I had also tried to hide my middle name when I was signing the paperwork in front of him, the God-awful name that it was, but he had seen it and choked on his coffee, which Jury had brought in earlier. “Not one word. I plan to legally change it to Zeller later, and if you want that, then I would suggest you not make a comment.” I wouldn’t be able to take his last name, and he knew it. I could just imagine a Shifter asking me if I was Queen Ruckler, and I saying yes, but the Shifter smelling the lie. It couldn’t happen.

And it wasn’t my fault my mom had been so doped on Mys pain meds after my birth that she’d spelled my middle name wrong. It was supposed to be my grandmother’s maiden name. Shiltz. But she had left out the ‘l’, making it Shitz. Nice.

Ezra’s lips trembled as he stared between my face and the piece of paper I had just signed, but in the end he kept his trap shut…like a good husband. Of course, I already knew his middle name, which was Cahal after his dad, but now he knew why I had never mentioned mine to him. I still glared when he stoically signed his name underneath mine. He raised an eyebrow, lips pinched. “I didn’t say anything.”

I sighed, handing the sheet over. “You didn’t have to. It’s written all over your face.”

He made an odd gurgling noise, but luckily for him, he still didn’t say a word.

As did Judge, who blinked at the sheet in his hand. Stared. His lips twitched, but no comment was forthcoming, even as stoned as he was, which was damn remarkable. He then glowed golden, disappearing with our paperwork and taking it himself to wherever Mysticals turned in their paperwork for marriages so it would be kept quiet without passing through the hands of anyone else who would see our names together.

During the lull, I ran my hand ran up and down Ezra’s thigh. We had changed back into our normal street clothes. It was soft leather over heated skin I was touching. “Maybe I should have Jury take a picture of us, so I’ll have a photo of you in these pants.” Mmm. I grinned as Jury rushed out of the room, not even needing to be really asked, quite the dutiful assistant. We had the DVD of our wedding in hand, but I wanted a picture. “Where did you get them?”

He rested back further on his chair, spreading his legs wide. “I borrowed them from a store.”

I laughed outright. “Borrowed?”

“Indefinitely, naturally,” he murmured, lighting a cigarette and smirking. “So, you do like them? You haven’t said anything yet.”

I leaned over and stroked his lips with mine a touch hungrily, tasting spice and tobacco. “Uh-huh. They hug your ass perfectly.” And, dear merciful heavens, did they. And said ass was mine. My wolf growled a little.

Ezra’s chuckle vibrated against my lips. “I’ll have to borrow a few more if they make you react like this all the time.”

Ignoring the fact I was panting a bit, I nipped his lip. “Promise?”

“Oh, yes,” he whispered, eyes roaming my face, flaring with heat. “Most definitely.”

Jury took two pictures for us. A close-up and one at a distance — to get his pants in the picture — then she quickly scanned them, printed the shots, and deleted the images from the memory card. Judge reappeared right about that time, grinning like the devil as he waggled the copy of our official marriage certificate in his hand. All went into an envelope — marriage certificate, pictures, DVD — that we addressed to the spelled PO Box I had in New York, since it wasn’t safe to cart items like these around, risking being caught. Ezra had surprised me initially by mentioning the PO Box when I had sat stumped after they had asked for an address, apparently he having memorized the list I had given him about all my hideaways worldwide, but it was genius. So after we watched Judge physically sigh in resignation, his fun done before completing the memory spell on both himself and Jury, we left the house unnoticed, both Judge and Jury snoozing and completely oblivious to the events that had taken place in the study. We had our stamped envelope, our rings, and a life together ahead of us.

“You’re so mine, wife,” Ezra rumbled against my ear, holding me from behind as I unlocked Lynn’s SUV.

“Yes, I am,” I purred, turning my head to kiss his bristly cheek. “And you’re so mine, husband.”

“Mmm.” He nuzzled against my neck, growling softly, “Yes, I am most definitely yours.”

Chapter Twenty-Three

Dropping off the envelope at the post office took hardly any extra time since there was one close to the vacant house. Upon entering said house, we quickly jetted past Cahal, who had a brand new bottle of whiskey in his hand — the other empty by his feet — while he growled a little under his breath at us. We headed straight for the room where we could hear Brenna and Brann still up and playing, even though it was close to midnight. Lynn was half passed out, completely exhausted, and we took a few minutes to quiet Brenna and Brann, only leaving the room when their breathing evened out, their eyes closed, tucked next to each other under a sleeping bag Lynn had been quick enough to pack.

After shutting the door quietly behind us, Ezra moved swiftly, backing me into the far bedroom. I grinned, but I placed a gentle hand against his arm as he shut and locked the door behind us. “Ezra, I understand if you don’t want to do this right now.” I turned his face toward me when he froze. “Other than the fact your father will be able to hear every damn thing happening in here,” in the other hotels, we had made sure to get rooms far away from his parents, “you’ve had two very…trying…days. We can just rest.” I stroked his clenched jaw. “I know you feel like you should, but we don’t have to.” It wasn’t like we had to legally consummate the marriage after the ceremony. It was only tradition, Judge had whispered to me earlier when he had realized I didn’t know everything about Mystical weddings.

I saw his lips thin in the dark bedroom that was barely lit by the streetlight shining through the lone window. He turned, pulling my front flush against his chest. His warmth surrounded me. “I want to.” There was a bit of desperation to his tone, truth his scent. “And we can be quiet.”

My gaze darted back and forth between his. He was hurting and hiding it damn well, but more than likely re-entering this house had made his anguish resurface, decent thoughts gone. I nodded slowly. “Whatever you need.” In the next second, the way his mouth attacked mine, and later the quiet but extensive lovemaking session, told me just how much he needed to forget, to be soothed, and I helped by loving him physically and mentally, giving him all that he needed.

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