Beauty in the Beast

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Chapter 22

Nick’s fur was sticky and clumped together with mud and blood. With that single touch, the pack erupted in cheers. Clothes began flying as wolves shifted under the light of the full moon. Nick sat up and I stood to my feet. He whined at my feet and nudged me with his nose. He wanted me to shift. I looked up at the moon, I wouldn’t have a choice in a few minutes. I slipped my fingers under the straps of my dress and freed my arms before I wiggled the fabric down my body. I set it on Nick’s throne and let the moon tell my body what to do.

Now that I was in my wolf form I could link my mind to anyone in the pack. I could check on Emmett. I could check on Derek..

Emma— I turned to Nick. He was still dripping blood. We need to run. It was pack rules to run together after the Mating Ritual. I had no idea how he was going to run in his condition but it was evident that he wasn’t going to show any sign of weakness.

I ran with my new mate at my side but I didn’t speak a word to him. I couldn’t focus, I was exhausted and I hadn’t even done anything. I was worried about Derek. He was hurt badly, hell, Emmett was hurt badly. Dr. Morris was on scene, she wouldn’t let them die. She would have fixed them up until the moon made her change. What if it wasn’t enough time? I couldn’t think like that.

The run wasn’t over until the moon was replaced by the sun. We all stopped where it started, right by the blood covered stone circle. I morphed beside Nick’s throne and grabbed my dress, slipping it back on. A fully clothed Daniel handed Nick a pair of sweatpants and placed a hand on his newly human shoulder.

“Do you need Doc?” He asked him.

“Nah, a shower will be enough.” He looked like hell. He took on his very own Omega, one of his best warriors as well as another very strong male and left them with life-threatening wounds and all he needed was a shower? The male in front of me was more than worthy to be Alpha. He grabbed his suit jacket from Daniel and wrapped it around my shoulders. “Are you all right?” He asked me. All I could do was nod. “Check with Doc,” he focused back to Daniel. “I want the status of all of my wolves in an hour.” He placed his hand on the small of my back and gentle pushed me forward. “I’ll be taking my mate home.” His mate. That was me. I was the Alpha’s mate. The pack’s Luna. Shit.

Nick led me to a car parked on the street that was only a few cars down from my dads. He held the door open for me and I got in, still slightly in shock. The door closed gently and Nick got in the drivers seat. He clicked his seatbelt in place and winced from the wounds on his chest. I jumped as his hands reached over me.

“Easy, little wolf.” He grabbed my seatbelt and slid it across my body and clipped it into its holder. I don’t know why I was so jumpy. Maybe it was because the male beside just tried to kill two wolves i was very close to? Maybe it was the sheer power radiating from his muscles after a fight and a run? Nick pulled into a driveway that wasn’t mine.

“I thought you were taking me home?” I questioned.

“No, to my home.” He got out of the car and it hit me that newly mated pairs would be spending the entire day together to consummate their mating. I had half a mind to lock the door and carjack his ride back to my house. The door opened and he held his hand out to me. I looked at it, then at him. What did I just get myself into? With a deep breath I unbuckled my seatbelt and took his hand. He pulled me from the car with such ease I wondered if Derek and Emmett ever had a fighting chance. He led me to his house, which was beautiful to say the least. He decorated much better than I never did. He offered the couch to me as he disappeared down the hall. The house was completely open besides the bedrooms and bathrooms with closed doors. His furniture looked brand new, maybe he didn’t get many visitors. He came back out from the bedroom with his cell in his hand, he was texting someone. He opened the fridge and pulled out a pitcher with a dark brown liquid inside. He poured two glasses and brought them to the living room. He handed me a glass and sat on the couch beside me. “You’ve been quiet.” He noticed. “I’m sure you have many questions.” He sipped the drink and leaned into the couch.

“What the hell, Nick?” I slammed the glass on his coffee table, not caring that I spilled some.

“Right.” He leaned back up and turned himself toward me. “Maybe you should go lay down and get some rest. I could really use a shower.” He motioned to the dirt and blood still covering his body.

“Nick—“ I started.

“Emma.” He stood up, heading straight back to the kitchen. He grabbed his phone and a paper towel before returning to me. He wiped up my mess before he wiggled his phone at me. “Your boyfriends are fine. Doc stitched them up good.” He turned on his heels and headed back toward the bedrooms. I grabbed the throw pillow on the couch and stood up. I don’t know why I did it, I knew throwing the pillow at his back wouldn’t hurt him one bit, but it sure did make me feel better. “Really, Emma?” He picked up the pillow and walked it back over to me. “Please at least try and control yourself.” I plopped back onto the couch and threw my head into my hands. What the hell was I doing? How did I get to this point? In all the years I’d known Nick I have never seen him with a female, aside from that show Natalie tried to put on. He never once showed an interest in me, unless saving my life a few times was his way of saying he wanted to mate me?

I jumped up from the couch and followed him into the bedroom.

“Nick—wait.” He was opening the door to his master bath when he stopped and turned to me. “The shower’s going to hurt like hell, you should run the bath.” He chuckled.

“Alright.” I felt like I was looking at him for the first time. Sure, I’d seen him buck-ass naked before during shifting but I’ve never looked at him before. His tattooed sleeve stopped just behind his shoulder blade where a burn scar started. It wasn’t huge but it wasn’t small either. About the size of a slice of bread across his shoulder blade, it had to be from ten years ago. Wolves didn’t scar from much, fire and wolfsbane were usually the only things that did enough damage to scar our skin. He has a bite on his back, and so many scratches on his chest I could barely see the bite that was left there too. “Did you want to join me?” I instantly blushed, he noticed me eyeing his chest and thought my mind was somewhere else. “I won’t be long, relax, little wolf.” He nodded to his bed before he closed himself in the bathroom. I took a seat on the edge of the bed and slid my heels off of my feet before removing his jacket. I stood back up and placed it on his dresser as I picked up a picture frame. This was probably invading his privacy but I couldn’t help myself. It was an old photograph of man and a woman holding a baby. This was his family. I set the picture down and sat back on his bed.

I tensed at the sound of the tub draining, he would be coming out of the bathroom to join me any second. I felt like I was waiting forever for him, yet I didn’t hear him doing anything in the bathroom. Was he okay? Maybe he passed out from the blood loss? I began to worry and slid off the bed going to the door of the bathroom. I put my ear to the door but I heard nothing. My hand held the knob but I didn’t twist it open. What was I doing? Just knock. But instead I twisted the handle and pushed the door open. He was sitting on the side of the bathtub with a bottle of peroxide and a white washcloth. A matching white towel was wrapped around his hips to keep him covered. He looked up at me but I didn’t meet his gaze, I was distracted by just how badly he was hurt. The clumped mud and dry dirt really covered him but now that he was clean, he was utterly exposed.

“Jesus Nick.” I sat on the toilet beside him and took the washcloth from his hand. “We need to call Dr. Morris.” I went to stand but his hand on my wrist stopped me.

“It’s not that bad.”

“You look like you went through a meat grinder.” He chuckled and tried to take the cloth back from me.

“I’ll be fine. It’ll heal faster once it’s clean.”

“Let me.” I held the cloth in my palm and poured the peroxide onto it. With a gentle hand I dabbed the wounds on his chest. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath in. As his skin fizzed I would tell he was holding back. “Nick?”

“Yes, little wolf?” He kept his eyes closed as I repeated my steps on a new piece of ripped muscle.

“Did you do this to gain power?” Any mated alpha was stronger than an unmated one, you would be stupid to think otherwise.

“Why would you ask that?” He opened his eyes and tried to find mine but I deliberately avoided him.

“You’ve never shown any kind of interest in me except to yell at me for looking into things I shouldn’t be, and yet you nearly got yourself killed fighting for me in a Mating Ritual that you just happened to make my involvement mandatory. You either did this for power or to stop me from looking into my mother’s death once and for all.” His huge hand shot up and trapped my chin between his fingers, forcing me to lock eyes with him. He slid his hand to my cheek, cupping it ever so gently. He slid it back even farther until his fingertips reached my hair behind my ear. He caressed my scalp before he brought my head down to his, resting our foreheads on each other. I held my breath, my body coated with little pimples sent a shiver down my spine.

“Do you feel that, little wolf?” He let out a slow breath. “That, right there, that feeling is why I would have died before I left that ring without you.”

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