West of Destiny (Book 5 of The Claimed Series)

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Chapter 26

West

“No sign of any hunters anywhere,” Paul said as he shook his head. “I don’t get it. They pushed out Faith, if she’s to be believed, and we’ve smelled a hint of foreigner on the edges of the territory, but the trace was so faint and I can’t be sure how old those tracks are.”

I nodded, the knot in my brows tightening as I thought of all the strangers that had come to trespass lately on our lands. Faith, Lucy, the fabled hunters that were somehow there but weren’t when you looked…

It was enough to send a wolf howling into the night to defend his territory. As it was, we had just gotten back from a run in our furry forms and were dressed in basketball shorts and light t-shirts. Pretty soon, maybe in another month, it would be too cold and we would be shifting nearer to our homes. The canine body was more equipped to deal with the bitter winds and blustering cold temperatures than our skin forms.

As we walked, we talked, Paul and I. When he had spoken with Alpha-in-waiting Zach, he had believed the man, though he hadn’t known at the time what his relation to Lucy was. Once he was made aware, he made sure to tell patrol to keep their eye on the borders and increased security along them. Zach had come from the road, but a rejected mate could do anything, try anything, if he was set on having his female.

Well, former female, because Lucy was mine.

With Zach leaving, dejected and alone, and the threat of hunters along our borders, there was no telling what was out there or in store for us in the future. I was newly mated, and the newbs were always most possessive when freshly marked. I had witnessed enough of that to know it for certain.

“We’ll need to send out trackers, maybe—to see how far the scents go and if they can tell which way they came from. If from Faith’s old pack’s direction, we can ask for permission to intrude upon Emerald so we can try to hunt back even further.”

Paul agreed with a nod of his head, and it was almost amusing how much the gesture reminded me of his wolf form, his shaggier-than-normal hair swinging with the careless movement.

“How are things with Lucy, by the way?” he asked, sounding only curious. If this had been Paul from a few weeks back, there would have been that undertone of concern, but he was my best friend for a reason. He truly knew when I was happy, and his only concern was for a steady, loving bond between Lucy and I.

“Good.” My grin split my face wide. “She’s perfect. After…after Carla, I couldn’t have asked for a better second chance at happiness.”

I meant every blessed fucking word. We may have only been mated a few days, but in the grand scheme of things, I couldn’t see anything tearing us apart in the future, not even her previous Alpha, who no one had heard from since he left pack grounds days ago. Though the bond was completely broken between the two, Lucy was sure she would have heard from her parents if something had gone amiss in her old pack—including the downward spiral of a future Alpha. They talked almost daily.

We were at the halfway point between the border and the community, and we weren’t in any rush to end our conversation. And to be honest, there was less of a chance of someone interrupting us in nature than in Paul’s study. That place was chaos at times.

“I’m glad, West,” he said solemnly. “After Carla, you deserve all the happiness in the world.”

It wasn’t the first time he’d ever said something like that to me, but it seemed it was the first time it actually resonated deep within me. And it was appreciated. The warmth of knowing that my Lucy was waiting for me at Paul’s house where she was spending time with Cass and Sienna Faith. The two females, Luna and Beta-female, were laying down the ground rules of being a Destiny Pack shifter so she could make an informed decision on whether she wished to join of not. I hoped she did, for Lucy was quite attached to the female after our dinner the other night. I still didn’t know if it was because she was a newcomer as well,or if she felt a true kinship to the girl, but I didn’t matter. Lucy latched on almost like she wanted to welcome her into the fold, even without having been here much longer herself.

“Thanks, brother.” I beamed as I said it. “Haven’t been this happy in ages, honestly, though the hunter thing does bother me quite a bit. They shouldn’t be able to traverse so high up in the mountains and with the barriers and traps set to keep the humans out. It’s downright almost supernatural the way they diverted around them like they knew they were there from the start.”

“I agree,” Paul stated, looking grim. “And I will send out a group of our best trackers to see if they can sense which way they came from, though I know the scent grows ever more stale the longer we wait.”

We were back at the Packhouse in another twenty minutes, Paul walking in towards the women as I decided to get a little extra exercise in before asking Lucy to come out to the woods and shift with me. We still hadn’t let our wolves meet as of yet in the flesh, and I knew she was only waiting for her boot to come off in order to feel the wind in her fur once again. Thankfully, I had been able to take her that morning to Dr. Denario, and he had given her a clean bill of health and permission to “wolf out”, as he said.

As I walked to the basement of the Packhouse and walked in to the weights room there, I thought I smelled the hint of mint that I associated with my old mate, but it was gone when the breeze shifted and the door opened for me, allowing the scent of stale sweat and leather to blur out what used to be my favorite scent. Now that scent was roses.

Knowing Paul would probably be giving Faith her blood initiation if she decided she wanted to stay at Destiny, I made up my mind to have only a quick workout and then join them upstairs when Paul called me through the pack link. He had no qualms about interrupting me when he needed his Beta at his side.

Pushups, pullups, some squats, and a few reps with the dumbbells later, I was sweating and had taken a moment to grab a cold water from the small refrigerator near the back of the exercise room near the showers. After Paul had met Cassidy, he had decided to remodel the basement and put in showers for the men to wash up in before stinking up the packhouse upstairs. I had a feeling Cass had something to do with that, and honestly—the place smelled a lot nicer than it used to when the pack came back from training or working out in the basement. Before that, there were times the place smelled like an old, sweaty gym sock.

I finished my reps and decided to call it a day, having already run in wolf form with Paul as we mindlinked and met with the patrol along the eastern borders of the territory. Stepping into the shower washed away the first layer of filth, and I grabbed some shower gel before squirting it onto a washcloth and soaping up my body.

Now that I was pretty much done with any work that needed to be accomplished for the day, the only thing I could think about was getting back to my mate and ravishing her until I was lying exhausting next to her in our bed. The scent of the soap drifted over me, making me yearn for her smell instead, the sweet smell of wild roses, and making it a little more difficult to keep the thread of arousal that was tingling at the base of my balls at thinking about Lucy.

As most of them men were still at training and I would be able to hear the door to the basement open if they ended early, I took my cock in hand and let the soap slide over it, lengthening it with each stroke I gave.

With my other hand cupping my balls until they were high and tight against my shaft, I imagined my Lucy there with me, in the shower, her hand on my dick instead of mine until I spilled over onto her hand.

“Hmm…maybe I could help with that?”

***

My head snapped to the side, hoping it was my mate, but the voice had been all wrong. Denial, of course.

And there was my ex-cunt of a mate staring hungrily at my cock as I willed all thoughts of Lucy from my head so it could lay flaccid in front of the whore of a wolf.

Daydreaming about Lucy was sweet, almost cathartic, and this bitch ruined it by her mere unwanted presence. I must have seriously been out of my mind with lust for my mate when she stepped inside the basement. I thought I would have heard the slut opening the doors, but Carla was always a sly one—and one I was glad to be rid of now.

“Get the fuck out of here. I’m washing.” I gave her my back, hoping she would leave, but knowing her, she’d stand there, ogling my ass as I hurried through the rest of my shower. Soon enough, I felt a warm, slender body behind me, cupping my erection before I flung her arm away from me and threw her with everything I had toward the exit to the showers.

“I’m mated, you bitch!” I cursed her. “You had your chance but were too busy riding someone else’s dick to give a shit about your true mate. I have mine now and I’m happy. Leave me be.”

The crash of her fist into the wall startled me, and I turned around to face her, now-flaccid shaft whipping around with me as I took in the anger in her face.

“You smell of her,” she snarled, her lips curled and canines peeking out with a hint of possession. It was remarkably satisfying to know she was affected by me, because she had spent five years teasing—always on the fringes while I drifted deeper into depression.

Once she had rejected me, I had felt the pain of it but had never truly felt the bond break until my fangs sliced through Lucy’s soft flesh to mark her as mine.

“And I will smell of her until my dying breath.”

Cunt. The bitch was absolute evil.

“You’re mine!”

“Was yours,” I corrected accurately. “The thin thread of the bond you and I had dissipated the moment I claimed my female—the one I believe I was meant to be with from the start. The Goddess makes no mistakes, if you believe in such things.”

“Mistakes happen all the time.” She was still looking feral, and I had to believe it was because she never truly accepted the rejection, though she was the one to give the death blow to our bond. I had accepted it in some ways, but when I didn’t fight for her—beg for her to come back to me—I believe it wounded her ego.

I walked two predatory steps towards her, my eyes narrowing on her shaking body as her fists balled up, the knuckles whitening. “I would never have been happy with a whore like you for a mate. I’m glad I waited, glad I found her. Fuck, I was ecstatic to find out my second chance was everything you aren’t. Loyal, giving, honest. What a true mate should be, not the disgrace you are at fucking anything with a dick to get your rocks off. You should leave this pack, Carla, for there is nothing keeping you here.” Her eyes popped open wider and she stilled. “Oh, yes—I know that all these years you thought I would come crawling back to you on hands and knees begging to be with you. What you don’t know is I have the willpower many do not. I’m a Beta, and we have strength. The thin mating pull that was there is gone—completely vanished. It’s like it was never there. I can’t say I’m not happy about how this all turned out, though.”

She was still silent as I dried myself off, all hint of arousal dissolved as I ran the towel over my cooling body. As I started to put on a fresh set of boxers and shorts over top of me, she stood there, almost transfixed at my anti-striptease.

“I waited for the one person I wanted more than anything. When I thought it was you five years ago, I was demolished—a mere shell of myself. Lucy…she’s brought me alive again. She’s mine. She is the only one to see me as I am, broken and naked before her. Luce put me back together. We heal each other.” I threw the towel angrily into the laundry bin near the door to the showers. “I could never want you ever again. She has my claim on her neck and her belly will swell with my children. Leave her alone. And leave me alone. No one fucking wants you here, you traitorous bitch.”

With that, I walked out and up the steps to the door that would lead me back to Lucy, Carla’s chest still heaving with anger and humiliation at my words.

Good. The skank deserved each and every one of them.

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