Read To Catch His Mate (Crescent Moon Series Book 5) Online
Authors: Savannah Stuart,Katie Reus
To Catch His Mate
A Crescent Moon Story
To Catch His Mate
Copyright © 2015 by Savannah Stuart
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Sweet ‘N Spicy Designs
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This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locales or organizations is entirely coincidental. All rights reserved. With the exception of quotes used in reviews, this book may not be reproduced or used in whole or in part by any means existing without written permission from the author.
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Alyssa didn’t bother knocking as she opened the front door to Reece’s house. As alpha of the O’Shea pack he was used to a lot of foot traffic and since she was here as his guest—and intended mate—he’d told her that she had full reign over his place.
That still felt a little weird, but tonight she’d decided to take him up on it. At first she’d been pissed at her father for setting up this whole ‘arranged mating’. It was so archaic. But then she’d met Reece and thought maybe they had a chance at happiness…maybe more.
She’d grown up sheltered, that being the understatement of the century, but she’d dated in college. Sort of. Usually her dates had been shadowed by one of her packmates, per her father’s orders. Still, she’d gone out with males before and the physical attraction she felt toward Reece was a hundred on the Richter scale compared to what she’d felt for other males.
Her feet were silent as she hurried up the stairs. She’d tried out a new cloaking scent one of her packmates had given her that was supposed to cover her natural scent. It was a body lotion that smelled like, well, nothing. It was the first time she’d tried anything like it and she wanted to see if it worked. And if she could surprise an alpha then it was definitely the real deal.
That wasn’t her only reason for coming to see him. She really wanted to kiss Reece again—and she had a gift for him. He’d mentioned that he loved a certain baseball team so she’d gotten him a vintage ball cap. It had taken some searching, but she’d found one online and had paid for the faster shipping so it would get here in time.
She hoped that tonight led to more than just kissing too. Reece had been so restrained the past few weeks. Always pulling back after heated kisses when she could tell that he physically wanted more. Her experience with the opposite sex might be limited, but she’d felt his erections against her stomach and as a wolf shifter she had a heightened sense of smell and scented his desire. Some things a male simply couldn’t hide.
But she’d started to wonder if maybe that wasn’t enough for him. God, what did she really know about males? Maybe he didn’t want this mating because…whatever reason. There were tons she could think of. His pack was smaller and he was a young alpha at only thirty-five so their mating was supposed to strengthen both their packs on the South Carolina coast.
Tonight she wanted to find out if there could be more between them than just some hot kisses. She already really liked him and not just in the physical sense. He was a good alpha, he’d been incredibly sweet to her since she’d arrived, bringing her over coffee and pastries every morning, and talking to her as if she mattered—unlike some alphas she’d interacted with. He was a little intense sometimes and she’d found she loved making him laugh or smile. She’d noticed he rarely seemed to smile except around her.
Pretty much his entire pack was at some Halloween festival at their local downtown but she knew he had paperwork to catch up on.
So she was hoping to catch
As she reached the top of the stairs she heard low murmured voices. Both male. One was definitely Reece. She got shivers just hearing the low rumble. Everything about the male seemed to affect her.
When she heard another familiar voice, she paused. Ugh, Reece was talking to Ben. For some reason the other male didn’t seem to like her and Alyssa couldn’t figure out why. She’d become friends with his sister, Sybil, the past few weeks and she couldn’t think of anything she’d done to warrant his coldness toward her. But the male just looked at her with annoyance.
Reece might have told her she had free reign here but that didn’t mean she wanted to see or talk to Ben. She started to head back down the stairs but froze at a growling sound.
Not Reece, but Ben.
On instinct her claws started to ache, ready to be unleashed, but her inner wolf stilled when Ben spoke. “Damn it! Why are you mating with her?”
“You know why.” Reece’s voice was calm but there was a deadly edge to his words that made it clear who was in charge. She was actually surprised that Ben had the balls to even talk to Reece like that.
“We don’t need the strength of her pack. We’ve been doing fine, more than fine, on our own for years. We’re strong enough without them.” There was a hint of bitterness in his statement.
“Are you challenging me?” There was a slamming sound, as if Reece had flattened his palms on his desk. “Because it fucking sounds like it. I’m alpha, I make the decisions. You don’t like it, you can leave.”
“I’m not challenging you.” Ben’s voice was more subdued now, but anger still laced his words. “And I trust you to make the right decisions. But it’s not right that you have to mate her.”
“No! You should be with Sybil. She’s strong, the kind of mate you deserve.”
When Reece didn’t immediately respond Alyssa felt the growing silence like a blow. She knew she wasn’t the strongest wolf, not physically. But she’d thought there was something between her and Reece—and more than just physically. Weren’t mates or intended mates supposed to defend each other? But maybe he really was just mating her out of a sense of duty. The thought of that made everything inside her go icy.
“Look, Ben, if things were different maybe I’d be with Sybil. But they’re not. I’m mating with Alyssa to solidify the relationship between our packs. So you need to deal with it.”
Alyssa swallowed back the sudden knot in her throat. His response hadn’t been particularly horrible, but it still hurt. He’d said pretty much what their mating was originally supposed to be; a unification of the packs.
She’d been prepared to fight the mating until she’d met him. God, she felt so stupid and naïve, thinking they might have had something more together. Clearly the last three weeks they’d spent together had meant way more to her than him.
Which…wasn’t his fault. If he didn’t feel the same way about her she couldn’t blame him. You couldn’t help who you were attracted to. And sure, he was attracted to her, that much she could tell. But his words to Ben had been so cold and casual. Maybe all their conversations and time spent together had just been him putting in his duty, doing what his title of alpha commanded of him.
Reece saw her as a business decision. She didn’t care if it was stupid, she wanted a mating based on more than that. More than pack responsibility. She wanted what her parents had had. Her mother had died giving birth to her, but her father had never gotten mated again because he’d loved her mother with everything in him and had never gotten over her death. And whenever he talked about her mom it was with love and adoration. Alyssa wasn’t going to settle for less than that.
Feeling foolish and more than just a sting to her pride, she looked down at the ball cap in her hand, her fingers clenching around the soft material. She didn’t care that it was pretty much a done deal as far as her father and Reece were concerned. She’d figure a way out of this mating no matter what.
Iciness invaded her veins as she realized the conversation between the two males had stopped. She wasn’t going to wait around until either of them saw her. Moving swiftly she backtracked the way she’d come, leaving through the front door with a quietness she knew rivaled any wolf’s stealth, even her father’s. She’d learned young that if she wanted to get out from under the watchful eye of her packmates, she had to be sneaky about it.
Reece’s pack lived in a quiet subdivision on the outskirts of a small but thriving South Carolina town. They owned all the houses in the neighborhood so there was no risk of any humans seeing big wolves running around. Not to mention the pack owned a hundred acres of forest that surrounded the neighborhood that they never planned to develop.
Right about now she wanted to strip and go running through the woods, but shook the instinct off. Her wolf just wanted to protect her, but she needed to figure out what she planned to do about Reece.
All she knew was, she wasn’t staying here. Not after what she’d just heard.
She and her father were supposed to head back to their territory tomorrow so she’d just bide her time until then. Once they were home she’d tell him that the mating was off. He’d be angry, sure, but he’d get over it.
No way was she forcing Reece into a mating he didn’t want. Wolves mated for life and it wouldn’t be fair to either of them. And she wasn’t ashamed to admit that she wanted love and a lasting partnership. She refused to settle for less.
Reece tried to reign in his temper as he strode up the front walk to Kayne Clare’s house. He was in another alpha’s territory. A much older alpha. And probably more powerful. It wasn’t as if they’d ever come to blows, but with how Reece felt at the moment, that might happen today.
He slammed his knuckles against the front door, pounding on it harder than necessary. Unlike the more modern housing he and his pack lived in, Kayne’s pack lived in a historic neighborhood in Oak Falls. It was only two towns over from Reece’s.
The Clare pack owned land outside of Oak Falls where their pack ran when necessary. When they moved in a couple decades—as all shifters had to do in order to hide their slower aging from humans—he knew that Kayne would hold onto his land. It would be ‘sold’ to a holding company of sorts but would remain in Kayne’s or the pack’s possession. The male was smart, powerful and right now he was keeping Alyssa away from Reece.
Which meant things were about to get violent.
The door was wrenched open a few seconds later to reveal a pissed off-looking Kayne. Just as tall as Reece, the male had jet black hair he kept cropped close to his head. Wearing jeans, a T-shirt and no shoes, everything about him was tense. His dark eyes narrowed on Reece. “You have a death wish?”
Yeah, Reece definitely should have called the alpha first before entering his territory, but he wanted to see Alyssa and wasn’t giving Kayne a chance to lie to him again. He was just lucky no one else in the Clare pack had seen him first. Well, maybe not lucky because if someone had challenged him, he had no problem taking out his aggression on someone right now. He ignored the question. “Where is she?”
Kayne’s jaw tightened and for a long moment Reece thought he might actually attack. Then the other alpha surprised him and stepped back slightly. “We’re not having this conversation out here.”
Reece followed Kayne inside. The subtle sweet honeysuckle scent of Alyssa filled the house but he could tell she wasn’t there. He knew she had her own place anyway, but he wasn’t sure of her address. The disappointment that punched through him was stark and consuming. Nearly a week ago she’d called him and told him she didn’t want to mate him and that was that. She’d been so formal about it and nothing he’d tried to say had been able to convince her to give them a chance. To be fair, she’d pretty much hung up on him after saying she was done with him.
Her words played in his mind, making his wolf edgy.
“Thank you for being gracious enough to host my father and me in your territory, but after meeting in person I’ve realized we won’t suit each other. I’m sure this is a relief to you as well. I hope you find the right mate.”
She’d said some other perfectly polite garbage in a neutral tone but he’d tuned it all out. After the words “we won’t suit each other” had filtered through his brain he’d nearly lost it.