Authors: Persephone Jones
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Romance, #Paranormal, #Erotica
Morgan’s breath caught in her throat. “Oh God.”
“When my brother and I went through puberty, we began changing. When it happened, when we first turned, our mother saw us and went mad. She couldn’t live knowing her sons were monsters. She killed herself. And our father, rest his soul, drank himself to death trying to take care of Ciaran and me.”
That hardly seemed fair. Any of it. “Why are you being punished for something you didn’t do?”
Had she really said that?
Conall’s deep eyes softened and he smiled.
“You’ve come a long way, suffered unduly. But this is your place. Right here. Right now…” She liked the warm comfort of his hand on her face far too much. And his words even more. “With me.”
Morgan opened her mouth but no good argument came out.
“On me. On my cock.”
He took her speechlessness for submission, claiming her mouth with a kiss that rendered her defenseless in his arms. Exploring the soft terrain of her body against him, he tested its sensitive responses with his fingertips. A gentle feather touch seduced her into his arms, tense with anticipation, while a rough squeeze yielded pliant obedience. The lower his hand moved, the harder her heart pounded in her chest.
“Let me get your coat, “ he whispered, a delightful, mocking edge to his voice as he eased the heavy wool from her shoulders. Her body was covered in light perspiration, yet she shivered every time their skin made contact.
His fingers found the edge of her sweater and pulled it over her head. In the quiet rush to leave the room, she’d opted not to wear a bra. Naked, she leaned against the wall for support as Conall’s hungry male gaze floated down her body.
He took her by the hand and led her back to the bed. With a kiss, she was beneath him once again, captive in his embrace. Fingers laced in his hair, she braced herself as he kissed his way down her abdomen.
She knew if he put his mouth on her, she would lose her grip on what remained of her sanity. Knew if he touched her there, claimed her, she was his. But she didn’t dare stop him.
Her entire frame shook with the promise of it.
The hot river of tears that painted her cheeks dried under the scorching heat of her arousal. The warm expanse of his palm cupped her pussy, letting her hyper-responsive nerves adjust to the feel of him. Her hand clutched his and received a comforting kiss as her body relaxed. A finger dipped into her dewy center with ease. She watched him taste her and his expression made her dizzy with desire.
“Your desire’s so strong, Morgan. It nearly matches my own.”
Expertly, he brought her to the edge, until she was arching and mewling for more. Tuned in to her body’s frequency, he played havoc on her resolve, alternating in his heavenly assault from his fingers to his tongue to a wanton use of both. Paralyzed by the onslaught of sensation coursing through her body, she came in a sudden rush of exhilaration. Wave after wave of euphoria washed over her. Conall was her sexy anchor, holding her down, pinning her to the bed with his strong arms and sinful lips. When he sensed her climax was waning, he withdrew, calmed her and started all over again. It wasn’t long before she was begging him.
“Fuck me, Conall, please, please, please…”
“I intend to, love. For as long as you’ll have me.”
His tongue and cock were in perfect sync, kissing and fucking her like a pair of twin lovers, reducing her to pure liquid fire. Upon joining with him, she sensed a delicious shudder rack him from head to toe, conveying how hard he worked to keep control.
“You’re so tight and hot. I love it.”
With skillful strokes that drew out their pleasure, he moved in and out of her with a tenderness she didn’t know was possible. Like an elixir in the hands of a healer, he used her body to relieve the anguish in her soul. Somehow he knew that was what she needed.
“Was I your first, Morgan?”
“Yes,” she confessed. An odd shame flushed over her. She’d let the wrong things define her life. Pain, anger, revenge instead of pleasure, joy and peace.
“God forgive me.” Once again he referred to their first mating, heated and distressed. “Let me be your last…”
Despite everything, her heart soared. “Yes.”
“Say you’ll be mine and mine alone.” He implored and kissed her, denying her a response, banishing any chance of rejection and not willing to wager it. But her kiss encouraged him, urged him not to stop.
“Say you’ll let me make love to you forever and ever.” Conall’s words changed her. Not just physically and emotionally, but on a spiritual level. At his touch, the raw wound inside her healed and she stirred with longing. She surrendered to him and held back nothing of herself. Her hips lifted against him higher and higher, grinding against him, offering sweet surrender.
“Yes. I will, I will, I will.”
“Ah God, I can feel you…” His breathy sigh confessed the fading grip on his control.
Seeing him in such a state of arousal made her mad with desire. She knew he was coming and she ached for it, yearned for it with her entire being, rocking her hips with his to a guaranteed path to bliss. “I can feel you coming.”
Yet a sliver of the pain was still there. Megan would never know this ecstasy, this joy. And to think on it if only for a split second was not perverse but somehow reverent. This was love. Love was what made life worth living. And the notion that someone she loved would never experience this wondrous miracle broke her heart.
The sweat-drenched sheet in her grip, she yielded to the euphoria usurping her pain and let the marvelous rapture take hold. Conall let out a cry that sounded as much like surprise as relief at the grand emotions radiating through every cell of his body.
Something about this mating had been different, more powerful, richer. Flush with the warmth of their afterglow, he held her against him.
“For what?” she asked, her heartbeat returning to normal.
“You know what for.” He tucked a lock of hair behind her ear. “For the first time.”
While it was true that she’d never been taken in such a forceful manner, Morgan was far from wounded by it.
In the darkened room, she couldn’t see his shame but could hear it in his voice. “I’m not accustomed to behaving in such ways.”
Moved by his consideration of her, she caressed his face. “I’m all right.”
He took her hand and pressed it against his cheek. “You bring out the beast in me, Morgan Keevy.”
Morgan smiled a tired, sleepy smile. “I think I’m in love with your beast.”
She could tell her words had stunned him. Rolling over, she brought him against her and pulled his arm around her. “Sing to me?”
“Aye.” His voice came out in a soft rasp.
Within seconds, she was asleep.
Can ye no hush your weepin’
All we wee lambs are sleepin’
Birdies are nestlin’ nestlin’ together
Dream Angus is hirplin’ oer the heather
Dreams to sell, fine dreams to sell
Angus is here wi’ dreams to sell
Hush ye, my baby, and sleep without fear
Dream Angus has brought you a dream, my dear.
* * * * *
Morgan awoke eager for a shower. Sluggish and sore from repeated lovemaking, she needed a hot bath to soothe her muscles. Ever the gallant champion, Conall offered to brave the cold water that came out of the faucet first. On his way around the bed, she made a playful grab for his obvious erection. He scolded her for taking advantage of his morning arousal. Served him right for being so delicious.
“You’re lucky I’m letting you out of this bed to eat. I could order room service, you know.”
Giggling, she fell back against her pillow and stretched. The plan was to get showered, fortified with something edible, packed and moved to another location as soon as possible. While she was in the shower, Conall would call the hotels and inns in the area and make arrangements. As well as make a few false reservations to throw Ciaran off their trail.
She assumed Conall’s idea would be to send her home. She would refuse of course and a battle of wills would ensue. The real question was who would win the duel. She was almost too tired to think on it.
Morgan yawned and reluctantly sat up, her limbs heavy with fatigue. Smiling, she listened to the man groan with relief as he stepped into the shower. She rubbed the dry crusties from the corners of her eyes and looked in the mirror across the room. Something moved in the reflective glass. She had to blink repeatedly to believe it and even then she didn’t. Not another vision. Not now.
There were four bearded men in Scottish tartans staring at her from across the room. Morgan’s back met the headboard in full-fledged panic. “What the hell?”
“Aye. That we may be.” The man in front nodded.
Not knowing what to say to make them more real, less real or gone for good, she said the first thing that came to mind. “Who are you?”
“Elders. Kinfolk of the clan McCade.”
She almost laughed in her near-hysteria, clutching the sheet against her chest. “Am I really seeing you or have I gone insane?”
“You see us as we see you, lass.”
Dear God. Which was worse?
Morgan glanced at the bathroom door, three quarters of the way closed, the rush of the hot water filling the small room with steam. “What do you want?”
The leader addressed her again. “The same as you. No more, no less.”
“What in God’s name is that?” Whatever it was, she was eager to hear it. The sooner she heard it, the sooner these super-creepy kinfolk of Conall’s or the delusion thereof went poof.
“Justice for your kin.” Another of the men spoke.
Visions of the grisly crime scene flashed brightly before her eyes. Knees to her chest, she tucked her head and hid her eyes behind them to make the gut-wrenching images disappear.
“Do what must be done, child. Go to the cottage by the lake. Take the gun in the McCade’s pocket. And go now.”
A minute later, Morgan lifted her head and saw she was alone. Flying out of bed, she checked under it and out the window. Had she finally broken with reality or had she just seen four dead men in authentic Scottish attire in her hotel room? They had to be dead, had to be ghosts. Living beings didn’t evaporate like mists.
One way to find out. She crept over to the chair where Conall had draped his jacket. Trembling, she slid her hand into one pocket. Nothing.
One down, one to go.
Turning the leather coat in her hand, she checked the other pocket and felt cold metal under her fingertips. She looked up to see if Conall was still in the shower and opened the chamber. It was loaded with silver bullets.
Gun tucked in her pocket, Morgan closed the door as quietly as possible, a body-cast of guilt pouring over her. She imagined Conall finding the room empty, quiet and their bed cold. A scowl would make immediate conquest of his handsome face. He’d curse, of that she was sure. She couldn’t blame him. After all, she had left without telling him. Especially after he’d caught her trying to leave no more than twelve hours ago.
That was bad enough. Worse, she was taking Conall’s truck. That meant he couldn’t follow. Couldn’t rescue her, couldn’t stop her. But he’d know why she left. And that would scare him to death.
She hoped he would forgive her.
Conall was certain he’d come close to breaking the sound barrier getting to the bluffs. If only he’d left the truck at his house the night before. But then he wouldn’t have come upon Ciaran and Morgan in time.
Last night he’d taken off after her, seen his brother stalk her and killed the truck’s headlights. He’d fought Ciaran and then driven to the inn to make sure Morgan wasn’t hurt.
And now fear for Morgan had him driving to the lake in a borrowed car at breakneck speed, with no regard for himself, past the cottage where his father had raised him and Ciaran. His only thought was for Morgan. If Ciaran hurt her, there would be no need for American jail or a cage by the cliffs. He’d mete out his own version of justice.
Unless she spoke Gaelic, Morgan hadn’t written the cryptic one-word message scrawled on the steamy bathroom mirror. If he stopped to think who had, his mind might never recover.
Near a grouping of large rocks, he spotted Ciaran. What threatened to stop his heart was seeing Morgan with him. Strapped down to a large boulder with thick rope, her body stretched to the maximum, her lovely face taut with distress. He watched her body twist in attempts to make eye contact with him but it was a matter of life and death that he connect with his brother.
The man standing by the largest boulder looked at him. With palms facing outward, Conall hoped to put the unstable Ciaran at ease, but his heightened state of agony riddled his nerves. The sight of her helpless and victim to the madness at hand made him angry at her headstrong ways, ways that could take her from him permanently. A firm reprimand would come later. God willing. “Morgan. You shouldn’t have come.”
Though she could not meet his gaze, she answered apologetically, “I had to. I’m sorry.”
“It’s all right. It’s gonna be okay. Tell her it’s going to be okay, Ciaran.”
Reminded of why he’d driven a hundred and sixty kilometers an hour, Conall shifted his attention to his brother. “Ciaran, this hasn’t anything to do with her. This is between you and me. Let her go.”
Ciaran scanned Morgan with predatory eyes and sneered. “She came to kill us, brother.”
Conall clenched his teeth as the first sign of physical change surfaced on his skin. No matter what happened, he wasn’t going to let Ciaran hurt Morgan. “Ciaran, let her go.”
“She brought a gun to shoot us dead.”
Conall caught Morgan’s fretful glance that told him the worst. She no longer had the gun in question.
“I can’t let you do this.”
His brother’s wild eyes darted back and forth between him and the woman tied to the rock. “Can’t let me? I think you’re forgetting something, Connie.” He showed him a mouthful of razor-sharp teeth. “You’re in no position to negotiate.”
“You’ve gone mad.”
Ciaran got a laugh out of that. “Driven mad.”
“No, that isn’t true.” Conall tried his damnedest to reason with an unreasonable man. “You’re not well. Let me help you.”
“I don’t need your help because there’s nothing wrong with me.” Grizzled with the beginnings of horrific metamorphosis, Ciaran paused. His face was rapt with remembrance of a better time, long ago. “I’m finally something you aren’t. I’m bigger, faster, stronger—” He puffed his expansive, muscled chest. “And you cast me aside. Father feared me.
fear me.” Then a sudden jolt of memory brought the unshakable rage back to the surface.
“Ciaran—I never wanted this.” A heartfelt whine made his voice peak with emotion.
“And then you took it from me! Like you’ve always taken everything!”
Morgan screamed, her body jerking in alarm at the powerful roar of Ciaran’s wrath.
Steeling himself, Conall tried to get closer. He wanted to comfort the mortal human woman in the middle of this werewolf family feud from hell.
“You think I wanted this?” Conall trespassed into his brother’s small territory with bold challenge. “You think I wanted this for you? I loved you! And you hated me! Everything I did—
—” He had to pause to catch his breath. “I did everything for you!”
Ciaran’s golden eyes squinted with loathing. “I’m done worshipping you. I’m through killing myself to be like you. I’m
With an eerie crack, Ciaran’s jaws dislocated, stretched wide open and roared. Morgan turned her face away in an effort to avoid the powerful vibrations that reverberated over her. Conall, a mere five feet away, didn’t even flinch. Another series of mind-numbing cracks and pops returned composure to Ciaran’s face. “So I suppose you’ll be killing me then.”
The two men took one step forward and stared each other down.
“Wait! Please!” Morgan screamed, her frantic gaze pleading with them both from her place of imprisonment, rooted to the ground by the weight of the stone at her back. “Take me, Ciaran.”
Conall hoped he was hearing things.
Attention from one McCade was something to behold. The attention of two was a unique experience all its own. If Ciaran’s appearance filled her with horror, Conall’s was as genuine a reaction to that horror as she’d ever seen. She appreciated it, masking her own true feelings of fear and repulsion with attraction and well-being. Anything to get Ciaran focused on something besides hurting Conall.
Ciaran’s golden gaze roamed over her scantily clad body. “Megan.”
“Ciaran.” She kept her voice steady. “Come to me.”
“Morgan, no.” Conall shook his head in objection.
Doing her best to ignore him, especially in light of the fact that she was about to insult him, she kept her eyes on Ciaran. “You boys don’t have to fight over me. I know better and best when I see it.”
The male in her sights beamed with surprise. “You’d go with me?” His deep voice was barely human.
“Yes, yes, yes.” Morgan nodded desperately.
Conall shook his head,
No, no, no.
Ciaran’s eyes were like daggers, stabbing him with unmeasured hatred. “What shall we do with
Morgan licked her lips, dry with breathlessness. “Leave him here—to d-d-die…”
Her offer had his undivided attention. She was offering to be his and his alone. Whatever she had to do to bring this to an end without loss of life.
“I think she likes me,” Ciaran joked.
“Ciaran.” Morgan called to him. Eager to ensnare him, she struggled under her restraints, laboring to caress his stubble-covered cheek.
He licked his lips. He wanted her. She could see it in his eyes. The real question was whether it was to eat her or fuck her.
“Come to me, Ciaran.”
“You don’t have to tell me twice.” Ciaran grinned fiendishly. In a modern-day mating ritual, he ripped off his t-shirt and spread his thick, muscular arms, putting his massive physique on dramatic display. A sudden outburst of triumph, he was presenting himself to her like a gift and she was the recipient.
With predatory focus, he braced himself above her, perusing the feminine curves of her body with self-assured male approval. In a rough jerk, he pulled her panties down her hips. Luckily, the rope kept him from taking them all the way down. Possessed by unadulterated lust, he reached under his kilt and took hold of his swollen cock, pressing it to her inner thigh, scorching the skin there. Claimed by his hunger, she knew he’d accepted her offer.
Still, she gasped in surprise at the feel of his hand between her legs. Unimpeded, his fingers entered her moist depths, finding the dewy core he sought. Like a pearl diver, his thumb brushed the soft nub of her clit and resurfaced and lingered. A low earthy groan tickled her ear, confirmation that her terror was his reward. Fiery shame heated her cheeks at the inescapable truth. Her mind retaliated at her traitorous arousal.
Immobilized from the chest down, she lifted her head in an effort to reach Ciaran. Shaded by his long dark hair, she tilted her face to his cheek and whispered, “Untie me.”
“I don’t know. I’m tempted to leave you at my mercy.” Ciaran grinned, a mouthful of long, white razors for teeth.
Morgan licked her lips and tried to smile in the face of absolute terror. “But I can’t touch you, tease you and pleasure you if you do.”
Ciaran threw his head back and laughed, a wicked and chilling sound.
The disheveled male looked at her, appearing agreeable to the idea. Spellbound, she watched him bend over her and slice through her bonds with clawed hands, sending a ripple of chills over her skin. With one tug, he pulled the rope loose and held open his hand draped in long dark hair.
Morgan couldn’t resist. She had to see Conall’s face once more, deliver one last dispatch of undying love. For she did love him, brimming now with regret for the words she might never speak again. If she was never going to see him again, never look upon his kind, loving eyes, or linger on his warm and welcoming lips, she needed one last look.
And he was waiting for her. Through a lens of tears, she looked over her shoulder at Conall McCade. The man she’d crossed an ocean to find. To kill.
One last look and her eyes caressed the lines of his handsome face, committing them to memory. As long as she lived, she would never know a man like him. And that was fitting because he was one of a kind. His murdering twin be damned.
When her gaze returned to Ciaran, she was met with seething ferocity. He’d seen the love she had, would always have for his brother, his enemy and he instantly despised her for it.
In a flash, he leaped at Conall and threw him to the rocky ground.
Conall’s transformation into a huge lupine beast took mere seconds as he wrestled Ciaran near the water’s edge. Wide-eyed and terrified, Morgan remembered the nightmare vision of the monsters in the woods.
Ciaran swiped at Conall’s side, drawing a set of four furrows in his flesh. With no time to nurse his injury, Conall retaliated with a strike of his own, claws, teeth and flesh colliding in a bloody clash. Ciaran growled with determination and snapped at Conall’s neck, missing it by a hairsbreadth. The huge wolves stomped to and fro, wrestling for dominance. Dirt and rock broke loose beneath their feet and skidded into the lake far below. Morgan screamed and covered her face in horror.
A surge of wind roared past her and the air crackled with electricity. But there was no rain. Overhead, the clouds rolled like waves, revealing a pitch-black starless sky. Thick fog raced across the placid water of the lake. As if floating on air, seven apparitions appeared out of nowhere.
The pale, ashen ghosts of the elders.
A silent mass, they emerged from the line of whispering trees and held all three figures on the cliff spellbound. Their feet touched the grass as they moved and yet did not bend a single blade. Faces like masks, devoid of emotion, the four formed a semicircle around a startled and speechless Ciaran.
Fueled by fright, Morgan scurried on all fours away from the bestial male, Conall and the rock. By chance, she found the revolver in the grass and held it tightly.
With invisible hands, the group of specters pinned Ciaran to the rock, extending his limbs. To her amazement, the ropes snaked up and over his bare torso and thighs, pinning him firmly against the massive boulder. Suddenly, as if moving by the sheer force of magic, the mammoth chunk of stone inched slowly toward the edge of the cliff. Then the rock tilted. Ciaran’s chest shrank and swelled from panic, his expression painted with confusion. Paralyzed by fear, Morgan watched Conall spring into action. No sooner had he taken two steps toward Ciaran did one of the elders hold up a hand and send him flying backward as if blowing a seed off a dandelion.
The rock continued to move toward the edge of the cliff until it pitched forward and disappeared. A horrible silence followed. Waiting for the rock to hit, she covered her ears and tried to block out the sound of Conall’s anguished howl.
Finally, she heard the splash.
Morgan watched Conall crawl to the edge and look over, searching the waves created by the impact. She hadn’t imagined it. Ciaran McCade had gone over the edge of the bluff tied to a rock. He wasn’t coming back.
The McCade clan spirits watched the unearthly justice take place with a sense of stoic pride and satisfaction. They did not appear to take pleasure in what had occurred nor did they seem troubled by it. As quickly as they appeared, they evaporated like the mist, leaving the remaining two mortals to ponder what they’d witnessed, alone.
Morgan rolled onto her back and searched the sky, returning to a watercolor gray. A soft panting snapped her to full-scale alertness. Conall. On her feet, she faced him. The drive for self-preservation questioned her level of safety. In this form, this state of wolf and man, which would win out? Would he lunge for her in an attempt to kill her? Eat her flesh? Maul her to death? Could he stop himself even if some small part of him remembered their love?
What he did broke Morgan’s heart into a million pieces. He howled. Bleeding and wounded, he cried out and turned away from her, suffering in obvious agony, helplessness and defeat. Conall McCade had lost his twin brother. She knew what that felt like.
She took a step toward him but stopped, the wall of angst separating them thick and impenetrable as brick. Conall towered over her with his gigantic wolfish shadow, his normally handsome face distorted by the lupine transformation. He advanced one step and reached for her. But all she saw was Megan. The last thing her sister must have seen was now staring back at her. It proved to be too much and she took off in a dead sprint.