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Authors: Naomi Jones

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BOOK: An Alpha's Claim
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Nathan quickly stepped between them forcing Dagger to let go of her hand. “Bring Naya inside so she can meet everyone. You’ll be the one training her on how to shift.” He moved closer so only his brother could hear. “Do not claim her.”

Dagger’s angry, mantis-green eyes almost made Nathan take a step back.
It could be dangerous. Her body hasn’t taken animal form since she was twelve. You could kill her.

Dagger closed his eyes in defeat and sidestepped Nathan.

“Naya, my brother will bring you inside and introduce you to everyone. Welcome to the pack,” Nathan said, keeping his intro short and to the point.

“Okay.” She took the hand he offered and followed him inside. Nathan turned his attention back to Regine who was fighting not to smile.

“Dagger won’t claim Naya. At least not until her shifting abilities get back into gear.”

“He’d better hope her boyfriend is out of the picture as well,” Regine said as they followed them.

Dagger introduced Naya to everyone and then pulled a few to the side to explain about training. Nathan shook his head in mild interest at the pair. Regine, on the other hand, was grinning at them.

“I’ve never seen Naya this happy before,” Regine said.

“She’ll fit in well here. Let’s go inside,” Nathan tugged on Regine’s hand and she resisted slightly.

“Shouldn’t we…”

“Naya is with Dagger. Everyone’s out running and patrolling. The pups are sleeping. The expectant mothers have been tended to and you work tomorrow. Do I really need to say anything else?” Nathan asked.

He watched understanding dawn in Regine’s eyes. They had the compound to themselves for the next few hours. No one would interrupt them.

“Just one more thing. I want a rematch back to the cabin on my next day off.”

Nathan’s smirk turned into a full-blown smile and Regine’s heart melted. “Deal. I hope you’re ready to do my bidding for the rest of our lives.”

“The rest of our lives, huh?”

“Yep.”

“Fine. And I hope you’re ready to say ‘yes, ma’am’ when I win, Nathan. Please lead on,” Regine said as she allowed him to take her to their bedroom.

Chapter Nine

Bryce’s nose perked up. The scent of jasmine filled the air. The stars gave him enough light to see the fallen leaves. She was close. He caught a whiff of her scent and veered off from the pack. Bryce inhaled and exhaled many times as her intoxicating fragrance bombarded him. He stopped suddenly, feeling a pair of eyes watch his every move.

He looked around with his keen eyesight. There were a lot of animals out tonight, but he was looking for one that didn’t fit the norm. Regine always said therian shifters had a tendency of turning into animals that don’t fit the habitat just to see if others caught on. He caught sight of a moving object on a tree in his peripheral vision and moved closer.

Bryce laughed lightly at the bird that was staring directly at him. “You’re a crafty one. It’s one thing to shift into a bird, but a harpy eagle, which is found almost exclusively in South America and they’re almost extinct. You obviously want to be discovered. The question is did you want
me
to be the one to find you.”

The eagle stared for a few moments before gliding down onto the leaves. Bryce took a few steps back to give her room to shift. He kept his guard up. The woman might intrigue him but he was no fool. She was a trespasser.

Bryce kept his facial expression emotionless as he stared at the bird taking human form. The white feathers turned into a human woman with toffee skin and a smile that would make any man’s cock grow hard instantly. Bryce was definitely no exception.

She stared at him. Her amber eyes were filled with what looked to be curiosity. “Are you going to just stare? Or are you going to do something?” she asked.

Bryce moved so quickly she gasped. Pinning her against a tree, his nose slid across her neck. Bryce inhaled deeply a few times before moving away.

“You already know this is private property. The real question is, why do you keep coming back? What are you looking for?”

“Not
what
.
Who
,” she whispered softly.

“Fine. Who are you looking for?”

“My sisters.”

Bryce blinked a few more times and looked closer at her.

“Well, half sisters.”

“What’s your name?”

“Taniel. Taniel Hamilton.”

but wait…there’s more

Epilogue: Christmas Surprise

Regine could hear her own footsteps as she ran through the Colorado woods. The snow was falling heavily, but she was more determined than ever to make it to the cabin first. Strong winds shook the trees, blowing them back and forth, just shy of toppling them over.
I’m going to win this race if it kills me
. And it just might. She’d come out the victor ninety-nine times. Tonight would make it a hundred.

Nathan’s first mistake was to challenge her to a race. His second was allowing Regine to shift into any animal of her choice. Of course, she picked the cheetah.

Regine didn’t take her gift for granted, especially as it made Nathan a little jealous.

Right now, her gift was going to allow her to win—again.
He’s lucky I didn’t choose to fly over here,
Regine thought before picking up a little speed.

The challenge was always the same. It started with both of them staying for special occasions. Then evolved to anytime she had a two-day weekend. Depending on Regine’s schedule, Nathan would bring their bags to the cabin and meet her back at his home to begin the race.

This time the winner got to be pampered for the remainder of the Christmas holiday. Regine could use the pampering. The pack females felt better with her bringing their children into the world; she’d been putting in extra hours. Regine loved her job but these past few weeks had been exhausting. She looked forward to this weekend.

The wind picked up, but that didn’t bother her. The moon had been her guide thus far. The scattered branches and fallen trees were proof she was getting close. Though the cold air filled her lungs, Regine went even faster. Her first request would be for Nathan to run her a warm bath.

It was becoming difficult to see with the snow smacking her face.
Just a little bit more
, she told herself
. You’re almost there.
Then a light appeared in the distance. Knowing it was the cabin, she ran with whatever reserve energy she still had. It was close, but still felt so far.
Not much farther till my bath.
Regine stopped in midsprint as the cabin came into view. The lights were on, but no fire was set. Nathan hadn’t made it there yet. “Yes!” she screamed in excitement. Inhaling deeply, she checked for his scent and couldn’t find a trace.

Regine would’ve smiled in victory had she not caught sight of an oncoming wolf. His black-and-brown fur blew in the wind, but the snow didn’t dare touch it. It was as if nature knew not to fuck with this wolf. Too bad she wasn’t nature. The wolf stopped in midstep and looked dead at her. His golden-yellow eyes held an intensity that showed how ready he was.
You’re not winning this one, Nathan.

Nathan cracked a slight smile, knowing Regine couldn’t see it. But she’d definitely felt his confidence.
You’re in for a big surprise, little one
. He watched her very carefully assess the hill. Nathan knew she’d jump. It was just a matter of time.

After tracking Regine for the past hour, he’d finally caught her scent and ran like a bat out of hell. Nathan decided to run through the rocky side of the woods because it was a shorter distance. Fewer trees and more boulders to maneuver through, but he made it just in time.

Regine took a few steps back. Then she did exactly what Nathan expected—she jumped with the grace of a true cheetah and landed on her feet. He was right behind her.

The determination he saw in those chestnut-brown eyes spoke volumes that made his heart race. He was doing the right thing. He slowed slightly, like he always did.

Regine got to the door and pushed it open. Shifting out of her cheetah form, she sported the cutest smile he’d ever seen. Once Nathan made it inside she closed the door behind him. Her feet looked frozen, her hair disheveled. The dirt and mud covered her chocolate skin, but all Nathan could think about was how beautiful she looked.

“Now, I don’t want to gloat. But I did beat you. Again. Na, na, na, na, na, na,” she said in a singsongy voice that had him laughing. “First things first. I’m tired, and could use a warm bath.”

“Regine.”

“Secondly, you are to say ‘yes ma’am’ anytime I make a request, because I know you hate it.”

“Regine.”

“Thirdly.”

Nathan shouted to catch her attention. “Regine!”

“What? I’m making my victory list.”

“You might want to walk into the living room.”

BOOK: An Alpha's Claim
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