Shades of Moonlight by Stephanie Julian
Race Aragon knows Mara Marrucini is meant to be his.
And he’s not about to let anyone or anything get in his way of protecting her and her baby.
As a soldier in the shifter king's army, he knows exactly how to make her safe.
She’d been the prisoner of a madman for years.
Mara has been betrayed by men all her life and trust isn't easy for her.
Race is the first man to make her feel like a woman.
His touch ignites her desire but she fears for his safety.
Her presence in his life puts him in the crosshairs.
But with her son’s life on the line, Mara trusts no one but Race to keep them alive.
-----------------------------------------------excerpt from the book------------------------
Mara stared out the window of Race’s truck, an odd sense of relief warring with nerves as Race drove home.
Finally. An explanation. A reason. Something that made sense.
Okay, yes, her son was going to grow up to be a god. And yes, that should freak her out completely.
But it was so far out of the realm of real life that it didn’t seem real.
Turning from the window, she focused on Race, who hadn’t looked surprised at the news. Actually he’d looked rock-steady. As he always did.
It was why she’d been drawn to him from the first minute she’d seen him. But it wasn’t the only reason she’d fallen for him.
The rest was pure chemistry, at least on her end. It was a combination of the way he treated her and the way he treated Arin. In the way he’d made love to her last night and the way he’d stood beside her for the past six months. Even if he hadn’t said a word, she’d known he’d been by her side and on her side at every turn.
She had no idea what was going to be required of her. And she wanted to be up to the challenge. Needed to be for Arin.
“You’re going to hurt yourself thinking that hard.”
She smiled and automatically raised her hands to answer before she remembered.
“I don’t think that’s possible.” It felt almost weird to have her voice back again. The raspy quality was receding with use but it was almost as if she were regaining the use of her lips. “My son is going to be an Etruscan god. It’s not something you hear every day.”
Everything was topsy-turvy in her world but she’d realized she might never be able to get off the roller coaster.
“No, but you heard Selvans. It means nothing right now. Arin’s going to have a normal childhood. Except for the fact that he can communicate with animals. That might take a little getting used to. But he’s going to have you by his side.
She liked the sound of that. “We” instead of “her”. Liked the sense that she wasn’t alone against the world.
Though she knew she should probably learn to stand on her own, to take care of herself and Arin on her own…just knowing she didn’t have to allowed her to breathe easier.
“And what if the Mal find out?”
That was the thing that most worried her because it was the most immediate threat. Selvans was still powerful, more so than many of the other deities, so he wasn’t in danger from anyone who they knew of. Not like the goddesses who’d been targeted by Charun in the past year.
Thesan, Goddess of the Dawn, and Lusna, Goddess of the Moon, had given up some or all of their powers in order to save themselves. Lusna had transferred hers to Cat. Mara assumed that’s what would happen with Arin and Selvans. Later. Hopefully much later in his life.
“The lucani won’t allow the Mal to get close to Arin.” He paused and shot her a look. “I won’t allow it.”
That look promised so much more than his protection of Arin. And it made her want to wrap her arms around him and kiss the hell out of him. Made her think of getting him alone in a dark room and showing him just how much she appreciated him.
As if he’d read her mind, he shot her another look, this time his gaze narrowed and glittered.
By the time they got home, she couldn’t wait for Arin to go down for the night. He’d been cranky on the drive home. He hated to be confined for long periods of time and he’d been in the car seat more than he’d ever been before.
After she’d fed him and bathed him, he’d practically fallen asleep in her arms. Laying him out in his crib, she stood by the side for several minutes just watching him breathe.
He stood in the kitchen, staring out the window.
That deep voice always did such warm and wonderful things to her insides. She wanted to walk up to him, wrap her arms around his waist and just hold on. Let him hold her.
She nodded, stopping a few feet away because she still wasn’t sure what this meant. What they meant.
Then he turned and leaned against the sink, holding out one hand. She took it and found herself pressed against him from breast to hip to thigh. Her nipples peaked at the contact, her pussy tightening with an ache like she’d never known. His erection burned against her lower belly, hard and hot.
He released a rough breath, as if he knew exactly what she was saying yes to.
Still, he put one hand beneath her chin and tilted her head back until he could see her eyes.
“I want you to know I’m here, for as long as you want me. No pressure. No commitment. Just know I’ll be here whenever you need me.”
That sounded like a commitment to her. And she was okay with that. Before she could tell him so, he dropped his mouth over hers and kissed her with enough force to put everything else out of her mind.
But she knew what she wanted. And she’d take him for as long as she could have him.
Because she knew, at some point, she wouldn’t have him.
And the tip of his cock rubbed against her clit.
She sucked in air but he covered her mouth with his again, grinding his lips against hers. Her mouth opened to his insistent tongue but this time instead of letting him have the lead, she took it.
With her hands cupped around his nape, she tilted his head and let herself attack his mouth.
She kissed him with no restraint, let her tongue dart into his mouth, mimicking his movements from last night.
Groaning low in his throat, he wrapped one arm around his waist to hold her in place then let his other slowly work its way from her waist to her breast.
He cupped her, kneaded her while she kissed him, let her tongue tease and torment. He tasted hot, his lips soft against her.
Her hips began to grind, needing more pressure.
“Put me down.”
He released her so fast, she thought she might actually stumble but she should’ve known better.
“Don’t you dare.” She slapped her hand over his mouth before he could apologize. “I’m not afraid of you. I just can’t do what I want when you’re holding me way up there.”
He blinked, as if she’d said something he didn’t understand. Then his eyes narrowed as her hands moved to his waistband. He wasn’t wearing a belt, thank the gods, so her hands slipped into his pants without impediment and she pushed them down.
He didn’t have to explain, she knew what he wanted. She tightened her grip on him, feeling his pulse beat beneath the skin. Then she used her hands to make him even harder.
He grabbed her shoulders, but she wouldn’t let him stop her.
This relationship wasn’t just about her. She had to let him know this was about him as well.
He’d been taking care of her from the moment she’d gotten here. Hell, he’d been taking care of her since the day she’d been rescued from Florida.
Now she wanted to take care of him. Pleasure him. Every way there was.
Opening her mouth, she took him in, settled her lips around the head of his cock and tasted him.
Above her, she heard him groan, felt his fingers dig into her shoulders.
She really had no idea what she was doing but he seemed to like it. She understood the general concept and he was so hard and so warm that she felt no inhibitions as she sank lower on his shaft each time.
When she looked up at Race, his head had dropped forward, his eyes closed and his expression slack with desire. Blessed Goddess, the man was gorgeous.
Ripping at her jeans, he stripped them down her legs as she stood in front of him. While she toed off her sneakers, he put his hands on her hips and drew her closer.
When his lips touched her stomach, she sucked in a breath. And held it when his lips blazed a trail from her bellybutton to the top of her mound.
His tongue drew wicked lines of heat to her clit. He flicked the little bundle of nerves then used his teeth when she shuddered. She had to reach for his shoulders to hold steady because her knees were in danger of giving out.
One of his hands moved to cup her ass. The other worked its way between her legs, found her entrance and filled her with his fingers, starting a slow, steady caress that made her want to melt.
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