Blood Makes Noise (Mound of Gaia Vol. 5)

Anne Stagg
5 mins read
Published over 2 years ago
Chapter 7

The Final Choice

Zeus insisted Jo remain in his palace to convalesce. He washed the blood from her skin himself and bound her wounds in golden cloth that would heal in hours instead of days. Vera had begun to worry when Zeus confessed that he had dispelled the pain of Jo’s transformation before they had left for the Plateau of Muses. He had an unpleasant history of becoming obsessed with mortal women to the detriment of their lives and the lives of their lovers. Although, it appeared that Zeus’ fondness for Jo extended to a grudging respect for Quinn. That eased Vera’s nerves, though she insisted on staying on at the palace while Jo was in Zeus’ care. He’s sneaky; I don’t want to leave for an hour and come back to find he’s turned Quinn into an acorn and fed him to a squirrel. Sam and Evander had refused to leave Vera alone with Zeus for similar reasons. She thought they were being overprotective and ridiculous, but she held her tongue. Regardless, all four of Zeus’ house guests were relieved when Jo woke just after the moon set and night ceded the sky to dawn. 

Jo’s awareness came in like the tide, waves of sensation gaining ground with a gentle, but unstoppable momentum. She heard Quinn’s presence in her mind before she became conscious of his body entwined with hers. The music emanating from his emotions was like a balm against the loneliness that had assailed her when she was unable to hear him there. She rubbed her cheek against the raw silk of his tunic. 

“Hi,” Quinn said when she opened her eyes.

“We’ve got to stop meeting like this.” 

He brushed his fingers across her cheekbones, “People keep trying to kill you. Settle that shit and maybe this will stop.”

“That’s not my fault,” Jo stretched, relieved by the lack of pain in her body. 

“How do you feel?”

“A little sore. I would have sworn I broke my leg,” she flipped the blanket back and looked for injuries, “Please don’t tell me I’ve been asleep for another three weeks.”

Quinn laughed, “Relax. It’s only been a few hours.”

“Where are we?” The room’s stone walls were draped with tapestries to block out the cold. Each hanging was made of thick wool and embroidered with tableaus from Zeus’ legends. A fire blazed inside a hearth wide enough to for five full-grown men to stand abreast.

“Zeus’ palace,” he took a calming breath. The melody of his relief changed to a minor harmony that made Jo’s stomach clench, “We brought you here when the fight was over. Kallisto–” 

“She’s dead.” It was not a question. The wolf had protected the lives of her mate and her pack. Jo’s animal nature saw a simple equation while her humanity fought to accept that there had not been another choice. “Vera was right, the wolf’s mind was powerful, but my human consciousness was in there, and I still killed that woman without a second thought.”  

“You did what had to be done,” Quinn tucked a finger beneath her chin and raised her eyes until they met his own, “The Beyond is wild in a way that the mortal world has forgotten. The wolf is part of this world, it always will be, but there you have a choice, you don’t have to be.” 

“I don’t understand?” 

“Zeus. He’s grateful that Kallisto’s dead; he admires you.” 

A single, mournful note wailed through across bond and Jo’s eyes widened. The wolf was anxious, eager to soothe her mate, “Okay, he admires me, how does that change the way the curse works?”

“It changes everything. Zeus is a god,” he took a moment to collect his thoughts, his gaze sliding away. When he spoke, he sounded defeated, “He’s agreed to lift the curse.”

“What about our bond?”

“It would dissolve.”

“No,” the wolf howled, and Jo felt the first tingle of panic in prickling in her fingers.

“Wait. Hear me out. The memories associated with the curse would be gone. The bond wouldn’t be an issue. You wouldn’t even remember it.”

Jo tried to pull away from Quinn, tearing at blanket around her waist, the urge to run pushing her to her feet, “No. I won’t do that.” 

“Don’t you get it, Jo? You won’t be burdened by any of thisYou wouldn’t remember killing Kallisto. You wouldn’t have to live with the wolf. You’d be free.” 

“I don’t want to live without it,” she climbed back onto the bed and clasped their hands together, “I’m proud that I fought for you. I didn’t want to kill Kallisto, but when it came to it, I did what I had to do to keep the people I love safe. Why would I want to go backwards and be a person who never faced a choice like that, who never got the chance to be that brave?” 

“You’re always going to be that person, whether you remember it or not.”

She kissed him, a press of lips that kindled her hunger for him, “But I want to remember it. I choose this life, Quinn. I choose you.” 

Jo leaned in and captured his lips with her own. Quinn’s hands traced the lines of her body and the wolf within reveled in the touch of her mate. They lay together in the nest of wool and silk, listening to the cadence of each other’s breath. Desire burned in Jo’s core, molten and pure.

She forced herself to go slow, taking time to remove his clothes, massaging and kissing each bit of exposed skin until he was naked. Shadows from the fire danced over his body and she chased them with her tongue, memorizing the salt and musk taste of him. Quinn pulled at the shift of silk she wore, and she swatted his hands away.

“Patience,” Jo placed a finger on his chest and pushed him back. She pulled the silk off and let it flutter to the floor. His eyes that drank in every detail, from the swell and weight of her full breasts to the curve of her hips.

“So beautiful,” Quinn sighed. She ran her hands down the length of his torso, her fingers tripping across his abdomen, teasing his prick, and then trailing down his thighs. The thick muscles of his legs trembled, and she bent to lick at the tender skin of his sack. Quinn moaned, and she moved higher, running her tongue along the base of his cock, and basking in his scent, a potent mix of earth and arousal.

He rose to meet her hands, a fine sheen of clean sweat making him glow. She sucked the head of his shaft, whining when his hand slipped between her legs to caress her nether-lips until they were painted with her own slick.  

“I want to taste you,” he said.

Jo let his manhood fall from her mouth. She growled moving with quick grace to balance above him, her knees on either side of his head. She spread herself open, displaying the entrance to her sacred channel, and thrilling in the power she wielded in her womanhood. He groaned and leaned up to taste her, but she pulled back, threading her fingers through his hair, and holding him steady. Their eyes met, human to human, wolf to wolf, and Quinn relaxed into her grasp. She guided his mouth to her sex and gave him a taste of her delicate flesh. Jo held his gaze. He stroked her clit with his tongue and she tangled their fingers together. 

They were tethered together by passion, her breath coming fast, as she rolled her hips over Quinn’s mouth. A roiling heat built deep within her when she held still and allowed him to suckle at her clit. He was writhing beneath her, the lack of friction on his prick made him whimper as he pleasured her. Jo’s release struck like lightning, electrifying her with a sharp flash that shook her to her foundation. 

Her orgasm stoked the fire between them. Their bond was alive, a pulse that echoed through their bodies and heated their blood until each heard the beat of the other’s heart, and nothing more. Jo blanketed his body with her own and licked into his mouth, heaving in great gusts of breath between kisses, the wolf reveling in the way he wore her scent on his skin.

Jo’s mind was flooded with the symphony of Quinn’s yearning and rolled them over so that he hovered above her. She reached between them and slid her hand along his dick. It pulsed in her hand as she guided him inside her, relishing the feel of his hardness, and grasping him tight with her inner muscles. Jo wound her legs around his waist, surrounding him with her heat. 

“You,” Quinn said. Jo shuddered at the husky timber of his voice. He pressed his forehead to hers, “Watching you, it’s like staring into the fucking sun.” 

Quinn started to move, plunging deep within her and repeating her name like a mantra, Jo, Jo, Jo. The fullness when he thrust into her sparked a sweet pleasure that grew in intensity until she was meeting his hips with her own, aching to climax with him. One of her hands clung to his hip, the other pulled his head to the side and mouthed at the site where she had first marked him. His healing abilities must have been equal to her own because only a faint, crescent of bruising remained. The wolf roared to life, frenzied with lust, and unyielding in the belief that her mate must wear her mark. 

“Please,” he tipped his head further to the side. His hips starting to stutter and lose their rhythm. Jo licked and teased at the skin, her own climax close. A juddering moan spilled from her lips as her second orgasm coursed through her. She sunk her teeth into his neck and Quinn crashed over the cliff with a shout, his cock pulsing within her. 

They stayed locked together, their kisses slowing until they had caught their breath. Quinn collapsed onto his back and Jo her head propped up on her hand. 

“That’s going to scar,” she said, her fingers trailing along the border of the bonding mark. The wolf was chuffed with pride at the stake she had claimed on her mate. 

“You’re a hopeless alpha,” Quinn said and turned onto his side, capturing her hand in his and kissing her fingers one-by-one.

“I don’t know what that means,” she chuckled as he rubbed his lips over her knuckles.

“It means you’re going to be a bossy, stubborn pain-in-my-ass.”

“But you love me,” Jo’s eyes sparkled with confidence. 

“That I do,” Quinn’s expression turned serious, “Are you sure you want this?”

“Yes,” she said and settled into his embrace.

Dawn’s light crept through the archways that lined the outer halls of Zeus’ palace and across the wind-scoured plains on the Plateau of Muses. The rising sun standing alone in the speckless sky as a silent witness to the new day.


Anne Stagg's 'Mound of Gaia' series is a Bellesa exclusive.

I. The Song of Water
II. Rumors of the Wind
III. Flame's Tongue
IV. The Sacred Passage
V. Blood Makes Noise
VI. Drink Deep and Remember
VII. The Huntress

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