Heartglow

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CHAPTER 23

Valaria sat down in the hotel lobby, feeling tired after her drive here. She had sent the driver back to town and figured if she needed, she could rent another to get home. A week had passed since she finally found out what the glowing actually felt like. She had panicked when Riordan yelled for help, but her sister had rushed in with her soft assurance that everything would be fine.

As Riordan grabbed the door handle to make his getaway, Vee saw an anxious Kaden stop pacing outside and look through the narrow opening at her…then he turned and walked away…and that was the last time she saw him…until now…

She hadn’t gotten the chance to thank him for saving her life and apologizing for all the trouble she had caused him. And she couldn’t let him leave with saying all she needed to say. One thing she had learned, tomorrow was no guarantee so if you had something to say today, you had better say it.

Vee grabbed her purse and rose from her seat, walking to the elevator to ride it to the top floor. She knew his room number from her sister. Cassidy had offered to come with her, but she wanted to do this alone. She was stronger now than she had ever been, she could look after herself.

The elevator ride was short and swift and it dropped her off into a long hallway covered in rich chocolate carpet that sucked the sound from her shoes as she walked, glancing at each door until she arrived at the last one on the left.

She hesitated one more time before she raised her head and her hand to knock loudly on the door.

Vee listened to movement inside as her heart began to jump crazily inside her chest. What would he think about her…?

The door opened to a slightly surprised Kaden, buttoning his open shirt and looking like he always did, handsome, assured, and all male.

“Valaria,” a statement that was almost a question.

Vee saw his eyes dart past her and she answered, “I’m alone, can I come in?”

She saw him hesitate and wondered if she saw this whole thing wrongly. Well, it didn’t matter, she had stuff to say…today…

Kaden stood aside and gestured for her to come in, “Of course you can.”

Valaria slipped by him, noticing the scent that was Kaden. She opened her nostrils and drank it in.

“Have a seat, sorry it’s all a mess, I’m trying to get it all packed before my flight this afternoon,” Kaden spoke from behind her.

Vee took a seat on the edge of the king-size bed, wanting to be closer to where he had slept, “So you’re heading back to Ireland finally.”

Kaden finished buttoning up his shirt, “Yes, I think Thomas has had quite enough of being the acting King.”

Silence descended before they both spoke at once.

“It’s good to see you…”

“I wanted to see you…”

Valaria laughed a little under her breath, “I wanted to see you before you left. I never got a chance to thank you for all you’ve done for me.”

Kaden turned away and walked to the bathroom to start gathering things inside, “You don’t have to thank me, it’s my fault that it happened to you.”

Is that what he thought?

She heard him rustling around again before he returned to the main room. She wouldn’t let him blame himself, “It’s not your fault, Kaden. You couldn’t have known…”

He threw his small toiletry bag into the nearest open suitcase, “I knew she was a bitch, that’s why we didn’t bond. I should have sent her back the same night she arrived. If I had, you wouldn’t have had to endure…” his hand waved absently as he kept his eyes from landing on her.

Was he disgusted by her scars? She knew how upset he had been when he saw she had burned her fingers…

“Where is your mate?” he suddenly asked.

Vee asked quietly, “Does the sight of my scarred face disgust you so much that you can’t look at me?”

His gaze immediately sought hers and he stepped closer, “How can you even think that? You are even more…” he turned away and began to stuff his clothes haphazardly into his suitcases, anything to avoid her.

“More what?” if she had to say what needed to be said today, then he wasn’t going to be left off the hook.

Kaden stopped and swore under his breath before he turned to her again, “Valaria, I saw you and Riordan. I saw your skin…glowing…” He looked like a drowning man looking for a lifeline to be tossed to save him from death.

Valaria nodded, “Yes, it did, but that’s not what I asked you.”

Kaden threw out his question again, “Where is your mate?”

Vee stood, facing him as she answered, “He left.”

She saw the look of confusion followed by anger as he swore again. Then he confirmed, “Your mate left you?”

Valaria felt tears prick her eyes as she remembered Kaden turning and leaving her there, knowing her animals were going to pick her mate. He never even stuck around to find out.

She nodded, “Yes, he left. I suppose I’m just too damaged to be someone’s mate.” She voiced the thought that had been running around inside her head for the last week.

A look of murderous rage crossed the features of the cat king and Valaria stepped back. Kaden’s voice was soft, “He’s not going to leave you like this. I’ll make him claim you. No one should throw away that gift, especially when the gift is you.” His eyes sought hers, “You are the most courageous, beautiful woman I have ever met in my life and I swore that I would always protect you and even if it means seeing you mated to another shifter…” his voice broke as his eyes filled with unshed tears, “Your happiness is my happiness.”

Valaria couldn’t believe the words falling out of his mouth. He loved her so much that he was willing to give her up even if it broke him inside.

She stepped closer to the large man with his heart reflected in his eyes, “You know, when I had to watch and feel my animals fighting between themselves, trying to dominate each other, it was hell,” She walked closer again, waiting for him to step back, but he remained strong, unyielding, “But it was nothing compared to feeling the victor shift and my mate was nowhere to be seen.”

Kaden looked deep into her eyes as she stepped forward again.

Then Valaria declared, “Sia was pissed.”

For a moment she watched Kaden’s face and knew when he had truly heard what she said.

“Sia?” his voice was so quiet, almost disbelieving.

Valaria smiled, “She still is. You and Leo have a lot to make up for…” the rest of her words were lost as she was folded against Kaden’s warm body and his mouth covered hers like a man who hadn’t eaten in weeks.

Vee’s arms wound around his neck pulling him closer, her mouth devouring his, her tongue sliding deep to twist with his own delicious muscle. Never had a kiss been so hot, so complete, and felt so right. Valaria moaned as her fingers wrapped into his hair, sliding down his neck beneath the collar of his shirt. His skin burned where she touched. Vee barely felt him turn and sweep the bed clean of his bags before he crushed her beneath him, his mouth never leaving hers. The hand that had been holding her reached around to her front to pull each button on her dress apart until she lay exposed.

Then she gasped as his fingers tore her bra open before his mouth descended to suck her nipple deep into his mouth while his tongue caressed the bud until it was rigid with desire. She felt his teeth scrape over the distended nub before suckling deeply again. Valaria cried out as jolts of hot desire speared her body, radiating from her sex that lay throbbing between her legs.

The hand that had split her clothing reached down and slid under the waistband of her soaked panties, searching for her heat, needing to find the fire within. Valaria cried out as two of his fingers slid deep as his mouth claimed her other nipple and he bit gently as he pushed his fingers in and out of her wetness while his thumb slid through her folds until it found the swollen nub at the top of her sex. He lazily began to circle and push against it as her breath came in hard pants.

Then he growled deep in his throat as he slid down the bed, pulling her panties down with his suddenly free hands. Valaria moaned her frustration at being left on the brink of red hot hunger. Her moans soon became screams as Kaden’s mouth covered her where his hand had been, his tongue spearing deep to suck the glut of cream flowing from her body. Vee’s thighs began to shake uncontrollably as his tongue wrapped around her clit and began to vibrate with the purring of her lover.

Her orgasm rose and shot through her body in waves of pleasure she had never known and still his tongue didn’t stop. His finger slid deep and began stroking her inside where he knew to find another node of pleasure, assaulting her twice as hard.

Valaria screamed again, not caring if anyone could hear her, her body rocking with the cresting of each spasm. But she wanted more than his tongue and fingers, she needed the feel of his long thick cock filling her, completing her.

Her raspy voice whispered as her body began to calm, “Kaden, I need you now…please…”

~*~

Kaden couldn’t get enough of the taste of his mate as her thighs clamped tightly around his head, holding him to her, his tongue vibrating against her, wringing every cry and moan as she climaxed beneath him. He would gladly spend the rest of his life between her soft thighs. Even with a raging erection digging painfully into the mattress.

He stopped momentarily to give her body a chance to calm before his next onslaught but her pleading reached his ears, begging for his body.

He couldn’t ignore his mate’s pleas.

He slid backward off the bed and quickly stripped, not bothering to take the time to unbutton anything, just shredding the fabric in his haste to pleasure his mate. His cat hadn’t stopped voicing his own pleasure at finally claiming his own female.

Kaden stopped at the end of the bed and stared at the remarkable gift he had been given. And as he stared, her skin began to shine through her sheen of arousal. It shined and then glowed and Kaden growled again as he knew it was meant just for him and it also meant she was ready to bear his cubs. This woman was ready to become everything he needed…a wife…a mother…a queen…

He watched her begin to squirm under his gaze and he slowly bent his knee on the bed as he slid up over her, wanting to pin her to the mattress with his cock. He also wanted to relish their first joining as true mates. He wanted to take it slow, but her hand encircling his erection demanded satisfaction…now!

~*~

Valaria basked in the pleasure Kaden had already given her, but she needed him inside her. She needed to mark him as hers…and then she felt the fire inside as her heat turned up and she knew it was coming on her again…her glowing…

She watched the reflection of her skin in his eyes as he slowly leaned down on the bed and lifted himself up over her, but still hesitating to thrust himself deep within her where she burned now with the strength of a thousand suns.

She couldn’t wait…she wouldn’t wait…and neither were her animals.

She reached up and grabbed the throbbing flesh between his legs, pulling none too gently as she opened her thighs. Her other hand wrapped around his neck, bringing his mouth close to hers as she stared into his own ice-blue pools, “I need you, Kaden, I need you deep inside…” and her lips covered his.

The hand that grasped his thickness was pulled away and then Valaria sighed as his maleness pushed inside, stretching her, filling her. Her legs lifted to allow him to slide deeper as his tongue slid deep inside her mouth. The weight of his muscled body held her as his hips thrust hard and deep and she wrapped her legs eagerly around his waist as her fingernails scraped up and down his back. She couldn’t get enough of her taste on his breath or the smell of his sweat-soaked skin. And her body couldn’t get enough of his cock as it slid to the hilt inside her over and over again as he flexed his muscular ass effortlessly. But she wanted more…harder and deeper…as her body began its climb to the peak of pleasure. Her hands wrapped around that gorgeous butt and pulled him harder.

Kaden released her mouth and growled in her ear as he began to pound harder into her clutching passage. His mouth licked then latched on to her neck as he quickened his thrusts, wanting to join her when she came.

Vee heard him suck on her skin, felt the blood being pulled to the surface and then his teeth bit softly, sending her over the edge of her pleasure. She screamed as her sex clenched and rhythmically milked his hard flesh, feeling him gushing deep inside her, his deep satisfied groan joining her screams.

His thrusts were hard as he spurted deep inside her and Valaria grasped and held him with each one, her own body shaking, hungry for his every drop until at last he collapsed on top of her, still inside, her legs still holding him deep.

Their breaths were the only sound that permeated the silence until even they relaxed. Then, his cock still inside her, he flipped over onto his back while Valaria rested on top of him.

~*~

Kaden stroked the small body resting on top of his as he gazed at her glowing skin. She glowed for him…

“I’m sorry for leaving you, Valaria, I just couldn’t face the rejection. My heart would have broken into a million pieces to see you with Riordan and I was worried that I would do something stupid if I stayed,” he whispered as he caressed her back, enjoying still being inside her, still hard and ready mate again.

He felt her move slightly until her chin rested on his chest as she stared into his eyes, “My heart broke into a million pieces when we came out and you were gone.” She glanced away, “I thought you didn’t want to be my mate now that I was covered in…”

Kaden stopped her with his finger, “I think I have loved you since I saw what you had done to your fingers. I couldn’t believe the lengths you went to survive on your own. You surprised me and you continue to surprise me.”

“Is that a good thing?” Valaria whispered back, her voice still unsure.

Kaden smiled, “It’s a very good thing,” as he continued to slide his large hands over her back, feeling the million little ridges that were badges to her strength. She was going to make a wonderful mother and a magnificent queen.

“So what happens now?” she asked as her fingers began to rub little circles around his own nipple, unaware of the pleasure he was feeling.

Kaden looked up at the ceiling and spoke with certainty, “What do you want to happen?” He still hadn’t heard the words he needed to hear from her lips. And although he knew her animals had chosen him, he still needed that confirmation.

“So, Cassie told you about the list you found?” Valaria dodged his question and Kaden let her…for now…

“Yes, some of the names were double shifters that had died some years ago, but we presume that they, like your parents, had children and kept them secret,” Kaden answered, “What we think has happened is when your people started realizing what was happening they developed a plan to hide all the children and hoped that someday they would start to find one another.”

“What about those men who were talking with Sonya? Cassidy said you found them when you searched Sonya’s phone,” Valaria asked while she continued to caress his now stiff nipple, scraping her nail across the top.

She was driving him crazy…

“We found the men on the other end of her calls, but we don’t know if they were the same people that were at the cabin,” he gritted his teeth, “And unfortunately we weren’t in the mood to ask questions.”

“I might be able to identify them…” Vee offered.

Kaden cut her off, “There isn’t anything left to identify. We don’t even know if they belonged to any packs here.”

Silence descended the darkening room. Kaden could lay here forever, holding her…making love to her. He still marveled at the iridescent shades of gold that emanated from her skin, seemingly lighting her from within.

Did she know what it meant, beyond choosing a mate? Was she ready to be a mother?

“Well, it looks like you’ve probably missed your flight,” Vee whispered into the golden-hued darkness.

“He can book another flight plan, I have better things to do,” he halted her ministrations, “You are driving me crazy with your fingers.”

Valaria giggled, “Is that a good thing?”

Kaden smiled, “It’s a very good thing, but I need to ask you, are you aware that your glowing isn’t just to pick a mate? It has…consequences…”

Valaria looked at him and then pushed herself up until she was straddled on his hips, feeling his erection begin to harden even more.

“I am well aware of the consequences your majesty, so what are you going to do about it?” she challenged him with her saucy smirk.

Kaden growled as he grabbed her hips and demanded, “Get on your knees my Queen and you’ll find out.” His eyes flamed as Valaria stood and turned around, giving him a beautiful view of her backside.

And as she sank down to her knees, Kaden swiftly rose to his own knees and pulled her back against his body, his hands wrapping around to overfill his grasp with her breasts. As he pinched her nipples, he was rewarded with her gasp and deep-throated moan. Kaden growled deeply as he slid one hand down over her belly until he could grasp her firmly between her thighs, letting his finger slide through her slick folds. His own stiff sex throbbed behind her, eager to find her fire again and again. Holding on to the treasure at the apex of her thighs, he slid his hand up her back until he grasped her neck and pushed her forward until she caught herself with her hands.

Then he whispered, “Down…now…”

Valaria hesitated and then dropped her face to the mattress, leaving her bottom thrusting itself towards her mate, ready and weeping.

Kaden watched in fascination as her cream dripped in long strands from her sex, the scent of her heat enveloping him until he had to bury himself in her offering. Kaden grabbed his cock and teased her as he wet himself with her juice. Then he pushed into her until he was lodged halfway in. He felt her shudder and try to push back onto his thickness, but his free hand grabbed her sweet ass and stopped her from impaling herself.

Slowly he pulled himself out, his cock thickly coated with her hot liquid and she whimpered. Then Kaden swiped his erection through his fingers until her juice coated his hand before he used his other hand to gently part her upturned cheeks and smeared it over the opening of her ass. He felt her tense beneath him but her breath gave truth to her eagerness for his lovemaking.

Then slowly Kaden pushed his cock back into her as his finger teased her other opening. He felt her muscles clamp deep inside as he began to slide in and out of her dampness while he worked her pretty little ass knowing that soon he would own her there too.

Kaden was blind with a fire that burned him, that drove him to know every inch of her body and he pulled her tighter against him, feeling her body shudder with desire. His own body matched her need as he slammed deep until he pulled his finger from her so he could grasp her hips, holding her as he went deeper, until his heavy sac slammed against her. The sounds of their heavy panting became groans of pleasure as he kept driving into, needing to fill her golden body with his seed, needing her to come hard around him.

Valaria suddenly cried out as deep spasms wracked her body, as wave after wave of her orgasm clutched at the cock that had slammed into her and stilled, shooting wads of her lover’s cum deep inside. Vee felt her world shift dizzily and she pushed herself up from the bed straight into Kaden’s arms and he held her as they both gasped with each shock of release.

Then they were dropping onto their sides as Kaden wrapped her tight against him, keeping himself lodged inside for as long as he could until his sated cock pulled gently from her. Kaden grabbed and pulled the lone blanket over their cooling flesh, feeling like his life was finally perfect.

~*~

Valaria lay contentedly in the safety of Kaden’s arms, listening to his even breathing but knowing he was just as awake as she was. She turned and looked up at his closed eyes and felt her begin to beat hard. He had admitted to her that he truly loved her, but she had yet to say the words.

Although she had promised herself she would say everything she wanted today, she hadn’t quite believed that they would end up this way.

As if he could feel her eyes on him, Kaden smiled, “I’m glowing.”

Vee was startled, was this something she didn’t read about? She looked over his face and down his arms and began to pull away so she could check under the covers but he crushed her close and grabbed her hand, pulling it until it was spread over his own strong beat.

“Here…I’m glowing here…”

Vee stared down at her hand, feeling the beat of his lifeforce and she whispered, “Heartglow.”

Kaden’s eyes opened and he whispered, “Heartglow…I like that.”

Then Valaria pulled her hand from his and captured his large palm and placed it against her own throbbing chest and she whispered, “Heartglow…I love you.”

She saw his eyes shine as he pulled her lips to his, “Forever?”

Vee answered, “Forever.”

And she heard his Irish lilt as he spoke, “Glow croi go deo. Heartglow forever.”

EPILOGUE

Valaria came through Slayde’s office door to find her sister rearranging some bookshelves while baby Tye played with a teething ring on the floor.

“Hey, Sis, I wanted to stop in to say bye before we head to the airport,” she announced herself before walking over to pick up the baby.

Cassidy stopped to set a book down on the pile on the floor and came over to hug her, pinning little Tye in between them, “Oh, I wish you didn’t have to go, but I know Kaden has to get back, still I wish you were closer.”

Tye pushed against the smothering bodies and whined his discomfort until both women were laughing.

As Cassie wrestled her little man away from his aunt she asked, “Think you’re ready to be a Mom?”

Valaria smiled, never believing she would ever hear those words, “Well, obviously Sia and Lysana think I’m ready and I know I have a lot to learn, but I think it’s going to be okay. And Kaden hasn’t been able to wipe the smile off his face since I stopped glowing.”

They both laughed then, knowing the pride these men carried when they successfully knocked up their mates.

Cassidy pointed to the kitchen, “Time for a coffee? The men might be awhile. Slayde said he wanted to discuss with them about his idea of forming a team of cat and wolf shifters that would dedicate their efforts to finding more of us. He’s hopeful that there are more in existence than just us.”

Vee laughed, “Well it sure would take the pressure off us to repopulate the Earth.”

“Although we would have fun trying!” Cassidy rejoined and they both broke down laughing again.

Valaria looked around, “So, what have you been up to besides rearranging your books?”

Cassidy pointed around her house, “I’m having new cupboards made that have special childproof locks. I told Slayde I wanted a jacuzzi hut built out back and Tye’s room needs to be repainted with wolves and cats…”

“Oh, so he can learn about his Mom?” Vee interjected.

Cassie stopped, “Oh, didn’t we tell you? We had Tye tested and he is definitely a double shifter like his Mom. Slayde was a little disappointed since that will mean that Tye will take on our last name, but he is still thrilled.”

Valaria nodded, remembering that all double shifters born took the last name of the parent who shared their trait.

Well, they could rewrite that…this was a new beginning for their species…

The office door opened and three tall gorgeous men came in with Kaden in the middle being congratulated on his upcoming fatherhood.

Valaria breathed deep as she saw the overwhelming joy written there and she was responsible…for him…and for their unborn child…

Cassidy spoke, “Let me put Tye down for a nap and we’ll see you guys on your way,” and she disappeared down the hallway, calling out behind her, “Vee, I also put up some photos in the hallway if you want to look. Some are of me when I was younger and a few other pics you might get a kick out of.”

Valaria yelled out, “Yeah, maybe I’ll get some from you for our family album!”

Kaden had found his way to her side and pulled her in for a quick kiss, needing to be touching her when they were in any room together. She was thankful that his private plane had its own bedroom and they could spend their long hours in the air wrapped up in each other.

Slayde called out, “I hope you didn’t put up that Halloween picture!”

They all laughed and Vee caught Riordan’s gaze and smiled slightly, this having been the first time they were in the same room since her first glowing. She worried that he was finding it difficult, but Riordan nodded slightly and Vee knew everything was all good.

Her sister came up the hall, “Come on, you have to see these!”

Valaria laughed, “Okay, okay, I’m coming.”

Kaden reluctantly released her and shouted out, “Not too long, we have a plane to catch!”

Vee smiled, remembering the last time he missed his plane. She joined her sister as Cassie pointed out her own photos of her adopted Mom and Dad along with a Christmas pic of her opening her favorite baby doll.

Then she paused and said out loud, “And here is Slayde dressed up for Halloween!”

Valaria squinted, “What is he?”

Cassidy laughed, “A tree!”

Slayde bellowed, “Hey, I said don’t put that up for everyone to see!”

Cassidy turned towards the livingroom as Valaria continued to pour over the photos on the wall, “And who’s going to see? Everyone that comes here has already seen it!”

“What?”

Valaria chuckled as she saw happy memories adorning her sister’s wall and hoped someday she would fill her own wall with joy. She already had some to start with on her phone. Veronica had messaged her a couple of days ago and included wedding pics of her and Mr. Josh Wright at the little wedding chapel in Vegas…Vee laughed, her friend really had found Mr. Wright…

Vee looked up and stopped as she saw a picture of a man sporting a very bushy mustache and beard. She stepped closer as she saw the town garage behind the stranger who wasn’t so strange.

She spoke out loud, “Cassidy? Who is this?”

Cassidy came down the hallway and looked up at the picture her sister was pointing to. By now, all three men had joined them to peruse the pics on the wall too, Slayde hoping to find a way to swipe his Halloween pic before she noticed.

Cassidy smiled, “Oh, you haven’t met him yet. That’s Marcus, Slayde’s older brother! Back in his hippie day!”

“Hey, he’s cleaned up a lot since that picture was taken!” Slayde interrupted his wife’s descriptions.

Vee didn’t laugh.

Instead, she stated, “Wow, he’s got a twin.”

The hallway grew quiet as she spoke.

Cassidy was quiet as she answered, “Yeah, he does. I forgot to mention that Tiberius had a twin, Marcus, who is the Alpha of their father’s old clan.”

Valaria asked, “And you said he was lost, so there is a chance he might still be alive?”

Slayde answered this time, “We looked for weeks and found nothing. Believe me, if he was alive, we would have found him.”

Vee turned to look at her audience, “Like you found me?”

Cassidy reached for her sister’s arm, “Valaria, it’s not the same…”

“Cassie, remember when I told you that I was sent to a youth farm in Wyoming and I met Veronica there?” Vee asked urgently.

Cassidy nodded, “Yeah.”

“There was a counselor there that was real nice to everyone that came. He didn’t judge anyone based on their past. He always believed in a clean slate. We all called him Tee or sometimes we called him T-Bear,” she pointed up at the photo of Marcus, “And he looked just like him.”

The room was silent as everyone contemplated her words before Slayde shook his head, “How could he…?”

Valaria threw up her hands, “Hey I can’t say it is your brother, but if it’s not, he’s your brother’s doppelganger!”

Slayde stood stunned…after so many years…the chance that his brother might still be alive…but did he even know who he was? Or what he was? Would he still be there?

Then he remembered that he had already committed his time to the new team of hunters, to train them in all things double shifter so they could all work on tracing the names on the shifter list they got from the cabin.

Cassidy touched her husband’s arm, “Honey? It’s worth a shot to find out,” she turned to Valaria, “You know where it is, don’t you?”

Valaria nodded, “I can show you on a map. I mean, I don’t know if it’s still there, but I think it’s definitely worth checking out.”

Slayde looked away, “I can’t. I have twenty team members showing up in three days to start training and we need the help to locate and protect any double shifters on that list. That’s our priority. Whereas a very remote possibility that my brother might still be alive…?”

Riordan spoke up, “I’ll do it.”

Slayde shook his head, “I can’t ask you to…”

Riordan shook his head, “You’re not asking, I’m volunteering.”

Kaden chimed in, “Sorry, but I can’t go with you this time. Valaria is…”

Rory held up his hand, “It’s okay, you both need to go home.” he turned to Vee, “let’s go into the office and we’ll google it and print it and I can leave in the morning.”

Vee stepped forward, “Sure, let’s do it.”

Slayde held up his hand, “Riordan, slow down. You don’t know what you’ll be walking into.”

Riordan smiled and shrugged his shoulders, “It’s just a farm with a bunch of teenagers, how hard can it be?”

THE END

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