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She waited a moment before asking another question. “You don’t think it’ll come back to hurt the pack?”

Aiden gave her an unreadable look. “Do you care?”

Surprise punched through her. “Of course I care!”

A small smile tugged at the corners of his mouth and she realized he’d been baiting her. “It wouldn’t hurt you to spend more time at the ranch, get to know everyone more.”

She narrowed her eyes at him. “I’ll be there tomorrow for breakfast.”

“Good. And to answer your question, I don’t think it will hurt the pack. Connor wants to stay here and he wants to make good with the locals. We just saved two people tonight and we’ll hopefully save three wannabe thugs from a dangerous path. Only time will tell on that front. And I know what that guy said, but he’s going to tell his friends what we did to save him and his female and that will only spread goodwill for us. Not a bad thing, considering the bad will we’ve been feeling the past couple days.”

Kat leaned back against the passenger seat and stared out the window. Getting used to pack rules and life was going to take time, but right now, despite what had just happened, she still couldn’t get Jayce out of her head. Especially after what Aiden had said about him the night they’d found her. An unexpected shiver rolled over her. Considering they’d be sharing a roof for another night, she didn’t know if she’d be able to control herself much longer. Giving in to what her body wanted sounded so much more enticing.

Chapter 11

Jayce scrubbed a hand over his face as he skimmed the printout Ryan had given him on Leila Jeung. Korean father, American mother. Sixteen years old, but she’d already graduated high school and had enough college credits to cover her first year. She’d been accepted into a dozen schools but hadn’t picked one yet. Even though her family had been packless, with no Alpha to protect them, they’d been doing very well for themselves financially. Both parents were born in the last century, and from his notes, it looked like they were more in tune with the human world than the shifter world. They’d just wanted to live their lives the way they saw fit. And someone had killed them. Jayce’s fist started to clench on the paper as he thought about Leila being on her own for so long. He wasn’t exactly surprised that the Council hadn’t told him about her family, but he was pissed. They were sure as hell going to hear about it soon.

“They didn’t deserve what happened to them.” Ryan motioned toward Jayce’s printout about the Jeungs as he handed Jayce another one.

Jayce nodded tightly. A quick glance at the second printout showed him all the information he’d wanted on the drug dealers he and Connor had rounded up earlier. More ammunition for him to use in finding the source of the vamp blood. “Thanks. So . . . any progress on that laptop?” Cracking the encryption was a priority. There might not be anything good on it, but Jayce would find out one way or another.

Ryan’s jaw clenched as he cursed under his breath. “No. I can’t believe it’s taking me this long. Whoever encrypted it is damn good.”

“Thanks for working on it. I’ll let you know if I need anything else, but keep me updated if you crack anything.”

Just as Ryan started to respond, the door to the cabin opened and Teresa walked in. The petite she-wolf stopped short at the sight of them and for a moment it looked like she might bolt. Jayce was surprised because she was an alpha in nature and had never seemed fearful of him in the past.

When Ryan didn’t say anything, but just stared at her hungrily, Jayce realized that the source of her hesitancy was Ryan. Jayce shook his head. “Hey, Teresa.”

Her gaze jerked toward him and she shoved her hands into her jeans pockets. “Hey. Is Aiden around? I didn’t think he was patrolling tonight.”

Before Jayce could answer, Ryan took a step toward her, annoyance pulsing off him in waves. “Why the hell do you need to see Aiden?” His question came out demanding and full of fury.

Teresa’s eyebrows shot up in surprise; then fire sparked in her dark eyes. “Don’t you dare speak to me like that, Ryan O’Callaghan.”

Jayce stepped forward, papers in hand. “He’s out to dinner with Kat, but he should be back soon if he’s not already.” At least he’d better be back. It didn’t take that long to have dinner. At that, Jayce said another thanks to Ryan and then hurried out. Whatever was going on with those two, he didn’t want any part of it. He had his own damn problems to worry about.

He made it to December’s house in record time—and broke more than one traffic law—but Kat wasn’t there. The moment he stepped inside, he knew it. Her scent was there but it was too subtle. Not subtle enough for him to ignore, however. That classic rose scent wrapped around him and he instantly got hard thinking about her.

“Just fucking great,” he muttered, hating his body’s reaction to her. Losing control because of someone wasn’t something he was accustomed to.

As he headed for the kitchen, he heard a vehicle pull into the driveway, then two doors shut almost simultaneously. He waited a few beats, then jerked the front door open.

Only to find Kat’s arms wrapped around Aiden in a tight hug. Much too tight and much too close for his inner wolf’s sanity. Without thinking he lunged for Aiden, but Kat stepped out of the other wolf’s embrace and jumped in front of him with a liquid grace.

“What’s the matter with you?” She shoved against his chest, urging him back to the house. Over her shoulder she glanced at Aiden, who had a smirk on his face directed at Jayce.

“Thanks for tonight,” she said quietly to the other wolf.

That only brought Jayce’s beast closer to the surface, but the feel of Kat’s palms against his chest soothed him. Moments later they were inside, but he wasn’t as calm as he wanted to be. Placing his hands over hers and keeping them in place, he took a few steps forward, forcing Kat’s back against the wall by the staircase. “I don’t like seeing you with another male,” he growled, not surprised by his honesty. He’d been bottling this up for too long.

She rolled her eyes—actually rolled them—as she shook her head. “Yeah, I kinda got that, Jayce. You know nothing is going on with Aiden and me. He turned me into a shifter and I trust him. I need to have someone in the pack I can go to when I need to talk.”

“You have December.” And me, he wanted to say. At one time they’d talked to each other about almost everything.

Her lips pulled into a thin line. “She’s just as new to pack life as I am. But it doesn’t matter either way. Aiden’s my friend and you can’t act like a lunatic just because I went out to dinner with him.”

“You were hugging him.” And had her breasts pressed tight against the bastard.

“Yeah, but I wasn’t kissing him and I sure wasn’t sleeping with him,” she said as if the thought was ludicrous.

Which helped a little, but not much. He growled low in his throat. Even thinking about her with another male made his canines ache for release. He became territorial, possessive, and yes, irrational. Admitting it didn’t bother him at all.

Kat was his.

“You’re mine,” he snarled.

A burst of annoyance popped off her and she shoved him. He let her, but he kept his hands in place and forced her to move with him. Slightly twisting to the side, he sat down on the stairs and tugged her right along with him until she straddled him.

“You’re such an arrogant jerk sometimes.” She pulled against his hands, so he let go but just as quickly grabbed her waist, holding her in place. Feeling the juncture between her thighs over his cock was fucking perfection. Well, it would be if they didn’t have any clothes on. To his surprise, she didn’t move. Just folded her arms over her chest and glared at him.

“I might be an arrogant jerk, but I fucking love you. You’re all I ever think about and you’re driving me fucking crazy. I haven’t even been able to fu—sleep with other women since you left me. And believe me, I’ve tried.”

Her arms dropped from her chest as she stared at him, those pale blue eyes wide with confusion and some other emotion he couldn’t even attempt to define. “You tried to sleep with other women?” Damn it, she sounded hurt, which pierced him far too deep.

He scowled. “I tell you I love you and that’s what you ask?” And why wasn’t she saying anything back to him?

Her cheeks turned pink but she didn’t answer him. “Well?”

“Yes. I tried. More than once. I couldn’t even kiss anyone else. Finally I gave up because my cock only wants you.” The thought of other women repelled him in a way he didn’t fully understand. He only knew that thoughts of Kat kept him up at night. While he might not have much experience with love, he knew what he felt for her.

“So romantic.” She pushed at him again, but he didn’t give her a chance to move.

Instead he came at her fast until his mouth covered hers. It was obvious she wasn’t going to audibly respond to his declaration and he wasn’t a masochist. Wasting time waiting for something she might never say wasn’t going to happen. Not when he could be buried inside her.

She didn’t even pause, just met him with a feverish hunger as her tongue danced with his. Shock punched through him, but he didn’t have time to contemplate it. All he cared about was that she was in his arms and willing.

Kat licked and bit and teased him, and when she tugged his bottom lip between her teeth, he groaned.

They needed their clothes off, now. Leaning forward until he was almost sitting up, he grappled with the bottom of her sweater, hungry to tear it off. He was fearful that if he broke contact with her mouth, she’d change her mind or come to her senses and realize she was way too good for him.

Luckily, she grabbed his sweater and did the same thing. She tugged at it with a surprising urgency. Lust danced in her pale eyes in a way he’d never seen before. Grasping her butt, he lifted her, leaving both their tops on the floor, and hurried up the stairs.