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Her eyes scanned the forest across the lawn from the house. Her house was situated in the largest opening in the trees for several miles. The forest was thick in this part of Northern California, and the area where her parents had bought this land was seldom visited by anybody that didn’t belong here. Foresters didn’t come up here, as her parents owned much of the land, and Brian owned a larger chunk that nearly completely surrounded her property.

All was quiet in the wood...too quiet. It reminded her of another day long enough ago to warrant it being called an old memory, but recent enough that it was still fresh in her memory. She’d stood in this very spot...

“Miss Randell, are you ready?”

Madelyn stood at the railing of the porch. She was looking at everything...committing it to her memory. She was certain she’d never return here. A tear trailed down her cheek as she looked toward the picnic table that sat under a single valley oak tree in the yard. The tree stood, its’ branches spread out over a huge area. The table sat near the trunk. Daddy had built it the year they moved to this house. She could still remember holding the nails and bolts for him, watching with big violet eyes as he took all of those pieces and built the beautiful table from scratch.

The aspen lining their drive stood bare. Thinking back, she smiled as she remembered how she and Daddy had walked the entire length of the drive, and she’d given each tree a name. Later, he made wooden plaques bearing the names of each tree and drove stakes into the ground a foot from the base of each, the plaques screwed onto each stake. They still stood there.

“Miss Randell?” She ignored the voice of the annoying young man who’d come to collect her and take her to live in the city and moved down the steps into the garden.

Another tear rolled down her cheek as she glanced to her left. She and Mother had covered each flower bed with thick layers of moss and straw not long before the first signs of winter made their appearance, to protect their precious bulbs during the frozen months. The rose bushes were pruned and made ready for winter the same week they’d prepared their bulb beds.

Walking slowly around the house, she stopped at each place that held meaning for her. There were many: the small pet cemetery where her cat Lucy and her lovebirds had been laid to rest. Each had a grave marker. Mother’s puppy Roxy’s grave had a marker as well. The pup had come to them when she was 10 years old, but wasn’t long for this world. At 9 months, she’d fallen victim to parvo. Even with good veterinary care, she was too young to survive it. They didn’t get another dog after Roxy died. It was too painful for Maddy.

“Please, Miss Randell, we must go soon if we’re to catch the plane out,” Mr. Annoying, as she’d quietly nicknamed him, said in his nasal voice. Whenever he talked, it sounded like a whiny child who wasn’t getting his way. It annoyed Madelyn to no end.

“We’ll go when I’m ready, David,” Madelyn replied and said no more to the irritating man.

Moving toward the wood, she took a few steps along the path toward her meadow, but stopped. The tears began to flow free now. Turning around, she returned to the house and collected the few things she hadn’t allowed David to touch and left with him.

“Where could he be?” she whispered to herself as her mind again slipped back out of the past and into the present. The wood surrounding the house was quiet...almost too quiet. Her eyes scanned the wood once more, hoping she’d catch a glimpse...growing just a little more nervous, she turned to go back inside. She’d only just reached the door when she heard something behind her.

Holding the knife ready, she turned around. Her fear was quickly replaced with delight and she dropped to her knees, tears of joy running down her face. Tossing the knife aside, she opened her arms and flung them round the neck of the wolf sitting there.

“Connor!” she breathed, holding him tight, digging her fingers into his thick coat. Nuzzling her, he whispered soothing words into her ear. “I was so afraid for you, Connor. I hid in the grass, and when he came into the meadow behind you, my heart skipped a beat. I didn’t know what to do, other than to get out of there as quickly as possible.”

“You did the right thing, Madelyn.” Connor sighed after shifting and wrapping his arms around her, enjoying the moment. He didn’t bother to tell her what happened after she’d fled. It didn’t matter now. What mattered was his mating with her. He’d been challenged for her once already and after what happened to that challenger, he was certain nobody would challenge him for her again.

She pulled back, looking him over.

“You’re not hurt, are you?” she asked softly.

“No, love,” he responded, “I’m fine.”

“Well, then, in that case...” she said, a coy smile playing across her lips. “I said if you could catch me, I’d be yours, Connor,” she said to him.

“Aye, love, you did,” he replied.

“I think you have an unfair advantage now, though, don’t you?” she said.

“Oh no, Madelyn, I don’t think there is any unfairness. I have caught you, no doubt about it. And there is no escape, darling.” He watched as her breath quickened and a smile spread across his face. “However, we can’t do this here, in the doorway. Run, Maddy,” he said to her. He smiled slyly before continuing, “…but don’t expect to get very far.”

Her eyes went big, her mouth opening in a silent protest, but he growled after shifting back into his wolf form. Gasping, she complied, springing to her feet, and ran across the porch then down the stairs onto the lawn below. She ran toward the wall of trees ahead of her but skidded to a stop when three wolves stepped calmly from the wood. Turning quickly, she ran toward the path to her meadow. More wolves emerged from the trees. All were excited, some howled, others growled when she ran toward them.

Tripping over her own feet, she rolled across the grass, and before she knew it, he was atop her. She lay on her back beneath him, chest heaving as she tried to catch her breath. Before she could say or do anything, he flipped her over. Wrapping his forelegs round her waist, he reached down with his head and whispered a soft apology into her ear then sank his teeth into her shoulder, the taste of her blood flooding his mouth, he plunged his cock into his mate.

She gasped in pain, both from the bite on her shoulder, and from his invasion into her body. Through the pain, she heard the sound of a wolf howl. After a moment, another took up the cry. More joined in, until more wolves than she could count were howling in unison. She didn’t yet know it, but it was their way of acknowledging the mating.

Connor’s initial thrust got him as far as her hymen, it slowed his entrance into his mate’s body, but Connor was not to be denied. Biting slightly deeper, he thrust again, harder, and tore through her maidenhead, causing her to cry out in pain once more. She squeezed her eyes shut, trying to keep from crying, but the tears came anyway. She felt as though she were on fire, the searing pain in her pussy and shoulder nearly overtaking her. Connor, sensing her distress, paused, keeping her pinned beneath him.

It wasn’t long before the pain lessened and she felt a glimmer of something else bubbling inside her. She moaned as the feeling spread over her, warm and welcome. It built, slowly but steadily, as Connor thrust, his knot pressing against her entrance as he mated with his female for the first time.

She began trembling, thinking him to be way too big for her. She feared he’d tear her before he was done with her. He stopped thrusting as his knot grew slowly, and began pushing gently against her flesh. She cried out and closed her eyes as her sex began stretching around him. Just as his knot slipped all the way in, her muscles clenched around him and she screamed as the first of a series of orgasms overtook her.

Her cries were now cries of pleasure, the pain but a faint memory. Muscles deep inside her spasmed again and she came once more, this time another sensation built up in her, one even more foreign than the one before, and she heard a sound in her head she’d never heard before. Something, somewhere inside her began growling. Wildly, it snarled as it demanded freedom. It was overtaking her. Her body shook, pleasure and this new sensation overwhelming her. During this moment, nothing existed but Madelyn and Connor.

Connor held still within his mate as he watched her begin her transformation. The muscles deep inside her sex did the work of pulling him toward his pleasure. He watched in awe as she experienced her first shift beneath him. Fur the color of spun gold grew as the rest of her body rearranged itself. Before long, he howled as his own orgasm finally took over his senses, his seed surging forth from his hard shaft to be planted deep inside his golden-furred mate. She didn’t know it yet, but this would be the first, but not the last, time she would shift into wolf form.

Panting, his head lowered to rest gently on her back, his cock still buried deep inside her, his knot preventing them from separating for a time. Panting heavily from the exertion of both the mating and her first shift, she lowered herself to the ground, her mate moving with her, but he didn’t allow his weight to rest on her. He knew he was too heavy for her, so he supported himself with his long front legs to await the reduction of the knot that prevented them from separating until his seed had a chance to finish spilling from his body and move deeper into her womb.

A moment later, he pulled out and moved to her side, licking her newly-formed muzzle.

Her eyes were closed, lips slightly parted, and she panted heavily from the events of the evening.

Hearing someone approach, he raised his head then quickly moved to ready position. His head dipped low as the other wolf approached them. He began growling low, a gentle warning that this was his mate, and he wouldn’t relinquish her calmly but quieted quickly as he realized it was Ulric, their Alpha Male.

Madelyn’s eyes opened as she smelled something she’d never smelled before. Looking up, she saw Ulric standing before them. She looked to Connor a moment before her eyes crossed, opening wide, as she looked down her muzzle for the first time. Her mouth dropped open from the shock of it. Gasping softly, she scrambled to stand, head moving frantically as she looked herself over.

Both males watched, amused, as she stumbled over her own paws. She took a few tumbles as she looked herself over, amazed, yet also confused.

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