Chapter 14: Show Me
As soon as I walked into the room, Hycinth got off the bed and faced me. She stared at me for a long moment, expression contrite at first. But then it slowly transitioned into fury.
“What the fuck happened?” I snarled. The Ceremony she’d just recklessly ruined with her hot-headedness was meant to give the wolves in the pack an outlet to express their appreciation and thanks. That certainly wasn’t how it turned out.
I couldn’t believe she’d put me in that position! An open challenge always required a public punishment. There was no way that she was ignorant of that fact, and yet instead of talking to me, like I asked her to do, she decided to issue an openhanded challenge right across my cheek!
If she’d done that in private, I would’ve handled it differently. But she didn’t. And my Wolf would never allow that disrespect to go unpunished.
So here we were, glaring at each other, and I was hoping for an explanation soon, which didn’t look like it was forthcoming with the way her lips were pressed close, refusing to answer my question.
This was ridiculous.
“Where’s the attitude now? Did I spank you docile? If I’d known that’s all it took, I would have spanked you the first day.”
“Fuck you!” Her eyes blazed.
“Oh, she finally speaks,” I mocked. “So are you ready to tell me what the hell got into you?”
“I want to see Luca,” she countered.
You want to see Luca?
It was like we were having two different conversations.
“No!” I growled. After that little stunt, she’d be lucky if I didn’t just take his head right off.
She glared defiantly, feet apart, hands on her hips, shoulders back.
I returned her stony gaze with one of my own. She had another thing coming if she thought posturing like an angry kitten was going to do anything to sway me. I could play this game all damn day. I waited for her next move, curious to see what trick she had up her sleeve.
But then, her bottom lip quivered. Her shoulders slumped slightly, and her voice lowered to a whisper, “Please, I, I...need...to see him.”
I gritted my teeth together. Finally, a break in her armor and that is what she wants—another wolf.
I reminded myself they grew up together as brother and sister, but that didn’t eliminate the fact that they were not blood-related and she had spent her entire life practically in his arms.
All right. Fine. She wanted to take things up a notch. That worked for me because I was done holding back. I wanted more. Let’s just see how far she was willing to go. “What will you give me?”
Her eyes widened, anger temporarily lost in confusion. “What do you mean?”
I wanted to chuckle. Sometimes I forgot how innocent she was, how naïve. I purred suggestively, “Everything has a price. We negotiate, remember? If you want something from me, what are you willing to give me in return?”
Her cheeks flushed with color, finally catching up to my intent. My Wolf growled. He liked her innocence. She bit her lip nervously. So she wasn’t quite as good at this game as she was anger. Perfect.
“What do you want?”
I stifled a groan. That was the wrong question to ask because she was nowhere near ready for that answer. Instead of shocking her with all of the dirty things I wanted to do to her, I demanded softly, “I want to see you—all of you.” She’d put me through her visual inspection. Now it was my turn. And I thought it was a step she could handle.
She shifted her weight from one leg to the other. “That’s it? Just looking? This one time. And no touching?”
“That’s it,” I confirmed, already excited about having her naked little body in front of me.
“I want to speak to him alone,” she added, trying to lock me into an agreement that worked for her. Not so naïve after all, I contemplated.
0But I liked this arrangement. “Deal. Shall we go?”
She chewed her lip a moment longer and then reluctantly replied, “Okay.”
I walked her down to Lucky’s cell and had Ever wait outside for her so that he could walk her back when she finished.
When Ever returned her to me about an hour later, Hycinth stood just inside the door, looking like a deer caught in headlights. I expected her to lay into me about whatever it was she was angry about and was shocked when she just shifted her weight nervously and looked up through her lashes at me.
Apparently, I was going to have to wait for answers, but I certainly didn’t mind waiting like this. I relaxed my back against the pillows and headboard of the bed and motioned her forward.
She took a reluctant step and then another and another until she was just outside of my reach. I made no move toward her, trying to present the illusion of safety. But it was hell holding myself back when all I wanted to do was touch every inch of her creamy flesh with my fingers and tongue. My pants had already tented at the thought, revealing my desire.
Her eyes glanced down between my legs, and she took a startled step back. I was fairly certain if I didn’t say something to calm her down, she was going to make a run for it. I spoke quickly, keeping my tone soft and even, “Sorry, love. It can’t be helped. You’re a beautiful wolf. But I promise to stick to our arrangement...just looking, no touching.”
She hesitated, not looking very reassured. I gave her a moment to work up her courage. I had to remember this type of intimacy was new for her. The air in the room felt thick, pulsing between us, almost alive and tangible to the touch. After another long moment of indecision, it was clear she needed a gentle nudge of encouragement to get started. I swallowed and tried to keep the full extent of my desire from coming out of my tone. I held her gaze and murmured huskily, ”Show me."
They were the same words she demanded of me, and they seemed to jolt her out of her immobility. She fidgeted in place and then brought her fingers to the hem of her shirt. In one smooth movement, she lifted it over her head and let it fall next to her on the floor. My breath caught in my throat. I thought I’d been prepared for what I might see. I had assumed I could guess what was hidden beneath her clothing. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
My brain was still trying to comprehend the shock while she reached behind her back and unlatched her bra, letting it fall as well, leaving her topless before me. I tried to keep my mouth from dropping open, but it was difficult. She had beautiful skin with an hourglass figure, full, rounded breasts, a trim waist and sultry hips I wanted to run my tongue along. But it wasn’t her exquisite figure which had me in awe.
Ever had told me she owned a tattoo parlor, but for some reason, I never anticipated she would have tattoos, primarily because pure silver extract had to be added to the ink. Otherwise, our bodies would reject the ink and heal around it. But using silver made the normal pain of getting a tattoo about a hundred times worse.
And she didn’t just have one cute little heart or flower on her belly. No, she had a stunning Phoenix nestled between her breasts, its wings fanning out over her pert mounds, but designed so that the flesh around her nipples was left untouched—looking as though they were peeking out alluringly from behind the bird. And if that were not enough visual titillation, the tail of the bird curled around the entire left side of her torso and flared out into beautiful swirls and tail feathers covering her belly. Like her nipples, the skin around her belly button was left untouched revealing an enticing belly button piercing.
The design continued low on her stomach, flowing beneath the waistband of the pants that rested low on her hips. I could only get one word out to communicate what I wanted...what I desperately needed, “More.”
She complied, her hands trembling as she undid the button and zipper of her pants, and slid them down her hips with a little wiggle, leaving her standing in only a lacy white thong. Her teeth had a hold of her bottom lip, and she flushed pink with embarrassment.
She couldn’t have been sexier if she tried.
My dick was raging hard, painful and swollen.
Without even needing encouragement from me, she slipped off the last remaining item of clothing, stepping out the panties where they dropped to the floor at her feet. She stood there for my visual inspection, as both my Wolf and I took our time to memorize every curve and valley of her body thoroughly, and the stunning artwork inked into her skin.
I finally found the use of my vocabulary again and brought my eyes back to hers. “The Phoenix is beautiful.”
Her lips twisted up just a little, and her eyes shone with some emotion. I was stunned to realize it was pride that glimmered in her irises. I breathed, “Did you draw that?”
She nodded. “I also tattooed it...well, as much as I could reach.”
I studied the design again with an admiring eye. She was incredibly talented. I murmured the truth, “It’s flawless.”
This time, her mouth curled into a genuine smile.
“Turn around,” I murmured, curious to see what complex design she’d chosen for her back. After seeing her front, there had to be something equally stunning on her back.
I just had no idea how shocking and mind-blowing until she turned around.
My mouth dropped open.
I couldn’t breathe.
My Wolf lurched into my eyes, his entire body trembling.
She had an incredible Wolf tattooed on her back as though he were climbing up from her waist, his head at her shoulder, preparing to climb over to her front, giving the illusion of his body covering hers. It streaked up her back, filling most of her flesh on her right side. It was sleek and beautiful.
But it wasn’t just any Wolf. It was him. It was my Wolf!
My Wolf had very unusual markings, completely black with two white front paws and a white tipped tail. It wasn’t a common combination of markings for any Wolf.
I must have gasped or something because she glanced over her shoulder at me.
“It’s...it’s...” I stuttered, unsure what to say.
She looked at me in confusion, lips turning down into a frown. “You don’t like it?”
I choked on my saliva. “No! That’s not it! We like it very much. How? Where did you come up with the design?”
Her lips curled back into a smile, eyes filling with fondness at the memory playing in her mind. “My mom gave me a stuffed animal of a Wolf when I was four. It was almost as big as me. I slept with it every night, until...” Her words trailed off, her mind back to the fire that must have destroyed the stuffed animal.
I was having a hard time breathing again, both at her pain and the shocking revelation that she not only had a Wolf tattoo identical to my Wolf but also grew up with a stuffed animal that looked like him as well.
“He kept me safe. Whenever I was scared of the dark or woke up with a bad dream,” she whispered.
My throat felt like there was a boulder in it. I hated that her stuffed wolf was now lost to her and rasped, “I’m sorry.”
We both just stared at each other, the air thick and quivering around us. After a long moment, I dragged my eyes away from her face to relook at the design on her back again, letting my eyes take in the details I’d missed when she first showed me. My gaze drifted slowly down to her butt.
Regret tinged the edge of my consciousness when I saw her still bright pink cheeks, but what was I supposed to do? I’d had no choice. She’d openly challenged me, which was bad enough, but worse she’d done it in the middle of a tradition my wolves held dear. I would have whipped any other wolf that behaved that way. Still, as I looked at her pink skin, I couldn’t help wanting to do something to soothe her. I murmured, “Does it still hurt?”
She flushed in embarrassment. “A little.”
Which, for her, probably meant, a lot. I offered softly, “I have something that will take away the sting and soothe your skin.”
She tilted her head in surprise. But she hadn’t immediately told me to go to hell.
I moved slowly to the nightstand by the bed and pulled open a drawer, taking out a small container. Sitting on the edge of the bed, I unscrewed the lid and held it out to her. She peered at the thick crème inside curiously. Her little nose twitched, tasting the scent of the balm from the air.
“What’s in it?”
“It’s a combination of plant extracts. It will cool the sting and feel good to your skin.”
She contemplated for a long moment. I could tell she wanted it, but she resisted. I suspected I knew why. Applying it to oneself was not particularly easy to do. She confirmed my suspicion when she looked at the jar and then her eyes glanced over her shoulder as if trying to gauge what she’d have to do to reach her butt properly with it. Her gaze returned to the jar again, a small frown on her face when she was no closer to an answer.
“I could apply it if you like.”
Her eyes flashed to mine, body instantly stiff like a doe in the line of fire. I dropped my tone even softer, soothing, “I’ll apply it just to the affected areas. I won’t touch you anywhere else. I kept my part of the agreement, haven’t I? I’m a man of my word.”
She studied my expression, eyes boring deep into mine. I was shocked when she didn’t immediately shoot me down Or at least try to slap me again or something. She drew her soft lip between her bottom teeth again, warring between the desires inside of her. I held my breath and waited. After a long minute, still not releasing her captive lip, she finally whispered, “Okay.”
It was all I could do to keep the lust filled growl contained in my chest.
I spread my legs wider to make room for her. My voice so gruff, even I didn’t recognize it as I said huskily, “Take a step back closer to me.”
She did as instructed, stepping back so that she was nestled right between my thighs.
It was a chore to keep my hands steady and not let them roam everywhere on her skin. I focused on the task at hand, extracting some of the crème from the jar with my fingertips. “It’s going to feel a little cold at first,” I warned before pressing my fingers lightly against the beautifully rounded cheeks of her backside.
“Oh!” she gasped, startling a little at the foreign touch and sensation. I placed my other hand on her hip to steady her. I moved my fingers slowly and methodically...for my benefit as much of hers...enjoying the closeness.
“Why do you keep this medicine in your nightstand?”
I held back my chuckle—she was so innocent—and replied softly, “For this very reason.”
Her body stiffened, and she tried to step away from me. I gripped her hip tighter, holding her in place. “Shh, little mouse, you don’t have to run away,” my words were hypnotic, whispering into the magic of the atmosphere as the bond quivered and flexed around us. “Spanking can be a form of pleasure, just as much as it can discipline.”
She gave an almost imperceptible shake of her head, spine ramrod straight, clearly disagreeing with my words.
“I’ll listen to your body...what it wants...and my body...what it needs.” I stood up behind her, one hand still massaging her butt cheek, the other holding her hip. Leaning down, my breath ragged against her neck, voice husky, “You won’t feel the pain of correction like you did today...only the pleasure that a little bite of pain can bring.”
Her chest was rising and falling quickly, responding, her body taut and trembling in my hold. “How…how can pain ever be pleasurable?”
“Mmm...so many things I’m going to teach you, sweet mouse. But I promise I will only give you as much as you can handle.” I directed her attention back to the task at hand. “The pain is gone now, isn’t it?”
“Yes,” she answered in breathy surprise, swiveling her head to look up at me.
I turned her around, so she was facing me, her eyes wide and glistening. No matter what she said, she felt the same powerful attraction that I did. The bond made sure of it. It was like we were suspended in time—nothing existed around us. Slowly, I lowered my head, my mouth drawing closer and closer to her lips.
She quivered in my arms.
And then poof, just like that, fury filled her expression again. She pushed me away hard. “Don’t! You don’t get to kiss me!”
Okay. I knew she didn’t want a relationship, but this level of anger was a bit more than her usual rebuff. I suspected it had something to do with her earlier behavior. “What’s going on?”
Hycinth held her tongue, lips pressed together as if trying not to release what was obviously churning on the edge of her mind. And then she exhaled the breath she was trying to keep in, apparently giving up on her vow of silence, and spat, “You don’t get to kiss me after you fucked Sydney last night! And then tried to hide it from me,” she added derisively.
“So that’s what this is about?” Finally, we were getting to the heart of the matter from earlier. “That’s what had you all fired up earlier. Because you thought I fucked Sydney?”
She took a step back and bent down to gather her discarded pants, angrily jerking them up her legs. She fastened the button and pulled up the zipper. A hiss from her lips. “I don’t think. I know!” Snatching her shirt from the floor, she tugged it over her head, continuing ranting, “The shower. The change of clothes. Do you really think I’m that stupid?”
“No, as a matter of fact, I don’t think you’re stupid! Had you given a shit enough to ask, I would’ve told you exactly what happened! I’m not trying to hide a damn thing. I took a shower and changed clothes before I came back as a courtesy to your Wolf! The scent of another shewolf on me would have distressed her, and she doesn’t deserve that on top of your decision to leave! And don’t you dare tell me she’s on board with this arrangement, because I know that’s a fucking lie!”
“But you didn’t ask! Even when I was wearing different clothes and had clearly taken a shower within an hour from seeing you, only further cementing what you’ve already told me. You don’t give a shit about me. So why are you angry when you think I was with someone else? If you’re so ready to cut me loose, what’s the problem?”
“What’s the problem?!” she hissed furiously and spun around, stomping her way across the room. When she reached the other side, she caught her breath and turned on me again like a bull charging toward a red cape, nostrils flaring. “Of course you wouldn’t understand a monogamous relationship if it bit you in the ass! Given your propensity to share your females!”
“Share my females?” I repeated in confusion. “What the fuck do you mean by that?”She stared up at me, eyes blazing, hands on her hips. “Don’t try to deny it! Dagger gave me the full rundown of exactly what you planned for me, while he had me pinned to the ground and his hand in my pants!”