29 October 2007

The Big Bad Wolf

“Leave her alone, Dimitri.”

The voice was deep, masculine, and rough in a way the other man’s hadn’t been. It freed Sherry from the spell that had kept her immobile and she stepped back, away from the man called Dimitri. She looked over his shoulder to see an even taller man stepping forward. He had brown hair and the warmest, chocolate brown eyes she’d ever seen. Where Dimitri was slick and suave, this man was all rough edges. He seemed more genuine to Sherry, and much more likable, though he looked every bit as dangerous.

“You dare challenge me, pup?” The first man turned on the newcomer.

“She’s not part of the entertainment, old friend. It’s obvious she doesn’t know what she’s stumbled into. I’ve been watching her since she stopped in front of the moat.”

“Moat?” Sherry asked with a puzzled frown.

“See?” the new man said with a raised eyebrow.

Dimitri shook his head, frowning, but moved off. But now the second man was facing her, a forbidding frown on his face.

“You just had a close call, little lamb.”

“My name is Sherry.” She didn’t know why she felt compelled to tell him that, but the words were out before she could censor her thoughts. “Thanks for your help, but I’ll be fine now.”

“What are you doing in Dunvegas, Sherry? This is no place for someone like you.”

She took exception to his tone, preparing to stalk off, but she’d give him a piece of her mind first. “I’ll go where I damned well please. I’m sick of being told where to go, what to do, how to dress, and how to speak, so don’t you even try. Who the hell are you, anyway?”

The man reached into his pocket, then flipped open a badge. “Chet Davis, head of Dunvegas Security, ma’am. Like I said, I’ve been watching you since you stopped outside the moat.”

“I didn’t see any moat.” The badge seemed legit and the man was big enough to be a professional football player--or a cop. He was tall and muscular, like many of the other men she’d seen in the casino, but he seemed a cut above the rest. A little taller, a little broader, a little sharper-eyed.

His smile almost stole her breath. “Why don’t I escort you to the front door and you can see what I mean?”

“Are you throwing me out?” Something about him riled her, though she was usually a quiet kind of person, not given to confrontation. But this man dared her to say no, just for the fun of it.

Strange, she’d never thought of confrontation as fun before, but the sparkle in his dark brown eyes made her shiver, and it wasn’t from cold. No, this was a shiver of awareness of her own fragility next to this giant man’s strength. He could crush her, or weigh her down in the most delicious way possible.

Where were these scandalous thoughts coming from? She was a librarian, for goodness sake! She wasn’t one to ogle strange men, even if they did look good enough to eat. She did her best not to blush, but she could feel the heat of a flush rise to her fair cheeks. Chet smiled in a way she could only term wolfish.

“On the contrary, I wouldn’t throw out a pretty little thing like you, Red.”

Suddenly, Sherry was glad of her dark red hair that refused to be tamed. Normally it was the bane of her existence, but this man seemed to like it if the searing appreciation in his gaze was any indication.

“But we’ve got a convention going on here and you stick out like a sore thumb,” he continued. “I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t keep an eye on you. So tell me, why did you come in here of all the casinos on the strip?”

Something told her he really wanted to know. She shrugged. “I was walking. It got dark and I realized I was hungry, so I stopped and I was outside the castle. I didn’t really look at the place before I came in. I was just seeking some warmth, a change of clothes and a meal.”

“Clothes? That’s why you were in the Bondage Boutique?”

She blushed again. “I didn’t realize what kind of store it was ‘til I saw what was inside.”

“But some of those outfits intrigued you.” He didn’t phrase it as a question and the dancing light in his eyes told her he really had been watching her finger a few of those outfits longingly.

A lump formed in her throat despite his warm expression. “I guess so, but I have nobody to wear them for now.”

“That sounds like a story I need to hear.” He crossed his arms, shifting his weight back to regard her. “How about you tell me over dinner?”

* * *

Chet silently prodded her to accept. He’d scented her the moment she’d passed the casino on her lonely walk. He’d left it to fate as to whether she’d come in, but when she had, he’d known fate was on his side. Destiny had finally brought his mate to him.

To say he was surprised by the little red-haired mortal would be an understatement, but he was infatuated with her every move and her scent was ripe and luscious. Ambrosia. She would be his and he wouldn’t hear anything against it. The trick was getting her to agree. He wasn’t a vampire like Dimitri, able to spin veils of enticement over his prey. What he was, was an alpha werewolf, with only natural pheromones to call on and the certainty that this fragile little creature was his destined mate.

He could tell by her scent. She probably smelled just like any other female to the rest of the were population, but to him, she was the finest of aphrodisiacs, the rarest of vintages. She was his. Plain and simple. She smiled at him and his heart skipped a beat.

“I am kind of hungry,” she admitted.

“Well, we can fix that easily enough. I’m off duty for the night, so we can order up a feast. Why don’t you finish your shopping while I make the arrangements?” He pointed her toward a more vanilla clothing boutique while he tapped the small headset that connected him to his team and the rest of the hotel. The first thing he did was put his beta in charge for the night, and then he contacted room service and ordered a meal sent up to his suite.

He also contacted Sadie, who ran the Bondage Boutique, and had the outfits Sherry had lingered over gift wrapped and sent up. Those would be gifts for later--after they’d had a chance to get to know one another and he’d put his mark on her. He’d enjoy seeing her in those skimpy leather numbers, knowing they’d reveal his bite marks once he got the chance to put them on her shoulder. That would come…later tonight if he had any say in the matter.

Little Red Riding Hood didn’t know it yet, but she was definitely on the menu. Chet couldn’t wait for desert.

(c) 2007 Bianca D'Arc
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