It’s Matrimonial March on my blog, and what better way to celebrate than with the nuptials between a hot alpha werewolf and a powerful water elemental? When these two get together, sparks always fly. If you’d like to read Cade and Mara’s story, check out A Shift in the Water, the sexy bestselling urban fantasy from Patricia D. Eddy. This scene takes place a few months after A Shift in the Water, so if you dislike spoilers, stop reading now, bookmark this blog, go buy the book, read it (and leave a review!), and then come back.
Got it? Done? Good – carry on!
Mara Taylor fiddled with the wire-wrapped crystal at the hollow of her throat. “I don’t understand why I’m nervous,” she said, glancing at Livie in the mirror. The petite, blond wolf fastened the last few buttons at Mara’s back.
Mara covered her delicate snort with her hand. The emerald winked in the sunlight that streamed in through her bedroom window. “We’re mated. This is…for the courts. Health insurance. Taxes.”
“Aw, don’t tell Cade that.”
A coo, followed by a whimper came from the mobile crib in the corner of the room. Livie’s daughter, Serena, was awake and hungry. With a sigh, Livie picked her up and settled her against her breast. Mara blushed and turned away.
“He wants this.”
“Bossman isn’t big on ceremony, but this one…it’s important to him.” Livie reached out for Mara’s hand. “And you need to get over being embarrassed when I pop out a breast. You’re pack now. And you’ve already seen me naked. More than once.”
Turning, Mara kept her gaze locked on Livie’s face. The wolf was right, but that didn’t mean Mara could just turn off decades of human nature. Wolves didn’t care about nakedness. Not really. She smoothed a hand down her belly. Nerves had settled there and a vague feeling of nausea passed quickly through her. “He wouldn’t leave me alone last night. I think”—she blushed—“three times.”
“No wonder you look a little tired. Call a little water. Otherwise he’s not going to be happy when he sees you.”
Mara focused on her face in the mirror. Ugh. Livie was right. A hint of darkness bracketed her eyes. Cade was so overprotective that he’d been known to pick her up and take her into the bath—stripping her naked and putting her into the shower. It hadn’t happened often, mainly because Mara had read him the riot act the last time, but he couldn’t help it. The mating strengthened every protective instinct Cade had.
The pleasant tones of her elemental song filled her ears, and the air in the room thickened and filled with the scent of almonds and coconut. A deep sense of calm settled over her and even the baby seemed to sense it. Serena cooed happily and gurgled while Livie patted her back. Mara and Livie had formed a strong and fast friendship over the past few months, made stronger by Mara’s way with the baby. Serena seemed to love her, and recognized her—or Cade’s scent on her. Even at only three months old, the tiny werewolf knew that Cade was alpha. She never cried for him, and Livie had twice shown up at their door in the middle of the night, in tears from lack of sleep.
“Better,” Livie said. “Okay. Let’s get you to the lake.”
Liam stood at his side on the dock, a wool vest over his dark blue button-down shirt. His beta wolf, a tall, solid Irishman with reddish-brown hair that fell to his shoulders, shuffled his feet a few times, not entirely comfortable with the impending ceremony. It wasn’t Mara. In the past few months, Liam had well warmed to Cade’s mate, largely because Mara wouldn’t accept any other outcome. She’d won him over. But a wedding threatened to undo Liam. Seven years ago, his own mate—or intended mate anyway—had committed suicide after claiming another elemental was after her. Liam had never forgiven himself for it. Being around Mara, who was a water elemental, and seeing her and Cade so happy together often brought him pain, though he did his best to hide it from everyone.
“Are you sure about this, mate?” Liam grinned and jabbed Cade lightly in the ribs. The long-held sadness in Liam’s eyes gave Cade pause. Sensing the discomfort, Liam sobered. “Don’t go there today. We’re celebratin’. I miss her. Every damn day and I never even completed the matin’. But that doesn’t mean I can’t be happy for ya. I didn’t want ya to claim an elemental. Hell, the likelihood of it happenin’ to both of us…” He shook his head. “But she’s yours and she’s good for all of us. She makes ya happy and that makes me happy.”
“Thank you.” Cade clapped his beta on the back and stared out over the water. He felt her even before he saw her. The air filled with the scent of almonds and coconut, and Cade broke into a smile so wide, his cheeks ached. His beautiful mate walked towards him, the silvery material of her dress shimmering in the spring sunlight. Livie followed, the baby balanced on her hip.
Jen, Mara’s best friend, stood at the end of the dock in a black pantsuit. She’d been ordained—online—so she could perform the ceremony. The rest of the pack filled in around them: Christine dabbed at her eyes, Ollie and Peter wore matching grins, and Shawn looked to his mate, his eyes warming with pride at his little family. Their daughter was strong and Livie hoped one day she’d lead a pack of her own.
“You’re stunning, honey.” Cade brushed a kiss to Mara’s cheek. She hadn’t been sleeping well lately, and he’d contemplated another trip to Oregon to the elemental community there. Mara had both fire and water in her, though water was dominant. She was learning to work with her fire, but it left her tired and achy more often than not. But today, she looked rested and strong. He scented her and found her elements strong and balanced.
“You don’t look too bad yourself, shaggy man.” They linked fingers and faced Jen.
The woman nodded at everyone and grinned. “When Mara and Cade asked me to marry them, I panicked a little. After all, how do you come up with a wedding ceremony fitting their love story? But then it came to me. We’re surrounded by water. Water insulates, it comforts, and it calms. Water protects. It’s a driving force for change, but that change is often gentle and slow. Water cleanses, purifies, and sustains life. Mara is all of that for Cade. She protected him when he couldn’t protect himself. She healed him. Comforted him. Calmed him.
“We’re here among the wilds”—she gestured to the reeds and tall trees that surrounded this end of the lake—“to represent Cade. The water plants provide protection and oxygen for the fish and ducks. The brush shelters the wild animals from the harsh life of the city. The trees hide the eagles, the birds, and the squirrels. An alpha protects his pack and his mate. An alpha stands tall, like these pines. Cade saved Mara, gave her the strength she needed to embrace her element, and though she’s tough and stubborn”—Jen grinned and the pack stifled a chuckle in unison—“he stands tall against anyone who wishes her harm.
“Mara, do you accept Cade as your husband?”
Cade blew out a breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding. He hadn’t expected her to say no, but he hadn’t known how important this formality was to him until this moment.
“And do you, Cade, accept Mara as your wife?”
“You’re damn right I do.”
This time, everyone laughed.
Jen laid her hands over theirs. “The sun, the Goddess, and the water witness and bless this union. I now pronounce you married. Cade, not that you need permission—”
He didn’t. Cade swept Mara into his arms. Her element washed over him, droplets of water landing softly in his hair. “I love you, honey. So much it hurts. But it’s a sweet torture I want every day of my life. You saved me, in more ways than you’ll ever know.”
“We saved each other,” she murmured, her green eyes misty. “I knew from the first moment I saw you in my bed that my life would never be the same. I didn’t know what love could do—how it could become everything—but I know now. You are my heart. Now kiss me.”
A growl tore through his chest. Oh yes. He was going to kiss the hell out of her. His wife. His mate. His Mara. He licked his lips. “Are you sure?”
“Yes, shaggy man. And then take me home.” She moved closer to whisper against his ear. “I don’t care that it’s the middle of the afternoon. We’re starting the wedding night early.”
His wolf rumbled under his skin and he risked a quick glance towards his pack. They all looked on expectantly.
“Get on with it, mate,” Liam urged. “Kiss her.”
Cade tightened his hold on his wife. Wife. He liked the sound of that almost as much as mate. Their lips met, her tongue slid along his, and she pressed her hips closer. When she nipped at him, her hand sliding down to squeeze his ass, he growled again. “Home. Now.” He picked her up, earning a laugh and applause from his pack, and strode with her towards the car.
Light danced in Mara’s eyes. “Sorry, guys. I think…you’ll have to celebrate without us for at least an hour!” she called over his shoulder.
“Better make it four,” Cade said. “Maybe we’ll see you for dinner.” The scent of Mara’s arousal flooded his senses. “Or not.”
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