Read Keeping Kaitlyn Online

Authors: Anya Bast

Keeping Kaitlyn

Keeping Kaitlyn

Mates of the Lycaon, novella 1

By Anya Bast

KINDLE EDITION

PUBLISHED BY:

Anya Bast for the Kindle

Keeping Kaitlyn © 2011 Anya Bast

Kindle Edition License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Amazon.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

~*~

A Note from the Author

Hello, fair readers ~ I am New York Times bestselling author, Anya Bast. This is the first novella in an ongoing series that I will be self-publishing. This is brand new, never-before-published work.
 

If you have found this novella after reading my Elemental Witches or Dark Magick series, you will find this story to be more erotic.
Be warned!

If you’re not eighteen yet, please return when you are. This story is for adults only.

I hope you enjoy the men of the Lycaon and their mates.

~*~

A major thanks to Brenda M. and Leah L. for being my second and third pair of eyes. You caught mistakes I probably never would have otherwise.

~*~

Notice to people who “share” ebooks

Writing is my livelihood. It’s how I support my family. Pirating or “sharing” is stealing. Please don’t do it. I’m deliberately pricing these novellas in a range that I hope will discourage pirating.

If you do happen to see one of my books pirated and have the time and inclination to tell me about it, I’d love to know: [email protected]

Thank you for your honesty and kindness. It is greatly appreciated.

Happy reading!

www.anyabast.com

-----------------------

Chapter One

The man had a body made for battle, all strong bones, long lines, and powerful muscle. His axe swung over his head and came down with a
thwack
on a huge chunk of wood. Every movement showed the powerful flex of his back and upper arms. Birds twittered in nearby trees but she barely heard them. The scenery was far too distracting. He paused for a moment to push his dusky blond hair away from his face, perspiration glistening on his skin.

She wondered what it would be like to be with a man like that, to have the freedom to touch him as much she liked, to have those arms around her, his bare skin brushing against her body, that magnificent chest pressed against her breasts…

Kaitlyn had never dreamed watching someone chop wood could be so compelling. She could stay here all—
           

“Kaitlyn Isabella Gannet.”

Kaitlyn jerked her head up to stare into her sister’s eyes. Immediately the sounds of the coffee shop filled her consciousness like air into a vacuum. Voices murmuring. Cups clinking. Espresso machine whirring. She grimaced. “Ugh. Don’t do that. You sounded like Susan.”

And just like that, she was in a thronged downtown Chicago coffee shop, the scent of espresso replacing the fresh smell of forest. She was back and he was gone. How depressing.

           
Paige’s lips parted in a mischievous smile “I know.
Gotcha.
Where were you just then? I’ve been saying your name for the last two minutes. I feel like I’m having coffee by myself.”

           
So she’d pulled the old
sound-like-Susan
. Kaitlyn shuddered. Even the memory of their stepmother could give her the shivers. She shrugged and shot a smile at Paige. “Just distracted, I guess. Daydreaming.”

           
“About what?”

           
“Uh.” She ducked her head and took a sip of coffee. Nearly cold. “Work.”

           
It was a lie. It was a
lame
lie. Daydreaming about work? Guilt filled her for fibbing, but no way was she going to tell Paige the truth. Her sister would take her to the emergency room right away and, while Kaitlyn wasn’t sure she actually shouldn’t go to the emergency room, she didn’t want that. The doctors might admit her to the psych ward and make her two fantasy men go away.

           
She knew she was probably going insane. The problem was that insane was a nice place to be. Nice enough Kaitlyn was considering relocating forever.

           
“Daydreaming about work, huh? Wow.” Paige tipped her cup back, draining her café mocha. “Your daydreams are boring, sis. You need a vacation. Some sand, a piña colada. We could take off for the Bahamas for a few days or something. You could start writing that book you’re always talking about.”

           
Her sister had been nagging her to take a vacation for a while now. After her divorce, Kaitlyn had thrown herself into her career headfirst. “Are you kidding? I have three projects due within the next month.” She glanced at her watch and jerked with surprise. “Speaking of, I need to get back.” Scooping up her paper to-go cup, she made for the door.

“Caroline invited us for dinner on Sunday,” Paige called after her.

Kaitlyn waved a hand at her, clutching her tote under one arm as she opened the door. “I’m in…as long as Susan isn’t there.” She shot one last smile at her sister and burst into the bright sunlight, hurrying across the square to the office building where she worked.

Paige’s office was just a couple blocks over. When Kaitlyn could grab the time, they went for lunch or coffee at noon. Caroline, their other sister, worked clear on the other side of town, but they saw her often. They were close, the three sisters. Only a year apart, they were all very different in personality, but surviving their childhood had made them best of friends.

She wished she could tell her sisters about the strange forays from reality she’d been taking lately. She’d called it a daydream, but that was far too mild. It was a little more like being sucked, mind, body, and soul into a dream for a few minutes. Every time it happened, it was too short. They were a little like blackouts, except with sound and pictures. Lovely, wonderful moving pictures of two incredible men…

Shivering at the memory of the wood chopping daydream in the coffee house, she pushed open the door of her building.

Entering the elevator, she found herself shoulder to shoulder with Evan, who worked in accounting at the software development company she worked at.

“It’s a hot one out there today, huh?” said Evan, smiling.

Oh, great,
small talk. She forced a smile. “Yes, yes, it is.”

Silence. The elevator music soothed them with soft jazz. Wow, it took a long time to get to the sixty fifth floor.

Evan cleared his throat and turned toward her a little. “I was wondering if you were busy tonight, Kaitlyn. There’s a—”

Oh, no.

“I can’t.” She blurted, and then froze, realizing how rude she’d sounded. Evan was a nice guy, good looking too. He wasn’t married, or obnoxious, and it really
was
time she got back to dating. Yet… “I’m sorry. It’s not you. You’re an awesome guy. I’m just really into my work right now.”

Evan took a step back from her. He gave her a smile that didn’t reach his eyes. “No problem. It was just, you know, an idea. An…elevator pitch.” He laughed, but it sounded a little trembling. Nervous.

The car dinged, stopped, and let on another passenger. She and Evan moved to the back and Kaitlyn touched his arm. “Like I said, it’s not you, but I appreciate it.”

“No problem.” But he wouldn’t look at her.

Great.
She felt like a total asshole now. Her sisters would kick her butt if they knew she’d just turned down a date with a suitable guy, too.

The elevator doors opened and Evan scooted out as fast as he could. Kaitlyn exited slowly, letting Evan get the distance from her that he so clearly needed, and found her office, closing the door behind her. All she wanted was to lose herself in work. Drown in it. If she couldn’t be locked in those amazing daydreams all day, she wanted to be completely distracted with something else. Something she knew. Something safe. Something she was good at.

She worked into the early evening. Finally, after the sun had gone down and the office outside her door was dark, quiet, and the cleaning crew was working, she sat back in her chair and stretched. Time to go home to her empty, lonely apartment.

Maybe it was time to get a cat. She sighed.

Closing her eyes, she tried to drift into that lovely dreamscape, but she couldn’t do it.
 
She could never invoke the daydreams on her own; they were always involuntary. A result, Kaitlyn was sure, of a life filled with stress. Not only was she swamped at work, but that nasty divorce had an emotional echo. She’d had to file a restraining order against a man she’d thought had loved her. So it was likely these little snatchaways she was having were probably her mind’s way of dealing with all the tumult in her life. Harmless…though their uncontrolled nature was strange. Worrisome, even.

Her head told her she needed to seek help, but her heart jealously guarded every second she spent with the two men in her daydreams. Both of them were tall, ripped—one dark haired and one light. One of them was tattooed. There was something animalistic about the pair of them, something brutal…something
wild
. Yet she sensed they wanted nothing but to protect her.

They just wanted her, every inch of her.
Forever
.

She supposed that would be frightening if the men were real. But they weren’t real. They were a figment of her overstressed, overstretched, overworked imagination. So she was free to admire them whenever they sprang up.

Neither of them had talked to her in her daydreams, or touched her. They were always doing something, forging iron, riding a horse, chopping wood, whatever. That was okay, looking at them was enough. It was like she segued into an alternate reality just for a couple minutes at a time, observed their life there, except both the men knew she was watching them. They looked her with such determination on their faces, such hunger. They wanted her. They both had claimed her as….

Ours.
The word breathed through her office, spoken in a low, rough male voice.

Kaitlyn shot to her feet, every muscle in her body tight. Occasional mental vacations were all right, but hallucinating voices in her office was going
too far
. She stood frozen for a moment, trying to convince herself that she hadn’t just heard a disembodied male voice claim her as his, but she couldn’t do it. She’d heard that voice clear as if someone had been standing right next to her.

Maybe she needed help after all.

“No.” She gathered her tote bags, stuffing in a few files she might want to look at before bed. “I don’t need help, I need Caroline. I need company. I need—” She groaned. “Now I’m talking to myself. That’s just great.”

She raced out of the office, trailing loose sheets of paper behind her and nearly colliding with one of the cleaning people. All she wanted was to get to Caroline’s house. Her sister lived alone and would still be up; she wouldn’t mind her little sister dropping in for an unexpected visit.

Kaitlyn shouldered her tote bag and mounted the stairs to the elevated L stop at Milwaukee and North, not far from her office, and walked onto the platform to wait for her train.

 
This was an affluent area, yet she was still very aware of her surroundings. But even though it was well after dark in downtown Chicago, she wasn’t afraid. That’s what self-defense classes were for, classes she’d been taking with abandon since her former husband had gone wonky doodle. And pepper spray. No way was she going to be held captive by the fact she was a woman.

Ours.
The voice drifted on the air, filling up the space around her. Just one voice, but more than one claim. The two men of her daydreams, she assumed.

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