**I know it’s a lot later than normal, but I can’t be blamed. Ninetendo updated Animal Crossing New Horizons and dropped a DLC and I can’t help it if that’s where all my attention has been. But better late than never. Here’s part 4 of Gareth and Owen’s story! Check out the blog for the past parts if you need to catch up. And we’re not done yet. Enjoy!**
“That’s a very bad idea.”
Aeron scoffed at my statement, waving the hand that wasn’t petting Remy. “Don’t be a baby. Pull up your grown up pants.”
Beside me, Owen growled, the sound not quite animal in his human chest. If I hadn’t know he was a werewolf, that sound would have clinched it. And just that quick, I slid my hand around the back of his neck and squeezed to soothe him. He leaned into me, though he never took his gaze off Aeron. When he spoke, his words were slightly distorted, as though his fangs were starting to shift.
“Watch. Your. Words.”
Aeron dismissed that as well, not intimidated in the least by my werewolf almost-mate. It had been two days, and we were getting to know each other. I’d quickly learned how much touch meant to him, and how it calmed him. To be fair, it worked wonders for me as well. As long as it was Owen doing the touching.
Not that there had been that kind of touching yet. But I knew when we got there, that would be just as effective. Probably more so.
A nudge to my side had me startling back to the present. Owen’s smirk was weirdly sweet. “Focus, dear.”
I fought not to blush. “I’m focused. On the fact that I don’t want to die. And confronting the Witches Council will produce that result.”
The growl again, this time deep from Owen’s chest, and the way his eyes flashed, I knew the wolf was at the surface. He hauled me close, and I let him. Not only did I have no desire to fight him, but I knew that if I did, it wouldn’t go well for me. He was ten times stronger than I was, even with my magic.
“You will not die. I won’t allow it.” Owen’s voice was deep and broken.
“You won’t.” Aeron’s tone was earnest “It’s the best bet. We go in there as a united front. At least part of the council will respect you just for showing up. By their own laws, they have to let you plead your case. And with both of us bonded now, our powers combined would be enough to at least get us out of there if things go south.”
I shook my head, panic climbing in my chest. “They could put down a witch trap, or strength their wards, or station enforcers at the doors or—”
Owen pressed his forehead to my temple, cupping the opposite cheek with his hand. Instantly I relaxed. Not completely, but just having him right there helped me to calm. We breathed together, and I took in the scent of him. Usually, smell wasn’t as big a thing for me, and maybe it was part of the bonding process, but scent mattered right now to me more than it ever had. He smelled like my body wash, and my detergent, but underneath that, something earthy. Like the forest.
I pressed a kiss to his wrist, because it was right there, and he sucked in a deep breath. It caught in his chest, stuttering it out on the exhale. I breathed it in, suddenly needing him to give me the air. It was as though a switch flipped, and my entire being was tuned entirely into him.
“Oh.” It was a gasp and a word, and Owen pressed against me.
Distantly, I heard Aeron clear his throat. We ignored him. He muttered something about leaving, but we ignored that too. It didn’t matter. Nothing did. Not my impending doom, or my brother, or even the outside world. Suddenly theonly thing that was important was Owen.
“Give me consent now, or tell me to stop, because things are—”
“Yes,” I murmured. Then stronger. “Yes, please.”
Owen kissed me, hard and fast, owning my mouth. Lips, teeth, tongue. Devouring heat and sensuality. He owned me in that kiss, and I let him have control, giving everything he asked for and moaning with it. I was only partially aware of pushing closer, of him pulling me into his lap, of his tight grip on my hips that was sure to leave bruises I would relish later.
I whimpered when he pulled his mouth away, and when he tucked my face against his neck, I panted wetly, just trying to breathe. Owen’s arms were a vice around me, squeezing almost painfully tight, but I needed it.
“I won’t let anything happen to you. Or our bond.”
“Me too.” I laughed, a little hysterically, even as I tried to rock closer. “I mean, I won’t let anything happen to either of us.”
A few beats of silence, then Owen said, “Is he right?”
I lifted my face to look deep into his eyes. “My brother? About confronting the council?” Owen nodded and I shrugged, continuing, “Probably. He’s had more dealings with them. And our parents.”
Owen cupped my face. “You trust him?”
His gaze searched mine and then he nodded once. “Then I will too. But tomorrow.”
I quirked an eyebrow. “Why tomorrow?”
“Because tonight,” he said, voice low and full of heat. “I have a mate to bond with.” Then he hesitated, a hitch in his breath, and said, “If he’ll have me.”
The human part of my brain urged caution. Said it was way too fast. Said we needed to slow down and talk things out and take our time.
But the rest of me just wanted him. Wanted everything he was offering. Wanted him as a person and as a familiar. As a mate. My life had turned upside down in the past few days, but it didn’t matter. Because fate had given me Owen to walk through it with me. We’d have to deal with the council. And we’d have to figure out how to use our power and how to be mates. But that was a future worry. At least tomorrow. Tonight, it didn’t matter.
I smiled, slow and sweet. “He’ll have you.”