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Under His Spell

Lynn Calloway has been living a quiet, routine lifethat is, until she meets a gorgeous stranger. Drawn in by his dark, magnetic gaze, shes instantly intrigued. She notices something different about him from the very start, but it isnt until they spend a passionate night together that the secrets hes been holding begin to reveal themselves in the most unexpected of ways. From the moment Takoda Chasing Horse lays eyes upon her, hes certain that shes the one. But before he can make her his own he will have to reveal the truth. A shape-shifter by birth, he has the ability to transform into a wolf. The passionate love they develop for one another is unbreakable, but a tragic past presents obstacles that neither is prepared for. Under His Spell is the story of two wounded souls coming together and the battles they must face to save their love. Genre: Interracial, Paranormal, Vampires/Werewolves Length: 57,406 words

UNDER HIS SPELL

Liz Davis

EROTIC ROMANCE

Siren Publishing, Inc. www.SirenPublishing.com

ABOUT THE E-BOOK YOU HAVE PURCHASED: Your non-refundable purchase of this e-book allows you to only ONE LEGAL copy for your own personal reading on your own personal computer or device. You do not have resell or distribution rights without the prior written permission of both the publisher and the copyright owner of this book. This book cannot be copied in any format, sold, or otherwise transferred from your computer to another through upload to a file sharing peer to peer program, for free or for a fee, or as a prize in any contest. Such action is illegal and in violation of the U.S. Copyright Law. Distribution of this e-book, in whole or in part, online, offline, in print or in any way or any other method currently known or yet to be invented, is forbidden. If you do not want this book anymore, you must delete it from your computer. WARNING: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000. If you find a Siren-BookStrand e-book being sold or shared illegally, please let us know at legal@sirenbookstrand.com

A SIREN PUBLISHING BOOK IMPRINT: Erotic Romance

UNDER HIS SPELL Copyright 2011 by Liz Davis E-book ISBN: 1-61034-866-4 First E-book Publication: October 2011 Cover design by Jinger Heaston All cover art and logo copyright 2011 by Siren Publishing, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED: This literary work may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, including electronic or photographic reproduction, in whole or in part, without express written permission. All characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is strictly coincidental.

PUBLISHER Siren Publishing, Inc. www.SirenPublishing.com

Letter to Readers
Dear Readers, If you have purchased this copy of Under His Spell by Liz Davis from BookStrand.com or its official distributors, thank you. Also, thank you for not sharing your copy of this book.

Regarding E-book Piracy This book is copyrighted intellectual property. No other individual or group has resale rights, auction rights, membership rights, sharing rights, or any kind of rights to sell or to give away a copy of this book. The author and the publisher work very hard to bring our paying readers high-quality reading entertainment. This is Liz Daviss livelihood. Its fair and simple. Please respect Ms. Daviss right to earn a living from her work. Amanda Hilton, Publisher www.SirenPublishing.com www.BookStrand.com

UNDER HIS SPELL


LIZ DAVIS
Copyright 2011

Chapter One
The aroma of coffee greeted Lynn as she walked through the doors of the coffeehouse, filling her nostrils with its rich, delicious scent. The coffee shop had a nice, cozy atmosphere with red velvet armchairs and small circular tables. Contemporary music floated from the speakers, mingling with the sound of the cappuccino machine. Making her way over to the counter, she ordered her usual, which was a cup of coffee and a blueberry muffin. Then she walked over to her favorite table next to the window. After setting her coffee and pastry down, she took a seat, cracking open the book shed brought along. It was an adventure novel, something shed picked up from the library a few days ago. So far it was turning out to be an interesting read, but she was only partially paying attention to it. The coffeehouse was getting busier, and soon a small line began to form in front of the cashier. A certain person in line really caught her attention, and while she couldnt see his face, the view from behind was very nice. He was tall, around six feet two, and had a slim build and well-developed arms. As her eyes moved downward, they came to land on his butt and what she saw impressed her. The man had an ass a Greek god would be jealous of, but what really got her was his long hair. It was black, shiny, and nearly waist length. That long, gorgeous hair was so damn sexy. For as long as she could

Liz Davis

remember, shed been irresistibly attracted to men who wore their hair long. Lynn began to imagine what his face looked like and found herself wondering if he was American Indian. She knew that some of the men wore their hair long due to their cultural beliefs, and the presence he exuded suggested there was something pleasantly different about him. The line moved quickly, and within a few short moments, he was at the front. After giving his order he paid the cashier, then waited for his drink to be prepared. Lynns eyes remained fixed upon the tall, long-haired stranger. She impatiently waited for the moment when she would see his face, and as he finally turned toward her she was far from disappointed. To say the man was gorgeous would be an understatement. Simply put, he was masculine beauty. And he was indeed American Indian. His eyes searched for an empty table, and, spotting one across the way from her, he sat down at it. Lynn felt her heart leap in her chest from the mere presence of him. Calm down and dont get so excited. He probably wont even notice that Im here. There isnt a chance Im even his type, anyhow. She figured he must have noticed her looking because his eyes met hers in a lingering gaze. She tried to smile, yet found that she couldnt. She was shy, and being in the presence of this man, who happened to be the epitome of her ultimate fantasy, was nearly overwhelming. As he picked up his coffee mug, she noticed his hands. They were large, and his fingers were long and slim. He wore rings which were made of turquoise and silver, and as she studied his fingers, she found herself wondering what it would feel like to have them slide across her body. She imagined them moving up her thighs until they reached that place between her legs. Then they would travel further inward untiloh gosh, she had to stop. She couldnt think of that right now, not here.

Under His Spell

As if hed been reading her thoughts, the long-haired cutie looked up from the magazine he was reading. As his eyes met her own, she felt her stomach do little flips, which was a sure sign that she was nervous. So naturally the next step was for her to turn into an embarrassing, awkward mess. Oh great, thats just what I need, to turn into a klutzy fool in front of this gorgeous man. His gaze was intense and unwavering. She allowed her eyes to lock into his for a few short moments but eventually found herself directing her attention elsewhere. She was too shy to keep eye contact and had always been terrible at flirting. Taking a bite of her muffin, she gazed up from under her lashes every so often to see if he was still looking. He was. Picking up the mug of coffee, she took a large sip. It had grown a bit cold, but she didnt care. All she needed right now was to create a diversion. Unfortunately she ended up miscalculating the sip she was taking, and some of it dribbled onto her white tank top. Lynns cheeks instantly grew hot from embarrassment, and as she set the coffee mug down she could still feel his eyes glued upon her. Grabbing a napkin from the table, she began patting the stain on her shirt, but it didnt seem to be doing any good, so she gave up and tossed the napkin aside. Unable to avoid his stare any longer, Lynn found her gaze being pulled back to his. Those dark, intense eyes of his were still fixated upon her, gazing so intently that it almost seemed as if he were searching for secrets inside of her. The pull he had upon her was magnetizing. It wasnt a creepy feeling, but it was rather unusual. He was a complete stranger to Lynn, so why did it seem as if he could view things that were buried deep inside of her? Those eyes of his seemed to penetrate her very being. She couldnt help feeling intimidated, and yet there was also something very erotic about the way his eyes were watching her.

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She still felt incredibly nervous, but she was willing herself to not look away. Shed had stare downs before, but this was beyond that. There was no malice behind this, only curiosity. Shed never had a man look at her in such a way before, and she felt a very strong urge to know who he was. He intrigued her. She wanted to speak to him but didnt know what to say, so she remained quiet, fixed into that hypnotizing gaze of his. Her eyes were locked hopelessly into his, and it didnt seem as if he was planning on releasing them anytime soon, so she just did her best to play it cool. She wasnt doing a very good job of it though, because the napkin in her hand was being torn to shreds. Her other hand was balled up nervously in her lap, and her nails were digging into the flesh of her palm, leaving behind little indentations of crescent moons. Lynn was beginning to wonder when and if he was ever going to speak. She kept waiting for him to grow tired of looking at her and unlock her from his gaze, but it still didnt seem as if he had any intentions of doing so. Neither of them wanted to stop staring. She found herself captivated by his eyes, and there was a strong energy which moved between them, an intense sexual heat. She realized that if a man could do this with his eyes then he must be amazing in bed. The look in his eyes told her that he was testing her, willing her to look away first, but she was determined not to. Shed invested her energy and willpower and was now determined not to let her nerves get the best of her. All around her, people were drinking coffee and clattering dishes and talking and laughing, but Lynn barely noticed of any of it. All of that was secondary now. The heated energy between them threatened to consume her, and his dark, sensuous eyes dared her to look away. Lynn did her best to continue holding his powerful gaze but suddenly came to the realization that she just couldnt hold out any longer. She tried to stop herself, but against her best intentions, the muscles of her mouth began to curl upward. As a smile spread across

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her face, he laughed. He knew she had been trying not to and was pleased that hed managed to put a smile on her face. She saw he had a beautiful smile, and his eyes seemed to light up with it. Lynn looked sheepishly down into her coffee cup then shyly looked back up at him. Excuse me for staring, but I think youre beautiful. His voice was sexy and deep. Thanks. If she could have blushed she would have, but her golden-brown skin tone hid her abashment. When he stood up from the table he was sitting at, she felt her heart drop. She had only just met him, and already he was leaving. It was just her luck. She knew this was too good to be true. Then suddenly she realized that he was walking over to where she sat, and as he reached her table he glanced down at her and gave her a little smile. Mind if I share this table with you? She felt her heart skip a beat as he said it. Sure, go ahead. She was trying to play it cool but knew she was failing miserably. Her voice came out sounding high-pitched. How embarrassing. Smiling at her, he sat down, setting his coffee mug on the table. Then he wrapped his hands around it, displaying those turquoise rings she loved. So, whats your name? he asked. Her eyes focused on his lips, and she wondered what it would be like to kiss him. Lynn, she answered shyly. Im Takoda, nice to meet you. Likewise, she said. Are you from around here, Lynn? Well, not originally. I moved to Oregon with my parents when I was sixteen. No, he said, while laughing. What I meant was do you live in this neighborhood? He grinned at her.

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Lynn gave an embarrassed smile. Yeah, I live a few blocks from here. Cool. Well, Im new to the area, so maybe you can show me around sometime. Yeah, I might be able to do that. Well, dont sound so excited. He gave her a little smile. No really, I want to. I can show you some great spots to eat at, and theres even this cool little movie house that shows classic films. Its great. Id love that. He took a sip of his coffee then looked at his watch. Well, Ive got to go to work soon. Wish I didnt have to, though. Id much rather hang out with you. Yeah, too bad you have to go. Maybe Ill see you around again sometime. Well what are you waiting for? Give him your phone number already. She really did want to, but she didnt even have a pen or a piece of paper to write it on. It would look rather awkward to go up to the cashier and ask for a pad and pen. Besides, she was used to having guys ask for her number. She didnt want to seem desperate. Dont wait for him to ask, just do it. What are the chances youll see him again? Takoda took one last sip of coffee, and then he stood up from the chair. Well I guess I better get out of here. I have a long day ahead of me so I better get on the road. Disappointment spread across her face. Oh, all right. Maybe Ill see you around, then. Thats it? Thats all youre going to say to him? Girl, this is your only chance. Do something! He gave her a funny little smile then walked over to a table a few feet away from them. Lynns heart did a complete nosedive. He didnt even say goodbye. After the intense stare down theyd just had, and that amazing

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energy which had transgressed between them, all he did was just walk away from her, and that was it? Well, any chance shed had of getting with him was now nonexistent. How often did she meet foxy Native American men? This was like a once in a lifetime sort of thing, and now he probably thought shed just blown him off. Well, it serves you right. You had your chance, and you didnt take it. Why didnt you just give him your phone number? Girl, what is wrong with you? As much as she hated to admit it, the voice was right. Lynn watched as Takoda walked over to another table. The lady who sat at it looked up at him with big eyes, admiring his delicious physique and long, black hair. The adoring look she gave him sent a pang of jealousy through Lynn, but she really couldnt blame the lady. He was gorgeous and perfect and what woman wouldnt want him? As Takoda spoke to the woman, she nodded her head, then pulled out a pad of paper and a pen. Takoda took it from her and wrote something on the pad, then tore off the sheet of paper. Oh great, now hes giving her his phone number. This has got to be the worst day of my life. I was so close, and I missed my chance. Oh man, this is bad, its really bad. Keeping her eyes planted upon him, Lynn watched as he handed the pen and pad of paper back to the lady. Then he turned around and sauntered back over toward her. The woman at the other table watched as he walked away from her, and Lynn noticed that the look on her face was one of sadness. She was obviously very sorry to see him leave. But hey, at least she got a glance at his butt as a parting gift. Lynn turned her head quickly, trying to pretend as if she hadnt been looking. She feigned interest in her cup of coffee, but it had grown cold long ago. As Takoda reached her table, he placed a sheet of paper on it. Looking down at it, she saw that his phone number was scribbled upon it.

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Her heart leapt with joy at the sight of it. She had been so sure that he was asking that lady for her phone number, when really he had just gone over there to get a sheet of paper and to borrow a pen. So she hadnt screwed up her chances. She struggled to appear cool on the outside, but internally she was celebrating. I was hoping you would give me your phone number, but when you didnt, I realized I had to be the one to give you mine. So, here it is. Call me sometime. He flashed his perfect smile, and she felt herself grow weak in the knees at the sight of it. Yeah sure, Ill do that. Great, Ill look forward to it. But now, I really must go. He held his palm out to her, and she placed her hand into it. Takoda bent his head down to place a tender kiss on her hand. As he did it, his hair fell forward and a few silky locks brushed against her skin. Her heart fluttered in response, and she found herself feeling as if she belonged between the pages of a romance novel. Was this actually real life? No man had ever kissed her on the hand before. Okay, so not only was he gorgeous, but he was also a complete gentleman. How could he possibly be single? Takoda ran his fingers through his hair, sweeping it back over his shoulders. Well, Im off. It was nice meeting you, and Ill be waiting for that phone call. He gave her a wink, then headed for the door. Bye, nice to meet you, too. She turned her head to watch him as he left. His long hair blew in the wind as he walked across the street. The man could definitely be in a shampoo commercial. As her eyes followed his retreating form, Lynn realized she hadnt ever seen a man as beautiful Takoda. Not only was he gorgeous but masculine and a gentleman to boot. How the hell did she get so lucky? Lynn watched as he got into his pickup truck and pulled away. Giving a sigh of contentment, she had to struggle to keep from pinching herself, because this most certainly had to be a dream.

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Chapter Two
Two days had passed and Lynn still couldnt get Takoda off her mind. That smile, his dark eyes, and that gorgeous hair were all imprinted on her memory. Whenever she thought about his magnetic gaze she felt a strong surge of lust sweep through her loins. Since she had a job which allowed her to telecommute, Lynn always spent her Mondays at home, so she was casually dressed in a pair of fitted, black yoga pants and a blue tank top. It was now half past noon, which meant she was due for a break, so she went into the kitchen to fix a cup of tea. While she was waiting for the water to boil, she eyed the slip of paper on the counter that had Takodas phone number on it. Shed wanted to call him the first day they met but hadnt wanted to come off as desperate, so shed decided against contacting him. Two days has passed since their meeting in the coffeehouse, and she still hadnt found the courage to phone him yet. The truth of it was that she was shy. She always had trouble making conversation, and the last thing she wanted to do was bore him, but she also didnt want him to think that she wasnt interested. So do it. Just call already. Lynn picked the slip of paper up and went over to the phone, picking up the receiver to dial him. As she listened to the other end of the line ring, she began to doubt herself. What if she didnt know what to say to him? What if there came a lull in their conversation? She dreaded those awkward silences. They always caused her to clam up and grow anxious.

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When the phone got to the third ring, she hung up. She had to overcome her phone shyness. It would only ruin things for her, and if she didnt call him then they could never get together. She thought it over for a few more minutes and then made the decision to call after she drank her tea. Maybe it would help to settle her nerves and allow her to gather her courage. Yeah, sure. And then youll chicken out again, right? She ignored the voice and made the tea. Then she headed out to the porch. It was sunny outside with a light breeze, a perfect day for porch sitting. Sitting down in a rocking chair, she leaned back and closed her eyes, listening to the melody of wind chimes ring. Her eyes had only been closed a few moments when there came a sound from inside of the house. Realizing it was the back door banging closed, Lynns eyes flew open, and she bolted from her seat. Lynn rushed over to the screen door and pulled it open slowly, making sure that it didnt make a noise as she closed it behind her. It was probably just the wind banging the back screen door. She knew better, though. Lynn always made sure to latch the back screen door shut, so this possibility was very unlikely. As if to confirm this fact, the sound of a mans voice suddenly filled the air. So now there was no mistaking it. There was definitely somebody inside of her house. Her heartbeat quickened, and her mouth went dry with fear. She had to get to a phone, had to call the police and get help. Hello, anybody home? the deep voice called out. She didnt dare answer, only stood frozen by the door. She was too afraid to move. She tried to remember where shed left her phone and then realized it was still in her bedroom, but in order to get there shed have to bypass the kitchen, and thats where the voice was coming from. As the strangers footsteps grew closer, Lynn searched around for a weapon. Her eyes fell upon the poker by the fireplace, but she ended

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up tripping over a pile of clothes to get to it, resulting in a loud thud as her body connected with the floor. The footsteps rushed over to where she was, and when she lifted her head to look over her shoulder, she saw a tall figure standing before her. His presence was unmistakable. It was Takoda, and he was wearing a pair of painters pants and a gray T-shirt. Takoda, what are you doing here? She was both confused and embarrassed. You hired a painter, right? Here, let me help you up. He bent down and grabbed her by the arm, waiting until she had a firm grip before he pulled her up. What were you doing? Howd you fall? His eyebrows furrowed in concern. A small bruise was forming on her temple. I heard someone in the house, so I got scared and panicked. I was trying to grab a weapon, and I ended up tripping and fell. Im okay though. Its no big deal. No, wait, it looks like you have a bruise forming here. Brushing a few strands of hair away from her face, Takoda gingerly touched the rising mark on her temple. Are you sure youre okay? Yeah, Im fine. Really. All right. So I guess you were the woman who called in a few weeks ago to have the walls in your kitchen painted. You made arrangements to have your house painted today. Said you would leave the back door open and that it was okay to just come in and get started. Sorry I scared you. He still looked concerned and kept eyeing the bruise on her face. Oh man, I forgot all about that. Precision Painting Services, right? I spoke to a Joe on the phone that day. Yeah, Joes my partner. He owns half of the company. I remember when your call came in because Joe was laughing about the color of your walls. Of course, I didnt know it was you then. I mean,

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we didnt know each other. Kinda funny how things worked out though, huh? Yeah, interesting how that happened. There was a brief silence between them. She smiled shyly at him, tucking a curly lock of hair behind her ear. Her heart beat rapidly from the close proximity of their bodies, and the fact that he was here in her house only increased her excitement. As her eyes roved over his face, Lynn admired his prominent cheekbones and deep, sensuous eyes. Glancing at his strong arms, she began to imagine his pecs flexing as he pumped himself in and out of her tight, wet spot. As the carnal thought rushed through her head, her body instantly reacted, causing the space between her legs to heat up. Breaking the tension between them, Takoda said, Yeah, well I guess I better get started on the painting. I really do feel bad about that bruise on your face, though. Theres a bruise? Lynn walked over to a mirror over the fireplace then lightly touched the spot on her temple. It was fairly small but still noticeable. Yeah, Im afraid its my fault. I should have just come around front and rang the doorbell anyway. Do you have a first aid kit anywhere? I think we should put an ice pack on it. Yeah, I keep a small kit in the bathroom. Ill go get it. Once she was in the bathroom she grabbed the kit, taking a moment to glance at her face in the mirror. Her hair was tied up into a messy bun and a few curly tendrils hung around her face. The only makeup she had on was some lip gloss and a bit of mascara and she suddenly wished that shed put more makeup on, but it was too late for that now. With the first aid kit in hand, she exited the bathroom and took it out into the living room. Got it. She placed it on the coffee table and opened it up, then sat down on the couch next to him. She started to place the ice pack on her temple, but he took it from her, gently easing it out of her hand.

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Here, let me do that. He gingerly placed it against her head. You dont have to do this. I want to, he responded. After a few moments he lifted the ice pack up and checked the bruise. Well, it looks better now. The redness is gone. But I feel like it still needs something else. Like what? This. He leaned in closer, placing a soft kiss on her temple. He followed it up with another upon the cheek, then further down on her neck. As he placed his lips on her chest, she could feel his breath and her heart began to quicken. As Takoda lifted his head up, he pressed his lips to her own, and as their lips met, she was certain she felt sparks. As his tongue slipped into her mouth, Lynn was filled with a level of ecstasy shed never before experienced. To say that he knew how to kiss was an understatement. His lips worked expertly against her own, and she became lost in the experience. Enraptured by his touch, Lynn expelled a lusty moan. Pressing his lips against her neck, Takoda left a trail of tender kisses along her collarbone. His soft touch made her skin tingle and the touch of his lips had her melting in his arms. Then she felt his hands upon her stomach, sliding further up until they reached the mounds beneath her top. Sliding his fingers beneath the straps of her top, he slowly slid them down over her shoulders. She felt his fingers slide beneath the top of the shirt, moving slowly as his eyes glanced deeply into her own, and just before he peeled the shirt off of her, he paused. She could see in his eyes that he was searching for any hesitancy on her part, but she only stared back at him, silently expressing that she was offering no objection. With his fingers hooked beneath the fabric of the tank top he slid it down, exposing the skin of her breasts for his hungry gaze. Now they were exposed for him, inviting him to touch and play. He cupped one in his palm, leaning forward to place his tongue on it. Then he began to

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trace small circles around her nipple. Around and around it went, spiraling its way slowly inward. Oh, she sighed breathily. His tongue came tantalizingly close, yet never quite made it to the hard points of flesh. It was driving her crazy, and he knew it. Takodas tongue moved around in tight circles, coming so close to touching her nipples and as soon as they were almost there, his appendage retreated, refusing her the very thing that she was so badly craving. Takoda, please Lynn pushed her chest out, hoping he would oblige. With his eyes peering up into her own, Takoda continued the blissful torture, enjoying the powerful effect that he had over her. Lynn was just nearing the end of her patience when he finally decided to give in, sweeping his long, skillful tongue across her peak. As a jolt of electricity swept through her body, Lynn gave a sharp inhale. Takoda flicked his tongue back and forth a few times, sucking the sensitive bud into his mouth. Then he gave the same attention to her other breast. Mmmm. Her lips parted in delight as she released a moan. Lynn could feel the space between her legs heating up. Shed never wanted a man so badly before. She needed to feel, suck, touch, and taste every inch of his body. He lifted his head up, placing a tender kiss on each of her nipples. Then he grabbed hold of her waist, pulling her up onto him so that she was straddling his lap. Their lips met in a passionate kiss, with an energy so hot it threatened to consume them. She ran her fingers through his long hair, letting the glossy strands weave themselves between her fingers. She could feel his hands on her bottom, squeezing and fondling the curves of her flesh. Using the tip of a finger, he placed it on her neck, moving it slowly down her spine until it reached her backside. It continued to trace its way between the crevice of her ass. As it passed over that

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forbidden area, she felt a spark shoot through her. The tip of his finger came to a stop once it met with the heat between her legs. She was so wet it had soaked through her pants, dampening his finger with her excitement. She wanted him so badly that her clit was aching, and each time he ran his finger over it, she pressed her hips into him. Lynn felt an insatiable need to have this man inside of her, and judging from the tent in his pants, she could tell that he felt an urgency as well. As her hand slid up his thigh, she felt his erection poking from beneath the fabric, urging her to release it from the constraint of his jeans. Willing herself to break the kiss, Lynn removed her lips from his and then spoke. Take me into the bedroom. As she wrapped her legs around his waist, Takoda lifted her up from the couch so he could carry her into the bedroom.

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Chapter Three
Once they got to the bedroom, he placed her on the bed, undoing the bun in her hair so that her locks fell free. Then he began to undress her. He removed her top first, then her pants, sliding them off of her shapely thighs. Despite his urgency to be inside her, he took some time to relish her beauty. She had smooth, golden-brown skin and the prettiest almond-shaped eyes he had ever seen. Her breasts were a little more than a handful, perky and firm to the touch. Hooking his finger beneath the fabric of her panties, he slipped them down over her hips. After tossing them aside, he began to undress. As he pulled his shirt over his head, Lynns eyes feasted upon his smooth, strong chest, causing her heartbeat to quicken at the sight of it. He was most definitely the sexiest man she had ever laid eyes upon. When he began to unbutton his pants, she rose up off the bed, pulling herself into a sitting position to help him take them off. Here, let me, she offered. Grabbing the hem of his pants, Lynn undid the zipper and pulled down his jeans. Once they were around his ankles, he kicked them off with his foot. His cock bulged beneath the boxer briefs he wore. Lynn traced her finger along the outline of his erection, causing it to shift and stir anxiously. Pulling back the elastic waistband of his shorts, she slipped them down over his hips. His cock sprang free from its confines, a mere few inches from her lips. It was at least eight inches and thick. Shed never thought of a mans penis as beautiful before, but this one most definitely was. Lynn had heard the tall, lean guys were usually hung well, and now she could see it was true. Placing

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her lips on his torso, she slid her tongue along the trail of hair which led down from his navel. She snaked it all the way down, causing him to hiss sharply as it made contact with his stiff rod of flesh. Then her lips were upon him, sliding along the underside and then up and over the purple swollen head. Ummmm, he groaned, looking down at her through slitted eyes. Enclosing her mouth around his shaft, she slowly slid her mouth down then came back up again. She worked her mouth at a leisurely pace, gradually increasing to a quicker speed. She began to massage his balls, pleased by the way they tightened beneath her touch. Whenever her mouth met with the crown of his cock, she swirled her tongue around it, releasing moans of pleasure from Takodas lips. Oh fuck yeah, he breathed, grasping a handful of her hair in his hand. She could tell from the reaction of his body that he was loving every moment of it. With one hand on his thigh and the other pressed against his stomach, Lynn could feel his abdominals flexing in response to her touch. Deep moans elicited from his mouth, and every now and again, he would tug gently on her hair, releasing pleasured little sighs that were getting tenser by the minute. Roving her eyes upward, she noticed that his eyes were still trained upon her, intensely watching the movement of her head. Pulling her head back, Lynn allowed his penis to slide out of her mouth. Placing her tongue at the base of his shaft, she slid it further down, lightly tracing her tongue along his balls. Takodas body jerked from the contact of her tongue against the sensitive skin there, and as she took one of his sacs into her mouth, he gave a deep groan. As the taut flesh of his balls entered the warm cavern of her mouth, she began to suck lightly upon them, gently massaging the globes with her tongue. With her eyes still lifted to rest upon him, Lynn watched as Takoda tilted his head back, lifting his chin to the ceiling as his mouth

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parted in a heated gasp. The palm of her hand was stroking his erection while her tongue continued to pleasure him, kneading and sliding against his balls which were tightening in their sac. The muscles of his stomach tightened beneath her palms, and she could tell from the tenseness of his body that he was going to come at any moment. Loosening his grip upon her hair, Takoda lowered his chin so that he could look down at her and opened his mouth to speak. Im going to lose control if you keep working your tongue on me like that. You dont want me to cum too quickly, do you? Smiling down at her, his eyes were filled with lust. Lynn withdrew one of his heavy sacs from her mouth with a wet pop. Then she licked her lips. The sight of it made him want her even more. Now lie back on the bed and spread those beautiful legs for me. His voice was deep and commanding. Lynn complied, quivering in anticipation as he climbed onto the bed. He placed a kiss on one thigh, then on the other, slowly moving upward until he reached her pussy. Her lips were swollen, with a glint of liquid trickling from beneath the folds. Parting the folds of her vagina, he swept his tongue across the pink flesh within. Ohhhhh! she cried out loudly. Placing his tongue on her clit, he began to flick away at her sensitive little bud. Lynns thigh muscles tightened and her body jolted forward as she gave a breathy gasp. He licked and tasted and sucked, making it grow rigid beneath his touch. Then, just when she thought she couldnt take anymore, he thrust his tongue inside of her. She writhed beneath him as he did it, grasping him by the head as he fucked her with his tongue. Takoda devoured her, fueled by fevered moans which came from her mouth.

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It turned him on to no end, hearing her respond to him like that. His dick grew even harder, throbbing with the need to be inside of her. She felt his tongue stiffen inside her, moving back and forth and in and out of her heat. When he rolled his tongue against her clit, she gave a convulsive shudder. Shed never been with a man who had such a talented tongue, and she realized that what she was experiencing was beyond amazing. It was paradise. Ohhhh yesss. Her thighs quivered as he sucked on the erect little bud. Helplessly squirming beneath him, Lynn expelled cries of blissful pleasure as Takoda continued to lash her with his tongue. It seemed he couldnt get enough of her taste, and the sound of him lapping up her juices sent a strong current of lust through her body. Then suddenly she felt the pace of his tongue grow slower, and as it crawled to a frustrating slowness, she elicited a small moan of displeasure. Only the tip of his tongue was now upon her, tracing lightly along her erect, pink clit. Roving her eyes downward, Lynn could see that Takoda was staring back at her. She could see the amusement in his eyes and knew that he was enjoying the power he had over her. Dont stop now. Keep going. Pressing her palm against the back of his head, she gently nudged him forward, urging him to continue. Getting impatient, are we? Takoda smiled up at her, amused by her look of pure torture. Please dont make me beg, she breathlessly said. The urgency she felt radiated strongly off of her, and she could tell that he was wielding his power over her in order to further the intensity of her desire. This game he was playing was terribly torturous, and his tongue was moving no quicker than a snails pace. Every so often his tongue would speed up, causing her to cry and buck her hips forward, but before she could reach the point of

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ultimate satisfaction, his tongue would slow to a crawl yet again. This happened a few times before she could take no more. Please stop the teasing. I cant take anymore. Lynns voice was thick with desperation. I want to hear you say the words. The look in his eyes let her know that he was serious. He wouldnt let her come until it happened. I said please. Her voice was barely audible and full of frustration. Sorry, angel, I cant hear you. His fingernail made lazy circles around her clit. I said pleasedont stop. Im begging you. I need to come, so please dont deny me this time. Her eyes were full of yearning, so completely full of desire that he just couldnt help but oblige her. With pleasure. Moving his head forward, he slid his tongue between her legs to continue pleasuring her. His tongue alternated between long, slow licks and short, fast ones. Lynn was never sure which one to expect next, which added to the thrill. Her legs quaked from the sheer pleasure of it all. Oh fuck yes, baby. Make me come. Her body writhed beneath his ministration as he forcefully tongued her. His tongue moved at an amazing speed, and he showed no signs of stopping. The sensation was so intense, so thoroughly gratifying, that she almost couldnt take it. If she died right there, then her life would have felt complete. Shed never known a man to eat her out with so much enthusiasm. The wet sounds of his mouth on her, combined with his moans, was enough to drive her over the edge. She didnt think it was possible to become even more turned on than she already was, but it was happening. As Takodas tongue continued its fevered dance, she lost it. Her thighs tightened around his head as she began to climax.

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Oh yessssssss! Ohhhhhh. Releasing a blissful moan, Lynn arched her back and dug her fingernails into the mattress beneath her. His face was covered in her juices, but that didnt stop him. Even as she came down from her orgasm, he continued to lap up her nectar. He took great care in doing do, giving her small, gentle licks, as he knew that her clit was highly sensitive. Lynn didnt want it to stop, but at the same time the pleasure she felt was so intense that it almost hurt. She gave a satisfied whimper, closing her eyes as she basked in the afterglow. She had never climaxed like that before. Takoda pulled his face back from between her thighs, his chin dripping with her juices. He wiped it away with the back of his hand and then moved upward so that he lay on top of her. His hair fell down around them, creating a curtain as he leaned in toward her lips. You taste so good, baby. His lips pressed against her mouth so they could share the taste of her excitement. That was amazing. Damn youre good, she said in a breathy voice. Takoda laughed. Yeah, well, the best is still yet to come. Ill be the judge of that, she replied teasingly. He placed his head in the crook of her neck to kiss her, following it up with a gentle nibble. As his lips reached her chest, they brushed against a slightly raised scar above her left breast. It was of a circular shape and smooth to the touch. As Takoda placed his finger upon it Lynn tensed visibly beneath his touch, watching as his finger outlined the shape of it. Howd you get the scar? Takoda asked in curiosity. Placing her hand over the dime-shaped scar, Lynn shielded it from his view. She knew there was nothing to hide because hed already seen the imperfection, but she still felt nervous having his eyes linger upon it. Just a birthmark, she quickly responded.

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His eyebrows furrowed in reaction to her hurried reply and she noticed that eyes were peering deeply into her own, searching with a gaze which was nothing short of inquisitive. Please dont cover yourself from me, Lynn. Youre beautiful, dont you know that? His thumb slid along her cheek, gently stroking the softness of her skin. As his soulful eyes gazed into her own, Lynn began to relax, realizing there wasnt any reason to hide herself from this man. None of her insecurities served any purpose here. He made her feel beautiful, just as she was. She felt his lips press along the underside of her chin and then his tongue slipped out, sliding along the length of her neck. Lynn felt Takodas palm press against her inner thigh and she eagerly parted her legs, releasing a breathless moan as he guided his penis inside of her. Tender and gentle, Lynn appreciated that Takoda took his time entering her. She could feel his eagerness and enjoyed the fact that he allowed her narrow walls time to adjust. Itd been some time since shed last been physical with anyone, so she was tighter than usual. Lynn felt him slip his wet appendage between her lips so that he could kiss her, and as their tongues met they moved in a fevered dance. Their fingers were still entwined, and her breath quickened as he drew her into a passionate kiss. Pressing her fingers against her lovers back, Lynn expelled a pleasured sigh as he began to slide deeper. Once he was halfway in, he rocked his hips forward, grunting with pleasure as buried himself in, balls-deep. She gasped, grabbing hold of his ass as he began to pump into her. Oh, Takoda, she moaned. The room was filled with the heavy sounds of their breathing, and as he began to pick up speed, there was the sound of his balls slapping against her clit. She loved that sound. It sent electric sparks through her. His cock pushed between her tight walls, sliding all the way in until it could go no further. Then he pulled his hips back, delivering a

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deliciously long, slow stroke. He repeated the same move, hips moving back as he nearly withdrew himself, and then embedded himself fully in. Each time he impaled her, his hips bucked a little harder, causing her tits to bounce. Although there was force behind his thrusts, he didnt hurt her. All she could do was writhe beneath him, lips parting in a breathless little moan. She felt helpless, but in a good way. She was lost in a fog of dark, burning pleasure. Their bodies melded together, moving in perfect rhythm as their gazes locked in a heated stare. He knew what to do to get her off and was paying close attention to every reaction, every contortion of her lovely face. Then he began to move quicker, building up a steady rhythm as she dug her fingernails into the flesh of his hips. She met him thrust for thrust, clenching her tight walls around the thickness of his cock. You feel so good, baby. So tight and wet. Takodas voice spoke huskily into her ear, providing her with a delicious tickling sensation. Lynns back arched, breasts jutting outward as her nipples stood erect. Takoda caught one of them in his mouth, rolling his tongue over it and then pulling on it with his teeth. It hurt a little as he bit into her, but it still felt nice. The pleasure she felt far outweighed the pain. He worked the length of his cock inside of her, mixing up the pace. Sometimes he used long, slow, deep strokes, and then he would change to short, fast, urgent ones. She couldnt decide which she liked better, deep and slow or quick and hard, but the way he mixed it up definitely added an extra thrill. His deep brown eyes seemed to penetrate her as he did it, heightening the intensity between them. Shed surrendered herself completely to him, losing all of her inhibitions. The passion she felt consumed her, making her feel more free than shed felt in a long time. The tip of his penis was now hitting her sweet spot, and she knew another climax was on its way. Her whole body tightened with the need to come, and he sensed this, working his hips into a measured

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rhythm. His chest glistened with sweat, and a drop of it fell against her lips. Lynns tongue slid across them, tasting the salty tang of him. Her hips moved with him, his large hands grasping her waist as she rolled her hips into him. A series of pleasurable waves rolled through her, and she knew it was only a matter of time before she went under. He leaned into her ear to whisper, Thats it, baby, come for me. His voice sent shivers up her spine. Takoda grabbed hold of both of her legs, stretching them upward so that they rest against his shoulders. With her pelvis tilted upward, he was able to gain even deeper access. Her eyes widened, panting in pleasure as his thrusts grew deeper and harder. Then suddenly, she felt the tip of his penis press against that spot buried deep within her and she cried out in pleasure. Her loud moans filled the room as the head of his cock repeatedly pushed against her G-spot. Tightening her legs around his waist, Lynn pulled him in even closer, immersing herself in the blissfulness of the moment. Your pussy feels so good baby, so tight and wet. His breath ghosted against her body and he placed sweet, tender kisses all along her flesh. As her breathing grew erratic, her body began to tremble. Lynns body grew rigid with need and her walls tightened around his length, signaling her impending release. Takodas chest glistened with sweat, and the air was filled with the scent of their passionate lovemaking. Glancing up at his face, Lynn noted his intense expression. His eyebrows were knitted together and his breath came out in quick, short pants. His body was taut with desire, hips rocking back and forth as he lowered his head and moaned into her ear. Her fingernails trailed down his back, scraping lightly against the flesh as he tirelessly pumped into her. As his tongue pressed against the middle of her neck, it left a wet trail behind, snaking up and over her chin as it slid into her mouth.

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Their lips pressed fiercely against each other, their kiss deepening as his hips jerked quicker and quicker. Oh, babe, Im going to come. Sinking her nails into the flesh of his ass, Lynns legs began to quiver as a wave of sheer pleasure consumed her. The contractions of her pussy were intense, bringing about his own release soon after. Takoda gave a carnal groan, jerking his hips forward to release his seed inside of her. His breath hitched as he ejaculated, sending spurt after spurt into her spasming vagina. This brought about a second mini orgasm for Lynn. Their bodies trembled, sharing a deep, tender kiss as he collapsed on top of her. Once their lips parted, he rolled off of her and onto the bed. Neither of them said a thing for a few moments. The only sound in the room was of their heavy breathing. Finally, Takoda rolled over onto his side, grabbing her around the waist to pull her in closer. Mmmm. Nuzzling her head against his chest, Lynn inhaled his manly scent. Guess I didnt really get much painting done, did I? A wide grin spread across his face as he stroked her curly hair. Well, you could always stay and put in overtime. She said it in a teasing tone of voice, wanting to see how hed respond. Is that an invitation to stay? Depends on your schedule, I guess. She was hoping he wouldnt have to leave, at least not yet. I really like spending time with you, Lynn. I like spending time with you too. She tilted her head upward so she could look into his eyes. Good, Im glad you do. A little smile crossed his lips as he said it, and he gave her a kiss on the top of the head. Reaching her hand up to touch his hair, she began twirling a finger around his locks, admiring the silky softness of it. As Lynn ran her fingers through his hair, she heard him give a moan of contentment. I hope you dont mind, but I just want to lay

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beside you for a bit. Ill still get up and paint, though. Takoda lifted her hand into his to give it a tender kiss. Its no problem, I know youll get it done. Actually I was hoping to spend the entire evening in bed with you. Im only just getting started, you know. As she glanced into his eyes she saw there was a feral look of lust in his eyes, and a rush of adrenaline swept through her. Mmmm, is that a promise? Wrapping a leg across his own, she softly stroked his arm, admiring the curve of his bicep. Most definitely. Wrapping his arm around her waist, he held her tightly against him, enjoying the warmth of her body and the softness of her skin. Comfortable silence fell between them as they blissfully enjoyed the moment. After a few minutes, she heard the sound of him snoring. She watched him for a few moments, studying his beautiful face. She couldnt help but admire every inch of him. Her heart beat rapidly as she watched him, her mind dizzy with lust and excitement. Then after awhile her eyelids began to grow heavy, and she found herself succumbing to sleep. **** Lynns eyes opened to sunlight filtering in through her curtains. Expelling a yawn, she stretched her body beneath the covers, feeling sore but incredibly fulfilled. It reminded her of the amazing night theyd had. Stretching her arm out, she expected to feel him, but as she opened her eyes she realized that there was nothing but empty space beside her. With her cheek placed against the pillow, she inhaled, allowing the scent to invade her nostrils. His manly scent was embedded in her covers, but his body was no longer there. Her bed felt so cold and empty without him. Lynn rose up out of bed, kicking the covers back with her feet. He was gone, leaving her with nothing but despair and loneliness. Deep

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down in the pit of her stomach she could feel the pain. She instantly regretted having sex with him. It had all happened too soon. Shed gotten so carried away with his body and his presence that she just didnt know how to resist him. So now here she was, all alone again, left with nothing but a memory. She wasnt ever going to see him again, she was sure of it. She exhaled slowly, getting out of bed as she headed for the bathroom to empty her bladder. After she finished on the toilet she washed her face and brushed her teeth. Once she was back in the room, she sat down at her vanity table and stared at the face which was reflected back at her. Her locks were tousled and her face was glowing, reminding her of the passionate evening that she and Takoda had spent together. Her eyes, however, looked very sad. Picking a comb up off the dresser, Lynn ran it through her hair as she tried to neaten herself up. As she was untangling her hair she noticed something different about her shoulder. She put the comb down and leaned in closer to the mirror to inspect the skin there. It was small, but she could see that there was a definite mark there, and it was in the shape of a claw. It was more like a scratch mark, no larger than half an inch, red and a little bit itchy. Her eyebrows knitted together, both in alarm and wonder. Placing a fingertip against it, she gingerly rubbed at the strange spot. She was disturbed and completely puzzled as to how it had gotten there. She didnt have a cat or any other type of pet. So just what was it that had done this to her? What the hell? she whispered. Lynn got up from the vanity table and began to look around the room, eyes peering into corners and around doors. A light gust of wind suddenly blew through the room, fluttering the filmy curtains around her French windows. Both sides were swung wide open, so whatever it was that scratched her had managed to get in this way. What she couldnt understand was why had they been open all night? She didnt remember doing it, so how had it happened? She pulled

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both sides of the windows closed, then pulled the curtains together. Suddenly she felt very exposed, as if someone were watching her from afar. She picked up a hand mirror from the vanity table, holding it up close to the mark on her skin. As disturbed as she was, she just couldnt stop staring at it. The fact that it was there was just so, well, strange. Unable to resist, she placed her fingertip on it. It felt sore and hot to the touch. Ow, she cried out as her fingernail scraped against it. She put the mirror back down and then went into the bathroom. She turned the water on and then got into the shower, soaping up her body and hair. As hot water hit the mark on her shoulder, she gave a little hiss, biting her lip from the stinging sensation. She needed this, the feel of the hot water and soap upon her skin. What she was trying to do was wash away the disappointment and sadness, and even though she knew it wouldnt happen, that didnt stop her from trying. She couldnt stop thinking about him and found herself wondering where he was and what he was doing. Why had he just left her in the middle of the night like that? He hadnt even bothered to say goodbye, nor had the decency to leave her a note. Yet did any of that really matter? As she asked herself the question, she realized that what it really all meant was hed only seen her as a one-night stand. Theyd shared their night of passion, and now he was gone. He was the first man shed had sex with in over a year, and just as quickly as it began, it had already ended. Releasing a sigh, she placed her palms against the tile walls and let the water spray against her back. Things were screwed up now and there was no undoing it, no matter how badly she wanted to. **** There was no going back now, no matter how hard Takoda tried or how much he struggled to forget it. The truth was that it already

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happened. Takoda hadnt set out to mark her. He had been pulled into it. Hed gotten so caught up in the passion and sight of her beautiful body that hed lost control. He hadnt been able to resist marking her. The pull he felt had been too strong. Her body had been so tight and wet and full of sexual heat. Disappointingly, hed lost control of that feral side of himself. His hands had been on her neck, stroking along that delicate softness there, and before he knew it, it had been done. After they finished their third session for the night, shed slept so soundly that she didnt even stir as hed left her bedroom. He hadnt wanted to leave her like that, stealing away in the middle of the night. It made him feel like a jerk, but he didnt have much of a choice in the matter. He found himself unable to control the change. If he hadnt left then, he would have been exposed, and he couldnt let her know who he really was. He didnt know how or when he would tell her, but if hed allowed himself to be exposed last night, then she surely would have freaked out. Hed managed to open the window before it happened, sensing the oncoming metamorphosis. Then hed leaned in to kiss her once more, admiring the way her face looked beneath the soft moonlight. And then he had transformed, shape-shifting into the animal which had grown to become a normal part of himself. Hed taken one last look back at her before he left and then gave a mighty spring up and out of the window. Once he cleared the window, he tried to transform back into a human form, but it hadnt worked. It had taken awhile, but finally he was able to change back, and as he drove back home in the middle of the night he couldnt stop thinking of how hed left his mark on her. She wasnt ready for his mark yet, so why had he done it? He didnt know what had gotten into him, but now that it was done, there was no turning back. They were linked together now, meaning a part of himself would always belong with her and vice versa. No matter how hard he tried to deny it, it was the truth. It wasnt that he didnt want her, because he did. It was just that he was afraid of losing her.

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The pain and loss of a love hed had before was still in his heart. Hed never managed to fully heal and struggled with it nearly every day. The memory of it was what kept him afraid of growing close to another. And this girl was fully human. He hadnt experienced love with someone like that before. Takoda ran his fingers through his hair, exhaling a deep breath as his mind was flooded with thoughts and emotions. He hadnt meant to do this, to bring another woman into his life and his heart and his mind. He didnt think it was fair of him to do that to her, but what did he expect? He knew what he was getting himself into, so why hadnt he stopped? Since when had a human woman become a serious consideration for him? Had he really grown so weak? The answer was no, he hadnt. Hed felt a strong draw to her, a magnetic pull that neither could resist. Of course she would want to know how and why the mark was there, wondering where it had come from. He could pretend to know nothing about it, but he didnt want to do that. He couldnt lie to her. That wasnt the type of man he was. So how would he explain it? He knew that once he told her what he really was, she would undoubtedly be afraid. Which meant that once he came out with the truth, things would never again be the same. So all he could do was just have hope that she would understand and that she wouldnt run away from him. Takoda stood up from the chair he was sitting in and walked over to the window. He hunched his shoulders as he walked so that his head wouldnt bump against the attic roof, which pitched in above him. There was a small, circular window in the room, allowing him a nice view of the woodsy area which spread out in the back of his house. He could see the town in the distance, with clusters of trees lining the streets. As he looked out there, all he could think of was her. He could feel her heart aching for him, and it made him feel terrible. The last thing he wanted her to think was that he was a hit-it-and-run type of guy because nothing could be further from the truth. Yet if he didnt

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tell her, he would be hiding a part of himself from her, and if they were to become one, then he would have to come clean. Letting his forehead rest against the dusty windowpane, Takoda closed his eyes and let the sun warm his face. You cant ever allow yourself to love another. As the words reverberated through his head, he thought back to how he used to be, and all the blockades hed constructed as a result of fear and pain. He thought about those words hed promised himself years ago, and realized that he had to remain faithful to them. He couldnt allow himself to feel any love for her. No matter how badly he wanted to have her as his own, it just wouldnt work out. Focusing his eyes on the trees beyond his window, Takoda made a firm decision to expel her from both his mind and his heart. The anguish in his heart, however, told him he was headed down a path that he wasnt quite prepared for. **** Lynns work day dragged by so slowly she thought it would never end. She managed to work steadily on the stack of paperwork which had piled up on her desk, but her mind wasnt really into it. She couldnt stop thinking of him, no matter how much she tried. Her cell phone rang several times throughout the day, but she was too busy working, so she hadnt been able to answer it. Finally she had time for a break, so she dialed into her voice mail to find out who called. Hey, its me, came his voice, so deep and sexy. She felt her chest tighten just from the sound of it. Please call me back. I didnt mean to leave you alone like that this morning. I feel terrible about it. I stopped by your house earlier, but I guess you already took off for work by the time I got there. I need to see you so I can explain what happened. Call me back, baby. Please. She thought of calling him back but decided to erase the message instead. She still felt upset and embarrassed and didnt feel like

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talking to him. What could have been so damn important for him to abandon her like that? He must be seeing another woman. That had to be it, of course. She felt like such a fool. Lynn expelled a heavy breath and buried her head in her hands. Suddenly, there came the sound of a familiar voice from the side of her cubicle. Lynn lifted her head to see her workmate, Gina. She was leaning over the partition which separated her and Lynns desk. Hey, girl, looks like you have a lot on your mind. Whats wrong? Oh nothing, I just have a little headache, thats all. She gave a dismissive wave of her hand. Well it seems like theres more to it than that. You sure youre okay? You seem so sad. Well, actually Im having a bit of a rough time. Guess you could say Im dealing with a broken heart. Oh damn, guy troubles, huh? If you need to talk about it, Im here. Matter of fact, why dont we go and get a cup of coffee and some pie? My treat. Gina smiled at her, her dimples growing even deeper. If there was a famous person whom Gina resembled, it would have to be Rosie Perez. She shared quite a few similarities with the famous actress, but the deep dimples were what reminded Lynn of her the most. Lynn really didnt feel much like talking, but she knew that Gina would continue to press her for information if she refused. Okay, sure. Lynn grabbed her purse from beneath her desk and followed Gina out of the cubicle. They made small talk as they walked to the cafeteria, and once they were there, they settled into more serious conversation. So, tell me about this new guy of yours. Gina bit into a piece of her pie. Hes not mine, never really was. I made a big mistake, Gina. I slept with him too soon.

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One-night stand, huh? Oh, honey, Ive been there. Try not to feel so bad about it. Guys come and go. Youll meet another. You remember how long it took me to find Steven? Sometimes you just gotta be patient. Eventually the right one will come along. Good guys are still out there, youll see. Thats the thing. It really felt like he was one of those guys. I mean, I know it probably sounds stupid, but the first day we met, it was like I just knew. He was the one I had been waiting for. I mean, he was literally a dream come true. How long have you known this guy? I thought it was just a onenight fling? Lynn took a sip of her coffee, grimacing from the bitter taste. Well, it was, I guess. But Ive only known him for like four days. Four days? Oh, sweetie, be happy you havent known him for longer. It hurts a lot less this way. But I cant stop thinking of him. He was so perfect. Whats he look like? asked Gina. Hes tall with waist-length black hair, dark brown eyes, high cheekbones, beautiful smile Her voice trailed off as she thought of him. Well damn, he definitely sounds like he has it going on. Ginas eyebrows moved upward in appreciation. Then she remembered how heartbroken Lynn was and said, Sorry, you just painted such a nice picture of him. No, its okay. He is really gorgeous. Lynn played with the pie on her saucer, sticking it full of holes with her fork. Then she wistfully continued, I should have known it was too good to be true. Oh, dont be so hard on yourself, hun. Gina poured some cream into her coffee and then stirred in a sugar. Besides, youre a goodlooking woman. Plenty of guys here at work are interested in you. I always hear them talking about how pretty you are. Yeah, but Im really not interested in starting up an office romance. Those never turn out well.

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You have a point there, Gina agreed. Lynns cell phone began to vibrate, followed by a melodic ring which filled the air. She dug through her purse to find it, retrieving it from out of her bag. She recognized the number which displayed on the screen of her phone. It was Takoda calling again. Her finger hovered over the answer button, but it stopped ringing before she could push it. Was that him? asked Gina. Lynn nodded her head. Yeah. I was about to answer, but I guess he hung up. Just as well, he doesnt deserve your time anyway. So, when was the last time you saw him, anyway? Excuse me if Im getting too personal, but when did you guys have sex? Was it over the weekend? Gina leaned in, preparing herself for the juicy details. Lynn couldnt help but find a bit of amusement in her coworkers body language. Gina had always been a busybody, and the expression on her face was full of curiosity and the utmost interest. The corners of Lynns mouth turned upward, and Gina returned it with a wide grin of her own. Ohhhh, the sex must have been pretty major for you to crack a smile like that. So maybe it wasnt a complete waste of time, huh? Okay, so he was pretty amazing in bed. The best I ever had, actually. Peering down into her coffee cup, Lynn avoided making eye contact with Ginas. As memories of the previous evening swept through her mind, Lynn felt a strong wave of arousal. She allowed herself a few short moments to indulge in the tingling sensation between her legs and then she pushed the carnal thoughts out of her head. Now wasnt the time or place for this and besides, the man had left her heartbroken so what was she fantasizing about him for? We met on Saturday but had sex last night. Well, it started yesterday afternoon and went into late last night, but whatever. Gina nearly choked on her coffee, setting it down onto a saucer.

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Wow, he sounds like the marathon man. Go on. Wearing a look of great interest, Gina leaned slightly forward, intently awaiting further details. Not much else to tell, just that I woke up this morning all alone. He didnt leave me a note or anything. I woke up, and he was just gone. I wouldnt have cared so much, but it just seemed like we were connecting on a different level. I mean, the first day we met, something special happened between us. She indulged herself in the memory of his intense eyes for a moment, then pushed the image out of her mind. Silly me, thinking we could turn into a regular thing. Her jaw tightened, and her lips went into a straight line. As Gina grabbed her hand, Lynn offered a weak smile. She felt silly and pathetic feeling this way over a man, and the look in Ginas eyes silently expressed that she was being pitied. With a look of concern, Gina said, Oh, honey, you really are hurting, arent you? Im so sorry. Releasing a small sigh, Gina continued. So hes just calling you now? Its already two in the afternoon. Yeah, I know. He left me a message earlier, saying hed stopped by my house and that he wanted to explain. Havent called him back yet, though. Guess I cant really be all that mad at him, though. I mean, there wasnt any guarantee that we were ever going to become an item. I shouldnt have slept with him so quickly. That was a big mistake. A guy who looks like that has no trouble finding women to sleep with him. I dont know why I did it. What I was thinking? She shook her head in disappointment. I wouldnt bother calling him back. If youre feeling this lousy about it, maybe its just as well you dont see him again. Although, I do wonder what excuse he has for leaving you to wake up alone like that. Must be pretty damn good. Shrugging her shoulders, Lynn replied, I guess. I really dont care to hear it, though. Doesnt matter to me anymore.

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But she was lying. It did matter, and she did want to know. She figured it would be a lie, but she still wanted to hear it anyway. She wanted to see what he was going to come up with. Glancing at her watch, Lynn saw that it was half past two. Breaks over, guess we better get back to work. Lynn took a few more sips of coffee, then they both stood up from the table. As they walked out of the cafeteria, Gina linked her arm though Lynns and said, Cheer up, honey. I have the feeling a great surprise is in store for you. Lynn managed a weak smile, not really believing what Gina had just told her. But little did she know that truer words had never been spoken. **** Two days had gone by since Takoda first called her, but Lynn still hadnt returned any of his messages. Ever since then, hed been calling her every day, leaving messages on her voice mail and asking if he could stop by. But she just ignored him, trying her best to push him out of her mind. It was Thursday evening now, and she was just winding down from a long day at work. She kicked off her shoes and poured a glass of juice, settling in front of the TV. As she was channel surfing, there came a knock at the door, so she got up from the couch and went over to answer it, pausing to look through the peephole. As she recognized the tall, imposing figure, she stepped away from the door. She tried to be quiet, but the wooden floorboards gave her away, creaking loudly in protest. Lynn, I know youre in there. Open up, I can hear you, he called out to her. She remained quiet, not moving an inch. Please Lynn, open the door. Come on, let me explain. Just go away, Takoda. I want to be left alone.

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But that wasnt true. What she really wanted was to open the door and rush into his arms, but she couldnt do that. It would make her seem so weak. And there was a part of her that enjoyed hearing him like this, begging outside of her door. Lynn, baby, please. Let me inside. She took a few steps to the door, placing her hand on the doorknob. Sweetie? There was hope in his voice. He knew she was right there. But for some reason she couldnt open it. She didnt know why, but her hand was frozen on the doorknob, unable to turn it. Her cheek was placed against the doorjamb, and her breath came out loud and heavy. Her heartbeat pounded so loudly she was sure he could hear it. And strangely enough, the mark beneath her shirt had begun to grow very warm. A few more moments went by, and then she heard him leave, his work boots descending the stairs and then crunching across the gravel driveway. She stood there for awhile, listening for any signs of his return, but there were none. So she walked away from the door and sat back down. She took a sip of juice, then another, trying to calm herself down. She felt a little shaky, and her heart was beating very rapidly. Her throat was so dry and her chest ached. She loved him. There was no doubt about that. So why wouldnt she give him another chance? Maybe there was a good reason why he had left her that night. But she shook that thought away. Hed ditched her, that was all there was to it. And still, despite all of that, she had still wanted to let him in. But a part of her was afraid to. She was afraid of melting into his arms and accepting any excuse he gave her. She was afraid that she would believe him, no matter what he had to say, and once that happened, she was in for a whole lot more heartache. No, it was better to just end things here, before any

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more damage could be done. She couldnt take any more games of the heart. A loud, rapping sound at the door startled her, making her jolt upward. She walked over to the door and opened it, but the person who stood in front of her was not who she wanted to see. David, hi. What a surprise it is to see you here. Whats up? David was one of her coworkers at the advertising agency she worked at. They worked on quite a few projects together, and theyd built up a nice rapport at work, but never had they become so close that she would have expected him to show up on her doorstep. Hey, Lynn. Sorry to drop by unannounced, but I tried calling you and there was no answer. You left these behind at work, so I knew you would be missing them. Holding up a portfolio in his hands, he passed it over to her. Well thanks for bringing it over, but you didnt have to drive all the way out here. I could have just picked it up tomorrow. Its no big deal. I dont mind. He flashed her a smile, then held up a bottle. I brought you some wine, too. I remember you saying how pinot grigio was your favorite, so I thought Id bring some by for you. He handed her the bottle. Oh, David, you really didnt have to do that. That was very thoughtful of you, though. Thank you. No prob. Offering her a wide grin, David eagerly awaited an invitation to come inside. Yet instead of asking him in, Lynn just gave him a weak smile and awkwardly said, Well I know you probably need to get back on the road, so Ill let you go. See you at work tomorrow, okay? Her palm pressed against the door as she began to close it. Hey, wait, David replied in a hurry. It smells pretty good in there. What are you cooking? Oh, its just some pie in the stove. You can come inside and have a slice if you want.

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The last thing she felt like doing was entertaining company, but she figured it was the least she could do since hed driven all the way out to her home. Id love a slice, thanks. Forcing a smile onto her face, Lynn opened the door wider so he could enter. Come in. Thank you. As he walked into the living room he, took a seat on the couch. Holding the bottle of wine up, she said, Ill pour us a glass and slice us some pie. Be back in a minute. Sure thing, no hurry, David responded, loosening his tie and settling back onto the couch. Once the pie was cut and the wine was poured, Lynn came back into the living room, holding a wooden TV tray which held two glasses of wine and the saucers of apple pie. After setting it down on the coffee table, she handed David a piece of pie and a fork. Then she settled into an armchair beside the couch. Plenty of room here with me. He patted the space beside him, inviting her to come closer. Its okay. Im more comfortable here, she politely said, taking a bite of her pie. Okay, no problem. They watched TV as they ate, and even though Lynns eyes pointed in the other direction, she could still feel him watching her. He stole little glances at her every now and again, his eyes roving over the split in her skirt which exposed her firm, shapely thighs. Then he moved up to her cleavage, eyeing the outline of her bra beneath the fabric. She could tell he was trying to be sly about it, but she knew what he was doing. After a few moments she realized that the attention he was giving her wasnt just annoying, it was downright creepy. Lynn had never found herself the least bit interested in extending their relationship to anything beyond the time that they saw each other at work, and the last thing that she wanted was to be eyed

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like a piece of meat in her own home. It made her sick just thinking about him making any sort of sexual advances upon her. Feeling very uncomfortable with his lascivious eyes upon her, Lynn excused herself and made a beeline for the bathroom. As soon as she was gone, David got up from the couch and quietly crept toward the hallway, which led to her sleeping quarters. The steps David took were small, and the carpet which covered the hallway floor muffled the sound of his steps as he made his way toward her bedroom. As he reached her bedroom door, he pushed it open and headed straight for her cherry-oak dresser. Desperate to satiate his curiosity, he began to open the drawers as he searched for the one which contained her undergarments. He pulled open the small drawers first, glancing into each of them until he found what he was looking for. Reaching into the pile of lacy panties and bras, David grabbed a skimpy G-string and pressed it against his nose, inhaling the scent of a light perfume. He started to slip them into his pocket, but a sound which came from beyond the window diverted his attention. It almost sounded as if someone were tapping on the glass of the windowpane, but he couldnt be sure, so he walked up to it and parted the curtains. As he peered out into the night, all he saw was darkness, but then suddenly the sight of a large paw with long claws appeared before his eyes. As it slammed against the window it caused the glass to vibrate, releasing a cry of fear and surprise from Davids mouth. As the face of a wolf came into view, it emitted a furious growl, baring its razor sharp teeth at a terrified and trembling David. Shit! David stumbled backwards, dropping the pair of panties hed been holding in his hand. The sound of the wolfs snarls deepened as its murderous eyes stared into Davids. The animals fur bristled and its hot breath clouded against the glass. Menacing sounds ripped through its throat and a trickle of saliva ran down its muzzle. David backed away from the window and then turned and rushed out of the bedroom, his breath

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coming out in quick, harsh gasps. As he took a seat on the couch, David struggled to compose himself, not wanting to appear flustered once Lynn came out. Grabbing a glass of wine, he gulped down a large sip and leaned back against the couch. Then suddenly, Davids eyes were drawn toward the large picture window in the living room, and what he saw nearly caused him to drop his glass of wine. The wolfs yellow eyes glowed at him from beyond the glass, and a low, deep growl emitted from the animals throat. Even from where he sat David could see that the wolfs eyes were full of murderous intent, and David was frozen in place. It seemed that his eyes were unwillingly locked into those of the feral animal, and as a snarl rumbled through its throat, it leapt up onto the glass. Long claws extended from its paws, and it pressed its sharp nails up against the glass, creating long scratches against the windowpane. David was certain the animal would find some way to break through the glass and attack him, but then suddenly the wolf grew quiet and its ears pricked upward. Then suddenly it took off, rushing off into the night and disappearing into the darkness. David was left befuddled as to the reason why the wolf had just suddenly backed off after such an aggressive display, but he was also wonderfully relieved. As the sound of Lynns footsteps came closer to the living room, she heard him call out to him in alarm. David, are you okay? I heard some strange sounds coming from out here. Davids face had turned an ashen-white color and his voice trembled as he responded, There was a wolf outside of the window. A wolf? She furrowed her eyebrows and then continued, Are you sure it was a wolf? I havent seen any around before. Yeah, it was a huge gray one. It seemed to come out of nowhere. Taking another drink from his glass of wine, he gulped it down until there was only a small pool of liquid remaining in the bottom of the glass.

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Walking over toward the window, Lynn glanced out of it, staring into the inky darkness as she searched for signs of the wild animal. Ive never seen any around these parts before. They usually prefer hanging out around the forest. As she turned to face him, David could clearly see that her eyes were filled with concern. He could tell from the expression on her face that she felt bad about him being scared, and having her look at him in that way caused him to feel nothing less than pathetic. He didnt have a chance in hell of ever hooking up with her now. Hed completely blown it, thanks to his fear over that damn wolf. Well if you want to stay over for a bit, you can. Just to make sure the wolf is gone. The reluctance in her voice was badly concealed and he could tell she was only saying it to try and be polite. No thanks, Ill be fine. Im sure its gone by now, anyway. Are you sure youre okay, David? As he felt her touch on his arm, David glanced down at her hand. Hed been waiting a very long to feel her touch upon him, but he never would have guessed that itd happen like this. It bothered him that she was touching him out of pity and not out of genuine interest and attraction. Yes, Im fine. Averting his eyes from her caring gaze, he twisted the doorknob and headed outside. David felt like half a man now and could barely even maintain eye contact with her. As he headed down the steps of the porch, Lynn called out after him. Have a safe drive home, and Ill see you at work tomorrow. Thanks again for dropping my portfolio off. Giving a wave in response, David muttered a weak good-bye, then continued toward his car. As he unlocked the door to his vehicle, he got a strong feeling that the wolf was still out there, watching him with those hungry, yellow eyes. David knew that if the wolf was out

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there watching him, he could easily attack and kill him at this very moment. So the question was, why wasnt the wolf making its move upon him? Not wishing to linger upon the question, David quickly got behind the wheel and slammed the car door shut behind him. He gave another wave to Lynn and offered her a small smile. After returning his wave he watched her go back inside the house and shut the door behind her. As he turned the key in the ignition, the engine came to life and he turned the headlights on. His gaze was briefly drawn toward the passenger side window, and for one short moment he was certain he saw the wolfs yellow eyes staring at him in the darkness of the night. But when he took a second glance at the same spot, he saw that the glow had disappeared. Not wanting to waste a moment longer, he put his car into drive and took off, leaving a trail of dust as his tires rolled forward. **** The wolf had been patiently waiting below the steps of the porch, hoping that David would come out alone. Hed planned to attack and kill the man, but the appearance of Lynn had caused the gray wolf to decide against attacking. Now that Lynn wore his mark, that meant that she was his, and the wolf was willing to do anything it took to protect his mate. As the sound of Davids car engine retreated, the wolf emitted a growl and then crawled out from beneath the porch steps. The memory of this other man was still sharp in his mind, and his right now his feral instincts were urging him toward murderous actions. The wolf knew, however, that what he needed the most right now couldnt be done. Heading toward the back of Lynns house, the wolf trotted toward her bedroom window. Jumping onto an old tree stump, he tilted his gaze upward and peered through the window. Peering curiously into

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the window, the wolf saw that Lynn was staring into a full-length mirror. Her back was to him, but he could see in the reflection of the mirror that her hand was upon her shoulder. Her fingers rubbed back and forth at a spot just beneath her collarbone, and he instantly knew what she was stroking at. It was his mark, the one hed made upon her. Judging from the look on her face, she seemed to be intently fascinated by it. Her eyebrows were knitted together and her head was cocked in confusion. As he watched her rub at the scar, he caught the strong scent of her body, and nearly found himself overwhelmed by the fragrance of Lynn. A light, floral scent emitted from her room, and yet there was also another scent. It was a scent far more powerful than perfume could ever be, and as he pressed his nose against the windowpane, he realized it was the scent of her. Her own unique smell, which filled him with a deep and anxious longing. As he indulged himself in the scent of his mate he realized that watching her like this was pure torture, so he turned his back to the window and retreated to the woodsy area behind her house. It was only a matter of time before she became his, but he still felt an urgent need to have her. Lifting his muzzle to the sky, the wolf emitted a long, loud howl. The wolf sat on a small hill behind Lynns house and his eyes were peeled upon her bedroom window. As the filmy curtains parted, he saw her face peer out into the night and he knew that she had heard his howl. He found himself wondering if something inside of her knew, if something within her body responded to the sound of his call. Hed been hoping that something inside of her would be drawn to his call, but how long would it take before he could tell her the truth and explain what it truly meant? The answer to that was inside of him and he knew that as long as he kept quiet about his true nature, he would continue to be lonely and apart from her. As the bedroom light

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shut off, the windowpane darkened, and the wolf knew that Lynn had gone to sleep. Choosing to shift back into his human form, the wolf began his transformation. Bones creaked as organs shifted themselves internally, and his rib cage became smaller as his neck thinned out. Limbs grew longer and his muzzle transformed into a mouth. Then, fur disappeared and it dissolved into smooth skin. Once the metamorphosis completed itself, Takoda stood tall and proud in his human form. His hair lay like a blanket across his wide shoulders and his nude form was illuminated in the light of the pure, silvery moon. He started down the hill, heading toward his pickup truck. As Takoda descended the hill, his feet covered the tracks hed made as a wolf, replacing them with the footprints of a human. **** Engaged in a fitful night of sleep, Lynns dreams were filled with places shed never seen before. The dream she was currently having took place in the wilderness, and she was walking along a path in the forest, searching for something or someone. She wasnt sure just what she was looking for, but something inside of herself told her to keep on going. Paths changed and some of them converged, until finally she found herself walking along a road in the forest that was lined with pebbles. It seemed that the further she went, the large the pebbles grew. Eventually the pebbles became rocks and then increased in finally became the size of large stones. Then suddenly she found herself standing in front of a person who was kneeling on the ground, and although this mans back was to her, Lynn instantly recognized the person as Takoda. With his knees planted on the ground, Takoda was leaning forward over something which was lying on the ground. His shoulders shook in silent grief and as she walked closer toward him. Ehawee.Ehawee, nooo! Takoda cried out in anguish.

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Takoda? Placing her palm against his back, Lynn tenderly stroked it. Honey, whats wrong? Turning his head to face her, she could see that tears were flowing from his eyes. Shes gone. One of those things killed her. Who did they kill? Tell me. Lynns voice was filled with urgency. She waited for him to answer, but he chose instead to remain quiet. Curious as to who he was grieving over, Lynn glanced over his shoulder and saw there was a wolf lying on the ground. Its fur was matted with blood and its head was cocked at an odd angle. Peering closer at the animal, Lynn saw that the wolfs neck had been slashed and she sadly stared at its lifeless body. Finding herself at a loss for words, she began to wonder just who or what could do such a terrible thing. Still kneeling beside the animal, Takoda tenderly stroked its blood-streaked fur, speaking softly to it in a language that Lynn didnt understand. It was clear that he felt great love for this animal, and as she listened to him quietly talk to it, she realized that a gradual change was happening. Takoda had lifted his gaze from the body of the wolfs, and his eyes stared out into the forest. They darted back and forth, seeming to search for someone who was hidden in the thickness of the trees. Then suddenly and without any warning, Takodas voice boomed through the air. Caught off guard by the sound of it, Lynns shoulders gave a nervous jolt upward. Come out from your hiding place, you cowards. Come out and face me now! I will not leave until you show yourself! Rising up from the kneeling position, Takoda got onto his feet and angrily clenched his fists. She didnt know who he was calling for, but she knew that whomever they were would surely pay the price for the slain wolf. The sound of rustling leaves from somewhere in the forest caused Takoda to direct his attention there, and as he focused upon a point in the trees, he began to walk toward it. She noticed that his nostrils

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flared with anger and the muscles in his jaw were flexing. As he walked off the path and headed into the thicket of trees, Lynn called out to him. Wait, Im coming with you. She struggled to catch up with him, but with each step that she took, he seemed to take three. He was moving too quickly for her, and she didnt have any hope of being able to catch up with him. Eventually he was so far ahead of her that she gave up trying, and before she knew it, hed disappeared into a thick, unrelenting fog. Takoda! As she called out to him, the sound of her voice echoed through the forest, reverberating the sadness in her voice. Then suddenly she woke up, and as she realized shed been dreaming, her pulse began to slow. Yet despite the fact that she was now awake, she found that she just couldnt shake the sharp pangs of emotion which lay inside her heart. As she thought about the dream, she recalled how strong his emotions had been. Shed been able to feel everything that he felt and somehow she knew that Takoda truly was connected to that wolf in some way. She wasnt sure exactly how, but that animal meant something to him in his real life. Lynn took a few swallows of water from the glass which sat on her bedside table, and then she lay her head back against the pillow. She pulled her covers up over her, but after a few short minutes shed kicked them back off again. It was a cold night out, but for some reason she was feeling unbearably hot. She was used to sleeping beneath a heavy quilt, but tonight she couldnt even stand the feel of a thin sheet across her body. In the back of her mind something was telling her that there was something wrong here, and yet she chose instead to ignore it. Releasing a heavy sigh, she turned her mind back to the dream shed had. She was hoping to find out the meaning behind it, and since shed read enough dream books to last her a lifetime, Lynn figured she could at least work out some of the symbols.

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The first thought that popped into her head was that the dream was trying to warn her to keep her heart protected. It was a bit late for a warning like that, she supposed, but it still served as a good reminder. Yet the more she thought about the possible meaning behind the dream, she realized it made a lot of sense. Shed given herself so freely to Takoda within such a short amount of time, and where had that gotten her? She was all alone now, left completely heartbroken and sad. Hed left her behind in the dream, and in real life shed been left alone as well. As she thought about the dream, Lynn knew that the decision shed made to shut Takoda out of her life had been a good one. Hed called a few times since the night theyd spent together, but she knew he was probably only calling to ease his conscious. Hed sounded guilty in every one of the messages that hed left her, but if he was really worth her time, he would never have left after the passionate evening theyd spent. If he could walk away so easily from such a connection, then that truly meant that he didnt deserve to be a part of her life. Grabbing the glass of water from the bedside table, Lynn took a large gulp of water, completely emptying it of its contents. She didnt know why she was so thirsty, but she desperately felt the need for more liquid. Swinging her legs over the side of the bed, Lynn stood up from the mattress and headed for the kitchen, but before she could even make it out of the bedroom she began to feel very dizzy. Realizing she was in no shape to be walking around the house, Lynn got back into bed and closed her eyes, hoping that she wasnt getting ill. Suddenly feeling cold, Lynn pulled the quilt up over body, nestling beneath its thickness and warmth. She didnt know what had brought this sickness on, but she obviously had a fever. She wasnt used to being sick and found herself hoping that it would pass by the morning. Closing her eyes and willing herself to sleep, Lynn lay quietly for a few minutes before her eyes flew open. There was a strange,

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frightening sensation that came from the area beneath her right collarbone. As she placed her fingers against she spot, she realized it was the area where the claw mark was located, and strangely enough it seemed to be pulsating. Freaked out by it feel of it, Lynn removed her hand. Taking a deep inhale, she held it in her chest for a few moments and then slowly let it out. Trying to clear her mind and calm down, she hoped it was just the fever making her feel and imagine things that werent really there. As she lay there staring at the ceiling she found herself feeling very frightened. She also felt an urge to touch the spot again, but she was afraid that doing so would only confirm that the pulse was still there. She gave herself a few more moments, taking a few more deep breaths, and then she placed her finger against the scar. Sure enough, it was still pulsing beneath the skin. What the heck is going on? Her voice came out as a frightened whisper. All sorts of crazy thoughts began to go through her head as she thought about the meaning behind the mark on her chest. Had something been implanted beneath her skin, and if so, who had done it and why? Or maybe this was all just a figment of her imagination. Perhaps she was going mad and she just didnt know it yet. Maybe this was the first step toward her becoming full-blown crazy. No, it cant be. Crazy people dont question their sanity, do they? Releasing a shaky sigh, she began to wonder just what had really happened on that night that Takoda had left her. Had he seen or heard anything strange before he left, and if so, why hadnt he protected her? She desperately needed to know who or what had marked her, and what did it all mean? Frustratingly, she didnt have an answer to any of these questions, so all she could do was just lie there and wonder. ****

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It was Friday afternoon, and Takoda was finished for the day. As he drove home in his truck, he thought about the difficult paint job hed just completed. It was a two-story house hed been working on, and a complete bitch to paint, due to the fact that the owner kept changing her mind about the colors she preferred. At first shed wanted it blue, with yellow trim. Then she changed it to peach with blue trim. Hed painted nearly all of the trim on the windows blue before she decided upon a third change. This time, shed wanted the trim on the windows to be painted in white, and by the time that happened, hed already reached the end of his rope. He hadnt gotten angry, though. All he could do was remain polite and continue to accommodate her. The pay had been very good, but if he had known ahead of time that she would be so indecisive, he never would have accepted the gig in the first place. The lady who owned the house hed been painting had closely watched as he worked, and he could tell from the feel of her eyes upon him that she wasnt just concerned about the job he was doing. Every time hed turned around, he noticed that her eyes were firmly planted upon him, eyeing him up and down with a gaze which clearly expressed that she was sexually interested in him. She was an attractive woman, he couldnt deny that even if he tried, but he hadnt been interested in returning any of her lascivious glances. His mind had been on his work, and besides, he already had a woman in his life. Whether or not she was currently talking to him, well, that was a whole other story, but he still considered Lynn to be his. She might not know it yet, but she was already his mate. It would just take some time to break the news to her, to let her know what exactly had gone down that night. He wasnt sure just how shed react, but he was hoping that she would still accept him. She was the one he wanted and he wasnt going to give up on the idea of them being a couple. As Takoda turned onto the long road which lead toward his house, he suddenly felt the urge to turn around and drive toward Lynns. Turning the wheel sharply to the right, he made a U-turn and headed

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back in the direction from which hed just come. She could avoid his calls and refuse to answer the door, but if he showed up before she arrived home from work then she would have no choice but to speak with him. He didnt want to do it like this because it sort of made him feel like a stalker, but he just didnt know what else he could do. He needed to speak to her and he wanted to get it over with before he could chicken out again. He couldnt stand leaving things hanging between them like this. Once he arrived at her house, Takoda made sure to park his car so that it would be out of sight from the driveway where she would pull up. After getting out of the car, Takoda leaned against his truck and glanced up into the sky. Gray clouds were moving in and the air was moist and heavy, signaling that a storm was on its way. After some time had passed, he glanced down at his watch to check on the time. Nearly half an hour had passed since hed first arrived, but he wasnt getting impatient. He didnt care if it took two hours for her to come home, he was staying put until she arrived. As thunder rumbled in the distance, the air became filled with the earthy scent of rain. Another fifteen minutes passed and then he saw a car approaching the house. As the tires rolled over the gravel driveway, he made sure to obscure himself, hiding behind the trunk of a large oak tree. He felt like a creeper doing it, but he didnt want Lynn avoiding him before he had the chance to speak to her. He heard the sound of her car door slam, followed by her shoes crunching against the gravel of the driveway. Coming out from behind the tree, Takoda began walking toward her. Lynn. Takoda moved quickly toward her so he could reach her before she rushed inside and slammed the door in his face. Turning her head toward the sound of his voice, she looked at him with eyes full of surprise. Takoda, what are you doing here? Lynn, we need to talk. You wont answer my phone calls and you refused to answer the door when I came over the other night.

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Well that obviously means I dont want to talk to you, so I dont understand why youre here. Come on, Lynn. Just hear me out for two minutes so that I can explain. And why should I? Why do you even care? she snapped. Because I cant stop thinking about you. Youre on my mind every day, and I need you to understand that I never wanted to leave you. Its just something that couldnt be helped. Expelling a humorless laugh, she replied, Yeah, right. Somebody forced you to leave, right? It wasnt somebody but something. Uh-huh, right. Listen, youre talking in riddles, so Id really appreciate it if youd just stop wasting my time. Lynn slipped the key into the lock and turned the knob to open the door. Climbing the steps so that he could stand beside her, Takoda glanced down at her with a pleading expression in his eyes. Not until you let me explain. I promise that what I have to say is the complete truth. You just have to give me a chance. As she turned around to face him he saw that her eyes were moist with tears. Placing a thumb upon her cheek, he tenderly stroked it as he gazed into her eyes. The last thing I ever wanted was to hurt you, Lynn. I care for you, cant you see that? Please let me in so we can talk. No. Moving away from his touch she continued, I already know that whatever you have to say to me is a lie, so you can just save your breath. She was going to turn around and go inside but the sound of desperation in his voice caused her to halt in place. Damn it, Lynn. Just let me come in so I can explain, okay? What I have to tell you is very important. And why is that you cant tell me out here? Releasing a sigh of exasperation, Takoda replied, Because when I tell you, I really think that you need to be sitting down.

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She could see from the look in his eyes that he was serious, so she relented and opened the door. Fine, you have two minutes. She walked through the door first and held it open for him to enter. After shutting it behind him, she took a seat on the couch and crossed her arms defensively in front of her chest. Sitting on the couch next to her, Takoda turned his body so that they could make eye contact. The reason I left you that night was because I didnt want you to see me. I transformed into something else, something different from this human form you see before you. Lynn remained silent, her brow slightly furrowing as her eyes nervously darted from his face to a point beyond his shoulder. Takoda didnt have to turn around and follow her gaze to know that she was glancing at the door, and he realized that the words he spoke to her must have injected her with fear. The last thing hed wanted was to scare her, but he knew that there really wasnt any other way to break this news to her. What I transformed into was a wolf, Lynn. As her eyebrows lifted, her mouth slightly parted. Silence passed between them for a few moments before she finally began to speak. Releasing a choked laugh, she said, A wolf? Takoda, are you kidding me? He shook his head, giving her a dead serious look. Im afraid not. I know it sounds ridiculous, but its the truth. So what youre trying to say is, the clock struck midnight, and you turned into a werewolf. Is that what youre telling me? You have got to be kidding me. The look she gave him was incredulous. No, Lynn, I am not a werewolf. Im a shape-shifter. A shape-shifter? Lynns eyebrow went up. She didnt know whether to believe him or not. A part of her wanted to, but then again, it sounded so far-fetched that it just couldnt be true. This wasnt a

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Hollywood movie they were living. It was real life. Things like this just didnt exist in the real world. Yes. This means I can alter my physical appearance at any given moment. Now, usually I have complete and full control over it. But for some reason when I was with you that night, the transformation happened unwillingly. I had absolutely no power over it. I still dont know why it happened so abruptly, but now you understand why I had to leave. If youd woken up and seen me like that, you would have freaked. I just couldnt let that happen. Running her fingers through her hair she softly uttered. I dont know what to say. I know its hard to believe, but now that youve heard it I hope you understand. Shaking her head she replied, No, I dont. I dont understand why youre lying to me, and I dont understand why you left me that night, but you know what, maybe its just something Ill always have to wonder about. What I do know, however, is that what you just told me was completely ridiculous. Im sorry, but I just cant take anymore. I want you to go now. Lynn stood up from the couch and made her way toward the front door. All right, Lynn, Ill go. Before I do though, maybe youll want to tell me just where you think that mark on your shoulder came from. Who gave it to you, and why is it in the shape of a claw? If you can tell me all of that, then Ill leave. Stunned into silence, Lynn halted her steps toward the door, turning on her heels to face him once again. Takoda clearly saw the uneasiness in her eyes and could tell she was wondering just how in the hell hed known that information. The blouse she wore covered her shoulders completely, so there was no way he could have seen it. Raising her hand up to her shirt, Lynn began to gently stroke the claw mark which was hidden beneath the fabric, It was you that did this me?

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Yes, Lynn, I gave you that mark. I didnt mean to, though. I got carried away when we were having sex and I guess I went too far. When we were having sex? She shook her head. No, it couldnt have been. I would have felt it. I dont think you did. Whatever pain you felt, if there was any, was probably covered up in pleasure. I think it happened when we came. That orgasm we had together was very powerful. You do remember, dont you? Of course. She felt herself grow a bit wet just from the thought of it, then quickly pushed the memory from her mind. So why did you do it and what exactly does it mean? This will go away, wont it? She was still stroking at the hidden scar, her eyes glancing anxiously and fearfully at him. Lynn walked back over to the couch and took a seat, but he noticed she left more distance between them this time. It stung to know she was afraid of him, and he sensed that her fear of him was very strong. Her butt was planted only halfway on the couch, which meant she was readying herself to leap up in case he decided to launch an attack. I did it in the heat of passion, Lynn. I was so caught up in the moment that I lost control. Takoda gave a nervous swallow and swept a strand of hair from his eyes. The reason you have that scar on your chest is because I wanted to mark you as mine. Youre my mate now. What! As the words left his lips, Lynns eyes widened in alarm. Your mate? What does that mean? It means I want you as my woman, to be at one with me. Now that you wear my mark, its brought you closer to who I am. Lynns voice began to waver in fear. So, what youre trying to tell me is, Im like you now. Youve turned me into a shape-shifter, is that right? Hoping to quell her fear, Takoda explained. I cant turn you into a shifter, Lynn. I inherited this from my parents, so its not

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contagious. Youre still completely human, so theres nothing for you to worry about. Oh, okay. Her body visibly relaxed as the words left her mouth. So what exactly does it mean, then? Does it change me in any way, and will it permanently be there? My mark is a part of your body now, so youll wear it for life. And what it means is were now inextricably linked. You may have noticed changes already happening. Youll probably get some strange feelings from time to time, and every emotion that you feel will be experienced in a completely different way. You may begin to have strange dreams, as well. Has any of this begun to happen yet? As a pregnant pause filled the air between them, he noticed she was hesitating to answer and wondered what was going on in her head. He strongly sensed she was hiding something from him and began to feel saddened that she was so reluctant to trust him. As he thought more about about it, he realized that her fear was currently in charge, and it was up to him to make her feel at ease again. No, nothing out of the ordinary has happened yet. As the words left her mouth, he noticed that her eyes skirted away from his, and he felt a felt a pang of disappointment. She didnt trust him. That much was evident from her lack of eye contact. Well, youll probably notice the changes happening pretty soon. Youll find that youre able to sense things about me, things that a human being normally wouldnt be able to pick up on. Basically it just means youll have a keener sense of knowing. Every emotion you experience will be magnified and every time we physically join together, youll notice that our connection will grow stronger. As he mentioned their physical connection to each other, he noticed that Lynns eyes were peering very deeply into his own, and he could feel the sexual heat in her body radiating strongly toward him. Her fear seemed to be slowly dissipating and that was a good thing. Hed much rather have her be turned on than to feel afraid.

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After licking her dry lips and clearing her throat, Lynn asked, So will you be able to read my mind? No, I cant go that far. I mean sensing something isnt the same as reading someones mind, but if youre ever in trouble Ill certainly become aware of it. So you dont ever have to worry about being left alone, because Ill always be with you, in one way or another. Takoda noticed she was fumbling her fingers nervously in her lap, so he reached down to grab her hand, holding it gently within his. From the first day we met, I knew you were right for me. I knew there was something different about the connection we had, something special that I wasnt going to find anywhere else. Its been a long time since I felt like this. As his finger stroked the back of her hand, he sensed that her heartbeat was growing faster. So basically Im still the same. Nothing major has changed, right? Her eyes searched his for reassurance and he nodded. Youll feel things more intensely now, especially when youre around me, but youre still a human, if thats what youre wondering. As he spoke the words to her, he saw her visibly relax. Well thats good to hear, but I still feel worried and I really need to know whats going on with my body. Takodas eyebrows dipped into a deep frown. What do you mean? Youre not sick, are you? I was last night, but thats not what was worrying me. Pulling her hand away from his, Lynn undid the top two buttons on her shirt and pulled the top of her blouse aside to show him her mark, This thing was pulsating last night, and it really freaked me out. I mean, what was that all about? It really scared me. I know it did. Everything you went through last night, I felt it too. Your fever, your aches and pains. I knew you were confused and scared, and Im sorry I wasnt there to be with you as it happened. I really am. His eyes expressed the sincerity in his words. I tried to be there for you, Lynn. Thats why I kept calling, but you wouldnt even answer the phone.

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I never wanted you to go through all of this alone. I was hoping to explain things to you before the change began. The change? What change? What is this thing doing to me? Please dont call it a thing. Youre insulting my manhood by saying that. Its my mating mark, and it means everything in the world to me. The bruised expression on his face told Lynn that he was genuinely hurt by her choice of word to describe it. All right then, your mating mark. Why was it pulsing? Your body was adjusting to it, and thats also why you came down with the fever. It just takes awhile for it to become fully acclimated. Youre fine now though, right? Its not still moving, is it? No, when I woke up this morning everything was back to normal. Im still upset with you, though. I didnt have a say in any of this. You didnt even ask me if I wanted to be mated. Takoda lowered his eyes for a moment and then lifted them up to meet her gaze. Youre right, I didnt ask your permission, and it was never my intention to force it upon you. I did, however, feel in your heart that you had very strong feelings for me. Much more so than you ever have about any other man. You seem very sure of yourself. So I guess you sensed that about me from the very first moment we met, huh? The tone in her eyes silently conveyed to him that she felt hed clearly had the upper hand. She was under the impression that hed taken advantage of her, and perhaps he had in a way, but it was never his intention to lose control and mark her without her consent. Of course I sensed it. As a shape-shifter, I just know these things. Youre just making excuses. Youve marked me, and now you feel bad about it. I can see it in your eyes. I do feel guilty about it, Lynn. I didnt ask you if it was okay before I did it, and I do regret that. I just hope you believe me when I

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say that I never meant to complicate your life. I allowed my wolf to take over, and I unwillingly shape-shifted. It was a mistake and Im sorry that I did it. But if theres something I dont regret, its being able to watch over you more closely. Youre my woman now and I dont like seeing other men hanging around you. Especially not here in this house. What are you talking about? You had a man here the other night. And what business is that of yours? I dont like him. Hes not right for you. And you are? So much more than he could ever be. His eyes narrowed as he said it, remembering the face of David, the man who hopelessly lusted after her. Hes my coworker, thats all. He just stopped off to give me some papers Id left at work. Not that its any of your business. Maybe so, but I still dont like him. In fact, I hate him. He came over because he wanted to try and have sex with you. He was only using the portfolio as an excuse to get inside your house. Hes very devious, you know. I hope you understand that. I dont want him ever coming around you again, you understand? You have no right to order me around like that. Ill do as I damn well please. Will you? Yes, I will. Her eyes stared intensely into his without blinking. Takoda willed himself to remain calm, but his wolf was threatening to emerge. Hed already claimed her, so she was undoubtedly his, but he couldnt stand the thought of her being around David. Takoda didnt want her anywhere around this other man, not after the stunt hed pulled in Lynns bedroom. Recalling the events of the previous night, Takoda angrily recalled Davids presence in her bedroom, and he began to feel the anger rise inside of him.

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The memory of Davids hands upon Lynns personal underthings caused him to boil with rage. Just the thought of another mans hands upon her body was enough to send him over the edge. If anyone ever tried to touch or harm her, he would personally see to it that they were ripped apart. As thoughts of David ran through Takodas mind, he realized that the only way to completely get rid of Lynns coworker was to hunt him down and kill him. As dark thoughts formed in his mind, a dangerous glint passed through Takodas eyes. The presence of Lynn, however, pulled him away from his plans and as he came back to the present moment, his eyes began to once again soften. Have it your way, Lynn. You can do as you please, but that wont stop me from watching over you. A comfortable silence fell between them as they both became lost in their own thoughts. The sound of light rain pattered against the living room window and as Lynn glanced outside at the cloudy sky, she found herself recalling the first day shed met Takoda. I knew there was something different about you when we first met. Your gaze was so strong that as soon as I looked into your eyes, it felt as if you were pulling me further in. It was almost impossible to look away from you. Sliding a finger beneath her chin, he tilted it up, then leaned his face in closer to hers. I was testing you, Lynn. I wanted to see how receptive you would be to my advances. You liked the way I looked at you though, didnt you? I know it turned you on. His thumb tenderly stroked her cheek. The heat between them grew as he touched her, and his keen senses immediately picked up the scent of her arousal. I was curious. Takodas lips tugged upward into a smile. I know you were, and so was I. From that very first moment that we locked eyes, I knew we would be together.

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As his fingers slid across her silk-clad chest, her body instantly responded. He felt her nipples harden beneath his touch and her breathing began to quicken, filling him with excitement and need. You are all mine, arent you, Lynn? Takoda pressed his lips against her ear and gently began sucking upon the tip of her earlobe. No, Im not, she breathily murmured. As the lie left her lips he felt his smile widen and he removed his mouth from the flesh of her ear, Of course you are. Its what you wanted from that first day we met. Peppering kisses against her neck, he moved his mouth down toward the pulse point of her neck. As his lips rested upon it, he felt the beat instantly quicken, indicating that her arousal for him was increasing. I can feel your excitement for me. He breathed against her neck. Moving his lips back up to her mouth, he pressed them lightly against her lips, just barely brushing against their softness. The first kiss he gave her was light, a tender peck. Then he followed it up with a deep, passionate one. As their tongues brushed together, Lynn expelled a moan. She was willing her body not to respond beneath his ministration, but the feel of his mouth and hands upon her was almost too much for her to handle. Despite the fact that she was deeply attracted to him, she was also filled with a strong apprehension. She didnt know what kind of powers he might have, and she was also feeling unsure about the effect the mark would have on her. According to Takoda, the emotions she that she regularly felt would now be enhanced, which meant that the feelings shed previously had for him would now be increased. She wasnt sure if she was ready for this. Shed experienced heartbreak before, and if the relationship she was having with Takoda was to ever end, she wasnt so sure shed be able to handle the pain. The presence of Takoda was driving her crazy with arousal and the feelings she had for him seemed to constantly be growing stronger. She was losing too much of herself in him and she couldnt

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deal with being this way. She wasnt used to being so crazy over a man, and she wasnt about to let her love for Takoda take over everything else in her life. Willing all of the power inside of her, Lynn pushed her hand against his chest and broke their heated kiss. No, this has to stop. I cant do this anymore. Why? What did I do? he disappointingly asked. I could feel myself melding with you, and everything you felt was inside of me. It was like I wasnt even myself anymore. You were becoming a part of me. Lynn stood up from the couch and backed a few steps away from him. Thats whats supposed to happen, Lynn. Youre my mate now. Its just your mark responding to my touch. Its perfectly natural for you to feel those things. No, it isnt natural at all. I cant do this, Takoda. This is just too weird. Takoda rose onto his feet and took a step toward her. I can see youre afraid, but Im not going to hurt you. I wish you could see that. Please stop blocking this from happening and open yourself up to me. Shaking her head, she replied, I cant be with you, Takoda. Lynn, come. Dont throw what we have away. He took another step toward her and tried to touch her arm, but she shied away from his touch. I want you to go. Please dont make this any harder than it has to be. Releasing a heavy sigh, he turned his back to Lynn and made his way toward the front door. As he reached it, he paused and then turned to face her. I know you want to be with me, Lynn, so just stop kidding yourself and allow this to be. I understand that youre confused and scared about things, but why are you so afraid of loving me? As he stood there waiting for her to respond, all she could do was just stare at him. She did want him to stay, and yet she was also afraid

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of being around him. She was stuck between two conflicting desires and wasnt sure of which one she should go with. As fear and love battled for domination, she averted her eyes from his own, not wanting to be drawn into his powerful gaze. We belong together, Lynn. Let me stay with you tonight. Why, so you can make another mark on me? Please just go already. We cant be together and I need you to accept that. Lynn walked over to the door and opened it, lifting her eyes to meet his in a firm stare. As they stood there next to the door, a cool breeze swept inside and the rhythm of the rain filled the air. You cant turn me away, Lynn. No matter how hard you try. Were bound together now, for life. As he exited the house, Lynn kept her eyes planted upon him, feeling a strange mixture of both relief and sadness. As she closed and locked the door behind her, she began to dwell upon the feelings inside of her. She couldnt ignore the desperate urge she had to open the door and run out after him. She also couldnt deny that it felt as if a piece of herself had gone missing. She wanted him here with her so badly, but her mind was firmly urging her against it. Indecisively torn between two options, she leaned her back against the door and crossed her arms. She was so overwhelmed by all of the feelings inside of her, and she just didnt know which direction she should take things now. As she stood there immersed in her thoughts, Lynn realized that she could still feel Takodas presence. Although she couldnt see him, she knew that he was watching her house, willing her to open the door and let him back in. For one brief moment she found herself dangerously close to opening the door and seeing if he was still outside, but she stopped herself before she could do it. He wanted her to open her home so he could come back inside, but she wasnt going to do it. She was, however, curious enough to walk over to the window and peer out between the curtains.

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As her gaze fell upon him, she saw that he was firmly planted next to a large oak tree in her yard. His eyes were keenly focused upon her and as her eyes met with his she instantly found herself entranced by his stare. His eyes were coaxing Lynn, urging her to come toward him and she knew that the longer she stared at him, the strong her urge would be to open the door. Yet regardless of this, she just couldnt stop looking at him. The silvery light from the moon outlined the form of his body, illuminating the beauty of his features and his long, dark hair. Takodas hands were stuffed into his pockets and rain was pouring down on him. His hair was plastered flat against his skull, and the Tshirt he wore clung to his body like a second skin, plastering itself against his well-defined arms. His eyes remained glued upon her, seeming to penetrate her very being. The power of his gaze was frightening, but at the same time she found herself completely turned on by the way that he looked at her. It was as if nobody else in the world mattered to him but her, and she began to feel a deep and urgent throbbing between her legs. She noticed the expression on his face was deeply intense, and the look in his eyes seemed to silently express that this game she was playing with him was coming to an end. As she thought about it, she realized that she was indeed playing a game with him. Deep down inside she already knew what she wanted, so why was she wasting her time trying to fight against it? Her fear ran deep and she thought about how itd felt as theyd shared that kiss on the couch. It seemed as if their bodies and spirits had been melding, and the experience has been so intense that shed gotten freaked out and instantly pulled away from him. It had been an amazing experience, and the kiss they shared had been unlike any other shed ever had before. She wanted him and he wanted her, so why was she trying to stop this? Why couldnt she just gather her courage and allow this amazingly sensual and beautiful man to enter her world?

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Dejection was sharply etched across his face, causing Lynn to feel both guilt and sadness. Lynn hadnt meant to hurt his feelings, but she had to protect herself. She didnt know what would happen once he shifted forms, and if he happened to lose control and decide to attack her, she would be helpless to fight him off. A booming peal of thunder cracked through the sky, and Lynns shoulders jolted upward as the windows shook from the residual vibrations. She usually loved the sound of thunder, but the suddenness of it had caught her off guard. As she continued to watch Takoda, she realized he seemed quite unfazed by the onslaught of bad weather. Still firmly rooted in the same spot, the only thing he seemed to be concerned about was her. His eyes hadnt budged from her gaze for a second, and as he stood in the downpour another round of thunder came, lighting up the sky behind him. Biting her lip nervously, Lynn closed the curtains and walked away from the window. Leaning against the wall, she inhaled deeply, trying her best to resist the strong urge to let him in. She didnt know how he was doing it, but somehow he was calling her from out in the storm. It wasnt that she was hearing his voice, but it was more of a sensation, an urgent pull to bring him back into her home. She wouldnt do it though, no matter how badly she wanted to. She just didnt know what he was capable of or what other powers he may be keeping secret. Sure hed told her he was a shape-shifter, but what if there were other things he could do as well? Things which could endanger her life? I would never hurt you. The words hed spoken earlier reverberated in her ears. Maybe Takoda wouldnt do anything to hurt her, but what about the wolf inside of him? The night had gotten strange so quickly, and now she was left feeling very unsettled. She tried to stop herself from glancing outside of the window again, but of course she was unable. She felt so weak, being drawn to him this way, but she couldnt help it. As her fingers parted the curtains, she peeked out between the

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fabric. Fat raindrops landed against the windowpane and as she breathed upon the glass, it clouded up with condensation. Takoda remained in the same spot, watching her with those alluring dark eyes of his. As she stared right back at him, she realized that her body was heating up, and the space between her legs was responding to the sight of his tall, drenched form. He was so fearless, so incredibly sexy that she could hardly stand to look at him. Takoda wasnt the type of man you simply looked at. When one laid eyes upon him, they were pretty much forced to stare and admire his masculine beauty. Tall, mysterious, and alluring, he was her ultimate dream. Give in, you know you want to. His eyes seemed to silently express his feelings to her. The voice inside of her was speaking the truth. She did want to give in. She badly wanted to stop pretending that she could live without him because the truth was, she couldnt. Whenever they were together, she found herself buzzing with excitement, and she never felt more alive than when they were spending time together. She was his, this much was true, and had been since the first day theyd met. She couldnt kid herself about that. She pulled the curtain back from the window to take another glance at him, but was surprised to find that he wasnt standing there anymore. Stepping away from the window, she went over to the door and pulled it open to see him standing right there in front of her. She opened her mouth to invite him inside, but before the words could leave her mouth he pulled her outside with him. Grabbing her by the hand, Takoda led her out onto the screened-in porch. Grasping her tightly about the hips, he leaned down for a kiss, firmly pressing his mouth upon hers. His lips were wet and cold, but his mouth was warm, and the feel of his tongue brushing against Lynns produced a fiery sensation inside of her. Moving her hands down to the hem of his pants, she quickly unbuttoned and unzipped them, peeling the fabric of both his jeans and his boxers down so that they slid off of his

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hips. The seal of their kiss was broken as he removed his lips from hers, bending down so that he could slip his work boots off and take off his socks. After throwing them aside, he pulled his jeans and boxers down around his ankles and kicked them off. Slipping her fingers beneath his shirt, Lynn peeled the soaked material off of his chest. He assisted her by pulling the material up over his head and then tossed it aside. Her lips were on his chest in an instant, kissing and licking across his cold, damp flesh. Breathing heavily against his skin, she allowed the tips of her nails to lightly trace his torso, creating little swirly patterns as she lowered them to his hips. Her lips followed their progress, placing tender little kisses down his abdominals until they reached the silky hair of his pubic area. Grabbing hold of his proud erection, she gently began to stroke the length of his cock. She allowed the tip of her tongue to swirl around the swollen head of his penis a few times, and then she ran her wet appendage along the underside of his cock. As her warm tongue slid over the veins in his cock, Takoda released a throaty moan, slipping his long fingers into the curls of her hair. Removing her tongue from his jutting manhood, she stood back up on her feet and began to remove her clothes. As her fingers worked to unbutton her blouse, Takoda unzipped her skirt, sliding it off around her hips so that it fell in a heap around her ankles. He slid her underwear off next, and then he placed his hands upon hers, removing them from her blouse so that he could take charge and remove it himself. Having no patience to work at the buttons on her shirt, he simply pulled the fabric apart and ripped her blouse open. After pulling the sleeves of the shirt off of her arms, he tossed the fabric aside and removed her breasts from the constraints of her bra. Now naked and free to enjoy one another, Takoda took hold of her hand and pulled her over to the porch swing. As he sat down upon it, a creaking sound filled the air, and he gestured for her to sit on his lap.

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Climbing onto him, she spread her legs so that she could straddle him, and his large hands possessively grabbed her about the hips. Circling her palm around his shaft, she lifted her hips and guided herself onto his cock. A loud groan escaped Takodas lips as he entered her, and with one smooth jerk upward, he buried himself deep. Her lips parted in ecstasy from the sensation of him fully within her, and she released a cry of pleasure, rocking her hips to guide him in further. His Adams apple bobbed as he gave a thick swallow, relishing the feel of her tight, velvety heat. As they rocked and moaned together, the storm continued its assault. The shutters banged noisily in the stormy air and the sound of wind chimes filled the air as they were violently blown back and forth. The energy of the storm increased their arousal, bringing them to new heights of pleasure as they immersed themselves in the feel of each others bodies. The porch swing creaked loudly beneath the weight of their bodies, rocking back and forth from the force of their moving hips. As a loud clap of thunder roared through the air, it sent a delicious shiver up Lynns spine. The sound of it, combined with the feel of Takoda burrowed deep within her was almost too much for her to handle. The sound of rain pelting against the roof filled the air, combining with the other sounds which resulted from the stormy night. With her eyes resting upon Takoda, Lynn noticed that his gaze was firmly planted upon the view of his swollen cock sliding in and out of her pussy. As she lifted her hips upward, she could see that his cock was shiny and slick from her juices. As she sunk back down again, his cock disappeared, burrowing deep between the tightness of her walls. He seemed mesmerized by the view of it, and as she gave a lustful moan, his gaze rose upward to meet her eyes. Placing his palms against her stomach, he slowly slid them across the smooth, taut flesh. As his hips pumped upward, the head of his

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cock brushed against a spongy little button inside of her, causing her to expel a blissful cry. Oh, yes! Lynn exclaimed as her hips worked into a quicker rhythm. As Takodas fingers slid across her mouth, Lynn instantly parted her lips. As his digits slid inside, she created a seal around his fingers and hungrily began to suck upon them. A shudder passed through her body from the feel of his fingers inside her mouth, and the muscles of her pussy tightly clenched around him. She was dangerously close to losing control, and every time he thrust his hips upward, the tip of his swollen length pushed against that magic button. His strokes were becoming deeper and more urgent, and every stroke of his penis provided her with a delicious sensation. Brushing her fingertips against his chest, she gave his nipples a pinch and then gently rolled them between her fingers. Takodas eyes blazed lustily at her, sending strong waves of emotion throughout her. She wanted him to possess her and to make her completely his, always and forever. She didnt want this love they were feeling to ever stop and if this is what it was like to make love to a shifter, then she didnt ever want to be with a normal man again. Lynn, baby, your pussy feels so damn good. His voice came out breathy and full of lust. The sound of Lynns moans filled the rain-scented air, her sounds of pleasure becoming more incessant as the speed of her hips increased. Lynns breasts bounced along with the rhythm of her hips, enticing her lover to suck upon her nipples. As his lips made contact with her erect bud, Lynn tilted her chin toward upward and released a cry of contentment. His tongue swirled around her areola and then began flicking back and forth against her peaks. His teeth nipped at her stiff buds, causing her to give a little jolt from the tiny bit of pain which accompanied her pleasure.

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Grasping a handful of his hair, she moaned into his ear, Bite harder. Following her obey, he allowed his teeth to sink in a bit deeper. Mmmm. She cried out in pleasure as her hips bucked faster. Pressing her lips up against his ear, she quietly uttered in a pleasured daze, I want to be yours. She was aware that he already considered her to be his mate, but she wanted him to hear it directly from her lips. Now that shed spoken the words, the bond was truly complete. You are mine, always and forever. His thumb stroked the line of her jaw as his piercing eyes held her in his erotic gaze. He gave a few more thrusts upward before saying, Lets change positions. I want to be behind you. She felt him grab her about the hips and lift her up with him as he got onto his feet. Then he took her over to a small sofa which sat in the corner of the porch. He gently placed her on the couch and then said, Turn around, sweetie. I want to have you from behind. Happily obeying she angled her hips upward so that he could plunge deeply into her, and as the tip of his cock pushed against her heat, she breathed heavily into the pillows of the couch. The lips of her pussy parted as he slowly pushed his cock forward, burrowing it completely in before pulling his hips back in a long, delicious stroke. He repeated the move a few times, and with each plunge back in, he thrust his hips a little harder. Oh, baby, I love your ass. His fingers pressed firmly into the curve of her bottom. Unnnhhh, she moaned in blissful pleasure as his thrusts began to grow deeper. Her fingers gripped tightly onto a pillow, needing something to hold onto as he began to pump harder. Oh fuck, baby, yes, he grunted and groaned above her. As the pace of his hips increased, the storm seemed to grow even stronger. Thunder rumbled loudly while lightning flashed against the

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sky. The frames of the windows rattled from the vibrations and Lynns thighs quivered as he placed his hands onto her rear, squeezing and stroking the softness of her skin. Paralyzed with pleasure, Lynn could do little more than just utter weak moans, blissfully content with allowing him to have his way with her. Shed lost control of her own body and was rendered nearly helpless from the intensity of his thrusts. It seemed he was fueled by primal energy, driven by a wild passion that no man shed been with had ever exhibited before. The air filled with a slapping noise as his hips met with the flesh of her ass. You like it when I fuck you hard, dont you? His voice was deeply sensual. Mmm, yes. Oh, baby, it feels so good. Her head was plastered against the cushions of the couch, causing her voice to come out sounding muffled. I love fucking your pussy. Youre so tight and wet and hot. His voice was raw with passion, and as the sound of the words left his mouth, Lynn found that she couldnt hold out any longer. Overcome by a torrent of sensations, she released a cry of ecstasy and succumbed to a powerful orgasm. Jolts of electricity ripped through her body and she loudly called out his name, digging her fingernails into the fabric of the couch beneath her. As her body quivered helplessly beneath him, he continued to thrust into her, grunting and moaning as he came dangerously close to release. Then suddenly she felt his cock swell inside her and he uttered a loud, guttural moan as he shot his seed inside of her. His fingers sunk into the flesh of her buttocks as he pumped inside of her a few more times, then once he was completely empty, he withdrew his cock and collapsed on top of her. They remained still for a few moments, the sound of their heavy breathing mingling with the rain as it landed against the roof. As the high from their orgasms began to subside, they linked hands and

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shared a sweaty kiss. As she turned onto her back, Takoda grabbed hold of her waist and lifted her into his arms. Wrapping her legs around his waist, she encircled her arms around his neck and allowed him to carry her into the house. Once they were inside, he kicked the door closed with his foot and then placed her on the couch. Plopping down beside her, he leaned his head back against an oversized pillow and gave a deeply contented sigh. Lynn swept a few strands of hair from off of his sweaty forehead, and then gave him a kiss. Feeling a little cold, Lynn wrapped her arms around her body and snuggled up closer to her lover. Chilly? Wrapping his arms around her, Takoda gave her a bear hug so that she would warm up. Mmm, a little, she softly murmured. A little smile tugged at his lips as he said, I think I know something that could warm the both of us up. Oh, honey, youre going to have to give me a minute. If we keep going like this all night, I wont be able to walk tomorrow. Giving a little chuckle, he responded, No silly, I meant we could go take a nice, hot bath. How about it? Okay, that sounds good. She willed herself to rise up the couch, but found she was still exhausted from their passionate exertions. A pregnant moment of silence passed between them before Takodas voice filled the air. Well? Well what? she replied. You arent moving. Neither are you. She responded with a small laugh. All right, lazy bones, on the count of three we both get up. Okay? Okay, she agreed, knowing full well she had no intention of doing so. Beginning the countdown, Takoda said, One.two..three.

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When neither of them budged, they both laughed in unison. Okay, thats it, he said in a playful tone of voice, as he rose onto his feet. Looks like Ill have to use my brute force to get you in there. Kneeling down on the floor, he grabbed her by the waist and scooted her forward. After flipping her over his shoulder, he stood back up to his full height. Lynn released a squeak of surprise, feeling both turned on and impressed by his strength. He made her feel as if she was no heavier than a sack of potatoes. As the palm of his hand slapped her curvy backside, she gave a lusty moan. The feel of his palm smacking her flesh had created a delicious sting, and she found herself wishing that hed do it again. You like that, do you? he asked with a smile. Maybe I do. Mmm, well theres a lot more where that came from, he purred in response. Promise? she asked, with a voice full of hope. Offering a wide grin, Takoda held tightly onto her as he walked them into the bathroom. Lynn took a seat on the edge of the bathtub as Takoda turned the water on, filling the tub with hot water. He added a few squirts of scented oil into the water, and then he adjusted the dimmer lights so that the atmosphere became more romantic. Once the tub was filled with water he climbed inside and Lynn got in after him, positioning herself between his legs so that her body could recline against his. She gave a sigh of contentment as Takoda wrapped his hands around her waist, and she found herself wishing that she could freeze-frame time so that the moment would last forever. Sweeping her hair over her shoulder, Takoda put his strong hands to use, massaging her neck as he tried to loosen the stiffness in her

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muscles. His touch was firm yet gentle, expertly working out the kinks which had been building up for days. Mmmm, she purred, That feels nice. She could hear the smile in his voice as he asked, So, when are you going to tell me more about yourself? Lynn realized it had been nearly a week since theyd first met, and they still didnt know much about each other at all. Shed spent the majority of the week trying to avoid him, so they hadnt even gotten the chance to talk and get to know one another. You already marked me as your mate and now you wanna know more about who I am? She felt his breath against her neck as he expelled a little chuckle. I know it seems a bit late for me to be asking questions about you, but I never would have marked you if I wasnt completely sure about us. Running his hands along the underside of her neck, he lifted her chin upward so he could place a kiss upon her neck. As his lips pressed against his skin, she felt a delicious shiver go up her spine. The tenderness with which he touched her made her feel as if she were some sort of precious jewel. So did you grow up out here? Grabbing a sponge from the side of the tub, he squeezed a glob of bodywash onto it and began rubbing it over her skin. No, I grew up in Minnesota, but once I finished high school I moved to Seattle for college. I lived out there for eight years before deciding to relocate to Oregon. You have any brothers or sisters? Nope, Im an only child. And what about your parents? Where are they? I was adopted, so I have no idea where my birth parents are. The people who raised me are the only parents Ive ever known, and they still live in Minnesota. I talk to them regularly, so were pretty close. Well, thats good. Having your parents around is a blessing.

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Yes, it is. So what about you? Are you close to your mom and dad? My parents arent around anymore. They passed away years ago. Oh, Im sorry. A moment of silence fell between them for a few moments before Takoda began to speak. So why did you move away from Seattle? I had a job offer out here in Oregon, so I decided to take it. Plus, I just felt like I needed a change of pace. I liked living in Seattle, but things were just becoming too complicated out there. What happened, if you dont mind me asking? Unsure of just how she wanted to answer his question, she hesitated, trying to work out a way to explain things to him. She really did want to be open with him, but she just wasnt completely ready to reveal her past. Releasing a small sigh, she said, Well, its kind of a long story. Ill tell you later, okay? Oh, okay. She could hear the disappointment in his voice and she knew he was wondering why she was being so secretive about her past. Lynn wanted to share more of herself with him, but there were still some wounds there that had yet to heal. Wanting to break the stillness between them, she asked, So where did you grow up? In South Dakota, but I moved states after I finished college. Once I arrived in Oregon, I ended up meeting Joe, and we became good friends. Hes the one I share the painting business with. So thats why you have such nice, toned arms. From painting all those houses, huh? Grabbing hold of his bicep, she gave it an admiring squeeze. With a smile in his voice, he said, I guess it could be that. Or maybe Im just blessed with good genes from my parents.

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Sliding the sponge over her chest, Takoda made small, soapy circles as he covered every area of her torso. As the sponge reached the point just above her left breast, he paused for a moment, curiously eyeing the small, circular scar. She tensed beneath his touch as he stroked it with his finger, visibly growing uncomfortable with his curiosity about the mark. Why do you get so uncomfortable when I touch you there? I dont know. I dont, she lied. This isnt a birthmark, is it? He waited for her to answer, but she didnt. Her silence spoke volumes. So what happened? Are you ever going to tell me or just leave me guessing? Why are you so interested in it? Its just a scar. Because I can tell it really bothers you. You can stay quiet all you want, but I can feel it, you know. Your thoughts cant be hidden. I thought you said you couldnt read my mind? I cant, but I can sense things. Remaining quiet, Lynn focused upon her hands, fidgeting them nervously in her lap. So how did you get it? I got into a car accident back in Seattle. Another car slammed into the one I was travelling in, and during the crash a sharp piece of metal pierced my skin and entered my chest. I ended up having to get stitches to close up the wound. Stroking her hair softly, he asked, So why were you afraid to tell me? Giving a shrug, she responded, I dont know. I was trying to avoid bad memories, I guess. Embracing her tighter, Takoda grabbed her hand so that their fingers laced together. Sorry I pressed you about it. Its okay.

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So were you driving, or was it somebody else? My ex-boyfriend was driving. He got drunk and ended up driving off of the road and slamming into a tree. His voice was laced with concern as he said, Im sorry that happened to you. You didnt have any other major injuries, did you? No other injuries, but I ended up having a miscarriage. Takoda stroked the back of her hand with his thumb. Oh, baby, Im so sorry. Now I feel bad about asking. No need to feel bad about it, I needed to tell you. I dont like keeping secrets from you, so I feel better now that Ive told you. Lifting her hand up to his mouth, Takoda placed a soft kiss upon it. Well thank you for telling me. I know it wasnt easy for you to share, so I appreciate it. Grasping the sponge in his free hand, he rubbed it across her shoulders and down her back, making sure that every area of her skin was covered. Releasing a sigh of contentment, Lynn relaxed her body against his, feeling blissfully content beneath his pampering touch. As her head rested against his strong chest, the memory of the dream shed had last night suddenly came back to her. She didnt know why shed chosen to recall it now, but began to wonder if shed somehow managed to tap into his dream. Hed told her that unusual things could happen as a result of him marking her, so she had to find out the importance and the meaning behind it. Takoda? Yeah? Whos Ehawee? As the name passed her lips, she felt Takodas body shift uncomfortably against her. Where did you hear that name? I had a dream last night, and you were in it. Go on. Well, in the dream you were kneeling over this dead wolf. Apparently something had attacked it, and I remember you crying

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because it was dead. Then you started calling out the name Ehawee, so I guess that was the name of the wolf. Remaining quiet, he continued to rub the sponge against her back. Lynns voice continued to fill the silence as she asked, So I was just wondering, since you said were so closely connected now, and since I bear your mark, did I somehow manage to enter one of your dreams? Because it was really unusual, unlike any other dream Ive ever had before. Takoda leaned his head back against the tile surrounding the bathtub, then gave a dry swallow. Yeah, I guess you could say that. His voice was so low that she barely heard him. Expelling a heavy sigh, he began to once again speak. Ehawee used to be my mate. She died five years ago. As he grew quiet behind her, she felt a sharp pang of sadness sweep through her heart. It was so strong it nearly felt like it was piercing her, and she suddenly realized that this emotion she was experiencing wasnt coming from her, but from Takoda. The mark hed given her was allowing her to feel everything that he felt. The sadness he felt went deep, and it was obviously something hed been carrying in his heart for a very long time. She strongly sensed how much love hed had for Ehawee and the tender closeness that they had shared. On one hand it made her feel more connected to him, being able to feel what he did, but the feelings he was holding inside of himself were also torturous. By bringing the dream up, shed managed to unbury these strong feeling inside of him, and she suddenly regretted bringing the subject up at all. Im sorry. Now I feel weird about sharing that dream with you. No need to feel weird about it. It will happen from time to time, so dont be worried. Do you know what attacked her?

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Two wolves that travelled in the pack we were in. They turned against us, and I tried to protect her, but they teamed up against me and pinned me down. Eventually I ended up killing the both of them, but as I was fighting them off, a third wolf joined in and attacked Ehawee. What made them do such a thing? she asked. Giving a shrug, Takoda answered, Im not sure exactly, but I think a few of the other wolves were jealous that I had Ehawee. There was also a rumor going around that they didnt like me being alpha wolf. They didnt seem to turn against any of the other wolves in the pack, though, only me. It all happened in the blink of an eye. One minute she was there by my side, and then she was gone. By the time I found her, she was already dead. I made a grave mistake in not watching over her as closely as I should have. Ill always regret that. Holding his hand tightly in hers she gave it a firm squeeze, silently expressing her sympathy. As Takoda began to speak once again, she noticed that his voice had taken on a dangerous edge. If anyone were to ever threaten your life, Id go after them without a moments hesitation. I hope you know that youll always be protected. Of course, she softly replied. I also want you to know that you are everything I need and all that I want. Ill always have a place in my heart for Ehawee, but you are the one with whom I share my life. Youre my mate, Lynn. Placing his hand beneath her chin, he tilted her head upwards so they could share a deep, passionate kiss. Once their lips parted, she turned her body around so that she was facing him and shifted into a kneeling position. Grabbing the sponge from his hands she slid it along his wide shoulders and strong chest, moving it further down until it reached his groin. As it bumped against the space between his legs, his penis instantly grew hard, eagerly awaiting the bare touch of her hand.

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Grabbing hold of the sponge, he tossed it aside and placed her hand upon him. Stroke me. He spoke in a voice which was deepened by arousal. Giving a seductive smile, she responded, My pleasure. **** The sound of Lynns heels echoed as she made her way through the lobby. She waved good-bye to the security guard at the front desk and then exited the building. As she swung the glass doors open, she was greeted by the pleasant evening air. After spending a whole day cooped up in the office, it felt nice to be out in the fresh air once again. The clouds were tinted pink from the setting sun, and a light breeze was blowing through the air. As she approached her car, she pushed the button on her keyless remote and unlocked the doors. Once she was inside the car she turned the key in the ignition and started the car up, driving out of the parking lot and onto the main road which would take her home. As she was approaching the first stoplight, she decided to take an alternate route and turn off of the street she was currently travelling on. As her car turned onto a less-used back road, she found herself admiring the tree-lined road. She preferred taking this quiet stretch of highway and found it to be far less stressful than driving along the busy streets with all of their stoplights. It gave her time to think and just enjoy the beauty of nature. As she drove along the road, Lynn found that her thoughts were constantly drawn to Takoda. Shed received cute little text messages from him throughout the day, and while some of them were funny and sweet, others were deliciously erotic. With a smile on her face she recalled what her friend Gina had said to her as they ate their lunch in the company cafeteria. Girl, your skin is glowing. You must be getting that good stuff.

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She had, indeed, been getting some very good stuff. It wasnt just their physical connection that she loved, it was also the conversations that they had. She felt like she could talk to Takoda about anything, and he was always sensitive to her needs and desires. Glancing at the clock on the dashboard, Lynn saw it was nearing 6:00 p.m. and pressed her foot more firmly upon the accelerator, eager to arrive home so that she could speak to Takoda. As a melodic ringtone filled the air, Lynns eyes were drawn to her cell phone. Shed just lifted her eyes to look back at the road when she saw a man suddenly appear in the road. He appeared so suddenly that she didnt even have time to slow down, so all she could was swerve sharply to the right so that she would avoid him. Her tires made a screeching noise as she drove off the road and straight into a ditch. As the bumper of her car connected with an unyielding object, a loud bang sounded through the air. Her body pitched forward from the force of the abrupt stop and she released a cry of fear. She sat frozen in place for a few moments, and then finally she turned the key in the ignition to see if the car would start up. As the engine came to life, she put her car into reverse and then slammed her foot on the gas. The tires spun a few times, kicking mud up around her windows, but the car itself refused to move. Releasing a frustrated breath, she turned off the ignition. Then she reached for her purse, which was lying on the floor in front of the passenger seat. She had the number of a towing company plugged into her phone for emergencies, so after finding it in the address book she pressed the call button and waited for it to connect. It only rang once before the call dropped off, prompting her to call once again. The phone rang a few times and then she heard a click, followed by dead silence. Furrowing her brow in confusion, she loudly spoke into the receiver, Hello? If anyone is there, please say something. Im in trouble. I need help.

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Receiving no response from the other end, Lynn pressed the call end button and then tried dialing Takoda. The phone only rang once before she the line clicked and then she heard the terrible silence again, causing her to end the call and throw the phone back into her purse. Beginning to panic, she wondered why her phone was getting such a lousy signal. Shed driven many times along this road before, and not once had her phone reception been so terrible. She made one last effort to dial the towing company, but it still proved to be unsuccessful, so she flipped the phone closed and put it back into her purse. Rubbing the soreness in the back of her neck, she began to wonder about who the man was that had been standing out in the middle of the road. He had to be some sort of crazy maniac, or perhaps he was suicidal, because who else would do such a thing? She hadnt gotten that good a look at his face, but she did manage to notice that hed had a creepy smile on his face. The memory of it caused the little hairs on the back of her neck to stand on end, and her eyes suddenly darted to the rearview mirror. Peering into the growing darkness, she tried to see if she could spot the strange man anywhere out there, but the nose of her car was tilted downward so there really wasnt much she could see from this angle. Taking a few moments to think things over, she contemplated getting out of the car to try and flag down some help. Yet the more she thought about it, she realized that probably wasnt the best idea. What if she got into the car with some nutcase, what would she do then? Her only other choice was to walk down the road. Shed noticed a number of dinky little stores along the way and figured she could at least use the phone at one of them. Shed have to move fast though, because dusk was quickly retreating. That freak whod been standing in the road was probably out there somewhere, and she didnt know who he was, but she was certain he was dangerous. A person crazy enough to stand in front of a moving car had to be, no doubt about it.

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Apprehension filled her body as she opened the door and stepped out of the car. After grabbing the keys from the ignition, she slipped the strap of her purse over her shoulder and closed the door behind her. Luckily the ditch was fairly shallow, so she was able to scramble up out of it without too much trouble. As she reached the top of the ditch, she stepped onto the pavement, turning her head to the left to see if she could spot any cars coming. Seeing none, she began to walk down the lonely road. As she was making her way along the pavement, an old, beat-up Cadillac began to slow beside her. Turning her head to look at the car, she saw that a man was driving. He had on a black leather jacket and a cowboy hat. The brim of it was drawn down low across his eyes, and as she stared into his face she instantly got a bad feeling in the pit of her stomach. Hey pretty lady. You need a ride? His lips pulled back into a wide grin. With a shake of her head she replied, No thanks. The strangers car continued to follow her for a few moments and then it finally took off, leaving behind a cloud of smoke in its wake. Once his car was down the road she felt an immediate sense of relief. Thered been something very strange about him, and although he was out of her sight, she still felt unsettled by the memory of his presence. After walking for what seemed like forever, she finally reached a seedy little establishment located by the side of the road. The neon sign announced that shed reached Joes Place. Good eats and great drinks, it said in a smaller script beneath the name. She put her heels back on before entering the bar and then opened the door. As she walked in, she was accosted by smoke and the strong smell of cigarettes. Walking over to the bar area, she approached a waitress with cherry-red hair and a sleeve of tattoos. Excuse me, but do you guys have a phone I can use? My car is stuck in a ditch and I need to call for help.

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The waitress gave her such a prolonged stare that Lynn didnt think she was going to answer. Finally, the woman managed to mumble a few words. You can make a call over there. She gestured toward a pay phone in the back of the bar, located next to the restrooms. Thanks. As Lynn headed to the back of the bar, she was keenly aware of the numerous pairs of eyes which followed her path. She dug some change out of her purse and then picked up the receiver to dial the towing company. After giving them the location of the bar, the man on the other end of the line told her it would take 40 minutes for them to arrive. After hanging up, she slipped another quarter into the pay phone slot and called Takoda. The phone rang twice before he picked up. Hello? As the sound of his voice floated through the receiver, she instantly began to feel better. Hey sweetie, its Lynn. Lynn, where are you? Ive been trying to get in touch with you for the past hour, but every time I call, your phone just rings and rings. Whats going on? I had a little accident. I lost control of my car and drove it into a ditch. Im okay, though. Are you sure? Takodas voice was laced with anxiety. Yes, Ill be fine. I knew something was wrong. I could feel it. Where are you right now? I hear loud music in the background. Im in a bar. Whats the name of it? Im driving out there right now. No, you dont have to do that. Its okay. I do have to. Youve been in an accident, and I can tell youre shaken up. Im not going to leave you out there all alone at some bar along the road. Now whats the location? Its called Joes Place.

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Okay, I know that spot. Ive passed by it a few times. Just sit tight and dont leave, okay? I was just finishing up a painting job, so it shouldnt take longer than half an hour to drive out there, maybe twenty minutes if I really gun it. Wait for me, all right? Okay, I will. Wait, what if I need to call you? I can ring you back at this pay phone, right? Glancing at the slip of white paper above the keypad she read the numbers off to him. You got that? she asked, as she finished calling out the numbers. Yep, I just plugged it into my phone. Im on my way right now. See you soon, okay? Okay, see you. She placed the phone into its cradle and then headed over to the bar. Still feeling unsettled, Lynn decided to order a carbonated drink in hopes that it would settle her stomach. As the tattooed waitress approached her, she took out her pad and asked, What can I get ya? Her eyes were green and lined thickly in kohl. A ginger ale, please. As the barmaid prepared her drink, Lynn kept her eyes peeled upon the TV. She wasnt particularly interested in what was on the screen, but she could sense that several of the men sitting in the bar were staring at her. It was making her feel very uncomfortable and she needed to something to focus on, so she pretended to be engrossed by what was showing on TV. Once the barmaid was finished fixing her drink she brought it over to Lynn and set it down in front of her. Shed just barely taken a sip when she heard the sound of somebody approaching. Mind if I take this seat? came a mans voice from behind her. Go ahead, she answered without making any eye contact. Ice cubes clinked as he sat his glass down on the bar, and she could feel his eyes intently scanning her face. My name is Dex, whats yours?

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Lynn remained quiet and took a large sip of her drink. Discouraged by her silence, he asked, Come here often? Nope. I suppose you wouldnt need to. Youre probably too good to hang out in places like this. She gave a shrug and then mumbled, I guess. Looks like youre on your way home from work. Yep. She used the little red straw in her glass to stir around the ice cubes. Her eyes remained fixed upon the TV, hoping to send the message that she wasnt interested in talking with him. You need a ride or something? I saw you walking along the road out there. A pretty lady like you dont need to be walking anywhere. Turning her gaze toward him, she realized it was the same man whod tried to pick her up as she walked along the road. As she stared into the strangers eyes, his lips pulled into a grin, and she felt the hairs along the back of her neck stand on end. My boyfriend is on the way, so I dont need a ride, she curtly said. Okay, well, if you dont mind Ill just keep you company until he gets here. I do mind, actually. I really dont feel much like talking. I can buy you a drink. I already have one. I mean a real drink. Looks like youre drinking soda. I dont like alcohol. Okay. There was a moment of silence before he began to talk again. So, dont I know you from somewhere? You look real familiar. I dont know who you are. But I know you. His tone was insistent. Her feeling of uneasiness had now grown into full-fledged anxiety. She was giving out strong signals of disinterest, but it only

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seemed to make him want to talk to her more. Glancing at her watch, Lynn saw that only ten minutes had passed since shed spoken to Takoda. That meant she still had twenty minutes to wait until he would arrive. Releasing a nervous breath, she concentrated her thoughts upon Takoda and began sending SOS signals out to him. She wasnt sure just how the mark hed given her would aid her in contacting him from a remote location, but she figured that sending signals of alarm to him had to somehow help her out of this situation. What she really felt like doing was just getting up and leaving, but where would she go? She didnt have a car and Takoda was already on his way to pick her up. Lynn noticed out of the corner of her eye as the stranger took his cowboy hat off and sat it on the bar in front of him. She felt a strong urge to turn her eyes upon, purely out of curiosity to see his eyes. Theyd been partially obscured by the brim of the cowboy hat, and for some reason she was drawn to take a look at them. Slowly, she turned her gaze toward him, and glancing quickly at his eyes, she saw that they were a steely blue. As he noticed her looking at him, he gave her a wink and a lascivious smile passed across his lips. She felt a little chill run up her spine as he fixed his eyes upon her, and she noticed that they seemed void of any emotion at all. Shed always heard the saying that eyes were windows to the soul, and judging from the desolation in his orbs, there was something very dangerous inside of him. His wore his hair in a slicked-back style, and his face was handsomely chiseled, but his good looks were overpowered by his strange, unsettling presence. Lowering her eyes toward his neck, Lynn was taken by surprise by what she saw. A four-inch long scar graced his throat, and as she curiously gazed at it, she found herself morbidly fascinated by the gruesomeness of it. As she tore her eyes away from it, she met his gaze once again and saw that he was giving her a look of amusement. Suddenly feeling a

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terrible case of the willies, she stood up from the stool and moved a few seats further away from him. It didnt take long for Dex to make his way down the bar and once again take a seat next to her, and as he peeled his eyes intently upon her, she found that she found herself growing very scared. Please stop following me. She looked straight ahead as she said it, not wanting to look into his eyes again. Cant help it if I see something I want. Im taken. Not for long, he said, in a self-assured tone of voice. Choosing to ignore him, she focused her eyes upon the bubbles in her drink. You have a real knack for getting into car crashes, dont you? After that crash in Seattle, I thought youd be too scared to ride in a car again. As the words left his mouth, she felt her blood run cold and she could feel his eyes eagerly watching her, waiting to see how shed respond. Lynn tried to appear calm but as she responded to him she found that her voice was filled with a waver. I have no idea what youre talking about, and Id really just prefer if youd stop talking to me. Im not interested, okay? Playing hard to get, I like that. You have very pretty hair, by the way. I like it. He reached out to touch her curly locks, but before he could do it his hand was suddenly halted. As another mans fist wrapped around Dexs wrist, Lynn turned her head and saw David standing behind them. His eyes were fixed keenly upon Dex, and his body was positioned in a stance which suggested he was gearing up for a fight. Leave the lady alone. Shes said shes not interested. The strangers lips curled into a sneer at the sight of Lynns coworker. Snatching his wrist from out of Davids grip, he disappointingly said, So you must be the boyfriend.

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Before David could even open his mouth Lynn replied, Yes, he is. Then she got up off the stool and grabbed Davids arm, leading him toward the door. Come on, lets go, she said to him. Aww, leaving so soon, beautiful? The stranger got up off the stool and tried to grab hold of Lynns arm, but David stopped him from advancing any further. Step off. Pressing his palms against the other mans chest, David sent him stumbling backward. In a split second the grin on the mans face vanished, replaced by one of murderous intent. His hands moved with lightning speed as he reached into his pocket and pulled out a knife. As the blade popped out, he slashed it across Davids palm, causing him to cry out in pain. You cut my wrist, you bastard! Ill cut more than that if you dont keep your fucking hands off of me. His teeth were gritted in anger and the tip of his blade was aimed toward Davids stomach. Fuck you, man! David blurted out, holding onto his bleeding hand. David, lets go, Lynn called out in fear, tugging on his arm to signal she was ready to leave. With his eyes still upon Dex, David uttered a grumble beneath his breath. Then he turned his back to him and followed Lynn out of the bar. As soon as they were outside, David led her to his car, and once they were inside, he started up the engine and quickly drove off, kicking up gravel as they made their way back onto the road. Hows your hand? Did he cut you very deep? Lynns voice was filled with concern as she studied the condition of his wrist. Its only a surface wound. Its not too bad. Ill be fine. He wasnt bleeding profusely, but his wrist was covered in enough blood to cause Lynn to worry.

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Grabbing some tissues from the dashboard, she gingerly dabbed at the line of blood which was coming from his wrist. Are you sure? If you need me to drive, I can take over. I wont mind at all. No its okay. Ill be fine. Giving a tense sigh, she said, That guy was a complete nutcase. Im sorry about your hand, David. I really do feel bad about it. No need to apologize, Lynn. It wasnt your fault. What were you doing at that bar, anyway? Davids question suddenly reminded her of why all of this was happening. In her rush to get them out of the seedy establishment, shed completely forgotten about Takoda. He was on his way to pick her up right now, and he had no idea of what was now going on. Hey, David, wait a minute. We have to turn around and go back to the bar. I told my boyfriend Id wait for him there until he showed up. What? No way, we cant go back. That creep back there, he had a knife. Maybe you didnt notice, but Im bleeding. I know, David, and I really am sorry you got caught up in the middle of it. Look, Im really glad you came when you did, but my car is stuck in a ditch back there, and I was waiting on a tow truck to come pull it out. So can you please turn around and drive me back to where my car is located? We can wait there until the tow truck arrives. Then Ill just call my boyfriend and let him know to meet me over there. Who cares about your boyfriend? Im bleeding here, Lynn, and Im not going back. Just call the towing company and tell them where the car is. They can pick it up for you and drive it to your house and youll meet them there once we arrive. No David, I need to go back. I dont like the idea of leaving my car behind, okay? Takodas on his way and I need to meet up with him. I dont want him showing up at that bar and wondering where I am. Hell freak if he sees Im not there.

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So call him, he harshly uttered. My phone doesnt work, so can I use yours? David scanned the space around the drink holders, and as he saw that his phone wasnt there, he emitted a sound of exasperation, I must have left it back at the bar. Damn it! Overwhelmed by a mixture of emotions, Lynn felt as if she were a chicken whod just had its head cut off. She didnt know what to do next and wasnt even aware of where they were going. She felt terrible about David being injured, but she was also worried about Takoda. She knew hed be very worried once he showed up at the bar and saw that she wasnt there. She had no way of getting in contact with him, and she couldnt even call a tow truck to have her car taken out of the ditch. Her head was spinning from everything that was going on, and it didnt help matters that David was driving like a madman. She knew he was caught up in the craziness of the situation, but the last thing she wanted was to get into another accident. Reaching out to lightly touch his arm, she said, I think you should slow down, David. We dont want to get into a crash, do we? Yeah, okay, he responded as he reluctantly eased up on the gas. Glancing at her watch, Lynn realized that Takoda would be arriving at the bar within the span of five minutes. Giving a nervous swallow, she lay her head back against the headrest and focused upon Takoda. She wasnt sure of much at all right now, but one thing she was certain of was that she had long night ahead of her. **** Takodas pickup truck came to an abrupt stop in front of Joes Place. Hed passed by the bar numerous times as he drove along the highway, yet never dared to venture inside. It seemed to be a seedy place where undesirable people hung out, and it certainly wasnt any place for Lynn to be hanging out in. As he made his way toward the

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door of the bar, his work boots crunched against the gravel in the parking lot. Grabbing the handle of the door, he swung it open, and as he entered the smoky room his eyes rapidly scanned the place. It wasnt a very big establishment, so it didnt take him very long to realize that Lynn wasnt there. A pang of worry shot through him as he wondered where she was, and he made his way over to the bar so that he could talk to the waitress. As she noticed him coming her way, her eyes lit up and she gave him a smile. Hey handsome, what can I get you? Ignoring her greeting, he said, Im looking for a woman. Shes 56, has dark brown curly hair, almond eyes She already left. The waitress interjected before he could even finish. When? A knot began to form in the pit of his stomach. Just a few minutes ago. She was sitting here talking to some dude, and then another guy came and picked her up. She ended up leaving with him. Did he have a uniform on? His voice was full of hope as he thought about the possibility of it being the tow truck driver. Nope, hes a regular. I see him around here every weekend. She just got into his car, and they took off together. I remember her saying something about him being her boyfriend. What? No, that cant be. He shook his head as if to confirm the impossibility of it. Well thats what I heard. Grabbing a towel from behind the bar, she began to busy herself with drying the shot glasses. Takodas eyebrows furrowed together in puzzlement as he thought about the waitress words. He knew Lynn wasnt cheating on him, but why would she leave a sleazy little dive like this with a strange man? The answer was she wouldnt. She wasnt that type of a woman, and he knew it. She would only have left with someone she

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knew. As worried thoughts ran through his head, he began to wonder if someone had forced her to leave with him As hed been driving to the bar, hed gotten the very strong feeling that something wasnt right with her. Shed been distressed and the signals that shed sent to him had clearly communicated that she badly needed him with her. Hed driven as quickly as he could to get here, but unfortunately he hadnt been fast enough, because not she was gone. Pushing the door to the bar open, Takoda exited and walked toward his car. As he was making his way across the gravel-lined parking lot, the toe of his shoe hit something on the ground. Lowering his eyes toward it, he saw that it was a cell phone, so he bent down to retrieve it. As he studied it in his hands, he began to wonder if the cell phone was somehow connected to her. He had the strong feeling that it was, so he pressed a few buttons and began searching through the menu until he reached the phones address book. He searched through numerous names and numbers, but there were so many contacts saved that it would take him forever to get through all of them. Not wanting to waste anymore time, he slipped the phone into his pocket and got into his car. He was desperate to find out if the phone was somehow connected to her, but right now he needed to get back on the road. Putting the car into drive, Takoda took off out of the parking lot and drove out onto the highway. Thoughts flashed through his mind as he drove, and he began to feel sick as he thought about someone taking advantage of or trying to hurt her. As he drove along the road, he kept an eye out for her car, hoping he would spot it somewhere along the way. A few minutes passed before Takoda spotted her blue Camry on the side of the highway. Just as Lynn had told him, it was leaning into a ditch. Saving the location to memory, he made a U-turn and headed straight for the bar, hoping to make it back there before the tow truck driver arrived. He didnt know where she was or why shed gone on without him, but he

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figured it must have been pretty important for her to have left her car behind. It just didnt seem likely that she would be willing to do that. He made it back to the bar in record time and just as he was pulling in, the tow truck driver was climbing down from the can of his car. Takoda pressed his palm against the horn to alert him, then leaned his arm out of the window so that he could wave him down. As the tow truck driver spotted him, he came over to Takodas truck. After giving him the location of Lynns car and the address where he could drop it off, Takoda gave the driver his fee. Then he put his car into gear and tore off down the highway, heading straight for Lynns house. **** The highway seemed to stretch endlessly in front of Takodas car. Even with the distance between them, he could strongly sense her feelings and knew she was feeling discomfort and uncertainty. Where are you, Lynn, and who could have possibly talked you into leaving before I came to pick you up? His thoughts were suddenly interrupted by a vibration in his pocket, followed by a melodic ringtone. Taking one hand off the wheel, Takoda used it to retrieve the cell phone hed found in the parking lot of the bar. As he flipped it open, he spoke into the receiver. Hello? Hi, who is this? a mans voice curiously asked. You tell me who you are first. Im the owner of the cell phone. Now tell me who you are. The callers voice was laced with irritation. As Takoda listened to the sound of the other mans voice, he questioned in a hostile tone of voice, Is this David? Who wants to know? Her boyfriend, thats who.

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Oh, so youre her boyfriend, huh? Well what the hell are you doing with my phone? I found it. Okay, well Im going to need it back. Youll get it back when I see that Lynn is safe. Shes fine. She needed a ride, so Im taking her home. Youd better be heading straight there. The tone in Takodas voice expressed his seriousness about the situation. I really dont appreciate the way youre speaking to me right now. Well I dont appreciate you taking off with my girlfriend. And since were on the subject, I know what youve been up to. What the hell are you talking about? David angrily inquired. Do you make it a habit to gain entry into womens homes and try to steal their underwear, or is my girlfriend just a special exception? Takoda impatiently waited for an answer, but the only sounds which came from the other end of the phone were the sounds of cars passing by and trucks blaring their horns. Hello? Answer me, Takoda sharply commanded. Listen, asshole, if it wasnt for me, your girlfriend would still be back at that bar, getting harassed by weird creeps. So youd better show me some fucking respect. You certainly didnt give her any respect that night you were snooping around in her bedroom. And youre a creep yourself, so I really dont trust you at all. Well Lynn seems to trust me just fine. She happily came along with me when I showed up. Thats because she doesnt know the type of man shes really dealing with. You might be fooling her right now, but not for very long. Whatever, man. Im hanging up now. Put her on the phone. I want to speak to her. Tough shit, David snappily replied.

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You really dont want to mess with me, Takoda darkly warned. There was a pause on the other end of the line and then he heard the sound of Davids voice once again. Shes busy right now. She cant talk. Busy doing what? Takodas knuckles turned white as he gripped the cell phone tightly in his hands. Listening closely to the other end of the line, he focused upon the sound of a car door opening, followed by it slamming shut. Then he heard a soft, female voice which was unmistakably Lynns. Takoda heard her ask David who he was talking to, and then he heard David mumble an unintelligible reply. Youre a liar. I hear her talking in the background. Put her on the phone. Takoda was quickly losing his patience. There was pregnant silence between them, followed by the click of the line as it went dead. Takoda angrily snapped the phone shut and then redialed, but the line only rang once and then the voice mail picked up. Takoda tossed the cell phone onto the passengers seat and pressed his foot on the accelerator, sending his car speeding down the highway like a bullet. **** Despite Lynns urgency to get home, David had decided to make a few pit stops along the way. First he said he needed water, so they stopped at a mini-mart. Then hed complained of being hungry, so they stopped at a diner just off the highway. Of course she knew that these were all just excuses. He was trying to delay their arrival to her house so that he would be able to spend more time with her. Nearly an hour of their time was wasted making stops along the road, so once they finally got back onto the highway, she found herself wishing that he wouldnt make another stop. To her relief, David finally took her home, and as they arrived at her house she felt a huge sense of relief.

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She was back in familiar territory, and finally able to free herself from the presence of David. As his car pulled into the driveway, Lynn already had her hand poised and ready to open the door. Once the car came to a stop, Lynn uttered a quick thanks and then bailed out of the car, walking quickly towards her front door. She heard the sound of Davids car door slam as he got out of the vehicle footsteps behind her as he followed her to the house. Lynn, wait. Are you okay? he called out from behind her. Of course Im okay, why wouldnt I be? You seem mad at me. Pulling her keys out of her purse, Lynn responded, Im fine. Just would have been nice if youd brought me straight home. A look of regret passed across Davids face. Sorry about that. I guess I just got so excited spending time with you outside of work that I went a little crazy. We are still friends, arent we? Slipping her key into the lock, she twisted the knob open and cracked open the door. Then she turned around to face him. I dont know David, I guess. Please dont be mad at me, Lynn. A sigh of frustration expelled itself from her lips. Im really exhausted right now, and Id like to go inside and relax. Ive had a very long and trying evening. All right, Ill let you go now. Have a nice night, and see you at work tomorrow. Stuffing his hands into his pockets, he turned and began walking down the steps. Goodnight, David. Once she crossed the threshold, he waved, and she returned it with a quick one of her own. Then she closed and locked it behind her. Breathing a sigh of relief, she slid her palm along the wall until it bumped against the light switch. As the room flooded with light, she tossed her purse onto the couch and took off her shoes. She headed toward the hallway so that she could go to her bedroom, but as she

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walked she was seized by a nagging sense of dread. Something was off about the energy in the room, and the muscles in her body had suddenly grown tense. There was also a strange scent in the room, a smell which was definitely foreign to her house. Struck with the sense that she was being watched, she whirled her head around, glancing behind her to see if anyone was there. She looked over her shoulder and all around the room, but as far as she could see, there wasnt anyone there. Despite the hairs which had pricked up on the back of her neck, she decided to brush it off. The strange turn of events that evening had caused her to feel a little jumpy, and her nerves were badly jarred. Holding her shoes in her hand, she continued on back to her bedroom. She was just stepping into the hallway when she saw something shift from out of the corner of her eye. Turning her gaze toward the far corner of the room, she rested her eyes upon an armchair which was cast in a shadowy corner of the room. Walking toward a floor lamp with bated breath, she switched it on to immerse the other part of the room in light. As the shadow dissipated, she saw there was nothing there, and she exhaled a breath of tension. She had to loosen up and stop getting spooked so easily. Shed been on edge all evening long and was tired of feeling this way. Lynn headed down the hallway to go into her bedroom, and as she pushed the door open she saw that the window was slightly ajar. Walking over toward it, she shut it closed and then locked it. She felt alarmed for a few moments, and then she suddenly remembered that shed opened it earlier that morning. She headed out of her bedroom and made her way toward the bathroom to freshen up, but the sound of a knock at the door caused her to halt her steps. Figuring it was David, she remained still and froze in place. Then she remembered that Takoda was supposed to pick her up from the bar, so she headed out of the hallway and made her way toward the front door. As she looked though the peephole, she saw a tall form standing on the porch. Not doubting for a minute that it was Takoda,

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she unlatched the lock and twisted the doorknob, but as she swung the door open, she realized there was nobody standing there at all. Knitting her eyebrows in puzzlement, Lynn glanced to her left to see if there was anybody standing on the other side of the porch. Hello? her voice called out into the darkness of the night. The feel of an icy-cold breeze hit the back of her neck, and then suddenly she felt the energy around her shift, followed by the sound of a voice. It wasnt coming from outside, though. It was coming from right behind her, within her own house. Spinning around to face the intruder, her gaze fell upon a pair of emotionless blue eyes. As she saw the familiar face leering down at her, a loud scream of terror ripped from her throat. Hello, beautiful. Dexs lips pulled up into a dark grin. She noticed that his cowboy hat was no longer on and as she stared into his cold orbs, she was struck with a feeling of nausea. The sight of him here in her house made her physically sick. Get out now before I call the police, she shakily said. Throwing her a look of amusement, he replied, Go ahead. The phones on the other side of the room, though. Youll have to get past me in order to get to it. Giving a deep swallow, she weakly uttered, My boyfriend is on his way over. If he sees you here, theres no telling what hell do. Releasing a small chuckle, Dex replied, Mmm, right. Guess I should be worried then. Hes a tall, long-haired fellow isnt he? Ive seen him around. Struggling to maintain a calm exterior, Lynn silently called out to Takoda, utilizing every bit of energy inside of her as she communicated her desperate need for his presence. Dex took a step towards her, prompting Lynn to call a firm warning out to him. If he finds you here, hell kill you. His lips pulled into a wide grin as he responded, Shifters dont scare me, Lynn. And I highly doubt that he can kill me.

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He began taking steps toward her, and as he moved closer to where she stood, she began to panic. Her back was already against the door, which meant she had nowhere to go. What do you want from me? Grabbing her hand by the wrist, he held it up in front of her and ran his thumb along a protruding vein. The feel of his flesh against her own filled her with disgust, and she was shocked to find that his skin was ice cold. Flinching beneath his touch, she felt him slide his digit slowly back and forth, watching her with a look which made her feel as if he were looking at a four-course dinner. Then suddenly, she realized that she was his dinner. Her eyes widened and her voice wavered as she said, Youre a vampire. Giving her an evil smile, he stated, Not exactly. Well if youre not a vampire, then what are you? He gave a little chuckle and then said, A hybrid, of sorts. A chill swept through her body as the words left his mouth. She didnt know what he meant by a hybrid, but she wasnt certain that she wanted to find out, either. Look, I dont want to fight against you. So if youre going to drink from me, then just do it already and get it over with. She tilted her neck to the left so that her neck was more exposed, coaxing him to take what he wanted. Dexs eyebrows furrowed together and he blinked in surprise at her willingness to please him. Youre offering yourself to me? Yes. Youre obviously much stronger than I ever could be, so Im not even going to try and refuse you. Youre here to drink my blood, and I accept that. His head tilted as he suspiciously stared at her and she knew he was wondering why she was making it so easy for him. Remaining quiet, she breathed deeply as she prepared herself for what was to come next.

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Its been a long time since I had such a willing participant, especially a beautiful woman like yourself. Placing his palm against her face, he slowly slid it across the surface of her cheek. As he leaned his head in toward her neck, she felt her body tense up and her heart began to beat rapidly. His breath ghosted coldly against her neck as his lips moved in closer. Mmm, Im going to enjoy this, he breathed in an overly eager voice. As she felt his lips press against her neck, she sprung into action. Reaching her arm out for the table next to the door, she grabbed the first thing her hands came into contact with. Gripping the letter opened tightly in her fist, she rose her arm upward and aimed it for the back of Dexs neck. The tip of it came dangerously close to piercing his skin, but before it could plunge though his flesh, he grabbed hold of her wrist and gave it a sharp squeeze. Lynn cried out as a bolt of agonizing pain ripped through her nerve endings, and the object in her hand fell to the floor with a clatter. His cat-like reflexes stunned her, and within a blink of an eye, he had her pinned up against the wall. His fingertips dug painfully into her shoulders as he gave a tsk-tsk of disapproval. Trying to stab me in the neck with a letter opener? My, what a naughty little thing you are! He gave a dark chuckle and then added, I just love it when they put up a fight. His hands gripped both of her wrists tightly, keeping them flush against the wall. Let me go. She tried to wriggle out of his grasp, but his fingers only tightened. Lynn felt her chest grow tight with anxiety and her mouth instantly grew dry. I can smell your fear. Im not afraid of you, she lied. No, of course not. A sly smile crossed his lips.

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Keeping her pinned up against the wall with one hand, he used the other to stroke her face. As his hand made contact with her lips, she flinched, fighting the urge to retch. His skin felt cold and clammy. Let go of me. Inside she was scared shitless, but the last thing she wanted him to know was just how afraid she was. He would only use it to his advantage. Afraid I cant. Ive been waiting to get my hands on you for quite some time. Lynns eyes drifted down to the long scar which marred his pale throat. It was raised and bumpy, and as she stared at it she began to wonder how hed gotten it. Why are you following me? You dont remember much from the night of that car crash back in Seattle, do you? He waited for her to say something, but when she didnt answer, he continued. Dont you remember? Ive tasted you, and if memory serves me correct, you were quite delicious. A chill ran up her spine as she heard him say the words taste and delicious. Suddenly, she remembered that there had been someone. Shed always chalked it up to a hallucination from shock, but now she realized it had actually happened. Shed gone in and out or consciousness, but she did remember seeing someone step next to the window and lean into the car. She also remembered there had been a pair of hands upon her, followed by a sharp and piercing pain in her chest. She figured that whatever had stabbed her was being pulled out, because the next thing she knew, there was a flow of blood. She figured she must have blacked out soon after, because that was all she could remember, and by the time she regained consciousness, she was already in the hospital. Her eyes looked up at him with recognition, horrified that this frightening creature had been a part of her past. Knowing hed been

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there that night while she was unconscious caused her to feel terribly fearful. What did you do to me? Did you drink my blood? Her voice filled with panic. With a grin he replied, Its not the taste of blood I was after, but your fear. Nothing fuels me more than the sight of a beautiful woman cowering in fear. Take you, for example. Youre very afraid right now, arent you? Shaking her head she angrily replied, No, Im not. Pulling his lips into a mock pout, Dex leaned in closer to her, allowing only a hairs width between the flesh of her cheeks and his cold lips. So I dont scare you at all? Terrified by the darkness in his eyes, she averted them toward the front door. She desperately wished that she could escape him, but she knew if she tried to run that he would easily catch up to her. Grabbing her by the chin, he said, No point in trying to resist me. Im already in there. Lynn did her best to shield her emotions from him, but he easily cut right through her resistance. She could actually feel her energy being siphoned right out of her. You feel things very powerfully, dont you? I could really get addicted to that. Trailing a finger against her throat, he let it come to a rest against the pulse in her neck. Her pulse began to quicken. Dex offered a wicked smile, obviously pleased by her reaction. As his thumb remained pressed upon the point, she noticed that her knees were feeling weak and that she was beginning to grow dizzy. There was also a strange heaviness inside of her body, as if she were made of lead. I wonder where that boyfriend of yours is. Its strange he hasnt show up yet, huh? One of his eyebrows rose upward in a questioning manner.

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Hes on his way. Is he? Dex questioned her with a funny little smile, tilting his head as if he were studying something of great interest. Well hed better hurry, because Im about to have his girlfriend for dinner. As Dex pressed his nose to her skin, she heard him deeply inhale, followed by a sound which expressed how delicious he thought her scent was. Lynn flattened her back against the wall as his lips crept up her chin, gradually moving closer to her lips. It seemed as if he were some sort of reptile, because the feel of his skin was very dry and completely void of any warmth at all. Cold and slithery were the perfect words to describe him. Certain he was going to try and kiss her, she began to panic and drove her knee upward, aiming straight for the place where she knew it would hurt the most. Always one step ahead of her, Dex caught hold of her leg and pulled her feet out from under her. Her body hit the floor with a thud, but the pain she felt didnt deter her from making a mad scramble for the door. Shed barely moved a few inches away from him before he caught hold of her leg with his hands. Using her free leg to kick at him, she aimed it right for his midsection and nailed him right in the stomach. Oof! he grunted, stumbling backward as the wind was knocked out of him. Using those few short moments to her advantage, Lynn bolted for the door and quickly swung it open. Shed just made it across the threshold and ran out onto the porch when he caught hold of her. Wrapping his arm firmly around her waist, he threw her to the ground and straddled her, keeping her firmly pinned against the floor. Youre a quick little thing, arent you? Not quick enough, though. As she noticed he was holding a blade against her breasts, she began to squirm nervously beneath his grip. The chase has been fun, but Im ready to taste you now.

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As his fangs popped out, Lynn became paralyzed with terror. As his breath hit her skin, she released a cry of fear and flinched in anticipation. As a deep, rumbling growl fill the air around them, Lynn opened her eyes to see a large gray wolf standing at the edge of the porch. With yellow-gold eyes and a thick, lush coat, he was quite a majestic sight. Although it was the first time Lynn was seeing him in nonhuman form, she instantly knew it was Takoda. Releasing a menacing snarl, the wolf crouched into position. His muscles were taut and he was ready to strike, with his muzzle quivering angrily as he bared his sharp teeth. The wolfs yellow eyes narrowed angrily upon his adversary, and the expression within them was clearly murderous. With Dexs attention upon the wolf, Lynn was able to scramble out from beneath him unnoticed. Once shed freed herself from his presence, she ran back into the safety of the house. Well look what we have here, a knight in shining armor. Dexs lips curled back into a sneer. Bracing his feet into a fighting position, he poised his weapon out in front of him. Not wasting another moment, the wolf charged. As the wolf ran toward him, Dex swiped toward him with his blade, but ended up missing by a hairs inch. In a single fluid moment, the wolf sank his razor-sharp teeth into Dexs ankles, causing him to cry out in agony. Gritting his teeth in fury, Dex slashed through the air with his knife, hoping it would connect with the wolf. As the blade met with nothing but air, Dex became increasingly frustrated. Furiously kicking backward with his foot, Dex landed a solid kick upon the wolfs jaw. As the teeth in his flesh loosened, Dex quickly pulled his leg free and scrambled away from the wolf. Dex was just barely getting back onto his feet when he was attacked once again. The wolf lunged forward, pinning Dex to the ground with the weight of his body. The knife Dex held fell to the ground and clattered out of his reach. Saliva dripped from the wolfs muzzle,

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teeth snapping and gnashing as he went in for the kill. He aimed for Dexs neck, but before he could sink his teeth in, Dex grabbed hold of the animals neck. Locking his fingers around the wolfs neck, Dex sought to cut off its air supply with the strength of his hands. Thrashing wildly, the gray wolf fought to release himself. The animals claws reached out, searching for something, anything, to remove the death grip from around his throat. The wolfs claws found Dexs face, latching in as they ripped through his flesh. The man beneath him howled, jolted by searing pain. He released his grip from around the beasts neck, jagged claw marks trailing from his eye down to his chin. Blood seeped from the wounds, marring his vision. Dexs fingers scrambled around on the floor, searching for the knife that had fallen. Finding it, he grasped it in his hands and stabbed downward, aiming for what he thought was the wolfs back. Disadvantaged by his blindness, Dexs aim was thrown off, and the blade sunk into the wolfs shoulder instead. The blade went in deep, but the pain did nothing to lessen Takodas attack. The wolf sunk his canines into Dexs shoulder, withdrawing a scream of pain as they ripped through muscles and tendon. Giving a howl of agony, Dex knocked the wolf off of him. The animals body flew back from the blow, but it was only a momentary deterrence. Once Dex was back on his feet, he shifted into a fighting stance, willing the wolf to make the first move. The claw marks on Dexs face were seeping blood and some of it was in his eyes, nearly blinding him. The torn flesh in his shoulder burned fiercely, making it feel as if it were on fire. Dex uttered a growl of sheer frustration. He was fighting a losing battle, and he knew he wouldnt be able to go on for very much longer, since the little strength he had left was steadily draining out of him. Letting out a vicious growl, Takoda charged. Dex dodged out of the way to avoid being attacked again but ended up losing his balance and stumbled down the porch stairs. The wolf landed on top of him,

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and as his teeth connected with Dexs neck, they pierced through the flesh like butter. Seeking to shield his jugular from the animals teeth, Dex fought wildly to release himself from the beasts attack. The wolfs attack was relentless, and this made it difficult for Dex to free himself, but eventually he managed. A sudden flare of anger allowed him the strength to give a powerful push against the wolfs chest, kicking him off, but Dexs freedom didnt last long. It seemed that only a fraction of a second had passed before the wolf was charging once again, releasing a violent snarl as he threw himself against Dexs back. Fighting uselessly against the wolf, Dex released a scream of pain as he felt a pair of razor-sharp teeth sink into the back of his neck. Reaching his arm out toward a large stone in the yard, Dex grasped it tightly in his palm. Swinging his arm backward, Dex slammed the rock against the beasts head, causing the animal to dislodge his teeth from Dexs neck. Not wasting another moment, Dex followed it up with another blow, this time aiming for the wolfs muzzle. As the hard object collided with the animals mouth, it released a sound of furious pain. Stunned by the blunt impact of the large rock, the wolf took a moment to regain its senses and Dex used this to his advantage. Pulling his legs out from beneath the wolfs body, Dexs eyes quickly scanned his surroundings, searching for anything which could be used as a weapon. Spotting a pair of gardening shears, Dex unsteadily scrambled towards them, desperate to grab hold of the weapon before the wolf could attack once again. As his hand closed around the handle of the shears, Dex turned onto his side and quickly swung then back, aiming for the wolfs neck. As they slashed through the air, the animal sprung out of harms way, baring its teeth as it crouched into an attack position and awaited Dexs next move.

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Hurriedly climbing onto his feet, Dex firmly held the shears in his hand, the metal of the blades glinting maliciously in the dim light of the early evening. Baring its teeth threateningly at Dex, the wolfs eyes were full of the utmost malice. Dex moved clumsily on his feet, limping with every step that he took. The meat of his ankle was slashed, and it caused a great deal of pain to remain on his feet, but he knew if he didnt that the wolf would surely finish him off. With his lips peeled back into a sneer, Dex coaxed the wolf forward, daring him to lunge toward the blades in his hand. Remaining in place, the wolfs eyes flared with anger, carefully watching each step that Dex took. As the wolfs adversary began to back away from him, the wolf stalked forward, matching each of Dexs steps with one of his own. And then suddenly the wolf was running toward Dex, quickly closing the space between them, and just before he reached his adversary, the wolf changed direction, springing out of the way as Dex swung the blades toward him. Unfortunately, the wolf miscalculated his adversarys force, and as the sharp blade sunk into the animals coat, it yelped in pain, retreating with a vicious snarl. The blade in Dexs hand was covered in blood, and as he retreated from the beast, his eyes flashed with rage. A deep growl tore through the wolfs throat, his ears flattening as he watched Dex back away away from him. Dex was nearly a yard away when he maliciously sneered, This isnt over. Giving a nasty hiss of defeat, he retreated from the wolf and disappeared into the thick brush beyond the yard. Resisting the urge to follow him, the wolf began to transform, shifting from creature back into the form of a human being.

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Rushing up behind him, Lynn embraced him in a tight hug, laying her head against his shoulder as he took her hand in his. The feel of his heartbeat thumping against her skin was more than a welcome relief. Shed seen what a strong and vicious fighter he was, but shed been terribly worried that one of the knife wounds hed received would turn out to be fatal. They held each other for a few minutes straight, just looking into each others eyes, and then they shared a deep, tender kiss. Once their lips parted, they both stood up and got onto their feet. His shirt, pants and underwear lay in a rumpled pile near the side of the porch, so he went over to retrieve them. Once he had them in hand, he tucked them under his arm and took her by the arm, allowing her to lead him into the house. He put his underwear and pants on, leaving his shirt off so that she could attend to his wound. As she went off to get the first aid kit, he settled onto the couch and released a heavy breath of exhaustion. With the kit in hand, Lynn returned to the living room and placed it upon the coffee table. Then she got to work and began seeing to his injuries. Hmmm, this first aid kit is bringing back some fond memories. He gave her a little smile, then released a hiss as she poured peroxide onto his wound. Offering a little half smile, her eyes filled with concern as she looked at his torso. The stab mark was dangerously close to his stomach, and she found herself grateful that Dexs aim hadnt been better. Once the wound was cleaned and all the blood had been removed, she placed a large gauze square against it, keeping it in place with some medical tape. She noticed there was a red mark on his neck from where Dex had tried to choke him, and she gingerly stroked the area which was surrounding it. Its fine. He offered a smile to try and reassure her. You sure?

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He nodded, then said, I cant tell you how worried I was when I showed up at that bar and found out youd already left. I was terrified that something bad happened. I knew you would be, but I had to get out of there. Glancing out of the living room window, she stared out into the thick foliage which bordered upon her backyard. I saw him at the bar, so he must have followed me here. Takoda sighed, releasing some of the tension in his body. He was at the bar? Yes, thats the reason why I ended up leaving. He wouldnt stop bothering me, and I started to get freaked out. Then David showed up and I ended up leaving with him. Im sorry I scared you, I just didnt see any other way out of that situation. Giving an understanding nod, Takoda replied, Its okay, I understand. Wrapping his hand around her waist, he pulled her in closer. Im just glad youre safe again. Im sorry I wasnt there to protect you. I feel awful about that. Its not your fault, just something that happened. It wasnt by chance, that creep was stalking you. Lying her head upon his chest, she said, He gives me the creeps. What the hell is he? Well, hes not one thing, really, but a combination. He has some of the traits of a vampirestrength, speed, and he heals up very quickly, but hes only at his strongest when hes feeding off of anothers emotions. He feeds off of fear, mostly. What about pain or anger? Does he feed off of those as well? Most negative emotions give him some sort of power, but he seems to have a special preference for fear. So anger can probably charge him up, too, but only to a certain degree. I didnt fear him, so he had nothing to feed off of. He was fighting entirely off of the energy hed received from you. Its your life force hes after. He loves the taste of suffering, and if he gets close enough to drink your blood, hell drain you to the point where you cant feel any emotion at all.

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Youd just be void, and hed use your body as a vessel for whatever he wanted. So if he has vampire traits such as drinking blood, doesnt that mean hed only be able to gain strength from my emotions if he drank from me? Well, no. He can feed off of them to a certain degree, even if he doesnt drink from you. He just has to be close enough to do it. When he does feed from someone, or even gets just a taste, the power and pleasure he receives is tripled. Lynn felt a chill run through her heart. The memory of the night shed crashed came flooding back to her, and she remembered how he said hed tasted her. She didnt know just how much of her blood hed gotten, but knowing that his lips had been pressed against her skin, drawing nourishment from her body was more than enough to send a shiver of fear throughout her. Hey, whats wrong? Takoda gave her a concerned look, feeling the chill which had run through her body. He tried to drink from me once. When was this? His eyebrows furrowed in concern. When I was in that car crash in Seattle, he stopped by the car and saw me bleeding. So I guess he took advantage of the moment and came by to drink from me. So that mark on your chest, is that where he tried to feed from you? Yes. A distressed sigh escaped his mouth as he glanced out of the living room window and studied the darkness beyond. He has to be taken care of, and quickly. He had a deep frown on his face, and there was a faraway look in his eyes. Grabbing hold of the edge of his chin, she tilted his head downward so that she could look into his eyes. Youll protect me. I know you will.

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Of course I will, but Ill worry whenever youre away from me, like when youre at work or go off to run errands. Whenever Im beside you, he wont dare come near you, but when theres distance between us, thats what I worry about. This was true. There was no doubt about it. She knew he would fight to the death for her, but what would happen when they became separated? How would they work around it? She decided to try and not think too heavily about it, as it only made her feel worse. As if reading her thoughts, Takoda sought to reassure her. Not to worry, angel. He wont ever be able to hurt you. Ill make sure of it. Kissing his chest, she softly stroked at a small bruise on his skin. Youre coming with me to my house tonight, he firmly stated. Good, because thats what I want. She gave him a quick kiss, then said, Ill pack an overnight bag and we can get going. Rising up from the couch, she headed for the bedroom. Following behind her, he assisted her by bringing all of her toiletries from the bathroom while she threw a change of clothes and underwear into a large travel bag. Once she was all packed, she threw on a jacket and they exited the house. He opened the door for her and saw that she got safely inside first. Then he walked around to the drivers door and got in. After starting up the engine, Takoda put the car in gear and they drove off into the night. **** As the truck wound along the tree-lined roads, Lynn sleepily glanced out of the window. The drive to his house didnt take very long, but shed had a very trying night, so she was eager to get to his place. The car made a turn down a small road called Yellowstone Way, and then they turned into a driveway, coming to a stop in front of his

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house. He gave her cheek a gentle stroke and then placed a tender kiss upon her lips. Were home. Giving him a little smile, she released a yawn and grabbed her purse. As she opened the door and stepped out, she found that the atmosphere around them was peaceful and relaxing. Somewhere in the distance she could hear the call of an owl hooting, and the soft sigh of a breeze rustled through the trees. Filled with a sense of serenity, Lynn already felt at home with the place, and couldnt wait to see what the inside of his house looked like. It was a two-story home, with a woodsy look which was designed to be surrounded by and blend in with the natural surroundings. It had a nice rustic look to it, and there were plenty of large trees and lots of thick vegetation all around. As far as Lynn could see, Takoda didnt really seem to have any neighbors close by, but she liked the fact that it was secluded. It made her feel like they had their own cozy little hideaway. It seemed just perfect, and after the tumultuous evening theyd experienced, she wanted nothing more than to spend the rest of the night surrounded by peace and quiet. With her overnight bag in tow, Takoda led her up the walkway and toward the front of the door. Once he unlocked it, he let her walk in first, then hit the light switch on the wall. Lynn continued down the hallway until she reached the spacious living room, which had a beautifully crafted stone fireplace and large bay windows. They were nearly floor to ceiling in length, and completely bare of curtains. The spacious windows gave the room a wonderfully uninhibited feel, and they also provided an excellent view of the backyard, which was thick with birch and aspen trees. A black floor lamp was placed in one corner of the room, throwing off soft lighting. There was also a comfy-looking couch and a rustic-looking coffee table which was placed right in front of it. As Takoda came up behind her, she felt him encircle his arms around her hips.

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So what do you think? Can you see yourself spending a lot of time here? With a nod of her head she replied, Yeah, its really nice. I really like it here. Its very peaceful. Yeah, it is. Can you believe this place used to be abandoned? Really? Her eyes roved around the interior as she tried to imagine how different it must have looked. Yep. I was working for a client about five years ago, and they lived not too far from this area. I happened to find this house by mistake, just driving through the area trying to find my way around, and I happened to stumble upon this house. It was an old, derelict structure, and it was still in pretty decent shape, but the interior was pretty much gutted. So I teamed up with a friend of mine, and he helped me to renovate it. It took a lot of work but we managed to spruce it up. Hes an electrician, so he helped me wire everything up and get the electricity working. Then we painted it and finally it was livable. Wow, well I certainly can see youve put a lot of hard work into the place. Its really nice. Thanks, and the great thing about living out here is that its secluded. There arent many other houses around, so it gives us plenty of privacy. His lips pressed against the area right behind her ear, and she felt a delicious shiver run up her spine. She loved it when he kissed her there, as it was one of her most sensitive spots. The interior of the house was a little rough around the edges, as the windows were dusty and there was a lack of matching furniture, but overall it didnt look bad at all. Like any bachelors home, she figured it could use a womans touch, but she wasnt in a hurry to make any changes. She liked the way his house looked. It was so perfectly him. Something on the mantle of the fireplace caught her eye, so she walked over to get a closer look. A framed photo of a woman and

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man was on display, and as she studied the photo she saw they were gazing lovingly into each others eyes. Is this your mom and dad? Yep, thats them. He glanced fondly at the picture. She was beautiful. Yes, she was. She was a wonderful person, and I really wish you could have met her. So do I. Looking at the face of Takodas father, she said, You look a lot like your dad. Takodas lips pulled back into a grin. Yeah, thats what I hear. Guess I lucked out then. He gave her a little wink. She set the picture down and was about to walk away from the mantle when her foot hit something. Lowering her gaze to the floor, she came upon the sight of a bucket of water with a sponge floating in it. Giving her a sheepish grin, Takoda reached down to remove it. Sorry about that, I thought Id had everything cleared up. He placed the bucket in a closet by the front door, then came back into the living room. I was hoping youd stop by after you got off work, so I decided to clean the house just in case. Not sure how good of a job I did, though. Dragging the tip of his finger across the mantle, he saw that it was thick with dust. Actually it looks like you did a pretty darn good job. Rising up onto the balls of her feet, she leaned in to give him a quick peck upon the lips. Turning her gaze towards the large bay windows, she gestured toward them and asked, No curtains? Takoda gave little shrug. Never really saw a need to put any up. I dont have any neighbors close by, and even if there was someone out there, the trees are so thick they wouldnt really be able to see in. If it makes you uncomfortable, I can always put some up.

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Glancing out at the full moon, Lynn found herself entranced by its beauty and she walked over closer to the windowpanes. Its okay, I like it. Besides, you really do have quite a beautiful view here. Yes, I certainly do, he said in a deeply seductive voice. Coming up to stand beside her, he looped his arm around her hips and pressed his lips to her neck. A flood of moonlight shone through the window, bathing them in the essence of its beauty. You must be exhausted. Ill take you up to the bedroom now if you like. Yeah, I am pretty tired. Afraid I cant do much more than sleep tonight, though. Smiling, he replied, Hey, dont worry, Ill leave you alone. I think both of us really need to get some solid rest, considering what weve been through. They turned and made their way to the stairs, the wood creaking as they walked up to the second floor. Once they reached the landing, he led her into his bedroom. The first thing she noticed was the bed, which was queen-size and crafted out of cherry wood. The headboard was ornately carved into a regal-looking design, and there was a black duvet cover on it, along with plenty of large pillows. Takoda sat her overnight bag on the floor next to the closet, and then they began to undress. Then were both dead tired but decided it might be a good idea to take a quick shower first, so they went into the adjoining bathroom and stepped into the tub. The heat of the water loosened their tired muscles, releasing the stress and tension which had built up inside both of them. Once they were finished bathing, they dried themselves off and made a beeline for the bed. As they flopped down onto the comfortable mattress, they both released heavy sighs, grateful to finally be off their feet and alone with one another. Snuggling in close to him, Lynn laid her head upon his chest and released a sound of contentment.

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They both had a lot on their minds, but right now all either of them wanted to do was to sleep. Locking her eyes drowsily into Takodas, she saw his lips curl into a little smile and she returned it with one of her own. They didnt need to speak any words to each other, as their eyes communicated their thoughts perfectly. The love they felt was strong, and each was happy to once again be holding the other in their arms. Heavy worries had been pushed from their minds, and they were simply enjoying the moment. Leaning his face in close to hers, Takoda brushed his lips against her ear and softly spoke into it. We belong to each other. His words tickled her ear, and as she felt his hand stroke her inner thigh she released a sound of pleasure. Her face tilted upward and he pressed his lips against hers, sealing them in an unbreakable kiss. **** A pair of eyes were watching Lynn. She couldnt see who they belonged to, but she knew who it was all the same. He had managed to follow them here, and now there he was, staring into their bedroom from somewhere out in the forest. Turning over in bed, she reached over to wake Takoda. She had to warn him that Dex was out there, stalking them, but as she realized he wasnt there, she became filled with panic. Hurrying down the staircase, she began running through the house. She checked the kitchen and then the living room, but found that Takoda was nowhere around. As she called out his name, the sound of her voice echoed, and suddenly she was blinded with panic. Something was different about the energy around her, and as she felt a cold chill upon her neck, she knew that Dex was right behind her. Too afraid to even cry out, she remained still and froze in place. She was compelled by an irresistible urge to turn around and face him, but it seemed as if her feet were stuck in place. The room grew pitch black

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all around her, and then suddenly she saw a pair of eyes glowing brightly in the dark. Infused with terror, Lynn finally found her voice and expelled a loud, shrill scream. Baby, whats wrong? The sound of Takodas voice sliced through her dream state and as Lynns eyes fluttered open, she grabbed hold of his arm and clung to his body. Slipping his arm around her waist, Takoda glanced worryingly into her eyes. A sheen of sweat covered her forehead and her eyes were lit up with fear. I had a terrible nightmare. Lynns body trembled against him. Lightly stroking her hair, he replied, It was only a dream, angel. Im here and everythings okay. A few strands of hair stuck to her face, and he brushed them away, then placed a kiss upon her forehead. Still holding tightly onto him, she tried to still her body from quivering. You okay, honey? Do you need me to get you a glass of water? No, Ill be fine. Exhaling softly, she felt her muscles begin to relax as she immersed herself in the comfort of his arms. He was in your dream, wasnt he? asked Takoda. Lynn gave a small nod. Yes. He was watching me, and his eyes were glowing. Her body shivered from the memory of it. It was awful. Was I in the dream? No, you were gone. I searched all around the house for you, but you werent anywhere to be found. I was so freaked out. Placing his palm against her cheek, he softly stroked it. I know it was a just a dream, but you do know Id never leave you alone, right? Nodding her head, she replied, Yes, of course. I have abandonment issues, thats all. Guess it stems from being adopted or something, I dont know. Im trying to work through those feelings, though.

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Lacing his fingers through her own, he placed her hand against his lips and kissed it. What we have together means everything to me. Weve only been together a short while, but already I find it difficult to imagine my life without you. I honestly dont know how I survived all this time without you. When he said things like that to her, she melted. I feel the same way. Her orbs gazed deeply into his smoldering eyes. Moonlight filtered in from the window across the bed, throwing a silvery pattern on the sheets which covered them. Lying on their sides with their cheeks placed against their pillows, they glanced deeply into one anothers eyes. I wish I didnt have to go to work tomorrow. Id rather spend the whole day in bed with you. Me, too, baby. Takoda twirled a lock of her hair around his finger. Snuggling against his chest, she closed her eyes, listening to the thump, thump of his heartbeat as it pumped steadily against her cheek. The strength of his pumping heart reassured her, making her feel safe and completely sheltered in his arms. Curving his arm around her waist, Takoda pulled her closer up against him. The heat of their bodies combined, wrapping them in a cocoon of love and contentment. Studying the features of her face, he admired the fullness of her lips and the beautiful shape of her eyes. She was so soft and feminine. Everything about her was just so right for him. There was a large picture window next to the bed, and he glanced out of it, peering out into the darkness beyond. He didnt sense or see anything out there, but that wouldnt stop him from being on guard. If there was anything out there, he would know. His sharp ears and keen sense of smell would alert him of any impending threats.

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It angered him to know that the memory of Dex was giving her nightmares. He didnt want anything disturbing the tranquility of their home, and anything which threatened that would have to be taken care of in a swift and sure manner. It almost scared him to realize just how much he loved her. It hadnt taken long to happen, either. After losing Ehawee, hed never imagined he would love like this again. There were no doubts at all that he would keep her safe, but somewhere deep inside, he still worried that he could lose her. Using the tip of his finger, he followed the curve of her nose, admiring the perfect contour of it. She wiggled it under his touch and he smiled, loving how cute she looked under a drowsy state. Good night, angel, he whispered. Night. Her breath tickled against his chest. He stayed awake for awhile, listening to the rhythm of her breathing and enjoying the warmth of her body. And even as she slept, he continued to remain awake, focusing his eyes upon the inky blackness beyond the window. **** Comfortably straddling his back, Lynn ran her fingers through the strands of Takodas long hair. His eyes were still closed and he was breathing quietly beneath her, but she wasnt fooled. He was only pretending to be asleep. Leaning her head down to touch her lips against his neck, she softly brushed them back and forth against his skin, waiting to see how hed respond. As the corners of his lips tugged upward, she gave a wide smile and called out to him. Get up, sleepy bones. I know youre awake. Mmm, he sleepily mumbled. Come on, get up. She tugged gently on his hair, but he showed no signs of rising out of bed.

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The covers had been kicked off in his sleep, leaving the bedsheets tangled around his feet. His cute little butt was on display for her, and unable to resist herself, she gave him a firm but playful smack. Suddenly and without any warning, he flipped over, causing her to slide off of his back and onto the bed. He pinned her beneath him with startling quickness, and his lean, naked body pressed flush against her fully clothed one. So now that Im up, what are you gonna do with me? His eyes swept across her breasts, which were clad in a close-fitting V-neck sweater. Her heart raced excitedly, enjoying the way he held her down beneath him. Hed done it so quickly she hadnt had time to react. She kind of enjoyed the feeling of being pinned down helplessly by his strong arms. Mmmm, dont tempt me. I have to be at work in forty minutes. It only takes twenty minutes to drive there. But you havent eaten breakfast yet. Id rather eat you. The space between her legs instantly grew wet. The way he was looking at her made her feel as if she were some sort of delicious dessert. His hard-on pressed urgently against her leg, coaxing her to give in and let him have his way with her. Mustering all the willpower inside of her, she reluctantly answered, Oh baby, you know Id love to, but I have to be at work soon. Ill happily take a rain check, though. Giving a little sound of disappointment, he responded, A rain check, huh? All right, but just be sure you cash it in by no later than midnight. Giving her a little smile, he gave her a tender peck on the nose. Why midnight? she asked with a grin. Well you cant expect me to go longer than a day with giving me the pleasure of being inside of you. That just wouldnt be fair.

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Mmm, yes I suppose that would be cruel. So what happens if I refuse? Well then Id have to throw you down on the bed and have my wicked way with you. Giving a mock-evil laugh, he slid his hands beneath her skirt and stroked his fingers against her thigh. As their lips locked together, their tongues thrashed heatedly against each other. Moaning into his mouth, she felt his stiffness rub firmly against her. You make it so hard for me to get up and go to work. Why do you do this to me? Her voice was filled with playfulness. Its your fault for being so damn sexy. Lynns lips widened into a smile. Well, I guess I better warn you now, Im not going to let you get much sleep tonight. Good, because I wasnt planning on letting you get much, either. He gave her one last peck and then lifted himself the bed. Walking over to the closet, Takoda pulled out some clothes and began to get dressed. As he pulled on his boxer briefs, she couldnt help but stare at the huge erection beneath them. His penis was so stiff that the fabric of his underwear jutted out obtrusively in front of him. You could put an eye out with that thing, you know. Her lips pulled into a smirk. Takoda took a glance down at his penis, and then looked back up at her. You really know how to rub it in, dont you? he said, in a teasing sort of way. Sorry, I dont mean to laugh, but it just looks kind of funny poking beneath the fabric like that. Walking over to where she sat on the bed, he pushed her back against the mattress and climbed on top of her. His eyes were filled with a serious look, one which clearly expressed his physical needs. It could be poking you, if youd let me. He shifted his body so that the tip of his penis rubbed up against the spot between her legs. I cant, she weakly said.

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You sure about that? Yes, she meekly replied. Her panties were more than a little wet now, and she realized she would have to change them before leaving for work. Takoda stared at her for awhile longer then said, All right then. He got up from off of her and left her lying there alone. She was more than a little surprised that hed given in so easily and had expected him to try and tempt her for at least awhile longer. She was just about to get up off the bed when suddenly he spun around and jumped on top of her, releasing a wild, animalistic growl. A peal of laughter escaped from her mouth as he began to wrestle with her. Holding her arms above her head, he leaned in to blow raspberries against her neck. The feel of his lips upon her skin provided a tickling sensation, prompting her to release a string of giggles. Her stomach began to hurt from laughing so much, so she begged him to end the blissful torture. Please, stop. I cant take anymore, she said between laughs. Removing his lips from her neck, Takoda gave her a broad grin and pulled her up by the arms. As the smell of food wafted through the air Takoda asked, Something smells good. Have you been cooking? Nodding, she replied, Yep. I made some eggs and hash browns, so come on down and eat. Sounds great. Ill be down in a minute. Lynn headed downstairs to prepare their plates of food and set the breakfast table. Then she poured two cups of orange juice and set out the silverware. Once Takoda made his way downstairs, they both took a seat at the table and began to enjoy their breakfast. The hash browns are delicious. You made these from scratch? Yep. There wasnt much food in the fridge, so I thought Id make do with what was there. Well, you did a great job. Thanks, babe. No problem.

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Once they were finished eating, he helped her clear the plates away. Then she grabbed her purse and jacket, and he got his car keys. All ready? he asked her. Yep. Crisp air surrounded them as they stepped outside, filled with the dewy freshness of the early morning. Once they were in the car, Takoda switched the heater on to warm the interior, and then he started the car up and they were off. As they drove along the road, Lynn found herself entranced by the beauty of the forest. The car was quiet except for the humming sound of the heater, and although Takoda didnt say a word, she could tell he had something on his mind. Not wanting to push him to talk about it, she patiently waited for him to bring it up on his own. Finally after what seemed like endless silence, the sound of his voice filled the air. I dont like that David guy, and I really dont want you working around him. Is there any way you can avoid him? Turning her attention away from the window, Lynn replied, Not really. He works a few cubicles away from me, so hes always close by. And you dont wonder about him? What do you mean? she asked curiously. Well hes a pretty shady guy. I know how much he likes you, and I just dont like the idea of you being around him. Hed probably try and take advantage of you if he ever got the chance. Remaining quiet, Lynn though back to the previous evening and recalled how David had tried to kiss her. She briefly considered telling Takoda about it, but decided to keep quiet about it instead. She knew he was already on edge about Dex, so she didnt want to add to his already-heavy concerns. Well, I do try and avoid him as much as I can. He can be very annoying, not to mention a bit of a creep, but hes basically harmless. He just has a little crush on me, thats all.

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Its more than a crush. I spoke to him on the phone yesterday while he was driving you home, and he refused to let me speak to you. Now doesnt that seem strange to you? Wait, how did you get in touch with him? I found his cell phone outside of that bar, and he ended up calling it to find out who had it. Giving a look of disappointment, she said, He didnt even tell me you called. I had no idea, sorry about that. Yeah, the dudes a complete weirdo. So now you know why I dont want you hanging around him. Of course. When I get to work, Im definitely going to have a talk with him. That was completely out of line. They spent the rest of the drive making pleasant conversation, and Takoda even made a few jokes, but Lynn could tell he was still worried about things. As his truck pulled up in the front of the entrance to her office, he leaned over to give her a deep kiss. His fingers slipped into her hair as he did it, stroking the curly strands of her hair. Lynn released a little moan into his mouth, feeling a spark of excitement between her legs. As they pulled back from the kiss, he asked, What time do you get off? At five. See you then? Yep, Ill be here early. He gave her one last peck on the lips, and then she got out of the car. As she reached the lobby door, she could still hear Takodas truck idling by the curb, so she turned to give him a wave before she went in. As he returned it with one of his own, she could see in his eyes that he was reluctant to leave. Even though she knew theyd see each other at the end of the day, it was still difficult to be away from him. She paused to watch as he pulled away from the curb and drove out of the parking lot to begin his own day of work. Giving a sigh of contentment, she continued to the elevators and pushed the button to

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go up. She tried to put herself into work mode, but instead found that her thoughts were being redirected to him. It wasnt even 8:00 a.m. yet, and already she was eager to be back in the arms of her lover. **** Lynn found herself surprised at how unusually quiet David was. It was already noon, and so far the only thing hed said to her was good morning. She wasnt complaining, though. It was a nice change not having him hanging around her cubicle, but she did find herself wondering why he seemed so different. Once her lunch break rolled around, she walked over to Ginas cubicle, and they made their way to the cafeteria together. As they were passing by Davids desk, she heard his voice call out to her. Hey, Lynn, can I speak to you for a moment? Gina gave Lynn a knowing look and smiled. Meet you in the lunchroom. Stepping into his cubicle, Lynn asked, Whats up? Well, first off, I just want to apologize again for last night. It was wrong of me to try and kiss you. I know you have a boyfriend, so Im sorry about that. Okay, apology accepted. Now since Im here, I did want to speak to you about something as well. Okay, whats wrong? You talked to my boyfriend yesterday, right? Yeah, I did. Turns out he was the one who had my cell phone. Kind of funny how that worked out, huh? He offered a smile, hoping to disperse the tension which was growing between them. So why didnt you let him talk to me? You knew I was worried about him showing up at that bar and not seeing me there. I really needed to talk to him, David. It wasnt that I didnt want you to talk to him. I was talking on a pay phone, remember? I only had so many minutes to talk, and

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anyway, youd gone inside of that mini-mart to get something to drink. By the time youd come back out, the call had already ended. I am sorry about not telling you, though. I guess it just slipped my mind. Giving him a look of annoyance, Lynn said, Right, well I need to meet up with Gina for lunch, so Ill see you. As she turned to leave, he called out to her, Wait, dont go yet. Moving her gaze back toward him she impatiently asked, What is it, David? I just wanted to let you know theres this big project coming up. We just landed an account with this really big company and need some extra help with creating an advertising campaign for them. Steven was going to team me up with someone else, but I recommended you instead. Theres a really nice bonus in it, if youre interested. Lynn wasnt too thrilled with the idea of working with David anymore than she had to, but the money from the bonus would definitely come in handy. With a forced smile on her face, she said, Im definitely interested, so count me in. Great. Happy to have you on board. Well I really should be going now. Ginas waiting for me. No problem, talk to you later and have a good lunch. You, too. Lynn left Davids cubicle and found Gina waiting next to the elevators for her. Did I hear you right? Are you actually going to work on a project with David? Gina asked in surprise. Pressing the button for the elevator door, Lynn replied, Yep. Im just doing it for the money, though. Hard to pass up a nice bonus. Thats true. Just be careful around him, all right? Giving Gina a funny little smile, Lynn responded, David can be very annoying, but hes basically harmless.

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Just watch him closely, okay? Gina reiterated with a serious look in her eyes. Seeing the concern in her friends face, Lynn responded, I will. Then she offered a small smile in hopes that it would reassure her. As they waited for the elevator to arrive they both had the strong sense that somebody was watching them, yet neither had the chance to turn their heads and see if it were so because the elevator chimed and the doors slid open. True to their suspicions, a pair of orbs was upon them, and as they got onto the elevator, the persons gaze followed, studying them with eyes which were full of malicious intent. **** As Lynn walked out of the lobby, she saw Takodas red pickup truck idling next to the curb. As she opened the door to climb inside, Takoda leaned over and extended his hand to help her climb up. Once she was settled in her seat, he pressed his lips to hers and gave her a tender kiss. Hey sweetie, how was your day? After she got settled into her seat, he drove off. Not too bad. Busy, but I got a lot of work done. What about yours? Pretty productive. The client I worked for was really happy with the paint job on her house. She said shed refer me to a few of her friends. Oh, so its a she. Well just how many of her friends is she going to refer you to? she asked in a playful tone of voice. Chuckling lightly, he replied, Its not like that, just another happy client, is all. Yeah, Id be happy, too, if I got to watch a hot guy paint my house all day, she said with a grin. Giving a laugh, he replied, The woman was in her sixties.

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And? My statement still stands. Grinning at her, he shook his head in amusement. I love your sense of humor. Reaching her hand up to massage his right shoulder, she said, Your body must be sore from all that painting. Yeah, my back and shoulders are killing me. I could give you a nice massage tonight to loosen up those stiff muscles for you. Mmm, thatd be great. Will it be a naked massage? It might. She gave him a wink, knowing full well that it would be. And while Im at it, maybe I could massage another stiff muscle as well. Lynns hand slid down to firmly rub his denim-clad groin. I like the sound of that. Takoda gave her a wolfish smile. When they came to a stoplight, he leaned over to share a deep kiss with her. His hands slipped beneath her sweater for a quick feel, giving her breast a firm squeeze. Moaning into his mouth, the space between her legs grew wet in anticipation. As the light turned green, their lips reluctantly parted. I cant wait to get you home. There was raw, sexual hunger in his gaze. Using his left hand to control the steering wheel, he allowed his right to roam across her thighs. Slipping his hand beneath her skirt, he began to caress her thigh, slowly creeping his fingertips towards the thin material of her panties. Youre wearing that lacy black thong I like, arent you? His fingers brushed lightly against the growing dampness between her legs. Giving a nod, she parted her legs a little to give him better access. Slipping his fingers beneath the fabric of her underwear, he lightly rubbed them against the bareness of her pussy. Jolting from his touch, she released a breathy moan.

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The road seemed to stretch endlessly before them, and the spot between her legs was growing increasingly wet. Finally after what seemed like forever, they pulled into the driveway of his house. After parking the car, he reached up to caress her face, and their lips came together in a passionate kiss. By the time their lips parted, they were left nearly breathless from it, and they shared a smile of contentment. Once they were out of the car, they linked hands and headed up the walkway toward the house. After unlocking the door, Takoda allowed her to walk in first, and then they headed upstairs. As Lynn entered the bedroom, she saw it was glowing with the light of candles. Placed strategically around the room, they cast flickering shadows along the walls and the ceiling. The bedding had been changed to a quilted black comforter and the throw pillows strewn across it had a metallic-gold print upon them. A small bucket of ice sat on the table next to the bed, as well as two wineglasses and a bottle of sparkling apple cider. And to top it all off, there was a single rose lying in the middle of the bed. Takoda, this is beautiful. I love it. Her eyes sparkled with happiness as she took in the sight of the romantically decorated room. Turning to face him, she tilted her head up and pulled him in for a kiss, slipping her fingers into his hair as he ravaged her mouth. Once their lips pulled away, she rested her head against his chest and deeply inhaled his manly scent. She loved the way he smelled after a day of painting houses. It was a rich, earthy smell, and it always seemed to work like an aphrodisiac for her. Assuming she was offended by his odor, he offered, Ill go take a shower first. Im sure I smell terrible. No, I like the way you smell. Slipping her hands beneath the hem of his T-shirt, she caressed the smooth firmness of his chest. Wanting to feel more of her hands upon him, Takoda grabbed hold of the fabric of his shirt and lifted it up over his head. After tossing it aside, he undid the button on his

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jeans and then unzipped them. Slipping his jeans off around his waist, he pulled them down his legs and then kicked then off his feet. Placing her fingers upon the hem of his boxers, she peeled the elastic band from off around his waist, then pushed them down his thighs and let them fall to his feet. After stepping out of them, he helped her undress, placing tender kisses along the edge of her neck as he undid the buttons on her blouse. Once her top was off, he unhooked her bra and slipped the straps from off her arms, then unzipped her pants and helped her get out of them. As he came to the fabric of her underwear, he hooked a few fingers beneath the lacy waistband, and roughly took them off of her. They were nearly torn in the process, but she didnt mind. She desperately needed to feel him, and she knew that he was aching to have her, as well. Grasping Lynn by the waist, he pushed her back onto the bed and climbed on top of her, gazing deeply into her eyes. The way he looked at her sent shivers up her spine. Shed never had a man give her such a hungering stare before, and the attachment she felt toward him was unbelievably strong. She hadnt known it was possible to feel emotions so deeply, and she knew shed been blessed with the type of love which only came around once in a lifetime. As his calloused hands slid across her body, she immersed herself in his touch. His warm lips scattered a few kisses along her body, and then she felt his tongue upon her skinwarm, wet, and snaking its way along her flesh. At first she tensed beneath his touch, excited and anxious to have the feel of him between her legs, but then she realized it was more about the journey rather than the destination. As his tongue trailed across her body, Lynns muscles grew taut with anticipation. His wet appendage traced small patterns along the surface of her torso, causing the muscles of her stomach to tighten and flex in response. The sound of her labored breathing filled the room, steadily growing heavier as his tongue journeyed southward.

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As it slid across her thigh, she struggled to keep still, not wanting to seem too eager. She knew that impatience would cause him to move even slower, and right now what she needed the most was to feel his tongue nestled in that warm place between her thighs. His tongue came dangerously close to touching the petals of her womanhood, but then suddenly it began to retreat. As he removed his head from between her legs, Lynn expelled a sound of disappointment. The way he teased her drove her crazy, and as he lay back on top of her body, Lynn curled her lips into a deep pout. Offering her a little smile, he said, Close your eyes. Feeling the tickle of his breath against her skin, she obeyed his order and eagerly anticipated his next move. She felt the mattress give a dip as he lifted himself off of her and walked to the other side of the room. There was the sound of him rummaging around for something, and then she felt him climb back onto the mattress. The first thing she felt was a cold sensation against her mouth. It was wet and frozen, and as he rubbed it back and forth across her lips, she realized it was an ice cube. He slipped it into her mouth, letting her suck on it a little, and then he withdrew it, trailing it over the curve of her chin and down the middle of her neck. It travelled further down over her collarbone and across her chest until it reached her breasts. As she felt the ice against her left nipple, she gasped, jutting her breasts outward as he began to rub it in circles around her areola. The frozen cube spiraled its way slowly inward, passing up and over her stiff, delicate peak. Her nipple grew so hard it was almost painful, and finally, when she felt as if she couldnt take anymore, he removed it. He blew a stream of hot air over the ices trail, causing the dual sensation of heat mixed with cold. The intensity of it had her squirming in need. He gave the same treatment to her other nipple, stiffening it to a nearly painful peak and then blowing hot air against her chilled skin. She was hoping he would slide his tongue across her nipples to soothe

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them, but the only thing which he allowed to touch her was the ice cube. Popping it into his mouth, he began to slide it across her stomach, moving further down until it reached the curve of her hipbone. It continued along its journey until it reached the inside of her thigh, then traced its way up toward her womanhood. Lynns breaths were shallow and quick, her chest rising and falling in anticipation of his next movement. Using his mouth to move the ice cube, Takoda ran it along the edge of her swollen pussy lips. Her body jumped a little as it made contact, tensing in response. Shed never felt a sensation like this before. It was all so new and incredibly erotic that she almost didnt know what to do. She wanted to moan, scream, and cry out in pleasure all at once. Having the frozen cube slide across the delicate skin there hurt, but in a good way. It was a pleasurable kind of torture which set her whole body on fire. With a sharp buck of her hips, she inhaled sharply, grasping a handful of his hair from the sudden intense sensation. Ohhh! The sound of her pleasurable cry pierced the air. The tip of the ice cube had slipped between the lips of her pussy and was now nudging its way along the tip of her clitoris. Takoda took his time with her body, guiding the ice over and around the stiffening bud. The air became filled with the sound of her throaty moans and her body writhed desperately beneath him. Wriggling her hips, she hoped to create more friction between her skin and the ice cube. He was so damn good at teasing her it was driving her mad, and just when she was certain she couldnt stand it anymore, he removed the ice from her skin. She wondered what was to come next but knew that whatever he decided upon, she couldnt take much more of this torture. She needed to feel him inside of her, to quell that desire burning right in her center. The tension between her legs had built up to unimaginable proportions, and she had to find some sort of release.

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A soft gasp escaped her lips as she felt his warm, stiff tongue sliding along the outer edge of her sex. He did it very slowly, deliberately allowing only the very tip of it to touch her skin. Ummm. His groan of pleasure filled the air, furthering her already-deep arousal for him. Giving a hiss of pleasure, she opened her eyes, lifting herself up on her arms to watch his head move between her legs. She was trying to keep her hips still, but the pace of his tongue was maddeningly slow. Hardly any pressure was being used, so the only thing she felt was a very light touch upon her. His tongue was placed just barely upon her skin, seeking to drive her crazy with need. It was obvious he enjoyed controlling her pleasure, but for her it was nothing short of torture. Releasing a needy whimper, she hoped he would eventually give in, but she knew he was enjoying her response. His tongue made slow, measured movements, slowly encircling her stiff little button as she moaned and wriggled beneath him. Around and around his tongue went, each time sliding a little closer, and yet never quite touching her where she needed it the most. A moan burst from deep inside of her throat as she recalled the amazing things he could do with that tongue. She was so hungry for him to fuck her that it almost physically hurt, and the way his tongue was just barely stroking her flesh only added to her frustrations. Why did he feel the need to tease her so relentlessly? Unable to stand it anymore, she rocked her hips forward, desperate to feel more of his wet appendage. With a smirk on his lips, Takoda glanced up at her from beneath his lashes. Patience, my love, he softly murmured. The problem was, she didnt feel like being patient. Shed had a long day at work, and what she longed for the most right now was to have him buried deep inside of her. Shed been thinking about it all day, and while she did enjoy a nice tease, he was drawing this out in a very torturous way.

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Lynn felt him spread her pussy lips wide open, and then there was the wonderful sensation of his long tongue sweeping across her sex. Takodas tongue skillfully stroked the length of her pussy, coming to rest upon her plump, hard clit. Expelling a gasp, she bucked her hips beneath him. His tongue began to lash back and forth, moving at an increasingly quick speed as she helplessly writhed beneath him. His ministration drove her so wild that he had to hold her hips firmly just to keep her down. Oh yes, baby, fuck me with that wonderful tongue! Her moans were deep and urgent, and her eyes were clouded with lust. Lynns body was a quivering mess and every lash of his tongue sent intense vibrations through her body. His tongue worked like magic against her, and it all felt so incredible that she almost couldnt breathe. She was amazed by just how much he enjoyed eating her out. It seemed to be a complete experience for him, something which he performed so lovingly and thoroughly that the moment his tongue came into contact with her, she just melted. No man had ever possessed such an intimate knowledge of her body, and there wasnt a doubt in her mind that he owned the manual to all of her innermost desires. His tongue began to slow a bit, keeping her arousal level just high enough so that it wouldnt push her over the edge. It seemed he knew exactly what to do to keep her teetering between frustration and blissful release, and all she could do was helplessly whimper beneath him. His talented appendage continued to lick her for a few more moments, and then he reluctantly removed it from her flesh. Giving a cry of protest, Lynn pushed her hips forward, her eyebrows knitting together in frustration and disappointment. This game he was playing with her had her on the brink of madness. Stop teasing me. Squirming in frustration, she pulled her lower lip into a pout.

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The corners of his lips pulled upward in amusement. Climbing on top of her so that he could look her straight in the eyes, he gave her one of his dark, intense gazes. You left me with a raging hard-on this morning. That was very naughty of you. His gaze had turned predatory, watching her with a look which expressed that he was the hunter, and she was his prey. I had to go to work. I wasnt trying to tease you. Yes, you were. You like leaving me hard and wanting you, dont you? It turned you on knowing how badly I wanted to fuck you. You liked having control over me. Burying his face into the crook of her, he inhaled the fragrance of her body. Placing his tongue against her neck, he swept it along the length of her collarbone, withdrawing lust-filled sighs from her lips. As he removed his tongue from her skin, she finally found the strength to talk. Okay, so maybe I liked it a little. But youre always teasing me, so I figured a little payback was due. Swallowing thickly, she struggled to control her body from reacting to his mouth. He was sucking on the tip of her ear and gently biting upon the soft, fleshy pad. Takoda released her ear from his mouth and expelled a light chuckle. You cant beat me at my own game, you know. Oh no? And why is that? When your mouth says no, your body always says yes. Teasing works best when you act as if you dont need it. I can always tell that youre craving for me, even when you try so hard to pretend. It is possible for me to resist you. I could if I wanted, you know. He chuckled a little, giving her the amused expression of someone whod just heard a joke. She felt his lips brush up against a nipple and then capture it, rolling it back and forth between his teeth. He bit in just hard enough to give her that extra bit of stimulation, and then he began to suck on

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it, making loud, slurping noises. He gave the same attention to her other breast, sucking and biting on them until they were nearly sore, and then he drew his mouth back, allowing the nipple to pop out of his mouth. Play with your pussy for me. I want to watch you. His words sent a strong wave of arousal through her. Pulling his body away from hers, he knelt on the bed between her legs so that he could watch her. His hands went directly to his cock and began to stroke it, waiting eagerly for her to begin. Touch yourself for me, sweetheart. Move your hands over that beautiful skin. Her hands slid seductively over her chest, moving over one breast and then the other before stopping to twist a nipple between her thumb and forefinger. She gave a moan as her fingernail dragged lightly over it then she began flicking it back and forth. Her other hand moved slowly over her stomach, travelling downward until it reached the jewel between her legs. Placing her hand over the delicate flesh, she began to softly rub herself. Open your legs wider, honey. Show me that beautiful pussy. Slowly she opened her legs wider, fully revealing the tender flesh which lay between her legs. Takodas cock jutted out impressively, furthering her aching need to have him inside of her. There were large veins along the length of his shaft, and the head of his cock was glistening with pre-cum. The muscles in his arm flexed as he began to pump himself, and the expression in his eyes was nothing short of carnal lust. The head of his cock seemed to swell a little with each upstroke and the light-purple color of it deepened. As he released a deep moan, she felt the muscles of her pussy tighten. See how hard I am, and you havent even started touching yourself yet. Youre so fucking sexy, Lynn, so incredibly gorgeous. She felt a delicious shiver run through her body at the sound of his words, and her eyes were planted keenly upon him as he firmly stroked himself.

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Giving an appreciative groan, Takoda watched as she lightly traced a fingertip along the wetness between her legs. Allowing only the tip of her fingernail to make contact, she teasingly dragged it against her clit. As it scraped against the delicate flesh, her body jolted, reacting to the electric bolts which were shooting through her pussy. She did this a few times until she could no longer stand it and then began to apply a little more pressure. Rubbing her clit with her thumb, she slipped two fingers inside of her. She pushed them in slowly, submerging them to the hilt before she withdrew them again. They came out slick and glistening, and, bringing them up to her chest, she began rubbing them against her nipples. Once the stiff peaks were covered in the wetness of her arousal, she moved her fingers back southward. As her fingers plunged within, she arched her back and thrust her chest upward. Mmmmm. Her lips parted in pleasure as she gave a moan. The lips of her pussy were swollen and juices from her arousal dripped along the inside of her thighs. As her moans became louder, the pace of Takodas stroking increased, moving in time with the rhythm of her hands. Rocking back and forth against her fingers, she imagined it was Takodas cock inside of her. She also thought of those large hands sliding across her skin, spreading her legs nice and wide so that he could have his rough, wild way with her. She wanted him so badly, needed so desperately to have him sink his thick, hard shaft deep inside of her. Her moans were steadily growing louder, and her pussy was so wet now that the spot beneath her was damp with her arousal. Closing her eyes, she became consumed by the passion of the moment. Open them. I want to see you watching me. His voice came out strong and commanding. Opening them back up, she focused upon the swift movement of his hand. Watching him made her clit throb in response, and the fingers inside of her began to work quicker, creating wet, squishy

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noises. Her eyes studied the movements of his hand, watching the way his slender fingers slid up and down, using long, smooth caresses. There was a drop of pre-cum seeping out of the tip of his cock, and she watched as he brushed his thumb over it, spreading it along the swollen head. Licking her lips unconsciously, she craved the taste and feel of him. Watching a man masturbate had always excited her, but with Takoda it was beyond erotic. Seeing his strong, masculine hand pleasuring the most vulnerable part of his body sent sharp little tingles throughout her body. Shed never experienced a more sensual moment in her life. Her nipples pointed stiffly upward, breasts jiggling from the frenzied movement of her hands. Every cell in her body was alive, and her heart was racing with excitement. Long, thick, and hard, Takoda was nothing short of masculine perfection. It wasnt just his body that aroused her, but those eyes of his. Those deep, dark eyes which seemed to look right through her and into her very soul. He knew every one of her desires, even those deep, dark ones that she tried to keep tucked away. It only took one glance from him to cause a leap in her pulse or send a shiver down her spine. As he grabbed her by the hand, her fingers were withdrawn from her heat, and he brought them up to his mouth. His tongue slid across the tips of her fingers, and then he pushed them all the way in, licking off every last bit of her nectar. Grabbing her gently by the hair, Takoda tilted her head back to expose the tender flesh of her neck. Smothering her beneath his ministration, he alternated between soft, searing kisses and light, erotic nibbles. She melted beneath his touch, gasping with pleasure as his teeth grazed along her skin. She loved it when he kissed and bit her neck. It was one of the most sensitive areas on her body and it sent a tidal wave of lust throughout her. Then she felt something stiff and warm brush up against her thigh, and she maneuvered her hips a little to try and move it closer to the heat between her legs.

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Please, put in me. Her voice was low and husky with unmistakable need. Takodas fingers were entangled in her hair, and he was stroking the soft, curly strands of her locks. For one quick moment she saw a flash in his eyes, something wild and primal and a bit dangerous, and she realized it was the wolf inside of him trying to come out and take control. Sliding her hands along his strong, broad shoulders and smooth, firm chest, she brought them downward to stroke along the V-shape of his torso. She loved that part of his body and placed a finger along the hard line of his hipbone, tracing along the contour of it. Her fingernail traced along the underside of his shaft, curving up and around the crown of his cock. Using his thumb and index finger, he parted the folds of her vaginal lips, opening her flower to expose the slick pinkness of the inner flesh there. As his fingers slid across her wet clit, he slipped one inside, gently at first and then a little harder. Then he slipped a second finger in, moving it in a quick back-and-forth rhythm. Giving a seductive moan, she ground her center against his hand. Such a pretty little pussy. You love playing with it, dont you? M-hmm, she quietly murmured. What do you think about when you play with yourself? You, she breathlessly responded, moaning as he tweaked her nipple. What about me? he coaxed. I think of you putting it inside me. Her eyes gazed into his, filled with a deep longing. Putting what inside of you? Say the word for me, angel. Your cock. Her voice lowered a bit, growing self-conscious from the sound of the word. What else do you think about? Tell me what goes through your mind when you masturbate. I think about you licking me.

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Where? His fingers pumped deeply inside of her. Down there, between my legs, she breathlessly stated. Say it. I want to hear the word. He remained patient, waiting for her to speak. My pussy, she softly responded. You love it when I eat your pussy, dont you? His fingers caressed her velvety slickness. Yes. The thought of that magnificent tongue of his sent a jolt of electricity through her clit. What else do you like? He fingered her tight opening slowly, tenderly stroking her fleshy walls. Her body shuddered beneath his touch, hips rotating back and forth to keep up with the pumping of his fingers. Mmm, I like sucking your cock. Go on. His fingers worked deftly inside of her, moving with perfectly measured strokes. I also like it when you fuck me hard. His fingers moved at both quick and slow intervals, varying the speed so that she wouldnt know which one was coming next. This kept her in a precarious balance between pleasure and frustration. The muscles of her pussy clenched, squeezing tightly around his fingers. You like it when I make you scream, dont you? He was still gazing into her eyes, not breaking eye contact for even a moment. Mmm, yes. Now stop your teasing, and put it inside me already. Shed reached the end of her rope, and her voice was filled with urgency. He smiled a little, loving the way he was driving her crazy. You want me to push this cock inside of you? The fingers inside of her continued their frenzied dance. His middle finger was gently rubbing her clitoris while the two fingers inside of her took on a vibrating rhythm.

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Uhhhh. Squirming beneath him, she could feel herself losing control. Finally, she managed to murmur a reply. Yes. Little electrical currents were shooting through her center now. Then tell me. Let me know how badly you want it. The pace of his fingers quickened, filling the air with loud suction noises. Please. She was barely even able to moan. The feel of his fingers inside of her was becoming too much to handle. Please what? Tell me what you want, angel. His lips pulled into a smirk. I want you to fuck me. Her breath hitched in her throat as she felt his tongue upon her mouth, sliding between her lips to coax them open. He gave her a passionate kiss, smothering her lips under the weight of it. With a shift of his hips, he maneuvered his cock until it was probing the entrance of her pussy. Then he pushed the head in slowly, taking his time to sink all the way into her. Pulling his hips back, he withdrew his length until only the very tip of it remained inside of her. Lynns breath caught in her throat, eagerly anticipating his next move. Continuing the same torturous treatment, he pushed himself in ever so slowly, then withdrew until only an inch of him remained within. He continued this for a few more moments, building the tension up to unimaginable heights. Lynn expelled a soft, guttural sigh, grasping onto his hips as her breathing grew erratic. The air between them was thick with tension, and she didnt know how much longer she could wait. Takodas lips brushed lightly against hers, placing light kisses and tiny, sensual licks all along her mouth. There was a feral look in his eyes, and just when she thought she couldnt take anymore, he granted her relief. Suddenly and without any warning, he bucked his

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hips forward, giving a sharp and sudden thrust which took her breath away. Giving a cry of pleasure, she arched her back, grinding her hips into him as his groin came flush with hers. Lynns tight walls parted, eagerly accommodating his wide girth. With a deep grunt, Takoda buried himself balls-deep, then moved his hips backward with a deliciously long stroke. She gasped at the fullness of him, feeling the muscles in his butt flex as he moved in the rhythm of slow, sensual thrusts. Catching a nipple between his teeth, he gently pulled on it before allowing it to pop back out. Lynns nails dragged lazily against his skin, tracing the path up and along his spine. Oh Lynn, you feel so good. Youre so tight. He gave a deep moan, thrusting more urgently into her. Ravaging her mouth with his lips and his tongue, he overwhelmed her with the heat and intensity of his kisses. His penis eased in and out of her at a steady, rhythmic pace, with each thrust perfectly measured so she could feel every inch of him inside her. The ridges of his cock blissfully stroked her satiny inner walls, and their bodies smacked together as they moved perfectly in sync. His strong hands grasped her by the hips and he scooted a pillow beneath her body to tilt her bottom upward. This allowed him to slide in even deeper, and as he buried himself to the hilt, she loudly cried his name. The sensation was almost overwhelming for her. The tip of his tongue began to slide across her breast, travelling up and over the crest of her left nipple. Jolting beneath his touch, she gave a heated cry of pleasure. As the tip of his tongue stiffened, he began flicking it back and forth, all the while continuing to pump steadily inside of her. His strokes were soft yet urgent, and the feel of his tongue against her chest set her skin on fire. As his hips worked into a faster rhythm, she sunk her nails into the flesh of his back, leaving behind little crescent-shaped indentations. A light sheen of

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sweat covered the surface of his skin, making it glisten in the moonlight. His mouth, his touch, his bodyeverything about him made her crazy with desire. Those eyes of his didnt stray from hers, not even for a moment. The power he held within them both fascinated and aroused her. It seemed as if they were making love with their eyes, just as much as they were with their bodies. The music of their lovemaking filled the room as their bodies slapped together, hips moving in perfect rhythm as the candlelight illuminated their nude forms. Her senses were overloaded with everything about the momenthis smell, his touch, the sound of his voice coaxing her to orgasm. It was all so perfectly sensual and she couldnt imagine anything more fulfilling. Come for me, baby, he whispered into her ear. Grabbing hold of her legs, he pulled them up against his shoulders. Then he shifted himself into more of a kneeling position. This allowed him to penetrate her deeper, giving him better access to her G-spot. She could now feel every throb of his cock, every minute detail of his anatomy. Her mouth formed into an O shape, and a loud gasp of passion escaped her lips. Her brows creased together in a way which could easily be mistaken for pain, but what she felt was pleasure beyond anything she could have ever imagined. You doing okay, angel? His breath whispered against her skin. Lynn nodded and grasped more tightly onto him. Takoda always felt big inside of her, but whenever her legs were lifted onto his shoulders, it only seemed to enhance his size. He slid inside her slowly at first, allowing her to get used to the difference in position, and then his hips began to move quicker, groaning and grunting as he pumped harder and deeper. Grabbing her wrists, he pinned them above her head, claiming her mouth with deep, wet kisses as he massaged the walls of her slick, warm flesh.

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A loud shriek suddenly erupted from her mouth as he found her sweet spot, and her body shuddered in response. The head of his cock was continuously poking and prodding against a spongy area inside of her, and this was causing her to pant and buck beneath him. His dark, passionate eyes hypnotized her, silently expressing the love that words could never communicate. Lynns palms tightly cupped the cheeks of his ass, holding on for dear life as he continued to pound her relentlessly. Using short, quick pumps, his hips moved rapidly as she bucked and squirmed beneath him. He only had to pump a few more times before she reached her release, and as her pussy tightened around him, he released a guttural moan. A flood of liquid coated her inner thighs, soaking his cock with the heat of it as she gave a cry of relief. Her face bore a dreamy expression, and tiny little whimpers escaped her lips. Completely spent of energy, all she was able to do was lie there and bask in rapturous bliss. Giving a quick, hard thrust, Takoda found his own release, pushing himself as deep as he could as he released his seed inside of her. His hips bucked back and forth a few times, milking every last drop from within, and then he collapsed on top of her, breathing heavily as they came together in a sweaty embrace. They both took a few minutes of silence to just enjoy the moment, and then she felt him lift his body away from hers. As his softening cock slipped out of her, she expelled a sigh of contentment. The sound of their breaths filled the silence, and the tips of their fingers brushed up against each other, performing their own little dance as they gazed deeply into each others eyes. Takoda swept a few damp strands of hair from her face and lightly stroked her cheek. A few more moments passed before the sound of his voice pierced the air. I love you, Lynn.

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She felt a euphoric rush at the sound of his words, but she didnt say anything back, only continued to gaze into his orbs. Then she snuggled in closer and covered his mouth with hers, slipping her tongue between his lips to give him a nice, juicy kiss. Her fingers tangled into his hair, and she massaging the surface of his tongue with the tip her own. When they finally pulled back from the kiss, both of them were left nearly breathless. I love you, too, she replied. The candles had burned down to barely a glow, leaving the moon as the main source of light. Positioning his body so that he could spoon her, Takoda encircled his arms around her waist. Nuzzling his face into her neck, he deeply inhaled her scent and gave a deep sigh of contentment. With his hips pushed flush against her backside, he peppered soft, sweet kisses against the back of her neck. Then she felt the tip of his fingers press lightly against the curve of her hip, just barely tracing the softness of her skin. Fully immersed in the heat of his body, Lynn lost herself in the tranquility of the moment, blissfully content with the feel of his fingertips dancing against her skin. **** As Lynns eyelids came open, the first thing she saw was Takoda sleeping beside her. Draping her arm over his torso, she allowed her gaze to rove admiringly over the strong line of his jaw and the fullness of his lips. His handsome face was partially obscured by the long strands of his hair, so she used her fingers to sweep them back. She placed a tender kiss along the edge of his jaw, then slipped out from under the covers and padded over to the window. She felt so free here, so completely unencumbered. It was a wonderful feeling, not having any neighbors around, and all she could see was the beauty of the forest in front of her. Raising the latch on the window, she opened it to let in some fresh, cool air. Then she

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walked over to the dresser and pulled the drawer open, digging through it until she found her favorite T-shirt. It was old and had been washed so many times it had that worn-out look, but thats what she liked about it. After slipping it on, she pulled on a pair of jeans and then she headed downstairs to the kitchen. She was just about to put on a pot of coffee when she heard the sound of her cell phone ringing, so she walked over to the table to pick it up. Hello? Lynn? The sound of annoyance which threatened to release itself from her lips was quickly stifled. David, hi. I didnt expect to hear from you today. Whats going on? Sorry to be calling you so early. I know its Saturday and all, but remember that project I told you about at work? The advertising campaign for that important client of ours? Oh, right. Id forgotten about it. Yeah, well there are a few papers I need you to look at. Just a little something I put together to help you get more of an idea of what the client would like us to work on. So I thought Id stop by your house to drop off them off. Oh well actually Im not there. Im staying at my boyfriends right now. You can give them to me on Tuesday when I come back into work. David gave a short pause and then started to speak once again. The disappointment in his voice was very apparent. Okay, okay. Well, its kind of important that I get these papers to you today because I was sorta hoping you could come into work on Tuesday with some new suggestions. We really need your help on this project, Lynn.

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Running her fingers through her curly locks, she gave an exhale of frustration. Look, David. Now really isnt a good time. Cant you just e-mail them to me? Not really. Its like a packet of papers, Lynn. Listen, I promise Ill just drop the papers off and go. I wouldnt be asking unless this was important. Youre still committed to this project, right? Well, yeah, I am committed to it. Its just a bit inconvenient right now, and I really dont see why you have to come all the way out to the house. Id rather you just give the papers to me on Tuesday. Were working on a deadline here, Lynn, and Im only asking because I was put in charge of this project. I already know youre with your boyfriend, so why would I come there to try anything with you? Look, if you dont believe me you can call Steven and run it by him. Hes the one who suggested I call you to see to if it was okay to drop by. I dont understand why its so urgent, but if I must have those papers today, then Ill drive out and pick them up from you. As soon as my boyfriend wakes up, Ill have him give me a ride out there. How about that? Yeah, thatll work. His voice was rife with disappointment. So tell me where you live, and Ill stop by later. It wont be until the afternoon, though. Grabbing a pad of paper, Lynn picked up a pen and asked, So whats your address? Hey, listen. Im gonna have to call you back, all right? Ill give you a call in a bit, and then Ill give you my address. Wrinkling her brows in puzzlement, she replied, Oh okay. I guess well talk later, then. Yeah, bye. He hung up abruptly. Lynn was used to David being annoying, perverted, and even a little strange, but he was really beginning to freak her out. She didnt understand why hed been so insistent on coming out here, especially since he knew that Takoda would be with her. She knew that his needing to drop papers off to her had been a lie. It was only an excuse

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so he could find out her address and see where she was staying. She wouldnt be surprised if hed already stopped by her house, and when he hadnt found her there, hed probably wondered where she was. Hed stopped by unannounced before, so she wouldnt be surprised if hed done it again. Now more than ever, Lynn was happy to be staying with Takoda. She really did feel safer here with him, and she liked that the house was tucked into an area which was secluded. She was also happy to not have to deal with unwanted and unnecessary visits from David. Just yesterday she thought hed seemed to be acting pretty normal, but now that creepy side of him was starting to show itself once again. It was now that she realized itd been a mistake to agree to work with him on the project. It only gave him an excuse to hang around her more and to try and nose his way into her business. In order to put more distance between her and David, she would need to talk to her boss Steve and let him know that she would have to pull out of the project. She didnt know what shed say yet, but she could always make up some excuse. Shed been looking forward to the extra money that working on the project would bring in, but it really wasnt worth the aggravation. David was becoming way too much of a nuisance, and she couldnt allow it to escalate any further. Pushing the strange phone call out of her mind, she put on a pot of coffee and then walked into the living room to look out at the beautiful view from the bay windows. She was intrigued by the forest, and was curious about what lay out there beyond all of those trees. Once the pot of coffee was finished, she poured herself a cup and casually sipped it as she gazed out at the view. Contemplating whether or not she should go outside, she stared into the thickness of the birch and aspen trees. She knew there was a possibility of danger lurking out there, and yet there was also the beauty and wonder of the forest. It was only a few steps away from her, and even if Dex was out there somewhere, Takoda would never let any harm come to her. She wore his mark, so the connection they had was very strong. Besides,

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she couldnt stand the feeling of being on edge and always wondering about that creep Dex. She knew that the more fearful she was, the more drawn to her he would become. It was negative emotions, after all, that he loved to feed upon. Slipping her feet into a pair of sneakers, Lynn opened the door and headed outside. There was something about the early-morning hours that shed always found magical, and here in the forest it was easy to pretend that she and Takoda were in a world of their own. Rays from the early-morning sun shone through the trees, illuminating the forest with its heaven-like glow. Walking around the perimeters of the house, she explored the immediate area. Lifting her chin upward, she glanced all the way up to the peaks of the trees. The dense, green thickness of the forest was beautiful, and the sound of the leaves rustling in the wind made her feel blissfully calm. Spotting an unusual leaf on the ground, she bent over to pick it up. She was studying the intricate pattern of it when she felt something cold and wet nudge up against her calf. When she looked behind her, she was surprised to see a wolf sitting behind her, and she realized that the cold wetness against her skin had been the wolf nudging its nose against her leg. The animal had a thick, gray coat, a strong, powerful chest, and beautiful eyes the color of pale yellow. This wolf was identical to the animal form Takoda had shifted into on the night hed been fighting Dex. Takoda? The wolf walked closer, wagging its tail playfully. She found it strange that Takoda would just shape-shift for no particular reason at all, but then again what did she know about shapeshifting? All of this was still so new to her, so she really didnt know what to expect in terms of him shifting from his human form. The wolf was now close enough for her to pet, so she reached her hand down to lovingly stroke its fur. So you decided to shape-shift, huh? Last night I went to bed with a man, and this morning I wake up and he turns into a wolf. Shaking

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her head humorously, she continued, Well, what do you say we go inside and I make us some breakfast? That is, unless youd prefer raw meat, or whatever it is wolves eat. Continuing to pet the wolf, Lynn admired the soft, glossy texture of its coat. As the sound of a familiar voice came suddenly from behind her, her shoulders jolted upward in surprise. Get inside, Lynn. Now. The voice was filled with tense urgency. Whipping her head around, Lynn saw the sight of Takoda quickly walking towards her. His eyes were firmly planted on the wolf which sat beside her, and she could see a mixture of fear and anger in his eyes. Her eyes widened in surprise as the sight of her lover, and her gaze turned back upon the wolf which was beside her. So if Takoda was still in his human form, then who was this wolf in front of her? Removing her palm from the wolfs coat, she began to back away from it, watching it with wary-filled eyes. She didnt know who this wolf was or where hed come from, but she wasnt so sure she wanted to find out, either. Right now all she wanted to do was to put as much space between her and this trickster as quickly as possible. With a look of puzzlement, she asked Takoda, What is this, and who is this wolf? Please dont ask any more questions. Just do as I say and go inside. Lynn hurried over to the door, and as soon as she crossed the threshold, she slammed it shut behind her. As soon as she was gone, the wolf shifted into the form of a human male. Damn, you just had to ruin my fun, didnt you? The mans lips twisted into an evil grin. **** Takoda bristled with anger as he took in the features of the man standing before him. He had dirty-blond hair, green eyes, and a

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jagged scar along the lower edge of his bottom lip. Although Takoda couldnt stand the sight of him, hed found himself dreaming of this moment many times. Hed dreamed of the day hed finally come face-to-face with him and visualized very vividly what hed do if he ever managed to get his hands on him. Stay away from her, Nick. Takodas voice was loud and threatening. What if I dont? The man raised an eyebrow, giving Takoda a nasty smirk. Try and challenge me and Ill rip your head right off. Taking a few steps forward, Takoda dared the other man to make a move. Nicks only response was to smile. He tried to appear calm, but it was apparent he was no match for Takoda. Why are you here? A frown creased Takodas eyebrows. Im here to even the score and set things right. What the hell are you talking about? I cant believe you even have the nerve to stand here in front of me. His fists clenched tightly, nails digging into palms as a strong wave of anger rolled through him. Im here for justice. You killed Aiden. Takoa expelled a snort of disgust. He got what he deserved. A bitter smile crossed Nicks lips. Still holding onto the past, huh? You really need to let that go, because nothings going to bring her back. That chick is dead and long gone. Takodas jaw clenched, and his nostrils flared. How could you betray me? What could we ever have done to make you attack us like that? It was your time to leave. No one agreed with the way you were running things. Aiden was much better suited to lead the pack. If Aiden wanted in as alpha, he could have just gone for me. So why did he kill her? Giving a dismissive shrug, Nick responded, Guess you could say she got caught in the cross fire. Shaking his head and tsking sarcastically, he gave a little pout. Poor little Ehawee.

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Dont you dare speak her name! Takodas eyes narrowed into angry slits. Ooooh, I see the wound still runs deep. Nicks eyes glittered anxiously as he revved up for a fight. Coming here was a mistake. You came seeking vengeance for a worthless man. Are you really ready to die for him? He was my brother, and he wasnt worthless, Nick snapped. He was a spineless coward, and he killed a defenseless female. Takodas eyes darkened from the memory of that fateful day. A storm was brewing between them, a heated tension which threatened to explode at any moment. Nick was much smaller in stature and in comparison with Takoda, he seemed very weak. Takoda was seven inches taller and most certainly the stronger out of the two, so he couldnt understand how Nick expected to overpower him. Then suddenly he came to the realization that Nick would never attempt to fight alone, especially not someone as tall and strong as himself. Nick had always been weak, and forever deemed to a lower ranking position. For as long as Takoda had known him, Nick had been nothing more than a runt who followed commands. No, Nick hadnt come alone. Hed teamed up with someone else. The only way he knew how to fight was dirty, and the presence of another was strongly sensed by Takoda. The unpleasant scent of this other person was carried along by the wind, filling his nostrils with its stink. It was a scent he keenly remembered, a scent he had wished to never smell again. This was his home, his sanctuary from the rest of the world, and he didnt appreciate unwelcome visitors in his territory. There was someone watching him from the treetops above, Takoda could feel it. Roving his eyes upward, Takoda looked into the green canopy of the trees above him as he tried to spot the hidden observer. Although Takoda couldnt see them, he was already well aware of who they were.

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Directing his attention back to Nick, he said, You never could fight your own battles. Always teaming up with someone else to take another down. Shaking his head pitifully, Takoda continued, Do you really think you can overpower me with him? Nick didnt respond, only continued to stare down Takoda. For a few moments there was nothing but silence between the two men, and then all of a sudden, the air was filled with the sound of crows. Loud cawing filled the air, followed by the whisper of their wings as they took off. Glancing up into the trees, Takoda saw the flock of birds as they flew away, and then all of a sudden he caught sight of something else. It appeared as little more than a black blur, and it was sailing down toward him at top speed. Taking immediate action, Takoda quickly shifted into his wolf form. Nick shifted into his as well, but his presence was nowhere near as intimidating or majestic as Takodas. Takoda was a much larger wolf, and he had a thick, shiny coat. His chest was narrow but powerful, and his confident stance demanded the upmost respect. Nick appeared smaller, almost scrawny in comparison with Takoda, and he didnt have nearly the strength that Takoda possessed. Leaping down from the trees, Dex landed hard on Takodas back. This gave Nick the chance to rush toward him, springing up off of his heels to sink his teeth into Takodas flesh. Giving a vicious growl, Takoda struggled to throw him off. Dex held on tighter, wrapping his hands around the wolfs neck, but then he suddenly let go, releasing a loud cry of agony. Something had hit him hard in the back of the head, and there was a searing pain going right through his skull. Falling to the ground with a whimper of pain, he made an attempt to try and get back onto his feet. His effort was promptly impeded as he was hit again, this time receiving an audible smack in side of the ribs. Yelling sharply, he glowered angrily at the source of his pain.

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Standing right next to him was Lynn, and both of her hands were wrapped firmly around the handle of a shovel. She made a move to strike him again, but he proved to be too quick for her, using his inhuman speed to his advantage. In a split second, Dex had his hands wrapped around her throat, holding her captive in his grip. As he slammed her back against a tree, Lynn cried out in pain, momentarily dazed by Dexs strength. Baring his fangs, he leaned in to have a drink but was suddenly halted. A cry of pain and anger erupted from his lips as she dug her fingers into his eyes. Releasing her from his hold, he snarled and staggered backward, enraged by the temporary setback. Using his blindness to her advantage, she delivered a sharp kick to his ribs, injuring one of his ribs in the process. Then she ran off quickly, taking off through the forest. Dex growled angrily, enraged that hed failed to taste her yet again. Takoda threw himself onto Dex, growling menacingly as he ripped and clawed at his flesh. Expelling a loud hiss, Dex bared his fangs and lashed his fist out, aiming right for the Takodas muzzle. The force of it sent Dexs adversary flying backward, but Takoda was back on his feet in record time. Crouching in preparation to spring forward,Takoda waited until Dex began to advance toward him. Leaping up onto his hind legs, Takoda launched his attack and sailed through the air. Lashing his arm out, Dex delivered a powerful backhand, which knocked Takoda to the ground. Dex quickly followed up his attack, this time slamming his fist into the back of his enemys head. Takodas skull exploded with pain, but he pushed on, not willing to give in so easily. Snarling viciously, Takoda clamped his jaws around Dexs leg, sinking teeth deep into flesh. He took Dex down, bringing him onto his knees. Gathering his hind legs behind him, Takoda sprang up and onto Dexs chest. Once Dex was beneath him, he didnt waste another second. He was just going for Dexs throat when he felt a sharp pain sear through his underside. Releasing a howl of pain, Takoda

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struggled to push through it. Dex had stabbed him, that much was apparent from the warm trickle of liquid he felt, but he refused to halt his attack. He was going to protect Lynn, and nothing Dex could do would stop him from it. The knife had come dangerously close to disemboweling him, and he knew that he had to end this fight, once and for all. Gathering every bit of strength he had, Takoda went for Dexs throat. As his teeth bit, Takoda heard his enemy release a growl of frustration. Not wasting a minute longer, Takoda tore Dexs throat out in one swift, skillful movement. Even as Dex gurgled in defeat beneath him, Takoda didnt cease his attack. He continued to claw and viciously bite his adversary until the man beneath him was no longer moving. As the last few moments of life ebbed out of Dexs body, his eyes remained locked into Takodas, forever frozen into a permanent stare of hatred. With his enemy well on his way toward death, Takoda took a glance backwards and saw that neither Lynn nor Nick were anywhere to be seen. Panic overtook him as he realized that Nick had taken off with Lynn. Utilizing the keen senses of his wolf form, Takoda sniffed the air to determine which direction theyd taken. Lynns scent came across strongest to him, and he immediately took off in the direction where it led him. As he travelled along the forest paths, he felt a sickness in the pit of his stomach. It was a deep and looming dread that history was repeating itself. It was happening all over again, playing out just as it had on that fateful day Ehawee had been killed. Takoda been separated from her, just as he was now separated from Lynn. His so-called pack brothers had distracted him, ganging up in a vicious attack so that he wouldnt be able to protect Ehawee. Now history was proving that it truly did repeat itself, because hed managed to lose track of Lynn and allow Nick to take off with her. Cursing himself internally, he realized that the fight with Dex had distracted him, and while he should have felt victorious at eradicating Dex from their life, he felt nothing more than failure.

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Hed promised to protect Lynn, and now her life was in danger. If anything happened to her, he would never be able to forgive himself, and the pain of losing another would completely destroy him. She was his heart and soul and he couldnt live without her. After what seemed like an endless amount of time, he finally came upon Nick and Lynn. He saw they were standing at the edge of a pathway, and one of Nicks arms was wrapped around her waist while the other was curled around her neck in a restraining position. Struggling in his arms, Lynn tried to wrestle out of his grip. Get off of me! She tried to shove Nick off of her, but he only held on tighter. There was a gleam of silver as Nick placed a knife against her throat. Id stop moving if I were you. As his eyes caught sight of Takoda, Nicks lips pulled back into a gleeful sneer. Shifting his form to match Nicks human one, Takoda quickly advanced toward them. Release her. Shes done nothing to you! His voice was husky and full of emotion. I told you I was here for justice, and thats why Im not leaving until I get it. You took my brothers life, Nick stated. Let her free! If you want to kill someone, then kill me instead. You cant take her away from me, I wont let you! Takoda felt powerless and weak, but he was determined to save his love. Im not willing to trade. Im taking her life, and thats all there is to it. I watched you kill Aidan, and now youre going watch her die. No! Takoda shouted as he watched Nick press the knife more firmly against her skin. As he ran toward them, Takoda was filled with dread, and all he could focus upon was the knife poised against Lynns neck. It seemed he was moving in slow motion, because the faster he tried to run, the harder it seemed to advance. As the tip of the knife pressed into her skin, he saw the fear in her eyes and his heart flooded with anguish. This had to be some sort of terrible dream, because fate couldnt be

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this cruel to take another love away from him. The air was suddenly filled with the sound of loud caws, and as two crows dived down from the branches above, Nicks attention was diverted upwards. One of the crows landed on his head and began to peck furiously at his forehead, causing Nick to release a stunned cry and drop the knife he was holding. The other crow flew in circles around Nicks head, enhancing the chaos of the moment. This gave Lynn the chance to escape, and as she freed herself from his clutches, the crows took off, disappearing into the sky as suddenly as they had appeared. Nicks forehead was smeared with blood and the look in his eyes was one of pure rage. Locking gazes with his adversary, Takoda dared the other man to make the first move. Their eyes locked into a heated battle for a few moments and then they simultaneously shifted, transforming back into the wolf forms. Menacing snarls filled the air as they bared their teeth, and they each lunged for each other, rearing up on their hind legs as they snarled and snapped their jaws. Aiming for Nicks shoulder, Takoda grabbed hold of it with his jaws, tearing out bits of fur and flesh as he viciously bit into him. Releasing a howl of pain, Nick dug his claws into Takodas muzzle. The pain only fueled Takoda on, causing him to fight more viciously than ever. Sinking his teeth into Nicks neck, he pinned him down beneath him and held him flush against the ground. Nick tried to squirm out from under his opponent and roll his body over so that he could take Takoda down, but his attempts proved largely unsuccessful. There was no way a wolf his size could ever overpower Takoda. With a swift skill that Nick would never possess, Takoda had pinned Nick beneath him, and soon he was whimpering and squirming dejectedly. The weaker wolf flattened his body beneath Takoda, which expressed defeat and subservience. The tougher wolf had won and both of them knew it, but this wasnt about winning. It

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wasnt even about trying to avenge Ewahees death, because that was impossible. It was about protecting the one thing which meant the most to him in this world, and that was Lynn. Takoda took a moment to glance over at her to make sure she was still safe, but even that moment was too long, because Nick used it to his advantage. Realizing that Nick had been feigning, Takoda could see that his adversary wasnt quite as weak as he appeared to be, and above all else, he was still a sneaky bastard. The two wolves battled with each other, claws flying and teeth gnashing as each sought to destroy the other. Each gave and received injuries, trading ferocious bites which grew deadlier by the minute. Nicks jaws snapped fiercely, seeking the flesh of Takodas throat. As his teeth made contact with Takodas neck, they locked in like a vice. As Nicks teeth sunk in deeper, Takoda desperately sought to free himself. Nicks teeth were mere inches from slicing through his jugular, so Takoda knew that he had to act quick. Takoda swiped viciously at Nicks face, sinking his claws into the flesh on the top of his head. As his claws caught hold of Nicks ear, Takoda sunk them in and gave a quick swipe downward, removing half of the flesh of his ear. As Nick gave a muffled howl of pain against his neck, Takoda felt his opponents jaw loosen. Free from the clamp of Nicks teeth, Takoda released a growl of fury and went in for the kill. The wolves became an entangled heap as they growled and bit one another. Both were so engaged in their battle for strength and dominance, that the sudden presence of another was left unknown to them. As the sound of a gunshot rang through the air, the wolves growls changed to a yip of pain, and there was the sound of a body hitting the ground. Realizing that Nick had been shot, Takoda sought out the identity of the shooter, but there wasnt any time to locate him before a second shot rang out. As the sound of Lynns scream pierced the air, Takoda jerked his head toward the sound of his mate. His heart beat furiously and as his eyes landed upon her, he felt a huge sense of

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relief. She hadnt been hurt and she was okay, but if she hadnt been shot then that meant that the shooter was obviously aiming for him. As Takoda glanced at Nicks wolf form, he saw a pool of blood spreading beneath his body, and he knew that Nick was dead. There wasnt a doubt in Takodas mind that he would surely be next, if he didnt quickly take action. As his eyes fell upon the shooter, he realized that it was David, and he immediately crouched into an attack position. David aimed the shotgun toward him, but Lynn jerked on his arm so that his aim was thrown off. David, no! she fearfully shouted. David threw her a look of puzzlement and aimed his gun again, but the onset of Takodas shift halted him from taking a shot. The expression on Davids face was nothing short of awe, watching as Takodas wolf transformed in the body of a man. As fur dissolved into skin and his limbs elongated into those of a human, David stood openmouthed at the sight in front of him. Once his shift was complete, Lynn ran over to Takoda and they tightly embraced. Their lips met in a long, passionate kiss, and once they finally parted, Takoda stared deeply into her eyes. Not wanting to let go of her, Takoda continued to hold her in his arms, so grateful have the feeling of her body up against his. As the sound of Davids voice filled the air, Takoda was suddenly reminded of his presence. What the fuck is this? David asked in amazement. Turning his eyes towards David, Takoda saw that his face was pale and his jaw was slack. His brows were also furrowed, and the hand which possessed the gun hung limply at his side. It seemed that Takodas display left David nothing short of stunned. Well I guess the secrets out now. Im a shape-shifter. Takodas lips turned up into a little smile. A what? asked David in disbelief.

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Its pretty self-explanatory, David. I can shift shapes. If youre still unsure about it, I can always do it again. His mouth widened into a grin. Davids eyes roved towards Lynns face, and then he asked, So you knew about this? You know what he is and you accept this thing? Thats right, answered Lynn in a firm tone of voice. Shaking his head in disbelief, David said, Hes not even human, Lynn. Hes just some freak. The only freak I know is you, Lynn snapped in response. Bitch, snarled David, and he pulled the gun upwards. Hey! Takodas voice boomed, and the birds in the trees above them were startled into flight. Stepping in front of Lynn so that she would be protected, he said, Thats my woman youre talking about. Youd better show some respect! Takoda bristled with anger, clenching his fists as he readied himself for a fight. A look of fear crossed Davids face, but the gun in his hand remained firmly pointed at Takoda. Apologize, Takoda demanded. His lips were set in a serious line, and the muscles of his jaw began to flex. What for? I meant it. Shes just a useless tramp anyway. As Takodas fist connected with Davids jaw, the force of it sent David sprawling backwards. As David hit the ground, the gun fell from his hands, and he expelled a cry of pain. Sneering down at David with eyes full of fury, Takoda said, I should have hunted you down when I had the chance. I would have enjoyed tearing you apart and listening to your cowardly little screams. Swallowing thickly, David said, You can threaten me all you like, but remember, Im the one who has the gun. Grabbing hold of the gun, he pointed the barrel of it at Takodas head.

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The gun could have been a toy to Takoda. David had insulted the woman he loved, and there was no way he was going to let that go. Why dont you get rid of the gun and fight like a man? Or are you not able to? Emboldened by the feel of steel in his hand, Davids only response was to cock the gun. At the sound of the chamber clicking, Lynn rushed up behind Takoda and grabbed hold of his arm, desperately tugging on it. Baby, lets go. Hes not worth it. Takodas steely gaze remained planted upon David. Sweetie, please. Lynn tugged harder at the sleeve of his shirt, urging him to respond. You spineless fool. After speaking those parting words, Takoda took hold of Lynns hand, and they turned and walked away. Get lost, David, Lynn said over her shoulder. Something inside of Takoda urged him to look back, so he did, and as soon as he turned his head around, the sound of a gunshot rang through the air. White-hot pain ripped through Takodas torso, causing him to stagger backward and fall. As his body hit the ground, Lynn gave a loud scream and got down on her knees, leaning over his body as she released grief-stricken sobs. He felt the warmth of her hand as she softly stroked his cheek, and he wished he could tell her that everything would be all right, but then realized that it would be a lie. Takoda heard David expel a panicked curse, and as he tossed the gun aside, it fell to the ground, landing a few inches away from Takodas face. There was the sound of Davids retreating footsteps as he fled the scene. With his cheek planted against the ground, Takoda was given a direct view straight into the barrel, and as his eyelids grew heavier, that was the last thing that he saw. ****

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One week later Lynn couldnt remember the last time shed seen the stars shine so brightly. Shed always been in awe by the beauty of them, but tonight they seemed especially amazing. The rooftop she sat on provided her with quite a spectacular view, and due to the way the house was built, there was more than enough room for her to sit comfortably upon it without any worries of falling off. Although the view was beautiful, sitting out here alone made her feel terribly lonely. Releasing a heavy sigh, she looked up into the sky and thought of Takoda, recalling the beauty of his eyes and his wonderful smile. As she continued to stargaze, she released all of her uncertainties about the future, and imagined them being carried away by the light breeze which swept through the air. As a sound came from behind her, she opened her eyes and turned around. Hey, beautiful, mind if I join you? Takoda asked from the window. Of course not, come on out. Her lips curled into a smile as she watched him climb through the window and walk out onto the roof. You left me all alone in bed. Is everything okay? As he wrapped an arm around her waist, she lay her head against his chest and breathed in his scent. Takoda smelled of soap and pine and something else she couldnt determine. It was a fragrance which was all his own, and she loved it. As she snuggled up against him, Lynn was careful not to bump against the bandage on his torso. It was still sore from the bullet wound, but his injury was healing up well, so she was happy about that. As he took her hand in his, she felt him give it a light squeeze. Blissfully happy with the presence of him here next to her, Lynn once again found herself feeling grateful that the bullet hadnt done more damage.

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The sound of Takodas voice broke the stillness of the night. You dont have to be worried, you know. Im right here with you, and Im not going anywhere. I know, she softly responded. Pressing his lips to her neck, he gave her a sweet, tender kiss. Lynn was thankful that David had been a lousy shot, because she never would have been able to go on without Takoda. The connection they shared was beyond special, and if she ever lost him, she wouldnt be able to go on. She loved him so damn much that sometimes it scared her. Lynns heart beat rapidly in response to the sudden flood of emotions within her. Placing a finger beneath her chin, Takoda tilted her face upward so that her gaze rose up to meet his. Stop torturing yourself with bad thoughts. Were together, and nothings going to change that. His gaze was tender and full of love. Bringing his lips to her mouth, he engaged her in a soft, sweet kiss. As he released her lips, she was left in a sort of lovesick daze. It seemed that every time their lips met, they were experiencing their first kiss all over again. Neither of them had seen or heard from David since the confrontation a week ago, and the rumor around Lynns workplace was that hed resigned. Shed been filled with a huge sense of relief upon hearing that, and was happy to know that David would no longer be an intrusion upon their lives. Sometimes she still had terrible dreams about Dex and David, but Takoda was always there to hold her and rock her back to sleep. Both she and Takoda worried about one another whenever they were apart, but they were both well-aware that living in fear was not what they wanted. It would be easy to let thoughts of worry dominate their minds, but they knew that would only ruin the beautiful relationship that they shared. Their connection was strong and completely unbreakable, so nothing could penetrate the love they felt for one another. They both knew deep down inside that everything would be

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okay. They shared a passionate love for one another, and that was all that mattered to them. The tips of Takodas fingers began to sliding across her neck, and as they ventured further down, she felt the little hairs on her skin stand to attention. Shed felt the touch of his skin upon hers a thousand times, but somehow it still managed to electrify her. His fingers continued to travel along the path of her skin until they reached their destination. As his fingers stroked the mating mark on her chest, Lynn felt her body instantly react. Her body grew warmer and the space between her legs heated up, prompting her to give a small moan. Takoda stroked the special spot tenderly, locking his eyes into hers as he did it. Cupping her chin in his hand, he moved his face downward to kiss her. Just before his lips reached her own, he paused, fixing her with one of his hypnotizing gazes. She thought he was going to say something to her, but then she realized that nothing needed to be said at all. Their eyes did all the talking, silently expressing passionate thoughts and feelings that words never could. As their lips came together, she felt the spot on her shoulder instantly grow warmer. It was a silent communication of the deep love that they shared, and Lynn knew that no matter what happened, this mark would be a part of her forever. It was a permanent tattoo of a never-ending love.

THE END
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Liz Davis writes interracial romance novels for Siren-BookStrand. She was compelled to start writing due to her interest in romantic pairings which are not often seen in real life. She is currently at work on her second book and lives in Southern California.

Siren Publishing, Inc. www.SirenPublishing.com