Chapter 11

Jade stirred beneath the silken covers in her lavish bedroom, awakening from her heavy slumber. She allowed a soft sigh to escape her throat as she slowly arose into consciousness, feeling the soft warm skin of her lover close beside her. Horatio…

She remembered him coming to her, feeling his presence, and the thrilling rush of his nearness. But she also felt his debilitating fatigue. He was near exhaustion, and in desperate need of some restful sleep. So she had pulled him to her, wrapping herself around his delightfully naked body, and burrowing them both deep beneath the layers of the soft silken sheets. And into a very deep sleep.

Now, slowly awakening, she reveled in the feel of his strong muscular frame pressed against her. She briefly began to open her eyes, but then fluttered them closed again, relishing the delicious warmth of his body molded so tightly against hers. Her hands began to gently caress his pale skin, fingertips languidly making random gentle patterns across his shoulders, nails grazing sensuously up the back of his neck, and then all the way back down to the small hollow at the base of his spine. She delighted in the feel of his gentle hot breath softly ghosting across her shoulder, and the feel of his slow and steady pulse thrumming against her whisper soft touch. The wonderful sensations began to stir Horatio from the depths of his entrancing slumber. Jade's hands traced a gentle trail downwards along his side, then further down across his stomach… and Horatio let out a low moan of pleasure and nuzzled even closer against her… Jade took a deep breath and sighed with delight and erotic anticipation as her hand ventured further down his willing body…

And then she stopped. Jade's nostrils flared slightly, and she froze stock still. She cautiously sniffed the air again, and her suspicions were confirmed. They were not alone…

Reacting immediately, Jade silently willed Horatio back to sleep, and his warm body instantly relaxed into the covers beside her. She sat bolt upright, eyes sharp. She sprang up on all fours, defensively straddling her sleeping mortal lover, protecting him, and rapidly scanning the room. And then she saw him…

There, just inside the doorway, the shape of a large grey wolf. He was poised to attack, head hanging low between his shoulders, eyes glowering with malicious hatred, long fangs bared. She heard a low, throaty, menacing growl, and she responded instantly. Even in the dim candlelight, she could still see quite clearly. And her breath caught for a second in her throat as she recognized him. She saw the small piece missing from his left ear, the mark she had inflicted in the heat of battle… And a flood of violent memories rushed through her mind, all the horrific things this ugly monster was responsible for. There was no mistaking exactly who was hunkered down at the end of her bed, and she became instantly enraged…

Jade's eyes began to glow a deep stormy green as she glared back at her would-be attacker. Her shoulders hunched up and her fingernails began sprouting into long sharp claws. Her head lowered and her eyes narrowed, focusing on her intruder like a laser beam. And she felt her teeth grow, white razor sharp canines curving over her full red lips. She curled back her upper lip, baring her teeth even further, and let out her own vicious growl, hackles spiking up between her shoulders, muscles tensing for a fight…

"YOU!" Jade snarled. "How dare you! How dare you enter here, into my home, my sanctuary, and threaten me! You violate our laws yet again! You will pay for this!"

The wolfen figure in the doorway stood its ground, and the voice that replied was deep and gravelly, and absolutely dripping with venomous intent. "I came here for you… dear Jade… you mercenary, treasonous bitch," the voice seethed. "For retribution. Which you know full well is allowed by our laws… But I have stopped, because you have a mortal here…" he briefly scrunched up his nose in disgust. "I can smell him…"

"He is under my protection, registered with Price Galean…" Jade replied quickly, but was harshly interrupted.

"I care not about your mortal TOY!" The deep voice bellowed, nearly shaking with fury. "I have spent decades tracking you, and I have finally found you! I care only about my vengeance! And I will have it!"

Jade glared silently and saw her opponent take a moment to calm himself before continuing. "It is quite fortunate for you that this mortal was with you tonight," he snarled. "And only because I do obey our laws, will I take my leave. Once again, blind luck is on your side. His presence has spared you this eve. But know this, Jade. I will have my revenge. This mortal may have halted my attack tonight, but there will be another time, another opportunity. And I will wait for it… And you will pay for what you have done to me, with your life. You will die. I will tear you to pieces, drink your blood, and howl at the moon!"

And then, in a whisper-quick flash, he was gone.

DONOVAN! Her thoughts bellowed. Donnie was in front of her within seconds, wide eyed with concern. He instantly felt the stress in the room, it was thick enough to cut with a knife. And when Jade explained what had just happened, who had been in the doorway, and the serious threat that he now posed, Donovan was both shocked and extremely alarmed at the revelation.

"Are you sure?" Donnie asked cautiously. Jade focused a pointed stare back at him.

"OK," Donovan replied, gathering himself up and straightening his shoulders. "I'll handle the security. I'm gonna put the word out. In five minutes, this place will be locked down tighter than Fort Knox!"

Jade nodded, then began to try to force herself to relax, and turn her attention back to the redhead lying behind her. Horatio was still held in the throes of a 'willed' sleep, but he had become more and more restless, lightly thrashing around on the bed, clearly picking up on the high tension levels radiating from Jade. She wanted nothing more right now than to just wrap herself around him, pull the covers up over their heads, and let the rest of the world just melt away…

"Jade," Donnie said out loud, interrupting her thoughts and pulling her attention back to him.

"I'm sorry Jade," Donovan said seriously. "I failed you. I had no idea. I never felt him coming. I didn't even know he was here. Right here, in this house."

"Neither did I," Jade answered solemnly, worriedly shaking her head. "I didn't feel anything either Donnie. Nothing. Not until he was right here in front of me."

Donovan huffed. "Looks like he's drastically improved some of his skills," he snarked.

Jade nodded reluctantly, then replied, her voice heavy and full of disdain. "Well, he's had quite a bit of time to work on them…"