Instead, he’d show her. Grasping her hips, he slowly pushed into her. Her inner walls tightened and molded around him as if they were made for each other. The clamp of her body around his cock was almost too much for his self-control. When he pulled back out of her, she quietly whimpered in displeasure until he moved inside her again.

His. She was his, forever.

Over and over, he pushed into her, unable to control the growing need inside him. His canines protracted with each stroke, his most primal side needing to claim her. To mark her. And be marked in return. He wanted that so badly he shook from it.

When she clutched the sheet beneath her and arched her back, she let out a long, throaty moan. “I need more,” she gasped.

God, yes. And he knew exactly what she needed now. Leaning forward, he slid his hands up her ribs and cupped her breasts as his mouth met her neck.

She turned her head to the side, letting her hair fall away and giving him perfect access to her neck.

A growl rose inside him as he raked his teeth against her skin. When he did, he felt her sheath tighten around his cock. So he did it again, still not breaking the skin. And her inner walls tightened again. Gripping him like hot silk. She didn’t speak, but moaned her pleasure each time he licked and nuzzled her neck.

His balls pulled up painfully with the need for release. Even though he wanted to drag this out as long as he could, he couldn’t hold back any longer.

He sank his teeth into her, breaking the skin.

“Liam!” she shouted, a tremor ripping through her. Instantly she started climaxing around him.

He hadn’t expected it so fast, but she jerked and pushed back against him as she shouted out his name again. After he drew blood, the taste of that sweet liquid against his lips tore a raw growl from him. He’d marked her. United them.

Though he didn’t want to, he slightly pulled back and increased his movements inside her. They both needed that release. Her contractions, which had been small, surged with each thrust he made until she was whimpering and murmuring things he couldn’t understand. As her climax subsided, his own hit him with startling intensity.

December was his bondmate. The knowledge floored him on the most basic level and allowed him to let go of all his control. Coming long and hard, he emptied himself inside her. His hands tightened around her hips with each push until he was blindly thrusting into her and had to force himself to stop.

The moment he began to pull out of her, he felt a sharp stinging on the side of his neck. Reaching up, he ran his finger over what he knew would be a tiny Celtic symbol. Likely a bonding knot of some sort, similar to his father’s and his brother’s. Just as he’d marked her with his teeth—the small puncture marks would remain on her skin forever—their unification left a permanent imprint on him also. Like a tattoo but more permanent. And with a deeper meaning.

Liam reached underneath December and turned her toward him as he stretched out on the bed. He wanted to feel her body against his, couldn’t bear to be apart from her for even a second. Not after what they’d just shared. She stretched out until her entire body lay along the length of his. He loved the feel of her full weight on top of him.

Smiling, she kissed his chin, then all around his mouth until she centered on his lips. Her kiss was lingering and sensuous. When she pulled back, her blue eyes seemed even brighter somehow. “That was amazing….” She trailed off and tilted his head to the side with two of her fingers. “I wondered what your bonding mark would look like. Does it hurt?” she asked softly, letting her fingers drop.

“I think I should be the one asking you that.” How do you feel? he projected with his mind, praying the link was complete.

Her eyes widened. Holy crap. I can’t believe that actually works. I know what you told me, but…wow.

Wow, indeed. Returning her smile, he cupped her face between his hands and brought her mouth to his once again. There might be a lot of unknowns in their life, but at this moment, he couldn’t believe he’d ever thought he could live without her.

She was his other half. Definitely his better half. And he planned to spend the rest of their lives showing her how much she meant to him.


Liam entered his brother’s home and immediately headed for the living room. Connor sat on the longer couch and Ana was curled up in his lap. Despite the way his arm was casually wrapped around his mate’s waist, Liam could see the slight tension lines bracketing Connor’s mouth. He couldn’t scent anything, though. As Alpha, Connor was better than most at concealing his emotions. But as his brother, Liam knew him better than anyone. Well, almost anyone.

“Congrats, Liam.” Ana grinned at him as she jumped up to hug him.

He returned the tight hug, then embraced his brother, who also congratulated him. Even though he hadn’t been to the ranch in two days—he and December hadn’t left the bedroom since bonding—he’d let his brother know he’d officially taken her as his bondmate. Informing him had nothing to do with pack rules and everything to do with the fact that Connor was his older brother. He might be Liam’s Alpha, but he’d always be his family and he’d been the first person Liam had told.

“How’s your mate?” Ana asked.

“A little nauseous but good. We have a doctor’s appointment in a couple hours.” After he left here, he was picking her up from her bookstore for an early lunch, then heading to their appointment. Right now, pack business called. Not that he’d left her alone. Until things settled down, one of his pack members was always shadowing her if he couldn’t.

“I can’t wait to have another cub around the ranch.” Ana’s voice was excited as she and Connor sat back down.

“Where is everyone?” There were scents of Vivian and Noel in the house but not strong enough for them to be there. But he was referring to Noah and Aiden, since they’d been called to this informal meeting also.

“Should be here any minute,” Connor said.

As his brother spoke, Liam heard the front door opening behind him. Aiden and Noah walked in. Most of the males and Erin were out patrolling—or watching December—but later they’d be informed of what had been discussed.

After receiving congratulatory hugs from the two males, Liam went to lean against the mantel by the fireplace. Noah joined him on the other end, looking tense as hell, while Aiden sat on the love seat.

“Where are Brianna and Jayce?” Aiden asked.

Upon the request of her warrior brethren, the Fianna, she’d returned to Ireland a week after they’d found her passed out in that barn. Her people had been in contact with their Council and she was supposed to be back by today because they wanted her to attempt to infiltrate the APL again. Something Liam knew because of Connor. He also knew Connor wasn’t sold on the idea of Brianna trying to infiltrate them again. Liam wasn’t sure where Jayce was, though; he’d expected him days ago.

“Both were delayed, but they’ll be here in the next couple days.” Connor didn’t give any other details, something that didn’t surprise Liam. Why they weren’t there wasn’t important. “The Council and the Fianna both want Brianna to infiltrate the APL again, since she has a successful track record. Once she arrives in town, she’ll be living with us, but Liam’s found a cheap apartment for her as a cover on the chance anyone does a background check on her.”

“Which they will.” Liam had no doubt of that. He wasn’t sure what Brianna’s plan was other than to befriend local APL members, but if they started another cell here, someone would be checking up on her.

“How do we know she hasn’t been compromised?” Aiden asked.

“Everyone she worked with before is dead.” Connor’s voice was grim. “Right now everyone on the list we have is lying low, but after the recent news broadcasts, the Council is tense and so am I. Just because the APL isn’t doing anything at the moment doesn’t mean the threat is over.”

Aiden straightened on the couch, his body tense and primed for battle. “That reporter went on air and cleared up that those animal attacks were just two isolated incidents.”

A dog with rabies had attacked two humans, but the news had made it sound like shifters were behind the attacks and the sheriff’s department was covering it up. “It doesn’t matter,” Liam said. “Her report stated the tone for the feeling in town. Since we moved here, December said she’s noticed a distinctive change in the attitude toward shifters. Especially after Dr. Graham killed himself.” While Ana’s pack might have lived in Fontana the past thirty years, Liam and his brother’s pack had joined them only a few months ago. New shifter males living in any area were cause for concern by humans even if they weren’t a threat. And when a local, respected doctor—murdering son of a bitch that he was—committed suicide rather than go to jail for killing innocent shifters, including one of Ana’s sisters, some people in Fontana weren’t so convinced he’d been guilty. Liam was aware of all this only because of December and her brother. They had a better pulse on the town than any of them ever would.

Noah frowned and the tenseness in him seemed only to grow. “But December’s one of us now. Wouldn’t the humans be more willing to accept our presence?”

Liam’s heart twisted for the remembered pain he’d seen in December’s eyes a couple weeks ago. She’d come home from work and she hadn’t wanted to tell him, but he’d eventually gotten out of her that a woman she’d been friends with for almost a decade had come into her store to tell her what an abomination she was. Instead of telling them all that, he simply shook his head. “December’s lost some friends since she turned.”

There was a brief silence before Connor spoke. “Right now the APL in our region might be inactive, but they’re still here. And Adler had a boss. According to Brianna, he pulled all the strings during their operations here, but Adler kept his identity close to his chest. The boss had a son Adler killed, but she didn’t know his last name. Adler was careful about keeping that secret.” Whoever Adler’s boss was had ordered the attempted kidnappings of December and successful kidnapping of Kat.


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