Wild night, p.1
Wild Night, p.1Part #10.10 of Psy-Changeling series by Nalini Singh
Exclusive Extra: Free Psy-Changeling Short Story
Author's note: This short story stands alone, so you should be able to read it without problems even if you've never read the Psy-Changeling series. It features the SnowDancer wolf changelings. For series readers, "Wild Night" slots in during Chapter 9 of Kiss of Snow.
Setup: The SnowDancer alpha, Hawke, has just driven down to the dance club, Wild, and ordered the young SnowDancers there to get themselves home, after they almost started a massive bar fight with other predatory changelings.
Hawke and Sienna leave in one vehicle. Tai, a young SnowDancer soldier, volunteers to drive one of the other trucks. And this is where the story begins.
Tai helped a silent Evie into the passenger seat of the truck he'd volunteered to drive up to the den, made sure her seat belt was properly on. "You guys belted up?" he asked the two passengers in back.
"Yes." The response was muted, Cadence and Amos conscious their pissed-off alpha was still getting into his own vehicle.
Jogging around to the driver's side after shutting Evie's door, he got in and, putting on his own seat belt, started up the engine. Hawke pulled out just ahead of them, his rugged all-wheel drive passing on Evie's side.
Tai saw Sienna mouth "Traitor" at Evie. Evie giggled and mouthed something back, and then the alpha and Sienna were gone.
Cadence groaned at the same time, sounding like she was thumping the back of her head against the headrest. "We are so in trouble."
"What do you think Riley will do?" Amos asked in his deep rumble of a voice, his dark brown eyes catching Tai's in the rearview mirror. "Put us on patrol in the middle of nowhere?"
Cadie snorted. "Dream on. We'll be lucky if we're not scrubbing toilets for the next month."
Wincing, Tai blew out a breath. "We deserve it." They'd fucked up. The wolf and leopard changelings would've held their own in the fight that had been brewing in the bar, but there'd been humans inside. They'd have been shredded in the ensuing carnage.
"I'm not a soldier," Evie said, reaching over to stroke Tai's denim-clad thigh with slender fingers. "Riley can't do anything to me!" A gleeful tone.
Squeezing her hand when it began to wander up into dangerous territory, Tai put it firmly back in her lap. He had zero self-control when Evie decided to seduce him and right now, he needed all of it to drive them home through the dark of night. "Baby," he said gently, "that means you have to deal with Hawke."
Evie pouted, her deep gray eyes morose. "Boo."
"Tai, how much did Evie have to drink?" Amos asked from the back.
"Only one drink!" Evie protested. "Or"-a deep frown--"was it two?" Lifting her fingers in front of her face, she started trying to count, except she kept forgetting the number two and had to start over.
Lips twitching despite himself, Tai said, "She's a lightweight." Two drinks and his beautiful, smart Evie became giggly. A third put her over into adorably drunk, where she was now. Normally, she cut herself off at one and a half, but she'd been having so much fun today watching Sienna dance up a storm on the bar that she'd lost track.
The reason he was sober wasn't only because he had a patrol shift in the morning; it was because he wanted to be sure he could look after Evie. No one would ever hurt her on his watch.
"Tai." Her hand landed back on his thigh, her skin delicate cream against the blue of the denim. "I wanna snuggle in your lap."
Groaning inwardly as his muscles bunched under her touch, Tai ignored the choked laughter from the backseat. "When we get home," he told the woman who owned him body and soul.
When her face fell, he lifted her hand and playfully nipped at her fingers. A smile lit up her eyes and he couldn't resist a soft kiss on the fingertips he'd nipped. Her scent was spring and earth and an intoxicating feminine warmth, soothed his wolf as much as it made him wild.
This time when he put her hand back in her lap, she kept it there. Kicking off her heels, she ran her palm down the shimmering silver of her strapless dress. Her teeny tiny strapless dress. "I'm gonna wear this dress again."
"I vote for that," Amos said helpfully. "Shows off your legs."
"Keep your mind on your own damn legs," Tai growled, though he knew Amos was just messing with him.
"Yeah, Amos." Evie turned to scowl at the tall, dark-skinned soldier. "Only Tai can put his mind on my legs." She bit her lip. "Can you put a mind on legs?"
Cadence was in hysterics now, while Amos solemnly replied that minds could be on legs and his mind wanted to be on her legs. It belatedly dawned on Tai that Amos was also very drunk; he just appeared sober. Cadie wasn't much better.
When he heard Amos growl, he used the rearview mirror to check up on the two. Cadie was pretending to be a vampire gnawing on Amos's arm, her blonde hair falling around her face. Since Amos was laughing through his growls, Tai left them to it, and answered Evie's question about how many fingers she should have on her hands.
All three were asleep by the time he pulled into the garage under the SnowDancer den high in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. He noticed that Hawke's truck wasn't there. Interesting. He'd have to tell Evie when she was sober; she'd love the idea that Sienna may have finally gotten under their alpha's skin.
Getting out, he went around to the back and shook Amos's shoulder. The other man came awake at once, his jaw cracking on a yawn. "We home?"
"Cadie." Amos tugged on her hand. "No more sleepy-time."
Waking on a groan, Cadence slid out through the same door as Amos, then threw her arm around her bigger packmate's waist. "Come on Mind-on-Legs. I'll escort you home."
Amos wrapped his own arm around her shoulders. "'ppreciate it. Think I'm drunk."
Watching the two until they made it out into the main corridors, where packmates would help them along if they stumbled, he shut the door and went around to the front passenger side. He opened it with care, undid Evie's seat belt, then slid his arms very gently around her.
"Tai." Nuzzling his throat sleepily, she wrapped her arms around him.
"I've got you." He nudged the door shut with his hip just as the truck Elias was driving pulled in. Leaving the garage before the others tumbled out and disturbed Evie, he carried her through to the den. Her long black hair tumbled down her back and over his arm, her legs--gorgeous legs--dropping over his other arm.
She wasn't wearing her heels. No matter. Any packmate who found them in the truck would make sure the strappy shoes made their way back to Evie.
Riaz passed him halfway to his destination, raised an eyebrow. "Indigo just got back from her shift."
Oh fuck. Evie's lieutenant sister was highly protective and she kept a sharp eye on Tai. Rationally speaking, he couldn't blame her--Evie was a sweet, gentle submissive, while Tai was a strong dominant.
Relationships with such a large differential between the two parts of a couple weren't common in the pack, and though dominants were taught to be careful, mistakes did occasionally happen, with the end result being horrifying for both parties. No dominant wanted to compel a submissive lover to say yes. No submissive wanted his or her choice stripped from them by the primal drives of the wolf within.
Tai had been painfully careful with Evie. He'd taken baby steps, always watching to ensure he had her full consent, that his dominance wasn't forcing her acceptance of his courtship. She'd finally lost patience and hauled him into a kiss that blew his circuits.
"I might be submissive," she'd whispered against his lips as both their hearts thundered, "but I know my own mind. And I've known you my whole life. I trust you."
Hearing that from her had broken him in the best way. He'd been hers, utterly
"Where?" he whispered to Riaz.
Taking pity on him, the lieutenant told him to avoid the corridors near the lieutenants' offices. "She's going over a report."
"Thanks." Tai cuddled Evie closer and kept on walking.
He made it to her room without running into either Indigo, or Evie's parents. Evie had lived with her folks until recently, now had a room in the section for unmated packmates who weren't soldiers--the rooms were more internal and protected than the ones assigned the soldiers. She was only here part of the time, spent the rest at college. Tai missed her with his every breath, but he knew he couldn't clip her wings. Evie had to grow, as he had to grow.
And he had to have faith that they'd grow toward each other and not away.
Walking into her room after managing to open the door, he nudged it shut behind himself, then took her toward her neatly made up bed. Soft white comforter with fluffy white pillows printed with cherry blossoms, that bed shouted "female" loud and clear.
He'd never been in it with Evie, the two of them going slow so Tai could be dead sure Evie was with him every step of the way. He had a feeling she might lose patience again and haul him right into bed one of these days, and he'd be fine with that, but for now, they were enjoying learning one another piece by piece, kiss by kiss, touch by touch.
Tai had never been as frustrated or as happy.
When he tried to lower her to the comforter, she clung to him. Eyes still closed, she kissed his throat, her hand sliding around to the back of his neck. His skin prickled, his cock pounded, and his mouth watered at the thought of her kiss, her taste. "Baby, stop."
"I don't wanna." More kisses.
Tai could've broken her hold in a heartbeat, but he wasn't about to hurt Evie, not in any way. "Let go," he coaxed, "and we can get in bed."
"Bed?" A suspicious glance through her lashes. "Really? You won't run away?"
Tai wanted to laugh despite the aching stone of his arousal. "Promise."
He placed her on the bed, but she got off and onto her feet. Before he knew what was happening, she'd undone the zipper on her dress and shimmied out of it. Her panties were lacy pink and tiny. Tiny. She wasn't wearing a bra.
Someone hates me, Tai thought. Someone really hates me.
Flipping back the comforter, he said, "In." It came out a growl, but Evie just smiled, well aware that as far as she was concerned, his growl had no bite.
She jumped in, then pinned him with reproachful eyes when he just stood by the bed looking down at the gorgeous woman he couldn't have. Not tonight. "You said you wouldn't run away."
Shoving his hands through his hair, Tai sat down on the bed and took off his boots. Otherwise fully dressed, he lay down on top of the comforter after pulling it back up to cover Evie to the neck. When he stretched out his arm, Evie snuggled up to him, placing her head on his shoulder, but when she tried to tug the comforter out from under him, he turned around and nipped at the tip of her ear.
Evie did not say things like "owie." Ever. She was more drunk than he'd realized. Not that it made a difference. As soon as she'd finished her second drink, he'd known he wouldn't be sharing any sexual skin privileges with her tonight. "Go to sleep," he said, holding her snuggled up against him.
Her hand crept over the top of the comforter to lie on his chest, her fingers on the buttons of his short-sleeved black shirt. "Tai."
Closing his much bigger, rougher-skinned hand over hers, he squeezed. "Go to sleep and if you still want to when you wake up in the morning, we'll do anything you want."
A brilliant smile. "Promise?"
Throwing her arm possessively over his chest, she relaxed beside him...and was asleep in seconds. It took him longer. A lot longer. Turning to take in the woman he held, the silky strands of her hair sticking to his arm and her slender body curled so trustingly against him, he said, "Grow with me, okay, Evie?" He wasn't sure if he could bear it if she found her wings and they took her far from him.
"Love you, Tai." It was a sleepy mumble but it dug right into his heart and held it tight.
Closing his eyes, he allowed sleep to tug him under. When he woke, it was to find the comforter kicked to the bottom of the bed and Evie's near-naked body spooned against his chest. Smooth and warm, her skin invited his petting hand, his wolf rubbing up against the inside of his own skin in an effort to get closer to her. He was about to run his palm over her arm when his eye fell on his wrist and the watch he wore.
Shit. His shift started at six-fifteen. Sliding carefully out of bed and soothing Evie with a stroking hand when she complained, he pulled the comforter back over her, then thrust his feet into his boots. About to leave, he remembered his promise and scribbled Evie an I.O.U. on the notepad atop the card table she used as her nightstand.
Eight hours later, he came off shift and walked into his room to find Evie waiting for him. Her panties were peach colored this time and just as tiny. In her hand was his I.O.U.. She held it up between two fingers, smiled. "I've come to collect."
Someone freaking loved him, Tai thought, locking the door and grabbing her around the waist to lift her up against his aroused body. Laughing, she kissed him, her arms tight around his neck and her trust an aphrodisiac nothing could beat. There wasn't a lot of conscious thought after that, just Tai and Evie loving one another. Two wolves growing into their skins...and toward each other.
(c) Copyright 2015 by Nalini Singh
Nalini Singh, Wild Night
(Series: Psy-Changeling # 10.10)
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Wild Night by Nalini Singh / Romance & Love / Fantasy have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes