Beastie Ch. 03bylovelemur©
Two days had passed since her encounter with the strange man at the bookstore, but it was still fresh and hot in her mind. She tried everything to get the incident out of her head. She picked up extra shifts at work, threw herself into her studies, and spent more time reading; but no matter how hard she tried to distract herself, thoughts of him lingered in the back of her mind. And when she collapsed into bed exhausted at night, he invaded her dreams.
Those dreams both terrified and thrilled her. There was something so dark, so powerful about him that even in her dreams she found it difficult to resist him. The way he touched her, so gently but with so much passion, his lips caressing every inch of inch of her, his deep brown eyes staring into hers with barely contained excitement, her skin became heated and she would wake up breathless. The presence of him in her dreams made her more acutely aware of her waking loneliness. She almost regretted her harsh response to him. He had been so....
"Rowan? You okay doll?" The voice of the head bouncer, Greg, broke through her musings, snapping her back to the reality of Mac's. Both Greg and the bartender, Alex, were looking at her like she was crazy,
"Yeah, what did I miss?" Alex responded,
"We're about to open up, you ready?" Rowan shook off the last of her daydream,
"Absolutely, let's go"
Kai had not left his rooms for two days except to go pilfer food from the kitchen. He hated to admit it to himself, but he was hiding. Twice his father had come banging on his door, demanding to speak with him, and both times Kai had studiously pretended not to be home. He hated feeling like a coward, but he needed time to clear his head. The girl, Rowan, was constantly in his thoughts. He needed to see her again, but was at a loss for how to do so without scaring her. He needed to make it seem natural. He thought about visiting the bookstore again, but she was probably avoiding that place like the plague. Trying to catch her at the bakery would be too close to her home and that might freak her out. She looked like a student, so he might try the university library. He turned the idea over in his mind. He could take a seat next to her at one of the tables, maybe strike up a conversation, and perhaps offer to buy her coffee, ask her out on a real date, dinner, possibly dancing, and then back to her apartment....
His mind lingered on the idea of her, beautiful and warm; she would moan his name at first, and then scream it, her soft body pressed against his as she writhed beneath him....
Knock. Knock. Knock. The quick rap at his door startled him from his reverie. He growled in frustration. Judging by the tone of the knock it was not his father, so that was at least some consolation. He opened the door to find his best friend, Wes, standing in the hallway.
"Dude, where've you been? I've been trying to call you for hours," Kai sighed heavily. Wes was great and all, but he really just wanted to be left alone.
"Sorry man, I've had my phone off," Wes looked confused,
"I've had a lot on my mind," he briefly considered telling him about the girl, but decided against it.
"That's why I came over here, I know just the thing to get your mind off that shit with your dad," Kai arched his eyebrows apprehensively. The last time Wes knew "just the thing" he ended up spending the weekend in jail.
"This isn't going to end with my pants in a tree again, is it?"
"Probably not; look, Scotty's mating ceremony is tomorrow, right? So a few of us are going out to celebrate, you in?" Kai's first instinct was to say no, but his friend's enthusiasm was contagious. He grabbed his wallet and was out the door.
"A strip joint? Really, Wes?" Kai rolled his eyes at the clichéd destination.
"I believe the PC term is 'Gentlemen's Club' thank you very much. Come on, lighten up. So we go in, have a few drinks, look at few babes and call it a night, it'll be great,"
"As long as nothing catches fire this time,"
"That only happened once.it was a long time ago; we were young then, stupid. Look, I promise not to burn down a striper, ok? Can we go in now?" Kai grinned at his friend,
"I believe the PC term is 'Entertainer' thank you very much," Wes punched him in the arm and they climbed out of the car, and went inside to meet their friends.
Rowan's heart stopped dead when she saw the man enter the club. Her breathing hitched up a notch when she saw him crossing crowded room toward an empty table in her section. Fortunately, he was hailed by a group of men sitting in another waitress' section. She let out a sigh of relief even as she felt a slight pang of disappointment in her stomach. You'll be fine, she told herself, just act like he isn't even here. Hoping that he wouldn't notice her, she turned her back to him and took a customer's order. She managed to make it halfway through her shift without anyone noticing her distraction. In fact, except for a few slaps on the butt and some not-so-smooth innuendo from the customers, it was a fairly uneventful shift. On her one- millionth trip to the bar that night, Alex asked her to bring a case of water back to the dancers. This made her nervous; she would have to walk straight past Kai's table to get backstage. She tried to think of a decent excuse not to do it, but nothing came to mind. She pulled herself together and reluctantly agreed.
She was carefully picking her way through the crowds, when one of her patrons flagged her down. She approached the table and set down the case of water, pulling out her notebook in case they needed to order something else, "How can I help you gentlemen?" One of the men, obviously their leader elect for the evening, asked,
"How much to get some private time with her?" drunkenly pointing in the general vicinity of the stage where her friend, Annabelle, was crawling on hands and knees toward a sweaty man in a cheap suit,
"Forty-five dollars gets you two dances, and she doesn't do groups"
"No, no, no. How much to get some real alone time with her?" Rowan tried not to roll her eyes,
"I'm sorry, sir, but this isn't that type of club," the man frowned.
"With the amount I paid to get in here, it had better come with some perks. You're cute, how much for you then?" Rowan faked a good natured chuckle,
"I'm sorry, but I'm not for sale, now if you gentlemen will excuse me..." she moved to back away from the table, but she found herself being dragged back. She was pulled into the man's lap,
"What, you think you're too good for me?" Rowan struggled against him, trying to stand up. She was panicked. This was not her first time being manhandled, but this was far worse than any of the feelings that she had experienced during her incident with Kai at the bookstore. This was dirty, and these men might seriously hurt her.
"Let me go, or I will have you removed," She threatened,
"Not so fast sweetheart, now my friend's and I came here to have a good time, and that's exactly what we plan to do. Now if you're a good girl, we'll leave you a nice big tip."
"You're disgusting," Rowan spat as she fought him.
"Now, that is really no way to talk to a paying customer. Johnny, come over here and teach the little bitch some manners," another man, obviously Johnny, grinned wickedly and got up from his chair. She kicked out at him as he got near, her foot connecting with his groin. He doubled over in pain, swearing,
"I'm going to kill you, whore!" Suddenly, a large voice boomed from behind the group,
"Is there a problem here gentlemen?" She twisted around to see Greg standing over them, looking menacing. The man holding her released her instantly, and she ran backstage, completely forgetting about the water.
Annabelle met her in the dressing room. Rowan was pressing herself into a corner, shaking and crying, doing everything she could to calm down. Annabelle wrapped her arms around her comfortingly.
"Oh, sweetie, what happened? I saw Greg leave the side of the stage and then I saw you on some asshole's lap, are you ok?" Rowan took a deep breath to steady herself before relating the whole story to her friend. Annabelle listened to the story sympathetically, and murmured words of reassurance into the younger girl's ear while smoothing her hair. Both women were startled when Greg burst into the room carrying the case of water.
"How you holding up, kid?" He asked.
"I'm fine, just a little shaken."
"The boss wants to know if you plan on finishing your shift. Don't worry, those guys are gone."
"Yeah, absolutely, like I said, I just got a little shaken up is all. No permanent damage done."
"Excellent. Now go head on out there before your customers get antsy." Rowan stood, gave Annabelle a quick hug, and returned to work.
When she got back out onto the floor, the first thing she noticed was that her assailant and his posse were in fact gone. The second she noticed was that they hadn't left her a tip, cheap bastards she thought to herself as she cleared the messy table. As she was carrying a tray loaded with empty glasses and broken bottles, she noticed Kai. He was staring at her strangely. She could feel the heat from his gaze from across the room. She pretended not to see him and continued on into the kitchen. When she reemerged, she still felt him watching her, she glanced over at him. He was openly gaping at her. He was making her nervous. He continued his watch until one of his friends was finally pressing the group to leave. He kept his eyes on her until the group was out the door. Rowan once again breathed a sigh of relief; she could finally finish her shift in peace.
"Can you explain to me again why we can't go home yet?" Wes whined from the passenger seat. Kai knew his friend wouldn't understand about the girl, so he simply said,
"I've got a bad feeling."
"You sound like my mother." Wes scoffed, but didn't press Kai any further. They sat in silence as Kai replayed the scene in the club over and over again in his mind. He hadn't even known she was there, the smell of alcohol, sex, and desperation had thoroughly masked her sweet scent. He had no idea how close she was to him until he heard someone cry out. Out of curiosity, he followed the sound to find Rowan, his Rowan, struggling with another man. Even from where he sat, Kai could feel the man's intentions. He had felt his blood start to boil as the change began to take hold. He would have attacked the man if it hadn't been for Wes,
"Dude, what's gotten in to you?"
"He's going to hurt her." Kai snarled back, fighting to keep control. He could not change in the club, he could not risk exposure, Wes had reminded him urgently, keeping a hand tightly on his arm. He kept his voice low, "I have to go to her."
"You can't. This is not the place for heroics. Do you want to end up on the news?"
"You don't understand!" Kai fought with Wes as the second man approached Rowan, leering at her. Their friends watched the pair nervously; they had never seen their future alpha so worked up.
"Look, the bouncer is already heading over to help," Wes pointed to a large man in a tight black t-shirt headed toward the table, "she'll be fine," The group watched one of the bastards double over in pain, "Besides, she can take of herself." Kai watched the girl as she ran backstage, fighting the urge to follow her. Instead he settled on watching a group of bouncers herd the men roughly toward the door. Rowan had seemed alright when she came back out, but still he watched her just in case there was any more trouble. Wes, sensing the fun was over, suggested they leave. Now the two of them were sitting in a cold, dark parking lot waiting for her to come out so he could make sure she made it home okay.
After about three hours, the club closed. Kai was anxious to see her again, but she never emerged. "Where is she?" he wondered out loud.
"She probably went out the back door. Can we go home now?" Kai panicked, why hadn't he thought about the back door?
"Shit." He swore loudly, making Wes jump. Kai smashed the accelerator and the car shot forward, careening toward the back alley. What they found there made Kai shift into his hybrid form instantly and without control. There she was, her back pressed toward one of the alley walls, surrounded by the guys from the club. She was crouched low to the ground one hand pressed to her head, from where he sat, Kai could see her blood leaking from between her fingers. There was a small blade on the ground next to her; she had tried to defend herself, but there were seven of them and they were each armed with chains, lead pipes, or baseball bats. Their leader closed in on Rowan, as she looked up at him fearfully.
"Easy, buddy." Wes cautioned, as Kai sped toward the assembly. The goons scattered, leaving Rowan against the wall. Kai and Wes both exited the vehicle, placing themselves between Rowan and her attackers,
"Hey man," their leader started, "we were just playing around. We didn't know she was with somebody, honest." Kai heard the menace in the man's voice and saw his grip tighten around his length of pipe. He saw the newcomers as competition; he was willing to fight them for what he considered his prize. The man ran to attack Kai, but Wes was faster. In a single motion, he pulled a pistol out of his jacket and shot the man through the foot. The man crumpled to the alley floor, howling with pain.
"Okay, listen up," Kai barked, "The girl is coming with us. Any of you attempt to prevent that, and you'll find yourself with a brand new bullet hole. Do I make myself clear?" the rest of the gang instantly took a step back, allowing Kai to approach the injured girl. Her head was leaning against the wall and her eyes were closed. She was still conscious, just dazed. She would survive. Gently, Kai placed her in the backseat.
Everything was quiet when Rowan woke up. Absent were the sounds of her guinea pig, the traffic, and the neighbors arguing. She was instead surrounded by a low industrial hum and the rush of her own breathing. Instinctively, she knew, even in the pitch dark, that she was not in her own room. The space felt too large and the bed that she was lying on lacked the scent of lavender and sleep of her own, familiar, linens. She moved to brush some hair from her face and felt a strange imperfection near her hairline, stitches. The night before came back to her in a flash of memories. The attackers, shadowy figures that were menacing at first, threatening, fear and pain, the smell of blood, her blood, mixing with the filth of the alleyway; then two other, separate figures, a loud bang, screaming, a cool hand, being lifted....
Maybe I'm in the hospital. She thought. But it did not smell right. It lacked the sterile aroma of ammonia, it smelled to comfortable and home like. Shit, I've been kidnapped. The thought made her panic a little. From somewhere near the left side of her head, a female voice spoke,
"Oh, good, you're awake." Rowan sat up in bed,
"Who's there? Where am I?"
"Hush," the voice said comfortingly, "You are safe now. Young lord Vukasin brought you here the help you, he has been worried to death about you since you were sick in his car. In fact, he wanted me to call him the second you were awake. Just one minute please." Rowan heard the woman pick up the phone, "She is awake now, sir." was all she said before turning her attention back to Rowan, "He will be down in a minute, he has been waiting to speak with you." Rowan tried to keep the terror out of her voice when she spoke next,
"Can you turn on the light please, I can't see a thing."
"Of course, dear, how thoughtless of me" The bedside lamp snapped on, momentarily blinding Rowan. Once her eyes adjusted to the light, she was greeted by the sight of the most grandmotherly woman she had ever seen. A short woman with silver-gray hair and light blue eyes framed by thick glasses, her mouth molding easily into a comforting smile as if Rowan had simply woken from a nightmare in the middle of the night. The old woman puttered around the room, smoothing out the covers and arranging and rearranging various bottles on the desk and bedside table.
"Who are you?" Rowan asked, realizing a moment too late that she was being impolite. Fortunately, the older woman either did not notice or chose to overlook the rudeness.
"My name is Mary-Hope. Young lord Vukasin asked me to watch you until he had a chance to come down here himself."
"Did I really throw up in his car?" Rowan asked, reddening with embarrassment.
"I'm afraid so, Dear. He thinks you were in shock, some things cannot be helped." There was a light knock on the door. Before Mary-Hope had a chance to move, Rowan jumped up and opened the door slightly. Standing outside in the hallway was Kai. He smiled warmly at her, and she promptly slammed the door shut.
Kai knocked again. This time Mary-Hope pushed Rowan aside and threw the door wide open. Rowan groaned in frustration. She felt like a fool for letting Kai get under her skin for the past couple of days. She had actually fantasized about him, now here she was, being held in a strange hotel room by him.
Kai only briefly acknowledged Mary-Hope. His eyes were locked on the girl who stood shyly off to the side, watching him warily. He could smell the fear emanating from her, it was a startling contrast with the determination lighting her eyes. The stitches in her head reminded him of his purpose here. Slowly, he approached Rowan, extending a hand toward her as reassurance that he was not going to hurt her. Still, she backed away from him, keeping just out of reach of his outstretched fingers. Somewhere behind him, he heard his old governess step out of the room, shutting the door on her way out. He was alone with Rowan. She must of sensed it too because she quickened her retreat, backing up two steps for every one step he took toward her. She did not trust him. He did not blame her.
Eventually, Rowan backed into the bed. She sat down heavily. Kai quickly closed the gap between them, brushing his fingers lightly along the side of her cut. A shiver ran through Rowan at the touch. He smiled at that, even in fear she still responded to him. "Does this hurt?" he asked her. She responded in a voice that was barely a whisper,
"No." he allowed his fingers to trail further toward her hair,
"Rowan, I want you to know that you don't need to be afraid of me. I only brought you here to protect you." Rowan had no response to this, so Kai leaned in closer and continued, "I also wanted to apologize for my indecorous behavior at the bookstore, I lost control in a way I never, ever should have, and for that I am truly sorry." Rowan was staring into his eyes and he could feel the heat radiating from her skin. They were so close, he could almost feel his lips brushing against hers as he spoke, "Rowan, I..."
He was right there in front of her, after days of fantasy, he was so close she could practically taste him. Her breathing was ragged, just another inch, one tiny little flex of the muscles and she could touch her lips to his. She was practically dizzy with the thought. Everything, the bookstore, the club, the alley, everything was gone because he was right there next to her, warm and alive and masculine. Her heart thumped in her chest as she closed the gap between them.
Kai was shocked when she kissed him. She pulled back, and looked away sheepishly.
"Sorry." Kai slid his hand under her chin and turned her back to face him. Without another word, he pressed his lips to hers.
Rowan's heart was racing as they kissed. He held her to him and she felt safe. He coaxed her lips apart tenderly and his tongue slipped into her mouth. His hand moved gingerly down the side of her face and neck to cup her breast through her shirt; at the same time, his mouth moved down, kissing along her jaw line and landing at her throat. She whimpered in reply, feeling that same core of warmth spreading through her that she felt that first time in the bookstore. She tilted her head, providing him with better access and he growled his approval. Both his hands moved down her body, tugging roughly at the hem of her t-shirt. Privately, she noticed that someone had removed her work clothes and put her in just a t-shirt and panties. She un-wrapped her arms from around him and pulled the shirt up over her head. His hands felt rough against her sensitive skin sending a current of heat through her body. She was hurriedly trying to unbutton his shirt, but her trembling hands made the task difficult. Impatiently, he tore the shirt of and flung it across the room. She ran her hands over his muscular chest and arms, he was solid and strong. He slipped one hand into the waistband of her panties. She gasped lightly as he found her clit. She felt the heat building as he rubbed her, bringing her closer and closer to climax. Deftly he slid a finger in to her slick passage, causing her to moan. Urgently, she unzipped his jeans and pulled them off his body. She wrapped her hand around his thick shaft and something in his carefully cultivated command of himself broke. He pressed her down into the bed and settled himself above her, being careful not to put too much weight on her. He positioned himself between her thighs,