“Thanks, Raiden. I think we can wrap up for today.” The doctor gathered his notes and smiled on his way out.
Raiden wordlessly watched him close the door before moving his eyes to the window as he did every day since Sol disappeared. He sought out any movement or shadows within the trees, willing Sol to appear.
As usual, Sol defied him.
Two weeks passed since his disappearance. Raiden knew that he would remain hidden in the depts of the forest and despair until the curse allowed him to shift back to his human form.
With a sigh, he looked at the clock. Artemis wasn’t due until another hour. He walked over to the back door and made his way outside. The vivid green and sounds of life of the wilderness reminded him of his home which he had burned down.
After a few minutes of just standing and enjoying the breeze, his eyes noticed three red roses. He was drawn to them like he was to Artemis when he first saw her.
He became aware of the timid smile on his face when he realized that he had reached out and touched a petal. This is what Artemis did to him. Her mere memory was enough to inspire the emotion that he nearly forgot existed: happiness.
He picked out the three flowers and gathered them in his large fist. The sight of the delicate pieces of life dangling getting cradled by his destructive hand was a strange one.
He pulled the gift to his chest and thought what Artemis’ reaction would be when he presented them to her once she got home.
The word made the curve of his lips deepen. He had a home again.
The scent of a werewolf disrupted the peaceful moment. Raiden tensed and located the intruder while mentally reprimanding himself for letting his guard down. He wasn’t planning on showing himself to pack members until Artemis introduced him as his mate.
This was bad.
A young male stood behind him. Based on the equipment be carried, he was on patrol.
“What the hell are you?” he snarled.
Raiden pursed his lips and glanced at the house. He didn’t want an altercation. He had been in hundreds of bloody ones over the years with human and werewolf men alike. He rarely started the fights. But he always ended them.
The man inhaled and his scowl deepened.
“Why are you here? To rape, kill, and steal? You are not welcome here, lycan.” He reached down to his walkie-talkie and pressed a button that summoned the rest of patrol to his location.
Raiden’s hold on the roses tightened. The Void opened by a few centimeters and from its dark depths escaped the eerie temptation to knock the man’s head off his shoulders.
He could do it with a single swipe of his arm. It was that easy. But if he indulged in the alluring darkness, he would disappoint Artemis. He didn’t want that. Artemis had devoted enough faith in him to liberate him from the name Wrath. She insisted that Lukas stopped calling him that. He wasn’t Wrath anymore. He wasn’t a primal, selfish, fruitless sin.
He was Raiden now. He was healing, evolving, improving.
With his flowers in-hand, he shook his head. “Call your alpha if you wish to verify my cleara”
The man lunged. He had heard the legend, tale, stories. He knew what atrocities the lycans were responsible for. He was aware of the death and suffering that their evil agendas distributed throughout the werewolf world.
He would die like the soldier that he is before he let this lycan hurt his family.
Raiden gripped his arm once it neared his face and bent it until it snapped. He pushed the bloodthirsty werewolf away with enough force to make him stumble.
With a growl of pain, the werewolf turned back. Milliseconds later, a single “stop!” paused his movements.
He turned and found Artemis running toward them.
“Alpha, be careful!”
Artemis ignored the warning and stood between both men. “Continue patrolling, Daniel. And don’t mention this incident to anyone.”
“It wasn’t a question,” she interjected.
He left while silently cradling his broken shoulder.
Artemis turned to Raiden and found him looking sadly at his roses. A handful of petals fell off and took the rose’s beauty with them.
“Are you ok?”
“What’s that?” She gestured to the flowers.
“For you. Forget it, it’s stupid.”
He was about to toss the remains of the flowers away when her hand swooped in and snatched them. “That’s thoughtful of you. Thank you.”
Although he looked indifferent on the outside, he was overjoyed.
“And you handled Daniel well.”
He frowned with disagreement. “I broke his arm, Artemis.”
Artemis’ expression turned stern. “Don’t beat yourself up over every little thing. You did good. And... I think it’s time we address your introduction to the pack.”
He gulped at that.
With his flowers in one hand and his hand in the other, she guided him indoors.
“It’s been nearly 3 weeks. I think it’s time you meet them,” she started once they sat on the couch.
“There will be an outcry,” he predicted.
“Yes, there will. But I’ll handle it and my parents will be there for us.”
He looked away from his hands to see if her expression held confidence. It did. She had also placed one of his withering roses behind her ear. Even with the nearly petalless accessory, she still looked otherworldly. It wasn’t the dying rose that enhanced her beauty, but rather her sweet gesture.
Her looks, smiles, tenderness, little things that she did always managed to overwhelm him. They stole his breath and speech, leaving him so stunned that he struggled to express his adoration.
His complexity made him simple to the point that he could only communicate his feelings through his touch. Although he read a lot, words just failed to come to him.
Finding the need to remind her how he felt, he leaned in.
The kiss was as explosive as usual. It never lost its impact regardless of how many times their lips met. Tongue and speed was involved in this one and excitement came from both ends.
It all came to an abrupt stop when Raiden realized how far up his hands trailed. Artemis had been aware of his fingers reaching the bottom of her bra but didn’t find a need to stop him.
Panic crossed his face, announcing that he was about to recoil. Before fear won again, she gripped onto his shoulders and kissed the corner if his lips.
With that green light, he began to jerkily lean back in and let his hands resume their roaming. Her t-shirt was soft and it dared him to wonder how her skin would feel. The answer to that was locked by buttons. As their tongues massaged each other in a heated waltz, he slowly worked his way past her shirt.
Artemis was enjoying every second of his exploration. He was taking his time as usual, giving her space to pull away. That was something she had no plans of doing.
She nipped at his lips when his hand made contact with the coolness of her last layer of protection. A moan of excitement reached him and gave him the confidence he needed to pull the bra down and release her right breast. Artemis fought the urge to squirm, fearing that it would give him the impression that she was uncomfortable.
When his fingertips reached the top of her breast, a new level of desire was unlocked and announced itself by shocking both of them with furious sparks.
The tremble that rippled through her awoke goosebumps on the creamy canvas of the round mound and made her nipple point out, accusing him of being the one who triggered such a carnal fever.
Raiden felt adventurous. What more could he do to her? Did she feel the same desperation that claimed him? Could he render such a powerful woman to nothing by just a touch?
With every question, his lips got closer to the skin that according to her perked nipple, sought his mouth’s ministrations. He pulled her into his mouth like a starved man and gave her breast the same attention he gave her tongue.
Artemis clung to his hair and struggled to keep up with the sounds that were escaping her lips on their own accord. Why did it feel so good? It was his sucking that she liked in particular. Every time he pulled as much as he could into his mouth, her core communicated its approval by clenching.
Raiden loved how responsive she was. The growing scent of her arousal, the demanding grip on his hair, the small gasps and moans all increased his mouth’s boldness.
How far could he get her?
Artemis answered by crying out and coming hard.