“What are you doing here Cal?” I cross my arms as I stare at the 5′3 witch in front of me. “Gee, I come to your rescue and I don’t even get a thanks?” He walks around my room, completely ignoring me as he looks at the elegantly decorated space. “You can’t be here. There are thousands of wolves who could sniff you out any minute.” I grab onto his arm and start dragging him back to the window. “C?” I ignore him as he tries to plant his feet on the ground. “C, stop.”
“Celeste!” He calls finally, tugging on my arm so I’ll look at him. “What’s wrong, C? You look absolutely frightened and you are never frightened.” He chuckles lightly at the end but stops when I don’t laugh along. “Celeste? Did something happen?” He asks quietly, holding onto my arms as he directs me to the bed. “He took my wolf, Cal. I can’t leave.”
“Well I can fix that. I’m one of the most powerful witches from England.” He gives me a reassuring smile while I shake my head. “That’s not all that’s got me scared, Cal. We talked and I think he might reject me.” He scrunches his eye together, studying me. “You don’t even want a mate, so shouldn’t that be good news?”
“No! What if he rejects me and doesn’t give her back? I won’t survive the rejection without her.” He looks at me with sympathy which has me growling low. I don’t like sympathy. “Okay, sorry. Look, if I can’t get this fixed myself, I’ll call upon the witch council to help. My father is the head of the council and owes me a favor.”
Without even thinking I launch myself at him and hug him tight. “Thank you, Cal. You’re the best.” He hugs me back, holding back a laugh as I express my thanks over and over again. “You’re welcome, C. Now, let’s get you away from that hot-headed alpha of yours.”
“How do we get out?” I pull away from him, watching as the gears inside his head turn. “I was thinking I’d just zap us out of here, but if I do that, the spell I made to cover my scent will stop working and wolves would be up here any second.”
He rubs his chin as he thinks, but I go on high alert when I hear on coming footsteps and smell my mate. “Well do something quick because Austin is coming.” His eyes widen before he shoots up like a rocket and drags me to the window. “Okay, plan b, we go out the window and run like hell.”
He pushes open the glass and shoves half my body out. “Grab onto the tree. We can hop from one tree to another until we hit the middle of the forest. Then I’ll use a spell and send us to my cousin’s house.” Before I can protest to this horrible idea, he shoves me one last time causing me to grip onto a limb before I fall two stories down.
“I hate you!” I whisper yell making him roll his eyes. “Move over.” I hop onto another branch as he jumps at me. “Cal, he’s almost to my room. I can hear him coming. What do we do?” I slap him upside the head, silently cursing at him. “Just shush and slow down your heart beat, I’ve got a cloaking spell.” I nod quickly, closing my eyes and evening out my breathing, slowing my heart, much like I did when I was younger. When I open my eyes, I see Austin in my room, calling my name while moving around looking for me.
I can see the worry in his eyes as he checks my closet, bathroom, and even under my bed. When he doesn’t find me, he runs out of my room and out of the pack house. “Aston! Gather all the available pack warriors, Celeste is gone, and we need to find her.” He grips onto Aston’s shoulder while they speak, him glancing around every so often.
“C, we have to go before my spells wear off.” He whispers, hesitantly moving me forward. “Cal, what if Crowley is right? What if he doesn’t let go and his pack falls apart because he won’t be the Alpha he needs to be?”
“Celeste, I’m sorry but the spell is wearing off. We gave to go now!” I hold in a yelp as he grips onto my wrist and pulls me forward. “I know the mate bond has gotten stronger, so this is a little harder, but there’s something you need to know.” He gives me a quick look before ducking under a branch that comes up in front of him.
“I need your help. The family is in danger.” I stop, pulling on the shirt of his collar so he’ll stop too. “What happened? I told you to keep an eye on them.” I pin him to the tree, feeling a little bit of my wolf for the first time in over 48 hours. It doesn’t sound like that long, but to a rogue, it’s forever.
“C, calm down. I’m your family too so don’t take your anger out on me. We need to get to a safe place to talk. Now calm down and walk.” I take a deep breath and un-clench the bunched-up fabric in my hand. “You’re right, I’m sorry.”
“Look, Austin’s pack will be catching up soon and my cloaking spell wore off so we’re going to have to leave now. They’ve probably already picked up your scent since it was still faintly there.” As if on cue, the loud and thundering howl that I know belongs to Austin, sounds through the woods. The signal of a catch. He knows where we are.
“Okay, let’s get out of here.”
It’s been about an hour since we got out of Roman pack territory. Ever since we’ve left, I’ve had this tinge of guilt hanging over my shoulders. It’s nothing new honestly, but for some reason it’s worse than all the other guilt I’ve ever felt. Stupid mate bond. If I had my wolf, she would’ve helped me block it out these last two days.
The weird thing though is we’re not that far from his territory. I know what you’re thinking, ‘How dumb are you? Get away before he catches you.’ I thought the same thing until Cal told me his cousin’s cabin is warded against wolves and will block our scents.
So here I am, sitting on a white leather couch with wet hair from a shower while Cal and his cousin, Eve, fight in the kitchen. “You guys know I’m a wolf, right? I can hear you.” I call when I hear my name come up. “Sorry C, I just found out why Eve lives so close to Roman territory.”
He walks in, plopping down next to me as a heavy sigh leaves his mouth. “She’s the pack witch. She works for him.” Eve comes in and sits across from us while giving her cousin a mean glare. “I don’t work for him darling.” She says sweetly, her soothing British accent coming out as she speaks. “I just preform a few spells for him every once and awhile in exchange for cash and protection.”
“So you’re not in his pack?” She laughs an adorable giggle like laugh at my question. “Oh god no, he’s not my ‘Alpha’ or anything like that. I listen to no man.” She soon stops her giggling and I decide to answer the question on my mind. “Are you the one who placed this spell on me?”
She gives me a mournful look and my question is answered. “Yes, sorry about that. Mr. Roman had given false information about you. He told me you were an important prisoner, but Cal here has filled me in with the true story. I’m sorry Celeste, I can’t help you. Only Austin himself can unleash your wolf with a blood bond spell.”
My hope is diminished as she speaks, and I slump against the back of her couch. “I’m sorry Celeste, we need to take you back to Austin.” Cal says hesitantly to me. “Why? I’ll find a different way to get my wolf back.”
“Celeste, I don’t like it either, but we need him to give your wolf back or I can’t tell you what’s going on with the family.” He stands up, hovering above me as he looks like he’s about to scold me. “Why not? They’re my family too and if they’re in-trouble then I want to know.”
“You can’t. If I tell you, you’ll try and help. If you try to help then you’ll get yourself killed and Celeste, don’t argue with me. I know you’re tough and can take care of yourself, but without your wolf, you’re human. If you’re human, you’re vulnerable.” He refuses to look me in the eyes as he speaks. “Cal, they’re my family, our family. I need to know what’s going on.”
He rubs his forehead in frustration as he paces around the floor. “If I tell you then you have to swear to call Austin and explain to him why you need your wolf. If he won’t give her back, then I guess you won’t need to return to his pack. I’ll just keep you safe, but you can’t try anything when it comes to helping the family.” He tells my sternly, shaking his pointer finger at me as he speaks. Now I feel like the child in this friendship.
“Okay, I swear I’ll do whatever you want.” I hold my hands up in surrender as he stops pacing and stands in front of me. “Okay well, about eight hours after Austin had got to you, me and my friends each headed to the houses to gather the family together again, to rescue you, but when we arrived at each house, they were all empty.” He takes a second to see my reaction to the news but finds nothing and decides to continue.
“I figured maybe they got sidetracked or were just running late since some of the houses were pretty far away, so I tracked the cars through a spell. We found all the cars, but they were all wrecked and everyone was just...gone. I couldn’t even use a body searching spell to find them, except one. I found Jack in a field less than a yard away from his and Jake’s car wreck.”
This has me sitting up straight. Maybe Jack knows where everyone is. “Have you spoken to him?” I ask hopefully but Cal hesitantly shakes his head no with a look of dread taking over his features. “He was thrown out of the windshield when the car rolled. He was injured pretty bad, but with mine and my friends help, we’ve helped him along. He’s still in a coma though. We don’t know what happened. From the crash we can tell the cars were tampered with and flipped on purpose. We think someone took them; one of your enemies.”
“Well that’s not very helpful, Cal! I have like a gazillion enemies. Anyone of three countries could’ve gotten them. That’s how many people I’ve pissed off.” I grip my hair tight as I begin to make a list of all my enemies that are still alive. I even think about all the relatives of the people I have killed that are probably searching for revenge right now. “I know, C. That’s why you need your wolf and you know now that I think about it, having the strongest and biggest pack in all of the States on our side wouldn’t be too bad either!” He shouts as we both pace circles around the couch.
“You want me to drag Austin and his pack into this? The long list of people who want me dead is one of the main reasons I don’t want a mate. If word gets out that I have a weak spot, they’ll use it against me.” He gives me that ‘really bitch?’ look as he crosses his arms and comes to a stop.
“People have obviously already figured out you have a weak spot if they’re going around snatching up your family!” He takes a deep breath, trying to calm himself before he speaks again. “Look, we need help and I seriously think Austin is our only shot. His trackers alone could probably find evidence to point us to someone.” He yells exhausted and ready to hit something.
“But how? I’ve told no one about them and when I travel for visits, I do two laps around the states surrounding my family’s homes to see if anyone is following me. I’m cautious, damn it!” I start to squeeze my knuckles shut so tight they begin to turn white. “Okay, darling, I know you’re upset and all, but if you punch a hole in my wall, I’ll call Austin myself.” Eve calls from behind a magazine that just magically appeared. I growl lowly before stomping out of the house, the door slamming against the wall as I throw it open and head for the nearest tree. I give it three swift punches, all hard enough to split the bark, causing it to fall slightly to the left.
My knuckles are split open and bleeding as I fall to the ground and rest my back against the now tilted tree. My chest heaving up and down as my breathing is uneven. “It’s time to call him, C.” Cal stands above me, his phone stretched out to me as I watch my damaged knuckles heal.
“Where’s Jack? I need to speak to him when he wakes up.” I stare up at him, squinting my eyes as the sun hits them. “He’s in the next town over with my friends. When he’s healed, I’ll tell you.” I give him a nod of appreciation before standing and gently taking the phone from him. “I had Eve enter his personal number for you, you just need to hit enter.”
With that, he leaves me outside by myself to call the man I just escaped. Inhaling a deep breath, I hit the little green button and hold the phone to my ear as it rings.
After the fifth ring I’m about ready to just hang up when the gruff voice of my mate filters through the speaker and my nerves spike. “Hello?” He asks, anger coming through, but also an undertone of hope and worry. “We need to talk.” I say breathlessly as I sit back down on the grass, my back laying against the broken tree once again. The broken tree that seems to resemble my life perfectly.