Here is the final part. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this serial and maybe I’ll need to start another full moon serial….
If you have enjoyed this, consider getting the ebook version that I’ve polished up all nice and shiny–it also comes with a bonus story called Unmatched Grace. The collection is called A Little Moon Madness and you can find the link on the side of this page.
The Cold and Lovely Moon XIII
I stretched. A soft bed, a quilt, and a warm body up against my back. If there was anything better than this, I hadn’t seen it…and I didn’t deserve it.
Tiberius had pulled on some jeans and was tracing circles on my bare stomach. He’d come back to bed to lay beside me. He’d come back. I scrunched my eyes closed against the prickle of happy tears. I wasn’t going to get all weepy on him—he’d probably turn tail and run if I did that. Mmm. This was much better than I deserved.
Leaning forward, he nuzzled his way up my neck to my ear. “Wake up, sweetheart.”
“Mmm.” I pressed myself up against him. I might take that as an exception to my name. No one had ever called me things like that unless it wasn’t meant to be sweet. I’d heard “hey, babydoll, hurry your ass up” one too many times, and my ex’s nose had paid for it. “Babe” didn’t exactly floor the gas pedal either. Sweetheart—sweetheart I liked—especially said in that deep “I can kick a bear’s arse” voice of his. Plus, we’d woken up in a very soft bed…together…and I thought I smelled bacon. One more “sweetheart” and he might have me.
He bit below my ear sending a happy shiver down my spine.
“What time is it?”
“Ten. I moved you in here a couple hours ago. This bed is much softer.”
That’s right. I’d gone to sleep on the porch’s bed.
The porch’s bed.
And then last night’s events hit me like a hard wave with an undertow, and it was only his arms around me that kept me from jumping out of bed and running out the door.
“Shh shh…we’re fine.”
I stopped trying to pull free of his arms. “What if more come?”
“They’re not. It turns out two of the other dark beasts are high-ups. One is a senator and the other is a colonel in the army.”
“And you didn’t know this? A senator?” I asked on a sigh. I mean, really, this was beyond the normal obliviousness to other people’s personal lives that most guys had. Sadly, I couldn’t even venture a guess at who the senator was—I was about as far-removed from a senator as they got.
“So? I didn’t vote for him, and he doesn’t usually stick around once he turns back. None of them do. This morning was the first time I’d seen some of them without fur.”
“Wait, a senator? Like someone interested in the law? Like someone who hates criminals?” This time, I was ready to bolt out of bed for a whole different reason.
“Relax.” He held me up against him again. “Don’t worry—you’re dead.”
“Because that’s so much better….” I tried to hook my feet on the edge of the bed to pull myself out, but he was too strong. Ugh. I gave up. Well, on that…I went back to trying to wriggle out of his hold. I was not going back to prison. Not now. Not with Tiberius out here. Conjugal visits would just not cut it.
“The prison system reported you as dead, but even if they hadn’t…he winked at me when he heard what you were in for. Dark beasts tend to take a lax view on violence if you hadn’t noticed last night. He was the one fighting two off that you swiped one from.”
Okay, I relaxed again. “I’m glad I’m dead.” I assume that cancelled my sentence. It was probably like a form of Double Jeopardy since they’d “killed” me.
He went back to kissing my neck and nibbling here and there. “The Senator wanted me to tell you that he’s had the flu recently otherwise he wouldn’t have needed you to take one of them.”
I laughed softly. He was like Tiberius. That was his version of thank you—but, also, not really thank you.
“The Colonel said he’ll get you new ID and such, driver’s license, birth certificate—he has someone in special divisions that’ll handle it. He’ll bring documents with him next moon phase. I told him to go ahead and give you my last name.” His mouth stopped where my shoulder met my neck, and he waited for my response.
“So, we’re married now?” I wasn’t actually sure what my response was.
“I don’t like ceremonies…or people.”
I didn’t either—in fact, I’d rather do it this way, but…. “Shouldn’t you have asked me first?”
His body behind mine shifted away—he was pulling away, as if he thought this was my way of saying no. It was sweet that a guy who’d ripped people in half defending me was vulnerable to insecurity. It made me feel protective of him—in a different way. I’d totally rip people in half for him too, but I also wasn’t about to hurt his feelings.
“I mean, even if you knew I’d say yes…you should’ve asked or at least mentioned it. It’s kind of weird to find out second that I’m married.”
He pressed himself back against me, and he bit my neck near the healing marks of his fangs. “Will you?” he murmured against my skin.
A great romantic…he was not, but it’d probably make me want to toughen him up if he was. “Yeah. Did you actually know my name to tell him?”
“Yes. I told him to make up a maiden name for you since yours was…unimportant.” If our positions had been reversed, I would have bitten him for that.
“What’s my new married name?” I’d just like to hear him say my name once…was that so much to ask?
“My last name is Sutton.”
I sighed. And apparently I’d married this ass. Luckily, he had a lot to offer beyond charm and romance.
“Anyway, between the Colonel and the Senator, we shouldn’t be in danger here ever again. They were already on satphones this morning doing cover-up and chewing asses. They’ve since taken off.”
“Wow, they didn’t stick around very long for it being…safe.”
“A few of them needed bullets dug out, and the other guy who jumped into the chopper is a human resources guy for a paper company—he broke his leg jumping back out.” Tiberius snorted. “Idiot.”
“That’s sort of what I thought when you did it.”
“And that’s why you smelled all hot and excited when I bumped into you right after?”
“Bumped into me? I think I saved your butt by knocking you out of the way of bullets and….”
“Anyway…,” he said, loudly, interrupting me. “So, yeah, they flew him out on the bird those black ops guys left behind. The Colonel can fly a chopper.”
“I thought you said there were females and kids or boys, I guess, here. There weren’t any around last night.” Maybe they were all hiding out in the cabins, but none of the others were acting like they were protecting hidden family. Wait! I cleared my throat. “Well, I assumed they were all male here last night. I didn’t check or anything.”
He chuckled, his breath fanning my skin and sending shivers along my spine. “Good thing. Two of them are still unmated, but I’d rather you didn’t check out the mated ones’ junk either.”
“Which ones aren’t mated?”
Instead of answering, he bit my shoulder.
“Ow.” I tried to shove his face away, but he hauled me tighter against his body and licked where he’d just bitten. Okay, that was good too.
“There weren’t any females or kids here. When they saw my truck, they called in the plates and talked with my assistant, and then they sent the women and boys to a different safe location.”
“I was the only girl who got in on the ass-kicking, huh?”
He smiled against my skin. He liked that. He liked that his mate had held her own. I liked that too.
“I talked to Dale—that’s my assistant—this morning. That headbash you gave me yesterday might work out to explain where I’ve been. I told him I’d been injured hiking and had amnesia, and I’d been staying with a hot pair of legs who nursed me back to health.”
I snorted a laugh. “If he knew me, he’d doubt that nursing back to health thing.” A hot pair of legs, huh? Tiberius liked to skirt the line between sexist and sexy by a hair.
“Mmm. Well, I said the…uhh…guys I camp with had found me right around when my memory had returned, and that I’d be dragging you back with me. We should get back to civilization. Dale said he paid my cable bill, but he couldn’t remember about my electricity, and I’ll need to call the police and tell them I’m alive.”
“Yeah, probably.” Getting back to civilization held less appeal than going all primitive here with Tiberius, but I suppose part of being a responsible adult was paying your electric bill and not letting people think you’re dead. Plus, he would have cable. And we’d be all primitive in other ways.
“So, Alyssa Sutton, you feel like taking a shower and blowing out of here?”
I froze, and I think my heart stopped. Just like that? I swallowed thickly. Wow. I mean…wow. The impact of the moment made me laugh nervously. “Wow, bacon and saying my name, I guess you really must want sex, huh?” It was a stupid thing to say, but…it’s what I thought of.
His lips were curved in a smile when he kissed my neck once more before getting out of bed. “Nope. No time.” And he was going. He was leaving.
I flopped onto my back and watched him as he went to leave the room. “No,” I said slowly. He’d told me we were fine—and we were safe. There was only one reason I could think of that he was leaving me here in bed a hot mess of hormones and emotions—leaving abruptly and getting the last word in, and, no, it wasn’t okay.
He stopped with his hand on the doorframe. “What?”
I sat up, wrapping the quilt around me. “Last night, I stayed and fought right beside you. I would have died for you. We can have power struggles over every other part of our relationship, but I sure as hell won’t put up with one in here if we’re mates.”
He turned back to me and leaned up against the doorframe and crossed his arms. He met my stare, second for second, and then a smile spread across his lips. “You want to be alpha in here?”
He’d like that. He’d liked when I was aggressive before. This was a win for everyone really.
“I’m alpha everywhere else.” It was a statement.
I shrugged. That was as good as he was going to get from me. I’d challenge that right and left but, chances were, being alpha in here would go a long way toward keeping us equal outside of the bedroom. “But I still get extra bacon.”
He pushed off the doorframe and walked toward me, rubbing his beard. “Well, I don’t know. I already swiped clothes for you from the Senator’s wife…even shoes. Holy shite, woman, you ask a lot.” He sat down on the edge of the bed.
I crooked a finger at him. This really was a win for everyone and even if we really should be getting our tails…or untailed bodies out of here—I still deserved a real kiss. That had been quite the rampage last night, and I woke up married to him. A girl had to have standards. This was a whole different “wham, bam, thank you, ma’am” situation, but there had been a lot of whamming happening. I’d whammed the hell out of a few evil guys. I deserved a real kiss—especially since we were married.
He raised his eyebrows, but crawled across the bed on all fours, and I lay down as he stopped above me.
“One show of dominance, and you were mine,” I said, grinning.
He smiled too. “Alyssa, from the first time you told that white coat you were going to beat him to death with his own leg, I was yours.”
“Wow, you dark beasts have a funny idea about sweet talk.”
He dropped down to brush a kiss against my mouth. “We, dark beasts mate for life. Our list of wants,” he pressed another kiss against my mouth, “needs,” another kiss brushed against my lips, “desires is different.” He licked my lower lip, making me moan.
“Mate for life, huh? Wow, that is some sort of stamina.” And I grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and dragged his mouth down to mine.
Copyright © 2013 by Wendy Sparrow
And the curtain falls to epic music from Two Steps From Hell.
A perfect — and perfectly satisfying — end to a story you’ve been feeding us slowly over months. And the way you kept Alyssa (love the name, btw ;-)) a bit feisty and not to be walked over, true to her nature, in other words, was the perfect touch.
You like that name, huh?
All me. 😉
You know the characters wrote that ending. I’m a pantser anyway, but I didn’t see that ending coming until after I’d written the words. That’s when writing feels magical–when you’re no longer the writer–you feel like the scribe instead.
Okay, I need to go check out some Two Steps from Hell music…