Family Ties - (Book 3 of the Marvelous 3 Saga)

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18 - Baby, It's Cold Outside

“What... on earth... are you doing?” Cole said, walking into the living room.

“What does it look like I’m doing?” Kiara said. She placed an ornament on the Christmas tree as music blared from her laptop. “Seriously, I was wondering how long it was going to take you guys to put up a Christmas tree, but apparently I live with a bunch of grinches.”

I’m not a grinch!” Peter said, handing Kiara another ornament.

“You’re right, Peter. You and I are the only non-grinches in this household,” she said, taking the ornament from him.

“Elijah!” Cole shouted. “Kiara has lost her damn mind!” Elijah ran into the living room and saw Kiara standing next to a large tree with Peter sitting down on the floor beside her.

“If celebrating Christmas is considered losing my mind, then call me a loon!” she said, sticking her tongue out at Cole. He rolled his eyes as Elijah chuckled.

“Where on earth did you get a tree from? Better yet, how did you get it in?” Elijah asked.

“Alexander, obviously,” she said just as Alexander stumbled through the door, carrying a bunch of logs. Elijah looked at him wearily while Cole cocked an amused brow. “Thanks, Alexander! Now, we can use that old dusty fireplace you guys seem to have not used in like... decades. Seriously, what is wrong with you people? Don’t you ever get cold? It’s winter!”

She grabbed one of the logs from Alexander and gave him a peck on the cheek, startling both Cole and Elijah by her public display of affection. Alexander blushed before he caught his brothers’ gaze and immediately lost his smile.

“Alexander... a word in the kitchen?” Elijah said with warning in his voice. With a sigh, Alexander put down the rest of the logs and followed Elijah and Cole into the kitchen, while Kiara continued to decorate the tree with Peter. Elijah leaned back against the kitchen counter with a disappointed look on his face. “So, you’ve decided to completely disregard any discretion,” Elijah said curtly.

“No,” Alexander said quickly. “Well... yes. Not really. It’s not like we’re dating. We’re not doing much.”

“You shouldn’t be doing anything at all, Alexander,” Elijah said. “You’re walking a very dangerous line.”

“I’ve been in control, Elijah. I can touch her, kiss her, all while suppressing my hunger. I’m fine,” Alexander assured him.

“I’d be jealous if she didn’t have you so fucking whipped,” Cole smirked.

“I’m not whipped,” Alexander said sharply.

“Oh, you are SO whipped, brother!” Cole teased. “Just imagine how you’ll be when she actually gives that ass up to you.”

“That’s enough, Cole!” Elijah ordered. “Kiara is a member of our family now and we will not speak of her in such a manner.” Cole rolled his eyes as Elijah set his gaze back on Alexander. “You need to be careful, Alexander,” Elijah warned him. “You’re falling too deep. I don’t want you to get hurt.”

“I’ve already fallen, Elijah...” Alexander sighed admittedly. “I’m at her mercy now...” Elijah exhaled with a frown.

“Well, ain’t this some deja vu shit,” Cole said abruptly. “Won’t catch me falling in love with some wolf-loving witch. I don’t care how sexy her ass is.” Alexander gave Cole a disdainful glare. “It’s always the ass, isn’t it?” Cole continued. “The worship of the ass must run in our family. Probably with that witchy spell shit Melissa did. I know that’s one of Elijah’s weaknesses. He took one look at Marshala’s backside and was like-”

“COLE!” Elijah barked angrily. Cole went into a fit of laughter as Kiara walked into the kitchen, holding Peter’s hand.

“What are you guys talking about?” she asked as she picked Peter up and set him on the kitchen table.

“Nothing,” Alexander said quickly. “Just... trying to decide what to get you for Christmas.”

“Aw. You guys are sweet. You don’t have to get me anything, though. Maybe eat my food for once and I’ll be content enough with that,” she said jokingly. She took out two pairs of reindeer ears from a Christmas box on the table and put one on her head and the other on Peter’s. “How cute are these?! I bought them at one of the Christmas shops in the main square,” she said, making a silly face.

Alexander smiled at her lovingly as Elijah smirked and Cole rolled his eyes. “You look ridiculous,” Cole mocked.

“Bah humbug to you too, Ebeneezer Scrooge,” she said. She took the reindeer ears off of her head and put it on Cole’s head.

“Kiara!” Cole snapped, trying to move her hands.

“There. You look more fun for once and less... you,” she teased. He immediately ripped them off of his head.

“You sure are into the Christmas spirit,” Elijah smiled.

“I love Christmas! Especially in New England cause of all the snow. And... this Christmas is really special to me...” she trailed off as she looked at Alexander. “Because I get to spend it with an actual family...”

“Kiara...” Elijah smiled admirably.

“GAG!” Cole said, throwing one of the stockings on the table at Kiara.

“Hey!” she said. “Don’t throw my stockings! Peter and I worked really hard on those.”

Cole picked one of them up and read Elijah’s name on it. “You... wrote our names on them?” Cole said, confused.

“Well, duh. For stocking stuffers! I swear you guys act like you hate Christmas,” she said rolling her eyes.

“It’s not that,” Alexander said softly. “It’s just... we haven’t really celebrated... in a while...”

Kiara looked at Alexander to see a dejected look on his face before she glanced at Cole and Elijah to see similar expressions. Even Peter looked somewhat forlorn. “Well, that changes this year cause I’m gonna annoy the hell out of all of you with my Christmas cheer. I’m going out with Rhea to the Christmas shops in the main square. And then we’re going to see them light the tree. You guys should come!”

“Will there be hot girls?” Cole asked.

“Uh... there will be cute children... and me,” she said.

“Pass,” Cole said dismissively.

“Thank you for the invitation, Kiara. We will all make sure to stop by,” Elijah smiled as Cole audibly groaned.

Kiara’s face beamed before she looked at Alexander. He gave her a small lingering smile, causing her to blush. She heard Rhea honk outside and grabbed her things. “See you guys later!”

~*~

“He said he loves you?!”

“He said he was in love with me... He’s such a romantic, I swear...” Kiara sighed lovingly as she stirred her hot cocoa with her spoon. She sat with Rhea in the middle of Marshala’s living room while Marshala moved things around in the kitchen. “And then the other time we kissed he said something in a different language. I couldn’t understand, but... it sounded so hot.”

“He could have cussed you out for all you know, and you over here swooning over words you don’t understand...” Rhea muttered.

Kiara rolled her eyes. “And here’s our second Ebeneezer Scrooge for the day. Would you like some extra salt with your fries, Madame Shade?”

Rhea smirked at her and sighed. “Sorry...”

“You are forgiven,” Kiara smiled. “Marshala! Are you done with those cookies yet?”

“Just about,” Marshala said. She walked into the living room with a tray of warm chocolate chip cookies.

“Mmm,” Kiara said, reaching for a cookie. She bit into it’s soft, chewy goodness and pondered. “Alexander’s not the only one I had a special moment with though,” she continued. “Leo… my wolfman…”

Rhea looked at Kiara with wide eyes. “Really?”

Kiara nodded. “I’ve always seen Leo as this really sweet and goofy guy. When he confessed his love for me, it really took me by surprise. But when I really started to think back on the time we spent together as kids, and how he treated me even before I knew how he felt… It kind of made sense. He’s always been so protective of me. He’s such a lovable guy.” Her cheeks suddenly got hot, thinking back to their last encounter. “But jeez, he really knows how to make a girl get flustered.”

Rhea tried to hide her grin. “Those wolves, I tell ya.”

“Actually, no, Rhea. You didn’t tell me that Leo, your best friend, was a freaking wolf! Like you kind of forgot to mention that little detail!” Kiara said.

Rhea looked at her sheepishly. “It wasn’t my secret to tell...”

“I get it... We’re all just one big weird supernatural happy family,” Kiara snickered.

“Emphasis on happy,” Marshala smiled as she bit into a cookie.

“Do you like Leo?” Rhea asked.

“Of course, I like Leo,” Kiara said with a stuffed mouth.

“I meant... do you love him...” Rhea said, eyeing her.

Kiara looked between her and Marshala and swallowed the cookie down. “I do love Leo. As far as being in love with him... I don’t know... I’ve never been in love with anyone before. Between him and Alexander both confessing how they feel about me, it’s kind of hard to take it all in. It’s overwhelming. I’m a witch. Leo’s a wolf. What next? Is Alexander a zombie or something?! I just... don’t want to make any rash decisions. I want to enjoy learning more about both of them right now until I can sort my feelings out,” Kiara said.

“That sounds like a healthy decision-making process,” Marshala said, stuffing a cookie in her mouth.

“Ugh. You and Marshala are exactly the same,” Rhea groaned. Marshala looked at her sharply as Kiara looked at her confused.

“The same how?” Kiara asked.

Rhea gulped, catching Marshala’s irritated glare. “The same... in that you’re both super beautiful... super powerful witches,” Rhea smiled nervously.

Kiara snickered. “Weirdo...”

They heard knocking on the door and Marshala got up to answer it. “Hey, Leo!” Marshala said, stepping aside to let Leo in. “What brings you here?”

Leo looked at Marshala nervously before he glanced at Kiara who was already blushing. “Hey, Marshala... I uh... came over to see Kiara...”

Kiara quickly stood up, nearly knocking over Rhea’s mug. “Girl!” Rhea said, trying to save her drink.

“Hi, Leo,” Kiara smiled brightly.

“Hey, Angel.” Leo rubbed the back of his neck as he tried to find his words before speaking. “I um... was wondering if maybe... you would mind... going out... with... me..?”

Kiara’s eyes enlarged. “Like... on a date?”

“Yes! I mean no... Only if you want it to be. It doesn’t have to be. I... I wanted to take you out to lunch and um... I planned something for the afternoon,” he stammered. Marshala tried to hide her chuckle as Leo stumbled over his words.

“I’d love to, Leo,” Kiara smiled. She was curious as to why he seemed so shy and nervous all of a sudden when his face was buried between her legs, eating her out like a starved dog only weeks ago.

“Great!” he said excitedly as Kiara grabbed her coat.

“Wait!” Rhea said before they could leave. “Make sure to meet us at the main square at 6. We’re supposed to go see the tree, remember?!”

“Yea, yea, we’ll be there, RiRi,” Leo said. He grabbed Kiara’s hand and whisked her out of the house.

Rhea looked at Marshala with a huge smile on her face when the door closed. “Ah! They’re so freaking cute! I want lil baby nieces and nephews!” Rhea shrieked, kicking her legs.

“Girl, you betta calm yourself down,” Marshala smirked.

~*~

Kiara sucked on a soda straw as she watched Leo pay the man at the hot dog stand. “I love hot dogs!” she said as Leo approached her.

“Oh... shoot... I guess I should have gotten one for you then, huh?”

“Leo!”

“I’m just kidding, Angel,” he smirked as he took her hand. They walked up the steps of the stadium and perched themselves in two seats.

“You just had to pick the coldest game for a date,” she teased as she looked down at the ice rink below them. She watched the hockey players practice taking shots before the game started.

“Come here, babe. I’ll keep you warm,” Leo said, wrapping his arm around her shoulder. She leaned against him, resting on his chest. She could feel his heat radiating through his clothes.

“So, what possessed you to bring me to the most white guy sport ever,” she joked as she took a bite of her hot dog.

Leo chuckled before he quickly exhaled. “Well... I wanted to try to take things a bit slower. You and I haven’t had much time together lately, and... I want us to get to know each other a little better. A lot has changed since we were kids... I’m not the same boy you knew back in grade school.”

“Yea, you became a wolf,” she snickered.

He smiled. “Yea that too... I feel like I came on a little strong last time.”

“Just a bit...” she teased. “But I get it. You were on a high from your transformation.”

“And from you,” Leo smirked down at her. Kiara felt her cheeks flush and shyly bit her bottom lip. “Did you at least... like it?” he asked, almost afraid of the answer.

“At least?” she snickered. “Yea, Leo, of course. It was intense, but... I loved it.”

He smiled to himself as he held her closer. “I really enjoyed eating you out, Angel...” he said heatedly. “You taste so damn good...”

“Leo...” she groaned. “Please don’t get me excited in public...”

“We can always leave!” he said excitedly.

She chuckled amused. “No, come on. We’re supposed to be... bonding or whatever.”

“We can still bond with my head between your thighs and my tongue in your-”

“Leo!” she said, poking him as he chuckled.

“Sorry, Angel,” he smirked. “I’ll try to behave.”

Kiara shook her head with a grin as she watched the players hit the puck. “So, why hockey?”

Leo ran his fingers through his dark blonde hair and tried to refocus. “My pops used to take Nick and I to hockey games all the time when we were younger and he was still... alive...”

“Oh... I’m really sorry about your parents, Leo... I wish I could have been there to comfort you.”

“It’s okay, Angel...”

“Do you wanna talk about it?”

“Not really...” he frowned. Kiara silenced herself as she nestled further into his chest. “My mom was a lot like you,” he said, breaking the silence. “Kind. Caring. Funny. Selfless...”

“I wish I could have met her,” Kiara said.

“Me too. She would have liked you...” They continued watching the game as Leo explained the rules to her. Kiara started to get into it once she finally understood what was going on.

“TOUCHDOWN!” she screamed. She shot up from her seat when the home team scored, garnering dirty looks from fans.

“Wrong sport, babe,” Leo snickered. “But I appreciate the enthusiasm.”

“Oops,” she said embarrassed as she dropped back down into her seat. “What do you say when you score in hockey then?”

“Goal.”

“GOOOAAALLL!” she screamed as he laughed.

~

After the game, Kiara and Leo walked out of the stadium hand-in-hand. “I’m f-freezing! That g-game was cold. Can we go somewhere to warm up?” she said with chattering teeth.

Leo checked his watch. “We have some time before we have to meet up with the others. We can go back to my place and play video games for a bit.”

“Pause. I only play Lego video games and Mario Kart.”

“Well, I have Mario Kart”

“What are we waiting for?!” she said excitedly.

~

When Leo and Kiara got back to his vacant house, they immediately headed to his room for a quick game. “How do you keep passing me?!” she squealed.

“You gotta keep up, babe,” Leo teased.

“Oh my gosh! Leo!” She whined as he blasted her kart and got first place. “Your cheating ass!”

“How did I cheat?!”

“You probably have some super wolf video game power.”

“Angel, that’s not a thing,” he laughed. “Besides, you’re the one with magic.”

“Oh shoot, you’re right... I wonder...” she said, looking at her hand.

“Babe, all the magic in the world could not help you beat me,” Leo smirked. Kiara’s mouth dropped in shock before she tackled him. He fell backward on the floor, laughing as she pinned him down. He held her hands to keep her from choking his neck. He looked into her eyes for a split second before smothering her with his lips.

“Leo!” she squealed into his mouth. His hands roamed down her back and squeezed into her pants as he grabbed possession of her bare ass.

“I’m sorry, baby. You crawled on top of me. And your body is like a remote for me. You literally turn me on,” he grinned.

Kiara threw her head back in laughter. “You are such a cornball,” she snickered.

Leo grinned. “I can’t help that I want you so badly...” he said, biting his lip as he looked her up and down.

Kiara swallowed hard from his heated gaze. “Okay, Leo, hold on,” she said, standing up. “How do you get turned on so quickly?”

He stood to his feet and looked at her almost embarrassed. “Angel... I never stopped being turned on. Anytime you’re around me, I immediately get hard and I can’t stop thinking about fucking you. Ripping off your clothes. Taking you from behind. Making you ride my face. Sucking your-”

“Okay, I get it,” she said flustered. “Is this like... a wolf thing?”

“Well yea, kinda. My body responds to your heat, your scent.”

“Are you saying I smell?!” she said, offended.

“No, Angel,” he chuckled with a shake of his head. “It means the more excited you get, the more turned on I get...” He enclosed on her, causing her to stumble backward on the bed. Crawling on top of her, he brought his lips to her ear. “And when you get wet...” he said, cupping her sex over her jeans. “I get so hungry, baby...”

He unbuttoned her jeans before slipping his hand underneath her sweater. He caressed her stomach as his lips latched onto her neck. Kiara arched her back as Leo pulled her sweater up over her head and tossed it to the side. His fingers toyed with the clasp of her bra before unlatching it and ripping it off of her body.

He finally removed his lips to pull back and stare down at her. Her cheeks were flushed and her eyes big as she stared up at him full of anxiety and desire. Her dark brown mounds sat perfectly on her chest, with Hershey kiss nipples luring him in for a taste. “Goddamn, Angel... You’re so breathtakingly beautiful...”

Her face broke into a warm smile as he descended upon her again. He took her pert nipple between his lips and sucked hard. She grasped his hair at the back of his head, moaning, as his hands wrapped around her waist, eagerly feeling her skin. “You see how your body responds to me, Angel...” He kneaded her breast within his palm while grinding his erection between her legs. “You want me just as badly as I want you, don’t you, baby...”

Leo moved quickly, removing his sweater. Kiara had already seen him shirtless but she couldn’t help but gawk at his toned, tanned, muscular chest. She ran her fingers down his firm pecs, over his rigid abs, tracing the delicious V down to his pelvis. Her eyes instinctively locked onto his pants when she heard Leo groan with hunger. “You want it, Angel…?” he asked heatedly. “Cause I really wanna give it to you, baby.”

She looked up at him with her words caught in her throat. Leo reached for her jeans and quickly tugged them down, taking her panties with them. He loudly groaned as her damp panties peeled from the slickness, sticking them to her wet sex.

“Oh god, Angel... You’re so fucking wet, baby...” His pulse quickened with excitement as he pushed her legs up over his shoulders, exposing the bottom half of her backside and her glistening glory. She hitched her breath when his tongue touched her. It was soft and fleeting for just a second before he attacked like a ravenous animal. Kiara moaned breathlessly, her toes curling as Leo grasped her backside, pushing her further onto his face.

“Leo…!” Her vision blurred as she heard herself saying things in an unknown language that Leo was actually responding to.

“Then come, baby,” she heard him say in response to whatever she had said. “Come for me, Angel.”

“ВОЗЬМИТЕ МЕНЯ, Leo,” she gasped in desperation. “Please!”

Leo looked up at her in surprise. “Take you? Now? Are you sure, Angel?”

“Yes!” she blurted loudly followed by several other words in the unknown language. Leo bit down hard on his bottom lip as his hunger invaded him again. Her words further excited him. His tongue went back to working her over and bringing her the release she craved.

Kiara couldn’t help how loudly she moaned as she felt herself coming. Leo eagerly licked her up, flicking his tongue between both holes. She felt his nose rubbing against her sore clit and let out a slight cry when she felt a sharp nibble just underneath her right cheek. “You’re mine now, Angel...” he said as he softly licked away the sharp pain. “All mine...”

Kiara moaned out her satisfaction as she helplessly panted. Her head was spinning and her thighs were throbbing. “Are you okay, baby?” she heard him ask from between her legs. She nodded with a low moan as her fingers sifted into his locks. She swore Leo was moving at inhuman speed with how quickly he got up and removed his pants. “I’m going to take you fully now, Angel.” It was more of a statement than a question. Her eyes grew big as they lingered on his massiveness.

“Damn, Leo...” she said nervously. She instinctively eased backward, but he crawled over her and pulled her hips back down to him. “Leo, wait... do you have a condom?” she asked. His fingers slipped between her lips, completely disarming her as she panted in want.

“I don’t need one, Angel,” he said, sliding into her. “You’re already mine.” He swallowed her words with a fierce kiss. He grabbed her buttocks, driving into her as she squealed underneath him. Kiara felt her whole body shake with pleasure as she stretched around his thick girth. She could hear a mix of growls and groans escaping Leo’s lips as he buried his face into her neck.

Leo thought he had died and gone to heaven. Kiara felt so tight and warm wrapped around his pulsating member. His eyes flickered an amber as he fought to keep his climax down. It took everything in him not to come immediately. He had been wanting this for so long. He didn’t want it to be over so quickly.

“Oh god! Leo!” she screamed out as he started thrusting deep inside her. Each thrust stretched her beyond her limit.

“Angel, baby...” he groaned as he gripped her hips for more control. “You feel so fucking good. You’re perfect, baby. You were made for me...”

Kiara grasped desperately at his back, raking her nails down his skin and drawing blood. “Сильнее, Leo!” she screamed out, not even realizing what she was saying.

“Harder? Really, Angel? Okay, baby, if you think you can take it...” he said, intensifying his stroke.

“What? That’s not- OH GOD!” she screamed as he started piledriving into her. Making love to Leo was probably one of the most intense moments of Kiara’s life. His body meshed so perfectly with hers, his movements providing the perfect mixture of pleasure and pain. She bit down hard on his shoulder as she clenched around his width. “Leo! Oh god, Leo!” she panted breathlessly.

“Come with me, baby,” he groaned. He wrapped his fingers in her hair and held her steady for more control. “Come with your man...” Kiara screamed into Leo’s shoulder as he groaned against her neck, both of them coming together in a heat of passion. Kiara saw stars before she felt Leo’s lips crash against hers. His body slowed as he eased her down from her high.

She breathed heavily as she waited for her head to stop spinning. After Leo rolled over next to her, she heard him moving around in his room before he grabbed a towel to wipe his semen and her juices from her body. He lay down on the bed next to her and pulled her into his arms. “Shit, Angel... you really are perfect for me...”

Kiara digested his words, lying in silence... before she got angry. “LEO!” she said, slapping him in the chest. She quickly got up from the bed and searched anxiously for her clothes. “I can’t believe you!”

“Angel, what’s wrong?” he said, getting up as well.

“‘What’s wrong’?! You didn’t wear a freaking condom, Leo! That’s what’s wrong!” she said angrily, pulling on her clothes. “I’m not on birth control, Leo! Ugh! You- BAD DOG! BAD DOG, LEO! VERY BAD DOG!”

“Kiara!” he said angrily. He grabbed her arms to keep her from moving. “I’m not a fucking pet! Don’t say that shit to me!”

She glared up at him angrily as he held her pressed against his chest. “Act like a dog, get spoken to like one!” she snarked.

She could hear him growl slightly before his eyes flickered. He abruptly wrapped his hand around the back of her neck, kissing her ferociously. She quickly pushed him back. “What are you doing?! I’m MAD at you, Leo! That doesn’t mean kiss me!”

“Sorry, Angel, you’re just so fucking hot when you’re heated like this...” he grinned.

“Ugh!” she groaned, moving out of his grasp.

Leo frowned seeing how upset she was. “Ang-”

“You came in me, Leo! That’s not good! I mean it felt good... shit it felt really good... but that’s not the point!”

“Angel, I told you. You’re already mine,” he said. He grabbed her hand between his and kissed the back of it tenderly. “It’s okay if you get pregnant cause I’d take care of you, baby. You’d look so beautiful bearing my child. I’d keep you happy and we’ll have a beautiful family when I make you my wife.”

“OH MY GOD, LEO!” she said, throwing her hands up in the air. She furiously put on her clothes as he looked at her worriedly. “We’re not even committed to each other! I’m not ready for kids or marriage or any of that! Especially with all those freaky-looking creatures running around and me trying to learn how to control my damn powers. I’m barely through my MD program. I know you’re a wolf, but if whatever we have is going to work, then I need you to respect my boundaries.”

Leo’s face fell with confusion and hurt. “I didn’t mean to disrespect you, Angel… It’s just in my nature to be this way. It’s what my kind does.”

Kiara sighed. “I know, Leo. I get it. I care about you and I like you a lot. But I’m not ready for a committed relationship. And I’m nowhere near ready to give you a litter of children. Like there are so many other things we need to do and discuss before we even think about that. And we really need to start carrying around condoms if you’re gonna keep spontaneously blowing my back out like this. You need to buy me a Plan B pill.”

Leo put on his clothes in frustration. “You don’t need it, babe. I told you, I’ll take care of you.”

“Leo,” she said, pointing at his chest threateningly. “If you don’t get me a Plan B pill right now, I will never let you anywhere near my body ever again!”

He gawked at her incredulously. “You know I can’t be apart from you, Angel. I’d just end up hunting you down.”

“Try it, wolfman! I’ll just... blast you with my... fire... hands... thing...! Crap, I’m bad at comebacks...”

Leo looked at her strangely before he burst into laughter. “Okay, Angel. Fine. I’ll get you a Plan B pill.” She sighed with a mixture of frustration and relief. “At least until we decide to have kids,” he added.

“Oh Lord, Jesus, fix it,” she said exasperated as he dragged her out of his room.

~*~

After stopping by the pharmacy to pick up a Plan B pill, Leo bought Kiara water and snacks to help make her body more receptive to the contraceptive. They soon met up with Rhea, Levi, Marshala, and Nick outside a small coffee shop in the main city square where all the Christmas shops had been set up. Holiday music blared from the town speakers to the cheery people below.

“You made it!” Rhea exclaimed. “And how was your... date?” she winked.

“Well... it started out great,” Kiara said, glancing up at Leo who rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly.

“Kiara, are you using a new perfume or something?” Levi asked, sensing the change in her scent.

Kiara looked at him confused. “...No?”

Levi and Nick immediately looked at Leo. “You marked her?” Nick asked.

“Yes, I marked her,” Leo said annoyed. “You knew I would.”

“Leo...” Nick groaned, covering his face.

“Atta boy!” Levi grinned.

“Mark what? I’m confused,” Kiara said.

Marshala sighed and looked at Kiara. “Kiara, when a wolf marks his mate, he’s claiming that person as his own. Leo basically claimed you as his.”

“No surprise there. He’s been saying that for a while now,” Kiara rolled her eyes with a grin. “And I try to remind him that this is the 21st century and slavery has been outlawed for 150 years now. Not to mention the sex revolution and the women’s rights movement giving us all our individual liberation.”

Rhea burst into laughter as Nick shook his head. “That’s not... quite it...” Marshala chuckled.

“Angel,” Leo said, grabbing her shoulders and turning her around to face him. “I marked you so that no other wolf would claim you for himself. So that they know that you’re mine and mine alone. I marked you because I love you and I want you and only you.”

Kiara looked at him startled. “You mean you left an actual mark on me?”

“Yes,” he said, a bit hesitant of her reaction.

She bit her lip surprised. “Wow, Leo… wait, is that what we were discussing in that weird language while we were-”

“Let’s not get too personal, shall we?” Marshala interrupted.

“Russian is not weird,” Levi sucked his teeth in his offense.

“I mean… that’s debatable,” Rhea teased.

“You did ask me to claim you in our language,” Leo said. “But I didn’t realize you weren’t aware of what you were saying while I was-”

“LEO!” everyone blurted.

Kiara chuckled amused. “Well, you know how I feel about you, Leo. And you’re the only wolf I would want to be with... I care about you,” she said, looking into his bright blue eyes. Leo smiled at her warmly as a wave of relief washed over him.

“Kiara, why don’t we go get some hot cocoa,” Marshala said, hinting to Rhea as well.

“Sure,” Kiara said. She followed Marshala and Rhea into the coffee shop.

Nick waited for the three of them to leave before he turned to Leo. “So you marked her... and then you slept with her...” Nick said frustrated.

“Of course, I did!” Leo said as if it should have been obvious. “She’s my mate, Nick. The love of my life. And she not only knows what I am but she accepts it. Accepts me. There’s nothing keeping us from being together now.”

Nick ran his fingers through his hair. “Just remember that a mark only keeps wolves at bay... not vampires...” Leo’s face tensed at the implication as he immediately thought of Alexander.

“Hot cocoa!” Kiara sang as they walked back out of the cafe. “Leo, wanna taste?”

He smiled lovingly and wrapped an arm around her waist as he pulled her flushed against his body. “Yes, but not of the hot chocolate,” he said before kissing her passionately.

“Boo! Get a room!” Levi teased as Rhea shoved him.

“We still have an hour until the lighting of the tree,” Rhea said. “We should do something fun.”

“Nothing says fun like a good ol’ snowball fight,” Kiara grinned as she finished her cocoa.

“What are we? Children?” Nick scoffed.

“Come on, Nick. It’ll be fun!” Kiara said. “Remember when we used to have snowball fights during recess, Leo?”

Leo smiled fondly. “We had a blast.”

“We should do teams!” Rhea said.

“How about... wolves vs. witches,” Levi grinned.

“Now, how is that fair? You guys are like twice our size! And don’t you have like super speed and super strength? Get outta here, bro,” Kiara scoffed.

“You’re on!” Marshala grinned.

“Marshala!” Kiara exclaimed.

“We’re witches, Kiara,” Marshala said proudly. “Witches trump wolves any day.”

“Those are fightin’ words, babe,” Nick grinned. “Don’t make me have to show you up.”

“Oh, yea? Put your money where your mouth is, Volkov,” Marshala teased. She moved out of his grasp and grabbed both Kiara and Rhea’s hands and walked backward.

“Wolves vs. witches. No rules!” Rhea said excitedly.

“Are we really doing this?” Leo asked.

“Hell yeah,” Levi said, tossing his cup in the garbage.

“Let the best man win,” Nick grinned.

“Don’t worry, she will,” Marshala taunted before she ran with Rhea and Kiara in the other direction.

~

Kiara crouched down behind a snowbank with Marshala and Rhea. The women were thinking up a strategy while the music blared in the main square.

“Oh! I love this song!” Kiara said, moving to the beat.

“Woman! Focus! Our reputation is at stake here,” Rhea snapped as Marshala laughed.

“So, just how exactly are we supposed to defeat three wolves with brute strength and speed?” Kiara asked.

“With magic,” Marshala smirked as she moved her fingers. Kiara’s eyes widened as several perfect balls of snow lifted from the snowy ground and hurled forward in the direction of the guys. However, instead of hitting their target, they hit a random bystander.

“Hey!” the stranger said.

“Whoops!” Marshala laughed as she ducked down behind the bank to hide.

“How do I do that?!” Kiara asked excitedly.

“Just focus on the snow and the motion of forming it into a ball,” Rhea said. She demonstrated by moving her hand in a rotation as a pack of snow rose from the ground and compacted itself into a ball. “You try it.”

Kiara squinted hard, making the same rotational movement with her hand. A mush of snow slowly rose from the ground, compacting into an awkwardly shaped ball. “I did it!” Kiara squealed.

“Great! Now aim and release,” Marshala instructed.

Kiara looked in the direction of Leo and hurled it, reaching only a small distance. She frowned as Marshala patted her on the shoulder. “You’ll get better with practice,” Marshala assured her.

In seconds, snowballs were flying in the air and hurling rapidly at the guys. “They think they’re cute,” Nick smirked as he watched snowballs flying over his head.

“I think it’s time we stop pussyfooting and make this fight a bit more physical,” Levi said suggestively. They shared a knowing look when they heard Rhea yelling.

“Did you guys give up already?” Rhea taunted. “So much for the big bad wolf, Levi!”

Nick and Leo looked at Levi who was shaking his head in embarrassment. “Don’t tell me she calls you that in the bedroom...” Nick said.

“Okay... I won’t...” Levi murmured as Leo burst into laughter.

Kiara started running, sending snowballs flying when she felt herself get tackled to the ground. They rolled around in the snow until they came to a full stop. She looked up to see Leo laying on top of her with a huge grin on his face. He immediately started tickling her as she burst into laughter. “Leo! Stop!” she screamed, laughing as tears formed in her eyes.

“Surrender and maybe I’ll be merciful!” he taunted.

“Never!” she said, stuffing snow in his face. She quickly crawled out from underneath him and tried to crawl away when he grabbed her ankle and pulled her back down. “Ah!” she screeched. Leo turned her onto her back and conquered her lips. She moaned into his mouth as she felt his hands grip her hips and his tongue wrap around her own.

“Hey! Keep it PG, people! There are children out here,” Marshala scolded as she threw a snowball at Nick.

“Really, Shal?!” Nick said as he ran after her.

The game went on for a while before they decided to call a truce. They started playing a random game that Rhea made up on the spot. Marshala sighed softly, leaning back against Nick’s chest as he tightened his arms around her. His intense heat kept her warm. She knew it was risky being out in public with him like this... but it was Christmas time, and for once in a long time, everything felt perfect.

“This is nice...” she said. They watched Leo, Kiara, Rhea, and Levi playing around in the snow like children.

“It’s peaceful,” Nick agreed as he kissed her neck. “It finally feels like-”

“Family...” Marshala finished with a smile.

“Oh my god! You are such a cheater!” Rhea screeched.

“Someone’s a sore loser,” Leo said. “Nick! You come make the call!”

Nick groaned as Marshala chuckled. “Go settle their feud before they start their own war,” she teased.

“I’ll be back,” Nick said, giving her a quick kiss. He left her alone, removing his warmth along with him. Marshala smiled watching them before leaving to go buy a cup of tea.

~*~

“Everything smells too sweet,” Peter whined as he ran in front of Elijah, Cole, and Alexander. “I’m hungry...”

“Peter, you just ate,” Alexander said.

Peter looked around at all the people and sighed. “There’s so much food...”

“Peter!” Elijah said with warning. “What did we say about referring to mortals as food?”

Peter rolled his eyes. “Mortals are friends... not food...”

“Correct,” Elijah said.

“Did he seriously use the line from Finding Nemo...” Cole muttered.

“It was the only way to make it stick. You know how much Peter loves that movie,” Alexander whispered back as Cole shook his head.

“Then why did we come out here again if not to hunt and eat?” Peter complained.

“Good question, Peter. I’ve been wondering the same thing,” Cole said mockingly as he gave Elijah an annoyed look.

“We came out here to have... fun? And... enjoy the Christmas... spirit?” Alexander said almost in a question.

“You don’t even sound like you believe your own words,” Cole mocked.

“I tried...” Alexander sighed.

“You both need to try harder. Why don’t we take Peter to see some of the Christmas shops,” Elijah said.

“For what?” Cole scoffed.

“Cole...” Elijah said with warning. Cole rolled his eyes as he and Alexander grabbed Peter’s hand.

“Come on, Peter. Let’s go pick out a gift for Kiara,” Alexander said. A small smile came to Elijah’s face as he watched Alexander and Cole walk away with Peter swinging happily between them. It was rare that the four of them felt like a family. Kiara seemed to bring that out of them without even using her magic.

He strolled along the snowy path, listening to the children laugh as the smell of pine cones and sweet cinnamon filled the air. He caught the whiff of a familiar scent as his eyes landed on the affection of his heart. Glancing to the side, Elijah saw Nick talking with the other two wolves, the younger witch, and Kiara. He looked back at Marshala who was at a small cafe buying a cup of tea.

“That’ll be 4.99,” the barista said. Marshala pulled out her wallet to pay.

“Keep the change,” she heard an English-accented voice say. She looked up to see Elijah holding out a 10 dollar bill to the barista.

“Thank you, sir,” the barista said, grabbing the bill and handing Marshala the tea. Marshala grabbed it and hesitated before she turned to Elijah. He looked at her tenderly as he stuffed his hands into his pockets.

“Hello, mon coeur.”

“Elijah...hi...”

His eyes slowly raked over her body, lingering on her lips before he locked eyes with her again. “You look... stunning.”

She gave him a sarcastic smirk. “I’m wearing a huge winter coat.”

“That’s alright. I know what’s underneath...” he said smoothly.

Marshala felt a shiver run through her body as his blue eyes probed her. “What brings you here?” she asked nervously, sipping her tea.

“Kiara invited us to come see the tree.”

“Really? I didn’t take this to be your sort of thing,” she said with a raised brow.

Elijah looked at her amused. “You of all people should know I have a deep appreciation for all things beautiful, fun, and... awe-inspiring.”

Marshala snickered as she shook her head. “Elijah, stop flirting with me.”

“Speaking the truth is flirting now?” he asked. “I must truly be out of touch.”

Marshala chuckled. “I just know those lines you use when you’re trying to get someone into your bed.”

Elijah smiled as he looked at her fondly. “Mon coeur... if I were trying to get you into my bed, you would already be in it...” Marshala swallowed her tea, stifling her emotions. She turned away from him, looking to see where Nick was. “Do I make you so nervous that you must automatically seek him when I am near?” Elijah said in her ear from behind.

Marshala froze, feeling the wind from his breath on the nape of her neck. His lips lightly grazed her as she shivered from his touch. “I miss your taste, Marshala...” he said. He pressed his chest against her back and his lips against her neck as she trembled. “And I miss your lips... both pairs...”

“Elijah... please...” she choked out as she saw Nick heading back towards her. “Don’t do this now...”

She felt his fingers glide gently over the back of her hand, his lips tickling her lobe before he spoke again. “... as you wish, love...”

Marshala felt his presence immediately disappear just as Nick approached her laughing. “We’ve got a highly competitive group, I tell ya,” Nick grinned. She chuckled lightly, but he saw anxiety in her eyes and her scent of arousal had heightened. Nick looked at her with concern. “You okay, Shal? You look worried... and horny... Need some relief?” he grinned, pulling her into his arms.

She shook her head and mustered a reassuring smile. “No, I’m fine. So, who won?”

~*~

Kiara left Rhea, Levi and Leo to continue the game as she went to check out more of the Christmas shops. It was not an easy feat trying to escape Leo’s protective grasp, but she was eventually successful in sneaking away. She eyed a set of beautifully handcrafted paintbrushes in the window of one shop and ran inside.

“Alexander will love these,” she said, paying for them at the cash register. She walked out when she suddenly heard someone calling her name.

“Kiara!” She looked across to see Peter running towards her.

“Peter!” she said, crouching down as he ran into her arms. She looked up to see Cole and Alexander walking towards her. “You guys made it!”

“Yea, yea, we’re here, little thing...” Cole grunted with his hands in his pockets.

“Ever the grinch, Cole,” Kiara smirked. She looked at Alexander and smiled. “I’m so glad you guys are here,” she said, blushing under his gaze. Alexander and Kiara looked into each other’s eyes, not a word escaping their lips before Cole cleared his throat and nudged Alexander in the side.

“Uh, what’d you get there?” Alexander asked.

“None of your business!” Kiara said dramatically, hiding the bag behind her back. “You’ll find out on Christmas morning.” Alexander chuckled when suddenly his nose caught a strange scent. His eyes severely narrowed in anger and she looked at him startled by his change in demeanor. “You okay?” she asked.

“That damn wolf is here,” Alexander said tensely. “And he slept-”

“Peter, why don’t you go show Kiara the snowglobes we were looking at before,” Cole said, cutting Alexander off.

“Come on, Kiara,” Peter said. He grabbed her hand and led her away from his brothers.

Cole waited until they were a safe distance and turned Alexander around. “What the fuck?!” Cole blurted.

“He slept with her!” Alexander snarled angrily. “He fucking marked her!”

“So what?! She doesn’t belong to you, Alexander! You’re not even supposed to be together! Your dumbass dragged me out here. Don’t ruin the damn night because of your fucking jealousy,” Cole snapped.

Alexander grumbled as he shoved his hands into his pockets, growing more aggravated by the second. “I love her, Cole... I told her I loved her. And that fucking mutt gets to have her?!”

Cole sighed as he ran his hand over his face. “Don’t just tell her, Alexander. Show her. If you want her, fight for her. But be prepared to fight the wolf over her. And Elijah who will most certainly... kick your ass.”

Alexander groaned as he looked over at Kiara looking through a window with Peter. He walked over to them and tried to mask his frustration with a smile. “Kiara...” he said, grabbing her hand.

“Hey...” she said, looking at him concerned. “Are you okay?”

“Yes, I... sorry for my reaction earlier... Do you mind if we go for a walk?” Alexander asked.

She looked around and smiled. “Sure! I know the perfect place!” she said, leading him away.

“Okay! You two kids have fun! I’ll just babysit!” Cole said sarcastically.

~*~

Kiara giggled as she pulled Alexander along the snowy path. His smile widened, entranced by her beauty as her soft laughter made his heart feel full. “Come on, Alexander!” she laughed as she ran up the snowy hill, dragging him along.

He followed her further up the mountain away from the rest of the crowd. They heard the music from the town speakers drifting over the snowy mountain and the main square below. “Isn’t it beautiful?” she said as she led him near the edge of the hill. They looked out to see the lights reflecting brightly on the crisp clean snow.

“Not nearly as beautiful as you...” She turned to look at him to see his bright blue eyes were filled with love and happiness. She warmed over, knowing that she had instilled it in him. “Kiara,” he said, grabbing her hands. “You’ve turned my life upside down... you know that?”

His hands were a bit cold but his touch was soft. She loved how affectionate he was with her despite his lack of words. Alexander was the type of guy that spoke with his eyes. And right now she was falling deep into his. “Dance with me?” she said, wrapping her arms around his neck.

He smirked at her as he wrapped his arms around her waist. The gentleness of the music caressed their ears. Kiara closed her eyes, breathing in Alexander’s scent as she softly sang the lyrics to the song. Alexander felt her pulse quicken as she opened her eyes and looked into his. A warm smile crept across Kiara’s face as her eyes switched between his shining blue irises and his lips.

Taking the hint, Alexander cupped the back of her neck and firmly placed his lips against hers. His lips caressed hers, his tongue begging for entrance before she opened up for him and his tongue made love to hers. “...Te iubesc, iubita mea...” he whispered against her lips.

She pulled back from him and smiled with a question in her eyes. “What does that mean?” she asked.

“It means ‘I love you, my beloved’...in Romanian...”

She looked at him surprised. “You speak Romanian?”

He faltered a little. “... yes...”

She looked at him a bit confused before she smiled. “That’s so romantic, Alexander...” He smiled with relief before he took her lips again. “Alexander?” She looked into his eyes and he felt his heart skip a beat. She struggled to pull the words. “I... I think I-”

Suddenly his eyes flickered and he abruptly pushed her to the side just as a feral leaped for them. The feral thrashed in the snow and charged for Kiara. But Alexander quickly shoved his hand through its back and out its chest before tossing it to the ground. Kiara stared wide-eyed as more ferals came charging at them. Alexander’s fangs immediately descended and his eyes reddened as he tore the ferals to pieces.

He heard Kiara scream and turned around to see a blonde-haired woman holding Kiara by the back of her neck. “LET HER GO!” Alexander seethed.

“Aw... it’s the second youngest Blackbourne brother. You’re so much cuter in person,” the blonde woman smirked. As Kiara dangled, she recognized that voice but she couldn’t place from where.

“I WON’T TELL YOU AGAIN!” Alexander snarled at her. Kiara looked at him terrified. His sharp fangs, his elongated nails, his hollowed face, caused her to tremble in fear.

“Little Alexander... you’re scaring your pet,” the woman teased. She slipped her tongue out and licked the side of Kiara’s face. “Oh... she tastes so delicious… Maybe just a bite. William won’t mind too much, will he?”

Alexander leaped for the woman, pushing Kiara out of the way. Kiara tumbled in the snow and watched Alexander swipe at the woman. He scratched her face, leaving a long and bloody mark. She didn’t know what shocked her more, who the woman was, or what her face did next. “G-Gwendolyn??” Kiara said, shocked.

Gwendolyn smirked as the long bloody mark on her face quickly disappeared as if she were never even touched. “Hello, Kiara. Or should I say… Kayla,” she waved flirtatiously. “You really should have let me take you home, sweetie. It would have been a fun ride,” she smirked. She charged for Kiara and in a split second was in front of her with her mouth wide, fangs protruding, and her eyes blood red. But just as soon as she appeared in front of her, she was gone as Alexander tackled her to the ground.

Alexander pinned her to the ground and rammed his hand into her chest, breaking through her rib cage. She immediately burst out laughing, completely unbothered. “Alexander! At least take me to dinner first!” she teased. “So concerned about turning me on, you’re not even paying attention to your precious little witch.”

Alexander quickly looked behind him to see a hoard of ferals stalking towards Kiara. She was in complete shock. Everything was happening so fast. “KIARA!” Alexander screamed. He removed his hand from inside Gwendolyn’s chest and charged at the ferals. He slashed two ferals rapidly before one mauled him in the back. He shouted in pain before quickly grabbing the one on his back and tossing it over his shoulder.

Kiara quickly scrambled to her feet and aimed her hands at one of the ferals and it immediately lit up with fire. She targeted another one when Gwendolyn instantly appeared in front of her and grabbed her by the neck. Kiara gasped. She clawed at Gwendolyn’s hand, trying to remove it, but it wouldn’t budge. Her eyes started to bulge as she tried to gasp for air.

“So... you’re Melissa’s spawn...” Gwendolyn said, eyeing her with a curious glimmer in her gaze. “The one who got away... You don’t look very powerful... you don’t feel powerful. You’re like an insect. I could crush your tiny little neck right now and that would be the end of it. But, William has better plans for you,” she smirked deviously.

Kiara froze in fear as she watched Gwendolyn’s eyes go blood red and her fangs descend again. Her long nails nicked Kiara’s neck, causing her to bleed. “Oh, little witch... you do smell oh so delicious. One taste won’t hurt...” Gwendolyn said. Kiara closed her eyes shut, as she wiggled more furiously, trying to escape, when suddenly she fell from Gwendolyn’s grasp and right into someone’s arms.

She looked up to see Cole holding her tightly. Her head spun as he moved at inhuman speed to drop her off next to a tree in seconds. “You okay, little thing?” he asked, setting her down on a mound of snow.

“Y-ye-” She barely got out a word before his eyes burned red and his face hollowed. He charged after the ferals that Alexander was still fighting off. Peter stood behind another tree far from her, watching his brothers fight. Kiara gawked when she saw Elijah throw Gwendolyn into a tree before pouncing on her.

“GWENDOLYN!” Elijah sneered. “WHY ARE YOU HERE?!”

“As if you need to ask,” she smirked. She kicked him off, sending him flying backward. “You boys are weak,” she said smugly. “Animal blood will only get you but so far, my dears. There’s nothing like fresh, warm, human blood... right Kiara?” Kiara’s heart was stricken with fear as Gwendolyn made her the focus of her attention again.

“YOU STAY AWAY FROM HER!” Elijah snarled, blocking her line of sight.

Gwendolyn smirked. “I’ll tell your father you send your regards.” And just like that she disappeared.

Cole immediately approached Alexander who was kneeling on the ground, breathing heavily out of anger. The back of his jacket was shredded though his back was already healed. “Alexander,” Cole said, grabbing his shoulder. “Are you okay? Did she-”

“I’m fine,” Alexander panted. “Check on Kiara.”

Cole turned around and froze just as Elijah was frozen to see Kiara staring at them with shock and horror on her face. They had the same red eyes and sharp fangs of the creatures that had been attacking her.

“...Kiara...” Elijah said, approaching her with his hand extended. She quickly crawled back away from him in fear as tears streamed down her face. His jaw tensed as he pulled his hand back. “We... we can explain...”

Her eyes darted from Elijah to Peter to Cole to... Alexander. Alexander’s fangs slowly retracted as his eyes fazed from the horrible red back to the baby blues she fell for. The look on his face was pleading. She struggled to look at him, still trying to comprehend what just happened. “...W-what... what are you...?” she choked out, already knowing the answer. But she needed to hear them say it.

Elijah swallowed hard and glanced at Alexander who looked like he was on the verge of breaking down. “We... are vampires, Kiara...” Elijah said finally. Her eyes bulged as her throat tightened. Not a word escaped her lips. Elijah looked up to see Marshala and Nick running up the hill towards them.

“Kiara!” Marshala said, coming to her side. She plopped down on the snowy mound next to her. “Are you alright, Kiara? Are you injured?” Marshala said, looking her over.

“She’s bleeding... on her neck...” Alexander said quietly.

Marshala inspected Kiara’s neck and dabbed at it before putting a cloth to it. She looked to see Leo running up the hill before he fell at Kiara’s side.

“Angel! Baby, are you okay?!” Leo said frantically, taking her into his arms.

“She’s fine. But we need to clean this wound,” Marshala said.

Kiara still hadn’t said a word as she locked eyes with Alexander. When Alexander looked into her eyes moments prior he saw happiness, warmth.... and love. Now... all he saw was fear. And it damn well broke his heart.

Leo immediately picked Kiara up in his arms and started carrying her back down the hill. Marshala gave Elijah a sympathetic look before Nick grabbed her by the waist, leading her away.

“Kiara... don’t go...” Peter said sadly as he plopped down in the snow.

Cole and Elijah felt an intense sorrow suddenly overwhelm them. They looked over to see blood tears streaming down Alexander’s face.

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