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Hycinth held perfectly still in my arms as Mimi and Gemma rinsed our bodies of the residual oil. I wasn’t sure how to interpret her silence. What did she think about seeing my complete extended family? My mother?

It was hard as fuck to see my mother. I hadn’t expected it and I never dreamed I would see my extended family of wolves. Why hadn’t my father told me about that part of the ceremony? Had he experienced it as well or was this the first time it had ever happened? When these three days were over, he and I would sit down and talk. I suspected he would handle my mother’s presence and message the same way I did—grief beyond comprehension, but a gift of unmeasurable worth, an incredible blessing, and certainly not a moment I expected to have while I still breathed.

It was closure for me. I was finally able to say the words my mother needed to hear—how fucking sorry I was for that day. I knew she wouldn’t blame me. But I needed to say them.

And to see our mother Wolf again... My throat constricted all over again. My Wolf whimpered. He missed our mother as much as I did.

And nothing could have prepared me for that moment when she turned and rested her intense gaze on Hycinth. I hadn’t known if she would accept my mate or not. But she did, she even welcomed Hycinth with her touch. Hycinth had looked petrified to see her. I could only imagine how strange it must have been for her.

I was just thankful our non-temporal guests were all my ancestors and not Hycinth’s. I suspected it was because we were on my land. Even in the afterlife, territory mattered, I thought wryly.

Now was not really the best time to get into it, so if Hycinth didn’t feel like talking about it, I wasn’t going to bring it up either. I nuzzled into her neck, and Hycinth melted into me, relaxing against my chest.

Once we were thoroughly rinsed, Mimi said, “Come. You need to eat.”

We climbed out of the small pool. Mimi provided a silk wrap to Hycinth. “Here, child, wrap this around your body just beneath your arms.” Hycinth did as instructed. Gemma handed me a similar piece of fabric. I wrapped it around my hips, tucking it in, to keep it in place.

When we reached the beds, Hycinth stepped toward hers, but I grabbed her wrist, halting her progress. She looked back at me in confusion.

“I want you next to me,” I explained, my voice low and deep.

A flash of arousal glittered in Hycinth’s eyes. She let me pull her to me and lift her onto my bed before I seated myself as well. Turning slightly, we faced each other, knees touching.

“How do you feel?” I asked Hycinth while Gemma and Mimi prepared the food.

She bit her lip. “Restless...I want...” her words trailed off, and a beautiful pink crept up her cheeks.

Wrapping my hand around the nape of her neck, I pulled her head to me and gently pressed my lips against hers. Holding them there, I murmured, “I know what you want, sweetheart. I’m going to give it to you.”

She let out a little growl of anticipation and squirmed as I pulled back. It wouldn’t be much longer before her Wolf decided it was time to go to the den, maybe an hour or two. My cock stirred, but I forced my arousal away. I definitely didn’t want to have a hard-on during the next step.

Mimi returned with two porcelainware plates with generous servings of venison, fry bread, and fresh fruit. Everything was cut up into small bites, no utensils were provided.

I wanted to feed Hycinth by hand, and once we reached the cabin, I would. My dick twitched at the thought of her little pink tongue flickering out to take the food from my fingers. But for now, I resisted the idea, again, to keep my wayward cock under control.

I was pleased to see Hycinth eat more than I expected but her edginess showed through more and more, eyes flickering back and forth to her Wolf’s.

We washed our meal down with mild spicebush tea made from passionflower fruit and ‘black drink,’ a yaupon holly tea restricted to purification rituals. Hycinth eagerly accepted the spicebush tea, but declined more than a sip or two of the black drink, wrinkling her nose at the taste.

Once we finished, we each reclined on our own beds again for the last step in the ritual, a process I’d done before but wasn’t particularly fond of—genital waxing or Brazilian wax, as it was better known.

Gemma and Mimi moved a portable partition in between our beds, making it no longer possible for me to see Hycinth. Once the privacy screen was in place, Gwen and Willow returned to her side, and Aidan and Ryan joined Gemma on my side.

“Um...how many wolves does it take to wax me?” Hycinth asked suspiciously.

“They will assist as needed in the process,” Mimi answered vaguely.

“Assist with what?" Hycinth demanded, even more suspiciously.

Mimi hesitated a beat. “Mostly, they will help you hold your position.”

Still not detoured, Hycinth didn’t miss a beat. “You mean they’re going to hold me down?” Without waiting for a response, she continued, “Leander, just how painful is this process that I’m going to need wolves to keep me in place?”

I was quick to reassure her, “Honey, with as much ink as you have on your body, I’m certain you’ll be able to just breeze through this.”

“Hmm...” she grunted, not sounding very convinced.

“If you will just lift your knee,” Mimi said. I couldn’t see what was happening but assumed Hycinth bent her leg at her knee. “Yes. And now let it fall away from your body. Perfect. Hold right there. ”

“I look like a naughty flamingo, “Hycinth muttered under her breath.

Laughter bubbled up my throat at her description but just as quickly died out when Ryan lifted my leg and positioned me the same way. I gritted my teeth, knowing what was to come.

Mimi and Gemma simultaneously got started. Gemma dotted my cock with powder and targeted the underside of my penis, applying hot wax to a small section. Since they used wax that hardened completely, no fabric strips were required. When the wax cooled against my skin, Gemma used a leather-clad fingertip to roll back the edge, then grasped it firmly and pulled against the grain.

I bit back a curse, grunting loudly at the sharp pain.

Hyacinth wasn’t quite so quiet. She didn’t bother containing her shriek, “Son of a bitch!”

“Shh...it will be okay,” Gwen assured her softly.

A rumbling growl came from Hycinth’s throat.

“Easy...that’s it...just relax your leg again,” Willow cooed.

I couldn’t concentrate on what was happening with Hycinth because Gemma continued to place wax, let it dry and jerk it away from my body.

“Fuck!” I growled.

Aiden held down my thigh while Ryan gripped my other leg to keep them open. Gemma continued relentlessly, seemingly to rip the top layer of skin off my balls.

Unable to control my body’s reaction, I tried to pull my legs shut, almost vice-locking Ryan’s head in between them.

“Dammit!” Aiden cursed, struggling against me. “Leander...let go of Ryan’s head.”

Hycinth giggled, thoroughly entertained by my discomfort. The soft tinkling sound of her voice distracted me. I relaxed my legs.

Several more minutes in, Hycinth’s laughter was long gone. She breathed heavily and spat my name like it was a curse word before she hissed, “Fuck! How do porn stars have no problem with this?!”

Porn stars? Of all the questions she could have asked...

My curiosity was piqued. “How much porn do you watch?”

“That’s not the point,” she replied tartly.

I noticed she didn’t answer my question. “Nice deflection,” I commented. We would talk further in depth about her porn consumption later.

The process continued...

...minute after a long grueling minute.

Hycinth’s distress amplified, whimpers and whines coming non-stop from her throat. Finally, she resorted to begging. “No! No more! Leander, tell her she can’t do this to me. Can’t we just leave my beaver with a Mohawk?!”

Ryan coughed, trying to cover his snicker.

I grinned widely, grateful Hycinth couldn’t see my expression through the partition. Working to keep the humor out of my voice and sound as calm as possible, I soothed, “It doesn’t work that way, sweetheart. Not for this ceremony. Hang in there. It will be over soon.”

She let out a low growl, clearly not enamored or impressed with my response.

“And I’ll be happy to kiss it all better soon,” I couldn’t help from adding huskily.

“Leander...” Aiden uttered a reminder when my cock twitched.

“You’ll be lucky to even see my—Ah! Fuck!” Hycinth squealed loudly at the familiar sound of another strip being torn away. Breathing heavily, she spat, “Leander, you motherfucking, cuntcake asshole!”

This time, I couldn’t hold back my snort of laughter. There was my creative foulmouthed little mouse. ”Cuntcake, love?” I chuckled.

“She’s going to kill you,” Ryan muttered under his breath, but the broad grin on his face told me he found her antics hilarious as well. No doubt, he was also thoroughly enjoying the thought of my upcoming challenge. Whatever hell my mate deemed to put me through. Hycinth’s strength and power radiated from her. They knew she was a force to be reckoned with, and right now, she wasn’t making empty threats. I could only imagine her plan to make me pay for this discomfort.

“Wait!” Hycinth snarled, panting. All movement stopped on her side of the screen.

“Just breathe through it,” Gwen soothed.

After a moment, Mimi asked, “Are you ready?”

“Do it! Just do it, dammit! No! Wait...don’t do it!” Hycinth mumbled almost incoherently. “I need a distraction. Talk to me!”

She must have been looking at Willow when she made her demand because Willow replied, “Um, okay...what would you like to talk about?”

“I don’t know what the fuck to talk about! You’re the one currently trying to strip my whisker biscuit bare. You come up with something!” Hycinth snarled.

Her whisker biscuit?

Where did she come up with this shit?

Willow must have been just as confused because she repeated, “Your whisker biscuit...?”

But before Willow got another word out, Mimi must’ve thought the conversation was distraction enough because another strip of hard wax was torn away.

Hycinth yelled, “Mimi, I swear—!”

“Time to roll over, dear,” Mimi interrupted calmly.

Hycinth panted, “Really? We’re done?” There was hope in her voice that Mimi quickly dashed, “As soon as we finish your anus. It won’t take very long now.”

A whine came from Hycinth’s throat, and I could hear shuffling as she rolled over. I had no idea how Mimi and Gemma kept the same pace considering Hycinth and I had different body parts, but Gemma quietly instructed at the same time, “All fours, Leander.”

I gritted my teeth and accommodated her request, rolling over. So, there I was, positioned with my elbows on the table and ass high in the air.

“You’re going to have to relax, Leander.” Gemma reminded me and then gave instructions for Ryan and Aiden, “Hold his buttocks open, please.”

I growled when Ryan and Aiden moved to comply.

They froze.

“Touch my ass,” I warned, “and it will be the last thing you do.”

At this, Hycinth full out laughed, sounding suspiciously like she was thoroughly enjoying my distress.

Every bit of my uncomfortableness bled away. My heart lifted at the happy sound of her voice. Still...I had a job to finish. I sighed heavily and maneuvered myself with my head down to support my upper body so that my hands were free to pull my buttcheeks apart.

I groaned silently. My mother taught me so much better than this.

Gemma applied the wax, waited for it to cool and with no hesitation, jerked it away.

“Fuck!” I dropped to my elbows and hit the bed with a clenched fist, trying to work out the pain.

From her side of the partition, Mimi tore a strip away, and Hycinth squealed again. There was quite a bit of shuffling around that sounded like Gwen and Willow wrestling her back into place. Hycinth whimpered to herself, “Why would anybody do this to their lady love garden?” She truly sounded like she couldn’t comprehend it.

Gwen giggled.

After a few more strips, Mimi finally said, “That’s it. All done. You can turn back over.”

“You as well,” Gemma said to me.

“I want to see it,” Hycinth demanded.

“That’s fine,” Mimi replied. “Gwen, help her sit up.”

There was some more shuffling and then Hycinth gasped. There was a tremor in her voice, shock and dismay evident. “Ohhh...that is...not pretty...I look like a Red Delicious apple in a barren orchard!”

There were grunts and coughing from the group, several people trying to hold back and conceal their laughter.

“That’s perfectly normal, child. The redness will go away very soon,” Mimi reassured her.

There was a moment of silence. I could only imagine Hycinth’s narrowed eyes and expression of disbelief. And then she sighed heavily and whimpered, “Could I at least have some ice for my Apple pie?”

I chuckled. What the hell?

“Of course. I’ll have someone bring some from the kitchen,” Mimi said.

“Don’t think I didn’t hear that,” Hycinth scowled at me.

“I promise, sweetheart. I’m going to make everything all better very soon,” I replied, my groin tightening of the thought.

“Leander...time to get dressed. You’re not going to be able to do to with a hard cock,” Gemma chastised.

It was Hycinth’s turn to giggle. “At least I don’t have that problem.”

I dropped my head and realize Gemma was right. I was already half hard, looking a bit like a cherry-tinted bald Eagle. Taking deep breaths, I forced myself to calm down.

Several minutes went by, during which Hycinth’s pussy was sufficiently iced, the room was rearranged, and another partition brought out so that we could each get dressed privately. Aiden and Ryan were on hand to help me, but I didn’t really need their assistance. I quickly slipped into a pair of deerskin pants that hung low on my hips. Over that, was a kilt decorated with strips of fur. My chest was bare. Bear claws wrapped around my neck.

Once I was dressed, I stepped out from behind the partition and waited for Hycinth.

It was eerily quiet as she got dressed. I wondered what was going through her head, worried, I tapped into her emotions. I didn’t find anxiety, only reverence. When she finally emerged with Gwen and Willow by her side, I understood her awe.

She looked stunning, beyond comprehension, beyond anything I was prepared for.

Trembling, she stood in place, letting me visually devour her. Two pieces of velvety soft deerskin were strung together with hand cut rawhide that crisscrossed on her hips, revealing her creamy skin beneath. Narrow strips of leather, feathers, and beads hung down from the skirt to her top of thighs. Leather, trimmed in fur and adorned with petite bear claws, hugged her breasts. She wore similarly designed leather cuffs around her wrists. Three rows of strung beads circled her neck along with a bear claw necklace and several other strings of beads draped down from her leather halter.

I wasn’t sure what to say. Words escaped me. It was only then that I noticed every other Wolf in the room had gone down on one knee, head bowed with respect and adoration toward their intended Luna.

Hycinth noticed as well. A single tear escaped her eyes and rolled down her cheek. She brushed it away with the back of her hand and smiled. “Please...stand.”

The wolves stood to their feet. Mimi and Gemma came from the tables, each holding a cup and an empty bowl in their hands. I took the cup from Gemma while Mimi spoke, “Swish the liquid in your mouth for a moment and then spit into the bowl.”

Easy enough. I tilted the cup back and poured the liquid into my mouth. Fuck! It burned. It was nothing for me to drink straight liquor, but this felt like fire in my mouth. Although, it did taste minty. What the hell was it?

Hycinth hissed, eyes wide and watering as she to swished the liquid around in her mouth. Finally, Gemma offered the bowl, and I gladly spit out the substance. That was like some Listerine on crack. Shit. At least we would have minty fresh breath, I thought wryly.

Gwen grasped Hycinth’s shoulders and rubbed her cheek next to Hycinth’s. Gwen spoke softly, “It’s time for us to go. We’ll see you when you get to the den.” When she pulled away, Willow hugged Hycinth, brushing cheek to cheek as well.

Hycinth just stared, lake blue orbs wide, as she nodded.

Gwen, Willow, Aiden, and Ryan all left.

The drums outside the small dwelling had gone silent but still played in the distance at the cottage site.

“Good luck, child.” Mimi stepped forward to wish Hycinth farewell. Gemma did the same. And then both of them rubbed their cheeks against mine. Mimi reached her hand and rested it on the side of my face. “I’m proud of you.”

I blinked back the moisture in my eyes and kissed both of her cheeks before stepping away.

When they were gone, Hycinth and I stood alone.

I crossed the short distance and gathered her in my arms. Unsurprisingly, she shrugged out of my hold. Taking a step away from me, her Wolf in her eyes, she shifted her weight from one foot to the other.


Her scent had increased, so powerful and alluring now, I had to dig my nails into the palms of my hands so I wouldn’t grab her and put her beneath me right this very second.

Yes...the time was drawing much closer now.

“It’s hot in here,” Hycinth whispered, eyes darting toward the door.

“Is your Wolf ready, love?” I asked softly.

She gazed off into the distance, communicating with her Wolf silently as she contemplated my words. When her eyes cleared, she shook her head. “Not yet. I just...we need to be outside...it’s too hot in here.” She tugged at the fabric of the halter.

The sun would be down in a few minutes...

“Let’s take a walk.” I reached for her hand.

She stared at it without taking it and then looked back up at me, confusion painted on her expression. “Is that okay? The last time we took a walk, things...” her words drifted off.

I smiled at her obvious concern. “It’s okay, love. There’s not a single unmated male within a mile of you.”

Her eyebrows rose, understanding I’d sent them all away, but I had no problem giving the directive. I also didn’t want a repeat of yesterday or any distractions.

Hycinth finally accepted my hand, and we stepped outside. There was not another Wolf in sight. The pack compound was completely quiet.

But the alluring drumbeat could be heard past the forest...

Hycinth turned her head toward the trees. Her nostrils flared. She shifted her stance again, unable to stand still. A light sheen of sweat rose up her skin.

The sun had reached the horizon, filling the space with shadows that danced off of nearby torches. The music in the distance got louder, more persistent.

I stood silent, watching, waiting...

Hycinth ignored me completely, solely focused in the direction of our den.

She tilted her head to the side and blinked, completely engrossed in something I couldn’t see.

Several more minutes went by...

And then, without any cue that I noticed, she finally took a step...and then another...

I walked next to her. She let me slide my fingers into her hand and held me tight, but didn’t speak, too focused on her destination.

It didn’t take us long to make it through the familiar forest. My heart thundered in my chest.

The time was now...

When we broke the tree line, the wolves erupted. Adorned in tribal dress, males beat drums and stomped their feet, causing the earth to shudder beneath them. Females danced. They all howled out their joy.

Hycinth froze by my side. Her claws dug into my hand.

I tugged on her hand, trying to get her back in motion, but she refused to take a step farther. I leaned down to her ear to reassure her, “It’s okay, love. Just a little bit more now.”

She shook her head and mumbled, “There’s more than twenty.”

I stared at her in confusion, trying to figure out what she was talking about. And then I understood. “Every mated pair is here at the beginning, to show honor and respect, love and joy to you and your Wolf. Once we go inside, all but twenty will leave back to the pack.”

Hycinth nodded silently, and then her eyes zoned in on her brother, who was standing next to my father, both of them in front of the rest of the wolves, ready to receive us. She whispered, “Lucky.”

I wasn’t sure how she was going to handle this part of the ceremony. Not every Wolf knew of our agreement, so Hycinth understood and accepted we had to go through with each step. We were keeping the traditions as simple as possible, but understanding and doing were two different things.

I wrapped an arm around her shoulders and kissed her neck. “You can do this.” Reaching for her hand again, I tugged, and this time, she walked forward.

When we crossed the small clearing, we stopped directly in front of Luca and my father who stood side-by-side to receive us and give us their blessing.

The wolves fell silent.

Hycinth trembled next to me.

My father cleared his throat. His eyes told me how difficult this was for him, to speak the words that had been spoken to him by my grandfather so many years ago. He began gruffly,

“Now you will feel no rain, for each of you will be shelter for the other.

Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be warmth to the other.

Now there is no more loneliness, for each of you will be companion to the other.

Now you are two persons, but there is only one life before you.

Go now to your dwelling to enter into the days of your life together.

And may your days be good and long upon the earth.”**

When my father finished, Luca unfolded a ceremonial blanket he held in his hands. Several of the females had spent weeks creating the intricately woven blanket using colorful hand-dyed silken thread.

Hycinth breathed, “It’s beautiful.”

Gripping a corner of the blanket while Luca still held the other, they walked around to our backs. Standing behind us, they placed the blanket around our shoulders, my father directly behind Hycinth and Luca behind me.

Words were not customarily spoken at this moment, but I heard my father murmur in Hycinth’s ear, too quietly for anyone but us to hear, “I am blessed to have such a beautiful shewolf as a daughter.”

“Thank you,” Hycinth’s voice cracked as she whispered just as softly, surprise and emotion in her voice palpable. She hadn’t expected him to say that. Neither had I. But I was thankful for his approval of her and his blessing.

Luca walked around to stand in front of us while my father stepped away. He glanced up at me. I nodded. Leaning forward, he kissed Hycinth on the cheek. “Love you, Cinn.”

He pulled back. Hycinth swallowed and just nodded.

The moment had come...

Gripping the blanket to our shoulders and our free hands intertwined, Hycinth and I walked into the cottage, where we would spend the next three days...


**Actual Apache Blessing

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