The Hunt (By Kiss and Claw #2) by Melissa Haag

Chapter One





“God, I want to—”

“Kiss me? Hold me close? Pet my hair and tell me what a good boy I am? Tell me what you want to do to me, Eliana.”

The boyish grin that graced Fenris’s expression didn’t dim my answering scowl.

In one ill-timed moment, the cocky werewolf had ruined my life, and he didn’t even realize it. How could an amazing dream about cakes have turned into my mom walking in on Fenris and me in such a compromising position? Not only did she believe I’d fed from Fenris while having relations with him, but she would also expect me to feed, carnally, again. And she would parade men and women in front of me non-stop until it happened.

Those images, along with the lingering taste of Boston Cream pie, stirred my unwanted hunger. It seemed an appropriate reaction, foreshadowing for the new level of misery to which my life would now descend, thanks to Fenris.

“Drown you in a sack in the river. Club you over the head. Neuter you.” The playfulness in his gaze faded with each unkind thing I said.

“You’re mad.”

Hearing the hurt in his voice killed some of my anger. When Megan had left over a week ago, Fenris had taken her role of being a shoulder to cry on. He was patient and understanding when I needed it, unlike my mom or anyone else in Uttira. I owed him because of that and tried to calm down before I spoke, but it didn’t quite work.

“Yes, I’m mad. I appreciate that you didn’t leave me outside in the cold, but you should have left after bringing me to my room instead of crawling in bed with me. What were you thinking?”

He opened his mouth, and I lifted my hand to stop him from speaking.

“You know what? It doesn’t matter. My mom saw you in bed with me. Now she’s going to pressure me even more to start feeding regularly. You just need to leave so I can figure out how to deal with the fallout.”

He closed his mouth, his grin growing.

“I would, but you have your legs wrapped around my waist.”

The moment he said it, I became aware of his heat searing my hips. My vision sharpened as my hunger aggressively reared its head. And I panicked. With elbows flying, I thrashed in an attempt to untangle myself. He grunted a few times before I managed to gain my feet beside the bed.

Ignoring his smirk, I tugged down my skirt.

“Out, Fenris.”

The finger I thrust toward the door only made his grin widen.

Instead of getting off my bed, he got comfortable, sitting with an arm casually draped over one bent knee. The pose, especially shirtless, almost distracted me from his next words.

“If you’re worried about fallout, kicking me out of your room is the last thing you want to do. Your mom, Adira, and the Council all wanted you to feed, right? If you let me sleep on the floor, they’ll believe this feeding went well and be more likely to leave you alone.”

“I wish that were true. But we both know better. You’ve witnessed how the adults in my life have been pushing me because they think I’m underfed. If they believe I’ve actually fed from you, they’re only going to start pushing for more feedings.”

“Perfect.”

I rubbed both hands over my face in an effort to wipe away my frustration. Being patient with Fenris was becoming almost as difficult as being patient with Piepen.

“In what world is having Adira shove more frost giants at me perfect?” I asked after a calming breath.

“Well, you’re right. That’s not perfect. But I am.”

“You’re perfect?”

“I’m glad you agree.” His playful wink and teasing tone poked at my hunger.

“This isn’t funny, Fenris.”

“I disagree. Try looking at it from my point of view. I can’t turn around without bumping into a female eagerly offering herself up to me. My only escape is when I sneak out at night. Yet, here I am,” he spread his arms wide, drawing my attention to his muscled chest, “offering myself up to you.”

“I don’t find that funny. I find it sad for both of us. I appreciate what you’re trying to do. Truly. But I refuse to lie so that the people who are supposed to love me the way I am can feel good about life.”

“You wouldn’t need to lie. You’d only need to keep doing what you’ve been doing. Keep spending time with me, and let the adults draw their own conclusion.”

“They won’t settle for conclusions forever. They’ll want the real thing, and I’m not feeding from you or anyone. Why can’t everyone just get that through their heads?” Frustration had crept into my tone. How could it not? Mom acted like abstinence was the worst four-letter word any succubus could utter. She didn’t understand that I didn’t want to embrace a life filled with a string of men I’d never remember. That I needed to live my life my way, whatever way that might be.