The Monster Within

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Kiss Me, Hollis

Oberon kept his worries to himself as he settled back into their sleeping bags, trying in vain to tune out Cole’s incessant rambling on the knowledge that wolves still existed. Oberon snorted, rolling his eyes to the stars, hands clasped behind his head. He could hear her faint footsteps drawing nearer, accompanied by the soft padding of the wolf’s thick, massive paws. The animal’s senses were stronger than even Oberon’s, and for that he was thankful. With Tiberius threatening them at each turn, he would need every bit of help he could get.

Hollis burst through the brush, and he turned his eyes to her sopping wet form, her cheeks ruddy, a passionate grin on her face. He felt his heart thump hard in his chest, his own smirk creeping onto his face. She kicked off her shoes, nestling them on rocks near the fire to dry them out, before she turned a pointed glare to Cole. Oberon chuckled. Hollis had no reservations when nude in front of himself, but she refused to allow Cole to watch. He quite enjoyed the pang of jealousy he could see in the scientist’s eyes as he turned his back to the fire and Hollis.

Satisfied, she dug through her pack for dry clothes, a slight shiver setting in. The wolf sat obediently, eyes scanning the tree line, his wet fur almost reeking more than before she had bathed him.

“No need to dress, tiny woman,” Oberon said, voice low. Her eyes bounced up to his face, a deep blush coating her cheeks. She frowned a bit as he quirked a brow, pulling the blanket up and inviting her in.

“I’m warmer than any clothing you have,” he said, flashing her a look dripping with desire. She clamped her mouth shut, eyes flitting to the wolf and back. He drank in her innocent hesitation, finding it even more arousing.

“Come, so you can tell me what you named the mongrel.”

She grinned again, the tension leaving her as she gazed on the wolf with adoration and love. Oberon felt himself smile. She was happy to have something of her own, he sensed. It was something she’d been missing for weeks now. He was elated to be the one who could remedy that for her.

She reached for her wet clothes, fumbling as she turned away and stripped, tossing them aside in haste before she climbed in next to Oberon. He pulled her close, wrapping her tight in his sweltering embrace to help warm her, her cheek pressed to his chiseled chest. Her skin was cool, damp and soft against his own. He rested his chin on her head, eyes slipping closed in relief at having her in his arms, safe, intact.

“Kenai,” she muttered, word hindered by his skin, the movement of her lips making him shiver in delight. He pulled away a bit, staring into her deep blue eyes before he smirked.

“I like it. Strong. Where did you find a name like that?”

She shrugged, unable to hide her grin.

“I saw it on the map, in the Alaska Province. It’s a river.”

He nodded, thumb brushing up and down on her back. Kenai let out a long, whining sigh, stretching out next to them in the dirt, settling his wide head on his front paws. The horses snorted and swayed, still unsure of their new companion. Oberon chuckled, and Hollis pulled away, a line forming between her brows.

“Winston does not like him,” he explained, reaching up to press his thumb against the line.

“Tell Winston I still love him just as much,” she said with a small, tired smile. Oberon leaned in, pressing his lips to her forehead, feeling for himself how her heart erupted in a fit of flutters at the intimate contact.

“Sleep, you’re exhausted,” he urged, intertwining their legs. Her heart raced again, and he felt himself grow hot with desire at the effect he was having on her, this time unaccompanied by her fear. Only curiosity lingered in her mind, now. He sensed that once they gave in to such temptations, they would become insatiable. He welcomed the thought, but also knew the precarious position they were still in. He had no way of ensuring her safety, other than the notion that he would never stop fighting for her, if it came to that.

What troubled him most was her thoughts concerning him, the idea that he would grow bored of her and seek another woman that suited him better. It was on her mind often, a constant, nagging loop he tuned into with disdain. He would never grow tired of her. She was beautiful, kind, gentle, but also fiery and willing to learn anything and everything. She had a knack for attracting trouble, but Oberon found it endearing, a chance to show off his dominance, his abilities. She complemented him well, whether she chose to see it or not. He’d spent his life searching for a woman like her, and it had taken death and rebirth to find her. He would never give her up without a harrowing fight.

She tilted her head, bringing her wide eyes to meet his, and the desire between the two sparked to life like a wildfire. He saw the many benefits to giving in to her. Someday, someday soon, he would find the right moment to explain to her how he could protect her for eternity, how he could use their intimate connection to shield her from death—forever.

If she wanted that.

The words stuck in his throat, though, and he knew tonight was not that time. As for other, less intrusive pursuits…

“What’s it like?” she whispered, keeping her words and thoughts safe from prying, jealous ears. Oberon stilled, eyes searching hers for her meaning. With a slight upturn of his lips, he raised his hand, his fingers gliding through her ashy locks, so much longer and untamed now. He preferred her this way; wind whipped, sunburnt with coppery freckles, her hair long and full and lustrous. There was a wildness to her, now. Something that had been lurking beneath the surface all along, something that had never been given the chance to thrive, locked away as she’d been.

“I cannot say how it is for a woman. But…it is beautiful, when shared with the right soul.”

He watched as she worried her bottom lip, eyes gazing downward between their bodies, her long lashes tickling her cheeks. He’d worn shorts out of courtesy, but now he was regretting it. In a flash, her eyes were on his again, burning him through.

“You think I’m the right soul?” she said, nervousness coating her timid tone. His thumb brushed her jawline.

“I know it, Hollis.”

“How?” she countered, her feisty nature at the surface. She was trying to push him away with her questioning, trying in vain to make her rationale work, he knew. But she was going to fail.

He sighed, frowning, eyes flicking between hers.

“There was…a calmness, in my heart, the moment I saved you. I…I couldn’t bear the thought of sleeping. I was too afraid to die, or to wake up in another time, another land. I still am, tiny woman,” he said, furrowing his brows as he spilled his truth to her, no matter how difficult to share his vulnerabilities.

“But when you’re here, when I feel your heartbeat, when I feel your body…all that fear is gone. I am at peace with you, and I’ve never felt that with another woman.”

Her eyes widened a bit, her lips parted. He felt her cheeks flame before he pulled his hand away, letting it roam down her side to her hip, where his long fingers dug into her flesh.

“I am under your spell, as you’re under mine. There are more powerful things just beyond our sight that neither of us will ever understand,” he said, pulling her a bit closer. Her breath hitched at their contact.

“I feel like you know,” she said, shaky fingers pressing to his abdomen. He shivered at her gentle, demure touch.

“I know more than humans, yes. But there are still things only higher beings than myself could ever comprehend.”

Her eyes darted down in thought.

“Do you think…do you think we were meant to find each other like we did?”

He carefully considered the depth of her question.

“I don’t see how this is all coincidence, Hollis,” he said finally with a shake of his head. The fire around them began to burn low, and the sound of Cole’s soft snores met their ears. They both flushed hot for a moment, feeling the weight of their solitude. Their eyes met, Hollis quivering at the look he knew he was giving her. He leaned in, pulling her ever closer, his lips brushing the shell of her delicate ear.

“It’s alright, tiny Hollis. You’re forever safe with me.”

She tucked her head under his chin once more, her fingers inching up to his side, and then his back, feeling him as he so often felt her. His eyes slipped closed as he relished the contact, a low groan issuing from parted lips. He rolled, pressing his hips to hers, and she paused for a moment, small hand trembling.

“Do you see what you do to me, woman?” he said against her hair, voice low and husky. Without a word, she resumed her exploration, fingers trailing up his spine, to his shoulder, then down his thick arm, down his side. He shifted, skin jumping as she neared his belly button, hand pausing above the band of his shorts.

He felt the monster inside him pacing, raging, wishing to be released, but he kept it in check as he peeled his eyes open and stared at the embodiment of perfection. With a growl and a smirk, he rolled until he was on top of her, reaching down while she was stunned into stillness to rid himself of his clothing. He heard her small gasp as the hand that wasn’t propping him up danced along her skin, his lips pausing just before they planted themselves on hers.

The kiss was slow, deep, and his poor Hollis had no idea what to do, but he didn’t mind in the slightest. She would learn. His tongue flicked out, tasting her, and she parted her lips to let out a small moan into him. The noise sent a thrill of power, of dominance through him, and he released her mouth, gripping both her wrists in one of his to stretch her out beneath him. Worry flashed in her ocean gaze, but he bent, pressing his chest to hers, blanketing her with his own body.

“You’re safe,” he repeated, throwing her another smirk. She relaxed as much as was possible in this new situation.

“I just enjoy…being dominant,” he admitted. She flushed hotly, squirming beneath him, the motion only serving to press her tighter to him. He brought his leg forward, wedging his thick thigh between hers, opening her to him. She was surrendered and at his mercy.

“Obe—” she said, a note of panic to her voice. He lessened his hold, offering her a gentle smile.

“We will not do that tonight,” he said, watching as she sagged in relief. She could be quite the voracious vixen at times, but when it came down to it, she was still frightened of the entire process, he knew. From the physical to the emotional, she understood very little of what to expect. Oberon blamed her mother for that, knowing she’d purposefully made it sound awful so Hollis and her sister would shy away from men and the threat they poised.

“Trust me, Hollis,” he said, bending once more, pressing his lips to her neck, bringing his knee up further, inch by agonizing inch. Her veins throbbed under his tongue as she let out another breathy moan to the stars. He felt her nails scrabbling against the back of his hand while his other found her breast, pressing his palm across the tender flesh. Goosebumps arose, and he chuckled against her, feeling her own desire and arousal against his leg.

He trailed kisses down her neck, to her collarbone, and finally to her nipple, his tongue now dancing across it as she arched her back in response. He couldn’t help the rumbling laugh this time, sliding his hand down to grip her hip and pin her to the ground.

“You want me so badly even the rocks can feel it,” he said against her, chin resting on her sternum. She held her head up, gasping a bit as she fixed him with a portentous glare. He dropped his knee, releasing her wrists, and her face fell, flushed and heady with stark craving.

“Do you want me to stop?” he said, quirking his brow. Annoyed, she huffed, throwing her glare to the tree line in a petulant fit. He grinned, dipping his head to her belly button and dragging his tongue agonizingly slowly up and into the valley of her breasts. She gasped, hips bucking up as best they could under his strong hold.

“Mmm,” she sighed, and he watched in satisfaction as she bit her lip.

“Do you want me to stop?” he asked again, playing coy. Throwing away her inhibitions, she shook her head with eagerness. With a satisfied grunt, he sank lower, wrapping his arms around her thighs and yanking her to him, his fingers digging with desire into her hips.

“What…what are you…” she breathed, scared once more, her wide eyes finding his. He gave her a lopsided grin.

“Do you trust me?” he asked, forcing his eyes to stay locked on hers, and not on the sight right before him. She began to shake, her trembles rather endearing, but she nodded.

“Just try to be quiet, tiny woman,” he warned, placing a gentle kiss on the inside of her thigh.

“O-ok,” she stammered.

“Relax,” he murmured, before he began to kiss her thighs once more, slow and gentle and letting her arousal build. After what felt a torturous eternity, he let his tongue dart to her most sensitive spot. She let out a yelp of surprise, her hips jutting up, so responsive, so eager. He wasted no time now, devouring her, making her writhe beneath him in pleasure. She attempted to keep her noises to a minimum, but he could tell it was becoming useless. He released one thigh, his long arm reaching up, pressing his fingers over her lips just as she released a high, whimpering moan, her hands darting down, winding into his hair and clawing at his scalp. He growled, feeling her still, feeling her get closer and closer to the edge, until she cried out against his hand, spasming beneath him. He didn’t let up, not until she was whimpering. He released her, moving back up to her, pressing his heaving chest to hers.

She turned her head away from him, and he felt the spark of her shame. He wrapped her into his strong yet gentle embrace, kissing the top of her head, then her cheek.

“Why are you ashamed, Hollis?” he whispered against her, squeezing her, concern in his deep baritone.

“Because…because I was afraid…for a little bit…of you…”

He found the notion rather sweet as he pressed another kiss to her forehead.

“I understand your fear. But I feel that is quelled now, hmm?” he asked. She nodded quickly against his chest as he chuckled.

“Good.”

“That…I…didn’t know…anything could ever feel like that,” she admitted, bringing her glazed eyes to his. He cupped her cheek, his chest seized with adoration at her. She was his, entirely his. He felt lucky for the first time in his life.

“Was it satisfactory?”

She pushed against him, and he let her go. She propped herself on her elbow, staring him down.

“You don’t even need to ask that,” she said, blushing.

“Oh, woman, I want you to cry out against me like that for eternity,” he breathed, a gentle smile on his face. She blushed hotter, beaming.

“Can I…make you…feel good?”

His brows shot up in surprise.

“If you want, but I do not expect that. This isn’t a favor that needs to be returned, Hollis.”

“I want to…because I want to,” she said, brows furrowing. He sensed a bit of frustration looming, and his lips tilted up.

“Do you need my help?”

After a sheepish moment, she nodded. He cupped her cheek once more, fire flowing through his veins.

“Kiss me, Hollis.”

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