Connor lay there in stunned silence, not daring to breathe for a moment. Madelyn waited anxiously for some sign from him. She watched as his eyes closed, the tension between them building, until he suddenly moved, arms wrapping more tightly around her, burying his face in her hair.
“Madelyn, darling, I love you,” he said out loud, wishing he could jump up and spin her round gleefully. He’d waited so long for his mate and the opportunity for pups and almost gave up several times before she showed up that fateful day in the woods as a child. It was then he knew he’d have his chance, one day. That day was here, finally, and Madelyn would have sworn she could feel the love radiating from him.
The sound of a throat being cleared snapped them out of their moment. Connor pulled back, continuing to ignore the intruder into their space and looked down into the upturned face of his lovely mate. Madelyn’s violet eyes shone with the hint of tears as she stared into his. Blinking them away quickly, she pulled away slightly, turning as she did, to see who had entered the room.
Connor pulled her close again as they both took in the sight of Madelyn’s grandfather, flanked by two male elves. One was clearly Madelyn’s brother. The other just stood there. His presence was clearly only to provide intimidation, not that it did any good against a pair of werewolves.
“It’s time, Madelyn,” her grandfather said. “Say your goodbyes to Connor, as he will be escorted back to his pack land. He may not remain here.”
Madelyn pressed closer against her mate, shaking her head as she felt a deep rumble begin in Connor’s chest.
“No, if I stay, he stays. There is no getting past that. He is my mate and I will not give him up. Not for you, not for anyone!”
“He cannot stay here. We will escort him…”
“I said no!” Madelyn shouted and as the word ‘no’ left her lips, a burst of power was sent all around her. It skipped Connor and knocked her grandfather, brother, and the other man down.
“Dear gods, what…” Rinion said as he stood up.
Connor had moved to place himself between them and Madelyn.
The other two men were back on their feet shocked at what Madelyn had done.
“We…we…need to…” Madelyn’s grandfather stammered before turning and leaving the room, the unnamed man following closely behind. Rinion stayed, though.
“What was that, Madelyn?” Rinion asked.
“I don’t know, Rinion. I’ve never done anything like it before. I just, I felt threatened and was terrified of being parted from my mate.” She sat staring at her hands for a moment before looking up at her brother. “I can’t stay here, Rinion.”
Rinion moved closer, eyeing Connor closely as he moved past him to sit on the bed next to Madelyn. She placed a hand on Connor’s shoulder, calming him some then leaned over and hugged her brother.
“I know, Madelyn, but I’m not sure how to get you out of here without someone noticing. They’re watching, even now,” he whispered in her ear.
“I know,” she replied in a whisper. “There’s a complicating factor here, though, Rinion. I cannot stay here one moment longer and I don’t know whether I can trust you and our mother with the reason why…”
Rinion pulled back, a look of contrition on his face.
“Look, I know I basically kidnapped you, Madelyn, but you can trust me. I’m your twin brother, we were meant to share our lives with one another, growing up together, watching as we found love,” he said, glancing at Connor. Turning back to Madelyn, he continued, “and watching each other’s children.”
Madelyn looked at him sharply.
“Yes, Madelyn, I know,” he said simply.
“I’m your twin brother, I’m more attuned to you than you know,” he said before pausing and glancing around. “In fact, we can talk like this, just like you do with your mate.”
Madelyn’s eyes went big as she heard him speaking in her head for the first time.
“I…don’t understand, I thought mindlinking was only a wolf thing,” Madelyn said via link.
“Exactly. I have my wolf, Madelyn, and we’re twin siblings, so we have a family link.”
“How do you have your wolf?”
“I saw my mate years ago. She’s actually a wolf from your Pack, I just never approached her, never claimed her. When we turned 16 was when she was patrolling the woods around your home as I watched over you. They’ve been watching over you, too, you know.”
“Yes, because I am Connor’s mate.”
“Mmhmm, and because your lawyer friend had his suspicions about you and our father and stepmother.”
“I don’t know what we’re going to do,” Madelyn said out loud, so as to keep suspicions from being raised by those monitoring them. “I can’t stay here, but I want to know more about you, about our mother, about my heritage.”
“I can help with that, we’ll leave here, go back to your house for a short time, then flee all of them,” Rinion replied via the link.
“That might work, but we can’t let them know what we’re planning,” she replied, then said out loud, “If we stay here for a while, all of you can get to know Connor and me and we can get to know you and I can start learning. But I’m not staying without Connor.”
“I wouldn’t expect you to allow him to be kicked out, but our grandfather is adamant he must leave, Madelyn,” Rinion said.
“I’m not leaving my mate,” Connor growled. “Where she is, I am. I waited too many years for her to lose her now!”
Rinion looked at Connor and sighed.
“I know, Connor, but you need to trust me on this one, it will be difficult to get grandfather to change his mind.”
“Yes, it will,” another voice interjected. None of the three had noticed Madelyn and Rinion’s grandfather enter the room. “It is time for you to leave, Connor. You may not stay here. And Madelyn is not leaving. That is final.”
Madelyn shot up and moved to stand in front of the man with lightning speed, fury etched across her face.
“You think you can make me stay without Connor? If he must leave, I will not stay here!” and with that, she shifted to her gorgeous golden wolf, shredding the delicate dress she’d picked out from the wardrobe earlier.
Her hackles rose as her head lowered, teeth bared as she growled at the man she saw as a threat. He was nothing to her. Connor was everything. Aside from Brian, Connor was the only person she felt she could trust.
Connor moved beside her and shifted, too, moving to place himself between Madelyn and her grandfather.
“Ok, ok, let’s be reasonable here, Grandfather,” Rinion began. “We know Madelyn is mated and that is final, she refuses to part with him, why must you continue to insist she remain and he leave?”
“We do not allow those dogs here, Rinion, you know that.”
“Those dogs, Grandfather? You forget that Madelyn and I are part ‘those dogs,’ Grandfather,” Rinion growled in response. “In fact, you might be surprised how much both she and I are ‘those dogs!’”
With that, Rinion shifted to his chocolate brown wolf, illiciting a look of surprise from their grandfather.
“Rinion, what are you…you change back this instant! This Instant! Are you even listening to me?” the older man exclaimed in shock as he watched his grandchildren stand their grown before him in wolf form. “If you two do not cooperate, I will be forced to take drastic action!”
With that, he left the room hurriedly.
“Madelyn, we don’t have much time, we must leave now,” Rinion said to her via their family link.