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Millie Easton is a scientist who doesn’t follow orders—not when those orders tell her to abandon injured members of her team. During an emergency stop for fuel, she is witness to the horrors of a mining facility where she finds men who are considered barbarians because they can shift into wolves.
Alpha Dante DeForest and his men came to Abidem to mine crystals and ore. They lost their freedom the moment they proved themselves to be the perfect workforce. He mistrusts anyone who is not of his pack—until he meets the compassionate scientist who called to his soul. Her forbidden touch set them on a path to their destined mating no matter how much he fought it in order to protect her.Threats from within the pack and outside worlds jeopardized their future, but love and destiny would not be denied. A life of happiness, love, and children would be theirs if Millie would take the chance and claim it.
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“My men and I will make certain that you aren’t detained,” Dante promised. “You and your team will leave on your ship, you’ll be safe, and you’ll have a future filled with happiness.”
“You’re going to do this for us, huh?”
“And what happens when Koryn activates the device that controls those cuffs? How are you going to help us if you can’t even stand with us to fight him?”
“That’s simple, Millie,” he told her sadly. “We’ll push through the pain and stand guard until you leave.”
“And then what?”
Millie was horrified. She closed the distance between them and reached out to grip his forearms.
“You will not die,” she told him vehemently. “You will not offer yourselves up as bait or victims or whatever the hell else you want to call it!”
Dante lowered his arms and took Millie’s hands in his. Pulling them toward his mouth, he kissed her inner wrists before holding them against his chest.
“Millie, the way of the wolf is very straightforward,” he told her calmly. “When a wolf recognizes the woman who is meant to be his, it’s his responsibility to ensure her safety. Nothing and no one will be allowed to hurt her.”
Millie remained silent, both horrified and impressed by the code of honor that this man displayed. She rested her open palms on his chest, loving the strength beneath her hands. The heat that radiated from him surrounded her. Everything about him made her feel safe and comfortable.
“We recognized you and your family the moment we carried those containers to your ship,” he told her calmly. “Your scents made us know that we had found our mates.”
“You’re trying to tell me that the women of my team are destined to be mated to the men of your pack?”
He slipped his hands into the hair at her temples and leaned closer to her. She could feel the warmth of his breath against her face as he nuzzled against her.
“You’re my mate, Millie,” he whispered, kissing her forehead lightly. “I’ve waited a long time for you.”
He eased back and looked at her with such open longing in his eyes, she was rendered speechless. She waited, not knowing what it was that she was waiting for. So many emotions were warring within her.
“From the moment I saw you, I knew you were someone special,” he told her quietly. “I was proud of the way you stood up to Porten.” He looked into her beautiful eyes and couldn’t help but fall into her soul just a little bit more. “As I got closer to you and scented you, I knew you were mine.”
Millie took a step back, skepticism filling her at Dante’s declaration. She was willing to accept that he was protective of her. She could also accept that he wanted to help her. But, his declaration that she was his mate? She couldn’t believe that.
“Yeah. Okay. Sure,” she said finally. She reached up and patted his left bicep to appease him. “We’ll appreciate any help you and your men can give us, but we won’t allow anything to happen to any of you.”
“You don’t believe me,” Dante said calmly.
“I’m sure you believe what you say,” Millie said, trying to be kind.
“Do you feel any draw to me at all, Millie?” he asked her after a moment.
“That’s the way it is when you find your mate,” he told her.
“Dante, I’m drawn to you because you’ve shown concern for us,” Millie said calmly. “The way you were treated also drew me to you because I couldn’t stand by while you and your men were being abused.”
“Are those the only reasons?” Dante asked.
He pushed aside his disappointment. He couldn’t expect her to accept him so easily. She didn’t understand the draw of mates. She would soon.
He remained silent, a small smile coming to his lips as he faced her. She was certainly going to test him at every turn. He was going to love it.
“We are wolves,” Dante continued. “Even though our wolves have been contained by the devices that we wear on our wrists, they are able to scent the women who are meant to share our lives with us.”
Millie sighed softly. She reached up and rubbed at her temple to try to soothe the headache that was starting. It had been a stressful mission. The safety of her team was at risk. She had to get them out of here. She had to get all of them out of here.
“Millie, I don’t want you to be in pain,” he told her, taking her hand in his and pulling it from her temple. “Come and sit with me. I need you to relax. My men will dig us out, but it will take some time.”
Millie walked with Dante toward the cavern wall, too tired to do anything else. He sat down, carefully drawing her down with him. When Millie tried to sit beside him, he gathered her closer and settled her sideways on his lap, the same way he had before.
“Don’t move, Millie. And don’t argue with me,” he warned her as she tried to move away from him. “If you’re comfortable, your headache will go away.”
“Who said I have a headache?” Millie asked as she allowed him to settle her to his liking.
She leaned against him and sighed as he started to massage her neck, slipped his fingers into her hair at the nape of her neck, and pressed his strong fingers against her skull. She couldn’t help but close her eyes and lean into his touch. With each press of his fingertips, she felt the tension leaving her body.
Dante just smiled. He felt the moment she gave in to her exhaustion and trusted him. Her body sagged against his chest, relaxing completely. It was only a short time before he heard the change in her breathing as she fell asleep.
Holding her tenderly, he wrapped his arms around her and shared his warmth. She cuddled against him and pressed her face into his throat, breathing in deeply and calming even more.
Whether she admitted it or not, he knew the truth. She was drawn to his scent just as he was drawn to hers. She instinctually needed to be close to him. The way she tucked herself into his arms and pressed her face against his throat told him that she trusted him and recognized him as her safe haven.
It was a good start.
Copyright © 2012 Lynnette Bernard
All Rights Reserved.