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Dream Jacob/OC. Post-Eclipse. Elizabeth Foster is your typical grad student. When she interns on a summer research project looking for dire wolves in the Olympic Peninsula, she finds more than she bargained for.


19. Practice Makes Perfect

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PART NINETEEN: Practice Makes Perfect

[Elizabeth POV]

The engine of the bike growled powerfully beneath us, a rolling thrum that started deep and low and climbed in intensity as we accelerated. I tightened my arms around Jake's waist and lifted my face to the air, eyes closed, as it washed over us. This must be what flying felt like, every fiber of my being set free by the sensation of racing the wind. I shivered and leaned my cheek against the warm strength of his back, watching the blue-gray sea as it swept past. The road had been left behind a while ago, the bike navigating the rocky beach paths with ease. Even had I known where we were going, it wouldn't have mattered. In that moment, if he'd asked me to go with him to the ends of the earth I'd have agreed.

The sea cliffs stretched on for miles, huge sea stacks looming like sentinels beyond the waves. We slowed, and I realized that we'd come into a sheltered cove, an arm of the cliff face sweeping out into the water to create a secluded haven. Jake stopped the motorcycle and let the engine idle. When he looked back over his shoulder at me, his smile made my heart do strange things in my chest. "Would you mind if we hung out here for a little while?"

I edged forward, kissing the back of his neck. "As long as you're here, I don't mind at all."

He cut the engine and stepped off, offering me his hand with a sketchy bow, dark eyes dancing as I laughed and placed my hand in his. Instead of letting go, he brought my hand to his lips, pressing a kiss to the back before turning it over to leave another in the center of my palm. I caressed his cheek with my fingertips, wondering what the chances were that I'd have two such men in my life that could make me feel as I did in that moment. Two such different men, and yet both strong and loving, challenging on every level... and all but impossible to resist. "What is it?" he murmured softly.

I shook my head, standing on tiptoe to press my lips softly to his. "Just wondering when I'm going to wake up."

"Never..." He held me there, deepening the kiss. "Not if I have anything to say about it."

We wandered down the beach together, hand in hand, pausing to explore a tide pool. I tickled a golden starfish and watched it flee under a rock, giggling as tiny fish came to nibble at my fingers. Jake coaxed me to the edge of the surf, and I tiptoed barefoot through the cold water, watching him wade out deeper as though the cold didn't touch him. I bent down to pick up a spiraled shell and ran a handful of rocky sand through my fingers. The sand here was different than even the Oregon beaches. More like a conglomerate of tiny river stones than the soft powder of more civilized places. The Olympic coast never let you forget that you had ventured into a wilderness with no inclination to be tame.

Calf-deep in the chilly water now, I watched a small crab scuttle by, a frond of seaweed clutched in its claws. Focused on what was going on by my feet, I forgot that my companion had a taste for mischief. Stalking his way toward me in the shallow water, he waited for a well-timed wave to ride in on, and threw his arms around my legs. With a squeak of alarm, arms flailing, I tumbled into him and the cold water, and was promptly soaked as a wave rolled over my head.

"Jacob Black, you're a dead man!" He was so impressed that he rolled around in the surf, laughing. Freezing my butt off, I scowled at him as the waves kept knocking me over when I tried to get up. Apparently I looked sufficiently miserable for him to take pity on.

"I'm sorry, baby," he was still chuckling as he dragged me into his arms. "You're just so cute when you squeak."

"The water is cold." And if he hadn't been so damned warm, I would have pushed him off. I gasped as he stood up with me in his arms. The wind plus my soaked clothes didn't do much to warm me. No, that was all about him, and I had a sneaking suspicion he'd planned it that way. I could feel the heat rising off his skin even through his wet shirt, it was scalding against the hand I had curled around the back of his neck.

"Better?" The look in his eyes then was more warming than anything.

"No," I said stubbornly. "I'm soaking wet and freezing cold." I meant to say more, but he stole the breath I'd intended for it. The contact made me acutely aware of the fact that there were two layers of wet cloth between us, and that I wanted badly to warm myself against his bare skin.

"What about now?" he breathed against my lips.

"A little better-" He cut me off, walking up the beach as we kissed. I was aware of little else but his lips on mine, his tongue stroking the inner curves of my mouth, until he ducked inside a cave nestled into the slope of the cliff wall. Pulling back, he set me on my feet. There was a fire ring in the center of the sandy floor, and a pile of driftwood against one wall, this place had obviously had tenants before. "What is this place?"

"Me, Quil and Embry used to come here all the time." Jake explained, snagging an armload of the driftwood. "It's a good place to camp when you want to be a ways from the folks."

"Is that what we're up to now?" I arched an eyebrow, watching him arrange the wood in preparation for making a fire. "Getting away from the folks?"

He looked up at me, the expression on his face a little shy. "That's one way to put it." Clearing his throat, he fussed with the wood a bit more. "I thought you might appreciate a chance to dry off and warm up a little."

Making a decision, I moved over to him. My hand rested on the top of his head where he knelt by the firewood and I stroked his hair. Still wet from the surf, it fell heavy and damp to his shoulders. "Yeah, I'd like that." I threaded my fingers through the glossy, dark strands that fell into his face and caressed his temple, then his cheek, sliding down the stubborn jut of his jaw before gently urging him to look up at me. "I'd like that very much."

Jake wrapped his arms around me, slipping his hands beneath the hem of my sodden t-shirt. I shivered as the heat of his palms pressed into the small of my back and chased away the chill. He nudged my shirt higher, pressing a warm, wet kiss to my bared stomach, his dark eyes avidly watching my face as my eyelashes fluttered. The shirt kept hitching its way upward, bringing with it the blessed warmth of his touch. My breath hissed through my teeth as he marked me with a love bite right above the navel, and my nails dug into his shoulder blades as he lingered.

"Are you going to warm me up or eat me for dinner?" I whispered hoarsely. Dark eyes lifted to my face, and the look in them made my heart race, my body all too aware of how close he was. Without answering, he rose to his feet, and I raised my arms so that he could tug off my shirt, leaving me in just my jeans and bra. His fingertips slid over damp lace hesitantly, unsure of where they were allowed to go. I lightly took hold of his wrists and guided his hands to cup my breasts, stepping into him.

The kiss we shared this time was more tentative, his confidence faltering as we took the first steps into unfamiliar territory. I laid my hands over his, prompting them to move, to explore, gasping into his mouth as his thumb brushed my nipple through the thin fabric. I shivered, but that had more to do with cold than with what we were doing, and he was aware enough to realize it. "God, I'm sorry," he breathed. "I got distracted. Hang on, I'll be right back." Tugging off his ice-cold shirt, he ducked out of the cave and left me blinking after him, curious as to what exactly had warranted the disruption.

He made it back in record time, toting two folded blankets and a lighter. Handing the blankets off to me, he concentrated on getting the fire going. I chose a likely place and spread the blankets out, making a relatively snug bed. Then I straightened, watching his back as he worked over the driftwood, building up a fire that should last us for a while. It gave me a moment to think, contemplating what I was about to do... and then I simply followed through. Unbuttoning my jeans, I pulled the zipper down and began wiggling out of the wet denim. I had just stepped out of them, smoothing my hands over my hips, when he turned back toward me.

We both went still. I ducked my head, looking down at myself. Somehow I'd had the presence of mind to match panties with bra this morning, both were dark blue lace, but that didn't help the fact that I could still feel his eyes on me. I bit my lip, the silence stretching on a little too long for comfort. "Are-" my voice faltered, and I realized that even though I'd done this before, I was nervous. I ran a hand through my damp curls, tugging the confining rubber band free, and swallowed hard. "Are you disappointed?"

He didn't answer, but I could feel the heat of his body as he approached, and then his arms were around me, lifting me off my feet as his mouth devoured mine. I have no other word for it, there was a hunger in him that immediately brought my own desires roaring to the forefront. He might be inexperienced in lovemaking, but my wolf was a natural when it came to kissing. His lips were scorching, sucking and teasing, his tongue fierce and soft as he thoroughly claimed my mouth. Years of mourning, of self-imposed denial were all washed away in an instant. There was only him, my Jacob, and I wanted him desperately.

If my mouth were hungry, my hands were bent for conquest, sweeping over the hard muscles of his stomach and the chiseled perfection of his chest. His hands were repeating what I'd taught him before, cupping the newfound curiousity of my breasts, maddeningly teasing my nipples through a barrier of lace. Then our kissing was disrupted by a fierce growl as he tugged in futility at my bra, fumbling in all the wrong places for the catch. I laughed, I couldn't help myself. Jake pulled back just far enough to glower, and I laughed harder.

"No, no, I'm sorry. Don't look at me that way," I protested breathlessly. "It's just..." I snickered as his look darkened. "Honestly, look." I turned around so that he could see clearly, and deftly unfastened the two hooks that held the bra band. "Just a little lesson for Advanced..." I trailed off as his fingertips pushed aside the bra to leave my back exposed, his thumbs applying firm but gentle pressure along my spine. "Undressing..." I rolled my neck, pulling my hair over my shoulder. "That feels amazing." He traced the outline of my tattoo, then lightly touched the half-healed wounds from the bear. His lips followed, exploring my shoulder blades and the nape of my neck. Nuzzling into the hollow where neck and spine joined, he bit down gently, making my breath into a hiss as he smoothed over the indentations of his teeth with slow strokes of his tongue.

"In case I wasn't clear," he whispered against my shoulder. "I'm not disappointed." He eased the straps of my bra off my shoulders. "At all." A light tug, and he guided the blue lace down my arms, letting it fall to the sand at our feet. Strong hands circled my waist, pulled me back against his chest. Bare skin to bare skin, the heat of him was like a banked fire, I closed my eyes for a long moment and just basked. Then I opened them again to watch his hands traveling up my body to close around my breasts, his coppery skin contrasted against my fair. My breath was uneven as he rolled them gently between his fingers, and as I leaned into him I became aware that I wasn't the only one affected.

I turned in the circle of his arms, and it was hard not to be staggered by the sight of him there; shirtless, hair sleek, eyes burning like dark flame. I had to steady myself with a hand on his chest before slowly letting my free hand drift downward. As my reward, his eyes went half-lidded, and he gripped my upper arms convulsively, remembering to ease up just shy of pain. The button of his jeans came undone, then the zipper, and I slid them down his muscular legs, dropping into a crouch to tug them over his feet. I grinned and brushed a kiss across his bare thigh before I slowly straightened, eyes dancing.

"You're evil," he whispered against my ear.

"Then we match." My hand slid up his neck and tangled in his hair to pull him down to me. I wanted to kiss him and badly, wanted to taste him, deep and strong like summer wine, and I was tired of waiting. But even as we kissed and his hands moved over me with greater confidence, his mouth discovering what worked and what didn't, my mind raced ahead those next few steps. He was eager and creative, but I was the one that knew what we were doing this time. I didn't have Josh's experience to fall back on.

"Jake..." I pulled back from his mouth, and he obligingly moved to my neck. Oh, that was distracting... "Jake... I have to talk to you."

"Mm, can it wait?" He nibbled my collarbone, his fingers toying with the waist of my panties.

"Not if you want those panties off," I said wryly. That got his attention. He drew back just far enough to meet my eyes, frowning slightly. "How many pornos have you watched?"

"What?" Almost immediately, he flushed, although he rolled his eyes and tried to play it off. "Beth, what kind of question is that?"

"A serious one." I kept my arms loosely around his waist, toying with the waist of his underwear. Which also got his attention. "Basically I need you to forget them all." I took a deep breath, suddenly unable to meet his eyes. "The real thing may be a little awkward, maybe even a little strange the first time, but-" I found it hard to continue with his hand over my mouth.

"You always overthink things," he whispered. His fingers threaded through my hair, which was drying into loose waves. "I want to make love to you, Beth." The soft, sweet intensity of his words went through me like lightning. "I know I have a lot to learn... but they say that practice makes perfect."

"I just don't want you to be dis-"

"Stop that." The vehemence of his voice startled me and I blinked, taken aback. Sighing softly, he shook his head. "Just... come here." Moving away from me, he settled onto the bed I'd made for us from the blankets. The fire had taken away some of the chill, but it was still a little cooler than I'd like. Especially since I was still damp and wearing only my underwear. Still, I hesitated until he held out his hand to me.

We lay down together, the weak sunlight from the cave mouth eclipsed by heavy stormclouds. Firelight cast him in bronze shadows, a creature of forest and earth, with a breath of wind to move him and a gleam of starlight in his dark eyes. Mortal and fragile, I dared to embrace him, to taste his mouth and touch his body, to weave a gilded net of my soul to ensnare him to me.

Are you nervous?" He smiled as he spoke, a soft and beautiful smile.

"A little," I whispered back.

"Me too." He kissed his way down the slope of my jaw as I guided his hands, begging him to touch me. "I love you," he breathed, but the energy between us had changed, both of us ready for something less civilized.

Abruptly, Jake reached his limit of teasing. He pulled free, wrapped an arm around my waist and rolled so that I was beneath him, his weight supported on his arms so he wouldn't crush me. We kissed, rough and wild, and I captured his bottom lip between my teeth, biting down just hard enough to make him growl. He slid between my thighs and I wrapped my legs around his waist, leaning up to whisper into his ear. "Slow at first. Okay?"

He nodded and made an effort to be gentle again as he kissed me. "Stop me if I hurt you. No matter what." His heart was racing, I could feel it thundering against my skin, but I felt strangely calm in the wake of my nerves and deeply in love with the man I was entwined with. Jake held himself so tightly, with such restraint that I was afraid he might tear himself apart.

"Let go, my wolf," I breathed into his ear, wrapping my arms around him as he trembled. "Let go."

What passed between us then went beyond words, because there are no words to adequately describe the communion of souls who were born for one another. Sex seems a vulgar name, and making love merely trite. When we let go of who we were as individuals, and became who we could be together. There was no fear of hurt and no pain, only pure joy and delight in causing pleasure, in being close, along with a driving need to push the limits of the physical.

Jake's rhythm was mine, and his pleasure was mine, too. Our lips spoke without words, but with tongues and teeth and hot, wet silence. Then he pulled away restlessly and whispered my name, stifling a moan against my neck as he moved faster. I lifted my hips, my fingernails biting lightly into the skin of his back, as a familiar pressure began to build at the base of my spine. His need became frantic, his kisses desperate, hands digging into the blankets and the sand beneath them. He was walking a fine edge of control, and I caressed his face to make him look at me. "Jake..." The feral light was back in his eyes, and I took a deep breath and called him back. "I love you. I love you, Jake."

Eyes wide, he moved inside me once and once again, and then he curled around my body with a hoarse cry, a tremor going through him that wracked us both. I heard my name, Elizabeth, wrenched from him like a prayer of supplication, and gave myself up to release, clinging to him with body and soul.