Wake a sleeping tiger, p.5
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       Wake A Sleeping Tiger, p.5
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         Part #22 of Breeds series by Lora Leigh

  fingers of sensation racing straight to her womb.

  Lips, teeth, tongue, he devoured the nerve-laden point until she was shaking with need. Between her thighs the engorged length of his cock pressed against her sex, their clothing a hated barrier between them as he rubbed against her, inciting the needy heat seizing her vagina.

  Panting for breath, locked in an inferno of arousal she had no intention of resisting, Chelsea could only hold on to him and pray she survived it. Because there was no escaping it. She didn’t want to escape him. She wanted nothing more than the feel of his touch, his kiss, over every part of her body.

  Each deep draw of his mouth on her nipple sent heat rushing through her system. His tongue stroked over it each time he sucked at her and rubbed over nerve endings linked to her womb.

  When he moved to her other nipple, the fingers of one hand captured the tip he’d abandoned, keeping it on the edge of ecstasy as his lips surrounded the other and drew it into the heat of his mouth.

  Each draw of his mouth, each tug of his fingers, sent waves of sensation coursing through her, arrowing between her thighs, heating her vagina and striking at the swollen bud of her clit. Rolling his hips between her thighs, Cullen stroked the agonized knot of nerves with each press of his engorged cock, amplifying each pulse of pleasure tearing through her.

  “Oh God, yes,” she whispered, her voice strangled as his teeth grazed over her nipple before delivering a quick little nip and sucking it into his mouth once again.

  His tongue stroked and rubbed over it. It was incredible, so good, so hot she could barely stand the heat. She could barely stand it, but she wanted more.

  Her breasts were swollen, the mounds tight and aching. Each suckling caress, each stroke of his tongue against her nipples only increased the need for more. The roughened touch of his tongue against it sent shudders tearing through her, flames racing over her nerve endings.

  “Don’t stop,” she whispered as his head lifted, the blinding pleasure still suffusing her even as her body demanded more.

  “Stop? I have no intentions of stop—” His head jerked up, nostrils flaring.

  Before Chelsea could process what was happening, her shirt was jerked over her breasts and Cullen had turned, a furious snarl sounding from his chest as he braced himself in front of her.

  In the doorway, two Wolf Breeds watched them curiously as they leaned against the door frame, their faces hard, gazes locked on Cullen.

  “You told us to be here on time, Chelsea,” the taller of the two reminded her as he crossed his arms over his black T-shirt, his gray eyes mocking. “Did you forget?”

  Forget? Her brain was mush.

  But she could feel the tension in the room; it radiated from Cullen in waves. And no matter how Draeger and Tobias appeared to be, they were anything but relaxed.

  Chelsea cleared her throat nervously, slid from the counter and wondered if she’d ever lose the shakiness in her legs. She could still feel the arousal, the need racing through her. The impulse to order the two Wolf Breeds from the house and drag Cullen to her bed was almost impossible to resist.

  Almost.

  “I have to go.” Her voice sounded far too weak, too desperate as she moved to go around Cullen.

  “Go where?” Reaching out, his fingers gripped her arm, pulling her to a stop as the hoarse growl in his voice had her staring up at him in surprise.

  The tone was rough, grating, animalistic. A sound she’d never heard in all the years she’d known him. It was the question that jerked her fully back to reality, though. The possessive demand tore through her, reminding her of everything she was fighting to escape.

  Jerking her arm from his grip, Chelsea flicked him a glare; hurt pride and the fear of surrendering forced her to step farther away from him and away from the pleasure and the need she’d felt for this man for far too long.

  “It’s time you leave, Cullen.” She forced the words past her lips, forced herself to put more distance between them.

  “The hell I will.” The amber in his green eyes seemed to burn. “What are you up to with these two, Chelsea?”

  What was she up to? She didn’t dare tell him.

  She shrugged, fighting to ignore the nervousness, the needs clashing inside her.

  “Lock up when you leave, then,” she told him, heading for the door. “I have things to do, and explaining my actions to you isn’t one of those things.”

  At least not today. Later, she had no doubt.

  Hurrying from the house to her truck, she could feel her hands shaking, her stomach roiling with the need to go back into the house, to go back to a man who couldn’t love her and damned sure didn’t know how to work with her.

  His heart had died with his wife, he’d once claimed; he had nothing left to give another woman but whatever lust he felt for her. And as much as she wanted the lust, it was the heart she’d always dreamed of.

  CHAPTER 4

  From Graeme’s Journal

  The Recessed Primal Breed

  Once awakened, Primal Breed genetics can and will play havoc upon a Breed’s mental, emotional and psychological balance. The animal, for a while, may act independently of the human he resides within, in essence taking control of the human psyche without the Breed realizing exactly what he’s lost control to. At this point, a Breed is at his most dangerous.

  Especially if the animal genetics have awakened for Mating Heat—

  What the hell was she up to?

  Cullen stood at the bar of yet another underground club, his eyes narrowed, tension raging through him as he watched Chelsea from where she stood talking to several Coyote Breed females on the other side of the room.

  It wasn’t just those females around her, though. At least a half dozen Coyote Breed males, the females’ security detail, stood, arms crossed, expressions interested as they listened to Chelsea talk. If he wasn’t mistaken, every damned one of them had checked out her ass. And those rounded curves looked real damned good in the snug jeans she wore. So good that it was hard to keep his eyes off her himself. Still, watching those Coyotes check her out made him want to plant his fist in their faces. They had no business staring at her ass, not when he knew for a fact that the smell of his touch, his lust, covered her like an invisible cloak.

  Now, that thought brought an edge of smug satisfaction.

  He knew the animals he was dealing with, and there was a silent code among most Breeds. No Breed would touch her as long as his scent lay on her like that. The animal inside them wouldn’t allow it, even if Chelsea invited it.

  Not that she had invited any man or Breed to touch her. He had no doubt that if his scent hadn’t covered her, many would be offering, though. Just as those at the other clubs she’d visited.

  This particular club was located beneath a warehouse outside Gallup, New Mexico. Each illegal club she’d chosen was in the same area, within ten to twenty miles of one another.

  Though this was the only club she’d been to that was located underground.

  The cavernous room throbbed with the sound of the latest dance music and an abundance of alcohol. Humans and Breeds alike filled the dance floor and congregated in small groups.

  Chelsea seemed to have made her rounds of all those groups and then some. The three Coyote females she now stood with had shadowed her, seemingly without her knowing it. Ashley, Emma and Sharone were regulars at many of the underground bars. Like most Breeds they never became drunk, but enjoyed the music, dancing and socializing.

  Cullen had followed her through three different highly illegal establishments over the course of the night. She stayed an hour or so at each one, nursing a single drink as she moved through them, and if he wasn’t mistaken she chatted with every damned Breed she could find, with the exception of him.

  She didn’t talk to any one Breed or human with more interest than the other, and she only danced with the human males. A few male Breeds showed some interest in her, watched her with a surfeit of it, but none approached her
. If she approached them they talked with her but watched her with suspicion and a hint of question. A few actually glanced over at him disapprovingly as they talked to her.

  His jaw tightened in satisfaction that it was his scent that stopped them. He’d made certain she carried it as he kissed and tasted every inch of flesh he could get to before she left with those two damned Wolf Breeds earlier.

  Draeger and Tobias had been far too smug, too satisfied as they left the house with her. Something about their expressions and the gleam of knowledge in their eyes as they glanced back at him had set his teeth on edge.

  The two Breeds in question were currently making their way to where he stood at the bar, their hard, savage expressions drawing looks of wary interest from the women they passed.

  Draeger, black haired, his dark blue eyes intense, didn’t draw the gazes his partner Tobias did, though. Red hair, carefully cropped beard and mustache and grayish green eyes were rare enough in a man. In a Breed, when combined with the rough-hewn features, years of savage training and an innate determined force, it ensured he’d never be overlooked.

  Both men wore jeans, dark T-shirts and boots, similar attire to everyone else at the club. Still, like every other Breed there, they stood out, drew notice.

  “Maverick.” Draeger nodded as he slid up to the bar on one side of Cullen while Tobias slid in on the other side. He didn’t miss the fact that they were attempting to close him in, to make him feel hemmed in, restrained.

  Most Breeds would have instinctively felt that way about two others they were uncertain of. Cullen wasn’t uncertain of the Wolf Breeds, though. He knew why they were with Chelsea, he just couldn’t figure out what the hell she was doing that caused her to need them.

  “Took the two of you long enough to visit,” Cullen murmured, lifting his beer to his lips as his gaze sought out Chelsea again.

  She gave Draeger and Tobias a long, probing look, met his gaze, then turned away as he tipped his beer in her direction.

  She wasn’t happy with his presence there any more than her Wolf Breed shadows were. And he hated that. There was a time that she would have smiled at him, her dark eyes filled with warmth and a subtle invitation. An invitation he hadn’t allowed himself to accept while she was with the Agency. Now, in the weeks since she’d left, that invitation had been replaced with a gleam of hurt and no small amount of anger.

  “You going to make a habit of following her everywhere she goes?” Tobias cut straight to the point. “That’s not very smart. You’re just going to call more attention to her.”

  No one had ever accused the Breed of being tactful, Cullen guessed.

  “Looks that way,” he drawled, keeping his eyes on Chelsea. God only knew what kind of trouble she’d get into if he actually took his eyes off her. “And from what I understand, it would be hard to draw more attention to her. Wasn’t she just attacked a few nights ago?” His fist clenched at the thought of the knife-wielding Coyote the two Wolf Breeds had been forced to kill to defend her.

  “Anomaly.” Draeger shrugged. “She’s not in any danger, unless you make an issue of this. Is that what you want to do?”

  The warning tone of the Breed’s voice didn’t sit real well with him. If the Wolf thought Cullen was going to back down in the face of it, then he’d better think again.

  “If making an issue of it becomes a problem, then I’ll be here to take care of it, now won’t I?” he informed them coldly. “The two of you are wasting your time. If you don’t have anything constructive to say, then go back to your corners and become shadows again.”

  The two Breeds glanced at each other, their expressions closed, revealing little but the wariness he knew he was causing them.

  Assholes. Unless they wanted to tell him what the hell was going on, then he had no use for them.

  “You’re becoming a problem, Commander,” Draeger commented. “You ignore her for weeks, then think you can step in and play white knight? Stay the hell way from her. Your scent is becoming a deterrent to other Breeds and placing her off-limits. And we both know you have no intentions of keeping her.”

  And what exactly was Chelsea up to that required her to associate so closely with male Breeds? He wanted to ask that question so bad his back teeth ached as he locked them tight to hold it back. Asking wouldn’t get him anywhere, and he knew it.

  “Pest control.” Cullen grinned. “I’ll have to remember that. As for keeping her, last I heard, she wasn’t a possession.”

  The two Breeds were silent for long moments, obviously debating their next words, wondering the best way to get rid of him, short of killing him. And killing him could prove difficult for them. Perhaps not impossible, but difficult.

  From what he’d gathered on the two over the past hours through several sources he’d contacted, Draeger and Tobias were supposedly not aligned with any particular pack or alpha leader. They weren’t associated with the Bureau of Breed Affairs or any of the smaller task forces working to identify and control the Breeds still working for the elusive Genetics Council.

  Who the two Breeds were working for, Cullen hadn’t been able to learn. The fact that they were indeed employed wasn’t in doubt. Just as Chelsea’s employment now wasn’t in doubt. But if anyone knew who had retained their services, they weren’t saying.

  “Four weeks since she parted ways with your Agency and you’re only now becoming curious in regard to how she’s using the training you gave her while she was with you?” Tobias asked as Chelsea and Ashley moved to join a small group of feline Breed males and their human dates. “Why now?”

  It was obvious they were unaware it was Chelsea who’d rescued the little girl in the desert weeks before, then disappeared.

  The attack had no reason or explanation. Council Coyotes didn’t just attack for the hell of it. If she’d somehow been identified as Louisa’s rescuer, now, that would be a reason for an attack. Or someone knew what she was involved in with these two.

  “She wasn’t in danger until now.” He shot Tobias a look of promised retribution. And he would repay the two Breeds just as soon as he figured out what they had drawn Chelsea into. “I’ll put a stop to whoever sent those Coyotes after her the other night, and when I do, then I’ll come looking for the two of you,” he promised.

  He wanted answers and he wanted Chelsea safe before making any moves against the two Breeds reported to have saved her from the knife-wielding Coyotes that came after her.

  Draeger grunted at the promise, his gaze gleaming in amusement as he leaned back against the bar. “You don’t scare me, Maverick.”

  “That’s your first mistake, Draeger,” Cullen stated coolly. “I’m not a good enemy to make. I’d remember that if I were you.”

  The day was coming that he’d prove it to them. They didn’t want that. As much as he hated it, loathed it, by becoming a thorn in his side, the two were ensuring that if Graeme learned of the problem, he’d make certain that the two Breeds were excised quickly.

  Merciless and efficient, that was the twin he was saddled with. Graeme rarely gave Cullen a chance to deal with his own thorns if he knew of them. Cullen had learned years ago to make certain Graeme never learned of them.

  “You’re no different than any other human in this place,” Tobias stated, his gaze taunting as Maverick glanced over at him. “Stronger than a few, perhaps, but no match for a true Breed. Recessed genetics don’t count in a fight.”

  Recessed little snot, Graeme liked to call him. Cullen snorted at the insult.

  “Keep it up, boys,” he invited the two men, not in the least intimidated as they no doubt expected him to be. “You’ll learn the hard way not to keep fucking with me.”

  His animal genetics might be recessed, but the strength, coordination and sheer cunning savagery bred into his genetics weren’t. They never had been. And lately, they’d increased in power. He simply refused to put them on display.

  Finding Chelsea within the crowd once again, he met the displeasure in her gaze and arch
ed his brow with mocking inquiry. She seemed more put out with him than usual.

  Shooting her a slow grin and another tip of his beer, he then lifted the bottle for another drink. The anger that snapped in her dark gaze was almost funny. It would have been highly amusing if not for the disapproval in the gazes of the male Breeds she was with as they looked in his direction as well.

  Bastards, what the hell was their problem? He wasn’t the reason she was here risking her ass in whatever the hell she was doing. He couldn’t even figure out what it was she was doing. And no one else seemed to know either. That, or they just weren’t talking. And the fact that they weren’t talking indicated a loyalty to a Breed far more powerful than any Cullen was aware of.

  Except perhaps Graeme.

  Normally, the very fact that he could claim kinship with the monster Graeme was enough to get any answers he needed.

  Until now.

  Whatever Chelsea was working on and whoever had hired her was such a closely guarded secret that all he’d found were more questions when he’d gone looking for answers.

  And these two were becoming useless where answers were concerned.

  A moue of disgust pursed Chelsea’s lips before her gaze turned from the Breeds she was chatting with to the two standing on each side of him. Her brow lifted and a second later she was moving purposely through the crowd to the exit.

  That little arch of the brow was a clear signal to her shadows, he’d learned. She was ready to leave this particular club and head to the next. Or home.

  Glancing at his watch, he noted the hour, timed it to the schedule he’d put together of her activities and guessed she was heading home. Whatever she was there for, he was going to assume it hadn’t panned out and she wasn’t happy about it.

  And that was just too damned bad. He’d keep interfering until she deigned to tell him exactly what the hell she was doing and who she was doing it for. He’d be more than happy to take care of whatever job she’d been given, after he made certain she was safe.

  Reaching the elevator leading to the upper floor of the warehouse just behind Draeger, Cullen executed a quick jab to the Wolf Breed’s side when he tried to block the entrance, then slid quickly around him to stand next to Chelsea.

  “Bitch,” Draeger growled, one hand pressed to his kidney as he slapped the control panel.

  The doors slid closed as Draeger glared back at him with a gleam of retribution in his dark blue eyes.

  “Call your guard dog off, Chelsea,” Cullen advised her, catching a glimpse of her concerned expression from his periphery. “I don’t think you want to see the fight that’s coming if you don’t.”

  She lifted her gaze to him and narrowed her eyes, the dark depths of her brown eyes snapping with ire.

  “I know how to look the other way.” The grip she kept on the pack slung over her shoulder turned her knuckles white.

  Cullen chuckled at the response.

  “But we both know you won’t. And once I get finished with your Boy Scouts here, then you and I might have words.” He stared down at her, his expression and his tone warning her to remember the years they’d worked together and exactly how determined he could be.

  Her lips thinned, her gaze holding his, she crossed her arms over her breasts as her delicate little nostrils flared furiously.

  “He’s bluffing, Chelsea,” Tobias chuckled. “He can’t take me and Draeger both and he knows it. Even one at a time. He’s recessed and untrained. He doesn’t stand a chance.”

  It was the “untrained” comment that got her.

  Cullen watched her gaze flare, glimpsed the knowledge in her eyes and just managed to keep a smug grin from his face.

  He was recessed, but he wasn’t untrained and she knew it. She’d been there the few times he’d sparred with the Breeds in the area, knew exactly how well trained he was and how powerful he was.

  Graeme had trained him as a boy and as a man. The monster his brother had been for years had shown up, taunting Cullen, pushing him to fight, to pit his strength and cunning against a creature born of murderous skill and well-honed insanity. Cullen knew he’d leave Draeger and Tobias both bleeding, and she knew it as well.

  If he didn’t triumph over the Wolves, Cullen knew that Graeme would turn the monster loose and start training exercises all over again. That was incentive enough to win the fight.

  “Let it go,” she muttered.

  Draeger gave a low growl. “Like hell . . .”

  “I said let it go,” Chelsea snapped then. “This is childish and I’ll be damned if I’ll put up with it. All three of you can stop now or I’ll make damned sure you wish you had.”

  Cullen’s brow arched. That might work with Breeds who had a boss, but Cullen hadn’t had a boss in his life. There was no one she could go over his head to.

  “Excellent threat, sugar,” he told her softly, grinning down at her in approval. “I’ll be sure to show my approval later.”

  Her eyes narrowed back at him, a flush working over the sun-kissed flesh of her face as her lips pursed in an expression he knew well.

  “Remember what happened the last time you pissed me off, Cullen?” she asked, her voice as sweet as candy, her expression promising her own brand of vengeance.

  At that question, he couldn’t control the little wince that crossed his face.

  The last time he’d pissed her off, as she called it? He’d given his agents orders to keep her at the offices when her sister had been attacked. He’d had no idea the danger she would face if she went rushing headlong to her sister’s side. When he’d returned, she’d curled that little fist and planted it square in his eye. That bitch had smarted for days.

  “Vengeful wench,” he muttered.

  “Remember it.” The elevator doors slid open. “Because I promise you. It can happen again.”

  With a toss of her head she lifted that cute little nose of hers, waited for Tobias to give her the okay, then left the elevator to step into the warehouse and stalk to her truck. Once again she stood aside as Tobias and Draeger checked her vehicle, presumably for explosives.

  What the fuck was she up to?

  Once the two Breeds cleared the truck, Cullen moved around the back of the vehicle, and before Chelsea lifted herself into the driver’s seat, he had the passenger door open and slid in as well.

  He knew there were no explosives; he’d come with backup himself. He had no idea what she was involved with or who might want to get rid of her, and he wasn’t taking chances. Ranger was still sitting in his car within sight of the truck, just as he had been since their arrival.

  “I wouldn’t leave my vehicle here if I were you,” she bit out, anger pulsing in her tone. “It may be gone when you return for it.”

  “No problem. I caught
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