Wake a sleeping tiger, p.10
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       Wake A Sleeping Tiger, p.10
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         Part #22 of Breeds series by Lora Leigh

  before his hips moved, impaling her with several hard, throbbing inches of his cock.

  He didn’t pause after that first thrust.

  His mouth slammed down on hers, his tongue pushing past her lips as he pushed deeper, harder inside her, burying the hardened flesh to the hilt.

  She couldn’t take more. His cock filled her, overfilled her, throbbed and burned inside delicate flesh stretched around him. With each hard stroke her juices spilled from her, coating his cock with a heavy layer of slick heat and aiding each impalement.

  His kiss was spicy hot now, that taste of cinnamon heat intensified, sinking inside her senses and making her crave more of it. The heavy thrusts between her thighs began gaining in speed, jackhammering inside her pussy, each stroke vibrating into her clit and intensifying the swelling, burning pleasure raging through it.

  She couldn’t bear it. She was racked by so many sensations, each one brutal on its own; combined they razed her senses. Wild and tumultuous, she tried to fight it, fought to pull back, only to be dragged deeper into the maelstrom. Deeper, higher, until she stiffened, jerking as a harder series of orgasms began tearing through her, exploding with such power, such force, she swore she was losing herself in him. Giving him a part of herself even she didn’t know existed inside her.

  As the first waves of ecstasy invaded her, she felt his thrusts change, become harder, shorter, and then he jerked above her, an animalistic growl rumbling in his throat a second before the first pulse of semen spurted inside her, just before she felt the impossible.

  The tabloid stories—she hadn’t imagined they were true. But she felt it. Felt an added erection emerge from beneath the head of his cock, lock inside her, pulsing with each hot spurt of his release as it filled the snug confines of her vagina.

  It was all true.

  Oh God, what had she gotten herself into?

  CHAPTER 9

  From Graeme’s Journal

  The Recessed Primal Breed

  Recessed genetics make the Primal Breed a wild card. Because the animal, predatory and cunning, will not stay hidden for long.

  She was sleeping.

  A deep, hard sleep of exhaustion.

  Standing in the doorway to the bedroom, Cullen watched her silently. She was curled beneath the sheets, her expression relaxed, breathing deep and even.

  He’d taken her again and again until she’d collapsed against his chest, falling asleep before the barb released its grip on her. Perspiration had soaked both their bodies and dampened the sheets. But when he’d eased her off him to the pillows, she hadn’t even blinked.

  Hell, she’d done no more than mumble sleepily when he’d taken a damp cloth and cleaned the sweat and their mingled releases from her before changing the sheets.

  And now she was still sleeping just as deeply, as Cullen felt his brother enter the back door and move silently through the house.

  The twin bond they shared had never waned, even when Graeme had been driven to insanity by the mating hormone in his system and the inhuman experiments of a scientist who enjoyed driving Breeds to the worst depths of a living hell.

  When his brother had escaped he’d found Cullen. A monster, maddened by the above-genius-level intelligence he possessed and the animal instincts fighting for dominance. But even as the Primal, Graeme had known a strange sort of empathy, even if he had lacked compassion at the time.

  “The mating’s strong,” Graeme commented, leaning against the wall beside Cullen and crossing his arms over his chest. “As is the animal waking within you.”

  Cullen’s lips curled in contempt at the comment.

  The animal was strong, his ass. It was a testosterone-driven snarling beast clawing at his brain and his senses.

  He wanted to shoot it.

  “You’re a stubborn man, Cullen,” his brother sighed. “It only stands to reason that the Primal animal that’s been sleeping inside you is just as stubborn. So stubborn it remained hidden at a time when you were at your most determined to call it forth.”

  “Why would I need it, then?” Leaning against the frame of the door, he crossed his arms over his chest and shot his brother a derisive look. “Those instincts weren’t there when I wanted them to be, why would I want them now?”

  It didn’t seem to matter what he wanted, though, because the animal that had remained so still and silent since he was a young boy was coming alive with a vengeance.

  “Because now it doesn’t just matter to the man, but to the animal as well?” Graeme asked knowingly. “Come on, Cullen, you let her walk away from you even after the first signs of Heat began showing inside both of you. You woke those instincts with your refusal to claim her.”

  “Bullshit,” he muttered.

  Stepping forward, he gripped the doorknob and closed the door silently before stalking through Chelsea’s house to the kitchen.

  “Don’t you have better things to do than harass me, Graeme?” he asked, keeping his voice low. “I know I have better things to do than to be harassed.”

  Graeme’s chuckle wasn’t as grating as it should have been; he let it pass by him with no more than a grimace of irritation.

  “Harassing you is always a favored pastime,” Graeme assured him. “My research indicates it has something to do with the fact that we share that twin instinct.” For a second a hint of confusion flashed in his expression before he gave a little shake of his head and a dismissive shrug. “Researching that has been almost as interesting as the research I’ve done on the recessed animal genetics.”

  “Neither of which you figured out,” Cullen pointed out as he pulled open the refrigerator door for a bottle of water. Extracting two, he tossed Graeme the other, uncapped his own and took a long drink.

  “I don’t have to answer all the questions,” Graeme answered with a hint of mockery. “Just some of them.”

  “Evidently you haven’t answered any that could have helped me at any given time,” Cullen snorted, rubbing one hand over the back of his neck. “And what the hell makes you think the mating began before she resigned? I wasn’t sleeping with her.”

  “You bit her the morning she resigned,” Graeme reminded him. “She told Cat about it. She was quite put out that you didn’t kiss her.”

  Cullen stared back at Graeme blandly. He was definitely going to have to have a talk with Chelsea about sharing confidences with Cat.

  Telling Cat was the same as telling Graeme. Even Cullen knew that one.

  It didn’t change the truth, though. He had nipped her neck that morning. His frustration level had exploded when she’d given him her resignation. He knew now what had happened, though then he hadn’t thought to question if his Breed instincts were making an appearance.

  As Chelsea had tried to leave the house, the impulse to pull her to him, to mark her neck, had been impossible to control. The animal that had been so silent inside him for so long had awakened that morning with a vengeance. Just long enough for the animal to claim her.

  “Usually once the mating begins, there’s no going back,” Graeme began.

  “The glands beneath the tongue,” Cullen murmured. “The cinnamon taste when I kiss her.” His brow furrowed. “They weren’t swollen that morning.”

  Graeme shrugged again. “Your instincts allowed just enough of the hormone to release that it would ensure no other could take what belonged to you. Especially a Breed. She carried just a hint of the mating scent, just enough that it was detectable. Even I didn’t realize what the scent meant at first.”

  But his brother had eventually realized Chelsea carried the mating scent and hadn’t come to him?

  “When did you realize it?” He placed the water bottle on the counter carefully.

  Graeme sighed heavily as he paced to the table, his fingers curling over the back of a chair.

  “The night she was attacked,” he finally admitted. “I came to check on her. The scent was stronger, the spike in adrenaline obviously contributing to the strength of it.” Graeme frowned as
though perplexed. “I’ll have to check into that anomaly.”

  “You can check into it later, Dr. Jekyll,” Cullen grunted, knowing how distracted his brother could become when it came to his research. “You should have been looking for a cure all these years instead of playing Mr. Hyde.”

  Graeme’s brow arched mockingly. “There’s not a Breed or their mate that’s wanted a cure. I’d be wasting my time. You know I hate doing that.”

  Cullen glared back at him.

  “Chelsea will want a cure.” How could she not? She’d already tried to escape him once by resigning; she’d told him countless times how she wanted him out of her business. Knowing she was tied to him wouldn’t please her.

  “Will she?” Graeme mused, watching him a little too closely for comfort. “What do you want?”

  What did he want? Pushing his fingers through his hair, Cullen realized he didn’t have an answer for his brother. He had no idea what he wanted past keeping Chelsea in his bed and keeping her safe.

  “It doesn’t seem to matter what either of us wants, does it?” he replied, the feel of yet another growl rising in his throat causing his teeth to clench momentarily. “I gather she’s stuck with me, no matter what she wishes.”

  Graeme simply watched him, saying nothing, his cunning green gaze assessing and far too curious.

  “As you’re stuck with her,” Graeme stated, though there seemed to be a question in his voice. One he didn’t ask, thankfully.

  “So it would seem.” He breathed out roughly. “The question now is how do I keep her safe? There’s not a chance in hell she’s going let me finish this investigation for her, and the scent of her Heat is going to distract not just me but every Breed in the same vicinity with her. Especially those Council bastards determined to snag a mate.”

  “Lucky for you, your genius brother just might have something that will help. Not a cure.” Graeme grinned wryly. “But definitely something interesting.”

  “Lucky for you, Cullen.” Chelsea stepped into the kitchen, shocking him by her presence, by the scent of the betrayal she felt. “Not a cure, but if you’re lucky, maybe you can turn it into one. Right?”

  Dammit, his senses were so filled with the scent of her that he hadn’t known she had slipped up on them. But Graeme had known. Hell, his brother probably heard the change in her breathing when she woke.

  The bastard.

  Chelsea stared at the two Breeds, forced back the hurt raging inside her and placed it behind the wall of ice she used whenever she was on patrol. Breed senses could detect fear, lies, any strong emotion.

  He hadn’t said as much, but she’d heard the tone of his voice, felt his reluctance to admit he didn’t want a cure himself.

  Of course he wanted a cure. He wouldn’t have meant to mate her, just sleep with her. Besides, the first nip to her neck that morning in his home had been done in anger, not arousal. And now his Breed status was making him pay for it.

  Joy, joy.

  “Now I can truly call you sister,” Graeme stated, forcing her to break eye contact with Cullen.

  “You can truly kiss my ass,” she muttered, resentment surging past that icy shield before she could pull it back. “I didn’t marry his mangy ass, and wouldn’t have if he begged.”

  Rather than taking offense, Graeme turned and collected a small black pack he’d placed on her counter and unzipped it efficiently.

  She watched him, frowning. Dressed in dark jeans, his black shirt tucked into the belted band, he reminded her of an animal, of the huge cat his genetics had been created from. Self-satisfied, arrogant and superior. She’d never had a cat as a pet simply because of their cool, distant demeanors.

  When he pulled two pressure syringes from that pack, she stepped back warily. Cullen shot his brother a disgusted look, but he seemed more resigned than protesting.

  “Let me give you a short explanation of Mating Heat and the hormonal therapy I have here.” He laid the syringes on the table before crossing his arms over his chest and staring back at her with cold, hard purpose. “Mating Heat will build. It’s called Heat for a reason. The need to fuck and be fucked”—he ignored Cullen’s disgusted curse—“becomes overwhelming. You can’t work for it, you can’t socialize for it, the hunger for it obliterates all other needs. And to make things worse”—his smile wasn’t a comforting sight—“the scent of it is something you can’t hide, even by staying indoors. A Breed driving past the house can detect it.” Primitive violence flashed in his eyes. “Especially the Council Breeds searching for a mate to abduct and turn over for experiments. If you’re lucky, they don’t catch the scent before you conceive, which is the only time the Heat settles. And most felines conceive pretty quickly.” He tilted his head and watched her curiously for a second. “I think I’d enjoy being an uncle. I’d be very hands-on with my siblings’ cub too . . .”

  Chelsea noticed that she and Cullen both extended their arms just as quickly at that observation. The thought of a child was terrifying enough . . . but Uncle Crazy-Ass being hands-on?

  “Hmm,” he murmured suspiciously, but injected the therapy he said the syringes held.

  “Just for your information,” Chelsea informed him after he finished and put the syringes away, “I’d never let you be hands-on with my child.”

  His brow lifted. “Bad mommy. Don’t you know kids want the very playmate you want to keep them from?” He chuckled at the look of dislike she shot him. “And I’d be around often. Very often.”

  She could see this turning into a war of words she didn’t want to be a part of. Turning to Cullen, she pointed her finger back at him angrily.

  “You and I are going to talk, Cullen Maverick. You do not spring things on me after the fact. If you recall, I don’t like it at all.”

  She had to content herself with the wince that crossed his face. If he kept it up, she’d black his eye again.

  Maybe.

  CHAPTER 10

  From Graeme’s Journal

  The Recessed Primal Breed

  Mating Heat, an anomaly marked by its anomalies.

  In the recessive Bengal Primal, those anomalies and variables of Mating Heat can’t be predicted, nor can they be explained. The only certainty is that the Primal exists for a single reason alone: to protect the mate it shares with the Breed. It has no other reason for being, and asks for no other reason—

  So the tabloid stories were true.

  Like cats, the need for sex would become so overwhelming and overpowering that mates couldn’t resist each other.

  She couldn’t blame the Mating Heat for her fascination with Cullen, though, or the arousal. He’d been turning her on since she was at least sixteen or seventeen years old. Just the thought of him then had made all her teenage hormones crazy.

  And it hadn’t gone away after she left her teens either. In some ways, it had only gotten worse. At some point, Chelsea had even realized that the two lovers she’d had resembled him.

  Pacing her bedroom as she waited for Cullen to run his brother off, she looked at the bedside clock, shaking from the inside out.

  If he didn’t hurry, she’d follow him again and run Graeme’s ass off herself.

  Mocking, superior prick. Even Cat laughingly called him the same thing. Often.

  Chelsea wasn’t laughing.

  She was furious.

  She had half a mind to just call her sister, Isabelle, and demand the answers. But Isabelle would call her father and he’d call her grandfather and the next thing she knew they’d be having another save-Chelsea-from-herself family intervention.

  And only God knew how much she hated those. She hated them so much she refused to tell Isabelle anything that would bring one about.

  As she glanced at the clock again, she inhaled roughly, nostrils flaring with such irritation she could barely hold it in.

  So much for keeping her emotions on ice. They were burning so hot and livid right now that Breeds in neighboring states were probably smelling it.

  An
d her patience was at an end.

  Stalking toward the door, she came to a hard stop as it opened and Cullen stepped inside. Closing the door quietly, he watched her so intently for long moments that she finally gave a hard snap of her fingers just to distract him.

  “I get it. You’re pissed,” he said then, his jaw tensing.

  She stared back at him, eyes widening in outrage. “Pissed?” She pushed the word past her lips as they tightened furiously. “Oh, Cullen, I am so beyond pissed. You can’t even imagine.”

  She’d never been so furious with him.

  With one hand he rubbed at the back of his neck, his gaze wary now.

  “Did you know about that mating bullshit?” she demanded, watching his face and seeing the total lack of response. Her ire exploded further. “You knew!” she hissed furiously, completely outraged now. “You knew and you still spread those kisses around like kids spread the common cold. What? Do you have a frickin’ harem now?”

  Oh, that so wasn’t going to work for her. He could just leave right now.

  “Dammit, Chelsea, it doesn’t work that way.” Shooting her an infuriated look, he stomped to the wooden chest at the end of her bed and sat down, jerking one boot off.

  “That isn’t what I just heard from Graeme,” she snapped back, her hands going to her hips. “And you can just put that boot right back on because you are not staying here tonight. God only knows how many women you have waiting to be serviced. Don’t let me hold you up.”

  Damned alley cat.

  He wiped his hand over his face, shaking his head as a grimace pulled at his expression.

  “Hasn’t Isabelle told you anything about her mating with Malachi?” His boots thumped on the floor, irritation flashing in his expression.

  “My sister’s too busy telling on me to bother telling on anyone else.” She gave a hard flip of her hand as she glared at him furiously.

  So much for keeping her sister’s secrets for her when they were younger.

  “Breeds only mate once,” he told her then, surprising her. “After they mate they never desire another. It’s actually physically impossible for either a Breed or their mate to have another lover.”

  That stopped her cold. And not necessarily in satisfaction.

  “What if you die? Or I kill you?” She arched a brow.

  Killing him really wasn’t a bad idea at this point.

  He shot her a wary look, keeping his gaze on her as she paced to the other side of the room before turning back to him and crossing her arms over her breasts defensively.

  She hated feeling this way. Like some damned shrew, completely out of control. But she knew what was coming, she could feel it all the way to the bottom of her soul.

  She could feel the cage being assembled as she fought to stay free of it.

  “There’s not a lot of information on those who have lost their mates,” he finally answered, resting his arms on his knees and clasping his hands together as he watched her carefully. “But those who have mated have one thing in common. The touch of anyone besides their mate is highly uncomfortable and in some cases painfully so. The injection Graeme gave us will allow impersonal touches. Shaking hands, social hugs. It will prevent conception for the time being and dilute the mating scent. The demand for sex won’t be as extreme, but it will eventually build to the extreme if ignored.”

  She inhaled deeply. The cage was coming closer.

  “No harem,” he assured her.

  Chelsea shot him a disgusted glare.

  “And no cure.” She couldn’t believe it. She could not be tied this way to a man who didn’t love her, or respect her, let alone acknowledge the abilities he knew she had.

  “No cure,” he agreed softly. “But none of the mates I know are unhappy or dissatisfied, Chelsea.”

  Then they weren’t with a mate who considered himself stuck, as Cullen did.

  “I’m sorry, honey.” Rising to his feet, he crossed the room, stopping in front of her as she watched him with wary anger.

  “Don’t you ‘honey’ me. It was bad enough working with you,” she accused him heatedly. “You treated me like a kid who didn’t know her own mind. You’ll just use this mating thing to try to control me now.”

  He had her in his arms before she could turn away from him and retreat once again, her head pulled back and his lips slanting over hers in a wild, feral hunger she was helpless to deny.

  Fuck, he loved touching Chelsea, and he knew that the pure sensual joy he found in touching her wasn’t all Mating Heat.

  Mating Heat had nothing to do with how silky her skin was, how soft and warm she felt pressed against him. And it wasn’t why the need to touch her over the past years had driven him nearly insane.

  She was like a flame in his arms, reaching for him, burning through his soul with the need she gave him in turn.

  Her lips parted beneath his, just as wild, just as driven by the overwhelming hunger for him as he was for her.

  His tongue pumped into her mouth, spilling the liquid heat of the hormone to both their senses, stronger now, more intense than before. The taste of it in his mouth had been killing him as she’d stalked out of the kitchen.

  He’d waited too long for her, too many years, too many nights needing her. As his kiss ate at hers, his tongue stroked and licked between her lips, and Cullen tore at their clothes, getting rid of them however possible, as quickly as possible.

  Tearing his lips from hers long enough to push her to the bed, he nearly lost his breath at the sight of her.
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