Authors: Aline Hunter
Arching a blond brow, he questioned, “Are you offering to forget that ridiculous vow of yours? Can and will you walk away from me? Honest answer now. No lying.”
She clenched her teeth. The bastard already knew the answer. “No.”
Lucius snapped his fingers and a vampyren rushed to his side. He gripped the hilt of the sword extended to him with his long, pale fingers. He gave it a practice swing. “Then war is a risk I’m willing to take. I want your life’s blood cascading on the stones at my feet. I’m going to watch as the light fades from your eyes. It was here, wasn’t it? That I killed your friend? I’m not certain as we’ve never spoken, but over the years one starts putting pieces together. Which one was it?” He leveled the blade in her direction, tilting his head. “I think it was the redhead. She stood out, you see. Caught my eye. I’d have changed her but she had a big mouth. Too bad she didn’t know how to use it properly. If she’d dropped to those knees of hers and put her lips to better use, she might still be alive.”
Never had she wanted to kill someone so much. “Last chance,” she whispered, saying a hasty prayer that things went according to her plan. “Time’s up.”
The sword arched back and came toward her.
Trevor’s loud roar sang in her ears.
The night sky burst full of light. Black becoming white, blinding and radiant. Several werewolves appeared alongside her, no longer hidden by Trevor’s magic. One enormous furball threw his weight into her and sent Arden tumbling to the left. The rest launched themselves at Lucius.
“It’s a trap!” Lucius snarled, planting his sword into a werewolf with a sickening slurp. He kicked the beast to the side as blood spurted and took a battle stance. Another lycae took the fallen one’s place, lashing out with sharp claws and teeth as Lucius defended himself.
Arden staggered to her feet, stunned by the sight of wolves rushing to the silver cage affixed to the truck. Vampyren tried to cut through them, hissing as they attacked the horde of wolves eager for blood. Melodic howls sent a shiver up her spine, the cries of solidarity and fellowship abundantly clear. Luke had warned her ahead of time, preparing her for the sight of the ascension. Wolfe would feed off the energy and strength of the pack and take it into himself. Then he’d challenge them, daring them to try to take his position away.
A lone reply—deafening in its intensity—carried over them all.
Chaos erupted, noises bleeding together, throaty snarls, shrill hissing and the rip of claw and fang thundering in her ears. She ran for the cage that rattled and shook. With each step, she shouldered past vampyren and wolves in her path. The bars widened as Wolfe’s head and shoulders pushed them apart, his muscles spreading the metal like butter. His shimmering green eyes locked onto her, reminding her that a man existed inside the beast.
Fingers wrapped around the back of her neck, stopping her progression. “I’ll still have your head,” Lucius spat, yanking her to him. She saw the wolves converge on Wolfe who stared them down one by one. Before she could see what happened next, Lucius pulled her away. “You’ll get your revenge, but not without a cost. If I’m going to die, you are too. You’re coming with me.”
Arden swiveled, bringing her body around despite the sharp blade that cut through the muscle and tendon at her throat. Anger, remorse and a profound amount of relief rushed through her. Her plan had worked. Wolfe was free and she was finally facing Lucius. This was what she had waited for. Night after night, she’d dreamed of this moment. Even if it meant dying, everything had come full circle.
Closing her eyes, she whispered, “A life for a life.”
The anguish locked inside her—the very thing that had driven her for so long—burst from her chest. Misery and loss permeated her soul, the pain so intense she screamed. Memories swept through her head—of Portia as a child, teenager and finally an adult who died before her time. Lucius cried out as she clasped his face and used his head as a tether to keep her upright. Her knees sagged and her head fell back. He released the sword and tried to wrench free, tearing at her hands with his fingers.
Yes. Oh yes.
Her power took over, all consuming and unstoppable. She used Lucius’s fear against him, feasting on his terror, magnifying each shred of horror in his mind. Other emotions rose, taken from those she’d touched in the past. Absolute misery burst from the carefully constructed wall she’d created in her head to contain them. Madness beckoned, blurring the lines of reality. Lunacy had always dwelled within her and now that it was free, it refused to be contained.
She fought her own thoughts, hanging onto a thread of memory.
Remember who this is for.
She fed Portia’s death back to Lucius—every brutal blow, each agonizing swipe of his claws. He tried to protect himself, tossing his hands over his heart. His attempts didn’t matter. He still felt each blow, recounting Portia’s death as though it were his own. He tried to scream but made no sound.
End it. End it now.
A roar thundered through her mind—loss, wrath, vengeance.
Now. Do it. Let go.
A part of her remembered she had to break free. Their thoughts were too closely merged, linked in a way that would kill them both. She tried to avoid the allure of her power, knowing if she succumbed to the memories and became a part of them, she would never find a way out of her own head.
Dimly, she recognized Trevor’s frantic voice as he snarled, “Separate them.
Arms went around her waist and yanked her body back. Memories of Portia—including ones she didn’t want to let go—felt as though they were ripped from her mind as her fingers slid from Lucius’s face. She wailed, torn apart as the pain she’d experienced for so long dissipated. Without those memories, she had no reason to greet each day.
She’s truly gone.
I’m all alone.
” Wolfe whispered into her ear. “I’ve got you.”
She tried to open her eyes—wanting to see him—but the madness she’d knowingly called upon reached out for her. The wall was down and she couldn’t separate fantasy from reality. Had she really destroyed Lucius? Maybe she was asleep. Perhaps it was another dream of a victory she’d yet to taste. She thrashed in the arms holding her so tightly, screaming so hard her throat burned like fire.
Wolfe had warned her he’d take her when he turned. Nothing would stop him, he’d said. Yet she’d heard his voice and knew his arms were wrapped around her. She squirmed, wanting to understand what was happening. She wasn’t facing reality. When she concentrated, trying to find a way out of her thoughts, telling herself to wake up, she found she’d become trapped inside her mind.
It’s finally happened. I’ve gone insane.
“It’s all right, Cricket,” Trevor murmured and she felt a heavy palm press against her forehead. “When you wake it willna hurt anymore. I need you to rest. Sleep for me now.”
He chanted something in Latin, his voice incredibly soft and comforting. Waves of reassurance and serenity blanketed her, promising her a haven from harm. The arms holding her tightened, keeping her secure and warm.
“Sleep.” Trevor repeated quietly, “
Even if there wasn’t anything else left for her, she’d accomplished one thing.
Take care, my dearest friend.
With a sigh, she surrendered to exhaustion.
The first thing Arden became aware of as she came to was the soft mattress and warm body pressed against her. Then Wolfe’s intoxicating scent seeped into her nose, the allure of his blood adding to the dryness of her parched throat. She nestled closer, drawing a deep breath, fighting her hunger. The large hand on her bottom slid up, questing fingers traveling along the indentations of her spine.
Opening her eyes and peering up, she met Wolfe’s sultry gaze. “What happened?”
Although she could remember everything prior to confronting Lucius, the rest of the evening remained hazy. The absence of toxic memories told her she’d fulfilled her vow. With a clean slate in her head, she didn’t need barriers to protect herself. She was free and untainted, a blank canvas ready to be written upon.
“You saved me.”
Confusion engulfed her. “How long have I been asleep?”
“Sixteen hours, give or take.”
“The moon is full.”
“Shouldn’t you be furry?” A shadow of memory came to her. She recalled him whispering in her ear—not growling. “You didn’t hurt me when I found you.” He hadn’t taken her at the docks. Something had drawn the man out of the beast. “You changed back.”
“When I accepted my place as Alpha, the pack merged their energy with mine and cleared my head. Being on my own put you in danger; I should have known better.”
“You’re fine now?” she asked, somewhat doubtful. “You won’t shift?”
“Not a chance. What you see is what you get. Don’t worry, you’re safe with me. I won’t hurt you…” His lips curved. “Much.” He rolled his body, coming up and over her. It was then that she realized they were stark naked. She moaned when his cock slid against her thigh, the flesh fully erect and hard against her skin. “I should bust your little ass for putting yourself at risk.”
“But you won’t?” Why did the thought disappoint her?
“No, I have better things in store.” He licked a path from her shoulder to her breast. His tongue laved her straining nipple, rotating around the sensitive point. “I’m going to finish what we started in your bathroom,
. I’m finally going to make you mine.”
He nipped at her skin and held her still as she squirmed. Bloodlust evaporated, replaced by a physical need so intense she wanted to scream. She clawed at his shoulders, dragging him closer. The growl against her breast created a fireball in her stomach, the explosive sensation traveling in a direct path to her clit. Any resistance she’d experienced in the past was gone. All she could think about was satisfying the male above her.
,” an inner voice whispered from out of nowhere. Her vaginal walls flexed with each stroke of his tongue, her nipples tingling as he teased them with his mouth.
“More.” She arched her back and rolled her hips. “Please.”
“Don’t worry, hellcat. We’ll get there. I have to make sure you’re good and ready for me. I want you so hot you’ll go all soft and sweet beneath me. I’m going to make you take everything I want to give you, which is a hell of a lot,
. Before we’re finished, you’ll be screaming my name.”
The smooth, bulbed head of his cock brushed the outer folds of her pussy. She was so wet he slid past her labia, the broad crown gliding over the mouth of her sex. He silenced her whimper in his mouth, his tongue darting out to tease hers. Each firm and decisive stroke sent tremors from her belly to her womb, the hammering of her clit so unbearable she shifted her hips in an attempt to create any amount of friction.
He ripped his mouth away and rose above her. The muscles in his arms flexed, bulging as he grasped her wrists in one hand and placed her arms over her head. He gazed hungrily at her trembling body, studying every inch of her. His eyes were no longer dark but glowed brightly instead. Sharp upper and lower incisors had eased past his lips but she felt no fear, only a debilitating desire to bring his mouth back to hers.
They had made it out alive. They were together at last.
The inner voice returned, urging her to attract the man holding her in place.
She closed her eyes and licked her lips, pushing her breasts upward. She could feel the weight of his stare, knew her display turned him on.
“You’re so fucking beautiful. I want to remember you just like this. Tell me what you need. Tell me what you want and I’ll give it to you. I want to hear you say it.”
“You,” she exhaled her answer, wriggling her hips. “I need you.”
“Are you sure about that?”
He released her wrists, moved away and situated himself on his knees. His cock jutted from a dark thatch of hair between his legs—proud, long and impossibly thick. The mushroomed head was swollen, the stalk beneath wide and smooth. Meeting his gaze, she watched in awe as his eyes changed color once again.
Scrambling to him, she rushed to the space between his outstretched knees. There was no embarrassment and zero shame. Wolfe twined his fingers in her hair as she opened her mouth, took the head of his cock between her lips and sucked. Wolfe’s fingers tightened and he moved his hips.
She cradled the underside of his cock with her tongue and worked her mouth up and down his shaft—the portion she couldn’t cover she worked with her hand. Each stroke brought him closer to the back of her throat. Wanting to take even more of him, she fought to relax. In seconds, she’d timed the motions of her clasped fingers with the suction of her mouth. Bitterness coated her tongue, the taste unique and not entirely unpleasant.
“Stay still,” he ordered hoarsely and wrapped a firm hand beneath her jaw while keeping the other nestled in her hair. “I want to take those sweet lips for a ride.”
He pumped his hips and she breathed through her nose. Each pass allowed her to relax, so that he encountered less resistance at the back of her throat. He went deeper, his fingers pulling the strands of hair at her scalp.
“Your mouth feels fucking amazing. So hot and wet.” His next thrust was harder than the others, nearly making her gag. He stilled, breathing heavily. “Your cunt will feel even better. I bet you’ll wrap around my cock like a glove. Are you wet, baby? Is that pussy ready for me?” After she groaned and nodded, he started moving again, making shallow plunges into her mouth. “I know it is, Arden. I can smell you. You’re practically dripping.”
She let go of his cock and fisted her hands in the sheets. The urge to touch him was too strong. If he didn’t hurry the hell up she wasn’t sure how long she could contain herself. The head of his cock swelled and widened, catching her off guard. Wolfe abruptly pulled away and released her, his fingers sliding from her jaw and hair.