Read A Taste for a Mate Online
Authors: Carrie Ann Ryan
A Taste for a Mate
Carrie Ann Ryan
Copyright Carrie Ann Ryan
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Cover by Leia Shaw
A Taste for a Mate
Jasper Jamenson’s only responsibility to being the Beta of the Redwood Pack, second son of the Alpha, is to protect the Pack from themselves and the human world. After a century of selfless service, his brother’s new found mating forced him into taking a good look into his life. He isn’t sure he wants a mate, but fate may have other ideas.
Willow Delton is a skinny, bakery owner – the type most woman love to hate. Being without family, she finds herself alone to the Greek god with green eyes who saunters into her bakery every morning. Her desire to follow him, to be with him, overrides every rational sense she possessed.
Jasper and Willow are drawn together, despite every nuisance that works against them. But evil beyond even Jasper’s supernatural compensation will make war against him, by going after the only thing in his eternal life he desires – Willow. Is Willow’s heart enough to overcome Jasper’s soul to save her life? A fight he cannot win, but to save her life – he must.
Smells of sulfur and ash permeated the Circle as the rhythmic beating of drums mixed with growls and murmurs. Voices elevated as Taiko drums increased in tempo, matching the heartbeats of the Pack around Corbin.
A blond male in low-slung jeans howled as he eyed the bare breasts of the woman next to him. The man beside him gave a sharp growl while beating his chest. Corbin stood outside the mass of people and felt the rising tension creep up his arms.
Corbin was the Alpha’s only son and Heir. His people shouted for him, begging for his presence. The Pack must make a sacrifice, but he would rather play with his new project. His last one endured only a few short days. What a waste of soft flesh.
A scream ripped from the throat of a young woman behind him. Corbin inhaled her fear and smiled. The sickly, metallic taste felt heavy on his tongue. An aphrodisiac for a wolf like him. Flesh slapping flesh in painful bursts silenced her. Corbin tilted his head toward the crowd and it parted. Their rumblings of conversation quieted as their Alpha’s presence commanded their upmost attention.
Following his father, Corbin entered the Circle, not bothering to look at whom he passed. These lowlifes of the Pack meant nothing to him. He stopped beside his father in the center and looked around. They were manic with frantic energy, eager to see the outcome of their sacrifice. He lifted his chin to signal the entrance of their main entertainment.
Four men walked from between groups of boulders, carrying two wooden planks. Chains circled the flat boards to encase two young, frightened women. The pale haired one made no sound and remained unmoving, her eyes wide and vacant. The other, this one with raven hair, struggled, moaned, then screamed for freedom. The men dropped their captives in an inelegant heap. But really, these girls didn’t deserve much more.
He looked down at the dark-haired one who continued to fight her bonds. How dare this bitch have the audacity to fight? Didn’t she know it was useless? Fighting only showed her disregard for her betters – for him. Corbin’s hand came down across her fad tce. His sharp strike reverberated through the air. But as he raised his fist to permanently shut her up, his father called him.
“No, Corbin, let your sister be for now. For her regrettable uselessness and her inability to submit, she will be the demon’s bribe to do with as he wishes.” His father curled his lip and snorted before he quickly masked his features.
The slut deserved what she got.
Gesturing to the other woman, who had long since given in to her fate, his father spat on the ground. “Your cousin, on the other hand, will do what is needed. Like a good bitch. She will be sacrificed first for the calling.”
Raising his fist, he yelled to his Pack. The answering call vibrated through the forest, and the steady beat of the drums intensified.
The Pack’s desire to conquer crawled along Corbin’s skin, tickling his nerves. Inhaling, he savored it.
Ah, it’s almost time
Walking toward him, his father spoke again. “You still have one sister left once this is done, and you’ll still have your plaything.” He growled a laugh as Corbin turned his head to the right and looked into the field past the group of his followers at his younger sister.
Ellie’s brown hair lay lank on her shoulders and dirt smudges adorned her face, her bloodied lip only now healing from his earlier play. She could have been so much more, been by his side in a position of power. But alas, she didn’t share his views. Unmoving, she watched the proceeding with a fire in her eyes that belied her submission. She would not be easily quieted, and Corbin relished it.
“Use this.” His father handed him a silver dagger with red rubies on its hilt. “It’s been bespelled by a witch and only needs the blood of a living sacrifice to tear the veil and bring forth our demon.”
Corbin smiled and took the blade, running his finger along the sharp edge, careful not to cut himself and destroy the magic. He looked down at his captives on their boards and smiled.
Oh, this will be fun.
Corbin brushed the pale hair out of his cousin’s eyes before bending down over her bruised face to whisper in her ear. “You will be a good girl now and accept your honor. Through you, we will finally conquer the Redwood Pack. You are doing us a service; remember that.”
A final whimper left her swollen lips before he straightened to his full height and plunged the dagger into her chest. No sound escaped as the frail light in her eyes faded to darkness.
“Take our bounty, our blood. We give freely, this magic of death. Sacrifice meets endless faith. Cross the veil. Meet your summoners.”
His father’s voice echoed through the forest again as the blood of Corbin’s cousin drenched the dirt floor of their sacred Circle nestled in the forest. Lightning arched across the cloudless sky, and fire erupted in a ring, surroundouring the Pack. Growls and yells grew louder as the smell of death and sulfur increased. The dark scents of ash and sulfur seeped into his pores. Invigorating. The thumping energy of the dark magic mingled with the loud resonance of the drums, as a flash of bright lighting scattered across the tree line causing the Pack to jump.
The drums stopped and voices hushed as a lone man appeared through a gap in the bodies. Not a man – no. Dressed in a fine black suit, he was dangerously beautiful with a face smooth like granite. Only the red irises of his eyes gave away the fact he was not of this world. No, not man, but a demon. Their demon.
Caym took clean and precise steps into the Circle from the forest where he’d broken through the veil between Earth and Hell, and arched a brow at their offerings. The Alpha’s daughter was indeed a fine specimen and a decent bounty. But he wouldn’t have expected anything less. If this Pack wanted his power to aid in their quest, true sacrifice was the only option. The eager faces of the Pack stared at him with need. Their scent of tension and anticipation washed over him. Yes, this Pack would do. His lips quirked into a smile.
Ah werewolves, still lower class and ill-bred. Caym would enjoy killing this raven-haired wolf before he killed his way through the others. Walking through the veil on the tails of death released him into this world. He’d be forced into aiding this Pack – but he would have his freedom and taste the blood he so desired.
“Demon!” A tall man with caramel skin and dark hair bellowed. Power radiated off him in waves.
Ah, the Alpha of the little wolf Pack.
“We call on you to aid us in our time of need to destroy the Redwood Pack and claim our rightful, dominant place,” the other man continued, and Caym fought the urge to roll his eyes. “We offer you the most prized female as your bounty. Do with her as you wish.”
The Alpha’s arrogant face could not hide the blatant fear in his eyes. Yes, he was wise to be fearful of him; after all, demons were relegated to Hell for a reason. And Caym was among the worst.
Struggling against her chains, her bronzed flesh bloodied and bruised, the dark-haired female enticed him. He smiled.
With a nod at the Alpha and the werewolf beside him, Caym strolled toward his gift. He traced his finger down her cheek, loving the feel of her blood pulsating against his skin. She jerked way from his touch, so he pressed harder.
He loved it when they fought.
He trailed is fingers down, resting them on her breasts. Her eyes widened before he dug his claws into her flesh to feel the beat of her heart. Her blood pooled around his hand, the warmth spreading along his cool skin. Delicious. The girl’s final scream set his blood to boil and filled his cock.
Holding her warm beating heart above her now lifeless form, he smiled. Caym lifted it over his head before letting out a mighty roar.
Death by his hands. The sweetest of sacrifices.
“A deal with the Devil indeed.” Caym spoke clearly, eager to find his next victim, no matter where it came from. “I accept.” He gave his best, almost civilized, smile. If his cruelty showed through it, how was he to blame? He’d tried.
The scent of cinnamon and sugar danced on the air as Willow Delton heaved opened the heavy oven door to remove her prized cinnamon rolls. The plump, buttery pastries were baked to perfection, and she set them on the counter to cool. The only thing missing was her thick and creamy frosting, but that would have to wait.
Willow stood back and stared around her commercial grade kitchen. She’d started her bakery from scratch, and it had grown into a successful, albeit small, business. Incredible, really. She’d never thought the day would arrive when she finally had a place to call her own. She was right where she wanted to be. Her favorite part of the day was being able to meet one-on-one with her customers. She loved the looks on their faces when they bit into her temptations, that look of ecstasy not seen on this side of the bedroom door that flashed across their eyes.
Of course, that particular look as the result of a man was long absent from Willow’s face. Too excruciatingly long.
She stood back and closed her eyes, conjuring the memory of her mystery man’s face. The image that filled her mind made her forget the lack of human contact. The thought of his deep, husky voice tickled her spine whenever he spoke. Green eyes caught her in his web with only a glance. She’d fallen for a stranger and didn’t even know his name. He’d come into her store every morning and ordered a cinnamon roll and coffee with only a few words. Then he ‘d pay cash before lifting up the corner of his mouth in a semblance of a smile and walking out of her store. Was it strange she worried he’d keep walking and never return?
A bell’s tinkle pulled Willow from her reverie and self-pity. As she turned to greet her customer, her heart leapt to her throat. Him. Her mysterious fantasy man. As she tried to regain her senses, she took all of him in. He had to bes m one of the tallest men she’d ever seen, easily over six and a half feet. The tight black T-shirt he wore hugged his biceps and cut into his muscular physique, while his broad shoulders stretched and strained the seams. His body tapered down to a narrow waist and hips as they met his thighs. His long legs she wanted to grip, encased in worn jeans lead to work boots. Hmm, construction perhaps? She glanced back up his body to his striking face.