The splintering of wood did little to ease my temper. That the bed immediately started to repair itself only enraged me further.
Another night wasted. Instead of the reward I’d sought, I’d received mockery for my efforts.
I hefted the wardrobe and threw it onto the splintered remains of the bed. Letting loose a roar, I searched for something else to destroy. Before I could find a target, the crow flew in through the open window. I growled at the intrusion, but listed to its report with a cocked ear.
Intruders at the gate. Two boys and a girl.
Damn village children and their curiosity. Come to stare at the beast. My skin tingled as my hackles rose. Storming from the room, I left my cursed prison and took off toward the front of the estate, pulling on the magic to darken the area near the gate. With a thought, I opened paths before me and raced through the trees. The many years of my enchantment had taught me much. Stealth had been the second lesson.
“This is what you get, Benella,” a voice said in the distance.
I slowed and hid myself in mist and darkness, creeping forward until I saw the gate.
The crow was a blind idiot. Two boys were racing away from the gate, free from my estate. The third, a lad in britches and a threadbare shirt, remained locked inside. He clutched the bar tightly. My gaze fell onto the long dark braid that lay just over the strap of lad’s shoulder bag.
Not a lad. A girl. Females used to represent a bright entertainment. No longer. All they did was weep and beg. Except for the hag, who cackled with twisted humor.
The girl looked up at the top of the gates, giving me a glimpse of a soft profile. Her pale skin contrasted with her dark hair, and her small pert nose only drew more attention to her generous lips. I hardened at the sight, and my fury increased as she continued to study the gate. Females were good for one thing. Fucking. Having been robbed of that option, I had no use for her.
I resented her beauty and her freedom.
My lips curled back as I stood on my back legs and left my hiding place. The birds quieted as I came to stand behind the girl. She stiffened, noting the change around us. She knew. I waited for her hysterics. None came.
She dropped her head so it touched the gate. I leaned in and inhaled deeply, smelling soap and a light sweat. How long had it been since I’d smelled something so sweet? My exhale moved her hair.
In the distance her companions still laughed. She, however, only loosened her grip on the bars and let her hands drop to her side, remaining unexpectedly calm for one caught trespassing.
Gripping her firmly, I tossed her over my protective wall while commanding the vines on the other side to catch her.
I hoped, for her sake, she never returned.
The crow warned me she was back. Yet, when I prowled the border, it wasn’t just her that I heard. Had she thought since I spared her once that she might bring a companion to take from me that which was mine? The girl would feel my anger this time.
Outside the wall, the pair made a goodly amount of noise as they raced through the trees toward the gate. I kept pace with them willing the gate open, a dare for them to enter. Pulling the mist around me, I waited and watched the gate. The girl dashed through, and I slammed the gate closed.
She spun to face her partner. He didn’t speak, only stared at her with a growing smile. Did he think her safe? Did he think I would fall for her pretty face?
I stepped from the bramble and approached her. The boy’s eyes widened when he saw my mist. He backed away then ran. The girl didn’t move other than letting her head fall forward.
“I’m sorry,” she said softly.
I studied the back of her torn shirt and the blood seeping from a ragged scrape. The scent of it teased me. I stepped closer, inhaling. How long had I been a beast? Longer than I’d been a man. Yet, the scent of her blood wasn’t making my stomach rumble as it did with a fresh kill. No, the scent of her blood brought a small measure of seldom felt pity.
Without thinking of the consequences, I licked her wound. She hissed in pain and made to move away. A growl from me stopped her. Continuing, I licked the wound several times, letting my enchanted saliva heal her.
As soon as new skin covered the wound, I used the magic of the estate to create a soft pile of hay just over the wall. Then I tossed her.
Turning away from the gates, I wandered the estate. The taste of her clung to my tongue, and I could think of little else but her soft skin. My cock remained uncomfortably hard, and I took a moment to stand on my back legs to rub it. I imagined her hand on me and growled in frustration. Her hand would never willingly touch me. Only one hand touched me now. The thought of Rose’s wrinkled hands withered my shaft.
With a grunt, I fell to all fours and began walking once again. Perhaps, if I were lucky, the girl would be back.
Coming soon! (or eventually!)