Authors: Marisa Chenery
“Thanks.” She passed him a bottle of beer. “I know I would hate it if I had to look in the mirror every day and see a reminder of my father.”
“You dislike him that much?” Haven crossed over to the couch and sat. Ketah followed her and took the space beside her.
“You could say that,” she said, then took a sip of her beer. “Plus, he’s a touchy subject right now. He’s here in Juneau at the moment, trying to get money out of me, as usual. So far I’ve been able to turn him down, but he won’t give up that easily. He’ll keep coming back until he wears me down, or drives me nuts, and I’ll give him what he wants to get rid of him.”
Ketah didn’t like the sound of that. The man may be Haven’s father, but Ketah still didn’t want him harassing his mate. If her dad came around while he was with her, he’d have a private word with the man and make it perfectly clear he was no longer welcome around Haven. She’d have Ketah and the rest of his pack to be her family. She didn’t need a father who really wasn’t one to be around to upset her.
“Since your dad isn’t something you want to talk about, how long have you worked as a guide at the park?”
Haven smiled. “Three years. I was twenty-one when I first got the job. I’d been going to the glacier since I was in my late teens. I befriended one of the guides and she taught me what I would need to know to become one too. She knew about my family life and I think she took pity on me.”
“Does she still work with you?”
“No. She got married a couple of years ago and now has a beautiful daughter. She’s a stay-at-home mom now. I do talk to her from time to time, though. What about you? Where do you work?”
Ketah took a drink from the bottle of beer he held. “I don’t have a job.”
Haven visibly stiffened. “Oh.”
He realized his mistake from her tone and the way she would no longer meet his gaze. He had to fix it quick or she’d put him in the same class as her father. “I don’t mean that I can’t find work. It’s that I don’t need to.”
His mate looked at him. “So you’re rich or something?”
“I wouldn’t say I’m rich, just comfortable.”
“How did you manage that?”
“Five friends—who I consider to be brothers—and me came into the possession of some precious and semi-precious stones, along with a few gold nuggets. It turned out they were worth a lot of money.”
“Cool. Are you still close to these friends of yours?”
“Very. We actually all live together.”
“Wow, you must have a pretty big house if the six of you can all stay in one place.”
“It is, and it’s eight of us. Two of my friends are married. One for almost a year and another for two months.”
“I couldn’t imagine living with that many people. For the longest time it was only my mom and I. And now I’m used to being on my own.”
Ketah turned so he faced Haven and reached over to run a caressing hand down her cheek. “You don’t have to be any longer. You have me.”
She gave him a small smile. “I really want to believe you, but there’s still the untrusting part of me that thinks you’re only saying what you assume I want to hear.”
He obviously still had his work cut out for him. Ketah shifted closer and cupped the side of Haven’s face. “Will you give me the chance to prove to you that I’m not doing that?”
“If I do and you turn out to be a jerk, I’m going to have a hard time getting over it.”
Ketah kept hold of Haven as he leaned over and placed his beer on the small table at the end of the couch next to her. He then put his hand over his heart and looked her right in the eyes.
“You have my word I’m nothing like your father, and never will be.” He smiled. “And I promise we’ll be so good together neither one of us will ever want to be apart from each other.”
She chuckled. “You might not be like my father but you can sound full of yourself.”
Ketah had no idea what that last part meant. He couldn’t even come up with something remotely close to it. Slowly, he asked, “Is that a good or bad thing?”
Haven laughed. “It depends on what situation you’re in at the time.”
Still feeling a little more than lost, Ketah did what he thought would be the best way to get Haven off that particular subject. He leaned in and kissed her. A shot of arousal surged through him right to his cock, which went instantly rock hard. As he deepened the kiss and Haven responded by sucking his tongue into her mouth, he blindly took her beer from her and placed it on the table where he’d put his. The action had him pressing against her, forcing her to recline along the couch.
Ketah shifted and settled on top of Haven. He wedged his hips between her spread thighs, his aching cock coming to rest against her jean-clad pussy. The contact had him unable to hold back a low howl. Remembering how she’d come out on the glacier that afternoon as she rode his erection through his pants had his mating urge riding him harder. The need to sink his dick deep inside her was almost a tangible thing, but he kept it caged. There would be no doing that until he had Haven fully understanding what he was and what she meant to him. Once done, a mating bond could not be undone.
He thrust his hips against Haven and groaned when she lifted her legs and wrapped them around his waist. Her hands came up and she threaded her fingers through his hair, eagerly kissing him back. Ketah made sure he kept his eyes closed. As turned-on as he was, they had to be glowing. Now was not the time to scare his mate. Being in her arms was exactly where he wanted to be.
Haven was once again getting washed away on a tide of intense desire. She shamelessly rubbed herself against Ketah’s erection as he thrust his hips. She tugged at his hair, holding him at the best angle for her to ravish his mouth. Wetness leaked out of her pussy and into her panties. And the way her body coiled, she didn’t think it would be very hard to have her coming again with what they were doing.
Ketah pulled away from her mouth and nuzzled the side of her neck. “I need to touch you. Will you let me?”
She’d let him, all right. Hell, she’d strip naked and spread herself out so he could feast on her. “Yes,” she said on a moan. “Most definitely yes.”
He lifted off her a little and rested his upper body on one bent arm wedged between them and the couch. With his other hand, he dragged her t-shirt up and over her head. He tossed it aside and it landed somewhere on the floor.
Ketah’s eyes were mere slits as he looked down at her bra-covered breasts. A fingertip traced the lacy edge of one of the cups before it slid over the material to circle a taut nipple through it. Haven sucked in a breath when he repeated the same process with the other one.
Instead of taking off her bra, Ketah used a finger to tug one cup out of the way. His tongue came out and circled her nipple. Haven thrust her chest forward in invitation for him to do more than that.
He continued to play with her, flicking his tongue against the bud until she squirmed beneath him. Only then did he open his mouth and take the nipple inside. He sucked and gently bit it. A jolt of arousal zinged through her straight to her pussy each time he did that. She squeezed her legs tighter around his waist and ground herself against the hard length of his cock.
Continuing to suck at her breast, Ketah shifted half off her as he trailed his hand down the flat plane of her stomach to the top of her jeans. He undid them and shoved his hand inside the front, brushing his fingers against the material covering her pussy.
He released her nipple and rubbed his cheek against it. “I can feel how wet you are through your panties.”
She gasped as Ketah plunged his hand inside her panties and caressed her pussy. A finger dipped into her wet opening. He gathered some of her juices and circled her clit with the same digit. Haven squeezed her inner walls around it when it thrust into her again, taking her in shallow strokes.
Soon a second finger joined the first, plunging deeper. She rode the digits, edging ever closer to an orgasm. The hard ridge of Ketah’s cock ground against her hip as he rocked into her. His head lay pillowed on her breast as he worked her. The sound of their harsh breathing filled her ears.
“I’m going to come,” Haven said with a low groan.
“Let go. Fly for me.”
Ketah’s fingers plunged faster, angling up so he hit her G-spot. Haven lifted her hips to match the pace he set. She was so close. Her body shattered as an intense climax took her over. Her pussy clutched and released the digits that still slid in and out of her. She stiffened beneath Ketah and moaned. Once the last wave of pleasure hit her, she went limp.
Ketah hurriedly undid his jeans and shoved them down to spring his erection. He brought her hand to it and had her pump it up and down his length. He then made a sound between a groan and a growl, his hips thrusting. It only took a couple of strokes until he came as well, his cum shooting onto her stomach. They both fought to catch their breath. Even though Ketah had reached release his cock was still hard in Haven’s hand. She stroked him once before he stopped her.
“You’re still hard, though.”
“I’m fine. We’re going to stop here.”
“Why? Don’t you want to…”
“Make love to you? More than you can possibly know, but I don’t think you’re ready for that yet. You’re still unsure of me. If I’m to prove I want something that will be lasting with you, we’re not going to rush into anything.”
Haven blinked up at Ketah. Some of the wall she’d put up to safeguard her heart against him cracked ever so slightly. That he wanted to take his time, to let her get to know him better before they went beyond heavy petting definitely took him out of the same class as her father. It showed Haven that Ketah wasn’t selfish, only thinking of his pleasure first.
He pushed off her and stood. “Where’s your washroom? I’ll get a cloth to clean you up.”
“I only have the one bathroom, which is upstairs. And you can find clean cloths in the linen closet beside it.”
“Don’t move. I’ll be right back.” Ketah bent and gave her a quick kiss before heading for the stairs.
Haven heard the water turn on in the bathroom a short while later. If Ketah kept this up, he’d soon have her wall torn down and have wormed his way into her heart. Maybe he wasn’t what she thought most gorgeous guys were like. Maybe he’d told the truth about his being nothing like her father. A tiny voice inside her pointed out Ketah could be acting this way because he knew that was what she wanted. She quickly squashed that idea, not wanting to give it life. She couldn’t think it if she wanted this to even have half a chance of working out. She’d take it one day at a time.
* * * * *
Ketah didn’t stay very late at Haven’s before he decided it would be best for him to go home. He would have wanted nothing more than to spend the night in her arms, but that would have been pushing things. Haven wasn’t ready for him to be that possessive of her. And once he spent one night with her, he’d want every one after that.
His mating urge had increased by a small degree as well after he’d come in her hand. Until he claimed her as his own, finding release other than deep inside his mate’s body would have the same effect on it. But that wouldn’t stop him from sharing pleasure with Haven. He needed the closeness that would bring. And it would help bond his mate to him, make her learn to trust him.
After giving Haven one last kiss that would have to last him through the rest of the night until he saw her again the next day, Ketah headed home. For his very first date, he thought it had gone well. He did have to tell his wolf brothers about the movie, and how 3D seemed all too real. It also showed he still had more to learn about this new world he’d awakened into.
He arrived home to find Brice sitting in the living room with everyone else. The pack leader’s mate, Marta, was there as well. Ketah stepped into the room and looked around. “What’s going on?”
Edensaw waved him over. Ketah took a seat on the floor close to the couch where his alpha sat with Cassidy, Brice and Marta. “Brice got some news in regard to Tanner,” Edensaw said.
Ketah looked from Edensaw to Brice, then everyone else in the room. It was obvious the news hadn’t been good. “What is it?”
Brice answered him. “I had an unexpected visit from a lone wolf earlier this evening. He wasn’t originally from my pack. It seems any lone wolf Tanner considers an acquaintance he’s getting in contact with, inviting them to Juneau. When they do meet up, Tanner asks them to join this new pack he belongs to. He also promises them immortality, that his pack leader is able to give it to them as he’d given it to Tanner. The lone wolf said Tanner’s eyes were black and that his scent had changed. He didn’t smell like a normal werewolf.”
Ketah looked at Edensaw. “The dark wolves are really here.” He said it as a statement rather than a question. “The two who attacked Carson, Noah and Wachei weren’t the only ones then.”
His alpha nodded. “Looks like it. It would explain why we’ve felt darkness slowly growing. Whoever is Tanner’s new pack leader, he must be the evil the shaman had seen coming. And he must be using dark magic to hide his presence in Juneau from us.”
Ketah turned his attention back to Brice. “Does the lone wolf know where to find Tanner and his new pack?”
“No. Tanner only gave him the barest of information. The lone wolf said he’d have to think about it, though he has no intention of taking him up on his offer. He promised to give Tanner his answer in a couple of days in a prearranged meeting place. We’re going to follow Tanner from there to his new pack.”
That is if everything went smoothly and Tanner didn’t spot them. Ketah knew the best laid plans didn’t always work out. But if this did go off without any problem, there was a good chance they could take out the dark wolves in one confrontation. There couldn’t be too many of them if Tanner was still recruiting lone wolves.
“Should I be worried about my mate’s safety?” Ketah asked.
“I think it would be a good idea if you claimed her before the meeting is supposed to take place with Tanner,” Edensaw replied. “We’re not sure what this new pack leader has planned.”
Ketah sighed. “That’s going to be a bit of a problem. Haven is still keeping me emotionally at arm’s length. She doesn’t trust me not to hurt her. If I push I could send her running.”
Brice spoke up. “Claim her and she won’t be able to run.”
He shook his head at the pack leader. “That’s what you told Wachei. Eryn did run and didn’t come back to him until the next day.”
“But she did.”
“Yeah, I did,” Eryn said. “But the separation anxiety wasn’t a nice experience to go through, especially when I still hadn’t come to grips with Wachei telling me he was a werewolf. If Ketah does this without Haven trusting him, it could do more damage than good.”
“And I can tell you from watching Eryn suffer from it that I’d avoid putting your mate through it at all costs,” Carson said from where he sat in one of the armchairs. “I thought my sister was losing her mind. Christ, it was even hard for me to accept. Being almost killed by one of those dark wolves and having to have Wachei bite me to turn me to keep me alive brought it into perspective really quick.”
Edensaw met Ketah’s gaze. “I suggest you tell her what you are, get it out in the open and see how she reacts.”
“Preferably somewhere she’ll find very hard to run from,” Wachei added.
Ketah nodded slowly. He would tell Haven tomorrow. And he knew the place to reveal what he was to her. It would either go terribly bad or he’d be surprised and she’d easily accept what he told her. But he had a feeling it would end up being the first option, especially since he’d be rushing Haven into the new life he wanted with her.
“I’ll do it tomorrow,” he said. “I only hope once Haven learns what she is to me, how I’d never leave and want an eternity with her, she might take it as a good thing. That was the main reason why she doesn’t trust me. She thinks I’ll leave her for someone younger and prettier. Her father did that to her mother, and Haven had to watch how her mom suffered until she died.”
“We’ll hope it all goes well,” Cassidy said.
“And I don’t envy you,” Durlach added. “This is the part I’ll dread when I find my mate, having to tell her the truth of what I am.” Kajakti and Capac quickly agreed with their wolf brother.
Ketah remained sitting on the carpeted floor as he listened with half an ear to the conversation in the room move on to other things. As his granddaughter, Brice and Marta’s daughter, would have said, Ketah was screwed.
* * * * *
Haven pulled into the parking lot of the park the next morning and spotted the familiar crossover. Her heart sped up at the thought of seeing Ketah again. After their date ended the night before she’d done a lot of serious thinking about him. It hadn’t taken her long to realize she’d already started to fall for him. Being in his arms as he’d made her come had felt right.
She also wanted to really believe him when he said he wanted a serious relationship with her. He made her want to take that leap of faith with him, to leave all her trust issues behind that would hold her back from having something good with Ketah.
Haven got out of her SUV, taking her backpack from the passenger seat with her. She headed for the park’s main building and smiled when she saw Ketah push away from the wall and wait for her to join him. Once she did he took her into his arms and kissed her, just about stealing her breath.
After he let her up for air, she asked, “What are you doing here? I thought I wouldn’t see you until after I got off work.”
“I decided I couldn’t wait that long so I booked you as my guide for the day again.”
“Not that I’m complaining, but you can’t do that every day.”
He smiled. “I know. Go tell your boss you’re here, then let’s get ready to go.”
Haven stepped out of Ketah’s embrace and did as he’d said. After a quick confirmation from her boss that Ketah had indeed booked her as his guide, she rejoined Ketah outside. He’d already put on his crampons and had his pack secured onto his back. It took her a few minutes to get hers onto her hiking boots, then they set out for the glacier.
She started to take the same route they’d gone the day before once they were out on the ice, but Ketah grabbed her arm and pulled her in the other direction. Haven gave him a questioning look. “Where are we going?”
“I want to show you something. It’s a bit of a walk but I think it will be worth it.”
“Okay. You have me for the day so we can go wherever you want. Lead the way.”
Ketah hadn’t been kidding about it being a long walk, but she had a feeling she knew where he was taking her—the Mantanuska Glacier cave in the Chugach Mountains. She didn’t normally take visitors to it since it was such a distance from the park entrance. A lot of people who came to the glacier wouldn’t have had the stamina to make the long trek there and back.