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When Gavin tells Protectorate analyst Diana that she’s his mate, she doesn’t believe him. After all, a werewolf doesn’t date—he claims. Diana knows this, and therefore assumes her time with Gavin is limited, even though she aches for more than just a few months of hot sex. She’s prepared to grab any moments of happiness and make as many memories as she can before their affair ends.
From the moment he met her, Gavin knew Diana was his mate. He simply wanted to give her everything a human woman would want from a man. Lust burns hot between them, but only claiming her will truly satisfy his wolf. When he’s attacked and put into protective custody, he refuses to stay unless Diana is near. Now he’ll have to protect her from the killers stalking them if he hopes to finally claim his mate.
Strains of recorded music filled the night air as the crowd slowly filtered out of the open-air theater. Diana leaned into Gavin’s side as they waited to the side of the stairs for the people leaving the concert in the park to thin a little. Her head rested against his soft white shirt. She savored the warmth coming off him on the chilly evening as well as the firm support of his muscles.
The music had been thrilling and the gorgeous man beside her was more than the cherry on top of a wonderful night. She looked forward to him taking her home. Good night wouldn’t be a kiss at the door. More like a murmured word and cuddle as they went to sleep.
She peeked up at him. Most of the time, she had to stop herself from staring at him, but she could look her fill at him now, since his attention centered on the people around them. He drew eyes everywhere they went. The man was that good-looking. His blond hair was a little mussed and curled near the white collar. She longed to reach up and stroke her fingers along that strong jaw, but didn’t.
Gavin’s eyes scanned for possible threats. He was in protection mode, obviously a little uneasy about the crowd around them. He worked in security. It was more than habit from his job at Contech Security, a business owned by Evan Connors, the alpha of the werewolves in Dallas. Gavin was a wolf shifter and that came with a lot of protective instincts.
She’d give a lot if any of those feelings were focused toward her, but knew that wasn’t possible. If she’d been his mate, she’d know it by now. Weres didn’t keep that information to themselves. Still, she enjoyed being with him and was determined to savor every moment they were together.
It was not as if a woman like her dated a man like him every day. He had muscles on his muscles. Not that she’d seen any evidence that he worked out religiously to get them. With his eye-catching looks, he should have been modeling or in movies. Well over six feet and built like an ancient warrior, he drew feminine stares like a seventy-five-percent-off designer shoe sale.
Gorgeous, muscled hunks normally didn’t go after the geeky, average girl. Diana had been surprised when he asked her out that first time. It wasn’t that she didn’t think she could attract him, but it usually took time for men to discover there was more to her than what was on the surface. On the other hand, hunger had blazed in his green eyes the moment they’d touched her curves.
Diana tilted her head to the side, fascinated by the clenching muscles beneath Gavin’s shirt. She stepped forward, wanting to be as close to him as possible. His fingers closed around her wrist as he urged her back. Sighing, she relaxed and let him scan the crowd without worrying about her. His eyes remained fixed on the men and women filtering out of the concert. Such a protector, or maybe that should be predator.
With a quick tug on her hand, he drew her into the last trickle of exiting patrons. Ahead of them, two women in designer gowns and high heels slowly tottered up the stairs. Gavin pressed her forward and to the right, keeping his body firmly between her and most of the crowd. Overprotective wolf. Eyes glued to the staircase, she focused on not tripping over her own feet. Cool night air brushed against her left side, drawing her attention. Gavin had stopped. She frowned and a heavy weight settled in her stomach.
“Ally?” He sounded a little confused.
Turning to look at him, she tried to brush away the rush of fear. Simple paranoia. He saw someone he knew. His body jerked and his face tightened in a grimace of pain. His arm swept out, pushing her behind him, just as his other shoved at someone.
Her heart slammed against her chest. She eased back into the rows of seats to give him room. He’d flinched. Was he hurt? Her jaw tightened and she shook her head, pushing away the gut churning thought. She frantically searched the ground and nearby seats for something to use as a weapon. Nothing. Her hands tightened into fists. She needed to help him.
She swung her gaze back to Gavin. His arm rose defensively. A low growl rolled through the air. Hair stood on the back of her neck and a shiver rolled down her spine at the animalistic sound coming from Gavin. A blonde woman stumbled back. The long skirt of her evening gown nearly tripped her, but she dove forward again. Silver flashed in the light as a knife sank deep into Gavin’s arm.
Diana wished she had a gun on her. She’d distract Gavin if she rushed forward. A shrill, feminine scream pierced the night from somewhere below them. She jumped, but so did the blonde attacking Gavin. The woman’s head swung wildly from side to side. Her hands dropped to her side. The bloody dagger hung limply from her fingers for a moment before they tightened around the hilt. She’s crazy. Diana stared open-mouthed at the woman who seemed only now to realize that there were people around them.
The blonde woman spun. She and two men sprinted down the stairs and around the stage area. The woman’s evening dress looked designer and the two men were in suit jackets and slacks like everyone else in the crowd. Diana cursed under her breath. Not a mugging. Not the way they were dressed. Her heart thudded against her chest. Her knees almost buckled as horror froze her. Those people had targeted Gavin.
Gavin slumped a little and the movement tore Diana’s thoughts away from the people who’d attacked him. That bitch hurt Gavin. Diana rushed forward. Curving an arm around him, she pushed him into a chair. He winced as he landed. Red stained his shirt, drawing her attention.
Her hands shook as she pushed the jacket back. She drew in a hissing breath. Her teeth clenched against the need to scream. He’d been stabbed once in the side. The hole in his shirt was small, but dark red blood plastered it to his skin.
Tears burned her eyes and her throat tightened. The coppery scent of blood filled her nose. She couldn’t lose him. Not like this.