“Are you sure?” I asked him stupidly and he nodded.
“Flora listen, it’s not going to come between us. I won’t let her. Nothing she says is going to change anything now. You have to believe me.” His hands were shaking me and I nodded.
“I don’t want you to meet her. I need to handle this without involving you.” He said again and I was more than willing to let that happen.
She’d ruined everything once - I didn’t know how yet, just that she had. Not again.
“Never again.” Reece affirmed and I let out a little squeak. “I didn’t know that I said it out loud.” I admitted sheepishly, trying to control the blush but Reece had no care for it. Instead, he leaned closer and said, “You didn’t.” Which made Atticus and Sienna gasp.
The look of confusion was probably evident on my face because he proceeded to say, “I could read your mind.”
I only gaped at him like a fish, while Sienna filled in the silence.
“You haven’t even marked her!” She screamed in excitement and Atticus was looking at me proudly.
Wait, what? I don’t want someone to read my mind!
“Too bad, princess. You are now an open book.” The Alpha King teased, a half tilted smirk lighting his face up like a Christmas tree.
“Earlier in the car, she was so panicked! I almost thought that...” Atticus left the sentence midway, only adding to all my confusion.
“Yeah! I told her that too!” Sienna added, and suddenly I had Reece’s full attention. His eyes were narrow in doubt for a moment before a large, genuine smile came on his face.
“I have no idea what’s going on.” I stated, slumping back into the seat in annoyance. My gaze shifted to Xena. She was sleeping so peacefully, no idea about the events that had just taken place. It was unnatural.
“She’s awfully still.” I commented, but the three of them shushed my worries away. “It’s just the alcohol. Haven’t you seen ‘The Hangover’?” Sienna said airily while both the men nodded.
“I’ll have someone take her back to your room.” Hank’s voice said from behind, once again reminding me of the events that had unfolded. Good lord, you could probably distract me with a broken pencil tip!
Reece nodded to Hank and a second later April came towards us. It was then that I noticed all the other people.
Our bodyguards were out of their cars in scanty clothes. And it struck me - they had all run all the way! So many people to protect us...it was overwhelming to say the least. Reece followed my line of sight towards the rest of them before he turned back to me. “It’s okay, you’re worth it,” but something told me that he didn’t have to read my mind to know what I was thinking.
April walked forward, dressed in nothing but a loose long t-shirt that reached mid-thigh and I stepped out of the car, my gaze not leaving my best friend. I watched as she effortlessly helped her out of the car, and carried her over her shoulder like she was a stuffed doll! Before she left she also managed to do a small curtsy to Reece and me, with Reece being the King he is and me reacting with raised hands and a flustered face. I was not used to that!
Atticus whistled, “When she finds her mate all this is going to be such a fire starter.” And they laughed again with me out of the loop.
“The clothes,” Sienna explained. “You don’t think her mate would allow her to roam around like that, do you? Werewolves are extremely possessive.”
“And it works both ways.” Atticus added wisely.
And then he leaned slightly closer to me and said, “Especially Alphas, they’re the worst. And a King on top of that, well, all the best.” A low growl made it’s way from Reece’s chest, making Atticus shift back again, a playful look on his face.
“She’s this way sir.” Hank’s voice brought me back to the present and a gloomy atmosphere settled on us. The rest of the people had already disappeared. Reece hugged me tightly once again before lowering his head over mine. We were close, too close that even a small movement from either of us and our lips would touch.
“You’re not getting away this time.” Reece said softly and his breath made me dizzy.
Then his lips were on mine and I enthusiastically returned the bold kiss.
I wasn’t one to do such things - kiss in such a public space, but Reece made it really hard for me to control myself.
My body felt like it was on fire - the good kind.
My hands automatically went to his hair and his’ went behind my back, supporting me easily. I was pulling at his hair and his one hand began squeezing my waist like he couldn’t have enough of me and it drove me crazy. My mind couldn’t even function anymore.
And then abruptly, it stopped.
My mind stopped whirring and I began to feel more oriented. It was like I didn’t even have control anymore!
He’s driving me to an edge.
I gave him a confused look to which he responded with, “we have an audience, ketchup.”
Above his shoulder I saw Hank, Sienna and Atticus, the men were trying to look anywhere other than towards us while Sienna was outright staring at us in delight and I hid my face in Reece’s chest, trying to hide my embarrassment.
Why does this always happen to me?!
Reece let out a chuckle as his hand automatically went to my back.
“Cute.” He said softly and I blushed even further.
I moved out of his hold and maintained an appropriate distance as we walked over to them. Atticus split away for some other work and they began to discuss the woman in question while I listened.
Hank said that it was something she did that split us apart, I guess I would find out soon enough, like he said, I need only ask. I was curious though, and slightly blindsided. What had she done? I remembered her from back in college. She was a social girl, with a slightly blunt but amiable personality. Then overnight she changed, became more reserved and bratty. Whining all the time for Reece’s attention. Hank was a little better - he was never a friend to me but he didn’t come across as an enemy. Although since his confession, it became evident that he did in fact not like me either - or to put it more accurately, was more loyal to his cousin sister.
“Flora are you listening to me?” Reece asked me all of a sudden and I realized that I’d missed something they were saying.
“Yes?” I made it sound more like a question.
“Flora nothing is going to happen. Nothing she says or does is going to make any difference.”
I nodded at him, once. I had to put on a brave face.
If I’ve decided to get into this then I might as well not back out at the first sign of a hurdle right?
“Okay Reece.” I said, raising my eyes to look into his so he would know how genuine I was.
“Wait you’re not going? Go and show her her place!” Sienna’s voice broke our staring and I gave her a funny look.
“Real mature, Sienna.” I said to her with a smile, but nobody else said anything.
“I actually agree with that.” Hank said suddenly. He was the last person I’d expect to side with this.
I threw him a surprised look which didn’t deter him. I was getting a lot of curveballs today.
“I think that’s smart. If she sees us maybe she will eventually back off.” Reece surmised after a second and Hank nodded. “She needs a dose of the bitter truth,” he spoke without emotion and I began to worry about him.
“Come on then.” Reece said as he pulled me towards the reception and I pulled him right back. My calculative expression had shifted to a look of alarm.
“What? No! I don’t want to see her. You go see her, this isn’t something I need to be there for.” I protested and he gave me a wary look.
“You need to be there.” Reece told me insistently.
“Yeah Flo! Mark your territory!” Sienna cheered from behind and I let out a desperate laugh. They couldn’t be serious!
“Now come on. It’s time to put her in her place.” He encouraged me and I held my position.
“Seriously?” I asked him again. “Reece you’re a ...King. Are you sure you want people to know about me? Isn’t that unsafe?” I tried and he gave me a sideways look.
“Brianna isn’t going to tell anyone because she’ll be hoping to do some damage control.” Hank spoke up and I realized that his words rang true. Shit.
“Come on now.” Reece pulled and I gave in. I wasn’t one for confrontations.
We walked in through the doors and for the first time I noticed how people shied away from us, or more specifically, Reece.
He was their leader, the Alpha supreme. They didn’t cower in fear, their space was a sign of respect, not intimidation.
Although I suspect he could be intimidating when he wanted to be. He was huge, muscular, his green eyes could be calming but they could also be cold, intense. Not to mention that he probably slayed half the women with his looks.
And he was mine..I suppose.
Several staff members bowed their heads slightly to him, not enough to raise suspicion from the human vacationers, but enough to display their respect. They didn’t really acknowledge me, and I was thankful for that. Maybe they thought I was a consultant or something. I was human so they probably had no idea what was going on.
This made me slightly uneasy. A human among a million werewolves? Would they accept me?
I kept my distance from Reece, made it look like we were nothing but acquaintances. Reece raised an eyebrow at me but didn’t say anything.
One of the staff members came forward towards him, timidly and he stopped to speak to him.
“Mr. Wolf, sir.” He said with a slight bow and Reece gave me a sideways look.
He was using that title because he thought I was human and I let out a small smile.
“Yes, Will?” Reece looked at him.
Will seemed surprised that he remembered his name and it made him smile a bit.
“You umm, asked me to look into the umm well you actually asked Atticus but he told me to inform you directly about the umm-” he was adorable.
“Yes?” Reece urged him on. I detected a hint of impatience.
“About Deta Industries we found-” Will continued more strongly now.
“Let’s talk about that later. In my office, okay?” Reece immediately stopped him.
“Yes sir.” Will said quickly, giving him a curt nod and then vanishing away.
We walked further ahead, taking the elevator towards his room.
“Ready?” Reece asked me and I shook my head. My fists were clenched and I was sweating.
“Do you really need me here?” I asked him softly, knowing she would be able to hear us otherwise and he smiled.
“I need you everywhere.” He said before giving me a kiss on my forehead. A layer of warmth engulfed me and suddenly I felt braver. I could feel Sienna ogling her eyes at us in ecstasy.
“You did something.” I accused him in a whisper. He chuckled, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
And then the doors split apart.
“Reece-y! How- WHAT IS SHE DOING HERE?” Brianna’s tone went from puppy dog to screechy in an instant and an inappropriate giggle rose to my lips, but didn’t escape.
Grey and Daniella were already in the room and I noticed how Dani had switched to more decent clothes. Maybe Atticus was right - wolves were possessive. They both walked forward and hugged me even though we nearly drove back together. It was a display of allegiance, I realized. Sienna and Hank stood ahead of us, on the sides.
“She’s here because she’s my mate.” He answered clearly.
Wow. Someone doesn’t beat around the bush.
Brianna’s eyes narrowed at me and she gave me the meanest glare anyone can ever give.
I tried to hide myself behind Grey who stood protectively by my side, but Reece noticed that and pulled me closer to him, holding me ahead of him, but close nevertheless, one of his arms was possessively on my shoulder.
Grey didn’t bother to hide his smirk, while Dani tried to look impassive. Sienna was all out laughing and I tried to give her a stern glare but she didn’t meet my eye.
“WHAT?!” Was all that she could manage before glaring some more. I noticed that there were other people around the room. Three elders that I had not met before. Did she arrive with them? Or were they Reece’s companions?
She was tall. Probably a good three inches taller to me. Her light hair fell straight around her shoulders up till her chest. Her eyes were slits, and I couldn’t judge right then if they were naturally so, or it was her expression that made them that way.
Fate had been nice to her, she had a killer body and flawless, fair skin. Her nails had been painted a light pink and for one wild second I wondered if the nail polish would show up on her wolf.
That would look hilarious.
“Yes. You heard me correctly.” Reece said with the same firm tone.
“But you- I- we-” she sputtered and her eyes kept focusing from Reece to me and then back to Reece. For a second, I felt pity.
They were eyeing the exchange with interest, but they didn’t step into the conversation.
“I exposed her for the gold digging leech she was!” Brianna screamed loudly and the words hit me hard.
Maybe I should go-
“BRIANNA! Mind your language! This is the Luna Queen you are talking about!” Hank was the quickest to reply and we were all stunned into silence.
“Traitor.” She whispered cruelly but we all heard it. Hank stiffened but didn’t turn away his gaze. He looked at her stubbornly, betraying no emotion for his cousin.
“But Reece...what about us? And the bond we felt?” Her voice broke towards the end and all heads turned sharply towards her. She felt the bond for him too?!
“We both claim her. We know she is our mate.” He spoke clearly, unhindered by her sobs.
We? Who’s- Oh. The Wolf?
She moved to seat herself at one of the chairs in the hall, her head in her hands as she sobbed softly.
My heart ached.
She didn’t do anything to deserve this. She was just protecting the man she thought was her mate.
“We’re sorry.” The words rumbled out of my mouth before I could stop them and it was my turn to be the center of attention.
I cowered under Sienna’s gaze while Grey gave me an incredulous look.
“We need you to hand over the sources that gave you all the information two years back.” Reece continued unwaveringly, pausing to give me a stern look.
‘Later.’ I mouthed to him, and he shook his head at me.
“Later.” I said it loudly this time, giving him my firmest glare.
Couldn’t he see that she was in pieces? Maybe she was a victim too!
Dani gave me a supportive look and nodded to Reece, while Grey and Sienna were still tense.
“Reece, later.” I said for the second time out loud. As I turned to place a restraining hand on his shoulder. He eventually sighed and nodded.
From across the room the three men were eyeing us with interest and I felt the need to avoid their penetrating gaze.
“Later then.” Reece said to a whimpering Brianna.
Brianna raised her head to look at him through teary eyes but Reece didn’t give any indication of emotion, his expression remained impersonal and that irked me. She continued to stare at him, analyzing something while everyone watched her. She had stopped crying.
All of a sudden I found myself shadowed by Reece’s muscular back.
His hands were in front, his stance defensive and he let out a low, deadly growl.
Brianna was closer than I last saw her, she was no longer sitting on the chair but stood just a few feet away from Reece.
One of the men and Hank had moved next to her, facing towards her. He was in his forties, but he looked incredibly strong. His movement had been smooth and graceful, but something told me that this man with his wise eyes could be lethal when he wanted.
I peeked around from Reece’s side to see her looking at me with malice and my blood ran cold. Her expression bore none of the heartache she seemed to be having just five seconds ago. She looked lethal, and she looked deranged.
“You fucking bitch! I don’t know what you did but you cannot keep everyone fooled -”
“ENOUGH!” Reece bellowed and the whole room cowered under his tone. Everyone’s heads were bowed, including Brianna’s
“SHE IS YOUR QUEEN. TREAD CAREFULLY.” he snarled out, warning her and I felt myself knocked breathless by the force of his tone.
Sienna’s eyes had lost their color and they were now black.
Dani and Grey regarded me with protective eyes.
“You do not belong here. This is my Resort. Get out.” Sienna snarled and she threw Sienna a cold laugh.
It was eerie how she went from a pitiful girl to a crazed woman.
“Aah Sienna. A rogue has no right to interfere in pack business, right?” She said the sentence so sweetly, I didn’t even understand the insult until Sienna lunged at her.
It all happened too quickly.
I heard a vicious growl.
Dani was in front of me, blocking my view and mimicking Reece’s stance.
That’s when I heard it.
Everything in the room stopped. Everyone in the room stopped.
Brianna fell to her knees.
Elsewhere in the room Hank and Grey were struggling to remain standing.
Dani, who only moments ago was shielding me, was clinging on to me for support which I automatically gave her.
Only the man who stepped forward, Sienna and Reece stood standing.
“This is proof enough.” Reece spoke in the same deep baritone. It made me feel like anyone who heard it would instantly incinerate.
“She is standing.” Reece continued and I looked at Sienna to see her standing. She was looking right back at me with a proud smile on her face.
So was everyone else.
Why were they smiling at me?
And then it clicked.
The man, Sienna, Reece and I were standing.
Does that mean I wasn’t affected by his voice?
But how? Dani is so much stronger than me.
And then I sucked in a sharp breath.
“Y-You’re my mate.” I whispered softly. Saying it out aloud felt scary, but thrilling at the same time.
Admitting it ... Confirmed it.
Reece looked at me with something dangerously close to love. Everyone else was either in awe, or proud and if I hadn’t been supporting Daniella, I’d get out of there faster than anyone could say ‘pea.’
The effect of the command subsided and Dani could stand on her own. She gave me a tight hug which I was too shocked to return.
“That was quite a risk you took. Using Alpha Command near a human.” The man spoke up for the first time and I realized that if it knocked powerful creatures like them to the ground, a human probably wouldn’t stay conscious.
Grey hovered closer to us, his eyes scanning Dani even though she seemed to be doing well and I let a small smile play on my lips.
Werewolves were so protective.
“Like I said, she is my mate.” Reece responded, his eyes sending me a silent message, and I got it loud and clear.
He was showing me his faith, his trust in me. Warmth spread through my body, towards the tip of every single nerve.
Brianna hadn’t uttered a single word, she just looked at the ground, defeated.
“Leave now. Do not appear anywhere close to my mate.” Reece told her and she nodded. He maneuvered me behind him with Grey, Sienna and Dani all standing ahead of us as well, erecting a sort of wall between her and me.
She got up and left, and one of the two men standing behind her followed her out, bowing at Reece and me as he passed by - probably to get all the sources Reece asked for earlier.
“I apologize to the rest. I did not mean to unleash The Command on you.” Reece spoke quietly, and by the looks on their faces I knew that this was a rare occurrence.
“No worries Alpha.” Dani said cheerfully.
They all seemed to be in a good mood now that the crisis had been averted.
The closer man chuckled while Grey patted him on the back.
Sienna was lost in her own thoughts and my mind went back to Brianna’s words.
Reece moved closer to Sienna, and engulfed her in a hug. The action seemed to surprise her - he did not display emotions openly often.
Her usual cheery smile returned and she hugged him back after a moment.
“’We’re sorry?!’” Grey said suddenly and my attention moved from the happy moment to Grey’s burning eyes.
“You have nothing to apologize for!” He continued and I gave him a wary look.
“She’s been going around calling herself our Queen! When Reece didn’t even acknowledge the bond!” Dani piped in and I sighed.
“No buts! What do you have to apologize for? You didn’t cause her misery.” Dani interrupted me and I nodded, raising my hands to look defensive.
“But nothing! You don’t know her! She was a psycho! All those tears were nowhere near real!” Sienna accused, but my attention shifted to the man who stood next to Grey and then to the one who stood at the back.
“Flora are you listening?” Reece’s voice brought me out of my thoughts and I focused my attention on him.
“Absolutely.” I lied poorly and his reprimanding expression made me blush.
“She’s not a saint Flora, she’s created enough issues within my pack as it is. Why don’t you ask Theo.” And Reece pointed towards the wise looking man in question.
I sighed, they didn’t get the point.
“Maybe, but shouldn’t we try to be?” I asked them and they gave me weird expressions.
“Be what?” Theo asked me and for some reason I felt nervous.
“Saints.” I paused for effect. “I know we can’t be, obviously, but we can always keep trying.” I amended and they all proceeded to give me stares.
Dani was blank, while Sienna scoffed. Reece sighed and Grey laughed.
“She’s a lost cause.” Sienna said, but she was grinning now.
The other man walked towards us from behind and a sense of apprehension coursed through me. Unlike Theo, his hair were a bush of white, he was much older and also smaller but his walk was perfect. His posture conflicted with his age. He reached for Theo and slung an arm around his shoulder, making the scene quite comical. They looked like two buddies in the prime.
“Finally, the kingdom has a Queen.” his deep voice reverberated in the entire room, and the weight of those words sunk in.