Waking the Beast
Awakening Pride Book 1
By Lacey Thorn
The legend of the Paka Watu...
Ever since she was a young girl, Abby Lane can’t resist the allure of a cat shifter tribe forced to repress their beasts. On a trip to Africa, she discovers a coveted piece of information—the name the pride leader assumed when he left his home—and she traces his lineage to his descendant.
The sleeping lion...
Utah Pearce can't keep his gaze off the woman who slips into the bar every night. Though not his usual type, she brings out the possessive instinct in him, making him battle with himself as he tries to stay away.
Abby’s research never prepared her for the reality in front of her. The beast is waking, and Utah is changing in ways both exciting and terrifying. He is possessive and dominant, and when he finally claims her, neither of them will ever be the same.
“We need to talk, Abby.”
She nodded her head and put her hand up in a poor attempt to disguise a jaw-shattering yawn.
He twisted his neck, working the kinks out as best he could. “Maybe we need sleep first,” he admitted.
Her gaze fell to the bed then moved to the table as she began gathering up the trash. “About that…”
“About what?” he prompted when her voice tapered off.
She threw the trash away and turned to face him, picking up the towel she’d used on her hair and moving to cross the room. “The bed.”
He stepped in front of her, blocking her way. “What about the bed?”
“There’s only one.”
“The motel doesn’t have any double rooms.” At least as far as he was concerned. He hadn’t asked.
She narrowed her eyes at him as if preparing to call him a liar. He just crossed his arms over his chest and stared down at her.
“I’m not comfortable sleeping with you.” Her voice was soft, and his gut clenched at the lost look in her eyes, at the hunger he could see, as well as smell. She wanted him.
He moved in, running his hands up her arms to bury in her hair. Her eyes widened, but she didn’t do anything to stop him when he lowered his head and took her mouth with his. He pressed his lips to hers, licked over her bottom lip and nipped it softly with his teeth in an effort to get her to open up for him.
When she didn’t comply, he worked his mouth along her jaw to her earlobe. His tongue flicked the lobe before he nipped it with his teeth, and Abby gasped. He pulled back his gaze latching onto the parted curves before he dove and took, his tongue surging past her lips and teeth to find hers and wrapping around it.
She was up on her toes, reaching her arms toward his shoulders and all but climbing him as he bent to cup her ass and lift her into him. Her legs were around his waist, and he had her turned and pressed against the wall without pulling from the warmth of her kiss. She jerked back from his mouth, her head leaning back, exposing the slender column of her neck. He sank to it, grazing her flesh with his teeth and stroking his tongue out to taste her.
He ached. His cock. His teeth. His heart. And it was all for her.
“Tah.” His name was a gasp from her lips.
He groaned and moved his mouth back up toward hers.
“Tah.” She turned her head, denying him. Denying them both.
“Abby.” He moaned her name, flexing his hips and pressing into her where her legs wrapped around his waist. He felt her shudder, smelled the heat of her desire.
“Tah. Put me down please.”
His eyes snapped to hers, and he saw the denial there.
“You want me.” It was a statement, not a question, and she didn’t deny it.
“Not like this,” she said softly.
He slowly eased back from her, helping her as she unwrapped her legs and braced along the wall as if needing the support to find her own footing.
“Like this?” he questioned. He wanted to roar with rage at the loss of her. He needed her. Couldn’t she see how much he needed her?
“I may not be the most beautiful woman you’ve ever taken in your arms, but I’m most likely the smartest. And I know.”
It just pissed him off that she discounted herself that easily. She was the most beautiful, in all the ways that mattered. He’d just been too scared to admit it.
“You know what?” he asked when she shook her head and stepped away from the wall, tugging the robe closer together.
He thought she wouldn’t answer him as she scooped up the wet towel and stepped into the bathroom with it. But she faced him when she walked out. He could see the sadness in her eyes, and it nearly destroyed him.
“That I’m worth more than one quick night in a cheap motel,” she whispered, moving to the side of the bed and tugging back the covers. “I’ll give you the side closest to the door. The water’s hot if you want a shower.”
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