Alpha instinct, p.32
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       Alpha Instinct, p.32

         Part #1 of Moon Shifter series by Katie Reus
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Page 32

 

  He tilted his head to the left. “At your place. ”

  “Thanks. ” She started in that direction, but he stopped her.

  “How’s Teresa?” Before she could answer, he continued. “Lucas keeps asking about her. ”

  Sure, cowboy. I’m sure he’s not the only one worried about her. “She’s doing better. Why don’t you go upstairs and see her for yourself? She needs all our support now. ”

  He nodded solemnly but didn’t make a move from the porch. Just looked at the house longingly.

  She didn’t understand why Ryan wouldn’t visit Teresa when it was obvious he was smitten with her. Shaking her head, she jogged toward her and Connor’s place. As she opened the front door, she heard shouting. The voices came from the direction of the kitchen. Instead of walking in, she hung back. They might be able to scent her, but their own anger likely masked her presence.

  “I’m not just your Alpha—I’m your brother! This is our pack now,” Connor growled.

  “And December’s my mate. I have to protect her. ” Liam’s voice was just as heated.

  “Her brother’s the sheriff. I think he can handle it. ”

  “Not if a shifter is after her. No human can protect her. ”

  “Why would shifters care about her?”

  “I’m not saying they do, but someone broke into her home and tried to hurt her. And I don’t care if it’s a human or a shifter. I have to protect her. ”

  “I feel like I don’t even know you anymore, Liam. One of our packmates was murdered this morning. Murdered. You should have been here!”

  “You might be my Alpha, but December is my mate. I’ll do anything to protect her, even if it means defying you. Just because you were a pussy where Ana was concerned doesn’t—”

  Crunch!

  It sounded like someone’s fist slammed into something—or more likely someone.

  “Bastard,” Liam growled.

  There was a crash, then the sound of more fists pummeling into skin. They wouldn’t do any lasting damage to each other, but the last thing the pack needed now was dissension. Especially between Connor and Liam.

  Leaving her hiding place by the front door, Ana hurried through the foyer to the kitchen and found Connor and Liam rolling around on the floor like two adolescent cubs.

  “Stop it, both of you!”

  They didn’t even flinch, just continued pounding on each other. Connor reared back and slammed his fist into Liam’s jaw. Without pause Liam turned sideways and came back with his elbow, smashing it into Connor’s face.

  She hurried to the sink and pulled the sink sprayer from its holder. Aiming it, she flipped on the faucet and pressed down hard. Water spewed from it, spraying first Connor, then Liam.

  “What the hell?” Liam batted at the water and sat up.

  Connor rolled away but still crouched on the floor near his brother. He looked pissed and ready to take another swing at Liam. Or he might be waiting to lunge at him again.

  She didn’t stop spraying.

  Finally Connor held up a hand in defeat. “Damn it, Ana. We stopped. ”

  She let go of the sprayer and glared at them. “What the hell’s the matter with you two? One of our packmates is dead. My cousin is fighting for her life, and now my baby sister is sick! All those betas and alphas alike will need our support. And the men will need your guidance. They’re so full of rage, I’m afraid they’ll do something stupid if you don’t stop them. ”

  “They would never act without my okay,” Connor said quietly.

  “How am I supposed to know that? You two are in here acting like cubs instead of like the leaders you’re supposed to be. ”

  Silence descended on the kitchen.

  Finally Connor stood and held out a hand for his brother. Liam’s face softened a little as he took it.

  “I’m sorry, Ana. I … I’m sorry,” Liam muttered before striding from the kitchen.

  Connor turned to face her and had the decency to look embarrassed. “I apologize for my behavior, Ana. ”

  She shook her head. “Don’t apologize to me. What’s going on with Carmen? I wanted to see you before I go over there. I need to know your men won’t do anything stupid. ”

  “They won’t. And she’s okay. Not like Teresa. She was sleeping when I left her, but I think she’ll pull through. I wouldn’t have left her if …”

  In her heart she’d known that, but she’d needed to ask. “What’s going on with you and your brother? Why are you fighting like this?”

  “Don’t worry about it. ” He shrugged out of his wet shirt.

  Her eyes narrowed as he bared his chest. “Are you trying to distract me?”

  The corners of his mouth tugged up slightly as he shimmied out of his wet jeans. “Would it work right now?”

  “No. ”

  “Then no,” he muttered before leaving the room.

  Her jaw clenched at his retreating backside. His very firm, sculpted backside. After all they’d shared last night she still felt like he was a stranger to her in some ways. He and Liam had gotten in a fight, and he couldn’t even open up to her about that. It was just another reminder that no matter how much she gave of herself to him, he was still holding something back.

  Chapter 13

  Liam slowed his truck as he and Ryan passed December’s bookstore. He could see a few customers inside, and even though common sense told him to keep driving straight back to the ranch, he pulled into one of the empty parking spots along the strip of stores.

  “What are you doing?” Ryan frowned as Liam put the truck into PARK.

  “I need to make a quick stop. ”

  His frown deepened. “We need to get these supplies back to the ranch. ”

  “I’ll just be a second. ” He had to refrain from snapping at his friend. It wasn’t Ryan’s fault he hadn’t gotten any sleep because he’d been up all night keeping an eye on December’s house. Just as it wasn’t his friend’s fault that guilt ate away at Liam’s insides about Alicia, the young she-wolf who had died. He simply couldn’t stay away from December.

  The need to be near her and, more important, protect her was overwhelming. The animal inside him wanted to take her away and lock her up somewhere safe. She might want to keep her distance from him, but that didn’t mean he’d stop looking out for her. His inner wolf had already staked a claim. Now he just had to convince her they deserved a chance.

  As he strode inside, he held open the door for two women who were exiting. December stood behind the cash register. Her eyes widened slightly when she saw him but she stepped out and faced him.

  “Buying more books today?” Her voice was wry.

  “If that’s what it takes to get you to talk to me, I’ll buy your entire stock. ” He took another step closer and inhaled her sweet scent. He bet she’d taste as sweet as she smelled. His cock jumped as he imagined running his tongue and teeth across her neck, then dipping lower, beneath her silky top.

  She nervously tucked a wayward curl behind her ear. Today she’d pulled her hair back into a ponytail but some of her curls wouldn’t stay put. He wanted to reach out and free all that hair. Run his hands through it and—

  “Stop looking at me like that,” she muttered.

  “Like what?”

  Her bright blue eyes narrowed. “You know exactly what. You can’t keep coming in here to see me. ”

  “Have dinner with me again. Please. ” He nearly choked on the last word. He didn’t want to ask anything. The animal inside him wanted to take, dominate and claim.

  “I don’t know,” she hedged.

  At least it wasn’t a no. “It’s just a meal. ”

  “Fine. ”

  “What?”

  She sighed. “I’ll have dinner with you but only because I know you won’t leave until I agree. ”

  The vise that seemed permanently tightened around his chest loosened a
fraction. “I’ll pick you up here at six tonight. ”

  “Is that a question or an order?” Her eyebrows rose slightly.

  He cleared his throat. “Would you like me to pick you up here?”

  A small smile touched her lips and she nodded. “Listen. My brother told me a little about what’s going on at the ranch. Is everyone … are you safe?”

  Liam wasn’t sure what her brother had told her or how much Parker even knew but he wasn’t going to discuss it with December. He might want her but that was still pack business. “I’m fine. You just watch out for yourself. ” He hated that he couldn’t protect her all the time. The need to do so was messing with his head and his relationship with his brother.

  If she was mated to him he’d have her under his roof and it wouldn’t be a problem. Until that happened, there wasn’t much he could do. This mate business was bad news. He’d heard about males going crazy and becoming ultraprotective of their mates, but he’d never imagined the need burning through him would be so powerful. So fucking dominant it was a constant battle between his human and wolf sides. Now that Liam understood the mating frenzy, the fact that Connor had walked away from Ana said a hell of a lot about how much he’d loved her, even back then. Liam didn’t know that he’d have been able to sacrifice that much.

  She rolled her eyes. “I’m twenty-eight years old, Liam. I’ll be fine. ”

  She wasn’t fine. Someone had broken into her house and assaulted her. Even the thought of someone touching her, hurting her, made him see red. The predator inside him wanted out. “I’ll see you tonight,” he said, and grunted before hurrying from the store.

  His canines pushed at his gums as his entire body fought the change. This hadn’t happened since he was a cub learning how his body worked. He needed to fuck or fight to get this rage out. And he really knew which one he’d prefer to do right now. His cock started to harden as he thought about what it would be like to sink inside December.
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