Chapter Eleven

"Rowan, I would never, in a million years, hurt you," Garret promised gently touching her cheek.

Rowan sighed, she did not want to get into this but if he was really serious about her he deserved the truth. "That's not what scares me," she assured him. "You're a threat, Garret, to everything in me. I want you so much but I've worked so hard at being normal. You were right, you already have showed me things and taught me about things I never thought of. Never before have I wanted so badly to lose control. But it's more than lust. That's what scares me the most. I'm starting to care about you, and I didn't want that."

"Well I did say one good reason." Garret turned around and started to just walk away. This was it, he knew that. If she didn't call him back now this would be the end. He wasn't ready to let her go.

"And I don't want you to go," she whispered the last words. He turned back in surprise. "God help me, but I want you to stay with me, by my side. I never want you to leave."

"Rowan." He walked back to her and pulled her into a hug. She raised her head to look into his eyes.

"Why is life so hard?"

He smiled. "I don't know. Look at it this way, if life were easy I wouldn't even be here with you."

"True." She cocked her head to one side and smiled playfully. "Now, is that a good thing or a bad thing?"

"Good," he said kissing her on the tip of her nose. "It's a very good thing." Rowan smiled shaking her head.

"So, now what?" she asked.

"Well, we could get back on my bike and just leave," he offered. "Get away from this place." He reached out and took her hand in his own. "I can make you happy, angel."

He had no idea of incredibly good that sounded and for a few seconds she was tempted but... "I can't leave."

He sighed and gave a small shrug. "I figured as much. How do you want to play this?"

"I don't know."

"I can give you time. I'm not going anywhere."

"Can I bum a ride home?"

He smiled. "As you wish." She sent a message to Nova telling her that she was leaving. She climbed onto his motorcycle and he took off. She gave him mental cues on where to turn.

This time she let her hand wonder freely. She could feel his chest rumble with a steady purr as she stroked his chest. He pulled into her empty driveway. The house was surrounded by a forest, which was fenced in. She climbed off of the motorcycle; he followed. "You are such a tease," he growled.

"Which really is kind of odd," she admitted. "I never did anything like that with Jesse."

A low, almost threatening growl came from low in his throat. "Good," he said. The look on his face was purely possessive.

She crossed her arms, jealous men had always annoyed her. "What's that supposed to mean?"

The look faded from his face as he took in her annoyance. "Nothing."

"Garret."

"I need to get to a hotel."

"I just know that I'm going to regret this," she muttered. "Why don't you stay here?"

"Pardon?"

"My parents are, like always, out of town. It's a big house, you can have a guest room."

"Okay," he said. "I'll take you up on that." She walked up the stairs to the porch and unlocked the door. "I was right."

"About what?"

"You do have a nice ass." She turned and calmly slapped him. "Ouch. Jeez, you really can't take a compliment."

"If it's nice, I can."

He grinned. "Okay, how's this?" She knew just by that statement that what followed wouldn't be good. "You have the best shaped ass that I have ever seen." She opened the door before turning around and glaring at him. He looked back at her innocently. "Can I compliment your breasts?"

"No!"

"Because those are very nice too."

She groaned hiding her head with her hands not knowing what to make of him. "Why can't you shut up?"

"Because you are just so damn sexy when you're angry."

"Garret-"

"What?" She sat down on the sofa and he flopped down next to her. "Nice place. Can I see your room?" She glared at him. "I'm not going to do anything. I just want to see it. You can tell a lot about a person by the way their room looks. I'll be a good boy. Scout's honor."

"You were a boy scout?"

He smiled. "Is that so hard to believe?"

"Yes."

"Why?"

"You just don't seem like the boy scout type. Actually, you seem like the type to beat up boy scouts."

"Oh, now that hurts."

"If you can find my room, you can look at it." He stood, she followed him into the hall. He walked straight to her room and looked back at her raising an eyebrow. "Okay, you're right."

"I know. It has your scent."

"After all this time?"

"I could pick up you scent anywhere," he announced.

"A little cocky, aren't you?"

His grin turned slightly lecherous. "I'm very cocky, would you like to find out?" She blushed.

"You promised."

"I am being good," he protested.

"Right," Rowan said sarcastically.

"Well, this is good for me," he shrugged. He opened the door and walked in. Her room was painted a sky blue color. It was still full; the only thing missing was her laptop and half of her clothes. Rowan was willing to admit she was a shopping fanatic. The two bookshelves filled almost completely were a testament to that. "Hmm... so far I can see that you're a nerd."

"Hey!" she exclaimed throwing a stuffed seal at him. He caught it easily and looked down at it. It was so old it was missing an eye and a flipper.

"Cute," he commented. "How long have you had this?"

"Since I can remember. His name is Sam."

A smile crossed Garret's face. "Sam the seal?"

"Yes," Rowan said with an indignant sniff.

He picked up a picture sitting on her desk of a middle-aged couple. "Are they your parents?"

"My grandparents," she said sitting down on her bed.

"You don't have any pictures of your parents."

She was silent for a few seconds. "I barely even remember what they look like anyhow." His heart ached for her as he looked at the couple in the photo. This explained a lot, though.

"Are they still alive?"

"Yeah. They send money and pay for most of her schooling but they're never around." She shrugged with an indifference he knew she didn't feel. "I always spend the holidays alone."

He sat the picture down and looked at her thoughtfully. "Is that why you asked me to stay?"

"I think that's part of the reason," she admitted. He walked to the closet door and opened it needing to lighten the mood and knowing the pissing her off always helped that. "Hey!"

"Damn," he said shaking his head as he looked at her clothes.

"What?"

"I've got a question, angel. Do you own anything that will actually show off your incredibly sexy body?"

"I like to feel comfortable," she blushed.

Garret grinned, unable to resist the opening that gave him. "No clothes at all would be very comfortable."

"Do you have to be so disgusting?" she asked making a face at him.

He cocked his head to one side as though puzzled. "Personally, I find the thought of your naked body the opposite of disgusting." Rowan groaned falling back onto her pillows. To her surprise Garret flopped down next to her. It was strangely intimate lying there on her bed with him, side by side.

"What are you doing?" she asked raising her eyebrows at him.

He looked into her eyes with a smile. "I have this incredibly strong urge to kiss you. Until you can't breathe, until you're shaking, until you want me half as much as I want you." She blushed again and a shiver went through her at the thought of how a kiss like that would feel. He reached out and ran one finger over her lips. "But I shouldn't. After all, you're with Jesse."

She smiled smiled. "Tease." She went to climb over him to get off the bed. Her leg slipped and she ended up landing on his chest, with her legs straddling his. A hot flush colored her cheeks as she got to her feet. "I need to go feed."

"May I hunt with you?"

"Who said anything about hunting?" Rowan asked with a smile as she led him outside, onto the back porch.

"Wow," he murmured. She smiled seeing that Garret shared her love of nature. There were trees as far as the eye could see, surrounding the house. A small creek ran through her yard disappearing in the trees. She then saw him ahead. A huge buck strutted into the yard. She walked off of the porch and stroked his head.

Rowan reached into the pocket of her jacket and fed him a sugar cube like you would a horse. She petted his head again before tilting it up and biting down. She could feel Garret's eyes on her as she fed. She pulled away and fed the deer one more sugar cube. He ate it before happily running away.

"Nice," Garret complimented. "That was amazing."

She blinked. "What was?"

"You didn't influence him at all."

"Of course not," she said. "King always comes to me."

"King?"

"That's what I call him."

"I think I now know what your gift is," he smiled.

"'Gift?'"

"All of us have a gift. Me, I have strong mind control and telepathy, I can break through any mind shield erected. Tristan is really strong and Brayden has charm. You, sweetheart, seem to have a strong bond with animals."

She smiled up at him. "Come with me." He followed her to a shed. There was a doggy door in the front. Rowan opened the door and Garret could hear a low growl coming from within.

"That's a lynx," Garret murmured as the big female relaxed slightly. She yawned showing off her fangs and stretched lazily before curling back up on the ground watching the couple curiously.

"She raised her last litter here," she smiled. "My land is fenced in so she's safe. Last she checked we have four of them on our land."

He reached out and touched her chin, a gentle, chaste caress. "You've impressed me, angel."

She shrugged uncomfortable with his attention. "Thanks, but this isn't much. I just had to do something."

"And modest."

She rolled her eyes. "Whatever."

"You really don't know how to take a compliment, angel." He yawned. "Ready to go back?"

"Don't you still need to feed?"

"I'll take care of it later."

"As you wish."

He smirked. "If we were to do what I wish-"

"Shut up."

Later

Rowan lay awake for a couple hours just thinking about the guy asleep on the couch. Garret had refrained from sleeping in a guestroom claiming that a: he wanted to be near the door in case someone was to break in or something, (she was starting to think that Garret was a little paranoid), and b: he wanted to be near me.

All this was new to Rowan. No guy had ever made it so perfectly clear that he wanted me. He came right out and said it. Even if he wasn't so obvious she couldn't mistake the way he looked at her, or the pure passion in his kiss. But he had said that if all she would give him was sex that he wasn't interested. He wasn't acting like a normal guy.

Then, of course, there was Jesse. She did love him but she was starting to realize that she wasn't in love with him. What she felt for Jesse was strong, but it never made her skin flush or her pulse race the way that even the thought of Garret would do. Plus, she had seen things in Jesse's mind, things she had tried to convince herself were just dreams but they had the feel of a memory; images of him and the girl from the campus store. She told myself that even if it were true, she had no right to confront him. His mind was private. She should have stayed out.

To be honest everything stacked up in Garret's favor, until she thought about her friends. How would they react if they found out that, not only was Garret alive, but that she was dating him? They were her family and she didn't want to hurt them. This is my life, she realized, and it's about time I started living it for me.

Rowan stood and walked to the door. After taking a deep breath she opened the door. She walked into the living room and knelt down beside the couch. She reached out and softly touched Garret's hair, it was surprisingly soft. He sighed in his sleep leaning into her hand. She gently shook his shoulder. He reached out and the next thing she knew she was on her back lying under him. He blinked coming awake and gave her an apologetic smile. "Sorry, baby, you startled me."

"I hate to think of what you'd do if I scared you."

"Sorry," he said again. "What's up?"

"Can we talk?"