A fiery heat trailed down my spine, the firm hand sliding around to cup my hip. Waking up to Braxton’s touch was pretty much what my dreams were made of. I was tired, but the moment he brushed the slightly calloused skin of his palm over my body, my senses fired up.
“Think the twins will give us twenty minutes?” The grumble of his voice in my ear sent goose bumps across my skin.
I’d been lying in his arms, my back pressed against his front. But I needed to see him. Flipping over, I pressed both hands to the thick muscles of his chest. “Honestly, ten minutes would do me right now.”
His hand glided a little lower.
“Even five,” I said breathlessly.
At this point, with one of the twins waking up almost every single time we had a spare second together, I would take anything. His eyes were dark, a true midnight blue as they lazily assessed me. Yellow flashed in them for a brief instant, and I shivered at the sight of his dragon peeking out. He curled his arm under me and dragged me on top of him. Our naked skin slipped together and need roared inside me. It was need for my mate. To touch, taste, and feel every inch of him.
Leaning down, I licked a trail across his chest and over one nipple before continuing to move higher, giving in to my need to taste him. His body rumbled under me, and as always, he struggled to let me take the lead. We often fought for dominance, alpha shifters were like that, but it was even worse for him—he was a dragon. After I’d lost my dragon and had gone back to being a regular wolf shifter, everything inside me had calmed down. But I remembered the feeling.
He was working on it, though, and that meant everything to me.
My mouth had just reached the base of his neck when he couldn’t take it any longer, flipping me onto my back, his huge body completely dwarfed me. “I need you, mate. This is going to be hard and fast.”
No apologies. Because I sure as fuck didn’t need them. Braxton and I made love plenty; this morning I was all for the more brutal side of his personality.
“Bring it, mate.” My wolf howled inside me, some of her animalistic nature leaking out.
Yellow flared in his irises again, and his body seemed to swell in size. I hooked my arms around his neck, and he lowered his body to mine. I loved having his strength against me. His hardness. His fingers brushed across my center, and when he assured himself of my readiness, he sheathed his length inside in one smooth movement.
I groaned, and he waited a beat for me to adjust. I might be ready, but with Braxton’s size, a girl needed a moment. When he moved, it was just as he promised. Hard and fast. He used one hand to hold himself up, and the other went under my ass to lift me so he had a better angle to slam into me.
The sensations built at a steady crescendo. I wanted to fight against them, because I knew it was going to be over too fast—I almost came the second he was inside me—but there was no stopping. Not today.
“I got you, baby,” he growled, voice much more guttural than normal.
“Fuck, Brax.” I gasped. “Don’t you dare stop.”
His grin, those fucking dimples, it was too much for me, and I lost control as my body detonated into a million pieces. I cried out, more than once, and Braxton let out a final groan, finishing just after me. He rocked against me a few more times, drawing out the pleasure for as long as possible. When I reached the point of it being almost too much to handle, I threw my head back and let out a strangled chuckle. “Dude, you’re literally going to kill me one of these days.”
He dropped the hand out from under my ass, placing it on the other side of my head, so his arms framed me as he stared down. Still inside me. Still as hard as hell. My body was already starting to respond again. Before the twins, we often had sex over and over in a single night, but since the little boob monsters were born, it had been harder to find alone time. I missed my mate. But neither of us would wish for anything different.
Our babies had stolen our hearts.
As though they’d heard me, a low cry sounded through the wall between our room and theirs. Braxton had built a small nursery just off the side of us, so they were close, but there was a door we could shut for sexy times. Not that they were old enough to care, but it was nice to have the illusion of privacy.
He leaned down and kissed me hard, his tongue brushing against mine, and I realized that we hadn’t kissed once during the sex. It had been all about the eye contact. Damn, he was as sexy as hell.
“I’ll get him,” Braxton murmured, against my mouth.
He pulled out slowly before sliding back into me again, as if he just couldn’t leave so abruptly. “Really fucking cold out here without you, Jessa babe,” he said with a wink.
I just shook my head. “Get off, I have to clean up.”
With a snort of laughter, he finally rolled off me. “Such a romantic.”
I shrugged, because I really wasn’t and he loved me anyway. I escaped into our bathroom to clean myself up and pull on some clothes. I paused just as I was about to step out, my eyes going across to the bed. Braxton was laid back, head propped up against the pillows across the headboard. Our son, Jack, was in his lap staring up at him.
“Hey, little man.” Braxton’s voice always got this special low tone to it when he talked to the babies. I propped myself against the door so I could watch without disturbing them.
There was nothing in this world that could tear me apart faster than watching Braxton handle our babies. He fucking adored them. My heart was so full in that moment; one hand pressed to my chest as if I could ease the ache there. This was worth all the sleepless nights and stress in our world. We were taking these perfect moments. They were ours, Goddammit.
Braxton’s head shot up, our eyes clashing together. There was no way for me to sneak up on them, not even if I could somehow magic myself invisible.
You look beautiful.
He was much more romantic when he used our special mate bond to communicate.
I love you.
I guess that I was too.
Jackson started cooing and waving his arms when he saw me, and I hurried over to gather him into my arms. The second I held the chubby little guy, everything inside me calmed. My wolf relaxed, her rumble almost a purr as I snuggled against Braxton’s side and put Jackson on the boob. We had this routine down, and I loved that Braxton supported me in whatever way he could. I might have to do all the hours and hours and hours of feeding—my kids were hungry little supes, let me tell you—but Braxton was there for everything else.
“Tomorrow we’re meeting with the council from Canada,” he said, voice low as his fingers played in the lengths of my long, dark hair. “They want to negotiate some more prisoner exchanges.”
“Will you meet them at Vangaurd?” I asked.
Braxton, and his brothers were the leaders of the American Supernatural Council, which meant they had a shit-ton of responsibilities. One of the largest was making sure that the prison near our home in Stratford, which housed some of the worst supernatural criminals in the world, remained safe and ran smoothly. There was a network of these prisons around the globe, and since local criminals were usually moved away from familiar territory, the boys were often negotiating prisoner exchanges.
“Yeah, they want to see our facilities for mermaids. Apparently, theirs is a real bitch. I assured them we have the perfect isolation tank for her, but you know how this bullshit works.”
He sounded pissed, and I didn’t blame him. Braxton was a powerful dragon shifter, smart and capable, but he couldn’t stand politics. Because he was strong and feared, he’d gotten the position of council leader for shifters. But he really didn’t want it.
Evie cried then, and Braxton was up and in the nursery in a flash. Jackson was finished, so it was easy to transfer him to his daddy so I could feed my little girl. After that was done, it was time to start the day. Clothes, nappies, kids, toys . . .
My life sure as shit had changed, and I was happier than I’d ever been. As we travelled downstairs, the sound of laughter hit me. We shared this house with our pack, and just like my babies, this closeness never failed to bring me joy. It had been Jessa and the Compass quads for a long time, but it had become so much more.
Mischa, my twin, was mated to Maximus, who was the vampire part of the Compass quads. Grace was a true mate to Tyson, who was the magic part of the quads. And Jacob, the fey of the quads, remained happily single. We were all taking bets about when he was going to be taken down by whatever woman was destined for him.
After so many years of mate bonds being scarce, fate was finally bringing them back, but Jacob was determined to skip out on all the “true love bullshit.”
“Hey, Jess.” Maximus wrapped his arms around me, and I returned the hug with force. Braxton held the twins, which meant I could really enjoy the hug from my favorite vampire.
“Where’s Misch?” I asked, looking around for my twin. We were almost identical, only our eye color and a few freckles differentiated us.
“Lily had a little accident,” he told me, eyes searching up the stairs. Ah, that was why he’d been standing near the base, he’d been waiting for them to return.
“What sort of accident?” Braxton asked, sounding amused rather than concerned. If it had been anything serious, Maximus would not be down here with us.
“She crapped all the way up her back, it was in her damn hair!” Jacob yelled from the kitchen. “If there was ever a need to enforce birth control with supes, they’d just have to show a video of that.”
My chuckle burst out before I could stop it, and Maximus shook his head. “I’m probably going to kill Jacob by lunchtime. I hope you aren’t too attached to him.”
I was very attached to him—to all of my pack—and I would rip the head off anyone who hurt them, but since Maximus was mostly joking, I shrugged. “We could probably replace him easily enough. I mean . . . plenty of fey to go around, right?”
“Hey!” Jacob shouted again before he poked his head around the corner of the kitchen. “You would be devasted without me. I am irreplaceable.”
“Who’s irreplaceable?” Grace asked, stepping in from the back porch. She looked happy and windswept. She and Tyson were spending an awful lot of time in the forest, which bordered the back of our large cabin home, and if the amount of twigs in her hair was any indication, they were not just hiking.
“Just deciding who we’re going to replace Jacob with in the pack,” I told her, and she laughed before hurrying over to Braxton. She relieved him of Evie, snuggling the baby close to her.
“How’s my baby girl today?” she cooed.
Tyson walked in then, his eyes shooting straight to his mate and the baby she held. They darkened, and I recognized that look. Ten to one, we were adding some more babies to our pack in the next few years.
“Breakfast is ready,” Jacob yelled and then added, “you ungrateful assholes!”
All of us laughed, and then we trooped through into the large dining room. I used to think Braxton’s huge-ass table was over the top, but not anymore. We definitely needed the space. Since Jackson and Evie were too young for food, Braxton and Grace put them on their tummies in the specially designed area we had in the corner. I leaned down and ran my hands across their blond hair, needing to touch them.
As I stood, Mischa hurried into the room, her arms full of a sparkling clean Lily. The babies mop of dark curls was getting long already, and they’d have to tie it up soon to get it out of her eyes. She went in with the twins, the three of them started doing their communication thing. I would swear they all talked in little coos and grunts and hand waves.
Jacob dropped the first plate of food down, and as Maximus went to sit at that spot, I kicked him in the side, knocking him four feet back.
“No!” I said, pointing a finger at him. “When you’re breastfeeding two hungry babies for half the night, then you get the first food. Until then. . .” I trailed off, eyeing him as he held both hands up and backed away slowly.
Mischa stood next to me, and I caught her amused look from the corner of my eye. “You think he’d have learned by now.”
“Yeah, it’s only been twenty years,” I said, sticking my tongue out at him.
I kept an eye on Maximus while I took my seat, and he just chuckled before ruffling my hair. “Don’t ever change, Jess.”
I would have flipped him off, but I was too busy reaching for food. I’d save the extra insults for later. I might have gotten in first, but the pastries, eggs, toast, and bacon disappeared so fast. We all had big appetites, being growing supernaturals and all that.
Mischa was the only one to still eat like she was human or something. Her food didn’t even spill out over the side of her plate when she took her share. Some days, I wondered if we were actually related. When I was finished, I eyed the empty platter with sadness. I’d really wanted another chocolate croissant, but I hadn’t wanted to be completely greedy.
Really regretting that choice.
“Here you go, babe.”
Braxton slid his slice of the chocolate deliciousness closer to me, and I had to physically stop myself from just reaching out and snatching it up. With a sigh, I shook my head. “No, seriously. You have it.”
Snickering laughter started up around the room, and I narrowed my eyes before swinging around to give them all a death stare. “Shut up, I’m trying to be nice.”
Braxton wrapped his arms around me, half pulling me out of my chair so he could kiss me. I forgot all about food and chocolate as another hunger flared to life within me. This morning had not been enough. It would never be enough.
He set me back down gently, and I was rocked for a moment as I tried to remember what year it was. There was a soft scraping sound as he slid his plate closer. “It’s yours, Jess. Always.”
Don’t cry. Don’t cry.
“Still the only supe I know to cry over food,” Braxton smirked before he leaned forward and pressed his lips to the corner of mine. That kiss, it almost sent the emotions I was feeling into overdrive. A single tear escaped, and he brushed it away.
Lily screamed then, and that distracted everyone long enough for me to pull myself together. And eat my pastry. Because I sure as hell was not letting any of these bastards get their hands on it. Not that they would. Braxton’s dragon shared food with me and no one else. He was likely to get very pissed if anyone touched his offering.
The dragon and the food.
I decided to go with the quads the next day to the prison. Mischa and Grace were watching the babies, and I should have at least three hours before one of mine decided they were starving to death. My parents were also stopping by, because they couldn’t go more than half a day without seeing their grandbabies. The Compass grandparents were just as bad.
“Remember all the months we spent looking for this prison?” Jacob chuckled, as we walked through the forest. “I never thought we were going to find it.”
I shook my head, looking around at the familiar flora. “Literally feels like that was a hundred years ago. I can barely remember my life before the dragon mark.”
We all fell quiet, no doubt thinking about the crazy events that had happened during the time of the dragon marked and the dragon king. He’d been a megalomaniac sort of dude—not one you wanted to stop by your city. But we’d gotten rid of him in the end, and the dragon marked were finally free to go and live their lives. I still bore the huge dragon shaped tattoo on my body, and I looked at it with reminiscing sort of happiness. My Josephine. My dragon. She was living in the Faerie lands, ruling them like the badass dragon she was.
I missed her so much, but it was nice knowing I could visit her again. She was always there.
“Does the doorway still move all the time?” I asked when the boys led me into a deep, dark section of the woods.
Maximus nodded. “Yep, we have to send out coordinates for the new spot every few days. Make sure the location is not repeated within a year period.”
There were so many things they took care of now that I didn’t even know about. I’d been in a real sleep-deprived haze for the last few months. “If you four ever need help, you know you only have to ask, right?”
I was used to being the only chick in the group. Having four overprotective guys as best friends meant they took care of most things while I just hung around, causing trouble and eating food. It was a dynamic that worked for us. And they knew I loved them . . . I just wasn’t always the most helpful supernatural around.
“You grew some babies, and now you continue to grow them, Jessa babe.” Tyson wrapped an arm around me. “You’re doing like ten times the work we are. We’re all so damn proud of you.”
The five of us slowed, almost in sync, which was just like the old days. I realized then that it had been a long time since it was just the five of us together. So much had changed, but at the core, we were still the same. Family.
“I love you all,” I said, randomly needing to say the words.
I got a ton of hugs and ribbing in return, and it felt even more like old times.
“Come on,” Braxton finally said, opening the door that would lead us into the underground. “We’re going to be late.”
When we were in the underground area, we strolled across to the front gate. The guards lowered their heads and greeted their council leaders as we passed. Being the leaders here was a big deal, and no one fucked with the Compass quads. But it was nice that they also seemed to respect and like them. My boys had done well. Really well.
“Are the Canadians here yet?” Maximus asked the troll in the first guard booth. Demi-fey were very good at keeping the prisoners under control, and they held a lot of the main guard positions here.
The troll nodded, his barky skin shining in the fluorescent lighting of this section. “The sorcerer dropped them off about ten minutes ago. They’re in the front waiting room.”
He handed us our medallions, and we looped them around our necks before setting off. The prison’s security went far beyond just the guards and solid walls, there were magical elements woven throughout that countered the natural strengths of the five supernatural races. Shifter, vampire, fey, demi-fey and magic user. Hence the need for the medallions to counteract the silver and blood magic. I’d been here once as a prisoner, it was much nicer entering this way.
The Canadian group consisted of two vampires and two shifters. Bear, if my nose was correct. My senses were definitely duller inside these spelled walls, even with the medallion.
“Welcome to Vanguard, Dineal,” Braxton said, shaking hands with the first shifter. He was a huge burly man, with a closely shaved head and eyes the color of rich cinnamon. Age was difficult to tell in supernaturals, but I thought he looked like someone with experience about him. Probably around eighty.
I wasn’t overly fond of bear shifters, had too many bad experiences with their growly asses to ever trust one, but I also really shouldn’t cause any political turmoil for my guys. So, when it was my turn to be introduced, I just shook hands with Dineal and kept my mouth shut.
“You really don’t need an introduction,” he said, holding my hand for a beat too long. “Everyone knows the dragon marked who took down the king.”
Braxton only made one noise, barely even a scary one, and Dineal dropped my hand and backed up a few steps. I narrowed my eyes at my mate, because I sure as shit did not need him to scare off the men. I could do that all on my own.
The others didn’t come near me after that, and I knew Jacob was laughing at me. His eyes were practically sparkling. Dicking fey. Once the introductions were over, it was time to enter the prison. There was about thirty minutes until lunchtime, so it was pretty quiet in the large communal area that all five races shared at certain periods of the day. We walked straight past the cafeteria tables and the gym, making our way to the tanks that held the mermaids and selkies.
Mermaids were nothing like the cartoons humans watched. They were scary, with claws and fangs and dirty, sea-colored hair and skin. Their eyes bothered me, empty depths of darkness. Oh, and there was also that thing about them liking to lure people to their deaths just for shits and giggles. That bothered me the most.
“We have three mermaids in at the moment, but the one in this tank is due for release next week,” Tyson explained, as we closed in on one of the giant glass structures. “Her tank is designed specifically for the difficult cases. She’s a head banger.”
I took a step closer. The water was so clear that I was sure crazy mermaid had already escaped. Then, she appeared on the other side of the glass so quickly that I almost took a step back. I had no idea how they hid themselves in the water that way but if they stayed very still no one could see them. It was as if they could reflect their surroundings.
She stared at me. Black orbs. No white at all in them. Her tail was a khaki-green, and her hair, which was almost the full length of her body as it trailed out around her, was a few shades lighter in color than her tail.
When the mermaid smiled, her pointed teeth flashed ivory in my direction. It was not a nice smile, it was an I-enjoy-snacking-on-shifters sort of grin.
“Are you sure this bitch should be back in the ocean?” I asked Maximus, who stood next to me. “She looks like she’s a few fish short of a full load.”
Braxton pressed in close to my back then, and I immediately rubbed myself across him. Because why the hell not. I was nothing if not inappropriate. His hand slid across my ass and down it, so quickly I almost missed it.
Goddamn him. I was horny . . . again.
“She’s done her time,” Maximus said, shaking his head at me. “She gets a second chance.” He didn’t sound any happier about it than I was.
I’d been advocating for the death penalty to be brought in. Doesn’t matter how horrific a supernatural’s crime is, if they surrender peacefully, they get to keep their miserable lives. That was fine, until criminals started escaping and killing again. Or even doing their time and getting out to hurt innocents again.
It had to stop. Two strikes and you were dead was my new motto.
The Canadians spent about twenty minutes examining the cage. The entire time they walked around it, testing strength and magical barriers, the mermaid followed their movements. Wherever they were, she was on the other side, and the hunger on her face was fucking disturbing.
Finally, they seemed satisfied, and the paperwork was brought out to sign. This was just as the lunch rush started, and when we left, we found ourselves surrounded by criminals. Guards closed in to where we were standing, but Braxton just waved them away. Only a fucking moron would take on the Compasses. We were in no danger here.
“You assholes are going to die!” A loud voice broke out across the racket of lunch noise. “I know what’s coming for you, and I can’t wait to stand over your corpses and laugh.”
Okay, apparently we had some fucking morons in here after all.
A vampire broke away from a group near the buffet. He kept shouting as he got closer to us, hands waving around while he drew attention. “Warren Chalms.” I heard Jacob mutter. “He’s just come out of solitary for threatening those women.”
Oh, he was definitely a moron. Before anyone could stop me, I stalked across toward him, ready to meet him face to face. Threatening women was not okay with me.
I heard some groans and laughter from behind, but I didn’t wait around for more. He swung at me as soon as I was within reaching distance, but I’d been fighting for most of my life, and it was second nature to simply side-step his fist. Swinging myself around, I kicked him in the face hard enough that I heard his teeth rattle. Warren went down, smacking his head on a table that was nearby. He got up just as fast, vampires were strong and quick, and he was going to be ready to kill me.
Fangs out, he lunged forward and grabbed a handful of my hair while he tried to wrench my throat back to bite me. My elbow crashed into his nose, splintering it and sending blood spurting everywhere. Dammit, I hated when I got blood on my clothes. That meant I had to go shopping again to replace this top. I hated shopping as much as bloody clothes.
Before he could recover, I ripped my hair free and kicked him hard in the gut. When he was on the ground, I dropped both of my knees into his chest. My wolf surged forward and I let her strength infuse me. My next punch knocked him out cold, his ugly head lolling to the side.
Rising slowly, I wiggled my shoulders and stretched myself out. It had been a while since I’d had a good old-fashioned fight. A few more vampire closed in on me.
“Don’t even think about it.” Braxton’s words sounded almost lazy, but there was an immediate six feet of space around me.
“Cocky dragon.” I grinned at him, showing all of my teeth. “I had it handled.”
His eyes did that midnight blue thing again, followed by yellow, and then all I could think about was this morning. His body over mine.
This was out of control, what sort of pheromones did dragons have? Neither of us moved, both waiting for the other to make the first move. I was all amped up from the fight and from my hormones, so that gave me an extra slice of attitude. And I was already pretty headstrong.
I wasn’t about to break the eye contact, but I did notice Jacob shove Maximus forward. “Move her or we’ll be here all day,” he muttered.
Maximus bared his fangs at his brother “Fuck, no. Are you kidding me?” He shot back. “No one touches Jessa babe when she’s like this.”
I had taught them well.
“How about a compromise?” Braxton had all of my attention. I crossed my arms and tilted my head to the side.
“Listening . . .”
“We meet in the middle.”
A grin was trying to break out across my pursed lips, and I fought against it, but I couldn’t stop. “Fine, I can agree to those terms.”
He took the first step, which I knew cost him dearly, but he did it for me. That was how I knew Braxton loved me more than anything—he could literally fight instinct for me. And I would do the same for him.
I ran then because . . . screw meeting in the middle.
His arms wrapped around me as I leapt at him, and my legs closed around his waist as our bodies slammed together. His lips were on mine in the same heartbeat, and then I forgot about the rest of the world.
It was true what they said: the cockier the dragon, the harder they fall. It was the same for wolves. Guess we could just be cocky bastards together.
I was pretty okay with that.
Copyright © Jaymin Eve 2018. All rights reserved.
First Edition. First published in 2018
No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior permission in writing of the publisher, nor be otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition, including this condition, being imposed on the subsequent purchaser. All characters in this publication other than those clearly in the public domain are fictitious, and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.More Stories