Authors: Susan G. Charles
Animal Desire: A Paranormal Romance
By SusanG Charles
©2013 SusanG Charles
Whether you’re a werewolf, shapeshifter, vampire or just plain human, there is one thing we all have in common – a never ending search for love, companionship and family as well as a place to feel a part of something. So this book is dedicated to each and every one of us, all the world over, and to the many animals, 2 legged, or 4 legged, that constantly yearn for this most universal of emotions – love!
©2013 by Susan G. Charles
All Rights Reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means, including scanning, photocopying or otherwise without prior written permission of the copyright holder.
Lynda Seron-Wilder was one happy lady, yessiree. Happier, in fact, than she had been in years. And her new life was bustling. It was so much different now than it had been only a short time ago. That was when she decided to offer herself to the leader of a wolf pack for the sake of rescuing her younger sister Sonya from the grasp of one despicable beast. All that was in the past now though, as she currently had the safety and security of the pack around her.
More than that, she now had her wonderful mate, Ben, and her family, which was celebrating two beautiful new additions. The twins she had given birth to just a few months back, one boy and one girl, had been just the miracle she needed. They were the one thing proven to break the curse put on all Yukonia were-panthers, preventing them from producing offspring since way back when Lynda and Sonya were small children.
No one knew exactly what to expect from the twins as they grew, since they were half wolf, half cougar. Such a combination of bloodlines had never occurred before. But Lynda was sure of one thing, they were going to be nocturnal.
How did she know that? Because every time she laid her head down to rest, for even a moment, they beckoned to her with their wails. So she would drag her tired body from the bed to nurse her little ones, and never once did she not whisper a quiet “thank you” for the chance, despite being exhausted.
Her husband, Ben Wilder, who was also the leader of the Strongheart Pack, would stir each time she left the bed to feed the twins. He would often get up as well and follow her to the bassinet where the babies slept. He would lay his head against Lynda’s knee and stare up at her as she cradled the twins so lovingly as she rocked them to sleep. He felt as lucky as she did to have such an amazing life.
But, even though she felt so happy, Lynda could still not find it in herself to completely relax. Sure… they all assumed that the witch had been taken care of months back, but how could she really be certain? With her babies surviving after they broke the witch’s spell, Lynda knew that the witch was sure to be livid and eager to take revenge on them… if she had somehow evaded her fate as they had left her that fateful night not so long ago.
To this very day Lynda felt really nervous every time she was away from the babies, which is why she had insisted that they share the same room with her and Ben. Now Ben wasn’t so thrilled about that decision, but Lynda didn’t ask for permission either.
Despite Ben being the alpha male of the pack, Lynda only showed submission to him when she was around others in the pack, and he did not often ask her to. They had a balanced marriage that might have been born out of necessity and bargaining, but now flourished with a deep love and understanding for each other.
Meanwhile, a few cabins away, Sonya, Lynda’s baby sister, was up all night for a different reason. She had an insatiable appetite for her mate Clay. Clay was still bewildered by the passionate and lively bundle of chaos that Sonya was. One minute she was hollering at him about using all the hot water, the next minute she was inviting him into the shower to warm her up.
Clay was dazed, but certainly the most satisfied member of the pack. And the rest of the pack had finally gotten used to Lynda and Sonya’s unusual presence and had accepted them, and now the twins, completely. Though Sonya was hard to swallow sometimes, she certainly made everything more fun, and Lynda, well, she was a born nurturer, always there for anyone who needed her.
It was during this celebratory atmosphere that Lynda kept sensing danger approaching. She sat bolt upright in the middle of the night, though the babies were sleeping peacefully. Alarmed by her sudden motion, Ben immediately sat up as well growling a low but threatening growl. Lynda stared at the darkness through the window of their bedroom. She could only see her own reflection, and yet she sensed so much more was there with them.
“The babies,” she gasped out, her voice strangled by her fear.
“They’re fine, they’re quiet,” Ben tried to reassure her as he ran his hands along her tense shoulders.
Just his touch was enough to make her want to comply. Her need to please Ben was a built in genetic desire that all were-panthers had for their mates. Still she struggled against it and pulled herself up out of the bed. She walked over to the bassinets, expecting to find them empty, or maybe even something much worse. But her sweet son and daughter were resting peacefully, their small chests rising and falling in the exact same rhythm.
Tears swelled in Lynda’s eyes as she looked down at the sleeping infants. Ben stepped up behind her and wrapped his strong arms around her still pillow soft stomach, as she was still shedding a few pounds from the pregnancy. He hugged her tightly as they both stood there for several moments just watching the babies sleep, in awe of the miracle they had made.
Then he kissed the side of her neck longingly. “Come back to bed Lynda,” he purred. “The children are fine.”
Lynda shuddered in his arms, she closed her eyes briefly and the tears slipped past, flowing freely down her cheeks. She wanted nothing more than to believe what everyone else said, that all was well, but in her heart, her instincts told her something very different. Eventually she gave in to Ben’s gentle guidance and allowed him to tug her back into bed.
He lay awake beside her at first, raking his fingers through her long flowing hair, trying to soothe her into the sleep she so badly needed. Soon enough, the combing motion slowed and Ben fell asleep beside her, lightly snoring, his hands still clutching the small of her waist. But Lynda only stared at that darkened window, expecting something to come right on through it. Sleep would not come to her this night.
The next day Lynda was completely exhausted, just as expected. She finally just decided to close herself off in the bedroom with the twins while Ben attended to the daily needs of the pack. She desperately needed some rest and thought this might be the only way to get it. So as soon as he left she locked the front door behind him, closed all the curtains and headed back to the bedroom.
As Clay reported for duty that morning he noticed Ben’s troubled expression. “Are the babies all right?” he asked Ben with concern in his voice, as he studied a man who was not only his leader but one of his closest friends.
“Yes, they are,” Ben nodded slightly and stole a glance at Clay. He didn’t ever like to display any sign of weakness, but he was really starting to get worried about Lynda.
“Good,” Clay nodded slightly, noting the look that Ben gave him. Breakfast was being prepared, and as usual, of course, Sonya sashayed right up to the wolf in charge of the kitchen and snatched a muffin right out from under her nose.
“Excuse me,” Kateri, the head cook rumbled, in reaction to the snatch. “Those muffins are for everyone, missy, not just you,” she nearly growled.
“But I’m only taking mine,” Sonya pointed out with a roll of her eyes. “Stop being so cranky.”
Kateri was an older wolf, and she had very little patience for the were-panthers that had recently become part of their pack. She was growing accustomed to Lynda, but Sonya’s lack of respect still visibly irritated her.
“That’s it,” Kateri declared loudly enough to gain the attention of Ben and Clay as they were walking toward the community kitchen, “…you’re banned from the kitchen!”
“You can’t ban me from the kitchen!” Sonya countered. “Where will I get my food?”
“You can hunt it,” Kateri hissed, her eyes blazing with fury. “That’s right. That’s what we’re all built to do anyway… so get out in the woods and catch yourself a squirrel!”
“A squirrel?” Sonya gasped with absolute horror. “Are you kidding me?!”
Ben stepped into the kitchen just then with Clay right on his heels. One sharp clearing of his throat was enough to make Kateri quietly lower her head. Sonya, on the other hand, ignored the warning completely.
“Would you believe she just told me to hunt a squirrel?” she asked Ben incredulously as she turned to face him and Clay.
Clay had already bowed his head slightly in deference to Ben, an act of respect that was completely lost on Sonya, until Ben’s damning gaze locked to hers. Sonya quickly pursed her lips in resistance of bowing, but she knew better. Ben was a good leader and he never lorded his dominance as the alpha of the pack over someone unless it was necessary. But Sonya really didn’t want to see what happened when it was necessary. So she tipped her head downward just slightly.
“Seems to me that you have a little too much time on your hands Sonya,” Ben said thoughtfully, and tried to hide the smirk that was playing at the corner of his lips.
Then he glanced over at Kateri. “And as for you, young lady, if you’re going to ban anyone from anything, you might want to check with your Alpha first,” he reminded her gently with a hint of respect for her age and seniority in the pack.
“Yes ,Ben,” she nodded slightly, her cheeks flushed. “I’m sorry, Alpha… I lost my temper.”
“It’s alright,” Ben allowed his smirk to fully rise. “We all have those moments with Sonya from time to time.”
Sonya shot him an annoyed grimace, but quickly looked back down when Clay glared at her again. But something that Kateri had said inspired an idea within Ben that seemed like a perfect solution to all his problems.
“So Sonya, I’d like you to do something for me,” he said calmly as he turned toward her.
“What? I am NOT hunting any squirrels. You can count me out on that!” Sonya said suspiciously. She had no idea what he would command, but she knew that as Alpha he could get away with just about anything.
“Well, I need you to do something incredibly important for me. And you’re the best person for the job. Watch the babies tonight?” he said in a more conversational tone that didn’t make Sonya feel any less commanded.
“Uh,” Sonya hesitated at the thought of being left alone with the two squalling infants.
“Ben? Are you sure? I… I don’t know…” she said.
“Sonya,” Clay warned through gritted teeth.
“Clay… Alright, I know, Alpha and all that. But what do I know about taking care of babies?” she demanded with sharp annoyance.
“We’ll only be out for a little bit,” Ben assured her. “I feel like Lynda’s getting a little -”
“Nuts?” Sonya suggested.
“Stir crazy,” Ben corrected sternly. “I think she needs to go out on a run.”
“That’s a good idea,” Clay nodded.
“Be at the house by sunset,” he instructed Sonya. Sonya opened her mouth to protest once more, but Clay stepped to her side and gently wrapped his arms around her shoulders to subdue her.
“It’ll be fine,” Clay assured her. “She’ll be happy to do it. Good practice too.”
“Practice?” Sonya looked up at him sharply. “Just because my sister broke the curse, doesn’t mean I can,” she pointed out. “Or that I want to.”
“Mmmm hmmmm,” Clay nuzzled the side of her neck, causing her to purr slightly.
“Okay then,” Ben chuckled. “Sunset, remember, okay? Don’t forget,” he turned and walked out of the kitchen. As he headed back to the cabin that he shared with Lynda he braced himself for the next battle that he knew he would be facing.
Luckily he was able to avoid it for the moment, as Lynda and the babies were sound asleep. Lynda woke only a few times that day to tend to the babies, until it got closer to sunset. At that point it was Ben that woke her. He kissed her neck softly, and then her lips, until he summoned her into full awareness. Her body naturally curled toward his, ready to please him, but he pushed her gently away.
“Lynda… hey sweetie… Sonya’s coming over to watch the babies,” he explained quietly as he drew her up out of bed.
“What?” Lynda asked with cranky, sleep induced frustration. “What does she know about taking care of infants?”
“I can do it!” Sonya yelled in response, out in the living room. She had arrived silently. Lynda was furious as she glared at Ben.
“I suppose this is one of your commands?” she asked, the fire in her eyes flickering strongly.
“It’s exactly what needs to happen,” Ben clarified one hand curling gently around her elbow as he steered her out of the bedroom. “Sonya will be fine, and if she runs into any problems, there are plenty of others here who can help her.”
“This is crazy,” Lynda growled as she settled her eyes on her younger sister sitting on the couch casually thumbing through a magazine. “I am not leaving the babies!”