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The Quite Giant's Mate Part 2

Updated: Jun 7, 2023

Chapter 12 - Regina

As happy as I am to know he never had sex with Zelma, I’m still pissed at that bitch. How dare she give him a complex about his size. To make him think no one could or would want or be able to handle him. Just because she’s a weak little bitch doesn’t mean the rest of us are. She wasn’t made to be with him, so it’s for the best that she couldn’t handle him. That doesn’t mean I won’t smack her or at least give her the evil eye if I find myself in Silverclaw visiting Isis.

‘Worry about his ex and the complex she gave him later. Focus on our mate and get him past this obstacle between us and the ride of our lives!’ Gioia encouraged.

I know she’s right. We are totally on the same page. Before the sun rises, Ivan will understand that nothing about him could scare me away. I know it will probably take longer to get him past his issues. There is no magical way to erase self-confidence issues. Not even the mate bond has that kind of power. But I will spend every day fighting to shut down any of that self-doubt for the rest of our lives.

That first step was bearing my desire to be with him. I put it all on the table. I won’t back down unless he rejects me. Because I want him, I want all of him. I could only hope he wanted me too. I know his wolf does, but that’s only half the equation. Ivan needs to want this for it to work.

I held my breath as the silence of my mate left me terrified. When I thought he would tell me this wouldn’t work, he kissed me… hard. His hand gripped the back of my head, thick fingers digging into my hair to hold me in place. I gasped in surprise, and he took my parted lips as an invitation, his tongue delving into my mouth with a growl. I melted into the kiss with a whimper of pleasure as his other hand trailed down the open back of my dress.

This wasn’t like when we were kissing in the ballroom. It was more intense, hungry, passionate, all-consuming, everything. My body seemed to be acting of its own accord. My hips rolled against him, and my core pulsed in desire as I felt his dick harden through his pants. My fingers started to desperately button his shirt, needing and wanting to touch him.

I knew he was a muscular man, but knowing something is always different from experiencing it. He growled my name as he pulled back for air, it was similar to earlier, but it was the way Gioia and I had wanted to hear it. It was a growl of desire, and I’d be a liar if I said it didn’t turn me on more. Not just the growl but the reason for the growl. To know my fingers tracing his muscles elicited that growl that I was the reason. That I create and control the desire of this giant.

I leaned back just enough to look at his chest as I helped him out of the shirt. The delicate fabric was tossed aside without care to give me a full view of the ripples of muscles. Again, knowing is so different from seeing and touching.

I smiled, biting my bottom lip as I traced the muscles with my eyes, eager to touch them. My smile faltered when I saw a distinct discoloration, a scar that only came from exposure to silver wrapped around his neck.

I leaned up to look closer. I hadn’t seen it before because of the shirt’s collar, but now that I could see it, I wanted to look closer. He froze when I gently touched the scarred skin. I knew what it was from as I saw how perfectly it formed a circle around his neck. It was from the collar he’d had to wear in the Incubi prison. This scar is the fault of my pack, family, and the people I love most. I gasped softly, unable to stop the sniffle as I held back tears at his suffering.

“It doesn’t hurt,” Ivan assured me as if he knew what I would ask.

“But…” I protested, leaning back to look at his face.

I let what I was going to say fall to the wayside. We may not be fully bonded, so I can’t hear his thoughts, and his expression may not be easily read, but his eyes said so much. He doesn’t care about his scars. He thinks he deserves them for his part in the war. And he doesn’t hold my people responsible for taking the measures they took to restrain him.

I’ve already committed myself to showing and proving to this man that he deserves more happiness and love than he believes. Why can’t he forgive himself if he can forgive that and my people and family? That’s a question for another time. So in place of words, I kissed his neck along the scar. No amount of intent of my power could erase them, but I want him to know they don’t scare me.

“Regina…” That deep growl rumbled through his chest as his hands tightened on my hips.

I smiled against his skin and kissed lower, rolling my hips against him, letting his hands guide and control their speed. As my lips kissed down his left arm, my hands explored his body. So, I knew before my lips reached his wrist that he had scars from his silver cuffs. I kissed over the wounds on his wrists.

“You don’t scare me, Ivan. I accept you exactly as you are.” I whispered as I placed a final kiss on his wrist.

I can’t fully place the emotions in his dark brown eyes. I want to think that relief, joy, and maybe love was in the mix of emotions. Time to get this evening back on track to mating, or at least I hope that’s where we were going. Seeing his scars changed nothing me. I still want him. I want him, imperfections and all.

Gathering my confidence, I guided his hands back to my waist, to the zipper at the small of my back that kept the dress secure. He must have understood as he unzipped the dress, all while looking into my eyes, making the moment even more sensual. I smiled at the confusion on his face as I slipped out of his lap. I answered his silent question as I slipped my arms out of the dress, the dress slipping off to pool around my feet.

I’ve been naked around people before, but that’s when I’ve shifted and therefore was never anything sexual. Sure, Valter and other unmated males looked longer than they should have, but I always quickly dressed, and if I didn’t, they looked away with a silent command from my Zio Alec or Papa. Bearing myself to Ivan was different. I wasn’t getting ready to shift to my wolf. I want him to see me, to see all of me.

Despite my blush, I held my head high, standing in only gold thongs and heels. There was power in this. So much power as I watched his eyes darken while they slowly took in my body. I watched his fingers twitch on his thighs, itching to touch me. I watched the outline of his cock twitch and become more defined, itching to be inside me. I clenched my thighs, hoping to contain the pooling wetness I knew had soaked my thong.

“No bra.” Ivan’s deep voice broke slightly as his eyes focused on my breasts.

I’m not built like Zoe. I don’t have her C-cup breasts. I have curves and wide hips, but when it came to my chest, I was built like our mother. I accepted that I’m an A cup. It has its downsides, like being teased as flat-chested. But it has its upsides too. I can go without a bra, whereas someone with larger breasts can’t, as they need support.

“Bras are torture devices made by man and a waste of my money and time,” I answered.

“Ivan…” I licked my lips.

At the call of his name, his eyes went from my breasts to my face. I shivered, goosebumps and a blush covering my skin under his gaze. His full attention like this turned me on almost as much as when he’d been kissing and touching me. And that’s what I want, what I need. I need him to touch me before I lose my mind.

“Touch me, please.” I hated how vulnerable I sounded and how desperate and needy my words were.

If there is anyone in this world I should and could be vulnerable with and not feel shame about, it should be Ivan. He is my mate. He’s the other half of my soul. It would be like saying I couldn’t be vulnerable with myself if I can’t be vulnerable with him. I wasn’t sure what would happen, and the anticipation was killing me. My knees felt weak in anticipation of him touching me. A million options crossed my mind. Each illicit thought more delicious than the last turned me on.

I gasped as he did none of what my gutter mind was thinking. Without a word, I was swept off my feet, literally, and held bridal style in his muscular arms. I didn’t get a chance to ask what he was doing. His lips were on mine, and I couldn’t be bothered to question anything, let alone think. I was so consumed by the kiss I didn’t realize he was carrying me somewhere until my ass touched the bedding.

I pulled back from the kiss as he laid me down, and I realized we were in the master bedroom of the suite. Looking through the sheer curtains of the massive ivory and gold ornate bed, I saw candles strategically placed around the room, giving a soft romantic glow to the opulent space. Purple rose petals scattered across the white duvet, a few clinging to my bare skin. While my cousin said no one was supposed to use it, it was certainly prepared as if someone was.


It’s the only answer. Somehow between when he realized I was Ivan’s mate and Nicolao gave us the key to this suite, my cousin set this all up. I don’t know if I should be annoyed or thankful. Perhaps a bit of both at his presumptions we would be having sex. I’m leaning more toward being thankful because he wanted to ensure my first time, our first time, had some level of romance to it.

Ivan either didn’t notice or didn’t care about our surroundings because he said nothing as he lay on the bed beside me. I moaned into our kiss and shivered in desire as his rough hand went from holding my face to slowly moving down my body. The closer his hand got to my breasts, the faster my heartbeat. I gasped as he rolled my nipple with his fingers.

I was left panting as he kissed my jaw and down my neck. His hand continued teasing my breast, every touch sending pleasure to my core. When his teeth scraped across the hollow of my neck, I moaned his name.

“Ivan…” I cried out, my body arching into his touch. “I want more… touch me more.” I pleaded.

His answer was a growl against my neck as his hand slid down my belly, ripped my thong’s thin band, and tossed it aside. Okay, that was HOT! I threw my head back as I cried out, my hips arching as he ran his index finger across my entrance and swirled the wetness that was already there over my clit.

He has some seriously good instincts for someone who said he’d never done this, or I’m just ultra-sensitive because of the mate bond. I don’t care, so long as he keeps touching me. I moaned his name loudly as his mouth found my breast and his tongue swirled around my pebbled nipple.

Chapter 13 - Ivan

I didn’t think anything could be sexier or a bigger turn-on than her words and acceptance. I was wrong. Regina Petridis, practically naked, begging me to touch her, is the sexiest thing I’ve seen or heard. I knew if I touched her, I wouldn’t be able to stop. I’d stop if she told me to, but that should be a given. I saw how her legs trembled and decided to take this to the bedroom.

I shouldn’t have been surprised to see the master bedroom was redecorated with an over-the-top opulence only Alpha André would dream up. It was very different from what had been in this room before. The massive room felt smaller with the oversized ornate white and gold canopy bed with matching nightstands, dresser, and vanity. The most I can say is that the bed is bigger and would hold up to me being in it and the activity I have in mind.

I assume that Alpha André set this whole thing up. It’s the only explanation for all the candles lit up the room and the purple petals on the bed. I’m not sure how I feel that my Alpha went to this extreme to have a room prepared for us. But then I reminded myself he didn’t do this for me. He did this for Regina. She is his cousin. Of course, he’d go to extremes to give her a night to remember. Hopefully, I won't disappoint her.

‘We won’t. I keep telling you. She was made for us. So don’t be a pessimist. Focus on pleasuring her so that when it comes time, her body is as ready as her mind.’ Cain insisted, and maybe some of his optimism rubbed off on me.

I know I told her I wasn’t with Zelma the way she thought, but I meant that I didn’t have sex with her. Sad to admit that while I got the short end of the intimacy stick, I got Zelma off plenty by other means. It was a very disproportionate relationship when I think about it. She got far more about it than I ever did. I am relieved she wasn’t my mate and that we never had sex. I don’t want to know how far Regina went with that little shithead. Once I’m done with her, she won’t even remember this name let alone his touch.

Everything about Regina is like a drug. Her lips leave me drunk. Her cries of pleasure as I touched her had me addicted, needing more. I don’t think I’ll ever get enough of her. Her reactions were so real. Nothing was staged in her cries and how her body responded to my touch. And certainly nothing fake in how wet her pussy was, and I’d barely touched her.

She’s perfect. Everything about her is perfect. I love how her breasts are the perfect mouthful. I know some males like larger breasts, but I prefer hers. I’d probably say that if they were larger, too, since it’s Regina. I sucked on her breast and carefully slipped my index finger into her slick heat. Her body arched, and her moan of my name filled the air was music to my ears.

I know my fingers are thick. One of my fingers is probably as wide as two of hers. And while there was a little resistance to the size, her body quickly adjusted. Her juices dripped down my finger as her body ensured she could handle what I was giving. This may work.

“I…Iv…Ivan…” Regina moaned my name as her body quivered in time with the pulsing of her pussy as she came on my finger.

I would give her time to recover before considering doing more, but my mate had other ideas. Her hand trailed down my arm to the hand still between her legs. I arched an eyebrow as she looked at me with hooded eyes and said something I didn’t expect.

“Don’t stop. I want more.” Her needy plea was punctuated by taking control of my hand to instruct me to add a second finger.

Even blushing at her bold actions, and even after just having had an orgasm, Regina was confident in not only asking for but taking what she wanted. And I won’t suggest she can’t or shouldn’t be so eager already. She knows her body better than I do, so I worked my middle finger inside. Her breath hitched as her body adjusted to fit both fingers, but she didn’t try to tell me to stop.

As optimistic as I wanted to be, there was still that tiny pessimistic voice telling me that while she might be getting off tonight, I’ll end up jerking off alone. Instead, she pulled my face closer and kissed me as her hips tentatively rolled against my fingers, testing the waters. I let my fingers follow her lead, finding a rhythm she could take as I swallowed her cries of pleasure.

“Ivan…” Regina moaned as she pulled back from the kiss.

“I need more. I want… I want all of you.” She licked her lips as her hand slid down my chest, but given our height difference, she couldn’t quite reach my belt.

“Are you sure?” I asked, fingers still moving inside her.

Her eyes slid close in pleasure, her head falling back as her lips parted in another moan as she rode out another orgasm. Watching Regina come undone is the most beautiful thing. I’m surprised I haven’t come just from watching her get off.

As she slowly came down from her orgasm, her eyes opened. Those blue eyes shone in the soft light of the candle. She took a moment, catching her breath before she spoke.

“You. Naked. Inside me. Now.” She commanded.

‘OBEY HER!’ Cain demanded as if I had any other intention.

She sounded sure of her choice, and she’s already had two orgasms and could hand two fingers, so I must trust that she could handle more. She whimpered as I took my fingers back. The whimper wasn’t of pain but at the loss. Her eyes held my gaze as I intentionally licked my fingers clean.

Fuck she tasted good. I considered how annoyed she’d be if I opted to go down on her instead of following her command.

‘We can do that later. If you put off mating and marking her any longer, I will lose my shit with you.’ Cain threatened.

I snickered as I slid off the bed. My wolf and mate both had the same reaction as if my movement was in some way to escape the situation. Cain growled at me while Regina tried to chase me to the edge of the bed. She stopped when she realized I was taking off the rest of my clothes. My lips twitched with a smile as her heated gaze focused on my crotch in anticipation.

I wasn’t surprised by the gasp when I dropped my slacks and underwear. I know that typically, penis size has several factors, and in werewolves ranked, wolves tend to be bigger, but Alpha blood is usually the largest. Which I’m sure is a factor in my size. There is Alpha blood in the Furlan line. My grandmother had been the daughter of a Greek Alpha. And my mother was the youngest daughter of a Russian Darkmoon Alpha.

I waited for the inevitable ‘that’s too big’ or something along those lines to fall from her lips. I shouldn’t have been so pessimistic. Regina moved closer and, with both hands, reached out and stroked my cock, bringing it to her lips and licking the tip. I moaned and instinctively held her head by the hair.

I was between making her stop and seeing if she could take more when she chose. She couldn’t take it all. I don’t know if anyone could. But she took more than I thought she could and did that tongue twirl and suck move that tightened my balls while her hand stroked what she couldn’t fit. She needs to stop, or I’m blowing my load in her mouth.

I gripped her hair, making her stop as I forced myself to take a step back. Her eyes were wide as she looked up at me in confusion and concern. Shit, I don’t want her to think she did something wrong.

“If you continued… I’d lose it,” I groaned.

“Then lay down, and let’s see if I need climbing gear to ride that mountain.” She smirked, worries faded as she knelt on the edge of the bed and beckoned me closer.

I rolled my eyes at her taunting and carefully tackled her to the bed, rolling us so I ended up on my back. I understand why she’d want to be on top. It’s probably going to be easier for her to be in control of how much of me she takes. And it’s less likely for me to miscalculate a thrust. She giggled when we hit the bed. That giggle quickly became a moan as she held her hips and positioned her so her slick pussy rubbed against my hard-on.

That devious smile was on her lips as she rubbed herself over my length. I groaned as she teased me, my tip brushing against her entrance before she slid back down, coating me with her juices. I wanted to take control and impale her on my dick, but I didn’t. I wouldn’t do that to her. When I was about to lose my mind, I grabbed her hips harder to make her stop.

“I’m close too.” Regina moaned as she repositioned.

I clenched my jaw and watched in awe as this perfect creature that I’m still not sure I’m worthy of having lowered herself on my length. I wasn’t sure how much she’d take, but Regina likes proving she should never be underestimated. And it took her a few shallow thrusts, taking more of my dick each time, before she took all of me.

“Fuck…” I growled at the feeling of fully being inside her.

“Fuck….” Regina echoed as she started moving.

I let her set the pace, moving my hips to match and holding hers to try and help her. I hissed as she clawed at my chest each time she took me in fully. Our pace started slow, but soon, eagerness gave way, and she started to move faster. I knew I was close, and given how her pussy fluttered around my dick, she wasn’t far either.

‘Now. We need to mark her now.’ Cain insisted.

As if she knew what I was thinking, she moved her hair to put her neck on display. “Ivan… please… mark me.” She moaned as she bared her neck to me.

Who would turn away that offer? Certainly not me. Everything instinct told me to mark her, make her mine, and be marked by her. That pessimistic voice was muzzled and thrown into a bottomless pit. I sat up and nuzzled into her neck, licking the spot I planned to mark. She stilled as I sank my teeth in.

I could already feel the half-bond start to link her to me. I could feel the emotions rolling through her body—the ecstasy, joy, relief, desire, and then the tiny amount of pain and worry. I licked the blood from her neck as I rocked up into her, using my hold on her hips to keep her moving.

“Your turn,” I said as I offered my neck.

There was no hesitation as she bit my neck, claiming me as hers forever. As our bond was completed, the power surge sent us both over the edge. As we both orgasm, we exchanged slightly sloppy kisses and moaned in pleasure. As the wave of pleasure slowly faded, she slumped against my chest.

We didn’t speak. We didn’t need to. We were catching our breaths as I gently moved us to lay on our side, slipping out of her in the movement. I watched her blissful expression as I pushed some hair from her face.

“Told you that you wouldn’t break me.” She smiled and kissed me.

I chuckled softly as she snuggled into my embrace. I sighed as I realized she’d fallen asleep. I may not have broken her, but I certainly wore her out. I don’t know what I did to deserve her, but I’ll try to prove to myself and others that I am.

I carefully dislodged myself from her embrace, removed her heels, blew out the candles, and then returned to bed. She sought me out in her sleep as she snuggled back into my arms. I let myself fall asleep, content with her in my arms.

Chapter 14 - Regina

‘My nose itches. I want to itch it so badly.’ A deep voice grumbled in my head. It sounded like they were far away or something.

‘You’ll wake her up.’ An equally deep voice answered.

I twitched my nose, trying to place the voices. Neither belonged to Gioia. Was someone in the room? No, they didn’t sound like André or Darren, and if Valter had the nerve to come into the gist suit at the villa after last night, I’d stone him.

Last night!

As it all clicked, I heard Gioia laugh, and then a masculine laugh joined her. I didn’t go back to André’s villa last night. I went upstairs to the alpha suite with Ivan. The memory of last night hit me in vivid detail. I remembered stripping in the sitting room, him carrying me to the bed, coming twice on his fingers, sucking his dick, riding that monster dick… my pussy pulsed at that memory, and marking each other.

I opened my eyes and realized I wasn’t on the mattress. I vaguely remember falling asleep and snuggling against Ivan. So how did I end up on him? I know I’m a bed hog, but that doesn’t explain how I went from lying next to him to being on top of him.

‘Please move. Your hair is tickling my nose.’ Ivan’s voice entered my mind.

I blinked and sat up suddenly. Gioia laughed as Ivan itched his nose once I was out of the way. She laughed even more when my half-awake self realized I was straddling him and something was poking my ass.

‘Two guess what that is, but you’ll only need one.’ Gioia snickered.

“Sorry. I wasn’t trying to wake you.” Ivan apologized as he stopped itching his nose, his meaty hand absently moved to rest on my thigh.

‘You were bound to wake her up one way or the other. Either because you couldn’t resist itching your nose or wanting to wipe the drool off your chest. I hoped she’d notice your growing problem and offer to help you.’ His wolf, Cain, snorted.

I blinked, embarrassed, as I wiped my mouth and looked at Ivan’s chest. He’s right. I drooled on him in my sleep. I not only somehow ended up on top of him, but I drooled on him. I want to die of embarrassment, and I’ve only been awake for a few minutes.

‘Cain, do us all a favor and shut up.’ Ivan grumbled.

‘You’re making her embarrassed, dumbass.’ He sighed.

“Ignore Cain.” He sighed.

“I’ll get a tissue or something to wipe that up.” I offered.

I had hoped to extradite myself from this embarrassing first morning as a mated couple. But it’s like I can’t escape it. When I tried to move my ass back up into his cock. I yelped as the tip pressed on my ass, and I don’t know if I liked it or was freaked out by it. Either way, the idea of something that big back there was enough to make my ass clench in a ‘NO.’

“Ignore that too.” Ivan blushed.

“I am so sorry.” I covered my face with both hands.

This is not how I pictured my first morning as a mated female going. I’d imagined something cuter, sweeter, basically anything but this debacle of embarrassment.

“You don’t need to apologize,” Ivan assured me as he brought my hands down.

“We are both embarrassed.” He assured me. “And we can blame Cain.” He added his lips, twitching into a faint smile.

‘How is any of this my fault?’ Cain questioned.

‘I didn’t roll in our sleep bringing her with us. It wasn’t my nose that was itchy. Who cared that she was drooling? It’s cute. And I have zero control over your dick unless I’m in control. And morning wood is called that for a reason.’ Cain huffed.

‘It isn’t your fault, Cain. Humans are just like that. Regina usually lays herself across the whole bed and always drools.’ Gioia assured him.

‘Gioia, do me a favor and shut up.’ I grumbled.

As I carefully moved off Ivan’s chest, I plopped not so gracefully on the bed, making pieces of the squished purple rose petals float into the air. I sighed and shook my head. How much more can I embarrass myself this morning?

“This is not how I pictured our first day together starting.” I sighed as I pinched the bridge of my nose.

“Maybe not, but we won’t forget it. And maybe we will laugh like our wolves.” Ivan calmly shrugged as he sat up.

“Maybe.” I sighed. “I am sorry I drooled on you. Gioia was messing around. I don’t usually drool.”

‘Sure, she doesn’t.’ Gioia rolled her eyes. ‘Maybe not always, just when she’s been exhausted.’ She finally conceded.

“Did you want to use the bathroom first?” Ivan distracted me with a change of subject.

“Oh, um, you can go first.” I nodded to what I thought was the door to the bathroom.

“Okay, thanks.” Ivan nodded.

He paused before getting out of bed as if he had forgotten something. I arched my brow at his hesitation and was pleasantly surprised when he turned back and kissed me. Sure, it was a quick kiss, but he did kiss me before getting out of bed. I smiled at the small gesture as I watched him walk naked to a different door, ducking under the doorframe.

I fell back on the bed with a grin, grabbing the pillow to muffle my squeal. I know it’s probably a little pathetic I squealed over a morning kiss. But this is Ivan. Last night he had a list of reasons we shouldn’t be together. So, I will take him, thinking he should kiss me before leaving the bed as a win. That while the sex and the marking could maybe have been written off as the pull of the bond and lust. But he made the conscious choice to kiss me.

‘Feel how happy something as little as kissing her made our mate?’ I heard Cain’s commentary.

‘We aren’t not having a conversation while I’m in the bathroom.’ Ivan grumbled.

‘How about when we can hear you?’ Gioia chuckled, reminding them of our newfound connection.

‘Leave them alone, Gioia.’ I sighed as I climbed out of the bed.

The bathroom door opened as I ventured to the sitting room for my dress. I quickly turned to see Ivan in all his naked glory. The morning wood was gone, so, obviously, he was flaccid, but he was still bigger than most I’ve seen. Now he was facing me, and I couldn’t help it as my eyes drifted lower. Watching him go into the bathroom gave me quite an enjoyable sight.

‘If you keep looking, it won’t stay flaccid long.’ Cain taunted.

‘Shut up, Cain.’ Ivan scolded as he grabbed his underwear from the floor.

“Is your wolf always like that?” I asked, resisting the urge to hide myself.

I kept reminding myself that this was my mate. I didn’t need to hide my nudity from him. Not like I had much I could cover up with anyways. I only had the thong and my gown. The thong was ruined last night, and I still needed to get my dress from the sitting room.

“Only with you.” Ivan shrugged while putting on his slacks.

Now I started to feel awkward standing her naked. Why did he have to get dressed so quickly? Probably because he didn’t get naked until we were in the bedroom.

“Oh. I guess that’s a good thing. I’m going to put my dress on.” I pointed over my shoulder to the sitting room.

“Go use the bathroom. I’ll get the door.” Ivan pointed to the bathroom.

I furrowed my brow. Get the door? What was he talking about? I jumped when I heard a heavy knock. He knew someone was coming? How did I not sense someone? Probably because it’s someone from Madonie, and they probably warned him they were coming. That’s probably why he was in a hurry to get dressed.

“Okay.” I nodded and hurried into the bathroom.

I pressed my ear to the door and listened. I heard Ivan’s heavy footsteps and the door opening. Then there was a familiar laugh. I groaned as I knew who was at the door… André.

“Gooood morning, new cousin.” André cheerfully greeted Ivan. “The Petridis mark looks good on you.”

Our mark! I hadn’t even noticed. I was a bit occupied with being embarrassed. I went to the vanity, looked in the mirror, and smiled as I touched the familiar phoenix mark on my neck. I guess Beta blood meant we got my family’s mark. I hope he doesn’t mind that it’s not the Furlan mark. Amelia and Stephen have the mark mixed with Stephen’s family cherry blossom.

“Alpha,” Ivan grunted.

“Where is my cousin? Don’t tell me you wore her out so much she’s STILL in bed.” André asked, laughing. “Actually, do tell me that. I want to know that you showed my baby cousin a good time.”

“Regina is in the bathroom,” Ivan answered.

“Well, don’t let me keep you from shower sex. While I don’t know if the shower here is big enough for you, there is a shower seat that should nullify the height difference.” My cousin laughed.

“Fine, don’t tell me about your sexcapades. I’ll have to get the deets from her later.” André sighed after Ivan remained silent too long.

“I wanted to bring her a change of clothes. Amelia sent you some of your clothes too. We wouldn’t want you to leave in your party clothes like some walk of shame. Because there’s no shame in mating.” He said.

“Thank you, Alpha,” Ivan said.

“You don’t have to call me Alpha anymore. You’re a future Incubi Beta and family now.” André sighed. “You’ll have to work on loosening up. In this family, we keep it casual. Including the subject of sex. Speaking of sex.”

I could feel Ivan getting uncomfortable and anxious for André to leave. I sighed, grabbed a robe, and came out, hoping to try and ease Ivan’s emotions and get my cousin out the door.

“There she is.” André teased. “I love the wild night, just rolled out of bed hair.”

“André, thank you for bringing us clothes. But you should go so we can get dressed.” I suggested.

“I will. I just wanted to make sure everything went okay last night. It was a little short notice when I told Nicolao to prepare the room for a romantic night.” He smiled.

“I hope you didn’t mind that I took liberties to pick purple roses for their symbolism of love at first sight. Did you find the lube and box of magnum condoms? Did they fit? No reactions to the lube? Not everyone likes the warming sensation of that brand but trust me, it’s better than cold lube.” André rambled while Ivan and I shared the same concerned look.

“What condoms?” Ivan stupidly asked.

I say stupidly because you NEVER admit something like that to André. I grimaced and covered my face. André had to lean on the couch because he was laughing so hard.

“Oh…oh, this is priceless.” He held his hand up as he tried to stop laughing.

“You didn’t find them. Oh, the pitfalls of hetero mating.” He shook his head, turning slightly red from his laughter.

“I look forward to meeting my new baby cousin. Zio Damon and Zia Izzy will be thrilled to welcome their first grandbaby from their baby.” André waved a hand, still laughing as he left the suite.

I could live to be a hundred, and I shall never live down the embarrassment of this morning. André will NEVER let us forget that he gave us condoms, and we never found them.

My hand quickly went to my abdomen as a serious realization hit me. We didn’t use protection. I never got on birth control.

I didn’t think I needed to since I was saving myself for my mate and knew I’d want a family. I looked up at Ivan, and he looked at my hand over my stomach. I knew he had the same thought. What are the odds he got me pregnant our first time?

Chapter 15 - Ivan

Because a visit from André any other day of the week wouldn’t be bad enough, he had to show up during an awkward first morning with my mate. And he had to go on about being family now, and I think I suppressed my shudder well. Nothing personal, but the idea of being related, even in spirit, to the D’Amore family is unsettling. Then he mentioned condoms, which I didn’t see last night, and laughed at us while he walked out.

‘We were too occupied to look for condoms. Plus, Regina was rather insistent on not delaying.’ Cain shrugged while I stared at her stomach as if, miraculously, I would know if she was pregnant.

I know pregnancy doesn’t happen overnight, but I also know that once is all it can take. How unlucky would that make us? Though would it be unlucky? We are mates, and while we still need to work out logistics, most couples want a family.

My sister wanted a family and has struggled with her fertility issues. I am a terrible brother, mate, and person for even thinking it would be unlucky for us to have a pup so quickly. I don’t even know how Regina feels about having a family. Let alone how she would feel about one with me. And no, I don’t just mean because of the stigma I bring. Furlan babies are historically large, and my mate is… well, a pixie.

“Excuse me, but did Cain just imply I’m at fault for us not using a condom?” Regina questioned with her hands on her hips.

“No. Making excuses for our negligence.” I explained.

‘I’m sorry, pixie. I didn’t mean it that way.’ Cain apologized.

‘That’ll teach you to keep your mouth shut, Cain.’ I sighed.

“Apology accepted. Now then, I’m going to shower” Regina smiled as she dropped her robe.

“Are you joining me?” She casually asked as she glanced over her shoulder on her way to the bathroom.

I shouldn’t admit that I stood there dumbstruck at how quickly she dismissed the implications her cousin left on and segway it to shower sex. Either she didn’t see the need to fret long over the possibility, or this was her way of avoiding the subject. I’m unsure if either is healthy, but I agree it would be pointless to worry too much time.

‘Stop standing here like a statue, dumbass. Find those condoms and go after our mate!’ Cain yelled at me.

I could hear Regina and her wolf giggle in my head as I started checking the nightstands for condoms. I don’t know how they got knocked down there unless whoever put them on the nightstand bumped them when hurrying to leave before we would get here. I sighed and shook my head as I found the box on the floor in the space between the nightstand and the bed. I had to lift the nightstand to retrieve the package.

Cain can be as hopeful as he wants. I’ll continue to have reservations about what is possible within the shower space. I set the box on the sink counter closest to the walk-in shower. My eyes were fixated on Regina already inside, with water spraying across her body from the various shower heads. Sure, the shower was fancy and meant to give a remarkable shower…to someone at least two feet shorter than me. Regina smiled as she turned to look at me.

“You’ll have to get naked if you want to join me. Or do you mean to be a voyeur and watch me?” She teased, running her hands over her body sensually.

“Can’t fit.” I gestured at the height of the shower.

The room gave me just enough room to stand, slouching a little, but I could still stand. The shower had a lower header, probably to hold all the pipes needed for the overhead shower heads. Either way, I’d have to lean in an uncomfortable position to shower. I prefer my shower at home. I had to customize it to have a nine-foot ceiling to give me space.

“Maybe if you plan to stand.” Regina shrugged and gestured to the tiled bench. “You can sit on that as my cousin suggested.”

“Want a tip?” I arched my brow, folding my arms.

“I want more than the tip.” Regina giggled, blushing at her sexual innuendo.

“Not what I meant.” I sighed and rubbed my hand over my face.

I had almost forgotten who her siblings were. While I’ve had limited interactions with either, I know well enough that both, especially Zoe, are bluntly vocal about intimacy. And I don’t mind innuendos or a well-timed sex joke. I also should have seen that joke coming.

“Sorry. I’m not usually that brash about sexual things. I’m going to blame Gioia.” She apologized.

“It’s fine,” I assured her. “I walked into that joke.”

“What did you want to tell me?” She smiled.

“Mentioning family is not a turn-on,” I explained.

“Noted. But is this?” Regina arched her brow as her hand slid down between her legs, making a show of her fingering herself.

‘Clothed or not, get the hell in that shower!’ Cain insisted.

I clenched my jaw. Because, of course, that’s a damn turn-on. Regina was naked with water running down her body, looking at me with hooded eyes, touching herself. I think that would turn on any heterosexual male. Not that any other male should ever or will ever get to see my mate touching herself in the shower. I’d kill them.

I was already removing my clothes as Regina masturbated. Headroom be damned. I had to duck to get into the shower and sit on the bench. Once I was seated, I pulled Regina to my lap. Regina’s soft giggle came out as a moan as I replaced her fingers with one of mine. It was even easier than last night to slip a second finger in and send her over the edge.

Watching Regina come is officially my new favorite pastime. The way her eyes didn’t fully close, the soft parting of her pink lips as she moaned my name, her body quivered as the sensation surged through her, and how her nails dug into me as she used me for balance. All of it makes for the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. I could easily become addicted to her calling my name like that.

“Wow…” Regina gasped as she climbed fully into my lap and kissed me.

“I think it’s your turn.” She smiled against my lips as her hands wandered down my body.

Each touch had a ripple effect sending shivers of pleasure through my body. I know it’s the mate bond, but I don’t care. I can’t imagine feeling this way with anyone else. Even if I tried right now, I couldn’t conjure up another woman in my mind and feel aroused.

Before the war, I sometimes daydreamed about my mate and what being together would be like. Never in those daydreams was Zelma, whom I pictured, even before I knew we weren’t mates. Like Lia, Zelma was like many she-wolves who wanted to be with a ranked wolf. I didn’t want a mate like that. I wanted a mate who would want me for me, not for my rank.

After the war, I stopped. I held no hope of having a mate. I didn’t think I deserved one. I wouldn’t dare dream of a life with someone because it would mean putting the stigma of what I’d done on her. I still don’t know if I deserve Regina. I’m certain most people will say I don’t.

However, I don’t fucking care. I don’t care if I deserve her or not. She’s mine, and I’ll fight anyone that tries to say otherwise, even if that includes her family. Especially if that family is Alexander, I’d be more than happy to put his self-healing to the test if he speaks against our mating.

These are all random thoughts that I didn’t start having until well after our shower. If you call it a shower. I don’t think either of us truly got ‘clean.’ After I made her cum, Regina braved giving me a blow job. She still couldn’t fit it all in her mouth, but damn, did she try. A+ scoring for her determination and effort.

When she decides to do something, she goes all in. She was rather pleased with herself that she made me cum before I could stop her this time. We didn’t use the condoms that Cain insisted I bring into the shower. Maybe if she hadn’t made me cum we could have used one, but I will need at least fifteen minutes before my dick will stir again.

“You think a lot more than you speak. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. People need to learn to think more and speak less. But I’m just wondering, why do you speak so little?” Regina questioned as she brushed out her hair.

I shrugged and returned to brushing my teeth. I don’t have an answer for her. That’s just how I’ve always been. An American president once said to speak softly and carry a big stick. I speak softly, and each limb is a big stick in this metaphor.

“Well, I won’t argue with that analogy. My jaw is sore from your big stick.” Regina giggled and shook her head.

I coughed, nearly choking on the toothpaste. I had to rush to spit it out before I looked at her. It’s her wolf. I can tell because her eyes are glowing. At least that explains the rather sharp turn into gutterville Regina went.

“See, that’s the difference between us.” Gioia grinned, running a finger down my arm. “I swallowed.” Her wink contrasted with the blush in Regina’s cheeks.

“Gioia, stop. Give her back.” I sighed, folding my arms as I waited for them to switch.

“I am sooo sorry about her. She’s always been a bit of a forward wolf, but never like this. But of course, she’d never speak, let alone feel that way about anyone who wasn’t you.” Regina hurried to apologize.

“It’s fine. She and Cain will get along. Scarily but well.” I nodded.

“Speaking of them, we should probably go for a run today. They’ll want to meet. We could run to André’s villa. He only brought me this….” She gestured at her fluffy white knee-length sweater dress. “I still have a whole overnight bag of my things in the guest suite. Also, my car is there.”

Cain was all about her suggestion. It’s different from having a mind link. He was very eager to meet Gioia. He wants to see and touch her fur. And if he had his way, he’d also want to mate her.

“Ok.” I agreed. “You’ll probably need to go home soon. I need to return home too.”

“Ivan, you make it sound like we will go to separate places.” She sighed, taking my hand.

“We’re mates. Which means we will live together.” She smiled and kissed my hand.

“We just have to discuss the details of where that will be. I still live with my parents, which will need to change. And as Beta heir to Incubi, we must live there.” She shrugged.

“Not that I’m suggesting you give up your winery and vineyard. It’s your business, and you should still be allowed to run it. But we will need to have our primary residence in Incubi.” She hurried to recover, worried she had offended me.

“I know,” I assured her and kissed her forehead. “We can talk about logistics later. Cain wants to meet Gioia.”

“Ok, let’s grab our things and go.” Regina smiled. “Oh, and let’s not forget these.” She grinned as she grabbed the box of condoms.

Chapter 16 - Regina

I’m either going to die from embarrassment thanks to Gioia and her lack of a filter or pleasure because, wow, even with his fingers, Ivan makes me feel things I didn’t think were possible. I’ve been exposed to stories of my sister’s and cousins’ sexcapades. So it’s not like I’m a stranger to kinks of all kinds. I didn’t realize I’d be the sort to get off on him watching me get off. Though I don’t think my fingers could or will ever get me off half as well as he does.

Thankfully I didn’t have to hear about Alexander’s conquests. The only time I heard about one was my birthday, and it disgusted me, disgusted me even more when he showed up at my party with the bitch, and she announced they were together. Liar…er Lia is damn lucky I hadn’t gotten my wolf yet. If I had, she’d never have been a problem. My mama and sister held back because they are Betas. I’m only an heir, so it’s no skin off my back if I stoned that trash.

‘Will you stop thinking about that dumb bitch? She’s not in the picture. Your brother wised up to her bullshit. And honestly, he owes our mate a thank you for outing the scum she is.’ Gioia scoffed as I hurried to keep up with Ivan’s strides.

‘Alexander owes him more than that. Which reminds me, I will be calling him and giving him hell for not delivering that notarized document to Ivan.’ I grumbled.

‘You don’t think that bitch could have had anything to do with that, do you?’ Gioia questioned.

‘I doubt it. Alexander wasn’t involved with her back then. But maybe. Who knows how long that vulture had been circling my stupid brother.’ I sighed.

“Since he became Beta,” Ivan stated as he held the door open for me.

I blinked and then blushed, remembering he probably heard everything Gioia and I were saying. I wouldn’t want our bond to mean I can’t surprise him. I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to having someone else in my head like that. I’ll have to learn how to control my thoughts.

“You sound so sure.” I frowned as it sank in that he meant Lia had been after my brother from the beginning.

“Knew her and her type,” Ivan said as he led the way to the edge of the gardens.

“And that means?” I arched my brow as he crossed into the forest.

“Power hungry.” Ivan shrugged. “She was Gastone’s mate. For three weeks, even unmarked, boastful about it.”

“So, she was his mate? Why was she never marked?” I furrowed my brow.

“The war,” Ivan explained.

“Oh. But then why did she want my brother? Shouldn’t she and her wolf be furious with Incubi? With Darren, especially for killing Gastone?” I asked as we started to undress and put our clothes in the bags with our party clothes.

“That would imply love.” Ivan scoffed as he wadded his black shirt into the bag.

Fuck me. He is distractingly gorgeous. I don’t think I’ll ever not be distracted when he takes his clothes off—all those muscles. I squeezed my thighs in a failed effort to control my reaction to this attraction. I’m sure he noticed, given the almost missable smile on his lips as he continued to strip.

‘Keep looking at us like a meal, and Gioia won’t be the only one getting fucked in the woods.’ Cain taunted.

I rolled my eyes and forced myself to look away as I slipped out of my sweater dress. I didn’t have to look at him to know he was watching me. And the deep groan told me he appreciated that I wasn’t wearing a bra again. I honestly don’t wear them unless I have to. Two can play that game.

“Anyway. Are you saying she didn’t care about Gastone even though they were mates? It’s not unheard of, but I find it hard to believe that even her wolf wouldn’t hold a vendetta.” I rationalized, shaking my head as I neatly put my dress and cheeky underwear into my bag.

I smirked as I turned around to find Ivan staring at me, pants unzipped but still on like he got distracted. I laughed softly and walked closer. I felt powerful as I heard his breath hitch when I gripped the waistband of his jeans. I looked up and held his gaze as I slid his jeans and underwear down, the fabric making a soft thud in the grass.

“Perhaps we should shift so you’ll be less distracted and more apt at answering my questions,” I suggested, kissing his chest before stepping away.

‘Tease.’ Cain grumbled.

“Oh, just wait till you meet Gioia. Then you’ll know a true tease.” I scoffed and tossed my hair, letting Gioia take control, leaping forward to land on her paws.

She shook out her chocolate brown fur before glancing over her shoulder in time to see Ivan shift. As expected, Cain is massive, certainly larger than an average werewolf or any gamma I’ve seen. Cain is on par with Zio Chesed’s size, and his fur is dark. Of course, there are differences. Cain’s eyes are gold, and the hair around his paws is visibly thinner.

‘Because Ivan has scars from the silver shackles, Cain’s fur reflects it. His neck is probably the same, but the rest of his fur hides it better.’ Gioia sighed sadly.

Gioia didn’t hesitate as she walked directly up to him, licked the scarred skin on his front paw, rubbed her muzzle against his neck, and licked there too. She was right to assume his neck would have a ring of thin fur to match the scar on Ivan’s neck. A low rumble emanated from Cain as he growled, approving her affection. As Cain went to return the affection, Gioia jumped just out of reach.

‘I told you she was the tease.’ I laughed as she scooped up my bag with her muzzle and ran.

‘I don’t mind a chase. But when I catch you, Gioia, it’s our turn to mate.’ Cain promised.

I’m unsure how I feel about that illicit promise, but Gioia liked the prospect. I know I can’t speak against it. They are mates too, and should get to express that as they see fit. I know I will need a distraction when that’s happening.

‘I don’t think any human spirit ever wants to be truly present when their wolves are mating.’ Ivan agreed with me.

‘Then distract me from what they are going to do.’ I suggested.

‘Why would Lia have wanted my brother? Shouldn’t you have hated him as he was in the position her mate should’ve been? Wouldn’t she hold a grudge against everyone, especially Darren, for her mate’s death?’ I asked.

‘I do not know how her mind works. I know she was like Zelma. She only wanted a mate with power. Genuine affection didn’t matter.’ Ivan explained.

‘That’s disgusting.’ I grimaced.

‘There were many like that in Incubi. Bitches chased after my Zio in hopes he’d someday conceded to take a chosen mate. He’d rather die alone than make a bond with anyone not fated to him.’ I scoffed, thinking of the revolving door of pack skanks that offered themselves to my Zio before Crista came into his life.

‘Agreed. And before she knew she was mates with Gastone, Lia had her sights on Ignazio.’ Ivan explained.

‘Now THAT is gross!’ I exclaimed with a shudder at the idea that anyone would willingly touch Icky Iggy.

‘Fair. As for your brother, I can’t say when she targeted him. I just assumed it was from the start as the only single ranked male. I wasn’t surprised by her tactics, only that she thought she could get away with it.’ He said.

‘It was foolish of her to think she could escape it. My brother may be a fool, but he’s not that bad.’ I sighed.

‘Which, I’m far from a friend to your brother. I do not believe what happened regarding my release from house arrest is his fault. I don’t think he would have acted in malice even if he didn’t like me.’ Ivan sighed.

‘But then what could have happened? Why wouldn’t he have given you the letter?’ I frowned, trying to think of any other reason.

‘He did give me an envelope, and I opened it after he left. It was blank. It was sealed so he wouldn’t know its contents without breaking it. So, the blame wouldn’t be on him. Ivan said.

‘Oh, my Goddess! Someone switched the envelope! Who could have or would have done such a thing?’ I pondered.

‘Anyone that works at the pack house. I’ve told you before, Regina, I am not well-liked. I am a war criminal that people see as the last remnants of Ignazio’s rebellion that should be snuffed out. Only for my sister’s sake do people at most feign politeness.’ He sounded so indifferent.

‘Well, that will not stand. I will if my cousin doesn’t get to the bottom of this. And I can promise you this, whoever swapped that official document will spend eternity in stone.’ I vowed.

‘That is unnecessary. You cannot take justice into your own hands. Alpha André would give any punishment as it is his pack. Promise you will leave it to your cousin.’ Ivan rationalized.

‘Fine. I don’t take justice into my own hands. But if my cousin asks for punishment suggestions, I’m not keeping quiet.’ I conceded.

‘I suppose that is the most I can ask for.’ Ivan sighed. ‘And at least our conversation has kept us from acknowledging that Cain just fucked Gioia.’

‘And there you go bursting the bubble and reminding me of that. I’d been successfully ignoring the sounds of them going at it and the feelings that seeped through from her.’ I rolled my eyes.

‘Oh, bite me. We had to backseat it twice while you two were intimate.’ Gioia snorted.

‘We only had sex once.’ I pointed out.

‘Yeah, and then he fingered you in the shower, and you blew him.’ Cain pointed out.

‘Cain shut up.’ Ivan sighed. ‘And give me back control. I can see the Alpha villa up ahead.’

‘Time to swap places, Gioia. You had your fun.’ I agreed.

With some grumbling, Gioia let me take back control before we got too close to the villa. Once in control, we both shifted back and got dressed. I smiled as I slipped my hand into his and led the way to the guest wing of the villa.

My smile faltered momentarily when Valter walked out onto the veranda with two cups of coffee, one he was drinking.

“Welcome back, Regina.” He greeted me with a smile and then frowned at Ivan. “I see you brought him with you.”

“He’s my mate, Valter. Where I go, he goes, and vice versa.” I rolled my eyes.

“And don’t act surprised. You knew he was with me. Not just because last night you knew he was my mate. But you went out of your way to make coffee for me but neglected Ivan despite your ability to perceive who’s nearby.” I shook my head as I went to lead Ivan around Valter.

“Regina, I say this as your friend.” Valter sighed as he set the cups on a table.

“Think of our people. Think of how they will feel if you bring him to our pack.” He said, reaching for my wrist to try and stop me.

His hand didn’t connect as it was engulfed by Ivan’s and bent backward sharply. Ivan growled as his eyes flashed gold. I arched my eyebrow, letting this play out as Valter faltered under the pressure and had to take a knee.

“No.” Ivan snorted as he let Valter go.

The force of Ivan letting him go caused my childhood friend to fall on his ass, clutching his broken wrist. I should feel something about that. Empathy or something similar for Valter’s pain. But all I can think is that he deserved it.

Chapter 17 - Ivan

I haven’t raised my hand or acted violently in over five years. I haven’t behaved violently since the night I attacked the Oscurità e Luce Coven which resulted in my capture. My heart wasn’t in that fight. I’m a big guy, and people will assume I’m violent. I know that for many, it would be hard to believe. My mama used to joke that they should have named me Ferdinand.

Yet when Valter greeted us, I wanted to punch him through the glass doors he walked out of. Who the hell does he think he is? Walking out here to bring MY mate coffee and being dismissive of my presence? I get it. He’s bummed she found her mate. However, Regina told me they broke things off two years ago when they weren’t mates.

That’s two years to have focused on finding his mate and forgetting any romantic inclinations or attraction to Regina. He’s not even tried to move forward with his life and accept that he would never have her. Over the last two years, how much harassment has she dealt with because of this delusional douchebag? That made me angry. The idea that he’s been harassing her and behaving like this had me seeing red.

Then he reached to stop her from walking away. And I was angry for the first time in a long time. I didn’t think. I reacted. Maybe I should feel bad as the asshole whimpered on the terrace holding his broken wrist. Yeah, no. I don’t feel bad. Regina doesn’t feel bad, so I won’t.

“Re...” Valter started to speak, but I snarled, and he quickly shut his mouth.

I didn’t care what he was going to say. It was going to be bullshit. He was going to try and get empathy or sympathy from her. He wants her to see him as the victim and me as the aggressor. I can feel Regina’s feelings, and that’s not how she sees things. She sees him as the aggressor and that I protected her.

“I suggest you keep your mouth shut, Valter.” Regina shook her head.

“He is my mate. When you are rude or dismissive of him, you are being rude and dismissive to me and the Goddess.” Regina was not going to let Valter weasel out of any of this. “And I know you were raised to respect the Goddess and the mate bond.”

“And when I say mate, I mean it.” She tugged at the collar of her sweater dress to show the phoenix on her neck.

“So, you have two choices. First, you apologize for your behavior. And that apology isn’t just to me. You need to apologize to Ivan.” She outlined.

“And the second choice?” Valter asked.

Regina glanced up at me, and without a word, I knew what his second option was. He wouldn’t like it. However, Cain and I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing it through. Something about this kid rubs me wrong, and I want to hurt him. Okay, it’s not ‘something’ I know exactly what makes me angry about him. He dated Regina and, worse, hasn’t let it go.

“I break more bones,” I answered, clutching my fist for emphasis.

I don’t like that idea. I will admit I was waiting for him to choose pain over apologizing. After all, that choice gave me a reason to hurt him again. But it also shows he doesn’t see what he’s done wrong. If he can’t see that he’s wrong, it will make things harder on Regina. His issues should not become her problems.

When I saw the defeat in his eyes, I knew he finally got the point. He sighed and carefully got to his feet. After a moment of looking at his feet, he dared to look Regina in the eyes. He hadn’t dared to try and make eye contact with me. Not that I blame him, even if he had the balls to do that. I’ve got over two feet on him. It’s a long way to look up.

“You’re right. My behavior is unacceptable, and I was raised to respect the Goddess and the mate bond.” Valter sighed, his shoulders sinking.

“And it’s not for you to deal with my unrequited affection. Nor to deal with my heartbreak that the only person I’ve loved was never meant to be mine and never will be mine.” He rubbed the back of his neck.

Ballsy move to confess your love in front of someone’s mate. Cain growled, wanting to come forward and punch Valter for saying he was in love with Regina. I struggled to keep him back and not give in to my desire to do the same.

‘Even more when their mate is triple your size.’ Cain snorted.

“Valter, it was two years ago. I made my stance very clear. I made it clear before we even started seeing each other. You knew there would be no future between us unless we were mates and our time was limited.” Regina sighed.

“I know. And I know I agreed to the terms. I was so certain we’d be mates. Then we weren’t, and it’s been difficult to move past. Made worse as I stand on the sidelines while you find your mate.” He frowned.

“I am sorry, Regina. No matter my feelings, it’s not for me to interfere in your life or the destiny the Goddess has given you.” He apologized for daring to look in my direction.

“And I am sorry, Ivan. It is not personal, per se. It wouldn’t matter who she was mated to. I wouldn’t like him simply because he has what I can’t.” He apologized. I guess that was an apology.

“I think you should return to Incubi and give yourself and us space for a while.” Regina sighed.

“I understand.” Valter hung his head as he went back inside.

Regina’s shoulders sank as he walked away. I frowned, knowing the emotions of sadness and loss weren’t mine. They were friends growing up. Unlike my relationship with Gastone or Ignazio, theirs was a true friendship. It, however, was tainted in a way when Valter’s feelings changed. It would be different if they had been mates. But they aren’t, and he needs to accept that.

I sighed and hugged Regina knowing that even if I were the sort to talk, I wouldn’t have the right words for this. She didn’t fight my embrace. She melted into it and buried her face in my chest. We stood there in silence for a few minutes. When the terrace door opened, Regina pulled back to see who had come outside. She sighed in relief when she saw it was Delilah.

“Everything okay?” Delilah asked. “Valter just left in something of a huff.”

“Good.” Regina sighed as she stepped out of my embrace. “We had it out about his behavior and disregard for Ivan and I being mated.”

“Ah. That makes sense.” Delilah nodded.

“Now that you have found your mate, it will be easier for Valter to accept and move forward.” Delilah sighed like someone who had experience with that.

I have little interaction with Delilah, but even in my interactions, I knew she had a crush on Alexander. I can’t say if the wisdom came from the Lia situation a couple of years ago, or maybe she learned they weren’t mates. Either way, I am sure that the experience she speaks from is regarding her feelings for Alexander.

“I, for one, am happy for you. You had a feeling that last night would be the night you’d find your mate. And now here you stand proudly with your mate at your side.” She smiled.

“Thank you.” Regina smiled as she stepped away from me and hugged her friend. “I’m glad at least one friend can be happy for me.”

“Valter will eventually come around. And till then, ignore him. You should be taking this time to enjoy being together.” Delilah hugged Regina back.

“Ivan…” She smiled at me as she stepped away from Regina. “Welcome to our family.”

I arched my eyebrow as Delilah hugged me. Regina giggled softly behind her hand at my reaction. I should have expected this given her response last night during the ball. But still, having her hug me and welcome me to the family was weird. Not like André telling me to call him cousin strange, but still odd.

“Er… thank you,” I answered lightly, patting the top of her head.

Delilah laughed as she stepped back. “Don’t worry. I know some people will judge you for your past, but you’ll have the support of my sister and Alec. And no one will dare speak or even think too loudly against you with them backing you.”

I know her words are supposed to be encouraging and reassuring. But I don’t know how much she can or should speak for her sister or Alpha Alec. She might accept me being Regina’s mate, but that doesn’t mean everyone else will.

“Thank you.” I nodded.

“I take it by your smile that last night went how you wanted.” Regina smiled, changing the subject, probably knowing I was uncomfortable.

I arched my eyebrow. How Delilah wanted it? Does that mean Delilah found her mate last night? I don’t remember seeing her with anyone. Then again, I was rather preoccupied with my fiery golden pixie.

“Yes. We both got what we wanted. You found your mate.” Delilah grinned, practically glowing as she gestured to me. “And since I didn’t find my mate André and Darren have agreed to move forward.”

“I’m lost.” I furrowed my brow.

The girls giggled and gave me warm smiles. Regina took my hand and squeezed it in silent reassurance.

“Delilah had offered to be the surrogate for my cousin and Darren so they can have a biological...” Regina wrinkled her nose at the word biological. “Heir.”

I furrowed my brow as I tried to understand. I know the concept of a surrogate, and from my sister, I knew there was talk about people getting restless that having a gay couple as our leaders, we would be left without a blood heir, and the Alpha title would have to fall to Alexander’s heirs if he ever found a mate. I mostly heard about it because some people thought they should try and pressure my sister to have a biological child as a backup if both Alpha André and Alexander failed to have natural heirs.

I may not be a violent person, but I’ll have the head of anyone who ever says or does anything to harm my sister—and causing her undue distress and triggering her depression. Those that said such things to my sister are fortunate she never gave me names. I know how hard being told she may never have biological children was on her. And I’m sure Stephen would gladly help me pummel and discreetly dispose of anyone that would dare send her back into that depression.

“I know what you must be thinking. I’m young and should consider my future mate.” Delilah sighed, rolling her eyes. She’s heard that plenty.

“No.” I shook my head.

I don’t want her to think I’m passing any judgment on her choice. It is her body. Who am I to tell her otherwise? She’s young and unmated. These are things in her favor. He’d never allow it if she had a mate, even if it was her body. He’d probably go crazy with jealousy and resent her and the heir she carries because it’s not his pup.

“Ivan doesn’t think that way,” Regina assured her. “He thinks it makes more sense as you are young and unmated. It means you don’t have a mate who will be jealous and resentful that you wouldn’t be carrying his pup. And as someone born and raised in Madonie, you would give his birth pack an Alpha heir.”

“Really?” Delilah blinked up at me.

I nodded.

“Thank you, Ivan.” She smiled.

“So few people have understood my decision. I want to do this for André and Darren. I knew how sad they were when people pushed about a biological heir. And they’d been looking for someone to be a surrogate without success.” She sighed.

I arched my eyebrow as I couldn’t believe it would be all that difficult. Throw a stone, and you’ll find a young willing she-wolf that would be happy to carry an alpha heir.

Chapter 18 - Regina

“That’s the problem.” I sighed, knowing his thoughts.

Finding a willing surrogate was never a problem for my cousin and his mate. Finding one healthy that met all the physical requirements wasn’t a problem. Their problem was she-wolves seeing this as an opportunity to fuck one or both of them. And even more saw this as a way of getting some power in the pack, like an honorary Luna as the mama of the heir. None seemed to get that they would have nothing to do with that pup after birth. They wouldn’t be a mama to the heir.

“The surrogates that came forward were under the sick impression that André and or Darren would be making an heir naturally.” I wrinkled my nose.

Ivan furrowed his brow. He understood what I meant, but it’s too adorable that he can’t wrap his mind around these she-wolves’ logic.

“They realize the Alpha and Aleph are homosexuals, and even if they were bisexual, intimacy with anyone, not their mate, would cause unimaginable pain to the other.” Ivan frowned and shook his head. “Stupid bitches.”

Delilah snickered behind her hand. “I think that is the most I’ve ever heard you say.”

Ivan shrugged, but I knew he was embarrassed. She’s, of course, not wrong. I’ve heard him say more, but that’s if you count mate bond conversations. I’m just glad he said what he was thinking and didn’t shorten it or keep his opinion to himself. It’s like seeing him come a little more out of his shell. Baby steps, but I’ll take the win.

“But now you can see why finding a surrogate has been difficult. Honestly, if last night had gone the opposite direction, of Delilah finding her mate and me not, I would be their surrogate.” I shrugged.

I laughed as I heard a rumbling growl he was trying to contain.

“Relax, my quiet giant.” I patted his arm. “It would only happen if I didn’t find my mate. But I found you, so my offer to be a surrogate is off the table.” I assured him.

“It made the most sense that it would be one of us or possibly Zoe.” Delilah shrugged.

“We aren’t blood-related to André or Darren. We are also close to them and respect their mate bond, which is about giving them and Madonie a gift. We would all accept that while biologically we’d be tied to the heir, they would never be our pup.” She explained.

“And your wolf is okay with that?” Ivan asked.

“Yes. Helia and I are in full agreement.” Delilah assured him.

“We want to give André and Darren their heirs. We know these pups won’t be ours. They will be my new nephews or nieces. So, the only ‘motherly’ things I’ll be doing are providing the egg, the womb, and the breast milk.” She shrugged.

“Okay.” Ivan shrugged, letting it go.

“Well, I’m glad you’re in favor of it.” Delilah smiled. “Speaking of the ‘motherly’ things I have to do.” She blinked as if she suddenly remembered something.

“Do you mind if I borrow your car, Regina?” she asked. “I need to head over to the clinic. André and Darren will be meeting me there.”

“Oh, sure, of course. Ivan has his car at Amelia’s and probably wouldn’t fit in mine anyways.” I chuckled.

“My keys should be….” I started directing her to where I left my keys when she held them up shyly.

“I sort of thought you’d say yes.” She shrugged.

“Have a good appointment. And good luck with the journey. I’ll be around if you need me.” I smiled and hugged her.

“Will you be coming back home to Incubi?” I asked as the thought suddenly crossed my mind.

“Not till after I’ve had the pups and have recovered. André and Darren are having me stay in the guest suite here. They want to keep me close.” Delilah shrugged.

“Well, you’ll be missed around Incubi. But Ivan has his family and business here, so I’ll have more reason to visit Madonie.” I smiled.

“Of course. I’ll see you two around.” Delilah waved as she hurried back inside.

“You would have done that?” Ivan asked after she had left.

“Of course. André is family, and there is very little I wouldn’t do for my family.” I shrugged.

He didn’t say much as I led him inside and went to the guest suite. I know what he was thinking. He was focused on the what-ifs. What if he hadn’t shown up last night and found me? I’d possibly be a surrogate for his Alpha and Aleph. What would have happened if he had come to the capital and saw me while I was pregnant? Could he have accepted that?

“You don’t need to think about it so much. If you get too bogged down in the what ifs, you won’t be able to focus on the now.” I sighed as I tugged him into my room.

“And right now, we are alone in my guest room,” I smirked as my hand trailed under his shirt to trace the hard edges of his muscles.

“You are trying to distract me with sex.” Ivan arched his eyebrow.

He can try to pretend he’s indifferent all he wants, but we are bonded. I know better. I felt his breath hitch when I touched him. I felt the desire radiating from him. And there was no hiding that cock in his jeans as it started to rouse.

“Is it working?” I asked as I ran my hand over his hardening cock.

“Yes…” He growled through clenched teeth.

Now this is what I call a power trip. He’s nearly three feet taller than me, yet he bends to me. Not to say he doesn’t have this same power over me. It’s not as amusing as someone as petite as me having such sway over a man three times my size. I grinned and reached to unbutton his jeans.

“Is this the start of your heat?” Ivan questioned.

I chuckled and shook my head as he groaned while I unzipped his jeans.

“Nope, just attracted to you. The way you stood up to Valter and then supported Delilah’s choice… it was sexy as fuck.” I admitted and tugged down his jeans and underwear, leaving him half-naked.

I’m of Beta blood, so I probably have a few days before entering my heat. It’s not as instant as if I was of Alpha blood or mated to an Alpha. So, we still have time before we must go into quarantine. We’ll probably stay at his villa since I don’t have a house yet. And there is no way I’m going through my heat living in my parents’ villa. We may be the kind of family that speaks openly about things, but there are lines we don’t cross.

“Noted.” Ivan nodded as he pulled his shirt over his head, leaving him completely naked.

Fuck me, and I mean that, literally. Naked Ivan is exquisite to look at. Michelangelo’s David and every statue that tried to depict the epitome of the masculine naked body wish they were sculpted the way Ivan is. And he is all MINE. The only downside is that I’m so damn short that I can’t even stand on my tiptoes to kiss his lips. I could only kiss his chest if I did that. Maybe my cousin had a good idea when he joked about climbing gear.

“Before this goes further.” Ivan stopped my hands as I reached for his cock. “What’s on the bed?”

I furrowed my brow and glanced over my shoulder at the bed. There was a gold-wrapped package with a big bow at the end of the king-size bed. I know it wasn’t there when I left for the ball last night. Which means my cousin is likely responsible. Unless it’s a gift from Valter in some desperate attempt to win me over, I wrinkled my nose at the second option.

“Probably something from André.” I shrugged as I went to move it, figuring if I got on the bed, it could get me closer to his height.

It was heavier than it looked, and when it hit the floor with a thud, the top popped off to reveal… well, I’m not sure how to describe it. It almost resembled climbing gear mixed with a sex swing and a baby Bjorn. What the HELL did my cousin give us?

“I’m scared to ask, but what is that?” Ivan questioned, pointing at the sex harness.

“I thought he was joking about climbing gear.” I sighed as I picked up the ropes.

“It is a joke?” Ivan arched his brow as I held it up.

“We can call it that. Unless you want to use it.” I shrugged as I inspected the device to try and figure out how it worked.

“What is its purpose?” Ivan asked as he took it from me to inspect it.

“Um…” I blushed as I watched him trying to figure it out.

“It’s basically to eliminate the height difference for sex standing up. You’d put the ropes over your shoulders and around your waist, and I’d be in the harness so we could… with fewer complications.” I tried to explain and flopped my hands toward the gear.

“This is less complicated?” He asked as he held it up.

“I don’t know.” I shrugged. “The D’Amore family is infamous for the sex rooms and plethora of toys and gear.”

“We don’t need that.” Ivan shook his head and tossed the gift aside.

Before I could reply, my dress was pulled over my head, my panties were torn off, and I was off the ground in his arms. I gasped, instinctively bringing my arms around his neck, and tried to get my legs around him, though they couldn’t reach all the way.

“Less complicated.” He grunted before he silenced any response with a kiss.

I had no arguments. Who needs a harness when I have his strong arms? And he proved that he could still support me with one hand freeing his other to touch me and drive me crazy with a need for something more filling than his fingers. He’s good at that, or it’s simply because his fingers are so big that there’s little chance that he wouldn’t hit all the right spots.

Despite that, I brought the condoms from the pack house suite we were so lost in the pleasure that we may have forgotten to put one on before he lowered me onto his cock. I’m not even in heat, and we keep forgetting the basics of safe sex. As the daughter of a doctor, I really should know better. I can’t bring myself to care. It’s hard to think about anything other than Ivan and the pleasure he gives me. I can worry about the increased possibility of pregnancy later, like when I’m not riding his dick or in the afterglow of my orgasms.

Chapter 19 - Ivan

I don’t care how open that family is about sex. I always knew André was a weirdo. And that ‘gift,’ if that’s what you want to call it, he left in Regina’s guest room proves it. That gift was not appropriate. It was also needlessly complicated.

Why would I want to have her hanging off me by ropes? Ropes that would dig into my skin, not that I’d feel it, but still. It was far easier just to pick her up and fuck her. It’s not like I’m some weak wolf that can’t hold his mate for any time—given that I could hold her from start to finish, that ‘gift’ from André is worthless.

Of the things André has given us, the ropes thing is something I can’t see us ever using. The condoms, however… are something we should stop forgetting. I grimaced as we lay in the bed, and my brain could think enough to say, ‘You forgot the condom, dumbass.’ Regina must have had a similar thought, but her reaction was different. Instead of grimacing, she giggled and moved to straddle me.

“We probably should start using condoms. Though unless you are against or concerned with the idea of a family, I’m okay with not using them.” She shrugged as her fingers absently traced my muscles.

“You want a family? With me?” I arched my eyebrow.

“Of course I do.” Regina laughed softly. “You’re my mate. Who else would I want a family with?”

“But…” As I started to counter, she pressed her finger to my lips.

“I already know your worries. You’re big, I’m small, and pups are bigger than average in your family.” She smiled and lifted my hands to her hips.

“Why do you think the Goddess saw fit to give me these?” She chuckled. “I was made to be with you, Ivan.” She smiled as she leaned down and kissed me sweetly.

“If I can handle your cock, I can handle birthing your children. And I’m the daughter of a doctor. If I needed a cesarean, I’d be under the care of the best doctor in Sicily and possibly the world with the most incentive to ensure mine and our pup’s safety.” She giggled.

“I…” I sighed, not even sure what to say to that.

It wasn’t only the hope of finding a mate I gave up on when the war started, but of having a family. In less than twenty-four hours, I’ve found my mate, and she’s talking about wanting to have a family with me. That’s a lot to take in.

“I’m not against a family.” I finally answered.

“But?” Regina arched her brow.

“But maybe we should figure out the logistics of our relationship. Such as where we are going to live.” I shrugged, absently rubbing her hips.

“Okay, that’s fair. Obviously, we must live in Incubi as the future Betas.” She nodded.

“Don’t you live at home?” I questioned.

“Well, yes. I still live with my parents. But now that I have you, we can get our place.” She blushed at being reminded of her living situation.

“And till then?” I asked.

“We could live with them.” She shrugged, fighting a smile so I knew she was messing with me.

“No.” I shook my head and rolled, so she was trapped under me.

I was, of course, mindful not to put my weight on her. She is far too delicate to handle my weight. I don’t care how strong she says she is or that we’ve had sex twice. She didn’t seem to mind that she was trapped, though, wiggling in what space she had to get comfortable.

“I was only teasing. We can stay in your villa or at the Night Haven till our home is ready.” She smiled as she stroked my cheek.

“As much as I like my villa, I’m not attached to it. And it is too far from Incubi.” I frowned.

“What is the Night Haven?” I asked.

“It’s a secluded one-bedroom house that my cousins and siblings used for casual sex before the war,” Regina explained.

I don’t know if there is enough disinfectant to make me forget that the elder D’Amore twins and Petridis Betas have all had sex on Goddess knows what surfaces. And there went any sexual desire I felt rejuvenating under her touch. I’m not sure I want to stay anywhere that her cousins let alone siblings, have fornicated.

“Okay, we won’t stay at Night Haven. I can find a temporary apartment in town until our place is ready.” She assured me with a snicker.

“Actually, I know the perfect home for us. It may need some modifications for you, but I think it’ll be just what we need.” She smiled that glimmer in her eyes.

“And that is?” I cocked my head.

“The original Petridis villa.” She grinned.

“Isn’t that where your parents live?” I asked.

“No. When Zio Alec built his villa, my papa and the others followed suit. So, the four houses in the gated community are newer. But the original Petridis villa has remained vacant. I think Alexander planned to live there when he was still going to be Beta of Incubi.” She explained.

“I see. Well, we can look at it. If your family allows us to use it.” I agreed.

I didn’t understand why Alpha Alec would have moved his villa from the original location and had his other ranked wolves move from their ancestral homes. I’m not going to voice that question. It’s not my place. I don’t know Alpha Alec and probably will never know him well enough that I’d want to ask why he’d move like that.

“I’ll bring it up when we call Papa.” Regina smiled. “Speaking of, unless we plan to go for round two… and I’m willing though still sore… we should get dressed, get your things from Amelia’s, and inform my family that we are mated.”

I sighed, knowing she was right. André certainly would if she didn’t tell her family about us. And I think finding out their youngest is mated to me would be easier to accept from her directly. I find some subjects are best delivered from the source rather than secondhand. I found it difficult to accept that Amelia was mated to Stephen when André and Darren told me rather than hearing it from Amelia.

“Fine.” I conceded and rolled off her, falling off the bed in the process, having miscalculated how close I was to the edge.

“Oh… my… goddess…” Regina laughed between each word as she crawled to the side of the bed and looked down at me.

“Are you okay?” She asked, still giggling.

I landed on my back, hard enough to shake the nightstand and knock an alarm clock inches from my head. I’m sure for anyone else, that would hurt like hell. I, however, don’t feel pain like most people. I shrugged and sat up, and put the clock back in place.

“Fine,” I assured her as I got to my feet.

“Amazing. It’s like you’re indestructible. My very own man of steel.” Regina winked as she started to get dressed.