Anyway, I will upload Chapter 1 of the sequel : Pushing Boundaries simultaneously with ITVL's Chapter 13 later today, so look out for it!
When Draven stirred awake, he was greeted by the scent of the forest; warm and earthy and it tickled him. Wrinkling his nose, he slowly opened his eyes to see golden brown fur tucked under his chin.
“I slept on my wife…” he groaned, lifting his head up slowly to meet Amber’s sky blue eyes. The wolf obviously resented being called a ‘wife’ and would rather the term ‘mate’. Huffing in displeasure, she pulled away from him and curled up with her tail covering her eyes.
“Stop sulking and come here,” he muttered, rolling onto his back and patted his chest. “I’ll let you lie on top of me now so we’re even.” He smiled when he heard her shift; the almost inaudible slide of fur against skin and the contortion of bones. “Does it hurt?” he asked suddenly.
“What hurts?” she murmured as she curled up against him.
“Shifting. It sure looks painful.”
“It’s hard to explain what it truly feels like because you’ve got to experience it yourself. But I don’t think you ever will… but it doesn’t hurt.” She traced his chest lightly with her forefinger.
He snorted as a reply, staring up at the ceiling. He was stalling and he knew it. They’ve been through so much in the past couple of weeks that he didn’t think they were ready.
“What’s on your mind?” she murmured. “Don’t even try to lie because I’ll know.”
Draven drummed his fingers lightly on her arm then decided to hell with it. He was going to ask her.
“Do Weres still need to marry after they mate?”
“It is not necessary,” she replied, trying to hide her laugh. “Usually those who mate with humans get married to appease their human families.”
A pause. Then…
“Will you marry me?”
Amber managed to stifle a laugh before rolling on top of him to stare into his eyes. “So those flowers, the amazing sex and all that biting stuff were to prep me for the proposal?”
“All that’s missing is the ring. So what’s it going to be?”
“You’re a bully.”
“Honey, you literally branded me until I passed out. I mean I loved it. I mind-blowingly love it. So who’s the bully now huh?”
Amber smiled a little then shook her head. “I want to remember things Draven… I want to remember what’s your favourite colour or your biggest regret in life… I want to be able to remember what a brilliant scientist you are or that you’re the most annoying hardass I’ve ever met –and I know you are although I can’t remember. And it makes me feel like a shell because all I can remember right now are bits and pieces of things.”
“Shh…” he soothed her; caressing her hair gently. “Marriage is just a contract baby… you’re already bounded to me for life. Now you should be more afraid of that.”
Burrying her face against his neck, she tried to stop the tears from falling but to no avail. “Mating is for the wolf… marriage is for the woman.”
“I swear I bit the woman last night and she tasted so damn good.” Her head jerked up and she narrowed her eyes at him. “What don’t believe me? I can do it again,” he teased lightly, tipping her chin up lightly to examine her reddened face. “But I’m not biting cry babies.”
She giggled before dropping a kiss on his nose. “How many babies do you want?”
Draven immediately turned quiet.
“Draven my love? Did I say something wrong?”
“No… it’s just… well, let’s just help you get your memories back first and we’ll think about the babies some other time okay?”
Amber was not satisfied with his reply. Was he doubting her because he saw her as weak? Was he afraid she’d pass weak genes to their baby?
Slapping his chest angrily, she snarled, “No, I want to talk about it now. And you will talk to me about it Draven because like it or not, I am a Beta wolf with a fertility success rate of 50% -that’s much higher than even a normal human –and I will get pregnant. Now tell me,” she demanded, gripping his arms tightly.
“How did you remember that?” he asked in surprise. Amber tilted her head slightly and frowned.
“I… I don’t know I just do. But don’t change the subject Draven Culzean.” Her nails dug into his skin.
“Okay, okay! See I told you you’re a bully. Especially now that you’ve used my full name and all…” he grinned. When she didn’t grin back, he dropped into his serious mode. “Okay I’ll tell you.”
He pressed a kiss on her lips and continued, “Well… firstly, the rules of my kind states that we can only have one child every century. It’s expected seeing that they don’t want to have a bigger feeding population as opposed to the feed.”
“That’s so crude.”
“Yes it is. It’s like you eat… whatever it is you eat and I consume blood. It’s my sustenance, I can’t help it. I was born this way.”
“But, we don’t know exactly what our children would be like. Neither do Fiona and Eian and we’re all scared… and you should be too my love.”
She shook her head. “No, they’ll be perfect combinations of our best traits. That’s how nature selects.”
“But what if you’re wrong?”
“There’s no rewind switch after you mate Draven!” she snapped.
“No… I’m not saying that. I’m just… worried about the future of our children. They will be hunted down Amber... They will be seen either as a threat or as some scientific miracle and taken in to be studied and dissected like some experiment…”
Amber’s eyes widened at his words. “Your… it’s your…” she scrunched her eyebrows as though trying to recall the term.
“The Council,” he offered.
“Yes… they –no, you are suppose to be part of them… something…” she frowned again and covered her face with her hands, trying to force the information to come fore.
Draven didn’t bother saying anything anymore but pulled her close and kissed her mouth shut.
“That’s hitting below the belt,” she mumbled a few minutes later; lips swollen and body tingling with endorphins. “You only let me bully you because you love me.” She pouted.
“Yes I do and it works. Now explain to me how the microwave works.”
“What?” she sat up in laughter.
“I don’t have blood in this house and you have already taken a pint or two from me last night.”
“I mean like food.”
“Like food? Like sausage and eggs kind of food?”
“Yeah… I think so. I need to eat and so do you. So can you cook?”
Leaning over, she kissed him and smiled. “You bet I can.”
An hour later, Draven was staring at a piece of sausage suspiciously.
“What is this thing?”
“You’re much bigger than that. If you don’t want to eat it, I will. I’m starving,” she said, snatching the fork from his hand. Draven winced when she bit into the sausage and reached for some toast instead.
He bit into it and turned green. “It tastes… like cardboard.”
“How’d you know what cardboard tastes like?” she asked curiously before settling herself on his lap.
“It’s just an allusion.”
“Draven love, you are a carnivore…” she paused as though thinking. “Do we call bloodsuckers carnivores?”
“No we do not. Now can you please stuff something into my mouth so I can stop this ridiculous hunger?” he pleaded. “But none of those… things.”
“Okay, bacon then,” she decided picking a slice up and rolling it into his mouth. “Chew, that’s it… good boy!” Ruffling his hair, she kissed him lightly.
“This is good,” he answered once he had swallowed and reached out for more.
He let her feed him a little more but after a few mouthfuls, he felt sick and decided to stop. His stomach was still going to get used to solid food and at the moment, it was confused.
“Will you be going to work today?” she asked.
“I have to. Although the Board only convenes once every fortnight or so, I still oversee some of the staff’s daily operations...” Draven stopped when Amber started crying. “I’m sorry baby… okay I won’t go to work if you don’t want me to. I mean I don’t really have to go because I’m a Pureblood and I get to do what I want…”
“No… it’s not that,” she sobbed. “I just… I don’t know what I’m supposed to do now. Do I just sit at home and wait till I get better? Or do I go back to the university to teach or do I go to whatever I was doing before? I… I’m just scared Draven. I’m scared because I don’t know what’s my purpose in life is anymore.”
Draven held her close and tried to comfort her slowly. He understood what she felt. In fact, he could feel what she was feeling because of their mating bond.
“Tell you what. We’ll drop by the clinic later and have a walk. I’ll show you around then maybe you’ll remember something. Or we could take a look at your office and you can ponder over your notebooks and stuff okay?”
She looked up and smiled sadly at him. “Were you this kind and mushy when we first met?”
Draven cleared his throat. “Uh yeah. I’m the man of your dreams remember.”
“Liar,” she teased, lifting her face up to let him kiss her. “But I know I love you.”
“I know you do and boy am I glad you picked me.”
She nipped at his ear playfully before jumping off and running to the bathroom to shower.
Much later, Draven was walking with Amber; hand in hand towards the medical center. She teased him about holding hands like silly teenagers but Draven loved it. He loved knowing that she was his and holding her hand meant that he was hers as well. The nurses and other staff who greeted and welcomed her were all aware of the protective and possessive nature of the man standing beside her –the women kept their conversation light and the men kept their distance. Good for them.
“You’re scaring them but I don’t think it’s any more than normal,” she teased.
“You don’t seem scared of me,” he replied, moving forward to kiss her lips. “Come on, I’ll show you to your office. Eian told me they kept the place untouched.”
Amber wasn’t sure what to make of his comment but she braced herself as they entered the room and the first thing she did was frown.
“We argued in this room… why?”
Draven smiled and led her to her chair to sit. “Well, I was attracted to you and you were being a prude.”
Amber gasped then narrowed her eyes suspiciously at him. “Are you sure… I don’t believe you.”
“No?” He placed both his hands on her chair rest and leaned forward so that his face was inches from hers. She wasn’t intimidated.
“No sex for you tonight if you don’t tell me the truth.”
“That’s such a hard bargain!” he exclaimed. “Alright fine. You asked me out to dinner and I said I don’t eat unless you’re offering yourself.”
“I knew it was the reverse!” she clapped her hand gleefully.
He patted her cheek gently and smiled. “I’ll leave you to take a look at your notebooks and talk to your friends. You’ll be fine here. It’s the safest place for you right now. I’ll come by and fetch you home later in the evening okay?”
“I’ll be fine,” she reassured him and let him kiss her one last time. Truth was, she didn’t want him to leave but Amber wasn’t selfish. Plus she didn’t want him or anyone else to keep thinking of her as an incapable nutcase who just cannot take care of herself.
With a sigh, Amber picked up an organizer off her desk and started to flip through it. Seeing what she had written for the past couple of weeks might help her remember things.
“Oh dear,” she pouted. The organizer was last year’s. What was it doing on her desk anyway? Amber began to search high and low for her current organizer and was frustrated when she couldn’t find it. She continued pondering where it might be and suddenly remembered that she had left it at the university. In fact, her things were still there and she needed to take a look at them. What if Draven’s birthday is coming up or their anniversary or something stupid she shouldn’t have forgotten about?
Taking her purse, she quickly got up and tried to recall if she had a car of her own. A quick chat with one of the nurses cleared up the dilemma –the clinic provided her a vehicle in case she needed to go for emergency home calls.
Not wanting to trouble anyone anymore, she took the keys from the nurse and hurried off to the university. The good thing was that the memory of the university was recent so she had no trouble recalling the directions.
Unknown to Amber, someone had been watching her the whole morning.
“I knew it. Dirty little whore’s off to find her wolf lover. I knew it! Vampires just cannot mate with these pathetic lowlifes!” hissed Benedicta to herself. She had been appalled at the way the Pureblood had tainted his lips by kissing the animal. Maybe she had been just a little jealous but she was mostly disgusted. If it was up to her, she would have killed that self righteous bitch right there and then for touching one of their Purebloods.
But her orders were just to watch the target; learn her strengths and weaknesses. Sure, they had plans to eliminate her… but not now.