Prologue: The Sweetest Trap
The residents of Everlasting Springs didn’t know they lived a few decades behind everyone else. They had zero interest in figuring out what went on beyond our borders. They happily lived slow, analog lives, unaware of the fast-paced digital world that surrounded them. It was the enchantment of the place, and I don’t mean that word in a good way. It’s a dark magic that envelops my hometown.
Everlasting Springs was a ‘Venus flytrap’ sort of place. Even those with little magical blood flowing through their veins got stuck. They were forgotten—and they forgot. All that mattered to them was The Circle with its gazebo for town gatherings, and a pleasant life within the triangle boundaries of water and bougainvillea.
The blood moon ritual might set them free to join modern society. It might also destroy them. Before the ritual could take place, though, we needed the Scroll to keep the record.
I’m Amalia Ruíz, a witchy sort of wolf, mate to the alpha of Everlasting Springs, and owner of Circle Books. I tried my best to unravel the knots of our odd little town as we prepared for the blood moon ritual, but I didn’t do it alone.
The magical residents of Everlasting Springs had to bring the elements together in time for the blood moon. Our long path to the decisive moment when nature and magic would guide our fate involved leaping over many hurdles.
Some tripped and fell along the way. Others… fell in love.
This is one of those stories…
Chapter One: Bound to Bob’s Bed
I was in Bob McKenzie’s bedroom, handcuffed to his big brass bed, his fluffy pillows pressed against my back, the scent of his crisp, clean linens surrounding me in a cloud of comfort, the scene fulfilling one of my deepest, darkest fantasies. Except Bob was genuinely furious with me, and unfortunately, he wasn’t trying to fuck me.
He was trying to stop me from running off again.
“I’m sorry,” I said.
The wolf shifter and Everlasting Springs’ chief of police had been pacing for so long, I imagined his big boots must have burned a path in the soft gray carpet by now.
He snorted at my weak apology. “You’ve done a terribly irresponsible thing. Can’t you see that, Lola? You kept me in the dark, and put yourself in danger.” The unfamiliar anger in his tone shocked my ears like the scratching of a record player needle dropped by an unsteady hand onto my favorite album. Yet, the low, rumbling undertone raised the little hairs upon my arms, and stiffened my already throbbing nipples.
I figured he was exaggerating a bit about my being in any danger, but I honestly couldn’t say at that point.
A tear overflowed the lashes of my right eye, chased by another on my left. Soon, more tears were rolling down my cheeks. I couldn’t stop them. Bob was the last person I wanted to upset. He was a friend, but also more. I had loved Bob for… ages. But Bob had loads of women to love him and he didn’t need someone like me in his life.
Now I had blown any chance to win him over by proving to be nothing but a troublemaker.
Emitting his trademark low, piercing growl, Bob walked up to the head of the bed. He wiped the tears from my cheeks with a rough thumb. “Don’t cry, Lola. That’s not fair. I haven’t spanked you yet.”
“Can’t help it.” I sniffled. “Yet?”
“Don’t you think you’ve earned a spanking for lying to me?”
“I didn’t lie.”
“You didn’t tell me the truth.”
He was right, of course. From the start, I might have told him everything. I needed Bob to see me as something more than a problematic Vazquez, or the town’s rubber glove-wearing oddball with the spooky powers, or even as his friend. I wanted him to see the woman who cared for him—and hoped he would care for her.
“I’m sorry.” It sounded even weaker the second time I said it.
“What am I going to do with you?” Bob thumbed my jutting lower lip, his touch lingering there for one long, heated moment. It was as close to a kiss as I could hope for from him.
“Anything you want. Just… please don’t hate me.”
“I don’t hate you, silly girl.” Bob cupped my cheek in his right hand. His fingers caressed my skin and his hard eyes softened, though he didn’t smile. It seemed I hadn’t earned that yet.
He breathed deep, as if he needed all the air in the room, his chest puffing and his hard muscles straining the seams of his tan uniform shirt. He withdrew his touch, my cheek still tingling with the memory of his skin on mine, as he searched the back pocket of his slacks for the handcuff keys to set me free. I rubbed my wrists, though the cuffs hadn’t hurt me. Surprisingly, I missed having them there. As I fought the urge to touch him, I struggled with a need to use my hands. I wasn’t sure I’d like what I saw, though, without my gloves to protect me from contact with his skin.
Bob surprised me by taking my hands in his, knowing that he was opening the door to my power, allowing me into his mind, letting me feel everything he felt, every memory, every desire. Bob was baring his soul.
What I saw was overwhelming. His mind was full of emotions, memories, and dreams—swirling, chaotic, and powerful. There was enough force behind them to fuel a hurricane stronger than any my stormy sister Suzy could produce. There was no way to put words to all the rawness the wolf kept bottled up underneath his calm and cool façade. Many of his thoughts weren’t human—they were bestial. Bob’s thoughts made me as hot as the noonday sun in August until I gasped with the pleasure, my skin glistening with perspiration. I wouldn’t mind trying a few of the things he imagined doing to my body.
That is once we settled the annoying issue of my being possessed by a total asshole.
“We should be honest with one another.” Bob let go of my hands. “You won’t use your rubber gloves around me anymore. Okay?”
I nodded, still enthralled by the depth of feeling emanating from the man. He wrapped his muscular arms around my torso and my legs and raised me out of the bed like a baby. Then he put me on my feet, and sat down on the bed himself, pulling me by the hips to stand between his knees. Bob rested his hands on his lower thighs, clutching them. It took him a while to talk, as if he was weighing his words.
“Lola, I want you to take off those overalls and that little t-shirt. Strip down to your underwear and put yourself over my lap.”
His tone was firm. His jaw was set, deepening the shadows in the hollows of his prominent cheekbones, the stubble of his beard especially dark in the low light.
I swallowed hard. “Are you going to spank me now?”
Bob’s lips curled into a grin as he nodded slowly. “Yes, Dolores, I am going to spank you now. Then you’ll stand in that corner there, with your soft, round bottom glowing like a lantern. Maybe then, as you blush with embarrassment, knowing what you’re displaying to me, you’ll think about what you could have done differently. When I believe you’ve thought long enough, we’ll have a long talk.”
“Okay…” My voice was as quiet as a mouse.
Bob might have been the zeta of the Everlasting Springs wolf pack, but he was an alpha in his own right, a powerful beast wrapped in the pleasant candy shell of a southern gentleman. The man was only the cover, the façade, the public face.
The wolf was a hunter—and the werewolf was a fierce killer.
He was a big man—easily a head taller than me—blessed with a lean torso, a broad chest, muscular arms, and firm thighs. I didn’t know how he could contain so much conflict in that body. Of course, it wasn’t his only body. As a shifter, he had others to spare. It was hard for me to breathe, still feeling the storm of Bob’s desire, his raw power, his delightfully lewd visions of me, and the ever present howling of the wolf Bob suppressed for the benefit of his neighbors and friends.
That howl echoed the gemido—a deep, hungry moan—that ran through my head.
Bob smacked my butt to get me out of the hypnotic state his wolf had put me into. “Come on, girl. Strip. I plan to start as I mean to go on. You understand?”
I nodded and unbuckled the straps of my overalls so the bib flap fell down to my waist. I hesitated to let myself hope it meant what I thought it might. That would be too wonderful, and I didn’t believe I deserved wonderful things.
After all, I was a Vazquez. We were nothing but trouble.
I slipped the side buttons slowly, my fingers trembling and clumsy. The loose pants fell, pooling around my bare ankles. I kicked the garment to the side with my foot. Bob breathed deep. I was always a little self-conscious about my shape, which was why I almost always wore my overalls. I didn’t dislike my body… but I hated what it did to some people.
“Take off that shirt,” Bob commanded, though his hard tone felt almost like a caress.
I pulled the plain white V-neck over my head, making a further mess of my signature messy bun. The bobby pins I’d used to keep my hair in place were giving way, the tangle of my locks lolling heavily to the side. Bob rose from the bed to untangle it, combing my dirty blonde curls with his fingers, fanning them out, until my hair fell down my back and over my shoulders. He turned me around.
“Girl, how do you manage this mane? Haven’t you ever cut it?”
“Well, yes, remember? I used to have short hair when I was little, but I haven’t cut it since I was fifteen. It’s a nuisance, sometimes. That’s why I keep it in a bun.” Bob combed his fingertips through my hair, working out the tangles, his other hand stroking my back, my butt, and my thighs as he did so.
“Hiding your light under a bushel,” he muttered under his breath.
It pleased me no end to hear him say it. I wondered whether he only meant my hair. Though others told me I was silly for thinking it, I’d always felt my sisters had inherited more of our mother’s beauty than I had. Even the twins were cute as buttons, though they hadn’t settled into their beauty yet. At this stage, they were wild and chaotic. Not that I thought I was unattractive, but perhaps I was a little too round, especially in my rear. My upper thighs were full and my breasts required a bra that Sylvia, our town’s clothing shop owner, had to special-order for me. My overalls covered most of that, though, hiding the real me. I avoided more fitted clothes, like the black slacks and white shirt I’d had to wear to cater to the party the night before everything fell apart. Fitted clothes always resulted in distraction. But I’d never considered it ‘hiding a light.’ I just didn’t want people staring, or judging me based on my looks alone.
As soon as my body changed, I saw too much of what people thought about me when I touched them. That’s when I started wearing my gloves and my various cover-ups. For a while, my favorite clothes were tent maxi dresses. I still wore those, sometimes, but they weren’t suited to working. Overalls were as practical as they were comfortable. I could do almost anything in them.
Bob braided my hair as all these thoughts rolled around in my mind. My belly twisted into a hard knot of anticipation. It was so intimate and possessive. It made me shiver.
“Are you cold or are you scared, baby girl?”
I finally understood why so many ladies in town welcomed Bob back into their beds, despite knowing he wouldn’t be theirs for long. Bob had magic fingers. When he touched you, it was ownership and reverence combined. Every inch of you was precious, and you were the only woman that mattered. At least, at that moment.
He flipped the loose braid out of the way and bit my left shoulder gently. That made me shiver again.
“Cold?” Bob asked, this time in a softer, deeper voice as his thumb stroked the spot he had nibbled with his teeth.
“No.” I was quite the opposite of cold—and my temperature kept rising.
“Okay, baby.” He tapped my rear, turned me around again, and sat on the bed, pointing to his right thigh for me to lean over. “Let’s get this behind us.”
I hesitated, though. He might act tender at that moment, but I knew he was still furious with me and full of some pretty grim thoughts. Fortunately, they weren’t all about me. Some of his darkest thoughts involved the body thief. I had tried to fix that problem, but only made things worse.
Bob’s tone became sharp and stern, sending an electric charge up my spine and making my pussy tingle. “Lola, I won’t tell you again.”
My panties were wet, and it embarrassed me that Bob might see.
It shouldn’t turn me on, right?
I couldn’t truly help that it did.
Walking up to stand between his legs, I looked into his glowing silver eyes. Bob’s eyes were usually a bright blue, but it was the wolf looking back at me now from inside the man’s body. He nudged me over his firm, muscular thigh, pressed tight into the khaki slacks of his uniform, and flipped me over so my top rested on the mattress with his legs locked around mine.
“Why am I spanking you, Lola?”
I was unsure what to say. Yes, I had disappointed him by keeping secrets. I’d taken things into my own hands and made a mess. But I’d read more than that in his mind. He was looking forward to smacking my ass. “Because it’s your job.”
“No, Lola, my job is to keep the peace.”
“Yeah, but you also lay down the law, right?”
Bob chuckled. “Okay, smartass. Have it your way.”
Swat. Swat. Swat. Swat.
Without warning, four hard smacks fell on my backside, two on each of my butt cheeks. The sound of each strike filled the room, adding to my discomfort. The jiggling in my rump went deeper, making the walls of my vagina vibrate. For a split second, after his hard palm contacted my flesh, my ass was numb. Then a flame bloomed from the inside out, burning me like hellfire.
Bob lowered my white cotton hipsters. My face burned with a blush that quickly spread from my cheeks to my chest. I was glad Bob wasn’t looking at my face. I always splotched bright magenta when embarrassed. I was mortified. He would see the evidence of arousal in the gusset of my panties. If he did, he didn’t mention it, though he breathed deep again, as he had when he first saw me out of my overalls.
Bob turned his attention fully on my ass, peppering another eight hard spanks over the fullness of my butt, the crease between my globes and upper thighs. It sounded like popcorn popping and made me strangely hungry—though not for food. The fire in my flesh intensified, searing me, but my lower lips were soaked and throbbing. He gave me another four smacks, the last two landing right at the center. Now even my very wet pussy felt the sting.
“Ouch! Okay, that’s enough. I said I was sorry.”
“Lola, this is just the warmup.”
“I’m warm enough.”
He squeezed my right buttock, digging his fingers deep into my hot flesh. Strangely, that felt pretty good. My pussy was enjoying this more than it should have. He stroked my upper thigh.
“I decide when you’re warm enough, baby girl. You’ve got a lot of area to cover. I would say you have a few more coming.”
“Are you saying I have a big ass? And don’t call me that.”
Bob chuckled. “You definitely have a big ass. I think you know that, Lola. It’s perfect, by the way. Exactly the right size for you.” He patted my butt twice, gently. I suppose he meant to be reassuring, but it only made me feel more self-conscious. “And you are a naughty girl who gets in the way of people she should trust to handle things.”
“I’m a grown woman, Bob.” I didn’t intend to admit to him or to myself how wonderful it felt to hear him call me ‘baby.’ I needed him to stop thinking of me as a girl, or a pet, or a friend, or anything else besides a woman he wanted to fuck. After all, I was twenty-five. More than grown enough, even if I’d never had a date or a kiss, or anything else. The men of Everlasting Springs avoided the Vazquez women like we had the plague, for some reason.
Well, Mama was the reason.
“I have definitely noticed, Lola—but you can be both.”
It hadn’t occurred to me that was a possibility. I wondered whether that was just Bob’s thing.
“Do you talk to the other women you know like that?” I meant ‘know’ in the Biblical sense and Bob understood it that way.
“So, why do you call me that?”
“You’re not like the other women I know, baby girl. You’re precious and only need a hand getting yourself straight.”
He relaxed his thighs and released the lock he had on my calves so I couldn’t kick back as he punished me. Then Bob pulled my legs over onto the mattress as he rose and left me lying on my belly while he went to search for something in the bedroom.
“What are you doing?” I asked, turning to look at him standing at the dresser. His reflection in the dresser’s mirror wore a wicked grin.
“I have a brush that’s perfect for you.” He pulled out a large, flat, square wood brush.
“You already braided my hair.”
“This is for your rear, my dear.”
“You can’t spank me with a brush, Bob.” My voice was barely a squeak. I rushed to sit up, which was quite uncomfortable, my backside still simmering with the bite of his hand.
“Can’t I?” Bob asked.
“How do you figure?” He leaned back against the dresser, his ankles crossed, and tapped the brush against his palm. Bob’s right eyebrow raised, his lips curving into a sly smile.
I blinked at him, trying to find the words. When I tried to explain, it was with a slight stammer, my nerves getting the better of me. “Well, it’ll h-hurt a l-lot.”
Bob nodded. “That it will.”
“Why do you want to h-hurt me, B-Bob?” Hiccup. I couldn’t help it, no matter how hard I tried. It was an automatic response whenever I found myself out of my depth. I was definitely floating too high now for my feet to reach the bottom. Hic.
“I don’t want to hurt you, baby girl, but you need to know that I won’t let you hurt yourself, either. When you do something irresponsible, there will be consequences for you. And I will be sure the lesson sticks.”
“P-please”—hic—“d-don’t, B-Bob.” My eyes filled with tears.
“Okay, Lola.” Bob came back to the bed, the brush clutched in his right hand. He held it up. “It’s your choice. Either you take your spanking with this, or you leave this house to spend some at the station. I need to be sure you won’t run off again without meaning to until we can sort out your situation. But you may not come back here again if you choose to spend time in jail.”
“What do you mean?” Hiccup.
“Dolores, if you want a relationship with me, this is the way it will be. When you get yourself into trouble, I decide the punishment you’ve earned. If you’re not willing to live with that, there’s no point in my trying to persuade you.”
“That’s not much of a choice.” I pouted.
“Well, you get to decide. I won’t judge you. I’ll accept what you choose, and I’ll make of it whatever I choose. Because, beautiful, you should never doubt I will be in charge.”
Bob leaned over me on the bed, kissing me gently. I pulled him against me, moaning as I slipped my tongue between his lips. He let me feel I had control over him, if only for a moment, then he threaded his hands through my hair, his free arm wrapping around my back, lifting me off the mattress.
He held me firm, pressed against his chest as he explored my mouth. The wolf growled as his tongue, his lips, and his teeth consumed me. My hiccups vanished in an instant, that low, rumbling growl strangely putting me at ease. My sex flooded with wetness, my sticky desire threatening to drip down my inner thighs. It was all too much. The musky, fresh soil undertone of his scent intensified with additional notes of fresh-cut grass and sun-dried cotton. When he finally let me go, I felt so light, it was like I wasn’t in my body anymore. A dreamy part of me floated above us, watching our future play out.
“A relationship?” My voice was a mere breath.
“Yes, a relationship is what you want, isn’t it?”
“What about you? What do you want?”
“Baby girl, what do you think?”
I wasn’t sure what to think. Bob had never given me any signs he was interested in having anything between us beyond our friendship. Unless I’d just been blind to them.
Now I was in his bedroom, melting into a puddle, ravenous for the only man I’d ever wanted. But my butt was sore—and bound to get much sorer if he used that brush on me. And, of course, I was possessed by the fucking psycho ghost.
I might be close to getting everything I’d ever dreamed of, but I wasn’t at all sure I was ready for it.