The Stubborn Alpha's Challenger

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Chapter 5: Ecclesia

WARNING: This chapter contains brief light sexual content. Reader discretion is advised.


We make small talk for the rest of dinner and dessert as I silently resign to my fate. He questions, “Would you like to stay in our room tonight?”

I bite my lip. Part of me wants to say no, but the other part knows I need to say yes if I’m going to get what I want out of him. Perhaps there’s a small sliver of me that wants to stay with him, too?

He is your mate, after all, a voice speaks softly from the depths of my mind. It’s not my voice or anyone I recognize, but I can tell it is a woman. Her voice is oddly comforting, but I don’t know why.

“Are you okay?”

I shake my head, snapping back into reality. The voice was probably my own. I’m just going a little stir crazy.

“Yes, yes, I’m fine. I got a little lost in thought, is all. I’ll stay with you.”

“Perfect, follow me.”

He has a huge grin plastered on his face as we walk upstairs. What’s going on? Why does he seem so excited all of a sudden?

He’s giddy like a little boy on Christmas when he instructs, “Close your eyes.”

I obey, shutting my eyes and subsequently hear the door creak open. Erik grabs me by my shoulders, gently guiding me through the doorway. I hear the light switch turn on, and his velvety voice coos, “Open them.”

I open my eyes, and a gasp escapes my mouth as my lips curl into a smile. The room has completely changed! The walls are sky blue with white birch trees painted on them, and the branches reach the ceiling where brilliant green leaves sprawl from them. The bed has a white comforter with light brown sheets and green and white throw pillows, and the furniture is no longer metal and gray and is instead a beautiful mahogany color. The floor is light brown hardwood with a white rug covering most of the room.

“It’s completely different!”

Erik smiles beside me. “Do you like it?”

“Oh my God, I love it!”

He takes me by my hand, pulling me with him as we walk into the room. “I changed the bathroom too.”

I walk into the luxurious bathroom, and although I don’t know what it looked like before, this is most likely an improvement!

Instead of a standard showerhead, there is a waterfall that cascades down the back of the shower, and the sides and floor are stone. It’s stunning! I look past the shower and see a magnificent crystal quartz bathtub, which is mostly white but glows blue from within. It’s straight out of a fairytale!

“Oh my God, Erik! You did this all in one day?”

“As soon as I saw your reaction to the old room versus Caitlyn’s room, I decided to lighten it up a bit. I must admit, it is a lot better than what I had before.”

I turn around and press a big kiss on his cheek before I can stop myself. This is such a sweet gesture! How did he do this all in time?

“How did you get this done so fast? And so secretively? I had no clue!”

“I had Brad keep you out of the house all day. I cut it close, but I paid some workers from the city, and they got the job done quickly.”

Oh, I should have known human labor created this on such short notice. I doubt they got a break while I was galavanting through the pack territory, learning how to be a Luna, as if the pack will ever accept me as such.

“Why do you look so unhappy all of a sudden? Aren’t you pleased with the change?”

I fake a smile. “Yes, I am happy. It was sweet of you to do.”

“Then what’s wrong, Cae?”

My heart soars a little at the nickname, but I push the feeling down and reply honestly, “I feel bad living in luxury other humans worked tirelessly, with probably little pay, to create for me.”

He sighs, “I compensated them fairly, probably more than fairly.” He leans down, pressing a kiss on my forehead. “Don’t worry about such things, dear.”

“How can I not? They are my friends and my family.”

“I don’t want you to bear that on your shoulders. I can’t pretend to know what you’re going through. All I know is when you’re hurting, I’m hurting, and I don’t want you to be hurting.”

I shake my head, feeling defeated. He will never understand or sympathize because he doesn’t care. This mate bond must be bullshit because if he genuinely hurts when I hurt, he would want to change the world that is hurting me instead of telling me I should ignore it.

I don’t respond; instead, I walk to the bathroom and change into some pajamas. I slip under the sheets next to him, a surprised look on his face when I do. I lie on my back, and Erik scoots over to cuddle with me, and my hand slowly strokes his hair as if it has a mind of its own.

I close my eyes, a single tear rolling down my cheek as I fall asleep in this prison of luxury.


Erik


As much as I don’t want to acknowledge it, Caelynn is not happy here; I can tell through the mate bond. I feel like a total scumbag as I lie next to her. Guilt eats away at me when my wolf speaks.

She’s our mate, so she must sleep in the bed with us. Don’t feel bad for being a proper Alpha and Luna. She’ll come around, but she’ll need to learn our ways eventually.

I take a deep breath, glancing over to the woman beside me. She hasn’t moved from lying on her back, her hands resting on her stomach, the entire night. Any time I tried to move closer, she slowly inched away. I’m not sure she did it consciously, but maybe just instinctively

It’s so hard to resist her, though. She is gorgeous. It’s hard to believe she’s human, considering I could have mistaken her for the Moon Goddess. She is breathtaking. I wish I could mark her and make her my own now, but I fear that would ruin our relationship forever.

I don’t want to take things slowly with her. She’s my mate, so she will need to listen to what I say and follow it, but I know she needs time to adjust. It’d be unfair of me to think she can immediately jump into werewolf life after living as a human, but my patience will only last so long, and I pray I don’t do anything terrible in the meantime.

Would that be so bad? If we must punish her, so be it. Don’t be afraid to be an Alpha, Erik.

We must remember she is only a human, Gladius. She isn’t as tough or as strong as a shewolf, so we have to be careful.

Since when are we supposed to be careful? She should be careful not to disrespect us!

I pinch the bridge of my nose, cutting off contact with him because I don’t want to hear what he has to say right now. I’m already irritated enough that my mate won’t cuddle with me. I don’t need his provocation, or else I might do something I’ll regret.

Suddenly, she stirs, and my heart soars as her eyelids flutter open and a yawn escapes her mouth. She lifts her arms to stretch, her legs elevating as well. She looks toward me, and I can feel her disappointment, although she hides it on her face.

“Goodmorning, Erik.”

I frown. “Do you mean that?”

She looks towards the foot of the bed, avoiding eye contact, and admits, “No.”

“Was what you said at dinner a lie?”

She shakes her head. “It wasn’t. I want to make things work, but it’ll take time.”

I search her eyes and my instincts to try to tell if she’s being honest. I harness the mate bond, searching for an answer, but I can’t find one. Why can’t I tell if she’s lying to me? Maybe that means she’s being honest?

She speaks, a fake grin plastered on her face, “So, what do you have planned for today?”

I reach over, brushing a lock of her hair from her face, her skin soft against my calloused hands. “It’s Sunday, which werewolves use as our holy day, so I thought I could take you to see our ecclesia. It’s the werewolf equivalent of a church, synagogue, or mosque. What faith do you follow?”

“My parents are Methodists, but not exactly the churchgoing type. More like Chreasters-”

“Chreaster? I’ve never heard of that branch of Christianity before. I’m confused.”

She giggles, “Oh no, it’s an expression! A Chreaster is a Christian who only shows up to church on Christmas and Easter! But my parents hardly did that half the time. They were always busy with work, and so was I.”

I chuckle, nodding. “Oh, okay, I understand. Werewolves are pretty relaxed about religion too, but I try to go as often as possible. It’s good for the pack.”

“What is your belief system all about?”

“We don’t exactly have a book or anything to follow. We worship the Moon Goddess, the creator of werewolves, and we worship nature because it’s our home.”

“Is there a God of nature or something?”

I shake my head. “No, we just worship it as it is, if that makes sense.”

“Well, I guess I’ll have to see it.”

I check my watch. “Alright, well, the service is going to start in about an hour. You have to wear white.”

She nods, rubbing her eyes. “Okay, I’m sure I can find something nice.”

“I’ll have Caitlyn visit and go shopping with you, or maybe I can convince Brad to do it.”

She smiles at the mention of Brad. “I would like to hang out with Brad some more.”

A hint of jealousy rises in me when she sounds so excited about being with another man, but I don’t think he’s a threat. Is he?

She rolls her eyes, picking up on my envy, and grabs some clothes from her dresser drawer before stalking off to the bathroom.

I sigh. Maybe I should join her in the shower? Fuck, it’d be amazing to see her naked for the first time. I can’t, though. I don’t want her to be uncomfortable.

Why? Just go in there! What’s she going to do to stop you?

She’s not ready for that yet, Gladius. Besides, we’re about to go to ecclesia, so it’s not exactly the holiest thing to do.

I’ll let this slide, but only because we’re going to be in the presence of the Moon Goddess in an hour. But you’ll need to claim her soon. I won’t wait much longer.

I glance toward the bathroom door, afraid of what might happen to the woman inside if my wolf decides to fight me on my hesitance next time.


Caelynn


One last curl and I’m good to go. I’m not sure why I’m putting so much effort into my appearance, I hardly do on any other occasion, but I have to impress the pack if I’m going to win their trust and support. They have to follow me once their Alpha dies due to their tradition, but having some true loyalty from them will be helpful.

I open the bathroom door, stepping out to find Erik sitting on the edge of the bed in a long sleeve button down white dress shirt with two buttons undone and neat white jeans with a simple brown belt.

I feel a slight throbbing in my core, heat rising to my cheeks. Why does he have to be so fine?

He glances up at me, a huge grin sweeping across his face. “You look beautiful, baby.”

The way the word “baby” sounds rolling off his tongue makes my knees weak, but I have to contain myself.

“You look handsome, too.”

He stands up and strolls over to me, and his hands wrap around my waist as he pulls me closer.

He presses his lips on mine, devouring me. My hands immediately reach behind him, holding onto his shoulders to keep myself from falling. His hands glide down from my back to my ass, each hand grabbing a handful. A small moan escapes my mouth as he squeezes, only goading him to press harder.

I didn’t know how much I like this type of sexual aggression and passion until now.

His feet step forward, mine instinctively moving backward until I hit the edge of the bed, falling onto my back. Erik braces me, so I land softly. My legs wrap around his waist as I sit up, his body bent over, so his lips are still attached to mine.

He grinds against me, only the fabric of my underwear separating him from my bare skin because I’m wearing a dress, and I can feel just how aroused I’ve made him. He bites at my bottom lip, becoming hastier with his kisses.

His hand moves toward my breast, grabbing it softly, his thumb brushing side to side across the fabric over my nipple.

He asks, his voice soft and husky, “You like this, baby?”

I nod, upset by the absence of his lips when he parted to speak, and quickly reconnect.

His hand moves from my breast to the side of my face, his kiss becoming softer and slower. He sighs, pulling away. “My dear, we have to stop, or we’re going to be late.”

I hold back a whine as he steps away from between my legs. I don’t want him to know how much I enjoyed that. Hell, I don’t want to acknowledge how much I enjoyed that.

He cups my cheek, his thumb softly grazing my bottom lip, as he smiles down at me lovingly. My heart melts at his affection, the likes of which I’ve never felt from a man before.

Sure, I’ve had plenty of one night stands, and I even dated someone for a year. Though, he never looked at me the way Erik is looking at me. He was never this affectionate. He never redesigned an entire room just for me.

“C’mon, we’ve got to go now.”

I nod and walk to the bedroom mirror to quickly fix my hair and lipstick before following him out the door.

He extends his hand for me to take, and without hesitation, I do.

I guess I’m getting good at this pretending thing…


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