Status: Finished.

More Than Just Baser Instincts.

Superiority Complex

I didn’t agree with this urban setting, but my new legs carried me without a second thought. It was obvious that Quince was now chasing after me. Even still, there was no place for worry in my mind—he couldn’t catch me.

This inner voice told me so.

My feet were much surer of themselves once we slinked away from the dead grass of Lucille’s backyard and slipped into a small woodland area hidden in the middle of the cul-de-sac. I had come here often as a kid to enjoy the silence and privacy, but I hadn’t understood why I loved it so much. This white beast, however, knew why she loved it so much.

It was home.

“Elaine!” a loud roar erupted, the sound eliciting an involuntary shiver throughout my entire body.

I had been so delighted to be home that I had forgotten about this pest.

“What?” I snapped into the air in front of me, continuing onward after the initial tremors. There was a rock that overlooked the lower grounds of the clearing; I loved to sit there, to be able to see everything around me.

“You can’t do this, not here, not now, Elaine.”

His voice was much too stern. I didn’t like the tone.

Regardless, I lazily approached the rock, drawing out every movement of my body and allowing the gentle swaying to exaggerate. His arousal was a slap in the face, but I just ignored it completely—aside from the well-deserved haughtiness.

“Elaine, I’m speaking to you!”

I struck out at him with my eyes as soon as I stepped onto my rock, and his body froze entirely. My gaze held his firmly as I slowly dropped to the ground, not once removing my eyes from him. He was a threat to my happiness, and I would not take him lightly despite the fact that I was above him.

“No, you were just leaving,” I warned with a low growl, running my eyes over him once.

He did not look like me at all. His body was not white, and his eyes were not silver. He was, in all aspects other than his beautiful olive eyes, just like any other lion. The fact that I desired him was completely unfounded! Sure, he appeared strong enough, but he was not the strongest; he was not the most beautiful; and he was certainly not the best provider out there. His cubs with any other lioness would be average at best. Our cubs would only be the best because of me.

So why did I want him and not another white lion? I could surely find a more suitable male.

“Elaine,” he warned, that authoritative undertone in his growl yet again. Why did he think he could control me like a sheep? “I need you to come back to me, okay? You need to shift back before someone sees you like this; I don’t want to have to clean up this mess.”

“You cannot possibly think you can tell me what to do!”

A slow breath caused his chest to expand even further, dragging my eyes downward to appreciate this body that called to me much more than it should have. His low growl stopped me too soon.

“I’m your mate, Elaine. I only want what is best for you, and you know that.”

“My mate…” I shook my head. “You keep using that word. What does it even mean?”

“Your state is compromised right now, and you’re fragile. I’m not going to—”

“Tell me, now, Quince!”

He cringed, looking away for a moment. When his gaze returned, he looked almost ashamed. He thought he deserved better? Hardly!

“Elaine, please,” he choked, taking one hesitant step toward me; I allowed it. “Don’t make me drop so much on you so soon. If I had known you were clueless about your heritage, I wouldn’t have dared!”

“You wouldn’t have dared to what?”

His eyes hardened, but I could see right through him; he wanted me to hate him so I would be distracted.

“I wouldn’t have mated you.”

I stared blankly at him. “What does that even mean?”

He took three more steps toward me, which I was much less willing to allow. My stomach was in knots, and that brought me slowly to my paws.

“What does it mean? Elaine, we mated. If you had known you are a lion shifter, you would have known how I felt about you the second I saw you at the bar! But instead you tried to just use me for easy sex.” His lip curled as he approached me more quickly than I could back up. “That wasn’t enough for me then, and it sure as hell isn’t going to be enough for me ever!”

“Stop!” I choked, hating the way my own voice wavered just because of him. “Stop it!”

But he just kept advancing on me, his eyes locked firmly with mine as each step propelled him closer and closer. I broke my eyes from his with an aggressive twist of my head, and I decided that running again was the perfect solution.


I cried out as my body crashed into the dirt, the large lion sending us tumbling across the ground and ending the roll with him standing over top of me. He snapped at me, effectively stilling my movement, and then he caught my eyes again.

“You have made my life a living hell since I first met you, Elaine,” he growled, snarling and snapping at me if I moved even an inch. “You spurned me, denied me, and then you had the absolute nerve to refuse me! Every time I thought we were moving forward… For every step forward, you pushed me backwards. Then you asked me to make love to you—until you couldn’t stand me anymore! That will never happen, I promise you…

“No matter the way the reach into my chest and twist my heart, you will always want me just as I will always crawl back, a glutton for more punishment. You have all but killed me, and every day you find a new way to hurt me…” His eyes softened, and he reached out with a gentle finger to brush a tear from my cheek. Only then did I realize we were both human again. “But I don’t regret mating you, not for one second. I will always wish that you knew and reciprocated the motions but… You are the only one I will ever want, and I’ll do whatever it takes to make you happy.”

Then his eyes narrowed again, and his voice became so harsh. “But only because the fates force me to love an inconsiderate, thoughtless, evil harpy of woman! That is the only reason I would ever let you kick me down, do you understand? Do not think it is because you are some damn white lion that I let you walk all over me; it’s just that I have no choice!

I gawked up at him, my mouth gaping even as he kissed at my jaw roughly. My fingers grabbed at his face until he finally looked at me again, but his gaze was anything but adoring.

“You love me?” I whispered, clutching at him so he could not leave me. “You… You love me?”

“Is that all you hear?” he spat, fighting to get free. I nodded fervently. “Then yes, I love you.”

“I love you…”

He stopped moving, and his eyes widened. “What?”

I bit down on my lip. There was no reason for this, for me to feel anything but contempt for this ill-suited specimen. But… There was something more to this life than the primeval side of me that cared only about survival of the fittest. I guess that was what separated me from my father and his sector.

“I love you,” I repeated, releasing him. “I know you wish you were given someone else… And I deserve that. But I’m glad your wish was denied.”

“You… You don’t love me, Elaine. That’s why you wanted to be sick of me, and that’s why you won’t live with me. I’m not what you want.”

I scowled at him, and I reached out to catch his hands. “Stop talking. I…mated…with you, didn’t I?”

“But you didn’t know what you were doing; you thought it was meaningless fun and nothing more.”

“Well… I know now.”

He watched me carefully. “Do you know what you’re saying?”

I kissed him softly. “I want you to make love to me right now, Quince—to do it until I can’t stand the thought of being away from you for even a second, when the thought of another man makes me sick.”