Reclaimed By The Pack
“Jessica…” Grady’s hand intertwining with mine brings me back to the here and now.
I blink, bringing my vision into focus. My cheeks are damp and my heart sore. I swab roughly at my eyes and shake my head. Colt is staring at me in concern, and Landen has shifted to look at me, too.
“I’m fine,” I lie.
Colt frowns. “Jess—”
“I’m fine. Just. Hormonal.” It’s my go-to excuse, and I hate that I have to keep using it.
I hate feeling like this.
These final few weeks of my pregnancy should be filled with happiness and excitement—and they are. But pangs of melancholy keep hitting me, stealing my joy and reminding me of all I’ve lost.
I feel like there’s a hole inside me I can’t remember how to fill. There’s something missing, and it doesn’t matter how many times I sweep this sense of absence under the rug.
It returns, again and again. Tonight it’s a scene in a movie, yesterday it was a picture in a freaking ad. Who knows what tomorrow’s crying jag will be.
Grady squeezes my hand, and my eyes sting.
He can see through my misdirections. He can tell that I’m hurting, and he only wants to help. Landen and Colt echo that same lost, helpless worry.
My ribs go tight as I glance between them.
I know that I should share my feelings with my mates, but the source of my unhappiness only makes it harder to confess.
We said it when we mated: our pasts are behind us. Our futures lie ahead.
I don’t want my history to be weighing me down. I don’t want them to ever for a moment think their love isn’t enough.
Their love is everything.
That they’re doubting it for the shortest fraction of a second is too much.
“Come here,” I say, pulling Grady closer.
Not for the first time, I curse my current lack of mobility. Grady doesn’t let me struggle, though. He shifts, helping me to sit up straighter. Leaning in, he cups my face and searches my gaze.
I shut my eyes and tug him down. When our lips meet, the kiss tastes like all the quiet secrets kept between us. His devotion and his concern mix and mingle with my desperate instinct to protect him from these pangs of loss.
If I can just get through these last few weeks, it’ll all be fine. Once we have these babies in our arms, none of my wistfulness will matter. We’ll be a family, a pack. What I’ve left behind won’t haunt me the way it does right now.
I swear to God, I’d never use sex as a distraction. But the parts of me that want to deflect and change the subject are in perfect agreement with the parts of me that go hot and needy at my alpha’s probing kiss.
Opening for him, I run my fingers through his hair, then down his neck and over the muscles of his chest. I keep going, lower and lower, until I’m teasing at the waistband of his jeans.
“Jessica…” The way he says my name is half lust and half warning.
I shake my head. “Come on, please…”
This isn’t out of character. I’ve been insatiable these past few weeks. Late pregnancy is a time for back aches and constant trips to the bathroom.