Permission is a historical Shadow Sprawl story, continuing the current story arc.
Artwork by Samuel Pray, created using Daz3D, Photoshop and Filter Forge.
Adult content Warning.
Adriana glared up into the amber eyes of the large grey wolf. Fear, that’s what should have claimed her in this moment. Fear of death, of pain under the teeth and claws of this creature yet all she could do was accept what was happening. She’d come to him, sought him out, placed herself in his path and now she would pay the price. Whatever that price might be.
“I’m not here to hurt you, my wolf.” The words, she knew she shouldn’t have uttered them, but they felt right. He was her wolf, a male she could not walk away from, nor would she even attempt to. “Listen to me, listen to your own heart, you know why I’m here, why I was drawn to you.”
The shifter tensed, hands curled at his sides, tension running across his shoulders. “If I had any sense I would run.”
“It wouldn’t work, you know I would follow you. I have no choice but to follow you.” Choice, no that had been taken from her the first time she’d caught his scent on the air. “Just as you would follow me if I gave into my fears and tried to flee.”
“Fear, is that what you think controls me?” Her male snapped. “I fear nothing and no one. Not even the likes of you.”
“What’s your name?” She took a step closer, keeping her movement slow and even.
“Why, so you can use that to bespell me?”
Adriana paused, letting her gaze move over the man, the shifter who stood in front of her. Did he not feel the pull between them? The drive that pushed her to move toward him, taste his lips and feel his skin slide over hers? He couldn’t ignore the draw, not and still breathe. It wasn’t possible, was it? She frowned, watching him, searching for some sign that he might be able to fight the pull between him, but the tension in his body and the hunger in his eyes said he’d already lost the fight.
He simply hadn’t admitted it yet - no, that wasn’t it, he hadn’t given himself permission to accept what lay between them.
“You’ve already cast a spell on me, haven’t you? It’s the only thing that makes sense. You’re dangerous to my kind and yet…”
“Yet you stand here, talking with me,” she inclined her head. “But there are other things than magic that might be behind our choices, don’t you think?”
Magic, the need to mate, the desire to be with the one who would end the questions that murmured away in the back of her mind. All she needed was a moment curled up with him, time pressed against his body until her hunger was sated. A hunger that no food would answer no matter how deeply she drank or how rich the prize. No, what she needed would come only from the joining of their bodies.
What if he will not agree to such a joining?
That was a possibility, one she had not allowed herself to think about before now, yet as she looked at the male in front of her, she couldn’t help but listen to the doubts that grew in the back of her mind.
“I want you,” the male growled.
“So, tell me your name.”
He snarled and turned away from her.
“I am Adriana, daughter of Lilith.” She lifted her chin, back straight, refusing to let her fears take control of her.
“Marcius,” he offered as he turned back to look at her. “My name is Marcius, son of… no, it doesn’t matter. That life is far behind me now. I’m not going back.”
“To Rome, you mean.”
He nodded, his lips pressed into a tight, thin line, removing the sensuality from his features. Hard, angry and filled with pride. If she had sense she’d turn her back on him and be done, but her body craved his, her jaws ached with the need to let down her fangs and taste him and she was well past the point of being able to walk away. Yet Rome was his home, the home of the most powerful wolf shifter pack that Adriana had ever heard of, so why would he leave?
No, it wasn’t her business, yet the question slipped out regardless. “What happened?”
“They picked a mate for me.”
Her heart sank. A true mate? Even her kind knew of the way the packs worked. You either mated for position, to form a bond, or you found your true mate. On occasions there would be other reasons but… “wait, who do you mean by they?”
His jaw set. “My family.”
Of course, who else would be responsible for such a choice? “You don’t want the female they’ve chosen for you?” Hope resurfaced as she watched the play of guarded emotions across his features. “Is she not pleasing to you?”
“No,” clipped and curt the single word spoke volumes. “It’s not her fault. The female has done nothing wrong, but she is not the one for me.”
“I see,” she forced her tight muscles to relax. “So you run. Why? Would they force the mating?”
“They see it as what is best for both the family and the pack as a whole. But I know she’s out there,” his gaze flickered to her, eyes widening for a moment before he looked away. “The one I am meant to be with does not live within the walls of Rome.”
“Not within Rome, but perhaps you’ve already found her?” Could that be what had brought them together? Was she meant to be with him? As a true mate? No, that didn’t happen between his kind and hers. No, whatever there was between them, it wasn’t a true mating. She wasn’t going to lie to herself… so why didn’t she speak out, dismiss the idea she’d given life to?
“You’re not pack.” The words lacked the curtness of a dismissal, though his eyes narrowed and uncertainty flickered across his features.
“No, I’m not.” She let her gaze move over his form, taking in his youth - old enough to be a mated male, but still young - and his sculpted form. Like many males of his kind, he hunted on both two feet and four, ran and fought, trained to defend Rome from danger within and without.
“I should leave, walk away from you before you strike.”
Did he still think that is why she had come to him? That she was a huntress with nothing more in mind than claiming her prey? What would she have to do in order to get him to understand that she was here for something else? How can I make him understand what is going on when I barely understand it myself? “I have no interest in feeding from you, unless you offer it willingly to me.” Odd, until she’d said that Adriana hadn’t known that was truly how she felt. Yes, she enjoyed feeding, all of her kind did, but this was something else. Her fangs ached, jaw throbbed and the need to sink her teeth into his throat, wrist, groin, anywhere that would grant her access to the rich, warm blood that pulsed beneath his skin, continued to grow, but she wouldn’t… no, couldn’t, force the matter with him.
He would come to her willingly or not at all, and those were the only options she would accept.
Marcius shifted his weight, his gaze moving from Adriana to the clearing and back again. “So, why can’t I leave?”
“Because you don’t want to.” She smiled, letting her own gaze lower to his waist. “You know this was meant to be.” The words felt hollow even as she gave them life.
Marcius snorted, his nostrils flaring. “Of course your kind would say something like that, seducers and vile blood beasts. I don't know what hold you have cast over me, but I will not..”
Adriana closed the gap between them, the time for talking was over and done with. She pressed against him, sliding one hand up over his chest, over his neck and into his hair. Her lips claimed his, silencing his protests before he could utter them.
He growled, tense, muscles knotted beneath her touch.
Would he pull away from her?
She tightened her grip in his hair, holding him close even as her nipples hardened and desire coated her inner walls. She moaned, sliding the tip of her tongue over the seam of his lips, teasing it. He shuddered under the soft touch, lips parting, welcoming her caress. Adriana pressed deeper, easing her tongue past his lips, seeking, tasting, stroking as his resistance crumbled.
Gods, she wanted more, so much more. The kiss, instead of turning her away, fueled her desires for more from him, from them as she groaned, her back arched, desire ruling her choices, her hunger for what they might share in this moment.
Our time together shouldn’t begin on the cold, damp earth, but in a bed, with lamps flickering and soft sheets sliding over our skin, or furs brushing against flesh.
The hard outline of his erection throbbed against her hip as he shifted his weight, pushing aside all thoughts of soft, warm beds and dry rooms. She couldn’t wait, didn’t want to wait, not when they could explore what they felt, what they wanted here and now.
Strong arms wrapped around her body as he moved into the kiss, taking control as he eased one hand into her hair, breaking the kiss for a moment, his words a harsh, ragged growl. “I am alpha here.”
Adriana wanted to protest, she was a daughter of Lilith, she didn’t bow to men, but if she denied him he might turn away from her. “This time, but we are both strong, both alphas.”
“Even the alpha she wolf…”
“Chooses her mate, she is not conquered, she offers.”
“But still submits in that moment.” He fisted his fingers in her hair.
It was an argument that she would have with him at a later time and place.
“Do you understand?” He tugged on her hair, baring her throat to his teeth.
Odd, the roles should have been reversed and yet her body answered his question with a hungry roll of her hips and a flood of warmth between her thighs. “Yes, I understand and accept.” She tipped her head, her hair still held within his grasp, lifting her chin to grant him better access to her throat.
Teeth scraped over her flesh and Adriana shivered, eyes half closing in delight. The threat of a bite, the pressure of his teeth, things she should have fought against and yet she surrendered.
Marcius pushed them back across the clearing, toward one of the largest trees, until her back pressed against the bark, tugging on cloth and skin alike. She whimpered, easing her grip on his hair to rest both hands on his chest, tracing the outline of his muscled chest. Marcius captured her wrists and yanked her arms above her head, pressing the backs of her hands against the tree.
“You will not move unless I give you permission to do so.” He leaned in, tracing the tip of his tongue over her pulse point. “Do you understand me?”
“Yes,” she groaned, hips rolling, her body eager for his. Simple words and it would be easy enough to follow through on that command.
“I said you will not move.” He tightened his grip on her wrists.
“I didn’t,” she protested, licking the tip of her tongue over her bottom lip.
“Your hips moved.” Marcius relaxed his grip on her arms. “You don’t move. Not without my permission.” He claimed her lips, silencing her protests.
Adriana’s eyes closed fully as she forced herself to relax and accept the pressure of his tongue parting her lips as he gained access to her mouth. He plunged, stroked and tasted, stealing her breath and thought alike as she struggled to hold position. Her body ached with the need to move, to press against him but she fought to obey. The kiss, oh, by the gods his kiss, this wasn’t something that she had expected. The way she reacted to it left her breathless as he broke the seal of their lips.
“This isn’t how it’s supposed to be. I’m a daughter of Lilith. We command. Conquer. We don’t submit.” Yet she obeyed him, unwilling to risk the loss of this shared pleasure.
“Submission to your mate is never something to be ashamed of.” Marcius nipped his way down her throat, teasing and tormenting her senses. “You will come to understand that.”
Mate? Had he accepted that was what had pulled them to this meeting? She wanted to question him, press for information but it wasn’t the time or the place, not with the way that her body reacted to his touch. Her nipples hardened, aching beneath the slow path of his exploration and she burned, deep within, needing him, hungering for his body, the feel of his erection sliding between her thighs and filling her to the core.
The shifters used that term, even the first house of Caine and Lilith used it, but her people did not. Such things were forbidden, but so was this connection with the shifter. He was prey according to her people, yet her body said lover, cried mate and demanded his touch.
“You like my touch, don’t you?” He moved one hand down her body, away from her pinned hands, and cupped her left breast, thumb moving back and forth over her nipple. “Yes, I can see it in your eyes but it’s more than that,” he slid his hand down from her breast and pressed it between her thighs, cupping her mound. “I can smell your hunger.”
A hunger she didn’t have permission to succumb to, not in this time, this place, or with this male.
He eased her robe aside, his fingers sliding over her slick, intimate flesh before he used one finger to part her folds. She gasped, eyes widening at the first touch between her swollen nether lips.
“Please,” she whimpered, the need to move growing with each new heartbeat.
“What is it?” He bent down, releasing her hands. “What is it you want?”
“I want you. I need you.” She needed to move, to press against his body and feel that release. Something that, right now, only he could offer her. She didn’t move her hands, but kept them above her head, pressed to the tree. He’d told her to hold position and she continued to do so, despite the cry from deep within her body. A cry that grew stronger and threatened to tear free of her scant control.
“You need permission. My permission. Don’t you?” He growled against her skin, pulling her tunic down to her waist with his free hand before he caught her right nipple in his teeth, teasing it with the tip of his tongue.
“Yes.” She admitted, her thighs tight, body aching. Each new touch either between her thighs or to her breast, threatened to tip her beyond the point of obeying and then what? Why does it matter? I’m not submissive, even in this moment I have the power to pull free and take what I want from him.
“Then you have it, move for me, show me you need me.” He growled against her skin, fingers buried deep within her slick flesh. “Give yourself to me.”
To Be Continued Next Week.