Chapter 5 - Stone (Part 1)
Stone suggested that Aubree make herself comfortable and shower while he was out for his run. He’d be back in less than an hour and with this latest revelation, now more than ever, he needed to unwind. It just complicated everything even more.
He had always feared the day Gwen would find her mate and she would have to leave.
While he wished for her to find happiness, he had hoped she would be a higher rank than her mate, so he’d have to come join their pack. But a young male from the Alpha Bloodline? She deserved the best, yes, but he didn’t know if he could give her up, even to this pup.
It was selfish of him, and he knew it, but she had always been there for him, forcing him back up when he refused to. She had been hard on him when he needed her to be, and soft when he was too hard on himself. The countless times they argued with each other and cried together...
She was so much like him, only better.
And someday soon, he would have to let her go and give her to another.
Being a father was tough, but worth it.
Darkness was settling over the land when Dom came for him. He was ready for that run. He needed to clear his head, stretch his muscles, and feel the wind in his fur.
The young male, who had previously been all smiles, was now grave when he knocked on the front door of the guest house.
“Why didn’t you say anything about your situation back in Minnesota?” he asked as they walked around the house to the forest across from the garden and ten yards of grass.
Stone’s throat constricted. “It was of no concern to you and your pack.”
Dom’s arms were stiff at his sides as he clenched his hands into fists. “Well, it is a concern. Now that we know Gwen is Lance’s mate, it’s an enormous concern to us—especially to Lance.”
“While that is completely understandable, how were we to know that upon arrival?” Stone said, keeping his tone level and even as he walked next to Dom. “Our business was not a concern of yours until then.”
The muscles in Dom’s jaw tightened as silence fell between them.
When they reached the treeline, Stone turned his back to Dom as he began to strip and hang the clothes on a branch. Movement a dozen yards ahead caught his attention as he took in the scent of smoked cedar and something else—something unusual that he couldn’t quite pin down under the heavy smokiness. His nose wrinkled as his muscles instinctively drew together in preparation for something unpleasant to show itself.
“Tiberius is on patrol and will take you along the border,” Dom said after noticing Stone sniffing the air and his stance stiffening.
He remembered Tiberius, Dom’s younger brother, and the second son of Eramis and Elena. But his scent was different from the last time he met the young male thirty years ago.
“Why has his scent changed?” Stone asked, turning to study Dom’s expression in the darkness.
A low growl of warning rumbled as Tiberius stopped a few yards away.
Dom held Stone’s gaze as a twist of his alpha authority tugged on the left corner of his temple.
Stone refrained from lifting his hand to massage it and instead stared the young male down.
“His business is his own and he does not wish us to discuss it.”
Stone narrowed his eyes. “This is not the way to build ties now that we know my pup is mates with your brother. We will discuss all of our matters together tomorrow. Nothing will be kept secret. Understood?”
Tiberius growled again behind him, but Dom growled more fiercely back, silencing his younger brother.
“Understood, Alpha,” Dom gritted out before turning away and marching back to the villa.
Stone turned his attention back to the smoky presence yards away in the darkness. Using as much authority as he could muster in his voice, he said, “I will respect your wishes for now, Tiberius. However, I will hear every last detail of truth within this pack before I allow that pup anywhere near my daughter. Am I making myself clear?”
A garbled and warped voice through lipless teeth of a half-transformed male said back to him, “Threaten my pack, and my father will rip your trachea from your throat without a second thought.”
Stone’s lips twisted back in a sneer. “I’ve said nothing threatening. Is there something I should be concerned about when I speak with your family tomorrow?”
Tiberius growled, a branch snapping underneath him as he stepped back submissively.
He would drop the matter for now. It was late. Both he and Aubree were exhausted from the flights and did not need to confront Eramis and Elena about it now. He needed to unwind.
Shifting tactics, he crouched forward and focused his attention on the transformation into his wolf and the freedom he would feel from the run ahead.
“I’m a fast runner, Tiberius,” Stone said as his jaw elongated and his voice became gruffer. “Think you can keep up?”
A huff-like chuckle met his ears as he completed his shift and bounded forward on four legs.
Tiberius proved a worthy opponent in speed, but Stone held back on him, not wanting to show his full capabilities to the young male almost two centuries old.
Still, despite the exhausted state of his mind and body, he loved the feel of the earth under his paws and the wind through his fur. Hard and rough in some places, and dry and crumbly in others, he pounded forward against the desert night, throwing his head back to howl at the moon when his heart and soul were content. His muscles rippled with mild exhaustion as they returned to the pack house and Stone shifted back into his human form and pulled his pants on and carried the rest of his clothes.
Wiping the sweat from his face with his shirt, he walked in the front door of the guest house and found Aubree sitting on the couch watching television, her back to him. Her scent filled the room, heavenly and sweet, tainted only by a hint of sour nervousness. That changed when she looked over and flashed him a smile as he closed the door behind him and locked it.
He didn’t realize that just the sight of her had brought a smile to his face and she was returning it.
“Feeling better now?” she asked as he dropped his shoes at the door and tossed his shirt on the leather chair next to the couch.
“Yes,” he said as he watched her eyes follow his movements as he made his way to her.
She was wearing that little white nightie again. So dainty and light. Her nipples pressed against the fabric, free of their padded and underwire cage.
They should remain free at all times.
His dick twitched.
Should’ve walked in naked.
She quirked an eyebrow at him. “You know, I hate it when people just toss their clothes around like that.”
Pausing before her, he smirked down at her as he bent down and tucked a damp strand of hair behind an ear. A faint hint of soapiness mingled with her vanilla-rose scent, clean and fresh.
Not for long.
“Then you must hate it when I rip the clothes from your body and throw them across the room.”
She barely got a chance to open her mouth before he was driving his tongue in it and making her moan.
Goddess, that was the most amazing sound in the world. He wanted to listen to her moaning and groaning into him all day.
Perhaps he would tonight...
Teasing her bottom lip with his teeth, he pulled away before whispering, “Find a knife in one of the kitchen drawers and meet me upstairs. We’ll finish this after my shower.”
She was going to need the knife. He knew he wasn’t going to be as gentle as he had been yesterday.