As he slid into the seat next to her, she immediately scooted closer to him. Reaching out, he tucked a red curl behind one of her ears. Her ivory skin was soft and slightly flushed, and her breathing was still erratic. Brushing his hand against her cheek, he let one of his fingers stray to her pulse point below her earlobe. Still erratic. Not good.

“Honey, look at me.” He waited until her eyes focused on him. “Have you called your brother?” He might not get along with the sheriff, but Parker loved his sister and had more resources than Liam did at the moment.

“No. And I don’t want to.” Her voice shook but it was still strong.

“Some guy just attacked you. We need to report this.”

She stuck her chin out mutinously, but he didn’t miss the raw fear that had bled into her eyes. “I’m not going down to the station.”

He sighed and looked at Ryan over her head. “Go to her store,” he murmured. Then he refocused his attention on December. “We’re still calling him, Red.”

“Don’t call me that,” she snapped.

The burst of annoyance that rolled off her was exactly what he wanted. She didn’t seem to be in actual shock, but after what she’d been through, she’d be coming down from an adrenaline high. She needed to find a balance. And he needed her to answer some questions. “Where did you meet this guy?”

“Uh, my store. He’s just a tourist on a short ski vacation—or he told me he was. I’m sure that was a lie. I thought it would be a harmless date and a way to…” Her blue eyes widened as she trailed off.

“A way to what?”

“A way to convince you to leave me alone.” Her cheeks flushed, staining her ivory cheeks a deeper shade of red.

Her words stung. He didn’t want them to, but they did anyway. All he wanted to do was protect her. Yeah, they came from different worlds, but it shouldn’t matter. His inner wolf growled at him and in that moment he hated his primal side. The side that told him to just take what he wanted. His human side cared a hell of a lot more about December to ever hurt her and he didn’t like the turn his thoughts were taking. Veering the conversation in a different direction, he said, “Your purse had been dumped out and I didn’t see a wallet. He probably has your address anyway, but you’re going to need to cancel your credit cards.”

“I don’t carry a wallet. I keep my driver’s license, cash and a credit card on me. Parker drilled that into me years ago. In case I ever got mugged or something. He’s really particular about stuff like that.” She patted her coat pocket, then stilled, presumably as the rest of his words sank in. “What do you mean he probably has my address? He picked me up from my store.”

“You were attacked in your house a few weeks ago.” Even thinking about that got his heart racing. If her brother hadn’t been there and scared off the guy, anything could have happened.

“Yeah, so?”

“Your date and that guy are probably part of the same organization.”

She lifted an eyebrow. “Are you going to start in with that APL stuff again?”

“After tonight I wouldn’t think you’d need as much convincing. This is a small town and it’s not hard to find out where someone lives anyway.” With enough money anything was possible.

She started to say something, then snapped her mouth shut. A frown marred her pretty face as her eyebrows knit together in concentration.

“What is it?”

“He said something about you being an animal. I can’t remember exactly what it was, but I never said anything about you being a shifter. Still, he knew you were. Right after he said that, he pulled out the syringe. Then everything sort of went crazy.” Shuddering, she wrapped her arms around herself and he couldn’t help it. He slid an arm around her shoulder and pulled her tight against him. She needed comforting. Whether she admitted it or not. To his utter surprise, she didn’t fight him. For a brief moment she stiffened, then melted against him.

Like warm silk, she sank into his side and buried her head against his neck. Her jasmine scent twined around him, making him dizzy for a moment. The feel of her warm breath on his skin made the ache between his legs impossibly painful. Reaching out his other arm, he pulled her completely against him. The position was awkward for him, but he didn’t give a shit.

Liam battled his disappointment as Ryan steered into the parking spot next to December’s car. He didn’t want to let her go. Wanted to keep holding on to her like this as long as she’d let him. But he needed to get her home.

When she realized they’d stopped, she pulled back and looked at him questioningly.

Sighing, he fished out the car keys from her purse and handed them to his packmate. “Follow me back to her place.”

“What do you think you’re doing?” she asked.

Liam ignored her as he rounded the vehicle and slid into the driver’s seat. He didn’t want to move her and he didn’t want her driving. She might not be in shock, but she was shaken up pretty bad.

“Liam, what are you doing?”

“What does it look like? We’re going back to your place and I’m calling your brother.” He’d have already made the call if he hadn’t thought it would upset her.

He found it interesting that instead of moving into the free passenger seat, she stayed where she was, in the middle seat. If anything, she actually moved a little closer toward him.

She might try to deny the chemistry they had, but she instinctively knew he’d protect her. December might not even realize it, but her most primal side trusted him. Her desire to be near him proved it. That knowledge soothed his inner wolf. And he would protect her. No matter the cost.

“You think it’s safe there?” Her voice was a whisper.

He gripped the wheel tighter. “Hell no, I don’t think it’s safe, but unless you want to come back to the ranch with me—”


“All right, then. We’re going back to your place and I’m staying over until we can figure out what the next move is.” He knew what his next move was. Convince her to move to the ranch with him. Temporarily at least. Then he’d convince her to stay long enough for him to prove to her once and for all that they belonged together. That was the plan anyway.

“What?” Shock laced her voice.

He stole a quick glance at her. She’d gotten most of her color back. “You think I’m leaving you alone tonight?” Not that he actually cared what she said. He was staying with her.

“Maybe we should call my brother,” she hedged.

He knew what direction she was headed and he didn’t like it. “We’re going to call him, but I’m still staying over. Someone broke into your house a few weeks ago, then someone tried to kidnap you outside your store a week ago, and now some psycho tried to stab you with God knows what.”

“The guy at the store just wanted to rob me. There’s not a conspiracy behind every door, Liam. I run a business and it’s one of the risks.” Her voice was defensive.

Liam snorted at her words. That guy hadn’t wanted to rob her. He’d wanted to kidnap her. Liam knew because he’d gotten the piece-of-shit APL member to tell him exactly what he’d been up to. All it had taken to get that information was a broken thumb. Then he’d threatened to do worse if the guy told the cops the real reason he’d been at December’s store. Liam and his pack didn’t want the cops involved with the APL. Their involvement could scare the extremists into going underground. Liam and his brother, Connor, didn’t want that. They wanted to stop the APL before their influence grew and before they hurt anyone else. And they planned to do it their way. Humans and government agencies had too many rules and regulations. Something his pack didn’t have to deal with.

As they pulled into her drive, another thought occurred to him. “Do you have your cell?”

“Yeah. I usually keep that on me too.”

“Can I see it?”

Frowning, she nodded, but at least she handed it to him.

When their fingers brushed, he cursed himself for the shock that went through him. They barely touched and his entire body reacted. “Will you stay here while I search your house?”

For a moment he thought she might argue, but she finally nodded. “Fine, whatever. You’re going to do it anyway.”

Damn right he was. “Stay here with her,” he said to Ryan as he took her key ring.

The second he stepped inside, he was accosted by her soft jasmine scent. It always subtly lingered on her and in her house it was more potent. Probably not to humans, but with his heightened senses it almost enveloped him with its purity.

As he moved from room to room, it was easy to see December’s feminine touches. Most of the rooms had pale earth tones. Soothing and soft, like her. Once he’d checked each room, every window, and all entrances, he allowed himself a small amount of relief. There were no signs of a break-in and he couldn’t smell the remnant scent of an intruder.

After the attempted kidnapping at her store Liam had tried to convince her to let him have an alarm installed there and at her house. Even her brother, who basically detested him, had agreed. But December was stubborn. Of course it might have something to do with the fact that he’d ordered her to let him take care of it instead of asking her. As second-in-command of his pack—well, technically third now that his brother was mated—he wasn’t used to asking for things, though. Especially not when he knew he was right.

December might not have accepted that she was his intended mate, but he knew it with every fiber inside him. He didn’t know how he knew—he just did. It was as if something inside him flared to life the moment they’d met. A hundred years ago—before his father had turned into a shell of a wolf due to his mate’s death and before Liam’s pack had been slaughtered—his father had told him he’d likely know his mate on sight. Not all shifters recognized their intended mates right away, but Armstrongs usually did. Just like his brother had recognized Ana as his other half. If only Liam could figure out a smoother approach with December. She didn’t come from their world and didn’t understand anything about pack law or…him. And he wanted to change that.


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