Just one tiny memory.
“What do you mean, you don’t know?” Mac yelled at her. “He went on a wild goose chase after you, so don’t you dare lie to me!”
“Don’t yell at her!” Lia stood between him and Rey. “Only I can do that.”
“What should I do then, huh? Elaine is giving birth and her alpha is missing. I ran across the entire village to try and find him, only to find out that he ran after his not-mate once again. And she is playing dumb.” He talked so fast, Rey had trouble comprehending his words and he was doing wild gestures with his hands.
Were all the men dealing with a woman giving birth this badly?
Whatever the answer was, she needed to calm him down. But how? She really didn’t know, where Talon disappeared.
Rey wasn’t surprised by the news about Elaine, quite the contrary. At least, it explained Brynn’s absence and also shed a bit of light on what happened inside the woods.
Maybe sharing the whole story would help: “I am not playing dumb. I really don’t know, where he went. He came after me, that much is true. But something happened and then he was gone. I came back with Lia’s mate.”
It took every last bit of energy, Rey had left, to push him off her. Talon’s fangs grazed her neck, but not with enough strength to pierce her skin. It was certainly going to leave a bloody reminder on Rey’s neck for a couple of days. But that wasn’t important.
What was she supposed to do next?
She got up on her legs as soon as his body hit the ground and her plan only went so far. She wanted to climb a tree, but they were all either too high or too bare of branches for her attempt to be successful.
While she didn’t know, what to do. She knew what she couldn’t allow him to do. She couldn’t let him pin her against anything again because that might as well be the end of it. And her luck was running out with every second as Talon pushed himself back to his feet.
She wasn’t able to outrun him before and now that he already caught up to her and Rey was out of breath, he would catch her in a heartbeat.
But what else could have been done? The very least, she needed to keep distance between him and her.
“Please, don’t do this,” Rey begged him as her legs were trying their best to walk backwards. She was too scared to avert her gaze from him completely, so half her head was pointed at him and the other half behind her back to see any obstacles in her way.
He studied her like wolves studied their prey. His wolf gained so much control over Talon’s body that the human would probably not remember anything that was happening the next day.
“You already have a wife, remember? She is very beautiful, and she loves you very much. You bought a gorgeous necklace for her today. Remember?” Rey was grasping for her last straws, but it was the only thing, she could think of doing. “Did you give it to her already? What did she say? Was she happy? I am sure she was.”
She needed for him to remember. Just one tiny memory. She could build up from there, but the wolf needed to back down first and let Talon think for himself.
“She is going to give you a child very soon. Did you think of a name already?”
His gaze wasn’t leaving her, and he was second away from getting ready to pounce at her once more. But, and maybe this was only Rey’s wishful thinking, there was a small spark of recognition growing inside his eyes. They were no longer completely blood red, Talon’s original eye colour seeping through them.
Rey needed more memories, but did she have them? She wasn’t exactly an expert on Elaine’s life, and she knew even less about the relationship the two of them shared.
“She is very excited to meet your child. Both of you are. You should have seen her face when she first tried to show me, it was kicking. She glowed with happiness. Did she show you too? I am sure she did.”
Was this really how Rey was going to die? Or worse, live her entire life in shame if she were to allow him to mark her.
“You swore an oath. To love and cherish her until death tears you apart. Remember? You don’t want to break that oath. Do you?”
She was so immersed in pulling something out of her mind, she no longer paid attention to where she was doing and as her back collided with the back of a tree, Rey closed her eyes in defeat.
This was it. She had no strength to fight on anymore.
Her calves were in so much pain and her lungs barely got any oxygen left in them from all the running. She was exhausted and foolish to think she could ever outsmart an alpha.
This was the place where he was going to bite her.
But he didn’t.
He didn’t even take another step closer to her because something else disturbed him.
A howl. One of a distressed wolf.
No. Not one. Dozens of them.
They were calling for his alpha.
Something was happening inside the village.
Talon fought for control over his wolf and each howl gave him the strength he needed to overpower him. Rey never thought she would be this happy to see him turn back to normal as he looked at her and asked: “Can you find your way back?”
She wanted to say yes, but he didn’t even wait for her to answer. The forest engulfed him before Rey had a chance to open her mouth.
That’s how Lia’s mate found her a moment later.
“Then where the hell is he?”
Mac’s scream overshadowed the sound of the door opening and all three of them noticed Brynn only after she first spoke: “He already came back. He is with Elaine now.”
Mac didn’t wait for any further explanations. He gently pushed Brynn aside and disappeared while Rey stared her down. She looked worn out, her clothes all crumpled and coloured in red, but there was a blissful smile playing on her lips as she said: “It’s a girl.”