Feral Ch. 03bytheDuskyGirl©
The Trent and Nick had left the Porsche back at Greystone Manor when they had gone for supplies the night before. It was a good two hour trek back to the Range Rover by the time they reached the SUV Tianna wanted to drop. Her rapid healing had taken a great deal of energy and it took all her strength just to stand up straight. She did so, further sapping her strength but not wanting to betray any inkling of weakness. Nick bundled her into the back seat and got in next to her. Trent sat on the other side of her, as if she would jump from a speeding vehicle. The thought had crossed her mind but it would be fruitless. She grimaced at the thought of what hitting the pavement at 70 miles an hour would do to her already battered body.
Instead she glared at the back of Ethan's head. She wondered if the other two weres would be fast enough to stop her if she were to snap his neck. Would he crash the car then? It wouldn't kill the others but it might incapacitate them just long enough for her to get away. Her lips parted in a snarl.
Ethan's azure gaze flickered to hers in the rearview mirror. "Down girl," he murmured.
Tianna growled jerking toward him but she was immediately restrained by Nick's arm holding her back in her seat causing Ethan to chuckle, the corners of his eyes crinkling in the rearview.
Tianna seethed but slowly sat back in her seat. "I'm fine," she hissed through gritted teeth and glanced at Nick giving him her most innocent expression. "I won't hurt him."
The dark haired were hesitated a moment before removing his arm but he did not seem to relax his vigilance.
Tianna lifted her chin and stared at Ethan in the rearview mirror. She spoke steadily. "So I gathered that you know who I am and what I am." She cocked her head and smiled beatifically "So I'm assuming that you know who my father is and you're fully aware of the shit you're in."
There was an uncomfortable silence emanating from the male weres around her.
She sighed and her saccharine smile stretched wider. "Oh, good." She slid a little lower and her seat and seemed to relax a bit as she savored the feeling of their wariness.
Tianna simply gazed out the window at the lush green scenery that passed by in blur as Ethan drove swiftly to the far secluded outskirts of Shandaken. She didn't know exactly where they were headed but she had a pretty good idea.
It was about a half an hour before they pulled up to a tall wrought iron gate flanked by tall stone columns. The gates opened automatically when the Range Rover halted in front of it.
Tianna turned as they drove through the gates and watched the iron bars swing closed, feeling as though they were indeed shutting the rest of the world out and shutting her in. The driveway wound through trees about a half-mile before Greystone Manor rose before them against the backdrop of the forest. It was a regal stone mansion with white columns and large windows.
Everyone got out of the car and Tianna stepped out. A cool morning breeze lifted her hair and with it came a tantalizing seduction of scents. She fought the urge to close her eyes and inhale deeply the sharp tang of cedar, the faint perfume of apple blossoms, and the teasing smell of breakfast.
She gazed up at the stone mansion feeling the pull of memory. As large as it was there was nothing menacing about the large home but rather a calm sort of expectation enveloped the place like it had been waiting there for her.
Ethan strode forward and flung open the heavy double doors, threw his bag on the floor, and stalked across the hall. Nick gave Tianna a nudge to follow and she hesitantly did so.
Tianna followed Ethan across the majestic marble foyer and into the study but the room was empty. A folded copy of the Wallstreet Journal lay beside a chair by the fire. Stacks files and papers littered the couch and desk.
"Where's Aaron?" Tianna demanded, halting in the doorway crossing her arms over her chest.
"Dunno. I haven't seen him since we left yesterday evening. He must have gone out."
"Out, huh?" Tianna didn't have to ask to know that Ethan didn't mean he'd gone out in the usual sense. Going out meant that he had gone for a run--and that didn't mean jogging.
A muscle ticked in Tianna's jaw. Did Aaron really expect her to submit to a kidnapping and then wait on his convenience? Apparently, he did. Of course he did. But Tianna wanted to go home and she wanted to go home right now. She turned on her heel and strode towards the back of the house, letting the faint memories and her instincts guide her through the kitchen and then out the back door and across a patio towards the woods.
She ignored Ethan following behind her and quickened her pace. She hopped on one foot and then the other as she kicked off her boots. She glanced over her shoulder as she shrugged out of the leather cycle jacket.
Ethan was coming out of the house, a dark scowl on his face.
Laughing ,Tianna ducked into the woods and ran.. She tugged her camisole and bra over her head as she ran and tossed them aside. She undid her pants and paused only seconds to push them down, kick them off them and continue running. Her legs ached to run and to carry her swiftly through the intricate world of the forest and claim it as her own. But part of her protested fiercely. 'No! This isn't yours. You don't belong here!'
She could hear Ethan crashing through the brush behind her and it made her smile. He was in for it. She waited a moment allowing him to catch up to her.
"Tianna..." he started in warning as he halted a few yards away, his hands curled into fists, his gaze roving over her nude body. Ethan felt his loins tightening painfully as he allowed his eyes to move languidly over her exquisite form. She stood a good ten inches shorter than him but she was small and beautifully shaped. Her dark hair fell wildly about nearly delicate shoulders and that framed high taut breasts enough to fill man's hands. Her waist was small flaring out to gently rounded hips atop a pair of shapely golden legs. Christ she was perfect from the top of her head to the tips of her toes. His tone was low when he spoke. The warning was unmistakable. "Tianna, stop this now."
She shook her head and grinned roguishly at him displaying elongated canines. Her eyes gleamed. "Too slow wolf," she tossed at him and turned on her heel and bolted.
"TIANNA!" he roared. He chased after her as she wound through the trees. Ethan cursed as he sprinted after her as he lost sight of her momentarily. He veered around a tree to see a large black wolf dashing through the woods and he skidded to a stop.
He was in shock. It had taken her only seconds to change and she had done it on the run. She hadn't stopped and curled up into a ball willing the change to come and rip its way agonizingly though her body. She was too fast for him but even if he caught her now he was probably still strong enough to subdue her but not without getting shredded by her teeth and claws in the process.
Breathing hard in his fury he ripped off his t-shirt and quickly divested himself of the rest of his clothing and willed himself to breath slowly. He felt power surging through his thick corded muscles and he dropped his head back and let the pain come.
Tianna slowed her pace just slightly as she heard Ethan drop back behind her. He'd stopped to change she was sure, giving her a couple of minutes to really concentrate on Aaron's scent as she made her way deeper into the woods.
Aaron's pathway wasn't difficult to follow. She recognized the faded scent pathways winding through the forest as the weres she had spent the last twelve hours with. And then there was the very new fresh scent of an unfamiliar werewolf. Aaron.
A howl pierced her thoughts, singing urgent cry of a wolf. Tianna paused and shuddered as the howl reverberated through her. She held back the answering howl that rumbled deep in her chest. She exhaled a puff of air and shook her head, prancing on her paws. 'No, no, no' she thought urgently. 'Claim the forest if you like but not him. No. Don't claim that.'
The brush rustled behind her and she whirled around to see a large blonde wolf launch himself at her. Ethan. He caught her full in the side and knocked her on her side skidding across the forest floor, then stood over her and nipped at the loose flesh at her neck.
Tianna snapped her jaws at causing him he pulled back.
Ethan whined and stood over her. He bent his head and prodded her with his nose, no longer aggressive but imploring her to run and play with him.
Doing a mental eye roll Tianna lunged forward and grabbing his foreleg between her jaws she yanked him off balance. Ethan went down and she leapt atop him but he quickly flipped over and they wrestled through the thick undergrowth, nipping and kicking, and fighting for position.
Tianna wriggled free and leapt away. They circled each other. Ethan's tail wagged and brushed against her side, running along her flank like a caressing hand. He inched cautiously closer and rubbed his side against hers. He halted suddenly put a leg in front of her to stop her and he pressed his nose against her neck.
It was strange for her. Her father had taught her to wrestle, to fight for the top position. But this was different. Ethan was being playful but there was something else. She was drawn to him. He was pushy, dominating, ruthless--a true alpha male. She hated him but she felt inexplicably pulled toward him.
She could feel his heated breath against her skin as he inhaled her scent. Tianna sighed but her reprieve was short lived. Ethan grabbed her by the skin of her throat and threw her backwards, giving a yip of triumph as he leapt over her and pinned her.
They wrestled for a while longer before Tianna leapt free wriggled away from him and leapt free. Ethan lunged for her but Tianna sprung to the side and took off sprinting.
Ethan skidded, turned, and tore after her. They raced through the forest, crossing acre after acre. Tianna's legs gobbled up the ground as she put more distance between herself and Ethan but just as she started worry about venturing too far into the forest with Ethan a myriad of scents assaulted her senses, halting her as she was about to circle back. Weres, three of them. All of their scents were unfamiliar. She hadn't smelled them at the mansion.
Tianna headed east to solve the mystery. She barely gone ten yards when Ethan leapt from the brush in front of her and growled, his teeth bared. He was no longer playful.
Tianna stared at him, wondering if she'd misunderstood. He growled again and she was sure. He was telling her to back off. She narrowed her eyes and glared at him. She pulled her ears back and snarled. Obviously he hadn't gotten the point yet. He couldn't boss her around. She curled her lips back and growled one last warning. He didn't back down.
She flung herself at him. He met her mid-lung, knocking the wind out of her. When she had finally recovered her senses, she lying on the ground with Ethan's teeth locked onto the skin behind her head.
She let out a low moan. She needed some practice. Ethan growled and gave her a rough shake before pulling back and looking down at her expectantly with narrowed eyes.
Tianna doggedly pulled herself to her feet with as much dignity as she could manage but before she was even fully upright, Ethan butted her backside with his muzzle.
Snarling, Tianna turned and gave him a glare, her lips pulling back from her teeth. But Ethan ignored her and simply butted her again, herding her in the direction of Greystone Manor.
Tianna went along with Ethan's prodding for about a half mile before she abruptly swerved to the side and tried to loop around him. Seconds after she sprinted past him two-hundred pounds of fully grown wolf dropped onto her back and she skidded to a halt.
Ethan's teeth sunk into her shoulder, deep enough to draw blood. Tianna let out a yelp of pain and writhed attempting to fight through the initial shock. She couldn't believe it. He'd bit her! The bastard really bit her!
This time he didn't even let her get to her feet before he started herding her back towards the house, nipping at her hind legs when she showed any inkling of hesitation.
Tired of Ethan's pushing and prodding, Tianna turned and snapped at him. When he pulled back instinctively she reared back on her hind paws and changed.
Ethan was staring at her as she turned and stalked away from him. He followed closely behind as she went in search of her pants.
Tianna glanced back at the sandy wolf following her. She knew what he was thinking; how unlike the loup garu she was in the way that she changed. A were valued his privacy when he changed. Even for the experienced werewolf, the change was uncomfortable at best though not the energy sapping agony of a new wolf's change. They valued their privacy for another reason. The in-between state--the transition from man to wolf--was gruesome and unpleasant to watch. But as Ethan watched Tianna shimmy into the tight leather pants he wondered at her transformation.
A light had seemed to fold around her body, blurring her form. The light--the aura--he could think of nothing else to call it, was in the shape of a wolf and then the shape stretched and fluidly lengthened into a human shape, Tianna shape. When the light had faded, Tianna was standing there in all her naked glory. She'd abruptly stomped away from him as though the change had taken nothing out of her, as if it had not taxed her in the least. It was incredible.
Ethan was not behind her when Tianna stepped from the woods. She snatched up her camisole from the lawn and yanked it over her head, nearly tearing a hole in the black lace. She shrugged into the leather jacked, stuffing her bra into her pocket. Cursing under her breath she shoved her feet into her boots and faced the forest waiting for Ethan to emerge.
She crossed her arms over her chest and looked down at her booted toes. She blew out slow steady breath of air. 'Calm,' she thought, 'I am calm. Getting into an argument with him isn't going to solve anything. Calm,' she nodded to herself. 'I can do calm.'
"So what you meditate too?" Ethan stepped from the woods barefooted and bare-chested. "I don't think it's doing you any good darlin'," he drawled.
Tianna's head whipped up and her dark eyes clashed with his serene azure gaze. He was right. Her mantra wasn't working. She exploded. "Who the hell do you think you are pushing me around?! I'm not Pack and I'm not one of your underlings. So just get it through that Neanderthal brain of your and keep your hands and paws off me! Understand?" She ripped aside the collar of her jacket displaying the rapidly healing bite mark on her otherwise flawlessly smooth shoulder. "And you fucking bit me!"
Ethan had crossed his arms over his powerful chest and cocked his head to the side as he listened to her tirade. "You finished?"
Tianna perused him warily asking herself how far she was willing to push him. He was over six feet of powerful muscle and he was much faster than she would have liked to admit. Her gaze lingered on the flat pink male nipples before moving lower to peruse the taut ripples of his abdomen, the deep muscular v-cut at his sides and the trail of light blond hair that trailed from his belly button and disappeared into the slightly distressed denim jeans.
Ethan lifted one blonde brow and cleared his throat causing Tianna to jerk slightly and wrench her gaze back to his amused expression. His voice was husky when he spoke again. "Finished now?"
Tianna's face felt like it was on fire. "Yes," she mumbled averting her gaze.
"Good," Ethan was striding towards her and before she could even react he had bent and tossed her over his shoulder and was striding back towards the house.
"ETHAN!" Tianna shrieked in fury. "What the fuck did I just say!? Put me down!" She punched him hard, aiming for his kidney but he barely seemed to register any pain. She hit him again. "I hope you piss blood," she snarled.
"Shh." Ethan brought his hand down hard on her bottom eliciting a squeak from her. "Behave," he admonished.
He carried her through the house and back to the study where he dumped her from his shoulder and onto the plush leather settee. Tianna glared up at him.
"Stay," he pointed at her. His tone brooked no argument.
Her jaw twitched as she held back an outburst. Her gaze followed him as he sprawled in a tall all armchair next to the settee. It was then that she realized that they were not alone.
Standing by the window, his gaze intent on her, was Aaron Thorne. He was tall though not so tall as Ethan and all lean muscle. He was olive skinned and dark eyed. His dark hair was worn long and feathered about his shoulders. A shock of hair fell across his brow. He looked to be in his late twenties or early thirties though Tianna knew he was her father's age, about twenty years older than he looked. He was dressed conservatively in a black button down over dark denim and black cowboy boots.
"Tianna." His voice was not what she expected. He spoke softly though with assurance. There was no derision in his tone, nor anger or disapproval. He sounded speculative, as though her were simply testing her name out on his tongue.
Tianna straightened in her seat, lifted her chin, and returned his gaze. She could feel Ethan watching the exchange with interest. "Mr. Thorne," she returned evenly and watched the corner of his mouth tilt upwards in a small smile.
"So formal," he chided softly. "Call me Aaron. We're practically family aren't we?"
Tianna forced a tight smile but said nothing.
Aaron came forward and stopped in from of her. "Are you alright?"
Surprised at his question and at the look of genuine concern on his face, her eyes darted to Ethan who smiled back at her and shrugged, amusement once again lighting his cerulean gaze.
"I'm fine," she ground out glaring at Ethan.
"You're certain?" Aaron asked her, causing her to lift her gaze once more to those probing dark brown orbs.
"Good," Aaron nodded more to himself than to her. "Ethan will show you to your room. He said simply, turned from her and moved to sit behind a heavy mahogany desk. She was being dismissed.
Tianna slowly rose to her feet, her hands balling into fists. "That's it?" She ground out. "You have me kidnapped and manhandled and you have nothing else to say? No explanations?"
Aaron leaned back in the armchair, steepling his fingers before his lips. One dark eyebrow winged upward. He said nothing.
He was going to keep her here. Tianna stared at him. He couldn't be serious. She felt Ethan's hand closing over her upper arm as he propelled her from the room. Still reeling, Tianna went along mutely as Ethan lead her through the expansive foyer and up the stairs, down a series of hallways before stopping at 'her' doorway.
"Don't push him, Tianna," he warned, but she simply stared door before her silently.
There was a slight tremor in her voice when she spoke. "Are you going to lock me in?"
Ethan shook his head. "No."
"And your room?" she asked tonelessly.
He nodded to the door neighboring hers a little ways down the hallway. "Nick is across the hall, and Trent around the corner. Marcus, Aiden, and Aaron's rooms are in the other wing along with Dominic's."
She nodded to herself. "My father's room."
Ethan nodded. "Dominic may choose to reside in New York but Greystone has always been his home."
When Tianna said nothing Ethan gently took hold of her shoulders and turned her to face him, grimacing when she flinched at his touch. Her gaze was fixated on the center of his chest. "Tianna," he said softly, lifting her face to his with one fingertip. "You're safe here, I promise."