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Lora Leigh

 Breeds -25

 An Inconvenient Mate

So many dreams and so many years waiting in painful anticipation.

So many pieces of a heart broken, so many nights spent watching the darkness, wondering where you were.

I was here, and I was searching, always knowing somewhere, you waited.

So many times I fought back tears, felt incomplete and feared you weren’t there.

So many nights I howled into the darkness, incomplete and searching.

I would have lost hope, I would have lost faith, then your smile lit my world.

Your lips touched mine.

For the first time in such a long, lonely life, I touched love.

You held my heart in your hands.

I felt its warmth, its power and its promise.

So many times I only dreamed you were there.

Then the dream came true . . .

Chapter One

So many dreams and so many years waiting in painful anticipation.

WINDOW ROCK, ARIZONA

She couldn’t keep her eyes off him.

Isabelle Martinez watched the male across the bar as he lifted the frosted bottle of beer and drank. He placed the mouth of the bottle at his parted lips, tilted his head back and seemed to relish the cold bite of the liquid.

The strong column of his throat worked lazily before he lowered the bottle, allowing his gaze to sweep the room. As though he hadn’t been watching every movement possible in the small bar before and while he’d taken that drink.

Shaggy blond hair fell to his broad shoulders while the formfitting black of the uniform he wore shifted over his muscles with each move.

Mission uniform, that was what they called it, she thought in fascination. The black material wasn’t skintight, it was simply formfitting, and it set him apart as exactly what he was—a lethal weapon. A creature no man nor beast should be stupid enough to confront.

“I double-dare you,” her sister whispered at her ear.

Chelsea simply had no idea what she was doing.

“Not going to work, Chel.” Liza, her best friend, laughed from across the table. “She doesn’t have the guts to go for it. I told you, Holden drained the courage right out of her.”

The mention of Holden Mayhew had a dark, sickening feeling slicing through her and sent an icy chill down her spine. His gaze slid past hers, then sliced back, his eyes locking with hers for a second that seemed to last a lifetime as he motioned the bartender almost absentmindedly.

Isabella licked her lips nervously, and his eyes were on the action like a cat on a mouse.

A coyote on a rabbit.

Predatory.

Narrowed and dark. Were his eyes black or a blue so dark that the distance made them appear black? From where she sat and the shadows cast from the distance between them they could have been any color from dark brown to blue. One thing was certain, they were intent and gleaming with interest as they met hers.

He held her gaze now, though, as he lifted the ice-filled glass the bartender set at his side and brought it to his lips.

His eyes, narrowed and focused, remained locked with hers, mesmerizing her, holding her as no other man ever had.

Oh sweet Lord.

She could feel her breathing escalate, lust clawing at her senses as his lips touched the rim of the glass and he sipped the liquid before returning the glass to the bar.

Whiskey?

Of course.

The bartender topped off the drink, no doubt hoping for one of the tips it was rumored Breeds were prone to give.

It was one of the finest brands, and her favorite.

“Couldn’t you just eat him up,” Chelsea murmured at her side. And she could. One slow, luscious lick at a time.

“Come on, Isa.” Liza breathed out in awe. “It’s not like you can get a disease from him. Or get pregnant. Remember, their wives have to actually take those pills to get pregnant.”

Isabelle didn’t bother glancing over at her friend.

The documentaries they had watched over the years on Breeds were very enlightening. That, combined with every article they could get their hands on as well as every gossip rag Chelsea dragged into the apartment. Those stories, along with her father and grandfather’s stories of missing members of the Nation over the decades, filled her head.

She had never been as fascinated by other Breeds as she was with this one, though. And he was so obviously one of the baddest of the bad.

A Coyote Breed. The news story released days ago about the restructuring of the Breed communities had shown the Coyote Breeds’ new uniforms and identification.

The white curved fang on the left shoulder of the lightweight mission jacket, the new designation patch of the Coyote Breeds, showed clearly through the dim light of the bar. He would be carrying a picture ID and, if he were with the Bureau of Breed Affairs, an official badge and ID.

But she would have known he was a Breed without the uniform or the identification. They were easily picked out in a crowd. They were the most perfectly engineered creatures on the face of the earth and reflected the most perfect genetics that scientists could envision putting together to create a rough male beauty that seemed almost painful to look at.

The perfect height, the perfect strength and health. Perfect teeth, savage features for the males, classic beauty for the females—just perfectly, exquisitely dangerous.

A hell of a combination for a woman who now feared strength and danger.

“She’s not talking to us,” Liza pointed out, the smile obvious in the tone of her voice.

“’Cause he’s watching her,” Chelsea gasped in sudden surprise. “Oh my God, watch him stare at her. He’s, like, fascinated with her, Liza. Do you think she’s finally found a man she won’t say ‘no’ to?”

Isabelle dropped her gaze and closed her eyes for a quick moment, hoping to still the racing of her heart and the sudden knowledge that her friends, and possibly others, were watching now. That silent, hungry exchange shouldn’t be shared. She didn’t want others to see it. She didn’t want it remarked upon, or gossiped about. It seemed too deep, too intimate to spoil it in such a way.

There were few places a Breed could go where he or she wasn’t watched. Watched, judged, criticized and often feared. Just as their lovers, wives or even their friends were hated, reviled and insulted. She didn’t care if she was judged, or how she was judged, but that look, it was too special to risk, even here in one of the few places Breeds had found any acceptance.

The people of the Navajo Nation accepted them, did what they could to protect them and stood behind them when political or social reform was needed to ensure their safety and their survival.

It was one of the few places they could also trace their roots. Too many of the missing sons and daughters of the Navajo Nation had been taken by the Genetics Council for Breed research, and many of those families were desperate to claim the last ties to what they had lost.

Drawn irresistibly back to him, Isabelle lifted her eyes once again to find the Breed’s gaze supposedly drawn to her left of her. As though he were watching the entrance.

He seemed bored. Waiting with impatient patience, she thought, almost smiling at the contradiction. She knew he was watching her; she could feel his touch like a ghostly caress against her face. A sensation of warmth and sensual hunger washed through her.

His fingers gripped the glass again as he brought the drink to his lips and sipped. And though his gaze was to her side, she knew he could see exactly where she was and every move she made. Just as he no doubt knew she couldn’t keep her eyes off him.

     

 

2011 - 2018