Pressure settled onto Lukas’ chest. He jolted awake, alarmed.
He glanced down and wasn’t surprised when his nose was met with Zena’s wild hair. He patted the strands away from his face, irked by the tickling sensation.
“What are you doing?” he challenged.
Somehow, Zena managed to regain consciousness and crawl on top of him. Her face was shoved into his neck and her torso laid on his own.
He could tell she buttoned his shirt on. If her bare breasts were pressing into his naked chest, he would’ve been dealing with a load of irritating sparks and a painfully hard organ.
“Shut the f*ck up and let me sleep,” Zena muttered.
Lukas growled and resisted the urge to haul her across the room.
Even hypothermia couldn’t manage to shut Zena’s trap. He could glue the woman’s lips together and she would still find a way to piss him right off.
“Get the hell off me. I’m done playing babysitter,” he barked out adamantly.
Zena sighed. “I won’t make it to the morning without a source of heat. My body temperature is low and since my wolf is still AWOL, I have no way to regulate it. Your shitty fire went out long ago.”
Her voice was low, soothing, and somehow underlined with something he could only classify as authoritative. She wasn’t taking no for an answer.
Due to their proximity, her warm breath caressed his skin with every word she uttered. Lukas wasn’t all too comfortable with her lips being so close to his neck. The area was a known weakness. She could rip his jugular if the urge struck her. For werewolves, giving access to such a frail area was a universal sign of intimacy or trust.
He didn’t hesitate to hold her the previous night since she was knocked out cold- both literally and figuratively.
He could f*ck a woman well and proper but he wasn’t too experienced with the art of cuddling.
He sighed with agitation and closed his eyes. As expected, sleep refused to claim him. Zena’s scent and the sparks her touch arose kept him awake and alert.
With a scoff, he reached down and flicked her hand off his bicep to minimize their contact.
Lukas yawned tiredly. He cracked his eyes open and scratched his thickening stubble. The heavy presence on his chest reminded him of the devil currently sleeping in his arms.
“Zena, get off before I shove you off,” he threatened, meaning every word.
The gruff voice made her stir. She craned her neck backward and nearly cursed when she spotted his steely blue eyes.
He found out. He knew she lost her wolf. Now she was going to have to deal with his bickering. He would blame her for getting them stranded and complain that her injury was slowing them down. To make matters worse, she was now indebted to him for saving her life.
“Looks like you slept well. Must be nice. I can’t relate since I’ve spent the past two nights on the ground,” he spat distastefully.
“First world problems, am I right?” she retorted and maneuvered her body so that she sat beside him. She stretched her arms over her head, being mindful of her leg and wrist.
“You better figure your sh*t out because I’m not cradling you to sleep again, princess,” he leered.
Zena sighed and got up. “Let’s go. It looks like the storm is breaking,” she said thoughtfully as she eyed the snowflakes that drifted from the sky.
“I would love to. But thanks to you and your condition we can’t move until you recover,” Lukas retorted.
“We cant stay here. We have no food or water. Our best chance is to keep moving,” she insisted.
“You can’t strain your leg. If it gets infected you’re done for. We have to stay and wait for your wolf to return so that you can properly heal,” he argued.
“I’m fine. I’ll probably slow us down but the pain isn’t unbearable. It may take days before my wolf returns. By the time that happens, we’ll be too hungry to move!” Zena rebutted.
“We’re staying and that’s final!” he vented and stood up, trying to use his height to re-affirm his dominance.
“You hold no authority over me, Lukas! You don’t get to call the shots!” she pointed angrily.
“The hell I do! So far, all of your decisions nearly landed us in an early grave. I’m done with your bullsh*t. We do what I say!” he boomed.
“You do whatever the f*ck you want, you cynical degenerate. I’m leaving if that’s what I want to do,” Zena proclaimed.
“I’m not letting you leave this cave and get yourself killed. If you die then so does my claim on Red River. You can jump off a bridge as soon as I get the pack for all I care,” he replied despicably.
“Why are you so obsessed with my pack?!” she screamed, fuming.
“Because it needs a male alpha.”
“You need to check your facts. I single-handedly turned Red River into the empire that it is today. Get over your mommy issues and stop degrading women. I can rule just as well as the next guy!”
Lukas shook with laughter. “Mommy issues? I grew up just fine. I did some digging during those ten months that you spent hiding from me. If there’s anyone that has mommy issues, it’s you. That’s why you can’t reject me. You want to raise a cute family and give your babies what your parents never gave you. I’ve got you all figured out, babe,” he mocked with a grin. His dead eyes glistered with pleasure, enjoying the sick sport of belittling her.
Zena looked ready to blow a gasket.
“Don’t worry. I can give you just that,” Lukas continued. He closed the small space between them and gripped her shoulders.
“What do you think you’re doing?” she demanded with eyes that flashed with temper.
“Giving you what you want. I’ll f*ck your brains out, impregnate you, and in exchange, you’ll relinquish your rights to Red River. You can keep the little b*stard after you give birth to it and mate someone else, or you can become my luna. I really don’t care.”
He shrugged a shoulder carelessly for effect, before ducking his head down and kissing her lips with bruising strength.
Zena was gobsmacked. His words, his kiss, his hold, they were all impeccably cruel. He roughly sucked her bottom lip and gripped her wrist which he placed on his hard abdomen to urge her to touch him.
The sensation of his lips against hers was incredibly unpleasant. He poured his anger and remorselessness into the kiss; eagerly branding her with the painless punishment.
Zena felt rage like no other seep into her very being. She pulled her hand from his chest and moved it to his head where she gripped a handful of hair and pried his lips from hers.
“Unless you want to exit this cave with one less eye than what you entered with then you’ll get the f*ck off me right this second!” she spat venomously.
Lukas released her arms and took a step back. He cocked his head to his side as he licked his bottom lip audaciously.
“You may not be a rapist but you sure as hell are a pervert. Keep your f*cking unwanted mouth to yourself, *sshole. I can barely stand it when you use it to talk!” she raged.
“I’m done, Lukas! For ten months I contemplated if we could make this work... if we could somehow rule beside each other! We owe it to ourselves to be realistic and admit that’s not happening. We’re not compatible. Now, I could sit here and list off everything that’s wrong with you as well as call you every name in the book but I’ll spare myself the breath. You’ll figure that out on your own one day when you look around and find yourself alone and unloved.” Zena sighed.
“This is starting to sound like a rejection,” Lukas commented with a raised eyebrow.
“That’s because it is.”
“You know how rejections work, Zena. The council has to be present,” he replied with a smirk; not looking bothered in the slightest by her confirmation.
“I’m fully aware of that. As soon as I reach the states, I’ll start the paperwork and I’ll officially be through with you,” she declared with a stern scowl.
“Yeah, that won’t be happening. Before the plane went down, I reached out to the council. They summoned you for a meeting. We’ll be debating who gets ownership of Red River. Unfortunately for you, we’ll have to settle that case first before you can bring forth your rejection. Obviously, I’ll win Red River. You should really reconsider your rejection. I’m being generous here and offering you the luna position.” His smirk didn’t falter.
Zena didn’t look phased by his admission. “You’re not going to win this, Lukas. I’ll see you at that council meeting,” she nodded expressionlessly.
“What are you doing?” Lukas asked once she pulled her dress off the rock it sat on.
“Leaving.” She replied flatly.
Lukas didn’t argue that time. He simply stood and watched as she collected her belongings.
He planned on following her to ensure that she didn’t face death a second time. He was tempted to bicker some more but he knew Zena had her limits and would attempt to pluck out an eye like she had promised.