Seducing The Wolf (Chapter Twelve)

They ended up doing a lot of talking. Billie was still finding it hard to believe Royce was over a thousand years old, but when he talked about his past and how far back it actually went, it really brought it home for her. Listening to him tell the stories of things he had seen and done was like taking a walk through history, only he had first hand knowledge of it.

One of the other things they discussed was their living arrangements. Now that Billie knew what being mated meant, Royce suggested she move into his house. Billie felt a momentary wave of panic. She tried to quickly hide it from Royce, but from his reaction she knew he had seen the look of panic that must have showed on her face no matter how briefly it had been there.

They were both in the kitchen trying to figure out what to make for lunch out of the things they could find in Royce's fridge. Seeing her look of unease, he put the food onto the counter and pulled her into his arms. "Am I moving too fast for you?"

She smiled sheepishly up at him. "Maybe a little. I've never lived with a guy before, with the exception of my father and brothers of course. To be honest, I never wanted to live with any of the guys I dated before you."

"Maybe I am going a little fast, but with Gren on the prowl again, I think it would be wise that you move in with me. The sooner, the better."

"You think he would actually follow me home and try something?"

"I know for a fact if it suited his purposes he would. How do you think he got a hold of Roxie to try the spell on her? Beowulf was working at Wulf's Den that night. Roxie was alone at her place when Gren and two of his men broke in and took her."

"Gren is starting to sound like a real piece of work. Okay, I see your point."

"Grendel isn't known for his sparkling personality. He's been a thorn in Beowulf's side for many years."

Billie shook her head with wonder now that she knew Gren's name was actually Grendel. In high school she had been required to read Beowulf and Grendel, so she knew that old story very well. "Beowulf and Grendel. You do realize I'm not going to be able to look at Beowulf and not think about that story. Gren is obviously no troll."

"No, he's not. He's just a werewolf gone bad."

"All right, let's do this then." Billie stepped out of Royce's arms. She then gathered up the food and started to put it back in the fridge.

"Let's do what?" Royce watched as she put each item away with regret. "I thought we were going to have something to eat."

"You're just as bad as my brothers. All you can think about is filling your stomach. We can pick something up on the way to my apartment. If you want me to move in, I'll move in. Today. Well, just my clothes today. We can move the rest of the stuff later."

"Are you sure you want to do this today? I thought you'd want to at least tell your landlord that you would be moving out first."

Billie waved his concern away with a flick of her hand. "Don't worry about him. My Dad is my landlord. He wanted to make sure when I moved out that I was living in a half decent neighborhood. So he bought the apartment and let me rent it from him."

Royce gave her a double take. "Did I hear you correctly? Did Miss I-can-take-care-of-myself just say she let her father buy an apartment for her to live in?"

"Ha ha. Very funny." Billie threw one of the cheese slices she still had in her hand at Royce's head. She grumbled under her breath when he caught it in midair.

"Werewolf reflexes are quicker and better than a mortal's, my love." To prove it he caught the second slice of cheese with his other hand.

"Is that so? I guess I'd better give up then since I'm so inferior to you." She turned as if she were going to finish putting the food away. When she heard Royce move closer, she quickly spun around and threw the tomato she held. Not expecting it, he didn't even try to catch it. She then cringed as it splattered across his face. The tomato had been a little too ripe. Seeds and juice ran down Royce's cheeks and dripped onto his shirt.

"So much for werewolf reflexes, huh?"

Royce used his hand to wipe the remains of the tomato off his face. "You do have a penchant for throwing food, don't you, Billie?"

She valiantly tried to hold back her laughter, but in the end she couldn't stop herself. The look of shock that had come over Royce's face when the tomato had hit had been priceless. As she started to laugh, he crossed his arms across his chest and stared at her. "I'm sorry. If only you could have seen your face."

"You think it's funny, do you? If I were you, instead of laughing, I'd be wondering right about now what I'm going to do to get you back."

Billie's laughter died. "What are you going to do?" She slowly started to inch around Royce as she headed for the kitchen doorway.

Like the wolf he was, he just as slowly stalked her. "I'm not sure yet. But I'll think of something."

As Royce lunged for her, Billie turned and ran out of the room. She only got as far as the living room before he caught up with her. Much to her dismay, Royce had her thrown over his shoulder before she realized his intention.

"I think I've lost count of the number of times I've seen Beowulf sling Roxie over his shoulder like this," Royce said. "I'm beginning to see the advantages of carrying one's mate around in this position. One, it's a good way to keep you subdued, and two, I have a wonderful view of your gorgeous bottom." Keeping a firm hold of her legs, he turned his head and bit her nearest butt cheek.

Billie shrieked with indignation. "That isn't fair."

"All is far in love and war," Royce said with a chuckle.

"I'll give you fair." She let herself hang further down on his back until she could grab a hold of the waistband of his jeans. She then started to tug on it.

"What exactly do you think you're doing back there?"

"I'm trying to give you a wedgie," Billie replied as she yanked harder on Royce's pants.

"You can pull as hard as you like, but it isn't going to work. I'd have to be wearing underwear to get a wedgie, which I don't have on at the moment."

Sure enough, when Billie shoved her hand down inside the back of his jeans all she encountered was the skin of his hard muscled ass. Taking advantage of the situation, she gave it a good fondle. She felt it flex under her hand as Royce walked toward the stairs. It didn't dawn on Billie until after Royce had thrown her on the bed and was looming over her that he had called her his love downstairs in the kitchen.

* * * *

It wasn't until much later that they finally made their way over to Billie's apartment. She was now busily stuffing the clothes she couldn't fit into the two large suitcases she owned into black garbage bags when Royce's cell phone started to ring. Quiet she was not, so she didn't blame him for going out to her living room to take the call. She had just closed the top of the last garbage bag when he returned to her bedroom. "What's up?"

"That was Belinda. She has invited us over for supper, along with Beowulf, Roxie, Wade and Taryn. It's supposed to be a welcome to the family meal for you."

Billie stood up and took hold of one of the suitcases. "That was good timing. I'm all finished. It may take a couple of trips to get everything downstairs though." Along with the two suitcases, she had filled three garbage bags.

Royce grabbed the other suitcase as well as one of the garbage bags and followed her to the apartment door. "I must say your taste in luggage leaves much to be desired."

"It isn't like I can damage anything. And if they get a little wrinkled, I'll just throw them in the dryer for a quick spin and they'll be as good as new."

Before she could pull open the door, Royce leaned in and kissed her passionately. He then stood back up and smiled down at her. "Whatever you do, Billie, don't ever change. I love you just the way you are."

Billie forgot to breathe for a few seconds. That was the second time Royce had used the L word in reference to her. When he proceeded to walk out into the hallway as if he hadn't just professed his love for her, she quickly pulled herself back together and followed.

"What did you just say, Royce?"

He casually pushed the down button for the elevator. "I said don't ever change."

"Not that. What did you say after that?"

He turned to look at her. "That I love you the way you are."

"You love me?" Billie asked quietly.

"Of course I do." Royce shook his head and chuckled. "I can see you're surprised by this."

The elevator dinged and the doors slid open. There was a woman already inside. Royce told her they would catch another one as he pulled Billie off to the side. He waited until the elevator door was closed before he spoke again.

"I sometimes forget you don't know all that much about werewolves. I couldn't have truly mated with you if I didn't love you."

"How could you have known you loved me? You only knew me for a few days. I figured being mated was more a physical bond."

"It is when two mates are first drawn to each other, but once they complete the mating, being in love is generally the outcome. How could you not love the person you have forged such a strong bond with? Only on rare instances, and I mean really rare, does a mating end up being one sided where only one of the mates bonds their soul to the other and it isn't returned."

Billie threw herself into Royce's arms with enough force to make him stagger. Unfortunately he was standing with one of the garbage bags behind him. Unable to catch himself, he fell over backwards onto the carpeted hall floor. Billie ended up sprawled on top of him.

She quickly sat up. "I'm so sorry, Royce. Are you okay?"

"I'm fine. I just wasn't expecting it."

"Good." Billie cupped his face in her hands and gave Royce a hard kiss. "I love you too."

Royce smiled up at her. "Now that we have both told each other how we feel, I think it would be a good idea if we got up off the floor. I'm sure your neighbors wouldn't be exactly thrilled to see us in this position."

"I don't mind at all, young man."

Billie looked up to find her neighbor, Mrs. Taylor, standing in her open doorway, which Royce and she happened to be laying in front of, watching them with a twinkle in her eye. Mrs. Taylor was eighty, if she were a day. Billie felt her face flush at being caught in such a predicament by her elderly neighbor. She hurriedly slid off Royce and stood up.

"Sorry, Mrs. Taylor. I forgot myself there for a moment."

The older lady laughed. "No need to apologize, my girl." She turned to eye Royce as he came to stand next to Billie. "If I were fifty years younger I might have done the same thing. He's quite a looker." She looked back at Billie. "You'd better hold onto this one, Billie. He's definitely a keeper."

"I intend to," Billie assured her.

After Mrs. Taylor closed her apartment door, Billie pushed the elevator button. As she waited for one to arrive, she found herself unable to stop the large grin that started to form on her lips. Royce loved her. That left one thing still up in the air – whether she should try the spell or not. It was a decision she couldn't make lightly. In a way, it had worked out to her advantage that she would be seeing Roxie and Taryn later. She could get the lowdown on exactly what to expect if she went through with it. Talking to them, and then going to have a talk with her father the next day, Billie figured she'd be more than ready to make her decision.

* * * *

After making room in his closet and emptying out a couple of dresser drawers for Billie to use until they moved hers from her apartment, Royce lay propped up on the bed and watched her put away her clothes. He felt content, something he hadn't felt in a very long time. Billie filled a void inside him, one that had been created when Alicia had died. When he had taken Belinda in to raise as his daughter, she had filled some of it, but not all. Then she had grown up, gotten married and had a family of her own, leaving him to live alone once again. Now he had Billie.

Even though he was happy and felt as if his life was back on track, there was still one niggling question that wouldn't go away. Yes, he had Billie as his mate, but for how long? A mortal's lifespan was so much shorter than a werewolf's. He wanted her with him for the thousand or so more years he was sure to have left. The spell was the only thing that could give them that, if it would actually work on Billie. He knew the decision would have to be hers though. He would never push her into to it if it wasn't something she wanted, but it would make things better for them. It would also give Billie a fighting chance if Gren, or any other werewolf of his ilk, ever decided to go through her to get to him. As a mortal, she wouldn't stand a chance.

Lost in thought, Royce at first didn't notice Billie had finished and was now standing by the bed looking down at him. "What had you off in la-la land?"

"Nothing."

"It must have been important enough that you didn't hear me ask you what time we had to be at Belinda's. You were so deep in thought I bet I could have taken off all my clothes and done a dance and you wouldn't have noticed."

Royce wrapped an arm around her waist and pulled her down onto the bed with him. "I think I would have noticed that. You definitely would have gotten my attention."

"I should hope so. I don't dance naked for just anyone you know."

"The only person you'll be dancing naked for from now on will be me." He buried his face into the crook of Billie's neck and growled as he held her closer to his body. "Maybe you'd like to do a little naked dancing right now."

Billie arched her neck to give him better access to it as he dragged his tongue along her skin. "What time do we have to be at Belinda's?"

He moved down her body and pressed wet kisses against the hollow of her throat. "We have to be there by six." She shifted against him as she turned her head to look at the bedside clock.

"If that's the case, we're going to be late if we don't get a move on. It's almost six now. So no, there's no time for hanky-panky."

"Not even for a quickie?" Royce pinched her nipple through her shirt.

She slapped his hand away. "No. You can't be that desperate. We did spend most of the morning making love, and most of the night as well."

"So? I'm sure Belinda won't mind if we show up a little late."

Billie shoved at his chest. "Behave, Royce. You said it was a meal to welcome me into the family, and it would be kind of rude on my part to show up late."

Royce knew there was no point in pushing the issue. Once Billie made up her mind, she stuck to it. "You win." He let go of her and watched her get off the bed with hooded eyes. "But that also means you owe me a naked dance."

"You may come to regret that. I can't dance worth a crap."

"As long as you're naked and moving, I couldn't care less."

Billie rolled her eyes and shook her head. "Whatever. I'm just going to clean up a bit, then I'll be ready to leave."

Once she left the room, Royce tugged at the front of his pants trying to make room for the hard-on he was now sporting. He hoped Belinda hadn't decided to do a large elaborate meal. If she had, it was going to be a very long evening for him.