These weeks are just flying by. I find it hard to believe that the kids are in their second week of their Easter holidays already, and will be back at school this time next week. Anyhoo, it's Wednesday and that means it's time to tease you all, thanks to our fabulous host, Sandra Bunino.
I'm going to share another tease from The Mating Project. Now, I don't know about you, but I love a good villain, and this story has a great one. His influence will still be felt in the next story of this series.
To set up the scene, Maria is at her parent's place for a family only dinner. Unbeknownst to her, her father has invited Anton de Souza, the man he has chosen to be Maria's mate... and she is not very happy about this, especially as she's already secretively mated to Silas!
Her dad in particular seemed most uncomfortable. He might have given his blessing to Anton to persuade her into mating with him, but he wanted what was best for her, she knew that. In his eyes, having his only daughter mated to an original would protect her and give her the status he wanted for her. Too bad Maria had never cared much for the status quo.
"I'm fine, thank you." Her reply came out far too forced, and the pressure on her elbow increased enough to leave bruises on her sensitive skin.
In her head Silas's worry increased tenfold. She should be annoyed that he was still probing, and Lord only knew how he did it, considering the man himself was miles away, but having them here calmed Maria's agitated beast. All she had to do was get through this walk, keep De Souza at arm's length, and then she could get out of here.
Sounded easy enough, but an army of butterflies started a merry dance in her tummy the minute Anton let go of her arm and helped to pull her chair back. Oh yes, the perfect gentleman, but her skin still stung where his fingertips had dug into her arm. However, two could play this game, and Maria was neither a coward nor a pushover, so she smiled up at him, downed the contents of her wine glass with a mutinous glare toward her father, and stalked off to the outside.
Anton followed with the quiet stealth of his animal, and Maria shook her head to clear it off the alcohol induced fogginess, when the fresh air hit her straight in the gut. The world swayed slightly, and Anton was right there, a solid wall behind her.
They were still in view of the dining room, and as far as their onlookers could tell, Anton was merely making sure she didn't fall, but the heavy erection digging into her ass told of other intents. As did the hand he wrapped around her hair and tugged her along with, down the path, and out of sight.
It took a few moments for Maria to get her bearings, but by the time he spun her up and into the sheltered gazebo her mind was clear again. Her scalp stung with the sheer force of his hold on her, and the breath left her lungs with a whoosh when he slammed her against the side of the wooden structure. The slats dug into her bare back, and she flinched as the rough texture took the first few layers of epidermis with her. The pressure on her scalp seized, and he yanked her arms up instead and kicked her legs apart. Every fiber of her being tensed when he inhaled against her neck and then licked along her jaw line. His eyes glowed in the dim light of the setting sun, and Maria swallowed down the bile clogging her throat.
"The perfume was a nice trick, but did you really think I couldn't smell him on you?" His smile could only be described as evil incarnate. "His stink is all over you. You can't fool me, my sweet."
"I have no idea what you're talking about, Anton."
His laugh chilled her to the bone.
"Of course you do, but that's okay. I'll let you have your little bit of fun—for now." As abruptly as he grabbed her, he released her, and Maria darted away from him to the opposite side of the gazebo. This had always been her favorite place to hide out as a child, but right now, she wanted to tear the damn thing to the ground.
"I shall make this simple for you, sweet thing." She grimaced at the inane pet name. "I've been after Silas Deacon for ages. I want him on the Mating Project, and you, my sweet little Maria, will make sure he agrees to my terms, or…"
He flashed his elongated canines at her, and Maria knew full what he meant.
"What makes you think you can threaten me? You just wait ‘til my father hears of this, he'll—"
"He'll what?" Anton interrupted her and leant back against the very place he'd held her captive, and lit up one of the sickly cigars he favored. He took a deep draft and then crossed the measly distance between them in one leap and blew the smoke straight into her face.
Maria's eyes watered, and her lungs burned as she coughed the smoke she'd inadvertently inhaled, back up again.
"I'm an original, Maria. Your father is a mere councilor, and whilst he has influence it won't reach very far. What do you think the council will say to the fact the he has allowed his only daughter and a pure blood cougar to boot, to run about town screwing whoever she fancied for the last ten years? Somehow I don't think they'll be too pleased, will they, now?"
He paused again, and his eyes bled back to their usual silver grey orbs. His stare was no less menacing, though, and Maria crossed her arms and inched away from him some more.
"So I tell you how it will be. You will make sure Deacon signs up to the project, and I will let him live." He smiled at her gasp. "I'll even let you fuck him for a while, and once he's signed the contract, you and I will be mated in front of the council, and then, my little cat, you're all mine."
Cold sweat trickled down Maria's back, and hearing Silas's pet name for her coming from this man's lips turned her stomach.
"Don't you dare call me that, and you're deluded if you think you'll get away with this. I'd rather kill myself than sleep with you."
If Maria had thought to get a reaction out of him she was mistaken. Nothing seemed to shake this guy, and her cat whimpered and burrowed in deeper into her skin.
"Words are easy, little cat." He chuckled to himself when she flinched at the moniker. "And if you really have a death wish that can be arranged. Once you've given me a litter of cubs. You're strong and healthy, and your family is clearly fertile, unlike the dud I was married to before. Stupid bitch couldn't carry one of my babies to term."
Maria closed her eyes and shook her head. No, this was a nightmare. He couldn't be allowed to get away with any of this. She wouldn't let him. Malachi would know what to do. How she could be so sure of that, she had no idea, but it gave her the strength to summon her cat. The animal snarled, and Maria growled at Anton. His stoic smile slipped slightly when she unsheathed her claws and cut that vile cigar in half.
"Those will kill you, and if they don't, I will. No one threatens what's mine, original or not."
Being together could mean death to them all, but walking away is not an option…
Bloodlines need to be protected at all costs and as a true-blood cougar Maria is expected to mate with a council-approved shifter. Too bad the one chosen makes her skin crawl for all the wrong reasons.
But running away already landed her in hot water once before. Wolf shifter Malachi Luca saved her life ten years ago, and then promptly disappeared with her heart. So much for true love.
Now time is running out and Maria is feeling the strain. Seducing Professor Silas Deacon should be a welcome distraction except the human turns out to be her mate, too.
And that damn wolf—yeah he's back and determined to claim both his cat and his human. What's a girl to do? Fight for love and enjoy the awesome sex, of course.
Be Warned: menage sex (MMF), m/m sex, bondage, spanking, anal sex
Do check out the other fabulous teasers this week.