Julianna's wolf surged with glee, urgency driving her small, compact form to move faster than the wolf chasing at her heels. He was bigger, inherently faster than her with his long, powerful limbs. She wanted to stay ahead of him, to flirt with the dangerous aura of his looming presence. This was a challenge as much as it was foreplay, and her wolf wasn't going to give in easily.
She knew instinctively which way to run, her senses making an internal map of the forest from the brush of wind against her fur and the varied scents of vegetation over their heads. It wasn't long before she pulled into the clearing surrounding Garrick's lonely property.
Her advantage in distance was slight, but instead of following her into the clearing, he paused at the tree line. Julianna's small body contracted with pants as she caught her breath in the quiet night. The adrenaline heating her blood from the exertion and sexual frustration seemed to boil over as she waited for him to claim her. But he only watched her from the protection of the trees, watched her panting for him.
A growl rang from her wolfish throat, agitation stiffening her body at his hesitation.
His bright eyes stalked her from the darkness as he prowled slowly from one side of her to the other against the tree line. Julianna pivoted to follow his movement, whimpering with soft sounds when he didn't move closer.
Julianna could sense his aching need. Garrick was studying her with heat and lust in his gaze, his wolf eyes unblinking. Still, he made no move to claim her.
He was waiting for her next movement, she realized, ready if she bolted once again. She almost wanted to run again, to push him over the edge with the chase. But then she would forgo this moment and the unspoken anticipation boiling between them. She was ready to see it through. She wouldn't hide from him any longer.
Standing up on her paws, Julianna shifted back into a woman, fully naked and pale against the moonlight. Trembling against the night sky, she waited as wolf became man. Garrick's body grew larger, limbs lengthening to human height.
She might have thought the change would be ugly, abnormal, but she was a werewolf too. She recognized the beauty in his transformation, how every movement of his body was efficient and without struggle. This was a man who knew his body inside and out, and it made her tremble with excitement as she faced him in his natural form.
"You are so damn beautiful," he said, stepping slowly from the tree line. His gaze fell down her body, slowly taking in every dip and mound that made her what she was.
Her breasts were small, but gloriously pert, casting shadows down her belly. Her hips flared out to long legs that were strong and nubile. The curls at the apex dripped with a scent that clouded his mind with the essence of her.
Julianna twisted her shoulders to follow his gaze as he roamed in a circle around her body, his steps slow and sure on the soft grass.
"What are you doing?" she asked, the words escaping in uneven breaths.
"I'm thinking of all the ways I want to have you," he swallowed, his gaze resting on the curve of her buttocks as he stalked behind her body.
"Aren't you getting ahead of yourself?" she growled, annoyed that he was taking so long. She had waited long enough for this, and he'd teased her to her limits in the forest.
He shook his head with a wolfish grin, his eyes glowing yellow as he scanned her creamy flesh. "Now that I have you," he said, coming to stand in front of her and locking his eyes with hers. "I'm not letting you go." Grabbing for her buttocks, he flushed her naked chest against his, reveling in the plump flesh in his grasp. "Mate," he whispered.
Julianna was too far gone to recoil at the word, even though she now had a sense for what it meant. She couldn't deny that she wanted this, wanted to connect with him in the closest way possible. Her body was thrumming with the need of it.
His strong chest brushed against her nipples as she adjusted her body to his. Her hands slid up to cover his massive shoulders, the swell of her belly flushed against his hard abs.
"So take me," she whispered, her insides quivering. She wanted to crawl up his body and demand everything from him, but his strong hands held her in place.
"So anxious," he murmured, "What's the hurry?"
Julianna squirmed as his hands traced the swell of her bottom. "You were ready to take me in the forest. Don't you still want me?" she breathed, sliding her hands down between their bodies to grip his hard length.
Garrick's breath caught, and he closed his eyes for a moment, glorying in the feel of her silky touch. Before he let himself get carried away, he gripped her by the hips and spun her around so that her elegant back flushed against his chest. A protest vibrated from her throat. "Ah, but you're in my territory now." He grinned. "And there were a few promises I made to myself that I need to make good."
"I didn't tell you everything that day in the ravine," he whispered, sliding his hands up her waist to cup her breasts. She groaned as he covered their swollen weight. "I didn't tell you that on the dance floor that night I wanted to cup you like this."
His nose drifted across the crook of her neck. "I scented you and discovered that you were a Hybrid, but my wolf didn't care if you were dangerous. All it wanted was for me to claim you." His hands squeezed, playing with her creamy breasts, flickering his touch against her sensitive nipples.
"I think my wolf knew you were my mate even then, but I was too stupid to listen. You were quiet distracting," he chuckled.
She reached up to cover his hands on her breasts, asking him with her touch to hold harder, to move faster over her crying nipples. "Stop staying that," she whimpered as his hands complied with her begging demands.
He continued to tease her breasts, squeezing hard before smoothing back to gentle caress. "That you're my mate?" he asked. "You can't tell me that you don't feel it." His tongue lapped at her pulse, feeling the accelerated beating of her heart against his lips. "I wouldn't believe it," he stated smugly.
"Maybe I don't know what I feel." Her eyes crossed in frustration. He was teasing her, driving her crazy while he held all of the control.
She brought her buttocks against his heavy erection to even the score, fitting him right where he wanted it. Julianna shifted her lower body down to caress him before sliding back up.
Garrick chuckled appreciatively as she stole his lead. His breathing grew thicker the more she slid seductively against him. He fought to retain control as she demanded his surrender. "Why don't I help you decide?"
Julianna's body froze as his fingers drifted down to the ache between her thighs, the tip of one finger sliding over her labia in a gentle sweep. Her body responded to the touch, quivering as he slid up to repeat the motion across her clitoris.
This time his finger was slick as it rubbed across her tiny nub. She held her breath as every fiber of her being was concentrated on that tiny movement that vibrated throughout her whole body. When his touch changed strategy, slipping over her in rapid circles, her body clenched with a sharp eruption that brought her world to collapsing.
Each tremor erupting from her center brought mind-blowing pleasure. Wave after wave of sensation vibrated in her belly, taking her breath in sobbing pants. It was too much, too volatile after years of being alone.
It had been so long since she'd trusted herself with anybody, since she'd given in to her own body's demands. No one had ever looked at her the way Garrick did, as though he saw all that she was and wanted every part of it.
She couldn't bare it if he stopped.
Garrick's touch slowed as she came down from the explosive climax, gently sliding against painfully sensitive flesh. "Did that help?" he asked gently, his cheek rubbing against hers. His heart pounded as though he'd run for miles; the sight of her losing control had almost brought him to his own release.
She nodded bashfully, shifting her head back so that she could look into his eyes. She was a little surprised to see that the yellow of his wolf was receding.
He allowed her to turn this time of her own free will, her movements slow and almost hesitant. She lifted her hands to cup the back of his neck.
"What if I'm not ready to say that?" she asked. "What if I only want us to just…be us?"
Garrick only smiled, his hands drifting up and down her sides in a soothing rhythm. "You don't have to admit it for it to be true, but as long as I can have you, it's enough."
Julianna's heart clenched at his words, realizing that it would never just be sex between them. She knew that she would give everything to him. Her heart wanted him for keeps.
The quiet of the night seemed to take over then, drawing them to back to reality. Goosebumps arose on her arms now that she was still.
"We should go inside. You're getting cold." Garrick slipped an arm behind her back with every intention of bringing her straight to his bedroom. Julianna was a refined woman, and he was beginning to feel a little debauched for almost taking her in the cold night, for still wanting to.
"No." Julianna stood her ground, forcing him to stop. "I want you now." Her eyes grew wild, a reckless grin filling her face. She wasn't an ice queen now, full of control and self-restraint. She wanted to burn.
"Here?" his eyebrows rose.
She nodded wickedly. Her body glided down his front, stopping for a moment to place an innocent kiss on the tip of his pounding erection. A moan tore from him, taking all thought of waiting from his mind.
He was going to erupt if he didn't have her now.
Crouching over her, Garrick gently forced her to fall back on the damp grass. His body covered hers in seconds, warming her, and he groaned at the feel of her naked skin beneath him. Her eyes closed as she wrapped her legs around his hips, gasping at the feel of his erection against her sensitive entrance.
He didn't ask for confirmation. He didn't need to. Her body lifted up to join with his. Garrick pushed forward with his entire being, claiming her with his soul.
Losing control to the powerful being inside of him, Garrick felt his connection to the world slip away as he slid in and out of her tight entrance, falling deeper and deeper into the heart of her. This was a claiming, one he could never have prevented.
Julianna grasped his shoulders as she moved in time with him, her back sliding against the springy grass protecting her from the hard ground.
Her panting breaths and soft cries rang out with Garrick's in the quiet night. She felt everything so much sharper than she ever had before, each thrust of his hips bringing her closer to another mind-blowing high.
Garrick's head fell to her shoulder as his body shifted angles, seeking the perfect rhythm that would blow each other apart.
Julianna tilted her head back as the friction became overpowering, her hips pumping against his frantically. His hands squeezed her buttocks, forcing her to stop wriggling so that he could pound into her.
It was all that she could take, and they screamed together into the night.
"There's grass all over me!" Julianna's laugher echoed off the porcelain tiles in the shower.
The steam of hot water filled the enclosed tub as she stood under the spray, awkwardly reaching behind her to wipe the dirt and green particles off of her back. "This isn't working very well," she laughed again, turning around so that Garrick could see her back.
She shivered as the warm spray pulsed down the front of her body, making her tingle in the afterglow of terrific sex.
"You were the one who insisted on having sex outside," Garrick grinned and lathered his hands with soap. He pushed her hair to the side so he could reach her back.
Julianna almost moved with his hands as he touched her, she was so responsive to him. She looked over her shoulder. "Are you trying to tell me you didn't enjoy it?"
Garrick swept his soapy hands down her back to squeeze her butt cheeks. "Oh, I enjoyed it. Unquestionably."
"Good." Julianna faced forward again, her face becoming flushed from the heat of the water and the memory of what that they did outside.
Her arms came up to support her body against the shower stall as Garrick bent down to wash the dirt from the back of her legs and thighs. Garrick nuzzled her nape as he moved up to her shoulders, his teeth nibbling at her ear. "Have you ever had sex outside before?" He asked silkily.
Her cheeks blushed. "It was a first for me."
Julianna spun around to rinse the soap from her back. She dunked her head under the hot water to wet her hair. Garrick simply watched her, captivated by the picture of water sliding down her naked body.
He breathed in deeply and glanced away when she opened her eyes. "My turn."
She slid her way past him in the small bathtub, squealing as the cold curtain brushed against her back. He steadied her when she almost slipped. "Careful." He grinned before ducking his own head under the spray.
Waiting for him to finish, Julianna marveled at how much had changed between them to lead up to this point. Somehow, her kidnapper had become her closest friend, even when frustration had driven her to deny him.
All that denial had just built up until she needed him more than anything, even more than any potential consequence.
"What?" Garrick asked when he noticed her studying him.
Julianna pulled a shampoo bottle from the side of the tub and poured some cream onto her hand. "Nothing," she answered, the smile freezing on her face. "Just thinking."
"About what?" he asked, dragging a bar of soap across his chest.
"About you." She reached up to brush the shampoo through her hair, piling each layer on top of one another. "About us."
Garrick paused, sensing the tension in her body. "Come to any decisive conclusions?" He moved aside so that she could rinse off the shampoo in her hair.
Instead of responding, she dipped her head under the spray, giving herself another moment to think. When she'd rinsed most of the suds from her face, he pulled her hips to him.
"I'm waiting…" he murmured, stroking the silky skin at her sides.
"It's just, we didn't use anything. We were so caught up, and…"
Garrick smiled gently. "Pregnancy is relatively rare for our kind."
She pulled away. "Rare?" she asked, her eyes growing wide. "How rare?"
"Well, like mating, it's based upon our pheromones. Both parties must want a baby very badly, and when they are ready, their pheromones promote viable eggs and sperm. It doesn't happen quickly though." He shrugged. "We think it's nature's way of preventing too many predators."
Julianna froze, thinking through his response. "I never thought about it…It never occurred to me to ask."
"You know in high school biology, when you learn that a horse and donkey produce a mule, and that the mule can't produce offspring? Do you think I'm like a mule?"
Garrick's expression tightened. His hand slid down her arm. "I don't know. Hybrids are so rare…"
"I'm sorry," she shook her head. "I didn't mean to get so serious. It's not that I want a baby…"
"Hey," he murmured. "It's understandable that you'd wonder."
She nodded, turning from him in the small space of the shower. "I can't believe there is still so much I don't know about myself. It doesn't seem right."
He shook his head. "It's not right, but you'll learn."
"And the Rogues… It makes me sick to my stomach to think what they might do to get to me."
Garrick pulled her back into him, refusing to let her go. "You know I'll protect you. The whole pack will."
Julianna gripped him tight. "Teach me how to protect myself, Garrick. Then we can fight them together. We can get my life back, my identity. It's the only way I can truly be myself."
He was stoic as she poured her worries out to him. "I will help you learn to fight, but I'm not going to put you in harms way. You need to accept that."
"Someday," she replied, "We might not have the luxury of choosing. It's better that I know how to fight then to be another victim. I won't let myself be one again."
He brought her head against his shoulder in a tight embrace. "You never were."
Reaching up to wrap her arms around his neck, Julianna hugged him. "Thank you."
Garrick fit his chin in the nook of her shoulder, enjoying the feel of her warm, naked body pressed against him. His hands drifted down to grip her buttocks affectionately. His arousal was poking against her stomach, waiting to be noticed and satisfied.
Julianna laughed. "You seem to be having a problem."
He grinned. "And what problem might that be?"
"Revved up and ready for round two." Her eyebrow lifted. "I don't believe it."
"Well, that's because you've never been with a werewolf before. We bounce back quickly. We have stamina."
She giggled at his attempt at dirty talk. "Is that right?"
He nodded, lifting her so that she was forced to wrap her legs around his waist. His mouth reached up for hers, feeding an ache that was far from satisfied. Reaching down, he stroked her till she was begging for him. "Don't you want to find out?"
She nodded enthusiastically. Pushing into her, he showed her in spades what he'd so ineloquently insinuated at.
The place was swarming with them. Michael could smell it.
He had tracked the Rogues to this place, a sprawling house in a nearby Boston suburb. He'd followed their scent from the city limits, pushing forward when one Rogue scent became multiple.
He didn't have to see them to know that they were there, a small army inside the house and surrounding the property. Twenty to thirty Rogues, by his guess.
"Michael!" a stern voice crept up behind him.
He turned around with a start, facing the uncle that he had left behind days ago. "What are you doing here?" Michael hissed. He glanced back to the house making sure that their location was secure, hidden by the thick foliage of a neighboring property.
"We tracked you here." Owen McGuin replied absently; his attention and the attention of those around him were now centered on the building. "So many of them," he shook his head. "I had no idea."
"So close to our territory," another werewolf growled. "It's unbelievable."
Michael looked over his shoulder at his Alpha's top twelve fighters, all werewolves who had proven themselves in battle but were looking for an escape from the bloodshed filling their lives. These were wolves that had never been able to live completely human, but it was their protection that had allowed the others to lead the kind of lives that they desperately wanted, human and peaceful.
He nodded to each one with respect. Ten men and three women, they were the ones he'd looked up to growing up. He might have been embarrassed to know that they'd come with their Alpha to track him, to force him into submission and to bring him back home, but that point was moot now.
"I had to follow them," Michael whispered. "I knew that something bad was happening." He brushed a branch away from his face to obtain a clearer view of the house. "It looks like I was right."
"We can't allow it," Terry, a female with black hair cut in rugged edges around her face, declared. Her determination was uncompromising. "It's too dangerous to have this many Rogues in our territory. No wonder there have been so many killings."
It didn't matter that the men and women they had found slaughtered throughout Boston had lacked the werewolf gene, didn't matter that they weren't one of their kind. The victims had been harmless people killed within their territory. They should have been protected. If their pack had been anything other than what it was, they would have been.
"Maybe we should wait for the Coalition," another wolf suggested, looking towards his Alpha's authority. Sometimes, it was more important to have objectivity than out right courage. Lawrence provided that to his Alpha, a confidant and friend. "The packs can help us."
Their Alpha shook his head. "It's too late for that. Something very wrong is going on here. We weren't proactive enough." His head slumped with self-hate. "I never imagined the threat was real."
Standing up, Owen pulled his shirt over his head, his expression tight and serious. "We must not allow them to danger our pack. They've been too close already." His soldiers began to strip their clothes as well, with no thought to modesty between male and female. This was about war, safety, and the survival of their pack.
To be Rogue was seductive; to be allowed to hunt freely without human conscious was an arousing dream. For one of their pack, wolves who'd forced themselves behind a human façade, never allowed to run free, it was even more dangerous. Sometimes, the wolf took control of a weak-minded man or woman. To be around Rogues who had conceded to the instincts of their wolves and were prospering, that was something that their kind must never see.
When Michael began to kick off his shoes and join the soldiers of his pack on their hunt, his uncle stopped him, a hand gripped tightly in the collar of his shirt. "No, Michael."
Michael's jaw clenched in agony, knowing that even now, he hadn't earned the respect of his uncle. His Alpha. "Let me come with you," he begged, tears filling his eyes. "I can't sit here and watch you fight them."
His uncle's words were soothing, reassuring…the voice of an Alpha who knew his followers well, knew how to reach those under his care. "I need you to stay behind. If anything happens to me, you must protect the pack, Michael. Take them to safety where the Rogues can't hunt them. They'll be targeted if we fail."
"No," Michael said, refusing to give up. "You're outnumbered. Let me help you!"
"Listen to me!" the Alpha's voice was soft, but it was powered with a dominance that was impossible for Michael to ignore. "You must go to Red Oak. Garrick Emerson will help you. He'll warn the Coalition of this threat. You've got his scent?"
Michael nodded, turning his face away from his uncle's determined eyes. Owen McGuin might not have been a fragile man, but he wasn't young anymore either. Gray strands had been infiltrating his thick mop of hair for years, betraying to the world what bravado and dominance might have hidden. His uncle might not survive this battle.
"Good." His uncle dropped his clothes and turned to his small army. "You ready?" he asked them. Each wolf in turn nodded to him, naked and shivering with adrenaline. They may have been pacifists, each and every one of them, but they knew that sometimes you had to fight to protect what was theirs.
Without further word, the werewolves changed into their wolf forms and slithered their way from the protection of their hiding place.
Michael had been taught battle strategy from his uncle, and he knew that they would target the Rogues patrolling the outside of the building first. They would want to keep their advantage of surprise for as long as possible.
Knowing that it was his job to watch and wait for the aftermath, Michael stood within the woods for as long as he could stand it. The area was silent with no sounds of fighting to betray their presence here. The Rogues had been taken down quickly.
Sensing that his uncle's soldiers were now patrolling the house to strategize the best way to enter, Michael saw his chance to be eyes and ears for them.
There were some advantages to being human, after all. If a neighboring or Rogue eye saw him outside the house, he would draw a lot less suspicion.
Crouching low, he sprinted towards the house and flopped back against the brick, making his appearance as small and invisible as possible. Siding around the outskirts of the house, he watched for any sign of threat. Now that he was closer, he could identify what had happened.
Already, one of his own was dead. He fought back the tears of the newly minted in battle and moved on. The soldiers fought to protect the pack at the risk of their lives. It was a bargain that they all made.
"You must be able to tell me something about her!" a roaring voice came from nowhere. "Who were her parents?"
Michael glanced around the property, anxiously trying to identify the location of the voice. The sound of a sharp slap and a woman's cry directed him towards a grate, a vent of some kind leading from the base of the house.
Crouching down so that he could listen, Michael found that he could see through the grate, just enough to make out two men standing above a fallen woman, blood smeared on her face.
"Did she know that she was a Hybrid? Did she come to you?" the voice continued.
Michael startled at the word.
A Hybrid. He had only heard about them from legends, scary stories his uncle had told about his days before forming the pack. They were dangerous and bloodthirsty Rogues.
"What will this interrogation gain us? We should kill her now and bring the Hybrid to us." Another man looked down at the woman with disgust.
The first man growled, clearly the more dominant of the two. The second man cringed violently, regretting his outburst. "I want to know about their relationship," the Master explained. "She's been away from us too long. This woman could be the key to our Hybrid. She might be useful when the time is right."
A whimper filled the air as the woman attempted to sit up. Her face was bruised from multiple beatings. Michael was outraged to see that she was an old woman, fragile and tiny. He flinched with the need to howl in challenge, his foot subtly sliding gravel against the grate.
It was enough to betray his presence.
"What's that?" the Master barked, his face coming against the grate. "Someone's here! Warn everyone!"
Michael scrambled away from the grate, alarmed at the red eyes following his movement. He ran for the protection of the trees, his body shaking with deep breaths. Slumping his head into his hands, he knew that he had messed up bad. He was so stupid!
Their advantage was gone.
Author's Note: Hey Guys! I hope this chapter and their first love scene didn't disappoint! I'm sorry it took me so long to post, but I wanted to do the scene justice. I'm also on the job hunt again, and I needed to get serious about applying, which is never fun! Anyway, I hope you guys enjoyed the chapter and the start of the conflict that will drive the story to the end. Please give me feedback about the love scene! Did it seem natural, sexy? Too much? It's only the second one I've attempted, so help me make it better! I'll try to post the next chapter soon!