Savage Desire

Feral attraction in the midst of hatred…seeing red! – Chapter 1 – PROLOGUE

Somewhere in the southern part of California, thirty-one years ago…

“It’s a boy.” The elderly woman smiled. “Just as was predicted.”

The baby let out an angry cry and kicked its tiny legs with such force the old woman almost dropped it.

“So strong.” She giggled, tightening her hold on the baby. But her delighted giggles turned into a gasp of horror when the baby’s eyes suddenly turned bloody red. “Oh Great Luna!” Mama Meg turned as white as sheet.

The two attendants looking on turned to run out of the room just as one of the curtains burst into flames. The baby kept crying angrily.

“Give him to me Mama Meg.” The obviously tired mother instructed urgently. “Quick.”

This story is a work of fiction. All characters are older than 18. They have fun having gay sex. If gay sex is not allowed in your country, you should consider moving to another one. The characters are not having safe sex, please use condoms while exploring your sexuality. As always, I look forward to your comments and suggestions. Thank you for choosing to read my story and I hope you enjoy! You may contact me at gaynerdy2014@gmail.com , also if you have your own story. Please send to this email gaynerdy2014@gmail.com , or click SUBMIT YOUR OWN STORIES! at the top right corner of HOME SCREEN. Also, If you include your name. I will give credit as due, otherwise, it will read as – Read By: Bobby Newberry. THANK YOU for helping to build Gay and Nerdy Archives Library of Erotic Stories and more. Note: We do not own these stories, only share. If you believe this story should not be here. Email gaynerdy2014@gmail.com and explain. If so, we will fix this mistake.

She stretched out her arms and took her baby from the terrified old woman. Then she tenderly placed the screaming baby on her chest, noting the contrast between her own dark skin and her baby’s slightly lighter color. He was the most beautiful baby she’d ever laid eyes on. The proud mother began to sing softly to sooth her screaming baby. But for the seriousness of the current situation, she would have laughed out loud when it downed on her that her baby had actually taken more of her color than her husband’s. She couldn’t wait to see the look on her husband’s face when she demanded her prize for winning the bet. She also couldn’t wait to see the real eye color of her baby. Was it going to be the intense deep blue eyes his father had or dark amber like hers?

The proud mother didn’t even look up when her husband, the Alpha burst into the room. She kept singing. And as she sang, the baby’s cries gradually died down and to the shock of the others in the room, so did the curtain that had caught fire. Well, it was virtually burnt but at least the fire had gone out…by itself.

“He’s an Ojah.” Mama Meg gasped, her whole body trembling.

“Darling, are you okay?” The giant of an Alpha asked his beautiful wife.

Gloria, the head warrior and queen of the Stanwood Pack lifted eyes filled with pride, joy and mirth to her anxious looking husband and gave him a slow wink. “What do you think?” She breathed. “Come meet your son.”

Alpha Stanton grinned and sat beside his wife on the bed. They both stared at the sleeping baby, ignoring the almost frenzied prayers being whispered by Mama Meg. The elderly woman was terrified and rightly so. After all, they had in their midst an Ojah who could raise a whole community to the ground with just a snap of his finger. What made their situation even worse was the fact that their son was a mere baby and therefore had no control over his power. The Alpha and his queen knew they had a lot of work to do.

“He can’t be Alpha.” The old lady chanted. “An Ojah can’t rule. He’ll kill everyone. We are doomed. An alpha has to be tolerant. But it’s not in an Ojah’s nature to be tolerant.” Mama Meg was shaking so much she looked as though she had a seizure. That was the extent of her terror. “Everyone will perish at his hands. This has never happened before. We…”

“Calm down Mama Meg.” The alpha finally turned to look at the frightened woman. “I know something like this has never happened before but let’s consider the other possibilities. Wouldn’t his being an alpha rather control his Ojah side? And wouldn’t being an Ojah rather be an advantage to an alpha…help him protect his people even better? Think about it. Now why don’t you go and gather the elders for an emergency meeting, Mama Meg?” The Alpha said gently, turning back to look at his sleeping son. “I’ll clean them up myself. Tell the elders I’ll join you immediately I’m done here.”

The woman fled the room as if the hounds of hell were after her. And even as she hastened to do the bidding of her Alpha, she couldn’t help but feel the surge of power in the air…the power emanating from that little baby. She had faith in the Alpha and the queen to keep the pack safe, but she also couldn’t help but feel their lives were in danger. She prayed the couple and the elders would be able to contain all that power and keep them out of harm’s way.

“Merciful Luna, have mercy on us.” She prayed as she broke into a run.

And back in the room, the alpha and his wife couldn’t keep their eyes off their bundle of joy. To them, he was perfect.

“He’s going to be the most powerful alpha.” The queen muttered.

“I know.” The alpha grinned.

***

At the same moment…in the remote town of Pierre Part, Louisiana…

*

A doctor and three nurses stared at a new born baby boy. The thoughts running through the head of each person was, ‘am I seeing right?’

“Is something wrong with my baby?” The exhausted mother asked in a tired voice.

All four pairs of eyes turned in her direction for not more than a second. Then each pair was back on the baby. It was a staggeringly beautiful baby. Its angelic face and the full crop of pure white hair on its head made it look almost ethereal. But what arrested the attention of the doctors and nurses was not the beauty of the baby. It was what was between its legs… The beautiful baby had two dicks.

“Will someone please say something?” The mother’s raised voice caused the stunned doctor to finally turn to focus on her.

“Ms. Hicks I don’t know how to say this but…err…your baby…you have a boy.”

“And what is strange about that?” The mother asked with a raised brow. “I already knew it was going to be a boy, remember?” The scan had already revealed she was having a boy so Emma Hicks knew her baby was a boy.

“Well, your son has a…a…he has a condition.” The doctor said, turning his eyes back onto the baby.

“Condition? What kind of condition?” The alarmed mother’s eyes widened with dread as she moved to sit up.

“A deformity.” The doctor couldn’t mask the confused shock in his voice. He turned his eye back onto the mother and groaned. “No you don’t have to…” He started to say but the mother ignored him and sat up.

“Please give me my baby.” Emma demanded shakily. She just wanted to hold her son. “I want to hold him.” She stretched out her arms, praying that whatever deformity her son had was not life threatening.

The nurse who held the baby in her arms gently placed the baby in its mother’s arms. Whilst they all stood back to witness Emma’s first reaction to her son’s weird body part, the doctor went to the phone in the corner and started dialing.

Emma looked at her son’s face and gave a tremulous smile. “He’s beautiful.”

Then she started checking his fingers to make sure he had ten, looked on his chest and saw the tiny nipples, went further down and touched his umbilical cord stump, and then she moved her eyes lower to his groin and then froze. Emma stared at the two tiny dicks for a moment, and then continued with her inspection as though she hadn’t just seen the weirdest thing ever.

“…Yes come immediately.” Emma heard the doctor on the phone, talking to someone. “We’ll be waiting. No I haven’t taken any pictures yet. Okay I’ll do that but hurry.” He hung up.

“Who was that on the phone?” Emma asked quietly.

“That’s a specialist.” The doctor responded. “I called him to come and check your son out.”

“Really? I didn’t know you had specialists in this part of the country. No one is poking my son. He’s no E.T. I…”

“You watch too many movies Ms. Hicks.” The doctor gave a nervous laugh. “We’re not going to harm him.”

“How long will it take for the specialist to get here?”

“He’s going to fly in from New York. He’ll be here in about three hours. Now, why don’t you allow Nurse Sarah to clean the baby and put some clothes on him?” The doctor smiled. “You need your rest.”

“I’m fine. Can I breastfeed him when she’s done?”

“Sure.” The doctor nodded.

“Okay.” Emma smiled. “Need to use the bathroom. I want to clean up before I feed him.” She said as she allowed the nurse to take the baby.

Emma slowly got off the bed and went to the bathroom. Her tears mingled with the water as she showered. She’d seen how those people had looked at her son. She’d seen amusement on one face and disgust on some. Emma knew that a male with two penises was strange and she didn’t know why her son had it but she sure as hell wasn’t going to allow anyone to make her feel as though her son was any less of a human being. She was a strong woman. Had to be strong as she’d never had anyone to look out for her. And she was going to make sure that no one had the chance to make her son feel bad about himself. Her son was special and she was going to protect him from the cruel world they lived in.

When the nurses came back into the room an hour later to check up on mother and son, they found an empty room. Emma Hicks had disappeared with her son.

***

PRESENT DAY…

Alpha Jeremy Stanton was in a very bad mood. The fact that it was a full moon that night was making his mood even darker. The Stanwood Pack, which was the biggest pack in the country, was getting ready for a run and that never ceased to bring a feeling of excitement and anxiety amongst the pack. The air was charged. It was usually the most importance event that occurred every month because newly turned wolves got to take their first run to the joy and pride of the grown-ups.

Just as Alpha Jeremy always insisted on, the warriors had scanned the parameters to ensure that the pack would be safe during their run. These checks were important as rogues or hunters could be waiting to attack. Rogues were wolves with no packs. They were usually broken from customary behavior and killed indiscriminately and heedlessly. Hunters on the other hand were that group of people who had made it their life’s mission to destroy supernatural beings such as werewolves from existence. When Jeremy heard word, mere hours before their run, that some hunters were lying in wait for them, he’d growled with fury. And when he was told that the hunters had managed to escape, leaving just one man behind, he’d gotten even angrier. He’d ordered his warriors to bring the hunter back to the camp. Jeremy wanted to personally kill the hunter this time around, to placate his furious wolf.

As Jeremy paced impatiently waiting for his warriors, the pack got ready to move. Jeremy’s house was a modern day castle. It was huge and breathtakingly beautiful. A lot had gone into the magnificent structure. To some, the house was a five star hotel as it could easily house about three hundred people. There were hundreds of acres of land around Alpha Jeremy’s house, all belonging to the Alpha. Though the werewolves lived anywhere they wished… amongst regular human folk, they always converged in Jeremy’s mansion once every month to run as a pack. Wolves from other packs who owed allegiance to Jeremy usually joined the Stanwood pack for their runs. For the wolves, it was the best place to be on a night of a full moon because they got to run to their hearts content in the forest surrounding the property. Jeremy was therefore particular about security as he was responsible for not only his pack members, but non-pack members too.

“We’re here Alpha.’ Jeremy heard his lead warrior say through their mind link and instantly felt his fangs drop. He couldn’t wait to see the hunter who dared come that far to hunt his pack on such a night.

‘I’m out here.’ Jeremy responded and turned to face his five betas. They were the most important people after the Alpha and his mate, if he had one. Their job was to take over command and enforce the law whenever the Alpha wasn’t present. The betas were so important and respected that their position couldn’t be challenged without the alpha’s approval. “They’re here.” He informed the anxious betas.

Jeremy turned to face the direction he knew his warriors were going to emerge from and promptly gasped when a strong wind blew. Fuck! He groaned silently as his eyes widened in shock and confusion. Where the fuck had that scent come from, Jeremy asked himself as he closed his eyes and breathed in deeply. His mouth watered and he felt his cock go instantly hard. No fucking way! From what he’d been taught, only one thing could cause his current reaction. His mate was close. But who, Jeremy asked himself as he opened his eyes and looked around, hoping to see a strange female standing close. It could be someone from the visiting packs. But Jeremy noticed that there were no women around where they stood waiting for the warriors. They were all at the southern part of the property, getting ready for their run. He turned to face his approaching warriors and felt his knees weaken when the scent got even more intense and delicious. Jeremy swallowed as he felt his eyes shift. His wolf was dying to get out and go to his mate and Jeremy had to do everything in his power not to let that happen as he didn’t even know who the said mate was.

By the time the warriors got to their alpha and his betas, Jeremy’s skin had broken out in sweat despite the chilly nature of the weather.

“Are you alright Jer?” His best friend and head beta, Philip asked quietly beside him with concern in his eyes.

“I’m fine.” Jeremy rasped curtly. “Let’s just get this over and done with.” He said as he turned to fully face the warriors.

Behind the warriors, with his head covered in a sack and his hands in cuffs was the caught hunter. “Here he is Alpha.” Stan said as he pushed the apprehended hunter forward. “We haven’t questioned him at all but he keeps saying he means no harm.” He reported as he yanked the sack off the head of the hunter. “Those who escaped left their weapons behind.” He said pointing at the guns in the possession of one of the warriors. “They’re filled with silver bullets. I think the ones who escaped are kids. This one was probably training them.”

“I told you I’m…” The hunter began but shut up when the alpha turned his angry eyes on him.

Jeremy had to suppress his groan as he stared into the most beautiful eyes he’d ever seen. They were glassy green with flecks of amber. The man looked to be in his early twenties, around five ‘nine in height, lean, and had the whitest blond hair Jeremy had ever seen. It was cropped short on the sides and slighter longer on top. The hunter was drop-dead gorgeous. And he was his mate.

“Fuck!” Jeremy swore as he stared into the frightened eyes of the hunter.

There was one thing everyone knew about Alpha Jeremy Stanton. He hated hunters with a passion because hunters had killed his father and kid brother. He always told his pack that it was sick to simply kill someone when you had no proof that that person was causing harm to other people. Since he and his pack always made it a point never to cause anyone any harm, hunters were to Jeremy, foolish murderers who needed to be taken out when caught. He never killed them though. He rather made his resident witch work on hunters who got caught. And by the time his witch was through with the hunters, their thirst for the hunt was no more.

It was also a known fact that Alpha Jeremy had never understood the concept of same sex relationships. He would accept it if anyone felt they had to be gay, but had never understood what could possibly be nice about that whole orientation when the couple could not even make babies. He thought it was a waste of time and sperm. So for Jeremy, the universe had dealt him the nastiest blow by giving him a mate who was not only a hunter, but was also a man. Jeremy got so mad he didn’t just see red, his eyes turned red.

Everyone stepped back in fear, except the hunter. Even if he knew just how deadly the man standing in front of him had just become…which he didn’t…he couldn’t have moved because the power from those red eye inexplicably had him rooted to the spot. The warriors and betas on the other hand, knew that a red-eyed Jeremy, was a lethal weapon. The last time their alpha had unleashed his Ojah power, it hadn’t been pretty and they all remembered very clearly.

Jeremy was not just an alpha, but was also one of the three Ojahs in the Were kingdom. That made Jeremy the only alpha who was also an Ojah, making him the most powerful supernatural being in the Were kingdom. Ojahs were a rare form of shape shifters who were both ruthless assassins and conjurers. An Ojah was so powerful that they couldn’t be controlled when their powers were unleashed. Unleashing that power meant the Ojah in question had turned his humanity off. Just one Ojah could slaughter an army within mere seconds. It was therefore very rare for an Ojah to allow that ruthless inhuman side of their being to come out. Even the wolf of an Ojah became uneasy and subdued whenever a werewolf allowed his Ojah power to take over their body because at that point, the sane human was no longer present. The ruthless deadly Ojah spirit had total control over the individual and his wolf. To shut that deadly bloodthirsty spirit down, something very intense needed to occur to force the Ojah back to their senses.

Jeremy’s anger and confusion was obviously so intense that it had triggered off his Ojah powers, effectively turning off his humanity. Being an alpha, however, unconsciously held Jeremy back from destroying his pack members and that was the only thing that kept his warriors and betas from fleeing. An Alpha would never destroy his pack and the men were counting on that. As Jeremy stared at his mate, his fangs elongated. What nobody knew was the war raging within him, between the ruthless Ojah who hated what fate had done to him, and his wolf, who simply wanted to mark his mate. As an alpha, Jeremy’s wolf was braver than the usual wolf and could to an extent, stand up to the bloodthirsty assassin that Jeremy had become. The war raged on between the Ojah and his wolf. It had been prophesied that his mate was special, the Ojah fumed. But what made this human being special, he wondered angrily. Was it the fact that he was a man? Or was it the fact that he couldn’t possibly give him an heir? What kind of silly joke had Luna played on him? And as if being a man wasn’t enough, he was a murdering hunter. Jeremy was damn furious at the injustice of it all.

In the end, man and beast had to come to a compromise. Left to the currently heartless and deadly Jeremy alone, the hunter would be dead that very instant but since he was his mate, his stubborn wolf wouldn’t allow it. Even in his current state, Jeremy knew the consequences of killing a mate. Luna would never forgive him. He also knew he couldn’t reject his mate as that would set a bad example for his pack. But Jeremy didn’t give a flying fuck about all that consequence. He just wanted to kill the murdering hunter standing before him. After a fierce argument between him and his wolf, the Ojah agreed not to kill the hunter only if he could punish the hunter in his own way. It was agreed that rather than kill the hunter as Jeremy’s rage was calling for, he was going to give him the greatest punishment that any hunter could be given. And that was to turn the hunter into what he hunted. Jeremy would bite the hunter just to turn him but not to mark him as his mate…yet. To worsen the punishment even more, the excruciating pain that came with that act of biting to transform a human into a werewolf, was not going to be masked. He would be made to feel every bit of that pain and even more, as payback for his wicked intentions. Not killing him was all the mercy Jeremy planned on showing the man. And though Jeremy could feel the dread and agitation coming from his wolf for the pain he was about to inflict upon his mate, Jeremy moved with determination towards the hunter…like the predator that he was.

When he got to the hunter, Jeremy turned him around, ripped the back of his shirt to expose the back of his neck, reared back with an angry growl, and then struck…hard. The warriors and the betas gasped at the sound of their alpha’s fangs sinking with a crunch into the bone at the back of the hunter’s neck. Receiving a bite from an angry alpha was painful enough. But receiving a bite from an angry alpha in the current state of theirs had to be even more painful. And as if that wasn’t enough, the bite was being administered on that part of the human body which delivered the most excruciating pain…the back of the neck. That had to be, without a doubt, the most painful bite ever. Even the anguished cry from the hunter didn’t give the angry Alpha pause. He rather tightened his hold at the hunter’s throat when he tried to get away from his sharp teeth. Jeremy’s fangs sunk deep, with intent to cause maximum pain as he allowed the venom to flow into the hunter. The alpha was beyond feeling at that point. He simply wanted to inflict pain and that was exactly what he did. He felt the hunter convulse with utter pain against him but his fangs remained embedded in his neck. He only released the man when he felt him go limp against him in a faint. Jeremy watched stonily as his mate crumbled in a heap at his feet.

Following a bite, the venom would begin duplicating itself immediately in the human bloodstream. The process took roughly six to nine weeks to fully integrate with the human cell. During that time, the human would usually experience insomnia, headaches, flu-like symptoms, and depending on how they were bitten, excruciating pain. Once the venom had fully integrated with the cells, the human would become a werewolf. Some either died in the process or became deformed and had to be put down. The bite the hunter was given, and the amount of venom that was deposited into him, effectively erased the luxury that came with a gradual transformation as was the norm. His was supposed to be a quick transformation. And the pain that came with that was a hundredfold compared to the gradual transformation. None of the werewolves gathered wished to ever be in the shoes of the hunter.

“Take him to the dungeon and lock him in cage two.” Jeremy growled. “And Alex, tell our hunters to lead the packs out.” He ordered. “Are the pup watchers in place?” He asked, referring to the sitters of the pack who kept watch over the pups whenever the others had to go for runs, hunts or battle. Anyone who had not attained the age of fifteen and therefore hadn’t had their first shift yet was classified as a pup. One would be a fool to think that pup watchers were weak and soft. On the contrary they could be the most vicious members of the pack if anyone messed with the pups.

“They are, Alpha.” Someone answered.

“Good. Let’s run.” Jeremy nodded and abruptly turned to go, followed by his lead beta, Philip.

A completely stunned Philip turned to watch as the warriors picked up the collapsed hunter and rushed to fall into step beside his alpha. “What the fuck just happened, Jeremy?” He whispered, not as scared of the alpha as the others because he knew Jeremy would never harm him…well unless of course he crossed a line.

“Questioning me, Philip?” Jeremy growled, still in his kill mode.

“You know I’m not.” Philip whispered, desperate to get his friend back. It was obvious something had triggered that suppressed side of Jeremy. “I just want to know what just happened back there. Jer, you have to control it. If that hunter triggered it, then I think you should stay away from him.” He knew that much as his Alpha was fierce and ruthless when it came to their enemies, he was the most sympathetic and just man he’d ever met. Putting that hunter…and a human for that matter, through that agonizing pain was rather cruel and uncalled for and so unlike his alpha. Yes, he hated hunters but that alone couldn’t possibly have brought out that deadly side of him.

“I had my reasons. And I’m not in the mood to talk about it tonight.” Jeremy snapped as he started stripping out of his clothes. He wanted to destroy something.

“As your beta, I understand.” Philip answered quietly and respectfully. Anyone in their right mind would stay away from a red-eyed Jeremy but Philip knew he had to at least try to talk his alpha down. “But as your best friend, you better get ready to…Oh fuck, Jer pl…please…” Philip gasped when he suddenly found his throat in the grip of Jeremy. “Alp…” But before he could get the word out, Jeremy flung him away from him.

“You know better than to get on my nerves right now, Philip.” Jeremy growled and then shifted into a huge red wolf. The wolf watched Philip bare his neck in submission, and then charged into the forest, knowing his friend would not be far behind him.

Philip quickly stripped as he watched his alpha move into the forest at a furious pace. With a frustrated growl he shifted into a large grey wolf and charged after his friend. He knew his friend had noticed how upset he was but thanks to the controlling Ojah spirit, the alpha couldn’t be bothered as he would have been had he been in his right frame of mind. That was one of the perks of turning one’s humanity off. Jeremy didn’t care that his best friend was upset with him at all. They were virtually like brothers and shared everything. When Jeremy’s father and little brother were killed by hunters about twenty years earlier, his father had taken Jeremy under his wing and trained him as his own father would have done had he been alive. As beta to Jeremy’s father, his dad had stepped in for some years as Alpha when his friend was killed and given Jeremy all the training and coaching he needed to become a great alpha. Even at that young age, everyone knew Jeremy would be a brilliant alpha. And Jeremy hadn’t let his people down. At age thirty-one, he had accomplished so much for himself and gained the respect of not only his pack, but the public in general. JS Group of companies was popular worldwide and owned by none other than Jeremy. He was intelligent, resourceful, and one of the revered and feared Alphas in the supernatural community. The pack was so proud of their alpha.

Although Philip was two years older than Jeremy, the two of them had virtually been joined at the hip since they were kids. No one had the nerve to tell Jeremy off to his face except Philip and Jeremy’s mother. Well, this time Philip knew he was going to have to wait to tell Jeremy off unless of course he wanted his throat ripped out by his literally crazy alpha. And as he charged after his alpha, Philip tried to ascertain what had triggered off his friend’s current state. If anyone could figure it out, he could. He knew Jeremy too well.

As Jeremy ran hard and fast, all he could think of was having a talk with Philip’s father, Joel. He needed to talk to the elder who was also his mentor. Jeremy really needed to ask the elder whether what he’d felt about the hunter could have been a mistake. He wasn’t gay for fuck’s sake. But even the Ojah controlled Jeremy respected the man too much to go before him in his current state. He knew the elder would definitely be disappointed if he got to know what had caused him to lose control of himself. He would wait until he was himself again no matter how long it took, Jeremy thought as his paws pounded the earth.

***

Professor Ryan Hicks moaned in pain as he slowly opened his eyes. “What the fuck!” He muttered as he got to his feet and looked around.

He realized he was in a huge cage in a very dark place. The only light was the moonlight that was streaming in through the small window. He didn’t have his glasses on so couldn’t see very well. The idiots who had taken him must have thrown his glasses away. But even without the glasses, Ryan could tell that he was alone. He felt a painful throb at the back of his neck and raised his hand to touch it. What was it with that man anyway…biting him so painfully, he thought, touching the still wet sore. One minute the man was stalking towards him with an angry look, and the next, he was biting him. Ryan had never felt such excruciating pain in his life. What the fuck was the man’s problem anyway? And they didn’t even clean the wound. What asshole actually treated people like that, he wondered.

“Oh my God.” Ryan groaned as a bolt of pain flashed through him, causing him to fall to his knees. “What is happening to me?” He moaned as he writhed in pain. It felt as if his insides was about to explode.

Ryan breathed deeply in and out till the pain subsided. What had he gotten himself into, he asked himself for the umpteenth time. Since his infancy, Ryan Hicks had learnt to stay out of trouble. He’d been an only child of a single mother. His mother said his father had disappeared on her before she’d even realized she was pregnant with him. She’d explained when he was old enough to understand that she hadn’t been married to his father. Since as far back as he could remember, his mother always sheltered him, not allowing him to play with other kids or even have any friends. It was only when he came of age that he understood why his mother treated him that way. Ryan Hicks was a freak and he got to know that the hard way.

When he was nine years old, the swimming coach had come to his classroom one day to encourage them to join the swimming club. Most of the kids in his class had registered so Ryan had too. He’d been so excited because he watched people swim in school and on TV and had always wanted to swim too. But of course he knew his mother would object to it so had never suggested it to her. She always told him he was different and special. Why he had to stay away from people for that reason, Ryan had never understood. So when the coach asked everyone to come to the swimming area after school to try out, Ryan couldn’t wait.

After school, he followed his mates to the pool area. Coach Chris told everyone to change into any of the school costumes. When all the boys started stripping openly in the boys’ changing room, Ryan too quickly striped, equally excited…till he heard the shrieks and the laughter. Everyone was pointing and staring at his penis…maybe he should simply call it, penises. Yes, Ryan had two whilst every other kid had just one. He hadn’t been around kids much so he didn’t know that very important fact. He’d always had two. One was slightly smaller than the other but he could pee with both just as penises were meant to be used. So he didn’t understand what the fuss was about till the laughter and shouts had gotten rather loud, attracting Coach Chris’ attention to the boys. The coach’s reaction, when he came in and saw Ryan, was something that scarred little Ryan for life. He’d called him a little freak and ordered him to dress up and go home.

Ryan had gone home in tears. He remembered all too clearly, his mother hugging him to her and crying with him. She hadn’t allowed him to go back to that school again but had rather packed their stuff and moved them to another state by the end of the week. And Ryan had kept to himself ever since. He never did things that would make people see him naked…like attend a boarding school, use public bathrooms, or hook up with anyone. He’d never entered into any relationship for fear of hearing someone shout the word freak to him again, which was rather unfortunate as he got propositioned by a lot of ladies due to his looks. They claimed he was beautiful and that always amused Ryan. But for his abnormal nature, he would have really enjoyed the ladies as he was highly sexed. Ryan’s prostate got inflamed if he didn’t ejaculate enough. But with the help of his own hands and sex toys, he always saw to his needs. Though he always wished he could get someone he could share his life with, he knew that would never happen.

Ryan was hit with another bolt of pain so intense, he screamed. Although he instinctively started to breathe in and out just like before, the pain wouldn’t stop.

“Somebody help me please.” He screamed but no one came to help. “I need a doctor please.” He kept screaming for help till the pain subsided again.

The way he was panting harshly would have amused Ryan under any other circumstances. He’d watched a documentary once in which a woman in labour had been asked to breathe in and out just as he was doing. That woman would have envied Ryan’s skills. Ryan wished it was all a bad dream from which he was going to wake up hopefully soon. But if it was a dream, then it was a real long one…going as far back as his conversation with Timmy York, he thought. If only he could get his hands around the neck of that little rascal, Ryan fumed. He was in his current predicament because of Timmy. He would never forget that fateful day when Timmy, a freshman zoology student who was trailing his class had approached him after a lecture.

“Prof Hicks, can I have a moment of your time please?”

“Sure. What can I do for you?”

Ryan was a professor of zoology in UCLA. Since he was a kid, he’d spent most of his life friendless, and had therefore ended up spending lots of time just being around animals. He’d developed a liking for animals and an even greater interest in their behaviour. His mother, bless her soul, had not been surprised at all when he’d ended up becoming a zoology professor. She always told him that there was nothing better than your job being your hobby as well.

“At the beginning of your course you told us to let you know if we ever come across any animal that we’ve never seen or…”

“Read about before.” Ryan finished with a chuckle. “Found anything interesting?”

“You could say that.” Timmy had responded cockily. “And that part about getting extra marks if our discovery is really new was no joke I hope…”

“No it wasn’t Mr. York.” Desperate times, Ryan thought with amusement. What new specie could a student like Timmy York discover?

“I’m so glad you were serious about that because I’ve discovered something which will blow your mind.”

“Really?” Ryan closed his laptop and slipped it into his bag. “I’d love to see what you’ve discovered Tim. Do you have a picture?” Ryan asked as he started towards the door.

“Oh we have to go check it out Prof.” Timmy said, falling into step beside him.

“And where exactly do we have to go to see this new specie?” Ryan asked, turning towards his office.

“A couple of friends and I are taking a drive to the Stanton Woods to check out the animals. Why don’t you come with us?”

“The Stanton Woods. Isn’t that area restricted property?” Ryan asked, opening his office door.

“Oh the part we’ll be visiting is open to the general public so there’s nothing to worry about. We just have to stay together. You know the dangers that sometimes lark in the forest.”

“I know.” Ryan had chuckled. He always tried to encourage his students by listening to and checking out their stories whenever he could. It was no bother at all. After all, he wasn’t a busy person. “So when can we go and see this special specie?” Ryan had asked.

“Is next week Saturday okay?” Timmy had asked eagerly.

“Sure. It’s not like I’m busy on Saturdays anyway.” Ryan chuckled.

“Cool. I’m so glad you’ve agreed to come, Prof.”

“Don’t be surprised. The last time I checked, I was a zoology professor. My work is all about researching into different species of animals. And like I said, I don’t have anything better to do anyway.”

“Can I ask you a question Prof?”

“Feel free to.” Ryan gestured for Timmy to sit down.

“Thanks. What do you know about werewolves?” Timmy had asked, making Ryan burst into laughter.

“They don’t exist, Tim. They are fictional and therefore can become whatever a person wants them to be. You want people to become werewolves by a scratch; say that’s what happens.”

“What if I told you they were real?” Tim asked with all seriousness.

“I’d tell you, you watch too many movies. Hey… Don’t tell me that’s what you’re going to show…” Ryan tried very hard to keep the amusement and incredulity off his face.

“No, no.” The boy had quickly said.

“Thank God. So, next week then.”

And that was how he found himself riding into the Stanton Woods with Timmy and two other boys around five p.m. that day. According to the boys, they had to wait a while for the strange species to show up. Although Ryan doubted Timmy had anything interesting to show him, he wasn’t really bothered because he knew he could use the opportunity to look around himself. After all, for a zoologist, the most fascinating place to be was in the forest. He should however have listened to the boys and stayed close to them. They’d specifically advised Ryan to stay close to them because according to them, they’d come prepared with tasers with which to daze wild animals should they encounter any. Ryan had thought at the time that, that was a real smart thing to do. So why the fuck had he wandered off, he asked himself for the umpteenth time. If only he’d stayed with the boys, he wouldn’t have been caught, seeing as none of the boys had been caught except him. Now he was in pain in some dark cage God knew where, and didn’t know what to do. He’d tried to explain to the men who had caught him that he’d only been researching, but they wouldn’t listen. Ryan had been sure he’d been caught because he was trespassing on restricted property, till that man had bitten him. Who the fuck were those people? Probably a cult of sorts. He’d heard stories about secret cults with weird practices but hadn’t thought barbaric acts such as biting people could actually be accepted by normal human beings. Were they cannibals? Oh God! If only someone could…

“Oh fuck!” Ryan screamed as he trashed about in pain. This time his insides felt as if it was rearranging itself.

Whatever was happening to him was too painful for words. Ryan threw up. He’d been in that cage for almost eight hours and nobody had bothered checking up on him even though he was obviously not well. Ryan didn’t know how to accurately describe what he was going through but he just knew he was going to die. His skin was burning as if he’d been dumped into blazing fire. Surely even hell wouldn’t be that painful. He ripped his already ruined shirt from his body forcefully and unbuckled his belt. But before he could pull out the belt, a gut-wrenching scream tore out of him as he hurled himself at the wall that was made of solid stone. Ryan slammed onto the floor and watched in shock and horror as his fingers began to elongate into claws. Christ, what was happening to him?

“Help me somebody.” He tried to scream but the words that came out didn’t even sound human.

He watched as fur sprouted all over his arms, abs, stomach…he was burning up all over. What the fuck was happening to him? He felt a burning sensation in toes and looked down just in time to see his toes forcefully push through his boots, ruining them.

“Holy Moses.” He gasped, pulling off his ruined boots and socks.

Ryan yanked off his jeans but before he could get to his boxers, he fell to the floor as the greatest pain ever, rocked through him. He closed his eyes and allowed a scream to burst forth. But this time his scream sounded like an animal in pain, which rather shocked and confused Ryan. Not even having the strength to move, he just lay quietly on the floor, willing the pain to fade away but it didn’t. It came hard and fast, slamming into him, taking him into a sea of excruciating agony. He curled into a ball, his insides convulsing in painful waves. It felt as though something was moving within him…taking over his very being. It was terrifying as hell. Ryan was in so much pain his vision dimmed as sweat poured out from his pores. His gums tingled agonizingly. It felt as though he suddenly had more teeth. He curled into himself even more, trying to escape the pain but it kept slamming into him again and again. For the first time in his life, Ryan wished for death. He tried to scream, but what came out was a howl. He was in too much pain to wonder where that came from. Ryan didn’t know how long the pain lasted. It could have been hours, days, weeks… All Ryan knew was that death had never sounded more appealing.

Suddenly, a sense of calm came over Ryan. He no longer felt any pain at all. He felt…strong, fresh and energized. He opened his eyes and immediately thought a light had been turned on where he’d been locked but soon realized it wasn’t so at all. He could just suddenly see better in the darkness. Hell, he couldn’t even see that well in his glasses, Ryan thought, surprised. He quickly turned around with the intention of grabbing his jeans to pull on before someone came in to see him naked. And that was when Ryan realized that he didn’t have hands but rather, paws. He slowly turned his head to look at himself and realized that, not only did he have a tail, but his whole body was covered in fur and he was standing on all fours…

He was a wolf!

***

Jeremy heard his mate’s howl and sprinted towards the dungeon. In just a pair of jeans, the muscles in his naked upper body rippled beneath his beautiful caramel coloured skin, which was covered in a fine sheen of sweat as he ran. He’d come back earlier than the pack just so he could see the hunter in his wolf form. Much as he still had the urge to kill the bloody hunter, he had an even greater urge to see the hunter’s wolf. And Jeremy couldn’t fight that urge. The other reason he wanted to see the hunter’s wolf before it shifted back into human form was to compel the fool not to dare attack anyone. Until he learnt to control his wolf, the hunter would try to kill anything that moved. Jeremy clearly remembered his own first shift. He’d ripped out the wooden door to the room he was being held in and escaped into the night. By the time he was found, he’d slaughtered about forty horses he’d found in a barn. It was the thirst…the hunger…the urge to kill that every wolf had. That deadly urge was blindingly strong in every newly shifted wolf. As alpha, Jeremy had the ability to compel members of his pack if it was to protect them. And compelling the hunter was for his own good because Jeremy knew that he wouldn’t hesitate to kill the hunter…mate or not…if he so much as put a scratch on any member of his pack. Killing his mate would cause his own painful death but in his current state, Jeremy didn’t care at all.

At the entrance of his mansion, Jeremy grabbed a t-shirt from the large box filled with different sizes of t-shirts before entering. He knew Philip was not far behind but he didn’t care. At the top of the stairs, Jeremy inhaled deeply and shivered with arousal. That scent! So delicious and so damn arousing. Fuck! As he descended the stairs into the dungeon, he adjusted himself and then pulled on the t-shirt. He turned on a switch and flooded the whole place with blinding light. Then he went to stand in front of the cage which held his mate and stared at the beautiful pure white wolf. He was simply spectacular, Jeremy thought willing his erection to go down. He hated the hunter, yet he desired him with an intensity that shook him to the very core. His body obviously had a mind of its own. It was that call of a mate. There was nothing stronger than that.

Ryan looked up at his tormentor as he came to stand in front of his cage. He was still processing the fact that he was a wolf and no longer a man. He had a lot of questions but the last time he checked, wolves couldn’t talk so Ryan simply stared at the man who had caused him so much pain. To say he hated the man would be an understatement. The man was around six ‘five in height and built like a rock. His beautiful smooth skin glowed under the bright light, the colour of rich coffee laced with cream. He had really soft-looking low cropped dark hair and eyes so strangely red and intense they just pulled you in. What was with the red eyes, Ryan thought. Maybe he was wearing contacts. Who does that though, Ryan almost snorted. But despite the strange eyes, the man was strikingly gorgeous. From the colour of his skin, either he spent a lot of time outdoors or he was mixed-race. Ryan thought the five o’clock shadow made the hunk look sexy. Was it even normal for a man to be that gorgeous, Ryan asked himself. Of course it wasn’t normal, he answered himself. The man was obviously a supernatural being so nothing about him was normal. And whilst he was on the subject, why the fuck was he even admiring another man so much when it was obvious from the scowl on the man’s face that he hated him? Well, the feeling was mutual, Ryan wished he could tell the cannibal. He dropped his eyes and waited to see what the wicked man would do next.

Jeremy couldn’t take his eyes off the white wolf. Why couldn’t he have been a woman for fuck’s sake, he thought. He would have gladly ignored the fact that she was a hunter and treated her with the respect an Alpha’s mate deserved. He knew that there was no way he could love a hunter but he could have learnt to accept him if he were a woman. But he was a man. And Jeremy Stanton didn’t do men. Ideally, he was supposed to have been with him throughout his change, to talk to him, help and guide him to make it easier for him. But of course he didn’t think the hunter deserved any such privilege or kindness. He could only imagine the agonizing pain the man had gone through. He could see the evidence on the floor. He’d obviously thrown up several times. The ground of the cage was virtually covered in vomit. Served him right, Jeremy thought heartlessly. But even seeing his mate in that filth didn’t stop Jeremy from wanting him. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if the hunter was in human form, the red-eyed slayer thought hopefully. He needed to compel him quickly so that he could shift and remind his obviously confused brain that he was a man.

Jeremy crouched in front of the cage and commanded in a cold voice, “Come here.”

Ryan felt his hackles rise. Crouching somehow brought the red-eyed man closer to him and Ryan couldn’t stop the shiver of fear that slithered down his spine. There was a powerful, intimidating presence around the man that struck fear into Ryan. But more than that feeling of fear, Ryan wished he could throw himself at him and beg him to fuck him, which was rather strange. After all, he wasn’t gay and had never been attracted to men. Ryan didn’t understand what was happening to him at all. Admittedly, he was still a virgin at thirty-one but Ryan knew for a fact that he liked woman…and they liked him too if the blatant flirtation the females he encountered was anything to go by. So where from all that attraction for the hunk staring at him with a dark scowl, Ryan wondered. Although he’d bitten him and obviously turned him into a wolf…and he should understandably be furious at him, the lust within was so strong. Even strange was the urge within to smash the man’s face in, which confused Ryan even more. He wanted to destroy something. Fear, lust and a murderous rage…three strong emotions all at once. It was confusing and frightening. Ryan heard the man telling him for a second time to come forward and suddenly felt blinding fury. How dare the man even talk to him…how much more make demands, Ryan thought. The impudence… Ryan began to growl.

Jeremy watched his mate bare his teeth and get into an attack mode and almost wished there were no bars between them. No bars meant the hunter could attack him right? And that would mean he could finally kill him as he’d wanted to do in the first place. Jeremy’s hand shot through the bars so fast Ryan didn’t see him coming.

Ryan’s growls reached a fever pitch when he felt the red-eyed man’s strong fingers tightly grip the thick fur on his neck and pull him closer to his face. But for the bars, their faces would have touched. Ryan growled both in anger and fear. Those eyes…

“You are not to attack any member of my pack ever.” Came Jeremy’s compellingly hypnotic voice. “Discard any thirst you have to cause mayhem and destruction.” With that, Jeremy released a now quiet Ryan and got to his feet. “Change back.”

Ryan whimpered pitifully as he stared at Jeremy without doing as he’d been instructed. First of all, he didn’t know how to change back. He would gladly have done that if he knew how. Secondly, he hated how uncomfortable and shaky the man made him. He gave a distressed whine and backed away from the steel bars till he felt his tail brush against the stone wall. If the man wanted him to shift, he should make him.

The alpha watched his beautiful mate stare back at him with eyes filled with abject helplessness. He could feel the wolf’s unease and misery. It was obvious to Jeremy that the hunter didn’t know how to shift. The ideal thing was for him to talk him through it which Jeremy would have done under normal circumstances. He would have opened their mind-link so he could talk him through changing back. But the murdering hunter didn’t deserve any such kindness. With a growl that would make the strongest of warriors shake, Jeremy repeated in his controlling alpha voice;

“Shift back, now!”

Ryan whimpered in fright and instantly peed himself at the sound of that powerfully authoritative voice. He whined even more pitifully as he began to uncontrollably change back into human. It was painful but not as painful as what he’d gone through to become a wolf. Immediately he was back to human form, Ryan quickly moved to where his jeans lay, ignoring the weakness he suddenly felt, and pulled it on. He winced at the discomfort he felt due to the absence of his boxer briefs. He did love to go commando but sometimes, depending on how tight his jeans were, the seam that usually lie in between his dicks could be a pain as the skin between them was a little delicate and sensitive. But that was definitely not the time to think about his dicks. Ryan was just glad he’d been able to keep the sadist from seeing his deformity. Surprisingly, back in human form, Ryan felt so exhausted. His whole body ached. But then after what he’d been made to go through, who wouldn’t, he thought bitterly. He’d been captured, bitten, locked in a cage, left to scream in pain and turned into something he didn’t even know existed. And it had all been the doing of the man standing in front of him. As if that was not enough, he’d scared the bejesus out of him with a cruel command, causing him to pee himself, which had been so humiliating. Whoever the gorgeous hunk was, he was not a good person and Ryan was ready to tell the cruel man his piece.

“What have you done to me?” Ryan finally asked. “Whatever you did to turn me into a wolf, you better undo it before I leave here, do you hear me?” Ryan somehow had a strong feeling that that wasn’t the last time he was going to turn into an animal because even as he stood there as a human being, he could feel a powerful presence inside him. He could feel the restless movement of another being within him and that scared the shit out of him. “I didn’t do anything wrong. If I trespassed on your land, I’m sorry but I didn’t mean any harm. I’m a professor of zoology at UCLA. My name is Ryan Hicks. Please google it or something. I don’t know what kind of cult you people are running here but I’m sure that just as you were able to turn me into a wolf, you can take away whatever…curse this is.” He definitely couldn’t afford to turn into an animal in front of his students or any other person for that matter. “And if you have any intention of keeping me here as your prisoner or killing me, I think you should know that I wasn’t alone when I was taken by your people. I need to go back or people will come looking for me.” Ryan said, desperately hoping the last part would get the red-eyed cannibal to release him. Of course no one would look for him. Who would bother looking for a loner with no loved ones? The school would probably send him mails, reminding him that he was missing lectures but that was about it. No one cared. When Ryan saw the man turn abruptly on his heels and head towards the stairs, he shouted with desperation and anger; “I’ve got rights, you asshole. Let me out of this fucking cage.”

But Jeremy neither responded nor turned back to face Ryan. When he got to the top of the stairs, he saw Philip leaning against the door, intently looking on his phone. Jeremy made to brush past him but Philip stopped him with his words.

“Alpha, he’s telling the truth. He’s a professor at UCLA. I just googled him.”

“That doesn’t mean he’s not a hunter and you know it.” Jeremy rasped, opening the door and stepping out.

Philip followed him but Jeremy didn’t stop him. Most people would stay away from him in his current state but not Philip, Jeremy thought with irritation and some satisfaction despite himself. Knowing his friend, he was trying to find a way to get him to snap out of his kill mode. Well, good luck to him Jeremy thought, resisting the urge to snap his friend’s neck.

“He’s a wolf now, Jer.” Philip said quietly. “You know what to do if you want the truth. Just open your mind-link to him and read him.”

“No.” Jeremy growled punching the button for the elevator. Opening his mind-link to that murdering hunter was not going to happen. It was too intimate.

“Jer…”

“I’m not ready to do that.” Jeremy’s voice held a subtle warning note but his friend was too upset to heed the warning.

“Really? Just as you’re not ready to admit that he’s your mate?” Phillip rasped and saw Jeremy freeze. The air around them crackled with the raw power emanating from the bloodthirsty alpha. Philip watched with pounding heart as Jeremy slowly turned around to face him. Oh boy! Philip swallowed audibly. “Easy Jer…” Philip couldn’t hide the tremor in his voice. It took a brave man not to take to his heels when stared down by a red-eyed Jeremy. “I’m just trying to help. If you don’t put an end to this and treat him well, you’re going to suffer just as much as he is and you know it.”

Jeremy stared at his friend. He wasn’t surprised his friend had guessed. Philip knew him too well. He tilted his head to the side as he stared at Philip, almost as if he were contemplating the quickest way to end his life.

“Jeremy please listen to what I’m saying.” Philip pleaded. “I can foresee what you’re doing to him backfiring big time. Did you really have to make him pee himself? He’s you fucking mate, man. Not cool.” With that, Philip started to back off, obviously not wanting to make the mistake of turning his back on his alpha and angering him even further.

“Philip?” Jeremy’s cold voice sent a chill down Philip’s spine but he stopped his backward movement and waited for his alpha to speak. “See to it that he’s cleaned and put him in the room next to mine.” Jeremy rasped, then abruptly turned around and entered the waiting elevator.

“Consider it done, Alpha.” Philip actually beamed.

Maybe feeling his mate close to him would help snap Jeremy back to sanity, Philip thought as he started towards the dungeon. He was thrilled he’d been able to somehow get to his friend.

Little did he know…

***

Ryan watched warily as three men approached his cage. He remembered seeing one of them with Red Eyes the night before. He was almost as tall as the asshole and just as big. But he had slightly long blond hair and striking green eyes. The man was really handsome. When Ryan saw one of the men holding a bunch of keys, he got to his feet and started towards the iron door but the man growled and glared at him, effectively stopping him in his tracks.

“Settle down Paul.” The handsome man growled right back at the man holding the keys. When the door swung open, the man who had opened it pulled out cuffs from his back pocket but the nice man once again stepped in. “That won’t be necessary, Paul.” He said, ignoring the incredulous look Paul threw his way. It was obvious he wanted to protest but Ryan could also see respect and acceptance in his eyes. The nice man was obviously superior to him and he therefore didn’t want to question his decision. To Ryan, the nice man said calmly, “Sorry about that Prof. Come on, let’s go get you cleaned up.” He actually smiled at a surprised Ryan.

“Thanks.” Ryan muttered and unconsciously looked beyond the men to see whether the red-eyed monster was anywhere around. The nice man didn’t miss it.

“Don’t worry about him.” Nice, handsome man said as he preceded an exhausted-looking Ryan up the stairs.

At the top of the stairs, the man held the door open for Ryan who nodded his thanks. Ryan’s first glance brought an uncontrollable gasp from his lips. The layout of the floor that they were on was simply beautiful.

“Is this place a hotel or something?” He couldn’t help but ask, still surprised he could actually see perfectly without his glasses.

“No.” Philip chuckled. “It’s just a house. Jeremy’s house.”

“It’s magnificent.” Ryan muttered as they entered an elevator. “Who’s this Jeremy by the way? Is he a…”

“He’s the mean guy who bit you last night.” Philip answered dryly, cutting Ryan off.

“Oh.” Ryan went quiet for a moment. “May I know your name please?” He asked.

“Philip.” He answered simply.

“Hello Philip.” Ryan automatically stretched forth his hand for a handshake but just as quickly, let his hand fall back to his side when he saw just how dirty and smelly his whole body was. “Sorry.” He said quietly and dropped his eyes to his feet. “I’m Ryan…” He said quietly.

“I know who you are Prof.” Philip laughed softly as he reached forward to grasp Ryan’s hand and firmly shook it. The professor was not only beautiful, he was also a really nice guy.

“Please call me Ryan. I feel older than my thirty-one when people call me prof.”

“Don’t your students call you prof?” Philip asked with a raised brow.

“They do but they are my students. You are not.”

“Right. Here we are.” Philip said when the lift stopped on the twelfth floor and watched as Ryan’s jaw dropped at the sheer luxury and elegance of the deco. Philip opened a door and turned to face Ryan. “This is your room.”

Ryan followed Philip inside and did a quick sweep with his eyes. “Impressive.” He mumbled. The room was big and classy. Though it surprised Ryan that he’d been assigned such a room, he didn’t question it. Maybe they’d realized that he’d been truthful after all. Why else would Philip address him as prof? “So…do I take it you’re all werewolves?” Ryan asked, his face expressionless.

“I thought you didn’t know who we were.” Philip retorted. “Isn’t that what you told the men who brought you in?”

“Dude, get real. Of course I’ve always thought creatures like werewolves didn’t exist. I mean hey…I live in the real world. Then last night, Mean man…Jeremy, bites me and I turn into a wolf. Hello-o-o. I’m not stupid.”

“I forgot you have four PHDs. Sorry Prof.” Philip laughed. “I guess your world is not that real after all.”

“So you did google me. Thank God. Does that mean I can go?” Ryan looked hopeful.

“I will leave that for Mean man…Jeremy to answer when he’s ready to talk.” Philip said with an amused smile. “And yes I googled you. And Prof, you look rather young for your age.”

“Hmmm. I get that a lot.” Ryan replied and suddenly got a worried look on his face. “Listen Philip, I hope your man…Jeremy can undo whatever he did to me. Because…I don’t know how to describe it.” He sighed. “I can feel something within me. I won’t turn into a wolf again by any chance will I? You people have to fix me before I leave.”

Philip silently cursed his alpha in his head. The right thing was for Jeremy to have first of all, told Ryan about their world, and then gotten his consent to turn him before biting him. Now the man obviously didn’t have a clue about what was happening to him. Philip didn’t even want to begin going into the entire werewolf, mate-to-the-alpha thing. He would leave that to Jeremy himself to handle as he should have done in the first place. The professor actually expected them to undo his were nature and let him go. Philip suppressed a groan.

“Jeremy will handle it.” Philip said firmly.

“You sure about that? Why does he hate me so much?” Ryan asked, not bothering to mention Jeremy’s name. “I just don’t understand. All the cruel things he did to me… I don’t think all that is just because I trespassed is it? God, I’m tired.” He groaned, turning to look at the big inviting bed longingly. “Can I go ahead and take a shower?” He asked, looking at his dirty body.

“Sure. There are jeans and t-shirts in here.” Philip said, stepping into the big walk-in-closet. “The jeans might be slightly bigger but you can use them for now. Just leave your jeans in the laundry basket inside the bathroom. There’s body cream and deodorant spray in here but don’t use them.”

“Why not?” Ryan asked, curious.

Philip raised an eyebrow in surprise at Ryan’s question. Then he laughed softly. He really wasn’t used to being questioned but he knew it was only to be expected from a college professor.

“Know what? I’ll keep them till I feel it’s okay for you to use them.” Philip said as he picked up the items off the dresser in the room. The last thing he wanted was to mask Ryan’s scent from his stubborn mate. Philip wanted Ryan’s scent to assail Jeremy’s senses till he was going out of his mind with desire for his mate. Maybe that would do the trick…bring their alpha back. “If you want to get in touch with me, just dial three on your intercom and you’ll get me.”

“Can I use the phone to make a call?” Ryan asked.

“I’m sorry but you can’t.” Philip said gruffly.

“Well, can you please give me your cell phone to make…” Ryan trailed off when he saw Philip shaking his head apologetically. “Oh. I suppose I’m a prisoner then.” He said quietly.

“Sorry.” Philip rasped. He hated the position Jeremy had placed him in. “Your food will be sent up in…” He looked at his wrist watch. “Thirty minutes. So that has to be a quick shower.” He murmured, looking pointedly at Ryan’s dirty jeans.

Ryan blushed and quickly turned towards what he assumed was the door to the bathroom.

“Wrong door.” Philip’s voice stopped him in his tracks. “It’s that one.” He pointed to the other door in the room.

“Where does this one lead to?” Ryan asked curiously.

“Jeremy’s bedroom.” Philip said and quickly turned to leave the room, knowing he was going to burst into laughter if he lingered for even one more second. The incredulous look on Ryan’s face was comical.

Ryan stared at the closed door and felt a shiver run down his spine. He couldn’t help but think his days were numbered. There was actually a connecting door between his and the wicked asshole’s rooms? Ryan didn’t have any hope of survival as he knew that Jeremy was definitely going to kill him in his sleep.

***

In the adjoining room, the Alpha of Stanwood Pack, who was still under the control of the deadly and ruthless Ojah spirit, paced as if he was going crazy. And it was all because of his angry annoying wolf. The wolf wanted them to go and be with the hunter. But that was the last thing Jeremy wanted to do. His lust for the hunter was increasing by the minute and that pissed the alpha off to no end. He could actually smell him through the door and his dick had remained constantly hard as though he had priapism. He wanted the man so bad. Usually after every run, he got so sexually charged that he fucked one or two of his numerous girls. This time however, the urge was a hundred times worse because he’d found his mate. He would have called one of his women but his damn wolf wouldn’t allow him to be with anybody besides his mate. The alpha was going out of his mind with need. He paced like an angry bull. By evening, he was ready to kill.

***

Ryan came awake in his bed suddenly. His eyes remained wide and unfocused. Ryan couldn’t shake off the vision of Jeremy. He rubbed at his eyes and groaned when he finally remembered. He was Jeremy’s prisoner.

“Fuck.” He swore when his eyes landed on his twitching hardness. “Seriously?”

Ryan knew that his state of arousal was a result of the dream he’d had about Jeremy. Why the fuck was he even dreaming about that monster, Ryan groaned. Why Jeremy and not someone else? In his dream, Jeremy had blue eyes instead of the weird red, and he was as sexy as all fuck. He’d been naked and was staring at Ryan with so much hunger in his eyes.

“Shit.” Ryan muttered, turning his head to look at the time on the clock on his bedside table.

Ryan groaned when he realized he’d only slept for about thirty minutes. Fuck, after what he’d been through, he needed his sleep. After his bath, he’d been served the most delicious meal which had left him wondering whether Philip had been truthful with him. The way he’d been served, the dressing and attitude of the one who had brought his food, and the quality of the food was definitely at par with the standards of a five-star hotel. After filling his tummy with that yummy food, he’d gotten into bed and instantly gone to sleep, only to come awake with his dicks as hard as nails, thanks to some silly dream. He was so fucking horny. Yes, he was highly sexed because of his peculiar nature but the urge he felt at that particular moment was so intense it left him confused. Ryan knew he couldn’t possibly go back to sleep without first taking care of his situation.

With a deep sigh, Ryan undid the buttons on his jeans and released his hard dicks. He was so hard he hurt. Precum was already pooling at both tips. He’d never spurted through both dicks at the same time but it was common for both to spill precum if he was very excited…which he obviously was. Ryan rubbed the precum on both dicks, getting them slick. Then he gripped both dicks in one hand and began to stroke. Ryan closed his eyes and immediately saw Jeremy…just as he’d been in the dream…his eyes blue and intense, his body gloriously muscled, tight, boldly masculine and undeniably gorgeous. He hated that the image that sprung to mind was Jeremy’s of all people but he just couldn’t shake off the image. Ryan’s breath came out harshly as his hand moved faster. He knew he wasn’t going to last.

“Oh fuck.” He breathed as he threw his head back in blissful abandon, his free hand burrowing beneath his t-shirt to pull on a distended nipple.

With his face flushed with need, he squeezed the mushroom heads together, causing more precum to gush out. He groaned a rough sound of pleasure and then quickly bit his lip to keep his moans down as his hips began to lift off the bed, pushing himself rhythmically into his hand. It felt so good. He pictured a naked Jeremy, standing before him, stroking his own hard cock just as Ryan was doing at that very moment. The image was so hot Ryan was goddamn ready to blow. His hand quickened, jacking his cocks with brutal speed and violence, in a race to grasp that blissful feeling. His stomach clenched as he felt his orgasm travel down his spine, his entire body shaking with the intensity of feeling within. He’d never felt such intense sexual exhilaration.

“Holy shit.” Ryan gasped at the first jolting eruption. He couldn’t suppress his cry of ecstasy as his orgasm rocked through him, making his whole body quake with the wonder of it. “Christ.” Ryan moaned as he shot, his head thrown back as he allowed the sweet feeling to wash over him. “Fuck.”

Ryan breathed harshly as he came down from his high. He rolled out of bed and staggered into the bathroom as if he were drunk. He quickly wiped himself down, fixed his jeans, and then went back to bed. With that taken care of, he hoped to get some much needed sleep.

***

Back in Jeremy’s massive luxury suite, the alpha let out a growl of lust when the sound of Ryan’s erotic moans and the smell of his cum hit his senses. As a werewolf, his senses were always heightened. And in his current state of arousal, the scent of his mate’s cum sent him into a lustful frenzy. Jeremy’s eyes went wild, his fangs dropped, his cock got painfully hard against the zipper of his pants…

“Fuck this.” He breathed. Then with a growl, he grabbed a tube of lube and stormed towards the connecting door between his and his mate’s rooms.

Feral attraction in the midst of hatred… forcible violation! – Chapter 2 – Forcible Violation!

Ryan paused in the act of drawing the covers over his body and raised his head with a pounding heart when he heard the connecting door between his and Jeremy’s rooms opening. He was still shaky after that intense release and was looking forward to some sleep. What did Jeremy want, Ryan asked himself. Was he going to kill him already? He sat up and stared at the opening door. He sure as hell wasn’t going to make the fool’s work easy for him by just rolling over and accepting whatever he had in store for him. When Jeremy entered the room, Ryan got off the bed and glared at him with fists clenched at his sides. Although gripped with terror at the sight of the man who had bitten him so painfully, Ryan still felt a sexual pull towards him which surprised him. It wasn’t as intense as what he’d felt earlier in his cage though. Maybe shooting his load mere minutes earlier had been timely. What was it about the man that made him want him even after everything he’d done to him, Ryan wondered exasperatedly.

“Take off your jeans and bend over.” Jeremy ordered in a chilled tone.

Ryan gasped in shock. “What?” He didn’t think he’d heard right.

“Are you deaf?” Jeremy growled as he moved slowly towards a stunned Ryan like a predator cautiously cornering its prey. His face was hard, his body stiff, his red gaze searing Ryan with feral heat.

Ryan took in the predatory stance of the man moving towards him. He’d never seen a more dangerous-looking individual in his life. Then it hit Ryan like a thousand tons of bricks, what exactly Jeremy was after. He couldn’t suppress the indignant gasp that tore out of his throat.

“Who the fuck do you…”

“Now!” Jeremy bellowed in that voice that brooked no argument.

That tone, from an alpha, was like mind control. The recipient of such a command didn’t have any choice but to obey…against his or her will. And that was exactly what happened. Ryan remembered clearly the command which had made him pee himself down in the cage earlier. Whatever that tone was, it made him want to succumb to Jeremy’s demands…against his will. And just as he’d been able to shift uncontrollable although he hadn’t known how, he found himself doing exactly what the red-eyed sadist was ordering him to do despite himself. Ryan had never been more terrified.

Jeremy watched Ryan’s eyes widen with fear and a touch of anger as he moved almost robotically to do his bidding with shaky fingers. But the furiously aroused Ojah, who was even angrier at the fact that the hunter had had the nerve to talk back at him, decided not to waste a second longer. He threw the tube of lube onto the bed, roughly turned Ryan to face the bed, and then yanked the jeans down to his knees. Jeremy felt his wolf’s agitation to his manhandling of their mate but he ignored it. After all, he was giving the wolf what he wanted too, right? Because there was no way in hell he could sleep that night without a good sexual release. And if the only person available was the murdering hunter, he was going to use him…male or not. That was how bad his need was.

Ryan’s heart threatened to beat right out of his chest when his eyes landed on the tube of lube on the bed. He didn’t have to be a genius to know that the man meant to fuck him in the arse. He couldn’t help but feel even more terrified as he’d never done anything like that before. Ryan had used numerous sex toys to bring himself pleasure but had never had the guts to penetrate himself with anything. So naturally, the thought of having something up his arse was damn scary. He wanted to get away from Jeremy that very moment but for some reason, couldn’t go contrary to Jeremy’s command. He felt as if he was standing outside his body, watching what was going on. He felt so helpless. Could it be mind control? Well, if his body couldn’t resist Jeremy’s command, he had a voice.

“You don’t have to do this, Jeremy. Please.” Ryan said shakily. “You don’t even like me for goodness sake.”

“I don’t have to like you to want to fuck you.” Jeremy growled. “Now shut up before I rip your throat out.”

Ryan felt himself being bent over the edge of the bed so that his knees touched the floor. He heard the unmistakable sound of a zipper being lowered and turned to look behind him. Ryan couldn’t suppress the cry of terror that tore out of his throat at what he saw. Jeremy’s cock was eye-poppingly huge. It looked like a carefully crafted dildo that was usually owned but not used. His cock was that big. It was rock hard, long, wide, veiny and wet at the tip. Dread flooded Ryan’s veins and his mouth instantly went dry. He was temporarily rendered speechless as his frantic brain tried to wrap itself around what was happening. But when he saw Jeremy begin to lube up, he finally found his voice.

“Do you actually expect me to allow you to destroy me with that thing?” Ryan didn’t know he was actually capable of growling. He tried to get his body to move but it wouldn’t. He knew he didn’t have any choice but to beg and hope the monster standing behind him would see reason. “Please Jeremy.” Ryan pleaded frantically. “I’m begging you. Please don’t.” And when he realized that Jeremy wasn’t going to heed his pleas, Ryan thought about his safety. “At least use a condom please…”

“I don’t need a fucking condom.” Jeremy growled as he grabbed hold of Ryan’s hips. “Now shut up and take this like the bitch that you are. You should be grateful that I even lubed up. It is not for your benefit though. Much as I would love nothing better than to tear you up, I need it to be able to enter you.” Jeremy rasped as he lined up his cock without actually preparing Ryan as he knew he should. “You’re not to come under any circumstances. Like I said, this is not for you.”

And with that, Jeremy started to push into Ryan. The pain was so bad Ryan instantly broke out in cold sweat. He didn’t know which was more excruciating…the pain from the night before or what he was experiencing at that very moment. He screamed! If only he could widen his legs a bit, he would feel a little bit of relief, Ryan thought. But of course he couldn’t even manage that, thanks to the jeans around his knees. Painful groans tore out of him. Just as Ryan thought he was going to pass out from all that pain, he felt Jeremy’s pubes against his arse cheeks and couldn’t believe the guy had actually pushed the full length of that monster inside him. Though Ryan was still in pain, he thought he could at least relax a bit before Jeremy started any movement. At that point, he was resigned to his fate. But he expected Jeremy to do the right thing and allow him to get used to having that monster inside him, before he started moving. He’d read and watched enough sex scenes to know that was the right thing to do. But Ryan should have known by then that Jeremy wasn’t the kind of person who did the right thing. Jeremy didn’t pause for even two seconds. He withdrew till his cock was almost out, and then slammed back in. The pain was so intense Ryan was going out of his mind. He screamed so much he was surprised nobody could hear him and come to his rescue. Just as he thought he couldn’t take it any longer, he saw his fingers transform into claws and rip the sheets into shreds. Then Ryan felt his teeth begin to get longer as fur began to sprout on his arms. Then he heard it again…that command.

“Don’t you dare shift.” Jeremy growled in that voice only an alpha could use and which tolerated no disobedience.

The pain had actually subsided a bit when he’d begun to transform, Ryan observed. But as he reverted to human as he’d been commanded to, he felt the full force of the pain again.

“Oh my God…” Ryan whimpered as his body shook with the force of Jeremy’s forceful pounding. “Please…”

Jeremy heard the hunter pleading and heard his wolf beseeching him to go slow but he was blinded by lust and so much anger for the hunter he ignored both voices. Ryan’s kind had murdered his father and brother for fuck’s sake. The last thing he wanted to do was go easy on him. He wanted the man to feel pain. And from the way the man’s channel was so tight, it was obvious he’d never taken anything up there before. Jeremy knew the hunter wasn’t pretending at all…he was in real pain. Mission accomplished!

“Stop begging, you fool. It’s pathetic.” Jeremy rasped breathlessly. He felt Ryan instinctively clench up on him at his words…as if he wanted to squeeze himself into a ball and roll away. Feeling that tightening on his cock nearly undid Jeremy. “Oh fuck!” Jeremy felt his eyes shift and his fangs descend.

He wasn’t surprised at all that his wolf was right there with him. The pleasure he was deriving from his mate’s sweet tight channel was out of this world. Jeremy could have easily sworn on his life that he’d never experienced anything so exquisitely pleasurable in his entire life. The natural thing that occurred whenever a wolf derived that much pleasure from its mate, was the intense urge to bite them…mark them as theirs. And his wolf wanted to mark Ryan that very moment. Jeremy couldn’t allow that. The hunter didn’t deserve his mark as his mate.

“Since I’m sorta stuck with you, I’m going to make sure you feel this pain every time I take you.” Jeremy grunted as he plunged relentlessly in and out of Ryan. “As soon as I’m done with…oh fuck,” Jeremy gasped. “…done with you, I’m going to make you shift. You’ll be completely healed by the time you transform back to human form.” Jeremy pressed a hand on the middle of Ryan’s back and gripped his shoulder with the other and sped up his thrusts, feeling his balls tighten up…ready to blow. “The next time I take you, you’re going to feel the same pain again because your hole will be back to its virgin status. And I’ll enjoy ripping you apart all over again.”

“What have I done to you?” Ryan whimpered shakily. “Why do you hate me so much?”

But Jeremy was too far gone in ecstasy to even hear Ryan’s question. He threw his head back in utter pleasure as he plunged relentlessly and almost like a maniac into his mate, feeling his orgasm slithering along his spine. The rapturous delight he felt was so amazing it was almost euphoric. Too bad his mate wasn’t enjoying it as he was. Next time, he would think twice before attempting to murder innocent people, Jeremy thought as he let out a loud growl, never pausing for even a moment in his sadistic assault.

Instead of the pain lessening as his channel got used to Jeremy’s cock, Ryan realized it rather seemed to worsen. He was sure the cock inside him was actually growing in size as the man neared orgasm. Ryan simply couldn’t stand it anymore. With a pitiful whimper, he passed out.

Jeremy had neither orgasmed so hard nor released so much as he did when his climax finally hit. He let out a mighty roar as he released stream after stream of cum into his mate. He couldn’t seem to stop. Jeremy completely let himself go in order to feel the unadulterated bliss that had engulfed his whole being. And with that powerful euphoric release, came lightheadedness and shockingly, a sudden intense feeling of tenderness. And that was when it happened…

Jeremy instantly snapped out of that murderous haze he’d been under since laying eyes on Ryan the night before. With an agonized groan, he staggered back, slipping out of Ryan and causing a flood of cum, tinged with red to spill out of Ryan.

“Oh fuck!” Jeremy groaned, staring at the traces of blood on his cock.

It was then that Jeremy noticed that his mate had passed out. He’d been too lost in bliss to notice that fact. He felt a sharp pang of guilt flash through his chest and gave an anguished growl. It was one thing inflicting pain as punishment, and another thing actually relishing and deriving utter pleasure whilst inflicting pain on none other than his mate. That was not acceptable. With shaky hands, Jeremy reached for some tissues and wiped the blood and cum off his cock and allowed the tissue to fall out of his nimble fingers. He’d never felt so miserable and remorseful as he felt that very moment. As he tucked himself into his pants, the door to Ryan’s room burst open and a furious looking Philip filled the doorway. Jeremy gasped, instinctively shielding Ryan’s body with his. It was a wolf thing to automatically want to shield a mate.

“What have you done, Jeremy?” Philip asked gruffly, slamming the door shut behind him. He’d heard his alpha’s anguished growl and new his friend was no longer in his kill mode. An Ojah in a kill mode wouldn’t growl in anguish no matter how badly he acted. Philip therefore knew it was safe to enter the room. He saw the still form of Ryan on the bed and felt his heart drop into his stomach. “Tell me you haven’t killed him, please…” Philip’s voice was barely above a whisper. He was so focused on the man on the bed that he didn’t even notice the misery in his alpha’s eyes. Philip concentrated hard on Ryan…he wanted to hear a heartbeat. And when he did, he gave a sigh of relief which ended in a groan when his eyes landed on the bloody tissue on the floor. Philip’s eyes widened in horror. “Damnit Jeremy. You could have fought it? Fuck!” He racked his fingers through his hair in anger and frustration. “And did you really have to use your alpha command on him that much? Are you trying to fry his brain? Was that the plan? To kill him? Is that it? Fuck!” Philip smashed a fist into the wall. “You’re going to regret inflicting so much pain on him, mark my words. Fuck, I’m so angry right now?”

“Lip…” Jeremy called falteringly but Philip was too angry to even hear him.

“He told us what he was doing here. If you doubted him, why couldn’t you just find out for yourself by opening up and reading his fucking mind? Is it that you’re scared to know he’s actually telling the truth? Because that would mean he’s not a hunter and therefore you wouldn’t have any other tangible excuse to hate him? About him being a guy…you should know you can’t challenge Luna, Jeremy. Do you have any idea what the consequences will be? I’ve loved you like a brother and respected you as my Alpha. But this…” Philip shook his head sadly. “I just can’t deal. This Jeremy who actually snaps and sadistically inflicts such pain is not the Jeremy I know. The Jeremy I know has better self-control. The Jeremy I know would have fought to hold on to his humanity. You allowed yourself to be controlled when you could have made an effort and snapped out of whatever haze you were under much earlier. Now look at what you’ve done. He’s your fucking mate.”

“How long have you been standing outside the door?” Jeremy asked quietly.

“Long enough.” Philip snapped. “You really think I wouldn’t have heard all the screams?”

The last thing Philip had wanted to do was attract the wrath of an ‘insane’ alpha by barging into the room whilst he was fucking his mate. So he’d waited tensely, heard every scream, heard every uttered plea, and heard the cruel words that were uttered by Jeremy. Philip had felt so furious but helpless as he couldn’t interrupt. He would have been dead already.

“Why didn’t you stop me?” Jeremy’s voice cracked gruffly, causing Philip to take a closer look at his alpha. For the first time since barging into the room, he noticed just how shaken Jeremy looked.

“Oh Jer…” Philip breathed, his heart going out to his friend despite himself. “You know I couldn’t have. You’d turned your humanity off. You would have killed me if I’d interrupted. I know my limits.” No matter how close they were, interrupting an Ojah who was in that kill state, whilst he was fucking would have ended in Philip’s death. And they both knew it. “At a point, I wanted to damn the consequence and interrupt anyway but we both know that killing me wouldn’t have stopped you from continuing with what you were doing.” He would have died for nothing.

Jeremy nodded slowly and turned to look down at his still passed out mate. “I don’t know how I’m going to fix this, Lip.” Jeremy said quietly. “I just don’t know.”

“You’ll find a way.” Philip said gently. “I know you will. Maybe you should start by linking with him first. Listen to him. I’ll be outside if you need me.” With that, Philip left Jeremy with his still passed out mate.

Jeremy entered the bathroom and came back with a wet towel with which he began to wipe his cum off Ryan’s thighs and butt. Just as he was about to turn Ryan over to enable him clean his front, he saw Ryan begin to stir and actually froze. Shit! For the first time since setting eyes on Ryan the night before, Jeremy was afraid. He heard Ryan’s moan of pain and had to suppress his own groan of distress. The alpha was so terrified of what he’d done to his mate he could feel his wolf cowering inside him. He swallowed hard as he watched Ryan try to move.

“Turn over.” Jeremy said softly. It wasn’t a command.

Ignoring Jeremy’s words, Ryan sluggishly pushed to his feet and slowly turned around to look at Jeremy. Although disoriented and still trembling with the aftereffects of his brutal rape, he just wanted to look at the man who had caused him so much pain. Ryan was in so much shock he totally forgot about his state of undress and the fact that his dicks were exposed. And it certainly didn’t even register that Jeremy’s eyes were no longer red but rather, deep blue as they’d been in his dream. It didn’t even click that the jeans around his knees was impeding his movement. He couldn’t believe the level of pain that the man had inflicted on him. It was only when he heard Jeremy’s sharp gasp, and noticed the direction of his eyes that Ryan realized what he’d done. Oh shit! But even as he quickly tried to pull up his jeans to cover himself, he heard Jeremy’s whispered words…

“Oh fuck, this is freaky.”

Ryan slowly straightened up, releasing his grip on his jeans. He began to shake with the myriad of emotions that were boiling within him…foremost being anger. All the pain he’d been made to go through by Jeremy, all the anger that he’d suppressed, all the bitter tears that he hadn’t shed again since he’d cried in his mother’s arms when Coach Chris had called him a freak at the age of nine, came together like a grenade and then exploded.

He snapped!

***

Jeremy watched as a change came over his mate. Ryan was trembling so much it was almost as if he was having a seizure. Tears began to slide down his cheeks. Jeremy watched Ryan’s fists clench at his sides as he took a little step towards him. Unconsciously, Jeremy took a step back. For the first time in his life, Alpha Jeremy Stanton had some fear…though slightly…in the presence of a lesser wolf.

“I’ve tolerated all your shit.” Ryan began shakily. “I thought you had it in for me because I trespassed on your land but I’m beginning to think you probably think I’ve done something even worse. Why else would you treat me as cruelly as this? What is it you think I’ve done exactly? Killed someone? Huh? You’ve bitten me, thrown me into a cage, turned me into something that I didn’t even know was real, humiliated me and held me in your house against my will. As if that wasn’t enough, you took away my will and subjected me to a brutal fuck in the arse even though I’ve never ever had sex with another person in my life.” Ryan tilted his head, the tears streaming down in torrents.

“Ryan?” Jeremy breathed cautiously as he watched Ryan begin to slowly transform but it was as if Ryan couldn’t even hear him.

“Now you have the nerve to call me a freak? Tell me in all honesty please. Between you and I, who is the bigger freak? Someone who is capable of doing all that you’ve done, or someone who by some genetic whatever, has two dicks?” Ryan’s voice had risen by then. “How dare you use the word freak and me in the same sentence? If anyone should be able to do that, it certainly mustn’t be you.”

“Ryan, settle down.” Jeremy said tentatively. Ryan was hulking out…transforming, but into a wolf-man which only alphas and in very rare cases, their marked mates could do. Ryan wasn’t marked. The jeans and t-shirt he was wearing began to fall off his body in tatters. Jeremy had thought mere minutes earlier that a man with two dicks was strange. Well, there was nothing stranger than an unmarked ordinary werewolf hulking out into a wolf-man.

“So now it’s Ryan huh?” Ryan’s voice was not human. His beast had taken over. “Didn’t think you knew my name.”

Jeremy was getting very worried. After that talk with Philip, he didn’t want to use his alpha tone on Ryan but the situation called for that. In his current form, Ryan could kill him with just a snap of his hand and Jeremy knew it. He just had to use it one more time.

“Shift back into human now.” Jeremy commanded and heard the door to Ryan’s room burst open. He watched as the wolf-man froze. “Stay back Lip.” Jeremy ordered without turning to look at his beta. “Human, now.” He commanded and watched as Ryan rather transformed into the beautiful white wolf again. “Human.” Jeremy growled but Ryan growled right back, baring his teeth and getting into an attack mode.

Jeremy quickly crouched down and bared his neck to his mate, showing submission. He couldn’t for the life of him understand why his command was not working on Ryan. Jeremy planned on finding out just why, later. He could have fought and defeated Ryan with cheeky ease. But he didn’t think he had the right to do that. At that very moment, Jeremy knew his life was in danger. His mate was ready to attack and possibly kill him. He didn’t blame Ryan’s wolf at all. He’d brought it upon himself by treating his mate very badly. Jeremy didn’t want to agitate Ryan any further. Actually his life probably depended on not doing anything at all.

The wolf sprung towards Jeremy, giving a ferocious growl which drowned out Philip’s terrified scream. Jeremy saw his life flash before his eyes but didn’t move, hoping it was going to be a quick death. He deserved to die for what he’d done to his mate. But then he realized, after not feeling any impact after some seconds, that Ryan’s aim hadn’t been to attack him. The wolf had rather jumped out of the opened window. Jeremy almost had a heart attack. With a cry of terror, he rushed to the window and looked out just in time to see Ryan’s wolf jump down from ledge to ledge on the building. Jeremy breathed a sigh of relief. He knew Ryan wouldn’t have survived the jump if he had attempted to jump straight down. But Jeremy’s relief was short-lived. He remembered that his warriors wouldn’t hesitate to kill Ryan on sight. After all, no one knew he was the alpha’s mate. As far as they were concerned, the alpha had only turned the hunter as a form of punishment.

“Philip!” Jeremy screamed as he tore off his clothes. “Tell them not to harm him.” With that, Jeremy shifted into the huge red wolf and jumped out of the window.

Then he went after his mate.

***

‘Stand down, everyone. Don’t harm the white wolf.’ Philip desperately instructed the warriors through his mind-link. He knew for a fact that some of the warriors were already chasing after Ryan.

‘But he’s trying to escape, Sir.’ One of the warriors said, sounding surprised at Philip’s command.

‘The alpha will take care of it. I repeat, stand down.’ Philip growled.

Stan, the head warrior chuckled. ‘Well let’s hope my squad doesn’t maim the idiot too much with their arrows.’ He said, not sounding too concerned.

‘Stan, no arrow should hit that wolf.’ Philip reduced his link to just the head of the warriors who was also a close friend of both Jeremy and Philip. The three of them were very close, with Stan being the joker amongst them. As the head warrior, he thrived on violence. But he was also very good at what he did.

‘Jeez. Don’t get your panties in a twist, Lip.’ Stan chuckled. ‘An arrow won’t kill the fool. Why are you so fussy over that…’

‘I’m being fussy because he’s the alpha’s mate.’ Philip finally screamed through the link.

‘What did you…oh shit.’ Stan was screaming orders at his team even as he transformed and dashed off after his warriors.

***

Jeremy heard the howl of misery from his mate and howled right back. His wolf was furious at him but they both knew they had to work together on this one. He knew he could have handled this whole thing with his mate better if he hadn’t allowed himself to switch off. Fuck! He clearly remembered his wicked thoughts about his mate whilst under the influence of the Ojah power. He couldn’t believe he’d actually considered killing his mate. That was sick and he could never have ever contemplated that no matter how much he disliked the fact that his mate was male. Not being strong enough to resist losing control had cost him a lot. And Jeremy had no idea where to even start rectifying the problem at hand.

‘I swear if you don’t make things right with our mate, by Luna I’m going to tear you up from inside.’ His furious wolf growled, making Jeremy cringe inside. ‘The pain I will inflict on you whilst taking your life will come nowhere near what you did to him.’ That was the first time he’d been threatened by his wolf and Jeremy knew his wolf meant every word. He also knew he deserved it. After all, losing his mate meant the end of his wolf’s and eventually his own life. So his wolf would have nothing to lose if he actually did as he’d threatened.

Jeremy had never acted so cruel towards anyone before, unless of course he was in battle or faced with a mortal enemy…which as far as he was concerned, Ryan sorta was. A hunter killed his father and brother for fuck’s sake. Well, time to find out exactly what Ryan had been up to on his property. Jeremy opened up his mind-link to his mate and started pushing gently…pleading with him to stop running and wait for him. But his mate kept right on running because he obviously didn’t even know what the mind-link was all about. Jeremy growled in frustration. At least he’d closed the gap between them considerably so he knew that he was going to catch up with Ryan soon. When the alpha rounded a corner and saw his mate lying between two boulders, whining painfully, he almost passed out with dread. Ryan was obviously hurt.

‘Don’t move Ryan.’ Jeremy said softly through their link as he circled his mate. Ryan’s leg was stuck in a hole but it didn’t seem to be broken. It was twisted in a rather unnatural way though.

Jeremy wanted to transform back into his human form and pull Ryan’s stuck leg out of the hole but be knew there was no way Ryan was going to allow him to touch him if he was human. His mate hated him… And with good reason too. The huge red wolf tentatively went closer till he was standing over his mate who had begun to growl despite his pain.

‘I’m just trying to help.’ Jeremy said softly through their link. ‘Please let me help you. Please Ryan.’

‘Don’t you dare touch me you monster. If I should die right here right now, I’m sure you’ll throw a party in the next… oh fuck…’ He gasped in pain.

‘Ryan please…’ Jeremy was getting desperate. Now that he was himself, watching Ryan in pain was killing him. But he also knew he couldn’t touch Ryan without his permission. ‘I’m so sorry for all that has happened, Ryan. So, so sorry.’ But Ryan remained quiet. ‘Let me help you please.’ Jeremy couldn’t keep the pleading out of his voice.

After a very long silence, Ryan finally spoke through their link. ‘I’m not a freak.’ He said quietly, trying very hard not to think about the pain in his leg.

‘I never said you were a freak.’ Jeremy protested. ‘I said it was freaky.’

‘Same shit. Don’t insult my intelligence.’ Ryan said in a quiet voice.

‘I’m sorry. It just took me by surprise that’s all.’

For the first time since he became a werewolf, Ryan didn’t have any desire for Jeremy. In fact he couldn’t even stand the sound of his voice. But for his stuck foot, he would have stood up and kept some distance between himself and the arrogant, sadistic prick.

Jeremy cleared his throat on their mind-link. ‘I can hear you, you know. Ryan we need to get your leg out of there so you can heal.’

‘What do you care?’ Ryan sneered. ‘Tell me… are you getting hard with the thought of me being in pain? Why do you hate me so much?’ He asked with so much pain in his voice.

‘Because you’re a hunter, okay?’ Jeremy responded exasperatedly. ‘I hate hunters because you are murderers. You hunt and kill innocent people.’

‘What the fuck are you talking about?’ Ryan couldn’t help the surprise in his voice. ‘I’m a college professor. I’ve never hunted anything in my life. I love animals. I study them. That’s my job.’

‘So what were you doing on my property?’

‘Some kid I teach wanted to show me a new species which he said was going to blow my mind. They assured me that that part of the property was open to the public.’

‘Fuck.’ Jeremy swore. Ryan was being truthful. ‘Shit.’ Ryan didn’t miss Jeremy’s words. Somehow he could sense the other wolf’s misery. Jeremy had made a mistake.

‘So it’s just as I thought. All this sadistic treatment was not because I trespassed. I was mistaken for some hunter? Why would anyone want to hunt this close to town? They may hurt someone. I’m not stup… Wait a minute… you meant hunters who hunt your kind didn’t you? I didn’t even know you existed, how much more… Are you fucking kidding me?’

Jeremy cringed inside his wolf. ‘I’m sorry.’ The alpha wolf said quietly.

‘I kept telling you I’d done nothing wrong. Now look at what you’ve done to me. You’ve turned me into an animal. My whole life I’ve stayed out of trouble. Kept to myself. Now this. All because some arrogant fool couldn’t listen to me for a second.’ Ryan’s wolf whimpered as Ryan’s emotional pain spiraled. The only reason Ryan wasn’t crying at that very moment was because he was in his wolf form. ‘Now I’m ruined. Tell me you can restore me not just to my human form, but to my original self. Please.’

The pain within Jeremy at that very moment…hearing that heartfelt plea from his mate, was like nothing he’d ever felt. He didn’t blame Ryan for wanting no part of his wolf side. He’d done that to him. He had to somehow fix it…make it better…help Ryan accept what he had become, because there was no going back.

‘I’m sorry Ryan but I can’t. No one can. I’m so sorry.’

Ryan didn’t say a word after that. He just kept quiet and laid his head down. His life was over. How could he even go back to work? What if in the middle of teaching he shifted into a wolf?

‘I’ll guide you.’ Jeremy said quietly, listening to Ryan’s inner thoughts. He didn’t know how to shield himself yet so everything he thought about was open to Jeremy as they were linked. Ryan didn’t acknowledge his words.

What if he not only shifted in the middle of a lecture, but he actually hurt one of his students? What if his shifting caused a stampede and people got hurt in the process? That was all the life he knew…teaching. Was it over?

‘No it’s not over.’ Jeremy answered. ‘I’ll take care of you.’

‘Get the fuck out of my head, you psycho.’ Ryan growled, attempting to stand but he howled in pain and fell back down. Fuck! He hoped his foot wasn’t broken.

Jeremy couldn’t take it anymore. He growled as he shifted back into his human form. He’d had it. He just couldn’t stand the fact that Ryan was in pain. He had to pull his leg out. Ryan could do whatever he wanted to do to him, Jeremy didn’t care. He went to where Ryan’s leg was stuck, ignoring his frenzied growls.

“You can bite me if you want.” Jeremy growled. “I’m doing this.” With that he reached into the hole and grabbed hold of Ryan’s leg. Then he slowly pulled it out, wincing at Ryan’s howl of pain. “It’s broken.” Jeremy said grimly. “You need a doc…No, don’t shift.” Jeremy gasped when he felt Ryan begin to shift back. “You’ll be in too much pain if you’re in your human form.”

‘At least the pain would be from an injury and not from another person inflicting it.’ Ryan spat through their link. ‘God, I hate you so much.’

“Oh fuck.” Jeremy gasped as he took a step back as though Ryan had punched him. His hand went to his chest which had suddenly tightened painfully. Earlier, he’d thought Ryan implying he wanted no part of his wolf form was painful. But Jeremy realized that Ryan telling him he hated him was even worse. He rubbed his chest as he fell to his knees. It definitely didn’t help matters that Ryan was at that particular moment thinking how the world would be a better place with people like Jeremy out of it. ‘Ryan please…’ Jeremy gasped through their link.

‘What the fuck have I done now?’ Ryan snapped.

Jeremy looked at him and slowly shook his head. “Nothing.” He said quietly as he got to his feet. Then without another word, he hulked out till he became a wolf-man. In that form the alpha, who was covered in red fur, was almost nine foot tall and had ten times the strength of his wolf. Ryan whimpered in fear. ‘I’m going to carry you now.’ Was all the warning Ryan got before Jeremy was lifting him up as though he weighed nothing.

And throughout the trip back to Jeremy’s house, the alpha’s heart was breaking. His mate hated him and with good reason too. If only he could turn back time, he couldn’t help but wish. Ryan on the other hand didn’t know what to think. Being held in Jeremy’s arms so tenderly was definitely not what he’d expected from the cruel man. One would have thought in that scary imposing form, Jeremy would be even more cruel and wicked but on the contrary, Ryan had never felt safer in his life. He was totally confused so he just closed his eyes and enjoyed being held.

In the pack hospital, three doctors and four nurses ran around trying to make Ryan comfortable. Although news hadn’t gotten to them that Ryan was their alpha’s mate, they knew that for the alpha to change to that form and carry an injured wolf himself, when he could have asked the warriors or any of the others to bring the wolf in, Ryan was obviously very important. And even if they hadn’t seen their hulked out alpha carry in the injured wolf, the fact that the injured wolf had been taken to one of the executive rooms…which was reserved for only alphas and top ranking wolves, also showed how important the wolf was. The alpha’s agitated pacing on the corridors of the hospital at that very moment was enough to put everyone on edge.

Ryan was given a shot of something strong to take care of his pain at Jeremy’s insistence immediately they’d gotten to the hospital. In no time at all his leg was set and his eyes were drifting shut with drowsiness thanks to the morphine that had been pumped into him. Just before he drifted off, he saw Jeremy standing in his line of vision, watching him. He was in dark jeans and a black t-shirt that fitted to his body like a second skin. And those eyes… ‘Damn, he’s hot’ was Ryan’s last thought before he drifted off to sleep.

Jeremy heard Ryan as their link was still opened. But rather than feel thrilled that his mate found him attractive, he rather felt sad because he knew it was the morphine talking. Ryan despised him.

“How long is he going to be out?” Jeremy asked Dr. Sanders, the lead doctor.

“About four hours Alpha.”

“Keep me posted on anything that happens.” Jeremy said as he turned and headed for the door. “I’ll be back.” He needed a good counsel. And the alpha knew exactly who to talk to.

***

“You what?” Joel, Philip’s father, was too shocked his voice was barely above a whisper.

Jeremy winced at the disbelief in the elder’s voice. “Uncle Joel please…” Jeremy began but got cut off.

“No, no I think I didn’t hear you well. Did you say you…”

“I forced myself on him okay?” Jeremy growled and shot to his feet. This was more difficult than he’d thought it would be. He couldn’t stand the disappointment and condemnation in his mentor’s eyes. Fuck!

“You mean you raped your mate?” The elderly man growled right back. “What the hell were you thinking?”

“That’s just it.” Jeremy turned to face the man. “I wasn’t thinking.” He bellowed, his eyes shifting to amber. His wolf wanted out.

“Calm down Alpha.” Joel said softly, realizing just how far he’d pushed Jeremy. “Sit down Jeremy.”

Heaving a deep sigh, Jeremy took his seat. “I’m confused Uncle. What am I going to do? I made a mistake. He wasn’t a hunter after all.”

“You know he’s not going to give his consent to be marked as your mate, don’t you?” Joel said quietly. For one to become a full mate, they needed to give permission to be marked. But from what his ward had just told him, his mate would never give that consent. Not after what Jeremy had done to him.

“I know. I need your help Uncle. Tell me what to do.” There was so much anguish in Jeremy’s voice the older man gasped. He’d never seen Jeremy like that before.

“I don’t know son. It’s all up to you. You have to work this out yourself. Remember the prophecy said your mate was special?”

Jeremy would never forget that prophesy. That prophesy had been revealed on the day Jeremy had first transformed into a wolf. Unlike every other wolf, Jeremy had his first shift at the age of twelve instead of fifteen. A major werewolf gathering for alphas and elders was in session that day and the prophecy had been made known to all members. Though he’d been a kid, he’d always had it at the back of his mind. He remembered how happy his mother had been about that prophecy. She’d explained to him that most werewolves never found their soul mates and had to settle for anyone they were compatible with. She was therefore happy because the prophecy predestined that her son was going to find his mate. Jeremy also remembered thinking with Philip when they were kids that his mate being special meant he was probably going to marry Miss. America one day.

“Yes, I remember.” Jeremy said softly. But what made Ryan special? Did having two dicks make someone special, Jeremy wondered. Or was it the fact that he was the first male mate to a male alpha. He hadn’t told the elder that bit about his mate’s dicks. Jeremy thought it was personal and therefore didn’t plan on telling anyone. It was between him and his mate.

“What we didn’t add was that part of the prophecy that stated that your mate was going to be someone who would wield a lot of power and would help you rule. In fact we were all warned to be very careful how we treated that individual because that mate was going to be very important to not only our pack, but to werewolves everywhere.

“Oh God.” Jeremy gasped as an image of a hulked out Ryan flashed in his mind. He remembered wondering how he’d been able to do that when he hadn’t even been marked as a mate yet. “He became a wolf-man at a point.” Jeremy whispered.

“He what?” Joel frowned in surprise. “I thought you didn’t mark him. How…”

“I don’t know how he did it.” Jeremy rasped. “He was very angry. Fuck, I thought he was going to kill me. I commanded him to shift back to human but he rather shifted into his wolf and jumped out.”

“Most people never survive that kind of bite he received…mentally or physically. Looks like he did on both counts. That alone should tell you how special he is, Jer.” Joel murmured with a curious frown on his face. “The prophecy said he is and so far the little you’ve told me about him proves it. He obviously doesn’t even know how powerful he is. Refreshingly innocent.”

“I’ve never hated this Ojah power more, Uncle Joel.” Jeremy groaned. “I’ve always been able to control myself where it’s concerned. Hell, even when I’m under its control, I make a conscious effort to remain a little bit sane. This time, I just couldn’t.” He buried his face in his palms.

Joel looked at Jeremy with eyes filled with sympathy. That gift that Jeremy had, had so far been a blessing to the pack…helped them out of some real fucked up situations…till then. And as much as the trouble with his mate seemed as though it was Jeremy’s problem, it was in fact a problem that the whole pack had to be concerned with. Because should Jeremy’s mate reject him by refusing to mate with him, Jeremy’s wolf would die. And the alpha would be no more. They couldn’t have that.

“You need him in your life Jeremy.” The elder said with a sigh. “But you’ve pissed him off. Getting him to forgive this atrocity and submit willingly to you is going to be a feat. It’s not going to be easy son. Hell, the Trojan War would be a piece of cake compared to the war you have on your hands. I think you need your mother on this one, son.”

“Damn, she’s going to kill me if she hears this.” Jeremy groaned.

“Better her than your mate. Because you need him to mate properly with you in the appropriate ceremony otherwise none of us will like the repercussions.”

“Fuck!”

“Now tell me, why do you hate so much that he’s a man?” Joel asked with raised brows.

“Uncle, come on!” Jeremy looked incredulous at the elderly man’s question. “I’m not gay. I prefer boobs and curves. I…”

“But that didn’t stop you from having sex with this man. And from what you told me, you found the experience so exhilarating that it actually snapped you out of your Ojah haze. You felt something for him at that moment of release despite the fact that you were not in control. And that’s what snapped you back to yourself. ‘Quae sunt scrpta fuit.'”

“What has been written has been written.” Jeremy quietly translated Joel’s Latin quote.

“Exactly.” Joel nodded. “You have to somehow win his trust, Jeremy. Women are good at such things. That’s why I think you should talk to your mother. If anyone can help you turn this around, she can.”

“I still can’t believe I did that.” Jeremy groaned, covering his face with his hands.

“You didn’t do that, Jer.”

“I did Uncle Joel. I totally lost control, which…” Jeremy trailed off when he felt Dr. Sanders trying to push his mind to talk to him telepathically. ‘What is it, doctor?’

‘Alpha you have to come quickly. He’s trying to shift. We’re trying to stop him but he’s getting agitated.’

“I have to go Uncle.” Jeremy was already on his feet and running before the doctor finished his sentence. ‘Philip?’ He screamed into the link with his beta. ‘Get to Ryan immediately. Make sure he doesn’t shift. Do whatever you can to stop that. I’m on my way.’

Jeremy tore out of the parking lot at breakneck speed. If Ryan shifted, it wouldn’t harm him much as his injury had already started healing. What Jeremy wanted to prevent was Ryan shifting in the full glare of all those people. Wolves were used to seeing each other’s nakedness so it wouldn’t be a big deal. But Jeremy just knew Ryan would hate for anyone to see him naked. He clearly remembered how quickly Ryan had pulled on his jeans after he’d shifted back into human in the cage. Jeremy also remembered the panic in Ryan’s eyes when he’d noticed his eyes on his dicks earlier that evening. Jeremy vowed to himself at that instant to ensure that Ryan became proud of his special nature. But for now, his main aim was to protect his mate’s sensibilities.

Jeremy burst into Ryan’s private room in the hospital and growled when he saw Philip soothingly stroking the beautiful white wolf…his mate. Philip instantly jumped off to the side of the bed and raised his hand in an act of peace. The nurses and doctors looked shocked at their alpha’s reaction but said nothing.

“What happened?” Jeremy asked the head doctor.

“He woke up before the expected time so I thought he was hungry. We put some food into a bowl for him and he instantly went berserk.”

‘I won’t eat like a dog.’ Ryan growled through his link with Jeremy, making the alpha really understand what the fuss was all about. He didn’t blame Ryan. He wasn’t used to all that.

“How bad will it be for his injury if he should shift now?” Jeremy asked quietly, his eye locked on Ryan.

“I won’t advise that now but it won’t be too bad.” Dr. Sanders responded. “We can always continue the treatment in his human form though it will take longer to heal.”

“I know. Please take off his cast and leave us.” Jeremy ordered quietly, his eyes still on Ryan. “Lip?” He stopped his friend when he made to pass by him.

“Yes Alpha?”

“I’m sorry about before.” He apologized quietly. Though it was only natural for him to act as he had when he saw another man’s hands on his mate, Jeremy thought he should apologize.

“Don’t worry man. I understand.” Philip responded with amusement in his voice. Jeremy knew he was going to get it so bad from his friend later, but he didn’t care. “I’ll go bring him some clothes to wear.” He said, slapping Jeremy on his back before exiting the room.

Jeremy went to the door and locked it after the last person had exited. Then he went to sit beside the beautiful white wolf on the bed. His mate. Jeremy tentatively reached out to touch Ryan but the wolf growled low in his throat. He obviously still didn’t trust Jeremy. The alpha’s heart sunk. Ryan was okay with Philip touching him but he obviously didn’t want him to. That was only to be expected but it still hurt.

‘I just want to help you shift.’ Jeremy said softly through their link. Jeremy tried again when Ryan stopped growling. The wolf’s eyes still watched Jeremy with distrust. But he allowed him to touch him, and then stroke him. And his touch felt so soothing and calming, Ryan leaned more into it. Philip’s hands had felt nowhere as good as Jeremy’s, which was rather strange to Ryan.

‘You can shift now.’ Jeremy whispered and watched with a content expression on his face as Ryan shifted with cheeky ease. The pain and discomfort that had accompanied each of his previous shifts was absent. Ryan blinked up at Jeremy, whose hand was slowly stroking his stomach, and suppressed a moan. As a wolf, he’d thought Jeremy was hot but from a human’s perspective, the man was gut-numbingly gorgeous. “You okay?” Jeremy asked softly.

Ryan could only nod. There was a fluttering inside his stomach that had nothing to do with hunger for food. He watched as Jeremy pulled the covers over his body and adjusted him so that he was propped up against the headboard. Then he reached for the bottle of water on the bedside table and brought it to Ryan’s lips. Ryan snatched the bottle and drank about half of the water. Jeremy took the bottle when Ryan was done and placed it on the table. Then he picked up the plate of food and grabbed a fork.

“Open up please.” Jeremy said softly.

Ryan’s eyes widened at Jeremy’s request. To say he was shocked at all the attention the Mean Man was giving him would be an understatement. The man was obviously on a guilt trip. Why else would he be acting that way?

“I’m not an invalid.” Ryan snapped. “I can feed myself.” He took the plate from Jeremy and proceeded to feed himself.

Jeremy remained quiet. He merely sat there and watched Ryan eat. He couldn’t help but notice how gentle his mate was. Even the way he ate. His mannerism. Jeremy couldn’t believe he was the same Ryan who had hulked out into a wolf-man and scared the shit out of him. And he couldn’t believe he’d actually treated such a gentle person so badly. But the harm had already been done. It was up to him to show his mate a different side of himself. He had to prove to Ryan that he wasn’t the monster he thought he was. What surprised Jeremy was the fact that his aim wasn’t to get the handsome man sitting in front of him to trust him enough to agree to officially mate with him, but rather to make Ryan actually like him.

Jeremy waited patiently till Ryan was done. Then he took the plate from him and went to open the door for Philip. Ryan heard them whispering but couldn’t hear exactly what they were whispering about. He watched as Jeremy again closed and locked the door and placed some clothes on the comfortable couch in the room. Then still without a word, Jeremy went to the en suite bathroom and came back with a bowl of warm water, a bottle of liquid soap and a washcloth.

“What are you doing?” Ryan finally broke his silence.

“What does it look like? I’m going to wash you.”

“I think I can manage that on my own, thank you very much.” Ryan said, attempting to roll out of bed but Jeremy stopped him with a band on his shoulder.

“I don’t think it will be a good idea to put pressure on the foot, Ryan.” Jeremy said gently. “Please let me do this.”

“I’d rather someone else helped me.” Ryan insisted stubbornly.

Jeremy went still for a moment. Then he gave a deep sigh. “Who would you prefer?” Jeremy couldn’t recognize his voice. He felt so wretched inside.

“Anyone but you.” Ryan said, dropping his eyes to Jeremy’s hand which clutched the washcloth. His eyes widened when he noticed how badly Jeremy’s hands shook.

“Ryan, please.” Jeremy whispered.

For the life of him Ryan didn’t understand the sudden pity he felt for Jeremy. Jeremy was a monster and didn’t deserve anyone’s pity or sympathy, Ryan thought angry with himself. But he found himself giving Jeremy a slight nod to proceed. With a deep sigh he relaxed against the headboard and closed his eyes. Jeremy murmured his thanks and then proceeded to thoroughly wash Ryan clean. By the time he was done, Ryan felt so refreshed. Jeremy dressed Ryan in white cargo shorts and a white t-shirt. He had to suppress his smile as he looked at his mate. With his white hair, Jeremy thought Ryan looked beautiful and angelic. But he also noticed the discomfort on Ryan’s face.

“What is it?” Jeremy asked softly. “Is it your leg?”

Ryan couldn’t help the blush that stained his cheeks. He cleared his throat and looked anywhere but at Jeremy. “I need boxer briefs please. It’s err…uncomfortable to…”

“I’ll let Philip bring one now.” Jeremy said. “I thought you would rather feel freer without one. Sorry.” He said as he leaned down and scooped Ryan off the bed.

“What are you doing?” Ryan gasped as his arms automatically wrapped themselves around Jeremy’s neck.

“You need to pee.” Jeremy said simply as he headed for the washroom with Ryan in his arms as if he weighed nothing.

“How did you…”

“I can read your thoughts, remember? And I also have eyes.” Jeremy stared pointedly at Ryan’s slightly bulging groin, stifling his laughter when Ryan groaned.

Jeremy stopped in front of the toilet bowl and allowed Ryan to slide down, keeping an arm firmly around his waist to ensure he didn’t put any weight on his injured foot. He turned Ryan to face the bowl, and like the alpha that he was, reached down with his free hand to undo the buttons on Ryan’s shorts without asking permission.

“Jeremy?” Ryan had to stifle the urge to screech in both shock and annoyance. Who the fuck gave the fool the audacity to handle his body as though he had the right? What pissed him off even more was the wonderful feeling of arousal coursing through him at having Jeremy pressed so intimately against him…so big and powerful. And his scent, God…

“Yes, Ryan.” Jeremy responded nonchalantly, dipping his hand into the opening of Ryan’s shorts. He couldn’t see Ryan’s face and had therefore totally missed the incredulous shock and flush of arousal on his mate’s face.

“I can take it from here.” Ryan said between clenched teeth and waited till Jeremy removed his hand from inside his shorts. But even as he reached in to pull out his dicks, Ryan knew he was too late. He was already rock hard. Ryan held them, pointing them at the toilet bowl, willing them to release urine, but nothing happened. It was obvious he couldn’t pee in his current state.

Jeremy saw what was happening, knew what had to be done and went for it without thinking. The fact that he didn’t do guys never crossed Jeremy’s mind at that point. His primary objective was to take care of the problem at hand to enable his mate relieve himself in peace. He was a man just like Ryan. He had the same appendage…though not double as his mate had but hey…all dicks were the same. He reached up and opened the small cabinet on the wall above the toilet bowl, revealing an oval bottle with a lotion pump, filled with lube. He pressed the top to release a dollop into his palm before closing the cabinet.

“Allow me.” Jeremy said softly behind Ryan, sending a delicious shiver down his spine.

“Fuck off.” Ryan rasped, his words sounding feeble even to his own ears. He needed to come so bad.

“Don’t be stubborn.” Jeremy growled. “You know you won’t be able to pee till you empty your balls.” He murmured huskily as he slapped Ryan’s hand off his cocks and gripped both firmly in his large palm.

Ryan opened his mouth to tell the man who had caused him so much pain that he didn’t need his help but what came out was an irrepressible moan. He’d never felt any other hand on his dicks besides his. And Jeremy’s hand on him felt heavenly. But he didn’t like the idea of Jeremy touching him so intimately. It wasn’t right at all. With a groan he tried to push Jeremy’s hand off his dicks. He didn’t trust the man with his package at all. Only God knew the kind of harm Jeremy could do to him if he was given that power.

“Ow come on Ryan.” Jeremy sighed, reading his mate’s thoughts. “I just cleaned you up. If I’d wanted to hurt you in any way, I could have. I’m just trying to help you here.” Well, helping Ryan get some relief had been his initial motive but immediately he’d touched those hard dicks…felt the hot blood pulsing under that thin membrane, Jeremy was a goner. He loved the feel of those cocks in his palm, which actually surprised him. He particularly liked the way the skin moved beneath his hand when he stroked it. Jeremy rubbed the lube and precum spilling from both cocks on them, getting them slick. “Please let me do this for you.” He whispered, the raspy quality of his breath causing a delicious feeling to spread through Ryan.

“Oh my God…” Ryan gave a helpless cry. “Care to explain why you have a big bottle of lube in…oh fuck…” He gasped when Jeremy gave both dicks a light squeeze.

“We’re werewolves Ryan.” Jeremy responded huskily. “We have needs more than the average guy. “Now, just relax.”

“Shit…” Ryan gasped, shivering in pleasure as he watched the beautiful contrast of the darker skin of Jeremy’s hand on his lighter-toned cocks as he stroked him.

Jeremy’s hand on him felt amazingly good even though Ryan wished it wasn’t so. The combination of the sexiness of Jeremy’s voice, his sweet scent, and the feel of another’s hand on his dicks felt so damn good he felt himself drool. And as if that wasn’t enough, the erotic sounds of Jeremy’s hand pumping his slick flesh just blew Ryan’s mind like nothing ever had. A low moan reached Ryan’s ears. For a moment he didn’t know where it came from. Then he realized he was the one making that noise. He threw his head back against Jeremy’s chest and succumbed to the ecstatic pleasure. He closed his eyes and relished the sensations.

Jeremy stroked the slick cocks slowly but firmly…from base to tip…giving Ryan maximum pleasure. Ryan’s instinctively gritted his teeth to hold in his sounds of pleasure. But he just couldn’t. It felt too good. He voiced his excitement with his delirious moans which Jeremy loved hearing. His mate was so sexy it wasn’t funny. Jeremy would pause, rub the pad of his thumb against the leaking tips for a while, and then resume stroking. He wished he didn’t have to keep his arm around Ryan’s waist. He would have loved to pull on those huge balls as he stroked the dicks…bring him more pleasure.

But what Jeremy’s hand was doing to those dicks was enough to blow Ryan’s mind. He emitted a sputtering cry when Jeremy’s hand began to move faster. God! His heart rate accelerated out of control. Ryan began to whimper when he felt his orgasm slithering down his spine. With louder and lustful cries, he thrust into Jeremy’s hand frenziedly, reaching for that pleasure. And when he felt Jeremy’s warm breath on that sensitive spot on his neck, he just couldn’t hold it in. Ryan came totally unglued.

With a loud cry he exploded, spurting ropes and ropes of cum from one dick, directly into the toilet bowl as Jeremy directed. “Oh fuck…fuck…damn…oh my fucking God…” Ryan cried out, coming in shuddering gasps, shaking uncontrollably as his climax rocked him. It was utter bliss and he never wanted it to stop. He came so hard his vision blurred.

Ryan had never felt anything so intense. He felt Jeremy’s lips against his temple, kissing him tenderly and felt his eyes water. He wasn’t sure why Jeremy was being so tender with him…almost loving. But he wasn’t in the right frame of mind at that particular moment to dwell on it. He’d never dreamt he would ever feel another person’s hands on him. Ever. Before Ryan could check himself, he was blurting out his thanks.

Jeremy tightened his hold on his mate when he heard the softly spoken word. Though he knew he didn’t deserve that word from Ryan, a sweet feeling burst forth within him, melting him, spreading to even his toes and causing them to curl inside his boots. There was no person as sweet and adorable as his mate in the entire world he was sure. The man awakened something within him…something more than what a mate was supposed to rouse…something he didn’t understand. Jeremy wasn’t surprised Ryan had picked up on it. It scared the shit out of him. He continued to slowly stroke Ryan even after he’d gone soft, inhaling the sweet fragrance of his hair, breathing him in, allowing his delicious and provocative scent that was Ryan’s alone to intoxicate him. Fuck!

“Anytime.” Jeremy said in a low but deep voice and then lightly nipped Ryan’s ear. He felt a shudder pass through Ryan and tightened his hold on him.

Soon Ryan’s breathing returned to normal and he began to pee. When he was done, Jeremy picked him up and deposited him in front of the wash hand basin. He washed and dried the dicks before buttoning Ryan up. Then he picked Ryan up, bridal style and went to place him on the couch in the room. Jeremy then went to open the door to Philip and a nurse. Whilst the nurse went to change the sheets, Philip handed something…which Ryan knew were boxers for him…to Jeremy and then came to crouch beside Ryan.

“You okay, Prof?” Philip grinned, noting how flushed Ryan looked. He knew sexual satisfaction when he saw it. ‘You sly fox.’ Philip said through his link to Jeremy. ‘You don’t waste time at all do you?’ Philip couldn’t keep the thrill out of his voice.

‘I’m a wolf, not a fox.’ Jeremy countered, through their link. ‘And I don’t know what you’re talking about.’

Philip couldn’t contain himself. He burst into laughter, surprising Ryan who turned his head to look in Jeremy’s direction. He was leaning against the window with his ankles crosses and arms folded across his massive chest. The man simply exuded power. He was staring at Ryan intently, causing Ryan’s face to go even redder. He turned to look at Philip.

“I’m good, Philip.” Ryan lowered his eyes. He didn’t know why but he had a feeling the two men were talking about him somehow. Was Jeremy telling Philip about his abnormality?

“No, Ryan.” Jeremy spoke up from his perch by the window. ‘I would never do that.’ He added through their link.

“Alright, I think that’s my cue to leave.” Philip said, getting to his feet. “See you later guys.” And with a final smirk at Jeremy, he left together with the nurse.

This time Jeremy didn’t lock the door. He went to pick Ryan up and deposited him in bed. Then he removed his shorts, put the boxer briefs on him, and then put the shorts back on him.

“Thanks.” Ryan said quietly, feeling all warm and fuzzy inside at how Jeremy was treating him despite himself.

It was almost as though the man he’d met on that first night was completely different from the one handling him now, Ryan thought. But he was no fool at all. He remembered clearly what Jeremy had done to him. And there was no way the man could change just like that. Jeremy was obviously up to something. Probably trying to avert a law suit or something. Though he’d initially thought Jeremy was on a guilt trip, he really didn’t think the man was even capable of guilt. He wasn’t human…literally. He was just a soulless sadist who loved to inflict pain on innocent people. The asshole was going to burn in hell for…

“For fuck’s sake…” Jeremy finally snapped. He’d had it with Ryan’s thoughts about how soulless and wicked he was. “You’re very right. I’m not doing this because I feel guilty. I don’t have to do jack squat. If I wanted to treat you well simply because of guilt, I could get people to give you better care than I’m doing right now.” Jeremy finally turned to look Ryan in the eye. “I’m doing it myself because I want to, okay?” He added quietly. And Jeremy knew he’d never meant anything more. He liked taking care of Ryan.

Ryan’s jaw dropped. The man had never spoken so many words to him at once. Well…he did spew out lots of cruel lines whilst raping him, but this was different. Ryan could feel Jeremy’s desperation and wretchedness. He could also feel his wolf’s agitation within him…the need to comfort Jeremy. Well that was definitely not going to happen. And all that crap about wanting to care for him himself… What did the sadistic werewolf take him for? An idiot?

“Well, if I don’t see your face again, it would be too soon.” Ryan hissed and almost retracted his words at the look of desolation that appeared in Jeremy’s eyes.

Jeremy lowered his eyes and nodded. “I understand.” He got to his feet, his heart pounding painfully.

“And I will appreciate it if you stayed out of my head.” Ryan added gruffly. “It’s creepy to know someone…like you has access to my thoughts. I don’t know what you’ll do next. Probably cut my throat whilst I sleep simply because I thought about what an asshole you were.” Even before he finished speaking Ryan felt a door shut in his mind and knew the link had been cut. And for the life of him he didn’t understand why he suddenly felt so lonely.

“I’ll call the doctor to come and see to your leg now.” Jeremy said quietly, looking at the clock on the wall. It was almost seven a.m. He started towards the door but stopped. He felt his eyes burn and then felt a film of moisture in them. For a moment he didn’t know what it was. “Fuck.” Jeremy breathed when it dawned on him that he was actually tearing up. Him? The Alpha of one of the most powerful packs in the world? Second in command to the head of all alphas in the world? An Ojah to boot! Tearing up? What the fuck! Jeremy resumed his walk towards the door. “If you need anything, tell the doctors or ask for Philip.”

Till his secret got out, Philip and Stan were the only people he trusted to look out for Ryan. Since Stan was busy with warrior duties, that left Philip who was too glad to see to his alpha and best friend’s mate. Jeremy knew Ryan was in good hands. Without a backward glance, Jeremy left the room.

Ryan watched Jeremy go and wished he could take back his cruel words. The man had been good to him. Albeit his injury had been a result of Jeremy’s sadistic treatment, he’d cared for him as though he were his relation. Hell, most relatives wouldn’t even do what Jeremy had done for him that day. It was like he was a different person. Maybe he was. After all, the whole time he was being cruel to him, he’d had red eyes. Now they were just beautiful deep blue. Maybe he was indeed a different person. Fuck, he needed to speak to someone. Maybe Philip… But Ryan knew Philip would probably say something like…’Jeremy will explain.’ It was all so frustrating.

The doctors came and set his leg again, saying he seemed to be healing just fine. And that he would be able to walk with the help of a stick after a week. They did explain that he would have healed faster had he remained in his wolf form though. But Ryan was okay with healing in human form because there was no way in hell he was going to eat like a dog.

***

Jeremy shook as he buried his head in his mother’s lap. He wasn’t crying, which his mother seemed to be grateful for, but he might as well have. Immediately he left the hospital and a mate who hated him, he’d shifted and gone for a long run till noon. Jeremy finally found himself in his mother’s quarters still in his wolf form. He was tired and ached all over but it was nothing compared to the ache within. When he spotted his mother sitting on her patio reading, Jeremy had gone to her, knelt at her feet and laid his head in her lap. She’d said nothing but stroked his head, sensing the struggle going on inside her son and somehow knowing…as only a mother could…that her son dreaded telling her whatever the problem was.

“It’s okay darling.” Gloria Stanton cooed. “You can tell Mama everything.” She soothed.

And when Jeremy shifted back after a while, his head remained in his mother’s lap. Even when he felt his mother covering him with a cloth, he didn’t move. He remained where he was, trembling so bad Gloria actually began to get scared.

“What is it Jer? You know I’ll love you no matter what.” Gloria leaned down and dropped a kiss against her son’s head. “Don’t be afraid. Tell mum.”

And still cocooned against his mother, Jeremy told her everything, leaving out the part about his mate’s dicks. That was only for him and his mate to know…at least till Ryan felt comfortable enough not to mind others knowing. Gloria didn’t speak for a while after Jeremy had told her everything. Jeremy could sense his mother crying but didn’t move or say anything. This was it. He was ready to be yelled at. He knew his mother was disappointed in him. And that killed him even more.

“You lost control.” Gloria finally said shakily. “It’s natural to lose control once in a while.”

“I usually don’t Mama.”

“Shhh… No need to cry over spilt milk.” The last thing Gloria wanted to do was berate her son. It was obvious he’d beaten himself over his terrible actions enough. Besides, she knew Joel would definitely not let him off easy. “The harm has already been done. What we have to do is to smoother him with so much love he wouldn’t know what hit him.”

“I don’t think he wants me around him.” Jeremy said quietly.

“You wouldn’t too if you were him.” Gloria said, wiping her face. “Give him some time. Let him miss you. And miss you, he will. He doesn’t have a choice. That’s when you come back in full force…give it everything you’ve got. For now, leave him to me.” Gloria said softly, stroking Jeremy’s back soothingly. “Everything will work out just fine, you’ll see.”

“You have more confidence than I do.” Jeremy groaned.

“I have to at this point. For both of us. When your son fucks up, you don’t have any choice but to ensure he get things done right. In this particular case, I need to be courageous and confident.”

“Oh Mum, I’m so sorry.” Jeremy moaned, coiling his arms around his mother’s waist and hugging her tightly.

“I know son. Now go to the room, get dressed and go home. I want you to get some rest and go about your duties. Wait till Ryan asks to see you before you show up. Is that clear?”

Jeremy raised his head and gave a deep sigh. His mother was like a military commander sometimes. But then, she was one of the best warriors the pack had ever had. Though retired, she always told her son, ‘once a warrior, always a warrior’.

“Yes Mum.”

“Good. I baked some muffins this morning. Hopefully Ryan has a sweet tooth. It’s about time I met my son-in-law.” Gloria got to her feet.

“You baked muf…”

“You’re not worthy of even the crumbs that would fall from that baking dish, Jeremy Stanton.” Gloria said in a cold voice.

Jeremy winced and nodded slowly. His mother was obviously pissed at him. The only reason she wasn’t handing him his arse was because she didn’t want him to feel any shittier than he already did. When Jeremy heard the smooth sound of his mother’s Mercedes Benz E-Class move in the direction of the hospital, he wasn’t one bit surprised she hadn’t offered to give him a lift. She was damn pissed. When he began the long walk towards his building, he ignored the pull to go directly to the hospital. His mother would kill him if he dared showed his face. He might be one of the most powerful alphas in the world, but when it came to his mother, he was just her little boy. And even as Jeremy walked to his home, he couldn’t help but call himself every nasty name he could think of, for the umpteenth time, wishing he could turn back time.

Feral attraction in the midst of hatred…revelation! – Chapter 3 – Revelation!

Ryan looked up when he heard a small knock on his door in the hospital. “Enter.” He called out and watched as the door opened to reveal a beautiful black woman who looked to be in her late fifties but could easily have passed for a thirty year old.

For a woman, she was tall. She had really long black hair with flecks of silver, which fell past her shoulder. In white slacks and a sexy grey peplum top, she looked simply elegant and classy. She was beautiful.

“Hi there.” She gave the most brilliant smile and Ryan found himself smiling back.

“Hi.” He sat up against the headboard and watched Miss Elegant approach.

“I’m Gloria.” Gloria said, placing the basket in her hand on the table in the room. “And I know you’re Ryan.” She went to stand beside Ryan, who was still smiling like a simpleton. “May I?”

Gloria spread her arms and waited till a surprised Ryan leaned forward. Then she hugged the shit out of him. “I’m so, so happy to see you.” She whispered. Even when they pulled out of each other’s embrace, Gloria kept Ryan’s hands in hers.

Ryan gave a breathless laugh. “You’re not going to believe this but although I don’t have any idea who you are, I’m thrilled to see you too. Come on…” He said, patting the space beside him.

“Thanks.” Gloria chuckled as she sat down beside the man she couldn’t help but think was beautiful. “How’s the leg?” She asked with concern on her face.

“Better actually. Thanks.” Ryan answered.

“Good to know. I hope you’re being treated well.” She asked with a slight frown.

“Can’t complain.” Ryan laughed softly.

“Yes you can. If there’s anything you don’t like…”

“No, no I’ve very fine. In fact I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect treatment. The doctors and nurses are all so nice.” Ryan said with a wistful look on his face.

“But…” Gloria prompted.

“I’m so bored I could scream.” Ryan gushed, making Gloria burst into laughter.

“I know what you mean my dear. I hate hospitals.” Gloria wiped the tears of mirth from her eyes. “But I can see lots of magazines…”

“Gloria, I’m a professor. I need to lecture…research. That’s my life. This right here…lying in bed with nothing to do, is killing me.”

“I understand. But why can’t you at least do your research in here?” Gloria asked curiously. “Lecturing I know you can’t do in this state but all you need is a laptop, to do research work.”

Ryan’s face fell. “I don’t know what you’ve been told but…I’m not exactly a free man here.”

“What?” She whispered.

“I’m a prisoner, Gloria. I haven’t even been able to inform the school that I’m injured and will be away for a while. In fact I don’t even know whether I will ever be allowed to get out of here.”

“Why would you think that?” Gloria looked genuinely surprised. What in hell was her son doing to the man, she wondered.

“Gloria…” Ryan didn’t know whether he could bring up the subject of the wolf with Gloria. She looked nothing like someone who could turn into a wolf. But how else could she know who he was if she wasn’t part of the click? “Who are you exactly, Gloria?” Ryan finally asked curiously.

“I’m the mother of that little twit who treated you with utter cruelty.” Gloria watched as Ryan’s eyes widened in shock. “And I know that merely saying sorry is not enough but I’m so sorry for his behaviour.” Her eyes flashed with sudden anger.

When he finally found his voice, all Ryan could say in a whisper was… “He’s not little.”

“I know.” Gloria gave a deep sigh, her eyes filled with guilt and regret. “I’m so sorry.” She whispered.

“You didn’t do anything.” Ryan was surprised at the raw emotion on the woman’s face.

“I’m his mother, Ryan. I feel responsible for any bad thing he does. I know he wasn’t himself at the time but he should have fought harder to…never mind. What he did was terrible and I’m ashamed.” She wiped at her moist eyes with the tissue Ryan pressed into her hand.

“What do you mean he wasn’t himself?” Ryan couldn’t help but pick up on what Gloria had said.

“Oh… It’s a long story.”

“Does it have anything to do with the colour of his eyes?” Ryan pinned his intense deep green eyes on Gloria. He really wanted to know. At Gloria’s pained nod, Ryan turned to fully face her. “What was that about?”

“You really want to do this now?” Gloria sighed. “Shouldn’t we at least get to know each other first?”

“You’re right.” Ryan nodded. “We should.” He got back into his previous position, with his back against the headboard. Then he gave a frustrated groan. “But I really need to understand Gloria.”

Gloria took one of Ryan’s hands and began to rub the back in soothing circles. Then she proceeded to tell Ryan all about the Ojah powers that Jeremy had and his hatred for hunters. By the time she was done, Ryan understood perfectly what had happened but he was also even angrier at Jeremy.

“So you’re saying he actually got so angry he allowed himself to be possessed by this Ojah thing and did all that to me, when he didn’t even know for a fact that I was a hunter?” Ryan gave a laugh so bitter Gloria cringed. “He bit me painfully, threw me into a cage like an animal, turned me into one, raped me…and all for what? A mistaken identity! What utter nonsense.”

Gloria remained silent, wishing she could strangle her son. She knew that Ryan was entitled to his anger and didn’t want to stop him from freely letting it out. Hell, she was angry too.

“Let’s even say I was really a hunter, Gloria. Are you saying I’m the first hunter Jeremy has come across after the murder of your husband and son?”

“No. You’re not.” She answered quietly.

“Did he go Ojah on the arses of all the other hunters he came across?”

Gloria went quiet for a moment. Yes, her son had actually unleashed his Ojah power for the very first time, after the death of her husband and son. He’d killed a lot of hunters before he’d snapped out of the haze. He was still a kid then. Since then, Jeremy had never harmed any hunter. He handled them is a totally different way when they were caught. So no, her son didn’t usually go Ojah on hunters he came across.

“No.” Came Gloria’s shaky whisper. Gloria didn’t feel it was her place to tell Ryan about the main reason that had cause her son to snap. That was for Jeremy to tell his mate.

“So what was so bad about this time that he had to be so angry he actually had to fall off the wagon? Is it me? Was it something about me that triggered it? Was he going insane at that particular time? I just don’t get it.”

“I’m sure whatever his reason was, Jeremy will explain it himself soon Ryan.” Gloria said but Ryan only shook his head with anger and confusion on his face.

“I’m sorry but your son obviously has issues, Gloria. You are a very nice person but your son…”

“Are you saying he still treated you cruelly after his eyes turned blue?” Gloria was grasping at straws and she knew it.

“I really don’t give a rat’s arse how he acted after, Ma’am. He was a sadistic asshole and that’s all that matters. I’m very sorry but that’s how I feel.” Ryan added softly, seeing the misery on the elderly woman’s face.

“I understand.” Gloria wanted to bawl her eyes out but she composed herself. After a really long silence during which both seemed lost in thought, Gloria stood up and picked up the cell phone she’d placed beside the basket of muffins on the table. “What do you say we get you an i-pad so you can inform the school that you’ll need some time off because of the injury?”

Ryan looked up at the elegant woman and gave her a grateful smile. “That would be great. Thanks.”

Gloria nodded as she dialed a number. “Philip, how are you? Great. Could you please get Ryan an i-pad immediately? He needs to inform his school that he’s indisposed.” She went quiet for a moment, obviously listening to whatever Philip was telling her. “That won’t be a problem Philip. I’ll be waiting in his room. Thanks.” She hung up and turned to look at Ryan. “Done.”

“Thank you.”

“He was worried you would probably send a mail to the police or something like that. But I told him that wasn’t going be a problem. I hope I’m right Ryan.” Gloria watched the beautiful man.

“And what exactly would I tell them?” Ryan raised an eyebrow. “That someone bit me and now I’m a wolf? Or that I’ve been raped? Your son threatened, whilst raping me that he was going to make me shift immediately he was done so that I could heal. He said that healing would enable him inflict the same pain the next time he took me.”

“Oh my God!” Gloria gasped as her hands went to her chest.

“He didn’t make me shift as he’d threatened but I was so angry I did anyway. So I guess I healed after all. So tell me Gloria, what evidence would I have to prove that I’ve been raped? I can’t go to the police with any of this. I don’t have a case. And I want to remain sane in the eyes of the public, thank you very much.” Ryan blinked when Gloria abruptly turned and dashed into the en suite bathroom. But thanks to his newly heightened senses, he could hear her crying. “Shit.” He could have kicked himself for his insensitivity. Ryan cursed his leg, wishing he could go in there and comfort her. “I’m sorry, Gloria.” He said, knowing Gloria would hear him.

When Gloria eventually came back to the room, she looked composed but her face and eyes clearly showed she’d been crying.

“I’m sorry.” Ryan said softly.

“You have nothing to be sorry for. I should be the one apologizing. Please do me a favour here…let’s forget about my son for a while shall we?”

“Gladly.” Ryan smiled.

“Good. Hope you like muffins.” Gloria said, going to pick up the basket.

“I love muffins.” Ryan grinned.

“Great. ‘Cause not to blow my own horn, but I make some mean ones.” With that, Gloria went to sit beside Ryan on the bed with her back to the headboard too. Then uncovering the basket, they both dug in.

By the time Philip came in with the i-pad, the two were laughing at some funny stories Gloria was telling about their ‘specie’ as they decided to call the werewolves.

“Are you okay, Mama G?” Philip asked with a frown. Though he’d found Jeremy’s mother laughing heartily with Ryan, he could see from her eyes that she’d been crying.

“I’m very fine, Philip. Thanks for asking. Could you please ask Vincent to come see me? There is a list of books that we need to get for Ryan.”

“Let me have the list Ma’am. I’ll get them.” Philip responded.

“Oh no. I wouldn’t want to bother you. I know you’re busy.” Gloria chuckled.

“It’s no bother at all.” Philip said with eyes filled with amusement. “I’ve delegated all my work to Jake. You’re my main focus now Prof.” He smiled at Ryan. “Whatever you need, just ask. Okay?”

“Thanks Philip. I appreciate it.” Ryan gave the first person he’d really liked in Jeremy’s home a grateful smile and began scribbling on the pad that had been left on his bedside table.

**

And for the next ten days, Gloria spent all her time with Ryan. She told him all he needed to know and even more, about werewolves. Whenever Ryan needed to work, Gloria would read her book and give him space. The doctors were very surprised and impressed at how fast Ryan was actually healing. He began to go on short walks with Gloria. He did use a walking aid though. All in all, Ryan was content. He was doing his job alright. He even received a mail from Timmy York asking whether he was alive. He’d replied that he was injured and recuperating in a special hospital. Timmy York had obviously taken them to the Stanton Woods to watch men turning into wolves and vice versa. That was the new specie the young boy had hoped would boost up his grades. But how was it that such a young boy not only knew about werewolves but actually hunted them too, Ryan wondered. Timmy had later sent another mail after Ryan had informed the school about his injury. He’d told Ryan that the school had informed them that he wasn’t well so would be absent for a while. Then he’d apologized for causing Ryan’s injury by taking him to Stanton Woods, and wished him a speedy recovery.

Ryan and Gloria continued to spend time together. She would sometimes unintentionally begin to tell him stories about Jeremy, which was only natural as he was her only living child. But she always caught herself and would quickly change the subject. But much as Ryan got angry at the mere mention of Jeremy’s name, he couldn’t deny the feeling of excitement that always burst forth within him whenever he was told stories about Jeremy. What bothered him even more was how his dreams were always filled with the blue eyed sexy hunk. Almost every morning he had to wake up quickly and take a shower before the nurses arrived because he was constantly having nocturnal emissions. That pissed Ryan off to no end because he wasn’t a fucking teen. Fuck Jeremy.

By the sixth day, Ryan was going out of his mind. He wanted to see Jeremy. Ryan didn’t understand why he wasn’t coming to see him anymore. After that first day in the hospital, Jeremy had disappeared into thin air. The only people who came to visit him were Gloria, Philip, his dad who was a really nice man, and the guy who had captured him that first night in the woods, Stan. He’d apologized profusely on his first visit for not believing him that night and asked for forgiveness. Ryan had forgiven him because besides the fact that the man looked extremely regretful, he was crazily funny and made Ryan laugh. Though he’d wondered what had happened to Jeremy, Ryan had never asked of him from anyone…he couldn’t. In a way he knew he’d driven Jeremy away from him with those last words. But he hadn’t envisaged Jeremy not coming back to see him. He would die before admitting it to anyone but…it hurt that Jeremy hadn’t been to see him.

“Are you okay?” Gloria asked softly. They were sitting under a big tree, enjoying the cool breeze.

“Yes.” Ryan answered quietly.

“Ryan…”

“I’m fine, Gloria.” But he wasn’t. And he knew he wasn’t fooling the elderly woman.

“You know you can talk to me don’t you?”

“I know. It’s just that…” He sighed deeply.

“Come here.” Gloria gathered Ryan into her arms and held him tight, rocking him as though he were a child.

By the eighth day, Ryan could walk without an aid. The doctor promised that his slight limp would disappear in no time. Ryan himself was amazed at the speed of his recovery. That kind of injury would have taken months to heal…sometimes even years, if he were human. Thanks to Jeremy, he wasn’t. But then, he wouldn’t have gotten injured in the first place if it hadn’t been for Jeremy. He was such a dick. But Ryan couldn’t help but acknowledge one astounding fact: he’d missed Jeremy so fucking much!

By day ten, Ryan was ready to scream. He didn’t just want to see Jeremy, he needed to see him. Though he dreamt about him every night and sometimes had orgasms when the dreams turned intense, his need to see Jeremy wasn’t sexual. It went beyond sexual. He needed to be in his presence, needed to see that Jeremy was okay, needed to touch him. It was almost as if he was addicted to drugs and was having withdrawal symptoms from deprivation.

“I want to see Jeremy, Gloria.” Ryan blurted out immediately Gloria entered his room that morning. He hadn’t slept a wink that night and the bags under his eyes testified to that. Ryan watched as a knowing smile spread across the woman’s face. He also noticed that she didn’t make any move to call her son. “Please, Gloria.”

“He’s out of town, Ryan. Had to fly to Florida for a meeting yesterday. He’ll be back today by noon.”

“Ugh.” He grumbled, making Gloria laugh softly.

“Relax.” She sat beside Ryan on the couch and took his hands in hers. “Took you long enough.” She chuckled.

Ryan wasn’t amused. “I don’t think I can go till noon without seeing him, Gloria.” He groaned. He didn’t know what was happening to him. All he knew was that he needed to see Jeremy or he just might go insane.

Gloria went to her bag, took out her cell phone and called her son. The call went straight to voice mail so she left a message that Ryan wanted to see him. Then she went back to sit beside Ryan and rubbed his arm soothingly.

“Knowing my son, he’ll be here as soon as he can. That should be in about…” She looked at her stylish and obviously expensive Swiss-made diamond wrist-watch. “…four hours.”

“Fuck.” Ryan muttered and then promptly groaned. “Sorry.”

“Don’t worry.” Gloria chuckled. “For what it’s worth, he’s missed you too.” Gloria was so thrilled she hugged Ryan.

Frankly, she was surprised at how long Ryan had lasted. Once mates got even the tiniest contact with each other…even before they got marked and properly mated…it was almost painfully difficult to be apart. There was always an uncontrollable urge to be together no matter what. To have lasted that long just showed how hurt and angry Ryan was at Jeremy. Gloria had noticed how flustered and restless Ryan had been and had known the reason but had decided to wait till he figured it out on his own. She knew her son was struggling just as badly and would rush to Ryan’s side immediately he got her message.

But Gloria was in for a shock. They had to wait for nine hours before Jeremy finally put in an appearance. And during that period, Ryan was a wreck. He wouldn’t eat, couldn’t work, and wouldn’t talk except to ask what was taking Jeremy so long. Gloria tried calling both Philip and Jeremy to ask what was taking so long but both had their cell phones off. At a point, Gloria wondered whether Jeremy was deliberately punishing Ryan for telling him he didn’t like him. She hoped that wasn’t the case because in her opinion, Jeremy didn’t have any right to pay Ryan back that way. She was getting angrier by the minute. Gloria finally took a look at Ryan’s bloodshot eyes around five p.m. and decided she’d had it.

“Okay, that’s it. I’m taking you home.” A thrilled but very tired looking Jeremy heard his mother say just as he reached out to open the door to Ryan’s room at the hospital. “Let him look for you when he…”

“Take me to him, please.” Ryan whimpered.

“No. We’re not going after that boy. You’re going to have to be strong, Ryan. We’ll go to my place. And when he eventually shows up, I’ll give him the spanking he deserves…”

That did it. Jeremy burst into laughter, causing both his mum and Ryan to turn in his direction with gasps. But he had eyes for just Ryan though. Damn he looked sick. His eyes were bloodshot, his hands were visibly shaking, showing his obvious distress. Jeremy still thought his mate looked sweet and amazing. Ryan looked delicious in blue jeans and a black tank top that stuck to him like a second skin. And that hair… He looked totally hot. Damn Philip. Picking out such sexy outfits for his mate…

“Really mum?” Jeremy chuckled as he shrugged out of his leather jacket. “I went to a lot of trouble to get here.” He said simply.

“You expect me to believe that?” Gloria hissed, her eyes flashing with anger.

“Mum I’m here now. I would have come sooner if I could. Okay?” He tossed the jacket onto one of the couches in the room and started towards a dazed Ryan.

Ryan had completely tuned out the voices of both Jeremy and his mother when he’d laid eyes on Jeremy. He couldn’t tear his eyes off the alpha. Ryan had never seen a sexier man as Jeremy in a black t-shirt, black jeans and black combat boots. The man looked hot as fuck. And those lips… Ryan was just dying to know how they would feel against his.

“How are you doing, Ryan?” Jeremy asked softly when he stopped in front of Ryan. He gave a tiny smile when Ryan actually jumped, obviously startled. It was as though he hadn’t even noticed Jeremy had moved to stand right in front of him. Ryan’s eyes were glued to his mouth. “If you don’t stop staring at my mouth I won’t be responsible for what I do next?” The alpha said huskily.

Ryan swallowed audibly. “Wha…what will you d…do?” Came the whispered stutter.

“I’ll kiss you.” Jeremy whispered back.

“If you touch me, I’ll kill you.” A promise.

Jeremy froze. That was a new one. If he still hated him so much, why did he ask for him? “Okay. Why did you want to see me, Ryan?”

“I don’t know why. I just needed to. Why haven’t you been to see me?” Ryan was shaking so bad. He really didn’t know why.

Jeremy shrugged. “You made it very clear that you didn’t want me around you. I was only trying to respect your wishes.”

“It’s been ten days. You…” Ryan pushed his hands into his back pocket as if to hide the fact that they were shaking. “You didn’t want to see me.” It wasn’t a question.

Jeremy slowly shook his head. “I came here every night to watch you sleep, with the exception of last night.” He said softly. He would have probably gone insane by then if not for those few stolen minutes. “You, on the other hand, were obviously too angry to want to see me.” Jeremy didn’t want to add the fact that he was crushed. But he was.

Ryan removed his hands from his pocket and folded them across his chest. Then he unfolded them and clenched his fists by his sides, almost as if he was physically stopping himself from doing something. He was breathing hard…a film of sweat covered his forehead. He was hyperventilating.

“Ryan? I’m going to touch you now.” Jeremy breathed softly, as if he were dealing with a skittish cat.

“Don’t.” Came Ryan’s shaky voice.

“I have to. You need me to.” Jeremy explained gently.

“Why you?” His voice was barely above a whisper. “Why can’t it be someone else’s touch? Say…Philip?”

Jeremy’s lips tightened. “Do you want Philip’s touch?”

“No.” Ryan whispered as he felt his whole body trembling. “What’s happening to me? Am I sick?”

“No, you’re not sick. Do you want me to touch you, Ryan? You have to be truthful. Be honest with yourself. Do you want me to touch you?”

“God yes.” Ryan answered on a sob.

“Shhh…come here.”

Ryan flung himself against Jeremy, burying his face against his chest. And suddenly everything felt right. He’d never felt more safe. Ryan never wanted to leave those arms. When he felt Jeremy pick him up, he wrapped his legs around his waist and coiled his arms around his neck. He just didn’t want to let go. Even when Jeremy went to sit in the couch, Ryan straddled him and completely relaxed against him. And when he felt himself drifting enticingly toward sleep, Ryan didn’t fight it.

Keeping an arm possessively around his mate’s waist, Jeremy tenderly ran his fingers through Ryan’s beautiful white hair. The silky texture felt heavenly against his fingers. In no time at all Jeremy felt Ryan’s even breathing, indicating that he was fast asleep. It felt so amazing to have Ryan in his arms and from Ryan’s current lax state, it was obvious his mate also felt relaxed and safe in his arms. Jeremy only realized that they’d been alone in the room when the door opened to reveal his mother. He’d totally forgotten about her. Gloria came directly to where they sat and leaned down to kiss Jeremy on the cheek.

‘Philip just told me what caused the delay.’ She said through their mind-link. Apparently they couldn’t fly due to bad weather. So Jeremy had ridden home on a motorbike. According to Philip, Jeremy had insisted he didn’t want to be delayed with any traffic situation, not to mention the fact that he’d wanted to enjoy the fresh air. He’d obviously sped like a maniac to have gotten home at that time. ‘You must be tired. You could have just explained the situation and waited till you could be given clearance to fly.’ Her eyes were filled with so much concern but at the same time, pride for her son.

‘I didn’t want to wait. Didn’t know when we were going to be allowed to fly.’ He pressed a kiss against Ryan’s hair. “I needed to see him too.” He spoke out.

“I know.” Gloria said softly. “The past few days have been rough on him. That’s one stubborn mate you have there. Just what you need.” Gloria couldn’t mask her smirk and the glint of satisfaction in her eyes.

Jeremy groaned. “Enjoying this aren’t you?”

“Damn right I am.” Gloria grinned.

“Is it always going to be like this?” Jeremy whispered with a frown. “This intense desire to be around him all the time. I know we’re supposed to want to be around our mates all the time but I didn’t know it was this intense. I don’t like it.” He looked very worried.

“You think this is intense?” Gloria raised an eyebrow. “Wait till after you mark him as your mate.”

“Fuck.” Jeremy swore darkly.

“Hey, you’ll be fine. Remember he’s supposed to be special and powerful. And you are…you. What you feel for each other is bound to be much more intense than usual because you’re both powerful creatures.”

Jeremy sighed. “He still hates me. Thought you would work on him for me.” Jeremy said with so much regret in his eyes.

Gloria sighed as she lovingly ruffled Ryan’s hair. “The last thing I wanted to do was to make him feel I was pushing him to forget about what you did. He won’t trust me again if he gets any such impression. In the end, I decided he just needed a friend. He’s such a lovely person. Did what I could without revealing too much. Mind you, he’s an intelligent man. I did my best. The rest is up to you.” She bent down to drop a soft kiss against Ryan’s temple. “I did tell him to please not kill my son though.” Gloria said with a grin. “I made him understand that although my son is a total douche, he’s all I have.” Gloria murmured, making Jeremy laugh.

“Gee, thanks mum.” Jeremy gave a mock growl.

“Don’t you dare growl at your mother.” She returned jokingly. “He hasn’t eaten the whole day.” Gloria informed Jeremy.

“I’ll take care of it.” Jeremy murmured. “And I’m taking him home so you have to come there instead of here tomorrow.” He added, burying his nose in Ryan’s hair and taking a deep breath. He didn’t notice the amusement in his mother’s eyes.

Gloria couldn’t stop the smile that spread across her face. Wanting to breathe in the scent of one’s mate was a werewolf thing. It gave them some pleasure and peace to fill their lungs with that sweet smell that could only emanate from a mate. What thrilled her even more was the way her son handled his mate. It was obvious he already cared for Ryan. Gloria sent a quick prayer to Luna to touch Ryan’s heart so that he would give her son the chance to make things right.

“That’s good.” Gloria said quietly. “Take good care of him.”

“I will Mum. Promise.” He mumbled, throwing his head against the headrest and closing his eye. He was so tired.

“Good. See you tomorrow.” And with that, Gloria left the alpha alone with his mate.

***

When Ryan opened his eye two hours later, it was to find himself locked against Jeremy in a tight embrace. He looked up and realized that Jeremy was fast asleep. His first instinct was to get off Jeremy but Ryan just couldn’t bring himself to leave that heavenly embrace. He therefore took the opportunity to study the man who made him feel so content and safe despite the fact that he was the most dangerous and wicked person Ryan had ever had the misfortune of encountering. Damn, the man was gorgeous. That face…his striking patrician nose, that mouth…not to mention those beautiful compelling blue eyes which were hidden at the moment in sleep. And the man smelt divine. Ryan had a feeling that even if Jeremy was dunked into a barrel of urine, it would never diminish that sweet smell that made his mouth water. Despite how powerful he knew Jeremy was, Ryan couldn’t help but acknowledge how young and peaceful he looked in sleep. He definitely didn’t look anything like the monster who had unleashed so much terror on him, Ryan thought. How could such a magnificently beautiful person be so horrible? And he had such a lovely mother too. Ryan dropped his eyes to Jeremy’s masculine chest and had to stifle his groan. The t-shirt couldn’t hide the hard muscles and well defined body beneath. Jeremy was undeniably virile and…

“You really need to stop looking at me like that, Prof.” Ryan heard Jeremy drawl and gasped.

Ryan’s eyes shot up to Jeremy’s captivating blue eye and instantly felt the warmth of a blush in his cheeks. How long had he been watching him ogling his body, Ryan thought totally mortified.

“How long have you been up?” He snapped, trying to push out of Jeremy’s embrace but he wouldn’t let him go.

“Long enough.” Jeremy responded huskily. “Ready to get out of here?”

“I…” Ryan begun but then stopped and nodded. He was very hungry but didn’t want to tell Jeremy. He sure as hell didn’t want to ask the man for anything. If only he could communicate with Jeremy telepathically, Jeremy would know without him having to ask, Ryan fumed. But he’d asked Jeremy to get out of his head so he didn’t have that privilege.

But somehow Jeremy just knew what Ryan wanted. “Want me to open our link?” And at Ryan’s nod, Jeremy did exactly that. ‘Hey.’

‘Hey.’ Ryan couldn’t stop his chuckle. ‘Thanks.’

‘Pleasure. Your food is ready. Shall we?’

Ryan nodded and moved off Jeremy’s lap.

After thanking the doctors and nurses, Ryan followed Jeremy out of the hospital and to the most classically beautiful and obviously new and expensive bike he’d ever seen. It was a Harley Davidson Cosmic Starship. What Ryan didn’t know was that it was the most expensive Harley-Davidson bike, priced at a whooping one million U.S. dollars, had a powerful six-cylinder engine and moved with lightning speed. He also didn’t know that Jeremy had purchased it, just to enable him get to him…his mate.

Ryan climbed onto the bike behind Jeremy and sat stiffly, virtually not touching Jeremy. After all, it was a big bike. When Jeremy turned on the engine, Ryan almost moaned at its undeniably unique and amazing sound. Fuck, that was power, Ryan thought closing his eyes in awe. He waited for Jeremy to move but he didn’t.

“Ryan?”

“Uh-huh?” Ryan opened his eyes.

“Put your arms around me.” Jeremy instructed.

“That’s not necessary.” Ryan snapped. “I…”

“Please Ryan.” Jeremy pleaded. “This is a new bike. I’m still not used to it.” Jeremy said, tongue in cheek. “I don’t want any surprises. These things tend to bounce sometimes. Please. It’s not a long ride.”

Ryan sighed and reluctantly wrapped his arms around Jeremy, not seeing Jeremy’s naughty smile at all.

“Thanks.” Jeremy said and then finally put the bike in motion.

Ryan would never forget that ride for as long as he lived. Admittedly, it was a short one. But he got so turned on that he squirmed on the seat till they got to the house. The feel of that powerful engine beneath his arse, the vibrations that shook his dicks and balls, the feel of Jeremy against him… Ryan was so hard he feared his dicks might explode.

“Are you okay?” Jeremy asked a flushed Ryan as he helped him off the bike.

“I’m fine.” Ryan rasped, looking anywhere but at Jeremy.

“Let’s go in.” Jeremy said and turned to go.

Jeremy knew Ryan was aroused. He could feel it. Hell, he was too. But he couldn’t complain as he’d made Ryan plaster himself against him for his own selfish pleasure. If only they could have ridden a little longer, he thought regretfully. Damn, Ryan had felt good against him, Jeremy thought as they stepped out of the elevator onto their floor. When they got to the door of Ryan’s room, Jeremy steered Ryan towards his room but Ryan stopped walking.

“This is my…”

“Not anymore.” Jeremy counted evenly. “You’re staying with me.”

“I’d rather stay here please.” Ryan said firmly.

“Ryan, I just don’t want…”

“I’m not sleeping in your room. Nor are you sleeping in mine for that matter.”

“I just thought you wouldn’t be too comfortable in there after…”

“You raped me in there?” Ryan finished the sentence.

Jeremy groaned. “I wasn’t going to put it like that but…yes.”

“Don’t worry. I’m not fragile or anything like that. Besides I’d rather I’m reminded of what you did. I get overwhelmed all too quickly when I’m around you. I don’t like that. This will keep me…grounded.”

“I understand.” Jeremy said grimly. He wasn’t about to argue with his mate. He’d proved just how powerful he was. “But Ryan, if I so much as feel any anxiety coming from you, I’m taking you to my room.”

“We’ll see about that.” Ryan sneered.

That pissed Jeremy off. After all, he was an alpha. And it was not in his nature to tolerate challenges. His eyes flashed. “And if you want to…wear any of your personal clothes, you can come into my room and get some. I’ll keep the connecting door open.” With that bombshell, Jeremy turned and entered his suite.

Ryan’s jaw dropped. He stared at the door through which Jeremy had disappeared. What did he mean by his personal clothes? Had Jeremy gone to his home and taken his stuff? How the fuck had he even known where he lived? And what right did Jeremy have to invade his personal space without permission?

Jeremy smiled to himself when he heard the door to his suite burst open. “How dare you?” He heard Ryan bellow at the door. “What right do you have to go into my home and take my stuff? I know it’s in your nature to act like a rabid beast that is driven to destroy, kill and tear apart but this is low even for you…”

Jeremy looked at a raving Ryan. Took in his beautiful flushed face, the angry fire in his eyes, that luscious mouth…and couldn’t take it anymore. He moved…

“Do you think I’m some little kid that you can control and bend to your will whenever…” Ryan didn’t get any further because Jeremy’s mouth was on his.

Ryan struggled. He really did. His hatred for Jeremy at that very moment had gone so high he was seeing red. Ryan felt himself beginning to shift. He couldn’t seem to control himself. His wolf sensed his anger and tried to come out. But then he heard Jeremy inside his head, pleading with him not to shift, pleading with him to calm down. He wasn’t commanding at all…just coaxing. And in that same persuasive, calm fashion, Jeremy’s gentle and deliciously pliant mouth didn’t even once relent in their movement against Ryan’s lips. Ryan felt his wolf retreat…felt himself calming down…felt himself succumbing to the sweet feeling of those lips against his…felt his mouth opening to accept the tongue that had been gently pushing against his lips, seeking entrance. And when Jeremy’s wet tongue touched his, Ryan moaned and completely melted against Jeremy, his body seeming to become liquid flame as it accepted the attentions of his mate.

Ryan had never been kissed before. He’d never felt such intimate intense pleasure in his life. He couldn’t think or breathe. All he could do was cling to Jeremy and accept the erotic assault on his senses as Jeremy devoured and plundered his mouth. It was indescribably good. Was a kiss always that intense and mind-splittingly pleasurable, Ryan couldn’t help but wonder. Or was it due to his already aroused state? The feeling was out of this world. His senses reeled. It felt as if his whole being was connected to Jeremy’s mouth and pleasure was being pumped into him in maddening waves. When he felt his cock suddenly jerk violently inside his pants, releasing copious amount of cum, he gasped with shock into the kiss as his eyes rolled back. His orgasm gripped him hard, tensing every muscle in his body before he spiraled into extreme bliss. The pleasure was so powerful, mind-blowing and shocking Ryan completely forgot to breathe as he writhed against Jeremy. ‘Oh my God’, he thought as his knees gave out beneath him.

Jeremy felt his mate go limp against him and tightened his arms around him as he released his mouth. “Oh fuck.” He gasped. He’d never dreamt that a person’s mouth could be so delicious. And it was a man’s mouth too. Jeremy had never felt anything so amazing. Ryan’s mouth was something else. “Damn!” Jeremy blinked to get his eyes to shift back to human. He wasn’t surprised at all that his wolf was right there at the surface. Ryan shook him to his very soul.

Ryan on the other hand was trying very hard to gather his scattered senses but he couldn’t. He couldn’t catch his breath. He felt lethargic…as if he had no bones, no strength and no ability to move or think. Hell, even his eyes wouldn’t open. The only thing holding him up was Jeremy’s arms around him. All he could feel was the pounding of his heart.

Jeremy picked up his mate and reluctantly, went to put him into bed in the adjoining room…just as Ryan had said he wanted. Ryan looked dazed…almost as if he was in a trance. Jeremy stripped Ryan, cleaned him up and dressed him in boxer briefs and a t-shirt. He couldn’t contain the pride within at actually making his mate orgasm just from a kiss. His mouth curved in a ghost of a smile, laced with undeniable masculine triumph as his eyes slid over Ryan’s post orgasmic sated body. His own erection hadn’t subsided since the kiss but Jeremy wasn’t complaining. Seeing the pleasure shake his mate’s sexy body was worth it.

Ryan closed his eyes and tried to come to terms with what had happened. But he still couldn’t think. It almost felt as though his brain had melted and oozed out of his body right alongside his cum. Even when people brought in food, Ryan didn’t open his eyes. He did however open his eyes when he heard Jeremy uncovering dishes. There was a big trolley loaded with assorted scrumptious-looking dishes, right beside his bed.

‘Are you okay?’ Ryan heard Jeremy ask through their link and nodded. ‘Sit up.’ Jeremy instructed, pulling the covers off Ryan.

Ryan looked down at his body, clad in his own black boxer briefs and red body hugging tank top as he did as he’d been told. So the man had been serious. He’d gone for his stuff.

‘You look hot in that by the way.’ Ryan heard Jeremy in his head and felt himself blush. ‘And you look adorable when you blush.’

“Will you stop that?” Ryan spoke out loud with a groan. And when he heard Jeremy asking through their link whether he wanted him off the link he actually panicked. “No, stay. Just stop that bullshit talk already.” He grumbled, scowling when he saw a brilliant smile appear on Jeremy’s face. Damn, the man was strikingly good-looking. “We need to talk.”

“I know.” Jeremy sighed as he got on the bed and sat opposite Ryan. “We’ll do that after you eat. Okay?”

Ryan nodded and then raised an eyebrow questioningly when he noticed that Jeremy had a fork held firmly in his hand. He hoped the silly man wasn’t planning on feeding him. Jeremy saw the question in his mate’s eyes and gave him a determined look.

“You stopped me from feeding you once. Don’t even try this time.”

There was that authoritative tone again, Ryan thought. This time however, he didn’t feel any compulsion. He could have insisted on feeding himself but he just didn’t feel like arguing. He gave a slight shrug and allowed Jeremy to feed him.

Jeremy couldn’t take his eyes off his mate. Even the way he ate was sexy, he thought, staring at Ryan’s mouth. It was so juicy and full he had to suppress the urge to lean forward and capture those lips again. The man had such sensual kissable lips it was driving Jeremy insane with lust. That naughty streak within the alpha that people didn’t get to see reared its ugly head, making him deliberately unblock his thoughts from Ryan. And when Jeremy heard a throaty moan from Ryan, he smirked.

“Is the food too spicy?” Jeremy asked with an innocent look.

“It’s not the food and you know it.” Ryan groaned as his face flushed with obvious lust. Was it always going to be like that around Jeremy, Ryan thought exasperatedly. “Whatever you’re doing, stop it.” Ryan rasped.

“I’m just feeding you. If the food is not…”

“The food is perfect. I love spicy food…love the light heat in my mouth.” Ryan slowly raised eyes filled with annoyance, off the food and onto Jeremy’s. “Maybe I should wrap it around your cock…let’s see if you can handle the heat.” Ryan added huskily, shocking himself. His intention had been to sound wicked and mean. But somehow what he’d said had rather come out sounding suggestive.

“Shit.” Jeremy breathed as he closed his eyes at the instant erotic image of Ryan’s sexy lips wrapped around his cock. He moaned when he felt his already semi-hard cock throb almost painfully inside his pants. But he also knew Ryan’s main intention. “Hate me that much?” He rasped.

“I do actually.” Ryan retorted smugly, leaning back against the headboard and watching Jeremy from beneath his lashes. “I really do.”

“Ryan…”

“Just being truthful here pal. This right here…” He flicked his forefinger between him and Jeremy. “I can’t help it. I have the hots for you. I don’t know why but I just do. I just want to ravish you whenever I lay my eyes on you.” He wanted Ryan to fuck him so hard it was driving him insane. “Maybe it’s because you’re the one who bit me. I’m sure you probably know why I feel this way but you’re just not saying. Whatever it is, I can’t deny that I want you. But I also remember clearly…as if it happened mere minutes ago, what you did to me. And I hate you for that.” Ryan said with eyes filled with condemnation.

“What can I do?” Jeremy whispered. He looked so miserable and defeated Ryan’s heart almost went out to him. Almost.

“Nothing. What you did to me was worse than death, Jeremy. I’d never wished for death till I met you.”

At those words, Jeremy felt disgust at himself claw up from his gut and burn within his throat. He felt sick. “What I did was evil and I hope one day you’ll find it in your heart to forgive me.”

“Your mother explained that you were not yourself. Well, that doesn’t make me any less angry because I didn’t deserve that treatment at all. Know something else?” Ryan asked, leaning forward with a curious look in his eyes. “I have a feeling it wasn’t because you thought I was a hunter because from the little I’ve heard, you don’t have that reaction around other hunters. I asked two or three nurses and your mother, what you did when you catch hunters. Imagine my shock when I was told you usually get your witch or whoever, to work on them to take away their thirst for the hunt. Why didn’t you do same with me but rather got so angry you allow a murdering spirit to possess you? Was it my face? My hair? I know some people think it’s weird I have such white hair but it isn’t that bad. I just don’t know why my presence had to cause you to become a monster. It makes me so mad that I could be treated with so much cruelty when I’m not even a hunter. I mean hey…hunters are even treated better than I was apparently. Am I that repulsive?” Ryan sounded like he really needed to know why.

Jeremy sighed. It was obvious that Ryan wasn’t going to wait till after his meal to demand answers. “You are the most beautiful creature I’ve ever laid eyes on, Ryan. I swear on my father’s grave.”

“Oh come on Jeremy. I’m not blind. I’m not anything extraordinary. I’m just okay. There are people out there who are more…”

“Ryan?” Jeremy growled. “I swore on my father’s grave. Respect that. Besides, ever heard the saying beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder?”

“And did you treat me that way because of that so called beauty, Jeremy?” Ryan snapped. “I need to understand. I have all these feelings inside that I really don’t understand. And they are very intense. For instance, I want to be very far away from you. But at the same time, I can’t bear the thought of not seeing you. Does it make sense?”

“There’s an explanation for that. I’ll…”

“An explanation huh?” Ryan gave a humourless chuckle. “Same reason you had to torture me as though I was the scum of this earth?” Ryan tilted his head to the side and stared at Jeremy. “Well, at least the hatred I have for you is intact. I don’t think that’s ever going to diminish. I mean people like you shouldn’t be allowed to live because you are a threat to other people. Look at what you did to me.”

Jeremy’s heart was breaking. He knew Ryan hated him but it was so painful to hear it from Ryan’s lips. He felt his wolf whine pitifully within at Ryan’s words. And for the second time since his first shift into a wolf, Jeremy felt the sting of tears behind his eyes. He got off the bed. The last thing he wanted was for Ryan to see him vulnerable.

“You’ll have to excuse me please.” Jeremy’s voice was hoarse from unshed tears as he avoided Ryan’s eyes. He couldn’t understand how Ryan could bring him to the brink of tears so easily. He was an alpha for fuck’s sake…and a powerful one at that.

Jeremy quickly told Philip through their mind-link to send someone to clear the plates and to keep an eye on Ryan. Then the distraught alpha moved swiftly onto the balcony and jumped down, not even bothering with his clothes. By the time he landed on the ground, he was a huge red wolf. And even as Jeremy ran, his sad howls brought great sadness into the heart of every werewolf who heard him. Ryan didn’t feel any different…his heart hurt so bad he wanted to bawl his eyes out. What the fuck was his deal with Jeremy, he wondered for the umpteenth time. He covered his head with a pillow and screamed.

When he felt Philip enter the room, Ryan didn’t raise his head. Someone took the trolley out of the room, leaving only Philip who sat beside him on the bed.

“You have to watch what you say to him Prof.” Philip said quietly. He knew Ryan was angry at his alpha and rightly so but he hated that his alpha was hurting.

Ryan groaned and sat up. “Are you saying I shouldn’t be honest with him?”

“I’m saying you should be sensitive. That’s all I’m asking.”

“And couldn’t he have been sensitive when he was dealing with me at that time?”

“He wasn’t himself, Ryan.” For the first time, Philip addressed Ryan by name. That showed just how serious the beta was.

“There’s that silly excuse again.” Ryan muttered. “And does not being himself make what he did to me alright?”

“No it doesn’t. But two wrongs don’t make a right.” Philip’s voice was stern. “I know what he did was wicked but he’s trying to make it better. You have no idea just how hard he’s trying. His ways may not be the best but he’s trying. Please cut him some slack. Please. I know you can’t forget but please try and put it past you. Look to the future. Make it better.”

“But what happens in the future is a buildup on the past. If the past is shitty, it impacts on the future. Doesn’t it?”

“If by a stroke of bad luck, you nearly drown, will you say you’re never going to drink water again?”

“Oh I’ll drink water all right.” Ryan retorted. “I’m just not going to swim again.”

“Listen, Prof. Unfortunate things happen all the time. But we try and move on. I think you should give him a chance. Have you noticed that you don’t feel good when he’s hurting?”

“Why is that?” Ryan asked, looking at Philip curiously.

“Ask him. Talk to him. Not about hurtful stuff. He already knows he’s hurt you and he regrets it. No need to rub it in. Talk to him about the two of you. About how you feel about each other.”

Ryan groaned. “We planned to talk after that meal but…”

“May I ask exactly what you said to get him so upset? Because the whole pack is feeling his pain right now and that is very dangerous.”

When an alpha felt that much hurt, they became vulnerable and could be taken on and defeated by an enemy who decides to strike at that particular moment. The alpha, and the pack for that matter, weren’t safe at that very moment and the beta hated that.

“Oh boy! I told him I hated him and that he didn’t deserve to live.” Ryan shrugged.

“Shit!” Philip swore. “Are you trying to kill him?” Philip’s eyes flashed with anger.

“Why would telling someone that you hate them kill them? If I were to tell you that I hated you, would you die?”

“No, because I’m not your fucking mate.” Philip growled and promptly swore when he realized what he’d revealed.

“What?” Ryan whispered, suddenly remembering Gloria’ lecture on mates and how in tune with each other they were…how what affected one affected the other…how they couldn’t live without each other…how their souls were linked blah, blah, blah. Was that what was happening between him and Jeremy? Were they… “Philip…”

“Forget I said anything.” Philip turned to go.

“Is it true?” Ryan growled suddenly, stopping Philip in his tracks.

Philip turned around slowly to face his alpha’s mate whose eyes had shifted to amber and his claws were elongating.

“I wouldn’t lie about something like that.” Philip said quietly. “You know within yourself that what I said is the truth.”

Ryan got off the bed and began to pace. “When is he coming back?” Suddenly, a lot of things made sense. And the more his brain pieced things together, the angrier he got. He needed to see Jeremy. He needed answers.

“I don’t know. When he’s okay I guess. Try talking to him.” Philip said, touching a finger to his temple.

“He’s not there.” Ryan rasped. “I want to go to him.”

“He went because he needed to be alone. Give him that. Please.” For the first time since meeting the professor, Philip was scared of him. Hell, the guy got turned in less than a month but already emanated so much power one couldn’t help but feel some fear in his presence. Especially when he got angry as he seemed at that very moment. Philip didn’t envy his alpha one bit. “Ryan? Try and control yourself…”

“What?” Ryan turned amber eyes onto Philip. His fangs had already dropped down.

“You need to control your wolf.” Philip said softly. “You’re shifting. If you don’t find a way to control it, you can shift in the midst of humans at the least provocation. And that will be a big problem.” With that, Philip opened the door and left. He needed to be around his alpha.

***

Jeremy entered his room after about six hours of running and went directly into the bathroom to take a shower. It was almost dawn. His huge bathroom looked like something out of a magazine. It looked simply luxurious and elegant. For one, he had a mini swimming pool in there, a doorless shower that could hold about ten people at the same time, and a Jacuzzi that could massage his body when he needed to soothe his body. Jeremy stood under the spray with a hand against the tiled wall and his head bowed. Even after all that run, he still hurt. He’d needed that ran to revive his wolf. Hearing all those hateful words coming from his mate made his wolf want to curl up and die. So shifting and forcing the wolf to run was usually necessary for the survival of his wolf. Because without his wolf, he was nothing. Much as his wolf didn’t want to live knowing how much his mate hated him, Jeremy needed him if he was going to be the alpha that his people expected. He felt drained but he had to do what was necessary.

Jeremy heard the connecting door between his room and Ryan’s opening and felt fear. He didn’t know what Ryan was going to say to him next to cause his heart to feel as though it was going to explode inside his chest. He knew he was going to live with the pain he’d caused Ryan for the rest of his life. But for that day, Jeremy felt he’d had enough of that excruciating pain that came with Ryan’s utterances. He didn’t know what he would do if Ryan told him he hated him one more time that night. He knew he deserved it but there was so much he could take. Jeremy could sense the presence of Ryan in his suite. He didn’t attempt to enter the bathroom though. Jeremy felt himself begin to shake. He really dreaded seeing Ryan and hearing what he had to say. He wished he never had to leave the bathroom. But he had to leave the shower at a point.

In Jeremy’s suite, a much calmer Ryan’s eyes were wide as he took in the opulent luxury of Jeremy’s suite. He’d been too angry when he went in there earlier to notice just how beautiful, elegant and huge the suite was. Even the paintings on the walls looked expensive. Ryan could have bet his last cent that they were originals. There was a seating area which had some comfortable looking couches, uniquely designed glass center and coffee tables, with a plush white Persian rug completing the setting. There was a dining area too, set up for ten people. Ryan was sure the purpose was not just for eating. Jeremy obviously held private meeting in his suite sometimes. The suite had a wide bar area which had a display of assorted drinks arranged on a whole portion of the wall…from top to bottom. Through a transparent sliding door, he could see an abnormally huge beautifully made bed. One had to climb about three steps to get to the bed itself. All the furniture in the suite was made out of beautifully polished solid mahogany. The only other colour used in the classic décor was white. The green plants that were strategically positioned in the suite, together with the mahogany brought an earthy feel to the setting, making the suite cozy and inviting. The suite was simply elegant and screamed class and wealth. Ryan heard the bathroom door open and turned to watch Jeremy enter the room.

The man looked totally yummy with a white towel sexily wrapped around his waist. Ryan swallowed hard, feeling his whole body flush with arousal. At least now he knew the reason behind that uncontrollable lust for Jeremy. He told himself silently to concentrate on why he was there and not on his mate’s sexy body. Jeremy was drying his wet hair with a smaller towel. He didn’t acknowledge Ryan’s presence in the room though Ryan knew Jeremy had seen him. He watched as Jeremy walked into his huge walk-in closet and pulled on grey sweatpants beneath his towel. Then he pulled on a white t-shirt and went back to the bathroom, obviously to hang the towels. When he got back, he took a seat on one of the couches in the seating area, picked up a remote control and clicked on the TV.

With a deep sigh, Ryan went to stand in front of Jeremy, effectively blocking his view to the TV. Jeremy’s eyes dropped to his hands which still held the remote. Ryan sat on the classically beautiful glass center table in front of Jeremy and took the remote control from his loose grip. Then without turning around, Ryan clicked the TV off.

“That was why you lost it, wasn’t it?” Ryan asked quietly. “You realized that I was your mate. And you couldn’t handle it.” It wasn’t a question. “Your mother told me what happens when your kind meet their mates for the first time. From what she said, it’s always a joyful moment. But that was nowhere near what happened with us. Tell me Jeremy… Did you flip because you thought your mate was a hunter or…because of my sex?”

Jeremy’s head snapped up at that question. He stared into Ryan’s eyes but couldn’t utter a word. He’d linked up with Philip immediately Ryan had started talking about being his mate and asked whether he’d told Ryan. Philip had quickly apologized, explaining that it had slipped out. Now he stared at his mate, trying to read his mood. But all he saw was curiosity. Jeremy cleared his throat.

“Both.” He responded simply.

“I see.” Ryan said, not really seeing anything at all. As far as he was concerned, it couldn’t have been possibly due to the hunter factor. “Have you ever been with a man?”

“No.”

“Neither have I.” Ryan said dryly. “That didn’t stop you from fucking me though.”

“I couldn’t help my…”

“Don’t give me that crap.” Ryan growled. “You knew what you were doing. Knew you were fucking a man’s arse. If you hated it so much, why did you go through with…”

“Because I wanted you okay?” Jeremy bellowed. “I didn’t want to. I tried to stay away. But I smelt you…” Jeremy covered his face with his hands. “I smelt you Ryan.” Jeremy whispered. “Your cum smelt so damn good. It called to me. I just had to have you. I couldn’t resist…” He removed his hands from his face and stared Ryan in the eye. “I wanted to fuck you nearly as badly as I wanted to kill you. The lust was unwelcomed but it was there.”

“So I wanked off and unknowingly invited you to rape me. Great.” Ryan’s voice was dripping with sarcasm. “Gloria said the foremost instinct of a wolf is to protect its mate. She said a mate makes your kind melt inside. Even the most fierce and powerful of werewolves become softies where their mates are concerned.” Ryan gave a bitter laugh. He remembered Jeremy’s mother explaining to him that the instinct to care for a mate was not necessarily love. It was a bond. Some did fall for each other along the way but it was not common. They were animals after all. But that urge to protect one’s mate from harm, was a constant. “Are you telling me you didn’t feel any of those things? Not even a little? That all you could think of was hurting me? Your so-called mate?”

“I’m sorry Ryan. God, I’m so sorry.” Jeremy choked. “I don’t know what to…”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah. Listen, I’m not gay either. And even if I were, you would be the last man I would want to end up with taking into consideration how you treated me due to my sex. We both obviously don’t want this. Is there a drug or a ceremony that can take away this mate thing? I want to sever…”

“No.” Jeremy screamed, going on his knees before Ryan and wrapping his arms tightly around Ryan’s waist. “Don’t say it Ryan. Please don’t say it. I’ll do anything. Just don’t say what you’re about to say, please.” Jeremy tried very had not to lose it. The last thing he wanted to do was show weakness in front of Ryan. “Please Ryan…” But the level of emotion within him had reached a peak that he had no control over.

And right there…in his suite…on his knees in front of his mate, one of the most powerful alphas of all time showed the ultimate form of submission… Jeremy Stanton completely broke down. With his face buried in his mate’s lap, the alpha’s body shook with gut-wrenching sobs.

“Fuck…” Ryan gasped, surprised at Jeremy’s reaction. This mate shit must mean a lot to the wicked asshole, Ryan thought completely shocked. Though he felt an answering pain and sadness within his heart and wanted like hell to console Jeremy, he just sat quietly…almost dispassionately, watching and listening to him sob.

Jeremy cried for quite some time, apologizing the whole time to Ryan for treating him so badly. He begged for his forgiveness. When Jeremy eventually quieted down, he remained on his knees but sat back on his heels…unknowingly assuming the sitting posture of a submissive. He just didn’t feel like moving from where he was. He looked so defeated, vulnerable and dejected. Definitely not like the powerful arrogant alpha that Ryan had come to know. Oh he still looked sexy as fuck. No one could take that away from the man.

“Wh…what would you want me to do for you?” Jeremy rasped when he felt he could talk.

Ryan’s brow shot up in devilish surprise. “I thought I just told you what I wan…”

“Ryan please.” Jeremy couldn’t even recognize his own voice. His throat hurt and there was an unpleasant feeling of dread within him. “Anything but that.”

At that point, Jeremy felt Ryan had seen him at his lowest. Even when his father and brother had been killed, he hadn’t cried. He’d gone on a rampage and killed over a dozen hunters but he hadn’t shed a tear. To say Jeremy was shocked that his mate had driven him to tears would be an understatement. But he didn’t even feel shame for submitting in such a way to Ryan. He just wanted to keep him from severing their bond. Should Ryan sever their bond, Jeremy’s wolf would die with excruciating pain. His human body would become a shell…almost zombielike. And then eventually his human body would deteriorate and die. It was a fate worse than death and Jeremy wouldn’t wish such a fate on even his enemy. He would rather die than have his wolf die. Because should that happen, it would mean Jeremy had let down not only his people but Luna too because his human shell certainly couldn’t be the alpha his people wanted.

Jeremy felt he had two options. It was either get Ryan to forgive him and accept his mark by mating with him properly, or commit suicide. He would gladly die than put his wolf through the agonizing death it would go through should Ryan reject them. What happened wasn’t the wolf’s fault and Jeremy could therefore not allow it to take the fall for it. He just couldn’t have that. All it would take was for Ryan to say it out loud to him that he rejected him as his mate, to kill his wolf. If Ryan did that at that moment, Jeremy wouldn’t even get the chance to kill himself to save his wolf. To say Jeremy was desperate would be an understatement. He was ready to do whatever his mate asked of him. At all cost he had to make things right with his mate to keep him from severing their bond and in effect, kill his wolf.

“Anything you want.” Jeremy said hoarsely.

“I want my life back.” Ryan’s voice was barely above a whisper.

“I can’t change you back into human.” Jeremy groaned.

“Oh I know that. Your mother told me. I just want to go back to my work. Back to teaching. My leg is healed…”

“Not fully heal…”

“It’s fine.” Ryan cut him off. “I can manage.”

“You don’t have full control when it comes to your wolf. Being amongst people in such a state can be dangerous.”

Ryan gave a short bitter laugh. “I don’t think anyone out there is going to hurt or anger me as much as you have. But even you, I didn’t harm. How much more…”

“You would have, Ryan.” Jeremy said softly. “I had to command you not to shift on more than one occasion if you can recall.”

“I won’t shift.”

“Don’t be too sure.”

“I want to go back to my apartment.” Ryan said, drawing a groan from Jeremy.

“It’s not safe Ryan. That young boy who lured you onto my land comes from a family of hunters. We’re still working on them. Till we’re done, it’s not safe for you out there.”

“He doesn’t know I’m a wolf now Jeremy.” Ryan stood up. “I don’t think he’ll be a problem.”

“I will allow you to go back to teaching.” Jeremy stood too. “But please stay here with me.”

Ryan gave a short laugh void of humour. “Stay here with you.” He began to pace. “There’s something you need to know about me. I’m…how do I put it? Very highly sexed. I need to get off often otherwise it gets pretty uncomfortable for me. The urge has become even more intense since I became a…werewolf. The last time I wanked off in that room…”

“I won’t attack you ever again.” Jeremy said quickly. “And I won’t touch you sexually…unless you ask me to.”

“Don’t hold your breath.” Ryan sneered.

“You have my word.” Jeremy completed what he was saying as if Ryan hadn’t said anything.

“Well, do pardon me but your word doesn’t mean shit to me, Jere…” Ryan trailed off at Jeremy’s sudden furious growl.

“I’m an Alpha. And my word is my…” Jeremy begun harshly…

“Ow, don’t get your panties in a twist over this Oh Mighty Alpha.” Ryan drawled mockingly with his hands up, palms open and facing upward in a sign of mock reverence. “Yes, you’re an alpha. And yes, your word is all that. But hey, this is me you’re talking to. The newly-turned werewolf. The one who had to endure torture upon torture from you. I think you should understand if I’m finding it difficult to trust you. Where I come from, you know people by their actions.”

“So have I not acted in any way, throughout your stay on my land, to show you that I’m not the monster I portrayed in the beginning?” There was so much anguish in Jeremy’s voice Ryan’s breath hitched.

“It still doesn’t erase the fact that you treated me cruelly because of my sex.” Ryan whispered. “I can’t get past that. Surely you understand.”

“Ryan…”

“At least now I know why you snapped. And I wish you can be honest and admit it like a man…or werewolf or alpha…whatever. I just want you to admit you snapped because of my sex and not because you thought I was a werewolf killer.”

Jeremy sighed. “The hunter bit contributed. There was a full moon that night which made me restless. The pack was getting ready for our monthly run. I got so furious when I heard that hunters were lying in wait for us. Then there you were…a hunter…well that’s what I thought at the time. Then I realized you were my mate too. And you were a man. I just lost it Ryan. I…fuck!” Jeremy rubbed at his forehead with rough fingers in a sign of frustration. “I’m so sorry.”

Ryan didn’t say anything for a few long moments, and when he did his voice was hoarse. “Surely someone must have heard my screams that night when you were…” There was so much pain in his eyes and voice. “Why didn’t anyone come to my aid?”

“If anyone had tried to stop me, I would have killed that person without a thought, Ryan.” Jeremy said quietly, his eyes were filled with regret and shame. “Philip tried to get me to snap out of it but there was so much he could do. He blames himself though because he sorta convinced me to release you from the dungeon. Maybe if you had remained there, I wouldn’t have…”

“Smelt my irresistible cum and want to get your rocks off.” Ryan concluded sarcastically.

“Sorry.”

“Yeah, me too.” Ryan stopped pacing and looked up at Jeremy. “Listen, enough of this. The harm has already been done. No need to cry over spilt milk. But I need to feel normal. I need to teach. That’s what I love doing best. That’s my life.”

“And you will teach.” Jeremy said. “But please stay here with me. I need to keep you safe.”

“I can keep myself safe.”

“I’m your mate, Ryan. Do you really want to see what I’ll do if something should happen to you?”

Ryan’s eyes widened as the seriousness of what Jeremy was asking hit him. He remembered what Gloria had said about that murderous Ojah power. Besides, he’d experienced its ruthless power first hand.

“Shit.” He shuddered to imagine what someone like Jeremy would do if anything happened to his mate. “But I’m not officially your ma…”

“It’s just a ceremony. To let everyone know you’re my mate. It’s a very important ceremony. But it doesn’t mean you’re any less my mate now.”

“Why do you people bother with it then?” Ryan scoffed.

“You will probably gain some abilities after I mark you. Become stronger, share some of my abilities and generally gain the respect of everyone in the pack…and beyond.”

“As if I need all that.” Ryan snickered but Jeremy ignored his words and went on.

“Oh and this attraction or lust or whatever you call it will become even more intense but controlled and sweeter. Well, that’s what I’m told.”

“I definitely don’t need that.”

“Well, what I’m trying to explain is that even though that ceremony hasn’t taken place, I’ll still lose it should anything happen to you. And I don’t think it will do anyone any good.” Jeremy said quietly.

“Hmm…for starters, that ceremony is not going to happen. But I’m curious… Do we have to go through that ceremony before you get the urge to avenge me when someone hurts me?” Ryan tilted his head to the side and gave Jeremy a calculating look which Jeremy didn’t miss.

“Like I said, I don’t need some ceremony to feel that way.” Jeremy responded, wondering where Ryan was going with that line of questioning.

“So what are you waiting for?” Ryan asked with a sneer. “Need I point you to the individual who has hurt me most in my thirty-one years of existence?” Ryan asked in a low voice. Jeremy froze. “The one person who has made me wish for death. Or is the almighty Ojah Alpha above the law?”

“Do you have any idea what I’m going through?” Jeremy whispered with so much anguish in his voice.

“Hey, I’m the one that got wronged here. Why the fuck should I care what you’re going through? Why don’t you do to yourself whatever you would do to anyone who harms your mate?” Ryan growled.

“Is that what you want?” Jeremy asked with a sudden calm which actually scared Ryan. “‘Cause in my opinion, anyone who has the nerve to do what I did to you, shouldn’t live to tell that tale. I’d destroy them.”

Ryan looked into Jeremy’s eyes and blanched at what he saw. There was determination, finality and calmness. Somehow he just knew that Jeremy was ready to kill himself if he gave the nod. And Ryan had never been more terrified in his life than he was at that particular moment. The panic within him swelled until with a tortured groan, he stepped close to Jeremy and reached out to touch his chest.

“Don’t even think what you’re thinking.” Ryan rasped. “I didn’t mean you should off yourself.” Then Ryan said in the coldest voice he could manage… “If you ever do anything to yours…”

“What do you want me to do then?” Jeremy asked exasperatedly. “You wanted me to do to myself what I would do to someone who…”

“Shut the fuck up and listen to me you asshole.” Ryan growled angrily, shocking Jeremy. No one spoke to him like that. Not even his mother. “Don’t even attempt to do anything stupid.” Jeremy’s eyes widened at the threat and blatant desperation in Ryan’s voice. He didn’t think Ryan even noticed how hard he was shaking. “Give me your word, Jeremy.”

“I thought my word meant nothing to you.” Jeremy murmured as his arms went around Ryan to draw him close. Just like any normal werewolf, his foremost instinct was to comfort his mate whenever he was distressed. And the Ryan who stood in front of him was anything but calm. He couldn’t help the small smile that curved his mouth when Ryan pressed against him.

“It will do for now.” Ryan said, leaning the side of his face against Jeremy’s chest. “Do I have it?” He asked softly.

“You do.” Jeremy’s voice was barely above a whisper. Having Ryan in his arms was such an awesome feeling he wished he would never leave. “Thank you.”

“That doesn’t mean I’m any less angry at you.” Ryan mumbled.

“I know.” Jeremy sighed.

“I’ll stay here.” Ryan stepped away from Jeremy. Being plastered against him like that was making it difficult to think. “But I’ll need my space.”

“I’ll convert your room into a study for you.”

“Thanks but I’ll need more than that.” Ryan grimaced. “I want to be able to go to my place whenever I want. You see…I’ve been independent almost all my life. And I don’t think I can cope very well with…this.” He threw his arm in a wide arc indicating his current situation.

“I understand.”

“You can turn that room into a study for me but make sure you leave the bed? ‘Cause that’s where I’ll be sleeping.” Ryan saw the crushed look on Jeremy’s face but resisted the urge to give him what he knew he wanted. Jeremy couldn’t possibly expect him to agree to jump into bed with him under the circumstances, could he?

Jeremy swallowed hard. “I understand.” The alpha responded in a small voice which caused Ryan’s heart to tighten with sadness.

“I’ll be in the next room Jeremy.” Ryan said with a deep sigh.

“I under…”

“Will you stop with the ‘I understands’ already?” Ryan snapped. “I’m being generous here under the circumstances.”

“I know and I’m grateful.” Jeremy said quietly.

“Good. I’ll be going to school around ten a.m. to sort out my time table so I need to catch some sleep. Good talk.” With that Ryan abruptly turned and went back to his room. Jeremy didn’t try to stop him.

Just being able to stop Ryan from severing their bond was okay for Jeremy because that would have been a disaster. He knew he had a big problem though. His mate had no intention of going through the ceremony to be marked by him. But somehow, Jeremy didn’t care as his main goal was gaining Ryan’s forgiveness, and also getting him to like him. He’d thought hard about it on his ran. And he intended to accomplish his goal come what may. He hadn’t known Ryan for long but he’d come to really care for him which surprised him. Naturally, being his mate meant he would care for Ryan, which was basically all that a mate wanted…care for his or her mate. But whether one’s mate showed the same affection back or not didn’t really matter. Therefore Jeremy wanting Ryan to genuinely like him surprised him as that definitely had nothing to do with the fact that they were mates.

The alpha knew that the first step to getting Ryan to like him was gaining his trust. Jeremy however couldn’t help but acknowledge the fact that his high-handed nature was not helping his cause. For instance, on impulse he’d gone to Ryan’s apartment and brought part of his belongings to his home, which had obviously pissed Ryan off. Jeremy knew he needed to make an effort not to piss his mate off again with his actions. He was used to taking matters into his own hands and making decisions for people without considering their feelings. He called it an occupational hazard. As alpha, he had to be firm and authoritarian sometimes otherwise other wolves would think he was weak and challenge him for his position. No one had ever dared challenge him though. And Jeremy chose to believe that was because of his style of ruling rather than the fear for their lives as he tried to be fair in all his dealings.

He needed his mate’s forgiveness. It wasn’t going to be easy but Jeremy was determined to do whatever it took. He hadn’t been surprised at his readiness to kill himself earlier when Ryan had hinted on him avenging him because he felt that anyone who acted as he had, didn’t deserved to live. And if that was going to make Ryan happy, he was prepared to do it. He would rather end it all by killing himself than kill his wolf by allowing his mate to server their bond. That would be like making his wolf take the fall for his actions. He could never do that. He couldn’t live even a day with that guilt. For his wolf and his pack, he had to make things right with his mate. Jeremy didn’t have a plan. But he vowed to himself not to rush Ryan. He was just going to be himself…as real as he could be…and hope Ryan would give him a chance.

“Give me strength Luna.” He prayed under his breath.

Alpha Jeremy Stanton could definitely use some divine intervention.

Feral attraction in the midst of hatred… my mate! – Chapter 4 – My Mate!

‘Not bad.’ Gloria’s wolf chuckled when the beautiful white wolf came back with his kill…a small rabbit. ‘Could have gotten something bigger though.’

‘Ow come on, there are no big animals around this time and you know it.’ Ryan panted as he flopped down beside the beautiful brown wolf who was his instructor.

‘Wanna bet?’ Gloria asked dryly, amused at how harshly Ryan was panting.

Gloria Stanton had been training her son’s mate for the past two weeks. Jeremy should have been the one to train Ryan but Ryan claimed he couldn’t stand the sight of the alpha. Gloria wasn’t fooled for even a second. Ryan all but drooled just from merely hearing her son’s voice. She didn’t understand why he couldn’t just try to hate the miserable Jeremy less and accept his attentions. One would think Ryan was a soft person. Well, he’d impressed the hell out of her with his stubbornness.

‘Why don’t you prove me wrong oh mighty warrior?’ Ryan murmured, turning to look at Gloria’s face.

‘Time?’ The brown wolf stood up and stretched.

Ryan looked at the clock beside him. ‘Five forty-two.’ He informed Gloria who immediately sprinted away.

Ryan couldn’t help but admire the grace with which the wolf moved. His respect for Jeremy’s mother had skyrocketed since she started training him. The woman was a force to reckon with and Ryan had learnt so much from her. When he’d told Gloria, the morning after he was discharged from the hospital, that he planned on returning to lectures, she’d pleaded with him to wait for three more weeks…

*

“I can’t do that, Gloria.” Ryan had shaken his head vigorously. “I’ll go insane if I go one more day without teaching. It’s my life.”

“I understand and you’re going to go back to it.” Gloria had said softly, sitting down beside Ryan on the couch. “But I just want you to heal completely, and to most importantly, learn to control your wolf, Ryan. That’s very important.”

“But I feel fine.” Ryan had argued. “I don’t think I’m going to harm…”

“Ryan, please.” Gloria had pleaded. “Do this for me. You need to be in sync with your wolf, understand it, anticipate its moves and know how to get him to flow with you. Otherwise it will control you. You won’t know what would make it want to come out and you won’t have any clue on how to prevent it from doing exactly that. You can shift in public Ryan. And that’s a serious thing because it will expose not only you, but the rest of us. Keeping what we are a secret, is paramount to ensure our existence. That’s one thing that protects our kind. Humans can never know our secret. That’s too great a risk.”

“What about hunters? They’re human aren’t they?” Ryan frowned in confusion.

“They, more than anyone, would want to keep our existence secret. Their goal is to quietly destroy anything that falls outside the norm. They don’t want to create fear and panic amongst their fellow humans. What’s that saying? Ignorance is bliss.”

“If I should mistakenly expose myself to a…human, what happens?”

“They have to be…taken care of.” Gloria didn’t bat an eye.

“You mean…”

“They can’t live to tell another soul. There are rules that we live by, Ryan. Rules that were laid down thousands of years ago. It doesn’t protect just us. It also protects humans from us. So we never expose ourselves.”

“But that is murder.” Ryan gasped.

“And that’s why we never expose ourselves to humans.” Gloria crossed her legs at the knee elegantly and looked intently at Ryan. “That is why I want you to be trained before you go out there. The new strength you’ve gained…the heightened senses…all those things have to be mastered, or you won’t be able to control yourself should the urge to shift come upon you.”

“Oh my God…” Ryan breathed.

“If you mistakenly shift in the presence of humans, they will run. The wolf’s instinct is to chase. You need to train that instinct down. If you don’t acquire the ability to control yourself, you will attack. A trained wolf will tap into the part of themselves that’s still human. You have to remain aware that everyone has a life. People you pass on the streets have hopes, dreams, fears, regrets. They have people who love them, people who rely on them. Those lives are forever changed when you kill or bite a human. You have to hold on to that. Tell yourself you don’t want to disrupt someone’s life by shifting and harming them. Because if you do, it will end in two things: killing or giving a human the bite. And that will be real bad.”

“Why?”

“When you become a wolf, your first instinct is to destroy. Imagine such a person going home to his or her family. What do you think he or she will do to them?”

“Kill them.” Ryan whispered. “How come I didn’t have that urge when I turned? I didn’t attempt to attack anyone.”

“Jeremy must have compelled you not to.”

Ryan nodded. Another will, taken away without his knowledge or consent. Good though. “Wow, that’s a lot to take it.”

“You don’t want any of what I’ve spoken about to happen my dear. Do you understand what I’m telling you?”

Ryan nodded with a sigh. “I do.”

“So will you give yourself three weeks? Please?” Gloria took hold of Ryan’s hand and gently rubbed the back with her fingers.

“I want to learn how to control this thing.” Ryan said with determination. He sure as hell didn’t want to be the cause of any deaths.

“Good. Jeremy will train yo…”

“No.” Ryan said vehemently. “I don’t want him training me, Gloria. Sorry but I can’t stand the sight of your son.”

“Ryan…”

“Oh and when were you going to tell me I’m his mate, Gloria?” Ryan asked heatedly. “All those nice stories about how mates were supposed to feel about each other. How they lived for each other. How blessed a wolf who found a mate was… One would have thought you would tell me I was one of the ‘fortunate’ few.” Ryan gave the word quotations with his fingers. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

“It wasn’t my place to tell you.” Gloria whispered with a soft exhale.

“Oh I think I know why you couldn’t tell me.” Ryan gave a humourless laugh. “You couldn’t tell me I was the only exception to the rule. That my mate hated me the moment he laid eyes on me. Fuck!”

“I’m sorry, Ryan.” Gloria gasped, her eyes filling with sadness. “I wish what happened hadn’t happened but it did. He’s been so good. He’s been amazingly controlled. The only times he unleashed his powers, he saved lives. Once, he saved the pack and the other time, all the alphas in the world when they were faced with a devastatingly fatal threat at a conference. And he did it with so much control. I was so proud of him. I don’t know why he couldn’t control himself this time.” Gloria choked. “Maybe I didn’t do my job well as a mother. I didn’t teach him how to better control himself.” Gloria eyes welled up. “He didn’t ask to be an Ojah. He just was. And I did my best Ryan. I did. I guess my best wasn’t good enough. I’m so sorry… So sorry you had to go through all that. I wish I…”

“It’s okay, Gloria.” Ryan pulled Gloria into a fierce hug. He felt so wretched for driving the woman he admired so much, to tears. “Shhh…” When he heard the connecting door between his and Jeremy’s rooms opening, he was surprised. He’d thought Jeremy was out.

“Forgive me Ryan.” Gloria sniffled. “I take the blame…”

“It’s not your fault, Mother.” Jeremy said in a hoarse voice. “I’m old enough to take responsibility for my actions. Please Mum.” He hated to see his mother upset. But then his actions had caused his strong mother so much misery. “I… Fuck.” Jeremy turned abruptly and left the room.

Gloria pulled out of Ryan’s embrace, wiping at her eyes. “I’m sorry Ryan.” She said shakily.

“Like Jeremy said, it’s not your fault.” Ryan said softly. “But since you keep insisting on apologizing, maybe you can do something for me. Hopefully it will make you feel better.”

Gloria laughed shakily “What do you want?”

“I want you to train me.” Ryan said quietly. “I couldn’t ask for a better trainer.”

“Jeremy will be hurt. But it will be an honour to train you Ryan.” A brilliant smile appeared on Gloria’s face. “Three weeks. That’s all I ask. I’ll teach you everything you need to know. Then you’ll be back to work.”

“Thanks.” Ryan smiled. “One more thing. Yesterday, I…I told Jeremy that I didn’t want this mate thing. I wanted to know if there was any way we could…”

“You’ll kill him, Ryan.” Gloria said quietly, looking down at her hands which were visibly shaking in her lap. “If you sever the bond, his wolf will die. Jeremy will become a shell…will probably die after three months tops. But knowing my son, he will probably die that very day his wolf dies because as alpha, he shares a stronger bond with his wolf.”

“Oh my God!” Ryan breathed.

“If you want to sever the bond…” The elderly woman continued in a shaky whisper. “…all you have to do is tell him that you reject him as your mate. That’s it.” Gloria looked up at Ryan and gave him a small, sad, tremulous smile. “Now his life is in your hands. Do whatever you feel you have to do.”

“I’ll never do that Gloria.” Ryan gasped with emotion. “You have my word.”

Gloria nodded as she got to her feet. “I won’t blame you if you do. Training starts at four a.m. tomorrow. Get a good rest today. You’ll need it. See you tomorrow.” And with that, the elderly woman had left Ryan with a painful tightness in his chest.

He’d almost killed Jeremy.

*

Two weeks had already passed since Gloria started training him. And it had been an exciting two weeks for Ryan. He’d grown to understand and love the being within him. He especially loved it when they went for runs. The feel of the earth pounding beneath his feet when he ran was just amazing. He felt free and happy whenever he ran. And Gloria had been tolerant and great with him throughout. Within just two weeks, she’d managed to teach him almost everything there was to know about werewolves. Becoming one with his wolf made Ryan appreciate the supernatural beings better. Gloria had even taught him how to hunt for food as a wolf. And that had been so exciting. Feeling that adrenaline rush during a chase… It was unbelievably thrilling. And Ryan always laughed with amusement at how content his wolf felt whenever he made a kill. Gloria accused him once of playing with his food. But Ryan loved it when he chased after the animals he hunted, play with them a bit before he finally pounced. He sometimes let them go when he was too full but other times, he caught and shared them with Gloria. He never thought raw meat could be that delicious. Gloria had quickly pointed out that he loved the taste because he was in his wolf form.

Ryan had one major worry however. He both loved and hated his evenings. Jeremy made it a point to come to his room for a visit of sorts every evening. Ryan craved seeing the alpha, but hated it at the same time. He hated how Jeremy made him feel. Asshole or not, Ryan wanted the mouthwateringly gorgeous alpha with a ferocity he couldn’t fight. But he just couldn’t let go of all the pain Jeremy had put him through. Ryan just couldn’t deal. As much as he looked forward to Jeremy’s evening visits, he wished he didn’t have to see him at all for fear of disgracing himself by letting Jeremy know just how much he wanted him. That would surely be humiliating. On most visits, Ryan remained quiet. Other times, he opened up and spoke passionately when Jeremy brought up his work. His love for his work couldn’t be masked and Jeremy began to take advantage of that telling reaction and talk more about Ryan’s work. Ryan didn’t even notice.

Jeremy had kept their mind-links connected…and Ryan had allowed it till he’d gotten irritated with Jeremy constantly checking up on him. Whenever he was out training with Gloria, Jeremy would ask him after every ten minutes, via their link, how he was doing. Ryan sometimes responded but most times, ignored him. He could always feel Jeremy’s sadness through the link when he ignored him but Ryan didn’t care. At a point he’d gotten extremely irritated and asked Jeremy to get out of his head. Jeremy had done as he’d demanded without arguing. Immediately the link had been cut, Gloria had noticed because Ryan had instantly lost concentration.

‘Let’s take a break.’ The elderly woman had said quietly through her link with Ryan.

Ryan had hated the pity he saw in Gloria’s wolf’s eye. But he didn’t blame the elder because he knew he didn’t just feel lost without Jeremy’s link, he looked lost. How could he hate someone so much and yet want him so fiercely, Ryan asked himself for the umpteenth time. The way werewolves were wired was shitty for sure.

So far, Gloria was the only other person he had a mind-link with. He was still trying to get the hang of it. Gloria had assured him that though it took some getting used to, he would eventually get to know how to keep his thoughts to himself even when he was linked with someone.

He went home sometimes…with a personal chauffer and a bodyguard in tow thanks to Jeremy’s instance. He never slept there though. Ryan would never admit it aloud to anyone but he loved being in the pack house. He suddenly felt so alone whenever he entered his home, which surprised him. From all the wolf-talk with Gloria, he’d come to know that wanting to be where the pack was, was a wolf thing. They always wanted to be around their own. For someone who had been a loner almost all his life, this sudden dislike for solitude shocked Ryan to no end.

‘Call it.’ Gloria’s wolf gasped as it dropped a deer in front of Ryan.

Ryan quickly looked to his side and chuckled. ‘Five forty-eight. Show off.’ But the look on Ryan’s face showed how impressed he was.

‘Tomorrow, you’ll have to make a bigger kill.’ Gloria chuckled.

‘What’s bigger than a deer in these woods?’ Ryan scoffed.

‘You’ll be surprised. Come on, let’s head back.’ Gloria said as she headed to where her clothes were neatly folded under a tree.

Gloria’s stuff was under a different tree so she and Ryan didn’t have to see each other naked. It wasn’t because the elderly woman wanted her privacy. It was rather because she’d noticed Ryan’s reluctance to get naked in front of her. She’d laughingly told him that a time would come when he wouldn’t care who was around. He would strip freely. Ryan sure as hell wasn’t going to bet on that.

“Looks like it’s going to rain.” Ryan observed as they set off from the woods. “The kill…”

“Kelvin will come for it.” Gloria said, looking up. “You’re right. I think it’s going to rain. Don’t you just love that fresh scent?” She moaned, taking a deep breath.

“I do.” Ryan responded absentmindedly, with a wistful look on his face.

“Miss him?” Gloria asked softly. Jeremy had traveled to Brazil on one of his numerous business meetings. He’d been gone for two days. And Ryan wasn’t taking the alpha’s absence too well.

“You know I do.” Ryan sighed. It was sickening how often he thought about the man and how badly he was missing him. “I’m so used to seeing and talking to him every evening that not seeing him for two days feels like a lifetime.”

“You don’t talk to him every evening Ryan.” Gloria scoffed.

“You know what I mean.” Ryan laughed.

“I know.” Gloria chuckled. Just being in the presence of one’s mate was enough for the soul. “He’ll be back tonight.”

“I know. He called to say he’ll get home around eleven p.m.” Ryan sighed.

Gloria smiled at how Ryan referred to her son’s home as home. “I bet you can’t wait to see him.” Gloria teased. “You have about five hours to go.”

“I’m going to get some sleep. I’m too full.”

“See you tomorrow, darling.” Gloria said, pulling Ryan’s face closer to kiss him on each cheek. “Call me if you need to talk.”

“I will. Thanks.” Ryan said and hurried towards Jeremy’s mansion.

At the huge glamorous foyer, which looked like a hotel’s lobby, Ryan waved at Clara, the pretty red-head who always engaged him in conversation whenever they met. He thought she was smart and witty and he liked her.

“Hey Ryan.” Clara called out with her usual charming smile. “You’re back early today.”

“Looks like it’s going to rain.”

Clara looked outside. “Oh right. That’s some great weather. I’d better go get into bed for some cuddles, you know what I mean?” She drawled naughtily, making Ryan laugh.

“Well, good for…” But Ryan trailed off as his head suddenly snapped up. That scent… that unique scent that only his mate had. He did a quick scan of the foyer with his eyes but didn’t see Jeremy. “Ahh… I’ve gotta go Clara.” Ryan said distractedly. “See you in the morning.” He made a beeline for the elevator, groaning when the scent grew stronger.

Just as Ryan rounded a corner and got to the elevator, it begun to slide shut but not before he saw its occupants. Jeremy, Philip and Stan were standing inside, laughing uproariously at something. When the elevator door suddenly started reopening, Ryan just stared at it with bated breath, dying to catch another glimpse of the face he’d missed so much. And when he did, he couldn’t stop the shiver of desire that shot through him. Jeremy looked absolutely gorgeous in his beautifully tailored three-piece suit. And when the smoking hot alpha beckoned Ryan with a crook of his finger, he almost drooled. He moved as if he were in a trance… right into Jeremy’s open arms, sighing with contentment when he felt his mate’s arms wrap around him. God, he loved the feel of Jeremy’s hard body against his. He buried his face against Jeremy’s neck and cuddled up tightly to his hard body, breathing him in deeply as the elevator began its ascent. Ryan could hear the three friends talking but couldn’t have repeated what they said even if his life had depended on it because he just wasn’t listening. All he wanted was to feel, smell and soak in his mate.

When the elevator doors opened on the twelfth floor, Ryan reluctantly stepped away from Jeremy. “Hey guys.” He said to Phillip and Stan, and then stepped out.

“How’s the training going with Mama G, Prof?” Philip asked as they all stepped out after Ryan.

“Loving it, Philip.” Ryan grinned. “It’s great.”

“You better learn everything she teaches you very well.” Stan chuckled. “‘Cause as head warrior, I’ll have to say whether you’re a good fighter or not.”

“Dude, she’s not teaching me how to be Mike Tyson or anything like that.” Ryan retorted with laughter in his voice.

“Wanna bet?” Stan retorted smoothly. “You’ll be amazed to know the importance of what she’s teaching you now. Has she mentioned anything about being…smart?” And at Ryan’s surprised nod, Stan chuckled. “And you think she’s not teaching you how to fight. All you need in combat is to be smart. You’re learning from the best. Store whatever she tells you in here.” He tapped a finger against his head. And get ready to fight me when she’s done.”

“Why don’t you fight someone your own size, Stan?” Ryan chuckled, swiping his keycard. “I’m not a fighter.”

“What are you?” Stan couldn’t let that go. “A lover?”

“I knew he would ask that.” Philip groaned, turning to glare at his friend.

“Put a sock in it Stan.” Jeremy growled as he watched his mate’s neck turn pink with colour.

Ryan stared at Jeremy who stared right back. Neither needed words. Their hunger for each other clearly blazed in their eyes. “See you guys later.” Ryan croaked and then quickly entered his room.

“Oooh… Is it just me or is this place on fire?” Stan drawled, fanning himself with his hand. Philip burst into laughter.

“Fuck you, Stanislav.” Jeremy muttered as he turned towards his suite, followed by a now scowling Stan and a hysterically laughing Philip. The alpha couldn’t suppress his amused chuckle. They always referred to Stan as Stanislav whenever they wanted to tease him.

Behind his closed door, Ryan leaned his back against the door and took in deep breaths, trying to get his trembling body back under control. Being in Jeremy’s arms had felt so damn good he wasn’t surprised at his body’s reaction. Ryan stepped away from the door and started stripping hurriedly. He needed to come so bad. He was already naked by the time he entered the bathroom, and he began stroking his rock hard dicks even before he got into the shower. In the shower, he pumped some lube into his palm and got his dicks slick.

“Oh fuck.” Ryan moaned as he thrust his hips forward to meet his hand, gripping himself tightly as he pictured how Jeremy had looked in the elevator…all masculine and mouthwateringly captivating. “Ah…God.” He twisted his nipples with his free hand.

His whole body shook with the intensity of pleasure he felt. It was all Ryan could do not to scream his pleasure. Only the knowledge that Jeremy might hear him kept him from letting out that scream building within his throat. He felt his balls pull up and knew he wasn’t going to last. Shit! His breath came in ragged gasps when he felt his orgasm swirling along his spine. Too soon, Ryan thought as he squeezed the base of his shaft hard, trying to stave off the inevitable… but he was too far gone to stop it.

He pushed into the tunnel of his hand one last time and froze when the first burst of cum shot out and splashed against the tiled wall. And the name on his lips as he emptied his balls in powerful spurts was none other than Jeremy’s. Ryan came so hard he thought he would pass out. He held tightly onto the shower rail, willing his heart to stop pounding.

“Oh fuck, fuck.” Ryan gasped as his knees trembled so violently he thought he’d fall. He looked down in surprise at his still hard dicks and groaned. “What the fuck…”

Ignoring his surprisingly unsatisfied body, Ryan took a quick shower and went back to the room. He paused in the act of drying his hair when he found Jeremy waiting for him in the room. His blazer, vest and tie were off, leaving his white shirt, pants and shoes. The man still looked so hot Ryan’s heart lurched. Jeremy was seated in one of the comfortable couches; with the shorts and t-shirt Ryan had thrown onto the floor on his way to the bathroom earlier, on his thigh. Ryan wondered how much Jeremy had heard.

“What can I do for you?” Ryan asked calmly, as if he wasn’t totally naked in the presence of a fully dressed hunk.

“I missed you.” Jeremy said huskily.

Ryan resumed drying his hair as he went to grab his clothes off Jeremy’s thigh. He could smell the alpha’s arousal but wasn’t worried at all because he knew that Jeremy wouldn’t touch him. What worried him though was how quickly his treacherous dicks were standing to attention.

Jeremy’s eyes dropped to Ryan’s rapidly hardening dicks. And the heat that flared up in his eyes caused a shiver to run down Ryan’s spine.

“It could have been corrected.” Jeremy said softly.

“What?” Ryan dropped the towel and clothes on the bed and turned to look at Jeremy.

“Your condition.” Jeremy said. “I checked it out on the net. Penile duplication or diphallia as it’s called.”

“Well, good for you.” Ryan said as he turned towards the closet. “At least now you know more about my freakish abnormality.”

“I never said…”

“I’m tired, Jeremy.” Ryan said, stepping into his sweatpants. “I need to sleep if you don’t mind.”

“I’m sorry if I’ve offended you by talking about it.” Jeremy said, watching as Ryan pulled his t-shirt over his head. “I just…” He exhaled audibly. “You’re so sensitive about it. It’s obvious you wished you weren’t like this. I just wanted to know whether something could be…” Jeremy trailed off as he tried to come up with the right words. “I was curious so I…”

“Checked the net. You’ve already said that.”

“I also spoke to a doctor.” Jeremy added. Yes, he’d tried to seek professional advice. He hated that his mate felt he had to hide himself because of his condition so he’d wanted to know whether anything could be done to correct the situation.

“You told some doctor about me?” Ryan paused in picking up his towel and turned to look at Jeremy with eyes filled with shock and anger.

“No.” Jeremy raised his hand as if to ward off an attack. “I only asked an expert I happened to meet in one of my meetings to tell me about the condition, that’s all. He doesn’t even know you. Neither does he know that I know someone with the condition. I’ve told you I’ll never tell anyone about it and you thinking I would go back on my word is insulting, Ryan.”

Ryan picked up his towel and clothes and went to the bathroom. When he got back into the room, Jeremy was still there.

“So what did the good doctor have to say?” Ryan asked as he got into bed.

“Nothing I’m sure you already don’t know.” Jeremy said. “Why was it not corrected? I mean, one could have been surgically removed when you were a kid…”

“Too bad my mummy decided to kick the bucket.” Ryan drawled, pulling the covers over his body. “You could have asked her.” He went quiet for a moment. “I never did.” Ryan added quietly. “I guess I just accepted my lot. It disgusts you huh?”

“I’m not going to dignify that with an answer.” Jeremy growled with sudden anger. He dreamt about those dicks each night, hoping to get another feel of them but knowing that it would probably take a divine intervention for that to happen again. So for his mate to have said what he had, made the alpha mad. “Can’t we ever talk about any other thing besides your work? Can’t I show any interest in you? Is it too much to want to get to know you?”

“I’m going to catch some sleep now.” Ryan said, closing his eyes. He knew he’d angered Jeremy and should apologize but he just didn’t want to.

Jeremy gave a deep sigh. “If you don’t mind, I’ll sit here for a while.” Though furious, Jeremy couldn’t mask the pleading in his voice.

“It’s your house.” Ryan flicked the switch by his bed and instantly plunged the room into darkness. In no time at all he was fast asleep.

Jeremy stared at his sleeping mate with mild confusion. After that sweet embrace in the elevator, the last thing he expected from Ryan was that distant attitude. He seemed so remote and untouchable. And that killed Jeremy inside. It was painful to have Ryan so angry at him, even though he understood. He knew that there was nothing he could do but to wait patiently for Ryan to forgive him. The alpha’s question was…would he ever?

When Ryan woke up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night, Jeremy was fast asleep on the rug in front of his bed, still fully clothed. Ryan stared at his mate, speechless. After a while he quietly went about his business and then went back to bed. When he woke up the next morning, Jeremy wasn’t in the room.

***

‘Oh no, you smart wolf.’ Gloria laughed. ‘You think I don’t know what you’re trying to do? Come on, time to shift back. We are going to the arena whether you like it or not. See it as the explosive climax to your three-week training.’

With a growl, Ryan reluctantly got up and went to where he’d left his clothes, to shift and dress up.

“What is your problem?” Gloria asked when they finished dressing. “You see him every evening for goodness sake. This shouldn’t be any different.”

“Well, he’s usually covered up.” Ryan mumbled as he linked an arm through Gloria’s. “Didn’t you say they fight with very little clothing on?” Ryan retorted as they headed out of the woods.

“Oh my God!” Gloria laughed. “So that’s your problem huh? You’re dreading seeing my son almost naked.”

“It’s not funny, Gloria.” Ryan groaned. He’d become so close to Gloria he sometimes forgot she was an elderly lady. “It’s this pull…”

“He’s your mate Ryan. It’s only natural that you’d have the hots for him.”

“How old are you again?” Ryan asked gruffly, his face heating up when Gloria laughed even harder. “Is it really necessary to go and watch them? I have lectures tomorrow you know…”

“I know.” Gloria rubbed Ryan’s arm soothingly. “And I’ve already told you it is.”

That evening, Jeremy and his warriors were having a general training session for all the male wolves. It was to be held in their huge in-door training stadium which they called the Arena. Gloria thought it would be good for Ryan to see how the warriors fought and possibly, pick up some tips on how to best an opponent.

“Just looking won’t help me acquire any skills, Gloria. I think it’s a waste of time.” Ryan insisted, looking up at the brightly lit arena, looming ahead of them.

“Oh but you would. That’s the first step my dear. Watching. You see, the brain is a powerful tool. You will be surprised at what it can store. Such moves can come in handy when you least expect it. It’s a good exercise. Just focus on the skills that the warriors are going to display, and not on my son’s body.” She chuckled.

“Easy for you to say.” Ryan muttered, remembering how Jeremy had felt against him in the elevator a week earlier. “I’ve enjoyed these past three weeks with you by the way.” He said softly. “Thank you.”

“Pleasure was all mine.” Gloria beamed. “And thanks for heeding an old woman’s advice to train, and then honoring me by asking me to train you. I haven’t felt this energized in a long time. Thanks.”

“You’re not old.” Ryan scoffed around the lump in his throat. “And why are you talking as if we’ll not be training again?”

Gloria laughed. “Oh we will. Just not as frequently as we have these past weeks. You won’t be around much because of school, remember? And it’s time to learn how to fight so you’ll be spending more time with Stanley when you’re free.”

“Oh my God, he told me.” Ryan groaned. “I didn’t believe him though.”

“I don’t blame you.” Gloria laughed. “That boy jokes with everything so it’s difficult to tell when he’s serious.”

“I think he missed his calling.” Ryan drawled. “He should have been a comedian.”

The elegant elderly woman and her beautiful companion were still laughing their heads off as they entered the brightly lit arena.

***

The energy in the arena was charged. There were at least a thousand people in the arena but Ryan thought it could easily accommodate ten thousand people. Ryan could see a few women but the men, most of whom were in wrestling trunks, dominated. There were a number of boxing rings scattered around the arena but the one in the center was double the size of a standard boxing ring. Almost all eyes were focused on the two warriors sparring inside the big boxing ring.

“Oh God, they’re huge.” Ryan gasped as he watched the two men. “Who in their right minds would go up against all that muscle?”

“All you need is skill not muscles.” Gloria chuckled, steering Ryan towards some arranged chairs close to the big boxing ring. “With the right skill, you can take that down in a blink.”

“I wouldn’t want to find out whether my skills would work.” Ryan murmured as he sat down beside Gloria.

People kept bowing respectfully to Gloria but none spared Ryan a glance. Apart from Jeremy, Gloria, Philip, Joel and Stan, no one knew that Ryan was Jeremy’s mate. They just saw him as someone who kept the elderly warrior company. Some commented on his beauty to his hearing sometimes but Ryan would only smile his thanks and keep moving. At least no one gave him any grief.

The fighting and sparring was really interesting to watch. The warriors had skills and style. Some got bruised but Gloria assured him they would heal. He tried very hard not to ask but in the end he had to know…

“Where’s he?” Ryan finally turned to Gloria and asked, ignoring the elder’s smirk.

“He’ll be here soon. He usually comes in directly from a run. Those boys will always be boys.” She chuckled.

“Which boys?” Ryan asked, turning his head in the direction of a commotion near the entrance.

“That should be them. Jeremy, Philip and Stanley.” Gloria responded. “Now get ready for some good show.”

Ryan couldn’t suppress his gasp when he saw Jeremy. He was in low slung faded blue jeans that seemed molded to his sexy body, and black combat boots. His bare upper body looked so ripped with its sculpted pecs and breath-stealing six-pack. Ryan couldn’t stop his eyes from following the line of dark hair that headed south to what he knew was the biggest cock he’d ever seen and…had the misfortune of being fucked by. The mere thought of it made Ryan’s belly quiver, surprisingly not in fear but rather, excitement. And that film of sweat on the alpha’s candylicious body made Ryan want to lick the man all over. God! He couldn’t tear his eyes off Jeremy. Ryan watched admiringly as the alpha moved with confident strides towards the big boxing ring, flanked by Philip and Stan. When Stan turned his head to give Ryan a slow wink, he couldn’t help the smile that curved his mouth. Stan always made him want to laugh. His eyes met Philip’s who gave him a boyish grin. Then Ryan’s eyes moved back to his ridiculously imposing mate, trying not to salivate as he watched him move with sensual confidence. He suddenly fell short of breath.

Somehow Jeremy sensed Ryan’s eyes on him and turned his head till their eyes met. He saw how flushed Ryan looked. He knew arousal when he saw it. And at that moment, Jeremy felt his mate’s hunger…smelt the enticing pheromones emanating from the beautiful man. He felt an answering need within him but suppressed it. He’d vowed to himself never to let his hunger for his mate get out of hand. He sure as hell wasn’t going to ever touch Ryan sexually unless he unambiguously asked him to. He tipped his head slightly in greeting and then looked away. He needed to concentrate on the training at hand, Jeremy told himself as he vaulted over the ropes and did a classic landing into the boxing ring. He was used to his mate ignoring his lust for him due to how much he despised him. Jeremy’s only hope was that one day, Ryan would let go and allow himself to want him. Jeremy couldn’t wait for that day to come.

Immediately the alpha landed in the ring, he raised high both hands, and then held up three fingers on each hand to represent his famous catchphrase…’survival, loyalty and respect’. The crowd went wild. Thunderous roars and applause from the people filled the arena. Then as he always did at such events, Jeremy opened his mind-link to everyone inside the arena…except his mate. Although he was going to talk to the hearing of everyone during the training, he needed to be able to mentally communicate with anyone at any point.

“Ready, People?” The alpha bellowed and received a thunderous response from the charged werewolves. “Don’t be scared to try anything. Don’t hesitate to ask for assistance if you need it. And don’t break your fucking neck. Let’s begin!” The alpha finished to more roars.

And what a workout it was. Ryan had thought they were only going to spar but it was more than that. There was a bit of boxing, kickboxing, karate, mixed martial arts, taekwando, and some other fight Ryan wasn’t familiar with. Immediately a participant fell to the canvas, he was out. Ryan had never seen anything so powerful, exhilarating and amazingly captivating like he saw that day. Jeremy and the warriors were like beasts…beautiful beasts. Everyone was transfixed by display of power and skill…even Gloria. Her attention was no longer on her charge at all.

Though Ryan admired the strength and splendor of the fighters, he only had eyes for Jeremy. Now, that was power! He tried not to ogle Jeremy as he kicked the arses of everyone he encountered…even his warriors, but Ryan just couldn’t help himself or get his brain to obey him. The way Jeremy moved, his muscles rippling powerfully with every movement… Damn, the man was just too fucking sinful. Surely it should be criminal for a man to be that sexy. Ryan felt his heart pounding, pulse racing, cocks hardening… He wanted Jeremy like never before.

Ryan began to pant harshly, his eyes riveted on Jeremy’s mouth as he belted out instructions. The man must have the most luscious, sensual and yet devastatingly masculine lips on the planet, he thought lustfully. He remembered how they felt against his lips. How just a touch of those lips had made him come so hard he’d lost all feeling in his limbs. Just watching those lips called to something hungry and primitive inside Ryan. He wanted another taste. He was dying to feel that mouth moving against his… he WANT THOSE LIPS ON MINE!

The whole arena went dead quiet! One could have heard a pin drop.

Jeremy had been about to pull up a warriors who had fallen on the canvas when he heard his mate scream what he wanted. It took him a second to realize that Ryan hadn’t spoken out loud. He’d heard his mate in his mind. But… he wasn’t even linked to Ryan, Jeremy thought, stunned. Then Jeremy noticed something even more strange… Somehow, Ryan’s desperate command had been heard by everyone inside the arena. To say Jeremy was shocked would be an understatement. How had Ryan been able to do that? He’d just communicated to every werewolf inside the arena, which only an alpha could do. A head warrior, for instance, could communicate to only his warriors at once, and a head Beta could communicate to a particular group at a time. The werewolves gathered inside the arena were from different groups. Hell, some were visiting werewolves from other packs. And Ryan had managed to reach each mind even though he hadn’t been linked with any of them…which even an alpha couldn’t do. Had Ryan’s thoughts been heard by everyone because they were linked to him, Jeremy wondered. But even as he wondered, Jeremy knew that it was something else…a higher power at play…because nothing like that had ever happened before. Fuck!

All eyes were on Ryan. And he wasn’t even aware of what he’d done. He’d effectively distracted everyone. Although everyone looked shocked, it was also obvious they wanted to know who Ryan wanted to kiss so badly. That wasn’t difficult to figure out at all as Ryan’s heated gaze was locked on the alpha.

“Oh boy.” Philip breathed beside Jeremy.

“Did he just…” Stan’s shocked voice trailed off as he stared at Ryan with wide eyes. “Fuck me!”

Beside Ryan, Gloria gasped. “Oh my God, Ryan…”

But Ryan didn’t even hear Gloria. His eyes remained on Jeremy, who gazed right back at him. Time stood still. The thought on the minds of almost everyone in the arena was one: The man had signed his death warrant. How dare he lust after none other than Alpha Jeremy, who everyone knew had never been a fan of same-sex affairs? Everyone watched and waited with bated breath. What was the alpha going to do?

Jeremy slowly completed the act of pulling up his warrior. Then with a grace which made almost everyone in the arena smile with admiration and pride, he leaped over the rings and landed outside it. Then he started towards Ryan with a confident, natural, sexy swagger that made Ryan moan unconsciously.

Ryan saw Jeremy walking towards him and felt his heart race. He really didn’t know what Jeremy had in mind but the fact that he was coming to him…with that mouth, was okay with him. His lust-filled eyes were focused intently on Jeremy’s lips. As Jeremy drew closer, Ryan’s breath started coming out harshly, the riot of his emotions and the depth of his hunger taking complete control of his senses. By the time Jeremy got to him, Ryan felt as if he would go insane if he didn’t taste those lips. It was that bad.

Jeremy smelt his mate’s need and didn’t disappoint. He reached for Ryan’s hand and pulled him up. Then he slipped a hand into the back of Ryan’s hair and cupped one side of his face with the other. Jeremy then stared down at Ryan, giving his eyes a moment to feast on his mesmerizing beauty. Then almost as if in a slow motion, Jeremy dipped his head and captured Ryan’s soft full lips in the sweetest of kisses.

A collective gasp went up in the arena. To say the people were shocked would definitely be an understatement. What shocked them even more was the power they felt in the air. They felt the surge of electricity in the whole arena and immediately understood what was happening. And that astonished them even more. But the alpha and the man he was kissing seemed to be in a world of their own.

Ryan was adrift in a world of sensation. Jeremy’s lips on his felt heavenly. It felt even better than he remembered. Every nerve in his body was tuned to Jeremy’s, making the whole experience absolutely mind-blowing. Ryan melted into Jeremy, fiercely kissing him back with so much passion it surprised both of them. His eyeballs rolled behind their closed lids when he felt Jeremy’s tongue flick against the roof of his mouth. He couldn’t suppress the moan that tore out of his throat.

That erotic sound was Jeremy’s undoing.

The alpha dropped his hands to Ryan’s waist and picked him up, not releasing his mate’s sweet lips for even a second. Ryan’s arms instinctively moved up to coil themselves around Jeremy’s neck as his legs wound around his hips. When Jeremy felt Ryan lock his arms and legs around him…almost as if he really wanted to be there in his arms, he groaned fervently into the kiss. His mate was too delicious and sensual for his own good. Jeremy plundered that sweet mouth like it was his only opportunity. It was a deep, ravenous and rapturous kiss which shook both men to their very souls. After what seemed like hours, they came up for a much needed air.

Both men tried to catch their breath. Jeremy could feel Ryan’s hardness between them, hidden from the view of the people staring at them. His was on full display for everyone to see. That kind of bulge couldn’t be concealed. But Jeremy wasn’t worried about that because that was one of the perks of being a werewolf…they embraced it whenever nature took its course. There was no shame but rather, pride. Jeremy heard someone begin to clap…which the others immediately joined in. But he only had eyes for his mate. He had to stifle his moan at the drugged look on Ryan’s face. That look made the alpha even harder. And when Ryan’s tongue darted out to flick at the kiss-swollen bottom curve of his own mouth, Jeremy couldn’t resist the urge to take those succulent lips for a second time. With an animalistic needy sound, he took Ryan’s chin between his thumb and forefinger and kissed him again, a soft and gentle caress. A low whimper escaped Ryan when Jeremy gently sucked his lower lip into his mouth and flicked his tongue against it. He couldn’t suppress the shiver of delight that rippled through him at that sensual caress. Dear Lord, the man could kiss. When the kiss ended Jeremy leaned his forehead against Ryan’s and just locked eyes with him, his fingers slowly combing through Ryan’s white tresses.

The arena had gone quiet again. The people watched the tenderness being displayed by the alpha and felt like intruders. It was almost as if the two men were in a world of their own and the people definitely didn’t want to interrupt them. Jeremy had so much to say but he remained silent, afraid of what might come out of his mouth if he tried to say anything. The feeling within the alpha at that very moment was overwhelming. He was on fire. He wanted inside his mate…needed to be one with him. But he’d promised. The problem was, knowing that he couldn’t have Ryan made Jeremy want him even more.

Ryan was the first to break the silence. “You look so fucking hot in those jeans.” He breathed, giving Jeremy a heated look that sent a shiver down his spine.

Jeremy tried not to look shocked at Ryan’s words. He stared into Ryan’s eyes, his gaze heavy-lidded and hot. “Glad you like it.” His voice took on a sexy, raspy warmth that drew a moan from Ryan. Jeremy could have bet his last cent his mate had completely forgotten they had an audience. It was refreshing to see Ryan’s guard down for once and Jeremy relished it. At least till someone let out a piercing whistle. Then Ryan’s head shot up.

“Oh fuck!” He groaned when he noticed that all eyes were on them. “What did you do?” Ryan whispered shakily.

“I did what you demanded.” Jeremy said, his voice low pitched and to Ryan’s ears, sexy as hell.

“I didn’t demand any such thing.” He gasped, his cheeks turning a sweet, deep pink that Jeremy found so fucking adorable.

“Oh you so did.” A ghost of a smile touched Jeremy’s sexy mouth. “Everyone in here heard you.”

With widened eyes, Ryan turned his head and looked down to where Gloria was seated. Just a nod from the amused woman confirmed what Jeremy had said.

“Oh my God.” He groaned as he buried his face against Jeremy’s neck. He’d wanted so desperately that the need had overridden his sense of self-preservation. “But I only thought it.” Ryan moaned. “And you’re not even in my head.”

“Tell me about it.” Jeremy murmured.

“How am I going to leave here with everyone angrily watching and judging me?” Ryan moaned shakily.

“No one is judging you.” Jeremy’s voice sent a delightful shiver down Ryan’s spine despite himself.

“Yes they are.” Ryan insisted. “I ruined their training.”

“Let’s see whether they’re as angry as you think.” Jeremy said, and then added in a whisper; “May I please link with you?” At Ryan’s nod, Jeremy quickly opened his mind-link with him and then switched to his mind-link with everyone in the arena. ‘Hello everyone. Meet Professor Ryan Hicks. My mate.’

The werewolves, who by then knew exactly what was going on, burst into cheers and applause. It was not every day a werewolf found a soul mate. And the fact that it was their alpha who’d found his made it an even sweeter news. Some had shock written all over their faces, some disbelief, others had smirks on their faces as if to tell the alpha to dare defy Luna. But in addition to each telling facial expression was absolute thrill which they couldn’t mask. The applause was deafening.

Ryan would have gladly coiled inside Jeremy if he could. “Jesus, Jeremy.” He moaned, making the alpha burst into laughter.

“You need to stop being so fucking adorable.” Jeremy murmured as his hand rubbed Ryan’s back possessively. “A wave would do.” He said, and then promptly laughed when Ryan waved for a second without actually raising his head…almost as if he were doing a ‘Nae Nae’. Even the werewolves laughed. “Should I take you to the room?”

“Please.” Ryan whined. “I can’t be here at this point.”

With an amused chuckle, Jeremy addressed his pack again. ‘Taking my shy mate home folks. If I get lucky, I’ll not come back tonight. If I don’t, on the other hand, you’ll see me soon.’ He lightly slapped Ryan on the arse amidst catcalls, whistles, raucous laughter and shouts of “be nice, Ryan”.

Everyone was still laughing as Jeremy walked out of the arena with Ryan tucked against the broad expanse of his chest.

“I’m gonna kill you.” Ryan growled.

“After just saving your arse?” Jeremy drawled.

“They think we’re going to…”

“It was just a joke, Ryan.” Jeremy sighed.

“Put me down.” Ryan said, raising his head from where it had been tucked all along.

“No. I prefer you right where you are.” Jeremy kept striding towards his house.

Ryan placed his head back on Jeremy’s shoulder without any protest because there was no cozier place than Jeremy’s arms anyway. He remained so quiet, Jeremy thought he had dozed off but he was very much awake.

“This doesn’t change anything.” Ryan said quietly after a lengthy silence. “I still…”

“I know, Ryan.” Jeremy rasped, knowing exactly what Ryan had been about to say. “You don’t have to tell me. I know.” Jeremy swallowed hard, willing his suddenly accelerated heartbeat to slow down. Just a hint of how his mate really felt about him was enough to dampen his spirits and cause him agonizing pain.

The alpha was definitely not a happy man.

***

By the time they got to their floor, Jeremy’s heart was pounding so hard Ryan was getting alarmed. He lifted his head from Jeremy’s shoulder and stared at his face. The vulnerability and pain etched on the alpha’s gorgeous face shook Ryan. He could tell from Jeremy’s face that his teeth were tightly clenched. And when he reached out to open Ryan’s door, Ryan didn’t miss how his hand shook like a junky’s in need of a fix.

“Jeremy?”

“Where’s your keycard?” Jeremy asked in a hoarse voice, not meeting Ryan’s eyes.

“What’s wrong?” Ryan asked softly, completely forgetting that he was still in Jeremy’s arms.

“It’s noth…”

“Bullshit.” Ryan growled, suddenly remembering the position he was in. “What is wrong with you?” He demanded as he unlocked his legs from around Jeremy and slid down. Jeremy didn’t stop him.

“I’ll be fine.” Jeremy said gruffly and then turned to go…towards the elevator.

And that was when it hit Ryan… Jeremy had been okay till he’d reminded him of how he felt about him. Well, he hadn’t even finished what he’d wanted to say but Jeremy didn’t have to be a genius to know how he felt. But shouldn’t Jeremy be used to it by then, Ryan wondered in surprise.

“I don’t have my keycard.” Ryan suddenly blurted out. When Jeremy turned to look at him, he shrugged nonchalantly. “I put it in Gloria’s bag. Maybe I can use the door in your suite…”

Without a word Jeremy went to his door and pressed his right thumb to the fingerprint reader. When the door opened, he stepped aside and gestured for Ryan to precede him into his luxurious suite.

“After you.” Ryan tipped his head, noticing that Jeremy had actually broken out in sweat. Fuck! He entered after Jeremy and closed the door behind him.

“I have to go.” Jeremy’s voice shook.

“Are you going back to the arena?” Ryan asked, not making any attempt to move towards the connecting door.

Jeremy shook his head, no. “I’m going for a run.”

“You…your mother said you came to the arena right after a run. Do you have to…”

“I need to.” Jeremy looked as if he was about to explode.

“Why?” Ryan whispered, moving closer to where Jeremy stood, rubbing his chest vigorously as if he was trying to get rid of an ache. Ryan didn’t miss how Jeremy’s breath was coming out harshly. “Is it because of what I said?”

“This has nothing to do with you.” Jeremy lied. He just wanted to get out of there. “See you tomorrow.” He turned to go but Ryan’s hand shot out to hold his wrist. “I need to go Ry…”

“Look at me.” Ryan sounded like he wouldn’t take any disobedience. He saw Jeremy freeze, and then turn around slowly to face him. “Good. Now shift.”

“What?” The alpha whispered, surprised at the command.

“You heard me, Jeremy. Shift.”

“You don’t want that right now Ryan.” Jeremy gasped.

“Let me be the judge of that. Shift.” Ryan closed his eyes but could tell that Jeremy was still motionless, staring at him. “Please…” He breathed.

Jeremy’s hands went to the buttons on his jeans. He unbuttoned them slowly. Then he bent down to take off his boots and socks. Next, he stepped out of his jeans, his boxer briefs following. By that point he was trembling all over. His chest hurt so bad. He thought he would be used to Ryan’s hurtful words by then…wouldn’t be affected so much by them but on the contrary, even the wrong look from Ryan affected him…painfully. His wolf suffered the most. Jeremy didn’t know what Ryan wanted with his wolf. But he really didn’t think it was the best time for Ryan to be around the beast. Not when he was hurting so bad. He wasn’t worried about his mate’s safety though. He wolf would never harm Ryan. With a deep breath, Jeremy shifted.

Ryan felt the change in the room. It actually felt as though the room had suddenly gotten smaller. He knew he was in the room with Jeremy’s wolf but he wasn’t scared at all. He opened his eyes and looked at the magnificent red wolf. It was huge. Ryan was shocked to realize that the wolf was almost as tall as him, and way bigger. Jeremy’s wolf would definitely tip the scale at two hundred kilograms or more. The only time he’d come into contact with Jeremy’s wolf, Ryan had been angry and in so much pain he hadn’t looked at the wolf at all. Gloria had said an alpha wolf was big but he hadn’t thought it would be that big. And all that fur…it was beautiful. Ryan approached the wolf slowly. It stood still. And just as Ryan knew from his own studies a depressed wolf behaved, Ryan noticed that the wolf’s ears were back, his eyes downcast and his tail hung straight down. Ryan groaned. When he raised a hand to touch the side of the wolf’s neck and rubbed his fingers gently into the fur, the wolf leaned into the caress with a little whimper.

“Now listen to me.” Ryan said softly. “You’re not the one I’m angry at. It’s the human Jeremy, for allowing himself to lose control and treat me the way he did. I don’t want you to ever think I hate you ’cause I don’t. I’m so sorry for putting you through all that pain with my utterances. I don’t mean to. What happened really hurts me. There’s a saying that time heals wounds but this one is not going to heal anytime soon. I’m bound to make references to what happened to me and tell Jeremy exactly what I think of him every now and then. It’s a human thing. Try not to let it bother you please.” He rubbed his face against the wolf, loving how soft and cozy it felt, loving its unique smell. “I just wanted you to know that.” Then as if he couldn’t help himself, Ryan began to scatter little kisses all over the wolf’s face. “You’re gorgeous.” He breathed.

He moved round the wolf, touching it, rubbing it, talking to it, till it raised its fluffy tail and began to wag it. By the time Ryan went back to face it, the wolf looked…cheerful. Though it kept its eyes on Ryan with a gaze that pierced into his soul, its eyes were relaxed. That powerful jaw had dropped and the wolf was panting slightly. Ryan could have sworn it was smiling. And when that huge long tongue came out to lick Ryan’s face, he couldn’t stop the delighted laughter that burst from his throat.

“Cut that out, Jer.” Ryan said without thinking. He certainly didn’t notice he’d used Jeremy’s pet name. He watched as Jeremy’s wolf flopped down in a relaxed position, keeping a watchful eye on Ryan the whole time. Ryan also flopped down beside the wolf and cuddled against him as if it was the most natural thing. He threw an arm around the wolf and buried his face in its coat. Then he finally communicated through their link. ‘Are you going to talk to me?’

Jeremy’s wolf couldn’t suppress his chuckle. ‘I was waiting for you to give me permission.’

Ryan laughed out loud. ‘Are you okay?’ He asked softly.

‘I’ll live.’ The red wolf responded.

‘How’s he…doing in there?’ Ryan asked quietly.

Somehow he felt sorry for Jeremy but he knew he had to do what he was doing to help the wolf who hurt every time he said a mean word to Jeremy. After all, the wolf didn’t do anything to him. Gloria’s training had made him appreciate the link between wolves and their humans better. And he didn’t think it was fair to the wolf if he allowed him to hurt as he constantly did albeit unconsciously.

‘How do you think?’ The wolf drawled. ‘I put him to sleep. He’s out.’

‘Really?’ Ryan’s eyes widened. ‘I didn’t know you could do that.’

‘I can and I have.’ Jeremy said smugly. ‘Ryan?’

‘Uh-huh?’

‘Thanks.’

Ryan nodded and relaxed even more against Jeremy. He could remain that way till the next day, he thought.

‘Nothing is stopping you.’ Jeremy’s wolf responded amused. ‘But you might want to sleep in the comfort of a bed seeing as you have to be rested for lectures tomorrow.’

Ryan groaned. ‘I totally forgot. I have a lecture as early as seven in the morning.’

‘Couldn’t you have waited till Monday?’ Jeremy’s wolf asked dryly. ‘Who resumes work on a Friday?’

Ryan chuckled. ‘Tomorrow, I’m only going to give them the main areas to concentrate on for the rest of the semester since we’ve already wasted so much time, thanks to me. Serious work will begin on Monday.’ He explained. ‘I just hope all that has happened in the past weeks will not get me distracted when I finally stand in front of my class.’ He said wistfully.

‘You’ll be fine. You’re a pro. Nothing can distract you from doing what you love.’

‘Let’s hope so.’ Ryan sighed, running his fingers through the alpha’s fur.

‘Shift.’ Ryan heard the wolf’s soft whisper.

‘Why?’

‘I want to see him. Please.’ When Ryan got to his feet and began to strip, the wolf had to suppress the urge to howl his joy. ‘Thank you.’ He said instead. And when he saw Ryan’s keycard slip out of his pocket onto the rug, he chuckled. ‘Somebody lied.’ The wolf drawled.

‘I wanted to talk to you.’ Ryan shrugged nonchalantly, trying to appear as if it wasn’t a big deal but he couldn’t stop the hot colour that rose in his cheeks.

‘You don’t need an excuse to talk to me Ryan. You should know that by now. All you have to do is tell me what you want.’ Jeremy’s wolf mumbled.

‘I don’t get it.’ Ryan said, suddenly looking curious. ‘We were linked. How come Jeremy couldn’t tell I was lying about the keycard?’

‘I guess we were hurting too much to pick up on that.’ The alpha wolf said. ‘Or you were probably too desperate to tell that lie you blocked me reflexively.’

Ryan grinned. ‘I’ll go for reason two. That’s progress. Gloria said I’ll get the hang of shielding my thoughts soon.’ He said as he got on all fours, ready to shift.

‘Is it easier now?’ The alpha asked softly.

“Piece of cake.” Ryan spoke aloud cockily and then quickly shifted into that stunning pure white wolf.

The big red wolf stood up. And for a full minute, he just stared at his mate, the awe in his eye clear for Ryan to see. The thrill that the alpha felt inside at the fact that Ryan could shift so easily without pain was massive. A bitten wolf could sometimes go a whole year before they mastered the art of a painless shift. His mother had done a great job. But then, his mate was no ordinary werewolf.

‘Hey.’ Jeremy’s wolf finally breathed, moving closer to the one being that caused his heart to flutter inside his chest.

‘Hey.’ Ryan responded softly…almost shyly. Jeremy made him feel beautiful with the way he looked at him. Almost as if he were a rare, exquisite diamond and at the same time, a yummy ice cream sundae or the meatiest part of a freshly killed antelope.

‘You are absolutely breathtaking.’ The alpha’s voice was barely above a whisper. Somehow he felt as if he was in the presence of a sacred entity. It felt almost as if Ryan would disappear if he spoke above a whisper.

Ryan knew Jeremy’s wolf meant every word. He could see it in his eyes. Besides, Gloria had told him that he was the most beautiful wolf she’d ever laid eyes on. And coming from such an elderly and experienced person, that was rich.

‘I know.’ Ryan purred with a naughty twinkle in his eyes which made the alpha burst into laughter despite himself.

‘Very modest aren’t we.’ He smirked, nuzzling Ryan’s cheek. He loved this jovial side of his mate. ‘Fuck, you smell divine.’

‘So do you.’ Ryan’s wolf breathed, licking the chin, muzzle and mouth of the bigger wolf. ‘Teach me how to put him to sleep.’ He whispered. ‘I want this to be between just us.’

The alpha nodded eagerly. ‘Just think of him fast asleep.’ He instructed. ‘You’re in your wolf form now. It means your wolf is stronger so use that strength. Suppress him with all your will. Close your eyes.’ The alpha watched as his mate’s eyes fluttered shut. ‘Concentrate. Come on, you can do it.’ He whispered.

‘Oh my God, he’s out.’ Ryan’s wolf breathed, opening his eyes. ‘He’s actually snoring.’

‘You’re mean, Ryan.’ The alpha laughed, nuzzling the soft coat of his mate. ‘I want to sniff you all over.’ The alpha husked. ‘May I?’

Ryan’s wolf rubbed himself against the huge red wolf with a relaxed demeanor, indicating his willingness to receive his attentions. He made quiet whining sounds as he nibbled on the alpha’s coat. ‘You may.’ He whispered eventually.

The alpha didn’t just sniff his mate. He licked every inch of him. His initial licking of the white wolf’s face and body could have passed for grooming or bonding, which was a usual lupine behaviour. But when he urged Ryan’s wolf onto his back and went to town on his tummy and genitals with that deliciously rough tongue, Ryan’s wolf thought he would pass out from sensory overload.

‘Jeremy…’ He whimpered shakily, totally aroused.

But hearing his name on his mate’s lips rather brought the alpha back to his senses. He immediately backed off, completely missing the look of disappointment that flashed across his mate’s face. Jeremy’s wolf flopped back down beside his mate who was panting harshly from sexual excitement.

‘I’m sorry.’ The alpha apologized. ‘You just taste and smell so good I got carried away.’

The alpha wanted his mate so much he hurt. But he sure as fuck wasn’t going to do anything about it. Since that night when Jeremy had brutally taken Ryan, he hadn’t allowed himself the pleasure of a release. Though he’d brought his mate to an orgasm on two different occasions after that incident, and had heard Ryan get off in his room lots of times, Jeremy somehow felt he didn’t deserve the pleasure after what he’d done to Ryan. So he wasn’t surprised at all at his state of arousal. It was only to be expected after going so long without release. That was a record actually.

‘Can we just lie here together? Please?’ The alpha pleaded.

Ryan’s wolf rolled over and propped his chin across his mate’s neck. He was still trembling from arousal and he knew that Jeremy’s wolf could feel it. All he needed to do was ask and he knew the alpha would give him the release he craved. But he curbed his hunger and willed his body to calm down. That didn’t stop the beautiful white wolf from whining its frustration. After a while he took a deep whiff of his huge mate and felt himself relax. Ryan’s wolf definitely loved the feel of his mate against him. He’d never felt more comfortable and peaceful. He unconsciously began to purr, drawing a soft laughter from Jeremy’s wolf.

‘What?’ Ryan’s wolf mumbled.

‘You’re purring.’

‘Oh. Is that a bad thing?’

‘I like it. It shows how content you are.’

Ryan’s wolf chuckled. ‘I am. Just wait till Goody Two-Shoes wakes up.’ He added dryly, making the alpha laugh.

‘How did you find your training?’

‘It was fun and interesting. Your mother is the best.’

‘I know.’

‘Did it offend Jeremy when I picked his mother over him?’ Ryan’s wolf asked in a small voice filled with guilt.

Jeremy’s wolf chuckled. ‘What did you expect?’ He murmured. ‘It’s an honour to train a mate. You robbed us of that. But he gets it. Besides, his mother is a superb trainer so he consoled himself. Tell me about the training.’

With a sigh, Ryan’s wolf went ahead to tell his mate all about his training, the fun moments that still made him smile whenever he remembered it, and what he thought of the werewolf species in general.

‘You bunch of mutts behave in a risky and morally questionable manner. You…you love to walk on the wild side. You’re all…dare I say it? Recklessly bold.’

‘Mutts?’ The alpha growled. ‘Really? And was that the only conclusion you could come up with?’

‘Damn straight it was.’ Ryan’s wolf chuckled. ‘I love to hunt by the way. It’s fun.’

‘I know. Run with me one evening.’ Jeremy’s wolf requested softly.

‘Okay.’

‘Sure you can get Goody Two-Shoes to agree?’ The alpha drawled, drawing laughter from his mate.

‘He likes you. I think I can manage that.’

‘Can’t wait.’

And the two wolves had a lengthy chat, getting to know each other, giving each other insights on their humans and what made them tick, and generally enjoying being together. Although they didn’t want to, they eventually fell asleep at dawn, snuggled tightly against each other.

***

When Philip entered his alpha’s suite the next morning, it was to find the huge red wolf and the stunningly, beautiful, white wolf, cuddled cozily together right there on the plush rug in the suite…fast asleep. The head Beta quickly pulled out his cell phone from his pocket and took a shot of the pair with a shit-eating grin on his face. He immediately sent it to Stan who whistled so wolfishly over the link the three of them shared, Jeremy opened his eyes.

‘Really?’ Jeremy drawled as he took in the sight of his Beta grinning mischievously at his cell phone. He couldn’t believe his silly wolf had put him to sleep for that long. When he heard his wolf in his mind saying he needed the rest, he gave a soft growl. ‘What time is it, Lip?’ He didn’t move a muscle as he didn’t want to disturb Ryan.

‘It’s almost six.’ Philip responded, folding his arms across his chest and grinning like a simpleton.

‘Shit.’ Jeremy growled. ‘He’ll be late. I need to wake…’

‘Wait wait…’ Philip gushed. ‘Did you at least ask him to mate with you?’

‘Lip come on…’ Jeremy groaned. ‘That was the last thing on my mind.’

‘Does everything have to be about sex?’ Philip snapped. ‘This is very important.’

‘Who said anything about sex? Ever heard of spending quality time?’ Jeremy chuckled. ‘Now get the hell out of here so I can wake him up.’ The big red wolf told his Beta as he gently extricated himself from his mate. He stood and stretched, then turned to face his Beta, who hadn’t moved at all. ‘Is there a problem?’

‘No, no. But you have to bring it up soon, Alpha.’ Philip said stubbornly. ‘The news of you finding your mate spread like wildfire last night. Much as the pack is happy for you, we both know Ryan will become a target. Till you mate him properly and give him your mark, he’s not safe. All those hopefuls will try to harm him now that they know they don’t stand a chance of ruling by your side. Besides, you can’t be sure of everyone, Jer.’

‘I know. I know. Fuck!’ The alpha swore with frustration. Left to him alone, his mate would be given whatever time he needed to accept the idea of mating with him and accepting his mark. But he knew that what his Beta had just said was very real. They were animals at the end of the day, and a jealous animal acted very irrationally. ‘I shouldn’t have kissed him last night.’ He groaned. ‘What was I thinking?’

‘You did the right thing. If you hadn’t, he would have been humiliated and you know it. You did what any mate would do under the circumstances. Besides, most importantly, it showed the people that you are not disgusted with the fact that your mate turned out to be a man. Everyone knows how you feel about…that kind of relationship.’ Philip tried to suppress his amused smirk but couldn’t.

‘Up yours, buddy.’ Jeremy rasped, wishing he could flip Philip off. ‘I did it because I’d been dying to for a very long time.’ He groaned. ‘Not even wild horses would have stopped me from tasting those lips. Now I’ve only succeeded in putting his life in danger. Why do I always make his life hell with my actions?’ The alpha sounded distressed.

‘It was going to come out at a point, Jer.’ Philip pointed out. ‘If you ask me, that was perfect. But it still put a target on his back. That’s just how it is. The only way he can be protected is if he has your mark and you know it.’

Mating with Jeremy and receiving his mark was actually Ryan’s golden ticket to a safe and peaceful life because Jeremy would be able to sense it anytime he was in danger, no matter how far apart they would be on the planet. That was the biggest advantage of being mated to an alpha. The mark would also scare people with evil intentions away from Ryan. It was only someone with a death wish who would dare attack someone who had been marked as an alpha’s mate. The disadvantage, however, was that whenever there was war, the alpha’s mate was always a target. The enemy would either attack the alpha’s mate to make a statement or kidnap the alpha’s mate to force an alpha to surrender. But for now, Ryan would be safer and better off with his mate’s mark. They needed to be mated in the right ceremony in the shortest possible time and Jeremy knew it.

‘I don’t want to rush him.’ Jeremy groaned.

‘Just talk to him, Jer. Make him understand. It’s for his own good…and the pack’s.’ The alpha couldn’t concentrate on the pack as he should if he was always worried about the safety of his mate. ‘The attacks can begin at any time.’ Philip looked worried. ”Cause I don’t think your kind of women would need time to plan.’

‘They don’t.’ Jeremy sighed. He mostly went in for women who were not only strong, but also sure of themselves. ‘But the last thing I want to do is force him, Lip. I don’t want him to give in simply because he was forced or scared into agreeing. That’s not the kind of relationship I want with him.’ The eyes of the alpha were filled with apprehension. ‘I want more.’ He whispered.

Philip stifled his surprised gasp. He was seeing a totally different side of the Jeremy he’d known since childhood. By his nature, Jeremy was not one to let his guard down and allow himself to feel. But Philip could see that Jeremy had really strong feelings for his mate. What made anyone who found a mate happy was the hope of gaining that inner bliss that Jeremy couldn’t seem to suppress. And that was just so damned beautiful to witness. It dawned on Philip just how important Ryan was to his friend’s happiness. For a moment, the Beta was busting with joy but then he suddenly remembered how badly Jeremy had treated the one person who held the key to his happiness, and instantly got angry. They wouldn’t have been in their current predicament if Jeremy had…

‘You should have thought of that before allowing yourself to lose control.’ Philip growled. But even as he pushed the thought onto their link, he knew that it was a mean thing to say. And the devastated look in the red wolf’s eyes said it all. ‘I’m sorry Jer.”

‘Never apologize when you’re right.’ The alpha said gruffly. ‘You know Luna is going to punish me don’t you…’ It wasn’t a question. Everyone who knew what he’d done to his mate knew the axe was going to come down at a point. They just didn’t know when.

Philip nodded. ‘Don’t think about it.’

The wolf gave a humourless laugh. ‘I have more important things to think about right now. My main aim is to get him to forgive me.’ He said, looking at his sleeping mate. ‘I’m scared, Lip.’ Jeremy whispered.

‘We’ll get through this, Jer. My main concern right now is his safety. But just do whatever you feel is right. I’ll support whatever decision you make. But know this; if any of your whores make an attempt on his life, I’m going to kill first and then ask questions later. You might not be able to do it but I can. Just giving you a heads up.’ Philip turned to go. But at the door, he stopped with his hand on the doorknob and spoke without turning; ‘I hope you know, that with the way you’re feeling about him, should anything fatal happen to him, even Luna can’t stop you from the terror that you would unleash.’

‘I know.’ Jeremy said quietly.

‘Think about that.’ With those last words, the Beta left the suite.

‘Fuck, fuck, fuck.’ Jeremy muttered as he went to stand beside his beautiful sleeping mate. As he looked down at him, he felt his heart swell with tenderness and joy. The alpha knew he wouldn’t survive if anything happened to the stunning creature he was looking at. ‘Watch over him Luna.’ He prayed.

***

Ryan came awake to a delicious wetness on his face. He opened his eyes and saw a huge wolf licking his face. Jeremy. Ryan came wide awake and giggle through their link.

‘Isn’t it too early to be awake?’ He purred, enjoying the feel of that amazing tongue on his coat.

‘It’s actually late prof.’ Jeremy nibbled under Ryan’s neck. ‘You’ll be late for lectures if you don’t get ready now.’

‘Oh snap.’ Ryan groaned as he jumped up and stretched.

‘Hey, don’t forget our plan to go for a run.’ Jeremy said nuzzling Ryan’s neck, breathing in his well-loved scent.

‘It’s a date.’ Ryan said and promptly grimaced. To think his first date was going to be as a wolf.

‘We can always go on a real human date.’ Jeremy said softly.

Ryan guffawed. ‘You really think Goody Two…’ Ryan trailed off, remembering that his human was no longer sleeping. The two wolves burst into laughter to the annoyance of Ryan’s human and amusement of Jeremy’s. Though they were both awake, they’d remained silent throughout the exchange between their wolves. Of course Ryan chose that moment to prompt his wolf to get going. ‘It was nice spending time with you.’ The white wolf told Jeremy. ‘When are we going for that run?’

‘Whenever you can.’

‘Tonight.’ Ryan said immediately.

‘It’s a date.’ Jeremy grinned. ‘Now shift with me.’ He said softly. ‘Let’s piss em off.’

Ryan’s wolf laughed. ‘You mean piss ME off. I like the idea. Let’s.’ The white wolf laughed as he shifted back to human. The human looked down at his exposed nakedness and felt no urgency to cover up. Ryan realized he actually felt comfortable in his nakedness around Jeremy. Speaking of whom… He looked up to see a gloriously naked Jeremy standing in front of him. That body…that cock… Damn! He wanted to trace his hands and tongue along the mouthwatering ridges of muscle covering Jeremy’s body. Ryan tore his eyes away from Jeremy’s body with difficulty and looked up at the projected clock on the wall. “Just great.” He muttered.

“Not my fault.” Jeremy mumbled. “You asked to see my wolf.”

Ryan flounce past Jeremy with a scowl on his face and grabbed his stuff off the couch. Then without a word to his mate, he went to his room to get ready for his lecture. But even as he got ready, Ryan couldn’t stop the smile that turned up the corners of his mouth. Though his wolf had been in charge throughout the night, he couldn’t deny the contentment he felt within. And that kiss at the arena had been something else. Just thinking about it made his lips tingle.

“God, what am I going to do?” Ryan whispered to himself. Jeremy was gradually getting past his defenses. And that scared the shit out of Ryan.

***

Ryan looked at the packed auditorium in shock. His class had never been that filled to capacity. He could guess why it was so though. The Vice chancellor had told him that morning that there were rumours on campus that he’d been taken by an animal.

“I hear you got devoured or sacrificed by tigers or wolves at the Stanton Woods.” The amused elderly man had said by way of greeted when he’d seen Ryan that morning.

“Really?” Ryan had gasped with a pounding heart.

“I think it was rather vampires.” The man frowned as he tried very hard to remember what exactly the rumour was. “Ugh I can’t remember. You know students and their stories. Glad you’re back Professor Hicks.”

So Ryan wasn’t surprised at all at the crowd. They probably wanted to ask him silly questions about supernatural beings. Damn that Timmy York. Ryan quickly moved his eyes around but couldn’t see Timmy in the crowd. Good riddance to bad rubbish, he thought as he adjusted the tiny microphone attached to the lapel of his black blazer.

“Wow.” Ryan said, looking at the curious faces. The students laughed.

Most of them were not supposed to be in his lecture but there they were. Ryan knew students very well. So rather than drive the non-zoology students out, he decided to take the opportunity to advise them before they trooped into Stanton Woods in their numbers, in hopes of seeing a werewolf.

“Now, I’m not going to pretend my good looks is the reason this class is so full.” The students erupted into laughter.

“You’re gorgeous, Professor Hicks.” One female student screamed, causing more laughter.

“Why, thank you.” Ryan grinned. He was used to the female students passing such comments. “So…Stanton Woods.” More laughter. “I’ve heard the same stories you’ve heard about Stanton Woods. Lions, wolves…werewolves…” Someone screamed vampires, making people laugh. Ryan smiled and continued; “Zombies, poltergeists etcetera. Now let’s talk about this.” He cleared his throat. “What’s behind all of these stories? Almost every single culture has a law of a creature or being that cheats death. Why do our brain insist on inventing the most unbelievable things? It’s because the reality of death is actually the most unbelievable of all.” Ryan paused and looked at the attentive but curious faces. “Now note this… The most terrifying thing that you’re going to encounter in Stanton Woods, is a trespassing ticket. So everyone just stay out.”

The laughter that erupted was deafening. Everyone was hooting with laughter. Ryan couldn’t help laughing himself. The look on the faces of the students immediately he’d mentioned the trespassing ticket had been priceless. They’d obviously been expecting something revealing from Ryan. Definitely not a threat of a ticket.

“Now, can all non-zoology students kindly leave my lecture hall for me please?”

More than half the class stood to leave. They were still laughing their arses off.

‘Nicely done.’ Ryan heard Jeremy in his head and looked around to see where his mate was.

He spotted Jeremy at the top right corner of the lecture hall and just stared at the man. ‘Why didn’t I smell you?’ Ryan asked in surprise.

‘That’s ’cause I’ve masked my scent.’ Jeremy replied smugly.

‘What are you doing here?’

‘Watching you teach, Prof.’ Jeremy grinned, and then actually laughed when he saw Ryan blush.

‘You’re not my student.’ Ryan stated the obvious as he moved behind the lectern to look down at his notes. ‘I’m teaching Animal Behaviour today. You already know your behaviour first hand so…’

‘Ouch.’ Jeremy pinched the bridge of his nose. ‘I still want to listen.’

‘Suit yourself.’ Ryan said and then began his lecture. His students wouldn’t mind Jeremy being there because they were used to having observing lecturers in their lectures once in a while.

Jeremy watched his mate do what he loved to do best and felt so much admiration for the man. Ryan looked so good in black shirt with no tie, black slacks and a black blazer. The contrast between the all-black attire against his creamy skin and white hair was simply stunning. He’d noticed the exact moment Ryan had looked around trying to spot the York boy. He’d also felt Ryan’s relief when he didn’t see the boy. Well, he wasn’t going to see that boy anytime soon. On one of Stan’s visits to Ryan whilst he was in the hospital with his injury, he’d managed to get the name of the boy who had gotten him to come to the Stanton Woods. But unfortunately, by the time they’d gotten to the boy, he’d already spread the rumour of a possible murder of his professor, by werewolves. Much as Jeremy had been pissed off at the fact that the boy knew about them…thanks to his hunter grandfather, he’d been grateful that the boy had led his mate to him. So although his sorcerer had worked her magic on the boy and his grandfather and gotten them to forget about the supernatural, he’d urged the boy to tell him what he really wanted. Timmy had confided in Jeremy that his plan had been to study at Oxford University with his girlfriend but he hadn’t gotten in. He’d added that he virtually thought about the girl all the time so couldn’t concentrate much on his school work. Jeremy had called in some favours and gotten Timmy into Oxford, with a strong warning to concentrate on his studies. His grandfather, who had virtually lost his whole family to hunting, had been too happy to move to the United Kingdom to be closer to his grandson, who was his only living relative. It had all worked out just fine. With that smart mini-lecture by his mate, the students would hopefully forget about the tales they’d heard about Stanton Woods.

Jeremy turned to look at a girl who was asking Ryan a long unnecessary question. His eyebrow shot up when he noticed the blatant ‘come-fuck-me’ look the pretty brunette was throwing at his mate.

‘You didn’t tell me in all your talk about how you loved your job, that you got sweet little tight-arsed chics creaming their panties over you.’ Jeremy murmured through his and Ryan’s link.

‘What?’ Ryan automatically turned to look at Jeremy.

‘The girl asking the silly question…she wants to fuck you.’ A hint of a smile, showing teasing amusement touched Jeremy’s mouth.

For a moment Ryan looked confused, his eyes riveted on the sexy mouth of his mate. Then he shifted his eyes back onto the girl with a subtle lift of his shoulder in an offhand shrug. ‘Well, she’s hot.’ He shot back, his deliberately smoky gaze, trained on the girl. ‘What hot-blooded male wouldn’t want to hit that? I wouldn’t mind at all. Call it the perks of teaching hot, young babes.’ Ryan murmured, his voice made husky by his own desire from staring at his mate’s sexy mouth.

All the amusement and teasing left Jeremy’s face. He actually growled out loud. When the students turned in his direction with surprise and curiosity written on their faces, Jeremy pointed at his throat.

“Sore throat.” He lied hoarsely.

“For a moment I thought it was a wolf.” One of the boys shouted jokingly, making the class burst into laughter.

“A wolf in a zoology lecture.” Jeremy intoned with a look of surprise…as if that strange possibility had just occurred to him. “Talk about being at the right place.” He chuckled, making the students laugh even harder. But Ryan didn’t miss the fact that his mate’s laughter didn’t reach his eyes. Jeremy looked pissed.

After the lecture, Ryan spoke to the students who waited behind to talk to him. About four students asked him where his eye glasses were. He told them that he’d decided to use contacts instead of glasses. One young lady assured him that he looked hotter without his glasses. She’d even made Ryan promise not to go back to the glasses. He was glad to know his students had missed him. When the last student left the lecture hall, Ryan went up to sit beside a subdued looking Jeremy. They sat quietly for some time till Ryan broke the silence.

“You know I hadn’t been with anyone till you.” He said softly.

“I know.” Jeremy sighed. “It still hurt.”

“Can’t you take a joke?”

“It’s how you said it. It came across as though you really wanted her and I didn’t like it.” Jeremy murmured. “You didn’t sound as if you were joking.”

After about three minutes of silence, Ryan slowly moved his right hand to touch Jeremy’s left hand. And still staring straight ahead, he entwined their pinkies, fighting the urge to moan at the thrill that tiny touch roused inside him. The tiniest touch from Jeremy gave Ryan a feeling so sweet it was almost euphoric.

‘You got jealous.’ Ryan said through their mind link.

Jeremy gave a short humourless laugh and replied by speaking. “I’ve never had to get jealous over anything so I wouldn’t know how it feels like. I just knew it hurt when you said you wouldn’t mind hitting that.” Jeremy turned his head to look at his mate. “If that is jealousy, then…this is the second time I’m experiencing it. And I hate it.”

“What other time did you feel that?” Ryan turned to look at Jeremy.

Jeremy gave a shaky exhale. “That day in the hospital…when you allowed Philip to stroke you but growled at me when I attempted to.”

“You had just raped me Jeremy. I didn’t trust you.”

Jeremy nodded. “I knew that but it didn’t stop me from hurting.” He shrugged. “Do you trust me now?” He asked quietly.

Ryan went quiet for a moment. Then he answered quietly. “Somehow I feel safe when I’m with you. Ironic don’t you think? But that’s exactly how I feel. I trust you to keep me safe. So yeah, I guess I trust you. Why do you ask?”

“Just wanted to know. Do you have another lecture for today?”

Ryan nodded. “At two.”

“Can we go and grab something to eat?” Jeremy asked, looking at his expensive and classy Louis Moinet Meteoris wrist-watch. “You didn’t eat this morning.”

“Don’t you have a job or something?” Ryan asked with a curious look. “I know you’re rich and all but…surely you must have something important to do.”

“You’re my mate, Ryan. You’re more important to me than any job in the world.” Jeremy breathed.

“Really?” Ryan gave Jeremy an amused look. Too bad you forget that when you were manically pounding away at my arse, Ryan thought unconsciously as he stood up.

Jeremy swallowed hard. He suddenly looked as if iced water had been poured over him. “I’m sorry, Ryan.” The alpha croaked.

Ryan turned to look at him with a confused look. “For what?”

Jeremy looked at Ryan. Sometimes being able to read Ryan’s thoughts was actually fun. But other times such as that very moment, it sucked. “Never mind.” Jeremy said quietly.

“I’ll just put my stuff in my office. Then we can go.” Ryan said as he started back down to the front of the lecture hall. When he finished packing his laptop, he looked up to where Jeremy still sat and almost gasped at the look of desolation on Jeremy’s face. His mate looked as if he didn’t even know where he was. What was wrong with the man, Ryan wondered. “Coming?” He called out.

Jeremy blinked and got to his feet shakily, wondering whether it wouldn’t be better to end it all. For as long as he lived, all Ryan had to do was to see his face, to remember the pain he’d caused him. Shouldn’t he just end his mate’s misery by… Jeremy shook his head to clear his thoughts but they wouldn’t leave him. He knew that what he was thinking about was a coward’s way out which went against everything he stood for but he just couldn’t help himself. He hated the accusation and bitterness he sometimes saw in his mates eyes. What killed him most was that he had to live with that for the rest of his life because Ryan didn’t look like he would ever forgive him. And he didn’t blame Ryan at all. He sometimes wondered whether a lifetime of being loathed by his mate was his punishment from Luna. Cursing himself and that bloody Ojah power for the thousandth time, Jeremy stated walking towards Ryan. He really wished he hadn’t given Ryan his word not to harm himself. That was the silliest promise ever, Jeremy thought regretfully as he followed his mate dejectedly out of the lecture hall, looking nothing like the tough and proud alpha that he was.

“How did you find the lecture?” Ryan asked as they headed towards his office.

“It was insightful.” Jeremy responded quietly. “Are all your lectures three-hour long?”

Ryan gave a soft laugh. “No. The afternoon one is just an hour.”

“How’s your leg?”

“I’m fine, Jer… Jeremy.” Ryan suppressed a groan at his slip. “Are you going to stay for my second lecture too?” He unlocked his office.

“Yep. Will it bother you?” With Philip’s words from that morning still running through his mind,

Jeremy had no intention of leaving his mate’s side. Although ideally, such attacks would start after days of planning, Jeremy didn’t want to take any chances. He closed the door behind him and went to the wall that displayed Ryan’s numerous awards.

“May I know exactly why you feel it’s necessary to follow me around at my work place?” Ryan shrugged out of his blazer. “Vincent is already here.”

Vincent was the werewolf who had been assigned to Ryan as his bodyguard. He went with Ryan anytime he had to go to his apartment. Ryan had protested that morning when Jeremy had insisted that Vincent accompany him to school. After a lengthy argument, Jeremy had promised to stop Vincent immediately he was convinced Ryan could defend himself in an attack. Grudgingly relenting, Ryan had left home with the nice man…werewolf. He actually did enjoyed Vincent’s company anyway so it wasn’t so bad.

“I just want to.” Jeremy still had his back to Ryan.

“Jeremy!” Ryan groaned, taking a seat at the edge of his desk. “If you have any respect for me at all, you’ll be truthful with me at all times. I’m not dumb you know.”

“I respect you, Ryan.” Jeremy turned to face his mate.

“Really? And you expect me to swallow that bullshit?” He combed his fingers through his hair. “Does this have anything to do with what you were saying about it being dangerous to… Where’s Timmy York?” Ryan’s eyes narrowed suspiciously.

“He’s fine.” Jeremy said with a smile. “He’s now at Oxford, where he wanted to be in the first place. With his girlfriend. He’s okay, Ryan. We didn’t harm him.”

“Thanks.” Ryan mumbled. “So if that threat is no more, then why…”

“The current threat is even worse, Ryan.” Jeremy moved to stand in front of Ryan. “That announcement last night…when I told everyone in the arena that you’re my mate…”

“They hated it.” Ryan groaned.

“No, no. On the contrary, they are very happy that I found you.”

“So what’s the problem?”

“Well… I haven’t exactly been celibate.” Jeremy said with a sheepish look on his face. “And some of my former…lovers would want to attack you. Show exactly why you’re not suitable for me but they are. It’s a wolf thing.” He shrugged.

“So now I have to contend with the wrath of your…lovers on top of my woes.” Ryan didn’t sound amused at all.

“I’m sorry.” Jeremy grimaced.

“Shouldn’t my being your mate rather scare them off? Can anyone just attack the alpha’s mate and get away with it?”

“Well…they will attack with the intention of defeating you not kill you. Once it remains a mere attack, they can’t be punished unless they actually…”

“Kill me.” Ryan concluded.

“Yes.”

“Does this happen to everyone who finds a mate and already has fuck buddies?” Ryan was getting irritated. And fast.

“No, not everyone. I’m the alpha. I need a strong mate. So they instinctively try to prove that they’re stronger than my mate and must be taken instead.”

“Interesting. And has an alpha actually picked one of his fuck buddies over his mate before?” Ryan tilted his head to the side and looked at Jeremy curiously.

“No. But that won’t stop them from trying. Like I said, it’s a…”

“…wolf thing.” Ryan finished in a bored voice. “One would have thought you being half humans and all would have given you more sense. But obviously, you’re animals first.” He rasped. “So I guess I have to get ready for premeditated attacks, huh? Just my luck.” He muttered. “Listen, isn’t there anything I can do to avoid all this?”

Jeremy went quiet. Then he pinched his nose in frustration. “You’re not going to like what I’m going to say.”

“Just tell me.” Ryan snapped.

“You’ll have to accept my mark in a proper mating ceremony.”

“You’re right, I don’t like it. Not gonna happen. Any other solution?” He looked up at Jeremy.

“None.”

“It’s settled then.” Ryan moved off the desk. “Please tell Stan I want to begin my training with him this evening. The earlier I learn how to fight, the better. ‘Cause I’m sure as hell not going to hide or stand quietly whilst your women kick my arse.”

“Ryan, it’s not going to stop till I mark you.” Jeremy felt he owed his mate the truth for his safety.

“I’ll take my chances with your lovers.” Ryan responded tightly. Although he knew it didn’t make sense, he was so pissed off at the fact that Jeremy had even slept with those women in the first place. Jealousy ate at him, clawing and twisting his stomach…making his blood boil… It’s only natural for a hot-blooded man such as Jeremy, to have lovers for fuck’s sake, Ryan screamed at himself but it didn’t stop that unpleasant feeling within. “So tell me, was it okay to go around fucking people simply because they didn’t have mates? I’m assuming those women couldn’t have had sex with you if they had mates…”

“The werewolves that I had that kind of relations with were older wolves who had lost any hope of finding themselves mates. Most of my women were humans.” Jeremy watched annoyance flash across his mate’s face at his words and groaned. “Ryan I didn’t have a mate then. And I have needs.”

“Oh I know just how ruthless and excruciatingly violent those needs can be.” Ryan’s tone was deceptively neutral. “Had a starring role in one of such…assuagement of needs, remember?” He went to sit in one of the couches in his office and looked up at Jeremy. “So you were going with cougars huh?”

Jeremy exhaled roughly. He knew Ryan was hurting but that didn’t make that barb hurt any less. “Depends on who you call a cougar. Werewolves actually look younger and hotter than their age. So they may be fifty, but actually look twenty. Now that I’ve explained, care to give me a number?”

“Fuck you.” Ryan muttered, looking at his fingers clasped tightly together in his lap. “I’ve suddenly lost my appetite. You’ll have to go and eat alone.”

“Hey. Come here.” Jeremy said, reaching for Ryan’s hand and pulling him up into his arms. He remembered how he’d felt earlier when Ryan had merely implied he wouldn’t mind fucking that girl. It was only natural for Ryan to hurt, hearing about his mate’s lovers. “I know how you feel. And I’m sorry.” That was the best he could do under the circumstances. Apologize.

Ryan stood stiffly within Jeremy’s arms. “I’m so mad at you right now.” He mumbled but Jeremy heard him perfectly.

“I know and I’m sorry.” Jeremy pressed a kiss against Ryan’s hair. He hated that Ryan was so upset and pissed off at him.

“But you’re forgetting something.” Ryan said after a while. “Who would want to attack the mate of an Ojah?”

“Like I said, it’s a wolf thing. Besides, I’m their alpha and they know I wouldn’t hurt them.” Jeremy said.

That statement was all it took to make Ryan even angrier. Jeremy’s lovers, and the pack for that matter, had faith that their alpha wouldn’t hurt them. But being Jeremy’s mate hadn’t stopped the alpha from hurting him. He clearly remembered the injustice done to him by someone who was supposed to be his mate and protector. Jeremy knew he’d said the wrong thing immediately he felt Ryan tense up against him.

“I guess to you, a mate is rather at the bottom of the food chain.” Ryan muttered as he pushed out of Jeremy’s embrace.

“Oh my God Ryan, you know that’s not true…” Jeremy groaned, so frustration he wanted to scream. “I’m sorry for what I did to you but don’t tell me you wouldn’t mind if I started to harm people in…”

“Don’t mind me, Jeremy.” Ryan quietly cut Jeremy off as he went behind his desk and settled into his chair “I’m just…ugh!” He rubbed at his face, as he released a frustrated breath. “Go get something to eat, okay? No one can attack me here. From what I’ve been taught, they wouldn’t want to expose themselves. I’ll be fine.”

“Ryan…”

“Just go Jeremy.” Ryan said without looking up.

With a long and slow exhale, Jeremy pulled out his cell phone and dialed a number. He ordered some food to be delivered to Ryan’s office and sat down to read a magazine. When Ryan stood after about ten minutes and headed towards the door, Jeremy got to his feet with a curious look on his face.

“Where are you going?”

“To the washroom.” Ryan snapped.

“I’m coming with…”

“I don’t need you protecting me, Jeremy.” Ryan cut him off. What wolf would possibly attack him in broad daylight? “It’s not necessary.”

“Trust me, it’s for your own good.”

“No, it’s insulting and totally uncalled for. Don’t you dare attempt to follow me. I’m not a child.” With that, Ryan opened the door and stepped onto the quiet corridor.

Almost all the lecturers were busy lecturing around that time of day so it wasn’t surprising that the place was so quiet. As Ryan walked to the washroom which was at the far end of the corridor, he caught a glimpse of Vincent, leaning against a tree and shook his head in amusement. Jeremy had assured him that he wouldn’t even know Vincent was there because the hunk of a man would be as inconspicuous as he could. Yeah right, Ryan chuckled as he opened the door to an empty washroom. He didn’t notice the pretty, curvy blond in the sexy sportswear, with her back to him, pretending to be doing something important on her cell phone. Neither did he notice her turn to follow him with an evil smile on her face.

It was on!

Feral attraction in the midst of hatred… bonding! – Chapter 5 – Bonding!

Ryan heard the door to the washroom open just as he opened the tap to wash his hands. He turned his head to see which other lecturer was free like he was at that time of day and smiled in surprise when he saw a pretty curvy blonde in sportswear.

“You’ve got the wrong washroom Miss.” Ryan said with a chuckle.

“Wanna bet?” Sporty lady purred as she turned around to face the door. She recited some words and then turned around to fix a predatory gaze on Ryan. “Professor Ryan Hick.” She purred, slowly advancing towards Ryan as if she had all the time in the world.

“Do I know you?” Ryan asked with a curious frown. Something was off about the lady.

“I haven’t had the displeasure.” She drawled. “So you’re the so-called mate huh? I can smell him all over you.” She smirked.

Oh God! Ryan felt his stomach quiver and the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. Although he couldn’t smell her, he would have bet his last cent she was a werewolf. And from the disdain in her eyes, one of Jeremy’s lovers. Shit! ‘Jeremy?’ He quickly called his mate on their mind-link but couldn’t get any response. Why wasn’t Jeremy answering, Ryan wondered.

“Don’t bother, little wolf.” The lady said, accurately reading Ryan. “Jeremy can’t hear you.” She turned to give the door behind her a cursory glance. “You see… I’ve warded the door shut. He can’t come in here and your thoughts can’t reach him, thanks to the barrier. And Vincent…” She chuckled. “Let’s just say the silly warrior saw every other person but me.”

What did she mean by that, Ryan thought confused. “Listen Lady, whatever you’re planning on doing, please don’t.” Ryan said quietly even as he felt the beast inside him crouch in readiness to attack.

“Ow come on don’t be a pussy.” Her short laughter didn’t reach her eyes. “It’s very unattractive to beg. Name’s Camille by the way. And I’m here to fight you.”

With that short announcement, Camille opened her palms and pointed all ten fingers towards the ground, releasing very nasty looking claws.

“Oh my god…” Ryan breathed.

***

“What the…” Jeremy gasped when he felt a sudden crackle of power in the air. He threw the magazine he was reading on the table and jumped to his feet. Someone was wielding so much power around, which was rather strange. ‘Ryan?’ He called to his mate through their link but there was no response. Shit! ‘Vincent?’ He called to Ryan’s assigned bodyguard as he rushed out of Ryan’s office.

‘Alpha, I’m out here.’ Vincent started towards Jeremy when he saw his alpha emerge from Ryan’s office with a worried look on his face. “Is everything alright, Alpha?”

“Magic.” Jeremy breathed. “Did you see Ryan?”

“He went to the washroom.” Vincent turned to follow Jeremy when the alpha started towards the washroom.

“Sure you didn’t see anyone come this way apart from Ryan?”

“No. My eyes were on him the whole time. He was alone.” Vincent said as he tried the washroom door. But it wouldn’t open. “Why did he lock it?”

“He didn’t.” Jeremy rasped. “Camille is here.” He growled.

“But I didn’t see…”

“You wouldn’t. She cloaked herself.” Jeremy rasped.

Beings such as warlocks and witches could cast cloaking spells to mask their presence, preventing others from seeing them and learning of their activities. Camille was his only lover with that power. She’d obviously made herself invisible to Vincent. Camille was half werewolf, half warlock. Her mother, who was responsible for her warlock side, was one of the eight council members of the pack. She was a very powerful warlock who was over a century old. And like her mother, Camille was powerful and smart. But Jeremy hadn’t thought Camille would attack Ryan too as she’d always been a very reasonable person. Apart from the fact that they hadn’t even fucked in over three months, Jeremy thought she would rather use her powers to curb that thirst for a battle with his mate. He’d obviously thought wrong.

“The bitch!” Vincent muttered. Then remembering who she was to the alpha, he added; “Sorry Alpha.” But it was obvious he didn’t mean it. With an angry grunt he gave the door a hard kick.

“Don’t bother.” Jeremy muttered, looking furious. “It’s warded.” He said as he climbed up the wall to see what was happening inside the washroom through the sealed mini windows.

What he saw broke his heart.

***

“Please stop.” Ryan gasped as he tried to shield his face. His shirt was torn to shreds and there was blood all over. His blood.

“Shouldn’t you be fighting back?” Camille taunted. “How disappointing. And you call yourself an alpha’s mate?” She brought her already bloody claws down forcefully to slash at Ryan’s back. Blood gushed out. “I honestly thought we were going to fight. But I guess this is going to be a kill. Works for me just fine.” She sneered but surprisingly, never went for the kill.

Ryan went down on his knees. He wanted to fight back so bad. His wolf was going crazy inside but for some reason, he just couldn’t get his body to obey his command to attack. Ryan had never been more confused since the night his life changed. Why couldn’t he fight? Hell, even if he were human, he would have instinctively fought back to defend himself. So Ryan didn’t understand why he seemed to be frozen. He felt exactly as he’d felt when Jeremy ordered him in that voice of his to stay put whilst he violated him. He felt so helpless. Maybe it was due to whatever magic Camille was using. But even she, seemed shocked at his behaviour. Ryan had a feeling Blondie would have taken him out already if she really wanted to kill him. The only positive thing was that although he’d lost so much blood and as a result, felt weak, the numerous slashes on his body seemed to be healing. But Ryan knew that unless he got out of the mess he was in right then, he would probably bleed to death. Where was Jeremy when he needed him, he wondered desperately.

Behind the door, the alpha took a deep breath. “Stand back, Vincent.” He said quietly…too quietly.

Jeremy didn’t know why his mate wasn’t fighting back. Ryan was a smart guy. What his mother had taught him alone should equip him to take on someone like Camille physically. He knew Camille had only warded the door because she wanted no distraction as she challenged his mate. She sure as hell wouldn’t immobilize Ryan with a spell and just beat him up. That was not the style of a werewolf. Fighting and defeating an opponent fair and square in a clean fight was what they saw as a sweet victory. They craved that. So he didn’t understand why Ryan was not fighting back. And Jeremy knew that if he didn’t get in there and stop the madness, his mate would bleed out. But Camille had used a magical shield to keep that door shut. And the only way he could get in there was to turn on his own magic…his Ojah powers. Much as he knew the madness that could follow if he turned his humanity off, the Alpha knew he didn’t have a choice.

***

Ryan heard the door crash open and looked up gratefully. But when he saw his mate, a gasp of terror tore out of his throat as his pulse raced with foreboding. No! He would pick the vicious Camille over a red-eyed Jeremy any day.

Camille stumbled backward, barely catching herself with a hand against the wall. The raw power emanating from the alpha left not only Camille, but even Ryan completely weak from trepidation.

“Jeremy…” Camille breathed, her eyes wide with fear.

The red-eyed alpha stretched out an arm and opened his palm. Both Ryan and Camille gasped at the purplish fireball that appeared in that palm. They didn’t have to be geniuses to know where that fireball was going to land in the next few seconds. The direction of the murderous red eyes said it all. Camille’s eyes were filled with terror. She knew her end had come. Even Vincent shook with fear.

“Jeremy, don’t!” Ryan screamed.

Ryan watched as Jeremy slowly turned his eyes on him. A whimper tore out of his throat as he stared into the eyes that terrified him to his very soul. The man standing before him was not his Jeremy at all. He was someone else…something else. And he didn’t look like he even understood what Ryan said. The fireball got bigger. Ryan knew that if it dropped, there would be chaos. But most importantly, he knew Jeremy would hate himself afterwards. He had to do something to stop Jeremy from dropping that ball. But what could he do? Ryan turned to look at Camille and saw tears squeezing past her tightly closed eyelids. Definitely no help from that end. He looked past Jeremy to Vincent. The visibly trembling warrior raised his eyes off the cell phone in his hand and stared at Ryan with a look of absolutely helplessness. Ryan knew he had to act. He had to get over his fear of the monster and get to his mate.

Ryan pulled himself to his feet. Then he started towards Jeremy on shaky legs. When he got to his red-eyed mate, he wrapped one arm around his waist and placed the other on his chest…where he could feel his heart beating. Then with a voice throbbing with an emotion which brought warmth into the hearts of their audience, Ryan spoke to Jeremy.

“Come back to me Jeremy.” Ryan said softly. “I know you’re in there. And I know you can hear me. Please, come back to me.” He laid the side of his face against Jeremy’s chest. “Please I need you. I need you to take care of me. No one can do it as you do. I don’t want anyone to. That’s your job. So please come back to me.”

When Ryan heard a whoosh sound, he tensed up, thinking Jeremy had dropped the fireball. He squeezed his eyes tightly shut, ready for the worst. But then he felt Jeremy’s arms wrap around his shoulder and cradle the back of his head. And even before he heard his mate’s voice, Ryan knew he was back.

“Thank you.” Jeremy whispered shakily, burying his face in Ryan’s hair. “Thank you. Thank you.” He kept whispering.

Behind them, a shocked Stan stared with huge eyes. When Vincent had sent both him and Philip messages telling them about the situation, they’d both panicked. He had been closer to the school so he’d quickly rushed there. And he’d gotten there just in time to hear Ryan talk Jeremy down. That had never happened in the history of Ojah. They didn’t get talked down. They snapped back in their own sweet time or when something forced them to. Definitely not a talk!

“Take her to the pack house, Vince.” Stan ordered curtly. Camille lived in her lovely house outside the pack house. She was a medical doctor and a very brilliant individual. But of course when the beast inside wanted to have its way, there was no stopping it.

“Jeremy, I’m sorry.” Camille sobbed as she was led away.

But the alpha didn’t even raise his head. His massive body shook against his mate as he tried to calm down. Besides the fact that he’d seen his mate being hurt, he’d almost killed a pack member for something she had no control over. Jeremy knew he had to get Ryan to the pack hospital to be checked out but he just couldn’t bring himself to release his hold on him.

“Why didn’t you fight back?” Jeremy’s voice shook.

“I couldn’t.” Ryan signed, feeling very weak. “I wanted to but my body just wouldn’t obey my mind.”

“How so?” Jeremy whispered.

“I don’t know how to explain it.” Ryan raised his head but Jeremy put it back on his chest. “It was like that time.” He said quietly. “When you compelled me to…stay put whilst you…” Ryan trailed off.

“Shit.” Jeremy gasped. “She couldn’t have compelled you. She can’t.”

“She didn’t.” Ryan responded.

“Jer, you did.” Philip said from behind Jeremy. “We have to take Ryan to the hospital. He’s lost a lot of blood.”

“I’m fine.” Ryan said quietly. “Just weak. I just need to change my clothes and lie down for a while.”

“No, Prof.” Philip countered. “You’re going home and that’s final. I can’t…”

“What do you mean I did, Lip?” Jeremy turned eyes filled with worry and confusion onto his friend.

“You compelled him the day he shifted for the first time not to ever attack a pack member.” Philip said quietly. “Camille is pack.”

“Oh my god.” Jeremy gasped. “I caused this. And I almost killed…fuck. If I’d dropped that…”

“Hey, listen to me.” Ryan reached up to cup Jeremy’s cheeks in his palms. “If you’d really wanted to drop it, you would have.” He said with conviction. “You didn’t have to wait till I tried to stop you Jeremy. Think about it. You didn’t want to hurt us. So snap out of whatever self-hatred you’re sinking yourself in and take charge like you always do.” Ryan gave a slight smile then. “I find that very sexy.” He murmured.

Jeremy visibly calmed down after hearing Ryan’s words. “I need to fix this.” He whispered. “Otherwise you can never defend yourself. I can’t believe I forgot that.” He groaned.

“We all forgot, Jer.” Philip said quietly.

“Yeah, but he’s my mate Lip. I shouldn’t have forgotten.” Jeremy muttered.

“In your defense, you were not exactly…you when you compelled him.” Philip drawled. “But I agree the earlier you fix it, the better for all of us. And that is why we have to get back to the house immediately.”

Philip was still shocked at what Stan had told him. He couldn’t believe Ryan had actually talked Jeremy out of that Ojah influence. To the Beta, Ryan had instantly become the most important individual in the pack. Being able to control an Ojah was a very big deal. And Philip resolved to ensure that no harm ever came to Jeremy’s mate. That suddenly became his number one obsession.

“How are you going to fix it?” Ryan asked quietly, stepping out of Jeremy’s arms. Ideally, he would have handed Jeremy his arse for taking away his will and almost getting him killed by none other than his lover. But he didn’t want the man to feel any shittier than he already did so he curbed that urge.

“Same way he got you to see the pack as untouchables.” Philip rasped. “Come on Prof. We have to get you home.”

“I’m not going Philip.” Ryan said stiffly as he looked down at his tattered shirt. “I just need a shirt.”

“Jeremy?” Philip virtually growled, waiting for the alpha to back him up. “A little help…”

Jeremy looked torn between his Beta who was clearly exasperated, and his adamant mate. But in the end, safety for his mate reigned high.

“Ryan please…” Jeremy sighed.

“No. It’s just an hour lec…”

“You’re not safe here.” Philip growled with clenched fists. “Anyone can attack again. And again you’ll be a sitting duck. Jeremy needs to take care of that immediately.”

Since Jeremy had compelled Ryan in his wolf state, Ryan needed to shift into a wolf for Jeremy to undo what he’d done. And since it wouldn’t be appropriate for Ryan to shift at their current location, they needed to go back home immediately. Philip had expected Jeremy to simply order his mate to go home. But guilt was obviously eating at the Alpha, making it difficult for him to be firm with his mate. It was therefore up to him to get Ryan to see reason.

“Your life is more important than some one hour lecture, Ryan.” Philip sighed. “I don’t want anything to happen to you.” He whispered with so much feeling Jeremy reached out to grasp the shoulder of his visibly shaken Beta.

“Hey…” The alpha rasped.

“I thought we agreed you wouldn’t take your eyes off him.” The veiled accusation from Philip made Jeremy’s jaw clench.

“It was my fault Philip. I asked him not to follow me in here.” Ryan defended.

“The Jeremy I know would have come anyway.” Philip growled. “No one tells him what to do and what not to do.” The Beta fixed his intent gaze on his alpha. “You’re getting soft.” His mumble was directed at the alpha. “More than soft actually. Your brain is liquefied.”

An angry growl erupted from Jeremy. “Are you…”

“You know I’m not challenging you.” Philip said evenly, cutting Jeremy off. “I can never do that. I understand that you feel you have to allow him to have his way. But know that it can…”

“Hello… Will you stop talking about me as if I’m not here?” Ryan cut in, actually amused. It was surprisingly refreshing to see the friends disagreeing on something. It made them seem…normal. “Alright, you win Philip. I’ll go home. But we need to fix the…” He trailed off when he noticed that the door was actually intact. He turned to look behind him and saw that there was no trace of his blood on the floor. Had he imagined what had taken place? “How…”

“Stan made Camille fix it before taking her away.” Philip informed Ryan as he led the way out of the washroom.

“Is she a werewolf or a magician?”

Philip couldn’t help his laughter. “Both. Half warlock, half wolf.”

“Really?” Ryan looked shocked. “You have those too? Her parents…”

“Uh-huh.” Philip seemed to be enjoying Ryan’s shock.

“A werewolf married a war…”

“Mated, Prof.” Philip cut in smoothly. “Get your terminologies straight.” He drawled, making Ryan laugh.

“She must be pretty powerful then.”

“She sure is.” Philip nodded. “But don’t worry, the next person to come at you is not going to live to tell the tale.”

A frown marred the space between Ryan’s brows at Philip’s words. “This is about me, Philip.” Ryan said quietly. “I’m not you. In my world when someone gets in your way, you outthink them. You don’t end them.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah we’ll see.” Philip said dryly as he opened the door to Ryan’s office.

“Jeremy…” Ryan turned to implore Jeremy to help him sway Philip but the dejected look on his mate’s face stopped him. He waited by the door till Jeremy entered the office. Then he locked the door, grabbed the alpha’s hand to draw him to the couch, and then gently pushed him into it. “Hey, you okay?” He asked softly.

Jeremy raised his eyes to look at his beautiful pale mate. He’d lost a lot of blood, thanks to him. “I’m so sorry Ryan.”

“For what?” Ryan asked, crouching before Jeremy.

“Everything.” The alpha whispered.

Ryan went quiet for a moment, and then got to his feet and began to shrug out of his ruined shirt. “I still need a shirt.” He muttered, reaching for his blazer. “Should have made her fix my shirt too.” He mumbled. Surprisingly, he didn’t feel as weak as he’d been immediately after the attack.

“Vincent is bringing a change for both of you.” Philip assured him.

“Great.” Ryan said as he sat beside Jeremy on the couch and cuddled against him as if it was the most natural thing in the world. All he wanted to do was offer comfort to his troubled mate. And when Jeremy’s arm went around him, he gave a sigh of contentment and turned beautiful green eyes on Philip. “Now tell me all about warlocks.”

Philip laughed. Even Jeremy couldn’t suppress his amused chuckle. But even that light fun couldn’t get rid of the alpha’s unease. Was he really going soft as Philip had said? Was he being too soft where Ryan was concerned? Coming from Philip, it had to be true. If the other wolves got any hint of the possibility of their alpha going soft, there would be challenges. Jeremy wasn’t afraid he would lose a challenge. He just didn’t want to hurt any member of his pack. To avoid any of that, Jeremy knew he had to be firm. How he reacted to his mate when they were alone was his business. But where people were watching and listening…expecting him to act in a particular way…the right way, Jeremy knew he had to act right. It was time he made Ryan know his place.

***

Ryan couldn’t help but feel sorry for the doctor as he checked his vitals. Dr. Sanders, the head doctor, wasn’t in so one of the junior doctors was attending to Ryan. It was obvious the man was nervous. Who wouldn’t be with Jeremy, Philip and Stan standing around with grim looks on their faces?

“Gentlemen, why don’t you sit down?” Ryan tried but couldn’t mask the amusement in his voice. When none of the men acknowledged his suggestion, he sighed and looked at the doctor. “I think those three need medical examination even more.” He muttered.

The doctor looked alarmed for a moment, then a chuckle burst from his throat. “I’ll pass.” He muttered.

“You know we can hear you right?” Stan asked just as the door opened to reveal a regal looking Gloria. “Everything alright, Mama G?” He asked.

“Couldn’t be better.” Gloria responded as she placed her handbag on the table in the room and started towards the bed. “Hey sweetie.” She smiled as she sat beside Ryan on the bed. “How are you feeling?”

“I’m good.” Ryan grinned. “But these three insisted I get checked out so… Looking good.”

“Thanks. Not looking too bad yourself. Lovely shirt. But you do reek of blood.”

“I know. Lost a lot, thanks to your son and his…Camille.” Ryan grunted as he sat up.

“He’s okay Alpha.” The young doctor informed Jeremy. “Nothing a good rest can’t sort out.”

“Good.” Jeremy nodded, moving from where he stood. “Come with me to the bathroom Ryan.” The alpha walked briskly towards the en suite washroom.

Ryan looked at the others and blushed. He knew that at least Philip and Stan knew the reason Jeremy needed him in the bathroom but that didn’t stop him from being embarrassed. What would the doctor and Gloria think?

“Can’t we sort that out when we get back to the roo…”

“Now Ryan.” Jeremy ordered as he entered the washroom.”

“The earlier the better, Prof.” Philip said quietly as the doctor hastily left the room.

“I’ll be waiting for you.” Gloria said softly as Ryan got out of bed. “It’s necessary he rectifies it now.”

“You know?” Ryan whispered. And at Gloria’s nod, Ryan gave a sigh of relief and went into the washroom.

“You really should stop challenging me when I say things.” Jeremy said immediately the door shut behind Ryan. “If you hadn’t stopped me from accompanying you to the washroom, that attack could have been prevented.” His angry growl shocked Ryan.

“Jeremy…”

“Is it too much to expect you to just do as you’re told?” Jeremy’s eyes flashed angrily.

“I don’t think you’re being fair to me right now Jeremy.” Ryan gasped. “Let’s not forget that if you hadn’t compelled me to leave your pack alone, I would have been able to defend myself.” Ryan said in a voice filled with pain and shock.

“Do you have any idea what I would have done to you…in that state…if you had attempted to attack any member of my pack as freshly shifted werewolves are known to do?” The alpha snapped.

“That didn’t give you the right to fuck with my mind and forget about it.” Ryan retorted, his fists clenching by his sides.

“I admit I shouldn’t have forgotten.” Jeremy answered smoothly. “But I would appreciate it if you don’t question my directives where you are concerned. As alpha and your mate, I know what’s best for you and you’ll do well to remember that.” He said curtly. “Now strip and shift.”

“You can’t throw orders as…”

“Now!” Jeremy bellowed. It wasn’t his compelling Alpha voice but the authority it packed couldn’t be ignored.

Ryan and the three inside the room who could clearly hear the argument between Jeremy and Ryan, gasped at the command. It was obvious the alpha was angry at Ryan. Without a word, Ryan began to strip with shaky fingers, the only indication of his anger being his flushed face. He was so angry he didn’t want to be in the same place as Jeremy. In fact Ryan wanted to be so far away from Jeremy at that point that he literally felt a wall go up in his mind. When he was completely naked, he went on all fours and shifted. The beautiful white wolf stood quietly, its eyes downcast, waiting for the alpha to do whatever he wanted to.

***

Back in the room, Gloria, Philip and Stan were very worried. “He’s angry at himself for putting Ryan’s life in danger.” Gloria whispered. “And he’s taking it out on him.” She sighed.

“I think it’s my fault.” Philip exhaled harshly and began to pace. “I told him he was going soft.”

“Why the fuck would you say something like that?” Stan snapped as Gloria gasped.

“When Ryan told me Jeremy didn’t go with him to the washroom because he asked him not to, I got angry.” Philip groaned.

“Who would have thought someone would actually be bold enough to attack at such a place?” Stan asked stiffly. “Besides he knew Vincent was out there. He must have thought Ryan was safe just as we all thought.”

“I wasn’t thinking okay.” Philip groaned, combing his fingers through his hair in frustration.

“They’ll be fine.” Gloria said softly, rubbing Philip’s back soothingly. “But wait till you find your mate darling. You’ll see just how difficult it is to go against their wishes.” She chuckled. “Now my problem is that Jeremy always went in for really strong and brave women. I mean look at what Lara made me do to her. She just wouldn’t listen to reason. She…”

“What did you do to her Mama G?” Stan asked with a naughty grin on his face.

“I broke her arms.” Gloria said with an even wider grin on her face.

“What did I tell you Lip?” Stan shook with laughter. “I knew you would do something brilliantly outrageous like that Mama G.” Stan laughed as Philip shook his head in amusement. Jeremy’s mother had never liked the relationship between her son and Lara, who was her age. This was more like payback.

“So you see, his kind of women wouldn’t care who is around or where they are. They would attack whenever they want to.”

“Yeah, I know what you’re talking about, Mama G.” Stan said with a naughty smile on his face. “SS for Life.” He grinned, making Philip laugh despite himself.

“I’ve heard you idiots say that before.” Gloria murmured with a curious look on her face. “What’s SS?” She fixed her hard gaze on Stan when Philip groaned.

“Strong and sexy.” Stan grinned.

“I see.” Gloria said slowly. “Well, it’s come back to bite all of you in the arse hasn’t it? You boys…”

She trailed off when the door to the bathroom opened to reveal an angry and embarrassed looking Ryan, followed by Jeremy who had an unreadable expression on his face.

“Hey, are you okay?” Gloria asked Ryan softly, glaring at her son who had the grace to look shamefaced.

“I’m fine. Thanks.” He didn’t go back to the bed. Neither did he sit. He just stood quietly, clearly waiting to be told what to do. He had to be careful in his actions in order not to invite any further humiliating treatment from his mate.

“Shall we?” Jeremy said in a hoarse voice and left the hospital room, followed by his friends, mother and a mate whose thoughts he strangely couldn’t read.

That was so unlike Ryan, the alpha thought. The Ryan he knew would be cursing him silly in his mind by then.

When they got out of their cars in front of Jeremy’s mansion, they met yet another challenger who stood between them and the entrance. This one was Katie Steven, a drop dead gorgeous black lady, who was not only a warrior but was also a famous model. She wore the tiniest jeans shorts, a sexy black tube top which covered just her boobs, and no footwear. She obviously meant business.

“Katie…” Stan bellowed. Katie was on his squad. She was one of his best warriors and he sure as hell didn’t want Jeremy or Philip wounding her.

“Leave her to me, Stan.” Ryan said, shocking everyone.

“Ryan…” The warning in Jeremy’s voice was clear.

Ryan turned to face Jeremy. “If I’m the alpha’s mate, and I always have to stand aside whilst people handle my shit for me, will I ever gain the respect of the pack?” He asked quietly. “Would you respect me? Already, you don’t.” He said bitterly, noting the regret that flashed across Jeremy’s face. “Allow me to stand up for myself.” With that, an extremely angry Ryan started towards Katie.

“Good.” Katie said as she watched Ryan walk towards her. “Let’s get this over and done with, Pussy Boy.” She began to strip, her intentions clear to everyone present. She was going to fight in her wolf form.

A collective gasp went up from the people gathered, not only at Katie’s words, but also at how she intended to fight. They’d already heard that the alpha’s mate hadn’t been able to defend himself against Camille. The alpha had to step in to save Ryan. A still shocked Camille had already told some friends of hers what had happened on campus. And the news had already spread like wildfire. So seeing a seasoned warrior such as Katie get ready to fight Ryan struck fear into the people. Some screamed. Philip shifted instantly, ruining his clothes. Gloria’s hands clutching at her chest whilst Stan reached for a gun filled with silver bullets which he always kept inside his boots for rogues. Jeremy stood quietly, his heart pounding inside his chest, his wolf going crazy inside him. But he kept his cool. He had to trust his mate. Ryan was right. If he was going to gain any respect from the pack, he had to show them that he was strong enough to rule beside their alpha.

Pussy Boy? Really? The double meaning of that name wasn’t lost on Ryan. He didn’t need to be a genius to get the meaning behind the name. Obviously Katie was not only referring to the fact that he was Jeremy’s bitch, but also to the fact that he hadn’t been able to fight Camille. Ryan got so furious he began to shake.

“Stand down everyone.” Jeremy commanded, shocking not only his friends and mother, but also the people gathered around watching the showdown. And it was quite a number of people.

“She’s a warrior, Alpha.” Stan rasped, his eyes widening with dread as he watched Katie leap towards Ryan, shifting midair. “Oh god, Jeremy.”

“Stand down!” Jeremy repeated.

Ryan’s eyes followed the she-wolf hurtling towards him. He could tell from the gasps and screams from some of the people gathered that they were scared for him. Ryan knew he should be terrified but somehow…surprisingly, he rather felt a sudden energy and calm fill him. He felt himself raising his hand…almost as if everything was happening in slow motion. And then to his amazement, the wolf, which was still in motion…hurtling towards him, froze midair. Ryan heard the shocked murmur that went up from the people gathered but didn’t even turn to look at them. His gaze was riveted on the whining wolf which dangled midair as if it was being held up by invisible ropes. To say Ryan himself was shocked would be too mild a statement. He didn’t waste time dwelling on it though. He would later, but at that very moment, he needed to tell Katie his piece. Ryan Hicks was no pussy boy.

“Katie…right?” Ryan said with a tilt of his head. “I’ve always been a gentleman, darling. And a gentleman doesn’t fight ladies. The other thing is that I actually feel silly talking to a wolf though I know you can hear me. Last but not least, I’m a very reasonable person so I want to give you the chance to talk back. So I’m going to humbly ask you to shift back.”

With that, Ryan slowly brought his raised hand down, lowering Katie’s wolf to the ground. The wolf immediately shifted to a naked Katie. Although she didn’t look frozen anymore, she didn’t look like she was going to move from where she stood.

“Now I know you werewolves don’t mind nudity.” Ryan said. “I’m one now, but I do mind and I don’t think it’s fair to the lady to remain nude whilst every other person is covered. Can someone please…” Even before he could complete what he was saying, his friend, Clara appeared beside Katie with a kaftan which she gave to Katie. “Thank you Clara.” Ryan said with a quick smile in Clara’s direction.

“What are you going to do to me?” Katie asked after pulling on the kaftan. There was a note of fear in her voice. But then, who wouldn’t be terrified if a mere werewolf was exhibiting so much power?

“Nothing.” Ryan shrugged, moving closer to Katie. “Like I said, I don’t fight ladies. Besides I’m thinking you probably want to earn respect or points or whatever, from the pack by…taking me on. I understand. Really, I do.” Ryan’s intense green eyes bore into Katie’s. He neither looked angry nor amused. But the power emanating from him could be felt by everyone present. “Just a word of caution though.” He took a pause…for effect. “Don’t fuck with me.”

With that chilling caution, Ryan walked right past a stunned and shaky Katie, and entered the foyer. He didn’t use the elevator. He went directly to the stairs and actually got to the twelfth floor faster than an elevator would have. He began to strip even before he got to his room. And he was under the shower even before his door slammed shut. And as the water poured over him from all six showerheads, Ryan’s silent tears mingled with it. What had he become? Could wolves act the way he’d just acted? He didn’t think so. Gloria hadn’t told him anything of that sort. Besides, he could feel the shock from the people gathered. But it had felt so natural, not to mention exhilarating. He could still feel the adrenaline pumping through his veins. What was happening to him? What kind of monster was he turning into? He’d hated seeing the humiliation on that beautiful lady’s face. Was that what he’d become now? Someone who wielded a lot of power and used it to humiliate others? Although he felt Katie hadn’t given him much choice, he still hated what he’d done to her.

Jeremy was in Ryan’s room, leaning against the door with his arms folded across him chest when Ryan came out of the bathroom with a towel wrapped around his waist. He didn’t miss Ryan’s slightly reddened eyes when their eyes met briefly. He didn’t have to be a genius to know that Ryan had been crying.

“Are you okay?” Jeremy’s voice was gruff with concern. He was still shaken by the power Ryan had displayed downstairs.

But Ryan headed for the closet without answering him. He pulled on boxer briefs under the towel around his waist, and then went back to the bathroom to hang the towel. When he came back to the room, he went to pull on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. Then he went to sit behind the huge mahogany desk in the room.

“How many more must I expect?” He asked quietly whilst booting his computer. “Two attacks alrea…”

“Three.” Jeremy cut in. “Mum went to…fight one before she came to the hospital to see you.”

“Really? She didn’t look like someone who’d been in a fight.” Ryan said, searching for a document on the computer as if he was not under attack. “Do I take it your…lover is okay?”

“Ex…lover.” Jeremy rasped. “I hear both of her arms are broken.” He shrugged.

“Ouch.”

“She’ll heal.”

“Sucks to be her.” Ryan muttered staring at the screen. “Is she also as hot as the other two?”

“Ryan…”

“What? You want me to trash-talk your lovers?” Ryan abruptly got to his feet. He looked restless. “Where’s your mum?”

“Downstairs.” Jeremy responded. “Why?”

“I want to go for a run with her.”

“This is not a good time Ryan.” Jeremy groaned, rubbing his eyes. “Besides, you heard the doctor. You need…”

“I’m fine.”

“You don’t look fine to me.” Jeremy said softly as he watched Ryan shutting down the computer. He could clearly see that his mate wasn’t himself. All that power must surely feel unsettling. Jeremy wanted to hug him so bad but he just knew Ryan wouldn’t welcome it. He was still angry at him for the way he’d spoken to him at the hospital.

“You just have to take me for my word, don’t you?” Ryan bent to buckle his sandals and headed for the door. “Later.” He threw over his shoulder.

“Ryan?”

Ryan paused at the door with a hand on the handle. He didn’t turn to look at Jeremy. “What?”

“Please answer me when I communicate on our link.” Jeremy said hoarsely. “I know you can take care of yourself but…please.” He whispered.

Without answering, Ryan left the room and his worried mate.

***

‘I hear you broke someone’s arms.’ Ryan murmured.

The wolves of the elderly warrior and the alpha’s mate were lying beneath a tree, relaxing after sharing a deer after a long run.

Gloria snorted. ‘She’s had it coming for years. Trust me. What mother would be okay with her son fucking someone her age? Bitch had the nerve to tell me she planned on killing you. On hindsight I should have made her come and face you.’ Gloria chuckled. ‘What you did to Katie… Damn!’

‘That was awful.’ Ryan groaned.

‘That was badass.’ The brown wolf laughed.

‘What was that?’ Ryan groaned. ‘Am I okay? Jeremy told me I would gain some abilities after he marks me. But he hasn’t even done that. Is something wrong with me?’ The white wolf sounded worried.

‘You’re perfect hon. You’re the alpha’s mate. And a powerful alpha at that. Don’t be shocked at anything.’

‘It sure did feel good though.’ Ryan sighed. ‘Thanks Gloria. For taking care of the other…lady, whoever she is. I hope she’s fine though.’ He said quietly. ‘I hate the idea of people getting hurt because of me. Katie…I could feel her humiliation. And I hated it. Even Camille… She could have killed me if she really wanted to. And I could feel her regret afterwards.’ Ryan sighed. ‘Jeremy says there’re going to be more attacks.’

‘From what I saw you do today, you can handle any attack with cheeky ease darling.’ Gloria said with so much pride in her voice.

‘Yeah, but I’d rather I didn’t have to handle any at all.’ Ryan groaned. Both wolves went quiet, lost in their own thoughts, till Ryan broke it. ‘Tell me what happens during a mating ceremony.’ He asked softly. She’d already explained sometime back that a mating ceremony was for only alphas who found their mates.

‘Ryan, Jeremy doesn’t want you to feel you have to…’

‘Yeah, but his ladies won’t give me a break. Your son sure does know how to pick em, Ma’am.’ Ryan said, making Gloria burst into laughter.

‘Tell me about it.’ Gloria laughed.

‘I just want it all to stop. Then I can also go about my work in peace. Tell me about the ceremony please.’

‘Well it’s actually a celebration. If you must know, the whole pack is already looking forward to it.’ She grinned. ‘It begins by you picking any warrior of your choice to fight. Some people pick their mates. But like I said, the choice is yours. If you defeat the warrior, the alpha will declare you the winner and then present you to the High Priestess for blessings from Luna. Then he will proceed to show everyone just how proud he is of you.’

‘And if I’m defeated?’

‘That’s not going to happen because your mate will step right in and save the day if he feels you’re in trouble.’ Gloria laughed. ‘Then he’ll still proceed to declare you the winner, present you to the High Priestess for blessings and…show how much he appreciates you.’

‘And what if I pick my mate to fight me? What then?’

‘He’ll let you win. And still show how proud…’

‘You keep adding that showing how proud he is bit. How exactly is he going to show…’

‘He’ll have sex with you Ryan.’ Gloria sighed. ‘Right there, in front of the whole pack.’

‘Oh my fucking god!’ Ryan gasped. ‘You must be kidding me.’

‘I kid you not, honey. He will mark you during the act, to show you’re his. The way he takes you will show the pack how much he cares for you, wants you and how happy he’s going to make you.’

‘Sex does not mean happiness, Gloria.’

‘Wait till you’re given great sex.’ Gloria muttered, making Ryan thank his stars he was in his wolf form. His whole body would have turned bright red in embarrassment if he were human.

‘That is preposterous.’ Ryan couldn’t believe what he was hearing. The whole pack would see his dicks. He couldn’t have that. ‘With all the pubs…’

‘No, Ryan. Only wolves from twenty-one going up will be present.’

‘That doesn’t make me feel any better.’ Ryan muttered. ‘Then after the sex, what?’

‘The various heads will pledge their loyalty to you by kissing the back of your hand. The heads of the warriors, sentinels, hunters, assassins, medics, scouts, pup watchers, and the omegas. Each Beta and Elder would have to pledge to you though, not just their heads. Though they’re supposed to kiss the back of your hand, some naughty ones may choose to lick you wherever they want to. It’s allowed. It’s fun and celebration.’

‘That’s outrageous.’ Ryan muttered.

‘Wait till they do it.’ Gloria laughed. ‘You’d wish everyone would actually take a lick instead of a mere kiss to the hand. The whole idea is to catch your scent and keep it. There are more potent places to catch a werewolf’s scent than the back of the hand if you ask me.’ She drawled.

The white wolf’s eyes went wide. Everyone knew which part of the body was more potent. ‘You think people will actually…’

‘Honey, we’re werewolves. We thrive on getting down and dirty.’

‘Shit.’

‘So after all those kisses and lick, which will probably cause another bout of intercourse, the official part of the ceremony would be over. Then the real fun will begin. It’s actually a short ceremony but fun-packed. Will begin around five p.m. and end the following day with virtually everyone passed out.’

‘I see. No exchange of rings?’

Gloria laughed. ‘If you want a ring, tell Jeremy to get you one. We don’t do rings.’

‘I was just asking, jeez.’ Ryan muttered. ‘Besides, I don’t need anything from him.’

‘Settle down, sweetie. Everything of his automatically becomes yours too, after the ceremony.’

‘How do you mean?’

‘Just what I said. We’re supernatural beings. And that ceremony is the highest level of bonding. What did you expect?’

A shiver slithered down Ryan’s spine at the ‘highest level of bonding’ part. He couldn’t help the image that flashed through his head, of Jeremy fucking him.

‘Christ, Gloria, I don’t…I don’t think I can…take your son again.’ Ryan whispered, grateful again that he was in his wolf form. ‘He’s…ugh…I’m sure you know what he’s packing seeing as you lot don’t mind nudity and all. If the pack expects to see happiness on my face, I think they’re in for great disappointment because I can’t pretend to love it when that thing is destroying me.’ Not to mention the fact that his own dicks will be on display.

‘Ryan, I said he has to prove to his people that he can make you happy. So let him worry about that okay. How he makes you enjoy it is not your headache. You’re just going to.’

Ryan didn’t know what to do. Knowing what he knew at that moment, could he still go through with the ceremony? If he wanted the attacks to stop, he had to do it. If he wanted the violence and humiliation of pack members because of him to stop, he had to go through with the ceremony. Why make enemies when it could be avoided. If he wanted to be able to go to work in peace, he had to do it. He couldn’t risk some crazy lover hurting any of his students. If he wanted to be able to move about freely, he had to do it. The thought of no bodyguards was too good to pass on. Basically if he wanted his life back, he had to stop thinking about his dread of Jeremy’s dick and the dread of displaying his dicks for all to see, and simply get marked.

‘Fuck. The mark…it hurt like a son-of-a-bitch that time Jeremy bit me.’ Ryan gasped, remembering the excruciating pain he’d had to endure.

‘This time, it’s going to be the sweetest pain ever.’ Gloria said wistfully. ‘You’ve never experienced anything more intense and sweet, Ryan. Thrust me. You’ll probably beg him to bite you every day after that. It’s going to be an experience you’re not going to forget for as long as you live. Get ready to get your mind blown.’

‘Shit.’ Ryan buried his face between his front paws. Just the thought of what Gloria described was making him hard. ‘Are you going to be there?’

Gloria chuckled. ‘Don’t worry, I’ll leave after the blessings. The members of the council usually leave after the blessing if they want to. Seeing how the thought of my presence bothers you, I’ll definitely leave.’ Gloria couldn’t mask her amusement.

‘I appreciate it. Thanks.’ Ryan muttered.

‘So you’re going to do it?’ Gloria was actually surprised.

‘What choice do I have?’ Ryan sighed.

‘You always have a choice Ryan.’

‘Fight those women till one of them finally sends me into the afterlife?’

Gloria laughed, but then sobered up and said quietly; ‘Or reject him.’

Ryan gasped at the sharp pain that flashed through him at the thought. ‘That’s not an option.’ He said breathlessly. He knew then, that Jeremy was already a part of him. And there was no way he could destroy part of himself.

‘Thanks Ryan.’ Gloria said shakily.

‘Thank you, Gloria.’ Ryan knew that Gloria would have been in tears had she been human at that very moment.

The white wolf moved closer to the brown wolf and quietly cuddled against her for hours till it was time to leave.

“Talk to Jeremy.” Gloria walked slowly beside Ryan as they left the woods. “You’ll have to meet the council. I’ll arrange for a meeting tomorrow morning.”

“Why do we have to meet them?” Ryan asked, taking a leaf out of Gloria’s hair.

“Jeremy needs to officially introduce you to us. Then you have to tell us about your plans. Like…when you want the ceremony to take place and whether we’re okay with the time.”

“Okay. But I want it to be done tomorrow.” Ryan said with all seriousness. “The earlier, the better Gloria. I want all these attacks to stop. For as long as they continue, your son is not going to allow me to go anywhere on my own.”

“Honey, you have both my good self and Joel on the council.” Gloria drawled. “That ceremony will take place tomorrow if that’s what you want darling.”

“You’re an angel.” Ryan kissed Gloria on the cheek. “Thanks.”

“Anytime sweetie. I’ll call you in the morning to let you know the time for the meeting, okay?”

“Sure. Thanks Gloria.”

“That name had better change after the ceremony.” Gloria growled, making Ryan laugh.

And as he rode the elevator to his floor, Ryan was filled with indefinable relief. Although he was still pissed off at Jeremy for the way he treated him at the hospital earlier that day, he couldn’t wait to tell him his news. For once, he was going to say something to his mate that he knew would make him happy. Ryan couldn’t wait.

When the elevator door finally opened, however, Ryan froze at what he saw! Right there in front of him stood a virtually naked Jeremy, with his fingers tangled in the hair of a very naked female whilst the two of them stared intently into each other’s eyes.

Rage and pain slammed into Ryan, pushing him to the raw edge of violence. He couldn’t have suppressed the angry growl that tore out of his throat even if his life had depended on it.

***

Jeremy hadn’t even heard the ping of the elevator because he was too engrossed in what he was doing…compelling Isabel to leave his mate alone. When he heard Ryan’s angry growl, he felt his blood turn cold in his veins because he knew how the scene of him and the naked Isabel must have looked to his mate. Fuck! But before he could even speak, Isabel was torn forcefully from his grasp so fast it was almost a blur. He heard her terrified whimper and turned his head to see Isabel, held against the wall by an invisible force. She couldn’t break free. Jeremy turned his eyes on his mate. This time, his hand wasn’t even up as it had been with Katie. Ryan was holding Isabel with his mind.

“Ryan, it’s not what you think.” Jeremy said gently. “Let her go.”

“What am I thinking?” Ryan asked with dangerous softness, his eyes on Isabel.

“I…I don’t know.” Jeremy gasped when it finally dawned on him. Ryan had blocked him out. Though they were linked, he couldn’t read Ryan’s thoughts because his mate had finally figured out how to block people out of his head. And just when he needed to know what his beautiful mate was thinking too. Just great! “I don’t need to read your mind to know what you’re thinking Ryan.”

Isabel’s whimpers turned into painful groans. “Ahh…he’s crushing my bones Alpha.” She cried in pain.

“Ryan let her go now.” Jeremy breathed, getting extremely worried. “If you hurt her, you’ll never forgive yourself.” He took a step towards Ryan.

“Do I look like I care?” Ryan asked quietly. All he wanted to do was destroy the woman who had dared come after his man.

“You do, Ryan.” Jeremy began to panic when Isabel’s cries of pain increased. “Please don’t. I’ll explain what you saw. But only after you trust enough, to let her go. You can do it baby. Please.” The alpha didn’t even notice the endearment that fell naturally from his lips.

“But I know what I saw.” Ryan growled, his breath coming out harshly.

“And you know me.” Jeremy answered. “Go with your gut.”

Ryan suddenly looked like he couldn’t catch his breath. He began to pant harshly through parted lips. Isabel fell to the ground and moaned her relief. Ryan finally turned his head to look at Jeremy with terrified eyes. He couldn’t believe what he’d done. Jeremy quickly closed the distance between them, cupped Ryan’s cheeks in his palms, and covered his mouth with his. The alpha’s intention wasn’t to kiss his mate. He breathed with him. When Ryan got his breathing back under control, Jeremy wrapped his arms around him and just held him.

“What have I become?” Ryan whispered against Jeremy’s neck. “I could have killed her. I wanted to kill her. Oh my god. What’s happening to me?”

“You were angry.” Jeremy soothed. “She’ll be fine.” Then Jeremy raised his head to look at a miserable looking Isabel. He’d never thought someone like Isabel would feel compelled to attack Ryan too. She was an omega for fuck’s sake. They were not violent. Besides, she was a really gentle person…nothing like Jeremy’s usual preference. “Are you okay, Isabel?” At her nod, Jeremy gave a sigh of relief. “Get out of here.”

“She’s naked Jeremy.” Ryan said, stepping out of Jeremy’s embrace. He took out his keycard and opened his door. “Come in Isabel. I’ll give you something to wear.”

The girl looked shocked. She looked up at her alpha with wide eyes. At his encouraging nod, she stood up and followed Ryan into his room. Jeremy entered too and closed the door behind him. Then he watched as Ryan took out a pair of sweatpants and a t-shirt out of his closet and handed them to Isabel who quickly pulled them on.

“Thanks.” Isabel said in a small voice when she finished dressing. “I’m sorry I came to fight you.” Her shaky voice was barely above a whisper. It was obvious she was close tears.

“I’m sorry I hurt you.” Ryan said quietly. “But know that he’s mine. And I don’t want to share him with anyone.”

“No one would want to if he were theirs.” Isabel said quietly. Then she turned to face Jeremy but wouldn’t even meet his eyes. “I’m sorry alpha.”

“Take care of yourself Isabel.” Jeremy said softly.

They both watched Isabel hastily leave the room. Then Ryan folded his arms across his chest and glared at Jeremy.

“Care to tell me why you were all over a naked woman?”

“What do you mean I was all over…” Jeremy sighed. “She wanted to attack you too, Ryan. I was only compelling her to forget about you and go home.”

“With her naked and you in fucking boxer briefs?” Ryan stared pointedly at the ridiculously large bulge at Jeremy’s groin. At least he didn’t look hard. “Was that the only way you could compel her?”

“You know being naked in our world is not really a big deal Ryan.”

“Well, put yourself in my shoes, darling.” Ryan’s sarcasm wasn’t lost on Jeremy. “She’s naked, you’re like that, you’re staring into each other’s eyes like you’re about to lock lips…”

“The only lips I’d like mine to be locked with are yours, Ryan.” Jeremy said softly. “And the sooner you get that into your head the better for all of us.” He fixed his intent gaze on Ryan for a moment before explaining; “Her brother called to tell me she was going into the woods to…deal with you.” Jeremy couldn’t suppress his amused smile at the thought of Isabel dealing with his mate. “Mum would have killed her, Ryan. She’s an omega. Well, she has a gift of copying but she’s still an omega and therefore of lower rank. And the thought of her attacking someone like you would have pissed mum off royally. Philip too would have killed her if he’d gotten wind of it. So I had to act. I opened my link to her and asked her to come here.”

“So you have links with all your lovers.” Ryan couldn’t believe how jealous he was. It was a shitty feeling.

“I have links with everyone in my pack.” Jeremy said slowly and loudly as if he was talking to someone who was dumb.

“Don’t.” Ryan bristled at his mate’s patronizing tone. “Don’t do that.”

“Sorry.” Jeremy had the grace to look guilty. “My plan was to meet her downstairs and compel her out of whatever plan she had. But the silly girl tricked Clara. She entered as you, making Clara think it was you coming up. I was waiting for Clara to call to tell me she was here so…” He pointed at himself, referring to his state of undress. “Then I smelt her…right out here, and rushed out. When she saw me, she panicked and shifted into her wolf, destroying the clothes she…you…she was wearing.” Jeremy groaned. “Her plan was probably to wait for you to come out of the elevator directly into a full attack. I commanded her to shift back and compelled her…just as you came out and found us.” He sighed. “I can never cheat on you Ryan. You should know that by now. You said it yourself. You own me.”

Ryan snorted. “That just came out. I don’t know why I said that.”

“Because it’s true and you know it.” Jeremy went to stand in front of Ryan and drew his head to his chest. “Are you okay?” He pressed a kiss against his silky white hair.

“You make me crazy.” Ryan growled softly, making the alpha smile. “You could have compelled her in her wolf form. She didn’t have to be naked in your arms.”

“Trust me, that would have been more intimate.” Jeremy explained. “I didn’t want that.”

Ryan nodded. “We need to talk.” He sighed.

“You’re too tensed up. Come on, we’ll sit in the Jacuzzi and talk. It will soothe your tense muscles.” Jeremy started towards the connecting door.

“I’ll just brush my teeth and…” He could still taste the deer he’d shared with Gloria in his mouth. “Jeremy?” Ryan called softly.

“Yes Ryan?” Jeremy stopped and turned his head to look at Ryan.

“I’ll appreciate it for you stop barking orders at me.” Ryan said quietly. “I’m not your servant or some troublesome kid who needs to be ordered around. We’re the same age in case you’ve forgotten. I didn’t like what you did at the hospital. It was humiliating and…annoying. I may question your directives, state my opinion…it doesn’t mean I’m disrespecting you. I’m a teacher, Jeremy. I research. I ask questions. Why do we have to do it this way and not that way? I want to understand everything. That’s just the way I am. Though you are the alpha and all, I expect to be accorded some respect just as I’m sure you expect to be respected. I hope that’s not too much to ask.”

“No it’s not.” Jeremy said in a low voice as he turned fully around. “I’m sorry for how I acted earlier.” Jeremy didn’t think it was necessary to outline his reasons. “It won’t happen again.”

At Ryan’s nod, the alpha turned around and disappeared through the door.

***

Ryan sat in the Jacuzzi with his eyes closed in pleasure, listening to Jeremy’s voice as he spoke to someone on phone. Jeremy was on the phone when Ryan had come in with a towel around his waist. He’d gestured for him to go into the bathroom whilst he continued his conversation. There was an opened bottle of Krug Clos d’Ambonnay with two filled glasses on the ledge of the Jacuzzi when Ryan entered Jeremy’s huge bathroom. He’d sat back in the bubbling water and helped himself to the smooth, expensive champagne although he wasn’t really a fan of alcohol. But he’d been through a lot that day, Ryan thought. A little booze wouldn’t hurt, he told himself. And so far, Ryan was loving both the champagne and the exquisite feel of the massaging heat against his body. He didn’t even notice when Jeremy stopped talking.

“Feels good doesn’t it?” Ryan heard Jeremy right beside him and opened his eyes.

“Feels great.” He purred, pointing at the bottle of champagne. “Trying to get me drunk?”

“I have no ulterior motive here if that’s what you’re driving at.” Jeremy drained his own glass and climbed inside, opposite Ryan without taking off his boxer briefs.

The alpha knew that those boxers could definitely not hide his erection if he got one. But he just wanted to make an effort to conceal it…when it eventually reared its head as he knew it would. Hell, he was in a Jacuzzi with the most gorgeous guy on earth. An erection was a given.

“Champagne.” Ryan murmured. “Care to tell me what we’re celebrating?”

“My badass mate.” Jeremy grinned. “All that use of power today…you sure you’re okay?”

“I’m fine. I honestly thought there was something wrong with me. But Gloria says I’m fine.” Ryan took a sip of his champagne. “She said because I’m your mate, these things…shouldn’t be strange.”

Yeah right! Jeremy thought to himself. Blame it on the Ojah Alpha, Mama. “She’s the elder.” Jeremy shrugged. “How did it feel? Using all that power… Seeing yourself in total control like that…”

Ryan gave a deep sign. “It felt…natural. I felt like I could do anything. I was in control the whole time. I knew I could stop at any point.” Ryan said. “But it also made me hate myself.” He added quietly.

“At least you were in control.” Jeremy mumbled with a faraway look in his eyes.

Ryan couldn’t help the pity he felt for Jeremy at his words. He could imagine how disturbing it would be not to be in control of your actions. “Sorry.” He murmured.

“I’m used to it.” Jeremy said quietly. “Just make sure you never allow it to control you okay? Hey, are you okay?” Jeremy asked with worry when he saw Ryan’s eyes close and his head begin to fall back.

“I think I’m getting drunk.”

“No, you’re not. It takes a lot for a werewolf to get drunk. You’re nowhere near there.” Jeremy said.

“Dude, I don’t drink much. In fact I hardly do. This is sorta going straight to my head.”

Jeremy turned his head to look at the bottle of champagne and let out a whistle. “You must really like this then.” He chuckled. The bottle was already down to half. Ryan had obviously taken in a lot.

“Oh it’s good. In fact everything feels good.” Ryan raised his head to take another sip. “Thanks for suggesting this.”

“What did you want to talk to me about?” Jeremy relaxed and watched Ryan from beneath his lashes.

But instead of answering, Ryan slipped down into the bubbly water for about two seconds and then came out, laughing at the look on Jeremy’s face.

“Oh my God, you are drunk.” Jeremy watched as Ryan drained the glass. “Okay, that’s it. No more champagne for you. Come here.”

Jeremy leaned in and drew his mate to him, making him sit between his legs so that Ryan’s back was plastered against his front. When Jeremy wrapped his arms around Ryan’s waist from behind, he gave a sigh of contentment and leaned the back of his head on Jeremy’s shoulder.

“Damn, you feel so fucking good against me.” Ryan murmured, closing his eyes.

“Hey, don’t sleep.” Jeremy chuckled. “Time for you to tell…”

“I want us to go through the mating ceremony.” Ryan blurted out.

Jeremy froze. That was the last thing he’d expected to hear from his mate. “Is that the booze talking or…”

“Dude, I’m not that drunk.” Ryan drawled. “I’m serious.”

“Are you sure?” Jeremy wanted nothing more but he couldn’t help but feel Ryan was not ready for it.

“I thought that was what you wanted.” Ryan retorted but without anger.

“What do you want?” Jeremy shot back.

“I want us to do it.” Ryan said simply.

“What are your reasons?”

“Why do I get the feeling you’re trying to talk me out of it?”

“I’m doing no such thing.” Jeremy protested firmly. “I only want to know the reason for the change of heart.”

“That scene with you and that naked woman alone should make me change my mind, don’t you think?”

Jeremy turned his head to look at Ryan’s relaxed face. His eyes were drawn as if by magnet to Ryan’s full lips. Fuck he wanted to kiss those lips so bad. Jeremy looked away.

“Give me your other reasons.” Jeremy insisted. Going through the mating ceremony was a huge step. And he definitely didn’t want Ryan regretting it afterwards because that would be even more devastating to his wolf.

“Okay, here goes.” Ryan started. “I want the attacks to stop. I don’t want to make enemies with your…with pack members. I hate moving around with a bodyguard. I don’t want any avoidable incidents in school. I hate not doing what’s expected of me. Did I say how much I hate moving around with a bodyguard?”

“Uh-huh.”

“Don’t get me wrong…I love Vincent. I just want to be free to go and come as I please. Are those enough reasons or you want more?”

“That makes sense.” Jeremy said. “But I…”

“I’m ready to do this with you, Jeremy.” Ryan said quietly. “I…you’re a part of me now. I might as well have it all. I want to know how it feels like to be really mated to you.”

“You can’t take it back if you decide you don’t like it after going through it.”

“I don’t plan on changing my mind. I want this.” He whispered, wincing when Jeremy’s arms suddenly tightened around him. “Oooh ease up.” Ryan murmured, tapping Jeremy’s arm to get him to loosen his hold.

“Sorry.” Jeremy whispered throatily as he turned his head and buried his face in Ryan’s wet hair. He began to lightly rub Ryan’s flesh to soothe the pain his squeezing had caused.

Ryan could feel Jeremy shaking against him, knew how overwhelming his acceptance had been to the alpha, and remained quiet to enable Jeremy process the news. They sat that way…in silence, for a long moment, with Jeremy absentmindedly rubbing Ryan’s skin. But the fact that Jeremy was only trying to soothe the flesh he’d squeezed didn’t register in Ryan’s brain. Each languid stroke, rather than soothe Ryan, was beginning to arouse him unbearably. He knew that the bubbling water wouldn’t hide his growing arousal for long. Shit!

Jeremy finally broke the silence. “Do you know what the ceremony entails?” He asked, raising his head from where it had been buried in Ryan’s head.

“Gloria told me all about it this evening. She’s going to set up a meeting with the council so that you can officially introduce me tomorrow. Hopefully they’ll allow us to do it tomorrow.”

“Are you sure you want this?” Jeremy asked shakily. “The pack will…see you.”

Ryan knew exactly what Jeremy was talking about. He turned his head and looked up at the side of Jeremy’s face. “I know.” He said quietly. “It’s okay. Just try not to hurt me too much.” He said in a small voice.

Jeremy turned his head to look at his mate’s face. “You have my word.” Came his hoarse whisper.

“I’ll hold you to it.” Ryan answered in a voice as smoky as the look in his eyes. “So…do we shake or kiss on it?” He asked huskily, his heavy-lidded eyes hot on Jeremy’s mouth.

“What do you want?” The alpha husked, the blatant arousal in his mate’s eyes stirring a deep craving inside him.

“I want to kiss you so fucking bad right now.” Ryan whispered, swallowing hard.

“What’s stopping you?” Jeremy breathed.

That was all the encouragement Ryan needed. He turned around and straddled Jeremy. There was no time for words. He cupped the alpha’s face and slanted his lips over his. The kiss started out soft and slow, with Jeremy allowing Ryan to lead. But when Ryan slid his hot, wet tongue between Jeremy’s lips, the kiss became something else. Boy did he kiss the alpha. Ryan probed deep, running his tongue along the ridge of Jeremy’s teeth, the roof of his mouth and then finally sucking erotically on Jeremy’s tongue. Jeremy was so shocked at the intense ripple of delight that streaked down his spine he moaned hoarsely into the kiss. His senses reeled as desire pumped through him.

“Fuck!” Jeremy growled, tearing his lips from Ryan’s. Deep blue eyes stared into lust-glazed green ones, both men breathing hard. Jeremy didn’t know what to think. For an inexperienced person, Ryan was hotter than hell. The man’s mouth set fire to his senses. Jeremy had never wanted anyone as much as he wanted Ryan that very moment. “Damn Ryan…” With that husky whisper, Jeremy leaned forward to claim and devour his mate’s moist mouth. He kissed Ryan senseless.

Maybe it was because skin was touching skin, or it was the excitement brought on by their upcoming mating ceremony… But that kiss was more intimate, intense and explosive than any of their previously shared kisses. They both wanted it…wanted that rush that kissing each other never failed to bring. It was wild and mind-numbingly good. When Ryan began to unconsciously gyrate against the rock hard cock beneath his arse, Jeremy groaned as though he was in pain. The alpha tore his mouth away with a gasp, his eyes wild.

“Don’t do that.” Jeremy gasped breathlessly against Ryan’s swollen lips. “I don’t want to lose control.”

“I’m sorry.” Ryan whimpered, his eyes fluttering shut. “But I need to…” Even as he spoke his hand slipped between them to grasp his hard throbbing dicks. “I…” He trailed off when Jeremy pulled his hand off his dicks. “Jer, please…” Ryan sounded desperate. “I can go to my room if…”

“You’re not going anywhere Ryan.” Jeremy rasped. “You beat off too fucking much.”

“Jeremy…”

“Let’s try something else. Tell me what you enjoy doing to yourself besides beating off.”

“Christ, Jeremy this is not the time…”

“Hey?” Jeremy leaned his forehead against Ryan’s. “Look at me.” He whispered and waited till Ryan open lust-glazed eyes and stared into his. “Tell me. Apart from these bad boys,” he rubbed his thumb against both slick tips, drawing a tortured gasp from Ryan, “what other part of your body do you love touching?” Jeremy pressed a soft kiss against Ryan’s temple. “Tell me.” He whispered, tracing the outer shell of Ryan’s ear with his tongue.

“Oh god.” Ryan emitted a sputtering cry as his eyes fluttered shut again. “Jer…” His broken whisper was filled with hunger.

“Tell me.” Jeremy started to nibble gently on the edge of Ryan’s ear, his fingers lightly…sensuously stroking his back the whole time.

“My nipples.” Ryan whispered, feeling his heartbeat accelerate. The sound of Jeremy’s voice, his words, his touch… The Alpha was driving him crazy…in a sensual way.

“Good.” Jeremy’s warm breath tickled Ryan’s earlobe. “How about we try to get you off without touching these guys?”

“That’s not possible.” Ryan couldn’t recognize his own voice. He felt…drunk on lust.

“From what I’ve read, it is actually.” Jeremy reached out and traced a circle around one of Ryan’s pebbled nipple, loving the uncontrollable moan that tore out of Ryan. “So responsive.” He lowered his head so that his breath gusted hot over a nipple. “Just let yourself go and feel.” With that seductive directive, Jeremy stroked his rough tongue across a turgid peak in a long, leisurely lick.

“Oh fuck!” Ryan shuddered as if liquid electricity had been poured into his veins. He’d always had really sensitive nipples. And the sensations he felt from Jeremy’s tongue was too delicious he felt short of breath. Then as if that wasn’t breath-stealing enough, Jeremy bit down lightly on the nipple. “Jer… Oh god…” Ryan trailed off when Jeremy drew the distended nipple into his warm mouth and began to suck on it with rhythmic pulls. Ryan couldn’t believe the intensity of pleasure that assailed his senses with each pull. “Ahhh…” The sensations that Jeremy’s mouth on his nipple brought was like nothing Ryan had ever felt.

Jeremy licked, sucked and worried the taut flesh in his mouth relentlessly, loving the ecstatic sounds pouring out of Ryan’s mouth. His own nipples were not at all sensitive so Ryan’s reaction was both interesting and exciting to see. He would scrape his teeth over the nub, bite down on it gently, then soothe the sweet sting by rubbing the tip of his tongue back and forth across the nub whilst simultaneously pulling and rolling the other with his fingers. He was driving Ryan crazy and he knew it. Jeremy pulled off the hardened flesh and blew on it, feeling Ryan tremble.

“Like it?” Jeremy murmured, closing his lips around the other nipple.

“You know I do.” Ryan whimpered breathlessly as his hands went to Jeremy’s head to hold him to his chest. “Please don’t stop…oh god…” He gave a shocked gasp. Whatever Jeremy was doing to that flesh in his mouth felt so good Ryan couldn’t suppress his cries and whimpers of ecstasy. His whole body bucked violently against Jeremy, causing the sensitive rough underside of his dicks to rub deliciously against the hairs on Jeremy’s ripped tummy. “So good…” Ryan cried out his pleasure unashamedly as he writhed in Jeremy’s lap. He was so fucking close to coming…and he hadn’t even touched his dicks.

Jeremy expertly worked those hardened peaks till Ryan was reduced to a quivering mess. But even as he sent Ryan into a meltdown with his mouth, his mind was on what he’d taken great pains to learn about the male body and how to give his mate the ultimate pleasure. He hoped he didn’t disappoint Ryan and himself.

“I’m close…” Ryan moaned brokenly. “So close…”

Jeremy released the flesh in his mouth and raised his head to look at his beautiful mate’s blissed-out face, ignoring his whimper of protest.

“Do you trust me, Ryan?” He asked, dropping a kiss against Ryan’s parted lips.

“You know I do.” Ryan squirmed on Jeremy’s lap, feeling that stiff length beneath his arse. “Jer…”

“Hey, stop that.” Jeremy growled, tightening his hold on Ryan to still his movement. This was about his mate and not him. He didn’t plan on giving his own painfully hard cock any relief so he’d rather Ryan didn’t make his situation any more unbearable. “I’m going to try something.” Jeremy kissed Ryan’s eyes. “Tell me if it hurts and I’ll stop immediately.” He kissed the tip of his nose. “Do I make myself clear?” His lips hovered over Ryan’s…waiting for his response.

“Crystal.” Ryan whispered and then moaned when his lips were captured and devoured. Fuck, the guy could kiss, Ryan thought, totally dazed.

“Good.” Jeremy murmured against Ryan’s kiss-swollen lips, then he bent his head and took a nipple into his mouth again.

“Holy hell…” Ryan’s head fell back as he moaned. He loved it when Jeremy bit that taut flesh. It felt so damn good. If only he could stroke… “Oh yes…” He almost sobbed his relief when he felt Jeremy’s hand brushing against his dicks. Jeremy was going to stroke him to completion after all. But instead of grasping those throbbing dicks, Ryan felt the hand move down…to his hole. He stiffened.

“Shh…relax.” Came Jeremy’s warm seductive voice. “You trust me.” It wasn’t a question.

Jeremy gently rubbed against that puckered hole even as he resumed his sucking. He didn’t push in. He just caressed it slowly whilst biting, pulling, and sucking the hell out of the flesh in his mouth. Ryan’s cries of pleasure couldn’t be stifled. Before long, he was rocking against the finger, unknowingly indicating that he was ready for the next step. Jeremy raised his head and dropped tiny kisses along Ryan’s jaw and temple as he gently began to push into Ryan’s puckered opening.

“Push out.” Even Jeremy’s whispered instruction sent a delicious shiver down Ryan’s spine.

Ryan did as instructed and felt Jeremy’s finger slowly work its way inside him. The finger was thick but the water eased the penetration.

“Oh fuck.” Ryan breathed, feeling the stretch. There was no pain. There was just a feeling of fullness and surprisingly, a spark of pleasure. He didn’t even realize he was gasping harshly.

Jeremy looked at Ryan’s flushed face. He didn’t look like he was in pain but Jeremy still asked; “Does it hurt?”

“No.” Ryan whispered. “Feels good actually.”

Jeremy felt Ryan’s cocks twitching against him and lowered his gaze to look but couldn’t see them because of the water. He quickly hit the drain button beside him to drain the water. He needed to not only feel, but see that Ryan was actually enjoying what he was doing. And when those throbbing dicks came into view, Jeremy couldn’t suppress his smile of satisfaction and pride. Both cocks were hard against Ryan’s belly, spitting precum in gushes. His mate was uniquely beautiful. When Jeremy got to the second knuckle, he stopped and nuzzled Ryan’s ear, making him moan and shudder in delight.

“You okay?” At Ryan’s nod, Jeremy kissed him gently. “Can I go deeper?”

“Yes.” Ryan breathed.

“Play with your nipples. And give me your tongue.” Jeremy instructed and then watched with lust as Ryan began to twist and pull on his nipples. His mate was so sexy it wasn’t funny. With a groan, he closed his mouth around Ryan’s offered tongue and expertly gave it a slow sensual suck.

Ryan felt that tug right inside his throbbing dicks. It was so electrifyingly good he moaned lustfully and bucked against Jeremy, causing the full length of that thick finger to slide completely into his channel… hitting something inside him that caused a bombardment of sensations to explode through his whole body. Ryan’s brain short-circuited. His eyes widened with astonishment and then squeezed shut as his body jerked in reaction. He tore his mouth away from Jeremy’s and threw his head back with a loud cry of uncontrollable pleasure as his entire body stiffened against Jeremy.

“Bullseye!” Jeremy whispered, the tip of his finger rubbing against the nub he’d read about. The prostate. The pleasure button. Ryan’s reaction said it all. He was on cloud nine.

“Jeremy…” Ryan cried as of its own accord, his hips began to move, rocking against Jeremy’s finger. “F-feels so good,” he gasped, unable to control the motion of his hips. “Ahh… don’t stop, Jer…” Ryan virtually sobbed, his fingers never leaving his nipples even for a second.

“Hot fucking damn!” Jeremy breathed, his eyes locked on his writhing mate. He’d never seen a more sensual human being. And he’d been in a lot of sexual relations. Lots!

Every pass of Jeremy’s finger over that sensitive bundle of nerves sent jolts of electricity through Ryan’s blood and caused a gush of precum to spill out of each dick. The feeling within his cocks was so intense it was almost as if they were going to explode. And they hadn’t even been touched. The erratic press of Jeremy’s finger against that spot built Ryan’s arousal to levels he’d never felt before. He rocked almost frenziedly against that wicked finger, whimpering against the onslaught of sensation that bordered on ecstasy. He knew that he was acting mortifyingly wanton but he was too far gone to care. Whimpers fell out of his mouth as the pleasure in his groin intensified.

“Jeremy.” Ryan sobbed as the pleasure built. He was dangerously close to coming. “Ahh…” The pleasure was almost too much to bear, he was nearly in tears.

Jeremy smiled as he looked at his mate, lost in pleasure. He moved his lips against Ryan’s ear, slowly licking along the outer shell, driving his mate wild. “I’m going to add another finger.” He whispered huskily. “Tell me if it hurts.”

“Do it, please.” Ryan almost sobbed. He’d never felt anything so good and intense.

Jeremy took Ryan’s mouth as he added a second finger. It went in smoothly and if Ryan’s loud moans were anything to go by, brought even more pleasure. Jeremy didn’t need to be a genius to know his mate loved what he was doing. He rubbed that pleasure spot thrusting his tongue between his lips in the same rhythm that his fingers plundered his body. He’d never enjoyed giving pleasure to another person more, the alpha thought as he tongued and finger-fucked his mate deep and fast.

Ryan mewled and grunted with bliss as Jeremy’s talented fingers continued to work their magic inside his channel. His hips rocked wantonly, greedily savoring the powerful shock of pleasure every time those fingers pressed against that sweet spot. Then he felt that familiar tingle. That delicious tingle that made his toes curl almost painfully… He tore his mouth from Jeremy’s with as muffled gasp.

“Holy shit!” Ryan cried, his head thrown back, eyes tightly shut, face flushed with ecstasy. Jeremy had never seen his mate sexier.

“I’ve wanted to see you like this for weeks.” Jeremy murmured against Ryan’s kiss-swollen lips, his voice exciting Ryan even more. “I’ve been thinking of all the things I want to do to you to blow your mind. I know I couldn’t touch you but that didn’t stop me from wishing…hoping…”

That voice! “God!” Ryan shuddered and tensed up. “Jer…” His luscious lips were parted and his eyes were glazed with ecstasy. “I’m…I’m gonna come…” He gasped, teetering on the edge of a devastating orgasm.

Looking at him, Jeremy couldn’t help but think Ryan had never looked hotter.

“That’s it.” Jeremy breathed as he pressed his fingers against that pleasure spot. “Let go Ryan. Come for me.”

A rough animalistic sound tore out of Ryan as he tightened his arse muscles on the fingers embedded inside him. He couldn’t have stopped the blissful explosion even if the whole pack had chosen that moment to budge into the bathroom. He came hard.

Ryan’s entire body shook as cum shot out of one of his dicks, hitting Jeremy on the face, beneath his chin, and all over his chest. And it wouldn’t stop…Ryan just couldn’t stop coming. His vision blackened as Jeremy’s name tore out of his throat. The sensations blazing through him was simply phenomenal.

Jeremy kept rubbing that button, milking the hell out of it, feeling Ryan’s contractions against his finger as wave after wave swept through him.

“Oh my God, it’s too much.” Ryan gasped as his thighs locked down, a cry bursting from his throat. “Ohh fuck, it’s too much.” He was struggling for his very breath. “No more, Jeremy…please. No more.”

Jeremy gently pulled out of the tight heat and hugged Ryan to him even as he gently massaged Ryan’s opening with his fingers. Ryan sagged boneless against him, breathing heavily as tremors continued to ripple through him. Jeremy dotted kisses along his jawline amidst sweet murmurings till Ryan’s ragged breathing slowed down. Then the alpha took his mate’s succulent lips in a kiss so tender and sweet Ryan felt like crying. He’d never felt as bare and vulnerable as he felt that very moment.

When the kiss ended, neither man spoke. Ryan was still blissed out, tiny shudders still wracking through his body. Eventually Jeremy pulled his head back and stared at Ryan who stared right back with wide eyes filled with awe and reverence. The alpha felt so content inside, seeing that look on his mate’s face because he never thought he would ever have the privilege of putting it there. He didn’t even mind the fact that he was so hard he was in pain. That expression was the highest form of compliment anyone could give him.

“Are you okay?” Jeremy murmured. “Was that too much?”

Ryan suddenly felt a blush creep over his face and wished he could hide his stained cheeks. He was overcome with a shyness that he’d never experienced. But then, it wasn’t everyday he allowed a man to explore his arse as he’d just allowed Jeremy. Hell, the man’s fingers were still rubbing against his hole and it felt so good he had to make an effort not to demand he slip them inside again. A whimper tore out of Ryan’s throat before he could stop it. He shook his head, picking a spot on Jeremy’s chin to stare at. He couldn’t meet the alpha’s eyes so soon after his wanton behaviour.

“It was amazing.” Ryan whispered, a slightest hint of mortification in his voice. “Are you okay?”

“Couldn’t be better.” Jeremy murmured, swiping some of Ryan’s cum off his cheek and licking it. “You taste good.”

“Oh god.” Ryan groaned. “No, I don’t.” He looked embarrassed.

“Ever tasted your spunk?” Jeremy drew Ryan’s lower lip into his mouth for a quick suck.

“Christ.” Ryan groaned when his lip was released. “Can we talk about something else please?” He finally succumbed and pressed his face into Jeremy’s throat, his arms wrapping around his neck.

Jeremy laughed. “Like…”

“Like the fact that you need to get off.” Ryan mumbled.

“Don’t worry about me. I just wanted to give these boys a break.” Jeremy pressed a kiss against Ryan’s hair. “Besides, this is not the first time you’ve given me blue balls. I’ll live.” He chuckled, getting to his feet with an arm still wrapped around Ryan. “Shower?”

“Shit, my whole body is vibrating.” Ryan groaned.

“Don’t worry, I’m not letting go of you.” With that, Jeremy stepped out of the Jacuzzi with Ryan in his arms and headed for the shower.

***

“See you tomorrow.” Ryan said quietly when they got back to Jeremy’s room after a quick shower.

“Hey, sleep here tonight.” Jeremy said softly. “Please.”

“Jeremy…”

“You’ve slept here before…”

“As a wolf.”

“So… This time it will be just two men…relaxing in bed. Just being with each other.”

“Is that one of your…wishes too?”

“You have no idea…” Jeremy said gruffly. “Please Ryan.”

“Alright, alright.”

“Thanks.” Jeremy extended his hand to Ryan with his palm turned upward. At Ryan’s confused look, he gestured towards the towel wrapped around his waist. “Towel.” Without a word, Ryan removed the towel and gave it to Jeremy. “Go in and sleep on the side you prefer.” Jeremy said, gesturing towards where his all-white, massive bed stood on a platform, behind a transparent sliding door. Then he went back into his bathroom to hang their towels.

Ryan lounged in the comfortable huge bed and watched as his gloriously naked mate closed the sliding door that cut off the bed from the huge suite. He couldn’t help but admire that specimen of male beauty. Ryan unabashedly checked out the man. Jeremy was so big, powerful and breathtakingly virile. Even soft, his cock reached past mid-thigh. Fuck! Ryan watched his hunk of a mate climb the steps that would get him to the bed in which he lay…waiting, and felt such pride within. He was all his…well, soon. He drew the covers aside so that Jeremy could climb in.

“Thanks.” Jeremy said as he covered himself and got comfortable on his back. “You’re too far away. Come here.”

Ryan moved closer to Jeremy but the alpha drew him to his side so that Ryan’s head lay on his shoulder.

“Much better.” Jeremy murmured, pressing a kiss against Ryan’s hair. “Some day huh?”

“Tell me about it.” Ryan chuckled. “I can never forget it. I finally get to school, only to hear I’ve apparently been abducted by werewolves.” He said. “Well, technically I was.” He muttered beneath his breath, drawing a soft laughter from Jeremy. “Then my mate surprises me in class… that was cool by the way. Then I get to know that my mate’s lovers want me out of the picture. I get attacked by a half wolf, half warlock medical doctor.” Ryan managed to sound shocked. “Makes you wonder about that oath doctors are made to take.” He muttered. “Don’t they swear not to cause harm or something like that? Anyway, as if the shock of the attack is not enough, I’m not even able to defend myself, thanks to my asshole of a mate…”

“Sorry.” Jeremy murmured but couldn’t keep the amusement out of his voice.

“Shut up. I get home and meet a…hot chic, ready to send me to meet my maker. I surprise myself by…I don’t know what I did. But then I decide to go through the mating ceremony to give myself some peace…” Jeremy growled low in his throat at that reason. “And also just because I want to…” Ryan added with a soft laugh. “Then I come back from my run with my news, and what do I find? My mate in the arms of a naked woman…another hot one by the way.” He smirked. By now, Jeremy was laughing so hard…but not for long. “Then I…I end up in a Jacuzzi…” Ryan’s voice went husky. “And…I… I…” Ryan didn’t know how to articulate what he’d felt. He turned on his side so that he could look at Jeremy. “I’m given the most exhilarating sexual experience ever.” He whispered. “By my mate.” He went quiet for a moment. “Would I sound crazy if I say it’s been the most exciting day of my life?”

Jeremy tried to speak but couldn’t do that past the huge lump in his throat. He cleared his throat and tried again.

“No.” His voice was barely above a whisper. “You don’t sound crazy at all.”

“I must admit I never dreamt my life would be like this. My old life seems so boring now. With you in my life, it can never be boring. Thank you Jeremy. I know I don’t show it but…I think you’re an amazing person. You have a good heart. And I couldn’t have asked for a better mate.” Ryan said with so much emotion.

Jeremy didn’t respond. His heart felt swollen inside his chest. He felt overwhelmed with emotions he couldn’t have described if he’d been asked to. He threw an arm across his eyes and remained silent. Ryan wasn’t fooled. He rolled onto Jeremy and pushed the alpha’s arm away from his eyes to reveal moist eyes. Words were not needed. He kissed each eyelid and then licked at the wetness beneath both eyes. Then still remaining fully on top of his mate, Ryan placed his head on Jeremy’s chest and the two cuddled up in the most intimate of sleeping positions. They both knew they had a lot of work to do on their relationship. Their bond hadn’t started on a good note. But they were positive that their union, which was to hopefully take place the following day, would be a new beginning for them. All Jeremy and Ryan could do was hope for the best.

And with thoughts of their upcoming union on their minds, and hearts filled with hope and contentment, the alpha and his mate drifted off to sleep, wrapped around each other. Not only were their lives going to be joined together by that time the next day, it was also going to be the beginning of the rest of their lives together as mates. If what they’d both been told about an alpha’s mating ceremony was anything to go by, it was going to be an exciting day.

Little did they know…

Feral attraction in the midst of hatred… parting! – Chapter 6 – Parting!

Jeremy moaned in his sleep. He was having the most incredibly erotic dream. He was standing under a waterfall with Ryan. Ryan was in his arms, with his arms and legs locked around him as it had been during their kiss in the arena. But this time around, they were both naked with Jeremy slowly fucking into Ryan. Somehow, Jeremy knew it was a dream. Hell, he was fucking a willing Ryan. That was too good to be true. But that was one dream the alpha didn’t plan on waking up from. Jeremy moaned throatily when Ryan licked and sucked at the side of his neck until he felt as if he was on fire even though he stood directly beneath the falls.

“You smell so good.” Jeremy heard Ryan murmur against his neck between licks. “Damn, I love your body.” Ryan’s words were muffled against his flesh but Jeremy heard him perfectly. “Jeremy…” A whisper. But his name on Ryan’s lips flooded him with such delicious pleasure Jeremy’s eyes fluttered open. And that’s when illusion melded with reality.

The first thing Jeremy noticed was how hard he was and how desperately he needed release. The second thing he noticed was that he wasn’t inside Ryan but rather, his rock, hard, leaking cock was curved up within the crease of Ryan’s arse, relentlessly rubbing against his hole. Ryan was still in the position he’d been the night before when they went to sleep…stretched out on top of him. The only difference between the night before and that very moment, however, was that Ryan’s lips were latched onto Jeremy’s neck, sucking and nibbling the skin, whilst he rocked his lower body against Jeremy.

“Oh fuck, baby.” Jeremy groaned as he uncontrollably thrust up against Ryan. He could feel the wetness against his stomach, obviously resulting from the precum spilling from Ryan.

Moans spilled out of Ryan as he pleasured himself against Jeremy’s gorgeous body. His knees were on either side of Jeremy’s hips, giving him the leverage he needed to fuck himself against Jeremy whilst simultaneously stimulating his twitching hole with the alpha’s cock. The mind-blowing sensations Ryan was getting from the point where his nipples rubbed against Jeremy’s hairy chest, the point where his cocks rubbing between their bodies, and the point where his hole was being massaged by the velvety, veiny length of Jeremy’s cock was so amazing his toes curled. Ryan was in heaven.

“Jeremy…” A breathless gasp tore out of Ryan as he began to move almost frenziedly.

Ryan was so gone on pleasure that if Jeremy had actually surged into his body and taken him that very moment, he would have welcomed it without any protest. He was being driven by pure hunger. At that point, Ryan didn’t give a shit about pain. He just needed Jeremy to give him that thrill his body was so desperate for. His defenses were completely down. He didn’t have any shields protecting his thoughts…

“I’m here baby.” Jeremy murmured huskily. “I’ve got you.” The alpha knew exactly what his mate wanted.

Jeremy slid a finger into his mouth to get it wet. Then he slipped the now slick finger beneath the covers and sought his mate’s hungry hole. Jeremy’s finger slipped inside that hot tight channel, encountering no resistance. He went straight for gold.

“Oh god…” Ryan’s back arched in ecstasy when he felt Jeremy’s finger hit that same spot inside him that had sent him into a meltdown the night before. His entire world tilted on its axis. A surprised cry tore out of him. “Fuck, I’m going to come…” He gasped shakily, shamelessly rocking back against Jeremy’s finger, working toward the orgasm he needed so desperately. “Jer …god …I’m going to…” His rhythm faltered as his body got ready to explode. “I’m coming…I’m…” He didn’t stand a chance against the intense pleasurable orgasm that tore through him.

Ryan cried out Jeremy’s name as he found the pinnacle of pleasure. He erupted powerfully between them, his entire body shaking as his channel grasped and rippled along the finger inside him. Even as his body writhed in ecstasy, strong fingers slid into the hair at his nape and tugged his head down to meet Jeremy’s in a fierce kiss filled with passion and promise. They kissed till Ryan stopped spurting and trembling against Jeremy. When his body stopped spasming, Jeremy pulled out his finger and released his kiss-swollen lips. Ryan collapsed on top of him, still breathing hard.

Jeremy wrapped his arms around Ryan and held him as if he was never going to let him go. He was hard but again, he ignored it. For Jeremy, Ryan being able to freely and without fear, use his body for his own pleasure was pleasure enough. It was a step in the right direction. At least not only was his mate not afraid of him as he was expected to after what he did to him, but he also felt free enough to take his pleasure from him as he should. Jeremy scattered tiny kisses all over Ryan’s closed eyelids till he opened beautiful green eyes to look at him.

“Sorry about that.” Ryan muttered.

“Hey, if you ever apologize for getting your rocks off, I’ll throw you into the dungeon.” Jeremy growled, making Ryan laugh softly. “If that’s how you plan on waking me up every day, I’ll be the happiest man on earth.”

Ryan groaned at that because he could feel Jeremy’s still hard cock against his arse. He was achingly aware of Jeremy’s arousal. It poured off Jeremy like heat waves. Surly he needed some relief.

“What can I do to get you off?” Ryan asked softly.

“That’s not necess…”

“I want to Jeremy.” Ryan wriggled his arse against the hot hard flesh still nestled between his cheeks.

“Hey, stop that.” Jeremy tightened his hold on Ryan to stop his movement.

“Don’t you want me anymore?” He asked in a small voice.

Jeremy laughed. “You really need an answer to that question?” Jeremy reached down to pull his erection back. When he let it go it slapped against Ryan’s arse with an erotic but funny sound, making both of them laugh. “Feel that? If I want you anymore than I already do, I’ll probably end up in some science lab somewhere.”

“So why don’t you want me to…”

“Let’s just say I’m saving myself for tonight.” Jeremy drawled huskily. “How about that?” He gave Ryan’s arse a light slap. “I’m going to fuck this gorgeous arse so good you’re not going to remember your name for days.”

“Oh god…” Ryan moaned as a shudder jolted through him at Jeremy’s words. They both felt his dicks jerk between them and laughed. “Damn, you’re…” Ryan trailed off and turned his head to look behind him when the door to Jeremy’s suite opened.

A tall, dark-haired beauty, clad in skintight black leather pants and vest, with black spiky-heeled boots who could easily pass for a dominatrix entered the suite. Her eyes went straight to Ryan’s, their silver gray irises showing her shock as she took in the scene on Jeremy’s bed. Ryan turned shocked eyes onto Jeremy.

“So not only do you have mind-links with them, they also have access to your suite?” Ryan looked and sounded incredulous.

“What the fuck is going on here?” Dominatrix’s shocked voice drowned out Jeremy’s groan.

With a cuss that would have made a sailor proud, Jeremy got out of bed with Ryan held tightly against him. “What are you doing back, Paige?” His irritated question was directed at the woman but he didn’t even look like he was interested in an answer. “She’s not my lover, baby.” Jeremy told Ryan as he gently placed Ryan back on the bed with his back against the headboard.

“Baby?” Paige Harrington burst into laughter. “Seriously, what’s going on Jeremy?”

“How many people have access to your room?” Ryan asked, staring at the amused lady through the glass.

“And who the fuck are you to ask?” Dominatrix’s eyes flashed with amusement.

Jeremy sighed as he reached for one of the small towels he always kept in the compartment beneath the bedside table, and began to wipe the cum off Ryan’s stomach.

“Philip, Stan, Mum, Joel and the soon to be dead woman standing there.” The way Jeremy spoke sounded so funny to Ryan he actually smiled.

“Soon to be dead huh?” The lady said dryly. “We’ll see about that. Still waiting for an expla…”

“Paige Harrington if you don’t get out of here, so help me God I’ll…”

“Harrington?” Ryan relaxed against the headboard and watched his mate draw the covers over his nakedness. “As in…Philip…Harrington?” He looked up at Jeremy.

“That’s Philip’s sister, Ryan.” Jeremy leaned down and dropped a kiss against Ryan’s mouth. Then he turned to leave the sleeping area, still stark naked. “That’s my mate, Paige. Now, care to tell me why you’re back?” He asked as he moved towards the bathroom.

“What?” Paige screeched. “You’re kidding me right?” Her eyes bulged out to the extent that Ryan feared they would pop out. “Hey, Jer…” She followed Jeremy into the bathroom and watched as he washed his hands and brushed his teeth. “Tell me it’s a joke please.” She leaned against the vanity and watched the alpha. “Jeremy seriously, I’m dying here.”

Jeremy deliberately took his time to rinse his mouth and clean the cum that still decorated his sexy six-pack. Then he turned to look at Paige. “I’m not kidding.” With that, he walked out of the bathroom, straight to his walk-in closet.

“Oh my god!” Paige gasped, watching as Jeremy pulled on sweatpants and a t-shirt. He took out another sweats and t-shirt…obviously meant for Ryan. “You’re serious.” Suddenly, a naughty smile appeared on her face. “Okay, here goes.” She started towards Ryan whose wary eyes remain on Paige the whole time.

“Paige…” Jeremy groaned just as the door to the suite opened to admit Philip and Stan. “Guys, you really need to stop barging in here without announcing your… Paige?”

But Paige Harrington was already standing beside Ryan who could feel a blush rising up his neck. That naughty and predatory smile on Paige’s face… Ryan didn’t know what to think or expect. In no time at all, he was assailed with a full-body blush. What happened next, Ryan wouldn’t have been able to predict in a million years. Philip’s sister shocked the hell out of him by leaning down and kissing him full on the mouth. Jeremy didn’t say a word. Philip and Stan erupted into laughter. Ryan reeled from that surprise kiss…his very first from a woman.

“Your mate will explain all this, Hot Lips.” Paige’s delighted smile was so infectious Ryan found himself smiling back. “You’re breathtakingly yummy by the way.”

Ryan grinned. “You got me at Hot Lips. You can kiss me again if you want to.” He joked, making Paige howl with laughter whilst Jeremy growled.

“Don’t you dare…” Jeremy glared at Ryan as he threw the clothes he held onto Ryan’s lap.

“Well, I didn’t think you’d mind a second kiss since you didn’t react to the first one.” Ryan smirked, making Paige laugh even harder.

“I like him.” She said as she turned to leave Jeremy and Ryan. “So…he just accepted it and suddenly started loving cock?” Paige asked loudly enough for everyone in the suite to hear, drawing laughter from her brother and Stan who were pouring coffee into mugs at the bar.

“You’ll never change, Slip.” Philip chuckled, enfolding his big sister in a bear hug. “Missed you, Sis.”

“Missed you more, brother.” Paige mumbled, hugging Philip back tightly.

“We have a lot of catching up to do.” Philip kissed his sister on the forehead. “But let’s finish with you first. Whatever news you have must be serious if you didn’t want to risk calling to tell us. When Clara called to tell me you’re here I almost shit my pants.”

“Almost?” Stan drawled, drawing Paige into his arms. “Lucky you, man. I did.” He said in his usual jovial way, making Paige and Philip laugh. “Good to see you, Slip. So how bad is it?”

“It’s terrible guys.” Paige sighed and then turned to look at Jeremy who was giving Ryan a lingering kiss on the bed. “Ugh that’s so shocking to see…but so fucking hot and sweet.” She muttered, picking up two mugs of coffee…one for herself and one for Jeremy. All three left the bar for the dining area. “If Jeremy could just come out of that cum-scented bed, I could start talking.” Paige said loudly enough for the alpha to hear and laughed when Jeremy flipped her a bird even as he continued kissing Ryan.

“Wait…you know how cum smells like?” Stan drawled. “I guess even lesbians need a good cock action once in a while.” He dodged the punch Paige aimed his way.

“Fuck you Stan.” Paige laughed as Stan gave Philip a hi-five. “So tell me…how many girls are you two currently fucking? And who are they?” She asked dryly, making the guys burst into laughter. Paige always insisted that as the eldest amongst them, she needed to know who they were in bed with.

Meanwhile on Jeremy’s bed, Ryan, who was dressed in sweats and t-shirt, tried to bring his breathing under control.

“Are you okay?” Jeremy asked softly against Ryan’s wet lips.

“You mean after that frenchie from Paige?” Ryan whispered shakily. Desire, that had nothing to do with Paige’s kiss, was turning his insides to mush.

“Shut up, it wasn’t a frenchie.” Jeremy laughed. “We had a silly agreement of sorts when we were teens. We get to kiss each other’s mates the first time we meet them. Philip and Stan couldn’t kiss you because…”

“I’m a guy.” Ryan nodded.

“Yeah. Paige’s a lesbian but I guess that didn’t matter to her at all.”

“Oh snap. She must have been looking forward to kissing the shit out of your mates.” Ryan chuckled. “Too bad she had to settle for a guy’s mouth.”

“A very sweet mouth if you ask me.” The alpha murmured and leaned in for another kiss. “You better not offer it to…” Jeremy trailed off when his cell phone began to ring. “Mum.” He muttered when he looked at the caller ID. “Good morning Ma.” He listened for a second and turned to his mate. “She’s been calling your phone.”

“Shit, I left it in my…”

“He’s with me Ma.” Jeremy said. “I’m putting you on speaker.”

“How are you this morning Ryan?” Gloria asked with a smile in her voice.

“I’m good, Gloria. How about you?”

“Couldn’t be better darling. Been laughing my head off this morning. Apparently the pack is on a lookout for potential attackers.” Gloria laughed. “They’re all being kept under tight security, I hear for their own safety.” Jeremy chuckled at how amused his mother sounded. “Your reputation definitely precedes you honey-buns.”

“You mean my reputation is shitty.” Ryan groaned.

“We’re beasts darling.” Gloria chuckled. “That’s the best reputation to have if you want some peace. Anyway that’s not the reason I called. The council will meet you at ten a.m. It’s going to be just you two and the council but you can bring your crew for moral support if you want to, Jer. Joel called to tell me Paige is back.”

“Yep.”

“Perfect timing. She would have been pissed if you’d done this without her.” Gloria chuckled.

“I know right.” Jeremy sighed. “We’ll see you at the council quarters at ten Ma.” Jeremy said and hung up. “Would you mind if I meet with those three for a while? Paige is my head of Sentinel. That’s like the intelligence arm of the pack.”

“What’s her profession?” Ryan turned his head to look at Paige. The way she was dressed…

Jeremy chuckled. “She’s an engineer. Used to lecture at a point actually. Anyway, she’s been out of the country to investigate something weird that’s been going on of late. She must have very sensitive information for us if she came back without alerting any of us.”

“Hey, go do your thing. I’ll just go take a shower and get something to eat.” Ryan stretched.

“Thanks.” Jeremy kissed him again and got to his feet. “And don’t kill anyone. Remember, you’re the only one I want.” He grinned when Ryan rolled his eyes.

Somehow their relationship had sort of taken a different turn after they shared that intimate time in the Jacuzzi the night before. Ryan had always felt free around Jeremy but after the night they’d shared, he felt closer to the alpha. He enjoyed their light banter and loved Jeremy’s relaxed and seductive charm. Maybe it was because he’d accepted to mate with Jeremy but Ryan’s entire body buzzed with awareness of the man. The look in his eyes as he looked at the alpha said it all.

“In fact, order in.” Jeremy threw over his shoulder as he opened the sliding door that cut off the bed area from the rest of the suite. “I’ll join you when I’m done.” He headed for Paige’s outstretched arms. ‘I love watching you eat.’ The alpha added on their mind-link.

‘You’re nuts, you know that?’ Ryan responded, watching as Jeremy gave Paige a tight hug.

‘Nuts about you.’ Came Jeremy’s husky voice which sent a delicious shiver down Ryan’s spine.

“Holy shit.” Ryan moaned when he felt his cocks twitch inside his sweats. And to think he’d come mere minutes ago, he thought surprised. But then that was how insanely Jeremy turned him on.

The four people didn’t even turn to look in Ryan’s direction as he left Jeremy’s suite via the connecting door between their rooms. They were all listening attentively to Paige as they drank their coffee. Whatever the problem was, Ryan could tell it was very serious. Well, he had faith in his mate to make everything right. He didn’t even know how the guy operated when it came to the running of his pack. But Ryan just knew that Jeremy would make sure everything and everyone was okay.

“Fuck.” Ryan muttered to himself, surprised at his thoughts on Jeremy. He had so much faith and confidence in Jeremy it surprised him. Despite everything that had happened between his mate and himself, he knew he had it real bad for the guy.

***

“Can you please come forward, Alpha Jeremy?” The High Priestess called with a delightful smile on her face. Like the other members of council, she looked thrilled that their alpha had found his mate.

They were in the cozy and beautifully decorated council meeting room with the Members of the Council. The Council was the highest body of authority in the pack. It was made up of eight elders, headed by the High Priestess. Gloria and Joel were both members of the council. The only non-council members present were the alpha himself, Ryan, Philip, Stan, and Paige. The meeting had commenced with the alpha introducing his mate to the council. The members were thrilled. Although two had raised the obvious issue of an heir to the throne, they’d all agreed that Luna knew best. Members had unanimously agreed that the mating ceremony could take place that evening. All that was left was for the High Priestess to ask for Luna’s blessing and protection for the upcoming ceremony. After that, they could go and inform the pack and then begin preparation towards the ceremony.

Everything had gone better than Jeremy had expected. The council had been too thrilled for him they hadn’t opposed his request to do the ceremony that very evening. Jeremy was very happy. He planned on showing his mate some good time that evening. He was going to show Ryan how to party, werewolf style. Jeremy squeezed Ryan’s hand reassuringly and stood up to approach the High Priestess.

“At this point, I’ll ask for complete silence as we ask for Luna’s guidance for our Alpha.” The voice of the High Priestess filled the room. “We ask Luna to guide his steps, thoughts and heart as he claims his lifetime partner tonight.” The priestess picked up a wand. “We ask for protection during the ceremony.” She smiled as she reached out towards Jeremy with the wand in her hand. “Even as we make merry and have fun, we…” The wand touched Jeremy’s forehead…

Then all hell broke loose!

The high priestess gave a loud cry and went into a trance, her eyes completely white and unfocused. Jeremy tried to raise his head but the wand kept him exactly where he was. The people in the room looked confused as they stared at the High Priestess and the suddenly glowing statue of Luna behind her. No one in that room…not even the council member who was over a century old…remembered ever seeing that statue glow hot red as it was doing that very moment. It meant just one thing. Luna was pissed!

“You have wronged him and disrespected me.” The High Priestess said in an eerie voice. “You have to be punished.”

A collective gasp went up from the people in the room.

“What’s going on?” Paige gasped with a confused look. “Philip?” But Philip looked frozen. “Stan?”

“Not now Paige.” Stan mumbled.

Ryan looked lost. He didn’t know what was going on. All he knew was that everyone seemed tensed in the room. Jeremy hadn’t moved from where he stood in front of the High Priestess. He looked to where Gloria sat and felt a shudder of dread slither down his spine. She looked…terrified. And it broke Ryan’s heart to see such a strong woman reduced to a terrified creature.

“What does it mean?” Ryan asked no one in particular.

“At this point, I’ll recuse Gloria Stanton and Joel Harrington.” The High Priestess, who was no longer in a trance, announced. She looked all business. “The rest of the council should please stand around the alpha. Bring your wands.” She instructed.

“Why are they being recused?” Ryan asked as he watched the council members move to form a circle around his mate. “Philip?”

“As his mother and mentor, their emotions may interfere with the council’s consultation with Luna. They may not be as objective as they should be so…they can’t be in the circle.”

“Objective about what?” Ryan asked but Philip’s attention was fully back on the council and his alpha.

The council, including the High Priestess, raised their wands high above their heads, pointing to the middle above Jeremy’s head. The council members seemed to be in a trance. Their eyes were closed and they appeared to be listening to something. A bright red light shot up from the tip of each wand after about five minutes and came together high above Jeremy’s head. The light exploded on top of Jeremy’s head as though it was a fourth of July celebration. Then the council members snapped out of their trance and took steps back…away from the alpha.

“It’s been decided.” The High Priestess said in a loud authoritative voice. “Alpha Jeremy is sentenced to the Fort.”

Gloria’s pitiful moan drew Ryan’s attention to her. The elder he’d come to see as a very strong woman was shaking, her fists clenched tightly in her lap. One look at her tight and terrified face showed how hard she was trying to keep in her scream. Ryan didn’t have to be a genius to deduce that the Fort was a very bad thing…or place. He turned to Philip…

“What does Fort…” But before he could complete his sentence, the High Priestess was speaking again.

“You will be there for two years.” A pained gasp tore out of Joel’s throat at that decree. “You have a day to put your house in order. Get the one you want to be Alpha in your absence ready. You leave at midnight tomorrow. Sorry.” The elderly woman added quietly.

The High Priestess’ final word was like the sound of a rap of a gavel, indicating the closing of proceedings with a symbolic finality. Along with those words came Gloria Stanton’s scream.

“What does it mean?” Ryan’s muttered, looking around frantically but none of the people he knew looked sane enough to answer him.

Gloria was screaming and Paige was bawling her eyes out. Even some of the council members were in tears. Ryan watched as Jeremy bowed, showing his respect for the High Priestess and her elders, and then turned around and headed directly towards him. Ryan stood up and waited for Jeremy, unable to read the expression on his face. He could however feel the calmness within the alpha. It almost looked as if he was content with whatever the Fort verdict meant.

“Jeremy…” Ryan began but Jeremy grabbed his hand and turned towards the door.

“Let’s get out of here.” He said softly. “I don’t have much time.”

“What’s going on? What’s the Fort? What does it mean?” But Jeremy didn’t answer. “Jeremy answer me please.” Ryan was getting desperate. “Jeremy!” He hissed as he yanked his hand out of Jeremy’s and stood still. Jeremy turned to face him. “I’m not taking another step till you tell me what that was all about.” He said through clenched teeth.

Jeremy stared at his mate. The man who had come to mean so much to him. The man who was the center of his world. The man against whom he’d committed the greatest sin. He couldn’t believe he wasn’t going to see that sweet face for two whole years. But he knew he deserved whatever punishment Luna meted out to him.

“I’ll explain everything Ryan.” Jeremy said quietly. “But right now, I just want to get out of here. Please.”

Something in Jeremy’s voice got to Ryan. He nodded and fell into step beside his mate with no more protests. When they got to where Gloria knelt with Joel’s arms around her, Jeremy let go of Ryan’s hand and drew his mother into his arms.

“Shh…it’s okay mum.” He turned to look at Philip’s father who he respected so much.

“Take care of her for me Uncle Jo.”

“You know I will.” The elderly man who didn’t make any attempt to wipe the tears off his own face responded in a hoarse voice. “Go and handle things with Philip. I’ll take her home.”

Jeremy hugged Gloria tightly and kissed her on the forehead. Then he gave her to Joel and grabbed Ryan’s hand again. Philip fell into step beside his alpha. Stan had taken a wailing Paige away.

“Hey, hang in there.” Philip muttered.

Jeremy threw an arm around Philip’s shoulder and bumped his head against his. “Scared?”

“Terrified.” Philip muttered. “I’m not ready for this. A month or two I can handle. But two whole years? Fuck!”

“You can do it bro.” Jeremy assured him as they climbed into Philip’s black sedan. “There’s no better person than you. Hell, I just might leave it for you to handle permanently even if I get lucky enough to come back alive.”

“Don’t fucking joke with this Jer.” Philip growled. “Don’t you dare. You’re going to survive. I won’t have it any other way. If you die on me, I’ll find a way to follow you in there, look for a way to revive you, and kill you all over again. Slowly and painfully. That’s a promise.”

“I will fight to survive, Lip.” Jeremy said softly, turning to look at Ryan. “I have a lot to live for.”

“Jeremy…” Ryan was shaking with dread. There was so much he could take. “I need to know.”

“I’ll explain, I promise.” Jeremy said but he really didn’t have any idea how he was going to bring himself to explain the verdict reached at the council quarters, to Ryan. Not only was he ashamed, Jeremy dreaded breaking the news to Ryan. The alpha dreaded how Ryan would react to the news? Would he be happy? Relieved? Indifferent? Sad? Jeremy congratulated himself on his outward calm because inside, he was a quivering mess. “Let’s make a quick stop to the office. I need to go over some stuff with Lip. After that we’ll go home and then I’ll tell you everything, okay?”

Ryan nodded as the SUV sped away from the council quarters. From the little he’d gathered, Jeremy was going away for two years. He didn’t know exactly where that Fort was but he’d already resolved to go with Jeremy because no way in hell was he going to stay away from the man for two years. He was entitled to a long sabbatical anyway so it wouldn’t be a problem at all. If the school didn’t let him off, he would resign and look for another job when they got back. He however didn’t particularly like the way Jeremy and Philip kept talking about survival and death. But he knew Jeremy would explain soon.

At the pack office, Ryan paced as Jeremy and Philip went over some documents. At a point he wandered into an empty office and sat down in one of the chairs with his head in his hand. He didn’t know how long he sat there but when he came to himself, he wondered what was taking Jeremy so long. He got to his feet and slowly made his way out of the office, slipping his hands into his pocket as he walked. When Ryan felt his cell phone inside his pocket, he pulled it out and just stared at it for a while. Then he dialed Gloria’s number.

“Are you okay, Ryan?” Came Gloria’s shaky voice. That voice sounded nothing like that of the Gloria he’d come to know and love.

“Are you okay?” Ryan threw back at her, hating how defeated the elder sounded.

“No I’m not.” She sniffled. “How are you holding up?”

“Well, I still don’t know exactly what’s going on.” Ryan could hear Joel trying to soothe Gloria in the background, saying they had to go home. “Where are you, Gloria?” He asked, curious.

“Parked downstairs.” The elderly woman breathed shakily.

“I’ll be right down.” Ryan said and hung up. He went back to the conference room where he’d left Jeremy and Philip and found them standing around the conference table with Stan and Paige. They seemed engrossed in some maps they were looking at. “Hey, I’ll be downstairs with Gloria and Joel.” Ryan told Jeremy quietly when he got to his side.

Jeremy nodded. “I’ll be done soon.”

“Just concentrate on what you’re doing here okay?” Ryan said quietly. Then as if it was the most natural thing to do, Ryan went up on his toes and kissed Jeremy on the cheek.

Jeremy watched his mate go and groaned, cursing himself. “I’m counting on you to keep him safe, guys. He will be safe after I mark him. But if what’s happening to all these alphas is any kind of war, he’s going to be a target.”

“On my life I swear to you brother, he will be safe.” Philip said with so much emotion.

“We’ll all protect him with our lives, Jer.” Stan added, lightly slapping Jeremy on the back.

The alpha nodded and turned his attention to a quiet and pensive Paige. “It’s not his fault Paige.” He said softly, knowing instinctively that Paige blamed his mate for his predicament.

“Pardon me Jer, but I don’t really know him. And as far as I’m concerned his presence triggered all this.” She said stonily.

“Are you saying I shouldn’t have met my mate?” Jeremy asked tightly.

“You can’t expect me to be happy you did when thanks to him,” she jabbed a thumb toward the door, “I don’t even know whether I’m going to see you again or not.” She hissed, showing how furious she was. She’d always been protective of her boys as she called the three men. And she hated that Jeremy had to suffer Luna’s axe.

“Paige…” Philip growled a warning to the woman who was not only his sister, but was also part of their clique. “Settle down. This is not the time for anger.”

Jeremy took his eyes off Paige’s angry face, back onto the map spread out on the conference table. For a moment he couldn’t see anything on the map. The drawings swam before his eyes. Shit, not again, he told himself as he blinked to get his sight back. He felt his hands shaking and clenched them. Paige had always been a brutally honest person. The friends always relied on her to say what was on everyone’s mind. They affectionately called her Slip because she never held her thoughts back. She would always say innocently, after dropping whatever outrageous thought that was on her mind, that it slipped out. Something that others would find difficult to say would just slip out of Paige’s mouth with cheeky ease. How many people felt as Paige felt, Jeremy wondered worriedly. Those very close to him were the people he was counting on to keep his mate safe. And if they felt any way as Paige did, his mate wasn’t safe.

Jeremy was dying inside but he knew he had to look strong for his people. Fuck!

***

“I’m waiting for Jeremy to tell me the meaning of what I saw and heard at the council quarters.” Ryan said quietly. He was sitting opposite Gloria in the back seat of Joel’s Navy blue Mercedes-Benz S600 Pullman. Joel sat beside the miserable looking woman. “Care to do the honours? What’s this Fort that’s scaring everyone? I plan to go with him by the way.”

“Oh Ryan, you can’t.” A sob escaped the elderly woman.

“But I can, and I’m gonna. I’m entitled to leave…”

“You can’t follow him into purgatory, son.” Joel cut in. “And even if you could, his punishment demands he goes alone.”

“Purgatory?” Ryan gasped. He didn’t even know it actually existed. “What kind of punishment is that? I know it’s because of what he did to me. I gathered as much. But I don’t want him to be punished. Doesn’t what I want matter? After all, I was the one wronged. Can’t I just go and talk to the council to forget…”

“He wronged Luna too Ryan.” Gloria said quietly. “Jeremy showed disrespect by hating her choice of mate for him. So he’s being punished by Luna.”

“Seriously?” Ryan hissed. “Some god you have. Isn’t she rather supposed to be merciful? I mean she should know that Jeremy didn’t have control over his actions.”

“His Ojah power was triggered because of his level of anger and hatred for the idea of you as his mate.” Joel explained. “So the fact that he was not in control is really not the issue. He shouldn’t have allowed himself to lose control in the first place. Even you, Ryan…you knew he wasn’t in control of his actions.” Joel pointed out softly. “And yet that didn’t make him any less guilty in your eyes.” Joel could have bet his last cent that Ryan hadn’t even forgiven Jeremy for what he’d done to him. He didn’t blame him though.

“But I’m no god.” Ryan rasped. “I’m only human.”

“Well, Luna did show some mercy.” The elderly man said. “Ideally, Jeremy would have been stripped of his alpha status. He did that to none other than his mate, Ryan. And as Alpha, he has to lead an exemplary life. The only reason his alpha status wasn’t stripped was because Luna took into consideration the fact that his Ojah power was in control. But he can’t go unpunished.”

“This is all my fault.” Ryan gasped. “If only I’d tried harder to forgive him…”

“It wouldn’t have changed anything, Ryan.” Gloria said, squeezing Ryan’s hands which were clasped in hers. “He’s not only being punished for what he did to you. It’s also for hating Luna’s choice as Joel rightly explained. We just have to accept it.”

“What exactly is going to happen to him at this…place?” Ryan couldn’t even bring himself to mention the name.

“He will relive every hell he’s ever gone through, again and again.” Gloria whispered. “It’s like a never-ending loop. And he’s going to feel the pain a thousand times over.”

“Oh my god.” Ryan’s hand went to his mouth. Thanks to his wolf he knew the kind of hell Jeremy went through each time he thought about the death of his father and brother. “His father and…”

“Oh there’s more.” Gloria breathed. “That day, he’d gone on a rampage and killed lots of hunters. Some innocent bystanders had lost their lives when the hunters tried to shoot at Jeremy. Although he hadn’t pulled the trigger, he’s never forgiven himself. All the tragedies that have befallen this pack members and the pain he went through during each… What he did to you…”

“Jesus!” Ryan felt sick.

“I’m so scared.” Gloria sobbed. “People don’t usually survive the Fort.”

“That boy is strong Gloria.” Joel soothed. “He’ll be okay.”

“But who told the council?” Ryan’s eyes welled up. “How did they know?”

“They didn’t.” Joel answered. “Luna just decided to pick today to…”

“But they must know that sending him away is punishing me too.” Ryan groaned.

“He’s been permitted to give you his mark before he leaves Ryan.” Gloria said. “To keep you safe.”

“That won’t change anything.” Ryan growled. “I can’t be without him. I should be allowed to go with him.”

“Oh Sweetie…” Gloria gave a tremulous smile. “Your pain will be taken away. You will miss him but that pain… the kind you felt when he didn’t come to see you for a while during your hospitalization, will be taken away. You’ll be fine.”

“No I won’t.” Ryan rasped, his cheeks wet with years. “And at what point was all this decided? I was right there.”

“Though we were not part of the channeling, Gloria and I could listen in because we were linked to the council.” Joel explained. “Jeremy was given one wish. He could have asked for anything…even for his punishment to be waived. And it would have been.” The elderly man looked angry. “It was almost as if he welcomed the punishment.”

“When people are asked to make a wish when faced with punishment, they usually can’t wish the punishment away.” Ryan pointed out quietly.

“That’s the human world.” Joel countered. “We are supernatural beings. Jeremy is a powerful being and Luna, though angry at his actions, knew he wasn’t completely responsible for all. That punishment would have been waived if he’d pleaded his case and asked for that and he knew it. He could have pleaded and asked to be spared and Luna would have spared him. Hell, he could have even asked for a reduced sentence. But all he could think about was you. He said he wanted you to be safe. Said something about you not being comfortable with bodyguards. So his wish was to be permitted to mark you. That is the surest way to keep people with evil intentions away from you. And with that, you can move around freely without someone shadowing you. He got his wish.”

Ryan stared at Joel with his face as white as sheet. Despite the way his heart pounded within his chest, he felt numb all over. The roaring in his ears was so loud it felt like he was about to explode. He gently withdrew his hands from Gloria’s, opened the car door and got out.

“Ryan…” Gloria called but the door shut behind a physically trembling Ryan.

His focus was on the huge office building where he knew his mate was.

***

“I can’t believe they got Sasha.” Jeremy muttered. The Russian alpha was one of the oldest and strongest alphas on the planet, and his boss. So to think anyone had succeeded in kidnapping him in the first place was rather strange.

“Like I said, the very toughest alphas are the targets.” Paige sighed. “I just hope Sasha lives. He’s in a really bad shape Jer. Agyemang was really lucky to have escaped before the psychos started draining him. The others weren’t so lucky. They seriously think you’re next, Jer.”

“Well, they have to show up today or miss me for two years.” Jeremy drawled. “Blood and bone marrow huh? Who the fuck are these people? And what are they up to? At least now we have an idea where they’re located. Please be careful when you go on the mission. I don’t want to lose any of you.” Jeremy said seriously. All the top warriors in the various packs were to meet and go after whoever was kidnapping and maiming powerful alphas. The alphas were usually returned dead or half dead as their blood was usually virtually drained. “Fuck.”

“They must be a very determined bunch.” Stan said. “I mean if they were the same people who made you go psycho all those years ago during the alpha conference, then they sure are coming back stronger and better now. This is war.”

“Obviously taking all of us out hadn’t worked at that time so now, their strategy is to take us one by one.” Jeremy sighed. “I really wish I would be here to help but I know…” He trailed off when Ryan burst into the conference room with his face wet with tears. “Ryan?” Jeremy felt his heart drop.

“Why did you do it?” Ryan whispered, coming towards a gloomy-faced. “Why did you use your wish on me?” He began to sob. “Why?”

“Oh Ryan.” Jeremy sighed as he automatically started towards his sobbing mate. “Please don’t do this…” Jeremy pulled Ryan into his arms.

“You could have asked to go with me.” Ryan sobbed. “You could have pleaded your case. Why didn’t you tell her to waive the punishment?” He was crying so hard. “It was a wish damnit. You could ha…have asked for any…anything. Anything Jeremy. Why didn’t you…didn’t you just…ask to be spared?”

“Ryan I deserve to be punished.” Jeremy whispered shakily, feeling his eyes fill with tears. Fuck, he couldn’t break down there. Not in front of his people. He was their alpha and therefore couldn’t show weakness in front of them. But he could feel himself crumbling. Jeremy buried his face in Ryan’s hair. “Baby please, don’t let us do this here.” He whispered shakily. “Please.”

But Ryan was weeping so hard he didn’t even hear Jeremy’s whispered plea. “You could have saved yourself.” Gut-wrenching sobs racked his body. “I c…can’t sur…survive this, Jer.”

“You’ll be okay.” Jeremy choked.

“How do you expect me to be okay when…when you’re going through so much pain? Do you think that little of me? Strip me of all this supernatural crap and I’d still go crazy at the thought of you in pain. So don’t you dare tell me I’ll be okay ’cause I won’t.”

“I’m an alpha, Ryan.” Jeremy didn’t even feel the wetness on his own face. “What kind of example would I be setting if I don’t accept punishment when I make mistakes?”

“But it wasn’t you.” Ryan felt as if his heart was breaking. “Everyone who knows about it knows it was not your fault. Didn’t you think about your pack at all? Don’t you think your pack needs you? How about me? How am I to live without you? What have I done to you to deserve this Jeremy? Please let me know and I’ll apologize. What wrong have I…” Ryan was sobbing so hard he couldn’t even speak again. He just bawled his eyes out.

Seeing his mate break down so completely and pitifully in his arms was Jeremy’s undoing. “You’ve done noth…” He started to say shakily but the words got stuck in his throat. The alpha couldn’t hold back anymore.

And right there, in the conference room, in front of his three best friends, his mother and Joel, the alpha collapsed onto his knees with his sobbing mate in his arms and wept like never before. Gloria, Joel and Paige sobbed too. Stan had his forehead against a pillar, with his body so tensed up it looked as if he was about to explode. Philip just stared at his best friend and alpha with undisguised helplessness, his eyes red from unshed tears. The beta obviously didn’t know what to do as he’d never seen Jeremy in that state before.

After what seemed like hours, Joel went to pull Jeremy up. The alpha’s arms remained around Ryan who kept taking deep breaths to try and bring down his heart rate.

“You have to go home son.” The elderly man urged. “I’m sure Philip, Stan and Paige can handle things here. Come on, I’ll take you.”

Jeremy could only nod. He wiped his and Ryan’s faces with tissues that Philip gave him and then turned to follow Joel out of the conference room. In the car and on the elevator ride, Jeremy didn’t remove his arms from around Ryan even once. And when they got out of the elevator, they automatically turned towards Jeremy’s suite. At the door, Jeremy programmed Ryan’s thumbprint into the system to enable him enter his suite whenever he wanted to. And inside the suite, the two men stripped to their boxer briefs and got into bed where they just held and breathed each other in. There was so much each man wanted to tell the other but neither said anything for hours.

“Hungry?” Jeremy finally asked but Ryan shook his head, no. “You still owe me a run.” He croaked. “We had a date remember?” Ryan nodded. “We were to go yesterday but you picked my mother over me.”

“I’m sorry.” Ryan finally whispered. He hadn’t known the day before that he was going to go for years without Jeremy. He’d taken him for granted. And now… Ryan started crying again. “I’m so so sorry Jer.”

“Hey, come on.” Jeremy crooned, pressing a kiss to Ryan’s forehead. “I didn’t mean to upset you. You can pick that old woman over me any day.”

Ryan tried to laugh but what came out was a sob. “Oh my god, I’m so sorry.”

“This is not your fault, baby.” Jeremy said softly. “And I will be very angry if you blame yourself. I disrespected Luna and in effect, sealed my fate.” He said quietly.

“No, you don’t understand.” Ryan said shakily. “You accepted that punishment because you’re on a guilt trip. And I put you there…”

“Ryan…”

“I’m so sorry Jeremy.” Ryan wept quietly. He was convinced that in a way he’d pushed Jeremy to accept that punishment. Reminding Jeremy of how badly he’d treated him any opportunity he got, and never really making any effort to forgive him would easily make Jeremy want to atone for his sins. “I tried not to. I really did. But…”

“Hey, listen to me.” Jeremy took hold of Ryan’s chin and tilted his head back to see his face. “I know what’s right and what’s wrong. So I know I deserve to be punished. This is on me, not you. Never think it’s your fault. How about that run?” Jeremy asked softly and waited till Ryan gave a shaky nod, then he got off the bed and went to the closet to pull on shorts and t-shirt. He took same to Ryan who had his head buried under a pillow, sobbing quietly. “Come here Ryan.” Jeremy pulled his sniveling mate to him and quickly dressed him up.

Then the alpha and his mate finally went on their planned first date.

***

‘Isn’t there any other way?’ Ryan’s wolf murmured, snuggling closer to the alpha.

The alpha and his mate were enjoying the peace and fresh air near a stream after running, hunting and running some more. The red wolf sighed and licked at the muzzle of his mate. He didn’t have to ask what his mate was talking about.

‘I have to do this Ryan.’ Jeremy prayed his mate would understand.

‘I’ll miss you.’ Ryan whined. ‘I’ll more than miss you, Jer. I don’t know how I’m going to endure your absence.’

‘You’ll be fine.’ Jeremy closed his eyes, hiding the pain he knew was reflected in there. He wanted to spare Ryan that. ‘You have Gloria…and all the others who have access to my suite.’ He tried to be humorous but failed.

‘Jeremy…’

‘Don’t think about it.’ Jeremy whispered nuzzling Ryan’s cheek with his wet nose. ‘We have the rest of today and the whole of tomorrow. Let’s make the most of it. No negative thoughts. Promise me.’

‘I can’t promise that.’ Ryan growled.

‘Listen baby,’ Jeremy began softly, ‘my whole stay at the Fort is going to be filled with painful memories. Now, if we try and enjoy being with each other, maybe…just maybe, I’ll get lucky and enjoy snippets of these memories at some points. Please Ryan. I know it’s going to be difficult not to think about what’s coming but…let’s try.’ He whispered. ‘Can you do that for me?’

But instead of answering that question, the white wolf let out a loud pitiful howl which forced a painful growl from the alpha. The alpha felt a physical pain within his chest at his mate’s sad howl but didn’t stop him. He knew that the wolf needed that. It needed to somehow let out its misery. And the best way for a wolf to do that was howl its pain to the world. There were answering howls from three wolves who although were with them in the woods, maintained a respectful distance. Jeremy was grateful to know his friend were there for them despite the fact that they virtually had a war on their hands. They were the best. They were hurting just as Ryan was. If it weren’t for his mate, Jeremy would have been with Philip, Stan and Paige at that miserable point in his life. But he knew his friends understood. The alpha cuddled even closer to his beautiful howling mate, waiting patiently for those sad howls to end.

When Ryan eventually quieted down, he turned to face Jeremy and asked shakily; ‘Is there any…witchery…magic…spell that can be done to put me to sleep? So that I wouldn’t feel your absence?’

Jeremy’s breath hitched in his throat at that question. ‘Ryan… There’s no such spell. And even if there was, you can’t put your life on hold for me.’

‘I don’t have a life without you.’ Ryan growled, suddenly angry. ‘Can’t you understand that?’ He stood up and began to walk away. ‘I can’t do this. I can’t…’ And with those anguished words, Ryan began to shift back into human. Then he just collapsed onto the ground and began to sob uncontrollably.

The alpha immediately shifted and went to cover Ryan with his body, making sure he didn’t put his full weight on him. He held Ryan as he sobbed, feeling his own heart break. Did he do the right thing by accepting his punishment, Jeremy asked himself as he rocked Ryan. Should he have simply pleaded his case and promised not to question Luna again? Should he have insisted on another form of punishment which wouldn’t have taken him away from his mate? Over the years, he’d come to know just how much his being an Alpha with Ojah powers pleased Luna. Hell, it had been said in numerous circles how Luna saw him as her best creation yet. Yes, Luna would have listened to him if he’d asked to be spared. But Jeremy knew it wasn’t right. As alpha and leader of his people, he had to do the right thing. The fact that his pack didn’t know what he’d done didn’t really matter. It was honorable to accept one’s punishment no matter how bad it was. Especially so when that individual knew he deserved to be punished. Jeremy knew that there was a high probability that he was going to die but as far as he was concerned, Luna had in fact been lenient with him. It was rather unfortunate that Ryan had to go through all that sadness but…if even he, wanted him dead at a point for what he’d done to him, then how much more Luna, who he’d disrespected with his actions. She was a god for fuck’s sake. She should have smote him months ago.

Ryan must have cried for about thirty minutes straight. Jeremy just held and rocked him, not knowing what to say. Somehow nothing sounded appropriate. They were so much locked up in their grief they didn’t even know what was going on around them. They didn’t feel the danger when a stubborn lover managed to escape her family and came into the woods to challenge Ryan. Neither did they see how Paige’s wolf tore out the challenger’s throat without blinking. The alpha and his mate were in a world of their own…a world filled with anguish and misery.

“Can we go back please?” Ryan finally asked shakily.

Jeremy turned him onto his back and stared down at him. He could feel the calmness within Ryan. It was good he’d allowed him to let out his emotions for as long as he wanted.

“Tell me you’re okay?” Jeremy whispered, rubbing at Ryan’s cheeks.

Ryan let out a shaky breath. “I can never be okay.” He sighed. “But I feel a little better.”

“How’s your wolf?”

“Going crazy.” Ryan sighed. “Better than before though.”

“Good.” Jeremy got to his feet and pulled up a drained Ryan. “Let’s go take a hot shower.”

***

“What now?” Ryan asked quietly, his voice still weak and broken from crying so much.

They were lying naked on the plush white rug in Jeremy’s suite. Ryan played absentmindedly with the hairs around Jeremy’s nipples. They’d taken a long hot shower, bathing each other’s bodies till they felt refreshed. Then they’d decided to relax on the rug in the living area instead of getting into bed. All the lights had been turned off in the suite. The only source of light came from the sixty-four inch LED on the wall, which had been left on a music channel, with the sound very low.

“Now, I mark you.” Jeremy said softly.

“You mean you carry out your wish.” Ryan muttered with a slight frown.

“Hey.” Jeremy whispered, moving to lean over Ryan. “At least Luna granted me a wish.” He gently combed his fingers through Ryan’s hair. “Why don’t you grant me one too? By ignoring everything and just…being with me. I’d really love that.” Jeremy leaned down and captured Ryan’s lips in a sweet kiss. “Very much.” He murmured against his lips when he released them.

“You really think I can do that?” Ryan murmured.

“I know it will be difficult but I’d be grateful if you could.” Jeremy dropped a kiss on the tip of Ryan’s nose. “You see…apart from the fact that I hate seeing you sad, seeing you miserable…especially after I mark you, will mess me up.” He kissed each eye. “I just might rebel when it’s time to go, if I think you’re in too much pain. It won’t be pretty.”

“You’re not going to cause any chaos.” Ryan said softly. “I won’t let you.”

“Oh baby, I won’t even get the chance.” Jeremy’s chuckle was without humour. “It won’t even get there. Luna will…” He gave a deep sign. “Let’s just say I’ll be history.”

“She wouldn’t dare…” Ryan gasped.

“No one defies Luna, baby.”

“The bitch.” Ryan hissed.

“Hey, don’t.” Jeremy chastised Ryan with a slight shake of his head, always the alpha. “Don’t be angry at her. This is all my fault. I fucked up. And I’m so sorry.”

“Alright, alright…no negativity.” Ryan sighed. “Let’s just…enjoy the time left.” He rolled his eyes, making Jeremy laugh. “But you have to make me a promise.” Ryan said quietly.

“Anything.” Jeremy’s gaze locked on his mate’s.

“Promise me you’re going to survive this.” Ryan had never sounded more serious. He clearly remembered Gloria saying that people didn’t usually survive the Fort.

Jeremy’s eyes widened. Yes, he was determined to survive but he couldn’t promise that. He definitely didn’t want to promise his mate and then break the promise. Two years was an awful long time for anyone to survive the fort. He had to be real. The alpha gave a deep sigh.

“I promise to try.” Jeremy whispered.

“Not good enough.” Ryan growled. “Swear it! Give me your oath.”

“Ryan…”

“It’s the only thing I’m asking of you, Jeremy.” Ryan’s eyes flashed. “Let me know you have the will. You owe me that.” He growled, a myriad of emotions swirling in his eyes…desperation, frustration and anger.

“I promise Ryan.” Jeremy kept his voice low and soothing, using his best calming tone. Ryan was getting worked up and he didn’t want that. “I promise to come back to you.” The alpha vowed. “I promise on my soul. Okay?”

Ryan could tell from the look in Jeremy’s eyes that he meant what he’d said. In order to survive anything, a person first of all, needed to have the strong will to survive. And that was all Ryan wanted from his mate. He felt himself instantly calm down.

Ryan nodded. “Thank you.” He murmured and then leaned up to take Jeremy’s lips in a hot kiss.

Ryan told himself not to think about what was coming as he kissed his mate senseless. He needed to give his mate what he’d asked for. He could do that, Ryan told himself. With that resolution made, he threw himself into the kiss. He couldn’t get enough of Jeremy’s sexy mouth. Ryan couldn’t believe he was going to be deprived of their sweetness for two whole years. Well, he had them now didn’t he? He kissed Jeremy as though it were his last time. By the time the two came up for a much needed air, Jeremy was on top of Ryan, and both were rock hard.

“Shit.” Jeremy groaned as he rubbed his hardness against Ryan’s in a wickedly slow grind. “You feel so fucking good.” He moaned, staring down at Ryan with glazed eyes. “Your lips are so soft.” He whispered. “I love your eyes. Their colour makes me go crazy for you. Fuck, we have to stop this.” Jeremy groaned, leaning his forehead against Ryan’s. But his hips didn’t stop their movement against Ryan for even a second. “I’m only supposed to mark you and nothing more.” He took Ryan’s mouth again before he could respond.

Ryan was in another realm. He slid his legs around Jeremy and twined his ankles together on his lower back. In that position, Jeremy’s heavy balls rubbed against his exposed hole with every movement of his hips. Ryan gasped into the kiss, his face flushed with arousal.

“Fuck…” Jeremy tore his mouth away with a whimper and buried his face against Ryan’s neck. “Ryan please…” The alpha pleaded brokenly, his whole body trembling with the intensity of his need. “We can’t…”

“Yes, we can.” Ryan breathed, pushing Jeremy’s head up to gaze into his dazed blue eyes with his own lust-filled ones. “I only get to be marked once. I want this to be as memorable as it can be.” He licked at the corner of Jeremy’s mouth, drawing a tortured moan from the alpha. “Since we’re granting wishes, why don’t you grant mine?” He licked from Jeremy’s mouth to his ear.

“Ryan…” But Jeremy lost his train of thought when Ryan began to swirl his wet tongue along the shell of his ear. “Oh God… Listen to me Ryan…”

“No, you listen to me.” Ryan growled as he rolled them so that he was on top of Jeremy.

If it had been any other person, Jeremy would have been pissed off because it was a clear challenge. But the sexy man looking down at him was his mate. And Jeremy loved how in control he was that very moment.

“Gloria told me you were going to mark me during sex…”

“That’s during the ceremo…”

“Shut up Jeremy.” Ryan said dryly. “Sorry to bring this up now but the last time you bit me…let’s just say I’d rather forget.” He ignored Jeremy’s mortified groan. The alpha’s eyes fluttered close. He was obviously trying to hide his shame. “Look at me Jeremy.” Ryan said softly and waited till his mate opened his eyes. Then he leaned down and gave him a quick kiss. “As I was saying…and got rudely interrupted…” Ryan loved the smile that appeared on his mate’s handsome face at his words. “Gloria told me how good that bite is going to be when you give it to me during…”

“I can still make it good even if we don’t…”

“Did I tell you to speak?” Ryan growled and almost laughed at the amused but admiring look on Jeremy’s face. “The way your mother described it… God, she has a way with words.” He gasped, and then grinned when Jeremy rolled his eyes. That was so weird but adorable. “Well, I want it. I want what she described. I’m not going to allow you to mark me any other way Jer. I want to feel everything. Call me selfish but…that’s how it’s gonna go. You get your wish by granting mine.” Ryan watched as a shocked and obviously speechless Jeremy looked up at him. “What? Cat got your tongue?” He purred.

“Are you insane?” Jeremy growled. He hadn’t thought Ryan was serious till he’d given that condition. “I have to follow the rules!”

“Fuck the rules.” Ryan snapped. “It’s not like you always follow them anyway.” He drawled. “Listen, he that is down needs fear no fall, right?” He grinned. “What’s the worst that could happen?”

“I know what you’re trying to do.” Jeremy said quietly.

“And what’s that?”

“You want to send me off with a…something nice. Sex. But you don’t have to. Really.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Ryan’s eyes lowered to lock on Jeremy’s mouth. “I want you Jeremy. Not once have I ever looked at you and not wanted to jump your bones. You know that.” He murmured but his mate read right through him.

“I know you want me Ryan.” Jeremy’s voice softened. “But just wanting me, wouldn’t make you offer yourself to me as you’re doing now. If I go ahead and have sex with you, you might regret it later. And that will crash me Ryan.” Jeremy let out a deep breath. “Listen, I know you try to tolerate me because of the mate pull. You can’t fight that. I know. But I’ll be a fool not to know how much you hate me deep down. It’s only natural, taking into consideration how badly I’ve treated you. I understand. You don’t have to do this.”

“I don’t hate you Jeremy.” Ryan said quietly. “Don’t get me wrong. I’m still sickened by what you did. And I did hate you. God knows I did.” He squeezed his eyes shut for a moment and then opened them. “When I was a little boy…”

“Are you seriously going to tell me a story right now?” Jeremy looked incredulous.

“Will you just listen?” Ryan groaned. “When I was a little boy, I screamed for hours because my mum killed a spider on my bed. I thought that was cruel. I thought everything deserved life. Till I met you. I wanted you dead. You made me go to a place that I’d never known. A place of rage and darkness.” Ryan rubbed his knuckles soothingly against Jeremy’s cheek when he felt him tense up against him. “I hope I never go to that place again. So yes, I hated you with a passion. I remember telling you too. So believe me, when I say I don’t anymore. I wouldn’t be this devastated at what’s happening if I hated you as much as you think and you know it.” Ryan said, getting off Jeremy. “I want you to mark me whilst you’re making love to me, Jeremy…as you’re supposed to.” He said as he moved towards the bed area. “And I’m not taking no for an answer.” He pulled open the bedside drawer.

Jeremy groaned and covered his eyes with an arm when he heard the drawer open. He knew what Ryan was looking for. What scared him was that he didn’t think he had enough self-control to deny his mate what he was asking for. He’d gone too long without. Hell, his cock throbbed painfully even then, spitting out so much precum as if he was actually being stimulated. No, he definitely didn’t have the strength to deny his mate. When he heard the sound of the tube of lube he usually kept inside his drawer land beside him, he uncovered his eyes and watched as his beautiful mate stroked his cocks slowly and sexily…as if he had all the time in the world. Captivated by the sight, Jeremy stared.

“Fuck!” Jeremy breathed. He couldn’t stop the shiver of arousal that rippled through him. He gazed up at Ryan with that feral hunger that always made Ryan’s heart pound with desire.

“I want you to make this so good, Jeremy. I want you to savour the bliss that I know you’re going to derive from it, and dwell on that when you reach your breaking point. I can’t do anything to prevent the torture that you’re going to endure. I wish I could. But I want this to be so good it will push through all that pain.” Ryan stared into Jeremy’s eyes with so much hunger and heat. “Let’s make our own memories.” He finished in the sexiest voice Jeremy had ever heard.

And oh what erotic memories they made!

*

Jeremy started by kissing every inch of Ryan’s body, paying close attention to all his sensitive spots. His taut nipples were tingling from the tongue bath Jeremy gave them. For Ryan, there was nothing sweeter than Jeremy’s mouth. But it felt amazing not only for Ryan, but for Jeremy too. The lustful sounds pouring from Ryan was music to Jeremy’s ears. He loved the fact that his mate loved his touch.

“So perfect.” Jeremy breathed, his voice low and so sexy.

That voice and that compliment sent warm shivers of delight through Ryan. Although a part of him slightly dreaded sex with Jeremy, he was determined to forget about his fears and simply enjoy his mate’s sensuous attentions. He trusted that Jeremy wouldn’t hurt him. He wouldn’t have asked for it if he’d thought otherwise. Ryan completely let himself go.

“Sweet Lord…” Ryan gasped when Jeremy took his balls into his mouth. “Damn…” It felt so amazing.

Every spot Jeremy touched sent a delicious sizzle through Ryan. He knew exactly what Ryan wanted…knew were to touch and how hard or gentle Ryan wanted that touch to be. They were completely in sync with each other because before Jeremy began, he’d asked Ryan to let down his mind barrier.

“I want to be able to read you.” Jeremy had informed Ryan. “I need to know you’re okay with whatever I do.”

And whatever Jeremy was doing to Ryan’s balls that very moment felt so good he couldn’t even think. When he felt Jeremy move up to slowly lick across the leaking tips of his cocks, Ryan almost lost it.

“Fuck.” Ryan clenched up all over, gasping in shock. The warm wetness over his sensitive slits felt heavenly. Then Jeremy began to suck hard on both leaking cocks, sending Ryan into an instant meltdown. He came completely undone. “Jeremy!” He cried as he erupted into Jeremy’s warm mouth, the shock of the orgasm rippling through his body from head to toe. “I’m sorry…” Ryan gasped even as his body writhed. He knew he should have alerted Jeremy that he was about to blow, to enable him get off his cocks. And he would have done exactly that if his orgasm hadn’t taken him by surprise. “I’m so sorry I didn’t…oh fuck…” He bucked when he felt Jeremy move down to engulf more of his cocks with his warm mouth. “Jer…”

With determination that surprised himself, Jeremy sucked on Ryan. The taste of Ryan’s cum sent his senses reeling. He wanted more. Thanks to his wolf genes, he had the ability to make his tongue even rougher to give Ryan maximum pleasure. Jeremy knew firsthand how mind-blowing it felt to have a rough tongue on ones cock. The ecstatic sounds falling out of Ryan said it all. Ryan was in rough-tongue heaven.

“Christ.” Ryan gasped brokenly, his hands moving down to hold Jeremy’s head. Now he understood why men loved having mouths on their dicks. Jeremy’s mouth on him felt rapturous. “F-feels so amazing.” Ryan moaned breathlessly. But suddenly… “Jeremy…” Ryan cried out and jackknifed upward. “What are you doing?” His shocked gasp couldn’t mask the pleasure in his voice however.

But Jeremy held him tight, not letting him go. Neither did he stop flicking that wicked wet tongue against Ryan’s twitching hole. And when he stiffened his tongue and started slowly pushing it into Ryan’s puckered rosette, he almost passed out from sensory overload.

‘Oh god, how’s he even able to do that?’ Ryan asked himself unconsciously, loving the feel of that gloriously soft but surprisingly firm flesh flicking in and out of his hungry hole.

‘We’re wolves baby.’ Jeremy immediately answered through their mind-link even as he kept Ryan happy with shallow thrusts. He could taste the lemon scented soap Ryan had used. He tasted so clean and sweet. ‘Our tongues are not like that of humans. You should know that.’

“Fuck, fuck, fuck….” Ryan moaned as his back arched in wanton bliss. “God, Jeremy…” With a sharp jerk of his body, Ryan moved away from Jeremy and turned around so fast he left Jeremy stunned.

Then Ryan’s mouth was on Jeremy’s, his tongue plundering in to dual with Jeremy’s. They fought for dominance but the alpha won of course. He maneuvered their bodies till he was on top of Ryan, his leaking mammoth cock thrusting against Ryan’s wet hole.

“Need you, Jer.” Ryan tore his mouth away long enough to gasp. Then he was eating at Jeremy’s mouth again, thrusting almost frenziedly against him.

Jeremy ended the kiss and looked down into Ryan’s passion-glazed eyes. The alpha knew he wanted this; his hunger for his mate was like an uncontrollable force within him. But he was also scared. Scared he was going to fuck up, scared he was going to hurt him, scared he was going to remind Ryan of the pain he’d unleashed on him weeks earlier. What if Ryan panicked when he finally attempted to penetrate him? What if he was reminded of that pain all over again? If what he was about to do triggered any negative reaction from his mate, Jeremy knew he wouldn’t be able to take it. Especially not at that particular moment in his life. He had enough regrets in his life. Every muscle in Jeremy’s body was strung so tight, he thought he might snap.

“Jeremy?” Ryan whispered shakily, reading the fear and uncertainty in the alpha’s eyes. “I want this, baby.” He reached up and caught Jeremy’s face between his hands. “It’s okay. I’m okay. No negativity, remember?” He gave a tremulous smile. But Jeremy couldn’t even return the smile. Ryan saw the struggle his mate was going through and suddenly felt guilty for pushing him. “Hey, you don’t have to if…”

“Yes, I do.” Jeremy’s breathing had changed, becoming more ragged. “If you crave something, I have to give it to you no matter the cost, Ryan.”

“Jer…”

“Shh…” Jeremy reached for the lube, his eyes never once leaving Ryan’s. He squeezed a generous amount into his palm and began to slowly slick himself up.

Ryan’s eyes dropped to the movement of Jeremy’s hand and couldn’t suppress the heated moan that tore out of his throat. Damn, the guy was fucking huge. Ryan couldn’t take his eyes off the drop of clear fluid that oozed from the slit…almost like a teardrop. Saliva pooled in his mouth.

“Fucking awesome.” Ryan breathed with wonderment, making Jeremy chuckle despite himself.

The sounds that Jeremy’s hand made from the act of coating his hardened flesh was so erotic Ryan unconsciously licked his lips. His arse ached with surprised longing as he watched his mate stroke his thick length. That massive cock, which was darker than the rest of Jeremy, was slick, wet and so hard, huge veins stood out along the length. The man had a beautiful organ, Ryan couldn’t help but think as he stared at the huge head with its leaking slit. He didn’t think he’d seen anything so blatantly erotic in his entire life.

“Fuck…” A whisper. But it conveyed exactly what Ryan felt at that moment. He was awed.

Jeremy moaned low in his throat as he watched Ryan watch him stroke himself. What he saw on that face wasn’t fear. It was unadulterated lust. Ryan’s eyes were heavy-lidded with desire, his mouth parted sexily with his breath coming out harshly. To Jeremy, he was like a wet dream. He couldn’t resist leaning down to press a kiss against those kiss-swollen lips. And with his lips still locked with Ryan’s, Jeremy squeezed more lube and began to slick Ryan up with a finger. He was already wet, thanks to that delicious rimming he’d given him. So Jeremy had no resistance entering that hot channel at all. Soon he had three fingers scissoring in and out of Ryan, stretching him…opening him up for his cock.

Ryan moaned into the kiss. He couldn’t remain still. He rocked his hips against those fingers, loving the feel of them inside him. He opened his legs wider, willing Jeremy to go deeper. Ryan wanted Jeremy to touch that spot again…that spot that caused his insides to melt as if he was butter under the sun. But Jeremy wouldn’t.

‘Jeremy please…’ Ryan pleaded on their mind-link, arching upward, needing more…seeking a deeper contact. ‘Go deeper, Jer.” He drew his knees high and wide and rotated his hips but still couldn’t get those fingers where he wanted them. “Jeremy, come on…” He tore his mouth away from Jeremy’s to growl.

“Soon baby. Soon.” With that Jeremy leaned down and latched onto a taut nipple just as he added a fourth finger. He wanted to make sure that Ryan was opened enough to take him.

“Fuck…” Ryan cried out at the sensation of his nipple being tugged between Jeremy’s teeth and that blissfully full feeling in his arse. His eyes fluttered shut against the sensations. He felt only pleasure and nothing else. Then he felt the fingers leave his body. “Please don’t stop.” He groaned. “Please don’t…” But his words were swallowed by Jeremy’s mouth when he claimed his lips in another kiss.

Jeremy began to slowly rub the slick wide crest of his cock against Ryan’s equally slick hole, but he didn’t push in. He simply rubbed, letting Ryan know that he was ready and waiting. When Ryan’s lustful whimpers increased, Jeremy released his mouth and looked down at his closed eyes.

“Look at me Ryan.” He whispered huskily and waited for Ryan’s eyes to open. “All you have to do is say the word and I’ll stop.” His voice was shaky, and more savage than Ryan had ever heard it.

“I know.” Ryan whispered shakily.

And with their gazes locked on each other’s, the alpha began to slowly push into his mate. Despite being very slick and well opened, there was a slight resistance. Ryan’s breath came out harshly, his eyes dilated. Jeremy groaned as sweat instantly broke out across his forehead. For the very first time in his life, the alpha cursed the size of his cock. The last thing he wanted to do was hurt his mate. He began to pull out but Ryan spread his legs wider and raised his arse, causing Jeremy’s engorged crown to slide forward through his resisting ring.

“Ahhh…” Ryan gave a long moan as his head tilted back on the rug, exposing the creamy column of his throat, the act calling to the alpha to sink his teeth into that flesh…claim him.

“Fuck.” Jeremy almost flew apart at that sight. His eyes glowed amber. He could feel his wolf right there at the surface. “Ryan…” His breathed huskily.

“Keep going…” Came the breathless response. “I’m okay.” His eyes fell closed.

Jeremy wanted to tell Ryan to keep his eyes open but he didn’t. He pressed forward with agonizing slowness, stretching the quivering muscles surrounding his girth. His breath wrenched from his lungs at the exquisite heat that engulfed him as he sank into that sheath. Ryan’s arse was fucking nirvana, Jeremy thought with a look of utter reverence on his face. By the time he pushed all the way in to the hilt, the alpha was shaking so hard.

“Oh God.” Jeremy breathed shakily as his own eyes fluttered close despite himself. Every bone in his body had melted. He could barely think beyond the rushing of blood in his ears. Hell, he couldn’t even read Ryan. He took deep breaths to calm himself. Ryan was his number one priority. He needed to know his mate was okay. “Talk to me baby.” Jeremy almost sounded as if he was praying.

Ryan opened his eyes. He was filled and stretched to the point where he thought he just might explode. But surprisingly, he felt no pain. Rather, the pleasure that was assailing his senses at that particular moment was so overwhelming he just couldn’t bring himself to speak. Unfocused green eyes stared up at Jeremy. The look in those eyes said it all but the alpha still needed to know. Jeremy managed a weak smile for Ryan as he tenderly brushed a tendril of hair off his wet forehead.

“Are you okay?” The alpha couldn’t recognize his own voice. That was how overcome he felt.

Ryan nodded and gave a breathy moan. “I’m more than okay.” He whispered, the dreamy softness of his voice exciting Jeremy even more.

Jeremy looked down between them and saw the load of clear liquid that had pooled on Ryan’s stomach. Two thin strings of precum linked the slit of each rock hard cock to the precum on his stomach. Jeremy thought it was beautiful.

A low whimper escaped Ryan at the feeling within. There was a buildup within him that was so intense it was almost scary. But he wanted to reach for it. He wanted that explosion he could feel coming. He yearned for it.

“Are you going to start moving anytime soon?” Ryan finally asked softly, instinctively knowing that Jeremy was only giving him time to get used to having him within his depths.

What Ryan didn’t know was that not only was Jeremy waiting for him to adjust, but he was also trying to stop himself from completely losing it and embarrassing himself. Hell, he’d gone without for weeks. Everything that had been accumulating inside of him over the past weeks had all converged inside his cock and was about to explode. He needed to regain some control or everything would end before it actually began. He had to give Ryan another orgasm at least, before he finally let go. Jeremy lowered his lips to Ryan’s ear, nuzzling the soft, sensitive shell.

“Do you want me to?” His voice sounded strained.

“Oh god.” Ryan gasped as a delicious shiver spiraled up his spine. Jeremy’s voice in his ear…his tongue…fuck. “You’re supposed to, aren’t you?” He gasped, trembling beneath the alpha.

“I am…” Jeremy’s lips moved down, grazing the sensitive spot on Ryan’s neck with his lips. “But I’m waiting for you to tell me when to.” He began to suck up a mark, sending a bolt of electricity throughout Ryan’s entire body.

“Ahh, fuck Jer…” Ryan moaned brokenly, thrusting up uncontrollably and causing that sweet spot to take a hard hit. He instantly went into a million pieces, screaming Jeremy’s name as one cock erupted, shooting ropes of cum between them.

“Fuck…” Jeremy breathed, looking down at his mate in amazement. What the fuck just happened, he asked himself.

Raw sounds of pleasure vibrated from Ryan’s throat as he writhed against Jeremy in blinding ecstasy. His neck arched as his senses overloaded. The sensations slamming inside him seemed to increase with each rapturous spasm. Ryan began to rock rhythmically against Jeremy even before his orgasm subsided, ecstatic cries falling unchecked from his lips.

“Ryan…” Jeremy groaned as of its own accord, his hips began to move. He slowly slid out and then back in, his powerful muscles flexing and contracting against Ryan. “Fuck…” His eyes, which had been reduced to slits, stayed on Ryan’s, his intent gaze more intimate than even the erotic love dance against Ryan’s body.

“Oh my fucking god…” Ryan gasped, his whole body shuddering. The feeling, as Jeremy began to thrust in and out was so exquisite he could do nothing but spread wider and let him go as deep as he could. What blew Ryan’s mind was the look of absolute enjoyment on Jeremy’s face. “You’re fucking hot.” He breathed.

But Ryan couldn’t focus on Jeremy for long. Soon his eyes rolled into his head as the cock inside him unfailingly began to nail that hyper-stimulated gland with each thrust from Jeremy. Cries of pleasure fell continuously from his mouth as he clutched at Jeremy’s waist almost desperately, his legs moving up to lock around Jeremy’s hips as if they had a mind of their own.

“You feel so fucking good baby.” Jeremy murmured huskily as he worked that spot back and forth. “So snug, soft and scorching hot.” His mouth brushed against Ryan’s parted ones as he thrust in a gentle rhythm that completely went against what he was used to. But the alpha loved the stark pleasure he saw on his mate’s face so he maintained that gentle rhythm. If he had to be gently in order to see that orgasmic look on Ryan’s face, he would die being gentle. “Absolutely stunning.” He whispered, his words and voice tantalizing every inch of Ryan.

Ryan was distantly aware of the helpless sounds spilling from his throat but he couldn’t bring himself to stop. Not with that cock unfalteringly and relentlessly massaging that sweet tender spot inside him. He was shocked to feel the beginnings of another orgasm so soon after the two powerful unexpected ones he’d had. Hell, his blood had barely stilled from his last climax.

“Christ” Ryan gasped and tightened up reflexively around that massive cock, drawing a growl from the alpha. Ryan had never felt that level of ecstasy in his entire life. His senses were completely lost in Jeremy’s scent which not only surround him but also filled him possessively. The way Jeremy’s eyes glinted down at him…with so much tenderness and something else he couldn’t put him finger on, made Ryan’s heart sing with a feeling of joy he’d never experienced. “Jeremy, I’m…” He tightened up even more.

“Fuck…” Jeremy growled and threw his head back in pleasure even as he reached down to squeeze the base of Ryan’s cocks, holding him at the precipice of his third orgasm.

“Oh shit…” Ryan wanted to cry. “Jeremy, what the fuck…”

“Want you on your knees, baby.” Jeremy growled, his brightly glittering amber eyes and dropped fangs alerting Ryan to the fact that his mate’s wolf was right there with them. The alpha was ready to mark his mate.

Jeremy reached around his hips, unlocked Ryan’s legs from around him, and then gently pulled out of him. He groaned when he saw the gaping hole his cock had left. He had to heal Ryan when he was done, Jeremy thought grimly as he drew Ryan up into his arms and gave him a quick, wet, openmouthed kiss. Then he turned him around and gently pushed him onto his forearms, leaving him completely opened to him. With one hand at the small of Ryan’s back, holding him down, Jeremy slowly fed his cock back into the exquisite heat. Neither man could suppress his moan of pleasure.

“Holy shit…” Ryan gasped at the sweet nerve-stimulating sensation of being penetrated, feeling that hard flesh fill him up. “Damn, you’re thick.” He breathed when he felt Jeremy bottom out inside him. In that position, Jeremy was even deeper than before and that drove Ryan wild. “Fuck!”

“Are you okay?” Jeremy husked, his eyes shut tightly against the mind-numbing pleasure he was getting from being that deep inside Ryan.

“Feels fucking amazing.” Ryan moaned. He was going out of his mind with pleasure.

“Well, you don’t only feel amazing, you are amazing.” Jeremy whispered, folding himself over Ryan’s back and dropping tiny kisses on the back of his neck. “Brace yourself.” He commanded in a voice harsh with lust.

And that was when the real mating began.

With that hoarse command to Ryan, Jeremy stated fucking slowly but deeply into his mate, demanding his total submission. Holding Ryan teetering on the edge of his climax, Jeremy rode him hard and deep, stroking over and over and over that sweet spot inside Ryan that made him shake with unadulterated ecstasy. Ryan screamed at the controlled primal possession, the pleasure so intense his vision blurred. He couldn’t believe how good it felt. He never wanted Jeremy to stop.

“Ahhh…god, right there Jer…” Ryan whispered shamelessly. He could always get mortified later but at that particular moment, he expressed exactly how he felt. “This is so fucking good…” He moaned as he rocked backward to meet each thrust, his thighs shaking with the power behind each thrust. He thought he could very well die from the pleasure of it. His dicks were rock hard and stuck against his belly as though that was their permanent position. “So good…”

Jeremy did exactly as his mate demanded. He fucked the shit out of him. Ryan didn’t even notice exactly when he leaned forward and rested the side of his face on the rug. Not only was he totally open for Jeremy’s deep and hard penetration, he was also in the most submissive of poses, which fired up his dominant alpha like nothing else. All Ryan wanted was to feel Jeremy moving inside him, driving him towards that explosion that hovered just beyond his reach. Nothing else mattered at that moment.

With a knee and a foot planted firmly on the rug, Jeremy fucked into Ryan hard, deep-dicking his mate relentlessly. Damn, being inside Ryan was like no pleasure he’d ever experienced. The sensations running through Jeremy were too intense and too different for him to articulate if he’d been asked to. The familiar tingle, when it came, wasn’t just along his spine. It was all over his body. It felt as if he was about to fly into pieces. After watching his mate come twice, Jeremy’s body was desperate for release. He knew he had to let go before he lost his mind. He’d definitely not expected himself to last that long after all the weeks of deprivation. Jeremy could practically feel his come traveling from his balls up into his cock.

“Oh shit…” Jeremy gasped, willing himself to hold on for a moment. He could feel his balls begin to draw up. Under normal circumstances, he would have really drawn it out. But not now. What he felt was not the usual. He couldn’t control it. His wolf was ready to take what was his.

Jeremy straightened, pulling Ryan up with him so that his thighs bracketed Ryan’s. He remained deeply inside Ryan, his arms sliding across Ryan’s belly as he pulled him back against the length of his hard body. Jeremy’s darker skin contrasted so beautifully with Ryan’s creamy one it almost looked like a work of art. Ryan was oblivion to how beautiful he looked against his mate though. All he could concentrate on was the pressure that was building everywhere…in his balls, his belly, inside his head… he was flooded with sensations. His head fell back against Jeremy’s shoulder as he ground his arse onto Jeremy, working toward the orgasm he needed so desperately…driving the alpha out of his mind with bliss in the process.

“Ryan…” The sound that ripped from Jeremy’s throat was inhuman and savagely erotic.

“I need to come, Jeremy.” He whimpered, hips gyrating frantically in a shameless, sweaty dance. “Gotta come…please…” He begged, seeking that elusive end.

There was something about Ryan begging whilst in the throes of passion that completely blew Jeremy’s mind. He planted a tender kiss at the nape of Ryan’s neck even as his fingers found and pinched his sensitive, taut nipples hard. His other hand moved down to grip Ryan’s cocks and began to stroke him slowly, his slow deep thrusts never stopping for even a second.

“Holy fuck!” Ryan’s back arched, his head trashing from side to side on Jeremy’s shoulder in blissful abandon. The combination of the pleasure of having his cocks stroked, the toe-curling stimulation of his prostate by that wicked cock, and the spark of sweet pain from his nipples drove him crazy. Loud cries which would have embarrassed him if he weren’t that far gone on pleasure fell out of his lips as Jeremy’s talented fingers and cock relentlessly worked their magic. Ryan couldn’t resist the onslaught. “I’m gonna come Jer. God I’m gonna…”

But before Ryan could complete his sentence, Jeremy began to suckle at that sensitive spot between his neck and shoulder. His warm tongue licked the area, getting it ready for the bite. An intense wave of pleasure coursed through Ryan making him shudder. Fuck! He felt a change come over him…felt the being inside him right there at the surface. His senses magnified, the sensations within becoming even more intense. Ryan tilted his head, baring his neck to his mate. He suddenly needed that bite like he needed air. He felt Jeremy’s fingers leave his sensitized nipples and move up into his hair to hold his head motionless, whilst the hand stroking his cocks, speed up. Ryan’s brain short-circuited. The feeling inside was indescribable.

“Christ…” A breathless whimper… But that was all the prompting the alpha needed. He struck.

Jeremy’s long canines sunk deep into that tender spot in a painless hold that conveyed his dominance, ownership, possessiveness, admiration, respect and…love? Ryan’s mind was instantly flooded with all the emotions Jeremy felt for him even as he felt the warmth of his mate’s cum flooding him. Ryan was taken a little off guard by the emotion depicting love but he didn’t even have the time to dwell on it. He was also oblivious to the fact that his mate’s eyes had turned bloody red. He’d mated not only Jeremy and his wolf, but with his Ojah spirit as well. And that naturally meant three times the pleasure.

The raw euphoric rapture that slammed into Ryan was like nothing he’d ever experienced in his entire thirty-one years on earth. The world disappeared. He couldn’t cry out, couldn’t scream, couldn’t make a sound. His mouth opened in a silent scream as for the first time ever, cum shot out from both cocks at the same time. Ryan watched in a trance-like shock as two ropes of cum continued to shoot up in unison. And they wouldn’t stop. Surely he was bound to become dehydrated if the cum-works didn’t stop soon, Ryan thought. Was it even normal? But then he was a werewolf. What was normal about that? His body jerked spasmodically in agonized rapture as his dicks kept shooting his load onto the white rug. Ryan was completely floored by the intensity of the sensual gratification within. He’d never come so hard in his life. Pleasure consumed him.

*

Unknown to the alpha and his newly marked mate, every mated werewolf in the pack house felt the urge to have sex with their mates at that very moment. Whilst every unmated werewolf who was of age, got as horny as fuck. Those who were in relationships quickly sought out their partners, and those who were not, hooked up with any available horny person. As for those who couldn’t get together with anyone for one reason or the other…let’s just say their hands were put to good use. It was a fuckfest!

*

Back in the alpha’s suite, animalistic groans vibrated inside Jeremy’s chest as he came violently, spurting scalding-hot cum repeatedly into his mate. The sweet release of tension after weeks of denying himself was almost too much to bear. But although he was completely lost in his own pleasure, Jeremy’s eyes were glued to the shots of cum erupting out of his mate onto his hand and the rug. It was the sexiest fucking sight he’d ever witnessed in his entire life. And he’d seen some crazy shit. Seeing that only ramped up the erotic sensations within Jeremy, making him come even harder in fiery pulses. The alpha felt drunk on bliss. He waited till Ryan stopped spurting before pulling his fangs free. He licked the wound close with soothing licks of his tongue but the mark remained. Then the alpha latched onto the mark and started sucking softly on it.

The fourth climax hit Ryan in a helpless rush. This time he screamed Jeremy’s name as he began to convulse in sheer ecstasy, the pleasure so sharp and unexpected. No cum came out, but it was just as intense.

“Oh god, please.” Ryan gasped as he panted harshly. “Jeremy…” His whole body felt highly sensitized…almost as if he’d been electrocuted. He could feel himself vibrating. “Are you fucking kidding me?” He laughed shakily as he went lax against Jeremy. He felt utterly drained as the last spasm robbed him of all remaining strength. “Oh god, I can’t feel my limbs.” He gasped, aftershocks still shaking and rattling his wrung-out body. “What are you doing to me, Jeremy Stanton?” Ryan asked breathlessly as he attempted to turn his body to face Jeremy. He wasn’t able to manage even that. “Help me, Jer.” He groaned. But when Jeremy made to pull him off his cock, Ryan protested. “I don’t want you out just yet.” He whimpered.

“That makes two of us.” Jeremy said quietly as be moved back to lean against the couch. “I love being inside you, Ryan. I never want this to end.” He sounded so sad and regretful Ryan’s heart tightened painfully inside his chest.

“Jer… No negativity, remember?” Ryan said quietly as Jeremy managed to turn him around to face him without pulling out of him.

“Sorry.” Jeremy muttered with a sad smile.

It was only after Ryan was fully facing him that Jeremy noticed how wet his cheeks were with tears. Knowing that they were tears of pleasure didn’t stop the alpha’s heart from pounding with worry though. But just as he was about to question Ryan, his blissed out mate closed the distance between them and captured his mouth in a fierce but sweet kiss. And what Jeremy felt from that kiss was so humbling it made his senses reel. He felt his mate’s absolute acceptance of him and his complete surrender to him. The emotion that exploded within the alpha in that instant was so overwhelmingly euphoric he felt lightheaded. With a wolven growl he completely took over the kiss and ravaged Ryan’s willing mouth, his tongue thrusting swift and deep. He felt as if he’d been given a precious gift.

When the kiss ended, Ryan’s body went limp against Jeremy’s. He felt floaty and sated, his mind buzzing from the most amazing high. When he felt Jeremy’s arms wrap around him, he sighed with contentment. The alpha buried his face against the mark on his mate and breathed him in deeply. To him, nothing and no one had ever smelt that good.

“You’re mine, Ryan.” Though the alpha made the claim softly, the emotion and power behind it didn’t go unnoticed. “And I promise to do right by you.”

“You had better.” Ryan purred, drawing a smile from Jeremy. “And yes, I’m so yours.”

“I’m yours too.” Jeremy said and then finally gave in to the emotions swirling inside him.

Ryan could feel Jeremy shaking against him and could also feel the wetness on his neck but didn’t stop Jeremy. The alpha deserved a free pass after what they’d experienced on that rug that evening. Fuck, it had been intense. After a while the alpha sniffled and raised his head to look at his mate. And that look made Ryan gasp with shock. Jeremy looked at him like he was worth the world.

“Thank you.” Jeremy croaked. “For accepting me despite all my flaws.”

“Hmmm…” Ryan wiped at Jeremy’s face. “Tell me, did you cry because it dawned on you that you’re mine too? Or you…”

“Fuck you Ryan.” Jeremy gave a mock growl, making Ryan burst into laughter.

“You just did.” He murmured almost shyly, his heavy-lidded eyes still filled with dreamy satisfaction. If someone had told him just a month earlier that he would be fucked in the arse by Jeremy and actually enjoy it, he would have probably slapped the person. And to make it even more surprising, he was crazy about the guy. To think he’d never even looked twice at another guy before Jeremy. Fuck!

“Was it okay?” The alpha actually sounded nervous.

“Did you seriously just ask me that?” Ryan asked softly, trailing his fingers down Jeremy’s cheek, his eyes glinting with amusement in the faint light coming from the TV. “There are no words for what just happened. Maybe the words are yet to be invented. For now, I’ll go with phenomenal. That was…fuck!”

Jeremy laughed softly, tenderly brushing Ryan’s hair from his damp forehead. Soft blue eyes filled with reverence, looked into Ryan’s which were still red from shedding so much tears that day. Then his eyes dropped down to Ryan’s mouth, which was plump and red from all the kissing. Jeremy didn’t think he’d seen a more beautiful creature.

“I’m glad you enjoyed it.” Jeremy murmured. “I never thought that level of feeling and ecstasy even existed. Thanks for showing me it does.”

“You have no idea how thrilled I am that you got to experience that with me and not any of your…” Ryan trailed off when Jeremy leaned in to claim his mouth again, effectively shutting him up. “Okay, that shut me up alright.” He gasped when his mouth was released. “I think you’re magnificent.” He murmured.

“No need to flatter me.” Jeremy leaned forward to lick at Ryan’s kiss-swollen lips. He just couldn’t get enough of those lips. “You’ve already gotten inside my pants.” He said with a twinkle in him eyes.

Ryan laughed. “We need to go take a shower.” He murmured, shivering at the feel of Jeremy’s tongue on his lips.

“I wish we didn’t have to.” Jeremy growled against his mate’s swollen, moist lips. “I prefer how you smell.”

“You mean how I smell of you.” Ryan drawled, rolling his eyes.

“Yes.” Jeremy grinned. “I want it to remain as such.”

“Jeremy, you know very well that no matter how hard I scrub myself, I can never get rid of your scent now so why can’t we take that shower?” He kissed Jeremy again. “We’re covered in cum and sweat.” Hell, he could feel Jeremy’s cum leaking out of him onto Jeremy.

“You have a point.” Jeremy groaned. “Okay let’s go take a shower. But I need to heal you after we’re done bathing.”

“Heal me…” Ryan looked confused.

“You’ll understand when I pull out of you.” Jeremy said, rolling Ryan onto his back.

“Oh…” Hot colour rose in Ryan’s cheeks. “Are you going to do that now?” At Jeremy’s amused nod, Ryan’s eyes widened. “I’ll leak onto the rug, Jer. Maybe we should do that in the bathroom.”

“Just say you want me to carry you into the bathroom.” Jeremy chuckled as he nuzzled his nose against Ryan’s mark.

“Oh fuck…” Ryan let out a loud moan and shivered violently. Was it always going to be like that, he wondered. He didn’t miss Jeremy’s satisfied grin at his telling reaction. “You’re an asshole Jer.” He laughed breathlessly. “Seriously Jeremy… feels like I have gallons of your cum inside me. The rug…”

“Fuck the rug.” Jeremy growled softly, dropping tiny kisses all over Ryan’s face. “Besides, you’ve already christened it with that fountain you sprayed earlier. That was hot by the way.”

“Oh my god…” Ryan groaned in mortification, making Jeremy laugh. “That has never happened before.”

“Really?”

“Yes, really.” Ryan murmured. “That was intense.”

“Tell me about it.” Jeremy looked into Ryan’s soft and dreamy eyes and felt pride. He’d put that look there…Sweet! “I’m gonna pull out now.” He whispered. “Don’t wanna do it standing up in some bathroom. That might hurt you.” His eyes dropped down to lock on Ryan’s luscious kiss-swollen mouth. “Fuck, you’re beautiful.” Jeremy sounded drunk. “If you’re so concerned about the rug, just clench up when I pull out. Okay?”

Ryan nodded. “Okay.”

Jeremy gently pulled out with a deep growl. Ryan couldn’t help the loud moan that tore out of his throat either. The friction of Jeremy’s cock moving against his nerve-rich tissues was so pleasurable.

“Damn.” Jeremy groaned. “Are you okay?” He husked, dropping tiny kissed along Ryan’s jaw.

“You’re still hard.” Ryan gasped, drawing laughter from Jeremy.

“I’m virtually never completely soft around you Ryan.” He chuckled, getting to his feet with Ryan in his arms. “You need to pay attention, mate.”

“You’re so fucking perverted.” Ryan laughed, putting his head on Jeremy’s shoulder.

“Yeah, well blame my mate. ‘Cause when it comes to him, my entire body just goes crazy.” Jeremy murmured as he entered the bathroom.

Ryan laughed softly. “Same here Jer. Same here.”

And after taking a very long shower amidst languid kisses, the alpha and his mate went directly to their comfortable massive bed. At Jeremy’s insistence, Ryan allowed him to lick all over his sore hole and perineum…that small stretch of flesh between Ryan’s ravaged hole and his balls which was rich in nerve endings. A wolf’s tongue was known to have healing properties. An alpha’s even more so. But although Jeremy’s ministration was meant to heal and soothe Ryan, it only ended up arousing both of them unbearably. Before long, helpless whimpers were falling out of Ryan. Neither man could fight the lust. They ended up fucking again and again till the early hours of the morning. Both lost count of the number of orgasms they had. The alpha and his mate were definitely on cloud nine. And till it become very necessary, neither one was ready to descend.

***

“Fuck, I really need to take these idiots out of the system.” Jeremy panted harshly when the door to his suite opened to reveal a haggard looking Philip.

“Not the best time.” Ryan gasped breathlessly, rocking back harder against Jeremy. He didn’t even care that Philip was in the suite and could see them. No, he didn’t give a flying fuck. He was on the verge of a climax and nothing was going to stop him from grasping that sweet release.

“I know.” Jeremy grunted, thrusting deeply into Ryan from behind. “They need to be able to come in to check on you in my absence.”

Jeremy was surprised but thrilled that his mate hadn’t scrambled away from him when Philip entered the suite. They were in bed with Jeremy spooned behind Ryan, slowly fucking the breath out of him beneath the covers. Jeremy pushed himself up on his elbows to get a better look at his Beta. He looked…

“Don’t stop, Jer…” Ryan gasped, his body shaking with the beginnings of his climax. “Please don’t stop…”

“Not going anywhere, beautiful.” Jeremy whispered, suddenly understanding why his mate hadn’t moved away. He was almost there… Jeremy leaned down and latched onto the mark, and then began to suck on it…hard.

With a cry, Ryan flew apart, the spasms intense, the pleasure incredible. His contracting channel gripped Jeremy’s cock so tightly he didn’t have any choice but to follow his mate into bliss. Jeremy’s hold on Ryan’s hip tightened as he erupted inside his spasming heat, his gorgeous face contorted in ecstasy. The alpha came so hard he couldn’t catch his breath. Even after both men stopped spurting, they writhed against each other in delirious pleasure.

“Fuuuuck!” Jeremy growled, hugging Ryan to him fiercely. “I didn’t realize you had me that worked up. Fuck.” He gasped. “Are you okay?” At Ryan’s sleepy nod, Jeremy pressed a kiss against his temple. “Get some sleep whilst I see to Lip.” Jeremy said softly as he reached behind him for one of the small towels, dislodging his spent cock from Ryan’s body in the process. “And I promise immediately I get back, they’re so gone off my system.” He murmured as he first wiped Ryan clean, and then himself.

“Leave them alone.” Ryan yawned, an overwhelming exhaustion tugging at his muscles. He couldn’t keep his eyes open. “Tell Philip I said I’m sorry.” He mumbled.

“What are you sorry for?” Jeremy asked with a curious look.

“Having sex in his presence.” He responded to Jeremy’s surprise. They were wolves for fuck’s sake. They had sex in the presence of each other all the fucking time. His mate obviously didn’t get the memo.

“Why the fuck do you have to apologize?” Jeremy drawled. “He came into your room without announcing himself first. He should be the one apologizing.” Jeremy leaned over a virtually sleeping Ryan. “Are you really bothered he saw us? Would you rather we’d stopped when he came in?”

“Hell, no.” Ryan chuckled sleepily. “I couldn’t have stopped even if the room had caught fire. Just trying to be a gentleman, that’s all.” He slurred, making Jeremy burst into laughter.

And even before Jeremy left the bed, Ryan was already dead to the world.

“What the fuck happened to you?” Jeremy asked, giving Philip a once-over.

“Do you have any idea what you’ve done?” Philip growled with an icy glare at the alpha.

“I can’t say I do.” Jeremy said as he turned towards the closet. “But I’m sure you’re going to tell me.” He pulled on a black sweatpants and black t-shirt. Then he went back to where his obviously pissed off beta stood. “I’m waiting.”

“You were supposed to mark him not have sex with him.” Jeremy said coolly.

“So I had sex with my mate.” Jeremy shrugged. “What’s it to you?”

“Jeremy, people couldn’t help but have sex at a point last night.” Philip whispered. “It was…insane. We couldn’t control ourselves.”

“So you got some.” Jeremy grinned, completely missing the point. “Cool.” Jeremy went to the fridge and took out a 1.5 liter bottle of water, totally missing the incredulous look on Philip’s face. By the time the bottle came away from his lips, it was empty.

“Just how long have you two been going at it, Jer.” Philip asked curiously.

“Since last night. Not that it’s any of your business though.” Jeremy shrugged. “So unless you have something very important to tell me, I’ll go join my mate now. I need to catch some sleep.”

“Did you hear the part about people having the urge to fuck…at the same time last night?” Philip asked.

“What do you mean at the same time?” Jeremy asked with a frown. “Not that there’s anything wrong with being horny.”

“Do you remember the exact time you…marked him?”

“Around eight p.m. Why.”

“Oh Jer…” Philip groaned, racking his fingers through his hair. “They’re right. You triggered it.”

“Who’s right? And what did I trigger?” The alpha looked confused.

“You…you marked Ryan whilst fucking him.”

“Well, that’s how it’s supposed to be done.”

“Yeah but…everyone felt it in the pack house, Jer. And it couldn’t be ignored. Even those who are not mated and are not together, but found themselves together at that moment couldn’t help but have sex. It was that intense.”

“What the fuck!” Jeremy exclaimed. “All because I… This is sick. Who did you find yourself…”

“Never mind who I fucked.” Philip snapped. “Dad and…Mama G were together.”

“Oh fuck!” Jeremy bellowed.

“That’s what I said.” Philip groaned.

“So they…people fucked till this morning?”

“No, thank God.” Philip breathed. “It was all about the urge, Jeremy. Once it took hold of you, you only got free after a release.” Philip explained. “I’m sure that was probably the moment you bit him.”

“Oh god.” Jeremy muttered.

“How come we never asked why an alpha really had to go through all that exhibitionistic bullshit just to claim his mate?” Philip looked genuinely surprised.

“Well… we all know it’s so that everyone will see that the alpha can make his mate happy.” Jeremy drawled with a shrug. “Is there supposed to be another reason?”

“Apparently there is.” Philip folded his arms across his broad chest. “When an alpha mates and marks his mate, the intensity of their hunger for each other flows through pack members who are of age. A full-blown orgy can actually breakout if the right steps are not taken.”

“What?” Jeremy looked shocked. “Right steps?”

“The council. Apparently whatever those freaky elders do during the ceremony prevents such bizarre situations from occurring. They only want the alpha to fuck and mark in the presence of everyone to enable them keep an eye on the pack…make sure whatever they did to prevent a fuckfest worked. And that was why you were asked to simply mark him, you pervy fucker.” Philip growled.

“Perv… I seem to be getting that word a lot between last night and this morning.” Jeremy shook his head with mock hurt. “And from none other than my mate and best friend. With friends like you, who needs enemies?” He ducked with a burst of laughter, dodging the punch aimed his way. “Well, that’ll teach the council for keeping everything shrouded in secrecy. If I knew the real reason behind this…” He waved his hand to indicate Philip’s revelation, “it may have stopped me from…” His grin was downright dirty.

“Yeah right.” Philip muttered, knowing his friend would have still gone ahead and fucked his mate.

“Aww come on, Lip.” Jeremy laughed. “I would probably have insisted on the ceremony before I’m kicked to the Fort.” He said, sounding nothing like someone who was actually going to ‘hell’ by midnight that very day. He looked…content. “So…what are we going to do about those two?” Jeremy asked, referring to their parents.

“What can we do?” Philip shrugged. “I think it’s about time they both let go of the dead and have some fun anyway, don’t you think?”

“Yeah, but mum…eww?” Jeremy shivered at the thought of his mother having sex. “So…who did you fuck?”

“Buzz off.” Philip laughed. “Go get some sleep. I need some myself. I’ll come and check up on you later.”

“Okay.” Jeremy yawned, looking up at the projected clock on the wall. It was a quarter past five a. m. “Fuck, how time flies when you need it to stay still.” He muttered wistfully.

“Are you okay?” Philip asked quietly.

“Never better. I just wish I had more time.” Jeremy gave a deep sigh, his gorgeous face etched with sudden sadness. “I’m scared, Lip.” He finally whispered.

“Oh god, Jer…” With an anguished growl Philip drew his alpha, best friend and the brother he never had, into his arms and hugged him fiercely.

It was obvious that Jeremy was trying to put up a brave face. The satisfaction derived from being with his mate had only made it easier. For the umpteenth time the Beta wished for a miracle to prevent what was about to happen. After about two minutes of just drawing strength from each other, they let each other go. But Philip didn’t miss the smirk on Jeremy’s face.

“Camilla. I can smell her on you.” Jeremy couldn’t hide his amusement. “She was the one huh?”

“Fuck.” Philip groaned. “She came to apologize. Said she knew I would be pissed off at her for what she did. Shit, I’m sorry Jer…”

“There’s nothing to be sorry for.” Jeremy chuckled. “I just hope she showed you a good time.” He smirked.

“I’m a gentleman just like your mate, asshole.” Philip laughed. “I don’t kiss and tell.”

“Yeah whatever. Get out of here man.” Jeremy began to strip. “Talk to you later.”

The alpha climbed back into bed and plastered himself against his beautiful mate, smiling when Ryan though fast asleep, turned to face him and snuggled closer. Even in sleep, Ryan seemed to crave his closeness. That was evident in the way his sexy, silken body pressed so close it almost felt as if they were one. Jeremy loved it.

Just having Ryan in his arms made Jeremy’s heartbeat quicken. Then he felt his cock stir, throbbing in time with the quickened beat of his heart. Shit, he wanted Ryan again, Jeremy groaned. What the fuck was wrong with him? He thought he’d worn his cock out for fuck’s sake. Jeremy pressed a kiss against Ryan’s temple and willed himself to sleep. But thoughts of his impending doom intruded. He just couldn’t bring himself to sleep. He was wired. Who, in his situation, would be able to sleep anyway? Jeremy finally gave up and just held his mate. And somehow, listening to Ryan breathe so peacefully actually brought him some calm. With his whole being filled with that calm, Jeremy drifted off into a mindless and utterly content sleep.

***

“Hmm…” Jeremy moaned low in his throat as pleasure sizzled through him. He didn’t need to open his eyes to know what was going on. His mate was insatiable.

They had woken up around ten a.m., had breakfast, spoken to Gloria, Stan and Paige on phone thanks to Philip who had stopped those three from budging into the alpha’s suite, fucked each other’s brains out for about two hours, then had a shower whilst their bedding was being changed and then fallen back to sleep. For some reason neither man wanted to do much talking. Maybe deep down, they both knew what they would talk about if they did. And since they’d promised each other not to talk about any negative stuff, they thought it was better to communicate with their bodies.

Well, Fort or no Fort, Jeremy loved his mate’s method of waking him up. That mouth sucking on the wide head of his cock was absolutely heaven. It was obvious Ryan didn’t know what to do but the mere feel of his mouth was driving Jeremy nuts. His hands drifted down to tangle in Ryan’s silky white tresses.

“Yeah that’s it, baby.” Jeremy moaned, looking down at Ryan’s pouty lips around his cock. That sight… “Oh fuck, you look so hot like this.” Jeremy had to fight the urge to shut his eyes in pleasure. He could already feel himself about to lose it. “Harder, baby…suck harder.” He began to trust slowly. “Wrap one hand around the rest of my cock and stroke me firmly as you suck.” Jeremy instructed. He knew that Ryan wouldn’t be able to take him into his mouth. But just having him sucking on his sensitive crown whilst stroking him was okay for him. He was already so close. “Play with my balls with your other hand.” Jeremy directed huskily and then promptly groaned when Ryan began to roll his balls in his palm. “Fuck…” It was so good the alpha felt his toes curl almost painfully from sensations. “Flick your tongue against the rough underside as you suck, Ryan…” Jeremy gasped breathlessly. And when Ryan did as he demanded, Jeremy threw his head back with a loud cry and just gave himself over to the sensation. “That’s it…that’s it…ahh…” Jeremy’s thighs quivered, sweat misting his brow as his excitement mounted. His grip on Ryan’s hair became almost painful. But when he felt that sweet feeling of an impending orgasm low in his belly, he instinctively loosened his grip. “Fuck, I’m going to come…Ryan get off…” He didn’t want to come inside Ryan’s mouth because he didn’t think his mate would want that. “Ryan, I can’t hold it…” Jeremy’s body shook with restraint.

‘Just come, dumb-ass.’ Ryan screamed on their mind link and almost jumped when the first thick spurt exploded in his mouth. Jeremy flooded his mouth.

Ryan swallowed fast, his throat working convulsively. His hand squeezed and pulled on the throbbing cock to lure out more of Jeremy’s rich essence. It was so much the excess spilled out the corners of his mouth. He milked that cock, taking everything from Jeremy until he was emptied.

“Oh my god.” Jeremy gasped when he came back to himself, after that mind-blowing orgasm. His breath came out harshly as he watched Ryan flicking his tongue against his wet slit. With his face flushed and his lips blood-red from sucking him, he looked gorgeous. But then even if he saw Ryan covered in rubbish, he would still find him gorgeous. “Come here.” Jeremy said huskily, pulling Ryan into an embrace against his heaving chest. “You’re amazing.” He whispered, his fingers running along Ryan’s crack, sending delicious tingles throughout his body. After a long moment he lifted Ryan’s head up and slowly brought out his tongue to lick at the cum at the corner of his mouth.

Ryan’s eyes fluttered shut as a shudder blazed through him. With a moan, he closed the distance between their mouths and took Jeremy’s mouth in a kiss so hot and sweet it left both men shaking with need.

“What do you want?” Jeremy whispered against Ryan’s mouth. He could feel how hard Ryan was against his stomach. “Tell me…”

“Is that a trick question?” Ryan murmured, opening eyes filled with amused confusion. “You really need to ask me what I want?” What else could he want besides a cancellation of that dreaded trip looming over them?

“You know what I mean smartass.” Jeremy chuckled. “Do you want me to take you in my mouth or…”

“I want you in my arse for now.” Ryan said huskily, moving a hand down to rub Jeremy’s already hardening cock. “I can’t get enough of your cock.” He whispered shamelessly. His mate was like a drug to his system. Now Ryan knew how all those drug addicts felt. He began to rub the wide crest against his already lubed up arse. “You’ve ruined me for everyone else.” He breathed as he started to push back against the erect cock poking against his hole. Fuck, he’s huge, Ryan couldn’t help but think as he began to slowly sit up.

“I am. But you handle me like a pro.” Jeremy said huskily as Ryan’s movement got inch after slow inch of his cock inside his slick but tight sheath.

The praise sent warm shivers of delight down Ryan’s back. “I love having you inside me.” Ryan breathed, his cheeks turning a lovely shade of red. But he could tell by the look on Jeremy’s face that he was thrilled by that information.

“Fuck, you look edible when you blush.” Jeremy moaned as his hands went to Ryan’s hips. “This feels so good.” His eyes began to flutter shut.

“Don’t close your eyes, Jer.” Ryan gushed breathlessly. “Keep them on me…fuck.” He gasped when he finally took Jeremy to the hilt.

“Holy shit.” Jeremy gasped, eyes reduced to slits, lost in utter ecstasy. The feel of Ryan’s tightness around him was absolutely amazing. He watched as Ryan kept leaning backward, his cocks, which had remained rock hard throughout, leaking so much precum. His mate obviously got off on his cock. And that thrilled the alpha to no end.

Reaching behind him, Ryan set his hands on Jeremy’s knees. Then without taking his eyes off Jeremy, he began to slowly rise and fall, making them both feel every nuance of the delicious friction. With his bottom lip caught sexily between his teeth, Ryan rode Jeremy, worshiping his body with his. And he looked so fucking hot doing it too.

“How flexible are you, Jeremy?” Ryan asked breathlessly as he slowly…maddeningly, undulated his hips.

“Oh fuck…” Jeremy moaned, feeling every twist and squeeze along his length. “I’m a wolf, Ryan.” Jeremy grunted as he too begun to thrust up into Ryan. “I am flexible.”

“Good. You can take me in your mouth now.” And with that sexy demand, Ryan threw his head back and began to ride Jeremy in earnest.

“Fuck!” Jeremy growled as he watched his sexy mate fuck himself in wanton abandon, his skin coated in a fine sheen of sweat. He wanted to lick him all over. But since he couldn’t possibly do so at that moment, he did as he’d been told.

Jeremy leaned forward and grabbed those cocks that he’d come to fall in love with. He stroked them for a bit, getting them slick with Ryan’s precum. Then he dropped his head and took as much of the two dicks as he could into his mouth.

Ryan went berserk.

“Holy fuck!” He screamed as he rose and fell over Jeremy hard and fast, his prostate getting nailed with each downward movement. It was a wild ride which made Jeremy groan around the cocks in his mouth. “Oh fuck, fuck…” The vibration from Jeremy’s groans…the battering his button was receiving… It was too much. Ryan lost it.

The orgasm, when it hit, didn’t just washed over Ryan…it exploded through him. He came with a hoarse cry of Jeremy’s name, his entire body convulsing as ecstasy slammed into him again and again. Jeremy’s relentless sucking extended Ryan’s pleasure till he thought he’d go insane from it all. His hands gave out and he fell heavily on his back between Jeremy’s legs, gasping for air even as his body shook with blinding pleasure.

Jeremy pulled off Ryan even before he stopped spurting and pushed legs his onto his shoulder, practically folding Ryan in half. Then he plunged deep, hard and fast, showing no mercy. Jeremy fucked like the feral beast he was. He would pause to roll his hips for a while, and then go right back to deep thrusting. He set a brutal rhythm, sending shockwaves through an already blissed out Ryan by nailing that bundle of nerves inside him with devastating precision. Jeremy knew he wasn’t going to last long. That ride Ryan had given him had seen to that. He could already feel his own orgasm build.

“I need you to come again, baby.” Jeremy groaned, his breath coming in ragged gasps as he pounded relentlessly into Ryan. “Come with me.”

“I don’t think I can…” Ryan whimpered, feeling totally spent. He didn’t think there was an orgasm left in his body to wring out. But his mate was having none of that.

“Did you just say you don’t think you can?” Jeremy growled as he slipped a hand between them to grip Ryan’s still hard cocks. “We’ll see about that.” He leaned down and blew on Ryan’s mark.

“Oh fuck, Jeremy…” Ryan cried as a violent shiver surged through him. And when Jeremy began to suck on that mark, Ryan’s body ignited. “Oh my god…” He was reduced to a blubbering mess. Making love with Jeremy was pure bliss whatever form it took…hands, mouths or his fantastic cock deep inside him, driving them both to rapture as he was doing right then. Between Jeremy’s tireless rutting which caused that quivering gland inside him to take the most delicious pounding, and that mouth sucking hard at his mark, Ryan’s mind lost control of his body. “Gonna come. Oh shit, Jer.” Ryan gasped. “So good, so fucking…oh god I’m coming…”

And even as Jeremy’s pulsing cock began to release hot cum into his mate, Ryan tumbled into ecstasy, sobbing Jeremy’s name as he rippled and constricted around him in release.

Afterwards, Jeremy collapsed onto Ryan, both exhausted. Ryan welcomed Jeremy’s weight on him, wishing they could stay like that forever. But after a while, Jeremy slid off Ryan and drew him into his side, his own body shaking with sweet aftershocks. Jeremy felt so satiated he thought he was floating on the clouds till his eyes fell on the clock on the bedside table. The alpha immediately tensed up. His mate didn’t miss it.

“Are you okay?” Ryan asked quietly.

But Jeremy couldn’t speak. He only nodded and clung to Ryan. He felt his chest tighten almost painfully, and had to make an effort to stifle the scream building up in his throat. Jeremy began to take in deep breaths. Ryan leaned his head back and looked at his mate’s face. Then he followed the direction of his eyes to the clock and shivered with dread. It was already a quarter past seven. Jeremy had less than five hours to go. Fuck! Ryan pulled the covers over both of them and snuggled closer into Jeremy’s chest. He felt Jeremy grip him tighter. When the first sob tore out of Jeremy, Ryan moved up and cradled the alpha’s head against his chest. His own eyes stung with the need to cry too but he knew he had to remain strong for Jeremy. And that’s exactly what he did. He held his sobbing mate as his body shook with great heaving sobs. Ryan allowed him to let it out. When Jeremy finally quieted down, he apologized to Ryan shakily.

“I’m so sorry for everything I’ve done to you Ryan.” His voice was hoarse from sobbing.

“Shush.” Ryan said softly. “You don’t have to tell me. I already know. And I forgive you Jeremy.” Ryan said, suddenly feeling light and free which surprised him. “Fuck…” He breathed, letting down his mind-barrier. He wanted Jeremy to see for himself that he’d forgiven him with all his heart. The last thing he wanted was to compound his mate’s woes by giving him something else to worry about. When he saw the smile that appeared on Jeremy’s face, Ryan leaned down to kiss him softly. Then he raised his head and gave a mock scowl. “Just know that I’m making it my personal mission to ensure you never fuck up again. And if you ever do, you have me to contend with. And trust me, that Luna chic will be the least of your worries. Got that?”

“Got it.” Jeremy tried to laugh but couldn’t manage it. “Thank you.” He croaked.

“Just come back to me.” Ryan said in a small voice. “Please.” He whispered.

“You can bet your sweet arse I’m gonna.” Jeremy rasped. “Nothing is keeping me away from this epic arse.” He murmured, making Ryan laugh softly. “Talking about arse…I need to heal…”

“No. I want to feel you in there for as long as I can. That wicked tongue of yours is getting nowhere near my epic arse.” Ryan said, leaning down to give Jeremy a sweet kiss.

“Fuck, I’m going to miss this amazing mouth.” Jeremy groaned when they eventually came up for air.

“More than the epic arse?” Ryan teased, drawing soft laughter from Jeremy. “I’ll miss you too.” He sighed. “We have to get decent. The others will be here soon.” The plan was for Jeremy’s three close friends, his mum and mentor to come sit with them till midnight when they had to say bye. Gloria said she would get to the suite at eight p.m. so they’d already stayed in bed for too long as it were. “Go take a shower or something whilst I change these sheets.” Ryan said, rolling out of bed.

“You really expect me to wash off your scent when I need it the most?” Jeremy chuckled, getting out of bed too. “You go take a shower. I’ll dress the bed and wait for mum.”

“Okay but I think I’ll go do that in my room.” Ryan went on his toes to drop a kiss on Jeremy’s lips. “Wouldn’t wanna freak anyone out when I come out of your bathroom with you know what, on display.” He laughed when Jeremy lightly slapped his naked arse when he turned to leave.

“I need you to fully move into this room, baby.” Jeremy called out, smiling as he watched a naked Ryan move towards the connecting door between their rooms.

“Whatever you want.” Ryan threw over his shoulder and disappeared through the door.

Jeremy stared at the door through which his mate had disappeared with a sad smile on his face. For the umpteenth time, the alpha of Stanwood Pack wished he could turn back time.

“Fuck!”

***

The atmosphere in Jeremy’s suite was a solemn one. It was almost midnight. The only dry eyes in the room were that of Jeremy’s. He was focusing every ounce of energy he had left on acting calm to enable the others relax. But it was obviously not working. Even Philip couldn’t hold in his grief. He kept disappearing into Jeremy’s bathroom to weep.

“Dude,” Jeremy growled when Philip joined them after staying inside the bathroom for about ten minutes. “Pull yourself together. You’re the fucking alpha.”

But Philip couldn’t even give his usual flippant responses. He just stood quietly beside Stan with his head bowed. Jeremy sighed as he gently rubbed Ryan on the back. He was proud of how composed his mate looked. His eyes were wet but he’d managed not to break down. Jeremy was grateful because he really didn’t know whether he could handle it if Ryan did breakdown. There was a sudden shimmering of light which made everyone tense up. The High Priestess stood before them by the time the shimmering light disappeared.

At twelve midnight on the dot, a portal was going to open for Jeremy to go through. It was only going to stay opened for a minute. But the High Priestess wasn’t there to ensure Jeremy entered the portal. He didn’t have any choice but to enter it. She was there for Ryan. Immediately Jeremy disappeared, she was to cloak Ryan’s feelings for his mate. The indestructible cloaking was to take away Ryan’s hunger and pain, to enable Ryan live comfortably and peacefully in the absence of his mate. Jeremy on the other hand was to experience the full-blown pain and hunger that came with the absence of a mate, in addition to whatever agony he was going to endure from every painful memory. The High Priestess was there to see to the cloaking herself because it was the highest form of cloaking and therefore needed an ultimate power and authority to be effected.

“Alpha Jeremy.” She bowed her head respectfully. “You should say your farewells. It’s almost time.”

“Fuck!” Stan roared and punched the wall. He left a dent. The warrior’s fangs had dropped down and his claws had elongated.

“Stan.” Jeremy gave a sharp growl and went to his friend. “Hey, settle down.” He ordered. Then the alpha drew his friend into his arms. Stan’s body shook. It was obvious that he was trying very hard not to give in to the rage that was boiling in his veins and for that, Jeremy was grateful. “Better?” Jeremy asked after a while. At Stan’s nod, Jeremy bumped their foreheads together and said with mock anger; “Better fix that dent before I get back.”

“Oh Jer…” Stan hugged Jeremy again. “Come back safe.”

“I don’t have any other choice.” Jeremy muttered and then let go of Stan. Then he turned to a quietly sobbing Paige and drew her into a tight embrace. “Damn, it sure is refreshing to see the queen bitch in tears.” He teased, drawing a teary smile from Paige.

“Jer, about what I said yesterday…I didn’t mean…”

“Yes you did.” Jeremy cut her off softly. “You never say anything you don’t mean. And that’s what I love about you.” He leaned in and kissed her forehead. “I know how you feel.” Jeremy murmured. “And I respect that. But please keep an eye…” But Paige covered Jeremy’s mouth with her hand to stop his request.

“I’m never leaving his side.” Paige said quietly. “You have my word. I’ve already asked Philip to assign me to him as his guard. I’m told he doesn’t like having guards so I’m just going to be his friend. I called Professor Fynn this morning.” She nodded with a grin when Jeremy raised a brow. Professor Fynn was on the board of UCLA and a very good friend of Joel’s…Paige’s dad. “It’s been arranged. I start lecturing their freshman engineering class from Monday. Your man and I will be joined at the hip, Jer.” She grinned.

“Oh god, that doesn’t sound good.” Jeremy groaned. “You’re going to corrupt him Slip.” He reached up to catch a tear that slipped onto her cheek, with his thumb.

“You bet your sexy self I am.” Paige smiled through her tears. “I’m going to be his partner in crime, his best friend, the yin to his yang…”

Jeremy burst into laughter, making everyone turn to look at them. “Oh my god, you’re crazy.” He laughed. “He will appreciate having a friend than a guard. Thanks Paige.” Jeremy said softly. “Maybe you should convince your stubborn new best friend to move in here.” He murmured. “You can fully convert his room into a study for him.”

“Consider it done.” Paige smirked. “Just make sure you come back to him because that mouth…”

“Fuck you Slip.” Jeremy moved to Joel next. “So sorry for letting you down Uncle Jo.” Jeremy said quietly.

“You have no idea how proud I am of you son.” Joel said in a hoarse voice. “Everyone makes mistakes. It’s how they make up for those mistakes that matters most. That man couldn’t have asked for a more caring and amazing mate. I’ve never respected you more Jeremy. I know it’s going to be difficult but try to focus on him no matter the pain you’re in. It should help.”

“Thanks Uncle. Please keep an eye on mum…” Jeremy trailed off. He didn’t know whether to smile or frown or maintain a straight face. None of them had even given a thought to what happened between Joel and Gloria the night before. They’d been too preoccupied with what was about to happen.

Joel cleared his throat. “You don’t have to ask me to.” The elderly man actually blushed. “You know I’ll take care of her.”

“I know you will. Thanks.” With that, Jeremy moved to his mother and just took her into his arms. He held her as she sobbed her heart out. And he had to suppress the urge to cry too. “You do know you could have baked me some muffins to take, don’t you?” Jeremy finally drawled, knowing that would get a rise out of his mother. It did.

“You silly boy.” She said through her tears. “I’ve never gone more than a month without seeing or talking to you. Now I’m not going to see you or hear your voice for two whole years… And you’re thinking about muffins? What am I going to do Jeremy?” She sobbed.

“Shh…you’ll be fine, mum. I’ll be back before you know it.” Jeremy hugged her tighter to him. “Two years is just around the corner.”

“No, it’s not.” Gloria snapped. “You had better stay strong and come back to us because you’re all I have in this world. And Ryan…you’re all he has. Don’t forget that.”

“I won’t.” He hugged his mother again. “He’s going to be a mess mum. Look out for him please. Make sure he doesn’t do anything stupid.”

“Don’t worry about him.” Gloria said softly. “He’ll be okay. I love you son.”

“Love you too mum.” Jeremy kissed his mother on both cheeks and then moved to Philip.

“This is it.” Philip’s voice didn’t even sound like his.

“This is it.” Jeremy said. “Listen, if this goes south, I want a big funeral, alright? I’m talking epic. Open bar, choir, orgies, the works…”

A tear slid down Philip’s cheek even as he shook his head in amusement. “Done.” He whispered.

“Great.” Jeremy grinned. “Come here.” And the two friends hugged each other fiercely.

“Alpha?” The high priestess called softly. A gentle reminder.

Jeremy went to where Ryan sat with his hands covering his face and gently pulled him up into his arms. There was no hiding it…Ryan was trembling. His breath came out harshly. He’d been able to keep it together since their ‘no negativity’ agreement. He understood that he would only be adding to Jeremy’s pain if he made him any sadder than he already was. But Ryan couldn’t seem to hold it together. Panic bubbled up within him. His chest burned.

“Ryan…” Jeremy whispered, the pain and wretchedness etched on his mate’s gorgeous face hitting him like a physical blow.

“I can’t Jer.” Ryan’s voice shook. “I’m sorry but…” His bottom lip quivered.

“Oh god…” Jeremy breathed shakily, feeling a sharp pain through my chest. He was fully mated to Ryan now so seeing and feeling his misery cause him great pain. A pained whimper tore out of Jeremy’s throat that had him squeezing his eyes shut.

“I’m trying to be strong.” Ryan sounded out of breath. “Really, I am.”

“I know…”

“I hate this…” Ryan was hyperventilating.

“Baby, breathe… Come on Ryan, breathe.” Jeremy looked desperate. “Look at me, Ryan.”

But the urge to cry was overwhelming and Ryan couldn’t fight it anymore. The pressure building up within him made him feel as if his head was about to explode.

“Jeremy…” Tears poured down his face. “Jeremy…”

“God, Ryan…” Jeremy knew he had to reach Ryan on some level…calm him down…reduce his pain and in the process, reduce his own suffering. He did the only thing he could… He kissed his mate.

Jeremy entwined his fingers in Ryan’s hair and took his mouth in an incredibly gentle, delicate, tender and simply delicious kiss. He kissed Ryan as if he couldn’t stop. He could taste the salt in their kiss but didn’t know whether it was due to Ryan’s tears or his and frankly, he didn’t care. Their open mouths slid across each other’s, tongues licking and tasting, making love to each other.

Everyone in the suite quietly watched the intimate display. Even the high priestess looked totally floored. Though it was time, she didn’t have the heart to interrupt.

At exactly midnight, there was a loud whoosh sound. The portal that was to take Jeremy opened. Everyone gasped but the kissing couple. They were totally lost in each other. Jeremy knew it was time for him to go. Hell, he couldn’t have missed that dreadful sound. He gently broke off the kiss and hugged Ryan fiercely, practically suffocating him. But Ryan didn’t mind at all. He figured he could get away without breathing for a while. They both trembled, their cheeks wet with tears. They could hear sobbing from some of the people inside the suite but they didn’t let go of each other to see who it was. Both men felt as if their world had come to an end. And there was nothing they could do about it. Jeremy finally kissed Ryan lightly on the mouth…a final kiss. Then he stepped back from him.

“I love you Ryan.” Jeremy’s voice broke with emotion, his heart in his eyes for everyone to see. He heard the collective gasp that went up and also saw the shock in Ryan’s eyes and gave a tremulous smile. “So fucking much.” And with that heartfelt declaration, the alpha took another step backward, turned around and stepped into the portal. Then the portal closed.

If only Jeremy knew what he’d done to his mate with those three little words… What happened next shocked everyone, especially the High Priestess.

Nobody move after the portal closed. They all stared at the spot where it had been…probably willing it to reappear. For Ryan, however, the feeling was different. Jeremy’s final words had hit him hard enough to steal his breath. And the breath-taking joy that invaded his entire body at those words, turned into blinding pain and rage when Jeremy disappeared through that portal. For about ten seconds Ryan ceased breathing. He knew he had to breathe…tried to breathe, but he couldn’t. Just when he thought he was going to pass out, he finally succeeded in taking a deep breath. But when he exhaled, his breath came out with a bloodcurdling scream that caused the building itself to shake. Then right before the eyes of the people gathered in the suite, the portal reopened to reveal a stunned Jeremy, staring back at them.

“Oh my god!” Gloria gasped as her hand went to her throat, her shocked gaze fixed on Ryan. That kind of portal…meant to be a doorway to purgatory, could only be opened by a divine power. Even the high priestess couldn’t have opened it. So how had Ryan…

The High Priestess moved towards Ryan so quickly it was almost a blur. Then reciting some words, she touched Ryan on the forehead with her glowing wand. Ryan instantly stopped screaming and crumbled to the floor in a faint. And that was when everyone heard Jeremy’s spine-chilling scream. The portal was still opened so he’d watched his mate fall to the ground. His already affected mind conjured the worst thought…his mate was dead. All the alpha felt was the most intense agony and fury. His eyes turned bloody red. Then he started running towards the people in his suite, his main goal – to reach his mate and kill that high priestess who had caused his death. The High Priestess heard the alpha’s enraged scream and pointed her still glowing wand at the portal, closing it instantly.

“Luna!” The High Priestess gasped as she was thrown violently onto her back. She’d never experienced that much power. And it had come from none other than a newly turned werewolf. She felt totally drained. “All that power…” She panted harshly, staring at Ryan. Her skin was covered in Goosebumps. “We need him on the council.” She breathed as Joel helped her up.

“Don’t hold your breath, you old cow.” Stan growled angrily as Philip bent to pick his alpha’s mate off the ground.

“You might want to keep your warrior in check Alpha.” The high priestess addressed Philip as she got to her feet.

“Everyone is tired High Priestess.” Philip responded quietly, a passed out Ryan in his arms. “If you would just excuse us… Unless of course there’s something else…” He trailed off with a raised brow.

“I’m not the enemy here.” The High Priestess said quietly. “You all knew what he’d done and yet you kept quiet. He’s an alpha. He has to have better control. Otherwise the pack is not safe. He had to be punished for his actions.”

“We know that High Priestess.” Joel responded quietly. “We were not trying to hide or cover up anything. We knew it was up to Luna and we accept the verdict. But we just parted ways with someone we all love dearly. Don’t blame us for feeling as shitty as we do this very moment.”

“Two years will come very soon.” The High Priestess responded. “It could have been worse.”

“A day, a month, a year…it doesn’t really matter.” Joel countered. “He’s our alpha.”

“And did it have to be two years?” Stan sneered. “The longest a werewolf has been sent to the Fort since time immemorial has been two months and you know it. And even those were for murdering. You’ve condemned him to suffer in purgatory for two whole years. Why don’t you just kill him?” He growled, taking a threatening step towards the High Priestess.

“Relax Stanley.” Gloria said, pulling the angry warrior back. “They didn’t determine the length of time. Luna did.”

“I was there Mama G.” Stan gave the high priestess an ice-cold glare. “They so did. And did you have to stop him when he was coming back just now?” He growled at the high priestess.

“Stanley!” The warning in Joel’s voice was clear. “You will stop this at once.” He rasped. “If he’d succeeded in coming out, Luna would have seen it as Jeremy rebelling. She would have struck him down. High Priestess did all of us a favour by closing it. At least we know he’s still alive.”

“Well, Luna is a mean bitch.” Stanley muttered. “Two fucking years?”

“That’s where you’re wrong.” Gloria said quietly. “The length of punishment was determined by the level of pain inside the person wronged. Ryan was hurting. Not to mention the fact that Luna is pissed at Jeremy’s reaction to her choice of mate.” She explained.

“What?” Stan gasped, turning to look at Jeremy’s oblivious mate. “But I thought he was okay.”

“What he went through is not something you come out of easily Stanley.” Gloria said. “None of us knew the extent of his pain. He’s been very strong.”

“Shit.” Philip cussed as he turned to go and put Ryan in Jeremy’s bed.

“Thank you High Priestess.” Gloria said quietly. At least thanks to her, Ryan didn’t have to go through any pain for the absence of his mate.

The High Priestess gave a slight nod and gestured towards a quietly sobbing Paige who was huddled in a corner. “Will she be okay?” The elderly priestess asked quietly.

“She’ll be fine.” Joel said, turning to go to his daughter.

With a sad smile the high priestess disappeared just as she’d appeared…in a shimmer of white light.

And for the first time, Alpha Jeremy’s suite, which had been the center of so much fun and happiness over the years, was eerily quiet. The feeling of misery and dejection was so palpable that none of the suite’s occupants could speak. One word best described the whole atmosphere…

Emptiness!

***

Somewhere in a state-of-the-art board room in one of the finest office buildings in New York…

*

“What do you mean you don’t know where he’s travelled to?” A tall, white-haired, angry looking man bellowed. “He’s the alpha. How come nobody seems to know where he’s travelled to? Are you sure your source is being truthful?”

“She is, Sir.” The frightened looking albino answered. The Lord Command was not safe to be around when he was as angry as he was right then. The Jackal knew he should tread cautiously. “She wouldn’t dare lie to me. We have her daughter.”

“Fuck! First, you idiots allow Agyemang to escape. Now you don’t know the whereabouts of the most important alpha of all. We need to finish that potion soon otherwise all our hard work will be for nothing. That will be four decades of planning, down the drain. We need Jeremy Stanton’s blood and bone marrow to complete this. He beat us once, putting a massive hitch in our plan. I’m not going to allow him to do it again.”

“Maybe he’s gone into hiding because of Sasha’s death.” One of the fifteen people around the conference table spoke up.

“Jeremy Stanton doesn’t hide from anyone, Frank.” The Lord Command snapped.

“Reynard, he can’t be gone for long.” A pretty brunette who looked not a day over twenty-one but was actually seventy-four years old, said. “I hear he got mated in a private ceremony of sorts just three days ago. He can’t possibly leave his mate for long, can he?”

“A mate huh?” The Lord Command’s face lit up. “Great. That’s the first person Jeremy will go to when he gets back from wherever he’s gone to. Find her and keep an eye on her…”

“Him.” The brunette said.

“What?” The Lord Command looked confused.

“Jeremy’s mate…it’s a man.” She looked as if she was enjoying the man’s shock.

“Interesting.” The Lord Command turned glassy green eyes onto the albino. “Well, I want eyes on him at all times. And don’t fuck this up, Jackal.” The threat in his voice was unmistakable. “It is now or never.” The desperation and determination in his eyes could not be masked. “That dreadful prophecy cannot come to pass.”

According to the prophecy, the Wyatt clan, the most ruthless and deadliest Warlock clan that ever existed, was to be brought to its knees that year by a formidable force. Well, the clan prided itself on the mayhem, destruction and fear they brought upon humankind just for the fun of it. Of course their services were available to any person who could either pay with ridiculously huge sums of money or human sacrifices. Their name struck fear into the hearts of every warlock and witch who knew about them. The Wyatt clan was definitely a force to reckon with. They sure as hell weren’t going to wait around to get kicked off the top of the pinnacle. And fortified with all that power from their latest discovery…a potion made from the life force of powerful alphas, that prophecy was as good as void.

Feral attraction in the midst of hatred… the battle! – Chapter 7 – The battle!

Ryan stretched and turned his head to look at the clock on his bedside table. It was already half past seven. He usually slept in on Saturdays but he had scripts to mark so he had to get out of bed. He reached out to pick up the framed photo of his and Jeremy’s wolves from the bedside table like he did every morning, and stared at it. It was a beautiful picture. Ryan smiled, remembering the day his and Jeremy’s wolves had spent the night in the suite. Though he’d been out most of the time thanks to their naughty wolves, that day had been special. Philip had brought him that framed photo the morning after Jeremy’s departure. He told Ryan that their wolves had looked so sweet cuddled up together when he entered Jeremy’s suite that morning after the arena combats, he hadn’t been able to resist taking the shot. Philip had captured it like a pro. It could easily win the national geographic picture of the year award. Ryan ran his fingers over the image of the red wolf in the shot…his mate. God, he’d missed him.

Jeremy had been gone for three months. And although Ryan felt no pain as he should have, he missed him terribly. Most times he either woke up with his pillow wet with tears or with Jeremy’s name on his lips. Ryan didn’t get why he seemed to cry in his sleep almost all the time but always woke up okay. Gloria had tired explaining that much as his pain had been cloaked, subconsciously he was miserable. It was therefore no surprise that he actually cried in his sleep. Ryan didn’t really get it but hey… he was no expert in the werewolf shenanigans. All he wanted was to see his Jeremy again.

Ryan remembered that time, a week after Jeremy left for the Fort, when he’d gone to the council and requested an audience with Luna. He’d met only four of the council members including the High Priestess. Somehow he’d been glad that Gloria, Joel and Deloris…Camilla’s warlock mother who he’d come to respect after she’d apologized to him for her daughter’s actions against him, were not around at the time. His plan was to be rude and adamant if he had to. The council members he’d met had given each other incredulous looks, wondering what he wanted to discuss with Luna.

“Is there a problem Ryan?” The high priestess had asked, looking worried. Ryan understood why she looked worried. After all, if he was in any kind of pain over his mate after she’d used an indestructible cloaking spell on him, then there was a big problem.

“Yes, there is.” Ryan had replied quietly. “I want my mate back.”

“Are you in pain Ry…”

“I don’t need to be in pain to want my mate.” Ryan’s voice had raised. “He’s admitted he’s erred. He willingly accepted his punishment. I’m the one he wronged and I’ve forgiven him. Shouldn’t that count for something?” Ryan had finished, panting harshly.

“But Ryan, you’re not the only one he wronged.” The high priestess said quietly. “The fact that you’ve forgiven him does not mean the other parties…”

“You mean Luna.” He’d growled. “I just want to talk to her please. Pick up your wands and do the circle thingy and summon her so I can talk to her. This has gone far enough.”

“It doesn’t work like that Ry…”

“Then how the fuck does it work?” He’d bellowed, watching the council members tense up. “Help me understand because I’m tired of this crap. Where do you get off fucking up someone’s life…” Ryan saw relief on the faces of the council members when he heard the door of a car slam shut outside. He smelt her before she entered. “Please.” He pleaded, unable to keep the desolation off his face. “Just tell me what to do and I’ll do it. I’ll do anything.”

“Ryan?” Gloria hugged him from behind and rested the side of her face on his back. “Easy honey.” She crooned softly.

Ryan knew that she could feel him shaking. He’d covered his face in his hands and taken deep breaths. Then he’d heard Paige shout his name just before bursting naked into the council quarters. She’d obviously shifted to track him. Paige came to stand in front of him, removed his hands from his face and wiped at his moist eyes. Then she’d hugged him.

“I hear you hate nudity.” She’d murmured into his ears. “Take it as your punishment for waiting till I left the room, before putting your plan into motion. Do you think you’re the only one who wants to murder these old farts?” She’d hissed, and then added insincerely, “sorry Mama G”, drawing soft laughter from both him and Gloria. “Anyway, you shouldn’t even see this as punishment. After all, this is a hot Triple B body.” She’d purred.

“What’s a triple B?” He’d asked before he could stop himself.

“Brunette, boobs, and buns.” Paige had purred and then burst into laughter when he blushed. “You look so damn adorable when you blush.” She’d teased.

In the end, he’d apologized to the council members and followed Gloria and a still proudly naked Paige, out.

“Next time you feel like confronting the council, talk to me first.” Gloria had said as she sped towards the mansion. “Please?”

“But I only wanted to make a request.” He’d groaned. “I want him back.” He’d added in an anguished whisper.

“All in good time, handsome.” Paige had murmured in a weird voice. “All in good time. Let’s just get this Alpha threat out of the way first…”

“Paige, don’t you dare do anything stupid.” Gloria had growled. She’d later told him that she’d known the feisty woman since she was a baby. And she knew how headstrong she could be.

When Paige said nothing after Gloria’s warning, the elder had actually stopped the car and turned to look at the naked beauty sitting in the back seat with stern eyes.

“Paige?” The warning in Gloria’s voice couldn’t be masked or ignored. “What are you planning on doing?” But Paige wouldn’t respond. “If you don’t answer me now, Paige Harrington so help me God, I’ll…”

“Alright, alright I won’t do anything stupid. Jeez.” Paige had murmured but he could see from her eyes that she hadn’t meant it at all.

She’d later admitted to him that her plan was to kidnap the council members who had been part of the circle during Jeremy’s sentence and scare them into somehow getting Luna to bring Jeremy back. Ryan couldn’t see how that plan could be successful but at least it was a plan. He’d tried talking to the council and it hadn’t worked, right? Maybe Paige’s way would yield a better result.

Ryan had never gone back to the council again, however. He felt helpless. He sometimes wondered whether they’d really cloaked his pain because there was nothing painless about missing Jeremy. But deep down, he knew they had because he remembered how he’d felt when Jeremy stayed away from him that time. He’d almost gone insane. He’d been literally sick. Maybe he needed that feeling now, Ryan couldn’t help but think. Maybe that kind of pain would push him to unleash hell on the council and the ruthless Luna, to push them to bring his Jeremy back.

“Fuck.” Ryan almost jumped out of his skin when the phone on his bedside table began to ring. He’d been so lost in thought the sound of the phone had sounded abnormally loud. He placed the framed photo on his chest and picked up the phone. It was Clara.

“How’s my favourite alpha doing this morning?” Clara purred, making Ryan smile. Some of the pack members referred to him as alpha because they said being the alpha’s mate made him an alpha too.

“I’m good Clara. How about you?”

“Couldn’t be better.” Came her cheery voice. “Paige said to tell you she’s on her way up.”

“Okay. I’m up.” Ryan said, wondering where Paige was coming from. “Thanks.”

Since Jeremy left, everyone who came to the suite to see Ryan made it a point to announce themselves first. Even after Clara alerted him, they would still announce themselves by pressing the bell at the entrance of the suite before they actually entered. When a surprised Ryan had asked them why the change, Philip had told him how Jeremy had left a strong warning the day he’d left, that no one was to barge into that suite without alerting him first. And that was the exact moment Ryan knew without a doubt that he’d lost his heart to his mate. That night he’d cried himself to sleep. He wished he’d been able to tell Jeremy that he loved him too when he’d told him the day he left. Maybe knowing that he loved him too would have made Jeremy’s pain more endurable. But he’d been so shocked at the words, he’d literally gone speechless. To know he was madly in love with his mate and his mate didn’t even know… How fucked up was that?

With a sigh, Ryan left the bed and went to open the door. By the time the elevator opened on his floor, he was leaning against the door, waiting for Paige. She stepped out with her arms full with breakfast. Ryan couldn’t help the grin that brightened his face when he saw the name on the paper bags. His favourite breakfast joint.

“Somebody likes what he sees.” Paige drawled, landing a loud smack on Ryan’s cheek. “Just woke up huh?”

“Uh-huh. Why didn’t you call me to go with you?” Ryan asked, closing the door behind them.

“Because I knew you would be sleeping and didn’t want to disturb you.” Paige answered, depositing her goodies on the dining table. “Tell you what, why don’t you go take a shower whilst I set this up?”

“Alright, let me just fix the bed…”

“I’ll do it.” Paige cut Ryan off.

“Paige…”

“Go on, go on.” She waved him away with her hands. “Get out of here before I drag you in there myself and give you that bath.”

That got Ryan rushing towards the bathroom. But before he got to the bathroom door, he turned back and went to give Paige a fierce hug. Then he ran to the bathroom to do as he’d been told. He and Paige had gotten very close since Jeremy’s departure. He’d woken up the morning after Jeremy incarceration to find Paige, busily arranging his stuff in Jeremy’s suite. By noon, she’d converted his room into a state-of-the-art study. Ryan had been pleasantly shocked. When he’d expressed his gratitude, she’d only shrugged and told him she’d needed something to occupy her so she wouldn’t drown herself in the misery that was threatening to swallow her up. They’d become fast friends. Maybe it was because she’d started lecturing in his school but they virtually did everything together and he’d grown to love her so much. Though she was like his best friend, she acted like a mother hen around him. She would sometimes call him in the middle of the night just to check up on him. And if he told her that he couldn’t sleep, she would come over and sit with him till he slept.

Paige had become even fussier over him since Ryan told her, about two weeks after Jeremy left that he had a niggling feeling he was being watched. Paige never left his side for more than an hour after that. The only times she felt comfortable enough to leave him for longer hours was when they were within the safety of the pack house. Ryan hadn’t been surprised when she’d actually moved onto his floor, claiming she just wanted to keep him company till Jeremy got back. He knew better. He didn’t have to be a genius to know that the feisty beauty was only watching out for him. Ryan didn’t mind at all since he loved being in her company. He adored Paige Harrington.

When Ryan went back into the room, the bed looked temptingly immaculate and Paige was sitting at the dining table with a glass of juice in her hand. He quickly went to the closet, got dressed in jeans and t-shirt and then went back to the bathroom to hang his towel.

“Couldn’t wait, could you?” Ryan gave a mock growl as he took a seat beside Paige.

“Damn, this croissant is just sinful, Ryan.” Paige moaned as she bit into the buttery, flaky, pastry.

“I can see that.” Ryan chuckled, reaching for a custard-filled doughnut with maple glazing…his favourite. “I almost don’t want to bite into this.” He moaned. “It’s so beautiful it should be hanging on a wall.”

Paige laughed as she poured some hot chocolate for Ryan. “Blow on it before you drink it.” She warned. “It’s hot.”

“Oh this is so good.” Ryan closed his eyed as he savored the yummy sweetened dough in his hand.”

“I know right.” Paige chuckled. “Ate one whilst you were in the shower. It’s better than sex.”

“No it’s not.” Ryan countered, taking a sip of his hot chocolate. “Two totally different feelings. Both pleasurable I admit. But whilst one gives tasty pleasure, the other gives a mind-boggling, explosive pleasure.”

“I see he redeemed himself.” Paige smirked, looking at Ryan teasingly from beneath her lashes.

“He sure did.” Ryan murmured, feeling a delicious shiver run through him at the thought of how Jeremy had felt inside him. His blush gave away what he was thinking.

“Ohh someone’s mind is in the gutter this very instant.” Paige purred teasingly. “That good huh?”

“You have no idea.” Ryan breathed, completely lost in some erotic trip down memory lane. “When I think of the way he takes me… The way he would suddenly slow down, right in the middle of a hard fuck, look deeply into my eyes with those beautiful blue eyes, and then slowly close the distance between our mouths and then start kissing me passionately. It literally makes my toes curl.” He whispered.

“Oh shit!” Paige gasped, making Ryan’s head shoot up. He’d obviously forgotten he wasn’t alone.

“Oh my god, I’m sorry.” He blushed even harder, making Paige laugh.

“Hey don’t be.” She leaned back in her seat and looked at Ryan with a wide grin. “I must admit you’re making me crave cock though.” She rasped.

“Oh, so you’ve…”

“Been there, done that.” She said dryly. “Good to know you got it good.”

“He’s amazing.” Ryan murmured. “God, I miss him.”

“I can see that.” Paige grinned. “I don’t know about you but thinking along those lines would be way better than…you know…”

“I know.” Ryan said softly. It sure did feel nicer thinking about his steamy sessions with Jeremy than dwelling on the pain he knew his mate was going through.

Surprisingly, he hadn’t had his usual sexual urges since Jeremy’s departure. Yes, he did grow hard whenever he thought about their final day, but it never pushed him to seek relief as he normally would. That was rather strange, taking into consideration the fact that he was naturally highly sexed and needed frequent release.

“Do you love him?” Paige asked quietly. She lowered her cup of tea and watched as beautiful green eyes rose to meet hers. The unguarded look in those eyes literally stole her breath.

“I’m madly in love with him Paige.” Ryan whispered. “And I fall harder and deeper with each passing day.”

“You should have told him that day.” Paige said, lowering her eyes to stare into her cup. “It would have been good for him to hear that.”

“I didn’t know then, Paige.” Ryan’s voice was quiet and filled with regret. “Even if I had, I don’t think I could have uttered a word after that bombshell he dropped. You see, no one has ever told me they loved me before. Not even my mother, though I knew she did. You have no idea how it felt like to hear those words from him.” He sighed and took a sip of his hot chocolate.

“He’s crazy about you.” She grinned. “But then, you already know that so…”

“The feeling is mutual.” Ryan responded shyly. For some reason he was feeling tingly all over just talking about his mate.

“Do you ever dream of him?”

“Wish I could say yes but since he left, never.” Ryan took a sip of his hot chocolate. “I’m sure that whatever they did to me has taken that possibility of dreaming about him away.” He muttered. “If only I could see him in my dreams…touch him…talk to him…” He gave a deep sigh. “On the other hand, it might be too painful to bear. I don’t think I can handle seeing him and then waking up to nothing. Maybe it’s for the best.” He sighed.

“But you want to.”

“God, yes.” Ryan groaned. “But…”

“Are you…” Paige started to speak but trailed off when her cell phone began to ring. “Lip?” She reached for another croissant. “Yes, I’m with him.” She listened for a moment, frowning at a point. “We’ll be there.” She hung up and got to her feet.

“Is there a problem?” Ryan asked, taking in Paige’s demeanor.

“I think so.” Paige started packing what was left of their breakfast, their conversation forgotten. “We’re all to converge in meeting room two in ten minutes.”

“Who and who?”

“You, me, Lip, Stan, Mama G, Dad, Deloris, George, Pete…you know George and Pete don’t you?”

“George is the head hunter right?” At Paige’s nod, Ryan smiled smugly and added… “And Pete is the head assassin.”

“Good job.” Paige moved towards the cute kitchen in the suite. “It’s an emergency meeting of sorts. All the other Betas will be there too.”

“Whatever it is must be serious.” Ryan murmured, following Paige into the kitchen. “Why do I have to be part?”

“You’re the alpha’s mate, Ryan. You need to know what’s going on.” Paige explained as she washed her hands.

“Philip is the alpha Paige.”

“Lip is only acting.” Paige sighed. “When will you get it into that head of yours that being an alpha’s mate makes you an alpha too? Come on, let’s go.” Paige grabbed her cell phone off the dining table.

“Philip is doing a brilliant job.” Ryan shut the door behind them.

“I haven’t said he’s not. In fact, I’ve been told he’s actually evolved into a real alpha and that’s great.” Paige said, steering Ryan towards the stairs since the meeting room was on the eleventh floor which was right beneath their floor. “It happens sometimes. Jeremy can either keep him on or assign him to another territory when he gets back.”

“I’m happy for him.” Ryan looked thrilled. “But I don’t think those two would want to live apart.” He chuckled.

“I know right.” Paige laughed. “Stan would hit the roof ’cause that would mean he’d have to divide himself into two.”

“Did somebody mention my name?” Stan shouted with a mock scowl just as they got onto the eleventh floor.

“You mean Stanislav?” Paige asked innocently and promptly burst into laughter when Stan slowly extended his middle finger.

“Will the lady kindly sit on this, please?” Stan asked, making Ryan laugh too. “You good, Ryan?” He asked, drawing a laughing Ryan into his arms.

“Yeah, Stan. You?”

“Been running around like a dog chasing its tail, thanks to those alpha killers.” He growled, pushing open the door to the meeting room. “When we finally catch up with those bastards, I’m going to suffocate them in their own shit.”

“Ryan?” Ryan heard Gloria call his name just as he was about to enter the meeting room. She and Joel had just stepped out of the elevator. “I didn’t see you the whole of yesterday. I’ve missed you.”

“I’ve missed you too mum.” Ryan moved towards Gloria, laughing at the contented look that appeared on Gloria’s face at his words.

The joy that always appeared on the face of Jeremy’s mum whenever Ryan addressed her as mum, never ceased to bring an answering joy into Ryan’s heart. Gloria had told him before he’d mated with Jeremy that she didn’t want him to address her as Gloria after fully mating with her son. Though he’d been devastated after Jeremy’s departure, Ryan had remembered Gloria’s words and started referring to her as mum. And he would never forget the look on Gloria’s face that first time.

“Paige and I got back very late last night.” Ryan said, giving Gloria a bear hug. “Didn’t want to come and disturb you.” He held Gloria at arm’s length to admire her gorgeous outfit. The woman had style. “Damn woman, you look fine.” He murmured, making Gloria laugh.

“Aw stop it.” Gloria took Ryan’s hand into hers and turned him towards the meeting room. “You work too hard.”

Ryan sighed. “I need to, to get my mind off… Hello Uncle Joel.”

“How are you doing Ryan?” The elder asked, giving Ryan a sympathetic look.

“Can’t complain, Uncle.” He murmured. “I literally can’t.”

“Hey, hang in there son.” The elderly man patted Ryan on the back. “So…have any idea why we’re here?” Joel asked as they entered the meeting room.

“Nope. No idea.” Ryan responded, smiling at an already seated grim-faced Deloris, Camilla’s warlock mother and a member of the council.

Ryan, Joel and Gloria went round, greeting and hugging those who were already seated. The room was supposed to be the smallest meeting room in Jeremy’s mansion. Basically, it was a boardroom which had exquisite modernist furnishings and was equipped with a projector and polycom, perfect for delivering messages during meetings. The meeting room seated a maximum of twenty people. Thirteen people currently sat around the huge mahogany table, with Philip at the head. When Gloria got to Paige, she leaned down and asked with concern;

“How is he doing?”

Paige smiled. “He’s okay Mama G. Did you know he’s actually never dreamt about Jer since he left though?” Paige asked curiously.

“He can’t.” Gloria responded firmly. “That will mess with his head. Cause him too much pain. We have to prevent that from happening.”

“Yeah but…shouldn’t he at least be able to feel some…pain?” Paige muttered. “I mean, is all this shielding really necessary? I can’t help but feel he’s being robbed of some of the important emotions in life that connects us to our human soul.”

“You have a point there, honey.” Gloria sighed. “But Jeremy didn’t want him to feel pain. Besides, he does feel, doesn’t he? He misses him.”

“It’s not the same thing.” Paige groaned.

“It is.” Gloria countered. “It’s only that the intensity has been reduced, thereby eliminating the pain. Remember, we don’t know the level of powers that he wields. One can’t really tell what he’ll do if he’s in pain. Remember the portal? For all you know, he might be worse than the Ojah we already have on our hands. Think about it.” Gloria kissed Paige on the cheek and moved on.

But from the skeptical look on Paige’s face, she didn’t look convinced by the elder’s explanation. Had it even occurred to any of those uptight elders that Ryan feeling pain, might rather lead to something positive, Paige thought. With a sigh, she turned to look at her brother who was loudly clearing his throat to get everyone’s attention. She would talk to Gloria again after the meeting.

“Thank you all for coming.” Philip began. “We have a big problem. What we all thought was a war against the werewolf community just became a personal pack problem.” He paused to look at all the faces around the table. “You all know how we’ve all been trying to trace who is behind the attacks. Anytime we think we have a solid lead, we get thrown off. The best trackers in all the various packs in the world came together and tracked our attackers to where we were sure they were. But what did we find? A stretch of bare land. It was obvious we were up against a great force. Well, now we know who it is. I’m sure the old folks amongst us have heard of the Wyatt Clan.”

Gloria gasped. “Shit!” She muttered just as Joel swore darkly.

“Yes. They are the ones after the strong alphas. I say the issue just got personal because they’ve kidnapped one of our own. Camilla. She was kidnapped about three days after Alpha Jeremy travelled.”

Not everyone around the table knew the exact whereabouts of Jeremy. He sometimes took unannounced trips since as second in command to the head of all alphas in the world, he had other duties. So no one questioned his absence. Besides, Philip always managed the affairs of the pack just fine so there was no problem at all. At Philip’s words, all eyes turned on Deloris.

“Why haven’t you said anything till now Del?” Gloria gasped but the warlock didn’t even raise her head to acknowledge the question.

“I’ll explain everything Mama G.” Philip said. “The Wyatt Clan kidnapped Camilla to blackmail Deloris. They wanted Jeremy but couldn’t find him anywhere. So they decided they needed an insider to help them. And what better person than a fellow warlock who knew all about how nasty they could be? She’s not supposed to tell anyone about the kidnap otherwise Camilla dies.”

“Oh my god.” Gloria’s hand flew to her throat.

“They’ve sorta tapped into her brain to ensure they know immediately Deloris tells. Camilla was made to apply for leave from the hospital so no one thinks there’s foul play. Deloris has been trying to come up with a spell that would shield her brain. She’s…”

“Hold it, hold it…” Stan rasped, cutting Phillip off. “You mean it’s taken you three months to come up with a fucking spell?” His question was directed at Deloris, who winced at the disbelief in Stan’s voice. “I mean since we were kids we knew that spells are Deloris’ specialty.”

“If you could just allow me to finish, Stan.” Phillip said calmly. “I did say they’d tapped into her brain. To work on a spell, she had to use her brain, right? So she had to be extra careful in order not to be detected. She’s managed to shield her brain long enough to write down what we need to know down. She hopes we can rescue Camilla before the Wyatt Clan catches on. We have to move fast. She can write down answers to whatever questions we have for her.”

“Fuck.” Pete, the head assassin growled. “What are we waiting for if she’s already written down where those fuckers can be found?” He sounded pissed. “Just point us in the right direction. We have to hit those bastards hard.”

“We have to plan before we move Pete.” Joel rasped. “This is the Wyatt Clan we’re talking about son. If we don’t proceed cautiously, we will be wiped out before we say Jack. Now what I want to know is…” He turned to look at Deloris. “How sure are you that this spell of yours works? Wouldn’t want that bloodthirsty bunch to do anything to Camilla. God knows Reynard Wyatt never bluffs.”

“And that’s the scary part, Dad.” Philip said with a deep sigh. “She doesn’t. She needed more time to make sure it works but it looks like she doesn’t have any choice but to act now. You see, the clan has decided that if they take Ryan, Jeremy will come back from wherever he’s gone. So they’re coming for Ryan.” He turned to look at Ryan. “Now I understand why you’ve felt like you’re being watched. It must be them.” He said quietly. “What scares me even more is the fact that they seem to think that since Ryan is mated to Jeremy, Jeremy’s blood runs through him and therefore they can use Ryan for their silly ritual even if they don’t get Jeremy. And that is what pushed Deloris to risk her daughter’s life by spilling the beans. She’s not a hundred percent sure her spell will work.”

“We have to move now before anything happens to Camilla.” Stan breathed.

“We sure do.” Phillip nodded. “At least thanks to Deloris, we know exactly where to find them. They can no longer fool us with all that cloaking they’ve been using to throw us off their location. In the meantime, Ryan will have to be sent to a safe…”

“They want me, right?” Ryan spoke up. “So why don’t we take me to them?”

“No, Ryan.” Gloria said sternly. “If anything happens to you…”

“Hold it, Mama G.” Phillip quickly cut in. “Guys, we need to get ready to move. Dad, Mama G, Paige, Stan and Deloris can you kindly wait behind so we can quickly decide on what to do with Ryan, whilst the rest go and get ready?”

“Good.” Pete growled as he got to his feet. “Those stupid warlocks are going down.”

“That’s what I’m talking about.” Stan chuckled, slapping his raised palm against Pete’s. Warriors and Assassins had a lot in common. They both got off on violence.

When the others left the meeting room, Philip got to his feet and addressed Ryan.

“Now listen to me Ryan.” He began. “The last place we can take you is where there is bound to be violence. If touchwood, you die, that’s the end of Jeremy. That will be the fastest assurance to us that he’s not going to return to us.”

“And if you get physically hurt in anyway, he’s going to feel it.” Gloria added. “We can’t add that to his pain.”

“What?” Ryan gasped, staring at Gloria. “What do you mean he’s going to feel it?”

“It was his wish, Ryan.” Gloria said quietly. “His wish was to give you his mark. But my son did have his own conditions. By giving you that mark, he was to automatically bare any physical pain that you’re meant to feel.”

“What the fuck!” Ryan whispered.

“Your emotional and mental pain was cloaked but not your physical pain. Everybody feels physical pain at a point, right? Not a big deal. But Jeremy wouldn’t even accept that. He insisted that he wanted to bare any physical pain of yours.”

Ryan suddenly understood why he hadn’t felt any physical pain in months. He clearly remembered that time he’d stretched and felt that familiar spasm in his thigh that was usually meant to be accompanied by pain. After all, muscle pulls were meant to be painful. He’d watched as his thigh had tightened rhythmically and wondered why he couldn’t feel the usual pain. He’d been both fascinated and shocked at the strange development, thinking it probably had something to do with his new found power. And that wasn’t the only time he hadn’t felt pain when he knew he should. Damn Jeremy.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” The wretchedness in his voice couldn’t be masked.

“If we had told you, you wouldn’t have accepted his mark.” Gloria said simply, watching Ryan’s eyes fill with anger. “Hey, calm down. For as long as you stay away from harm’s way, Jeremy is okay.”

Jeremy is okay? Really? Ryan couldn’t feel pain but he sure as hell could feel anger. And at that very moment, he was so furious he felt himself shake.

“When you get to know that someone you love is going through so much unnecessary pain…” Ryan’s voice sounded dead, “…pain that you could have prevented or reduced if you’d known about it, anger hits you hard. Anger floods. I’m flooded.”

“Ryan please…” Gloria groaned.

“From the way you talk about this Wyatt Clan, I believe you need all the help you can get.” Ryan went on as if Gloria hadn’t spoken. “What’s the use of power if you have it but can’t use it when it’s most needed?” Ryan asked with a careless shrug. “I guess we just have to make sure I don’t get hurt or die, wont we?”

“He has a point.” Stan said.

“Shut up Stanislav.” Paige growled.

“What? I think Ryan is exactly who we need for this battle.” Stan insisted. “You didn’t see what he did to Katie, Slip.” An admiring twinkle appeared in his eyes. “Having him on our side will be a big advantage if those people are as ruthless as Deloris says they are. What’s all this about anyway?” His eyes turned onto the warlock. “What does that clan need the blood and bone marrow of the top alphas for? Do you know why, Deloris?”

Deloris looked at Stan helplessly and gestured for a pen. But even as she was being handed a pen and a writing pad, Ryan felt something push him. He suddenly felt suffused with so much energy. Was it because he was angry, Ryan wondered. He couldn’t help but observe that every time his power had manifested itself, it had been triggered by anger. Was that it? Did anger trigger whatever powers that he had? That wasn’t a good thing, he frowned. But at that very moment, he had an urge to do something…

“Wait, Deloris.” Ryan said, getting to his feet. “I feel like trying something.” He moved to sit beside Deloris. “Please. I just want to try…”

“Go ahead.” The warlock said with a smile. She felt the power emanating from her alpha’s mate and was curious to know what Ryan wanted to try.

“Thanks.” Ryan murmured.

And with everyone looking on with bated breath, Ryan reached up with both hands and held the sides of Deloris’ head. Then he closed his eyes and willed whatever the Wyatt Clan had done to connect Deloris’ mind to their radar, off.

“Oh my god!” Deloris gasped. “I can’t feel it anymore. It’s gone.” She breathed. “There’s been this painful tightness in my head for the past three months. It started immediately after they told me that if I tell anyone, Camilla dies. Oh god!” She began to cry, obviously overwhelmed by her feeling of relief. “Oh god…”

Ryan kissed her on the cheek and moved away from the seat to make way for Gloria, who gathered Deloris into her arms. The warlock sobbed out her joy and relief, continuously saying how grateful she was to Ryan. Gloria rocked her as she sobbed. As a mother, she knew how relieved the woman felt to know that her actions were not going to result in the death of her only child.

“Thank you Ryan.” Deloris finally sat back and said with a breathless laugh. “You have no idea how grateful I am.” She stood and went to give Ryan a hug. “I don’t know how you did that but thanks. Now, what do y’all want to know?” She laughed, making everyone laugh too.

“Why is the clan going to all this trouble?” Stan asked.

“Before I answer that, I want all of you to know that I didn’t tell them where Jeremy was. Fortunately, everyone knows that the council doesn’t really keep tabs on an alpha’s whereabouts so they believed me.” She drawled, wiping at her eyes with a tissue Gloria gave her. “Now to your question; The Wyatt Clan is the deadliest clan of warlocks that has ever been in existence. Know the usual myth where good always triumphs over bad?” She waited till the younger people in the room nodded before going on. “Well, that’s usually not the case when good comes up against Reynard Wyatt and his clan. Hope you get the picture. There’s no word to describe them. Over a century ago, there was a prophecy that Reynard Wyatt, the head of the clan, would be defeated by one of his offspring, which would lead to the end of his clan. Reynard killed all his six children after that prophecy and made sure he never fathered another child.” At the collective gasps around the table, Deloris nodded. “Yes, that’s how ruthless Reynard is.”

“And their mother allowed it?” Ryan sputtered.

“What mother would?” Deloris gave a humourless laughter. “She raised hell when Reynard made his intentions clear to her. But she was no match for him. He killed her. But according to the prophecy, this is the year that his offspring is to defeat him. I knew about the prophecy but I didn’t know it was this year. But his chatty, cocky, albino, hit man told me. I did cast a small truth spell on the idiot.” She chuckled. “According to him, although Reynard has made sure that there’s no offspring to defeat him, he wants to fortify himself with a very potent potion made out of the blood and bone marrow of powerful alphas.”

“Fuck.” Phillip cursed.

“That potion is to give him an unlimited source of strength should any battle come his way. Werewolves are noted for their strength, ferocity and agility when it comes to battles. Reynard’s plan is therefore to tap into that strength by using that potion as a link to all werewolves. He’s not taking any chances. You guys are basically to become roadkill.”

“Fuck me.” Stan breathed.

“They were the ones who tried to attack the alphas at that conference all those years ago.” Deloris went on. “But thanks to Jeremy, they were not successful.”

“What did he do?” Ryan asked.

“He went Ojah on their arses.” Paige said with so much pride.

“Which was very stupid because he didn’t leave even one person alive for questioning.” Gloria added angrily.

“He sorta didn’t have the time Mama G.” Phillip automatically came to his friend’s defense. “This is how it went down Ryan. As the conference went on, the alphas began to collapse one after the other for no reason at all. Jeremy got very weak. Knew he was going to pass out too but his Ojah took over. Every alpha in the conference room was out cold. Jer said he felt so much power surrounding them. He said it was bad energy. When he stepped out of the conference room, all the werewolves outside were dead. Then he saw about thirty men and women chanting. He turned all of them into ashes instantly. Fortunately, the alphas were okay.”

“Wow!” Ryan breathed.

“According to the albino, Reynard usually has an eye through which he sees everything whenever he sends people on missions.” Deloris informed them. “So he saw what Jeremy did and he knows just how powerful he is. He has studied him and his Ojah powers and thinks he knows how to render those powers ineffective when he eventually gets Jeremy. Knowing Reynard, I won’t be surprised if he actually does know how. In a way I’m glad that Jeremy is not around. He would have gotten angry, attacked without thought, and probably ended up…” She didn’t complete the sentence but everyone in the room knew what she’d been about to say. “Reynard has had years of practice. He’s over four centuries old. He’s powered himself with countless number of souls of both the innocent and the wicked. He is very powerful. I mean I pride myself on being a pretty powerful warlock. But compared to Reynard, I’m a toddler. The type of magic he uses can actually take good people and turn them dark. That’s how powerful he is. If he says he can render Alpha Jeremy powerless, he can. But if for whatever reason Jeremy doesn’t show, Ryan will be used because when a werewolf is powerful or unique in a way, it rubs off on their mates due to the mating process.”

“But we didn’t even go through the ceremony.” Ryan pointed out.

“But you had sex, right?” The warlock shot back.

“Oh they so did.” Stan drawled, making Paige and Phillip burst into laughter despite their worry over Deloris’ news. “Everybody felt it too.” He added teasingly, making Ryan and Joel blush whilst Gloria squirmed in her seat.

“That’s all that’s needed.” Deloris said. “They’re going to use your blood to scry for Jeremy. And of course we all know they won’t be able to locate him since he’s nowhere on earth. They will probably give him some days to come after you. And if Jeremy doesn’t show up, they’re going to use you. Those people don’t play Ryan. Human sacrifice to them is like taking coffee in the morning. It’s not a big deal at all. And immediately they’re able to complete the potion, they can channel the life force of all werewolves whenever there’s battle, in order to ensure their victory. Succeeding in completing that potion therefore means you guys become their bitches. As you grow weak, they will grow stronger and stronger. Reynard needs that to win whatever battle that’s coming. At least that’s what he thinks. What becomes of your species doesn’t really matter. Call it the annihilation of the werewolf species. Sorry but that man is a ruthless killer who’ll stop at nothing to get what he wants.”

“Well, neither will we.” Ryan growled. “Phillip, you have to take me.” He rasped, feeling so angry. “The mere fact that he wants to kill Jeremy…and can kill him if he wants to, gives me the right to face this Reynard guy.”

“I can cast a general weakening spell when we get there.” Deloris said. “They can still use their powers but it will be weak so we can fight them. We won’t stand a chance if we take that clan on whilst they’re on their full magic.”

“That’s good to know.” Phillip liked what he was hearing.

“But the spell will not work on Reynard.” The warlock sighed. “He’s too powerful to be affected by my weakening spell. And if he survives our attack, he can restore everything. The clan’s fortress…that’s the seat of all their powers. For as long as that fortress stands, Reynard can always restore everything. It was built on a Spiritual Nexus that can be used for either good or evil. The Wyatt Clan, headed by Reynard, made it their home just to claim the Nexus for evil and it has been the seat of power for the clan. We need to destroy that fortress. And to do that, we need a really high level of power.” She said quietly.

“Dad?” Philip addressed his father. “What do you think?”

The elder gave a deep sigh and reached for the hand of a worried Gloria. “I have to agree with Ryan and Stanley, son.” Joel said gravely. “Ryan is our best bet. If we don’t go after them, they will come after us. And we don’t have the juice to face them as wolves. With Ryan and Deloris, we stand a better chance.”

“Joel…” Gloria gasped with a haunted look in her eyes. If anything happened to Ryan, she was definitely not going to see her son again. But more importantly, she didn’t want to risk Ryan’s life because she’d come to see and love him as her son too. And no mother would be okay with risking their son’s life. “Please don’t allow this.” She whispered shakily.

Joel turned and wrapped his arms around the trembling woman. “Remember the prophecy about Jeremy’s mate?” Joel murmured into Gloria’s hair. “It said he would be important to not only our pack, but to werewolves everywhere. We already know how powerful he is. What if he’s meant to save all of us, honey? You have to believe. What we have to do is guard him. Be his protective shield and allow him to do what he can.” By then, Gloria was crying softly.

“I’m so scared.” She sniffled. “He’s so innocent. He’s been thrust into all this supernatural stuff which is still so new to him. I may not get my son back, Joel. Ryan’s all I have for now.”

“Don’t say that.” Joel admonished. “Jeremy will be back. You heard Deloris. This is the worst time for Jeremy to be anywhere on the face of earth. We both know how headstrong he is. He would have gone to face Reynard or been captured just as Sasha and co were had he been around. I shudder to think what Reynard would have done to him. Luna might not be so cruel after all.”

“You think?” Gloria muttered.

“Think about it, darling.” Joel insisted. “His incarceration might just be a blessing in disguise. Now let’s go with them and make sure no harm comes to Ryan. That’s the best thing you can do for both Ryan and Jeremy right now. Alright?”

Gloria nodded. “Alright.”

“That’s my girl.” With a finger, Joel tilted Gloria’s chin up. And right there in front of everyone, he gave her a light but sweet kiss that drew wolfish whistles from Stan and Paige, and chuckles from Philip and Deloris.

Ryan didn’t react at all. He still looked so angry, upset and depressed. He obviously hadn’t gotten over the realization that his mate was going through so much because of him. When Ryan felt Paige’s hand on him he almost jumped out of his skin. He was so lost in thought he hadn’t even seen Paige move towards him.

“Come here, baby.” Paige murmured as she hugged Ryan to her, tightly. “I know you’re upset. But know that you would have done same had you been in Jer’s shoes. When you love someone, you want to do everything in your power to keep them safe and comfortable.”

“Yeah?” Ryan asked quietly. “Then I’m sure you know how I feel right now. Not only am I unable to keep the one I love safe and comfortable, I’m actually the cause of his pain and discomfort. Just great.” He muttered.

“Aw Ryan.” Paige sighed as she rubbed Ryan on the back. She knew that Ryan was hurting but couldn’t come up with anything better to say to soothe him. “This whole thing is fucked up. Come on, let’s go get ready. Time to kick arse.” They both stood up and turned towards the door.

“Ryan?” Gloria called out shakily and started towards Ryan and Paige. “I’m so sorry, baby.” She said when she got to them. “Come here.” She drew Ryan into her arms.

“He’s your son.” Ryan muttered. “Why did you let him do it?” Ryan’s voice was filled with so much anguish. “I feel terrible.”

“You know Jeremy, honey.” Gloria said softly. “When he makes up his mind, nothing sways him. And when it’s about you, no one has the right to attempt to sway him. I would have done same if my mate’s comfort was on the line. Don’t be angry. It’s what it is.”

“I’m not happy with it but I get it.” Ryan sighed. “Let’s go get those sons of bitches before that crazy mate of mine walks out into a world without werewolves. That would definitely kill him if nothing else does.” He squeezed Gloria lightly and then stood back.

“Still angry?” Gloria smiled up at her gorgeous son-in-law.

“Hell yeah.” Ryan growled. “But still love you to bits.” He grinned. “Going up to get ready.”

***

Phillip, the acting alpha of Stanton Pack and his warriors stood at marked points around a large stretch of bare land. There were forty pack members, standing in groups of fives, with each group standing at a distance from the other. It was dawn and all was quiet. Apart from the alpha and his squad, there was no evidence of life on the land. After making sure that all the vantage points were covered, Alpha Philip raised a hand to signal someone in the group that was made up of four women and a man.

Deloris saw Phillip’s signal and nodded. She had in her right palm eight coins, each representing a group. Their strategy was to first rescue Camilla, bring down the invisible barrier shielding the fortress, and then attack. Camilla had to be rescued first because should the clan see or sense any intruders, Camilla would be killed. Although they didn’t know the exact powers that Ryan had, the squad from Stanwood Pack hoped to use it to their advantage. Deloris had assured Ryan that she’d never felt so much intense energy as she was feeling from him. She believed that Ryan could do anything he set his mind on. On their way to the Wyatt Clan’s hidden fortress, Deloris had therefore taken the opportunity to tell Ryan about some of the magical possibilities that she’d seen and heard happen in her years on earth. Her main aim was to plant those thoughts and possibilities into Ryan’s mind, so he could use them during their face-off with the Wyatt Clan. She encouraged him to simply believe in himself and feel confident to try anything.

Deloris’ hope was that Ryan could somehow reach quietly into the invisible fortress and bring Camilla out before the real action began. It had been done before. And she just knew that Ryan could pull it off. If all went according to plan, The Wyatt Clan wouldn’t know what hit them. The clan’s oblivious state was the pack’s strategic advantage.

“Ready?” Deloris’s question was directed at Ryan.

“Let’s do this.” Ryan breathed, pulling up his hoodie to cover his white tresses.

“Try not to get hurt honeybuns.” Gloria said softly.

“That’s the plan.” Ryan grinned at the woman he’d come to love so much. “Don’t worry too much. Deloris has already seen to that, remember?”

Apart from casting a general weakening spell over the Wyatt Clan, Deloris had insisted on casting an immunity spell on Ryan, to protect him and in extension, Jeremy. The immunity spell did not only make Ryan immune to physical harm, it also prevented him from being affected by spells, charms and potions.

“I’ll still worry.” Gloria gave a tremulous smile. “That’s what mothers do.” She murmured as Ryan kissed her on the cheek.

“You look gangster.” Paige grinned at Ryan.

“And you look like a dominatrix.” Ryan shot back, making Paige laugh. “Okay, I’m ready to penetrate this…whatever.” He said gruffly.

“Stop saying penetrate.” Paige drawled. “It’s a rescue mission not a sex act.”

Katie couldn’t hold in her laughter at Paige’s words. “Seriously Paige.” She laughed. “All the best, Alpha.” The warrior addressed Ryan. If anybody had the power to do what Ryan was about to attempt, Katie knew that it was her alpha’s mate. After all, she’d been at the end of that power some months earlier. As her wolf dangled in the air…that day she’d gone to challenge Ryan, she’d felt Ryan’s power. And it was like nothing she’d felt before. “You can do this.”

“Thanks Katie.” Ryan gave Katie a smile.

“Remember, be conscious of your surroundings at all times.” Deloris instructed. “Yes, we are taking them by surprise but we can’t underestimate Reynard Wyatt. Now concentrate.”

Ryan bowed his head and reached out to Camilla with his mind. His aim was to zero in on her exact location inside the fortress. That was real easy. He could see Camilla sitting on a narrow bed inside a dark room. He pushed his thoughts onto her.

‘Camilla, it’s me, Ryan.’ Ryan said on the mind-link when he connected with Camilla, his mate’s ex-lover who had once handed him his arse.

‘Oh my god, Ryan…’ She screeched. ‘How…’

‘Don’t do anything to give yourself away Camilla. Are you alone?’

‘Yes. I am.’

‘Good. Just stay connected. I’ll be there soon.’

‘Oh no, Ryan don’t.’ Camilla gasped. ‘These people are dangerous and ruthless. I don’t want something to happen to you on my account. Jeremy will kill me. Just don’t come here… “what the fuck?” Camilla gasped out load when Ryan suddenly appeared beside her.

‘Shhh…’ Ryan still communicated on their mind-link. ‘Okay, stand up. We just have to wait for your mother to bring the barrier down. Then we will teleport outside the fortress.’

“How did you get in if the barrier is still up?” She hissed, looking completely shocked.

‘Don’t talk out loud. I don’t want them to get suspicious.’ Ryan groaned. ‘And I’m not here. I’ve astral projected here that’s all. But when that barrier comes down, I can just teleport you out of here.’ Ryan had projected his consciousness into an astral form outside his body, to enable him go through the magical barrier around the fortress, undetected just as Deloris had directed.

“What are you?” Camilla breathed.

‘What’s so difficult about not talking out loud?’ Ryan looked both exasperated and amused at the same time.

‘Sorry.’ Camilla said. ‘What now?’

‘We wait.’ Ryan said and then opened his mind-link to every pack member on the property. ‘We’re ready, Deloris.’

***

Outside the magically invisible fortress, Deloris turned to look at Ryan who stood beside her with his head bowed. She couldn’t suppress her smile of admiration. She recited some words onto the coins in her palm and threw all against the barrier with all her strength. And instantly, the fortress of the Wyatt Clan was revealed in all its gargantuan glory.

“Now, Ryan.” The warlock commanded.

Camilla appeared before them instantly. She immediately threw herself into her mother’s arms and held on tightly. But when Deloris hugged her daughter back, she flinched and groaned.

“Oh god, what did they do to you? Where does it hurt?” Deloris held her daughter at arm’s length and stared at her with eyes filled with pain.

“You mean where doesn’t it hurt?” Camilla drawled.

“They will pay for this.” Deloris vowed.

And even as mother and daughter embraced, all the werewolves except for Phillip, Gloria, Paige and Ryan, shifted into ferocious looking wolves.

“Move!” On Phillip’s command, the wolves charged onto the compound.

***

The Jackal’s head shot up from the herbs in front of him when he heard the name that fell from the boy’s lips. He turned his head to stare at twenty-one year old Troy who was relaxing in a lazy chair with his eyes closed. The boy was an early riser. That was because of what he was…a werewolf. But he didn’t even know that himself, thanks to the Lord Command. He was supposed to be down in the dungeon with the other prisoners but Reynard had instructed that he should rather live amongst the warlocks for closer monitoring.

According to the Lord Command, Troy had a really powerful aura around him and was therefore very important to him. Since he was kidnapped and brought in as a child, he’d mingled with the warlocks and been taught whatever he needed to know. The Jackal knew that the Lord Command would relish sacrificing Troy when the time suited him. He claimed that the more powerful the soul, the sweeter it was to absorb them. So Troy was bound to be sacrificed at a point but till then, he was one of them.

“What did you say?” The Jackal asked, watching as Troy stretched and yawned.

“Deloris.” Troy repeated. “I just heard someone say, ‘we’re ready, Deloris’.”

“Heard how?” The Jackal’s eyes narrowed. In his line of work, there was nothing like coincidence. He only knew one Deloris. And she was the warlock whose daughter he’d kidnapped to blackmail her into divulging information about her alpha.

Troy shrugged. “I just heard it in my head.” He turned his head to look at the albino. “Why do you look like you’ve seen a ghost?” He never knew the albino could actually look whiter than he already did.

The Jackal stared at the boy, hoping that somehow, there was nothing to what Troy had said. Then he suddenly heard it… the growls and the screams.

“Wolves.” The Jackal gasped. “Stay here.” He instructed Troy and then dashed out of the room.

***

Reynard Wyatt looked up when the door to his sanctuary burst open. He was in there, going over the final plans with his Trusted Seven as he called his top strategists. The best time to come up with strategies was at dawn, when their minds were relaxed and fresh after a good night’s sleep.

“I thought I told you not to disturb…”

“We’re under attack, Lord Command.” The Jackal said urgently.

“How…”

“Wolves.” The Jackal rasped. “They’re on the compound. I don’t know how they got in. Somehow, our strength and magic has gotten very weak. Some of our people are already dead.”

“Go out there and find out who they’re working with.” The Lord Command roared. “Those mangy mutts could not have penetrated our shield unless they had help from a warlock. I don’t think someone from within can betray us. That warlock you’re working with…”

“It can’t be her, Lord Command.” The Jackal couldn’t look his Lord in the eye. “She wouldn’t risk the life of her only child.” He sure as hell couldn’t tell the Lord Command that his contact might have caused their current predicament. That would be like signing his and his wife’s death warrant.

“Maybe she would.” Reynard Wyatt barked. “People can be stupidly loyal. Seen the girl?”

“I will check up on her.” The Jackal turned to go.

“Bring her to me, if she’s still alive.” Reynard bellowed. “Petra, Zack and Frank…to the heights.” He instructed three of the seven seated around the table. “Try to get the power strengthened.” The three instantly shimmered and disappeared from the room. Then the Lord Command looked at the remaining faces around the table and gave a sinister grin. “Let’s show those werewolves what we do with dogs who don’t know their place.”

***

Outside, it was a blood bath. The wolves tore to pieces any warlock they came into contact with. The warlocks somehow realized that besides the fact that their sleep had been rudely interrupted, their powers were not working as they were supposed to. They knew that their best bet was the use of fireballs. And those deadly balls rained down on the wolves. Unfortunately for the warlocks and fortunately for the wolves, the warriors of Stanwood Pack received their training from the very best. If you were taught how to fight by an alpha who is an Ojah to boot, you don’t have any choice but to be smart and fast. The warlocks had the shock of their lives. The wolves were always so quick to dodge those deadly balls, the warlocks would have applauded their skill if they could take a time out. About four wolves got injured but they were still strong enough to fight. Some of the warlocks ran, others cloaked themselves. But thanks to the spell that Deloris had cast, cloaked warlocks couldn’t stay cloaked for long. They just weren’t that strong.

‘Group two, take the west wing.’ Stan screamed on the link of the werewolves. ‘Don’t leave any of those psychos alive. Vincent, take the east wing with your team. I hear there are some prisoners in the dungeons down there. Release them. Hopefully, they’re strong enough to help us.’

‘Roger that, boss.’ Vincent responded as he charged towards the east wing with his team. They were having a blast.

‘Pete, let’s take the south wing?’ Phillip bellowed onto their link. ‘Looks like the majority of our filthy friends are hiding out over there.’

‘Sure.’ Pete responded as his wolf charged forward. ‘I saw a young boy throwing fireballs from that side. He’s the one who wounded Malik and Alex. His arse is grass.’

‘I’m coming with you guys.’ Stan rasped as he jumped and tore out the throat of one scary looking warlock who was in the process of levitating off the ground whilst reciting some incantations.

But just as Phillip, who was still in his human form started forward, Ryan appeared beside him.

“Deloris and I are going after Reynard.” Ryan informed Phillip. “Gloria, Paige and Camilla have already joined the fight.”

“Okay. Be careful at all times, Ryan.” Phillip advised. “Stay close to Deloris. She’s experienced and knows how these people operate. Get out if it gets too hot.” He growled. “Promise me…”

“Watch out.” Paige, who was also still in human form screamed, making both Ryan and Phillip look up just in time to see two purplish fire balls hurtling towards them.

Ryan raised his hand and sent the balls right back to the warlock who had thrown them, causing her to explode instantly. Just at that time, a young boy with a full crop of blond hair stepped forward with a big fire ball in his hand. His intention was clear.

‘The boy.’ Pete screamed and charged towards the boy. ‘I’m going to enjoy this.’

Stan charged towards the boy at the same time. Phillip turned his head to look at the boy and froze when their eyes locked on each other’s. The boy, who couldn’t seem to tear his eyes off Phillip, seemed to have completely forgotten about the fireball in his palm. For Phillip, time stood still. Although the boy arrested his attention, he could see from the corners of his eyes that Stan and Pete’s wolves were almost upon the boy. And that was when he screamed for the very first time in an alpha’s voice;

“Don’t hurt him.” An alpha’s command. The wolves froze.

The boy, who’d been the target of both wolves, looked so focused on Phillip he seemed not to notice the confusion around him. When he heard someone mention the name of the gorgeous man who had stopped the wolves from attacking him, he finally tore his eyes away from the man and looked down at the fireball in his palm. He suddenly didn’t feel like using it… couldn’t bring himself to hurt that man standing about ten meters away from him. He knew that Mary would be pissed after all the trouble she’d gone through to ensure that he could handle a fireball without getting burnt. After all, he wasn’t like them.

Troy closed his palm and instantly put out the ball of fire inside. Then with one last look at the man whose eyes made his heart flutter inside his chest, he turned around and ran off.

‘What the fuck was that?’ Stan growled on their link.

Phillip turned his eyes from the spot the boy had disappeared and looked at his friend. “He’s not a warlock.” He said aloud, simply.

‘So what?’ Stan growled angrily. ‘This is a battle, Lip. And everyone inside this fortress is an enemy. Well, except the prisoners. You heard what Deloris said. Their plan is to annihilate us. That boy has wounded…”

“Let it go, Stan.” Phillip said quietly. Too quietly. None of the pack members gathered around knew the struggle that was going on between Phillip and his wolf at that particular moment. In the end, however, the human won. He made his wolf understand that there were more important matters to handle which couldn’t be ignored. The survival of his pack came first.

“Phillip?” Ryan murmured.

“Don’t ask.” Phillip rasped. “See you later.” With that, the alpha shifted into a large grey wolf and charged towards the south wing. He was confused, he was restless, he was angry, and he needed to vent. What better way than to unleash terror on the people who wanted to wipe out his entire species?

No warlock was left standing in Phillip’s wake.

***

The jackal stared at the bed on which he’d expected to see Camilla and felt his heart drop. She was gone. That meant only one thing… His death. He’d assured the Lord Command that Deloris was under his control because he had her daughter. Not only was there no daughter, but it looked like Deloris had led the pack straight to them. Oh, his death was so assured. There was only one thing to do at that point. Get his wife and run!

He closed the door, turned around and came face to face with a…sex worker? The Jackal didn’t know what to make of the woman standing in front of him. She was dressed in a sexy black leather outfit and had a whip in her hand…like a dominant about to work on a submissive.

“You, my friend, are a hard one to find.” Paige said in a husky voice. “Going somewhere?”

“Look lady, I don’t know who you are or what you think you can do but trust me, you don’t wanna go up against me.”

“Is that so?” Paige started circling around the sweating albino. Somehow she didn’t think the cause of the man’s terror was her presence. He looked really terrified. “You look scared. Hmmm…” She tilted her head and looked at the albino. “I don’t think a wicked soul like yourself is scared of a bunch of wolves. I think it’s something more. What could it be? Who are you so afraid of, pray tell?”

“You bitch.” The Jackal hissed. “Thank your stars for whatever you idiots have done to weaken the fold. I would have…”

“Would have done what exactly?” Paige looked amused. “You think you can handle me?”

“Oh I can handle you little girl. I’ve been doing this since before you were nothing but an itch in your daddy’s pants.”

“Oooh I’m shaking in my boots.” Paige purred. “Big words for someone who looks like you’ve already shit your pants. I still want to know what has you so spooked. I heard you’re dangerous and cunning. Oh Deloris filled me in. Kidnapping the woman’s only child. Now, that was a very wicked thing to do don’t you think? Oh and she told me about how you used your…gift…I’d call it a curse but hey, if you think it’s a gift, let’s call it a gift. Anyway, back to what I was saying. She told me about how you actually changed your appearance to look like Camilla when you initially went to her, in order to get her guard down and get her exactly where you wanted her. What do you call that? Copy Cat? Wait, wait…I’ve remembered what she said. Glamouring.” Paige looked like she’d won a quiz contest. Glamouring was the ability to change one’s appearance to look like another person, though it could also be used to change a person’s age or clothing.

“Alright, I’m out of here.” The Jackal said and then began to shimmer into nothingness but Paige’s whip flew so fast his world spun out of control. “Oh fuck.” He groaned from his new position on the ground.

“I don’t remember saying you could go.” Paige drawled. “I’ll like to have a…chat if you don’t mind.” Her smile was so sweet and innocent one might have thought she was talking about how great the weather was.

The Jackal groaned. He knew that the end had come.

***

“What do you see?” Reynard Wyatt asked his Seer who was deep in a trance. She was one of the seven seated at the table.

Reynard could hear the screams of his people outside but he wasn’t worried because he knew that even if everyone perished, he could bring them back. He was that powerful. The most important thing was to stay alive. He knew that despite the determination and obvious strength of whoever was attacking the clan at that particular moment, nothing could happen to him. After all, he had to have a kid to get defeated, right? Well, he had none. But he still needed to know who had the nerve to attack his clan. And what better person to tell him than his Seer? Raj was an upper-level warlock who had the power to perceive the past, present and future events through premonition and divination. She’d served Reynard for centuries as his primary advisor and was very good at what she did. To say Reynard was shocked that Raj hadn’t been able to predict their current situation would be a huge understatement. He planned on dealing with that later. At that moment, he needed to know who they were up against.

“It’s the Stanwood Pack.” Raj said in an eerie voice.

“Damn that albino.” Reynard’s angry voice rumbled through the room, rattling every loose object. “No wonder he’s still not back. Tell me, is Jeremy Stanton here?” Something good could come out of all the chaos after all, Reynard thought. He needed Jeremy.

“No he isn’t.” Came a voice that made everyone turn to look towards the door.

Reynard Wyatt looked up and did a double take when he saw the young man standing inside his sanctuary. The fact that he was with a woman didn’t really register in the warlock’s brain. His attention was completely arrested by the white-haired, green-eyed man looking at him.

“Who…who the hell are you?” The Lord Command actually stuttered. “And how did you get in here?”

Reynard’s face was filled with shock. Shock that he hoped the people in the room would assume was due to the fact that the two people standing before them had actually managed to enter a warded sanctuary. The only way anyone who wasn’t his close confidant could enter was if he allowed it. Could the man and woman standing in the room be gods, Reynard wondered. He hoped they were. Because that would make everything more…acceptable.

“Name’s Ryan. I just heard you ask if my mate was around.” Ryan responded quietly.

“Ryan?” Reynard looked even more shocked. Then he gave a sigh of relief. For a moment he’d thought… Never mind what he thought. “You mean the faggot who’s mated to the coward Stanwood alpha?”

“My mate is no coward.” Ryan said icily, taking in the scene in the room. The four people in there were obviously having some sort of a meeting with the white-haired man who he’d assumed was the wicked Reynard. Couldn’t they hear the battle raging outside?

Reynard gave a cocky laugh. “Well, I thought so too but then…what brave alpha would up and run simply because his fellow alphas have been…killed?” He looked at the faces around the table with mock surprise. “Strange huh?” Then he looked up at Ryan again. “What kind of alpha allows his pack to go into battle without him?”

Ryan shrugged nonchalantly. “An alpha who thinks the battle in question is too…insignificant to waste his time on.” Ryan replied.

Reynard Wyatt’s eyes widened. Damn these cocky werewolves, he thought laughing uproariously. “Listen boy, I admire your bravery and all but… You’re just a small man who took a wrong turn in the theatre and somehow wandered onto the stage. Don’t dare think yourself a player.” He turned glassy green eyes on Deloris. “You must be the warlock the albino was talking about. You obviously squealed. Too bad. Seen your dead daughter yet?”

Deloris managed a comically confused look. “You mean the one who’s kicking arse out there? She didn’t look dead to me when I saw her some minutes ago.” She gave the Lord Command a sweet smile. The only thing that betrayed Reynard’s anger was the insistent tick in his temple. Deloris turned to look at Ryan. “How do you want to do this, Ryan?”

“Alright, alright, I’ll give it to you.” Reynard chuckled. “Deloris right? I don’t know how you did it but, good job. I love it when warlocks who think they are powerful come up against me. I enjoy bringing them down a peg or two. I enjoy even more, hearing them beg for their lives. But watching the life die out of their eyes is always the best part.”

“Oh wait…you thought all this was me?” Deloris looked downright amused. “No Reynard. Today is going to go down in history as the day the great Reynard Wyatt got his arse handed to him by a wolf. Not even the alpha himself you asshole. The alpha’s mate.”

Reynard looked stunned for a moment. Then he burst into laughter and turned to Ryan. “Listen boy, you’re not really the one I’m after. It’s Jeremy I want. If you give me your mate’s location, I could at least make your death quick. What do you say?”

“You arrogant son-of-a-bitch.” Deloris couldn’t believe the warlock had actually suggested that Ryan betray his mate. “You’re so stupid if you expect him to betray his mate. Are you for…”

“I don’t have time for this nonsense.” With that angry growl, Reynard shot out of his chair and directed a beam of highly concentrated, torch-like fire towards Deloris and Ryan.

Deloris gasped in fright but that fire never got to them because Ryan’s hand shot out to deflect it, sending it back to Reynard who reflexively extinguished the fire by shooting a thin blast of powdery ice from the tip of his fingers. The Lord Command stared at Ryan with a shocked expression.

“Shit.” Ryan muttered, looking down at his fingers. “Almost as if we were playing tennis.”

Deloris would have laughed at that had it not been for the fact that her heart was pounding so hard. “Great reflexes.” She breathed, still reeling from what had almost happened. But for Ryan, the two of them would be toast.

“Well, thanks to you I have immunity, remember?” Ryan responded, still staring at his hands. “Why are my fingers cold?”

“They are?” Deloris asked with widened eyes. And at Ryan’s nod, she gasped. “Oh my god.”

Deloris wasn’t exactly sure what power Ryan had just displayed. It could either be the power of absorption or mimicry. If it was the latter, then it meant Ryan had the ability to permanently copy powers that were used against him by other magical beings. If on the other hand, it was the former, then not only could Ryan copy the powers of others, but he could actually absorb it from the original owner, leaving the owner without that particular power. That also meant that Ryan would then become immune to that particular power. Deloris prayed it was the power of absorption that Ryan had because if it was, then Reynard was fucked. Deloris looked up to see Reynard staring at Ryan’s fingers. He knew. Deloris couldn’t help the smirk that found its way onto her face.

“Told ya!” Deloris sneered. “You’re going down, old man.”

“Enough!” Reynard roared, his face darkening in anger. He’d felt himself lose some of his powers just seconds earlier when he’d used them against the boy. Hell, the cold dust on the boy’s fingers was evidence enough. He obviously had the power of absorption. A warlock? Obviously, all wasn’t as it seemed. “Raj, tell me who he is, now.”

“I just told you who he…” Deloris began but got cut off by the scream that tore out of one of the women around Reynard’s table.

“This is not good, Reynard.” The woman shook hard as she addressed her clan head. “He’s your…he’s your son.”

A collective gasp went up from everyone in the room, with a shocked Reynard breathing; “What?”

“The fuck?” Ryan gasped in shock, staring at the woman who had dared uttered those silly words.

There was a long, terrible stretch of silence during which Ryan took a good look at Reynard Wyatt. He noticed the hair and the eyes. Well…strange, he thought, taking in Reynard’s white long-sleeved, high-necked t-shirt and white pants. He almost laughed when John Webster’s ‘The White Devil’ popped into his mind.

“I have no children and you know it.” The Lord Command rasped, clenching his fists to hide how badly they shook. He was visibly seething.

“You mean you killed them.” Deloris hissed and then actually grinned when a furious Reynard let fly a fireball in her direction.

Too late, Reynard realized he’d been tricked into using another power against Ryan. Although his target had been Deloris, the bitch was standing so close to Ryan it was just as though he’d used the power against Ryan. Meaning, his power of conjuring fireballs was also gone…absorbed by Ryan. And of course, Ryan sent the ball hurtling right back at him. Reynard saw the smug look on Deloris’ face waver when the fireball bounced harmlessly against him and went off. Yes, he’d activated his shield. Nothing could touch him from then on for as long as he remained within that shield. Ryan looked clueless but Deloris didn’t look happy with the latest development. The Lord Command couldn’t pass up an opportunity to gloat.

“Eat that bitch.” Then he turned to look at his still terrified Seer. “Raj?” He didn’t have to spell out what he wanted to know.

“Pierre Part.” Raj began shakily. “Thirty one years ago. Emma…”

“Emma Hicks?” Reynard bellowed. “Pathetic Emma Hicks?”

“Hey, you can’t…” Ryan began but got cut off when Reynard went right on raging as if he hadn’t spoken.

“You mean that bitch got pregnant?” Reynard roared, causing glasses and mirrors in the room to explode into shards. His angry eyes remained on the seer. “How come you never saw this?”

“I don’t know Reynard.” The seer groaned. “There’s more…” She looked like she was going to be physically sick.

“Tell me.” Reynard demanded.

“He…all the…your six children…”

“What of my six children?” Reynard snapped.

“They had divine powers, Rey…”

“Everyone knows my kids had great powers.” Reynard growled. “They were given to them by a fucking god.”

“He…” Raj swallowed audibly. “As your only living child, the powers of all your children have been transferred to him.” She pointed a shaky finger at Ryan. “He has all their powers. With all those powers he’s almost as powerful as a god. Which makes him…” She looked terrified.

“Makes him what?” Reynard bellowed, making everyone at the table jump in fright.

“That makes him stronger… Stronger than you.” The seer breathed.

In a fit of rage, Reynard stretched forth his hand towards the Seer, with an obvious intention of killing her with that beam of highly concentrated fire that he’d attempted to kill Deloris and Ryan with moments earlier. The Lord Command looked at his hand in surprise when nothing happened. In his rage, he’d completely forgotten he’d been stripped of that power by Ryan. He quickly conjured an energy ball and angrily hurled it at Raj, who immediately exploded into fiery pieces. With that close a hit, it was no surprise she exploded.

“You’re supposed to see everything and tell me before it happens.” The furious warlock screamed at the empty space where the Seer used to be. “What’s your use if you can’t do your job?”

“Are you out of your mi…” One man around the table began but he never completed his sentence because with a snap of Reynard’s finger, his neck snapped in a weird angle, killing him instantly.

“Anyone else have something to say?” The Lord Command looked at the remaining two around the table. Both fearfully shook their heads. “Good. Now to you, boy. I don’t believe what my very dead Seer just said but…let’s give her the benefit of the doubt. You’re the only person who can prove that you’re my offspring.” He went quiet for a moment. Then breathed; “Show me your deformity.”

Ryan couldn’t suppress the gasp that tore out of his mouth. “What?” He whispered, heart pounding.

“Aw come on, don’t be shy.” Reynard gave a smile that didn’t reach his cold eyes. “You see, each of my children had…how do I put this? A unique feature. I made a pact with one of the most powerful and wicked gods that ever existed. That was before I started making babies. I was young and naive then. Among other things, every child of mine was to receive two very unique and very high level powers. But that stupid god loved to play pranks. He decided that for those powers, each child of mine was to receive a unique feature. I readily agreed, thinking they were probably going to be born with unique coloured eyes or hair or something like that.” He gave a humourless laugh. “Imagine my surprise when Slater, my first, was born with four eyes. Four fucking eyes!” He bellowed, pounding his fist on the table. “Then came Harry. A boy. Had all the features of a boy except for the most important feature of all. He had no penis. Next was Nina. My beautiful Nina.” He shook his head slowly. “She had three legs. Then the twins came. One had only one leg with two feet, the other had no legs at all. The last was Suzie. A girl. Well, she looked like a girl. Had breasts, feminine curves, voice… A girl. But she came with the dick that Harry left. Didn’t have a vagina, didn’t have a womb. Freaks of nature…all of them. But I got the last laugh. I literally laughed as I watched the very essence drain right out of that god. You see, nobody crosses Reynard Wyatt.” He growled.

The Lord Command didn’t add his greatest regret though. He’d never regretted more, not giving another entity a quick death. If he’d done that with the god, he wouldn’t have been in his current predicament. He’d been so angry at the god when his sixth child was born he’d decided to acquired enough strength and power to seek revenge for what he’d done to his children. And no one stood a chance if Reynard Wyatt went out of his way to plan and prepare for them. Not even a god. When he finally held the life essence of that god in his palm, Reynard couldn’t help but gloat, taunt and goad. On hindsight, he shouldn’t have drawn it out…made fun of the god as he struggled in his final moments. He shouldn’t have given him the chance to speak. Because that was when the god had given that stupid prophecy. According to the prophecy, one of Reynard’s children would wipe him out of the world and bring his clan to ruin. He’d been given the year and told to expect his end at the end of that year. Well, the year was finally here but it wasn’t even the end of the fucking year yet. Even in death, the wicked god had fooled him again.

“So back to you son.” The sinister smile was back on Reynard’s face. “What freaky feature do you have?”

“Was it easier to kill them because you saw them as freaks?” Ryan asked in a cold voice.

“They had to die for the greater good.” Reynard said dryly. “I mean hey, they were my kids, right? I had the right to decide their fate. I sure as hell wasn’t going to wait around for one of those freaks to kill me. Now, that would have been downright foolish don’t you think?” He laughed. “But you…you managed to slip into the world and go unnoticed.” He laughed again as if something was really amusing. “That pathetic, dull-faced, slip of a girl. Emma. Interesting.”

“Don’t you dare talk about her in that way.” Ryan growled, taking a step forward.

“I’ll talk about her anyhow I want.” Reynard growled right back, relaxing in his seat. “The one time I decided to show some kindness and then this happens. You see, no one wanted her. No man would touch her with a long pole. I’m actually surprised she’s your mother. ‘Cause she was one ugly bitch.”

At Ryan’s angry growl, Reynard smiled. The boy was getting angry which was a good thing. Anger made people make mistakes. He could have bet his last cent that the boy had some sort of deformity but he didn’t need to see it to know that the boy was his son. That hair, those intense green eyes…all his children had them…just as he did. And if he was indeed his son…as he already knew within his bones that he was, then his end had indeed come. Prophecies somehow always found a way to come true. But the warlock also knew that a person’s actions could change his destiny. Well, he could change his by turning the table and defeating Ryan. If he’d known about the existence of a son, he would have prepared for him and beat that prophecy, just as he’d prepared for that god and Jeremy Stanton.

The alpha of Stanwood Pack would have been dead already, if he’d had the balls to come and face him. But the coward had sent his mate, who happened to be his son and potentially, his killer. He had to use his experience to beat the boy otherwise that prophecy would come to pass. And what better way to go about it than to get Ryan so angry he fucked up by making mistakes? In fact that was his best bet because much as he’d been ready for Jeremy and his Ojah nonsense, he had no idea how to handle Ryan. His plan was to get to his prisoners and absorb their souls, to give him the strength he needed to face his son. The soul of the young werewolf, Troy, especially, would help a lot since Reynard was not fighting against just any pack. He was fighting against werewolves from Troy’s pack.

“I took pity on her and showed her how good it could be, having a man inside her.” Reynard continued his chatter. “You should have heard her…screaming like a nympho.” He laughed.

Ryan couldn’t take it anymore. He opened his hands and let loose an incredibly powerful blast of bright white kinetic energy, which went directly towards Reynard. But of course it hit against his shield. The blast didn’t touch Reynard’s body at all. Rather, its great concussive force violently sent the two seated at the table, flying through the air. One unfortunately ended up on the sharp edge of the mirror that had exploded earlier as a result of Reynard’s scream. He died instantly.

“Well, well, well…the little wolf is angry.” Reynard applauded with a wide grin. “Don’t bother wasting your energy on me. You can’t touch me.” He looked so smug. “Now, where was I? Yes, your nympho of a mother. Oh I gave it to her hard.” Reynard’s hands went behind his head in an even more relaxed state. It was almost as if he was sitting amongst friends, discussing the economy. “Know what surprises me though? I’m sure I pulled out before I…released my precious essence.”

“I guess the great Reynard Wyatt is not that intelligent after all.” Deloris hissed. “‘Cause if you were, you would know that coitus interruptus doesn’t guarantee…”

“Spare me the sex education, bitch.” Reynard snapped. “I’m talking to my son. Well, you still need to tell me about your deformity though.” He directed that statement at Ryan. “I can’t see any deformity on your person. Does it have anything to do with your penis?” He asked with a mock curious look on his face. “Do you have any at all?”

“Shut your mouth.” Ryan breathed, his heartbeat quickening with anger and shame. He tried to control his breathing but he was quickly losing control.

“Don’t let him get to you.” Deloris muttered. “He wants you to get angry. Use your anger to strengthen your focus. He’s the enemy. We’re here to get him. And shield or no shield we’re going to. Focus on how to do that?”

“Typical.” Reynard taunted. “Very easy to make you stinky mutts angry. Judging by your tone and bulging forehead vein, you’re boiling. I can hear your heart beat quickening. I hear the blood rushing through your veins…your muscles tightening…your teeth grinding. Ooh…the fury!”

Reynard knew that all he had to do was keep talking…goading Ryan…and he would somehow fuck up. If he played his cards right, he would just sit and watch the little wolf do all his work for him. Divine power or not, Reynard Wyatt was older and wiser. And he was going to beat Ryan and change his destiny.

“You spineless toad.” Ryan growled.

“No need for name-calling, boy.” Reynard grinned. “I might be your father after all. There’s no reason for us to be enemies. This is our chance to get to know each other, don’t you think?”

“I’ve seen all that I need to see. I’d rather die than have anything to do with your sorry arse.” Ryan began to move slowly towards the arrogant warlock.

“Go to hell.” Reynard hissed, finally showing signs of stress.

“Why bother? I’m going to bring it to you.” Ryan didn’t sound anything like the sweet man the Stanwood Pack knew. He sounded lethal.

And that voice immediately amplified the fears of Reynard’s remaining warlock. Reynard’s shield again saved him from being affected by Ryan’s fear projection. Had the other warlock been human, she would have been literally so scared she would have died of an instant heart attack. But since she was a magical being, she rather panicked so much she automatically began to chant with the aim of defeating the enemy. They enemy in that case, being Ryan. Every sharp edged object in the room elevated into the air, with the sharp points directed towards both Ryan and Deloris. Inside the sanctuary, the warlock’s power was obviously still strong.

“Ryan…” Deloris gasped, her eyes going to Reynard’s happy face. “This is not good.”

Ryan stared hard at the warlock, using the same technique he’d used on Isabel when he’d found her naked in Jeremy’s arms. He crushed her from inside but this time, he didn’t hold back. The warlock began to scream just as the sharp objects cluttered to the ground. Within seconds, blood began to ooze out of her eyes. Then she began to choke. Finally, she crumpled to the floor, dead.

“Alright old man, why don’t you spare us the bullshit and take your death like a brave man?” Ryan rasped. “I mean you’ve already been told this day was coming. You don’t really know whether I’m your son or not because you haven’t seen any…deformity, right? But…if it looks like a duck and acts like a duck, I think we’ve got to get ourselves out of denial. It’s a fucking duck!”

“You arrogant prick.” Reynard’s face was red with anger. “I could crush you.”

“Why don’t you hit me with your best shot?” Ryan drawled. “And whilst you’re at it why don’t you come away from that force field you’ve surrounded yourself with?”

“Do I look like a fool to you?” Reynard didn’t look amused. “Hit you with my best shot? So that you can steal it from me?” At Ryan’s confused look, Reynard gave a humorless chuckle. “You don’t even know, do you?” He pointed at Deloris. “She knows. I won’t attack you to enable you absorb my power and gain more ammunition. And this shield is not coming down. You may be safe from me for now. But can your dogs out there say the same?” He sneered. “You will be sniffing at the entrails of your beloved wolf pack come morning. Catch me if you can.” With that last dig, Reynard disappeared.

Deloris and Ryan stared at the spot where Reynard had occupied mere seconds earlier as if they were in a trance. Deloris recovered first.

“Oh god, Ryan.” She wailed. “The pack. He’ll kill them all.”

***

Gloria circled the three warlocks, staring at the cloud of fiery smoke that swirled around them. She couldn’t go too close to them because the smoke gave forth some serious heat. Although Gloria had been busy fighting, she’d noticed exactly when the three warlocks had appeared on top of the building out of nowhere. And from the way they’d been chanting, it was obvious that their aim was to restore the clan’s dark energy to its full power. Well, Deloris wasn’t called the queen of spells for nothing. That spell she had cast, according to her, could only be broken if she died because she’d tied it to her life. Fortunately, those silly warlocks didn’t know that so Gloria had ignored them and gone right ahead with the battle. After all, their chanting wasn’t and couldn’t harm anyone. Besides, from the frustrated look that appeared on their faces after some extensive chanting, it was obvious they were not making any headway. Gloria hadn’t planned on wasting her time on the three chanting warlocks initially. But when Camilla told her what one of them had done to her, she saw red. Camilla was the daughter of a fellow council member and an ex of her son. But most important of all, she was pack. And no one fucked with her pack. After making sure that the pack had the upper hand, Gloria had immediately gone after the three warlocks on the rooftop.

Camilla stood back with an excited smile on her face. The pack never passed up an opportunity to see Gloria Stanton in action. It had been said that she was the most graceful warrior that the Stanwood Pack had ever had the privilege of having as pack member. Since they’d both been busy fighting side by side, Camilla hadn’t been able to watch Gloria do her thing. The half warlock, half werewolf, pretty doctor therefore decided to enjoy the rare opportunity of watching Gloria Stanton fight. Besides, she’d had the misfortune of meeting the warlock called Frank during her three month stay in the Wyatt fortress. And she would never forget the pain the warlock had inflicted on her. He would torture her till she shifted into her wolf, and then throw darts at her. The asshat claimed he was bored and wanted to have some fun. She couldn’t wait to watch Gloria kick his arse.

“Which one of you is Frank?” Gloria asked, looking at the faces of the warlocks. The smoke covered from their feet up, stopping at their chests. They could only be seen from their shoulder up.

“Who wants to know?” The woman amongst them, who looked no older than thirty sneered.

“The name’s Gloria Stanton.” Gloria responded, stopping in front of the three warlocks.

“The runaway alpha’s mother.” The woman chuckled. “Aren’t you too old to be fighting? I mean you’re no spring chicken.”

“Well, I shudder to know what your real age is darling.” Gloria responded coolly. “But don’t let us talk about age. You don’t really know me or know what’s up here.” She tapped a finger to her temple. “But what you don’t know about me should frighten you.”

“What are you? The boogie man?” One of the men smirked.

“Worse.” Gloria gave a brilliant smile. “I’m a woman. And what I can think of, a man…boogie or otherwise, can’t hold a candle to.”

“Ooh feisty.” The man drawled, looking at Gloria with lecherous eyes. “I like. I’ve always wondered how it would feel like to mount a queen bitch. Maybe this is the opportunity I’ve been waiting for.” He actually licked his lips.

“Eww…” Camilla couldn’t help the nauseous feeling that came over her at Frank’s words. “That’s Frank, Mama G.”

“Is it?” Gloria sounded amused. The thought of having that warlock anywhere near her sexually, made her skin crawl. Her foremost instinct was to shift and tear his throat out. But that would fuck up her plan. “You see, there’s a bitch that lives in me that I’m struggling to hold back.” She began to move backwards, away from the three warlocks as she spoke. “I’m so tempted to make her come out to play.”

“Why don’t you?” The other man responded. “I’d love to see your stupid bitch roast in this hot cloud.” He added, making the other two laugh.

“You would, wouldn’t you?” Gloria actually sounded bored. “I’d better keep her in and handle this myself then.” Her hand went to her chin and her face took on a curious look. “What exactly are you doing up here by the way? Trying to strengthen you weakened powers?”

“You think you’re so powerful don’t you?” The woman hissed. “Wait till we restore the fold.”

Gloria shook her head sadly. “You know, I could have told you for free that you’re wasting your time. Ever heard of Del-the-Spell?”

“What has Del-the-Spell got to do with anything?” Frank snapped.

Almost every upper-level warlock knew about the warlock whose expertise, when it came to spells, was legendary. Over a century ago, she’d fallen in love with a wolf and caused a massive uproar between her clan and the werewolves. There had been a fierce battle which had resulted in the death of the wolf that Del-the-Spell was in love with. Del had disappeared, never to be heard of.

Gloria grinned. “You don’t know, do you?” She locked gazes with Frank. “Looks like your evil clan is fucking up with the wrong bitches. Not only do you want to capture and kill my son for your silly rituals or potions or whatever. You actually kidnapped and tortured the only child of Del-the-Spell.” Gloria noticed how all three pairs of eyes widened in fear. “Yes, yes. Oh and Mr. Whatever-your-name-is, thanks for the advice. Because if my bitch had come out, I wouldn’t have been able to do this…”

With those words, Gloria, in a classic fluid move, flipped into the air, her legs arcing over the heads of the woman and the man who she’d thanked for his advice. Without touching the swirling hot cloud, she landed in a crouch behind all three warlocks. The sickening crunch of bones breaking couldn’t be masked. Gloria remained in her crouching position, with a finger touching the ground and her head bowed. For a second or two, nothing seemed amiss. Then both Camilla and Frank’s eyes moved to the headless bodies of the female and male warlocks. Both bodies crumpled to the ground before their heads had even stopped rolling on the floor. The cloud of smoke immediately disappeared, leaving a terrified Frank unprotected.

“Have fun Camilla.” Gloria said a split second before the brown wolf tackled Frank to the ground and tore him to shreds even as his heart continued to beat inside his chest.

By the time Camilla was done with the warlock who had tortured her, all that was left was a bloody mess. She shifted back to human and stood, looking down at her handiwork.

“We may not be murderers,” Gloria said softly, “but we’re no angels either.”

The two women turned around and left.

***

Vincent looked up when he heard sudden screams from the people that he and his team were leading to safety on the pack beside the Wyatt fortress. They were prisoners of the Wyatt Clan. Vincent had thought the prisoners would join them to fight the Wyatt Clan but they all seemed so weak he’d decided to rather keep then away from the fortress till the battle ended. Besides, the plan was to burn down the fortress after the battle so the prisoners needed to be taken off the property. Some had been prisoners for centuries, some were mortals, and some were even children. There were fifty-seven prisoners in all.

“What’s going…” But Vincent never completed his question. He was hit by an energy ball that threw him high into the air and sent him hurtling onto the ground. He was dead before he hit the ground.

“Run.” Another werewolf screamed at the prisoners even as he shifted into a large wolf and bared his teeth at the white haired warlock who suspended in the sky not too far above them.

“And what do you think you’re going to do, wolf?” Reynard Wyatt roared as he let loose a succession of energy balls, instantly killing all four remaining wolves who were all part of Vincent’s team. “Hello my lovelies.” The smile he directed at the frightened prisoners would give anyone the shivers. “Where do you think you’re going?” Reynard couldn’t believe the audacity of the werewolves. How dare those mutts release his souls? When he’d seen the empty dungeon, rage had burned through him, igniting a vicious bloodlust And when he rushed outside and saw those werewolves leading his souls away, he’d seen red. He’d never enjoyed killing more. With a wave of his hand, a number of long thick steels appeared and surrounded all the prisoners, keeping them confined. “I still have use for…” He trailed off when a loud anguished scream split the air. “Look who decided to grace us with his douchedom.” Reynard laughed.

Ryan stared at the dead werewolves on the ground and felt rage that was laced with grief. When his eyes landed on Vincent’s still form, his fists clenched and he had to fight down the rising bile in his throat. He slowly turned to look at the crazed warlock suspending in the sky across the field. Ryan’s chest heaved as an icy lump settled in his gut, guilt eating through him like acid. He felt responsible for what had happened. If that man was his sperm donor, then he was just as guilty as he was. He had to make things right. He had to avenge the dead…his pack. Rage, the magnitude that Ryan had never felt, filled him. And that was when he noticed that the prisoners were actually dying one after the other. They would scream in agony and then fall down, dead.

“Don’t look so surprised boy.” Reynard grinned. “They are all linked to me. I use them as my source of strength.” Where the fuck was Troy when he finally needed him to make himself useful…give up his life force to enable him deal with his fellow wolves, Reynard thought. Now, that was some aura. “You have no idea what you’re up against, do you?” A child’s spine-chilling scream split the air, followed by another.

Something broke free inside Ryan.

‘Everyone should stay out of sight immediately.’ He instructed his pack on their mind-link even as he directed a force field in the shape of a bubble, towards the prisoners who were already sealed within the confines of Reynard’s magical steels. The shield was not only meant to protect those inside from magical attacks, but it was also meant to deflect any magical attack back to the enemy.

“Hey come on, those souls are mine.” Reynard shouted when the energy he was drawing from the life source of the prisoners instantly ceased.

“Ever created life?” Ryan couldn’t help but retort.

“Yes. You.” Reynard laughed. It was obvious that he was intentionally trying to irritate Ryan.

‘Don’t let him get to you, Ryan.’ Deloris said over their link.

‘But he already has, Deloris.’ Ryan responded. ‘I’m boiling right now. No one is to show themselves unless I tell you it’s okay to, please.’

‘Ryan…’ Gloria began but Ryan cut her off.

‘This is my fight.’ He said quietly. He could feel his wolf going crazy inside him. It wanted to come out and face the enemy. But Ryan knew that for the battle at hand, his human form was needed.

Deloris had just one advice though. ‘You can do anything you set your mind to. Just believe.’

“You really shouldn’t have come, son.” Reynard said smugly.

The head of the Wyatt Clan knew that for as long as he remained within his protective shield and refrained from sending any direct attacks Ryan’s way, he was okay. All he had to do was frustrate the wolves till they left the fortress. Then he could get everything back to its original status.

“You’ve sentenced all these people to their early graves like those five dead mutts down there.” Reynard had a look of mock concern on his face. “Why don’t you just give up now and leave? Unless of course you lot are ready to meet your maker…Luna, right?”

“That’s a chance I’m just going to have to take.” Ryan growled and then opened his hands to direct an unending powerful wave of energy at Reynard.

Initially, Reynard kept laughing. He didn’t seem bothered. But soon, his laughter began to fade when he realized that he had to direct all his energy into keeping his shield intact, thereby losing his control over his levitation. Before long, his feet were on the ground. That wasn’t good, Reynard thought to himself. The power that Ryan was packing was even greater than he thought possible. But Reynard knew that although Ryan was supposed to have the powers of his six dead siblings in addition to his own…which made him very powerful, he was also unknowingly drawing strength from the land on which they stood, thanks to the Spiritual Nexus.

“Damnit.” Reynard muttered to himself.

He hated to admit it but it would be better to live and fight another day, he decided. But when he attempted to disappear, he realized that he couldn’t move his feet. If felt as if his feet had been encased in concrete, rooting him in place. He looked up in alarm. What the fuck? The only positive thing was that his shield was still intact. Well, he was the great Reynard Wyatt. And he couldn’t just stand there and do nothing, could he? It was time to manipulate the elements, he decided.

With a loud cry, Reynard looked up and raised his hands to the heavens. Lightning split the sky, followed by the roar of thunder. The sky filled with thick, dark, stormy clouds. He almost burst into laughter at the look of surprise that appeared on Ryan’s face. His bastard son obviously didn’t know what he was up against, Reynard thought as he heard the frightened shrieks of the prisoners. Next time, the faggot would choose his battles wisely. With some weird chanting, Reynard directed the dark clouds towards the prisoners, smiling evilly when the heavens opened and the bubble began to fill with rain water. Yes, he couldn’t get to the prisoners by using his magical powers, but rain was a natural phenomenon. It could do the job just fine.

Ryan stared at the prisoners in horror. If he removed the bubble which was shielding them, they would become easy pickings for Reynard. And if the rate at which the bubble was filling up was anything to go by, the prisoners would drown in some few minutes…which would still give Reynard the powers he needed. Ryan knew he had to act quickly but had no idea what to do. Reynard Wyatt was obviously not only strong, but smart too. And the only way to defeat him, would be to drain him of his powers. But how?

‘His blood runs within your veins, moron.’ Ryan heard his wolf say inside him. ‘Be creative.’

Ryan’s eyes widened at his wolf’s words. What was that Deloris had said? He could do anything, right? Well, what if he summoned Reynard’s powers, using his own blood? He could create a point of contact, focus on that, and then drain the bastard. Ryan shrugged out of his hoodie, leaving on the t-shirt beneath. The monster’s blood ran through him, right? Why not put that blood to good use? He looked around for something to cut himself with…like a knife. Immediately he thought of it, a knife appeared in his hand.

“Cool.” Ryan muttered to himself. “Sorry, Jeremy.” He groaned. From what he’d leant recently, he was about to inflict pain on his mate.

‘Hey,’ Ryan heard his wolf, ‘how about we do this together? The pain will not be too bad and you can heal faster.’

And that was when Ryan began to transform into a wolf man, right before the eyes of the prisoners, Reynard and unbeknownst to him, his pack who were watching him from behind the protective circle that had been created by Deloris and Camilla. His clothes fell off his hairy body in tatters. The wolf man then made a deep cut in his palm and allowed his blood to pour onto his hoodie which lay on the ground, to the shock of his pack.

‘Ryan?’ Gloria gasped at the amount of blood that Ryan was losing. ‘Whatever you’re planning on doing with that, don’t you think it’s enough?’ She asked sternly.

‘I think the more, the better, mum.’ Ryan murmured. ‘Hey Deloris, shouldn’t there be a spell or poem or whatever that I could recite to transfer that monster’s essence into this blood soaked hoodie?’ Ryan asked.

Deloris’ eyes widened in awe when she finally figured out what Ryan meant to do. As a warlock, she appreciated the art of magic. And Ryan looked like he knew what he was doing, which impressed the hell out of Deloris. Although she had faith in him, she’d still feared for him. After all, that was Reynard Wyatt he was going up against. The man was experienced and cunning. But Deloris realized she had nothing to fear. Ryan was in total control. Deloris couldn’t help the grin that brightened her face or hide the pride in her voice when she responded to Ryan;

‘Damn, I love the way you think.’ She chuckled. ‘You don’t need a spell, honey. Your powers are above that of a warlock. Just will it.’

‘Just will it.’ Ryan repeated. ‘Okay…here goes…’ And he willed his wish with all his might.

The wolf man’s his eyes glowed bright blue as he stretched forth hands that suddenly lit up, towards his blood soaked hoodie. A pulse of energy which looked like a mixture of ice and fiery dust, shot outward from both palms and began to swirl at the speed of light, around the hoodie. Ryan’s goal was to squash and neutralize any power that Reynard had. It was time to crush the man once and for all.

Reynard’s eyes widened when the cloud began to clear and the torrential rain reduced to drizzles. He could feel himself becoming lighter. He was losing his powers…and fast. He had to do something…anything, Reynard thought desperately. Well, time to solicit for help from his allies… Demons!

“Kazimi!” Reynard roared with all his energy to summon the Kazi Demon and his minions.

Each minion of the Kazi demon was known to possess incredible strength and could exert high pressure on the skulls of its victims, which usually caused the victim’s veins to engorge till they exploded. Reynard needed that kind of strength to face the wolf man who was hell-bent on defeating him. He smiled excitedly when about twenty slimy-green creatures suddenly materialized out of nowhere. The Lord Command didn’t think Ryan stood a chance against Kazi and his troop. The demon owed him. It was time to collect.

A surprised Ryan stared at the creatures but never stopped what he was doing for even a second. The biggest amongst the slimy creatures who was obviously Kazi himself, ambled close to Reynard and asked what he could do for him. Reynard pointed at finger at Ryan and screamed;

“Kill him!”

The Kazi demon immediately gave a command to his minions to attack even before he turned around to look at who he was attacking. But just one look at the wolf man with glowing eyes and the demon was ordering his minions to abort.

“What?” Reynard screeched. “You owe me.” He sputtered.

“Yeah, and I will pay.” The demon responded in an inhuman voice. “Just call me when you’re faced with a more…killable adversary. We don’t do gods.”

“What do you mean, gods?” Reynard bellowed, feeling himself shake with anger. “He’s no god. He’s just a boy. He’s my son.”

The confused look that appeared on the demon’s face was almost comical. “I thought you killed all your…”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah listen, you have to help me. Please…” Reynard couldn’t believe the slimy, ungrateful scum was actually making him beg. He could feel himself weakening by the second for fuck’s sake. “Please…”

“But…I don’t have a death wish, Warlock.” The demon pointed his four thumbs at himself. “I’ll definitely be vanquished one day.” He added with a careless shrug. “Just not today. Sorry pal.” With that, the demon and his minions disappeared.

“No, no, no…” Reynard looked desperate. Time to make a deal with his son. “Hey Ryan…” He called out shakily. Could the massive creature even hear him, Reynard wondered. “Ryan…listen to me…” When the wolf man turned his head to look at him, Reynard managed a beseeching look. “Imagine what we can do together if we join forces. We’re both obviously deliciously twisted. Let’s work together. From the look of things, you’re the only person who can match me blow for blow.”

“No deal, old man.” The wolf man said in a deep, inhuman voice. “You just have to blow yourself…straight into oblivion.”

With that, Ryan threw in more energy from his palm. Reynard felt his shield begin to disintegrating. Shit! In a final attempt to save himself, he conjured an earthquakes that ripped the very ground under his feet. He then began to levitate, still attached to that piece of earth. But he came crushing back down with a force that left him dazed. At that point, his protective shield had completely disintegrated. But the wolf man kept doing what he was doing.

Reynard felt completely drained. It was almost as if all his very life force had been sapped out. He felt powerless and useless. He was mortal. He was nothing. But there was still hope. All he had to do was get inside that house. Then he could restore his powers, he thought desperately. Reynard began to move tentatively towards the wolf man.

“Please Ryan…” Reynard pleaded. He suddenly looked ten times more than the age he appeared to be when Ryan first laid eyes on him. “Surely you won’t hurt an ordinary mortal. Besides, I’m your father. Surely that should mean something to you…” If only he could… “Please. At least allow an old man to lie in his bed and rest.”

The wolf man closed both palms, instantly cutting off the energy dust. His hoodie had turned to ash. He raised his head to look at the fortress. ‘Is anyone in there?’ He asked his pack on their mind-link.

‘Lip is in there.’ Stan responded. ‘Ah here he is.’ The pack turned in unison to look at their alpha. ‘Did you find anyone?’ Stan asked. A few of the warlocks had managed to escape. The number wasn’t significant though.

‘No.’ Phillip looked devastated. Everyone assumed he was devastated because he’d lost his men. Well, he had more to be distraught about.

The wolf man stared at the first person he’d seen as a friend in Stanwood Pack. He didn’t have to be a genius to know why Phillip looked so devastated. He’d seen the look in his eyes when he’d stopped the wolves from tearing apart that boy. Ryan reduced his link to only Phillip.

‘You will find him.’ The wolf man assured his mate’s best pal. ‘Don’t worry. When the time is right, he’ll come back to you.’

Phillip could only nod. ‘Can we touch it now?’ He asked with a deep sigh.

‘Allow me.’ Ryan said. To everyone, he instructed; ‘Stay back.’ Then with a wave of his hand, a great inferno engulfed the fortress.

“No, no, no…” Reynard wailed, crumbling to the ground. “Not my home, no…”

But Ryan ignored the wailing man and headed towards the prisoners. Both Reynard’s confining steel and his protective shield had disappeared, leaving the people wet but relieved. Ryan wanted to take a closer look to assure himself that they were alright. Apart from about six people that had lost their lives as a result of Reynard’s channeling, the rest looked okay. They all looked at him with grateful eyes, with some voicing out their gratitude.

“Ryan?” Ryan heard Deloris calling his name from behind him and turned around to see the warlock, holding in her hands a change of clothes for him. “You need to shift and dress up. Gloria gave me these for you. Come.”

The wolf man stared at the clothes, then at the woman who he had a feeling had figure out his secret to an extent. After all, he had no outward deformities. With a grateful nod, Ryan took the clothes and followed the woman to a shed where no one could see him. She left him and went back to join the pack.

Ryan heard the shouts before he finished dressing up. He wondered what was happening. He took his time though because he had a feeling it wasn’t anything serious. Gloria was waiting for him when he emerged from the shed.

“Reynard killed himself.” She said without preamble. “Used that knife you left lying on the ground.”

Ryan nodded and draped an arm around Gloria’s neck. “Can we go home now?”

“Sure. Are you okay?”

“No.” Ryan responded quietly. “I need Jeremy.”

“I know, baby. I know.”

***

For the next few days, the freed prisoners of the Wyatt Clan were sent to their various families. Those who had nowhere to go remained with the pack. Phillip assured them that they were part of the pack and would be looked after and provided for. The few children whose families they couldn’t trace were enrolled in school.

Vincent and his team were buried in a solemn ceremony that was attended by almost every alpha in the world. It was the least they could do to show their gratitude and respect for the pack that had saved the hind of werewolves worldwide. Ryan couldn’t hold back his tears at the funeral. He cried his heart out not just for Vincent who he saw as a friend, but for the other four as well, some of whom had left behind mates and children. Gloria did her best to soothe him but he couldn’t be consoled. He still felt guilty for not having the good sense to do what he’d done in the end earlier when he was inside the sanctuary with Reynard. If he had, those werewolves would be alive. He felt an arm go around him from behind. Deloris. He knew her scent.

“Take a walk with me alpha.” The warlock said softly. “We’ll be right back Gloria.”

“Sure.” Gloria said with a grateful smile at Deloris. They both knew that Ryan was on a guilt trip.

“Stop blaming yourself, Ryan.” The warlock said when they started walking away.

“They would have been alive if I’d acted earlier, Deloris.” Ryan groaned.

“Let me ask you this. When Reynard’s protective shield went up in that room, did you know how to defeat him? Did you have any idea, how to proceed?” She asked softly.

“No.” Ryan sighed.

“Exactly.”

“But I could have thought harder.” He said gruffly.

“Has it occurred to you that seeing those bodies and those innocents in danger, had rather forced you to figure out how to defeat Reynard?”

“But did we have to lose them to trigger that drive?” Ryan asked quietly. “Do I always have to get angry before I can access my powers?”

“No Ryan.” Deloris said softly, remembering how Ryan had complained to her after the battle with the Wyatt Clan that his powers were always triggered by anger. “For now, that’s what it seems like because anger has been your trigger so far. You just have to work on it. It’s an art. In order to control and perfect it, you have to practice. For someone who’s new at this, I must applaud you Ryan. You’ve been spectacular. All you need is a little prac…”

“Will you help me?”

“It will be my privilege.” The elder grinned.

“Thanks Deloris.”

“No. Thank you.” She’d patted him on the back. “We can start next week. For now, you need to relax.” At Ryan’s nod, Deloris turned him towards Gloria. “Now smile for you mama. I swear she’s gotten an extra wrinkle or two, thanks to you.”

“No she hasn’t.” Ryan chuckled. “I think she grows more beautiful each day.”

“You need to tell her that and stop making everybody unnecessarily sad.” Deloris retorted but her sweet smile took the sting out of her comment.

“Sorry. And thanks.” Ryan murmured and leaned down to kiss Deloris on both cheeks. And even before the warlock turned to leave, Ryan drew Gloria into his arm for a fierce hug? “Have I told you how beautiful you look today?”

“Del told you to tell me that.” It wasn’t a question. Gloria looked so amused Ryan laugh.

“I told her that you are beautiful. She said to remind you.” Ryan kissed her cheek.

“I love you Ryan.” Gloria murmured shakily. “And I’m always here for you. Never forget that.”

“I know mum. And I love you right back.”

“You guys done?” Paige asked, coiling her arm through Ryan’s. “Come on, let’s go get smashed. It’s not every day we lay to rest badass warriors. We can do that whilst we work on our lecture notes for tomorrow.”

“Really?” Gloria gave a mock scowl. “Work and booze? Luna have mercy on your souls.”

Paige laughed. “Have a good meeting with those alphas Mama G.” She said. “Know what to say when Jer’s name comes up?”

“We sure do.” Gloria murmured, smiling at Joel who had just gotten to where they stood.

“Going to lie your arses off huh?” Paige smirked.

“Not a lie.” Joel countered, drawing Gloria out of her chair. “Just a small untruth.”

Sometimes, it was necessary to be stingy with the truth. At the end of the day, they were animals. Rebelling, though frowned upon, was an attractive trait amongst wolves. It was just like the bad-boy syndrome amongst humans. If the alphas got to know what Jeremy, their friend and colleague had done, they would be amused initially, probably admonish him lightly, and then hail him for having the balls to rebel and then accepting that punishment. In their eyes, that whole issue would make Jeremy seem even more badass. They might on the other hand resent Ryan for being the cause of Jeremy’s woes and even worse, look down on him for not being able to fight back. Of course they would conveniently forget that the man had been up against an alpha who was also an Ojah. Alphas had always been chauvinistic pricks. That was reality. Werewolves were no angels.

The elders therefore had to protect Ryan by telling the alphas a little untruth about the whereabouts of Jeremy because revealing the truth meant divulging the proximate cause. For now, they all acknowledged what Ryan had done for them and respected him for it. The elders wanted to keep it that way. Ryan had been excused from attending the meeting although as the mate of the alpha and the one who had saved the day, he was supposed to be there. The elders wanted to spare him the agony of having to sit through the recounting of the battle. They also didn’t want to tell an untruth about the whereabouts of his mate, in his presence.

“Ready?” Joel asked. It was going to be a long meeting because they were to give a detailed account of the battle to the alphas.

“I am.” Gloria smiled.

“Let’s do this.”

***

The albino looked at the photo in his hand, his face etched with grief. The love of his life. His wife. The woman he’d been with for over a century. She was no more. Killed by the bloody wolves of Stanwood Pack during the battle that saw to the collapse of his clan. That little girl had no idea what she and her savage bunch had taken from him. If she did, she wouldn’t have made a deal with him. His thirst for vengeance was definitely more intense than the need to live.

The Jackal had been given an assignment. An assignment that was supposed to be very simple and easy. An assignment that was going to give him a second chance at life. A second chance? Really? Who said he wanted to live? How could he, after everything had been taken away from him? In any case, he was not fooled for even a second. Definitely not by some arrogant little bitch. The Jackal knew that the silly girl didn’t have any intention of allowing him to live. He didn’t need to consult zoltar to know that she was going to kill him immediately after he was done. He knew her kind. Well, he no longer wished to live anyway. All that he had was gone with the defeat of his clan. What better way to go out than to stick it to his enemies. At least he could make up in his own small way for causing the collapse of his clan by not being diligent in his duties. He couldn’t wait to see the look on the bitch’s face when he made his move. The Jackal always had the last laugh.

***

“Oh my god, I can’t believe I’m actually laughing at that.” Ryan gasped, clutching at his stomach. “It hadn’t been funny at the time, Paige.” He laughed.

He’d changed into sweatpants and a t-shirt when they’d gotten to the suite. Then he’d gone to the adjoining room that was now his study, to work on his lecture notes. Of course Paige had joined him with a bottle of whiskey, insisting he indulged even though he’d told her he wasn’t a good drinker.

“Like I said, we’re getting shit-faced.” She’d purred. “I’ve been known to do some pretty good job whilst under the influence.” She’d said, making Ryan laugh.

Well they’d gotten into it. And at that very moment, Ryan was feeling no pain. In fact, from the way he was sprawled lazily on the plush couch, he sure as hell wasn’t going to get any work done. Damn Paige.

The last time Ryan had gotten slightly drunk was when he’d spent time with Jeremy in the Jacuzzi. And he couldn’t help but miss him. If Jeremy had been around, he would have taken him into his arms and comforted him in his time of great grief. He’d lost a friend and despite all that Gloria and Deloris had drummed into his head, he still felt guilty as hell. He would give anything to feel Jeremy’s strong, heavenly arms around him that very moment. Thinking about Jeremy’s arms was causing a delicious tingle to pass through Ryan. He thought about how Jeremy had taken him to heights that he hadn’t even known existed. He remembered the amazing feeling when Jeremy hit that sweet spot inside him and how his eyes always rolled back in his head at that exquisite feeling. It was hands down the best feeling in the world. He remembered when Jeremy had given him so much pleasure he’d begged him for mercy, whimpering, ‘no more’. And he remembered Jeremy’s sexy voice when in response to his pleading, he’d rather spread his legs further apart and husked, ‘one more’. That response… Ryan had come so hard, he’d almost passed out.

“Oh fuck, this wasn’t a good idea, Paige.” Ryan groaned when he realized how hard he’d gotten. “Why did I have to listen to you?” He whimpered, turning his head to look at Paige who was lying on her back on the rug, with her legs crossed at the knee. She didn’t even look drunk. “Lady, are you even drinking with me?”

“I am.” She sounded very sober. “I just have to take in a hell of a lot to get to your current level.”

“Oh fuck off.” Ryan growled groggily, hurling a throw pillow at Paige and covering his groin with another.

Paige wasn’t fooled even for a second. When Ryan heard her laughter, he threw an arm across his eyes with a groan, wishing he had the energy to flip her a well-deserved bird. He felt too lax to even manage that. When he felt his eyes drooping sleepily, he wasn’t surprised at all.

“Ryan?” Paige called out softly.

“Yes Paige.” Ryan sounded drunk and sleepy.

“You know I love you right?”

“I know.” Ryan responded in a hoarse voice. “And I love you right back.”

“Thanks.” Paige said. “You can sleep now. I’ll be right here.”

Ryan hadn’t been able to have a good sleep since the day of the battle with the Wyatt Clan. The booze had its advantages after all, he couldn’t help but acknowledge. Ryan didn’t fight it when he felt himself drifting enticingly toward sleep. He needed it.

***

Ryan felt warm lips moving against his neck in a sensuous caress. He felt a hand moving under his t-shirt, gently stroking his skin. Jeremy? Ryan opened his eyes and lo and behold, his Jeremy was lying on top of him on the couch.

“Oh god, Jer…” He breathed. It all felt so real, Ryan thought. But it was obviously a dream and nothing more. How else would Jeremy be there with him that very moment? When his gorgeous mate smiled at him, Ryan’s heart literally missed a beat. “God, I’ve missed you.” He gasped.

Ryan couldn’t believe it. He’d thought and fantasized about Jeremy so hard he’d managed to conjure him up in his dreams. Finally! He’d wished to see his mate in his dreams since his departure but had never dreamt about him. He’d finally given up, thinking he would never get that privilege, thanks to whatever the council had done to him. But from what was going on at that very moment, wishes did come true when a person wished hard enough. He had a lethargic feeling in his limbs though, which was rather strange but hey…in dreams, anything could happen, right? The most important thing was that he’d gotten his wish.

Before he’d slept after downing all that booze with Paige, his thoughts had been filled with Jeremy. He remembered it being so intense, he’d popped a boner. Well, all that sexy thought had clearly resulted in his mate coming to him in his dream. And Ryan planned on staying in that dream for as long as he could.

Ryan moaned when he felt Jeremy’s fingers lightly caressing his stomach. That felt good. He arched his back and gave himself up to the sensations. He didn’t close his eyes even once because he couldn’t tear his gaze off his gorgeous mate. When Jeremy began to drop tiny kisses along his jaw, Ryan began to tremble in anticipation of the kiss that he knew was coming. He wanted to move his hands up and grab Jeremy’s head so he could take that kiss that he craved but he couldn’t move his arms. Once more it crossed his mind how weird that was but again, he ignored it.

“Kiss me.” A whisper. But the desperation behind it was so intense it was palpable. “Please…”

Jeremy raised his head and looked down at Ryan. He had an odd look on his face…almost as if he didn’t want to. But then he leaned down and began to kiss Ryan. Ryan thought he heard someone…Paige? Well, it sounded as if the person hissed, “don’t”, but Ryan ignored it. Although he couldn’t feel the usual heat that was always present in his and Jeremy’s kisses, he wasn’t bothered because it was only a dream after all. One couldn’t possibly expect a kiss in a dream to be as intense and real as it usually was in reality…right?

Again he thought he heard Paige hiss, “enough” but it was so faint, he thought he’d imagined it. Then Jeremy broke off the kiss and raised his head to look down at Ryan. For a split second, Ryan thought he saw a sinister look on Jeremy’s face.

“Jeremy?” Ryan breathed. “Why are you…” But he never got to complete his sentence because in a swift move, Jeremy leaned down and bit into his mark.

The pain slammed into Ryan so fast and so hard, he felt dizzy. What the fuck! And he’d thought that the bite Jeremy had given him on his first night in Stanwood Pack was agonizing? That was nowhere near what he felt at that very moment. The pain was so excruciating his entire body felt as if he’d been thrown into a tub filled with hot needles. And his chest felt as if it was going to explode. It was like no pain Ryan had ever felt. Ryan screamed!

***

The Jackal smiled with satisfaction when he heard Ryan’s hair-raising scream. He’d always wanted to go out with a bang. Well, what a bang. He was finally ready to meet his maker.

His mission had been a simple one. With his gift of glamour, he was supposed to disguise himself as the Alpha of Stanwood Pack…Jeremy Stanton. Then he was to manipulate his mate, Ryan, to think he was having a dream. He wasn’t supposed to say a word to Ryan. All he had to do was give him a smile, a light caress and a few pecks along the jaw. That was it. Although his powers had drastically diminished after the battle between the Wyatt Clan and the Stanwood pack, the Jackal wasn’t worried at all because he was supposed to be in and out of there in not more than two minutes. That was a piece of cake. He was The Jackal after all.

But what the little bully didn’t know was that he had his own plan. His plan was to stick it to the Stanwood Pack who had wiped out his clan, by taking out both its alpha and his mate at once. They were mated after all. All he had to do was break that bond. For whatever reason, the alpha was nowhere to be found. Although the pack seemed tight lipped as to his whereabouts, the Jackal felt there was more to it than what met the eye. Wherever Jeremy was, he wasn’t going to come back anytime soon. Well, all the better for his plan. All he needed was one demonic bite. And thanks to that bitch, he was in the best position to administer that bite.

He’d been so pumped he’d almost given himself away. He’d seen the shock on Ryan’s face at whatever expression he’d seen on his face. He knew he had to make his move at that instant. Chanting with all the strength he had…calling upon every dark magic that was left within him, he’d swiftly leaned down, pushed Ryan’s t-shirt off his shoulder, exposed his mark, and bit into it…hard. He’d instantly severed the bond between Ryan and Jeremy. And if that scream from Ryan was anything to go by, he’d accomplished his mission.

The Jackal rolled off Ryan and smiled evilly at a white-faced Paige. She looked almost frozen on the spot as she watched Ryan writhe on the couch. Her eyes welled up.

“What did you do?” An anguished whisper. “What did you do?” Paige turned her head to look at the albino she’d made a deal with.

“I told you as clearly as I could, that you don’t wanna go up against me.” The Jackal sneered. “Who’s laughing now, you stupid, arrogant, shit…” The next sound that came out of his mouth was a horrible gurgling sound…

A still dazed Paige had torn out his throat.

The Jackal’s death instantly released Ryan from his lethargic state. He shot off the couch and clutched at his chest. He gasped for breath. His eyes watered. He was actually surprised he was still alive. The level of pain he felt was absurd. Not only did his heart feel as if it was being ripped out of his chest, his whole body was throbbing with pain that was so excruciating he was literally going insane. Immediately after he’d been bitten, he’d felt his wolf go crazy inside him. The wolf had struggled to burst free…escape the agony…but then Ryan had felt him begin to weaken. And that was when Ryan felt something that scared the bejesus out of him… His mate was slipping away.

“Jeremy…” Ryan gasped, his face flushed with agony. “He’s dying Paige…” Ryan couldn’t breathe. He fought for air as a horrible sound ripped from his burning lungs. “He’s…I have…Jeremy…what…” He couldn’t seem to string a sentence together.

“Oh my god.” Paige breathed, snapping out of the haze she seemed to be under. Her arms went around a trembling Ryan from behind even as she reached out to her father and brother on their mind-link. ‘Dad, Lip, I’ve fucked up. Ryan is, oh my god…Dad…’ She screamed.

‘Slow down, baby girl.’ Joel said softly, trying to get a sobbing Paige to calm down.

‘Take a deep breath Slip.’ Phillip added even as he shifted and sprinted towards the mansion.

‘He’s dying!’ Paige screamed. ‘Oh god, I thought I was helping…’ She sobbed. ‘Jer…he can feel Jer slipping. Help!’

**

Ryan could hear Paige screaming but it seemed to be coming from a very faraway place. He wondered how he could feel her arms around him and yet her screams seemed so far. That wasn’t normal at all. As for his wolf, he could feel it weakening by the second. Everything seemed to be slipping away. His mate, his wolf, his sanity, his life… Was he still dreaming, Ryan wondered. If he was, he needed to wake up from the nightmare. But somehow, he knew it wasn’t a dream. It was real. Ryan just knew that death was near. He’d never been so scared in his life. And that was when he prayed. He didn’t know whether the Supreme Being he’d known of since he was a kid, listened to the prayers of supernatural beings too. Ryan hoped for his sake and his mate’s, he did. He’d never been one to pray but in that instant, he felt that it was all he had.

Ryan prayed for strength.

***

“What’s going on?” Gloria asked worriedly, taking in Joel’s flushed face.

The last of the alphas had just left. The briefing had gone very well and everyone was happy and grateful. The various heads, betas and elders which included the council members, were on the beautiful lawn outside the conference hall, staring admiringly at the enormous wolf fountain. The fountain had always been the pride of the Stanwood Pack. It was a dynamic fusion of architecture, sculpture and running water which gave birth to a spectacular display. The classically beautiful solid sculpture displayed an alpha wolf standing on top of a platform, with water flowing from its howling mouth onto about fifteen howling wolves that stood beneath him. The wolves, some of which were smaller than others, also had water spraying out from their mouths. Above the alpha wolf was a big brightly shining moon, at which the alpha seemed to be howling. The classic arrangement of colourful lights added a wonderful whimsical touch to the setting. The werewolves believed that there was something magical about the fountain and that Luna filled their hearts with peace whenever they stood around it. They therefore never passed up an opportunity to stand around the fountain after any major event. Burying their dead colleagues and having a successful meeting with powerful alphas was definitely a very big deal.

The people standing around heard the worry in Gloria’s voice and gave their full attention to Joel. They all waited for his answer.

“It’s Paige.” Joel responded gruffly. He’d never heard his daughter sound so distraught. “She’s not making sense but it had something to do with Ryan and Jeremy. Phillip is on his way to them. Whatever it is, it sounds bad.”

Even before he finished what he was saying, Stan shifted and sprinted away towards the mansion.

“Deloris?” The High Priestess turned to the only warlock they had on their council. If anyone could get to Ryan faster, it was Deloris. “Check it out.” She instructed.

“Right away.” Deloris responded, bowed her head and then disappeared.

**

“Ryan?” Paige breathed through her tears as she watched Ryan’s demeanor change right there before her eyes. Although she could still see the pain in his eyes, he suddenly seemed to have developed a…thick skin of sorts. He didn’t seem as he had just moments earlier…as if he was about to die. He looked…dangerous. “Ryan…” Paige wasn’t afraid of Ryan. She just felt uneasy. “I’ve called Dad and Phillip. I’m sorry for causing all this but we will fix it.” She spoke softly, trying to calm Ryan. She didn’t know whether it was working, but that was all she could do. “I don’t know how but I promise, we…”

“Alpha?” Deloris called out softly when she appeared inside Ryan’s study, cutting off Paige’s tirade.

The warlock’s eyes widened when she took a look at Ryan. Just one look told Deloris that something was very wrong. There was a wildness about him…almost as if he was having a hard time holding on to his control. He paced like a caged bull. The Ryan pacing before her looked nothing like the Ryan that she’d come to know and love. Even when he’d gone up against Reynard Wyatt, he looked grounded…in control. This Ryan…

“What’s…” Deloris started to speak but trailed off when her eyes landed on the dead albino. “What is he…I thought he died on the day of the battle.”

“I brought him here.” Paige sounded like she had a thousand frogs stuck in her throat. And she looked terrified, regretful and defeated…she looked terrible.

“What?” Deloris screeched just as Phillip’s wolf burst into the room. “We’ll deal with that later, Missy. Now, tell me what the bastard did to him?”

“He broke Ryan’s bond with Jeremy.” Paige sniffled.

“What?” Deloris gasped even as Phillip’s wolf shifted back to a very naked, very sexy human.

“What?” He roared. “How the fuck did that happen?”

“Not now, Phillip.” Deloris muttered. “Something has to be done, and fast.” She looked lost in thought. The warlock had a bad feeling. The council couldn’t bring Jeremy back unless Luna willed it. And unless Luna wanted to communicate with them herself, summoning her wasn’t an easy feat. It could take a minimum of two days. “Oh my god, this is bad.”

“I need to get to him.” Ryan suddenly growled. His eyes began to glow. It was obvious that he’d completely lost it. “I need to do it now.” Ryan’s voice didn’t sound like his at all.

“Meet us at the conference hall, Phillip.” Deloris said just as Stan’s wolf burst into the room. “You too.” She addressed the wolf as she grabbed Paige’s hand.

Without another word, Deloris touched Ryan on the shoulder and then disappeared with him and Paige, leaving behind Stan’s wolf and Phillip.

**

“Ryan…” Gloria gasped when Deloris appeared on the lawn with Ryan and Paige. Her hand went to her chest when she took in Ryan’s glowing eyes. Everyone could feel the sheer force of power emanating from Ryan at that moment. “Honey?” But Ryan didn’t even spare Gloria a glance. His focus was completely on the high priestess.

“I want my mate back now.” Ryan’s voice cracked like a whip, the sound reverberating through everyone present. That voice didn’t sound human at all.

For a moment, the high priestess stared blankly at Ryan as if she hadn’t heard him. Her mouth was opened in awed shock and her hands were visibly trembling. She knew that she was in the presence of a higher being. And the one person, who was seen as the most spiritual and closest to Luna in the pack, felt like bowing. She snapped out of her daze when Ryan snapped his fingers to get her attention.

“Err…I…we…” She stuttered, looking completely overwhelmed.

“Did you hear what I just said?” Ryan tilted his head to the side as he stared at the woman. “This is life and death.” Ryan could feel the presence of Phillip and Stan behind him but didn’t turn to look at them. Just knowing they were there was okay for him. “If I don’t get to him now, he dies.”

A collective gasp went up at Ryan’s words. With the exception of Phillip, Stan, Paige, Ryan and the elders…eight of whom made up the council members, no other pack member knew about Jeremy and the Fort. But Ryan’s words sent a shiver of dread down the spine of each person present. The feeling was so intense that the high priestess sprang into action. She didn’t need to be Einstein to know that whatever was going on was very serious. And she sure as hell didn’t want to go against the being standing in front of her. He definitely didn’t look like someone who could be reasoned with. She valued her life too much to attempt to reason up with him anyway. The high priestess knew that she needed to consult with Luna immediately. And even as she turned and began to move towards the council quarters, which was opposite the conference hall, her high command was heard;

“All council members, to the quarters, now. We need to…”

But before she could complete her instructions, Ryan stretched out his right hand and pointed his index finger at nothing in particular. A purple ray of light shot out of the tip of his finger. And then right before the eyes of the people gathered, the portal that appeared to take Jeremy away months earlier, reappeared with its dreadful whoosh sound.

Everyone present gasped. The high priestess stopped in her tracks when she heard that sound…that sound which only meant one thing. She slowly turned around and stared, her eyes bulging out to the extent that they looked as if they were going to pop out. Ryan slowly turned his head to look at the trembling high priest and uttered in a voice so guttural it was almost seductive;

“I don’t think you understand the word, now.” Then he turned to look at Phillip and Stan. “Ready?”

“Do it.” Phillip growled whilst Stan grinned like a simpleton.

Ryan focused on the swirling portal. Then in a loud and authoritative voice that rumbled across the clearing like thunder…demanding instant obedience, he called out Jeremy’s name.

A second. Two seconds. Three seconds. The answering roar…

Whoever was answering to Ryan’s call, sounded damn pissed!

Feral attraction in the midst of hatred…love to the rescue! – Chapter 8 – Love to the rescue!

“Come on, come on, come on…” Stan kept muttering even as everyone’s eyes remained on the portal with rapt attention.

One would have thought the roar coming from within the portal would scare the people gathered. Well, they rather looked expectant. They all knew that roar too well. It belonged to none other than their alpha. They had all missed him. And the fact that he was obviously angry wasn’t going to change that.

Ryan realized he’d ceased breathing…but he was fine. He just wanted to see that face. That face that he loved so much. That face that brought joy into his heart. That face that made the world a better place for him. He just wanted to see his Jeremy. He didn’t have to wait for long. The only hitch was that the Jeremy that came out of the portal, was not who Ryan had been expecting despite the preceding roar. Not only were Jeremy’s eyes bloody red…showing that his Ojah power was in control, he looked as if he was ready to murder someone.

Immediately he stepped out, the portal disappeared.

***

Jeremy’s rage-filled eyes scanned the faces of the people gathered around the fountain. His eyes searched for just one person. The High Priestess. He knew that he was virtually already dead anyway. But before he breathed his last, he had to take that woman’s life. He had to avenge his mate. He knew that he was going to die since his mate was dead. But he also knew that what had kept him holding on all that while, was that thirst for revenge.

Yes, Jeremy had to go through pain by reliving every bad moment in his life. But the excruciating pain that had suddenly slammed into him in the last few minutes was something that he’d never experienced in his entire life. He’d felt himself dying…could feel his heartbeat slowing down. Jeremy knew for a fact that he would be dead already if his Ojah hadn’t taken over. But even with that, he still knew he didn’t have long to live because even his Ojah couldn’t stand the agony. For the very first time since stepping foot in that godforsaken place, he’d prayed to Luna to grant him one last wish. All he wanted was to take the life of the person who’d killed his mate before he died. He’d prayed hard. And Luna had promptly…surprisingly, answered to his prayer. When he heard that voice calling to him, he just knew that Luna had listened to him and granted his wish. Now all he had to do was kill that bitch.

When Jeremy’s eyes landed on the stunned high priestess, he raised both hands and let fly two huge fireballs towards the woman. He saw the woman’s eyes roll back into her head as she began to crumble to the ground. And that was when Jeremy noticed that both fireballs had actually stopped midair. He looked at the immobile balls with shocked eyes, wondering what had just happened.

“What the…” But he trailed off when he heard Ryan calling his name. Ryan?

“Jeremy?” Ryan called out softly, wondering why his mate’s very first priority was to deal with the high priestess rather than seek him out. That hurt. He didn’t know why Jeremy wanted to take the high priestess out but should that need matter to Jeremy more than seeing him? And to make matters worse, Jeremy looked as if he was actually…trying to place his voice? Had he forgotten about him already? “Look at me Jeremy.” Ryan said softly, watching as Jeremy turned in his direction. And that was when Ryan fully saw Jeremy’s reaction. He looked shocked. But why? He watched the change come over his mate. One moment, he looked dead shocked. The next, he was bristling with emotion.

“Ryan?” Jeremy whispered in absolute shock. “What is going on? Is this real? You’re… I saw it with my own eyes. She killed you.” He whispered even as some of the people standing by rushed to the aid of the collapsed high priestess.

With a flick of Ryan’s fingers, the fireballs burst into beautiful colours, almost like fireworks. Then he walked over to where Jeremy stood, watching him as if he was an alien. Ryan raised both hands up and cupped Jeremy’s face. He could see the pain within his heart mirrored inside Jeremy’s bloody Ojah eyes. Just as his own divine powers were giving him strength, Jeremy was taking his strength from his Ojah. Neither one of them had long to live. They had to act fast.

“Let me see him, please.” Ryan said with controlled desperation.

Jeremy didn’t have to ask who Ryan wanted to see.

“You can’t.” The Ojah whispered with so much anguish. “He’s…he’s gone.”

“No, he’s not.” Ryan countered even as he felt his eyes well up. He could see from the desolation on the face of the red-eyed Jeremy that it wasn’t good. “You’re here. So he’s not completely gone. Give him to me.” His heart sat right in his throat.

“Ryan, he’s not in the position to do anything.” The Ojah actually whimpered. He was weakening right there before Ryan’s eyes. Fear chilled Ryan to the bone at Jeremy’s words.

“Just give him to me.” Ryan went up on his toes and kissed Jeremy lightly on the lips.

The red-eyed Alpha closed his eyes and began to crumple to the floor in a dead faint. Panic swirled in Ryan’s chest, suffocating him as he moved down with Jeremy. Straddling the completely passed out alpha, Ryan sat stock still, unable to move…even just to breathe. Ryan had never felt that level of fear, helplessness and defeat in his entire life. His stomach churned with nausea. He felt the scratch of panicked tears in his throat and buried his face against Jeremy’s neck. Ryan heard wailing and distressed chatter from the people gathered but he didn’t look at anyone. And even as his body shook with the intensity of his misery, he began to cry silently.

“Do something Ryan.” Ryan heard Paige’s voice beside him. She was crying but she also sounded very angry. “You can’t just let him go. Do something.”

Ryan raised his head and looked at his friend. “What can I do?” He sounded so helpless.

Seeing Jeremy in that state was so shocking and heartbreaking that Ryan felt paralyzed. For the very first time since realizing he had powers, he couldn’t use them. He didn’t know how to use them. Ryan realized he was flooded with so much fear, it had somehow robbed him of the very energy and knowledge that he usually got filled with whenever he got angry. He just couldn’t think. Hell, he couldn’t even feel his wolf.

“Anything.” Paige growled, reaching out to touch Jeremy’s chest. There was no heartbeat. “Oh god, anything…please.” She sobbed.

Paige felt responsible. She’d meant well but…it hadn’t gone as planned. Paige had never regretted her actions more than she did that very moment. All she’d wanted was for Ryan to dream about Jeremy, to push him to feel some pain. She’d hoped that feeling pain would somehow push Jeremy to use his divine powers to probably convince the council members to get Luna to bring Jeremy back. Causing the death of Jeremy and Ryan hadn’t been her plan at all. Apart from Deloris, Phillip and her father, no one knew what she’d done. Not even Ryan. She knew for a fact that she would take her own life if anything happened to Jeremy or Ryan as a result of her actions. Paige wept as if she was dying. Somehow she felt as if she was.

Ryan watched as Paige completely broke down and felt so wretched. He looked up at the faces of the people he saw as his family and saw all eyes on him. Eyes filled with…hope? Gloria knelt on the ground with her face in her palm. She looked as if she was praying but Ryan could see how her body shook with her silent sobs. He had to do something. But what? He closed his eyes and concentrated on his wolf. Somehow he felt he needed him. He needed that fierceness, that zeal, that aggression, that… A loud howl tore out of Ryan’s throat. His eyes turned amber, his fingernails elongated into claws and his fangs dropped. Ryan reared back and sunk his teeth into the point where Jeremy’s shoulder and neck met. He sunk deep.

Ryan didn’t cloak the marking pain. He didn’t know how to. After all, he’d never marked or bitten anyone in his life. But just as the pain from Jeremy’s very first bite of Ryan had been so excruciating it had cause Ryan to pass out, the pain from Ryan’s bite snapped Jeremy back from the precipice of death. When Ryan heard Jeremy’s cry of pain, he retracted his fangs and licked the wound shut. The mark however remained and their bond was instantly fixed.

“Ryan?” Jeremy croaked, staring up at Ryan with watery eyes. “Oh my god, baby…” And that was when Jeremy began to sob.

Everything that happened after Jeremy’s first sob happened so fast it was almost a blur. One moment Ryan was looking down at an emotional Jeremy, the nest moment they were on their bed inside their suite. Jeremy didn’t even seem to know what was going on. He just sobbed. It was only when Ryan looked up and saw Deloris standing beside their bed that he connected the dots. She’d blinked them away from all those people.

“I didn’t want them to see him like that.” She whispered.

“Thanks Deloris.” Ryan sounded as if he was in shock.

“Take care of him.” She said, leaning down to kiss Ryan on his wet cheek. “If you need anything, get in touch with any of us.”

“Gloria…”

“She’s fine.” Deloris assured Ryan. “Just spend time with him. It’s late anyway. The others will have their turn tomorrow or the day after…don’t think about it.” With that, the warlock disappeared.

Ryan draped himself over Jeremy and allowed him to cry it all out. After a long moment, Jeremy finally quieted down and drifted into a deep sleep. And throughout the night, Ryan just sat with his back against the headboard and watched him. He didn’t understand why he was still missing the man even though he was staring at him. He kept checking to see whether Jeremy was breathing. At a point during the night he noticed that he kept tossing and turning. Ryan decided Jeremy would feel more comfortable without those clothes he’d had to wear for three months. But for the tear from the neck to his chest…almost as if the wearer had attempted to rip it from his own body in desperation, the blue long-sleeved t-shirt he’d gone to purgatory in looked exactly the same. Ryan quickly undid the buttons on Jeremy’s jeans and pulled it off him. Then he completed the tear in the t-shirt to make it easier to remove. Jeremy’s boxer briefs and socks followed. Then Ryan went for a washcloth, some soap and some water and wiped Jeremy down thoroughly. Jeremy didn’t open his eyes even once throughout Ryan’s ministrations. But afterwards, he seemed to sleep better.

When it was almost dawn, Ryan stripped and slid in beside Jeremy, under the covers. He curled into his sexy hard body, loving the feel of his mate’s warm flesh against his. Fuck, he’d missed the guy. Ryan absorbed his heat and breathed in his scent, which was slightly different from what he was used it. Maybe there was an explanation for that, he thought as he drifted off to sleep. The most important thing was that his mate was back in his arms. Ryan couldn’t have asked for anything better.

***

Ryan jerked awake at the sound of the phone ringing. For a moment he was disoriented. His first coherent thought was…

“Jeremy…” He gasped and sat up in a rush.

When he saw Jeremy sleeping peacefully beside him he gave a sigh of relief and felt his racing heart slow down. The sound of the phone drew his attention to what had woken him up in the first place. Shoving his hair out of his face he thrust out his arm and grabbed the receiver. Fortunately Jeremy didn’t look disturbed.

“Hello?” Ryan croaked into the phone, noting that the time on the bedside clock said it was after one o’clock p.m. Shit!

“Oh Ryan I’m so sorry for disturbing you but I was worried…”

“Don’t be mum. I can’t believe I’ve slept till now. Jeremy is still asleep. Why don’t you come over?”

“No, no I just wanted to know whether he’s ok. If he’s asleep I can always…”

“Come over mum.” Ryan encouraged softly. “We can both sit and just stare at him. It will be fun and fulfilling.”

Gloria laughed. “Alright I’m on my way. I’m bringing muffins.” She sounded so happy.

“Too bad Deloris is nowhere around you to blink you over.” Ryan laughed softly. “Or is she?”

“No, she’s not.” Gloria laughed. “I’ll be there very soon.

“Waiting.” Ryan said and then hung up. He could imagine how Gloria felt.

He quickly went to brush his teeth and pulled on shorts and t-shirt. Then he went outside the suite and waited for Gloria. He didn’t have to wait for long. When the elevator opened, Ryan hugged Jeremy’s mother for a long time. Then he took the basket of sweet-scented muffins from her and ushered her inside. Ryan placed the basket on the dining table and drew Gloria to the sleeping area. Since the sliding door was already opened, they climbed in and just stood beside the bed, looking down at a sleeping Jeremy. When Ryan heard Gloria’s sniffles, he reached for a tissue and wiped her face. Then he gently pushed her down to sit beside Jeremy.

“He’s okay.” Ryan said softly.

Gloria nodded. “Thank you, Ryan.” She said shakily. “Thank you.”

“I should rather be thanking you for producing this wonderful man.” Ryan chuckled, leaning down to kiss Gloria on both cheeks. “Would you care for anything?”

“No. I’m okay.”

“Be right back.”

Ryan came back with a cup of tea, some muffins and a huge smile. He climbed onto the bed and ate quietly.

“How come he smells different?” Ryan finally whispered.

Gloria smiled. “You did mark him, Ryan. His scent was bound to change.” She patted Ryan on the shoulder. “He smells more like you now.”

“Oh god, he’ll hate that.” Ryan breathed.

“What? No, he won’t.” Gloria chuckled. “But he will mark you again so expect it.”

“Oh no, do we still have to do that ceremony thing?”

“I’m sure we can work something out.” Gloria laughed, noting how uncomfortable Ryan suddenly looked. “Let’s just get him back on his feet.”

“Okay. Why do you think he was so angry at the high priestess when he got out?”

“Beats me.” Gloria shrugged. “Has he said anything at all?”

“No. He just slept and hasn’t woken up since.” Ryan reached out to place his tea cup on the bedside table. “It’s almost as if he hasn’t slept the whole…”

“He hasn’t.” Gloria said quietly, staring at her son. “Everything comes to a standstill. You don’t get hungry, there’s no growth, no sleep. Just unending torture.”

Ryan reached out to soothingly rub Gloria on her back. “He’s back. That’s all that matters.”

“I know.” Gloria sighed. “I just pray he adjusts smoothly. Shedding off the pain is another stress on its own.”

Ryan frowned. From what Gloria was saying, Jeremy was going be fucked up for a while. Well, he was going to help his man through whatever struggles he was going to go through. That was what mates were for, right? To be there for each other.

“I hope the council isn’t going to give him any grief.” Ryan muttered. “And Lu…”

Gloria chuckled and shook her head. “Nope. He’s been cleared.” She informed Ryan. “There was an aggressive meditation and consultation this morning. Joel was right after all. Jeremy’s release was dependent on the defeat of Reynard Wyatt.”

“Why’s that?”

“He would have killed Jeremy, Ryan.”

“So he wasn’t bluffing.”

“No, he wasn’t.” Gloria sighed.

“Shit. Meaning if we’d defeated him earlier, Jer would have been out sooner?”

“Uh-huh. But we didn’t have any choice but to wait for them to make their move.”

“And they did exactly that, three days after Jer left. They kidnapped Camilla.” Ryan groaned. If only Deloris had come to them sooner…

“She couldn’t risk her daughter’s life at that point.” Gloria accurately read Ryan. “She had to at least try. As it stands, coming to us after three months still put her daughter at risk. She did good, Ryan.”

“I know.” He sighed.

“And I really don’t think Luna would have given a mere three-day sentence to Jeremy.” Gloria chuckled. “He would have probably stayed longer even if we’d defeated the clan immediately after he left. What would have been the punishment in staying at the Fort for only four or five days?”

“I know right.” Ryan groaned, knowing Gloria was right.

Gloria spent about two hours with them and then left. Stan, Paige and Phillip stopped by after Gloria left, to check up on their friend and alpha. For once, Ryan saw the quiet side of his mate’s friends. Although they looked happy, they were very subdued. Before they left, however, they sat with Ryan at the dining area and told him what Paige had done. Ryan wasn’t amused and he didn’t mince words.

“You shouldn’t have done that.” He admonished quietly, his intent gaze on the woman he’d come to see as a good friend. “The fact that it ended well doesn’t make it okay.”

“I know, and I’m so sorry, Ryan.” Paige looked so regretful.

Ryan nodded but he wasn’t happy at all. He remembered the fear. What if he hadn’t been able to pull Jeremy back from the brink of death? That had been too close. What the fuck had Paige been thinking, Ryan fumed. He now understood why Paige had been so broken about the whole thing. She must have felt so guilty, seeing Jeremy lying on the ground, motionless. Ryan remembered how he’d felt when Vincent and his crew were killed by Reynard. The guilt… He knew what Paige was going through and also knew that he should rather be the one to empathize with her. The last thing he should be doing to his friend was add to her guilt, Ryan thought.

“Shit.” With a groan, Ryan stood and went to pull Paige out of her chair and into his arms, enfolding her in a fierce hug. She hugged him in return, murmuring how sorry she was for fucking up. “You silly, silly woman.” He murmured, stroking the back of Paige’s head. “I should rather be thanking you for pushing me with your words and…wails to act last night.” Ryan said, drawing a shaky chuckle from Paige.

“Oh my god, that was close.” She muttered. “Jeremy is going to kill me.”

“Not if I can help it.” Ryan drawled. “I’ll explain everything to him. Don’t worry about it.”

“Thanks. I’ve informed the school that you’ll be taking some time off.” Paige said, stepping out of Ryan’s embrace. “Hope that’s okay.”

“That’s fine thanks.”

And when the trio finally left, Ryan checked in on a still sleeping Jeremy and then ordered some food. After eating, he took a shower and then went back to bed. It was already evening anyway. Jeremy was lying on his back, snoring softly. Ryan couldn’t help the smile that tugged at his lips as he watched his mate’s handsome face. God, he was fine. His savagely beautiful face and abs were chiseled perfection. Jeremy Stanton was sexiness personified. Almost as if he couldn’t help himself, Ryan leaned in and pressed a kiss against his lips. As he raised his head, his eyes went to the mark he’d given Jeremy the day before. Ryan gently rubbed his thumb against the mark, fascinated by the fact that it looked completely healed. It felt so good to the touch though. When Jeremy’s breathing changed, Ryan didn’t notice at first. But then the alpha moaned, drawing Ryan’s attention to his labored breathing. Was it because of what he was doing, Ryan wondered. He stopped rubbing the mark and laid his head on Jeremy’s chest. And that was when he saw it. The covers were tented with Jeremy’s erect cock.

“Oh fuck.” Ryan breathed, staring at the unconsciously brazen display of male need. What he wouldn’t give to…

Ryan reached for the edge of the covers and flipped it off Jeremy, exposing his gloriously aroused body to his hungry eyes. He moistened suddenly dry lips, unable to look away from the compelling sight before him. Wild horses couldn’t have stopped Ryan from what he did next. He moved down slowly as if he was in a daze, staring at that pulsing cock the whole time. That cock that could drive him out of his mind with pleasure, that cock that took him to places he didn’t know existed, that cock that made every other thing in his world insignificant, that cock that he’d missed for fucking much. Hunger rushed through Ryan’s veins, flooding his senses with such an intense sexual desire his mouth watered. He wanted that throbbing cock in his mouth. His craving for the taste of his mate was too great, he just couldn’t stop himself.

When Ryan got to the point where Jeremy’s beautiful glistening appendage was directly at his eye level, his eyes followed the clear liquid that spilled from the tip and slid slowly down the crown. His tongue darted out and captured that liquid. He couldn’t suppress his moan when the taste hit his senses. Fuck! Ryan’s eyes fluttered shut in delirious bliss but they flicked right open again to look up at Jeremy when he heard his mate’s breathing grow more ragged and his cock began to spurt out more precum. He was still fast asleep. With a groan Ryan opened his mouth wider and closed it around that thick, velvety, mushroomed cockhead. Then he sucked.

Those succulent lips stretched unbearably wide around Jeremy’s thickness but Ryan didn’t seem to care at all. He just wanted that cock in his mouth. And he didn’t just suck it, he worshipped it. Ryan grabbed hold of Jeremy’s hips with both hands and bobbed his head in a slow, sensual back and forth motion, as if he had all the time in the world. When he heard Jeremy’s moan, he opened eyes dazed with lust and looked at him but it was obvious that he was still asleep. Ryan closed his eyes again, hollowed his cheeks and sucked even harder.

“Ryan…” Jeremy whimpered and bucked his hips, thrusting up into Ryan’s mouth.

It was too much! Ryan’s throat rebelled, seizing painfully. He gagged as his eyes watered. Ryan pulled his head up and took in deep breaths but before he caught his breath, Jeremy’s hand found his head. Those thick fingers tangled inside his hair and pushed him back onto the wet cock. Ryan slipped his mouth around it and gave himself over to Jeremy, allowing him to set the pace. That was a big mistake. Still fast asleep, it was obvious that Jeremy thought he was dreaming or something. He didn’t show Ryan any mercy, which was rather tough on Ryan because of the size of that cock. Tears slid down Ryan’s cheeks. He knew he had to do something before his sleeping mate chocked him to death.

Ryan grabbed the slick cock in a fist. His fingers couldn’t get entirely around Jeremy’s girth but that didn’t stop Ryan. With determination, he began to stroke Jeremy hard and fast with a twisting motion. His other hand played with his nuts, alternating between rolling and pulling on those weighty cum-filled balls just as he knew Jeremy liked. His mouth was left to work on just the thick cockhead. Again Ryan wriggled his tongue against the sensitive underside of the cock as he sucked him with strong pulls just as Jeremy had instructed him to do the one time he’d given him head. Jeremy’s hand immediately loosened its tight grip inside Ryan’s hair and his thrusts lessened. But his moans increased. Feeling that hard heat in his fists and mouth made Ryan’s hole clench in jealous greed. He was so hard his balls ache. What he wouldn’t give to feel Jeremy pounding inside him that very instant. He needed that cock deep inside him like he needed air to live. But Ryan told himself that if he’d been able to wait for three months, what were a few hours more? All he wanted at that point was to give his mate some long-denied release. Jeremy deserved it after what he’d been through.

Ryan tightened his lips around sensitive ring at the base of the leaking knob and deepened the suction. He pumped the thick root with his fist as he tongued and sucked the wide head, hard and quick. When he heard the mewling sounds coming from Jeremy, he glanced up and saw his mate’s head thrashing from side to side in obviously pleasure. Ryan felt Jeremy’s fingers tighten inside his hair almost painfully just as the cock in his hand began to throb and swell. Then he felt his entire body tense up and just knew that Jeremy was about to blow.

Jeremy’s rough sound of pleasure as he erupted was absolutely beautiful to Ryan’s ears. His cock swelled and jerked with every jet of cum that shot out. The thick load that began to flood Ryan’s mouth was so sweet and tangy it intoxicated his already floating senses, causing a violent shudder to sizzle through him. He moaned around the cock, unknowingly giving Jeremy even more pleasure. Ryan drank every single drop that spilled from Jeremy. And what a load it was. Three months of cum. Ryan wasn’t surprised. Eventually, Jeremy’s spurts and rippling spasms ceased. Then his fingers loosened their hold on Ryan’s hair and fell out. Ryan pressed a chaste kiss to the sensitized tip and smiled when a tremor shook Jeremy’s body. With a contented sigh, Jeremy rolled onto his stomach and went right on sleeping. Ryan collapsed beside him, breathing hard to catch his breath. That had been as exhilarating as fuck, he thought, looking down at his own leaking rock hard cocks. He felt light headed with arousal. But Ryan didn’t have an intention of doing anything about his situation. It was for Jeremy to take care of when he woke up. He pulled the covers over Jeremy and left for the bathroom to get ready for bed.

Back in bed, Ryan kissed Jeremy gently and then cuddled close against his warm body. And as he drifted off to sleep, all he could think about and hope for was for Jeremy to wake up the next morning and talk to him. He was busting inside with the need to tell him how much he loved him too.

Ryan didn’t have to wait till morning.

***

Jeremy woke to the feel of hair brushing over his shoulder and an arm slung across his tummy. From that delicious scent filling his nostrils, he just knew that the person sleeping beside him was none other than his mate. But how? For a moment Jeremy didn’t know where he was. He was on his back in a very familiar bed. His? The room was dark but from the face of the clock on the bedside table which glowed brightly in the darkened room, it was two thirty a.m. He turned his head to look at the most beautiful person he’d ever laid eyes on and just like that, it all came rushing back…

The Fort, the sudden excruciating pain in the chest, the high priestess, Ryan, the feeling of nothingness, and then Ryan again…he’d bitten him. Why his mate had felt the need to bite him, Jeremy didn’t know however. He didn’t mind though because he would have made Ryan mark him too at a point anyway. But everything after Ryan bit him seemed fuzzy. He definitely didn’t remember getting into bed with Ryan.

Jeremy turned on his side to face Ryan who lay on his side too, his face soft and angelic in repose, his chest rising and falling with every silent breath he took. Jeremy lifted his hand and pulled the bedside switch, flooding the room with light. He needed to clearly see that face. That face that never ceased to bring him inner joy anytime he pictured it in his mind’s eye. He needed to see that face like he needed air. And when Jeremy finally focused Ryan’s face, he felt his whole body go weak with emotion. Fuck he’d missed his mate, Jeremy thought. As if he couldn’t help himself, his hand moved to touch Ryan’s hair. Jeremy gently comb through the beautiful, white, silky hair with trembling fingers. Ryan stirred, leaning into Jeremy’s touch with a soft sigh. That was so adorable Jeremy actually laughed softly. But when beautiful green eyes opened and stared at Jeremy, he forgot to breathe.

“Jeremy.” Ryan whispered, drawing a tortured moan from Jeremy. Just the sound of his name on Ryan’s delectable lips, made his stomach flutter and his heart pound with excitement.

“Hey.” Jeremy breathed. The look in his eyes was something Ryan would never forget. It was enthralling, smoldering and at the same time, tender.

“Hey.” Ryan whispered, feeling himself melt. “How are you feeling?”

“I’m looking at you…touching you. There’s nothing better than that. The feeling is indescribable.” Jeremy’s eyes said all that was in his heart.

Ryan’s breath hitched in his throat. Jeremy’s words… His sleep-roughened voice… It sounded deeper, rougher, slower and so sexy it sent a delicious shiver down Ryan’s spine.

“I love you, Jeremy.” Ryan said softly. “I’m so much in love with you it terrifies me.” His eyes glowed with raw emotion.

“I know.” Jeremy responded softly. “I mean you did accept me despite all the shit I’ve put you through. There’s no way you could have done that if you didn’t love me. But…should you?” Jeremy’s voice was barely audible. His eyes closed on a shuddering breath as his heart began to pound.

The alpha of Stanwood Pack could still feel himself actually doing cruel stuff to Ryan. He could still hear Ryan’s screams of pain. He tried to dispel the images but they wouldn’t leave him. He was no longer in purgatory for fucks sake, he told himself as he tried to take deep breaths. Throughout his stay in purgatory, not even a single minute went by without him hearing his mate’s screams of pain. Pain that he had inflicted. Even when he was reliving other tragedies that had occurred in his life, my mate’s screams of pain was always in the background. Jeremy had been in his own personal hell. But for his determination to avenge the death of his mate by living long enough to rip out the heart of the high priestess, he would be dead by then from all that agony he had gone through in purgatory.

“Jeremy?” Ryan called softly, noticing how sweat had suddenly broken out on Jeremy’s forehead. His eyelids lifted slowly, revealing unfocused irises. “Hey, are you okay?”

Jeremy took a deep breath and looked into Ryan’s eyes. “I don’t think I deserve to be loved by you, Ryan.”

“What?” Ryan asked, looking totally confused. There he was professing his love for his mate, and he was telling him he didn’t deserve… “Why would you say something like that?” Ryan’s breath hitched in his throat.

Jeremy sighed. “Can I just… All I want to do now is just look at you.”

“Jeremy…”

“Shut up.” Jeremy whispered and kept combing his fingers through Ryan’s tresses. “You’re so beautiful.” His hand moved to Ryan’s face, bushing gently against his cheeks. Then it moved to his ear and then down to his neck, rubbing against the creamy flesh. Ryan knew the exact moment that Jeremy discovered the absence of his mark. The alpha tensed up. “What happened?” He rasped.

Ryan swallowed hard. “Someone…a warlock bit into my mark and broke our bond, Jere…”

“What the fuck!” Jeremy exploded, shooting off the bed. “Are you saying someone got that close to you and… How the fuck did that happen?”

“I thought I was dreaming, Jeremy. It’s a long story…” Ryan groaned, rolling off the bed. “You need to calm down and listen to me, Jer.” Ryan said firmly, staring at an angry Jeremy who stood on the other side of the bed.

“Oh, trust me I am calm.” Jeremy rasped, but he was far from calm. His heartbeat quickened as fresh pain seared through him. Jeremy’s eyes widened when he suddenly remembered that agonizing pain… He remembered how it had suddenly felt as if his heart was being ripped out of his chest. In fact he was sure he’d died at a point. “How long ago did this happen?” The strain in his voice showed just how hard he was holding on to control. Ryan didn’t miss it.

“Jeremy, I understand your anger but really, you don’t need to get worked up.” Ryan said warily.

“Don’t you dare tell me not to get worked up.” Cold fury morphed Jeremy’s gorgeous face into something so frightening Ryan took an involuntarily step back. “Tell me… How the fuck was someone…a warlock, able to get that close to your neck? What the fuck was going on?”

“I…I thought… I…” Ryan couldn’t even get his brain to work in the face of all that rage pouring off his mate in spades.

“You thought what, Ryan?” Jeremy growled.

Ryan took a deep breath. “I thought I was having a dream. And I thought I was making out with you. I…”

“You kissed someone?” Jeremy breathed as rage fired his blood, and radiated through his entire body. It was so intense it took away his breath and almost every ounce of control he had. Jeremy felt his body tremble with the intensity of his anger. He had to make a conscious effort not to allow his Ojah to take over because he knew how much his red-eyed inner spirit scared his mate. “You allowed another person to touch you?” He roared, grabbing the clock on the bedside table and throwing it with all him might against the glass door that divided the bed area from the rest of the suite. The glass shattered, coming down as if it was raindrops.

“Jeremy, come on I thought…”

“It was a dream. Yeah I got that.” Jeremy snapped, grabbing the bedside phone. He didn’t think he was in the right frame of mind to even access his mind-link. He began to punch in a number. “Whatever bullshit went on in my…”

Ryan jumped onto the bed and ran across to snatch the receiver from Jeremy’s hand before he could finish punching in whatever number he’d been about to punch.

“What do you think you’re doing?” Jeremy growled, fixing Ryan with an icy glare. “Give it back.” He looked as if he was about to explode. Anybody would have been terrified but not his stubborn mate.

“No I won’t.” Ryan growled right back. “You’re going to sit your butt down, calm down, and listen to what I have to say.” Ryan’s eyes flushed, showing just how serious he was. But then he completely ruined the effect by adding softly, “please.”

Jeremy stared his mate down. He wanted to fuck him and punish him at the same time. His eyes dropped to Ryan’s mouth, stared hard at those beautiful full lips…the lips that gave him joy… Then he pictured somebody else kissing those lips…

“Fuuuuck!” Jeremy roared. He wanted to hit something. Turning abruptly on his feet, he stormed out of the sleeping area.

Ryan watched his mate go and gave a deep sigh. He understood that Jeremy was upset but he needed to calm down and listen to him. Ryan left the sleeping area and went to the kitchen to grab a broom. Then he came back and swept the shards to one side so that Jeremy wouldn’t step on them and hurt himself. When he was done, he took the broom back to the kitchen and then went to closet to pull on sweats and t-shirt. Then he entered the bathroom.

The sight that met Ryan in the bathroom, broke his heart. Jeremy was leaning over the vanity with his head in his hands. The desolation Jeremy was feeling hit Ryan with such intensity, he gasped. He definitely preferred Jeremy’s anger to his current feeling of wretchedness. His anger, Ryan could handle. But that feeling of utter desolation, he didn’t know how to handle.

“Jeremy?” Ryan called softly. But when Jeremy raised his head to look at him, the devastation on his face caused Ryan to lose his train of thought.

With a sigh, Ryan reached for their toothbrushes and squeezed some toothpaste onto them. Then he reached out to give Jeremy his. Jeremy took his time taking the brush from Ryan. He couldn’t seem to keep his eye off Ryan’s mouth. But this time, the look in the alpha’s eyes wasn’t the usual sexual hunger. His eyes showed how betrayed he felt.

Both brushed their teeth slowly, with Jeremy staring at Ryan’s face through the mirror. After they were done, Jeremy cursed low in his throat and rubbed his face with his hands in an obvious sign of frustration.

“I’m going for a run.” The alpha announced.

“I’m coming with you.” Ryan responded.

“I don’t think that’s a good idea right now.” Jeremy rasped. “You…I can’t…it’s not safe…”

“You mean I won’t be safe around your wolf.” Ryan said quietly, feeling his heart do a swan dive to the pit of his stomach.

“That’s exactly what I’m saying.” Jeremy responded simply.

“God, Jer…” It hurt so much knowing that Jeremy’s wolf was angry at him. “Let me tell you everything before you go for that run, please.” Ryan pleaded. “Do this for me Jeremy.”

After a hard stare, Jeremy finally nodded and moved past Ryan into the room. He went directly to the closet and pulled on black jeans and a sexy dark green tank top with low cut armholes. He looked so sexy Ryan just stared.

“You know what will last longer.” Jeremy muttered and immediately wished he could take it back. That was so fourth grade. He wanted to kick himself when he saw the heat race up into Ryan’s face. “If you don’t mind, make whatever you want to explain snappy so that I can get out of here.” His voice was low and hard.

Ryan followed Jeremy to the couch and sat beside him. He didn’t miss how Jeremy moved further away from him, leaving a bigger space between them. Waves of hurt rippled across his perfect face. Although he knew that Jeremy would understand after he explained what happened, Ryan couldn’t help but feel as if a dagger was being pushed into his chest at that tiny gesture by Jeremy. Ryan rubbed his chest as he cleared his throat.

“When you left, I…”

“At what point did you kiss the warlock?” Jeremy interrupted.

Ryan looked at Jeremy’s grim face. “That was two days ago but…”

“Skip to that part.” Jeremy rasped. “What happened two days ago?”

“Jeremy I have to start from the beginning otherwise you won’t…”

“Hey, I agreed to listen to your explanation.” Jeremy cut Ryan off. “My main interest is what happened the day you decided to kiss another person. Was it a man or a woman by the way?”

“A…”

“Never mind, that’s not important.” He again cut Ryan off. “Just tell me what the fuck happened two days ago?”

Ryan’s eyes narrowed dangerously and his nostrils flared. He was beginning to get angry. If that was how Jeremy wanted to play it, so be it.

“Two days ago we buried Vincent, Jake, Evans, Ramsey and Nuka. After the fun…”

“What?” Jeremy roared, surging to his feet. “What the fuck?”

“You wanted to know what happened two days ago so shut up and let me tell you.” Ryan’s voice was dead quiet.

Jeremy wouldn’t sit though. So Ryan went ahead to narrate what happened with The Jackal after the funeral of the warriors. He explained how he’d gone to the study with Paige to work but had instead fallen asleep and dreamt about him for the first time and asked him to kiss him. He then dispassionately told him what the warlock had done and concluded with Paige’s plan and how it had backfired.

“I didn’t know what had really happened till Paige came to explain everything to me yesterday. I’m sorry I made out with the warlock but…I didn’t know it wasn’t you.”

“You should have known it wasn’t me Ryan. You know my scent. Everybody has their own unique scent. If someone was able to get that close to you for you to demand a kiss, you should have known. Dream or no dream, Ryan.” Jeremy said quietly.

“Well, I didn’t know and I’m sorry.” Ryan said with a hint of anger.

“Now tell me about the warriors.” Jeremy demanded.

Hearing that he’d lost his warriors was even more horrible than knowing that his mate had made out with someone else. After all, from what Ryan was saying, it hadn’t been his intention to do so. It still hurt as fuck and he didn’t know how he was going to get that silly image out of his mine but there were more important issues to think about.

Taking a deep breath, Ryan told Jeremy everything. Well, at least what he could remember. When he started the tale about the Wyatt Clan, Jeremy sat back down beside him on the couch. And as he spoke, Jeremy kept drawing closer to him. At a point the alpha reached for Ryan’s hand but he yanked his hand from Jeremy’s and folded it across his chest. Jeremy could tell how emotional Ryan got as he spoke about what the asshole who fathered him told him. By the time Ryan got to the part where his father had insinuated that he was a freak just like his siblings…and in front of Deloris too, he was shaking so hard Jeremy pulled him into his lap. The alpha had a feeling his mate didn’t even notice his new position. That was how wretched Ryan felt and the feeling hit Jeremy like a ton to bricks. Being bonded as mates, each could feel the emotions of the other. Jeremy could therefore feel how insignificant and worthless Ryan felt, thanks to what his father said to him. He wanted to rip the man’s heart out of his chest, wherever he was.

“You don’t have to go on, baby.” Jeremy didn’t recognize his own voice. “It’s okay.” But Ryan kept narrating what happened.

By the time Ryan got to how Vincent and his team had lost their lives, he was sobbing so hard Jeremy wanted to kill someone…anyone. He hugged his sobbing mate to his chest so tightly it was almost as if he wanted to absorb Ryan into himself.

“Oh my god, Ryan.” Jeremy groaned, rocking Ryan as he would a child. “I’m so sorry you had to go through all that without me. I’m so sorry baby.” He kept murmuring soothingly to Ryan. Fuck, he needed to vent, Jeremy screamed inside. The level of anger within was absurd. But this time, Jeremy wanted to kill Phillip for exposing his mate to all that violence. His friend should have known better. He opened his mind-link to Phillip. ‘My suite. Now.’ Jeremy barked onto the link. His friend had better have a better explanation, he fumed.

Eventually Ryan composed himself long enough to finish the story. The look on Jeremy’s face was priceless. He looked so shocked he couldn’t utter a word after Ryan told him how Reynard’s life had ended. He then finally told him what he’d done when their bond got broken by the warlock.

“I would appreciate it if you don’t rip into Paige or anything like that when you see her.” Ryan said shakily. “Much as her method was dangerous, it worked. So please…”

“Shhh…” Jeremy folded Ryan into his arms again. “She’s not the one I want to kill right now. How the fuck did Phillip even think it was okay to expose you to all that violence?”

“I insisted, Jeremy.” Ryan said hoarsely. “You know how difficult it is to try to talk me out of something once my mind is made up. If I hadn’t gone, you wouldn’t have had anyone to come back to.”

“That doesn’t make it alright.” Jeremy growled stubbornly. “Fuck, I’m so sorry for everything.”

Ryan nodded. “I’m sorry I made out…”

“You really should have known, Ryan.” Jeremy said, combing his fingers through Ryan’s hair. “We’re werewolves. Deloris is not a werewolf so I’m not surprised that idiot was able to fool her. But you…”

“I’m sorry.” He groaned pitifully. “I shouldn’t have gotten drunk in the first place. If I hadn’t I would have been more alert.”

“What?” Jeremy asked sharply. “What do you mean you shouldn’t have gotten…”

“I was totally drunk, thanks to Paige.” Ryan sighed. “The plan was to get shit-faced. I did but she didn’t. Said it took a lot for her to get drunk. But I was just…”

“That bitch.” Jeremy growled. “She plied you with booze so that you would lose your inhibitions. Your senses were dulled. That’s why you couldn’t smell him. Fuck!”

“Really?” Ryan’s eyes widened. “That’s probably why she remained sober…”

“That doesn’t make it o-fucking-k.” Jeremy growled.

“Hey, you promise…”

“I never promised anything.” Jeremy snapped angrily. “She promised to look after you. And what did she do? Gave you to the enemy on a silver platter.”

“Jeremy, she was right there.” Ryan defended heatedly. “She never left my side even once. Hell, I heard her tell that warlock not to kiss me when I demanded it but it came from so far away I thought it was all part of the dream. She was with me every step of the way, Jer.” He said softly. She made sure I would be okay.”

“But you were clearly not.” Jeremy growled angrily.

“And that wasn’t her fault, baby.” Ryan cupped Jeremy’s cheeks. “Her only mistake was that she made a deal with the devil. Shit happens. Calm down.”

“I could have lost you.” Jeremy groaned, burying his face against Ryan’s neck.

“But you didn’t.” Ryan didn’t want to point out to his angry mate that if he’d died, he would have died too anyway. “Are you okay?”

“No, I’m not.” Jeremy’s words were muffled against Ryan but he heard him perfectly. “I just wish…” He trailed of when the doorbell rang, signaling the presence of a visitor.

“Ryan looked up at the projected clock on the wall. It was only five fifty-four a.m. “Who would…”

“I called Phillip.” Jeremy informed him in a hoarse voice, showing just how hard he was trying to keep it together.

“Oh god, Jeremy listen to me.” Ryan gasped as he turned within Jeremy’s arms to straddle him. He knew how angry his mate was. He could feel it. He had to somehow calm him down before Phillip walked through that door. “Everything worked out just fine.”

“I left the most precious thing in the world to me, in his care Ryan.” Jeremy’s voice was cold. Deadly cold. “And he didn’t hesitate to expose you to danger.”

“It wasn’t up to him, Jeremy.” Ryan hissed as Jeremy got off the couch with him still wrapped around him as if he weighed nothing.

“He was the alpha. He was in charge. His word was final.” Jeremy tried to get Ryan to unwrap himself from around him but since his stubborn mate didn’t want to because he was hell bent on convincing him not to be angry at Phillip, Jeremy began to move towards the door with Ryan’s legs still locked around his waist. “I wouldn’t have done that to him if he’d left his mate in my care.”

And just like that, Ryan knew what to say. “Fine.” He unlocked his legs from around Jeremy but didn’t move away from the door. “Just go right ahead and do whatever you want to do.” Ryan said quietly. “Just know this. That was a very important battle. We all fought gallantly for the pack and came out victorious. Don’t rubbish everyone’s effort by whining about your mate’s involvement. If I hadn’t insisted on going, they wouldn’t have taken me. And if I hadn’t been part, everyone would have perished. Deloris risked the life of her daughter. And Phillip found his mate but selflessly let him go in order to concentrate on the battle, to save your mate.” Ryan moved away from the door. “Think about that as you unleash hell on your friend.” With that final shot, Ryan turned to go.

“Did…His mate…Lip really found his mate?” Jeremy stuttered, his eyes on his mate’s retreating back.

“That’s what I just said.” Ryan threw over his shoulder and disappeared into the bathroom.

“Did you say him?” Jeremy shouted but Ryan didn’t respond. “Fuck!” Jeremy stared at where Ryan had just disappeared and thanked his stars for sensible mates. He’d almost fucked up. Taking a deep breath, he opened the door and drew an alarmed Phillip into his arms.

To say Phillip was stunned at Jeremy’s behaviour wouldn’t be accurate. He’d felt his friend’s anger in that command. He definitely didn’t think Jeremy summoned him just to give him a hug. He could tell when Jeremy was angry. And much as everyone knew Jeremy had much to be angry about, Phillip didn’t know which one had resulted in his summons. But the fact that his friend was angry didn’t stop him from hugging him back fiercely.

“Fuck, I missed you.” Phillip groaned, feeling Jeremy trembling against him.

Jeremy couldn’t speak. He realized that having his friend in his arms actually gave him strength and some peace. He couldn’t believe he’d actually been angry at Phillip just seconds earlier. If anything he owed his friend his gratitude.

“You have no idea how much I missed you. Will I sound terrible if I admit that the one person I wanted with me in that godforsaken place was you? I knew that having you with me would make everything more bearable.” He groaned. “You’ve always been my rock Lip. And I’m so grateful to you.” Jeremy knew that he hadn’t meant anything more.

“I’m gonna box your ears if you make me cry.” Phillip growled shakily even as he tightened his hold on Jeremy. After a while both men stepped back from each other. “I had a feeling you wanted to kill me earlier.” Ryan drawled.

“I did.” Jeremy chuckled, heading towards the living area. “But someone told me how stupid I was being.” He flopped into the couch whilst Phillip sat in another.

“What the fuck happened here?” Phillip asked when he saw the shattered glass.

“I happened.” Jeremy growled. “Wait till your mate tells you he kissed someone else.”

“Shit, Jeremy tell me you didn’t…” Phillip shot to his feet with eyes filled with panic.

“Relax cowboy.” Jeremy drawled, waving Phillip back into the couch. “Ryan is fine.” He shook his head in amusement. “As if I could actually harm my mate.” He drawled, then promptly winced, making Phillip burst into laughter. “Fuck you, Lip.”

Phillip sobered, his eyes growing serious. “No one in their right mind would harm their mate. Always remember that.” Phillip said softly.

Jeremy nodded. “What’s this I’m hearing about you finding your mate?”

Phillip groaned and rubbed his hand on his neck in a sigh of frustration. “I don’t know his name. And I don’t know where he is. He’s just a kid. About sixteen years of age. Don’t know why Luna decided to give me a kid but hey…who am I to question the great Luna?” He growled low in his throat. “Everything happened so fast. One moment he was there, the next he was gone. I know he’s not dead because…”

“You feel him.” Jeremy said softly. He hadn’t believed the tales about ‘the click’ till he’d felt it himself the very first moment he’d laid eyes on his mate. It was almost as if something clicked inside and a connection was instantly formed. He wasn’t surprised at all that Phillip could feel his mate.

Phillip nodded. “But I don’t know if I’m ever going to see him again. End of story.”

“Shit.” Jeremy groaned. “How do you feel?”

“How do you think I feel?” Phillip snapped. “I can’t fuck anyone because my wolf wouldn’t allow it. Imagine all the tension and stress within, thanks to the battle.” Phillip stood up and began to pace. “I need a good fucking release but I’m stuck with my hands.”

Jeremy stared at his friend. He knew exactly how it felt. A male werewolf needed a good sexual release after any violence or excitement. That was just how they were wired. He also knew how frustrating it was to be prevented by one’s wolf from having sex. Immediately a werewolf found his or her mate, the wolf would allow sex with only the mate. Same had happened with his wolf when he found Ryan. Maybe if his own wolf had allowed him to fuck any other person that night, he wouldn’t have… Jeremy felt his wolf growl warningly within him and wished he could give the beast the finger or something.

“We’ll find him Lip.” Jeremy stood up and went to his friend. “Even if it’s just for you to get laid.” He drawled, drawing Phillip into his arms.

“You’re an asshole.” Phillip laughed.

“Anything else you wanna tell me?” Jeremy asked as he went back to his seat.

“How about a run?” Phillip asked, getting to his feet and going to the bar area to get some coffee laced with brandy. “I could call Stan and Paige to join us.”

“That would be great.” Jeremy stood up just as Ryan came back from the bathroom with a towel around his waist.

Jeremy stared. Oh god, he’s so stunningly beautiful, Jeremy couldn’t stamp down the thought that sprung to his mind. When Ryan caught him staring, Jeremy smiled and then started towards the closet where Ryan was headed.

“I’m going for a run with Lip, Stan and Paige. Wanna come?”

“No. Go spend time with them.” Ryan said as he pulled on boxer briefs beneath the towel. “I’ll organize some breakfast for you four.”

“Better make it lunch.” Jeremy said, watching as Ryan pulled on blue jeans and a baby-blue polo shirt. He looked so fucking sweet. “We’re probably going to run all morning. I’ll pass through mum’s before I come back.”

“Okay.” Ryan watched as Jeremy turned to go. Something didn’t feel right but Ryan couldn’t put a finger on it. “Jeremy?” He waited till his mate turned to look at him with a raised brow. “Are we okay?”

“Sure.” Then Jeremy went to join Phillip behind the bar.

By the time Ryan came back to the room from the bathroom where he’d gone to hang his towel, Jeremy was opening the door for Stan and Paige. After hugging Stan, he just stared at Paige. Ryan watched them with bated breath.

“I’m so sorry, Jer.” Paige murmured, looking so contrite. “I thought I…”

“You did what you had to do so don’t sweat it.” Jeremy muttered. “But if you ever…”

“I will never put his life in danger again, Jeremy. I promise.” Paige breathed shakily. “I didn’t mean for that to happen.”

“You know, I can’t help but remember how you felt about him in the beginning.” Jeremy leaned closer, his eyes fierce. “Makes me wonder whether this was a form of punishment…”

“Don’t you dare complete that sentence Jeremy Stanton.” Paige hissed as angry tears sprang to her eyes. “I love Ryan. I would never intentionally harm him and it hurts that you would even think that. Please don’t be ugly about this.” She whispered shakily, trembling visibly but she didn’t back down. “I’m not expecting your forgiveness.” The tears fell then. “I don’t deserve it. But I sure as fuck don’t deserve your insults.”

The devastation on Paige’s face was killing Jeremy. The alpha knew he’d gone too far but he also knew why he was so angry at his friend. He couldn’t look at his mate’s face without picturing someone kissing him. And it was all thanks to Paige. But no matter what, Jeremy knew that he had to make things right with Paige. People made mistakes. He should know. He gave a shaky exhale.

“I’m sorry, Paige.” Jeremy said gruffly. “I just… said what I thought.”

“That was a shitty thing to say.” Paige hiccupped, wiping her cheeks with her fingers.

“I know,” Jeremy drew her into his arms, “but come on, you do it all that fucking time, Slip. I do it just this once and you want to crucify me?” He murmured into her hair. “I’m sorry.”

“All I wanted was for him to dream about you because I knew that would cause him enough pain to push him to force the council to…make Luna bring you back. I just wanted him to feel some pain.” She said tearfully.

“I didn’t want him to feel pain, Paige.” Jeremy rasped. “I went to great lengths to make sure he didn’t have to.”

“And much as that was sweet and mushy as fuck, it was a silly thing to do.” Paige managed to growl through her tears. “For him to save you, he needed to feel pain, you moron. And I thought that dreaming about you would fill him with that pain. I definitely didn’t want to cause him harm. I was there the whole time just to keep an eye on him. That stupid warlock just…” She shook her head sadly. “He obviously had a death wish. And he decided to seek some revenge along the way. Silly me made it easy for him.”

“That’s what they do, Paige.” Jeremy sighed. “They can’t be trusted unless they are part of you. Why didn’t you talk about your plan with someone else? Deloris would have helped you.”

“No, she wouldn’t have, and you know it.” Paige snapped. “No one wants to go against Luna.” She tried to sneer but her shaky voice ruined the effect, making Jeremy laugh despite himself.

They stood there for a very long time, with Paige sobbing quietly. They were tears of joy and relief that Jeremy was back. She didn’t care at all that they’d had a fight. It wasn’t their first and it was definitely not going to be their last. She was just happy that he was even there to fight with.

Ryan watched the scene quietly and then retreated to the study. He’d wanted to interrupt Jeremy and Paige’s fight but Phillip and Stan had signaled him not to interfere. At least they seemed okay. Inside the study, Ryan sat behind his desk and stared at the couch on which he’d begged that warlock to give him a kiss. The rug had already been changed as it had been stained with the man’s blood. He reached for the phone and gave firm instructions to Will, the one in charge of maintenance. He wanted that couch changed immediately, and everything rearranged in the study. He knew that even if another couch replaced the old one, it wouldn’t stop him from remembering what had gone on at that particular spot. Ryan also requested that the shattered glass in the Alpha’s suite be replaced. After that, he called to order lunch in the main dining room inside the mansion. He thought Gloria, Joel and Deloris could join them for lunch.

***

Ryan stared at his mate’s captivatingly gorgeous face. He looked to be in deep thought. They were in bed after a busy day. Lunch had been a fun affair with Gloria and Deloris telling everyone stories about the battle. When Gloria recounted the story about the three Wyatt warlocks, everyone erupted into laughter. And Reynard Wyatt’s silly talk definitely amused them. Even Paige had felt free enough to recount some of the funny things the albino had said to her. She’d insisted that at a point she’d actually thought the man was a professional comedian. It had been a fun time and by the time everyone left, it was already evening. Immediately they’d gotten back to the suite, Jeremy had informed Ryan that he needed to see the high priestess. He thought he should at least apologize for trying to kill her. Ryan had encouraged him to go because he thought that Jeremy really needed to do that.

Around nine p.m., Gloria had called the suite and asked to speak to Jeremy. When Ryan informed her that his mate was meeting with the high priestess, she’d told him that she’d gone to see the priestess with Jeremy and that they’d only spent about thirty minutes at the woman’s house. According to Gloria, she’d just had a call from the high priestess saying that Jeremy had left his cell phone in her home. And since Gloria couldn’t seem to get Jeremy on his mind-link, she’d decided to call the suite instead to tell them that his phone was at the residence of the high priestess, just in case he was looking for it. Ryan had thanked Gloria and promised to pass on the information. From what Gloria had said, Jeremy was obviously not in the pack house. She would have been able to reach him on his mind-link if he’d been there. Ryan acknowledged the fact that Jeremy was a grown man and an alpha who answered to no one. But it still hurt that Jeremy hadn’t told him that he was going out. He deserved that, Ryan fumed. After all, he was his mate.

Jeremy had come back to the suite around midnight, and told Ryan even before he could complain, that he’d gone out with Phillip and Stan. He said he’d decided to go hang out at their favourite joint. Ryan had curbed his irritation and nodded his understanding. He didn’t think he needed to give Jeremy any stress after what he’d had to endure at the Fort. If he wanted to kick back and relax in his favourite joint, so be it. But Ryan hadn’t been able to curb the panicky feeling that had settled inside the pit of his stomach. Just one look at Jeremy’s face and it was obvious that his mate wasn’t uncomfortable around him. Oh, he could feel Jeremy’s desire for him all right and he wanted him right back but for some reason, Jeremy didn’t seem to want to be alone with him. Fuck, his mate hadn’t even given him a kiss since his return. Apart from the first few minutes of raw affection and desire that Jeremy had displayed immediately after he’d woken up from his deep slumber, he hadn’t been his usual affectionate self. It was almost as if Jeremy had erected a wall between them. In fact, his mate had shown other people more affection than he’d shown him. And that hurt a lot.

Ryan knew the exact moment that the emotional barrier had gone up. It had been immediately after his revelation that he’d kissed someone else. He didn’t understand why that should be an issue though. He’d been under a spell for goodness sake. He had to take that wall down any way he could, Ryan thought determinedly. But how?

Jeremy had taken a long shower and then joined Ryan in bed but he’d stayed on his side of the bed. The glass that he’d shattered earlier had been replaced with a tinted one this time. From the bed area, one could see anything on the other side of the tinted glass, but someone on the other side wouldn’t be able to see anyone inside the bed area. The darkness of the glass made it seem as if they were inside a cocoon, cut off from the world but on the contrary, Ryan had never felt more distanced from Jeremy as he did right then. It was almost one a.m. but Ryan was stung too tight to even feel sleepy despite the fact that he’d woken up very early the day before, thanks to Jeremy. He turned on his side and look at Jeremy.

“Jeremy?” Ryan called out softly and watched as his mate turned beautiful blue eyes on him. Ryan’s felt a chill trickled down his spine at the myriad of emotions that swirled in Jeremy’s eyes. The discontent and wretchedness in those eyes made Ryan’s heartbeat quicken with dread. He swallowed audibly. “Jeremy, I’m sorry.” Ryan didn’t know what else to say. Yes, he hadn’t been conscious of his actions but somehow, he felt he needed to apologize. “Please. I thought I was dream…”

“I know Ryan.” Jeremy groaned, turning on his side to face his unhappy mate. “It’s just that…fuck!” He swore, rolling back onto his back and flinging an arm across his eyes. “I need some time, please.” The anguish in his voice couldn’t be masked.

Ryan whimpered. What else could he say when someone asked for some time? “I understand.” He responded quietly and rolled over to face the other side.

“Fuck!” Jeremy exploded and shot out of bed and out of the bed area.

Ryan didn’t turn to look at his mate. He just willed himself to sleep but the tears clogging his throat made sleep impossible. After what felt like hours but was in fact, less than an hour, Jeremy came back to bed and pulled Ryan’s tense body against his so that he was spooned behind Ryan. He felt Ryan’s despair and vulnerability and wished he could simply forget about everything. But he just couldn’t. Was he taking things too seriously because of the agony and anger he felt within due to all the torture he’d endured in purgatory? Jeremy knew that he needed to reassure his mate that his feelings towards him hadn’t changed. He needed Ryan to understand him.

“You know I love you baby.” Jeremy groaned into Ryan’s hair. “You know I adore you. Hell, I worship the ground you walk on. You are my world Ryan. That hasn’t changed and can never change. It’s just that the thought of someone else’s lips on yours is driving me insane.”

“Paige kissed me that time…”

“It’s not the same and you know it.” Jeremy growled. “Fuck, I can’t look at you without…”

“Would it be better if I told you it wasn’t a deep kiss?” Ryan had never sounded more desperate. He needed his mate to look past that stupid image. “There was no tongue, there was no…”

“Shhhh…” Jeremy tightened his hold on Ryan, plastering himself even more against him in the process. His breath hitched in his throat when his cock slipped between the crease of Ryan’s butt cheeks. He went rock hard. “Shit.” Why the fuck hadn’t he at least worn boxer briefs, Jeremy scolded himself. His dick obviously had a mind of its own. It wanted inside his mate.

Ryan felt Jeremy’s erection against him and felt himself tremble with raw hunger. Despite the ache inside his chest, he’d never wanted Jeremy more. Since drinking Jeremy’s cum the night before, Ryan hadn’t completely gone flaccid. The craving for his mate was so bad it was almost as if he was an addict having withdrawal symptoms. For some reason, the mere idea of getting himself off made him sick, which was very strange considering the fact that till he mated with Jeremy, all he knew was his hand. He needed Jeremy. But Ryan didn’t think Jeremy was ready to give him what he wanted. Well, there was no harm in asking, was there? As his mate, Jeremy had to give him sex if he wanted it. Hell, he was ready to beg if he had to. He wanted to feel Jeremy inside him that badly.

“I want you Jeremy.” Ryan murmured shakily. “I am going crazy with need.” He wriggled his arse against the hard, hot cock stuck snugly inside his butt crack and moaned when the wet head rubbed against his hungry hole. “Oh god.” Ryan groaned, arching his back in pleasure. He heard Jeremy’s breath become quick and shallow with obvious lust. “Jeremy, even if you can’t kiss me, give me this, please.” Ryan pleaded brokenly as he began to rock against that cock, loving how it felt against his twitching rosette. God, he’d missed Jeremy. His cocks were so hard they curved up against his flat tummy, both leaking like a faucet. Feeling that huge hot knob against his hole felt so good Ryan felt himself drool. “Please Jer. Please.”

But Jeremy moved back abruptly with a harsh groan, putting some distance between them. “I can’t take you without tasting those lips, Ryan.” Jeremy rasped.

Ryan flushed with desperation and mortification at being rejected but he didn’t give up. Anything was better than nothing. The level of lust within was so high he could barely suck in his breath.

“Touch me then,” he begged. “Please, Jeremy. Fuck…please. Just touch me.”

The alpha felt as if he was about to explode with the intensity of emotions whirling within him. He wanted nothing more than to be balls deep inside his mate that very moment. But the mere thought of those full, sweet, succulent lips of Ryan’s, moving against another man’s instantly cooled his ardor as if he’d been doused by iced water. He didn’t know why he couldn’t get past that image. One would have thought that after his stay in the Fort, and reliving all the cruel things that he’d done to Ryan, he would rather have drawn away from Ryan because of all the guilt. But somehow, that was not a problem at all because he felt his mate’s forgiveness within. It was almost as if Ryan had removed those incidents from his mind because Jeremy felt nothing but complete love from his mate. To say he respected Ryan for wholeheartedly forgiving him didn’t do what he felt justice. Jeremy was in awe of his mate. He knew he was in the presence of a better person. But the thought of Ryan sharing a kiss with another man was just killing him inside.

“Give me some time please.” Jeremy whispered.

Ryan nodded and drew the covers over him. He’d never felt that humiliated in his life. The humiliation he’d felt that day Jeremy had made him pee himself, didn’t even come close to what he felt that very instant. He’d begged to be fucked. He’d begged to be touched. He’d bared himself…thrown himself out there and begged for something he needed. But his mate had turned him down. It hurt like hell but Ryan told himself he needed to understand and wait for Jeremy to get over whatever image was bouncing around in his head. He just had to be strong and give him time as he’d asked. But he vowed there and then, never to beg Jeremy for sex again till he felt he was ready to forgive him, forget about that kiss, and then take him. He knew that pushing people against their will could sometimes push them right out the door. He didn’t want that. It was going to be very difficult being around his mate and not getting any relief but that wouldn’t kill him. If only the thought of wanking off wasn’t so sickening, Ryan though as he eventually drifted off into a restless sleep.

Jeremy couldn’t sleep. He stared at the back of his mate. He could tell the exact moment Ryan nodded off because he heard his breathing even out. He felt so bad because he knew how it felt to be hungry for sex and not get it. Fuck, he’d been driven to rape once because he’d needed sex so bad. Although he wanted sex too, he wasn’t so desperate because strangely, he felt as if he’d had some form of release. Could it be because of that dream, he wondered. In the dream, Ryan had given him some amazing head. He could feel himself getting hard just by remembering.

“Fuck.” Jeremy breathed, staring at Ryan who kept tossing and turning.

With a sigh, Jeremy moved closer to Ryan and drew him into his arms. He placed Ryan’s head on his chest and wrapped an arm around his waist. Somehow his closeness to Ryan seemed to do the trick because his adorable mate immediately gave a small sigh, relaxed against him and slept peacefully. Although Jeremy remained on top of the covers, he could still feel Ryan’s hardness through the covers. He had to make an effort to suppress his groan. If only he could ignore the mental torture and fuck his mate’s brains out, Jeremy thought with frustration as he allowed himself to drift off to sleep.

***

“So what went down?” Stan asked, refilling his glass with scotch.

Jeremy had just returned from a meeting with the alphas. And as was their usual practice, Phillip and Stan had followed him into the suite, for a rundown of what had been said at the meeting.

It had been a week since Jeremy had been back from purgatory. He’d decided that it was about time he met with the alphas and explained his absence. Jeremy had boldly confessed to his colleague alphas what he’d done and its consequent punishment. The alphas had actually given him a standing ovation for taking his punishment like a man and an alpha. Jeremy had drawn the minds of the alphas to the fact that as a mere human and a newly turned wolf, Ryan hadn’t stood a chance against his Ojah powers.

“And you should be grateful for that because if it had been now that he has all that divine power, you would have been smoked.” One alpha said, making all the others erupt with laughter.

Jeremy had been happy about their attitude. He’d been worried about how they would react towards Ryan after hearing what had happened but it was obvious they actually respected and liked his mate. After all, but for Ryan, they would all be dead or worse…living as the bitches of some four century old warlock. The alphas had then proved how they still respected Jeremy even after everything he’d done, by informing him that they’d met in his absence and voted unanimously that he become the alpha of alphas since Sasha, who’d held that position, was dead.

Jeremy had been shocked that the alphas wanted him as their AA. He’d just sat there and stared at the faces of the expectant alphas. Finally, he’d gathered his thoughts long enough to ask them the questing that was eating at his conscious.

“You want me to occupy that position even after what I did? I’ve been at the Fort for the past three months for fucks sake.” Jeremy gasped.

“And who better to hold that position than someone who has the experience of the Fort under his belt?” The oldest alpha amongst them spoke up. “Someone who is brave enough to actually embrace such a punishment. Someone whose mate saved all of our kind, from a lifetime of thralldom. Need I go on son?” He drawled, making the others laugh and applaud again.

“And with that badass mate of yours by your side, no one can touch us.” Another added, to which all the alphas gave a loud roar of excitement.

In the end, a stunned Jeremy thanked the alphas for the offer and promised to give them his response in two days. They had responded that they were not going to take no, for an answer. Jeremy had thanked then once again, and then left the meeting in a daze.

“That’s what I’m talking about.” Stan gave a fist pump when Jeremy finished giving them the news. “We get the headquarters. Fuck yeah!”

It was always a great honour for a pack to have the Alpha of Alphas as a pack member. The home of the AA usually became the headquarters of werewolves worldwide. The headquarters had been Russia for years because Sasha was the AA till his death at the hands of the Wyatt Clan. Now the headquarters was going to move to California, and all the attention was going to be on Stanwood Pack. It also meant that the livelihood of Jeremy and his mate was now the responsibility of every pack in the world. Had Jeremy not been wealthy, he would definitely have become wealthy with the new position. As AA, his wealth was only going to multiply in spades.

“That’s a huge honour but also an enormous responsibility, man.” Phillip said, his eye filled with so much pride.

“And that’s why you’re going to help me, Lip.” Jeremy said.

“How?” Phillip folded his arms across his chest.

“You’re going to take over Stanwood.” Jeremy responded. “It’s your time to rule Lip. I can’t combine the problems in every pack worldwide with my work here. It’s all yours. Change the name if you want. I don’t mind.”

“But this is one of the biggest packs in the world, Jer.” Phillip’s voice was barely above a whisper. “I’m just a new alpha. I can only head a small…”

“This is your pack Lip.” Jeremy cut him off. “You’ve been doing this with me since I took over from Uncle Joel. Managing Stanwood will be a piece of cake. They can’t ask for a finer alpha. Say yes, Lip.” Jeremy stared at his friend. “Please.”

Phillip looked at Jeremy. He couldn’t believe he was actually begging him to become the alpha of a great pack such as Stanwood. It was the greatest honour anyone could have given him. It was Jeremy’s birthright for goodness sake. And he was stepping aside to let him take over. Phillip knew that if he attempted to say another word, he would breakdown. So he just nodded and stretched forth his hand to Jeremy for a handshake.

“Come here.” Jeremy growled and drew his emotional friend into a powerful hug.

Phillip virtually never cried. But Jeremy had seen his flushed face and just knew his friend was going to lose it. And even as Phillip sobbed quietly on his shoulder, an equally emotional Stan wiped the tears off his own cheeks where he sat. Jeremy signaled him to join them for a group hug. By the time the three men separated, each had to wipe his eyes.

“Will you be my head Beta, Stan?” Phillip croaked.

“Try choosing anyone else and I’m gonna wangchang the twerp’s arse into oblivion.” Stan growled, assuming a karate posture with an arm stretched out with knuckles sticking out and a foot pointing down.

The guys laughed as they threw themselves into the couches and turned their attention to the Olympic Games that was showing on TV.

“The name stays.” Phillip said softly. “It’s still your legacy Jer. That’s not going to change.”

“It’s our legacy, Lip.” Jeremy responded softly. “I’ll inform the council before my next meeting with the alphas on Sunday.” Jeremy said, draining the glass of scotch that stood on the coffee table. “You have to come for the meeting with the alphas too Lip. I need to introduce the new alpha of Stanwood Pack to them.” He grinned.

“Fuck, I can’t believe we’re getting the AA, guys.” Stan shouted excitedly. “Will you guys be flying on Sunday or going by road?” He asked.

“Lip can choose to fly or drive.” Jeremy said quietly. “I’ll be using the bike. It will give me a chance to think. Besides, I’ve missed it.”

“Are you okay, Jeremy?” Phillip asked. It was obvious that his friend wasn’t himself. Jeremy had been making an effort to appear normal but he couldn’t fool him. He’d known the alpha since he was a baby. Jeremy was like a kid brother to him. So he knew when Jeremy was struggling. “I know it’s going to take a while for you to…”

“I’ll never be okay, Lip.” Jeremy whispered, staring into his empty glass. “What happened to me in there…it’s going to take a long time for me to… Fuck!” He slammed the glass on the coffee table but fortunately, it didn’t break.

“Hey…” Phillip moved to sit beside Jeremy. “Easy… One step at a time. You’re home now. That’s all that matters. I know it’s not going to be easy but try not to think about it.”

“Maybe you need a vacation.” Stan said. “Go somewhere with Ryan. Just the two of you. Forget about everything and have fun. That should help get your mind off things.

“That would be brilliant.” Phillip nodded. “In fact I think you should.” He added, getting to his feet and stretching. “Paige and Ryan just got back.” Phillip informed Jeremy and Stan. “She just asked me whether we’re here.” The two had gone to the school to work on something. Well, Ryan had claimed he had to go and see to whatever it was, himself. Paige had insisted on tagging along. “Speaking of Ryan,” Phillip abruptly sat back down and trained worried grey eyes on Jeremy, “is he okay?”

“Why do you ask?” Jeremy murmured, avoiding his friend’s eyes.

“Jeremy…”

“I’m just going through some shit alright?” Jeremy groaned.

“What kind of shit besides the obvious?” Stan asked, moving closer to sit on the rug at Jeremy’s feet.

“I can’t… I can’t look at Ryan without…” He trailed off and growled deep in his throat. “Fuck.”

“Without what?” Stan asked.

“It’s the kiss isn’t it?” Phillip asked quietly. He knew that Jeremy would have problems with that.

“Dude, get real.” Stan groaned. “The guy thought he was dreaming for fucks sake.”

“I know.” Jeremy muttered. “And I get it. He thought he was kissing me and all that but at the end of the day, it hadn’t been a dream. And it hadn’t been my lips. And that pisses me the fuck off.”

“Ooo jealousy, thy name is Jeremy.” Stan purred, leaning back on his elbows.

“No, it’s not you twat.” Jeremy growled as Phillip tried to stifle his laughter. “I’m…”

“Don’t tell me you’ve never had a dream in which you’ve wanted to be naughty.” Phillip said quietly. “Or a dream which seemed so real you…”

“Oh I have.” Jeremy gave a humourless laughter, remembering his most recent dream in which Ryan had given him the most amazing blowjob. In the dream he’d come so hard and brutal. But he knew it had only been a dream because he hadn’t seen any evidence of his cum when he’d woken up. “And I get what you guys are saying but…it’s difficult.”

“So make it easy, you fucker.” Stan growled. “That man shouldn’t be made to feel guilty because he’s done nothing wrong. It seems so wrong to be punished for what he had no control over.”

“Fuck, now you two are making me sound like a jerk.” Jeremy groaned.

“You are acting like one.” Phillip deadpanned. “I can imagine what the poor man is going through right…” He trailed off when the door opened to reveal Ryan and an obviously tensed up Paige.

**

Ryan took just one look at the trio and knew that he’d been the topic of discussion. He saw the pity in the eyes of both Phillip and Stan and felt the blood rush to his face. Had Jeremy told the guys about how he’d begged for sex? Had he told them how he’d turned him down? That had happened about five days earlier and he couldn’t say that his relationship with Jeremy had been the best. Jeremy avoided him by making sure they were never alone during the day. At night, Jeremy either went to bed early before him, or waited till after Ryan slept before he came to bed. They however always woke up curled around each other. But that wasn’t enough. Ryan couldn’t help but regret taking some days off to be with his mate. Seeing as he was being avoided by his mate, he obviously shouldn’t have bothered. He’d been walking around Jeremy on eggshells because he didn’t want to offend the man or give him any stress after what he’d been through at the Fort. And being horny all the fucking time sure wasn’t helping. Sometimes he felt like screaming out his frustration.

Nothing Ryan had felt in the past few days, however, compared to what he was feeling right then, looking at the expression on Phillip and Stan’s faces. He felt exposed. He felt as though he was being ridiculed which was strange because he knew that Phillip and Stan would never mock him. He felt sorry for himself. Ryan’s throat felt tight. He wanted to hide. He wanted to kneel over and die. He wanted to go somewhere that no one would see him. It was suddenly difficult to breathe. Ryan looked around with wild eyes. His eyes stung. Finally, he focused on Paige.

“I need to…” He panted harshly.

“Ryan what is wrong?” Paige gasped as Ryan turned back towards the door.

“I need some air.” He breathed. “I’ll be…”

“Ryan?” Jeremy shot out of his seat and rushed to the door but Ryan disappeared right before their eyes.

“What the fuck is going on here, Jeremy?” Paige growled. She looked pissed. “What did you do to him?”

“I’ve done nothing.” Jeremy muttered gruffly.

“Why the fuck do I find that hard to believe?” Her voice raised. “He doesn’t look like you’ve done nothing to me.” Paige jabbed a thumb toward the door. “I’ve never seen him like this. Not even when your arse was rotting in that place. He looks broken. And he’s been like that since you came back. It’s like something died inside him. What the fuck did you do?” She screamed like a lioness whose cub had been taken.

“Can’t stand the sight of him.” Stan responded simply as if he hadn’t just blurted out a most ridiculous reason. And he totally ignored Jeremy’s glare.

“What?” Paige looked confused.

“I need to find him.” Jeremy said, reaching for the doorknob.

“Wait, wait…” Paige slammed a hand on Jeremy’s. “What does he mean you can’t stand the sight of him?”

“‘Cause another man kissed him.” Stan again quipped.

“Will you shut the fuck up?” Phillip growled.

“You’re punishing him because of that?” Paige whispered, shocked. “Really? That’s balderdash. I’m so disappointed in you Jeremy.” And she looked it too.

“I’m trying Pa…”

“Try harder asshole.” She hissed. “That man has done nothing but love you with everything he is since you left here. Despite all that you’ve put him through, he’s accepted you as his mate and allowed himself to fall in love with you. He’s selflessly done what he didn’t even know he was capable of, to save your people. That battle should have been fought by you and not him. You should be kissing his feet, treating him like a king and giving him anything he asks for. But you rather choose to treat him this badly? Was it a sin to miss you? Was it an offense to want to dream about his mate? Was it a crime to want to feel his mate’s lips on his in a dream? Tell me, are you always conscious of what really goes on when you dream? When did you become so self-righteous? Can you even…”

“I get it Paige.” Jeremy murmured gruffly. “I get it.”

“He didn’t know he was kissing another person you idiot so you better crouch your tiger, hide your dragon and pull you head out of your fucking arse.” Paige growled. “Fix this.” With that she yanked the door open and then stormed out of the suite.

Jeremy turned his head to look at his two friends who he knew were of the same mind as Paige. There was guilt written all over his face but that wasn’t what drew gasps from his friends. It was the look of utter panic on Jeremy’s face that struck Phillip and Stan.

“Jeremy?” Phillip started towards his friend.

“I can’t feel him.” Jeremy said in a shaky voice. “How do I find him?”

***

Ryan wasn’t too surprised when he materialized in Gloria’s garden. He hadn’t meant to go to Jeremy’s mother when he’d desperately blinked out of the suite. All he could think at the time was how he needed some peace and calm within to prevent himself from going insane. Well, what better person to give him that peace than Gloria Stanton. He saw her as his mother too after all. Ryan stared at the elegant woman who seemed to be oblivious to his presence. With a deep breath, he released his aura. One moment Gloria seemed engrossed in whatever she was doing with the flowers, the next, she was sniffing the air. Then she turned in Ryan’s direction with a huge grin on her face. But that grin wavered, and then disappeared. She frowned, sensing that all was not well with her son-in-law.

Gloria watched as Ryan’s mouth opened as if to speak, and then closed. She saw his eyes brim over and knew that he was falling apart. Ryan opened his mouth again but then closed it again. Gloria didn’t need to be a genius to know that whatever was causing Ryan’s misery had something to do with her son. Her eyes hardened for a split second in anger. But then watching Ryan, she knew that he didn’t need her anger that very instant. Gloria’s face softened, became even more stunning. She opened her arms and whispered;

“Come here, darling.”

Ryan didn’t realize he was crying until he felt the wetness on his cheeks. He walked into Gloria’s arms and then just let himself go, pouring out his confusion and hurt in a storm of tears. And although Ryan didn’t break down into sobs like he really wanted to do, he allowed himself to accept the comfort that spilled out in volumes from the woman he’d come to see as a mother.

***

‘Anything?’ Jeremy asked his friends on their mind-link. And when both said they still hadn’t found Ryan, he let out a frustrated roar.

They’d been searching for Ryan for hours to no avail. He’d gone to check Ryan’s apartment, campus, the fucking woods, no Ryan. It was only natural for an upset werewolf to shift and go for a run. But obviously, that wasn’t how Ryan rolled. As a wolf, Jeremy’s best bet was to track his mate by his scent. But apart from the fact that he couldn’t feel Ryan, Jeremy couldn’t even smell him. He’d been gone since two p.m. that afternoon. And it was already after eleven p.m. Jeremy could say for a fact that Ryan was nowhere within that pack house. Fuck!

“Where are you, baby?” Jeremy whispered to himself as he walked dejectedly out of the woods.

He saw Phillip and Stan pulling on their shorts with worried looks on their faces. They’d scanned every inch of the woods and beyond in their wolf forms but there was no sign of Ryan anywhere. He took the shorts and sexy sleeveless t-shirt that Stan held out to him and unhurriedly, wore them.

“Listen, I’m very grateful for your help guys.” Jeremy said quietly.

“You know we’re always here for you.” Phillip said. “Where do we go next?”

“I’ll take it from here.” Jeremy murmured. “At least he’s alive. Although I can’t feel him, I would have felt it if he was in danger or…” He trailed off but his friends knew what he wanted to say.

“That’s good.” Stan said, leaning forward to give Jeremy a hug and a light slap on the back. “He will be back. The guy loves you too much not to.”

“Well, it’s not like he has a choice.” Phillip chuckled.

“I hope you’re right.” Jeremy sighed, accepting the one-armed hug from Phillip. “I’ll just pass through mum’s and tell her what’s going on before she finds out that Ryan has gone missing.”

“You had better do that dude.” Phillip chuckled. “I wouldn’t wanna be you if she finds out any other way. All the best.”

“And if you find him, you know what to do.” Stan drawled, making an obscene gesture with his tongue.

“Fuck you.” Jeremy laughed despite himself.

“No, thank you.” Stan laughed. “But you know who would welcome that. See you tomorrow bro.”

And even as Jeremy parted ways with his friends, his heart pounded with dread. He knew his mother was going to kill him. Fuck, he wanted to kill himself too. The only thing stopping him from doing that was the fact that it would be ruled as suicide. He cursed darkly as he took the longest route to his mother’s house. He should have shifted and ran but he preferred to walk to give himself time to think. He would just tell his mother that Ryan had blinked out after a misunderstanding. Then he would promise her that he was going to sort everything out. With that plan made, he hastened his steps.

**

Jeremy wasn’t surprised when he found his mother watching TV in her living room. Since he was a kid, the earliest that woman went to bed was one a.m. He thought it strange though that his mother didn’t even turn to acknowledge his presence.

“Mum?” He went to sit beside her on her plush maroon couch. “Are you okay?” He asked with concern.

Gloria slowly turned her head to look at her son. She saw the concern and confusion in his eyes and wondered why he looked confused. Surly Jeremy should know that she wouldn’t be happy with the way he’d made Ryan unhappy.

“Did you just ask me whether I was okay?” Gloria asked with an incredulous look on her face.

“Well, I thought…wait, has Ryan said anything to you?” Jeremy twisted in the seat to face his mother. “Do you know where he is?”

Gloria looked shocked for a moment but then quickly schooled her features to one of indifference. Jeremy obviously didn’t know. Ryan was something else, she thought amused. In fact Gloria was so amused she couldn’t control the laughter that erupted from her throat.

“What’s going on?” Jeremy frowned. “Why are you laughing?”

“Oh Jeremy.” Gloria threw her head back against the head rest and gave a deep sign. “Why are you here?”

“I’m beginning to think you know why I’m here.” Jeremy rasped, not amused. “Has he called you?”

“Who?” Gloria managed to maintain a straight face.

“Don’t play with me Ma.” Jeremy growled.

“Don’t you dare growl at me.” Gloria hissed, suddenly angry. “I’m trying very hard to hold on to my temper because of what you’ve been through so don’t test me, Jeremy Stanton.”

“I’m sorry.” Jeremy mumbled. “I just…I’m worried about him. Not knowing where he is, is killing me.”

“Well, you should have thought of that before driving him away with your shitty attitude.” Gloria said sternly. “We all know that it’s going to take a while to bounce back after your experience at the Fort but the last person you should take your frustrations out on is Ryan. That boy has been through a lot and doesn’t deserve any shit from you. After what he went through at the hands of that stupid sperm donor of his, you should be treating him with kid gloves, not hurting his feelings. What did you say to him to get him so heartbroken?”

Jeremy stared at his mother. Ryan obviously hadn’t told her what he’d done. That was good because he had no intention of telling his mother.

“Where did he go Ma?” Jeremy’s voice was hoarse. “I need to know where he is.”

“He’s fine. Just tell me what you did to him.”

“Where is he?” Jeremy was getting worked up and Gloria could tell.

“He’s asleep in the guest room.” She said quietly.

“What?” Jeremy gasped. “I didn’t smell… Is he okay?” He asked as he got to his feet with the intention of going to his mate. Gloria held him back.

“Wait Jeremy.”

But Jeremy snatched his hands out of Gloria’s grip. “You can’t stop me from seeing him.”

“I know and I won’t.” Gloria said softly. “Just come sit with me and listen to me. Please.”

With a deep sigh, Jeremy went back and sat beside his mother. He looked shaky. Gloria reached for his hand and rubbed soothing circles at the back.

“He cloaked himself Jeremy.” She said softly. “I didn’t even know that till you asked me where he is. I thought you came here because you knew he was here. The question is, why would your mate cloak himself? He obviously didn’t want you to find him. For a mate to do that, you must have hurt him real bad. What did you do?”

Jeremy shook his head sadly. “I can’t tell you Ma. But I will fix it. I promise I will.”

“Telling me you’ll fix it isn’t going to get you off the hook, Jeremy.” Gloria said coolly. “There are no words to describe what that boy has had to endure. Meeting his father like that, being thrust into all that violence, seeing people that he’d come to see as family die at the hands of his father…it has all been too much. And you hadn’t been there to help him through all that. That boy needs the highest level of comfort from you, Jeremy. The last thing he needs from you is this.” She threw her hands up angrily. “Making him feel this way. I’ve never felt a person hurt so much as I had when I held Ryan in my arms today.” She whispered.

“Shit.” Jeremy swore.

“I don’t know what you did or said but I expected better from you son. Ryan doesn’t need this from anyone. Especially not from you.”

Jeremy nodded, feeling so wretched. “Can I see him now?”

Gloria nodded. “But please don’t wake him up.” She cautioned. “He was strung up so tight I had a hard time getting him to sleep.”

“Fuck!” Jeremy visibly shook as he got back to his feet.

“I’m sure he will be fine by the time he wakes up tomorrow.” Gloria said. “I’ll tell him you came by when he wakes up.”

“I’m staying with him Ma.” Jeremy couldn’t control his low growl. He knew his mother would insist he left. Well, not this time. He sure as hell wasn’t going to allow anyone to tell him not to be with his mate. Not even his mother. Jeremy’s eyes turned amber. His wolf was close. And no one in their right minds challenged an alpha whose wolf was that close. Especially not a mother. They knew better. “This is not like the other time. He’s my mate now. He stays with me.”

Gloria nodded and watched her son move towards the guest room. Jeremy was right. They were mated now. His place was by his mate.

Jeremy sent a quick message to Phillip and Stan on his mind-link to tell them that he’d found Ryan. He thanked them once again and then opened the door to his mother’s guestroom. He gasped when sorrow instantly hit him like a punch. Although Ryan was asleep, his emotions surrounded him as if it were another entity. He lay on his side, buried under the covers, facing the door. The room was bathed with light from the moon which streamed in from an open window. Tendrils of hair lay across his forehead, down one side of his flawless face. Jeremy swallowed hard. His mate was just beautiful. That angelic face… He was perfect. Jeremy took a step closer to the bed but stopped with a pained whimper when he saw the streaks of dried tears on Ryan’s face. What had he done, he railed at himself. His wolf was going crazy inside him. He needed to hold Ryan, feel his heart beating against his, feel his breath on him…

Jeremy stripped. He just wanted to get as close to Ryan as he could without waking him up. Getting naked meant instead of two sets of clothing between them, there was only one. Completely naked, Jeremy lifted the edge of the covers and slid in beside Ryan. Ryan didn’t wake up when Jeremy got in beside him. But he snuggled into Jeremy, settling in as if his body were made to perfectly fit Jeremy’s. Even in sleep, he obviously craved the closeness of his mate. Jeremy gently pushed the hair off Ryan’s forehead and stared down into the most breathtaking face he’d ever seen. God, he loved him.

Then as if he couldn’t help himself, Jeremy lowered his head until his lips feathered against Ryan’s. He didn’t kiss him because he didn’t want to wake him up. But he didn’t separate their lips either. He just allowed his lips to rest against Ryan’s. He didn’t think about any other person. It was just his mate’s lips. And it felt great.

***

Ryan stretched the next morning and felt someone beside him in bed. Jeremy. But how? He remembered vividly that he’d slept in Gloria’s house. His eyelids fluttered open. The first thing Ryan noticed was the sexy abs of his mate. His mouth went even dryer than it already was. Why had Gloria called him, Ryan wondered unhappily. He’d cloaked himself to make sure Jeremy wouldn’t know where he was. He couldn’t blame Gloria though. He’d noticed how devastated she’d been the day before as he shook in her arms with the intensity of the emotions that threatened his sanity. He’d tried very hard to stop his tears but he just couldn’t.

A groan tore out of Ryan when he felt the familiar beginnings of arousal. The heat of Jeremy’s body and the mouthwatering scent of his skin were driving him nuts. The truth was that, Ryan really didn’t want to be around his mate because it was pure torture being around all that sexiness in his sexually frustrated state. He didn’t want to break his vow to himself not to beg Jeremy for sex till he offered. But being around him was making that vow very difficult to keep. Besides, he was pissed off at his mate for embarrassing him the day before. The look in Phillip and Stan’s eyes had said it all. Jeremy had obviously told them everything. He was still so mortified he didn’t even think he could look Jeremy in the eye. Well, fortunately the guy was still sleeping, Ryan thought with relief. All he had to do was gently extricate himself from Jeremy, say a quick thanks and bye to Gloria, and then blink back to the suite. By the time Jeremy got back to the suite, he would be out of there. Very happy with his plan, Ryan began to slowly and cautiously move away from his mate.

“Going somewhere?” Came the sexiest voice Ryan had ever heard.

Ryan couldn’t suppress the gasp that tore out of his throat. Completely forgetting that he was supposed to be too embarrassed to look Jeremy in the eye, he tilted his head back and met the sexiest blue eyes. All Ryan could do was stare. He couldn’t tear his eyes away from those smoldering eyes. Then as if by the force of a magnet, his eyes moved down to Jeremy’s mouth which was curved in a soft smile. Shit! Ryan felt his breath quicken as intense hunger slammed into him.

“I believe I asked you a question.” Those gorgeous lips moved but Ryan didn’t hear a word Jeremy had said. Jeremy watched as his mate’s mouth parted so sexily, saw his eyes dilate with arousal, saw the stark longing etched on his mate’s gorgeous face and felt the answering hunger within himself. “Ryan…” He breathed.

Ryan’s eyes remained transfixed on Jeremy’s mouth. It suddenly felt as if he would die if he didn’t taste those lips. A tiny whimper escaped his lips as his tongue came out to lick at his lips. And just like that, Jeremy was a goner.

The alpha lowered his head as if in a trance and pressed his lips to Ryan’s. None of them moved. It was almost as if they were both afraid to. Ryan’s heart was threatening to burst out of his chest. Was it another dream? Surely, the wondrous and incredibly delicious feeling within him couldn’t be a dream could it? And when he felt Jeremy’s lips begin to move gently against his, Ryan was floored. Jeremy was kissing him! Then Jeremy was applying more pressure, his tongue teasing Ryan’s mouth to open wider. A violent shiver of pleasure slithered through Ryan when Jeremy’s tongue touched his. Oh god, he’d missed his mate’s exquisite lips. With a broken moan Ryan began to kiss Jeremy back. He knew that the decent thing to do was to probably hold back and be sure that Jeremy was really okay with what he was doing. But Ryan couldn’t have held back even if his life had depended on it. He’d waited for too long to feel his mate’s incredible lips on his. He sure as fuck wasn’t going to deny himself the pleasure now that the man had finally decided to give him a taste. And Jeremy sure did taste better than heaven.

Jeremy kissed Ryan until his lips were hot and puffy. Ryan met the force of Jeremy’s kiss and gave him equal rawness as throaty moans spilled from him. The kiss was deep and ravenous. Their tongues dueled and their ecstatic moans filled the room. They couldn’t seem to get enough of each other. The kiss was broken only by the need for air but then their lips would seek each other’s again after just a quick intake of breath. And when Jeremy felt the heat of Ryan’s arousal through his jeans, he knew just what to do. Being in his mother’s house was not going to stop him from bringing his mate some long overdue relief.

His hand moved down to touch the bulge in Ryan’s jeans. Jeremy couldn’t help but think if he didn’t release those restrained cocks, they were going to rip past the zipper real soon. He jerked the buckle of the belt loose and yanked the belt out of the loops. Ryan offered no resistance at all even when Jeremy began to unzip his jeans. His desperate whimpers rather showed how eager he was for his mate to get his pants down and his dicks freed. And when his throbbing dicks were finally pulled free, he couldn’t control his cry of relief.

Jeremy growled into the kiss when his hand curled around the hot leaking cocks that pulsed with blood. Fuck, he’d missed the feel of them. He’d missed the way the thick veins throbbed beneath the smooth skin. Without wasting any more time, he began to give them hard firm strokes. The precum that had spilled from both cocks was so much lube wasn’t necessary. Jeremy milked Ryan so expertly Ryan knew he wasn’t going to last. And when he felt that familiar delicious tingle throughout his body, he tore his mouth away from Jeremy’s and let out a loud ecstatic cry. Jeremy couldn’t contain his joy and pride. Finally he was doing his job…giving his mate a well-deserved pleasure. He knew that his mother would hear them but he really didn’t give a flying fuck. He captured Ryan’s mouth again, not because he wanted to hush his cries of pleasure, but because he just needed to feel those succulent lips against his. His own cock leaked and pulsed with the need to come but he ignored the desire to get himself off in any way, caring only about his mate’s pleasure.

Ryan gripped Jeremy’s strong shoulder and began to thrust frenziedly into his fist as his excitement mounted. And when he felt the first signs of orgasm, his kiss and moans got more desperate and oh so hot. He was lost in sensations that threatened to consume him. And in that very moment, Ryan wanted to be consumed. He tore his mouth away from Jeremy’s and let rip a savage scream when the first shots of cum burst forth.

“Fuck…” Jeremy breathed as he watched Ryan writhe violently against him.

“Jeremy…” Ryan’s rapturous cries filled the room. The spasms that rocked through him was like nothing he’d ever felt. Maybe it was due to the fact that he’d never gone so long without release. He could feel the cum shooting out of both cocks again and again. Thanks to Jeremy’s cock, that wasn’t strange at all.

Ecstatic cries continued to fall out of Ryan as his hips pump upward into Jeremy’s working fist. Release had never felt so damn good. Even when he stopped spurting, his body still shook with bliss. He felt Jeremy move but didn’t open his eyes to see what his mate was doing. And when Ryan suddenly felt warm wet heat surround the heads of his cockheads, and fingers begin to pull on his balls, he jerked as if a thousand bolts of electricity had been shot into him.

“Oh my god, Jeremy…” He descended into an abyss of utter bliss.

Ryan’s eyes rolled into his head when Jeremy began to suck on those sensitive heads. If he’d been asked to describe the sensations rolling through him at that particular instant, Ryan wouldn’t have been able to. His entire body went into sensory overload when he felt that rough tongue begin to rub insistently against the sensitive underside of both cockheads. His heart raced dangerously…body locking straight…hovering on that orgasmic precipice…

With an inhuman roar which caused Jeremy’s toes to curl and Goosebumps to cover his skin, Ryan began to convulse as an even more powerful orgasm tore through him. He came hard. Ryan’s furiously jerking cocks flooded Jeremy’s mouth with so much cum some spilled out of the corners of the alpha’s mouth. But he kept his mouth open over the spurting cocks, milking Ryan for all he was worth and eagerly accepting every thick juice that spilled out. Jeremy savored the essence of his mate as if he were a dying man getting a taste of life. Even when Ryan stopped coming, Jeremy wouldn’t stop sucking on him.

Ryan gave harsh shuddering breaths as Jeremy wiggled the tip of his tongue into each slit, making sure every last drop wasn’t wasted. He wanted to push Jeremy away from his sensitive cocks but he felt too delirious and drained of energy to even manage that. Ryan tried to control his breathing but he couldn’t, due to the tension that suddenly began to build up within him. He knew that his breath should be slowing down after that amazingly consuming release but on the contrary, his breath kept coming out even more harshly. He was suddenly overwhelmed by a myriad of emotions, some of which surprised him. He knew that the only way to be free of all those pent-up emotions was to completely let himself go but Ryan fought it. He tried to fight down the need to cry but he just couldn’t hold it together. He felt his eyes well up just as a ragged sound tore out of his throat. Ryan completely lost it. He heard Jeremy’s anguished groan when the first choked sounds burst forth. Then he felt strong arms wrap around his heaving body. All his pain poured out in a flood, and it felt good…so very good, to let it go. Ryan sobbed his heart out.

“Oh god, baby forgive me…” Jeremy knew that he was the cause of Ryan’s breakdown and felt like a heel for reducing his mate to tears. “I’ve been a fool. I’m so sorry Ryan.” He kept telling his sobbing mate but his words made Ryan cry even harder.

Ryan wanted to assure Jeremy that he wasn’t the cause of his meltdown but he couldn’t stop his sobbing long enough to talk to his mate. Much as he’d been hurt by what Jeremy had done, the cause of his emotional breakdown was totally different from what his mate thought. Ryan himself was actually shocked at how he felt and why he felt that way. He couldn’t believe, for instance, that after two whole weeks, he was suddenly feeling emotional about the fact that not only had his father not known of his existence, but he would have actually killed him if he’d known. He’d needed his mate then to give him the necessary comfort but he hadn’t gotten that for obvious reasons. But now that his mate had finally let down that barrier he’d erected between them since his return, his mind and body was naturally demanding that comfort. Ryan got so lost in his emotions that his mind block, which shielded his thoughts from people, unsurprisingly lowered, allowing Jeremy to read his thoughts and know exactly what his problem was.

Jeremy’s arms tightened around his sobbing mate when he felt the full blast of his emotions. For a moment, he felt so overwhelmed he didn’t know what to say to comfort his mate. He already knew that Ryan felt responsible for the death of his warriors so he wasn’t surprised when that emotion hit him. He also knew that anyone would be hurt if they realized that their own father wanted them dead. No surprise there. What shocked Jeremy, however, was the fact that Ryan was devastated for causing his father’s death.

“Shit.” Jeremy breathed.

He hated Reynard Wyatt for what he’d done to his mate, pack and fellow werewolves. To him, the warlock was a scumbag who needed to die a painful death again and again. But he had a feeling he wouldn’t be helping Ryan if he allowed him to know his exact thoughts about his father. Jeremy knew that he couldn’t fault Ryan for hating that he brought about the death of his own kin. No matter how evil a person’s kin was, they wouldn’t be happy to be the cause of their death.

‘It wasn’t your fault, baby.’ Jeremy said softly through their mind-link. ‘Reynard had it coming. The prophecy was clear. You just drained him of his powers. You didn’t kill him. You actually gave him a second chance if you should ask me.’ He pressed a kiss against Ryan’s temple. ‘You did good. He could have lived if he wanted to. You can’t blame yourself for what he chose to do to himself. You don’t owe him anything but you still spared his life. If that wasn’t a mark of a good son, I don’t know what else is. Shhh…’

Jeremy kept talking soothingly to Ryan till his shudders ended and the sobs gentled. He assured Ryan that he wasn’t responsible for the death of the warriors. He was rather responsible for the life and good health of the pack and all werewolves. On the issue of his father wanting him dead, Jeremy told Ryan to rather appreciate the fact that he was kept safe from his father. After all, his siblings were not so lucky.

“You, my love, are special.” Jeremy kissed him. “Never forget that.”

After what seemed like hours, Ryan finally calmed down to Jeremy’s relief. For long moments, Jeremy just held his mate. He waited till his raging heartbeat slowed and his breathing returned to normal, before wiping his face with the covers. And looking at his mate’s kiss swollen blood-red lips, red eyes from crying so much and cherry-red cheeks, Jeremy couldn’t help but silently congratulate himself for being able to keep his hands off the gorgeous creature lying within his arms, for a whole week. Fuck, Ryan was stunning he thought, dropping tiny kisses all over his face.

“I’m sorry.” Ryan croaked shakily, loving all the attention Jeremy was giving him. He’d missed that Jeremy so much.

“Hey, don’t be. I’m sorry for beings a jerk.” Jeremy growled, drawing a soft laugh from Ryan. “Although I hate seeing you cry, feel free to do it anytime if it will make you feel better.”

“Thanks. I really needed that.” Ryan sniffled. “At least you know that I’m not crying because of sex.”

“Who gives a fuck if you cry because of sex?” Jeremy shot back. “I’m just sorry I made you sad. And I plan to make up for it. Can you blink us out of here?”

“What? Leave without saying anything to Mum?” Ryan looked at Jeremy with eyes filled with disapproval. “I can’t do that.”

Jeremy groaned. “Alright. Let’s go say good morning and then get out of here.” He said gruffly as he reached down between then to stuff Ryan’s spent cocks back into his boxer briefs and adjusted everything back up to his waist. “Thanks for not telling her what I did by the way.” Jeremy murmured as he pulled up the zipper on Ryan’s jeans. “She would have handed me my arse.”

Ryan sighed. “I would never have kissed that man if I’d been conscious of myself Jeremy.” Ryan said softly. His fingers went to Jeremy’s lips when he attempted to speak. “I was under a spell. As far as I was concerned, it was you lying on top of me.” Ryan felt Jeremy tense up against him but went on. “I knew you were not real because you were at the Fort so I automatically assumed it was a dream. I don’t know whether it has ever happened to you but sometimes you get some opportunities in dreams which you know you can never get in real life. So you make the most of that opportunity. You explore to your heart’s content although you know it’s a dream. I’d never dreamt about you since you left. So when I saw you, I wanted to kiss you so bad I thought I’d do that before that dream ended.”

Jeremy gently removed Ryan’s fingers from his lips. “I know the feeling, baby. Hell, I dreamt at a point, after you bit me, that you were giving me this amazing blowjob. I let myself go and enjoyed the hell out of it although I knew it was a dream.”

“It wasn’t.” Ryan said softly. “I did blow you whilst you slept.”

“Oh fuck.” Jeremy growled, rolling onto his back. “Shit.” He groaned remembering how he’d gripped Ryan’s head in the dream and tried to face-fuck him. “Tell me I didn’t hurt you baby.” He breathed, moving off the bed and onto his feet. He looked so upset.

“Hey, you didn’t hurt me.” Ryan assured him with a smile. “I loved it. But for the fact that I wanted you to give me my relief when you were conscious, I would have blown my load when you flooded my mouth.” He grinned, thinking that information would calm his mate down. It accomplished the opposite.

“Fuck!” Jeremy bellowed as he began to pace. “And what did I do when I became ‘conscious’?” He growled, giving the word air quotes. “Deny you your pleasure. Fuck!” He kicked at a chair in the room, breaking it instantly.

“Jeremy!” Ryan growled a warning as he rolled out of bed and went to his mate.

Ryan couldn’t help but notice how different Jeremy had become since he came back from his incarceration. He’d shattered the glass in their suite in a fit of anger. Now he’d broken a chair. That was so not like the Jeremy he’d known before. That Jeremy only became violent when he was in his Ojah mode. This Jeremy didn’t have to be in that mode to be violent. His mate was obviously filled with so much anger…and violence.

“Look at me Jeremy.” Ryan said in a stern voice and waited till Jeremy turned to face him. “I don’t know exactly what you went through at that place but I know that whatever it was, was horrible. I understand that it will probably take a while for you to get used to the fact that you’re no longer there and start living. I get it. And I’m here for you. But what I won’t tolerate is all this violence.”

“I’m sorry.” Jeremy groaned.

“I’m not a violent person.” Ryan continued. “I hate violence. So this…” he pointed at the broken chair, “is not doing it for me, buddy. Now, I agree you acted like a dick but I understand where you were coming from. Can we put all this behind us please?”

“Yes, I’m sorry Ryan.”

“I know. You don’t have to break chairs to let me know how sorry you are.” Ryan said, going to retrieve Jeremy’s shorts and t-shirt from where he’d left them the night before. “Oh and one more thing.” He said as he handed the clothes to Jeremy. “I hate that you told Phillip and Stan about…” He swallowed hard. “…about… I know you told them about how I begged you for sex and…”

“I did no such thing, Ryan.” Jeremy growled low in his throat, pausing in the act of pulling on his shorts. “And I find it insulting that you would think so low of me.” He zipped himself up.

Ryan’s eyes widened. “But the way they looked at me…”

“Whatever look they gave you had nothing to do with us not having sex, Ryan.” Jeremy cut him off, pulling on his t-shirt. “I told them that I couldn’t get past the thought of that warlock. Of course they didn’t hesitate to point out to me how silly I was being. They probably pity you for having to deal with my sorry-ass. When you came in…wait…” Jeremy frowned. “Was that why you disappeared from that room? You thought we…”

Ryan quickly closed the gap between them, went up on his toes and crushed his mouth against Jeremy’s. And he didn’t let go till he felt Jeremy melt against him.

“I’m sorry.” Ryan murmured against Jeremy’s lips. “Have I told you how hot you look in these sleeveless t-shirts?”

“Hmm…trying to sweet-talk your way out huh?” Jeremy murmured, sucking Ryan’s lower lip into his mouth. “To think you actually jumped to the wrong conclusion and put yourself through all that.” He muttered and then proceeded to give Ryan a deeper kiss. “God, I missed these lips.”

“And whose fault is that?” Ryan purred.

“You.” Jeremy deadpanned, earning himself a light punch in the side from Ryan. “Ouch.” He gave a mock shout of pain. “Who’s being violent now?”

Both laughed as they made their way to the en suite bathroom to make themselves as presentable as they could, for Gloria.

***

Gloria turned to look at Jeremy and Ryan when she heard the guestroom door open. She couldn’t help the smile that brightened her face as she watched Jeremy kiss Ryan languidly. His hands, which lay loosely against Ryan’s hips tightened and tugged him closer as the kiss deepened. One of Ryan’s arms moved up to coil around Jeremy’s neck as the other found its way under Jeremy’s t-shirt, his fingertips brushing suggestively over Jeremy’s stomach. After a lengthy kiss, they broke off and just locked gaze with each other. Anyone who saw them at that particular moment, would immediately know just how crazy they were about each other. Joy spread through Gloria as she watched her son and his mate. They had both been through so much and deserved some respite. With a chuckle, she turned to go back to the kitchen.

“Sit and eat breakfast, boys.” She said over her shoulder, waving them into the dining hall.

Jeremy grinned when his eyes landed on the spread on the long dining table. “That’s what I’m talking about.” He shouted happily, completely forgetting that his plan had been to say a quick good morning to his mother and head to his suite with his mate. “I see pancakes.” He gushed, going to meet Gloria who was coming out of the kitchen with a bottle of maple syrup and toffee cream in each hand. “That’s some spread Ma.” Jeremy chuckled, leaning down to kiss his mother on both cheeks. “And I love the smell of those pancakes.”

“Had none since you came back huh?” Gloria laughed, allowing Jeremy to take the maple syrup and toffee cream which were meant to serve as toppings for the pancakes, from her.

“Nope.” Jeremy placed the bottles on the dining table and watched as his mother hugged a blushing Ryan. His mate was obviously embarrassed because he knew that his mother had heard his cries of passion.

“Better?” Gloria asked softly and chuckled when Ryan could only nod. “Come, you need some food after…whatever that was.” She teased, steering Ryan towards the dining area.

“Aw come on…” Ryan groaned, turning even redder.

“I told you to blink us out of here, mate.” Jeremy drawled, squeezing some toffee cream onto some pancakes. “You chose to come say good morning to her.”

“And look at what we would have missed.” Ryan gestured towards the scrumptious assorted goodies on the dining table.

“Jeremy Stanton, you did what?” Gloria growled with a mock frown.

“Sorry mum.” Jeremy grinned. “But I knew he would be embarrassed if he saw you this morning. I was only trying to save him the tomato look.” He laughed when Ryan scowled at him. “You do look like a…”

“Shut up, Jeremy.” Ryan growled low in his throat as he pulled out a chair. But Jeremy drew him into his lap before he could even complete the act of pulling out that chair. “There are lots of chairs here, Jer.” Ryan murmured, attempting to get off Jeremy’s lap but he wouldn’t allow him.

“I know.” Jeremy murmured huskily, looking at Ryan from beneath his lashes. “But I want you right here in my lap.” His eyes were filled with so much heat.

“Don’t look at me like that.” Ryan groaned, wrapping his arms around Jeremy’s neck and burying his face against his neck. “You don’t know what you do to me when you look at me like that.” His words were muffled against Jeremy.

“What do I do to you?” Jeremy couldn’t hide the amusement in his voice. But when he felt Ryan licking against his mark, all his amusement disappeared. “Fuuuck!” He gasped as a bolt of excitement shot through him, causing his breath to explode from his lungs. Jeremy shot to his feet, his arm tightening around Ryan’s waist. “Fuck.” He breathed, feeling himself go hard so fast he felt dizzy.

‘That’s what you do to me.’ Ryan smirked on their mind-link, looking up at his clearly aroused mate. “I’ll take this seat next to you…”

“Oh no, you don’t.” Jeremy growled, not missing his mother’s amused look. ‘Now you really have to stay in my lap.’ He switched to their mind-link. ‘Otherwise, mum will see my hard-on.’ He added.

‘Bullshit.’ Ryan chuckled. ‘How can she see your lap from across this table?’

‘Please.’ Jeremy groaned, drawing Ryan back into his lap.

‘You know my sitting here will only make it worse don’t you?’ Ryan murmured, wriggling his arse to get more comfortable.

“Oh fuck.” Jeremy gasped, thrusting up against Ryan. ‘I want you so fucking bad right now.’ He whispered roughly on their mind-link, wishing they were back in their suite.

“You know you’ve really surprised me, son.” Gloria said, sipping her orange juice.

“Why?” Jeremy rasped, planting a kiss along Ryan’s neck. For the first time, he wished he had powers like a warlock. He would have wished away his shorts and Ryan’s jeans and boxer briefs, to enable his weeping cock sink into his mate’s heavenly arse with no barriers.

“You’ve managed to be intimate with Ryan without marking him.” Gloria said innocently with an impressed look. “I could have sworn you wouldn’t be able to hold your beast back.” Gloria didn’t notice that both Ryan and Jeremy had gone still at her works. She went right on talking. “You two will still have to complete part of the mating ceremony though. The heads and elders would have to take in Ryan’s scent like how it’s done for all mates of the alphas of a pack.” She put down her now empty glass and reached for the teapot. “It doesn’t have to be in the presence of the entire pack.” She put down the teapot and reached for the sugar jar. “Since you’ve been able to hold on with marking him, you might as well wait and do that during the ceremony. That will make it even more memorable don’t you think? But that beast of yours has certainly surprised me though.” She chuckled, reaching for the cream. “Am I talking to myself?” Gloria finally looked up, wondering why the two sitting with her at the table had gone so quiet.

And that was when it finally dawned on the elder that something was very wrong. For one, neither her son nor his mate would meet her eye. The elder didn’t miss their unease. She gently placed the cream back on the table.

“Care to tell me what’s going on?” Gloria placed her elbows on the table, entwined her fingers and rested her chin on her linked fingers. She looked at both bowed heads intently.

Finally Ryan cleared his throat. “We were working through something.” His voice was quiet.

“Working through what?”

“I wanted to give Jer some time to…” Ryan began but Jeremy stepped in.

“It’s okay baby.” He murmured. “You don’t have to cover for me. I was having a hard time accepting the fact that Ryan kissed someone else…someone kissed him…ugh…”

“He was under a spell.” Gloria glared at her son.

“I know.” Jeremy whispered. “I just…”

“You just what?” Gloria growled. Then her eyes suddenly widened when she finally connected the dots. “You must be kidding me.” She breathed. No wonder Ryan had been such a mess. Having to go that long without his mate, and being denied sex when said mate finally returned… That could drive any hot-blooded werewolf insane. Her son must have been really pissed to have gone that long without making love to his mate. She was right after all. Nothing would have stopped that alpha wolf from marking his mate now that it had already tasted him. “Oh my god, you’re such an idiot.”

“Mum please…” Ryan groaned.

“No, no I have to get this off my chest, Ryan.” Gloria looked furious. “Where do you get off judging people?” She gave her son an icy glare. “You actually thought it was okay to punish your mate for kissing someone when he was under a spell? You arrogant, stupi…”

“Gloria enough!” Ryan couldn’t suppress his growl of anger. He didn’t even notice he’d addressed Gloria by her given name. His amber eyes were a clear indication that his wolf was at the surface. “You can’t talk to him like that.” He looked pissed.

“Ryan…” Jeremy groaned.

“I have every right to tell any son of mine what I think of them when they fuck up.” Gloria snapped.

“Well, he’s my mate.” Ryan said coolly, trying to calm himself. “And I won’t have anyone calling him stupid. Like I said, we were working through something. We’re okay now. Can we just forget about it and eat?”

Gloria still glared at her son. “Sure, if you say so.” She finally murmured and picked up a teaspoon to stir her tea. “Forget about what I suggested earlier. You don’t have to hold on and mark him during the ceremony.” Gloria took a sip of her tea. “I don’t think you can anyway.” Now that the two had sorted out their differences, they were bound to have sex, Gloria knew. And there was no way her son could have sex with his mate and not mark him. “And feel free to do it anytime you want because the council has already taken care of it. No one will be affected like we all were the other time.” She muttered.

That drew a chuckle out of Jeremy despite himself. “From what I hear, some people no longer need Ryan and I going at it, to have their own fun…”

“Watch your mouth, son.” Gloria didn’t crack a smile. “The fact that your mate put me in my place doesn’t mean I’ve forgiven you for pulling that silly stunt.”

“Oh my god, mum, I’m sorry.” Ryan groaned, quickly leaving Jeremy’s lap to go and give Gloria a hug. “I’m so sorry.” He crooned into Gloria’s hair as he held her tight. “He feels bad enough for acting like a dick. I don’t want…”

“I can hear you, you know…” Jeremy drawled, digging into the goodies as if it was his last meal.

“Aw shut up will you?” Ryan snapped at his mate. “You did tell me that shedding off the pain is another stress on its own, remember?”

“I do.” Gloria nodded.

“So basically, the guy is fucked up.”

“Jesus, Ryan…” Jeremy groaned around a mouthful of muffins. Gloria had to make an effort to suppress the urge to laugh.

“We therefore have to ignore the silly things he’s bound to do.” Ryan finished as if Jeremy hadn’t spoken.

“How long do you think we should tolerate his shitty attitude?” Gloria looked so serious, it might have looked, to anyone who walked in, as though the pair were discussing something really important.

“Hmmmm…” Ryan looked as if he was lost in thought. “What the hell, let’s give him a long rope.”

“Will you two stop discussing me as if I’m not here?” Jeremy growled but again, he was ignored.

“You sure that’s advisable?” Gloria frowned. It was almost as if there was no one in the room besides her and Ryan.

“If it becomes too bad, I can just turn him into a toad or something.” Ryan said, looking all serious.

Gloria couldn’t hold it any longer. She erupted into laughter. Ryan joined in even as Jeremy glared at the two people he loved so much. Joel and Phillip, whose grin stretched from ear to ear, entered the house and headed directly for the dining area, surprising a still laughing Gloria.

“Told ya.” Jeremy grinned at a happy Phillip.

“What are you two doing here?” Gloria asked, wiping at the tears of mirth on her face even as Joel leaned down to plant a kiss on her mouth.

“I called them to come eat breakfast since you two were too engrossed in your plans to add me to the amphibian species to want to eat.” He gestured to his friend and mentor to take seats around the dining table.

“Not possible.” Ryan looked confused. “We just started the ‘planning’.” He gave the word air quotes. “How could they have gotten here so fast?”

“I called them immediately I saw the spread.” Jeremy confessed. “They’d been out running so I told them to come straight here from the woods. Where’s Paige? I thought all three of you went for that ran.” Jeremy addressed Phillip.

“She went home, Jer.” Phillip sighed, grabbing a strip of bacon. “Give her time, buddy.” He said, noting the crestfallen look on Jeremy’s face. “You okay Ryan?”

“Never better, Phillip.” Ryan grinned as he took a seat beside Gloria, to the displeasure of Jeremy.

“So I’ve heard what you’re planning to do, son.” Joel addressed Jeremy as he poured a lot of cream into his coffee. “And I must admit I’ve still not been able to say anything about it since Phillip told me.”

“What’s he planning on doing?” Gloria asked whilst Ryan looked at his mate with raised brows.

“Oh, I see you haven’t told your mother.” The elderly man chuckled. “Not even your mate?” He added, taking in Ryan’s curious look. “Damn boy, the mate must always know. Never make that mistake again.” He admonished.

“It wasn’t intentional Uncle Jo.” Jeremy said quickly with an apologetic look in Ryan’s direction. “When I came back from my meeting yesterday, he wasn’t around. And like I do all the time, I told Lip and Stan what…”

“You have a mate now, son.” Joel cut him off. “You should start doing things a bit differently. You need to communicate more with your mate, Jeremy. If he’s not within mind-linking range, you can always send him a quick text message, giving him a gist of whatever is going on. This, right here,” Joel threw his arm in an arc indicating Ryan’s confusion, “shouldn’t happen. Got it?”

“Got it Sir.” Jeremy nodded respectfully.

“Good.” Joel reached for some pancakes. “Now tell your story.”

Jeremy recounted what had taken place at the meeting with the alphas the day before, and his plan to give the alphas his final decision the next day.

“So today I plan on meeting all of you the elders first, then the heads.” Jeremy informed them. “And I also plan to tell all the heads what really happened with…everything.” He gave a deep sigh. “I need to tell them the truth. It will serve as a deterrent to any of them who wants to act before they think. And they can in turn use that to advise their various teams to always try to do the right thing. Sometimes it helps to know that there are consequences to our actions. And no one is above the law.”

“Aw son…” Gloria sounded as if she wanted to cry. She stood and went to hug Jeremy. “I’m so proud of you.”

“So am I.” Joel said in a hoarse voice.

Gloria drew Phillip to his feet, hugged him first, and then went down on a knee before him in respect. “Alpha.” She acknowledged in a voice filed with so much joy and pride.

“Aw please stand, Mama G.” Phillip looked flushed and very disapproving. “You’re never to bow to me ever again.” He growled, pulling Gloria up. “I’d rather you continue being who you’ve always been with me. Tell me off in your typical fashion when you think I’m wrong and need to be told off.”

“Oh don’t think I won’t young man.” Gloria laughed. “You boys will always be my babies. And I’ll crack the whip whenever I have to. Being my alpha ain’t gonna change that.” She drawled making everyone laugh.

“And that’s what my mate needs to learn.” Jeremy said quietly, looking at Ryan.

“I’m sorry.” Ryan groan. “It’s just that I hated hearing you…”

“…being told off like a little boy.” Jeremy went to draw him into his arms for a hug that made Ryan shiver with part contentment, part excitement. “It’s what mothers do.” He murmured against his hair.

“And I will never stop honey.” Gloria chuckled, rubbing Ryan on the back.

“Just try and control yourself whenever she does that to me, okay?” Jeremy murmured, pressing a kiss against Ryan’s forehead.

Ryan nodded. “Congratulations. I’m proud of you.”

“Thanks but I only accepted it because I know that with you by my side, I can do a good job.” Jeremy murmured, kissing Ryan’s sugar-sweetened lips. “Hmm…syrup.” He murmured, deepening the kiss.

“Jer…” Ryan breathed when his mouth was released. “Behave.” He added, making Jeremy laugh softly. “Phillip?” Ryan reluctantly stepped out of his mate’s embrace and went to the new alpha of Stanwood Pack. “Congratulations.” He hugged a grinning Phillip. “Can’t wait to see you claim your sweet mate in the full glare of everyone.” He murmured teasingly, drawing laughter from the others.

“Oh god, don’t remind me.” Phillip groaned, sitting back down to eat his sausages.

“Mum, now that Jeremy is no longer the alpha of Stanwood Pack, do we still have to go through that ceremony with the heads and elders?” Ryan asked Gloria.

“No, you don’t.” She said, and then laughed when Ryan let out a huge sigh of relief.

“But you have to go with me to the meeting with the alphas tomorrow, baby.” Jeremy said. “I have to officially introduce my mate to them. I might as well do that tomorrow.”

“Okay.” Ryan nodded.

“Then from there, we’re taking a vacation.” Jeremy continued. “How does the Quain Islands sound?”

“Are you serious?” Ryan breathed, looking at Jeremy with wide eyes. And at his mate’s amused nod, Ryan actually gave a whoop of delight. “Oh my god, that’s…that’s…” He shook his head in wonderment. “I don’t even know what to say.”

“I’ve never loved a reaction more.” Jeremy chuckled, making everyone laugh. “Knowing that just the mention of Quain Islands gets you this way is enough for me.” His eyes glistened with amusement.

The Quain Islands had not only been named the most unique Island for years, it had also earned itself the nickname, Fully Loaded, for being the only Island that had everything…both natural and unnatural. It was hands down the most alluring Island. Over the years, it had been a getaway for not only celebrities, but also for wealthy and prominent people all over the world. What Ryan didn’t know was that the Quain Islands was owned by Jeremy. It was originally owned by Sylvester and Gloria Stanton, Jeremy’s parents. Guests of the Island were usually made to understand, before they even embarked on the trip, that they could be given a day’s notice to leave. So getting rid of the guests was no problem at all. The plan of the alpha of alphas was to spend about two weeks on the Island, alone with his mate. The only other people who would be allowed on the Island whilst he stayed there with his mate were just the staff, who were all werewolves. Jeremy just wanted to love, pamper and spoil Ryan like neither of them had ever experienced before.

“We have to fly then Jer.” Phillip pointed out. “If you’re going to continue to the Island from the meeting grounds, then you can’t go to the meeting on your bike.”

“You will fly to the meeting.” Jeremy said. “I’ll ride with Ryan. After the meeting you can come home with the bike so that I use the jet.”

“Perfect?” Phillip grinned at a wide eyed Ryan. “Ready for the most exciting experience you’ll ever have on the road?”

All Ryan could do was stare at his mate.

“Oh, you’re not going to forget that ride anytime soon my love.” Jeremy drawled, giving Ryan a smoldering look which caused his breath to hitch in his throat. “In fact, you’re never going to forget it.” A promise.

Ryan watched as Jeremy slapped a raised palm against Phillip’s. Both kept their eyes on him, which made Ryan flush. It was obvious that the new alpha of Stanwood Pack had an idea what was in store for him. Ryan knew how exhilarating an experience it was to ride on Jeremy’s expensive, six-cylinder engine, Harley Davidson Cosmic Starship. He’d had the privilege of riding on it with Jeremy once. Although it had been a short ride, Ryan hadn’t forgotten how good an experience it had been. The feel of that powerful engine beneath his arse and the feel of Jeremy against him had gotten him so hard he’d feared his dicks might explode. So he could imagine how exciting a longer ride would be.

What caused Ryan’s breath to quicken with arousal, however, was the look in his mate’s eyes. Somehow that look in Jeremy’s eyes…that fiery, predatory, sensual but at the same time, naughty look, told Ryan that Jeremy had a hidden agenda that even Phillip didn’t know about.

‘What the fuck do you have up your sleeve?’ Ryan asked Jeremy on their mind-link.

Jeremy slowly turned his head to look at one bare shoulder, then the other, and then looked up at his mate with eyes filled with amusement.

‘Helloooo…sleeveless.’ He drawled and then promptly allowed a brilliant grin to brighten his face at Ryan’s frustrated moan. ‘You’ll just have to wait and see, darling.’

And just as Jeremy knew would happen, that response only ended up fuelling Ryan’s excitement and anticipation for their trip. Ryan couldn’t suppress the moan that slipped out to everyone’s hearing. But even as he blushed hotly, he knew that it was going to be a memorable trip.

He couldn’t wait.

Feral attraction in the midst of hatred… ride & mark! – Chapter 9 – Ride & Mark!

Ryan opened his eyes to the sweet torment of wet tongue swiping against his nipple and Bryan Adam’s ‘Heaven’ playing in the background. Even before the last vestiges of sleep disappeared he was arching up his body, silently offering his sensitive nipples to that wicked tongue of his mate.

“Good morning,” Jeremy paused long enough to murmur hotly across the wet taut flesh before resuming his torment with the erotic nibble of his teeth.

“This is better than good.” Ryan breathed as his hand moved to the back of Jeremy’s head. “Ahh…” He gave a loud cry when Jeremy bit down on his nipple, the sharp mix of pain and pleasure sending a jolt of desire through his body. “Don’t stop.” He threw his head back in pleasure as excitement sizzled through him.

Jeremy released the nipple and blew onto it, drawing a broken moan from Ryan. “I have to if I don’t want to fuck up my plans.” Jeremy gave a low, sexy chuckle, peppering kissed all over Ryan’s chest. “We need to get out of this bed if we’re going to make it to the meeting with the alphas.”

“You shouldn’t have started then.” Ryan groaned, watching as a Jeremy raised his head to look down at him. “The other nipple feels neglected.” He purred naughtily, gazing lustfully at his mate’s sexy well-muscled torso. He wanted to run his hands all over Jeremy’s body and feel all that vitality and power beneath his fingers. “Damn, you’re fine.” He whispered, making Jeremy laugh softly.

“I promise to give this neglected one equal attention later.” Jeremy chuckled, rubbing the pad of his thumb against the other nipple.” Then he began to softly sing along to the chorus of the song playing;

“And baby, you’re all that I want

When you’re lyin’ here in my arms

I’m findin’ it hard to believe

We’re in heaven”

Ryan stared up at his mate with shocked eyes. He’d never heard Jeremy sing before. But then, they hadn’t really spent much time together. There was still a whole lot they were yet to learn about each other. Who would have thought such a badass alpha could even sing a line of a song. How much more a love song… And one that Ryan absolutely loved too.

“And love is all that I need

And I found it there in your heart

It isn’t too hard to see

We’re in heaven”

“Shit…” Ryan whispered, awed.

Jeremy smirked. “Didn’t think I could sing did you?” His smoldering eyes were filled with amusement. “To be truthful, I only know the chorus.” He said with a sheepish look. “But I love Bryan Adam’s songs. Okay, shower time.”

But Ryan slowly shook his head and rather began to softly sing along to the next verse of the song;

“Oh – once in your life you find someone

Who will turn your world around

Bring you up when you’re feelin’ down

Yeah – nothin’ could change what you mean to me

Oh there’s lots that I could say

But just hold me now

Cause our love will light the way”

Then even as Jeremy grinned delightedly, they both sang the chorus. Their eyes said it all. Intense feelings such as theirs couldn’t be suppressed. With a groan, Ryan coiled his arms around Jeremy’s neck and buried his face against his neck. He just wanted to stay in his mate’s arms and never leave.

“I really want to stay in bed with… You’ve already taken a shower.” Ryan managed to sound both surprised and accusing as he breathed Jeremy in. His irresistibly sexy mate’s hair was still damp from his shower, inciting a mental picture of him, naked and wet. Ryan couldn’t resist taking a long lick up the side of Jeremy’s neck, causing a delicious shudder to ripple through the alpha.

“Cut that out, Ryan…” Jeremy gave a husky groan. He knew he had to take control before he gave in to the merciless need to sink deep into his sexy mate because if he started, they definitely wouldn’t be leaving that bed that day. “See why I didn’t wake you up to shower with me?” He growled, reaching down to adjust his erection inside his boxers. He was so hard it hurt. “We don’t want to be late.”

“What time is it?” Ryan asked, allowing himself to fall back against the pillows.

“It’s five a.m.” Jeremy brushed his knuckles down the side of Ryan’s face. “We leave at seven.”

“That’s two whole hours, Jeremy.” Ryan groaned, nuzzling Jeremy’s hand like a kitten. “We’re already packed so we don’t have anything to do. Can’t we just stay in here for…why are you smiling?”

“I love you.” Jeremy said quietly and watched as Ryan’s whole demeanor change. He’d obviously not expected him to say that. “And I really would be grateful if you could go take that shower now.”

Ryan looked floored. Wasn’t it strange that a grown man like himself would go all gooey inside anytime Jeremy said those three words? He wasn’t a high school kid for fuck’s sake. Ryan stared at Jeremy. He couldn’t seem to bring himself to respond. He hadn’t forgotten that the only time he’d professed his love for Jeremy, his mate hadn’t seemed as thrilled as he usually was the few times Jeremy had told him he loved him. So Ryan didn’t really know how to respond this time. With a nod, he rolled out of bed and left the bed area. But he stopped at the door to the bathroom when he suddenly remembered what Jeremy had said the day he’d told him he loved him. His mate had told him that he didn’t deserve his love. Ryan turned around and went back to the bed area, where Jeremy was dressing the bed with his back to him.

Ryan pushed Jeremy onto the bed and turned him over, knowing that he wouldn’t have been able to turn his hunk of a mate over if he were a mere human. He climbed onto a surprised Jeremy, straddled him and looked deep into his eyes.

“I love you too, Jeremy. And know this; no one deserves my love more than you do.” Ryan’s heart skipped a beat at the look of sheer vulnerability that passed across his mate’s face at his words. Jeremy’s eyes fluttered shut. “Look at me Jer.” Ryan whispered and waited till Jeremy opened beautiful blue eyes to stare up into his. “Now, listen to me carefully. When I tell you that I love you, I mean I accept you for the person that you are, and that I do not wish to change you into someone else. I mean that I will love you and stand by you even through the worst of times. It means loving you when you’re in a bad mood or too tired…or pissed…” Ryan smirked. “…to do things I want to do. It means loving you when you’re down and not just when you’re fun to be with. Telling you that I love you means that I know your deepest and darkest secrets but do not judge you for them. It means that I care enough to fight for what we have and that I love you enough not to let go.” He tenderly rubbed his knuckles against Jeremy’s cheek. “It means thinking of you, dreaming of you, wanting and needing you constantly. That is what I mean when I tell you that I love you, Jeremy. I just thought you should know.” He whispered. Then he leaned down and pressed a kiss against Jeremy’s mouth. “Now, I’ll hit the showers.” With that, Ryan got off Jeremy and headed for the bathroom.

Jeremy didn’t move from his position as he watched his mate go. And it wasn’t because he didn’t want to move. He just couldn’t feel his limbs because they seemed to have turned to jelly. Hearing Ryan say he loved him hadn’t affected him as much as hearing him say he deserved it. That had been so heart-numbingly sweet and exhilarating to hear. And it was exactly what he needed to hear, even though he hadn’t known that. Jeremy felt like the luckiest man…werewolf…mate alive. What else could he ask for? His mate had just given him the world with those simple words. The alpha of alphas felt like crying but he didn’t. He did however remain on the bed, in the same position Ryan had left him, till he came out of the bathroom.

“Are you okay, Jer?” Ryan called out when he saw Jeremy where he’d left him.

“I’m good.” Jeremy still didn’t move. “Come here for a bit Ryan.”

“A moment.” Ryan said, heading towards the closet. “I’m just getting my boxers and…”

“You don’t need that. Come.” Came Jeremy’s husky voice.

Ryan’s brow raised in surprise when he heard Jeremy’s husky words. Was he finally going to give him that awesome cock? Well, it was about time…

*

The day before had been so busy for Jeremy that they hadn’t had sex like Ryan had thought they would. When they’d gotten back to their suite from Gloria’s, Jeremy had to go and meet with the elders about making Phillip the alpha of Stanwood pack. Ryan too had to go to school to work on his leave extension since he was going to be out of town on a two-week vacation. Although Ryan had not been at the meeting, Jeremy had kept him posted via their mind-link and cell phone depending on Ryan’s location at any point. The elders had accepted Jeremy’s proposal on condition that he would be the one to name Phillip’s successor and not Phillip as the pack was supposed to be Jeremy’s birthright. According to them, Jeremy’s offspring would have been the ideal successor to Phillip. But since Jeremy obviously couldn’t have any, he had to name a successor. They’d also insisted that although Phillip was to be at the helm of affairs, he was to consult with Jeremy and Ryan on any major happenings within the pack. When both Jeremy and Phillip agreed to their conditions, Phillip was accepted as the new alpha.

Jeremy had then moved into another meeting with all the heads of units. That had been a lengthy one because Jeremy had to first confess what he’d done and the consequences of his actions, announce his new role as AA…which thrilled the group to no end, and then announce Phillip’s new role. The heads readily accepted Phillip as their alpha because they’d always respected and admired Phillip’s leadership skills whenever Jeremy wasn’t around. Then Jeremy had to help Phillip make some changes in the various units. People had to be shifted around and new appointments had to be made since the warriors who’d lost their lives in the battle had to be replaced.

After that meeting, Jeremy had informed Ryan that he needed to have a talk with Paige so he was taking her outside the pack house. He’d then informed Ryan just as Ryan heard the doorbell ring, that he’d asked Clara to help him pack the stuff they would need for their trip. As he opened the door, he’d heard Jeremy advice that he should make sure Clara packed light because he planned on keeping him naked the whole time anyway. The desire that had slammed into Ryan at those words had surprised him. It amazed him how Jeremy could turn him on as easily as flipping on a light switch. And from the smirk on Clara’s face, she knew exactly what was going through Ryan’s body. Werewolves could smell arousal so Ryan hadn’t been surprised that his friend had accurately felt his lust. And he hadn’t been able to stop his blush when Clara shrugged and said in a teasing voice;

“The average man thinks about sex every twenty minutes.” She drawled. “For a werewolf, it’s more like seconds. And with a mate such as yours…” They’d both burst into laughter.

He’d had fun packing with Clara. By the time they were done, it was late and Jeremy wasn’t back. Ryan had fallen asleep on the couch, watching TV. Jeremy must have carried him to bed when he got back. So no, he still hadn’t gotten some. From the huskiness of his mate’s voice, that was about to change, Ryan thought excitedly. After all, they had over an hour to kill before they hit the road.

“Hey.” Ryan crawled up Jeremy’s body. “Sure you’re okay?”

“Never better.” Jeremy muttered, rolling them so that Ryan was beneath him. “Thanks for that.” He said quietly. Ryan didn’t need to ask what Jeremy was talking about. “I needed to hear that.”

Ryan drew Jeremy’s head down for a sweet kiss. “I’ve never meant anything more.” He murmured against Jeremy’s lips, and then kissed him again till they had to come up for air. “You and Paige okay now?”

“Uh-huh.” Jeremy started scattering kissed all over Ryan’s face. “We understand each other.” He moved down to Ryan’s neck.

“Good.” Ryan moaned, arching his neck to give Jeremy better access. “Did you two end up in a club or something? ‘Cause you stayed…oh god…” Ryan whimpered as Jeremy began to suck on that sensitive spot at the base of his neck. “Stayed out late…”

“We didn’t go clubbing.” Jeremy moved to Ryan’s chest to scatter kissed all over it. “I needed her to help me find some stuff.” He began to swirl the tip of his tongue around one nerve-heavy nipple until it became a pointed red nub that begged to be sucked. “I did promise to take care of this one.” Jeremy breathed and then latched onto the taut flesh.

“Ahh…” Ryan’s back arched, seeking more of that sweet haven. Sensations mounted within him till his body trembled, demanding more. But Jeremy moved down to his flat tummy. “Wha…what stuff did you need her…her help to find?” Jeremy began to fuck that sensitive belly button with his wet tongue. “Oh fuck…” Ryan threw his head back in delirious pleasure. He trembled in anticipation and need, knowing that his leaking cocks would be engulfed in the sweet heat of his mate’s mouth soon. But contrary to what he anticipated, Jeremy rather turned him effortlessly onto his stomach. “Aw come on, Jeremy…” Ryan growled his frustration.

With a husky chuckle, Jeremy moved up Ryan’s body to lie on his back, making a conscious effort not to crush his mate. He swirled his wet tongue around the outer shell of Ryan’s ear and then blew on the wet flesh, sending a delicious shiver down Ryan’s spine.

“Still trust me?” Jeremy asked huskily before capturing Ryan’s earlobe into his mouth for a good suck.

“Fuck…” Ryan trembled with pleasure. “You know I do.” He breathed shakily.

“Just checking.” Jeremy murmured as he began to move down Ryan’s back, dropping tiny kisses along his spine.

When Jeremy got to the creamy arse that he couldn’t wait to sink in, he slipped an arm under Ryan’s pelvis and popped him up onto his knees so that his arse thrust high in the air, exposing that puckered hole to his hungry eyes.

“Beautiful.” Jeremy breathed, staring transfixed at his mate’s twitching hole. “God, I’ve missed you.” He groaned, the spot where the tip of his cock touched his boxer briefs getting even wetter with his precum. Jeremy wanted the sexy creamy arse in front of him so bad.

“Missed you more.” Ryan whimpered. “What…” He began to ask a question but trailed off and let out a loud moan instead when he felt Jeremy’s wet, rough tongue flicking over his sensitive hole. There was nothing as crazily rapturous as the feel of Jeremy’s tongue on that part of his body.

Jeremy’s talented tongue worked that hole so good Ryan thought he would go insane if he didn’t feel Jeremy inside him soon. But from his mate’s fervent groans, Ryan had a feeling he wasn’t going to feel that cock anytime soon. Jeremy was obviously having a ball eating him out. He would pause to blow softly on the wet hole just to watch it twitch, and then dig right back in. Ryan couldn’t suppress his cries of pleasure.

“Fuck me Jer…” He whimpered brokenly pushing his butt into Jeremy’s face. “It feels like forever since you’ve been inside me.” He said roughly.

“And I plan on rectifying that…soon.” Jeremy bit out in a voice thick with arousal as he reached out to grab a tube of lube from the drawer. Without wasting time, Jeremy lubed up two fingers and gently fed them into Ryan’s relaxed hole.

Ryan’s mouth opened in a silent scream as Jeremy’s thick fingers penetrated him. Having any part of Jeremy inside him felt so good it wreaked havoc on his senses. Precum gushed out of his pulsing cocks when a third finger was added. And when he felt Jeremy brush against that nerve-rich spot inside him, he went berserk. With an impassioned cry, Ryan began to thrust back erratically against those fingers.

“I’m so close…” He gasped, feeling his balls tighten up. “Faster please, Jeremy…”

“No.” Jeremy growled, gripping Ryan’s hip to stop his movement. “You’re not to come till I say so.”

“I can’t hold it Jeremy.” Ryan whimpered.

‘Please Ryan.’ Jeremy said softly on their mind-link. ‘I don’t want to use my alpha command on you so don’t make me.’

“You know I can break through that command Jeremy.” A panting Ryan said out loud. He actually sounded amused despite himself.

Jeremy couldn’t suppress his laughter at Ryan’s words and tone. “Aw shut up you cheeky smartass. Just don’t come, please.”

“Or you could just fuck me…get it out of our system.” Ryan murmured breathlessly. “Just a thought.”

“Not now. If I start, I’m not going to let you out of this bed anytime soon.”

“If you don’t want me to come, why are you doing what you’re doing?” Ryan groaned.

“I want you to come whilst I’m inside you and not before.” Jeremy rasped.

“You are inside me, Jeremy.” Ryan growled.

“You know what I mean, silly.” Jeremy eased out his fingers, ignoring Ryan’s whimper of protest. “I just want to open you up for now… and keep you opened for what’s coming.”

“What’s coming?” Ryan looked back over his shoulder at Jeremy who was reaching into the drawer for something. He brought out a big red contraption which had a tapered head that widened out into a bulb shape with a wide flared base which Ryan deduced was a handle. “What’s that?”

“It’s called a butt plug.” Jeremy replied. “As the name suggests, it’s supposed to…”

“I get it.” Ryan couldn’t stop his full body blush as he stared at the object. It was not as thick as Jeremy’s cock but it was definitely big. And Jeremy wanted to push it inside him.

“Good.” Jeremy watched Ryan’s face, waiting to see fear or disgust or any other negative emotion. But all he saw on his mate’s face, besides the obvious blush, was curiosity. “Are you…may I use…would you mind if…”

“God, it’s painful listening to you trying to ask like a gentleman.” Ryan muttered. “I trust you Jeremy.” He said softly. “I know you won’t hurt me. How do you want me? On my back or on my knees?”

Jeremy fell even harder for his mate, if that was even possible. “On your knees just as you are.” He murmured huskily and promptly let out a soft laugh when Ryan playfully wiggled his arse at him. “Tell me if it hurts, okay?”

“With all that lube you pumped into me, I don’t think I would even feel it.”

“Ryan…”

“Alright, alright.”

Jeremy gently rubbed the tip of the butt plug against Ryan’s puckered hole, teasing a circle around the sensitive opening.

“Ahh…that feels so good.” Ryan moaned, grasping the sheet in his fists.

“I’m going to push it in now.” Jeremy rasped. “Bear down.” He commanded softly and then started slipping in the plug. The slick entrance opened around the plug, blossoming like a flower. And as if he couldn’t help himself, Jeremy leaned down to press a kiss against one creamy cheek.

The alpha’s aim was to drive his mate out of his mind with blissful torture on their upcoming ride. Paige had once told him how mind-blowing it was to have a butt plug in whilst sitting on a motorbike. Curious to know how true that was, Jeremy, Phillip and Stan had tried that on some of their women, and the results had been simply incredible both for the women and the men who’d had the honour of pleasuring them after the ride. With the kind of motorbike he had, and the fact that Ryan had a prostate to contend with, Jeremy knew that his mate’s experience was going to be intense. To make it even more so, he’d secretly planned on teasing Ryan throughout the ride to the point of destruction, and then finally fuck his brains out on the aircraft. It was going to be some ride, Jeremy grinned as he watched Ryan’s hole widen with each push. When Ryan whimpered at a point and widened his legs, Jeremy stopped pushing.

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah. Keep going.” Came Ryan’s breathy moan. The friction against his anal walls was just incredible.

“I’m almost all the way in. Should I pause for a while?” Jeremy tapped against the flared base of the handle, causing Ryan to give a loud cry. The alpha froze. “Ryan?”

“If you don’t want me to come, don’t do that.” He gasped.

Jeremy let out a relieved sigh. “You look so fucking sexy like this.” He whispered, completely awed. “Just beautiful.”

“You mean, watching my arse swallow a giant dildo is beautiful.” Ryan husked. “You’re such a perv.” With an amused chuckle Jeremy lightly swatted Ryan on the arse, sending sweet tingles up his spine. “Jeremy…” Ryan groaned, clutching the bedclothes till his knuckles turned white. “Just push it in.” He gasped.

“I have to go slow. This part is wide. I don’t want to hurt you.” Jeremy protested, rubbing a finger over the stretched ring. “And it’s not a dildo.”

“Yeah, whatever. Hold still.” Ryan instructed breathlessly. Then he began to slowly push back, taking more and more of the plug in till everything entered him. “Damn, I feel so full.” He gasped.

“Fuck.” Jeremy breathed, transfixed on the sight before him. “Sure you’re okay?” He couldn’t even recognize his own voice.

Jeremy had seen similar sights in the past. But none had made his blood boil as the one before him that very moment. His mate was simply captivating. Ryan’s sudden groan snapped Jeremy out of the haze he seemed to be under. He knew he needed to make sure the plug was in okay. Jeremy gently turned the handle, unintentionally causing the tip of the plug to rub against Ryan’s pleasure spot. Ryan’s entire being went up in flames.

“Oh my god…” Ryan let out a desperate cry. His body tightened as sensation pooled in his belly, demanding relief. “I need to come, Jeremy.” He gasped as sweat gathered on his forehead. “I can’t…” His body shook.

Jeremy watched his whimpering mate and wondered how it would be like to edge Ryan. He really wanted to see how his highly-sexed mate would react to being purposefully kept on the precipice of a climax after a series of sexual stimulation. Ryan would probably kill him, Jeremy thought, smiling.

“Turn over, baby.” He instructed softly and waited till Ryan did as he’d asked. “Fuck.” Jeremy breathed when his eyes landed on his mate’s purple-headed cocks which were swollen and glistening with excitement. They looked so painfully hard Jeremy knew he had to give the man some relief.

“How long do you expect me to keep this in?” Ryan panted, staring up at Jeremy through lust-blurred eyes. His whole body looked flushed with arousal.

“Till…till we get on the aircraft.” Jeremy couldn’t tear his eyes off Ryan’s engorged erections. There was no way his mate could wait till then, he couldn’t help but think.

“I’ve gotta come now, Jeremy.” Ryan moaned, trembling. “You can take it out and give me that cock if you really want me to come on your cock but… I just have to…”

He didn’t get any further because Jeremy leaned down to close his warm mouth around both cockheads. Then he reduced Ryan to a panting, pleading mess by simultaneously twisting and tapping on the base of the handle of the butt plug. Pleasure battered Ryan’s senses with the double assault, rocketing him straight to the very edge. Then he was plummeting into the most amazing rapture, screaming Jeremy’s name.

Ropes of cum shot into Jeremy’s waiting mouth as Ryan came hard. His body jerked spasmodically as he completely lost himself in the sweet sensations. When Ryan heard the sound of the sheets tearing, it took a while for it to register in his brain that he was the one causing the damage with his claws.

“Enough…please…” He gasped, wriggling away from Jeremy’s wicked mouth and hand even as he willed away his claws and fangs.

“You okay?” Jeremy asked, watching as Ryan tried to bring his harsh breathing under control.

Ryan could only nod. It had been so good his vision was blurred and his heart threatened to burst from his chest. He gestured for Jeremy to come closer. Immediately Jeremy did, Ryan crushed their lips together and began to devour Jeremy’s mouth, tasting himself on his mate and loving it. They stayed that way for a long moment, sucking on each other’s tongues and lower lips languidly before finally pulling apart. Jeremy looked down at the satisfied face of his gorgeous mate and smiled with pride.

“Do I take it you like having that butt plug in there?” Jeremy asked with an amused smirk.

“Do you really need to ask?” Ryan sounded dazed. “Sorry about the sheets.”

“I’m not.” Jeremy chuckled. “Besides, they’re your sheets too.”

“Shit, I wonder what Nina will say when she comes to change the sheets.” Ryan groaned.

“They know we fuck, Ryan.” Jeremy said, rolling off the bed. “Come on, let’s go get some breakfast before we hit the road.” Jeremy reached out a hand towards Ryan but his mate’s gaze was locked on something else as he moved towards him. His crotch.

“So fucking hot.” Ryan whispered, slicking his tongue over his full bottom lip as he moved almost like a predator would towards its prey, towards Jeremy.

Jeremy looked down at himself and understood why Ryan was so riveted on his crotch. He was so hard his boxer briefs couldn’t hold his length. His mammoth, rock-hard, wet-tipped cock had as a result protruded past the leg of his tight boxer briefs. By the time Jeremy was done accessing the situation, Ryan was already settling on the edge of the bed before him. The erotic moan that tore out of Ryan when he sat on his arse momentarily distracted Jeremy. The next thing he knew, Ryan’s warm mouth had closed around his exposed, wet, mushroomed head.

“Holy shit…” Jeremy swayed on his feet as a guttural sound ripped from his chest as if he was in pain. His eyes fluttered shut as his head fell back in blissful abandon.

Damn, Ryan’s mouth was something else, the alpha of alphas thought as his hand moved to Ryan’s head. Could he really wait till they got on his jet before he buried himself inside his mate, he asked himself. His plan suddenly seemed very flawed because he felt as though he would definitely go insane with hunger by then.

“Ryan we really need to go.” Jeremy felt he deserved an award for self-control or something. His whole being was screaming at him to fuck the meeting and deep-dick his willing mate but… “I can’t miss that meeting.”

Ryan raised his head and stared up at Jeremy with pupils dilated with lust. “Let me take care of this.” He was breathing hard. “Please…” A breathless plea. Without waiting for Jeremy’s consent, Ryan leaned in again and took the glistening cockhead back into his mouth.

“Oh fuck…” Jeremy felt the pull on his cock all the way to his toes.

They had a two-hour ride ahead of them to the venue of the meeting with the alphas. Jeremy knew that he definitely couldn’t fuck Ryan before their departure, taking into consideration the fact that they didn’t have time on their side. What the fuck was he going to do, Jeremy thought as he allowed Ryan to suck on his weeping appendage. Well, what he couldn’t do, was to be late to his meeting. With a frustrated sigh, he pulled Ryan off his cock, ignoring his groan of protest. Jeremy felt so proud of himself for actually having the willpower to do that. He bent down and kissed Ryan senseless before letting him go. And that was when he noticed that his mate was hard again.

“You slut.” Jeremy muttered.

“Hey, wait till you have this thing up your arse, rubbing against your inner walls and that cum-inducing spot.” Ryan growled, getting to his feet. “This is going to be difficult Jeremy.”

“Just think pure thoughts.” Jeremy said hoarsely, turning to leave the bed area.

“Fuck you.” Ryan chuckled, following Jeremy to the closet.

“Here. Wear this.” Jeremy thrust some clothes into Ryan’s hand.

“Boxers please.” Ryan asked before taking a good look of what he’d been given to wear.

“Check what I’ve given you. You don’t need boxers today.” Jeremy said, pulling off his own damp boxers.

Ryan placed the stuff he’d been given on top of wide glass-top Island that stood in the middle of the huge closet and really looked at them. He couldn’t help the reddening of his cheeks when he spotted the sexy, red, leather jockstrap.

“Really?” He choked.

“Because of the plug, this will feel more comfortable.” Jeremy said as he pulled on sexy, black jeans without bothering with boxers. “Check out the pouch of that jockstrap. It’s soft and absorbent. Maximum comfort guaranteed. We spoke to an expert.”

“We?”

“Paige and I. We went shopping last night for all this.” Jeremy responded as he pulled up his zipper. He pulled on a black, body-hugging t-shirt and then took the jockstrap from a still stunned Ryan.

“You must be shitting me.” Ryan gasped, watching as Jeremy crouched before him. Without any prompting, he stepped into the leg holes of the jockstrap.

“I shit you not.” Jeremy chuckled as he pulled the sexy jockstrap up Ryan’s legs. Before he covered Ryan’s semi-erect cocks, he dropped kisses on each head which made Ryan moan sexily. Jeremy turned Ryan around to check out the back view and groaned with lust. “Damn.” The sight of the red handle of the butt plug against Ryan’s creamy cheeks was downright sinful. Jeremy couldn’t resist kissing each cheek before getting to his feet. “You look absolutely stunning.”

“No boxers?” Ryan asked, eyeing the outline of Jeremy’s cock against one thigh.

Jeremy shrugged. “Don’t need the constraint. Come on, dress up. We’ll be late.”

Ryan couldn’t help his amused chuckle when he shook out his pants. It was a black, slim-fit, drop-crotch jogger pants with elastic waist and drawstring. Ryan thought it was sexy but didn’t know why Jeremy had picked that style of pants for him to wear. After pulling on the pants, he shrugged into the dark red t-shirt he’d been given and then went to the sock drawer to grab a pair before moving to the shoe rack. But Jeremy, who had finished dressing, was already holding out an expensive looking dark red, ankle-high, biker boots for Ryan.

“Paige says your favourite colour is red so…” Jeremy grinned.

“It is.” Ryan murmured, running his eyes over his gorgeous mate. Jeremy looked edible. “Why this style pants though?” Ryan asked, pointing at his own pants.

“They’re very comfortable.” Jeremy responded as he crouched down to fix Ryan’s boots. “That plug is going to keep you erect most of the time. The drop-crotch will conceal it.” He explained, taking in how hot Ryan’s pant-covered legs looked in the ankle-high boots. “Besides I just knew it would look good on you.” Jeremy stood up and drew Ryan into his arms for a hot openmouthed kiss that left Ryan weak at the knee. “Damn, you’re hot.” With a groan, Jeremy turned away to grab their leather jackets and then started for the bed area. “Anything else you need to take?”

“Our bags.” Ryan responded in a hoarse voice as he fixed his wrist watch. He was clearly affected by that kiss.

“They’re already on the aircraft.” Jeremy informed him as he grabbed their cell phones off the bedside table. “Shall we?” He headed towards the door. They were to have breakfast in the breakfast room with Gloria, Paige, Stan, Phillip and Joel before they set off.

“Is my hair okay?” Ryan asked, combing his fingers through his white tresses.

“You look gorgeous, baby.” Jeremy said, holding the door open for his mate.

“Yeah, anything to get me out of here.” Ryan drawled, giving Jeremy a quick kiss on his way out.

“You know I meant that.” Jeremy gave a husky growl. “Now move that fine arse before I go crazy on it.” He said, giving Ryan a light swat on his arse.

“Hey…” Ryan’s cry was a cross between pleasure and protest.

“Sorry.” But the alpha looked anything but. He didn’t miss the flush of excitement on his mate’s face. And he couldn’t wait to see his reaction when that epic arse finally settled on his powerful six-cylinder engine, Harley Davidson Cosmic Starship.

The alpha of alphas’ grin was downright wicked.

***

After a quick breakfast, throughout which Ryan kept squirming not from discomfort but from arousal, the new AA and his mate finally went to their ride. Jeremy climbed on the bike as Ryan hugged the others goodbye.

“Shouldn’t you be setting off as well?” Ryan asked Philip curiously. “Do you have to wait for us to move first?”

Jeremy couldn’t supress his chuckle at Ryan’s question. There was no way his friend was going to miss Ryan’s first reaction to the first rumble of the bike. He turned to look at Phillip’s face and almost burst into laughter at his flustered look. He looked like a deer caught in the highlights of a car. Phillip had never been good at lying since they were kids. Jeremy waited for what his friend would say.

“Oh…err… Well, unlike you guys who are going to be on the road for two hours, the trip will take me mere minutes.” Phillip explained with a straight face. “So…I’m not in a hurry.” He looked proud of himself.

That explanation seemed acceptable to Ryan because he nodded and then turned to accept the red and black helmet that Jeremy held out to him. God, his mate looked so hot straddling the big machine, Ryan couldn’t help but think. In his black helmet, which was a perfect match to his all-black attire, Jeremy looked commanding, confident, arrogant, and savagely gorgeous. Ryan climbed on behind Jeremy and began to fix his helmet whilst their audience looked on. He had no idea just how sexy and adorable he looked in his classy red and black outfit. Well, Paige had told him but then Ryan never took any compliment his friend paid him seriously because he was convinced that Paige would think he was adorable even if he wore tattered clothes.

“Do we really need these helmets?” Ryan groaned as he adjusted his chinstrap.

“We don’t want to break any laws.” Jeremy responded, shaking his head in amusement at Paige who was busily taking shots of them. “Besides, they’re supposed to keep us safe.” He drawled and then burst into laughter when Ryan snorted. “See you guys in two weeks.” He grinned at the group watching them with amused excitement. “See you soon Lip.” He called out and then shut his visor. ‘Ready?’ He asked his mate on their mind-link.

‘Sure.’ Ryan responded as he waved at the people gathered. ‘I’m going to miss…’ He trailed off and let out a cry when the Harley roared to life. “Oh my fucking god.” Ryan gasped when the rumbling caused an instant vibration in his arse that traveled through his entire body. “Oh my god…” He chanted as he wrapped his arms tightly around Jeremy, molding himself to his back as if he wanted to merge with the alpha. “Jeremy…” He moaned as his helmet covered head leaned against Jeremy’s back as if he was about to collapse.

“What’s wrong with Ryan?” Gloria started to move towards the bike but Paige held her back.

Jeremy heard his mother’s question and turned his head to look at the faces of his family and friends. Amidst the concerned looks on the faces of his mother and Joel, the grins on the faces of his three friends looked downright evil. With a naughty grin behind his helmet, Jeremy revved the engine to moans from his mate and roars from his pals before taking off like a shot.

***

‘You really need to stop that, Ryan.’ Jeremy groaned on their mind-link.

‘Make me.’ Ryan whimpered as he went right on stroking Jeremy through his pants.

They had been on the road for thirty minutes and were yet to get on the highway where they would virtually see no vehicles. Ryan couldn’t get the right word for how he was feeling. Having the vibration of the bike beneath his plug-filled arse felt frustrating, heart-racing, arousing and so fucking good his eyes was constantly shut at the onslaught of sensations. It felt as if he’d been left on the precipice of an explosive relief. All he had to do was to reach out and grab that relief but at the same time, that relief seemed so far away. Ryan had found himself pleading with Jeremy at a point but he really didn’t know exactly what he was pleading for. They were on a motorbike, in town, trying to get to their destination on time… What could Jeremy possibly do? But if there was one thing Ryan knew he needed, it was to get fucked. Since he couldn’t get his wish, and his mate…who was the cause of all that he was feeling seemed to be enjoying his predicament, Ryan thought he could at least drive him out of his mind too.

He’d started by rubbing circles on Jeremy’s tummy through his t-shirt and jacket. Gradually his hand had found its way beneath the jacket and then eventually, his t-shirt. When he heard the catch in Jeremy’s breathing, Ryan had smiled with satisfaction. Jeremy hadn’t stopped him. But when Ryan’s seeking fingers had found the bulge at the crotch of Jeremy’s jeans, the alpha had been quick to tell him to stop what he was doing. Ryan hadn’t stopped. When he’d felt Jeremy swell even more behind his zipper, he’d moaned and began to run his hand along the outline of his mate’s mammoth cock, which was trapped against his thigh, inside those sexy jeans. It felt painfully hard. Ryan would have given anything to catch a glimpse of that cock that instant.

‘Please Ryan.’ Jeremy groaned but Ryan didn’t miss the slight thrust against his hand. ‘We’re going to crash if you keep that up.’

‘Not possible.’ Ryan retorted breathlessly. ‘I’d blink us out of here before anything happens.’

‘Ryan…’ Jeremy groaned as he tried to focus on the road. Desire unfurled deep in gut and then spiraled lower, demanding relief. He couldn’t think…couldn’t breathe. The hunger was overwhelming. This was supposed to be his move not Ryan’s. But it looked like his sexy, intelligent, dirty-minded mate was turning the tables. Shit! He needed to act fast.

But just as he was about to be firm with his mate, the alpha felt it… For a moment it felt like relief. His cock didn’t feel as restricted as it was since Ryan began his naughty caresses. It took Jeremy a moment to realize that Ryan had unzipped him.

“Ryan, what the fuck!” Jeremy exploded, completely forgetting that he would have been better off communicating on their mind-link as it would be difficult for Ryan to hear his helmet-muffled voice, over the roar of the bike. ‘Ryan…’

‘Relax, I’m not going to pull it out.’ Ryan sounded drunk. ‘Besides I’m sure your jacket covers…’

‘It doesn’t.’ Jeremy retorted, pulling up his visor to enable him speak to the hearing of his stubborn mate. “Zip me up, baby.” He said in a cajoling voice. “Come on…”

‘Why should I be the only one to feel this horny?’ Ryan responded on their mind-link.

‘You’re not.’ Jeremy reverted to their mind-link too.

‘Wanna bet?’ Ryan groaned, thrusting against Jeremy. ‘Think I didn’t see the look on Phillip, Stan and Paige’s faces when we were leaving? You guys obviously planned this. What’s that saying? Payback’s a bitch.’

‘Alright, alright I’ll stop and take it out.’ Jeremy gasped even as his eyes shut briefly in pleasure. There was nothing as good as his mate’s touch.

‘And who said anything about wanting it out?’ Ryan moaned, grinding his arse on the seat. He’d never needed as badly as he did that very moment. It was even worse than when Jeremy had denied him sex. This time, he couldn’t control the onslaught of sensations and hunger. It felt as if he hadn’t come in years. All thanks to his mischievous mate. ‘I just want to drive you out of your mind as wickedly as you’re driving me out of mine.’ He purred naughtily. ‘On that note…’ With that telling phrase, Ryan began to pull out Jeremy’s cock.

“Oh my god, Ryan no…” Jeremy growled as panic set in. “You can’t do this out here…Oh shit!” Jeremy gasped when he spotted a police barrier not too far ahead. ‘Fuck, fuck, fuck a police check point…’ He groaned, swerving to the side of the road with an intention of stopping. He needed to stop and fix himself before they got to the check point.

‘Don’t stop.’ Ryan breathed on their mind-link even as he stroked Jeremy’s engorged length steadily, paying more attention to the sensitive ring beneath the blunt head.

‘Are you nuts?’ Jeremy growled. ‘Do you want us to get arrested for indecent ex…’ Jeremy trailed off when he realized that the police barrier ahead was no longer there. “What…” The image in his mirrors showed that the barrier was now behind them. Ryan had obviously blinked them past the barrier. ‘Fuck, what have I gotten myself into?’ He muttered even as the pleasure emanating from Ryan’s fingers began to take over his senses. “Oh shit…” Jeremy moaned as he felt his hips begin to thrust uncontrollably against Ryan’s stroking fingers. The feeling of Ryan’s fingers against that sensitive ridge beneath the head of his cock was driving him insane. ‘Ahhh…’ His head fell back as pure pleasure gripped him. Every twitch of muscle and every small pant of breath he took brought him closer to an explosion that seemed to be building up within. Jeremy felt his eyes shift. He could feel himself losing control. ‘Fuck, baby you have to stop.’ After going for months without taking his mate, the last thing he needed was to be teased.

‘Better get used to it, darling.’ Ryan drawled breathlessly, quickening his strokes. ‘This continues until we complete this journey. Don’t worry. We’re on the highway now. No one will see us.’ And truthfully, theirs seemed to be the only vehicle moving on that stretch. ‘You see, for as long as I remain this horny, you…’ Ryan didn’t complete his sentence. “Jeremy…” Ryan gave a loud cry when his world suddenly shifted. One moment he was leaning snugly against Jeremy, thrusting against him and stroking the shit out of his leaking cock and the next, he was sitting in front of Jeremy. ‘Jeremy?’

‘Ever heard of the hunter who became the hunted?’

Ryan gasped. That voice. He knew it too well. That was Jeremy’s wolf. Mutt had obviously had enough. Shit! He felt rather than saw Jeremy take off his helmet behind him. Then he felt his mate’s fingers beneath his chin, unfastening his helmet. When his helmet came off, Ryan frowned in surprise because he realized that Jeremy’s hands were not on the handlebars. Then he saw the words, cruise control, flashing on the monitor and rolled his eyes.

“Show off.” Ryan muttered just as he felt himself being pushed forward till his chest rested on the gas tank. “What are you doing?” He gasped, turning his head to look at Jeremy.

“What you’ve been asking me to do since we set off.” Jeremy breathed, leaning over Ryan.

“But I haven’t…” Jeremy slammed his mouth on Ryan’s, cutting off his words. The kiss was fierce but at the same time so sensual, Ryan melted into it. He didn’t even feel it when Jeremy loosened the drawstrings on his jogger pants. But when he felt the wind on his bare arse, he tore his mouth away with a breathless gasp. “Jeremy…”

“Shut up.” Came the husky growl.

Jeremy maneuvered the pants off Ryan’s arse with cheeky ease thanks to the ultra-relaxed texture of the material and its elastic waist. He couldn’t stop the excited growl that tore out of his throat when he saw the red handle of the butt plug against the sexy, creamy arse of his mate. And that jockstrap… Shit!

Ryan moaned and arched his back in pleasure when the butt plug was gently pulled out of him. He didn’t bother turning to see what Jeremy did with it. He just wanted to be filled…knew he was going to be filled. And he had an idea what his savagely aroused mate planned to fill him with. He didn’t have to wait for long.

“Fuuuuuck!” Ryan screamed when his hungry hole was filled with one smooth plunge. His body instantly locked up tight when that blunt mushroomed head slammed into that sweet spot inside him. His eyes rolled into his head.

Ryan had felt different levels of orgasmic pleasure at different times. But he’d never felt such an instant, rapturous pleasure ever. Agonizing pleasure assailed his senses as a sharp thrill zoomed up his spine. He felt his balls instantly tighten up inside the pouch of his jockstrap and knew what was going to happen. He didn’t fight it…couldn’t fight it. He just gave himself over to the pleasure. And what a mind-blowing thrill it was. An orgasm of such explosive proportions barreled through his whole body, shook him, stole his breath and propelled him to the most amazing high.

Jeremy felt Ryan’s body convulse in sharp jerks against him, felt his ecstatic thrill and heard his cries of pleasure and growled with undeniable masculine triumph. And even before Ryan got down from his orgasmic high, Jeremy began fucking deep into him with quick hard thrusts, nailing that pleasure button head on.

“Oh my god…” Ryan whimpered shakily as pleasure suffused his entire body. He was completely at the mercy of Jeremy and he loved it. He particularly loved how his mate pounded into him, riding him hard and deep, stroking repeatedly over that spot inside him that made him see stars. Ryan met Jeremy, thrust for thrust, rhythm for rhythm and grunt for grunt. “Don’t stop…please don’t ever stop.”

Jeremy heard his mate’s pleas but was too far gone to assure him that he had no intention of stopping. His wolf was in complete control. And even wild horses wouldn’t have stopped him from deep-dicking his mate’s epic arse. His mate’s body and mind was demanding to be fucked. And he sure as fuck intended to give him what he wanted… What they both wanted. But even as he ploughed into Ryan, Jeremy knew he wasn’t going to last.

“Fuck.” The amber-eyed alpha gave an inhuman growl when just as he knew was going to happen, he felt the beginnings of his orgasm.

Jeremy pulled the upper body of his wanton mate up against his chest, loving how Ryan’s head lolled back onto his shoulder with mindless abandon. Then he yanked down the zipper on his jacket down and bared the side of his neck to his wild eyes. But despite the urgency and harshness in Jeremy’s actions, the mouth that touched that sensitive spot between Ryan’s neck and shoulder was so gentle and sensual.

“Ahhh…” An intense shiver of pure bliss slithered down Ryan’s spine. As if he couldn’t control himself, he tilted his head to the side, giving Jeremy completed access to his neck. “Do it, baby.” He virtually sobbed with anticipation. He’d never wanted anything more. “Please do it.”

Jeremy’s rhythm changed. Almost as if he had all the time in the world, he slipped his fingers into Ryan’s silky white tresses to hold his head steady, then he slipped his right hand inside Ryan’s jockstrap pouch and began to stroke his still hard cocks. Then still fucking deep into Ryan, Jeremy latched onto the same spot he’d bitten Ryan three months earlier.

“Jeremy…Jeremy…Jeremy…” The name fell from Ryan’s lips in a hoarse cry, becoming a chant as he repeated it over and over. The mind-blowing sensation from that cock hitting his prostate, the firm stroking of his cocks and those fangs moving against that spot on his neck caused Ryan’s senses to explode. He came completely undone.

Ryan felt his channel begin to fill with Jeremy’s warm essence just as his cocks erupted for the third time that day. And that was the exact moment that Jeremy struck. His fangs sank deep, imprinting himself on his mate’s very soul. The connection instantly flooded Ryan with everything that the alpha felt for him. Ryan thought he’d seen it all…felt it all…but what he felt at that very moment was like nothing he’d ever felt before. He could hardly process the incredible sensation that flooded his mind and rushed throughout his body. Everything was so intense and so impossibly overwhelming good bumps broke out over Ryan’s entire body. His surroundings disappeared…the world disappeared until all he knew was Jeremy and pleasure he was giving him. And unlike the first time Jeremy had marked him, Ryan couldn’t suppress the loud ecstatic howl that that tore out of his throat. It was purely animal with none of the human evident in it.

Jeremy gave thanks to Luna for keeping other motorists off the highway at that moment. He thought his mate’s howl was loud enough to get to people in the nearest town and probably damage his vocal cords. Hell, that uncontrollable howl would have exposed them had humans been anywhere near them. They both acknowledged that the feeling this time was even more intense than the first time Jeremy had given Ryan his mark. Jeremy knew why, but Ryan didn’t. Whenever marking became two-way, the feeling was always more intense. Theirs was a two way marking as Ryan had already marked Jeremy. They both felt the sweet but powerful waves of euphoric pleasure that repeatedly whirled through their bodies, linking them body and soul, and wondered whether it was ever going to end. Ryan’s ecstatic cries reached a crescendo. He couldn’t help but scream his love for Jeremy on their mind-link. But Jeremy didn’t need to respond to that because Ryan already knew exactly how he felt. For that span of time, they were one. And it felt damn good.

Eventually both males stopped coming and just sat quietly on the moving motorbike. Jeremy continued to hold Ryan. He couldn’t seem to bring himself to let go. Engaging the cruise control feature meant that the set speed on the motorbike was level and low. There was therefore a high possibility that they were going to be late for their meeting but Jeremy didn’t care at all. All he wanted was to hold his mate…savour the most intimate merging of all time. They remained joined at the two points where Jeremy had penetrated Ryan’s body. The feeling was unquestionably out of this world.

Jeremy finally retracted his fangs and licked the wound close, leaving his mark on Ryan. Neither spoke. It almost felt as if speech would spoil their sacred tranquility. What they’d just experienced was like nothing either of them had ever experienced. It was wild. It was insane. It was wonderful. Neither man would have minded staying as they were, forever…just the two of them in absolute peace. That couldn’t happen though. Jeremy turned Ryan’s head and kissed him, their lips meeting gently in the quiet after the storm. It was so sweet, gentle and perfect.

“You okay?” Jeremy asked in a voice that was husky even to his own ears. Ryan could only nod.

Jeremy pulled out a bandana from his back pocket to wipe his hand and Ryan’s cocks. He then tucked Ryan back into the pouch of his jockstrap, and then slipped the bandana back into his pocket. The alpha of alphas then dipped a hand into his jacket pocket and brought out a squarish red velvet box. He opened it to reveal two absolutely beautiful platinum rhodium plated Infinity bands, which featured a striking center band of round black diamonds. The bands were bold, unique, masculine and very elegant. Ryan didn’t notice what was going on because his eyes were closed in contentment. He was totally blissed-out, drifting mindlessly on a cloud of satisfaction. Jeremy carefully took out the smaller of the two rings and put the box back into his pocket. When Ryan felt Jeremy caressing his ring finger, he didn’t open his eyes. It wasn’t until he felt the slide of cold metal that his eyes flew open.

“Oh god, Jeremy.” Ryan breathed, staring at the band on his finger. It was absolutely beautiful.

“Mum said you want a ring.” Jeremy murmured huskily, noting how lost for words his mate was. “It’s an infinity ring. The infinity symbol in the design symbolizes a union so strong that no matter what happens, the love and bond will never cease to exist or break. That’s us.” He said quietly. “I hope you like it.”

Ryan was too overwhelmed to speak. He couldn’t even bring himself to tell his silly mate that he knew what an infinity ring symbolized. He had to gather his thoughts before he could speak. He swallowed hard past the lump in his throat and then finally managed to get his mouth to move.

“I only wanted to know whether there was going to be an exchange of rings at the ceremony.” Ryan muttered, sounding dazed. “It was just a question. She told me you guys don’t do rings. I didn’t say I wanted…” He trailed off, still staring at the ring on his finger.

“We shift all the time. So we don’t usually bother with such precious jewelry.” Jeremy explained. “Truth is werewolves…especially males, are not comfortable with any kind of jewelry since we never bother with them. But she insisted I get you one because you wanted it so…”

“I didn’t say that.” Ryan couldn’t help the blush that stole over his face. Neither could he stop admiring the ring on his finger. It was stunning. “But I love it.” Ryan choked, blinking rapidly to get rid of the moisture that was gathering in his eyes. He never dreamt that he would ever have a band on his finger… Ever!

“Good to know you do.” Jeremy chuckled. “I got one too.” He pressed a kiss against Ryan’s hair. “If it will make you happy, I’ll wear it. You can slip it on my finger when we get to the Island. My plan was to put it on your finger when we get there but…I felt there was no time like now. I love you Ryan.”

“You don’t have to wear it if it’s going to make you uncomfortable. Where’s it?” Ryan asked and then waited till Jeremy brought it out. “It will look so good on your finger.” He murmured, staring at the ring.

“Paige and the shop owner said it looked great on me when I tried it on.” Jeremy grinned.

“Can you…wear it for me just for today? Please?” Ryan asked quietly. In response, Jeremy quietly gave him the ring and his ring finger. And the moment that Ryan slipped the ring on his mate’s finger was hands down his happiest moment. He was so happy it felt as if he was about to burst into a million pieces. “You’re mine, Jeremy. And I will love you until the last breath leaves your body or mine. That’s a promise.” His voice sounded hoarse with emotion.

“And if there’s life after death?” Jeremy gave a mock growl, making an emotional Ryan laugh.

“Even after death, I’ll still love you through eternity and beyond.” Ryan breathed.

“That’s more like it.” Jeremy couldn’t contain the joy within. With a thrilled growl, he gripped Ryan’s nape, tilted his head back, and then gave him a deep but tender kiss which ended with him tugging gently and sensuously on Ryan’s lower lip. Tenderness blended with love. They were in a world of their own. But it had to end at a point. They had a trip to complete.

“I’m going to pull out of you now.” Jeremy spoke softly into Ryan’s ear before gently easing him back onto his chest again.

“Are you going to put the plug back in?” Ryan sounded dreamy.

“Would you want me to?” Jeremy’s voice was barely above a whisper.

“Yes.”

That simple but surprisingly erotic response was all it took for Jeremy to stiffen inside his mate. A groan rumbled within his chest. “You have no idea how I wish we were in bed right now.” He murmured huskily.

“Me more.” Ryan moaned. “I hate the fact that we have to go sit in a meeting and act all gracious when all we want to do is…” He trailed off and sat back up. “A car is coming.”

Both Jeremy and Ryan knew that since the motorbike was not moving as fast as it should, the approaching car was bound to get to them soon. They therefore had no choice but to wait for the car to move past them before they did anything. Jeremy shielded Ryan as best as he could with his jacket before an SUV, filled with two men, two ladies and a dog, came into view. And as the vehicle got closer to them, Ryan did something that shocked even him. He raised his right arm to draw Jeremy’s head down to his. Then he kissed his sexy mate with all the passion within him, giving the four in the SUV an eyeful. And if their excited shouts and honking was any indication, they enjoyed that blatant display of affection.

“What was that for?” Jeremy breathed when the kiss ended. He looked pleasantly surprised.

Ryan shrugged. “It felt like a good idea at the time.” He responded, leaning forward against the gas tank to enable Jeremy do what he had to do.

Jeremy chuckled. “You, mate mine, are an exhibitionist.” He gently pulled out of Ryan.

“Hmmm…” Ryan moaned at the delicious friction but also hated the resultant emptiness. “Just because I kissed you in front of strangers this once?”

“Did you say once?” Jeremy drawled. “Remember the arena? You demanded to be kissed in front of…” Jeremy laughed when Ryan groaned at the memory. “…a little over a thousand people.”

“Oh my god, I’d rather forget.” Ryan groaned.

“What does that make you if not an exhibitionist?” Jeremy couldn’t stop laughing.

“But remember you were the one who…oh fuck…” Ryan completely lost his train of thought when Jeremy slipped the plug back in, locking in his cum.

“Are you okay?” Jeremy waited till Ryan caught his breath long enough to nod. “Good.” He quickly helped Ryan fix himself up. “We need to make up for lost time.” Jeremy grunted as he maneuvered so that each man was back in their correct seat. “Time to ride the shit out of this baby.” He said, disengaging the cruise control function.

And the alpha of alphas did ride the shit out of his expensive motorbike. He rode like a maniac. It was not surprising at all that they actually made it to the venue before the meeting commenced. Jeremy looked especially pleased with himself when his fellow alphas admired his motorbike and remarked on how he’d made it just in time.

Ryan, on the other hand, was an epic mess of short-circuited nerves. His kiss-swollen red lips, flushed face, lust-heavy eyes, plus that heady scent of arousal on him was enough to distract any hot-blooded werewolf. Ryan simply looked fuckable.

The alphas were definitely not immune.

***

From his seat at the high table, Jeremy watched the seated alphas with a slight frown on his face. Something didn’t seem right. For one, he didn’t understand why they kept glancing Ryan’s way. One of the alphas was making a submission about a project that was ongoing in one of the communities but Jeremy only half-listened. He tried to give his complete attention to what was being said because as AA, he was to ask questions after the presentation but he just couldn’t concentrate. Jeremy turned his head to look at his mate and once again, found Ryan’s hot gaze on him. He shivered at the tingling pleasure that shimmied down his spine at the stark want in those amazingly green eyes. Damn, his mate looked alluringly captivating, Jeremy couldn’t help but acknowledge silently. Surely, that wasn’t distracting the alphas, the AA thought hopefully.

Ryan sat to the side, not too far from the high table where Jeremy sat. Since they took their seats in that auditorium, Ryan’s eyes had never left Jeremy. Even when Jeremy wasn’t looking at his gorgeous mate, he felt his lust-saturated eyes on him. Were the alphas looking at his mate because he was staring at him, Jeremy wondered? Much as Ryan’s hungry stare was flattering and arousing, it was also very distracting. And Jeremy didn’t need that distraction in such a meeting.

‘You really need to stop looking at me like that, baby.’ Jeremy growled on their mind-link. ‘It’s making me so fucking horny.’

But Ryan kept staring. ‘Have I told you how hot you look in black?’ He whispered. ‘The way that t-shirt molds to that sexy body…’

‘You’re a fine one to talk.’ Jeremy chuckled. ‘You’re sizzling in that outfit.’

‘Well…unfortunately, I just want to rip your clothes off right now.’ The desire that was conveyed with those words hit Jeremy like a punch, ripping a groan out of his throat. He stared straight ahead as if he hadn’t made a sound when Agyemang, the alpha sitting beside him turned to look at him with a raised brow.

‘Cut it out Ryan.’ Jeremy growled a warning but Ryan was on a roll.

‘I keep fantasizing about what I’m going to do to you later.’ The dreamy softness of Ryan’s voice on their mind-link excited the already semi-stiff flesh between Jeremy’s legs. ‘It might sound greedy, but I need your cock so bad right now.’ He sounded almost hypnotizing.

‘Oh god, you don’t know what you’re doing to me right now.’ Jeremy managed to suppress his groan this time but he felt his body shake with arousal.

‘Hmm… It’s a pity we’re not in bed right now because all I can think of is feeling your body on mine.’ Ryan had never sounded sexier. ‘If these people weren’t here, I would be on my knees with your cock in my mouth…’

“Fuck.” Jeremy swore. He was that close to storming over to his mate and fucking him in front of everyone.

“Hey are you okay?” Agyemang asked with a curious look.

“Peachy.” Jeremy growled and then turned his head to look at the speaker. Despite the arousal flaming within him, the AA knew that he had to ignore his mate. He had no intention of exiting their mind-link. It would be very silly to cut Ryan off when they were amidst people that his mate didn’t know. Ryan might need to tell him something important.

‘God, I feel like I’m about to explode.’ Ryan groaned.

Jeremy turned his head to look at his mate despite himself. Ryan looked like…sex. Jeremy couldn’t think up any other word. The phrase, ‘like moth to a flame’ popped into his mind. In this case, his mate was the flame. Was that why the alphas kept looking at Ryan? Were they as affected by his mate’s arousal as he was? He remembered how out of desperation, Ryan had been able to communicate with everyone in the arena some months earlier. Was Ryan doing it again? Was his hunger so great it was actually distracting the alphas? Jeremy panicked.

‘Control yourself Ryan.’ He said gently.

‘I wish I could control myself but for some reason, all I can think of is having you inside me.’ Ryan actually whimpered.

‘Okay that’s it.’ Jeremy growled, pushing his chair back. ‘That plug comes out now…’

‘Relax, it’s not the plug.’ Ryan stopped Jeremy. ‘It’s just me. I need you so bad right now, Jeremy.’

The ringing in Jeremy’s ear sounded so loud he thought someone was actually ringing a bell beside him.

“…Alpha Jeremy…” Jeremy heard the alpha who had been addressing the alphas, calling his name. Shit. “I was asking if…”

“Why don’t we excuse Jeremy for today?” Mason, the oldest alpha amongst them boomed in a loud voice. “I mean this project wasn’t supposed to be on the agenda for today. We just wanted to hear Jeremy’s final response to our offer that’s why today’s meeting was set in the first place.” There were nods and murmurs of agreement from the alphas.

“Besides he brought his mate.” Someone shouted. “How the fuck do you expect him to concentrate when Ryan is looking like that?”

The alphas erupted into laughter at those words. Jeremy laughed softly as Agyemang gave him hearty slaps on the back.

“Thank you gentlemen but I think we can briefly discuss the presentation and…” Jeremy began but got cut off by Jake T, a seven foot tall alpha;

“Dude, your mind ain’t here.” Jake T growled. “Hell, even my mind ain’t here and he ain’t my fucking mate. Tell us what we wanna hear so we can all get the fuck outta here. I can’t believe you actually rebelled when the Lady gave you that.” He jabbed his forefinger in Ryan’s direction.

The roars and whistles that erupted after the alpha’s silly words were deafening. And the look on Jeremy’s face was priceless. He flipped Jake T a bird which made the alphas laugh even harder. It was obvious the two were good friends. Jeremy turned his head to see how Ryan was reacting to all that was going on and gave a sigh of relief when he saw the amusement on his mate’s flushed face.

Ryan grinned and gave a delicate shrug when he caught Jeremy’s gaze. ‘I’m hot like that.’ He purred on their link and then topped it off with a slow sexy wink.

The alpha of alphas all but melted like butter under the sun, right there. He saw Phillip laughing his head off amongst the alphas and shook his head in amusement. He knew for a fact that the alphas already knew his decision. After all, before the meeting had commenced, he’d first introduced Ryan to them, and then introduced Phillip…who they already knew, as the new alpha of Stanwood Pack. That was all the answer they needed. So yes, they already knew what his answer was going to be. With a chuckle, Jeremy got to his feet and went to stand behind the lectern. His acceptance speech was short and straight to the point. He thanked his colleagues and promised to make them proud. The alphas swore their allegiance to him after his short speech and then it was time for celebration, werewolf style. There were assorted food and meat…lots and lots of meat. The least said about the booze, the better. Since the departure time for the alphas was supposed to be the next day, their plan was to let loose and have fun.

Throughout the feasting, Jeremy made sure he was never far from Ryan. The alphas didn’t miss the ring on Jeremy’s finger. They made it a point to not only admire the classically unique ring, but tease him as well. Some wondered whether he wouldn’t be better off keeping the ring on a chain around his neck. Jeremy had laughingly responded that he would rather keep it on a finger than hang it around his neck like a dog. At a point, he saw Ryan surrounded by about thirty alphas. He could see the blatant lust in the eyes of some and that pissed him off. He didn’t have to be a genius to tell that the alphas were not interested in whatever they were talking about with his adorable mate. They just wanted to be around Ryan.

“Excuse me, Mason.” Jeremy excused himself from the oldest alpha. He needed to stake his claim. He slipped his arms around Ryan from behind when he got to him. “Hey beautiful.” He murmured huskily. “Missed you.” Jeremy pressed a gentle kiss against Ryan’s temple. But there was nothing gentle about the look in his eyes. That look screamed ‘back off’.

Some of the alphas took the hint and left. Others, not so much. But since none of them made any inappropriate moves towards his mate, Jeremy remained calm. Well, until Jake T, whose eyes were glazed with lust and mischief, casually leaned in to breathe Ryan in. Ignoring Jeremy’s growl, he murmured;

“No wonder Red Eyes is so crazy for you.” Jake T addressed Ryan but his eyes were locked on Jeremy’s. “You smell fucking amazing.” He added huskily. This time Jeremy’s growl was accompanied by bared teeth. “Aw settle down boss. The guy is so soaked with your scent I’d never dream of touching him.” With that he grabbed Jeremy’s shoulder and dragged him away towards a group of alphas. “No one will touch him. Relax.”

“Fuck you, T.” Jeremy muttered as he allowed himself to be led away.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah… Listen, that mate of yours looks like he’s gonna burst a nut any second.” Jake T drawled. “Ever considered edging him? Using that technique on him will not only teach your man better control, but will also give him back-arching, toe-curling, screaming orgasms that will make him your bitch for…”

“Ryan isn’t and will never be anyone’s bitch.” Jeremy growled, cutting Jake T off. “Definitely not mine. And I’m pretty sure he’ll kill me before the end of a session of edging.” Jeremy muttered as he bumped fists with the group of alphas Jake T had led him to.

“You might never know.” Jake T chuckled. “He might love the intensity so much he might actually become addicted to it. What’s the worst that can happen?”

“My murder, you asshole.” Jeremy laughed as he accepted the glass of scotch that was pushed into his hand.

All in all, they had a nice time with the alphas. When it was time for Jeremy and Ryan to take their leave, the alphas were regretful that the AA and his mate weren’t going to be with them till the following day but they understood.

“Enjoy your vacation Jeremy.” Mason said with a twinkle in his eyes as he and two other alphas followed Jeremy, Ryan and Phillip to the CO50 Valkyrie Aircraft.

“Oh I intend to.” Jeremy chuckled, shaking the oldest alpha’s outstretched hand. “You guys should get in touch if there’s anything that can’t wait.” Jeremy said hugging the other two alphas.

All three alphas smiled at Ryan but didn’t attempt to touch him. Even Phillip refrained from hugging Ryan after hugging his friend, which rather surprised Jeremy but he didn’t comment on it. Just as Jeremy and Ryan were about to board the plane, two more alphas came to join them with an issue they thought couldn’t wait.

“I’ll be on the plane.” Ryan said quickly. “I need to respond to some important mails anyway so I might as well do that now.” He gave Phillip a quick hug. “It was a pleasure meeting you all.” He said to the others.

“The pleasure was ours, Ryan.” Mason responded with a respectful bow.

“Enjoy your ride co-pilot.” Phillip chuckled as Ryan started towards the aircraft.

“With a co-pilot like me, Jeremy definitely needs divine intervention.” Ryan laughed as he waved at them.

“Then I say he already has what he needs.” Mason boomed, making the others laugh.

‘Take that plug out before you get seated.’ It was said quietly on their mind-link. But the command behind it was clear.

Ryan turned his head to look at his mate but Jeremy seemed to be in a deep discussion with the alphas. The man knew just what to do and say to get his blood pumping, Ryan thought stifling his groan of desire. He climbed on board and did exactly as his mate had instructed before getting on his laptop.

After a quick discussion between Jeremy and the alphas, they all left to join the celebration, leaving only Phillip.

“Had a good ride?” Phillip asked with a smirk.

“The best, Lip. The best.” Jeremy breathed.

“Enjoying the poor guy’s misery huh?” Phillip laughed. “You have forty-five minutes to get to the Island, buddy.” With his arms folded across his broad chest, the new alpha of Stanwood Pack watched his friend with eyes glistening with amusement. “You really need to get the poor man off before he explodes.” He pointed out in a calm and even voice. “Make those forty-five minutes count.”

Jeremy could neither suppress his groan nor his grin. He didn’t bother letting Phillip know that he’d gotten Ryan off on their ride to the meeting. The degree of lust coming off his mate actually marveled him. One would have thought that brutal release he’d given Ryan earlier would have taken the edge off but on the contrary, the intensity of Ryan’s lust seemed to be increasing by the minute. He’d been tempted to drag Ryan into the bathroom for a quickie at a point but had decided against it.

“I plan on…taking care of matters before we take off.” Jeremy muttered, knocking a fist against Phillip’s.

“That’s what I’m talking about.” Phillip chuckled. “Give me a call when you get to the Island.”

“Will do that.” With that, the AA climbed into the cockpit and closed the hatch.

**

Ryan raised his head from the laptop in his lap to look at Jeremy when he heard him open the door to the pilot’s side. The Valkyrie, he’d heard, was one of the fastest and safest piston aircrafts. Ryan loved how small but elegant the aircraft looked. It comfortably seated only five people including the pilot but had ample storage for suitcases. He knew that Jeremy had bigger planes but he’d explained that since it was just the two of them, they would enjoy the Valkyrie better. He watched as his mate got into the pilot’s seat and immediately began to push on knobs and flick some levers. Jeremy obviously didn’t want to waste any more time, Ryan thought as he turned back to his laptop. Too bad he wasn’t going to be much of a help as a copilot. There was no way he would understand all those knobs on the control board.

Just as Ryan heard the engine start, Rihanna’s ‘Work’ filled the aircraft, blurring out of the obviously powerful speakers. He raised his head to look at Jeremy and felt his breath hitch inside his throat when he found smoldering blue eyes on him. Jeremy sat in his seat in a relaxed manner and just stared at him. Assuming that Jeremy was waiting for him to shut down so he could take off, Ryan began the process of shutting down his laptop.

“Get off that laptop and get on top of this lap.” Ryan heard Jeremy command in the most savagely husky voice he’d ever heard and raised his head again to look at his mate, wondering whether he’d heard right.

Ryan swallowed hard when he saw Jeremy slowly unzipping his jeans. His eyes went to the windows. Anyone who bothered to look at the aircraft would surely see everything that was going on inside, Ryan couldn’t help but think. He knew what Jeremy would say if he pointed out that fact. We’re werewolves… We fuck around each other all the time… It’s a werewolf thing… Well, he couldn’t do that with the knowledge that total strangers could see them. And that was exactly what Ryan meant to tell his mate till his eyes landed on that magnificent, hard, pulsing cock of Jeremy’s. A whimper escaped his throat when he felt his channel clench with need. Ryan closed his laptop, placed it on the shelf beside him and then pulled off his boots. His pants and jockstrap followed. He saw Jeremy press one of the knobs and instantly release all the window shades, shielding them from any prying eyes. The AA obviously knew his mate very well. But at that point, Ryan didn’t really care. All he wanted was to get filled by Jeremy.

Even though Jeremy’s eyes were closed, he felt it when Ryan threw a leg across his thighs to straddle him. He reached up to grip Ryan’s waist. And then with eyes still shut, Jeremy slowly guided his sexy mate down on his cock.

“Jeremy…” Ryan’s husky cry echoed Jeremy’s. “So damn good…” He leaned his forehead against Jeremy’s. He knew that if he moved, it would all be over for him. He needed to compose himself. “I missed you…” Ryan breathed just before he took Jeremy’s mouth in a kiss so hot and fierce it left both of them breathless. When they came up for air, they just stared into each other’s eyes.

“Ride me, baby.” Jeremy whispered huskily. “Ride me hard.”

And ride him, Ryan did…hard. This time, it was his turn to show Jeremy who was boss. And he showed no mercy. With eyes glazed from utter bliss, mouth parted sexily and body moving to the rhythm of the steamy song playing, Ryan fucked the shit out of Jeremy.

“You feel so fucking amazing…” Jeremy’s head was thrown back in blissful abandon as Ryan worked his cock with his arse muscles. “Shit…”

Ryan looked down at his mate through eyes reduced to slits. Seeing the utter pleasure on his mate’s face made him want to give him more pleasure. With his thumb continuously rubbing against the mark on Jeremy’s neck, Ryan reduced the great alpha to an incoherent mess. He would ride hard and fast one moment, slowly with erotic patience the next moment, speed it up again with a rhythmic tightening of his channel on each downward slide, then slow down to gyrate sexily to erotic cries from Jeremy, and then start the cycle all over again. And of course he couldn’t stop himself from leaning down intermittently to suck on Jeremy’s mark. The alpha was completely under his mate’s control.

“Oh my fucking god…” Sweat broke out at Jeremy’s temples as devastating ecstasy threatened to steal his sanity. His cries of pleasure filled the craft as he met his mate’s downward plunges with mindless upward thrusts. For Jeremy, the climb to the peak came fast. “Shit, I’m going to come…” He gasped, the pressure in his balls nearly painful as he tried to hold back his climax. But he knew it was a losing battle. That salaciously suggestive song and Ryan’s tantalizing gyrations were definitely not helping…

‘Work, work, work, work, work, work

He say me have to

Work, work, work, work, work, work

He see me do me

Dirt, dirt, dirt, dirt, dirt, dirt!

So me put in

Work, work, work, work, work, work’

Rihanna’s voice blasted out even as Ryan shut his eyes and worked Jeremy as if he were acting out that explicit song. “Let go baby…” He breathed, feeling Jeremy swell inside him and knowing that his mate couldn’t hold it.

“No, no, no…” Jeremy wanted to stop the rush toward the cliff, delay the inevitable earth-shattering orgasm a bit longer. But most importantly, Jeremy didn’t want to climax before his mate. “Ryan…” Hovering tautly on the very edge of orgasm, Jeremy whimpered as if he was in pain.

Ryan’s eyes snapped open when he heard the tearing sound. It took him a moment to realize that Jeremy had torn his t-shirt down the middle. Before he could even begin to wrap his mind around why his mate had to destroy his sexy top, he felt that hot mouth latch onto a pebbled nipple. Then his teeth closed around that taut flesh. Ryan stiffened as sensation zinged from his nipple, streaked through his tightly coiled body to his gut, moved straight down to where Jeremy impaled him with that wicked cock, and then zoomed to his balls and engorged cocks.

He lost all sense of hearing as pleasure-pain ricocheted through his body, hurtling him into such intense ecstasy black spots dance in his vision. His mind lost control of his body.

Ryan’s ear-splitting cry filled the aircraft when the sharp crest of a powerful orgasm slammed into him. And even as he exploded into a million sizzling pieces, Jeremy surged up into him and finally let go with a toe-curling roar.

Both men were totally overcome with maddening ecstasy. Their release was so sublime neither wanted it to end. It was just perfect. As they both fought to get their breathing under control, Ryan leaned forward and buried his face against Jeremy’s neck.

“What is happening to me?” He groaned. “I can’t get enough of you. I want to keep fucking and never stop. Is that normal?” Ryan grazed his teeth over Jeremy’s mark and moaned when Jeremy cried out and jerked inside him. “I don’t need anything else besides the feel of you moving inside me…hitting that button on every thrust.” Ryan’s head came up, his breath gusting over Jeremy’s ear and making him shudder. “I want you to stay deep inside me and never pull out.” He breathed huskily and then sat straight to search Jeremy’s eyes with worried ones. “Is that normal?” He asked again, rubbing the pad of his thumb over Jeremy’s bottom lip.

“What’s not normal about wanting your mate?” Jeremy rasped, his eyes filled with fiery desire. “And I’m going to give it to you on that Island so good you won’t be able to move for days.”

“Promise?” Ryan whispered, closing the gap between their mouths just to lick at Jeremy’s lips.

“Promise.” Jeremy nodded as he watched Ryan with lust-heavy eyes. “I’m at your service.” He rasped, leaning in to suck Ryan’s lower lip into his mouth. “I can’t wait to have you beneath me in a bed.” Jeremy husked against Ryan’s kiss-swollen lower lip.

“Let’s get going then because the earlier we get there, the earlier you can make good on your promise.” Ryan muttered as he stood slowly, dislodging Jeremy’s cock.

“Ahh, that feels good.” Jeremy moaned, loving the sweet friction against his cock as Ryan moved off him. “Seriously?” The alpha gasped when his eye landed on Ryan’s hard cocks.

“Told ya.” Ryan sighed.

“And he calls me a perv.” Jeremy gave a sexy chuckled. “Better brace yourself darling. ‘Cause shit’s about to go down.”

If only he knew just how freakishly accurate that statement was…

Feral attraction in the midst of hatred…perfect new life! – Chapter 10 – Perfect New Life! – COMING SOON!

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