Ivy Morgan is determined to live the life she was meant to live and has no time for relationships. She survived a fate worse than death itself but when a chance meeting with Nyx Wahpeton everything changes for Ivy. Nyx is hard working and nothing has ever interfered with his duties as protector for his family or the peaceful people of the New Hope Reservation until his animal instincts pick up Ivy Morgan. He senses there is a dark storm surrounding her but that is not what has him on the fence-the mere fact that she might not be accepted among his people. Would he be willing to give up everything for her? Can they trust each other with their secrets? Can they both survive the evil and betrayal that lurks in the darkness that is coming for them all?
Standing in Lorna’s kitchen finishing up her second bagel with strawberry cream cheese, Ivy was manning the coffee pot. That had been one of the first rules of Lorna’s house. Morning’s never started for Lorna until she had a cup o’ joe ready to G-O. Lorna shuffled in and gave her usual morning nod to Ivy. Ivy poured some coffee into a mug and handed it to Lorna. There was no need to hear a verbal thank-youbecause all Lorna was capable of was a series of nods. Ivy returned to her seat at the small breakfast table and sipped her tea. Tea was one of the few things that were still rooted in her from her previous existence. Good thing was that she really liked hot and iced tea since she was permitted to put honey or sugar in it. She had tried coffee before and it always gave her headaches even if it was decaf.
Ivy slid the newspaper towards Lorna who just looked at it while she blew over the top of her mug and made a face.
“No wonder why so many people buy tabloid magazines. At least the bad news in them was half way entertaining to read.” Lorna snarled.
Yes, Lorna was definitely a morning person…NOT! Ivy tried to hide her smile.
“Well not all of it is bad, there’s a sale going on at the mall and then there is all the stuff going on at the elementary school.” Ivy tried to sound up beat. It wasn’t working; Lorna still scowled. Again, Lorna just wasn’t a morning person!
After a few mugs of coffee, Lorna began to wake up and looked a little less like Night of the Living Dead.
“So what are your plans for the day, Ivy?” Lorna asked with a yawn.
“Well, I have two classes and then Nyx is going to probably pick me up. I’m off today. What are you doing?” Ivy replied as she rinsed her bowl and cup out in the sink.
“You seem to really like Nyx, honey.” Lorna said softly as she looked up at Ivy.
Ivy blushed, “I like being with him but …” she stopped right there.
Lorna flashed one of her trademark smiles, “But?”
“I don’t know Lorna, I…I just like being with him. I don’t know where it’s going and it scares me a little. This is all new to me.” Ivy admitted as she slightly bowed her head.
Lorna reached across the table and took her hand, “Ivy listen to me, there is nothing wrong with caring about someone! The ability to care and love, it’s what makes us human. Besides, you have to start to trust someone other than me babe.”
Ivy was uncomfortable and it showed. “Lorna, I know that…but what if he ever knew? He’s decent Lorna and I…” she bowed her head.
Lorna moved to the chair next to Ivy and cupped her chin. She raised her head up until she was looking into her eyes.
“Now Ivy, you listen to me: The days of you feeling worthless and like you are nothing are over and done with! You are decent, more decent than most! If he finds out and he shuns you for it then…well I got a pair of garden shears in the garage that will take care of that!”
Ivy had to laugh at that and Lorna joined in. Lorna rose from her chair, dumped her mug and put the rest of the dishes in the dishwasher. She headed up to the second floor bathroom; no doubt to take a shower and get ready for work. Lorna worked part time in Terrance’s law office when she wasn’t working for “The Cause”. Ivy had just started to head for the utility room to get the laundry started when a gentle knock at the door sounded. She skipped towards the front room, avoiding the coffee table and headed towards the door.
Nyx was standing outside. He had borrowed his dad’s truck to do an errand in the next town over, and was hoping that Ivy could blow off school for one day and go with him. He hated being away from her and he hated that he felt that way. He thought about how last night, Lacy had come over to him trying to seduce him. Any other time, he would have taken her up on mating but since he’d met Ivy; he couldn’t even think of being with anyone, even the most beautiful of wolf swans. Lacy was in one of the first clans to come for the big powwow about what to do concerning the Chupacabra attacks. She was in heat and nearly all the un-attached males were going nuts. Lacy of the Tapiki clan was beautiful and well sculpted. She had amber eyes that looked like liquid gold in the moonlight, but she wasn’t Ivy! Nyx had shifted to wolf form and high tailed it to his grandfather’s house away from the madness.
The door opened, and Nyx’s thoughts quickly focused on the beautiful creature before him. Ivy stood there in a pair of pink plaid boxers and a somewhat tight gray tank top. It didn’t escape his attention she wasn’t wearing a bra and it didn’t escape his attention that her nipples were hard either! Her hair was pulled into a sloppy bun where auburn tendrils hung out the back and around her face. Her cheeks were a little pinker than usual; probably because she was a little embarrassed. Those eyes of hers, though framed with thick lashes made his heart start its marathon! They were so clear, thoughtful, and sexy at the same time! He smiled at her.
“Good morning!” he said cheerfully.
“Good morning…Nyx do you know what time it is?” she quizzed as she let him in the door. Feeling a bit embarrassed by her appearance.
“It’s morning, just after eight. Is this too early for you? Damn, I hope I didn’t get you out of bed!” Nyx said regretfully cursing himself silently for bothering her.
“No, I was already awake and fed. However, you might want to not seem so chipper; Lorna is not a morning person and absolutely becomes lethal to ‘cheerful morning types’! I swear I once saw her fling hot coffee at a bird that was perched on the fence as she was getting the morning paper.”
Nyx had to laugh at that one. God how beautiful Ivy looked; and he was fighting like hell to not take her in his arms.
As if she could sense his longing, Ivy stepped closer to him and wrapped her arms around him and gave him a gentle squeeze. Ivy rested her head on his chest as he wrapped his arms around her. Nyx inhaled her sweet smell. She had the scent of a light floral shampoo and some sort of subtle tropical scented soap. However, it was her own fragrance that drove him wild; that spicy sandalwood scent that was all her own.
“I came by to see if you wanted to ditch school today and come with me to Clinton . I have some errands to run and wanted some company!” he said as he laid his cheek against her slightly damp head.
Ivy nodded, “Sure, we’re not doing much just reviewing for mid-terms so I am free for the day!”
She pulled away and smiled at him, “I’ll just get dressed and be back down in a minute!”
“Well I’ll just be down here waiting then!” he said but what he was thinking was, Or I could come up there and give you a hand…or two. He watched as she turned and walked up the stairs. The sight of her heart shaped derriere and the gently sway of her hips made him hot and hard. It was a good thing he hadn’t tucked his shirt in.
Ivy knocked on the bathroom door, “Lorna, Nyx is here and wants to take me to Clinton for the day. I’ll probably be back in time for dinner but if not I’ll call!” She heard Lorna wish her a good time, so she turned and headed to her room.
Moments later, Ivy was dressed in a pair of denim Capri pants with a pink short sleeved peasant shirt. She had her hair in a more composed bun. Nyx thought she was beautiful, but he gave her a mock scowl and lifted an eye brow.
“What?”Ivy asked looking at her clothes wondering what he seemed displeased about.
He grinned as he reached up and pulled the few pins she had tucked in her hair. His fingers were gentle and her hair fell about her shoulders.
“Now that is so much better!” he said smiling.
Ivy rolled her eyes and grinned back at him. “When my hair frizzes I’ll remember to thank you for it!” she teased.
Nyx leaned his head down and she could actually feel his lips on her ear. The feeling was like static electricity and it made her head spin.
“Ivy, you’d still be beautiful even if your hair fell out and you were bald. Don’t hide your beauty. I love to see your hair just like this!” Nyx whispered in a low husky voice that made Ivy tremble with want.
Ivy turned her head and looked into those blue eyes of his and as she leaned in to kiss him; Lorna came down the stairs.
“Oh, oh God…I’m so sorry! Please forget I’m here! Damn it!” Lorna said as she tried to cover her eyes.
Nyx pulled back and laughed. Ivy could feel the blush on her face.
“It’s alright Lorna, we’re just leaving anyhow!” Nyx announced. Ivy needed a few minutes to calm her run away heart and let her skin cool down.
“You two have fun today and Nyx you take care of our girl, okay!” Lorna called. Those were playful words but no doubt Lorna was dead serious. If Nyx let anything happen to Ivy; he’d be missing an appendage.
When they got to the city limits, Nyx watched as the wind from the open window gently blew Ivy’s hair. The light captured auburn strands and it gave her hair coppery highlights. As she sat, he noticed how graceful she was. Ivy’s creamy skin had just a hint of a tan but her little freckles gave her a youthful charm. They rode in silence as they drove out of town.
“So do you do this a lot? I mean go to Clinton on errands?” Ivy asked like an inquisitive child.
Nyx glanced at her, “Yeah I’m the family go-fer. Today I have to pick up some supplies from Clinton ’s lumber yard and then I have to stop by their meat market and pick up my grandfather’s order. We…um….well, we have guests visiting and so I have to pick up chow!” He explained with just a bit of tension to his voice.
“Oh, why couldn’t you get it in town?” she asked.
“Well, the lumber is a certain type of wood that is used for ceremonial purposes for the Res and the meat…well our market just doesn’t have enough. I wish I could take you to tonight’s feast. However, it’s a private deal that my parents hold.” He could tell she looked a little uneasy.
Ivy felt a little awkward. Perhaps his parents wouldn’t like that they were friends. “You know, I don’t want to cause trouble for you…I mean maybe your parents wouldn’t approve of me….” She trailed off.
Nyx took his free hand and captured her smaller one. “You are no trouble. It’s just a Native thing that is going on tonight. There will be other celebrations I can take you to though!”
Ivy smiled but she still felt like there was something more to all this.
“Will you introduce me to your family someday then?” she asked not knowing why something like that would come out of her mouth.
Nyx grinned as he leaned over and kissed her cheek, “Of course I’m going to introduce you to them! They’d love you!”
Well they’ll love you once they warm up to the idea that you’re not a shifter and not from the res. He thought.
Nyx’s parents weren’t prejudicial or hateful people. They were completely the opposite. Nyx’s people weren’t entirely devoid of their humanity. However, his parents did expect their children to mate with their own kind to increase the numbers. It didn’t guarantee that if Nyx or any of his brothers or his sisters had children that they would be shifters. Mating with humans was seldom done. There were risks involved. His parents also wanted a strong bloodline. He knew that his mother and father would no doubt accept Ivy, but she would have to accept every facet of his life and what he and his family were. Nyx silently hoped that when the time came that she would.
“Nyx, can I ask you something?” Ivy asked as she turned the radio down.
“You can ask me anything, shoot.” He replied.
“I was wondering how you got your name. I mean it’s unique just like you and I’ve never heard it.” She blushed when he smiled at her and let loose a chuckle.
“Well it’s kind of a running joke with my brothers. My mother was reading a book about ancient Egypt when she was carrying me and Xander. She read about an Egyptian Goddess of the night called Nyx. She liked the way it sounded and decided that was what she was going to name me whether I was a girl or a boy. My brothers tease me about it, but it doesn’t bother me anymore. If anything, it toughened me up enough that they don’t tease me for long.” Nyx laughed.
Ivy loved the way the light played with his blue eyes when he laughed or smiled. Hell, she loved his eyes even when he was serious or in quiet moments when he was lost in thought.
Nyx noticed by the time they arrived at Clinton that most of the conversation had been about him. He had been careful not to ask too much about her past. He could tell that it was an ill subject and he could sense her emotions when even the slightest mention of her childhood was made. Nyx pretty much made the conclusion that Ivy’s life had not been an easy one nor did it have too many happy moments in it. It didn’t make him pity her, but it made him really protective over her, that was for sure.
Clinton was not a town but was a large city. Ivy watched as they passed tall buildings and the hustle and bustle of people and cars traveling in three lanes of road. There were all sorts of big stores and billboards. She felt a little too small as she looked from the truck window up a tall building with mirrored windows of some sort of bank. Nyx drove down town and took a few turns when they finally came to a lumber yard. It looked like a huge warehouse. The yard was packed with trucks and different piles of lumber and people working.
Nyx hopped out of the truck and went inside. Ten minutes later he came back out and pulled behind the building where his truck bed was loaded with about twenty planks or so of a special cedar. Ivy’s eyes nearly popped out of her head when she saw him take a few hundreds out of his wallet to pay for the wood.
“Hey, would you like to go somewhere and get something to eat? My stomach’s growling louder than a bear after hibernation over here.” He teased.
Ivy laughed, “Sure I could go for something to eat but where are we going to go? This city is huge!”
“Well it’s not as big as it looks but then again I’ve been coming here for a while now. Ivy, what do you say we try out Sullivan’s Steak House?”
“I could go for some red meat as long as I don’t have to eat it raw.” She tried to sound chipper, but she was serious about the raw part.
Papa Paul had insisted on any kind of red meat whether it was beef or even venison had to be rare. How he ate his food right down to how he took his coffee was followed by everyone in his house. “You will eat this, wife or you will starve! I will not have insolence under my roof! If you weren’t pregnant with my child, I would recommend you go before the elders of our community here and be judged for Purification Anya!” His words made her shudder and she pushed Papa Paul out of her head.
Nyx could see something was bothering her. Ivy’s color drained out of her face and it was as if she was reliving some nightmare.
“Ivy, we don’t have to go to a steak house. Anywhere you want to eat at is fine with me! Believe me; I could eat a house at this point!” Nyx coaxed as he reached out for her hand.
Ivy shook herself, “No, no I am fine really. I would love to go to this Sullivan’s. I eat meat, Nyx I just don’t like to hear it mooing at me!” Ivy began to laugh at the odd look he shot her.
“Ivy, you can choose how they prepare your meal. Mooing? Really…this isn’t the dark ages where we have to go out back and slaughter us a cow. We just get the end product now.” Nyx chuckled.
“Ah, well isn’t the end product those big green patties in the field? I don’t know if I want grilled cow chips.” She teased him back.
“Smartass.” He mocked.
“Well, onto the slaughter house then my good man!”
Nyx laughed softly, and then looked at her with crossed eyes, “Moooooo.”
When they got to the restaurant Ivy was taken aback at how much the place looked like something straight from the days of Billy the Kid. It was a large brown building that looked like an old western saloon except for the Neon Red sign with a cowboy with the name, Sullivan’s Steak House and the doors were modern glass doors. When they walked in, it had old fashioned wooden tables with lit lanterns on them and red checkered table cloths. There were all sorts of cowboy, rodeo and old west memorabilia all over the place on the walls and even some life sized models of gunslingers.
There were of course Longhorn skulls and horns mounted in strategic places. Behind where most the tables were set there was a bar with wooden barstools. The whole place smelled like saw dust and food. It actually was pretty neat. A waitress dressed in jeans and a red western styled shirt came, and plunked down two glasses of ice water and two menus. The menus were actually large treated planks of wood. The theme of this place was country western through and through.
Ivy looked over the menu and saw all sorts of burgers, steaks, grilled chicken, and even some seafood dishes. All the burgers came with famous names such as the house specialty The O K Corral Burger which was two quarter pound angus beef patties with cheddar and pepper jack cheeses, bacon, house chili, lettuce and tomato all on a sour dough bun. Just reading that made Ivy’s stomach hurt. “That is a heart attack waiting to happen! I think I felt one of my arteries cringe just reading that one!” she thought to herself as she looked passed the burgers.
When the waitress returned Ivy noticed that the girl was giving Nyx an awful lot of attention. “Oh God, I bet she thinks I’m his sister or some pity date!” she thought to herself as she held her plank of menu higher. She heard him order the Porterhouse-rare with a loaded baked potato and steamed vegetables, the Tombstone T-Bone-rare with a half rack of Western style ribs, a Steakhouse Cesar Salad extra croutons and bacon, The Wild Bill Hickok Monterey Chicken with extra Barbeque sauce and macaroni and cheese, and finished with a house sirloin with mashed potatoes-loaded of course, with six butterfly king shrimp.
When the waitress turned to Ivy, she was speechless! How could one person eat so much? “Ivy? Do you need some more time?” he asked.
“No, no I was just wondering…never mind.” She shook her head, thinking, "Will there be any food left? Why is it someone this good looking can eat all that and not gain a pound? I would be bigger than a prized heifer at the fair."
“I’ll have the Doc Holiday Bourbon Sirloin with a baked potato and a garden salad with Italian dressing.”She blurted out. Ivy ordered the first thing her eyes saw. She was still a little in shock over his order.
“Okay, hon, how would you like your steak?” the woman asked a little impatiently.
Done. “I guess medium-well.” She answered hoping that their version of medium-well didn’t mean still grazing on the plate.
The waitress looked at her pad then back up at them, “I haven’t gotten your drink orders.”
Nyx let Ivy order first. Ivy ordered a Cherry Coke while Nyx ordered just a regular Coke. Usually he liked to drink a beer but he didn’t want Ivy to feel uncomfortable. Besides it wouldn’t do any good to tell her that it was next to impossible for him to ever get drunk. Being part wolf meant there were some things he was almost immune to.
Nyx looked over at Ivy and nearly giggled at the expression on her face. It wasn’t disgust but more like disbelief. Ivy looked a lot like people who had seen a big blur on a country road at night and couldn’t make up their minds if it was a dog or Bigfoot.
“Do you have a tapeworm?” she asked as if she were gearing up for an interrogation.
“Nope, just hungry.” He tossed back at her with a playful look in his eyes.
“Okay, how many days have passed since you last ate?” Ivy rifled off.
He was having fun with this.“Oh, well I last ate this morning. I eat pretty regular. I’m definitely not one of those who can ‘fast’ Ivy.”
Ivy shook her head, “Do you always eat so much for lunch?”
He nodded. “Actually, I’m going a little light today. Usually I have a lot more especially when I come here. It’s my favorite place in Clinton . Would it ease your mind and curiosity if I told you that I have an amazingly fast metabolism?”
She thought about that. It did seem logical and after all he was a man and looked like Tarzan so she decided it definitely fit. “Okay, I’ll buy that. I’m sorry I harassed you about it though, that was rude of me. I’ve just never seen anyone eat so much and be as fit as you!” Immediately she blushed when she saw his reaction to her words. He leaned over the table and gave her a devil’s grin as he kissed her lightly on the lips. Ivy felt as if someone had dipped her in hot oil. Nyx kissed her from her lips to her jaw line and up to her ear where he nipped at her lobe and then whispered in a deep husky voice, “Ivy, you can harass me anytime you want! I’ll even beg you for it!”
The waitress came and he pulled back. Ivy was sure she was flushed and her heart was beating twenty miles a minute! He just sat back and looked pleased with himself. Just like the cat that ate the canary; Cheshire cat pleased actually. Ivy picked up her napkin and threw it at him and they both burst out laughing.
She came out of the restroom and stopped by a juke box. She had money in her back pocket and loved juke boxes. This one had not just country-which she hated but had a lot of rock tunes on it as well. Nyx watched her bend over the juke and his mouth watered at the sight of her. Ivy had a nice round bottom that put all sorts of wicked ideas into his head. He felt a sudden uncomfortable constriction in his jeans.
She was really under his skin and he desired her more than she knew! The only thing that worried him was that animal side of him. The animal within him was strong and wanted to possess every sweet inch of her; he wanted to mark her so that everyone would know exactly who she belonged to and who they’d thank for ripping out their throats if they touched her! He watched as she dug in her pockets and the gentleman in him got up and walked over to her.
Nyx came up behind her and he was so close that Ivy could feel his hips and groin next to her back. He leaned down and as he wound his arms around her, he rested his chin on her shoulder.
“So what sounds good?” he asked.
Ivy got a mischievous look on her face, “Well I was thinking some of these old Hank Williams ballads or maybe some Buck Owens?” she almost blew her cover when she heard him groan.
“Yuck, please tell me you don’t like that ‘My baby left me and I’m drownin’ my sorrows in this here bottle while she dun took my truck and even my old hound dog but left me this old guitar’ stuff do you? I swear my parents drive me nuts with that stuff!” he scoffed.
Ivy couldn’t hold the giggles in anymore as he kept making sounds of ultimate suffrage.
“Sorry, but I’m all about the Rock-n-Roll here.” She declared with pride.
Nyx nipped her on her ear lobe.
“Ouch.” Ivy yelped but it really hadn’t hurt; actually it had been somewhat of a pretty sensual experience.
Nyx nuzzled her neck, “That’s what you get for being a bad girl, Ivy! Shame on you, scaring me like that.” He teased and softly chuckled.
To get her mind off the carnal thoughts she was having and the sudden wet feeling she was getting between her legs, she picked out a few Nickelback songs and let him choose a few. Nyx’s first choice was Kashmir by Led Zeppelin and Woman by Wolfmother. The last one, Ivy and him both chose. The last song they both agreed on Dancing with Myself by Billy Idol. Nyx took a crisp dollar bill out of his pocket and put it in the machine and then led her to the dancing floor. Ivy looked like a scared rabbit.
“What?” he asked.
“Nyx, I…I can’t dance! I mean really…I can’t dance! Lorna and I fool around at the house but that’s it.” She admitted with a certain level of chagrin and embarrassment. His face flashed that devilish look of his as he wound his arms around her waist as Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir started.
“Well then consider this your first ‘formal’ lesson then!”
Ivy wanted to melt in his arms but she didn’t want to humiliate herself by causing either one of them a compound fracture or a head injury so she tried to concentrate on her feet. Nyx put her arms around his neck and placed his own on her hips. He could feel her trembling, but he gave her an encouraging smile. Ivy was lost when she looked into his eyes and she began to move with him. They slow danced. The next song was Never Alone by Nickelback. Nyx pulled her even closer and as they grinded together, he was in ecstasy at the feeling of her body close to his.