Unwrapping Tess (A Paranormal Shapeshifter Romance)(Vegas Mates Book 5): Christmas Encounters (5 page)

BOOK: Unwrapping Tess (A Paranormal Shapeshifter Romance)(Vegas Mates Book 5): Christmas Encounters
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CHAPTER SEVEN

Tess stretched her legs and smiled as the bottoms of her feet slid along Patrick’s strong calves. He’d snuck a leg between hers during the night and had her body practically molded to his as they lay spooning. One of his arms wrapped around her from underneath, cradling her neck in the crook of his shoulder. The hand on that arm was nestled between her breasts. His other arm fell over her hip and his fingers were lightly splayed across her lower abdomen.

They were snuggled together tighter than two peas in a pod. In fact, when she wiggled a little more, his arms tightened around her body and he nuzzled the back of her neck. His warm breath down her bare back made her shiver.

“Good morning.” His voice rumbled from deep in his chest and vibrated against her back.
 

She sighed and twisted in his arms until she faced him. “Good morning.”

He pulled her head closer and gave her a gentle kiss on the lips. “This is nice. I don’t think I ever want to sleep without you again.”

“Are you sure? My sister says I kick.” She bit her lip to hold back a giggle.

“I’ll keep you too tired to kick.” A wide grin split his face.

She laughed and pushed back from his chest.
 

He dipped his head and nipped at one of her breasts as he slid a hand between her legs and rolled her to her back. He released her nipple and raised himself above her. His bright blue eyes darkened and he gently pushed her thighs up toward her stomach and slid his hard cock into her slick sex.
 

She held his gaze as he began to move. First slow thrusts and then faster and harder. She clenched the blankets on either side of her body and held in the moan of pleasure.

He slid her ankles over his shoulders and pressed in even closer.
 

She arched her back and pushed back against him. The pressure was amazing. He was right where she wanted him to be and then fireworks exploded inside her body. She bit back a scream as the orgasm rushed up from her core and coursed through every branch of her nervous system.
 

Her toes curled and she released a long breath as another wave crashed over her and he came inside her. His warm seed filled her completely. His torso stiffened against the backs of her thighs and he groaned softly, thrusting twice more before his body relaxed. He pulled back, laying her legs tenderly to the side, and climbed off the bed.

He disappeared into the bathroom for a moment and came back with a damp rag. His hands were so gentle as he wiped her body clean of his release.
 

She sighed, closing her eyes, content to just lie on the bed and let him do anything he wanted. Her body was still floating in the post-orgasmic cloud of ecstasy when he returned from the bathroom a second time wearing gray sweatpants and a white t-shirt.

“We should probably appear at breakfast or their tongues really will start to wag.”

She cracked open one eye and glared up at him in the soft morning light creeping through the blinds.
Damn.
He was gorgeous. Her pre-coffee, post-sex haze had her a little off-kilter, but just looking at him there in the center of the room made her want to leap off the bed and bite him right then and there.

“I’m good with that,”
her wolf encouraged.

She blinked again and smiled up at him.
We have to announce it first. Chase asked us to, sort-of.

“Mmmhmmm. All I heard was him giving you his blessing.”

Shut it. You are not helping my caffeine-starved, endorphin-flooded brain think.

“I’m not trying to.”

“You know, you could just listen to that wolf of yours.” Patrick grinned. “I can feel the flood of emotions bouncing back and forth in your brain like a half-dozen Ping-Pong balls. Personally, I’ve always been a fan of doing and then begging for forgiveness later.

Tess sat up in the center of the large bed and shook out her mussed up hair. “Nope. Not me. I like to have permission first. I don’t do begging very well.”

“Really?” He stalked toward her and leaned down to her ear. “We may have to work on that. I would love to hear you begging me on a regular basis.”

Her sex clenched and a charge of energy shot down her spine. The way he could get her excited with just a few words shouldn’t be legal. Sliding off the bed she padded over to the small stack of clothes she swiped from her room and slipped into a pair of pink spandex capri pants and an oversized sweatshirt to hide the fact that she was going bra-less.

“Come on horn-dog, let’s go face the music.”

He chuckled. “I think you might be calling the kettle—”

She whirled and slapped her hand over his mouth. “Shhhhh.”

His eyes twinkled and she felt his mouth curve into a smile underneath her palm. He snaked his arms around her waist and lifted her from the floor, pressing her up against the bedroom door.

She wiggled in his hold, but didn’t make any headway. “Put me down.”

“What do I get out of it?”

“Me.” A grin tugged at the corner of her lips.

“To mark?” He was trying to make light of it, but he wanted to make their joining as permanent as she did. If she wasn’t a Demakis, she would’ve gone for it already. Even with Chase’s blessing, she still felt that it was proper for them to formally announce that she’d found her mate, before showing up to breakfast with his mark on her shoulder.

“Yes.” Heat rose in her cheeks and excitement fluttered in her stomach. She was looking forward to this as much as he was.

“Deal.” His hands loosened and she slid slowly down his hard body until her feet touched the ground again.

They walked hand-in-hand downstairs to the dining room. Everyone was already there and all the talking stopped as they stepped through the door.

Tess’s eyes flew straight to Jason’s. He was angry and it was coming off his body like waves. Patrick’s hand tightened around hers and she looked away from the Original’s face. Most of her sisters and friends were smiling. Only Hallie’s face was downcast.

She broke her handhold with Patrick and ran to her twin’s side at the end of the table. Hallie’s eyes were glazed over with unshed tears.

“You’re leaving me.”

“Hallie. This is where I’m supposed to be. My heart has missed it since we left two years ago. And now … now I have even more reason to return.”

“I can’t believe you’d want to stay out here in these mountains forever. Logan is such a tiny little town. How could it appeal to you more than New York?”

“I love the open. Even Melinda knew I wasn’t happy there. You had to have seen it, Hallie.”

Her sister sighed. “I did. I just didn’t want to believe it. I thought we’d both meet a guy and live together … or at least next door forever.”

Tess smiled. “I did too. And if it had happened that way, I would have stayed for you.”

A tear ran down Hallie’s cheek and she shook her head with a sniff. “I know you would’ve. I’m just going to miss you.”

She threw her arms around her sister and breathed in deeply the scent that had been with her since birth. They’d never been separated more than a day or two. This change would be hard for them both. “Does Jason still look peeved?”

Hallie turned her head and nodded. “Yep. Like he could chew a tire off a tractor.”

Tess smiled and released her sister. Standing to face the table, she took a deep breath. Patrick had moved to stand behind her, but before either of them could speak, Chase stood and raised a goblet of orange juice to the table. “A toast for the newest match in the family. I spoke with your aunt this morning and she couldn’t be happier for you, Tess. Patrick, welcome to the family. We look forward to getting to know you better and I feel confidant that you and Tess will be an excellent addition to the Woodhaven group.”

Everyone else stood and raised their glasses, clinking them together along the table, except for Jason. He waited until everyone sat back down before standing to speak.

“You willingly choose to leave your pack? Your birthright as a Demakis royal to be with a bear? To have his children and not continue your father’s line?”

“Yes.” Her voice was strong, unwavering. This was what she wanted. She and her sisters had fought hard and lost both their parents in the process of gaining freedom from the smothering rules and traditions of the council. The council was no more. It was over. Royal or not, she should get to follow her fate wherever it might lead. And it led very clearly to Patrick.

“Good for you,”
her wolf encouraged.

Jason’s frown curved into a smile. “Brave girl. I admire you for that. You will be sorely missed in New York. You would’ve made a fantastic leader there, but I know you will make an impact on those around you, no matter where you might be. I do wish you both the best. You can tell your mate I harbor him no ill will, but losing a pack member isn’t a light matter for me. I wanted to be sure you really desired this match.”

When Jason stopped talking, she noticed a low droning growl behind her stop suddenly. She’d been so focused on standing up to Jason on her own, she hadn’t even noticed Patrick’s growling behind her.
 

“I do, Jason.”

He nodded and sat back in his chair.
 

Tess released a long, slow breath and leaned back into Patrick’s strong chest. His emotions were strung at tightly as a string on a bow. He really hadn’t known what a massive choice leaving the pack was. Even though both Sam and Nicole had mated outside the royal family, they’d both chosen to take a position within the main pack territory.

Woodhaven was still family and housed pack members from Vegas and New York, as well as latents from around the country from time to time, but it was bear territory. O’Hearn territory. And it belonged to Scott, Patrick, and their parents.

***

Patrick let out a soft huff and shook off the tension. He was proud of Tess. She’d stood her ground. He hadn’t been able to keep himself from growling through the Original’s entire speech, but he hadn’t bared any teeth. The very thought of losing Tess because of wolf pack politics had enraged him, but his years in the military had taught him self-control. He’d assured himself, and his bear, that he’d tear the man apart later, not in front of family.

But it wouldn’t come to that. Apparently, the wolf had just been pushing Tess to make sure she’d thought through her choice.

When she’d spoken so forcefully, he’d felt her sureness with her decision flow through their bond and it filled him with so much love for her. She’d picked him, even when it meant leaving her twin sister, living three thousand miles away, and moving permanently into bear territory.

His brother waved from the other end of the table and he guided Tess toward where Scott and Margaret sat. There were two empty chairs to Scott’s left and Patrick sat Tess in one before sitting down next to his brother.

CHAPTER EIGHT

“I thought it might be nice to have everyone help decorate the inn for Christmas. With my pregnant belly and Sarah’s little man running us ragged, we haven’t gotten much done, as you can see. I always did like having decorations out.”

Tess grabbed a couple of pancakes from the platter in front of her and nodded. “Of course. You shouldn’t be lifting anything anyway.” She decorated the pancakes with syrup and dug in, relishing the sweet, woody flavor of the natural maple syrup.

“I keep telling her that,” Scott chuckled. “But she doesn’t listen, so I have to follow her around and make sure she doesn’t do too much.”

Margaret patted Scott’s arm and smiled. “I’m perfectly capable.”

“I know you are, my love, but accidents happen. And I could never forgive myself if I didn’t look out for you and the babies every second that I can.”

“Do you have names picked out for the babies yet,” Tess asked before taking a sip of the orange juice Patrick had poured for her.

“James for one, but we’ll call him Jamie after Scott’s grandfather who passed away. And Kera for the girl, in honor of my late grandmother,” Margaret answered, her face glowing.

Tess couldn’t help but smile at the happiness that flowed from the couple. In truth, she was looking forward to starting her own family with Patrick. Woodhaven would be a beautiful, quiet place to raise children. And with Chris, Sarah, and Margaret here, she would always have a little piece of the pack with her. She couldn’t imagine how scary it was for Margaret to move out here all by herself at first. Though, she’d had Tess and Hallie as company for a while.

“Good names.” Patrick’s voice was soft, but she’d felt his emotions surge at the mention of naming the first baby Jamie. That grandfather must’ve meant a great deal to them both.

The rest of the meal passed quickly. Somehow, Margaret captured her attention and drove the conversation toward real estate and what houses were available on the mountain. She listened back and forth as Scott and Patrick argued the necessity of being closer or farther from Woodhaven and each other.

She and Margaret both agreed that they should be closer to each other for visiting purposes. Sarah only lived a mile away and there was a big house for sale only two miles up the road from the both of them. They certainly weren’t going to find anything closer.

Tess leaned back in her chair and listened to the table talk. She caught bits and pieces of conversations down at the opposite end of the table where her sisters were. Then she heard Sarah telling a funny story about baby Rylan putting his face into a birthday cake. Everyone was happy. They were safe. Life was moving forward like it should.

A hand touched her knee under the table and she turned to meet Patrick’s intense blue eyes. She smiled.

“You okay?”

She nodded, letting her emotions flow freely along the bond. His lips curved into a smile and he leaned closer, giving her a quick kiss on the cheek.

“So are you going to be my slave today and help me decorate, Tess?” Margaret’s voice cut through her moment with Patrick.

“Yes,” Tess answered, biting back a laugh. “I will be your decorating slave today.”

Margaret beamed. “Excellent. I’ve already recruited your sisters to cook and Sarah is leading that posse.”

BOOK: Unwrapping Tess (A Paranormal Shapeshifter Romance)(Vegas Mates Book 5): Christmas Encounters
5.08Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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