A War of the Heart

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Chapter 10

Chapter Ten

Lucy woke to strong arms wrapped around her. Her head was resting on something that was solid and strong. She opened one eye and looked around. She was startled when she saw Raice.

Although part of her didn't want to move, she attempted to move his arms from around her waist without waking him. Climbing slowly off the bed, she stretched, enjoying the way her body felt when she relaxed once more. Walking over to her door, she noticed the phone she threw last night. It was completely shattered, and littered her floor. Sighing, she grabbed the trash can in the corner of her room and picked up the pieces.

After several minutes of cleaning, Lucy startled as arms wrapped around her waist and she was pulled flush against a brick wall. She relaxed as Raice's scent enveloped her. She closed her eyes and breathed him in. Then she remembered she was mad at him and jerked out of his arms. She turned to face him with a glare.

"What the hell are you doing in my room? Who says you get to sleep with me?" Seeing the phone had brought back the memory of calling her sister and hearing the party going on in the background. Her sister really didn't care about her. It made her head and heart ache and she didn't want to be around anyone.

Raice watched different emotions flash across Lucy's face. He yearned to pick her up and just hold her close. He wanted to comfort her. He noticed what was left of the phone she was picking up. Something must have pissed her off if she threw it against the wall causing it to shatter into a billion pieces. He opened his mouth to ask her what was wrong when she stormed by him again. She opened her door and took off down the hall.

At first Raice only stared after her with his mouth open. After regaining his senses, he raced after her. "Lucy, what's wrong?" he asked as he caught up to her. She ignored him and picked up speed.

"Lucy…" he began. He snapped his mouth closed after she shot him a look of fury. Something was seriously wrong. He shut up and followed behind her silently. When she stopped outside of the kitchen and seethed, he glanced around the door to see who was in there.

"Trent, we need to talk." Lucy could barely keep her anger under control. She wanted answers. Why would Trent write a note and hide her keys? Why hadn't he mentioned it? What was going on? She wanted answers, and she was going to get them now.

"Lucy, sit down, relax, and have some breakfast," Jaiden replied, sensing the tension build around the room. He stood and offered Lucy his seat. He could see Raice behind her and his mind raced with questions. Did Raice tell Lucy something about Trent?

"Shut up Jaiden, I'm not in the mood. Trent get your ass up, we need to talk right now." Lucy crossed her arms and tapped her foot loudly. Jaiden could only stare at Lucy in shock. This was serious.

Trent rose slowly to his feet and took a step toward Lucy. She turned and started toward the front door. Trent looked back at Jaiden, shrugged his shoulders, followed swiftly behind.

Raice stared after Lucy, part of him wanting to follow, but knowing he shouldn't. She needed to figure this out for herself. He took a seat across from Jaiden and put his head in his hands. He strained to hear anything, but all was quiet. Most of the pack was still asleep and Lucy had taken Trent far enough away that no one would hear. "Shit," he cursed, slamming his fist down on the table, startling Jaiden who shot him a raised eyebrow.

Lucy was so mad she could imagine smoke coming out her ears. She didn't know why she was as mad as she was, but she guessed it was the change her body was going through.

"You've got some explaining to do," she growled as soon as she was far enough away from the house and unwelcomed ears.

"What are you talking about?" Trent was utterly confused. What had Lucy so pissed? Had he done something? Had she found out about the challenge? "Did Riven tell you?"

"What? Did Riven tell me what?" Lucy snapped, her temper getting the better of her curiosity. "Forget that, I'm talking about the night you kidnapped me."

"What about it?" Trent quieted his frantic heart. He had wanted to tell Lucy and explain why he demanded the challenge. He didn't need Riven telling her and causing things to get blown out of proportion. Whatever she was talking about, he could handle.

"Whenever you took me from the amusement park, what all did you do? Did you stick my keys on the wheel and leave a note saying that I had too much stress in my life at the moment and that I needed to get away for a while? Also telling my sister not to burn down the house and to be good?" Lucy nearly screamed. Her arms were crossed tightly around her chest, partly in anger and partly trying to keep herself together. Her skin was on fire with the anger that burned underneath and she could barely breathe.

"What the hell are you talking about? I had too much on my mind to do all that. I just grabbed you. If you dropped your keys, I'm sorry, but I didn't put them on the wheel and I sure as hell didn't write a note." Trent could feel his temper rising. Where had she gotten this information from?

"I called my sister last night to let her know I was alive and she thought I was on some holiday with you. She told me that she found the keys and note on the car. So one of you is lying and I know my sister isn't smart enough to come up with that stuff on her own. So start explaining," Lucy replied.

"Trent has nothing to explain. I wrote that note," a deep voice answered through the trees. Lucy and Trent jerked their heads and looked for the intruder.

Lucy gasped when the man stepped out from behind several trees. He was breathtakingly beautiful. He had short brown hair that hung down in his eyes and a slight beard. He looked a little rough, but his eyes were a bright startling blue. His arms and shoulders shook as he laughed. Lucy couldn't help but notice he was naked. She blushed and returned her eyes up to his face.

"Who are you?" Trent's voice startled Lucy out of her scrutiny and she blushed again. What was wrong with her?

"My name is Aren, and I'm your real father." Lucy felt the earth move from under her and everything went black

Raice jumped to his feet as soon as the front door was kicked open. Jaiden growled and his fingers grew claws. They both prepared for an attack.

Trent raced in and sat Lucy down on the couch. She was burning up and moaning in her sleep. He had been shocked when she fainted and hadn't moved in time to catch her. He feared she may have hit her head and would now have a slight concussion.

He eyed the man who claimed to be Lucy's father. There were slight similarities, but it would be up to Riven whether they believed him or not. He didn't believe him, Aren was supposed to be dead.

"What's going on? What's wrong with Lucy?" Raice growled and moved Trent out of the way as he kneeled next to the couch. He growled up at Trent. "What happened?"

"You noticed Lucy was acting weird this morning. She is burning up. This man stepped out of the woods and claimed to be her father and she fainted." Trent turned to face Jaiden. "Go get Riven."

Jaiden nodded and raced down the hall. Riven probably heard the commotion and was on his way, but Trent wanted to be sure. His wolf was being prickly where Lucy was concerned and he wanted to make sure that she was cared for. He yearned to throw Raice away from her, but they couldn't show any form of animosity toward each other when there was a stranger around. They had to put on a front that everything was all right in the pack and they were a team.

"What is the meaning of this? What is wrong with my niece?" Riven demanded. He took in the scene that was playing out before him and his eyes stopped on the stranger in his house.

As soon as Riven saw him, he could feel the power emanating from him. He was completely calm, and his eyes were calculating. This couldn't be the man his sister had fallen in love with. He was dead. He had left his mate and his daughter to fend for themselves. If this was him, Riven would kill him. Aren would die.

As Lucy woke, she could feel the tension in the room. She could hear hushed voices, and someone pacing a path around the room. She coughed and shivered. She was on fire and her body ached all over. She felt someone's arms encircle her and she was pulled against someone's chest. She was about to struggle when she smelled Raice's unique scent. She swallowed and opened her eyes.

"Riven, she's awake," Raice's voice had her wincing. It sounded so loud next to her ear. Her mind and body felt as if she were hung over. She struggled to sit up and with Raice's help she was able to.

"Lucy, honey are you all right?" Riven's face appeared in front of hers and she gave a small smile.

"I feel like my body is about to combust. I'm on fire and my body aches. Is this part of the change?" Lucy asked weakly. Her head felt heavy and she struggled to keep it up.

"It's not time for your change, but you are going through the symptoms. You will probably have your first change by the end of the day. You're going to feel like this for a while and then you're going to itch all over. After that everything that touches you is going to make your body go crazy. It'll be super sensitive." Riven took a seat in the chair across the room and kept his gaze on Raice and Lucy. "Lucy, you are going into your heat. Every male in this room can sense it."

"I didn't think it was time for my heat!" Lucy started growing frantic. This couldn't be happening, not now!

"My daughter, you will go through your heat, but you don't have to sleep with anyone. It'll be hard, but you are of my blood and will be able to get through it. The problem will be keeping the males away from you. If they begin to touch you, your mind will be so filled with lust you won't care who it was and an accidental mating may occur. If you want, you can choose one of these males, but I can take you away for a few days until this passes. I feel no pull toward you because you are my daughter. It'll be harder for Riven because he is your uncle. Even he will feel the pull."

"I don't know you. You claim to be my father, but have no proof. How do I know that you are who you say you are? This is all new to me, but even Riven doesn't believe you." Lucy shook her head to clear it. Her skin began to itch, but she ignored it. Her temperature was becoming more bearable, and she could hold her head up with no complaints. It was almost unnerving the way her body was changing so quickly.

"Lucy, listen to me," Aren tried to talk some sense into his daughter. She had no idea what was about to happen. Her body would do things her mind would be against. She needed to get away from all these males. He could smell her body as it started transitioning into the heat. He felt no pull, but he could feel the testosterone and the tension rising in the room as the males all started feeling it.

"No, you listen to me. If you are my father, you have no rights to me. You abandoned me and my mother so just back off. I had a father I loved very much. He is my father, not you. You are only a sperm donor. I will never call you my father." Lucy stood up, ignoring the slight lightheadedness. "I need some time to think about everything. I'm going to my room. No one follow me, I mean it."

Lucy walked past Riven and Trent, feeling Raice follow her. She turned around. "Even you Raice. Stay here."

Raice stopped, looking Lucy in the eye. His panther was demanding her take her and claim her. Her scent was already changing and he could feel his cock harden at the mere smell. Not able to hold himself back, Raice reached forward and cupped Lucy's face.

When Raice's hand touched her face, Lucy felt her nipples harden and her core throbbed. She breathed in and just the smell made her ache for Raice. She knew it was the heat, and that it had finally kicked in. She looked around the room and watched as the men's eyes darkened and changed. They looked at her hungrily. She pulled away from Raice and took off running toward her room. When she got there she locked the door and jumped on her bed.

"What am I going to do?" she asked the quiet room.

Aren took a step toward the hallway that led to his daughter's room, but Riven's voice stopped him in his tracks.

"Not so fast. You are a stranger on my territory. My authority overrides your family claim on Lucy." Aren turned to face Riven, and looked his so-called brother-in-law up and down.

"Take a seat, we have a lot to talk about. I'm going to need answers before I even consider sending my niece somewhere with you. I know you're right about the pull and how it will affect even me. I'm hoping you are her father, though, so I can kill you myself." Riven glared at Aren.

Hiding his smile, Aren nodded and sat down. He looked relaxed, but was ready to attack at a moment's notice. He took his time taking note of all the males in the room and what their weaknesses could be.

Riven turned his gaze away from Aren, but he kept an eye on him out of the corner of his eye. He looked at Trent, who stood with his arms crossed and his gaze looking down the hall.

"Trent, you and your brothers are staying at your house. No questions about it. I don't want any of you over here until I have sent someone to get you. The mating pull will start almost immediately, and I'm sure you are already feeling it. I have to keep my niece safe and this is the only way to do it." Trent nodded and moved toward the back door. Riven watched until he disappeared outside.

"What about Candy and me?" Jaiden asked nervously. He was a younger wolf, but the heat would be strong on him too since he was coming into his prime.

"Candy can stay and help to take care of Lucy. Jaiden, you're going to move in with Drew for now. He has that old cabin back in the woods. You both will go there. Go get Candy for me, and Drew, please." Jaiden nodded and took off down the hall. He held his nose, but that wouldn't cause the pull to weaken. Riven smiled and shook his head at the boy's antics. He had a good heart though; Riven would give the kid that.

"Raice, I want you to go to my office and wait for me. I need to speak with you in private. Do not go near Lucy, or you will be gone. Do you understand me?" Riven stared into Raice's eyes, daring him to defy him. Raice nodded.

"I understand," Raice said, looking at Aren one last time before jogging down the hall and to Riven's office where he slammed the door and locked it.

Riven and Aren were alone amongst the tension swirling in the atmosphere. He had no clue when Jaiden, Drew, and Candy would show up, so he had to make this quick. "What the fuck are you doing here?"

Aren smiled as he stretched and put his hands behind his head. "I've come to get my daughter. She's not safe here. There are people moving around and planning things. That panther you have in the pack will bring hell down on your pack. If I were you, I'd ditch him. His father wants vengeance."

"How do you know this? How can I believe you, when I don't even believe you're Lucy's father? You are supposed to be dead. You can't show up and try to act like nothing ever happened. You kidnapped my sister. There is a lot you have to answer for." Riven took a seat and waited for Aren to start explaining.

Aren opened his mouth , but was interrupted as the room exploded with people. Braiden, Michael, and Drew were breathing hard and their eyes were dark with the presence of their wolves. Candy was looking around confused, and Jaiden was trying to stay still. Logan was standing calmly in the background, but his eyes betrayed his true feelings.

"Everyone calm down." Riven's voice reverberated around the room, causing everyone to look to him. He stood up and made his way toward his pack.

"Logan, Michael, and Braiden, you will be staying at your house or around it until I call for you. Lucy is going into her heat and I can't have you all roaming around. You can probably already feel the pull and it hasn't even gotten that strong yet. As the days go on, it will get worse. I'm not even sure how long she will be in heat, so until I, or someone comes to get you, you will not come to this house or near it. Do I make myself clear?"

The three men nodded and then started toward the backdoor. Braiden stopped and turned at the last minute. "If it gets too much, will you pick someone to help her through her heat? If they promise they won't claim her, won't that be enough, just to ease her pain?"

Braiden was right, it was possible to go through a heat with a male and not be claimed. The claiming included a bite at the peak of an orgasm and the mixing of blood. If Lucy got that bad off, he would consider it.

"I will consider it, and if that does happen, I will choose someone for each time she needs it. It won't be just one male. That would be like choosing favorites and I won't do it." The men all nodded with some excitement back in their eyes. This was a way for them to get a chance to bring Lucy to their side and help their chances of her mating with them.

When the door closed behind the retreating men, Riven turned to Drew and Jaiden. "Drew, you and Jaiden will be staying in that old hunting cabin. Every morning and every night, I want you both to patrol our borders. If you want, you can ask the twins or Logan to help. Trent is… well just don't ask Trent."

"Sounds good boss. How long you think this will take?" Drew asked. "I'm taking Chris with me too, right?"

"Shit, sorry, yea you can take Chris too. I forgot he was here." Riven mentally smacked himself in the head. Where was his head today? "Keep the boys close, and if there are any problems, call me, or you can use telepathy in wolf form. I'll try to stay in touch."

Drew sniffed the air. "It's getting stronger, I'm heading out. Kid grab your stuff or whatever you need for about a week and then let's get out of here." Jaiden raced down the hall to do just that.

"Thanks for watching out for him." Candy said as Drew passed her. She looked on in admiration, and Riven cursed. Candy couldn't be falling for Drew. He was almost twice her age.

Drew nodded and smiled. Candy watched him leave and then sucked in a breath to dwell on his scent. She looked back at Riven to find him watching her intensely. She coughed and shrugged to hide her embarrassment; nothing like getting caught ogling the beta by the alpha.

"Candy, I have a special task for you. Lucy is going to need plenty of nourishment. I need you to make sure she's fed and has everything she needs. Eventually it will be too hard for me to be that close to her. Can I trust you to take care of her? The pull won't bother you at all. I will warn you now though, Lucy will probably be grumpy and not herself. You must keep that in mind and be on alert."

Candy took a deep breath and then nodded. "I can do that, sir."

"Thank you, that takes a load off. You will be moving into the room beside hers so you can keep an eye on her. Not much longer and this will be you going through this, so please be kind."

"I'm so not looking forward to that. I wish Lucy had a mate. This is going to be rough." Candy turned to go.

Once everyone was out of the room except Aren, Riven let himself sink back into the chair. He was worn out and he knew it was only about to get worse.

"I'm going to go make a few calls and get some things figured out. I'll be back by this evening. You can count on that." Aren got to his feet and made his way to the door. Riven didn't stop him. There was nothing to say.

Long after Aren was gone, Riven was still sitting in the chair. He was exhausted, but knew he had things to do to get ready. He was leaving only himself in the pack house and knew that could be a bad idea. He had to prepare for an attack and had to set up traps. He also had to speak to Lucy and Raice.

Climbing to his feet, he muttered, "What have I gotten myself into?" then lumbered down the hall.

He was just about to open his office door when he heard a roar and then the sound of breaking glass. He jerked his door open and stared in shock at the broken window. There was a bit of blood on it and black fur where Raice got caught as he jumped. Riven raced to the window and looked around. He could just see Raice running through the woods and just ahead of him there was a girl. He gasped as he realized it was Lucy. She was wearing only a long black shirt and her hair was waving behind her as she ran.

"Oh shit," Riven said, knowing he had to get to his niece before Raice did. He launched himself through the window, changing before his feet hit the ground.

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