Releasing the Wolf
up.”
    Brendan.
    “What are you doing here?” she snapped.
    “When someone calls me a dickhead for no apparent reason and without any given explanation, I like to know why.”
    “It’s late.”
    “And I’ll be gone in two minutes, but I think I deserve to know why you’re pissed at me.”
    She huffed in exasperation. “Did you plan to have Taylor seduce me?”
    “ What? Who … you mean, Taylor? The Taylor we talked about this morning? What the fuck’s happened? Did he do something to you?”
    She pinched her forehead in exhaustion. This was all starting to get confusing. “No … I mean … look, just come up, but you only get two minutes.”
    She buzzed him in and hung up the receiver.
    He must have taken the stairs three at a time, because he seemed to be at her front door before she could gather a thought. She waved him in and closed it.
    He took in her washed hair and bathrobe, eyes lingering on the silver burns, now faded but still visible on areas of her skin. His jaw tightened. He plonked his motorcycle helmet down on her dresser. “You’re home early.”
    Her tears sprang up out of nowhere, and her face crumpled.
    Congratulations, Lydia, you are finally having a normal reaction.
    “Hey,” said Brendan, gently pulling her into his arms, and she cried into his T-shirt as she battled the memory of Simon latched onto her neck; between her legs… Oh, god … how had it even happened? Oh, yeah … she had been undressing for that blond guy – Lawrence.
    “I think, maybe, it was my fault…” she heaved out between her sobs.
    “Jesus Christ, Lydia, tell me what happened.”
    She huddled further into his chest, refusing to look up at him. “Simon attacked me. He tried to … you know.”
    “The waiter?”
    “The maître d’.”
    “The wanker, you mean,” he belted out, his voice low with anger. “Did he…”
    “No. Lawrence and Taylor were there. They stopped him. Turns out Lawrence owns the theatre.”
    He kissed the top of her head. “I’m so sorry, honey. And there’s no way it’s your fault – don’t even think it.”
    “Oh, really? You know what I’m like. How much I like sex. Maybe I exuded some kind of—”
    “Bullshit. You’re not responsible for what any idiot decides to do with his penis. You’re sexy, babe, but you ain’t all that.” He said it teasingly, but she didn’t miss the seriousness behind his light tone.
    A smile broke through her tears, and she finally met his gaze.
    “Really,” he repeated. “ Not your fault. And you damn well know it – you’re smart like that.”
    He looked like he really meant it. She felt a little better. “Thank you, Brendan. You’re a good friend.”
    “Oh, yeah?” He raised his eyebrows. “Not a dickhead, then?”
    Oh, crap – she had called him that. “I’m sorry. I wasn’t thinking straight after what Simon did, and…” And was she really going to tell him about how just a few moments later she had practically begged Taylor to fuck her? About the crazy werewolf conversation and how he’d changed into a dog?
    Wolf , corrected her mind.
    Whatever. And no – she didn’t fancy going into all that right now. She was feeling so off her game she was starting to wonder whether she’d hallucinated the whole thing – it’s not like her dreams weren’t real to her – maybe she’d imagined it…
    Tomorrow. It might all make more sense tomorrow, then she could bring it up with a clearer head.
    “You asked me if I’d planned to have Taylor seduce you.”
    Shit.
    “I did? I meant Simon. Sorry. Taylor was there – I got my words mixed up. You were acting all jealous this morning, and what Simon did was so out of character, and then I just felt confused and made stupid assumptions…”
    Lame, Lydia.
    Still, Brendan seemed to accept it and sighed with relief. “I’d never do anything to hurt you, you know that, right?”
    “Of course I do. I’m really sorry.”
    He smiled. “Don’t be. You were just acting out

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