I’m wrapping up the next Pryde Ranch Shifters story and thought I’d give you a sneak peek…
Hair still damp from the shower, Jason DiCaplis walked into the football field his wife called a kitchen. And there she stood, the apple of his eye. And she was a total wreck. Instead of greeting her with a playful nip and a hug from behind, as was his habit, he wisely kept his mouth shut and stayed out of biting distance. Given her current mood, he’d just grab a quick snack and a cup of hot coffee and get out of her hair.
He yanked open the doors to one of the huge stainless steel refrigerators when a sting radiated across his left butt cheek.
He cocked his head at his wild-eyed mate. “Ow, woman! What the hell are you thinking?” He hopped back in time to avoid the tip of another expertly snapped towel.
“This is a big deal, and you’re moving too slow. Clear out so I can get on with… God, I don’t know how I’m going to have everything ready by the time they get here. I haven’t even finished all the prep and the staff are all doing other tasks so I don’t have any one to mise en place for me and…”
Really? Neesia had them all in the kitchen late last night slaving away over the ingredients she needed for the clan-sized meal she’d planned. All four of the Pryde sisters, plus himself and all the household staff had been called in. Even their pilot had been recruited. They’d sliced, diced and cut both themselves and the mountain of veggies, fruit, seafood, and whatever else Neesia cracked the whip about for this week’s visitors.
“Neesia, we did food prep for at least a hundred people just last night. I only have four friends coming.”
“But the scientists coming to work with K and K…”
“Rescheduled, remember? We’ll have a total of ten people, not a whole malnourished rugby team. This is fucking ridiculous, Neesia. I don’t like it when you worry this way.”
Ooooh, wait a minute. Said bustling woman wore the little green silk robe he loved, the one that fell just below her hips and left most of her thighs bare.
Forget breakfast. Neesia looked good enough to eat.
With one hand, he rubbed the welt forming under his shorts, and tried to wrap the other around the frazzled female bustling about the kitchen.
“Jason, stop it. I’m nowhere near done and they’ll be here this afternoon. Damn it, damn it, damn it.”
No answer. She’d wiggled out of his arms and buried her head in the freezer.
A bag of frozen prawns and some carrots crashed to the floor as she snatched and tossed various items in a flurry of movement. Okay, enough was enough.
He eased her back and away from the fridges, freezers, and anything else that was stainless steel and involved with cooking.
“Look, these are my friends. My family. You don’t have to go through all this stress. They’re going to love you.”
“But they’re important to you. Cooking for them is a big deal, damn it! I want it to be perfect!”
“Neesia, you’re yelling. And your hair is all over your head from running your hands through it. If you pull any out, I’m telling you now I’m going to be very upset with you. If you’re going to be bald, it should be all over, rather than just one spot in the top of your head.”
His words earned the chuckle he was after.
After all, Jason understood where she was coming from. Cooking for her family was important to her. It was an expression of love into which she put her all. But this was fucking nuts. The woman was wearing herself to a nub over pleasing his friends. And while Jason was flattered that she cared enough to go to these lengths simply because these people meant a lot to him, he was not pleased that she was weirding out over it. Nobody, not even the James boys, were worth risking her sanity. And if Jason prided himself on anything, it was taking care of his mate.
When she wouldn’t stop squirming trying to get back to the damned fridge, his patience slipped. A deep feline growl pushed its way past his throat and reverberated around the stadium sized kitchen. Neesia immediately stilled and cocked an eyebrow at him.
“Are you growling at me, Jason DiCaplis?”
“I’m going to do more than growl if you don’t stop this madness. Relax, or else.” The firm grip he had on her shoulders eased as the tips of his fingers traipsed down to her wrist to hold her still. Leaning in, he inhaled his favorite fragrance–the natural scent at the nook of her neck. God, the woman smelled so good. And it always drove him wild. Especially when the scent of her sex blended into the mix.
And he knew how to make her cream in record time. Knew exactly what she liked and how she liked it.
“Damn it, Jason. Not now,” she semi-demanded and tried to push him away. But her fingers flexed on his bare chest and then played in the sprinkle of hair there.
“Now is the perfect time. I think you’re overdue for a bit of stress relief.”
Cradling the back of her head, Jason held Neesia in place as he gently kissed her lips. Well, it started out gentle, anyway. But in mere seconds, the attempt at seduction grew into flat-out raunchy need. The need to devour rather than simply taste. The need to rut rather than distract. Bottom line–Neesia simply brought the freak out in him.