Authors: Veronica Del Rosa
“I’m a failure. I don’t deserve to be an Enforcer or your Beta. How can I when I can’t even handle a fight between Alphas? We don’t live in a peaceful world. I can’t run and hide from every battle. They broke me.” She glanced up at him. Rage at herself ripped through her. She couldn’t save the other prisoners. “Don’t you understand?! They broke me! I’m useless.”
Anger blazed in Derek’s eyes, and he roared, “You are
useless! You are a strong, brave and amazing woman. You survived the hell they put you through. Now spit in their face, and show them they may have broken you, but they didn’t ruin you. Broken can be fixed.”
He moved a step closer, then another until he stood by the couch. Such hesitation on his face, worry over her adding years to him. She had failed him, too. A mate to the Alpha needed her own strength, and she was a mess, unfit to be by his side.
Sobbing harder, she stared at him, no longer seeing a man who admired her but one who pitied her.
“Sweetheart, please come sit on the couch with me. Talk to me,” he cajoled. He held out a hand. Sylvia shook her head.
Derek didn’t move, his hand outstretched as if he’d wait an eternity for her. Minutes passed, her quiet sobs the only sound. Stubborn, bull-headed and immoveable when he wanted something. Hesitantly, she reached up and wrapped her fingers around his hand. The warmth of his palm travelled along her skin.
The couch creaked when he settled his large frame on it next to her. Half a foot of space separated them. She wanted to cuddle into him, ignore the jagged fragments of her sanity and sweep it under the mental rug. If she didn’t talk about it, it wasn’t real, right?
“You’re not broken,” he said, soft and calm. “You went through a horrible ordeal, and you’re still healing.”
So understanding, so willing to believe the best of her. But he didn’t know the whole truth, did he? How fucking
“I didn’t fight back. I froze and did nothing to protect myself...”
to protect them
, her nasty inner voice reminded her. “He would’ve killed me if you hadn’t stopped him.”
White knuckles and laced fingers caught her attention, held tight together like nothing would pry them apart.
Don’t look at Derek, don’t lose his respect.
“Darling, you froze, yes, but you wouldn’t have let him kill you. Your instincts would’ve kicked in. You have too much desire to live to just give up.”
Give up. Many of them had given up, driven to suicide by the guards. The pain, the hopelessness too much.
“The pain I could handle,” a hoarse whisper as the secret tumbled from her lips. “It wasn’t much worse than what they put us through at the Academy. But I couldn’t trust my food or water or even the air. Any one of them could’ve carried the drug that knocked me out and left me helpless. No matter what I did, they had complete control over me. I stopped eating and drinking for over a week, and it didn’t matter.”
Let me go!
Why are you doing this?
It hurts! Stop!
The voices always begged at first, the new ones not understanding the depth of evil that experimented on them. The scientists continued amongst the screams and sobs. Mercy unknown to them.
We’ll remove her finger next. Keep her awake or sedate her?
Calm, dispassionate and standing outside her door.
“Sylvia...” Derek’s voice trailed off.
The compassion in his voice broke the lock on her mental vault. Images poured into her mind, ones she’d tried so damn hard to deny.
“Each time I woke up, there’d be a new pain to deal with, some other violation they’d perpetrated on me.” She swallowed hard, her throat dry from her remembered screams. “Always sedated for their experiments, but I heard them discussing them afterwards. They’d soundproofed the rooms, but I could still hear them.”
Finger grew back within twenty-four hours, can’t even tell it’s not the original. Fascinating. How long would a leg take to grow?
Please, no, don’t do it. I won’t tell, I promise. Just let me go!
Another one who thought they could bargain. He didn’t last long. Gone within a week.
Sylvia wiped at her cheek with a shaky hand. “I wasn’t even a person to them. Calm, without an ounce of empathy towards me, they had discussion about which organ to remove next. I learned I could re-grow a finger in less than a day. An eye takes longer, though. A leg, almost four days.”
“Fuck...” he breathed, revulsion coating the single word.
With a sad nod, she continued as memories flickered, crowding for attention. “They wanted to see the full extent of our regeneration. Decapitation, one of the few ways to kill us. Only, they didn’t want me dead.” Her fingers traced the invisible line on her throat. “They severed my neck. A tiny piece of flesh anchored my head to my body. And then they recorded the results.”
Astonishing. She survived a near beheading.
I told you she would...
“I woke up from that one nearly healed. They could’ve kept me sedated for the full healing, but my pain threshold was another fascination for them. How much could I take? A low dose of the drug, break something and then record how I coped. I never knew what I’d wake up to.”
Silence stretched between them, the horror of her captivity dragging her into the cesspool of self-hatred. Derek would never trust her now, put the safety of the pack in her hands. A broken, lame werewolf.
I’m worthless. I might as well leave the pack,
she thought in disgust.
Derek cut into her thoughts. “What you’re telling me is they made you into a coward.”
His words held no meaning for her at first, so foreign from anything he would say to her. And then they slammed into her, the last word a bullet to her heart. The cruelty stunned her.
. The ultimate insult to an Enforcer, no matter the race. They prided themselves on doing their duty without flinching. Rogues preyed on the weak, and the Enforcers weeded them out before they did too much damage. A tough job. Enforcers swiftly removed cowards from their ranks, as they threatened the unit as a whole.
“I’m not a coward,” she hissed and turned towards him. “I’m a damn good Enforcer and Beta. I’ve put my life on the line many times, facing death without flinching. How dare you! If you weren’t my Alpha, I’d tear you apart for that insult. I went through hell and survived it. I didn’t break for them, didn’t give them my wolf like they wanted. I was strong, and I defied them. No matter what they did, I was stronger than them! So fuck you, and get the hell out of my room!”
Her harsh breathing sounded overly loud in the tense silence. A softness in Derek’s eyes confused her. Why wasn’t he angry with her?
Soft, so soft, he said, “Now think over the words you just said. Did they break you? Are you worthless?”
Derek forgot to
breathe as he waited for her answer. Could she see herself the way he saw her? Her strength awed him. The things those scientists had done to her. A lesser person would have crawl into a corner and retreated from the world. Instead, she took part in her own rescue.
He studied her. Faint lines of stress and fatigue bracketed her mouth and eyes. She wasn’t sleeping properly, nor was she eating as well as she should. Her vibrant red hair was pulled back in a careless ponytail. Several loose strands framed her face. The smattering of freckles across the bridge of her nose was more pronounced now due to the paleness of her skin. She hadn’t spent any time in the sun during the summer, and now she was hesitant to go out for long periods.
He wanted to gather her in his arms and keep her safe. Protect her from all harm. But he couldn’t protect her from her own demons. She needed to do that on her own.
“I’m not worthless.” The awe in her voice gave him hope.
“No, you’re not. You’re amazing. I might be biased, though.” He smiled, the one reserved for this special woman, and laid his hand on hers. She threaded her fingers through his.
Leaning over, she placed her head on his bare shoulder. The heat and nearness of her was a delicious burn.
sweet and understanding
not words used in the same sentence when describing Derek. And yet those words suited him.
Did he tick her off with his harsh statements? Damn right he did. But those statements were meant to jolt her, make her view the situation from a different angle. So wrapped up in the torture, unable to rescue anyone, not even herself, she hadn’t come to terms with it. Part of her thought she was a victim, that she’d always be a victim.
The truth, though, was that she was a survivor. An unfortunate series of events caused her capture. Cruel, inhumane people hurt her and the others. None of it was her fault. Astonishment flooded her as the truth hit her.
Not her fault.
She hadn’t caused this. Her actions hadn’t invited torture.
The breakthrough crushed her, forcing the breath from her lungs.
Clear focus and an unemotional outlook unfurled within her, letting her see the damage. They’d stolen her strength, her pride, her sense of self. Deep within, though, the seeds of her old self remained.
They would not defeat her.
She couldn’t save the other prisoners, but that didn’t mean she’d failed them. The situation had been impossible, no way to escape without help.
She glanced down at their entwined fingers in her lap. His dark ones curled through her light ones, anchoring her with his solid presence. Her adolescent crush on him deepened, turning into love. Seeing her at her worse, he sought to comfort her. He didn’t flinch away from the anguish she bared and instead accepted it. No coddling. He didn’t want her weak and helpless, dependant on him for everything. He pushed her and expected her to push back.
Smooth skin warmed her cheek. An intense craving for a connection with him engulfed her. With a slight turn of her head, her lips brushed against his bicep. Her tongue flicked out, tasting his unique scent.
“I need you,” she mouthed against him.
“I’m yours. Whatever you want.” He placed a tender kiss on the top of her head.
“Control.” A part of her screamed for her to silence her words, but she couldn’t. “I need control for the first time.”
A shudder went through Derek, and she tensed, afraid she’d offended him. Alphas don’t submit. She opened her mouth to retract her request, but Derek beat her to it.
“Yes. Yes, please.”
She pulled back to look at him. “Are you sure? I want you to touch me when and how I tell you. You come when I tell you.”
He closed his eyes briefly, and a dark flush stained his cheekbones. “I’ve had fantasies about this, about you. I have almost absolute control all of the time. I’m happy to relinquish it to you. I trust you.”
His confession thrilled her and ramped up her need for him. This powerful man, hers to command.
She wetted her lips with the tip of her tongue, and his burning gaze followed the pink flesh. He made no move, though, simply waited for her instructions. A slow, wicked grin curved her lips when she realized he wore only a towel and nothing else. How had she missed that?
A faint line of hair trailed from his belly button and disappeared beneath the towel. That was one treasure trail she wanted to follow, but first…
“Undress me slowly, but don’t touch,” she commanded.
A fine tremor swept through his body as he reached out for her shirt. Oh so slowly he lifted the hem, exposing her flesh to his greedy sight. When he swept it off her, he leaned forward and reached around to her bra clasp, taking care not to brush her skin with his.
He sighed as her breasts bounced free.
“Beautiful,” he breathed.
She stood up, letting the now aching globes sway near his face. His tongue slipped out to glide across his lips.
“Pants,” she ordered. Her arousal amped up when he unbuttoned her jeans and pulled them down, his breath fanning across her covered clit.
He knelt in front of her and helped her from her jeans. Tilting his head, he grinned sinfully at her as he hooked his fingers into her thong and drew them down. His unsteady exhale brushed against her now exposed clit, and wetness gathered.
A low rumble vibrated his chest, and she knew he smelled her increasing arousal.
“Lay on the bed on your back. Leave the towel on,” she said, not giving him a chance to seize control.
Without hesitation, he obeyed her. His muscles flexed as he prowled to the bed and sprawled out. His previous words,
, came to mind, and she almost laughed. Oh, she’d do more than that.
Gliding forward until she reached the foot of the bed, she studied his delicious body spread out for her. The towel had ridden up, showing off his thick thighs. Dark hair peppered his bare skin, and she knew exactly how they’d feel against her. A sensation she desperately wanted again.
Sexual frustration pushed at her. She’d had a small taste of Derek, and her body had demanded more of it ever since. Had demanded his cock buried deep inside her as she rode him. She wanted hard, fast and wild. Next time, they’d take it slow. Next time, she’d savour him.
She crawled on to the bed. Pausing at his hips, she yanked the towel open, and his erection sprang free. It jumped, eager for attention, and she obliged. She ran one hand along the length of him, stopping at the crown. Leaning forward, she sucked him into her mouth, enough to tease and leave him aching.
“You’re mine. All mine and only mine.” She hadn’t meant to say it. The words had just slipped out.
“Yes,” he groaned, “all yours. No one else.”
She moved upwards, trailing her nipples along his stomach and then chest. Straddling him, she settled her wet folds against his straining cock and slid along him. The head pressed against her clit, and she shuddered in pleasure.
She trailed her hands over his strong shoulders, down his chest and across his belly. The sight of his cock trapped between his stomach and her legs pushed at her. She couldn’t wait any longer.
Reaching down, she lifted his erection and slid down inch by slow inch until he fully impaled her.
“Touch my breasts. Suck them, lick them.”
Lowering her chest to his face, she trailed a nipple across his open lips. He latched on, striking out with a predator’s speed.
He teased and tormented her, sucking on one then the other nipple. She grabbed his shoulders and held on while she rode him. His tongue was heaven.
More, she needed more. She grasped his hair and tugged his head up. Her lips claimed his and her tongue licked the seam of his mouth. He opened, and she stroked his tongue with hers. All sense of control disappeared as a fire raged through her. Only Derek could put this fire out. She’d never felt such an all-consuming, mind-drugging hunger before, as if she’d explode if she didn’t get release.
Harder, faster she moved, slamming his cock deep inside her. Her clit rubbed against his pubic bone, and her orgasm consumed her, starting from the center and raging outwards. She threw her head back and shuddered.
“Come for me,” she moaned, still riding him. “I want you to come in me.”
He lifted his hips and increased the pounding rhythm. Within moments he obeyed her, spilling his orgasm into her.
Spent and panting, she collapsed onto him.
“You don’t think we’re finished, do you? We’ve got several hours of pleasure ahead of us.” Laughter rumbled in his chest. “Finally I have you where I want you – naked and in bed.”
He looked quite smug.
“You’ve had me here before like this,” she countered.
Her heart wasn’t in the argument, though. She was too busy kissing his shoulder.
“Interrupted. Woe to anyone who knocks this time. I will nail their hide to the door to serve as a warning to others.” His threat, along with his fingers on her ribcage, had her giggling.
“Oooh, my ferocious man. How about you put that energy into pleasing me? I do recall someone telling me there were to be hours of fun, and so far, I’m not seeing it.” She arched an eyebrow at him and then squealed when he blew a raspberry on her belly.
“Evil wench. I’ll show you hours of fun.” He pounced on her, pinning her arms above her head with one hand. His free hand kneaded one breast while his mouth played with the other one. She groaned deep in her throat.
“Do you still want control?” he asked, his voice muffled by her breast.
“No, not this time. But I will again. Are you fine with that?”
“Hell yes, I have no problem with you ordering me around.” He glanced up, her nipple disappearing and reappearing in his mouth. Desire shone in his eyes. “Just let me know, and I’ll happily obey your every command.”
The hand at her breast wandered down, and she sighed in disappointment. The sigh caught in her throat as his fingers slipped between her wet folds, teasing her clitoris. Her hips shifted, and she didn’t know if she was trying to get closer or to escape his wonderfully tortuous fingers. He slid a finger inside her and pushed his palm against her mound.
She gasped, wondering if it was possible to die from pleasure. It felt amazing, but she needed more. She craved more.
“Please, oh please. I want you inside me. I want you on top of me, pounding me.”
He growled in response, a wonderful sound that made her wetter. When he lifted his head from her breast, her nipple stayed between his teeth. He bit her, a tender nibble, and she cried in enjoyment. She never knew pain could feel so exquisite.
He lowered his hips between her thighs. Resting his weight on one arm, he held his erection with his other hand.
“Watch. I need you to watch as I enter you. I need you to see as you take me into your body.” She couldn’t look away if she’d wanted to. The erotic words wrapped around her mind and planted a driving desire to see as well as experience her body accepting his.
Guiding himself, he pressed the thick head into her, inching deeper. She took all of him, loving every inch. The sight of his thighs resting against the back of hers, opening her to his view, pushed her closer to the edge.
Glancing up, the raw desire consuming her echoed in his eyes. In that moment she had pure clarity. She would gladly die for this man, would kill for him. She’d never give him up without a fight, for he was hers. He belonged to her, body, heart and soul. And she was his. There was nothing she wouldn’t give him.
Her thoughts scattered in the wind when he moved, slowly at first. She shifted her legs and wrapped them around his waist, craving a deeper penetration. Bringing his hand between them, he thumbed her clit while driving harder and faster into her. A scream built along with an orgasm. She had no thoughts, was just pure driving desire acting on animal instinct.
She bit Derek’s shoulder, hard enough to draw blood, to mark him as hers. He slammed into her and she exploded. The intense orgasm rippled through her body, and she tightened her legs on his hips to anchor herself.
He threw back his head, his muscles corded tightly on his neck, and a hoarse shout erupted from him. Moments later, he collapsed on top of her, his heavy body a delicious weight. She never wanted him to move, but all too soon he withdrew and flopped onto his back on the bed.
Her heart racing and legs a little shaky from the wild ride, she forced herself to stand. Clean-up was now the foremost thought in her mind.
“Where are you going, sweetheart? I’m not done with you yet.” The lazy satisfaction in Derek’s voice made her smile.
“Clean-up. I’m feeling sticky, and if we’re spending all day in bed, I want something to help tidy us up.” She continued toward the bathroom, her legs less shaky.
When she reached the bathroom door, she felt Derek’s hard body pressing up against hers, his hands snaking around her belly. He nuzzled her neck and lazily drifted a hand upwards and the other one down.
“Mmm, if there’s a shower involved, I’ll be happy to help you clean up.”
Sylvia laughed breathlessly, astonished her body was again responding to him. She’d heard sex was intense after merging fully with the wolf, but she’d never had the chance to experience it herself. Sure, she’d had lovers after her werewolf side emerged. However, she’d been uninterested in them, going through the motions and hoping something would click.
Now she knew why. Her body only wanted this man and no other.