Blue Moon (Chapter 34)

I slept with a pistol and a rifle. Probably the most action I'd be seeing for years at the rate I was going.

This time tomorrow night, I could be minus one… what?

Boyfriend? Lover? Really cute guy who made me scream? Hell, I could be minus a limb, my sanity, or my life. Better get my priorities in order.

As soon as I walked into the apartment, I glanced at my machine. The message light was blinking.

"Dammit, Jessie. Where are you?"

Cadotte sounded seriously pissed. Had he realized I'd read his notes, seen his book, knew he'd lied?

Or was he just mad he hadn't gotten a little early-evening delight?

I set traps in front of the picture window, the door, hell, every window. I didn't plan on being surprised by any furry friends, or enemies. I had to sleep today, or I'd be no good at all tonight. Nevertheless, I awoke in the heat of midday and knew I wasn't alone.

I'm not sure what woke me. The mousetraps by the windows? The bells on the front door? The marbles in front of the balcony entrance?

None of the above or all three? I heard nothing now. But I felt someone. I crept out of bed, taking along both guns for company.

Barefoot and in my underwear, I checked every room, every closet. Not a single trap, bell, or marble was out of place. I was losing my mind.

When I glanced out the picture window, the bright light of midday hit my eyes and made my head ache.

When I turned around, I saw stars. When the stars went away, I saw him.

I cocked my pistol. He crossed his arms over his chest and leaned against the wall in the hall. His earring swung merrily as he tilted his head. "Are we back to this again?"

"How did you get in here?"

"It wasn't easy."

"Get out."

He started to walk toward me. My heart sped up.

"I mean it, Cadotte!"

The gun shook. I lost the rifle so I could steady the pistol with both hands. He laughed. "Got silver bullets in there?"

"I've been packing silver since I met you, Slick."

He stopped a foot away, blinked, snorted. "Good girl. You may need it."

"Have you come to finish the job?"

"I thought I finished pretty well." He wiggled his brows.

Cadotte was behaving oddly for a man who'd tried to murder me a few hours back. He didn't have any weapons that I could see. Of course he could strangle me with his bare hands, if I let him get close enough.

"You know damn well I meant finish me off. Kill me. Murder me. Dump my body somewhere it'll never be found."

His mouth fell open. "What?"

"Someone shot a crossbow at me."

His gaze drifted over my body. "You seem all right."

"I'm fine. Mandenauer isn't."

His eyes snapped back to my face. "Dead?"

"Is that what you'd like?"

"I don't even know the man. Why would you think I'd try to kill you with a crossbow? I could have done pretty much anything I wanted to you at my place."

And had. My cheeks warmed.

"You've got a crossbow."

"Me and about a hundred other guys."

"What's it for?"

"My grandfather. It's a gift." He threw up his hands. "If I'm a werewolf, I don't need a damn crossbow to kill you. Why would I be that stupid?"

He had a point.

Cadotte took one huge step and grabbed the barrel of the gun. God, he was fast. I held on tight, figuring he'd wrench the thing out of my grip. Instead, he put the business end to his chest.

"Shoot me. See what happens."

"Have you lost your mind?"

"Yes. I love you, Jessie. I'd rather die than have you look at me as if you think I'm going to hurt you."

As declarations go, it was pretty impressive, I never thought a man would tell me he loved me. Especially one like this.

Of course my skeptical mind whispered: Is he telling you he loves you because you told him ? When he was a big black hairy wolf?

Did it matter? My chest ached. My eyes burned. No one had ever said they loved me before, not even my mother. Suddenly I understood why people did anything for love.

I eased my finger from the trigger. I'd rather die than be the one to kill him. Even if he was a werewolf…

I couldn't do it.

The pistol was too heavy to hold any longer. I let it fall back to my side, then placed the weapon on the couch. Cadotte pulled me into his arms, buried his face in my hair. "I missed you."

He smelled like the wind and the night, the forest. When I was in his arms, everything I believed became jumbled and confused. I could only think of touching him skin to skin, of feeling him move inside me, of letting him make me forget who he was or what he might be.

I pulled his T-shirt from his jeans, slipped my fingers beneath, spread my palms across his back, his shoulders. He had the most beautiful skin, smooth planes, hard muscles. I could touch him forever and never grow tired of the game.

He stepped back and drew the shirt over his head. I became fascinated with the ripples across his stomach and chest. I wanted to taste his skin while his muscles danced against my lips.

I dropped to my knees and did what I'd only dreamed of, placing openmouthed kisses across his hard, supple belly, sucking his flesh between my teeth, laving my tongue over the curve of his navel. He groaned and forked his fingers into my hair, pulling me closer, showing me he liked my fantasy as much as I did.

His erection pressed against my chest. The rasp of his jeans across my nipples, covered only by an old, thin T-shirt, was as arousing as his hands or his mouth.

Suddenly he slid to the floor and crushed his face to my breasts, filling his hands with me. It was my turn to thread my fingers through his hair and press him ever closer.

His earring dragged across one tight nipple as his mouth closed on the other. For a minute I wished he had long hair and that he would swish the tresses all over my body.

The thought was soon gone when he ripped my T-shirt down the center. My breasts spilled free, and he moaned as if he'd been given a gift.

"Hey!" I protested.

"I'll buy you another. I'll buy you a hundred. With lace. Red, blue, purple."

The words were muffled against my skin. The puff of his breath against me made my hands clench on his shoulders. I wanted to say something sarcastic about me in purple lace, but I couldn't quite manage it.

"That shirt was old anyway."

"And ugly. You should wear silk, Jessie. As soft as your skin right here." He placed a gentle, sweet kiss at the curve of my hip and I shivered, then smoothed my palms over his biceps.

No man had ever spoken this way to me. Hell, in my experience men didn't do much chatting during sex. Mostly, "oh, yeah," or, "right there." Cadotte seemed to like to talk nearly as much as he liked –

His hand slipped into my panties and stroked me. "Oh, yeah," I muttered. "Right there."

"How about right here, right now?"

My answer was to slip the button from his jeans and slide the zipper down. My hand followed. Heated, hard skin met my palm.

"Do you even own underwear?"

"What for?"

He lost his shoes and his jeans, fumbling a bit in the pocket for a condom. I thanked my lucky stars he'd remembered, because I continued to forget a lot of things. And the whole puppy issue just wasn't funny anymore.

He covered himself and tossed the empty package to the floor. My underwear soon followed. He thrust into me just as he had in the pond; one smooth stroke and he was all the way home.

I expected him to be wild, rough, fast. I wouldn't have minded. I wanted to forget that this could be the last time we were together. I imagined the blue moon hovering just below the horizon, waiting to pounce.

Neither one of us knew what would happen tomorrow –  if there'd even be a tomorrow.

I'd never done it on the floor. The men I'd known hadn't ever been so anxious to have me they couldn't wait awhile. I discovered the idea that he needed me, now, was as arousing as his mouth at my breast and his body within mine.

Instead of desperation and frantic need, a pounding, pulsing coupling, he gave me love. His kiss was sweet and gentle as he traced his lips across my cheekbone to the corner of my eye. His breath a breeze that ruffled my hair, I sighed and he drank me in.

The pace slowed. His hands almost reverent as they soothed and aroused, I wanted to crawl inside of him and stay there forever.

"' You feel so good," he murmured against my neck.

I ran my hands down his back, rocked my hips, and took him as deep as I dared. He quivered, then stilled.

"Look at me, Jessie."

I couldn't focus on what he wanted until he kissed me, then took my lower lip between his teeth and tugged.

My eyes popped open. He was so close I could see where the black of his pupil and the dark brown of his iris met. For an instant I was staring into the eyes of the black wolf, and I stiffened.

"Hush." He kissed the corner of my mouth. "I love you, Jessie. I'd never hurt you."

He punctuated every other word with a slow slide and firm thrust of his body into mine. All I could do was nod and clutch him tighter.

Taking my hands, he placed palm against palm, clenching our fingers together. I felt him growing inside of me, pulsing, coming.

"Come for me," he whispered. "I want to go there together."

My attention drifted lower, to where our bodies joined. My eyes fluttered closed. He stopped moving.

"Look at me," he demanded. "See me. Please."

I frowned and opened my eyes. His expression was so sad, I wanted to touch his face, but he wouldn't free my hands. I lifted my mouth inviting his, and he kissed me, long, deep, wet, while he remained buried inside.

"I see you, Will," I whispered against his mouth. "I've always seen you."

He lifted his head and together we reached what we'd been searching for. At the moment of climax his eyes went intense, fierce. He thrust into me faster, harder, and I clenched around him, the waves of pleasure so intense I could do nothing but ride them and call his name.

He didn't collapse on top of me in a heap of satisfied male flesh. Instead he rolled to the side, taking me with him, keeping us joined through some acrobatic maneuver that would have been even more impressive if I could think.

My hands free at last, I touched his cheek, his hair, and he nuzzled my palm. My heart did that nauseatingly slow flop toward my belly. Oh, boy, I had it bad.

"I love you," he repeated and before I could force the words back where they belonged –  a secret in my heart until it was safe to set them free –  they popped out of my foolish mouth.

"I love you, too."