Authors: P. Jameson
Tags: #Fantasy, #Romance
Vesh felt his tensed muscles loosen. “Oh.”
.” She shook her head and marched into the living room. But he heard her muttered, “Asshole,” and couldn’t help the feeling of pride that snaked up his spine.
She called him an asshole. He kind of loved it.
And she was right.
“Kerri should be here in a couple hours or so. You can wait or you can just come back later like any normal person.” Braeh folded the throw blanket and draped it over the back of the couch.
She hoped he’d just leave. Kind of. He sure was a judgmental ass. And who didn’t like her eggs? No one, that’s who. But on the other hand, waiting for Kerri on her own would be boring. She’d be stuck watching
again. Those women did more bickering than talking on any given morning. Sometimes it was better to just put the TV on mute and try to lip read.
He raised an eyebrow. “I’m far from a normal person. Obviously. So, I think I’ll wait.” He sank down on the couch, placing both hands behind his head in a relaxed pose.
“Suit yourself.” She turned to leave.
“Where are you going?”
“To shower. Stay here.”
He scowled. “You think I would follow you?”
She shrugged “Who knows. I don’t know you or anything. This way it’s clear, you’re not welcome…” she jerked her thumb behind her “…in there.”
Not hanging around to hear his response, she slipped into the bathroom and closed the door behind her. She removed the gun from her sweatshirt, undressed, and stared at herself in the mirror. For the eleventy millionth time in her life, she wished she had hips like Kerri. Yes, her sister was on the fluffy side. In high school people had even called her fat. But Braeh was akin to a stick figure. Well… maybe that wasn’t quite true. She was lean, but there was muscle tone there thanks to all her outdoor activities. Hiking, sledding, and don’t forget, hunting.
Still. To inherit a few of her sister’s curves would have been nice.
. She wasn’t going to do this. She was long over hating her figure. Ever since culinary school, she’d taken on a different attitude about her body image. If there was one thing she knew to be true, it was this: there is no such thing as perfect. Some people thought Kerri was too big. But look who was dragging around a hottie werewolf on one arm. And some people—like the dumbass egg-hating shifter—thought Braeh was too skinny. But she’d had her share of boyfriends in the past, who preferred banging a beanpole. Perfect was subjective.
She stuck her tongue out at herself in the mirror, and then turned the shower on. Stepping under the warm spray, she let out a long, languid sigh. The water was exactly what she needed to relax her muscles after spending the night in a chair.
What a strange night it was. She’d definitely be guilt-tripping Kerri with this. Maybe they could go shopping. At a real mall. There must be one nearby.
Braeh squeezed a pearl of body wash onto her puff and began lathering up. The motion helped relieve any further tension and her mind drifted to Vesh. The wolf was hot with a capital H and two Ts. With scowling dark eyes, and short dark hair, and full
lips. Make that three Ts.
She shivered, remembering how they’d felt on her wrist.
But she knew there was something not quite right about him. The way he looked at her was… intimidating. Confusing. Like he knew her in a past life. As if they were connected somehow. And like he wanted her but couldn’t stand her.
With the sponge, she did another pass over her aching nipples. And another. One more. It felt too good.
Braeh froze. Well, damn. She was horny.
She ran the frothy puff slowly down her stomach.
Really, she should hurry with her shower and get back to babysitting Kerri’s visitor, but…
If she didn’t do something about this throbbing between her legs, she’d be frustrated as hell. And staring at Mr. Dark and Lovely wouldn’t help that frustration in the slightest. Yes, she was doing the world a favor by—ahem—seeing to herself. Besides, it wasn’t like Kerrigan had silver or fine china he could steal or anything. A few extra minutes couldn’t hurt.
She dipped the sponge between her legs, and bit her lip to stifle the resulting moan. She swirled it around and back up to her breasts, and down again. Braeh dropped the puff and used her hands, imagining they were Vesh’s. Quickly she pushed that thought away, not wanting him in her fantasy, but he returned again and again, until he was all she could think of.
His hands touching her in just the right spot, squeezing her breasts, teasing her nipples. His hands everywhere. That’s what she imagined.
She moaned loudly, and hoped the water from the shower covered up the noise.
At this rate, it wasn’t going to take a few extra minutes. No, she would be done in a matter of seconds.
Vesh was doing well. In fact, he was damn proud of himself. His mate, unwanted as she was, was completely and utterly naked, hidden behind only a thin piece of wood for a door and a flimsy shower curtain, and here he was
ripping those two things to shreds so he could get a glimpse of her.
His wolf deserved a damn Nobel Peace prize.
He paced the length of the living room again. If only he could learn where Trager was, he wouldn’t need Braeh. There must be some clue in the apartment.
Snooping around, Vesh found a box of old photos by the door. They were all of Kerrigan and another man. He looked like a bigger douchebag than Trager. Good thing he wasn’t around anymore.
Vesh opened a few desk drawers, but found nothing of use. The bookshelves were slim, and the boxes nearby indicated someone had already started packing them.
He was about to venture into the bedroom to continue his snooping when a specific sound froze his feet to the hardwood.
He had fantastic hearing, but he hoped he’d misheard this. He listened closer. Inhaled deeply.
Dear great merciful Elders. No wolf deserved this kind of torture. Not even him, and he’d done a lot of shitty things.
Another sensual moan assaulted is ears and he braced himself against the wall. She was… she couldn’t be…
Vesh creeped toward the bathroom door, his hand skimming the wall, his throat stuck on a swallow. Faintly, he could hear his mate’s heavy breathing. The water was interrupted in a rhythm that let him know
what she was doing.
Once again a great flood of conflicting emotions battered him. His mate, the one he was born to please, was… pleasing herself. His wolf howled at the injustice. But Vesh, the human side of him, silently urged her on. Better she take care of herself because he wouldn’t be giving her any of that.
The thought made him sad. Mournfully sad.
He pressed his palm against the cool wood of the door. This wasn’t right. He should be in there, touching her, learning her. Giving, taking, showing. They should be celebrating that they’d found each other. He should be wooing her and winning her. None of these shitty memories or preconceived ideas should factor in. They should be together. End of fucking story.
She moaned again, and he realized for the first time since he was a wolfling, he had tears in his eyes.
He pushed away from the door. No way. No fucking way was he crying over this. The anger dried his wet eyes fast, and good thing too because the shower shut off.
Vesh paced in front of the couch, fists clenching and unclenching. The bathroom door opened a crack and he heard Braeh call for him.
“Hey, can you… um, turn your head? I forgot my clothes and I need to run to the bedroom.”
Vesh threw his head back and stared at the ceiling. How much of this shit was he going to have to take in one day? And it wasn’t even noon yet.
“Please,” she added quietly.
He sighed. “Yeah. Sure.”
“Promise you won’t look?”
He didn’t answer because yeah… he was totally going to look. That was just the kind of asshole he was.
He sat on the couch, his back to the bathroom and hallway. “I promise I’ll count to five first,” he muttered.
He heard the door creak open. What he didn’t mention was he’d already started counting and he was on four. Her footsteps padded as she ran to the room.
Her short chin length hair was slicked back and her skin was dewy. She was wrapped in a towel that left a little to the imagination, but not much. Her arms and legs were thin and graceful with enough muscle to give him the idea she must work out pretty regularly. His favorite part was her shoulders. They were perfectly straight and regal. They seemed both fragile and strong at the same time.
She slammed the door to the bedroom, shutting off his perusal.
Vesh took a deep anger-heated breath. He needed action. To punch a tree or run a few miles or
. He wanted to get back at her for torturing him this way, even though she had no idea what he was going through. Or even Trager, he’d settle for nice spar with that bastard. Anything to clear his mind and make him forget, for even a little while, what tragedy he’d found behind the door of apartment 4-D.
Two seconds later, a solution to his problem walked through that very door.
Braeh leaned against the closed bedroom door, breathing to calm her nerves. Desperately, she hoped she’d made it before he reached five. Or that he was joking. Yeah, he was probably just giving her hell. Normally she wouldn’t care so much. If someone was desperate enough to ogle her then fine. She’d let them. But this seemed different somehow. Especially now that she’d basically hand jived to
She groaned, pulling on her bra and panties, followed quickly by a t-shirt and jeans.
Braeh checked her phone and groaned again. Damnity, damn, damn. Bad cell reception was the bane of her existence. She’d only assumed it’d be better here. But no. Trager had to go and live off the grid, and take Kerrigan with him.
“Ugh.” She rolled her eyes as she flipped through a barrage of texts from her sister.
What the hell is the hen house? This is Missouri, not Little House on the Prairie.
What do you mean by ‘wolf’ exactly?
Is that euphemism for sex? Because that’s a little weird.
Are you alright? Why aren’t you answering?
Brae, answer me!!!
I swear if you’re not dead, I’m going to kill you.
We’re on our way.
All of them had come through in the last hour, which meant…
Braeh was in the hall as soon as she heard the front door slam.
are you doing in my apartment?” Kerri screeched.
Vesh chuckled. “Hey there, kitten. I’ve missed you.” Chuckled? Braeh wasn’t aware he could even do that. All she’d seen was scowling and blank stares. And the weird reaction when he was healing.
? What the hell kind of nickname was that?
“Where’s my sister?” Braeh had never heard Kerri sound so threatening. For some reason, her sister standing up to a man as imposing as Vesh made Braeh proud.
“Oh, she’s around here somewhere,” he said casually. As if she was a lost sock.
! If you hurt her, you bastard, I swear to—“
Enough of this. “I’m here. No worries, sis. Everything’s fine.”
“Oh, dear god.” Kerri ran to her and Braeh was squashed in a bear hug.
Kerrigan pulled back looking her up and down. “Are you okay? Did he hurt you? I was going to let Trager kill him but I’ll do it myself if he hurt you. Why didn’t you call the police? Or drive to a hotel? Or… oh my god, I’m so sorry. I should have been here. I’ll never forgive—“
“Stop!” Braeh hoped she wouldn’t have to bitch-slap her sister to calm her down. It would be unfortunate. Mostly because Kerri would surely bitch-slap her back. “I’m
. See, look. Nothing happened. I’m not hurt at all. I swear.”
Kerrigan nodded. “Okay. Yeah, okay.”
Vesh clucked his tongue. “Do you really think I’d harm someone so important to you, little kitten?”
Braeh frowned. Okay, enough with the kitten shit. It made her want to go take another shower. Vesh being affectionate with Kerri, even if it was sarcastic—which she wasn’t entirely sure it was—felt wrong on so many levels.
Kerri turned, glaring at him. “Of course I think you would. Why are you here, Vesh?”
He grinned and even though it didn’t reach his eyes, it was pretty stunning. He had dimples that made him seem instantly charming. “I came to see you, of course,” he said smoothly.
Braeh felt her cheeks heat.
Kerri turned on her. “What were you thinking?”
“This is 2014. This isn’t Little House on the—“
“Prairie. Yes, I know. You already mentioned that.”
“You can’t just let strange men into my house.”
“Excuse me,” Vesh cut in, “but I’m not really all that strange.”
“See?” Braeh agreed.
Kerri scowled like she was in a scowling contest at a county fair or something. She’d win it too, looking like that. “Come with me.” She grabbed Braeh by the arm and dragged her into the bedroom, slamming the door shut behind them.
Kerrigan’s voice was a whispered hiss. “Did you learn nothing from the Three
Little Pigs? When a wolf knocks on the door, you’re not supposed to let him in.”
“Even if he’s like, the hottest wolf you’ve ever seen? I feel like maybe there’s some kind of caveat that goes along with that.” Her sister was overreacting. Vesh hadn’t tried anything. Grumpy? Yes. An axe murderer? Hells no.
Kerri crossed her arms over her ample chest. “He’s not.”
“The hottest wolf I’ve ever seen.”
“Wait, there’s a hotter wolf than the one on the couch?”
Kerrigan gave her a blank stare.
“Oh! You mean Trager? No, no, no, honey. Uh, uh. That wolf out there wins in a battle of who’s hotter. Sorry.”
“Brae, will you be serious? He’s
The concerned note in her sister’s voice gave her pause. “What do you mean?”
Kerri sighed. “It’s a long story. It has to do with Trager’s family, his pack. But just know, you shouldn’t trust him.”
Braeh nodded. “Well, for what it’s worth, I didn’t exactly
him in. He sort of… fainted. I barely made it to the couch with him. Didn’t exactly have a choice. Plus, he was injured. Was I supposed to leave him in the stairwell?”
Kerrigan frowned. “Injured?”
“Yeah, he… I dunno. Healed. A werewolf thing?”
Kerrigan nodded. “I don’t know why he’s here, and I can’t get through to Trager. So, we’ll have to just wait.”
“Fine with me.”
Kerrigan’s face took on a horrified expression. “Did he… did you… was he here all night?”
Seriously? Was she seriously asking Braeh if she’d slept with a guy she just met?
Braeh gave her sister a wide-eyed look. “Yes, actually. And he was just so swoony I couldn’t help myself. I instantly stripped and we went at it like rabbits on catnip. Banged all night, only stopping for sips of water in between erupting orgasms.” Braeh gave a few hip thrusts to drive her point home.
Kerrigan cringed. “Dear god, the way you talk, you guys might be a match made in heaven.”
“What’s that mean?”
“Nothing. Forget it.” Kerrigan checked her phone. “Still nothing from Trager. Damn.”
“So… what’s the deal with
Kerri shook her head. “I don’t know. I think he does it to irritate Trager.”
Braeh raised an eyebrow. “Kitten?”
“Shut up. It gives me the willies.”
Seeing her sister squirm made laughter bubble to the surface.
“Oh, sure. You laugh now, but wait and see. He’s horrible.”
That made Braeh laugh harder. “Come on, Kerri. He can’t be
“You just wait and see.”
“Okay.” Braeh looped an arm around Kerrigan’s shoulders. “But in the meantime, can I call you kitten? Or is it little kitten?”
Vesh was on edge. He had a knack for knowing when something was wrong. His nose tingled. His shoulders itched. He was unsettled. And not in the usual way of him and his wolf not agreeing. This was something else.
Trouble was coming.
Or trouble was happening somewhere, with someone, and he’d feel the blowout.
He checked his cell phone.
There’d been a lot of that happening in the last four hours, between the three of them. Kerrigan’s tiny living room was stuffed full of tension.
Surely, if something was happening at camp, he would be notified. Or if his sister was in trouble. Sometimes Besh’s tongue couldn’t be contained, and Alpha would teach her a lesson by shaming her in the great hall before the pack. Vesh made Avan swear to text him if something like that came up. But his phone screen stayed blank, so it must be something else.
He glanced at Kerrigan. She was pecking away at her phone. Probably sending Trager a text for the thousandth time.
“I don’t get it. He always checks his phone throughout the day. It’s not like him to not answer back.” Her brows were drawn low over her eyes.
It was amazing how similar the two sisters were now that he was looking. Same nose, chin, and… habit of tapping their elbows with their fingers when they were nervous. Different hair, different body, different eyes, different mouth, different… yeah, okay. They were not all that similar really.
His gaze went to Braeh and he found her staring at him with pursed lips and one eyebrow raised.
Vesh stared too, not sure what was going on inside her head, but not willing to back down.
She broke the connection when she stood from her seat in the desk chair. “You know what? I’m bored. And starving. I’m going to make love to your kitchen, Kerri.”
Vesh felt his eyes flare wide at her words.
“Ew, gross, Brae,” Kerrigan mumbled, her gaze still attached to the phone screen.
“You won’t be saying that when I’m done.” She looked at him. “You wanna help me?”
He raised an eyebrow. “Help you make love to the kitchen?”
Kerrigan glanced up, a disturbed look on her face. “Just so you know, she’s talking about cooking. Not actually doing anything nasty with you.”
He smirked. “Aw, is my kitten jealous?”
She blinked twice, slowly. “I am not, nor will I ever be your kitten.”
“Oh, now. Don’t make promises you have no intention of keeping.”
Kerrigan rolled her eyes while he stood and followed Braeh into the kitchen.
Vesh watched as she pulled ingredient after ingredient out of the cabinets, and then she started in on the fridge. Cream, butter, herbs, cheese. When she was finished, he stared at it all. Together, it seemed like these things would only produce garbage, but she seemed like she knew what she was doing.
“You do know she’s taken, right?” she whispered as she sorted the ingredients into piles.
He watched her. There was no expression on her face besides concentration.
“You do know I don’t really care, right?” he replied.
“You’re not into her?”
“No.” Not anymore. She was what was easy for him to connect with. A sassy curvy woman. But was he into her? Not now. Not with his intended mate standing six inches away.
“Then why are you flirting with her?”
“For the jealousy. It gets under Trager’s skin.”
She stopped separating the produce from the dairy and stared at him. “But Trager’s not here. So who are you trying to make jealous?”
He opened his mouth to answer, but he had nothing. Because besides him and Kerrigan, she was the only other person around to make jealous. Was that what he was doing? Trying to make Braeh jealous? Like a fucking school boy?
He was trying to make her uncomfortable. Like he was. Trying to set her on edge. Like she’d done to him. He was trying to…
Fuck, he was trying to tempt her.
Like she’d tempted him.
What a dick move. What an immature dick-ass move.
“What can I do?” he asked, gesturing to the pile on the counter.
She pulled her gaze away and rummaged through a drawer. “Open these,” she said, handing him a bunch of canned tomatoes and a can opener.
He did his job while she set to work chopping onions and tossing them in a big pot.
He whistled to get her attention when the cans were ready, two short notes, just like she had done earlier, and she dumped them in the sizzling pot.
They went on like this for some time, him doing whatever odd and end task she assigned, and her moving about the kitchen as if she was conducting an orchestra. Watching her so confidently command the place was actually calming him. For a while he forgot the anxiety from earlier. Instead, he tasted marinara sauce when she held a spoon to his mouth. He helped roll the meatballs, adjusting the size when she instructed him to. He even washed a few dishes that she needed to reuse since she was busy tossing the caesar salad.
But he realized just how much he was enjoying himself when she stepped close, holding a black olive between her thumb and forefinger, ready to pop it into his mouth. It was such a simple gesture, but somehow it made her seem like a seductress. She was fucking delectable with her sauce-stained shirt and messy hair, ready to feed him with her hands.
He couldn’t help himself. Opening his mouth, he waited until she slid the olive between his lips, then he swiftly grabbed her hand to keep it against his mouth. Sucking her finger in, he swirled his tongue around the tip. He watched her eyes widen in surprise and then become hooded. Her reaction excited him. Gave him a fluttering in his chest.
He pulled her finger free. “Delicious,” he murmured.
One side of her mouth pulled up into a soft grin, but then she turned and busied herself with pulling the garlic bread from the oven.