SeducingtheHuntress by Mel Teshco

Book: SeducingtheHuntress by Mel Teshco Read Free Book Online
Authors: Mel Teshco
her. “Thank you. And he won’t.”
    When the rest of the men followed suit and dropped their
weapons to the ground, she felt almost dizzy with gratitude. She released a
breath and turned to her father. He was stiff and watching her with nothing
short of despair. “Daddy…will you at least give him a chance?”
    “One swipe of his claws, that’s all it’d take,” he gritted
out, “for you to fall to the ground dead. You expect me to risk that?”
    “Daddy, you’re not going to lose me tonight—or any other
night. Reuben loves me. Please believe me, on both counts.”
    She didn’t give him a chance to respond, didn’t give him a
chance to order the men to drag her away. She pivoted, moving to the big cat
and crouching at his side. His eyes gleamed, a feral light, but he didn’t move,
just watched.
    “I’m sorry they did this to you,” she murmured. “I’m sorry
you had to go to this extreme just to be accepted.” She slid her hand up and
down the silky softness of his furred back. “But I think I love you all the
more for wanting to put yourself through it so that we can be together.”
    A deep, rumbling purr interrupted her, then the beast stood
up, towering over her, and thrust his head into her chest.
    She giggled, pushing her hands behind his ears and
scratching him, loving the softness of his fur and the musky cat smell of him.
“You’re as beautiful in this form as your human form,” she cooed, putting her
head on his and reaching up to cuddle him—if only her arms would stretch fully
around his neck.
    The villagers stood frozen in utter disbelief before her
father’s strangled voice broke the silence. “It’s not possible…”
    Isabella turned to him, her voice catching. “You wanted
proof, Daddy. Here it is.”
    Her nightmix pushed to his paws to stand beside her,
a united front. And though his eyes remained the crimson of his species, there
was no aggression or murderous gleam in his stare. Only compassionate
    He growled a little, nudging her with his head as if trying
to tell her something. She saw his tail shorten, indicating he was starting the
shift back into human again. She nodded comprehension before he slunk into the
shadows, taking advantage of privacy this time before going through the
torturous process of shape change all over again.
    In the flickering flames of the torches and fire, Isabella
faced her father, her people, and announced, “The prince has demonstrated his
ability to withhold whatever darkness his DNA possesses. Now it’s time you all
demonstrate the desire to overcome your prejudices and intolerances…the same
way I did.”
    Silence hung thick in the air. Her people weren’t fully
convinced. She turned to her father. As leader of the nightmix dissenters, he was the one she had to win over. “Daddy?”
    His shoulders stooped, voice all but breaking with what
seemed to be the weight of the past. “We’ve been plotting revenge for so many
    “Exactly.” She looked around, catching the eyes of her
friends, her neighbors, people she knew and loved. “Isn’t it past time we put
our efforts into nurturing those we love and who are alive rather than fighting
for those we’ve already lost?”
    Reuben moved beside her, slipping an arm around her waist
and tucking her close. She looked up at him with a relieved smile, aware his
once-majestic robe wasn’t quite covering him the same way it had before and
somehow loving him all the more for it.
    “Bella is wise beyond her years,” Reuben said. His stare was
open with adoration. “Just one of the many reasons I love her so much.”
    “And I you,” she whispered.
    “Why did you come here? What is it you want?” Jacob managed,
anger throbbing in his tone but his expression conflicted.
    Reuben faced him. “I would ask your permission for her hand
in marriage.”
    Her eyes closed for a moment as his words sank in. He wanted
her as his wife…his queen. It all seemed so surreal, so

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