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Authors: Annabeth Leong

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Not The Leader Of The Pack (12 page)

BOOK: Not The Leader Of The Pack
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Her arms lost their strength, unable to continue holding her up against his weight and the steady assault of his cock. She dropped to her elbows, the mud squelching around her bare forearms. Neil released the skin of her neck just in time, but not before she spent a moment hanging by his teeth.

This new position opened her up to him even more, and made him press against her even more intensely. Neil took advantage and reared back, half-human hands on Juli’s waist. He brought her with him, holding her up, using her hips as leverage to drive himself into her. She felt like a rag doll hanging forward from his cock. Every nerve ending in her body seemed to radiate from that spot he had found deep within.

If she’d had the coordination, she would have tried to work a hand around to touch her clit, but she was too much at his mercy. It throbbed, neglected, but this did not mean Juli would be denied an orgasm. From within, a different and powerful sensation built. With every stroke of Neil’s cock, Juli screamed a little. His thrusts wrung her out, turned her inside out, and filled her with a taut sensation that needed release.

Behind her, Neil cried out every bit as loudly as she did. He pounded into her even harder. Juli squealed and tried to get away, but his body still enclosed hers like a cage, leaving her with no choice but to take what he gave.

She felt flattened, completely opened, wetter than she’d ever thought possible. Then her insides clutched, tight as a fist then even tighter, and the orgasm that took her started on the underside of her clit and worked its way out. It flipped her insides over and flashed lights behind her eyes and hurt her head. She opened her mouth in a voiceless scream and gave herself up to it, relaxing completely under Neil’s onslaught.

After that, every movement of his cock, from the longest thrust to the tiniest twitch, spread through her body as if it traveled in her veins. She gasped and sobbed and came some more, until she no longer separated them even into man and woman. In the grip of the pleasure that consumed their bodies, Juli lost track of where she stopped and where he began.

When Neil came at last, Juli moaned as if his orgasm had been her own.

She panted beneath him, staring at fingers that seemed strange to her. She knew she had passed through every possible form, but did not know which had come when. Neil slowly slid his cock out of her, but Juli knew they could never truly be separate again.

More shaken now than when they had begun, Juli eased her aching limbs around so that she could face him. The fear on his face told her he had felt every part of what she did, that he knew how deeply they had bonded.

If werewolves mated this way, Juli did not know how her mother could ever have left her father. She reached for Neil with a trembling hand. He took it and squeezed it tight, then gathered her into his arms.

Naked with him like this, not sure where in the wilds their run had taken them, Juli felt small and lost. No person had ever been so close to her, and still she did not know his mind. Slowly, she lifted her head and looked into Neil’s eyes, seeing tenderness, along with the reflected light of the moon. Juli swallowed hard. “What the hell do we do now?”

Chapter Ten

“What the hell do we do now?” The question rang in Neil’s ears, mocking him. The night before, mating with Juli had taken him to a height of perfection he’d never dreamed possible. Had taken them—he was sure she’d felt it too.

Yet when she’d turned to him with vulnerability in her eyes and that question on her lips, he had failed so utterly he feared he had lost her forever.

Neil growled at the memory. He flipped down the sun shade on the driver’s side of his truck and examined himself in the scratched mirror. He didn’t look like a total fool, and yet... The dark circles stamped beneath his eyes could have been bruises, they seemed so deep. He had stubble to spare and bits of mud caked behind his ears. He raked his fingers through his hair and shook his head, barely able to meet his own eyes.

“We don’t have to tell anyone this happened,” he mouthed at the glass. Where the hell had that come from? He never seemed able to say the right thing with her, but any moron would know that sentence was about as wrong as he could possibly get. He hadn’t even meant it, and yet some sort of fear trembled within him that pushed those words through his lips before he could think better of them.

Maybe it had been a hint of Lewistown, a fear they would suffer some sort of terrible punishment for unauthorized, unscheduled mating. He honestly didn’t know what procedures Heather Compton and her like would have wanted him and Juli to follow. However, he did know he couldn’t care less. Nothing in the world was more right and natural than what had passed between them under the moon. He understood the sacred union of mating now in a way that no words from Sarah Edmond could ever convey. He would fight to defend the beauty of it, die for it if necessary, even if he couldn’t explain himself to Juli.

Maybe he’d wanted her to comfort him, to ante up ahead of him so he could be certain she felt the same before he copped to how much the sex had changed his world.

Whatever had inspired his foolish comment, he’d blundered as usual. Her eyes had widened as if he’d slapped her. Then, before he could say anything further or make any attempt to explain, she’d become that little red wolf again and shot away into the night as if the devil himself ran behind her. On second thought, maybe that had been better than giving him a chance to speak any more and shove his foot even farther into his mouth.

Neil made a fist and ground it into the empty passenger seat beside him. Juli hadn’t come back to Darrow’s house as far as he could tell. He’d eventually crawled back to the spot where they’d changed to salvage what he could of his clothes and retrieve his keys and cell phone. Juli had already picked her stuff up, but she hadn’t answered any of his calls. Sarah Edmond hadn’t admitted to knowing anything about where she was. Heather Compton did have specific GPS coordinates for the challenge site, provided by Juli, but the stuck-up Lewistown investigator had only sneered when Neil pressed for more information.

Juli had picked a spot along the trail they’d walked, though Neil wasn’t sure exactly where. He could have checked it out, but instead he’d spent the rest of last night and all of today looking for her. He felt like sleepless hell and looked even worse.

After his long and fruitless search, Neil had been left with only one way to find Juli. He checked his watch and blew out a deep breath. Six forty-five. He’d challenged her to fight for the position of pack alpha at eight o’clock.

Neil swung out of the truck’s cab and prepared himself for the hike. His eyes felt sandy. The sleep deprivation and emotional exhaustion had definitely gotten to him. He had this crazy idea that he could talk to Juli first and call off the challenge. She’d worked in Lewistown. Maybe she knew something about how to record their mating in an official way. However, knowing Juli, she wouldn’t listen to him and he’d be forced to fight.

Several sets of wolf tracks marked the trailhead. On full moon night, everyone enjoyed their freedom as much as possible. Most of the observers—even the stiff-necked Lewistown officials—would come to the challenge in wolf form. Neil stashed his clothes in the truck and hid his keys under a nearby bush. Then he shifted as well, dropping his nose close to the tracks, searching for the only scent that mattered.

Juli. Fresh as spring itself. Neil raced down the trail after her, his heart pounding.

The details blurred, the path to the challenge site surprisingly short. The night before, when he could barely walk for wanting her, it had seemed impossibly long. Now, Neil’s strides chewed through the distance. He arrived at the spot she had chosen, only to find a circle of wolves, but no Juli. A big white wolf that smelled like Heather Compton approached Neil with an imperious air, and he barely resisted snarling at her.

Neil followed the white wolf to the center of the circle and shifted into human form, paying no mind to his nakedness. “Where is she?” he asked. “I need to discuss a change of terms.”

The white wolf grunted, then shifted as well. On any other day, he might have enjoyed the sight of Heather’s slim, pale body. Tonight, all he saw was not-Juli. Heather drummed thin fingernails on a bare thigh. “Regulations don’t allow that, Mr. Statham. Juli contacted me early this morning to inform me of the mutually agreed challenge location. After your official statement at the ceremony the other night and the selection of a site for the contest, there can be no further changes.”

Neil clenched his fists so hard his knuckles cracked. Even if he had found this woman attractive, her way of speaking would have killed it for him. He persisted with his attempt to find his mate. “Then let me talk to her.”

“You are nothing but trouble, Mr. Statham. Because of you, almost the entire investigative staff of the Werewolf Council has been tied up here for weeks, despite being needed elsewhere.” Heather gave the little shake of her head that he found so irritating, as if her neck muscles wouldn’t even allow her the freedom of a full gesture. “Each participant in the contest is entitled to approach the challenge location in his or her own way. If Juli does not choose to reveal herself to you before the time appointed for the start of the challenge, it is not my place to interfere.”

Neil rolled his eyes. He didn’t care who was watching. He needed to talk to Juli now. He threw back his head and called her name, heedless of the way the assembled wolves cocked their heads or lolled their tongues at him. When she did not respond, he howled at the top of his lungs, and even he noticed how it sounded as if his heart were being torn from him.

“Mr. Statham, I recommend you focus on preparing for your challenge. It won’t do to wear yourself out beforehand.” Something about the way Heather’s gaze swept his body turned Neil’s stomach. She sounded so condescending, and yet she looked at him with promising heat. Juli would never be so divided. Juli might rail at him or roll her eyes at him, but she made her passion and respect for him clear even when she didn’t agree with anything he chose to do.

Neil shuddered, the reality of having mated with her crashing in on him again. He could not imagine repeating that experience with anyone else. He had torn his soul open with Juli the night before, and he’d never have dared to expose so much of himself if he’d had any idea what he was getting into. Mating with her had wounded his heart in a way that only she could heal. He couldn’t imagine any other woman being real to him after her.

He growled and paced, avoiding the other werewolves and watching the moon rise in the sky. As time wore on, Neil realized that Juli would not come ahead of time. She didn’t want to see him before the challenge. Knowing her, she didn’t want to give him a chance to talk her out of fighting him.

Neil shook his head and shifted, trying to prepare himself as best he could. He couldn’t get the memory of her body out of his mind. He remembered biting her neck and mastering her, and now he could imagine no contact with her that did not end with such a union. His body still ached from the previous night’s effort and shattering passion.

Then there was a stir among the assembled wolves. Led by the white wolf, they all moved back, leaving Neil alone and exposed between the river and the mountain. He froze, confused, then scented Juli just a moment before she bounded up and out of the river toward him, her ruddy form bright in the moonlight.

Last night’s struggle had taught Neil he’d have no trouble keeping her in place once he caught her. She ran damned fast, though, and he lacked the endurance for another long chase. He coiled his muscles, prepared to meet her charge with a leap.

Juli had other plans. The moment Neil cleared the ground, he saw she hadn’t really been headed toward him. His aim off, his jaws whiffed the air. Juli darted neatly around him and dashed up the side of the mountain. Her speeding body seemed to fly as she raced up the rocky outcroppings.

Neil growled and followed, but the stones supported his heavier weight less well. He scrabbled among them, his footing loose and unstable, while Juli raced higher up the cliff. Rocks clinked and clattered behind him. His lungs wanted to burst from the strain. Neil needed to catch Juli fast, before she wore him out.

He gathered himself and surged up after her, pushing fast enough that it didn’t matter that the ground broke beneath his feet. Closer and closer he came, until he could almost taste her sweet flesh in his jaws. He opened wide for another snap, but before he could take her, she darted into an odd little space between two outcroppings.

Neil crashed into it, just behind her, but his broad body couldn’t squeeze small enough to fit between the rocks. Frustration filled him as he withdrew and searched for another way to get to her. He could catch her on the other side, or from above.

He jumped to perch atop the outcroppings, but teetered uncomfortably there. They seemed just too large to allow him to slip between them the way Juli had, and yet too small to support his weight comfortably. Neil poked his snout between the spaces, driven nearly mad by the scent of his mate’s body and the urge to get to her.

A snarl rose from the rocks beneath, and teeth closed on his left rear paw. Neil yipped, shocked by the pain. He shook his leg free and redoubled his efforts to get inside and reach her. He succeeded only in wedging his head and forelegs into one of the spaces. He couldn’t get enough purchase to scramble out again.

Panic froze his blood as he realized how the predicament trapped and exposed him. Movement flashed beneath him, but he couldn’t catch a clear view of Juli or what she was doing.

She answered the question for him a moment later, when her small body landed hot against his back. Neil struggled, but still could not free the front of his body. He knew what would happen next. Her teeth would close on the scruff at the back of his neck, and he would be defeated and shamed.

He needed to talk to her. Ordinarily, it would have been nearly impossible for him to shift out of wolf form on the night of the full moon, with battle heat upon him. With Juli, the whole world seemed to have turned upside down. The need to talk to her had burned so urgently in his heart for the past twenty four hours that his human side had never truly receded, even when the challenge began. As soon as Neil thought of shifting back, it happened, with an ease of transition that he had experienced only rarely. He didn’t feel caught by the wolf at all—his entire being recognized the need to be human, the need to speak and reason.

BOOK: Not The Leader Of The Pack
11.99Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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