A Mate's Bite

By: Milly Taiden


Karla Alves listened to her friend’s hushed arguing—back and forth—over using the word “over.” She wanted to step in and tell them all to forget about the stupid word and remember the scenting ritual. After all, that was the whole reason they were using the stinking radio devices in the first place. The entire conversation was ridiculous, and she wished there was a mute button she could press. She peered into the woods and tugged on the ear piece.

“We are wearing frigging black spandex for you. I draw the line at painting lines on my face and hauling army gear. I am not going to end each thing I say with over,” Jordan threw in.

Thank you, Jordan. If Karla hadn’t agreed to help video the ceremony so Jordan could write a book for their friend Ellie, the only wolf shifter in the group, she’d never have thought to show up and peep into the ancient ritual.

Karla glanced down at the ceremony area. The Sexy Four—Ellie’s fine and fabulous brothers whom they all secretly loved to crush over—had just spoken to their parents before they separated and moved into the woods. Nerves and something like excitement sizzled in Karla’s blood. Great. She must be nuts if she thought being out there with the very real possibility of getting caught was exciting.

Emma barked out another radio command. That did it. She yanked the earpiece out. She was getting a migraine listening to all the orders from her friend. She loved Emma, really, she did. But she couldn’t handle any of her drill sergeant commands tonight.

Karla pushed another curl behind her ear while she ground her teeth. Her clothes were uncomfortable, and she kept stomping her feet in restlessness as if she was waiting for something big to happen.

The last time she’d felt this way, her brother Kelvin said she’d get into trouble. Sure enough, later that night, she’d had a fender-bender with a cop. Kelvin told her to stop ignoring her instincts and listen to what they said. Right now, they told her to get the heck out of there because she was in over her head. But did she listen? Oh, hell no. The excitement of seeing wolves in a mating ritual was just too enticing. Who in their right mind could turn the offer down? Obviously, this wasn’t something humans should be privy to, so her group of friends were to hide and stay quiet the entire night.

Karla had been tempted to point out all that was wrong with their plan, but she’d held back.

She hadn’t appreciated the black clothing request. She was hot. The damn yoga pants were from last year. They were a size too small and cut off her tummy, giving her a muffin top. She tugged at the front of the black tank and blew air into her boobs. It was hot.

They hadn’t eaten first. Now she was sweaty and hungry.

She has a perfectly good home that she could be in. Far away from trees, dirt, and creepy noises in the dark. Oh how’d she’d love to be wearing her stars and moons pajama pants in her too cold house.



Crouched down, she glanced at the ceremony area. Her thoughts turned back to the Sexy Four, and particularly Nate—the man no one else had ever measured up to. Nate, with his muscular body and tribal tattoos over his arms and chest. He had enough that she could spend a full day drawing each line of them with her fingers. Nate, with his pierced ears and all the making of a bad, bad boy she should really stay away from. But she couldn’t.

She remembered the first time she’d met him at Ellie’s house. The way he’d smiled. She was never the same again. Christ. That was almost seven years back. He’d come to her rescue multiple times. She’d blown a tire once, and he’d shown up out of nowhere to fix it before she had a chance to call a tow truck. And she would never forget the time they’d gone to the masquerade ball Ellie had for one of her birthdays. That had been the very first night Karla had worn a girly dress and done her best to look pretty. Or as pretty as she could get away with. The gold medieval gown she’d borrowed from her drama class had allowed her to look the part of a beautiful princess. Nate had worn a pirate outfit. The one with his chest all bare. At the time, his hair had been longer, shaggy and tempting her to run her fingers through. The tight pants and almost wild features had played havoc with her thinking ability.

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