Only A Mate's Touch Excerpt

Shaun pressed harder on the accelerator as he moved down the county highway outside of town. The pack meeting was scheduled to begin in five minutes. While there wasn't an exact schedule and he knew that the members of the Phantom River Pack would entertain themselves until he arrived, he didn't like being late for appointments. It not only showed disrespect for those he was to meet, but also gave an impression of being unprepared. Unfortunately, his call to Little Miss Hot-Pants had taken nearly three times as long as it should have, and he'd then still had to return five other calls to current and potential clients. Normally Jaryn handled the schmoozing of new clients and smoothing of any ruffled fur, but with his Alpha away at the council meeting, the duty had temporarily been placed on Shaun’s shoulders.

Wonder if Jaryn would mind if I send her a bid on the construction costs that's three times our normal rate, once she approves his plans? She is building over in Sagle. We can charge a premium or an out-of-state service fee. That way she'll have to pick another contractor, right? Of course, knowing my luck she'll fork over the cash without blinking and then I'll be stuck working for her anyway.

He needed to get his head off Little Miss Hot-Pants and focus on the immediate future. There were several items that had to be discussed and voted on tonight by the pack. He started to go over the meeting points in his mind as the road opened up before him.

First thing he had to do was give an update on the pack's financial accounts, then have the committee for pack development present an update on the bookings for the retreat centre and any other pack-owned businesses. Of course he'd open the floor to any community concerns from the pack members, and there was something else he'd planned...What was it? Maybe-hopefully-he'd programmed it into the data chip on his comm-unit.

Shaun looked into the rear view mirror and saw a police car with flashing lights just as he heard a burst of the distinctive warble that signalled you were about to be in trouble.

"Well, shit." He looked down at his speedometer and cursed again when he saw the normally bright blue numbers flashing red as a warning that he'd exceeded the speed limit for this zone. "Great. Just what I needed today."

He hit the brakes, then pulled over onto the side of the road. "Gear to Park," he ordered the system.

Shaun looked into the side mirror of his truck and watched as the door to the cop car opened. A brown sheriff's department hat emerged, but he couldn't identify the person beneath. The door was slammed shut, and Shaun's executioner started walking towards his truck. It was obviously a woman-the natural sway of a pair of trim hips and smaller stature gave that away-but Shaun wasn't aware of any female deputies in Cooper's department. Maybe she was new, but then why hadn't Shaun heard about her through the grapevine? When she stepped up to the truck, the deputy was busy typing away on her comm-tablet. Her shoulders barely came to the base of the window on Shaun’s lifted truck.

"Lower driver window," he ordered.

"You were speeding well over the limit. Please hand over your identification card."

Shaun tilted to the side and raised his hip so he could dig out his wallet with his identification card. As he did, his head leaned through the open window slightly, and he froze in mid-motion. He closed his eyes and inhaled. Starbursts of colour exploded behind his eyelids, his fangs dropped and his wolf howled deep inside his soul. This unknown female was his mate! Shaun’s mouth watered for the taste of skin and blood. His cock became hard as a spike, hungry to claim what belonged to him and spill his seed inside her womb. He wanted to mark her inside and out.

He turned to see her through his wolf's eyes. The muted colours did nothing to diminish her beauty. She'd tipped her hat back, and Shaun got his first glimpse of the woman he'd been searching for since he understood what wolf mates were. She had porcelain white skin with thin eyebrows that arched delicately over a pair of dark eyes. The pupils nearly melded with the iris-much like the ones he saw in the mirror each morning. The deputy's heart-shaped face came to a point at her chin. Right now those dark eyes were hard as coal, which was in direct contrast to a pair of soft full lips, currently frowning in frustration.

Shaun pushed open the door in a rush, desperate to wrap his arms around the woman destined to be his other half. One leg had touched the pavement when he heard the distinctive sound of a bullet being chambered into a pistol.

"Stay where you are."

Shit!

Shaun froze. "I'm sorry. I can explain."

"I don't care for explanations. Slowly put your hands in the air and step out of the vehicle."

Great first impression, asshole!

Shaun did as he was told, as he had zero desire to be shot by his mate for the simple fact that his human rationality had shut down and animal instincts had taken over for a few moments.

"Keep your hands up and take two steps backwards."

"Honestly, this is all just a misunder-"

"Shut up. When I want to hear you speak, I'll ask you a question. Walk towards the front of the vehicle, and place your hands on the hood."

This meeting of his mate was not going how he'd imagined over the years.

"Are you carrying any weapons?"

Did she count his cock, which was hard as a blunt force instrument? A few more sentences in his mate's husky voice would have him primed to explode. Who knew a strong female would have him panting like a horny pup?

"No, ma'am."

"I'm going to pat you down. Do not move, or you will be subdued by force."

Shaun let a little smile cross his lips. His mate was a force to be reckoned with, wrapped up in a sexy little package. Shaun wasn't really worried. He knew if he had to get out of a situation such as this, his training would allow him to do so. He voluntarily complied with his mate's wishes.

Her hands started to run up and down his sides. They came across his chest, and when the tips of her fingers brushed against his nipples, Shaun fought the moan that rose in his throat. Her hands smoothed down the outside of his legs then around his ankles. As they came up his inseam, Shaun's fingers curled on the hood of his car. He closed his eyes and prayed for a miracle that his mate wouldn't encounter the obstacle currently making his jeans tighter than comfortable. His mate's scent washed over him and held him spellbound. Her firm touch set fire to his skin, even though, logically, he knew she was acting in a brisk and professional manner. Her hands disappeared, and Shaun wanted to groan in disappointment.

"Turn around. My name is Deputy Meeghan Nicholson-"

Shaun rolled her name around in his mind, and liked the way it sounded. His wolf must have liked it as well because he sent up another howl that made Shaun's ears ring, making him miss whatever it was that Meeghan said next.

"-are being charged with resisting-"

"Hold on. I said I can explain. Please." Shaun attempted to look as innocent as possible and crowed inside when he saw the hard shell of Meeghan's eyes crack a fraction.

"Fine. Say your piece, but don't presume it will change anything."

Crap. Okay this had to be good. He stared at the woman in front of him. One hand rested on her utility belt and Shaun saw her finger tap against the gun, now resting in the holster. He noticed that she carried one of the new weapons Cooper had finally got the state funding for. The firearms featured a new safety feature that allowed them to only operate for the individual whose biometrics were programmed into the scanner embedded in the grip. He was glad that his mate had an extra layer of protection should a perpetrator try to steal her weapon and use it against her.

"I'm waiting, Mr Colfer, and I'm not a patient woman."

"The reason I moved to get out of the car was because my wolf recognised you as my mate. It was an instinctual move and I meant you no harm."

Meeghan laughed and the dimples that appeared on either side of her mouth made Shaun want to lick the tiny dips with the tip of his tongue.

"I'll admit I've heard some outrageous excuses in my time to get out of a ticket, but that one really has to take the cake."

Shaun frowned. "It wasn't an excuse. It's the truth." He took another sniff, and in addition to binding Meeghan's scent to him, he also detected the fact that she was another shifter.

"You know it's true."

All joviality disappeared in a flash and Meeghan's hand landed hard on Shaun's chest. She pushed him back against the fender of his truck.

"Listen. I will not have a mate that has such blatant disregard for the law or disrespect for those who uphold it."

"Disregard? Disrespect? What are you talking about? I was speeding, I admit, but it wasn't as if I was driving recklessly." He spread his arms out and looked around. "You do know where you are right? This isn't exactly an urban freeway. There's nothing between here and the pack lands. The only reason I was speeding in the first place is because I had a lot on my mind while trying to get to the pack meeting and didn't realise it had happened. I made a mistake, I'm sorry. But I never disrespected you. I could have forced you to the ground in two seconds if I wanted to, but I went along quietly. I did everything you asked without complaint."

His mate moved fast, and before Shaun realised what was happening his face was pressed against the hood of his truck, and his hands were shackled behind his back.

If she wanted to get kinky, all she had to do was ask...

"You're under arrest for impeding an officer's duty. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can be held against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you. Do you understand these rights?"

"You have got to be kidding me," Shaun grumbled. "Look, just call Cooper. He'll vouch for me."

Meeghan fisted the back of Shaun's shirt and forcibly walked him towards her car. He shuffled along, not wanting to hurt the woman in an attempt to wrench away from her grip. She opened the back door. Shaun sighed and lowered himself into the backseat. At least his mate attempted to protect his head from crashing into the roof as his tall "I'm sorry Sheriff Tessen is unavailable tonight, but I'll be sure to bring your concerns to him in the morning."

"I know he's unavailable. He's at the same pack meeting I'm supposed to be leading right now," Shaun growled. "I'm the Beta of Phantom River."

"I'm well aware of who you are to the shifter community in the area, Mr Colfer. That still does not excuse you from the state's laws. Now I'll show you I can be a decent person and have one of the other deputies come pick up your truck and bring it to the station. You see, I'm not a total bitch."

Meeghan smiled, but Shaun saw none of the warmth that had been there when she'd spontaneously laughed earlier.

"Your words, honey, not mine. I'd never use such crass language around a lady."

Meeghan snorted and Shaun couldn't help but crack the tiniest of smiles. This whole situation was absolutely ridiculous, but he was sure that when they looked back on their first meeting years from now, they'd both laugh. Then he'd gather his mate in his arms and make love to her till she screamed in pleasure. Now that was something to look forward to.

"While I do appreciate your offer to have my truck brought to the station, there's one problem with that."

"Oh?"

Shaun nodded. "My ignition is biometric. The system responds only to my voice and fingerprints. That means you'll have to bring me all the way back out here later when this little misunderstanding gets cleared up. Of course I can think of worse things than taking a midnight drive under the stars with my mate. Or..."

Meeghan arched one eyebrow but didn't voice the question Shaun saw brewing in her eyes.

"You could let me go now, the two of us can drive back to town, grab a bite to eat, and get to know each other a little better. I assume you're on shift, otherwise I'd suggest we go to the pack meeting so we could run under the moon."

There was a trilling sound that rang out through the interior of the car. He knew it was his comm-unit strapped around his wrist, but because his hands were confined behind his back he wasn't able to read the identification information of the caller.

"That's probably your boss, trying to figure out where I'm at."

Meeghan pushed Shaun forward and disengaged his comm-unit from his wrists. She unfolded the transparent nanotechnology-based device and opened the communications application.

She tapped the speaker symbol. "Hello?"

"Meeghan? Why do you have Shaun's comm-unit? Oh fuck, please don't tell me..."

"Mr Colfer is fine. He's sitting in the back of my cruiser, currently immobilised, otherwise I'm sure he'd have been happy to take your call, Sheriff. He is listening, by the way, so you're welcome to corroborate the events."

"He's what?" Cooper exclaimed.

"I caught Mr Colfer speeding on the thirty-nine outside of town. He attempted to exit the vehicle rather brashly, and I was forced to place him under arrest."

"Is that true, Shaun?"

"Sort of, but this is all a big misunderstanding. You see she's my-"

"Mr Colfer then proceeded to raise his voice and verbally resist when I read him his rights."

Cooper's laughter made Shaun grind his teeth together.

"I always told you that your big mouth would get you in trouble one "Very funny, Coop. Will you please tell her to let me go? There are things-"

"Sorry, Shaun. Legally, she had the right. Don't worry. I'll tell the pack that you're indisposed. They'll never know you got taken down by-"

"My mate, Coop! She's my mate!"

Shaun flinched at the anger flashing in Meeghan's eyes. But Cooper had to know. He had to understand that when the wolf found its mate, the man fell by the wayside.

"Meeghan?"

"Yes, Sir?"

"Well?"

Shaun silently dared her to say no. A shifter in their right mind would never deny their mate-even a beautiful, ornery and pissed off one such as the woman standing beside him. He knew she'd recognised him for who he was, for what they would be together. His sensitive hearing picked up the rapid beating of her heart, and his nose detected the instant her scent changed from alluring female to that of a shifter who'd recognised and begun to reach out for their mate. Getting her to be happy about it might be a little harder than he'd ever expected, but then, didn't they say you had to work for all good things in life?

"Yes, Sir," she mumbled.

"Well then, congratulations! Meeghan, go ahead and take him back to the station and process him. Shaun, I'll see you in the morning. Have a good night, buddy!"

"What?" he yelled. "You're still going to let her-"

"Laws are laws, Shaun." Cooper started to snicker. "God, I cannot wait to tell Jaryn about this."

Shaun wasn't too sure about the gleam in Meeghan's eyes. Frankly, it made him a little worried.

"Don't worry, Sheriff. I'll take good care of him."