Batch (Paranormal Shapeshifter Romance) (Desired by a Dragon Book 2)

Batch
Desired by a Dragon Book Two
Terra Wolf
Hailey Storm

©2016 Terra Wolf

Batch, Desired by a Dragon

All Rights Reserved worldwide.

No part of this book may be reproduced, uploaded to the Internet, or copied without permission from the author. The author respectfully asks that you please support artistic expression and help promote anti-piracy efforts by purchasing a copy of this book at the authorized online outlets.

This is a work of fiction intended for mature audiences only. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Some may be used for parody purposes. Any resemblance to events, locales, business establishments, or actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is purely coincidental.

All sexual activities depicted occur between consenting characters 18 years or older who are not blood related.

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NEWSLETTER SIGNUP

One
Scarlet

M
y head pounded
as I bent forward to retrieve my clothes from the floor. I regretted having one too many shots of tequila last night. Sunlight burst through the mini blinds and forced my eyes to squint as my heartbeat pulsated behind them. I wasn’t sure what time it was, but I knew I had to go before Dylan woke up. I wasn’t the kind of girl who expected breakfast the next morning, and I also wasn’t the type who hung around to cuddle after sex either.

I couldn’t believe I’d fallen asleep. What the hell had I been thinking?

My fingertips brushed against the cool, silky fabric of my sundress as I reached for it on the floor. I held my breath and shifted to stare at Dylan as I climbed out of bed. When he didn’t stir, I released the breath I’d been holding and slipped my sundress over my head. I scanned the floor for my bra and panties. Once I found them, I picked them up and tiptoed toward the door. The sound of Dylan muttering in his sleep while I scooped my things off his kitchen counter had me reaching for my heels and bolting out the door.

Relief flooded me the second I was outside his apartment. He was sweet, and Lord knew he was sexy, but I didn’t feel the connection I’d been hoping for. I wanted to, but it just wasn’t there. Attraction and lust, yes, but nothing deeper.

I wanted something deeper. I craved it.

My bare feet padded down the wooden steps of Dylan’s apartment building as I headed for the parking lot. I crammed my panties and bra into my purse while trying to push my disappointment away. It wasn’t his fault, he’d been great. While there was an age difference between us, it didn’t seem to matter much because Dylan knew how to treat a woman. He was affectionate and damn good in the sack, but I was searching for an intense kind of chemistry. The kind that went beyond having a good orgasm.

I wanted what I’d felt with Batch.

The thought of my oldest brother’s best friend had my heart thumping hard and fast inside my chest. I paused at the base of the stairs as clips of the last time we’d been together flooded my mind. His steel gray eyes focused on me. The sting of whiskey clinging to his lips. The way his hands caressed my skin. The sensation of him inside me. My thighs quivered as I thought about how unexpected, albeit beautifully blissful, the moment between us had been. The sensation died down the instant the bitter sting of rejection from the morning after pushed its way through me. I’d wanted Batch to come with us when we fled—I wanted him to come with
me
—but he’d been adamant that he couldn’t.

So Batch had left in search of Vanessa, my oldest brother’s crazed ex-girlfriend. She was the reason my family and I had gone on the run. Vanessa was a hunter, the known enemy to all shifters, who had managed to hide what she was from all of us. I’d left with my brothers in search of a fresh start somewhere new.

For weeks I’d felt as though I was in mourning. Silas and Sebastian thought my depression had to do with being on the run from Vanessa, but that wasn’t it. It had nothing to do with her, and everything to do with Batch.

Something beautiful had sparked to life during the special night we’d shared, something I hadn’t been able to find again. Not with Dylan. Not with any man.

Batch had ruined me.

I pushed myself away from the banister and started across the parking lot to my car. After I slipped inside, I tossed my purse in the passenger seat and cranked the engine. The drive home wasn’t long. When I pulled up next to my brother’s vehicle and cut the engine, I glanced at our house, searching for any lights. None were on. I slumped against the seat of my car and released a slow breath of relief. Silas wasn’t awake yet. Thank God, because I couldn’t face him right now. My oldest brother was protective, and even though I was nearing twenty-three, he still didn’t like the idea of me dating. Also, reputations mattered greatly to him, and according to him, I wasn’t creating a good one for myself in this town by sleeping around.

Silas knew me well enough though to know I didn’t give a shit what anyone thought of me. Especially not these people—they had no room to judge. Each of them had secrets and downfalls of their own.

I crept inside and slipped my heels off at the front door. Next, I made my way to the kitchen for some coffee. After filling the machine with water and a few scoops of my rich, dark roasted coconut flavored blend, I headed upstairs for a hot shower. I needed to wash the scent of Dylan off. Even though Silas was sure to have noticed I didn’t come home last night—and probably had guessed who I was with—it didn’t mean I wanted to provoke him. An irritated Silas was no one’s friend, least of all mine. Especially where Dylan was concerned.

I wasn’t sure what it was about Dylan that irked Silas so much, but he didn’t like him and made it clear each time I brought him up in conversation. My other brother, Sebastian, on the other hand, didn’t seem to care who I dated or what I did.

Sometimes I wished Silas could be more like Sebastian and stop being a substitute dad.

Dylan was a good guy. He was young, but he was real. He didn’t hide the fact that he wanted me like Batch always seemed to. He didn’t play games. He went after what he wanted. It was a way of life I could respect. I wished Batch would adhere to those same rules. He never seemed to take anything he wanted, or at least not when it came to me. He was always so guarded.

I grabbed a clean pair of underwear, my favorite red silk robe, and my pink fuzzy slippers before heading to the bathroom for a shower. As soon as I closed the door, I could hear the beeping of Silas’s alarm clock and the sound of his cell ringing simultaneously. It was six o’clock in the morning. Who would be calling him this early? His girlfriend, Violet, maybe?

“Hello?” I heard him answer. “No, I’m good. I’m getting up anyway.”

I held my breath and listened for a little longer, curiosity getting the best of me. Silas was either pacing around his room or rushing to pull on clothes.

“Okay. No, it’s fine. I’ll be down in a second to let you in,” I heard him say, causing my stomach to dip. I wondered if it was Violet. I hoped there wasn’t anything wrong.

I twisted the knobs on the shower and adjusted the water to the perfect temperature before shimmying out of my dress and then stepped in. The scalding water slipped across my skin, warming me from the outside in. I tipped my head back and began massaging shampoo into my hair. The scent of lilacs and vanilla saturated the air around me and I closed my eyes, relaxing into the moment.

Two
Batch

B
oth floors
of the house were lit up with lights when I rolled to a stop behind Silas’s vehicle. As if Scarlet’s car being in the driveway wasn’t enough indication for me to know she was home, the lights on both floors affirmed it. I cut the engine on my bike and slipped off my helmet, still staring at the upstairs windows. Scarlet was in one of those rooms. I knew she was. I could feel her presence. She had called to me, unlike any woman I’d ever met. There was something about her that made the fire in my veins sing. Too bad I couldn’t have her. Not in the way I wanted.

The front door swung open and Silas stepped into view.

“Hey, man. It’s good to see you.” He flashed me a toothy smile, but even through the distance, I could see the questions swirling in his eyes.

Silas wanted to know why I was here, and he wasn’t the only one. There was a part of me that wanted to know why I’d come too. Being around Scarlet would only tempt me and my dragon. I knew it would.

“Hey, long time no see.” I started toward the stairs.

Silas nodded and crammed his hands into the front pockets of his slacks. “Yeah, it has been a while.”

Months. It had been months, nearly a year, but I wasn’t about to say so because then it would look like I’d been counting. A second in command never counted the days he’d been on a mission. He buckled down and completed the damn task. End of story.

“I’m sure you’re probably wondering what brought me to you.” I paused at the top step, unsure if Silas was going to let me in. He didn’t know I’d slept with Scarlet before we parted ways months ago, of that I was certain, but he did know that I had feelings for her. He could sense it, I knew he could.

“Somewhat, but you know I don’t mind you being here.” He opened the door behind him and motioned for me to step inside. “Is everything all right? You seemed a little anxious on the phone.”

Had I sounded anxious? I guessed it was possible. “No, it’s nothing we can’t take care of.” I waved his words away. “Just tired from the drive.”

The instant I moved past him and into the house, I could smell Scarlet’s scent. It lingered in the air, tempting me worse than the dreams I’d had of her since we were last together. What the hell was I doing here? This wouldn’t end well. Getting close to Scarlet meant marking her for devastation. I knew this, and I refused to let things play out for her the way they had for every other woman in my life I’d loved. They’d each been ripped away from me by Death.

The cycle had started with my mother. She’d been killed by a hunter when I was a child. I’d witnessed the whole thing while hidden inside a cabinet nearby. I’d done nothing to stop the ugly bastard from taking my mother’s life. Fear had paralyzed me. My younger sister’s death had come a few years later in a freak car accident. After her, I realized no woman in my life would be safe from Death’s greedy hands.

It had been a hard pill to swallow, but one I had nonetheless. It was why I couldn’t allow Scarlet in. No, it was why I refused to. Also, it didn’t help that she was Silas’s baby sister. He’d warned me when we were younger to never screw around with her or her heart. I’d promised I wouldn’t, and I always kept my promises.

However, being here, in Scarlet’s presence, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to stop myself. I craved her the way an addict craved his next hit.

I inhaled her scent and licked my lips, hoping to taste her on the tip of my tongue. Jesus, it was a bad idea to come here. I should have called to warn Silas instead of doing so in person. I knew this now. However, I also knew that now that I was here there was no way in hell I’d be able to make myself leave.

“How about I get you a cup of coffee and we talk about whatever it is?” Silas kept shooting glances at me that had me thinking he could tell what I was feeling for Scarlet and what I’d done to her. It made me uneasy.

“Yeah, sure. That sounds good.”

I followed him through the house and into the kitchen. The scent of coffee and Scarlet hung heavy in the air, mixing and mingling. It was her coffee I smelled. I knew before Silas even said a word. She never liked regular coffee. Scarlet always drank coconut flavored stuff. It was a little sweet for me, even without any cream or sugar, but whenever she offered me any I always accepted. Any piece of her I could taste I wouldn’t turn away.

“Give me a second. Let me make us some regular coffee. This is Scarlet’s coconut crap.”

The sound of someone coming down the stairs had my heart pounding in my throat. I knew who it was before she rounded the corner. I could smell her—lilacs and vanilla, her signature scent.

“First of all, my coffee is not crap,” she spat as she rounded the corner. A smirk twisted at my lips to see that she was still a little spit-fire. Her eyes locked on me and I noticed when she inhaled a sharp breath. She couldn’t hide the fact that I was the last person she’d expected to see, but she recovered quickly. “And second, what are you doing here?”

I fought the urge not to laugh. God, I’d missed her bluntness. “Well hello to you too, darlin’.”

Her wide eyes snapped to Silas, ignoring my greeting. “What’s he doing here?”

“We were just about to discuss that over coffee.” Silas motioned to the pot in his hand.

In my peripheral vision, I noticed him pour Scarlet's coffee into a metal pitcher and set it aside, but I couldn’t take my eyes away from her. Her dark hair had grown longer since I’d last seen her. It was draped over her shoulder, dripping wet. Her face was clean of makeup, and she wore a satin robe that hit above her knees and a pair of pink, fuzzy slippers. Water dripped from her hair and landed on her wrist. The desire to swirl my tongue there and watch the heat rise in her eyes twisted through me.

Jesus Christ, I wanted her.

“Have a seat,” Silas insisted, startling me from my thoughts.

I cleared my throat and tore my eyes away from Scarlet. My boots clunked across the floor as I situated myself at the table in the corner. “Thanks.”

“Coffee will be ready in just a few minutes.” Silas sat in the chair opposite mine and clasped his hands together, resting them on the tabletop. If he’d noticed the tension between Scarlet and me, he didn’t let on. Instead, he stared at me as though he was waiting for me to give an answer as to why I was here in person.

“I know you said the Vanessa issue had been taken care of.” I shifted in my seat to get comfortable. Scarlet was still standing in the entryway, staring at me. I wished she’d do something else, but I wasn’t sure as to what. I wouldn’t be able to handle her sitting at the cramped table beside me, nor did I want her to leave.

Whatever it was I’d felt between us when I foolishly gave in to my desire for her seemed to have grown tenfold in our time spent apart. I needed to get on my bike and disappear, to put as much distance between me and Scarlet as I could.

The problem was: now that I’d seen her, I didn’t think leaving her again was a possibility.

“It is.” A low growl rippled through Silas's words, letting me know the subject of Vanessa wasn’t something he wished to discuss.

“Good, I’m glad.” I leaned back in my chair, trying to keep my eyes on Silas instead of Scarlet as she stepped further into the kitchen and began pouring herself a cup of coffee. I could see the backs of her knees and her tanned calves in my peripheral vision. Unable to stop myself, my mind filled with images of tracing soft kisses and careful licks along the sensitive skin there.

“Is there something new in regards to Vanessa you’d like to bring to my attention?” Silas sounded annoyed. I didn’t blame him. Discussing your ex first thing in the morning was never a good way to start your day, but when she was a psycho who’d tried to kill you and your current girlfriend, it was even worse.

I cleared my throat again as I forced the images of caressing Scarlet’s skin with my tongue away.
Focus
, I told myself. I leaned forward, resting my elbows on the tabletop, and locked eyes with Silas. What I needed to say was serious, and I needed to be professional in its delivery.

“Even though the issue with Vanessa has been resolved, I’ve continued tracking her group of hunters and have reason to believe one or more is on their way to find out why she hasn’t checked in.”

“What do we do?” Scarlet asked.

My gaze shifted to her at the sound of her voice. Her beautiful bronze eyes were wide with fear as she sipped her coffee. The dragon inside me responded to the sight immediately, wanting to come forth and protect her from a danger that wasn’t present yet.

“You do nothing.” The words left my lips slowly in a way that emphasized each. “If anything comes about, your brothers and I will handle it.”

“He’s right.” Silas shifted in his seat to stare at his sister. “While I do want you to be on high alert, I don’t want you actively pursuing anything. Leave everything to the three of us. Understood?”

I noticed Scarlet flinch at Silas’s orders and I felt the corner of my lips twist into a smile at the sight. She had always hated it when someone bossed her around, and it was nice to see that hadn’t changed about her.

“Understood,” she snapped.

“We’ll wait and see what their next move will be. I should have thought about them sending someone after her.” Silas stood and pulled two mugs down from a cabinet. He poured coffee in each and handed me one. “You’re more than welcome to stay with Scarlet and I while we’re on the lookout.”

My eyes shifted to Scarlet in time to see a shiver from her brother’s suggestion slip along her spine. Her tongue snaked out to moisten her plump lips before nibbling along the bottom one. The sight alone had me throbbing against the seam of my jeans.

“Thanks, I’ll take you up on that offer,” I said, knowing I was in trouble as soon as the words left my mouth.

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