Protective Instinct

By: Katie Reus

Moon Shifter Series

Chapter 1

This no sex thing was going to kill her. Teresa was convinced of it.

This had to be the longest courtship in the history of shifter courting. Ever.

Ryan had admitted he wanted her as his bondmate and he knew she wanted him too. Three freaking months later they still weren’t mated because he was apparently trying to drive her and her wolf insane.

After he’d admitted his secret to her, that he was an empath shifter, something she hadn’t even known existed, he’d confessed that his kind mated differently than normal shifters. He could accidentally make her his bondmate if they had sex. Unlike the typical shifter way, which was under the full moon with the male taking the female from behind, biting her, claiming her. That would bond them forever, a link stronger than marriage because death was the only thing that could part them.

Even thinking of Ryan taking her like that got her all hot and bothered. Unfortunately it seemed as if he was determined to make things between them sex-free. Well, to be fair, not completely. They’d explored each other’s bodies the past few months in so many fun ways but he always held back from full-on sex.

And now he wasn’t even letting her pleasure him at all. It was always about her pleasure. Which, yeah, she realized that sounded insane for her to be frustrated about, but his mouth and fingers weren’t…what she wanted. Well, not all she wanted. Not only did she want to experience everything with him, she wanted that connection that only bondmates had.

Hell, she needed it on the most primal level. Once he’d admitted his attraction to her and let those walls down it was like she’d allowed her wolf the freedom to accept her mate.

And all he kept doing was rejecting her on that most primal level. She wanted to please him as much as he was her, but he was keeping her at arm’s length and it cut deep.

Grabbing the pillow next to her she held it over her face and groaned. Maddening male.

She scented him returning to her bedroom before she heard him. They weren’t living together but he was here more often than not. Tossing the pillow to the side she found herself staring into dark eyes she could easily lose herself in.

“What’s wrong?” he asked, striding into the room—shirtless. At six foot four, the cowboy was huge and beautiful. He’d probably hate that word, but he truly was. All hard muscles and sleek lines of perfection she’d had fun exploring the past few months. Well, as much as he’d let her.

She slipped her hands behind her head as she stretched out on top of the sheets, not bothering to hide her nakedness. When she slightly arched her back, he sucked in a sharp breath, his hot gaze tracking every inch of her body so that she swore she could practically feel him touching her. His eyes were espresso dark, practically the same shade as his hair. But right now she could see his wolf flickering in his gaze. “What could be wrong?” she murmured.

With shifters you usually couldn’t flat out lie or they’d scent it. So when she didn’t want to answer something, she was careful with her wording. Asking a question in response to a question tended to work if she wanted to deflect.

Unfortunately he wasn’t buying it. Setting two water bottles on her dresser, he stalked toward the bed, looking every inch the predator he was. Without pause he climbed onto it and didn’t stop moving until he was on top of her, his forearms caging her in as he stared down at her.

She resisted the urge to reach up and glide her fingers over his chest, shoulders and back. Then through his thick dark hair, clutching his head as they…gah. Her inner wolf was clawing at her, not understanding why she couldn’t touch him the way she needed. Especially when she could feel how aroused he was, his thick erection pressing against her insistently.

“You’re mad at me.” A quiet, intense statement.

“Not mad,” she whispered. That at least was the truth. “I’m frustrated and…hurt.”

He flinched at the last word, making her feel like crap. But he didn’t move off her, didn’t put distance between them. She wasn’t sure if that made her feel better or worse. “I just want you to be sure,” he said quietly, his scent wrapping around her. All shifters had a natural scent and his reminded her of the desert. It was just a little bit wild and untamed.

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