Against Sofia’s better judgment, she and German returned to their room to change their clothes. Well, she wouldn’t be changing her clothes because she was still a wolf, the dress she’d been wearing still laying like a shed snakeskin on the floor of the dining room. Now that they were no longer downstairs, her mate was shucking his suit like a bear picking through the garbage: shit was getting tossed.
Until he stood naked, turning toward her like Adonis. God, he was beautifully handsome, his muscles perfectly formed. Not over-pumped like he worked out in a gym, but well-defined and chiseled because of the lack of body fat. German was lean, built for agility, speed, and strength.
Like a wolf.
Huh. Add two and two and you get someone worth drooling over. Literally. Sofia ran her wolf tongue along the ridge of her left lip, and her mate’s verdant eyes caught fire. She smelled his arousal before her gaze picked up on the subtle tightening between his legs. Wolf senses. Nose first—but, oh, how sharp her eyes were!
German’s smile lit his face, narrowed his green eyes with the lifting of his cheeks. “If I didn’t know better, I’d think I was dinner.”
Sofia’s tail swept like a pendulum, heavy and low, side to side.
As if she’d spoken, he understood. Then again, she guessed she had said something. Reading body language was a finely tuned and innate talent. Now that her wolf had blossomed fully from her, comprehending the nuances of the body didn’t seem so strange. And didn’t get her into trouble, either. No wonder her transition went pretty seamlessly: she was already half-way there, her body just needed to catch up with her brain.
She loved her wolf self. Hugged it fiercely to her like the long lost twin it was. So, her mate standing in front of her nude tickled her skin beneath her fur. She was anxious for him to join her.
However. German sat on his heels and opened his arms for her to come to him. He knew she wasn’t just excited, that she’d be asking a hundred questions if she could shift out of her wolf form. But circumstances kept her trapped. She couldn’t regulate her pounding heart, couldn’t cool the heat of her blood.
“C’mere, Sofe.” His tender name for her. She needed comforting as much as she wanted him inside of her, and he knew that. She hadn’t been wrong to bind herself to this man. Who was a wolf, too. God! She loved him, loved their lives together. Unable to stop herself, Sofia squirmed against him, curling herself around her paws like they were a pedestal and her upper body a swivel chair. To be rubbed against German’s broad chest, inside of his strong arms. She kissed him under the chin repeatedly, her tongue flicking out, her nose nudging him.
He tugged an ear, let it go, tugged again. Quieting her. Quelling her rising anxiety. It worked, even without the gentle swaying of a moving car beneath them. She felt his chuckle like bubbles fizzing across her fur. “Yeah, we dodged a bullet.” He resumed the tugging as they both grew quiet. “We’re homeless, though, Sofe. I’m your mate without a territory.” She heard his regret, his disappointment. Like he’d expected more from himself.
How could she tell him he’d already given her more than she’d ever dreamed possible?
No home? Hell, nothing new from where she was standing. In fact, she’d never been better equipped to be homeless. With her fur, she had portable shelter. Her wolf body was a damned grocery cart. Push it and food could be had.
Aaaand…door number three? She wasn’t alone in any of it. No matter what the future held, elementally she knew German would always be there. They were bound together, his promise to her going far beyond mere words spoken. He was a living thing moving within her.
Within her. Those weren’t just pretty words. The gray wolf prowled below her skin, in every cell, through her blood, so she always felt him, always knew he was with her.
“We could head back to the northeast.” Sofia wiggled deeper into his embrace. Hell, yeah! As much as she’d enjoyed her first trip across the country, she missed Maine. If that was where German wanted to go, then they should be heading there yesterday. She released the whine building up in her chest as her tail thumped. “That’s a yes, huh?” She felt his smile along her fur as he buried his face into her ruff, his arms squeezing tighter.
He needed her. As much as she needed him.
After a deep breath, he stood up. “Okay. Just you and me, and our paws beneath us.” Determination hardened his features, pacing like a fierce thing in his eyes. “Wolf, Sofia. We leave here as wolves.” Which meant they would take nothing, so he wouldn’t owe anything to this pack. He would finally be free.
But, he knew the risks and wouldn’t go if she didn’t dare. Wolves lived together not just for the camaraderie. As pack, they helped one another survive. Which wasn’t some theory discussed while sated and warm, comfortably safe beside a crackling fireplace.
She’d been surviving on less than she had now. So, no, she wasn’t deterred, she wasn’t frightened. Loping toward the door, she stopped and yipped. If they were going then they’d better get going before the idiots downstairs did something predictably human: like take back their promise that she and German could go in peace.
Her mate fell to his knees as he succumbed to his wolf.
Joy swelled, expanding inside her, filling her to overflowing. To stem it, she ran, the Minnesota night enveloping her as she and the gray wolf burst from the manor. Sofia didn’t look back, but up, where the stars were sharp diamonds in a navy sky so wide the constellations were self-evident.
German brushed her shoulder, matching his stride to hers. Other wolves emerged from the trees silent as ghosts, falling in behind them. Two, then four, five, and still they appeared like wraiths from the landscape to follow.
German poured on a burst of speed. Not to lose them, but to strive forward, to release the exultation of a born leader overwhelmed by the unexpected show of solidarity, of loyalty. As he slowed then halted, the others circled, tentatively skimming their fur against the gray wolf’s. Against her own. Their tails swishing low. Her mate lifted his muzzle to the night sky to howl his triumph.
Pack. The red wolf would get her family, after all. A fairy tale ending? Hardly. But it was Sofia’s version of happily ever after.
~Author’s note: As Monty Python is famous for saying: “Now it’s time for something completely different.” I’m going to change tack, veer off course, turn left at Dunkin’ Donuts. My next several blogs will be more personal; a little sharing of an author’s life and how I got to be where I am now: traveling across the country with my dog as my co-pilot. Title of the next several blogs? “How to Throw Away a Perfectly Good Husband.”
I’ll post a blog for you in the next several days, once my wheels find their groove. Wish I could give you something a little more concrete date-wise, but I’m traveling. The road has a way of chewing time, and the scenery tends to launch my imagination, so it takes me a little while to dig my toes back into solid earth. I apologize ahead of time for this inconvenience of being a little off the map (pun intended). But losing myself to find myself is kind of the point of my journey. I welcome you to hop aboard and share. I’m sure I’m not the only woman out there who had a dream and pursued it before time ran out. I would love to hear your stories!