Alpha instinct, p.8
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       Alpha Instinct, p.8
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         Part #1 of Moon Shifter series by Katie Reus
Page 8


  He’d put his pride and his heart on the line for her once. Now he was going to take what was his. Eventually he’d convince her to be his bondmate. Once that happened she’d never be able to walk away from him. And vice versa. Hell, he’d walked away from her once. He wouldn’t—couldn’t—do it again.

  Her lips pulled together in a thin line. “If it’s okay with you I’d like to let my sisters and Erin stay in the main house for now. We have an extra guesthouse that’s been unused for a couple years. I’ll need to air it out and clean it today, but—”

  “We could sleep out in that field and I wouldn’t care, Ana. ” Refusing to give her the space she obviously wanted, he advanced, and this time he didn’t stop at cupping her cheek.

  He held the back of her head in a dominating grip, threading his fingers through the thick mass of her hair, and wrapped his other hand around her waist. He pulled her tight against him, letting her feel what she did to him. When his erection pressed against her abdomen, her eyes widened.

  What the hell? Maybe he shouldn’t have assumed she’d known how he felt about her. Years ago he’d thought she was aware of his desire, his need for her. He was so used to keeping his emotions masked, hidden. But he thought he’d let her see that part of him.

  “Connor,” she murmured, her voice a mix of confusion and lust. The sound of his name on her lips was enough to set him off.

  When her mouth parted seductively his grip on her tightened. Her tongue darted out and moistened her lips, probably out of nervous instinct, but she wanted him. There was no mistaking the subtle scent of lust rolling off her. His entire body jolted as the sweet scent wrapped around him. Her eyelids grew heavy and that previously subtle desire turned potent. His throat constricted for a moment. He’d promised to hold off on mating, but kissing was still on the table. Slowly he bent his head to hers, wanting to give her time to stop it. She sucked in a deep breath but didn’t pull away. Instead she leaned closer. He almost growled in victory, when the sound of a truck rumbling up the drive made them both pause. “Are you expecting company?”

  Her brow knitted together and she sighed—from relief or disappointment, he couldn’t tell. “No. And certainly not at this hour. The sun is barely up,” she muttered as she turned toward the offending noise.

  Ana stared down the long, winding driveway and frowned when she saw the sheriff’s Bronco heading up the drive. She didn’t know if she should be angry or grateful for the interruption. Sharp disappointment warred with relief inside her. Connor had been about to kiss her. And she’d definitely wanted him to. For so many years she’d fantasized about what it would feel like to have his mouth cover hers. To feel his tongue invade her mouth, her senses. Even picturing it now sent a rush of heat between her legs.

  Nope, she decided, I am definitely grateful for the interruption. Just because she wanted his body didn’t mean anything. It was only the law of physical attraction. Pure and simple. So why didn’t anything about the raw heat coursing through her feel simple?

  Without looking at him, for fear he’d see straight through her, she motioned toward the vehicle. “Come on. I know him. ”

  She fell into step with Connor when all she wanted to do was run in the other direction. Pure animal instinct told her to stay and finish that kiss. Her human side told her to run far away from him. Fast. The man was a menace to her sanity.

  It had been a long time since she’d slept with anyone and the thought of sharing her bed with Connor scared her more than she’d like to admit. She knew he wouldn’t physically hurt her, but he was so demanding and that would likely translate to the bedroom. She’d taken a couple lovers over the years but they’d been betas and very forgettable—easygoing in the bedroom, and they’d understood that there were no strings attached afterward. Which was exactly why she’d chosen them. Despite being an alpha, she’d always steered clear of having sex with one. Part of her knew it was because alphas reminded her of Connor, and no one would have ever matched up to the wolf who’d walked away from her. Now she’d be giving up control of her pack, but she couldn’t give up complete control of herself to him. She had to retain some of that. Whether or not he realized it, Connor had the ability to turn her brain to mush and she couldn’t fall into that trap again.

  “Does this guy like shifters?” Connor murmured as they neared the metal gate.

  “Not exactly. ” She watched as the sheriff parked, and tried to prepare herself for whatever was about to happen.

  When Connor unhooked the chain and pulled the gate back, the sheriff took off his Stetson and nodded politely at her as he strode toward them. “Ms. Cordona, it’s nice to see you again. ”

  Somehow she doubted that. “Please call me Ana. ”

  “Okay, Ana. And you are?” He looked pointedly at Connor, no warmth in his expression.

  “Connor Armstrong. ” He held out a hand.

  For a moment Ana worried the sheriff wouldn’t return it. After a brief pause, the tall, auburn-haired man held out a hand and pumped Connor’s once. “I’m Parker McIntyre. You Scottish?”

  Connor nodded and a tiny bit of his long-forgotten accent crept into his words. “Born in the Highlands. ”

  The sound of that sexy Scottish brogue wrapped around Ana like a warm caress. When she’d first met him it had been much more pronounced, and it had driven her wild. Now it seemed Connor had all but lost it. She wasn’t sure why that disappointed her.

  For the first time since she’d met the young sheriff, he actually seemed to relax. Sort of. “That’s where my ancestors are from too. ”

  Connor probably knew some of the sheriff’s ancestors, Ana thought. She cleared her throat, wanting to get down to business. The last time she’d seen the sheriff had been two months ago, and he’d visited their place only to launch an official investigation after the deaths of so many of her pack. It still surprised her that he’d even opened an investigation. By law he was supposed to, but a lot of law-enforcement agencies treated shifters with rules different than those of humans. “So what brings you out to the ranch, Sheriff?”

  His expression darkened. “There was an attack in town last night. A woman was … hurt. She was assaulted pretty badly. ”

  “You think it was a shifter?” She didn’t know why she asked. He certainly wasn’t at the ranch to check on their health.

  “We’re not ruling anything out. ”

  A surge of irritation spiked through her. If there was a crime, blame the nearest shifter or vampire. It had been more than twenty years since both their kinds had come out of hiding to the world. Time for people to find a new scapegoat. “Just ask what you need to. You want alibis? I don’t know what time this attack happened, but around nine last night someone set fire to one of my fields. We were all here and were busy putting the damn thing out. ” She didn’t bother keeping the annoyance out of her voice.

  Parker’s lips pulled into a thin line. “Someone torched your field?”

  “Yeah. ”

  “Why didn’t you report it?”

  She snorted at his question. What good would that do? “We took care of it ourselves. ”

  The sheriff glanced over her shoulder and frowned. She followed his gaze. The newest male members of their pack were exiting the barn with her sisters and cousins.

  “Who are those men? Have they been here long? Do they have alibis?” He fired the questions with barely restrained hostility.

  This time Connor answered. “They’re my pack and we arrived last night. ”

  Parker’s eyes narrowed suspiciously. “How long are you here for?”

  “For good,” Ana answered for him. “Connor is my … fiancé. Our packs are joining. ” She used the only word the sheriff would understand. If she said intended mate or temporary mate, he’d stare at her as if she had two heads.

  The sheriff put his hat back on. “I’ll be checking into your pack, Mr. Armstrong, and I’ll probably be bac
k out here to question your men. ”

  “We’ll be here. If you’re really interested in blaming this crime on a shifter, I’d check into Sean Taggart’s pack. ” There was a deadly edge to Connor’s voice.

  “I’m on my way to see him right now,” he said.

  “Be careful. ” The words just slipped out. She wanted to reel them back in, but it was too late. The humans didn’t need to know anything about their relationship with the neighboring pack.

  Parker’s head cocked slightly to the side. “Any reason you say that?”

  She bit her bottom lip, then shrugged. No reason to deny it. “Taggart’s an asshole—that’s all. ”

  He nodded politely again and left. Connor wrapped an arm around her shoulder as they watched the sheriff drive away. “Taggart’s not going to bother you again, I promise. ”

  There was a darkness in his voice that sent a chill down her spine. She’d seen small peeks into his anger, and she was thankful he was on her side. Taggart was a fool if he messed with them again.

  Even though she was still a little worried about the Alpha of the neighboring pack, she was much more concerned about what the coming night would hold with Connor. He’d said he’d give her time before they consummated their relationship but the sexual vibes he put off were intense. As his grip tightened around her, a wave of desire emanated off him that was so potent it speared right through her. Her traitorous nipples tingled and rubbed almost painfully against her sweater as she thought about what it would be like to press her naked body up against his. To feel her sensitized breasts against his muscular chest.

  Then a new thought snaked through her. Connor was no doubt more experienced than she. Even thinking about him with other females caused an unwanted, almost violent surge of jealousy to rip through her, but she shoved it away.

  The few lovers she’d taken had let her call all the shots. Something she knew Connor wouldn’t do. He’d be dominating and demanding. And what if she wasn’t what he wanted in bed? Sure, he wanted her, but that didn’t mean they’d be right together sexually. Her skin felt too tight as she thought about that. Swallowing hard, she shrugged off his embrace. The sound was soft, but he growled low in his throat as she pulled away.
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