“Your seed will be the vessels of flesh and blood that will be the wand of Harthen’s will, and the great givers of MagKaen; they alone will know charity, true selfless giving. They alone will bear it. And in their congress will free you all."
-Imohe duAnda, The verse of Qui-eye Tan
Mat landed in a familiar wooded area. He looked around gaining his bearings rapidly. His mate was near; he could feel the pull of the bond. She was alive. He tapped the bond between them, flinching at the onslaught of emotion that seeped through. What the hell had happened? He’d kill anyone who dared to harm her. She was his to protect.
A bass rumble sounded from his throat and his canines extended jutting from between parted lips. He turned quickly facing the two wolves that had appeared behind him. They were Nineve, but these days that didn’t necessarily mean ally.
“The alpha sent us to help you.” The calm voice was Jackson’s, second only to Fagan in dominance.
Mat looked to other wolf, nodding in greeting.
“He made a big deal about showing how much he supported you.”
That grabbed Mat’s attention. The sarcasm in the wolf’s voice was dripping wet. His name was Bast, one of the younger wolves in the pack.
“Did Kaye send you?”
“Yeah, he offered to teleport us here.”
A silent nod from Jackson, and a slow grin from Bast.
“We’ve been hearing about this mate of yours for what seems like forever. I’m kinda looking forward to finally seeing her.”
“You and me both.”
There were a few questions that Mat wanted to ask but none of them more important than finding his mate. She was close. Maybe a mile away. There was a flash of werewolf power and moments later two wolves stood with him. One was golden, the other a deep bronze. Both were much larger than a regular wolf. Their eyes were intelligent and aware.
The wolves turned to the north and trotted through the trees, the golden one scenting the air as he went. Mat paused a moment looking out over the meadow. The bond had gone quiet. He fought down a spring of worry. He’d feel it if his mate had died. He had to get to her. To see for himself that she was safe. And once he did, he’d never let her out of his sight again. Mat entered the trees, following his pack mates at a fast jog.
Mick stepped from the cave just as the last ribbons of purple light were leaving the sky. The cave was clean, all remnants of what had happened disintegrated in a ball of cleansing earth magic. Her report to the head office would be the only evidence of what had transpired here.
She took a shaky step forward suddenly very aware of how depleted she was. Her mind felt like a scratched CD, missing sections of the song it was supposed to be playing. Her body felt like it had aged seventy years in the span of the last hour.
Grief and horror weighted her every step but she forced herself to continue on taking the winding trail back down the mountain. She didn't know how she'd explain what she'd done. Didn't know how she'd live with it. She stumbled, finding it difficult to manage to make her limbs cooperate.
Minutes went by in a pained haze. There was a light rustle of underbrush just a few yards behind her. She paused, every muscle in her body tensing. An image of blood painted teeth and demon tinted eyes flashed into her mind. She lassoed her imagination, forcing her mind to clear. She looked around, ignoring her pounding heart. Feeling with her senses.
The scent came at her with a wall of myriad other information. It was verdant and wild, uniquely musky as only one being could be. Werewolves.
A low hanging branch glanced the side of her ribcage before Mick realized she was running.
Oh hell no. Not now. Not this!
She couldn't take another meeting with were-kind. Her feet felt like blocks catching on every nook and root as her mind scattered, overcome by raging memories. She'd met with the Nineve once before. She had no desire to ever meet with them again. Especially not now.
A few things had changed since the last time she'd had the pleasure. They'd kidnapped her before on the suspicion that she was a bitten were. She hadn't been. Sucking in a deep breath she marshaled her legs back into her control and picked up more speed. She felt them. The wolves. Breathing beside her, running along as if they were all out for a nice lope.
Note to self: Probably a bad idea to run from a pack of wolves on the night of a full moon, when you were one of only five females in the territory.
Mick's teeth clanked together muffling a short yelp as what looked like a mammoth angry dog appeared in her path. Its eyes were a vivid aqua burning out of a coat of tawny fur. She slid to a halt her feet tumbling over moss and leaf covered dirt until she could gain enough purchase to spring in a different direction.
She ran, putting heart and soul into it. Her magic was depleted and her emotions on the fritz. She struggled to control the Wild. The wolf was there just beneath the surface, refusing to subside. Mick'd had to bind her in a wall of fire and air to keep her from trying to emerge again.
There was a light crunch in the foliage on either side of her and two wolves appeared. They were sleek fury nightmares materializing from the dark itself. She screamed. They answered in kind, calling to the moon, even as they herded her sharply to the right.
The one on the left bumped her elbow a little with the muscled mass of his shoulder, and she jumped away feeling scalded by his heat. They made their call a second time and Mick grabbed a low hanging branch to keep from planting her face in the dirt. She felt a profound shift in her being, and then a vibration like the scattered pound of rain on a window.
They just had to do it didn't they? Here she was going along just fine, minding her own business, and they have to make so much noise that they wake up her stinking wolf.
Stupid werewolves. She hated them she really did. Mick stumbled to a halt, looking blindly at the small meadow around her. The two that had been leading her had disappeared back into whatever hole they'd crawled out of. She should have been relieved but somehow she wasn't.
The Wild rose suddenly, a great rush of fiery anger slicing a path for her to run along. It was always that way, the anger, the hot soul bending pulse of unnatural power, and then the fight. The wolf wanted out, she wanted control of their body and Mick was afraid that this time she might get it.
Her knees bent, and she sank to the damp grass, hands finding purchase in the hair like roughness. Her body shivered, long and racking, as she struggled to breathe. Her hands clutched her stomach as if to hold the Wild inside, praying that she could.
Her forehead touched the ground just as a wave of fury so strong it brought tears to her eyes, tensed her muscles to the point of shivering. It ran up her body traveling her nerves like searing insects searching for an escape. Her jaw clenched and she whimpered low in her throat, fighting to hold back a scream.
Oh High God. Please.
She couldn't move, she tried and had to bite her lip to hold in a tortured moan. Her muscles contracted flinging her body open, laying her flat on the ground. The Wild, the powerful essence of the wolf inside her, was beneath her skin crawling around as if searching for position.
The wolf prowled raising painful bumps wherever she went. Mick’s muscles felt like they would rip under the pressure. Grunting she forced herself to roll over and curl into a tight ball. Pulling her knees into her chest, she cradled herself against the agony of the change.
She could feel the cool grass against her cheek as she panted. Whimpering she squeezed her eyes shut. Trying to focus, called her power drawing on exhausted resources. She needed to force the animal back into her cage, but the Wild resisted her with razor sharp claws and lethal canines. The wolf fought her way forward forcing her presence into Mick's consciousness.
Mick’s senses dipped for a moment blanking out only to come back with such intensity that her stomach lurched and nausea crawled up her throat. It was too much. Her eyes watered, and she could smell the salty flavor of her own tears.
Her body tensed suddenly bringing her to all fours. A low rumbling sounded in her ears, and her back arched bringing her bottom high into the air. The scent of lavender and musk filled her senses and she shivered as the wolf within her seemed to stretch, pushing her insides into places they were never meant to be. It wasn't painful exactly, just uncomfortable in a way she'd hoped never to experience.
Then the Wild was still for a moment and Mick breathed out a sigh of relief for the reprieve. She hadn't changed. That's all that mattered. She couldn't change.
It would kill her.
Terror assaulted her, wringing through her insides in a swirling morass of pain and shivers. What if Mick couldn’t stop her? What if the wolf took over? She’d be lost to it. If she survived.
Mick heard a rustling in the bushes behind her and the low rumble turned into an outright growl. It rolled from her chest in a staccato wave that tickled her throat. It seemed wrong somehow for a growl to be coming from a human throat, although she wasn't exactly human. The growl became louder and she felt a presence behind her. The scent of fresh pine needles washed over her and the wolf shifted inside her as if turning toward it.
Her head spun at the movement and she struggled to regain equilibrium. What was it? The wolf inside her whined through her throat. She knew she should be terrified but somehow her feelings had gotten separated from her thoughts. Had she changed? She didn't think so, but something had happened. Something serious.
Her body jerked, and then a solid mass hit her from the side rolling her over even as it tangled with her limbs. Then there was the feeling of being cradled against strength and masculinity so potent it was like a strong cologne that lingered long after the wearer had left. She knew that smell. Felt embraced by it, warm in places left cold for too long.
It came out muddled through a constricted throat. Mick wasn't sure that talking was possible in this state but it couldn't hurt to try.
His only answer was the smell of pine wafting in her nose before her mouth was taken in a hot binding ambush. The kiss was painfully passionate, devouring her as it coaxed her response. She trembled against him. She felt power rise in him, the sleek cool strands sliding through her entwining them more completely than lovers.
It wasn't right somehow. The essence was lighter than before, with a minty undertone. It wasn't werewolf power. She stiffened. His power felt too much like her own.
What was this? What was he?
"Yield." His voice was a rough base note just this side of a growl. The demand was clear. She had no choice. It was as if something rode her forcing her to things she would never have considered before. It didn't matter that he was her biggest nightmare.
His hips pressed against hers and she forgot any objections that she might have had. Her weile opened, baring her insides letting his magic slide completely through her. It was a hot wave coursing through her veins bringing her to a feverish awareness of her body and his.
Her hands gripped shoulders that were broad and heavily muscled. Abrupt desire rose, hot and liquid. Her body took control overpowering any thoughts before they could form. There was no her, there was only the towering need that overwhelmed all things. The first surge almost drowned her in its abundant rush. It destroyed her will demanding that she accept the man above her. Her mate.
Mick didn't know resistance. She only knew his mouth, and the texture and heat of his tongue and teeth as he nipped at her swollen lips. She wanted to drink him down so deep she'd never get free.
A low growl rumbled from his throat and then his hands were sliding over her body in frenzied abandon. She squirmed against him, want riding her, pushing her body closer to his. The Wild settled within her suddenly tame in the face of their mingled passion. His teeth nibbled at her bottom lip, and then he was pushing her to her stomach.
She felt his breath skim the nape of her neck, then the sound of fabric rending and her shirt disappeared. He licked her, his hot tongue making firm wet strokes up her back. Mick moaned in pleasure and pushed her bottom into his stomach. His response was a snarl that was even and deep, as his nipping teeth made their way up. He felt so good. She couldn't stop squirming. She wanted to rub her body against his, lengthwise. She wanted to lick him back.
His mouth found her neck and his weight came over her, pushing his hard erection against the back of her thighs. She writhed against him, rubbing him with her body. She felt frenzied and out of control, and the Wild rode the wave with her. For once they were in accord.
Hot skin scalded her and she was aware for the first time that he was naked against her. She shuddered at the feeling of his cock nestled against her backside. His lips feathered over her nape then down raining kisses as he moved over her. His hands slid down her back over curves and valleys firm enough to massage.
Using one large hand he gripped both of her hands in one of his, leaning over her, his chest pressed to her back. His other hand made its way over her hip and down dipping beneath the waist of her pants, fingers flipping open the button and then parting the zipper in one stroke. She turned her face to his and he kissed her so fiercely that she missed a few moments, coming too completely naked and kneeling on the shredded remains of her clothes.
"I don't suggest you try to run mate. I won't let you go this time."
His voice did that growly wolf-man thing that tingled her insides and it was all she could do not to shiver. She couldn't respond her mouth just wasn't working past the pants and sighs that were coming each second.
He laid his lips against her shoulder, a gentle kiss at odds with the storming tide of lust that had taken them. His hand slid down her stomach and through the slick wet folds of her sex. She was more than ready for him, her body was screaming to feel the hard thick thrust of him as he took her.
She felt the tip of him probing between her thighs before it hovered just above her pulsing slit. He paused, his hand releasing her wrists and sliding across her upper chest to pull her in tighter, hugging her to him. The other hand continued to play in her wetness, opening her for his invasion.
He pressed in slowly, the thick slow penetration both pleasure and torture in one. Mick moaned arching into him her hands curling in the remains of her shirt.
He continued, driving slow and steady, in and out, stopping just as the flared tip crowned her opening, and then pushing deep inside her again. She whimpered, pressing her lips to his forearm, as she shuddered with a need she couldn't quite name.
"Yes." Her voice was ragged, pleading. "Need you, need...."
His teeth bit down just where her shoulder met the neck, and he began to drive against her with fierce pummeling strokes. Mick shivered beneath him, one hand gripping his wrist as the other pressed into the ground. She made small guttural sounds in her throat, lost to the pleasure, lost in her mate's absolute possession of her body.
He growled against her ear, his hips grinding into her as he fucked her harder and harder. She was so wet that moisture seeped onto her thighs joining in the heated friction of their bodies.
This was what she'd needed, what both she and the Wild had craved the minute he'd found them again.
"Mine," His voice was soulful, full of an emotion she'd never heard before, "Mine, always."
He came, the hot jets of his seed a brand inside her, each pulse a claim. He rotated his hips one last time and brought her with him, her insides contracting around him in wave after wave of intense sensation. They moaned together, panting and shivering.
Her arm gave out, and he caught her hugging her with both arms as he sat back with her in his lap. He was still inside her, pulsing with need, his erection still just as prominent as when they'd began.
"It’s the heat." He answered when she swiveled her hips causing him to slide an inch deeper. "Sleep now."
She felt his lips at her ear, and her eyes closed.