“Do you hear me, Sherra?” he bit out again, never breaking their stare. Her lips thinned, their little pout almost tempting him to possess them with a strength of a desire nearly tearing him apart.

“Fine,” she literally growled at him, her eyes shooting sparks of fury as she drew back as far as possible from him. “But your sister is right, you’re an asshole.”

Kane’s eyes widened in surprise, then he frowned in irritation.

“Does she fucking telling everyone I’m an asshole?” He heard his voice rise in incredulity, then turned to look at his family for an answer.

They were staring at him with a mixture of surprise and disbelief.

“Maybe she likes warning the world of the potential,” Sherra sneered. “It’s not like it’s easy to miss.”

He swung around to her again.

“Kane.” The order in his father’s voice was impossible to deny. “Leave that girl alone, she said she wouldn’t go anywhere. Get the hell out of here and make sure you’re ready so we can all get some rest before morning. Which is only a few more hours away.”

John faced him, a scowl on his face as he watched his oldest son with no small amount of confusion.

“Sherra, you leave this room and I swear I’ll hunt you down,” he told her fiercely, staring into her eyes as they widened in shock. “And I promise you, you won’t like it much when I find you.”


She snarled silently, revealing the longer than normal canines at the side of her mouth.

“Be a good kitty, baby.” He smiled mockingly. He turned and left the room before she had a chance to retaliate, but her furious curse followed him into the hall. He breathed out harshly then, running his hands over his short black hair and stomping to the next room. Dammit. He had no desire to fight with Sherra. He didn’t want her mad. He wanted her hot and horny and begging him. And eventually, he would have it.


Callan lay beside Merinus smelling her need, her heat. The scent had changed, and he felt his chest tighten with that knowledge. He lay still, not touching her, staring at the darkened ceiling in misery. The

‘mating frenzy’ was completing its cycle, Merinus was ovulating.

She tossed against the mattress, still sleeping, despite the arousal beginning to rage within her body. She would awaken soon, and when she did, she would need his passion, his seed. The desperate lusts would ease then, according to Dr. Martin and become more normal, but she would carry his child. That was in the email Callan hadn’t shown her. The conclusions of the tests the scientist had been running had come through late last night. The uncertainty over the pregnancy hormone easing the frenzy was now certain. Despite the earlier indications it wouldn’t, the test samples had finally shown proof that the frenzy was nature’s way of ensuring breeding within the Pride.

His fist clenched at that knowledge. Equal parts hope and rage surged through his body. Like any man, he dreamed of having a child with the woman who had stolen his heart. A child filled with laughter, with happiness. But could a child of his ever have a life that carefree? A child whose DNA was infected by its father, a child they would call a freak of science?

Merinus rolled against him, her silken hand found his abdomen. He grimaced at the rising heat in his own body, the pleasure he found in her touch. He could feel his tongue throbbing again, the glands along his tongue enlarging. A fucking aphrodisiac, to ensure the ‘frenzy’. Nature was having the last laugh on them all. Somehow, she had found something worthy in the Breeds science had created and was determined to keep them around.

He ignored the burning moisture in his eyes, his hand smoothing over her slender arm, loving the feel of her. The warmth of her. He had found acceptance from her, but he knew she would be terrified when he revealed the truth to her. A truth he was praying was a mistake. But his sense of smell didn’t lie. How he knew what the scent was, he was uncertain, but he knew. It was the smell of rebirth, as light and elusive as spring.

Merinus moaned low and deep, her hand moving lower, dangerously close to the erection throbbing between his thighs. He was harder than he could ever remember being. Throbbing, desperate to sink inside her, to bury his cock as deeply inside her as possible before spilling his seed.

“Merinus,” he whispered her name, turning to her, his hand going to her cheek as he awoke her. Her eyes blinked open, a sensual smile shaping her lips as she moved closer to him.

“Wait,” he whispered, holding her still. “We must talk.”

“Later.” She rubbed her breasts against his chest, her hard nipples burning his flesh.

“No, darling,” he denied her. “We talk first. You have to listen to me.”

He saw her frown in the predawn shadows of the room.

“So talk. But hurry.” Her leg caressed his as she moved against him, her breathing becoming deep, laborious.

“Merinus, if I take you, you’ll conceive tonight.” He stared down at her intently, watching her eyes widen.

“What?” she asked him nervously. “You can’t be sure of that.”

She shook her head, but he smelled her growing hotter. The spicy scent was an aphrodisiac all its own.

As though the thought of carrying his child wasn’t as abhorrent as it should be.

“I’m certain, Merinus.” He allowed his hand to smooth over her cheek, his thumb to trace her lips. “The need you’re feeling will only grow worse, more painful without my sperm coming inside you. But you must know what will happen when it does. I cannot stop it, Merinus. I cannot protect you from this.”

He wanted to howl with his rage, his pain for what he was putting her through.

“You aren’t to blame, Callan.” Her smile trembled, her eyes glistened with tears. “It’s not your fault.”

Her lack of anger towards him cracked his soul. How could she be so accepting, so loving to a man who had all but destroyed her life?

“I love you, Merinus. I want you to know this now,” he whispered. “You are my soul and you are my life. I could not survive without you now.”

“I know that.” A tear fell from her eye. “I know Callan, because it’s the same for me.”

He laid his forehead against hers, breathing roughly, staring down at her as he fought to come to grips with what this night would bring. A child. He had never thought to know that joy, that fear.

“I will protect you and our babe as best I can,” he told her roughly. “With my life, Merinus.”

Her hand was shaking as it moved to cup his cheek. He could feel her fear now, her uncertainty. Suddenly the complications were growing with each second. It was no longer just their lives at risk, but the life of an innocent.

“It’s really bad this time.” She breathed in hard as her body shuddered with the heat. “I’m scared, Callan.”

He moved her to her back, looming over her, wishing there was some way to take her fears from her.

“We will make it okay, love,” he swore to her, though he had no idea how. “Somehow, someway, we will keep our child safe.”

He lowered his head, his lips whispering over hers as he fought the need to plunge his tongue deep into her mouth. To possess her in every way, to make her take the hormone that would drive her need higher, make her body burn, make her release tear through her body and drive her quicker to fertility. Dr. Martin had been certain that this was the reason for the hormone. All tests when combined together fused to produce a single result. A child.

Wanting this night to be remembered, not just for the fear of conception, but for the beauty of their pleasure, Callan began to tease her lips. He didn’t want to tempt with the crazed needs of long love play. He didn’t want her mindless. He wanted to pleasure her, love her. His kissed her gently with only his lips, sipping at hers; staring into her wide eyes as his hands caressed her swollen breasts, her hard nipples. Then his tongue brushed her lips, slipped inside and allowed the effects of science and nature to begin. She accepted the invasion, her eyes closing with a groan as the taste of spice filled both their mouths. It would begin now. And he feared where it would end. But he didn’t stop kissing her. He couldn’t. He wanted the contact to last, to linger forever in his mind. That when he gave her his child, he loved her, worshipped her.

Within minutes their breathing increased, perspiration coated their bodies, lust rippled through them. Callan groaned as his hand lowered, testing the rich cream that prepared her for him. She was slick and hot, ready for him. He moved between her spread thighs, lowering himself against her, positioning his erection for the first hard thrust. He knew what she liked, and he would be certain that every stroke was made to gain her ultimate pleasure.

“I love you, Merinus,” he groaned against her lips as he thrust deep and hard inside her.

Merinus felt the shock of his entrance, the sudden stretching of her vagina, the pleasure/pain that drove all other thoughts from her head. Heat seared her body, spasmed her womb. Her muscles clenched on his cock as he whispered his words of love against her lips. She climaxed on the second stroke, but still the heat built. She bucked against him, her hips thrusting her cunt harder against the invading erection that pumped hard and fast inside her. Callan was moaning, his head lowering to her breasts, his rough tongue licking at her nipples as his mouth suckled each in turn. His cock kept a smooth, hard rhythm as he thrust in and out of her. Each stroke stretched her, filled her. Her head tossed, her body shuddered.

Then he was moving faster, harder. His mouth went to her neck, to the little wound that never seemed to heal, his teeth locking on it, his tongue stroking as she began to feel the final phase of his possession. The hardening of the barb that would lock him inside her seconds before his ejaculation. The firm, stiff flesh that would allow no withdrawal and would ensure the conception that nature intended. She cried out as the firm thumb began to stiffen, raking her flesh erotically as he began to pound inside her mercilessly. She could feel the heat building in her stomach, knotting her muscles. Her vagina clamped down on his cock, milking it, demanding his release as she felt a harder, stronger orgasm building inside her own body. Her nails bit into his back as the deep strokes had her crying out for ease. He was growling low, her cries echoed through the room The barb lengthened then, and on the last hard stroke locked into her sensitive flesh and sent her into an explosion so hard, so deep she screamed out his name as she felt his seed erupt inside her.

His arms trembled beneath her shoulders as he gasped for breath. Merinus lay there, trying to catch her breath and frowned. Heated moisture dripped against her shoulder. Not much, a few fragile drops. She felt tears build in her eyes, her arms tightened about him, and she wished she knew what to say, knew some way to ease the pain inside this strong man.

“You humble me,” he whispered, his face hidden in her neck, his voice husky. “You amaze me, Merinus.”

“And how do I do this?” she asked him gently, her hands threading through the tawny strands of his hair. He shook his head. “Your love. Your acceptance.”

His voice strengthened, the hoarseness of his emotion leaving it slowly. He shook his head, took a hard breath and lifted himself from her. She felt him ease his cock from her body and sighed in regret. She would keep him there forever if she could.

He moved away from her, sitting on the side of the bed, gazing into the dim light of the room as morning slowly made its way toward them. She watched him, seeing the strength in his body, the way he straightened his shoulders, ready to face the new battle coming their way as surely as daylight was edging through the sky.

“It won’t be easy.” He stared toward the window and the thick curtains covering it. “I can’t make any promises, other than I’ll always love you. I won’t leave you. I’ll do what I can to protect you.”

“No one could ask more of you, Callan,” she told him, her voice soft. “I don’t expect more of you.”

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