Wolf's Vengeance (After the Crash) (8 page)

BOOK: Wolf's Vengeance (After the Crash)
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“Oh, Snake, you scared me for a minute.”

The wolf swiped a wet warm tongue over her cheek.

“Eeww,” she groaned, wiping the slobber away. But she laid her head down and went back to sleep, leaning into the comfortable warm bulk of a wolf.

She woke next when dawn was only a promise in the east, barely seen through the open barn door. Her mouth opened in a wide yawn as she pressed closer to the wolf’s warmth. The feel of smooth warm skin instead of rough fur against her cheek shot her eyes wide open.

“Snake?”

“Mmm,” he hummed, burrowing his nose into her throat.

She wrestled a hand from under the blanket to touch his hair. His braids were thicker and longer than her stubby one. She ran her hand down the length of his braid until her fingers smoothed over his bare spine. “Are you wearing clothes?” she demanded with a gulp.

“Nuh-uh,” he murmured. “Just made the change a couple of minutes ago. Haven’t had time to dress yet.” His mouth touched her throat, glided up to the corner of her jaw, over her cheek to her lips, where he teased her with small, light kisses.

Mel froze, breath trapped in her throat for a long icy moment before she realized how nice it felt. His weight felt good too when he moved his body over hers. But she was horribly aware she was naked under the blankets except for her panties, and she could feel his erection pressing against the top of her thigh. “We’re in the open,” she protested in a whisper. “People can see us.”

“Nobody can see us. Mike’s snoring by the barn door and Stone is running a perimeter patrol. It’s just us, Mel.”

“I don’t want to have sex here,” she hissed.

“We won’t.”

“But, you’re…I mean, you…” She trailed off, angry at herself for being so prudish. “You’re hard,” she finished.

“Yeah. Just ignore that. It happens when I’m this close to you, but we don’t have to do anything about it.”

They didn’t? “Won’t that hurt you?”

She felt his shrug. “I’ll survive. This isn’t the right time or place. We’re in the open, remember?”

“Right.” She suppressed a shudder of remembered horror. “I don’t ever want an audience.”

At that he lifted his head. In the dark she couldn’t see him clearly, but she sensed him staring down at her.

“Me, neither.”

Relief flowed like warm honey to her belly. She wrapped her hands around his braids and tugged him down to her mouth. “Kiss me, Snake.”

His lips were amazingly soft for a moment and then hard and demanding on hers. They kissed for what seemed like an hour before Snake buried his face against her neck.

“Oh,” he groaned. “I’ve wanted to do that forever.”

“We haven’t known each other that long.”

“I wanted to do that before I ever saw you. And since I’ve met you, I’ve wanted to do it twice as much.”

His chin had no stubble. She brushed exploring fingers over it. “Then keep doing it.”

He went back to giving her long, hot kisses that made her breath wobble. His tongue glided over hers with such greedy demand she felt deliciously overwhelmed. No, not overwhelmed. Challenged. She kissed him back with just as much heated enthusiasm. His shoulders were broad and heavy with muscle. She learned each plane and curve of his back with desperate hands. She loved the feel of him, all of him, from his hot tongue dancing with hers, to his strong arms crushing her against him, to the lithe muscles that played in his back under her hands. His weight pressed against her front, sending desire to pool like warmed syrup between her legs. She struggled with the blanket to open her thighs so she could feel his weight press where she most wanted it.

“Oh, Snake,” she breathed. “Oh, God, you feel good.”

“This is paradise,” he said against her throat. He settled into the cradle of her parted thighs. “Complete paradise.”

She couldn’t keep back a thin whimper, or keep from lifting her hips to press against him. Only the blanket and her panties separated them, and right now they were too much.

“Let me see your breasts,” he begged.

There was a faint glow of light at the barn door, but it didn’t reach this corner. “It’s too dark.”

He tugged gently at the edge of the blanket over her chest. “Let me see.”

Morning air kissed her breasts before his hands covered them, petting and lightly squeezing.

“You’re so beautiful, Mel.” Snake’s voice sounded awed. “Do you like this?”

He sucked the tip of one breast into his mouth while his hand played with the other. Mel couldn’t remember ever feeling quite like this. At first, Danny’s lovemaking was hesitant, almost uncertain, and even experience didn’t changed that. Had he not been so badly injured only weeks after their wedding, he might have become a confident lover. Rob was the opposite, too demanding to even consider her feelings. Snake was confident, but considerate too.

“I love that,” she moaned. “I really, really love that.”

“Then, you’ll like this too,” he began to say, his lips against her nipple, but he jerked his head up. “Mike’s coming.”

“Damn!” She jerked the blanket back over her chest. “Where are my clothes?”

He handed them to her. In the dark she fumbled to get dressed under the blankets. Her boots were still clammy from the rain last night. “Are you dressed?” she hissed at Snake.

“Yep, but the breechcloth doesn’t sit quite right.”

His tone was either mournful or rueful, or maybe a mix of them, and it jerked a smothered giggle from Mel. “Oh, dear.”

“Here,” he said. “Take Alfie.”

“What? Who?”

“Alfie. Your pistol.”

“Oh.” She felt new heat rise to join the flush of passion in her cheeks, and her fingers twitched in discomfort. “Ah, Snake, you know, um, I don’t really call my gun Alfie. I just made that up.”

He clicked his tongue. “Lying to your devoted and loving husband? You shameless girl.”

That pulled another surprised chortle out of her.

“Here,” he said again. “Take Alfie. From now on, he is Alfie. I would help you buckle him on, but I’m still having a little trouble with the fit of my breechcloth, and I don’t want to poke you.”

“Good lord!” Mel choked trying to keep her laugh back. Then, to tease him, she lowered her voice to a sultry whisper. “Maybe I’m looking forward to you poking me.”

His swallow was audible. “You’re killing me, Mel. I’m going to have to let the wolf out to keep from embarrassing myself.”

The barn door was shoved wide with a metallic squeal and light extended to their corner of the barn. She sent a quick glance down his body and saw the outline of a large erection in his breechcloth. Oh, boy. He dipped his head for a brief, and disappointingly chaste, kiss.

“Tell Mike to head out right away. I’ll run ahead of you until I have things under control. Will you put my clothes in your saddlebag?”

She nodded mutely, not giving in to modesty but watching him with forced casualness when he pulled moccasins and breechcloth off. The sight of his erection, thick and dark, flooded her with renewed lust. She let out a long breath when the air around him shimmered with heat, and the outline of a man melted into a wolf. The wolf whined at her before turning and trotting across the barn and out the door.

“Oh, boy, Mel,” she muttered to herself, and began collecting the blankets to pack up for the day’s ride.

Mike stood by the door, mouth wide in a yawn, his hair standing up on one side, just like it had when they were kids. The idiot had gone to bed with his hair wet, and it had dried like that. A thought struck her, and she lifted her hand to her own hair, feeling the matted mess with dismay. Mike noticed and smirked at her.

“Comb your hair,” he said. “You look like your head’s been pecked to death by rabid chickens.”

“You look like you spent all night ironing your hair so it would stand straight up,” she retorted.

They grinned at each other with high good humor. Today they would leave the money, get Mama’s note, and begin the process of rescuing her.

Chapter 5

“That’s a gas station?” Mel asked, disappointed. “I thought it would have been bigger.”

She was between Mike and Snake, all of them lying on their bellies on a low rise above a small decrepit building. It sat over a mile away at the intersection of two ancient roads, near a third road Snake called an interstate. There had once been a bridge on the interstate that allowed travelers to ride over one of the other roads, but now it was only a ragged gap. Mel couldn’t imagine so much traffic that a bridge would have been required.

The gas station’s roof might once have been red. It sported large windows, broken long ago, and a sign tall enough to be seen from the missing bridge on the interstate. Mel couldn’t see what the sign said. Age leeched all color from it, but it probably proclaimed cars could stop there to buy gas. She imagined cars from the Times Before rolling along roads clear of grass and underbrush, puffing out flatulence behind them like her horse frequently did.

Mike ignored her comment. “See anyone?” he asked Snake.

Snake, his eyes watching the wolf prowling below, shook his head. “Not yet. We’ll stay put until Stone comes back.”

Mel lay quietly beside Snake, trying to ignore the itch of sweat creeping between her breasts and the crinkle of dried grass against her shirt. His bare shoulder pressed against hers, and all she could think of was kissing him this morning. How far would she have gone with him if Mike hadn’t interrupted? Farther than she ever meant to, she was sure. His mouth and hands made her feel good. No, better than good. Relaxed? No, definitely not relaxed. Warm. Daring. Curious. He made her…She fumbled for the right word and settled on want. He made her want more. And that was both scary and pleasing. She cast a sidelong glance at him, her gaze gliding along the curve of his taut shoulder, the muscles in his back she stroked this morning, and she wondered when they would be alone again to explore each other a little more.

Stone’s wolf loped away from the gas station, going in the opposite direction to continue his search for anyone else in the area. Mel hated waiting, but she occupied herself with memories of the morning. When Stone appeared an hour later, Snake tossed his breechcloth and moccasins at him. Mel looked away while he changed from wolf to man. Watching Snake change was one thing. He was her husband, after all, but seeing Stone naked didn’t seem quite right.

“Nobody’s around for at least two miles,” Stone reported.

“Okay, good,” Snake said. “We’ll stick to the plan. Mike will ride down and leave the money. Mel and I will ride back north to wait at the cabin we passed a few miles ago. Mike can catch up with us there. Stone’s wolf will hang around here, and when the man comes, he’ll howl to let us know to come so we can get some answers.”

Mel slid a thumb over the grip of her pistol. “We’ll get answers.”

“Yeah, we will,” Snake agreed. “Ready to go, Mike? Got the money?”

Mike slapped a hand to the side of his waist. “Yep. I’ve been sleeping in this danged money belt.”

They walked back to the horses, and Mike mounted up, loosening his rifle in its saddle sheath to be sure it could be pulled easily in case of trouble. He leaned down in the saddle to shake Stone’s hand and then Snake’s. “Thanks,” he said soberly. “For everything.” His soberness exploded into a brother’s mocking grin. “Melissa Ann, see if you can keep your hands off your husband for the next half-hour.”

While she sputtered, he tapped his boot heel into his horse’s side and started toward the gas station. By the time she had her voice back, Stone had dropped his breechcloth and changed. As the wolf trotted off, she jerked her eyebrows into a challenging frown and glared at her husband. Snake, holding his cousin’s discarded clothing in his hand, lifted an eyebrow at her.

“Don’t worry, mate. What I want to do to you will take a lot longer than half an hour, and believe me, I don’t want your brother walking in on us in the middle of it. He would completely ruin the mood.”

Mel’s laugh was carefree. She mounted while Snake stuffed Stone’s things in his saddlebag and marveled at how easy it was to laugh with her husband. She didn’t laugh all that often, but she’d laughed more in the last twenty-four hours than in the last year. It felt good to laugh.

They rode in silence to the place Mike would meet them. The cabin was really only a shelter. The roof was pretty solid, but the roughly hewn boards that made up the walls were widely spaced. Mel didn’t mind. The gaps let air circulate in the single room, keeping it slightly cooler than it was outdoors. After taking care of the horses, she and Snake sat side by side on the dirt floor and leaned their back against the inside wall where the breeze could pass over them. They sat cross-legged, close enough for their knees to almost touch.

“This is far enough away from the gas station?” she asked. “The man won’t suspect we’re still around?”

“I doubt it. Stone didn’t find anyone close-by. If the man’s watching, he’ll see Mike ride in with the money and ride out again.”

“He might have other men with him. We don’t know how many have had Mama for all these years.”

“He might. They won’t know Stone is watching, though. If anyone sees Stone, they’ll just think he’s a wild wolf.”

That eased a little of her anxiety. “Right. No one will know Stone is actually a man.” Her smile bloomed. “We’ll have Mama back in no time.”

Snake shifted his bare back against the rough wood wall. “It might be a few days before the man even comes to get the money,” he cautioned.

“I know. But we’re farther along now than we were.” Mama. She could hardly contain her excitement. “It’s all because of you and Stone. Thank you!”

He curled his hand around hers. “You’re welcome. I told you once I would do anything I could to make you happy. I meant it.”

She remembered. The morning after he killed the Fosses, when she was still scared of him and in shock from what he did, he told her in a desperate voice he would do anything for her. She didn’t believe him then, not really, but she did now. She gave his hand a squeeze. “I said I’d be your wife, or your mate, or anything else you wanted if you would help me get my mother back. I meant what I said too.”

She felt his lips brush over her hair. “I’ll take you anyway I can get you, but I hope someday you’ll feel something more than just gratitude.”

BOOK: Wolf's Vengeance (After the Crash)
9.93Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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