She could tell that he was trying to maintain a restraint by kissing her close-mouthed. As usual, he was being wary of her limits. His fear of pressuring her was both romantic and unnerving. She wanted him to understand that she wasn’t made of glass. She could take everything that came with him: the demons, flaws, fears.
With a bolt of bravery, she caressed his lips with her tongue and was instantly granted access into his attention-deprived mouth. It only took a few strokes for their breathing to become labored. They had exited the realm of sweet, vanilla tenderness and entered one ruled by a passion so fiery that it put them in danger of replacing Ezekiel as the lycans of Lust.
Artemis moved her hands to his shoulders and pulled him closer to her chest to show him how he made the area vibrate with an exhilarating cry for more. Breathing became a second priority as they tried to derive the most they could from the exchange.
The high became so hazy that it disconnected their limbs from their brains. Artemis’ hips decided on their own accord that rocking against Raiden’s lap was a right that they should exercise. Raiden got his own share of intoxicating friction but after a few more strokes, he lifted her off the bulge on his jeans and seated her beside him. His fear of losing control had won again.
After a long process that consisted of him inching away and leaning back in to peck her lips, they finally managed to break apart. He laid his body over hers and placed his head on her shoulder. They remained in that position for peaceful minutes with only her heartbeat accompanying the silence.
“I’m a bit worried about your health, Raiden.”
He stiffened when he heard that name but reminded himself that this is her. Everything that he owned was hers.
“Why? My body is fine. I was 25 when I stopped aging,” he assured truthfully.
Artemis' fingers trailed under his shirt and gently trailed over his bare back. He closed his eyes and got lost in the pleasure when the same sparks that rippled throughout their kiss claimed his skin.
“I meant your mental health,” she countered softly.
He couldn't disagree with that. He was severely depressed. The constant feelings of hopelessness and emptiness were unwavering but they reached an all-time low when Artemis entered his life. Suicide lost its appeal now that he had a reason to keep existing.
“I know a great psychologist that can help,” she whispered. “Would you be interested in speaking with him regularly? He can help you be happy again.”
You’re all I need to be happy.
He wanted to say no. He didn’t want to put his heart on a platter for some stranger to dissect. But if that was the price for sharing a life with Artemis, then he wouldn’t complain.
“Okay,” he agreed with a sharp nod.
Her lips pressed onto his forehead. “Thank you.”
Artemis adjusted her bag. “Bye!” she called out over her shoulder to Zena and Eva.
She had spent the day in the office working out Raiden’s paperwork with the council. Admitting him to the pack wasn’t exactly easy since he wasn’t a werewolf or human mate.
Hours had gone by since she last saw him. She missed him. Not to mention that she left him with Karl, the psychologist. She was worried that something went wrong.
The walk back to the cabin was short. Her keys were on her hand well before she reached the doorstep.
“I’m angry over how powerless I feel. That’s it. I have nothing much more to say so most of the talking will have to come from you," Raiden's cold voice reached her.
She didn't mean to eavesdrop on the session. The men were in the living room which was near the entrance and having werewolf hearing didn't help maintain their privacy.
She made sure that her keys clattered as she unlocked the door to announce her presence. "Hey you two," she smiled at them when she pushed past the door. Raiden was off the couch and hugging her before she finished the sentence.
"Hi Artemis," Karl greeted. The young doctor grabbed his phone and pushed his glasses up his nose. "The introduction went well. I'll be back next week. It was great meeting you, Raiden," he stopped to extend his hand out.
Artemis was surprised at how open Karl was to the lycan. Not only was Raiden surly, but he also had certain stereotypes attached to him. Karl didn't seem to be phased by either.
The men shook hands and Artemis smiled. "Thanks, Karl."
Karl nodded before making his exit.
"Are you hungry?" she turned to Raiden who shook his head.
"No. I was just about to take a shower. I missed you."
She rose to her toes and claimed his cheek with her lips. "I missed you too. Go ahead and shower. I'll get someone to get you clothes unless you'd like to wear one of my sundresses."
He offered a thin grin. "I don't believe I'd look as good as you would."
"We'll have to test it out one of these days," Artemis teased.
He laughed and she had to say that it was the best sound on earth.
After he walked into his room, she sat on the couch with her laptop and phone, still having work to do. She messaged someone to drop off some clothes and then got back to emailing. At one point, she recalled what she heard by the door.
Powerless... Raiden felt powerless.
He had every right to feel that way. Luna's punishment took choices, time, power from him.
She bit her lip. His insecurities and lack of self-trust were the product of that loss of power. The feelings of worthlessness would remain until he felt empowered once more. Since his ego was utterly crushed by years of oppression, it would take much more than therapy to help him.
Artemis looked at her browser. With hesitant fingers, her fingers began to stroke the keyboard.
She Googled: What is BDSM?