Chapter 31 - Crystal (Part 2)
Heat flushed her face and she tried to look up without disturbing the naked man, but the slightest movement made him stir and pull her tighter against his chest.
She closed her eyes and gave herself a moment to bask in the warmth and comfort of her mate’s arms before he roused from sleep.
She blushed, wondering if she’d ever get used to the sound of his voice calling her ’Beautiful.’ “Good morning.”
His throat rumbled in a faint growl that made her femaleness tingle.
She pulled away and propped herself up on an elbow. “Um, I can make you something? What would you like?”
His lips curved up into a crooked grin as the blood rushed to her face.
It occurred to her that he was still naked with just a corner of her blanket pulled across his—
She squealed as she pulled away and ran out her bedroom door and slammed it behind her. Heart hammering, she leaned against it with her hand covering her mouth, her eyes open wide.
He chuckled inside, the sound of it raising the hairs on her nape.
Nails scraped lightly against the wooden barrier from the other side.
“Someday, you’ll understand my hunger.” The huskiness in his voice stirred a flurry of butterflies deep down within her. “And when you do, I won’t hold back.”
She gulped, her thoughts flitting to their kisses the day before. They were gentle and chaste, but the mere memory of them made her all too aware of the intensifying tempo of her heartbeat and the tingling sensation between her legs.
“Until then, mind bringing me some clothes?”
She nodded, even though he couldn’t see. “Okay,” she squeaked.
She dashed off to find some clothes for him, hoping that she didn’t run into her parents with her bright red face.
Of course, she did. Both of them had knowing grins on their faces and she just wanted to shrivel up and die on the spot.
“Um, morning,” she mumbled. “Tiberius needs some clothes.”
“I set some out for him in the bathroom,” her father said.
She found them and when she brought them to her room, Tiberius opened the door a few inches to take them. He stared down at her with dilated pupils.
“I’d ask for a nibble, but I don’t think I’d be able to stop there.”
She twisted the hem of the long shirt she had worn to bed as her stomach coiled.
“I’m going to take a shower,” he stated. “I’d ask you to join me, but...”
Crystal needed a shower too. The thought of showering together, however, was more than she could grapple with right now. “You go ahead. I’ll wait for you to finish.”
His throat rumbled again and she felt the vibrations of it in her core, drawing a faint whimper of desire to seep from her.
Turning, she forced herself to walk away despite the lingering of his eyes on her body and the building need between her legs.
When Tiberius finished his shower, she quickly hopped in after and let the cold water wash away the fever that now flooded over her body.
Having finally shifted into her wolf, her senses were heightened like every other matured werewolf. Tiberius’ scent filled the bathroom and mingled with the scent of soap he used to clean himself.
The matebond was a cruel form of torture and she didn’t know how to fight against it as it assaulted her newly heightened senses.
She hurried under the stream of cold water and washed the caked-on dirt from the night before. She shampooed and conditioned her hair, but it was a rat’s nest. Most werewolves cut their hair short after their first shift until they could shift within a few minutes instead of spending hours rolling around in agony on the ground. It was easier to care for and more convenient overall.
Later, she told herself as she turned off the water and toweled herself dry.
Listening to the sounds within the house, she tip-toed to her empty room with the towel wrapped around her and changed into a pair of jeans and a black tank top. She tied her tangled, dripping hair up into a messy bun and headed out to find some food. Her stomach snarled with hunger.
She picked up on Tiberius’ scent before she found him in the kitchen with her mother frying up some eggs, bacon, and sausages on the stove. Tiberius was eating with her father at the table and it looked as though her mother was having a hard time keeping up with their appetites.
The smells of the food and her mate struck her and she stood there salivating and staring at Tiberius from the other side of the room. He stared right back, a growl slowly building from a barely audible vibration and increasing in volume as the hairs on her arms stood on end and every inch of her flesh tingled.
A plate of bacon, eggs, and sausages appeared before her, breaking eye-contact and drawing her attention to the food her mother held out to her. Her stomach gave another loud growl.
“Go eat outside,” her mother directed. “The fresh air will do you good.”
Crystal looked over the food at Tiberius’, his gray eyes hidden by his enlarged pupils, before taking the plate her mother held out to her.
Avoiding eye-contact with her mate, she walked across the kitchen to the sliding doors, breathing through her mouth, and letting herself out.
The fresh air was welcoming, but the barrage of foreign smells struck her almost as hard as the scent of her mate’s arousal.
Shuddering, she sat down at the patio table to eat. She was halfway through her meal when the door slid open and the citrus scent of oranges drifted toward her.
Tiberius took a seat next to her and pulled her plate away before setting down a plate with fresh bacon and sausages between them.
“You will eat from my plate.”
Another wave of heat rushed up to her face as she breathed through her mouth. She avoided looking at him but nodded her head, knowing that it was tradition for mates to feed one another before mating. The male had to prove himself to be a worthy provider for his mate and future pups. He’d already done so in the weeks since their meeting, but this time felt different. It was more intimate in his human form and with her wolf senses fully developed and capable of picking up all of his emotions, she squirmed more under his heated gaze.
He cut the sausages into bite-sized pieces, pierced one piece with his fork, and lifted it to her lips.
She couldn’t hide the blush creeping up her neck and filling her cheeks. She squirmed in her seat and leaned forward, avoiding his crystalline stare and accepting the morsel between her teeth.
“These hands will always provide for you and our pups,” he said in a low voice as she chewed. “As long as I live, I promise you this.”
She swallowed as butterflies danced within and her toes curled under her chair. He waited for her to lean back in for the next bite, but she reached for her own plate and plucked a piece of bacon up between her fingers. She looked up to meet his gaze, his pupils dilating and constricting as he fought against urges that seeped from his pores in thick euphoric waves, and lifted the bacon up to his mouth.
“And I, you.”
Parting his lips, he accepted the crispy bacon and crunched it down slowly, his eyes holding hers intensely. He took her greasy fingers into his mouth and sucked the tips clean as moisture pooled in her nether region. Her breathing became labored as he released her fingers and entwined them with his before kissing her knuckles softly.
“Thank you, Beautiful. My appetite is mostly sated, but you need more. I want to see you grow stronger. I need you to grow stronger. So, you eat from my plate first at all times.”
“Okay,” she uttered in a shaky breath, knowing that he was talking about the future. Their future. Their pups.
Such a thought was inconceivable a few weeks ago, and now she could see that it was not only possible but something she deeply desired.
Maybe it was because of him, but she could see herself with a pup in her arms. It was a scary thought, to bring life into this world she didn’t think she was strong enough for, but with him, she found meaning. She found the courage and the strength to put that part of herself behind and look forward to the path opening up before her.
She let him feed her one bite at a time until she was so full, she was uncomfortable and leaned back in her seat to rub her belly.
Tiberius leaned over and placed a lingering kiss on her forehead. “I will fill you every day with all I have to give.”
His voice was low and husky, communicating intentions that exceeded the promise of food and nourishment.
Drawing away, the heat of his body brushed against her cheek as he hovered next to her ear.
“First, comes hunger. Later, the feast.”
A promise whispered on the breath of lips that trailed down her neck as an ache began to build and spread between her legs.
Lips that caressed the sensitive spot between her neck and collarbone parted and sucked hungrily on the tender flesh.
Lips that hid the elongating canines pinched promises of intentions soon to come.