Authors: Krystal Shannan
Tags: #paranormal shapeshifter romance
“You have to make this choice for us. It can’t be about what other people want. This is too important.”
Tess trotted a little farther and spied a small rock outcropping where she could sit underneath, sheltered from the snow that was falling harder.
She climbed under the ledge and shook off the fresh powder, excited to find that it led into a cavern. Slipping between a couple of rocks, she settled on her haunches and sighed. It was nearly dark now and the snow was falling so hard she could barely see the sky, much less track her way back to the inn.
Guess we’ll have to wait until the snow lets up.
“Better here than wandering around blind.”
The snuffling sound of a bear outside the crevice made her skin tingle and the fur on her scruff stand on end.
Was running away from his kiss not a big enough hint that she needed some space to think things through? She gave a low
and moved to the entrance of the small cave.
The scraping got louder and she tensed as a giant grizzly head poked through the opening and growled.
Oh shit! Oh shit!
The bear’s scent was not Patrick or Scott. In fact, there was no scent of magick at all. The thousand-pound animal heaving itself between the two boulders blocking the small cavern’s entrance was a real live, fucking grizzly bear that wanted to eat her for dinner.
She was strong as a shifter, but not that strong. That bear could kill her easily—as a wolf or a human.
her wolf screamed frantically.
She backed up as far as she could get. Bits of rock and dirt fell all around her as the bear continued to dig and claw its way into the cave. It roared again, and the terrifying sound vibrated through the small space. Tess trembled, her tail curled around one of her back legs and she whined.
her wolf shouted again.
Her mind was frozen with terror and she pulled back, feeling a rush of energy as her wolf took control. Her head lifted and a long, low howl echoed through the small space and into the night air. She hoped to the gods someone could hear it on the outside.
Another thunderous roar came from outside the cave. A second later, something yanked the grizzly from the opening and Tess surged back into control. The growls were ferocious and she cautiously stuck her head between the rocks to see what was happening.
Patrick’s scent filled her nostrils and she shuddered. He had followed her. Or had he heard the howl of terror and come running? Right now it didn’t matter. She just wanted him safe and the real grizzly to get lost.
He swung his gaze toward her, golden eyes glowing with fierce determination. The move cost him dearly and the other bear lunged. Patrick was caught off guard and Tess whined. When the grizzly bit into his shoulder, Patrick’s painful growl tore at her heart.
No. No. No.
She tensed, ready to lunge, but a second later, Patrick broke the hold and bit down hard on the back of the grizzly’s neck. A loud
made her stomach clench. Then the bear was still.
Scarlett blood stains painted the snow around the two bears and Patrick huffed a few times like she’d heard Scott do when he was irritated. Then he shifted and stalked toward her, naked and glorious, but with a bloody shoulder that made her feel a little green, even as a wolf.
He reached the cave entrance and she backed up as he crawled through. She approached him slowly, her instinct to clean his wound overruling her queasy stomach. He winced at the first touch of her long tongue and his hands dug into the fur on the scruff of her neck, but she kept going.
Magick surged between them and his wounds stopped bleeding in only a few minutes. She sat on her haunches and stared at him. His blue eyes stared back, slicing through her resolve.
“Why are you running from me?” he asked, scratching behind her ears.
Tess shook her head and he pulled back his hand. She let the change wash over her. When she looked up at him again it was in human form. The rock floor bit into her knees, but she didn’t care.
“I’m sorry. I just … I wasn’t prepared for it to be you. I love it here at Woodhaven, but I’m scared to leave the pack. I’m an Alpha’s daughter.”
“Royalty.” His voice was low. “Will they let you leave?”
“I think so.” Tess’s voice wavered, unsure what Jason or her aunt would really say. Everything was different … or used to be different. Now that the council didn’t exist anymore, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad.
She crept forward and he opened his arms, pulling her onto his lap. He pressed a soft kiss to her forehead and tucked her tightly against his broad chest.
“Fate wouldn’t have matched us if it weren’t meant to be.”
She could feel the bond starting to build between them—a roaring river of emotional exchange. His warmth and compassion filled her heart as did his desire, sparking hers to life even more. She wanted him. All of him.
She ran her hands over his hard muscles and liquid heat pooled between her legs. He smelled like the forest, like strength, and home. He was where her heart wanted to be already. She drew her hands up to his face and covered his mouth with her lips.
He tasted like heaven. The bond between them surged again and she melted into his arms. He slid his hands into her hair and took control, plunging his tongue into her mouth. He groaned and slid his hands down her back until they rested on her hips.
Grasping her waist, he lifted and turned her so she was facing him. She took the initiative and straddled him, his hard cock pressed against her entrance. One more move and he would be inside her. The anticipation made her entire body ripple with excitement.
“Please,” she whispered into his mouth. She knew he’d been waiting. He might’ve followed her into the forest after she asked for space, but everything they’d done since, she’d initiated. He was letting her have control, something she knew was probably very difficult for him.
“With pleasure,” he said, kissing along her jawline.
He pushed down with his hands and up with his hips, sinking his cock deep. She arched her back, taking him even deeper. A moan of pleasure slipped between her lips and she started to move slowly, his hands moved to play with her breasts as she undulated up and down on his hard length.
She was so full and so aroused—her breasts filled his hands. He rubbed his thumbs over her erect nipples and she gasped. A moment later he’d latched his mouth to one and was circling the areola with his tongue and biting at the nipple with his teeth.
A hiss slid between her lips and she pressed her breast even harder to his face. The sensations of pleasure were drowning her in ecstasy. She arched her back and he released her breasts, moving his hands back to her hips.
An orgasm was swirling from her center and she screamed out as it crested, sending her careening over the edge. He thrust hard and fast, sending her over wave after wave, drawing it out longer and longer. She screamed his name and her vagina clenched hard on his cock.
He tensed beneath her and a guttural moan from him joined another cry from deep in her chest as they climaxed together.
She slumped into his chest, shuddering as aftershocks continued to ripple through her body, milking him for everything he would give.
He pressed his mouth to her shoulder and nipped gently, but didn’t break the skin. She could feel the roller coaster of emotions running through him. Arousal, satisfaction … love.
If they’d been human, she would’ve laughed at the thought of feeling true love and affection for someone in fewer than twenty-four hours. But for shifters, magick moved the emotional timeline at the speed of light. There was no-holds-barred. Anything could happen. She’d heard of perfect matches mating and marking each other in the space of several days, even hours in a few cases.
With her supercharged emotions, she could understand how that happened. She felt the same things for him, but her duty was to her family first. It had been drilled into her since she was a child. It wasn’t something she could overlook because she’d found her perfect match. She needed her family’s approval.
Even though the mate hunts had been abolished and a new pack order was being put into place, she was from Original blood. Others might get away with doing whatever they wanted, when they wanted, but not her. She craved her family’s approval. First her parents’, then her sisters’. Now her Aunt Melinda and the Original Demakis werewolf himself filled that role.
“It’s okay, Tess. I understand.” Patrick’s voice rumbled from his chest, sending comforting vibrations through her whole body. She relaxed at the words and sighed, her psyche bathing in the patience and understanding flowing through the bond to her.
They could see the lights of the inn shining through the darkness of the trees. Patrick lumbered ahead on the freshly fallen snow. Tess trotted beside him, her reddish-brown coat was mixed with black. She was stunning.
They approached the front of the inn and he followed her to the side porch, between the work shed and the main building.
He’d followed her scent to there earlier and found her clothes on the bench. If the snow hadn’t been coming down so hard, he probably wouldn’t have gone after her, but he had. His protective nature had kicked in and fifteen minutes into her trail, he’d smelled the other bear.
If he hadn’t been so distracted by her, the bear would’ve been an easy take-down, but with her scent clouding his system, he’d made a stupid mistake and let the damn beast take a bite out of him. The outcome had still been the same. The bear was dead. But he had a new set of scars.
The air around her shimmered as she shifted and stood. He huffed his approval, enjoying her naked body.
She turned and grinned at him. “Shhh, bad teddy. Someone will hear you.”
He huffed again and shifted, walking to her side and giving her bare ass a quick slap.
She squealed and jumped away from him.
“Not me, but they might hear you,” he said, a grin curving the corners of his mouth.
An irritated snort slipped out of her mouth, but she didn’t say anything. He watched, mesmerized by her swaying breasts and round ass. Bit by bit, her creamy white skin disappeared beneath black yoga pants, a soft track bra, and an oversized blue sweatshirt.
He yanked his pants on and tried to talk down his raging hard-on. It wasn’t going to work.
He slid an arm around her waist and pulled her against his chest. She’d have to be dead not to feel how much he wanted her again.
“On the porch?” She craned her neck and glanced through the window on the door.
He pulled her toward the work shed. If she wanted privacy, he could provide that. The fact that she’d been interested again spurred him even faster. He needed to be inside her. Now.
Opening the door he half-carried her inside and kicked the door closed behind them. He fumbled at the wall for the light switch and flipped it. A solitary bulb in the center of the building flickered to life, bathing them in a soft yellow glow.
A large work table stood to his right. He desperately wanted to see her perky ass bent over it. He twisted her to face away from him and pressed her gently down over the table. Hooking his index finger in the waist of her pants, he pulled them and her panties down with one fluid movement. She lifted her hips to aid his progress and he moaned his satisfaction when her round ass was bared to him.
The scent of her arousal made his bear positively crazy. “I’ll never be able to let you out of my sight … out of my bed, Tess.” He slid a finger along her slick lips and loved the way she writhed on the table. “You want my dick inside you, baby? I’m gonna give it to you hard.”
“Yes.” The word came out like a moan.
“You ready, baby?”
“Quit fucking around and take me,” she rasped, thrusting her hips back against his hand.
He smiled and grabbed her hips, slamming home and rocking the table with the force of his thrust. She growled against the table and pushed against him again. He obliged and started to move in and out, slowing and then speeding up according to her movements and sounds. He reached around beneath her hips and found her swollen little nub and pinched.
A broken cry came from her throat and her pussy locked down hard on his dick as she soared. He thrust twice more and felt the rush of his climax racing forward. His seed flowed into her and the walls of her vagina flexed, taking in everything he gave.
Leaning down over her back, he kissed her cheek and then nibbled at her ear before reluctantly sliding out of her heavenly, warm body. “You are amazing, baby.”
“Mmmmm,” she moaned. “You weren’t bad yourself,” she mumbled, her words slurred by her endorphin high.
He helped her stand up and they grinned at each other as they put their pants back on. Of course, admiring her curvy figure while trying to get dressed might create the same problem again.
“Are we going to make it in the door this time?” she asked.
He chuckled, noticing her eyes on his dick again. “I think so, but you’d better stop staring at me.”
Tess moved to the door first and pulled it open. They entered through the side door across the porch and walked quietly down the long, main hallway. He moved to her side and slipped his hand into hers, missing the connection with her already.
“Now you just have to get those Alphas to approve this match so we can mark her for real,”
his bear grumbled.
They turned into the main dining room and both breathed a sigh of relief. All the tables were empty. In fact, the entire inn seemed quiet.
“At least we won’t have to explain where we were.”
“You mean not yet.” Patrick rolled his neck, cracking a few joints. “We missed dinner. There’s no way in hell I won’t have to answer for that.”