The Forgotten Claim - The Claim: Book 1

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Chapter 24 - Olivia (Part 1)

Olivia was jolted awake by Cameron. He woke with a start and sprang out of bed before toppling to the floor with a grunt.

“What are you doing?” she demanded, throwing the blanket off and rushing to his side.

Groaning, he held his head and looked around before looking up and meeting her worried gaze. “Nightmare. It was like yesterday only…” He groaned again and eased himself up to a sitting position. He leaned against the bed and closed his eyes.

“Only, what?” she asked tentatively.

He shook his head and looked away. “Sam’s mate kept beating me down and tried to kill you.”

Swallowing, she touched his arm but he jerked away.

“I gotta piss.”

He rose up carefully, took a drink of water from his glass on his bedside table that she had placed hours before and ambled to the bathroom.

The sun was peeking through the heavy curtains she had pulled across the large windows last night. The digital alarm clock on Cameron’s bedside table said it was shortly after eight in the morning.

Olivia stretched and rubbed the sleep from her eyes and crawled back into the cozy, warm bed. They didn’t need to check out until noon, but she had to be on the road by eleven. She could squeeze in another hour of sleep.

Cameron came out of the bathroom a few minutes later, his bandages torn from his body and the shallow cuts replaced with fresh pink skin and the three or four deeper ones covered in thick scabs.

She gaped at him. Not only at his godly physique but also at how quickly his body had healed. Even the injury on his cheek had healed and was a series of pink lines. Half of his ear was torn clean off and scabbed along the edges.

Grinning, he climbed back into bed and pulled her into his arms, burying his nose in her hair. “Like what you see?”

She scoffed, her face planted against his broad chest. “You’re almost completely healed!”

“Yeah. The perks of my DNA. Chloe heals pretty fast too, doesn’t she?”

“I guess so,” she mumbled, trying to recall any instances of Chloe healing quickly. “She’s only had a few small scratches, scrapes, and bruises. Nothing like what you had last night.”

She couldn’t help trailing her fingers over the new pink flesh that crisscrossed over his shoulder and arm draped around her. He, in turn, brushed his fingers over her back. Heat flourished in the wake of his invisible trails. She was thankful for the thin layer of cotton separating his fingertips from her skin. And yet, a part of her hungered for the sensation of his skin against hers.

He hummed. She wasn’t sure if he was contemplating her words or something else running around his head.

“What?” she prompted when he said nothing and continued to caress her back.

“Were you scared?”

She swallowed. “About what?” What exactly was he referring to? The turning into a wolf thing? The fight?

“Any of it. All of it. About what happened. About my wolf. About what my father told you last night.” He sighed, holding her closer. “You said you wanted us to be open and honest about everything and I need to hear your thoughts and feelings about what happened yesterday.”

She closed her eyes and bit her bottom lip. The memories flashed in her mind before she pushed them away. Him changing into a wolf on the bank of the pond. Him fighting with the silver-gray wolf. The look of remorse when he realized she saw everything that happened. The look of rage when he fought with her. The wildness that gripped him moments before he left her in the hotel. The kiss that left her reeling and wondering if it would be her last.

“Of course I was scared,” she whispered. “It all happened so fast. One minute we’re making out and the next you were turning into a wolf and fighting with another wolf.” She shuddered as the growls and snarls of their fight reverberated along her spine with the memory.

He tensed and her grip around him tightened. “But the part that scares me the most is you never coming back.”

“Olivia…” His breath whispered her name through her hair.

She shivered as tingles danced over her scalp and down the back of her neck. “I keep pushing you away because I’m afraid to let you in again. I’m afraid you will leave me once I do. I’m afraid to let you in Chloe’s life because I know what it’s like to be abandoned by your father as a kid.” Tears prickled behind her closed eyelids. “It’s better to never know your father. A father is a girl’s first love and when he leaves without saying goodbye…”

Cameron kissed her forehead and wiped the tear that dripped down. “He’s a shithead. I would never do that to you and Chloe. I was going to return. I told you that.”

Guilt and shame coiled around her heart. “I know. I didn’t want to believe you. It was easier to push you away so I wouldn’t have to face the pain again and it only made things worse, didn’t it?”

“If we’re being honest…Yes. But I did come on too strong at first and I think that resulted in some of your push-backs.”

She nodded. “It did.”

“I think if we went back in time, we both would have changed things.”

“Yeah, but…” she chewed on her bottom lip, remembering the moment she held Chloe in her arms for the first time. “We wouldn’t have Chloe if we changed everything and I wouldn’t give her up for the world.”

He nuzzled his nose in her hair. “I agree one hundred percent. The only thing I would want to change would be that I told someone about you before I got amnesia.”

She closed her eyes and held him closer. “Me too.”

“Will you forgive me?”

Pulling away, she inched up on the bed and rested her head on the pillow next to his. Looking into his cognac-colored eyes, she swallowed at the uncertainty that reflected within them. She reached up to brush back his hair and reveal the tip of the scar he had received five years ago peeking out from his hair and the torn ear he now supported, marking him as the warrior he professed himself to be. The warrior that would die to protect her and Chloe.

Careful not to touch his wound, she slipped her hand behind his head and pulled him closer, touching his forehead to hers.

“Yes. I forgive you. Will you forgive me for pushing you away?”

His thumb brushed across her cheek. “You don’t even have to ask.”

Closing her eyes, she savored the moment, allowing the warmth it created to envelop her heart before pulling back a few inches to look him in the eyes again. “Where do we go from here?”

His eyes fluttered open, having been closed as well. His forehead smoothed of lines. “That’s for you to decide.”

“Will you meet with me and Chloe after my open house today?”

He smirked. “That’s not what I had in mind, but definitely. I would love to.”

She hesitated. “Well, what did you have in mind?”

He twisted a lock of her hair around his finger. “Well, I have a few things in mind. In no particular order, I’d like you and Chloe to move in with me. I’d like to properly introduce myself to you both in my wolf-form. I would like us to seal the matebond. And I’d like to replace a few old memories with better ones.”

His tone dropped to a husky whisper that made the hairs on her nape stand on end and a tingle to flourish between her legs.

Her mind immediately swept back to memories of their first night together. The way his skin felt against hers. His mouth on her breasts and neck. The way he entered her, thrusting deep and making her cry out in ecstasy. How he claimed her body with his. Again and again.

He propped himself up on one elbow while the finger that was playing with her hair continued to twirl. His dilating eyes gazed down into hers as the tingle between her legs sparked and began to spread a slow, deep burn. “Yes, those memories. Even in this form, I can smell you a mile away. That’s how I found you both times. Your scent lured me to you. It’s the first identity marker of a soulmate to us. Your scent, and yours alone, appeals to me. Like a moth to a flame; it comforts me, draws me closer to you, and turns me on. Even now, I can smell your emotional state. It grows sweeter and sweeter and it makes me harder and harder.”

He whispered this, clicking a few more puzzle pieces together for her. His presence and closeness did the same, even though she tried to fight against it. Heat spread throughout her body, craving his. Craving for what she had long ago that was taken away all too soon.

But was she ready to let him in again?

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