No Contest (Alaskan Sabears #1)(7)

By: Becca Van


Tammy spun to face them as soon as they entered the kitchen, her hands on her hips. “What the fuck is going on?”

“Watch your mouth.” Tarik pointed her finger at her.

“You’re such a fucking hypocrite.”

“She has you there, Tarik,” Hodge smirked.

Tarik glared at him before meeting Tammy’s gaze again.

“She’s our mate.”

Tammy shook her head, her eyes wide with shock. Her hands dropped back down to her sides and she stared at them with her mouth gaping open.

“We’d never joke about something so important,” Hodge said earnestly.

“Oh. My. God,” Tammy whispered, before spinning around and stumbling over to the stools at the counter. She climbed up onto a seat, rested her elbows on the counter and buried her face in her hands.

“You’re not crying, are you?” Tarik frowned as he moved toward his sister.

Tammy lifted her head and met Tarik’s gaze, a wide smile curving her lips. “No, I’m not crying.” She slid from the stool and hugged her brother. “I’m so happy for you. This is perfect.”

“Don’t go putting the horse before the cart, Tammy,” Hodge cautioned.

“What?”

“Just because she’s our mate doesn’t mean she’s going to leap into our arms.” Tarik rubbed the back of his neck.

“You’re right.” Tammy’s shoulders slumped with dejection. She released Tarik before giving Hodge a hug, drew away and then sat on the stool again.

Tarik sat next to his sister. Hodge moved to the other side of the counter, leaning a hip on the edge as he stared at the sister of his heart. Tammy was more than just his best friend’s sister. He’d seen her the day she’d been born and had vowed then and there to do anything needed to protect her. Even though she wasn’t blood-related, she’d always be his little sister.

Hodge had so many questions rolling around his head, he didn’t know where to start. Before he could pick which one to voice first, Tarik beat him to it.

“How old is she?”

“A year older than I am.”

“Twenty-three,” Hodge mumbled.

“What was she studying at college?”

“Photography and arts.”

Hodge clicked his fingers and was glad he was leaning on the counter because he probably would have fallen over if he hadn’t. Clarity hit him in the head like a lump of wood to the back of his skull. He’d just remembered where he’d seen Celeste. “She’s Celestial,” he said in a hoarse voice.

Tarik’s head snapped in Hodge’s direction but his gaze was locked on Tammy waiting for her confirmation.

“Yes.”

“The supermodel?” Tarik snapped.

“Yes.”

Hodge’s sabear burst to the surface as he imagined all the men around the world staring at her beautiful face and gorgeous body. A growl rumbled up in his chest and his claws burst from the tips of his fingers. When fur began to ripple over his arms he realized he was losing control. He closed his eyes, drew in a deep breath and held it as he shoved his animal back down and gained supremacy over his emotions.

“Knock it off!” Tammy snarled.

Hodge scowled at her but he was glad she’d spoken, breaking into his disconcerting thoughts because it was enough to help him get his sabear back under control.

“You can’t tell her what you are,” Tammy said.

“We can’t lie to her, Tammy.” Tarik clenched and unclenched his fists.

“No, you can’t,” Tammy agreed.

“You’re contradicting yourself short-stuff.” Hodge frowned.

Tammy blew out an exasperated breath, ruffling her bangs. “Give me a chance to explain without interrupting then.”

Hodge and Tarik nodded.

“You need to give her some time to become comfortable with you before you tell her you’re shifters, and that she’s your mate. The whole time I’ve known Celeste she’s never had a boyfriend, that I know of, or even mentioned someone she was interested in.”

“She hasn’t?” The surprise was evident in Tarik’s tone.

Hodge was just as astounded as Tarik. Celeste was one of the sexiest women he’d ever seen and she was a supermodel. She could have any man she wanted with the snap of her fingers. But he was quietly relieved she didn’t use her famous status the way other supermodels had.