To Have and To Hold
By Michaela Bray
Date: December 4, 2020
Ch. 1010

When she woke up to the complete darkness, Casey felt a strange layer of calm settle over her. Whatever Rafe had given her for her hangover, it worked like a miracle cure and the incredible pain she had felt a few hours earlier seemed like a bad dream from very long ago.

She got up and opened the heavy draperies, closing her eyes as she let the sunlight wash over her body. Her very first encounter with drunkenness had resulted in matrimony and she winced at the thought. Perhaps there were worse ways to emerge from the state of inebriation. Waking up to a very handsome, very loving man — albeit a werewolf — for a husband did not seem so bad, now that she had time to think about it.

She highly doubted her brothers would see it that way, though.

With a frustrated sigh, she marched to the adjoining bathroom and turned the shower on full blast. For some reason, she found herself naked when she woke up from bed and she cringed at the thought of Raphael having had to undress her. If she had vomited all over the place and needed to be stripped for bed, she was certainly glad she didn’t have to remember it.

It was too late she remembered that she did not have any clothes with her so when she padded over to the coffee table in an oversized robe, she thought she hardly looked worse than she did the night before.

Rafe, however, was of a different opinion.

With her hair hanging in a damp mass down to her shoulders, her face devoid of the eyeliner that had left dark streaks down her cheeks from when she cried during their wedding, he was seeing his mate for the very first time and what he was seeing was enough to send the blood rushing hotly through his veins once more. Without a doubt, Cassandra Townsend was a very, very beautiful woman and the knowledge that she was his to have and to hold for the rest of their hopefully long lives was enough to make him look forward to the rest of forever.

He stood up and pulled a chair out for her, leaning in to kiss her cheek and inhale her lovely scent as he seated her. “You grow lovelier by the moment,” he told her.

“Thanks,” she smiled weakly. “I feel sixty percent functional already.”

He let out a sharp bark of laughter. “Have some food. I phoned in room service when I heard the water running.”

She frowned at the small buffet before her and tried to quell the uneasiness roiling in her belly. “Oh no… No… I don’t feel like that part of me is functional yet.”

“Have some food or I will try to feed you myself,” he threatened playfully.

“You wouldn’t dare.”

“On the contrary,” he replied blandly, opening the morning’s newspaper and watching her from beyond the spread, “you will find that male wolves like to feed their mates with their bare hands. I heard it can be a rather pleasurable experience.”

He resisted the urge to chuckle when he saw her delicate, womanly fingers reach for a bagel with a speed that would have done a werewolf proud. She glared at him as she spread cream cheese over it and took a small bite.


“Oh, it will do.”

He grinned. “Eat up, Cassandra. Your temper will improve once you are fed.”

“No, it will improve once you tell me what is about to happen to me.”

He closed the paper and leaned forward on the table. “What do you mean by that?”

“We got married,” she clarified. “In Las Vegas. In that ugly chapel with neon bells and strange people. I don’t know how I am going to explain that to my family. I don’t even know how to justify it to myself. Oh, they might understand but that will be probably come after my brothers murder us.”

“If you think I am going to let anyone harm a pretty hair on that beautiful head of yours, then you have another think coming, sweetheart. Besides, I doubt that it will come as a surprise to them.”

“What do you mean?” she glared at him.

“Eat your bagel and I’ll tell you,” he told her cryptically.

She finished the bagel in three bites and folded her arms across her chest.

“Your cousin Megan was there,” he smiled at her.

“Megan will keep her mouth shut to keep me alive. That can’t be it.”

“You also made a few phone calls.”

She paled. “Who did I call?”

“A guy named Dave.” He fought to keep the menacing growl from irritating his already irate mate. “I would also suggest you do not call him again. In fact, you will find that it is in our best interests that you delete his number and never attempt contact with him again.”

“And if I don’t?” she raised her chin defiantly.

“I highly recommend you refrain from doing that.”

She sulked in her seat and he smiled again. “Who else did I call?”

“Have some coffee.”

“Oh for the love of!” she threw her hands up in frustration. “It can’t be that bad!”

He chuckled and sat back, watching her volatile reactions with a great deal of interest. At first glance, Cassandra Townsend was quiet, prim, and proper. She never deviated from polite conversation and treated everyone nicely. In the span of the few hours they had known each other, she had managed to get drunk, get married, have a hangover, and come the closest he could possibly hope to swearing.

“No, I don’t think calling CNN is that bad,” he agreed with a serious façade.

“Well, they couldn’t possibly have recognized me.” He could see through her nonchalance and noted the slight loss of color in her rosy cheeks.

“That is possible. However, they recognized me almost instantaneously.”

She moaned and buried her face in her arms. He should have stopped her! She wanted to die! She wanted to kill him! Her brothers were going to kill them both!

“You should have stopped me before I made a total fool of myself!”

“Well, I couldn’t imagine a better way to break the news to the media,” he noted wryly.

She stirred the coffee and added more sugar to it. Her brain needed all the glucose it could get so it could finally start doing its job well. She hadn’t been lying when she told him she only felt sixty percent functional. Her brain had stopped working from that moment she guzzled two glasses of wine in his hotel suite.

“Did I sound happy? Or crazy?” she asked him. “When I was calling everyone up, I mean.”

He grinned. “I particularly liked how you spoke to that Dave person.”

“What did I say to Dave?”

“I believe your exact words were ‘I found someone hotter than you by ten miles. Eat my space dust!’” he laughed, his ego bursting at the seams that his mate apparently thought he was hot. The memory of it was still enough to make him lose any control and finally explode in happiness.

Instead, she hung her head sadly and continued to stir her coffee. “If you knew me the way he did, he’d just think it was Megan doing a prank call.”

“I’m sure CNN will change his mind soon,” he told her gently. He glanced wryly at his wristwatch. “My publicist just scheduled a press conference for tomorrow. Apparently, CNN took your claims seriously and could not wait to see the mystery woman I married.”

“Really?” she replied blandly, her face resuming the polite mask she donned out of habit. When she felt her stomach settle and accept the bagel quietly, she decided to take a bite of fruit and chewed thoughtfully. Of course, she would have to tell her family first before the news of her sudden marriage to an apparently elusive business tycoon. Hopefully, she and her new husband would remain unharmed until the press conference tomorrow.

Knowing her brothers, she highly doubted that.

“Don’t worry, Cassandra. We’ll tell your family together.”

She snorted and sipped her coffee. He was making her lose all the poise and elegance finishing school had stamped into her and she had barely known this man for twenty-four hours. Ms. Stanley, her teacher, would die of mortification if she ever found out. Cassandra, herself, was already in the process of dying.

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