Her blue eyes flashed hungrily. “Why are you stopping?” With flushed cheeks and swollen lips, she looked good enough to eat. He wouldn’t even have to take her sweater off. He could just push her jeans down and slide into her. He could use his body heat to keep her warm.

But she deserved better than that and he didn’t want their first time to be rushed and on the ground. “Your teeth are practically chattering.” He tugged her sweater fully back in place.

She started to shake her head when she shivered again. This time it was more pronounced and she leaned closer into his embrace. “Maybe you’re right,” she murmured. “But if we hurry, we can be back to the ranch soon.”

His cock jumped at her words. Reaching behind her, he grabbed her jacket and helped her into it. Wordlessly, she zipped it up, then headed for the horses while he packed up. No more words were necessary. Once they made it to a warm place, he was going to sink inside her and stay that way for hours.

We need to talk. Connor’s voice sounded loudly in Liam’s head as he and December arrived back at the ranch. Not all shifters, even related ones, could communicate in telepathic form, but he and Connor could. But they didn’t do it all the time. If they could call or text each other, they often chose that option. Liam was especially careful about that now that his brother was mated. He didn’t want to interrupt Connor if he was getting busy with his mate.

I’m with December. We’re about to put the horses back in the stable. Can it wait?

No. Meet me at the main house.

Liam bit back a sigh. “I’ve got to talk to my brother for a few minutes. Do you mind heading back to the house by yourself?” he asked as December closed the stable door.

She shook her head and her cheeks tinged red. He couldn’t tell what she was thinking, but whatever it was, it was good for him. The woman was so turned on right now and the lust coming off her was so potent, she was practically combustible. Once he got her naked and underneath him, there’d be no turning back for either of them.

Leaning down, he brushed his lips over hers but stopped himself from fully claiming her mouth. If he did, he knew he’d throw her over his shoulder and forget about talking to his brother. Liam watched as December strode toward the guesthouse and once he saw her reach the front porch, he headed across the yard to the main house.

As soon as he stepped inside, he scented that it was a full house. From what he could tell, Ana and her sister Noel were upstairs with Vivian. He found Connor in the living room standing by the stone fireplace waiting for him.

“Everything all right?” He didn’t bother sitting on one of the couches because he didn’t plan to stay long.

“Just got off the phone with Jayce. He took Erin with him to a biker bar on the outskirts of town to follow up on a lead and—”

“What?” Why hadn’t his brother told him about it?

Connor set his jaw firmly. “Liam, your woman needs you right now and I’m not sending you off for something Jayce can easily handle. He’s in town to investigate the APL, so I’m letting him do his job.”

His brother was right but he didn’t like being kept out of the loop. Not for anything that involved him or, more important, December. “What did they find?”

“Unfortunately not much. They questioned one of the guys who knew the men who took Kat a few weeks ago, but he’s not part of the APL. Just a local biker. He admitted that some APL members hang out at the bar and he’s heard that something big might be going down soon, but he didn’t have any details.”

“And they believed him?”

Connor lifted his shoulders noncommittally. “The guy was terrified and Jayce took down his address from his driver’s license to prove a point, so I’d say yeah, he was probably telling the truth.”

“Thanks for letting me know.”

Connor nodded. “Why don’t you bring December by here for dinner tonight? Let her get to know Ana and some of the other women a little more.”

Liam smiled at the offer. If they left the bedroom, he would. “Okay, thanks.”

When he entered the guesthouse and caught December’s unique scent, his entire body tensed. Everything was about to change between them. Without waiting a second longer, he took the stairs two at a time. Natural light spilled out from the open door to their room.

He found December sitting on the edge of the bed without her jacket or boots, but she still had clothes on. Way too many.

“Is everything okay with your brother?” Her voice shook slightly.

He nodded, unwilling to talk about any of that, and took a few steps into the room. She didn’t need anything extra to worry about right now. “Having second thoughts?”

“Not exactly.”

He stopped dead in his tracks at her words. “What’s not exactly?”

“I want to ask you to do something for me.”

“Anything.” He didn’t even have to think.

She twisted her hands together in her lap and finally continued. “Will you shift for me?”

He frowned, surprised at her question. “You mean now?”

She nodded tightly.

“That’s all you want?” He wasn’t sure why she was so nervous. By her tone he’d figured her request was something a hell of a lot worse than this.


“Okay.” He stripped off his shirt and boots, then started with his jeans when she stopped him.

She crossed her arms over her chest. “I didn’t say get naked.”

He bit back a smile at her confusion. “And I don’t want to rip my clothes.”

“You can’t…Oh, okay.” She scooted back on the bed a few inches and stared at him expectantly.

Keeping his gaze on her, he shoved his pants down and stepped out of them. His cock sprang free, already hard, but there wasn’t much he could do about that with her in the same room.

Preparing himself for the pain, he closed his eyes and let the transformation come over him. His bones shifted and broke, then realigned with lightning speed. It always happened fast, but it still hurt like hell. As fur replaced skin, and paws replaced hands and feet, he enjoyed the pleasure that rushed over him once in his animal form.

His senses were more acute in this form and December’s fear was off the charts. It shouldn’t piss him off, but it did. She’d asked him to do this. Why the hell was she afraid? Maybe it was because he was so big. On all fours he was about five feet and hulking. Wanting to ease her fears, he lay down on his belly, then turned over to bare his neck and stomach to her.

As soon as he did, she slid off the bed and took a few steps toward him. Kneeling, she reached out and gently stroked the side of his face. At first she looked curious, but then her expression gave way to awe.

Leaning into her, he nuzzled her hand. The feel of her rubbing his fur was soothing on so many levels. It wasn’t sensual, like when in his human form, but it made him happy. She laughed under her breath and he could almost feel the tension leave the room.

“Okay, you can change back,” she murmured as she stood.

So he did. It didn’t hurt as much shifting to his human form. Seconds later he was standing next to December by the foot of the bed. “Did I pass your test?” he asked, smiling.

Her lips curved up at the corners. “No test. I just wanted to see all of you.”

Making himself vulnerable to anyone went against his animal nature, but he couldn’t seem to help himself around December. There wasn’t much she could ask of him that he’d refuse to do.

She sucked in a short breath as her gaze tracked over him. It was almost imperceptible, but he was watching her closely. Her eyes darkened with lust and her mouth parted a fraction.

As she licked her lips in a maddeningly erotic manner, he wondered if she did it to drive him crazy. But when her eyes clashed with his, he saw insecurity there. That shocked the hell out of him. Everything about this woman called out to his most primal side. Nothing she did could turn him off.

“Do you want this, Red?” He had to ask before they went any further. His heartbeat was an erratic drumbeat against his chest as he watched uncertainty cross her face.

Chapter 14

December was still unsure about a lot of things where she and Liam were concerned, but there was something about his entire body that just softened when he called her Red. It made her feel special. So while she was uncertain about the future, one thing she knew for sure—she wanted him in her bed. “I want this and I want you.”

She just wasn’t sure what would happen to her afterward. Getting involved with him was crazy, even if the man had saved her life so many times. That’s not why she wanted him, though. He’d been part of her fantasies for the past month and it was hard to deny the attraction between them. How much she was drawn to him. And knowing he’d dealt with the same losses as she had—and at the same young age—made her feel connected to him in a way she hadn’t thought possible.

He covered the short distance between them with a determined look in his eyes. No one had ever looked at her like that before. With a mix of hunger and desire that was practically smoldering.

She wanted—needed to run her hands up his bare chest. To feel his body against hers. After what he’d done for her last night, she wanted him to experience as much pleasure as he’d given her.

As their lips molded together, she slid her hands up his chest and linked her fingers around the back of his neck.

When he clutched her hips, she automatically lifted and wrapped her legs around his waist. The action was so smooth, so natural. She ground her hips against his, savoring the feel of his hard length. Soon they wouldn’t have any barrier between them. Maybe that should have scared her, but it didn’t. Everything about this day was right. She felt it straight to her core.

She tightened her legs around him as he worked her sweater and bra off. They barely pulled their mouths apart before their lips once again sought each other out.

Now it was skin on skin. As she rubbed her chest against his, she let out a small moan. Where she was soft, he was all hard muscles. There couldn’t be an inch of fat on him. He was pure muscle, strength, and raw power. The sensation of her nipples rubbing against his chest brought another rush of heat between her legs.