“Actually...” Mack slowly cuts the silence, drawing all eyes. “You can’t.”
“Derek asked me to look into it when he first found out. There are very few cases of human mates recorded, but almost all of them end up dead when marked,” she continues, putting a damper on any questions.
My heart stops and a cold shiver runs up my spine.
Dead? Chris could kill me?
Chris turns me to him, desperate to reassure me. “Baby look at me, nothing’s going to happen to you.” His hand on my cheek forces me to look at him. “I don’t need to mark you to know you’re mine.”
“B-but isn’t it important?” I stammer.
“Nowhere near as important as you are to me. We can talk more about it later, I don’t want you to worry about this, okay?”
All I can do is nod since there’s already so much on his plate.
Lunch wraps up shortly after that and everyone heads back to the boardroom, though I opt to stay behind. My mind is running full speed, talks of war have my nerves up enough, but the marking possibly killing me is over the top.
We hadn’t really talked about Chris marking me with everything else going on, but I know how important it is in the wolf world.
All of the mated pairs are marked, hell even Cyrus nearly forcefully marked me.
If it wasn’t for Derek’s intervention I could be dead already.
The thought sends fresh shivers down my spine.
Mack sits down next to me and gives my hand a squeeze. “I’m sorry Jess, I didn’t mean for it to come out that way,” she says, locking her sad green eyes on mine.
“I mean it is what it is, I just don’t really know what to think about it. I’m still so new to all of this...” I trail off.
“It doesn’t change anything, not having a claim mark on your neck won’t make Chris love you less,” Derek says, sitting down. “Get out of your head, it won’t do you any good,” he growls.
Although I hear his words, I can’t help the sense of doubt growing in me.
“What has Chris told you about Jude?” Derek asks, changing the topic
“Just that he thinks he sold us out...” I trail off.
“And what do you think?” He asks.
“I don’t know. I can’t ignore the evidence Chris laid out,” I trail off.
“But?” Derek prompts.
“My gut says there’s something more there. What reason would he have to do this? I can’t come up with any motivation whatsoever. He wanted to be a part of this pack, why would he sell them out?” Mostly I just couldn’t imagine my closest friend turning on me. He’s become so important to me, and always been there when I needed him, until that night...
“Then where is he?”
I hang my head and shake it. “I don’t know, but what if something happened to him? That’s the only thing I can think of.”
“We’ll know soon enough I suppose. The plan is nearly set, the attack will happen in two days.” He pauses before speaking again, picking his words carefully. “Jess... If Chris finds him on the wrong side, he won’t hesitate to kill him for his betrayal,” Derek warns me, sending cold shivers down my spine.
‘He won’t be there, they are wrong, he didn’t sell us out.’ ‘God, I hope you’re right, but where the hell is he!?’
The rest of the day goes by quietly, the meeting wraps up before dinner but everyone takes off to start preparations. Dinner was a somber event with no usual light hearted conversations, just small strategy and planning. There’s only one full day to prepare before the following day’s attack.
Their world is far more violent than I had ever imagined. There’s a reason they are always training and patrolling. Chris assures me that this is just part of their world, that they’ve been through it before and that everything will be fine.
I can’t help but worry. This isn’t cops and robbers with jail, this is life and death. They were lucky when they raided the rogue dungeon to get us. There were injuries but nothing serious and no losses on our side.
This is a much larger assault, hitting where the rogues are dug in. Eric is sending his best scouts deep to help pinpoint the enemies location. Crimson Dawn’s role will be more of a defense and support role. They are to block any retreat and aid where they can.
Rob is supposed to flank in from the west and attack with Chris, who will be coming in from the south east. I’m no tactician but their plan sounds solid.. Still, something is bothering me, but I have no idea what.
The night before the attack has everyone on edge. Chris has been busy with preparations so I’ve seen very little of him, just at dinner. I feel him come to bed late, much like the night before. I think he’s trying to keep me from worrying but the space just makes all my anxiety worse.
He slips in silently behind me, trying hard not to jostle me awake, but I’m already awake.
“Hey,” I say, rolling over to face him.
“You should be sleeping,” he murmurs, brushing the back of his knuckles across my cheek. I lean into his caress, my body craving his touch.
I slide my hands up his bare, muscular chest and feel his tension and worry, even with him trying to hide it. “I couldn’t sleep,” I mumble. My words are true but my mind is elsewhere now.
Slowly, I bring my lips to his, softly at first but he deepens the kiss instantly, wrapping a hand behind my neck. I nip at his bottom lip asking for access, which he gladly grants as his fingers knot in my hair.
The tension slowly leaves his body as our kissing heats up. He lets me roll him onto his back, taking me with him. His eyes flash amusement and excitement as I settle in on top of him. His hands slowly slide up my bare thighs before settling to grip my ass tightly, leaving goosebumps in their wake.
He groans into my kiss as he grinds my hips against his while his straining excitement begs to be freed from his boxers. His hands move up to my shirt’s hem, forcing me to break our kiss only long enough to pull it off. He eyes me hungrily as his hands roam my body greedily, landing on my bare breasts.
His eyes swirl with lust as I lean into his touch, tossing my head back and savouring every sensation. I felt him move under me to roll us over but I shift my hips, pinning him in place. His brow shoots up in surprise as a curious smirk crosses his face.
I bring my lips back to his, brushing my breasts across his chest and earning a rumble of approval before trailing my attention down his jaw line over his neck, settling on his sweet spot. His fingers dig into my hips, pulling me tighter to him as he grinds harder, causing the throbbing in my core to grow.
Chris lifts his shoulder, trying to roll us again, he’s too used to calling the shots. This time, I have to pin his hips and shoulder to maintain control. His eyes lock with mine, flashing brown as his frustration begins to show.
I can’t help my grin as I take him in in this new light, this god beneath me. Never did I ever think a man could make me feel things like he does. Hell, he can give me just one look and I melt, whereas his touch is magic. He can put me at complete ease or wake up a heated desire in the blink of an eye.
He smirks as he loops a finger under the edge of my panties, with a quick flick he rips through the lace like paper.
“Really?!” I say with a disapproving frown.
In answer he hooks his finger under the other side and rips through it as well, tossing the shredded lace aside, leaving me bare. “Really,” he replies, his husky voice intensifying the throbbing in my core. A triumphant smile spreads across his face as he takes me in, causing me to blush.
His own member is straining hard at the thin material between us. He growls in frustration as I slowly but deliberately grind against him while we kiss. His hands slide back to my ass controlling the movement.
He just can’t surrender all control.
Unable to hold back any more, I kneel forward hooking a finger under his waistband and signalling I want them off now. He’s only too happy to oblige, kicking them off as fast as possible.
I wrap my fingers around his hard shaft, earning a hiss of approval. “Fuck Jess,” he growls. He’s already fully hard and straining to be put to good use. I shimmy back on my knees, positioning myself above him and lock my eyes on his as I sink down on him. His eyes flicker between green and brown as I slowly take every inch of him in, stretching me delightfully to the max.
His head lulls back but he keeps his eyes locked on mine as I start to move on him, lifting, dropping, and grinding slowly. His hands grab my hips tightly as he takes control, guiding me to ride him faster and harder.
I moan out his name as he hits that sweet spot deep in me as my core tightens, building to my release. He’s done holding back and sits up while I ride him, his hands already control the speed and rhythm, not that I mind.
His lips lock with mine before he works his way down my neck. He grunts as I feel him start to twitch within me. We’re so close now, my breathing is reduced to shallow pants. He bites down, sending me over, triggering his own release as I clamp down around him.
He rides out my waves as I turn to jelly with him. I’m spent and all of his tension has left his body. We settle back into bed wrapped up in each other, just enjoying the moment.
“I’m scared,” I admit in a whisper.
“Don’t be baby, I won’t let anything happen to you,” he whispers, kissing my head and wrapping me tighter in his arms.
I shake my head. “I’m worried something will happen to you,” I mumble. “We just got back together and you’re running head long into a war.”
“It has to be done,” he says with a shrug. “They will come again otherwise. It’s better for us to call the shots and bring the fight to them with allies then to have them blindside us again.” I nod sadly.
He lifts my chin to bring my gaze to his. “I’m coming back, don’t ever doubt that.”
That is exactly what I’m afraid of, that this might be our last night together.
My chest tightens at the thought, I have to drop my gaze to keep my composure.
“Baby look at me. I promise, I will be back in bed with you the following night, then we can put this whole mess behind us.” His conviction is strong and I want nothing more than to believe him.
Before long we drift off, but my dreams are troubled. I drift into what doesn’t feel like a normal nightmare...
I’m in the middle of the fight. Wolves are fighting and dying all around me but no one pays any attention to me, like I’m a ghost.
In the center, I see a black wolf taken from his flank by his guard. He spins in surprise at the betrayal, but he catches on too late as a charcoal wolf rips out his throat.
Betrayal keeps bouncing through my mind. Chris’s words about being betrayed on their way to get us come crashing back.
Then Jude, Chris thinks he has betrayed us? What does this dream mean? The wolf in the dream wasn’t Jude’s, but who was it?
I jolt up in bed, finally free of my nightmare. Dread washes over me as I realize I’m alone. Chris’ side of the bed is long cold. Quickly, I throw on the first pants and top I find and head to the door to go downstairs.
A note on the door stops me dead in my tracks. The sense of dread has such a hold in my chest it’s threatening to cut off all the air into my lungs. With a trembling hand, I grab the note and read it.
Leaving you in bed was the hardest thing to do. Stay safe for me and I’ll be back for you as soon as I can.