Mating Brand Page 1

Author: Laurann Dohner

Series: Mating Heat #3

Genres: Fantasy , Romance


The past

Hot, slick skin drew her mouth to his flat belly. The sheets had been kicked off. The window air conditioner droned softly from the other room but it wasn’t a match for the sweltering heat of an early Texas summer. Charma licked a bead of sweat just under Brand’s bellybutton. She loved his taste, his scent—everything about him. He instantly responded. His cock stiffened, lengthened and proudly rose to full mast as a soft moan rumbled from his broad chest. She grinned and kissed the curve of his hip. His large hand fumbled for her hair, missed, and gripped her bare shoulder.

“Good morning,” he rasped.

“Not quite but it’s getting there.” She lifted a little, gauged how awake he was, and opened her mouth again. Her tongue traced the underside of his shaft, making his cock twitch.

He raised his head to stare at her with passion-filled eyes. Their soft brown depths appeared more golden than chestnut when he woke. His nose flared and his body tensed. “You’re going into heat.”

She nodded, purposely breathing warm air on his sex as she spoke. “I know. I realized it when I woke. Should I take the pills? I need to start them right away to mute and control it, otherwise it’s going to hit me full force in a matter of hours.”

“Don’t take them. We’ll call in sick for the next few days.” His hand caressed her shoulder. “I survived last month.” His full, generous mouth curved into a grin. “I’m up for it.”

She glanced down at the impressive evidence right in front of her mouth. “You certainly are.”

He sat up. “Come here.”

“I’m good where I am.”

“You’re better than good but I also remember how aggressive you get.” He chuckled. “And while I’m tough, I don’t want your fangs giving me any accidental piercings.”

“I won’t bite.”

“Hon, it’s the only time of the month you grow fangs. I love you but I’m not risking it. I wouldn’t be much good to you packed in ice until I heal tomorrow.”

Charma pouted. “I want to taste you.”

“Trust me. I’d love that too but you aren’t really in control right now. Want me to show you the scars on my shoulder from last month?”

“I’m so sorry.”

“It’s okay. It’s not a complaint. Stop apologizing. I like wearing your marks.”

She sat up. “You could put a scar on me and I’d feel better.”

Brand lunged, took her down flat on her back and pinned her under him. “It was an accident. You didn’t mean to bite into me and I’d never mar your beautiful skin.”

Her mood darkened. “I know.”

“Hey.” He adjusted over her until their noses touched and stared into her eyes. “You’re the one who won’t mate with me. I want you to. That’s the only way I’ll ever sink my teeth into you.”

She turned her head away to study the wall. Tears threatened to spill but she managed to blink most of them back. “You know I can’t.”

She could smell their pain as it filled the room, mingled, until she couldn’t detect which one of them scented of it more strongly. Brand suddenly rolled away and climbed off their bed. He stormed toward the door.

“Take your pills.”

“You’re going to punish me?”

He stopped. She could stare at his big sexy body all day. He didn’t turn to look at her. “It’s getting harder for me not to mate you. I think it’s best if you take them to manage your heat. You’d hate me if I lost control.” He left the room.

She lay there staring at the empty doorway long after she heard the shower come on. The urge to join him made her ache. It wasn’t just because her body throbbed for sex or that hormones now raged inside her. She loved Brand with all her heart and wanted nothing more than to mate with him. She just knew it could never happen.

Memories of four months ago filled her mind…

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

She was sitting in class listening to the history professor drone on and she barely heard the door open to admit someone who’d arrived late. She’d been tapping her thigh lightly with her thumb, trying to pay attention, but boredom had taken hold. A scent filled her nose, nearly sending her into a panic.

She jerked her head to stare across the room at the really large, tall, black-haired male who took a seat. He didn’t so much sit as plop down in an indolent sprawl. He had to be six foot four and about two hundred forty pounds. Most would assume from his beefy, muscular body that he belonged on the college football team. Charma knew better. The distinctive smell of werewolf assured her of the danger he posed.

It was clear the second he caught her scent. Instantly alert, he sat up straight. His head snapped in her direction and his dark gaze focused on her. Her fingers dug into her jeans as terror gripped her. The only thing that kept her from bolting out of her seat to run for her life was fifty students and the boring professor who were witnesses. He’d never attack her in front of humans. She was safer to remain still.

He frowned but then did the unexpected. He lifted a hand and gave her a small wave. She gaped at him until a slow grin spread across his handsome face. Those soft brown eyes didn’t flash a warning of impending attack. He winked instead before looking away to ignore her for the rest of the class.

Charma lingered inside the classroom after it ended, afraid to go outside in case he waited to drag her somewhere remote. There were plenty of places on the large Texas campus where no one would witness her death. Filled with dread, she headed for the door, knowing she couldn’t hide there any longer.

He stood outside, as she’d feared. She stiffened, her heart pounded hard enough to cause pain and she trembled. She knew she had no chance of surviving when he attacked.

“Calm down. I’m no threat.” He frowned. “Damn, you’re terrified. There’s no reason to be.”

She didn’t believe him. They were natural enemies.

“I came to college to learn.” His voice was pleasant, husky. “You know—meet new people, experience new things. You’re the only person I’ve run into who is…” He paused and glanced around, before meeting her gaze again. “Special.”

She couldn’t find her voice. It had to be a trap. He wanted to play with her, maybe lure her into a false sense of security and then strike for the fun of seeing the shock on her features before her death.