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Authors: Lacey Thorn

Freeing the feline

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Table of Contents

Freeing the Feline

Freeing the Feline Copyright © 2014, Lacey Thorn Edited by Delaney Sullivan and Kimberly Huther

The Awakening Pride Series

Book Description

Dedication

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

About the Author

Also Available from Resplendence Publishing

www.resplendencepublishing.com

Freeing the Feline

AnAwakening PrideStory

By Lacey Thorn

Resplendence PublishingR·>♦

“That I can’t see the way your pulse picks up every time I enter this room.” He dropped his head and ran his tongue over the fluttering point on her neck. The backs of his fingers skimmed across her taut nipples. “That I can’t see the way your breasts swell and grow tight. You want my mouth there as much as I want to see and taste you there.”

“I…” She moaned, leaning her head back and closing her eyes as he slid his hand over the crotch of her pants and cupped her.

“Do you think I don’t know how hot and wet you get for me? Baby, I don’t need to be a kitty to pick up on the fact you want me as much as I want you. All I have to be is attentive.” He brushed his lips up her neck, along the edge of her jaw, and up to her earlobe. “And I promise, I can be very attentive.” He nipped her lobe with his teeth and it took all she had to lock her knees and keep herself upright.

“I can’t.” She finally forced the words past the lust-filled fog that consumed her.

He was her mate. Neither of them should have to deny what was happening. But there was too much else going on, and Clara was never selfish.

Logan seemed to gather himself and slowly pushed away from her. His stare met hers and she almost lost herself again in the rich chocolate of his gaze. She could drown there, with him, in him.

He stepped back once, twice, dropping his head and shaking it back and forth before looking up at her.

“I know. That’s why I’m doing my best to keep my hands off. I don’t know why you’re denying what’s going on between us, but I’ll respect it.”

“You don’t understand—”

“So tell me,” he interrupted. “I’m all ears. Talk to me.”

“It’s not that easy,” she reasoned.

“I don’t want easy,” Logan fired back. “I want you.”

“There’s more than just the two of us involved here.”

“Not at the moment.”

“I don’t think everyone else is going to back off with what they want just because we ask them to. Not even with a pretty please.”

“Then help me out here. Talk to me about what you know. Give me enough to sate them.” He locked his gaze on hers. “Then I’ll see if I can work on sating us.”

Clara shivered. What could she tell them, tell Tah that wouldn’t influence their choices? God, this was so fucked up. Tah was the leader they’d all been waiting for, and he’d only just realized who he was. She knew more than he did, yet he was the one who was supposed to guide them all. It just made no fucking sense. She wasn’t talking because she honestly had no fucking clue what to say.

“If I could make a call,” she urged. “My uncle might be able to come or at least be willing to talk to one of you. He’s the one who can help, not me.” She shook her head urgently. “I don’t know how.”

“We can’t trust you to make a call out right now. There’s a lot at stake, and we can’t risk it. You’ve got to show us we can trust you, Clara. And stalking Amia and Reno isn’t the right way.”

“I wasn’t stalking her or them,” Clara argued. She’d been watching over the other woman. She sighed as Logan lifted a brow. She had to admit the fact she’d followed the other couple here looked bad. “How am I going to convince anyone while I’m locked up in here?”

“Maybe if you tried to be a little friendlier with the rest of them…”

She snorted. “I’ve not exactly been friendly with you, and it hasn’t stopped you.”

“We both know why I’m not going away,” he reminded her, then chuckled again as her cheeks heated.

“Yeah, well, that can’t happen, either.”

“Scared?”

“Of you? Never!”

He grinned at her. “Then it will happen, baby. The sooner you say yes, the sooner we both release some of the tension building up in us.”

She groaned and moved across the room, putting the bed between them. Bad idea. Now all she could do was picture them rolling around on that bed…relieving tension.

“Fuck!” she exclaimed.

“If that’s your way of saying yes, count me in.”

She couldn’t help it. She laughed. “You’re crazy.”

“I’ve been told that several times.” He sat on the opposite side of the bed and nudged the tray toward her. “I’ve also been told I’m a good listener.”

She sat gingerly on the other side and reached for a slice of apple. “I don’t want to hurt you, any of you.”

“There’s a war coming, Clara. We’re not so ill-informed that we don’t realize that. Hell, most of us have been soldiers, Marines. We know we can’t stop what’s coming, but we can prepare for it. We just need to know as much as we can about who we’re fighting, something more than we can learn from old journals.”

“Hunters in general? Or the Blanes, specifically?”

“Both.”

She mulled it over in her head. She should be able to discuss that. She could tell them about her personal experiences, what she’d witnessed, what she’d heard from others. But, what if she let something slip? Damn, she wanted her Uncle Thomas. Only he would understand the precarious position she was in. She’d finally come face-to-face with Amia again, and it had blown all to hell. Amia was angry with her. Clara knew it. How did she explain that she’d done all she could, all she was allowed and still avoid other questions—questions that could lead to answers Amia probably wasn’t ready to hear?

“Clara, you can tell me anything. I promise.”

She wanted to believe him. She wanted nothing more than to lay herself bare and share her confusion with someone else. Maybe he would know what to say, what to share? But to trust him would mean claiming him as her mate. She couldn’t do that. Not yet. Not with everything that lay between them. The one thing she did know for sure was that a confrontation between Amia and Lydia was probably inevitable at this point. And that had Clara terrified.

She still remembered when she turned sixteen and decided to go looking for Amia on her own. She’d almost died, should have died. But Amia had saved her. Clara had called Lydia as soon as they were far enough away from the Blane camp and told Lydia she had Amia. Lydia had blown a fucking gasket and ordered Clara to get the hell away. She’d still been young and naive then, so she’d done as Lydia had ordered—left Amia alone and helpless against the Blanes. And Clara had lived with the guilt everyday.

Clara had spoken to her Uncle Thomas about Amia as soon as she’d gotten back. He’d been interested enough to have Clara check on Amia again. She’d believed Lydia was right about how blood would tell when Amia was back with the Blanes. She’d stayed and waited, watching and hating Amia for not being the girl Clara had dreamed of, the one she’d thought of as a sister. She was glad she’d stayed. That was when she’d found out what the Blanes were doing to Amia.

Clara had wanted to bring Amia back with her then, but Uncle Thomas had been the one to say no. He was afraid of what it would do to Lydia to have Amia there with them. The other woman was starting to show moments of rage and deep hatred for the Blanes. Her uncle had been afraid of what Lydia might do to Amia. Clara knew he’d sent others to try to watch over and protect Amia, but after the first few were found and killed, volunteers ceased, and Amia seemed to draw into herself, even shunning the humans who’d tried to befriend her.

“Clara?” Logan’s voice broke into her thoughts and brought her back to the present.

“I need to make that call,” she told him, hating the begging tone of her voice.

He shook his head. “I can’t make any promises, but if you start talking—about the Blanes and the hunters—it would be a first step.”

“And will this be like the last time I was brought into a room to be questioned?”

“It will probably only be me, Tah and Reno. Maybe the Professor.”

“So only four against one this time.”

“I won’t let that happen again,” Logan said. “I promise I’ll look out for you.”

“I’m not yours to protect.”

“You could be.”

“I can’t do this with you right now, Logan. There’s so much more involved here than you and I and scratching an itch.”

He grunted. “Fool yourself if you need to, but don’t try it with me. We both know what’s between us is much more than scratching an itch. The way I’m feeling, I’d say it’s pretty clear I’m your mate.”

Her eyes widened in shock as she gaped at him. “What?”

“You think I can’t figure it out? I was there when Tah and Abby first got together. I’ve seen Reno and Amia together. We may be learning as we go, but we’re fast learners. This physical pull I have toward you… It’s not normal, baby. The way my cock is like an iron poker in my pants is not normal. No amount of jacking off gives me any relief. It wants one thing and one thing only. You, anyway you’ll let me have you. I feel like a fucking caveman when I’m around you. Hell, just the mention of your name gets me revved. You’re mine. I want to beat my chest and drag you to my bed. Fuck until neither of us can move. Maybe if I were more than just a man, I’d press harder to get what we both want.” He pushed to his feet and held his arms wide again. “But I’m only human, Clara. I want you. I won’t lie or hide the fact, from you or anyone. But I want more than a warm body in my bed. I want a partner, a mate. I want the warmth, but I want the affection and yeah, the love that appears to comes with it. I want it all. So I’ll hold back and wait until you want it just as badly.”

He turned and headed to the door, opening it slowly before turning to glance her way once more.

“Logan…” She didn’t know what else to say other than his name.

“I’ll wait. I know you’ll be more than worth it.”

With that he left, shutting the door behind him. She wanted to scream his name, to beg him to come back to her. She wanted to take, to claim, and to hell with everything and everyone else. But she couldn’t. Her uncle would expect more from her. Pride before self. Those were the words he’d told her all her life. She was really having trouble sticking to them right now.

“Uncle Thomas,” she whispered. “Please. I need you.” She hung her head and let the tears flow. “I need you.”

 

Chapter Two

 

 

 

“So she’s agreed to talk,” Tah said, leaning back against the desk in the office. “Thanks for checking in with her, Logan. I’ve been distracted with everything going on with Abby and trying to find Finn. I should have made a point of getting up there to talk to her.”

“She said she’ll tell you what she knows about hunters and the Blanes in particular,” Logan said. He wasn’t going to admit he hadn’t minded being the only one checking on her over the last week. He’d been hoping to persuade her to give in to what he knew they were both feeling, but Clara was holding back. He was still antsy after their latest encounter. He’d pushed things this time. His cock was swollen to the point it felt as if it was going to burst out of his jeans. As it was, he’d un-tucked his shirt to try and hide the blatant bulge. “This is a step in the right direction.”

“I still don’t want her around Abby. I won’t have my mate upset any more right now if I can help it. She’s been having nightmares about Harlan ripping our son out of her womb.”

“Jesus,” Reno muttered. “Is that why she’s looking so exhausted?”

“Who the fuck knows?” Tah rumbled angrily. “She barely eats and has trouble keeping down what she does. She tosses and turns all night long. Her back aches. Her sides ache. Her feet ache. She’s one giant fucking ache, and I’m helpless to do anything about it. To know my seed is doing this to her, that I did this to her. Some days, I wish she hadn’t been ovulating, that she wasn’t pregnant.”

“Don’t let Abs hear you say that,” Logan warned.

Tah was showing the wear and tear of all they’d been through, as well.

“You’re looking a little rough yourself,” he continued.

“If I can’t help her, I can at least be tired and miserable with her,” Tah said.

“I take it Diane and the Professor aren’t having any luck finding a way to help,” Reno said.

“Diane thinks the baby is growing more in line with the gestational period of a lion. Abby’s almost twelve weeks along now. If Diane’s theory is correct, she’ll give birth in another three to four weeks,” Tah said.

“Damn!” Logan exclaimed. “That quick?”

“That’s the issue. The baby is growing too rapidly. Abby’s body isn’t adjusting as quickly. This pregnancy is tearing her apart. I can’t lose her.” Tah’s eyes were bleak when he met Logan’s gaze.

“We’re not going to let that happen,” Reno promised, but the words were on the tip of Logan’s tongue, as well.

“I could ask Clara. She might know something,” Logan offered again.

“Abby won’t trust anything Clara says right now. Not after the confrontation in the front room,” Tah answered.

“We ganged up on her. She struck back. Any of us would have reacted the same way,” Logan grunted.

“I—” Tah began, but Reno cut him off.

“He’s right. We would have. We put her on the defensive from the beginning. We can’t hold that against her now.”

Tah sighed, but nodded in agreement with Reno. “You’re right. Fuck, I feel like I’m making piss-poor decisions right now.”

“We,” Reno amended. “You’re not in this alone.”

Logan nodded his head in agreement.

“I will say this,” Reno added. “I noticed, from the moment we met her in the woods, she defers to you. Hell, she dropped to her knees when she first saw you, and it wasn’t to offer a blowjob.”

Logan growled. He couldn’t help it and refused to hold it in. Reno and Tah both looked at him. Reno’s gaze went over him from head to toe. He inhaled deeply and shook his head.

“Have you mated her?” Reno asked bluntly.

“What?” Tah thundered.

“No,” Logan answered with a shake of his head. “Not yet.”

“Well, fuck,” Tah muttered. He shrugged, rotated his head back and forth a few times then blew out a breath. “How did I miss that?”

“You’ve been a little preoccupied with Abby. And before you start beating yourself up, just stop. We’d be the same way in your place,” Reno said. “But I’ll be honest and say it was Amia who pointed the possibility out to me.”

“Amia?” Logan questioned.

“She mentioned the way Clara took point in front of you when I shifted in the labs. Then how you pushed her behind you. Then when we were all talking to Clara, I noticed how pissed you were about it. You had your back against the wall, mad as hell. I imagine you were fighting a need to protect Clara,” Reno said.

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