Tonight, would either change Mary’s fate forever or seriously disappoint her. For five years, she had attended the Mating Ball. In those five years, she had earned herself a spot along the wall, watching everyone find their mated pair and being swept off their feet. Her heart seemed to be lodged in throat all evening in anticipation of what she was about to do.
As werewolves, it has always been a societal norm to married swiftly after turning eighteen, or at least before the age of twenty-five. After completing the mating process, the couple established a lifetime bond that was unbreakable. Mary knew she was losing hope quickly. At twenty-five, she hasn’t even caught the attention of any male werewolf.
If she doesn’t act now, everything would be for nothing. Daniela, her sister-in-law, had spent many hours and days sewing her ballgown together. It was a light pink and subtle blue floral lace applique ballgown with capped sleeves that swept to the polished gold floor.
“I can do this,” she murmured to herself as soon as she saw the male she had her attention on slipping out some heavy golden double doors discreetly.
She passed many people wearing wondrous tuxedos and ballgowns. The arched ceiling glimmered underneath the magnificent chandeliers. The soft music playing in the background. She hastened her footsteps, picking up the ends of her ballgown just to trip and fall over.
Slipping through the door she saw him slipped through, she entered a dark corridor. Blinking until her eyes adjusted to the dimness, she made her way down the hall. Her gown swishing gently underneath her. The door behind her closed with a soft click.
Mary followed his gentle scent, it was a very peculiar scent but one that she found strangely alluring. A mixture of cardamom and cloves with a hint of sweetness to it. She couldn’t pin if it was the choice of his cologne or was it just how he naturally smelled.
It grew stronger as she followed the scent into another dark room. Slowly, she twisted the golden doorknob and opened the door a crack so she can look inside.
“Hello?” she whispered.
No one answered her. Strange. His scent was the strongest in this room. He must be here. She opened the door further and stepped inside completely. Again, the door closed softly behind her with a click.
She moved into the middle of the room, “Mr. Stonewall?”
She realized she shouldn’t have called him that. Her pursuit was not a mister only. He was a male with great prestige. He was the Beta of the Stonewall pack. She had to address him by his title. Just as she was about to do that, she saw movement out by the terrace.
“Are you there?” she asked and entered onto the terrace where he was hiding. The moon illuminated the night sky, and she felt like she had somehow invaded his privacy. He had moved to this empty room for that reason, but she needed to do this. She needed to captivate this male or she would never find a happily ever after.
Without glancing at his face, she closed her eyes, grabbed his cheeks and stood on her tiptoes before slamming her lips onto his.
The kiss was less than eloquent. Her teeth had knocked into his. It was painful, and she grimaced, but she was a determined female. He stood before her, rigid with surprise and anger. Of course, he would be mad at her. She had practically knocked teeth with him, but she would not go down without a fight.
She slanted her lips over his and instantly found how soft his lips were. They were nice and pillow-y. Not chapped at all, which she found pleasing. Suddenly, Mary wanted to taste him. She parted her lips gently and slowly tugged on his bottom lip, urging him to let suck on it.
When he refused to comply, she caressed his cheeks gently as an act of an apology for kissing him abruptly. To her utter surprise and delight, he offered her his lips, but that was all he did. He refused to move from his spot. His body was still stiff with tension, but oh, this man smelled wonderful. She felt like drowning in it.
She tugged on his bottom lip, and when she tasted him; she sighed in happiness. Her heart fluttered at the taste of champagne on his lips and stomach was knotting strangely. She had but a few guys she had slept with, but none of them were special. Yet a simple taste of this man and she found her knees were weak.
She leaned further into his body. One hand slid to the back of her neck to deepen the kiss. Her tongue sweeping in, tasting how warm and sweet he was. When it touched his tongue, he kissed her back.
She had thought this was all for nothing, but he proved her wrong. He wrapped one arm around her waist, the other went into her hair. He was a rascal for threading his fingers through her hair. She had taken forever to pin it up with beautiful flower pins.
That was the last thought though for Mary because the male crushed her body into his. A little taken aback by his strength, she stopped kissing him for a minute. But heat stirred between her legs. His tongue swept inside and tangled with hers.
It was erotic. It left Mary breathless. She felt like she was being kissed because she was the best source of sweetness for him. She felt like she was being devoured and teased at the same time.
Her hairpins hit the terrace floor. She can feel her hair become loose as he repeatedly slanted his lips over hers. Mary tried focusing on how his body feels against hers and noticed how much taller and broader his shoulders were. She could’ve sworn he wasn’t this tall, but it may be because she was standing across the ballroom. She may have underestimated his size.
Slowly, she combed her hands up through his hair. It was a strange haircut. One with a medium-length taper fade cut. She imagined him to look like a total badass with that hairstyle, especially with the stubble beard that she felt against her skin.
Her thoughts were interrupted though when she felt his hand slid lower and cupped her bottom. The gall on this man! She was so surprised; she stopped returning his kisses until he growled deep in his throat to remind her and slapped her bottom. She let out a squeal of vexation and disbelief, but was interrupted when he pulled his lips away and descended his lips down her jawline and to her neck.
The feel of his mouth and his beard against her skin was amazing. She couldn’t speak. She could only feel.
“Brazen female sneaking off into a dark room to be ravished,” he growled huskily.
She gulped before responding, “I-I saw you slip away. I wanted to find you.”
That was half the truth. She wanted to snag this male and make him hers completely. He was continually sucking on a spot on her neck that was driving her insane. Mary clutched at the lapels of his tuxedo to keep herself from falling. Her body molded against his.
“So, you wanted to seduce me?” he whispered. His voice was surprisingly calm and even filled with somewhat humor, but there was a gravelly smoothness to his vocals that had Mary’s skin litter with goosebumps.
“No,” she responded in a breathless whisper.
Mary didn’t want to seduce him, did she? She had only wanted to kiss him. Drive him mad with need, but he was partially correct. She was trying to seduce him.
She pulled back and looked at the man above her. He wasn’t too happy she had pulled away, but conceded anyway to her silent request to stop. With the darkness of the night and only the moonlight as support, she could only make out his features. She remembered the obsidian black hair and hazel eyes. It was the first thing that captured her attention. It was one reason she had inquired with her wallflower companions earlier this evening about him.
He looked down at her at first with observant eyes, equally taking in her features as much as she was. His eyes were steely but shadowed. It was hard to read what he thought of her. Unable to hold his penetrating gaze further, she looked down at his chin. He was growing a three days’ growth of beard. She can see hints of it. In his arms, she felt small even when she stood at least 5′9.
“What is your name?” he asked suddenly.
“Mary,” she replied, “Mary Elizabeth Carter.”
She waited for him to also give him her name, but it seemed he wasn’t going to. It also seemed like he would not release her soon too.
“Why are you here?” he questioned further.
She didn’t want to tell him she came after him to kiss him senseless. Although their kiss was more than senseless, it was mind-numbing and knee-weakening sensual. She loved every bit. No male had ever kissed her that or made her feel that way.
“I...” she murmured, but found it even stranger that he had left the ballroom. She redirected the question back to him.
A flash of irritation crossed his face. She realized he didn’t like it very much, that she had not answered his question.
“I needed some air,” he admitted and released her.
She was glad for space. Took a few steps back before crouching down to hunt for her pins. If anyone had found her pins out here, she would be in big trouble.
“Air? The ballroom is the grandest ballroom I have ever seen in my life. Why it could fit over another hundred people,” she replied and picked up one that was glistening in the moon.
“It wasn’t the air in the ballroom that caused me to step away. It was the people in the room,” he grumbled.
Mary thought back to watching him in the ballroom, Beta Abraham, did meet a lot of females. He talked amongst a lot of peers, but he didn’t seem at all fazed with the crowd. She picked the last of her pins before standing up to face him.
“You don’t enjoy casual conversations amongst your peers?” she questioned.
He eyed her like she was the craziest thing ever. As if she didn’t have a clue what she was talking about. She found his bewildered look vexing and wanted to prod further.
“Not that.” He moved to stand back on the terrace. His hands were on the rail.
Mary tried to fix her hair to the best she could. It was about time she headed back to the ballroom or elderly companion from her pack would start hunting her down. The pack’s reputation was important. If words get out that a female pack member has done something as scandalous as this, her brother would be horrified and demand retribution.
Just as that thought passed through her mind, she heard voices from outside the room. Someone was walking down the hallway. In a hurry, she grabbed the male’s arm to get his attention.
“I know this is inconvenient and I am sorry that I had come out here and kissed you like this but I think you are handsome and—and that kiss it was nothing like I have ever felt before. I realized that we may never meet again, but I hope that I get to see you again,” she rushed to say in a panic. Confusion flooded his features, and she felt another rush of anxiety hits her. She didn’t have time to explain. There was no time for confusion.
She grabbed his cheeks again and slammed her lips onto his again. Kissing him with all that she got, leaving no desires, no secrets behind. In the kiss, she hoped he could see that she wanted more with him and that the kiss wasn’t just a mere kiss but something more between them.
A knock sounded at the door. She broke the kiss, glanced at the door, and then back at his confused face.
“Wait.” He grabbed onto her wrist, but she was quick. She evaded his grasps and ran for the side connecting door. She opened it just as the door she came through earlier opened and slipped away. She heard male voices conversing just as she exited the adjacent room and back into the ballroom.