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A Mate for Gideon

By:Charlene Hartnady

Chapter 1

Liam’s hands were white-knuckled on the steering wheel. Other than that, he was the picture of calm. He hadn’t said a word to her since leaving the barbecue. Hadn’t so much as looked in her direction.

Jenna kept her hands folded in her lap and tried to keep her eyes on the road ahead. She couldn’t help but to sneak the odd little glance in his direction every now and then, out of the corner of her eye. Maybe she was misreading the signals.

Please let her be misreading the signals. Please.

Sucking in a breath through her nose, she swallowed thickly. Who was she kidding? If Liam was giving off any kind of signals, trouble was just around the corner. She knew that there was nothing she could do to avoid the inevitable. To think that she had tried so hard at the barbecue. She had worked at being nice, but not overly so. Maybe she hadn’t been nice enough? Was that it?

Every so often she would go over to Liam and hold his hand or offer to refresh his drink. She’d even fetched his dinner for him. If she’d been any more attentive than she already was, it would’ve meant getting down on her knees and sucking him off right there in front of everyone. More, she could not have done. Could she have?

As much as she wanted to feel anger, she couldn’t, she was too scared. The emotion rolled around inside of her and turned her stomach to knots. Her armpits were damp and a bead of sweat trickled between her breasts. Her mouth felt so dry that her tongue stuck to the roof of it. It was a feeling she knew well. It lived inside her. Had done so for so long that it had become a part of her. Yup, her and fear were great friends. In fact, it was the only friend she had left.

The car pulled into their drive and the garage door slowly opened. Liam let out a sigh as they drove in, the garage door closed behind them with a clunk. Then there was silence.

Not sure what to do next, Jenna unclipped her seatbelt, opened the door and slipped out of the car. She moved to the rear of the vehicle where she opened the backdoor and retrieved her empty salad dish. It had been her contribution to the barbecue. The dish shook in her hand, threatening to fall, so she clasped it to her chest. Liam was already out of the car and making his way to the door that led to the house.

She was too afraid to look in his direction. Too petrified to talk. If she said the wrong thing it could spark his even meaner side. She’d learned very quickly that there were three sides to him, mean, meaner and the side he showed the rest of the world. That side of him was charming, attentive, attractive. Liam had a lean swimmer’s build and preppy good looks. Even the women at today’s barbecue had gushed when he’d taken his shirt off and delivered one of his killer smiles. It was only her that knew how killer that smile really was.

She swallowed hard.

His gun was in the safe in their bedroom. The knowledge burned inside her and made her gut churn faster. Her mouth felt dry. Her tongue stuck to the roof of her mouth even more.

Liam turned the light on and then stopped dead as they walked into the kitchen. Jenna was so busy staring at her feet that she nearly crashed into his broad back. She lifted her head, having to crane her neck to see the back of his head. All she had was a partial side view. Damn, his jaw was clenched. Oh god, he was a big guy. It was one of the things that had attracted her to him in the first place. His height, his dark hair, he looked a lot like…not going there. Not right now.

Her lip quivered as she tried to force a smile. “Can I get you something to eat?” Stupid thing to ask after they had just got home from a barbecue, but she had no idea what else to say. She put the bowl down on the nearby counter. He would only get angrier if she accidentally broke it. Liam hated it when she was clumsy. Anything could set him off. By the tension that radiated off of him now though, it was too late to try and stop this.

“A drink maybe? I could put the kettle on…” Her voice shook just a little, belying her fear.

“Shut the fuck up.” He spoke softly, still facing away from her. For the longest time he didn’t say anything more.

Jenna had to work not to squirm or to move away. Neither of those things would help her. In fact, they’d only make it worse. What had she done wrong? Maybe she hadn’t done something she should have? Jenna wracked her brain, coming up short.

“I can’t believe you.” He finally said, shaking his head and turning to face her. Anger made his eyes blaze and his fists curl. His brow furrowed and his jaw tightened as his eyes landed on her. “What the fuck did you do?”

Oh shit!

She hated when he asked her questions. Ones she was never able to answer correctly. Whatever she said always made it worse. Not speaking was even worse than saying something wrong though, because then, according to Liam, she had something to hide.

Jenna cleared her throat. “What do you mean? I haven’t done any—”

“Don’t fucking lie to me.” His voice was deep and gravelly. Filled with hate and…disgust.

A whimper was torn from her. She hated that he had this effect on her.

He took a step towards her and she flinched back, her rear hitting the closed door. Liam sucked in a deep breath, his eyes moving away from her for just a second before returning. “I’m only going to ask you one more time…I hate it when you make me hit you. Why do you make me hit you, Jen-doll?” He used his pet name for her, which only made this whole thing so much worse.

If he hated hitting her. Why the hell did he do it? Jenna licked her lips. “You don’t have to hit me, Liam. Let’s please talk about whatever it is that’s made you so upset.”

“I hope you’re not trying to tell me what to do.”

She shook her head. “I would never do that. Please—”

“Besides…” he cut her off. “I’m not the one with something to say, Jenna. There is no need for a goddamn heart to fucking heart. Start talking. Make it quick…I’m about