Chapter 28 - Stone (Part 1)
The drive to the Lancaster Pack house was quiet. No one dared to utter a word at first—not with the rage pouring off Stone in deadly silent waves.
The moment Aubree said those words in his head, he wanted nothing more than to rip every last one of those wolves apart.
Instead, he withdrew into himself and blocked his mind from hers completely. He could feel her poking and prodding against it to try and talk to him, but he wouldn’t let her in. He didn’t want to hear what she had to say. Not until he was done with the screams echoing within every last crevice of his mind.
He wanted to shift. Needed to shift. The fury burned through him, consuming him.
He wanted to destroy everything in his path.
If only he could shift, he could run for hours and burn off the inferno until he was just smoldering ashes...
Instead, he agreed to meet their alpha through clenched teeth.
They hastily returned to her parents’ house to drop the dog off, grab their phones, her purse, and make a quick call to Hector to meet them there and have their backs.
He would need Hector and Rosemary to keep him from ripping that son of a bitch’s dick off...
Stone and Aubree sat in the backseat of one of Justin’s cars, with Justin in the front passenger seat and the youngest guy in the driver’s seat.
Stone could barely form a coherent sentence since agreeing to meet with the Lancaster alpha.
“You better warn Jackson that he’s pissed,” Aubree said, unable to stand the silence any longer. “I’ve never seen him like this, and quite frankly, I don’t think Jackson is any match against him.”
"Alpha Jackson,” Justin reminded her. “You’re not human anymore, Bree, so you better get used to addressing him with the respect he deserves.”
“As should you,” Stone grunted. “She is Luna to you, Beta.”
Stone peered at the male from the corner of his eye as his Adam’s apple rose and fell before he turned away and looked out the window.
“Brooke better be there,” Aubree muttered.
“Oh, she will be,” Justin assured her.
“Please tell me Jackson isn’t her mate.”
Justin chuckled at that. “Definitely not mates. She hasn’t found hers yet. Jackson has, though. Already got a pup and another on the way.”
“Good. Now I won’t feel as bad if Stone castrates him.”
Justin’s eyes shot open as he turned to face her.
She quirked a brow in challenge as his eyes darted to Stone sitting stiffly in his seat.
Stone was suddenly aware of his nostrils flaring, jaw taut, a vein in his forehead throbbing, and hands clenching the edge of the cushioned seat, nails digging into the material.
Justin looked back at Aubree, fear evident in his eyes and scent as his face blanched. “Shit, you guys didn’t...?”
“Pretty sure I wasn’t his first.”
Deflowering the flower...
“This doesn’t leave this car,” Justin said to the driver. “Got it?”
The pup nodded, his eyes flitting from the mirror and back to the road.
He knew. He knew that wolves didn’t screw around with other wolves.
While werewolves could take as many humans to bed as they pleased, mounting another wolf who wasn’t your mate was grossly frowned upon. Someone was bound to get hurt in the end. They were someone else’s mate. You didn’t touch what didn’t belong to you.
That was what pissed Stone off.
Aubree was merely another human conquest to that male.
But Aubree was his. She wasn’t any ordinary human, but his mate.
And like so many other humans, she didn’t know any better. She had no idea what they were, or how aggressive a male werewolf’s sexual appetite was—especially an alpha male.
It was the human side of them that affected their libido. Coupled with animal instinct, it was a powerful force, heightened and sated only by their mates.
The males were uncomfortable now.
Good. They should be.
This wasn’t about having an outsider on their turf anymore. This was personal.
Aubree huffed. “Jeez, guys. I knew what I was getting into. Girls talk just as much as boys do. We all knew Jackson was a player.”
“Aubree,” Stone gritted out, but she continued rambling in an irritated manner.
“It’s not like we were kids. We were consenting adults—”
He reached out and pushed his way into her weak barrier and interrupted her train of thought. [Enough. What happened between you two is no one’s business.]
She heaved an exasperated sigh. [That’s what I’m trying to get through to you, but you’ve completely shut me out!]
He rubbed his face. His head was aching with the mental onslaught. [I can’t think clearly right now.]
[Well, chill, okay? He’s not a bad guy, which is why he was so popular with everyone. He was a player and everyone knew it. No big deal.]
Pulling his hand from his face, he shook his head. [Perhaps not to you, but it’s a big deal to me. He led you on a tight leash, and once the newness of you wore off, he kicked you to the curb. Treated you like another human female conquest. He knew you would never mean anything more.]
She huffed. [I repeat, I knew what I was getting into. I don’t regret it, so you shouldn’t get upset about it. Like you said, what happened between me and him is no one’s business. Let it go.]
A low growl rumbled within him.
She sighed in exasperation. [Why are you so upset about this? Dan and I were sexually active and you didn’t kick up a stink about that.]
[He was human. That’s different.]
[And you don’t think this revelation bothers me too?] she snapped back.
He growled again as they turned into a gated community that served as the pack’s residence.
The rumbles continued to vibrate within him as they passed by several medium-sized houses that surrounded a community center with a basketball court, a large shared community garden, and an outdoor pool next to a volleyball net. A narrow creek ran behind it with lots of trees and picnic tables. There was an open grassy field to play other sports and games. A dozen pups were kicking a ball out there as they drove up to the community center.
There was a small library, general store, clinic, a fitness center, and a meat shop next to it, but the community center with all the surrounding amenities was the hub of the estate.
Stone gritted his teeth.
This was a large and healthy pack. From what he could see, there had to be at least fifty adults plus pups.
Aubree didn’t seem taken with everything around them. She must have been here before.
How many times with that male, though? He couldn’t help but wonder, and it made his stomach turn.
The same wolves that met them at the park were waiting for them outside the community center.
As he climbed out of the car, the bitter scent of disapproval and nervousness met him.
“Where’s Brooke?” Aubree demanded as she got out of the car and slammed the door shut.
“She’s coming,” Justin answered. “She’ll be here in a few minutes.”
“Come,” the oldest male in the group said, the same one who had been following them from the house when they were walking Whiskey. “Alpha Jackson, Luna Leanne, and the elders are waiting.”
The elders were involved? This didn’t bode well.
This wasn’t going to be a simple “What brings you into my territory?” meeting. Elders weren’t invited to those.
[I don’t like this,] he told Aubree in her head.
Her scent shifted immediately to unease. [What’s wrong?]
[Relax. Don’t show any fear. We haven’t done anything wrong. Forget our cover story. Tell them the truth. Every detail of it. This is an inquisition. They know you were human and now you’re not. They know the Lycan Code. Goddess help me from killing this wolf.]
She huffed. [This again? Stone, please. Control yourself.]
He shook his head, trying to clear it from the rage building up once more.
This Alpha mounted his mate, and now they were going to question their bond? Their blessing from the Goddess?
They should have waited until after Aubree’s first transformation when she would become fully lycan. However, it seemed it wouldn’t have mattered since many of these werewolves knew Aubree. They would still have to face them about her transformation either way.
He joined her side and put his hand on her lower back.
She was his.
Justin led them into the building and up a set of stairs to the conference room on the second floor.
He could smell the musk of the male and it made the hairs on his nape stand on end.
“Wait,” Aubree said as they stopped outside a set of double doors. She turned her body towards Stone’s and reached up, wrapping her arms around his neck. “Give us a moment for me to calm down my mate.”
The wolves nodded their heads and stepped back to the end of the hallway, blocking the staircase and any means of escape.
Nervous fingers tickled his nape as they brushed through his short hair. She pulled his forehead down to hers before her hands slipped down his shoulders to find his. Fingers entwined and lifted up to shoulders.
He took a deep lungful of air at the same time she did. Inhaling her scent, calm, and soothing. Exhaling, their breaths mingled on each other’s faces.
[I’m as guilty as he is,] she said. [It was never about love. It was infatuation. Lust. Nothing more. So, stop pinning all the blame on him. He’s not a bad guy.]
A throaty growl rumbled in his throat. Stone understood, but he still didn’t like it.
[You don’t have to like it, Love. Just understand that it was a mutual attraction that was physical only, and nothing deeper. Treat him the way you would any alpha. With respect. Be the stronger man, Stone.]
Apprehensive stares drilled into his back. Some fleeting as weights shifted from foot to foot.
The strongest stares held disdain. Disdain for him and what he had done to this human female.
How many more times would he be faced with this type of hostility?
They would never understand. He would always be a beast to them. An outlaw.
[I’ll try, Love.]
Untangling her fingers from his, she reached up and cupped his cheeks in her palms and tilted his head down further to place a kiss on his forehead.
[I know you will.]
She drew away, her beautiful hazels pausing over his blues for a moment before turning to the doors.
She had more faith in him than he did.