Authors: Willow Brooks
The Alpha’s Desire
Alpha’s Desire Series
Copyright © 2014 Willow Brooks
All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher
“Christina,” Lex mouthed, his words but a whisper despite the heightened pitch of his usually gruff voice.
Mute, though my mouth hung open, the air I’d sucked into my lungs on a long gasp burned as I failed to let it out. I blinked my wide, dry eyes. Nothing changed. I still hadn’t adjusted to the fact that, for once in my life, I’d been able to get up close and personal with my wolf. I’d run my trembling hands through his lush, thick fur just moments ago, the way I’d envisioned doing so a thousand times or more over the course of my life. An act like that had only been permitted in dreams up until now.
With a substantial huff, my lungs expelled the air I’d held onto as if it remained the only thing I could control. Still, as the fire extinguished even as I gasped to regulate my breathing, my chest ached.
, my mind registered.
, I thought as I looked at the naked man before me.
I countered, questioning what I’d just witnessed. My oversized, and to this point in my life ever-present but largely distant, wolf spirit had finally appeared to me. He’d let me touch him, run my fingers through his black and gray mane, and then he’d turned or transformed into Lex. A man stood before me where an over-sized wolf had just been seconds ago. I hadn’t even blinked, to my knowledge.
Studying Lex’s thick, black hair, I saw my wolf’s mane reminiscent in it. My fingers wiggled with the urge to touch it, to confirm the two were one and the same.
My wolf is Lex. Lex is the man I slept with. I’m obsessed with both, and they are both the same being. It’s not possible.
Round and round my thoughts went, short and cryptic, confusing to the point of exasperation. As an icy chill brought my shoulders in tight, I raised my arms to hug myself. I mused that anything in the world could warm me at this moment. In fact, I actually laughed, short and clipped, in my head, though my face remained a stone likeness of bewilderment.
One touch of my frozen fingers on my arms sent the chill cutting right through my thin sweater. Once they fell away, I looked at my hands, wondered exactly where to put them. Turning them over, I looked at my palms, asked them for the truth. I needed either proof to believe or a rational argument for disbelief.
Did I really just touch my wolf? Did he really just become Lex as if some magician had touched him with a wand?
Not even a blessed puff of smoke for deception had occurred. One body had just melted into the other. My head fell, the weight of it too much to bear for my tense neck. I looked at my shiny black heels in contrast with the shadowed gray pavement. Imperfect, cracked, rutted, I sympathized, understood its plight even as my toe ground back and forth into it. Inching my face up, but still away from Lex, the scaffolding, representative of the stark hope of better things to come, of man’s hopes and dreams in this big city, played with the shadows of the dimly lit alley, made me doubt all my eyes had seen.
“Christina, please,” Lex begged, “please say something. You’re scaring me.”
Returning my gaze to him, the outer edges of my vision blurred. I cocked my head to one side, searched my mind for some practical explanation. Despite my disorientation, through my hazy vision, Lex remained a man in front of me. Tall, chiseled, all sinewy muscle that I’d once kissed, and had been dying to kiss again for weeks. I’d desperately wanted him back in my life. Now, I questioned my sanity, for that and a myriad of other reasons. Still, his naked body begged to be touched. I was a woman, one distraught, bordering on the hyperventilation of hysterical at the moment.
Slowly, I reached a shaky hand toward him. The tips of my fingers landed lightly on the top of his chest. He sucked in a breath that made his chest rise. The noise startled me, causing my hand to jump a bit before finding purchase on him again. His heartbeat, as rapid as mine, beat under my fingertips. Regardless, his thumped hard, more fiercely than I’d ever thought a heart could. I panicked, worried he’d hurt himself with the change. An instinct to help, to save, slowed my breathing, steadied my hand to some degree even while my muscles remained poised to jump into action if the need arose.
I let my hand, held tight to remain as it was, brush down over the peaks and valleys of his abdominal muscles. At one time, I’d reveled in the fact that I’d been blessed enough to touch such a man, one built as I’d only seen in magazines or on TV. Right now, though, I still wondered if he was real. I couldn’t wrap my thoughts around the fact that those muscles had somehow, in some unexplainable way, been under that luscious coat of hair when I’d petted the side of my wolf.
You have to stop calling him yours,
I chided myself.
That wolf was never yours any more than Lex ever was. No way in the world they are the same. Maybe you passed out or something, not seeing the wolf run away or Lex come to my rescue. Of course, you passed out and regained consciousness standing up, you idiot.
The theory seemed about as probable as a wolf turning into a man.
“Why are you naked?” I got out, though my voice, deep and raspy, didn’t even sound like my own.
If it hadn’t been for the burn in my chest, up my esophagus, I wouldn’t have thought the words had even come from me. Despite the ridiculousness of such a question when so many others begged to be asked, his lack of clothing remained a stark image that left a strong impression. I’d venture an argument that his body, thick thighs, steely stomach, and copious cock, would render the sanest of women a tad goofy, having just shifted from a wolf or not. Me, I hadn’t been all that sane all week, or since I’d first met him.
“I left my clothes tucked in a dark doorway of one of these abandoned places before I changed into my other form,” he muttered, his eyebrows crinkled.
I looked into the depths of his dark eyes and wondered out loud, “Why are you looking at me as if I am making no sense? I’m not the one naked in a dark ally. I’m not the one who just chang… whatever. Thank goodness no one is around.”
I confirmed this statement by looking both ways, up and down the alley. Only the street lights at the end of the dark strip gave indication of life around us. No vague shadows moved to indicate others were around. Though, on second thought, I stood perfectly still. Had someone else witnessed what I had? And, if so, would they please show themselves and tell me I’m not crazy? I squinted, strained my eyes, for a glimpse of another human being. Oddly, no fear imposed its horrid physical afflictions on my already wrecked body.
“Changed?” I asked, “If you changed, why didn’t you put on other clothes? And it may sound a strange question, but when you came, did you see a large wolf, or dog maybe, running away from me. How did I not fall down if I lost consciousness? What do you mean by form?”
I blinked, trying to process my own thoughts that had run from my mouth in a steady stream of crazy. Why not just ask him why the sky was blue and dogs hung their heads out of car windows while I was at it?
Bring on the straight jacket
, I thought with a large pull of air in my lungs as I honestly looked for a crew to either commit me or tell me I’d been punked.
“Christina, you aren’t making sense, and you’re as pale as a ghost even in this light. You never lost consciousness, though I keep fearing you may. I’m sorry, babe. I think you are in shock. I’m so sorry,” he sighed, taking a step toward me. “I guess I could have found a better way to show you what I really am.”
With the increased proximity, my elbow bent, made me hyper-aware that my hand still rested on his lower abs. Looking down, my arm gratefully covered most of my full view of his semi-erection. I swallowed hard, ignoring my dry mouth and throat.
“Shock?” I repeated. “Yes, that makes sense. My own thoughts make no sense in my head. I thought I saw… no, I mean…no. What happened? And, why the hell are you naked?”
“Listen to me, and I will tell you the truth,” he offered, moving my hand from his stomach. A zing of electricity gave me a start. I shook out my hand. There was nothing here to cause such a spark of static electricity.
He took in a deep breath then, letting his own arms fall in an attempt to cover a part of himself. The sight of his large hands cupping over his cock made my heart skip a beat. He stood there before me, just inches away, picture perfect like he posed for some damned girlie magazine. His stance, feet out, shoulder width apart, arms tight with muscles bulging, made him appear a modal ready to work. If only I had a camera. I frowned and bit my lip at the stupid, ill-timed thought. I’d officially gone insane. Conservative bordering on boring Christina had finally unwound, fallen hard off her rocker.
A brief smile turned up my mouth before it faded. I shook my head and glanced up into his dark eyes. The sincerity there, something I felt radiate off him, softened his eyes. He licked his lips and took a deep breath before he closed his eyes for a full second.
“Christina, please listen carefully. Please, try to understand what I have to say. Keep an open mind, though. My tale will seem fantastic. Can you do that?” he asked, his head cocked in the most adorable way.
I shook my head, unable to speak once again. The rush of his emotions invaded me. Not just my chest, but the ache of them, the way they weighted my arms, shook my legs, and became more than I could bear. Stinging tears misted my eyes as I worried my lip. My lack of fear and my lust along with the simple knowing of his feelings, though strange... it all tightened my gut. My arms circled around my middle as nausea rolled through me.
“Christina, you have to try to get a hold of yourself. You have to listen to me. As much as I’ve tried to protect you from my truths, I can’t any longer,” he said, and then sighed. “Can you please try to listen to me? Give me a chance even if I don’t deserve one. I’m begging you.”
Throat tight, once again barely able to catch a breath of air, I gave a curt nod and immediately regretted my decision even as my ears perked up with an eagerness to understand him.
“I am a werewolf. That means, I am both a man and a wolf. I can shift from one form to the other in an instant. All I have to do is call upon the power they bestowed upon me. I’ve been one for a very long time, much longer than a normal human life. The wolf you saw tonight, that was me. I changed right before you. You never passed out or lost consciousness. I was animal one minute and a human the next. Don’t doubt what you saw?”
“How is that possible?” I interrupted. “Werewolves are things in books. They are not real. They don’t exist. That’s why they place them in the genre of paranormal. Fiction. Get it? A man cannot just turn into an animal whenever he wants. It makes no logical sense. How do you expect me to believe it? You can’t always trust your eyes,” I murmured, leaving off when the frailty of my argument dawned on me.
“I know. I know it all seems far-fetched. It sounds impossible, but it’s not. You watched me turn from wolf to man. Let your mind remember the details. Trust your eyes this time,” he urged in a soft voice, though he still stood militantly before me.
He paused as I let my mind wonder over what I’d seen. Hair had clearly faded away into skin as I’d watched. Teeth had shrunk, as had his hands and feet. One didn’t merge into the other, though. Where one had been, the other appeared as the other image disappeared. It had looked like a trick of a camera or great editing. He’d gone from being on all fours to standing upright in an instant, the seconds in between a blur of hair fading into skin. That was it, he had faded, transformed like one photo overlaid upon another as the editor slid the fade button from zero to one hundred percent.
“Does it hurt? Where does the fur go? Is it inside you now?” I asked, my face scrunching, my nose turning up. I shook off the mental image of internal organs and fur all shoved inside him. Absurd.
“Don’t look at me as if I’m repulsive,” he said, as a clipped, deep laugh barreled from his chest.
“Sorry. You’re not. That is the last word I would use for you, but I don’t understand,” I whined, then frowned at my own pathetic noise.
“Don’t apologize. Never apologize to me. I’ve put you…put us, in a horrible situation. You should never have had to try to understand all of this. I should have never shown you both sides of me. I should have lingered in the shadows as I always have, protecting you, but you never should have seen me change into a man. In fact, the man should have never let himself get that close to you. It’s all my fault. I knew better,” he rattled on, just as though he’d caught my insanity disease.
“I can’t deal with all of that now... what you should have or shouldn’t have done, the fact that you ran out on me. That’s it, right? You ran out on me to keep this from me? Shush, don’t answer that. One thing at a time. How are you a werewolf? And how did you just change like that? There isn’t even a full moon out tonight, if all this lore can be believed,” I questioned him, adamant, my hands making short waves up and down for emphasis.