...And It's a Wolf!
I’m about to meet Pat!
And I was so nervous about it, I was constantly clawing at the cushion on the big living room couch in Landon’s condo. Waiting for her to arrive. Landon was in his office downstairs – above sea-level he assured me, although I had no idea what he meant by that! – and had asked Peter if I could talk to Pat.
Peter had agreed and now I was waiting…
And the rest of the talk with Landon only made me more nervous.
“King?!” I’d exclaimed, pretty sure my jaw had dropped to the floor somewhere. “As in their ruler?!”
“Technically, my Dad is the Master, but I…” he softly groaned in frustration and rubbed the back of his neck. “Just trust me: It’s complicated.”
I believed him! Heck, this was still a lot to wrap my mind around. Add in the fact that he apparently also was royalty, was a mess I didn’t want to get into.
“Is your entire family…?” I asked instead, wondering if I just had a ‘normal’ dinner with a bunch of vampires. I’d seen them all eat, so I was guessing ‘no’. But I was also realizing that my fictional version of vampires didn’t really live up to their expectations.
“Well, now that the vamp’s out of the bag,” he said nervously, folding his hands in front of him and resting his arms on his legs. The solemn look in his eyes didn’t do much to ease the tension I felt in my body.
And just when I thought sunshine couldn’t get any weirder…
“Werewolves?!” I echoed--- but of course! If there were vampires, there HAD to be werewolves too, right? That’s how the fictional world goes…
“And me too,” he continued, giving me a weary look.
I didn’t know much about fiction but didn’t werewolves and vampires hate each other?! And if they were two different spices, could they even…?
“I’m a hybrid,” Landon continued his explanation. “Part vampire, part werewolf. My biological father was a vampire, and my mother was a werewolf.” He took in a deep breath. “My twin sister is the same way.”
I didn’t know why he looked so sad when he said that, but I could imagine. What I knew so far, his biological father had been a real bastard. And I’d never heard him talk about his biological mother. I could only guess about the rest.
Whatever it was, I was guessing it wasn’t good…
“So,” I muttered, softening my tone and trying to comprehend what was going on. “It was some sort of forbidden love?”
The look in his eyes said it all!
“No,” he breathed, and instantly my heart bled for him. He looked devastated and it tore me up inside to see him in pain. “They were not in love. And under normal circumstances a werewolf and a vampire can’t breed but…” He sighed. “My father was very… determined.”
It took a while for those words to sink in.
And my heart just broke a little bit more!
His father had raped his mother! Forced her to give birth to him and his sister. A million questions ran through my mind, but they all somehow seemed dull in comparison to the pain and compassion I felt towards Landon at that moment.
What kind of monster had his father really been?
“The tests,” I murmured, remembered what he’d told me about his biological father. Landon nodded.
“My biological mother was what we call an alpha female, a very strong and powerful werewolf,” he told me, his eyes distant and full of sorrow. “He used her to create me and my twin sister. I highly doubt there were any feelings involved.”
He said it so bitterly I could practically feel his hurt. It made my heart clench and all I wanted to do, was to reach out and hold him and…
“I’m sorry,” I said, reaching out for his hand and took it into mine. I couldn’t stop it. I scooted closer to him. To feel him and to let him know, I was here.
I wasn’t about to leave…
“He’s gone now, so he can’t hurt anyone else,” he replied, but a lot of the tension seemed to have left his body. He took a deep breath and relaxed his head against mine, that I subconsciously had rested on his shoulder. Not that I was about to complain. I liked it and getting to breathe in his scent relaxed me. Soothed me…
“And your mother?” I asked carefully, knowing this had to be incredibly hard for him to talk about. But he shook his head, the sorrowful expression back in his eyes.
“She was dead by the time Mom and Dad found us,” he explained, looking down at me with a look that made my heart clench. “She-she gave her life to protect us.”
I looked up. His red eyes were calmly burning with emotions that were hard to describe. Sadness, hurt, fear… He was vulnerable. He made himself that…
And for that reason, I just loved him more.
“This might sound wrong,” I said, suddenly feeling tears prick at the corner of my eyes. My voice was gruff and no more than a whisper; vibrating from strong emotions. “But I’m glad she did.”
“Because I think the world is a better place with you in it,” I replied honestly. His eyes widen and that infamous blush appeared again. And I just couldn’t help myself. I kissed him. I had to. At that moment, kissing him seemed more important than my next breath.
He instantly kissed me back, opening up to me and letting me taste him. It felt just as mesmerizing and all-consuming as it always had. I could feel his heartbeat under my fingers, where my hand rested upon his chest. He was so warm and strong, I just wanted to wrap myself around him and stay close to him forever…
“Lexi…,” he groaned and leaned closer; his intention clear. But I broke it off before it could become something that we wouldn’t be able to stop.
“Landon, I need to know one thing,” I cut him off before this got to continue. Because as much as I wanted to throw caution to the wind and just dive in ‘everything Landon’ headfirst, I needed to know if I could trust him. I didn’t want my heartbroken. I could understand the secrets, but I couldn’t accept lies…
“Everything you told me? About--- everything! – is that…?” I asked hesitantly, hating to know the answers. Self-preservation I could overbear. But had he lied to me? And if so, how could I ever trust that he wouldn’t do it again?
“Everything I’ve told out is the truth,” he said, his voice raspy from kissing so long. I sighed in relief, not really realizing that I’d been holding my breath. He smiled, gently stroking my cheek, and seemed almost as relieved as I was. Which was a BIG relief! I smiled back at him and wanted to kiss him again when he continued talking:
“I only left out the fact that the pharmacy is a vampire’s nest, and my family can shift to huge ass wolves.”
That caught my attention!
“Shift?!” I exclaimed, jumping out of his hold, gaping at him--- and for some reason gave him a once over, more or less expecting him to somehow have hidden a tail and dogears! He even had the nerve to laugh at that! He then went on to tell me about how werewolves have a wolf spirit inside them, allowing them to shift forms at will. I didn’t really know how to feel about that. I mean, vampires were one thing, but for a human to transform into a beast?!
Wouldn’t that hurt like hell?!
Landon assured me it didn’t, but--- It was a DOG! And a human has about 206 bones in their bodies; a dog has over 300! (Don’t ask me how I know that!) Where do they get the extra bones from? And the logical answer for that--- is freaking painful!
Landon still laughed, when I voice my concerns.
“It’s true that our bones break when we shift,” he confessed--- and I gasped in horror. I couldn’t help it. I was worried about Landon getting hurt. And the thought of him in pain, it… it broke my heart!
“But…,” He quickly continued, before I could say anything. “Our body produces hormones that not only repair the damage instantly and make the shift possible, but it also works like a local anastatic. It’s pain-free.”
That somewhat put my mind at ease.
“My wolf wants to meet you,” he said nervously, as the new information sank in. “You-you want to see him?”
He asked like a kid who wanted to show me his favorite toy!
“Sure,” I replied, scratching the back of my head (apparently taking up his bad habits) and sat back at the head of the bed. “With everything else that’s been going on today, it can’t get any weirder.”
I still felt a bit overwhelmed by everything, but at least I wasn’t freaking out anymore. I guess deep down, I knew Landon was different from anyone else I knew, I just didn’t give him credit for how different he actually was. The only thing that still really put me off was the fact that vampires OWNED humans.
I wasn’t sure how I felt about that…
“Erm, just so you know, we won’t hurt you,” Landon told me, getting up off the bed. He looked really nervous and excited at the same time. Which meant stuttering was coming up! “And-and we’ll still be--- Well, technically he’s a bit different from me, but-but the point is…” he finally concluded, his worried gaze finding mine. “We won’t hurt you!”
“Ok,” I grinned (I couldn’t help it! He was so cute when he did that!) and teased him. “Do you expect doggie-treats?”
He caught onto my joke and relaxed slightly.
“I wouldn’t mind some treat,” he teased back. “Are you offering?”
He winked at me. My eyes widen in surprise at the innuendo and my heart happily skipped a beat. Darn, even my core clenched and my panties dampened at what he was implying. Because if it was Landon?
Yes, yes, and heck yes!
But could I say that? Of course not! All I could do was gape, blush, and look like an idiot. Which apparently seemed to be his goal, when I noticed the wide grin on his face. I softly non-cursed as he got up and started to---
“WOW! Wh-what are you doing?!” I practically screeched, when I noticed him taking off his clothes. Because as much as I wanted him naked and on top of me---
Now was not the time!
“My wolf is big,” Landon explained in a calm tone and all playfulness left his features. “If I shift while I’m dressed my clothes will rip.”
Well, that made sense, I supposed, but…
My eyes roamed his fit body again. He was big! Like all over hard and fit. Not like those guys with huge muscles and popping veins. But lean and firm. And for the life of me, I couldn’t stop my gaze to fall to the front of his jeans, my heart speeding up just wondering what he’d look like ALL naked…
As if sensing my discomfort (or just seeing the deep, red blush that formed on my cheeks) he added:
“I’ll leave my boxers on,” he offered.
“You better!” I said, hoping for a confident and firm tone, but barely coming out as a choked gulp.
He nodded and stripped down to his boxers. Then, something seemed to cross his mind and in two long strides, he pulled out an extra pair and threw it into the bathroom.
At first, I thought it was strange--- but then he shifted! It was a man one second and a huge wolf the next. I couldn’t contain the scream, that bubbled up my throat at the sight. The tattered remains of the boxers fell off his black, furry body and I understood why he’d need new ones.
He. Was. HUGE!
He wasn’t as tall as Landon standing on all fours, but if he was raised on his hind legs he’d be easily 8 or 10 feet tall. His fur was all black and had a silk-like look to it. Which made me wonder if he was as soft as he looked. His limbs were slim, his chest was narrow, and his snout was more rounded than a wolf. It reminded me more of a large hound rather than a wolf and when he raised his ears and carefully wagged his long, extremely furry tail---
Yeah, definitely a doggy-move!
I couldn’t help but giggle at the sight. He was gorgeous and without a doubt the most beautiful thing I’d ever set eyes upon…
“Wow,” I breathed, pushing myself a bit further forward on the bed, taking more of him in. “You’re gorgeous!”
He grinned a wolfy grin and jumped or walked up the bed because he was that big. He kept to the foot end of the bed but whined and kept making small crawling motions towards me.
“You can come to me,” I encouraged him, not needing to be a dog-whisperer to know what he wanted. Instantly he was hovering over me, licking my face while his tail was wagging in joy. I couldn’t help but laugh, gently trying to push him away, before I was covered in drool. He moved as I wanted him, but he kept licking at me at any part he could reach. My hands, my arms--- even my legs and feet.
I jerked when his tongue tickled my feet. But as Landon promised, he didn’t hurt me. Instead, he seemed like a dog (and yes, I hate saying it!) making his territory! Apparently, I needed to have a long chat with Landon about werewolf behavior instead of the pain of shifting…
While having him close by, I let my fingers run through his pelt. It was as soft as it looked and I almost moaned when my fingers brushed against the silky strands. But when I started to scratch him, he slubbed down next to me, belly up (like a dog! I’m telling you, if anyone says it’s not the same, they’re not dealing with a werewolf-vampire-hybrid!) demanding being rubbed. I did. But with a strange sensation that--- somewhere in there, was Landon…
You know--- There!
“Can Landon hear us?” I asked, suddenly feeling less of a dog-person and more of a pervert. And to my horrific surprise, the big wolf nodded.
“You---,” I gasped. “You understand me?!”
Ok, sure. I suspected him to have some intelligence, but to understand me?!
Again, the wolf nodded.
“Landon?” I exclaimed in shock. The wolf tilted his head and I swear, I could see the annoyed expression on his face.
“Ok, not Landon,” I concluded--- somewhat relieved. “So… You’re his wolf?” I asked, just to be sure. He nodded. “And Landon is in there somewhere?” Again he nodded.
I took in a deep breath.
“OK! I’m officially having a conversation with a wolf,” I summarized for my own sanity. “Which means that either I need a doctor, because I’m having a mental breakdown, or I’m part of the biggest prank in history. And sorry Landon and wolf,” I took a deep breath, looking down at the wolf next to me – who looked back at me with what I could only describe as a scowl – and sighed: “But I don’t think you have a bad bone in your body to pull off something like that.”
He seemed satisfied with that and wagged his tail. I smiled and he moved closer to rest his head on my lap, his tail wagging lazily from side to side. I leaned back in the pillows, letting my fingers curl into his fur, and rested them there.
This was too incredible--- but also made perfect sense. I couldn’t really describe it. I’d imagine my rationality to kick in and explain this supernatural horse crap away or something.
But it didn’t happen.
It felt like there was this inner voice that was just telling me, that it was the truth, and everything was ok. Landon wouldn’t hurt or lie to me and – somehow – everything was right in the universe.
That apparently included vampires and werewolves!
Suddenly I was overwhelmed with exhaustion and my eyelids felt heavy. I started to nod off to sleep when the wolf suddenly got up and went into the bathroom. Moments later, Landon appeared in a discarded T-shirt and sweatpants.
“You should get some rest,” he said softly, sitting next to me on the bed, pulling me into his arms. I sighed, nuzzling closer to him, and rested my head on his chest. I was really tired…
“I’ll send Pat up in a while and call your mom--- or… Do-do you want to call her? I mean you’re not a prisoner here or anything! Not really, anyway, I just--- That is…” He paused to take a breath. “I want you to be ok with all of this before you go.”
“Ok,” I muttered into his chest, happy to feel his strong arms around me. Arms that a second ago were paws and a man, that was a wolf and a vampire that drank blood and didn’t get killed by bullets. Oh, and he apparently was royalty as well!
Yeah! All was right in the world…
“Hi!” a chirpy voice said, the second the elevator door open--- and the most stunning, unique red-head came skipping towards her. “I’m Pat. Master said I should come to talk to you.”
She hugged me, taking me completely by surprise. Her personality was so bubbly and chirpy, I---
Was THIS someone who was owned by a vampire?!
She pulled back, still smiling and although I felt obligated to wonder if it was fake, it clearly wasn’t. Her eyes smiled as brightly as her lips and one look at her outfit told me, she dressed better than the queen. She looked young, but I guessed she was some years older than me. She was also shorter than me, but had a generous body, with curves in all the right places that gave her a very mature and feminine body.
Something mine was still working on…
“Master?” I echoed--- and somehow felt a sting of jealously if she was talking about Landon.
Did Peter “share” his pet?
And if Landon was half vampire, who was his pet? Where did he get his blood? Did he have some beautiful, stunning slut like this one hidden away somewhere for his personal use?
“Master Stone,” she replied, pulling me out of my thoughts and fueled my jealous streak. For a split second, I fumed, feeling murderous towards a human girl, I just met. But she was already talking again: “Formally I’ll call Peter ‘master’ too, but in private, he’s my pet.” She said and winked, laughing at her own wordplay. And she laughed more when she noticed that my eyes had widened in surprise.
I guess that answered that question…
“I can’t believe this is really happening,” I muttered, letting her pull me over to the couch again and sat down.
“I know how you feel,” she said sympathetically, taking in a deep breath. “I was kidnaped and sold as a pet to a very bad master. Peter won me in a bet and my life just became a million times better.” She grinned. “And the sex isn’t bad either.”
So much for everything here being a small paradise.
“Yeah,” she shrugged, not seeming too bothered by it. Which I guess made sense if she was kidnapped and had some sort of Florence Nightingale-complex towards the man who rescued her. Reverse Stockholm syndrome…
“I mean,” she continued, seeming to think about it. “Vampires mostly use pets for blood, because – you know? That shit is hard as hell to get in stores,” she said in a duh-like tone, gesturing with her hands. I bit my lips. I guess I didn’t think about that…
“But most pets also keep their master’s bed warm,” she finished and shrugged--- and then quickly added. “But not Master Stone, if that’s what you’re thinking!”
I felt way too relieved by that, I realized.
“Master Stone doesn’t have a pet. Alpha Stone – that’s Master’s father – bought a blood bank just after finding him and his twin. They don’t need to feed often, and the blood bank doesn’t miss a couple of pints of blood once a month or so.”
And now I was slightly disturbed by how relieved I was…
Was it normal to be this happy to know that your vampire-werewolf boyfriend only drank blood from a bag?
“Does he…?” I asked, feeling nervous about asking. “Force you? To… you know? Have sex?”
“Peter? No!” she exclaimed with an offended expression. But it quickly turned solemn and sadness filled her eyes. “But my old master did,” she confessed. I gasped.
So… I’d been right?
“Listen, not all vampire clans are the same,” she continued, almost like she could have heard my thoughts. “See this?” She tabbed a choke collar around her neck. It was a simple red band with a beautiful black stone and gold engravings. “It’s a pet collar. It has Peter’s initials and Master Stone’s insignia, which keeps me protected no matter what. It ensures that I’m never going back to where I was and honestly,” she took a deep breath, and I could see the memories of her past haunted her.
“It makes me sleep better at night.”
She went on to tell me about how vampires target runaway kids, take them and sell them in underground black markets. Some end up in good clans where they are kept as servants and some are even given pay, while others ended up like Pat.
Abused and forced into sexual slavery.
Apparently, if Peter hadn’t had rescued her by playing in that game of cards, she didn’t think she’d live much longer.
“Why---,” I asked, unable to help myself. “Why didn’t you just leave?”
“In my old clan I was kept in a cage,” she explained--- like it was self-explanatory. “And even if I wasn’t, I didn’t have a collar. I wasn’t worthy of one.”
“It’s important?” I asked with a frown.
“Very,” she replied, emphasizing the word by exaggeration. “I don’t know how, but supernatural’s just know by looking at a human if they know about them or not. And one of their most sacred laws is that no human can know about the supernatural world unless they’re either mated to said supernatural or in their services.”
Of course, they did!
“But isn’t Landon…,” I frowned, not really understanding how someone like Landon would be ok with that. “The Vampire King?”
“It’s complicated,” she replied--- to my utter frustration. Apparently, everything was, I muttered to myself, feeling pissed.
“Ok, history lesson,” Pat continued, once again having guessed my mood. “So yeah, Landon’s biological father was considered royalty because his clan was the biggest in the world. But officially he didn’t hold the title. The vampires don’t have a monarchy. They’re ruled by the Vampire Council of Elders – big, bad, and old vampires, that think they know best in all matters. Assholes if you ask me, but what do I know,” She muttered the last part to herself, obviously not liking the old bats. It made me grin. “But Lucian King never abided to them,” she continued. “He was too powerful and did whatever he wanted. They couldn’t stop him and that’s why he was called The Vampire King.”
“Lucian King?” I echoed, the name slightly ringing a bell. “That’s Landon’s biological father, right?”
“Right,” she confirmed with a nod. “But then, he was killed by Alpha Stone, Landon’s adoptive father. He became the Master, but vampires can’t have a werewolf as a master. They simply don’t retaliate, because Alpha Stone is a killing monster, and he hates vampires.”
“What?” I gasped in surprise. Alpha Stone hated vampires?! “But Landon…”
“Landon is part wolf,” she quickly replied, giving my hand a comforting squeeze. “There’s always a loophole somewhere.”
“A killing monster?” I still echoed, remembering the tall, muscular man that was Landon’s adoptive father. He definitely looked the part that’s for sure. And if he was able to kill a vampire that no one else dared to oppose, he must be powerful. But…
“He killed Landon’s father,” I muttered.
“From what I’ve heard,” Pat snorted. “There’s no one crying for that man.”
Yeah, that’s what sort of worried me.
Everybody saw this man – the King – as a big bad monster. Did anyone think about what that did to Landon, knowing he had inherited most of his father’s traits? That his father’s home was now his and that it was his father’s clan he now was protecting? There was no doubt in my heart that Landon loved his adoptive family and they loved him, but…
That monster had still been his father…
And my heart just broke for him a little bit more…
All I wanted to do, was go and find Landon, kiss him, and ensure him, that everything was going to be alright. That he might take over his father’s duties, but that didn’t make him his father. That he was his own man. Kind, generous, loving…
“So,” I breathed, trying not to let my emotions get the best of me--- and wonder what in darnation a ‘beloved’ was? This wasn’t the first time it had crossed my mind, but I had no idea why… “Landon isn’t the Master of Sin City?”
“Well, no,” Pat stuttered, chewing nervously on her bottom lip. “But Landon is…” She sighed. “Well, because he’s the rightful heir, all the vampires in this nest feel the connection to him. They feel strong again and if he chooses to be, he’ll become the new Vampire King.”
My mouth fell open.
He really was royalty…!
And why was that what scared me the most?
“To take the title, however, he needs to acknowledge it in front of the entire clan and accept any challenges for the title,” Pat continued, unaware of my inner dilemma. “And in vampire years he came of age 3 years ago.”
“But he hasn’t claimed his title?” I asked, although I already knew the answer. Pat shook her head--- and then a smile crept across her lips.
“Some say he’s waiting for his beloved,” she said, a dreamy look in her eyes.
That caught my interest…
“Beloved?” I echoed, feeling every neuron in my body awake. I knew that--- somehow! I--- but where? And what did it mean?
“It’s like a mate in the werewolf world…” Pat replied, which only frustrated me.
“I don’t know what a mate is!” I snapped at her, feeling eager and on edge for some reason. I wanted to know, what ‘a beloved’ was.
I HAD to know…
“Oh! Right!” Pat corrected herself and muttered a halfhearted sorry that I quickly accepted so she would tell me more. “Well, it’s like a soulmate,” she explained, making my heart thump in my chest. “True love or love at first sight, whatever Shakespeare called it. It’s like a bond in your blood that just draws you to the person you’re supposed to spend the rest of your life with. Like…”
“A magnet,” I muttered with a chill down my spine. I knew what it felt like. Because I felt it! Every time I was with Landon, that’s what it felt like! Was I---?
Was I Landon’s soulmate?
And why did that make me happier than a child on Christmas?
“Yeah,” she nodded, but for some reason, the cheeriness in her tone had gone. “Werewolves have the same thing, but they chose their mates, much like humans chose their partners. But once the wolf imprints on another wolf, it’s for life.”
“How do you know?” I asked eagerly, not really caring about the technical terms. “If you’re a beloved mate? How do you know?”
“I don’t know,” she replied with a shrug and her gaze lowered to her lap. All happiness seemed to drain from her features. “I’m a pet. This is as high in the hierarchy as I get.”
I frowned, having a bad feeling about this.
“What do you mean?”
“A vampire who doesn’t get a fated beloved can still claim a mate if they wish,” she explained. “If they fall in love or it’s a practical arrangement.” A deep, heartbreaking sigh left her lips and water shimmered in her eyes. “But a master can’t claim a pet as his beloved.”
I gulped, fearing to ask.
She took a deep breath and tried to smile at me. But only managed to slightly tilt her lips into a halfhearted smile, that didn’t reach her beautiful green eyes.
“Because a pet is a human,” she said, her voice slightly trembling. “A beloved is a vampire.”
It felt like my world just got crushed. My heart clenched painfully in my chest and a soft whimper left my lips. I felt physical pain, realizing, that I could never be that to Landon. I would never be his soulmate, because---
Because I’m human!
And by the looks of it, I wasn’t the only one…
“You’re in love with him,” I said softly, taking Pat’s hand in my own. Suddenly knowing all too well how she was feeling.
She was in love with her master…
Like I was in love with mine…
“Peter is my entire life,” she replied softly. “And he loves me, but in a few years, he’ll have no use for me and will either cut me loose or…” She swallowed hard. “He’ll let me go.”
My stomach coiled and I felt like someone had run a knife through my heart.
No! It couldn’t be…
“That’s the fate of all pets…”