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z-August Turner

World of Darkness: Attrition - Getting Down with Nature [Mature]

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August woke up, feeling warm and content. That lasted for about two seconds before she remembered today’s plans. “Aww, hell.” She rolled over again and buried her face in her pillow. ‘Hell’ was the operative word here.

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Yes, she was going to be spending the day with Declan – no ghosts, no crazy bullshit, just her and her… werewolf boyfriend.

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Okay, maybe there would be a little crazy bullshit. But it had to be fun crazy bullshit.

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August showered, though that was probably going to prove a waste of time. However, there was a pride in her that wouldn’t let her show up to Dec’s stinking of sleep and bad breath, even if he was going to smell worse from her later today. She dressed practically, pulling on a pair of sturdy jeans, a black t-shirt and her hiking boots. Her hair was pulled into a braid and fell in a long line down her back.

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Despite not looking forward to the events of the day, August was looking forward to spending time with Declan. More than that, she was looking forward to spending time having fun with Declan, as Lise had prescribed. They were starting with some fun that would be well within Declan’s comfort zone: camping.

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August hated camping. It wasn’t that she didn’t like being outdoors, but most of her camping trips had devolved into a bug-filled, burnt-or-cold food nightmare. Declan had told her it’d be fun, and so she was willing to give it a shot. He’d get a chance to prove to her that camping could be fun.

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She grabbed her bag just as her phone rang. “Hey, sexy,” she said as she answered.

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“I hope you know it was me.” Declan’s deep voice was filled with humor and a twinge of lust.

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“I checked the id yes, but I thought I should answer my phone this way all the time. Should make my family stop calling me so much.” August was sorta joking, but since she’d decided to date Declan, her aunt had been calling her almost every day. August knew she did it out of love, but even love had its limits.

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“Mmm,” Declan murmured, the deep hum going down her spine to her toes. “And I’d call more. Speakin’ of calling, I’m out front.”

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“Oh, I do declare,” August said in a bad southern accent, “do I have a gentleman caller?”

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“You got the caller part right.” The naughtiness in his voice made her insides quiver. She didn’t know if they would finally be finishing what they’d started on Valentines but she’d packed protection anyway. And if he kept talking like that…

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First, she had to see how she handled being around him in wolf-form long-term. Wolf first, then sexy. “I’ll be right down.” August dropped her voice a bit and purred, “Coming down, that is.” Then she hung up; let him think about that for a bit. Laughing to herself, she hurried for the stairs.

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Declan's eyes were gleaming as he reached across to open the passenger-side door, and his half-grin was exactly as August imagined it: just warm enough to be tender, predatory enough to be thrilling. He was dressed in his usual jeans and white t-shirt, but with a thick green-and-tan plaid shirt thrown on over the top, unbuttoned and with the sleeves rolled up. August snuck a peek in the back of the Rustbucket (as Dec called his pickup) while she dumped her bags in, and saw kitbags, bedrolls and a tent. Camping...ugh... Though sharing a tent with Declan was not at all 'ugh'.

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Dec grinned at August as she slid into the seat, closing the cellphone he'd finally bought (thank God for small mercies) and dropping it into the breast pocket of his shirt. She looked good, the brightness and vibrancy of her restored somewhat after the trauma of The Biting Incident and the subsequent heart-to-heart. He felt touched that she was willing to make a go of accepting him this way, as well as nervous that it wouldn't work out. But Declan wasn't much of a worrier about things he couldn't control, and so he shrugged his fears away and looked to what he could do, which was enjoy the weekend.

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"So where are we going?" August asked him. Declan carefully pulled out into the traffic and gave her another smile.

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"You'll love it." he said. "Los Padres National Forest, about three hours north. It's up by Fort Hunter-Liggett - trained there some. Lots of different terrain types, and deep summer is a real bitch of a time to be humping the hills, but the forest there is beautiful." His voice took on a faint yearning sound under the gruffness. "Oak woods, for the most part. Lots of hiking trails. A choice of civilised camping with plumbing or roughing it at one of the remote sites."

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"No need to ask which one we're going for." August said, unable to keep a touch of grumpiness out of her voice. "No hot showers." Declan snickered at her.

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"No hot showers, no pedicures, no tv, no cellphone reception worth a piss and no triple-foamy-soya-decaf lattes." he teased her.

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"I don't drink decaf, wolf-boy." August backhanded him on the shoulder playfully. "But there's no way I'm going without my pedicure."

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"Tell ya what." Declan's grin turned wolfish - well alright, more wolfish. "We'll heat water for ya to wash with, and there's rivers to swim in, and after every hike - or whenever you feel like it - I'll give ya a foot-rub. That offer's good for the whole long weekend."

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“That is making it sound better,” August admitted as she pulled out her iPod and the little speaker station she’d borrowed from Oneca. She’d spent several hours pirating music that they’d both like; the list wasn’t terribly long because while Dec liked most rock ‘n roll, August was pretty much a modern pop girl. There were still several hours worth of songs on the device, more than enough for the trip up and back. They wouldn’t be able to listen to music all weekend, but August was pretty sure that Declan wouldn’t let her do that anyway.

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The drive up to the campsite was peaceful and quite nice. The scenery north of LA was beautiful; even a city-lover like August would admit that. Once they were up in the hills, the roads were lined with trees, and the further north they go, the more verdant and ancient the trees became. The hills became taller and wilder and they saw animals, both alive and caught dead on the road, as they drove. When they stopped at a rest area, Declan touched her arm and pointed out a family of deer just inside the trees, waiting for them to leave. August stared at the glimpse of the wild, then glanced up to smile at Dec. The hungry predator expression took her smile away, for it was a stark reminder that she saw Bambi come to life, and he saw prey.

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He’s going to make me eat Bambi, at some point, and Thumper, too.

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It was noon by the time they pulled up to the park gate. The man inside smiled at them and took their fee for camping; August noted that if they wanted access to the area with showers, it was almost twice as much money. She thought about paying it, but resisted: she was going to try this Dec’s way, and if she couldn’t handle it, they’d camp in the other area as a compromise in the future.

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It was another half-hour of driving to reach their spot; Dec had clearly been here before, for he drove the winding roads without hesitation and went directly to a camping spot. The small clearing he chose was back in the trees, not on the road like most of the others were. It was almost dark back under the old oaks and Declan looked around with satisfaction before dropping the bundled tent on the ground. “Smell that air,” he grunted, taking a deep inhalation.

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“It is clean.” Her response got her a smile from her boyfriend. “So… now we start working? What do you want me do to?”

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“We’re going to put the tent here. Pick up anything on the ground that you don’t want to sit or lay on.” Declan squeezed her hand. “I’ll unload the truck and then get the tent up.”

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Picking up stuff sounded easy but August quickly learned that oaks had an annoying habit of being bitten into by squirrels, who left behind fragments of the caps. Those fragments were sharp, and August was soon cursing the gray rodents. There were enough of them that Declan helped her finish.

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August covertly watched Declan work. The strain and ferocity that he always wore in the city was gone, replaced by a calmer demeanor. The wildness in him was still there, but it matched the surroundings better. Together they laid out the moisture guard and then started in on the tent itself. “One person can put this one up alone, but it’s easier with two. See, you lay this here, and then I’ll pull this and you can pull that.”

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As the tent popped up between them, August asked, “Declan? Why do you live in LA, rather than in the woods?”

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"At first, it's because that's where the V.A is." Declan said after a pause, his words unhurried as he vocalised things he'd not even really consciously thought about. "I was still learning to accept the changes in my life, feelin' kinda sorry fer myself, and generally coasting through life." There were a series of loud clacking noises as the werewolf hammered in tent pegs with quick, powerful blows from the hard wood mallet.

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"Then they got me the job at the campus, and... I dunno. The place clicked with me. The work was hard, but it let me think shit over while I worked. And the woods were never too far off if I needed to roam. Sure, I felt the urge to run off into the woods as soon as the V.A discharged me, but it felt too much like running away."

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"Uh-oh." August smiled a little at the distaste Declan's voice held for those two words. He shot her a wry smile as he moved around to hammer in the rest of the pegs. "That's not really your thing, is it?"

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"Not hardly." Dec snorted. "I make tactical retreats, but I don't turn tail. Though when you first found out 'bout me? That was a close one. I was gonna dig a hole in the world and pull it in after me. And after that? Well, I wasn't going to run out on you."

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"Good." August frowned at him, not really wanting to think about how close she'd been to not seeing Declan again, ever. He just nodded, finished driving the last peg, then straightened up, looking around with that peaceful expression in his fierce eyes.

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"I'm a fighter, a predator. I like living in L.A. because it's a jungle, a challenge I can't solve purely with tooth and claw. Keeping my corner of it safe, keeping my friends - now that I have friends - safe: that's my life now. I'm drawn to the struggles, to the challenge. This place... Places like it... They're here for me when I need to get away, like now." A softly pensive expression came over his face. "They'll be here when there's no fight left in me, I guess."

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"C'mon, Dec." August said softly, her eyes on his face. "You know damn well there's always going to be fight in you."

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"Sure." Declan grinned his white-toothed grin, head tilting to the side as he met her gaze. "Y'know what they say about the wolf, right? He wins every battle, except his last one." He stretched his arms out, then over his head, and looked around the campsite. "This'll be good. There's game trails all over. Deer for the most part." He caught the look on August's face and smiled slightly. "No need for the face, frail, I won't be huntin' the does and fawns, and there's plenty of tinned and packaged food in the green duffel there." He pointed at the large bag, then winked at her. "Just make sure you keep the trash careful, or we'll have bears payin' a visit."

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“Bears?!” August’s expression suggested that Declan had said “mouse” instead and she needed a chair to facilitate her retreat to high ground. “For real?!”

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“Yeah.” Declan managed not to laugh at the look on her face. “What, you don’t like bears?”

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“Not really. I mean they’re big and pear-shaped, and they have those big teeth and loose, flappy lips…” August’s voice trailed off. “I know other people like them, but they’re just big and kinda terrible, you know? I mean, what’s to like about something with paws the size of my face and claws longer than my fingers?”

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“You know that there’s something else here that matches that description.” Declan was smiling easily as he stepped forward, drawing his hands up her arms to her shoulders.

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August flushed a little as she realized she had just described Dec in werewolf-form pretty closely. “Well, okay, yeah, but you’re sexy.”

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That earned her a grin; he followed it up by a slow lean in for a kiss. They’d taken things really slow after he’d bitten her, and she was still a little uneasy about his mouth, to be frank. But his kisses set her skin tingling, as always, and left her wanting more from him. “Very sexy,” she amended when he lifted his head, and she saw the burn of lust in his silver gaze. Suddenly, August was very aware they were completely alone; not just alone in a house in a crowded city, but an alone whose description included the word “miles”. There would be no one to interrupt them or help them, depending on how things went. That knowledge seeped into her voice, and when she spoke, there was a hint of huskiness to it as her mind processed just how isolated they were. “So… you said something about a swim?”

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"Uh-huh." Declan's hands were still warm on her shoulders as he flicked his gaze off to the right. "There's a big creek about two hundred feet that way. Pretty slow moving, so it's safe to swim in."

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"Sounds perfect." August eased back out of his gentle grasp, trying not to think about anything other than a nice cooling dip. "You brought some trunks?" she asked next, not sure what she wanted the answer to be.

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"Sure." Dec's grin widened for a moment, as he nodded. "I'll get a fire set for when we get done." he added then, a faint frown creasing his brow as he glanced around the campsite, figuring out what he had to work with.

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"In that case, I'll go on ahead." August gave the werewolf a teasing smile and moved to her bags. Finding the gym bag with her swimming costume in and a towel, she made sure there was a touch extra sway in her step as she headed off in the direction Declan had indicated. Looking back as she started down the trail, she saw him watching her leave and smiled to herself. As complicated as dating a werewolf might be, some things were very uncomplicated indeed. The werewolf in question being one of those things.

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Declan watched her skip out of sight and shook himself before setting to work. As he collected firewood, setting it in the prepared fire pit in a tepee style and laying tinder underneath, he was picturing August by the side of the sunlit creek, water beading on her skin and plastering her dark hair to her body. Work finished, he performed perhaps the world's fastest strip-and-change, casting his clothes into the tent before pulling on his trunks and taking off barefoot at a jog through the forest, following her scent.

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August trotted down the path, her boots padding almost silently on the pine-needle carpet. She felt anxious as she moved and finally realized she hadn’t checked her email in a bit. She dug out her phone and saw it had no reception. She had no internet, no phone, no Twitter. Feeling like she was missing out on something right now. “Perfect,” she sulked, dumping the phone into the bag.

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The creek was lovely and wide, a slow-moving lazy stream. Trees hung over it, shading the water and decorating the surface of the liquid with delicate lace-like marks. August found it oddly pleasing, given her lack of enjoyment of nature. She realized she was staring and if she didn’t hurry, Dec would come down here and catch her in her street clothing. Or, her brain treacherously supplied, he could find her half-dressed…

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Despite the pleasant daydream that thought spawned, August hurried to change. She wasn’t sure she was ready for where nakedness with Declan would lead, even though her body thought it was a great idea.

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August had brought a blue bikini; it wasn’t as skimpy as the one she wore to the beach because she hadn’t been sure she should bare that much skin. This one was ‘sporty’ with thicker straps and full bottoms. She’d also packed the green one, just in case things needed to get extra-sexy. Having that need was hard to conceive of, but anything was possible.

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When she was dressed, she left her clothing on her bag and waded into the stream. It was a little colder than the air and August shivered slightly as she completely submerged herself. When she surfaced and blinked the water out of her eyes, Declan was halfway in the water, his silver eyes fastened on her. August shivered again, even as she grinned and pushed herself further away from him. “You gonna catch me?” she asked him.

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“Oh, yeah,” he said, wading after her in a slow stalk.

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“And then what?” she murmured, swimming away and keeping out of arm’s reach.

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“You’ll have to see.” Declan submerged completely and August shrieked in mock fear, backpedaling from the Dec-shark. She still felt hands wrap around her thighs and pull her down. A brief struggle underwater ended with their surfacing entangled. His arms held her firmly and it only seemed natural to kiss. The water swirled around them as they floated together, kissing and permitting themselves to touch one another.

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“Nice,” August murmured after a time. Her blood was boiling in her veins and she could tell Declan was affected, too; they were too close for her not to know. “I like swimming with you.” She curled her legs around his waist. “Though I guess we aren’t really swimming as much as floating…”

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"Mmmhmm."

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The rumbling noise was half-agreement, half-contentment, and his arms tightened around August, holding her close to his hotter-than-normal frame. He felt her curves yielding to him, her back arching under his touch as she tried to press her whole body against his, chest, lips, stomach and hips. Her lips nuzzled at his shoulder and the vargr felt August's breath take on a faint ragged tempo, her legs tightening around him reflexively. For his part, Declan buried his face in her wet hair before kissing the beaded droplets of water from her cheek and the smooth skin of her neck.

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"We'd better stop." August managed, aware of her fear of being bitten again even through the haze of MSO-inspired lust. Maybe some light biting would be okay... After all, it was a sign of affection, of bonding, of claiming. Would it be so bad? And who said it had to be one way? She pressed her open mouth to Declan's shoulder and pressed her teeth lightly, ever so lightly against the tanned skin, feeling the vitality of him there, tasting him with her tongue. He growled, a deep sound of building lust, and the thrill of desire she felt spike through her whole being only gave a little ground to the sudden spike of fear that rose alongside it. She broke the embrace and looked into Declan's eyes, her legs still around him.

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Declan caught the cue and, with an effort, stopped the exploratory movements of his own hands, closing his eyes and taking several deep breaths. He still held her close, his head dropping so that his forehead rested against her shoulder.

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"Sorry." he murmured. "I wasn't gonna... But yeah. We should stop." He nuzzled her collarbone gently. "It gets pretty hard sometimes, ya know? Not to lose myself when... when yer close. But I'm watchin' myself too, frail. Not going to hurt you again." She felt his arms tighten a little. "Never gonna hurt you again."

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“I know,” she told him, resting her cheek against his hair. A traitorous voice in her head asked, Hw many times have you heard that before? She blocked out the question by force of will. Declan was not like her asshole ex-boyfriends. He was better than that, and a man—or whatever—worthy of her affection. As she stroked his wet hair and hugged him back, considering that so many would say she was with him because he was hot. It may have started as pure lust, but it wasn’t the case anymore. She’d gotten to know the werewolf and he was brave and noble—and dangerous. She knew that, and she had to accept it as part of him. They were never going to have the white picket fence and safe home, to grow old in together. That was the way things were going to have to be to be with him.

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Today, she was satisfied with that life.

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“Can you catch fish with your hands?” she asked, her tone easing the tense mood.

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“Maybe,” he said, lifting his head and meeting her gaze. “I bet I can catch them as a wolf. Ya want fish?”

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“I was thinking that maybe I should eat something you catch.” She gave him a sly grin. “I’m sure a big wolf like you wants to provide for his woman.”

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His grin became toothy and he bounced her in his arms lightly. “I thought you didn’t want Bambi or Thumper.”

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August flushed as she slid against his body, loving the press of his chest against her skin. Her voice was slightly breathless as she admitted, “I should try your lifestyle, right?”

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“I’d say yes, but you’re going to want me to try yours.” Under the water, his hand slipped down to cup her ass.

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That didn’t help her catch her breath, and she wiggled against him in sweet revenge. “You’re already trying mine. You live in the big city, you shop where I do and work at my campus. You are part of my world.”

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“Yer world now. But when you get a big Hollywood filming job, aren’t you going to get to go to big parties?” He was utterly serious and their minor one-upmanship games were forgotten. “Aren’t you supposed to bring a plus one? I’m going to need to fit into that life, to be part of your life, right?”

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August was dumbfounded. She literally hadn’t thought that far ahead to imagine what her future might hold in the Biz. “Dec… the odds of me making it that big, where I’m getting invited to red carpet parties are pretty small. It’s a tough business and I’m likely to end up doing small documentary jobs or filming indie stuff for a pittance.”

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“And if you do make it big, I have to fit in that world. To be part of yours.” His silver eyes were steady and his voice even. He’d really put some thought into this possibility.

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“Then you will.” August kissed him lightly. “I’ll help you when the time comes. Until then, I am the stranger in your strange land… and I think you should make me dinner.” This was probably a huge mistake on her part, but she was trying.

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"Okay." he said, carrying her out of the creek with his usual sure-footed ease and setting her down gently on the shore. He looked down into her eyes and smiled, but there was a serious note in his argent gaze now and - August was sure - a hint of nervousness too. He kissed her once more, then slowly stepped back out of her embrace, his hands trailing down her arms to her fingertips before he stepped completely away.

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"Remember." he told her, as grave as she'd ever seen him as he unfastened his trunks and let them fall before stepping out of them August struggled to focus on his words and manner and not... the obvious. "I'm not going to hurt you." August realised what was coming, which jolted her out of the carnal appraisal in time for her to brace herself. The last time had been in the dark, and there had been ghosts and the lingering haze of ether or chloroform. She hadn't really seen him, and could pass it off as kind of a dreamlike experience. This was broad daylight, in the woods, with sunlight dappling Declan's skin as he-

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...Changed...

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Bones lengthened, skin sprouted fur, handsome features lengthened and reshaped as his form flowed like water from one shape to the next. There wasn't contortion, crackling, horrible wet noises or screams of pain. It was like a whole-body-sigh, like Declan was letting out something he kept inside.

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Letting out Owns-The-Night.

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This is Dec too this is him too oh WOW! August's mantra against panic came to an abrupt halt as, in half the time it takes to tell it, Declan finished the change. The wolf was huge, as big as a pony. The tops of his shoulders were higher than the top of August's head, and his fur was shades of dark grey, darkening to black towards his head, tail and feet. His silver eyes were large and calm, and the thick black fur of his mane gleamed like a raven's wing. Dec wasn't some movie monster made flesh: he was Wolf incarnate.

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Owns-The-Night stood there in the sunlight, seemingly too real for the world, just watching her the way wolves in the wild watched: utterly still and waiting to see what she would do next.

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August’s brain shouted at her to run. She took two steps backwards, her feet slipped in the mud next to the creek. She almost fell, and like an animal sensing danger, the burst of adnerline making her want to run even more. Her eyes lowered, ready to sweep the ground looking to GTFO, when she saw Declan’s abandoned swim trunks. The clothing was a reminder that this was her boyfriend, not WOLF. Or rather her boywolf.

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“My boywolf,” she said aloud, trying out the word. Owns-The-Night started to give her a wolfy smile and stopped when he realized he was flashing teeth at her. “Or is that wolf-friend? I think that makes me sound like a character from a fantasy novel. August and the wolf-friends.” Owns-The-Night made a soft disagreeable sound. “Cheesy right. Oh, wait… the wolf-friends, right?” She grinned slyly at him. “No worries. You’re wolf enough for me.”

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This time he did show her teeth, but the lame banter had eased some of her fear. “So… can I p-er, touch you?” She got a grave nod, noting that his humor from before was already fading. Suddenly, she understood what Lise meant by him being too serious. He had a wolf’s body, this strong, powerful force of nature, and he killed and hunted with it. But he didn’t seem to play in it.

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August mulled over that problem while reaching a tentative hand out to touch his face. Her fingers brushed over the bridge of his nose, shivering at the touch of his fur. He tolerated it for a moment before twisting his face away with a soft growl. August pulled her hand back in a move that was as much flinch as movement. “Whoa, sorry. Was that the wrong place?”

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Owns-The-Night stretched out his head and August offered her hand, feeling a surge of fear. Owns-The-Night merely propped his chin on her hand and after a second, August got it. “Oh, right. Top of the nose is a dominance thing. Gotcha.” Carefully, she ran her fingers through the softer fur under his chin and down his neck. Silver eyes closed slightly as she gently scratched Owns-The-Night’s chin and neck.

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“I really like this,” she murmured after a moment as she stepped closer and her nails began to lightly rake the slopes of his shoulder. She was standing beside him now, with an arm looped under the curve of his neck. “It’s nice. But I’d rather do something else.” August pressed her face to his neck, nosing into the fur and breathing in his scent. For a moment, she just basked in the knowledge that this wild animal would never hurt her. She breathed in the thought until she believed it completely.

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Her belief gave her the courage to step back from him and back into the water. “Come in and swim, Big Bad Wolf. The water’s fine, and your girlfriend wants to play.” She held up her hands and crooked both forefingers at him in a come here gesture. “Came and get me…”

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God, she hoped she knew what she was doing…

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Wolf eyes (Declan's eyes, she thought to herself) regarded her curiously for a moment as he put his large head on one side, such an utterly canine expression of bemusement that she had to giggle.

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"Come on. Afraid of a little water?" she asked him coyly. Emboldened, she kicked out, sending a spray of water sparkling in the air and over the giant wolf. Declan growled at her, then tamped down his hind legs, ran a few step and leapt, soaring through the air to land with a heavy splash... right next to her. August shrieked in mock-fear and laughter as the wolf-spawned tidal wave staggered her, and splashed Declan again, wading away from him as a soup-plate sized paw swept a rainbow arch of water towards her.

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It was as epic a water-fight between girl and wolf as the world had ever seen. August's laughter filled the air as she floated on her back and kicked an unending barrage of water at the vargr's face. Declan plunged around the assault, sending up small sheets of water from his passage as he placed his nose firmly in the center of August's chest and pressed down, ducking her. Her hand came up and locked in his ruff, trying to pull him down too but succeeding mainly in pulling herself up as the vargr raised his shaggy head to avoid his own ducking.

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"Gotcha!" August crowed, her arms locking around the neck of the wolf, all fear of him forgotten in the moment as she put him in the best approximation of a headlock she could and tried to wrestle the great beast, laughing at the fun futility of it. "Can't splash me now!" she taunted, seconds before the wolf's muscles bunched and he half-leapt, half-dived into the deepest part of the creek, submerging them both and cutting off August's scream of surprise.

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August was spitting water as they surfaced, one arm hanging over Declan's neck as she wiped her hair from her face and cast him an accusing glare. Declan was laughing, or at least that was how it looked if she was any judge. He was doing that lupine grin with his tongue hanging out as he dog-paddled (wolf-paddled?) along with her in tow, and his silver eyes were definitely filled with laughter, she was certain.

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“You suck,” August informed the giant wolf paddling them along, once she’d cleared the water out of her throat. All that got her was a wolf-laugh and an even smugger look from the large silver eye. “It’s good for you that I like my men brawny and stronger than me.” She wiggled around until she was on Declan, laying across the broad furred expanse that was her boyfriend’s back.

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Her fingers tangled into his fur, rubbing gently at his shoulders. It was a comfortable moment; Declan ceased paddling except to make the occasional correction to their course. He floated along with half his head above water, looking like the nightmarish offspring of a wolf and an alligator. August explored his neck and shoulders, privately marveling at the engineering of his beast-form.

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“You know… this isn’t so bad.” August’s confession came out of the blue. “It’s feels silly that I was scared of you before… not scared, and not of you. But wary of the wolf-form, I guess. It’s you, right? Regardless of what you actually look like, it’s you deep inside. My big, protective boyfriend.” Declan didn’t need to look over his shoulder to see her smile; it was clear in her voice.

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The sound of his stomach growling was loud enough to be heard by wolf and human. “Wow, was that your stomach? Or rather your bottomless pit?” August giggled as Declan nodded. “Okay, I guess it’s time for lunch.” Declan paddled back to where they left their clothing, which August scooped up. “I’ll head back to camp; you bring home the bacon.” She blew him a kiss as the massive wolf rose from the water, only to screech when Declan shook the loose water from his coat. “Oh, god! Declan!” His lupine grin said he wasn’t sorry at all as he trotted off into the underbrush.

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Huffily, August went back to camp. She strung their clothing out to dry and exchanged her boots for flip flops. She pulled dry shorts on over her bikini bottoms but didn’t add a shirt. It was a warm enough day. Instead, she finished unloading the truck, grabbing the few last things they’d left in it and finished setting up camp. Then, she pulled out her Kindle, got comfortable on a log and started to pass the time with one of the Chantry’s books on ghosts.

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Maybe an hour went past though, engrossed in her reading, August only noticed when the changing position of the sun cast a beam through the trees across her legs. She glanced at the clock on her Kindle, then wondered what was taking so-

,,

*THUD* A large mass of something that had, from the looks of the blood on the hairy pelt, previously been alive landed in the clearing. August gave a little scream and jumped, then glowered at the big wolf as he came padding from the forest, his muzzle bloody but his tongue lolling out in what was fast-becoming her main indicator that her buttheaded boyfriend was experiencing lupine mirth.

,,

"Very funny. Har-har." she stuck her tongue out at him, then glanced at what had startled her. The vargr must have thrown it from cover, wanting to see how she'd react, so to recover some of her aplomb she tried to ignore the blood and peered closely at...

,,

"A pig." she blinked, recognising one of the wild razorbacks that were common enough in northern California. They were generally considered to be dangerous, and the subject of quite a few advisory warnings by state authorities. Of course, for a werewolf they weren't much of a test, she imagined. She looked at Dec-Wolf. "Are there more of them?" He nodded. "Close by?" He shook his head, then shrugged in a wolfy way before cleaning his muzzle off with his tongue and shifting back to human form.

,,

The shift back was less scary in a general sense, though still disquieting to watch. Fur shrank, muscle and bone reshaped, the muzzle disappeared, and in a matter of heartbeats the wolf was Declan again, wiping the last remnants of blood from his mouth and unconcernedly naked. He wandered barefoot over to the camping supplies, recovered a bottle of water and a large hunting knife, and moved back to the dead pig, taking a swallow of water to clean out his mouth. August made a mental note to not drink from the same bottle (and, in fact, to make sure Declan brushed his teeth before any August-related activities took place with his mouth. Yecch).

,,

"There's none too near. Had to travel a good thirty miles for this fella." Declan said as he squatted over the pig, setting the water down out of the way and grabbing a forehoof and hind hoof, then slinging the dead animal over his shoulders. "C'mon, I'll show you how to clean this sucker away from the camp. They're good eatin'."

,,

"Um, you're not going to put some pants on?" August asked. "Not that I mind, but..."

,,

"They'll just get bloody." Dec shrugged. "I'll wash off and dress later." He smiled lopsidedly at her as he turned to pad away from the campsite. "Consider it one of the joys of the great outdoors."

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August took a brief moment to consider what it would be like to have a house in the woods, where Dec could run around naked all the time. She had to admit, it was the best endorsement she’d ever heard for rural life. Realizing she was being left behind, August hurried after him, pushing a path into the underbrush.

,,

“Grab a pan,” Dec yelled back, and August detoured back to camp to get a shallow metal container. Then she was scampering back after him.

,,

Her boyfriend’s ass—because be honest, that’s where August’s eyes were, she hadn’t seen him naked often enough to not take the chance to oogle him—led her to a small clearing. August stopped at his side and casually gave him a jock’s swat across the ass. The vagyr started, blinking at her before giving a smoldering growl and leaning in, clearly for a kiss. “Eeek! Brush teeth first, please!” August begged, upending the pan between her lips and the lips that had just been covered in hog’s blood.

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“No blood-flavored kisses on the first date, got it,” Declan said, grinning. “The trick to pig,” Declan started in a lecture tone, “is not to worry about gutting it. All the meat you want is on the outside of the body cavity. Other animals, yeah, you’re gonna have to open them up. But pig is easier.”

,,

As Declan spoke, he started to expertly string up the carcass, and what followed as a fairly normal butchering. The skin was removed down to the head and then it was taken off and set aside. The front feet were next, followed by Declan pouring water over the body to clean any contaminants off. Two strips of meat came off the back on either side of the spine and Dec announced, “Tenderloin” as he dropped them into the pan August held The shoulders and front legs were next and were for pull pork, normally. “We’ll be making pulled pork tomorrow with the bar-bee-que sauce I brought.” The two hams on the back legs were cut away from the bone and added to the supply. With that, Dec stepped back, looking pleased. The process had been surprisingly fast and clean, with only a little blood.

,,

“There’s more on there,” August observed.

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“Yeah, but we don’t need it and it won’t go to waste out here.” Declan grinned and offered her the knife. “You’re welcome to get to it if you want.”

,,

“No, I trust you,” August said, just a shade too quickly. “So… back to camp?”

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“Yeah.” Dec lowered the pig’s body and left it with the hide for scavengers to enjoy. Together, the couple made the trek back to camp. “Now, I’m gonna brush my teeth and clean up, and you can start dinner.”

,,

“What? How?” August looked at him vaguely alarmed.

,,

“Thread the tenderloins on the skewers, then cut the hams into cookable chunks. The shoulders should go in the plastic bag in the cooler for tomorrow.” Declan showed her where it all was and then winked. “I’ve done all the work for dinner until now. Your turn.”

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“I’d have helped! If I was, you know, a furry killing machine or knew how to butcher,” the girl protested.

,,

“But you know how to cook, right?” Declan asked, will smiling.

,,

It was August’s turn to smirk. “In theory!” She paused for effect before adding sweetly, “You probably shouldn’t take too long, furry-dearest.”

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"Hey, as long as it's not burnt to a crisp, it'll do me." Declan shrugged, affecting insouciance. August grinned back.

,,

"I make no promises." She giggled as Declan stuck his tongue out at her, then trotted away to wash up, leaving her behind to get distracted by his bare ass disappearing into the bushes.

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The vargr trotted down the game trail, the thick soles of his feet not noticing sharp rocks, or thorns, or other inconveniences as he moved easily and quietly, pack dangling from one hand. It felt so good to be away from the stench and clamor and overwhelming tension of the city - that was why he tried to come up here once a month by himself. Having August along was different, somehow. Less like an escape, and more like... fun.

,,

Heh, Lise. I owe you a drink. And possibly that introduction to Lucien Hunt you wanted. Declan grinned to himself as he crouched by the stream and began to wash himself, rinsing off most of the blood in the cool water before breaking out the bar of herbal soap that was about the only thing he'd found that didn't make him sneeze and washing properly, scrubbing himself clean. A vigorous toothbrushing later, and the burly vargr towelled himself off, dressed in shorts and a tight tank-top, and headed back to the campsite.

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Mostly there, he paused and grinned to himself as an idea for mischief occurred to him, the vargr's sense of humor being somewhat... robust. Like the rest of him. He stripped off and set his clothes by a tree, then shifted into his lupine form and began to slink closer to the camp. He could hear the crackling of the fire and smell the cooking meat, a scent that made him salivate as he ghosted through the trees with a silent tread eerie in a creature his size. August was sitting near the fire, but not uncomfortably so in the heat, her attention mostly on the meat and partly on her Kindle as she waited for his return. The vargr drifted up behind the girl and judged the distance between her and the fire to make sure she wouldn't a] jump into it or b] throw her Kindle into it in fright. Moving in inches, then half-inches, the huge wolf reached out and placed his cold, healthy wet nose right on the back of poor August's neck.

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Move Two—Intensify his orgasm by placing two fingers an inch behind his balls and feeling for the dent (the perineum, a big pleasure trigger). For the last 30 seconds before he comes, massage the spot in a circular motion.
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Huh. August felt her eyebrows rise as she considered that idea. Maybe while giving a blow job? But what if that’s a ‘transform now’ button on werewolves? But how do I open up the topic? “Hey, Dec, can I poke your perineum?”

,, ,, ,,
Move Three—Tie two or three knots in a nylon stocking, and gently wrap it (don’t tie it) around the base of his penis so it’s snug but still has some give. The compression makes him even more sensitive, and the knots stimulate your clitoris as you move in girl-on-top.
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August started to giggle at the image of her trying to convince Declan to let her swathe his cock in a knotted nylon stocking. Turning the meat, she tried to imagine if that would even feel good for both of them. Oh, Cosmo, you have failed me. Maybe I should write in and ask them for sex tips related to werewolves. “Dear Cosmo… my boyfriend likes sex in his animal form. I don’t. Am I being a prude?”

,, ,, ,,
Move FourPut a small mirror out to the side, parallel to his body—
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Whatever they were going to do with the mirror remained unknown because something cold and wet touched August’s neck. Her shriek would have made any horror movie director piss himself with delight at the blood-curling howl of pure terror. The young medium threw her Kindle into the woods as she scrambled toward the fire and grabbed a small, burning log. She spun and pointed it at the threat—to see her furry boyfriend draping himself over the log and emitting the wolf version of rib-cracking laughter.

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“Oh, fuck you!” August shouted, throwing the log down into the fire and grabbing her chest. “I think I’m having a god damned heart attack!”

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Declan was suddenly human again; seeing the transition while he was laughing was bizarre. “Nah, you’re complaining too much to be dying,” he told her between laughs. He was still chuckling when he got up and brushed the pine needles off his skin. August started to turn away from staring before realizing, We’re dating, and he’s running around naked. I can stare if I want. So when the vargr looked up at her, August was looking at him like the last rib at a Southern barbeque. “So…” she asked softly. “Hungry yet?”

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He caught the stare, caught it and returned it as the hunger in August's gaze set a similar fire in his own belly... and lower. His body's reaction was immediate as it was unabashed, and August blushed slightly, but didn't look away.

,,

"Yeah." Declan said softly. "I'm hungry." There was a hint of a growl in his voice that sent thrills through her, but it wasn't scary to the green-eyed girl. Not at all.

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"I meant for food." August managed to say through the rushing sound in her ears.

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"I didn't." Declan said, gliding a step towards her. August took a step back, her eyes bright then turned, black hair flying, and ran.

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She didn't, at first, know why she was running. It wasn't from fear, that was for certain: Declan wouldn't hurt her, she was confident of it. She was running because Declan was chasing her, and he was chasing her because she was running. It was an old prelude to the oldest dance, the female testing the male, playing a game, being chased because she was desired, and wanted as a female.

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Modern society, with the mores, restrictions, and refinements of such, has a different version of this dance. But it is the same dance, all considered. August had pursued Declan almost from the first, by turns inviting his attention and focusing her attention on him. Whether playful, such as the first flirtatious eye contact on the UCLA grounds, or serious, such as when she had thrown her arms around him and begged him not to run from L.A... and her, she realised now that she had done a lot of chasing.

,,

Sometimes, it's just plain good to be chased in turn, chased by someone who cares about you, who desires you in that most positive and primal of ways.

,,

Declan was half a body-length behind her, admiring the way the woman ran, taking some small pride in having shown her how. She was running seriously, watching her footing, not looking behind her even though she couldn't hear him, tanned legs flashing in the evening sun as she stretched them out. He loped easily while watching August's ass and smelling her excitement. He'd catch her soon... before she got too out of breath.

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She knew that he was right behind her. August was too busy running to grin, but the feeling was there: Declan was chasing her. Some people would have been horrified by the spectacle the two made as the woman fled from the naked man, miles from the police. August didn’t care, because it was a game, not reality. They were having fun, just as Lise had recommended.

,,

The second she stepped into the clearing, August realized it was the perfect ambush spot. She jumped to the right as Declan made his move, and she caught sight of him as he recovered from missing her. He lunged at her again but her sudden course change left only her hair in his grasp, and he quickly opened his fingers so that he didn’t pull.

,,

He’ll have me soon, August thought as she tried to make it back to the cover (safety?) of the trees. That near-miss is going to make him more eag—

,,

His arms wrapped around her waist and lifted her off the ground. Thanks to Declan, August had a repertoire of counters to being grabbed like this, but a lot of them would have turned sexy-fun-times into painful-unsexy-times. So August crouched and put her weight against his arms, hoping to pop the hold he had on her.

,,

Declan’s response was simple; he put her on the ground and pinned her hands above her head. He was straddling her, his stiff cock hard against her belly as he leaned over her. For a moment, they stared at one another, his silver eyes locked on her green ones. When he kissed her, she moaned a little as she returned it ardently.

,,

Her blood was singing in her veins and thoughts of the last time were far away. Right now it was just the endorphins in her blood and her boyfriend holding her down and kissing her until her toes curled. Declan let go of her hands after a moment and cupped her breasts through the bikini top, kneading her nipples. August curled one arm around his shoulder, splaying her fingers wide across his well-muscled back. Her other hand wormed between their bodies to claim his cock.

,,

Declan groaned and kissed her as she gripped him firmly, both above and below. In answer, he arched his back so that she could keep her hand wrapped around him while he kissed and licked her bare stomach. August moaned and wiggled, alternating between aroused and ticklish based on where he was focusing his attention.

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The vargr shifted until he was between her legs and then lifted her up onto his lap. “Grass would be itchy on delicate parts,” he told her just before he claimed her mouth again for a heated kiss.

,,

“The tent?” August breathed when she had the chance to speak again. She slid her hand up and down his shaft, trying to make sure she got only an agreement from him. August was completely ready; her body felt like it was on fire, and she wasn’t worried about Declan’s mouth or what he might do with it. “Or, god… you could take me from behind, right here… fuck me in the grass and make me howl.” August kissed him as her fingers worked their magic on his cock.

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Declan's answer was a rumbling growl deep in his chest that caused August's abdomen to turn to molten liquid and her breath to come in a strained gasp, her heart leaping to a thrill that went way beyond fear. Her hand on his cock was too much for the werewolf, abstinent as he had been for at least a month. He didn't care about the tent, didn't care about the meat slowly cooking over the fire, didn't care about anything except the warm scent of August in his nostrils and the taste of her lips and skin on his tongue.

,,

He kissed his way down from her lips to her shoulder, opening his mouth against her skin and pressing his teeth there, just lightly, just enough to let her feel them. August moaned and wriggled herself closer, her free hand gripping the thick hair at the back of Dec's head and tugging his lips back up to hers.

,,

"Tent... or... here... you monster. Before I explode." she whispered harshly against his lips between kisses. "I want-" What she wanted was lost in a loud throaty moan as Dec, supporting her weight easily with one arm, unfastened the snap on her shorts and slid his fingers down under the thin material of the bikini briefs, finding the wet outer folds of August's sex and slipping a fingertip inside her. For a moment, she arched against him, her breath coming in short pants, then she struggled free of their embrace, planting her feet either side of Declan's thighs and standing, moving back and letting her eyes devour him. He was naked, her on-fire brain supplied. Naked was good. August quickly stripped off, throwing shorts and bikini parts to the various winds.

,,

This was where it had gone wrong before. When she'd been undressing, and Dec had come up behind her, working them both up to a fever pitch, and then he'd bitten her. Declan watched as she turned her back to him, saw the pale scar on her shoulder, saw August glance over that shoulder at him, green eyes wild with raw lust and invitation as she swayed her hips tantalisingly.

,,

"Guess no tent, then." Declan smiled at her. The brunette beauty smiled back and turned, stepping closer to him, sinking to straddle his legs again as her arms draped around his shoulders.

,,

"No tent." she affirmed with a naughty smile, kissing his lips, then his jawline, then his shoulder. This time, she bit him, but lightly, her teeth making small red marks as she heard his breath hiss. This time his hand firmly gripped her hair, bringing her face up to his, his silver eyes shining in the sunset as they gazed into her green ones. For a moment, Declan couldn't hear his own breathing, couldn't hear or smell or see anything except August as she shifted, her hand going around his length once more, lifting herself up a little to position them both... Declan licked his lips, suddenly aware again of his heart skipping a beat as the words emblazoned themselves on his forebrain in fiery letters. They were looking into each others eyes still when he spoke, his voice low and husky with desire and emotion, his heart in his argent gaze.

,,

"I love you."

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August barely registered the words at first; with her blood pounding and her skin on fire, hearing wasn’t her focus. But they did pierce her fog, exactly as she slid down onto his cock. Declan emitted something between a growl and a groan as the wet heat enveloped him completely. Somehow, they managed to keep the eye contact, and he saw the moment she understood.

,,

Big green eyes almost shone with the intensity of her passion as she whispered, “Oh, Dec. I love you, too.” She’d known that for a long time, and it was only her worries about their compatibility that kept her silent. She’d had a fear that wolf and woman were not supposed to mingle, not without pain and tears. Until now, that theory had been supported by events. Right here and now, naked in the woods and sheathing him inside her so intimately as words of love hung in the air, they seemed perfectly right.

,,

The heat and fire between them shifted subtly. It still burned hot, but there was something gentler in it, too. The declarations of love had stilled August’s hurried motions a bit and she was now moving with a mind to enjoy the moment and draw out this first encounter. The carnal and the emotional nature of their joining heightened the moment for her. Leaning forward, she kissed him, her hips rising a little as she did. She paused a moment with just his head in her entrance; then she lowered her body with tantalizing slowness. Dec made a taut noise in the back of his throat, even as his tongue danced over hers.

,,

August moaned as she broke the kiss and leaned back, enough to change the angle of his cock. “God, you feel so good fucking me,” she murmured as she did another slow slide of her hips. “I love feeling your cock inside me.”

,,

“You can have it whenever you want,” Declan promised. “You can have me whenever you want.” Her breasts were bouncing before his eyes and so he leaned forward and captured a nipple in his lips, suckling on the sensitive bud.

,,

“Ah! Oh… yes… And god do I want you. Love you, too,” she repeated, just to hear herself say it again. Her fingers played in his hair as he turned his attention to the other breast. Realizing that his hands were busy holding her, she slipped a hand downward, between their bodies. Her fingers found and began to stimulate her clit, driving her toward an orgasm they’d both enjoy.

,,

The sun drifted lower as the couple lost themselves in each other. They didn’t mind the fading light or that they were exposed to anyone who might be wandering around the area. Their worlds became only each other and their love, the feel of their bodies and the joy of giving pleasure to their lover. Kissing, touching, fucking: it was all part of the wonder of the moment.

,,

Declan had started to roll his hips up as much as he could; she felt too good not to try to go deeper. On one of these thrusts, August’s head fell back and she shouted wordlessly. Declan could feel her inner walls clench and throb about his cock. “Oh, god,” August cried as she sagged against him for a moment, “oh fuck me!”

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As if the moaned request wasn't enough, August's hands tightening in his hair as she tried to anchor herself was an imperative in itself. Declan gently leaned forwards, lowering his lover to the grass, only for her to squirm and giggle interestingly around his cock as leaves brushed sensitive areas.

"Wait!" she gasped as she slowly lifted herself free of him, then turned onto her hands and knees. "Like this." she told him, reaching back and grasping his slick shaft as Declan moved in behind her. It felt right to both of them, appropriate to the backdrop of their lovemaking, fitting in so many ways. She felt strong hands taking hold of her waist and hips as the head of him brushed her and bit her lower lip as he slowly pushed in, giving an inarticulate murmur of pleasure.

,,

Declan leaned over her body as he sank deep inside and kissed along the line of August's throat, his breath a hot counterpoint to the cooling breeze. She turned her head and their lips met as her hips rolled back against him with insistent urgency. "Fuck me?" she demanded as much as asked. "Oh god, Declan! Don't wait anymore!"

,,

He began to thrust then, long and slow, his hands anchoring her so there was no escaping the push of his manhood. He gazed along the line of August's back as her hips worked in tandem with his, watching the way her long dark hair flowed as she let her head hang forward, hearing the sounds of pleasure she made rise in short, sharp keening noises as he picked up the pace. The pale scar where he'd bitten her showed against her tanned skin, and he leaned over again and kissed it gently before flicking his tongue over the white mark. August moaned throatily and arched her back before looked over one shoulder at him, green eyes large and wild as they met his burning silver gaze.

,,

"More." she insisted, not capable of putting more words into the demand. She felt incredible around his cock, drawing Declan in with every roll of her hips, and the vargr could feel his own reserve, his fear that he would hurt her again, fading under the siren song of their mutual love and lust. He gripped her hips tighter and began to thrust harder and faster, rolling his hips with every forward motion while the rhythm sped up as though he couldn't get deep enough into her heated wet sex.

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August’s wanton moans filled his ears as Declan thrust into her with gentle relentlessness. She rocked her hips back to meet his pushes, trying to draw him deeper and deeper into her body. This was perfect, despite the uneven ground digging into her palms and knees or the mosquitoes she could hear buzzing around her. Their lovemaking drowned out the sensations of the rest of the world, reducing her perceptions to lust, love and need.

,,

Inside her sex, her body tensed and relaxed around Dec’s cock in rhythmic motion, driving the vargr closer and closer to his climax. August could almost feel his rising tension as his body tightened with greater and greater need. He gripped her harder and pulled her back more firmly, his fingers almost bruising. She opened her mouth to tell him, to get him to ease a touch, when he released a strangled cry and gave his cock one final plunge. She felt his shaft throb and shudder inside her body, leaving her moaning with her own delight.

,,

Declan leaned lightly over her after a moment, his lips kissing her back and shoulders. When August turned her head to look at him, he kissed her lips gently. As he slipped from her body, she slowly lifted her upper body; Declan helped her until she kneeling in the grass, his front pressed to her back. “You’re wonderful,” she told him. “I love you.”

,,

He grinned at her, an expression of delight at her words. “I love you, too. Betcha didn’t think I’d say it first.”

,,

“No, I really didn’t.” She moved around until she was facing him. “I’m glad you did, though.”

,,

“Me, too.” He pulled her in for another kiss, his hands running over her body. “We should get back to the tent though. You’re getting eaten.”

,,

August blinked; his words made her aware of the red welts and small itchy spots on her body. “Ugh, yes! I packed some citronella candles—”

,,

“Yeah, I smelled them. And dinner should be ready too.” Declan rose to his feet and helped her up. Together they gathered her clothing and headed back for camp. In the darkness, August found herself staggering and stumbling, even with his help. After her third near-trip, he picked her up in his arms and carried her the rest of the way.

,,

They may have gotten distracted a bit when August started to kiss him again.

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