Easton Pope, a moose shifter, is known in the town of Sweet Water as being a standoffish recluse. But he isn’t trying to please anyone, and the isolation suits him well. Even when he sees his mate and the instinct to claim her rides him hard, he tries to convince himself he doesn’t need her.
Jessie, a serval cat shifter, has been brought back to Sweet Water due to her aunt’s passing. With her emotions turbulent, running free in the woods as her serval sounds like something to let off steam. But when she meets her mate in the towering form of a moose, she knows she can’t handle being claimed on top of grieving—so she runs, too.
They’ve both run from each other and their mating. Can Easton and Jessie complete the mating, or will their own hang-ups stop them from being together?
“Mine.” The word came from him on its own, as if his animal didn’t give a fuck that he was buried deep, and that Easton was human right now. “You’re mine, Jessie.” But she purred, fucking purred, for him, and that had this low, deep sound of need leaving him.
He tightened his hold on her, not wanting to hurt her, but also wanting her to know she was his. His animal was right there, telling him, demanding that he make Jessie theirs. “Do you want that, Jessie, want to be mine?” he asked, his voice distorted as his animal rose, as the need to shift was starting to break through his human side.
She gasped, and said, “This is so crazy, but yes, Easton, I want to be yours.”
He made another low sound in his throat. “You’re fucking mine.” He ran his teeth over her flesh, loved that she reached out and held onto his biceps, as if she needed stability. He pulled her closer, knew he could feel his erection prod her belly. He couldn’t help it, couldn’t help he was hard as fuck for her. Since seeing her in that diner he’d had this raging hard-on for Jessie, and knew she’d be the only one that could give him release.
“You feel how hard I am for you?”
She nodded, and he fucking loved that she closed her eyes, and breathed out roughly.
“You’re so hard.”
He growled low. “You see what you do to me?”
She nodded again.
“But I’m not going to push you, not make the claiming happen until you’re totally ready for that, baby.”
“Easton,” she whispered his name, her animal right there. She opened her eyes, and he saw the flash of the feline.
“I won’t be a bastard to you.”
“And even though we don’t know each other, I know you’d never be one to me, Easton. I can sense that you’re a good guy.”
The sound of her heart beating fast, of her honesty, the way she looked at him, shouldn’t have turned him on, but it did. “I might be a good man, Jessie, but if anyone came between us, anyone or anything thought of hurting you, I’d fucking kill them.” He hadn’t meant to be so blunt, but the fact remained he wanted to be honest with her in all things. “That should scare you, have you running from me, because I may not always be that good guy.”