Terrified, you kick open a scrawny door hidden inside a recessed alcove and find yourself in a darkened maze of catacombs. Light flickers from sconces on the wall, projecting shadows of spiders skittering through their webs, and bats circling about the night’s sky. The dance of the fire perched upon the wick gives life to the iron guards circling the sconces. To your eye, the spiders climb across the walls and up to the ceiling. The bats circle among the bricks, never coming to rest.
A single light flickers from above you, revealing a press of stone walls twisting around the room and vanishing into the darkness.
“Where am I?” you whisper to thin air. The fear of being turned around and never emerging rises in your mind.
“The cellar,” Dominic grumbles from behind you. The heat of his body presses to your back, his arms cinching tight to your stomach. “I used to come down here to chase rats. But it’s not a friendly place. We should leave.”
Lifting you into his arms, Dominic carries you up a set of stairs carved into rock. A threadbare rug clings to each one, helping to catch your feet as you begin to ascend out of the frozen wine cellar and into a strange hall.
Dark wood fills the floor stretching before you, all manner of rug and carpet gone. But those strange claw marks from the forest’s stones have returned. The wall itself bears blood red wallpaper above a deep oak wainscoting.
Instead of the bat and spider sconces of the cellar, hands dipped in gold hold torches upon the walls. They’re not real, you’re certain, but look lifelike enough to give you a second’s look.
With his nose buried into your hair, Dominic pressing accidentally kisses to the top of your head, he guides you through the landing rooms to the foyer itself and the looming front door. A plaque sits by the door declaring this to be Waining Manor, but a stain’s dripped from the ceiling, blotting away the gold until it reads as Wailing Manor. You glance around, fearing to discover a banshee or spirit shrieking at you.
What you find is a grand staircase with railings carved to mimic the vines circling the property. A faded, dull-red carpet clings to the mahogany stairs rising to a second floor. You can only make out a hint of rooms above, wallpaper peeling from its base and darkness oozing down the halls.
A flash of a face screaming in agony bursts in your mind. You whimper and bury your face in Dominic’s chest. He ruffles through your hair, the edge of his stubbled jaw brushing against your skin. “Are you tired? I know a sturdy bed upstairs…”
“No.” You shake your head, dread overwhelming your soul at the idea of you having to venture up the stairs.
“Can I take you to my favorite place in the whole of the manor?” he asks with such enthusiasm you feel your cheeks tugging up to reflect his smile. Your head needs to only tip in a nod for Dominic to yelp in joy and dash away to the right. The imposing foyer with a chandelier passes quickly. You only have a moment to spy a piano in the corner and portraits lining the walls.
Dashing down another hallway, Dominic tips his head to the west. “That’s to the kitchens, if you’re hungry. But I was hoping for something…more.”
Was he flirting?
Or did he intend to eat you?
You weigh both ideas in your head as the werewolf tugs on a handle shaped like a coiled serpent. The door cries in agony as it shudders open to reveal a cozy study. To the back rests a lovely fireplace, the mantle festooned with picture frames and a bronze statue of a dog in point.
Dominic dances into the room, his toes digging into the round crimson rug with gold accents on the edges. “I come here whenever I need to feel safe. Happy,” he says and focuses his haunting green eyes on you. “Are you happy?”
“I…I don’t know,” you confess, the weight of your soul landing in your stomach from the look he gives. You find yourself unable to lie, even a tiny white one, in Dominic’s presence.
His lips twist in consternation at your being unable to find total fulfillment. “Wait, I know what’ll help,” he declares. For a moment he races for the fireplace, before chuckling. Lifting you in his arms as if as a reminder, Dominic twists around and places you in a leather armchair.
The padding forms around you, coddling your body and holding you safe. As you sink into it, Dominic pauses above your body. He curls a palm down your thigh while beaming into your face. Suddenly, he launches forward, his lips pressing to yours. You try to keep up, his tongue darting across yours, his taste overwhelming your senses with the soul of a deep forest long forgotten by time.
But before you can even reach for him, the werewolf pops away. He blushes, his smile rising. “You’re really pretty,” he declares, then dashes to the fireplace. Lamplight flickers off the perfect spheres of his full moon rising as Dominic bends over. There is no tan line to mar the glorious skin, the tops of which entice with a gleam like the shine off an apple.
“Why is fire so hard?” the werewolf complains, swiping two matches over a box and getting no fire. His gaze darts to yours, which had been suckered to his backside.
Not wanting to be caught, you rip your eyes away and begin to whistle. A small table sits beside the armchair. Three books bound in leather fill it as well as a glass. Curious you pick it up and find a red stain caked to the bottom of the crystal glass, as if the last taste of wine was left to dry in it.
“Ah, I wouldn’t touch that,” Dominic says, starling you. He puts on a smile and returns to his challenge with the fireplace.
You stare at the inside of the glass, wondering who left this behind and why it was never cleaned up. Green bubbles up from the crimson stain, swirling to reveal a face rising from the surface. You slam the glass back to the table and risk a glance to find that it’s nothing more than dried wine.
Not wanting to look again, you focus on the books. The top one is open, cobwebs built across the pages faded to nothing but white. Curious, you ease around the cover and spot a name in gold embossed over the dark leather. O. Gravestone. Seems he’s written every book in the pile, and perhaps more tucked away in the desk beside a small bookshelf.
Picking up the top book, you let the hand-cut pages flit to the front until you’re face to face with this O. Gravestone. Eyes of a tiger stalking the forests of India glint off the page. It’s not a picture but a black and white painting done of the man in jungle attire standing before a waterfall. You dart down the text learning that Mr. Gravestone was a fabled explorer, but you don’t read much. Your eyes keep being pulled back to the assured and gaunt face of the man who looks as if he already knows all your secrets.
“There it goes!” Dominic calls, shaking you from the book.
Excited, he dashes over and picks up your hands. The book and its mysterious author fall to the floor forgotten. Heat swarms up your body as Dominic pulls you from the chair until your chest falls against him. He keeps a gentle hold on your hands, your fingers twirling together, while he stares down at you.
“I wish I didn’t have to blink,” he says, then blushes deeper than ever. Whipping his head around to the fire, he suddenly shouts, “Come on! This is the best fireplace in the house.”
You give in to his pull, your feet trailing over the lush rug. “You don’t come with a volume button, do you?”
“A what?” Dominic bellows, before he winces and ducks his head deeper into his massive shoulders. “Sorry. It’s been…forever since I could talk to anyone. I’ll be extra super quiet. Shh…” He places a finger to his lips while slipping to his knees.
You follow, surprised to find the threadbare rug padded. A chill tries to waft off the floorboards, but Dominic’s fire and body hold it at bay. Turning your legs to the side, you stare not at the hypnotizing flames, but the strange naked man silhouetted by them.
“How long have you been trapped as a wolf?” you ask.
The playful shushing crumples, Dominic turning from you. “I don’t know. There were a lot of moons I ran through the woods, and long days in front of the fire. All alone.”
You part your fingers over his cheek, turning the werewolf to you. He leans against your palm, nuzzling your skin with his until his foot begins to slap against the rug. “You feel so good,” Dominic moans, shifting in your touch to place his lips against your palm. “Like silk over my fur. And you smell…”
He takes your hand and draws the full length of his nose up your palm and over your wrist. The flutter of his nostrils causes a tickle against your skin, and Dominic rests his cheek upon your forearm. Instead of speaking, he moans deep in his chest, his other hand clawing at his thigh.
The movement pulls you to the impressive rise in his loins appearing from your smell alone. He doesn’t reach for his cock even with its proud head knocking into his wrist. Dominic locks his hands around the back of your waist and pulls you closer.
You’re lost in his green eyes, the color burning through you. His wandering hands dance across your body. Over your arms, down your coquettishly crossed thighs, across your cheeks, before he tugs on your hair, tipping your head back.
“It’s been so lonely in this big house,” his voice growls.
“How…how did you become a werewolf?”
His eyes shift from staring into the distance to focus on you. “There was a woman and she…she offered me everything I wanted. I thought her nice, but she was a snake the whole time.” Dominic shivers with his retelling, the hair along his neck and arms standing up.
You draw your palm down it, soothing him as best as possible. A winsome smile rises, revealing the silver fang that keeps him human. “Did she take that from you?” you ask, pointing to but not touching the tooth.
Dominic draws the tip of his finger over it and his head bobs. “Part of a trade to save someone important to me.”
His brow furrows, nearly eclipsing his striking eyes in confusion. “It doesn’t matter.”
You shake your head, not wanting to disturb him with such disquieting thoughts. Another blast of cold air wails through the house and you slide closer to the fireplace. Dominic worms around behind you, his legs slipping outside of yours, his chest overwhelming your back.
One hand caresses your stomach, looping over your shirt and tugging it to the side. The other sweeps up the middle of your chest, playfully rounding over your jaw and cupping your cheek. He tugs your head and kisses you.
Heat like cinnamon toddies sipped beside a winter bonfire boils in your veins. You lean back into him, brushing your ass over his eager cock. A moan slips from Dominic’s lips into your mouth and you hold him tighter. He kisses and dots his tongue up your jaw, nuzzling under your ear, before whispering, “Stay with me.”
“All it takes is one nip,” he says, placing his finger in his mouth and biting down, “and you can be with me forever.”
“You want me to…to become a werewolf?” you stutter, locked in his embrace.
“It’s great. Sleep all day, chase rabbits in the woods, eat whatever you want, howl at the moon. With you, I can finally be happy. Whole. Change back into human form, snuggle on your breast. Do those…other things I’ve seen in the banned books.”
Dominic is smiling with chagrin, but your insides are churning. Become a wolf like him. Transform into a hairy beast that roams the woods at night. Spend your life sleeping before a fire. Forget the worries of the world you left behind. Bills, work, every modern problem.
Stay here with him and make love before the fire.
What do you do?
Brought to you by Coven of Desire, a steamy Reverse Harem series FREE in Kindle Unlimited.