Braelyn walked down the street of San Francisco's Financial District where the fashionable clothing stores were located. She stopped in front of one of the storefronts and looked in the display window. The stores weren't as ritzy as the ones found in Los Angeles--where she now lived--but clothes shopping was one of Braelyn's favorite things to do. Being one of the top fashion models in the country didn't help with her addiction much either.
She caught her reflection in the glass window and pushed her dark sunglasses higher up on her nose before she tightened the ponytail she'd created when scraped her hair back. So far, none of the people she'd passed on the street had recognized her, which suited her just fine. She was in San Francisco to visit her family. It had been almost a year since the last time she'd been back to see her parents. Her modeling schedule kept her busy since she was in such high demand, and some of her shoots had her traveling halfway around the world. At twenty-four, Braelyn had to ride her success for as long as it lasted. There would come a day when a younger, prettier girl would take her place.
Continuing on her way, Braelyn passed a couple walking arm in arm, so into each other they hardly noticed the people around them. She'd never fallen for a man that hard before, where he seemed entirely devoted to her, and she to him. Most of her relationships ended up being nothing more than a passing fancy. She'd dated a few male models, but she'd found some of them to be vainer then their female counterparts. And regular guys, well, they tended to only want to date her because of her model status. They also were the ones who tried to get her into bed halfway through a date. Just because she had to pose naked at times--with all the important body parts strategically hidden--it did not mean she would be an easy lay.
Reaching a crosswalk, Braelyn stopped at the curb and waited for the light to change. Once it did, she stepped out onto the street and headed for one of the other clothing stores on the other side.
At almost the halfway point, she noticed the black motorcycle stopped at the red light for the oncoming traffic and the man who rode it. The closer she got to him Braelyn noticed the way his dark blue jeans stretched across his thighs, outlining the heavy muscles there. He wore a black leather jacket, but she saw his shoulders were wide and looked just as heavily muscled. The only thing she couldn't see was his face since he wore a helmet with the dark visor pulled down.
Just as she drew even with the motorcycle, the rider flipped open the visor on his helmet, drawing her attention. Braelyn's steps faltered, and she sucked in a sharp breath when her gaze encountered a pair of light blue eyes staring at her with hunger. Her heart beat faster as she took in the gorgeous face that came with those eyes. The longer they stared at each other the more aware her body became of the man who had yet to pull his gaze from hers.
The sound of a horn blaring broke the spell around her. Abruptly yanking her gaze away, Braelyn saw the crossing light had started to flash. Quickly remembering what she was supposed to be doing, she crossed the rest of the distance to the other side of the street.
Skylar had taken his recently purchased Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14 motorcycle out for a spin with no real destination in mind. It was a nice sunny day, and since he didn't have protection duty until that night, he'd decided to take advantage of it.
The drive from his home in Marin County to San Francisco had given him the chance to open the bike up a bit. He hadn't had much opportunity to make this trip just for the pleasure of it. As one of the Protectors who watched over Roxie--the foretold one who ruled over all the werewolf packs--he took his duty pretty seriously, which meant long rides on his motorcycle, just for himself, were few and far between.
In the heart of the Financial District, Skylar geared down his bike when the light up ahead changed to amber. He shifted into neutral when he came to a stop just as it turned red and sat up straight. He used his leg muscles to keep the bike balanced. Inside his head, he heard Leif's voice knocking how low the handlebars were on his motorcycle. He smiled to himself. His brother-in-arms might think they were a back-breaker, but Skylar liked the speed of the racing bike and didn't mind having to bend low to ride it.
With his next breath, a scent slammed into him like a sledgehammer over the head. Drawing in a deeper breath, he filtered out the smells of the numerous car exhausts around him, leaving only the one scent behind. Out of the corner of his eye, he caught sight of a leggy blonde using the crosswalk, coming toward him. Skylar turned his head as she looked in his direction. It was her scent that had his mating urge kicking in, making his body go haywire.
He flipped open his visor to more easily draw her scent into his lungs. Skylar couldn't stop himself from staring at the woman who was to be his mate. He knew the mating urge showed in his eyes, but he was powerless to stop it. Their gazes met, and her steps slowed.
His cock had gone rock-hard the instant he'd caught a whiff of her scent, but locking his gaze to hers through the dark sunglasses she wore had it twitching inside his jeans. Shifting his gaze to take her all in, Skylar noted her slim curvy body encased in light blue skinny jeans and a sky blue scoop necked t-shirt that showed off her modest breasts. Long strawberry blonde hair had been pulled back into a high ponytail. He ran his gaze over her face. She was a beauty beyond compare. Werewolves were known for their supermodel good looks, and the woman before him rivaled any female of his kind.
The driver of the car next to him honked. Skylar barely resisted the urge to growl and snap his teeth at the driver as the woman startled, then continued to cross the street. Not about to let his mate get away, he watched her gain the curb on the other side of the street and walk toward the row of clothing stores there.
Once the light turned green, Skylar revved his motorcycle, and making sure there weren't any cops around, did an illegal U-turn. He turned down the same street the woman had gone and parked his bike in the first empty spot at the curb just as she walked into a store a couple of doors down.
Skylar put on the kickstand and pulled off his helmet. He put it on the gas tank between his legs and reached up to smooth his hair. With a couple of tugs, he straightened the ponytail at his nape.
Picking up his helmet, he swung a leg over his bike and stepped onto the sidewalk. He easily followed the scent trail the woman had left in her wake. Skylar didn't even bother to look at what type of store it was when he pulled open the door and walked inside. His gaze automatically searched for the woman and found her near the back of the store. Focused only on her, he headed in her direction.
A saleswoman stopped him before he got very far. "Can I help you find something, sir?"
He didn't shift his gaze from the blonde woman. "No, I've already found what I came looking for."
"Are you buying for a wife or a girlfriend?"
That question had Skylar turning his head to look at the saleswoman. She was young looking and wore a friendly expression on her face. It was also then he saw the racks of sexy looking bras and panties all around him. He blinked. He stood in the middle of a lingerie store and was the only male on the premises.
"Ah...ah..." he stammered.
His brain seemed to stop functioning when he spied a red, practically see-through, scrap of lace that would show more of a woman's body than it would cover. The sight of it did nothing to cool his libido. If anything, it jacked it up several notches, causing his cock to strain uncomfortably against his jean's zipper.
The saleswoman gave him a smile. "Are you sure you don't need any help?"
Feeling slightly embarrassed about the situation he'd gotten himself into, Skylar took a few steps away determined to carry on with his plan to meet the woman who'd stirred his mating urge to life.
"I'm sure. I'll call you if I need you," he said quickly before continuing on his way to the back of the store.
As he closed in on the blonde, he drew in deeper gulps of her scent, burning it to his memory. That done, he'd now be able to recognize it and use it to find her. Skylar greedily drank in the back view of her body, watching as she looked through a rack of bras. When she pulled one off and held it up to look at, he had to stop the growl of need that threatened to rumble out of his chest. The bra was another see-through piece, only it was a pale shade of blush. As he pictured what she'd look like wearing it with only a pair of matching panties, his mating urge sank deeper claws into him. He must have made a small sound after all, because she turned to face him. She slowly lowered the bra she held as she stared at him.
Wanting nothing more than to pull the dark sunglasses off so he could see the color of her eyes, Skylar forced himself to stay where he stood. "Hi," he said.
It was hard to form a coherent thought when all the blood in his body seemed to be rushing to his cock.
"Hi," she said back slowly.
"I saw you outside."
She glanced down at the helmet he still held in his hand. "You were on the motorcycle."
A small smile pulled at the corners of her mouth. "Did you follow me in here, or do you just like to shop for woman's lingerie?"
It was on the tip of his tongue to say he only liked to shop in a store like this if he could buy for her. But Skylar knew he'd more than likely get slapped for that if he said it out loud. She didn't know him and had no idea what she would be to him.
"Believe me," he said with a chuckle, "I don't make it a habit of coming to shop in stores that carry women's intimate apparel. Actually, this is my first time stepping foot in one."
"Then you followed me," she stated simply.
"You could say that. I found myself unable to let you just walk away without getting to know you." He ran his gaze over her face, letting some of the arousal he felt show in his eyes.
She swallowed. "Really?" she said quietly. "So you decided to chase me down? What if I don't want to get to know you?"
Skylar crowded her until her back hit the rack behind her. No longer able to stand the sunglasses blocking his view of her gaze, he plucked them off her face. He then stared into a pair of beautiful emerald green eyes. She didn't wear any makeup, but that didn't make her looks any less amazing. Now that he saw all her features, he found her face vaguely familiar, though he knew he hadn't met her before. He'd have remembered that.
Leaning in a bit, Skylar dragged more of her scent into his lungs. There was the unmistakable tinge of arousal mixed in with it now. "Since you hadn't run from me in the first place, I hardly could have chased you down. And I most definitely think you want to get to know me better."
"You're awfully sure of yourself," she said in a voice that had dropped an octave to a sexy murmur. It seemed to wrap around his cock, stroking it.
He crowded closer so they stood toe-to-toe. "Sometimes you have to have enough confidence in yourself to succeed. How about we start with introductions? I'm Skylar."
His soon-to-be mate opened her mouth to reply, but before she could, the saleswoman returned. "Oh my god," the woman said excitedly. "I know who you are. You're Braelyn Whitmore, the fashion model."
"Yes, I am," said the woman he wanted to claim as his own.
The saleswoman squealed, then shoved him out of the way so she stood in front of Braelyn. "I can't believe you're here. I watched you on TV last week on the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. I personally think you were the best model on it."
That's when it hit Skylar why Braelyn looked familiar. While taking his turn to guard Roxie one evening the other week, she'd insisted he watch the very show the saleswoman had mentioned. He'd spent most of broadcast trying to hide the erection he'd gotten when one particular model had walked down the runway in nothing but a bra and panties. It had been Braelyn. Since he hadn't been able to smell her scent, he hadn't known then why she'd affected him more than the other scantily clad models.
The sudden thought of how many viewers, how many male viewers, had watched that fashion show had Skylar gritting his teeth to hold back another growl. It didn't sit well with him to think of what those males could have been thinking--let alone doing--while they'd watched Braelyn strut her stuff on the runway.
Obviously unaware of the tension inside him, Braelyn smiled at the saleswoman. "Thanks. I enjoyed doing it."
"What are you doing in San Francisco? Are you working?"
"No. I'm on a bit of a break before my next assignment. I have family here."
When it looked as if the saleswoman would continue to monopolize all of Braelyn's attention, Skylar butted into the conversation. "Sorry to interrupt, but you were talking to me first."
Braelyn turned to look at him and grinned. "Feeling neglected?"
"Would it help if I said just a little?"
She flashed him a smile. Had he been in wolf form it would have had him looking up at her with adoring eyes with his tongue hanging out while he panted for her attention. It also had Skylar fighting to maintain what little control the mating urge allowed him to have. If it slipped, he knew he'd be staring at her with his eyes glowing mutedly, something they did whenever he became very aroused or angry.
"Maybe a tiny bit," she said. Braelyn turned to the saleswoman. "It was nice meeting you, but I really don't want to draw too much attention to myself. Think of me as any other customer who walks through the door. I'm going to look around, and if I need any help, I'll be sure to ask."
The saleswoman nodded. "Sure. I understand." She then glanced over at Skylar. "But I'm sure you already have more than enough help right now." The woman walked toward the front of the store.
Skylar watched Braelyn turn back to the rack of bras and re-hang the one she'd been holding. She shifted through it, looking as if she really intended to continue shopping.
"You're still going to shop?" he asked. "What about us getting to know each other better?"
Braelyn looked over shoulder at him. "We can still do that at the same time. There's one thing you should know about me--when I'm on one of my shopping trips, it would take a herd of horses to pull me away from it." She looked him up and down. "And from the looks of you, you'll be more than capable of carrying all that I buy."
"Ah...all right. I guess I'm okay with that, but can't we at least go to another store that isn't quite so...provocative?"
She gave him a sultry look, the same one she'd used on the TV when she'd reached the end of the runway and done her pose. It got his libido going every time he saw it. "I'm not finished here yet, and maybe I'd like your male opinion on which bra or panty you find sexier." Braelyn turned back to the rack, pulled out another lacy bra before she swiveled in his direction again and held it up in front of her. "What do you think? Does this do anything for you?"
Skylar groaned. God, she was going to kill him, or make it so he had blue balls by the time they left the store. He'd just met his would-be mate and already she strung him along. And seeing the look of mischief in her eyes, he could tell she knew exactly what she did to him. At this rate, she'd have him a mess before he could claim her as his own.