(Be sure to catch up with the story in Part 1)
In the shower, my hands went on automatic, washing the shoulder length blonde mop on my head. The one trait inherited from my mother’s side. She wore her thick blonde locks down to her waist. I couldn’t fathom how. Every time I washed mine, I got a neck ache.
Desperate for a distraction, I let my brain wander to thoughts of my mother. She’d been planning a trip. Probably to an impoverished country that needed help digging wells. Mom didn’t take vacations any more; she went on adventures to help those in need. Me? I’d be happy finding a cheap cruise to Mexico. Preferably a werewolf friendly one.
Just like that, my brain whipped back to the matter at hand, the support group meeting. What if they couldn’t help? Matt needed someone that could deal with his condition. Lycanthropes, despite making themselves public, didn’t have many rights. They certainly didn’t receive any special help or privileges because of what they are. Countless people were fired from their jobs after revealing their furry nature. No laws prevented specialized hunters from tracking weres during the full moon. As a matter of fact, some judges are happier signing warrants to put weres down than they are protecting one’s rights in court.
The reality we lived in terrified me to the core.
I emerged from the bathroom wearing nothing but a towel wrapped around my wet hair. Matthew let out a low whistle. One shoe on and unlaced, he walked over and grabbed my waist. Heat radiated from his skin. Even after my shower, his fingers scorched wherever he touched.
He bent down. Soft lips caught at mine. Stubble scraped across my chin as our tongues met. I leaned into him, accepting the affection I so needed and he too-willingly gave.
Matthew read my emotions well. When we started dating, I accused him of being psychic. He assured me that he wasn’t a telepath spying on my every thought. Werewolves possessed a keen sense of smell and used that to sniff out strong emotions in humans, but lacked true psychic talents. Scent, mixed with minute changes in facial expression helped them figure out truths people tried to hide. Matt put the skill to work as an interrogator for the local police department. Occasionally they loaned him out to the FBI. They considered him one of the best on the west coast. If anyone found out that his wolf nature helped him glean the truth from criminals, it could cost him his career. Or worse.
“If you think any harder, that frown will stick,” Matthew whispered. His breath caressed my cheek.
I wrapped around his waist tighter. “I’m worried.”
“No one at the meeting will bite. I might, but they definitely won’t. Promise.” He held up the Boy Scout salute.
“You were never a scout, honey.”
“I would’ve been, but then I decided girls were more fun than learning how to tie knots.”
“Womanizer,” I chided and squirmed out of his arms.
“Guilty as charged.” He gave chase, backing me into a corner and giving me another breath-taking kiss.
“Cheater.” Not a real complaint. I knew I wouldn’t get away. He’s faster, stronger, and to be honest I always wanted to be caught. Who could blame me? Matt’s a wet dream brought to life.
His hips pushed against mine, pinning me against the wall. Matt flipped over his wrist and read his watch. A few thoughts chased through his eyes. Sighing, he shook his head. “I’m going to be late. Keep the engine running for me, honey.”
I made a frustrated noise and shoved him. Matt laughed. Bending down, he kissed my forehead. A few moments later he finished dressing and took off. Men. They call us teases, but they are far worse.
Plopping down on the edge of the bed, I took a moment to gather my wits. I didn’t know if I could walk into the meeting and not end up running back out five minutes later. Matt’s job with the police put me in a network of wives, girlfriends, mothers, all of whom banded together when something big happened in a support group of sorts. But the meeting at Wulf’s wouldn’t be the same. Matt’s life wasn’t in immediate danger. Not like when they lock him in a room with a psychopath who could try to kill him. Ice cream and the support of a few good friends wouldn’t help this time.
“How am I going to do this?”
The hall clock chimed softly. Matt’s distraction and my doubts left me with just enough time to dress and drive downtown. Temptation prodded at my mind. Move a little slower. Pity myself a little longer. No one would be hurt if I missed today’s meeting, right? The group met once a month. That’d give me thirty days to deal with the idea that in order to help my boyfriend, maybe, just maybe, I needed to open up to someone who’d been through this before.
This would be easier if Matthew didn’t admit to having a dream about eating Princess.
A hand slapped against my forehead. He’d been testing me this morning, preparing me for the meeting in his own weird way. I failed miserably. Matthew’s patience put him one skip away from sainthood. A sane man would’ve left me months ago after it became apparent I couldn’t cope.
Determined to prove myself, I headed to the closet and searched for something to wear. A suit of armor felt most appropriate, unfortunately mine had been on backorder for about 300 years…
Instead, I settled for a comfortable sweater and slacks. A quick peek at the mirror promised that I didn’t look half as frazzled as I felt. The sweater even brought out the green in my hazel eyes. Go team Annie! If only I could keep my hands from shaking as I collected my purse and keys from the table near the front door.
Mrs. Anderson peeked her head over the hedge separating her yard from ours. She swiped the back of a gloved hand over the wild grey hair escaping her ponytail. I smiled and headed for the car, hoping she’d go back to her garden.
“Where’s that boyfriend of yours off to this week? Cuba, North Korea, Iraq?”
Of course I couldn’t catch a break. Turning around, I shook my head. “No, Mrs. Anderson, he’s downtown right now working as always.”
“It’s getting near time for his monthly trip.” She raised a brow, as if daring me to say something.
“Matt is planning to go visit his sister next week. Just for a few days.” My heart hammered in my chest. After the last mishap—the reason Mrs. Anderson asked about North Korea—Matt told me to use his family as the explanation for his absence. Guidelines helped. My mouth didn’t work properly when scared.
Mrs. Anderson gave me a long look before finally nodding. “Have him give Missy a hug for me.”
“Will do. Have a nice day.”
With a relieved breath, I slid into the relative safety of the car and backed out of the driveway. God, please let today bring promises of a brighter future with Matt.