Light filters through my eyelids and I can feel the warmth of the morning sun on my skin.
I don't remember falling asleep but I am fully aware where I am and whose chest my head rests on.
Tingles dance across my skin as feather-like touches caress my skin. Thomas' thumb traces slowly over my eyebrows, skimming down my nose before moving over the curve of my lips.
His touch so soft, so gentle, like he is touching the worlds most expensive piece of art.
"So beautiful," his words barely a whisper but my stomach somersaults anyway.
His hand moves stray hair off the side of my face, his fingers tracing along my cheekbone until I feel a soft pair of lips against my forehead.
"I know you're awake," I want to pretend that I'm not.
I could just lay here and let his fingertips continue to dance upon my skin, but my lips decide to smile, giving myself away.
The second my eyelids lift, I'm met with a pair of clear blue eyes that hold so much intensity and emotion, that it steals the breath from my lungs.
"Hi," I squeak out.
Wow, Hailey. You have such a way with words, I chastise myself.
I feel a slight pressure in my head and I look away from Thomas for a second. Someone is trying to mind link me, but I don't want to answer.
This is the longest that I have gone without thinking about Cade and as much as it pains me, it makes me happy at the same time.
I never thought I would feel anything like this after I lost Cade. I was prepared for a life without a mate.
I thought maybe I could find love with a human or a mateless wolf, but knew it would never feel like this.
And as selfish as it is, I want to hold onto this.
"As much as I don't want to move, I think we should head back. My pack is trying to mind link me," his hand moves to draw lazy patterns down my back.
"Someone keeps trying to link me as well," I sit up from his chest, but his arms wrap tightly around my waist, keeping me from moving.
"They're probably wondering where you are since you snuck out," I gasp as his warm breath hits my ear before his lips press against the exposed skin below the earlobe.
"I know who I'll blame," My voice is breathy as I let my mental wall down.
Where are you?! Jake screams, causing me to wince slightly.
I debate a moment, wondering if I should tell him I stayed out all night with Thomas.
Jake, Relax. I'm fine. I'm on a walk with Thomas. I decided to leave the rest of the night out of it as I didn't want a lecture from him or my dad.
Relax? Fuck Hails, you don't even know what's going on here, do you?
My head snaps to look at Thomas, with nothing short of panic coloring my features, but his eyes are far off in his own conversation with someone.
Get home now! Jake's tone left no room for discussion as he put his wall up.
I'm on my feet in a second before locking eyes with a severely pissed off looking Thomas.
I open my mouth to ask if he knows what's going on, but he cuts me off.
"Let's go," He grabs my wrist in a tight grip and pulls me behind him as he moves quickly towards the pack house.
"Thomas?" I try to wiggle my wrist out of his grip, but it's to no avail.
His whole posture has changed and his back is completely rigid. He looks like he would murder the next thing that scurried out of the trees.
Finally, I break his grip and stop in my tracks. I don't like being kept in the dark and I can tell there is something he isn't telling me.
"What happened?" I demand, crossing my arms over my chest.
Anger surges through me when he doesn't turn around. He keeps his back tight and I can see the deep breathing he is doing, but I'm trying to reign in my own wolf, so he better get to talking.
"Do. Not. Ignore. Me." I growl out, my wolf slipping from my control with each passing minute.
Thomas lets out a frustrated breath and runs his hand through his hair before turning to look at me. I can't read his expression but my heart drops at the seriousness in his eyes.
"Hailey," he breathes out, stepping towards me, but I move out of his range.
"Rogues attacked your pack about two hours ago. There are a couple casualties, a few wounded and -" he takes a deep breath, his eyes staring intently into mine, "A few missing,"
His words barely register in my head before I lose the grip on my wolf and shift.
I'm moving so fast, I can't even be sure that my paws are touching the ground. Trees blur by and my mind is consumed with Thomas' words.
Casualties. While I was enjoying waking up in Thomas' arms, someone was taking their last breath while fighting for our pack.
Wounded. I feel a pang of guilt hit my chest. Who was wounded and how bad? I should have been there to help.
Missing. The worst one yet. It's easy to grieve if you know someone is dead because at least you have that closure. But missing could mean torture or a fate worse than death.
But it also means that we can find them and bring them home. It means there's hope and hope can be a terrible thing to those left behind.
I'm vaguely aware of paws hitting the ground behind me. Thomas is following me and I know that he is shouting at me in his head but we aren't in the same pack and can't mind link.
A growl rips from my throat as the smell of rogues hit my senses.
It's potent and disgusting but it isn't what angers me. I know this smell. I know what rogue was here.
The same one who killed Cade and in my head, I am already planning at least five different types of deaths for him.
"Hailey," Jake stands on the porch when I come out of the trees. His hands raised in surrender, "Shift back, please."
My wolf growls again, but for the first time since the shift was forced, she gives me control back. I trot behind a tree and grab a random pair of shorts and a black t-shirt before stepping out.
Jake and Alex both stare at me in shock. I don't think they were expecting me to go down without a fight.
Neither was I, honestly.
"Who?" I don't need to elaborate on what I mean and they don't have to ask.
They know the information I need.
"Two pack warriors died. Five more injured, including Dad and Mason," my whole body begins to shake as Jake takes a small step forward.
I can see the weary look in his eye but before he can say more, Thomas' places his hand on my shoulder. My shaking stops, but I am still fighting with my anger.
"My beta informed me that there are a few wolves missing?" Thomas speaks clearly breaking eye contact with me, turning to look at Jake and Alex, "Where is he?"
"He and some of your warriors asked to run the perimeter to make sure there are no more rogues," Jake and Alex share a look and I can tell they're debating whether to tell us more.
My heart thuds painfully and before I can demand them to just tell me, Alex speaks.
"They found and broke into the shelter. A few women and children are missing. Including our moms and Hannah."