“Make no mistake, Nicky, he meant you harm. Why, baby? Why did you run away from me? I was hoping…I thought you were falling in love with me and settling in.” Marco continued to stare into his eyes, but they shifted away a little with the last sentence, as if he were embarrassed to show he cared so much.

“I am in love with you, Marco. I didn’t run away. What makes you keep saying that?”

Marco narrowed his gaze. “You mean you didn’t get away from Rory and run into the woods?”

Nicky began to understand. Rory had lied just as he said he would to keep Marco’s wrath off himself and put the blame squarely on Nicky’s shoulders. He opened his mouth to set the record straight but hesitated. Maybe he could work this to his advantage. Having Rory in his debt might be useful in the future. “Oh, well, not really. I mean, I was playing ball with Adam, and he went to the woods to look for a ball. I went to look for him, and those guys were there. I fought them. See?” He pointed out the cuts on his lips. “They hit me to keep me quiet.”

Marco leaned down and licked the cuts slowly and sensuously, the feeling going straight to Nicky’s cock. He moaned and held his lips for a kiss, but Marco leaned back, stroking his fingers down Nicky’s chest.

“You haven’t explained why you were outside away from Rory to start with. After I told you not to even go out because of rogues in the area.”

“Oh, well, I just wanted to go for a walk in the gardens. Then we ran into Adam, and…” He looked up into Marco’s eyes. “I was only having some fun.”

Marco sighed. “I want you to enjoy yourself, baby, but when I give you an order, it’s for a good reason. My job is to keep you safe. I should punish you for not following my orders.”

Nicky bit his bottom lip and looked up at Marco, fluttering his eyelashes a bit. Marco smiled and leaned over to kiss him again, taking his time with it, sweeping over his lips with his tongue, and swirling it inside his mouth, leaving Nicky panting for breath. “I won’t though, because you’ve been hurt.”

“Thank you, Marco.” Nicky tried his best to sound humble.


“Until tomorrow,” he said, grinning down at him. “Tomorrow, you’re mine.”

“Uhh…what does that mean?”

He smiled. “You’ll see. Get some sleep, baby. You might need it.” He dropped one more kiss on his forehead and lay back down, pulling Nicky close and wrapping him in his arms.

“Well, what do you mean, Marco? Aren’t you going to tell me? You can’t just go to sleep.”

“Hush. We’re both going to sleep. We’ll talk tomorrow.” Marco closed his eyes and squeezed him gently, absolutely refusing to say another word. Nicky knew from experience all he could do was shut up and go to sleep. He sighed and snuggled back into Marco’s groin trying not to think about Marco’s threats about tomorrow.

* * * * The next morning when Nicky awoke alone and naked in bed. He stretched luxuriously, rolled over and saw Rory sitting sullenly by the side of the bed, staring at him.

Nicky jumped, startled. “What the hell?” He pulled the sheet more securely over him. “How long have you been sitting there?”

“Too long. Marco has put me on babysitting duty again because of yesterday. Believe me, I’m no happier about it than you are.”

“You lied to Marco yesterday.”

Rory flushed. “Yeah. Sorry. It would take a lot braver wolf than me to tell Marco I was careless enough to go to sleep when I should have been watching you and Adam.” He shifted around nervously in his chair. “I’ve never seen him like that before. When he caught the scent of the Ridge Clan along with yours and Adam’s…let’s just say I was glad it wasn’t me he was hunting down.”

“Is that who they were? Ridge Clan—what is that?”

“It’s another family of wolves. They live in the area, fairly close by, but the Mountain pack has always been at odds with them. We’re pretty sure that’s who they were. Shawna, one of our wolves from the rogue pack—you know who I mean?”

Nicky nodded impatiently.

“Well, she said it wasn’t any of the rogues. So we think it had to be some of the Ridge Clan messing with us, trying to start something. Or maybe they just thought they could get some ransom money.”

“I heard them mention ransom.”

“You did? That must have been some of their wolves then. The younger one, the one who had Adam, threw him at us and ran. We lost him in the forest. The other one, the one who had you, is dead.”


Rory shrugged. “He hit you, held a knife to your throat, planned on raping you. My brother heard him say so. What do you think?”

“Marco k-killed him? Because of me?”

Nicky shrugged, embarrassed. “No, Marco didn’t kill him. I did.”

Nicky raised his eyebrows. “You!”

Rory flushed. “Yeah, me. They took you and my little brother—I was angry. You were both my responsibility, and I didn’t protect you. I didn’t exactly mean to kill him, but he tried to use the knife on me too.”

Nicky was very quiet for a moment, before Rory smiled gently. “Thank you, Nicky.”

Nicky’s skin colored, and he shrugged again, embarrassed at the attention. “Did Marco sense me? Is that how he knew where to find us?”

“Yes. He senses you pretty strongly, Nicky. He knows everything you do.”

“Everything? But last night, he thought I was running away.”

“Nah. Only for a little while when I first told him you were gone. He was so upset he wasn’t thinking straight.” He shrugged. “Last night he was probably seeing if you’d be honest with him about the whole thing. He’d already figured it out by then and tore me a new asshole.”

“I didn’t exactly lie, but he did say something about training me tonight.”

“I’m sorry, Nicky. I should never have taken you outside. Then to fall asleep when I was supposed to be watching you was really stupid. You could have been badly hurt.”

His apology was so sincere, Nicky was a little touched by it. Maybe Tara was right. The wolves did seem to care a lot for their safety. “Thanks, Rory. It was mostly my fault for talking you into it.”

“I’m glad you feel that way, brat, ‘cause I gotta put you in lockdown all day.” “Huh?”

“Marco’s orders. He thinks extra restraints might help calm you some. He ordered me to cuff you to the bed all day.”

“What? Fuck that!”

“Cussing again, too. He doesn’t like that.” Rory stood up and pulled the cuffs from his pocket, advancing on the bed.

After a brief but violent struggle, Nicky was cuffed to the bed and spitting curses. Rory kept calm throughout the tussle and never lost his temper. Nicky was impressed despite his anger. Rory was becoming a more dominant wolf every day, and Nicky was surprised at his strength. He sat with him until early afternoon, uncuffing him only to go to the bathroom and eat lunch. Nicky hated every moment of it.

Marco didn’t return until around three o’clock and immediately came over to let him out of the cuffs. “Has he been in these all day?” he asked sharply.

Rory lowered his eyes. “Yes, just like you told me.”

“Good.” He chafed Nicky’s wrists and kissed his forehead. “I’m sorry, Nicky. We restrain our pets to help them adjust. I know you hate it, but it’s necessary. You’re way too rebellious, and I have to take steps to control you. I can’t let your feral nature take over.”

Rory went to the door. “Well, if you don’t need me anymore, I’ll get going.” He left before Marco could say another word.

“I’m still angry with him for his terrible lack of judgment yesterday.”

Nicky stayed quiet, still seething over being locked in cuffs all day.

“How are you feeling? Any calmer?”

Nicky wanted to be sullen, but Marco looked so worried, he wanted to make him feel better. He lied to him. “Yeah, I’m fine.”

“Are you sure? I’m picking up some untruthfulness in your thoughts.”

“I don’t like all this, Marco. I feel like I’m in prison. Maybe this was all a mistake. Maybe I’m the wrong kind of person for this to work.”

“Don’t say that, Nicky. You’re perfect. I just haven’t had the time to properly train you.” “I’m not a dog.”

“I never said you were.” Marco’s tone was amazed. Nicky could see he had no idea how demeaning all this was for him.

“I’m not a submissive.”

“Oh, but you are, darling. You just don’t know it yet. Would you like me to show you?”

Nicky squirmed a little on the bed. “No, I don’t think so.”


Nicky kept his head down, refusing to make eye contact. The conversation was making him nervous. Marco put a knuckle under his chin. “Answer me.”

“Maybe a little.”

“Do you trust me, Nicky?”

“Yes, but…”

“All you have to do is say stop, and I will. I love you, and I want to show you how happy being submissive could make you, how good I can make you feel if you give yourself to me.”

There was no use in resisting. He’d do anything Marco asked. Nicky stared into his eyes. “All right.”

Smiling, Marco kissed him lightly on the lips. “Lie on your back with your arms over your head.”


“No time like the present.”

Marco stripped off his clothing and stood by the bed, gloriously naked. He pulled the sheet off Nicky and surveyed him from head to toe. “If you want to stop at any time, simply say so.”

Nicky took a deep breath and nodded. He trusted Marco with his life. If he pushed him beyond what he thought he could stand, he’d tell him to stop. The thought calmed the knot of fear in his stomach.