Fated Surrender by Alanea Alder

  Unable to stand her hair pulled back a second longer, he pulled the pins free from her bun and let her long hair cascade around her shoulders, filling the room with the scent of her shampoo. His cock hardened instantly at her scent. He wanted to roll around on the silky waves of auburn and pull back the luxurious curtain to watch her wrap her lips around his cock. Grabbing the crotch of his jeans, he tugged hard trying to give himself more room.

  Okay. Enough ogling his unconscious mate. He had a lot to do before sunset. He left his mate sleeping in bed and carried in their groceries. He stocked the refrigerator, started a fire in the large fireplace, and walked the perimeter of the cabin to check the outside to make sure there weren’t any issues. Honestly, he didn’t like leaving the safety of Arkadia’s perimeter, but she had left him with no choice. He had to get her to see him as a person, beyond her already formed perceptions, and that meant leaving Arkadia.

  He was about to head back inside when a loud scream shattered the twilight tranquility.


  He shot forward and jumped the front stairs, hitting the front door at a run. He nearly crashed into Madison, who was spinning wildly in circles down the hallway.

  “Get it out! Get it out!” she screamed. Connor skidded to a halt and looked up and down the hallway, trying to identify the threat.

  “Don’t just stand there. Get. It. The. Fuck. Out of my hair!” Madison screeched. Connor lurched forward and batted her hands down. Parting her long hair one section at a time, he looked for whatever “it” was. Madison shifted from one foot to another in front of him. He was about to give up when he saw a fairly large spider descending from hair heading toward her back. He knew if that thing touched her skin she would kill him for sure. He knocked it down and stepped on it.

  “There, all gone now,” Connor said softly and turned so that she was facing him. She looked up at him, real fear in her tear-filled eyes. His heart softened before he was reeling backward from a cross punch to the jaw.

  “What in the hell was that for? I got it!” Connor exclaimed, rubbing his jaw. His mate sure could throw a punch.

  “This is all your fault. You brought me out here to spider-breeding lands, and you undid my hair. You’re trying to kill me! I hate you!” she yelled.

  Connor took a deep breath, trying to keep his anger in check. But it was hard when his mate kept screaming “I hate you” at the top of her lungs.

  “Okay. I take responsibility for bringing you out here. Yes, there are spiders. Spiders are everywhere. Yes, I took your hair down. It looked painful pulled back like that when you were lying down. No, I am not trying to kill you. You’re my mate, I would die for you,” he said as he watched the fight leave her body.

  “No fair. That was completely logical and you addressed all my issues. And I don’t want you to die for me. I think it’s the most idiotic concept used in romance. I want you to live for me.” She took a deep breath and leaned against the wall, hugging herself.

  “Doesn’t make it any less true. Any man, given the choice, would rather live beside their mate, but that doesn’t change the fact that if it came down to one of us dying to keep the other safe, I will be selfish and die protecting you. Because living without you isn’t an option.” He saw her look up at him. He could see her battling herself to believe him.

  Unable to take her looking so lost, he stepped forward and pulled her into his arms.

  “There are a lot of good points to being out here,” he started. She snorted.

  “Like what?” she asked. Connor smiled and pushed her back so he could look down into her gorgeous teal-colored eyes. He grabbed her hand, grinning.

  “Come on,” he said and pulled her down the hallway. He grabbed a blanket off the couch and headed out the front door. He pulled her into his arms and wrapped the blanket around them both.

  “Like that,” he said, looking up. Her head tilted backward and she gasped.

  “There are so many! I can’t believe they are there all the time and I have never seen them.” She turned her face to him, and from the light of the open cabin door he could see a childlike exuberance dancing in her eyes.

  “You can see a lot in Arkadia, but to see this many you really have to leave everything behind,” Connor said, tightening his arms around her.

  “How have you managed to top the past five dates I’ve had simply by kidnapping me, killing a spider, and showing me the stars?” she asked, turning to wrap her arms around his neck.

  He knew she could feel his growing arousal begin to press against her abdomen. Her eyes began to dilate slightly and her lips parted.

  “Because we’re meant to be together,” Connor said right before he captured her lips. He licked the seam of her lips until they parted and pulled her bottom lip between his own. He sucked and bit both lips until her knees gave out and she sagged against him. Feeling like he had conquered the world, he pulled back to look at her flushed cheeks and heavy-lidded eyes. Damn, he knew she would flush prettily. Her creamy skin was made for seduction.

  Slowly he watched the weary awareness creep back into her eyes and she stepped back.

  “I’m hungry,” she announced and unwrapped herself from their blanket before heading back inside.

  Run all you want, wildcat. I’m not letting you go.

  Connor grinned, folded up the blanket, and walked back inside to the kitchen to make his mate dinner.

  * * * *

  “Oh my god! Put it in my mouth, please.” Connor smiled devilishly as his mate opened her mouth for him.

  “Maybe I don’t want to. You haven’t been a good mate. You said you hated me, a couple times.” He ran a thumb over her lower lip and she whimpered.

  “Please, I’m sorry. I’ll do anything to get that inside me.” She looked up at him, pleading. He ran a hand down her hair.

  “Okay, since you asked so beautifully.” He sat back and lined up with her mouth before plunging in.

  She moaned and began to chew.

  “Good isn’t it,” he asked as she nodded. She was making noises that were driving him crazy.

  “Where on earth did you learn to make a chocolate pie like that?” she asked, looking at him with satisfied eyes.

  “My ma.” He grinned and lined up the fork for another bite.

  “That woman must be amazing,” she said, opening for another bite. “Even though there were seven of us, she had a way of making you feel like you were her special boy. I had to join the football team in high school to stay fit. I grew up next to my ma in the kitchen. I was her taste tester and her helper. It’s why I love helping her out in the diner,” Connor said, holding up another bite.

  “That’s not your job?” she asked, accepting the bite. Connor nodded for a second and then shook his head.

  “Yes and no. Yes, I work at the diner. But it’s not all I do. I listen to people when they have problems and help them as much as they will let me,” Connor said, giving her another bite. She chewed and looked at him.

  “You know you need real training to do that. Just giving out advice without the proper education can make things worse,” she said. He nodded.

  “So you don’t care?” she asked. Connor could tell she was getting riled, and damn if it wasn’t turning him on.

  “Of course I care, it’s why I do what I do.” Connor put the empty plate on the floor next to the couch where they were sitting. Madison turned her body so that she was facing him.

  “Connor,” she began and he put a finger on her lips.

  “Why do you automatically assume I am uneducated?” he asked, feeling slightly hurt. He could see the surprise on her face and he removed his finger.

  “You are absolutely right. All I saw was my first impression of you. This gorgeous, sexy man with a dish towel cleaning the counter of a small town diner. It never occurred to me that you had gone to school. You have a degree, I take it?” she asked.

  “A couple of them.”

  “I’m sorry,” she said quietly.

“Don’t worry about it. Come here,” Connor said, dragging her beneath him on the couch.

  “I have to kiss you,” Connor said before claiming her lips. He delved into her mouth and nearly moaned himself as he tasted remnants of chocolate on her tongue. His eyes crossed when she raked her nails down his back. Standing, he picked her up to carry her to the bedroom.

  “Where are we going?” she asked.

  “The bedroom. I’m not claiming my mate on the couch.”

  “Who said anything about claiming?” she asked and he froze.

  “What do you mean?”

  “I don’t mind exploring this heat between us, but I’m not ready to mate.” Connor put her on her feet and turned his back to her to face the couch.

  “So you don’t mind scratching an itch with me, but I’m not good enough to be with?” Connor demanded coldly.

  “Let’s get one thing straight, I don’t scratch itches. I was offering you my body, I’m sorry if that wasn’t good enough. We met this morning, Connor, right before you kidnapped me and brought me to a remote location. I’d like to know a little more about you before tying our damn souls together. I’m not a slut, Connor Arkadion!” she said heatedly before heading to the bedroom.

  Connor turned in time to see her slam the bedroom door.

  How in the fuck is this my fault?

  Grumbling, Connor picked up after their dinner and desert on the couch. He replayed the scene over and over again while finishing dishes and couldn’t figure out how things went so wrong so fast.

  * * * *

  Madison stood with her back against the bedroom door. She covered her face with her hands. Why had she balked at mating with him? It wasn’t like they had a choice. She sighed. She just wanted a little more time to get to know him. From what she had seen she was already half in love with him. Groaning, she headed to the bathroom and started the shower. She got undressed and stepped into the hot water. She washed her hair and rinsed off.

  Drying off, she began to think about her mate. No one had ever made her feel like he did. His quiet, deep voice and kind smile made her feel safe. For someone who had been taking care of herself for so long it was terrifying to find that she was already leaning on him so much already. She felt complete when he was around. Digging under the sink, she found a hair dryer and started drying her hair. Shivering with only a towel wrapped around her, she searched the dresser for something to wear. She found a triple XL men’s T-shirt and smiled. She pulled the T-shirt on and shook her head as it dropped past her knees. She hand washed her panties in the sink and hung them up to dry.

  Thinking of her bear, she climbed between the cold sheets. She turned on one side then the other. No matter what position she got in she could not get comfortable. Exasperated, she flopped onto her back. There was no way she couldn’t sleep because he wasn’t here, right? They hadn’t even been together for twenty-four hours. There was no way she needed him that much already. Sighing, she flung back the sheets and got out of bed. Only one way to find out.

  She found her bear lying on the couch looking miserable. His large frame was not meant to sleep on that couch no matter how comfortable it was to sit on. She padded over to him. When she got as close as the coffee table, his eyes opened and he looked up at her, surprised. She ached to wedge herself between him and the couch back, wrapping herself in his arms. Sighing and feeling thoroughly disgusted with herself, she held out her hand.

  “I’m cold,” she said and eyed him as if daring him to say anything. He smiled, and the kindness in his eyes was nearly her undoing. He stood and took her hand.

  “We can’t have that. Come on,” he said and led her back to the bedroom. She pulled her hand from him and dove under the covers. He went to the dresser and pulled out a T-shirt and pajama bottoms. Winking at her, he began to undress. Lord help her she should look away but couldn’t. His pale body bathed in moonlight taunted her. His legs were like tree trunks supporting the most lickable set of washboard abs she had ever seen. Even with his body turned to one side she saw the outline of his package and nearly begged him to mate her right then and there. The man had one of the most beautiful cocks she had ever seen. Thick and long, as if designed to pleasure a woman in every way. She looked up when she noticed that he had stopped moving and was watching her look at him. She met his eyes and her breath caught at the heat he saw in his gaze. She turned to stare at the wall.

  “You don’t have to look away. I’m your mate, Madison, my body is yours.” She felt the bed dip as he slid in behind her. Seconds later he had pulled her into the curve of his body and draped one leg over both of hers. She felt that impressive cock against the cheeks of her ass and couldn’t help inching backward. He ran his hands up and down her arm and kissed her shoulder.

  “I know that being a shifter mates come first, but what does having a mate mean to you?” she asked, playing with the blanket. His hands stilled.

  “To me it means never being alone again. It means my soul will finally be complete. That I will have someone at my side to listen to me and help me until the day I die. All my life I have hoped to have a mating like my parents,” Connor said.

  “My parents aren’t mates,” she blurted.

  “How did that happen?” he asked.

  “Their parents made arrangements for them to mate to ensure healthy pure-blooded tiger cubs. I never really got to see what real mates were like. I know it in my mind, but I don’t know it in my heart. Not like you do,” she explained. She felt him exhale as his breath blew across her hair.

  “Why did you come to get me?” he asked gently. She frowned until his hand reached around and tapped her between the eyes.

  “Quit frowning. It’s not a hard question,” he said, and she could hear the smile in his voice.

  “I was cold,” she said into the blanket.

  “You’re not being very honest.” He sighed. She shook her head and brought his hand up between her breasts so that she held it in hers, against her heart.

  “I was cold,” she repeated softly.

  “That is what being mates means,” he said and hugged her tight. Her eyes filled and her throat began to ache with the effort to suppress her tears. She wept for the little girl who had stopped believing in love and hugged her mate’s arm to her tightly. Damn the man. Sex or not. Mated or not. She would never be complete without him.

  “I’m glad it’s you,” she said after a while, thinking he was asleep. She felt his lips kiss the back of her head gently.

  “Me, too, wildcat. Me, too.” Smiling, feeling safe and warm wrapped in the arms of her mate, she fell asleep for the first time, feeling complete.

  Chapter 4

  Connor was happily humming to himself the next morning finishing his homemade waffles when his mated shuffled into the kitchen. He heard a thunk and turned to see her face down at the table.

  “Good morning, sunshine,” he said, his smile quickly disappearing in the face of her murderous glance when she raised her face to look at him.

  “Shut up and die, morning person. Coffee,” she mumbled.

  Right. Note to self. Mate was not a morning person. He poured a cup of coffee and placed it on the table near her hand along with the sweetener and cream. He watched as she poured three packets of Equal into the coffee with her forehead still on the table. He looked on in amazement as she felt around and unscrewed the cap to the cream before dousing the dark liquid. She stirred for a second before dragging the cup to her lips. After a few sips she was able to lift her head. By the time she had finished half a cup she was sitting upright. When she finished the cup, her eyes were open and she was looking around.

  “You need to be a coffee commercial,” Connor said, staring at his mate.

  “I hope those waffles are for breakfast, I’m starving,” she said, ignoring him. He went over picked up the plate he had made for her and walked back over to her chair. She reached up for it but he shook his head.

  “You want breakfast. I need a morning kiss. Especially after y
ou just told me to die,” he said, raising an eyebrow at her. She winced and lifted her face up for a kiss. He kissed her thoroughly and placed the plate down in front of her.

  “Sorry about that. I should have warned you I’m not a morning person. Anything said before coffee should never be held against me,” she said, smiling up at him.

  “You’re lucky my eldest and youngest brothers are grumpy. I have plenty of practice dealing with them first thing in the morning.” Connor winked and joined her at the table.

  “They would be?” she asked.

  “Aleks and Gavin. The beginning and the end.” Connor laughed to himself.

  “There are seven of you, right? Is it true your family always uses the first seven letters of the alphabet?” she asked, digging into her waffles. “Yup. We all get an A through G name based on our birth order, and our middle names correspond to the previous generation’s name. For example. Aleks is Aleksander Aaron Arkadion. Aleksander is his name and his middle name is the A name from the previous generation. Which would be Pa. I’m Connor. My uncle’s name, who is also a C name, is Christian. So I became Connor Christian Arkadion. When Rebecca has rug rat number three. He will be ‘whatever C name’ Connor Arkadion and so on and so on,” Connor explained.

  “That is genius in its simplicity,” Madison complimented.

  “It sure as hell made genealogy easy. We have a huge family tree dating back over two thousand years. Benedict has been working on a software program that will act as a family database,” Connor said.

  “You really love your brothers don’t you?” she asked.

  “Of course. Don’t you love your siblings?” he asked in return. She nodded.

  “Yes, but then again we’re triplets.” She quieted and put her fork down. Connor knew exactly who she was thinking of.

  “I’m sorry about your sister, Madelyne. I’ll see what I can do to help look for her,” he said, taking her hand. He remembered Maddox’s story about their missing sibling. She looked up and quickly wiped away a stray tear with her other hand never letting go of his.

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