Chapter 47: Mates
Lars Thorssen POV
As we walked with our prisoner, Luis, towards the vehicles, I was becoming more comfortable with the wolves around me. They cared for each other, had top medical care, and had each other’s backs. It was amazing seeing how Robert had just swooped in and taken over. I knew he was trying to get a feel for me, and it didn’t bother me because I was sizing him up at the same time.
“Take the other vehicle,” he told me. “I won’t be able to talk with the prisoner in our car, but we will talk later.”
A few of his warriors were climbing into Alex’s SUV, someone must have gone and retrieved it because he hadn’t left the driveway. His group looked like more fun anyway. Alex pointed his left index finger at his right hand, which was mimicking lifting a beer stein. The international symbol for ‘let’s go drinking!’ My kind of guys. “No problem, sir. I have a bunch of questions to ask and I don’t want to bug you.”
He put his hand on my shoulder. “It’s going to be a transition for you, but every one of us will do everything to help you. I’m impressed, for you to change in a combat situation and gain control so quickly, that’s something I’ve never seen.”
“Not my first combat situation, sir. This was no big deal.” He smiled and nodded Alex. With that, we all loaded up.
The mood during the drive was jubilant. I hadn’t realized fully just how badly they had all been shaken by the killer, and how good it felt to have Maitea and Luis in custody. “What happens when we get back?”
“We get you settled, and then we party,” said Alex. “It’s going to be epic, and you’ll be the center of attention.”
“What do you mean?”
“You know about mates, right?” I shrugged my shoulders, I knew they had them but not much more. “Mates are the Holy Grail of werewolf life. We spend our lives looking for that one person the Moon Goddess created to complete us. The lucky ones find her early, others go their whole lives without them. Trust me, every unmated she-wolf in two Packs is going to be checking you out, hoping that YOU are their one.”
“How do you know she’s your mate?”
Jack picked it up, he was riding shotgun. “I better pick it up here because Alex still hasn’t found his other half.” Alex looked away, I could tell he was a little upset. “You know as soon as you get close. My Holly, she was visiting from another Pack. As soon as she entered the room my wolf was going nuts in my head. Her smell, it was the most amazing and addictive scent ever, it literally called to me. And when I looked in her eyes, I was a goner, and when I touched her? Fireworks. Tingles everywhere our skin touched, and I was instantly hard, harder than I’ve ever been in my life. She felt the same way, except the whole dick thing.” The guys laughed as he continued. “She wasn’t in the room for five seconds before I had her in my arms, my lips crashing on hers. She wrapped her arms around my neck, her legs around my waist, and I raced up to my room and made her mine. I didn’t even know her name until we had marked and mated each other.” He saw my confusion, so he explained the process.
“Is it different for a panther?”
“Not according to what I’ve heard. The Gila pack is all wolves, but the Belden Pack that is staying with us is a mix of panthers and wolves. Their Alpha pair, Craig is a wolf.”
“Yeah, I ran back with him. Big wolf.”
“You should see his mate Ella. She was a wolf once, a man raped her and injected her with a chemical that killed her wolf. She couldn’t get one back, but she was bitten by a Panther and took that change. The mate bond didn’t care about species. Most of us find wolves, but it isn’t uncommon to find a human mate, even another species of were.”
I asked all my questions on the drive back, and told them my story. They were all shocked that Gunny had gotten my cat to submit, because ‘a BETA shouldn’t be able to do that’ or something. It took a while to go over Pack structure, rankings, and customs. My head hurt by the time we arrived at this absolutely HUGE house in the desert mountains. It was beautiful, and people were pouring out of it to greet us. Many were dressed, but there were lots of wolves and I even spotted a few panthers among them. We stopped behind the Alpha’s vehicle, and he was first to exit. The Pack mobbed him as he walked towards the door, like he had just won a sports championship or something. They looked at him with a mix of love, loyalty and respect. There was a woman waiting at the top of the stairs for him, she was much younger, dark hair, strikingly beautiful and very pregnant. “That’s Alpha Renee, she is Alpha Robert’s mate.”
I watched as he embraced her, the affection between them clear. “Why Alpha? I thought the female you called Luna.”
“It depends; some call them the Alpha pair. Most Packs, the Luna is not a fighter, she is the Mother figure to the whole Pack. She leads the women, supervises the children, and Pack welfare. Both Packs here are a little different, as both Renee and Ella have been Alphas in their own right before mating their men. Both of them are extremely lethal, too. The Alphas can work as they will.” The car doors opened and I stepped out. I gained attention immediately, as if my Viking-like appearance and muscles weren’t enough, my scent carried through the crowd. I watches as female wolves pushed forward, coming in and taking a deep sniff or rubbing their fur through my hands as I walked. “Get used to it, soon you’ll be the same way with them.”
We walked up the stairs, the warriors having broken off to go to their own rooms or mates. I stopped a stair below where the Alphas were standing and waited to be acknowledged, my cat knowing these people were more powerful than I. “Ah, Lars. Renee, may I introduce Lars Thorssen, newest Panther and member of the Belden Pack, also a former Marine and Gunny’s lifesaver. Lars, my mate Renee.”
I held out my hand, but she took a step forward and embraced me, stopping only when Robert started to growl. “Thank you, Lars, for all you’ve done to help catch Maitea and saving Gunny.”
“I’d do anything for my buddy, Alpha. Is he all right?”
“Yes, he’s resting after surgery. Rose and Charlotte are with him now, he won’t wake up until tomorrow and you can see him then.” She linked someone and in moments a young housekeeper was at her side. “Mary, please show Lars to his room, and get his sizes so he has clothes to change into when he’s had a chance to clean up.” She looked at me again. “We’ll see you at the party, Lars. As soon as you are done, head to the dining room, they’ll have food for you.”
“Thank you, Alphas.” I moved past them, following the young woman as she pointed out the dining room, Pack offices, and led me to my room. It was nice, nicer than a hotel room. I wrote down my sizes for her and went in to take a shower. I thought about the day as the blood washed down the drain. My only regret was not going off with Gunny. We broke the cardinal rule, a sniper left without backup, and that was on me. It didn’t matter what was going through my head, I needed to have his back.
I wouldn’t make that mistake again.
The pack was wild that night. The kitchen had stayed open, so the late arrivals could eat, but they didn’t have to. The back patio, pool and pond areas were full of people celebrating the capture of the shooter, the one who had killed two of their number and tried to kill many more. The barbecues were going, booze was flowing, and music was blasting. There were new people arriving all day, I met Alphas and families from probably eight states who were here for the trial.
I got more hugs from family members than I could count, as did Alex. A lot of people asked about Gunny, but he was still out. As a senior Marine, I was used to parties, drinking and women. I was an expert at all three, yet these wolves showed me a thing or two about partying.
I woke up late the next morning, my face between a great set of boobs and a headache that made me wish I’d been shot instead. I pushed myself up, covering the shewolf with the sheet. Cindy was in her thirties and widowed, her daughter had found her mate in a Montana pack and she was alone. She wanted to get laid, and I wanted to help her, so we ended up here and screwed each other until I thought it would fall off.
I got to the bathroom took a long pee, then washed up. I reached for a cup, pounding a half-dozen glasses of water and a couple Advil to fight the hangover. It turns out werewolves metabolize alcohol twice as fast as humans, which means we can drink a lot more without getting drunk, but get dehydrated even faster. I got another cup and brought it out with some pills for her. She was just stretching. “Hey baby, take this.” She gulped it down and got out of bed, taking my place in the bathroom. When I heard the shower start, I asked her if she needed anything.
“You, in me, right now.” She didn’t have to say it again.
We left after getting dressed, lunch was being served soon. I was feeling good, settling into my new life. Cindy was fun to be with and didn’t expect anything from me as we weren’t mates or anything. She showed me some things in the Pack house as we walked, and introduced me to people as we went.
We were among the first to reach the dining area, where lunch was served family style. We sat at a table near the back with some of her friends, in the area unofficially set aside for the single wolves. The families took the majority of the room, and they liked having an area without a bunch of pups running around. The room filled quickly, and quieted down as the Alphas and their guests came into the room.
My cat was going nuts, I didn’t know why. The people filing in were all mated, but there was a smell that captivated me and I had to find out what it was. I got up, moving quickly towards the group as they were walking towards the head tables.
At the end of the line, a set of triplets, girls of maybe ten, were talking excitedly as they pulled their parents to the table. I started to look to see who was behind the couple, when my eyes caught hers and time stopped.
I froze, lost in the depths of her eyes. She froze as well. I didn’t notice how the room had quieted, the gasps of recognition and shock, I just looked at the woman as my cat yelled “MINE!”
I ran forward, and my cat was furious at seeing her holding another man’s hand. She screamed and stepped behind a male, further enraging me as she hid herself from me. I pulled her forward, my arms holding her tight to my chest as my nose buried itself in her shoulder. I felt the man trying to pull her away. My left hand swung out and caught him on the temple as I roared my fury at him, how DARE he try to take her from me. He crashed into a table, sending people scattering. “TOM!” She screamed his name and tried to get to him, but I wasn’t letting her go.
“No, you are MINE!”
“HE’S MY HUSBAND, YOU BASTARD! LEAVE ME ALONE!” A bunch of guys had run forward and grabbed my arms and legs, pulling back until she was free. She ran over to the man who was unconscious on the ground and started hugging him, their three girls watching and crying. His head was bleeding from some deep scratches, and she grabbed a napkin and held it over the wounds.
“STAND DOWN, LARS!” Craig’s order resonated through my head, and my cat gave up his fight. I stopped struggling and allowed the men to move me to the door.
“She’s my mate,” I said as I looked back.
The woman stood up, furious with me. “No, you’re not. I, Shelley Harris, wife of Tom Harris, reject you Lars as my mate.” I felt like my heart had been ripped out, I couldn’t stand, if not for the men holding me I would have been down. “Get him away from me.”