The Tiger's Reluctant Mate: BBW Paranormal Tiger Shifter Romance Standalone (Hunky Shifters Book 2) (7 page)

BOOK: The Tiger's Reluctant Mate: BBW Paranormal Tiger Shifter Romance Standalone (Hunky Shifters Book 2)
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Ryan was stunned when the door banged open and Julie came charging in. He had seen her angry before but not this angry. Her face was red and her eyes were brewing up a storm ready to explode. He stood.

"How much of that did you hear?"

"Enough." Julie snapped. "Ian Galatia, a guy I've known for years, is the Wolf Alpha and my best friend is dating him. Is she his Lupa?"

Ryan blinked. She knew about werewolf ranks?

"No. Galatia isn't interested in her like that. Just for sex."

Julie snorted rudely.

"That would explain why he doesn't appear to care when she fucks any bloke with a pulse. But that doesn't explain why you didn't tell me the damn wolves were to blame for burning down my cafe."

Ryan sighed and came round the desk. He had hoped to avoid this confrontation but Julie wasn't giving him a choice anymore.

"I didn't tell you because I didn't want you to do anything rash."

"Rash? What do you think I would've done?"

"Go to the cops. And they can't do anything. Wolf shifters are damn sneaky." Ryan approached her carefully, aware that she was simmering with anger and was likely to lash out at him.

"Nothing would stick and those who haven't been arrested would come after you."

"They've been my friends for years." Julie tilted her chin stubbornly at him. "They wouldn't hurt me."

"Yet they took away the most precious thing you have other than Charlie."

Ryan saw the indecision in Julie's face, the doubt creeping in. He wanted to go to her and hold her but guessed that Julie would push him away. He had, in effect, lied to her and she didn't like liars.

Julie shook her head and paced away from him.

"How did I never know they were shifters? I spotted you immediately but they never gave themselves away."

Ryan was caught off-guard with that comment. She knew he was a shifter? How...?

"How do you know I'm a shifter?" He demanded. "Come to think of it, how do you know about shifters?"

"I'm more open-minded." Ryan could see Julie knew more but didn't push it. She turned to face him. "And I knew you were a shifter when I witnessed your eyes change colour. That's a sure sign, I've heard. I don't know what you are yet but I'm guessing you're the leader if you're giving Greg the orders."

She was smart. Too smart. Ryan was almost proud of her. But this confrontation wasn't about him. This was about them and why he kept this secret from her, which he had only known about for the last week.

He had still not told her about it and she saw that as a betrayal.

"Ian's very careful. He's psychotic. He can make people believe that he's harmless but he is crazy. Laura, on the other hand, is human. I think she wants to be Ian's queen but Ian's just stringing her along. He'll tire of her one day."

Julie looked like she was still struggling with things in her head. She ran her hands through her hair, something she did when she was agitated.

"Why did you make me think you were involved?" She demanded. "Why didn't you say anything?"

Ryan sighed and approached her slowly.

"I didn't say anything because I wanted you to focus your attentions on me. That way you didn't get hurt by those who really did this."

It had been painful to lie to her and not say a word but it was for her own protection. Ryan knew she would have charged off to find the culprits involved and be damned with the consequences. No way was he letting his mate go off half-cocked into the middle of a shifter pack.

Julie looked at him and Ryan was shocked to see the tears in her eyes.

"You made me hate you." She said hoarsely. She swiped at her face when a tear fell. "You made me..."

Her voice trailed off. Ryan's heart clenched and he went to her. He didn't like seeing her like this.

"Made you what?" He put his hands on her shoulders. "Julie? Made you what?"

Julie sniffed and lifted her head to look him in the eye.

"You made me have feelings for you." She croaked. "I hated you and I fell for you. How messed up is that?"

She had fallen for him. She loved him. Ryan could feel his beast roaring his appreciation and tampered it down. She didn't need to see that right now. He drew her into his arms, pressing a kiss to her head.

"That's not messed up, honey." He said quietly. "I've been falling for you since I met you. And you wouldn't give me the time of day. That's messed up."

"You love me?"

Julie looked up at him, her eyes glistening with tears. Ryan brushed his thumb across her wet cheeks and smiled.

"I do."

#

 

 

 

 

He loved her. Julie thought she had to be dreaming. Ryan loved her.

She didn't protest when Ryan kissed her, nibbling her lower lip and licking his tongue across the seam of her lips. Julie kissed him back, arching against him as his hand palmed her breast and gave it a gentle squeeze. Her lips parted and Ryan thrust his tongue into her mouth.

Her hands slid round his shoulders, her fingers dancing across the bunched muscles, and slipped her fingers through his hair. She whimpered as Ryan slipped his hand under her shirt and bra, running his thumb across her nipple.

It hardened under his touch and Julie felt as though every nerve ending was being set alight by his hand. Her pussy clenched and she kissed him harder, her hands tightening around his head.

Ryan pulled away but before Julie could protest, he had grabbed hold of her shirt and yanked it open. Buttons flew everywhere. Julie shrugged out of her ruined shirt and unclipped her bra, letting both fall to the floor.

She watched as Ryan's golden gaze flared as he took in her bare breasts for the first time. He was breathing heavily and Julie saw his erection pushing against the zipper of his trousers.

Her body wasn't the best it could be but with the way Ryan was looking at her, she knew that she looked like a goddess to him. And it made her feel powerful, sexy for the first time. She put her hands on her hips.

"Are you going to do something or are you just going to stand there staring?"

Ryan looked up, his hungry gaze raking over her face. Then there was indecision, as if he was scared his next action would hurt her. He swallowed.

"What do you want me to do, then?"

"I want you to kiss me again."

"That I can do."

Ryan pulled Julie to him and kissed her enough to make her head spin. She was aware of him picking her up and carrying her across the room, laying her on the couch. His mouth never left hers and his hands made explorations of her body that had Julie trembling under him.

She protested when he drew away and stood up but the protests died away as he pulled off his jumper and shirt, leaving him naked from the waist up. Her breath caught as she looked over the chiselled muscles in his chest, the rock-hard abs and the dusting of hair across his chest going down to his groin, disappearing under the waistband of his trousers.

She sat up and her hands went to his stomach. Ryan shuddered under her touch as she trailed her fingers down to his waist and lingered over the button and zipper. Then he swiped her hands away and leant over her.

But instead of kissing her, he licked and nipped at her neck, moving lower to her breast. Julie gasped and writhed under him as he paid close attention to first one breast and then the other, grazing his teeth on her skin. She wasn't into pain but when Ryan gave it to her, she nearly went off into orbit.

Then Ryan was going even lower, tugging her trousers and panties down with him. Julie raised her hips and allowed him to slip them off completely, tossing them to one side. Ryan parted her legs, kissing the insides of her thighs before he reached her pussy, which was crying out for his attention.

The second his tongue touched her sensitive flesh, Julie was moaning and writhing. She could never get enough of his mouth, which knew exactly what she wanted and pushed it a bit further so she was a quivering mess under him.

Julie could feel the climax building and clutched at Ryan's head, urging him on. But then Ryan had moved away, leaving her hanging. He quickly shoved off his trousers and boxers, kicking them away with his socks and shoes, and pounced on her. He covered her body with his, lifting her hips as he thrust his cock into her pussy up to the hilt.

Julie gasped as his cock, which was long and nearly as thick as her wrist, stretched her inner walls further than she expected. It bordered on painful but her body quickly adjusted to it, her pussy clenching tightly around him enough for Ryan to groan.

He began to thrust but he wasn't moving fast enough for Julie. She needed more. Lifting her hips up, she flipped them. They landed on the floor, Ryan on his back. His cock momentarily slipped out but Julie grasped it and slid back down onto it. She shuddered, feeling even fuller than she had when she was on her back.

She began to move, Ryan gripping at her waist as he helped her. His cock rubbed against all the nerve endings and her pussy sucked greedily at him. It wasn't long before Julie was moving faster on Ryan's lap, grinding and rolling her hips enough to make Ryan moan.

Her orgasm hit her hard and she screamed his name as it rolled over her body. Ryan's hands tightened around her waist and thrust hard and fast up into her, Julie unable to do anything but hold on.

Then Ryan was coming with a growl, his eyes shining bright as he arched into her. Another orgasm hit her and Julie found herself shuddering and sweating as she felt Ryan's seed fill her.

She collapsed on top of him as the orgasm slowly abated, breathing heavily as she rested her forehead against his. Ryan held her gently, running his hands over her back as his own breathing slowly returned to normal.

"Wow." He breathed.

Julie couldn't help but laugh and she pressed a kiss to his mouth.

"Yes." She murmured. "Wow."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Six

 

"Did you mean it?"

Ryan heard Julie's voice rumble against his chest. After that explosive bout of sex in his office, they had gathered their clothes and hurried across to his apartment, giggling that they were still naked. It was amazing they hadn't been caught by his security guard. That would have taken some explaining.

Then they had dropped their clothes as soon as they had entered Ryan's apartment, Ryan fucking Julie against the door until she had come for him again. After that, Ryan was ready for another go but Julie looked dead on her feet so he had carried her to his bedroom and laid her in his bed, climbing in and holding her as she fell asleep. His sleep had come along not long after.

He hadn't realized she was awake and it took a moment for his brain to clear of sleep.

"Did I mean what?"

"That Ian is a wolf."

Ryan then remembered what had happened before they had had sex. She had heard everything. He sighed.

"Yes. He's the local alpha." He rubbed her back gently. "Laura has to know and we do have evidence that she's involved. I'm sorry."

"I remember that from last night." Julie lifted her head to rest her chin on his chest as she looked at him. "I just didn't want to believe it."

Ryan felt sorry for her. She had put a lot of faith into her and Laura's friendship and her friend had stabbed her in the back.

He frowned at her, brushing a thumb across her soft cheek. Then he asked a question that had been bothering him.

"You didn't blink when you spoke about shifters. How do you know about them? And how do you know what to look for?"

"I read somewhere that when a shifter is emotional, their eyes glow golden." Julie grunted disparagingly. "That's probably why I never found out with Ian since he was always so calm and laidback. And why I knew you were."

Ryan knew had to watch his emotions around humans in the future if he was starting to let them get the better of him. He nodded.

"Our eyes glow to intense emotions. Most of the time is when we're attracted to someone and we're turned on."

"You were turned on when we first me?"

"Hell, yeah." Ryan touched her nose with his finger. "But how do you know about shifters? Humans know but they are far and few between."

Julie was silent for a moment. Ryan thought she wasn't going to tell him. Then she shifted so she was lying on her side. Ryan rolled onto his side and put his arm over her waist. And he waited. Julie was going to tell him but he wouldn't rush her. From the look on her face, it was a painful subject.

"I tell everyone that my parents died in a car accident." Her voice was almost too quiet to hear. "But they didn't. My dad was a journalist. A good one but he was a very nosy bastard without the job. He was even nosy in my life and that wound me up. I still loved him, though." She let out a shuddering breath.

"One night when I was ten, I was woken by screams. I crept downstairs and saw these...these two big wolves attacking Mom and Dad. I swear one of them talked, telling Dad he should've kept his nose out of their business. Dad argued with it. He was arguing with a talking animal. I thought I was going mad. Then..."

She broke off and Ryan was shocked to see her burst into tears. He gathered her into his arms and rocked her gently, stroking her hair.

"Take your time, Julie."

"They ripped them to pieces." Julie's voice was shaking. "I couldn't scream. I just ran. I went to Charlie's room. He was still asleep. I locked his door and put the ottoman in front of it." Her hands clenched into fists against his chest.

"They came to find us. They were going to kill us. But then one of them said we wouldn't have seen anything and he wasn't about to kill kids. Then they left."

She drew away and Ryan let her go enough so she had some space between them but he was still holding her. Julie wiped at her eyes and sniffed.

"The police found the bodies and heard my statement. I was amazed that they believed me. Then they told me that I must never tell anyone about what really happened. They got me to say my parents had died in a car accident.

It raised questions as to why they left us home alone but people accepted the reason they died. I never told anyone, not my grandparents, not my uncle and aunt when we went to live with them. Not even Charlie."

Ryan shifted closer and pressed a kiss to her forehead, feeling her tremble in his embrace. He nuzzled her and pulled her closer.

"You were very brave." He said softly. "Your parents would've been proud of you."

"I found some of Dad's papers a few weeks later." Julie didn't acknowledge that she had heard him.

"He had been investigating shifters for months. There was a big, bulky file on the subject. It's where I got most of my information. Over the years, I've encountered shifters and, at the start, I would keep my distance." She raised her head and looked at him. "But then I realized I was being prejudiced and that wasn't in my nature. So I took them with a pinch of salt."

"I did wonder why behind her eyes, you looked nervous whenever I touched you at the start."

Ryan had been concerned when he saw the fear that was very nearly hidden and warring with her other emotions. At least he knew the reason now.

"I still have my moments." Julie sniffed. "Mom and Dad died because Dad was nosy." A look of fear suddenly passed over her face. "Do you think they've come back to kill me? Because they somehow know I saw them?"

"I doubt it. It was fifteen years ago and it was probably a different pack altogether." Ryan stroked her cheek. "You don't need to fear them."

"I do if they burned my cafe down." Julie gulped. She looked ready to cry again. "They've ruined my life."

"Not yet they haven't." Ryan kissed her. "Look, you don't have to work today since it is Saturday. We can rest, make love, talk some more, and make love again."

"Sounds like an idea." Julie sighed. But she disentangled herself from his arms and rolled to sit on the edge of the bed. "But can we do that later? I've got some paperwork to fax off to Charlie. It's for his tuition. I need to go back to my house to do it."

Ryan felt a little panic when she said that. The threat hadn't been neutralized so there was a danger Julie could be jumped if she went home. And the thought of losing her now was not settling well with him. He sat up and confessed.

"There's money in your account for the tuition fees for the rest of his degree. For his Masters and PhD, too, if he wants to go that far."

Julie stared at him.

"What? When did you do that?"

"The first day you started working for me. The minute I got your bank details for Payroll."

He saw the emotions flashing across Julie's face. She was surprised, angry, delighted, upset. He had omitted telling her about the money he gave away freely because he knew she would try to walk away now Charlie's future was secure.

"If you did that, why did you make me work for you all this time?" Julie demanded.

"Because I selfishly wanted you to myself." Ryan moved across the bed and slipped his arms around her, pressing a kiss to her shoulder. "I wanted you to know me better instead of pushing me away."

Julie looked speechless for a moment. Then she laughed and rolled her eyes.

"You are strange. Men are strange in general."

"And women aren't complicated?"

"Touché."

Ryan squeezed her in a hug, not wanting to let her go. He didn't want her leaving the protection of his ranch yet.

"You can do it from here."

"I can't. The papers I need to send off are at my place."

This wasn't right. Ryan didn't want her to go. Something was bound to happen. But he couldn't leave her cooped up and he couldn't get the papers, as he didn't know what she was looking for. He sighed.

"Okay. But be careful."

Julie slipped out of his arms and pick up his robe from the floor, which he divested of the morning before without thinking. She put it on and went to the door. Ryan stopped her before she left.

"Come back quickly. I have something to talk to you about."

While she didn't seem to mind about him being a shifter, Julie deserved to know the truth. And he would do it tonight. Julie looked at him and smiled.

"I will."

She blew him a kiss and left. Ryan waited until he heard his front door close and then leapt out of bed, hurrying to his wardrobe.

There was no way he was letting Julie go home on her own. Not without him watching her back.

#

BOOK: The Tiger's Reluctant Mate: BBW Paranormal Tiger Shifter Romance Standalone (Hunky Shifters Book 2)
8.05Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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