Reluctantly Lycan (Dakota Wolves Book 1)(5)

By: Jez Strider

“What are you thinking, Mom? You’re crying.”

Hastily, she wiped at her cheeks. “No, I’m not. Something burned in the kitchen earlier at work, and my eyes have watered all day.” She forced Kaden Dakota far from her mind. “You’ve led a hard life, no wonder you’re more interested in school than girls. Education is more important than dating right now.”

“Maybe that’s it. I think a lot of them are hot, but I need more than that.”

The urge to bond for life. It seemed like only yesterday to her that Jak had been a baby, and now the wolf had begun to rear its head to take her son. There wasn’t a damn thing she could do about it either.

A pounding knock at the door interrupted them. “Expecting someone?” she asked.

Jak shook his head. “I’ll check.” He leaped off the couch and headed to the front door. Marala watched as he checked the peephole. “There is a huge dude outside,” he said, coming back into the living room. “Seriously, he looks like a body builder or something. Leather jacket, long dark hair. Should we call the police?”

Marala ran to the door and placed both hands against it as she gazed out in the same manner Jak had moments before. “Oh my god.” Her mouth made the motions, but the words never came out. Only an inch or two of door separated her from Kaden. “Go to your room.”


“I said go and don’t come out until I tell you to. Now!”

He lingered for a few seconds before heading down the hallway. She waited until she heard his door shut, her forehead resting against the cheap metal of the front door. The transition into adulthood had treated Kaden well. He was even more attractive than she remembered. His hair flowed over his shoulders, he was taller, and his muscles… praise the moon, those biceps.

“I can smell you in there, Marala.”

“What do you want?” She kept her voice steady and strong. Impressed with herself, she gained a little confidence.

“I need to talk to you and I think you know why,” he said. His words were like a growl vibrating through her body.

She did know. Jak. Kaden wasn’t there for her, which shouldn’t have been a surprise. If he’d ever wanted her, he could have found her before now. Suddenly angry, she gripped the knob and jerked the door open to face her first and only love.

For a moment, they stood with eyes locked. Then Kaden stepped forward, cupping her face roughly in his hands and pressing her into the wall as his mouth found hers. Marala’s brain yelled no, but her instincts responded with a resounded yes as she returned the kiss. He tasted exactly like she remembered. His scent was pine and summer rain.

After growing breathless, she began to realize what they were doing. She shoved against him, trying to get through to the beast and make him stop, but no one would stop Kaden from taking or doing what he wanted. This was true even before he’d gone through his first shift.

“Leave my mother alone.” Jak came out of his room wielding a can of pepper spray.

Kaden finally pulled his lips from Marala’s. Immediately, she slapped his face. “Asshole.” She straightened her shirt when he gave her a little space.

“So this is Jak.” Unfazed by the smack, Kaden eyed his son up and down. “Somewhat on the scrawny side.”

Marala walked over and took the pepper spray from Jak. “I’ll hold onto this. I’m fine. Go back inside your room.” He hesitated, but obeyed.

Her attention returned to Kaden. “You were the same. He’s not small; you’re huge.” She crossed her arms.

“I didn’t intend to assault you. It’s late in the season for you to be in heat.” Kaden jerked out a kitchen chair, spun it around, and straddled it facing her.

“I’m not in heat.” Mara backed up and leaned against the door frame.

He glanced around the apartment, flaring his nostrils. “Not safe here. I’m taking Jak and you home.”

“This has been my home for seventeen years. You can’t come in here and order me around.”

Kaden was on his feet again and snarling. Marala thought he was going to shift in the kitchen. She lifted the can of spray in his direction.

“If you think that would stop me, you’re even dumber than you look.”

Ooh, that stung. She blinked a few times to fight back tears. “Go away. I can take care of myself and my son. You certainly never have so don’t try to start now.”

He stalked toward her, stopping inches from her face before abruptly turning and heading out without glancing back in her direction. The door shook from the impact of being slammed.

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