Rayne sat with his brothers at the diner as they drank coffee and waited for the bank to open. Once he banked this latest batch of checks, they’d head home and do some chores before hitting the sack for a few hours’ sleep before tonight’s patrol shift.
“Who still uses checks?” Baylor asked miserably. “Hasn’t internet banking made it here yet?”
“Says the man who only just got a smartphone,” Trace said, glaring at Rayne as he sipped his coffee.
“Says the man who doesn’t even own a phone,” Rayne said, shooting Baylor a smirk. He wasn’t concerned about Trace’s bad moods. He reserved all his worry for the times Trace was lost to his fear and pain. Times that were becoming more frequent now they all spent less time as their cougars.
“It’s nearly nine,” Trace said, his voice laced with the growl of his caged cat. He glared around at the other diners, his lip curling as a soft snarl slipped free. “Baylor and I will wait here. It doesn’t take the three of us to hand over the checks.”
Rayne nodded and slipped Baylor a quick glance. Baylor’s nod was barely perceptible, but Rayne saw it. Baylor would watch over Trace. He left the diner without another word, and had crossed the street in time to walk into the bank with a few other customers who’d been waiting outside the bank for it to open.
It was too warm inside for him. He’d become accustomed to the freezing conditions of the Yukon, and central heating made him feel claustrophobic. Shit, I’m getting as bad as Trace. I need to either get my humanity back, or give it up for good. There really was no choice, though. He’d never leave Trace alone. Never. Trace would die if they left him to his demons.
Rayne completed the deposit slip and joined the small queue for the single teller. He supposed tellers may eventually be unnecessary with the way computers were taking over the world, but for now, the young man had a job.
The loud slam of the main doors closing sounded like a gunshot and had him reaching for his absent sidearm. He spun as his hand clasped over the empty space on his thigh.
“Fuck.” The muttered curse was drowned out by the cocking of a shotgun. Rayne’s shifter senses took in the scene unfolding before him.
“Down. Everyone get down on the floor!” one of two men holding the loaded shotguns said. “Do it!”
Rayne railed against his feelings of helplessness, but did as he was told. There were seven humans in the bank, including the teller, and the men holding the guns were aiming them directly at him.
It was exactly what Rayne would have done in their shoes, too. The men were both shifters, bear shifters, and Rayne was currently their biggest threat. They’d scented him just as easily as he’d scented them.
“Don’t even think about it,” the second man whispered, stepping up to Rayne and holding the shotgun barrel against his temple. “Lie flat on the floor like a good little kitty-cat and no one will get hurt.”
Rayne swallowed a snarl as he held his hands above his head and slowly knelt. He then reluctantly moved to lie flat on the floor. The bear put one booted foot on his back, effectively rendering Rayne helpless to make a move without him feeling it.
“Where’s that pretty bank manager at?”
“Come on out here, precious, or we start shooting the customers.”
Rayne felt small vibrations on the old bank’s floorboards and then heard a door being opened. What came next nearly made him shift on the spot.
“I’m here. I’ll give you whatever you want. You don’t need to hurt anyone.”
Her words were spoken smoothly, with no tremor betraying any fear or anxiety. Her scent, however, as it hit him like a wrecking ball, told him something else entirely. The woman was both terrified and angry. She was also his.
She smelled like ripe berries in the spring. Sweet and juicy. His cat tore at him. It wanted to rip the bears apart for holding guns on his mate. Scaring his mate. Looking at his mate.
“What a delightfully suggestive offer, pretty lady. What say you, brother? Shall we each have a few minutes alone time with this morsel before we take our money and run?”
Over my fucking dead body. Rayne didn’t know how he remained human, how he even remained sane as the scent of their lust filled his senses. He took shallow breaths as the scent of his mate’s terror drowned out the smell of the bear’s filthy arousal. He desperately tried to remember he was more than just a cougar, he was a soldier, too. He was trained for this. No one would hurt his mate while he drew breath.
Rayne had felt the fine layer of sweat on Kenzie’s skin as he’d taken her from Baylor’s arms. No matter how hard his cock throbbed and ached, he was putting his mate’s comfort above his own.
“I think a shower will make you feel better. I’m only sorry we’re not at home, Mom and Dad had a huge corner bath installed in the master bathroom a few years ago. It’s even big enough for all of us.”
Kenzie smiled sadly at him. “How did they die, if that’s not a rude question? You’ve told me that shifters are immune to human diseases and that you live for hundreds of years. Were they really old? Shit, how old are you?”
Rayne smiled as he turned on the shower, trying to ignore the way Kenzie’s breasts had bounced with each step he took.
“Are you staring at my breasts?”
“They are exquisite,” Rayne said, unabashed at being caught ogling his beautiful mate. “If you hadn’t been in pain and shock last night, I’d have shown you how irresistible they are, as well as that bare pussy you had hidden under your prim business clothes.”
Heat flared in Kenzie’s eyes as he set her on her feet under the shower’s warm spray. “But you did resist.”
“Of course, it was what you needed, and a good mate always does what’s best for their mate.”
Rayne’s cock jerked and he nearly came as Kenzie cupped her breasts and teased her nipples with her fingers. “And now?”
Rayne dropped to his knees, wrapping one arm around Kenzie’s waist as he sucked one taut nipple into his mouth and knocked her hand away to take over the teasing of the other.
Kenzie let out a gasp as her knees buckled. His arm held her upright as he teased, licked, sucked, nipped, and generally worshiped her breasts. She steadied herself, tangling her fingers in his hair and moaning as she began to shudder.
“Rayne, I’m going to come.”
Rayne didn’t stop, her arousal was a musky sweet aroma that surrounded him, infusing him with a hunger like nothing he’d ever felt before. The steam of the shower carried the scent deep into his lungs as he breathed her in. Her scent was carried like oxygen to every cell in his body, and every cell tingled with pleasure.
He became a creature of desire as she came in his arms. He couldn’t wait. He was going to come and he needed to be inside her, to mark her, as she’d just marked him with her scent, with her sweet taste. She was his.
Holding her tight he surged to his feet, claiming her mouth as he pressed her back to the tile wall. Her hunger matched his own, her tongue driving into his mouth to lick his as she wrapped her arms around his neck her and her legs around his hips.
Adjusting his hold, he cupped her ass and drove his cock deep into her pussy. She pushed down, impaling herself and rocking her hips as she moaned, her orgasm still pulsing through the walls of her core. His balls drew up tight, but she felt too good. He clamped down his muscles and let the pleasure continue to rise.
When Kenzie tore her mouth from his, she was panting for breath. He kissed the column of her neck, nipping and teasing behind her ear as he continued to rock into her with slow, steady thrusts.
“Rayne, I’m so close again. Please.”
Her plea was unnecessary. He would always be there for her. He let his canines descend, a growl rumbling free as his cat grew impatient for him to claim their mate. He sucked at the spot he’d chosen, preparing her for his teeth.
“Do it, Rayne. I need you to claim me, too.”
He let his razor-sharp teeth slide into her delicate skin, her moan matching his as her blood coated his tongue. He couldn’t hold back, not now. He let his primal nature free, pounding into her as her pussy squeezed his cock as she came.
He locked his knees, holding them both upright as his orgasm tore through him. He withdrew his teeth and sealed his mark, his cat reveling in the sealing of their claim.
“Mine forever, Kenzie.”
He’d come home. Not just to Eminence, but to his life. A life he’d given up hope of ever having until that day in the bank. The day Kenzie’s scent had claimed him. Finding her had reset his life to where it was always meant to be. The fact she’d done the same for Trace and Baylor only deepened his love for her.
“You are our life now, Kenzie. I don’t know if you’ll ever understand how much you’ve given us with your love and acceptance.”
“I know that you’re mine. I can never understand all you’ve been through; I wasn’t there. I do promise to always listen if you need to talk and to always love you. All of you.”
The fact he hadn’t heard Baylor and Trace join them shocked him. As a soldier and a shifter, he was never caught unawares. “Shit. I didn’t even hear you.”
“You were a little busy,” Baylor said. “I think I’d have missed a bomb going off when I was inside our gorgeous mate.”