Rachel stared at the computer, trying to concentrate on the screen, not the man sitting next to her. She had been working on this project with him for three hours. He seemed very cautious not to touch her. The first hour, she kept sniffing the air to see if she smelled bad, or something. He smelled really good, it was the odor of some soap—the name of which—escaped her. Maybe he didn’t like her, and that’s why he was being so short with her.
“What did you do here?” she asked, and pointed at the screen. He leaned over to see what she was talking about.
“You’re way faster than me. I haven’t got that far,” he said with a low rumbling laugh.
“Oh, ok, I can wait. Would you like something to drink?” She was so glad they were at her house, well… her mother’s house. The last time she talked to her, she was about to shoot heroin. Rachel had given her an ultimatum, and her mother chose the drug instead of her daughter.
“Sure, water please.” He went back to his computer screen, and got back to typing.
“Coming right up.” She left the room, trying not to think about him. She reached the kitchen, and paused at the fridge to collect her thoughts. How am I going to finish this semester? This project has to be finished soon.
“Deep breath,” she whispered to herself. Soon, it will be over, and I won’t have to be stuck in a room with a guy who doesn’t like me. She reminded herself of that over, and over again as she grabbed two bottles of water. She took a deep cleansing breath, and walked back into the living room to find Aaron packing his laptop.
“I need to go. Sorry.” Aaron didn’t look at her, just focused on making sure he had everything packed. “I will be back tomorrow to finish the rest. Text me if you have any problems.” He walked towards the door where she stood, and waited for her to move. Slowly, she moved to let him pass, and he rushed out to the front door. Within moments, she could hear the roar of his pickup truck.
“Well… that was odd,” she muttered while slumping against the door. “That hot sexy man, will be the death of me.” She sighed, and went back to her computer. She looked over her work. After an hour of staring at the screen with nothing added, she turned off her laptop, and left the room.
“What am I going to do now?” She strolled to her bedroom, and saw her calendar on the wall. Friday night, and she had no plans. Well… plans can’t happen now, Aaron left. She wanted to talk to him before he left, to see if he had a problem with her. But she couldn’t get the courage, and now he was gone. Her opportunity had vanished just like him.
She walked to her closet, and ran her fingers across the cotton fabric until she came to a nice deep purple shirt with a V cut that showed off her chest without being slutty. She pulled it out, and went to search for matching pants to go with it. Settling for a black knee length skirt, she ran to the shower. Let’s go get a few drinks with Mary.
“Oh my gosh, Rachel you look hot!” her best friend Mary said when Rachel walked into the club. Rachel could feel the blush creep up her cheeks, she didn’t dress up normally, and Mary kept telling her that she had a rocking body that she needed to show off.
“Thanks Mary. You look good too.” Mary was wearing a nice black dress that made her breasts look bigger than normal, and her behind stick out even more. They both had full figures, but Rachel was always bigger than her no matter how hard she tried to look smaller.
“Thank you. Let’s go get a drink,” Mary giggled, and moved to the counter. A tall man with brown hair, and dark amber eyes came up to take their order.
“What can I get for you ladies, tonight?” His voice was deep, and seductive, sending a chill down Rachel’s spine.
“Two apple martinis,” Mary called out. The bartender nodded, and went to work.
“I can’t afford that,” Rachel protested, pushing her friend in the arm.
“I am covering the drinks tonight. You are too wound up, and you need to let loose.”
Rachel glared at her, and Mary just gave her a goofy smile.
“Fine, but I will pay you back somehow.” Rachel thought about all the times she ‘owed’ Mary by now. The one good thing about having mommy, and daddy pay for all your college expenses is that the money you make at the part time job gets to go to fun. Plus, once every month, Mary got a check in the mail for food, most of it was toward liquor, but she could handle it. She was like a pro when she got a few shots into her system. Rachel, on the other hand, was the light weight, two beers, and two shots were her limit.
The bartender handed Mary the drinks which she paid for with her credit card. Slowly, they moved through the crowd to find a table on the edge of the dance floor.
“All right, here is the deal; we are going to drink these then head out to that dance floor, show off some moves, and maybe get a sexy guy to dance with.” Mary took a big swig of her drink, and raised an eyebrow at Rachel.
“Fine, you only win because I am too lazy to argue tonight.” Rachel took a gulp of her drink, letting the liquor warm her body up. A couple of songs later, she recognized the country song that started to play, Leave the Night On, by Sam Hunt. She took the last swig of her drink, and grabbed Mary’s hand, dragging her to the floor. They made their way to a small spot, and started to move to the beat. Normally, country wasn’t played in here, but every now, and then, they would break the rules, and Rachel loved it.
“We can leave the night on,” Rachel said as she moved, laughing here, and there with her friend. Out of nowhere, Rachel could feel a tall man behind her, and moving with her. Mary smiled with an approving look. Rachel didn’t care who it was at that moment, she just wanted to dance.
Despite the fact that the song ended all too soon, and the beat of another song started, Rachel just kept dancing. The man’s hands moved to her hips, and grasped harder than Rachel would tolerate. She ignored it for the next two songs, but it started to get tighter. Finally, she turned around to see a classmate of hers, Mark. He was known as the jock type, always cocky, and getting what he wanted.
Rachel didn’t really like him in class, but here, the martini was working against her. She didn’t know if going home with him would be a good idea because he would be pushy, and definitely not a gentleman.
“What are you doing here?” he asked after he leaned down, still moving his hips to the beat.
“Trying to relax with my friend.” Rachel pointed to where Mary was dancing a moment ago before she turned. Damn it, Mary! She was so mad that her friend left her alone with Mark.
“Ok. Have a good night,” he said, and left her side to disappear into the crowd. Rachel turned, expecting to find Mary, but she was nowhere in sight. So, she pushed her way out of the crowd, and went back to the table where their drinks were, but it had been emptied. As she started to panic, Rachel turned around searching for her friend. She wasn’t equipped to handle the club alone, sober, especially at that moment. She found the bathroom, and headed toward it, when a set of hands wrapped around her waist for the second time tonight.
“Please let go. I am looking for my friend.” Rachel turned to see the cocky smile Mark wore.
“Don’t worry about her darling. I would worry about how you’re going to be pleasing me tonight,” he chuckled, making her stomach turn. Rachel pushed against him, but his grip was tight. He started for the exit.
“Let me go!” she yelled at him, but his hands didn’t budge. She took a deep breath, and acted before she thought about what she was going to do. Surprisingly, her left leg collided with his shin, and her right hand came into contact with his nose. Overwhelmed by pain, he let go of her, and placed his hands on his face. That was all she needed.
She ran toward the bathroom, pushing at people without glancing back to see if Mark was coming after her. She just pushed against the floor till she finally reached the bathroom. It had a small line waiting for the stalls, but Rachel moved in past them. Quickly glancing back, she saw Mark glaring at her, and then he was out of view as she rounded the corner. She looked at herself in the mirror.
She was panting heavily from the adrenaline coursing through her body. No man had ever tried to push her into going home with him. She was just thankful for her father’s insistence of paying for self-defense classes when she was little.
“Mary?” Rachel called out, hoping that she would hear her best friend’s voice replying, but nothing. She noticed a few girls staring at her, but the two women at the front of the line were staring at the floor. She followed their gaze to see Mary slumped against the opposite wall.
“Damn it! Mary!” Rachel ran to her side, checking to make sure she was still alive. Her pulse was still beating, and her breathing was steady, but slow. Must have been knocked out, or drugged. Panic filled Rachel’s body. They had drunk the same thing. Rachel grabbed Mary’s arms, and shook her trying to wake her up, but in vain. She looked up, and recognized no one in the bathroom. She sat next to her, trying to think of what to do. All she knew was she needed help, but she didn’t know how.
“Rachel?” One of her classmates, Kate, walked into the bathroom.
“Oh, I am so glad to see you. Could you please help me?”
Kate raised her eyebrows when she looked at Mary. “Sure, but we should probably leave Mary here.”
“What do you mean leave her here?”
“Well, Mark wants you, and not her. I am here to take you to him.” She smirked with a shrug.
“Like hell you are. You can go tell that pig to go to hell!” Rachel yelled, as rage was taking over her. She couldn’t believe the nerve of this man.
“Well I can pick you up, and carry you out, or you can come like a big girl. Your choice,” Kate said calmly, and placed her hand on her hip.
“You could try.” Rachel realized that she needed to knock her out somehow, but nothing came to mind. Kate started to walk toward her, and Rachel lifted her arms, and swung as hard as she could. As soon as she made contact with her stomach, a yelp of pain came from Kate. The latter managed to grab Rachel’s hair, and pulled hard until pain seared her scalp. Rachel lifted her leg, connecting with Kate’s stomach, and her hair was released. She didn’t hesitate to bring her fist to Kate’s face, hitting her square on the nose. Kate’s body went limp, and hit the floor.
Rachel shook her hand, trying to let the pain escape it, but it didn’t work, her knuckles were stinging like crazy. She moved back to Mary who was still out holding her small clutch. Rachel grabbed it, and was happy that her phone was inside. She looked at the time, and her heart fell to her knees. In twenty minutes, the club would be closed, which meant less witnesses would be here.
She scrolled though Mary’s contacts, she found one that she recognized, Aaron. She closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and hit send. It rang twice before Aaron answered.
“Hello,” Aaron answered.
“Aaron, it’s Rachel, I need your help.”
“What is going on?”
“It’s hard to explain. I am stuck in the club’s bathroom with unconscious Mary. Mark is out there trying to forcefully take me home with him.” Rachel took a breath.
“I will be right there,” Aaron growled, then hung up. Rachel looked at the phone, hoping that he would come fast. The time seemed to be going slow for her as she sat next to her friend. She kept glancing at Kate to make sure that she didn’t wake up.
The noise coming from the dance floor died down, and the music stopped. Rachel took a deep breath trying to calm down, but it didn’t work. She knew that she would have to go out to check what was going on. The only problem, her body was telling her hell no.
A set of footsteps caught Rachel’s attention. She held her breath until Aaron came into view. She let it out so quick she almost started to hyperventilate. He put up his hands, and Rachel relaxed.
“What is happening out there?” Rachel managed to ask after a moment of Aaron staring at her.
“Everything is ok. I will carry Mary, and you show me the way to your car.” Aaron moved to Mary, and carefully stepped over Kate’s still limp body. He grabbed Mary, and lifted her like a child. Rachel watched Aaron for a moment before she stood to follow him. Once they reached the dance floor, everyone was gone. The place was eerily empty, not a sound from the cleaning crew, or the bartender. Rachel moved in front of Aaron to open the door to the dark parking lot. Her nerves started to get the best of her as she stumbled toward her car. She unlocked the back door, allowing Aaron to place Mary down.
“Go home, lock the door, and don’t let anyone in.”
“What is going on?”
“You need to go home!” He growled, sending a chill down her spine.
She paused for a moment, trying to think of what to say. “Not before you tell me what is going on Aaron!” She was proud of herself that she was able to stand up to him, but it seemed to fail as he started walking away. “Wait, where are you going?” She took a step toward him when he stopped mid-step.
“Get in the car Rachel!” Aaron said, just above a whisper.
“Tell me…” In an instant, the air was knocked out of her as something, or someone hit her, knocking her against the car. The impact almost knocked her out, her body went limp, and her head hit the ground. In a blur, Aaron lunged toward the person who hit her.
She watched as two dark figures started to change into something that wasn’t human. A few moments later, it looked like two massive dogs attacking each other. Rachel closed her eyes, but her head was aching so bad that she couldn’t open them again. She could hear growling, and snapping of strong jaws. A yelp cracked though the air, then silence dominated. Rachel heard footsteps coming toward her, her heart speeded up as they got closer. She had nothing left to fight off anyone. She was an easy target, just lying there.
“Calm down Rachel. It’s me, Aaron. You’re safe,” his voice was close to her ear, “Can you move?” Rachel took inventory of her body, and there wasn’t much energy in her. She tried to sit up, but only moved up inches, then went back to the ground. Slowly, she shook her head as her voice was gone.
He placed his hand on her forehead, and it felt as if a lightning bolt went through her body, making all of her nerves light up. Her head started to spin before everything went black.
He watched her breathing as she slept, trying to think of the way he was going to tell her about what happened last night. Every passing second made him more nervous that she wasn’t waking up. His wolf paced inside getting even more impatient than his human side. Crap, I imprinted with her. He has always taken precautions about touching women for this reason. The only good thing he could come up with was that he knew her, she wasn’t a stranger. He was glad that it was her, and not someone crazy like Mary, but he wasn’t ready to mate with anyone. You have no choice now buddy!
“Is she ok?” Mary’s voice distracted Aaron from his crazy thoughts.
“Yes. She should wake up soon, it was a rough night.”
“Yes, it was a rough night. I can’t believe that Kate woman,” Mary growled low, “ She was the one that knocked me out.” Aaron remembered the girl on the bathroom floor. He was impressed that Rachel was the one to knock her out.
“What was her motive for getting Rachel?”
Aaron shoved his fingers through his hair. Mark wanted her as a mate, but Kate wasn’t a wolf, her scent told him so. During the last couple of months, Mark had been obsessed with finding a mate, whether by force, or by touching every woman he encountered. Aaron wasn’t sure why he was being so abrasive, but last night was the last straw for him. It took everything not to kill him; he managed to knock him out long enough for the alpha’s second in command to come pick him up.
“No clue. She has been hanging out with Mark a lot lately, which is all I know.”
Mary walked over to Rachel, moving a lock of hair from her face.
“Well I have to go home. Call me when she wakes up.” Mary looked at Aaron. He nodded, and on her way out, she patted his shoulder. Mary was a good person. Her crazy character never stopped her from being kind, and caring.
Aaron continued to stare at Rachel, waiting for her to wake up. He looked down at his watch to notice that only twenty minutes had passed since Mary left. Rachel started to move her fingers, then her arms.
“Ouch!” Rachel spoke above a whisper. She moved her body to sit up, but it slam back down to her bed. Her hands flew to her head. “Son of a gun,” she moaned as she massaged her temples.
“How is your head?” Aaron moved to her side, and Rachel’s eyes snapped open to search for him.
“Hurts like hell! What happened last night?” Rachel moved her hands down to her stomach to rest them there.
Aaron took a deep breath, trying to figure out what he should say. “What do you remember?”
“I remember Mark, the jerk was trying to take me home with him. Kate being a witch, and having to knock her out, then you came,” she paused, looking at Aaron.
He could see confusion in her eyes. He wondered if she was remembering him shifting into a wolf, or if it was something else. He didn’t know what would be better; her remembering that, or not.
“Anything else?” His wolf howled, wanting to tell her everything.
“Well, I remember getting to my car, you ignoring my questions, then I got slammed into my car, everything else is pretty blurry.”
He leaned in closer, wanting to touch her, wanting to take her into his arms, and complete the bond right away, “I’m sorry for ignoring your questions, I didn’t want to freak you out.”
“What happened Aaron?” She met his gaze, curiosity filling her eyes.
“Mark was trying to take you home to mate with you, he was trying to claim you for himself.” He rubbed his lips together as his wolf growled inside with anger. She was his, and no one would take her now.
“What do you mean claim me?” Her brows inched together, contorting her soft skin.
“He is a werewolf that is becoming desperate to get a mate. He has been going on about it in all the wrong ways, and last night I had enough of it, so I stopped him,”
“Wait, hold on a minute. Mark is a werewolf? What does that make you?”
“I am a werewolf too. I think Mark is going to be even angrier now since I am the one who imprinted with you.”
“Imprinted? You mean like… I am your mate now? Like…,” she said, looking away toward the window.
“Yes, we are bound together,” His wolf completely focused on her as she closed her eyes. He wanted to know what she was thinking, and how she felt about the imprint, but he also didn’t want to rush her.
“Ok, I guess I understand,” she muttered as she opened her eyes, and looked back at Aaron. She took a deep breath. He smelled her arousal, and grinned. He had been pushing back against his own arousal since she woke up.
“Why do I want to touch you so damn bad?”
“It’s the imprint. It completes when we mate, but it is completely up to you whether you want to be my mate, or not. If you don’t want to, I will walk, and leave you alone, and the bond will break,” he closed his eyes, and my wolf will die with the bond. He didn’t want to think about losing his wolf, but he knew damn well he wasn’t Mark, and wouldn’t force himself on anyone.
“What if I want to?” She leaned up, getting closer to his face.
“Well, then we would mate, and the bond would be complete.” He could feel her hot breath on his chin as she inched closer to his face. He stopped thinking about scaring her away, so he grabbed her face, and placed his lips on hers. Rachel hesitated for a moment, but then she let go, melting into him. He moved back, and put her head back down to the pillow.
Imprinted. Bound. Mates for life now that the deed was done. The thoughts kept recycling over, and over again while she was lying next to Aaron. Her werewolf mate slash boyfriend. One thing she did know was she barely knew the guy, but that was going to change soon. The connection between them was intense to say the least, but her insecurities were growing so strong that she pulled the blanket up to cover her naked body.
He rolled over, and her eyes met his. She could sense being different now that they had imprinted. She wondered if he had feelings for her before the imprint, or if it was just all of a sudden. It made sense now that he never touched her. She looked away.
“What is wrong?” Aaron said as he placed his hand on her arm. He rubbed his thumb against her skin sending a shiver down her spine.
“I am just a little confused. I mean I barely know you, and now—” She stopped. She didn’t want to hurt him, but she was also lost.
“Now we are mates, and that scares you. I understand,” he spoke the words like he had done this before, or maybe seen it. Maybe he has two mates, her confused mind thought.
She turned to look at him. “Have you done this before?”
“No, but I did watch my brother, and his mate. It was a little entertaining to watch to be honest. She actually punched him in the face,” He paused, and gave her a smile “After a couple of hours, she wrapped her head around it, and got used to the idea. Actually, she made the decision to become a werewolf a few days later.”
“Wait a minute, you mean I can become a wolf? You’re joking right?” She liked the thought of being able to protect herself in a new way.
“No I’m not. The choice is yours, but don’t worry so much about that right now.” He looked down at his watch, and sighed.
“Are you late for something?” She adjusted some of her hair behind her ear.
“Yes. The alpha asked me to give him a report about last night. Actually, I think you should come with me, but we need to hurry.” He jumped out of bed with ease.
“I’m meeting the alpha of your pack?” She jumped out of the bed, still naked.
“Yes. Let’s take a shower first. We need it,” he said with a teasing voice, winking at her, making her heart melt.
“Fine. But you better protect me from anything bad.”
“I will always do.” He grabbed her hand, and kissed it, making her smile.
Rachel looked at the ranch house they stopped at. Her nerves were getting the better of her as she looked around, noticing that there was nothing even close to it. Oh crap! Oh crap, Rachel what are you doing? She took a deep breath trying to calm herself down. As if reading her mind, Aaron grabbed her hand.
“Don’t worry. You are safe here.”
“I will try not to worry.” She gave him a weak smile, and he let go of her hand. Her feet touched the ground, and her nerves spiked again. She forced her feet forward to the door with Aaron right beside her. When they reached the door, she held her breath as her mate just walked in.
“Hello Peter. Hello Michelle. I would like to introduce you to Rachel.” Aaron motioned to her, and she slowly let out the breath she had been holding. Peter was huge with wide shoulders, and thick muscles. His shaggy brown hair made him look a little laid back, but his eyes narrowed toward her like he was seeing something disgusting. He was in his mid-60’s.
“Hello Rachel. Nice to meet you. Welcome to our home.” Rachel turned her gaze from Peter to Michelle; she was skinny with slightly wide hips, and black hair. She gave off a friendlier persona than Peter. She looked almost the same age as him, but she was aging better.
“Thanks. Nice to meet you too.”
“How do you know our Aaron?”
“We go to school together.”
“She knows, mom. We imprinted last night.” Aaron said as if he was annoyed with the small talk. Michelle ran over to Rachel hugging her “Welcome to the family,” she said happily.
Mom? This is Aaron’s mom! Why the hell didn’t he tell me? She tried to wrap her head around meeting his parents.
“Oh thank heavens he found you. You are so pretty.” Michelle let go of Rachel, but didn’t move back. She touched her hair then her face, and that made Rachel feel even more uncomfortable.
“Thanks,” Rachel said quietly.
“Michelle, I need to talk to Aaron about what happened last night. Could you look-over his new mate later?” Peter growled. Rachel couldn’t see his face, but she could tell he was pissed.
“Sorry dear.” Michelle moved back to her seat next to Peter, but her excitement was still written all over her face.
“Last night was a damn mess dad. You need to put Mark in line, or else he is going to end up killing someone.” Aaron said.
“Start from the beginning.”
“Rachel called me, told me that her friend had been knocked out, and Mark was trying to take her home by force. I went to help her out. When I got there, the place was deserted. I carried Rachel’s friend out to her car. That’s when Rachel decided that it was a good time to ask questions.” He gave Rachel a look as if he was a little mad, but not that much.
She shrugged, “Sorry I am stubborn. Deal with it.” Rachel glared at Aaron. Peter cleared his throat, knocking Rachel out of her trance.
“Mark attacked Rachel, knocking her out, then turned to me, and shifted to fight me. After a few minutes, I knocked him out. Then, I went to check on Rachel, and she was barely conscious. When I grabbed her to put her in the car, we imprinted. I got her in, and before I drove off, two of Mark’s buddies grabbed him off the road, and loaded him up in their truck. I have been at Rachel’s house ever since.”
“I can smell that you have completed the bond,” Peter said.
Do I smell bad? I just showered. Rachel was worried that she wasn’t making the right impression.
“Yes we did,” Aaron said with pride. There was a sudden wave of confidence in his stance.
“Let’s get that change going.” Rachel arched her brow, and they all looked at her. “What?” She wasn’t going to sit around, and wait for her new mate to protect her.
“Ready?” Aaron spoke, breaking the awkward silence. Rachel nodded. A moment later, he shifted, breaking apart the clothes on his body. Aaron walked up to Rachel, licking her face. She giggled as his tongue tickled against her soft skin. Aaron’s face held a big wolf smile, making Rachel laugh again. This is going to be interesting. He opened his mouth, and closed it around her shoulder, his teeth buried into her soft flesh. The sharp pain filled Rachel’s body as Aaron backed away a little. She closed her eyes, trying to breathe through it.
A fire erupted under her skin, she felt as if her body was going to explode into a million pieces. Rachel dropped to her knees, and breathed heavily.
Things started to change, her sense of smell grew stronger, catching new scents she couldn’t name, her hearing got sharpened, she can hear birds chirp, and a squirrel scratching a tree very loudly. This was so new to her, and it was a bit overwhelming. She didn’t open her eyes, trying to process it all. Pain pulsed behind her forehead, and she placed her hand over her face, hoping she could block out some of the things happening to her.
Slowly opening her eyes, letting the light in, everything seemed to be so intense, and different. She found Aaron few feet away, watching her. Rachel took a deep breath. She ground her teeth as more bones were getting broken in her body. Pain was her only thought, she closed her eyes as hot pokers-like were stabbing her skin, then in a rush, it was all gone. When she opened her eyes this time, she was the same eye level as Aaron.
Rachel looked down to the ground. Unexpectedly, she found paws instead of hands. Holy moly! Her stomach flipped, yet she tried to maintain her composure. She shook her body, getting a feeling for what she could do. Taking an unsure step towards Aaron, it took a lot of focus not to fall face first into the ground. I’m a wolf! She let out a short howl that sounded so cool.
“Take her back home, Aaron. I’ll see you later.” The alpha stepped out of the room, leaving them alone.
Aaron licked her face, and this time, it didn’t tickle as much as before. Rachel licked him back; she tasted something she couldn’t place. She inched closer to Aaron to smell him, and she caught his soap smell that she experienced when she was human, except that there was something else under that. There was a deep cinnamon scent that made Rachel’s mouth water. She wanted him, but she took a step back to clear her head.
He started to walk away, and Rachel followed behind. There was a power in this form that she really liked. After a few steps, she jumped on Aaron, landing on his back, which made him stumble, and fall. They both rolled out of it, and started running. The forest buzzed around her as she ran fast. So much had changed in a short time, and being with Aaron meant changing herself, but at least now she knew he was just keeping his distance because he actually liked her.
She couldn’t wait for the adventures to begin, between classes at least.