Author’s Note: So very sorry about the long hiatus. I just haven’t been feeling it. There aren’t any pictures, sorry. Some sort of explicit sex…it’s not PG, but it’s not R and I’m not sure if it qualifies as PG-13…
“Are you going to give me the silent treatment the entire trip?” The ‘Wolf asked as he drove into the mountains.
I grunted. I wished he would pay more attention to his driving than me. Just because I could fly did not mean I enjoyed the hairpin turns with steep drop-offs.
“My name is James.” He tried again. “Look, l know you’re not thrilled to be here, but I wouldn’t be insisting on it if I didn’t think it was important. You might as well make the best of it.”
“Of being kidnapped? I think not.”
“I’m not kidnapping you.”
“Can I go home?”
“Of course not.”
“Then how is it not kidnapping?”
He sighed. “This is for your own good.”
“So you say.”
I ignored him. I had no real assurance that I would ever be allowed to leave. I was a herm. Valuable for my womb if nothing else. The Healer had assured me that I wasn’t pregnant. I was grateful for that. I yawned as the motion of the car lulled me to sleep.
“Are we there yet?”
“How much longer?”
“A while. Do you need to use the restroom?”
“Sure.” Anything that would let me out and stretch my wings.
“Well, you’re going to have to hold it.”
“But I re-e-ally have to go.” I squirmed in my seat as if I really was ready to burst.
He snorted. “One, there isn’t any place to stop until our destination. Two, how gullible do you think I am?”
“Um…” No good answer to that. I slumped back. “I am feeling claustrophobic.”
“Sorry. I don’t trust you not to try to make a break for it given the chance.” He glanced apologetically at me.
“Wouldn’t you if you were in my shoes?”
“Yes. I would. I did.”
“I was not born a werewolf. I had to leave my life, my human life, to go live with the Pack. I have experience making that adjustment. I know how you feel.”
“No. You don’t. You can’t. You were human. I’m not. I’ve never been human. You seek to diminish me by forcing me to join the Pack. They would insist I be ‘Wolf when I’m not. When I’m more.”
“You are young.” He reached out to touch my knee. I jerked it away.
“I’m an adult.”
He smiled. “You judge them too harshly.”
“Don’t patronize me. I’m not a child or an idiot.”
“You don’t know them.”
“And you do?” I countered.
“They’re my Pack.”
I snorted. Maybe he was right and I was being too cynical, but I’d rather be pleasantly surprised than unpleasantly surprised. What I knew of werewolves suggested that they were usually intolerant of those who were different. Besides, werewolves were creatures of Earth while fairies were definitely of Air. Not to mention fairies had created werewolves during the War specifically to be cannon fodder. Needless to say the ‘Wolves had been instrumental in hunting down and exiling the fairies afterwards. Not exactly the sort of history to inspire warm fuzzy feelings between the races. Clearly James was ignorant of this or a better actor than I thought.
I sighed. I was so not looking forward to meeting the Pack. I had a very bad feeling about it similar to the one I’d had before I’d gone to the military base. Too bad I couldn’t pin it down, but Mers weren’t exactly known for their abilities at predicting the future. Even if I actually had the gift of Sight, there was no one to train me.
“Wake up.” James nudged me.
“Huh?” I rubbed sleep out of my eyes.
Here turned out to be a wide spot at the end of a dirt track. I was rather glad I’d slept though it. As far as I could tell, it was barely wide enough for the truck to pass. I was a bit surprised that we still had both side mirrors and a pristine coat of paint. “Now what?” I pulled my cloak tighter about my body.
“Now we walk.”
“Seriously?” I eyed the snow surrounding the parking area.
“Yes. We value our privacy. This makes it harder for any hunters to find our den.”
“Please tell me you don’t mean an actual den.”
He laughed. “No. Our winter camp is in a cave system which we’ve enlarged to include human-style houses. In the warmer months we use tents since we’re nomadic then.”
“Joy,” I muttered. “Any chance of indoor plumbing?”
“No. Nor electricity.”
“Surely you are used to such primitive conditions?”
“Yes, doesn’t mean I like them. I may have a higher tolerance for cold, but nothing beats a hot shower on a cold morning.”
He shrugged. “Unless you heat the water over the fire, you’ll have to do without.”
“No hot springs?”
I winced. “You do remember I have to bathe everyday, right?”
He stared blankly at me.
“Mer. Creature of water?”
“Oh. Right. We’ll do this bit as wolves.” He gestured to the surrounding forest. I wrinkled my nose. Wet wolf did not smell any better than wet dog. “Do you need help shifting?”
I shook my head. I could feel my wolf pacing eagerly under my skin, anxious to be free. Anxious to run. “How long will the trip take?”
He squinted up at the fading sunlight. “Depends. I could make it there by midnight. However, given your inexperience, I was thinking about stopping in about three hours to rest and finishing the trip in the morning.”
“You don’t need to baby me.”
“Dariel, there’s a regular campsite there. I frequently stop there on the way back. It just isn’t necessary. Besides, you are inexperienced both as a werewolf and in the back country. It’s better sometimes to go slow than to hurry and end up being delayed due to an accident. I know these mountains. They can be treacherous even in the middle of summer. In the winter…” he trailed off.
I nodded soberly. I might be here under protest, but it would be foolish to ignore the advice of my native guide out of pique. “Okay.”
“You will let me know if you need a rest?”
I nodded. I looked away as he shifted. It wasn’t really painful, it just looked that way. I took a deep breath and reached exchanging two feet for four. As wolves we raced over the snow. I had to admit it was kind of fun. Winter had never been my favorite season. James suddenly barreled into me, tumbling me tail over nose into a snow bank. I yelped and retaliated.
By the time we reached the rest stop, I was exhausted. I collapsed on a pile of furs and shifted back. James built up a fire before coming over to me. I didn’t protest as he undressed me and tucked me into the furs. They were amazingly soft against my bare skin.
“Mmph. I’ve put on a stew that will be edible even in the morning. In the meantime…” he hesitated. “You’ll feel better in the morning if I massage your muscles now.”
He smiled. “I noticed. It does make the process easier. May I?” He reached out and laid a hand on my bare shoulder.
I rolled on to my stomach. “Mind the wings.”
“I will. They are beautiful.”
I blushed at the unexpected compliment. Then I blushed for another reason entirely. He was very thorough in his massage though it never became sexual. I was very confused by my body’s enthusiastic response to his touch. I loved Mr. Frank, I shouldn’t desire someone else. James slid under the furs. I started at the feel of his bare skin next to mine.
“James…” I began uncertainly.
“Two sleep warmer than one and it is easier to share body heat if we’re both naked.” He explained as he pulled me into his arms.
“That’s not all you want to share,” I responded as he slid between my thighs now slick with my arousal.
“No. It’s not.” He agreed as he pressed against me. “But the choice is yours.”
“Not much of a choice,” I gasped as he slid inside me a bit.
“Say ‘no’ and I’ll pull out.” He ran his hand down the back of my thigh and thrust forward some more.
“Oh, Watcher!” I groaned as my erection became trapped between our bodies.
“No. Just James,” he murmured as he pulled me closer. “Was that a ‘no’?”
“Definitely not!” I slid my leg over his permitting him greater access to my private parts. A little bit of wiggling and he was completely sheathed in my body. He didn’t ask again as we moved toward release.
“Am I slut?” I asked drowsily much later.
“I don’t think so, but then I’m admittedly biased. Why do you ask?”
I rested my head on his shoulder. “I had sex with you and Mr. Frank after a very short acquaintance. I didn’t even pretend to refuse him!”
“Oh? Is that what you were doing? Pretending to refuse me?” He lightly slapped my hyper upper thigh. I moaned and moved against him. “Dariel?”
“Do that again?” I urged him.
“I beg your pardon?”
“Slap me again. Harder.”
He sat up abruptly. “You want me to slap you?” He asked me incredulously.
I nodded, blushing. “Yes. Please. I like it,” I mumbled shyly.
“You like being hit?”
I sighed. Clearly James was having difficulty with the concept that I might find pleasure in pain. “Yes. I do. Is that a problem?”
He ran a hand through his hair. “Promise me something.”
“Promise you won’t tell anyone else in the Pack that.”
“Promise me, Dariel,” he insisted.
“I promise. Why does it matter?”
He stared into the fire, refusing to meet my eyes. “Because there are those who would wish to test it. To test your limits.”
“But…we’re mates aren’t we? Surely they wouldn’t try to interfere?”
He sighed. “It’s complicated. The Pack Leader has to recognize us as mates.”
“But…we…,” I swallowed. “I gave myself to you…”
“I know.” He reached out to cup my cheek. “Perhaps that will be enough.”
“But you don’t think so.” I pulled away.
“I do want you,” he averred. He spooned me. We fit together pretty well. I just wished I knew if my feelings for him were genuine or the lingering remnants of my heat. Then there was Mr. Frank…I still didn’t know if he was alive or dead. I felt guilty about leading James on when I was already in a relationship. A relationship that my aunt had already approved. She couldn’t possibly accept a werewolf as kin-by-marriage no matter the circumstances. Was this why arranged marriages had become the norm among the Mer? I was being torn in two. Once I became fully Joined to one of them I’d be fine. As it was…