The Forgotten Claim - The Claim: Book 1

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Chapter 21 - Olivia (Part 1)

Olivia didn’t understand what was going on, but when Cameron told her to hide, the urgency in his demand drove her to obey.

Rocks lined the bank of the pond but most of them were too short to hide behind. Looking around frantically, she splashed through the water to a pointed rock about the size of her head peeking out from the water as a strange sound crackled nearby.

Peering over the rock, her mouth fell open as Cameron—at least, she thought it was Cameron—turned into a large wolf!

One second, he was crouching on the ground, and the next, fur sprouted from his skin, his arms and legs snapped and twisted, his chest grew outward, a tail popped out from behind, and a muzzle protruded out from his mouth and nose as his ears rose up on the side of his head.

Fear and horror gripped her as a wolf with a mixture of gray and white fur with a touch of black stood in his place. His ears pointed forward as he spread his paws out in an aggressive stance and lunged forward with a snarl.

Olivia stood frozen in place as another wolf came charging out of the forest—an equally large gray and silver wolf coated in dirt and mud. Cameron snapped his jaws at him and missed. He twisted around to try and bite him again, but a smaller black wolf cut in between the two larger ones and whined. The silver and gray wolf snarled, baring his teeth and snapping his jaws at them. Cameron’s mixed gray wolf snapped at the black one and shoved him aside. The silver-gray wolf used this distraction to turn and run.

Barking, Cameron bound after him and sank his teeth into the silver-gray’s hind leg. The silver-gray wolf yowled and twisted around, snapping his powerful jaws at Cameron’s face. Cameron held on as the other wolf tried to kick free and the smaller black wolf whined, circling around them and nipping at Cameron’s face and hind legs. The two larger wolves fought, biting and kicking, tearing open wounds as blood poured down their thick fur coats.

Olivia held onto the rock. Her breath caught in her throat. Her body was numb to the cold water that surrounded her as she watched the battle raging on the bank before her.

The silver-gray wolf made another attempt to run away and disappeared into the trees. Cameron’s wolf chased after him with the small black one on his heels. Snarls and growls amidst the rustling of branches and leaves resounded before there was a series of high-pitched yips.

Then, silence.

Gasping, Olivia pulled away from the rock before falling back behind it.

What the fuck just happened?

She didn’t actually see what she thought she saw, did she?

Cameron didn’t turn into a wolf and fight with another wolf. It was a figment of her imagination. She was seeing things. Right?

Shivering in the cold water, she held herself and looked around, wondering what to do. Her clothes were still hanging from the branch of a tree she had hung them up on with Cameron’s still on the ground.

This can’t be real…

Hushed voices murmured in the cover of the forest where the wolves disappeared.

Swallowing, Olivia peered over the rock again and saw movement through the tree trunks and foliage where the voices were coming from.

“How could you, Cam? He’s my mate!”

“He breached the border and wasn’t listening to you! What would you have me do? Let him attack Olivia? Let him reach the packhouse and kill someone? Come on! Pick him up. We have to get out of here.”

Twigs snapped under feet and fallen leaves rustled before a pair of figures emerged from the trees. Olivia inhaled sharply when Cameron emerged, naked, with blood pouring down one of his legs and splattered across his arms, face, and hands. Sam followed, butt-naked as well, carrying a bloody, dirt-coated man in his arms.

What the fuck is going on?

“Olivia!” Cameron called as he walked toward their clothes and looked around the pond for her.

Pulling back behind the rock, heart racing, she dragged air into her lungs as her mind whirled around, wondering what to do next. Should she go out or wait and hope for them to leave?

Idiot! As if Cam would leave without you! Fuck! What do I do? What did I see? Did he really turn into a wolf?

“Come on, Olivia! We need to go! Now!”

Olivia looked over the edge of the rock to watch them. Cameron turned to Sam and order him to go ahead to the car and he’d catch up. Sam nodded, closing his eyes and rubbing his nose in the man’s dirt-encrusted hair in his arms. Cameron continued to pace around the pond, scanning every inch of it as he yanked on his boxers and shorts while Sam turned and walked through the trees on the path she and Cameron had taken.

Taking a deep breath in, she pulled away from the rock, knowing that she couldn’t even try and hide or run from him.

His eyes quickly turned to her and he swore under his breath, but it was loud enough for her to catch it. Raking his hands down his face, he turned away to pick up his T-shirt. “Come on, Olivia. We don’t have much time.”

“Time for what, Cam?” she asked, finding her voice as she looked around for some rocks to climb out of the pond.

“It’s not safe. We have to go.” He wiped the blood from his face with his shirt.

His back was still facing her as she pulled herself out of the water and approached him with cautious steps. “What’s going on?”

He stopped and slumped his shoulders. “How much did you see?”

She swallowed. “All of it.”

He heaved a sigh. “It wasn’t supposed to happen this way.”

Anxiety gnawed. What was he saying? Why wouldn’t he answer her question? “What the fuck, Cam?” she demanded. Panic set in as she held herself, shivering, dripping wet and not understanding a thing.

One minute they were making out naked in the pond next to the waterfall and the next he was turning into a wolf, fighting another wolf, and demanding they leave immediately.

“What’s going on?” she reiterated. “What the fuck happened? I saw you turn…”

She trailed off, unable to spit out the impossible as Cameron turned around slowly. He pulled the blood-stained shirt from his face, regret reflecting in his cognac eyes. She turned away, hiding her body from him even though his eyes implored hers.

“You want to know the truth, Olivia?” He stepped toward her, unabashed by his nakedness, but his intense stare held her still as she shivered.

She looked away, her grip around herself tightening and drawing more into herself. “Yes.”

Her whisper in the stillness around them was a haunting sound that made her skin crawl even more.

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