Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Humpday Humpishness--Call Me Zhenya

My new book is out now on Amazon, and since Marteeka Karland has reinstated the Humpday Hump, I thought I'd offer a contribution. Enjoy!

She woke abruptly to the sound of a growl. Evgeni’s head was still heavy in her lap. The growl came from him; he was dreaming. Anna fought back the surge of adrenaline that had struck her as she jerked awake, but her heart continued to pound hard at the back of her throat. Evgeni twitched against her, the growl morphing to a sort of whine. The sounds, and even the movement of his body as he jerked in the dream’s throes, seemed more dog than man.

The whine disturbed her, especially when it came again, sounding even more mournful and pained than before. She’d had a dog growing up; she’d always woken him up when he made noises like that. She’d always worried, though, that he wouldn’t totally shake off the dream and would awaken with the same fear that caused those sounds, think she was a threat and bite her. She had the same concern about Evgeni now. Instead of waking him right away, she stroked his hair. It had often worked with the dog; she’d stroke it, scratch at its ears, rub its head, and it would settle into a more peaceful sleep.

He quieted as she pushed her fingers through his thick, dark hair, rubbed the back of his skull. “Zhenya,” she murmured. “Shhh.”

He made an odd, breathy sound, and one hand closed on her thigh. She was starting to think he was getting a little personal when he turned his head and buried his face between her legs.

She jumped. That was . . . unexpected. He took a long, deep breath through his nose.

Anna shivered. Instinctively, her hand went to his head, prepared to push him back, but concerned about how he might react. Her hand, though, seem to want to push him closer. That was an interesting conundrum. She tugged gently at his hair, drawing his head to a more neutral position.

He kept sniffing, moving up the side of her body across her ribs, her belly, over her breasts. His nose went into the fold of her armpits. His big hand closed over her breast, the touch almost neutral, as if he were just holding her still and it had provided a convenient handle. He lingered with his nose under her arm for a few long seconds, long enough for it to start to tickle, which was almost a good thing because it distracted her from the uneasy embarrassment settling over her.

Oddly, though, she wasn’t afraid. It was strange, uncomfortable, and she didn’t understand all the ramifications of what he was doing to her, but he wasn’t hurting her. And he wouldn’t. Of that she was certain, but she wasn’t sure why.

His head shifted, but he didn’t stop sniffing. His nose made a line up the side of her neck, to behind her ear, where he drew another deep, long breath. He sniffed at her face—her eyes, her lips. And then traced his tongue across her mouth, soft and hot.

She let him. She held perfectly still and let him. It was strange but not threatening or even uncomfortable. He was taking liberties, yes, but it was the wolf, not the man. And she had a feeling this was a ritual of some kind, something important to the wolf that would help him accept her, see her as a friend.

His tongue slipped past the seam of her lips, tracing the line between them but not asking for entrance. He drew back after a quick taste, and his teeth pressed against her jawbone, a gentle bite between the point of her jaw and the point of her chin. Then he curled up next to her and closed his eyes.