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Hunter, Hunted: Claimed by the Enemy(10)

By:Madelene Martin


       
           



       

The thought of it made her stomach clench in anxiety. What if Lucas were seriously injured or killed  –  where would she be then?

She grimaced. What a situation she found herself in, worried for the fate of her captor, trying to make a life among her enemies. But that's how it was. She could no longer deny she and he were bonded  –  she felt it. Maybe their fates really were intertwined.

As usual Lucas sensed her anxiety, if not all the reasons. He moved closer, and nuzzled against her neck. "Don't worry," he said. "It will not be my death."

.

Lucas tried to anticipate her needs, but knew so little about how humans lived that he was hopeless at it. It was almost endearing. He didn't understand her need for modesty  –  why she insisted on wearing clothing even when it was hot, or the reason she blushed to hear or see others mating in the open.

Still, he made an effort. To the tent they now called home, he brought things he thought she would appreciate. Flat woven cushions to sit on, candles and a lantern, a bone comb for her hair.

On their second night with the pack they lay together in the tent. They caressed each other, languorously exploring. It was slow and unhurried, not like their passionate matings in the forest.

She learned what made him sigh, the places on him that were sensitive. She discovered how to bring him pleasure with her mouth, as he had done for her.

All her anxiety melted away when they lay like this. Adrianna felt her sexual side awakening  –  the side she'd never known was there.

Still, aware of the people sleeping in tents around them, she had to bury her face against him to muffle her moans, forcing herself to be quiet when her mate brought her to the heights of bliss.

The next day, they finally had time alone. Lucas had been away all day on a hunt. The wolves had brought back several deer, and the afternoon had been spent preparing the meat. Adrianna had helped, determined to carry her own weight and appear competent in the pack's eyes.

As the sun began to turn the sky pink and orange, she stood, looking out over the grassland.

Lucas came up behind her. She started, jumping a little, then sighed and relaxed as he wrapped his arms around her.

"What is it?" He asked, always able to sense when something was on her mind.

"I could swear I hear the call of gulls." Adrianna told him, holding back the real things she worried about. "Is there a lake nearby?" She had heard gulls on her one trip to a neighbouring village on a lake. The birds made such a clamour she'd always remembered it.

He gave a little laugh, his breath disturbing her hair. "No lake," he said. "It's the ocean."

"What?" Adrianna twisted in his arms and stared up at him. "We're near the ocean?"

"Of course. The bitter coast."

"How far is it?" She asked, excitement bubbling up inside her. "I've never seen it before."

"Really? How can you not have seen the ocean?"

She scowled, but saw the mischief in his eyes. He was teasing her. She smacked him uselessly on the chest.

Lucas laughed quietly, and grabbed her wrist, holding it away from his body as he bent to kiss her. She brought her other hand up to push him away, and he caught that too. It was a game between them  –  a token resistance that fuelled the fires of their passion. He kissed her. His lips were soft and warm.

"Will you take me there?" She breathlessly asked him. She wondered what the sea was like  –  she'd heard it was just water as far as you could see. Apparently it went on forever, until the edge of the world. She wondered if it was beautiful. She thought it must be.

Lucas didn't see the sense in promising to do something tomorrow. He believed in doing things right now. He shifted to his wolf form, and Adrianna climbed gleefully onto his back.

It only took a short while to get there. She heard the waves long before they reached the ocean, and the earth became sandy under the wolf's feet. He stopped, and she got off his back, and they walked together, her hand resting on his fur.

The sun was setting. The water was dark beneath a brilliant sky of purple, blue and pink. Little waves rolled in and crashed on the beach. Adrianna walked in the wet sand, edging closer to the sea. She stared at the endless sea, straining her eyes to see any sign of what was on the other side.

Her mate walked up beside her, changing to his human form.

"Did you know, our stories say that once Man sailed across the ocean?" She said, with a laugh. "It's silly. How can you sail across it, if there's nothing on the other side but the end of the world? Sometimes I think people just make this stuff up." She grinned at him, and he smiled and shrugged. She saw the desire in his eyes when he looked at her, and felt a little thrill.                       
       
           



       

She dipped a toe in the water. It was cold. "Is it safe?" She asked, imagining monsters in the depths.

"It is when you're with me."

Adrianna didn't know how to swim well, but they splashed and played. They made love on the sand, and she didn't hold herself back or try to be quiet, letting her cries of passion ring out over the rolling of the waves.

.

They arrived back at the camp, damp and sandy, to find a roaring bonfire and the wolf-kin laughing and dancing around it. Several of them gambolled around in wolf form, chasing each other between tents and leaping over obstacles. Children ran around by themselves without any fear. Everyone feasted on roasted meat.

The Alphas watched over it all, serene and smiling. Max showed no sign of animosity, any conflict between he and Lucas forgotten for the moment. It was the way of the wolves' society. They were first and foremost a pack - a family. Issues between them were put aside until they needed to be aired, in the interest of harmony in the group.

Adrianna looked for her friends. Martha was leaning back in the arms of her mate and Catelynn rested in a pile amongst a big grey wolf and another smaller wolf.

Starving, Adrianna ate her fill of roasted meat. To her delight, there were vegetables too  –  onions and potatoes and carrots. Martha explained that during the summer when the pack settled in one place, she and Catelynn kept a garden.

In wolf-form, Lucas let the little wolves climb all over him, playfully batting them away and mock-growling. They tugged on his fur and ears.

Illura came over, her tan skin glowing in the light of the fire, and sat down. Adrianna was unsure how to react, wary of the issues between Illura's mate and her own. "How are you, little one?" She asked.

Adrianna looked at her. Illura showed no sign of anything but genuine friendliness. "I am well." She answered with a small smile.

"I suppose it is hard for you here," the Alpha female said. "It is quite a perspective change."

Addy blinked, surprised, and stared at the woman. "Yes." Was all she could answer.

"My mother was human." Illura said.

"Really?"

The Alpha nodded. "She taught me a lot about your people."

They were quiet for a minute, watching the others.

"Do you miss them?" Illura asked.

Addy had to think about it for a moment. She had asked herself the same question. She thought of her brother Eli, rough, scarred and full of hatred. Of the cowed women and children of her village, and the hunters that set the law for everyone. "Yes, and no."

The Alpha nodded, seemingly unsurprised. "You will find we are not as terrible as you have been taught. Not in all ways, at least." She revealed her sharp white teeth with a smile. "Anyway. We wolves are the future. If you would have a future, you are in the best place."

"What do you mean?" A coldness crept up her arms, and Addy shivered. Was the woman goading her after all?

But Illura looked at her kindly, with something like pity in her golden eyes. "You see, humans are the relics. The world has moved on." She said. "The vines and forest have overtaken your creations. The wild has eaten away everything people once built." She raised her chin, looking fierce and proud. "Beasts once driven to the brink of extinction by your people now live in abundance, unchallenged. Our kind rules the wilderness."

Adrianna stared at the fire. After a moment, she reluctantly nodded.

"Yet, you stubbornly cling, believing you own the earth and it has merely been taken from you. You kill yourselves fighting to regain what no longer belongs to you."

"What else can we do?" Adrianna asked. Her eyes were stinging from the smoke, and unshed tears.

Illura shrugged. "Adapt."

"Can we ever work together? Or at least have peace?"

The female looked at her. Her eyes looked older than her youthful, pretty face. And she looked a little sad. "I don't know."

"We can." Adrianna said, with more surety than she felt. Illura smiled at her, and she smiled back.

The seed of a wish, a plan, was planted in her heart.





8.


In the morning, she started the long, painstaking process of making a bow. She filled a water skin and borrowed a knife and a small hand-axe for a trip to the woods.

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