Eric sat up straight, turning toward her slightly. “You need to understand Anna, this isn’t something we tell just anyone and anybody. If we did, we’d be hunted down and used for experiments. So, for the most part, we hide our existence from all humans.”
“Okay, that I understand, I wouldn’t want to be hunted for being different either. So, why tell me? You didn’t have to; you could have made up some lie or something.”
“Well, this is where it gets a bit more… complicated,” Eric told her as he ran a hand down his face. “As a werewolf, we are born human but on our sixteenth birthday, we shift into our wolf for the first time. Now, legend has it that we are the way we are because we are cursed. Part of that curse includes being born with only half of our soul. The other half belongs to our mate who we began to search for at sixteen when our wolf is born.”
“Your mate?” She asked with a frown. “You mean a soulmate?”
“Correct. Now, if that person is never found it’s said the wolf within slowly dies.”
“Dies!” Anna exclaimed with a squeak.
Eric nodded as he gazed into her wide eyes, saying, “I don’t know how long that process takes, or if it’s even true. I do know that I’m now twenty-eight and still have my wolf.”
“So, you haven’t found yours?”
“I have now. Anna, you are my soulmate. I knew it the moment you ran into me. Suddenly, I felt as if my world was complete and all I wanted to do that night was pick you up and run away with you. You are my other half Anna, and my soul is whole with you in my world.” Eric whispered.
“Me?” She questioned breathlessly as she moved closer. “Is that why I feel as if I’ve known you forever? Is that why I wanted to crawl into your arms and never let you go when I ran into you that night? Why, even now, all I want to do is kiss you? Why I’ve begun to dream of love and happiness once more?”
Eric smiled. “Yes, my love, yes to all of those questions. It’s called a mate bond; it makes it easier to accept each other and it binds the two halves together as one.”
“Ah…” she murmured. Then she moved into his lap, straddling him, and began to run her hands along his chest. “I like your chest and the fact that you don’t keep it hair-free as so many do nowadays. I like the feel of your soft hair on my cheek when I lay on it.”
Eric moaned as her fingers trailed through his chest hair, creating shivers of need. “Love, keep that up and you’ll be getting more than kisses this night.”
She looked into his eyes.
He saw that hers were dilated, which let him know she was feeling as needy as he was. There was still more to tell her though. So, grabbing hold of her hands to still them, he continued, “Anna, for a wolf there is only one and because of this, we mark our mates. This is a symbol of our love much like the wedding band given in a human marriage, only there is no divorce. Once we give our love to our mate only death will part us.”
“Are you saying that I’m it for you? What if I had refused to be your mate?”
“Then my wolf would have slowly died, emotionally if not physically because now that we’ve found you, we cannot live without you,” Eric admitted solemnly.
Anna smiled at him. Tugging her hand from his, she once more began to move her fingertips along his chest, catching his nipple with a nail as she went.
He moaned and felt his pants tighten as his arousal grew.
“It’s a good thing I totally like you then, isn’t it?” Anna asked close to her ear.
“So, Eric, will you be my boyfriend?” She asked him sweetly.
He hissed out a breath as her hand moved downward before grunting, “Yes, love, but I plan to be so much more than your boyfriend. When I make love to you for the first time, I will mark you as mine, the equivalent of marrying you in the werewolf community. The pack will see your mark and know you are mine.”
“Mm… a wolf staking his claim?”
“Something like that.”
“So, what is this marking you speak of?” Anna asked him.
Eric brought his forefinger up and ran it along the left side of her neck where it joined her shoulder. “I will bite you right about here, a bite that will leave a mark un-noticeable to the human eye, but one another wolf can see. It will also change your scent slightly so everyone will know you are mated to me.”
“Hm… and you’ll do this the first time you make love to me?”
Eric pulled her closer, running his nose down her neck before nipping at it. She moaned and arched into him. Pulling back, he connected their gaze once more and agreed, “Yes, and I want so badly for that to be tonight. I’ve waited so long for you, mate, and I grow impatient to make you completely mine. You need to be sure this is what you want though because when I give you my mark, I give you my heart.”
Anna sat still with her eyes once more locked with his. Then she smiled as she leaned in to brush her lips on his. With her lips still brushing his, she whispered, “Oh Eric, I want, I want it all. Make me yours because deep inside me is a feeling of want, need, and love. I want you to be my forever love, Eric. Do you want to be mine?”
“Yes, I do very much want that,” he agreed in return. “I don’t want to hurt you, so are you healed enough for us to…”
“Yes, I am. My ankle is the only thing still not completely healed. Although I do still have so nasty looking bruises.”
Eric stood up, cradling her in his arms as she headed toward her room. “Then I’ll be sure to kiss them all better first, my love.”
“I’ll hold you to that.”
Eric lay drowsy, feeling well-loved, and complete with his mate sleeping next to him. They’d made love and he’d marked her as his own and was feeling incredibly good about it. She’d accepted him very easily, now he just needed to find out if she wanted a human wedding.
He’d walked by a jewelry store yesterday on his way back from lunch and decided to go in. He hadn’t planned to buy her a ring, but when he’d seen the small diamond surrounded by tiny rubies, he knew it would be beautiful on her. So, he’d pulled out his wallet and bought it right then.
He felt Anna stir against him as she murmured sleepily, bringing him out of his musings. “Yes, love?”
“Is Minnie a werewolf too?”
“Yes, her and Tony both.”
She lay silent for a moment and he thought perhaps she’d drifted back to sleep. “There is something different about Pete, I felt it the first time I met him. He had this… this aura of strength and, a power I guess about him. Is he a wolf too, and if he is, why did he seem different than the rest of you?”
“Yes, he is. The fact is, he is my alpha. That’s probably why you felt he was different, although most humans don’t feel it.”
“Oh. So, he’s the big guy I saw that night?”
Eric chuckled. “Yeah, he’s the big guy and he is also a descendent of Alpha Red Paw.”
She giggled. “Ooh, I bet he’s quite proud of that, isn’t he?”
Eric laughed with her. “Oh, yeah!”
Anna leaned up on her elbow to give him a serious look.
“What is it?” He asked her as he raised a hand to brush her hair back.
“Minnie said that maybe I wasn’t able to have a baby because fate knew Gary wasn’t the one for me. Do… do you think…” She paused, tears coming to her eyes. “Do you think you and I will be able to have one?”
“I can’t tell you for sure if we will love, but you are my mate. As a shifter, I can’t get anyone but my mate pregnant. Now, does that mean that, as my mate, you can’t conceive with anyone else? I don’t know because you’re human, but it is a possibility.”
“So, if I were a female wolf, I couldn’t have children with anyone but my mate? Is that what you’re saying?”
“Well, I don’t know either. What I do know is that I’d like to try to have one with you.”
“I’d like that as well.”
“However, as much as I want a baby, I’d like it to be just you and me for a bit. Could we do that?” She asked him.
“Love, we can do anything you want because I love you and I want you to be happy.”
“I love you back,” Anna said as she gave him a big smile.
Leaning down, she kissed him before pulling back. “Sealed with a kiss.”
Laying her head back down, she said good night. They drifted off to dreamland together.