As I wrote, I envisioned Allison Brie as Michelle. She’s beautiful, but also in a relatable way. She grew up knowing what she was, but not able to share it with outsiders. And really, she has no idea of her potential as a witch until she starts dealing with Owen witches and Others on a regular basis. She’s hungry for that connection to what she is, comforted and excited by understanding more about herself and her potential. She’s every bit as alpha as Josh is. She’s a cop, a protector. She’s in Portland because her best friend is missing and Michelle is desperately trying to find her before it’s too late. There’d danger all around as the witches and Others are being targeted, they’re disappearing at an alarming rate and as that danger grows, Josh’s need to keep her safe does as well. Still, while she’s still attracted to him and touched that he wants to protect her, she’s no pushover and he has to learn he can only push too far before Michelle pushes back.
“Two things. Damon just brought over all your stuff from the hotel. I’ll leave the bag in here so you can change into clean stuff. I have a washer and dryer if you have things you need to wash. And two, Pam called and said you could come by in an hour to interview the prisoner.”
“He brought all my stuff?” She got out and took the towel he handed her way.
“And checked you out. You’ll stay here. It’s safest and I like it.”
She arched a brow. “He checked me out of my hotel room. Without asking me?”
Josh’s features changed and he put his hands up. “It’s safest here. Surely you can’t argue with that.”
“Well I certainly can’t if no one even bothers to ask me about it.”
She wrapped the towel around her body and riffled through her bag until she found clean underwear and pulled them on, finding her bra, which he’d picked up from the floor and folded on the counter. He watched as she got dressed.
“I’m sorry I didn’t ask. There’s something you should know. While I’m not an alpha at Tracy, Nick and Gabe’s level, I am an alpha wolf in general. My job, the place I hold in the pack is one of protection. It’s hardwired into me. I do things to protect the people I care about. You’re one of those people. I act and forget about the permission part.”
That was a bald truth. She looked him up and down, and her body came to life again. She knew he knew because his nostrils flared and he got that face. Oh he was going to be such a handful if she went forward with any sort of relationship with him.
Which seemed a given. Because she liked him. And maybe even the protective, bossy thing he had. Though it would not do to give him even an inch. A man like him would run right over a woman in the name of protecting her if she didn’t push him back when he stepped over the line.
“Here’s the deal, Joshua. No one makes my decisions but me. As it happens, I agree it’s probably safer here than in a hotel. Given our…relationship status, it seems stupid for me to go to the expense of a hotel when I sleep here anyway. But that does not mean you can make my choices. I am not down with that, no matter how good you are at making me come. You got me?”
He moved to her, pulling the towel from her hands and drying her hair. He bent to kiss her shoulder. “I got you. Thank you.”
But she’s no dummy. She can’t deny what they have, nor does she really want to, even as the danger to them grows. Even when she finds something out about their connection that could change everything…
She blew out a breath and headed to the bathroom. It was steamy. He’d lit some candles, and she smiled at the sight of a robe he’d laid out for her.
The water was hot, but she slowly slid into it, adjusting bit by bit as the salts did their job, easing the soreness from all parts of her.
She closed her eyes and ran through everything she could. Every piece of evidence, the timeline she knew, all possibilities she could imagine. Maybe if she just went over it she’d think of something new.
He found her drying off and paused to watch her move. The steam carried her scent and his wolf liked that just fine. He felt so much better after talking with her, though he knew she was tortured over her inability to find Allie. Things between them, aside from all the rest, were settled, and he could relax about that at least.
For the time being. Eventually his wolf was going to push a lot harder to claim her. Each minute he was around her, the primal need to seal that bond was a greater weight on him. For now he was all right. Manageable. Barely. But soon enough it would be impossible to be around her, especially when she was upset or in danger, without the bond.
He put all that out of his head as she looked up. “Hey.”
“Hey yourself. You feeling better?”
“Physically, yes, I am. The rest? I ran through everything that has happened since I got the call that she was missing. I don’t think I’ve overlooked anything.” She shook her head. “I know she’s out there alone and I need to find her. I asked Gina and Rhonda as well as Lark and Gage if there were any spells to use to find her. I don’t have any of her blood.” She swallowed hard. “And I guess I’m glad of that, but at the same time it limits my ability to find her. Maybe.”
He leaned there against the doorjamb and watched her process. He hated how upset she was. “I understand, you know? It’s the nature of our jobs to have these experiences and frustrations. But when it’s someone you care about, it’s a million times worse. All the stuff you tell yourself on a regular case, that you’re doing all you can, that sometimes you just can’t make it work, well it’s not comforting.”
She nodded, turning to brush her teeth.
He loved the sight of her in his space. Standing naked at the sink, doing something as mundane as brushing her teeth, but damn it, she marked his life with her presence and it was all good. Even with the heartache it was good.
She pulled on the robe, and he allowed himself to move to her to hug her, kissing the top of her head. “You’re doing all you can. She’s lucky to have you. She knows that.”
More tomorrow as the countdown to August 6 continues!