Never Ago (Book 1)

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I Can Deal With That

"What?" Lily's eyes turned into golf balls.

Ezra stuttered when he realized he said that out loud. "No! Don't take it literally. It was supposed to mean I'm fucked."

Her jaw dropped as she stared up at him like a fish.

"No, I'm not fucked!" Ezra emphasized swiftly. "This fuck doesn't mean anything at all."

Lily paled. Ezra clenched his jaw hard and let out a frustrated growl. "The word fuck, not us- our- whatever we're going to- I mean did-"

Lily took huge gulps of oxygen but all she inhaled was her mate's scent. Her body was covered in goosebumps and sweat. Ezra in his shaken up state was rubbing against her innocence and it was conjuring up a storm in her chest. His iron clad arms held her far too hard.

"-not that I'll mind but-"

"Ezra!"

He stilled. The small hands fisting his shirt compelled him to kneel when Lily slid down the wall. Realizing he still hung onto her, Ezra released her from her grip and leaned against the wall beside her.

"Don't say that word," Lily breathed.

"Fuck?"

She winced. "Yes. It's vulgar."

Head bent upwards, his shoulders shook with silent laughter. "You-"

"Have no idea about your vocabulary?" She held up her finger to silence him. "I've been around here long enough to have a pretty good copy of those words."

Ezra chuckled. "I was going to say, 'You will hear more of it if you're going to kiss me like that."

The words hung in her throat then died. Ezra watched her shut her mouth slowly and look away from him.

"What?" He teased her by combing her hair away from her face for better access to her expressions. "Now you're going to act like you didn't bruise my lip?"

Her eyes shyly skimmed over his face and found the purple bruise on the side of his lips.

"Sorry," was all she could muster.

Ezra leaned closer. "I love it." He whispered in her ear. "You're territorial."

The heat wave reached her belly. "I didn't know."

Ezra nodded knowingly and stood up. After brushing his pants, he helped her up to her feet. "You shifted once. There's a lot you don't know about your nature. It's not just you anymore, your wolf is a part of you now. Don't fly off shifting whenever you feel like biting someone's head off. The effects are fatal."

"I wasn't planning to. I'm not impulsive. I just saw you... and her..."

Ezra tugged on her shoulders making her crash into his chest and hugged her.

"Tell me something," he mumbled into her hair. "Do you trust me, baby?"

Baby. Baby. Baby.

The most childish word she'd ever heard, made her laugh when she heard others use as endearment, suddenly melted her.

She nodded slowly, hopping he wouldn't hear her heart thundering in her chest. She buried her smile in his neck. "I trust you."

He kissed her cheek before letting her go. "Then what's the problem? Trust is all we need. You saw I told her off. I'm not a hormonal teenager looking for flings. Besides, the other girls left me sated."

Lily smacked his chest and took off fuming. His laugh bounced off the walls of empty hallway behind her. The other girls.

When was she going to tame that part of her? The part that wanted to rip everything to shreds which threatened to look at her mate the way she did. Gosh, being a werewolf was hard. On top of that, being a girl. A jealous one at that.

-

"I'm just about done with your random mood swings." Sam complained as he plopped down on Lily's bed. "I don't want to think about how I'll be after I shift. The stories of changing mentally are freakishly true."

"You're overreacting." Lily rolled her eyes.

Holding up a pair of gray sweatpants and a black hoodie, she checked them on herself in the mirror beside her bed. "What do you think?"

"It's not like you're going to wear yoga pants if I said no."

Lily threw an innocent smile his way. "Not going to change my taste." She sidestepped the pillow flying her way.

"Then don't ask." Sam rolled over. "I'm going to nap. Wake me up when you're ready."

Lily dumped the pillow on his head and took a quick shower. The sweats weren't too tight thankfully. She pulled her hair up in a ponytail and went downstairs to fetch snacks and water for her first training session. It was perhaps the first time she had to step out of her comfort zone.

"Let's go," Sam met her halfway up the stairs.

They jogged together to the training station in the pack. Lily was taken aback by the almost nudity of the members in the station. Men were either sparing in their briefs or running laps in their shorts. What made her feel uncomfortable in her sweats were the girls in their almost bras and yoga pants or skirts.

This is why Sam mentioned yoga pants.

Shrugging the uneasiness off, she joined the group she recognized as the new shifters. They were asked to stand in lines. Lily stood in the front lines, chest puffed, stomach in, head high and hands behind her back. Just like all the others.

Cole came for inspection and listed their names in a document. He took his time studying each member of the newly turned werewolves. He didn't speak, he only observed. Each of them was asked to warm up right after they were given their routine instructions.

Lily held her breathe when Cole stood in front of her. He was, no doubt, strong and stuffed with muscles. His sharp jaw and fierce eyes were enough to intimidate. His height easily shadowed Lily. Where a few turned their eyes away from their sub-commander, Lily matched the intensity of his gaze. He stared her down, observing her from her low pony to her sneakers. The heat of his eyes couldn't melt her resolve.

"Name?"

"Lillian." She said. "Lillian Avi."

Cole's pen paused on the clipboard in his hands. He peered up at her from under his hair that fell on his forehead. Lily missed the flash of recognition in his eyes. He nodded and proceeded writing down his instructions.

"Warm up." He ordered as he threw the paper her way.

Lily's gaze hardened. She didn't move a muscle as she looked down at the paper at her feet and back up at Cole. His brow raised, challenging her to whine. The two stood face to face, staring each other down until the corner of Cole's lips tilted up slightly.

"I'm here to train, not to entertain your ego. You do your job, I'll do mine. Professionally."

Lily picked the paper up and jerked it to straighten it out then sidestepped him. Her agitation took her attention away from Cole sharing a look with her mate across the gym in the station.

And you said she's weak.

What do you mean? Ezra mind-linked Cole looking at the smugness on his face.

She really is weak. Cole observed returning his gaze to Lily copying what the others were doing awkwardly.

Told you, Ezra rested his forearms on the railing of the ring. Took you long enough.

You'll take even longer to understand, Cole pulled his shirt off. She made you her weakness.
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