Stretching her arms over her head, she groaned deeply. Straightening from her slumped position at the workbench, she carefully lifted the small clay figurine and set it on the drying rack. A day of drying, and she would paint it, put it in the kiln, then put the finishing touches on it. Glancing at the clock, she winced. It was almost five in the morning. She’d stayed up all night working again. At least this stage of the process was done.
She’d be able to take a couple of days off after this batch was completed, and give herself a break from the constant backache she’d gotten while crouching over her workbench. She’d been working practically nonstop since she had first dreamt the creatures she sculpted.
She would wait until she’d had some sleep, then crate up the completed pieces to send to the gallery. These were to join the ones she had sent earlier in the week. Later … yes, she would crate them later. Right now, she desperately needed a shower and some sleep. Hopefully, sleep without dreams.
Dropping her clothes behind her, she headed for the shower. She tugged off the bandanna that she used to keep the clay out of her hair and tossed it in the sink. Bright red, it looked like a puddle of blood against the white porcelain. Lannie shook her head and ignored the vision. This macabre stuff was sure getting to her. Scratching her head to relieve the mild headache she’d gotten from wearing the bandanna, she reached into the tub and turned on the water. As it heated, she gathered a towel and the backbrush and then put them near enough to reach from inside the shower. When she flipped the switch, the water shot out of the showerhead, and Lannie climbed into the tub. The water felt wonderful sliding over her sweaty, clay-covered, stiff body. The silky streams of liquid heat penetrated her aching muscles, between her breasts, and over her abdomen, to the small mound of hair between her legs. The sensation caused her breath to quicken and her heart to beat hard in her chest. Her body felt heavy and her breasts tight and full. Slowly, her hand slipped up her side, smoothing the water against her skin to her breast. Softly, tenderly, she cupped the fullness of it and lifted it, pinching the hard, distended nipple. Gasping, she realized what she was doing. Gods, what was wrong with her? She never acted like this. Quickly, she washed off, then dried herself and fell into her unmade bed naked, and slept deeply.
She stood in the living room of her apartment in the city. Not sure how or when she’d arrived, she looked around and tried to figure out why she was here. The door opened, and there stood Kyle. Just as she had seen him on the day she left. He looked weird though. Bigger than normal. Much bigger. He also had red eyes. That was a little disturbing, but when he started to unbutton his shirt as he approached her, her thoughts scattered.
His chest was great. Tanned and smooth. She had to fight herself to keep from reaching out and touching it.
“You belong to me, Lannie. Only to me.” He continued to peel off his shirt and dropped it on the floor when he stood directly in front of her.
“Really? Could’ve fooled me. You’re the one who didn’t trust me, and I don’t need that kind of aggravation.” Turning, she started to step away from him.
Reaching out one hand and grasping her arm, he halted her forward movement. Then, he pulled her toward him, rested her back against his chest, and wrapped his arms around her waist. “Still, you are mine. Never doubt that. No matter what happened, you belong with me.” She could feel his breath on the back of her neck as he spoke. Goosebumps formed on her flesh.
She’d always reacted that way to his touch. Instantly and intensely.
“What is it you want from me? I can’t live a life of mistrust and anger. I grew up that way, and I won’t have it in my own relationship.” She tried pulling away from him, but he wouldn’t let her.
“I need you. Always.”
He turned her in his arms, and she looked into his tight face. “Kyle --”
He silenced her with his mouth on hers, kissing her deeply. God, she missed him. No matter how she felt about his betrayal, she was still in love with the stubborn ass. His kiss deepened and she let it. It felt too good to make him stop just yet.
When she moaned, he pulled her tighter into his body. Rubbing his chest on hers, causing electric shocks to run through her nipples and straight to her abdomen, he continued to ply her mouth with his.
Feeling his hands tugging at her shirt, she pulled back far enough to take a breath.
“How do you do this to me? It’s too much, too fast.”
He seemed to ignore her. Placing his hands under her shirt, he caressed her abdomen and up to her breasts. Murmuring quiet endearments, he popped the front clasp to her bra open and spread the cups apart, then took her breast in his big, strong hand.
Her breath caught in her chest, she closed her eyes and pressed harder into his hand, loving the feel of him, surrounding her, needing her, hating the fact that she needed him, too.
“Not a good idea.” She tried pulling away from him, but he wouldn’t allow it.
“It’s a great idea.” As he pulled her into his chest again, she looked into his eyes. The red glow startled her and she gasped.
“What’s up with your eyes?” Leaning back in his arms, she kept her eyes on his.
“It’s natural. Ignore it.”
“That’s kind of hard to do. I mean, really, Kyle, your eyes are bright red. Something isn’t right with this picture.”
She blinked when he growled and dug his nails lightly into her back. “All is as it should be.”
“Dang it …” Her voice trailed off as she continued to look at him. His face had begun to change. Becoming narrower at the nose and chin, he started to sprout hair where he had been clean-shaven before. His chest was also getting hairier.
“You are mine, Lannie. Always mine.” His voice had become more gravely, and as his face and body continued to change into a canine shape, he leaned over and bit her where her neck and shoulder came together.