Book Review and Excerpt: Miranda’s Mate by Ann Gimpel @anngimpel
I really like these types of stories, stories where both parties want the same thing, but neither has the guts to reach for it. And I felt like this one was done beautifully. There tends to be a thin line between getting that type of storyline right, and royally pissing me off. Ann Gimpel got it right.
As an agent for an international security firm, Miranda has her hands full. Between secretly lusting after her boss, Garen, and making sure the dirty little secret about her double life as a wolf shifter remains hidden, she’s still a virgin at nearly thirty.
Sent to eliminate the head of a human trafficking organization in Amsterdam, she barely escapes with her life. Injured, frightened, and under attack the second her private jet lands in the U.S., she doesn’t know where to turn.
Garen’s been watching Miranda just as surreptitiously as she’s been eying him. Unfortunately, the fact that she works for him is a showstopper. Plus, Garen has a few secrets of his own that have kept him single. He’s frantic once he discovers his oldest friend is besotted with Miranda, too. When she insists on heading up a covert operation, he’s worried sick, but can’t come up with a plausible reason to stop her.
Miranda’s life is on the line. Will Garen risk exposure to save her?
…Garen threw caution to the winds. He clicked off his headset and tossed it into the next seat. His cock pressed mercilessly against the front of his pants; he could barely breathe he wanted Miranda so much. His wolf was nigh onto uncontrollable. It howled and snarled deep inside him. Garen forced it back. The last thing he needed was for fur or claws to sprout and ruin everything.
He could smell Miranda’s lust with his enhanced senses. She was so aroused, she was on the verge of coming. Strands of dark hair curled around her face. Her face was splotchy with excitement. Her blue eyes glowed warmly. Years of repressed desire slashed through him. He moved to the seat next to her and slid a hand between her legs. She moaned and pressed into him.
Possessiveness sounded an exultant note behind his breastbone. She wasn’t going to fight him. She wanted him just as much as he wanted her. He lowered his head and covered her mouth with his. She opened hers and sucked hungrily on his tongue. His cock throbbed. She wasn’t the only one on the edge of coming.
He felt her fingers on the fastenings of his pants, and then her hands closed around his shaft. He wanted to do everything to her. Kiss her, lick her, suckle her incredible breasts, and run his mouth down her body to settle on her clit. All those things would have to wait. What mattered now was getting inside her. He yanked her headset off and reached for her pants, delighted to find they had an elastic waistband.
The logical part of his brain was nearly obliterated with passion, but it reminded him she needed at least one leg free of her pants, which meant one shoe off. Reluctantly, he broke away from their embrace and pried her fingers off his cock.
“What?” Her voice was muzzy with need. “You started this. Come back here, goddammit.”
He laughed. God, but it felt good to laugh and hold Miranda in his arms. “Patience, darling. I just need to get one of your pant legs out of the way. Then you can straddle me.”
Between the two of them, they managed to unlace a boot and jimmy one of her legs out of her pants. He folded the chairs’ armrests out of the way, settled his hands on her hips, and helped her kneel above him. When she lowered herself so the heat of her surrounded him, he gasped. Sensation so intense it set every nerve on fire lanced through him. Her muscles clenched around his cock and held on. Hard nipples pressed against his chest. He thrust upward and his balls tightened.
“Sorry, darling. I’m not going to last long.” He moved a hand between them and rubbed her swollen clit.
Her muscles milked him. Her teeth sank into his shoulder. He could tell from her rhythmic movements and the tension in her nub she was coming. Garen let himself go. He’d imagined coming inside Miranda forever, and now it was finally happening. He growled low in the back of his throat as his semen arced into her.
He moved his hands to the sides of her face and kissed her long and deep. She turned her head, captured the fingers that had just been rubbing her, and licked them clean. It was so erotic, his cock throbbed where it was still buried deep in her pussy.
She wriggled out of his grasp, reached for the napkin wrapped around the beer bottle, and stuffed it between her legs before she pulled her underwear and pants back into place. Her face was a gorgeous, rosy hue. He started to tell her how lovely she was when she said, “Sorry. I’m sorry about that. Didn’t mean to. You’re my boss. I understand what we did was wrong. Don’t worry, I won’t let my, uh, my, well, whatever it was, get out of control again. I’m going into the head to clean up. We should probably have used a condom. I have an IUD, but still—”
“Whoa.” He held up a hand. Garen was having a hard time with the transition from a sexual high to a we-shouldn’t-have-done-this conversation. “I enjoyed making love with you, Miranda. You’re an amazing—”
She shook her head. “No. It was a mistake. It won’t happen again. I promise. You caught me at a weak moment.” She pushed past him and headed for the rear of the aircraft.
Garen shoved his still half-hard cock back into his pants and zipped up. A leaden deadness settled around his heart. She may have had sex with him, but Miranda didn’t care about him. The post-coital conversation he’d thought they’d have was considerably different. He bit down hard on his disappointment. Better if he went back to the cockpit. That way she wouldn’t have to look at him when she came back from the john.
What could they possibly have to say to one another beyond him apologizing for being swept off his feet by her lithe body and firm curves? No way could he tell her he truly cared about her. Not in light of the revulsion he’d seen mirrored in her face as she stammered through her regrets. She was obviously appalled by what she considered a weakness.
Garen picked up his headset and settled it into place before walking into the cockpit. He wasn’t certain just what he’d say to Lars. No way he’d be able to hide the lingering scent of sex. He latched the door and sat heavily. For a time neither of them said anything. Garen almost started to believe he could escape a conversation he’d assumed would be inevitable.
“I do not like to pry, but I could smell sex even through door.” Lars glanced at Garen with a knowing grin on his face. “How was she?”
Garen gritted his teeth. “Hot, passionate, delectable.” He inhaled, the air almost painful in his lungs. “But she doesn’t care about me. Said I caught her at a weak moment. Apologized all over the place and said it would never happen again.”
“Hmph. Well, it would be untrue if I said I were sorry.” Lars flicked the front of his pants. “Imagining the two of you fucking got me going. I will need to take care of myself before I escort the fair fraulein anywhere.” A hesitation. “I do not suppose there is any possibility the three of us could—”
“No.” Something about the vehemence in Garen’s tone earned him a penetrating look from Lars.
“Your airplane, my friend. I will be back.”
“Miranda couldn’t wait to get away from me. She might not be done in the head.”
“If she is not, I will wait. Unless you wish to watch me.”
“In a pig’s eye. Go.” Garen waved both hands at Lars. “It’s a good thing we’re friends. My tolerance for perverts is pretty limited.”
“You know you love me.” Lars blew a kiss and exited the cockpit.
Ann Gimpel is a clinical psychologist, with a Jungian bent. Avocations include mountaineering, skiing, wilderness photography and, of course, writing. A lifelong aficionado of the unusual, she began writing speculative fiction a few years ago. Since then her short fiction has appeared in a number of webzines and anthologies. Several paranormal romance novellas are available in e-format. Three novels, Psyche’s Prophecy, Psyche’s Search, and Psyche’s Promise are small press publications available in e-format and paperback. Look for two more urban fantasy novels coming this summer and fall: Fortune’s Scion and Earth’s Requiem.
A husband, grown children, grandchildren and three wolf hybrids round out her family.
@AnnGimpel (for Twitter)