Authors: Madeline Pryce
He must have been staring too long, because Sam flashed him
a half-tilted grin. His heart melted at the flush coloring her cheeks. It made
him wonder if her skin got that same rosy hue when she climaxed. Too bad he was
never going to get to find out—maybe he’d ask Jeremiah if he knew.
Jesus. Was he that desperate?
Sam clicked her tongue against the roof of her mouth and
rolled her eyes at him, as if she’d read his mind. Hell, for all he knew, she
could. It was a scary thought. There was a lot he didn’t know about witches.
Something was brewing. He felt it. He’d never seen her eyes look darker or more
inviting. He’d bet his money it had something to do with Samhain, the witches’
new year. The jaguar prowled to the surface, anxious to be close to her, to
feel her magic stroking through his fur. He might have been an alpha male, but
his feline had a soft spot for the twenty-something brunette. He was damn near
helpless to deny her anything.
A tight, uncomfortable sensation moved through his stomach.
His heart raced. It was annoying Sam had this effect on him. She’d done
something different to her hair. Bangs that didn’t used to be there slanted off
to the side, long enough so they brushed the arch of her eyebrows.
Almost her exact opposite in both personality and looks,
Brenda sauntered in through the back door, wearing a skirt short enough to
flash whoever was looking when she bent over. The stench of sex that rolled off
her was more potent than the booze or the cigarettes. She pressed against the
bar and pushed her back out to draw attention to the curve of her ass. Brenda
brought a finger to the corner of her swollen ruby lips and delicately dabbed,
as if she were wiping something away. A second later, one of the bikers, who
belonged to the table of assholes next to him, entered from the same door and
walked past her.
Brenda turned her head to the side and caught his gaze. He
winked, grabbed his crotch and then thanked her. Classy. Well, at least the
pack could check off banging the pack master’s daughter in Missouri. Sam made a
rude sound in the back of her throat that, for some reason, he could still hear
despite the background noise. The natural pout to Brenda’s mouth curved into a
“I see you’re still giving rim jobs in the back.” Sam
grinned and threw a dishrag over her shoulder. “You know I’m not paying you
extra for that, right?”
Trent crossed his arms over his chest and nestled into his
chair. No matter how piss-poor a mood he was in, their banter was always
entertaining. If they weren’t roommates and best friends, he might have worried
one of them would push it too far.
“Please, honey, you wouldn’t know what a rim job was if one
bit you on the ass. You’ve got no idea what a real man wants.” Brenda wiggled
Sam poured a series of shots and uncorked half a dozen
longnecks in a matter of seconds. As soon as they touched the bar, Brenda
scooped them up and put them on a tray. They worked well together.
“Hmm.” Sam paused, pressed a finger against her lips and
leaned her hip against the bar. Back and forth, she drew her necklace against
her neck. “What’s that saying? No one’s going to buy the milk when they can get
the cow for free.”
Brenda shook her head. Her lips twitched and it was obvious
how much effort it was taking not to smile. Balancing the tray high above her
head, she turned and gave Sam a faux glare. The waitress moved through the bar
and did everything from dropping off drinks to flashing her breasts as she
bent. The only thing she didn’t do was drop off a refill at his table.
Plan B. Trent held his empty mug in the air, then caught Sam’s
gaze and pointed. The slow, devious smirk she gave him made his cock, which had
deflated some, instantly hard. She mouthed,
Get it your damn self, you lazy
When she turned and went for the bottle of whiskey on the
top shelf, he tried to suppress the lovesick feelings he was experiencing.
Easier said than done. As she extended her arm, her tight tank top crept up.
Inch by inch, the delicious curve of her hip and the small of her back were
revealed. Out from the bottom of her shirt peeked a curved blue line. He’d
never realized she had a tattoo there before.
When someone mentioned Sam’s name, his ears twitched. He
narrowed in on the table next to him. It was obvious he wasn’t the only one
enjoying the view. The bikers’ lewd conversation had shifted from Brenda to Sam
and how her itty-bitty-titties would fit in their mouths. They were actually
taking bets on how long she’d last if they screwed her in the midst of a
A low, feral growl vibrated his chest. She was his.
He rose from his chair, the legs of the table scraping the
floor as he pushed it out of his way. He let a fraction of his power leak out
into the room. The noise around him stopped. As enforcer, he had a reputation
that wasn’t just handed down to him. No, he’d earned his respect and he had the
scars to prove it. He had a nagging feeling he was about to add a few more to
Slamming his palms against the bikers’ table, he leaned
forward enough so the shiny badge attached to his jeans would be visible. He
bared human teeth. The table teetered, knocking a longneck to the ground with a
Under his boot, he twisted the broken glass into the floor
and growled, “I suggest you shut the fuck up.” The low tenor of his voice let
them know it wasn’t a suggestion.
The wolves’ power rushed at him like a collective slap in
the face. He clenched his jaw and forced his expression not to waver. Wolves
were a dangerous breed to tangle with. His father, the previous enforcer
assigned to the local PD, had learned that the hard way. A pack could feed off
each other’s power and this pack was more powerful than most. Either this was
inherent strength or Samhain was already stirring things up.
“Or else?” one of the bikers snarled, shoving away from the
table and rising to meet him nose to nose.
One effortless split at a time, long, razor-sharp claws
emerged from Trent’s fingers. Despite the intoxication he’d felt a moment ago,
the adrenaline pushed clarity into him. He moved faster than the other man
could see. One minute they were standing in the middle of the room, the next, a
wake of knocked-over tables led a path to where he had the biker pinned to the
wall. Trent pulled his claws back enough so he could wrap a hand around the
“Or else,” he let the predator out, “I’ll rip off your jaw
and watch you bleed to death. I’ve listened as patiently as I could while you
rattled on about fucking this and fucking that. I suggest you show some respect
in my area. Sam’s off the menu.” As he spoke, he tightened his grip around the
neck beneath his palm. Morbid pleasure filled him as his prisoner’s lips tinged
Heat pressed into his back and the buzzing in his head grew
worse. The wolf’s pack mates circled close, snarling. The emergence of their
claws sounded like a dozen swords slicing through the air. Apparently he wasn’t
the only one in town who couldn’t wait for the full moon.
Samantha wished she were a few inches taller. She held her
breath and fingered the smooth edge of the bottle, forcing everything else out
of her head. Each wiggle scooted the whiskey closer to the edge and into her
“Oh no,” Jeremiah groaned from behind her.
Sloshing back and forth, the bottle she sought finally
tipped over the shelf and into her grasp. She spun around with a triumphant
grin and followed the curve of Jeremiah’s head to find out what he was talking
about. Trent. The smile on her face vanished. Despite the trail of knocked-over
tables and wide-eyed spectators, she hadn’t heard the ruckus.
Adrenaline kicked her heartbeat into overdrive. She slammed
the bottle to the counter with a clunk, placed a hand on the bar and leapt over
it. Her palm hit a sticky patch and she wiped it on her jeans when she landed
on the other side. She’d be damned if she let Trent get himself killed on the
night she’d finally decided to lay it all out on the table…or bed as the case
may be. As she pushed her way through the crowd, glass crunched under her feet.
Her boots echoed over the sound of growls.
The magic stirred to life without her command. Frost pressed
along her arms, puckering the skin. The fuller the moon became—the closer Trent
got—the harder it was to harness. The sputtering sound of choking made her jog
a little bit faster.
Normal people didn’t jump into the middle of a pack of angry
shifters. Lucky for Trent, she was far from normal. Nudging through the tight
crowd, she ignored how the pack’s power slithered through her. It tasted black
and felt oppressive, a weight she couldn’t shake. She should have been
terrified. The knowledge that Trent was there made her feel safe. It was
She’d been taught about what it meant to have a familiar.
Her chosen shape shifter would guide her into her powers and help balance her.
As she went through puberty, the reality of what “guide her” meant had become
She pressed her chest against his back and smoothed her
fingers down his shoulder, energy surging back and forth between her and Trent.
Sam looked up the length of his arm until she found his captive’s eyes. The
burly, six-foot-three biker wasn’t afraid. That was a very bad sign. Trent
jerked at her touch but didn’t release the wolf. She should have known he’d be
stubborn about it.
“Sam, get the hell out of here. Now,” he growled. His voice
was harder than she’d ever heard it.
She rose on the tips of her toes and pressed her lips to the
shell of his ear, his silky hair tickling her cheek. With every breath, she
drew in his rich, masculine scent. He smelled of the woods, clean and fresh. It
was the first time she’d been this close to him since the night he’d rejected
her. Fear pressed into her skin and clouded her brain, but it wasn’t coming
from her or Trent. It was from the crowd. Touching him increased the sensations
around her. The odor of smoke became so strong it was staggering. The heavy
thud of heartbeats galloped, pounded inside her head. It sounded too loud to be
“Don’t do this,” she warned.
“Goddamn it, Sam!”
He tried to shrug off her touch. She wasn’t giving up that
“Don’t be so damn stubborn. Back off before you get hurt,”
She circled his wrist with her fingers and focused on the
ice surging through her. She shoved the frigid magic at him with everything she
had. He gasped. His hand uncurled and his claws retracted. The biker fell to
the ground with a wheeze.
Trent turned. The fury in his eyes made them a rich, vibrant
blue. He jerked his wrist from her touch. She met his gaze, straightened her
spine and lifted her chin. It was a joke, considering her chin was still
pointed at his chest. With his six-foot frame, there wasn’t anything she could
do to stand eye to eye with him. As much anger as he directed at her, she gave
it right back.
“I can take care of myself. Right now, it’s you I’m worried
Snarling growls vibrated through her. She’d almost forgotten
they were surrounded by a very dangerous pack of wolves. Her instincts had been
right about them—Samhain’s influence was drawing out their worst traits. Moving
as one, the pack tightened the circle around her and Trent. They turned to face
the creatures. When the pack had first stormed inside the bar an hour ago,
they’d been attractive enough. What wasn’t to like? They were all tall, well
built and had varying shades of green in their gleaming eyes. The combination
of gasoline and leather gave them a dangerous scent that turned heads wherever
they went. Hell, Brenda had been beside herself with lust, more so than normal.
Right now they were turning heads all right, but for all the
wrong reasons. The pack had half shifted so that their eyes glowed with the
shimmer of their wolves. It wasn’t the claws, the half-formed, gruesome snouts
or the teeth that scared her. It was the bottomless pits their irises had
become. Trent pressed close and wrapped a hand around her waist. He pulled her
back against his front until not even air could pass between them.
Okay, so now she was a little bit frightened.
Trent had her in a protective hold, one that suggested he
was about to toss her behind him at the first hint of trouble. It had a much
greater impact on her self-preservation. Damn, she wished these assholes would
shift back to human and get out of her bar. She didn’t want any trouble. At the
thought, the jaguar inside Trent rushed to the surface and joined with her
magic, strengthening it, giving it authority, as it flared out to do her
bidding. The bikers’ claws disappeared and their faces re-formed to the
handsome masks that cloaked what was beneath.
Holy shit. Awe and exhilaration filled her. So this was what
being a witch was like.
Confidence raced through her and she stood a little
straighter. She let the ice she felt inside fill her eyes. Most of the supernatural
world left witches alone. It was the fear of the unknown that made them
cautious. She hadn’t done anything to discourage that apprehension.
“Get out, now,” she ordered.
The shifter Trent had attacked clutched his throat and rose
from the floor. He stepped into her space until their faces were less than inch
apart. His breath carried the scent of something that was decomposing. “Why
should we leave when he started it? Besides, we haven’t gotten our prize yet.
Never bagged a witch before, makes me wonder if the rumors are true about you
He drew his gaze down the length of her body. It was hard to
hold back the vomit. Trent hugged her closer, his fingers digging into her hip.
When he growled, his chest vibrated against her back. “She’s mine. Touch her
and you die.”
Sam wondered if his possessiveness would be seen as
endearing when she replayed this entire scene out in her head later that night.
Right now, it was annoying.
“No one is going to die tonight. Your drinks are on the
house. Get on your hogs and get out of here.” As she said it, another spark of
magic tickled her fingers. If only she could control it, she wouldn’t have to
rely on threats. “I’m not going to ask again.”
One of the wolves, the leader she thought, took a step back
and pointed a finger at Trent. “This isn’t over, pussycat. Can’t hide behind
your bitch forever. I’ve got the taste of her magic on my tongue—you better
believe it’ll be her pussy next.”
As if he were trying to walk through her, Trent surged
forward, ready to pick up the fight right where she’d interrupted it.
“Let it go, Trent,” she said softly.
He ignored her. “I’ll be ready, asshole,” Trent sang. The
pleasure in his voice shouldn’t have turned her on as much as it did. Alphas
were a pain in the ass. Sexy, but a pain.
The pack backed up to the door and boots scuffed against the
floor. Music cranked to life, and the hum of conversation resumed as everyone
helped right the bar. In a few minutes it was as if nothing had happened. A
group of men separated from the wall and swarmed to the newly vacated table,
claiming it before anyone else. Another night in a shifter bar. When she
turned, Trent didn’t let go of her. He looked drunk with testosterone.
The urge to smack him against his forehead was overwhelming.
“What in the hell is wrong with you?” She hadn’t meant to yell. “Jesus, Trent,
they would have ripped you to shreds. Besides all that, you do know how to
read, right? No shifting on the premises!”
Although there was no room between them, he managed to take
a step closer. He pressed his hand against her lower back, fingers teasing the
top of her ass. He tilted his head down to meet her eyes. His gaze traced a
line from her mouth back to her eyes as if he was going to kiss her. God help
her if he did—she was in no position to fight him off.
“I’m doing my job,” he rasped in a low, sexy tenor she never
thought she’d hear aimed at her.
The way his tongue drew across his lower lip made her knees
boneless. Dirty, wicked things…
“By starting bar fights?” The tighter he held her, the
raspier her voice became. “You’re supposed to prevent trouble, not start it.
You’re the law here, you need to set a good example.”
“They what?” she interrupted. “Looked at you wrong? A peanut
shell fell from their table and hit your shoe? What was it this time?”
His anger deflated and he cracked a half smile that softened
his expression. Tiny lines expanded from the outer contours of his eyes. From
far away, he looked to be in his mid-twenties. This close, he looked older,
more mature and sexier than should have been legal. She tried not to focus on
the imperfections that helped make him so attractive.
A thin pink scar traced the bottom of his chin. She could
barely see it through the stubble. Along the right side of his forehead was
another faded line, about an inch long. It gave him a rugged,
don’t-fuck-with-me appearance. Jeremiah once told her scars were like trophies.
Trent wore his well.
“I was out of line.”
Wow. Was that Trent admitting she was right? She lifted one
“Don’t look at me like that.” He smiled down at her and drew
his hand a little bit lower. One more inch and he’d be cupping her ass.
The heavy beat of his heart pulsed through her. “Like what?”
“You tell anyone I admitted I was wrong and I’ll hurt you.”
“Listen, Trent, I need to talk to you.” Time was running
thin and her patience even thinner.
Trent took a step back and shook his head. He let go of her
waist and stuck his hands in his back pockets. A lock of hair fell across his
forehead and hid the scar she’d been admiring.
“That’s not a good idea. I shouldn’t have even come
From hot to cold, the game he’d been playing with her since
the moment he’d realized she was a woman had officially grown old. Something
inside snapped. She was tired of being toyed with. He wanted her—she knew it,
felt it. Magic older than either one of them could ever imagine said they
“Screw that. You’ve been avoiding me for the last three
weeks and I’m running out of time. You’ll sit down and you’ll listen to what I
have to say.”
The way his eyes widened said a lot about him. He obviously
wasn’t used to being bossed around. The look he gave her was penetrating. A
sudden, gut-wrenching image popped into her mind. She pictured his long, hard
cock disappearing between her legs as she impaled herself on it. She imagined
his hands cupping her waist, guiding her against him when he growled out her
name. What would it feel like to have him so intimately inside of her?
“You’re blushing.” He used his thumb to brush a hot path
over her cheek, his hand rough against her face. Her skin was on fire.
“And you’re a jerk.” Somehow, she had to wait two days until
she could rip off his pants and make her fantasy come to life.
She reached behind her and his gaze tracked her hands. The
movement forced her chest against his. Her nipples puckered at the sensation.
What would it feel like to have his hands moving her bra to the side? Teasing
her nipples with a graze of his knuckles against the sensitive buds? Her
stomach tightened and heat blossomed between her legs. She pulled at the band
holding her ponytail in place. Dark hair tumbled against her shoulders,
tickling her skin. She shook her head and the strands fell into place. Hunger
flared in his eyes.
“Right,” he croaked out in a husky whisper.
Without another word, he stepped in front of her and strode
to the bar. The few people in his way moved. She couldn’t say she blamed them.
He grabbed the bottle of whiskey with one hand, patted his
brother on the back with the other. “’Miah, watch the bar for a few.”
At Jeremiah’s nod, Trent made his way back to his table, set
the whiskey down and pulled out a chair. He sat. Lounging back in the seat, he
pushed the chair opposite him out from under the table with his foot. What a gentleman.
She twisted the offered chair around and placed the back of
it against the table before straddling it. The slats pushing against her
breasts helped alleviate some of the pressure. With a grin, she grabbed the
whiskey. The weight of the bottle felt as familiar as the stickiness of the
floor beneath her shoes. Three generations of witches had grown up in this bar.
If everything went well, someday there would be a fourth.
She topped off two shot glasses already on the table, the
potent aroma of the whiskey blurring her vision. It smelled like oak.
“When’d you get your hair cut?” Trent rolled the shot she
gave him back and forth between his hands.
After a second, he threw it back and hissed at the bite.
Taking his cue, she poured the liquor into her mouth. Warmth moved down her
throat and settled in her stomach. She sucked in a deep breath and the rich
wood-and-fire taste watered her palate. She loved the sting of fine whiskey.