Watcher by Holley Trent
Jim had assumed that once Graciella and Finn took their leaves, Leticia would go with them. And she did.
What he hadn’t assumed was that she’d return.
“What the hell?” He squinted through the peephole and could just barely make out the shape of her through the lens distortion. He’d expected housekeeping or someone from room service to take away the dishes, but that glamorous fall of dark hair and the doe eyes were definitely Leticia’s.
The door handle jiggled, and she murmured a sheepish, “Hello?”
“Well, shit. Come in, then.” He yanked the door open and tilted his head toward the inside of the room.
Grimacing, she performed a little finger wave and slinked past him. “I…didn’t think to take a key. Went to put my dress into the dryer.”
He expelled annoyance on an exhale and gritted his teeth. He didn’t usually lose track of time. But he also usually wasn’t married and having to figure out how to navigate a family dynamic. “It was still there, right?”
“Yeah, still in there, but I think I was just in time to spare it from strange fondling. There was a guy wearing a smoking jacket who was fiddling the knobs on the washer. I don’t think there was anything beneath that robe.”
I’ll maul him.
Jim’s cheek twitched.
As she settled into the corner chair and fondled the remote control, he let the door close with great intentionality.
He wasn’t going to go a-mauling. Not yet, anyway.
She didn’t seem to be in a hurry to retreat, and he certainly had no intentions of rushing her away. It was probably his fault she’d scurried out in the first place. He could have dealt with the damned dress. At least that would have given him five minutes to think up a list of charming things to say to her. For the life of him, he couldn’t figure out how Colt and Finn managed to find enough engaging shit to talk about with wives who were as interesting as Lisa and Graciella. Jim had depleted his tank of small talk fuel and was running on fumes.
“I set the timer on my phone so that I won’t forget to be there before the dryer stops.” Leticia turned the television on and surfed to the channel guide.
He must have been boring her already.
Say something brilliant, jackass.
He perched on the desk ledge and rooted through the muffin basket for the last of the blueberry ones.
When she’d left, he’d pondered how to ask if she wanted to annul the thing they’d done since she couldn’t remember it—since her consent didn’t count—but he needed to ask in a way that didn’t imply that he hadn’t wanted to marry her. He wouldn’t have said “I do” if he hadn’t. He’d been stone-cold sober when he’d signed the marriage license application.
He didn’t really want to ask that question anymore, though. When he looked at her, his inner wolf threatened to internally garrote his windpipe if he even tried to cut her loose.
If she didn’t bring it up, they’d just have to figure out what the hell came next.
“Any news from the airline?” Her brow was creased, and her eyes narrowed with focus. She kept pushing remote control buttons and twiddling with the on-screen menus.
She pushed one last button. The menus went away, but the on-screen transcript appeared.
“The sound quality is always so bad in these cheap televisions,” she explained in a sunny tone.
She set the remote onto the nightstand and leaned her elbows onto her thighs, focusing hard on the weather report playing in one corner of the channel guide.
Leticia was deafer than his ancient great aunt Maude and probably thought he couldn’t tell. For a while, she’d actually had him fooled, but he’d watched Leticia with her sisters for years. He’d learned their habits, and Lisa and Graciella always avoided Leticia’s left. That was why he tended to lurk there. Someone had to mind that side for her.
“Text message I got from the airline said they’d update us hourly.” He tried harder to articulate and make his words sound distinct when he was around her, but his natural dialect was a fucking beast of a thing to overcome. It was a minor miracle that she could understand Colt at all. Not only did he drawl, but he could say a thousand words in a minute when he got in those frenetic moods of his.
“Not that I’m in a hurry to leave,” she said. “I just hate having things be up in the air, you know?”
“Makes a Wolf anxious not being able to plan things.”
“That’s probably what it is. I like having everything ordered and scheduled so that I know what I’m supposed to be doing at any given time. That’s how I manage working so many hours and getting all my college coursework done at the same time. I don’t like cutting things too closely. Were you supposed to work tomorrow?”
“No. I had requested the day off weeks ago. Tomorrow’s my birthday. Was just going to sit around and wait for the mailman to bring me my AARP card.”
She gaped. “Seriously?”
He immediately put his hands up in a “let’s back up” gesture. “That was a joke. I’m old compared to you, but not like that.”
After a couple of beats, she swatted the air dismissively and rolled her eyes. “I wasn’t even thinking of your age. Besides, I know for sure that you’re younger than Colt. If he’s not worried about his retirement plans yet, I guess you shouldn’t be, either. But no, I was surprised because I didn’t know our birthdays were so close. Mine is Monday.”
She tilted her head and crinkled her nose.
He would have bet money she’d heard him. She just didn’t believe him.
“I watched you fill out the marriage license,” he said.
She blinked and straightened up. “Oh.”
That bland sound she made while her face was full of energy and expression launched a chuckle out of him. “I guess in a way, you weren’t really there to witness the event, so you can’t be faulted for not remembering. I think your sister has a bit of video that she sent to Lisa, though.”
“Did I look ridiculous?” she whispered.
“No, you looked fine.” She’d been lovely—a glowing bride, even without a veil and chintzy white dress. Blue was her color.
And…short was her length.
He knew better than to say that shit aloud, though, even if he thought she wouldn’t catch it.
She put her head back and sighed. “I guess my mother is doing her crying ritual.”
He was suddenly tenser than a tightrope walker crossing the Grand Canyon, but Leticia did a playful shrug.
“She’s just a crier. Cries about everything. She cried the first time Lisa responded to a mate call and left, and then cried again when Lisa decided no and went back home. Then she cried when Lisa left the second time and got paired with Colt. She cried when Graciella and I left. I’m certain she cried when Graciella and Finn got married.”
“Because she’s sad?”
“No, because she’s missing everything.” Her shrug may have been buoyant, but when Leticia looked down, her eyes were wet, and that made him angry.
He wasn’t mad that she was emotional. He’d never be that big of a shit to get offended by someone being a bit fragile. He was angry because that was a Wolf’s default setting when his mate was upset. There was something broken in her world, and someone needed to fix it.
Me? Can I fix it?
He wasn’t sure, but he could find out.
“She’s got three married daughters and didn’t get to see any of the ceremonies,” Leticia said. “I think any mother would cry. Don’t you?”
He didn’t know what to say.
Most Wolves expected that their daughters would get married off to men they didn’t like and certainly didn’t trust. The culture had devolved so much so quickly, and the lack of choice was just the way things went. But Lisa liked Colt well enough, as far as Jim could tell. And Graciella doted on Finn. That didn’t mean the pattern would hold up.
Leticia didn’t have to stay, and Jim damn sure wasn’t going to force her to, even if the beast inside him demanded he try. His inner beast had convinced itself for a little while that everything between the two of them was settled, and all Jim needed to do was wake her up and fuck her silly. She couldn’t be some other Wolf’s mate if she had Jim’s bite on her. The wolf was agitated but reasonable. He’d come down from his frenzied state, but that didn’t mean he was going to allow his man half to sabotage the mate link.
She pulled her phone from her pocket and tapped the screen with her thumbs. “I’m going to tell Graciella to email the video to our mother if she hasn’t already. It’ll probably be a while before Ma sees it.”
“Someone in the old pack told us she doesn’t have a phone anymore. Neither does my father. Alpha took their phones after Graciella and I were retrieved. I guess he thought he would intercept our messages to see where we were and what we were up to.”
“So he could take you back?”
Jim cracked his knuckles reflexively when she nodded. He would start digging holes immediately and worry about whether they were big enough after he’d fetched the bodies to put into them. That was all him, not the beast in him. However, his inner wolf definitely had his own sort of problem-solving in mind.
“We’ve always been cautious, though,” she said. “Since the day we arrived in Norseton, Lisa and Colt impressed on us not to say anything over text we wouldn’t want an enemy to read. Pretty much the only things we’ve texted to them since then are ‘I love you’ or ‘Thinking about you.’ We still send those things, figuring if we suddenly stop, whoever is holding their phones will know we suspect something.”
“Your parents wouldn’t leave when you left?”
She notched her hair over her ear and subtly turned the left side of her face toward the back wall. “Repeat that?”
He was blurring his words again. He always did that when he was in an interrogating mood and felt like he needed to get information fast so he could get on with the hard part: the hunt.
“Your parents. They wouldn’t leave?”
“Oh.” She shook her head. “No. Their roots go too deep there, and one of our grandparents is mostly housebound. Hard to move her, so they stayed.”
He grunted, which was usually a noncommittal sound, but in truth, he was already collecting fragments of plans in his brain. Housebound or not, Jim would get that Wolf out, even if it meant he had to carry her out on his back with an oxygen machine still attached.
There’s no way Colt hasn’t come up with some scheme to get them out. He doesn’t give a fuck about collateral damage. I bet he’s got something up his sleeve.
Jim needed to call him as soon as the dust finished settling.
“Sucks, but this stuff sucks for everyone, right?” Graciella was looking down at her phone. “You can’t count on most Wolves being decent. If my old alpha had known specifically where my sisters and I were in the past couple of years, he could have come and dragged me back when I turned eighteen.”
Jim cracked his knuckles some more.
She didn’t hear them popping.
“That was the agreement, and we ran like hell once it was struck before anyone could change their mind. Colt and Alpha had to negotiate to get us out. We were being guarded like we were freaking enemies of the state or something. Colt and Alpha told my old alpha that we had mates already who were waiting for us to turn eighteen, and that’s one thing alphas don’t mess around with. Mate transactions are serious business.”
“But you didn’t,” Jim said. “Have mates, I mean.”
“Hell no. You know the rules. My old alpha could have recalled me when I turned eighteen if I hadn’t completed the match. He did actually contact Alpha to get the information about my mate.”
“And what did Adam tell him?”
“All Alpha said was ‘Nothing has changed.’” Leticia said the last part in an imperious tone that was probably meant to sound like Adam. She didn’t have a big enough chest to make the right sounds, but the inflections were just about on point. “That was the whole email. I was there when Alpha wrote it. I’m sure my old alpha followed up to see what that meant, but Alpha never responded. He told me, ‘He doesn’t know where you are. He can go fuck himself,’ and then he mumbled something about going home to have a sandwich.”
That sounded like Adam. Adam got the best sandwiches in Norseton. That was possibly a perk of having a professional cook as a wife and actually being adored by her. All of Norseton knew Lil as the gregarious Wolf grandma who fed the queen and sometimes talked to herself while grocery shopping. What most people didn’t know, though, was she’d had the same rough years of nomadic transience as Adam, Anton, Darius, Colt, and Vic. She’d ridden shotgun in that van they’d lived out of and was right there in the thick of the danger during many of their freelance gigs. Adam would be the first to say she’d kept them all from going wild and that they would never have made it to Norseton if not for her.
Because of Adam’s goodness, there was no shortage of powerful women in the Norseton Wolfpack, and Jim counted Leticia among them.
Though Jim trusted Adam with his life, the alpha’s stakes in the matter of Leticia were nowhere near as high as Jim’s. While Adam may have been professionally invested in Leticia’s happiness, Jim’s interest was baser. He wanted her as a mate as well as all the fringe benefits of having one. Sometimes he’d want to talk her to death. Others, he’d feel like being fucked to death. Sounded like heaven to him, which is probably why he didn’t deserve any of it.
Jim dragged his hand down his face and tried to vacate his thoughts of everything except the present. “What if he’d really pressed, though?” Jim needed to find out if her understanding of the Norseton Pack machinations were the same as his. “What if your old alpha had been able to really follow up and get close to you?”
“Alpha said he had a contingency plan. Lisa and Colt said I should believe him, so I chose to.”
“You didn’t ask what it was?”
Jim already knew that he had been the contingency plan. He wouldn’t have said no to an abrupt marriage to Leticia, just like Finn wouldn’t have said no to Graciella. They would have done what was necessary to keep the women from being recalled to Delaware. While Jim didn’t truly think Adam would have let them get snatched back under any circumstances, the alpha liked to pick his battles. He would have rounded up the troops and ensured an absolute smackdown of the other side, but that would have made other packs pay too much attention to them. The Norseton Wolves liked their peace. If they had to be constantly on high alert because they’d done de facto dismantlement of more established groups, they’d never get a night’s rest again.
“I guess I didn’t really want to find out,” Leticia said. “Sometimes, ignorance is bliss. I like having a little bliss, you know? I grew up knowing too much and seeing too much. Now, being out of the loop on some things is nice.”
He grunted. He could definitely argue with her on the last point given the too-interesting evening they’d had, but he didn’t want to pour cold water on the conversation. His inner wolf liked the sound of her voice.
Leticia’s phone buzzed in her hand. “Ooh.”
“Graciella sent the video to my parents.”
Leticia’s voice was usually so evocative. Jim could usually figure out in an instant how she felt about a thing. That sentence, though, couldn’t have possibly been more neutral sounding. So, like any good Wolf lieutenant, he waited for clues. Waiting was hard when she was silent. When she was talking, the animal part of him remained assured that all was well. Silence made the animal want to hunt and maim whatever had caused her to stop.
“I don’t know why I keep expecting you to snap at me.” Leticia pulled her feet up beneath her on the seat and leaned her head back on the cushioned top. “I guess when you grow up around people who are quick to ask, ‘Why would you do that?’ at every little thing you do, you feel like you can’t make a right move.”
The wolf in him wasn’t soothed any by that explanation. If anything, he was more agitated. He didn’t want to dig graves anymore. He wanted to tie some motherfuckers to a raft, set them adrift on the Pacific, and let nature take its course.
“Anyway, so, feels forbidden taboo to tell you this, but you don’t run your mouth, right? You can keep a secret?”
She obviously had no idea how well he could keep a secret or how many of his own he’d been compelled to keep.
He just grunted.
Maybe she’ll find out one day.
“They have a burner email address,” she said.
“Yeah, that their alpha doesn’t know about. They have to go into town to use the library to check it. The pack spies can’t put monitoring software on those computers, so a few people like my folks are taking advantage.”
“I’m surprised he lets them go there.”
“I guess he didn’t see where he had a choice. So many folks have to sell personal belongings just to make their pack dues payments. There’s no forgiveness for dues, and they’re not metered based on income. Everyone pays the same amount, so people have to be able to get online to do job searches and stuff like that. Plus, going online is still the way most Wolves get access to the mate call lists. Most alphas don’t post the ones from other packs anymore.”
“Because they don’t want to lose their women.” Jim poured himself another cup of coffee. He didn’t need the caffeine, but he did need to give his hands something to do. The wolf in him was making him antsy enough to climb a flat wall. “Old-school packs tend to want to have more women than men. Fewer power struggles that way.”
“Did your father post them?”
“He did, but I don’t know if he would have if my stepmother hadn’t been trying to clear out the competition.”
Leticia had lifted her head and craned forward a bit halfway into his sentence. The way her gaze settled sideward onto nothing in particular reminded him of how people looked when they were trying to do math in their heads.
She didn’t hear him.
Discreetly, he settled onto the window ledge on her right side while he sweetened his coffee. “There were definitely some pack members my stepmother was trying to pick off.”
Leticia heard that. Her face did that thing where one eyebrow shot up, and the opposite side of her lips curled. “Seriously? Most women who respond to the calls are young. Early twenties, some as young as eighteen. Why would they be competition?”
“She was twenty-five when she married my father. Not much older than I was at the time.”
“Oh, that makes my heart hurt.”
“Well, we’re of two like minds about that, then. She tried her hardest to pretend I was invisible. I knew not to look to her as a replacement mother figure.”
“I guess she couldn’t keep up the act for very long. You’re kind of hard to ignore.”
“You know that.”
“Maybe I don’t. My job’s to be secretive. I’m supposed to blend into the background. I thought I was being successful.”
“So, women in your pack actually got to read the calls?”
He took a long slug of his coffee and stared at her. She was looking at him, but it was a suspicious look that matched that abrupt subject change perfectly.
However, he’d allow her the moment of obscureness. He was far more interested in the curious way her scent had changed just before she’d paddled out of the conversation stream. He was old enough and experienced enough to recognize the hormonal shift, though he was surprised to catch it from her. She hadn’t even smelled that way the night before when she’d clawed their clothes off.
Well, well, well, Miss Leticia. Maybe you like this Wolf a little, hmm?
He wasn’t answering her question simply because the more she squirmed, the more intense her scent became. Foolish of him, really. It was a dangerous scent for him because a hard cock usually arrived within five minutes later.
Something in her was stirred by him, but that didn’t mean she intended to keep the man she married or the cock that came with him.
Patience was a tough pill to swallow, but he would give her the time and space to do what she needed to.
Not too much time, the wolf in him warned. He wasn’t feeling quite as generous as the more reasonable part of Jim.
Finally, she cleared her throat, scrambled to her feet, and shuffled to the tepid breakfast.
He drew in a prolonged but silent inhalation as she passed, immediately regretting doing so, but appreciating how good it felt. That scent evoked memories of having his balls sucked.
It’d been years. Long before he met her.
She was leaning onto the desk with her ass pointing toward the room, totally oblivious. Her focus was on plucking grapes out of the fruit bowl while he traced the heart shape of her rear end with his gaze.
The fuck are you doing?
Gritting his teeth, he averted his focus to the ceiling.
If her sense of smell were better, she probably would have smacked the taste out of his mouth. He had to be putting out what Colt called the “pervert smell.” Some women found the scent enticing coming from their mates, while others used it as a signal to get away from the house for a bit.
He squeezed his eyes closed tight and tried to pick back up on the conversation he’d set adrift. “You’d be surprised at how many father Wolves used those calls as an opportunity to get their daughters the hell out of there.”
He opened his eyes and noticed she’d done a quarter turn. Her forearms were still on the desktop, but her bottom had fortunately shifted so his view was more indirect.
Thank you, Wolf goddess, for your grace and mercy.
“I’ve never heard of that,” Leticia said through a mouth full of fruit. “I’ve only ever heard of mothers trying to get the girls out.”
“I’m not saying those men were good people by any stretch of the imagination, but I think the writing was on the wall for a lot of them. They didn’t want their girls settling for the men and boys there because they knew exactly what they’d do with them.”
“But they wouldn’t have known where they were going. There’s not a whole lot of information in those things. They’re all crapshoots, and no one feels like they can renege. Lisa did on her first one, but she’s…Lisa. Look.” Leticia straightened up and opened something on her phone. From her gesture, it was clear that she wanted him to go to her.
Jim was a lot of things, but he wasn’t stupid. If he got any nearer, she would be getting more information from him than she knew how to deal with. She may not have been able to analyze his scent, but a stiff dick was hard to miss.
“It’s okay,” she said with a laugh. “It’s not our wedding picture or anything.” She rolled the desk chair beside him, pressed her knee onto the seat, and leaned to him over the back.
He immediately switched to mouth breathing, which actually didn’t help much. He could practically taste her.
That was the kind of feedback that could have him flinging her onto her back and diving tongue-first between her legs.
He wasn’t going to do that. No matter what the agitated animal in him wanted, Jim was a creature of caution who couldn’t afford a misstep. Their situation was far too shaky.
Mind over matter. Focus on the task.
He widened his stance to relieve some of the pressure in his pants.
She’d navigated to a bookmarked list at a private forum known to Wolfpacks. “When I have some downtime at work, I help Petra plant bogus mate calls.”
“I imagine you’re not doing that for shits and giggles.”
“We’re dangling bait. Anyone desperate enough to respond probably needs rescuing, and that’s what we do, right? This one here…” She tapped an entry with a bolded header of FATHER OF 3, WESTERN STATE, HOMESTEAD—18-20.
He took the phone from her and read the rest of the entry.
Wolf in Southwest state pack requires mate. Limited infrastructure, distance from closest town 1 hour by car. Must NOT have mate bite. Financially secure Wolf male.
“Nice touch at the end,” he said.
“We thought that’d make the ad seem more legitimate.”
“Actually, yes. Two.” She took the phone back from him, brushing his fingers in the process.
Smooth. Soft. Warm. But he’d known that already because she’d touched him when he was taking his clothes off too slow.
He bet all of her felt that nice.
Why don’t you find out?his inner wolf goaded.
He balled the impacted hand into a tight fist and concentrated on his coffee. “So, what happens with them?” he muttered against the cup’s rim.
Leticia did her instinctual ear-turn toward him. “Hmm?”
“What happens with them now?”
“Oh. Well, we’ll leave the ad up for a few more days. Petra thinks if we pull the ads down too fast, we’ll look like we weren’t serious. While that’s still up, Petra is going to check the backgrounds of the women who responded. If they check out, Alpha will put the transfers into motion.”
“Okay. I’m catching what you’re throwing out. It’s a good scheme, but I expect that from a thinker like Petra. She’s chaotic as hell, but that’s why she’s able to get ahead of folks.”
Leticia was adorable when she nodded in that smug, prideful way. At the moment, “adorable” was the splash of ice water to his libido needed. “Adorable” was for conversations and companionship, and he hoped for his sake she’d be able to keep a lid on her seductiveness for at least a while longer. The wolf in him was going to start howling otherwise, and that always made Jim want to fling off his clothes and run wild until the noise in his head stopped.
“Knowing Petra, she’s already figured out how to respond if the women’s old pack alphas demand proof of the matches,” he said.
“There’s no rule that says that Alpha can only make claims for Wolves. He could be making a match for anyone.”
“Ah, the Afótama.” Jim grunted with appreciation. He probably couldn’t have devised a cleverer scheme even if he’d gotten paid for it.
“Yep. The chieftains are working on a list of push-comes-to-shove single men. I think there are a bunch who wouldn’t mind having a Wolf for a mate. Paul is doing just fine with Petra, right?”
“And Andreas is both witch and Wolf. I imagine the locals are more comfortable with the idea of mixing than they would have been a couple of years ago.”
“Precisely. Actually, some of the guys are pretty excited about it.” The silky chuckle she let out was a twist around his balls that had his ass clenching and him pointlessly holding his breath.
She was oblivious.
“The guys want the matches to become a real thing. It’s hard for them to find suitable partners. The Afótama are so insular, and Afótama women are notoriously picky. The idea of bringing in some women from outside of the community who already know how to keep a secret is kinda appealing to them.”
“You think Adam will go for it?” Jim asked in a strained voice.
“Yeah, actually, I think he would. I’m pretty sure he and the clan chieftains had some conversations about it. Petra’s been trying to pump her husband for gossip, but Paul is tightlipped about any discussions about witch-Wolf arrangements that might be happening in his network. Petra is certain the leaders are up to something. If they make it happen, they’d have to be really careful not to put in a bunch of requests too close together. We don’t want other packs homing in on where we are.”
“No,” Jim groaned, easing away from the windowsill. “That wouldn’t be a good thing.”
His phone’s text message notification chirped, and he hurried to the dresser to grab the device, eager to move away from the cause of his bodily distress.
As he navigated to his text app, he pondered going into the bathroom and taking himself in hand for relief. He wasn’t going to be able to survive another night with her, and certainly not while one foot apart in the same bed. He had to get the hell out of there for his well-being.
There was a text from the airline inviting him to click on a short link to access information about their flight.
Halfway through the first sentence, he knew he was fucked.
“What’s wrong?” Leticia asked.
“All flights today are canceled. They’re offering to refund or try to get people onto the first available flights tomorrow or the next day, with a voucher for a future flight for all the trouble.”
“That’s no way to spend a birthday. What are you going to do?”
Already knowing what he’d find, Jim did a quick search of the next day’s flights for that airline. “No seats for tomorrow or the next day.”
“That could change, right? Folks could be holding them right now while they decide one way or another. Something will shake out, probably. I bet people will decide vouchers are more valuable than their time. A lot will wait. Do you want to? We still have the room, right?”
We, she’d said.
Another night of Leticia-scented hell.
“Nah, I’m gonna drive,” he said self-defensively.
Her eyebrows shot up. “Drive?”
“Might get home by bedtime.”
He didn’t pause to analyze the confusion on her face or try to sort out what the flattening of her scent meant as she drifted away from him.
He put the phone to his ear with a local rental car agency’s line already ringing.
“Hey. Yeah. Listen, I want to rent a car,” he croaked out upon hearing their greeting. “One-way to New Mexico. Can you help me? I’m sure you’re about to get slammed.”
Leticia stepped back over to him in a rush. She tugged his sleeve and whispered, “I’ll go, too. I’m not staying here alone.”
He covered the phone’s mic with a finger and scavenged some tired-ass bullshit from the excuse pile in his brain. “You wouldn’t be alone. Graciella’s here.”
“I can’t trust her. Who knows what kind of trouble she’ll get me into next?”
“I’m trouble, huh?” He knew damn well he was. The damned wolf in him was riling up the wolf in her, and her scent had made a sudden lurch toward “Well, let’s make babies, I guess.”
“Hmm?” She raised her brows and turned her head a bit.
“I said I’m trouble, huh?”
“I didn’t mean it that way.”
“Yes, you did, and you’re definitely about to get me into some if you don’t step back a little. I’m about to sweat through my shirt.”
“Because of me? Sorry. I burn hot.”
“Yes, you do.”
In fact, the enticement energy she was churning out could have probably melted candle wax.
“Into the phone, he said, “Give me whatever you’ve got on the lot but make sure it’s the best you’ve got. Apparently, I’m spending what’s left of my honeymoon hauling ass across the desert.”
Assuming he made it.
Assuming he didn’t go streaking through the fucking desert butt-ass naked and doing a wild and reckless shift to his furry form without slowing down. That wouldn’t make him feel any less amorous, but he’d at least be able to slake the unproductive urges for a while.
As she hurried to gather her things, his willpower flaked and eroded.
He was trying to be a decent Wolf because she deserved a man who’d be good to her. He didn’t blame her for the previous night. But he couldn’t keep up the self-delusion that he was going to get her back to Norseton and let her drift away until she decided she wanted him.
It was too late for that. Deep down, he knew he’d married her because she was already his, and he’d just wanted a piece of paper to prove it.
They could get the thing annulled if she wanted, but not until he had a chance to make his case. She had to find out what they’d both be missing.
The next time she wanted to play Capture the Cock, he sure as hell wasn’t going to stop her.