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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Never Ever Gone by Wendi Zwaduk

“Valentine’s Day. What a joke.”

Megan Black crossed her ankles on the worn coffee table and stared at the commercial advertising chocolates on the television. Her cat, Lion, strolled up next to her and butted her hand with his furry head.

“Just another reason for women to blubber and men to spend money. Propaganda masked as advertising.” Without looking away from the screen, she scratched his ears. “You’ll be my Valentine, won’t you, Lion?”

“Always have been.”

Megan crooked a brow and sat still.

Who the hell?

When she looked around, the emptiness of her house reminded her just how lonely she felt. Maybe being alone finally got the best of her and made her hear voices.

The law drama she’d been watching came back on and she pushed the mystery voice in the back of her mind. She resumed scratching the cat, this time under his chin. “You know, that sounded an awful lot like Ryan.” Her voice came out a bit hoarse as she punched the buttons on the remote to change shows. “He can’t talk to me. He’s dead.”

“Not quite.”

The words shimmered along her spine. Ryan could be blunt when he wanted to get a point across—but he wasn’t there. Couldn’t be. So why did she smell his brand of cologne in the air? Yes, he possessed special powers, but no one—not even cat shifters—cheated death. Did they?

As she blinked back tears, she slapped the couch cushion and stood. “You can’t talk to me.” Her shoulders slumped when her gaze landed on their wedding picture sitting on top of the television stand. Why fight the feelings in her heart? She caressed his image behind the glass. “I miss you so much. Why’d you leave me?”

“I couldn’t exactly rise from the dead. People would talk.” Warm hands gripped her shoulders. “Turn around, baby.”

Her breath caught in her throat. She battled the urge to succumb to the dream. Ryan couldn’t be real. She saw him die. When she closed her eyes, she swore his arms wrapped around her.

“Ryan.”

“I’m here, babe.”

Megan whirled around and gasped. Her gaze ran the length of his sculpted body. Ryan Black, her husband, stood before her, very much real—and very naked. After a few moments, she found her voice. “But how? I saw you. I watched them take you—” A cry ripped from her throat. “I b—”

He silenced her with a kiss. His warmth seeped into her bones. She twined her arms around his neck, clawing to get closer and fearful he’d vanish like a dream. His cock, long and thick, prodded her lower belly.

“I shifted.”

“And you’re naked. Not that I’m complaining.” She stared at him through moist eyes. “The bullet ripped through your stomach. How did you survive?”

“It put a cramp in my style for a while.” He kissed her again, almost as if to renew himself with her touch. “Don’t forget, I have nine—well now eight, lives."

She dropped her head to his chest. Realization washed through her. “You shifted to your cat to heal.”

His hands sifted through her hair. “I couldn’t walk away from the only woman I love.”

“Ryan.”

“It was risky, but I knew the EMTs. I slipped off after I was supposed to be on ice.” He cupped her jaw and smoothed his thumbs over her cheeks. “I couldn’t leave you. As your cat, I could be with you and protect you.”

“Lion.”

“He was, well, no he is me.” A growl rumbled low in his throat. “Do you know how hard it is to resist the urge to shift each time you plopped me on your lap in front of the television? How much I longed to hold you and tell you things would be all right.”

“You never showed me your cat.” She placed her palm over his heart. “Why now? It’s been a year. Why Valentine’s Day?”

“First chance I got for more than a few moments.”

“It’s been a long year.”

“Let me make up for it.”

Ignoring the noisy television, Ryan scooped Megan into his arms and carried her to their bedroom. His kisses rained down on her face. “You know you’re beautiful when you sleep.” With great care, he placed her on the bed and unbuttoned her jeans.

“You watched me sleep?”

“I shifted a couple of times in the middle of the night just so I could hold you.”

“Then it was real.” Her eyes widened. “I dreamt of your body next to mine. We made love, so slow and tender. I wanted you so much and woke up crying.”

“No more tears, my love. I need you.” He slipped her T-shirt up over her head and tossed the soft fabric across the room. “And I want this to be real.” Her hair fluttered down around her shoulders as he flicked open the front clasp on her bra, allowing her breasts freedom. “You’re so beautiful, babe.”

“Never leave me.”

“I couldn’t if I tried.”

As he drew deep on her nipple, he worked her jeans and panties past her hips. She raked her fingers through the silken strands of his hair. “Ryan.” The love in her heart bubbled and grew for the man at her feet.

With a fluid motion, he scooped her into his arms and pinned her against the bed. He entered her tight canal with one thrust, joining their bodies, hearts, and souls. Her lips parted and her eyes closed. “Oh, Ryan.”

“Goddess, yes, babe.” His hair slipped forward and a bead of sweat built on his brow. “I want to make this last, but I don’t know if I can. You feel too damn good.”

Her inner muscles clenched tight around him. As he built a rhythm, she cried out his name. His cock pulsed within her, connecting them on a primal level. Each thrust mended the wounded parts of her soul.

He came back to me.

The climax shuddered through her body. Ryan threw his head back and cried out her name. When he slumped forward, he rested on his forearms and nipped her throat. “I love you, Megan.”

“Happy Valentine’s day, my cat.”

“And I intend to celebrate with you all night long.”

About the author: Thanks for enjoying this work by Wendi Zwaduk. By day she’s a SAHM of one son, two dogs, and two cats, but at night she lets her inner muse run wild and writes tales of love won, lost, and won again. If she’s not at her computer, she can be found at her local dirt tracks cheering for the Late Model cars or haunting the local library in search of new authors. Her first novel comes out in early 2010 from the Wild Rose Press. Check out her blog http://www.wendizwaduk.blogspot.com and website www.wendizwaduk.com

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