I had been driving aimlessly for…I don’t know how long.
Everything kept revolving around my head. Nothing settling so I can figure out what the Hell I’m supposed to do.
The interior of my new 356 Porsche was becoming claustrophobic. It was too warm, and I was having a hard time catching my breath. Thinking it was from all the stress, I turned the air on high, rolled down the window, and kept driving.
Suddenly, a sharp pain erupted in my back. It was so strong, I jerked what was left of the wheel and slammed on the breaks—nearly landing me in a ditch.
Catching my breath, I felt along my back and couldn’t find the source of the pain. Another pain shot through my head. I screamed at the intensity.
If I didn’t know any better I would think I was going through my first change again. But that wasn’t possible. Was it?
‘You need to get back to our mate,’ my wolf told me.
I would have been shocked that he was talking to me, but I was in too much pain to care at the moment. He hadn’t really made his presence known after I left Kayla all those years ago. The fact he was coming forward now meant something was going on. I needed to get back. Now.
Ignoring the random spasms of pain ricocheting through my body, I pulled back onto the road and headed in the direction of the mate pull.
Screeching to a halt—blocking the driveway—I jumped out of the car. I could care less that the keys were still in the ignition. If someone wanted to steal it, they were welcome to the damn thing. All I cared about was finding out if Kayla was okay.
Not bothering to see if the door was unlocked, I kicked it open.
Jumping through the wreckage, a quick scan of the room showed me nothing was out of place—other than the splinters of the door I broke.
Not trusting everything was all right, I followed the bond between Kayla and I. It lead through the house and out into the cooling night air.
What I found confused me. Cameron, Kayla, and Leah were standing in the small backyard. That I could handle. What I was failing to understand was why the boy in Kayla’s arms was naked.
Everyone stood staring at me while I stayed in my defensive stance on the porch.
“Uh, Alexander? What do you think you are doing?” Kayla’s voice broke through the awkward tension filling the air.
Slowly straightening—embarrassment flowed through me—I thought about what I was going to say. I couldn’t very well tell them I was having phantom pains and rushed over here to check on my mate. One, Kayla and I were no longer together. So mentioning the mate bond would bring up a load of questions I didn’t want to address. Second, they would probably think I was nuts, as everyone seemed fine. There was no obvious reason for me to have felt what I did a short time ago.
I opened my mouth to come up with some excuse, but nothing would come out. I tried again, and still nothing came out. I probably looked like a fish with my mouth opening and closing.
Deciding on not saying anything at all, I kept my mouth shut, and rubbed the back of my neck with my hand.
“Mommy,” a small voice broke through my thoughts. “I tired. Can I go sleep now?” The kid’s question brought my attention back to him, and again to why he was naked in the middle of winter.
“Sure baby,” Kayla answered. “Let’s get you inside and put some new pajamas on you.” She walked past me into the house with the boy nearly asleep in her arms. The walls were so thin, I could hear her questions from the boy’s room. “Do you want Ninja Turtles or your Power Ranger p.j.’s?”
I didn’t hear the kid’s response as Cameron claimed my attention.
“So Alexander,” I only looked at him. “Why did you come rushing out here? Something happen we should know about?” He looked too smug for his own good.
Could he know that I felt something, and rushed over here to protect the one who was meant for me? No, he couldn’t know. None of them could.
Cameron shared a look with my sister. It was still a shock to know she was my long lost older sister. This past month has been a roller coaster of emotions. Too many things happening, and I can’t seem to take a moment to process it all.
Whatever passed between the two in front of me, Cameron nodded his head and walked around me into the small house.
I was left alone outside with my estranged sister.
A feather light brush swept across my mind. I let my walls down and gave access to Leah, knowing she had something to say.
“After what you just did, are you still going to deny the bond between you and your child?”
Frozen, I could only stare at Leah in astonishment. She believed the kid was mine too?
Time was ticking by, and I realized the silence between us was stretching out too long. Clearing my throat, the only thing I could do was deny, deny, deny. “I don’t know what you are talking about,” I said aloud.
She only raised one eyebrow at me, not believing a word I was saying.
“Alexander,” the sternness of her voice coming through loud and clear over the mind link. “I may be new to everything, but I can tell when you are lying. You may not know why you felt the things you did, but you listened to your wolf and came rushing back here from…wherever you were. I know you and Kayla have a strained bond, but that does not mean you should ignore the pup you created together.”
I was even more confused. How did she know all this?
Reading my mind, her voice whispered through my head, “I know more than you think Alexander. I suggest you talk with your wolf before you ruin what chance you may have with your mate and pup.”
With that her presence left my mind, and she, too, walked around me into the house. Sighing, I settled myself on the steps of the porch.
Looks like I was having a long over due talk with my stubborn wolf.
I could hear the pack doctor, Sue, outside my room. She was talking with someone about my ‘condition’.
I wanted to growl at everyone, I didn’t have a ‘condition’. I wanted my mate! Unfortunately, they gave me something that kept me passive. I could feel the drugs wearing off and as soon as they were out of my system, I was out of here.
I just needed to play good dog for a little longer. I couldn’t afford to have them give me any more sedatives. If they did, then I would never get out of here to track down my Emily.
Even thinking about her stirred my wolf. Our outrage at the fact she had been taken from us—under our noses—brought the anger forward. It was a struggle, but I was able to suppress the hatred and self-loathing flowing through my veins. I needed a cool head to make sure I made it out of here.
The sound of the door opening focused my attention on the room around me.
I kept my eyes closed as Sue talked to me while checking the machines. “Well Jack. Looks like you worked yourself up into a pickle this time.” The sound of pen on paper reached me. “Okay, heart rate good, BP normal. May want to change the IV bag, but it’s got a while yet. Looks like the sedative is doing its job so I’ll leave you to rest.”
Her hand landed on my forehead. A gesture I was used to from all the times she treated me while growing up. Only now, it didn’t bring the comfort it normally brought. It felt wrong. The only touch I wanted was that of my mate. It took most of my strength to keep from growling at her and revealing that I was indeed awake. Only pretending to be under from the sedatives.
She removed her hand, and I could hear her exiting the room.
“Is he going to be okay?” Someone asked her as she entered the hall.
I heard her sigh before she answered, “All I can say is I hope so. The sedative seems to be working, but we won’t know for sure until he wakes up. The only thing that will truly make him better is his mate by his side.” Another sigh reached my sensitive ears.
“Yeah, well lets hope the lead Devin and Leah have in California pans out. Otherwise, we may not have a Beta for this pack anymore,” the other voice spoke up.
I ignored the part about there not being a Beta anymore, and focused on the fact that Devin and Leah were in California. If they were there then Emily was most likely there too.
With a new purpose and goal in mind, I focused on relaxing and letting the drugs run through my system. The sooner they were gone, the sooner I could leave.
Hang on Emily, baby. I’m coming to get you.
I was speeding down the road, trying to clear my head of the events of the last few hours.
The fact Leah would force her way into a human’s mind was, mind boggling. The fact she succeeded was even scarier. I love her, I really do. But some of the things she’s able to do is nerve-wracking.
I know she’s a White Wolf. I know she’s special. I also know I’m currently terrified of my mate.
My father mentioned after Leah was kidnapped that she was capable of reaching out and controlling any wolf she wanted to. I haven’t seen her do it yet, but it doesn’t mean she can’t. Or hasn’t.
Man! What am I thinking! She escaped from being imprisoned her entire life, got hit by my car, was kidnapped, found her siblings, and is now pregnant. When has she had time to control anyone? She barely has time to rest anymore. The only time she does is when I ask—more like beg.
Deciding I didn’t want to be alone with my thoughts, I flipped on the radio. I didn’t pay attention to what was playing. I only needed it for the noise.
Finally tuning in to the fact I was listening to soft rock, I scrunched my face in disgust, quickly changing the station. As something a little more contemporary came on, a car in the other lane swerved in front of me, then back into their lane, and nearly into a ditch.
I slammed on the breaks. I was going to do a U-turn, find out if the driver was okay, when the car peeled out and took off.
What the fuck was that about?
I was going to ignore the incident, but something told me to follow the car anyway. Not having anything better to do, besides stew in my own thoughts, I took off after the car. Making sure to stay a good distance behind, so as not to be noticed.
The car eventually, skidded to a stop in front of Kayla and Cameron’s house.
It became clear to me who was driving when Alexander jumped from the car and ran to the house. What wasn’t clear, was why he kicked in the font door.
Taking my time, I drove around the block and ended up parking behind a dark colored van down the street. Alexander had blocked the drive, so there was nowhere else for me to park.
Walking slowly to the house, I kept my senses open, in case there was a threat. I wasn’t too worried. Leah would have tried to reach me through the mind link if something was wrong. I’m going to chalk this up to Alexander being an uptight-ass, unless something really is wrong.
Stepping over the rubble of the front door, I stood in the living room.
Kayla came in from the back with a naked Quinn in her arms, talking to him softly. Shortly after Cameron came in. He took one look at me, then the door on the floor, and sighed.
Rubbing his face with his hands, he gave me a questioning look. “Did you help Alexander break the door or did you just come in?”
I chuckled at his obvious displeasure about the door. “I saw him break it, and just came in to see what was going on.” I looked at the splinters all over the floor. Lexy-boy did a number on the thing. It was broken down the middle. The handle was sheared clean off, and even the molding was pulled off the doorway. “Need any help fixing this thing?” I asked, trying not to let the humor show through.
Obviously, I didn’t do a good job, as Cameron shot me a mock glare. Relaxing his shoulders, he looked around the room before looking at me again, “Yeah, I could use the help. I’ll get the vacuum, if you can get the door and large pieces picked up and thrown out.” He shook his head, “I don’t know how Kayla hasn’t blown a gasket yet. She gets pissed if I eat over the sink. But Lex breaks the damn door and she ignores it.”
I laughed out loud at his sense of injustice in this situation. You couldn’t help but to laugh at him. He looked like a puppy who just had his favorite chew toy taken away.
My laughter stopped when Leah walked in from outside.
Which begs the question, why was everyone outside with a naked toddler?
I was going to say something to her, and decided against it. Instead, I bent to get to work removing the remnants of the front door. I doubt Lexy-boy will pay for the damages, but I will make sure she gets a better one.
Cameron and I worked in silence, cleaning and straightening the living room. Leah sat at the small table in the kitchen, staying out of the way. Staring into space. Presumably talking to her wolf.
I know we need to talk, but I wasn’t ready yet. I need to get my thoughts and emotions in order, before I even attempt to talk to her. I want to know her side. I want to be able to talk to her again without feeling like I’ll break her with one wrong word.
Hating the silence that permeated the air with unease, I asked the question that had been foremost on my mind since I walked in. “Hey Cameron?”
“Yeah,” he absentmindedly replied.
Hesitating for a second, I asked, “Why were you guys all outside? And why was Quinn naked?”
The silence reigned again before being broken by Cameron’s uproarious laughter.
“Did I say something funny?” I asked annoyed.
He only held up his hand, signaling he needed a moment. It took him a few minutes before he was able to talk without going into a fresh round of laughter.
He wiped tears from his eyes as he answered, “Oh God. I completely forgot Quinn was out there naked.” He took a deep breath to stop the belly laughs that wanted to escape. “That part was funny. The part before that, however, was some scary shit. We were all talking, and all of a sudden Quinn screamed out in pain. He was doubled up on the floor, crying, and screaming. Kayla and I didn’t know what was going on, but Leah said to take him outside.” He sent her a grateful look over his shoulder.
I looked over at her, and she didn’t seem to be paying attention to us. Cameron focused back on me, and seemed to be concentrating harder on vacuuming a certain spot on the carpet.
“What happened Cam?” I asked softly.
I was stunned. Quinn was only two. He shouldn’t have shifted yet. Not unless…
Cameron caught my eye and nodded. He seemed to know what was running through my head. It would explain why Alexander broke down the door, and why Quinn looked so much like him.
Quinn was a White Wolf. Not only that, he was the son of one of the most powerful wolf families in existence. No wonder the kid shifted so early.
My thoughts shifted to my mate. If Quinn shifted so early because of his blood, how old was Leah when she shifted for the first time? Was she as young as Quinn? She was all alone. How was she able to shift back without another were there to help her?
“According to my wolf, we were four when we shifted for the first time,” shooting a glance in Leah’s direction, I saw her still staring off into space. I thought she wasn’t paying attention to us?
“I have been paying attention, but you have not. The only reason I did not shift as soon as Quinn did is because I was weak and abused. I would not have survived shifting as early as he has. As it is, I was lucky to shift at all. Even luckier that my wolf helped me shift back. It was hard, as I had no idea what I looked like as a human. I had never looked in a mirror. Quinn had it easy. I had to endure the pain for, I don’t know how long. I only know that it was not nearly as quick as his.”
She stood from the table and made her way down the hall. “I am tired. I will ask Kayla where I can sleep for the night.” She looked at me over her shoulder, “We have a plan to get my sister back. You may want to talk to Cameron and Alexander about it. We leave tomorrow morning.”
Without another word, or glance back, she continued on her way to talk to Kayla.
With a sigh, I hung my head. I really messed up. I hated the strain between us. I only hope that we find Emily soon so that we can work out our own issues before they become unfixable.
“Dude, Leah is pissed at you. What did you do to her?”
“What do you mean she’s pissed at me? How would you know anyway?”
Cameron just gave me a look that said, ‘really.’ “The last time I saw you guys together, you couldn’t stop touching each other in some way. It was either a hand on her back, or she would lightly touch your arm.” He shook his head, “Now. Now it’s like you two can’t even stand to be in the same room as each other for longer than five minutes. What is going on?”
I could only shake my head at Cameron’s observations. If it was obvious to him, then it was obvious to everyone around us. “I think…I think part of it is the pregnancy. But I also know it’s not all of it. I don’t know everything that is going through her head. She hardly talks to me anymore, and with the bond being broken the way it was, we are lucky to have even the mind link keeping us connected.”
A frustrated sigh escaped my mouth, “I want to mark her, and claim her as mine again, but I can’t. If I do, it could harm the baby. So now I have to wait until after the pup is born before I can have my mate back the way I want. With everything else going on…it’s just adding to the stress. I’ve got a Beta about to lose his mind, a mate who thinks it’s okay to barge into unsuspecting human minds, and a missing Beta female.
And just now, she tells me you guys were forming a plan to get Emily back. I feel like I’m losing control. As an Alpha, control is crucial. I need to know what is going on. Where and why. All these unanswered questions are driving me to distraction.”
Alexander entered from the backyard, interrupting my unintentional tirade.
Sighing again, I helped Cameron hang a sheet he got from somewhere over the open doorway.
Cameron spoke up as we put in the last fastening to keep the sheet from falling open. “Well, now that the gang is all here, I might as well fill you in on what’s been going on since you both took off earlier.”
Alexander and I nodded in agreement. Alexander, however, had to open his mouth and ask something completely stupid.
There was a slight pause before, “Why was the boy outside naked?”
Cameron and I looked at each other before we burst out into uncontrollable laughter. Oh man, this kid was clueless.
We were going to have fun filling this idiot in on what he is obviously not grasping. The fact he has a son, and that he shifted for the first time at the tender age of two.
Let the good times roll.