Going from rejected mate to top pack female…
Has never been more satisfying.
Born human and raised among wolves, Dr. Riley Kagan understands pack life and where she falls in their hierarchy.
She’s good enough to patch up their wounds, keep their secrets, and warm their beds. But she’s not mate material. She’s just a good time only.
The stakes are too high. Nic—ex-boyfriend and future leader—is back. And with a rival shifter war looming, he’s ready to pick a breeding partner and take over the pack…without her.
Nope. Not happening. Nic belongs to her.
And she'll break every last rule, including Mother Nature's, to claim her spot at Nic's side. Forever.
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- ISBN e-book = 978-1-953075-29-1
- ASIN e-book = B09ZRTN87R
- Series = Royal-Kagan
- # in Series = 5
- Publisher = Cherokee House Publishing
- Author = Nancy Corrigan
- Genre = Paranormal Suspense Romance (Fiction)
- Mainstream Fiction (open-door) version of NIC by Dana Archer
"I enjoyed this read!!!" - Noemi ★★★★★
"Nancy's take on shifters is totally different and a joy to read." - T. Dot ★★★★★
"This book will take you on an emotional roller coaster." -R.C. ★★★★★
"Full of emotion!" - Hilt ★★★★★
"Definitely worth 5 stars!" - P. Browning ★★★★★
"You will love this one! It is so good!" - Donna L. ★★★★★
"You're bleeding." She brushed back his fur and gently touched the skin around a long gash. "This wasn't from a fight, was it?"
He shook his head, the only answer he could give in his limited form.
She stared into his eyes. Not a hint of fear showed in her expression. She treated his dad and the other dominants with the respect owed them by avoiding eye contact. Never with Nic, at least not in private, but the rules were different around the other wolves. Riley had always understood the need for hierarchy among the members. In the pack's eyes, she was as low as one could be. In his, she was his equal.
"Shift and tell me why you decided to drag your sorry ass to my house. None of these cuts need my attention."
Not happening. Through his wolf's eyes, he felt nothing physical toward her. Only his memories reminded him of what it was like to love her. If he shifted? One whiff of her sweet fragrance, and he'd want to devour her.
On a huff, she pushed to her feet. She planted her hands on her flaring hips. "Fine, be stubborn. I'm in no mood. Go home and lick your own wounds."
Hannah straightened and dropped fisted hands to her side. "You're leaving?"
"Yes. Did you expect me to stay?"
"Actually, I did." Hannah stepped forward. "And I expect you to fight for what's yours."
Riley snorted. "If you're talking about Nic, what good would it do? He made his choice four years ago, and I'm not it."
"Nic made his choice long before that, and you're wrong. It was you."
She sighed. "Look, Hannah, I'm not going to argue with you. Nic loved me once. I don't question that, but he loves the pack more."
Hannah opened her mouth then closed it without saying a word.
"What?" Riley chuckled. "Not going to try and tell me I'm wrong?"
"Nic is under a lot of pressure to do what's right. It has nothing to do with loving you."
Riley rolled her eyes. How many times had she heard this argument? It had gotten old, and it never helped. "Oh, thanks. That makes me feel so much better."
"I'm not trying to make anything better for you. This is your fight, but I know one thing"—Hannah's voice took on a low growl—"you walk away from him, you're a fool."
"A fool? I'd be a fool if I stayed and watched Nic mate another woman." Riley stepped closer, anger vibrating within her, and glared at Hannah. "I'd be a fool if I stayed and had to deliver her baby. I won't do it, not for you or the pack. I won't stay and watch Nic live the life he should've with me."
Nic grabbed the pants and tugged them on. "I'm decent."
She snorted. "Since when? The Nic I remember was wicked and unrefined."
A smile tugged at his mouth. She'd always liked him a little wild. He wouldn't comment on it, though. It was best he kept his visit as emotionally unattached as possible. Fat chance of that happening, but he'd give it a shot. It was the only hope he had of surviving the next few minutes without giving in to the urge to push her up against the nearest wall and reclaim her body.
"I meant, I'm dressed."
Riley turned and swept her gaze over him. Her intense study lingered on the growing bulge in his sweats before she dragged her attention higher, skimming over his chest and leaving awareness in her wake. His skin tingled as if she'd licked him.
Her gaze finally collided with his. Desire simmered in her blue eyes. He waited for her to say something, maybe come to him. Touch him. She didn't. She merely watched him. The next move was on him.
He closed the distance between them until only a foot separated them. It was as close as he trusted himself to get. "I came to apologize."
Riley stared into his eyes for a long moment, then linked her arms around his neck. "I don't know if that's such a good idea."
"I think it's a wonderful idea. I've missed you."
Silence stretched. The tension between them built. Passion or anger—he wasn't sure how it'd end. He only knew it'd be explosive.
Nic gripped the phone tighter and fought to keep his breathing even. He thought he'd been so careful around Riley to avoid giving away their involvement. "There's only one human female in our pack. She's a sweet girl. My age. I'm protective of her. Always have been."
"That I can believe. She is a pretty little thing, but that doesn't explain..." Rick's statement trailed off.
Nic's instincts flared. Here was the point Rick was trying to make, and if he had to lead into it, then it was going to be bad. "Explain what?"
"Why your little human has never been seen in anything but a turtleneck shirt or a scarf."
"Nic." She breathed his name against his lips, hoping he understand everything she couldn't say.
"Yes, Riley." He skimmed his parted lips to her ear. "I'm yours."
Her heart raced. "What are you saying?"
Riley's scent grew stronger with each step Nic took. His body responded to it, a reaction he couldn't stop. He'd spent too many nights in her arms not to crave her. She was his addiction, one he still hungered for even after four years of trying to replace her.
Her laughter carried over the din of the bar. It swept through him, fueling his desire. He pushed aside the longing, knowing it would get him nowhere, and opened the door.
Riley's lush bottom in the air greeted him. It would've been a welcome sight if she hadn't been draped over a human male's body. She adjusted his grip on the cue and whispered something in his ear.
The guy laughed and took the shot. The balls clanked. Two found their way home. The human dropped the stick and kissed Riley's cheek.
Nic lost it.
He yanked the pathetic male away from her and pointed to the door. "Out."
"But I was--"
Nic planted his palms on the kid's chest and shoved. He stumbled into the hallway, cursing. Nic slammed the door, cutting off the whining, and glanced over his shoulder. Riley stood by the pool table, one hand planted on a cocked hip. He let his gaze roam over her and greedily committed every nuance of the older Riley to memory.
Still curvy in all the right places and slim everywhere else, she had a body men drooled over. Her thigh-high heeled boots, clingy top, and short flaring skirt added to the image. The only change she'd made was her hairstyle. Her golden locks caressed her jaw in some choppy cut he was sure had a name. No matter, it looked good on her and would've showed off her delicate neck, but the turtleneck she wore hid her creamy skin. It also covered up the partial mate bite he'd left on her shoulder the last night they were together, the night of his first shift.
The night he'd almost damned his pack.
He shoved the memory away and focused on the facts. Riley might not have called him when she needed him, but she'd honored his wishes. He'd always assumed as much since he'd never gotten any flak from his dad. Still, it was nice to see.
He went to her and tipped up her chin. She could lie with the best of them. Her scent never changed nor did her body language give her away. Only her eyes told the truth. "What happened?"
She raised a blonde brow. "I'm fine. Thanks for asking. It's nice to see you too."
"I'm not here on a social call." Even though he wished he could have been.
Riley snorted. "Of course you aren't. Why would I think you cared? I'm only the pack's obligation, right?"
The jab stung. He let it go. The things he'd said to her before he left sickened him. "Tell me about the accident."
She turned her head, breaking his grip, and walked to the end of the pool table. "I told your father everything. If you want to know, ask him."
He had. His dad had said not to worry. It'd been handled. Nic had been left with no recourse. He'd never told his dad about Riley and had no right to demand more information. "You promised to call me if you needed me."
"Yes, but I didn't." She glanced over her shoulder. "I still don't."
"Really? So you're going to handle the person trying to kill you all by yourself?"