His lips covered hers again. This time not so demanding. Just sweet, probing, and made her abdomen clench with need. No one could ever make her feel as good as this man.

When one of his hands grabbed her behind and pulled her flush against his erection, she moaned at the feel of him. But when he grabbed her left hand and slipped something onto her ring finger, she pulled back.

Staring, her eyes widened at the glittering diamond on her ring finger. The marquise cut was at least two carats. And damn near flawless. Her chest tightened for a moment, but she found her breath. “What the heck is this?”

“I think it’s called an engagement ring. I spent most of the day trying to pick the perfect one, so I hope you like it,” he said quietly.

“Is this…are you proposing?”

He tightly gripped her hand. “Marry me.”

“Okay,” she whispered.

That’s all he needed to hear. His mouth sought hers out so quickly she barely had time to catch her breath. The man was so dominating and stubborn she knew this wouldn’t be the last argument they ever had, but as long as he stayed by her side, she knew they could handle anything.

Chapter 23

One month later

Yawning, December stretched her arms above her head and rolled over to see her clock. The digital screen said six thirty. She’d been so tired lately, barely making it to work on time every morning. This was the first morning since she’d discovered she was pregnant she felt alert. Her doctor had told her she’d eventually get over her sluggishness and morning sickness, but she’d been hesitant to believe her when all she ever wanted to do was sleep.

Big, callused hands encircled her waist from behind and pulled her close. Liam nuzzled the back of her neck as his hand trailed from her still-flat belly to cover her mound. Idly, he rubbed her clit in slow, soothing strokes. “You too tired this morning?” he whispered.

Smiling, she shook her head. If he kept touching her like that, she’d climax before he ever got inside her. Despite the morning sickness, she’d been incredibly receptive to his touch the past month. Even more so than before.

Everything was heightened. More intense.

As she started to turn over, he held her still and entered her from behind. The abrupt intrusion made her gasp in pure pleasure. She was used to his size by now, but she hadn’t been ready for him. Her inner walls flexed and clenched around him. Keeping still, he stayed buried deep inside her and kept strumming her sensitive bundle of nerves.

With his teeth, he raked over the skin under her ear. She shivered as he quickly covered the area with moist kisses.

The feel of him inside her drove her crazy. Her entire body was now tingling in awareness and she needed him to move. “Move or do something,” she ordered.

Inside her he felt thick and so familiar, but she needed more if she wanted to find relief.

“So demanding this morning,” he murmured, and rolled his hips against her once. “You don’t think I should tease you?”

“It’s too early for that.” She half turned so he could kiss her mouth.

When his lips covered hers, she lightly moaned. Waking up to him every morning hadn’t gotten old. If anything, she loved it more every day.

After he tore his mouth away, he nibbled lightly on her shoulder. “Tonight’s a full moon.” His voice was quiet, hesitant.

She understood why. They’d talked about officially bonding almost immediately after he’d placed that engagement ring on her finger. Even though they’d both wanted to, he’d insisted she think more about it. Bonding was different from being mated. When shifters bonded, it was for life. Unlike mated shifters who could leave or divorce each other, bonded mates couldn’t. They were marked and linked until one of them died. No other wolf would touch a marked one. It went against their nature and laws.

And she desperately wanted that mark from him. “I don’t need more time to think, Liam.”

He growled softly and pulled out of her. Instantly her body mourned the loss, but he quickly turned her on her back. And just as quickly he settled between her open thighs and pushed into her again.

She could tell by his relaxed expression that this morning would be slow and gentle. Some days he got this wild, almost feral look and he’d often take her the moment she got home from work. Not now. When he took his time like this, it turned her inside out.

“I want you to be sure,” he breathed against her cheek.

Running her fingers down the corded muscles of his back, she kept her stroking light until she reached his backside. Then she dug into his skin and held him deep in her.

“It seems like you’re the one with the problem, so if you want to wait—”

He cut her off with a searing kiss. Inwardly she smiled because she knew her words hit their mark. As their tongues intertwined, both their movements increased.

He pushed into her harder and faster and she met him stroke for stroke. Rolling her hips against his, she savored the feel of his thick length filling her. The more he thrust, the faster her inner walls contracted. The past few days she’d been too tired to do anything, but now her body was primed and ready for release.

By the tense lines of his body, she could tell he was close, was holding back for her. Liam certainly had no problem with stamina, but if they went more than a day or two without making love, he was always slightly frantic the first time. She loved that she knew that about him. Knew all the little nuances of his body.

As her breasts rubbed against his hard chest, the extra stimulation against her nipples pushed her over the edge. Clutching on to his back, she arched her own and let the climax rush through her.

The wild sensation surged through her, sending tingles straight to all her nerve endings. He wasn’t far behind her. As soon as she let go, he did too. With a groan, he clutched her hips and emptied himself inside her. His orgasm was longer than usual as he continued thrusting until finally his hips stilled and he laid his forehead against hers.

“I love you, December.” His voice was quiet and completely sincere, and it pulled at her heartstrings.

“Me too,” she whispered back as she tightened her grip around him.

Instead of moving off her, he stayed where he was and lazily kissed her until a knock at the door tore them apart.

“Uh, guys?” It was Kat and she likely had an idea they were awake or she wouldn’t have knocked. “I’m sorry to, uh, bother you, but I think you need to come downstairs and see the news.” Blatant concern laced her words.

December heard her hurry away from the door without waiting for their answer. In a few weeks they’d be moving out of the house and back to the ranch and she had a feeling Kat was more than ready for that. Kat had changed a lot over the past month, gotten a lot stronger, and when she’d made plans to move out of the house, December and Liam had decided to just move back to the ranch. That way Kat could stay here and December wouldn’t have to worry about selling her home.

Liam spent most of his free time at the ranch and she knew how much he hated being away from his pack—her pack now too. That was still a weird thought. One she hadn’t totally adjusted to. Since she couldn’t shift yet, she didn’t really feel like she was a shifter. It didn’t matter that her healing abilities or her life span matched Liam’s—the reality hadn’t quite set in yet.

They quickly dressed and hurried downstairs. Kat sat perched on the edge of the couch with a coffee cup in hand. She nodded at the television, so December and Liam sat next to her. “This is a replay from earlier,” Kat quickly said as Liam turned up the volume.

Wearing a green peacoat and white scarf, a pretty blond reporter stood in front of the Fontana sheriff’s department, microphone in hand. “Is there a cover-up going on in the Fontana Sheriff’s Office? Some people think so. With the recent rash of animal attacks in the surrounding areas, some locals are crying foul play. Others are more insistent that Sheriff Parker McIntyre is covering up for the Armstrong pack because his sister is now married to one of their pack members….”

December felt the blood drain from her face as the woman continued talking. As the reporter spoke, Liam squeezed her thigh gently.

“This will pass. It’s probably some APL members trying to stir up trouble,” he murmured.

She gritted her teeth. “They do it because your Council doesn’t do anything about it. They never speak out when these people talk trash. If we have no one to defend us, people are only going to hear one side. And now my brother’s name has been brought into it. That reporter basically called him corrupt!” December and Parker and even Liam and Parker had gotten so much closer this past month, and she hated the thought of anything tearing them apart. And she really hated the thought of anyone targeting her brother because of a bullshit newscast.

“I’m going to call him.” She pushed up and stalked from the room before Liam could stop her.

After December disappeared into the kitchen, Liam looked at Kat. “Did the newscast say anything else?”

She shook her head and bit her bottom lip. He knew what was on her mind and he also knew it wasn’t his business, but he decided to plunge ahead anyway. “Jayce gets back in town today.”

Instantly she bristled. “So?”

He lifted an eyebrow. “Are you going to pretend you don’t care?”

She gritted her teeth and turned back to the television. “Things would never work between us.”.

Liam didn’t know about that. “You’ve got to know how he feels about you. When you were taken—”

“I don’t ever want to talk about that,” she snapped.

He shook his head and stood. Jayce had been gone the past month taking care of business with the Council and other packs, but would be returning in a few days for indefinite leave while he trained Erin, the she-wolf Jayce believed was an enforcer. Liam wasn’t sure how or why Jayce thought she was, but he did know that Jayce could have demanded Erin move up north and undergo the training there. He hadn’t. Instead he’d opted to move to Fontana on a semipermanent basis and everyone knew why: to be close to Kat.


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