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Twenty Three

Judah

When I was eight, I got lost in the woods in our territory. I was newly shifted but unaware of my surroundings yet. I wandered too far with my wolf. Under these circumstances, pups don't travel far. They stay close to what they are familiar with which is why nobody noticed I was gone.

At that time, I was still scared of the dark. I was defenseless against any kind of animals or creatures that might have found me in those woods. Every little sound or noise scared me. I wandered aimlessly for hours. I tried not to cry. My father said, crying was for the baby and I was a big boy. I shouldn't cry because it will make me weak. However, that didn't stop the tears that were stinging my eyes. I remember rubbing them and telling them to go away.

I kept repeating in my head that I am a Gamma. Gammas don't cry. We fight. We figure out how to get out of tough situations like this.

Even with that pep talk, it did not prepare me for what I faced that night. A feral rabid werewolf that has been in the wild far too long has somehow wandered onto our territory. They were vicious creatures that have lost all humanity. The second it saw me, it came after me.

I ran but my feet couldn't compare to how fast his paws were hitting the ground. I hear his heavy pants and hungry growls. It knocked me down onto the ground and its claws dug into my chest as a statement for me to not move or else I die. I whimpered and started breathing hard. It reeked and saliva dripped down onto my cheeks.

I knew if I didn't fight it, I will die. I also knew that the chances of me surviving was minimal. However, I had to try. So, I shifted underneath the feral wolf. My tiny wolf compared to its matured large size. It snarled and sneered before launching at me. I jumped to one side before snapping onto his neck, tearing him apart.

That was the only time I have ever been really scared in my life but I grew up. I learned to fight for myself but now I have something new. Somebody new that seems to push me in all kinds of places.

Upon seeing that fire and catching the scent of a very pungent women perfume. My heart literally dropped to the ground. I wasn't just scared, I was terrified. I couldn't breathe. The ultimate fear of losing what could be everything for me--what could be my future. I shoved all rational thoughts aside. Any conversations or ability to assess situations were gone. I didn't care if I lived or died. I only knew I needed her.

I looked down at her sleeping form. She snuggled up to my body like a warm blanket. Her arms and legs slung over my body like I'm a body pillow. Drool slipping down one corner of her mouth. She did not sleep pretty at all. This is the girl that I walked through fire for.

I had asked Ace to call into school and requested a day off for Rosemary. Knowing her though, I had Scott picked up her homework assignments if needed. She's not going to school today. Today, I needed to be reassured she is okay.

That scent last night, I did not miss. I knew who it was immediately. I am reminded of the incident back at the resort. Hunter and Ace told me that Rosemary claimed she was pushed. That she didn't deliberately run into a frenzied fight. Although I am unable to identify who it was that might have pushed her, I am not an idiot. I can connect the dots. Rosemary does not have any enemies because doesn't have any friends. She started gaining enemies when she met me.

She is constantly in harm's way because of me. That alone was enough to set me on the trail of the culprit. I needed to get this resolved and I needed to do it fast.

I slipped out of bed as stealthy as I can. Once I was away, I walked out of the bedroom and down the hallway to the front door where I had left my keys and cell phone last night. Picking it up, I dialed Hunter's phone number.

He picked up on the second ring, "Sup, Jude?"

"Where are you?" I can hear voices in the background.

"Still at Rosemary's house."

"What have you found?" I asked, walking out of the house and onto the porch so that Rosemary doesn't overhear the conversation.

It was still early in the morning but outside was gloomy with the impending rainstorm we will be receiving tonight into the next few days. Already, some roads are closed to keep people safe from flooded areas. There was also a cool breeze to the air but I found it eerily relaxing.

"Not good. We found an arsen kit in the back of their house. It is an amateur kit that can be conjured up in a science lab at school but it was enough to set the house completely on fire," Hunter replied.

"So, someone from the local high school?" I clenched and unclenched my fist at my side.

"The stuff that was used was stuff from the high school but Jude, we don't know who-"

"I fucking know who did it," I snarled into the phone, unable to hold back the rising fury inside of me. My wolf is snarling and demanding bloodshed.

"What? Who?" Hunter asked.

"I'm going to kill her," I growled.

"Whoa, ok, hold on a minute here. You need to tell me what is going on before you do anything irrational. If you know who it is, I need to know. There has to be a proper investigation. We can't just kill on sight. It's unethical and we will bring the whole Councils down on us." Hunter tried reasoning with me.

I started pacing because the urge to shift was becoming overwhelming. My wolf is getting agitated and pushing hard to escape. I can already feel the bristling of furs on my arm.

"Jude. Judah. Gamma Judah, I am ordering you to answer me," Hunter commanded. There was no humor in his voice. He is ordering me as his third in command to answer him.

Closing my eyes, I squeezed them shut. Pressing two fingers to pinch between my eyes. An irritating headache was starting to form with me trying to fight off my wolf's overpowering need to tear someone's throat apart.

"Last night, I smelled her. She was there." I tried to be coherent as much as possible.

"Who?" Hunter prodded further.

"Bethany," I snarled inhumanely.

Her name fueled my rising rage even further. I knew if she stood in front of me right now, she would be dead.

"Bethany? Now that you mentioned it, I remember Rosemary saying something about her. Also, the incident in class, I thought by assigning her community service will allow her a chance to redeem herself. Don't worry about it. I will take care of this. Meet me at the packhouse at three today." Hunter was speaking but everything was falling on deaf's ears. I couldn't think. My primal instincts are taking over and all I wanted to do was protect.

The words were being chanted in my head repeatedly.

Bethany harmed mate.

Kill her.

"Jude? You still there, man?" Hunter asked on the other end.

"Fuck, I don't know. I'm losing it, Hunter. I can't-" I growled.

"Ok, lock yourself inside your home. Don't-"

"Fucking Rose is inside," I snarled, my eyes flaring open to glare out at the scenery behind me.

"That's good. Go to her. She's your mate, she can calm you down."

"No, she can't see me like this. I need to kill something. I need to fight-"

"Listen to me, buddy, you can't fight. You can't kill. You will regret this. Go inside, now. That's a command."

"Fuck, I'm shifting, Hunter." I glanced down at my arms and saw how my claws have already lengthened. My bones were shifting and breaking. It happens so easily and so often I barely feel the pain.

"Get inside," Hunter ordered.

I walked inside after hanging up with Hunter. I started pacing and breathing. Our animals rarely come out unless provoked and I am more than provoked. I'm livid and my wolf is using that to fuel my need to shift.

I grabbed a vase that was sitting on a wall table and threw it across the room. It hit the opposite wall of the living room and completely shattered. That did nothing to defuse the fury. I closed my eyes and fell to the floor.

"What the hell?" I heard her say from the hallway.

"Come here, please. I need you." My voice sounds harsh and inhumane still.

"What's going on? Why are you half-shifted?" I heard her coming closer.

Opening my eyes, I saw her drop down onto her knees in front of me, still dressed in my clothes.

"I'm shifting. I need you to stop the shift. My wolf is taking over," I said through clenched teeth still fighting my wolf with everything I have. The power struggle gave me an immense headache. I am starting to see black dots.

"Ok, I was taught this in Animal Science. Mrs. Jameson said that in order to be able to stop a forced shift, we can-Oh my god-your canines and your eyes-"

"Rose!" I growled.

"Ok. Ok! I can do this. Mrs. Jameson-she-she said you have to knock both subconscious unconscious," she rambled in a panic, pointing her finger at me before standing up. She hastily walked over my kitchen and grabbed a glass vase before walking up to me.

Lifting it into the air, she stared at me and then at the vase.

"Shit! I can't hit you. Oh my god!" she cried before dropping back onto her knees in front of me. She sat the vase onto the ground.

If it was any other day, I would laugh but right now, I am starting to lose it. I can feel it. I'm gripping at the last strings. In a last resort, one of my hands shot out and grabbed the back of her neck. I dragged her body to mine and crashed my lips onto hers. My canines dug into her lips. I can taste the sweetness of her blood. My tongue swirled in and swiped against hers. She was startled at the immediate change before she relaxed and allowed me to take control.

Her legs straddled my hips. A soft mew of pleasure slipped from her lips just as she slid her arms around my shoulders. I ran my hands through her hair and deepened the kiss. Her tongue met my tongue halfway with each stroke of our tongues. She is smooth and continued to tease me. It was a cat and mouse chase and it drove me crazy. Growling, my mind has completely changed direction. My wolf is more interested in capturing our mate in this chase.

I can feel her breasts through the thin black cotton t-shirt she was wearing. She wasn't wearing any bra. Her nipples were hard and pressing through the cloth onto my naked torso. Her hands snaked into my hair and she fought to take control of the kiss. Growling, I flipped her onto the floor softly below me. My body covering hers. Her legs wrapped around my waist. The shirt rode up her torso, exposing her stomach. That small little skin contact was enough to send blood rushing between my legs. The mate bond was like a magnetic electric field, pulling me closer to her. I needed to be closer to her. Tearing my lips away from her I trailed my lips down her jawline, down her throat where I openly sucked hard sending her into a moaning frenzy. She squirmed underneath me but exposed her neck to me completely. She's willing and my wolf and I loved it.

A sudden loud rattling and crackling from behind stopped me. My eyes snapped open and I turned in time to see Ace storming into my home unannounced. He had broken my front door in an attempt to get inside my home and restrain me. That fucker. He looked down at us in surprise and saw the state we both were in.

"Did I interrupt something?" He looked thoroughly confused.

I turned back to my mate who, by now, have sat back up and pulled down her shirt. Her lips were red and swollen from my kissing attack but she looks absolutely ravishing in front of me.

"So, I guess, you are fine now. I will just be going then."

There are days, I am glad to have Hunter and Ace as friends but today isn't one of those days. I could kick his ass right now for interrupting this crucial moment. That fucker.

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