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In keeping with my 6 books in 6 days theme, today's post is from my shape-shifting paranormal romance -- The Witchy Wolf and the Wendigo (Book 2 Ashkewheteasu).
Setting the Stage: Livie and Ash assist a struggling mare who dies giving birth. The experience raises painful memories for Ash.
Four agonizing hours later, an orphaned foal wobbled on long spindly legs, searching for his mother. What a terrible turn of events. The foal was breech, the mother hemorrhaged. They’d tried to save her life, but in the end, there was nothing more to be done. A recently-foaled mare was brought in to act as wet nurse. Twins occurred from time to time, so her body would compensate for the extra foal and produce more milk. A few oats and gentle coaxing by Ash, and she accepted the newborn as her own.
Olivia caught sight of Ash walking away when she removed her bloody arm-length rubber gloves and sterile paper gown. After discussing the sad outcome with the stable owners, she found him in the orchard, with his back against a tree.
He turned, misery pooling in his eyes. She went to him and placed a soft hand upon his arm. “Are you all right?”
He met those sky blue eyes, bluer now in the light of day. The tragedy had thickened the air with the smell of blood, but it wasn’t the iron tang that clenched his stomach. Emotion coming to the fore, he momentarily lost his voice. He swallowed and shook his head.
“Ash, what is it? Please, you can tell me anything. I’ll listen.”
He gave her a small smile. He knew Livie well enough to know her words were true, but how could he explain it was the sight of blood upon her that had drawn forth the memory of Aiyanna’s last moments alive? Even in his own language, there were not enough words to describe that day. He tried. “My wife and son died in childbirth. I was there beside her … The blood just now. It reminded me ....” The pain of his failure to keep his promise to protect Aiyanna hit him as if brand new, and he squeezed his eyes shut, the evidence of what he was feeling sparkling on his lashes in the sunlight.
Livie’s heart ached, knowing his tears were her doing. He’d relived that emotional trauma because she asked him to come along to help. Feeling responsible, she wrapped her arms around him. Her body detecting his tremor of anguish, Olivia found herself flooded with surprising emotion. Holding on tight, she whispered softly, “I understand.”
Sky Father had told him to leave this pain in the past and live again. Desperate to do that, he gently folded Livie into his embrace and rested his cheek atop her head. Holding her close as a man was wonderful and made him feel whole again. They stood that way a while. Her calm comfort seeped into him, his millennia of loneliness slowly melting away.
Feeling the difference, she leaned back and looked up at him.
Ash met her eyes. Unable to stop himself, he gently cupped her face, his thumb tracing her petal-soft cheek. “Thank you, Livie.” With that, he kissed her tenderly.
The tentative kiss was surprising but by no means unwanted. They’d only recently met, yet she wanted this kiss and more. Insistence grew as noses and chins turned this way and that to find a perfect fit. A moment more and hands swept rounded curves and firm angles.
Ash thrilled to find her tongue upon his. He crushed Livie to him, causing the buttons on his flannel shirt to become a small row of pressure points between them. Her breasts flattened against his chest as his thigh locked between hers. Olivia felt the unmistakable grind of hard cock against her that brought out a hunger in her she could barely account for. Her ardor redoubled, knowing she turned him on.
Needing to master his hunger, Ash ended the exquisite kiss but was unable to stay away. An instant later he groaned his surrender.
Her hands came up under his shirt to caress his bare skin but stopped cold when she felt those long-healed knots of scarring — evidence of his ordeals. She pulled from his embrace and turned him around. Lifting the plaid flannel, she gasped, and then the depth of damage struck her mute. High on his back, the flesh had been torn as though he’d been harpooned. She’d seen enough tearing and mending of animal flesh to know the suffering that went with such savage wounds. Ones that had been inexpertly stitched closed shortly thereafter.
“What happened to you?”
“It was an ordeal.” He turned her and pulled her into his arms again.
“I’m sure it was, but what happened?”
She obviously didn’t understand his choice of wording. Ash struggled to find better words and found he had none. “It was a long time ago.”
Olivia searched his face. His wife’s death, these scars … What other horrible things had happened to him that he didn’t want to speak of?
He made to kiss her again, but she held him off with both hands against his chest. She met his eyes. “Remember, I said you can tell me anything. I meant that.”
“And when I know what words to say, I will tell you all.”
Thinking the comment odd, she said, “All right, I won’t press. Just know I’m your friend, Ash.”
He’d heard her declaration of love in her own words just that morning. She was more than his friend. She was his heart. Holding her face again, he kissed her eyes closed, then kissed the tip of her nose before plunging once more into dizzying sweetness at her lips. He murmured there, “I know what you are, sweet Livie.”
Somehow his shirt came unbuttoned and her hands glided over his copper-skinned ribs. His chest was nearly hairless, save for the sparse velvet line leading from his navel downward. Ash filled his hands with her breasts and dipping his head, pressed his face between them.
Out of the blue, Livie’s cell phone rang. Ash released her. Heart pounding, Olivia fumbled in her pocket for the phone, and examined the screen. Answering, she said breathlessly, “Hi Cora, what’s up?”
“Whoa. Why are you so out of breath?”
Olivia blushed scarlet. “I needed help today to deliver a breech foal, Ash and I … uh … we’re uh … just finishing up now.”
“I imagine Ash could take a woman’s breath away. But then I have a thing for those gorgeous Native American men.”
Feeling her face grow warm, Liv could almost hear Cora’s gears turning. Feeling like she’d been caught with her hand in the cookie jar, she changed the subject. “Did John get the car fixed?”
Cora laughed. “Oh. So I’m right! Changing the subject, are we?”
“I am!” Olivia held the phone away from her ear as her friend laughed.
“Yes, John’s coming home. He’ll be here around seven and wants to talk. How about we buy you both dinner at the Fireside Grill? I’m sure you can convince Ash to come.”
Olivia laughed. “I’m on to you, matchmaker. Seven then. See you later, Cora.” Olivia snapped her cell phone shut and looked at Ash.
Ash had watched Livie long enough to know her face often turned pink when she was embarrassed. He raised his eyebrows in question.
“Cora was teasing me,” Livie said. “She thinks I like you.” She looked at her watch. Where had the day gone?
“And is this so?” Ash chuckled and reached for her again.
“Yeah, I think I do.” She leaned back and buttoned his shirt, then rising on tiptoes, kissed his lips sweetly. “Cora and John would like us to meet them at a restaurant for dinner. Are you free?” When he didn’t answer right away, she said, “Don’t worry about money. John is buying. Would you like to go to dinner with us?”
“I would like that.”
“Great!” She looked at her watch. “Come on. I’ll drop you off at home. We’ll have just enough time to wash up and change out of these icky clothes.”
“Please drive me to the clinic.”
Olivia nodded, thinking he might have left something there this morning. “Okay. You live near there, right?”
“Not too far from there.”
“Do you want me to pick you up?”
“Pick me up?” The words confused him.
“Do you have a car?”
He shook his head.
“Then I’ll drive.”
A short time later, Olivia hurried up the walkway, Ash following behind. Pausing to find the right key to fit into the lock, she said, “I have to file some paperwork before I head home to my—” and Ash surprised her, pulling her into his arms and kissing her. Her sentence ended breathlessly, “—dog.”
His lower half pressed firmly against hers, he effectively pinned her up against the door. With palms flat against the glass on either side of her head, he braced himself and kissed her again, sliding his tongue hungrily between her soft pink lips. And there they stood, each lost in the wonder of what the other made them feel, oblivious to the cars speeding past the clinic. The next she knew, her shirt and bra had somehow hitched up and bared her breasts to kisses that traced their descent in a fiery path down her neck and left a glorious wash of desire in their wake. There was no mistaking the warm female scent that declared she wanted him as desperately as he wanted her. Just as his head dipped to draw her pink nipple into his mouth, a truck driver’s horn blared as the big rig passed. The spell broken, they jumped apart. Ash looked far more startled than she. Mortified, Olivia quickly covered herself with fumbling hands. Apparently backlit by the lights within the clinic, they’d put on a good show.
He licked the taste of her from his lips and smiled at her endearing attempt at modesty. After so many years alone, controlling himself was difficult. As much as he craved to lose himself in her, this was not the place for their first joining. Wrapping his arms around her once more, he summoned his willpower, and whispered warmly at her ear, “Oh Livie, I would have you now, but not here for others to see.”
She swallowed, then stammered, “Uh, yes, uh we’d better stop before we run out of time and I um … I need to finish up the … uh … paperwork here.” She sounded like her brains had been addled. They had. “So … where do I pick you up?”
“I’ll meet you right here.” His passionate embrace lifting her to her toes and cracking her vertebrae, he kissed her again.
Closing the door behind him, Olivia watched him walk away. Her lips were tingling. Everything was tingling. Good God.
:) Want more? Read another excerpt inside the cover with Amazon's Look Inside feature.
The adventure continues tomorrow with The Witchy Wolf and the Wendigo (Book 2 Eluwilussit)
Love Waits in Unexpected Places
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