Heart of Stone - Book 3: Souls Entwine

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Chapter 6 - Aubree (Part 3)

While Stone filled them in on the war with the vampires, what happened with Gwen and her recovery, Aubree studied everyone’s reactions, especially Laurencius’.

The poor kid turned green and looked about ready to throw up when Stone explained Gwen’s injuries and how Aubree helped to bring her back from the edge of death.

Marina tried to comfort him, as did Elena. The luna got up from her seat and stood behind her youngest and wrapped her arms around his narrow shoulders. Marina looked sympathetic, while Elena maintained a blank expression, though her eyes misted over before she closed them and pressed her nose to his hair.

By the time Stone was done talking, even he looked drained, despite his best efforts to appear calm and collected.

Aubree held his hand, feeling his emotions swirl through him as he relived each memory as he explained it. He was much calmer than the previous day. There was no kneeling, but he did lower his gaze and fixated it on the tabletop.

Silence filled the room as everyone took a moment to think about what Stone had told them.

Several glances in Laurencius’ direction hinted at the private conversations taking place within the Rosmi Maana Pack as the kid’s face alternated from pain, to sadness, to exhaustion before he buried his face in his hands and exhaled loudly.

That seemed to be the end of their discussion as Eramis turned back to Stone and cleared his throat.

“We know what it is like to lose a pup.” He turned to Aubree. “We are in debt to you for bringing her soul back to her when it seemed almost lost.”

Aubree’s heart squeezed. “Of course. I couldn’t let her die.”

“Your bond with her must be strong.”

“It is,” Stone said. “The whole pack feels it. It’s strong with all of them.”

Eramis nodded in understanding.

“What do you propose the next steps be in regards to Laurencius and Guinevere?” Stone asked. “I presume you will want them both to return here after she is well enough to travel?”

“Of course,” Eramis said. “Lance will be required to begin his alpha training immediately, along with Gwen. I recall she was Luna for a hundred years when you last visited. Her training will be brief, but Lance will take some time since he is still very young. When he is ready, he and Gwen will be declared Alpha and Luna of the Rosmi Maana Pack.”

Dom had been quiet and rigid through most of the discussion, but even Aubree noticed his jaw tighten even more then.

Stone caught it too. “What of Dom?”

Eramis swallowed, his eyes darting away, as Elena lowered her gaze as well. He sighed. “You know a healthy pack needs a mated alpha and a luna.”

“What if Dom finds his mate while Laurencius is still in training?” Stone asked.

“You know we can’t take that chance.”

“But what if he does?” Stone pressed. “Before we discovered that Laurencius and Guinevere are mates, the title was promised to Dom. Now, it has been taken away from him. What if he finds his mate before Laurencius finishes his training? Dom is already trained to be Alpha, would you still deny him the title?”

“Should it happen, we will discuss it then. For now, the title is pending in Lance’s favor.”

“We would like to propose an alternative solution that would benefit both packs,” Stone said.

Eramis raised his brows in question and waited calmly for Stone to continue.

“Should Dom find his mate before Laurencius finishes his training, we would be willing to offer Laurencius the title of Alpha to our pack.”

Every pair of eyes across from Stone and Aubree widened as mouths fell open.

“What?” they all demanded in unison.

Stone lowered his gaze now to Aubree’s hand in his. “Aubree won’t be able to be Luna forever.”

As sadness enveloped her, Aubree placed her other hand on top of his, holding it between her palms. Pain twisted her heart with the thought of leaving him, but they both knew her fate as a human.

“I won’t be able to maintain my position as Alpha when that time comes,” Stone said as he placed his other hand on top of Aubree’s. “Should Gawain and Alistair never find their mates, and Guinevere comes here...”

“Your pack is small,” Eramis said. “You are all welcome to join us here when that time comes and the land can be given to another pack. There is no shortage of lycans looking for land to form their own packs, or packs looking for land to expand into.”

“However, if Dom finds his mate...”

Eramis growled as he stood up slowly from his seat. He pressed his palms against the smooth surface of the table. “If and when that happens, we will discuss it then. But until that time comes, the title will be pending until Lance completes his training.”

A growl reverberated within the room before Dom stood up and stomped out, his fists clenched at his sides, and slammed the door behind him.

Hanging his head, defeat resonated from Eramis before he sat back down in his chair and pressed his hands to his face.

Marina and the betas flinched, while Laurencius winced. The two pups both hung their heads, while the betas cast sideways glances at Eramis.

Elena returned to her seat at her mate’s side, biting down on her lip as her brows knotted, and put her hand on his shoulder.

Alec growled lowly before he also left the room.

Aubree turned her attention back to Stone and swallowed. The tension was so thick, she didn’t need super-senses to feel it. Her skin crawled and the hairs on the back of her neck stood on end.

If only she could speak telepathically with Stone...

He looked back at her, his eyes holding just as many thoughts and questions that whirled within her own mind.

They made their offer, but the outcome still remained uncertain. What more could they do?

Elena took a deep breath then and straightened up in her seat as she turned her attention back to Aubree and Stone. “I believe we have covered everything there is to say at this point. We need a moment now to consider our options, including your generous proposal should Dom find his mate.”

Aubree and Stone nodded.

She turned to Marina. “Could you give them a tour of the house? Show them the pool and the fitness centers.”

“And the stables?”

“And the stables.”

Aubree’s eyes widened. They had stables? As in horses?

She perked up in her seat, even though she’d never ridden a horse before. Would they let her? She’d be content just to pet one on the nose and feed him sugar cubes.

“Okay,” Marina agreed before rising to her feet.

“Do you mind if I go out for a run?” Stone asked.

With a slight shake of her head and a wave of her hand, Elena said, “Not at all. Go ahead.”

As Marina went to the door and held it open for them, Aubree and Stone left the room.

They made it to the end of the hallway when Dom crossed their paths with Alec on his flank.

Balled fists clenched stiffly at his sides, he held Stone’s gaze for a second before lowering it and dropping to one knee on the tiled floor.

“Please, Alpha and Luna,” he said in a low voice. “Please help me find my soulmate. I beg of you.”

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