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Adeline’s wolf blasted through the trees and she felt like her heart could sing it was so free. Coming to the edge of the border of her land, her wolf seemed restless within her and for once, Adeline let her wolf come out a bit more. To take absolute control. It was like she was trying to tell the human part of her something.
Living in Northern California at the base of Lassen Peak, her favorite thing to do was patrol the woods and let her wolf run free while doing so.
Her father, their pack’s Beta, always wished them to go in groups of two or three, but Adeline rarely ever listened and she hadn’t been harmed as of yet. She was careful as one could be, alone in the woods at night. She felt it an obligation to keep her pack safe and though she could have taken any number of wolves with her, she wanted-no needed-the alone time.
Being at the age of twenty years old, she was glad that this year she would not need to attend The Claiming. It was a yearly ritual where all unmated males and females above the age of 20 were to come to together. Whether they found their true mate or not, no she-wolves would go unclaimed that night.
It was for that reason-and that reason alone-that she wished to find her mate sooner rather than later. A claiming mark and pull was dull compared to the pull she would feel for one’s true mate. If she wished to be mated, she would want nothing other than her true mate to do it.
Adeline had almost come to the southern most edge of the territory when she smelt a lovely cedar scent. Cedar trees were not as prevalent in the woods around her territory, so the smell made her cautious.
She halted her wolf and felt her restless once again in her mind, nearly prancing with whatever the wolf was feeling or sensing.
Hearing a crunch of leaves towards her left, she watched as a wolf carrying something in its mouth slowly padded towards her. The scent became stronger and was mixed with a refreshing pine scent as well.
As the wolf came closer, she ached to touch the soft golden fur of the beast. It looked soft, almost silky and she wondered why she had the need to reach out and caress the beast.
Once the large golden wolf came closer, the tug in her solar plexus became almost unbearable. This wolf was a were, a shifter. The tug could only mean one thing.
He was her mate.
Adeline then took a moment to find a likely tree and saw the hole that had been strategically dug into it. Pulling out a long t-shirt, she went behind the tree and phased back to her human form, tugging the t-shirt on quickly.
She came back out from behind the tree, thinking she would see the wolf still standing there, waiting for her. Instead, there was a tall, muscularly built man.
He was statuesque and power rolled off him in waves. His hair was a short blond and he had piercing blue eyes and a scruffy looking 5 o’clock shadow. He was the most delicious thing she had ever seen.
“What is your name, strange wolf?” she asked of him. “And why are you here, so close to my land?”
“I am Hunter Douglass of the Lassen pack, son of William Douglass Alpha to said pack,” he told her. He had a deep baritone that made Adeline shiver with its huskiness. “And you, my future Luna? What is your name, my beauty?”
Adeline stopped herself from flushing at his words and cleared her throat before speaking again.
“My name is Adeline Warner of the Willow pack. I am daughter to our pack’s Beta Corbin Warner,” she replied, her voice strong.
Walking towards his mate clad only in red basketball shorts, he cupped her chin in his hand while he looked down on her.
“You, my beautiful mate, should take me to your father. I would like to meet my future father-in-law and the mother of the woman that stands before me.”
Adeline nodded. “Come this way.”
The two walked in silence for a while before Adeline broke it.
“My mother has passed,” Adeline said quietly. “You only have my father to worry about. As for other kin, I have no one.”
“How did your mother pass, if I may ask?” Hunter asked.
“Hunters, over a decade ago,” she replied.
There was a blood curdlingly low growl and Adeline had to turn around to find out where it came from. She looked over at Hunter and he stood still in place, his fists balled.
“Are-are you okay?” she asked of him.
“Hunters? Here?” he asked in a gravelly tone. It was immediately clear that his wolf was fighting to take over.
“Not for many years,” she said soothingly. “The hunter that killed my mother was part of a small army here. We are pretty much off the beaten path when it comes to civilization. We haven’t had problems since then. I hear many of them went north to the northern states or Canada.”
Hunter seemed to gain some control of himself. At least he started to move again, though a little stiffer. He sniffed the air many times and looked behind him as if a hunter might pop out from behind a tree at any given moment. He also came close enough to Adeline so that their arms brushed as they walked.
Hunter indeed was trying to control his wolf. It was begging to be let out so that it could defend its mate. It was already very protective of her.
“I have never heard of the Lassen pack, are you new to this part of California?” she asked, making conversation. The way their arms brushed each other was distracting her and she needed to concentrate on getting home. The woods in these parts were like a maze and though she could just smell her path back to her house, she was ten types of muddled in the head. He mate, the pull, his eyes, that body...
She tried to pull herself away from those thoughts and concentrate on moving forward towards home.
“We are indeed new to the area. We come from southern Oregon originally but decided to move down to California. Many of our members have mates and family in California and with the recent rogue attacks and that bloody war going on up north in Washington, we decided to move.”
“What war?” Adeline asked. Living where she did, she rarely heard news from other packs. If not for cell phone technology, she probably wouldn’t know anything going on in the outside world at all.
“A few weeks ago some wolf packs allied against a pack that was trying to take their Luna. I heard the pack was beaten, the Luna is safe and the rest of the pack liquidated,” he told her.
“How man packs were involved?” she asked, curious to get the first news of any of their kind in what seemed like years.
“The allied numbered at least six packs. The other attacking pack had only his own members and some rogues to help him. It is no wonder they were defeated. Rogues are vile creatures that think only of themselves. They have no loyalty. No sense of pack mentality.”
“Well, I certainly am glad you were able to get away unscathed,” Adeline told him.
“As am I, Princess. As am I,” he said quietly.
After another twenty minutes of making small talk, they came to a clearing at the edge of the woods. Many cabins and small houses adorned the area and near the top of the hill was the house where the Alpha and Beta families lived.
Adeline hesitated for a moment, turning to him. “I will have to ask for permission for you to come any further. While I feel you are no threat to any of us, my Alpha would have my head on a pike if I let you into his home without warning. Please wait here while I speak with him. And my father, of course. He will be with the Alpha.”
With the lights from the surrounding houses, Hunter was finally able to see his mate a little clearer. She had a smooth white complexion, unmarred by any scars. Her hair was a deep midnight black and her grey eyes were deep pools of churning waters.
Hunter’s wolf purred at the sight of her.
“Whatever it takes, Angel,” he said to her with a small smile. Adeline smiled back before turning away to walk towards the Alpha’s house.
While Adeline was gone, Hunter mindlinked his father, letting him know what was going on.
Father, I have found her. He told him. My mate, she is beautiful.
You will bring her to us straight away, once you have met her parents of course, my father said. No congratulations, no we’re proud of you son.
I will meet her father momentarily. And the Alpha, Hunter said through the link.
Then obtain permission from her Alpha to bring her here, in lieu of both of the parents not being present, his father demanded.
I will procure her father’s blessing first, Hunter said firmly. His father’s tyranny over him didn’t scare Hunter anymore.
Fine, his father said. But then I want you home. You will become Alpha soon and preparations must be made.
With that, his father cut off the link.
“Father? Alpha? Are you here?” Adeline had just stepped inside the warmth of her home and was calling out to find them. She always called out before searching for their scents. She had come upon a few awkward scenes that her eyes can never un-see before finally resorting to only calling out to people to get their attention.
“I’m in the office with Alpha James, sweetie,” he father called out. If it hadn’t been for super sensitive hearing, she may not have heard him at all.
She never used the pack link inside the house. She never knew when her father or the Alpha and Luna were blocking her so that they could do the nasty wherever their hearts were contented. It was an awkward home situation at times, but at least she knew her Alpha and Luna loved each other. Even if it was a bit more public than she was comfortable with.
Adeline walked into the office after knocking and getting the okay to enter. Alpha James was there behind his desk with paperwork, his reading glasses slightly askew on his face. Her father was in the other office chair, facing the door.
“Addie, sweetie-what’s wrong? You look odd,” her father replied.
“I was on patrol when I found something-actually someone,” she replied.
Her father was on his feet instantly.
“Was it rogues? Hunters?” he asked, shaking Addie as if she were a magic 8-ball and could come up with the correct answer.
“No, Daddy. Please chill,” she said shrugging his arms off her. “I-I found my mate.”
“Mate, you say?” her father looked relieved though a bit worried at the same time. Adeline, after all, was his only child now that her twin Braelynn was gone.
“Yes, he is outside and I was wondering if I could let him come in and meet you and Alpha James,” Adeline looked at her father hopefully, a puppy dog look in her grey orbs.
“Of course,” Alpha James replied. “Send the boy in. We will see if he has the stuff to take care of your daughter, Corbin. If not, I will drop kick his ass back over the mountain. Face first.”
“Go get your mate, sweetheart,” her father said soothingly. Adeline had looked a little scared when the Alpha had said he would kick him out. Both the Alpha and Beta still looked at Adeline as if she were a little girl and were overprotective of her.
She looked back in trepidation at the two men in the office. Alpha James was rolling up his shirt sleeves and her father’s wolf looked ready to burst out of his skin at any given moment.
Sighing, Adeline went back to the front door to retrieve her mate. She hoped the two men wouldn’t scare the hell out of her mate before she could even get to know him.