Ava’s stepped out of her own reality and into another world — a world where werewolves exist. She’s slowly coming to terms with Jasper and their mate bond, but now she has bigger problems. Whatever’s hunting the werewolves in her small town is still on the loose. Worse yet, her parents seem to have a vendetta against Jasper.
With Jasper’s help, Ava’s embracing her Venator heritage. Good thing she has a hot werewolf to teach her everything she needs to know about fighting. But will she be strong enough for what comes next?
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Copyright ©2021 Torri Heat
This was fine. I was fine. I could handle werewolves. I could handle Venators. I could handle anything thrown at me. Right? Maybe not. “I’m sorry. What did you say?” I immediately recalled my mom’s snarky tone as she questioned me about mates.
Jasper sucked in a breath. “Well, werewolf mates are basically soulmates. But it’s a bit different because…”
I held my hand up, cutting him off before he could go any further. “Jasper, I’m a bit more concerned with the fact that you think we’re mates. And the fact you are only telling me now.” I sat up, covering myself with his blanket and stared at him. Mates? Us? He must be kidding.
Jasper laughed, but his voice sounded like it was shaking and I could tell he was nervous. “Hey, if you can think of a better way to tell someone you’ve just met they’re your soulmate, I’m all ears.”
His logic seemed understandable, but his reasoning didn’t stop my blood from rushing into my ears, and my pulse from racing. I knew my life had changed from the minute Jasper told me werewolves were real, but I hadn’t expected this. I clutched the blanket in one hand, and waved my other arm in agitation. “It doesn’t make sense. None of this makes any sense!”
Jasper put a soothing hand on my arm, but I shook him off. He looked hurt at my rejection, but I was too riled up to stop. “Hey, baby, relax. What doesn’t make sense?”
I ran my fingers through the rat’s nest of my hair in frustration. “All of it! Any of it!” I gestured towards his naked body, every inked muscle on full display, and then towards my covered self. “Look at you, and look at me! We don’t make sense. We’re nothing more than a fling, and I’m not even sure how that happened, to be completely honest.”
His gaze turned hard, and he roughly grabbed me by my shoulders. “Don’t. Don’t start that. Mates give us exactly what we need in a partner. What you lack, they give, and vice versa. I know you didn’t grow up with this shit, but I’m telling you whatever brought us together was done perfectly.” He tipped my face, forcing me to look up at him. “Besides, I’d still think you’re the most beautiful woman in any room, mates be damned.”
I couldn’t deny the inescapable pull he had on me. The way I felt desperate to be near him. “Is this why I felt like I knew you, even before we met?” Everything was starting to make sense in a way I wasn’t sure I wanted it to.
Jasper sighed. “Most likely. I tried to downplay the feeling before you could think too much about what all this meant. I didn’t think you would ever go for me at the time.” My breathing hitched, and I felt my pulse slow. Despite all my concerns and my overwhelming need for independence I couldn’t write off what Jasper was saying. He gently stroked my cheek, and I leaned into his touch.
He nodded, his gaze softening. “You feel it too, don’t you? The bond. It has a relaxing effect when we’re together, touching.”
I couldn’t disagree with him. But that didn’t mean I wanted to agree either. “I have questions.”
“I imagine you do.” Jasper’s face relaxed. God, he was so handsome it was distracting. His chiselled cheekbones and full lips were mere millimetres from me.
“I need complete honesty, if this is going to work. When did you first think I was your mate?”
“Well, that’s a tough question.” He grimaced, but I glared at him until he continued. “I saw a photo of you a few years ago, one of the times I met with your parents. I had a feeling, but I managed to convince myself that you can’t find your mate through a photograph. I forgot about it until that day I walked into the coffee shop and there you were. All the time we have spent together since then has reinforced my feelings. I wanted to be sure, and then I couldn’t figure out a way to tell you.”
I blinked, my mind reeling. “That’s why my mom told me to ask you about mates.”
Jasper looked surprised. “She did?”
I closed my eyes, nodding. “Uh huh. Putting two and two together now, I can only imagine she was hoping I would freak out and leave once I knew the truth.” My mom being so cruel was a tough reality to face. So many of these lies that Jasper was having to come clean about stemmed from my parents, not him. I opened my eyes, meeting his gaze. “Why are my parents so against us being together?”
He jumped out of bed, back turned to me as he started throwing his clothes back on. “People who know about wolves can be prejudiced towards us. Some think that a human and werewolf match goes against nature.” His voice was tight, and I could tell this wasn’t his favourite topic.
“Are my parents like that?” I asked.
Jasper stiffened, midway through pulling his shirt on. “Do you actually want to know the answer to that?”
Did I? Could his response be any worse than them lying to me my whole life, or them not believing in me? “Yes. I do.”
“Your parents are the ones who convinced me to not seek you out the moment I saw your photo. They asked me to stay away. For everything your parents have done for us, the idea of a human and werewolf match is still unacceptable.” He spoke without emotion, and I realized he was worried I might share my parents’ prejudices.
I slipped off the bed, wrapping my arms around him. “I don’t think like them, Jasper. You being a werewolf is only a part of who you are. It’s not the whole of it.”
Jasper turned in my arms, gaze offering a small glimmer of hope. “Do you mean that?”
“Absolutely. Even if my parents were in my good books right now, I don’t think I could ever think anything about us was unnatural. This whole mate thing does explain a lot of weird shit. But…”
His eyebrows shot so high they nearly reached the dark waves of his hairline. “But?”
“I want to do this my way.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Torri Heat has always loved control. Her mind was blown when she discovered she could control entire worlds through story writing. Throw some steamy romance in there, and it was pretty close to perfection. Torri loves dark heroes who ride off into the sunset on their motorcycles, fierce heroines who can fend for themselves, and a sprinkle of the paranormal to keep things interesting. When she’s not creating alternate realities you can find her managing her three ring circus of kids and animals.