Destined Mate

67.0K · Completed
Author S.W.


Dragon shifter Cynthia and Wolf shifter Cal get a second chance at forbidden love. Is it too late? All Cynthia wants is a safe place to raise her child and heal from bitter betrayal. When Cal — her first love, her only love, and her destined mate — unexpectedly appears on Maui, he stirs up all kinds of other desires too. But trouble — as usual — is hot on his heels. Cal has spent a decade secretively protecting the only woman he’s ever loved. Cynthia may be hopelessly out of his league, but he’ll never, ever give up on her, no matter how forbidden their love is. In his dreams, he rides off into the sunset with his destined mate on the back of his vintage motorcycle. In real life...well, not every wolf shifter gets a happy ending, especially not a guy from the wrong side of the tracks. And not when danger lurks everywhere — even on a sunny island paradise. Evil shifter forces are gathering to attack the Hawaiian hideaway where Cynthia and her young son have taken refuge. It’s her darkest hour, and Cal is ready to make the ultimate sacrifice. The future of all shifters stands on the brink, and even the Special Forces heroes of Koakea — dragons, lions, wolves, and bear shifters — will need help to beat the odds. Does Cal pose the ultimate danger, or is he Cynthia’s only hope?

EmotionRomanceWerewolfAlphaDominantSuspenseFantasyABOSupernaturalNew AdultMarriageSweetSecond ChancePregnantdragonSingle MotherFemale leadLunaPossessiveSoul MateSexEroticMatureAdult

Chapter 1

Cynthia sat in the rocking chair on the west porch, fingering her pearls. A bee buzzed, and a bird whistled from a nearby tree. Another perfect Maui day on the outside. Another stormy day in her soul.

She turned to check the mountains, sure there must be dark clouds creeping down the slopes. But there was nothing — not even a foggy crown around the peaks. Just pure, golden sunlight, bringing the colors of Maui to life. So why did she have a feeling of such foreboding?

She wrung her hands and looked north. Joey, her son, was over on Koa Point, the neighboring estate. A stab of fear went through her, but she chased it away. Joey was as safe there as he would be on Koakea Plantation, their home. Both places were populated with battle-hardened shifters who would lay down their lives for Joey if the need arose, and there was no reason to believe he was in any danger. Just a mother’s paranoia, she supposed.

Still, it was hard to shake the feeling of something afoot. Of destiny moving pieces over a chessboard, preparing for its next assault. After all, the day she’d lost everything three years ago had started out just as peacefully as this. Then enemy dragons had swooped down out of nowhere, and shouts had filled the air.

Take Joey. Run! Run!

She squeezed her eyes shut, but that didn’t stop her late husband’s voice from ringing in her ears.

I can fight, she’d insisted.

You have to protect Joey. Now go!

She wrapped her arms around her stomach the way she had curled them around her son that day, and though she was barely moving, it felt as if she were fleeing again. Her long black hair whipping behind her, her bare feet racing across the lawn. She could hear the crackle of dragon fire and feel its lethal heat reach for her. The air rumbled with the beat of dragon wings as a battle raged overhead, and Joey’s panicked cries stabbed at her heart.

Her eyes snapped open, and she gulped for air, forcing herself to calm down. All that was in the past. Joey was safe. Together, they’d found refuge under an assumed name in Maui, where fate had introduced her to a rough, tough, and incredibly loyal group of shifters — shifters just as much in need of a fresh start as she. Together, they’d turned a temporary safe house into a long-term, comforting home and formed a new weyr. A pack, in other words, if a ragtag one.

That, at least, made her flash a bittersweet smile. What would her mother say about all that? The heiress to a mighty dragon clan living among bears, wolves, lions, and a handful of dragons from inferior bloodlines?

There’s nothing inferior about them, Mother. If only you knew.

A sigh escaped her lips, and she shoved the memories into a corner of her mind. She owed it to Joey to look forward, not back. If only she didn’t have so many regrets…

She caught herself rocking and slammed a foot down to stop. She was far too young to be rocking away her days — even a day off, like today. Normally, the plantation grounds would be bustling with activity. Hailey and Sophie would be out in the fields, weeding another row of coffee plants free

from decades of neglect. Dell, the lion shifter, would be making truck noises in the sandbox with his daughter Quinn and Cynthia’s son Joey. In other words, acting like a third child, even though he was a full-grown man. Meanwhile, Chase’s dogs — all five of them, for goodness’ sake — would be sniffing around the shrubs. Jenna would be sanding away at her latest surfboard creation, while Connor would be helping Tim with improvements to the grounds. Although none of them owned the ten-acre property, they got to live there rent-free as long as they kept up the place.

But it was Sunday, and everyone had agreed to keep that day work-free.

Which was great, but Cynthia just couldn’t relax.

A low hum sounded from the distant road, and she whipped around, listening intently. But the sound died away, leaving only the rustling of bushes and the murmur of the ocean.

“Damn it,” she muttered, turning away.

It used to be she could identify the sound of a Triumph Thruxton from a mile away. These days, every motorcycle made her head turn in hope.

She rose abruptly and walked into the house, looking for something to keep busy with. But the parlor was neat as a pin, and the dishwasher was already running in the kitchen. She glanced in the direction of the whiteboard where she posted the week’s duties. Once upon a time, that duty roster had been a bone of contention between her and the men of Koakea. Now, everyone pitched in without protesting — except for Dell, who still ribbed her about it, though only for show. They’d all become more disciplined, while she’d learned to relax ever so slightly.

She frowned, looking past the billowing curtains to the sea. Why couldn’t she relax now? She’d barely taken a few steps around the house, and yet her pulse was racing, her nerves jittering away.

What? she wanted to scream. What is it?

Something… her inner dragon murmured.

The feeling was vague, but so insistent, it was killing her. Should she call Connor, the co-alpha of their pack, and tell him to alert everyone? Or was it just a case of nerves?

She banged a fist against her own thigh. Damn it, she was not the nervous and flighty type.

Well — okay. She could admit to being a little high-strung.

A little? the others would joke.

A little, damn it. But she restricted herself to worrying about real issues, not imagined ones, and she certainly wasn’t prone to panic attacks.

So why did her fingers fidget with the pearls of her necklace? Why did her body alternate between heating up and chilling all over?

I know why, her dragon murmured.

Cynthia scowled. Okay, she’d had a few X-rated fantasies last night. So what? She wasn’t even thirty-five, and she’d gone far too long without the company of a man.

Not just any man. Her dragon’s hum was sultry. My mate.

She closed her eyes as emotions roiled and collided inside. Lust. Guilt. Loyalty. Desire. The problem was, each of those emotions was tied to one of two different men.

You know who I mean, her dragon growled. Our mate.

Mate was a term that could be interpreted several ways. It applied to the decades-older man her parents had arranged for her to join in the dragon equivalent of marriage. That would be Barnaby, the father of her son. But while she’d grown to respect and appreciate Barnaby, her feelings had never gone beyond that. The dear man had known and accepted that from the start, and she’d never forget how willingly he’d made the ultimate sacrifice for Joey.

So, yes. Barnaby had been her mate in one sense, but never the mate of her heart, body, and soul.

I mean our destined mate, her dragon whispered. Cal.

A hot flash racked her body, and she gripped the banister that led to the upper floor. She hadn’t seen, heard from, or — more to the point — touched Cal in twelve lonely years. She’d never stopped thinking about him either. But lately, her fantasies had blown out of control. Every night, she dreamed of racing down a tree-lined highway in the Adirondacks on the back of his Triumph, surrounded by fall colors as fiery as the passion that still burned in her heart. She dreamed of wrapping her arms around him as they lay in bed, sweaty and satisfied from making love. She dreamed of gazing into dark, mysterious eyes so full of love, they made her ache.

“Cal,” she whispered into the silence.

She closed her eyes, reliving the sights, sounds, scents. So intensely that she imagined the crunch of gravel under motorcycle tires in the driveway. She even imagined the scent of leather and sandalwood wafting through the air.

For a few quiet minutes, she let herself pretend that it was all true. That she’d never been forced to part with her true love. That everything had worked out the way her twenty-year-old self had so desperately desired.

Then a quiet voice broke into her thoughts, snapping her out of her reverie.


She didn’t turn until the burn of a blush faded from her cheeks. As co- alpha of this mixed shifter pack, she wasn’t supposed to act like a cat in heat — or a lonely widow who still pined for her first love. “Yes?”

She turned when she’d finally composed herself, linking her hands at her waist like the prim lady her mother had raised.

Anjali stood on the porch, peering in without actually stepping inside, which was strange. The first floor of the house was communal space, and everyone came and went as they pleased. Only Cynthia’s private quarters on the upper story were off-limits. So why did Anjali — calm, confident Anjali — seem so nervous and unsure?

Anjali glanced back as Dell came up the stairs behind her. His shoulders were squared, and his usual smile was gone, as was the habitual sparkle in his eyes. Another heavy step sounded on the porch stairs as Tim, the bear shifter, joined him.

Cynthia stood straighter. Something was definitely up. But what?

A flash of panic made her think of Joey, but when she reached out with her mind, she sensed laughter and joy as he played on the neighboring estate. So Joey was safe, thank God.

“What is it?”

“Someone is asking to see you,” Anjali said.

Dell shot his mate a concerned look. “I was going to turn the guy away, but Anjali thinks…”

He trailed off, and Cynthia frowned. What did Anjali think?

“You know I would never bring an outsider here,” Anjali explained. “But I think—”

“I think he’s trouble,” Connor growled from outside.

He? Who, he? Cynthia stepped to the doorway, surprised to see everyone there. Hailey and Tim, the bear shifters, were on the porch stairs, looking fierce. Jenna and Sophie were on ground level, shooting Anjali bolstering looks. The women appeared to be in favor of the visitor, whoever it was, while the men were all on edge. Including Chase and Connor, who stood in the driveway, holding another man in place. Together, they pinned his arms behind his back like a criminal caught in a dastardly act.

Anjali moved aside, and Cynthia strode to the edge of the porch, looking down. The visitor stared silently up at her, and—

It was a good thing there was a porch column for Cynthia to grab for support.

There really was a Triumph Thruxton parked in the driveway, and the man who’d arrived on it was a vision straight out of her dreams. He was older. Wearier. Wiser — like her, no doubt. Handsome as ever, in that roguish way that kept most people at arm’s length. He was harder and tougher than when they’d first met, as if the invisible armor he wore had grown even thicker in the intervening years.

Had he pined for her the way she’d pined for him? Had he shed even a quarter of the tears she had? Or did he loathe her for what she’d been forced to do, the way she loathed herself at times?

Cal Zydler. Road rider. Wolf shifter.

Mate, her dragon cried.

“Cal,” she whispered in spite of herself.

His smoky gray eyes gave nothing away, and neither did his deep, unwavering voice.

“Cynthia,” he murmured in a tone so low, it might have been a whisper on the wind.