I searched his eyes, trying to look for some trick or other alternative motive within those green and yellow depths, but I found none. With trepidation, I took his hand when he offered it, sliding my fingertips across his. The feeling of his skin against mine was like a breath of fresh air and I sighed softly in relief.
It felt safe.
Maybe it was. Maybe I should take that last leap of faith and give him my heart.
Gently, he lifted me off of his lap and set me down on my feet. With a guiding hand on my lower back, he led me around the desk so that I could sit down in Nicolai’s chair. He leaned against the desk next to me, watching as my trembling fingers reached for the mouse and keyboard. I was still very much aware that I was naked from the waist down, but I didn’t let it slow me down.
I clicked and the screen lit up. I was surprised to see it open straight to the desktop. There was a pretty Italian landscape set as the background, but other than that, it was pretty much as you would expect a normal office computer to look like rather than one owned by the head of a notorious vampire crime family. It was really quite striking in its normalcy.
I expected a password window, but there wasn’t one. In fact, there really wasn’t any sort of protection whatsoever. Maybe Nicolai had been arrogant enough to think that his enemies would never make it past his security guards and as a result, his files were just all out in the open.
I still felt emotionally raw, but his cockiness elicited the smallest chuckle from my lips.
“I don’t even have to hack it to get in,” I grinned.
“Apparently, he hadn’t thought to protect himself from the likes of you,” Lawson muttered, his amused laugh bouncing all around me.
“There’s a firewall meant to keep everyone outside this building out of their network, but it doesn’t do any good for those of us already inside,” I observed, smirking a bit at the Venuti’s cockiness.
I opened a few folders, glancing over the records of the building, the hotel revenue, the wait staff that serviced the lower levels. It was all pretty much run of the mill, at least until I stumbled on a Venuti Clan family tree.
They were so much bigger than I imagined. There were names listed from the 1400s and some that dated even earlier than that. There were a few men and women so old that the date wasn’t even recorded, and someone had simply written down an estimated range instead. I chewed my lip and I zoomed out a bit more so that I could see the whole thing.
It was a lot bigger than I expected.
A cold chill passed over me. The number I’d killed here in this building barely even dented their ranks. Hell, there were so much more on this list than I could have ever imagined.
I swallowed heavily and zoomed back in until I found Nicolai’s name somewhere in the middle.
“Nicolai isn’t particularly high on this family tree,” I whispered cautiously.
“No. He isn’t,” Lawson replied.
“You knew that already?”
“Nicolai is the reigning face of the Venuti family, but I’ve always suspected that there would be someone behind him pulling the strings,” he replied, searching the tree himself. “I recognize a great many names… Constantine, Barnabus, Demetri, among others.”
Toboe rounded the desk and stood beside me. He plugged a USB drive into the computer tower and typed in a few keystrokes, initiating a full backup.
“I don’t see us getting interrupted, but I think it would be useful to take all of this information to go,” he offered.
“For sure,” I echoed. I glanced down and pressed my thighs together, feeling myself flush with heat at the realization that he could see that I was still bare from the waist down. I shifted in my seat as the burn from Lawson’s belt intensified for a second. I chewed my lip, feeling the residual soreness in my bottom hole too. To Toboe’s credit, he didn’t even glance down to look at me, but the knowledge that he could potentially see Lawson’s seed drying on my thighs made me blush even deeper with shame.
I swallowed hard and tried to focus back on the screen.
I opened a few more folders, seeing nothing of interest until I stumbled across one that was simply named Winters. I double clicked on it as fast as I could. The first thing that popped up was an image of my father’s face. For a moment, I just sat there and stared into the kindness in his eyes. I wished I could reach out and touch him.
I just wanted to tell him that I loved him, one last time.
The Venuti had taken that from me.
As if he could feel the tension inside me, Lawson pressed his palm firmly against my shoulder and squeezed it tight.
“Together,” he whispered softly.
I reached up and took his fingers in mine, holding them tightly and I took that one last leap of faith. I decided to trust him in this.
“Together,” I echoed, and he squeezed me tighter.
I opened the next picture and sucked in a shaky breath.
It was the two of us, together in a park.
I remembered that day like it was yesterday.
It was taken on my eighteenth birthday. I could still feel the cold chill of the mint chocolate chip ice cream running down my wrist, the crisp taste of the frosty treat on my tongue and the warm embrace of the sun on my face as it broke free of the clouds above us. The hustle and bustle of the quarter rushed all around us, the clopping of the horse-drawn carriages, the laughter of the tourists that were already drunk at noon on a Saturday, and the delicious scent of fried seafood swirling all around us, the beep of a car horn somewhere in the distance.
I could still hear my father’s laugh as I rushed to eat that ice cream cone before it totally melted in my hands.
“You miss him,” Lawson whispered gently.
“I do,” I answered hoarsely.
“We’re going to clear his name,” he vowed, and his voice shook just the tiniest bit with emotion.
“Why would you want to help me? You’ve seen what he’s done. You don’t even know him,” I said softly.
“I know it saddens you, sweet girl, and I want to take that away. I want to see you smile. I want to see you happy,” he murmured. His fingers squeezed even tighter on my shoulder, and I knew he was speaking the truth. I didn’t know what to say so I just tightened my fingers on his.
My heart faltered just a bit as he guided my hand back toward the mouse. He opened another file, and we began to read together.
As a team.
I took a shallow breath and scanned over the first document. It was just his resume, a summary of various projects that he’d worked on, his job history, everything he could list publicly at least. I clicked on another after that, and the real information started to come out.
There’d been a contract that had been written up between him and the vampires of the quarter.
And it had only been signed by one party. Nicolai Venuti.
Beneath a blank signature line, my father’s full name had been typed out. I sat back and stared at it for a long time.
I scrolled back up and devoured the details of that document.
I’d known that the Venuti had wanted him to work with them, but I hadn’t known the details as to what that was. At least, not until now.
They wanted him to create weapons for them. A lot of weapons.
They didn’t want just guns or bombs or the usual things that would be used in the normal world. They had demanded that my father create weapons that could be used against the shifter families, things like silver-tipped bullets, a weaponized aeration of wolfsbane that could be used to take down an entire shifter pack, and so much more. They wanted weapons that were much higher tech than what was available now, easier to produce and stable in long-term storage. The more I read, the more uneasy I felt until I finished the whole thing and sat back. I licked my lips, reluctant to say anything for a long time.
Finally, I cleared my throat.
“The Venuti were preparing for war,” I breathed as I turned toward Lawson. “They’ve been readying themselves for war against you.”
I opened more files, finding blueprints of the silver-tipped bullets my father had already created and research articles that pointed to the aeration of the one plant that made shifters weak, wolfsbane. There were more that suggested potential research avenues that I could only assume would result in exposing a weakness in the wolves, but all of it had been gathered in preparation of my father’s assumed cooperation.
There were letters demanding his compliance, including threatening notes of blackmail that were directed at his financial well-being and a few that even threatened my life.
He had refused. All of it.
Three days before the massacre, my father had come here and met with Nicolai. He hadn’t left the building that day, nor had he left the day after. The morning of his release, my father had walked right into the French Quarter, what I now knew was shifter territory, and killed a number of tourists and locals in a bloody massacre that resulted in his death.
I opened the last file in the folder, which described the events of the day he’d come here all the way to the termination of my father’s life at the hands of the Venuti men. It not only confirmed that the vampires had been the one to kill him, but it listed them all by name.
Lawson cleared his throat.
“You know of vampires, Ava, but do you know about the different abilities the vampire families have?” he asked softly.
“I’m not sure I know what you mean,” I answered.
“Vampires are the natural predators of humankind, but the Venuti have had an easier time of that than many of the other clans. You see, when around humans they have an enhanced sort of charisma and I think your father knew that. He was taking a special herb that guarded against it, but there’s a window of time here that it appears that the Venuti held him prisoner, which would be just enough time for that herb to work its way out of his system,” Lawson explained.
“A special herb?”
“Have you ever heard of blackthorn, Ava?”
I shook my head.
“It safeguards humans against vampires, specifically of the Venuti Clan. In ancient Greece, humans would hang it above the gates to their house. It was said to keep away the undead, but if ingested, it also protects those from the power of the Venuti compulsion. It needs to be ingested consistently though. I think Nicolai knew that your father was taking it. He kept him here, probably as a prisoner in the very cells I freed you from, until the blackthorn passed out of his system. When that time came, I think Nicolai compelled your father to do what he did. The location of the shooting hadn’t been a mistake. It had been a message for me, and I’d missed its meaning then, but I understand now,” he continued.
“They were warning you that war was coming,” I whispered.
“Your father refused them, so they punished him for it. They could have forced him to work for them using their ability over the human mind, but they didn’t. They had already set their eyes on someone else to make weapons for them. I’m sure of it.”
“And if that person refused too, they could show them what they did to my father,” I spat.
“Exactly,” he answered.
“The backup is complete, boss,” Toboe murmured, and Lawson grunted in acknowledgement.
“We should get out of here,” Lawson added. “That Venuti tree could come crashing down on us at any minute.”
He offered me his hand and I took it. He led me around the desk, and I went to reach down for my discarded pants on the floor, but he stopped me.
“No. You’re not going to be needing those,” Lawson purred.
My pussy clenched tight just as my cheeks flared hot in embarrassment.
“But I—” I objected, and he shook his head. I glanced at Toboe and then back at Lawson. I chewed my lip and gasped lightly as he knelt before me and guided my feet back into my combat boots. When he was finished, he stood up and firmly grasped my upper arm. He led me out of Nicolai’s office into his personal elevator. We rode it down to the ground floor and exited through the back of the building where there was a car already waiting for us. We didn’t meet anyone on the way out, probably because I’d systematically killed everyone on my way inside.
I smiled a bit pridefully at myself, but it quickly passed as his fingers brushed against my bare cheeks, reminding me of the shameful things that had happened up there on the penthouse floor. I stared down at my feet and tried to focus on literally anything except how bare I was below my waist, which turned out to be impossible.
With every step, I was reminded of the welts he’d left behind with his belt, but that wasn’t all. I could still feel the soreness of what he’d done to my bottom hole, and I whimpered anxiously just thinking about it. If he heard, he said nothing at all but the smirk on Toboe’s face said everything. Lawson held open the car door and gestured for me to get in.
Blushing even more so, I rushed into the back seat, trying to use my hands to cover my pussy and my well-spanked bottom even if I knew it wouldn’t do any good. I sat down quickly and used my hands to cover between my thighs. Lawson slipped into the back with me, while Toboe took the driver’s seat.
Rather forcefully, he brushed my hands aside and replaced them with his own.
I tried to push him away, but he shook his head gently. I knew better than to keep pressing my luck, so I put my hands at my sides. He smiled victoriously.
“Open your legs. I want that bare little pussy on display for me,” he coaxed. His words weren’t threatening or demanding, but expectant and I found myself wanting to obey him. With a nervous swallow, I did as he asked and in reward, he slipped a finger in between my legs. His fingertip slid easily through my wet folds and brushed over top of my clit firmly enough to make me cry out with pleasure.
I was so very aware of every inch of my skin even though only my lower half was naked. If anything, still wearing a shirt was that much more shameful and made me so much more aware of the areas that were bare. I licked my lips and lifted my gaze, only to see his gaze level with mine.
“Little mate, you’re still so very wet for me, aren’t you?”
Almost impossibly, I blushed harder.
“Yes, alpha,” I answered softly.
Was that okay? Was there something wrong with me for reacting like this?
The car drove away from the back of the Venuti tower and pulled back onto the street. I wanted to close my thighs for fear that someone might see me from the sidewalk, but I didn’t. I held them open for him because I wanted to please him. He smiled as if he could read my thoughts, rewarding me with increasing pressure on my clit.
“What comes next?” I asked carefully and his grin widened. There was a sparkle in his gaze that both excited me and caused a nervous thrill to race down my spine. My core clenched tightly in anticipation, and I waited for him to answer me.
He brushed a stray lock of hair off my forehead, and I closed my eyes, enjoying the electricity that his touch elicited on my skin.
“You’re so very beautiful when you’re blushing and nervous for me, my pretty mate,” he said softly, and I swear my face got even hotter.
His smile only got bigger.
His finger teased me, edging me with promise and something even more. I didn’t think it would be possible, but he was pushing me back into a needy place once again.
“I’m going to take you back to my home, walk you through the front doors, and admire the marks my belt left behind on your bare little bottom. Then I’m going to lead you up to my bedroom and I’m going to claim you in the way an alpha should,” he murmured.
Every muscle in my body tightened with anticipation.
“I left you behind last night and you escaped me, but I don’t intend to allow you such privilege ever again. You’re mine, and I intend to show you exactly what that means,” he promised.
I fidgeted on the seat and that only served to rub my clit even more firmly against his fingers. I grinned knowingly and did it again. He didn’t move to stop me, and I felt a tiny sliver of courage simmer up from deep inside me. I searched his face, all the while coaxing that boldness forth and when it was at its strongest, I pushed myself up from the seat and sat on his lap, one knee to either side of his hips. I centered myself so that my naked pussy was pressed up firmly against his cock. The only barrier between us was the fabric of his slacks.
“You can do whatever you like, little mate, but if you come without permission, I’m going to have to deal with you more firmly than I intended when we get home.”
“What if I want that?” I asked, feeling salaciously naughty for even saying so.
The yellow in his irises grew brighter, the beast in him coming out just for me.
It felt so dirty to be on top of him like this. I knew that Toboe could look in the rearview mirror and see all of me, but for some reason that only made me burn even fiercer. I roped my arms around Lawson’s neck and leaned forward, brushing my lips against his while I rubbed my clit against his cock. I rolled my hips, dragging myself along his length and I groaned, a fiery jolt of pleasure twisting through me from within.
“Naughty girl. Are you trying to get yourself off on my cock?” he whispered devilishly, and I smirked, unable to hold in an anxious giggle at the filthy words coming from his mouth.
“What of it?” I sassed and he chuckled dangerously.
I pressed my lips against his, kissing him tentatively at first before I started to grow bolder. I could feel his amusement in my taking the lead and I wondered how long he’d allow me to get away with it.
I dragged my teeth along his lower lip, before I bit it lightly but as hard as I dared. I wanted to test him, and his grin only widened.
“Such a defiant little thing,” he murmured, but there was a perilous edge to his words that made me shudder with desire.
The car rolled to a stop, and I casually glanced out of the window to see that we were somewhere in the middle of the quarter. My thighs flexed against his waist, and I couldn’t help but think about the fact that some of the people walking by might be able to see me like this.
It made me feel like a wild primal thing and that sent a zing of arousal straight down to my clit.
His fingers glided along the curve of my throat before they gripped my chin just hard enough to hurt. In that moment, he took possession of me with his mouth. His tongue danced with mine, owning me. Taking me. Claiming me and I breathed in a shaky sigh. The car started to move again.
So did my hips.
He pulled away from me, but his hand never left my throat. His fingers tightened just a little and a soft moan escaped me. There was no stopping it, even if I had wanted to.
“Even with your bottom welted and sore inside and out, you’re such a brave little thing, aren’t you?” he asked, his voice edged with darkness and my blush only deepened.
He was right.
I pushed harder, rocked my hips back and forth faster. I could feel my arousal building in my core and then the sound of his own groan of pleasure nearly pushed me over the edge. He chuckled and I gasped as his fingers squeezed my throat a bit harder.
“Are you trying to come, little mate?”
“Yes, alpha,” I purred. I ground into him a bit harder.
“I didn’t give you permission, did I?”
“No, alpha,” I answered, chewing the bottom of my lip anxiously.
“What do you think will happen if you come without your alpha’s permission, little mate?” he pressed, his eyes glinting dangerously and I stared back at him, standing at the precipice of defiance and obedience. I had to make a choice.
“You’ll punish me, alpha,” I murmured, feeling my inner core heat as the true meaning of those words washed over me.
“I will, sweet mate,” he grinned. “When we reach my home, I’m going to take you to my bedroom and claim you in the way that you need to be claimed. The only thing up to you is whether that claiming will be gentle or rough.”
I blushed harder.
“Do I make myself clear, little one?”
I stared down at his chest. I did know. With a hard swallow, I tried to decide on my next move. I studied his dark gaze, wavering back and forth before I realized something about myself.
Gentle didn’t leave me shaking with pleasure. Gentle didn’t make me quiver and needy for more.
I needed his roughness. I wanted the savage beast that I knew was inside him.
I rolled my hips again, a slight smirk playing at my lips. I was playing with fire, and I knew it, but I wanted to get burned.
Maybe he was right, and it was fate playing at my emotions, but it felt like maybe we were meant to be together. I hadn’t known I was looking for a man like him. I’d felt it from the very first time I’d laid eyes on him, and he’d freed me from my prison cell. He’d known it too and he hadn’t listened to my protest. He’d just taken me because he wanted me.
“Maybe I want to be a bad girl,” I purred softly.
His eyes danced at my challenge.
“Your defiance is making my cock very, very hard, little mate,” he snarled, his own need for me broaching on ravenous.
I could feel every inch of his thick length beneath me. He wasn’t lying. He was really hard for me, and I liked that. My thighs squeezed around his waist, and I ground against him with more enthusiasm.
I pressed my lips to his cheek.
“You don’t want me to make love to you gently, do you?”
“No, alpha,” I answered, feeling light in my rebelliousness. It felt like I was floating on air and when I came down, I knew he would be there to catch me when I fell. I grinned.
The fall was going to be the most enjoyable part.
I clutched at his shoulders, and he made no move to stop me. His fingers slung around my throat, feeling like liquid fire until they clutched at the hair at the back of my scalp.
He pulled it. Hard.
I keened, pain blossoming across my head, radiating down my spine, and settling in the needy center between my thighs.
“If you come now, mate, it’s going to hurt when I fuck this pretty little cunt as hard as I please. I promise you that,” he purred.
“I’m counting on it,” I growled ferociously, and he growled even more viciously.
“Oh, little one, I’m looking forward to it,” he murmured with a seductive groan.
I started to move faster, feeling needier and even more aroused with every roll of my hips. His grip on my hair tightened, causing tendrils of pain and pleasure to rebound inside me with wild abandon. My eyes started to roll back in my head and my nipples pulsed, still safely encased within the cups of my bra. I rode him harder, the rough fabric of his slacks driving me closer to the edge of a pleasurable bliss I was going to take myself. Without permission.
The glimmer of danger in his eyes made it all the hotter.
With his other hand, he gripped my bottom cheek and squeezed the welts he’d put there. The painful sting was enough to force me to the very edge of that orgasm I sought.
“If you’re going to come without permission, you better make sure that you scream while you do it. Make sure that Toboe knows exactly what you’re doing on your alpha’s cock, my bad little girl,” he purred.
I lost it after that.
My hips rocked back and forth at a furious pace. My eyes rolled back, and my fingers squeezed at his shoulders. In the back of my mind, I feared that I may be hurting him, but I realized that was silly. He was a wolf. I was a human.
He was the one who was going to hurt me, and I was going to like it.
I started to tremble on top of him, overwhelmed by the consuming pleasure coursing through me. The pain from his grip on the back on my head turned into a vicious sort of bliss and I couldn’t get enough of it.
It was hot disobeying him like this.
I couldn’t wait to find out how he was going to punish me.
My orgasm raged on, sizzling through my body like wildfire. Untamed and feral. His cock was more than rock hard, and I rode it like I was made for it.
Maybe I was.
I screamed, throwing my head back as much as I could manage and lost myself on top of his cock. My pleasure poured over me, vicious and primal.
Our attraction had its softness and hard edges, a beautiful mix of rough beauty and heart.
I knew then that I was falling for him in a big way and from that point forward, there would be no going back.
I clutched at him as I took my stolen pleasure, enjoying every last moment of my rebelliousness knowing that he was going to punish me for it later.
“That’s it, sweet mate. Let me hear you scream as you defy me,” he purred.
I did. I worried that I screamed too loud, but as I shattered, I realized that I didn’t much care. I shook on top of him, my clit throbbing with pleasure and my pussy tightening desperately against him. I wanted to feel him inside me.
The car pulled to a stop and Lawson released the hair at the back of my head.
“We’ve reached my home, little mate. I will give you a moment to gather yourself. When you’re ready, you will tell me, and I will walk you inside. I want you to think about how I’m going to use that sweet little cunt in just a little while and then I want you to think about how much it’s going to hurt when I thrust into you tonight,” he warned, and a shudder raced down my spine.
I don’t know how he did it, but I already wanted to come for him again.
“Do you understand me, little mate?” he asked gently.
The blood was still racing underneath my skin, so I nodded at first before I remembered to answer in the way he expected.
“Yes, alpha,” I purred.
“Good,” he answered. “I’m looking forward to watching that bare little bottom walk inside my front door, but do you know what I’m looking forward to seeing even more?”
“No, alpha,” I answered, blushing heartily at the disguised promise in his tone.
“I’m looking forward to seeing that wet little pussy peeking out from between those pretty thighs as you walk up the stairs to my bedroom,” he whispered in my ear, just loud enough so that I could hear. A quiet sigh of shame fell of my lips and the only thing I could think to do was hide my face in the crook of his shoulder.
He pressed his lips against the side of my head and my heart fluttered inside my chest.
I hadn’t even known I had been missing something like this until he’d found me.
I didn’t know if I’d ever be able to let that go again. I did know that I didn’t want to.
My heart pulsed and I grinned before I pushed off of him.
“Lead the way, wolf,” I sassed and the growl that followed set my core on fire.
The quiet rumble of the engine cut off and I heard Toboe open the driver’s side door behind me. It shut with a click, and I saw him walk around the car before he opened the door next to us. I went to climb off his lap, but Lawson shook his head. He held me there and I fidgeted against him, feeling exceptionally naughty to be sitting there on his cock with his beta watching.
“My mate is beautiful, isn’t she, Toboe?” Lawson asked.
I cried out softly in shame, unable to hide the way my embarrassment catapulted out of my control. I hid my face once more, but he grasped my bottom firmly in his fingers as a firm reminder that he could do what he wanted, when he wanted with me.
“She is indeed, alpha,” Toboe observed. I didn’t even have to look to feel his eyes on me and it made me tremble a bit even as I was wrapped in Lawson’s arms.
I chewed my lip anxiously as Lawson finally decided to lift me off his lap. He placed me down on the seat behind him and climbed out first. He stood outside the door and offered his hand for me to take. Feeling vulnerable in my arousal, I tentatively took his fingers within mine. My eyes flicked downward, and I hummed with shameful need at the hard line of his cock still safely encased in his slacks.
It was only when I noticed the wet spot that I’d left behind that I was forced to look away. My nipples tightened and my clit pulsed with need. I tried to ignore it as he pulled me out of the car, but it only grew stronger now that I was outside the safety of the car. It felt so wrong to have my pussy and bottom bare while I was standing outside. Nervously, I looked around and tried to see if there was anyone else out there. The property seemed pretty private and off the beaten path. On the border was a high fence, with a thick towering wall of vegetation in front of it. From what I could tell, it was just the three of us out here in the night.
My gaze passed slowly around the perimeter until it settled on the massive mansion set at the center of the property.
“Are we still in the quarter?” I sighed in wonder and my alpha wound his arm around my shoulders, pulling me tight against him.
“We’re a little bit outside of it, but still close enough so that we can watch over it from the top floor,” he explained.
To say the house was gigantic would have been an understatement, but it was still so beautifully done. It was built in the style of a southern plantation. The bright lights hidden within the gorgeous flowerbeds cast the house in shadow and glowing light that was the same color as the full moon. It was at least five stories tall, and the front porch was lined with thick wooden pillars that shone bright even in the darkness of night. It was grand and beautiful and as I studied the picturesque home, it felt perfectly suited to the man holding me against him.
“Welcome to Crescent Manor, little mate. Tomorrow, I’ll give you a full tour and introduce you to several members of my pack, but not tonight. Tonight, I’m going to take care of you,” he purred, and I hummed with excitement. His head turned toward Toboe, and I felt him nod. I watched as Lawson’s beta walked toward the house. He entered the home and left the door ajar. Casually, he turned back to gaze at the two of us before he strode inside, leaving us alone.
The tension between Lawson and me was heavy. I could feel it pulsing between us and my lungs screamed for oxygen as though I was deep under water and couldn’t make it to the surface in time to draw in a breath.
His touch glided along my collarbone, pushing just beneath my shirt to scorch my skin. My heart pounded in my chest, and I knew there would be no getting it under control again. He felt scary and dangerous, but at the same time, he felt safe, and I wanted his hands on all of me once again.
His hand fell away from my body slowly, almost reluctantly and my heart drummed even faster knowing that things were about to escalate.
My core pulsed with heat.
“You’re going to walk into my home in a moment and I’m going to follow you. As you take each step for me, I want you to think about how you defied me in the car, how you took your own pleasure without permission, and how you ignored my warning that you would pay for that indulgence when I took you up to my bedroom tonight. I want you to think about how that time is now. When we go upstairs, I want you to imagine what it’s going to be like when I decide to take my own pleasure from every inch of this beautiful, defiant little body,” he murmured, and I gasped audibly in needy shock at the filthiness in his instructions. For several long moments, I just wavered on my feet, feeling lost in my own neediness and open desire.
“Do you understand me, little mate?” he asked.
“Yes, alpha,” I answered, my voice far too shaky.
“Walk for me now, mate, and remember that I’m very much enjoying the sight of your bare, welted little bottom swaying back and forth,” he ordered, and I tried to temper the smile that graced my lips, but it broke free anyway.
I took that first step and my legs felt like jelly, but I held my head high and then I pushed forward with another. My chest rose and fell with the heavy knowledge that he was watching my every move and that he was enjoying that sight.
I whimpered quietly at the thought that it was probably making his cock hard too.
I climbed the few stairs that led up to the porch and walked across it, glancing nervously over my shoulder to see him following me with a hungry seductive expression painted on his face. I lost my nerve just as quickly and looked away, making myself focus on the floor in front of me as I crossed the threshold of his home. Once inside, I paused and admired the massive metal chandelier above my head.
Wooden beams crisscrossed above my head, immense and spectacular against solid white ceilings. To either side of me was a sweeping staircase made of hard wood with beautiful wrought-iron handrails curving up to a high balcony that appeared to have hallways going off to the left and right.
Nothing was overstated, but it was extraordinarily elegant all the same. It all came together with a sense of beautiful perfection that took my breath away.
“Do you like it?” he asked softly as he approached me from behind.
“I adore everything about it,” I whispered.
“I’m glad because this is now your home too,” he said firmly and even in its forcefulness, it made me smile.
“It’s beautiful,” I beamed, and his arm lightly pressed against my lower back, guiding me toward the right side of the staircase. I remembered myself and took another shaky step, feeling my thighs slide against one another. I lifted my foot and climbed the first stair, followed by the second and I noticed that he had stopped to watch me.
“Keep going, sweet mate,” he coaxed, and I took several more steps slowly, more than aware of how much this little interlude was turning me on. Once I’d climbed the stairs about halfway, he growled, and I could have sworn that it was the hottest thing I’d ever heard in my life.
“Your arousal is glistening on those pretty thighs, mate. You’re wet for me,” he observed, and a soft whine flew free from my lips. By the time I reached the second floor, I was absolutely drenched.
I turned to face him, and he started to climb the stairs too, taking each step carefully and steadily, prolonging the time we were apart and making everything inside me burn up with scorching need. I watched him come for me and for a second, I considered running but that wasn’t an option any longer. I lifted my chin, coaxing my bravery forth and fidgeted anxiously as I waited for him to take me.
He took my hand in his grasp and led me off down the hallway and I was too far gone with my own desire to pay much attention to what it looked like until we reached a tall wooden door at the end of it. He opened it as if he owned the place, which he probably did, and he led me inside. He led me forward just enough so that he could shut the door behind me. I heard the lock click and I knew there was no stopping what was to come.
Not that I wanted to…
I’m not sure where it had happened, but there was a shift between us. The element of his heavy-handedness had been difficult at first, and I’d fought him tooth and nail, but now I saw it for what it was. He wanted to claim me as his, his possessiveness so thorough that he’d just taken me knowing that I would come to see that as something I adored about him.
His finger slid over my hipbone, slow and steady. I sighed, just feeling the way his simple touch elicited waves of electricity to course through me. He knelt down beside me and removed my boots and socks, leaving me all too aware of the face that his cheek was resting against my skin as he did so. I took in one shaky breath after another, trying to keep myself still. I wanted to touch him. I needed to touch him.
I resisted because I wanted to enjoy this part too.
He stood back up and slipped his fingers beneath the hem of my shirt, lifting it up over my head shortly thereafter. With a single quick snap, he undid the clasp of my bra and that fell away too, leaving me completely bare and vulnerable before him.
I pressed my thighs together. I wasn’t sure why but there was a part of me that wanted to hide my body even though he’d already seen it. I didn’t know what to do with my hands, so I folded them behind my back as he walked around me and gazed into my eyes. I saw everything in his stare, the dark promises of what he was going to do to me tonight and tomorrow and the night after that.
I’d never felt so aroused in my life.
He looked at me like I was the most beautiful thing in the world and that made my heart leap with joy.
“You’re perfect, my pretty little mate,” he breathed, and I blushed, unsure what to do with his unexpected praise. He took a step toward me and lifted my chin, capturing my lips in a soft kiss before he drew away.
I breathed in his scent, trembling and wanting and entirely too needy.
“And now I’m going to show you what it means to be mine,” he murmured, and I cried out in fear and desire too powerful to contain.
His gentleness had run out.
He slid his hands down to my backside and lifted me straight off the floor, his fingers gripping at my sore bottom roughly. He turned and tossed me on his bed, looking down at me like the savage beast I knew him to be.
“Spread your legs, mate. Show me that needy little pussy,” he demanded and with a touch of fearful hesitation, I did just as he asked.
His eyes dropped to study me, and I drew my lower lip into my mouth nervously. The salacious grin that graced his mouth made me want to hide once more, but I kept my legs open because that was what he wanted. All of his focus was on me right now and it made me feel wanted in such a beautiful way that I couldn’t get enough of it.
I wanted more.
He approached the bed, never taking his eyes from the wetness between my thighs. With a steady sureness, he reached for me and traced his thumb through the arousal that had dripped down onto my inner thigh.
“Do you feel this, mate? Do you see how your body recognizes your alpha?” he purred.
“Yes, alpha,” I breathed heatedly, trying to study his gaze for some hint of what he wanted and finding nothing but the mask that was him. The unknown burned me up inside and I couldn’t stop myself from arching my body toward him.
I felt like I was sizzling up from within.
Then he started unbuttoning his shirt. There was no way I could look away as his strong fingers undid each button one at a time, slowly revealing the cotton undershirt he was wearing underneath. Finally, he shrugged off both shirts, leaving me to revel in the hard lines of his chest. He kicked off his shoes and his hands dropped to his belt.
I gulped, remembering how that very thing had punished me hard enough to leave its mark on my naked backside.
He undid his pants and pushed them down his hips, revealing his cock with a certain swiftness that left me breathless. My heart pounded and time seemed to slow as I took in his thick length. I reveled in the sight of it.
His cock was hard for me.
And in just a little while, I was going to have in deep inside me.
He climbed onto the bed and over top of me and I was more than aware of his thick length as it brushed against the sensitive skin of my thighs. I sucked in an anxious breath as its vivid heat took its rightful place between my thighs. He didn’t enter me just yet, but the insinuation was there. I knew he’d thrust into me very soon and I also knew it was going to hurt. It was going to make me come all the harder for that reason.
He kissed me ruthlessly hard, taking me with forceful savagery and I returned his kiss with just as much enthusiasm.
“You’re mine, mate. From now on, every sigh of pleasure, every scream, every last gasp of need is mine to give. I’m going to keep all of it for myself, do you understand me?” he snarled. His breath tickled my ear and I shivered in his arms.
“Show me,” I pushed, and I could feel him grinning against my ear.
His fingers grazed along my neck and slipped underneath my scalp. I stared up into his eyes as he gripped my hair roughly enough so that a stinging pain radiated sharply across it. I gasped as it spread across the back of my head, shooting down to send a terrible insistent pulse directly to my clit. My pussy clamped down tightly in expectation, but I waited.
I waited for him to take control.
“When you rode my cock in the car, little mate, I realized something. Do you know what that was?”
“No, alpha,” I whispered, trying to grapple with the overwhelming shame and unfathomable arousal that his words stoked inside me.
“I realized that I very much enjoyed seeing you come for me. I’ve decided that I’m going to enjoy that a whole lot more tonight,” he vowed, and my hips surged up toward his in open need.
“You’re a greedy little thing, aren’t you?” he asked and I pressed myself up toward him.
I didn’t know if I could survive much more of his teasing.
My body was jittery with arousal, and it took everything in me not to grind myself up and down the velvet softness of his thick length between my thighs.
“Punish me, alpha. Punish your mate,” I pushed as bravely as I could. His eyes sparkled with darkness as he lined the head of his cock up to my entrance.
“I’m going to take you, my naughty little mate. You will wait until I give you permission to come for me. If you defy me this time, I will spank that pretty little cunt bright red and put you to bed wet and needy,” he growled.
I squeaked nervously.
“Yes, alpha,” I whispered.
He didn’t give me a chance to say anything more because his hips jerked forward and the full length of his cock speared into me with one painful thrust.
I screamed and his lips descended onto mine.
He didn’t start slow or gentle, nor did I expect him to. He’d promised me rough, and he delivered. Once he was fully inside me, he didn’t pull out. Instead, he stayed there, enjoying the way my pussy struggled to take his massive size. My inner walls clutched at him, burning and fluttering with pain and pleasure far too intense to ignore.
It was everything.
“Tonight, I’m going to teach you how an alpha fucks his mate,” he growled, and my legs squeezed tight at his hips.
“Oh, please,” I begged.
He chuckled and slammed into me hard.
My fucking began rough and fast. It hurt from the very start, but I’d known it would. I wrapped my arms around him, clutching at his back and holding on for what I knew was going to be a night to remember. His cock surged in and out of me with ruthless intention, claiming me like I imagined a beast would. Really, though, he was a beast.
He was my beast.
His pelvis ground firmly against my clit with every thrust and I lost myself in the sensation of his cock slamming in and out of me, of the pleasure burning inside my core and the knowledge that a powerful orgasm was coming whether I wanted it or not.
I wanted it all. I needed it all and he was going to give it to me.
“I like the feel of your body struggling to take my cock. It makes me even harder,” he growled.
“Oh!” I cried out and his fingers slipped down the front of my chest to capture my nipple in a painful twist. My pussy tightened around him, and the most delicious groan fell off his lips and reverberated all around me.
His cock was so hard, and it throbbed inside me, stretching me beautifully beneath him as he took what he wanted and, in that moment, I gave him everything.
The relationship between us wasn’t soft, and I knew it would never be. It had claws that left me covered in his mark, teeth that had already sunk deep into my heart, and a bond that had begun to settle in the darkest depths of my soul.
My hips began to rock in tune with his, taking him deeper with every thrust. When I woke tomorrow, I knew that even my cervix would be sore.
I liked that.
My core sizzled and squeezed in tight, pleasure and pain coming together in a delicious mixture of perfection that consumed me. I suffered in the beautiful embrace of both sensations, enjoying every moment as my clit pulsed greedily against him.
It wouldn’t be long before I shattered beneath him.
“Please. I need you,” I whispered.
“I know, sweet girl. You will be patient for me. If you come before I say, you’re not going to come again tonight,” he warned, and I tried to remember to be obedient. My pleasure magnified, swirling inside me like a storm, growing stronger with every passing second and the only thing that kept it at bay was my need to please him.
My fucking grew rougher and faster and soon enough, I was so desperate that I began to beg. Even though I was so focused on obeying his instruction, I was fearful that I wouldn’t be able to follow it for very much longer.
He punished me harder with his cock.
“I’m enjoying this greedy little pussy, my little mate,” he snarled.
“Please. I need to come, alpha,” I pleaded.
“You’re going to have to be more convincing than that,” he taunted, and I could feel his chuckle of amusement at my distress.
My clit pulsed, hot and heavy. Painful need billowed out inside me, and I felt as if I was floating on air. I could feel myself beginning to fall and I tried to keep myself from giving into the raging need that was surging through my veins, but it was so very hard.
“Alpha!” I screamed. “Please let me come for you. Please. Please.”
“Do you think you deserve to come for me?” he asked, slowing his thrust to a leisurely pace that drew out my pleasure even further.
I met his gaze, searching his eyes with mine, pleading for him to grant me mercy. The way his cock slid in and out of me was a sinful torture. I wanted to come so badly that I felt like I could cry if he didn’t allow it.
“Please,” I begged.
“Answer the question, little mate,” he growled, accentuating each syllable with a forceful thrust. I gasped with each one.
I didn’t know the correct answer. I tried to read what he wanted from the steady firmness in his gaze, but I couldn’t figure out what he expected me to say.
I tried to find my voice and it came out in something of a fractured whine.
He punished me with his cock then and I writhed beneath him. I cried. I begged.
“Please! Yes, alpha! Yes, I deserve to come for you!” I shrieked. My voice came out broken and weak, but I said the words anyway because he wanted to hear them.
“I think you deserve to come for me too, my sweet mate. I think you deserve to come for me more than once tonight, don’t you agree?”
I blushed hard because he was right.
“Yes, alpha,” I whined. “Please.”
His grip tightened on the back of my head.
“Good. Now come for me, mate. Don’t you stop until I give you permission to stop,” he purred. His words acted as if they were a direct conduit to my core and I snapped as his cock slammed into me all the way to the hilt.
That first orgasm poured over me like a summer rain, hot and wet and so sudden that I wasn’t ready for it even though I’d wanted it so badly. His body surrounded mine like a dominant prison and I writhed within its confines. His body was strong and even in his roughness, I knew I was safe with him.
My inner walls gripped him tight, and I drowned in the harsh chasm of the pleasurable pain that wrecked me from within. My core squeezed down so hard that I began to panic, but his grasp on me only held me more firmly.
His gaze held mine and I tried to turn my head, but he growled in warning.
“No. I want to see the look in your eyes when you come for me on my cock,” he demanded.
I cried out, overwhelmed by my orgasm and feeling myself beginning to fall into that familiar but terrifying void that I knew was coming. I knew he was going to demand a whole lot from me tonight.
“Shh. Focus on me. I’ve got you, little mate,” he crooned, and his fingers grasped my chin hard enough to force me to do exactly as he wished. My inner walls convulsed around him, and I stared into the yellow depths of his irises.
His beast was coming out for me. I could see it.
I came harder because of it.
The yellow in his irises exploded into a bright gold that was as hypnotizing as it was beautiful. My thighs began to quiver, and I could feel that second release bridging closer and closer with every beat of my heart. My legs quaked faster, my blood surged in my veins, and I arched into him.
My nipples scraped against his chest.
I started to scream.
That second orgasm followed far too quickly after the first and the pain that came with it twisted me open. His cock savaged me from within and I broke into a million different pieces, tiny shards of glass that fell to the floor and shattered once more.
My eyes rolled back in my head, and he pulled me against him, offering the safety of his embrace as he ravaged me. The wet sounds of his cock sliding in and out of me were so shockingly noisy that I felt as if it surrounded me.
This wasn’t gentle or kind or even remotely sweet.
It was filthy and wrong and so incredibly dirty that just thinking about it tomorrow was going to make me blush and stammer through my shame.
It was perfect.
It was us.
I clutched at him, my fingers digging into his back, and he didn’t complain. He groaned and I whimpered, caught in the painful aching riptide of my orgasm beneath him.
“That’s it, mate. Come for me,” he demanded and just when my release reached a harrowing peak, the base of his cock started to inflate inside me. I began to panic, but his lips brushed against mine and that fear fell away.
“Trust in me, my pretty mate. You can take my knot. You’re made for this,” he purred.
“Yes, alpha,” I breathed fearfully, but I trusted those words.
My body writhed with agony and ecstasy and just when I thought it was going to fade away, a third and final orgasm wrenched through me before I could prevent it.
He thrust his cock all the way inside me just as the base billowed out wide, stretching me so far open and making me scream. I could feel it hooking behind my pelvis, anchoring us together as one. His thick length throbbed hard inside me and when the first blazing hot spurt of his seed marked my insides, I came harder than I ever have before. His eyes went wild with feral need, and he leaned forward and bit the cusp of my shoulder.
His teeth tore into my flesh, holding me still as he forced me to take his bite, his knot, and his seed at the same time.
“Please!” I begged.
The pain from his bite faded into nothing and the only thing left was the sore ache from his cock. A blissful warmth blossomed across my shoulder, and I gasped at its magnificence. It spread outward and settled in the core of my heart, pulsing once, twice.
His seed continued to spurt deep inside me. His knot held us together physically, but the bond between us exploded from his mark. It simmered with a mystical energy, a powerful magic that bonded us together forever as one.
It felt as if it was fate.
Like he’d been meant to find me in that prison cell. In my home. And in the Venuti tower.
“I don’t want to love you,” I whispered, my voice shaky and unsure and entirely too vulnerable, but I said it anyway because I needed to.
“In the end, it won’t be up to you, my defiant little mate,” he murmured just as the last vestiges of his seed lashed hot against my cervix.
His knot didn’t deflate right away. Instead, it held us together and I found that I adored its aftermath. His body was hot against mine, chasing away the ceaseless trembling that quaked through me as I came down from that last orgasm. His arms surrounded me, and he pulled me to him as he lay down beside me.
“You’re mine, Ava,” he continued. “You bear my mark now as my mate. I will only ever have eyes for you.”
I hid my face in his chest, feeling my pussy grasp his cock just as my heart beat strong for him, only for him. I smiled against him.
Who was I to fight fate?
The power of the bond simmered inside me. I’d known she was my mate since I’d first laid my eyes on her and now that she was mine, I felt like I could breathe for the very first time. There would never be anyone more important than her, nothing more precious than her life. All the evidence pointed that the Venuti were on the cusp of instigating a war, but that didn’t really matter right now. It would be dangerous, but I had my mate by my side and that would make me stronger than I had ever been.
Her eyelashes fluttered on my chest, and I pulled her closer to me, wanting to feel all of her against me. My knot still held us locked together and when it finally began to deflate, the tiniest moan of disappointment escaped her lips and tickled the surface of my skin. When it was time, I pulled out of her, but I didn’t let her go.
I was never going to forget the way her delightful little body had grasped tight around my cock. She’d gripped me so tight that I wasn’t sure if she was trying to pull me in deeper or squeeze all of me right out. I closed my eyes, breathing in the sweet flowery scent of her hair. She’d wanted me at the same time she didn’t, but I hadn’t given her a choice. She came even harder for me for that reason alone.
She was perfect.
I could feel her blinking, and a slight tremor raced across her skin. I held her close and pressed my lips against the top of her head. Her trembling ceased for a few long seconds before it began again.
She needed me and I was going to take care of her.
Without preamble, I wound my arms around her and lifted her from the bed. She made a sound, something that was a mix of a gasp and a sigh, but I didn’t say anything. Right now, I was making the decisions for her, and she was just going to have to accept that. I carried her into the massive master bath attached to my bedroom and sat on the ledge of the oversized jetted tub. I started the water and made sure that it was just the right temperature before I lowered her into it. Her cheeks pinkened beautifully as she pulled her knees into her chest. She folded her hands together and watched me with cautious curiosity as I poured a few fragrant oils into the water for her.
Once the tub had filled enough, I shut off the water and reached for her. Tentatively, she placed her fingers in mine and I situated her so that I could wash her hair. I poured a generous amount of shampoo into my palm and massaged it into her hair. My hands were gentle and the tension I’d noticed before gradually faded away until she was like putty in my hands.
When I was done washing her beautiful locks, I leaned her head back just enough to rinse it out while ensuring none of it got into her eyes. I moved onto conditioning her hair next, bathing her in silence. There was a certain subdued satiety to her, and I smiled. It was incredibly rewarding to know that I’d been the one to satisfy her so thoroughly.
I massaged her scalp and she moaned openly. A hard jolt of pleasure raced straight down to my cock. I was hard again. With a grunt, I ignored my own desire to take her again. She needed my gentleness now and then she needed to be put to bed.
I squeezed my hands around her upper arms, noting that the occasional aftershock was still making her muscles quiver. Not allowing myself to take my eyes off her for even a moment, I soaped up a small washcloth and began to smooth it over her body.
“What happens now?” she asked. There was no challenge in her voice, just simple curiosity and the slightest edge of acceptance.
“You stay here with me. This is going to be your home now. I will send my men to gather your things and they will bring whatever you need,” I began. I didn’t leave any room for argument, but I could tell she wasn’t going to fight me based on the way her body sagged against the tub. I rubbed the washcloth up and down her arms, soaping her up slowly and she nodded quietly.
“Okay,” she answered.
Her body stopped trembling and the bond squeezed tight between us, an invisible rope that tied us together forever as one. She reached for my hand, entwining my fingers within hers and I gripped them firmly. She sighed quietly and relaxed, releasing me once she was ready.
For a while longer, she let me finish bathing her in silence. I had her stand up for me so that I could wash the rest of her body. She blushed particularly hard when I glided the washcloth between her thighs, washing the remains of her own arousal and my seed from her skin. She whined softly when I reached around her waist and cleansed between her cheeks. Wanting to deepen her shame just a little more, I gently turned her around, inspecting the still pink marks on her pretty little bottom. I traced my fingers across a few of the darkest, noting that none of them would likely be there when she woke in the morning.
I took my hands and spread her cheeks wide open, and she cried out more in shock than anything else. I quietly studied her beauty.
“This little bottom hole is still pink, my pretty mate. Is it still sore from my cock?” I asked quietly.
“Yes, alpha,” she squeaked, and I soaped up a single finger. When I pressed it against her sore hole, she clenched tight and tried to keep me out. I chuckled. She wouldn’t.
I pushed hard enough to breach that tight hole and she moaned, the sound an intoxicating mix of pain and pleasure that made my cock even harder. Roughly, I pumped my finger in and out of her.
“I have to make sure you’re clean, don’t I, pretty mate?”
“Oh! Yes, alpha,” she groaned, and I slipped another finger forward into her pussy, enjoying the feel of both of her pretty holes tightening around me.
If I wasn’t careful, I wasn’t going to be able to stop myself from fucking her once more.
I slipped my fingers out of her. She needed rest. There would be plenty of time for me to take her in the way she needed to be taken in the days to come.
I used another washcloth to rinse her off and when I was finished, I wrapped a warm fluffy towel around her. Without preamble, I lifted her from the tub and sat her on the ledge. I rubbed a light conditioner into the ends of her hair and combed it, taking extra care not to hurt her in the process.
Her eyelids grew heavy, and it soon became clear to me that she was having difficulty keeping them open. I quickly dried her off and lifted her once more, carrying her back into the bedroom. Much to her embarrassment, I unwrapped the towel and allowed my gaze to lazily study her naked form before I tucked her into bed.
I glided my thumb along her cheek and enjoyed the bond pulsing between us. She looked up at me through hooded eyes and I smiled down at her.
“Such a good girl,” I whispered, and she beamed back at me with such happiness that it made my heart pulse just as joyfully in return.
“That was pretty intense,” she murmured, and that pulse only grew stronger.
“Sleep now. I have some work to do before I come join you,” I answered, unable to hide the giddy grin that was plastered all over my face now.
“Yes, alpha,” she sighed, and I stayed just a little longer until I was certain that she was asleep.
She looked like an angel, but I knew that she was going to be a handful and I liked that. I was certain she was going to keep me on my toes. I was going to enjoy reminding her of her place beside me, over and over again until she screamed my name.
In fact, I was looking forward to it.
With much reluctance, I eventually convinced myself to leave the room. I returned to my office only to find Toboe hard at work inside it. I leaned against the door and feigned annoyance, clearing my throat so that he’d notice me. He lifted his head and smirked.
“What’s up, boss?” he asked lightly.
“You’re sitting at my desk,” I replied, and his grin widened.
“I figured you wouldn’t need it tonight,” he answered, and I chuckled. “What? Did she wear you out already?”
“More like I gave her more than she could handle,” I answered.
“Cocky bastard,” he teased. “So did you make it official?”
“She bears my mark now, yes,” I replied.
“Good. Good. I’m glad that’s settled,” he smirked. “Now, maybe we can talk about what else I found on Nicolai’s computer before you want to head to bed yourself.”
I strode forward and took a seat in the chair in front of my desk with a heavy sigh.
“It’s worse than I think it is, isn’t it?”
I could stop myself from rubbing the bridge of my nose in annoyance.
“There’s been a lot of underhanded moves made by the Venuti that we haven’t recognized. They’ve turned a few of our allies against us, taken over a few of the key businesses in the quarter, and made some sort of deal with the police to overlook their kills and hide them from us.”
“Give it to me straight, Toboe,” I grumbled.
“They’ve been preparing to stand against us for a long time and it appears that they are almost ready.”
“Can you give me any sort of timeline?”
“Maybe a week. Or a month. Maybe more or maybe less. It’s hard to gauge,” he mused.
“Let’s start with Ava’s father then. I don’t understand why they’d let him refuse them in the first place. Why not just make him do their bidding by force?”
“He wasn’t the only one under contract with the Venuti to develop those weapons. They had another engineer on the line too, only he was far more cooperative than her father had been. There were multiple reasons they dealt with him as they did,” he explained.
I narrowed my eyes.
“The first thing they wanted to do was test our ability to keep carnage out of the quarter. We failed on that one. Second, they wanted to send us a message, but we hadn’t been looking for it and missed it. Third, the café was packed with tourists and locals alike, but the Venuti were only concerned with one particular woman who happened to be having coffee with her fiancé that day.”
He paused dramatically and it annoyed me. He winked in my direction, knowing that it did.
“The governor’s daughter,” he added, and I sucked in a breath.
“Did she get shot that day?” I asked anxiously.
“Did she die?”
“She did. At least according to the human records,” he answered. He looked away from me and turned the computer monitor toward me.
It was the Venuti family tree. He zoomed in on the bottom and sat back in the chair, waiting for me to figure out what he hadn’t yet said.
“They turned her,” I sighed.
“Yeah. So, we can probably kiss our arrangement with the governor goodbye,” Toboe replied, his voice carrying just as much frustration as I felt.
“Fuck me,” I groaned.
“No. That’s your mate’s job,” he replied, and it was so unexpected that I snorted with a laugh.
“You’re not wrong,” I smirked.
“I know,” he answered.
“I take it there’s more,” I finally pressed.
“You’d be right. The engineer they employed instead of Ava’s father had been slower to produce what they want, but he’s been on the right track. So far, he’s developed the silver-tipped bullets that they wanted, and they just so happen to be far easier to produce in mass quantities. It’s only been in production for a month or so, but we need to be far more cautious in our dealings with them from now on,” he continued.
“Fuck me twice,” I sighed.
“No means no, boss,” he smirked and once again, I shook my head, but I couldn’t stop myself from smiling. His sarcasm was keeping my anger at the Venuti at bay, and I deeply appreciated that. I wasn’t about to tell him though. It would most certainly go to his head.
I just laughed softly at him, and he chuckled.
“What you do to your mate on your time is none of my business,” he murmured, and I laughed harder once I realized that he’d blushed just a little when he’d said that.
“So. Moving on. They wanted some sort of weapon laced with wolfsbane, but that hasn’t really made much progress yet. Turns out the component that’s actually effective against shifters is not particularly stable long term. Which is good for us.”
He started to list off a few more things and I listened attentively, sighing as I realized just how long this had been going on under my nose. They’d seemingly begun edging into the quarter for months, if not years now and they’d done it without any of my men noticing.
That was going to have to be dealt with. This was my territory and when the time came, I was going to show them that.
“They’ve been watching this property, boss. They’ll know that we brought her here,” Toboe continued, and I growled openly at the threat thrown her way even though it wasn’t from him.
He was right. There was no way what she’d done tonight wouldn’t be noticed.
“Do they have a file on her?” I asked.
“Tell me everything,” I pressed.
“It’s a rather basic profile. Name. Background. Job history. The usual things you might expect. It really didn’t have much to it until this week when she made her first appearance inside their property. It does make a note of the type of bullets she was using. They know that she has something that could be highly dangerous if used against them in the future,” Toboe replied. His voice was far graver now. He knew that this was probably the most dangerous part of what he’s told me tonight.
“They’re going to come for her,” I said quietly.
“That may make them move faster than they intended,” he replied.
“If they have enough bullets, it may make them overconfident,” I replied thoughtfully.
“Maybe,” he answered cautiously.
“Well, starting tomorrow, we’re going to have to start preparing to welcome them with as much southern hospitality as they have come to expect,” I replied firmly, and he laughed.
“That sounds like fun,” he smirked.
“Oh, it will be. Now go to bed. We’re going to need to get some sleep because things could start to get really interesting come morning,” I added.
“Got it, boss.”
“Night, Toboe. Thanks for having my back today.”
“It was an honor,” he grinned.
With a final nod, I pushed myself up and out of the chair. Toboe continued to work on the computer behind me as I walked out of the office. I didn’t pay him any more mind because my mind had already turned back to the delightful little package curled up in my bed. I strode down the hallway and silently returned to my room. I stripped down to my underwear, and when I glanced down at her I noticed that her eyes had opened, and she was watching me sleepily with a wistful smile on her lips.
When she noticed that I had seen her, she turned her head and hid her face in the pillow. I’d seen her mouth curve up in an even bigger smile though. I rounded the bed and climbed into it with her, unapologetically winding my arm around her waist so that I could pull her flush against my chest.
“Did you miss me?” I whispered in her ear.
“No,” she answered feistily.
I chuckled in her ear, and she shivered against me. Boldly, I dragged my fingers down the length of her abdomen and forced them in between her thighs.
She was very, very wet.
“Little mate, I think you’re lying to me,” I whispered. “I think you did miss me, and this pretty pussy is giving you up.”
She trembled a bit harder.
I slid the tip of my finger over her clit, earning the most delicious moan of reluctant desire from her. I was holding her close enough against me so that she could feel just how hard she was making me.
“Alpha,” she whimpered.
I teased her for a bit longer, enjoying every whimper that fell off her lips until I finally pulled my hand away, only to hear her sigh softly in disappointment.
“It is time for you to close your eyes, sweet girl. Tonight, you’re going to go to bed wet and needy for me and tomorrow, I promise you I will take care of that greedy little pussy. Be a good girl for me and I might even make sure you enjoy it,” I whispered in her ear.
She panted and it took everything in me not to sink every inch of me into her slick little cunt. I pressed my lips to the back of her head, kissing her softly.
She snuggled in a bit closer to me.
“Promise?” she whined.
“I promise, sweet mate. Now close your eyes. If you make me tell you again, I’ll have to turn that bare little bottom bright red. Do you understand me?”
“Yes, alpha,” she answered. Her fingers wrapped around mine and I squeezed them tight.
“Good girl,” I murmured, placing a light kiss on the back of her neck. Her body softened at my praise, and I decided I’d have to give her more of that.
At least, when she earned it…
I closed my eyes too, content that I’d found the woman I was meant to cherish for the rest of my life.
Both with and without a red little bottom.
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