The Council Ch. 03byJazCullen©
Date Night! Hope you all enjoy it hehehe!
Many thanks to WorldHistoryBuff once more for her editing skills. I did a little tweaking once I got it back for her so if there are any little errors within they are all mine. My thanks to the Guild too for all their support :-)
Alexei was surprised at the house he stood in front of. For some reason he imagined Cedar would live in a flash, apartment complex with a doorman guarding the main entrance; a steel and modern monstrosity. Instead he was standing in front of quite a modest, two storey house, set back from the road at the end of a reasonably wealthy residential street.
The house was modest by his standards but very appealing. The façade was whitewashed, a well tended garden with a nice lawn and pretty little flowerbeds completing the almost suburban image. He couldn't see Cedar Alexander getting down on her hands and knees and carefully weeding flowerbeds or even mowing a lawn. The front garden had structure to it, most probably from a paid gardener.
He actually found himself liking the house from the outside. There was a distinct feeling of home about it and also a distinct feeling of emptiness. Despite the late hour there was no scent of lemongrass in the close vicinity. Cedar Alexander was not home.
Where she was at three in the morning he had no idea but he wasn't happy about it. A woman staying out that late usually only meant one thing and she was a Were. She didn't have the normal self imposed taboos of human females. If she had an itch, she would go out and scratch it. Was that where she was? Did she even still feel the urge to have sex with other men now that they had met?
Alexei had found out as much about Weres as he could in the last year. Ordinarily it would not have been a topic he would have paid any interest in owing to the fact that he detested the dogs so much, but once he'd met the little she wolf he'd found himself gathering as much information as he could.
He knew so much about Weres now he was an expert on them and their rituals. He was surprised Andrei hadn't done a little of his own research. He had tested his brother earlier with some of his comments about Loretta and his twin appeared oblivious to what was going on. It was amusing to know something Andrei didn't. Usually his twin was two steps ahead of him when it came to ferreting out information but not this time.
Alexei had known instantly his behaviour the previous year had been out of character, that something was clearly wrong with him. There was no way he would go from being one of the most rigid, indoctrinated members of his race to a Were sympathiser and start blabbing his kind's secrets. That he had done so at the scent of a wolf was enough to start him investigating. What he had discovered shocked him to his very core.
He now knew why he had saved Cedar Alexander and by default, her family and the pack's young. He knew about the mating pull, how it affected the non- Were member of the couple dynamic, how the wolf knew instantly but sometimes it took the partner a little longer to realise what was happening.
Cedar's arrogant, cocky behaviour had been pure wolf that day wrapped in a deliciously tempting female package. He had reacted to her wolf, his own feral nature recognising something even though his more human side had been oblivious.
At first he had a feeling of disbelief, but the more she invaded his every waking thought while he was away the more he couldn't deny it. Somehow his attraction to the wolf was more than just a normal male being attracted to a female. He was pulled to her just like the descriptions of the Were mating pull. The wolf was trying to lure him in, trying to mate with him.
Logic dictated he stay away from her but the pull was too strong. He wanted her and he had to have her. The fallout of not staying away from her could be astronomical but he didn't care. Nothing and no one could stop him from having her. She was in his blood, imbedded deep inside him whether he liked it or not.
He knew she would try to bite him, try to infect him with her wolf gene. He had no idea if it would take or how he would complete her little ritual because he couldn't bite her back without killing her. That fact didn't hamper him though. It wouldn't stop him from having what belonged to him and Cedar Alexander most definitely belonged to him, smart mouth, arrogant attitude, beautiful sexy body and all.
Alexei slipped into the darkness as a taxicab turned into the street and drove slowly up to her house. He held his breath as the backdoor opened and the woman who had haunted almost every waking moment of his life for the last year, stepped out gracefully.
He forgot how to breathe instantly. His memory of her hadn't done her justice. He had forgotten just how tall she was, almost six feet in her three inch heels, a fragile pair of strappy black sandals covering her feet and delicate ankles. Smooth, black silk covered legs seemed to go on forever as his eyes slowly travelled up her body.
A hint of lace at the top of her thighs had him fighting down a strangled groan. Her chic little black dress stopped mid thigh and as she moved the little hint of lace showed just beneath the hemline. Stockings? His body hardened instantly. He adored women who draped their bodies in sexy lingerie. It was fun to unwrap the exquisite package before him, when he wasn't just ripping the satin and lacy little garments to get to his prize.
His heated gaze travelled further upwards, sliding over perfect hips, her taut, flat stomach, her trim little waist. Further and further until her full, ripe breasts came to his view, teasing little hints of creamy white skin showing over the top of her dress. His hands itched to feel the weight of her succulent breasts in his hands, to slide off her dress and find out what colour her nipples were, what they tasted like in his mouth. He stifled down another groan, his body throbbing at just the thought.
His eyes roamed over her graceful neck, the arrogant tilt of her jaw line, the perfection of her stunningly beautiful heart shaped face. Mountains of loose, blonde curls graced her elegant shoulders, framing her face like a halo under the streetlight. There wasn't one thing about Cedar Alexander that he didn't like. Well, there was one. The man stepping out of the cab at her side.
Barely a handful of seconds had passed since she climbed out of the cab, long enough for her to alight and turn to face the tall man with short wavy blond hair and wide shoulders. He was handsome for a human male but then Alexei couldn't imagine Cedar attracting anything but the best.
Cedar's soft tinkling laughter reached his ears as she leaned towards the man and said something in a low voice. It brought a frown to the man's face and he answered in an equally low voice. The wolf laid a hand on his arm and Alexei had to fight the urge to go over and rip it off the man.
Cedar was brushing her lips against the man's cheek now and it took all of his willpower to stand completely still as she did so. He held his breath as he watched the man's hand brush her narrow waist as he went to pull her into a tight embrace. She agilely sidestepped him, putting a little distance between them. Clearly the man was unhappy but he smiled ruefully and climbed back into the cab after a few muttered words.
Cedar Alexander watched the cab pull away with a little sigh. For a moment she thought James was going to be difficult but thankfully he got the message pretty quickly. He was a nice man and she really didn't want anything bad to happen to him. She'd enjoyed their date. He didn't deserve to be maimed because he was attracted to her.
She turned slowly and looked directly at the spot Alexei Romanov was standing in. She had scented him the instant she had stepped out of the cab, her heart picking up a little as her errant vampire finally caved in to the mating pull and came looking for her. He had been gone for so long she had been starting to wonder if he was ever coming back. Her wolf was certainly pleased to see him.
"Didn't know you were into voyeurism," she said loud enough for him to hear but still low enough her human neighbours wouldn't be disturbed by the sound of her voice.
"I didn't realise I would have to be," he countered from the dark, his voice carefully neutral. He stayed concealed, enjoying the view of her standing on the sidewalk. "I was expecting to find you tucked up in bed sleeping."
She laughed lightly at the slightly peeved note that entered his voice and turned to walk up the path to her front door. "I had a date."
She didn't flinch when he appeared right beside her at the door, his large body tense as he leaned against the side of the building. She deliberately didn't look at him, choosing to savour his wonderful scent instead. She had a silly, irrational fear that if she looked directly at him he would vanish, that this would all be a dream and her mate really wouldn't be standing beside her.
"We had a date," he drawled softly, a light husky note entering his deep, smooth voice which almost made her shiver in delight but she was able to contain herself because she knew he would sense it.
"You stood me up, Alexei," she retorted with a slight edge to her tone. "You're a year too late." She unlocked the front door and stepped inside knowing he was going to follow her in so not bothering to try and close it behind her.
She was annoyed that he had resisted her pull so easily. True, it hadn't been too bad because he was out of the country. She could handle the deep ache inside her at being apart from him a little easier because of it. But the ache had been there constantly, a dull nagging little pulse because her other half was somewhere other than where he should be.
"Ungrateful little bitch," he laughed as he entered and closed the door. "I had to flee the country to keep my head after saving your delectable little ass, and this is the thanks I get?"
His gaze swept around the great room covering the entire ground floor. It split into three domains by the artfully placed furniture, a chic kitchen in deep cherry wood with black granite worktops, a dining area with matching cherry wood table and four comfortable chairs and a large seating area with deep red sofas and chairs piled high with cream and mauve scatter cushions. The entire space reeked of comfort, a distinct homeliness which made him want to kick off his shoes and relax instantly.
Cedar had done just that, taken off her sandals and dropped them just inside the front door. She padded across to the kitchen area in her stockings without so much of a backward glance, walking over to the refrigerator and pulling out a bottle of white wine. She was buying herself some time to get her chaotic thoughts in order.
Alexei was finally here and he seemed relaxed, almost at ease with her. There was a certain level of calmness about him which hadn't been there in their first meeting. He had been resisting the mating pull that night, hissing and spitting at her almost like an angry lion rather than the cold, hard vampire he really was. His current demeanour was setting her on edge slightly because he was not reacting exactly how she had been expecting him to.
Why was he so calm? Did he know? Had he somehow realised what was happening between them or was he simply here just because he couldn't help himself? She had known he would come to her. She had had no doubts about that. He was her mate, the other half of her soul, the one person she was meant to spend her life with.
Cedar was struggling to keep her heart rate at a normal level as her wolf prowled anxiously within her. She didn't want Alexei knowing just how much he affected her. The vampire would hear any increased heartbeat; smell any scent of arousal if she gave in to his nearness. She couldn't believe he was here, in her home, so close she could reach out and touch him. It was hard not to. She had been waiting so long for him to come back.
"No comment?" he asked quietly when she didn't respond to his statement.
She poured two glasses of wine and finally turned to look at him. He was breathtaking. So tall and wide in the shoulders, his arrogant face carved of granite, all hard plains and angles. His golden blond hair hung loose and straight passed his shoulders, his deep brown eyes meeting hers with a slightly amused look in them.
"You were doing what Demetri told you to do," she countered, leaving a glass on the kitchen counter and moving to sit on one of the high stools at the breakfast bar. "Like a good little boy," she added with a little smile. She watched the amusement fade from his eyes and his lips tighten in annoyance and her own smile widened.
He didn't look so smug anymore. It was a cheap shot but then, he had vanished for over a year without so much as a word. No goodbye, no attempt to get her number which he could easily have done. She doubted he wouldn't have been in contact with his brother while he was away. He could have asked him to find some way to contact her if he had really wanted to.
His eyes narrowed as he slowly walked over to the counter and picked up the glass she had left there. Her little jibe had irritated him immensely. He needed a moment to quell the instant anger she so easily teased out of him. She was very good when her wolf was more dominant. She knew just which buttons to push to get a reaction out of him.
He met her eyes and saw the challenge in them. She wanted to anger him because she was irritated with him. Probably because he had been away for so long. Did it cause her pain being separated from her proposed mate for a long period of time? There hadn't been anything about that in the journals and old tomes he had read.
He regarded her coolly as he sipped at his wine. He didn't even flinch over the whole proposed mate thing anymore. He had had a year to get used to the idea though it had taken almost all of that time for him to finally accept it. A wolf and a vampire. Mating. It was impossible and on one level completely nauseating. If he had heard of it with anyone else of his kind he would have been outraged, disgusted, ready to do something to stop it happening.
With the woman in front of him it was a completely different matter. She called to him on every level. He was one step away from falling to his knees and promising her anything if only she would allow him to be in her life. Granted, there was no way in hell he was ever going to let her know that. She had far too much power over him as it was and this was only the second time they had ever met.
No they would dance around each other, each with their little secret. She knowing that he was her mate and thinking she was about to lure him into her trap. Him knowing that he was her mate but keeping his own knowledge secret from her. They would fight for dominance and it would be a glorious contest. Submission wasn't a word that had any place in Alexei's dictionary, not when it came to himself.
He took his wine and moved away from her, seeing the slight flare of surprise in her eyes and hiding his smile as he sat down on her large, oversized sofa. He sank into the soft material with almost a thankful sigh escaping him. The flight from Ecuador had been taxing. He was more tired than he had realised. He should have gone home straight from the club but he had wanted to see her, be close to her.
The silence stretched on between them as they continued to wait for the other to speak. Alexei admired her as he sat and sipped at his wine. Her little dress had ridden up and he could see the hint of lace peaking out from the hem again. It made his body throb with need even as his mind tried to shut down with weariness. It was all he could do not to yawn he was so tired. He didn't think that would go down well with his beautiful wolf. The glint in her light blue eyes told him she was wide awake and sharp as a knife.
It was time to teach his little wolf a lesson. It was time to begin the war for dominance. He sipped at his wine again and then smiled slowly. "If we're going to play this little game then it's only fair to map out the rules," he said softly. "There are only two. One you may set and one I will set. I suggest you think long and hard about what your rule will be, Cedar because once you set it there are no renegotiations of it. One game, two rules and no other limitations."
Cedar's wolf growled her approval and it was all she could do not to roll her eyes as her beast responded to the challenge in Alexei's eyes and his words. Oh, he was very good; she had to give him that. He was deliberately appealing to her wolf side, issuing the challenge in such a way that she would have a hard time refusing it. A two rule game? She wondered what his would be. She was under no illusions that he would keep his secret until she told him hers first.
"No biting," she drawled softly, surprised to see a hint of disappointment in his eyes for a brief second before he quickly masked it.
"Does that apply to both of us or just me?" he asked with a little smile. "Because frankly I really don't mind if you want to have a little nibble, Cedar." Her no biting rule had thrown him. It was a given that he wouldn't bite her so she had effectively wasted her one rule. But if she imposed the rule on herself then how was she going to attempt to mate with him? He was surprised at how much he wanted her to try and bite him.
"I bet you don't," she laughed softly, humour flashing in her eyes as well as a touch of excitement. "Fine, I'll clarify my rule. You are not allowed to bite me, Alexei."
He smiled widely and nodded his head slowly accepting her rule while fighting down the thrill of excitement which went through him. "That was always a given," he chuckled lightly, "But you've made it your rule now so you can't take it back. A bit of a wasted opportunity there, Cedar."
A perfect eyebrow arched in his direction as her soft lips teased the side of her glass as she drank slowly. "You're working on the assumption that I wanted a rule, Alexei," she countered with her own little laugh watching his eyes narrow slightly and a smile quirk his lips at her words.
Damn, she was good! It was all he could do not to cross over to her and lick the tangy taste of wine from her delectable lips. There was a wildness in Cedar Alexander. She appeared so chic, so refined but underneath it all she was a wolf to her very core, untamed and very unpredictable.
"You're rule?" she asked setting her wine glass down and leaning back against the counter, resting her elbows behind her. She knew she was accentuating her curves as she heard Alexei's sharp intake of breath and she bit her bottom lip lightly just to heighten his discomfort. She was being a dreadful little tease and she would most probably pay for it but he was trying so hard to dominate her that she couldn't help responding.
Alexei was speechless for a long moment, his gaze caressing her perfect breasts before sliding back to her face and her deliciously plump bottom lip which was still being grazed by her delicate little teeth. He almost snorted out loud at the thought. He knew just how sharp a Were's teeth could be, how viciously they could rip into a vampire's flesh. Watching hers scrape along her soft lips made him want to feel them scraping along the side of his neck, over his chest and moving steadily down until she reached the part of him that was about ready to explode he was so fucking turned on just looking at her.
"No lies," he growled softly, watching surprise dance across her face and smiling slowly. "What, Cedar?" You expected something else? Something a little more base and earthy?" He raised an eyebrow at her as her eyes narrowed thoughtfully. "I did consider my rule very carefully. I was tempted to demand that you had to ask every time you wanted me, not just ask but beg me. That was an exceedingly tempting proposition but not very fair on you. I'd win the game much too easily if I made that my rule."