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Authors: Charisma Knight

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Feeling giddy, she floated out of the bedroom and down the stairs into the kitchen.

Flicking on the overhead light of the stove, she opened the fridge and quickly fixed a fruit and cheese platter. When she was sure she had enough for two she pulled two sodas from the fridge.

“Oh yeah,” she said, licking her lips. Nicholas had made her work up quite an appetite and she planned on getting him going again. Looking at the digital clock on the stove, she smiled. It had been more than twenty minutes. She chuckled, because Nicholas must have fallen asleep. Five in the morning, it looked as though they’d be sleeping in tomorrow.

After all, it was Sunday.

She jumped when she saw movement out the corner of her eye and golden glowing orbs.

Heart pounding, she chastised him. “Oh Nicholas, I thought you’d fallen asleep. Stop fooling around and help me with this tray.”

He simply growled.

“Uh oh, we could use some bottled water to wash this all down.”

“That depends.”

Pearl’s heart caught in her throat at the deep, foreign accent accompanying the voice.

Blood running cold, she slowly turned to face the large silhouette just a few paces away from the kitchen. She could hardly make out his face. “Who the hell are you?”

“You don’t remember?” The stranger walked slowly toward her.

Slowly, backing away, she slipped the tray on the counter. “Stay away from me, or I’ll scream. I’m not alone.”

“And if you do, I’ll kill him.” The intruder assured her.

“Why are you doing this?” she gasped.

“You wound me, Ma Cherie.”

“I don’t even know you.”

“You disappointment me,” he slowly shook his head, taking small steps into the kitchen.

“We met in Cancun, and had a long passionate night of lovemaking on the private beach?

Then, the next morning you gave me the ‘it’s not you, its me’ speech.”

The man’s face flashed in her mind when he came into view. She remembered deep-set

turquoise eyes and dark blond hair. They’d taken a stroll on the beach before indulging in a passionate night of hot sex hours after meeting at a local bar. Pearl’s stomach lurched.

Louis Rousseau.
She remembered everything now, wondering how she could have forgotten the one night- stand while vacationing several months ago. Eyes glued to her aggressor, Pearl moved toward the entrance of the dining room. Calmly, she retrieved a knife from the counter.

“So you break into my house and play these sadistic games with me?”

“I wanted to love you, but you wouldn’t allow it. If I can’t have you--well, you know how it goes. I’m going to feast on your flesh tonight, bitch.” He growled, shifting into a large, black wolf.

Letting out a high-pitched squeal, Pearl slashed at the beast with the knife, barely missing his eye. Losing her balance, she landed with a thud on her back and scuttled into the dining room. Teeth bared, the wolf pounced on top of her, knocking the knife from her hand. Cursing, she tried digging her fingers into his eyes. He yelped and tore at the flesh of her arm. Agonizing pain seared through her as she reached for the chair. Angered, she brought it crashing down on the beast’s head.

“Bastard!”

Louis growled and shook his head, giving her time to scurry to her feet and recover the knife. Growling, he continued stalking her, backing her into the corner. Tightening her fists around the handle, she raised it, preparing to defend herself.

Louis paused, baring teeth, his eyes glowed and he crouched, ready to strike.

“Come on bastard. I’m going to kill you,” she promised, thinking she’d plunge the

weapon deep into his chest.

Louis leapt and Nicholas darted past her, shifting into a large grayish, silver wolf, attacking her tormenter.

Feeling helpless, she watched as the wolves rolled around on the floor, jaws snapping, frothy spit spewing from their mouths. Releasing a thunderous growl, Nicholas took one large paw, raking his claws over the face of Pearl’s aggressor.

Releasing a tortured howl, the black wolf shook its head several times, before standing in attack mode, bearing teeth. Snatching the phone off the wall in the kitchen, she quickly dialed 9-1-1.

She cringed when Nicholas leapt at Louis, his large jaws clamping down around the

intruder’s neck. Shaking him rapidly, Nicholas slung the black wolf across the floor.

“What’s the nature of your—“

“Pearl Gordon, 69 Wolfbane Terrace. Tell someone to get their ass out here now!” she bellowed into the phone laying the knife down. “My attacker has returned.” The black wolf had overpowered Nicholas. His teeth ripped through the fresh of Nick’s shoulder.

Pearl knew she had to act fast or Louis would kill the man she’d discovered happiness with.

“Ma’am?”

Dropping the phone, Pearl grabbed the wooden baseball bat, bringing it down on top of the Louis’s skull. The black wolf turned his gaze on her, growling. Slowly, he stalked her, baring teeth, saliva dripping from his fangs.

“That’s right, you bastard, come on.” The deep wound in Nicholas’s shoulder had

rendered him helpless. He tried to rise, but couldn’t. Pissed, she tightened her hands around the handle. Before the wolf could pounce, she swung at his head, knocking him to the ground.

An agonizing howl broke the still of the night, and she didn’t stop there. Louis staggered, shaking his head. Before he could recover, she struck him several more times until he’d fallen to the ground, high-pitched yelps ringing in her ears.

“I hate you, I hate you, I hate, you!” She continued beating the beast, never seeing that Nicholas had shifted into his human form until a strong arm captured her wrist. Spinning her around and disarming her, he tossed the bat aside.

“You’re no murderer Pearl.” He placed a hot palm on the side of her cheek as her anger turned to relief. Sobbing, she doubled over, slowly falling to the floor. Nicholas captured her in his arms, falling to the floor with her shaking in his arms. “I’ve got you now, darling.” He whispered. “Fuck, you’re bleeding.”

“I’m fine. Are
you
alright?” She asked while clutching Nicholas in her grasp and checking for other wounds. They’d come so far, and she couldn’t afford to lose him, not to some senseless one-night stand she’d forgotten about.

“It’ll heal, darling. But you—need medical attention. That adrenaline will wear off soon.”

He went out into the kitchen, returned with a dishtowel and wrapped it around her arm.

“I don’t feel anything. I’m fine.”

“You’re so damned stubborn, woman,” he chastised softly.

Still angry, she picked up the bat and threw it at the barely breathing wolf who’d slowly shifted into his human form.

“Let Raven’s Falls police force do their job,” Nicholas, hugged her tight, stroking her hair. “Oh God, I came so close to losing you.” He whispered, burying his nose in her mussed up hair. “Pearl?” He released her, looking deep into her eyes with a serious gaze.

She thought for sure he’d dump her after placing him in harm’s way. “Yes Nicholas?”

“Did you know you have shitty taste in men?”

“Oh, you ass.” She wanted to laugh and cry at the same time, but all she could do was nudge him. “Your sense of humor, priceless.” She sputtered against his chest. She felt the deep rumble of his chest as he laughed uncontrollably, until he grimaced from his

wounds.

* * *

Minutes later, Officers Matriano and Shapiro and two others had taken Louis into

custody.

“Cover him up and get him to the hospital,” Officer Shapiro instructed. “No one wants to see that.” Shaking his head, he turned to Pearl. “Ms Gordon, is this the perp who broke into your house a few months ago?”

She nodded as a medic bandaged her arm. “Yes. He admitted he broke in.”

“How do you know him?” Officer Shapiro asked.

“I met Louis while vacationing in Cancun,” she admitted.

Officer Shapiro stroked his chin. “Any particular reason why he’d want to harass you the way he has?”

Exhaling slowly, Pearl glanced at Nicholas. Reassuringly, he rubbed her back and

nodded. “We dated for one night and I called it off the next morning.” Clearing her

throat, she stiffened beneath both officers’ gazes. “Don’t judge me.” She leaned against Nicholas.

Clearing his throat, Officer Shapiro continued writing. “Ms. Gordon, I wish you’d told us this the first time he broke into your house. We would have been able to run a check on him then. Your one-night stand could have very well cost you your life. You had no clue he’s wanted in two different states outside of Raven’s Falls for rape and murder, did you?

A chill slithered up her spine. “No, I didn’t and I’d forgotten all about him.” She closed her eyes, sending up a prayer of thanks that she was still breathing. She relaxed when Nicholas tightened an arm around her and gently stroked her hair.

“Do I need to come down to the station?” Pearl asked.

“Hospital first,” Nicholas intervened.

“Yes. You’ll have to press charges after you go to the hospital. You really should have that bite looked at. Between the charges here and his outstanding warrants, he’ll be put away for a long time.”

“How’d he get into Raven’s Falls?” Nicholas asked. “This town is protected by spells and charms.”

“Dunno.” Officer Matriano shrugged. “Perhaps you should take that up with Gypsy Rose and her uncle Corey. The witch council is holding a meeting downtown next week. In all honesty, she’s been getting pretty sloppy lately and I’m starting to worry. Between the rash of break in’s we’ve been having and now this. It’s hard to tell what will happen next.”

“Gypsy Rose has dedicated her life to providing a safe habitat for shifters and other beings tired of hiding their true nature in the human world. Her ancestor, Clara Rose founded this town. She’d never let anything like that happen,” Pearl told them.

“Oh?” Officer Shapiro grunted. “Perhaps you should read your local paper. I don’t know how safe this town will be in a few years. Well folks, we’ve got to go. Remember what I said. Come down to the station, file the papers and we’ll do the rest.” He extended a hand.

“Thank you,” Pearl shook his hand.

Nicholas escorted the officers out. “Look at that, we’ve managed to attract a small crowd, honey.”

“Well, nothing like that usually happens around here.” She frowned. “The sudden rash of robberies, people slipping into the town. I don’t know what to make of it.” She admitted.

“I’m just glad we caught Louis, now come on woman. Let’s go to the hospital, you’re

going to need some painkillers.”

Epilogue

Several months later, Nicholas and Pearl packed up the last of her belongings before packing the boxes neatly into her car. Pearl folded her arms as she looked at the empty living room. The movers had handled hauling out the larger furniture a few days ago. She decided to put her plan of renting the house out to a newlywed couple who’d contacted her via her website.

Nicholas slipped beside her, pulling her close. “Time to move on,” he whispered into her ear before tugging at the lobe with his teeth.

“Yes,” she smiled and hugged him. “I’m just saying goodbye to some old ghosts.”

“Change is good and you’ve been here for twenty or more years, woman. I’ll meet you

outside, okay?” He gave her a quick peck on the cheek before turning on his heel to

leave.

“Sure.”

Pearl sighed as she looked around her living room. Peace radiated throughout her body.

She smiled as she walked from the living room to the dining room and through the

kitchen. She paused to look out at the back yard. After building a relationship with Nicholas for the past couple of months, she’d felt confident enough about their decision to live together in the single-family home on Ravenshire Blvd.

When he’d asked, she didn’t give it a second thought. She and Nicholas had established a strong bond. For the first time in her life, she had no fears or worry of what the future would bring.

She glided her fingers over the marble counters before strolling down the hallway

towards the front door. Standing where the gold plated mirror once hung, she turned and gave the house one final look.

“Goodbye,” she whispered with a smile as she opened the door. She glanced out to see Nicholas leaning against his truck. When he spotted her, he smiled and blew her a kiss.

Excitement rushed through her as she closed the door and locked it.

The End

I hope you’ve enjoyed Pearl’s Protector. I plan to bring these characters back in later series. The next book in this series is called Raven & the Rose, Gypsy Rose and Storm Raventhorn’s story.

About Charisma

Charisma Knight lives in the Maryland area with her youngest daughter and her soul

mate. You'll discover her stories are a mixture of erotica and erotic romance that contain a wild edge with a little fantasy sprinkled throughout. If you're an avid reader of

Charisma's stories, don't be shy—she loves to receive e-mails from readers. You may

contact her at
[email protected]

Websites: www.charismaknight.com

www.charismaknight.yolasite.com

Blog: http://charismaknight.blogspot.com/

Charisma’s stories can be found at

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1?_encoding=UTF8&field-author=Charisma Knight&search-alias=digital-text

http://www.allromanceebooks.com/storeSearch.html?searchBy=author&qString=Charisma+Knig ht

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/charisma-knight?dref=53

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