1. Once he reached the Barrok River bridge, it was normally a two and a half hour trek to the cabin. Today, it was closer to four hours before Joshua traipsed up the side of the mountain to where his place was located. It had gone dark an hour ago, and storm clouds were blocking out whatever light could be gleaned from the night sky. Regardless, he had trekked in near pitch black before. It wasn't the smartest thing to do, considering most large predators did their hunting after sundown. But he had no choice. Those two idiots who'd confronted him at Casey's had put a serious dent in his schedule, delaying his return.
2. Joshua's hands froze on the wood stock as a nearly human scream of anguish came from outside the cabin. Instinctively, he grabbed the gun and hit the floor, freezing in place. Heart pounding, beads of sweat coated his skin. A thin trail of salty perspiration dribbled down the side of his face. The scream came again, forcing him to squeeze his eyes shut.
3. He stopped, his hand on the door latch. "What am I doing?" He took a step back as realization sank in. "What am I doing? What am I thinking? Why am I even arguing with myself about this? Get your shit together, Cobb! She doesn't exist. She never existed." He gave the rope another glance. "Come on, Cobb. Get fucking, freaking real here! I must have imagined it all. There isn't any shape-shifting wolf girl. There's no such thing!"
4. Silently, she moved toward, pressing herself into the blanket he held open. Automatically, his arms went around her, enveloping her within the quilt as she molded her body against his. He realized she was tall. The top of her head bumped his nose when she nuzzled the mat of hair peeking above the neck his shirt. Her breath, like a warm, moist mist, tickled. And as she lifted her face, pulling one arm from her warm cocoon to wrap around his neck, he hesitated for only a moment, then readily lowered his lips to hers.
5. He brought her lips to his and folded his arms around her to keep her from getting too chilled. Their kiss was deep, shadowing their fear and worry. Rocking together on the ground, they let the terror of the past quarter hour drain away. Until, reluctantly, he pulled away from her and gazed into her tear-filled eyes. He glanced over her, looking for any injury.6. "I may not be an alpha, but I sure as hell will protect what is mine. And Qitirin is mine. Other thing, Annon, your secret is safe with me. You have nothing to worry about. I will do whatever it takes to keep knowledge of the loup garou safe because, by doing so, I can keep Qitirin safe. So rest assured and take your pack and move on. Find some place you feel is best for your family, and leave us in peace."
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