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Highland Wolf Pact:Compromising Positions(39)

By:Selena Kitt

What would it mean, to take such a remedy?

Kirstin wouldn't ever have to worry about changing. There would be no  need to lock her up once a month. She could live in the MacFalon castle,  side by side with the MacFalons, not as an outsider, but as one of  them.         



As The MacFalon's woman. His wife.

And …  she could have his children.

So what if it was permanent? She wanted to be with Donal. Now and forever.


She'd already decided that. Sibyl's cure would make that possible.

She had to get her hands on it.

"Try t'get some sleep, Lady Sibyl," Moira said softly. "G'nite."

"Thank you," Sibyl called. "Good night."

Kirstin panicked, looking for somewhere to hide. She slipped under the  legs of a table that held a vase filled with flowers, crouching in the  darkness as Moira came out of the door, closing it behind her.

Did she have the cure? And if she did, what was she going to do with it?

Kirstin watched the old woman carrying her lantern through the hallway.  She was heading toward the kitchen. When she saw Moira push open the  kitchen door, she slipped out from under the table and followed. The  door opened silently and she saw Moira standing with her lantern near  the shelves where they kept all the flour and oils she used to cook.

The old woman took down a canister from a high shelf, putting something  inside it. Then she put it back up there, standing on her tiptoes and  pushing it all the way to the back. Kirstin held her breath, waiting for  Moira to turn and discover her. She would say she'd come down for  something to eat, she decided, getting her explanation ready, but Moira  didn't turn her way. Instead, she headed toward the back of the kitchen.

Kirstin breathed a silent sigh of relief, seeing Moira lift the lantern,  looking down at the floor. Kirstin saw many of her pack mates sleeping  in a pile on the kitchen floor in front of the low fire burning there,  and smiled. It would be the place that most felt like home, she  realized, as Moira looked at them, shaking her grey head.

"Wulvers," Moira said with an exasperated sigh, and then she chuckled,  heading past the wulver pile, toward the servant's quarters.

Once she was gone, Kirstin made her way over to the shelves, reaching up  and finding the canister. Inside, was a tiny vial of dark liquid. She  stood there holding it in the palm of her hand, looking at it in the dim  light of the fire. Was she really going to do this?

She looked at the wulvers sleeping by the fire, realizing if she did  take it, she'd never be part of them again. She would live wholly in the  human world.

But she would have Donal. And he would have her.

That convinced her.

She had to find a place to take it, a place away from everyone, because she didn't want anyone to interfere.

Kirstin slipped the vial into the pocket of her plaid to keep it safe.

It was her future.

Hope in a bottle.

* * *

She fell asleep in the first den, rolled up completely in her plaid by  the spring, the empty vial beside her. The potion had been sweet, tangy,  not bitter, as she'd expected. Her last run as a wulver had been  through the MacFalon lands, down into the tombs, and had ended in the  grotto of Ardis and Asher. She thought of them as she drifted off, not  sure if she was sleepy because of the cure, or because she was just  plain exhausted.

Donal shook her awake, swearing in Gaelic when her eyes opened to meet  his in the early morning sunlight. It came in through the grate above,  making the spring look dappled and inviting. Kirstin smiled, remembering  the night, putting her arms around his neck.

"I tell ye not t'leave me," he snapped, pushing her away so he could frown at her. "And what d'ye do? Ye run away again?"

"I did'na run away," she protested, stretching and yawning. She felt rested for the first time in days.

"Ye left t'castle! I had n'idea where ye were!" Donal exploded, grabbing  her to him and shaking her again. Her plaid fell away and he looked  down at her nude body. "I swear, lass, if ye e'er do anythin' like that  again, I'll take ye over m'knee and-"

"Spank me?" A smile played on her lips. "Aye, I think, mayhaps, I deserve t'be spanked … "

"Och, yer gonna be t'death'o'me," he groaned, pulling her to him and  kissing her. It was a hard, punishing kiss and she whimpered, but she  clung to him as they parted, feeling his body against hers, the cool air  on her skin. She'd never felt so alive.

But was she different? She couldn't tell.

"Do I look different?" she asked, cocking her head at him.

"Ye look delicious." His hands moved down to cup her breasts. They had  made slow, easy, sleepy love the night before. The memory of it made her  feel warm all over. But she was rested now, and ready for more of him.         



"I took the cure." There was no sense keeping it from him, she decided.  Besides, if it worked, it meant they could be together. At least, that  was her best hope.

"What cure?" Donal blinked at her, distracted from her breasts by her words.

"This." Kirstin picked up the vial, shaking it. There was a tiny bit of  liquid left in the bottom. "Sibyl did it. She made the cure. It  works-Beitrus took it, and she can'na change anymore."

"What're ye talkin' about?" Donal looked from her to the vial and back  again, as if trying to make sense of her words. "What cure? A cure  for … ?"

"A cure fer t'curse." She laughed at his dumbfounded expression. "Donal,  this means I'll ne'er change again. It means I can marry ye. It means I  can have yer bairn … "

Her eyes filled with tears at this last.

"How d'ye know it worked?" He took the vial from her, holding it up in the light. "How d'ye know what else it might do t'ye?"

"I do'na know." She frowned, looking down at her body, then back at him. "I guess I should try t'change and see-"

Donal frowned, looking up at the grating above.

"What?" Kirstin asked, frowning.

He cocked his head, shushing her. "Ye do'na hear that?"

"Hear what?" She blinked at him in surprise. Her wulver ears were far  better than his human ones at picking up sound. If there was something  to hear, surely …

But I'm not a wulver anymore.

The realization dawned on her as Donal stood, pointing an angry finger in her direction.

"They're soundin' t'alarm." Donal glowered at her. "Ye do'na follow me. Stay put, ye ken?"

"Aye." She nodded, pulling her plaid around her. "What is it?"

"I'm gonna find out." He made his way over the rocks, glancing back at  her before he slipped out the exit. "I mean it, Kirstin. Ye'll be safe  'ere. Stay put."

"Aye," she agreed again, nodding. "I'll wait fer ye."

She intended to do as he asked. She really did. She knew she'd scared  him, taking off to the first den. She hadn't meant to fall asleep. She  just wanted to make sure the cure had worked before she went back to the  castle to surprise him with her news.

But the more she sat there, shivering on the rock, the more worried she  became. Why had they sounded the alarm? Had Eldred and Moraga somehow  managed to complete their spell after all? The thought of Donal riding  back to the castle to face an army of enchanted wulver warriors left her  choked with fear.

She washed her face and hands in the spring, trying to keep the latter  from trembling. She got dressed, sitting back down in the slant of light  from above, to wait. Mayhaps it was good news, she told herself.  Mayhaps Eldred and the witch had been found. Donal would come back and  tell her, and they would celebrate. They would make love in the grotto.  Mayhaps they would even make a baby.

That thought made her smile.

That's when she heard it.

She didn't have wulver's ears anymore, but her human ones couldn't mistake the sound.

It was the high, panicked scream of a terrified horse.

Kestrel? Donal's big, black war horse? Could it be?

Fear clawed her throat, but she willed herself to wait, to be still.  Donal had told her stay put. But what if he was hurt? What if he was up  there, right now? Hurt? What if he needed help?

Kirstin couldn't stay put.

She ran across the rocks and out through the kitchen. Once she reached  the tunnels, she changed to wolf form, just because it was faster. But  instead of paws and claws clicking on the rock, she looked down at the  soft leather of her boots.

Because while she expected to change, while she did what had always come  naturally to transform her into a wulver, she didn't change at all.

She couldn't change.

Her lungs hurt by the time she got to the stairs and she groaned as she  started up them. Her thighs burned when she reached the top. Donal's  horse wasn't tethered anywhere. And she didn't have a horse at all.