“Well, well, well, look what the cat dragged in...” my head snapped towards the sound of Jeremy’s voice, my panther going wild in my mind as she spotted her mate. I had to hide the revulsion on my face as he smiled at me, stupidly proud of the little joke he had made.
It was going to be a very long life if I couldn’t so much as stand to look at him, but every time I saw him from this moment on, I knew that all I would be able to see was him standing over me and taking away the life that had barely started. He was a monster through and through and yet my panther wanted him as her own and I had made her a promise - she had stuck to her end of the bargain. The least I could do was keep mine as well.
I decided to cut to the chase - there was no point beating around the bush. Jeremy would see through me straight away. “I’m not here by choice, well not my own choice, anyway. My panther wants you. As much as it pains me to admit, she wants you, she wants her mate.”
“Does she?” He smirked, walking towards me with a sly look in his eyes. Once he was stood in front of me, he ran his finger down my cheek and I gritted my jaw to stop myself from biting the tip of it off. “Sweet Sophia, how it must have hurt you to say such a thing to me. Tell me, what is it you want?”
My baby and Eros.
That’s all I really wanted.
I would give anything to go back a few days when it was just him and I against the world. We had been so keen to escape our days on the run that we hadn’t really stopped to think about where we would be if things went wrong. Although this was largely my fault. I knew that. If I had been honest with him and admitted that I suspected my panther had chosen Jeremy as her mate, things could have turned out so differently. Eros would have found a way to put an end to this. I know it.
“I want you,” my words sounded hollow, even to my own ears.
He smiled and brought his face close to mine. “If I wanted you to be here, I would have taken you when I had the chance. You offered yourself to me at the BloodMoon pack and I refused your little gift. What makes you think I want you here now? What makes you think I have any interest left in you after you allowed another man to take what was mine?”
“I’ll do whatever you want,” I gasped, my panther roaring at me to make this right.
“Prove it,” he whispered.
The evil glare was back in his eyes as he looked deep into mine. He gripped my jaw, his fingers digging into my cheeks to the point where I had to bite down on my lower lip to stop the gasp of pain that threatened to burst free. “Prove. It. Show me you want to be here,” he bit out, enunciating every word.
I tossed my head back until I was glaring up at him, his fingers tightening on my jaw rather than loosening the grip as I had hoped. “I’m here, aren’t I?”
“Do you think that means shit to me? You could be here because Khaos threw you out on your ass, realising you’re no good for his precious son. Prove to me that you’re here for me. Prove to me that this is where you want to be.”
“How... How do you want me to do that?” I licked my lips to moisten them, my nerves making my words sounds dry and hoarse.
“Kiss me. Kiss me like you would kiss him. Kiss me like I’m the only one you want to kiss, and then we’ll go from there.”
I took a deep breath and pulled his face down to mine.
The minute our lips connected, my head exploded in a range of emotions that threatened to bring me to my knees.
My panther screamed her elation, wanting to be nowhere else but in this man’s arms. My wolf came back to life, roaring her anger and heartache that this was the route I had decided to take, begging me to go back to Eros.
I was growing dizzy as each animal roared louder, desperate to drown out the sound of the other. I had never experienced this. Somehow, me and my animals had found a way to live in relative peace. But, bring a man in to the picture, and the tranquillity we had always known was threatening to erupt into a full blown war zone.
I was getting pretty sick of always listening to these animals. They had no idea what it was that I, Sophia, wanted. All I could picture was Eros; all I could taste was his lips against mine. Memories of the first kiss we had ever shared flashed through my mind, making me moan in delight as I relived the moment.
As I deepened the kiss with Jeremy, it was Eros that I was imagining, Eros that I thought of as I sucked his full lower lip into my mouth, biting down gently as he groaned into my mouth. It wasn’t Jeremy’s hands that were sliding down my body; it was Eros’.
I slid my hands into his hair, pressing my body against his, and that’s when the first alarm bells began to ring. The body next to mine wasn’t the hard, ripped body I had loved all these months. The hair between my fingers wasn’t silky smooth to the touch.
I opened my eyes as I pulled back from the kiss, remembering where I was just in time. I pulled the shutters over my face, staring at Jeremy with a blank expression.
Jeremy pushed the hair behind my ears, brushing his fingers through the strands. I allowed myself a small smile as I saw the look of adoration on his face.
Fool that I was. He had trained his features just as well as I had. The moment I thought I had fooled him, he grabbed my hair in rough fistfuls, yanking my head back with a painful tug. “Please tell me you didn’t think that was going to cut it? That was just the tip of the iceberg, Sweet Sophia. You and I are in for a very, very entertaining night if that kiss was anything to go by.”
As he spoke, he walked me backwards until the back of my legs hit the sofa and I fell, sinking down onto the cushions as Jeremy climbed on top of me.
“No!” I gasped, straining to sit up as I pushed at his shoulders.
“Yes…” he hissed back at me, using his legs to pin me down as he sat up to pull off his shirt. I called on my animals, desperate for one of them to provide me with the strength to get rid of him but neither answered me.
My panther was content to be exactly where we were, not caring if I wanted this or not and my wolf was suffering too badly to even be aware of the situation. She missed her mate, and she missed her baby.
Jeremy grabbed the collar of my shirt in both of his hands, tearing it open and pushing away the scraps of material. I tried to fight him, tried to push his hands away. I heaved my body forwards in an attempt to shake his body off me but all he did was laugh as it brought him in further contact with the curves I was trying to keep him away from.
I was too exhausted from my year on the run, my miscarriage, the beating Jeremy had given me earlier, the loss of my animals, and the heartbreak at losing Eros. I was both physically and mentally drained. Each time I gave another attempt at restraint, at fighting Jeremy off, my efforts were weaker than the last. My arms felt like jelly. They didn’t provide a hard barrier, keeping Jeremy’s body off mine. Instead, they flopped against his chest, not having the strength to remain rigid.
“Please...” I whimpered when I knew that my best efforts were getting me nowhere. My panther had done an amazing job of healing my body, but it wasn’t enough. She had been clever with her tactics. She had made all my surface wounds disappear, but inside I still bore the internal bleedings and broken bones. It wouldn’t kill me, she would see to that, but she also wouldn’t heal me completely until the mating was complete.
“Why, Sophia, you said you were here for me, did you not? You said that you wanted me, that you wanted this? Did you expect me not to take you up on your very generous offer?” As he spoke, his eyes were glued to my chest, his hands pushing my tits together, his thumb stroking over my nipples through my bra.
“I’ve changed my mind!” I gasped, recoiling from his touch, sinking further into the sofa cushions.
“Tough. You’re exactly where I want you and no amount of begging or pleading is going to stop me from doing what I want to do, what I’ve dreamed of doing for years. Hold still,” he bit out as I twisted underneath him, bucking my hips wildly and hitting out at him.
He wrestled with me, gathering my wrists in one hand, and backhanding me across the face with the other. I tasted the blood as it ran from my nose and into my mouth and spat at him.
“Do it!” I screamed. “Get it over and done with so I can laugh at your pathetic attempts! I will never surrender to you willingly and I will never enjoy anything that you do to me!”
He laughed, keeping hold of my wrists as he lowered his other hand to remove his belt. “I don’t care if you enjoy it, I will. In fact, I’ll enjoy it more knowing you hate every part of it. That blood on your face has to be the sexiest thing I’ve seen all night - so carry on sugar. There’s plenty more where that came from and after seeing the way your pretty face heals so nicely, I don’t have to worry about being too rough do I?” He ripped my legs apart, using his panther claws to slice a hole in my trousers as he positioned himself between my hips.
Close your eyes, Sophia. I told myself. Close your eyes and think of Eros. It will be over soon, it will be over soon...