Well, more so than the average med student, because the damned seizures got in the way of everything and the meds made her stupid or silly or sleepy. She was tempted to throw them away, but then functioning would be gone. She was already living with a death sentence, so why make it harder? The activity is everywhere. The MRI film left little doubt: The length and increasing severity of each episode debilitated her—inside her brain was the perfect storm of electrical impulses.
Stay in bed with this man for the next few weeks? She peeked out at Rifter, the breadth of his back taking her breath away. He was looking out the window, no doubt because there was nothing else to look at, unless he liked medical textbooks. The house was white walls, bare floors. Everything was disposable because she never wanted to get that attached to anything—or even anyone, something she admitted to herself only in moments of extreme honesty—again. In the past years, being around them had made her feel crowded, like she wanted to jump out of her own skin.
No, the only thing that had given her peace over the past years had been her daily runs. Sometimes she went twice, if only to feel the freedom of the wind on her face, the road before her open, her feet flying across the ground. She wondered what would happen if she simply continued running without looking back, running until she literally dropped. And her house mocked her now, a blank slate, much like her life. Being good was so overrated.
No one ever looked back on their lives and thought, Well, at least I was good. How long had it been for her? She liked that—having spent her life dealing with logic and science, and with her disease these last years, it was wonderful simply to give in. But now she just wanted skin to skin—needed to strip all the clothes off and roll around with this man. She reached up to twine her hands in his hair, pulling his face to hers for a kiss.
His hands skimmed her body, cupped her breasts and then lifted her shirt and broke the kiss to pull it off her. It flew over her head with a soft breeze as his hands cupped her ass, his arousal thick against her belly. Instead, he tilted his head, but only to look at her strangely. Narrowed his eyes and moved his hands from her ass to her waist, as if holding her up.
It took her another thirty seconds to understand why, and by then it was far too late to stop anything. Brother Wolf caught the scent first—the bitter, cloying tang of trouble—and then Rifter smelled it as well. It was the odor of a shift from human to wolf form. He tensed, prepared to bolt outside to find whatever stray wolf was prowling nearby, but a heartbeat later, Gwen collapsed in his arms and the scent dissipated.
Shit, in all his years, had he really never been around a seizing human before to notice that a seizure smelled like a wolf shift? Quickly, he lowered her to the bed, kept her on her side facing him and watched her body struggle, fighting with itself for control. He looked toward the night table, checked the drawer as he kept a hand on her and rifled through the pill bottles, wondering if any of these might help.
But Brother Wolf was calming down a little now, and Rifter hoped that was a good sign. The only thing he could do to comfort her was sometimes not a comfort at all. He had the ability to dreamwalk, which made him a sort of human dream catcher by default. His curse alternately freaked and pissed off the Dires, and the Weres who knew about it. Vice was usually too busy indulging in one of his vices to give a shit what Rifter did. No, Stray was jumpy enough, having been found fifty years earlier in some back alley. These days, he spent most of his time hanging at the house, listing to old-school eighties metal and keeping up with the latest technology.
But man, Rifter would let Stray have his back during a fight any damned time. Lately, there were rumors that the trappers planned to clone the Weres for some kind of superarmy to use for their own purposes. Rifter and the other Dires were charged with keeping the rest of the humans safe from the evil that could entail.
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Rifter knew from personal experience what kinds of horrors the man and his wolf had endured. Both had been captured and taken to separate cells.
It took Rifter three weeks to escape and take Rogue with him. Now Rogue remained in the attic of the house, as comfortable as they could make an immortal in a coma. Whether he would come out of it—and how he would be when he did—remained to be seen. They listened to the Dires. Had their backs. And oh yeah, no female Dires, because there were none. The Extinction that occurred in the eleventh century, toward the end of the Viking Age had taken care of that, left the remaining male Dires with immortality and a shitload of gifts they did not want.
It took a hell of a lot for a Dire to be with a human.
Slowly, the two of them pulled back, got some form of measured control and agreed to keep their shit together. She was still twitching, a restless combination of sleep and unconsciousness, and nowhere near peaceful. He remained firmly rooted in reality, not attempting to enter her dreams like he itched to. The dreamwalking had become worse in the months leading up to his capture. Rifter had always been able to control it, but lately, his own dreams had been stranger.
The dreams were draining him. Jinx did what he could to help keep the dreams at bay, which included the use of Native American dream catchers, while Rifter actively tried not to sleep.
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He closed his eyes, her hand in his large one, her skin soft and smooth and cool, and goddamn, it would feel good on his cock. He settled into a light sleep. A handy skill. Strangely enough, there was more of that than anything. He almost stayed on the bed next to her, but instead, he put her back on his bike. Had no choice but to take Gwen with him.
He reveled in it. Letting the wolf take over was sometimes the easiest thing in the world. In the dream, though, Brother Wolf was free, and he stopped and howled, and Gwen was watching warily. He smelled the fear on her skin, watched her face pale and her mouth gape in a frightened O, because, yeah, Brother Wolf was a big, scary-looking motherfucker, although a hell of a looker too.
He caught up to her and for a while they ran side by side, until he stopped smelling her fear. Brother Wolf dusted up the leaves from the ground, and they swirled around their feet, crunching in the night. And when Brother Wolf sat, she even reached out—hesitantly—and patted his back. It was after one in the morning when Brother Wolf conceded.
Rifter stood naked in front of her as she lay on the forest ground on a blanket of old leaves untouched by the snow, thanks to the thick covering of trees. She could see pinpricks of moonlight coming from above, her body sated from the run. His cock jutted out toward her, and in response she reached to unhook her bra and stripped it and her underwear and lay on the soft ground naked under the moonlight, waiting for him. A perfect blond triangle between her legs. She would feel this to her core. Her hips already began to rock against his hand in response to his touch, her fingers moved across her belly and her body thrashed, this time for pure pleasure.
See All Customer Reviews. Shop Books. Read an excerpt of this book! Add to Wishlist. USD 2. Sign in to Purchase Instantly. Explore Now. Buy As Gift. Overview Feared by humans and envied by werewolves, the Dire Wolves are immortal shifters, obeying no laws but their own bestial natures.
Rifter leads the pack, and his primal instincts have led him to claim Gwen, a woman seeking solace from the chronic pain that has wracked her body her entire life. But whatever future Rifter and Gwen have is threatened by an enemy of both humanity and the Dire Wolves She lives in New York with her husband, kids, and a crazy Weimaraner named Gus. If one of them died, the other would too. She was human and he was drawn to her.chronograffle.co.uk/under-your-skin.php
The Reluctant Alpha
She tilted her head and continued to study him. Goddamned full fucking moon.
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Like a bitch with a whip.
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