Bonus – Past My Defenses Alternate Epilogue

Couldn’t get enough of Past My Defenses? Did you know there was a second epilogue? It was originally only available at the end of the print edition. So, only a handful of people have read it. You’ll want to have read Past My Defenses ahead of reading this.


What Happens in Reno (the alternate epilogue)


“We were married by Santa,” Vanessa said, coming up for air. He’d looked like Santa, even down to wearing red—though it was red leather, so that was different.

“Better than by Satan—same letters in a different order.” Dane kissed his way down her neck while pressing her back against the wall of the glass elevator.

They really ought to keep it together until they reached their room…or until they were alone in the elevator. The ancient woman beside them didn’t look as scandalized as she should have. Maybe she wasn’t real—she could be a statue. It was Reno after all. Weird things happened in Reno. Vanessa reached out and poked the old woman in the shoulder. Nope. She was real and staring—avidly.

Obviously noticing he had less than Vanessa’s absolute attention, Dane tipped back and turned his head to glance at the old woman beside them too. He jumped. Yeah, nothing less than an octogenarian smelling like baked mothballs could have cooled her jets when all lights were green now on them making the beast with two backs. That and the fact that they were in a glass elevator on display right above the lobby.

There was exhibitionism, and then there was just bragging. The heels she had on made her legs look like they went on forever. The brevity of her hemline extended the illusion. She looked fantastic—as every girl should, on her wedding day. But, still, flaunting it seemed tacky.

“How long has she been there?” Dane whispered.

“The whole time.”

“Even when I grabbed your…?” Both modesty and humility had stopped that from going where it might have. She’d look fabulous naked, but the lady next to them might have a heart attack.

“Yep. I think we’ve gathered a crowd below us in the lobby too.”

Dane looked over her shoulder and waved. He withdrew the hand grabbing her butt, pressing them together, and damn near lifting her off her feet—which was a shame. Still, just because they could barely keep it PG-13 in front of Santa during their “first kiss as a married couple” didn’t mean they were animals…well, one of them wasn’t—though that feral look in Dane’s eyes made the point debatable.

“Stop looking at me like that or we’ll never make the room,” she said as he licked his lips.

“Like what?”

“You know like what.” He was so far beyond undressing her with his eyes. Given that he’d seen her naked a dozen times, he could fill in the details. How the hell was this elevator taking so long? They were only staying on the eleventh floor—it’s not like it was the Empire State Building.

“This is the slowest elevator in the history of elevators,” Dane said, sharing her thoughts.

The elderly woman took a toffee from her purse and unwrapped it.

“You know, I’ve never seen you naked.” It really wasn’t fair. One of the downsides of Dane not being a Lycan. No spontaneous nudity. “You see me naked all the time, but I’ve never seen you naked before.”

“My third husband was like that,” the other occupant of the world’s slowest elevator said as she put the toffee in her mouth.

The elevator door dinged open, and Dane dragged her out.

“It was nice meeting you,” Vanessa called. It felt only polite. It was like they’d shared something there. The woman had gotten a free show in Reno. As the doors closed, Vanessa gave the woman a calculating look. “Dane, we’re on the top floor. I think she skipped her stop to watch us.”

“Huh. The doors did open at one point. I remember that.”

“Only because I slapped your hand.”

He shrugged.

They stopped in front of the penthouse suite. Vanessa grinned. They’d dropped by here for a second before rushing to get married—she’d run in and out of the bathroom mostly, but their suite was the size of her house. There was a whole lotta room to mess around in. Including a ginormous sunken tub.

A whole helluva lot was happening in Reno tonight.

Dane patted his pockets, frowning. “Did you see where I put the room key?”

Wrapping her arms around him, she grabbed the room key in his back pocket, but didn’t pull it out. “I found it earlier when Santa said you could kiss the bride.”

Dane laughed. “He might as well have been Satan. I think we’re going to hell for what we did in that chapel.”

“The couple before us looked like a bondage gone wrong, and she had a whip strapped onto her thigh. I’d guess he’s seen worse. Besides, we were married at that point. Anything goes.”

“Anything?” He raised his eyebrows.

“We are in Reno.”

He picked her up in his arms and let her get the card key out. “You’re going to have all new Reno stories.”

“Oh yeah?” She slipped the card in after a quick look at the door.

“Not ones you can share,” he said as she turned the handle. He backed in with her in his arms and kissed her deeply as they crossed the threshold. She’d never appreciated kissing this much until they’d been limited to that and cold showers. Her heels dropped off her feet the moment they’d cleared the doorway.

“I bet elevator lady would love to hear my new stories,” she said when they came up for air. The madness was starting to build in her head, and she pushed it back. Dane should see that her being in heat wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. She fought back the crazed hormones. “We should have sex…like now.” She could only do so much.

Dane, her new husband, was a god because he pressed his forehead against hers with a shaky breath and said, “Oh yeah.” And he could kiss as he carried her towards the bedroom so she was already winning so hard in Reno. There were going to go at it until exhaustion set in—it was a sure thing—no gambling in Reno this time, but somebody was about to lose his pants.

He set her on her feet, sliding her along his body as he leaned against the doorframe to the giant bedroom. She teased him with light kisses until he grabbed her head and deepened the kiss. It was a nice change to see him breathless and panting—even if she was too.

“I might need,” breath, “my red,” breath, “inhaler,” she said, pulling back.

Sliding his hands down along her body, he grabbed her butt with both hands and pressed her tight up against him, making her moan softly. She needed this. After so many weeks of taunting her libido, she needed this.

Dane’s eyelids dropped to a sexy half-mast, and his pupils dilated from want. “I put,” breath, “one next to the bed,” breath, “and one next to the couch,” breath, “and one next to the balcony door,” breath, “while you were using the bathroom.”

“I love you.”

He laughed.

“I…,” and then she sneezed. Forcefully. Banging their heads together.

They were both so far gone into arousal that it didn’t kill things…entirely…well, not physically. They were still at volcano heat, even if Dane’s groan was not from sexual frustration, but actual pain.

“I’m seeing double.” He blinked forcefully and ducked sideways as she sneezed again, so she hit her head against the doorframe.

“Oh, hell no, you didn’t just….” She sneezed again.

Okay, this might kill even lava-like need.

Her eyes itched and watered, and she took a step back—a small step.

“What’s wrong?” He winced, but aborted an attempt to rub his head—because, clearly, he was too manly to give in to the stabbing pain in his skull, that excruciating agony she was trying to rub out with the palm of her hand. He patted her shoulder with the hand he’d been raising to his head—playing it off.

“I’m allergic to down.”

“You mean the direction?” he asked. He tried to stifle the head-banging misery by vigorous blinking.

“No, not down, I mean down.”

He looked down with a perplexed look…at himself. “You’re allergic to that?”

She snickered, even though she might be blind from pain—and she sneezed again. “Not a euphemism, Dane.”

He muttered what sounded like a prayer of gratitude, but even her Lycan hearing was clogging up due to allergies now.

She nodded at the bed. “Goose down or duck or chicken or whatever the hell they’ve got in the comforter, pillows, and all over the bedroom. I never went into the bedroom earlier. I used the other door to the bathroom.”

“If I strip the bed and grab the pillows and throw them in a closet…?”

She shook her head. “It’s too late. It’s all tainted.”

He set her aside and closed the doors to the bedroom, cutting off all light in the room besides a lamp near the couch. Wrapping his arm around her waist, he pulled her toward the couch.

She buried her face in his shirt. Mmm. He smelled so good. No one smelled like Dane. Her hormones went from zero back to a hundred and sixty.

“Better?” He rubbed his hands up and down her back firmly, ducking to kiss her temple.

“Mmm. I’m so much trouble.” Hopefully once their white-hot lust was sated, he wouldn’t think her allergies were too much trouble.

“I’m hoping so.”

She tilted her head back. “I meant my allergies, idiot.”

Dane took this as a sign that she wanted her neck kissed and sucked and bitten and, oh, it turned out she did. His mouth was magical. “I see this as permission to have sex everywhere besides the bedroom, and since I was already planning on that, it’s a win/win.” He put his head against hers before jerking back. “Wait, are you done sneezing?”

“Yes, but maybe not done headbutting.”

He raised his eyebrows, and she could see a light red mark right above them.

“Okay, I’m done headbutting too.” No matter how much he pissed her off, she was never banging their skulls together again. Dane was as hard-headed as she’d always suspected.

Shrugging off his suit coat, he laid it over the back of the couch. Then, he undid a couple buttons of his shirt before pulling it off and tossing it. Now they were talking! “It was probably covered in allergens.”

“Well, then, everything we’re wearing should probably come off.” Reaching behind her, she unzipped her fitted, silk, white dress.

His grin widened with each click of the teeth on the zipper.

“Where?” he asked, stealing a lingering kiss that kept her eyes closed a few seconds after it finished.

She loved this man…and she could love him wherever he wanted to take her—as long as he did it soon. And hard. And soon. Very soon.

He scowled.

She blinked.

“I had you pressed up against the side of that elevator, and your dress is short enough that….”

“Those college soccer players in the lobby weren’t just hyped up about a game?”

His scowl deepened.

She tucked her shoulders in, and the straps of her dress slipped off, and the garment pooled at her feet.

He sucked in a breath, and the scent of his arousal hit the air, making her want to moan and rub herself all over him.

“You should never wear bras,” he said, unhooking hers.

“That’ll go over well with the soccer players next time we see them.”

“You should always wear bras.” His forehead wrinkled. “Possibly even when you’re a Lycan.”

Yeah. No. That wasn’t going to happen. “Tell you what, next time I shift, you catch me and put one on.”

He tipped back his head and laughed. The husky sound made her hormones raise their hands and wave.

Need was making her tremble. Even though she was on the end of being in heat…this was Dane, and she’d wanted him for weeks. And they were married. By Santa even.

“I don’t think I can do this much longer,” she whispered.

His eyes widened in alarm.

“No, I mean wait. I can’t wait. We’ve hit my limit. You’ve got about two minutes before we’re both in the shower again.”

Dane gathered her into his arms and murmured against her lips, “We can do it in the shower later.”

She laughed as he grabbed her butt, and she wrapped her legs around his waist. A moment later, she was on her back on the plush carpeting.

“Is this okay?” he asked, kissing his way down her body.

“Mmm. I think I can handle a few rug burns.”

He yanked his suit coat off the back of the couch, spread it out beside her and laid her on it.

“You’re such a gentleman.” Then, her nose started to itch.

“I like your ‘something blue,’” he said, tugging the strap of her sky blue silk undies. “The heels too—sexy.”

“I borrowed those from uhhh Aggie—they’re old—from the 1940s.” She wriggled her nose to stop the itch. It was probably from the down explosion in the bedroom.

A wrinkle formed between his eyebrows, and he stared at the wisp of silk he’d been about to remove.

“The shoes, Dane. I borrowed the shoes.”

“So, they’re Aggie’s shoes? Aggie is that woman who must be from prehistoric times and pinched my butt when we saw her in the grocery store?”

“They’re just shoes, and I needed something borrowed from someone who doesn’t own any pets.”

“And I called them sexy. That’s downright creepy. They’re old enough to be my great grandmother.”

“You’re concerned you’re related to a pair of shoes? I know werewolves was a stretch, but I don’t think humans can shift to becoming footwear.”

“It’s still pervy.”

Men are all insane. She wanted to strangle him, but that might put a damper on the night. “They’re over near the door. If you’d like, I can put them in the closet so they aren’t scandalized by what’s about to happen here.”

He leaned back, sitting on his heels. “Okay.”

At least he took off his shoes and socks while ogling her as she ran over and put the shoes away. He managed a credible wolf-whistle before grabbing her by the waist and dragging her back to the floor.

His whistle wasn’t the only thing wolfish as he stared down at her. “Now. Where was I? Oh. Right here.” He leaned down and then jumped back as she sneezed. “Hah! Missed me!”

She sneezed again. “I wasn’t aiming for you. I think I’m allergic to the carpet shampoo or something.”

With a groan—that was still not sounding passionate—he picked her up in his arms and said, “The couch,” before dumping her over the back and eyeing her with trepidation to see if she was done sneezing.

She blinked watery eyes.

“I don’t believe this,” he said, looking past her at the table in the middle of the suite where a huge vase of flowers sat. “They must have dropped those off while were getting married.”

She sat up, staring in horror. “Why would someone do that?”

Dane slapped a hand to his forehead. “The honeymoon package. I think there was something about that. I heard blah blah blah silk sheets and something about chocolate syrup…”

“Ohh! Chocolate syrup?” And she sneezed again.

He gestured with a growl. “I’m tempted to throw them out into the hall.”

“Or in the bedroom.”

He ran to do that. Like…ran. If she’d ever doubted his eagerness, it was gone with him sprinting a four minute mile with a vase of flowers. She watched him over the back of the couch as she took a drag from the inhaler he’d thoughtfully left beside the couch. He was the best husband in the world.

“Better?” He slammed the door closed again and leaned against it, as if he was holding back a monster. Which he was. Flowers were vile. So were people who carried around the despicable pollen propagators. In what world was it a good idea to carry things around so they could procreate all over everywhere?

“We might need to let it dissipate.” It came out all nasal and goopy.

His head swiveled almost frantically as he took in the extent of the room. His gaze landed on the bathroom. “The bathroom?”

“After so many cold showers, it’s almost appropriate—like giving it the finger.”

“There’s a sunken tub.”

She grinned.

He picked her up. Again.

She was already breathing heavily, and her nose was too plugged for long kisses, but when he kicked open the door—oh wow. Hell, soon his mouth would be busy in other ways, and she could catch her breath. This was salvageable. She flicked on the light…and he stood there…with her in his arms.

“Oh, hell no!” they said at the same time.

“I don’t remember that being in the honeymoon package,” he said with distaste.

“That wasn’t like that when I got dressed in here. Quick, get me out of here and shut the door!”

He grabbed the door as he backed up, slamming it.

She shuddered at that last glimpse of the red-pelted bathroom. “That’s horrible.” It came out sounding like “orrible.” “Maybe I should take some more meds.”

“Yeah, and have you asleep or stoned on our wedding night—sounds fantastic.” Dane was back to glowering.

“You knew how I was when you married me! Which was less than an hour ago! And in front of Santa!”

“I didn’t expect to have to spend our wedding night in a bubble.”

“I didn’t expect you to order the bathroom coated in nasty rose petals.”

“They brought up chocolate syrup, Vanessa! And I’m nearly incapable of thinking of anything besides you naked after so many weeks of sexual frustration.”

“Well, I’m practically naked, and we’re hanging around arguing.” Not that arguing was entirely a bad thing, not with them.

He looked down at her, clutched in his arms. It was like he’d forgotten. His gaze met hers, and the smoldering hungry look was back. “I have an idea.”

He strode quickly toward the back of the room. Her feet caught a lamp, knocking it over as they went past. It fell with a spark, knocking out the only light in the room. Dane laughed. “It wouldn’t be a trip to Reno if you didn’t trash a hotel room.”

“That wasn’t my fault. Last time wasn’t either.”

He reached the back door onto the balcony and slid it open. “So, they expect you to tear down the drapes is what you’re saying? That’s good to know.” He set her down on a plastic lounge chair, adjusted it to fully reclined, and sat beside her.

“It was just drapes, and I’m sure they got the knots out fairly easily. Probably. Besides if they don’t expect you to use the sheets as a rope they shouldn’t give you so many of them.”

He raised his eyebrows.

“Besides, it was the way I got out of there before the real trashing happened.” She lay down and stretched out. Mmm. This could work.

“Should I turn on some lights?”

There was enough ambient light around for her that it might as well have been the middle of the day. “Don’t need lights. I kind of like you feeling your way around.”

His hands slid up her, seeming to know exactly where she was…all of her. “Mmm. What is this? Is this your elbow?”

She snickered. It was most certainly not her elbow, and he knew it. “If that’s what you think, don’t grab them in public.”

“Mmm,” he said his mouth against her skin. The humming of his breath against her made her arch. Oh, this felt so good. It all felt different when you were with the person you couldn’t live without. “If I catch any of those soccer players looking at your elbows again….”

Talking and breathing and moaning was getting too difficult. “Your mouth is criminal.”

“Do you want me to stop?”

“Don’t you dare.” Her shakiness was getting worse again, but, dammit, she was going to rein it in long enough for Dane to know this could work when she was in heat. Oh, it could work…so well…. “Wait.”

He froze.

“I need to be on top.” She wrestled him onto his back on the lounge chair.

His eyes were nearly all pupil as he stared at her above him. His puny human eyes must have adjusted to the dimmer light. “I have no problem with that.” And he didn’t…for about two minutes. “I need to be on top.” He flipped her—as best he could. The lounge chair probably wasn’t meant for these sort of exertions and gave out some squeaks as it scraped against the concrete below them.

“No, Dane. It’s my turn.” She tried to switch their positions.

“It was your turn—now it’s mine.”

She growled.

He sighed—and groaned—and let her be on top.

“Take off your pants. It’s not fair that I’m naked. You’ve seen me naked.”

“You look pretty great naked.” She did. But still….

“Dane. Now.” She bit the side of his neck.

“Ow. Only if I get to be on top.”

She let him be on top, but his clock was ticking down. He had mere minutes before she attacked him like the wild animal she was.

“Dane,” she moaned. Her breathing was as ragged as if she’d run around the hotel. It was good there was an inhaler just inside.

“Vanessa…Hansen…,” he said, kissing her between each word. He dropped his head to whisper in her ear. “I love you. All of you.”

She laughed softly. She’d never been this happy before. Even if they were back to arguing soon—and especially if they were back to arguing soon—life had never been this good. “I love you more.”

He lifted up above her and opened his mouth to say something when they both heard, “That’s how it was with my fourth husband,” from down below them, but very nearby.

They both looked around. They were moderately blocked from view, but this promised to get…loud, and the lounge chair might not survive.

“How many husbands have you had?” Dane called.

“Five,” the woman answered.

Dane reached in the open doorway and grabbed the drapes, yanking them down. They fell with a clattering of poles and rings, and he dragged the curtains overtop them. “She’s heard it all,” he said, kissing her.

Lycans could be really loud. Especially Lycans in heat. Even asthmatic allergic ones. But she wasn’t going to dispute it.

“Besides, it’s Reno,” he added when he came up for breath.

She wriggled her way on top with the lounger creaking and tipping. With a metallic groan, the lounge chair collapsed.

Breath whooshed out of Dane as she landed on top of him.

For one dazed second, she considered asking their nervy balcony friend if they could just use her room, or her couch, or her bathroom. Anything to save this night. At least she’d managed not to knock their heads together again.

Then, Dane started laughing. His laugh brought her libido running again, and her pulse picked up. The night air cleared her sinuses, and the scent of his arousal made her moan.

“That was quite the ride.” His gaze roved over her body, and he licked his lips.

She pinned his hands above him with her own. “Baby, you ain’t seen nothing yet.” No more waiting. No more holding back. Sliding her fingers in between his, she said, “Hold on tight, and let me show you how we do it in Reno.”

Copyright © 2014 by Wendy Sparrow