Wings and Wolves Sample

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Chapter 4

She woke when Paris threw herself onto the bed beside her and had a brief panic attack, sitting up to check her bedside drawer and make sure she had put away her vibrator the night before. It was safely tucked away in its habitual spot.

She groaned her complaint, putting her pillow over her head to block out her friend, and the sun that slanted brightly through the claw holes one of her grandmother’s long deceased cats had left in the curtains.

“So,” Paris said pulling back the pillow. “I just ran into tall, blonde and incredibly sexy in the kitchen.”

“Cael,” Lia grimaced and dropped her arm over her eyes as she remembered. “Oh, shit.” Damn it, she thought, ridiculously embarrassed by her behavior of the night. She had been all but f-king Raiden in the front yard, and then, if Paris had not returned home just when she had, she might have f-ked Cael right there on the kitchen floor.

It just would not do, Lia, she told herself. She needed to get a handle on this heat, invest in a new vibrator, and get onto a contraceptive, before she got herself into trouble more permanent than a quick, lust filled f-k with a warlock or a werewolf. Or anything else male for that matter.

Did contraceptives even work for Others? The thought struck her hard. Did Others and witches get human contraceptives, or was there an Other sort of family planning practise that she didn’t know of? Oh god, she thought. That was not a conversation she could have with Cael, and she doubted very much that her very sexually reticent grandmother would be any more open about such things in death.

“Cael,” Paris repeated dreamily, oblivious to the chaos of Lia’s thoughts. “That’s what I would have named him, too. Tell me he’s our new roomie, please.”

“He’s our new roomie,” Lia confirmed grimly. “Or he will be, when he actually pays for the room.” If he kept his hands to himself and didn’t try to use his magic to seduce her again, that was.

“Good,” Paris pressed a kiss against Lia’s cheek. “The scenery around here just improved one hundred-fold. So, how did things go with Raiden last night? He is super hot, hey? And such a sweetie. I was so not surprised when he offered to take you home last night. The moment he set his eyes on you, I could totally tell.”

“I kissed him,” Lia admitted.

Paris squealed in high pitched excitement and Lia complained trying to hide her pillow. Paris would have none of it, tugging it away and tossing it aside so that Lia had nowhere to cower behind. “Go on! No way! You never kiss anyone.”

“I know.” But she had done plenty of kissing last night, Lia thought to herself. Not just with Raiden. Shit.

“So, tonight?” Paris prompted.

Lia’s heart leapt within her chest. She wanted to see Raiden again, desperately, and that desperation was warning that perhaps she had better apply some caution – at least until she answered the question about contraceptives and Other lovers. “If he offers to take me home, maybe.”

“Oh, you’re so gone on him, I can tell,” Paris nudged her with her shoulder. “Admit it.”

Lia flushed. Raiden had featured heavily in her fantasies during her quality time with her vibrator, and she had brought herself to orgasm twice remembering the heat of their kiss. Even after, she had felt unsatisfied. Her vibrator simply was not the man, and her body craved his against it with an intensity that was almost frightening.

“I barely know him,” she said the truth that frightened her most of all about the raging desire she felt for the werewolf. “I served him a few drinks and he gave me a lift home. I don’t know. Maybe, if I get to know him better…?” Please, Lia, she told herself. Wait until you know him better. You’re an adult, you can resist your hormone-filled desires.

“Chemistry, baby.” Paris smirked.

“I guess,” Lia murmured. She was too close to the truth, Lia thought with an edge of desperation. Chemistry or heat. She needed to speak to Cael. She threw back the covers and pushed her way free of Paris and the bed. “I’m going to have a shower.” A cold one. A very long, very cold shower.

“Put on some lippy before you go to the kitchen. If Raiden does not do it for you, maybe Cael will,” Paris made kissing noises before closing the bedroom door. If only she knew, Lia thought grimly, how accurate she was.

She showered and braided her hair back into two pigtails before pulling on tracksuit pants and a t-shirt. She could hear Paris chattering to Cael in the kitchen and took a deep breath before opening the door.

Paris was pouring coffee, and Cael sat at the table, with a newspaper open before him, seemingly totally at home in the small kitchen, his long legs crossed at the ankles and the sun catching in his golden hair and overnight growth of stubble. He was, frankly, gorgeous, she thought. More than gorgeous. He was beautiful, as if every part of him had been carved to demonstrate and artist’s concept of masculine perfection.

He was drinking coffee, black, with an oddly puzzled expression, as if he had not had the beverage before. She wondered if Paris had made it – operating the coffee percolator was not one of Paris’ domestic skills and what she produced mystified Lia for its thick texture and nutty taste.

“Ah, here she is,” Paris said as Lia entered. “Cael was just telling me that he’s on loan from The Light Company.”

“Oh?” Lia had never heard of them but thought it would be rude to say. She took down a cup and placed it beside Paris’. Paris added a spoonful of instant and added hot water, knowing better than to offer Lia the product of her percolator poison.

“Ta.” Lia took the cup to the table and pulled out a chair opposite to Cael. He sat up, pulling his legs back from under the table.

His eyes meeting hers danced with mischief as he leaned his elbows on the table surface. “It’s a very small company,” he said easily, taking a sip of his coffee, and holding her gaze over the rim. “We’re trying to build our corps, so, in a way, I’m here as a spy, to find new talent and convince them to join us.”

“Lucky us,” Paris leaned against the back of Lia’s chair. Lia could not see her, but she was sure that Paris’ eyes would be batting, and her cleavage would be advantageously displayed. When it came to men, Paris was an accomplished predator. “That you saw our advert for a roomie.”

“Lucky me,” Cael replied with a smile. “Or I would have been sleeping in the academy halls last night.”

“Could have found a hotel,” Lia pointed out.

He shrugged. “It also was an option, but I am not familiar with the area.”

“Found your way here, well enough.”

“Lia,” Paris nudged her. “Forgive Lia,” she said to Cael. “She gets testy when she doesn’t get a full twelve hours of sleep. Late night last night in Lia’s world, which is primarily shared by crocheting grandmas and lap cats. She’ll cheer up once she has had a coffee or five. On that note, I had better have a shower,” she added, setting her empty cup onto the sink. “I have a yoga class I teach at a local park,” she told Cael. “If you are interested. It really helps your flexibility,” she winked.

“Thanks, another time,” he smiled and returned to his newspaper. The paper was three weeks out of date, Lia noticed, and wondered what he found so fascinating in old news.

Paris caught Lia’s eyes over his shoulder as she opened the door into the hallway. “Be nice,” she mouthed with a frown, before closing it behind her.

Lia rolled her eyes and drank her coffee.

“I feel that we got off to a bad start last night,” Cael said quietly.

Lia flushed. “Rather.”

“I am not normally so… predatory,” he set the newspaper to the side. “Perhaps because you were all… warmed up from your boyfriend, the heat struck me a bit stronger than normal. I do not make a habit of wrestling women onto the floor within minutes of meeting them, I promise you.”

“About that,” Lia said, setting her coffee cup down. “I don’t know what you mean by heat.”

He frowned. “You do not know?”

“No.”

“It is perfectly normal. Part of reaching adulthood,” he had a dimple when he smiled, she noted. “You just need to be a bit cautious as you will attract more male attention than normal. You smell,” he inhaled, and his eyes lit wickedly. “Like sin.”

“How long does it last?” She wondered embarrassed. “And is there any way I can… hide it?”

“From your werewolf boyfriend?” He raised his eyebrows. “He would already know, I imagine. It was sort of hard to miss last night.” He inhaled deeply. “Less noticeable this morning. I presume you took care of yourself last night,” his eyes were hot as he smiled, a slow lascivious curl of his lips. “That will help to hide it.”

“Great,” Lia hunched her shoulders. So, she either smelt like a walking come on to Raiden, or, like Cael, he would know that she had spent quality time with her vibrator. “How long?” She repeated. “And how often?” She added with horror, realizing it might not be a once off.

He shrugged. “A week, and monthly.”

“Oh, great,” she rolled her eyes heavenward. As if being a woman did not suck already.

He chuckled. “There is a simple solution that most people take.” He raised his eyebrows. “More effective than masturbation.” He grinned. “I would be happy to help out, if your pet dog is not man enough to satisfy.”

“Thanks, and no thanks. Strictly hands off, by the way,” she added. “If you are going to be living here, we can absolutely not have a repeat of last night. And, before you get your hopes up, Paris has a boyfriend.”

“She is not my type.” He stood and took his cup to the sink, collecting hers on the way through. “As to the rest... As you wish. You might regret that, however,” he said, smugly. “There was something between us last night. More than the heat. I know you felt it, too.”

“I am sure I will be fine,” she retorted. “So, one month’s rent, by the end of today.”

“Sure, and how would you like that?”

“Cash is fine.”

“Alright,” he paused by the door. “Let me know when you change your mind.”

She growled as she peeled an orange and ate all but one slice over the sink. The last slice she took to the solarium. The fairy hissed at her from behind a leaf, sharp pointed teeth bared in a fearsome grimace. “Oh, mind your manners, small one,” she reprimanded it dropping the slice of orange into the atrium.

She returned to her room and changed into running gear. As she made her way to the door, she heard her grandmother’s ghost singing from the kitchen, an old Elvis Presley song, about devils in disguise. The lyrics stuck in Lia’s head as she began her run and she hummed it under her breath as she made her way around the streets that formed her running track.

She was twenty-minutes into her run when a familiar motor bike roared up the street and pulled into a driveway ahead of her. By the time she reached the house, Raiden had removed his helmet and jacket, and leaned his hips against the dilapidated picket fence, looking very edible, she thought as she slowed and walked the last distance to where he stood.

“You live here?” She panted, bracing her hands on her hips in order to open her lungs. It made sense that he had offered to come to her aid within five minutes if she needed him. It would take less than that, on his bike, between his house and hers.

“At the moment. My timing is not normally so good,” he commented, straightening as she came within a meter of him. “I have seen you run by a few times. Come in for a drink of water?” He reached out a hand in invitation.

She hesitated, knowing that the invitation was for far more than a glass of water, as the ride home the night before had been weighted with far more than a simple lift home.

He waited, patiently, applying no pressure, letting her think it through.

And she put her hand in his.

He drew her past the bike, its engine still putting off heat and heavy metallic scent from use. There was a new Ute parked before it, with an image of a snarling wolf in a circle on the side, under which was written Lycan Graphics.

“Your business?” She asked. They were flaunting what they were in a world which believed werewolves were fictional, and there was a sense of humor behind it that she liked.

“One of them,” he replied lightly. “I like to diversify. At the moment, I’m mainly renovating old houses in this area. This one’s mid reno, so forgive the mess.” He led her up the stairs onto the porch. The front garden held pallets of construction supplies wrapped in plastic, and a wide array of tools, and very little grass.

She could hear power tools being used inside.

The door was open, and they stepped into a house very similar to her grandmother’s, except this one had been stripped back, the floorboards sanded ready to be polished, and the old wallpaper peeled off the walls, patch marks showing the preparation was underway to paint.

“They are great houses,” Raiden said, following her gaze. “Nice heritage-style details, generously sized rooms, and usually en-suites to most bedrooms, which is unusual in houses of this era. Give the bathrooms, kitchen and laundries a refit, strip everything back, polish up floorboards where they’re good, slap down carpet where they are not, a bit of paint, and they will sell well.”

“I would love to do this to my house,” Lia admitted wistfully. “But it’s so expensive.”

“You will have to show me through some time,” he drew her down the hall towards the kitchen. “I can give you an idea of how much it would cost.”

The kitchen was almost finished, slick in white, with wooden bench tops. The plastic wrap was still on the dishwasher and oven. He opened a cupboard and pulled down two glasses, filling them from the filtered tap, handing her one.

She took a mouthful gratefully admiring the new cupboards and benchtops, and how they had laid it out in such a way that the small space felt much bigger. Of course, she thought, they didn’t have a small table in their kitchen, and that contributed to the feeling of space.

“Ideally I would have moved the kitchen,” he said, following her inspection of the room with interest. “Modern houses go more for open planned kitchen and living areas, whereas houses from this era have them closed off. But moving it would be too expensive for the market we are aiming for, and the kitchen location won’t be enough to dissuade buyers, provided the kitchen itself is new.”

“You do the work yourself?” She asked, intimidated.

In daylight, he was very big, and, as Paris had said, very grown up. She wondered how old he was and speculated that there was a good ten years between them.

He had money; the bike he rode and the Ute in the driveway were both of expensive makes, and he was a regular at the club. The gap between them, in age, experience, sophistication and wealth, made her uncertain what they could have in common and made her feel very raw, naïve and gauche.

And yet, she very much wanted to taste him again. Damn it, Lia, she reprimanded herself when she felt the heat rise in her, picking up her heartbeat and heating her skin. Sure enough, she saw him inhale slightly, and the Other flashed in his eyes.

“I work with family,” he replied with a good effort at disguising his reaction to her scent although he shifted slightly, easing the press of his hard on against his jeans and disguising it. “It is my brother that you can hear on the tools.”

“Oh. Do you have a big family?” She took another drink of her water trying to reason with herself. There was a great big, flashing neon sign over the werewolf’s head that said that he was danger to her, and everything her grandmother had ever told her cautioned her against exactly what she was contemplating. She was dressed to run, and that was exactly what she should do, she knew that, and yet, she lingered.

“Very big,” he said, with a smile. “We’re having a family barbecue tomorrow. I’ll pick you up.”

“Meet your family?” She was shocked, taken out of her more primal and base thoughts of what she would like to do to and with him, and thrown suddenly into the very wholesome image of a family backyard barbecue.

Her friends always spoke of how meeting the family of their boyfriends as a big deal, and yet, here was Raiden, casually telling her that he would take her to a family barbecue not even a full day since they’d met. She regarded him in utter confusion, taken from the very family-unfriendly craving of her body to the prospect of meeting his parents in a heartbeat.

“Of course,” he was laughing at her again, knowing exactly what he had done. He reached out and caught her by the elbow, drawing her towards him as he took the glass from her hand and placed it on the bench behind him.

“I’m all sweaty,” she protested half-heartedly. She wanted to feel him against her, she wanted to feel the heady race of her body as he pressed against her.

“I know,” he pulled her against him.

The heat of his stomach against hers through the thin fabric of their tops, and the rise and fall of his chest as he breathed was intoxicating intimate, she thought, raw in his openness. He unashamedly let her know that he wanted to f-k her without any coyness of delicacy, treating it as naturally as breathing.

Her hands rested against his shoulders, and she could feel the muscles shift as he stroked his hands down her back, the smoothing motion pushing her tighter against him. The Other was in his eyes as he leaned down and drew his nose along the length of her neck, breathing in – scenting her, she thought. Vaguely recalling it as something Others did, but werewolves most of all.

“You smell fantastic,” he murmured, his lips against the pressure point below her ear, and the timber of his voice made her shiver, her body needy, craving. “Sweat releases pheromones. I think I could smell you all day.” He inhaled again with a groan.

She could feel his hard on pressing against her and felt a heavy ache in her core. Her skin was on fire, she thought, the touch of his breath a torment against its sensitivity. “Raiden,” she breathed, the word near to a plea.

“Yo, Raiden,” the door to the kitchen opened. Lia jumped, but Raiden did not release her, his grip remaining pointedly firm – he was not going to let her shy away from where they had been heading.

“Oh, sorry, man,” the man in the door grinned at her cheerfully. “Hey, Lia. I was going to say, Rai, I’m going to go get something for lunch. You want? Should I pick up for three?” She saw him inhale, scenting the room, and no doubt very aware of how turned on she was.

“Stay for lunch, Lia,” Raiden looked down at her. He continued to hold her firmly against him, his hard on very much still present between them. He had not phrased it as a question, but nor had he used the alpha command on her, however. He was making her recognise what was between them, without forcing her to comply with it.

“Oh, I can’t,” she protested trying to pull back from him, embarrassed. He relaxed his grip, but only slightly. “I need to finish my run and go home and shower.”

“Sure, next time, maybe, eh, Lia?” The door closed.

“He knows my name,” she realized.

“Of course,” Raiden replied, and closed his mouth over hers.

She sagged against him, her head dropping back on her neck, leaning into his kiss. He took the invitation, stroking his tongue against hers, deepening the kiss until she wrapped around him, her fingers tangling in his curls, the hair heavy and silken.

He rocked his hips, pressing against her, his hands cupping her arse, and she was not entirely sure who was grinding against whom, except that her breath was a sob of need and desire and his jeans were an obstacle between her and what she wanted.

“We should take this somewhere else,” he said against her cheek, breaking off the kiss.

Oh god, she wanted to. “I…”

“There are lots of ways to have sex,” he said softly. “Without penetration, Lia, if that’s what you’re worried about.” She was breathing so hard, she was dizzy with it, and his eyes were the only thing holding her grounded. “You’re in control,” he added.

“Alright,” she said. God, she needed something, she thought. She needed him to touch her.

He eased her away, and took her hand, leading her through the kitchen door into the hallway. The floor plan was very close to her house, and the room he took her into was in a similar position to her own.

The room had not been touched and still had the original carpet and wallpaper, even the original shade on the light. The bed was a basic, futon style, one step above camping. It made sense, she thought. They did not really live here and were just staying whilst they renovated it for the convenience. She wondered if he had a place or just moved from house to house.

Despite the basic bed frame, the sheets and the cover he had on them were of good quality, the mismatch an insight to the complexities of the man.

He closed the door and pulled off his t-shirt. He was breath-taking. Broad, heavily muscled arms and shoulders, tapering into a lean and narrow waist. Each stomach muscle was perfectly delineated, begging for her to run her fingers down them. The tattoos curled up his arm, to just below his ear, of a wolf, and a full moon.

Not hiding what he was, she thought again. He did not need to, the glamour kept humans from seeing the truth parading beneath their eyes. Werewolves existed in stories and movies, and not in real life, to them.

He stepped up to her, and lifted her crop top up, over her head. She reached out, laying her palm against his skin wanting to feel the hot silk of it, and his eyelids dropped to half-mast, the look within them burning.

“Yes,” he said, barely more than a breath. “Touch me, Lia.”

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