Authors: Kathi S. Barton
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Erotica, #Paranormal, #Romantic Erotica
“Why?” He asked her what she meant. “Why are you going to do this for them? I didn’t ask you to.”
“No. You didn’t. But if they’re willing to help themselves, then I’d like to help them as well. Mostly it’s only to give them the opportunity to do something for themselves. If they fuck up or just quit, there are any number of people to take their place. I’ll get them in. It’s entirely up to them what they do afterwards.”
“I love you.” He grinned at her and leaned down to kiss her. “You’re going to get pretty lucky if you keep that up.”
“Promise?” Elijah kissed her again, this time picking her up to wrap around him. “We could both get pretty lucky if you play your cards right. Turn around and let me wash you. I find that to be very sexy, watching the soap run down over the curves of your body.” He put her down and told her to stand very still while he took care of her.
The soapy sponge was his new best friend. As he moved it over her neck to her breasts, he felt his mouth water to follow the path that the pretty pink bubbles traveled, the way the sponge seemed to curve around each of her muscles and soft skin. When he had one breast as clean as he could manage it, he took the tip in his mouth as he moved the sponge down over her navel to her hips and between her thighs.
Her fingers curled in his hair, her hand around his cock. Rocking into her palm, he moved the sponge over her, feeling her riding it. As he lifted his head, she continued to fist him, her hand sliding over his tip only to go to his root in a smooth continuous motion.
“I love the way you feel. Soft and silky, hard and thick.” He moaned when she dropped to her knees in front of him. “I need to have you. Sit down.”
He wasn’t sure if he sat or fell back to the shower seat when she took him into her mouth. And she didn’t slow either, not when he put his hand to her head to pull her back, nor when he begged her to let him finish inside of her. Noelle made him so close to paradise one second, then sobbing with the need to come the next. And when he came, shouting out her name as she held his balls in her hand, he was sure that he’d never had this much pleasure, had never loved anyone as he did her, and that for as long as he lived, Noelle would be his only one true love.
“Come here. I can’t stand up yet.” Her giggle seemed to give him more strength. Standing up, jerking her body to his, Elijah lifted her up and slammed his cock deep into her when he pressed her against the wall. “Christ, come for me. I’m not going to last.”
She came three times, quick, hard, tight punches that left him as drained as she seemed to be. But he needed her, to mark her. And when she bit down on his shoulder, screaming around the flesh, Elijah tilted her head and bit down hard into her throat, tasting her blood as it filled his mouth. It was all it took to bring him over the edge once more, for his cock to empty deep and his heart to fill with love of her.
When she turned off the water, he held her still. There was something so tender about holding the person he loved after having sex that he’d never noticed before. Elijah thought that having a mate at any time was about all a man could ask for in the world. Reaching for a towel when she shivered, he dried her off, then himself, and thought of all the things that he wanted to do with her.
“I think I’m going to hire a crew to work for me.” She turned to him, the towel wrapped around her beautiful body, and asked him why. “So I can spend more time being with you. I know that sounds sort of sappy. I guess it is, but I miss being with you all day.”
“I’m not sure that’s a good idea.” He tried not to be hurt, but when she grinned at him, he felt his heart mend just a little. “We’d never leave this room if you didn’t need to go to work at some point. And I’d have to close up my shop, and I’d really hate to do that as well. As it is now, I can barely go all day without wanting to hunt you down and jump your bones.”
“Hey, whenever the mood strikes, I think you should hunt until you find me.” She leaned against the wall and smiled at him. “I miss doing the things that you’re doing with Sterl.”
“Sterl needs me.” He nodded, and he knew that too. But it didn’t make him any less jealous of him. “And when the baby comes, you’re going to have to help me learn how to be a good parent. I have no idea how that works.”
“I’m positive that you’re going to be wonderful at it.” He looked down at her flat belly. “I can’t wait to see you large with our child. To see it move and feel it there.”
“I’m afraid.” He wanted to tell her that she’d be great with the baby, but she continued. “I have gone without for so long. I know that you have money and so do I. Why you won’t let me put the check in your account is beyond me. But I worry that we’ll be broke, or someone will come and take the house from us. And the car. I love having transportation and pretty clothing. Warm boots when I want them too.”
“I want you to have all of that.” She nodded, and he stood in front of her. “I swear, Noelle, that we don’t have to worry about money. I’ve done well for myself, and I have more than enough to keep you in pretty things and warm boots.”
“Don’t make fun of me.” He kissed her and said that he wasn’t. “I see others struggling with money. I know this plant is going to help a great many people, but some of them it can’t. And if you quit your job, how will I help them?”
“I’m not sure what you mean.” She moved into their bedroom, and he waited. There was something there and he was almost afraid to find out what it was. “Noelle, do you have a plan for me to work on?”
“I bought a loom. And a quilter. Do you know what those are?” He said that he knew but had no idea how to work them. “I want learn how to use them, learn them enough that I can show you if you want. I was thinking I’d like to teach the people at the nursing home how to use them as well. Some may already know, but I think it will give them a sense of purpose that they don’t have now.”
He had no idea why that had anything to do with him quitting his job, but pulled on his clothing while she got around to it. She told him of the material that she’d gotten for almost nothing, the sewing notions as well. And when she was fully dressed, she turned to him.
“If you’re here, with me, I won’t go anywhere. I won’t want to.” He started to tell her he was confused when it hit him. “There are so many things that I want to do.”
“You’re afraid that if I’m out of work, I’ll be making demands on your time and you won’t want to go to work. Honey, I’d never do that to you. Well, I would be making demands on your pretty body, but not to the point where you couldn’t do the things that are important to you.” She looked up at him, and he was positive that she wasn’t sure about it. “I promise you this…I will work every day if you promise me that when the urge hits you to jump my bones, you’ll come and do it. And if I want to chase you around your store, you’ll let me do that as well.”
“You’re not mad.” Actually, he was very proud of her but only shook his head. “You don’t have to work all day, just enough that I can get this started. I need to do this.”
“Well, of course you do. I love it. You’re going to be a big hit at the nursing home too. Mrs. Baker, the lady with the B&B? She is in charge of the activities there. Mom helps her sometimes. I bet she’d love to get you started.”
She was nearly dancing down the stairs. He was going to work every day and leave her to her job because she didn’t want him around, and Elijah was happy as he’d ever been. He revised his earlier thought. Having a mate was the best thing a man could hope for in the universe.
She was here. All he could focus on was that Helenia was here. Trent moved to stand beside his brothers and sat down. They were all their wolves for this, and he prayed to God this worked. As she stood there, her entire demeanor terrifying, he kept his mind focused on one thing. This was going to work.
“Noah, I want my alpha.” Noah was there, but in the shadows. He’d only come out when it was necessary. And he said if it was necessary for them to run for cover, it was going to be bad. She looked at them, all eight of them, standing there. Even his dad and grandda had joined them. “Which one of you is the one that I killed for?”
“You can’t tell, Helenia? Well, that’s really too bad. I thought—well, I guess we all thought—that you’d be able to tell which one of these men you planned to murder.” Myra looked at them, then back at Helenia as she continued to taunt her. “Come now, there is only one of them that you marked, correct? You’re supposed to be this great and powerful...whatever you are. Pick him out and we’ll be done with this.”
“I’m more powerful than you will ever be.” Trent had been worried about that as well, the difference in power between the two women. But when Chris Bentley had shown up with her mate and his family, he’d felt a little better. They had lined up behind Helenia and were now waiting for the word to attack. “Where is my alpha? He and I will be the greatest threat to mankind that they have ever known.”
“Oh, come now. You really think that you’re going to take over the world? With a wolf? I mean they are strong—and this particular family is one of the strongest I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with—but all of mankind?” Myra looked at him again and winked, this time before looking at the she-devil in front of them. “I’m thinking that you’ve lost something with him, haven’t you? More than what Noah and I took from him. You’ve lost...well, you’re not as strong as you once thought you were, are you, Helenia?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” But he heard it in her voice. Her uncertainty. “I’m going to take him with me or kill them all. Tell me which one is mine.”
“None of them are yours.” The hardiness of her voice was in direct contrast to the comical way that Myra was dressed today. “You will not take any of them.”
Her outfit—because that’s what he’d begun calling her outlandish clothing—was all camo. Even her hair was greens, browns, and black. There were even dark smudges under her eyes and along her cheeks. He’s asked Joe once if she thought the woman’s panties as well as bra changed with her clothing, and they’d laughed for nearly an hour trying to outdo one another as to what color she wore with each outfit.
When Helenia moved toward them, Trent stood up with the rest of them. Sterl was right beside him, and he could feel his fear. This was going to be good for his brother if things turned out the way they had planned. If not...well, he was pretty sure that they’d all be dust if it didn’t. Immortal or not, it was going to be difficult to live through the kind of power this woman had on her worst days.
“Come to me, alpha. You belong to me.” None of them moved and Myra laughed. Helenia turned to her, the anger she felt toward the witch palatable. “What do you think you’re even doing here? This is no concern of yours. Leave before I kill you as well.”
That was the cue, the one that they’d hoped for. Chris Bentley came out of the house and stood at Myra’s side. When she pulled out a list and began reading the names from it, Sterl sat back down, as did the rest of his family.
“Helenia, I’m Chris, the Grand Witch of all witches. Catchy title, don’t you think?” Trent watched both women as Chris continued. “You’ve killed a few witches in your lifetime. I’m here to collect on their debt.”
“So? I don’t owe you anything. Not for killing for power. It was necessary to strengthen myself. Not that I needed all that much more. When I was created, I was already more powerful than anyone.” Chris nodded. “You have no stand here either. Be gone. I have business to conduct and you are in my way.”
“Actually, I do have business with you. A lot of it, as a matter of fact. You killed witches, as I have pointed out. And while some of them you received power from, others you did not take what should have rightfully been yours.” Helenia said nothing. “And as such, it is my duty to take a percentage of what you have now in payment for the family. I was thinking one quarter of a percent of what you have now. For each of them.”
“So you think to charge me for not taking the power of a witch that I killed? No. I won’t allow it.” Chris only smiled at her. “You cannot take what does not belong to you. I won this magic by rights of your own laws.”
“So you did. But you did murder others for no other reason than to kill them. That is against all bylaws, even the ones that you rarely follow of your own kind. And as such, it is well within my power to take it back. One quarter of a percent for each of them.”
“There are no others like me. I am the first, the strongest.” Chris said nothing. “How many are you talking about? There cannot be that many that you needed to come here, at this time, to take it from me. I have things to do, and as I have pointed out, you are in my way.”
“You’ll be dead soon enough, and I want to finish this.” Helenia laughed. “You don’t believe me? Well, I suppose you can do that should you want. But I’m taking what is rightfully the family’s. Now.”
Helenia staggered to her knees. Then when it was apparent that she was going to be sick too, she lay down, holding her body much like one of them did when they were shot with silver. As she lay there, Chris turned to Trent.
“When she is gone, you will need to be prepared for what will come to you.” He asked her what that would be. “Everything minus what share I will receive. Your family will...I’m not sure what it will do to you as a wolf, but it might be painful for a few minutes.” She looked at Sterl then. “I should like to advise you on something. Strike quickly and hard. And when you have done so, back away. Do not leave, but back away from her.”
As one the leap of panthers turned and left for the woods. Chris moved to her car, but Myra stayed with them. Trent wasn’t sure what was going to happen now, but he knew that whatever it was, Sterl had to do it. He looked at his brother and nodded.
The shift was quick. When he pulled on his pants that had been just behind them all, he moved forward and kicked Helenia in the face, causing her nose to bleed. As soon as he did, he stumbled back and fell to the ground. Before Trent could go to his aid, the ground shook beneath them.
The...he supposed the being that seemed to come up from the swollen ground looked like every nightmare he’d ever had. He was pretty sure that he’d think about this thing more so now that he’d seen him. But almost as soon as he was ready to turn and have his family run, the being turned into a man, complete with a suit and tie. Then he turned to Trent.
“If you would be so kind as to turn to yourself, I would be appreciative. I have made myself...easier, I guess, for you to see. If you would be so kind, I will finish this.” Trent wasn’t sure what he was to do, but let his wolf go and stood before the man. He was dressed too, in the jeans and tee he’d had on before this started. “Ah, not the wolf I was looking to find. I’m looking for the one that she called her own.”
“That would be me. But I belong to no one.” Trent and the others, all men, moved to stand beside Sterl as he continued. “I hurt her first. She has to leave. I want you all gone from here now.”
Elijah stood by Sterl and the rest of them, ready to do whatever was necessary to keep them all alive. When Joe and Noelle, along with his grandmother and mom, came out to stand with them, Elijah took Noelle’s hand and held it tightly in his. Whatever happened now, he was ready to go out with the people he loved. The man looked at him.
“You have it right.” Elijah said nothing, but he seemed to be okay with that. “I am Richard. Not a very sexy name for a demon, but there you have it. I have come because you have injured someone that I created. Helenia.”
“She hurt my brother more than he did her. You have no idea what sort of suffering he’s had to endure because she decided that she wanted him to father her minions.” Richard looked down at Helenia as Elijah continued. “If you want to take us on because of this, you’re going to regret it.”
“I already do. But not what has happened today.” He snapped his fingers, and Helenia stood up. “A fine creature, don’t you think? When her parents summoned me all those millennia ago, I thought it would be simple. Help them create a child to give their magic too. But alas, they tricked me. Not only did they summon me for a child that had been born of hatred and lust, but they wanted for her things that were not of this world and should never have been. But I was trapped and had to comply. The only thing I was able to do was take them, which has worked out well for me, and to put a stipulation on her body. She knew of this from the very beginning. I’m sorry that it has taken so long for it to happen.”
“Wait a minute. You helped them make her this way? Then you regretted it? You know that makes no sense whatsoever. Why not just kill her from the start and be done with it?” Helenia started to leap at them, but with another snap of his fingers, she was brought to the ground again. “She’s mad.”
“She is at that. Power and hunger can do that to someone.” He sat down on a chair that had not been there before. “You are Elijah, are you not? And your pack master is Trent.”
When he nodded, everyone but him, Trent and Sterl disappeared, including Helenia. “They are unharmed and they are safe, and when we are finished here, I will return them to this ground. But I should like to speak to the three of you for now, to explain what happened. I should hope that…well, if what I tell you is spread about, I will return and bring a hell down on you that you will never survive, immortal or not. Have a seat.”
Looking around, Elijah saw that they each now had a chair like the one that Richard was sitting in. When Trent sat down, Elijah and Sterl followed suit. A scantily dressed woman brought them drinks, which they all declined. Richard assured them that there was nothing in them that would harm them.
“If it’s all the same to you, I’d just as soon get this finished. She was injured, and from what we were told, she was to be taken from this world.” Richard nodded at Trent. “And yet here you are making small talk as if this thing you made didn’t try to kill my brother. She also murdered some very nice people because they were in her way.”
“I need to tell you a story. It’s important that you understand it all before we can complete this ritual. And it is one. Without it, she or someone like her may return.” Trent nodded. “Thank you. Her parents were a witch and a vampire. Neither of them were in love…I’m not even sure they were mates. But they bargained for a child, one that I could give them in exchange for the opportunity to take them when they were no longer useful to her. I should have been more careful in my agreeing with them. But as I said, they trapped me. I shan’t tell you how, but in the end, it was them that suffered the greatest for their deeds.” Sterl asked if he had been the one that had given her the magic. “Some, not all. The earth cradled her into its power, a dark black place that only a few can enter and live. When she was born, I killed her parents, took them with me, and put her into the earth to mature and grow. She was dead by then, the dagger that I used more powerful than any other forged then or since.”
Richard pulled it out of the air and it moved to Elijah’s hands. Elijah wasn’t sure why he had it, but he put it on the ground beside him, not wanting to touch something so vile. Richard laughed at him.
“You should have died when it touched your flesh. I would not have allowed you to die, but since you have lived, the dagger is now yours. It will no longer be of any use to me.” Elijah told him he didn’t want it. “I did not give you the dagger, my young pup, it came to you. I thought perhaps it would have gone to the injured one, but it picked you. It is your magic now.”
“As I said, I don’t want it.” Neither the knife nor the man moved. “What is it you’re stalling for? Why haven’t you left us and taken her with you?”
“I will, in good time.” Richard looked at Trent. “You are a good pack master. I have, over the decades, seen what you have become. Not just you, but your family. You see, I knew that someday we’d meet and that one of you would be hurt by her. It was the way things fell in place. It would never have been your death, as she planned, but things have to play out or nothing can be solved. You understand that more than most, I think.”
“So you knew all along that she was going to try and take my brother?” Richard nodded and said that he was right. “She’s a monster. And so are you for making her.”
“You are right on both points.” Richard looked around, then back at them. “The dagger was made to kill. That’s important to know. And the one that touched it, or in this case, the one that it chose, must kill Helenia. I thought, as I said before, that it would have been either Trent or Sterling.”
“Gladly.” But before Elijah could say anything else, like bring the bitch back so I can do it, the demon spoke again.
“To kill her you must first know how to do it. And where to stick the blade. Do you know her story? Where she was first stabbed with it?” Elijah said it had been her heart. “Correct. But she no longer has a heart. When she was turned into what she is, the heart in her chest, along with her blood, spilled upon the ground to nourish her. You must stab the place where it is.”