Shifter - Book Five
Celine Draeger has always wanted Cole Sexton, and knew he was her mate—she just didn't know how she would make him hers. His code of honor towards the family prevents him from staking a claim, so she decided to do one herself.
Cole fights within himself for the one he wants the most. No other will do for him but Celine. Only he can barely take care of himself, so how is he going to care for a mate? That is the question which prevents him from placing a claim on her. But when Celine takes matters into her own hands, Cole finds he can't refuse her anything.
The heat of the full moon has come, so hot it is guaranteed to ignite a fire to burn the soul. An awakening has begun. But who will be consumed by it?
Cole stood out in the freezing rain one week later, with the Draeger family saying his last good-byes to Natasha Draeger. It took a whole week for the family to come together and, in that time, Cole thought about the last words she gave him. Don’t fight it. He didn’t understand what she was talking about. Don’t fight what? He somewhat had an idea of what she might be talking about but shook it off. No one knew, he’d made extra sure of it.
Dressed in his best, head bowed, he thought about it while the priest spoke the final words as her coffin was lowered into the ground next to her husband.
For ten years, one girl he had no business thinking about was always on his mind. Cole refused to think of her as his. She was out of his reach, and he was going to keep it that way. So even if Natasha’s words were meant to encourage him not to fight the desire that was ever present when Celine was around, Cole wasn’t going to listen. He wasn’t going to do the family that way. Never!
Natasha wasn’t his and Chase’s mother but they both loved her as if she were. And to stand here saying his silent good-bye was so very painful, just like watching her body being lowered into the grave. It felt like he was burying his own parents all over again, and that damn feeling of being alone was present once more.
Each of the Draegers stepped forward one by one to toss a handful of dirt on top of her casket. In his hand, he held a single red rose. A tear slipped from his eye when he let it go to land on the dirt. His eyes locked on where it landed. What was he going to do now?
“Man, thou art dust and to dust thou shall return.” The priest recited as he continued the service. He made the sign of the cross over the casket, and then he blessed all of the family. “May she rest in peace.”
He looked up to the family, but his eyes landed on Celine Draeger. She was all grown up now at twenty-one, knocking what little breath he had right out of his chest. Like everyone else around the gravesite, she was dressed in black with a coat on and an umbrella over her head to protect her from the cold rain. Her long, waist length black hair hung loose with some of the strands blowing across her face with the wind. She definitely was Jaclyn Draeger’s daughter.
Cole looked away before their eyes could meet. He’d never forgotten the kiss she gave him, or how it made him feel. And with those feelings and the urges and desires constantly hitting him, Cole made the decision, again, to stay away from her. It was the only respectable thing to do. All of this because of the one little kiss which started something that still affected him.
Because of that damn kiss, he couldn’t date like he needed to. Couldn’t get serious with any girl, because he would compare them to her, and for the past five years he sure as hell couldn’t get laid. That meant he was a walking hard-on most of the time.
Don’t fight it.
“Hey, how you doing?” Drake came up to him and he jumped, snapping out of his thoughts to shake the hand that he’d held out in front of him. The group was breaking away and the Draeger family was coming up to him and Chase.
“I’m okay.” Cole took a deep breath and cleared his throat. Now was not the time to be thinking about Natasha’s last words to him or the best kiss of his life. “Guess I never thought Natasha would die, you know? And it happened so fast.”
Drake pulled Cole into his arms and hugged him. Cole closed his eyes and welcomed the embrace. “Remember you’re not alone. Okay?”
Cole nodded and stepped out of his arms, sniffing back the tears. Drake hugged Chase, while Cole steeled himself for the rest of the family.
“How you doing, kid?” Stefan asked with his usual smile in place.
“Hanging in there.” Cole shook Stefan’s hand, then turned his attention to Dedrick. Just the sight of the big man had his mouth drying up. If he knew that all Cole could think about the past few months was his daughter he knew his nuts would be ripped out. “The lawyer wants to see you today.”
“Shit,” Dedrick sighed. “Bastard can’t even wait a day. We just buried our mother for Christ’s sake.”
“He told me that Natasha wanted the will read right after she was buried.” Cole shrugged. “I’m just passing the information along.”
Dedrick growled then headed for the limo. Cole and the rest of the family followed. They all got into the long limo and he cast a quick glance at Celine. Get a grip on yourself, he thought. She just lost her grandmother, you dick, and doesn’t need you to be thinking about touching her legs or kissing her.