Congratulations, Nikki Noffsinger!!!
Ivy Morgan has re-invented herself and is looking forward to the future for the first time, in a very long time. Since fleeing for her life from an overzealous religious cult, she is able to be a modern woman that is gaining her independence; so taking up with a sexy stranger named Nyx is the last thing she needs. Or, is it?
Nyx Wahpeton can’t stop thinking about the young woman he’s met. It couldn’t have come at the worse possible time with the clans meeting and his family wrapped up in a centuries old war that’s nothing short of what horror movies are made from. He’s been a protector of his people and those that reside at the Reservation. There’s betrayal and evil at his front door; but, in his heart he knows Ivy is the one for him. She’s surrounded by secrets that he’s vowed to unlock, as well as her heart. However, can he keep her safe from his own secrets?
~ Excerpt ~
They walked through the brush off the beaten path. Ivy heard rushing water as they got closer to wherever it was they were going. When they came out of the trees, Ivy was awestruck. They were standing on top of a cliff that overlooked a beautiful waterfall. She could actually see a prism of rainbow colors as the sun streaked through the rushing waters.
“Oh, my God Nyx, it’s beautiful! I’ve never seen anything like it before!”
Nyx pulled her close; the Hope Falls was one of his favorite places in the world. “I’m glad you like it baby! I was thinking that maybe we could be married here if you’d like!” He could feel her smiling.
“Nyx, you’re Native American right?” she asked a little hesitantly.
“Yeah, born and bred Lakota Sioux. Why do you ask?”
“Well…don’t you have some sort of tradition that your family would want for you? I mean I, I don’t have any traditions but I hardly doubt you want to marry in the Shepherds of the Flock tradition.”
“We have different types of wedding ceremonies. My family won’t mind what we choose and ‘No’ I don’t want any Shitters of the Flock ceremonies.” Ivy had to laugh at Nyx for his candor.
“Ivy, what exactly do they do…I mean you don’t have to do anything weird or cruel or anything?” Nyx was curious now.
“Well, it’s simple really. I mean first of all they make us drink goat’s blood and…” she giggled and then stepped back from him. For a moment he blanched, and then she really let the laughter go. He gave her that look of utter mischief that sent her heart into over drive.
“Oh, you, aren’t you so funny, Ivy!” He said as he took a step towards her.
“Well, I try to be anyhow! Still not as funny looking as Y-O-U when I race you back to the ATV!” she taunted as she started to kick her legs into gear.
Nyx laughed deep and loud in a rich bell tone while he gave her a heads start.
Ivy never even got to the line of trees before he had her rolling on the soft grass among the wildflowers that dotted the landscape. He hovered over her moving a strand of hair that was hanging in her face before he gently touched his lips to hers. He pulled back to look at her and lost himself. Thinking back to where he was this time last year, he had thought himself in love with Tanya; it had been just an infatuation. They had been good in bed together, but it was nothing compared to the fire and heaven he had found with Ivy!
From the first time he looked into those beautiful eyes of hers it was like she was the sun and he was pulled towards her by a force that he wasn’t able to control. Nyx felt Ivy’s hands cradle his face. He closed his eyes at the sensation of her touch. It was so gentle and warm. It soothed the animal inside him.
“Nyx, I love you…I love you so very much! If we’re to be married, I want it to use one of your customs! I don’t have any and the one I know of isn’t something I’m ever doing again.” Ivy’s soft voice was like music surrounding his heart.
He opened his eyes and ran his tongue along the outside of her lip before he kissed her again. This time he parted her lips and slid his tongue in to taste her. Ivy was getting really good at kissing, but it was easy when you had someone as talented as Nyx. He pulled back and flipped her up on his chest so he was underneath her. “You know Ivy, I can’t seem to get enough of you!” he breathed.
They laid there together laughing and talking. He told her everything about his life that he could tell her. She told him about the first real books that Lorna had taught her to read; then getting her GED and Terrance pulling some strings to get her into college. Nyx told her stories that his grandfather used to tell him about their people from long, long ago. Ivy told him about the time she and Danielle found a frog and tried to keep it as a pet; until it got loose and ended up in their older sister Rachel’s bath, sending her into a freak out.
“Ivy, I don’t mean to pry, but you still haven’t told me what marriage is like for those people you used to belong to.” For some reason, Nyx had to know. He wanted to know so that when they married there would be nothing about it to remind her.
Ivy’s brow furrowed but she took a breath and looked over at him.
“Well, when our wedding day comes we are awakened very early in the morning for prayers in the front yard. Then we’re prepared, meaning our soon to be new sister wives help by dressing and fixing our hair. Since we’re no longer children, we no longer wear our hair loose. It has to be tucked up. Then we are dressed in all white; we get to choose whether to wear a veil or a ring of flowers on our head. I just wore the white dress. I hated it; it felt like wool and it itched. It had belonged to the First Wife and she was two sizes too big and more endowed than I was.” she shook her head at the memory, but continued.
“Anyhow, next we are walked through the compound to where all the Elders are in the House of Worship. No one is allowed in except for the men and their First Wives. A woman stands and is first deemed worthy to marry the man that has been chosen for her by a vote of all the Elders. The High Elder then either chooses to accept the woman or not. I remember that day I was pleading with God that I would be found unacceptable! Mabel was not a very nice woman, Paul’s First Wife; she had told me every awful thing to expect on my wedding night.” Ivy gulped but continued, “When a bride is accepted her husband to be comes and takes her by the hand to the High Elder. He stands and reads from the doctrines of the Shepherds of the Flock. They aren’t vows, but rather rules of conduct. I was told I would submit, I would put my husband and God first, I would put the Elders next and hold reverence for them and my husband’s brothers and a bunch of other crap. I was actually having an anxiety attack the whole time. Then they took a lock of my hair and cut it and gave it to Paul who in turn gave it to Mabel who braided it. She handed it back and he placed it in his pocket. He put a gold band on my hand and that was it.” She said without emotion.
Nyx took her hand not really knowing what to say. He turned her hands over to kiss her palms when he saw the vertical scars on her wrists. His heart cringed when he saw the faint pink scars. She was looking at him to see what his reaction was. It was not what she thought though, because he didn’t look at her with disgusted or pity.
“Ivy, I wish I could erase your past. That is the worst kind of wedding ceremony I can think of. I think I would rather they make you drink goat’s blood. Don’t worry babe, we have so much more fun during our ceremonies!” he said a feeling out of sorts. Ivy leaned into him and kissed his cheek, “You mean there’s no goat’s blood? Tsk…what fun is that?” she mused.
He took his fingers and started tickling her. She laughed as she squirmed to get away. She reared up and in doing so found his ticklish spot behind his ear on the back of his neck. She jumped on his back as he carried her off to the ATV. Nyx had just started through the woods when he caught a familiar scent…a scent of danger; a Chupacabra kind of danger! He paled and sat Ivy down. She was still laughing and carrying on when he shouted, “Ivy! BE QUIET!”
His face looked lethal, every muscle in his body flexed and tensed. Ivy had never been afraid of him, but he’d never shouted at her either. She started taking steps backwards. She didn’t want to be around this Nyx. Ivy knew all about men’s tempers. Nyx heard her back away, turned and reached out but it was too late; he could see the hurt and fear in her eyes as the Chupacabra held her. Nyx felt his animal side wanting to break loose but he had to stay calm. If he moved wrong it could kill her in a second!
Now despite common myth or legend the Chupacabra stands close to seven feet tall. They weigh anywhere from 220 to 285 pounds. Their bodies are animalistic and covered with fur. They have bright yellow eyes that glow in the night, long ears like a wolf, have acute hearing and sense of smell. They have long arms, long legs and can roam about on two legs easier than they can on all fours. They have enhanced psychic and mental abilities but their natural born enemy is the wolf. There is no known cure for the bite of a Chupacabra. Once a human is bitten, they too will turn into a Chupacabra or die and death would be a gift. They will forever be ruled by the moon as a beast that has a blood lust that is never satiated.
Nyx reached out with his mind while holding his hands up to show he came in peace. “Let the girl go, while you and I get down to business! There is no need to hurt the woman. I know you mean us no harm; but if you harm her then things cannot remain peaceful between us!”
Recognition came into the face of the beast standing before Nyx. He tilted his head away from Ivy and took a breath as if it was trying to sense if Nyx was telling the truth.
“You are of a wolf clan, a powerful one, are you not?”
Nyx nodded his head, “I am a proud and fair one. Now release the woman and let me see what it is I can do for you! I sense you are in need of help!”
“I don’t know if I should trust you, my people have trusted too many for too long and now our females suffer and our children are starving!”
“Why have you traveled this far Chupacabra?” Nyx asked in his mind.
The beast looked around, letting out a hiss that scared Ivy to death. She didn’t know what was going on but something out of a horror movie was holding her and digging in its claws. What scared her most was it could turn on Nyx killing him and there was nothing she could do.
“I hear others. I give you your woman but mark my words wolf, all is not as it seems! There are traitors on both accounts!”
With that being said the Chupacabra flung Ivy towards Nyx who caught her as it fled. Ivy fell apart. Nyx wanted to hold and soothe her, but he had to get her back to the safety of the house. If there was here there would be others. He needed to talk to his father, but first he had to get the hell out of here! Nyx picked Ivy up, sat her on the back of the ATV and gently put her helmet on. He placed his own on and started the ATV up. He drove as if hell were a half step behind. He held the ATV with one hand and Ivy’s hands around his waist with the other. Nyx feared that she might be in shock. He knew he should be.
Nyx felt as if he had aged about ten years by the time he got back to the house. Ivy was shaking and he didn’t blame her. She fumbled with the chin strap finally getting it off before he could help her with it. Nyx didn’t bother letting her get off the ATV; he picked her up in his arms yelling for his brothers. They met him on the front porch.
“What’s going on? Why the alarm?” Nauru enquired.
“I took Ivy to the falls and on our way back, she was accosted by a Chupacabra. We have one of those things running in our backyard! It had its claws on her; in one second he could have taken off with her, clawed her, or worse bitten her!” Nyx was frantic border lining on hysterics at this point. Ivy was motionless.
“Shit, shit, shit and Holy Shit! Okay, I’ll get dad on the phone. Mom and the girls are inside. Lahni is here. Hey man, is Ivy alright?” Xander was on high alert now.
“Yeah, I think she’s just afraid.” Nyx replied as he swept her up the steps and on through to the house.
His brothers followed him inside. He remembered the words of the Chupacabra and thought back to what Garrion had said. “Wait! Don’t tell anyone other than family alright! I don’t want to get Shiloh all in a tizzy!”
His brothers nodded as Nyx took Ivy to the couch and laid her down. Xander and Nauru filled his mother and the girls in on what happened. Caleb had taken over the task of calling their father and grandfather.
Ivy looked at Nyx with eyes wide with terror, “W-What was that thing? It looked like something out of The Howling.” She shrieked.
Nyx kissed her hands and tried to calm her but she kept asking. There was no way he could cover this up. No he was going to have to tell her.
“Ivy, I want you to listen to me very carefully and believe me because I would never lie to you! None of us would. That beast that had you was a Chupacabra. They are dangerous and usually only come out at night. They feed on blood and have ravenous appetites. Usually they stick to places that are really hot and further south, but for some reason apparently we have some that have traveled here. They are beasts but they have enhanced psychic and mental capabilities, strength and speed. Unlike werewolves, they do not have a human form that changes with the cycles of the moon. One thing that does make them dangerous besides their blood lust is that if they bite a human, then that human turns into one of them. My people have been fighting them for hundreds of years.
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