Her stomach tightened. Struggling to remain calm, she tried to shrug casually. Instead her shoulders jerked unsteadily. “You know why I left.”

His jaw clenched. “No, I don’t. You told me we had no future, then disappeared. Just like that.”

His words put a match to her temper. “And you told me humans didn’t undergo the change well.” When she’d asked him about how well humans transformed to shifters, he’d told her it was a rare occurrence and most humans didn’t survive the transition. Only one percent.

He frowned. “Yes, I did. And?”

“You failed to mention that when shifters bond with their lovers, turning them into bondmates, the chance of survival increases substantially.” To a hundred percent. If he’d loved her enough and wanted to mate and bond with her, then she’d have turned just fine. It would have been a hot, very pleasurable experience. If she’d let him sink his canines into her neck while they made love under a full moon, it would have been an instantaneous transformation for her. But she’d had to learn that from someone else. Jayce had lied to her and fed her some bullshit line about how she might not undergo the transition.

He still held the spatula in his hand. The only evident giveaway that he’d understood her words was the whitening of his knuckles as he clenched the utensil. But she could also see his inner wolf clawing at him from the insides. Thanks to her seer abilities, she could see a person’s true nature. She’d known exactly what he was the moment they’d met. Unlike a lot of shifters, his wolf was always at the surface, making him much closer to his beast side than his human one. If she hadn’t grown up with this ability, it might have freaked her out a little more than it did now. She didn’t understand why his animal seemed to be agitated that she knew the truth.

“You know about that?” A quiet question.

Hot tears pricked her eyes, but she angrily blinked them away. He wasn’t even denying it. “I’m not stupid. You had to know I’d find out eventually.” When she’d found out the truth, she’d realized he didn’t love her and never would. He wanted her as a bedmate, but that was it. She wasn’t good enough to bond with, wasn’t good enough to turn into a shifter. She was only good for sex. Unless he bonded with her, Kat would grow old while he wouldn’t, and eventually he’d grow tired of her.

There had been only one option. She’d had to cut her losses before it was impossible to walk away from him. Not that walking away had been easy. It had been the hardest thing she’d ever had to do. Still he didn’t answer, so she continued. “You’re not even denying you don’t want me as your bondmate. Is it because I’m human?” She hated that her voice cracked, but too many emotions were pushing at the surface, trying to get free. Her entire life she’d always felt like a bit of a freak because of her abilities. Having a criminal for a father hadn’t helped her to fit in anywhere. She’d been nothing but an outsider until she’d met Jayce. She’d thought he’d wanted the same things she had. That he’d cared for her as much as she’d cared for him.

Instead of responding he just stared at her. She couldn’t read anything in his eyes. They were completely devoid of emotion. But his wolf was going crazy inside him. It looked like it wanted out and she wasn’t sure why.

Last night’s liquor and the coffee from this morning sloshed around wickedly in her stomach.

Finally he tore his gaze away and set the spatula down. He wouldn’t look at her and that was worse than anything else he could have said or done. “I’ve got to get to a meeting. I’ll let myself out, but make sure you reset the alarm.” His voice was quiet, unemotional.

And that was it. Now he knew why she’d left him, and couldn’t even deny he’d been lying to her. A hollow, sick feeling welled up inside her. When she’d walked away from him before, it had given her some sense of control, knowing she’d been the one to cut ties. Now that he was here, in her kitchen, validating everything she’d known the past few months, it cut like a sharp razor.

Once she heard the front door shut, she turned off the coffeemaker and dumped the food he’d cooked. Even looking at it made her want to puke. Though she hated doing anything Jayce said, she reset the alarm and headed back to bed with tears streaming down her cheeks. Getting up had clearly been a mistake this morning. As she pulled up her cover, her cell phone rang. For one insane moment hope flared inside her that it was Jayce. Which was stupid. When she saw December’s number, she brushed her tears away and pressed the talk button. If anyone could make her feel better, it was her friend.

Jayce had never loathed himself more than he did at that moment. Kat deserved more than him. So much more. And she deserved an explanation. But he couldn’t explain to her why he was leaving, because she wouldn’t understand. She was too young, too innocent. She might have grown up on the outskirts of a violent environment, but her father, bastard that he was, had always protected Kat.

As the enforcer, Jayce had too many enemies. Violent, vicious, sadistic enemies he’d racked up over the years. And they were powerful. By keeping Kat simply a human he slept with, she wasn’t a target. But if he bonded with her, turned her into a shifter, she would become a walking bull’s-eye overnight. The perception others had of her would change in an instant. She’d no longer be Kat Saburova. She’d be Jayce’s woman, the enforcer’s mate. With that tag she’d be hunted. Maybe not at first, but eventually someone would come for her.

With his job he couldn’t protect her all the time. Almost five hundred years ago his father had attempted a relationship with a human a few years after Jayce’s own mother had died giving birth to him. While the human had been making her decision about whether to turn, she’d been killed by one of his father’s enemies. Then a couple hundred years later, Jayce’s older brother had gone bat-shit crazy after his mate was killed. That was two hundred years ago. And he was still torn up over it as far as Jayce knew. Hell, he didn’t even know where his brother was now.

Jayce had known the time would eventually come when Kat would find out about the bonding process. He’d just been trying to figure out how the hell to walk away from her before that happened. When she’d done it instead, he’d felt as if she’d punched through the middle of his chest and ripped his heart out with her bare hands. If it hadn’t been for his job, he’d have gone insane. Now she knew the truth and there wasn’t a damn thing he could do about it.

It was better to let her think he didn’t want to take her as his bondmate because she was human. If she knew the truth about how much power she wielded over him…He shuddered as he started the engine to his truck. She knew all his buttons and if she pressed the right ones hard enough, he’d eventually turn her. He had the willpower to keep her safe now, but the animal inside him was selfish. So fucking selfish it scared the shit out of him. His beast didn’t care about the dangers that Kat would face. It just knew that whenever she was around, it needed to be near her, to touch her, to get wrapped up in her sweet scent. Walking out of that kitchen had taken all his self-control. Only one thing had driven him out: fear. He shook his head, hating the weak emotion that clawed at him.

It took a lot to scare Jayce. He wanted Kat by his side, in his bed, under him, on top of him, all the time. Right now he was barely hanging on to his humanity. The longer he was around her, the more he wanted to claim her. To mark and bond with her. To bring her directly into his world, consequences be damned. Somehow he closed the lid on his thoughts and focused on the road in front of him.

After the turnoff to the Armstrong-Cordona ranch, he followed the single-lane paved road until he reached a dirt road. It wasn’t long until he reached the main gates. The wooden sign above the already open gates read CORDONA RANCH, but he knew that Connor Armstrong hadn’t been mated long enough to Ana Cordona for them to have made a change. Hell, it was probably the last thing on Connor’s mind right now. Mated males usually didn’t think of much else during the first year other than their mates. Alpha leaders were exceptions, but the draw to be near their mate at all times was overwhelming. Jayce had seen his fair share of males go mad when their females strayed or died.

He wasn’t sure where to park, so he pulled through the gates and stopped by a giant oak tree. It sat in the middle of an expanse of houses. The houses and cabins formed a huge circle with just enough space for privacy, but it was a tight-knit pack. If he had to guess, the two-story brick house that was just a little larger than everyone else’s was Connor and Ana’s.

Out of habit, he checked his two daggers and his Springfield .45. As a rule he preferred any blade to a gun, but he wasn’t stupid. His job demanded he be prepared at all times. As he approached the house, he scented Liam behind him. The other wolf’s boots crunched on the fallen snow, but his scent was distinctive.

Instead of stopping completely, Jayce slowed and waited for him to join him. “You didn’t stay with your female last night?”

Liam flicked him an annoyed glance. “No. I didn’t sleep out in the cold watching her all night either.”

Damn. He hated that the other wolf could see through him. Another strike against being mated. Females made a wolf crazy and predictable. Jayce had slept out all night in the cold watching Kat’s place, and the messed-up thing was, he’d do it again.

Liam surprised him by continuing. “But I have in the past couple weeks. More than once. Females are fucking complicated,” he muttered.

The admission surprised Jayce. It was the kind of thing he’d expect his brother to say to him but not anyone else. Even if he wouldn’t acknowledge it to anyone, he missed that family connection. As enforcer for the Council he didn’t have ties anywhere. He couldn’t afford to. His father was dead and his brother was living God knew where. Being with Kat was the closest he’d ever come to having a real connection with someone. A real family. Maybe on a different planet in a different lifetime he’d have had a shot at happiness with a woman like her.


***P/S: Copyright -->Novel12__Com