“As he took her hand, he gave her all she had been waiting for – a shiver down her spine.”
Atticus – Love Her Wild
The Silver Wolf knew there was no defying him now. He had the Wolfkeeper’s daughter where he wanted her. He was confident she was ready to take on the responsibilities of Wolf Master, but he had to test her spirit much like a young wolf is checked to see if the animal was suited for an Alpha’s role in the pack. The confirmation, as in nature, was not kind. It was necessary.
Marius helped Dari out of the coarse wool coat and set it on the sofa next to his. The soft orange glow of firelight outlined a vision of sensual curves flared from waist to hips and angled in on sturdy legs, built from a lifetime of servitude. The ageless enchantment of feminine beauty greeted the hungry gaze of the Black Wolf leader.
Dari stood naked before Marius; legs together, head and eyes averted, and her hands clasped in front with diffident fingers seeking to preserve a thread of dignity. A glance at her black boots laced to the top of her calves revealed no scuffs or soil of any kind. Marius saw the outline of his reflection in the toes. The polish was faultless. Ah, these were not the boots she wore with the wolves. She was late because she went to her room to change.
“Wait here, please,” Marius instructed. He didn’t wait for her reply. In the drawer of the end table, Marius withdrew a jade box. He opened it and took out a strip of fabric. It was time this heirloom of the Wolfkeeper was returned. Dari was covered in goosebumps from the hidden currents of air and anticipation, Marius touched her elbow. She blinked several times.
Dari turned with fluid grace and a bit of sway giving him ample time to take in every detail of her dewy skin glistening in the light of the fire. She paused facing away from him. Marius admired the blond hair spilling down on the back of her neck forming a shallow arc between the shoulder blades. Mmmm, straight shoulders perched over a curved back, good posture. Ah, those hips, he sighed.
“Lift your chin, and your hair too, please.” Marius placed the black leather choker lined with silk around her neck and fastened it. He took his time to let the silk and his fingers fondle her neck. He drew his fingertips over her reddened shoulders, paused, then let his hands trail down her back and cupped her waist before stepping back. The front of the choker had a silver badge carved into the profile of a wolf with head lifted as if baying at the moon. “There. Much better,” Marius said.
“It’s beautiful,” Marius heard from the reflection in the mirror over the fireplace. He sat down on the couch and watched as she smiled through a veil of distant dreams reflected back at him. She continued looking at the choker around her neck and fingering the silver wolf.
“This was my mother’s. I remember she never took it off.” Dari said as she touched the wolf badge, lifted her face, and closed her eyes.
“Yes. Your mother wanted you to have it when your time came to be the Wolf Master.” Marius saw raw emotion wrack through Dari’s body from his words. Her hands wiped her face, wet fingers glinted in the firelight.
“How did you come by my mother’s choker?” Dari’s question came as a torturous interrogation to Marius.
“I knew your mother. She taught me how to care for my wolves and to train them to hunt only the prey I gave to them. She trusted me to give it to you at the right time.” Marius could not bear to tell her how he came across Daciana in the forest after searching for weeks. Her madness had gone too far, and there was no way to bring her back.
In that state between sleep and wake
traversing birth and mortality
there is the faintest hint of earthy candles,
“She abandoned me. I was only a girl with no mind to live on my own. You cannot know what it is like to be young and alone; a handmaid by day and the Wolfkeeper by night.” Dari turned back to face the fire and stare at the wolf badge on her neck.
“She loved you, Dari. It was because she loved you that she left. She knew you would be taken in by the Countessa and prepared for your role as the handmaid to the Duchess. If she stayed, her dark art would consume her life as well as yours. She freed you from Moira, the mistress of the knots.”
“What would you have me do now?” Dari asked in a soft voice. Marius knew she wanted to leave the subject of her mother. Just as well. Daciana’s memory twisted his heart in a web of knots like those she so skillfully tied. He was determined to save Dari from such a fate.
“Will you accept the test of the Wolfmaster?” He asked in an uncharacteristic soft tone.
“Yes, when?” Came the confident reply.
“You will test on the next full moon when the wolves are most active.”
He let her stand there waiting on him while he enjoyed the strudel she brought him. Such sapid anticipation. He washed the last of the pastry down with his tea. Delicious. All of it, delicious.
Marius could sense her impatience for his attention growing. “Come here,” he commanded. In all his harshness there was a subliminal playfulness. His desirous Wolfkeeper seemed to detect his well-hidden feelings for her. She turned with elegance and took a few hesitant steps toward Marius. Unsure of his intentions, Dari waited.
“Turn back around.”
The hard discipline of a lifetime in the service of his Count wavered as his hands slid up her legs to her buttocks. Dari looked back over her shoulder, studying his reactions, looking for encouragement, and appreciation. She needed validation. He gave her nothing but sensations that made her shiver.
The red abraided skin on her hips and shoulders caught his attention. The coat. She wore that heavy wool coat with nothing underneath. It had chafed her. She bore the insult to her body only for him. She knows how I like to see her emerge from her rough cacoon like my favorite Carpathian butterfly. Marius appraised this in his mind. His desire grew more careless and urgent.
Still sitting with Dari’s back to him, Marius reached around to her stomach and trailed his fingers down until his little finger found the manicured hairline. He guided her with the slightest pressure of his fingers and heel of his palm. She turned to him.
Misty eyes looked back at Marius in a questioning face. He answered by taking her breast between his lips, his tongue teasing her. Dari wrapped her arms around the head of thick black hair and silver threads and held him to her. She looked up at the patina of copper designs on the ceiling, possessed by the soft pain of his mouth on her. Dari maintained her silence before him. She signaled her desire for something else with longing, a silent begging need in her gaze and upturned face.
Scintillating wet eyes searched him up and down. Dari’s skin was glowing bright pink, and Marius was enraptured at how the mottled rose color washed down her neck and over her breasts like water over smooth stone. Ah, she is looking for clues of my arousal. She is ready.
Marius reached his hand out. Her alluring movement returned as he led her to his lap. The Silver Wolf wrapped his arm around Dari and eased her to his chest, head resting on his shoulder. Her lips touched his neck and warm shallow breath flooded him with fantasies of carnal delights. He held her there and soothed her with sweeping caresses. The Wolfkeeper’s daughter regained her boldness.
“Do I please you? She asked.
“Without fail, you do please me, my dear.”
Marius sat back on the couch as Dari removed her boots then his shoes, tie, shirt, and undershirt. She paused to touch him. Her glance along his feral body was rapacious. She sucked her lower lip as her nails scratched over the ripples of his stomach. He let her follow her own script.
Dari kissed him, starting with his forehead, lips, the neck, and down his chest. Her fingertips explored his body for those wells of pleasure she could release for him. Deftly, the belt unbuckled. He lifted up for her as she removed his pants and boxers. She explored further, her hunger increasing.
Now, with both of them warmed by the fire of desire and radiant heat from the fireplace, Dari descended on him with her own form of slow burning vengeance. She stole glances at his face. He rewarded her with his ecstasy. In unaccounted for moments, skilled hands felt him tense his legs and stomach.
He urged her up with light touches under her jaw. She persisted. He was so close, she wanted to finish him. “Your turn, darling,” he whispered in a husky voice before guiding her on the couch. Marius relaxed in her piercing gaze, letting several heartbeats pass before he gripped her breast, and reached down to pleasure her with the other hand. He could see the rush of blood to her face and feel the sensations that stirred on her skin under his hands.
Her chest heaved for air, forcing Dari into a state of heightened sensual awareness and near paralysis. Marius kissed her stomach, climbing to her neck, and over to her mouth. He devoured her top to bottom. She fell deep under the spell of his lips and hands. He smothered her with his body. He knew every button to push.
Marius left no sacrosanct part of her unexplored to its depth. Every rise or crease of enlivened flesh came under his careful scrutiny and ravenous hunger until finally she came undone. Disquieted fingers pressed his groin and urged him to let her sink alone in the undulant ocean of her rapture.
No longer the beast, Marius kept a vigil on the depth of her pale blue eyes, seeing her transformation through a sleepy veil. With gentle care, he kissed her and held her until he saw she was back in the present with him.
macabre dreams interrupted by sighs
the soft strophe of sonnets and the odd
sensation of strung pearls falling like
tiny moons through my open palm.
“You are my only paradise, Dari. Without you, I am lost to this madness we suffer.”
At the boundaries I find you
not your spirit or rose tinged snow,
but flesh and bone and sinew.
Now I am sleeping less
roused by the wing beats of boreal Owls
circling ancient Cypress,
their knife edge talons entwining knotty branches.
“Shhhhh, my love. Don’t spoil this moment with thoughts of a time gone or coming.” Dari placed her fingers on his lips and sought to comfort him with her body, guiding him to her, pulling him into her world, wrapping her legs around his waist, and sending him into the realm of her majestic beast. His discipline and stern manor collapsed in a fevered passion until exhausted and soaked in sweat, the spent flesh rested in a tangle of arms and lust drugged kisses.
When sleep intrudes fitful winds erupt
feathery curtains, vibrate my hemispheres.
No one dared disturb their exhausted sleep when the sun rose above the mountains and painted the sky in broad swathes of fire and wind-driven clouds. The entwined lovers never felt granted the time for themselves or each other until now. Their dutiful lives didn’t permit it. Oh, but love and passion are the grandest thieves of time, Marius mused to himself. I love her, but I want to leave her Wild and Free.
A swift breeze lifts me over the
valley to a moonlit hillside of sweet lea
where a silver wolf lies down beside me.
He is the scent of golden meadows and
his eyes are the color of the eastern sky.