2. Nice To Meet You
Corbin Warner watched as his daughter’s mate walked into the Alpha’s study. He studied the man while his fingers massaged his chin in a worried way. The man was tall, even for an Alpha, while his daughter was quite petite. If he had to guess, the man was around 6 foot 6 inches. Adeline was a mere 5 foot 4 and her mate towered over her in an almost protective way.
Overall, if first impressions were correct, he would make a suitable mate for his daughter. Not that he had a lot of say in the matter. The mate bond was too strong. Adeline left the room with a worried backward glance and closed the door.
“Pleased to meet you, sir. My name is Hunter Douglass of the Lassen Pack,” the man told Corbin. He nodded his head in respect to the two men in the room. “We are new to the area so you may not have heard of us as of yet. We are a small but strong pack.”
Corbin thought of his response before speaking. He was a man that usually spoke seldom since his wife and mate had passed. When he did speak, it was with purpose.
“I had heard of a new pack in the area, though I had not getting around to arranging a meeting with your Alpha,” Corbin said with a weary tone as if commenting on the weather.
“My father, Alpha William, would I’m sure be honored to meet with you. Especially now- seeing as how your daughter is my mate,” Hunter replied with a careful tone.
Corbin blinked at him and continued. “It would be good for you to arrange a meeting with your father if you would. Good relations between our packs should be paramount.”
“I will set up something so that we can all meet, though my father will be stepping down as Alpha within a few months. Whether he approves of a pact between us, when I take the position I will make sure that peace remains between our packs,” he told Adeline’s father. “I would not have my Luna suffering because she cannot visit her kin freely.”
Alpha James smiled as he saw Corbin relax a bit. He knew that his Beta’s greatest fear was to lose his only child now that her twin sister and mother were gone.
To ease the tension in the air, Alpha James decided to speak.
“And what of your kin, Hunter? Any siblings?” he asked. He knew you could tell a man’s character by the way he spoke of his family.
“I have a younger brother named Tristan and a sister Penelope. Ages 20 and 18 respectively,” he responded with a smile. “My mother’s name is Patricia and she comes originally from the Bounty Pack in Canada.”
“And what is your age, son?” Corbin asked.
“22, though I will turn 23 in a month’s time,” Hunter stated.
“Have you not been to a Claiming ceremony? It is usually required when you don’t find your mate by 21 years of age,” the Alpha inquired of him.
“I was away at college until this past year’s Claiming. I took a few night courses in the summers between years and could not make it to The Claiming. This year, thankfully, it won’t be necessary to attend,” he said honestly. “Truth be told, I am glad I didn’t make it in years past, or I may not have found my mate.”
“Destiny works most mysteriously, I should say.” Alpha James mused with a slight smile tugging at his lips.
There was a brief silence as they all thought of the ways they had met their mates. James had met his wife Corinne while out celebrating one of his best friend’s birthdays in a small town in Redding, California. She was a server who happened to spill her entire platter of drinks on him when he reached out and touched her arm. To say she was startled would have been an understatement.
Corbin’s meeting with his deceased wife Lucinda was much less exciting. They had been best friends for years before turning 18, the normal age when one would find their mate. Since he was a year older than Lucinda, he was the first to feel the bond. He had hemmed and hawed for months before finally admitting to her that they were mates.
Lucinda was a year younger and had suspected that Corbin had found his mate. When he realized it was her, he had avoided her like the plague for months. She had thought he was spending time with his mate and was upset when she thought it wasn’t her. In truth, he was trying to avoid her until she turned of age. They had mated completely on her 18th birthday.
Corbin had thought it had been well worth the wait.
“You can stay here for the evening though I ask you do not mark my daughter tonight or without her permission,” Corbin said finally with a sigh. “And If you hurt my daughter in any way, you can say goodbye to any chances of giving me grandchildren, son.”
He added that last sentence with just the right amount of venom to scare the younger man, but not make him think him too ruthless. He didn’t need the soon-to-be Alpha thinking he would harm his own daughter-even by proxy.
Hunter looked appalled at what the man said. “I would never force my mark upon another, nor disrespect you or your rules in any way under your own roof.”
Corbin nodded at that. “I will have fresh clothing sent up to your room, though I have no doubt my daughter is listening outside the door and will be doing that very thing. I suggest you shower and get to bed. It is late. We will talk more in the morning.”
Hunter started to walk out of the room but halted when Corbin spoke again. “Addie will show you up to her room.”
Hunter smiled at that. Not only did he like Adeline’s nickname but he had also gained the approval of her father. He would allow them to sleep in the same bed, though Adeline was well over the age of consent. Also, it would make it easier on him when he brought her back to his pack with her father’s blessings.
“Thank you, sir.” Hunter said quietly before leaving the room. He breathed a long sigh of relief. As a future Alpha he wasn’t used to being submissive, but while on another’s land and for certain with his mate’s father, he would be.
After Hunter had closed the door quietly, he noticed Adeline standing there in the hallway leading to the stairs.
“I grabbed you some clothing and towels. I heard my father,” she added with a lopsided grin. “He doesn’t speak much, but I can tell he approves of you.”
It was already well past midnight and running in their wolf forms for several hours had tired them both out. Even if Adeline’s father had approved of marking and mating her that night, they would have been too exhausted to do so.
“You can shower in my en suite. I will take the bathroom in the hallway,” she said walking towards the steps. Hunter followed her obligingly up to her room.
“So, what do you think of the boy?” Alpha James asked of his Beta.
“He seemed...respectful,” Corbin said lamely. James scoffed.
“How about as mate to your daughter? I know you approve of him or he would have been out the door with a footprint embedded on his ass,” James said.
“I approve of him so far. I would like for Addie to speak more with him before making such a binding decision as being marked and mated,” he admitted to his Alpha.
“That goes without saying. But you do know that eventually, even if he was an asshole, the bond would become intense and their wolves would be forced to take over so that they could mark and mate each other.” It was a well known fact in the were world that a true mate’s bond was nearly unbreakable. The pull to be together would be too strong for them to fight it. It was always better that the human half of them bond before that could happen. Forced marks could lead to complications in a relationship undoubtedly.
“He seems to be a good fit for her. I think they will do well together,” Corbin stated. “Though if he hurts my baby girl, I will make sure he’s limping around with one less appendage.”
James chuckled lightly which turned into a jaw cracking yawn.
“Those two lovebirds upstairs aren’t the only ones that need their rest, Corbin. Let’s both get our asses to bed before the sun comes up,” he patted his Beta and friend on the shoulder before standing up from his chair. He didn’t want to mention it to Corbin, but he knew his wife didn’t sleep well when he was not by her side in their bed. It would have been too painful to state, for Corbin had had to sleep without his mate for many years.
“Alright, James. I will see you in the morning,” he told his old friend. “Then I will go full CSI on that boy with his intentions towards my daughter.”
Adeline stepped out of the hallway bathroom fully clothed. She had a pair of gray yoga pants and a pink tank top on. Her hair was still wet and she had brushed out the long locks as much as she could, but with the amount of hair she had, it was near impossible for her to get it completely dry before heading to bed. And she hated to use a blow dryer.
Feeling silly, she knocked on her own bedroom door. She had had the same bedroom since she was born and this was honestly the first time she had felt obliged to knock on it.
“Come in,” a muffled voice sounded from the other side of the door.
She shuffled into her room quietly before taking in her mate’s figure.
He was a well-built man, broad of shoulder with a tapering waist like an Olympic swimmer. He had a light smattering of blond chest hair and the boxers he had on were low hung on his hips to show the happy trail that ended at the top band of the plaid material.
Fortunately for Adeline’s large mate, her bed was queen sized and would fit both of them nicely. She would have been mortified if she had had a small single or full sized bed that his feet would hang off of.
Hunter was sitting at the edge of the bed, watching her as she came into the room.
“How was the talk with my father?” she asked him as she set about putting all her dirty laundry in the basket near the en suite bathroom.
“It went fine, though we will talk further in the morning,” Hunter told her as he watched her move about the room easily.
“I-I didn’t have a chance to change the sheets before going back downstairs to fetch you. I hope you don’t mind,” she said timidly. She would have liked to have fresh sheets the first time she snuggled with her mate.
“They smell like you,” he said softly.
“And what do I smell of?” she asked, curious.
“Honeysuckle with a touch of vanilla,” he said. “It’s heavenly.”
Addie blushed at his admission. To take focus off herself, she spoke. “And you smell like cedar and pine. It was how I knew someone different was in the area.” She added, “There aren’t a lot of cedar trees in the woods here.”
“Is that...a pleasant smell for you?” he asked.
“It’s a wonderful smell. Natural yet masculine,” she added before blushing an even deeper shade of red.
Hunter stood up, pulling back the sheets of the neatly made bed. He gestured to the bed as if he was pulling out a chair for his date at a fancy restaurant.
“After you, my little mate,” he said quietly. Adeline climbed between the cool sheets and patted the place next to her to make her mate feel welcome in her bed.
After climbing under the covers, they couldn’t help but stare at each other quietly.
“Do you prefer to be called Adeline or Addie?” Hunter asked, out of the blue. She smiled at the question but if it startled her, she hid it well.
“I prefer to be called whatever you are comfortable with,” she said honestly. “Most people call me Addie, but either one is fine. It’s not the name itself that would bother me, but the tone of voice behind it.”
“What is your middle name?”
“Graciella,” she answered, frowning. “I know. Along with my first and last names, it’s a mouthful. What’s yours?”
“Preston,” he said. “It was my grandfather’s first name.”
“I like it,” she told him shyly. Another long silence ensued as they struggled to come up with something to say.
“I-” Hunter looked stricken with the deafening silence. “May I kiss you, Adeline?”
He watched as her face went a pretty shade of pink.
“Of course,” she told him.
He dropped a light kiss on her mouth. His lips felt soft and warm against hers and she felt a gently tugging in her stomach as his mouth moved gently against hers. Hunter ended the kiss far too soon for her taste, but she understood. No doubt her own father had read him the riot act about hurting his only child and would probably not want her to be marked and mated the first day.
“Thank you, Adeline.” he said, his forehead pressed against hers. He gently placed one of his arms around her waist, pulling her snug up against his hard chest. The other, he snaked under Addie’s pillow and around her back. He pulled her in close to him and breathed in her honeysuckle scent.
“Goodnight, Hunter.” she said, her voice muffled against his chest.
“Goodnight, my future Luna,” Hunter said into her fragrant hair as they both closed their eyes to let sleep pull them under.