Read The Willing Online

Authors: Aila Cline

Tags: #werewolf, #lycanthrope, #erotic adult passion, #lycanthrope erotica, #werewolf action adventure revenge werewolf thriller dark fantasy hunted adventure werewolf horror lycanthrope werewolves horror fiction werewolf fiction hunt humans island halloween, #erotica adult fiction xxx erotica fantasy fiction for adults

The Willing (7 page)

“You are trying my patience, Luka.”
Maria's calm had returned, but her tone was still dangerously
sharp.

Luka spoke to me even though his eyes
stayed locked with the matriarch’s. “Emily, bring her
Micah.”

I wanted to fight him on this, but he
had brought me this far. I felt I owed him this one act of
obedience. Besides, this was Mexico. This was the Clan. A Lycanti
Changeling obeys a Lycanthrope no matter what. I nodded once, then
left Maria and Luka to exchange their heated glare.

I watched Micah sleep for a moment
before disturbing him. The fullness of his lips reminded me of all
I had lost and gained. My baby did not look like the iconic cherub;
rather, his dark eyes and smooth skin were the embodiment of a
promise, which has infinitely more emotional satisfaction than
simply gazing at a heavenly picture.

The plane ride hadn’t bothered him. He
had already been on one when we came home from Alaska. That shift
from dry cold to damp heat had given him a cold, but other than
that he had adjusted well to Southern California. Mexico seemed to
agree with him, too.

His breaths rose and fell steadily,
with only a brief wheeze from the cold. The quietest moments in my
life happen with Micah. I think I love him selfishly for the peace
I gain in his presence. It’s one extra reason I did not want to go
through with my plan, but Micah deserves a better life than the
suffered existence of a werewolf—terminology be damned. Years from
now, if anyone were to find out he walked as a wolf at least one
night a month, they wouldn’t care what to call him.
Experimentation, exploitation, death or all three would be his at
their hands.

I love Micah, and now I realize why the
Clan doesn’t trust humans. God knows, I trust few now. I’ve seen
what they become when made into Lycanti; the brute hunger of a
Changeling when combined with human passion is a singularly unique
danger.

I hate that everything you hear from me
comes from the past or reflects a negative present. But I’ve
learned to live in the moment. When you live so angrily and so
violently, holding your breath to let the hot, stale air fill you
for moments at a time, you tend to not look forward too much. All
you concentrate on is the next breath, and especially the motion of
that breath.

So it’s hard for me to give myself a
future.

But I know what I want for
Micah.

I want him to be human.

I don’t want the action of living
breath to sticky breath to be his only life—I want him to be have
normal dreams of being a doctor, a lawyer, maybe even a bored,
scholarly teacher. I want him to have dreams of light.

Not dreams of blood.

Never dreams of blood like
mine.

He should never have to experience the
tearing pain of his skin’s rebellion; never break open his own
organs whenever involuntarily called by a celestial body he may
have previously taken for granted.

Never for Micah.

Only forever for me.

I sighed. It was time for him to meet
the closest thing to a grandmother he would get.

“Don’t touch that.”

I drew my hand back automatically
though I internally rebelled against the thickly-accented order
that cracked into the air like that directed at a child. Since
Micah was currently with Maria (she had taken instantly to the role
of grandmother and wanted time to bond with the child), I knew that
the voice spoke only to me. She would permit Luka to stay, but not
me. Maria obviously had a grudge against me—still.

I turned to the authoritative male
voice. It could only be one other person since Luka was with Maria
and Micah. Maria’s third husband—technically my child’s
non-biological grandfather, an ill-mannered prick whom I avoided at
all costs. As the masculine interpretation of Maria, I found him
distasteful. How shocking, right? Would I ever find a Lycanthrope
other than Luka I liked? And most importantly, would one ever be
able to stomach my existence as Lycanti? Judging by his sneer, this
man obviously hadn’t.

He sidled up next to me, obscenely
graceful for his age. Not that he was old at that time, about forty
or so, but hunting every night for murderers in the dark of Mexican
streets should have made him stoop a little more or walk a little
slower. Instead, he seemed as if he could outrun me.

“It’s valuable to us,” he said. I had
almost forgotten that he came in only to scold me.

“It’s just a vase.”

“It is
la sangría
,” he corrected harshly.
“No Lycanti may lay hands on it. No human will ever go near
it.”

“Because?” I asked sarcastically. The
Lycanthrope had a slew of scary ghost stories/traditions that
governed their everyday lives. Will would tell me stories of how
they would cleanse the house of spirits at least once a y ear. At
this point, it leaned on annoying.

“Never you mind,” he hissed lowly.
“Just know that you may not touch it.”

“I’m American,” I said haughtily. “I
have to have a good reason to desist in an action.”

His English wasn’t good and I could
tell he struggled with my vocabulary. I felt a small point had been
made towards proving my superiority.

Finally, he grunted. “Arrogant
Americans. You think you own everything, deserve
everything.”

“Maybe we do,” I offered.

“Not until your government remembers
its duty to its people.”

“I don’t argue politics,” I grumbled.
“But I know your government is just as corrupt.”

He smiled. “I agree. And you would do
well to remember that many of the Clan hold important offices.
Perhaps your country suffers the affliction of Lycanti overrunning
its judiciary process also. A few more pure bloods would fix that
since no one but mangy Lycanti would live in America.”

Now I looked at him as if he spoke
Mayan. Politics did not interest me at all, but I had no desire to
look stupid.

“You don’t honestly believe our
government could have werewolves in it, do you?”

He growled. “You have been told
repeatedly that word has no welcome here.”

I caustically waved his words away.
“Sorry. I just can’t believe that someone wouldn’t
notice.”

“Maybe someone has,” he
suggested.

“Ridiculous,” I insisted. “The Lycanti
stay away from people unless hunting or whoring.”

“You spent half a year
with
Joshua
and
you still believe that?”

My lips moved involuntarily as if to
spit. It’s sad how even an old fuck like Maria’s husband could
torture me with just a few words.

A very unexpected voice crawled up my
spine.

“Oh, surely I'm not that bad. And I
can't help that I have such influential friends who desire my
favors.”

“Hola, Joshua,” Maria's husband said
gruffly. “Welcome to our House.”

“Gracias, mi amigo,” Josh replied with
his casual, fluid accent. “Will the lady of the house see me
today?” A surge of anger rose up, and I fumbled to keep myself from
the Change.

“I should kill you.”

“Well don't let me stop you,” he said
playfully, drawing even closer to me. The feel of his breath
running up the base of my neck stifled anything I could have said
in response. It wasn't the seductive lick he had offered me before
though—no, this was something of the tonguing of animal bathing its
prey in predigestive acids with mere breath. That brand of
ownership is much different than any erotic laving I was accustomed
to.

His voice was low and seductive, as
usual. “Nothing to say, my dear Emily?”

Maria's husband looked on, but his face
betrayed nothing of what he thought of this interaction between
Josh and me.

Finally, my throat worked, though my
voice was substantially less threatening than I would have liked.
“What are you doing here? You can't possibly be welcomed
here.”

“Maria doesn't hate all Lycanti, my
dear—not many at all. Actually,” he purred, “it's really just you.
She welcomes anyone who offers her their business and
allegiance.”

“What could you have that they want?” I
snapped. “Your mangy pack does nothing but kill and terrorize. You
threaten our way of life.”

“Oh shut up, Emily,” he said
dismissively. “There would be no Lycanti if it was not for arrogant
Lycanthrope who think they can control us. You've got this
unfaltering case of Lycanthrope envy. Even Freud would be
impressed. Their way of life and our way of life, as you put it,
are not the same. If Maria heard you insinuate such, she'd kill you
for impertinence.” He paused and looked at me expectantly. “Now go
ahead and say something funny and sardonic to me so I can leave.
I'm sure I have more important things to do than argue with a silly
girl all day.”

An angry heat scorched my face with its
tenacity. “You should leave,” I snarled. “Or I will kill
you.”

He reached forward to tenderly, but
tentatively, stroke my cheek. I pulled back and hissed as if he had
thrown acid in my face, staring stonily at him and fighting for
composure.

He gave me a low chuckle. “Oh silly,
passionate Emily, fighting so hard to be human—and failing
horribly.”

“I am NOT failing. At least I am trying
you m—.”

“That is enough,” Maria's husband said
quietly. “Emily, you and I will remain here. Joshua, you know where
Maria spends most of her day. She is with Luka and a child. Do not
start trouble here, or I will have you hunted.”

Josh nodded in acquiesce. “Thank you.”
He turned to me and said gently, “I'm not here to fight with you. I
truly thought you were dead and am pretty damn happy that you're
not.” He winked at me. “But now that I know better and we're
conveniently in the same house, maybe we can arrange a meeting for
a little fun later.”

I yowled and Changed, haunted by
everything he had done to me. I lunged for him, teeth snapping at
the tender flesh of his outstretched hands. Before I could connect
my need to rip with his body, a hard grip yanked me back. A shock
of voltage raged through me, and once again, like so many times
before, I lay unconscious at Josh's feet, not even knowing what hit
me.

I came to with the hardened voice of
Maria echoing in my ears.

“Bind her,” Maria commanded her
husband. “She is an unruly animal, the bane of the Lycanti.” Then a
stream of Spanish erupted from her mouth that I cannot even begin
to translate or remember. Some of it must have been more orders,
because before I knew it, I was not only bound, but gagged. No
amount of my struggling changed the fact that a dirty rag was in my
mouth and circulation had already begun to fade in my extremities.
I stood, helpless, as Josh sauntered into the room, shot a
confident, toothy smile my way, and stood before the long
executive's table that occupied the greatest amount of space in the
great room. He was not ill at ease, even now that Maria had called
in other Lycanthrope patriarchs and matriarchs. Like always, Josh
was in absolute control of himself. I hated him more than
ever.

“Move towards him and I will use this
on you again,” Maria's husband whispered harshly into my ear. He
must have had a tazer. Then, softer, he said, “Contain your anger.
There will be a time for revenge. Trust Maria.”

His last words were not soothing, but
he did make me realize that futility of struggle. I had apparently
missed the exchange of niceties between the Clan elders and Josh.
Now, I strained to hear what business Josh had for them.

“...I came alone, but my pack is
available to me at any time. We are small but very organized. Our
territory stretches from Oregon to Alaska.” His voice was as smooth
and strong as I remembered from a year ago.

Maria blinked. “You've left the
mainland?”

“Yes.”

An older man I knew as Simon snorted
and added his thickly-accented words to the conversation. “It is
against Clan law to leave the Americas. We are banished to this
continent.”

A melee of voices joined in with his
comment, some agreeing, some complaining. I only had eyes for Josh
and his reactions though. He was entirely too cool. Breaking the
Clan's Laws entitled him to severe punishment. He had just stupidly
admitted his defiance to their decrees. But I knew Josh. Something
else was afoot.

Then, as if she had been conducting
meetings between bickering old men for all her life (which she
probably had), Maria slammed a wiry hand on the table. “Gentlemen,”
she said sharply. “Let us listen to this young man.” She turned
back to Josh. “Surely you have a reason to defy us and ask for
death?”

Josh spread his hands in supplication.
“Senhora, I would not have willingly put my pack in such danger.”
His words trickled out like water, as if rehearsed.

Maria prompted him, as if she knew the
skit, too. “And what, tell me, made you go then? You do not seem
like an overtly foolish young man.”

I leaned forward in anticipation.
Maria's husband mimicked my move, making sure I was not trying to
escape. But I was interested. I had not known about the traveling
restrictions placed on the Clan.

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