Lucy didn't know what was going on. One second, Riven was going to answer her questions and the next chaos broke out. When the door flew open to the room, her heart beat went erratic. She didn't know what was happening, but the body language and facial expressions of those around her told her it wasn't good. When her gaze landed on the man who burst into the room, she inhaled sharply. He was definitely handsome. In those few seconds, she felt a deep feminine appreciation for his rippling abs and strong sturdy shoulders his shirtless form provided. She felt a strange heat settle in her lower parts and squeezed her legs together and her face flushed, though out of embarrassment or desire she wasn't entirely sure.
When she finally met the stranger's eyes, she gasped. Instead of normal human eyes, his were solid black. It was primal and animalistic and she fought the need to cower in fear. She would not show this man fear. If she did, she felt there would be dire consequences. She was rooted in her seat, her mind trying to think of ways to escape. She saw Trent tense out of the corner of her eye and she waited for Riven to say something. Obviously he was in charge.
Riven jumped to his feet and moved toward the stranger faster than Lucy thought possible. She watched as another younger man got to his feet and her vision was obscured from seeing the man. As soon as he disappeared, Lucy felt a sudden loss. Her lips fell into a pout and she shifted uncomfortably in her seat. She tilted her head and tried to see around them. All of a sudden she froze. What am I doing? she asked herself. Her body and mind were at odds with each other and it was driving her insane. She felt the strong sense of familiarity from this stranger and part of her wanted to explore it while the other half was scared of these strong emotions.
She was so focused on her thoughts she didn't hear Riven's command. She only felt Trent grab her arm and force her to her feet. She heard a growl rip through the air and the hair on the back of her neck stood. The growl sounded like a death threat of a pure predator. She shivered and unknowingly moved toward Trent. Riven then commanded them to all leave and they exited through a different door.
"Where are you taking me? Who was that? What's going on?" she questioned Trent.
His lips pursed. Lucy growled in frustration and stopped walking. The sudden motion nearly caused Trent to jerk her off her feet.
"We don't have time for this. I have to get you somewhere safe. You could get hurt," Trent growled, jerking her arm again.
"I'm not moving until I get some answers," Lucy snapped. She jerked against Trent's hold on her, but he wouldn't release her.
"You have no idea how serious this is. Stop fighting me and for once do as I ask," Trent shouted. He jerked her forward and started dragging her down the hall.
"Let go of me! You're hurting me," she shouted, pulling against him. They were to the end of the hallway when she heard a roar behind her. She registered a blur jump past her and knock Trent to the ground.
Lucy fell backwards and landed on the ground as soon as her arm was released. She jumped to her feet quickly and looked around, but she couldn't see Trent or the blur. She heard noises coming from around the corner and slowly followed the sound. Just as she turned the corner, small arms wrapped around her and yanked her into a room. She squeaked in surprise as the door shut and the noises from outside the door grew weak.
"You have to stay quiet, and not let him know you're in here." Lucy turned as soon as the person started speaking. The speaker was a girl who looked to be around a year or so older than Jaiden. She had long black hair that was curled into a French braid. Her startling bright green eyes studied Lucy with an intensity that made her want to squirm.
"Who are you?" Lucy whispered.
"My name's Candy, what's yours?" the girl asked, smiling. She sat down on the edge of the bed against the far wall and eyed the door warily.
"My name's Lucy. Trent kidnapped me and brought me here." Lucy said bluntly, hoping the girl would help her to escape. "Mind telling me what's going on and why I'm here?"
"It can't be that bad. Riven has to have a reason for bringing you here. My brother's almost here, so don't be startled if the door opens." Right when Candy finished speaking, the door opened and Jaiden walked in.
"Hi Lucy, I'm sorry for that spectacle. That has never happened before. I'm surprised Raice lost his cool like that. Something must have set his wolf off." Jaiden took a seat on the floor close to the door, but far enough away that he wouldn't get hit if it opened.
"His name is Raice?" she asked. Lucy said the name a couple times in her head and thought it fit perfectly for the image of the man in her mind.
"Yes, and he's one of the oldest in the pack. He's a year older than Trent, but Logan, Trent's brother, and Riven, our alpha, are the eldest males. He's always kept a tight leash on his wolf and has yet to reveal his other half to us." Jaiden said, not realizing what he was doing.
"Pack? Wolf? What do you mean? You guys have pet wolves?" Lucy's voice rose in octaves and she started moving toward the door.
"Oops, I wasn't supposed to say anything."
"Way to go Jaiden," Candy scolded.
"You guys are crazy. I'm out of here."
She jumped over Jaiden and had the door open before they could react. Her flight instinct was halted when she saw Riven and Trent dragging a body down the hall. The body was naked and Lucy quickly averted her eyes, but not before recognizing that it was Raice. Her heart sped up and she moved toward them.
"What did you do to him?" she snapped.
"Lucy, stay back. I can't have him waking up and seeing you. You need to go back to Candy. Her scent will help to mask yours," Riven commanded. Lucy rolled her eyes.
"What is it with you people and your weird sentences. You'd think this was a house filled with people who lived as animals. You say pack, and scent, and animal sides, but I don't understand a word. Let him go, he hasn't done anything wrong. Look at him, he has blood on him. Did you hurt him?" Lucy's voice slowly rose and she was panicking. Seeing Raice lying there looking lifeless made Lucy's heart beat really fast, and her body freeze with fear. He wasn't dead was he?
"Lucy, look at me," Trent's voice made her turn to face him. She slowed her breathing and stared into his eyes. Then she saw the cuts on his face and the blood on his arms and bare chest.
"You did this, you hurt him," she screamed. Trent was on her list of people to hate at the moment, and he didn't seem to be getting off any time soon.
"Lucy, please listen," Trent pleaded.
"Don't talk to me," Lucy snapped.
"Drew, get her out of here," Riven commanded to someone behind Lucy. She turned just in time to miss hands reaching for her. She started moving backwards, closer to Riven and Trent.
"Get away from me," she growled, her temper rising to the surface. She wanted to get closer to Raice. Somehow she knew he would protect her from these people. They kidnapped her and wanted her for some reason. Raice seemed to be out of the loop. She wanted to believe he would help her escape, but she didn't know him. She only knew her body reacted to him and she felt a longing to be close to him.
"This is for your own good," Drew said before swinging at Lucy. Lucky for her, she had taken self defense classes and knew how to respond in this type of situation. She ducked and struck out with her foot. She kicked him in the gut and he grasped at his stomach. When she planted both feet on the ground, she grabbed his head and brought her knee up and hit him in the face. He groaned and fell backwards, holding his nose and stomach.
"Damn girl, I wish I could do that," Candy said, awe in her voice.
"She just took down the beta," Jaiden's voice was shocked, and he looked at her in surprise. "She's going to be a strong she-wolf."
"Candy, Jaiden, get back in that room and shut the door. Trent, get ready, Raice is waking up. Lucy stay there and don't do anything stupid," Riven said, pushing Trent. They started walking down the hallway, hurrying to put distance between Raice and Lucy.
"Where are you taking him?" Lucy called. She felt her voice waver at the thought of losing sight of Raice. She was so intent on the three moving away she didn't see Drew climb to his feet, revenge evident in his gaze. He grabbed her around the waist and crushed her against his chest. His arm went to her throat and he cut off her air supply.
"That was dumb, little girl. You're going to pay for breaking my nose," he growled. Lucy's eyes lit up with an inner fire. She squared her feet and brought her head forward. Before Drew could react, she slammed her head backwards and grabbed his arm, flipping his rather large, muscular body over her. His body hit the ground with a loud thump. She jumped over him and rand after Riven, Trent, and Raice. She couldn't see them in front of her, and she came to a split of halls.
"Where did you go?" she mumbled under her breath, panic setting further in her chest. Damn this house is huge. Lucy chose to go left when someone tackled her and she slammed into the ground. The breath was knocked from her lungs and her head hit the floor. She saw stars and felt pain spread from her side through the rest of her body.
When she could breathe again she started struggling and screamed for help. "I'm not going to hurt you. You have to go to your room," Drew spat with venom.
"You just told me that you were going to make me pay. I don't trust anything you say. Get off me!" She bucked her hips and flailed her arms, but it was useless. Drew had her pinned tight. She stopped struggling, giving up hope. Then she heard a snarl and Drew's weight lifted from her.
Raice's head felt groggy when he woke. He was dangling between two people and carried down the hallway. He tried to remember what happened and the memory slammed into his head. He shifted then attacked Trent, and now he knew his secret. He was in deep shit.
But where was the girl, his mate? He looked around, and sniffed the air, but her scent was faint. They were taking him to his room and away from her. He started struggling.
"Easy Raice, we need you to remain calm. Lucy is safe. Drew is escorting her to her room. Relax and keep your animal under control. We almost had to tranquilize you. You're lucky I got the slip and knocked you over the head." Riven moved his hand from Raice and reached for the knob on the door.
Raice took advantage of Riven's mistake and tore out of their arms. He stumbled down the hallway, shaking off the black haze and his throbbing headache. He could smell his mate and she reeked of fear. He growled low in his throat and moved faster. Whoever was causing his mate fear would pay. No one hurt what belonged to him.
He heard Trent and Riven following him, he knew he was the fastest of the three and wasn't worried. He made it to the cross section and was just about to turn a corner when he heard his mate speak.
"Get off of me," she commanded. Raice's vision blurred red and he felt the need to shift again. He held back and focused his attention on getting Drew off his mate. He tackled the man to the ground with a growl. They rolled end over end and sprawled across the hallway. Raice shook his head, got to his feet, and started toward Drew who was already on his feet.
"Stop!" Riven yelled, interrupting the imminent fight.
"I came around the corner and heard this girl ask Drew to get off her. When he didn't move I kindly removed him," Raice answered with a growl. He wanted to kill Drew for touching his mate, but he knew that Riven would have his hide.
"Lucy, are you okay?" Riven asked, causing Raice to turn his head and look at his mate. He surveyed the beauty from the top of her head to the tip of her slight feet, enjoying the view immensely. She would make a good strong mate. She had obviously been the one to break Drew's nose and the cause of the rage reflecting in his eyes.
Raice moved forward and offered Lucy his hand, she took it and climbed to her feet, not taking her eyes off him. They stared into each other's eyes until Trent cleared his throat in annoyance. Raice shot him a glare, but he just growled.
Lucy couldn't take her eyes off of Raice. He held himself with a natural grace that was intimidating and unapproachable. Everything in her ignored the darkness of him and her body hummed at the touch of his hand on hers. Small shocks of electricity entered her body through that one touch and it fascinated and frightened her. She didn't know if she wanted to explore those emotions welling up inside her.
Raice drew her closer to his warm half naked body and a little shiver clawed up her spine as her heart raced in her chest. Each gentle touch of his fingers made her body tense in unfamiliar places and she reacted with odd familiarity. He was still so memorable, but she couldn't place his gorgeous face.
"Who are you?" she whispered. She already knew his name, but she wanted to know everything else.
"Lucy, please come with me so I can explain everything. Raice, go to your room and wait for me. Nothing will happen to Lucy," Riven vowed. He watched the way the two acted together and recognized what was happening. They were feeling the effects of the mating bond. But before they could act on the bond, he had to explain everything to Lucy or she would be confused and possibly terrified at the way her body would start acting. She was almost upon her first heat and she'd have to choose a mate. She needed to understand their ways before that happened.
"I'm not leaving her. I just found her," Raice argued, his temper rising to a dangerous level.
"I really need to do this alone. Lucy would probably appreciate it. She thinks she's been kidnapped and I need to explain everything. I will also talk to Trent about your situation and then I'll come and talk to you and explain things to you, too. I am ordering you to go to your room. Don't argue with me." Riven stared Raice down, causing the man to lower his gaze and give a slight nod of his head.
"Yes Alpha," Raice said, admitting defeat. He gave one last longing look at Lucy before Riven watched him walk away toward his room. Riven could tell he was furious, but he had more important things on his mind.
"Lucy, I need you to come with me," Riven said, placing a hand on her shoulder and guiding her down the hall away from Raice. She nodded and he could tell she was confused. She kept looking over her shoulder and he knew she was watching Raice.
Lucy sat in a chair indicated by Riven when they reached his office and stared at the wall. She was desperately missing Raice and couldn't figure out why. She just wanted to see him, to make sure he was okay. It frightened her how easily this man filled her thoughts. What was happening to her? Was she getting that Stockholm Syndrome or whatever it was called?
"What is wrong with me?" she asked herself, accidentally speaking out loud.
"I'm about to explain everything, my dear," Riven answered, looking at her with pity in his eyes. She wanted to know why she was there, but a part of her knew she might not like the answer. What did they plan to do with her? There were kids here and they seemed to be happy, so why did they kidnap her?
"Please do because I'm confused as to why you kidnapped me and brought me here. Also, what is up with Raice? What is happening to me?" Riven held up his hand to silence her questions.
"You may ask me as many questions as you like, but for now, Lucy, let me tell you why you are here. This may come as a shock, but please listen to the whole story," Riven grew silent for a minute before continuing. "I am your uncle, your mother's brother. You may have been able to tell that I had to have some relation to your mother by our looks. We are twins."
"What? How is that possible? Why didn't she tell us about you?" Lucy's confusion deepened. She knew he had to be some relation to her, but to be her uncle, her mother's twin, now that was crazy. He had to be lying, or something big must have happened for her mother not to tell her about him. What had he done? Why was he lying? One answer led to more questions. Would she ever find out what was going on?
"It's true. I know you may not believe me, but let me tell you your mother's story and how she came to be married to the man you think is your dad." Riven paused to think about where to start, and then spoke again.
"Your mother and I were born fifty six years ago. You may not believe that, judging by our looks, but it is true. I will explain how later on," he cleared his throat and continued. "Our mother died during child birth. It was rare for a female of our kind to have twins, let alone a boy and a girl. It was a hard delivery on her and she ended up losing her life from major blood loss. Our father was left to raise us on his own. He was the leader of our people and had a lot of responsibilities. We were handed off to another female who took care of us when my father was unavailable. This woman's name was Romana and we considered her our mother. Our father was never around and she was our only caregiver. We both loved her dearly.
"When we turned sixteen, our father let me travel with him to one of his out of state meetings. Romana stayed behind to watch over Hannah. When my father and I returned several days later we found the house trashed and Romana dead. A group of rogues attacked while we were gone and kidnapped my sister. My father was furious and gathered some of his men to go after them. I wanted to go, but he made me stay behind, telling me I was too young and would only get in the way. It infuriated me, but I understood. They were gone for three days before we got word they had found her and were returning home.
"When my sister came back, she was different. She was bubbly and talkative, but she became quiet and withdrawn. She would sit for hours at a time and stare out into the forest, as if she was waiting for someone. Finally I asked her what was wrong. She told me that while she was being held she had met someone. I was astounded. I asked her if it was one of her kidnappers and she said yes. She then proceeded to tell me that they instantly had a connection and he had been kind to her and kept the others away. She also told me that he promised to come find her one day when they got older. I told my father what Hannah told me, thinking she was crazy or they had done something to her. He instantly shipped her off to a boarding school, fearing the man would really come for her.
"When we turned twenty five my sister came home, having completed high school and college. She was carefree and happy and back to her old self. She didn't seem to remember anything about the man she said would come for her and we were all relieved. What my father and I didn't know was the man found her while she was at college and they had been secretly seeing each other. She had only come home for the Christmas holidays and was planning on packing her stuff and running away soon after.
"I only discovered her plan after it was too late. I noticed her belongings starting to disappear but I wasn't sure why. I just thought maybe she was packing her stuff up to move out, not that she was leaving us forever. She snuck out the day after Christmas and met this mysterious man. All she left us was a note that said she was running away with Aren and that they were going to become mates… well husband and wife.
"My father and I tried to track Hannah down and beg her to reconsider, but we couldn't find her. My father ended up getting sick and had to be confined to bed. This was not normal for our people as sickness never plagued us. He kept asking if we had any luck tracking her down, but I always had to tell him no. It took six years, but finally my sister contacted me. She sent me a letter through the mail that said she was pregnant and her mate was dead. She then told me that he had been murdered and she believed the people responsible were after her. She gave me a telephone number to contact her and I called her immediately. I demanded she come home and she reluctantly agreed. Before she arrived though, the sickness overwhelmed my father and he passed away. It was a shock to all of us.
"When she got home she told me she refused to t tell me anything that had happened the six years she was gone. She told me that she had been happy and that was all that mattered. I reluctantly agreed not to ask her any questions and she told me that Aren had been killed trying to protect her and their unborn child. He had gone hunting and came back to find men attacking his mate. He was out numbered five to one and they killed him. The only reason they hadn't killed her was because she was pregnant.
"Six weeks later these men showed up on our door step and demanded to see her. There were ten of them and I laughed in their faces. They didn't like my response and that night they attacked. My men easily disposed of them and we thought the threat was over. Life went on and soon Hannah was eight months pregnant. She was at the store when she met a man. It was love at first sight and they started seeing each other. The thing was, the man was married and his wife was pregnant with a girl. She was due around the same time as Hannah.
"I tried to talk Hannah out of seeing this man, but she wouldn't listen. She claimed they were in love. Finally she was full term and was taken to the hospital to have her baby. I wasn't going to take any chances on her dying like our mother. She ended up being a few rooms down from Jacob's wife's room. She had her baby, which was you, and named you Lucy after our mother. She had just started nursing you when there was a commotion in the hall. We later found out that Jacob's wife had died and they were trying to save the baby. They ended up saving the baby and she was named Mindy."
Lucy's mind was racing, trying to absorb what he was telling her. Could this really be true? If it were, it explained so much. Why she and Mindy didn't look anything alike and were so different. It also explained why her parents acted weird at times when they asked about their grandparents. She continued to listen as Riven went on.
"A few months later Jacob and Hannah ended up getting married and joined the community here. That only lasted a few months and then they left, taking you and Mindy with them. We never heard from them. They seemed to have disappeared off the face of the earth. Eventually, after so many years spent searching, I found out where they lived when their obituary showed up in the newspaper. I only recently was able to send someone to track you down. I did the math in my head and realized how old you were and what was going to happen to you," Riven stopped after catching the look of desperation on Lucy's face. There was pain and confusion in her eyes and he couldn't continue. "I know this may sound crazy, but I promise you it is all true.
Lucy could only stare at Riven. She had never heard this from her mother. Why had she kept this from her? Was Riven telling the truth? She thought he was, but he could have been lying. But what would he benefit from lying to her? He would possibly get her to trust him, but what then? It didn't make sense to her at that moment for him to lie to her. But what he was telling her was a lot to take in. Her mind felt ready to explode as she found out her whole life was a lie.
"How can I believe you? Yes, you know my mother's name, and my father's, but how can you prove it?" Lucy wanted to believe him.
Riven stood up and she watched him walk to a set of drawers under the window. He opened the top drawer and pulled out a black book. He walked over and handed it to her. When she opened it faces of many unfamiliar people stared back at her. They started out in black and white, but turned into color as she flipped through the pages. She felt tears rise in her eyes as she saw Riven and her mother playing together as children.
"What is going to happen to me? Why did you kidnap me instead of just talking to me? My sister is going to be worried sick. I have to contact her and tell her about you," Lucy rambled, getting to her feet and dropping the picture book.
"Lucy, Mindy is not your sister. You have to forget about her for now."
"I know that, but she doesn't. She's going to be worried. I have to call her. Where's your phone?" Lucy glanced around, searching.
"Lucy, there's more," Riven said, his voice becoming a haunting tenor.
"What else could you tell me?" she asked, exasperated. She was tired of the surprises. She couldn't handle this. It was late and she was tired. She just wanted to sleep in her own bed in her own house. She felt tears prick her eyes. Nothing could have prepared her for what Riven said next.
"Lucy, you, me, and everyone in this house is a shifter," Riven said calmly, waiting for her response.
"What do you mean?" Lucy was confused.
"I am a werewolf. And Lucy, so are you."