One virgin. Two dominant shifters. One last chance to claim their destiny.
Xander, alpha of the Royal Winchester pack, has chased his true mate through the centuries. And screwed things up with her each time their paths have crossed. She's always been too soft, too innocent, too perfect. He's not. He's wicked, dominant, and demanding...especially in bed.
The moment he sees Gwen, though, he realizes he's been given another chance to make things right. That's exactly what he's going to do too. He has a plan--earn her forgiveness, unleash her sexuality, win her love. Simple. Or maybe not. His best friend claims Gwen belongs to him too.
Vlad has made a mistake. Instead of claiming his true mate in this lifetime, he slept with Gwen's sister. Then dozens of women after her. And when Gwen needed him most, he failed her. Now her virginity is being offered up to the best hunter.
Rescuing Gwen is the easy part. Saving her friend from captivity, proving their three-way relationship is worth fighting for, and staying alive long enough to soul-bond are not. But when faced with their last chance at happiness, Xander and Vlad will stop at nothing to win.
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Last Chance Copyright © 2017 by Nancy Corrigan All Rights Are Reserved.
His goddess hated him. That was the only explanation. Why else would she keep placing his true mate’s soul in a human body?
Xander stared into Gwen’s warm brown eyes and acknowledged the truth—the mortal female standing before him, trembling and reeking of fear, was his perfect match.
His wolves recognized her. They’d spent too many years in her presence to misinterpret her as their salvation, and they wanted to claim her.
Right here. Right now.
After seven hundred years of life, they didn’t care what body she inhabited or if she could bear them young. She held the power to calm them, offering his wolves the peace promised to them by their goddess. That meant more to the animals than breeding or leading the pack.
He agreed. Living with the constant strife of housing three dominant wolves who rarely got along took its toll on a male. Claiming his human true mate, though, would be the most selfish thing he’d ever do. Even more selfish than when he’d married one incarnation of her and posed as Elizabeth’s husband for over a decade. That had been…wrong.
Stealing his true mate’s eternity would be worse, however. Mated to an alpha, Gwen would be subjected to scrutiny and disdain, every second of every day.
And for what? Immortality? Living forever wasn’t all that humans imagined. Money and social status didn’t mean anything after a few centuries either. In the end, there was no special privilege that came from belonging to him. Except maybe sex. Even then, she’d be compromising herself. He was dark…twisted. His fantasies would shock her.
What sane female would be okay knowing her mate craved the idea of another male commanding her body…while Xander watched? No. He couldn’t do that to her. Being with him would taint the goodness Gwen held. He wasn’t worth it.
The scarf wrapped around Gwen’s mouth muffled the words, but the shock in her voice was clear. She knew him. How? Humans weren’t supposed to remember their past lives. He’d specially sought out that knowledge from the elders of his species, the ones who were old enough to remember the time when the gods and goddesses interacted with the mortal world. Xander had taken comfort in knowing future incarnations of his true mate wouldn’t recall how he’d allowed her to die. Twice.
“Have we met?” If they had, she never would’ve gotten herself kidnapped. After Tabitha, the last human female who housed his true mate’s soul, perished, he promised himself he’d never allow his female to suffer. He wasn’t quite sure how he was supposed to accomplish that without tainting Gwen’s life with his presence, but he’d figure out a way, even if he had to lurk in the shadows, watching over her, for the rest of her life.
She tugged the gray scarf down, exposing the face he’d only seen in photographs. None of those pictures had done her justice. She was beautiful. An angel. Too good for him. He greedily let his gaze drink in her sweetness anyway, then met her chocolate-colored eyes.
“Not officially, but I’ve seen you before. You were hunting me. In Delaware.” She licked her lips, then glanced at the ground. “Do you remember?”
As if he’d forget. The memory of that day on the waterfront when he’d been searching for her and Molly haunted him still. A sensation of peace had settled over him, chasing away the aggression he usually encountered around humans. Those few seconds of peace were the reason he’d all but abandoned his pack in his search of Gwen. He’d known what they meant. Twice before, he’d experienced the phenomenon. Each time had been in the presence of his true mate, the two human females he’d damned by touching them.
“Really?” He swept his gaze over her. The parka hid her body, and none of the photos he had of Gwen revealed much. She didn’t like getting her picture taken. From what he’d learned of Gwen, she was as shy as she’d been in previous lifetimes. “I would’ve remembered seeing you.”
“Oh, you didn’t see me. I hid from you.” She slipped the dagger back into the sheath, shoved it in her pocket, then flicked her gaze to the woods, scanning them as if looking for help or an escape.
The tensing in her body and the desperation in her expression warned him to tread carefully. She was going to run. While he didn’t worry he’d lose her, he didn’t want to frighten her more. Chasing her would do that.
“I wish you hadn’t. I could’ve helped you.”
“No, I don’t believe that. If you could’ve, Molly wouldn’t have given me the advice she had.”
The scientists in the experimental center where Molly, Gwen’s adopted sister, had been born had turned the young lion shifter into the temporary host of a Royal pride’s spirit. The unnatural bond between the little girl and the Leon pride’s founding ancestor was an attempt to grant single shifters, those mortal shifters who could only take a single animal’s form, immortality. The scientists’ gamble paid off, but not in the way they’d expected. The Leon ancestor had merged completely with Molly, turning her into its pride’s next leader. Not her future mate as they’d intended.
“What advice did Molly give you?”
Gwen slid her bag off her shoulder and dropped it on the ground. “To run.”
He didn’t get the chance to say more. Gwen turned and took off, fleeing into the woods.
Away from him.
He cursed and chased after her. So much for sparing her from experiencing more fear. He should’ve told her he was one of the good guys. Too late for regrets.
Gwen skidded going down the steep landscape. She wasn’t even looking for an easy way.
He quickened his pace. “Gwen, wait. I’m not—”
She hit a patch of wet leaves and fell. Her hip smacked into the ground. She cried out and tumbled, rolling sideways.
He slid in front of her. She slammed into his body. Her breath rushed out. He leaned over her. “Are you okay?”
She shoved him. Her push didn’t come close to budging him, but knowing fear choked her, he eased back.
The second he released her, she scrambled over him, knocking him to his back in her haste. He wrapped his arms around her and rolled her under him. Panic drove her. That had to be the reason for putting herself in the position where he could easily get her on her back beneath him.
She bucked under his body, wiggling and squirming. “Let me go!”
“Gwen, calm down. I’m not your enemy. I—”
She drew her legs up and pressed her palms to his chest, then shoved a second time. “Off! Get off!”
He clamped a hand over her mouth. “Shut up, or you’re going to bring the other shifters here. If they gang up on me, one of them might get to you before I can kill them all. Do you want that? For them to rape you?”
Her quickened breaths warmed his palm, and her eyes widened impossibly more. She shook her head.
He uncovered her mouth and brushed a few strands of hair from her cheek. Freckles dotted the bridge of her nose, and a thin white scar ran across her chin. He traced the mark that hadn’t been present in any of the pictures of her he’d seen. Whoever had put it there would die. “Then you need to calm down. Can you do that for me?”
She nodded and relaxed under him, spreading her legs and allowing him to settle more firmly against her, his groin lining up to hers. Clothes separated them, but they didn’t hide the soft cushion of her body. The press of her curves stirred him. His cock twitched.
It was the wrong time for the surge of lust. She didn’t need to feel the evidence of his desire, not while she feared he’d rape her. With his true mate spread before him, however, he couldn’t stop his dick from rising. Gwen held the key to his sex drive.
And his soul.
He dropped his head to her shoulder and took deep breaths in an attempt to counter the unsolicited desire. Gwen’s scent made it impossible. Although her fear was palpable, her arousal grew by the moment. The rich scent of her need surrounded them. Excited him. That was the way of true mates, though. Their bodies understood what their minds sometimes didn’t. They fit, better than any other lover would.
“I can feel how hard you are.” She rocked under him, stimulating him more. He stifled a groan. “You want to be the one to take my virginity, don’t you? I know that’s special for shifters.”
“Yes.” He wouldn’t lie. It was special. So was knowing his whore pack mate hadn’t gotten to his true mate first as Vlad had done both lifetimes before.
Xander refused to call him Vader, that ridiculous nickname he’d started going by after denouncing his tie to the Winchester pack. To Xander, he’d always be Horace Vladimir Winchester, pack mate and friend. Or ex-friend, according to Vlad.
Gwen skimmed her fingertips up Xander’s thigh, dragging the wool kilt with her. Her boldness left him tense and eager.
“Do you want to know a secret even the bear shifters don’t know?” She caressed his thigh, reaching between his legs to tease the edge of his balls. “I’ve never even touched a man’s cock.”
Her words stirred a primal aspect of his personality that made him want to throw Gwen over his shoulder and attack anyone who dared look at her.
“Why are you telling me this?”
“Because I believe in honesty and fairness. No matter how much I despise being a prize, you’ve caught me. You have the right to do whatever you want to me until morning, and I’ve decided I want to experience pleasure.” She pressed her lips against his ear. Her shaky exhale washed over him, tightening his body. “You’ll make it good for me, won’t you?”
His instincts demanded he claim her, every way a male could have a female, until she craved only him. Never had he expected his virgin mate to beg him to ravish her, however. In one night. Something wasn’t quite right about her leading questions.
He turned his head and met Gwen’s gaze. She glanced away. No. He refused to lose the insight her eyes gave. “Look at me.”
She swallowed hard but obeyed his command.
“Telling me you’re untouched makes me want to come inside you. Fill you up until my seed is dripping down your thighs.”
Her breathing deepened. The scent of her need increased, but she didn’t speak.
He slipped his hand between their bodies and dragged his knuckles over her sex. “Do you know what’ll happen if I lose myself inside you?”
She pressed her lips together. Her silence confirmed his guess. She knew. She wanted him to admit to the possessiveness.
Why? He went over their short encounter and cursed. Fear had hovered in her eyes at the mention of being gang raped. Of course. It’d be better to belong to one male than to be used as a toy for several who very well might kill her as they fought over her.
He pulled his hand away from her crotch and wrapped his arms around her, holding his true mate close. “Gods, Gwen, you don’t need to do this. I’ll never let anyone—”
His wolves’ growls filled his head. Danger had found them. He yanked his gaze to the woods. One of the other shifters participating in the hunt hopped over a fallen tree. At close to seven feet, the bear shifter was huge, but his size meant nothing. Xander could defeat him easily. The three other shifters behind the bear would slow Xander down, however. If one of them broke away and went after Gwen?
Xander crouched over his true mate’s body and snarled. His fangs slid into place, and his sharpened nails punched from his fingertips. Tiny hairs pushed from his skin while the demands of his wolves beat at him. They wanted to be released. The shifters approaching them would die.
“Head toward the top of the mountain, Gwen.” He turned away and stripped, tossing his jacket, kilt, and shirt to the ground. “Do not disobey me. You’re more important to me than you could ever know.”
He didn’t wait for a response or try to explain more. He’d have to trust in their connection to help her past her fear. No way would he fail his true mate. Not again.
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