Shifted

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Chapter 19

Getting a piggyback ride from Bennett was a bad idea.

The feel of his bare skin on mine, his intoxicating scent, and his warm, strong hands underneath my tights wrapped tightly around his waist gave me a sensory overload - one that no other guy before him had managed to induce in me. The other part of me - the wolf part - was getting all worked up, and I had a hard time keeping my hands and nose to myself.

The longer I let Bennett hold me, the more confused I got with how I felt towards him. I couldn’t deny I had been attracted to him on a physical level for some time now (only someone without eyes wouldn’t be), but, after that rogue wolf had bitten me, I didn’t want to stop at looking at Bennett only... but rather shamelessly act on my urges. And it was scaring the crap out of me.

In my defense, my fear wasn’t that unfounded. I had a feeling if I got too involved, Emmie’s cousin would break my heart like a cheese cracker. And something told me it would be hell to mend the pieces together once he smashed them. So I kept my hands in a vice-like grip on his shoulders and didn’t dare move my itching fingers even a tiny little bit - a struggle I was barely pulling through.

Bennett didn’t seem to care either way. His thumbs were absentmindedly drawing circles on the bare skin of my tights, driving me insane - not that I actually complained. I had to admit, though grudgingly, I didn’t necessarily want him to stop. The wolf part of me was acting as if she got herself an early Christmas gift, making me all nice and jittery as a result. My stomach squeezed at the mere thought of Bennett’s hands traveling up my legs a tiny bit higher.

And then some more.

Thank God we eventually reached the yard, and I could get down. Obviously, Bennett wouldn’t just let me jump. No. I had to slide down his back, rubbing my lady bits on his, while my dress rolled up and his warm hands glided the sides of my hips.

By the end of the whole ordeal, I was flushed enough to jump his bones, so I welcomed the feel of cold, damp grass underneath my bare feet. As I finally breathed a sigh of relief, I noticed that Chloe was getting an earful in the middle of the yard from Emmie and her parents - and Jackson was nowhere to be found.

I observed the scene for a bit, mutely. Chloe had her head hung down like a meek little girl, but she was far from apologetic; her body language told me as much.

Which made me think...

“How come Chloe managed to sneak out unnoticed with all those werewolves around?” I mused out loud.

Bennett gave me a side glance, rubbing his chin thoughtfully.

“Chloe and Emmie are a bit more special than your average wolves...” He stated after a pause.

“Special, how?”

“You know how most werewolves have the instinctive urge to obey the orders of the more dominant wolves, especially Alphas...?” I didn’t, but I didn’t correct him either. “Well, Emmie and Chloe can ignore them to some extent. If they follow orders, it’s more because of their respect toward their leaders and to maintain the natural order of the pack, rather than because they feel the need to follow. Most of us are not that lucky - as you will soon find out,” he gave me a half-smile, and I shuddered at the thought of losing my independence.

“So that was why Emmie was able to visit me, even though she was ‘grounded’,” I half guessed.

Bennett nodded.

“That and because she’s one of our stealthiest wolves. She has snuck out even though five of us have been watching her. There is hardly anyone who can beat her. Chloe is very close, though.”

“Is that what Jackson was going on about in the woods? You know, about you being disqualified and whatnot?”

“You could say so. Chloe makes a game of sneaking out whenever her parents, or Emmie, stop paying attention to her. We make bets on who finds her first whenever she does that.”

“But that’s just dangerous,” I pointed out, indignant.

“Usually not - the pack grounds are safe, and, thanks fuck, Chloe’s finally wise enough that she stopped wandering too far off.”

“It’s stupid anyway. You’re only encouraging her. One day, she’ll really get in trouble.” I shook my head.

He just shrugged.

“Try telling her that. We used to shout at Chloe whenever she snuck out, which was basically all the time. It didn’t work. Grounding her didn’t work. Being reasonable didn’t work. Alpha’s orders didn’t work. So we changed the rules, and now at least, when she runs away, she does that on our terms and under our surveillance.”

I still found it unthinkable but could see some weird logic in that.

“You and your strange customs,” I commented, watching Chloe leave, still shaking my head in disbelief.

I felt Bennett’s cyan blue eyes bore into the side of my head and I gave him a side glance.

“What?”

“You know, I could teach you more about us if you stopped holing up in your house or avoid us altogether?” He said in a blasé voice.

I rolled my eyes.

“What makes you think I want to learn? What if I don’t want to be a wolf or part of this pack? What if I want to stay human?” I countered, almost immediately feeling a pang in my chest - the wolf-being wasn’t happy.

I absentmindedly rubbed the sore spot, drawing Bennett’s attention. He followed the movement of my hand and his brow quirked up.

“Keep that mindset of yours, and you’ll soon find yourself on your merry way to la la land.” He said, sounding off. “If you reject your wolf side, your next transition won’t be as smooth. Odds are, you’ll go insane before your third full moon. You and your wolf can only battle for dominance for so long. Someone would have to win in the end, and, usually, it’s the animal that comes out on top. God only knows what tragedy will happen once your beast takes over.”

“Are you trying to scare me? Because that actually works,” I mumbled, hugging myself tentatively, suddenly uneasy.

“Scare you? Never. I’m only telling you about the consequences of your stupidity. But go on, be stubborn,” He mocked as he crossed his muscular arms over his chest.

That pissed me off.

“If it weren’t for your kind, I wouldn’t have to battle with anybody over my own body in the first place. So excuse me if I’m not too thrilled about suddenly sharing my mind with an animal! Maybe you have grown up with the idea of being bipolar, but I have not,” I snapped, running a hand through my hair and taking out a stray leaf that got tangled in it in the process.

“So what, Matthews? Should I pity you now? Is that what you want?”

“A bit of compassion would do.”

“Hate to say it, but I think I’ve warned you off enough times - it was you who couldn’t get it through that thick head of yours. But what’s done is done. You can either embrace it or dwell in misery for the rest of your life, however long you’ll decide it to be; the choice is yours,” His words were merciless. “Either way, you need our help. With that, you’ll at least learn how to control your wolf so it won’t do anything stupid that you’ll regret later and what would expose the entire pack to the human race.”

I snorted. Bennett was consistent, I had to give him that. He had never really cared about me. I must have just imagined him flirting with me only a couple of hours ago.

Again, I felt a pang in my chest.

Rejection was a bitch.

“You and your precious Sydney don’t need to worry, I’ll cooperate,” I barked out, not really sure where did that come from.

Bennett glanced up towards the sky as if looking for some divine help, and then he just grabbed me by my arm, pulling me towards him. Before I had a chance to react, his warm, soft lips smashed into mine.

For a second there, I was too shocked to do anything... But when his tongue parted my lips, I was lost.

My instincts took over as I kissed him back with a passion of a starving man. Encouraged, Bennett tangled his hand in my blond locks, scooping the back of my head and drawing me even closer towards him. All the while, his tongue never ceased to explore my mouth, trying to assert dominance over mine. I moaned, raking my nails on the bare skin of his back, feeling his erection poking me in the stomach through the thick fabric of his bottoms. My knees turned into jelly-o as my own arousal tainted the air around us with its tangy smell, clouding my mind. I clutched Bennett’s muscled arms like a drowning man a straw, trying to steady myself before I melted into a puddle in front of him. Bennett’s lips finally released my mouth, only to start progressing in feather-like kisses to the side of my face and neck. I tilted my head back, giving him all the access he needed. Bennett didn’t disappoint - he kissed, licked, and sucked the sensitive spots on my neck as if he knew exactly where to touch to draw an even stronger reaction from me...

And then he bit me, hard, but not enough to draw blood. I yipped, shocked by the wave of pain and pleasure I felt. Before I could think better of it, I slapped him, nicking his mouth with my nail. Bennett’s head jerked to the side under the force of my hand and he slowly turned towards me, never leaving his calculating, arctic-blue gaze off my face as he pointedly wiped the blood off his bottom lip with his thumb. He gave me a lazy, almost predatory smile and a cold shiver ran down my spine. I gulped, only just realising what I had actually done.

And then I took off as if the pack of hellhounds was after me.

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