Chapter 3 - Stone (Part 2)
As the pack house came into view, Aubree’s eyes grew large as she took in the grandeur.
The villa was in the process of being rebuilt when Stone last visited thirty years ago and was indeed an impressive sight now that the construction had been completed. Palm trees lined the house with other hardy green foliage, contrasting against the sand-colored walls and chestnut brown roof. With Spanish-Mediterranean influences in the architecture, large arched columns connected four adjoining houses to the main house. The multilevel structure was more than large enough to accommodate the size of the Rosmi Maana Pack, and Stone wouldn’t be surprised if the smallest house on the left, connected to a large garage, was to accommodate guests from other packs.
Having one side of the Grand Canyon in your backyard was sure to bring in lots of visitors year-round. It was a wonder that Dom hadn’t found his mate yet.
Aubree hadn’t blinked once as they pulled up to the front doors and Alec put the car in park. Only then did she blink, snap shut her bottom jaw hanging off its hinges, and climb out.
Dom helped them with their luggage and left the bags in the grand foyer as Alec drove off to put the car back in the garage.
The sky was nearly dark by the time they arrived. A large chandelier lit up the foyer and a long, curved staircase stood before them with hallways leading to their right and left and the kitchen and dining area behind the staircase.
Dom motioned for them to follow him down the hallway on the right, where they entered the first door on the right, the Alpha’s office.
Stone instinctively had his hand on Aubree’s lower back as they walked and upon entering the space, slipped it further around so his hand rested on her hip—a possessive stance, but one that noticeably made Aubree’s heart flutter.
Alpha Eramis and Luna Elena were waiting for them and they rose up from their seats behind a long desk that supported two computers and two tall bookshelves and filing cabinets. There were two comfortable office chairs in front of the desk and a long, sleek leather couch along the wall next to the door. A large window overlooked the courtyard in front of the main house and Stone spotted Alec leaving the garage and walking toward the front door.
The Alpha and Luna raised their palms in greeting as they came around the desk to meet them.
Eramis and Elena hadn’t changed a bit since Stone last saw them.
A couple of inches taller than Stone, Eramis was broad-shouldered and his physique mirrored Alistair’s—bulkier than Stone’s muscle mass with more power locked within his veins than Gunner could ever match. His dark blond hair was cut close to his head like a soldier’s, his face clean-shaven, and his steel-gray eyes smiling. The aura around him was one of calm.
At six feet tall, Elena was a force to be reckoned with as well. Though more slender than her mate, she was likewise born from the Alpha Bloodline and was a fiercer warrior than Rosemary could ever be.
She regarded Aubree now with curiosity. A scar ran down the right side of her face, from her eyebrow down to her cheekbone. Cloudiness reflected in the pupil of the eye, while the other amber one shone brightly. Her hair was down instead of pulled back in a ponytail like it usually was, and was brushed over in an attempt to conceal the scar. She was never one to mask her battle scars, preferring to show them proudly as marks of the warrior that she was, but in the presence of a human female, she appeared more subdued than usual.
“Welcome, Alpha and Luna,” they both said as Stone and Aubree returned the greeting with raised palms.
Dom was about to take a seat on the couch behind them before his father caught his eye and Dom nodded before leaving.
“It is good to see you again, Alpha Stone,” Eramis said, “and an even greater pleasure to meet you, Luna Aubree.”
Stone nodded his head in respect, trying to maintain eye contact with Eramis’ calculating gaze. He could feel the alpha pressing his authority on him slightly, reminding him to be careful under his roof.
“The pleasure is mine,” Aubree said to him. Her eyes met with Elena’s next. “Your home is amazing! And there are so many trees here. I was expecting to walk off the plane and into a desert.”
Elena smiled. “It will certainly feel like a desert when the sun is up. Things are cooling down now and nights are chilly. I hope you brought a sweater.”
Aubree’s eyes lit up. “Yes. Stone insisted I pack a sweater for our visit to the Spirit Walker since the ceremony will be at night.”
“Good,” Elena said with a hint of approval in her tone. She turned her gaze to Stone, studying him, as Dom returned with two glasses of water for them.
Stone and Aubree thanked him for the drink as they took the glasses from him.
After downing half the glass, his eyes returned to Eramis as Dom took a seat on the couch.
“I assume you would prefer to share a room,” Eramis said, “but I can arrange to have you in separate rooms if you like.”
Aubree was nodding as Stone answered, “Shared room, please.”
Both Eramis and Elena smiled knowingly, though it was a smile of acceptance, not approval. “I thought so,” Eramis said.
“I would appreciate it if you wouldn’t mind allowing me to go out for a run after we settle,” Stone said. “I need to stretch my legs after that flight. It might even unplug my ears.”
Eramis waved his hand while Elena nodded. “Of course, of course. I’ll have one of the boys take you out and show you the borders. Speaking of which,” Eramis quirked his head to the side slightly, “the pups should be here soon.”
Stone could hear soft footsteps approaching before a young female knocked on the door and entered.
“Alpha Stone and Luna Aubree, my youngest daughter Marina,” Eramis said with a roll of his tongue. “Mari, the Alpha and Luna of the Blauwald Pack from Minnesota.”
Greetings were exchanged and Aubree’s eyes lit up at the prospect of getting to know the girl who shared her father’s dark blond hair and gray eyes. Mari was even taller than Gwen by a couple of inches, though not quite six feet tall like her mother.
A door from the back of the house slid open and shut as another set of footsteps clambered across the house and down the hallway, echoing with enthusiasm.
Stone noticed immediately the tension that settled between the alpha and luna. Even Dom rose from the couch, his eyes giving away the emotions that the controlled mask on his face failed to conceal.
Instinctively, Stone shifted his position to one of defense, his arm coming out from behind Aubree and pulling her back behind him slightly as the door burst open and a very young male tumbled in.
“Mate!” he panted, looking crazed, dripping wet, and wearing only a pair of navy blue swim trunks, as his gray eyes rested on Aubree. “Give me my mate!”