From Bound by Rebellion by Christa Paige
Luke did not want to harm Kat. Instead, he wished to show her exactly what it meant for him to reclaim her as his. To lie beside her when they slept, and keep her safe in his embrace. He longed to stroke back the damp, amber tendrils of her hair which framed her beautiful face and clung to her flushed cheeks. His fingertips prickled in want of her skin, touching and exploring, bringing her ultimate pleasure. Even more pressing though, he longed to rekindle their connection. He missed their mental communication, allowing them private moments when they could not be physically together. Danger lurked everywhere. His natural inclination was to stay near his mate, keeping her secure. Luke had wasted too many years letting Katiya “find her own way.” As she so scathingly told him, that final night before their separation, she had no intentions of being pinned down under his thumb for the rest of her extended life. Luke didn’t understand what bothered her about it. Growing up in their tight-knit community as part of the Family, Kat had known exactly what to expect when she walked down the long aisle, to the altar where her future hinged upon a fateful decision. Like every other bonded female before her, Katiya had faced the mating ceremony, risking her life to find a blood-mate. Kat didn’t have the luxury of modern science to help lessen the danger of her selection. In the past, the Elders simply chose three of the strongest candidates. To up the odds, the males came from different families. Everyone hoped the couple would be genetically compatible. Sometimes, the worst possible outcome occurred and the female’s body rejected the blood, killing her within moments. Luke had watched, not knowing if luck would shine down upon him that night. But it had and Katiya survived the ritual. She had sworn an oath by taking his blood, and had bound herself freely to him.