|Completed released February 6, 2014, with Taliesin Publishing.
If she thought one mate was bad enough, wait until she finds out there’s another one. Jackpot? She’s not convinced…
Joshua Rice is a St. Louis doctor searching for his missing sister. At age twenty, she left The Gathering with her mate and never returned. Joshua is suspicious about her well-being and seeks a lawyer to help him in the dreaded event he should find her not living. His suspicions are high.
Samantha Albertson is a St. Louis attorney who hasn’t attended The Gathering for years. She isn’t interested in being claimed yet, so she steers clear of the mating game. When her brother sends a friend to her for legal help, she finds herself face to face with Joshua. The two shifters immediately know they have stepped in deeper than expected.
When Joshua leaves town to pursue a lead on his sister, Samantha heads to court. The surprises just keep coming. The defense attorney, Nathan Craig, is also her mate. How the hell is that possible?
Rather than acting on their intense magnetism, Nathan and Samantha drive eight hours to meet up with Joshua. Things get heated when they all step into the same hotel room. No one expected or planned this arrangement. None of them have known any other shifters who mated more than one wolf.
There is work to be done. While the three unsuspecting souls try to forge a path they can all agree on, they also must attempt to find and rescue Joshua’s sister. Can they get to her before it’s too late? Or is it already too late?
Fortifying herself for whatever new battle she was about to face, Samantha grabbed her briefcase and turned toward the man still holding the door open behind the judge’s bench.
Without a word, she followed him, this time letting him lead her down the hall. When he found an empty conference room, he opened it and ducked inside, holding the door open for Samantha and carefully avoiding any direct contact with her as he squeezed himself against the frame.
When the door snicked shut behind her, Samantha set her belongings on the table in the center of the room and turned around.
“You don’t smell right,” he stated.
She flinched at the implication. “I did shower this morning.” Asshole.
He furrowed his brow and tipped his head back to confirm his assessment. “Nope. It’s not that. You reek of another wolf, not just yourself. Why on earth do I have this innate confidence you’re mine?”
And there it was. He’d said it. So, it wasn’t just her. He felt it too. “I have no idea what the hell is going on between us, but I was claimed yesterday by another shifter.” There was no sense keeping that information to herself.
The darker man removed his suit jacket, set it on the table, and lowered himself into a giant mock-leather armchair, one of the many situated around the room for use in a conference. His muscles bulges beneath his perfectly starched, white dress shirt and his chest heaved as though breathing were suddenly a chore.
When he slumped his shoulders and closed his eyes, Samantha could almost see the inner workings of his mind. He was trying to figure this all out. And he was using all his senses on her.
She didn’t have any more answers than he had. It was possible her list of questions was longer, in fact.
“Are you sure?” he asked, finally.
“Am I sure I had sex yesterday with another wolf?” The words were absurd and completely uncalled for, but what the hell was he implying? Oh, come on, Sam. You know good and well what he’s asking. “Sorry,” she muttered in a lower voice, “yes, I’m sure.”
“What’s your name?” he asked next, running his hand through his hair again. He leaned back in the plush chair, defeated.
“Samantha. Samantha Albertson. Yours?”
“Nathan Craig.” He glanced up and down her frame, taking in everything about her with his eyes. Everything he could manage with her wearing a skirt, blouse, and jacket.
“What the hell do you suppose this means?”
“I don’t know, but I’d sure like to meet your other mate and hash it out.” Nathan said the word other with complete certainty. Or perhaps he was questioning Josh’s claim on her.
Samantha paced back and forth. Only a few feet separated her from Nathan, not enough to keep her mind from spinning like a top in his presence. “You know,” she began, “you don’t have to ask Josh about our mating because I’m standing right here and I do have all the information he has. I was there.”
One half of Nathan’s mouth lifted in a small smile. His eyes lit with a spark she had yet to see. It was the first expression he’d shown that wasn’t confusion or regret. “You’re spunky.”
“I’m a lawyer, like yourself.”
“True. And what does this Josh character do? Where is he? If you just mated yesterday, how has he managed to let you out of his sight so soon?” He straightened, a new idea clearly forming in his mind. “Maybe that’s what’s got us by the balls. Your pheromones are raw from the recent claiming. Perhaps that’s making it seem like you belong to me.”
“Josh,” she declared with emphasis, “is a pediatrician. Dr. Joshua Rice. The reason he’s not here is . . . complicated. A long story. And, I don’t ‘belong’ to anyone, stud. He doesn’t own me. And you don’t either. As for my pheromones, I’d like to point out to you that you have the same vibe wafting from your person that I do. The mating ritual goes both ways. So, before you go trying to analyze why it seems I’m ‘yours,’ keep in mind you are as much ‘mine.’”
He smiled. “Right. Sorry. It just seems like you’d be . . . all tied up in this Josh guy and not noticing me if you were truly mated to him. What’s making you take notice of another wolf?”
“I have no idea.” She shook as she spoke, the weight of this problem making her suddenly unstable. She reached for a chair and grabbed it with both hands from behind, spinning it to allow her to face Nathan. The added benefit was to put something between them.
She didn’t know if she was afraid of herself or him. She wanted—no needed—to touch him as badly as she needed her next breath . . . as badly as she’d needed Josh this time yesterday, and still did. She also knew Nathan would feel the same urgency.
A chair will protect me from him, riiight. . .
“What do you want to do now?” Nathan stood, using his hands to grip the arms of the chair as he did so. “Is your . . . Josh, I mean, at work?”
“No.” She took a deep breath. “He’s in Alabama. And now that we don’t have to be in court today, that’s where I’m heading.” She stepped back, releasing the chair. Two steps and she was plastered to the wall. She had to get out of here before she couldn’t control herself anymore.
“Alabama? How is that possible if you mated yesterday?”
“He had an emergency and I had to be in court. Trust me, it wasn’t easy.”
“I guess not.” He stepped toward her and pushed the rolling chair out of the way.
Samantha flattened herself on the wall as though it might permit her to molecularly squeeze through it with enough effort.
Nathan stalked toward her. When no more than inches separated them, he placed his hands on the wall on either side of her head and tipped his head. Instead of kissing her as she expected, or hoped for, or wished, or worried about—she had no idea which emotion won that struggle—he scented her. Sniffed her essence in deep.
A chill went down Samantha’s spine. She took slow, shallow breaths to avoid inhaling too much of him. She was already overloaded with his powerful pull.
“Wow, that’s . . . intense. And not what I would have expected.” He stared at her, serious. “And the curious thing is I can scent both of you. If your Josh walked in this building right now, I would know it.” He paused. “I’m pretty sure I’m not gay, but . . . this is weird.”
Gay? That idea hadn’t occurred to her. All she had considered was two men claiming her, not each other. What if Josh and Nathan were mates too? “I’ve heard of threesomes forming.”
“Me too. But, I’m not into men. And I am most certainly into you.”
“Well, I am into men, as you put it, but not two of them at a time.” Samantha closed her eyes. This couldn’t be happening. The room was shrinking.
“Let’s go.” He stood back, grabbed his briefcase, and opened the door.
“Where?” She hadn’t moved yet.
“Alabama I guess. You can explain more to me on the way.”
Alabama? Was he crazy? “You can’t. . .”
“Watch me.” He smiled, raised his eyebrows and nodded toward the hall. “The minutes are ticking.”
Samantha picked up her stuff, but she wasn’t done arguing with him. She followed him down the hall, onto the elevator, and into the parking garage. “You’re going to go with me?”
“Yes. There’s no way in hell I’m letting you go alone and there’s for sure no way you’re going to let me touch you until we figure this out, so do you see another option?” He stopped walking and faced her. “We can take my car. I’ve got a full tank of gas. That’ll get us started.”
His car? She couldn’t leave here with a stranger and let him control everything.
What was she thinking? That’s exactly what she’d done yesterday at almost the same time. She’d left her office with Josh in his car and gone to his home and let him claim her before she’d even toured the house. Hell, she’d seen nothing but him, his eyes, his naked body. . .
What makes today different? Because you already mated a man yesterday, dork.
Nathan waited for her assent.
Deflated, and knowing he was right, she nodded. “We’ll have to take your car. Mine’s in the shop.”
“How’d you get here this morning?”
“Taxi. Josh left last night. I was stranded. I took a taxi this morning.”
“He left you? Just like that?” Nathan shook his head briskly. “Never mind. You can explain on the way. Let’s get going.” He reached for her hand and then drew back. “Sorry. I wasn’t thinking.”
“It’s okay, really. And. . .” And, it’s okay if you touch me? Is it? “I don’t mind if—”
He started walking again. “No worries. I’m not going to lay a hand on you.”
“I didn’t say you couldn’t—”
“Samantha,” he started as he opened the door of a brand new shiny black SUV, “there is no way I could handle touching you and I’m pretty sure you would find the same to be true. It’s bad enough we’re going to share the same air inside my car for eight hours. If I let our skin make contact, it’d be all over for me. I wouldn’t be able to keep from taking your mouth, and then. . .” His voice drifted off.
Samantha didn’t respond. He was right. She tossed her stuff over the back of the seat and eased into the car while he rounded the rear for the driver’s side.
They didn’t speak for several minutes while Nathan maneuvered the SUV out of the city and onto the highway, heading south. Samantha relaxed by marginal degrees as the clock ticked. On the one hand, she knew Nathan was on the up and up. No way was he going to hurt her. Hell, if he’d intended to, he’d already had ample opportunity to do so.
On the other hand, she was losing the battle with her body to avoid responding to him. How she’d made it this long was a mystery. Maybe it had something to do with her shock, her denial, her confusion.
In any case, she gripped her knees together to pinch off the ache in her belly. It didn’t work, but she sat there anyhow, rigid, as though she needed to stop at a restroom. The problem wasn’t centered in her bladder though. Nope. No such luck. It was her pussy demanding attention.
She rubbed her palms on her skirt and tugged the pleated material to cover as much of her thighs as possible. The skirt and jacket were navy. It was one of her standard going-to-court outfits. The navy pumps matched it perfectly. She even had on hose. And this outfit was going to become increasingly uncomfortable as the hours rolled by. Her knees knocked together, locked as though they were secured to each other.
“Relax. I’m not a bad guy, I promise.” Nathan’s words jerked her from her pondering.
She turned to look at his profile. He glanced at her a few times as she stared at his square chin, his perfectly rounded nose, his thick wavy hair. “I know. I’m. . .”
“Aroused.” He smiled. His hands gripped the steering wheel, making his knuckles white. “I know. I can smell it. Trust me, you’re filling the entire vehicle with your sexy scent.” He didn’t look at her that time, but kept his eyes on the road as though he were maneuvering through a very treacherous environment instead of straight down Highway Fifty-Five on a stretch with no inclines and not so much as a curve.
She looked down at his lap. He’d tossed his suit jacket in the back seat, but his dark gray pants did nothing to hide his erection. He adjusted himself as subtly as possible as she watched. “Good thing I’m the only one affected here,” she teased. “Imagine how uncomfortable we’d be if you were as aroused as I was. You’d have trouble keeping the car on the road.”
As she spoke, he swerved and corrected. “Are you always this snarky?”
“Yes.” She turned toward her door and rolled the window down an inch. It was hot out, but maybe a little bit of outside air would help with the pheromones.
Nathan chuckled. “All that’s going to do is make us hot. Heat hot, I mean.”
She glared at him this time. “You have a better idea? It’s a long drive.”
“We could pull over and put an end to our misery,” he suggested. She had no idea if he was kidding or not. Probably half and half. After all, she wasn’t stupid enough not to realize he needed her as much as she did him.
But, it was her turn to chuckle. “As you may recall, I’ve been down this road. If you think a quick fuck would make things better between us, you’ve lost your mind.”
When she said “fuck” he flinched, but grinned at her. “I love a woman who isn’t afraid of four-letter words.”
This banter made her like him even more. He was sharp, witty, and quick all at the same time. She had no idea why Fate had arranged whatever craziness was her current situation, but at least She knew what She was doing. “So, tell me about yourself. I’ll give you seven hours to sum it up. . .”
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Hello! I'm Becca Jameson. A little about myself. I live in Atlanta with my husband, two kids, and the various pets that wander through. Read More…