Beauty in the Beast

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Chapter 25

Nick pulled me out of that hospital faster than I’ve ever been pulled anywhere. I knew he was angry, he had every right to be angry. Hell, I was even a little angry with myself. Once we got about two miles from the hospital, he stopped and released my wrist. I waited for him to yell, it had to be coming, I deserved it. Yet, he didn’t. He stood silent while I just stared at him like a child that broke the glass ornament I wasn’t supposed to be playing with.

“Nick—“

“Don’t, Emma.”

“I’m sorry.” I opened my mouth despite his order.

“You could have rejected me.” His words cut me deeper than any wound he would have inflicted with his fangs. “You didn’t have to accept me as mate after what I did. I didn’t force you into this by leaving you in the dark about my feelings for you. You accepted me when you wanted to reject me. So to get back at me for nearly killing your boyfriend, you try to make me look like a fool to my pack?”

“I wasn’t trying to make you look like a fool, Nick!”

“You fled my home only to run straight to your boyfriend! I never thought you’d do that to me, I was shocked when Claire called me and asked my permission to give you an ointment.” That sneaky bitch. “You don’t have to be with me,” his face was mere centimeters from mine. “But don’t use me as an excuse to see your boy toy.” He turned to leave me, but my wolf inside was howling in pain. My hand reached out and grabbed his arm but he pulled it away. I wasn’t letting him get away so easily. I grabbed his other arm and forcefully turned his body around to face me but he just gripped my shoulders and slammed my body against the brick wall of the closest building. I gasped for a second as the shock wore off. “Enough, Emma.” If this is how he wanted to play, then I was game. I used both of my forearms to collide into his so his grip on my shoulders was released. I used my palm to smack out into his chest, where I knew he was wounded. He groaned and stepped back, his hand clutching his chest. He raised his golden eyes to me and growled. I set my stance, ready for the brawl. He grabbed my biceps before I even had a chance to swing, once again shoving me into the wall. I could feel his breath on my face, sweet Moon Goddess, damn did he smell good. My body frozen underneath the sheer power of his. He wouldn’t hurt me; I knew that much. He lowered his head under his forehead reached mine. His hands slowly moved from my arms until they were both cupping either sides of my face. I could almost hear a purr escape from his lips. I parted my own lips in anticipation of a kiss, my body wanted him there was no denying that. Hell, a lot more than my body wanted him at this point. Why was I so hellbent on running from him? “Go home, Emma.” He whispered. “Get dressed into something nice, I’ll be there in an hour to pick you up.” He released me and took a step back that made my wolf whine inside of me. “I need to introduce you to the pack.” He left me sweating in an ally trying to catch my breath. Dammit, the things he could do to me.

Something nice? How the hell am I supposed to know what to wear to this ceremony when I’ve never been to one. “Something nice” could mean anything. I’m sure the gown I wore to the Mating Ritual was too fancy, but is a blouse and pants not fancy enough? My mother would know what to do. I need to get back to my investigation as soon as this ceremony was over. I could pick Nick’s brain and maybe he could open some resources for me. But for now, I had to focus my attention on this ceremony. I decided on a cocktail dress. That was something nice but not overly fancy. I tried to make it simple, leaving my hair down in its natural wave. My make-up was done just as simple. I paired my navy-blue dress with a pair of black pumps and grabbed my black handbag. I shoved my wallet and my phone in my purse and turned to the door to go wait for Nick when a thought stopped me dead in my tracks. He wanted me to move in with him, he wanted to unify this mating and make it the real deal, but I wasn’t ready to give up everything and jump in. But I could make baby steps to try. I turned around and went to my closet, grabbing my gym bag I went to the bathroom and threw in some toiletries. I added a change of clothes, shoes and my phone charger. I took my time down the stairs, so I didn’t fall on my face with my heels on, I locked my door behind me and waited on my porch. I couldn’t help but wonder how Emmett was doing as I sat on the step. He was so hopeful in the prospect of a future relationship with me that he put his life on the line. That night we spent together was nice, but it wasn’t what I needed. I knew I was missing something from him and yet I still let him think there was a chance. I reached up and wiped a tear that was forming in my eye before it had the chance of falling. I need to pull myself together, this was going to be a huge night. I had to make it look good for the pack. If I was going to be leading them beside Nick, I needed them to like me.

I didn’t sit there long before Nick’s car pulled up in the drive. He got out and opened the door for me as I stepped down the stairs and onto the pavement. He reached his hand out to me and I took it without hesitation. He brought it to his lips and brushed them softly against my skin.

“You look lovely.” He complimented as I looked him up and down. He wore black slacks with matching black shoes. His button-down shirt was a deep gray color that made his golden eyes pop. All I wanted to do was rip it open and jump him, but I needed to contain myself.

“Thank you.” I smiled and adjusted the strap of my duffle bag on my shoulder.

“What’s this for?” He asked as he took it from my shoulder and promptly placed it in the back seat of his car.

“I’m going to need some things for tomorrow. Change of clothes and stuff.”

“Does this mean you aren’t going to sneak out on me again?”

“If you’re lucky.” I smiled at him as I ducked under his arm and got in the passenger seat. He quickly got in the driver seat and leaned over to me, pulling my seatbelt over my chest and clicking it into place before he did the same with his. It didn’t take us long to get to Rizzo’s. The back room was usually rented out for any type of ceremony or party the pack planned. I was kind of jealous of the bartenders as we walked past. I missed working, but my dad was being over-protective of me since the explosion. Nick’s fingers lacing themselves in mine brought me back to present time. Holy shit, this was happening. I took a deep breath and looked up at him as we stopped just short of the door. I could hear Daniel’s voice in the room as he made announcements.

“Are you ready?” Nick asked me with a small grin.

“Nowhere near.” I admitted. My wolf ears picked up on Daniel’s voice clearly as he announced Nick and I. Oh Moon Goddess. Nick tightened his grip on my hand and lead the way into his pack. Our pack.

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