Scent of a Mate

By: Milly Taiden

Chapter One


“Please?” Jordan leaned forward on the sofa and gave her best imitation of what Ellie called “puppy eyes.” A soft squeaking protested Jordan’s wiggling on the leather. She knew her enthusiasm probably rivaled that of a four year old at Christmas, but she was so close to cracking Ellie, she didn’t care.

“No.” Ellie’s voice didn’t sound as sure as it had the first five times Jordan had asked the same question.

“I thought you wanted me to write this book on shifter mating rituals? Don’t you think I need to watch it? I mean, I can’t just write a book on your history, for your family’s records, based solely on what you tell me. I have to see it.” Not really, but she was not telling Ellie that and messing up her chance of watching something so cool.

Ellie frowned. “Well—”

“Come on.” Jordan huddled closer to the edge of her seat, almost falling off in the process, once again rubbing the leather and making it whine. “Look, I swear to you, I will be on my best behavior. I won’t do anything to call attention to myself. I will just observe from the sidelines. Heck, I’ll observe from the distance with binoculars.”

Ellie rolled her gorgeous blue eyes and ran her fingers through her short blonde bob, making the strands glimmer under the light of her sitting room’s lamp. “I don’t remember a single time you have ever been on your best behavior.”

That was true. Jordan’s mouth always got her into some kind of trouble, especially with the other faculty at the school where she taught.

“Okay. I pinky promise.” She lifted her hand, curling all her fingers until only her wiggling pinky stood.

Ellie bit her lip and groaned, still unsure.

“I know shifters are not exactly common knowledge with most of the world. But you have to admit that with more human-shifter interaction, it’s only a matter of time before you guys lose a lot of your history. I promise to write a specific detailed account. Nothing but the history behind this event.” Her heart pounded so hard. She wanted to shake Ellie and order her to agree already.

“Jorda-a-an!” With the way Ellie said her name, in that soft sigh of defeat, Jordan knew she had her. “If I agree to this insanity, you have to swear not to do anything to let anyone know you guys are there! You will get me in so much trouble.”

Jordan struggled and failed to stop the smile from splitting her lips. “I promise! I promise! You know I am dying to see this whole scenting ritual.” She rushed to say. “Now why is it such a big deal to keep this all quiet?”

“Because,” Ellie leaned back on her sofa and stared at the ceiling, “this is an old tradition. Males and females from all over will come together to meet each other, some for the first time. Kelly and Marco are going to see if they are compatible.”

“But they’ve met once, right?”

“Yes, at a family gathering some months back. They didn’t even get a chance to talk. From what Mom said, their eyes did the talking for them. Apparently, it was instant. It’s why we’re having this ceremony. Tradition dictates we have it yearly, and the family is hoping it works out for Kelly and Marco.”

Jordan frowned remembering Ellie’s cousin Kelly and the guy they’d kept referring to as her potential mate. She tucked a long strand of dark hair behind her ear. “I still don’t understand. How can you guys just allow some tradition to tell you who your mate is?”

Shit. Jordan had a hard time with anyone telling her what to do to begin with. It was why she loved being an independent woman.

Ellie’s smile was weak. “We are part of a pack, and my father is Alpha. As such, I need to follow rules like everyone else. You’re lucky you’re human and don’t have to worry about any of this. And we don’t allow the tradition to tell us who our mate is. This is like a first date.”

“In front of a whole bunch of people.”

“Right.”

“Who happen to watch to see if you hit it off?”

“Yes.”

“And who’ll know who she has sex with at the end of the night.”

“Correct. Wait. What?”

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