Chapter 1: I have a secret
The smell of her perfume surrounded me, filling my lungs with her scent. Sweet, warm, familiar, intoxicating. “Do I smell good?” she whispered into my ear. Her voice sent a tiny shiver down my spine.
“You always smell good, babe,” I whisper as she goes to place me back onto the ground. The minute her strong arms left my waist, I already missed them. “I missed you,” I whispered into her ear.
She giggled and kissed my cheek. “Well, we are going to spend the whole day together. Guess where we’re going?” Nova smiled at me. That same beautiful smile I love so much.
“Where are we going, Beautiful?” I asked once I stopped admiring her lips.
“We’re going to my family’s private beach. I got us your favorite food and some sparkling grape juice.” Her eyes lit up as if she were still planning our date.
“You’re so sweet, babe! And you remembered I don’t drink,” I smiled at the thought of her being so cute.
“Of course I remembered! I know you’re uncomfortable with alcohol,” her smile was sincere and comforting. It made my heart warm.
“I love you so much. It means a lot to know that you remember the little things. Most people would ignore how alcohol makes me feel. Plus, I don’t think you’d like me to drive your car,” I joked with a smile.
“Haha, more like you can’t drive! Little Miss. doesn’t have her license,” she smirked, mischief swirled in her eyes.
“I’ll be driving before you know it! When I get my license, I’ll be able to take you on cute dates!” Ah yes, I’m twenty years old and still can’t drive. It’s the bane of my existence. I hate relying on other people to get around, but I have to. I get too anxious to drive. The thought made me frown. Nova could tell that it bothered me.
“Don’t worry, babe. We’ll get you driving soon. I’ll teach you,” she intertwined her fingers with mine, making me smile all over again. “Come on, let’s get going,” I squeezed her hand as we started walking over to her car.
“Baby girl, we’re here. Time to wake up, babe,” Nova’s soft voice woke me from my deep sleep.
“We’re here?” I rub the sleep from my eyes. I feel her watching me, “See something you like?” I smile at her.
`“Of course, come on, babe, let’s go for a walk,” she leaned forward and kissed me on the cheek. I couldn’t help but smile. She’s so cute.
When I left the car, my jaw dropped. The scenery was so beautiful. The water was brilliantly blue. The sand was so pristine. “Oh my god, Niv, this is beautiful. I’ve never seen a beach so pretty,”
“Thank you, this beach has been in my family for a very long time. We take good care of our territory,” the wind started to pick up a bit, blowing my fringe into my eyes. I ran my hands through my hair.
“Territory? That’s an interesting take on property babe,” Nova smiles at me and takes my hand.
“I have a few things I’d love to talk with you. After dinner, of course,” Nova held up a bag of takeout from my favorite Japanese food place.
Her smile warmed my heart and sent butterflies flying throughout my stomach. “Let’s go find a spot to sit! I’m starving!” Nova led us to a secluded spot on the beach where a blanket was waiting for us. A white candle in the center. “Babe! When did you have the time to set this up?”
“While you were asleep in my passengers’ seat,” Nova grinned at me, a grin that reached her eyes in a way that made me fall for her even harder.
“Was I asleep for that long?” I giggled, unsure how I managed to do that.
“No, you’re just a heavy sleeper. Babe, I think you could sleep through a robbery,” Nova grinned, poking my ribs playfully.
“Haha, very funny, Officer,” yup, I, Jem Rose, am dating a police officer. Do I always use her title to poke fun at her? Oh, absolutely. Do I love my cop? Absolutely.
Nova’s beautiful eyes filled with mischief yet again. The containers of food managed to make it to the beautifully set up blanket. She grabbed me by the shirt, “Oh, yeah?” The next thing I knew, she had pulled me towards her causing the two of us to fall.
I gazed up at her, and the world around us slowed.
Her hair, typically neatly tucked behind her ear, had fallen and framed her beautiful face. She is so beautiful. I could lay here forever, just drinking in her image. Moments like these make me fall in love with her even more. I reached up to touch her face, to feel the warmth of her skin on mine. Her lips crashed into mine. Warmth spread throughout my chest and other places.
My hand tangled itself into her hair, deepening the kiss. Nova pulled away, leaving me breathless, wanting- no, craving more. She lets out a quiet laugh when she looks down at me. “Do you love me?” She asked as she leaned closer.
“More than anything,” my voice came out a whisper, but I spoke the truth. I love Nova more than anything. She’s my everything.
“Good,” she let out a low, harsh growl and began to leave a trail of kisses down my neck.
The kisses started softly and grew in intensity until suddenly, I felt excruciating pain on my shoulder. I gasped and dug my nails into her shoulders. “Nova, stop,” I whimpered.
She quickly pulled away, and her eyes widened when she saw what she had done. “Oh no, oh no, no, no,” she muttered as she ran her hands through her hair. “I’m so sorry, baby,”
I opened my phone camera to see the severity of the bite. I gasped when I saw the mark. It didn’t look like it came from a human. It looked like it came from a dog. “Nova, why does this look like a dog bite?” I swallowed the lump of fear that was forming in my throat.
“Remember when I wanted to talk to you after dinner?” All I could do was nod my head waiting for the explanation to come to light. “My whole family, myself included, are werewolves,” I find myself just staring at her. Werewolves? Werewolves exist?
“What about the bite?” I asked once the information sunk in.
“Wolves mark their mates to show other wolves that they’re off-limits. I didn’t mean to mark you. You’re my mate, and I know you’re the one but, I didn’t want to mark you until you knew everything. Now you know my biggest secret. How do you feel about me? Do you still love me?” Nova looked drained. Like the world was resting on her shoulders.
I cupped her face so I could look at her and those beautiful green eyes of hers. “Of course, I still love you. I love you so much. This situation is just so much to take in I’m not sure how to feel. I do know that I love you more than anything,” I kissed her forehead and wrapped my arms around her shoulders. I felt her wrap her arms around me and squeeze me tight.
”There’s still a lot I have to tell you, but I don’t want to overwhelm you. I’m sorry that I marked you without asking. My wolf lost control, but that’s no excuse. Is there anything I can do to make it up to you?”
I look over at the takeout that we completely forgot. “Let’s eat. I’m starving. Plus, you can explain some things more with a full belly,” I smiled and reached for the takeout.
I let out a small sigh and leaned back. Letting my food digest. ”So, what are mates exactly?”
“It’s the equivalent of a soulmate. Most wolves find their mate in their late teens. Unfortunately, it took me a few years to find you,” she looked up at me with emotions swirling through her eyes. I want to know what she’s thinking.
“Is there a specific reason you couldn’t find me? I mean, if you’re supposed to find your mate in your late teens, wouldn’t you find me sooner? You’re four years older than me. Wasn’t it hard to be without a mate while your friends were finding theirs?” I clamped my mouth shut. Oh, no, was that too much? My thoughts rapidly swirled. I heard her suck in a breath.
Her eyes darkened, compiling thoughts. After a few moments of silence, she sighed and laughed. It wasn’t her usual laugh. It was cold and hollow. I probably shouldn’t have asked, but it’s too late to go back now.
“Haha, yeah, it was hard. Everyone was falling in love. I wanted to be in love too. I ended up being with someone who wasn’t my mate, and I did fall in love with her. I thought she loved me back but, when she found her mate, poof, she left. After that, I dated around until I met our ex.” I squeezed her hand, urging her to continue. “When I met you, it was like a punch to the gut. I just knew you were my mate. I wanted you to be mine from day one. I don’t know why I couldn’t find you. Our paths didn’t cross until we dated the same prick,”
That prick Nova was referring to was the person I dated before her. The person who used me for money and sex. One of the worst relationships I had ever had. Nova was the best thing that came from that relationship. We met because of my social media presence and my ex.
Nova recognized me from social media. She reached out to me when the relationship with my ex fell out. Well, it was more like I was spiraling down a depressive hole because of an abusive relationship. But I’m glad it happened because if it didn’t, I wouldn’t have met the light of my life, Nova. She loves me for me. She’s seen me at my worst, and she stayed.
“I’m glad our paths crossed, Nova,” I threw my arms around her shoulders and pushed her down. I ignored my surprise that she let me take control. I laid my head on her chest, listening to her heartbeat. “I Love you,” I stayed snuggled on her chest for a long while.
“Babe, look. The sun is setting,” Nova softly patted my back to get my attention. I turn my head toward the sea. We watched the sun slowly dip down as the shades of blue overtook the yellows, leaving us with just the candlelight.
“Sometimes I forget just how beautiful a sunset is,” I slowly sat up. Nova watches me closely with a hard-to-read expression.
“I think you’re more beautiful than the sunset,” she whispered into my ear just before leaving a small trail of kisses down my neck, making sure she was extra gentle around the bite.
The gentle kisses sent a shiver down my spine, which brought my body closer to hers. I tilted my head to give her easy access, trying to keep my breathing even but failing. Every little touch felt like magic. Her hands travel from my back down to my sides, where she decided to start tickling me.
I squealed and let out a loud laugh until she stopped. “That’s for teasing me the other day,” Nova smirked as I laid on the blanket, feeling betrayed. “You know, you’re taking this well. I never thought your reaction would be so calm,” she studied my face as if looking for answers that I wasn’t supplying her.
“Babe, if you told me the sky was purple and made of hedgehogs, I would not doubt you. You’re a werewolf. Sure, that sounds hard to believe and like a made-up story but, I love you, and I believe you,” I reached for her hands and started tracing invisible circles onto the back of it. The sound of waves crashing onto the shore was calming. This place feels so surreal. It’s beautiful, and the sand is warm and soft to the touch.
“Well, the sky is not made of hedgehogs, haha. I know it’s hard to believe. It means a lot to me that you put your trust in me. But, babe, I’m not just any werewolf.” I give her a confused look.
“What do you mean?” I furrowed my brows, trying to figure out what she could mean by that.
“I’m an Alpha wolf, the last alpha of my family. My parents want to step down and let me lead the pack. But, I can’t lead my pack without my luna, which would be you. You are my mate, and you need to be by my side for that to happen.” she let out a sigh and ran her fingers through her hair.
“Well, I am by your side. Why can’t you become the pack leader?”
“Babe, I mean you have to live with me. Me alongside the rest of my pack. I would love for you to meet them. They are like a big family.” Nova’s brow furrowed. She looked lost in thought.
“When can I move in?” I asked softly.
She suddenly perked up. She tilted her head like a confused puppy. “You mean it?” I nod my head. I want to be by her side. I want to be her Luna. No matter what it takes. “Can you move in the next couple of weeks?” Nova’s smile was bright, and it made me smile in return.
“Of course I can. I’ll start packing tonight!” I excitedly squeaked.
“Wait? Babe, you don’t have to rush! You have plenty of time to move in with me,”
“I know! I’m just excited. It’s probably better if I move in soon. My lease is almost up. I need to be out by the end of the month. So, it works out perfectly!” I take my phone out and send my friend a text. “Okay, I have my best friend coming over to help me start packing. Let’s start packing up our picnic,” I smile and blow out the still-lit candle, and I start picking up the leftovers.
“You’re okay with living with my pack?” Uncertainty lingered in her voice. I know she’s been burned before by her ex but, I love her. I want to be with her. It’s going to be new, and I’m ready for anything.
“Nova, I am your girlfriend, your mate. I want to be with you and meet your pack. I want to be in your life.” I held onto her hand and smiled. “I love you, Nova. I’m in this for the long haul.” My smile only grew when our eyes met.
“I love you too, Jem.” She smiled and led me back to the car, abandoning the blanket and left overs.
“Oh! Babe, our stuff!”
“I’ll pack up, babe. Just wait in the car. You’re not a wolf, so marking you can have a different effect on you. Wolfs tend to get horny when they’ve been marked but not humans. Humans tend to get a bit unsteady,” she explained as she opened the car door for me.
“Have there always been wolves that had human mates?” I wondered out loud as I hopped in the front seat.
“It’s not common, but, yes. There have been a few cases. Unfortunately, humans and wolves have different life expectancies. I could live twice as long as you. As long as I don’t get horrifically injured,” Nova explained, watching me with curious eyes
I grab her arm just as my head starts to ache. Overwhelming dizziness overcame anything I wanted to say. I could feel my eyes roll back.
Floating in the pitch-black space: my body felt weightless yet heavy. Heat spread throughout my being. As if lava was filling my veins and melting me from the inside. My breathing came in rapid shallow breaths.
Even in my weird, dream-like state, I could feel Nova’s gentle hands on me. It felt like she was placing a blanket over me. I could hear her murmur something quietly but, I can’t make out the words, although I felt a tear drop onto my cheek. I wanted to move, to comfort her, but I couldn’t move.
I kept trying, but she closed the door and got into the car with me. I gave up and let the pitch-black engulf me for a little while.
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