The walls were closing in around me and my vision narrowed into a tunnel as I followed Elle’s scent back to the dining room. My blood was boiling, and I felt the bristling of my wolf just beneath my skin as it tried to push free.
I wanted nothing more than to burst into the dining room and tear Rhett’s head from his body.
It was already upsetting to discover my sweet nymph was treated like garbage here, but to find out she was physically mistreated any time she upset the Alpha? I was ready to flay him alive.
Rhett was supposed to be her parent and her protector. Instead her mother passed away and she was left utterly alone in this world. Never again would she be alone.
Elle was mine and she was better than the Prescott’s. She deserved more, and I was intent on giving her that. Anything Elle wanted would be hers even if I had to conquer the whole fucking world.
When I walked back into the dining room Elle was in her seat, once again not making eye contact with me. But from the doorway I could plainly see the swelling in her cheek, and I had to swallow the growl rising in my throat.
Alpha Prescott’s eyes lit up when he saw me settling back into my seat at the other end of the long table. He had been gearing up all weekend to make this last proposal and with the dinner coming to an end it was his time to make his next, and final, move.
I was starting to get an idea of what he was going to say. Pulling a mask down to hide my rage, I locked eyes with Rhett. He cleared his throat to begin speaking again and it caught the attention of the Lycans and wolves down the sides of the tables.
I noticed Elle’s shoulders tense and I hated the way she kept her eyes down when Rhett began talking.
“All of the Alphas here have been amazing this week. Trade deals and border regulations have never been better. Tension between wolves and Lycans is at an all time low and I’m proud to have them in my home and at my table.” Rhett rose his glass and nodded to me and the other Lycans at the end of the table.
“Here! Here!” I rose my glass of swirling red wine and my mouth split into a grin.
“And thanks again to Alpha Calderon for being the protector of the north. Wolves of all kinds can live in peace thanks to wonderful Lycan warriors under his command.” Rhett was once again singling me out and praising me for my efforts.
“Alpha Calderon!” The others echoed the cheer.
“Now, Alpha Calderon,” Rhett set his glass down to clasp his hands and lean forward on the table, “I have a very large proposal to make you.”
Octavia sat up straighter and turned in my direction. She batted her lashes at me and attempted to smile seductively. She looked like a duck.
Elle was tense and even from here I could sense the anxiety rolling off her in waves. My heart skipped a beat with the need to go to her.
“Let’s here it then, Prescott. What could you possibly have to offer me?” The only he had I wanted was Elle, and I knew he wouldn’t offer her.
It didn’t matter, because I was taking her anyways.
“After some conference with elders and other Alphas, we think it would prudent to share our resources. We need more protection from rogues and your warriors are the best this side of the world.” He wasn’t wrong, my Lycans were the elites.
“So, I have a feeling you’re about to ask for guardians to help protect your lands?” I chimed in, setting my glass on the table without making eye contact. “What do you have that I could possibly want in return?”
Rhett stood up from the table and cleared his throat. Straightening his tie and briefly looking over Octavia he smiled at me and gestured to his daughter. “You said yourself that you’re a family man. Looking for a mate and to settle down. I give you my daughter, Octavia Prescott.”
The Lycan Alphas at my sides all turned to look at me as they felt the energy of my rage roiling overhead. They were picking up on that instinct to fight and tear and I was starting to let more of it go as my control of my beast slipped.
But knowing Rhett would offer Octavia and abuse Elle was eating me alive. He would become even more of a monster if left alone with my nymph and the audacity of his offer was deranged.
I sucked my teeth and scraped one elongated claw along the end of the table. “Alright, I’m done holding my tongue through this farce, though it was fun to watch you bend over backwards to kiss my ass all weekend.”
“What?” Rhett barked and snapped his head back to stare at me.
Pushing up from my seat, chair scrapping against the floor, I rose to my full height and snarled. “I don’t want your slutty daughter, and I don’t want anything you could possibly offer me. Anything you have, if I want it, I can just take it.”
“Excuse me?” Rhett pointed a fat finger in my direction and huffed. “I welcome you here to my home and this is the way you talk to me?”
“I’ll talk to you any way I want. As a matter of fact, I’m also going to break your legs.” Silence followed my threat.
No one uttered a word but the other Lycans were on the same page as me. They wanted a fight, even if they didn’t know my reasons.
Then Rhett Prescott began to laugh. He threw his head back, holding his round gut and belly laughed so loud it echoed through the dining room.
His laughter at my statement sent the other wolves off. Everyone began to slowly laugh, and I joined in. Laughing and smiling, sharing glances full of mirth down the table.
But when I looked down the table and saw Elle staring at me with those wide doe eyes I stopped. The time for games was over, and now Rhett was going to pay for what he did to her.
I looked at Alphas Oscar and William who nodded at the unspoken command in my eyes. They rose from the table opposite sides of the table and walked towards Rhett. In a couple of quick steps, they had grabbed him by his arms.
“What the?” Rhett stuttered as the Lycans forced him to his knees.
“You laughed. Wow, the balls on this man, am I right?” I chuckled and the room went silent again. None of the wolves would look me in the eyes and the Lycans were on the verge of raging.
The edge of my vision was red, and my wolf was howling in the back of my mind to spill Rhett’s blood and make him suffer for all the horrible things he ever did to Elle. And undoubtably all the horrible things he would have done.
One slow step after another I walked around the table, taking my time to approach the pitiful Alpha on his knees in his own home. Rhett continue to struggle but against the hulking Lycans holding him down there was no escape.
Octavia smelled of fear and she was breathing hard and fast. Her eyes flitted around to everyone in the room as if silently crying out for someone to help her father.
But my eyes were on Elle as I descended the length of the table. Her blue eyes caught my attention and it helped to ease some of my boiling rage with each step closer to her.
“Rhett, you can sit there and look in my eyes and lie to me and the others all weekend about how great you and your pack is, about how wonderful you are, and the family man you are. We know it’s all lies, and I’m not so sure about the others, but I can tell you that I am sick and tired of this folly.”
“What are you talking about? I have done nothing but offer my best!” He tried to rise and argue but Oscar pushed down the top of Rhett’s head.
I came to a stop behind Elle and skimmed my fingers over her shoulder and up to the side of her face. Rhett’s eyes widened as he saw her lean into my touch. I couldn’t help myself as I smirked down at him.
“Well, if you were going to offer me the best, you should have named your other daughter.” Elle inhaled a silent gasp when she heard that, and I could hear her heart racing as I traced my thumb over her bottom lip.
Octavia gasped sharply and balked up at me, scooting away in her seat next to Elle’s. There was rage and jealousy in her eyes and I loved to see it. She was scum just like her father.
“I found this lovely little wolf hidden away, and I’ve decided to make her mine.” I admitted. “Imagine my surprise when I pick the she-wolf to become my mate and a dead man has laid his hands on her?”
“What?” Rhett’s voice was barely a whisper, but his surprise was felt throughout the room as everyone realized what I was saying. “You want Elle?”
“Of course, I do.” I scoffed and tilted her chin to look up at me when I lowered my face down to her level. “Gods, look at her, she’s the most gorgeous woman I’ve ever laid my eyes on. How could I ever want anyone else?”
Elle’s chest rose and fell quickly, and the sight of her plump lips addled my brain. I swept in for a quick kiss before I knew what I was doing. Just for a moment, just for a quick taste of her.
“I am going to hurt him, nymph,” I whispered against her neck for her ears alone. “Is that alright?”
“Yes.” Her voice was breathy, and the sound of her approval sent a new wave of energy coursing through me.
The need to hunt and tear and inflict pain rose to the surface. I stepped away from Elle and around the table to where Rhett was held down.
“Let him go.” I commanded and the other Lycan’s let go of Rhett and stepped back. They might be Alphas like me, but they knew they couldn’t rival my power. There was a reason my pack was the strongest.
Rhett stood as fast as he could, beads of sweat dripping from his brow as I towered over him. I clenched my jaw and my face warped into a silent snarl at him.
“You don’t want Elle, she’s good for much. I promise. I was just trying to keep her out of the way while all the important guests were here.” Rhett continued digging his grave.
“Oh, I understand. Well, that makes perfect sense then.” I shrugged and smiled with a light chuckle. “Just a simple misunderstanding.”
“Yes, exactly-” He couldn’t get the full sentence out. One swift kick and I broke his left leg. Rhett fell, screaming at the top of his lungs. Octavia fell from her chair, sobbing and scooting away on the floor. I didn’t care about her.
“Oh, I said I was going to break both legs, didn’t I?” I asked. Rhett began shaking his head as he looked up at me. But all I could see in my head was the swelling on my sweet nymph’s face.
The shattering of his other leg filled the silence of the room, followed by more wailing. The sound of his anguish was music to my ears.
“You’ll never touch her again!” A frenzy took over me, controlled by the urges of my beast. I knelt, grabbed Rhett’s shirt and began pummeling his face. Punch after punch, each time hearing the sickening crunch of my knuckles breaking bones and teeth. Blood splattered from each impact and even when his wailing stopped I didn’t.
Not until Rhett’s head was a crimson pulp on the marble floor.
Pushing my hand through my hair I stood up and took a deep breath. Licking my bottom lip and shrugging out the tension in my shoulders, I looked up to face the other wolves sitting as still as stone and watching my every move.
“No one touches Elle,” I snarled. “She’s mine.”
My voice was monstrous, and the werewolves gulped hard as they were hit with the force of my command. “Meetings adjourned! Get out!” I bellowed.
The wolf Alphas rose form the table as if moving on autopilot. The Lycan Alphas shared glances but lingered a bit longer as the dining room was cleared.
“Get this bitch out of here.” I told Alpha Samson, pointing to Octavia sobbing and shaking on the floor.
“Alright, fine,” he grumbled, but snatched her arm and began dragging her out with the others.
My sight went back to Elle at the table and my vision tunneled in on her. There was something in her eyes… a light I had never seen before.
True freedom. Delight. Happiness.
When we locked eyes, she exhaled and visibly shivered. Her glimmering blue eyes roamed my body and her chest rose and fell quickly. I could smell her desire. The smell hit me like a brick wall, and I growled as my eyes rolled into the back of my head.
“Mine!” I snarled, stepping in her direction. Elle was nodding her head and pushing out of her seat as I moved towards her. We were on a collision course, but there was too much bristling adrenaline and primal energy pushing us together right now.
“Yes, Aiden!” Elle cried out when I got my hands on her. I was going to show her right here and now that she was forever mine.