Chapter 10: I, Nancy Ann Stone...
“Nancy, can we talk on the porch for a bit?”
My stomach flipped, my heart started pounding in my chest and my mouth got dry as my body warred against itself. Shay stood in the doorway, and he took my breath away. I’d never seen an Alpha who was so physically intimidating. He had to be six-foot-nine, he had to tilt his head a little to go through the doorway. He wasn’t skinny, he was muscular, his shoulders so broad they touched the doorway on both sides. His black hair hung down to his shoulders, a leather loop pulling it away from his face. He had piercing green eyes, high cheekbones, a chiseled jaw and a nose that had been broken a few times in the fighting ring. He was everything a she-wolf could ask for, and I knew what was hidden under his basketball shorts and T-shirt was just as impressive as what was exposed. He had his arms crossed across his chest, causing his biceps to bulge out while he stood there nervously.
I couldn’t find the words to even respond. My wolf was going nuts in my head, spinning around in circles and sending me images of him in the process of mating with me. She loved his power, his strength, and his loyalty to his Pack and his cousin. The story of his revenge had turned her on even more.
“I’ll get you some drinks,” Mary said as she ran for the kitchen.
I stood there staring at him, my mouth open. “Awkward, party of one,” my wolf teased. “Go to mate, he is ours,” she pleaded.
I let out a breath when he turned and walked towards the door leading to the front porch. I somehow got my legs to move as I followed him. When he held the door open, I scurried through, tingles rushing down my arm as I brushed up against him on the way past. He turned to follow behind me and I flinched a little, moving quickly to stay ahead.
I hated myself right now. Here was my mate, a worthy wolf, and my body’s reaction to him was to behave as if he was just like the other men; the rapists, the sadistic bastards who would hit and hurt me at will. I snuck a glance back, and his face had fallen at my reaction as well. “I’m sorry,” I whispered.
“It’s all right,” he said. I looked at the porch; there were several comfortable chairs, and a large hanging bench with cushions. My mind wanted her own space, but my wolf wanted him next to me. I moved to the bench and sat on the farthest edge while he looked at me. I smiled quickly and patted the cushion next to me. He sat down, the bench creaking under his weight.
I could feel the heat radiating from his body, it made me feel warm and protected inside. I hid my blush from him, looking out at the trees and the mountains while I tried to figure out what to say. I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t look at him, and eventually he took mercy on me. “Can I tell you a little about myself?”
“I’d like that,” I whispered back.
“My full name is Shay Thomas Kirkpatrick. I’m twenty-two, and I have been Alpha of the Cascade Creek pack in Washington since I turned eighteen.”
“Did you take over your Pack?”
“It was handed over to me by my uncle. My family is from British Columbia, my mother was the older sister of Uncle Seamus. He lost his mate in an attack when he was twenty and she was fifteen, before they could complete the mating under the law. With no heir, he turned to me; my older brother Patrick is now Alpha of my previous Pack in Jasper. As soon as I was of age, he turned it over to me.”
“Why would he do that?”
His broad shoulders slumped. “His heart just wasn’t in it. I can’t imagine what it was like for him, he had all the responsibility of the Pack and he knew no one was there for him to share it with. Mom says a part of him died that day and would never come back.”
I knew just what he was talking about, I could see it in the eyes of all the other Lunas. They told me it was like having a part of your soul ripped from your chest, a hole that could never be filled again. “I’m sorry.”
He smiled a little. “He’s better now. As a former Alpha, he’s able to move around a lot. He’s visited Packs all around North America, even Europe. He keeps busy mediating disputes, performing ceremonies and telling stories of the old days, even though he’s only forty.” He laughed, making my stomach flip again. “He acts like he’s this wise old Elder, but he’s my Uncle Seamus, who used to give me wolf rides and taught me how to fish.”
My hand had fallen to the cushion between us as we talked, and somehow his did as well. I jumped a little as his thumb brushed against mine, the contact sending pleasurable shocks up my arm. I forced myself to calm, leaving my hand there. It was comforting, even though I was still jumpy at being so near a large male. “So you grew up in Canada, eh, hoser?”
He laughed. “Yep. The Cascades aren’t that different from home. It’s beautiful back there- the climate is a little milder, the forests are thick and old, the mountains steep and challenging. We have plenty of game, and we are isolated from humans. It’s a winding drive on a two-lane road to our little logging town, and we don’t get many visitors. We have to keep track of the hikers and campers, but we still have room to run as a Pack.”
“How many in your Pack?” I swallowed as his hand moved over, my fingers almost moving on their own to interlock with his. I stared down at it, watching my smaller, pale fingers among his large, deeply tanned ones. His hand dwarfed mine.
“Two hundred thirty-eight, but I have eighteen women pregnant right now. Our Pack is doing well, we own a lot of land we harvest lumber on, and we do mail-order custom furniture and cabin furnishings. Our custom shop has always done well, and we are branching out into more mass production.”
I looked down at his hands, they were the hands of a man used to working with them. “What… what are your Pack laws about women?” This was a deal breaker in my book, I could never be a part of a Pack like Alpha Kendrick’s.
“Our women are respected and protected,” he said. “I believe in giving every wolf the chance to be whatever they can be, to rise as far as their talents and will allows. You have seen my Beta and my Warriors, but there are others back home. I have female warriors, female Betas too, but most who choose to fight are men.”
I moved my fingers, causing new tingles to erupt. “Why didn’t any female warriors come with you?”
He squeezed my hand gently. “Because not all Packs are like mine,” he said. “Especially not Kendrick’s. When I heard Kirstens Pack had been attacked by him, I feared the worst. I couldn’t bear the thought of a female being captured and used in that way, so I asked for only male volunteers. I took half of my warriors and rushed here, but it was too late.” His voice broke a little, and I could see a tear forming in his eye as he thought about his loss. He may be big and intimidating, but I could see the caring, sensitive male he was underneath. “But, I found you, and that is enough. I’ve been looking for you since I was sixteen, and I finally found you.”
Now I was starting to cry. Here was a great Alpha, a strong wolf, and what he had been waiting for his whole life turned out to be a used-up pack slave who couldn’t sleep for two hours straight, couldn’t avoid flinching around men and had taken more cock than a Bangkok whorehouse.
Luna must have made a mistake, he deserved so much more than me. He deserved someone strong, who could stand by his side proudly. Someone who wouldn’t be whispered and joked about as she passed by. Someone who didn’t have all my issues, fears and behaviors. I pulled my hand back from his, instantly missing the contact. I couldn’t do this to him, I couldn’t weaken him and his Pack. I jumped up like I’d been shocked, and turned to face him. “You’re a good man, Shay. You deserve better than me.”
“No, I…” He jumped up as well, the hanging bench swaying behind him.
“I, Nancy Anne Stone, re-“
“NOOOOO!” He dropped to his knees before me. “Please, don’t do this to me, don’t do this to us. Give me a chance.” My wolf was howling in pain at the thought of what my human side was doing, she didn’t want this, she wanted her MATE and she wanted him NOW.
“I’m sorry, Shay. I’m too broken to be your mate.” I ran off like the coward I was, pushing through the door and rushing past a shocked Mary and Catherine. Tears were falling down my face as I opened the door to my room; I locked it behind me and threw myself on the bed sobbing.
“Why can’t I have nice things,” I asked my wolf.
“You hurt our mate,” she replied. “He understands, he is what we need.” I pulled my pillows around me and cried myself to sleep, just like almost every other night since that bastard had ruined my life.
I had been smiling inside as I ate a late dinner with Mary, everything was looking up. I would miss the twins, but they had a Pack and a Territory and could rule together. Nancy was making progress, I had worried she’d never be able to be alone with a man again.
“They’re holding hands out there,” Vivian said as she went to the fridge and grabbed a bottle of juice.
“Give them space, they need time together,” I said. “Luna knows she deserves something good in her life.” Nancy was different than the rest of us because she had been unmated when her Pack was taken; the only male attention she knew was the worst kind. The rest of us could place sex in a better context from before, while Kendrick had taken her innocence in the most public of ways.
“I pray he can find a way through her defenses,” Vivian said as she sat down with a few cookies left over from dinner. “It won’t be easy.” None of us were in good shape mentally and we knew it. Nightmares, phobias, we could keep a shrink on staff and still not have enough. I couldn’t stand having a male behind me, and I couldn’t sleep unless one of my friends was in bed with me.
Vivian had just gone to put her plate in the sink when I heard the commotion from outside. Nancy pulled the door open and raced through, tears falling as she ran upstairs to her room. We looked back at the door, and I could hear Shay crying out in pain. “Go,” I told Mary who was already moving. I went outside to find Shay on his knees, his hands covering his face as sobs racked his body. I moved around him and sat on the chair next to the hanging bench, waiting for him to stop.
It took a few minutes, but he dropped his hands and pulled his shirt up to wipe his face off. “Is she all right?”
“She’s a long damn way from all right, we all are,” I said. “What set her off?”
He got up and slumped back into a chair across from me. “I don’t know, I thought things were going well. She let me hold her hand, I could feel the bond and I know she could too. We talked about my Pack, my life, and I told her how lucky I was to have finally found her. Next thing I know she’s crying and she starts to reject me.” He looked down at his feet. “She told me I deserve better, that she’s too broken for me.”
“And what do you think?”
“I love her. I’d do anything for her, and I don’t want anyone else. She almost broke me when she started to say the words.”
“Then wait for her. Mary said she locked herself in her room.” I got up and turned to go. “She does want you, she just puts others ahead of herself because she thinks she has no worth any more. She was going to reject you because she thought that would be the best thing for you. Your job is to convince her you love her, and her past doesn’t matter to you. It won’t be easy.”
He sighed. “Good things rarely are.”
I smiled as I left. “She can’t help how she reacts to males, but wolves she is all right with. Use her wolf against her.” I heard him pull his clothes off then the sound of bones changing as he quickly shifted. I held the door open for the huge black wolf who trotted past, giving his head a pat as he went by. He went up the stairs and curled up in front of the locked door, his form blocking the entire hallway.
Vivian, Mary and I had to carefully step around him as we made our way to bed. We showered and climbed into bed together, finding comfort in each other as we entered our broken night of sleep.
My heart was breaking for my mate as I stayed outside her room. Every time she cried out in her sleep, every sob, every sniffle broke my heart. My wolf side hadn’t been satisfied with the Beta, he wanted to be covered in the blood of every male who had dared to touch what was HIS.
My human side knew that vengeance wouldn’t put her back together again.
I opened my eyes as I heard her scream for someone to stop. I whined, wanting to go to her, but knowing I couldn’t. I hear her move in bed, crying softly, then she went to the bathroom. I kept my head on my front paws as I listed for her to get back into bed, but instead I heard the door lock click. My head looked up, my tail wagging as the door opened and my beautiful mate stood there looking at me.
“Come on,” she said, “neither one of us is getting any sleep this way.” She walked to the bed and got in as I moved through and nosed the door closed. “Just stay in wolf form, all right? I don’t want to freak out if I wake up again.”
She held the covers up and I jumped up on the bed, working my way in so she was curled against my back and shoulders. We both calmed as the bond worked, and before I knew it we were asleep.