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Wolf shifter Nikki Black never expected her love life to mean the difference between lasting peace and all-out war. Especially when her fated, Luke Andres, wants nothing to do with her. Forced to join to prevent bloodshed between their rival clans, Nikki and Luke enjoy a blistering night of passion before facing another complication—Luke’s brother is also Nikki’s destined mate.
Mason Andres is passionate, loving, and sexy, and Nikki falls hard for him, thrilled that he feels the same. She wants the same love-match with Luke, but that’s the one thing Luke can’t risk giving her. Fighting destiny to keep his heart safe from the only woman who can claim it, Luke makes plans that could separate them for good. But when love and passion run soul-deep, fate can overturn even the best-laid plans.
Will Luke admit his love for Nikki before it’s too late, or will his wounded heart destroy the trio’s shot at lasting happiness?
“Nikki—” her father began, clearly not getting that she didn’t want to talk to him.
“Excuse us.” A large hand reached between them to take Nikki’s arm. “They’re playing our song.” It was Luke, and Nikki wouldn’t have been more surprised if one of the guests suddenly sprouted wings and flew away. He was asking to dance with her? Was that a smile she saw? Nikki actually looked to the sky for the lightning that was sure to strike at any minute.
Warily, she allowed him to lead her onto the temporary dance floor and wrap his arms around her waist.
He whispered in her ear as he swayed to the slow music, rocking her along with him. “Let’s make it look good.”
Nikki wrapped her arms around his neck, perplexed but hopeful. Maybe he was going to behave decently toward her now that they were officially joined. “Thank you—for rescuing me over there.”
“You looked like you needed to get away. And we do have a common enemy. One thing we can both agree on right now is how much we loathe our fathers for this.”
Nikki shook her head. “Who would have thought it would take mutual anger to bring us together?” She looked up into his gray eyes and the rest of the world just seemed to melt away. She felt every hard line of his body, every muscle, and if she wasn’t mistaken, that was the beginnings of an erection pressing up against her belly. His arms tightened around her and her gaze drifted from his eyes to his full lips and back again, even as her own lips parted in anticipation of his kiss. Maybe the rest of their joining day wouldn’t be so bad, she thought, as he leaned closer, the desire to kiss her clear in his eyes. But then he surprised her by moving toward her ear instead of her lips.
“I did you a favor, getting you away from the old man, but let’s not get carried away.” His lips grazed her ear as he whispered, sending tiny waves of anticipation straight to her core.
“What do you mean?” She pulled back to look up at him and had to remind herself, not for the first time, that it would be a mistake to get lost in his eyes. Unfortunately, his mouth was just as dangerous a focal point. His lips screamed sex, and on the few occasions she’d made the mistake of watching his mouth while he talked, her pussy had immediately gotten wet and she’d managed to miss at least half of what he’d said.
“Look, I know I was a sort of a dick at first…”
“Sort of? That’s the understatement of the century.”
“Fair enough, but the point is, I made it clear I didn’t want a mate, that I wasn’t ready. And I want you to know it’s not about you.”
“Oh great, is this one of those ‘it’s not me, it’s you’ speeches? Because if it is, spare me. I already know it’s you.” She had to work hard to keep her voice even and matter-of-fact.
“You don’t sugarcoat much, do you?” He had the nerve to sound amused.
“Nope, I’m a straight-shooter.”
“Good, so you’ll appreciate what I have to say. You’re a beautiful woman, and being close to you like this has an incredible effect on me. I want you—badly. There’s no question of that, but wanting you doesn’t change how I feel about this joining. I went through with it for the same reasons you did, but I don’t want you to set yourself up for disappointment.”
“Okay…” She wasn’t quite sure what he was talking about, and once again, he was the king of the understatement. She could clearly feel how hard he was for her. Frankly, she wouldn’t be surprised if his erection tore a hole in his pants.
“Look, what I’m trying to say is that you shouldn’t expect this to be a love match. That…It’s just not in me. I’ll do my duty, but…that’s it. I can’t offer you more than that.”
“I don’t know what to say.” Nikki hated that his words hadn’t dampened her desire any. The last thing she wanted to do after that speech was want him.
“I have a feeling that doesn’t happen very often.”
They danced in silence as one song ended and the band struck up another slow favorite. “Say something,” Luke said.
“What for? You have this all figured out. I’m stuck with a mate who is determined to never love me. What do you expect me to say to that?”
“Well…” He stroked his knuckles over her cheek, then her lips. “We can still enjoy each other.”
Oh, God. Her pussy tightened at his touch. Nikki knew she’d live to regret how excited his words made her feel, but just then, she didn’t care. The call of her mate’s body was just too strong. “So, you want to fuck me, but you plan to keep feelings out of it. Got it.”
His armed tightened around her waist and he trailed a single finger down the side of her neck and over her collarbone, stopping where the tops of her breasts swelled out of her dress. “Tell me you don’t feel the same.” He leaned down and buried his nose in her neck. Damn it, he was smelling her. “You can’t hide how badly you want me.”
Her nipples were hard enough to cut glass and her pussy was so wet she needed to change her panties. “I can’t hide it, so I won’t bother denying it.”
“And you can accept that we won’t have a love match?” He was facing her again, his lips just inches from hers.
“What possible difference does that make? As you pointed out, we’re stuck with each other now.”
Luke smiled again, and this time she could swear it was genuine. Leaning in further, he claimed her mouth in the first real kiss they’d ever shared. His lips were the perfect combination of smooth and sensual, and firm and demanding, and Nikki couldn’t help but lean into his kiss, into him.
When he finally released her mouth, she was breathless. He looked down at her and she could swear his eyes were darker than normal.
“Good,” he said. “Because I, for one, am tired of waiting for the fun part to begin.”
Suzette Rose Cauler has loved books (all types really) for as long as she can remember. As a child, she’d get lost in books for hours, using a flashlight to read under the covers long past bedtime. She read her first romance novel as a preteen and was immediately hooked by the swoon-worthy heroes and daring, spunky damsels. Though her reading tastes have definitely matured, Suzette continues to enjoy romance novels, especially those of the erotic, paranormal, fantasy, or historical variety. She writes almost as voraciously as she reads and typically falls head over heels in love with her heroes.
Though everyday types of romantic situations do appeal to her, stories that include adventure, intrigue, or danger have always made Suzette’s heart go pitter patter. If they incorporate some science fiction too, she is even happier. You’ll find elements like these in most of her stories as well as strong heroines who can fight their own battles but sometimes enjoy letting someone else take the lead.
Suzette lives on the East Coast with five special people who help keep her spirit young and her imagination fresh.