Chapter dedicated to youd0ntknowme. Thanks, hot stuff, for reading and clever commenting!
Chapter 30—Square One
I knew the moment I woke up and Hycinth was gone, we were right back to square one. Maybe it was unrealistic but I'd hoped the progress we made the night before would continue. I'd hoped when she saw how good we were together, how good the bond was for both of us, she'd want to choose me.
I should have known better.
Fantasizing about our future together was not a good idea, not if I wanted to survive after our four weeks was over. The pain in my chest nearly suffocated me. Hope was a bitch when it was torn away and the only thing left behind was cold, empty despair.
But I had her in my arms now.
And I would do everything in my power to keep her there.
I kissed her on the forehead. She looked up, lake blue eyes finding mine. Stepping back, I took her hand. "I want to show you inside." She nodded and walked with me through the wide opening.
Every aspect of the interior of the cottage had been carefully thought-out and crafted. I gestured to the floor, walls and exposed beam ceiling. "All of the hardwoods were cultivated from trees on our land in the forest."
"It's beautiful," she murmured, head swiveling around, lake blue eyes absorbing the details. Holding my hand, she walked with me through the spare room, bathroom, and quaint little kitchen.
"The kitchen isn't really necessary during the Claiming Ceremony. The wolves will prepare and bring us food each day. However, the cottage will be used by the entire pack after the ceremony as a place to relax and have fun by the lake."
She nodded, running her fingers along the edge of a kitchen cabinet. "That makes sense."
"Also, once some modifications are made, it will be a place of sanctuary and protection for unmated females in heat."
Her glance flickered to mine. She seemed to understand I was referring to adding a wall and door and didn't ask questions about the details.
When we emerged back in the main living area, it wasn't really necessary to point out the focal point of the room—a large king size bed. Complete with ultra-comfortable pillows and silky soft bedding. Not that we'd be doing much sleeping. The thought caused my groin to tighten. I pushed back my arousal. This wasn't the time.
I'd never been with a Wolf in heat before, but enough mated males had shared their experience for me to understand it was unlike any other time together. Satisfying a shewolf in heat was no easy task. Three days. Three days of almost nonstop fucking. And my Wolf was chomping at the bit, restless, eager to take his female and stake his claim. He wasn't holding back and had absolutely no filter on his fantasies. A collection of naughty images bombarded my brain. I bit back a groan.
Unaware of my internal struggle, Hycinth released her grip on me. I stood still and watched her as she walked forward, running her hand along the edge of the bed. Her fingers trembled slightly. When she reached the decoratively carved headboard, she turned to look back at me. Her irises swirled with tumultuous emotion, excitement, fear, arousal.
Shit. My control was tenuous at best. She couldn't look at me like that and not expect me to respond.
Instantly, I closed the distance between us. My hands wrapped around her neck, fingers curling into her red locks. She shivered, her voice a breathy plea, "Leander..."
Fuck...she was beautiful.
"I'm going to make it perfect for you," I swore fiercely. "Everything your body needs and your heart desires."
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"Shh, little mouse, you don't have to run away..." my words were hypnotic, whispering into the magic of the atmosphere. "Spanking can be a form of pleasure, just as much as it can discipline." She gave an almost imperceptible shake of her head, spin...