When stray human Matthew wanders into Black Dog shifter pack territory, he’s injured and vulnerable. The last thing Matthew expects is for the pack’s alpha to be the home he’s always been looking for.
Bram can’t believe his nose when the trespasser his enforcers drop at his feet turns out to be something entirely different. Nursing Matthew back to health becomes Bram’s priority, but the pack isn’t thrilled to have a human in their midst.
When the pack gives them an ultimatum—either Matthew joins the pack in truth or leaves—the only question is, if he decides not to stay, will Bram be able to let him go?
Metal Heart is the first novel in the Metal and Magic series, a dystopian urban fantasy romance filled with magic, adventure, and the perils of being human in a supernatural world.
“Hey,” he said, gently gripping my chin and bringing my eyes back to his. “Nothing has to be decided today. You still need to rest and heal. Or if…”—he pulled in a deep breath—“if you know that this is in no way what you want, I’ll take you anywhere you want to go and do what I can to help you make a fresh start. Do you have family waiting for you? Would you rather be on the West Coast where it’s warmer? Whatever you want, Matthew. If I can give it to you, it’s yours.”
I furrowed my eyebrows and gave a tiny shake of my head. “There’s no family waiting for me. They’d been gone a long time before I was taken. What did you mean commit to mate? You said as soon as you smelled me you knew I was your mate, is that not always the case?” I wanted to understand what this felt like for him. He made it sound like only shifters could feel or smell when they’d met their mates, but I’d been feeling something—a yearning—for him almost from the moment we’d met as well.
“Mates aren’t like some fairytale where there’s only one person in the world who’s perfect for you. It’s just like with humans. Why is one human infinitely more attractive to someone than another? Shifters have heightened senses, especially smell. It’s pheromones.” He winked. “And maybe a little magic, but when we’ve met someone who could be our mate, the animal in us knows. When I was a child my mother told me I could be attracted and compatible with many people in my life, but when I found a person who could truly be my mate, my bear would let me know. I’d never truly believed her until you. Committing to making you my mate means that all others, even compatible ones, from here on out will fade into the background. Much like a human vowing to forsake all others when they marry. Only in a more literal sense. No one will appeal to me the way you do. Shifters tend to mate for life.”
Despite the cruelty I’d endured. Despite being tossed aside by the people who were supposed to love me. Despite my own good common sense, I believed him. Which scared me more than anything. My fingers played in the short hairs on the back of his head. “What happens if I decide to stay the two weeks, and then say no to the mating?”
He nodded a little like he understood my hesitation, but his eyes didn’t quite hide their flash of disappointment before his steely resolve returned. “I’ll make good on my promises, Matthew, no matter what you decide. If we’re standing under the full moon and you change your mind, I’ll take you wherever you want to go and help you get settled.”
“Would it hurt you very badly?” I whispered before I’d thought it through.
His green gaze never left mine. His jaw ticked. “I would recover.”
My heart clenched. The part of my brain still trapped in the cramped, dank cell at the lab was ready to tell him I was leaving whether he agreed to help me or not. Of course, the other parts of me were ready for him to bite me over breakfast. So, a compromise. It would be stupid to turn down two weeks of shelter and food. I could heal. I could rest. Bram was adamant I’d be protected, and gods help me, I believed him. “I’ll stay two weeks and give you my decision the night before the full moon. Fair?”
His green eyes shone with tentative hope. “Fair.”Stories have always been Michelle Frost‘s escape. Even as a kid, she can remember writing stories featuring her favorite cartoon characters. Now, her characters are a little more grown up, as are the stories she likes to tell. A self-proclaimed coffee addict and a bit of an introvert, she can most likely be found with her nose in a book.
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