Kane sprawled on the bed. Gaby snuggled at his side. Her naked body provided him with the best view of all time. He sighed in contentment. Oh, baby. How many times had they had sex last night? Wild. Almost a blur like his memory. Gambling. Drinks. More gambling and winning, hot sex, then fine dining with the sexiest woman alive, going out on the town, dancing, drinking and then…?
He stared at the white garter around his wrist and then the wedding ring on his finger. Married? The Las Vegas cliché of a spontaneous wedding. Not that it was a bad idea, in fact, he wanted her to be his forever, but he wished he remembered their nuptials better.
He sat up and brushed his fingers through her disheveled just-had-sex hair. Mine. He nuzzled her ear and whispered, “Gaby, wake up.”
She snuggled closer and whined. “No.”
He glanced at the clock. “It’s past noon. We better get back on the road.”
“My head hurts.”
“I’ll get you some water, beloved wife.”
Gaby sprung up as if he’d thrown ice water on her. “What?” She stared at her wedding ring, a diamond studded gold band. “Really?”
He caressed his finger along her arm, enjoying the sight of goose flesh springing up. “We were both of sound body and mind. For sure the sound body part.” He smirked. “Don’t tell me you don’t remember?”
She ran a hand through her lush brown hair and then stared back at her wedding ring. “I do, sort of.”
“The little chapel and me on my knees proposing to you,” he said as tiny important details came back to him and he smiled, remembering how she gaped for the longest time and then jumped up and down saying, yes. He handed her a picture of them kissing under a canopy. “Proof.”
Gaby stared at the photograph and shook her head. “I thought I dreamt it all…but now I remember. I thought you were joking, but I agreed and then we found two witnesses.” She glanced at the door. “You carried me over the threshold when we entered the hotel.”
He took her hand and kissed it. “Then we consummated our marriage…I think…most of the night.”
She turned her red bleary eyes to him. “Not a dream?”
“A dream we shared and made real.” Kane looked around the room. “Hold on.” He walked over to the table and picked up the papers. “Look, a State of Nevada marriage certificate. Mr. Kane Wildwood and Mrs. Gaby Wildwood.”
“Isn’t that Steele’s last name?”
“I figured I wanted to make sure our marriage was legit so I used my so called surname.” He feigned hurt. “Don’t tell me you don’t like my last name.”
“Of course not.” She pressed her hands over her temples. “I have such a hangover.”
He walked to the refrigerator and got a bottle of water for her. “Drink while I call room service for some pain meds.”
Gaby took off the lid and drank. She groaned. “What I need is coffee.” She finished drinking the rest of the bottle then went into the bathroom.
Kane dressed in the hotel robe and called room service. At least she hadn’t thrown up. Next time, he’d keep a better handle on her drinking. His wolf grumbled. Taking a wolf charmer mate will mean being on the run from the packs.
Get a grip, we both desired her. Besides, I am perfectly happy to stay a lone wolf.
Gaby turned on the shower and stepped in. Hot water ran over her body. She closed her eyes. What have we done? Were they really that drunk? After the best sex ever, she fell into a beautiful dream of them taking their vows…’til death us do part. A female pastor officiated the ceremony. At least an Elvis impersonator hadn’t married them. What will I do if his she-wolf mate finds us? If his memories flood back, will he leave me and go back to his old life? An annulment was the only solution. There had to be a grace period to dissolve the marriage without requiring a divorce. Who knew she’d end up married? She figured it would never happen. Did she love Kane? Attracted, yes, from the moment she saw him. He was hot, sexy and kind, at least to her, but she’d only known him for such a short period. Oh, boy, did he regret the marriage? He certainly didn’t act like it.
The door opened. “Are you feeling okay?” He wore a wolfish grin on his face that remained as a permanent façade. Like the wolf that ate the lamb.
“Yes, the throbbing is going away.” Her pounding headache turned into a pounding heart.
“Good. Breakfast or rather, brunch is on its way.”
“I’ll be out soon.”
“Take your time. Coffee is brewing.”
He whistled a happy tune. Kane wasn’t the least bit worried about their new relationship status. Did all lycans skip dating and long engagements? Were they more canine in selecting their mates? She never had to convince male dogs to approach a female in heat. He had sniffed every inch of her as if she was in heat. Not complaining. Last night had been over the top gloriously hot, needing, pleasuring him and demanding his oh so lovely tongue to do things to her she’d never imagined in all her wildest sex fantasies. Not to mention his domineering I know how to please expertise. None of her past lovers had been so skilled. Gaby soaped her body and then shampooed her hair. Doing her best to ignore her hardened nipples. She washed off and then stepped out, grabbed a white robe and smelled the rich aroma of French roast coffee. As she stepped into the bedroom, he handed her the mug. “I added cream the way you like it.”
His amber eyes glistened in mischief. “Anything for my wife.”
Wife? Before she could respond about how they rushed into marriage while drunk, the doorbell rang.
“Brunch.” He smiled and opened the door. She peeked; relieved it was room service and not the bad guys. Two attendants brought in a pushcart filled with food. They set the elaborate meal on the table.
The older of the two men smiled. “Enjoy the rest of your honeymoon.”
“We will indeed.” He handed them both a hefty tip that brightened their faces.
How many people did he tell?
Kane escorted her to the dining table and pulled out a chair for her. “Sit.”
She did and he handed her a mimosa, then joined her. He lifted his glass. “To a long lasting marriage.”
They clinked glasses and sipped. Numb, she finally formulated words. “We need to talk.”
“And so we are.”
Insecurity about his real intention for getting hitched surfaced. “We married to help our escape plans, right?”
“To be honest, I doubt getting married helps our flight.” He winked. “I claimed you as my mate and you accepted.”
Mate sounded so wolfish. “You can’t be serious.”
His tone changed from jovial to a near growl. “Taking a mate is the most serious vow a wolf can make.”
Holy shit. He meant it. “But we don’t know each other.”
“I know enough.” He cocked his head. “Did I not satisfy you in bed?”
“Yes, of course. It’s just that lust and love are birds of a different feather.”
“Gaby, if I didn’t love you, I would not have taken you as a mate.” His brows furrowed. “Don’t you love me?”
“Yes…no…I don’t know. I’m so confused.”
“A wolf knows his mate, but I understand humans require a longer bonding period.”
“Didn’t you say you can’t take a human as a mate? Besides, what if you someday regain your full memory back and realize you left behind a princess wolf mate?” Then there was the wolf charmer enemy thing.
He engulfed her small hand in his. “My wolf warned me about taking a human female, but he and I agree. You are the one.” He released her hand. “Unless, you really hate being my mate.”
“It’s just until we know who you really are, why risk our hearts?”
“I’ve decided not to pursue my past identity. My life started back in the lab the minute you walked in and your beautiful green eyes rocked my world.”
Her heart melted. “Love at first sight?”
He chuckled. “The mate signal went off the charts, but I have to admit, I fought it. Mostly because my wolf told me you were forbidden fruit.”
“There is so much besides finding out your real identity we don’t know. I mean what about children and other things?” Not that she’d ever thought of having a family. Far from it. She assumed she’d never get married. Not to mention marrying a different species.
“True, I don’t have all the answers, but together we’ll discover them.”
Gaby remained confused, but the thought of being with the handsomest sexiest man alive forever shadowed her practical side. She met his feral eyes and knew, for better or for worse, he was for her.
Kane held the trunk of the car opened. Bags of new clothes, for him and her, a new laptop and the briefcase with their cash. After shopping for hours, they were finally ready to go as the sun set. “Are you sure you have everything?”
Gaby looked the stereotypical tourist, wearing a sun hat, sunglasses, tight black jeans, short boots and jade silk shirt. She put away her new smart phone. “Yep.”
He closed the trunk. “To the coast then and our new life.”
She sat in the passenger seat and set their GPS. “Let’s head just north of San Francisco.”
His hackles rose, the air crackled, and he growled. He quickly got into the vehicle.
“Kane, what’s wrong?”
“Let’s get the hell out of here.” He sped away, taking side roads to the main freeway.
She looked back as if trying to figure out who chased them.
“Don’t worry, their scent was a mile away.”
“Two werewolves, a man and woman.”
“You can tell their gender?”
“Can you smell a pizza from bacon?”
“That’s how clear.” He frowned. “Their scent is familiar.”
“You must know them.”
“My nose thinks so.”
“Do you think they are vacationing or looking for us?”
“Las Vegas is not exactly a werewolf vacation destination.”
“I don’t see why not. You said they were a male and female.”
The problem was they could be friends or enemies out to finish the job. He sighed. “Damn. I got sloppy.”
“I know there are cameras everywhere, but why would they randomly look for us in Las Vegas of all the places?” This included the photograph of their nuptials. He’d let Gaby keep the picture and wished he’d deleted it from the chapel’s photographer’s camera.
“They might have figured I used my mind control for gambling. How else would a rogue werewolf get easy money? Robbing a bank would have brought more attention. Not to mention using my last name on our marriage certificate.”
“You make them sound like Big Brother.”
“Again, my wolf warns me they could be stalking everywhere.”
“Why not talk to them? I mean you sniffed only two, right?”
“Not worth the risk.”
“I think I’d rather take my chances with your kind than mine.”
“Gaby, what if my kind still murders wolf charmers?”
“That’s pretty cold blooded.”
“Avery has a point. We werewolves are willing to do whatever it takes to keep our society secret. Even if it means murder.”
“I’m sure if you reason with them, we can negotiate a deal about keeping silent. Trust me. I’m good at keeping quiet.”
He glanced in the rearview mirror. No one appeared to follow. Yet. “My inner wolf warned me taking a human as a mate is taboo.”
“It’s not too late for an annulment if it means our lives.”
“You can’t mean that.”
“I have to admit the Las Vegas marriage after too much booze and great sex should be a mistake, but it feels right. Perfect. If your memory returns, I don’t want you to regret it.” She shook her head. “What I’m saying is if you are Steele again, I won’t stand in your way if you want to dissolve the marriage.”
“It’s not the damn paper we signed, it’s more. Claiming you as a mate is far more binding.”
Gaby opened her eyes. Night had fallen. The flat desert road turned busier with commuters. Well lit roads. Trees. Homes on hillsides. How long had she slept? The last thing she remembered was stopping for a meal and studying the map. She straightened. “Where are we?”
“On I-5 heading north, past the Bay Area.”
“You must be tired.”
“I’m on werewolf fuel.”
“It seems like I can go into super protective mode without rest for an extended period of time. Must be an alpha thing.”
Gaby regarded him. The shimmering shadow of the wolf appeared and his facial hair appeared thicker than it had before she slept. “Wait. You don’t plan on driving all night do you?”
“We need to drive until morning, switch cars and then find an area where we can literally hide from werewolf trackers.”
“Surely, they’ve lost your scent by now. If they were really stalking us.”
“I’m not saying my memory is back, but I sense I’ve chased down illusive werewolves before.”
“Go back to my last spot. Gather evidence at the helicopter crash. From there, search for who might have found me.”
“Sounds like an intelligence operation with satellite equipment and sophisticated surveillance.” She shrugged. “I ought to know.”
“Glad we have nefarious shadow groups in common.”
“I still think we should stop in a secluded place. Even sheepdogs need sleep.”
“Not if they are protecting sheep,” he snorted.
“Hey, I do have skills.”
“Okay, where shall we stop?”
Gaby looked at her smart phone. When they purchased it, Kane compelled the tech guy to give them the plan with satellite access. “We can stop in Redding or farther up and enter Mt. Shasta Trinity Forest.”
“We need to stay away from forests. They’ll search all national parks.”
“Okay, we’ll stop in the city then.”
“We’ll see how I feel.”
“I’m sure we can compel someone there to sell us a car.”
“About that. Every time, I compel a person, my wolf makes it clear it’s forbidden.”
“It sounds like you are awakening your real self.”
“You’re right. Little snippets of right and wrong are becoming clearer.”
Gaby gazed at him. His wolf shadow even more pronounced. “You don’t need to shift soon, do you?”
“Nah. I can hold out for another day or two. It appears hot sex staves the need.”
“Yeah, right.” She laughed. “In that case, I’m happy to help.”
“I’m serious. After sex, my wolf goes back to his den.”
“Well then, we should get a crate for your wolf.”
“Only if we both fit.”
“How about I find a hotel?”
He chuckled. “I forgot we are still on our honeymoon. Find a bed and breakfast.”
“I’m happy you are so romantic. Is that your wolf or man side?”
“Both. Then again my wolf will do whatever it takes to please his mate.”
Gaby sighed. Fear of capture took a back burner to finding a room. She scrolled through various hotels. “Sorry, it looks like all the nice places are booked.”
They drove until midnight and then pulled over at hotel just west of Redding and checked in. At this point, anything would do. While she waited for him to get a room, she stepped into the lobby and poured some hot chocolate.
She overheard him. “We’ll take the suite then.” A few minutes later, Kane found her. “We are on the top floor.”
She wiped hot chocolate from her upper lip. “Cool, let’s get our bags.”
“I’ll get them. Meet me by the elevator.” She scanned the area. No one but the hotel attendant was around. Were they safe? The United States was big and trying to find their whereabouts, whether werewolves or werewolf hunters, would not be easy. If she’d known her mother’s bracelet had a tracking chip, she might have escaped long ago. Although, she no longer regretted her past mistake. At least now, she’d met the love of her life. She skipped high speed dating to high speed mating. Kane walked in with the huge wheeled suitcase and her laptop slung over his shoulder. The suitcase fit their clothes and the briefcase of cash. He smiled. “Come on.” They entered the elevator and she pressed ten.
The silent hallway broke into a barking frenzy. From behind closed doors, owners shouted at dogs to calm down. Soon, they’d come out to see if there was a fire in the building. “They smell you.”
He used the card key to open the door. “Can you do something, hon?”
“No problem.” Before Gabby entered their room, she closed her eyes and immediately the dogs stopped barking. She shut the door. “Next time, we won’t book a pet friendly hotel.”
Kane whirled around and suddenly picked her up. “I forgot.”
“I need to carry you over the threshold.”
“You already did, yesterday.”
“How about I carry you to bed then?”
“Hold on wolf. Let’s freshen up first.”
He narrowed his eyes. “Okay, but together.”
Gaby laughed as he walked over to the bathroom area. “Ooh, big tub.”
Kane set her down. “I’ll be right back.” He turned. “Be naked when I do.”
She smirked. “You, too.” She undressed and then turned on the shower.
He returned. Naked. Aroused. “Our first shower together.”
Together, they stepped in. As the spray of hot water rained on her, he lifted her and captured her mouth with hungry urgency. She wrapped her legs around his waist. His body pressed against her, hard chest against soft breasts and needy nipples. She melted with lust.
He slowly released her. “Shall we wash each other?”
“How about you reach the washcloth?”
He lifted a brow and gave her a wolfish smile. “You know wolves prefer licking their mates clean.”
Gaby shivered. “Who goes first?”
“I do.” He kneeled before her, gripped her bottom and drew her in. She gasped as he gently kissed her warm mound. Kisses turned into probing explorations of her tender flesh. On the verge of complete ecstasy, she gripped his head and thrashed. “Oh, my god. Yesss.” She convulsed around him and gasped in completion.
Kane enjoyed pleasing his wife. After she collapsed from her explosive climaxes, he made sure she didn’t fall and began washing her. He pumped soap out of a bottle onto the washcloth and squeezed it over her satin smooth skin. As he washed her breasts, her nipples appeared to have doubled in size. He licked and bit each and she arched. He took great care not to hurt her with his extended canines, which probably felt like daggers, over her sensitive nipples. So delicious. He wanted her now, but better in bed. Where he could tenderly bite Gaby’s tempting pulse and taste her blood. “How about shampoo?”
She smiled and trailed a finger down his abs. “First, I need to clean my mate.”
He handed her the washcloth and spread his legs, his erection throbbing. He hissed as she caressed the underside of his hardness. He wondered if she would switch from cloth to tongue, but unfortunately, he wouldn’t find out today. He grabbed the washcloth from her hand and turned off the water. “I can’t wait.”
Kane picked her up, marched to the bed and lay her down on her back. Besides her hot moist body, the pulse in her throat was an ancient drum calling forth the predator. The scent of her sweet blood tempted him with a hunger like no other. The wolf wanted her now. What is happening to me? He kissed her and then eased into her. Slowly. Sex would satisfy him and release him from the demand for her blood. She accepted each thrust. He focused on her lush lips, but his wolf commanded him, Bite her and complete the mating bond. She’ll think I’m a vampire. His wolf snarled. Seal the bond. Her blood’s sweet aroma filled the air, her pulse sang to him and her pleasurable breaths encouraged him to taste her. He tenderly bit her earlobe. “Gaby, I must stop.”
“I want…no…I want to savor your blood.”
Her eyes widened and her pulse quickened, exciting him even more. “What do you mean?”
“To complete the mating bond, I need to bite you and drink a sample of your blood.” He shook his head. “I think I better shift instead.”
She gripped his face with her hands and met his eyes. “This bond is like a wolf marriage.”
He chuckled. “You might say that. In fact, I am not going on reason or memory but my wolf’s instinct to mark you as his. Forever.”
He held back his hungry wolf and sighed. “I know. Too weird for a human.”
“No. It’s not. Bite me.”
“Are you sure?”
She tilted her head, exposing her soft throat. “I want you forever.”
Kane growled and gently bit her. She flinched, but relaxed with a satisfying moan. Careful not to kill, only suck.
As he drank her blood, she shuddered. “Oh, yes…”
He couldn’t believe it, his bite rather than hurting made her climax. No longer able to hold on, he imbibed her blood and with several powerful thrusts abandoned himself to the best release he’d ever experienced. Together, they rode the waves of their mutual pleasure. He licked the spot of blood from her neck and drew her in.
She sighed and draped her leg over his. “I’m too tired to finish showering.” She yawned. “I feel so…sleepy.”
“Gaby?” Worried he’d drained her, he noticed her small wound had healed and her pulse steady in relaxed sleep. He fingered her tussled hair off her face and kissed her forehead. He too joined her in sleep. Yet, something was different as he rested in the twilight state. He dreamt, but this time, Gaby joined him in his dreams.