Home > The Werewolf Meets His Match (Nocturne Falls #2)(14)

The Werewolf Meets His Match (Nocturne Falls #2)(14)
Author: Kristen Painter

“That’s where you went wrong. Assuming we’d act the way your family would.”

She nodded. “That’s for sure.”

Hank was gruff, but that was no big deal. Sure, Bridget had started out skeptical, but who wouldn’t? And after Hank had told her how things were going to be, she’d become friendly. Yes, it could just be a front, but she’d seemed genuine.

The fact that Hank and his sister were so accepting of Ivy made it that much harder for her to keep quiet about the truth behind the marriage. But Ivy’s father had sworn her to secrecy with the kind of threats that made Bridget’s seem like compliments. Ivy glanced at the five on her wrist, struggling not to let her thoughts go to a very dark place.

“What does that mean?”

She looked up. “What?”

“The five on your wrist.”

She turned her wrist against her thigh. “Nothing.” Nothing she could tell him about.

He didn’t seem like he believed her answer, but he didn’t press her further. “You okay?”

She forced a smile. “Great.”

He grunted. “We should go. I need to get back to the station.”

“And I need to get groceries.” She jumped to her feet and started cleaning up.

He grabbed her arm, the touch of his rough hand almost paralyzing her. “You don’t have to do that.”

She swallowed down the panic sparked by his touch, knowing he’d meant only to catch her attention. Not start her heart revving like a big block engine. Breathe. “I don’t have to do what?”

“Clean up. You’re a guest.”

She focused on his words, on his voice—anything but his hand on her arm. “I’m going to be your wife.”

He shook his head as his thumb made a lazy arc on her skin. The panic was gone, replaced by the kind of heat that built low in her body. His brows furrowed. “Still doesn’t mean you have to wait on me hand and foot.”

Something inside her melted a little, and her breath caught in her throat for a very different reason. “I don’t mind,” she said softly. Her instincts told her that this man was nothing like her father. Not someone to fear.

Not entirely. He was still an alpha. Maybe not in charge of his own pack yet, but that day would come. He could change her future. Or ruin it, but that seemed less likely the more she got to know him. She, on the other hand, might truly ruin his future. And she was regretting that with greater intensity every passing second.

“Fair enough.”

But he didn’t move his hand, and her pulse refused to drop down to a normal rate. Damn the full moon’s pull.

He finally let her go, tipping his head slightly. “Do I scare you?”

She laughed nervously. “No.” Yes. Because what if…she actually fell for him? That scared the hell out of her.

He stood, and the space between them disappeared. “I would never hurt you.”

He towered over her. The instinct to back up kicked in hard. Crowding him in public was one thing, in private it was a whole different story. Bravado was easy to come by with an audience. Still, she refused to move. She didn’t want to show him the fear that had been beaten into her. He was not her father. She opened her mouth and tried to find an answer that wasn’t a lie, but she couldn’t.

Gently, he lifted her chin and looked her in the eyes. “You don’t know that, do you?”

She slanted her gaze away.

“I give you my word. Can you accept that?”

She nodded. “Yes.”

He took his hand away. The loss of contact should have soothed her. It didn’t. “I don’t expect you to trust me overnight.”

She hadn’t imagined he’d be this understanding, this tender. “Okay.”

“I’m sure your father told you differently all your life, but being a Merrow doesn’t mean I’m a monster.”

She smiled without effort and met his gaze. “I’m figuring that out.”

The real monster was Clemens Kincaid.

Hank smiled, and a flash of the wildness within him danced in his eyes, turning them feral gold. A muscle in his jaw twitched. He bent his head and pressed his mouth to hers, hard and fast and possessive in its intent.

Her body responded with a sudden craving for more and the awakening of her own wildness. Just as she was about to reach for him, he pulled back.

He shook his head, breathing hard. “I shouldn’t have done that. Sorry.”

“No, it was…fine.” It was so much better than fine. The fact that she could string words together into a coherent sentence was a miracle. “We’re going to be married. Kissing is the least of our issues.”

“I thought you were worried I might try to get you into bed.”

She swallowed. “Kissing and sleeping together are two very different things.” Although right now, she could see how one would lead to the other very quickly with a man who made her feel this deliciously light-headed after one kiss.

He grunted. The gold in his eyes was gone, and the sheriff was back in control. “Get whatever you need. I’ll be in the car.”

And with that, he went out the garage door. A few seconds later, the engine started.

She slumped against the counter and took a few breaths in an effort to calm her heart, which was now pounding all over again. This man was nothing like what she’d expected. He was So. Much. Better.

She hadn’t prepared for this. For wanting to be in his arms, for enjoying the way he kissed, for even being kissed. For the slim possibility that she might…fall…in love.

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