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Mate Set (Mating Heat #1)(4)

By:Laurann Dohner

She reached down and just yanked up her panties and pants. She felt his release smear on her thighs as she got her pants up. The man zipped his jeans while he watched her with that intensely dark stare.
“Get your ass home and don’t come out after dark for the next few weeks. You don’t know what kind of danger lurks out here. Whoever you used to date didn’t give you enough information. You’re not safe right now out on your own.” She slowly turned to face him after she’d closed her pants. She just stared up at him, speechless. He sighed. One hand lifted as though he was going to caress her cheek but he let it drop back to his side. 
“I marked you with my scent so you’ll get home safely now. It will protect you from all the males out lurking tonight, waiting for a female to grab. Once you’re home, shower and wash your clothes to remove my scent. Do not take any more night walks, 15
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little one. Got it? It’s mating season for my kind and all the single males are roaming, looking for a piece of ass. They just want to get laid and won’t care if you’re human or not. My scent will keep them away from you.”
His words astonished her. “You did that to mark me?” She saw his lips twitch into a semi smile and then the emotion was gone in a blink of his eyes. “Would you have preferred I pissed on you?” Her mouth opened and then slammed closed. “Maybe.” He did smile then. “It wouldn’t have made you come. Now go home. I have shit to do and I don’t have time to get you there safely myself. I also don’t think it’s a good idea if I know where you live. You’re too damn tempting. I might not be around to save you next time so be good and stay inside at night from now on.” He spun and walked away. Mika watched the tall man walk back to the sidewalk, turn left, and move quickly back toward the way he’d come. She leaned against the fence for long moments, trying to let her body calm after what he’d done to her. She took a few deep breaths.
“Son of a bitch,” she breathed. She didn’t even know what to think.
Mika forced herself to move as she stomped away from the wall and headed toward her house. With every step she got a little more pissed off. The man had marked her, touched her, terrified her, and worse, made her come. She stopped. She shook her head. Great, she thought. That was the first time she’d gotten off without batteries in six months.
She suddenly smiled. It had been pretty great. The man had talented fingers and he had been very sexy. She started walking again, shaking her head. Her night had gone from nightmare into naughty, mild sex with a hot stranger. It could have been a worse night.
She was almost home when she saw two men walk out from between some bushes.
She froze and fear was instant as she stared. They were in their early twenties. One of them, dressed in sweats and a tank top, walked toward her. Neither of them wore shoes, which alerted her that something was off about them. She met the man’s gaze as he approached her and saw a hungry, wild look. He inhaled, obviously sniffing her, and she saw shock cross his features. He frowned, shot her glare, and spun around to sulk away.
“She’s taken,” he growled to his friend.
She stood there watching both men disappear back into the bushes. She jogged all the way to her front door. She locked the door behind her and leaned against it.
“Why do I even come here?” The house didn’t answer her.
Mate Set
Chapter Two
Minnie had worked and lived with Uncle Omar for twenty years and was a keg of high energy. Her six-foot-two frame was rail thin and it had never ceased to amaze Mika that the woman was involved with her uncle. Uncle Omar was shorter, rounder, and so mellow he rarely got excited. Currently, Minnie was in a highly agitated state.
“That poor woman,” Minnie raged. “Can you imagine? She’s mated to that asshole now. Mated! He just grabbed her and bit into her.” Uncle Omar sighed. “She knew better than to be out at night. Everyone knows it’s that time of year. If she wasn’t looking for a mate, she shouldn’t have been running around last night.” He sipped his coffee and frowned at Minnie.Minnie glared back at him. “She wanted to get laid, not waylaid. He didn’t just fuck her. He bit her and claimed her.”
Uncle Omar shot Mika a weak smile. “Sorry. You’re lost, aren’t you? You have that dazed look on your face.”
Mika arched her eyebrow. “A little.”
Minnie slammed down the rolls on the dining room table and sat down in a huff.
“It’s mating season. The moon does this thing…well, never mind that. The point is that every year for a few weeks the men get hornier than shit and it started three days ago. It is nature’s way of making sure those horndogs might create a pup or two to keep us in future generations. Most men have the sense to just get laid as much as possible—
wearing condoms—just for the fun of it all. But last night one of them bit a friend of mine. He didn’t just fuck her in a way Mother Nature howled at him to do. He bit her during the sex.” Minnie shot Omar a look. “Did you explain to her what mating is?” Mika shook her head, answering before her uncle could. “Not really. He mostly avoids the sex talks unless it’s a warning about how dangerous men can be.” Minnie sipped her coffee. Mika didn’t think Minnie should drink caffeine but she wisely didn’t mention that to the hyper woman. Minnie looked ready to explode as she ran her fingers through her dark hair and shook her head.
“Your uncle and I live together and we’re a couple but we aren’t mated. I don’t want to be mated. I was mated when I was younger and it sucked.” Minnie’s gaze locked on Mika. “Being mated pretty much makes you a damn slave that a mated man thinks he owns lock, stock, and barrel. He orders you around and treats you like property because you are his. It’s in their damn blood when they mate to take it to the extreme. We have sex.” Minnie pointed at herself and then Omar. “He can bite me all he wants but no glove, no love. That’s our motto. We use condoms. It takes more than a 17
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bite alone to make a mate. You must have a mix of sperm and saliva at the same time to mate while partially shifted.”
“She doesn’t want to know that.” Omar sighed. He gave Mika a pained look. “Tell her you don’t want to hear this.”
Mika ignored him. “Tell me more.”
“When you don’t use condoms they mark you inside, and the more you smell of them, the stronger the urge is for them to bite you. Once you’re mated your body changes so you smell like their scent, telling all males you belong to someone. Once mated, all these aggressive and dominating asshole genes that are hidden in their blood come screaming out,” Minnie raged. “And then whatever poor woman agreed to the mating finds herself barefoot and pregnant with a dominating jerk issuing orders.” 
“Now Minnie, it’s not that bad,” Omar said.
“Are you the woman?” Minnie glared at him. “I was mated, Omar. Don’t you tell me it’s not that bad.”
“Um…” Mika eyed Minnie. “You aren’t mated anymore?” Minnie shook her head. “The dumbass got himself killed in a bar fight. It was the best day of my life.”
“Not a love match, huh?” Mika hid her surprise at Minnie’s outburst.
“No. I was eighteen and he was hot looking. I just wanted to jump his bones but instead the drunken son of a bitch bit me. He was a lazy jerk who couldn’t keep a job and he was a lousy lay to boot. His mother was a real bitch in every sense of the word so it was the worst year of my life.” Minnie huffed. “And don’t bother asking me why I stayed. You humans have it easy because divorce isn’t allowed with shifters. No man is going to let his mate just walk away. They own you and they are going to give you up about as easy as they are going to allow someone to cut off one of their nuts. It ain’t happening.”
Omar closed his paper as he frowned at Minnie. “Honey, I’m sorry your friend got bitten during sex. I will never do that to you. Calm down. It’s done. Getting upset over it won’t do any good. Maybe she’ll be happy with him. She wanted him enough to go to bed with him so it might work out. You said yourself that she was really lonely.”
“Maybe.” Minnie calmed. “We’ll see. At least he has a job and a house.” Omar nodded before he looked at Mika. “How is the house? I sent a cleaning woman in to clear out the dust.”
“Perfect.” She nodded. “Thanks for the food in the fridge too.”
“Make sure you lock all the doors and windows,” Minnie said softly. “You’ve never been here during mating season. We have a lot of strange men running around Bartock because it’s the largest shifter city within a few hundred miles so they all come here to hook up with women. Some of them aren’t picky if she’s Other or human.” 18
Mate Set
That drew a frown from Omar. “I didn’t think of that. I’ve been busy trying to keep the peace and then Mika just showed up so I didn’t register that she might be in danger.”
“Duh,” Minnie muttered. “She’s good looking. Did you never think one of them might see her and want to jump our girl?”