Once Bitten [Spellbound Moon 1]
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by Loribelle Hunt
Category: Erotica/Menage Erotica/Fantasy
Description: Series: Spellbound Moon
Genre: Werewolf/Shape-shifter Paranormal Menage
Liza is Paladin, third in power in the Redhawke pack. Half witch, half werewolf, but without the ability to change forms, she has an acrimonious history with Caleb, the Alpha's heir. Then one explosive night, they explore her interest in submission, but he leaves the pack. And her. Five years later, the Alpha orders Liza to bring Caleb home. The years of distance have not dulled his anger at her, or the heat that once flared between them.
Caleb is biding time before returning to Redhawke. It's pleasurably spent with his lover Zach. When Liza shows up, once again at his father's bidding, he's angry and hurt, but he still wants her. This time he isn't letting her go. Zach takes one look at the woman and knows she's the one for them. But can he accept that her delicious submission in bed goes no further than the bedroom door?
Claimed by two werewolves, Liza struggles to move forward from the past with Caleb while getting to know Zach. But they'll have to respect her devotion to the pack and her warrior spirit if they're going to win her heart.
Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: Male/male sexual practice, menage.
eBook Publisher: Loose Id, LLC, 2010
eBookwise Release Date: April 2010
131 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [135 KB]
Reading time: 81-114 min.
Being a witch in a bar full of unfamiliar werewolves should have made her edgy. If they knew what she was, she wouldn't be welcome. Not that they'd greeted her with wide smiles and open arms. Sidelong looks spoke of caution and curiosity. Instead of worrying about possible hostilities though, she sat brooding into her beer at a small round table in a dark corner.
It's not that she wasn't uneasy. Hell, right now she could redefine the word. But for all the wrong reasons. The door opened, letting a burst of icy winter wind whirl through the room, and her head snapped up. Watching, waiting to see who would come through the opening. Her sigh of relief was misplaced considering her mission.
Find Caleb. Bring him home.
She remembered the alpha's order. Use whatever means necessary. Her heart twisted in her chest. She'd stood shivering on his front porch and tried to explain that she shouldn't be the one to go, that he'd left home because of her in the first place, but Grant refused to hear it, insisted she was the one to bring his son home.
The door opened again, and she shoved aside the longing to see his familiar face, reminded herself she was here to do a job. Nothing more. Nothing less. In and out, Liza, minimal heartbreak.
Around her, the bar filled up and the crowd got rowdier. She watched the females with barely restrained jealousy. Remembered the way Caleb had thrust her away from him after their only night together. His insistence, his furious vow, that he wouldn't risk mating with a human, and a witch at that, wouldn't take the risk his sons might be...less than him. Oh, he'd known exactly where to strike her with that. Right at her pride, right at the insecurity that drove her.
Usually a child of a human-lupine mating was wolf. Almost always. Occasionally one was born with latent abilities. Latency came in many forms, however. Some could only shift when the moon was close to full. Some could shift partially. Some had the strength and speed of a werewolf, but couldn't shift at all. Like her.
Her lips moved, a twisted parody of a smile. She knew all too well how rare those children were and was surprised at the bitterness that rose, sharp and piercing in her chest, thought she'd conquered it years ago. Being sent after Caleb Michaelson was bringing up insecurities she thought were in her past.
Even worse than being born human to a wolf were her useless talents, the powers she always felt just out of reach yet for some reason couldn't unlock. Her mother swore the dam would break one day, but she'd long since given up that hope and instead had molded herself into a person who could be useful to the pack despite her shortcomings. It didn't help that they should be sworn enemies. Witches and werewolves did not mingle. Her own mother had been banished for mating with a shifter.
She shook away the memories and concentrated on her job. It had been easy to track down Caleb. As the pack's paladin--the first ever female and not even a wolf--it was her job to know where everyone was at all times. She'd always known Caleb was here in this northern pack. He had a reputation as a playboy. That knowledge bit a little. Okay, a lot. She wasn't enough for him. But apparently no one else was either. That tiny bit of vindication had carried her through five years of lonely nights.
The door opened at the same time someone sat at her table blocking her view. He set a beer down in front her, and she realized with a jolt of shock that she'd actually finished hers. Maybe that explained the tightening in her throat, the sudden dryness. But there was also alarm. Maybe a little fear. He'd approached without her noticing. She hoped the magnolia that masked her natural scent was enough to conceal her genetics from him. Get with the program, Liza.
"Now what's such a pretty lady like you doing in our out-of-the-way little bar?" he murmured.
The interest in his tone was unmistakable. Under any other circumstances, she would have flirted with him, might have taken the time to see if he shared his species' suspicion of witches, even powerless ones. But not now. Not when she felt Caleb's presence close by, knew despite the dark corner she hid in that he saw her.
But maybe that worked to her advantage. Knowing that Caleb watched, she leaned forward in her seat, exposing her too-ample cleavage. She glanced around, bit her bottom lip as she mentally prepared herself to flirt with the stranger. Her gaze fell on Caleb though and his eyes snared her, pinned her in place. She sucked in a deep breath, determined not to fold to that icy disapproving glare.
She swore she could smell him. Feel him around her. The sudden memory of him thrusting inside her, claiming her, had her sucking in deep breaths. Wrenching her eyes away, she saw the other man had followed her line of sight. His fingers covered hers as she gripped the neck of the beer bottle.
"You're going to ignore me for Caleb?" He put a hand over his heart dramatically. "You wound me, sweetheart."
He startled a laugh out of her, and she wished circumstances were different.
"I don't think that's possible."
His hand was big and hot on hers. She looked up into his eyes. They were warm and inviting, his smile slight but oh so sexy. She wished she could take him up on his invitation, certain she wouldn't regret a night in bed with him.
"Back off, Zach. This one isn't available."
Astonished, she jerked up her head to meet Caleb's gaze. He sounded possessive, territorial. The other man, Zach, leaned back in his chair and folded his arms over his chest. Indolence and self-assurance oozed from his pores. If her soul didn't already belong elsewhere, she'd jump him and never look back. Zach arched an eyebrow.
"Changing the rules, Caleb?" All the teasing left his voice as he studied her. "Isn't that interesting? I don't think you should get to keep her all for yourself."
She caught her breath at the implied proposal, but before she could think about it, Caleb leaned over her shoulder and got in Zach's face. The air charged, electricity arcing among the three of them. She should speak up, get Caleb to back down, but his chest rubbed against her back and the contact she'd longed for for so long held her frozen in place.
He growled and she wondered what the hell was going on. Zach just cocked his head to the side and gave them both a considering look while he sniffed the air.
"Like that is it?"
"Yes. It's like that."
Zach held up his hands, his arms spread wide. An appeasing gesture, but his body was tense and his eyes were hard. Dangerous. He obviously knew Caleb well. She wanted to question him. Find out who he was. He met her gaze briefly, and she wondered if it really was pain that flashed through his eyes. What kind of relationship did he and Caleb have?
"This isn't like you."
"I know. Doesn't change anything. She's mine."
Zach stood and jerked his head to the side for Caleb to follow. Already engaged in a heated conversation, they stopped a few feet away. Too far for her to listen in. Both turned to glare at her a couple times, and as they spoke, they edged closer together until they brushed against each other. It wasn't until they didn't separate that she realized what she was witnessing. A lovers' quarrel. No wonder Caleb was never linked with anyone for long. Zach had implied they shared women. For Caleb to deny him that must have bit. Hard. He was jealous and she wondered if he'd believe that was a bond of kinship between them. How many times had she been jealous of one of Caleb's women? And she couldn't even call Caleb hers. Poor guy. She needed to say her piece and get the hell out.
They both stopped speaking abruptly when she approached. "Listen, I don't mean to cause any problems. I just need a minute of Caleb's time," she told Zach.
"Go sit down. I'll deal with you in a minute," Caleb ordered.
Zach rolled his eyes and she narrowed hers. "There are two people in the world I take orders from and you aren't one of them."
Zach barked a laugh. "Well, isn't that interesting. Your little human has claws." He crossed his arms over his chest. "Tell you what. Why don't you deal with her first; then I'll deal with you."
Oh hell no. She was not getting in the middle of that. Caleb gripped her shoulder when she spun around to leave. The look he gave her and Zach was furious, eyes glowing yellow, the wolf so close that she was surprised she didn't feel his claws on her shoulder.
"I'm not setting anything of mine free."
She didn't notice Zach's reaction to that statement, Caleb's words pissed her off so bad. She didn't belong to him. He'd made damned sure she understood that when he walked out on her. Before she could protest, he was leading her to the small dance floor. His arms were around her, pulling her into his tight embrace. His arousal was hard against her belly, and her nipples tightened in response. She squeezed her eyes shut. This was not happening. He didn't want her really. Before she knew it, they were swaying to the music and her body was heating up despite how she fought it.
"What are you doing here, Liza?"
She swallowed, wished she'd had another drink of that beer before he dragged her out here.
"I came to bring you home."
He arched an eyebrow.
"So you finally came after me?"
She snorted. Only in his dreams would she beg to get him back. She had more pride than that and he'd made his opinion of her clear. Besides, he had a life here. A boyfriend. She was not a poacher. "Your father wants you to come home. He sent me to get you."
His eyes narrowed, the chill of his anger washing over her. His tone was mocking. "So you're just here to do the alpha's bidding, huh?"
Her anger rose to meet his, and her spine tingled, her useless psychic abilities making themselves known. She stomped it down, all of it, reminding herself she was there to do a job, not have the same old argument with Caleb. Don't let him get to you. Obviously neither of them had changed one damned bit over the years.
"I'm here to do my job."
He stared at her several long heartbeats; then he smiled, a slow, sultry spread of his lips. Her breath caught in her lungs as she remembered what he could do with that mouth. She reminded herself with a sharp stab the awful things he could say with it too. The reminder didn't help.
"Your job." He paused with an assessing gleam in his eyes. "Your job is to convince me to come home?"
She nodded, her voice deserting her, but she had enough working brain cells left to be leery of his changed demeanor. He leaned forward, his lips grazing her neck in the lightest of kisses, the barest brush. His cock thrust against her belly.
"Convince me, Liza," he whispered. "Entice me to come home."
He nipped at the sensitive skin under her ear and she gasped. In outrage. In lust. Her head fell back to give him better access. One of his hands was on her ass holding her against his hard thighs while the other worked up the back of her shirt, slid over bare skin in a firm caress. Somehow she found the strength to push away from him, only a little disappointed when he let her go.
"So you're saying if I sleep with you, you'll come home?"
It hurt that he thought so little of her, but it enraged her at the same time. His eyes glittered, hot and full of lust and anger.
"And you'll sleep with me when I'm back. I'll need a reason to stay, won't I?"
"What about Zach? Doesn't he get a say?"
Caleb cocked an eyebrow. "Zach likes to share women just as much as I do. You can't deny you were interested, baby."
So she was just another warm body, was she? The man had a lot of nerve, and her palm itched with the need to slap the smug look off his face.
"I'll tell your father you wouldn't come."
She spun around, prepared to get the hell out before she gave into the demands of her body, still clamoring for him despite how much her brain and heart protested. Zach hadn't moved from where he leaned against the wall, and she turned in his direction when he met her gaze. Those eyes promised hot, sweaty sex. Not a distraction she needed, but she wanted to assure him that she wasn't a threat to his relationship with Caleb.
Caleb grabbed her elbow before she could stalk off, but instead of spinning her back around he led her out of the bar and into the frigid night air. Shit. Nothing was going her way tonight. Might as well escape while she could. She dug her keys out of her pocket and tried to pull free of his grasp. He didn't release her.
"Let me go, Caleb. I'll be out of your life before you know it."
"Like hell you will," he muttered.
He turned right into the parking lot, and she tried to dig in her heels.
"I'm not parked over here."
He stopped at a truck, opened the door. "I am. Get in."
"My stuff is inside. My coat? My purse?"
"Zach will bring them. Get. In. The. Truck. Liza."
Did he have to emphasize that order so clearly? She considered refusing, but one look at his severe expression and she knew it wouldn't do her any good. Sighing, she got in the truck and buckled the seatbelt in silence while she waited for him to walk around and get in the driver's side. A couple of miles from the bar, he turned onto a driveway that twisted up the side of a mountain. It ended in front of a small, dark cabin and he got out, glaring at her until she too exited the relative safety of the cab. He ushered her inside, and she shivered.
"I'll get a fire going. It'll warm up quick in here."
She watched his broad back as he bent to the task, piling wood in the fireplace, striking a match. He stood and slowly turned to look at her. He stared, his gaze traveling up and down the length of her body several times as if memorizing her. Or comparing the reality of her to his memory of her. She shivered again, wondering what he saw. The form-fitting V-necked sweater did nothing to hide her hard nipples, and his eyes lingered over them. She ignored the temptation to cross her arms and hide her breasts from his view.
"What's wrong with Dad?"
It was just about the last thing she'd expected him to ask, and she frowned.
"Nothing. He just wants you to come home."
He chuckled. "He could have sent you after me before if that was all."
She shrugged. She wasn't discussing the alpha's plans with anyone, not even his son. Caleb approached her, a slow stalk that kept her frozen in place. He reached out and pushed a stray strand of hair out of her face.
"He knew I couldn't resist you. Never could," he whispered, leaning down, crowding in. His mouth hovered over hers, close but not touching. Her breath hitched, then increased to a rapid rhythm. Anticipation overtook her. He was going to kiss her, and it had been so long since she'd let anyone kiss her. No one did it like Caleb. No one did anything like Caleb. She tilted her head to meet him, rose up on her toes, and he jerked back as if slapped.
She took a deep breath, struggled to steady her pounding heart. Okay. So he didn't want her. She'd known that, but it still hurt. He kept his back to her.
"There's a shower down the hall. First door on the left."
What the hell?
He straightened, slowly turned to face her. She couldn't read his expression.
"You reek of magnolias. Stupid." He shook his head. "You shouldn't have been in that bar, Liza. It didn't take Zach long to figure out what you are. How long before someone else would have?"
She scowled. She didn't need Caleb to tell her how to do her job or give her safety tips. It had been an acceptable risk. She was the Redhawke paladin and the beta's daughter--it afforded her more protection than most, and if it didn't, she could take care of herself.
"Just go take a shower. Or am I stuck with it? Is it one of your mother's spells?"
Sort of. She'd bathed in the scent and her mother used her power to ensure it clung to her, but spells only went so far. Water would rinse it off. She didn't bother explaining that, just turned and walked down the hall.