To protect his pack, he must guard his heart.
Lost on Bodmin Moor, Talia Summers shared an intense connection with a black panther that materialized out of the night. Years later, Talia returns to the moor in search of that magnificent beast and instead finds a man leading a covert clan of shape shifters. But the connection she felt is missing—until a stranger steps into her shower.
Back to claim his rightful place, Caleb McLeod’s fierce attraction to his half-brother’s female is tempered by the fact she’s both a human and a journalist. He’ll not have the survival of his people jeopardized by a human female who continually pushes the boundaries of pack rules. His solution? Mate with her. Control her. And if his brother doesn’t like it, they’ll simply have to share. For now.
But suspicion and lies threaten the growing bond between Talia and Caleb, and the past has a way of catching up. A way of destroying the bridge built between two worlds…between two hearts.
Be Warned: menage sex (MFM), forced seduction
The deep curse that echoed around the bathroom and the strong hand that clasped her wrist belonged not to her husband, but some brute of a man who towered over her while she stood naked and trembling.
“Who … what do you think you’re d-doing?”
With his free hand, he wiped his drenched face. “My question exactly, sweetheart.”
His deep green eyes glared at her, his grip tightening around her wrist so that she dropped the showerhead to the floor. In the process, it sprayed them both with water, soaking his dark gray T-shirt and jeans. It earned her another dark curse.
She tried to scream, but nothing came out. So she did the next best thing. She fought. Kicking, hitting out with her free hand, and meeting nothing but rock-solid muscle.
“Get out!” She lashed out once more, tugging furiously at his grip on her and trying in vain to get free of him. Her breath backed up in her lungs, all her muscles tight and trembling. “Let go of me!”
He wiped his face again, the lower part of it sporting dark stubble. Talia let her gaze skim over him, trying to memorize his features for when she had to give a description to the police. God. He was built like a truck. His neck alone would rival the span of her waist, while his chest rippled and heaved beneath the soaked shirt.
Suddenly aware of her nakedness, she ceased her perusal. “If you don’t let go of me, I’ll scream. So help me, I’ll scream loud enough to wake the dead.”
He only grinned at that, yet there was little humor in it. Feral, she thought dazedly. He reminded her of a determined predator…
Bloody hell. Was he a shifter? A member of a visiting pack? It seemed to happen pretty frequently, but from what she knew, they didn’t engage in breaking and entering.
The thought that this man might be a shifter terrified her. She knew of their strength, of their power. Of their primal charm and charisma … which had to explain the sudden resurgence of arousal that powered through her trembling body.
“Go ahead and scream. There’s nobody around to hear you.”
He was right, of course, and she shivered with alarm. Most of their neighbors were at work, and the house itself was on the edge of the moor, its strategic position giving the pack’s leader both status and tactical strength.
She raised her chin and made herself stare him straight in the eye. “You don’t scare me.”
Another feral grin. “Is that so?” He glanced insolently down at her breasts and the hard, pebbled nipples that rose to attention. “But it sure looks like I do something to you, sweetheart.”
She gasped, and he abruptly released his hold on her and stepped back. Since he was still blocking her exit from the cubicle, Talia couldn’t reach the towel she’d placed on the railing outside without brushing her body against him. She crossed one arm to cover her breasts, then reached down to cover her mound.
When he glanced to where her hands were purposefully placed, she suffered the punch of his assessing gaze and felt more naked than ever.
“If you leave now, I won’t report you,” she stated, thankful that her voice had regained some of its authority. “Just go.”
In answer, he raised his arm over his head and grabbed the back of his sodden shirt. Effortlessly, he shrugged it off and dropped it to the floor.
Eyeing his chest, Talia swallowed. She’d thought Joshua’s chest was ripped, but this man’s was something else. Scars scored the wide expanse of hard, solid muscle, crisscrossing as if someone had planned to create a specific pattern there. But they did little to mar the sheer masculine perfection of his upper body. Down the right side of his torso, a deeper, angrier-looking scar traveled from his ribcage to disappear beneath his jeans.
So lost in her heady examination, she didn’t realize he’d moved closer to her.
She jerked back, flattening herself against the cubicle wall. “Don’t you dare touch me.”
He spared her a glance. “Just undertaking some damage control. If my jeans get any wetter, I’ll need to ditch them, then there’ll be two of us naked in this shower.” He reached around her to turn off the faucet. “From your overreaction so far, I’m not sure you’d be too happy about that.”
“My overreaction?” The absolute nerve of the jerk. “You’ve barged in here, threatened me—”
“Wasn’t aware I’d done anything to you.”
She half expected him to add yet, but he strolled across to the railing and picked up the towel she’d placed there. He tossed it to her, making her almost giddy with relief. If he was going to let her dry herself, surely his intentions weren’t quite as dishonorable as she’d feared.
She wrapped the towel tightly around herself, keeping her gaze firmly on him. He went over to the rack and selected another towel with which he proceeded to dry himself.
Her fears shot into orbit again when he positioned himself in front of the bathroom door, effectively barring her escape the way he had in the cubicle. Gingerly, she stepped out. If she could at least get access to the bathroom cabinet, she might be able to select something to use as a weapon.
“What’s your name?”
The question took her by surprise and she jerked her chin toward him. “I should be asking you that. So I know who to report when I make my statement to the police.”
Perhaps in retrospect, she shouldn’t antagonize him, but the nerve of the man. Breaking into her home, terrorizing her, demanding to know her name as if she were the intruder.
He laughed. “And just how many arrests has old Bill Tucker made recently?”
“You know him?”
“Since I was a kid. And if we’re talking arrests, maybe I should be the one pressing charges.”
“I don’t know what you mean. Now will you please stand aside and let me out of this bathroom?”
He threw the damp towel onto a nearby chair. “You’re not going anywhere, sweetheart. At least not until you answer my question.”
Since he’d planted his feet and crossed his arms over his massive chest, Talia swallowed down fresh tension. “What … what question?”
“Just what the fuck are you doing in my house?”