Part of the NAUGHTY REUNIONS boxed-set, available for download September 25th
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Going home isn’t easy, but my new stepbrother has me aching for the kind of love my sister’s have found. Can I really have it all?
Shape-shifter, New Adult, second chances, stepbrother romance
Copyright © Nicole Austin, 2015
Cornflower-blue skies streaked with white clouds blanketed mile after
mile of dry hills covered with rock, scrub brush and skeletal trees.
The fall day was perfect—sunny, seventy degrees and breezy. Yet nothing
could ease my white-knuckled grip on the porch railing as the emotional
roller-coaster keeping me on edge soared higher.
Staring out over miles of open land had my lioness itching to run.
Feeling her stir inside me was foreign. She’d been quiet the past
several years since I’d stopped letting her out to play. A burst of fear
tightened my chest, shortening my breath and squeezing my heart in a
fierce grip at the mere thought of shifting. While stronger in feline
form, I was also more vulnerable, especially since I no longer had an
alpha male’s protection. Not that my sire’s protection had ever saved
A car horn blared, drawing my attention as more people spilled from a
variety of vehicles. The entire yard brimmed with felines who bustled
about preparing for the party. Off to one side, a group of males worked
to set up huge white party tents, tables and chairs under the close
supervision of some females.
Lorelei, my half sister, rushed outside to join me, appearing nervous.
“Chloe, when’s the last time you talked to your mom?” she asked and bit her lower lip as a dark sedan pulled up.
My heart ached with the reminder it had been five long years since I’d seen or spoken with Elaine.
“Not since I left. Why?”
She gave my arm a brief squeeze. “Try to keep an open mind.”
Oh great. That didn’t sound good. Fingers of dread tightened my
abdomen and spread outward as the car doors opened. A handsome male in
his late forties exited the driver’s side and moved around to open the
passenger door. He was tall with broad shoulders and thick black hair
starting to show some grey at the temples. My mother took his
outstretched hand, smiling up at the male as she rose, looking happier
than I’d ever seen her. The male wrapped an arm protectively around her
and the couple headed toward us.
“That’s Elaine’s new mate,” Lorelei said.
I watched, rapt, as another male stepped out of the car and glanced
around. Lorelei continued to talk but her voice was drowned out by the
loud roar in my head as my heartbeat skyrocketed, blood pounding through
my veins in a dizzying rush. Drinking in the glorious sight of him, my
breath caught in my throat.
Standing tall and confident, he ran a hand through a lush golden mane
streaked with varying shades of brown, auburn and black. Broad
shoulders and muscular arms were shown off to perfection in a tight
black T-shirt. His torso arrowed down to trim hips hugged by low-slung
faded jeans, his big feet thrust into flip flops. But what did me in
were the fathomless depths of his sparking bronze eyes that locked on
mine and held me captive.
He moved like a predator, stalking toward me with a smooth, rolling
gait. I wanted to strip off my clothes, shift and drop to my belly,
waggling my tail in his direction. As I mentally stripped him, heat
flooded my abdomen, hot cream gushing from my aching pussy to soak my
I was only peripherally aware of my mother drawing me into a tight
embrace, stroking my hair, cupping my face in her palms and gushing
“Oh, Chloe. I’ve missed you so much. I’m so glad you’re finally home.”
“Let her breathe, sweetheart,” the older male chastised, drawing mom’s attention.
“Chloe, this is my mate, Markus Andris. Your stepfather.”
“It’s a pleasure to finally meet you, Chloe.”
“Uh huh, same here,” I mumbled, attention focused on the other male
as he moved up the steps onto the porch. Drawing in a hard breath, I
caught his intoxicating scent, which made me feel giddy. My lioness
paced within me, purring louder the closer the male came.
Mate. At last. My mate.
Elaine glanced at the younger male. “Declan, I’d like you to meet my
cub, Chloe Stanis.” Mom turned toward me. “Chloe, this is Declan Andris,
“My what?” I croaked, unsure if the question was meant for my lioness, my mother or both.
, my lioness claimed.
“Your stepbrother,” Elaine repeated.
My heart did a flip, seized and stopped beating, rising up into my
throat as my vision narrowed, growing dark at the edges, the world
spinning wildly. I wobbled drunkenly, weak knees barely holding me
“Whoa.” The male, Declan, reached out and clasped my elbow,
simultaneously steadying me and sending electrical tingles shooting
through my body, zinging straight to my heart. “Careful, sis.”
Sis? Oh God, how can this be happening? My stepbrother is my mate?