West of Destiny (Book 5 of The Claimed Series)

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Chapter 18

West

As soon as Zach had left, completely phased and howling into the early afternoon, I looked down at my mate. Yes. She was my mate. Finally mine.

My fingers trailed from her face to her neck, stroking the soft skin of her mark—my mark—as it sealed over and the imprint deepened. It morphed from a simple bitemark into something indescribably beautiful to me.

My family had always been quite close to nature, and even as a child we would go on hikes in the woods, in wolf form or not, and become one with it. It shouldn’t have surprised me that her mark signified both her and I, and the claim rose from a simple tree branch as climbing roses winded and twisted their way over the gnarled wood into something spectacular.

The skin under my hand softened and her fragrance became more potent than the most powerful aphrodisiac. My dick hardened instantly, just as the lump of nerves in my throat stiffened into stone. When I spoke next, the sound was raw. Husky. Deeper in timbre than it usually was, but I couldn’t stop the words from coming out.

“Me,” I urged gruffly. “Now bite me.”

She looked a little torn, and I bent to pick her up, pulling her to the swing she had been sitting on before placing her across my lap. Her brow softened and her hand—her soft fucking hand—caressed the skin at the base of my neck, causing a shiver to ripple up my spine and out to my fingertips.

“Now. Please.” I practically growled the command, utterly unable to help myself. “I’m dying here, pretty girl.”

I watched her face turn pink and come closer.

Closer.

Closer.

So fucking close her cool breath made my cock knock against my zipper, and I pulled her even further into me until we were almost one being. After all, there were kids about still, and I didn’t want them seeing something they shouldn’t. Namely, my hard dick.

Still, I couldn’t stop the moan that her bite elicited. Once her teeth broke my skin, I could feel a gush of arousal leaking from my tip, and I thanked God I was wearing black. It would be easier to hide the small wet spot on my pants.

I could feel her tongue lick and flick out at my skin as soon as her teeth pulled, the small pinch of pain fading away slowly and leaving a burning sensation behind. I felt warm—everywhere. From my toenail beds to the roots of my dark hair, everything seemed hotter, and I was surprised her body was so close to mine and not pulling away from my scalding touch.

I didn’t know when I closed my eyes, but when they opened, I looked down into the deep depths of her greyish blue ones, my heart stuttering to a stop as a small gasp escaped my lips.

Perfect. I couldn’t have asked for someone more perfect for me. Strong. Resilient, yet still feminine in all the ways I liked. Soft, pale skin, wavy chestnut hair and a heart-shaped face. As I looked down at her, stroking the line of her chin up to her perfect little ears, my head dropped and our foreheads collided softly. I breathed in a few times, trying to settle myself so that simply standing up wasn’t considered an obscene gesture, but she pushed her body even closer to mine. Her thigh rubbed against my dick and I bit down on my lip, almost to the point of pain.

Her hands were looped around my neck and her soft chest heaved with deep, slow breathing. It both calmed and riled me up and—with a groan—I pulled my head up from hers.

“Little beauty, as much as I love sitting with you here on my lap, I’m gonna have to ask that you quit rubbing up against me like that. It’s—” I breathed deep again, a shudder to my exhale. “—quite distracting, if you know what I mean.”

I rubbed the red of her cheeks and smiled, so contented I could purr like a cat. Instead, I displaced her from my lap and she stood, waiting for me to follow her.

“You…you might want to give me a minute.” I looked pointedly down at the tent in my pants and winked before her face turned away, just the hint of a smile gracing her pretty pink lips.

***

Later that day, I was washing up for supper when I heard a soft humming coming from the direction of the kitchen. If I wasn’t mistaken, she was humming along to some popular tune, though I was more in sync with classic rock ballads from the 70s and 80s. Way before my time, but it was something my father and I had bonded over, and whenever we got together, we listened to Metallica and Whitesnake like we were living in his heyday. I guess that it was comforting to me and I kept up the tradition, even if he wasn’t living on Destiny Pack land anymore. He had gone to Colorado to live with the elders, him being one of the newest initiates to the famed Counsel.

“Do you have any siblings?” Lucy asked as soon as I had meandered over to the kitchen to help get out plates and utensils.

“A sister,” I told her, grabbing a couple of plates and some cups. “Her name is Liz, short for Elizabeth.”

She snorted delicately and smiled. “I would have thought her name would be North or something.”

I frowned, unsure of what she meant.

“Like that Kardashian kid?” I asked. I was sure my face was a lesson in confusion.

“Well, you’re West. She should be North. Like that movie, North by Northwest.

I was slightly aware of a movie by that name, though I had no fucking clue who the actors were or what the premise of the tale was. If I went by the title alone, I would have thought it was some travel movie or maybe an old war docudrama.

“What’s it about?” I asked, and went over to grab some forks and spoons to add to the small dining room table.

She bit her lip as if thinking. “It’s a film by Alfred Hitchcock, one of my favorites. I loved The Birds.” She paused and stirred more of the pasta noodles. “It’s about a man who gets wrongfully accused of a crime and goes on the lam. He meets a woman who is actually working for the government, and they start a relationship. It’s with Cary Grant.”

She shrugged. “It ends happily, though, and they end up getting married.”

It wasn’t a very complete synopsis, but I wondered where she got her love of old movies, if indeed that was what this was.

“You watch a lot of older films then I take it?”

“Some,” she replied. “I like the old Alfred Hitchcock films and I love anything with Bette Davis and Elizabeth Taylor. I especially loved Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf. It’s funny but so sad.”

Call me ignorant, but any film made prior to 1977 was a mystery to me. And I wanted to know more about my new mate, so I pumped her for answers.

“Oh? Is it a Rom Com?” What made it both happy and sad? And why?

She sighed, and it held both melancholia and resignation.

“It’s about a couple, a middle-aged couple—George and Martha—who live in New England. He’s a professor, and she’s the daughter of the president of the college. They have an interesting, combative relationship, and she invites a new couple to the university to their house for drinks after a party. They argue in front of them a lot, and at first the visiting couple is embarrassed, but then also intrigued. The verbal bantering starts out playful, but they soon are hurling accusations and declare “war” on each other. In the end, George tells Martha that their son has died.”

“Jesus.” I exhale loudly.

“That’s not all,” she says as she shakes her head. “Martha begs George not to kill their son.” Before I can argue that point, she continues. “You see, George and Martha were never able to have kids, so Martha made up a little boy in her mind to placate herself. George went along with it, so long as she never mentioned their fabled son to anyone else. But, she mentioned him to one of her guests, so George “killed” the boy.”

There was a silence so deep it made everything feel hollow. Clearing my throat after a few moments, my voice sounded wobbly and weak.

“It sounds intriguing,” I murmured. “I think…I think I’d like to see that movie one of these days.”

She nodded silently, though the tense set of her shoulders had relaxed when I spoke.

“We should probably also talk about what this marking means.” She looked over at me, her eyes widening marginally when I stepped closer to her and cupped her face with my hands. “You will go into heat within the week. Are you sure you’re ready for that, my beauty?”

Her face softened and cheeks pinked up, right before she nodded her head again, this time more resolutely.

“I’m ready for that.” I pulled her in even closer and kissed her lips gently. “I’m ready for it all. With you.”

***

As I walked into my bedroom, I realized that this would actually be the first night I would sleep in the same bed as my mate. I had quietly urged her to help me move her things into our shared bedroom, and she had smiled back at me, agreeing almost instantly now that the pull to be together was so strong. It had certainly been powerful enough for me to haul her onto my lap after dinner and watch some horrible reality TV play out on the screen. I could have watched paint drying so long as she was near enough to touch and smell. Instead, we watched some angry housewives complain about their botched Botox and worry over idiotic trivialities that made me want to cringe with every word spoken.

As I got ready for bed, I could hear Lucy in the bathroom, brushing her teeth. Even her spitting into the double sinks seemed delicate and fragile, and I was almost tempted to go in there and watch her, completely entranced by everything she did.

Hearing the water shut off as she finished her nightly bedtime ritual, my breathing started to speed up as I pulled the covers back and crawled under the sheets.

Fuck me, but I was nervous. I had held her close, bitten into her flesh to mark her as mine, and yet somehow, this seemed deeper, more intimate. I laid myself onto my back, not the normal way I would fall asleep at all, but I wanted to be able to see her when she left the bedroom and got into my bed with me. Well…our bed now.

The light from the bathroom washed over the rug in the bedroom and it flickered off just as quickly. I had to struggle not to look over and stare, but I closed my eyes, biting back the urge to tell her to move it along. If I hadn’t been aching to hold her close to me, I might have shot up from my spot and dragged her to the bed like some Neanderthal with zero manners. As it was, I wanted to be close, but I also didn’t want to scare her.

As her small body climbed up onto the mattress, I felt mine being pulled toward her, even as I laid still on the bed. It was fucking unreal, the bond, and I couldn’t help but let its warmth wash over and pull me under.

Like her skin was magnetic, my hand wandered over to cup her cheek, her body rolled onto its side and curled up in a fetal position that made her look even smaller, more breakable. But I didn’t want to wear my female down; I wanted to empower her, give her my strength if I had to—every ounce of it, if that’s what it took.

I moved over, turning onto my side to face her, the pink flush of her cheeks even apparent in the dark of the room. When I cupped them more firmly in my hand, they warmed even further, and I ran my thumb over her bottom lip before pressing down on it.

“You’re perfect.”

Okay, that sounded weird, I admit.

“I mean, you’re perfect for me,” I explained further. I wasn’t lying. Every bit of her was like someone had dipped into my head and picked out the perfect version of a mate from all my dreams and fantasies, then molded them into a living, breathing creature of extraordinary beauty.

Honestly, it was embarrassing to be this smitten after having only known her for a little while. After having found and met Carla, my ex-mate, it was like living a dream that I didn’t even know I wanted, and realizing that good things did come to those who waited.

It was well worth it.

Leaning in, I took her lips with mine before licking inside. When she returned the kiss, I grew bolder and nestled closer until our bodies were molded together so not even a breath of air could pass between us.

Lucy tucked her left arm over my waist, and my hand found her hip before trailing down to her ass and resting there. My hardened cock pressed between us, but I knew that that night—today—wasn’t the time to between thinking with my dick. She had accepted me and rejected her ex-mate irrevocably and all in the same twenty-four hours, and I wanted to give her the time to let that sink it. If it took all the way to her first day of heat, so be it.

I fell asleep that night—the first restful night in five years—feeling more complete, my lips pressed against her forehead as her body relaxed and succumbed to sleep. Mine soon followed.

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