The prodigal keyboard returns! I have reclaimed my once stolen keyboard and so this chapter is coming to you in advance of me hopefully making progress in getting closer to the end of A Wolf’s Obsession! My writer’s block is not what I would call banished but we are making progress. So without further ado here is the latest chapter of A Wolf’s Obsession. I’m going to try and do some typing now before I go to bed early. Being ill is sucky especially in the summer. It’s not fair that I start feeling ill just as the sun starts to shine.
There was blood everywhere and it was driving him crazy. The smell of it coated the air and didn’t make his pacing any better. Every time Wyatt glanced at the sofa where Kass lay bleeding against the once white material he wanted to scream. He couldn’t think straight, couldn’t think of what he could do to help her that would keep his promise and keep her safe. There was something going on, something that he couldn’t understand with his wolf howling at the top of its lungs and until he could gather his wits nothing was going to get better.
Breathing hard, he gripped his skull trying to stop the pounding in his head. It didn’t work. “I have to get her help,” he muttered to himself, running his hands through his hair and ruffling the once straight strands. “Need a hospital. Need a doctor…can’t break a promise to my mate.” He risked a glance at Kass, cursing when he saw that her skin was even paler. The simple glance had only confirmed what she’d said. She was his mate. If she weren’t then he wouldn’t feel like he was dying with every breath she struggled to take.
Do something! the wolf howled. If you let her die…I’ll find a way to kill you myself.
Do you think I want this? Shouting, he slammed his hands over his ears. It was all getting to be too much. “Need help. Can’t do this by myself. Need help.”
He raced over to the phone and dialled a number that was all too familiar. “Pick up. Pick up.” He fell to his knees in defeat, clasping Kass’ bloody hands in his grip tenderly. “Damn it, pick up.”
“Hello,” Dylan beamed.
Wyatt breathed a heavy sigh of relief at the sound of her cheerful voice. His sister would know exactly what to do. “Dylan, help me.”
He could practically see her brow furrowing as she nibbled at her lower lip in worry. “What do you need?”
“Found my mate.”
He ran a hand through his hair again. “No. Kass. She was Emily…I think. She needs help. The bastard shot her.”
“Wyatt, I can’t understand you. Start from the beginning.”
His muscles tensed as he resisted the urge to throw the phone against the wall. He didn’t have time for this. His mate was bleeding, maybe even dying and he’d never felt so helpless.
“There’s no point in growling at me Wyatt. It’s not going to help,” Dylan snapped. “Take a deep breath.” The sound was faint but he could hear her feet tapping against the hard floor and knew she wasn’t going to say another word until he did what she wanted.
He took a breath, holding the air in his lungs and making sure she could hear him exhale heavily.
“Good,” she praised. “Now tell me what happened from the beginning. You said you found your mate but she isn’t Emily. I don’t understand.”
“Was at a diner yesterday. Meant to call you but there were men.” He growled remembering how another man had pointed a gun at his mate. She was his mate and he was doing a poor job of showing her that she would be safe with him. “They threatened her. Made sure they wouldn’t be doing that anymore. Told her to run…her scent…her scent.”
Wyatt’s broken sentences were worrying her. She didn’t like where this was going and neither did the people around her. It was becoming increasingly obvious her brother was in danger. “What about her scent Wyatt? Tell me, it’s the only way I can help you.”
“Need help. She needs help.”
Struggling to stay calm, Dylan bit her lip harder drawing blood. “I know that, you’ve said it already, but I still don’t understand what’s going on. Tell me about her scent.”
“She smells like Emily but she’s not. Looks nothing like her.”
“Are you sure? It’s been a long time Wyatt humans don’t look the same when they get older. It could be Emily just a lot older than the last time you saw her.”
Frustration made him shatter the glass table in front of him with his fist. “Kass is not Emily!” He paused for a moment, unsure of how his next statement would go over with his sister. “I took her.”
“You did what?”
“I took her.”
“You just took her? You can’t do things like that Wyatt. She could have a life. There could be people looking for her right now. You’re endangering the clans.”
“I don’t care. She’s mine. I’m keeping her.” I’ll kill anyone that tries to separate us. “But…” He shuddered in revulsion. “Was confused. Couldn’t think straight. Couldn’t see that she was my mate. Hurt her.”
“You hurt your mate?”
The revulsion in his sister’s voice did nothing to make Wyatt feel any better. “Didn’t mean to. Thought she was keeping Emily from me.”
“But you told me that this Kass is your mate.”
“I know that now! I didn’t before.” Rocking anxiously, he tried to keep the pain in his temples from rendering him completely useless. He didn’t have much time if he was going to save his mate and he had to save her. He couldn’t live without her, especially if he saw her die in front of him. Nothing his family could do or say would stop him from going to join her.
“Is that why you called me? You hurt your mate?”
“You can’t have it both ways Wyatt. Humans are fragile; if we hurt them it’s serious. You haven’t claimed her so she isn’t going to just heal from whatever damage you do to her. What the hell is wrong with you?”
“I don’t know. Mind isn’t right.”
Closing her eyes, Dylan felt her heart clench at the sorrow in her brother’s voice. It wasn’t natural for a wolf to live so long after the passing of their mate; it was no wonder that his mind was a mess. Maybe it had been wrong of her and Erica to keep him alive when he’d been so intent on joining Emily. Focus, she snapped at herself. She didn’t have time to wallow in what she could have done. There was a human in trouble, one that could lead the authorities back to the clans and expose them. Taking her own advice she took a deep breath and let her medical training take over. “Is she conscious?”
“Did you break something? An arm, a leg…” She gulped, praying that she was wrong. “A rib?”
Jumping to his feet, Wyatt felt his anger find an outlet. “No!” he roared. “I would never hurt her like that.”
“Then what happened?”
“She’s running from someone.” His anger drained away in an instant as hopelessness threatened to overwhelm him. “They shot her. I think she’s dying. My mate is dying. I need help.”
“She’s been shot?”
“For fucks sake! I already told you that. Help me.”
“Where was she shot? Wyatt, I need you to answer me. This is important.”
His hands had already wandered over every inch of her body and as long as he lived he’d never forget how he’d felt when his fingers had glanced over the hole in her shoulder. “Her arm. Bullet went straight through her.”
“Is she bleeding?”
“Her blood is everywhere. Can’t get away from it. Driving me crazy.” He snorted in derision. “I am crazy.”
“Wyatt, we don’t have time for this. You need to focus. Where are you?”
“The hotel on the border.”
“We’re on our way…here’s what you need to do until we get there. Wyatt, I need you to put something over the wound, you need to try and stop the bleeding.”
He responded instantly, pulling his shirt off and placing the rolled up material against Kass’ flesh. “I’ve done it.”
“Good, now you need to wake her up.”
He shook his head. “No. She can’t feel the pain now. If I wake her up…” He shook his head again. “Can’t do it.”
“You don’t have a choice. You need to wake her up and keep her alert until we get there. If you don’t do this…you might as well shoot her yourself.”
“If you don’t wake her up then you’re causing her as much damage as the person who shot her. I know it’ll be hard for you, God Wyatt if any one knows it’s me but you don’t have a choice. Wake her up.”
“Go to the bathroom there’ll be something you can give her for the pain. Paracetamol, aspirin…whatever you can find. Read the dosage and don’t give her more than what the label says you should. We’ll be there as soon as we can. Just hold on and keep her talking, it’ll distract her from the pain.”
The phone clicked and Wyatt sprung into action. Racing to the bathroom, he gathered towels, water and painkillers, bundling them all into his arms and rushing back to Kass’ side. Slipping her shirt over her head, he washed her bloody shoulder, trying desperately to get rid of the smell of blood. It was long, arduous work but he kept going until he was satisfied that when he woke her she wouldn’t become hysterical. Pressing hard against the bleeding wound, he shook her hard until her eyes fluttered in response.
“Kass. Kass, wake up.” She groaned and he shook harder. “Wake up Kass, you can’t sleep anymore. It’s time to get up.”
Her voice was groggy, her grip on consciousness weak. “Wyatt?”
“Yeah. Wake up.”
“Don’t want to,” she groaned, trying to roll on to her side and go back to sleep. Pain had her gasping for breath as the simple movement reminded her of what had happened. It was hard to resist the urge to cry. “One, I’m alive. Two, Ethan isn’t here. Three, I’m safe.” She turned to look at Wyatt, the white stars in her blue eyes instantly gripping Wyatt’s attention. “I am safe aren’t I?”
“You’re with me. I’ll keep you safe.”
“On my life.”
Nodding slowly, Kass tried to sit up, her eyes taking in the familiar setting. Hands were instantly at her back helping her. Warmth seeped into her skin and despite the destruction she knew Wyatt had undoubtedly caused she’d never felt safer. She’d managed to escape Ethan and it was all thanks to the man making her heart flutter with a simple touch. Coughing, she tried to make sure her voice was steadier than her racing pulse. “We’re back at the hotel?”
It was all Wyatt could manage to nod in agreement. Her eyes were arresting, the stars hidden in the blue depths reminding him of what he’d thought he’d lost. Nothing made sense. Wolves only ever got one mate and when that mate was lost there was nothing that could be done to get them back. Kass wasn’t Emily and yet her scent and her eyes were telling him that she was his. If this is what it’s like to be crazy…I don’t want anyone to try and help me find my mind. This, this is happiness.
“You didn’t take me to a hospital?”
Shaking his head, Wyatt forced himself to focus on the matter at hand. “I made you a promise. Here.” Opening her palm, he dropped a few small white pills against her flesh. “Dylan said you should take these. She’s a doctor.”
She could have wept for joy at the sight of the pain relief he offered. Her shoulder was throbbing and it was all she could do to focus enough to have a conversation. Smiling gently she tried to reach for the pills and hissed in pain.
The sound instantly had Wyatt on edge and a low growl slipped from his lips. “What’s wrong?”
“Don’t move. Stay still. Dylan says these will make you feel better. Open up and I’ll give them to you.”
He looked so earnest that Kass felt guilty even suggesting that she need something he hadn’t thought to provide. “Water?”
“You need water to take them? That wasn’t on the packet.”
“I won’t be able to swallow them without something to drink.”
Nodding, he got to his feet quick to retrieve what his mate had asked for. “I didn’t know,” he explained, running the tap and filling a glass with the desired water. “Wolves don’t get sick. I’ve never had to take them.”
Confused, Kass raised a brow in surprise. “Wolves?”
Taking a deep breath as soon as he was at her side, Wyatt let her scent wash over him. The blood made his temper rise but the fact she was here, alive and with him was enough to calm him. “I’m a werewolf,” he said casually. The need for secrecy had disappeared the moment he accepted she was his mate, the sooner she came to terms with what he was the sooner he could claim her.
Slack jawed, Kass was barely aware of him popping the pills into her mouth. She swallowed mechanically when he put the cold glass to her lips, shocked by how easily he had divulged his secret.
“You’re a werewolf?”
“Yes but that isn’t important.” He stroked her cheek, savouring the softness of her skin. “Tell me about Emily. I need to understand what’s going on…I think I might be going crazy. That’s the only explanation for why I’m feeling this way.”
There was truth in his voice and Kass felt herself relax. He didn’t work for Ethan and despite the fact he was asking for a secret that could mean her life she felt at peace. “You’re going to think I’m crazy if I tell you,” she sighed, letting her head fall back against the chair’s arm.
Squeezing her hand reassuringly, Wyatt smiled still amazed that she was even alive. “Then we can both be crazy. It’s been a long time since anyone has called me otherwise I don’t think I know how to be normal.”
“Do you believe in reincarnation?”
He shrugged. “I’m a werewolf, I know a witch…why not?”
Relief flooded her. “When people talk about reincarnations and past lives…they’re talking about me and people like me. I’m a phoenix.”
Brows drawing together, Wyatt tried to make sense of what she was saying and failed miserably. “You don’t look like a bird.”
Her lips twitched, her breath caught and then Kass was laughing. The sound filled the air, lifting her spirits. It might have gone against everything she’d ever been taught but telling Wyatt the truth was the best thing she’d done all day. “I know. That’s a myth but we are very real. In another life I was Emily but now I’m Kass.”
“Still don’t get it.”
A smile still on her lips, Kass reached out to him with her good arm, stifling the wince of pain that the small movement had caused. It was worth it though. As soon as she touched him, warmth spread up her arm and electricity made her skin tingle. Being with Wyatt felt natural as though she’d been doing it her whole life. Touching him was like a homecoming and it was a feeling she’d savour for the rest of her life…even if he were slightly crazy. “It’s hard to explain…” She sighed heavily.
“Try. If I don’t understand I’m going to lose what little of my mind I have left.”
“Phoenixes resurrect themselves when they die. If you die before twenty-seven you’re given a blank slate. New name, new face and no memories of what came before other than what you used to be called. You just appear as a baby in a safe place. The only person who knows where you’re going to turn up is your keeper. They raise you as their own and you try to keep a low profile until you’re of age. What I want, what all phoenixes want, is to reach twenty-seven.”
“Twenty-seven? What’s so special about twenty-seven?”
“That’s the magic number.” She closed her eyes savouring the knowledge that in a few weeks she would be twenty-seven and she’d be free. “With phoenixes it’s all about three. When we’re three years old we become immune to fire. When we turn nine we can use our voices to make people tell the truth. And when we reach twenty-seven…”
The joy on her face at the very idea of turning twenty-seven was infectious and Wyatt found himself smiling at her. It was a pleasure to see his mate smile. Her eyes lit up, the white flecks twinkling like the stars at night; her skin glowed and her sugary scent sweetened, making him lick his lips in anticipation. The urge to taste her was a strong one and it was only through sheer force of will that he hadn’t kissed her. Kass’ lips were calling to him like a siren lured sailors to their doom. And it would be his doom; he knew that with stunning clarity. He’d managed to exist without Emily because he’d never touched her, held her close or kissed her like a mate should do. This time there would be no turning back. When he kissed Kass there would be no living without her. As soon as he made sure he wasn’t betraying Emily’s memory all bets were off.
His voice was barely more than an inhuman growl, his control slipping with every second. “What happens to you at twenty-seven?” Anything that affected his mate was important. He needed to know.
“We become immortal. We can remember our past lives and from that point on we come back as we are when we died. Emily didn’t make it but I’m close, I’m so close I can taste it. Soon Ethan won’t be able to hurt me anymore.”
“He’s not going to ever get close to you again.”
“He wants my heart Wyatt, he’s not going to stop until he gets it.”
Claws slipped from his nails. “You’re going to love me. You’re my mate and I’m keeping you.”
Eyes wide, Kass shook her head, dismay radiating from her every pore. “He doesn’t want to love me Wyatt. He wants to tear my heart out of my chest and swap it with his. If he can get to me before I reach twenty-seven he can take it and stop ageing for a hundred years. He’s the reason Emily isn’t here but I’ve avoided him for much longer than she did. I can make it. I know I can.”
“He killed Emily?” When Kass nodded, Wyatt’s blood boiled. “I’ll kill him.”
“Ethan is a powerful man Wyatt, you don’t want to make him your enemy. Just leave him to me. In a few weeks he won’t even be interested in me.”
“The moment he even thought about laying a hand on you he became my enemy. You’re my mate and that means I’ll protect you against anyone and everything. Don’t think about him ever again, he’s not your problem anymore. I’ll deal with him personally.”
Talking to Wyatt was easy and Kass felt herself relaxing, her body slumping against the chair. She winced as pain once again shot through her shoulder but the pain was fleeting and a smile rushed to take its place. “I don’t understand you. One minute you can’t wait to be rid of me and the next you’re promising to take care of all my problems.”
Shame made Wyatt tense, his muscles tightening with nervous anticipation. His mate might not like what he had to say but he couldn’t keep her in the dark for any longer. He’d already done enough damage. “My mind wasn’t right before.”
“And it’s fixed now?” she asked in disbelief. Wyatt seemed so normal now that it was easy to forget he was the man who had almost choked her, smashed walls with his fists and shattered glass in anger.
“No. I’m still not right but I’ll get better. I promise.” Stroking the bare skin of her hand he tried to show her how much he meant the words he was saying. There was nothing he wouldn’t do for her; his broken mind could be fixed. If that was what he needed to do to be with his mate he’d make it his life’s mission to regain his grip on reality and control his violent temper. “I didn’t have you before, now that we’re together my mind will heal. I know it will.” It has to.
“I can’t fix you Wyatt. I’m not human but I can’t wave a magic wand and work miracles.”
“Just having you here is helping me see things clearly. You don’t have to do anything except stay with me. You’re my mate, the instinct will do the rest.”
“You keep saying that and I have no idea what it means. Why do you keep calling me your mate?”
His smile was disarming and the utter joy on his face stunned Kass. It would break his heart when he found out that she wasn’t what he thought she was. Tears welled in her eyes at the thought of disappointing him. Strange urges racked her body the longer she looked at him. She wanted to grab him and hold him close, run her hands over his body, press herself against his warm skin and breathe him in. Her eyes fell to his mouth and she almost moaned as images flooded her mind of them wrapped in an intimate embrace. The thought was so strong that she could almost taste him against her tongue. The thoughts should have been unnerving, worrying at the very least, but she couldn’t bring herself to fear her newfound protector especially when he looked at her as though she was his whole world.
“Because it’s what you are.”
“And what exactly is a mate?”
“To a werewolf? Everything.”
She didn’t see him move. One second he was beside her and the next he was pressed against her making her fevered fantasy a reality. He was like a force of nature, consuming her with his kiss, silently telling her life would never be the same again. He slanted his lips over hers sending waves of heat pulsing through her body. Thought fled leaving only pleasure and the desire to touch him skin to skin. She pressed closer, breathing in his scent and devouring his mouth as voraciously as he consumed hers. He smelt like pine and tasted like mint, cool, refreshing and surprisingly addictive. Gasping as heat settled between her thighs, Kass was unprepared when his tongue slipped into her mouth. The heat that had been building so steadily between them suddenly combusted. His kiss turned from leisurely exploration into a mission for all out dominance. He nibbled, he sucked, he made love her to her with his mouth until stars erupted behind her closed eyelids and her breath became short. It was perfect and as her bones melted into the sofa, her lips desperately trying to stay connected to his, Kass knew she’d be doing this again. She’d want a daily fix because it was all too easy to get addicted to his gorgeous mouth.
Control slipping, Wyatt pulled away from his mate’s luscious lips. He’d definitely be returning but his wolf was riding him hard, urging him to mark her and take the first step to claiming his beautiful mate. The sounds of her pleasured moans were music to hear his ears as Wyatt pulled back, his eyes fixated on her throat. The marks he’d left were ugly, painful looking things and he wanted to tear his own heart out for causing them. His mate deserved better but he’d never let her go now. It was too late for either of them. Reining in his desires, Wyatt feathered gentle kisses along her throat covering every mark with his lips.
“I’m sorry Kass, so sorry.”
His heartfelt apology came after every kiss and Kass felt tears welling in her eyes. His apology was beautiful but then he swept his tongue over her flesh and changed everything. The kisses that had been comforting suddenly became sensual and her body was quick to seize on the difference. Her nipples tightened as a long, breathy sigh escaped her lips. Unable to resist, she threaded the fingers of her good hand through his hair, luxuriating in feeling the soft strands tease her skin. Overheating, she struggled to calm her racing heart determined to see this through. She gasped at the feel of his sharp fangs pressed against her throat but didn’t think, even for a second, to push him away. His fangs sunk deep, catapulting her heart into overdrive even as it cemented a connection between them.
“No!” Gasping, Kass pulled away, her hand guarding her heart as it threatened to give out.
He’d heard of kisses that left you breathless but this was different. Her heart was racing and her lungs crying out for air as the very real scent of her fear filled the room. Tension ran through him, his eyes glued to the bloody wound in her shoulder. He thought he’d been careful not to touch it, not to bring his mate any more pain…apparently he’d been wrong. “Kass? What’s wrong? Your shoulder? I’ll get you some medicine. Dylan will be here soon. She’ll take care of everything.”
Need my pills, she wheezed, clawing at her chest frantically. My heart. Need my pills. Every word was a struggle, her lungs contracting as her heart skipped another beat and threatened to send her body hurtling into the abyss. Can’t breathe. Can’t breathe. Going to faint.
The words whispered along the halls of his mind but he didn’t care. All he could think about was what was happening to his mate. If he didn’t know better he’d think she was dying but that couldn’t be possible. He’d only just found her; fate wouldn’t be so cruel as to take her away now. “The pills.” His mind grabbed on to the memory of why they’d gone to her apartment in the first place and he cursed. How could he have forgotten something so important?
Whatever was happening to her was beyond his realm of knowledge and he wasn’t going to stand by and let the love of his life vanish right before his eyes. “I’m taking you to the hospital. I know I said I wasn’t but that was before. You can’t leave me Kass, you can’t.”
No hospital. They’ll keep me, she wheezed, trying frantically to stop him taking her straight into danger. The doctors had almost caught her once; she wasn’t going to give them a second chance. Just need my pills. Please Wyatt. Need my pills.
The wolf was pacing angrily in his mind, threatening to erupt at any given moment as helplessness threatened to overwhelm him.
Help her, the wolf growled, bearing his fangs.
What do you want me to do? I can’t leave her like this. If I take her with me I could make her worse!
The instinct will help her. If anyone knows this it’s you.
Growling as his control began to slip, Wyatt knew the wolf was right. Since the moment he’d laid eyes on Emily, his body had done whatever was necessary to be with her. He’d thrown himself headlong into the instinct’s embrace to be with his mate and had aged fast to be with her. The instinct was what guided his species; it wouldn’t let his mate die right in front of him. He’d do the same again. Sucking in a deep breath he reached for the instinct, hoping that it wouldn’t desert him now that he needed it so desperately. Tenderly, he gathered her close and willed his heart to slow, panicking wouldn’t help anyone. He could feel her heart pounding against his chest, skipping beats and sending her body into melt down. Pressing her close he willed his calm into her, his steady heartbeat calming her racing one.
Kass. His voice was steady, calm despite the worry that threatened to overwhelm him. Do you hear that? It’s my heart. Calm and steady. Listen to it. Listen. Everything’s going to be fine.
Is he crazy? I need my pills; I don’t need to listen to his heartbeat when mine’s going out of control. She might not want to listen to Wyatt’s heart but with her head pressed so close to his chest she didn’t have a choice and with the instinct guiding him, her body didn’t have a choice either.
The change was gradual, her heart slowly coming to match the steady pace of his, her lungs relaxing as she breathed in the rich scent of pine that poured from his skin. It was almost too much. It should have been impossible for her heart to calm so easily without medication. She should have been unconscious or dead.
What happened to me? Her eyes locked with Wyatt’s terrified golden gaze and she knew instantly it had been a who not a what. “Wyatt?”
He ran his fingers over her cheek, marvelling at the way she was made, astounded that she was there with him. He’d always known that having a mate was stressful but now he understood why. You never truly appreciated what you had until you lost it and with the number of near misses they’d had he’d never think Kass’ existence anything less than miraculous. She was perfect and he was lucky to have her. “Mmm?”
“What did you do? What did you do to me?”
“I did what I had to do to protect you. That’s what mates do.” Smiling gently, he breathed her in, feeling calmer just for looking at her. It was strange how relaxing just being with her was. Normally there was nothing he could do to stop the unrelenting onslaught of memories that had driven him to the verge of madness and being around people just made it worse. Now, even though he could hear Dylan’s footsteps approaching the door, he felt at peace.
The heavy thumping at the door came quickly. “Wait here, I’ll be right back. Dylan’s here, she’ll take a look at your arm. She’ll make it better. Promise.”
As if I could go anywhere. “Wyatt, you still haven’t explained what you did to me.”
He kissed her brow gently and stood up. “As if I’d ever let anything happen to you. Don’t worry; I’ll keep you safe. From everything.”
Confused by the day’s events, Kass watched silently as he opened the door for the young woman he said was his twin. Disbelief ran through her as soon as she laid eyes on the girl. There was no way this woman, who looked so much younger than him, was Wyatt’s twin. With her long dark hair, bright brown eyes and smooth skin there was enough of a similarity between them that she could see them as brother and sister but there was too much of an age gap for them to have been born at the same time. Trying to understand what it was she was seeing, Kass tried to sit up only for the pain in her shoulder to send her slumping back against the sofa. Aspirin was never going to be strong enough to fight the pain of a gunshot wound and while Wyatt’s kiss was distracting, now that they were apart she could feel the white-hot pain acutely. Wyatt had a lot of questions to answer but she’d trusted him so far and he hadn’t done her any harm. Her mind instantly recalled the bruises around her throat and a small smile tugged at her lips.
He hasn’t hurt me much, she corrected.
And I won’t be doing it again. You have my word.
As his voice floated through her thoughts, she let her mind fade. Wyatt would be giving her all the answers she wanted as soon as she was alert enough to demand them. There had been enough secrets and misunderstandings between them to last a lifetime and it was about time she brought it to an end.