Heart of a Beast

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Chapter 24 - Crystal (Part 1)

Tiberius’ words lingered in Crystal’s mind as she was roused from her sleep, her body alight in flames. Flush against her back, she could feel Tiberius pressed against her, his strong arms wrapped around her. Moisture spread across her pajama shorts as a long, thick, pulsing heat between her thighs rubbed gently against her femaleness.

A soft breath gasped from lips that longed to be kissed as a large, wet tongue licked the curve of her neck.

Her eyes fluttered open to the darkness of her room as she clutched her pillow.

Sharp teeth nipped lightly at the tender place between her neck and collarbone as a low growl rumbled deep within the beast. A growl of possession, of pleasure, of a male intent on claiming his mate.

She moaned his name as heat flared up through her nether region. His maleness rubbed against her wet lips, saturating her pajama bottoms even more.

She couldn’t think of anything but the pleasurable sensations between her legs and his hot wet tongue licking her shoulder between nips.

Her breathing became shallow and she whimpered when his teeth nipped harder in a shallow bite.

“Tiberius,” she moaned into her pillow. “Please.”

Heavy breaths fanned against her neck as a deeper growl made her squirm. A foreign ache began to build deep down within as he rubbed himself harder against her. His teeth nipped harder with purpose.

Suddenly, her door swung open with a bang. Snarls ripped through the silence and she was pushed under a heavy form that roared with rage.

Eyes snapping open, her heart jumped into her throat as a war waged over her.

Panic ripped through her head and body, and with it came the convulsions that rocked her harder than ever. One minute, two minutes, five—she wasn’t sure how long they lasted as she silently screamed in agony.

Finally, the convulsions let up and she collapsed, completely exhausted, on the floor.

Her head was so heavy and foggy, she barely made out her father’s command.

“Stick to the plan, Tiberius.”

She closed her eyes, the weight of her eyelids too great to fight against as the form over her moved and she felt herself being lifted up and set down on something firm, but soft.

Rough, callous pads brushed the hair from her sweat-soaked face before disappearing and darkness pulled her into the realm of sleep.

When she woke, she was alone in her room, the mid-morning sun greeting her as her memories from her dream and the middle of the night came flooding back.

Her heart pounded in her chest as she recalled what had happened.

She and Tiberius kissed in their dream. He told her he loved her. They nearly mated on her floor before her parents came in to stop him.

She covered her burning face with her hands.

How? How could so much have happened in one night? Was it because of the moon? Was it activating her innate need to mate?

Oh Goddess, it almost happened!

She didn’t know whether to be horrified, elated, or embarrassed. One thing she was certain about was that she wasn’t scared. Not until her parents came in and fought Tiberius over her. Her parents caught them in the middle of the act itself! Good Goddess, how was she supposed to face them now?

Her mind flitted to Tiberius. Where was he?

She pulled herself up with a groan. Every part of her body felt like it was being weighed down more than usual.

Draping her legs over the edge of her mattress, she took a few deep breaths and squeezed her eyes shut.

The old her would have called out for help. The old her would have had someone draw a bath for her. The old her would have depended on everyone else while she mentally berated herself over and over again.

No more, she told herself as she spent a few minutes inhaling and exhaling slowly. She clenched her hands into fists at her side. I won’t be that female anymore.

Taking one more deep breath in, she swallowed and pushed herself up from the bed, only for her knees to give out underneath her.

She hit the floor hard as tears sprang to her eyes.

Why was it so hard?

Her mother’s voice cried out her name from somewhere in the house and Crystal heard her running as her face burned in humiliation.

Strong hands grasped her shoulders. “Cris, hunny, you should have called. I was just in the kitchen and could-ve—”

“No, Ma,” Crystal interrupted, murmuring to the floor as hot tears streamed down her face. “I… I need to do this… on my own.”

I won’t be weak anymore.

Pushing herself up to her hands and knees, she wobbled for a moment before she put one hand in front of her and then a knee.

Clenching her jaw, she crawled at a snail’s pace out of her room and down the hallway to the bathroom. Her mother stood close-by to help her but Crystal stopped when she needed to gather her strength, inhale through gritted teeth, and push herself forward. The bathroom wasn’t far, she could do this. She kept telling herself over and over, You can do this, Cris. You can do this.

Finally reaching the side of the tub, she sat down on the floor, leaned back against the wall, and closed her eyes as she panted. A smile tugged at the corners of her lips despite the exhaustion that raked over her body.

You did it!

She knew to anyone else, it wasn’t much of an achievement, but to her, it was like climbing a mountain. Even though she had to stop once in the hallway, she pushed on and refused her mother’s help when it would have been easier for her mother to carry her.

One baby step at a time.

She peered up at her mother when she closed the lid of the toilet and set a towel and a change of clothes on top of it. She wouldn’t look at her, but her eyes were shining and smiling.

“Can I start the water for you?”

“Yes, please. I’ll take it from there.”

Her mother bent down and kissed the top of Crystal’s head. “Holler if you need anything.”

Before her mother could slip away, Crystal reached up and wrapped her tired, achy arms around her mother’s neck. “Thanks, Ma.”

Her mother swallowed and eased down to her knees next to her before wrapping her up in her arms and pressing her face into the crook of Crystal’s neck. She sniffled. “I’m proud of you, Cris. Don’t ever think otherwise.”

Emotions bubbled up Crystal’s throat as her mother’s hands smoothed over her head. She rested her head on her mother’s shoulder and squeezed her eyes shut.

I won’t be bedridden again.

When her mother pulled away and started the water, Crystal felt lighter. Stronger.

I won’t be that female anymore.

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