Page 15

 Lauren Dane

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God, at some point, he’d have to deal with that himself. Another male having sex with his mate. He knew it logically. It was part of who and what they were, and in the end, it kept her safe. But right at that moment, the reality of it was a little hard to get around.
“Is this what you want? Is she what you want? You know if you don’t seal the bond, there will be another woman at some point.”
“I want her so much I can’t think straight. You should see her. Christ. She’s so badass. She ran after this guy today and took him out with a leaping tackle. She’s fierce and beautiful, and she’s my match on so many levels.”
Nick grinned. “Yeah? We can always use more badass females in Pacific.”
“One step at a time. I have to take it slow. She’s not a wolf. Hell, she’s a witch but I know more about witches than she does. I want her to see how much more of the world, her world, there is.”
“And there’s the matter of you dumping her.”
“Yeah, because I’d forgotten that. Thanks, Nick.”
His friend smirked. “Just saying. Did you explain it to her?”
“I did and we talked more about it today. I think she understands. There’s chemistry between us, no doubt. She didn’t deny it after the kiss. I just have to be smart and take my time. I can do this.” And he’d have to use a condom until she was ready to seal the bond, because once he came inside her, that was it. The bond would be formed. They’d end up in bed very soon. There was far too much attraction between them to deny for too long.
Gabe leaned out to grab a handful of popcorn. “I understand why you want to take it slow, but the longer you wait to tell her, the harder it’s going to be for her to understand.”
“Easy for you guys to say, your mate was a wolf. She knew about this world, about what it all means.”
Gabe shrugged. “Doesn’t matter. You get what you get. If she’s worth it, you’ll find a way. You’re a smooth dude. I’ve seen you charm your way into plenty of panties. And you’ve been with her before. She knows you.”
He stayed a few hours more, hearing a report on Nick’s niece and nephew who they’d ended up raising after they’d all taken over the pack. They were both in college now, doing great. Tracy came down after she’d put the girls to bed, and they’d watched a movie before he headed back home.
He took a walk to check on the guy watching the hotel, standing for some time gazing at the window to her room.
“Lights went off before nine. No movement since.”
“Good. Thanks.” He ambled back home, hoping she got some rest because morning would come early and she needed it.
She was awake before six, restless. Wanting to see him. God. God. God. Why did it have to be Josh? Why did he have to be so nice and helpful on top of a heaping spoonful of gorgeous?
And why was it so hard to stop thinking of him? When she’d been with Mark, it hadn’t been so intense. She’d loved him and they’d had a healthy sex life and all that jazz. But when he’d gotten the job in Seattle and asked her to move with him, she’d known it was a step she wasn’t willing to take.
She’d loved him, yes, but it hadn’t been enough.
Josh though? Well, she knew him. Or a version of him.
She rolled from bed and pulled on a pair of shorts and a T-shirt. She’d work out in the hotel gym. She’d been lucky to have caught Charlie yesterday. If she hadn’t been in shape she might not have. It was a good reminder how important that part of the job was.
Plus, she thought once she got running on the treadmill, it was always a good way to take her mind off things. To just let go and give over to her body.
But of course her body wanted to think about Josh too. She should feel guilty about the kiss, shouldn’t she? After all she was supposed to have been entirely focused on Allie, and instead she made out with an ex-boyfriend.
There had been hours upon hours she spent with Josh back in the day. Lying on a blanket looking up at the stars as she poured out her hopes and dreams. When he’d left that had been what she’d missed so much. Being able to have that depth of connection with someone else.
She was close with Allie, but it hadn’t ever been the same as those times she’d spent, falling in love with Josh under the stars. Though she supposed not for him either, because she’d been falling for him and he’d just walked away.
Which wasn’t entirely fair. Now that she’d heard the whole story, she’d understood. If she had been human, he couldn’t have told her. Couldn’t have come back to Roseburg to do what? His life was better here in Portland without a doubt.
She’d missed him a great deal. And there’d been this comfort and connection with him the day before. She could talk with him about all the craziness of the case. No one else really but him.
He’d listened. And helped. Had put aside his own job to help with hers. To help not just because it was these dangerous mages, but because she’d asked him to.
At least thinking about him had made the five miles pass relatively easily and quickly. She headed back up to her room to find him standing at the door.
“Is everything all right?” Great, she looked like a sweaty mess.
“I was about to ask you the same. I was worried when I couldn’t hear movement inside.”
“I’m not that…oh you have super hearing. I forget about that. I need to shower and we can get moving.” She unlocked, and he followed her inside, standing very close. But the only thing that bothered her about it was she had to have been smelly.