can take the mask off, dear. You probably could’ve done so once you entered the special cloaked hallway, but judging by Aidan’s expression, he wanted to keep his hands on you.”

Trinity always poked her nose where it didn’t belong. Yet, he wasn’t about to argue with her in front of a stranger. In response, he dropped his grip on Claire and took a step away.

From the corner of his eye, he watched the human take off her mask and blink. Then she put on her glasses before glancing around the room. If Claire had been a shifter, she’d be assessing the possible threats in the room. Surely, the soft human female wouldn’t be doing the same thing.

Claire straightened her shoulders and looked to Kian. “You must be Kian.”

Kian raised an eyebrow. “My picture isn’t widely circulated, so I applaud you on your resources.”

Even though Aidan knew his clan leader was happily mated, Aidan didn’t like the approving look in Kian’s eyes. To prevent himself from doing something stupid, like shoving Claire behind his body, Aidan clenched his fingers. As soon as he had an opening, he needed to ask permission to leave.

Unfortunately, Claire responded straight away. “There are a lot of people who would like for me to disappear, so I keep informed. That’s why I know about the human living on your land.”

If Kian was surprised, he didn’t show it. He merely placed his elbows on the table and leaned forward. “We could stand here like two animals circling each other to determine if the other is an enemy, but I’m going to be honest with you, Claire Davis. I’m on your side. I would love nothing more than for my clan member and his mate to come and go as they please without fear of going to jail. However, I won’t sacrifice my clan’s stability or safety to do so.” He motioned toward one of the empty chairs in front of him. “Please, take a seat so we can get started.”

As Claire moved to sit down, Aidan jumped on the temporary silence. “Kian, if there’s nothing else, I’d like to check on Chloe.”

Kian shook his head. “No, you need to take a seat. You’re part of this too.” Aidan opened his mouth, but Kian beat him to it. “Chloe is with your brother. She’ll be waiting for you when we’re through here.”

If Kian had arranged for Aidan’s daughter to be with his brother, then something important was about to take place. Of course, Aidan had no fucking idea what. “Does this have to do with the new assignment Dani mentioned?”

“Yes. Take a seat, Aidan. The clan needs your help with this.”

Trinity smiled. “Yes, and more than the clan needing you, I think you’ll enjoy it too.”

A bad feeling pooled in his stomach. Trinity smiling with mischief in her eyes was never a good sign.

Not wanting to delay the inevitable, Aidan sat down next to Claire and waited to see what was so fucking important.

 

~~~

 

It was taking everything Claire had to keep from gawking at all the gorgeous shifters sitting in the room. She knew most shifters were attractive because of their confidence and primal instincts, but being in a room with a total of four shifters was nearly too much.

Of course, then Aidan mentioned needing to see a woman named Chloe and her desire to gawk vanished. Given the way he’d caressed her side earlier, she’d assumed he was single. Apparently, she’d been a fool.

No more.
Despite the heat radiating off Aidan next to her, Claire pushed aside her earlier desires. Leaning her arms on the table, she met Kian’s gaze. “As you were honest with me, I’m going to be honest with you, too. The proposed initiative to legalize shifter-human marriages in the state of Washington can’t win without open shifter support. At the moment, it’s seen as a one-sided crusade.”

Kian nodded. “Yes, I’ve heard the same thing.”

Okay, Kian Murray was more on top of her campaign than she’d imagined. She would make sure not to underestimate the man again. “Then let me be frank: I need to know what can be done, within reason, to win your support.”

As Kian leaned back in his chair, Claire waited with bated breath. Only when he started talking did she exhale. “You can earn the help of not only DarkStalker, but GreyFire as well on one condition.”

She frowned. “GreyFire? You speak for the wolves now?”

A woman with long, black hair and dark, copper-colored skin spoke for the first time. “No, but I do. Kian and I hashed out the requirement earlier.”

Taking a better look at the shifter female, her face matched the only mostly out-of-focus photograph she’d been able to find, which was why Claire hadn’t recognized her. “You’re Kaya Alexie, leader of Clan GreyFire.”

Kaya nodded. “That would be me. Fulfill Kian’s request, and you’ll have two clans helping you instead of one.”

Her heart pounding in her chest, Claire tried to remain calm. Two clans helping her campaign would almost certainly win her the vote in November. Her only concern was what it would cost her.

She looked to Kian. “Then what is it I have to do?”

Kian didn’t hesitate. “You’ll live with DarkStalker for one month and help teach our clan more about humans.”

Claire shook her head. “I don’t understand. You already have a human living here. Why do you need me to do this?”

Kaya spoke up. “Because Lauren’s a dentist. You, on the other hand, have firsthand knowledge of political processes and how to gauge public opinions. Marriage equality is just the first step. We no longer want to be second-class citizens, and to do that, we need more knowledge if we’re to wage a fair battle. You can help us learn how to liaise with humans to change the status quo.”

Given the shittiness of the law, Claire wasn’t surprised at the shifters wanting to change them.

BOOK: Resisting the Cougar (Cascade Shifters #2)
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