Saving the Big, Bad Wolf
Kora glanced up from her grimoire for the dozenth time in as many minutes.
He was still at it, the sweat on his back glistening in the afternoon sunshine. She squeezed her thighs together in frustration.
The full moon was less than a week away, and Ric was taking it out on the pile of firewood behind the coven house. As usual.
“What a waste,” came a sly female voice behind her.
“Shouldn’t that be your job?” another voice, this one male, drawled. He was clearly not referring to chopping wood.
While Kora secretly and desperately agreed with them, she turned to face her housemates with a frown. “It’s his decision how he works off that energy,” she said.
Katrina rolled her eyes. “Is that what we’re calling it, now?”
Gavin chuckled. “We already have enough firewood for the next three winters, Kora. You know as well as we do, this manual labor shit is only going to get him so far.”
“Or you, for that matter. How can you stand it?” Katrina asked, her green eyes widening.
Kora let out a miserable sigh. “I can’t. But the idiot’s so wrapped up in not wanting to ‘hurt’ me, we just…” She shrugged.
“Oh, darlin’,” Gavin said and sat down at the kitchen table next to her. “That’s just the boy talking. You need to appeal to the wolf, instead.”
“Yeah,” said Katrina, sliding a hand over Gavin’s shoulder. “You just have to take his options away. That’s what we did.”
Kora so did not want to hear about her older sister’s sexcapades with her mate. Still, she knew Ric was running on borrowed time. His wolf needed to stake its claim.
The very thought sent a wave of desperate heat to her abdomen. She needed his wolf to stake its claim.
“I gotta go,” she mumbled, and pushed her way out of the kitchen.
What she needed was a cold shower. Ric had made his feelings on the matter clear that morning. He ‘respected her too much’ to ‘subject’ her to his wolf.
She let out a snarl and stomped up the stairs to the bathroom she shared with Katrina, when Katrina wasn’t living, breathing, and sleeping with Gavin.
Probably just as well that Kat had moved to the basement suite. They might be sisters, but it didn’t make it any less mortifying to think of what sounds and smells Kat’s wolf might pick up if they were in closer quarters.
Certainly not anything exciting, that’s for damn sure.
Kora sighed and began running a bath. She couldn’t handle cold showers, and why punish herself, anyway? Ric would barely pay her so much as a kiss during his ‘moon week,’ but that didn’t mean she had to go completely without satisfaction.
The ax sliced through another log with a satisfying crack, when suddenly the tight cord of tension in his nerves slackened. Only to be replaced with a gut-deep flicker of anxiety.
Kora was out of his range.
Where was she? His wolf went on full alert, sniffing the air, spreading its hearing out, ready to hunt.
“Calm the fuck down,” Ric muttered to himself, reaching for another log in the stack.
“Not gonna happen,” came an infuriatingly smug voice from the back doorway.
Both Ric and his wolf bristled. He wanted to tell her to fuck off, but that would just trigger a battle for dominance. One he was frankly not interested in.
He positioned another log and swung, shearing it neatly in half.
Katrina chuckled. “Ignore me all you want. It’s my sister your wolf is after.”
“You and my wolf can fuck off,” he growled through clenched teeth.
He wouldn’t be ruled by the beast. He wouldn’t – couldn’t do that to Kora.
Katrina gave a lazy shrug. “Suit yourself. You’re just prolonging the inevitable and making both of you miserable in the meantime. But the coven has asked that you find another outlet. We have enough firewood for a Game of Thrones winter now, thanks to you.”
She was gone before he could think of a retort. Maybe he’d start digging a garden plot, instead.
“Yo, Ric – you comin’ out tonight?” Gavin called from the kitchen window. “Chet bailed on me for pool and I really don’t want to forfeit to those fuckers again.”
Ric sighed and grabbed his discarded shirt from the door of the tool shed. “Sure, man,” he called back. Beer, testosterone, and distance all sounded like a very good idea.
By the time he’d put away the tools and covered the wood, Katrina and Gavin had disappeared into the bowels of the house. He did his damnedest to ignore the sounds no one else could here – ragged moans, flesh slapping against flesh, panting, creaking, snarling.
It was more a command than a reaction. Gavin was practically a brother to him. And Katrina – well, he supposed she was physically attractive from an unbiased perspective, but on a personal level she gave him the willies.
Still, the primal sounds of raw, uninhibited fucking made his wolf pull at the proverbial leash.
He needed a shower. A very cold shower.
Grabbing a large glass from the cupboard, he filled it with ice water and guzzled it on his way upstairs. His steps faltered by Kora’s bedroom door. It was shut, but he could sense her somewhere on the other side.
Ric sighed and rested his forehead against the cool wood of the door frame. The wolf wanted in, in more ways than one. He wanted in, too. Wanted her to understand, to accept, to just be okay. He hated the dejection in her eyes when he’d kissed her that morning – chastely, as even that was quickly becoming a challenge on his restraint. For that reason alone, he straightened to leave.
His wolf kept him firmly planted in place, however.
He swayed, eyes falling shut.
The soft lapping of water and the distant smell of her favorite bath gel drifted through his senses.
Below that: sweet, uneven breaths – tiny catches and gasps, and the subtle smell of…
“Fuck,” he breathed.
Blood rushed in an insistent tide to his cock. His nails dug into the door frame, desperate to hold him in place.
It wasn’t an actual smell – that would be near impossible. But it was her heat, her pheromones, her urgency as she rode her own pleasure – that wrapped around his being like a cloud of the sweetest drug, coaxing him to her.
“No, damn it,” he whispered. Still, his body had other ideas. His hand was already undoing the fly of his jeans, freeing his cock to the cool air. He squeezed the base, training himself, reining in the urge to burst through her door and have his way.
A faint grunt, a half-sighed moan, water sloshing a little as her pace picked up. His hand met her rhythm stroke for stroke, thumb swiping the bit of precum peeking out. She was almost there, and so was he.
Come on, baby. Come for me.
But she slowed, teasing herself, and in kind, teasing him.
In his mind’s eye, Ric pictured her: glistening wet, her pale, perfect breasts floating above the surface of the water as her back arched. Delicate fingers sliding in and out, back and forth in that hot, slick nest between her legs. Her auburn hair dark almost black in wet tendrils around her face. Eyes closed, mouth open, faster, damn it! But instead, her movements turned deep, deliberate, fingers fucking herself where his cock yearned to be.
He couldn’t hold back much longer. Thank god, he thought, as he heard her low groan. A snarl escaped his clenched teeth as he reached tipping point, the blackness of impending pleasure blinding him briefly.
A heavy clunk and a cold splash at his feet jarred his senses.
“Shit,” he hissed, hearing Kora’s startled gasp and the unmistakable sound of her exiting the bath. Forgetting the dropped water glass, he quickly shut himself in his room down the hall, cursing himself and his raging hard-on the whole way there.
“What the…” Kora frowned at the puddle of ice water in front of her bedroom door. She tightened the belt of her robe and knelt to pick up the glass, thankfully unbroken.
As she straightened, she noticed the trail of wet footprints leading to Ric’s door. It took all of a second to put two and two together.
This is ridiculous.
She marched over to his room and knocked softly on the door. “Ric?”
“Not now, Kora.” His voice tight, edged with a growl that fanned the need she had just barely sated in the bath.
Normally she’d listen. Normally, she’d turn and let him have his way, knowing that once the full moon passed, he’d be back in her bed, making everything up to her with the sweetest, gentlest lovemaking a woman could ask for.
Which was exactly the problem.
“Bullshit,” she muttered, and opened the door.
She fully expected to be assaulted, pushed out, snapped at. She didn’t expect the absolutely glorious sight of Ric with his jeans around his ankles, cock in one hand while the other whiteknuckled the bedpost for dear life.
Arousal flooded her as he worked his erection with brutal speed, oblivious to his audience. His entire body was rigid, every thick muscle taut and gleaming. Her mouth watered. He was so close to coming, and damn it, she wanted that – to be part of it, to be his vessel, his mate.
Quietly and quickly as she could, she went to him.
Ric nearly jumped out of his skin at the unexpected touch.
‘Don’t—’ he wanted to say, wanted to pull her away from him.
But he was too far gone, and Kora’s lips were too damned perfect. His fingers flew from his cock to her damp hair as she slid her mouth over him, his tip bumping the back of her throat.
She sucked, hard, her tongue stroking and massaging him in a way that should have been a cardinal sin. And then – Jesus fucking christ – she moaned, no – purred around him.
His knees buckled and he gripped her head hard – too hard, but he didn’t fucking care. And apparently neither did she, because – damn the little minx, she did it again. And again, until he lost the final thread of control and spilled into her beautiful mouth.
Her movements became tender as she suckled the last of his climax from his softening cock. Then, with a satisfied hum, she sat back on her heels and smiled up at him.
“Kor,” he rasped, tracing her swollen lips with his thumb. “You can’t do this.”
Her smile faded slightly. “I just did.”
Ric dropped to his knees and planted a kiss on her forehead. “And I thank you. But it’s too risky. I can’t—”
“Can’t what?” she interrupted, pulling away. “Fuck me in the mouth with wild abandon? Or listen at my bedroom door while I get myself off because you’re too damned scared to touch me?”
He sighed and ran a hand through his hair. “We’ve been over this.”
“Yep, we have. You don’t want to ‘hurt’ me, you ‘respect me too much,’ you ‘refuse to give in to the base behaviors of an animal,’ blah blah fucking blah.” She stood and straightened her bath robe, taking the peek of her luscious breasts away from his peripheral vision.
Every fiber of him wanted to grab her, pull her back down to his level, pin her wrists to the floor and keep her for himself.
Which was exactly why he let her stalk out of his bedroom.
She paused at the door and turned. “You can’t tame a wild thing by starving it, Ric,” she said before leaving him alone, naked, and still on his knees.
His wolf agreed with Kora. Or maybe it wasn’t his wolf – that inner beast had so far shown zero logic or rationale.
For the billionth time, he cursed the mutation that had made his life a living hell every month for the past year. It was getting harder to control, not easier like Katrina had claimed.
Each full moon brought with it a savagery that threatened to consume him, even before the transition. He wanted to do… things, specifically to Kora. Just the whisper of idea, the teasing brush of bestial thoughts and taboo images, and his cock stirred anew.
“Damn it,” he gritted, pulling himself up from the floor and kicking his jeans aside.
Cold. Shower. Now.
Kora toweled her hair furiously.
“You’re damaging it,” said Katrina from the other side of the door.
“Fuck off,” Kora muttered under her breath.
“I know you don’t mean that,” her sister called. “Now let me in.”
“Or what, you’ll huff and you’ll puff?” said Kora, tossing aside the towel and walking over to open the door.
Katrina was leaning against the frame with a crooked smile. She was dressed for a night out, with as much skin showing as possible. “Come on, little sis, don’t be like that. I’m here to help.”
Kora answered with a snort. “Unless you’re hiding chocolate or wine in that getup, I seriously doubt it.”
The situation was beyond help. Ric had already left, the slamming of doors and stomping of boots punctuating his earlier rejection.
“Getup?” Kat repeated. “This little ol’ thing? Pshh. Standard evening gear for where we’re going. Now, get dressed.”
“We’re not going anywhere,” said Kora. “I’m done with this.” She flopped down on the end of her bed.
“Bullshit. You’re about as done as sushi, darlin’.” Kat was already rifling through the closet. “All it takes is a little nudge in the right direction.”
Kora sighed. “I’ve been nudging him for months. And all I’ve done is piss him off.”
“Ah. No – hm. This.” Katrina turned with a handful of tiny skirts and skimpy tops. “Of course he’s pissed off. But that just means you’re getting closer. Here.”
Kora caught the bundle of clothes her sister lobbed at her face. “Closer to what – driving him away altogether?”
“No, dummy. All that anger and conflict? It means only one thing. His wolf has nearly won.”
The idea sent a frisson of electricity through her nerves. Followed by a flush of embarrassment at her sister’s knowing chuckle.
“Can’t you turn that shit off?” Kora said with a scowl. “Seriously, this heightened sense thing is creepy as fuck.”
“Sorry,” Katrina replied with zero remorse. “Now, hurry up. Here I am stuck playing fairy godsister, and man, do I have my work cut out for me.” She snapped her fingers playfully.
Kora glared at her, but shimmied into the stockings that had made their way into the pile of clothes.
“You’re a total fox.”
“You said that. Four times, already, in fact,” Kora said.
She stopped to adjust her very short dress, giving her makeup a last check in the reflection of a car window. She did look good, she’d give Katrina that much. Her scarlet hair had been transformed from a soft pixie cut into a sleek do of sexy sophistication, baring her neck and shoulders to the night like a pale offering. The tiny halter dress clung to her body like a dark, satin glove. And her favorite strappy fuck-me heels were a perfect boost to the whole ensemble.
But a ‘fox’?
“More like a lamb being led to the sacrificial altar,” she mumbled, shaking her head.
“Exactly, dear heart. Now, stand up straight and walk in there like the delicious temptation you know you are.”
Her sister grinned wickedly at her. A little too wickedly. What if this was a huge mistake? What if Ric lost all control? Or, worse – what if she drove him away for good?
“I’m not sure about this, Kat.”
“Well, you’d better get sure. This is his last shot. If he doesn’t merge with his wolf now, it’ll be too late. He’ll be forever at odds with it, and the wolf is inherently stronger. It’s only a matter of time before it takes over completely.”
“Ric says that’s just a myth.”
“Ric thinks that’s just a myth. He doesn’t exactly have the entire history of lycanthropy down to stone cold truth though, does he?”
Kora didn’t answer.
“Are you willing to let him take that risk?”
Of course she wasn’t. Not to mention, she was damned tired of the restrained, ‘nice’ sex they’d been having for the last eleven months.
“He’s going to be so pissed.”
“Good,” said Katrina. “This close to the moon, his anger will only feed the beast. Now get in there. If anything bad happens, I’ve got your back.”
“Right.” Kora gave a resolute nod and headed into the bar.
He didn’t hear Gavinrik’s groan of dismay, or the laughing cheers of their opponents. Hell, he barely saw them, or anything for that matter. Damn near blinded, all of his senses were drowned out by the sudden awareness of her.
A hard grip on his shoulder made him blink away the fog. He turned to see Gavinrik peering at him with wary concern.
“You okay, man?”
Ric gritted his teeth and forced his face into some semblance of normal. “I’m fine,” he said, unable to keep the growl out of his voice.
“Right. So you’re intentionally trying to buy new felt for the table?”
“Huh?” He looked down at the pool table and cursed to himself. Sure enough, he’d nearly dug his nails through the felt at the edge. He deliberately loosened his grip, wiping his hands on his jeans to hide the tiny bits of green fuzz still clinging to his fingernails.
His pool partner laughed. “Come on, I’ll buy you a beer. We’ll kick their asses next round,” Gavin said, loudly enough for their opponents to hear.
None of them appeared to be listening, however, their eyes focused on something across the bar room.
He didn’t need to look to know where their attention had landed; he could pinpoint her location in the dark. And his wolf? His wolf was fucking pissed.
“You’ll want to point your eyes someplace else, boys,” Ric snarled, his hackles rising.
“Or you’ll wha-whoah.” Both men stared at him now, confusion and fear dousing any interest they’d had in the redhead at the bar.
“Yo, Ric,” Gavin muttered beside him, although even he had taken a step away. “Down, boy.”
‘Ric’ was barely there. A faint echo of humanity was all that kept him from bearing down on his best friend.
She laughed. He knew that laugh, too – it was all suggestion and sex, but it wasn’t directed at him. His head whipped around, eyes narrowing at the sight of Kora – his Kora, flirting with some numbnuts in a cowboy hat.
He watched as she lightly touched the guy’s arm, smiling up at him as if Ric wasn’t even there. And then – then, the cowboy made a damned near fatal mistake. A gnarly, tattoo’ed hand was on its way to Kora’s thigh.
Deep, blood red flooded Ric’s vision.
Somehow, her voice broke through his consciousness just as he was hauling her off the barstool and out of the bar.
“You could have at least let me pay for my drink!”
It was a smartassed quip, but beneath the words he heard her fear. Fear, and…
Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck. His beast howled inwardly for release.
Lust. She exuded it, and it pulled at his insides like some kind of tentacle-monster.
His chest grew tight, and his groin even tighter. He wasn’t going to make it. He could practically see the last vestige of his control slip out of his grasp. And that pissed him off.
“Is this what you want, little girl?” he growled. His fingers dug hard into her hips as he slammed her back against the cold brick wall, pinning her in place with his body.
She gave a harsh gasp, but it was her scent that spoke to him most loudly – the smell of heat, pounding blood, adrenaline, arousal, and that thin sheen of fear that set his own blood to boiling.
Even his wolf knew it was too close to the full moon for this. But damn her, the little witch had pushed him – pushed his every button, repeatedly, for the last eleven fucking months.
And now here they were, both cornered in a barely-concealed alley behind Duke’s. She was cornered by him, and he was cornered by a rapidly crumbling sense of right and wrong.
“Does it even matter what I want?” Kora hissed as she arched her lower body against him, grinding against his hardness through the layers of their clothes.
Well, his clothes, really, as that tiny thing that barely skimmed the tops of her thighs could hardly count as even a skirt…
“You’ll do what you want, take what you want,” she said in a low, caramel voice, her body arching to him in appeal. “Or you’ll just leave me. Run away. Like usual,” she added, bitterness lacing the clear need in her words.
Take what you want…
It was true. It was part of this sickness, this curse – the beast in him would take and take, whether it be life itself, or things more carnal and heinous he would steal from the living.
He gasped as she ground herself against him again, one slender leg hooking behind his ankle to bring them closer.
“Please, Ric…” she whispered, running a hand through his hair, nails scratching his scalp before she cupped the back of his neck, pulling herself to him. He was frozen, his body rigid in a state of internal battle.
A dog-like whimper escaped him as those soft, sweet lips trailed his jaw line.
“Please, she murmured again, repeatedly, softening herself to him, her every gesture an offering of submission.
A last flicker of humanity gave him pause – he couldn’t do this to her! This was Kora, the love of his life, the most precious gift he’d ever been given. Yes, he wanted her – wanted to make love to her, to cherish her. But it wanted to crush her, dominate her, own her. He just—
In a violent snap of rebellion, his wolf reared. Snatching her wrists in one swift movement, he pinned them to the wall with one hand, the other sliding up her thigh. She was right – he would take what he wanted. All of it.
Ric was gone. At least, the Ric she knew was gone, anyway.
No fear. Kora chanted the mantra in her head. She must have gasped or made some kind of slight movement, however.
“Scared, little red?” Ric’s voice was a low rumble of pure, animal sexuality. His eyes narrowed dangerously.
It was the kind of danger only an idiot like her would flirt with.
“Hardly,” she scoffed. The steadiness of her voice surprised her.
“Liar,” he drawled, his lips curling in a half-smirk that would have soaked her panties, had she worn any.
He inhaled deeply, a hungry hiss on the intake, a soft growl on the exhale that caressed her neck and sent a shiver of want through her nerves. He leaned in closer, his body and aura huge, dominating her personal space.
“I can smell your fear, sweetheart,” he whispered against her ear. “It pumps through these delicate little veins—” His open mouth traced her jugular. And down below, his free hand cupped the back of her thigh, sliding ever higher over her nylons. “—and it seeps from the pores of this lovely, perfect skin.”
Kora’s eyelids fluttered. She was damned near close to swooning, and it wasn’t because she was scared of the big, bad wolf.
His fingers found bare flesh. She definitely gasped that time.
Ric made a rumbling sound of pleasure. Or amusement. She didn’t care. She just needed him to go higher…
“Of course,” he continued, “fear isn’t all I smell.” He drew in another deep breath and groaned. “Delicious. And all mine. Aren’t you, red?”
She wanted to snap at him that ‘red’ wasn’t her name – it was a dumb, overused nickname that she’d proclaimed off-limits the first time Ric had ever tried to use it.
But his hand was a fraction of an inch from her pussy now, and for all his talk of smells, he smelled like pure, unadulterated sin.
A sharp nip to her collarbone demanded her reply.
“Yes,” Kora whispered shakily. Now, please kindly fuck my brains out.
Her reward was a swift and cruelly brief swipe of one callused finger along her cleft. Then nothing. She whimpered as he left her hanging.
“Shh. All in time.”
She opened her eyes to glare at him. He returned the look with a warning glint. Then, slowly and pointedly, he drew that still-glistening finger between his lips.
The sound of lazy ecstasy he made went right to her core, melting what was left of her resolve into a puddle of need.
“Salt and sweet,” he murmured, briefly pressing that digit to her mouth.
She darted her tongue out, tasting the faint trace of herself lingering over the saltiness of his skin. It was quickly gone, his hand smoothing down her bare neck, thumb grazing between her breasts, palm teasing her hardened nipple through the fabric of her dress. Then down, down again to her hem. He pushed it up, exposing her to the warm air.
“That’s what you taste,” he continued. “But I taste more.”
His hand cupped her now. She pressed against him with a soft moan, grinding her wetness into his palm.
The sound of footfalls and voices made her jump, but Ric held her in place, chuckling softly. Shadows at the opening of the alleyway.
Jesus christ, they were mere feet away from discovery.
And he had no intention of letting her go. In fact, the moment she stiffened, his fingers eased into her. She bit down on her lip, barely stifling a gasp.
To her right, a group of people laughed and meandered to their cars, oblivious that a werewolf was finger-fucking his witch in the shadows behind them.
His movements were slow, but not the sweet kind of slow she’d grown used to. He was teasing her, controlling her pleasure. Owning her.
Car doors slammed.
He eased his fingers out, taking another languorous taste.
“I taste your nervousness, your hunger. A thousand different flavors of heat. I taste how close you are to coming, and how much that delicious pussy wants my cock.”
Her breath came in uneven pants, mouth open, gulping in his words and movements. She had nothing to say.
“Turn,” he said, releasing her briefly.
Blood pounding, sex clenching in frustration, Kora obeyed.
Behind her, Ric took another deep breath through his nose. A feral sound rumbled from him as he gripped her hips and jerked her bottom against him.
“Hands against the wall,” he growled.
Doing so forced her to bend at the waist.
More people came and went past the alley opening. Ric never paused. The sound of his belt unbuckling, fly unzipping, made Kora’s thighs clench.
As he nudged her feet apart, her tiny dress rolled up over her ass. She was wide open for him.
A ragged moan of sheer hunger came from behind her, but he didn’t move.
“Kora…” His voice was soft, broken, barely hanging on.
No. Don’t do this to me, damn it. If he reined in his wolf now, she would lose it completely.
“Please,” she whimpered, head slumping between her shoulders.
Hands stronger than she’d ever felt before dug into her hips.
“Kora, I can’t – I’m—”
His words were lost on a snarl as he drove into her, hotter than she’d ever experienced. Physically hotter. And larger.
Her breath rushed out in a whoosh of surprise and dizzy ecstasy as he pumped in and out of her with a bestial level of frenzy.
The first wave of orgasm hit hard and fast, her knees buckling under the intensity of it.
Ric, or his wolf, never paused, though. One big hand slid to her abdomen, holding her up and simultaneously teasing her clit. His other hand gripped the back of her neck in a gesture of complete domination.
“Don’t let go,” he growled when her hands threatened to falter against the wall.
Somehow his cock seemed to grow hotter, thicker, longer, inside her. Kora saw stars as her body spasmed around this new experience. Impossible to tell where one orgasm ended and the other began.
He was pumping and grinding against her at a blinding rate, now, grunting like a – well, like a wild animal.
That’s what they were.
And when he finally came, she felt that, too; his seed was hotter than normal, like his body temperature was ten degrees higher than hers. The sensation sent another wave of pleasure through her body, almost numbing her to the sharp pain of teeth suddenly bearing down on her shoulder. Claiming her.
It was done.
Thank the gods.