Bound to the Wolf
by AC Arthur
Book 3 in the Wolf Mates
In Bound to the Wolf, Phelan Sava is a lycan werewolf shifter with a dark side to his soul. He lives for pleasure and revels in pain. But what burns for more than anything is a woman to dominate with his unbridled passion and desperate lust for good. Marena Panos is an attorney with a dark secret that follows her into the mountains and into the bed of a Phelan Sava. And when she is hunted by the feral beast that ravishes her body and claims her soul, Marena has no choice but to give in with no intention of ever looking back.
Bound to the Wolf
Book 3 in the Wolf Mates
Bound to the Wolf
“I’m. Not. Interested,” Marena said pointedly for the third time.
He wasn’t going to listen. She could tell by the way his eyes narrowed, his mouth opened slightly and his chest heaved. He was going to come closer and touch her and that was the last thing she wanted.
She took a step back, and then another, the high heels of the black pumps she’d worn to the firm’s anniversary celebration sinking into the plush hotel carpet. Getting a room at the same hotel where the party was being held had been a mistake. Marena should have gotten into her car and driven the twelve miles back to her house, even if it was almost one in the morning. She hadn’t been drinking, so she was fine to drive. But she’d wanted to treat herself. This hotel had a spa with a great reputation, not to mention the pool and five star restaurant. She’d planned to make a weekend of it, to take some time for herself to relax and unwind after back-to-back cases at work. After all these years Marena had finally decided to follow the advice of every girlfriend she’d ever had. She was doing something just for her pleasure.
Only tonight, she feared that wasn’t going to happen.
“I’m simply trying to help you celebrate the win on that Vale case. You’ve just made millions for the firm and all but solidified your partnership in a six-hour settlement conference. You deserve a grand celebration,” he said, with a smile spreading slowly across his wide face.
Davis Sumpter was already a partner at The Arrington Law Group, one of San Francisco’s largest law firms. He wasn’t a very tall man by her standards considering her own height. He was maybe six feet tops, with a medium build, his love of fashion apparent in the custom-fit designer suit and Italian leather tie-ups he’d worn to the party. And on a good day, Marena would even go as far to say that he was an attractive man with his strong jaw, almond skin tone and dark, exotic looking, brown eyes. Of course every female at the firm would swear Marena was blind or too overworked to see straight if she didn’t admit to Davis’s good looks, because they all loved Davis Sumpter. They all wanted to sleep with him, hoped he would marry them, and all that fantasy land crap that tended to take place in a firm with over one hundred attorneys and two hundred and fifty staff, and that was just in the San Francisco office.
Still, to Marena, he was just a man. A man that she had no intention of celebrating with tonight, or any other night for that matter.
“I’ve done as much celebrating as I plan to, Davis,” she told him. “I have twenty other cases on my desk waiting for my return on Monday morning.”
“Just twenty?” he asked with a coy smile as he moved closer.
They were in the sitting area of her suite. She hadn’t known, but Davis had apparently left the party and come upstairs behind her, so that when she opened the door to her room, he was right there, slipping inside just as she let herself in. Davis was like that, she thought, slippery as a snake and as charismatic as a practiced Hollywood actor. That’s how he won most of his cases.
“It’s late, Davis. You should go,” she continued, being sure to keep her voice level and serious, just as she did when she was in the courtroom, cross-examining a witness.
He shook his head, loosening the navy blue and white tie at his neck.
“I don’t think so,” he told her. “You’ve been strutting your thick ass around that office for years now. Turning down one guy after another, holding your head up high like nobody was good enough for you.” He pulled the tie from his neck and undid the top two buttons of his shirt. “But I never asked,” he finished just before he removed his jacket, tossing it on one of the ivory colored couches.
Marena took another step back until her butt met the edge of the sofa table where she’d placed her purse when she came in.
“I never asked if I could have a taste of you,” Davis continued, licking his tongue along his bottom lip, his eyes glazing with lust.
A huge fan of crime procedural shows, Marena could see exactly where this was leading. This was the first few minutes of the show where the brutal rape and murder that it will take the remaining fifty minutes to solve, would occur. Unless, the unwitting, but not defenseless by a long shot, female quickly got her act together.
“No need in asking,” Marena told him while reaching a hand behind her back, attempting to unzip her purse. “I’ll go ahead and give you an answer. No.”
Davis laughed. “You’re funny,” he told her. “Never figured you for having a sense of humor, but that was really funny.”
His hands had moved to the belt that he quickly undid, the button to his pants and then there was that undeniable sound of unzipping. Her arms and legs shook as she struggled to hold back that piercing scream which would alert someone to his presence. Davis Sumpter in her hotel suite after midnight was not going to go over well. Rumors would spread like wildfire throughout the firm and her dream of making partner would be shot to hell. Marena wasn’t about to let that happen.
“I’m serious, Davis. I know it may seem strange to have someone tell you they’re not interested, but I’m really not,” she told him. “And it has nothing to do with you as a person. I’m just not interested in dating anyone right now. I’m really focused on my work.” Marena talked as her hand worked.
But she hadn’t worked fast enough.
Davis seemed to close the space between them in the blink of an eye. He locked one hand at the back of her neck and pulled her flush against him. Marena gasped and he pounced, sticking his tongue through her slightly parted lips. It was wet and messy and had her stomach roiling in disgust but Marena tried like hell to keep it together. Even when his other hand gripped her ass painfully.
“I’m gonna fuck that sweet ass tonight and you can get back to work in the morning,” he told her, his teeth scraping along her bottom lip.
There was a pinprick of pain at that action and her heart raced, all but exploding in her chest. Her mind screamed now, even as she tried to reach back for her purse again. When Davis had grabbed her he’d pulled her away from the table so it wasn’t within her reach as it had been before.
“This is not a good idea, Davis. I promise you…it’s not,” she stuttered.
“No,” he insisted. “I promise you this will be the best night of your life.”
His words ended with a slight chuckle and then what she might have thought was a growl, if her heartbeat hadn’t been thumping so loudly in her ears. She was shaking her head, his hand still holding her neck tightly. His other hand was working her dress up until he managed to touch the bare skin of her upper thigh.
“Please don’t do this,” she said in a voice that sounded nothing like her own, tears stinging her eyes.
“I knew I’d get you to beg,” was his response as his tongue traced a line down her neck.
Her body trembled, mind racing with what might happen, would could go down in just a few more minutes. Everything she’d ever worked for would be gone, down the drain because she hadn’t been paying attention to her surroundings. He was going to rape her and laugh about it in the morning. She would have to press charges against him, solidifying the end of her career at the firm because she knew for a fact there were other partners that wouldn’t believe her. She reached back, trying to move her feet and to get closer to that table once more. She’d gotten her purse unzipped, if she could just get her hand inside, all she needed was to get…
Pain seared through her shoulder, like a billion fire-hot needles sticking into her, ripping her skin and possibly part of her soul. The tears that had been burning her eyes poured down her cheeks and that scream she hadn’t wanted to break free, sounded throughout that room like a siren.
Davis was laughing. That’s what Marena heard next, laughing and she felt him rip her panties, his fingers touching the bare skin of her crotch. Adrenaline soared through her veins and she reached back far enough to get her hand into her purse. The eighteen hundred dollar designer bag probably fell to the floor she’d put her hand inside and pulled it out so fast, but Marena didn’t give a damn, all she knew was that she had to stop this madness, before it went too far.
With her other arm she pushed against Davis with all her might, sending him stumbling back a few steps. He looked startled, then smirked, his lips…bloody. Shaking her head so her mind would clear, Marena lifted her arm, the gun she’d taken from her bag clenched tightly in her hand.
“Get out of my room,” she said in a surprisingly steady voice.
He had the audacity to free his erection at that point, gripping it in his hand as he said, “Not until I’m done with you.”
She released the safety on the gun and aimed at his dick. “Now!”
It happened so fast Marena didn’t have a moment to do anything other than react. Davis lunged for her and she squeezed the trigger, catching him in the stomach. He paused for only a second, smiled and came at her again. Marena fired off another round and another and then another, until the gun was empty, clicking loudly in her hand as she continued to pull the trigger.
Her entire body trembled now. She felt like she was on fire, her heart racing so fast any second she was certain it would explode out of her chest. She dropped the gun taking a step back to try and catch her breath. Her next thought was that she needed to call the police, but when she turned to look for her purse again the room spun around her. Marena clenched her stomach that churned and bubbled as nausea swept through her body. She was cold and she was hot and in the next instant she was falling to the floor.
“Ma’am. Ma’am, just calm down, I’m Detective Silverman from the SFPD.”
Marena could hear his voice, gravely, with a sort of southern drawl that didn’t seem to fit here. The throbbing headache and sick feeling in the pit of her stomach didn’t fit either. She’d just left the party, had planned to get a quick shower and climb into the bed. It was a king size, just like the one she had in her bedroom. Only this one she wouldn’t have to make up when she woke in the morning because she was in a hotel. She would order room service and have breakfast-in-bed in the morning and lounge around for a while until it was time for her spa appointment.
But wait…she wasn’t in here alone. He was here and he…oh no!
Marena sat up, or at least she tried. Pain soared through her right shoulder with such intensity her head spun.
“Just take it easy,” that southern voice said again. “Take your time. You’ve had quite a busy night.”
Yes, Marena thought with an inward sigh. She had.
Opening her eyes she found herself staring into an unfamiliar face. A forty-something year old face with a scraggly beard and a pudgy nose.
“I’m Detective Ron Silverman,” he told her with a slight nod of his head. “Are you Marena Panos?”
Marena began to nod but stopped abruptly when pain from the motion almost blinded her. “I am.”
“And you work for The Arrington Firm, the company that had a big party downstairs earlier tonight?”
She knew better than to attempt a nod this time. Instead she spoke in a soft voice, “Yes.”
“Then you came up here to the room you reserved,” Detective Southern Drawl continued.
“I did,” she admitted.
His gaze grew just a little more intense on her as he said slowly, “And then what did you do?”
Nauseous and with her head throbbing like a bolder might have fallen on it, Marena was still a lawyer. She knew exactly what an interrogation was, as well as her rights regarding same. She also knew the look the detective was giving her—the “she’s a slut so she must have asked for it” one—and she wasn’t offended. She was pissed off.
Coming to a stand wasn’t easy, the room tilted and her stomach wheezed its displeasure, still she kept moving, until the detective was taking a step back to give her space.
“I’ll call my lawyer…now,” she said, swallowing hard to keep everything she’d eaten earlier down where it belonged.
Before the detective could reply Marena tried to take a step, but her legs rejected that notion and she felt herself going down quickly. There were two cops there now, the detective and a female wearing a uniform.
“She needs a doctor,” the woman spoke.
The detective frowned.
And Marena passed out. Again.
Twenty-four hours had passed and Marena still felt like crap. The doctor in the emergency room had ruled out a concussion, calling what she was suffering some sort of trauma. Although the female cop that had accompanied her to the ER had repeatedly told Marena that there was no one else in the room when they arrived.
She’d been lying on the floor, her gun beside her, with the door wide open. Another guest in the hotel had heard the shots and came over to find her. The police wanted to know what happened.
And so the hell did she.
“Hello?” Marena said groggily answering her cell phone.
She had no idea what time it was, just that it was daylight again. When she’d returned to her apartment from the ER she’d taken a shower and sat on the side of her bed preparing to call Gail McGovern, a woman she’d met in law school and the closest friend Marena had ever claimed. But she’d never made that call, or at least she didn’t think she hand. Exhaustion had overtaken her and Marena had fallen asleep. For an entire day.
“Marena? Hi. It’s Tammi, from the office,” the female voice spoke loudly through the phone.
Frowning, Marena tried to sit up in bed. She was still a little dizzy but at least her stomach wasn’t feeling as if it were ready to revolt at any minute.
“Hey Tammi,” she replied. “What’s going on?”
“That’s what I was calling you to find out,” Tammi said. “What the hell happened on Friday night?”
Marena was sitting straight up now, staring across her bedroom, confirming that she was still in a familiar place. The last time she’d awakened it had been in a hotel room with a strange cop staring in her face. “What do you mean?” she asked her secretary.
“The partners are here in the conference room. They called me about an hour ago and asked me to come to the office and to log on to your computer,” Tammi told her.
“What? What for? Wait, it’s Sat…no, Sunday?” She shook her head, trying to clear the fog that insisted on hanging around. They’d given her pain medication in the ER, but that was hours, no, a day ago, she thought, but she was having a hell of a time keeping hold of the time in her mind.
“There’s a cop here too,” Tammi continued. “I mean, he said his name was Detective Silverman.”
Detective Southern Drawl. Marena did remember his name at least.
“What are they saying, Tammi?” she asked, her hand tightening on the phone as she stood slowly from the bed.
“Davis is missing,” Tammi had said, her voice low.
Had she been whispering this entire time? Marena wasn’t sure. Her head still hurt. But she was walking across the room, going to pull the blinds closed at her window. She didn’t know why she did it, but she went to the second window and did the same thing.
“What do you mean he’s missing? I sh…I mean, I just saw him at the party on Friday,” Marena said.
“I know. That’s what they’re saying. I mean, they said that you and Davis were at the party and that the two of you left to go up to your room. He told Stan he’d call him in the morning, you know, after,” Tammi reported, not an ounce of judgement or disgust in her tone.
Because Tammi was another one of the females at the firm that thought they were in love with the fabulous Davis Sumpter.
“That’s not…” Marena replied immediately, then snapped her lips shut. She knew better than to admit anything, to anybody. Even her secretary. “I’m coming in. Tell them I’ll be there in an hour.”
“No!” Tammi immediately exclaimed. Then her voice lowered once more. “That’s why I’m calling you, Marena. I heard them talking about getting a warrant for your arrest. They think you did something to Davis.”
Marena remained silent because she had done something to that asshole. She’d shot him.
But if that were true, then where the hell was his body?
Marena closed her eyes. She’d shot a man. Twice, or was it three times. She couldn’t remember. What she did know was that he’d intended to sleep with her that night, regardless of whether she agreed or not. And she had definitely not agreed. So she’d defended herself. Now, Tammi was telling her something different. Davis was missing.
And she was a suspect in his disappearance.
“I’ll call you back,” Marena said quickly, disconnecting the call with Tammi before the woman could say anything else.
Her hands shook now. She looked down at them, at the fingers that had squeezed the trigger of that gun. Her ring was still there, the one her father had given her for her sixteenth birthday. She wore it on her left ring finger because Matthew Panos would forever be the love of her life. The only man she had ever allowed in her heart.
With that thought she willed herself to stop shaking. She was not weak. The youngest of five children and the only one to move away from the small coastal town in Florida, to go to college and to make something of herself, was definitely not a weakling. She pressed another button on her phone and had to leave a message for Gail.
Then, Marena did something she never thought she’d do.
She went to her closet and pulled out a duffle bag. In the next moments she was throwing clothes inside, grabbing her make-up bag, her bottle of Ambien and multi-vitamins, tossing them all into the bag as well. As she pulled on her jeans, Marena jumped when her cell phone rang. Checking the caller I.D. she frowned when she saw the office number.
Slipping her feet into her flats she was moving again, heading to her closet. She retrieved a t-shirt, quickly pulling it over her head, but taking another second or so to get it properly adjusted. Marena wasn’t a small girl by a longshot. She was curvy, or plump, voluptuous or luscious, as men had called her in the past. Chubby or round as her siblings used to tease. Cute-as-a-cherub, Darlene Panos used to tell her when she tucked her in at night. A beautiful, independent woman who needed to purge her closet of these shirts that might be a size too small, Marena thought as she closed the closet door and decided the snug fit of the t-shirt over her triple D sized breasts would simply have to suffice.
She ignored the phone call, grabbing her phone off the bed and her Kate Spade clutch. In the next ten minutes Marena was out the door, down the elevator to the underground garage in her apartment building. Climbing behind the wheel of her Mercedes SUV, she started the engine and pulled out of the garage. She drove for almost an hour before realizing she had no idea where she was going, or what she planned to do when she got there.
All Marena knew for certain was that something strange had happened in that hotel room Friday night. Something a lot stranger than a man she’d known for the last five years coming on way too strong and getting his ass shot in the process. Definitely more bizarre than the fact that Davis had simply gotten up after those shots she’d put into him and walked out of the hotel.
No, the most inexplicable part of that evening was the searing pain still shooting from her shoulder, down her arm, spreading to every part of her body. She’d remembered the start of the pain in that area, how it had pierced clean through to her soul, causing not only physical discomfort but an opening or awakening that she could not readily explain. Then she remembered seeing the blood around Davis’s mouth. He had really bit her. As weird as that sounded and as realization bounced around in her mind, Marena knew it was true. And then he’d disappeared. So now, she not only felt like crap, but she was also wanted by the police.
Yes, everything she’d recalled seemed outlandish and served as motive enough for her to try and find someplace safe to stay until she could figure all this out.
Until she could discover who the hell—or rather, what the hell—Davis Sumpter really was.
He was in.
His dick throbbing with each step he took. Down the long winding, underground hallway and up two sets of stairs, Phelan moved steadily, his mind and body focused on one thing only. Sex.
The urges had driven him for the past two hours as he’d pressed every bit of speed out of his Ducati 1098 Superbike on the highway leading him from Blackbriar to Bozeman. He’d made this ride weekly in the past two months, needing more than he’d ever had before.
Phelan was a lycan that possessed every lycan trait, including the insatiable sexual appetite. At thirty-one years old, six feet and three inches tall, one hundred and eighty-four pounds, he was almost as powerful as an alpha, and better trained than any of the human’s military soldiers. He’d lost count of the number of people he’d killed in his lifetime—human and others. There was no family for Phelan, just his pack. No fun and games, just the mission at hand. Life wasn’t a gift, it was a job, and Phelan knew how to do his job.
He also knew how to slake the burning need that for the last eight weeks had been raging through his veins like adrenaline. In the morning when he woke, until the second he was finally able to close his eyes for a night’s rest, he thought of sinking into a perfectly warm and wet pussy, drowning in its goodness until he could think of nothing else.
Not the threat on Blaez’s life.
Not the house full of lycans and their mates where he lived.
And certainly not the curse that Eureka had called herself putting on him.
Eureka, the beautiful vixen that had taken a part of him one summer’s night long ago, and turned him into the cold, hard, bastard he was now. It was amazing that one woman could do so much damage in such a short time span. But Eureka was no ordinary woman. In fact, she was a fury.
Phelan yanked the door open, stepping inside the room where he knew they would be. They were always here in the hours before the club opened. Always naked and aroused and doing whatever they could to calm the sexual storm brewing inside of them.
It was as if every being that was not human on this earth was fueled by its sexual desire and inside these walls, in the club that was owned and run by furies, there were no holds barred. They could all find complete ecstasy before they had to return to the real world.
Phelan’s booted feet were silent as they moved over the plush blood red carpet. He heard the sounds before he saw any of them, moans of pleasure, sighs of bliss. His blood warmed. Turning the last corner to where the furniture would be positioned just right, studio lighting would be in each corner, casting everyone in a bright golden light. Huge black pillows would be thrown on the floor, matching the black drapes at the two windows along that back wall.
He came to a stop at a chair, the one he liked to sit in. It was ready and waiting for him, just as he knew it would be.
She knew exactly what he liked. Always had.
Sitting down slowly, Phelan looked across the room to where a woman with red hair lay naked on the floor. Her legs were spread wide so that Phelan could see the slick folds of her pussy, seconds before another man’s tongue stroked them. Small, palm sized breasts were being grabbed from each side by two different women, while a fourth woman straddled the redhead’s face, allowing her to lick along the folds of her juicy pussy.
A few feet away a busty brunette stood with one leg up on a man’s shoulder. He thrust deep into her pussy while another man stood behind, pumping wildly into her bottom. The moaning grew louder, mixing with the sound of sweaty bodies slapping against each other, tongues slipping and slurping. It was a smorgasbord of pleasure, one that Phelan knew men and women alike, all over the world, would pay to witness in person.
As for Phelan, he only glanced at them momentarily. They weren’t what had drawn him here. He was waiting for something…or someone else.
She knew he had arrived, just as she always did. The scar beneath his left eye twitched only seconds before she came through a side door wearing all black leather. Boots that came to her thighs, a bra that barely covered the light pink of her nipples, and a thong that displayed the perfect globes of her ass. She walked slowly, being certain not to look at him directly. Her body was slim and compact, breasts just enough to fit into his palms, ass just slightly bigger. Long, bone-straight, dark brown hair hung down the center of her back, barely covering the two dimples above the curve of her ass.
Her nipples were already hard and Phelan was willing to bet every dollar in his pocket, and his bank account, that her pussy was wet. Eureka was always wet, especially for him.
When she’d come completely into the room, she turned her back to him, circling her hips to give her ass an extra bounce. He despised everything about her. From her husky voice to her penchant for revenge and spitefulness. The latter he could attribute to her DNA. She was a fury, her main purpose in life was to punish people by literally driving them insane. Well, Phelan could attest to the fact that she was damned good at her job.
The scar on his face tingled and he lifted a finger to rub along the gashes in his skin that had healed as much as they ever would. Lycans normally healed from all their wounds in record time. But this one, the one that was inflicted by another otherworldly being, was there to stay. Just as the curse she’d said she put on him. Phelan would have tried to argue that curse, but the fact that he was sitting here, for the ninth week in a row, his legs gaped open, dick hard and waiting, was proof to the contrary.
Another lycan came in at that moment. Taller and much slimmer than Phelan, his skin darker than Phelan’s olive complexion, long fingers gripping the black paddle in one hand as he walked. Phelan flexed his fingers, remembering all too well how good it felt to hold that handle in his hand, to wield that dominant power over Eureka.
Without a word Eureka leaned over a high-backed leather chair, so that she was facing the action of the others in the room, her upturned ass on display for Phelan to enjoy. Or to hate, whichever was his passion tonight. It was that way with her now. He hated her for what she’d done to him all those years ago, a searing dislike that went well beyond the physical scar she’d put on him, to the white-hot pain she’d inflicted on his soul. And then, there were the moments when he craved her like his next meal. He needed to be near her, to scent her pussy, to watch her climax, to hear her moan in ecstasy, although none of that had come at his hand in the years since she’d scared and cursed him.
The lycan stepped closer to her, extending his palm and laying it over one bared ass cheek. She remained perfectly still, without him having to instruct her. That was part of the act—she appeared to be submissive when in reality that was the very last thing that Eureka Trisk would ever be.
The lycan squeezed her cheek, gripping it tightly in his hand and Phelan’s mouth watered. His hand moved down slowly to unzip his jeans and release his thick length. Grabbing the root of his cock, Phelan jerked upward, hard as he watched the lycan rub along Eureka’s other cheek. Without warning the lycan reared back his other arm, bringing the paddle down over her ass with a loud whack.
She didn’t move.
Her cheek instantly turned red.
He paddled her again and again, rotating from one cheek to the next. With each strike Phelan jerked his cock harder and harder, pre-cum already beading and dripping from his slit. When the lycan ripped the black thong from Eureka’s waist, Phelan’s teeth clenched together tightly. He paddled her ass again and again, stopping only to slide his fingers down her slit. When he pulled his finger out, it was dripping with her desire and he immediately put it to his mouth and licked. Phelan pumped viciously into his hand. Another round of paddling and her ass cheeks were so red he could almost feel the heat emanating from them, while rivulets of her essence dripped down the inside of her thighs.
Phelan came at that moment. Like a storm that had been brewing, his release burst free, dripping down onto his hand and the front of his jeans. He cursed with the pressure that had built along the base of his spine and the tension that remained stretched across the breadth of his shoulders. He’d come but he wasn’t relieved. Not by a long shot. He never was.
Reaching down beside him he opened the black case that was always left there for him. Using the wipes and hand sanitizer, he cleaned himself and stood from the chair, not caring to see the lycan finally thrusting his rigid length into Eureka’s pussy, or the others that were still there, very near to finding their final release.
Phelan didn’t give a damn about any of it. He wanted to leave. Just as he always did. Hating the fact that he’d driven all the way out here in the first place, but unable to stop the monotonous routine.
Phelan’s boots thumped loudly on the stairs as he made his way out of the building, thoughts and recriminations roaring through his mind while he moved.
“Leaving so soon,” her voice carried through the air, echoing off the cinder block walls.
“Got what I came for,” was Phelan’s terse reply.
“And that’s all you ever wanted,” Eureka countered.
Phelan turned quickly, staring up the last flight of stairs to see her standing there, a sheer knee length robe covering what remained of her leather outfit.
Once upon a time there was so much he’d wanted to say to her, so many things he’d thought about sharing, about admitting, but then he’d found out her true purpose.
Shaking his head he responded, “Don’t do that,” he warned. “There’s nothing for us down that road.”
“This time?” She arched a brow, crossing her arms over her chest, looking like a goddess—a goddess of temptation and rage.
“Any time,” he said turning again to leave.
Her screech was loud and long and pierced straight through to his gut, but Phelan didn’t stop moving. So what she was angry, he’d given up on caring about the way Eureka felt about anything he did or said a long time ago.
“It won’t go away,” she yelled after him. “I will never leave you, no matter how far you try to run!”
Phelan kept moving, kicking through the door and stepping out into the night air. He had no idea what time it was now, just that the sky was black, overcast with no stars in sight. Typical he thought as his feet crunched on gravel before he stood near his bike once again. Grabbing the helmet he slipped it on, throwing a leg over and lifting his bike beneath him. He sat for a moment before starting the engine, inhaling deeply, exhaling slowly.
She was right.
She had never left him. Not in the ten years they’d been separated, the years since he’d found out she’d been sent to kill him. Her excuse for betraying him had been that she’d fallen in love with him, but that was a lie. Just as everything else she’d said and done. She hadn’t loved him, only the thought of bringing him and the leader of the Trekas pack to Zeus had intrigued her. Aroused her, yes, that’s one thing Phelan could lay claim to. But Eureka was easily aroused. She was fuckable and she was an evil bitch with vengeance flowing in her veins.
And she had been with him every day since then in his mind and infuriatingly, his soul. Every, fucking day. The scar was the physical reminder, but the hardening of his heart, the firm set of his jaw, everything down to the strict rules he put on his sex life, were a direct result of his experience with Eureka.
Starting his bike Phelan drove away from club Entice. He left the thoughts of his past behind to instead focus on more pertinent matters. The human world had been aware of the existence of shapeshifters living among them for a year now, but the residents of Blackbriar—the small Montana mountain town where Blaez, the alpha of his pack, had moved them more than a year ago—were now up in arms about them being there.
After Malec had killed the Solo—a lycan with no pack and no affiliation to the Hunters or the Devoteds—who had been threatening Malec’s mate, Caroline, in Caroline’s apartment, the town had let loose on the pack that had renovated the log cabin in the woods. So far, however, the security measures that Phelan had instituted had kept them away from the lodge, but tempers were brewing. The humans were planning and Zeus was still hunting Blaez. A bounty had been set for the capture or killing of the half demigod, half lycan, and Phelan and the other betas in the pack were charged with keeping him safe.
To say Phelan had other shit on his mind besides the claw marks on his face and the still raging hard-on pressed uncomfortably against his thigh, was an understatement. And as he rode along the highway in the dark of night, nobody would ever guess the weight laying heavily on the lycan’s shoulders.
The night air had been growing cooler as it was now in the midst of the fall season. It had rained earlier in the day drenching the area in scents of wet leaves, damp mud packed grounds, and for a Devoted lycan, the scent of its archenemy, the Hunters. The pack had picked up the aroma earlier in the week, even though they’d all been expecting more of the lycans that had vowed to destroy all Devoteds and especially the one true blood relation to their creator, Nyktimos. But the full moon was weeks away, so an attack wasn’t expected until then.
Yet, as Phelan inhaled deeply once more, his shoulders hunched, his fingers tightening on the handles of his bike. He leaned in closer, his gaze trained forward, to the car driving a short distance in front of him. The scent was coming from there. He sped up without another thought, leaning into a lane change until he came along the side of the SUV. The windows were tinted so that he could not see inside, but the stench had grown stronger, more potent than it had been just seconds before.
It wasn’t simply a Hunters scent either.
No, Phelan thought with a shake of his head. It was too strong, too feral, unrestrained, desperate and possibly afraid.
It was a new blood.
She was going to be sick.
Marena had never gone through a registration so quickly in her life. But she’d barely managed to get out of her car and run up the steps to the quaint little B&B nestled just off the road, surrounded by a copse of trees. Once inside she murmured something about needing a room for the night and slapped her credit card on the desk. Deep breaths while the desk clerk spoke what she knew was probably important information, but somehow sounded like jibberish, had kept her from keeling over right there in the lobby, on the lovely and most definitely expensive Aubusson rug.
By the time the clerk, a woman wearing a thick beige sweater and wire-rimmed glasses, handed her the credit card and room key, Marena could feel the bile burning at the base of her throat. She snatched the items from the woman’s hand and raced up the stairs, barely reading the room numbers, but somehow getting the key into the right lock and flying into the room, heading straight to the bathroom. She made it just in time and ten minutes later felt like collapsing on the pretty black and white tiled bathroom floor.
She’d just managed to pull herself to use the facilities in another way and then went into the outer room to retrieve her toothbrush from her bag when she heard something. Footsteps, she thought, but then shook her head when she also heard some ringing and the definite rumbling of her stomach reiterating the fact that she hadn’t bothered to eat during her fifteen hour ride from San Francisco to Montana. Of course, she’d stopped for gas and to use the restroom, but somehow food just hadn’t appealed to her tumultuous stomach. Now, she was thinking maybe she should at least try something light.
Marena was in the bathroom, toothpaste foaming at her mouth when she heard the footsteps again. This time they echoed in her head as if someone were walking right beside her. Inside her heart thumped wildly, sensations moving just beneath her skin like a live entity and she shivered. Leaning forward she rinsed and spit, grabbing one of the soft light blue towels from the pearl white rack and wiping her mouth. After she shut off the water, Marena stood, listening.
The footsteps had stopped, but whoever had been walking wasn’t gone. No, that person was near. Very near and she wondered what that meant.
Without even knowing why she walked into the bedroom and stared at the door. Not only was her heart pounding, but her temples throbbed now. The sickness in her stomach rolling around as if it were ready for an encore. She was standing there, holding her stomach with one hand, her head with the other when the first knock sounded.
She didn’t want to answer. A voice yelled loudly in her head for her to ignore the intrusion, while something deeper inside told her not to. It didn’t make sense. None of this did. Why couldn’t she open the door? She had no idea who was on the other side? And why the hell was she was feeling all these strange sensations. She wanted to sit down, or lie down and get some sleep. Surely that would make her feel better.
But then it didn’t matter what she did or didn’t do because he was there. He came up behind her, pushing her hand away from her head and wrapping something over her eyes. Instinct told her to turn and fight, to swing and kick and get to her purse, to her gun…again. But something else, that same something that had insisted she let him in, calmed her and Marena stood still. The thumping in her heart and the pain in her temples ceased immediately. Her stomach stopped churning and warmth ensconced her.
“You don’t need to see right now,” the male voice said from behind her. “You need to feel. To experience and to learn. It is just the beginning.”
Marena jerked against the covering over her eyes but he was stronger and he pulled it tighter, and when he was done, letting his hands slide slowly down her arms to grasp her wrists. She moved again, a weak attempt at getting away because there was something overriding all the fight or flight instincts she’d developed over the years of being a single woman. Something that she craved much more than her own safety. It was peace.
Her head no longer throbbed with incessant pain and her stomach was no longer revolting against her. In fact, Marena felt calmer now than she could remember ever feeling in her entire life. Why was that?
His hands moved back up her arms after her seconds of contemplation. Tender touches that she wasn’t sure were meant to be intimate, but had her thinking of warm winter nights, cuddled in front of a fire with a man that loved her as much as she loved him. It was a foolish thought to have at a time like this. Foolish and out of place. Weird and inexplicable. Just like most of the things that had been happening to her in the last forty-eight hours.
When those fingers touched her shoulder heat soared through her body and still she shivered. She wanted to open her eyes, to turn and look to see who this was that had come into her room this time. Her luck with hotel rooms and guys walking in on her sucked!
Marena took a step forward, until his hands were no longer on her. She turned slowly in the direction to which she’d thought she’d heard his voice. Then, as if just realizing it, she reached up and yanked the blindfold from her eyes.
“Who the hell are you?” she asked immediately upon seeing the tall man, dressed in black leather standing in the middle of the room. “And how did you get in here?”
For a few seconds—that actually seemed like an eternity—he simply stared back at her. The intensity in his piercing green eyes warming her in places they definitely should not be able to touch. She had no idea who this guy was or what he wanted. And she wasn’t anywhere near her purse this time.
“You left the door ajar. I knocked but you didn’t respond,” he told her.
“So you just came inside,” she countered. “You came inside and tried to blindfold me. Who does that? Nevermind, don’t answer. Just leave. Now! Before I call the cops.”
She’d made the threat but she knew she wouldn’t do that. For all she knew there was now a warrant out for her arrest in Davis’s disappearance. Well, at the very least the cops in San Francisco were actively looking for her to question her again. She hadn’t checked her phone in the last few hours, but at the last rest stop she had noticed that Gail hadn’t returned her urgent call. That troubled her, just as this guy who was still staring at her did.
“They cannot help you,” he told her simply, hooking his thumbs in the belt hoops of his pants.
It was a cocky sort of stance, one that said, ‘you need me and you don’t even know it’. Marena didn’t like it, but she couldn’t help staring back at him with what she felt might be intrigue.
“And you can? You don’t even know me,” she quipped. “Are you high? Did you get lost and need to find your own room?”
She attempted to walk around him then, to go to the door and hold it open wide for his departure. But he grabbed her arm. The touch was electrifying, sending jolts of what felt like fire-tinged tendrils up her arm and exploding throughout her body.
“Let me go,” she started to say, attempting to pull away from him, but stumbling back instead.
He reached out both arms then, catching her by the waist before she could fall flat on the floor. And that was no easy feat. Marena was a big girl, always had been. She was proud of her size eighteen on a good day—twenty on a viciously horrific one—curves and went the extra mile to select the most stylish in plus-sized clothing to ensure she looked her very best at every moment. Even now, after hours of traveling, her jeans were still crisp, the long sleeved charcoal colored t-shirt was only marginally wrinkled and her Stuart Weitzman Rialto flats still managed to look cute on her unusually small feet. Still, all of her weight was relying on his hold on her and Marena knew that was no slight matter. Yet, he was staring down at her as calmly as if they were sitting on a park bench sharing a hot dog.
“I’m not leaving you,” he said without blinking. “You don’t know why yet, but you need me here. I’m guessing that’s why our paths crossed in the first place.”
She shook her head, noting the electrifying green eyes and the ugly scar beneath one of them. “What the hell are you talking about? I don’t even know you.”
“But you know what you feel,” he told her.
His hands were still wrapped securely around her waist as they now stood face-to-face, so that she was a lot closer to this man she didn’t know, than she figured she should be.
“You know that you feel better in my arms,” he continued.
“Can you say conceited?” she asked with an arched brow.
He shook his head. “No. But I can say relief. That’s what I see in your eyes. You were sick before I came in. I could hear you all the way downstairs. I picked up your scent a couple miles back on the road. You’re still sick. It will last a few more weeks and then you’ll be alright. Different,” he said solemnly. “But alright.”
“You’re nuts,” she replied, but not with as much agitation as she should be feeling at this moment.
She did flatten her palms against his chest and attempt to push away. He held her firm without any effort at all.
“If I let you go and walk out of here, you’ll likely be sick again. You need the closeness of a ly—”
His words trailed off and for the first time since he’d come into this room Marena thought he looked indecisive. Contemplative maybe. He was a good looking—no, correct that, because Marena prided herself on being right the majority of the time—he was a damned fine looking guy. Broad shoulders and what felt like biceps more commonly referred to as ‘cannons’ beneath the leather jacket he wore. She’d glimpsed is slightly bowed legs in the leather pants and steel toed boots. The light beard and medium length-spiky hair cut he was sporting gave him a definite biker look—a dangerous biker from the looks of that scar. But there was more, she suspected, so much more to this stranger holding her so tightly in his arms.
“I don’t need you because I don’t know you,” she told him evenly. “Now, if you came in here because you were concerned that I was sick, I thank you very much. But really, I’m fine now.”
He looked down at her for another second or so. This meant he was tall because Marena was five feet nine and a half inches. Yet this guy was looking down at her, almost as if she were no bigger than a nymph. And for all that she’d been declaring she didn’t need him and asking him to go, the second he released his hold on her she couldn’t help but stumble back a step.
His eyes stayed glued on her even as he backed away, heading towards the door, she thought. Good, he’d taken her advice. She was going to lock that door and try her best to push the dresser up against it the second he left. No way was she going to lay down in this bed with thoughts of another man making his way, unwantedly, into her room. No way was she…
The nausea came back so fast and so potent, her knees buckled and Marena went to the floor, leaning forward as her arm clutched her abdomen. As she heaved pressure built at her temples once more, so intense this time that she felt like she might actually faint. She trembled with the effects wondering what the hell was going on with her.
And then he touched her.
His hands to her arms again, then down her back and beneath her legs as he easily picked her up from the floor and carried her to the bed. He lay her down, one hand brushing away the strands of hair that had escaped her ponytail, while he watched her closely.
“I told you,” he said in a flat, deep voice. “You need me to stay close. It’s just the way it is in the beginning. In a few weeks it will pass.”
“In a few weeks? What the hell is wrong with me? And why you? I don’t even know your name. I don’t know what’s going on,” she whimpered at the thought that her stomach had calmed once again, her head feeling much better at his touch.
Marena hated not being in control of herself, her thoughts, her emotions. She’d worked too damned hard to get where she was to have some guy barge in here thinking she needed him to what? To live pain-free? This was crap and she was getting angry. But she’d never been a fool and she couldn’t deny that he’d spoken a bit of truth—she did feel much better with him standing so close and touching her.
“I will tell you everything you need to know, if you tell me one thing first,” he replied.
“What?” she asked. “What can I possibly tell you about the strangeness that has been going on in my life since that bastard barged into my room last night?”
His brow furrowed. “What bastard? And what did he do to you while he was in your room? Did he bite you?”
Her shoulder ached at the sound of that word.
How did he know?
“Oh my…no…no.” She was shaking her head, soundbites and newsflashes sifting through her mind in seconds. Shapeshifters—cats, wolves, beasts. They were real. People had seen them, had worked with them. The stories were true, she knew this and yet…
Marena opened her mouth with the intent to scream, instead only one word broke free to be followed quickly by a pitiful moan, “No.”