Heartglow

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Chapter 10

Vee had felt her world crash in the most delicious way. Her body still hummed with her spent orgasm. Even after he pulled away, her body just wanted to pull him back, pull him in…forever…

She couldn’t allow this to continue, he was causing questions and doubts to arise about where her life was going.

About him…and her…

She had to push him away…

“That was a mistake,” she whispered half-heartedly, trying to convince him…?

Or her…?

She watched as his eyes darkened and the hand that still held her hip squeezed slightly. Then he spoke, “Not on my part, honey.”

Endearments…?

She shook her head as she pushed past him to step out of the bath, almost slipping on the water that had pooled on the floor. Quickly she reached up and grabbed all the towels that were displayed on a wall rack and threw them down on the floor, trying to give herself something to do so she wouldn’t have to look at him and wonder what he was thinking.

“Valaria, we need to talk,” his voice was firm as he spoke.

Vee continued to try to dry up the mess on the floor. She arose and began to squeeze the excess water into the sink as she tried to think of what to say. She wasn’t ready to talk about him and her and she assumed that was what he meant. There had to be something else she could say to distract him…

“Okay, I will go with you to meet my…” she hesitated, “sister but only if you promise me one thing.”

She finally looked at him and was satisfied with the look of surprise on his face.

He nodded, “Go on.”

Although they were both still naked, Vee stood her ground, as she spoke, “I want you to promise me that if I don’t want to stay, you will bring me back home.”

She watched the war of thoughts fight behind his eyes as he hesitated. She turned away and finished mopping as she waited for his acquiescence. If he promised, would he really mean it? If he didn’t…then what? Should she continue to find a way to break away? Obviously, if she stayed there was a good chance she would end up in bed with him again…which wouldn’t be all bad…would it?

She felt both her animals move inside her, their pleasure evident with the direction her thoughts were in.

She stiffened slightly as she realized her animals would be more than happy to continue with the ways things were…they evidently enjoyed being in his company. But how would they be when he went his separate way and she went hers? How would SHE feel when their paths separated? He had only said he offered to find her and bring her back, there were no promises beyond that.

Although Vee had never formed any emotional attachment to any male, she felt changes happening inside her. Maybe it was her animals finally being set loose…maybe it was the awakening of her own sexuality…either way, it was a dangerous tightrope to walk…

When he didn’t answer her right away, Vee finished the cleanup and left the bathroom. In the bedroom, she rifled through the large bag of clothes until she found a large green t-shirt that she quickly pulled over her head and fell to her knees.

She looked down to see the message, ‘Irishmen do it better’. She smirked a little…they most certainly do…

“It was a birthday gift from your sister, she has quite the sense of humor,” Kaden spoke from the bathroom door.

Vee smiled then, “Yeah, it looks like something I would buy for a joke.”

Kaden smiled too as he entered the room with a wet towel hanging low off his hips, moving to the open bag, and grabbing a pair of boxer shorts.

Vee turned away as he pulled them on. She heard the t.v. turn on and the sound of a local weather report filled the room. She turned back to see him casually lounging on the bed with a remote in his hand…just being a typical male…

There was nothing typical about him…and he still hadn’t said anything about what she proposed…but at least he also wasn’t pursuing ‘the talk’. Which was what she really wanted to avoid.

Valaria decided then to lay down to get some sleep and if he didn’t answer her before she nodded off, she would go back to her original plan of finding a way to lose him and she might just get her chance if he thinks she’s sleeping and decides to get some sleep himself.

She pulled back the covers and jumped underneath, turning away from him as she spoke, “Well good night.”

She heard his soft answer, “Good night, Valaria.”

He wasn’t going to promise her then…okay, back to getting away and returning home…

She felt the beginning of tears behind her eyes as she replied, “Good night, Kaden.”

~*~

Kaden was stunned when she had asked him for his promise. It was great that she might actually make this easier for him, but he never made promises he couldn’t keep. If he agreed, would she really try to get to know Cassidy and her family? Or would it be an easy excuse to return to her former life? Or was it just a ruse to get him to let down his guard so she could just disappear again? Too many ors…

When he came out of the bathroom to see her wrapped in his shirt, he wanted to pounce on her again. He was feeling the mating bond tighten with every minute he was in her presence. But what he really needed right now was trust…trust that she wouldn’t run again…and he wanted her to trust him…with everything…

Kaden didn’t try to pursue conversation when she jumped in bed and snuggled beneath the blankets. He mentally debated the results if he agreed to her condition or not agree. If he didn’t agree, then what would that mean? Would she keep trying to run away from him? His mind kept playing Slayde’s words…what if she felt so desperate that she flagged down the wrong person…she could end up dead…

Well, he had no choice but to agree to her demand. He would worry about the repercussions later. Hopefully, someone would give her a reason to stay where she would be loved and safe…hell, maybe once she was exposed to the wolf-shifters, she would be pushed into the glowing when her animals would choose an eligible mate, and he might stand a chance…might…

But might was a lot better than nothing…which is what he would have if she got away from him completely…

His decision made, he opened his mouth to agree to her terms but found her snoring under the warm blankets, oblivious to the world, and the warring thoughts of the man next to her. Kaden knew he had to get some sleep himself if he was going to be driving all day tomorrow. He had wanted to tell her his decision but didn’t have the heart to wake her…

He sighed as he got up from the bed and went to his smaller bag and retrieved the rope…

~*~

Valaria awoke with a start to darkness. She remained still as she listened for any noises. She was also conscious of a very warm body lying against her back, an arm lying loosely across her middle. Her eyes found the clock in the gloom…4:45…almost morning…almost…

She listened to Kaden’s deep breathing behind her and wondered the odds of slipping out from beneath his heavy limb without waking him. Since he never answered her, she had no choice but to follow through with her plan. If she got out now, there may be a chance to find another person leaving early too. She could maybe catch a ride to anywhere but here.

Her animals had awoken with her and were pacing inside, waiting to see what was going to happen. She would get no help from them in any way…

Vee closed her eyes again and started to stretch, turning towards Kaden. She was hoping her movements would cause him to turn away too, leaving her alone to slip from the bed. His arm tightened slightly before he did exactly what she hoped. He turned away, releasing her. Valaria wanted to cheer inside! Even though the bed was small for a man his size, it gave her enough room to slowly pull away. As the minutes ticked by, she moved inch by slow inch, flattening the blanket between them as she did. She glanced at the clock again and read 5:00…she still had to get out of bed, grab her pants, unlock the door and leave…all before sunrise…

Vee bit her lip as she tried to hurry the process along. If Kaden moved even an inch, she froze, trying to lull him back to sleep. When she was finally slipping off the side of the bed to the floor, she was ecstatic! She was going to make this happen!

She rose to her feet and gazed at the man sleeping deeply just feet from her. He looked so peaceful, no lines of anger marred his face, not a worry in the world…how would he feel when he awoke to find her gone again?... Would he care?... Or would he be relieved?...

She thought of the sister she would never meet…it probably was for the best…and Kaden did say she lived in Terravane Valley…she could find it on a map if she was curious…but Kaden would be gone…

She should be feeling relief that it was almost over…but her feelings churned inside…indecision…confusion…remorse?

Vee shook her head, she was glad this was over. She just wanted to be back to a life with no surprises, just a plan… She looked down at herself…she was keeping the shirt…just a reminder of a path not chosen…a decision she would be glad she made when she got old and gray…and alone…

She had to stop thinking about what-ifs, her mind was made up!

Vee turned away from the bed and quickly moved to grab her pants that were hanging over a chair. She got two steps before feeling a tug on her ankle and landing face down in the carpet, her breath expelling loudly from her lungs.

WTF?!

Then she heard a rustling from the bed as a deep sleepy voice asked, “Where do you think you’re going?”

Valaria turned on the floor and held her leg up in the dimness, finally seeing something wrapped around her foot…was that a…

“Rope? You tied me up with rope?” She grabbed the knot and pulled, noticing it pulling at something…or someone…on the bed, “You tied me to you? Why did you do that? I never gave you any reason…”

“Where are you going, Valaria?” He asked again as he grabbed his end of the snare, clearly preventing her from going any further.

Vee bit her lip, “I was going to the bathroom if you must know.”

Kaden smiled in the dark as he answered, “Okay, if you need to go, I’ll go with you.” His voice said he didn’t believe her at all.

Vee seethed inside, she couldn’t believe he tied her to him like she was going to run away or something.

Which you were doing…her cat pointed out…

She snapped back silently, “Yeah, but he didn’t know that.”

Or maybe he did…her wolf chimed in.

“Do you still need to go?” his voice was innocent.

Vee gritted her teeth as she bit out, “Actually, not really, I can wait till later.”

She heard him chuckle as he laid back down and beckoned, “Okay, it’s up to you. But you might as well come back to bed for a couple of more hours before we leave.”

Valaria grumbled to herself…if he thought she was getting back in bed with him…

“Valaria? Honey?” his voice still sounded like he was laughing under his breath.

Vee smiled to herself as she sweetly replied, “No, that’s okay, I like it down here. It’s nice and comfy, and lots of room. What more could a girl ask for?” Except maybe a pillow to smother you with…

Said pillow hit her square in the face as she heard him reply, “Suit yourself, here’s your pillow.”

Vee wanted to scream…or cover his face with the pillow…he was nothing but a…

“Bully!” she finished out loud.

She heard his voice from somewhere up above, “Temptress!”

What? What did he call her??

Then she heard him chuckle again as he moved around trying to get comfortable for a few more hours.

She wanted to wring his neck with his own rope…

~*~

Vee was still seething as she stared out the window at fields broken by occasional trees and dusty roads that lead to nowhere…or maybe they did…she’d never find out if she didn’t get away from who she considered her kidnapper.

When they had both gotten up, she was silent as Kaden removed her shackle. Her back had begun to ache as soon as she was upright and she really had to go to the bathroom this time. Since he was up, he let her go by herself and she took her sweet old time getting another shower and throwing her green shirt back on.

She also wasn’t surprised when he insisted she stay in the bathroom while he took his own time getting clean.

Vee also decided not to talk to him at all as they got dressed, thank goodness her pants were almost dry, and left their room to get back on the road. Kaden tried to get her to engage in conversation but realized she was still in her snit.

Now she sat sulking with an empty stomach that had begun to eat itself, refusing to give him the satisfaction of cracking her armor. And she was proud of her armor…especially when she was obviously at war with a sexy, handsome, Irish lover…

“There is a diner a couple of miles ahead, we’ll stop there to eat,” Kaden informed her.

She broke her silence, “I’m not hungry.”

She heard his sigh, “Your stomach is growling. It’s so loud, my stomach is starting to answer back,” he chuckled under his breath.

“That’s not my stomach, it’s my cat. She hates you for treating us this way,” Vee shot back.

“Uh, huh,” he agreed, “But I bet she was purring last night.”

She had been…purring…enjoying the romp in the shower.

“You know,” he tried a different tactic, “I was going to tell you last night that I agree to your terms, but you had fallen asleep and I didn’t want to wake you.”

Valaria perked up, he was finally seeing things her way, “So you are agreeing to take me back to the city if I don’t want to stay there?”

Kaden looked over at her hopeful face and decided a caveat was needed, “Yes, but you have to agree to give your sister a chance to get to know you. You can’t just say hi and bye.”

Vee looked down as she thought. It wouldn’t be fair if she just immediately demanded to leave again. If the girl, Cassidy, was her sister, she should at least hang around a day or two…

“Two days,” she rejoined.

“One month,” Kaden countered.

Oh, no, he wasn’t going to win this one…

“One week,” Vee threw out.

“Three weeks.”

“Two weeks.”

“Done,” Kaden finished.

Valaria hesitated. Did she just win? Or did he? She turned to see a Chesire grin lighting up Kaden’s face. Well, that was her answer…

She would wipe that smug grin off his face, “I would’ve agreed to a month.”

He looked over at her, his grin still in place, “I would’ve agreed to two days.”

Vee pursed her lips and turned to gaze out the window.

~*~

Kaden was feeling quite pleased with himself. He hadn’t lost Vee again, although she had tried to sneak out. Good thing he decided not to take any chances. And now he got her to agree to stay at least two weeks before asking him to return her to the city. Which meant he had to stay for two weeks to keep his promise to her…which meant more time to convince her animals that he would make a worthy mate.

He could feel the heat of her anger as she went back to ignoring him. He didn’t mind, he had her promise so if she needed to stew a little over their negotiations, then so be it. He wanted her blood running hot when they stopped tonight. When her world turned upside down, her emotions blistered and she lost control. And when he kissed her…she burned for him…

Kaden shifted in his seat as his thoughts remembered the shower they shared. It was so hot taking her against the wall with her legs wrapped tight around him, urging him deeper.

Kaden hit the brakes as he almost went by a small roadside diner advertising the best breakfast in the state. He pulled into the crowded parking lot and got out to open Valaria’s door. And now that they had settled things between them, he was glad he no longer had to worry about her taking off again.

He pulled a pair of sunglasses out of his coat pocket and handed them to her, “Here, for your eyes. I don’t think you want to draw attention.”

Vee took them and mumbled a soft thank you before covering up her now unique peepers and following him inside.

It was indeed busy, but they were quickly ushered into a booth at the back and given a large breakfast menu. Kaden’s stomach growled again as he started reading the items available, which seemed like the same stuff he ordered from the hotel, anything, and everything.

Suddenly, Vee pushed down what he was reading and asked, “I need to go to the lady’s room, is that okay?”

Kaden looked around, “Yeah, sure.”

“Not afraid I will try to run away again?”

He looked through her shades to find her steady gaze as he answered, “No, I think we have come to a mutual agreement.”

Valaria got up and flashed her fingers in a vee pattern as she mouthed two weeks…

Kaden watched her as she moved away towards the bathrooms, feeling a little less anxious…and a lot more hungry as his stomach growled louder.

He would just order for both of them…

~*~

Vee looked back to see Kaden’s head drop into the menu again. Although she had agreed to two weeks, she still had some things to take care of. She caught a waitress walking by with her hands loaded, “Ummm, excuse me, do you have a phone I could use? I lost mine and I really need to call my Mom. She’s probably frantic that I haven’t talked to her since yesterday.”

The older woman immediately took her under her wing, “Sure honey, just let me get these on the table and I’ll lend you my phone.”

Valaria waited while the woman delivered the meals and then retrieved her phone from out back. She gave it over as she spoke, “You come with me, we have a small room out back that might be a little quieter for you to talk.”

Vee looked back at Kaden again but he was still engrossed in the endless list of baked, fried, and poached.

When she was alone, she quickly dialed Veronica again.

She answered on the first ring, “Vee! Where are you? I was so worried you didn’t call!”

Vee smiled, “It’s okay, I’m okay, I’m just out of state…”

“Out of state? Where are you? Did he kidnap you? Did you get away? Can you talk? Is he listening?” the questions came fast and furious.

Valaria broke in, “Everything is fine, Ron. I’m on my way to meet my sister…”

“O-M-G, you must be so excited! I am so glad! Are you going to be gone long? And how are you and the cherry popsicle getting on?” she finally stopped.

Vee laughed as she replied, “Well, I agreed to spend two weeks and then if I want to come home then the cherry popsicle has agreed to bring me.”

“Two weeks? But that’s no time at all, Vee. It’s your sister. So,” she paused, “I assume your cherry popsicle is staying there with you?”

“With me where? At the motel?” Vee knew her reply would start another round of questions and she wanted to head it off, “Listen, Ronnie, I need you to do me a favor. You know that pizza joint over on the west side, Pluto’s?”

“Yeah, but I want to know about you and the popsicle and the motel,” her friend gushed.

“I’ll tell you everything when I get back. For now, I need you to put two grand in a brown envelope and write Chuck on it. Take it to Pluto’s and give it to a guy named Cardboard, he works out back,” Vee instructed.

She heard a scramble in the background before Ronnie came back on the phone, “Ok, got a pen. Brown envelope addressed to Chuck, go to Pluto’s and give it to some guy named…Cardboard?”

Vee chuckled, “Yeah, don’t ask how he got the name, you’ll never look at a tampon the same again.”

“What’s this for, Vee?”

“The last job I did, I owe money to Chuck and that’s how I get it to him. Unfortunately, I’m going to have to eat that one since Mr. Cherry Popsicle almost got us caught by the po-po,” Vee explained then cut in before her friend could think up any more questions she didn’t want to answer, “I have to go, Ron, this is a borrowed phone. I will call you again as soon as I can.”

“Ok, I love you, Vee. Look after yourself,” her friend ended.

“I always do, Ron,” Vee hesitated then threw in, “and I love you too. Bye.” She hung up. Her friend was probably thinking she had lost her mind. She had never said those words before. She was always too scared that something bad would happen if she said them out loud.

What was Kaden doing to her??

~*~

Vee arrived back at a table that was packed full of yummy sausages, eggs, pancakes, bacon, coffee, and orange juice with several other items filling in any available space. She sat down and began to fill her empty plate. Everything looked so good she didn’t know where to start.

“All good?” his voice interrupted her quest for the toast.

Valaria glanced up, “Yeah, I’m much better now. What did you do, order everything on the menu?”

Kaden chuckled, “Not everything but I thought we could get the rest in a doggie bag and have it to eat on the road.”

“Yeah, that’s a good idea,” Vee smiled, glad that her eyes were hidden behind her sunglasses. Kaden could see too much in her eyes, he was probably already suspicious of why she was gone so long, “I am starved, let’s eat!”

~*~

They had been back on the road for another three hours and Kaden saw Valaria drop off to sleep soon after they left the diner. She didn’t know he saw her return the phone to one of the waitresses. He assumed she had made a call to Veronica, her only friend, and he hoped it was a good sign when her spirits had seemed lifted after their chat.

He planned on stopping for gas at the next stop and thought to pick up some extra food and drinks for tonight so they wouldn’t have to leave the motel. One more night with her alone and then tomorrow he would do as he promised and deliver her to her sister.

His cat growled his disapproval and Kaden reassured him that he didn’t have any intention of leaving her if there was any chance she would enter her glow and choose a mate. He meant to be at the top of a very short list.

Twenty minutes later, he pulled off the road to fill his tank. Valaria woke and went into the store to use the restroom. He also took advantage of the rest stop. As he emerged, he saw Valaria’s arms holding snacks and two bottles of what looked like red wine.

He eyed her questioningly, “Thirsty?”

She surprised him when she smiled, “I’ve never had the chance to enjoy a good bottle of wine and have someone else worry about keeping me out of trouble. You don’t mind, do you?”

Kaden found her smile infectious and he returned it, “You should smile more often and no, I don’t mind at all.” He grabbed a small foam cooler and a bag of ice, “It’s better when it’s chilled.”

Kaden paid for their purchases and they walked out to the waiting SUV. He put the ice inside the cooler and sat both bottles of red on top to chill.

Back on the road, Valaria settled herself down in the seat and closed her eyes, keeping the sunglasses on to keep out the sun as it began to dip in the sky.

“If you keep sleeping, you’ll never get to sleep tonight,” Kaden remarked.

Vee sighed and settled in deeper, “I probably won’t anyway.”

Kaden’s heart began to pound as his cock jumped in his pants.

“Tomorrow I’m going into a den of wolf-shifters to meet my long lost sister,” she quietly ended as she drifted off again.

Kaden’s excitement dimmed at her reminder. A whole town of available shifters…

FUCK!!

~*~

Valaria awoke to darkness and silence. She took off her glasses and saw streetlights lighting up a small parking lot. Kaden was gone. She sat up straighter and realized they had stopped at a chain hotel somewhere on their way.

She placed her hand on the door handle, almost instinctually needing to be outside…free…old habits died hard. She had promised, didn’t she?

The door opened and Kaden smiled at her, “Great, you’re awake. We have a great room on the top floor. No one else, just us on the floor.”

Vee watched as he grabbed their bag and the small cooler. She put her glasses back on as she grabbed their snacks and followed him.

The elevator ride up was quick to the fourth floor. She looked around as they went down a long hall to the very last room.

His card opened the door and he backed away to allow her to enter first. Was he just being chivalrous or did he not trust her to follow?

“If you want, you can have the bathroom first. I’ll unpack a few things and warm up our breakfast in the microwave, just in case you’re hungry,” he spoke as he began to organize.

“Yeah, that would be great, thanks,” she mumbled as she wandered into the large bathroom. It sure was an improvement over the last one. She hadn’t paid much attention to the room itself as she was still trying to wake up. Why was she so tired? Normally, she barely needed any sleep, but maybe things were different now that she had two other beings sharing her space.

They had also been very quiet and she reached down inside to make sure everything was okay…

So, where is everybody??

Her wolf stretched inside…we are here…

Her cat purred…we want him again…

Vee rolled her eyes and whispered, “Really Sia? Is that all you think about?”

He is an extraordinary male…

“Yeah, well after tomorrow I don’t think we will be seeing much of him,” she replied.

She felt a small touch of claws, her cat did not like her answer.

“He’s got a life you two. I am sure he has to get back to someone and I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t stick around for another two weeks,” She turned the water on and began to strip, “He probably will be glad to see the back of me.”

Vee felt a little sadness begin deep inside her. Was she really going to miss him?

The shower felt good as it pummeled her skin red. It was cleansing in more ways than one. And it left her with time to think…this could be the last night she would ever spend with him…who knows what lay in store for her? She imagined her sister would want to monopolize her time and Kaden didn’t seem the sort to follow anyone around like a puppy dog…er, kitten…

What if he decided things looked like they were good between her and her sister and decided to leave…would he even say goodbye?

The thought irked her…he did promise to take her home after two weeks…she would hold him to that promise…no, he wasn’t leaving before the two weeks were up. If he did, she would consider their agreement null and void.

Vee turned off the shower and got out, toweled off, and since she had no other clothes, put her green shirt back on…Irishmen do it better…

Vee smiled again as she picked up her clothes and left the steamy room. As she entered the main room, she looked around. Two queen-sized beds, couch in front of a large window, microwave, small fridge, t.v. and a small dining table with chairs. She saw the morning meal heated up and smelling absolutely delicious.

Kaden was putting away something in his pocket and she assumed it was his phone. She put on a smile as she asked, “Were you talking to my sister?”

Kaden shook his head, “No, her husband, I told him we should be there around suppertime tomorrow.”

That soon?

Valaria didn’t realize she spoke aloud until Kaden replied, “It’s okay if you feel uncomfortable, they have a small house next door that Cassidy got ready for you. If you need to just have some alone time after introductions, you can go there to rest until morning.”

“But what about you?” she blurted.

Kaden’s brows rose at her question, “I’ve got a place in town not far from where you will be staying. I told you I wouldn’t leave for at least two weeks to make sure you were settled in. I keep my promises, Valaria.”

Vee nodded her head, good…

“So, I’m going to have a shower and you can get something to eat. I had to toss the pancakes, they got wet from being in the cooler, but everything else made it through, so help yourself,” he strode by her carrying another pair of boxers. He turned, “You can grab a clean shirt from the bag. I will take our clothes down to the hotel laundry after to wash them.”

She almost piped up to volunteer but realized he probably didn’t trust her enough to return…

She watched as he closed the door and listened until she heard the water running. Vee turned and found the large bag of clothes. She dug until she found another green shirt. She held it up…Irishmen do it in the clover…

Vee chuckled as she changed shirts, pulling the clean one to her nose, imagining it still smelled like Kaden…

Then she shook her head and sat down to eat. It was probably going to be a good thing they were being separated, it couldn’t be a good sign that she was sniffing his shirts…

Vee looked around for a glass and spotted two wine glasses next to an ice bucket along with two other glasses and complimentary bottles of water.

She should drink water…she rose and grabbed the wine glasses. After retrieving her first bottle of wine, she was relieved to find it had a screwtop and not a cork…but what could one expect from a bottle at a gas stop?

Vee opened the bottle and began to pour it into her glass…she was usually a beer drinker and decided to fill it to the top. She figured if Kaden wanted any, he could get some when he came out. Then Vee dug into the warm food, grabbing a little bit of this and a little bit of that while taking small drinks of the wine in between bites.

She felt the warm flush glow over her skin at the half a glass mark. It made her feel a little giddy. Valaria had only been actually drunk only once in her life and she didn’t remember what she did, she woke up underneath some stairs in a back alley. It scared the shit out of her and she promised herself she would never do it again…

Until now…

For some reason, she wanted a drink of liquid courage for what she was going to face tomorrow and the next two weeks. She never liked meeting new people, you never knew who could be trusted or what they wanted in return…except Kaden, he was pretty well a straight shooter when you got to know him…

Maybe the others would be the same…maybe all shifters were like that…she didn’t know much about them…

Vee had finished eating and now took a long quaff of wine until she hit the bottom of the glass. She didn’t hesitate to fill it again…it really tasted good! And it had a little kick…

She grabbed her glass and walked to the television to find an easy music channel. As the lilting bars permeated the room, she strolled unevenly to the window to stare out between the curtains. Not much to see, gas station, two restaurants, and a coffee shop. The road they were on continued to some lights in the distance. They were near some sort of town…

She took another deep gulp, emptying half the glass. Her face began to burn as the alcohol continued to hit her bloodstream. She felt her head starting to swim…yeah, this was exactly what she needed…just block out everything for a while…pretend she was back in her cubby hole of an apartment, alone, listening to the radio and the sounds of the street outside her window…what had been soothing before now seemed almost…depressing…

She emptied her second glass and was turning to refill it when the bathroom door opened and Kaden wandered out in a pair of boxers that said KISS ME in big green letters…right over his very obvious hard-on…

~*~

Kaden had spent an extra long time under the spray, thinking about this being their last night together. His cat felt his agitation and was pacing inside, he really needed to get out to play. But it would have to wait at least until tomorrow night when he got back to Terravane Valley. There were endless woods to stretch his muscles…alone… Wolf-shifters weren’t all that keen to run with a cat…wolves tended to go for miles while cats tended to climb…

He grabbed the bar of hotel soap and began to suds up his chest, under his arms, and down his stomach. His shaft was actually behaving for once as he cleaned every inch of his body. He tried not to think of the woman in the attached room. He had hoped to get another room with only one bed but two beds were kind of standard now…

Kaden growled to himself as he finished washing his hair and rinsing off his body before he stepped out and grabbed a towel. As he dried himself, he noticed his face in the mirror and ran his hand over errant whiskers…he really needed to trim his beard…luckily the hotel provided a disposable razor along with the typical miniature soaps and lotions.

He made quick work of his shave and grabbed his boxers. As he held them up he groaned when he saw the words scrawled over the front. Another gag gift from Cassidy…what did she think, that he was always on the prowl to get laid?

He chuckled anyway as he put them on. Maybe Valaria would get another chuckle out of them. He liked when she smiled or laughed. It was kind of surprising because she didn’t seem to do it too often…

Then he thought of the wine, maybe he would have a glass or two himself. Just something to relax, not think about handing her over to anybody tomorrow. And what if she came to him before the two weeks and desperately wanted him to take her away, would he give in? Would it be even safe to take her back now that other shifter clans were learning about the status of the double shifters?

Kaden heard the t.v. turn on and soon, slow sensual music floated through the door. His heart quickened as he pictured Valaria spread out on one of the beds…naked…her hand between her legs…squirming with pent up heat…

His mouth watered and he groaned as he realized he was now sporting a huge erection.

She was going to think he was some sort of over-sexed man who seemed to be in a constant state of horniness…

Well, waiting any longer was not going to magically deflate it…only another good romp or two in either bed…or both…was going to fix it…

Kaden left the soiled clothes on the bathroom floor and went back to the bedroom. Lights were dimmed down as another slow song played in the background. He saw Valaria turn from the window and he noticed her empty wine glass.

How much did she have to drink??

He got his answer as she emptied the remains of a bottle into her glass and smiled, “Is that another gift from my sister?”

Kaden nodded, “Yeah,” he pointed to her shirt, “I told you, she has quite a sense of humor.”

He watched her take another drink as she motioned to the beds, “Which one is mine?”

He wanted to insist she sleep with him, but he had to give her the choice, “Whichever you want.”

He watched her take the one closest to the bathroom and put her glass on the bedside table as she pulled down the covers.

She turned to him, “Are you going to tie me to the bed tonight?”

Kaden gulped as a picture of her nude body tied down waiting for him to pleasure her ran through his mind. He choked out, “Do I have to?”

He saw the sparkle in her eyes as she whispered, “Do you want to?”

Kaden thought he was going to blow his load right there. Her lazy gaze due to the wine was sliding over every inch of his body. He felt his erection grow under her watchful eyes. Kaden looked away as he spoke, “Was supper good?”

He heard her giggle, “It was deeelicioussss…”

Oh gawd, she was tipsy and obviously didn’t know what she was doing…

FUCK!

She said she wanted to have a drink and trust him to protect her from getting into trouble. Was seduction the trouble she was referring to? The last thing he wanted was her blaming him for anything that happened tonight. He was going to have to walk the tightrope of chivalry.

He turned back to her and watched her go over to the cooler and retrieve the second bottle of red. He stepped forward and grasped it before she could open it, “I think you’ve had enough, Valaria. You’re not used to drinking this stuff.”

She reached for the bottle, “You said you would protect me if I wanted to have a few drinks…hey, why don’t you have a glass yourself?” She reached down and pinched his nipple, “It will put hair on your chest…oops, you already have hair on your chest.” Her fingers pulled gently through the soft fur.

Kaden had to get out of the room for a few minutes or he was going to do something she would probably regret in the morning, “Hey, why don’t you pour me a glass while I take the clothes down to the laundry?”

He set the bottle on the table, “Pour yourself another glass, but don’t drink it, wait for me, okay?” He pulled on a white t-shirt and pants as he used his smaller bag to stuff all the soiled clothes into.

He motioned to the bed, “Just lie down until I get back.” He hoped she would be passed out by the time he returned.

At least that’s what he told himself as he scooped up the room card and some change he had in his pocket from earlier and got out while he could still walk away…

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