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A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

Summer Raines had never wanted anyone as much as Wolf, and everything a werewolf had to offer her.


I

Summer and Mia Raines glanced at each other as they exited the large airplane and followed the crowd up a long hallway. Though neither of them had ever seen Wolf Carson, the man who would be waiting for them there, he had assured them that he’d seen both of their pictures and would be easily able to recognize them.

As they neared the other end of the hall, Summer was feeling somewhat numb. She imagined she was still in shock after learning of her sister’s sudden death. Before they reached the large opening that would surely begin an ordeal beyond, she reached out and tugged at Mia’s hand.

“Are you ready for this, sis?” she asked softly.

“As ready as anyone is to bury their older sister,” she commented dryly. Summer bristled slightly, but then she reminded herself that Mia usually responded with sarcasm when she was feeling emotional, and it was likely that she was at a time like this.

“Well, at least we don’t have to rush back home or anything,” she pointed out, making Mia bristle again. It was, perhaps, unwise to remind her that she’d opted to quit her job rather than miss the funeral, but the words had slipped out before she’d thought them through.

“Yes, that’s true,” she said. “Can we just go now, Summer? I’d really like to get this part over with so we can pick up the pieces of our lives.”

Without another word, Summer turned and began walking briskly. Why does Mia always think she’s in charge? She doesn’t think of anyone but herself, even at a time like this. As she exited through the large but crowded arch, she felt rather than saw someone catching at her arm.

“Slow down, Miss Raines,” said a smooth voice with a hint of amusement. “You don’t want to leave without your ride, do you?”

Summer stopped in her tracks and turned back to look at the man who had spoken. He could only be Wolf Carson. Silvery-gray eyes battled between merriment and sympathy as they met her assessing brown gaze, and she felt her lips quirk with some emotion that could have been anything between mirth and sorrow—and surprise.

The man looks something like a wolf, she decided as she kept gazing at him while Mia caught up to her and he released her arm. All light-brown furred and just a little bit rugged, but somehow sleekly beautiful in spite of that. How does one’s mouth go dry and begin to salivate all at once, anyway?

“You must be Wolf Carson,” said Mia with a smooth, businesslike smile. Her eyes looked the man over appreciatively for a moment before she added, “I’m Mia, and this is Summer. She doesn’t say much—bit of a bookworm, really.”

“Thanks,” said Summer softly, blushing.

“Has either of you been to Haven before this?” asked Wolf politely as his eyes rested on the flushing cheeks of the girl at his side.

Mia insinuated herself between them as she continued to talk. “No, it’s our first time here,” she told him. “It’s just too bad we had to come here under such sad circumstances. Was Ellen special to you, Mr. Carson?”

“Well, we knew each other about six months, but in spite of an initial desire to become—closer—I guess it just wasn’t meant to be more than a friendship,” he admitted, his lips quirking up into a slight smile as his eyes seemed to flash with the recognition of the woman’s interest.

Great, thought Summer. Mia is flirting again. And on a day like this, no less. She glanced at Wolf again, but found that even though he was engaging her sister in conversation his eyes kept returning to her, almost as if he could not seem to help himself. Her heart began to pound in her chest as she realized the nature of his regard.

“I’m sorry if my sister led you on, Mr. Carson,” Mia said smoothly.

You mean the way you’re about to? Summer added irritably.

“Wolf, please,” he said with a grimace. “My surname hardly seems necessary on such a solemn occasion.”

“Sometimes conventions in behavior can help lessen the sting of otherwise overwhelming emotions,” commented Summer with a slightly wry smirk. Wolf’s silver eyes shifted over to look at her, and their gazes held for a few moments. Her belly felt like a herd of butterflies suddenly took up residence, and she finally looked down at her hands again.

Her whole body was aware when Wolf smirked in return and looked away as well. He began to move forward, and Summer realized how very tall he was, his frame strong and lithe, truly like that of a wolf. She followed behind him, almost mesmerized, but then Mia surged forward and took his arm, breaking the spell as jealousy surged up in Summer’s belly instead.

Why does she always take all the men and leave nothing for me?

As they walked, Summer surreptitiously looked at the man a bit closer. He had a perfect tan, and his golden-brown locks blended perfectly with the toned flesh. His teeth were smooth and white, and not one seemed out of place. They were hidden by a sensuous mouth that could not fail to entice, if he’d been of a mind to put it to use in that fashion. She shuddered a little as she imagined him doing so.

Stop this, she admonished herself. We’re here for Ellen, not the man she was dating when she died.

Mia and Wolf caught the luggage and loaded the cart with it as Summer looked around at the smallish airport. She noticed the place had terminals for only four companies, and none of them were large airlines. The little town of Haven really was as remote as their sister had mentioned when she’d told them of the home she’d purchased in it three years ago.

“I was sorry to hear what time the two of you would be arriving,” Wolf mentioned as they walked through the exit and out into the parking lot. “It’s going to be tight, getting to the cemetery before the time set for the ceremony to begin. I had to tell the preacher he might need to wait for us to arrive.”

“It couldn’t be helped, I’m afraid,” said Mia briskly.

They had reached his car then, and he opened the trunk using his remote so he could begin loading luggage into the back of the black sedan as soon as they reached it. Summer stepped up and helped, and Mia went to stand by the front passenger side as they worked. The action was not lost on Wolf, and he raised a brow in Summer’s direction. She merely shrugged in response.

As they finished, Summer followed Wolf around to the driver’s side, and he bowed slightly as he opened her door and held his hand out, offering to help her in. Her eyes flew down to her feet to avoid his as he set her inside, then closed the door for her before opening his own and sliding into his seat.

The leather seats match his eyes, she noticed, trying not to smirk. She kept her eyes on the scenery as they headed out onto the road, trying to ignore the insistent pounding of her heart.

“So, I understand the two of you intend to remain in Haven,” said Wolf as he drove, and he glanced at Summer through the rearview mirror. She blushed when she saw him, turning away shyly.

“Yes,” Mia answered. “My employer didn’t want to let me leave at all, so in the end I decided to quit the job. So I guess we’ll be keeping Ellen’s old house, since Summer can write her articles and stories from anyplace she chooses.”

Wolf’s eyes sought Summer’s through the mirror again, and this time when she looked, she felt a strange kind of energy pass between them, almost like a liquid heat that firmed up in her belly, leaving her limbs weak. She felt her breaths quicken.

“Yes, I have read some of your work, Summer,” he said then, his eyes returning to the road. “You have a gift with words, I think, especially for one who isn’t even twenty-three. It’s obvious that your thoughts stray well beyond the everyday world and live in that place where the mind searches for true meaning.”

Summer laughed at this as she shifted in her seat, embarrassed and yet pleased to learn he had contemplated her in such a manner. “Thanks, Mr. Carson,” she replied.

“Call me Wolf,” he insisted, his tone settling in her ears and seeping into her system. It sounded somewhere between a command and a caress, and she could not help but comply.

“Wolf,” she whispered, surprised by the almost sultry tone in her voice. She excused her roiling emotions, attributing them to the death of her sister rather than the man himself. No man she’d ever known had ever brought out such a response in her before, least of all one she had only just met.

“We’re here, ladies,” Wolf announced as they turned into the cemetery’s long drive. He parked near a small gathering of people who surrounded a cherrywood coffin.

Mia was out of the car and next to the coffin in the blink of an eye. Summer did not get a chance to open her door before Wolf Carson had opened it for her. He held out his hand to help her out, and Summer’s heart did a flip as she took it this time.

His touch set a fire in her blood, and she stopped trying to deny the cause. This was a lust of the hot, animalistic variety. His scent mingled with the smell of pine and freshly mowed grass that floated on the air, and she desperately wanted to taste him.

A desire that she tamped down with a firm resolve.

Sometimes conventions in behavior can help lessen the sting of otherwise overwhelming emotions…

Wolf reluctantly let go of her hand as they joined the others, and he moved to stand beside Mia. The sight of the two standing together sparked a fury inside Summer she could not stop. How can the man make me feel him so strongly, and then stand so very far away, and at the side of another woman?

Summer knew she needed to snap out of it. She knew that she was supposed to be there for Ellen, but when Mia suddenly burst into tears as the preacher spoke, her heart clenched as Wolf took her into his arms.

“Hush, now,” he told her as he held her head to his chest. His eyes flickered up and looked into Summer’s, and in them she saw amusement, desire, and a challenge. She couldn’t seem to look away, and Wolf had no desire even to try.

)0(

Wolf turned the key off and slid it out of the ignition. The car was parked outside a tall, almost haunted looking house surrounded by a large, wrought-iron fence and plenty of trees. A slight wind seemed to have kicked up, making the evening air seem chilled. He did not fail to open Summer’s door as he passed, but walked briskly toward the back to get their bags.

“I’ll leave you two to get settled in, if you don’t mind,” he said as he handed Mia the keys and set some of the bags by the front door before turning back for more. Summer was behind him with a couple bags, and he cast her an appreciative smile.

“Do you really have to go?” Mia practically pouted.

“Yes, I believe the two of you will want some time to grieve properly, and I value my silk shirt enough to at least try to preserve it,” he said with a smirk.

She giggled at this as she wiped at her eyes. Then she surged forward and gave Wolf a hug. “Thanks, Wolf, you’ve been a great help through all of this. I hope you won’t make yourself scarce now that it’s done.”

Wolf extracted himself from her grasp as his eyes sought out Summer’s. “Don’t worry, I’ll see you two later. I’m just totally exhausted right now, that’s all.”

As Wolf got back into the car and drove away, both of the women watched him go. Mia had a confident look in her eyes, as if she’d seen something she wanted and intended to have it. Summer, however, watched Wolf Carson leave with a feeling that he already belonged to her.

II

About four days later the phone in the hallway rang, and Mia answered it. Summer looked up curiously from the sofa, where she sat perched with her laptop sitting on her thighs as she hammered away at the keys.

When Mia hung up, she turned to give her sister a huge smile.

“What’s got you so happy?” Summer wanted to know.

“That was Wolf Carson,” she practically gloated. “He’s asked me to dinner tonight. I wonder what I should wear.”

“Clothes, I imagine,” Summer replied with a smirk.

Inside, she was reeling with shock. I was so certain Wolf was interested in me, she thought. Ever since he’d gone, he had been the only thing she could think of. How he’d gazed into her eyes, how he’d made her feel with the simple touch of his hand. It had been difficult to sleep with thoughts of him plaguing her mind and her body.

“You’re always such a help, sis,” Mia said as she stepped over and patted Summer’s cheek before turning on her heel to retreat into her bedroom.

Summer was almost relieved while her sister was gone, simply because she had talked incessantly about Wolf Carson all day long. It had made her gut literally ache by the time Wolf had appeared at the door and Mia had jetted out before she could even catch a glance of him. The pain of it left her dreading Mia’s eventual return.

Summer heard the doorknob rattle, and quickly turned back to her laptop to pretend she’d been on the thing the entire time. She looked up sleepily and said, “Oh, are you here? My goodness, look at the time. I must have been working for hours.”

“Yes, I’m sure you have,” Mia smirked as the door clicked shut behind her.

“Not bringing in lover boy?” Summer inquired sweetly.

“He has work tomorrow,” she explained. “But he did give me the sweetest kiss.”

Why is he giving my sister kisses instead of me? I want to die!

“Well, I’m very tired, so although I’d love to hear all the gory details, I think I’m going to just turn in,” Summer said, trying not to allow the bile to rise up into her throat.

“All right, then,” Mia said, unaware of her emotions as usual. “I’ll just have to tell you in the morning.”

“Goodnight,” Summer said, kissing her sister’s cheek as she stepped into the hallway and headed for the bedroom at the back of the house.

Wolf Carson was lying on her bed with his hands behind his head, staring up at the ceiling.

“What do you think you’re doing?” Summer wanted to know.

“This was Ellen’s room, you know,” he commented as he glanced over at her, not moving from his position in the middle of the mattress.

“Was it?” she asked sweetly.

“Yes,” he answered, flipping onto his side to flash a cheeky grin in her direction. “It sort of makes me feel closer to her, just being in here.”

“And is that why you invited my sister to dinner as well?” she wanted to know.

“No, no, no,” he chuckled as he sprang up and moved to take her hand, drawing her into the room and setting her on her bed in his place. “I can assure you that my intentions towards Mia are quite pure.”

“Somehow I doubt you’re overly pure,” Summer told him as he stood between her knees and gazed hungrily down at her. The words caught in her throat around a gasp as his fingers slid slowly from the tops of her shoulders down toward her elbows. Summer wasn’t sure when they had moved so much closer to each other as he did this, and heat swirled in her belly.

“You look much more beautiful in this bed than Ellen ever did,” he mentioned then. “Love the lingerie, by the way.”

Summer’s eyes flew over to her closet door, and she could see that he’d been looking through her things there. Her gaze snapped back to him angrily as she said, “Get out of my room, Wolf Carson!”

He laughed then, and the sound erupted as tingles down Summer’s spine. She felt rather than saw his lips descending, and the next thing she knew he crushed her to him and his lips devoured hers. His fingers splayed across her back, and then one of his hands came around to latch onto her chin, bringing her lips more fully against his.

Summer’s heart hammered hard in her chest as those fingers left her chin and slid down to the valley between her breasts as his tongue took complete possession of her willing mouth. Heat suffused between them, and their breaths came in little gasps. Then, almost as though he’d done it against his own will, Wolf let Summer go, and in the next moment he was gone.

)0(

One sheep, two sheep, three sheep—oh God, the bed smells like him! Four sheep, five sheep—maybe if I just cuddle the pillow. God, he smells so good! Six sheep—I’m never going to fall asleep in this Wolf-scented bed…

Summer thought about what Mia had told her when she’d come home. Sweet kiss? He’d given Mia a sweet kiss? Either their interpretations of ‘sweet’ were drastically different, or Wolf had definitely not kissed them both the same way. But the trouble was, why had he asked out Mia, and then come in here and ravished her with his tongue in the first place? It didn’t make much sense. Especially if one factored in the whole ‘six months with Ellen’ business.

“Wolf,” she whispered his name the same way she’d said it the first time, and it made her belly tighten up with unspent desire. “God, I must be crazy!”

)0(

Summer must have counted a thousand sheep last night. She’d eventually decided she did not want to tell Mia what had happened—she’d rather wait and see what Wolf actually did before she made any sort of judgments concerning him.

Maybe he was just feeling overly emotional or something. After all, he did say that he’d been hoping to become closer to Ellen, and Summer had been in Ellen’s bedroom. Maybe the two factors taken together had sent him over the edge. Who knows?

“Good morning, sleepy head,” said Mia as Summer padded into the kitchen and poured herself a cup of coffee.

“Is it?” she grumbled as she plopped down onto one of the chairs. “How can someone be completely exhausted, and yet still not seem to get any sleep?”

“Easy, when you’ve just finished burying your older sister,” Mia commented. “Some of us deal with things differently than others.”

“So you’re dealing with it by dating her boyfriend?”

“Wolf said they never got that close,” Mia reminded her.

Summer doubted that was true. After all, Wolf was well aware of which room Ellen had slept in, and he’d told her that she was more beautiful in her bed than her sister had been. He would not have known that unless he’d seen Ellen in her bed to begin with.

Must you be so jealous over all of this? Summer admonished herself. It’s not as though the man has made any sort of promises to anyone. Not to Ellen, not to Mia, not to you. He’s just a single guy on the prowl. He’d probably love it if he’d have been able to have all three.

“Summer?” said Mia. “I’ve asked you about four times now. Did you want some eggs and toast or not?”

“Oh, sure,” she answered with a shake of her head. “Sorry, just woolgathering.”

“That’s odd,” she chuckled. “Wolf said the exact same thing last night when he suddenly spaced off, too.”

“Did he?” she chuckled. “I suppose that is a bit odd.”

“He reminds me of you the way you both lapse into silence,” she added. “Makes it easier to be with him since he already seems familiar.”

“That’s good,” Summer lied. “So then you think he’ll ask you out again?”

“Well, I mean, I hope so,” she said. “You know how much I hate it when I don’t have a date on Friday night.”

“Yeah,” Summer agreed, holding back a snort of derision. All she cares about is if she has a date. He’s not just a date, he’s a person with thoughts and hopes and feelings.

“Anyway, I think we need to get food for the house,” Mia added. “I’ve rented a car; it should be here by now. They said they’d leave it in the driveway for us.”

Not wanting to continue the discussion they were having anyway, Summer was quite willing to turn to the task of making a shopping list instead. Mia told her what to write while she sat at the table typing it into her cell phone. When they’d finished, the two women stepped out and got into the car, which turned out to be a red sedan,

While they were waiting in the line to purchase the groceries, they noticed several people whispering behind their hands and looking at them. They began to feel uncomfortable by the time they’d finally reached the cashier.

“Why are they all staring at us?” Summer asked her uncomfortably.

“They think you should be warned about—well, about the company you keep, I suppose,” she explained with a grimace. “There’s a lot of prejudice around here, and there’s some who believe your sister’s death was no accident.”

“What do you mean?” Mia gasped. “Are they accusing Wolf Carson of something?”

“’Fraid so, my dear,” she said as she pressed a button to activate the card reader. “But it’s not what you think. You see, there’s some who believed your sister was—well, she was altered, I guess you’d say.”

“What the hell does that mean?”

“There’s some as believe there’s a pack of werewolves living in Haven, and your sister was one of ‘em,” she explained in a low tone. “They think Carson must have been bitten sometime as well.”

“What? That’s completely crazy,” Mia gasped.

“Why do they think that?” Summer asked quietly, prompting the other two to glance at her in surprise.

“Well, his name, for one thing,” the woman pointed out as if it should be obvious.

“Wow, they really are prejudiced,” said Summer, offended on Wolf’s behalf.

“Well, I certainly don’t believe a word of it,” Mia protested hotly. “I’m not going to just take this nonsense at face value.”

“But how do we know he hasn’t already got you under his spell?” she said. “You were just out with him last night. What did the two of you do when you returned home?”

“Nothing at all, not that it’s anyone’s business,” Mia gasped. “He was a perfect gentleman.”

“Good,” she answered as she finished bagging the food and set the last bag into their cart. “Let’s just hope you keep it that way.”

Mia scowled at this, and stormed out, leaving Summer to wheel the cart behind her.

III

When Mia and Summer stepped back into the house, they discovered that it was filled with roses, each of a dozen in its own vase.

“Oh my!” Mia gasped, stepping forward to finger one red petal. “It was Wolf. It had to be.”

“Well, that’s a little creepy,” Summer pointed out. “He must still have a key to the house.”

“I think it’s very romantic,” Mia insisted as she took one rose from its vase and held it to her nose. She padded down the hallway and went into her bedroom, leaving Summer to put the food away.

Why did Wolf kiss me if he’s giving roses to Mia? This sucks.

"I saw the roses,” said Mia into her cell as she returned to grab a glass of orange juice. “That was so sweet, Wolf. Yes, dinner tomorrow night sounds great. Yes, eight is fine, but won’t you be tired if you’re working all day—“

Summer was relieved when Mia closed her door, finally drowning out her sorrow. All she could do was mull everything that had happened since they came to Haven around in her head.

They buried their sister Ellen—and Wolf had kissed her.

They moved into her home—and Wolf had kissed her.

The townsfolk thought he was a werewolf—and Wolf had kissed her.

He filled the house with roses—and he’d kissed her.

Why had Wolf kissed her, but asked Mia on a date? Why would he give Mia all those flowers if she’d only gotten a ‘sweet’ kiss and her own had been so hot?

Once the food was put away, Summer headed for her bedroom, and hot tears pricked at the sides of her eyes. Wolf was lying in her bed. Three more roses adorned her dresser in one big, beautiful vase.

“So listen, I really have to go now, okay?”

Wolf hung up his cell phone and tossed it next to the vases. Then he lay back and grinned up at her invitingly.

"Why are you in my bed, Wolf?” she managed to ask.

“I’ve been waiting for you,” he said, and slipped the stem of another rose between his perfectly white teeth as he sat up to pull her down onto the bed with him.

“Why are you making a date with Mia while you’re in my bed waiting for me?” Summer insisted.

“She’s the one who invited me,” he explained. “I was simply unwilling to turn down the offer of a good meal.”

"And the roses?”

“They were meant for you, Summer,” he said softly. “I can’t help it if Mia assumed they were hers. Your sister is a bit pushy, isn’t she?”

“Yes, she is that,” Summer had to agree. “Sometimes it really pisses me off how pushy she is.”

Wolf slid a hand down her side and along her hip. “But you are too sweet,” he mentioned as he gazed into her eyes. “You think about things.”

“I think it’s strange, what I heard at the store today,” she smirked as she flipped onto her side to face him more fully.

“What did you hear?” he inquired. He moved forward to nibble her neck, but Summer backed away so she could see his face again.

“Are you really a werewolf?” she inquired curiously.

“What?” Wolf laughed, and then his silver eyes sparkled for a moment before he moved closer again and pretended to bite her throat and tear her to pieces, growling as he did so.

“Stop it, Wolf,” she giggled. “Seriously, everyone was staring at as like we have the plague or something. They really seem to believe it, whether it’s true or not. Where would they all get such a crazy idea?”

“Gee, I don’t know—my name, maybe?”

Summer laughed with him this time, and when he moved in to kiss her, she let him. He bit her bottom lip, making her giggle again. Then she pouted and said, “You have a date to plan for tomorrow, and I need some sleep. Now get out of my bed.”

“You’re jealous,” Wolf chuckled as he moved above her and nibbled her neck some more.

“Jealous?” she scoffed. “Why would I be jealous? You and I are not a couple, so—“

“Summer,” he whispered with a shake of his head. He kissed her hungrily, and she found herself kissing him back with equal intensity. Then he backed away and sat up as he said, “Summer, didn’t you ever hear that wolves mate for life? It’s instinctive; they just know when they’ve found their mate.”

“Then you admit that you’re a werewolf?” she smirked, barely able to hide her fascination with such an interesting idea. It would be wonderful to be able to become a werewolf, and take whatever I wanted. No one would tell me what to do then.

“I admit nothing,” Wolf answered with an enigmatic smile.

Though she had been enjoying their strange conversation up to that point, those words suddenly gave Summer a sense of unease. She couldn’t really say why, but it was almost as though he’d said something quite ominous.

He sat forward again, leaning in to claim her lips briefly. “I’ll let you sleep, sweet Summer; guess I’ll go home and dream that I stayed instead.”

Summer felt heat wash over her body when Wolf said that. Her mind took a quick trip to the place he described, seeing their bodies tangled together and slick with sweat in this very bed, and she had to stifle a groan. She almost wanted to tell him to stay after all. Almost.

)0(

Summer was standing inside the post office, waiting for the clerk to bring her a package she’d gotten from her book publisher. She knew that inside there would be a contract she needed to sign so her most recently written book could be published, and she was looking forward to signing the thing and sending it back.

An older couple stood staring at her from nearby, and she cast them a questioning look.

“Tell her,” the woman prompted insistently.

“Tell me what?” Summer asked, folding her arms across her chest as she leaned against the nearby wall.

“My wife is worried that you and your sister are not familiar with our ways here,” the man explained with an exasperated sigh. “Nocturnalia—the full moon, if you will—is coming soon. Here in Haven, the people go indoors and lock themselves in on all the nights the moon is full. We stock up our larders and check every window and door, and even in the summer we keep a fire lit in the hearth. It’s vitally important around here, what with all the supernatural activity going on.”

“Wait, you mean the werewolves?” Summer scoffed. “I’ve heard all about that, not that I believe a word of it, of course. Someone even tried to tell us one of our friends is a werewolf just because of his name.”

“Wolf Carson isn’t just any werewolf,” the woman whispered as she crossed herself rather quickly. “He’s the leader of the pack. He killed our daughter—and your sister.”

“You’re telling me you think Wolf Carson killed Ellen?” she asked, her stomach lurching at the thought. “If you really think that, then why is he not locked up somewhere?”

“Miss Raines, one does not simply lock up the pack leader of at least thirty werewolves,” said the man incredulously. “You must understand, this town is full of the things. We’ve had a hard time keeping any kind of sheriff around at all. And the trouble is, nobody knows who is a wolf, and who is not. You see, the wolves lock themselves in, the same as everyone else, and then creep out in the middle of the night when no one sees them. Even we could be wolves, and you would never even know it.”

“This is all so ridiculous,” said Summer as she stood up again. She took the stack of mail from the clerk and set the other envelopes aside as she tore open the larger package, deftly signed on all the dotted lines, and packaged the contract up again. Then she paid the postage, gave the two still-staring townsfolk a brief nod, and left the post office as quickly as possible.

Summer drove over to the gym where she had left her sister earlier, and found her waiting on a bench just outside the place. She was frowning slightly.

"Have they been filling your ears with this Nocturnalia business, too?” Summer asked as Mia got into the car.

“Yes, it’s crazy, isn’t it?” she said, though her fingers deftly locked her car door a bit faster than usual. “They’re quite insistent about it, in fact. I was told that all the businesses will be closed for three days starting tomorrow night. It’s weird.”

“And has anyone told you that Wolf is supposedly the leader of a pack of werewolves?” Summer wanted to know.

“I hadn’t heard that one,” she said, trying to force a smirk that didn’t quite come.

“Well, I don’t suppose it would hurt anything to check the windows and doors,” Summer conceded. “But if we’re going to have a fire, we’ll have to get wood.”

"We don’t need to build a fire in this heat,” Mia insisted. “That’s the craziest part of all.”

“Crazier than the idea that werewolves will be prowling the streets over the next three nights?” Summer pointed out.

“Yeah, there is that,” she conceded, and the two women chuckled.

As Summer parked the car in their driveway, Mia’s cell phone rang.

“Yes, I did call you,” she said. “I—I guess I just wanted to hear your voice. You’re the only one in this town who doesn’t give me the creeps.”

Summer could hear Wolf’s laugh, rich and mellow, through the phone. “I don’t know, I’ve been told recently that I’m quite a creepy guy.” Then he howled like a wolf and chuckled.

“Who told you that?” asked Mia, sounding a little put off.

“Just your sister,” he answered with good humor.

“Ellen?” she asked uncertainly.

“No, Summer.”

“I didn’t know the two of you had talked,” she said as she glanced in her direction with one brow raised. Summer shrugged and opened her car door.

“We might have done,” Wolf commented in an amused tone. “Don’t forget, you’re not the only new girl in town.”

"Really?” Mia said snidely. “You managed to tear her away from her computer screen long enough to say two words to one another? That is creepy.”

Summer rolled her eyes and went into the house, knowing exactly what she would find in her bedroom when she got there. She didn’t know if the roiling knot in her stomach was from dread, or from anticipation, as she headed down the hall.

IV

As Wolf lay sprawled on her mattress with his cell to his lips, Summer closed her door and leaned against it, watching him with one brow delicately raised. He clicked off the phone and smirked.

“It’s easy to talk of trivial things to someone who only cares for trivial things,” he commented when she did not move from her stance.

“Really?” Summer answered, crossing her arms over her chest. She wondered if he was as good at reading other people’s thoughts as he was with hers.

“Your article was quite good this week, Summer,” he added as he stood and walked over to her, the look on his face almost predatory in nature.

“Was it?”

“Yes, I quite enjoyed it,” he said, one hand to either side of her face as he looked into her with those silver eyes of his, making her abdomen flip more than ever. He did not move to kiss her, and Summer found herself wishing that he would. Her mouth went dry and wet all at the same time, and she couldn’t seem to catch her breath.

“Why?” she breathed huskily, and his eyes darkened at the sound, knowing the effect he was having on her.

“It was most informative, and very well written, as always,” he said, inching just a tiny bit closer to her as he spoke. “But all the time as I read it, I couldn’t help wanting to taste you again.”

“So, you don’t think it was trivial then?” she clarified, the swallowed hard as he inched closer still, their foreheads almost touching, his chest brushing against her folded arms.

“Everything that you have to say is important to me,” he said, taking her hands and using them to move her arms up and around his neck, then leaning in so their bodies melded together. Still, he maddeningly kept his lips up out of reach as he gazed at her, the truth of his words plain on his face.

Summer smirked. “Wolf, what things do you think are really important?”

Wolf smiled then, and bent down to nibble at her lips as he answered, “Life, death, the infinite, the reason we exist—the reasons that we love—“

He was on her then, hands everywhere as his lips claimed hers. Summer found herself responding to him with a wild abandon unlike any she’d ever felt before. There was nothing ‘sweet’ about this kiss. This was hot. So damned hot!

“Wolf!” she gasped as she felt him lift her off her feet. He carried her over to the bed and gently laid her there, then practically ripped open her blouse in his desire to get inside. Summer groaned as she felt the weight of him settle between her still-clothed thighs. The urgency of his need was made apparent as he moved against her. “Oh God, Wolf!”

He was huge. She’d suspected he would be, but if the bit of flesh hidden in his pants was as big as it seemed, she didn’t just want it, she needed it. Craved it as she’d never craved before.

“You can touch me, Summer,” he encouraged her. “Don’t be afraid.”

“I’m not afraid,” she lied, blushing softly when she could see he knew better.

“I want to taste you,” he told her then. “And I want you to taste me.”

She blushed even more, hearing that. She knew what he was talking about, and since things were progressing as they were, she knew she needed to admit the truth.

“Wolf, I’ve never done—well, this, before,” she said softly.

“Summer,” he chuckled. “Sweet, sweet Summer. I already know that.”

“What? How would you know?”

He inhaled deeply, savoring her scent for a moment before he said, “I can smell it, sweetheart. You are meant only for me.”

Summer felt a protest surging to her lips, but at the last moment her heart intervened because somehow, she didn’t know how, she knew his words were true. No other man had ever sparked her interest before Wolf. Until she’d seen him, she’d never felt such an all-consuming desire for anything, let alone another person.

When Wolf saw that she had accepted his words, he leaned down to kiss her again. His tongue slid along her lips possessively, and Summer opened her mouth for him. They got into a battle, of sorts, with their lips and tongues, until Summer giggled and turned her head away.

“Let me taste you, Summer,” Wolf whispered into her ear, and her heart leapt before it began pounding faster in her chest. He blazed a trail of hot kisses down her throat and used his teeth to move aside one of her bra cups, looking up into her eyes before he slid his tongue over her sensitive nipple.

Summer gasped, and her fingers slid into his hair as he did it again. Then he took the nipple into his mouth to suckle, giving it playful bites every now and then until he had her squirming in his arms. Wolf laughed as he released it, and began kissing down her body again.

“Wolf!” Summer sighed as his hands came down to unbutton her fly, then unzip her jeans in a slow, deft motion that made her shiver.

“Mm, Summer, say yes,” he said softly. “I want to hear it.”

“Y-yes,” she managed to say. She lifted up her hips at his promptings, and he slid the jeans down over her hips, then removed them completely, leaving the underwear behind.

Summer giggled as he nosed the elastic and cast her a wicked gaze. “Yes, now?” she finally asked, making him chuckle.

“Mm, if you insist, sweetheart,” he practically purred. Using his teeth, Wolf slid the bikini-cut panties down bury his nose against her clit, and breathed in the scent of her, making Summer giggle again. Then he took the panties off of her and arranged himself so his body was comfortably between her thighs.

“You’re waiting for me to insist, aren’t you?” she finally said with a laugh. “Do it, already, will you?”

Laughing, Wolf complied. His tongue slid languidly along her folds, seeking the little nub that would rock her world. When he found it, Summer practically shrieked, and she clamped her hands over her mouth, not sure she wanted Mia to hear them. A pang of jealousy swept over her as she remembered the two had a date later, but Wolf’s magic tongue soon made her mind wander back to more important things.

Her body felt like it was going to explode from the heat of it as he continued what he was doing, and soon she couldn’t seem to lay still. Her legs curled up around his back and her fingers tugged at his hair, and she couldn’t be quiet anymore.

“Honestly Summer, if you’re going to do that must you be so loud about it?” asked Mia through the closed door.

“Sorry,” she answered breathlessly. She knew Mia thought she was alone, and she giggled again as she thought about that. Wolf glanced up at her and grinned wickedly, well aware of what she was thinking. Summer smirked, then deftly guided his head back to what he’d been doing. It wasn’t much longer before Wolf made her come, and she had to clamp her hands tightly over her mouth to block the sound.

“Mm, your turn,” she whispered once she’d caught her breath again. She flipped them both over and got on top of him, kissing him hungrily again.

Her naked and sated flesh was situated on top of his hardness, and she could feel it throbbing under her. “Hmm, he seems eager for his bit of fun,” she said. “Shall I tease him the way you teased me?’

“No,” Wolf protested, casting her a look that made her want him to already be in her mouth. Summer wasted no time in putting that want into action. Within moments his fly was open and she’d extracted his member from its hiding place, and now she was running her tongue over the tip.

“Oh!” gasped Wolf appreciatively. Summer giggled and he covered his mouth. He opted to keep his hands up there, just in case, as she took part of him into her mouth. With one hand, he slid his fingers into her hair and showed her the pace he wanted as she began to move. He obviously wasn’t wrong about the placement of the hand that remained over his mouth.

Summer chuckled around his flesh, making Wolf laugh with her between his gasps of ecstasy. She marveled at the fact that he seemed to get bigger than ever as she continued to tease him. Wolf’s fingers stiffened in her hair as he moaned even louder, and she felt the hot, wet come shoot into her mouth. She didn’t have a chance to think before she’d swallowed it, and then laid her face on his belly as she rolled her tongue around curiously, discovering his taste.

Wolf laughed at her for it.

“What?” she asked innocently as she grinned up at him.

“Come up here and kiss me,” he told her huskily.

Summer felt a bit nervous as she moved up into his arms. Would he want to do more than this, now that they’d begun? She wasn’t sure she was ready for that; she hadn’t really thought this through.

“You taste good,” Wolf told her as he kissed her again. “I knew you would.”

“You too,” she admitted with a blush.

“Did you wonder?” he teased her.

“Of course not,” she lied. Wolf chuckled.

“Yes, you did,” he whispered. “Just like you are wondering about all the rest. Shall I teach you now, or make you wonder a while longer?”

“I—I—don’t you have to go get ready for your date?”

“I’m already on my date,” he mentioned. “That’s just dinner and some conversation. She will never have more from me.”

“Never?” Summer asked softly.

“Wolves mate for life,” he whispered against her lips. “Always.”

Summer kissed him back as he rolled them over so she was underneath him, and she could feel him against her thigh. He brought one hand down to position himself, and then pushed into her, breaking through the resistance as she gasped in surprise. It didn’t hurt, but she was certain that was because she was so wet already.

They moved together in a hot cadence. Their breaths mingled as they went, and then he reared up a bit so he could go deeper, and deeper, and she was lost in a haze of heat, sweltering in his arms. Wolf pounded into her, and she could no longer hold back her moans. Their voices mingled hotly together as they came, and then they lay there in the tangle Summer had dreamed up before, holding each other close.

“Summer, are you watching a movie in there or something?” asked Mia as she pounded on the door. “Turn the thing down or something.”

“Okay, sorry,” Summer called, then kissed Wolf on the top of his head. “Good thing she hasn’t opened the door, or you might be out a free dinner.”

Wolf stifled a laugh and grabbed a pillow, hitting Summer on the head with it. Giggling like children, the two had a pillow fight before they settled down to cuddle some more.

V

Mia returned from her date with a frown on her face and a new front door lock in her hand. Summer was in the living room typing away, and tried not to glare at her sister, schooling her features into a confused frown instead.

“What’s that thing for?” Summer wanted to know.

“Nocturnalia,” she answered snappishly. “And we are not letting Wolf in.”

“What do you mean?” asked Summer hotly, standing up to watch as Mia took a screwdriver to the door. “What happened?”

“He told me he’s met someone special, and he doesn’t want to lead me on,” she informed her with a disgusted sneer. “Of course, he waited until I’d paid the bill first. Hmph, I hope he is the werewolf, and the townsfolk kill him for it.”

“That’s awfully harsh,” Summer protested, tamping down the anger that boiled up within her. “He never told you the two of you were anything more than friends. You shouldn’t even be upset—“

“You seem to know an awful lot about this,” Mia accused as she torked the last screw into place.

“It’s only obvious,” she hedged.

“Summer, was that a movie you were watching in your room?” she asked her outright.

“What do you mean?” she asked.

“Wolf was in your bedroom, wasn’t he?” she wanted to know. “You knew we were dating, and yet you swooped right in and fucked him.”

“It was the other way around, actually,” Summer defended herself.

“Fine, but you let him.”

“Mia, you may not know this, but not every guy likes a woman to throw herself on him like you do,” Summer pointed out. “That might work on some guy with half a brain, but Wolf is much more than some piece of meat you can just coerce.”

“I don’t know, you seem to have managed to find his meat awfully fast,” Mia scoffed.

“I don’t want to lock Wolf out of the house,” she said then. “I think the townsfolk are dead wrong about him.”

“And if you’re wrong, it could be us who are dead,” Mia said. “Wolf stays out for the next three days, and that’s final. It’s going to take me at least that long to calm down about this anyway.”

“Not everything is all about you, Mia,” Summer yelled, and she stormed off into her room, slamming the door behind her.

Something small and hard poked her in the back, and she found a little cell phone that was not her own. It had a blinking green light and she pushed a button. The screen said there was a text, so she read it. Summer, I got you this so we can talk. Call me.

“Where are you?” she asked when Wolf answered.

“Working,” he said. “I have to work for the next couple of days since so many other people around here are afraid to go outside.”

Summer chuckled, but he could hear that she was feeling tearful.

“Have you been crying, sweetheart?” he wanted to know. “I just told Mia we weren’t going anywhere. You don’t have to feel jealous anymore.”

“I’m not jealous,” she protested. “I’m just plain mad. Mia changed the locks, and says I’m not to let you in here. She knows about us, by the way. She guessed it was me you were talking about.”

“That’s good,” he said. “At least we don’t have to worry that she’ll find out another way.”

“I suppose, but I don’t know what to do,” Summer said. “Maybe I should just let her have her way about this stupid Nocturnalia business. She doesn’t intend to allow you in here till it’s over.”

Wolf snorted. “I’m surprised she ever intends to let me in at all. And since she’s the one who got the house, she doesn’t even have to.”

“But it’s so stupid,” she complained. “She expects me to do whatever she says, and just because the house is hers I don’t even have a choice.”

“I can’t come over until my shift ends in two days, Summer,” he said. “But when I do, I hope you will let me in.”

Summer giggled. “Not by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin.”

“Then I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll—let you blow me once I come in.”

“Mm, you want to come in?”

“Mm hmm,” he smirked. “I have to get back, though. It’s time to do some more welding, and I’m the only one here who is allowed.”

“Okay,” she said. “Call me later.”

“I will,” he agreed, and with a small click he was gone.

)0(

Summer and Mia were watching television three days later. A fire blazed unnecessarily in the hearth, and Summer’s belly was alive with nervous tension, knowing that Wolf had left work about three hours ago and told her he’d gone home for a bit of sleep. She knew he was going to come over sooner or later, and her sister seemed to suspect he’d be there as well.

“You’re not letting anyone in here,” she said when the clock chime made Summer jump.

“What is your problem?” Summer asked. “Why would you think Wolf was dangerous?”

“Summer, the last time I saw him, he was different,” Mia said with a shudder.

“Different how?”

“Just—different,” she insisted. “He’s not getting in here while the moon is full.”

“That’s crazy talk,” she insisted.

“I think he really did kill Ellen, sis,” Mia told her then.

“You think he’s really a werewolf?”

“His eyes—they got this really weird light in them, and then he—well, he snarled, and I thought I saw his teeth getting pointy, and I got the hell out of there. He’s not getting in.”

“Mia, do you hear yourself talking?” Summer scoffed, trying to hide the hope that infused her from her sister’s eyes. The power to be free, and in Wolf’s arms…or paws, or whatever….

“I think he killed Ellen, and I think he intends to kill me as well,” Mia said. “I just don’t really think we can trust him.”

A knock sounded on the door. Summer moved to get up, and Mia grabbed her by the arm and held her in her seat so she couldn’t open it.

“Mia, let me go,” she complained.

“Little pigs, little pigs, let me in,” Wolf called, but his voice sounded different—sort of growling or guttural. Like an animal.

“Go away, Wolf,” Mia called back. “You’re not getting in here.”

“Is that what Summer says?” he asked hotly, then snarled after.

“It’s not up to Summer,” she insisted. “She’s not thinking right. I told her what you are, but she refuses to listen. Now get away from our door.”

"I have another way in,” he growled.

Summer was stunned by the sound of his voice. She was beginning to think the rumors were true, and a real werewolf stood outside their door. But damn it, he was her werewolf, and she’d missed him the last two days.

“Mia, please let him in,” Summer pleaded. “He hasn’t done anything.”

“Summer, you didn’t see him,” she insisted. “His face was starting to stretch and he grew hair on his arms, and his teeth—oh God, his teeth got sharper and—“

“And you’re making him mad by leaving him outside,” Summer added. “If he is really what you say and you’re the one making him mad, what do you think he’s going to do when he gets in here?”

“Summer, don’t be stupid. If he gets in here he’ll tear both of us to shreds, just like Ellen.”

“He might eat you, but he won’t hurt me,” Summer insisted with a smirk. “Wolves mate for life.”

Summer, I’ve often wondered about your sanity before, but that’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. He must be getting in through your bedroom window—I’m so stupid. I forgot to check it tonight.”

“No, leave it alone,” Summer protested.

Mia’s eyes rounded as she realized Summer had her by the arm, and she yanked it free and ran down the hall. Summer sprang up to stop her, and before she got to the door she heard a sharp scream, quickly cut off. Her stomach lurched, and she hesitated before she reached the door, watching Wolf feed with a fascinated stare.

Wolf stepped into the hall, and he was—not himself. But he was glorious. His jaw had lengthened and his perfect white teeth were long and sharp, with a smattering of blood on them. He walked to her slowly, almost gently, and ran a claw along her side as she gazed up into his silver eyes.

“What big eyes you have,” she smirked, trembling at his touch.

Wolf snorted with amusement. “The better to see you with.”

“What big teeth you have,” she said with a giggle.

“The better to turn you with,” he mentioned as he ran his snout down her cheek and then bit her shoulder, deep enough to get the job done, but trying not to make it hurt.

“Ow!” she gasped, but then she looked playfully up at him again.

“Summer?”

“Do you have anything else that might be big that you’d want me to notice?”

Wolf laughed so hard he howled. “You know I do.”

“Yeah, but did it—transform too?”

“Not really, but with my legs like this, it’s easier to do it from behind,” he chuckled in his gravelly voice. “But unless you want to see your sister’s carcass on the floor, we may not want to go in there.”

“Wolf, you know how much I like doing it in the hallway,” she said seductively, and he howled with delight as he flipped her around, more than willing to take her at her word.

His claws tore at her clothing, ripping it off so he could take what he wanted. Summer groaned with delight as he entered her from behind, and he slammed her against the wall. She had to put her arms in front to cushion her head as he pounded into her, making her come almost immediately. His own climax didn’t follow until much later, and Summer was in ecstasy all the way.

)0(

The next month they were cavorting in the lake behind the house under the moonlit sky, waiting for Summer’s first transformation to be complete. Excited now, Summer exclaimed, “It’s starting, Wolf!”

Summer’s fur was pale gold, they were both surprised to discover. Wolf had thought it might darken when she changed, but it didn’t. Her eyes turned a pale gold to match.

“Summer, we’re silver and gold,” he teased her in a growling voice. “Your eyes are the same color as the rest of you.”

“Wow,” she growled as her own vocal cords began to stretch. “That’s awesome.”

“Wonder what color our kids will turn,” Wolf snickered, his pointy teeth glinting as the moonlight hit them.

Summer launched an all-out splash war, and then they collapsed together on the shore.

“Sing with me, Summer,” said Wolf, letting out a long, low howl and laughing.

“Maybe you should give me something to howl about,” she suggested.

“Not yet, sweetheart,” he said as he took her by her newly transformed paw. “First we need to go grocery shopping. It’s time for you to feed.”

Hunger swirled in her belly as Summer tilted back her head and howled, and then the two of them disappeared into the night.

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