Authors: Worth Fighting For
“Julie, Samantha, I need some help over here!” Laurie shouted.
The two women rushed over. With their help, and a throw blanket they thankfully had on hand, Misty was seated in a comfortable leather chair. Julie sat beside her, a first aid kit in hand, patching up the scratches on her arm.
They were talking to her, but Misty was past hearing. Everything passed by in a daze until the sharp sting of antiseptic touched her exposed wound. Her breath hissed in, resulting in a coughing spat as her lungs protested.
Laughter came next, tinged with hysteria. What a fucking mess. Her cheek felt hot and swollen, her muscles protested every move she made, and she’d no doubt be covered in bruises tomorrow. To top it off, she was having an asthma attack. Because why not.
“Here drink this. It will help with the wheezing and the nerves.” Samantha pushed a cup of something into her hand. Steam floated up and the scent of chamomile drifted out.
“Thanks,” she croaked, grateful for the tea and the kindness. She hadn’t been the nicest to Samantha in her thoughts. Now she regretted every bad thought.
Across the room, Laurie stood at the counter with the phone to her ear.
Although she didn’t hear the conversation, she had no doubt Laurie would call Cody. The relief at that nearly drowned her. Cody would come for her, and when he arrived, everything would be okay.
* * * *
He barely remembered to put the car in park and turn off the engine before throwing himself out of the car. From the moment he’d gotten the call from Laurie, his brain had stopped functioning. The need to see Misty, hold her, overrode everything. He now understood exactly how Jason had felt months ago when he’d come to pick up Samantha from his house.
Slamming the front door of the bookstore, he swept his gaze around the room until he spotted her. In an instant, he crossed the room, crouching down to stare up at her.
He noted her ragged breathing as he dug in his pocket for her inhaler. When Laurie had called him, she’d mentioned the excitement had pushed Misty into an attack. It had taken him an extra ten minutes to run home and grab her inhaler. Ten minutes of him grinding his teeth. But now that he was here and able to offer her relief, he was glad he’d taken the time.
Holding it up to her mouth, he waited until she’d taken a couple puffs before releasing it into her hands.
“What happened?” he asked.
“Truthfully…not really sure.” She still breathed heavy, but the wheeze had disappeared.
“Why don’t you tell us what you remember,” Jason said.
Cody glared at him for pushing her. He hadn’t even seen the other Premier, but it was obvious from his body language he’d been there the whole time.
“I’d gone…Oakville. As I was…making my way back to my car, they just…attacked. From all sides. I couldn’t get away. They were so enraged.” She shivered, no doubt lost in memories.
Cody ran a comforting hand down her arm until it hit the white bandage. He frowned at it.
“I’ve never seen such hatred before. They kept calling me bitch and pulling my hair. Finally, I fought back and got away. I shifted and ran. Just ran.”
The fear in her eyes forced the air from his lungs. The need to bring her home and cuddle her close overwhelmed him.
“I’m taking her home. Now. I’ll call you in the morning to discuss this,” he told Jason. Because their territories were so close, this problem concerned both of them. But he couldn’t do his duty as Premier right now. He had bigger concerns.
Ignoring her protests, Cody lifted Misty into his arms and carried her to the car. Neither of them talked on the ride back to his place. Nor as he carried her inside.
It wasn’t until he lifted her onto his kitchen counter and examined her injuries that she spoke.
“I’m okay. Really.”
Cody gazed into her eyes and saw the truth. Shaken up, not seriously hurt. But that didn’t mean she couldn’t have been. Thinking about what might have happened caused an ache in his chest and sent his fox clamoring for control. The colors in the world altered as his eyes shifted.
It hit him like a ton of bricks. Like that, everything clicked.
became synonymous with each other. No other woman would do.
It had always been Misty.
“Mate,” he whispered, the fox more in control than the man.
He saw her eyes widen before he moved, claiming her lips in a desperate kiss. After a moment, those eyes floated shut, a moan rumbling from her throat. Instinctively, he deepened the kiss, his tongue tangling with hers.
Pure hot lust slammed into him and he growled against her lips. He felt the reins of control slipping through his fingers, but he fought to hold on.
That morning, she’d been attacked and traumatized. His lust would have to wait until she was ready. He wasn’t a brute to take her when she was so unsteady. No matter how much his inner beast wanted to.
His control slipped another notch as her arms encircled his neck. Using every bit of willpower he possessed, Cody pulled away, leaning down to rest his forehead against her shoulder. He pulled in a ragged breath, still struggling with his wolf. Now that his human side had accepted Misty as his mate, his fox demanded he complete the connection.
One bite was all it would take, but the primal beast inside him demanded he claim her in all ways. He’d heard rumors. Everyone claimed a bond was tied tighter when formed during sex. It was also said, when the enzyme in the saliva that initiated the bond released into the bloodstream, both people experienced out-of-this-world pleasure. His best friend had mated last year and told him to think of the best orgasm he’d ever had and multiply it.
Imagining it had him shaking with barely checked lust. He had to stop. Tomorrow would be soon enough to mate with her.
“Why did you stop?”
He looked up and met her stare. After a moment, when he still hadn’t spoken, she went on.
“Was it because you don’t know how I feel, or because you’re still not sure? Are you changing your mind?”
“Of course not.” He grabbed her arms, forcing her to stare into his eyes, to read the emotion teaming there. “You are mine.”
“Then what’s holding you back?” She spoke with care.
Breaking eye contact, he stared at her reddened cheek. A growl rumbled in his throat at the hand print there. The sight gave his human side a greater foothold toward control over his fox. He reached up and covered the abused flesh gently with his hand. She was so fragile.
“You were in danger, and I wasn’t there. Do you have any idea how much that kills me?” The mark on her cheek and the gauze on her arm were the only visible injury, but no doubt she had others. The wounded look in her eyes when she’d described the attack earlier, the relief when he’d first entered the bookstore, told him how bad it must have been.
“You were there with me. Without your training, I never would have been able to escape. Don’t you see? You did protect me.”
The songs were all wrong. Love wasn’t a free-fall, it was a takeoff. He flew with it into the clouds as big flashing neon signs pointed out what he already knew. He was over the moon for this woman.
Her eyes darkened with emotion akin to his. “Take me to bed.” She crooned, pulling him toward her.
He allowed himself to be drawn in. Allowed himself to be convinced. He would maintain control. Could keep it together and love her gently. To show her exactly how much she meant to him. How much he cherished her.
His mouth brushed hers, pulling away before coming back for another brush. She moaned at the teasing caress, opening her legs and shifting closer to him. Savoring her flavor, he leaned in and nipped her lower lip, sweeping his tongue over the ache his bite left behind. Her hands reached for him, but he resisted their pull.
This was the time to go slow. To take care and explore every inch of her body. Using the tips of his fingers, Cody swept his hand up her spine. Silky smooth skin arched into his touch, trying to deepen the contact. But they had the rest of their lives ahead of them. All the time in the world. He was in no hurry.
“Cody,” she groaned. Her back arched, her extended nipples poked against the t-shirt he’d brought for her.
As if tasting a delicacy, he leaned in and nibbled on her lips until her passion-clouded eyes drifted closed.
She leaned in to deepen the kiss, but he turned his head, trailing butterfly kisses across her cheek until he reached her ear. Taking the lobe in his mouth, he sucked deep. With his teeth, he gave the side a sharp tug, before soothing the ache with his tongue.
The more she moaned and writhed against him, the firmer his control became. Driving Misty mad with lust filled him with intense pleasure. Filled him with a sense of rightness. The way her claws scraped his shoulder, he knew she stood on the brink of release. And he’d brought her to the edge with a simple kiss. Yeah, he felt like the king of the world.
Unable to stand the shirt between them, Cody swept it over her head.
In wonder, he stared at the sight he’d bared. Misty really was gorgeous. Her skin lay out before him, a creamy expanse dotted with freckles. He wanted to kiss every one of them. Her breasts weren’t large, but weren’t small either. They were just hers. And hers were perfect.
He swept a finger down the crease between them, causing her to arch upward, her head thrown back. Offering herself to him. It proved too much temptation to resist, as he leaned closer. But he paused with his lips an inch from one distended nipple, breathing through his mouth, across her flesh.
In the air between them, he felt the anticipation building. Her legs tightened against his hips, her hands pulling his hair until they forced him to close the distance. Her taste exploded on his tongue, proving too much for his tenuous control.
He threw open a drawer to his right for a condom. A few days ago he’d come home to find Misty scattering a large box of condoms throughout the house. He’d found it funny at the time, but right now he was extremely grateful. Unwilling to part with her breast, he continued to feast as he blindly searched in the drawer. He’d seen some in here just this morning, he knew he had, so where the hell were they?
His hand closed over something plastic that crinkled. He broke contact and held it up triumphantly.
Both of them stared at it a full minute without speaking. Cody didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. It wasn’t a condom.
“You planning on rubbing that ketchup over your…hot dog, chief? Cause I gotta tell you, ketchup and sex doesn’t have the same impact as, say, chocolate sauce and sex.”
The laugh bubbled up as he stared at her until he was unable to resist. Their passion cooled in the face of such ridiculousness. Cody rested his head against her shoulder until tears slipped out of his eyes.
“You looked so proud to have found it.” Misty giggled as their laughter tapered off.
Taking advantage of the break in action, Cody leaned over and dug in the drawer, pulling out a real condom this time. He started to open the package, but Misty stopped him with a hand on his arm. Then she took the package from him and tore off the wrapper.
With a seductive look, she swept her free hand down his front, until she found the object of her search. Her fingers curled around him and squeezed until his eyes rolled back in his head. His hips bucked as she moved down his length to the head, her hand still wrapped tightly around him. After a couple pumps, she released him to roll the condom on and gripped him again, pulling him forward using his cock.
They both groaned as the tip touched her entrance. Pushing her hands aside, he gripped her hips and plunged. The feel of her wet heat encasing him almost undid him. He eased out only to thrust back in. Her lips caressed his neck, but his focus centered on the pleasure building below.
Inside, his fox tried to break his control, but he held firm. As much as he wanted to plunge hard and fast, the day had been traumatizing enough for Misty. She needed gentle and slow. So he gritted his teeth and slid out. The friction set every nerve ending on edge, firing his blood.
She writhed against him. Her hips bucked, even as his fingers dug in to stop their movement. Rubbing against him, her moan caught in her throat as she tried to pick up the pace. The wiggles were doing nothing for his tightly strung control, but he held firm.
“Faster, damn it.” Her voice was guttural.
He didn’t answer, just continued his easy pace.
All of a sudden, a sharp sting pierced his neck. Even as he noticed the pain, a tidal wave of pleasure raged inside him, devastating his control. Half aware, he pumped his hips over and over, releasing inside her. White light flooded his vision as his brain simply shut off. The pleasure too intense.
Once the buzzing in his ears stopped and his vision returned, Cody wiped a hand over the still smarting flesh on his neck and brought his fingers to his eyes. Blood. The wound began to heal. He felt the skin reforming. But his brain was slow to process what had happened. He searched his mind, and discovered something that hadn’t been there before. Misty.
Always before, she’d been a part of his heart. But now she was a part of his soul. He felt it entwined with his own, connected in a way few would understand. The connection felt as solid as if they were tied together. As he followed the path in his mind, he felt everything she felt. Utterly sated and so deeply in love with him it made his heart stumble.