Tame Me by Jayda Marx
A sweet, woody scent passed on the breeze and pulled my lips into a smile. He’s here. I scanned my eyes along the treeline of the forest behind my home until I found a little red fox hiding amongst the brush, staring at me with a pair of mossy green eyes.
Just like last night, when I found the fox watching me for the first time, I was sitting in a rocking chair in my backyard enjoying the stillness of the cool, quiet autumn evening.
My heart was anything but still and quiet; it raced in my chest with excitement and recognition. Because the little fox in the forest wasn’t just any creature; he was a fox shifter, a paranormal creature who could shift between animal form and human form. But more importantly, he was my mate. I’d waited centuries to meet my eternal love, and he was standing only about forty yards before me.
I quickly drew my gaze away from his and made sure not to give any outward signs of acknowledgment or elation.Yesterday when I first saw him, I called out to him and ran towards the treeline, eager to meet my fated one, but I felt his fear rolling of him through our empathic link before he scurried away.
What I didn't understand was why he was afraid. As a fox shifter, he should recognize me as his fated mate and crave me as strongly as I craved him. Though I didn’t understand his fear, I wasn’t angered or upset by it; I only wanted to help my mate and show him that he was safe.
I did have one way I hoped to win him over; sitting on a small, round table next to me was a styrofoam food container which held a collection of delicious treats. They came from a nearby bakery which was owned by my friend Lachlan and his mate Lennox.
Ever since I helped Lennox by removing a bullet from his chest when he was injured, he and Lachlan brought me daily sweeties as a sign of their appreciation. I didn’t need thanks or recognition; I helped because I cared deeply for my friends. But I would never turn down the couples’ treats. They were the best I’d ever eaten.
I slowly panned my gaze across the treeline until it landed on my mate. I held perfectly still except for my lips, which I couldn’t help from spreading into a gentle smile. My little fox hunkered down closer to the ground and wrapped his tail around his face, hiding everything but his pretty green eyes.
You don’t have to be afraid, wee one. I wished our mental link was formed, so that I could soothe my skittish mate with my thoughts. I did, however, push the strongest feelings of peace and security I could muster towards him.
My little fox blinked as if confused, but he didn’t budge when I stood from my chair. I stepped to the other side of the table and opened the container of goodies. My mate’s tail slowly retreated from his face and his nose twitched as he sniffed the aroma in the air. Like vampires, shifters were gifted with keen senses, allowing them to scent and see things from a great distance.
I motioned towards my mate and then to the open container, making sure he understood that I was offering the treats to him. Then, I slowly and calmly entered the back door into my home. I hated to leave him, but I wanted to give him space if he needed it. But not too much space; I hurried to the window and peeked through the curtain to watch my mate.
He crept a few steps away from the forest before stopping and looking behind and all around him. What’s wrong, wee one? My heart ached at the thought that someone or something could be following or spooking him.
He must not have seen any signs of what he was searching for, because the little fox scurried across the grassy field to my backyard. My pulse raced; he was so close. I had to fight every urge and instinct of rushing outside to take him into my arms.
I stood still and watched as he propped his front paws onto my chair to get a sniff of the desserts. His nose couldn’t quite reach the container, so he jumped onto the seat for a better view. I smiled widely; hopefully he was getting his scent all over my chair.
The fox nosed an Empire biscuit (Lennox’s specialty) before taking a big bite. I wondered why he wasn’t shifting into human form; I was desperate to see him. Maybe he was shy, but there was no reason to be; he was my true and fated mate, and he’d be my perfect match and the most gorgeous man I’d ever seen. He would hold all of my desire and interest for my eternal life.
It also could be that he wasn’t ready for me to see him nude, since his clothes wouldn't shift with him. No matter his reasoning, I would never want him to be uncomfortable.
My mate gobbled down the biscuit along with the blueberry scone that was in the container with it. I chuckled quietly as his long, pink tongue licked the crumbs off of his nose.
That got his attention, and he jerked his head in my direction. He caught me staring, and I held my breath, worried that I would scare him away again. But to my surprise and delight, my mate didn’t budge. He stood there on my chair, staring right back at me.
Even through the pane of glass that separated us, I could feel his emotions. Fear was no longer present; just curiosity, gratitude, and intrigue. I decided to push my luck and join him outside.
But just before I could move towards the door, my little fox gave a quick, “Yip!” and jumped down from the seat. He bolted across the grass towards the forest, while his bushy tail swayed in the breeze.
“You’re welcome, wee one,” I whispered into the empty room when he disappeared into the trees. “Please come back soon.”