tagNonHumanFeral Ch. 05

Feral Ch. 05

bytheDuskyGirl©

**To all the amazing readers who emailed me and left messages, thank you for all your encouragement and patience. I apologized that life got in the way (grad school, work and planning my wedding). But this story and the other have constantly been in my head, still taking shape. I've been writing on napkins and scraps of paper when I should be paying attention in class or in meetings and things are slowly beginning to come together once more. I'll be working hard and stealing time to continue these stories.

xx,

Dusky**


CHAPTER FIVE

Eva Clinton perused the tall gates of Greystone Manor as the taxi pulled to a stop in front of the driveway.

The driver, an older man, peered through the window at the tall gate anxiously. "Are you sure this s where you'd like me to drop you off here? Not too many people come up to these parts. I don't think the family likes visitors," he said cautiously. "Do you want me to ring the bell?"

But Eva was already getting out of the cab and hauling her bag with her. "No thanks. I've got it."

"Are you sure?"

"Sure," Eva slammed the cab door and leaned in the passenger window, handing the man a wad of cash. "Thanks for the ride." She sent a wave of overwhelming dread in his direction for good measure and watched the cab peel away.

Smirking, Eva perused the tall gate once more. It was at least twelve feet tall, topped by wicked looking wrought iron points. It looked sturdy between two stone columns. Scaling it was out of the question. Nor did she feel the need to alert any of the inhabitants to her presence.

Walking to the small console where one would enter the gate code. Eva placed her palm atop the metal box and inhaled deeply, closing her eyes. The box hummed and buzzed, followed by a sharp click after which the massive gate creaked and swung open just enough for her to slip through.

She shook out her palm absently, her fingertips still thrumming and tingling with power. She began making her way down the long wooded driveway. It was so silent it was unnerving. Her gaze constantly searched her surroundings as she listened for the snap of a twig or rustle of brush. There was nothing.

She noted the red blink of a security camera nestled in the tree branches and blurred her form as she continued on.

When Greystone Manor emerged from between the trees, her unease grew. To have come this far unmet...

Nerves singing, she mounted the front steps and reached out to test the door handle. Unlocked.

'Amateurs,' she thought, shaking her head. They'd obviously grown complacent, not that a locked door was ever a problem for her. Pushing the door open silently, she stepped into the marble foyer. This was very strange.

She stopped further inside. "Hello?"

Before she could react, a blur shot forth from her periphery and slammed into her, knocking the breath from her lungs as she hit the floor hard, her skull knocking against the marble and sending her vision momentarily black.

Groaning, she felt pinned by weight above her. The werewolf above her gave a deep growl, and his heated breath fanning against her face. Her vision cleared though it still swam nauseatingly. She would not vomit, she told herself firmly. She blinked hard.

There was not a wolf above her but a man, his face contorted in fury, his eyes glowing feral yellow. He leaned down over her and inhaled deeply. He snarled, lips pulling back from elongated canines. "Witch," he spat.

Eva winced in pain, wriggling beneath him. "That's right, buddy. Witch." She summoned her strength. "Now get off me!"

He was off her instantly, sent flying across the room.

Nick was slammed into the wall with such force the framed paintings shuddered and fell to shatter on the floor. Air whooshed from his lungs with the impact.

He hovered pinned to the wall and unable to move as he watched the girl stagger to her feet and fix her gaze on him. Her eyes were black, no hint of white around the edges, just dilated with power. Her dark pin-straight hair seemed to blow around her face absent any wind.

She grimaced, holding one palm up to him as the other gingerly kneaded the back of her head. She bared her perfectly white teeth at him. "Asshole," she snarled.

Then there were two others rushing her from her left. She flung out her other hand, stopping them n their tracks. Their muscles strained, their eyes glowing that same feral yellow. They'd rip her to shreds given the chance.

Eva cried out, her head pounding ferociously. Her limbs trembled with the effort of holding them all back. But it was too much—too much for a fledgling witch. Her knees buckled and she fell hard to her hands and knees, waiting for them to descend upon her.

"No!" She felt slender arms go around her. "Leave her alone!"

Tianna threw herself on top as her friend as she collapsed and Ethan, Nick and Trent moved toward her.

Tianna lengthened her canines, readying herself for a fight if any one of them attempted to lay a finger on her Eva. "Back off!" she roared and each of the men complied, giving her some space though they did not leave the foyer.

Kneeling in front of the girl, Tianna took the Eva's face in her hands. "Oh Eva," Tianna sighed, her voice pitched higher in panic. She took in Eva's black gaze and trembling lips. "What are you doing here girl?"

Eva lifted one hand to grasp Tianna's. "I heard you were in trouble. Came to check on you."

"Jesus, Eva," Tianna shook her head. "You could have been killed!"

Eva's eyes began to clear and she smiled a weak, chagrinned smile. "Hey, I was doing okay until you showed up."

Tianna carefully lifted Eva to her feet.

Eva grinned heavy lidded at her."Hey, girl, I missed you." And then she slumped into Tianna's arms, unconscious. With a low cry, Tianna struggled with her friend's unexpected weight almost losing her grip.

Nick was there instantly scooping Eva up into his arms.

Tianna balked immediately. "What the hell do you think you're doing? Get your hands off her!" she demanded, reaching for her friend.

Nick stepped out of reach, lighting fury in Tianna's dark gaze. "I won't hurt her," he soothed.

"You just tried to kill her!" Tianna accused, hands balling into fists.

Nick shifted the girl's slight weight in his arms. "We're kind of on high alert here, Tianna. A witch fries our security system and waltzes right in here...how was I supposed to react?"

Tianna crossed her arms over her chest. Ethan and Trent stood by silently.

Ethan stepped forward. "Take her up to Tianna's room." His gaze narrowed on Tianna. "You, come with me."

Tianna shook her head. "If you think I'm going to leave her alone with—"

"Nick, won't hurt her. He'll be very careful," Ethan attempted to mollify her and shot a pointed look at Nick.

"But—" she glanced at Eva's prone form lying limply in Nick's arms.

Ethan looked at Eva. "She's a young witch. Something like what she just pulled will keep her out of it for a while. She'll be fine with Nick." He looked to Nick again for affirmation who nodded silently in response.

Tianna followed Ethan into the kitchen, casting a backward glance over her shoulder at Nick carrying Eva upstairs.

Nick studied the young witch laying unconscious in his arms as he mounted the stairs. He'd launched himself at her the second she stepped through the front door. She was a small thing, tiny really. He winced considering the way her small body had hit the ground when he'd plowed into her. She was quite attractive when he took the time to truly look at her, considering she was a witch. Her skin was a deep almond color. Her dark inky hair hung straight to her shoulders, parted in the middle. Her eyelashes were thick and black and fanned against her smooth cheeks. Her lips were incredibly full pink and lush beneath a cute piquant nose.

She wore a white v-neck t-shirt that was stretched taut over her high full breasts that were almost out of place on her small frame. Her slim hips were encased in dark skin tight denim which disappeared into dark brown riding boots.

He shouldered Tianna's door open and crossed the room to the oversized four poster bed. That was when wide green eyes flickered open to stare up at him, an incredible shade of pale green circling a gold ring around the iris and flecked with gold.

"Shit." He felt as though his skin had been scorched, everywhere he touched her like he was on fire. He watched her expression turn to shock as he abruptly released her and she fell to the floor with a thump.

"Jesus Christ, woman," he snarled as the burnt flesh feeling subsided the moment he released her. "I'm not going to hurt you."

She scrambled backwards across the floor until her back hit the wall.

Despite the lingering tingling sensation in his arms, he could help the feeling of concern that took hold of him as he watched her. She sat huddled against the wall, looking frightened and deceptively frail as though she weren't capable of hurting a fly.

He crouched down, lowering himself to her eye level and looked her in the face. "I'm not going to hurt you," he repeated. "Cross my heart." He made an X over his chest with one fingertip.

Gritting her teeth, she held one palm up to him in warning to keep his distance. "Is that what you were doing when you knocked the shit out of me? Not hurting me?"

The werewolf stood and crossed his arms over his broad chest. "And just what should I have done when a witch breaks into my home unannounced? It was a dumb move, little girl."

"Little!" Eva pushed herself to her feel. "Not too little to put you on your ass."

Nick smirked. "And I'm willing to bet it's about all you got."

"Why you—" She took a step toward him and swayed.

Nick met her, immediately sweeping her up into his arms once more and placing her on the bed.

She glared up at him and made to rise, opening her mouth to protest onto to be shocked into silence. She scooted back against the headboard but he was over her immediately, his hands braced on either side of her hips, bringing his face close to hers.

Eva's eyes widened at his closeness. Hs face was mere inches from her own. Holy shit, he was hot. He was deeply tanned with dark chocolate hair cropped short. His eyes were changeling hazel, now gold, beneath dark brows and unjustly long lashes. His cheekbones were defined, perhaps hinting at a Mediterranean heritage. His nose was straight above a firm sensual mouth and strong masculine jaw. Faint stubble shadowed his cheeks.

Her breath hitched at the intensity of his gaze. He filled up her whole vision. His strong shoulders topped a broad muscular chest which narrowed to his taut middle. The thick corded muscles of his arms were clearly defined beneath the long-sleeved black t-shirt he wore. The sleeves were pushed up to reveal tanned muscular forearms dusted with dark hair.

"Going somewhere?" His voice was low, solemn but tinged with amusement.

Eva was still. Her breaths coming in shallow gasps. Dizziness threatened to overtake her. She knew if she tried to use her powers again there was a good chance she'd lose consciousness altogether. Physically, she was no match for him.

She swallowed her fear and lifted her chin. Her voice came out steady, resonating with more bravado than she felt. "Where's Tianna?"

He cocked his head, his intent gaze searching her face. "Tianna's fine. Unlike yourself," he said pointedly.

She simply stared at him, reading his face for veracity.

The girl was tough, Nick had to admit. And she hid her fear well. He leaned in. She went stiff and her breath halted. He moved eye to eye with her, their noses nearly touching, his lips hovering over hers before he bent to nuzzle her neck and inhaled.

He growled. Her scent swirled around him, causing desire to crash over him, hitting him like a punch to the gut. She smelled of jasmine and spice, intoxicating and alluring. She shivered.

With more self control than he was aware he possessed, he forced himself to pull back from her, his cock so hard he ached with need as he strained against his jeans. But his desire died a quick death when he saw her face. She wasn't paying him any attention at all despite his intrusion of her space. In fact, she barely seemed aware of his nearness at all.

Her eyes were unfocused, her cheeks taking on an alarming pallor. She held trembling fingertips beneath her nose.

"Eva?" he ventured and took her shoulders in his hands.

She still didn't acknowledge him. She stared at her fingertips covered in dark thick liquid. Blood. It trickled from her nose in a thick rivulet.

"Damnit." Nick shot to his feet and strode to the bathroom. He yanked a hand towel off the ring and quickly doused it, running it under warm water.

She was still staring intently at her fingertips, when he seated himself next to her. Gently grasping her wrist, he wiped her fingers clean then gently pressed the towel to her nostril. Eyelids fluttering, she reached up to cover his hand with her own.

He ran a gently hand over her hair, dipping his head to catch her gaze. "You okay?" he asked quietly when she looked at him.

She nodded.

Nick gave her an encouraging smile. After a few minutes, the bleeding seemed to have stopped. "See," he held up the cloth. "All better."

Eva smiled weakly, self consciously. "It was too much," she mumbled. "My bad." Her head lulled. She sank back against the headboard and closed her eyes. The girl was lights out.

Nick set aside the hand towel and gently lifted her just enough to tug the covers from beneath her. He carefully removed her boots and set them beside the before tucking the covers around her.

He lightly rested a palm against her brow. Her skin felt hot but it would fade. He'd seen it before.

***

Tianna leaned against the counter, arms crossed over her chest, legs crossed at the ankle. "She's my best friend," Tianna said, fixing Ethan with a defiant stare. "We've been looking out for each other since we were kids. We always protect each other."

"It's not up to me," Ethan was across from her, mirroring her stance, the tips of their boots almost touching. "It will be up to Aaron when he gets back tonight. I don't make the decisions around here."

"Oh, please," Tianna snorted. "Don't act like what you say means nothing. Even I know you're his right hand and he consults you with everything." Replaying his words, she perked up with interest. "Aaron's not around?"

Ethan shot her a warning look. "Don't get too excited. Like I said, he'll be back. He went with Caleb, Conner and Isaac on a bit of a fact finding mission."

Tianna was about to question him further when Nick entered.

Ethan straightened, immediately disturbed, and instantly scenting blood.

Nick held up his hand in understanding, seeing Ethan's expression. "She got a bit of a nosebleed," he explained. "Tuckered herself out. She's sleeping."

Her glance darting between the two werewolves, Tianna stood. "I'm going to check on her," she said softly and gave Nick a grudgingly appreciative smile.

Ethan watched her go before switching his attention to Nick.

Nick crossed his arms and gave a small shrug of his shoulders. "She's beat. It took a lot out of her to hold us all off like that. She's obviously still new."

Ethan nodded, considering this soberly. "You think we should send her on her way, or talk Aaron into letting her stick around? It's pretty clear that's what Tianna wants."

Nick pursed his lips and looked speculative. He'd welcome the chance to get to know the spirited little witch better though he didn't think Aaron would find that reason enough to allow a witch to stay under their roof. "I think she should stay," he offered smoothly. "She'd obviously do anything to protect Tianna and her presence might mellow our resident she-wolf out a bit. No more high speed chases."

Ethan seemed to mull it over before nodding in approval. He looked at Nick strangely. "Are you sure that is all brother?" He lifted one brow. "You'd like the little witch to stick around purely for Tianna's benefit?"

A smile split Nick's face. He'd never been able to hide much from Ethan. They'd been inseparable almost from the first moment Nick had set foot in Greystone Manor. He sheepishly rubbed at the stubble on his jaw. He grinned wolfishly. "I wouldn't mind keeping her around for a while, getting to know her."

"Ha!" Ethan barked with a smile matching Nick's. "Maybe he's more dangerous than we anticipated. You spent a few unconscious moments with her and already you've taken the bait. You'll have trouble with that one, Nick."

Nick nodded, the smile on his face not dimming one bit. "I'm fairly certain you're right about that."

***

Tianna quietly slipped into "her" bedroom. True to his word, Eva was tucked safely beneath the covers and slumbering quite peacefully.

Kicking off her boots, Tianna crawled onto the bed. Curling onto her side she studied Eva's still profile. She'd seen Eva like this before, worn out and exhausted after pushing herself too hard.

Eva's mother was a great witch, more infamous than famous really. But Eva was never good enough for her mother. Or rather, Eva was too good. Sanaa Clinton leaned heavily toward the dark arts while Eva struggled valiantly against everything the dark arts represented. Eva had told Tianna once that there was a price to pay for her powers one way or another, and with the dark arts the price was more than she could abide. Every time she had dabbled, she felt as though a small shred of her soul were being torn away from her.

Eva couldn't have been more of a disappointment to Sanaa. The daughter of two powerful dark witches should have been a force to be feared and reckoned with but Eva shied away from darkness, rooting her power in the earth and radiance. From the time Eva was fourteen, she was on her own though still under the guardianship of her largely absent mother. Her father had been killed years before by another witch, intent on taking his powers and making them their own.

Eva all but denied her pedigree, even choosing to go to NYU with Tianna in an attempt to live a normal life. The girls were a study in opposites. Tianna had reveled in the power of her extraordinary birth while Eva shrank from her legacy, fighting against it with all her might. By the time Eva was a freshman in college, she'd wanted nothing more than to forget her powers existed at all.

But the power inside Eva refused to lay dormant. Struggle as she might to keep her emotions in check, strange things happened when Eva grew too emotional. When she experienced her first broken heart sophomore year, her sobs and rampant emotions blew out six stories of windows in their Manhattan apartment building.

It was Alaina, Tianna's mother who convinced Eva to embrace the power within her and introduced her to witches who rejected the darkness like herself. Eva was late to the game but her power was undeniable. Whether she was trying to prove something to herself or to her mother, Tianna didn't know. But Eva pushed herself far too hard despite all warnings. This wasn't likely to be her last nosebleed or fainting spell.

Tianna scooted closer to her friend and closed her eyes.

One thing she did know; together, she and Eva were always able to get through just about anything.

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