A bond forged in blood. Fealty given to the one he desires above all others.
Graced with the ability to shift into any form, Diskant Black is the absolute authority when it comes to New York shifters, and as the Omega of the city his word is law. Protecting the shifter races is more than a job, it's a predisposition ingrained since birth—nothing is more important.
Until a chance encounter with a tiny female sets fire to his blood, brings him to his knees and turns his world upside down. Ava Brisbane is more than he bargained for in a mate—beautiful, fragile…human. If he wants to keep her by his side, he’ll have to sacrifice a portion of his soul to establish a bond that can never be broken.
Unfortunately the timing couldn’t be worse.
Shepherds—the hunters of all the shifter races—have arrived in New York. To protect the woman he can’t live without, Diskant will have to stand against those who have come to start a war.
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Diskant shifted his weight and rocked the bike to the side to engage the kickstand, and she let go of his waist. A laughable amount of propriety saw her climbing off the seat without his assistance. She removed the helmet and ruffled her hair, unwilling to meet his eyes as she felt the stares of the shifter patrons inside the bar boring holes into her back.
What must they think?
She wasn’t one of them and yet she was riding on the back of the motorcycle owned by their Omega. The shifters at Liminality were always cordial but never overly friendly. There was an invisible line that always existed, an understanding that either you belonged among them or you didn’t. Maybe there was a reason for that.
Perhaps the incident at the bar with the newly bloodbonded couple was an indication of what happened when you decided to mate outside the species.
For a moment she visualized the woman cradled in the shifter’s arms that night at Liminality months ago. Her dark hair was slick with sweat, and her skin-tight cream-colored camisole was soaked with blood. The look in her eyes was dazed, her lips almost purple. Her skin had been so pale she looked near to death.
When Diskant extended a hand to take the helmet from her quaking hands, she wasn’t prepared when his fingers circled her wrist instead. She lifted her head and glimpsed the wounded look in his eyes, saw the hurt in his face.
“Don’t be afraid of me.” His voice was hoarse, the words raspy. “Don’t be afraid of us.”
The fear and uncertainty suffocating her was replaced by the need to reassure and comfort. Like a switch had been flicked, exorcising the darkness that shadowed her thoughts, there was nothing else in that moment but her and Diskant. The spectators vanished, as did the vehicles and pedestrians on the sidewalk.
“I’m not,” she answered, slightly stunned that she was telling him the truth. She wasn’t afraid of him. Her uncertainty arose from the unknown, from entering into something that left her blind and unaware.
“I didn’t want it to happen like this.” He smiled when she peered up at him curiously. Wrapping a hand around her nape, he explained, “When I woke up this morning I wanted to shower you with affection for the rest of the day. I had it all planned. Breakfast in bed followed by a round or two of sex and as much time as you needed to talk things through.”
The mere mentions of “bedroom” and “sex” caused her body to go warm. She’d started to say something when he yanked her into his chest and his mouth covered hers. His taste was intoxicating, so rich and unforgettable. She ran her hand along his jacket before sliding it under the leather until her palm rested on the firm pectoral muscle covered by thin black cotton.
She’d never truly thought about just how fortunate inanimate objects were until that moment. First it was the fork. Now it was a thin T-shirt.
He ripped his lips away, snagged her duffel, took her hand and pulled her toward the bar. He didn’t stop to explain and she didn’t argue. They entered and the people in their path moved aside as if they were already well aware of the score. Diskant led them down a hall and entered an empty office. As soon as they were inside he closed the door, tossed her bag to the ground and turned a lock. She mirrored him, plopping the helmet beside the duffel.
There were no words. One moment she was standing beside him, shivering in anticipation. The next she was bent over the desk, her shoes, jeans and panties gone, leaving her lower half naked and entirely vulnerable to the two-hundred-plus pounds of sexed male directly behind her.