It had been nearly a month and Ashley had played nice with all of the elders. All had taken their turn staying with them and talking with them. Even Dr. Keene had completed all of her exams and had cleared him. The firm that Ashley worked for had found Avery’s documentation and with a little help the name had been changed, the license updated and he had approval from Dr.Keene to start rounds as her intern when he was ready. Avery was just waiting for approval from Crimson, now. He honestly couldn’t wait to get back to a real life – as he called it. Ashley even bought him an entire wardrobe of clothing along with scrubs.

What she was growing frustrated with? She was growing frustrated with the fact that they never had a moment alone.

Seated at the table she stared at the same legal documents for twenty minutes without writing anything. Her thoughts just weren’t on work. She tapped her pencil on the notepad and zoned out as her thoughts went elsewhere.

“Maybe you should take a break.” Eva spoke from behind her.

Ashley screeched in fright and even jumped a little in her chair. Turning she quickly glared at the woman and snapped, “Can’t you make some kind of noise when you walk! You scared the hell out of me!” And she wasn’t lying, her heart racing in her chest and breathing was just as elevated.

“Sorry, guess I should have..”

“Yes you should have!” Ashley cut him off as she snatched her briefcase, yanked it open and tossed her work into it haphazardly. “I need air, I’m going for a walk..”

As the girl went for her jacket and headed out the door Eva simply shrugged her shoulders and went back to her tea making. She figured Ashley was feeling the itch and it was making her cranky as hell. The family wouldn’t be able to keep Avery and Ashley apart much longer, that was for sure. The good thing was, they had had time to re-calibrate to this side. They had taken lessons from the elders and well – from Devon and Eva about what to expect. She supposed, that was the best they could do. Eva understood that it would be most proper to have the couple wait til the full moon ceremony before they truly mated, but how often did that actually happen?

All she and Devon could do was hope for the best and hope everything went smooth from here on out. She knew for a fact once their pup got a taste of his blonde there would be no separating them.

The sound of Avery’s howl was unmistakable for Ashley. It was the longer, lingering one that came from the hills above the Kennedy estate. He had been going out running with the others in the pack every day since getting to the new cabin. Ashley had agreed to set up shop there so they could spend time together as he learned more control and to better coexist with his wolf.  

He was rounding the corner coming back toward the cabins, when he caught her scent. Once again, he immediately wanted her. He had been told by his parents not to try anything until he had complete control. Knowing what he was capable of on the other side made Azrael want to heed their warnings. But she smelled so good!  He stopped, shook his head and turned to run toward the stream that ran through the Kennedy land. He needed the cold water and the pause before he ran into her. The wolf jumped in and soon enough, the man stood there, shivering.

As she always did, Ashley followed him. Azrael had been working so hard with the others and had accomplished so much. She was so proud of him! Yet as she approached the stream and caught sight of him dripping wet and shivering, pride was not what shot straight through her. Turning from the deliciously sinful sight was extremely hard for her and yet she did. Her heart was racing and she knew she was growing damp.

Azrael groaned in frustration. He’d gotten too quick and forgot to concentrate on his clothes again. He had nothing on but his birthday suit. “Damn!”

Stripping of the light jacket she held it over her shoulder to him.

“We..we really need to tuck clothes all over this place for you Azer.. I’m sure the other girls are just loving watching you do that and I don’t like sharing.”

“I’m taken,” he said simply. “I’ve done it before! Why am I having trouble with the magic, now?”

Her heart was racing and she shifted in her place as she waited for him to take the jacket. Ash knew she was flushed pretty rose but she couldn’t help it.

“It doesn’t matter how much they like looking. I’m not interested in anyone but you.” He took the jacket and paused. He wasn’t hasty to put it on. He still smelled her. Maybe that’s why. Maybe his instincts were telling him he didn’t need clothes. Oh and he smelled how much she wanted him. This time, he licked his lips and moved toward her instead of fighting himself. He was sniffing the air and just enjoying her needful scent.

They said no touching other than holding hands and kissing but she wasn’t sure how long they were supposed to keep that up and Azer was a damned good kisser. That only left her further frustrated so they were hardly doing that now. In all honesty Ashley had avoided contact like the plague the past two days for that reason. She heard his footsteps come closer. Her heart was beating fast.

“I miss you,” he whispered, only an inch from the shell of her ear. He kissed her neck, but then let his canine move deeper in her skin, not enough to puncture, but definitely enough to let her know it was there.  Soon enough his arm was around her waist.

Her breath left her in a whoosh from both the bite and the way he pulled her backwards against him. Ashley was trying to keep her head as she sucked in a breath a bit her bottom lip, “Az… we.. should… they said…” Azer had skill that was for sure! Ashley almost didn’t want to know how he’d gotten that skill. Almost. But that was for her imagination and some other time to ask…

“God your good at that.” She had found out through Azrael that her weak spot, her kryptonite was her ears and her neck. When she felt his teeth, Ash gave soft little needful sound and her hand went over her shoulder to bury in his soft curly bit of hair. Her thighs squeezed together as her insides tightened like coil. He made entire body ache and she was always left frustrated. Their chaperones made sure it never went too far. Even now she was expecting one to pop out some place and end the moment.

It probably wasn’t until they were on the ground that Ashley realized the situation had taken a leap. They were on the side of the stream, amongst the tall reeds and rushes and brush. Azrael’s hands were placed, one over her left shoulder and one beneath her right on the ground, his body spooning her’s, though definitely up and not lying over. His mouth was still tasting her neck from ear to nape and from nape to ear. His chest rumbled for her.  

And if that wasn’t enough, he growled in her ear, “I don’t want to wait.”

Her body was responding to every little touch and every little sound that he made. Ashley wasn’t sure if it was right, but she couldn’t have stopped herself if she had truly wanted to. Her head tipped further to the side for him knowing after lessons with Eva that this was her way of submitting to him.

“Then.. then don’t..” It was breathlessly whispered as she gave herself over to him. They’d face the repercussions later, but for she wanted him and she wanted him to claim her. Ashley was tired of walking on eggshells and being so unsure of everything she did. Whatever was left to learn, they’d learn as a couple!

He was excited, yes. But he knew this was his mate. This was his human mate. He loved and cherished her. When she let go and told him not to wait, he didn’t. His hands pulled the waist of her pants down immediately. There was actually a bit of a rip to the act.

Ashley’s free hand reached back to grasp Azrael’s bare hip and her breath caught from just that simple contact. His body wanted to be inside of hers. The touch was more than enough to have him continue.

It had been too long! But she had been waiting and now she knew why.. it was for him. Ashley would have turned to face him, but the growl the way he held her kept her in place. For just a brief moment her pulse fluttered with fear that he’d actually hurt her as they’d been cautioned could happen, but just as quickly it was gone and hungry need replaced it.

Azrael found the right place and pushed himself into her wetness. His body was perfectly molded to hers, and since they were on their knees in the tall brush, no one saw what was happening. His body was slow and his mind was on nipping and tasting at first. It was a method Devon had actually taught him. He never thought he’d be thankful for those very frank discussions about sexual control. The more he pleasured her the better and the wetter and the easier his continued entrance was.

“More?” he asked, to be sure she was ready both bodily and mentally.

Nothing else mattered but this moment right here. Ashley could hardly form words to answer as she pushed back to meet him and was rewarded with that tingle that shot straight through and made her insides clench. She nodded and moaned for him, “Yes.. more.. stop and I’ll strangle you Azer.” she gave a soft feminine growl of her own knowing it would urge him onward. The women had told her male lycan enjoyed such sounds from their lovers and mates.

Soon, he was moving into her at a beautiful speed and almost wild abandon. But her whimpers, growls, and moans told him that he was definitely not hurting his mate.

She was pliable and moved however he needed her to. Ashley sucked air between her teeth and bit bottom lip hard enough to taste copper as she tried not to cry out. She didn’t want anyone ruining their moment. She steadied herself and reached for him at the same time wanting the added contact and needing to hold some part of him while he pressed into her again and again. “Please..please..” she could hear herself pleading soft and sweet.

When she begged, it was the one thing that threw him a bit over that edge. He felt like he couldn’t get her to where she needed and if he could just go a little faster… and so her pleads were answered with a low growl and a true bite to her right shoulder. His arms locked around her and his hips sped up as fast as he could get them to go. He could feel himself getting closer and closer – which was the drawback. If she needed him to go faster or push further, that was what he wanted to do for her. But it also meant it drew him closer to his own release.  

The sting of the bite was a shock and even as her breath rushed from her, Ashley felt that burst inside and she would have cried out if she could have. Wave after wave of spasms moved through her and as Azer kept pounding away her body tightened over and over again on him. Tears slipped free just from the release alone. All the tension she had been feeling was just gone.

If he hadn’t been biting her, he would have howled. He finished once her body had begun milking him and it had been a very hard finish, indeed. He let go of her shoulder and Azrael literally fell over with her into the cool grass panting and dizzy.

When her breath finally returned she was sucking air into starving lungs. The world had gone bright to the point of not hearing and not seeing. Things were beginning to come back to normal. There was no doubt she’d be sore but it was well worth that ache. Ashley couldn’t have moved if someone had set the brush on fire around them. She was sweaty, sticky and had no strength or energy. Nor did she want to leave the warmth of his arms. She felt him kiss her shoulder, where the bite was tingling.

“Think they’ll be mad at us?” he said around pants. His hand moved over her shoulder very gently. There would probably be no hiding the fact that they had enjoyed one another.

Ashley simply smiled for him in that very pleased and pleasured way. Her neck ached where he bit her and insides were still buzzing from the pounding they’d received and she wasn’t complaining one bit on any of it.

“I don’t even care. We’re adults. We did things their way. How many more lessons could they give us? Seriously?”  

“I love you, Ashley Matthews.” He chuckled. He was so amused by her right now. But she was both gorgeous and adorable at the same time in this moment. “Did I please you? If I didn’t, do I get another chance?” He couldn’t wait to hear her giggle again.

“Did you please me?” There was a breathy laugh as his reward. “I don’t know who taught you all of that, but they deserve to be known as some kind of guru.” she turned so dhe could look up at him. “That isn’t to say you can’t have another chance anyway.” She stretched in the grass not even caring that her pants were now hanging off one ankle and her shirt was hiked up to catch just beneath her bra exposing her stomach and everything below.

“Oh, really? You want me to prove myself to you every time? Because I could take that challenge.” He nibbled at her neck to get another giggle.

“We may have to stay here forever because I don’t think I can move. My body feels like jello.” She laughed again a s her hand trailed over his chest lazily, “I love you Azrael Avery LaCroix Weylyn.” and she thought her name was a mouth full!

“You know, Azer from you is just fine, Ash. I will always be your Azrael,” he kissed her lips  and then just lay there to look at her.

“Will your mama be mad?” Ashley asked, reality popping back into her mind.

“We’re adults. Hopefully she won’t be mad. We want to be together. We’re going to have a ceremony. I’m here to learn my place and continue to get better at… a new life. You’re part of my new life.”  He pulled her close and kissed her forehead.

Very suddenly, Azrael growled and moved over Ashley to protect her. “Get dressed,” he whispered. He could smell someone on the wind. That meant, they weren’t right on them yet, but Azrael wasn’t going to take a chance.  Whether they liked it or not, their little moment was over with. He reached over with one hand and pulled the jacket to himself to tie around his waist. He was up on his knees, looking around and sniffing again, trying to figure out who it was.

“You ready to walk back or…” so long as she was dressed, he didn’t mind remaining. If the person was lycan, there was no hiding what they had just done, anyway.

It hadn’t been easy to wiggle into her ripped jeans but she’d accomplished it and was laying there catching her breath from being startled into action. “Might as well.. I guess.” She climbed to feet and was still a little shaky on them. Her hand held Azrael by the upper arm to keep her balance as they made their way out of the brush.

As the couple emerged finally, Eva tossed a pair of pants at her son.

“Thought ya might need those right about now. Devon’s off on some caper, so  you get me here instead. Best put em on before papa gets back. I have no idea when that’ll be.” There was no hiding what they’d been doing the lack of clothes, Ashley’s damaged clothes and the mark’s were more than enough evidence. “Supper’s waiting so get cleaned up and get to the table to eat.”She didn’t chew them out or threaten to separate them, there really was no point now. The deed was done. It had been Eva’s hope that they would wait for the full moon celebration, well that didn’t happen but at least they could still have a ceremony. She only wondered if they’d had head enough about them to use protection. She was fairly certain Ash had taken her advice to get some from Dr. Keene.  They were still pretty engrossed in their lives, and pups were not on the agenda.

“Thank you.” Azrael immediately bent over with the pants to pull on beneath the “jacket kilt”. That done, he took the jacket back off and handed it over to Ashley. He noted that his mama hadn’t waited on them.  

Adjusting her top to better cover the bite, Ashley waited for Azrael to pull on the pants and then took his hand in hers so they could walk in together. “It’ll be okay. The only thing your mama can do is send me to Gabriel’s right?” She smiled for him.

“We just need to shower and change is all. Wouldn’t want to bother the senses for supper,” he whispered.  

“Of course..” She prayed it’d go that smooth with Devon, but Ashley wasn’t going to hold her breath on it until the meal was over. At the door to the cabin she was using, Ash parted from Azrael only long enough for a quick shower and change of clothes. She did study the bruise that was beginning where he’d bitten her and she popped a tylenol just for the ache in her that was starting to be more noticeable.

Azrael used his small cabin for a quick shower and change of clothes as well. He was really quick with it and still had some water left on his body when he got to Ashley’s cabin again. The white t-shirt he had on was stuck here and there. He took her hand and walked with her toward Eva and Devon’s larger home. His hand squeezed hers and he looked aside at her, love in his eyes.

“Eva, they’re here can we now?” Devon was standing at his mates chair wait for her so that he could push her in properly. He felt like his stomach was eating it’s way out. “Seat your gal so we can eat when ya mama sits down.”

“Yes sir,” Azrael was a bit irritated by the ordering around, but he tried to be respectful. He pulled out Ashley’s chair and then helped push her to the table before seating himself. In the other room he could hear the younger pups milling around. He had met most of his brothers, only the ones that were grown and off doing things outside of pack business hadn’t met him. The newness had worn off and now, they just wanted their food.

“Is it safe to assume you’ll be wanting a larger cabin now?” Eva was actually finishing up piling Devon’s plate and was about to start on her own. The pups already had their dinner and were enjoying in the next room. At the question, however, she looked up. Devon’s attention was definitely gotten. He’d been distracted since coming in and hadn’t said a word about whatever bullshit he was up to his elbows in with Sen. So, this was going to be how she got him back on track.

“Actually I thought, maybe Azrael would like to stay awhile in the city. I have a penthouse there and it isn’t far from the clinic or my office.” Ashley tucked her hair behind her ear and looked at her lover, “I mean if you want to. We can stay here as well if you like.” She was leaving the choice to him. She wasn’t demanding he go nor was she refusing to stay. It was as he liked.

“So you couldn’t wait any longer?” Devon asked point blank.

“Mama..” Avery looked over at his mama as if he couldn’t believe she’d do this right now. She called them out so Devon would know? 

“I’ve sworn to the Goddess the boys get it from you, but this one’s all on me.” She cut her eyes over to Devon.

Devon chuckled and winked at Avery.

The relief on the boy’s face was vivid.

“You think I was gonna chew you up and spit you out?” Devon shook his head before looking longingly at his piled-high plate of food. Eva wasn’t sitting down to eat yet, and he didn’t eat until she did. His stomach growled.  “Good. I like keepin’ my pups on their toes.”

The blonde was filling a plate for Azer when his mom stopped her.

“Are you okay? He didn’t accidentally hurt you, did he?” Eva stepped over to look Ashley over as she spoke. “I didn’t get the chance to check before, besides, you needed to clean up,” she whispered the last part low, near Ashley’s ear. “Better lighting in here.”

She flushed a pretty rose as she shook her, “Nothing I won’t recover from.”

“It’d just be nice for you to still have the ceremony. You are doin’ that, right?” Eva waited.

“As long as he hasn’t changed his mind we are.” Ashley finished filling the plate and set it down in front of Azrael like a proper mate. She then made her own which consisted of salad, veggies and fruit. She wasn’t craving meat right now.

“Well, I have a poultice I can put on that mark for you, girlie. It’ll heat up and then you won’t feel a thing from it. I promise. I’ll get it on you after supper,” Eva walked back to her seat and got to eating. She was starving. But then, she was eating for pups, too.

“If you’ll be in the city, you still need to come here and run with the pack on Devon’s schedule. And I have to figure out what to tell Rose…” Eva sounded like there was a huge weight to bear on that one.

“That’s if he chooses the city. As to my mother, she’ll be fine especially in a few years when she has a grandbaby to spoil. Her and dad love spoiling babies. Look at Izzy.” She laughed softly and took a bite of salad.

“A few years?” Eva giggled as she looked over at her mate. Obviously this one hadn’t taken her warning about being with lycan seriously.

“Have you ever asked your little sister why she goes to the beach with some of the pack to get those lovely henna-like tattoos every other month?”

“No, why?” Ashley wasn’t sure what she meant or what she was hinting at. She took another bite and listened while watching Azrael devour his food.

“It’s because she knows she likes supernaturals and she doesn’t want to take a chance that she’ll get pregnant before she’s ready. Those pretty paintings on her skin are magical birth control. And you – as far as I can tell – do not have any. So unless you used a condom, there’s a chance your mama won’t have to wait years for grandbabies.”

“But I thought it wasn’t so easy for turned or non-lycan.” Ashley was just a little worried. Were they ready for babies? No. She wasn’t ready to be a mom. No way!

“Well, I’m a turned lycan, sure, but all I have to do is miss two weeks and Devon and the Goddess provides.” She moved her hands down to push her dress tighter over her abdomen to show the small bit of baby bump. “Humans can easily become lycan… be turned… so I doubt you’re less fruitful when you’re with one.”

Swallowing hard Ashley took a huge drink of water to wash everything down, though it set like lead right then. “But Dr. Keene said my current birth control should be enough.” Ashley fanned herself as nausea washed over.

“Ash, it’s okay. We’ll just go do the tattoo thing…” Avery didn’t get to finish.

Panic and anxiety swamped her and she had to jump up and run to the bathroom and throw up everything she’d just eaten. It was just all so much to take in and now she was embarrassed for making a fool of herself and of Azrael in front of his parents!

“Ash!” Azrael was up in a flash and moving to the bathroom. He got a face full of door.

Eva looked to Devon, “Oh for goodness sakes, eat. You look like you’re about to drop from starvation. It’s not like this kind of drama is going away any time soon. We’ve got more on the way to add to it.”  She smiled and shook her head.

Didn’t have to tell him twice. Devon started devouring his food with a passion as he never knew when Eva would call him away from it.

Sitting down on her butt on the bathroom floor, Ashley pushed the door back close with her foot as someone tried to enter. “Don’t.. I’m not done yet..” It was a lie she just couldn’t look at them right now.

“What happened? Are you okay?” Azrael kept his palm on the door. “Let me in when…” He sighed.

She dry heaved several times before wiping her mouth, flushing and looking at the closed door from where she sat. Okay, she could handle him, now.

“Door’s not locked Azer..” She hid her face in her hands as her knees pulled up to her chest. She was blotchy and watery-eyed from throwing up and knew she was hideous.  “I’m sorry.. I’m really, really sorry.. I just.. I panicked.. and.. and.. I mean we are just getting settled and you have so much already going on.. and me.. I’m… I’m just a total mess.. and now maybe a baby.. I just freaked and.. and..” Ashley was talking fast she was barely remembering to breathe as her kept her face hidden afraid to see the upset, disappointment and hurt on Azrael’s face. “I just want to be good for you and I’m trying really hard but I’m not doing a good job.. but I’m not ready for babies yet.. I want you to myself for a while..” She hiccuped and sniffled at the same time.

“You’re not pregnant.” Azrael whispered to her. “You still smell the same to me as you always did.”  He sat in the floor next to her and took her hand. “You’ve been so worried about me that you’ve forgotten to worry about yourself. I’m sorry. That’s my fault, too. And this afternoon, we both lost control. I … I didn’t think about the consequences. I didn’t think about asking you if you were ready for kids. I know I am, but I’ve had quite a few years more than you to be ready.” He sighed. “We just have to figure this part out, because I definitely want to make love to you again and soon.”

Using the palm of her hand Ashley scrubbed her eyes a moment before she laid down on the floor and put her head in his lap. “Want that too, and I want babies with you just not yet. I’m not at all ready yet – but I promise I will be one day.” She just wanted them to have time first before bringing children into the mix. “So what do we do? If what I’m on isn’t working then what will?”

He let his fingers move through her hair. He even rumbled for her for a bit.

“We go where your sister goes or find someone else who can help us with the right thing. And I wear condoms. Whatever we need to do. Now that we’re truly aware, we can handle it. Simple as that.”  He moved his fingers over her cheek and along the line of her beautiful face. “I studied medicine, but I studied human medicine. With Dr. Keene, I’ll learn a lot more about supernatural medicine. As that happens, I won’t go into things like this without knowing.” He sighed. “I’m sorry I keep putting you through things. You deserve so much better, Ash.” His eyes closed and he shook his head. He felt so bad for causing this.

“What?” Ashley quickly sat up and cupped his face as she pressed their foreheads together, “No, no.. hey look at me. We have solutions to our problems right?” Their eyes met and they both sort of realized in that moment what they were doing to each other. At the same time,

“I’m sory.” came out of their mouths. And then… they laughed and bumped heads.

“Oh,” Ashley gigled.

“Oww..” Avery huffed a bit of a soft laugh.

Climbing to their feet, Avery stood there with her while she went about doing what she needed to do. Ashley wet a clean washcloth and wiped her face, then proceeded to do the same to his. She smiled for him as she dropped the cloth in the sink and then she wrapped her arms around him and hugged him as she breathed him in as he always seemed to do her.

“Condoms are the easiest solution right now. I’ll talk to your mom and see if she’ll take me for that henna stuff. I swear no more freaking out for me this evening.”

He nodded, but he was still thinking on everything.

She chewed her lip which was still sore from earlier and she looked up at him, “I’m not so hungry though.. so I’ll sit at the table while you eat and then… we’ll… go… condom hunting.” The tips of her ears turned pink at the idea, but she’d do it to be with him. She wanted him in her bed but without condoms they were risking a lot and so they’d find them before bed.

“No. We have time, Ash. I’d never try to be with you again tonight. You and your body need a rest. I know you were fine with it, but I was rough. We were both excited.”  Avery put his hand on her face and looked into her eyes.

“But really Azrael I’m fine…” She could already tell before the words were out, he was having none of it.

“I wanted the first time we were together to be a wonderful thing, and I thought it was. It was exciting and natural and we both wanted each other. But then we were worried about other people and not one another so much. And then we forgot about some of the consequences…” He shook his head, “I promise that I’ll be better…” he wasn’t sure what else to say.

“We will both do better by each other okay? Now let’s go say good night to your parents and go back to the cabin. I want you to hold me tonight and not let go until morning. We’ll sort this out I promise.”  Taking his hand Ashley led the way out of the bathroom and back to the dining room where a plate was already packed up as if Eva knew how this would go. Avery picked it up and nodded to his parents, a thankful smile on his face. Both quietly left.  

“Reckon they’ll figure things out?” Devon asked once they’d left.

“They have to. They’re mates,” Eva leaned over into Devon for just a moment, accepting a sweet kiss to her forehead before scooting herself to a better position and eating her own food.


~  Rachel Diane Adams and Dawn McClellan © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 2019