Heather Simmons is excited to start a new job in Alberta, Canada, as a glaciologist. But when a minor accident leaves her trapped on a hiking trail overnight, she finds herself facing a burly mountain man and a pair of grizzly bears. From that moment forward, things could not get weirder.
Isaiah Arthur knows instinctively that Heather is his mate the moment he scents her clothing before heading up the mountain to rescue her. The sensation is confusing since she is obviously human, and converting a human to his species is strictly forbidden.
A rogue shifter takes Heather’s transition out of Isaiah’s hands, however. Isaiah is left with no choice but to take her home and find a way to inform her of her unintended fate while fighting the intense need to make her his as soon as possible.
The North American governing body, the Arcadian Council, is not amused by the rare turning of a human, and chaos ensues as Isaiah races against the clock to bind his mate to him forever before someone steps in the way and takes the opportunity out of his hands.
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“You’re sure about this?” Heather asked five minutes later as Isaiah pulled the truck up to another gorgeous cabin in the woods. It wasn’t as large as his parents’ home, but it appeared to have the same builder because it had a similar look.
“Positive.” He turned off the engine and jumped down from the truck before she had a chance to say anything else. Two seconds later, she was once again in his arms.
She could get used to being pressed against his chest. It unnerved her how attracted she was to him, but it felt…right. Which made her more nervous.
As she held on to his neck, she spoke again. “I hope you don’t feel somehow obligated to take care of me because of a scratch. I’ll be fine. It wasn’t your fault.”
He frowned. “It sort of was my fault.”
“How do you figure? Did you lure that bear out of the woods and taunt it into attacking me?” Huh. Actually, he did indeed seem to taunt the bear.
“No. I didn’t lure the bear. You’re right.” He didn’t comment on the taunting part as he climbed the steps to his equally amazing porch and then opened the front door and carried her inside.
“If you’re going to carry me everywhere, I might milk this sprained ankle for a while.” Holy shit. Did I say that out loud?
He tipped his head toward her and winked, sharing another of his half smiles. “Milk it, baby. It’s definitely no hardship holding you in my arms.”
She flushed. Her entire body was on fire. She was still wearing nothing over her upper body but the ripped shirt missing one sleeve. No coat. It was warmer outside than it had been during the night, but still should have been too chilly to go without at least a jacket. But hers had been ruined. And for some reason, she was not cold.
This sexual banter between them was crazy. She’d even started it. Who the hell was she today?
Once again she found herself whisked right through the living room without a chance to notice a single piece of furniture or décor. Her gaze was still pinned on his face.
What she did notice was his scent permeating the entire space, making her grip her knees together and squirm in his embrace. Since when was she so drawn to a man’s scent?
Of course, part of the reason she was so attracted to Isaiah surely had to do with how long it had been since she’d last had a steady boyfriend, which correlated precisely with how long it had been since she’d had sex. Over two years.
She’d been busy making a name for herself in her field, with no time for dating and even less time for the sort of men she usually met at work. The people in her Portland office were so nerdy and serious all the time. Most of them were married, and in some cases she shuddered to think what their wives were like.
She had hoped her prospects in Alberta would be better. Then again, she’d been in the province only two days and she was currently being carried through a sexy man’s home. Maybe this job choice had been exactly perfect. And maybe she had been wrong to beat herself up all night over a sprained ankle. Blessings came in strange wrapping paper.
When Heather finally tore her gaze off the man who met her sexual banter tit for tat, she found herself in a bathroom.
Isaiah tipped her to one side and set her on the counter.
She grabbed the edges. “Uhh…” What the hell were they doing in the bathroom?
Isaiah ignored her to reach for the faucet on the gorgeous whirlpool tub. He turned it on, touched the water, and then turned toward her. “I figure you’d like to bathe, and you probably wouldn’t be able to stand easily in the shower.”
He was right. She felt disgusting under her hiking pants and the now torn, long-sleeved thermal shirt.
God, she was a mess. Her concentration was shot, and she blamed his absurdly sexy body for every lost brain cell. “A bath would be perfect.” She glanced around the room. It was a dream bathroom. His house had to be either newly renovated or brand new because everything in the room was shiny and perfect, from the granite in white and brown swirls to the white cabinets and the glass shower. There were nozzles coming out of the walls in that shower. If she had the ability to stand, she would love to check it out.
Isaiah opened a narrow door next to what she assumed was a small separate toilet room. He pulled out a huge, plush, white towel and set it on the counter. “I don’t have any girly shampoo or whatever you’re used to, but we can fix that later. For now, can you make do with mine?”
She startled. “Of course. I’m not that picky. Soap is soap.”
He smiled again and approached, almost as if he were stalking her. When he reached her, he set his hands on her thighs. “You got this?”
“What if I don’t?” she taunted, again clearly no longer the owner of her own body. She tucked her lips in between her teeth as if that would suck the words back.
He moaned. Moaned. Closing his eyes, he tipped his head back, elongating his neck.
She had the sudden desire to run her tongue along the tight muscles of his neck and lick a line up to his mouth or down to his chest. The flannel shirt he wore revealed the slightest sprinkling of hair sticking out the top. She would give anything to see his chest.
When he lowered his face, he met her gaze, not laughing. “Baby, there are so many things we need to talk about, but first you should relax a few minutes, soak in the water. You’ll feel so much better.”
“Now, if you need any help getting undressed and into the tub…”
Heat raced up her cheeks again. She gripped her knees together again also. Why did the timbre of his voice reach her clit?
He sobered a bit and righted himself, still gripping her thighs, but no longer leaning into her quite as closely. “Listen, if I’m overstepping my bounds let me know. I’m not going to lie. I’m attracted to you. And this banter we have going on is sexy as hell. But I also don’t want you to be uncomfortable in my home. So, please, tell me to back off.”
As if God had given her a sign, a neon sign, she reached for Isaiah’s neck with both hands and hauled his face toward hers. Without allowing herself to overthink things, she set her gaze on his lips and drew them all the way to hers.
His mouth was warm, and his lips parted when she touched them with her own. At first her kiss was tentative, nibbling along his fuller mouth, enjoying the first blatant sexual connection.
His fingers tightened on her thighs, making her moan into his mouth. That was when he angled his head to one side and deepened the kiss, taking full control. His tongue slid between her lips to devour her as if he were starving. His hand slid along her thighs and around to her hips to haul her closer to the edge of the counter.
Her heart raced as he nudged her legs apart with his thighs and situated himself between her knees.
The subtle tingling in her clit became a full roar of need. Her panties grew wet from her arousal and rubbed maddeningly against her swollen clit. She gripped his neck tighter, holding him as if he might get away if she let go.
She couldn’t breathe, and she didn’t want to. All she wanted was for this moment in time to freeze right here and never end. She didn’t want to know more or less about the man kissing her. The timing for this connection was perfect. She knew everything about Isaiah that would lure her to him and nothing about him that would later annoy her.
He had a kind and giving spirit, rushing to the rescue of a stranger in the woods and even confronting an enormous angry bear to save her.
He loved his parents and his sibling.
He was sexy as hell.
His pensive brooding gave him a mysterious quality that caused a ball of desire to build in her stomach.
He was doting. Any woman would be lucky to have him as a boyfriend. Considering how well he treated a perfect stranger, he would no doubt be the most adoring lover on earth.
Whatever faults he had, she didn’t know them yet. Was he a slob? His bathroom would attest to the opposite. Did he eat with his mouth open? Leave the toilet seat up? Was he an obnoxious drunk?
Was he a shitty lover? After all, why didn’t he have a woman? Did he roll over after reaching his own orgasm and fall asleep? She found that hard to believe.
His hands curled into her back, hauling her closer as he continued to kiss the sense out of her. When did he completely take over? She didn’t care. His dominance was even hotter than his tentativeness.
When they finally broke free, it was a slow parting that ended with Isaiah easing his mouth off hers but continuing to kiss her lips and then placing a line of kisses toward her ear.
She shuddered when his mouth landed on her lobe and his warm breath filled her ear. “What was that?”
“A kiss?” Her voice sounded as though it belonged to another woman. She didn’t recognize it.
He chuckled against her, leaning closer. “That was way more than a kiss, you little imp. That was a claiming.”
Becca Jameson is the best-selling author of the Wolf Masters series and The Fight Club series. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband and two kids. With over 50 books written, she has dabbled in a variety of genres, ranging from paranormal to BDSM. When she isn’t writing, she can be found jogging with her dog, scrapbooking, or cooking. She doesn’t sleep much, and she loves to talk to fans, so feel free to contact her through e-mail, Facebook, or her website.
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