Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Excerpt New Year's Kiss
Zach and Mikhel watched the door close behind her, waiting until she disappeared from sight before looking at each other.
“Any chance you’re going to bow out gracefully and just let me have her?”
Zach shook his head. “Not on your life.”
“I could just take her, you know.”
“You could try.” Zach sat back down and kicked his feet onto the chair beside him. “But since we’re not part of a pack and you’re not Alpha, I have just as much right to go after her as you do.”
Mikhel glared at his friend. It had been five years since he’d moved away from his father’s pack but there hadn’t been a real need to establish one of his own. What good would a pack of two be? Besides, he didn’t want to be responsible for a bunch of werewolves who couldn’t make decisions for themselves. If the past five years had taught him nothing else, it was that he was much better suited to living in the human world.
But now there was Taylor—suddenly available—and Mikhel wanted her.
The wolf growled low in his throat, sending a warning out to any males in the area. Zach’s eyes flashed red and his lips pulled back in an instinctive snarl.
Mikhel heard the animal’s challenge at the same moment Zach seemed to recognize the sound. Both men pulled back, taking a couple seconds to shake off the intensity.
Zach sat back and shook his hair away from his face. “This is bad timing.”
The moon was waxing and would be full on New Year’s Day. As they got closer to the full moon, their wolves got stronger. The animal’s urges became more powerful and the ability for the human side to remain in control weakened. Unlike the werewolves of horror movies, they didn’t have to change at the full moon. That was merely the time when the line between human and animal thinned. It took strength and focus to keep the animal in check.
The added complication of a potential mate made things a bit more risky. And it was a woman they both wanted.
Hell. It was going to take more than an arm wrestling match to decide who got Taylor.
* * * * *
Taylor paid the cab and took a deep breath. Her heart had been pounding for the last five minutes of the drive. And off and on for the past five days. When her friends had asked her about her plans for New Year’s Eve, she’d kept it very vague. One, because she wasn’t sure Mikhel really could get tickets and two, she wasn’t sure who her date would be. She smoothed the front of her coat and started up the stairs. The doorman greeted her with a bow as he opened the massive door for her.
She stepped inside and immediately saw Zach, standing amid the tan and black couches, scanning the lobby. He looked incredible in his tux, confident and sexy as he monitored the room. A strange mixture of excitement and disappointment fluttered through her chest, leaving her more confused than ever. Had she wanted it to be Mikhel? Or would she have felt the same disappointment?
She forced herself to exhale slowly. It didn’t matter. She’d have a fun evening. Zach was gorgeous and great company.
Not that you have a chance with either one of them, she reminded herself. Mikhel is probably waiting at home for him.
Zach saw her and raised his chin in greeting. She waved back but the motion froze as Mikhel pushed himself out of one of the plush couches and stood beside Zach.
“Hi.” She didn’t bother to hide her confusion. Were they expecting her to make a choice? Now? Oh, she didn’t want to do that.
Mikhel just nodded his head.
Zach started speaking, answering her question before she could ask it.
“Well, here’s the deal. We couldn’t decide who would get to bring you tonight. And since you didn’t seem to have a clear preference…” He let it trail away, inspiring Taylor to answer. She shook her head and he continued. “We decided that we’d both escort you.”
Both? She could have both of them? Well, she wouldn’t actually be having them. Just eating dinner, maybe dancing…ooh, dancing. The thought of either of their strong masculine bodies pressed against her… Her palms started to sweat and drat, she couldn’t exactly wipe them on her dress. It would crush the silk.
“Is that all right?” Mikhel asked and she realized they were waiting for some sort of reaction from her.
“O-of course. That’s great. It will be fun.”
“Fun, right,” Mikhel muttered and she had the distinct impression that neither man was thrilled with the situation but hey, it hadn’t been her idea. And she was going to have the two sexiest escorts there.
“Let me just get rid of my coat.” She walked toward the coat check, aware that her “dates” followed her. She took off the fake fur and handed it across the counter.
“Holy God.” Mikhel’s harsh words rang through the hotel lobby causing the coat check girl to jump. Taylor froze then slowly turned, looking at Mikhel and Zach. They both stared at her, their eyes locked on her body. Zach’s lips were open, like he couldn’t quite get enough oxygen.
But it was Mikhel’s reaction that stunned her. Heat seemed to surround him and that warmth was stretching out and enveloping her, leaving her breathless.
Goodness, she’d stopped them in their tracks. Perfect. Just the reaction she’d been looking for.
Feeling feminine and sexy, she smiled. “Like it?” she asked doing a slow twirl, loving the feel of the material floating around her. The skirt was made up of four layers of silk, opening to the front so when she walked, the inside colors were revealed, along with a hint of leg. The top was truly sexy. The front dipped low, revealing a good amount of her full breasts and giving her a wicked cleavage. But the back was what made the dress so special. It was completely cut out from the tops of her shoulders to the curve of her ass. It felt deliciously sexy and wicked.
“It’s gorgeous,” Zach said.
“Take it off,” Mikhel commanded, so low that Taylor quickly decided she’d misheard him.
Mikhel shook his head and took a deep breath. “It’s great.”
“I told you it was the perfect dress.”
“I think it’s more the woman inside the dress that makes it that way,” Zach said. Taylor’s smile widened and Mikhel barely crushed a snarl. If Zach kept flirting with her, Mikhel was going to—Hell, he didn’t know what he was going to do.
They’d talked long and hard for the past four days, each trying to convince the other to relinquish his claim on Taylor but neither had given in. No way was Mikhel backing down on this one. Not until Taylor herself made a choice.
If they’d been in-pack, Mikhel could have ordered Zach to stay away but since he’d never formally established a pack, Zach was right. He had as much right to pursue Taylor as Mikhel did.