Discovering Her Wolfen Heritage
Wolfen Heritage, Book 1
by Missy Martine
Ebook ISBN: 1-60601-640-7
Print ISBN: 978-1606016411
[ Shifter Romance, MF ]
Remus has known Maddie’s his mate since she was a little girl. A tragic accident and a cruel doctor, kept them apart for many years, but now she’s back. Only she doesn’t know about her heritage. Will she accept the wolf that lives inside, and give her love to Remus.
“Maddie, be reasonable, you can’t expect me to leave you here alone.”
Maddie Bowers looked up at her handsome brother and tried not to show her irritation. She understood he worried about her, but at some point, he had to accept that she was an adult and responsible for her own choices. He’d spent the last two weeks helping her get settled in her new home, and now she really wanted to be alone.
“I do expect you to leave me here alone, Michael. I expect you to respect my decisions and acknowledge that I’m an adult.”
“Oh, honey, I know you’re an adult, but you have to admit that your situation isn’t entirely normal.”
“I’m perfectly normal, Michael Barrows.” She interrupted his pleading, her voice becoming louder as her anger grew. “As for my special situation, well, this place is perfect. It’s remote, with no one anywhere close. It’s the perfect place for me to relax and begin to take control of my life.” As she spoke, Maddie looked around, taking in the cabin with the majestic mountains and forest in the background.
“Exactly, it’s too remote. Hell, we’ve been here two weeks and haven’t seen anyone except when we drove into town to buy supplies. What happens if you get hurt?”
Trying her best to control her temper, Maddie turned away from her only brother before she answered him. “You know as well as I do that I’m more likely to hurt someone else than myself.” There was no way she was going to let him know the thought of being on her own terrified her. The idea of being watched constantly scared her even more.
“But Maddie,” he began.
“Stop it, Michael. Stop it right now,” Maddie yelled. Suddenly, the dirt and flowers behind Michael exploded up and out into the air, showering Michael with dirt.
“Holy hell!” he shouted as he jumped to the side.
“Michael, I’m so sorry,” she gasped. Huge tears ran down Maddie’s cheeks as she apologized to her brother. “That’s why this place is so perfect, Michael. I don’t get angry when I’m alone.” She pleaded with him to understand.
“All right, Maddie, you’re right.” He leaned over and began brushing the dirt and leaves from his clothing. “You’re an adult, and there isn’t anything I can do to stop you from staying here.” He straightened and gazed into her eyes. But try to remember that I’m your brother, and I love you. There is nothing you can do to stop me from worrying and caring about you.”
“I love you, too, Michael.” She looked at him and tried to make him understand. “I want this time to figure out what I want to do with my life.” Maddie stepped closer and put her hand on Michael’s arm. “I’d also like you to take this time and think about moving forward with your own life as well. I know you’ve put off planning for a future because of your commitment to me. Well, I’m selfish. I want little nieces and nephews to spoil. If you’re going to give them to me, you’re gonna to have to get busy.”
Michael frowned at her. “I’ll find a wife when I’m good and ready to find one and not before, little girl.”
They had this discussion before, and Maddie knew she was making him angry. She wasn’t at all surprised when he suddenly changed the subject.
“Maddie, do you remember the man Grandpa left his land to?”
She nodded. “Sure, Remus Wind River, wasn’t it?”
“Yeah, that’s right. I spoke with him last week, and he’s gonna be checking in on you from time to time while I’m away on this job.”
Trying to hold her anger in check, Maddie glared at him. “Why would you do that?”
“Because I need peace of mind, Maddie.” Michael sighed and ran his fingers through his hair. “With me being so far away, I need to know you’ve got someone to turn to if there’s a problem. He seems like a responsible, decent fellow, and I trust him. Hell, Grandpa must have trusted him since he left him the land and you the house. He would have known the two of you would have to interact from time to time.”
Figuring she could get rid of Mr. Wind River easily enough, Maddie held her tongue and let her brother continue.
Michael hesitated for a moment and then changed the subject again. “You’ve got plenty of food, and there’s enough fire wood to last several months. I left the number on the counter for you to call when you start getting low. They’ll deliver it and stack it up for you.” He walked over and took her chin in his hands, forcing her to look him in the eye. “Please, don’t go trying to cut wood yourself. My heart couldn’t stand knowing you were here alone, playing with an axe.” He gave her a wicked grin, which softened his words, and then he held out his arms to her. Maddie walked into his embrace without hesitation.
Hugging her close, Michael closed his eyes. “I’m gonna miss you, little sister. I’ll have my cell phone on all the time, so if you need anything, or just want to talk, I’m only a phone call away.”
She felt him bury his face in her hair and take a deep breath. Maddie pulled back slightly and looked up. She was surprised to see the tears forming in the corners of his eyes.
“Take care of yourself, little sister.”
“Try not to worry, big brother, I’m gonna be just fine.”
Michael held her face between his hands and leaned in to kiss her on the forehead. Stepping back, he smiled and then tweaked her nose. Without another word, he got into his car, and drove away.
Maddie watched the car as it slowly moved down the winding gravel road. When she couldn’t see it any longer, she sighed and looked around, listening to the sounds of the birds. A sudden feeling of helplessness washed over her, and she found herself blinking back tears. Struggling for just a moment with her feelings, Maddie forced herself to relax and felt a blanket of peace wrap around her. This cabin was her home now. Fate meant for her to be here, and she believed in her heart that her destiny was tied to this place.
“Thanks, Grandpa, for leaving me your house and for trusting me. I’ll always love you,” Maddie whispered.
She walked up on the porch and relaxed down into the hanging swing. Smiling, she pushed with her foot and began swing back and forth.
* * * *
Unknown to Maddie, Remus stood in the trees, hidden by his wolf form, watching her. Shifting silently, he went from wolf to human in the blink of an eye. He’d been waiting for this day for a very long time. Maddie lived with her brother for the past year, and Remus had begun to fear she would never claim her grandfather’s cabin. His mate had finally come home, and now the time to claim her had arrived. She wasn’t twenty-one years yet, but he felt certain that Victor would understand and even approve. He wouldn’t break his other promise to his old friend. He’d court Maddie and make her fall in love with him.
He’d been trying to think of a way to insinuate himself into her life when he received the call from her brother. He couldn’t believe his luck. He could go to visit her as often as he wanted, and all with her brother’s approval.
Longingly, he gazed at her. She’d grown into such a beautiful woman. Her petite frame, only about five and a half feet tall, couldn’t possibly weigh more than a hundred pounds soaking wet. Her curly brown hair reached almost to her waist and glittered with tones of gold and red in the sunlight. Her eyes were wide with flecks of brown and gold, unlike the last time he saw her, when they were utterly lifeless.
He visited her as often as he could in that horrible clinic. It broke his heart to see the way they kept her doped up so much of the time.
Remus still remembered the day Victor came home and told him what happened. With bitterness, he talked as if everything changed and that Remus should forget about mating with Maddie someday. He’d gently told him that the Maddie he knew didn’t exist any longer. Remus refused to believe it, though, and eventually convinced the old man that someday Maddie would be whole again and he’d be able to claim her as his own.
Glancing once more at his mate sitting in the swing, Remus turned and headed toward home, wondering how she’d react when he went to see her. Tomorrow, he’d reintroduce her to the wolf and see if she remembered him. Just before her birthday last year, Victor died in his sleep, finally going to join his beloved Eloise. Out of respect for the love he felt for Victor and Eloise, Remus held off going after Maddie. He wanted to give her time to grieve. But even in death, Victor looked after him. In his will, he left his house to Maddie, but the land on which it sat and all the acreage around it to Remus. For her to claim the house, she’d have to come to Wyoming and be near Remus. Smiling, he changed back into his beast and raced toward his family home.
* * * *
Maddie woke with a start. Momentarily confused, she wondered why the surface on which she lay was so hard and why her neck hurt so badly. Raising her head, she looked around her and remembered. This was her grandfather’s house, now her house, and she apparently fell asleep on the porch swing.
Groaning and rubbing her neck, Maddie slowly sat up.
Boy, I must have really been tired. I can’t believe I fell asleep outside on this old, hard swing.
Laughing to herself, she got up and stretched. It would be dark soon, and she was suddenly feeling hungry. Taking a last look around the valley, Maddie headed into the house to find something for dinner.
Not wanting to eat anything heavy, Maddie fixed herself a quick sandwich and poured a glass of milk. Sighing, she took her food out on to the back deck to watch the sunset. Carefully, she carried her food over and sat it on the table between the chairs and then lowered herself into her grandfather’s favorite rocker. She picked up her sandwich and slowly began to rock back and forth. There’d been many times she sat on this porch and watched the colorful sunsets with her grandfather. Reaching for her glass of milk, she was startled when her cell phone rang. Pulling it out of her pocket, she glanced at the screen. Michael was calling.
“Hey, big brother, you haven’t been gone long enough for me to be in any trouble yet. What’s going on with your trip?”
“Hello to you, too, little sister. My trip is going just fine, thank you. I just wanted to check in with you and let you know that I arrived safely.”
“I’m sorry, Michael. Of course I want to know you arrived safely. I’m glad you called. I’m just sitting here eating a sandwich and watching the sun set over the mountains. What are you doing tonight?”
“Tonight, I’m just relaxing and getting my notes and drawings in order for tomorrow. I have back-to-back meetings with the crews, and hopefully we’ll break ground next week.”
She was pleased to hear her brother sound like his old, cheerful self. “That’s great, Michael. This is the biggest project of your career so far, isn’t it?”
“Yeah, if I’m lucky, the success of this center will open my company up to all sorts of jobs overseas.” Michael paused and cleared his throat. “Listen, kiddo, I wanted to say one more thing to you, and please don’t get upset with me, okay?”
“What is it?” A chill crept over Maddie, and she waited impatiently for Michael to continue.
“If you start having any problems at all, you should give Dr. Constantine a call right away.”
Maddie couldn’t stop the rush of anger that washed over her. “Absolutely not, Michael. I’m never going back to his clinic, no matter what happens.”
“Maddie, don’t be like that. Dr. Constantine only wants to help you. If you took the medication he wants you to take, you could lead a more normal life. Wouldn’t you like to be able to go anywhere or do anything you wanted without fear of hurting someone or breaking something? Wouldn’t you like him to teach you to control your gift? Please, Maddie, for me, just promise to call him if you get into any trouble.”
“All right, Michael, if I start to feel as if I can’t handle things I’ll give him a call.” Maddie’s hands trembled at the thought of calling her former doctor. She had no intention of keeping that promise. The drugs Dr. Constantine wanted her to take made her feel horrible. They made it impossible for her to function without help, and she often forgot what happened from one day to the next. No one should have to live that way.
“That’s my girl. I knew you wouldn’t let me down.”
“Great, Michael, I have to go now. I have things to do before I can go to bed tonight.” She made her voice sound firm. “I don’t want you to call me daily. I’m a big girl now, and I can take care of myself. You just concentrate on designing your convention center, and I’ll talk to you in a few days. Goodbye, now.” She hung up the phone before he could say anything else. In a childish fit of anger, she also turned the phone off in case he tried to phone her back before she was ready to talk with him again.
Thinking back to her months in the clinic, Maddie remembered Dr. Constantine and shuddered. He always promised her and her family that he’d be able to teach her to control the telekinesis. Unfortunately, he’d never been about to tell them what caused it.
In the clinic, they finally gave her the official name for what happened around her when she got emotional. Telekinesis. It was a funny name for the chaos that erupted around her from time to time. Unfortunately for her, the control he promised came from forcing drugs on her, which made it almost impossible to have any emotions at all. She’d felt like a zombie most of the time. Plus, it caused her to lose parts of her memory. She’d come off the drug and not remember where she’d been or what she’d been doing for whole days at a time. It frightened her, and nobody in her family would listen to her except her grandfather. When she voiced her fears to him, he stopped visiting her and she never knew why. It was the loneliest time of her life.
Smiling wickedly, Maddie spoke out loud. “I don’t need the good doctor to teach me how to control my gift. I’m learning just fine on my own without taking his stupid drugs.”
Maddie turned and stared intently at the glass of milk on the table beside her. After several moments, the glass slid smoothly across the table, stopping just before it toppled over the edge. Laughing out loud, Maddie turned back in time to see the golden, orange, and reddish hues fall down behind the snow covered tops of the distant mountains. Here, in her grandfather’s cabin, she felt nothing but peace.
I only lose control when I’m angry or emotional. If I can stay here in this beautiful valley, I should be able to control myself all the time.
She remained outside in the rocking chair long after the sun set, only deciding to go inside when the cold began to seep into her bones. Tired from her day, she just wanted to stoke up the fire and climb into bed. Tomorrow, she’d spend time working on her control and do a little exploring on her own.
* * * *
Still in his wolf form, Remus approached the large log cabin home built at the edge of the forest and let himself into the kitchen through a giant doggie door his brother installed a year ago. He’d been horrified when his younger brother suggested it, but he had to admit it made it easier for their wolves to come and go as they pleased.
Glancing up, he saw his brothers, Ethan and Latan, sitting at the kitchen table. Quickly, he shifted back to human and grabbed the pair of jeans he kept by the back door.
Never one to waste time, his younger brother Ethan spoke first. “Well?”
“She’s finally here, getting settled into Victor’s house. I didn’t think her brother would be willing to leave her alone there at first, but he finally gave in and drove away. Hell, he’s been like a shadow to her for two weeks.” He sighed heavily. “Gods above, Ethan, she’s even more beautiful than I remembered.” Remus knew he probably had some ridiculous romantic look on his face. He hoped his brothers wouldn’t make fun of him.
“So, when are you gonna mate with her?” Latan joined the conversation.
“It’ll be soon, but I want her to have a chance to adjust after being locked up in that clinic for such a long time. I don’t want to push her or throw too much at her at one time. I sort of promised Victor that I wouldn’t rush her, and I intend to keep that promise.” He didn’t tell them that he also promised to let her fall in love with him.
“I know what you promised Victor, but she won’t be twenty-one for almost two years. Do you plan to wait that long? How will you ensure that you don’t lose her to someone else before then? Not to mention, how will you get the others in the pack off your back about mating? They expect, as Alpha, you’ll produce a mate and an heir quickly.” Ethan looked genuinely worried.
“I’m not gonna wait that long. I just want time for her to get to know me. I want her to come to me willingly, when she knows what I am. I don’t care what the others think. Hell, I’ve only been Alpha for a little over a year. There’s plenty of time for me to produce an heir. You know they can only put pressure on me. They can’t force me to do anything. Besides, I need time to help her get control of her gift. Victor said strong emotions bring out the violent episodes, and I’m afraid that suddenly finding herself mated to a wolf and having to meet all the other wolves could mean disaster for all of us. Think of the damage she could do with just one thought.” Although serious, Remus couldn’t help but laugh at the vision of her unleashing her gift on the stuffy Elders of his pack.
Both brothers nodded their agreement, and then Latan spoke up.
“How can we help, Remus?”
“She’s going to need protection. The doctor at that clinic wants her back for more research, and I’m not sure how far he’ll go to get his hands on her. I don’t know if Constantine knows she’s one of us or not.”
“Constantine!” both brothers cried.
Before he died, Victor told Remus all about Dr. Constantine and his involvement with the wolf shifters. It seemed the clinic doctor had an agenda Maddie’s father hadn’t known about. “Yeah, that’s one of my major problems. Since he knows about the shifters, he could want her for research other than her telekinesis. I don’t want to risk her life.” Remus’s glance went from one brother to the other. “I’d like it if we could split up so she always has someone watching her until I can mate with her and bring her home.”
“You can count on us, Remus. Just tell us what you want us to do.” Ethan said.
“Thanks, guys. Just check your schedules and let me know when you’re free during the next couple of weeks. I’m really hoping that’ll give her enough time to get to know me. I’m heading over there in the morning to see if she remembers the wolf. She was quite fond of me when she was a little girl.”
“When can we meet her?” Ethan asked quietly with a hint of enthusiasm.
“Soon, Ethan. Hopefully, by the first of next week she’ll be ready to meet with my family. I warn you, though, you’ll probably have to meet her as human and wait before you show her you’re wolves.”
“That’s fine, Remus. We don’t mind spending time with her as humans.” His brother looked uncomfortable and cleared his throat before continuing. “You also need to be aware that Nanita has been coming around, asking where you’ve been spending all your time.” Ethan looked at his brother, and Remus got the feeling he was trying to see how he would react to the female’s name.
“Keep that hell bitch away from me until after I’ve mated with Maddie. I’d sooner mate with a grizzly than bed that barracuda.” He paused and felt a moment of panic. “I’ll call Chatay and see if he can keep her occupied, maybe give her some job to do for the pack. Hell, maybe he can even send her on a trip. I’d certainly be willing to pay her expenses.”
Frowning, Latan spoke up. “Mate as soon as possible, Remus. Nothing’s going to keep Nanita away for long.”
* * * *
Slowly, Maddie woke from a deep sleep, toasty warm under several quilts in the huge brass bed. She didn’t remember ever feeling so safe and comfortable waking before, and she didn’t want it to end. Stretching out in the cocooning warmth, she refused to open her eyes in case it was all just a dream and she found herself back in the clinic bed that had been hers for so many years.
Realizing she couldn’t put off facing the day any longer, Maddie slowly opened her eyes and glanced around. Smiling and laughing out loud, she realized she was in her grandfather’s cabin, finally free. Giggling like a schoolgirl, she jumped from the bed, grabbed her robe on the run to the living room, and began to bank up the fire to add more logs. After she got the fire roaring, she went to take a hot shower.
Maddie dressed quickly in jeans and a T-shirt and then added a pullover sweater. She ran a brush through her long curls, then pulled her hair back into a ponytail and secured it with a thin red ribbon. Satisfied with her appearance, she headed over to the small kitchen area for a bite of breakfast before she took off on a morning walk.
Singing along with the radio, she ate her light breakfast of cereal and fruit and then headed out the back door to walk down to the lake. The grass, wet with morning dew, dampened her shoes as she walked lazily down toward the riverbank listening to the birds cheerfully singing.
When she arrived at the river, she spotted the huge rock overhang, always her favorite place to sit with her grandfather and talk. Smiling happily, she climbed out onto the rock, which had a perfect view of the river and the mountains. Sighing, she let her head fall back while she looked up at the sky. The beauty of this place always amazed her. The sky, a deep sapphire blue, didn’t have a cloud visible anywhere. Nowhere in the cities could you see sky as clear or as blue as this. Glancing back down toward the river, she watched the swift flowing current. Looking around, she decided that this place, in particular, would be perfect to try out her new hobby. Without telling Michael, she’d begun painting in the clinic to pass the time away. She really enjoyed her new hobby, and the hospital staff convinced her that she wasn’t a half bad artist. She hadn’t been able to recreate the scenery here on canvas because of all the drugs she’d been given. Now, she could take her time and capture all this splendor. Michael would really be surprised by his Christmas present this year. Lying back to soak up the sun, Maddie allowed her mind to wander, remembering all the special times she shared with her grandfather right on this very spot.
* * * *
Remus ran along the path in his wolf form, heading over to Victor’s cabin. He couldn’t wait to see Maddie again, to see if she remembered her wolf.
As he neared the house, he caught her scent on the wind and stopped to look toward the river. Almost immediately, he spotted her on the great rock, lying back in the sunshine.
God, she’s so beautiful.
He started walking in her direction, purposely making noise as he approached so he wouldn’t frighten her.
* * * *
Maddie heard a noise behind her and turned quickly to see what it was. She couldn’t believe her eyes as she watched a wolf walking across the field toward her. Something inside her told her not to fear him. He stopped briefly and looked right at her, then began walking toward her again.
As he got closer and she saw his huge size, she felt a little frightened. She remembered the wolf her grandfather introduced her to so long ago, but surely this couldn’t be the same wolf.
How long did wolves live in the wild, she wondered.
As he continued to draw closer, Maddie stood and began to back away slowly toward the river. She was amazed when he stopped advancing and then dropped to the ground and whined. Almost immediately, he began to crawl toward her.
Maddie stopped her retreat and suddenly heard her Grandfather’s voice in her head.
Look at his eyes, little girl. They show you what kind of wolf he is. I promise you this wolf will never do anything to hurt you. In fact, he’d protect you from danger if you ever needed it.
Feeling more confident, Maddie began to walk toward the large wolf. He stopped and watched as she drew near. When she stood right before him, the wolf rolled to his back, presenting his belly to her, causing Maddie to laugh out loud. Feeling confident, she sat down in the grass next to him. After watching him for just a few moments, she reached out a hand timidly and began to rub his belly.
“I’m so happy to see you again, big fellow. I can’t believe you’re still around. You must be getting pretty old for a wolf.” She jumped when a chuffing sound came from the wolf, almost as if he laughed at her. While she talked to him, she continued to rub her hand across his silky fur.
* * * *
That feels so good!
He was lost in the sensation of her hand on his body when he heard her talking about how old he must be. Remus couldn’t help it, his beast laughed at the concern in her voice. Luckily, he didn’t seem to have scared her with the sound. Maddie was going to be quite surprised when she found out just how slowly his kind aged.
Confident she wasn’t afraid of him now, Remus turned over and licked her hand, then crawled up and licked her cheek. Maddie laughed and began rubbing his head. Encouraged, Remus crawled closer and put his head in her lap.
“Wolf, do you miss my grandfather?” Maddie began to scratch behind his ears while she talked to him. “I miss him so very much.”
Remus raised his head and looked into her eyes. He saw a loneliness there that nearly broke his heart. He wanted to erase the sadness from her eyes and give her as much happiness as he could. But first, he’d have to figure out a way to gain her confidence as a human. He had a feeling it would be difficult to get her to trust him this soon. Licking her cheek once more, he settled back down with his head on her lap, content to listen to the sound of her voice.
“Grandpa left me his house, wolf, so it looks like you and I’ll be neighbors now. I never thought I would get to see this place again.” As she continued speaking to Remus, she gazed around at the river and mountains.
“I feel a little silly talking to you, Wolfie.” She reached over and scratched behind Remus’s ear again. “I guess you must be wondering where I’ve been all this time.” Sighing, she pulled her knees up and wrapped her arms around them.
“I’ve been away in a clinic, wolf. When I was little, I nearly drowned in a boating accident.” Glancing at Remus, she continued. “Something happened to me when I drowned, something nobody could explain. When I woke up in the hospital, I could do things I couldn’t do before, things with my mind.” Maddie wiped at her eyes and turned to look at the flowing river. “Whenever I get upset, objects fly around or explode. It freaked out my father and brother. But do you know the worse part, wolf?” She looked down at Remus as if expecting him to answer her. “It made them afraid of me.”
It shattered Remus’s heart to hear her pouring out her story.
“They let me come home for a while, but things kept happening and Daddy couldn’t take it. He let Dr. Constantine convince him to bring me to his clinic, and then he left me there in his care.” Her voice turned sarcastic. “The good doctor talked like he’d be able to find out what caused me to have the ability, and even possibly be able to stop it from happening in the future. At least that’s what he told my dad. He promised me he’d teach me how to control it.” She glanced at Remus and laughed. Her laughter had a sad sound to it. “His idea of controlling it was to give me pills, lots and lots of pills. It was awful, wolf. They made me feel horrible. I heard him tell Daddy that they were going to suppress my emotions since the incidents only happened when I reached an emotional state about something.” Sighing, she laid her cheek on top of Remus’s head.
“Sometimes I’d forget several days at a time. I couldn’t remember what I’d done or what had been done around me. It terrified me, wolf. I felt so out of control.”
Maddie laughed when Remus crawled up even closer and settled across her lap. Then she giggled when he reached up and licked underneath her chin. Wrapping her arms around him, she hugged him tightly.
“I got tired of the clinic experimenting on me. I vowed that I’d do whatever I could to get released. He was never going to help me learn to control my gift. I knew I’d have to do it on my own if I ever wanted to be free.” Sighing, she sat back up and glanced back toward the house.
“My dad remarried and then stopped letting me come home for visits and pretty much stopped visiting me. His new wife wasn’t comfortable around me, and he just wanted to make her happy. I understood he just wanted to move forward with his life in my head, but my heart took a little longer to accept it. Even Grandpa stopped visiting me. Nobody ever told me why he stopped coming around.” Maddie jumped when Remus licked away the tear falling down her cheek. She smiled at him and ran her hand over his head.
“Then Daddy and his wife were killed in a car wreck, and Grandpa died shortly after that. My brother wouldn’t let me come home. He thought I’d be better off in the clinic with Dr. Constantine. I might have been stuck in that place forever if it wasn’t for a kind attorney who went to the courts on my behalf. Thanks to him, they had to let me go.”
Maddie smiled down at Remus, and he could sense she felt happy and safe. “I stayed with Michael, my brother, until yesterday. It took us some time to get my father’s will probated, and then I had the money to do whatever I wanted. Grandpa left me this house, so this is where I’ve come to live, wolf.” Frowning, she picked up a rock and threw it toward the river. “Michael wants me to stay in touch with Dr. Constantine, but I’m not gonna do it. They don’t know this, but I’m learning to control my gift on my own, wolf. Watch this.”
Maddie pointed to some rocks lying in the grass a few feet away. Remus’s eyes followed the path of her hand and focused on the rocks. All of a sudden, they slid across the grass about two feet. Shocked, Remus turned his head to look at her more closely. She grinned at him and really looked quite happy.
“See, wolf? I can control it myself. Of course, I admit, there are still times when being angry causes me to lose control, but that’s why I’m happy to live up here alone. At least I can be assured I won’t hurt anyone up here.”
With a wistful expression, Maddie stared up at the sky. “I have dreams, wolf, dreams of falling in love and getting married, of having children some day. But I’m realistic. I know it isn’t likely to happen. So, I’m determined to be happy here, enjoying the scenery and painting, and hopefully, having you as my best friend.” Maddie patted Remus’s head one more time and then pushed away to rise to her feet. He stood beside her, watching to see what she would do. He was elated to be with her, and longed for the time when he could tell her the truth about himself. He couldn’t believe she was starting to be able to control her gift. She’d clearly recovered more than anyone knew.
As she walked back toward the cabin, he fell into step beside her. Arriving back at her new home, Maddie opened the door. “Would you like to come inside with me? We could sit in front of the fire, spend some time together.” As much as he wanted to accept her offer, Remus preferred talking with her as a human. Yipping at her to offer his regrets, Remus raced off toward the woods. He wasn’t going to waste any more time. Maddie needed to make friends with Remus, the man.
* * * *
Maddie watched the wolf run away. She felt saddened that he didn’t want to stay with her.
“Well, I guess maybe he’s right. It could be a real problem with a full grown wolf in the house.” Laughing, she headed into the kitchen to fix some lunch and to get rid of her sweater. She had grown quite warm sitting in the sun.
After a quick sandwich and a glass of milk, Maddie took a book out to the front porch and settled into the swing for some afternoon reading.
* * * *
Maddie had been engrossed in her book for a while when, out of the corner of her eye, she saw movement down the hill. Looking up, she saw someone walking up the dirt and gravel drive. She recognized Remus Wind River, the man to whom her grandfather left all his land. She only met him once, at the reading of the will. Gosh, he was even better looking than she remembered.
Easily six and a half feet tall, he had broad shoulders and a very muscular body. His brown hair fell down his back, and he kept it pulled back with what looked to be leather ties. She’d never forgotten his eyes. They were the deepest blue she’d ever seen. Glancing up at the sky, she couldn’t help but notice they were almost the exact same color. Puzzled, she wondered where she’d seen eyes like that before.
Watching him walk toward the porch, Maddie realized just how handsome he really was. Suddenly embarrassed by how she kept staring at him, she felt her nipples hardening and moisture gathering between her legs. She might be an innocent, but she read enough romance books to know what her body wanted. It wanted Remus Wind River, and it wanted him badly.
As Remus walked up to the porch, he smiled and spoke to Maddie.
“Hello, Miss Barrows.”
“Good afternoon to you, Mr. Wind River.”
“So you do remember me.” Remus smiled and looked pleased.
“Yes, I remember you. What brings you to visit me today?” Maddie asked but already knew why he was there.
Remus flashed her a toothy smile. “Please, call me Remus.”
“All right, Remus. You may call me Maddie.” Maddie smiled. “Let me guess, you’re here because my overprotective brother wants you to check up on me.”
Laughing up at her, Remus replied, “Well, he did give me the perfect excuse to come up here and see you, but I’d have found a reason to stop by anyway.”
“Now why would you be wanting to stop by here?” Maddie asked, puzzled.
“I find you very attractive, Maddie, and I’d like to get to know you better and to have you get to know me.”
“Now why would I want to do that?” Maddie asked before she could stop herself. She seemed to surprise Remus as much as she surprised herself.
“Maybe you’ll start thinking of me as attractive, and that I’m someone you want to spend more time with.”
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