His hands grip my thighs, wrapped around his waist as he feathers my neck with kisses. For a moment, I remind myself that I’m not wearing any panties, but this feels too good to care. I throw my head back in pleasure, a soft moan escaping my lips. I’ve shared many kisses, but none of them come close to what Arlo is doing to me right now. The sparks send a rush of heat to my core as he inches closer and closer up my thighs.
“Astrid,” He groans in warning. I shouldn’t be doing this. I should pull his hands off me and forget this ever happened. But my body is screaming to give in to my deepest desires. “I want to fuck you so bad.” His words make me pause. Not because I’m shocked or horrified. But because his words make me ache between my thighs.
With my eyes locked on his, I shift my hips upward and my wet skin touches his abdomen. His eyes turn a deep red, indicating that his wolf is just under the surface, itching to be let out. He lets out a guttural growl before his lips are back on mine, and the smell of my arousal thickens in the air.
I want you. The words sit at the tip of my tongue, daring me to push the limits and send us both off the edge.All I have to do is say the words and our clothes could come off. We’re out here all alone with no one to interrupt us.
No one except Mother nature knocking some common sense into me.
I wipe the single rain drop from my cheek and watch the thunderous gray clouds light up the dark sky. It is then, as I stand there wrapped in his firm embrace, my soaking pussy halfway exposed, that I realize how close I came to giving all of myself to him.
Arlo looks as frustrated as I feel. He sighs and rests his head on my chest. And having him so close to my breasts doesn’t help my situation. I have to get some space between us before we both lose control.
“We should probably head back before we get soaked out here,” I laugh, nervously shifting my weight back on my feet.
He looks up somberly, placing his hands on both sides of my head. For a second, I think we’re in way too deep. I think he wants to make love to me and I’m not sure I can deny him. Instead, he smiles playfully and leans in, whispering, “Race you to the house.”
I’m still trying to catch my breath as I watch him speed off into the rain. I’d planned to wait under the tree until the rain simmered down, but the wind picks up and my hair is now drenched. Damn the weather witch for picking the exact moment I had an almost fuck fest with my mate in the woods. At least the rain has washed the dry blood from my thighs.
It’s funny how I went from almost killing Louisa (literally) to feeling complete tranquility. Running through the thick woods, careless and free by Arlo’s side, did that for me. He smiles in my direction, and I swear I’ve never felt more alive.
“Mr. Jenkins is an uptight douche canoe,” Khloe complains. She calls him every word in the book as I set the phone down on the sink and put her on speaker.
“Mr. Jenkins is one of my best clients and you will be nice to him,” I tell her as I towel dry my fresh, shampooed hair.
“I don’t understand how you can deal with him. That arrogant son of a bitch told Rachel that I was an immature, bratty teenager who shouldn’t be running your business, all because I didn’t offer him some coffee when he walked in. Can you believe he said that?” I couldn’t blame my sister for feeling some type of way about Mr. Jenkins. He was a bit of a cranky old man sometimes.
“He’s not much of a people person. When he walks into the gallery, he expects me and Rachel to greet him a certain way because that’s what he’s used to.” Having my little sister meet him probably just threw him off. I’m sure this arrangement is strange for all my clients.
“Please, please don’t make me meet up with him again.”
“You’re the only one who is up to date with my events. Just meet with him on Saturday and you won’t have to see him again. I’ll be back soon, Khlo.”
“Ugh!” Khloe groans. “I hope you and Arlo find this witch. Everything sucks without you. I miss you.”
“I miss you too.” She doesn’t know how much I truly mean that. I miss my family. I miss late nights on the beach. I miss my favorite coffee shop. I miss waking up on Sunday mornings and painting from sunup to sundown. I miss the gallery. I miss living in my pack.
I want my life back.
Reminiscing the normal days, I grab my hairbrush and wipe the moisture from the mirror with the edge of my sleeve. Except I pause when the red hair catches my attention. Last time I checked, I was born with dark hair. What the hell?
I gasp and nearly fall backward inside the bathtub. Instead, my knees give out and I sit down on the floor. The reflection staring back at me wasn’t mine. How is that even possible?
“Astrid?” Khloe calls for me, her voice full of concern.
I can’t form the words to reassure her I’m alright, because I’m not. It’s not every day that I find a witch spying on me from the bathroom mirror. I carefully grab the phone off the sink without looking up at the mirror. “Khloe, I gotta go.” My fingers frantically tap the end button, cutting her off.
There are two probable reasons for the reflection in the mirror. One- I’m seeing weird shit that isn’t really there. Two- Cassandra has somehow found a way to magically communicate with me. I’m guessing it’s the latter.
I remember in class last week, Nicolas was discussing the topic of astral projection to the students. An outer body experience that allows the soul to travel from its host. It’s the only reasonable explanation for Cassandra’s appearance.
Slowly, I stand up and face the mirror. She hasn’t left. She’s still staring at me like I’m a fresh piece of meat. “What do you want from me? Why are you doing all of this?”
Her dark eyes sparkle as she answers honestly. “I want the blood of River Ash’s first female. And I’ll do anything to get what I want. I think you know that very well by now.”
Two witches testing my patience in one night. At this point, I’ll have to spend all night running in the woods. I grip the corners of the vanity and lean in closer to the mirror, bearing my canines. “If you want me, then come and get me. I’m not afraid of you.”
She opens her mouth to speak another threat, but stops when the front door slams shut. Her gaze drops to the bathroom door and then back to me. “Surrender yourself to me or a lot of innocent lives will be taken.” She disappears from the mirror as Arlo’s footsteps come down the hall. I hastily turn the light off and shut the bathroom door as if the boogie man were about to capture me. Well, in this case boogie woman.
Arlo gives me a quick peck on the lips and leads me to the kitchen table. He brought back my dinner from earlier so I wouldn’t go to bed on an empty stomach. Luckily, he’s too tired from the run to sit at the table with me. Which is great because I don’t feel talkative at all.
Later that night, I have terrible nightmares. I dream of Azazel standing over my bed, whispering evil promises. I dream of Cassandra and her stupid mirror trick. I dream of Jackson Blackburn murdering the very first female of my pack. That last one replays over and over in my head. And I can’t decide where I fit into this sinister puzzle.
Maybe that curse is finally catching up to me.