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Yet, Jack agreed, and he kissed my throat again, right where my pulse still pounded heavily.

Harley folded her arms, staying close to Jesse. I take it you heard about our mating.Lily’s mouth went tight. Yes, and imagine how hurt I was to find out secondhand that you’re mated. Your father called me earlier, and let me tell you he is not happy. He wants to see you. Lily flicked her hair back as she flashed Jesse a smile. I remember you. I wanted to come here and personally thank you for making her see where her place in the world lies.

No, she’d come to embarrass her because Lily got some perverse joy out of it . . . as if it made her feel better about herself.Jesse, I’m sure you remember Lily and Shawn, said Harley.Her mother and uncle, Lily stressed, casting Harley a look of reprimand.

Given what Jesse knew of Lily, she was no mother to Harley. Maybe things would have been different if she hadn’t drowned in her own misery rather than care for Harley. Then again, maybe they wouldn’t have been. His wolf regarded the shifters with a snarl of distaste. They look different when they’re sober, Jesse told Harley. Not a lot different, but still.Lily’s face hardened. Her eyes cut to Harley. I wouldn’t have guessed you would ever have anything to do with a Sequoia wolf after what happened with his sister.

You guessed wrong, said Jesse.

Shawn put a staying hand on Lily’s arm. We’re happy for you, Harley. We just can’t believe you didn’t tell us that you’re mated. It was hard to hear from someone else.She had. It was a frustrating quality that part of her admired. Look, I’m grateful that you watched over me while I was unconscious. But I’m fine now. You don’t need to stay.

I know. But he was still going to stay; his expression made that clear.I will. He always did. It had made him a difficult son to raise, since his parents were—

Instantly, Derren shoved the memory of them and their betrayal from his mind before it had the chance to darken his mood.Stepping out onto the porch, he had to smile at the sight of Ally lounging in the hammock, eyes closed, listening to her iPod. And effectively dismissing him once again. She was a stubborn, prickly little thing intent on holding the world at a distance. Why that intrigued him, he really couldn’t say. But very little intrigued Derren, and the fact that she could do that drew him as surely as her scent and delectable body.