The Council Ch. 19byJazCullen©
And so it ends :-)
WorldHistoryBuff you have been amazing! I can never thank you enough for all your time and hard work editing for me this year.
Special mention to my friends from the Guild too. Without you all, I would never have sharpened and honed each chapter to make them so much better than my first draft.
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Ashleigh flopped onto the bed and listened to Nors lock up the house below. Excitement buzzed through her entire body and it was hard not to squirm on the luxurious silk sheets beneath her. The speed she had taken her clothes off would have made Nors die laughing. She was sure she had ripped her top in the process.
She could hear him walking slowly upstairs and couldn't prevent the little smile which tugged at her lips. He was dragging his heels. Luke had given them the all clear but she knew he was still hesitant. Her wonderful, silly vampire. She had waited long enough. She wasn't going to wait any longer.
It had taken her longer to heal than anticipated. So long that Loretta was due to give birth any day now and Ashleigh still wasn't completely mated to her vampire. But tonight Luke had finally declared her back to full health and nothing would get in her way. If Nors thought he was going to argue with her he could forget it.
Nors reached the bedroom door and hesitated before entering. He longed to mate with his little wolf, had been given the go ahead by Luke tonight and yet he felt fear about doing so. What if she wasn't ready? What if he hurt her without meaning to? He couldn't live without her and the thought of her suddenly being gone from him life was too much for him to contemplate.
He entered the room and let his gaze run slowly over the most beautiful woman to walk the planet, in his eyes anyway. His lips couldn't fail to twitch in an appreciative smile as he saw her deliciously naked body lying against the black satin sheets of the bed. His own body reacted instantly to the glorious sight before him, as it always did when his mate was close to him.
The look of determination on her face had his heart thumping wildly in his chest and he knew he was fighting a losing battle against her. She would have this mating completed or she would hand him his head on a platter.
His smile widened as he silently crossed to the bed, shedding his clothes as he went. Who would have thought that someone so tiny and innocent looking could have such a stubborn streak in her? His Ashleigh was a force to be reckoned with when she wanted something badly.
With a feral grin, he surrendered completely and crawled slowly onto the bed, stalking his way over her body until he loomed over her. The smile she gave him made his heart kick up a beat and his breath catch in his throat. She was simply stunning.
"You're not fighting me," she laughed softly, reaching up to stroke her hands slowly over his chest. Her soft touch had him growling low in his chest, his muscles rippling under her fingers.
"Is there any point?" he asked in a voice deep and husky with need and also full of resignation.
"No," she laughed in delight as she realised she wouldn't need to convince him of anything.
"Ashleigh." It was a whisper so full of love, his deep green eyes glowing as he ran his gaze over her soft curves. His head bent and he caught her lips in a gentle kiss which quickly turned hard and possessive when her little hand wrapped around his straining shaft and slid agonisingly over his heated flesh.
In an instant he was all fire and passion, gentleness forgotten as his wolf drove him crazy with her touch. He trailed kisses of hot fire down her neck and across her shoulders, searching out the soft swell of her breasts and then torturing her swollen, aching nipples with long licks of his tongue.
He suckled at her soft flesh, delighting in the feel of the hard tips of her nipples pressing against his tongue. She moaned loudly and writhed beneath him, sinking her fingers into his long auburn locks and holding him firmly to her body. She tasted like nectar, her excited moans sweet music to his ears. She belonged to him and tonight he would make her irrevocably his.
Ashleigh was burning up with need, pressing hard against Nors' body. He was driving her insane as he always did when he made love to her. She never quite knew whether she would receive tenderness or a rough tumble of a more earthy kind of loving from him. He liked to keep her guessing and she loved finding out what he had planned for her.
She was ready for him in an instant. She always was. Tonight she was desperate for their joining and wasn't willing to wait any longer. She wrapped her legs around his waist, bringing his aching, hard flesh in line with the molten heat between her legs. She rubbed against him until he growled loudly and raised his head.
"Impatient," he ground out, his expression harsh with the strain of holding back through his eyes danced with pleasure at her lustiness.
"Always," she breathed, moving against him once more and watching his jaw clench before he growled again and wrapped his big hands around her hips.
"Witch." It was a tortured laugh the word ended on as he thrust forward and entered her sleek, wet tightness in one fluid movement. "Ashleigh," he groaned, beginning to move instantly, unable to stop himself from loving her the way he ached to.
Ashleigh moved with him, holding onto his shoulders and crying out as he sank into her over and over again with such delicious torment. Pleasure engulfed her as they rode together in perfect harmony, loving each other as they had done countless times in the past. Home was with Nors, here in their bed. Being joined with him this way was everything.
Nors rode his beautiful wolf, shuddering with the exquisite pleasure she gave him, knowing he was returning that pleasure to her as he drove into her body relentlessly. He could feel his bloodlust rising, feel his fangs wanting to break free and pierce her soft skin. He didn't fight the feeling, allowing himself to brush the side of her neck gently without breaking the skin.
Ashleigh shuddered beneath him, her cries turning to a long wail as she began to crest the height of her pleasure, pulling him along with her. With a muttered cry he exploded deep inside her beautiful body and then his fangs bit down on the tender flesh of her neck.
Her hot blood filled his mouth with the sweetest, more intoxicating flavour he had ever experienced. He drank greedily, pulsing deep within her as ecstasy consumed him and her body writhed beneath him. Perfect. That was what she was, so totally perfect.
Ashleigh sighed with pleasure, holding Nors close as he closed the wound in her neck and shuddered one last time in her arms. He was hers now, forever. No one could ever take him away from her.
"I love you," she whispered softly, a muffled laugh escaping her as he twisted on his back and settled her completely on top of him. His strong arms embraced her tightly, his mouth kissing her neck gently.
"I love you," he growled softly, moving to kiss her mouth in a long, slow, drugging kiss, listening to her strong heartbeat intently and relaxing as it beat hard and fast. His bite had not harmed her. They were finally completely mated and nothing could tear them apart.
He stroked her gently as their breathing slowly calmed, feeling a contentment like never before. The wolf part of his nature was satisfied. His woman was blissfully happy in his arms. He couldn't ask for any more than that.
They were just dropping off to sleep with a cell phone rang.
"It's yours," Ashleigh groaned rolling off him to bury herself under the covers.
"No, it's yours," Nors argued cuddling into her back and kissing her shoulder. "Get up before it irritates me enough to destroy it."
"You get it," she laughed wiggling against him until he groaned in defeat and got out of bed to search for the offending piece of technology.
He found it in the pocket of her jeans lying in a heap on the floor, an eyebrow raising as he saw the identity of the caller. "It's Rafe."
Ashleigh immediately sat up, excitement glowing in her eyes. "Loretta," she gasped jumping out of bed and reaching for her clothes. "Don't just look at it, Nors. Answer the call. The baby's coming, I just know it is."
"I will rip you to fucking shreds if you don't get out of my way!"
The words were growled gutturally, hatred lacing every word. They had no effect on the tall blond man standing irresolutely in front of the bedroom door on the first landing of the large, wooden house deep in the heart of the forest.
His deep brown eyes remained fastened on the speaker unflinchingly for a moment and then his lips curled in a little smile.
"Do I seriously have to kick your ass?" he drawled in a dangerously soft, deep voice. "I mean seriously, you want to go there? You know it will only start a family feud. The girls will start fighting; we'll start fighting because they're fighting etc, etc, etc." His tone sounded almost bored though his gaze was intent.
"Get out of my fucking way." Cold, lethal words uttered so low they were almost unheard, or would have been if the object of the speaker's fury hadn't been a vampire and had such acute hearing skills.
A loud, tortured wail came from within the room and even the blond tensed at the sound. The man standing before him blanched, flinched in a deep shudder and his dark brown eyes turned wild.
"Please, Alexei!" Andrei's words were filled with anguish, his eyes leaving his brother's to turn to the door he so badly wanted through. He had to get to his Rose. She was in pain, crying out loudly every. He had promised her no one would ever hurt her again and they were torturing her in that room.
Yelling at Alexei hadn't worked; trying to hit him hadn't worked. He'd tried threatening him to no avail. Maybe pleading would be what finally convinced him to step aside so he could go to his mate?
"She doesn't want you in there until you calm down, brother," Alexei sighed deeply. Despite his tough stance, he really felt for his twin. Loretta's anguished sounds were quite haunting and he was hard pressed not to go into the room himself to protect her. But Cedar had told him to stand guard while she went and got Rafe and that was what he was doing.
Loretta herself had begged him not to let Andrei in until their Alpha arrived. There was no telling what his twin would do to the two doctors inside if he was allowed to get through the closed door. Andrei was almost completely out of control and reasoning with him was a complete nightmare at the moment. Maybe Rafe would be able to get through to him where the others had failed.
"She needs me!" Andrei hissed furiously, his talons coming out as he pointed at the door in agitation. "She's hurting, Alexei!"
The sound of the front door opening reached them though neither broke each other's gaze to turn to see who the new arrivals were. Alexei knew if he flinched even slightly his brother would be past him and then all hell would break loose.
Rafe Hanlon took one look at the standoff at the head of the stairs and bounded up them to the two vampires. He approached carefully, giving Andrei enough time to properly scent him before he laid a large hand on the other man's shoulder.
"She's having a baby, Andrei," he said soothingly, allowing enough authority into his voice without reverting to his command tone. He was treading very carefully with the Romanov twins, easing them into being pack members very slowly.
It was instinctive of them to fight against being 'puppets' as they viewed the Alpha/pack mentality. To date he had only ever commanded them twice, once when Andrei had hurt him and he'd done so unconsciously. The second time was when he had revealed that he was their Alpha.
At all other times over the last two months he had talked to them, convinced them of the course of action he wanted them to take. He had reasoned with them in an attempt to gain their trust and prove he wasn't the enemy. So far it had been working out well and he was determined to maintain this strategy when dealing with them.
Andrei Romanov fought the urge to shake his Alpha's hand from his shoulder. The duality within him wrought a furious battle as his vampire nature warred with the wolf aspect of his personality. Usually the vampire won most of these battles, unless Rafe was around. Then his inner wolf fought that little bit harder.
With a muffled curse he allowed his body to relax slightly, let the soothing influence of his Alpha help bury down the cold vampiric fury within him. He dragged his gaze from Alexei and turned to look at Rafe. "She's in so much pain."
"That's normal, Andrei," Cedar Alexander said with a hint of amusement in her voice. She had followed Rafe upstairs and now came a little closer despite the frosty look Alexei was shooting her way. She wasn't stupid enough to get too close to Andrei when he was so feral but she could see him starting to calm now Rafe was present.
She took a step closer and raised an eyebrow when Alexei growled a warning at her to keep away. "Behave!" she laughed, rolling her eyes at him and turning back to his brother.
"Giving birth is a painful experience for a woman but one we gladly endure so we can have our children," she explained patiently. "Loretta may be calling you all the names under the sun right now but the moment your daughter is born she will forget the pain instantly. This is the natural way of things, Andrei."
He still looked doubtful but his tension eased a little more. He had read so much about babies and childbirth but nothing had prepared him for having to listen to his Rose's tortured cries. He didn't care how natural Cedar said it was. It was intolerable to him.
And yet, Loretta refused to let him into the room until he calmed down and wasn't considered a threat to the two doctors inside. She was agreeing with everyone else. The only way into the room was to calm down and accept that this pain was necessary for their daughter to be born.
"What can I do?" he finally asked, his gaze sliding to each of them looking for some help.
"Now that you're calm you can go inside and be with your mate," Rafe decided. He made his tone a little more forceful without getting to command strength. "But if you even look like you're going to hurt either Luke or Mallen, you'll be kicked out so quickly your head will spin. And you won't be allowed back in until the baby is born."
Andrei met his eyes and for a second his vampiric nature rose in all its splendid glory and then it slowly subsided and nodded his head. "Yes, Alpha."
It didn't hurt so much to acquiesce to Rafe Hanlon as it first had. Probably the fact he didn't have to do it often helped. That and the fact that his Rose was so happy being in this new pack, that she shone with an effervescence that took his breath away as they worked side by side to begin the building of the new compound for the Armand-Hanlon pack.
Loretta had wanted to have their child in the new compound but it was still under construction despite how hard they had worked to complete it in time. The decision to have the baby at the Hanlon compound had been a blow but one his mate had quickly come to terms with. She was comfortable with the environment and that was all that mattered.
She had argued furiously with Luke that she was having what she termed 'a homebirth'. The doctor wanted their daughter to be born in the medical centre within the compound. Loretta wanted her born at home, preferably her small apartment that she still kept there.
The compromise had been to have the child in the Alpha's house. It had satisfied Luke's need to be able to have enough room for his medical equipment and Loretta's need to have a homebirth.
He had considered threatening Luke to concede to his Rose's demands and then decided against it. His daughter was an unknown, the first vampire/Were hybrid child to be born. She deserved the best possible care and this solution was the best compromise they could come up with.
Another long tortured sound came from the room and Andrei felt his anxiety levels increase a bit more but nowhere near as feral as they had been before Rafe arrived. He judged he was in control enough to enter the room and protect and support his mate.
He turned to look at Cedar and gave her a crooked little smile. "So, she's going to blame me for all of this?" he asked with a slightly resigned note in his voice.
His brother's mate laughed loudly. "Oh yes! This will most definitely be all your fault."
"Figures," he grumbled stepping around his brother and opening the bedroom door with a lightly trembling hand.
When he stepped into the room his fangs elongated instantly. Fury rolled through him, his talons clicking together, his eyes turning completely black. He was vaguely aware of Alexei and Rafe talking loudly behind him but his entire attention was fixated on the bed in the centre of the room.
Loretta was lying on her back, her face drenched with sweat, her hair sticking to her saturated skin. A grimace of pain was on her face, her beautiful brown eyes narrowed in agony as she groaned loudly. As if that wasn't the worst image he could perceive, the two doctors were what had him going feral instantly.
They had their heads buried between Loretta's bent legs!
A light blanket covered her pelvic area so he couldn't actually see their heads but it was more than obvious that they were looking at a part of his mate he seriously objected to. He didn't give a fuck why they were doing so. He was going to rip them to fucking pieces.
"If you can't control yourself, Romanov, get the fuck out of here. If you can, get your ass over here so I can hit you. "
Loretta's words, ground out through clenched teeth, startled him so much his head whipped round and he stared at her in complete shock. His woman was glaring at him as if she wanted to rip his throat out, her teeth bared as she all but snarled at him.
He blinked slowly, his feral side immediately subsiding as he continued to stare at her in amazement. Then his lips curled into a crooked smile and he cautiously headed across to the bed, keeping his gaze firmly fixed on her face and trying hard to ignore what the wolves were doing.
Loretta stifled down the sigh of relief as Andrei approached. For an instant she had been afraid he'd do something truly stupid and she'd have to waddle off the bed to keep him in line. Not something she had particularly wanted to do in her present condition. She'd chosen her approach carefully, deliberately challenging him with aggression to get his attention. It had worked, thank God!
Trust him to get all jealous at the doctors doing what was necessary. As far as she was concerned a hundred people could have their heads stuck between her legs right now if it meant Lily would stop pissing about and get on with being born. Dignity was the last thing on her mind at the moment. She just wanted her daughter to stop resisting and make her way into the world.
She didn't really want to hit Andrei. Well....maybe just a little. It wouldn't stop the pain but it would make her feel a bit better if he was suffering through it too. Then she looked into his eyes as he reached her and she could see the haunted expression in them and she gave him a little smile. He was suffering each and every time she was and there was nothing he could do to help her. It had to be ripping him apart.
"Asshole!" she grumbled through a wave of pain which threatened to take her breath away.
"My Rose," he chuckled softly, sinking down to the bed beside her. He wasn't sure what to do exactly so he did what felt naturally to him. He peeled off his shirt and his belt, socks and boots. He left his jeans on and very carefully eased Loretta's top half up so he could slide in behind her.