Playing with the Wolf

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Chapter 10

____________ Deklan ____________

After Lucy leaves, I have a little chat with my wolf about the mark he left on her neck.

When a wolf wants to claim someone as their mate, they mark them with a bite. The bite doesn’t break skin or anything. It doesn’t cause pain or harm. It just leaves a mark that looks kinda like a sunburn in the shape of teeth on the person bitten.

It seems my wolf hijacked the little love bite I gave Lucy during our bout of sex on the counter and used it as an opportunity to mark her and claim her.

Needless to say, I’m a little shocked he did this.

You claimed Lucy? I ask.

In answer, my wolf emits a very contented, very satisfied sound.

He might be content and satisfied, but I’m a little concerned. Claiming a mate is a big frickin’ deal. In werewolf society, Lucy and I are now mated for life. Any adult wolf, male or female, will be able to see my wolf’s mark and know Lucy is off-limits to them.

My wolf rumbles another sound of satsifaction at having claimed Lucy.

You kind of jumped the gun there claiming her, don’t you think bud? I ask him.

In answer to that question, he huffs in disagreement.

I’m glad he’s feeling confident, but I can’t help worrying that he jumped the gun. If things don’t work out between me and Lucy - if she doesn’t want to accept my wolf’s claiming - as long as she lives, my wolf can’t claim another, and I won’t want anyone else.

My wolf lets out a gruff growl and lets me know he thinks that I’m an idiot for worrying. I can’t help it, though. I like Lucy, sure. I like her a lot, actually. It’s possible I may already be falling in love with her. But even if I am, making a lifetime commitment at this point in our relationship seems premature.

As I process that my wolf’s claimed Lucy, I consider whether or not I should tell her. I end up deciding that I’m not going to tell her that we’re mated. At least not yet. Finding out we’re mated might freak her out since she’s not a Were. Aside from that, I need some time to wrap my head around us being mated before I tell her. I can’t believe I didn’t realize what was happening when I bit her. I put my cluelessness down to the heat of the moment.

Recalling what Lucy and I just did on my counter brings a smile to my face. Thinking about how we snuggled together last night in my bed makes my smile grow. The prospect of a lifetime’s worth of snuggling and sex with Lucy has me beaming. Like a coin that’s been flipped, my attitude goes from uncertain to enthusiastic.

Maybe my wolf claimed Lucy prematurely, but what does it matter? He and I probably would have claimed her as ours eventually. The connection I feel to her after the brief time I’ve known her is already strong.

As I imagine being with this woman for the rest of my life, my thoughts eventually turn to how she will react when she learns I claimed her as my mate, and my smile dims somewhat.

Will she accept my claim?

Will she want to make a life with me?

Is she feeling for me, what I’m feeling for her?

God, I hope so.

I’m in my studio waiting for Lucy to get back when the door opens.

I stop sanding and look up at the person who’s come in. I expect to see Lucy, but it’s not her standing in the doorway sporting an Under Armor hoodie and jeans. It’s my buddy, Blake.

“Hey, Blake,” I greet my friend.

“Hey.”

Blake comes in and checks out the headboard I’m working on.

“Nice,” he says.

“Thanks.”

I toss my sandpaper down on the headboard in front of me and get to my feet.

“What’s up?” I ask as I brush at the dust on my jeans.

He shrugs a shoulder in response.

“Nothing,” he replies. “Just thought I’d come see if you wanted to go for a run.”

Any other time, I’d be up for going for a run with him, but right now I’m not interested. I expect Lucy will be back at any time and I want to be here when she returns.

“Nah, sorry man,” I reply with a shake of my head. “Lucy’s coming over.”

After telling Blake that I’m expecting Lucy, I go over and unplug my phone from its charging dock, and check the time.

3:08 PM.

It’s later than I thought it was and I’m surprised Lucy isn’t back already. I decide to take a break from work and head back into the house to wait for her in there.

As I lead Blake to the door of the studio, a big ass grin spreads across his face. His grin has me furrowing my brow at him.

“What’s that grin about?” I ask.

“Dude,” he says. “I smell Lucy all over you.”

As soon as he says that, I come to a stop. I guess I should have expected he would suss out the recent developments in my relationship with Lucy. With our sense of smell, werewolves might as well wear signs saying, “I’m sleeping with ‘so-and-so’.”

“That happened fast, didn’t it?” Blake asks and I agree with a silent nod.

It did happen fast.

I don’t tell him that my wolf claimed Lucy. I’m not ready to share that yet.

“It’s about time you stepped back into the dating world,” he says.

I don’t know if that’s true. I just know that I haven’t had any interest in dating since Tuk died. But then, I met Lucy. And now, everything’s changed.

My phone chirps with a text message.

“That’s probably Lucy now,” I say to Blake.

I pull my phone out of my pocket and check the screen.

It is Lucy.

I’m back. Her text says.

Be right in. I text her back.

“She’s inside,” I tell Blake.

I tuck my phone away and kick back into motion. I head out of my studio, Blake right behind me, and lock the door before heading over to the house.

Lucy looks up when Blake and I come through the back door. She’s at the table, lifting something out of a box. Her hand clears the top of the cardboard and I see a large, violet crystal is in her grip. It sparkles a little as light hits it.

I don’t know much about crystals and am curious what she needs them for.

“Hey boys.” she smiles, looking at each of us in turn.

We both echo her ‘hey’, and join her at the table.

“You get everything you needed to get?” I ask. I shift my attention from the large, purple crystal she set on the table to her.

She’s dressed in black pants and a white top, and her brown hair’s pulled back in a ponytail.

“I’m all set,” Lucy replies to my question.

“All set for what?” I ask. I watch her pull another crystal out of the box. She sets it on the table next to the first.

“I’m going to make an energy cage with these crystals to hold Hannah,” she explains. “Once I have her caged, Zareena’s going to help me try to undo whatever was done to her.”

I nod at that.

Blake pipes up with his own questions, drawing Lucy’s attention around to him.

“Who’s Hannah?” he asks. “And Zareena.”

Lucy pulls out a third crystal and sets it on the table.

“Hannah’s my sister,” she tells him. “Zareena is a friend of mine. She owns and runs a store downtown called ’The Source.”

Blake furrows his brow at Lucy’s answer.

“I’m obviously missing something,” he says. “Why are you going to cage your sister?”

Yeah, what Lucy said about caging her sister would sound strange without context.

“Well, my sister is not herself at the moment,” she replies. “She’s either under a spell, or she’s been brainwashed or something. I gotta cage her and undo whatever was done to her.”

Blake frowns and I speak up and offer more information.

“Lucy only just found out her sister is alive,” I inform him. “She thought Hannah was killed by the same Zolark that killed their mother when they were kids.”

Astonishment dominates my buddy’s expression.

“Geez,” he says.

“If I hadn’t been trying to help Deklan find Malek,” Lucy says. “I might not have ever found out Hannah was alive. She was with Malek when we found him.”

Blake’s eyes jump to me.

“You found Malek?” he asks. “Is the asshole dead?”

I shake my head.

I wish the asshole was dead but unfortunately, the asshole is not.

“But you found him,” Blake says excitedly.

I nod.

“Lucy scried for him and found him.”

Blake looks at Lucy.

“So you can find him again?” he asks and she nods.

“That’s the plan,” she says. “Well, my plan is to scry for Hannah. I’m guessing she’ll be with Malek.”

I hear Blake ask Lucy something else but I don’t take in his words. I’m too busy worrying over what’s gonna happen after we find Hannah. I know Lucy hopes to capture her, cage her and undo whatever was done to her. But, what if she can’t?

My wolf whines his concern as I worry about what’ll happen if Lucy tries to undo what was done to her sister and can’t. If we need to put Hannah down and Lucy can’t do that, I’ll have to do it for her. I really hope it doesn’t come to that. My stomach curdles at the thought and my wolf whines louder.

Registering that Lucy’s looking at me, I blink and focus on her.

“I was hoping I could cage Hannah here,” she says. “You have more room than me,” she explains.

I nod.

I just found out about this cage. I haven’t had time to consider where it’s going to be set up, but now that she’s mentioned location, I’m glad she wants to set it up at my place. If she were to keep Hannah at her place, I’d worry about her. What if Hannah got loose somehow? What if Malek found out where Hannah was and came for her?

“That’s fine with me,” I say.

“Great. Thanks,” she replies. “Help me set it up?” she asks and picks up two of the crystals.

I pick up the two crystals left on the table and follow her upstairs. Blake trails behind me, making the trip up with us. Upstairs, Lucy heads into the room she slept in the other night. She goes over to the bed and sets her crystals down on the mattress. I follow her over while Blake stays by the door.

“Help me move the bed out from the wall?” she requests.

I set my crystals on the mattress with hers, walk around to the far side of the bed, and help her pull the queen-size out a few feet from the wall.

“That’s good,” she says.

She straightens up, goes over, and collects her crystals off the bed. I follow her, retrieving the crystals I brought up.

“Do the same as me on your side of the bed,” she instructs me and crouches by the corner at the head of the bed.

I watch her set a crystal on the floor, a foot out diagonally from that corner, and do the same thing on my side of the bed. We move to the foot of the bed and set our remaining crystals on the floor about a foot out diagonally from each corner. When nothing happens, I look to her in question.

“Shift yours a little this way.” she requests, her eyes on my crystal.

I do so and suddenly a forcefield goes up around the bed. It’s shimmery and almost transparent, fluctuating colors between purple and white.

“Cool.” Blake breathes from the doorway.

I have to agree. Very cool.

Lucy pulls her crystal out of position and the forcefield disappears.

The cage is ready to go.

Now we just have to find Hannah, get her into the cage, and undo whatever was done to her.

Oh! And avoid getting killed by her or Malek in the process.

Right.

No problem.

Piece of cake.

***

Lucy

After getting Deklan to help me set up the cage, I start scrying in the kitchen.

Several hours later, I’m still scrying.

As I yawn for the thousandth time, I glance over at the clock on the stove and see that it’s nearly two in the morning. I decide that I’m only going to scry for another hour or two, then I’m going to call it quits for the night. Maybe tomorrow I’ll start later in the day. Chances are so low that I’ll get a hit on Hannah during the day, I’m probably just tiring myself out scrying so long.

The scuff of boots on the porch steps has me looking over to the back door. Deklan enters and smiles in greeting as he comes over to me.

It’s nice to have his company again. I’ve been alone since he went back to his studio after dinner. Fatigue and boredom set in not long after he left me.

“No luck?” he asks.

I shake my head as he stops beside me. A tired sigh escapes me. He takes my hand and urges me up out of my chair then he lowers himself into my spot and pulls me into his lap. This new seating arrangement makes me happy. Draping an arm around his shoulders, I snuggle into him.

“You’ve been scrying all day,” he murmurs and presses a kiss to my jaw. “You must be tired.” he adds, then rests his chin on my shoulder.

I nod. I am very tired.

“I’m gonna stop in a little while,” I tell him. “Just another hour or two and then I’ll quit.”

He ‘mmm’s’ and gives me a soft squeeze with the arm he has around my waist.

“I’m a little hungry,” he says. “You want something?”

The guy has the metabolism of a racehorse. He made us a wonderful dinner earlier. Chicken with rice and veggies. Besides eating double the amount I did, he’s had more than one hearty snack through the evening.

“I could go for a snack,” I reply.

I’m not really hungry, but I’ll nibble on whatever he makes for himself.

He urges me up off his lap. Once he’s out of my seat, I reclaim it and start scrying again.

“Fruit and cheese sound good?” he asks from across the room, his head in his fridge.

“Sure,” I reply.

A few minutes later, he rejoins me at the table. He sits beside me and presents me with a plate filled with crackers, slices of marble cheese, apple wedges, and green grapes. I pop a grape into my mouth and break its skin between my teeth, savoring its sweetness. By the time I set my pendulum down a little after four, all the grapes and half the cheese are in my belly.

It seems I was more hungry than I’d realized.

Deklan has taken care of the rest of the cheese and most of the apples and crackers.

“Stopping?” he asks when my arm lowers to the table.

“Yeah,” I try to hold back a yawn and fail.

“Let’s go,” he says, obviously glad I’m ready for bed.

I smile at him.

He could’ve gone to bed without me, but I like that he stayed up with me.

***

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