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An Unending Claim

Elle Christensen

A deadly secret. An unrelenting shifter. An unending claim…

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She clicked her tongue and shook her head. “Off to a bad start.”

“To what?” 

“Wooing me.”

“Wooing…” I chuckled. “I haven’t wooed anyone since the eighteenth century.”

“Well—wait.” She broke off and looked at me with raised eyebrows. “You wooed someone…?”

“Did you think I was a virgin when we slept together, baby?” 

She gave me a dry look that said she didn’t appreciate my sarcasm. “Yeah, Nate. I thought I was deflowering you,” she shot right back, making me snicker. “But back then, didn’t wooing mean courting with the intention of marriage?”

I nodded, but before I could say a word in explanation, she started talking again.

“You said you’d never been interested in anyone enough to consider taking a mate.”

“I did say that.”

“Then why were you ‘wooing’ someone?” she snapped, clearly agitated with the idea.

Thoroughly enjoying her jealousy, I pressed my lips together to hide my smile. My wolf was feeling quite smug over it as well. “Because she was a spy I needed information from and one of the most vain human women I’ve ever met.” I rolled my eyes and tossed the file I’d confiscated onto the couch.

“Hold up, she was a spy, but a little flattery and fake interest in marriage and she spilled her guts?”

“Not exactly.”

Peyton cocked her head to the side and her brow knitted in confusion.

I ran a hand over my beard, then crossed my arms over my chest and met her steady gaze as I considered what to say next. We’d agreed on honesty, but there were aspects of my past that I’d chosen not to talk about. However, unlike Peyton’s secrets, they weren’t relevant to our life, so I experienced no guilt over burying them. I wouldn’t lie, though, and even dancing around the answer would make me a hypocrite. 

“Do you really want to know? My past isn’t pretty, Peyton. I’ve done things that a lot of people would find despicable, unforgivable even. Are you sure you want to know? Because I will tell you, but I won’t let you go. So you need to decide right now if you can handle it. If not, it’s much better that you live in ignorance.”