“I dreamed that I ate the dog last night.”
My eyebrows shot up so fast I thought they’d fly off and I gaped at the man sitting across the table. We only said a handful of mundane things since climbing out of bed—who’d make the coffee, which bread to use for toast—you know, normal things. The new turn in conversation took my caffeine-deprived mind by complete surprise. The only way he could’ve shocked me more would be if he jumped on the table and sang the national anthem backwards. In Latin.
Instinctively my eyes dropped to the floor and began to search for the puppy we recently adopted. She was really good at hiding. Too good at times. My heartbeat sped up. I leaned down to look under the table. Princess, the notorious beggar, wasn’t in her customary spot. Worry niggled at the back of my mind.
“What are you doing, Annie?” Matthew asked, amusement in his voice.
“Oh!” I straightened. Shame colored my cheeks. “I thought I dropped something. Guess the dog got to it before me.” If she’s still alive, my brain added grimly.
A bright smile radiated across the table. Matt’s too perfect smile—a benefit of his condition—made me constantly jealous every time I scheduled an appointment with the sadist masquerading as my dentist. Humor twinkled in his forest green eyes, another perfection I tried to ignore as I jammed a finger against the nosepiece of my glasses to push them back in place. The man was perfect. Me, not so much. We made an odd couple.
“Do you really think I’d eat the dog, honey?” he asked.
“I…uhh…” Crap. What to say? Yes dear, I thought you turned furry in the middle of the night and gobbled up Princess as a midnight snack. Though to be honest, the yorkie would barely wet a werewolf’s appetite.
“If you blush any more, your head will pop.” He grinned so wide I could count all of his teeth.
“I’m not used to…” My hand flapped in the air while I searched for words that wouldn’t offend him.
“To living with a predator?” he offered.
“Yeah, I guess that’s it.” I dropped my head onto the breakfast table. My mortification threatened to burn through the wood.
A hand settled on my shoulder. I tensed. I couldn’t help it. Matthew would never hurt anyone and that included the yorkie pup bounding into the kitchen. The click of her nails on the tile floor announced her arrival long before her little brown head appeared from behind the cabinets. Unneeded relief made me smile. She yipped and begged at my feet. I broke off a piece of bacon and dropped it for her. Tension drained from my shoulders with a timid laugh. Matt’s strong fingers massaged out the rest and chased away our awkward conversation.
He bent down and laid a kiss on my cheek. My life with him thus far had been a series of bumbling mishaps in an attempt to ignore or forget that once a month he howled at the moon and sprouted fur. Walking on eggshells about his condition, infection—whatever the correct term—left me mentally exhausted. He took it all with a grace I’d never possess.
“I need to get ready for work.” He kissed the top of my head. “Don’t forget the meeting at Wulf’s. I think it’ll help us.”
Matt left me in the kitchen. The uneaten Princess trailed along behind him.
The meeting. Not so much a meeting, more like a support group for men and women in love with people who are—for lack of a better term—different. A year of awkward attempts to keep his secret proved difficult enough. Add in the fact that sometime in the past month I realized he’s The One and it made me desperate to make things work. Not just make the relationship work, but make it perfect. Sure, perfect relationships only existed in fairytales. Only a fool would hope for one. Then again, until five years ago everyone thought werewolves and their ilk were mythical creatures. Maybe Matt and I could really have a fairytale marriage.
“Yeah, then I’ll grow wings and fly off into the sunset. Get real, Annie.”
Stuff like that didn’t happen. Holding to childish hope that we’d be the perfect plastic couple on top of a wedding cake did nothing but waste time. I never held much faith in relationships, not after witnessing the train wreck that’d been my parent’s divorce. Until I found Matt, I thought I’d been ruined for silly romantic notions. What a lovely, masculine surprise he’d been.
My head swam with the thought that in an hour a bunch of strangers would take a look at my relationship and determine whether or not I possessed the tenacity necessary to marry a werewolf.
“Time to get ready to face the hangman’s noose,” I whispered and padded barefoot down the hall to the bedroom.
Inside, Matt leaned over an open dresser drawer. The taught, damp skin over the muscles in his back rippled and bunched as he fished around in the drawer. Amused with the view, I leaned against the doorframe. All that sexy goodness belonged to me, after all. Might as well enjoy it. His bare backside wagged in the air. Muttering a curse, he shut the drawer and bent over to open a lower drawer. Oh yeah, much better view. I stifled a laugh when I realized I sized him up like my male friends ogling women at a bar.
“Annie. Where the hell are my socks?” Matthew shouted without turning from his search.
“Top left drawer. Same place they’ve been for six months now, sweetie,”
“I’d lose me head if it weren’t attached.” I couldn’t see his face, but it sounded as though my big bad wolf pouted.
“It’s part of your charm.”
“My feelings are hurt. I thought for sure you’d mention my ass or my sexual prowess first.”
“Oh Matthew,” I stepped around the bed. Instead of patting his shoulder, I reared back and smacked his bare ass. He yelped.
“No damaging the goods.” Matt rubbed at the faint handprint on his butt cheek.
I laughed. “Don’t give me that. It takes a lot more than a little spanking to hurt you.”
Matt flashed his trademark panty-melting grin before resuming the search for socks. With a triumphant shout he yanked a pair of white socks out of the top left drawer and tossed them in the air. He caught them and said, “Now I won’t have to go to work naked.”
“Missing a pair of socks isn’t considered naked, honey.” I gave him a look from under the hem of my t-shirt as I got ready to shower.
Smirking, he dressed. “Socks make the outfit, darling.”
For the second time that morning I stared blankly at my boyfriend. He laughed so hard it left him clutching the top of the dresser.
“You should see the look on your face. Might as well have a giant sign on your forehead asking if I am interested in runway shows and interior decorating.” He tried to stop, but his twisted sense of humor won the battle and sent him into another peal of laughter.
“I am not encouraging your bad behavior.” Grumbling, I walked into the bathroom. The door did nothing to drown him out.