Was it possible to truly die of a broken heart? Could a body actually shut down from the emotionally strain of the heart. The absolute sureness that nothing in the world would be right again. A pain so profound that the stinging rain could not penetrate enough to cause a reaction. Only the sensation of detachment and despair. Sanala Brims stood rooted to one spot the in the cemetery, only vaguely aware that somewhere held an umbrella over her head. She didn’t turn to see who, her gaze if not her thoughts were focused on the lowering casket in the ground. Antonia Brims, her stepfather, dead. She couldn’t gathered enough strength to staunch the flood of her tears cascading down her face, so much pain so many emotions rolling faster than she could process. Fear, Anger, pain and most of all betrayal. Pain for the bloodshed, anger at the loss, fear and betrayal that the one man that loves her beyond words is responsible for it all.
Christian Black looked at the petite woman before him and knew that without a doubt he would love her with his last breath. Mate. It was simple and he had known that for the last two years. Yet he had waited to give her time to process what it would mean being tied to him. One mate, for life. And he was hers. She didn’t understand the implications and would have given him anything he asked at any given time because there was no doubt she loved him. The predator within him knew this could scent it in her breath, the man knew it from every look and caress. Being that he was older than her, he thought giving her time to think it over by courting her instead of simply taking would prove more special when she finally surrendered to him. Now his other half threatened to break free and finish the job the man had left unfinished. She walked back and forth in front of his desk, clenching her hands, obviously agitated. The lines around her mouth pinched as if she was in pain. The panther didn’t like to see his mate hurt and Chris had to still the instinct to shift and wrap his body along hers to offer comfort.
“Nala sweetheart talk to me.” The tension in his body was a living entity every since he heard of Antonio’s murder and come to comfort Sanala only finding his comfort wasn’t wanted. His natural reaction to dominate and demand was hard to stifle. Sanala was fragile, her body and emotions so tangled and wound tight, if he pushed too much too fast he could break her and that was not his intentions. For all of her tenderness and unique shyness she was not a pushover and he didn’t want to make her into one. He could remember the first shy smiles she blessed him with and the first time her quiet temper exploded. The thought of those memories could cause his inner cat to purr in satisfaction.
“I can’t do this anymore Chris. I can’t see you anymore.” she said roughly. The words coming out raspy and broken. The pain that those words caused in her heart was staggering. This man, tall, dark, handsome, strong and proud man that was hers could no longer be.
“I gotta go” she said trying to escape the confines of the office that now rippled with tension and danger. Yet before she could blink to turn. Chris was in front of her blocking her way, holding her in his grip close to his chest.
“No!” the word was impenetrable and no less than a growl.
She jerked away from the predatory that roamed inside of him. The animal that was all primal and no give, the animal that was capable of murder and deceit. He noticed and released her but stayed in front of the now locked door as he pocketed the key.
“No talk to me, you can’t just walk out.”
What could she say to make him give her up? Nothing, she knew that. She knew very little concerning shifters, but what she did know was that not only were they aggressive but they were lifelong lovers. Mates. She was his but after all that happened he could never be hers, not when she carried the pain of her betrayal that she would always carry. Although logically she knew that Chris’s beast didn’t kill her father, another one did. She couldn’t separate and the fear that came with the thoughts that flowed nonstop into her mind was poison.
“He’s dead, what else is there to say. I can’t stay here”
Staying the beast was something that was never a problem for Chris since he came to maturity yet every since Sanala had come into his life the level of restraint that he had to exert over himself increased tenfold.
“What does that have to do with us? I promise that I will protect you, I won’t let anything happen to you, and you don’t have to leave”
“Even from yourself?” she asked. She hated herself for letting the question slip out but there it was the fear that something that she wanted with a fierceness that shook her could one day destroy her.
He took a step back as if she struck him. He knew the situation of her step father’s death and he also knew more than the public knew that everything on the surface such as Antonio’s character was not always as it seemed to be. But knowing all of that he never thought that the results of his death would affect his life with Sanala. The same woman whom he had once carried on his back in his panther form as they ran through the woods behind his estate. The same woman who lost herself in his arms to passion screaming his name and her unwavering love for him. The one person man, woman, boy or girl who could destroy him.
“You think it was me?”He asked. Keeping a tight rein on his cat when in reality he wanted to snarl and growl at the hurt she had no idea that statement dealt him.
“One of your kinds” she said softly losing her anger and leaving only devastating loss. She tried to rationalize that this was for the best, blocking out the thoughts of how soft and gentle he has always been with her, how protective and loyal, to only think of Antonio being lowered into the ground. That was the only way she would be able to walk away. Her heart was ripping into shreds at the thought of not belonging to him of not having that constant warmth that he always showered her with. How could she stay with him and pretend all of this had been a nightmare when now Anthony was dead and she was all alone. Again.
Chris tried to assimilate the information his senses were delivering to him. He could feel her pain, her hurt, her fear. The last had his hand clenching and his beast raging. She couldn’t be afraid of him and she couldn’t leave. That was nonnegotiable. His brother years earlier had made the decision to allow his mate to leave for their own personal reasons but Chris wasn’t Rommel and he couldn’t allow the one beautiful then in his world to leave. Selfish maybe but whatever it was there was no way he could live without her.
“Nala do you think it was me?” he held his breath waiting for the answer. Either way her answer wouldn’t allow him to let her go, but it would make a difference in the gap between them if she thought he was responsible for her step father’s death nothing would make keep her loving him. He would have her body only and for the cat and the man that’s wasn’t acceptable.
“No” the word was barely audible but with his heightened senses he had no problem hearing it and something in him relaxed. He cat breathed deeply the truth in her muffled answer and relax slightly. Ok, Chris thought this was workable, they could fix this. He knew all about damage control and he knew he could fix this. He and Rommel had already had a few things working narrowing it down to the people that killed Anthony and he had other information that Sanala didn’t know and he knew she wasn’t ready to hear but in all he would make this right for her.
“Then this has nothing to do with us. We can get past this, you’re hurt and I understand but leaving me is not an option, you already knew that. We talked about this before you committed to me, you knew the cost. Anything else baby, you know I will do for you, but I won’t let you go.”
“Would you give up your cat for me?”
Chris stopped, his cat paused, all senses seeking out finding anger, and fear had increased in the room and it was pouring off of her. His cat growled and bucked against his skin trying to force her to accept him. Chris stayed him. She couldn’t know what she was asking. She didn’t know the cost she was asking him to pay for her. He purposely had been vague about his species when they met because he knew how skittish she was, and how sheltered she had been raised. There were things even about her that he knew for a fact she didn’t know and he had used that to his advantage and told her as much as he had to about what he was. He even went so far as to show her his other form, yet she didn’t really understand all that she agreed to when she accepted the mating. Now unknowingly she asked the unthinkable of him. His cat was prowling back and forth swiping at the answer that he had accepted the forbidden.
“Marry me.” He stated. It wasn’t a question. He wouldn’t ask. To his people they were already married when she accepted the bond but to her she needed to formality and he would give it to her.
“You didn’t answer my question.”
“Have I ever denied you?” The thought of what she asked ate away at him yet she was his, and that was all that he focused on.
“I don’t ever want to see it Chris, ever.”
“I heard you.” He said angrily and within a blink he was right in her face.
“But hear me, if I do this you are mine. We can do the ceremony, but you will move into the estate with me and stay with me. You will never sleep apart from me again.”
“I’m not….” He cut her off.
“Don’t tell me you not ready, because you are already mine. This is not a marriage in name only. If I can have only have your body until you re-give me your heart then fine but you are mine and nothing and no one will take you from me.
One year later……
“Are you ever going to tell her?” Rommel grated angrily, his fist clenching. He could feel his panther rising to the surface, his hearing, his eyesight all in tune with the sights and sound around him as he took in the sight of his brother. A person that did not know Christian would see just what He wanted them to see. A man composed, competent and lethal if necessary. They wouldn’t know that his body was slowly suffocating itself, that it was only a matter of time months, days, years no one knew for sure but he would cease to exist. All for the price of love. Rommel couldn’t argue there, he knew the price he had paid for his love and she despised him or at least made it a point to remind him with every breathe in her body. He knew the depts. of her love would never fully allow her to hate him but pain was a living entity and if it was fed it festered and could turn into bitterness and hate. That’s why watching what Christian’s mate was doing to him was bringing out the worst tendencies of his cat.
“There is nothing to tell, what’s done is done I have made my choice, I will live with it.” He knew better than anyone the price he was paying his deteriorating senses, his failing sharp skills, all for the love of a woman. His woman.
“She’s killing you!”
“Don’t. You are my brother and I love you but don’t interfere” the words were said chillingly quiet but held a distinct air of danger.
The standoff lasted only bare minutes yet nothing seemed resolved. The two who would in normal circumstances have fought side by side were at a standstill. Decisions made, hearts broken, lives torn apart.
“You can’t go tonight! I will go in your place”
“We’ve already had this discussion; I need you here to protect my mate”
The growl rumbled softly yet menacing, from Rommel’s chest but he didn’t advance or make any threatening moves. Even though every breath he took threatened his sanity and the sanity of his predator.
“This has to end tonight.” One way or the other was the implied words. He was willing to fight to the death tonight and more than likely lose his life because he would not call to his panther and shift. It had been months since he had shifted and his body was feeling the effects, his cat was receding into him and with it taking his strength and his very life force. No he didn’t tell her, what would it accomplish? She had been through enough and he would not add to it. If he was strong enough he could have just let her go when she made the ultimatum but he knew even with his cat at its strongest he was never strong enough to walk away from her. Her warmth, her love. He needed her as much or more than she would ever need him. He would not add to her misery. If he only had a year left with her. Hell if it was only an hour left in her presence he would take it. Rommel didn’t understand, Sanala didn’t grow up with their kind she didn’t know the rules or the mechanics of it which worked out in his favor because she would never know until it was too late for him. But he would never regret his decision.
“Don’t ask me to make a choice between you and your woman, because I don’t think you would like my decision”
“And if the roles were reversed, and it was Lana” Christian asked aware of the sore subject , he didn’t look at his brother as the silence stretched between them, he poured himself a double shot of jack waiting on the reply that might never come. Only when it did the words the cut him to the quick.
“Regardless of my problems with her, when we were together she loved me enough to except all of me. And was woman enough not to ask me to choose to between a half life with her and death.” With that last parting shot he crossed the room and walked out closing the door between him. He didn’t start in surprise to see Sanala looking star struck in the doorway where she had been eavesdropping on the conversation. The color drained from her otherwise beautiful face. He knew she was there, he could pinpoint the second she came to the door. That Christian couldn’t further distress him and allowed him to know how far gone he was. He let her see his contempt before he walked away. Fury pounding in every step as he walked away from her.
Sanala stood in the hallway rooted to the spot. She had come looking for Christian. She wanted to talk to him, really talk to him. She knew that the last months had been a strain and she saw it was starting to feel more strained between them than normal. She didn’t know why that was; now after overhearing part of the conversation she had a sinking feeling in her heart that wouldn’t let go. The trembling in her hands was intensifying and she had to bite the cry of the denial. She turned to go after Rommel as the door was opening. She fought to swallow her fear that had to be consuming her face and pouring out of her pours like vapor.
“Hey baby. You alright?”
She turned to him and fought to keep herself from clenching him to her in fear of losing him. God she had been a bitch the past couple of months a year had passed since her step father’s death and even less than that , when she married Christian. She always felt something was wrong lately the persistent little voice kept screaming at her that something is worse than she thought, yet she knew the strength in him and knew that he would never tell her the truth. So she didn’t bother to ask she just allowed him to soothe her when she knew it was him that needed soothing but she had pushed him so far back that outside the bedroom she didn’t know how to begin. How did you she soothe her soother. He was her rock and had given her everything only to be denied at every turn. She knew he was involved in something and every time she asked he would brush it off and tell her not to worry it would be over soon. Yet she knew in her heart that her troubles were only just beginning. What parts of that conversation had she missed? What was wrong with Chris? “She’s killing you?” is what Rommel had said. She looked at Christian trying to decipher the problem but only received faint waves of distress. That had been happening lately, she was starting to feel and sense things that otherwise she would not. She counted it as stress and would have written it off if she didn’t know something he didn’t know. She was pregnant and he didn’t know it. That was scary to her. Every time something was wrong within her whether it was a cold or a scratch Chris knew it seemed before she did and now something like this and he was unaware of it. At first she thought he was just waiting to tell her to afraid of how she would react but, she knew that was wishful thinking when the truth was he didn’t know. He couldn’t sense it and that was terribly wrong. She wanted to turn and run after Rommel because with the anger he was feeling meant he would hold nothing back and tell her. Last night she had started reading up on his kind and the information she was retaining was disturbing her. Chris was changing and she was afraid she knew the problem and what’s worse she knew it was all her fault.
“Nala baby is everything ok?”
“Yea, I just missed you.” She said trying to sound normal and not desperate as she felt. The look on his face made her feel like a first class bitch. When was the last time she said that to him? When was the last time she told him she loved him when she wasn’t in bed with him. God she had so much to atone for and yet time seemed to be running out for her.
“I missed you too baby” he said pulling fully into the room and closing the door. Whatever happened tonight he would take this moment with him. “I love you” he murmured against her lips.
She wrapped her arms around him and lost herself in his kiss. She couldn’t lose him. Not now. She had to make it up to him, she had to fix this. Over past months she had done her own research and came up with disturbing information concerning her step dad and even her own mother. She didn’t want to dwell on the implications as it pertained to her but she knew they played a huge part in what happened to Anthony. And an even bigger part of whom she was. Blocking it out of her mind, she tore at the buttons on his shirt ripping in open sending buttons flying everywhere. Sex wasn’t the answer but she couldn’t stop herself from loving him in the only way she had to show him. He may not believe her words because of her actions lately but she could never lie to him with her body. Placing memorable kisses on his smooth chest she followed a trail down him abs before tearing open his belt to release his pants. She needed him and she promised herself as she undressed him that she would figure it out and fix this situation.
“Nala!” he groaned out her name and she placed lingering kiss down his thighs circling his manhood. She was killing him. And yet he couldn’t wouldn’t stop her. She needed this as much as he did. So when she took him in her mouth the restraint he held on himself not to immediately come in her mouth was tremendous. Lord he loved this woman and was paying the ultimate sacrifice to have her. Rommel was wrong she wasn’t killing him, she was loving him. Maybe it was the only way she knew how, maybe if she knew the hold story things would be different but yet he wouldn’t regret his time being hers. The need to come was tingling from his toes and against her protest he pulled away from her to pull her up against him. She wore a sundress and he made light work of it. The lacey underwear were only a distant memory as he laid her down across his desk and slowly and fiercely slid into her to the hilt. The moment was special and intense as her cries filled the room and the litany of her words soothed his soul. “I love you, I love you, I love you, and I love you!” When the completion came their cries tangled together as well the love they shared.
Hours later, when Chris had already left to go to him meeting, Sanala found Rommel in his office. Something was wrong and she was getting to the bottom of it. Chris was determined to protect her and wouldn’t tell her anything even after she asked all he would say was everything was ok and it would be over tonight. But she couldn’t help but miss the implied words that he might not return.
“Something’s wrong with Chris.” She said as she burst into the room. There was no time to wait, the closer she came to approaching Rommel the worse her feelings were. She was beginning to be overwhelmed by feeling of pain and loss.
Rommel didn’t say anything for a minute, just stood looking at her critically for a minute until his eyes bugled. “What’s wrong with you? You’re in pain!” Although he resented the decisions she forced his brother to make he would take care of her if something happened to Chris.
She bent over as if in pain, panting. “Chris” she choked out. “Something’s wrong with Chris”
Rommel rushed to her picking her up checking over her for injuries. If Chris made it back here and something was wrong with her he would kill him. “Sanala tell me what’s wrong, why are you hurting. I can’t find any injury.”
“Not me! Something’s wrong with Chris.” She all but yelled as the pain continued to slice through her.
“How…..” He stopped and looks at her inhaling deeply tuning his ears to her.
“Yes” she groaned as she laid her head on his shoulder trying to breathe through the pain.
“Let’s go! He picked her up and all but ran for the garage placing her in the SUV before pulling out and screeching towards the warehouse where the meeting was being held.
“Rommel we gotta find Chris. Why am I hurting like this? I know it’s him.”
“It’s the baby. Son of a bitch I can’t believe he didn’t tell you this.” He gritted out as he pushed the pedal to the floor.
“What’s wrong with him?”
“I don’t know but he’s hurt that much is evident and bad if you are feeling the effects”
“But why am I feeling it?”
“Our women when pregnant absorb the senses of the cubs they carry and the baby knows that his Dad is in trouble and hurting. Dammit and he won’t shift so he’s in trouble.”
“I’m sorry” she panted breathing through the pain.
He grunted at that as he pulled up to the warehouse. Two vehicles, no sound. He cut the engine and turned to her.
“Look stay in the truck if somebody comes to this truck that’s not me or Chris leave. When I get out climb over here and keep the doors locked. Don’t hesitate, just leave.
“No, I’m going with you!”
“No you’re not! I’m shifting and you will slow me down.” He told her that information deliberately. He had no time for games and if she came out of this truck there was no telling what she would see.
She tilted her chin and narrowed her eyes. “I’m going with or without you. Chris is hurt”
“And what can you do? You can’t even accept all of him and he’s dying because of it.”
“No you look, because I’m only going to say this once. When I get out of this car there is no telling what we will find. But I will be honest with you. Chris is dying because he won’t shift and hasn’t shifted in almost a year. Our species can’t survive like that. We are one with our animal and trying to deny one half is like slowing suffocating yourself. And if judging by the pain you are feeling he is severely hurt and if he doesn’t shift he will die.
“Let’s go!” she said jerking open the door dashing away at the tears on her face. She didn’t have time to dwell on it all. She would process it later. All she knew was Chris needed her and she would go to him and deal with the guilt later.
Thinking of all the things she had learned in the past few months, she opened her senses and sought out Chris. Sensing him was easier than she thought but what she found was not what she pictured. She ran to him to find him covered in blood on the ground, his shallow breathing the only thing that alerted her of his life. As she hovered over him out of her peripheral view she saw Rommel run full speed in panther form at the panther covered in Chris’s blood. She blocked the sight out focusing on Chris.
“Baby wake up, open your eyes!”
His eyes open but what she saw was frightening. When had the color changed? Why was she just noticing that? Shifters when in any form of high emotion their cat came forward to show in their eyes. Yet Chris eyes held no hint of green no swirl of yellow in the irises.
“Sshhhh, baby don’t talk. Just listen to me, I need you to shift.” The look he gave her was one of agony and the desperation she felt was closer to the surface showing in her eyes and in her voice.
“I know baby, but you have to call him. It’s the only way to heal you.”
“I can’t, he’s gone!” came the reply and her cry of denial was strong.
“NO! Listen I’m sorry, I didn’t know I was just angry and confused, but you gotta call to him Chris. He wants to live just like you. You gotta shift baby.” She was pleading, she didn’t care. He couldn’t die. It seemed like hours had passed when only seconds when she finding saw the iris in his eyes shift and the color slowly changed. She stopped talking to Chris and focused on his cat. The one she betrayed, the one she couldn’t accept. He was Chris’s only chance of survival.
“Please! You gotta shift, it’s my fault, I was wrong. I need you, all of you! Shift please!”
The whirlwind of color happened in a blink and then before her eyes laid a beautiful black panther. The wary pain filled eyes watched her as she all but collapsed in grateful tears. It was only minutes when Rommel came with a needle and sedated the panther before loading him in the truck and hauling ass back to the house to meet Doc. Trammel who waited to help save Christian.
Three days later, Sanala sat in the library looking out the window, searching for her panther. She knew he was out there yet she couldn’t see him. It had been three days and she had yet to see him since he had been released from his doctor’s care.
“How much longer will he stay in this form?” She asked quietly knowing that the two men in the room had no problems hearing her.
Doc Trammel cleared his throat before speaking it was clear he was unsure how to answer her.
“Just give it to me straight. I think I’ve been lied to enough.” From birth she had been lied to, by her mother, her father, and even Chris. Although he would only see it as omission it all felt the same to her. Her mother abandoned her because she couldn’t cope with the fact that her child was a half breed. It was almost laughable. Her a shifter. Although she never shifted in her life and was obviously latent but still a shifter no doubt. And Anthony, now that hurt more than others. He not only knew of the circumstances concerning her birth but had every intention of pawning her off one of his business associates to get her with child. Only her meeting Chris put a stop to all of that. He was such a jerk and it got him killed when he realized that Chris had claimed her as his mate and she had accepted he tried to opt out with his associate which in turn got him killed.
“Normally the healing process for extreme cases is three days.”
“Meaning you don’t know”
“It hard to tell, with the extent of his injuries during the fight and the others problems that occurred before only he knows.”
She was about to say something else when she felt stalked. She turned to look at the doorway and sure enough there he was in all of his graceful glory. The panther prowled closer to her than he had in days and stared her down. It wasn’t fear she felt but uncertainty. It seemed after his discharge he made every opportunity to stay clear of her yet she always felt when he was close, felt when he watched her. She was the first to look away of course and she swore he smirked at her then, sat down below her perch on the window seat. No one said anything for a few minutes then Doc cleared his throat again. “Now Sanala as far as the other thing goes…”
“NO!” She cut him off. She didn’t want to alert Rommel or Chris of her plans. She knew they would stop her and she had every intention of following through. She was leaving. She had read and retained every book she could and she knew what to expect and she knew the price she would have to pay and it took everything she had not to protectively curl her hands around her unborn baby. To leave she would forfeit her child. One year he would be hers then she would have to relinquish him to his father. God she felt sick inside, but there was no other way. What she did to Chris was unforgivable. Yes she didn’t know the extent of damage at the time but it doesn’t matter. Chris knew she was ignorant about his species and he ran with it. She let her anger and her hurt blind her to the truth and she almost cost him his life.
The soft menacing growl brought her out of her musing. He was growling at her. She was projecting her emotions too loudly and he felt her. She couldn’t allow that. She took a deep breath and reigned it all in. She must have succeeded because he stopped growling and Rommel sucked in his breath. Yes she was learning. She had a photographic memory and she learned fast. The art of protecting herself from others of their kind was the first things she studied over the last few days. How to down play her emotions and leave no scent of it behind.
“If you gentlemen will excuse me, I’m going to bed. It’s been a long day.
The panther stood up and watched as she walked away. Chris looked at his mate, watched her and waited. Something was off. Something was different and he was going to find out. While out on his run he felt her, searching for him. It was the reason he came back, but yet his cat wasn’t ready to shift back to his human form and neither was Chris whatever was different about his mate it would come easier to him in this form he just had to seek it out. The swift change in the atmosphere moments ago told him lots of new things about his mate. She knew. She knew who and what she was and she was going to fight him. It was in her posture, in the way that she controlled herself the moment she realized she was projecting. She thought she was going to leave him. Well he would just see about that. But first he had to be sure, that this time she was ready to take all of him on. Because he knew he wouldn’t come back a second time around.
As he padded in the bedroom later that night to watch her sleep there was a new scent that was tugging at him. The panther didn’t scent a threat just a hint of something different to her. Intrigued he softly landed on the bed and stilled. She turned over in her sleep causing her tank to rise up over her flat stomach. The new scent and sound brought him up short as the panther sniffed at her exposed belly. A baby. He could hear the third heartbeat and the new scent of a male child on her body. Inside the panthers body Chris fought emotion as he realized she was going to have his baby. Sheer joy overwhelmed him. The cat was puzzled. Why didn’t she tell him? Was she planning to leave without telling him? The low growl came without thought of his mate leaving him. Lifting up a big satin paw he laid it gently on her stomach petting her, knowing she would awaken.
Sanala woke the moment the low growl sounded, and then the petting came. She opened her eyes to look into the greenish-gold eyes of the panther. His large head was so close their breaths mingled into one. When she didn’t say anything but continue to stare at him he lowered his head and nuzzled her stomach before again looking at her.
“Yes” she said simply. She had no intentions of lying about it. And she even felt better because he finally sensed it. That meant he was healed, all of his sensed where back as they should be and she would not feel guilty for leaving him.
He growled again.
“Stop growling at me! No I didn’t tell you, I wanted you to be able to sense it yourself. Now I know you are healed and back to the way it should be.”
He hissed at her before stretching out his big body beside her on the bed his head lying close to her stomach.
“I’m not afraid Chris, you know that so don’t try to intimidate me.” He nuzzled her stomach again. She tried to tug her tank top down only to have him push it back up with his nose and lay his head completely on her stomach. She sighed.
“Fine. Be still I’m going back to sleep” and she did. When she woke up hours later she was alone in the room. Not bothering to try to discount last night as a dream she jumped off the bed and headed for the shower only to emerge to find the panther back in the room laying in front of the door watching her every move. It would be hard she knew leaving him or at least getting a good enough head start before he came looking for her and no doubt he would be pissed about it , but then she was pissed he lied to her so she didn’t really care.
That behavior lasted seven more days. He followed her everywhere, growling at her when she did or thought something he didn’t like and more times than not she found herself arguing with a panther. She was beyond irritated, not to mention he slept with her every night, albeit in panther form but still. Her body was about to come apart at the seams, she was so horny. The books she read told her to expect it, she did, but she didn’t think it would feel like she was about to come out of her skin. To make things worse the thoughts of leaving on top of feeling like she wanted to handcuff him to a wall and have her way with him was annoying the hell out of her. Needless to say she was not in a good mood and had no problems showing it.
Rommel and Doc Trammel were in the study when she followed by her second shadow entered the room. She knew every male in the room could smell her arousal and her anger but she was too exhausted to cover the scent. She sat by the window seal again and took in deep breaths as the rain poured outside.
“Sanala we need to discuss your plans”
Her panther growled. She threw him a glare and turned her gaze to Doc Trammel. She had known him since she was a kid and all the things she learned about her family he already knew. She thought he was her friend, and trusted him to help her leave Chris but she knew that was no longer the case. Chris wouldn’t allow her to leave and the baby she carried was obviously conspiring against her.
“Just forget it!”
“Look at him Doc, he knows.”
Rommel’s head jerked up and the smirk on his face made her hand itch to slap him.
“Then he’s healed, why is he still in his other form.”
Rommel’s smirk turned into a full fledge grin. She looked at him for a minute, until realization smacked her.
“He’s testing me.” She said. Knowing even as the words reached her ears they were true.
“Yes! Chris knows I love him and I would do anything for him but I denied his panther and even though he came back to save Chris’s life because I begged, he didn’t believe I accepted him so he’s been pushing me to see what I would do.”
The more she thought about it the more pissed off she became. The conversation began to swirl around her and she ignored it all while looking into the eyes of her panther. He was everything to her. There was no way she could be happy without him and she was not a woman who enjoyed lying to herself and she would not start now. The following year had been a nightmare and much of it was her fault. She would admit that if so many people had bothered with the truth instead of lying to her then the outcome of many things would have been different but that was past her and she couldn’t do anything about it. Her ignorance had cost her a lot and could have cost her more, but she wouldn’t allow it. The conversation around her began to penetrate her mind and without thought and still locked with her cat she said.
“I don’t care how long he stays this way, but I will say that there are things that I need from my husband that he can’t give me in this form and if he expects me to twiddle my thumbs sweetly while he contemplates if I accept him or not then he has another thing coming.” With that she turn from the room and walked to her room. There was no way that he did not understand her threat. Did she mean that, she would leave him, no. She knew that wasn’t an option and even in her anger she knew that she could never just walk away because if she could when Anthony died she would have left then instead of making ultimatums. No she wouldn’t leave him and no she wasn’t strong enough to deny him either but she could make herself clear. She was not some empty headed female that needed to be coddled and patted on the damn head. She was his partner for life and she expected to be treated that way. She sat her in the lounge chair in the sitting room and curled her feet up under her and waited. He would come, she knew it.
He came. Or should she say stalked. The slow walk of her panther in the room sent tingles down her back. She knew this was the moment, she had accepted him and he accepted her. He walked up close to her and nuzzled the side her neck and as she turned to run her fingers in his fur, the shimmer of the shift started. Moments later, Chris kneeled before her, breath caught in her throat and tears in her eyes. Lord she loved this man and as he had for her she would sacrifice all she had to be with him. She gasped as he gathered her thick hair in his hands and clenched tight. As he looked up into her eyes she saw that his cat was not far behind.
“Chris” she murmured.
“Are you ready for me?” It sounded like a growl, low and raspy.
“Chris” she all but moaned, feeling her body softening and opening to him.
He crawled closer to her body as she lowered her legs and allowed him access. Naked, on his knees, hands in her hair he aligned his body between her legs so that no part it seemed was untouched by him.
“Tell me!” he demanded. The both knew this was more than sexual. It was for all, everything, mind, body and soul. No turning back, no walking away.
“I’m ready, I love you” she said sounding desperate, wrapping her jean clad legs around his toned hips clocking her ankles tightly behind his back.
Standing up from his position on the floor he carried her to the bed and laid her down following her, covering her as if he couldn’t stand the thought of letting her go. And it was the truth, he couldn’t. He had no idea how he was going to get her clothes off when he didn’t want to let her go.
“Tell me again! Now!” he groaned in her ear as he placed kisses along the column of her neck.
“I love you, all of you! I need you Chris please!” it was a demand, a plea.