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Chapter Fifteen

You knew? Maizie stared, dumbfounded by her grandmothers cheek-pinching grin.

Of course, dear, Granny said. How else would I know to crazy up my answers when the judge called?

Then why didnt you go through with it?

Granny gave a nod toward Gray beside her. Lost his nerve.

Grays stoic face flushed, the tightness around his eyes softening as well as the lines across his forehead. A smile flickered across his lips, but he spoke before it took control. It was a last resort, and not a pleasant one.

Maizie leaned back in her chair, folding her arms under her chest. Especially if Granny decided she wanted to sell.

Grays brows creased. That was never her wish.

If it was? I mean, after youd gotten control over everything. What if she decided she wanted to sell? She wasnt sure why she was testing him. She just had to be sure, had to hear it from his own lips.

Grays pale blue eyes narrowed, his expression questioning. He leaned forward, elbows on his knees. The guardianship was a ruse, Maizie. A line of defense against rash decisions.

Doesnt answer the question.

Youre really asking? Gray shook his head and pushed back, his lean body tall in the chair. He looked away, talking more to himself than Maizie. Of course youre asking. Shes your grandmother. You should.

His gaze darted out over the plush lawn of Green Acres backyard. Nearly an acre of manicured grass dotted with trees and flower gardens, and edged by the forest. Theyd snagged a comfortable set of wicker chairs under a giant white ash. The limbs, thick with leaves, let the sun dapple through around them.

Grays handsome, sharp-boned face darkened, yet there was no anger in his eyes. Hed worn his normal Armani blazer and slacks, lightweight, dark charcoal gray, with a white crewneck shirt underneath, business casual, sexy as hell. His thick silver-gray hair matched perfectly, curling just below his collar, a striking contrast with the glacier blue of his eyes.

He looked back to her and it was all Maizie could do not to gasp at the impact of those eyes. Had it come to it. Yes, I wouldve taken control of Esters holdings. I wouldve kept her from selling until I could be sure the decision was sound, sure she knew what she was doing, and why.

And if she was?

His gaze locked with hers, his expression unflinching. I wouldve followed her wishes.

Was it enough? Maizie caught her bottom lip between her teeth, looked away. She couldnt allow his sexy good looks, his sweet, wild aroma, or the memories of his hard body pressed to hers cloud her mind. She couldnt let her hormones distract her again until she was sure.

It was my idea, Little Red. Granny reached her hand out to Maizies, so soft and frail Maizie hardly felt it. She relaxed the tight knot of her arms and took Grannys hand.

With my spells I cant always be sure whats real and whats not, Granny said. I didnt want to bother you. You were already so busy with the bakery. So I asked Gray to watch out for me, even though I knew it made him uncomfortable. He agreed. Hes a good man, dear.

Maizie studied Grannys adorable weathered face, sky blue eyes peering from beneath soft wrinkled lids, wisdom sparking in their depths. Granny trusted him, loved him even, it meant everything.

She swung her gaze back to Gray, his brow creased, worry glazing his pale eyes. She smiled. She couldnt help it. Hes a very good man.

Relief washed over his face, relaxing the muscles along his brow, the stiffness of his mouth. He dropped his gaze, his cheeks turning a shade pinker.

He looked back to her, his eyes intense, earnest. Ester is beloved to me. But youre part of me, Maizie, a part of my soul. You have been since I held you in my arms that night. You were so young, and I wasa mess. But none of that mattered. The bond was made between us anyway. Were helpless against it. Just took me twenty-one years to admit it.

Maizie reached across the low glass coffee table and Gray took her hand in both of his. Well have to work on that stubborn streak.

He laughed and kissed her hand, his gaze sliding up to hers so the pale blue peered beneath long black lashes. Sounds like fun.

His low voice rumbled through her body, vibrating all the tiny hairs along her skin and sending a liquid hot flood to her sex. She exhaled, her breath shaky, leaning back in her chair when he released her hand. Oh yeah, it was definitely going to be fun.

Now youre sure that Cadwick fellow wont be coming around anymore? Granny said.

Gray nodded, still staring at Maizie, his head turning slowly toward Granny, his eyes the last to leave her face. Yes, he said. I stopped by his office to see how he was, uh, handling last nights events.

Maizie took her glass of tea from the table, her mouth suddenly gone dry. Whatd he say?

Gray glanced her way. Hes convinced youre a female Dr. Dolittle and now has a powerful desire to donate money to the Bad Wolf Wild Game Preserve. He said he wants to make sure the animals never have reason to wander from the forest.

Granny laid her hand on his forearm. Her thin fingers squeezed. Thank you, Gray. I know how difficult its been for you having to deal with him. Im so sorry.

Maizie took another sip and set her glass back on the coaster. I think Im missing something.

Gray caught her gaze but looked away. Cadwick, hehes the man Donna was seeing before the accident.

Oh, Gray

He shook his head. It was a long time ago. A meaningless affair. It was my fault. I wouldnt listen to what she needed. Wouldnt let her go. I think he really fell for her though. He thinks she left town. Everyone outside the family does. But it seemed to make his issues with me even worse.

Hes a dang fool, Granny said. Both Maizie and Gray looked at her. Comin round here pretending to be my sweet Riddly. Thinkin I wouldnt know the difference.

Maizie glanced at Gray and Gray at her. Neither wanted to mention the fact Cadwick had done exactly that.

Asked me to sign those papers, like I wouldnt know what they were. She huffed. Fool. Never even checked how I signed.

It didnt matter, Gray had shredded the documents. Howd you sign them, Granny? Maizie asked.

Her smile brightened, cheeks apple-round. Little Red Hood of course. I told you he was a wolf of a man.

Maizie stood and threw her arms around Grannys neck, pressed a kiss into the soft skin of her cheek. I love you, Gran. Youre a trip.

Granny patted her arm. Thank you, dear. I may be old, but I aint stupid.

Gray laughed as Maizie plopped back in her seat. No, Ester. No one would ever call you stupid.

Still, Granny said. That money wouldve gone a long way to help ends meet, wouldnt it, Little Red?

Maizies face warmed. She didnt want Granny worrying about her financial problems. Cadwick say something to you, Gran?

I dont want to be a burden.

Youre not, Gray said. Maizies money problems are solved.

Im not taking a handout from you, Gray, Maizie said, guessing how his rich-boy mind worked. I started the business on my own. If it succeeds I want to be able to take full credit. Same if it fails.

Im not giving you money.

Youre not? A part of her had kind of liked the security, even though shed never take it.

No. I did, however, cosign a loan. He held up a hand at the hint of her protest. I am not giving you the loan. I simply assured the bank youre good for the money. I know you can make a success of anything you set your mind to, Maizie. Im just making sure you get the chance.

Thank you.

But if I could make a suggestion regarding your one-eyed driver

Bob? He quit, Maizie said. Got a job driving a city bus.


I know. Great job. Union, perks and everything. Couldnt pass it up. Speaking of jobs She checked her watch. I was supposed to help Cherri ice four hundred and fifty-three cupcakes for the elementary-school open house tomorrow night. I really have to go.

Ill drive you, Gray said.

Granny took his hand and Maizies. She squeezed. Its right the two of you came together. I knew yours would be the kind of soul match people tell stories about. Only out of tragedy could such a love be born. Thats what youve found, the kind of love dreamed of in fairy tales.

Maizie fought hard not to roll her eyes. She smiled and kissed Grannys cheek and watched as Gray did the same.

He whispered in her ear, but Maizie could hear as clearly as if hed whispered in hers. Thank you, Ester. Youre right. Shes my Snow White, my Sleeping Beauty and my Dorothy Gale. She couldnt be a better match for me if shed been plucked from the pages of a storybook.

Grannys grin brightened just a bit and Gray kissed her cheek again. She stared at him as he straightened, but then her gaze focused on something behind him, her eyes went wide.

Oh dear, I hope he didnt see that.

Maizie and Gray both followed her gaze to a white-haired man fussing around a bird feeder several feet away. He held a fistful of violets in his hands and couldnt seem to stop himself from glancing Grannys way every few seconds.

You have a suitor, Gran? Maizie couldnt help the teasing tone in her voice.

Stop it, Little Red. I had the love of my life already. George is just aa hobby. She blushed, smoothing fine wisps of hair back toward her bun.

Cute hobby. Maizie watched George adjust his bowtie and smooth his suspenders over his plaid short-sleeved shirt. She knew it was the thick mane of white hair that had captured her grans attention. The preference must run in the family.

Granny licked her lips, then pinched her cheeks for a sweet natural blush. Now run along, the two of you. He wont come over if Ive got company and his memorys not what it used to be. Hell forget why hes waiting over there before long.

Gray caught Grannys chin with the crook of his finger, met her gaze. Youre happy?

Granny smiled. Yes, my lovely silver wolf. Im happy being human. But thank you for the offer as always.

Maizies belly warmed watching him bend to kiss her cheek one more time. Only for you, my sweet Ester, he said then took Maizie by the hand.

I love how you are with her. Maizie settled into the deep leather seats of his limo.

Shes a dear friend, Gray said. Without her Donnas death wouldve been intolerable.

Annette said you wouldnt turn her because you were so unhappy with the life youd been saddled with, you wouldnt commit someone else to the same fate.

I decided long ago, for Ester I would make an exception if she truly wished it. Gray slid his hand across the seat to Maizies. He couldnt be this close and not touch her.

Their fingers laced. Her hand so small in his, he treasured it. Shes always refused. I believed, although she denies it, Ester knew the emotional trials far outweighed the added years. Still, it was all I had to offer.

Maizies forest-green gaze dropped to their clasped hands. Is being what we are really so bad?

The trepidation in her voice touched his heart. He brought her hand to his lips, tasting her sugar-sweet skin as he spoke. For twenty-one years I couldnt imagine a worse fate.

Her exhale shuddered, her skin warming against his lips. And now?

It was worth every moment to have you as my reward.

Her quick arousal scented the air, filled the private compartment like the most captivating perfume.

He closed his eyes, breathed her in. Hed never get enough of her. How could he? She was his life mate and yet hed tried for so long to deny she existed. But she did exist and hed make damn sure she had every reason to stay.

You know, when I was a teenager all the young lovers went parking on Saturday nights. He tugged her hand, and brought a mischievous grin across Maizies lips.

Its Sunday afternoon, she said, following his lead, moving to her knees on the seat. Were not parked and wereah, not alone. She glanced over her shoulder at the solid privacy wall.

The partitions soundproof. He scooped her around the waist, pulling her to his lap. Besides, Dave doesnt hear anything hes told not to.

Now thats a good driver. She straddled his legs, pressing the moist heat of her sex to his groin. His hips pressed up into her, he couldnt help it, his hands cupping the soft curve of her waist, holding her to him.

Maizie arched her back, adding her own delicious pressure, her breasts riding high beneath the low neckline of her sundress. Grays muscles pulled tight, wanting her, needing the feel of her pussy hugging his cock, milking him dry.

She was ready for him, her arousal so thick in the air his wolf-half stirred at her scent. Her desire rolled through him like a physical touch, stirring his body, calling to everything male inside him. They were so connected, too connected. She could undo him-and hed enjoy it.

His balls tight, his cock pulsed at the thought of driving into her. His mind slowed, blood racing to his cock, making it hard to think beyond sliding his hands beneath that sweet little dress, the silk flesh of her thighs against his palms, the wet heat of her panties-

His phone rang. Fuck. What is it about thoughts of screwing you while Im in this car that makes that damn phone ring?

Maizie fell forward, bracing her hands on his shoulders. Her breaths were deep, but still under control. It might be important.

Gray jerked the small BlackBerry from his breast pocket. What?

Uncle Gray? Rick said. You okay? You sound Oh. Maizies with you, huh?

To the point, Rick. His jaw tight, Gray tried to soften the heat in his voice.

Yeah, right. His voice held a ring of laughter. Mom wanted to know if you were bringing Maizie around tonight. Sort of a get-to-know-the-family shindig. Personally I just wanna watch the great alpha wolf go all soft and squishy around his mate.

Gray flicked his gaze to Maizie, her soft kissable lips, her delicate neck and nearly bare shoulders. The way a single red curl lay atop the shelf of her full breast. Trust me, kid. Theres nothing soft and squishy about me right now.

Rick snorted. No doubt. So? Ya comin or not? I gotta tell ya, Moms kind of freaking about Maizies first impression of herya know, now that shes Suzie homemaker and everything with Shawn.

Maizie leaned into him, nestled her little face under his chin and pressed her lips to his neck. Her perfume, the scent of wildflowers with a hint of forest underneath, smoothed through his body like warm brandy. Gray closed his eyes, heat rippling out from the spot her lips touched in fast dizzying waves. She kissed again.

Shes pack now, Uncle Gray, Rick said. Yknow, family. Well do right by her. I hope she knows that.

Gray met Maizies gaze, raised a brow.

She smiled. All my life its only been me and Gran. Even after the rough start I had with them, Ive never felt so connected to family the way I did when the pack came to help me. I want to be a part of that again. Always.

Always. He leaned forward, taking her mouth with his, feeling his world click into focus, complete in a way hed never thought possible.

Uncle Gray? You there?

Gray brought the phone back to his ear. UhmIIll get back to ya, kid. He thumbed the off button on his cell phone and tossed it to the seat. His arms wrapped around Maizie, his hands sliding down to cup the firm cheeks of her ass.

She gasped when he squeezed, his fingers finding the edge of her panties, then sliding underneath.

How much do you like these things? His lips brushed the downy soft skin of her ear.

Theyre hideous.

His laugh rumbled between them, echoing through her body, reverberating back into him. Good answer.

A quick tug and Gray ripped the crotch, another yank and he ripped the side. He pulled the ruined cloth from under her dress. His gaze dropped to his hand before he tossed the panties to the floor. They were lace and silk, the same milk white as her skin.

Maizies hands cupped his face, brought his attention back to her. I want you to knowI love you. And not because of what happened, not because I got infected. I loved you before. I think Ive loved you all along. Ive been wandering through that forest for years not even knowing what I was searching for. Now I know.

Now we know. He closed the distance between them, taking her mouth with his. Her gasp stole his breath, her exhale filled his lungs.

Her hands worked his pants, his belt, his zipper. She rose up enough to slide his slacks and briefs to his knees, his cock wagging stiff and eager. She ran her hand over his shaft, sending a mind-numbing jolt shooting through his body. Her fingers laced around the girth of his cock, stroked him as her other hand tucked her hair behind her ear so she could watch.

Gray swallowed, his mouth dry, body tight. He shoved her pretty dress to her hips, exposing the red thatch of pussy hair between her thighs. Her cream glistened in the coarse hairs, her scent stronger now, more maddening.

A growl started low in his chest, a wild need edging closer and closer to the surface. My mate. Claim her again.

His hips rocked, following her rhythm as he dipped his fingers into her warm wet curls. Her gasp squeezed his lungs, her pleasure vibrated along his skin so he had to close his eyes to keep from losing control. He felt what she felt. The tight filling sensation of his fingers inside her, how each thrust built that exquisite pressure, spun her closer and closer toward release.

He knew her bodys reaction to his touch just as she knew the feel of her hand pumping the sensitive flesh of his cock. Each stroke pulled a tingling string of pleasure from every corner of his being, so undeniable he couldnt still his body. His heart hammered his chest, his beast rolled and growled inside him, wanting more, wanting it all.

He curled his fingers inside her, pulled her to him even as the walls of her pussy hugged around him. When the head of his cock bobbed against her sex and her cream wet over its head, he pulled his fingers out and drove his hard shaft deep inside her.

She rode him fast and wild, the pace frantic, right from the start. The pressure swelled between them, through them, one body feeding the other. Maizie screamed No, it wasnt a scream. She howled. And a simple understanding crystallized in the most primal recesses of Grays brain.

Shed claimed him, marked him as her mate. Her body held his, her spirit reaching through the connection of their flesh down to his soul and touched him there. His lungs seized, a storm of heat flooded his body, burning every hard-won tether of his control. Release came hard and fast. There was no stopping it, no waiting for her to join him. There was no need.

Maizies orgasm rocked through him an instant later. Like free falling from a towering cliff, he couldnt breathe. The pleasure was too intense, stimulating every nerve ending in his body so his balls, his muscles, his flesh hummed and quivered with sensation. A pleasure so close to pain he nearly ached with it.

She collapsed against him, the fast beat of her heart like thunder through his chest. Nothing like that had ever happened to him before and he knew nothing like it would ever happen again with anyone else. Life mate.

Maizie pushed up to look in his eyes, her arms warm around his neck. Granny used to warn me the big bad wolf in the forest would gobble me up. She smiled. I have to tell you. I feel utterly consumed.

Gray kissed her, a quick touch of lips. Whoever said, Little Red, being gobbled up by a wolf was a bad thing?

Chapter Fourteen | Little Red and the Wolf | About the Author