TerrIIItory

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Authors: Susan A. Bliler
how her frame tensed when his scent was picked up by the wind and pushed toward her.  She didn’t look at him.
    He ground his teeth together and tromped down the porch steps to circle the house.  He could feel her eyes on him.  Minutes later, he was in his jeep and pulling up in front of the house before he threw the shift in park, hopped down, and circled round to open the passenger door before frowning at Bethany. “Get in,” he growled.
    Dove-gray eyes met his, before she dropped her head.  She didn’t move. “Where are you going?”
    “To eat.”
    “I’m not hungry.”
    “I am.”
    ***
    Bethany chanced a glance at Evander and could tell by the set of his jaw that he wouldn’t take no for an answer. She actually was pretty hungry, though mostly she was subdued.  Something was off.  They’d marked each other, she’d dry-humped him, and then she’d drank from him, but none of that was the problem.  The problem?  She didn’t feel any different.  Granted, she’d never mated before, but she’d known people who had.  There was always a change, but she couldn’t sense any.
    “Get in,” he commanded again, drawing her from her reverie.
    Reluctantly, she stood.  Too tired and deflated to fight him.
    As she approached the vehicle she felt her wolf stir and that, at least, was comforting.  Since meeting Evander, her wolf only came out of her shell when he was near, and the longer they were around each other the more her wolf’s confidence grew.  Her wolf trusted Evander, but she couldn’t bring herself to do the same.
    They rode a few miles in silence before Evander asked, “Why’d you take off like that?”
    Her cheeks singed in humiliation.  “If you’re going to make me uncomfortable, I’m going to get out.”
    As if he were worried she’d do as threatened, his foot jerked off the accelerator and the car slowed considerably.  “I’m not trying to make you uncomfortable.  I just want to know what’s going on.  I want to know that you’re okay.”
    “I’m fine.”  Her voice came out too brittle, and she knew he recognized the lie in her words when he turned to look at her.  She avoided his gaze by turning her own head to stare out the window.
    “Beth, if something’s wrong you can talk to me.  I’m not just your Alpha, I’m your mate.”
    Her head jerked back around.  “You’re not my Alpha.  You’re just some shmuck who saved me and fooled my wolf.”
    “Fooled your wolf?”
    She scented his anger even before she saw his hands tighten on the steering wheel.
    “What do you mean, fooled your wolf ?”
    Christ!  She should have kept her mouth shut.  “Nothing.”  She faced forward and crossed her arms over her chest.  “Let it go.”
    The jeep began to slow, and Bethany panicked.  “Don’t you dare stop this vehicle.  I don’t want to talk about what’s bothering me, and if you try to force it, I’m walking!”
    The jeep eased to a halt and Evander turned in his seat to scowl at her.  When she reached for the door handle, it locked and her angry gaze cut to his.
    “I mean it! I don’t want to talk.  Feed me or let me out.”
    Evander regarded her for several tense moments before his scowl relaxed, and he blew out a frustrated breath.  Turning forward, he shifted the jeep into gear and hit the gas.  “I thought you weren’t hungry,” he muttered.
    “I lied.”
    Evander drove into town and stopped at a little café.  Full windows in the front showed a small restaurant with only a few tables occupied by patrons.  Exiting the vehicle, he raced to get Bethany’s door as he helped her from the jeep.  Bethany accepted his hand, but only because the jeep was taller than normal, and she was worried about falling flat on her face if she attempted to get out unassisted.
    On the sidewalk, Evander kept his hand locked just above her elbow as he led her into the diner and directed her toward a booth near the window.  Once seated, a plump waitress arrived

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