Today, I’m stepping back into Barif, the new home of the wolves of Sorrow for a sweet flash piece. During Izabel’s book, she and her mate fly over a scenic area of waterfalls unlike anything remaining on Earth Prime. They aren’t able to stop. So much had happened and Ranoch needed to return to Korlyn’s Glen, but he promised his Izabel they’d return. This is their first trip.
Warning: this story may be NSFW and references events in both Izabel and the upcoming book, Jelayan. I don’t think they’re spoilers, but as always YMMV.
The photo which inspired this flash piece is one I took at Mt. Ranier National Park in Washington State. The waterfall is one of many flowing down the mountain, and it’s as cold as the glacier which feeds it.
An Unexpected Holiday
Izabel woke to an empty bed holding the faintest lingering warmth of her mate. Sighing, she pulled his pillow close and inhaled his scent. Things had been calmer since Jelayan’s return from Port Ciroc, but it was the calm of a stalking wolf. Patient and relentless. Whatever her friend and her mate had done in the port city had granted them a reprieve, but it hadn’t ended the violence.
Grumbling, she rose and stomped into the bathing chamber. Hydro showers remained a constant delight to her, the memories of Sorrow would take years to fade, but they weren’t half as fun without Ranoch. Her lips curved at the intimate soreness between her thighs. Yes, her mate knew how to play in all the best ways.
She was tying off the end of her braid when strong arms wrapped around her and pulled her against a familiar chest. “Ranoch! I thought you’d gone to the HQ.”
“I did.” He nibbled his way along her neck to the spot behind her ear which always made her melt. “I was there, my Izabel.” Another nip, this time to her ear, while his hands slipped under her shirt to lie on her bare skin. She shivered. “To make sure everything was in place.”
Gasping when his hands cupped her breasts, she brushed her lips along his jaw. “In place for what?”
“Three days.” His scorching kiss echoed with the sounds of the forest, her mate’s beautiful song only she could hear. “You. Me. No comm devices. No duties.” A sudden grin. “No clothing.”
“I like this plan. You know how much I like your hands on me.”
He laughed softly, his song a riot of joy and his body a wall of heat against her back. “First, though, I have a surprise. Come with me?”
“I’ll go anywhere with you.”
After another kiss which scrambled her brains and left her ready to drag him back to bed, Ranoch led her to his personal transport. He guided the ship with confident skill, and soon they were flying above Korlyn’s Glen.
She leaned back and drank in the sight of him, this man who’d fascinated and called to her from that first rain-drenched meeting. The lines of strain around his eyes and mouth had lessened in the past week, and he looked as young as she’d ever seen him. He glanced over, the fairy lights in his eyes a sparkling brilliance against forest green. His smile was slow and full of sensual secrets. The kind of smile which gave a wolf ideas. She planned to indulge in every one of those ideas over the next three days.
“Look to your right.”
His deep voice drew her from pleasant daydreams of licking her way down his chest. Growling softly, she’d just reached his waist when he distracted her, Izabel looked through the view screen and gasped. The cascading falls which had enthralled her on their return from Raxan Brook lay below, the river a meandering ribbon through the forest.
“I hope you don’t mind camping,” Ranoch said. He guided the transport to a small clearing nestled at the base of the falls. Once they were on the ground and the ship powered down, he turned to cup her cheeks. His hands were gentle, his kiss a passionate demand. “I promised I’d bring you back, my Izabel. We’ll have this area to ourselves, can play in the falls, run naked like children if we want. I wish I could give you more time, but—”
Izabel covered his lips with her fingers and shook her head. “It’s enough.” Her voice was wet with tears, but they weren’t of sorrow. Her heart wept with the love in his eyes, on his face, in his every touch. He’d remembered. That meant everything. “I’d rather spend three days with you now, than wait until you can take longer. Life has a way of coming at you quickly, reminding you that another day is a gift and not a guarantee. Let’s enjoy this gift. Reality will return soon enough.”
His kiss began slow, teasing and coaxing a response. She resisted. Only a little, enough to play with this dominant male who held her with such protective strength. He nipped her lips with his fangs. She scraped her claws through his beard, Somehow, amidst the playful kisses and rough tenderness of his caresses, she ended up on his lap with her shirt unbuttoned and her bra pulled down to expose her breasts.
“This seat is too damned small for what I want to do with you,” he muttered against her sensitive flesh before nipping a taut nipple with his fangs.
“And you’re wearing too many clothes.” Shrugging out of the shirt, she reached back and unhooked her bra. The stars in his eyes faded one by one as he brushed his thumbs over her skin. She unbuttoned his shirt, glorying in the feel of his hands on her. “I distinctly remember a promise of sexy Rifaniir nudity on this trip.”
“You do, do you?”
He tossed his shirt over his head baring his chest to her gaze and her touch. She ran her palms over the hard muscle, scraped lightly with her claws. “Three whole days.” Sliding her hands up to thread through his short hair, she rested her forehead against his and grinned. “Let’s get naked.”
Laughing like pups, they removed the rest of their clothing. Ranoch chased her through the clearing, stealing kisses and running teasing his hands over her bare skin whenever he got close. Izabel growled and pretended to claw and bite him in retaliation. It was silly and wonderful, and she’d never had so much fun in her life.
Later, they lay beneath the stars, his arm her pillow and their fingers entwined. Ranoch told her about his friendship with Kellan, how they’d gotten to know each other as dominant children to less powerful parents. He told her about his time with their razheen on the Teshic border and later fighting against the raiders from Aerincael. And he told her of Vaistu Elloufen’s rise to razheen with the support of his friends including Dr. Roana Jai. Even more reason to admire the fierce woman who’d become her friend.
In return, she told him about life in Sorrow. Not the raiders or Mourning Sun or the petty games played by the elders, but the everyday things. The good things and the bad. The joy of Keelah’s and Talish’s mating. The birth of the twins, two powerful boys who’d grow into honorable warriors of the pack. Her discovery of Jelayan’s cat and how much she loved her friend’s purr. And her joy at her friend’s mating.
“I can’t tell you what it means to me to see her happy and know she’s loved for who she is.” She squeezed Ranoch’s hand, emotion clogging her throat. “She’s been my rock since we were pups, so strong and brave and fiercely loyal, and now she glows.”
“Kellan’s a good man.” Ranoch rolled over and braced himself on his arms above her. His body felt so good against her. “But I’m better.”
Izabel laughed and wrapped her arms around his neck. “Prove it.”
And he did.