I was reluctant to post more of this story, since I have been made aware that not a lot of people seem to like it. I have decided to continue posting though for those who do, Thank you for reading me and for your votes, and thank you too for all of your feedback - both good and bad.
James sat in his office reading quickly through the file that Iris had prepared for his next client. In truth there was not much to it, but it gave him something to do, something to fix his attention on, rather than the woman in the other room.
The air moved around him, and a faint aroma of jasmine tickled at his nose.
Iris appeared in the door way.
"Mr Potts is not due to arrive for another hour," she said softly. "Shall I make us a cup of coffee?"
He blinked his gold speckled eyes as he washed away the thought of what else they could do to fill in the time. "Coffee would be good," he nodded. 'The aroma of the coffee might just smother out the fragrances that Iris was emitting.'
She walked across to his desk and leaned forward to pick up his mug, and a wave of flowery scents reminiscent of a summery day, assaulted his senses, leaving him in a state of frozen arousal, with an almost animal edge to it, as he pictured the two of them running through a moonlit woodland setting, heavy with the scent of its flowers.
He blinked away the golden flecks in his eyes, as the perfume slowly evaporated, and he realised that Iris had left the room again, without him even realising.
"Damn you woman," he snarled under his breath.
The fragrant aroma of fresh coffee, did manage to mask her scent, and it was with a sigh of relief that James was able to give his client his full attention.
But the moment the man had left, with a promise from James that the first design ideas would be ready by the end of the month, the moment the man left though, James sat down at his desk and breathed in deeply. Sure enough Iris invaded his senses.
He glanced at his watch, and saw that it was almost lunch time.
Iris was typing up a report when James walked out of his office; he walked across to the door, and dropped the catch and pulled down the blind.
"Put the phone on the answering service, and then come into my office, please, Iris." he marched back into his office without bothering to see if she would obey, he knew that she would.
His tone was stiff, and almost alien, but the note of authority was there and so she wordlessly picked up the receiver, and punched the code into the phone. She listened for a moment, and then replaced the receiver.
She stood up and walked calmly into James's office, even though her green eyes were glittering with emotion.
"Close the door."
He had closed the blinds in the windows of his office so that there was absolutely no chance of anyone seeing inside. It also threw the room into deep shadows, giving it an almost dreamlike quality.
"Undress," his voice was thick but his tone was still that same strong authoritative tone.
Iris lifted her hand to her blouse and slowly began to unbutton it, as James sat in his chair and watched her with gold speckled eyes.
She shrugged it off her shoulders, and as she gripped it in her hands she hesitated.
It was an expensive blouse, and her practical nature would not allow her to simply drop it to the floor.
"Come here," James rumbled and Iris once again bowed down to his authority, and stepped across the room towards him.
As she reached him, James pushed back his chair and grasped her by the hips to guide her to the place he wanted her; directly in front of him, and perched on the edge of his desk.
He pulled her skirt up and it bunched in ripples around her thighs, so that she could widen her stance.
James stood up, between her legs and as she leaned back, he went with her to nuzzle at her breast, and breathe in the teasing scents, that she had been exuding all morning.
He pushed hard against her groin, and Iris whimpered and groaned as she felt him.
He wanted her so badly right then!
He was rubbing against her, as he lost himself to her, and although he had started out being the one in control, it did not take long for Iris to realise that the balance might have shifted.
She thrust back her shoulders, and James buried his face in the valley of her breasts, and once again he breathed in the scent of her.
"So human," he mumbled. "So deliciously human... and so very right!"
He was bucking his hips to grind against her, and Iris thrust back.
"Oh yes, James," she breathed as she wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him closer still.
He put his mouth to hers, and his tongue dipped in to taste her, to tease her, to invade her.
Her blouse fell to the ground unnoticed, as James's hand ran up her thigh, caressing as it went, and then she felt him begin to gently tug at her panties.
In no short order, her skirt was bunched up around her waist, and her blouse and her panties were lying discarded on the floor.
Iris was ready for James. She was impatient for James as he fumbled at his trousers.
"Yes, oh yes!" she whispered again as she opened her legs wider, showing him how ready she was for him.
He stepped closer and thrust hard and buried himself to the hilt deep inside her, and as she wrapped her legs around his waist she opened her green eyes wide, showing the flecks of her alter ego.
James's brown eyes swam with the golden speckles as well, but he held on tight to his humanity as he began deep urgent thrusts.
Their other selves were on the edge of surfacing, but he would only ever mate with her as a human.
He would never lose himself to the animal lust that their kind could often succumb to, because Iris was just too human for that.
Every time he touched her, every time he smelled her, he knew the woman.
The red wolf was magnificent, she was a mate to be proud of, but James worshipped the woman not the beast.
He would always worship this woman!
Trudy came bounding into the room, with an air of energetic enthusiasm; it was as if the very air itself parted around her to make room for her oversized personality which was about ten times the size of her physical form.
She reached over the desk, as James came to his feet, and held out a tiny hand to him.
"Good afternoon, Mr Atherton... I have heard a lot of very good things about you, and have been meaning to speak with you for some time now!"
She grinned cheerfully as her hand disappeared into his, but as he leaned closer, Trudy gave a discrete little sniff.
Her niece was all over him, and so was the smell of sex!
She masked her little chuckle by the simple act of turning away from him, so that she could pull the chair closer to his desk, and drop into it heavily.
By the time that she had done that, she had her laughter in check but there was nothing that she could do about the knowing little twinkle in her wide blue eyes.
"So what can I do for you today, Ms Beaumont?" he asked guardedly.
Trudy gave a little grunt. "I have never been married, Mr Atherton - so Miss Beaumont, or Rowena will suffice," She leaned forward suddenly and grinned widely again. "Until the time you may call me, Aunt Trudy, I think," she murmured almost conspiratorially.
A dull flush winged up his cheekbones, and his eyes could not meet hers.
"Is that why you have come here today," he asked suspiciously. "To warn me about your niece... can I expect a shotgun aimed at me if I delay for too long?"
Trudy sat back with a surprised chuckle. "There will be no shotgun in my hands - I hate the things! And anyway my niece is old enough to know her own business best, and look out for her own best interests." She leaned forward suddenly, and her eyes narrowed. "But if you do ever hurt her... well then I will not be using a shot gun then either - but they won't find much left of you anyhow."
James pressed his knuckles onto his desk and came to his feet with a low growl as his wolf reared up at the threat.
"Down, boy!" Trudy snapped, "There is no threat to you here and now."
James blinked away the golden speckles, and his knuckles turned white, as he leaned on them heavily.
"I have no desire to hurt Iris in any way... but what we decide about our future - together or apart, is between her and me... and absolutely no one else."
"I agree," Trudy nodded her head and her tone was mollifying. "And in answer to your question earlier, no I have not come about my niece... I wanted to see you about a business venture, which I am planning."
There was a light knock on the door, and James sat down as Iris popped her head around it.
"Can I get anyone anything to drink?" she asked hospitably.
James looked across at Trudy, who nodded. "Coffee would be nice."
"Two coffees then if you would, please, Iris."
She nodded at him, but her eyes were fixed curiously on the back of her aunt's head
"Everything is fine, child," Trudy said softly without even bothering to turn around.
Iris gave a little sigh, and left the room without further comment, and closing the door behind her as she went.
By the time that she went back with a little tray, which she lodged on her hip, as she knocked again and walked in, by the time she went back; that stressed atmosphere that she had walked into before, was totally gone.
Now the two potential protagonists were talking animatedly, as James did some quick sketches in response to Trudy's rambling commentary.
The air now was warm and nurturing; it was inspiring and thick with creativity.
"Thank you dear," Trudy smiled gratefully at her niece, "I have had such a busy day, that I have not had time to stop for as much as a drink yet... and now I suspect I shall have to dash off for the weekend too, when I was so looking forward to seeing your father." Aunt Trudy said glumly.
"I am sure that dad will understand," Iris commiserated; she looked at her aunt in concern. "Have you eaten at all? I still have some sandwiches, which I did not get round to eating..."
She blushed at her aunt's knowing little chuckle, but then her aunt sighed. "That would be very nice, Iris - thank you."
Trudy bit into Iris's sandwich as she peered across at the sketch.
She chewed quickly and swallowed even as she nodded.
"Yes, that is very much how I would like it to look, but the centre square, will need to be bigger I think, to serve as a communal gathering place... I want seating everywhere; I want grass, and flowers... I want a central water fountain, something large and ostentatious..."
James nodded. "I know an excellent landscape designer; he can sit in once we have solid dimensions."
He looked across as she bit into another of Iris's sandwiches and seemed to savour it.
"You have purchased the land already, haven't you?"
She nodded, as she swallowed. "Yes, a couple of months ago actually, and I agree with your next comment too; that it would be good to go and take a look, to stand on it and get a feel for the environment."
He nodded as he pressed a button on his desk telephone. "Iris, could you bring the diary in, please."
Trudy pulled her small organiser out of her bag and leaned forward as Iris opened up the large book.
"Next Thursday afternoon?" Trudy asked hopefully. "Two o'clock... ish?"
James flicked a couple of pages. "Yes, that works for me... now, where am I going?"
Trudy chuckled as she tore a piece of paper from the back of her organiser; she stood up to scribble on it and then held it out to James. "There is a coffee shop on the corner of that street. It is next to a public car park; so if you leave you car there we can share a cup of coffee, before walking down to the plot."
Iris saw her aunt out a little while later, but before they could part company aunt Trudy turned to hug her affectionately.
"I like your man, Iris; I think that he could become an asset to our clan."
"He has his own family clan, Aunt Trudy," Iris warned softly.
"Yes, that is as it may be; but we can merge if necessary... how many family members does he have - do you know?"
Iris shrugged impatiently. "I have no idea, Trudy; I know he has a father and stepmother, he has a step sister who has a little boy... and apart from his father they are all - all human."
"Really!" Aunt Trudy looked surprised and then thoughtful. "Do they know, these females, do they know what the men are?"
Iris shrugged again. "His step mother will do, I think that she was given the choice but elected to remain human because her daughter was still young... now her daughter is an adult, but she has a young son of her own..."
"Difficult decision at the best of times," Aunt Trudy murmured sympathetically. "I remember when your mother had to make it, oh how she struggled."
"Really!" it was Iris's turn to be surprised. "I thought that she always treated it like a game, a big adventure."
"She did once she had made the decision... but she did not make it lightly... I spent days with her, talking and showing her - your father and I both wanted her to know the good and the bad of it, we wanted her to be absolutely certain."
"You were very fond of my mother?" Iris said softly, and her green eyes were bright with tears, as her voice thickened with emotion.
"Of course child, I loved her. She was my best friend for years before she fell under your father's spell!"
Iris remembered again when her mother had died. How distraught her father had been. Laurie had been too young to understand, And Iris had only understood that her mummy was poorly and would be leaving them shortly.
Aunt Trudy had come along to care for them all, and when their mother had died, she took control of the two little girls, being constantly cheerful and playful, when all the time she had been grieving too!
"Oh, Aunt Trudy!" Iris whispered tearfully. "Why did you never tell me?"
It took them a little while to escape London, and its traffic, and so by the time that they did, the late afternoon was already slipping into the early evening.
As James increased his speed and seemed to relax into his seat, Iris also sank back.
She ran her fingers through her soft curls, which hung loose and free around her shoulders, and gave a little sigh of contentment.
James cast her a quick glance, and smiled to himself. How he had not seen her for what she really was, at the very first glance, he just could not understand it; she radiated energy.
He should have spotted the shifter in her immediately, but he had been so caught up with his emotional and physical response to her, and she - and her sister did seem so very human...
"How is your sister doing?" Iris asked suddenly almost as though she had read the gist of his thoughts.
"Leila is doing fine - and so is little Toby," he added before she could ask.
His lips tightened into a sort of grimace. "She could not stop talking about how helpful you were, and how wonderful you were with him... so much so that my stepmother, Cindy is not just curious to meet you, she is positively eager to meet you - and Leila was just as keen to see you again!"
"Oh," Iris felt the colour flood her cheeks and she looked across at him anxiously. "They do know that I am just your Personal Assistant... don't they?"
"Hah, you are anything but 'just'!"
The colour deepened in her cheeks. "Yes, that maybe so, but does everyone else have to know about it?"
He cast a quick look at her, before fixing his attention back on the road. "You don't think your aunt knows?" he asked with a tone of such disbelief that Iris could not help but giggle.
"No," she sighed. "I know that my aunt knows, because she pretty much said so."
"Yes, she did to me as well."
"Oh, was that what I picked up on when I came in to offer drinks?"
"Did she say anything... threatening?" Iris was openly worried now, and James laughed lightly as he tried to ease her concerns.
"She said that you were of an age and a sense to be able to handle your own affairs... but should I hurt you... well then she said she might be tempted to interfere... primarily with me, and the way that my limbs were attached - or something to that effect."
"Oh, James!" she stuttered with open horror. "I am so sorry... she assured me that her meeting with you was purely business..."
"Oh I think that was her intention... but she is a smart sensitive woman, and she knew exactly what we had been doing on my desk less than an hour before she entered the room."
The colour in her cheeks which had been slowly receding returned in force, making her green eyes glitter, as she remembered what they had been doing - on his desk - shortly before her aunt came to see him.
She sank down lower in her seat, and for a while there was silence between them, as the car sped along the road and the scenery dashed by her window.
"We should be at my place within the hour," James murmured suddenly, and Iris shivered in response to his husky soft tone.
"Do you go there often," she asked curiously, they had been travelling for more than an hour, and another hour travelling meant that it wasn't exactly convenient for just popping home once in a while.
"Not as much as I would like," he pretty much confirmed her thoughts. "And the last time, when I had hoped to be home for the full moon, I was obliged to be elsewhere... although that turned out to be a blessing."
Iris gave a little smile, as she realised that he was referring to meeting up with her father and her and Laurie in their other forms. She frowned suddenly.
"Why were you on my father's lands, that night?" she asked curiously.
"I had been staying with... the father of an old school friend; I had a flat tyre on my journey to his estate, and so only just arrived when the moon came out. The change became an abrupt thing, and before I knew it I was chasing after a strange pack with no knowledge of the surroundings."
"Stressful," Iris murmured sympathetically. She remembered the men who had come to meet her and Laurie earlier that day.
"If you were staying with Bob Frawnings and his boys, then you would have had to show strength from the outset."
"Yes, it did not take me long to realise that as well."
"So what did you do?" she asked curiously.
James gave a light laugh. "I decided that I was damned if I was going to chase after a load of hyper active dogs, so I went in the opposite direction to them... which of course sent me right on to your father's lands."
"You were there for a while, I think," Iris murmured softly. "You were watching us."
She looked across at him and saw the guilty colour as it winged its way across his cheekbones.
"I came across your scent, and instinct took over," he said slowly. "Although I didn't realise it at the time, there was something hauntingly familiar, and yet strange all at the same time. I tracked you, and managed to get ahead of you, when you were on the trail of the stag. The moon came out as Laurie touched your prey's flank, and it set your fur on fire... I was mesmerised. Held fast and tight and trapped by your splendour."
It was Iris's turn to be embarrassed. She was not used to being complimented, and such fulsome compliments made her feel awkward.
"You think that I am exaggerating," James guessed without even looking at her. "I am not you know. My wolf was lost to you, so much so, that I have to fight not to let the man go down the same way."
"Oh," she blurted out, not really knowing what else to say to him.
"We are bonded and bred you and I, Iris," James said slowly, as he slowed down so that he could come off the motorway. "I have pledged myself to you in every way that I can, but I must keep control... if I lose it to the wolf's instinct I am not sure I will ever get it back!"
They finished the rest of their journey in almost total silence.
Iris was not sure what to say in response to James's revelations, and once he had voiced them, it seemed that he did not want to talk any more either.
Thankfully the remainder of their journey only lasted for less than half an hour, and as he pulled onto a narrow lane, sandwiched between what appeared to be a rather dense forest, Iris caught sight of a shadowy building peeping over the tops of trees.
As he pulled to a halt in front of the house, she looked up at it.
It was a block of a building; almost as though a child had come along, with a bunch of sandy brown Lego bricks.
It must have been four floors high, judging by the rows of windows, all staring out in uniform conformity.
There were lights on downstairs, and Iris looked across at James questioningly.
"It's a big house, and a large estate," he shrugged almost apologetically. "It needs some staff to tend to it - especially as I am away so much."
"Did you design this house?" she asked as she continued to stare at this aggressively masculine structure.
James shrugged awkwardly.
"The house that was here before had been badly damaged by fire. I had what was left of it pulled down and removed, and then I spent a month or more just camping out here..."
"And this is what you felt was most fitting this environment?" Iris guessed with a little smile.
He looked at her almost anxiously. "Yes... do you approve?"
She looked across at it again. "It's very... austere looking... but yes I like it very much. It's almost as though it is sitting there and waiting for something."
James laughed. "I thought that myself when I first saw the completed building, but I could never put my finger on what it was lacking - until this moment!"
"But now you know?" she asked breathlessly.
He grinned down at her, and his brown eyes brightened almost with glee.
"It's waiting to become a home!"
He rested his hand lightly on the back of her waist, and gently guided her forward, towards the block of a building.
The large door was already standing open and a middle aged woman was waiting to greet them, and standing behind her was a man who could have been a little older, but not by much, along with two other young women.
The four people had coats on, and were holding handbags and small holdalls.
"Mr Atherton," she nodded calmly. "Your room, and a guest room have been made up ready as you requested, there is food in the kitchen - a stew that is on a low heat, and will be ready to eat when you are. There are several bowls of cooked meats in the refrigerator as well."
"Excellent, Alice, thank you all so much for your efforts, and before you go, I would just like to introduce Miss Beaumont to you."
The four people all murmured and smiled at her welcomingly, and with no small amount of curiosity.
"We will be back before you leave on Sunday, Mr Atherton." Alice informed him almost warningly.
"Yes, Alice that would be most useful, but until then, I hope that you and Bill have an enjoyable weekend."
"Well it will at least be relaxing for a change... since the moon is in its first quarter."
Iris had suspected that James's staff were shifters, but Alice's referral to the moon pretty much confirmed it.
James stood with his arm resting lightly around her waist as his staff all left the house, and the two of them watched as the four people climbed into Bill's muddied up jeep and then with a last wave they drove off into the early evening.
They were alone in the middle of nowhere, and as the realisation dawned on Iris, she gave a little shiver.
"Come inside before you get cold," James's arm tightened briefly around her waist, and he guided her over the threshold.
Iris walked into the brightly lit hallway and then stopped as she stared in awe.
The hallway was a large open affair, with a magnificent stairway facing the doors, and that swept up to a small square landing, to split and continue off and up in opposite directions.
Her eyes followed the stairway up, but she left the flow of the stairs as she caught sight of the mural painted across the ceiling, a painting of open grasslands, and wolves and birds of prey.
"It's beautiful!" she gasped as her eyes picked out a cub under the shadow of a tree, and an owl peering through leaves.
She looked at James, and her green eyes were wide with wonder.
"Who on earth could have painted such a detailed scene?"
She watched as the colour slowly fanned its way across his cheekbones, and although he looked embarrassed, he smiled with delight as well.
"You did that!" she exclaimed as the realisation hit.
He nodded almost smugly. "Yes, this is my handiwork... although I have to admit that it looks much better from a distance than it does close up."
Iris laughed even as she shook her head. "My eyesight is very good, very, very good; and I can see - even from this angle that that is a beautiful piece of artwork."
"Well thank you for the compliment, it was a labour of love for me to do, so any pleasure that it might give to anyone else - especially you... well that is just icing on the cake!"
He put his hand on the back of her waist again. "Come on, I will show you to your room, and then we can see about something to eat."
"Oh, okay." she hadn't really thought about rooms, had sort of assumed that they would be sharing.
"I did not want to presume anything," he said as though he had read her thoughts. "Just because we were intimate before does not mean that I have any automatic rights."
He was so different from those other shifters, who had come to try to woo her and Laurie.
He kept a tight rein on his inner wolf, and an even tighter rein on his humanity; it was no wonder that Iris had fallen in love with him; he was everything she could ever have wanted in a shifter and a man!
May 5, 2018 in romance