Suddenly her back hit the bed. Her eyes flew open. December had been so focused on kissing him that she hadn’t felt them move.

As he stretched out on top of her, he stared at her for a moment with an almost vulnerable expression. Before she could contemplate it, he once again devoured her mouth and began grinding his hips against her. She might still have some clothes on, but it didn’t matter. He was moving right over her clit. She shouldn’t be so sensitive, but whenever Liam touched her, it was like something inside her flared to life, begging to be released. She could probably climax just like this. The knowledge floored her.

She clutched his shoulders, knew she was digging her nails into his skin, but he didn’t seem to mind. If anything, the harder she held him, the more unsteady his movements became.

In an abrupt, jerky movement, he pulled his head back. “I need to be inside you now.” It sounded as if he had gravel in his throat.

Through heavy-lidded eyes she watched him. He grabbed a condom from the dresser so fast it amazed her. He tugged her pants and underwear down her legs in a quick, precise movement.

When he ripped open the foil packet, his hands shook slightly. She reached out to take it from him, wanting to feel his erection in her hands, but he shook his head. He didn’t say a word as he sheathed himself.

Her mouth fell open slightly as she looked at him completely naked. She barely had time to appreciate all that raw, masculine power and all those taut, toned muscles before he covered her again.

This time nothing separated them.

He pushed into her without pause. The action wasn’t hard but it wasn’t exactly gentle either. It was unsteady and what she wanted. Feeling that thick, hard length push deep inside her pulled a shaky groan from her. She couldn’t bite it back even if she wanted to.

She wrapped her legs around him tighter. Both of their movements were a little out of control and she’d probably be sore later, but it didn’t matter. All that mattered was this moment. “Oh, God.” She wasn’t sure how thick the walls of the house were and at that moment she didn’t care if the entire ranch heard her. She’d never been very vocal during sex, but right now she had to restrain herself from crying out louder.

As he moved in and out of her, her inner walls clenched tighter and tighter. Her entire body was primed. She was so close to release, she knew it wouldn’t be much longer until he gave her exactly what she was craving. When he reached between them and thumbed her clit, she let go. The stimulation was perfect. Her back arched and she gripped him harder. The orgasm tore through her with a wild intensity and she freely let the pleasure rip through her.

Liam nipped her neck as he continued thrusting. The scrape of his teeth over her skin only spurred her on. She felt as if she could break apart at that moment.

Still holding on to him, she leaned close so that her mouth was close to his ear. His breathing was erratic and she knew he was close, but she wanted to him to come right then. Needed him to experience what she was feeling.

“Come for me,” she whispered. The words drew a wild, raw cry from him.

He thrust into her again, this time harder and faster. He kept thrusting until he came. Shudders racked his body as his hips moved against hers until finally he stilled and buried his head in the crook of her neck. The only sound coming from him was his erratic breathing. He lightly nuzzled the sensitive area behind her ear, feathering her skin with soft kisses.

Stroking her fingers down his back, she kept her legs wrapped around him until he finally pushed up on his elbows. As he stared down at her, a shiver rolled through her at the heated look in his eyes. He still had that hungry look. And she knew she was the only thing on the menu.

Wordlessly he pulled out of her and instantly her entire body mourned it. She wanted to wrap her body around his and just hold him. But maybe that’s not the way he was hardwired. He was definitely more in touch with his animal side than most and he might not be into postcoital cuddling. The thought made her chest ache. She wanted to feel that closeness with him.

Her eyes widened when she realized what he was doing. He disposed of the condom before opening a new packet. She watched in fascination as he rolled another one on his already growing cock.


He didn’t let her finish. Grabbing her hips, he hauled her toward him as he rolled onto his back. He continued pulling her until she straddled his hips. “I should have given you more foreplay, but we’ll go slower this time,” he murmured.

She smiled as he slid into her once again. His hips rolled up and her open body welcomed him easily. This time she was ready for him and she liked that he was letting her control the situation. There was nothing remotely painful about his strokes. Her body was slick with her own juices and heat. They fit like two puzzle pieces. Lifting up on her knees, she watched the hard lines of his face as she took him inside her again and again.

Without warning, something warm pricked her eyes. Tears? Leaning down, she kissed him, hoping he wouldn’t notice. He’d gotten under her skin fast and she cared so much about him it scared her more than anything ever had.

December stared at the huge, mangy beast. The red, glowing eyes had to belong to a demon. It was the only explanation for this creature. But where had it come from? The thing didn’t seem to see her. It was looking past her, to the left.

She took a small step back. Her uncle’s farm wasn’t that big. If she could just make it to the barn, she’d be safe.

When it didn’t move, she took another step back. Her heart pounded wildly in her ears. So loud she was sure it could hear the sound. But the beast hadn’t moved.

She took another, bigger step. Then another. Almost home free now. She just needed to get to cover.

“December!” It was her younger brother, Brandon.

She didn’t turn around to see where the shout had come from. She already knew. Her brother was coming from the barn. Had no doubt seen her.

Why had he shouted? He mustn’t have seen the animal yet.

The animal turned its gaze on her now, all its attention honed and focused. It was so big and much taller than her on all fours.

She tried to scream but the sound lodged in her throat. All she could do was squeak out a “Help.”

“Run!” Her younger brother’s shout loosened the vise around her legs.

Turning, she sprinted back toward the barn. Her brother had a pitchfork in his hands, but he was too small. Bigger than her, but still no match for the animal.

“Brandon, run!” She swore she could feel the hot breath of the beast on her neck. She grabbed his arm, but he shrugged her off.

His gaze stayed fixed behind her. “Get Parker.”

“No, I—”

“Now!” He was only fifteen but at that moment he seemed a lot older.

She jumped into action. If she could get a weapon, she could help him. As she ran through the barn doors, she turned and nearly fell over.

Brandon was on the ground, stabbing the animal, but he was no match for it. Its jaws were open wide—


“December?” She opened her eyes to find Liam staring down at her. One of his big hands lay across her bare stomach as he looked at her, concern in every line on his face. She glanced around the room in confusion, then remembered where they were. Sunlight still streamed in through the wooden blinds. They’d only dozed for a little while if it was still daytime.

“Are you okay?”

“I’m fine.” Reaching up, she wiped a bead of sweat off her forehead.

Liam’s dark eyes seemed to see right through her. “You sure?”

“I…had a nightmare.” She didn’t want to talk about it but knew she needed to. Liam needed to know about her past. She’d already jumped in feetfirst with this relationship or whatever was going on between them, so now it was time to come clean.

“About what?”

She didn’t want to tell him. Didn’t even like thinking about it. After her brother had been killed, Parker wouldn’t even say his name for the longest time. They’d moved to Fontana and it was almost like they’d swept the past and memories under the rug. Swallowing hard, she stared at a spot on Liam’s shoulder. “My brother.”


She shook her head. “No. My younger brother, Brandon. He was…he died.” Liam’s grip tightened and she tensed against his hold. “He was killed by a shifter. He was trying to protect me. I was young but he was even younger. And so brave.” Her voice cracked on the last word. She didn’t know what to say after that.

“Honey, I’m so sorry.” He slid his arm around her waist and pulled her so that she had no choice but to lean into him.

After seeing him in his shifted form, she knew he looked nothing like the crazed animal that had killed her brother, but thinking about it still hurt. Even though her breasts were pressed against his chest and his erection pushed insistently against her abdomen, there was nothing sexual about his hold. He was simply comforting her.

“Do you want to talk about it?”

No. “Maybe. Not really, but I miss him so much sometimes. It’s been almost eleven years. I feel like I should be over it.”

Liam snorted softly. “You should never have to get over losing family.”

Stupid tears sprang up but she ignored them. And thankfully Liam didn’t lessen his grip on her to wipe them away.

“I was friends with this girl Allison. Best friends. Shifters had come out to the world less than a decade before, but she’d only moved to town with her family—pack—a year before that. I didn’t know what she was at first, but I didn’t care. A lot of people at school treated her and her brothers differently, but we just clicked. I knew what it was like not to fit in, so maybe that’s why we became such fast friends.” She swallowed again, trying to push back the inevitable pain that came with talking about it.

“To make a long story short, one of her brothers got really heavy into drugs. Heroin, I think, but I don’t know. Doesn’t matter anyway. I guess he turned…feral…. Is that the right word?”


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