Sunlight hit my face and I squinted to keep it out, trying to doze for a while longer. It was no use, the winter morning sun in this room was too bright to ignore. Will really needed to invest in blockout blinds. I shot up in bed.
Will. Fuck. His face when we were having sex, when I was climaxing around him. His eyes had turned black onyx and his mouth showed teeth unnatural for a human, it was terrifying and for a moment there I wondered who I had been letting inside me. My hand reached up to my neck.
He bit me! Not a gentle nip, like we had played with before, but a full want-to-take-a-chunk bite. My fingers prodded the area, relieved to find that there wasn’t a deep part missing, but there sure as shit were some deep marks and was sore to the touch. Fuck, I really didn’t know him at all, did I? Sure, I knew the sex god who knew his way around my body, but not the Were who used violence to get what he wanted.
I was suddenly getting the feeling that Gran was right, and maybe I should take some space from my new beau. I had been keeping it close to my chest, but I had been having a serious infatuation with the man since the night of the bonfire. Whenever my brain wasn’t actively doing something, it would drift to him, and more than once I had called my vibrator ‘Alpha’.
Though in keeping with my new persona of not being a pushover, I was determined to play it cool. When he had talked about dating the other night, it took everything I had to not be a simpering, grateful, idiot, and maintain my poker face. There was more to me than that now, and I wanted him, but only on terms that would work for both of us. But damn, nothing like a case of canine domestic violence to reevaluate one’s priorities.
I stretched my legs and noticed I was still half naked, the sheets had been pulled over. Movement in my peripheral grabbed my attention. There he was, shirtless and in jeans, sitting in the corner chair. He was leaning over, elbows on knees, his head low and eyes locked on me.
His bare brown skin flexing the muscles of his chest almost made me forget everything and my mind blanked. That gaze could only be called hard and territorial. I had never seen this Will before. Maybe when he had picked me up from the police station, and he was filled with some kind of mix of pain and rage, but this Will looked more heated than that. He looked like a goddamn predator.
Suddenly hyper-aware that I was still half naked, I pulled the sheet up so it fully covered my waist. He noticed the movement and glanced down.
“Don’t do that.”
I looked down at the offending sheet.
“You’re not afraid of me, so don’t pretend to be.” Who was pretending? This dude literally bit into me and his face changed while he was inside me. I ignored the comment and looked to the window, still clearly morning, I must have only been out for a little while.
“How long have I been asleep?”
From the chair, he leaned back and rested his head on the wall.
“About a day, give or take an hour.”
My head whipped around.
“A day! What the hell?”
“The process takes a bit out of you, and I... unfortunately took a bit more than intended, not to mention you were pretty emotionally drained as it was.” I stilled at his explanation.
“Process... what process?” I asked.
“The mating process”
“The mating process?”
“When I bit you.”
“When you bit me?”
He groaned in frustration. “Kelly, you’re not a fucking echo. Just ask and get it over with.” He rubbed his scalp over like he was the one that had just been minorly assaulted.
“Mating? We have ‘mated’ before.” I sassed. This man would not get an inch from me right now.
He shook his head.
“Like the noun, we are mates, we always have been. I just didn’t know why until Gran’s revelation. The feelings you have for me,...they are more. They are from the sleeping wolf in your DNA, the one who was woken last month. Now I can feel you, all of you.” He looked down to his hands and flexed them, as if trying on new gloves.
“That sounds... serious.” My eyes wide, what the fuck was he saying, he felt me? Like emotionally? Staring hard into my eyes, as if I was going to challenge what he had just done to me, he muttered.
“It is very.”
“Then it sounds like a thing that should have been consensual!? What the fuck, Will? I don’t know the first thing about this ‘mate’ business, but we have been ‘dating’ for all of one day. I don’t even know if you like Chinese food, for God’s sake! What if we don’t get along, what if you meet someone else, what if I do?”
My brain started to think of all the things that we didn’t know about each other, but Will cocked an eyebrow and his expression turned murderous, he was getting angry.
“If you could ever think of someone else enough to let him touch you, I would kill him, of course.”
I threw my hands up in irritation. “Of course you would.”
I ran my eyes around the bed, spotting my jeans and coat. Throwing off the covers, I went for them and slipped them on in record time. I had to get out of this room, away from him. I pulled on my boots and he was suddenly in front of me, blocking my exit.
“Why did you do this? What does it even mean?” I asked him, angry. God I was angry.
“I asked you if you wanted me and I did it because as I said before, we belong to each other. If you weren’t trying to put up this bluff of being stone cold and unaffected, you would admit what you feel for me too, and save everyone a lot of grief. Now, I will be able to feel you anywhere you go, if you’re in trouble, if you’re hurt, scared, dying. Anything, I will feel it. You can’t hide anything from me.” I swallowed hard, that sounded handy but very intimate for people new to each other.
“Why can’t I feel you?” I asked cautiously.
“Because you didn’t bite me or take me into you. But after the next full moon, it won’t be long after.”
I shook my head again, this was too much, too fast. Moving around him and to the door, he grabbed my wrists and I struggled against it for a moment.
“Where are you going?”
“I need to get out of here for some air...and space.” I focused on my wrists and the charged air around it and heard a snap of electricity. Will recoiled from the small static shock and I walked for the front door.
“Don’t go too far,” he called out behind me. I snorted at the idea of now doing as I’m told, after the shit show that was my Gran yesterday. Trading one tyrant for another, was I? It didn’t feel like that, but I was brimming with anger at the moment and didn’t want to admit to anything.
As I reached for the door, it suddenly opened from the other side. Facing me with a big rucksack on his back was Jess. He stepped back with his trademark lopsided smile and stepped in again to hug.
“Hey roomie. I thought he might have brought you back here.” I half heartedly returned his hug and pulled back to look around him, seeing several of my suitcases on the front porch. He had terrible timing though and I did not have patience for a reunion or to take out my anger on Jess.
“Nice to see you, Jess, I’ll be back in a few hours to catch up, yeah?” I started to move past him and he grabbed my shoulders to stop me from walking away. Eyes moved down to my neck and I guessed he was examining Will’s bite mark.
“Well, that was fast...and unusual,” he said, surprised.
“I didn’t exactly agree to it.” I gritted, and his eyes grew confused, then dark as he realized what happened. I broke his hold on my shoulders and walked down the steps towards the river. Behind me, I could hear Will meet his brother at the door and the two began to argue.
I did not fucking care. In fact, I started to lightly jog down the river path and once I hit it, ran along the track for about a mile. When I stopped, I was winded and my feet hurt in the boots not made for running. I paced back and forth in a little grotto next to the fast moving water, hands on my hips in thought.
God, how dare he do that? Did I like Will? Undeniably. Had I wanted to be with him, at least see where it went? Of course. But this was too much, to feel everything I felt and literally have me inside him? It reeked of possessiveness, control, and definitely Alpha male shit.
I unconsciously smiled at the thought, yeah, okay, Will was an Alpha. I had nothing to do with that side of his life yet, so to me, he was just the Adonis I had some weird affair and connection. Maybe he was all blood and glory in his natural state. Surely he would have been in some fights as the chief of a nation and Weres. Fuck, that was hot. I was ashamed to say it out loud, but it made me wetter than a rainy day when he took control yesterday against my half hearted pleas, right up until he bit me.
Lord, was that the wolf part of me? Submitting to an Alpha? There was so much I didn’t know and it drove me crazy to think everything I am, that I had been building since I was 18 and out of the control of the Coven, was now thrown for a loop. I closed my eyes and faced the river. Vowing through silent but moving lips, I would not lose myself to a pack or new man, just because he claimed we were mates. What the hell did that even mean, anyway? Mates with benefits? Mates for life?
Turning back down the track, I began on the way to the house, thinking about the implications of what I learned yesterday and what was forced onto me. When the house came back into view, I still had no idea, and Will’s mother’s greenhouse looked inviting. Walking straight to it, the door was unlocked and the air more comfortable inside than out.
I took a deep breath. It did the soul good, at least mine, to be in a nursery, where the entire purpose was to grow and thrive. No one could hold onto anger in a greenhouse, I was certain. A comfy seat at the end of the aisle was covered with years of dust, but still good for its purpose.
Sitting down, I brought a foot up and rubbed my heel. Running in boots, never smart. I sat there for a moment when I heard something rustle near the tall potted lemon tree down the other end of the house. A moment later, Don Achran came into the aisle and spotted me sitting in the chair. He stilled for a second, looking me over, a puzzle coming onto his face, then pain. I looked around for the source. Of course, I was sitting in what I assumed was his wife’s chair, wearing her coat and jeans.
Whatever he thought he saw, he shook off and walked down the length of the greenhouse towards me, gently smiling.
“Hello again, Kelly. Didn’t expect to find you here.” Stopping right in front of a new bag of soil up on the table and a plastic bag from the local gardening store, he began to unpack.
I stopped rubbing my feet and stood next to him, helping unload.
“Well, I did graduate with a degree in Earth Sciences, so probably not too unexpected, right?” He smiled at me vaguely, looking like he didn’t quite remember our prior conversations. But still, he remembered my name, so that was something. Continuing on like he could remember perfectly, he said,
“Will mentioned that this place needed some sprucing up. My Marigold was always in here, you know? It was her woman cave, so to speak. Guess it just didn’t seem right to come in here and muck things up. But on the other hand, she would probably throw me out seeing like this” He gave a small grin that barely reached his cheeks as he was remembering his dead wife.
Clearing the bench of old scraps and beginning to churn the old earth with the new potting soil, it was clear he was going to try and get some new flowers ready for the spring. I caught on and silently began to work next to him. He turned his head to me and gave a genuine smile of camaraderie. It hit me that this was a Were who could give me answers and probably not remember that he had done so. It would also be a window into Will and how he developed into being the man who forced a bond onto someone he proclaimed he cared about.
“Don, I was wondering if you could tell me about... the ‘mating process’?” I cringed at how ridiculous that sounded by itself.
The older chief turned his head sideways to me again and held a smile, as if he had heard a small joke. I kept my head down, hoping that he would just take it as casual conversation.
“Oh geez, don’t go through with that until you’re good and ready.”
I grimaced, he was talking about the pain. From what I could remember, it was excruciating for a few seconds before I passed out.
“Because it hurts... yeah I guessed.”
Don put his trowel down and turned his body to mine.
“Not because of the bite. Of course getting bitten by anything hurts. But afterwards, it’s a lot.” I must have looked confused because he pursed his lips together in thought, trying to find the right words.
“Weres already have two beings taking up the same space. When you mate, it’s like inviting a third consciousness into the mix. The third won’t ever talk back or engage, but the first two are going to feel everything emotionally, the highs and lows, even when there is intense physical pain or pleasure. To say it’s a commitment is putting it lightly, it’s giving up yourself to fit another in.”
He spoke quietly and solemnly. Oh god, this was not a good subject. His wife had died of cancer, had gone through chemotherapy treatment, had been in a lot of pain and fear. He would have felt everything she did, loved her enough to go through it together.
I stopped moving my fingers through the soil and found a tear running down my cheek. Poor Don, and here I was pumping him for information, asking him to relive painful memories that were some of the only ones he left. I was such a piece of shit.
Suddenly, the door closest to us flung open and Will walked in, slightly out of breath like he had jogged from the house. He pulled up short when he saw his father and I next to each other.
“Alright, Kelly?” He asked. I nodded and wiped a tear from my cheek and then looked down, continuing to work. I was not ready to look at him, he was far too handsome and if he even gave me a weak smile I might forgive him right here and now. I was determined to let something stew for a while. He seemed to understand we weren’t at the talking stage yet, cause he straightened up and addressed us together.
“I’m running into town but I’ll be back in an hour. Dad, did you need anything?”
Don looked down at the worktable and eyed my bare, dirty hands.
“Size small gardening gloves if you please.”
I looked up at Don and smiled, hearing Will leave the greenhouse, his father’s eyes were flicking between the space he just left and me. They then caught sight of my neck and once more flicking back to an imaginary Will. I turned back to the table and resumed potting and changing the soil.
Silence returned to the room and I pushed Will from my mind and focused on the feeling of dirt beneath my fingers, wondering how Gran did that magic with growing the flowers. She said...
“Was that my boy?” Don asked, breaking me from my thoughts. He was looking down at my neck.
I gave a heavy exhale and nodded once, saying nothing, but continuing to scoop dirt. I didn’t like the way he did it, but I wouldn’t bad mouth a son to a loving disabled father. It did no good though, and Don must have sensed that it wasn’t a happy topic.
He sighed and resumed his task.
“My son’s a good man, but sometimes he goes about things the wrong way. Ever since his mother passed, he has been angry, using his fist and silence to get his way more often than not. Though I will say he has been much calmer, happier even, in the last few days,” he slyly looked over to me to see if I would acknowledge the compliment. The indifferent look on my face didn’t budge and Don sighed, turning back to his pot.
“But, whatever the story, I can tell you a few things that might lighten the load on your shoulders.” Stilling my hands, I now looked up to the old man. “Whatever Will did, he’s been thinking about it for a long time. Never quite met a man who would think on the one topic for so long without making a decision. Two, when he does make a decision, it’s not lightly. All the big decisions in this house mean something to us, we know they last and we have to live with them. And last, if he did it poorly, it’s cause he was scared.” Don rested his hand on my shoulder and I looked over at him, now wondering what could scare Will?
“He lost a lot when he lost his mother and saw a lot in this house. Taking care of everyone for so long, he must have seen some from other families too. I know I’m getting... more forgetful everyday, but I’ll never forget how good my son is.... You know, once he stops using his fists to solve problems.” He added with a chuckle. I raised my eyebrows, I definitely hadn’t seen that Will yet.
I gave the older man an encouraging grin and we both turned back to the desk. Once the potters had new earth mixed in, I looked down at the seed packets that Don had bought. Mostly what had already been here before, Mari’s favorites.
Looking at the cornflower seeds in my hand, what had Gran said about the skill for growing flowers? Too much and you’ll fry them? That made sense, too much sun in summer and plants withered and died. Too much energy is electrocution, just like the Hunter, twitching on the ground.
I shook the image out of my head and focused on the seed, placing it down in its little hole and covering it. My fingers dug into the earth around and I reached out my sense to feel what was in the soil. It was there, a little space that felt heavier than the energy around it. Remembering Bio 101 and the flow of energy needed for photosynthesis, softly I pushed a slow pulse of my own energy to the seed. I felt it crack open a little and the start of a little root poked out.
Smiling to myself, I kept my eyes closed and repeated the soft pulse over and over again, never going too fast or giving too much to the little seed. When I finally felt the root system reach a few inches wide, I opened my eyes. Staring down at me was a little green shoot with a few small leaves, no bud or flowers, but still something.
Fuck, yes! I beamed down at my little plant, almost doing a little dance at the table but settled for a little bop on my feet. Don and I continued to work our way down the aisle, through the old pots that by the time I heard Will’s truck, we had nearly gotten through all of them. Potting was mindless work for me, so I had been giving thought to Will. I understood a little better about what it meant to a Were, to do what he did. But what the hell did Will, Alpha and Chief of a long line of the same, had to be afraid of? That he might never meet a mate again, so quick, grab it up while it’s here! It didn’t make sense. I looked at my little cornflower shoot up the other end of the row.
I could do this. I strode down the end and gently placed my fingers into the pot one last time. Giving a rhythm to the pulse that I was pushing into the now stem and roots, I opened my eyes after a minute. There, on a now much bigger stem, was a sole cornflower in a shade of dark violet. It wasn’t big and looked a little weak, like it hadn’t gotten enough rain or sun, but still, it was there.
Picking it off the stem, I walked back down the aisle to Don. He looked up and I held up the flower with a big smile on my face.
“For you.” He studied the flower, and then returned my smile with a remorseful grin that didn’t touch his eyes. Looking up at my face again, he studied it,
“You have your father’s smile, huh?”
I blanched. Was he asking me, or telling me?
“Yeah... I do. Did you know my father?” The typical glaze came over his eyes and he looked at me quizzically.
“Did I? Was he from around here?”
Okay, another round of Alziehmers. I shook my head for him.
“No, he grew up a long way from here. Remember, he was from the U.K.?”
Don nodded his head, “Yes, of course he was.” I smiled and went to lay my hand on his shoulder then stopped myself when I saw my dirty hands. Maybe not.
“Well, I’m going to head in, it’s starting to get dark and a bit too chilly for me.”
Don nodded and looked down at all the progress we had made, “I won’t be far behind.”
Leaving the greenhouse, I strode off to the main home, anxious what I would find in there. Calm and self-controlled Will, who was the unselfish lover and sparred with loving words. Or the impassive Alpha warrior who wouldn’t even bother to ask me if I wanted a ‘mate’ connection with him?
As it turned out, there was no one in the living room or immediate entry way. Feeling grit all over my arms, I headed to his room and found more of the same. Standing in the corner were several suitcases from my now vacant apartment waiting for me to open. I owed Jess big.
I lifted my arms above my head to stretch out the ache of leaning over pots for an hour. Oh God, I hurt. From the blisters in my shoes, to the chafing from running and sweating in jeans, to the pain in my neck. I needed a shower and headed into the ensuite, flipping the shower on to steam up. Stripping off the sweaty, grimy clothes, I examined my neck in the mirror and washed my hands. The wound actually didn’t look terrible, the scab looked nearly a few days old. Was that a side effect of the lycanthropy disease? Healing? Seemed like a pretty big boon for an animal that was always getting in fights. I fingered the area, no seeping.
My naked body was illuminated by the lights above and I studied it in the big double mirror. A bruise on the side of my breast, looking suspiciously like a hickey. A similar shade bruise was on my hip in the shape of a hand. I guess our sex, while being good, was pretty rough. Rough enough to mark each other without teeth. Fuck, that turned me on so much, it was obscene. I had never been into rough, dominating sex before, but maybe it was because I never had the right man for it.
Will. If any man I had ever met deserved to be called exotic, it was him. His bronzed brown skin and strong jaw line was so masculine it could be called lewd. When you threw in his thick laborer’s body, it was enough to make any woman swoon. I moved my hand down past my stomach and to my lips to touch myself.
Fuck, Will. Grabbing my hair from behind and demanding that I say his name in a moan, telling me to cum around him, whispering in my ear that he was going to fill me. Whatever issue I had with his whole biting thing, I clearly was aroused when it came to him in the bed. I circled my finger faster and thought of his face when I was sitting on top of him, riding him, his eyes locked onto mine and daring me to stare him down. A final circle of my finger and I grasped the sink in front of me and came silently, breathing through it til I felt it ebb away and was left with the delightful release.
I had no idea who was in the house, but would die of embarrassment if I thought Will’s father had heard me masturbating to the thought of his son. As if he knew I would be flustered at that moment, the bathroom door abruptly swung open and Will burst through in a wife-beater and jeans. He had a gleam of sweat over him and a musty smell, like he had just been cutting firewood, and was out of breath.
I swung around and my first instinct was to grab a towel for cover, but after seeing Will’s rigid stance and fervid eyes looking me up and down, I forced my hands down and glared at him proudly. I was not the one in the dog house here, and although I was just pleasuring myself to the mere thought of him, he would have to drag the words from my mouth before I ever admitted it. I returned his stare for a moment before turning my back on him and heading towards the shower.
My arm and body was swung back as he clasped our bodies together.
“I feel everything, Kelly.”
Oh shit. He looked down my naked body and his rough hand scraped down my breast, past my stomach, and to my groin, where he slipped his finger in to find the remnants of my recent orgasm. I closed my eyes and groaned, grasping onto his shoulders for support in case my legs forgot their purpose.
That was enough of an invitation for him, and I felt myself lifted up by the waist and carried into the shower, hot water hitting our sides. Our bodies and lips crushed together, as he pressed me up against the tiled wall, and sucked the unmarked side of my neck. Steam surrounded us, and as he took off his singlet, I reached for his now sodden jeans to unbuckle them, pushing them down for him to step out.
Will. God, what was I mad at again? That this virile man wanted a piece of me, to be with me? It seemed absurd to be angry at someone who could use his hands and tongue like this. He lifted my left leg up and I grabbed his shaft to position him inside, water streaming between us. Not wasting his time, he filled me and I almost cried out from being overwhelmed. He held my weight while I leaned my head back against the wall.
“Will,” I moaned. He picked up his pace at the sound of his name as praise and I looked to meet his eyes as water cascaded down his face. The throbbing between my legs grew and it felt like it was everywhere in my body as he cinched us tighter together, his groin now brushing my clit.
“Oh, Jesus,” I murmured and wrapped my arms around his head, burying my face into his neck. The thrum seemed everywhere, even as I kissed his neck, I felt it under his skin. Will’s hand clutched my leg, moved up my thigh and to my backside, massaging it against the shower wall. His pace hadn’t slowed, but had become firmer, like he wanted to be sure he was hitting every spare inch of me inside. Resting my head down on his shoulder, I kissed it mindlessly, just letting myself feel whatever he wanted.
Holy shit, I wanted him to come inside me. I wanted him inside me. I stilled my mouth on his shoulder and kept my mouth pressed onto him as I realized what thoughts were running in my head.
There, underneath my lips and his skin, I could feel his blood pumping, firm and powerful, just like his thrusts. He whispered into my ear,
“Do it, baby. Just bite down, but don’t try to close your mouth.” I blinked water out of my eyes in thought. Did I want to do this? Rowdy sex was one thing, but this was something else. As if he could sense me thinking it through, he picked up my other leg from the back of my thigh, lifting me off the shower floor and supporting my weight. Spreading my legs wide to give himself unlimited access, he thrust especially hard and I stifled a cry of pleasure. He was trying to fuck the thoughts from my head, to make me run on pure feeling. His mouth found mine and he delved his tongue in. God, it was working.
He pulled back and growled,
“Stop being so fucking repressed and take it, Kelly.” His voice was deep and guttural, had it always been like that? But he was right, I did want him, I wanted to be closer and this would make us inseparable. Our cheeks were touching and I looked down the length of him. Fuck, he was beautiful, right down to that soft patch of skin at the base of his neck.
His pace fastened and he was hitting my clit like he knew that’s how I orgasmed, and all I could do was whimper as he pounded the sense out of me. My insides clenched and I heard Will start to come, groaning my name through gritted teeth. I opened my mouth onto that beautiful patch of skin and dug my teeth in as far as I could go, tasting the copper tang of blood. Fuck, I was still coming and my brain struggled to do two things at once. I clung onto his neck and strained against it, riding it out, still feeling the warmth of blood in my mouth sliding down my throat.
Will had stilled inside me, depleting himself. After two or three mouthfuls, I stopped sucking and let go of my grip on his neck. Water washed over my bite mark and we were both still as we found our breaths.
After a few moments, he released me and set me on my feet, a wave of exhaustion hitting me. He cupped my head between his hands as hot water still teemed down our bodies, whispering against my lips to drive his point across,
“We own each other, Kelly Jones. Don’t ever forget that.”