There she was, curled up in a tiny ball of golden fluff, sleeping without a care in the world. My hand reached out to touch her but stopped short, hovering over her shiny fur.
She was magnificent. I knew Grace had struggled growing up not knowing her wolf, feeling rejected but just this small look at her told me she was worth the wait.
The power radiated off her, emitting a warning of death and destruction to all those who crossed her.
She whinnied softly in her sleep and I placed my hand under her snout, letting her catch on to my scent to assure her I was still around and watched with amazement as she settled back to sleep immediately.
She was a wolf that would do any Alpha proud. She may be small but she was solid muscle. Just like Grace had become. Why was she so determined to hide her from me? Was she scared of my rejection? Or worse, did her wolf now hate me? Had I ruined our chances of bonding?
Her wolf had only appeared once mine was around, avoiding me completely and that hurt in a way that I hadn't expected.
What have you done to me, Grace? How have you managed to insert yourself so deep into my life that I can't imagine you ever not being around?
I phased back into my wolf and climbed into the bed next to her, careful not to disturb her as she slept on. One day, Grace, one day you will trust me enough to meet your wolf properly and I will go down on my knees and thank the Goddess that you decided to give me the chance.
I woke earlier than Duke, noting with satisfaction that he was still asleep and still in his wolf skin. Although a small pang did go through me that I vaguely recognised as disappointment.
Is this how I wanted him to meet my wolf? To just get it over with? I was so proud of her but doubts were beginning to creep in. Would he be disappointed? I knew that I had been hiding her in an attempt to take him by surprise but I couldn't really hurt him anymore. Could I?
I crept away from the bed, already feeling my muscles cramping from the change in routine. Had I been back at the RiverBed pack I would be in the gym before I had even had breakfast, preferring to start my day with exercise than eating. I very much doubted that Duke had my form of exercise here. I almost grinned at the thought. He would have a fit if he saw what I did, that wasn't going to stop me doing it though!
I settled down into the chair across the room, pulling out my phone to order the necessary equipment that I would need, dipping into the savings I had. If I was going to be here a week, possibly longer, I had to make sure that I had what I needed to maintain my routine. I was a crabby wolf otherwise. Also, I liked the thought of being able to tease Duke when he saw it. I went and ahead and selected the box for express delivery, confirming a time slot for this afternoon.
Just as I pressed to complete order, I heard some grunts coming from the bed, letting me know that Duke had woken.
I bit the inside of my cheek to stop myself from smiling as he came to life, rubbing at his eyes like an adorable child, his hair sticking on end.
"Morning, sleepyhead. Do you always sleep this late?" I teased
"I'm not usually arguing with a bratty she-wolf until early hours" he yawned, his voice full of humour
"Oh no?" I smirked, "you prefer to try and prove your dominance in much more intimate ways, I'm sure"
I laughed and ducked as he threw the pillow at me, the atmosphere fun and carefree for once. "What's the plans for today?" I asked, tossing the pillow back onto the foot of the bed
"I thought it would be the perfect time to introduce you to the pack once more, give you the chance to reacquaint" he murmured absentmindedly, heading towards the en suite.
I followed him like an obedient puppy, my mouth hanging open. Introduce me to the pack? He had to be kidding! We didn't even know if I would be staying here! Plus, I had no interest in being friendly with those bitches that had made my life hell in school, excluding me from everything whilst they laughed and made snide remarks behind my back. Duke honestly had no idea what my life had been like back then
He either didn't care or didn't notice that I was following him as he closed the door to the en suite in my face, nearly smashing it against my nose I was that close behind him.
Well, Grace, I thought to myself, do you dare enter? He's shut you out to avoid a disagreement.
Fuck that! I twisted the door, not at all surprised that it was unlocked and stood with my arms folded, tapping my foot at him as he stepped into the shower, not even attempting to hide his nudity from me.
I had known that he would wake up naked, obviously, wolves couldn't shift in their clothes. I had been prepared for that. What I hadn't been prepared for was the sight of all that golden skin, glistening under the spray of the shower, the water running down his body, making me think all manner of dirty things - mainly my tongue following the stream, licking my way down his body...
"Are you planning on standing there salivating or would you like to join me?" Duke grinned, snapping me out of my delicious fantasy.
I snapped my eyes up to meet his, my cheeks burning as I practically saw his ego making his head swell. I knew that he knew exactly where it was I had been looking and I also knew that if I was to take another peak I would see the effect I had on him as his cock stood to attention, long and thick, proudly erect, leaking slightly from the tip
"Grow up, Duke, not everything is about sex you know"
He began to soap up his body, running his hands over his muscled chest and along his tattooed arms. My mouth watered. "I was just suggesting you get clean, nothing else. Saving water, y'know? I had no idea you had such a dirty mind" he laughed, making my cheeks burn once again
I shook my head, trying to block out the sight he made before me. Goddess, why did he have to be so sexy? Why did he have to tempt me like this?
"I'm good, thanks" I muttered, not daring to look at his face in case that same smug look was there. I'd hate to have to start the day with violence and smack it off. "What did you mean anyway, introduce me to the pack? I don't plan on being introduced to anyone"
"Of course you're going to be introduced. You're their future Luna, provided everything goes well this week, obviously. Plus, I know there are a few wolves here that you went to school with, surely you will want to see them again?"
"Not in a year of Sundays," I said with a nonchalance I didn't really feel.
"Aww, is my Grace nervous?" He grinned, flicking his fingers at me to splash me with water
"Shut up" I grinned back, pleased that he wasn't going to dig his feet in and force the matter.
"I know the perfect solution to this, it'll help a lot"
"What is it?" I said, eyeing him in suspicion. I didn't like that look in his eye.
"Babe, it's obvious. You're tense, you need to relax" before I had a chance to react he reached for me, picking me up under my armpits and hauling me into the shower with him, my clothes instantly sticking to my body as he held me under the showerhead.
"Duke, you asshole!" I shrieked, pushing the water out of my face with a choked laugh
"I'm your asshole" he smiled back at me, making my breath catch in my throat as he rubbed his nose against mine.
"You're playful this morning," I remarked, somewhat amazed after what had happened last night
"I came to a decision," he said as he began to peel the clothes from my body, starting with the t-shirt that he slowly rolled up my stomach, his hungry gaze drinking me in.
"What - what are you doing?" I mumbled, but I didn't stop him
"We're starting fresh today." he said, ignoring my question, "For the rest of the week that I have you, I will never bring up what happened back then and I won't expect you to talk about it unless you want to." He pulled my t-shirt over my head, unhooking my bra straight afterwards, satisfaction in his eyes
"Shh," he hushed, planting a small kiss on my lips. "We're going to have fun together. No more arguing, no more screaming. If this is all we end up having, let's at least remember it in a positive light. Agreed?"
I nodded, my teeth beginning to chatter together with nerves. "Good" he grinned, dropping to his knees to remove my trousers and panties.
"Turn around" he ordered, picking up the sponge as he got back to his feet. "Don't worry - All I'm going to do is wash your body, no funny business. You're full of knots" he remarked as he began to massage my shoulders. I couldn't help the small groan that slipped from my lips
"See" he whispered, his warm breath on my neck sending shivers down my body, "It'll help. You trust me, right?"
What was he asking here? Did I trust him not to touch me any further right now, or did I trust him in general? Either way, I gave a hesitant nod, my first step towards letting my guard down.
"Duke," I whispered, closing my eyes as I spun around so that I could avoid looking at him, "I'm sorry - about what happened last night, I didn't mean it. What I said, none of it was true. I..." he planted a small kiss on my lips, the tiniest of caresses that meant more to me than the wild display of passion we had shown hours ago.
"It's in the past, Grace, a place where we've both spent far too much time, I think. From this moment on, it's a fresh start. I want to meet the person you are today, everything else will come with time. Let's just enjoy living for the moment. Now" he said, lifting my chin slightly, forcing me to open my eyes and look at him, a wicked grin plastered on his face, "turn back around.
How had he done that? I wondered as he linked his fingers with mine, guiding me towards the hall where the majority of the pack was having breakfast.
How had he managed to touch me so thoroughly, so completely, yet still want me desperate for more? No inch of my body had gone unexplored as he washed me, using small circles as he worked his way down, delighting me with how perfect his touch was.
I kept expecting him to push his luck, to try and fondle me in one way or another but he never did, he kept his word, his actions slowly becoming torturous as I felt the first stirrings in my stomach and knew that I was beyond turned on.
By the time he had reached my hips I was gone, lost to the sensations he was making me feel, the way he lifted me high with something so simple. I knew that he would be able to scent my arousal, to know the effect he had on me but he didn't touch me. He seemed to take delight in knowing that the attraction was there, as much as I wanted to deny it I wanted him with a force that shook me.
How did I reach out and take the life that was on offer after everything? I hoped the Goddess knew what she was doing by pairing us together.
We soon took the last turning that would take us to the packhouse and Duke gave my hand a gentle squeeze, reassuring me without words that he was here if I needed him, he wasn't going anywhere.
I took a deep breath and entered the hall with him. My nails were digging into his palm as every wolf turned their head in our direction. If anything could have made me love Duke, it was the way he remained calm, not reacting to the pain I was causing him when I knew that there would be blood under my nails when I removed my hand from his.
He swept me into the room, my feet taking long, easy strides in order to keep up with his, making it seem as though I was as relaxed and as at ease as he was.
Until I saw him.
Standing at the table reserved for the Alpha, he looked murderous, as formidable as ever. I swallowed a nervous gasp, feeling my heart rate accelerate. Duke stopped in front of him, inclining his head respectfully.
"Dad, you remember Grace, don't you?"