Installment No. 28
Okay. So, he’d lasted longer than he thought he would, except they were both still virgins because he hadn’t been able to hold his human form. Her earthy scent mingling with the musk of her arousal had rocketed him into the stratosphere.
Christ, he wanted her. Needed her so desperately the taste of her in his mouth had lit his spine like a roman candle. If she hadn’t started humming that lilting tune again, he’d have lost it long before he had.
Hearing his song curl from her throat had not only helped to still him, it had also resonated within him as if it were the bow to his violin strings. Her body played his song, weaving and entwining them together irrevocably. They were mating, although they had yet to consummate their joining.
Which was just fucking brilliant. Like he needed to bond with the rogue before turning her over to the Alphas. Bonding was the human equivalent of marriage, only better. Or worse, he thought, as a runnel of panic threaded through his guts. Mated wolves stayed that way because they couldn’t divorce themselves from the being who innately carried their song, who controlled the beating of their hearts, commanded the blood coursing through their veins.
Already, Sofia was manipulating him physically and emotionally. Not that she had any clue of the depths to which she was instinctively adapting. But just to make her induction into the realm of the wolf-people a real oasis of joy, all that was left for him to do was to spill his seed inside her, and they’d be forever bound. Like a billion miniature sponges, her cells would absorb his—their scents forever blended. The more they lay together, the stronger the tie. To kick a dead horse, even years after the death of a mate the bonding scent lingered in the one still living. It faded, true—but never fully went away. When he abandoned her to the Alphas, he would condemn Sofia to a half-life.
He couldn’t do that to her. Wait. No. He wouldn’t do that to himself. Sofia’s needs were secondary to his own, God damn it. But just imagining how wounded she was going to look when the blow from his betrayal filled her gray eyes had him wanting to rip his own throat out to end the agony of it. Effing Christ. His cock was confusing his ideas of freedom.
German took a deep breath and pulled Sofia closer against his bare chest. They’d gotten so far as to remove her clothing before he’d succumbed to his wolf, and she’d left them off until he was able to lock her in his bare, very human arms.
“Mmm. This is nice. I’m glad I waited for you,” she murmured drowsily.
Shit. He wrapped a red tress around his finger, caressed it. “Sorry about that.”
“I’m not. I’m flattered, really. It’s not every day a girl can say she literally drives her man wild.”
“Her man, huh?” He. Did not. Like. The sound. Of that. Yeah, and if he repeated those bitten words one more time he would believe them. Of course he would.
The woman went too quiet and he willed his heart to pound normally.
“You’re awful silent there.”
She replied with a healthy ration of more. Christ, he should say something. Her reserve unnerved him because it felt sad, which was an emotion from her he was finding hard to endure. When she finally lifted her chin to look up at him, her silky red hair slipped along his sternum, and his skin went tight, as though it was drawing every inch of itself toward that touch. “Can I ask you something?”
“Yeah, sure.” His voice came out like a scrape, as though his throat was lined with sandpaper.
“The place we’re going to…it’s your pack, right? Your family?”
Family? His idea of family didn’t punish the spirit, it was supposed to nourish it, to be the safe place. So, no, the Alphas’ pack wasn’t his family, had stopped being his family the day his own mother had salted the bleeding lash across his back, scarring him permanently.
Warm and fuzzy thought, that. He eased off his grip when he realized he was practically squishing the woman in his arms. “Yeah, it’s my pack,” he admitted on a rough exhale. Yet, if he looked at it from Sofia’s perspective then yes, the pack was a family, too. Something was better than nothing for a wolf, he supposed. Going it alone wasn’t easy for an animal hard-wired to be with others, and Sofia had been running solo for more than twenty years. She deserved the solidarity of like souls.
She snuggled in tighter against him. “They’ll accept me, then, right?” Dearest Luna, she sounded so unsure. So fragile.
He pressed the underside of his chin to the top of her head, sealing her in a little tighter to his body. She molded perfectly. Damn. “Definitely. You’ll practically be smothered by other shifters.” He wasn’t lying: the Alphas would suffocate her wolf.
Christ almighty, he was going to leave her behind to a veritable prison. Drop off his living stray in Minnesota and high-tail it out of the compound without looking back. He pressed Sofia tighter to the shelter of his body to quell his mounting dread while he fought to rationalize his disloyalty.
Disloyalty. No point in dressing up that ugly baby. No matter how pretty the outfit, there was still an underlying stink to what he planned to do. Mating her would just make it all the more rancid. So he wouldn’t. No matter how well her body fit against his.
Her voice vibrated against his bare skin. “Smothered by shifters, huh? I can’t even say that’s scary. It’s too exciting. Finally I’ll be with people who get me. All my life, German…” she repeated, as though her disbelief was getting a foothold. Her hair tugged at the scruff growing beneath his chin as she shook her head. “I can’t believe any of this is true.”
He was going to hell. She was being brave and honest, and he was going to rot in hell for leading her into a trap. German raised his eyes to the crescent moon and hoped Sofia would forgive him some day. Because he sure wasn’t going to be able to forgive himself for this crime. Not if he lived a thousand years.
~Installment No. 29 coming Tuesday, February 18, 2014.