The Forgotten Claim - The Claim: Book 1

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Chapter 21 - Olivia (Part 2)

He stepped in front of her and tilted her chin up. Those tantalizing golden hues bore into her.

At first, she jerked away, but he held on firmly and pulled her gaze back to his. She clenched her jaw, anger bubbling up her throat from her roiling stomach.

“Olivia, calm down.”

“What are you, Cameron? A werewolf or something?” she snapped, ignoring his command.

He gritted his teeth when she refused to back down. “In a way, yes. We are more like wolf-shifters, capable of transforming into a wolf at will rather than by the light of the full moon in the traditional horror-movie way, but both terms are acceptable.”

“You’re insane,” she jeered, pulling away from him and stomping over to her clothes.

“Insane?” He followed, hot on her heels. “Which is crazier? Changing into a wolf or denying what you saw with your own two eyes?”

Her jaw hurt from grinding her teeth together as she ignored him and snatched her bra from the tree branch.

“Is this how you’re going to respond when Chloe shifts for the first time?”

Her heart jumped. Whirling around, she could hardly speak. She was so mad she could spit. “Excuse me?”

“She’s mine, right?” A fire of rage burned within his eyes, yet his voice was eerily calm and collected. “When she comes of age, she will shift for the first time against her will. Is this how you will react? How you will treat her when that happens?”

She opened her mouth only to snap it shut a second later.

Chloe was like him?

She wanted to scream that it was impossible, but couldn’t. It was undeniable; Chloe was biologically his and inherited his DNA and everything that came with it.

She looked away and snapped her bra on before reaching for her shirt to pull it over her head. “Of course not.”

He growled—actually growled like a freaking wolf! “You better not. You have every right to be pissed with me because I couldn’t tell you, but Chloe is innocent and I’ll be damned if you tear her down for what she is.”

“You’re right about one thing,” she muttered as she struggled to pull her shirt over her still dripping-wet body. “Chloe’s innocent. She’s not the one who lied to me about being a fucking werewolf.”

“And you think you’d be able to handle that fact if I told you straight up? ‘Hey, I’m a werewolf, oh, and your soulmate! Let’s go fuck in the bushes and seal the matebond so I don’t constantly feel like jumping your bones every time I look at you!’” His voice was dripping with sarcasm as he grasped her chin once she pulled her head through her shirt. “Face it, Olivia! You know damn well that wouldn’t blow over, and then I’d have to take you by force—and I’d rather not turn into that kind of prick!”

She yanked herself free from his hold. “You’re still a fucking prick for fucking me and leaving!”

He growled as she snatched her panties and shorts from the tree to pull them on. “Don’t you dare throw that in my face. You don’t know the half of it. I left to protect my pack. We were being attacked like we are right now. I’m a warrior. It’s my job to protect my pack. That’s why I left. That’s why we have to leave right now. I won’t have you dying like Andrew.”

With that, he picked her up and threw her over his broad shoulder. She flailed and screamed at him to put her down, but he ignored her and began to carry her through the forest. He jogged, his quick pace forced her to settle down and hold on tight in fear of him losing his grip and dropping her.

She had no idea he was this strong. She was far from being a light-weight, but she definitely wasn’t overweight either. He man-handled her as if she weighed nothing as the forest rushed by. Soon, they cleared the woods and he set her down next to the car before opening the door and ordering her inside.

“Now is not the time to fight with me, Olivia. Get in and I’ll answer your questions then.”

“Asshole,” she spat, rubbing her stomach from bouncing on his shoulder.

She climbed into the front passenger seat while Cameron ran around to the driver’s. Sam was in the back, still naked as the day he was born, and cradling the unconscious, dirty, blood-soaked guy in his lap and whimpering.

“How could you—” Sam started but Cameron snarled as he shoved the keys in the ignition.

“Just shut up, Sam! He wasn’t going to stop for you, okay? You can nurse him back to health and win him over then because the way I saw it, he didn’t give a flying fuck about you and I wasn’t about to let him get near my mate or the packhouse, you got it?”

Sam whimpered but was otherwise silent as Cameron backed out of the lane and onto the dirt road they had come.

“I’m going home,” Olivia announced, crossing her arms over her chest. The need to run to her mother’s and pull Chloe into her arms was overwhelming.

This was insane. She couldn’t bring Chloe into this world. She could get hurt.

“Absolutely not,” Cameron grumbled.

“You can’t stop me!”

“I don’t want you driving around with rogues running around!” he snapped. “Don’t you get it? We’re under attack right now. If they find you, they’ll kill you. Then what, huh? Do you want Chloe to grow up without her mother? Dammit, stop and think for a change!”

She swallowed, biting back her hostile thoughts. What was going on out there? “Fine. I’ll stay.”

“Good. Take a hot shower and make sure all the windows and doors are locked and stay there until I come back.”

“And then you’ll tell me everything?”

He gritted his teeth, his grip tightening around the steering wheel. “What more is there to say? We’re under attack. I don’t know the full extent of it right now. My only concern is to get you to safety and get Sam and his mate to the infirmary before I go out there and rip some throats out.”

They pulled up to the back door of the hotel and he wasted no time in putting the car in park and climbing out. He went around to her door and yanked it open. “Come on, I’ll explain more upstairs.”

He motioned for her to take the lead and he followed a few paces behind. She swiped her key card to open the door and climbed the stairs up to the top floor on the fifth level.

Once they were inside, he deflated. The fight left him and he rubbed his face as he looked around at the extravagant space. Olivia followed his gaze thinking to herself how crazy everything was. While she stayed in the luxurious honeymoon suite, alone, he would be out there somewhere, fighting with invading werewolves.

She followed him to the bathroom where he splashed cold water on his face and leaned over the counter as water droplets fell over the shallow porcelain bowl. Blood stained the side of his leg and there were scratches across his back, still oozing blood lightly, but he ignored them.

Standing in the doorway, she crossed her arms over her chest again as she took in the profile of this warrior. “So, what now? What’s the plan?”

A wildness reflected in his eyes as he looked up to meet her gaze. “You stay here. I fight. That is my job. To protect you, Chloe, and my pack.”

“And then what?” she asked as he snatched a small cloth and dried his face.

“Then you and I will finish this.”

She raised her brows. “Excuse me, what? What are we finishing?”

He tossed the cloth in the bathtub and stepped toward her, closing in on her as his eyes bore down into hers. “This,” his voice lowered as he motioned between them, “incomplete bond. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But someday, we will finish this.”

His closeness drew heat to the surface of her skin. The hairs on her arms and neck stood to the electrical energy generating between them. “And what would that mean exactly?”

“We become one as we should have five years ago. It was too soon for me to claim you back then. I’m sure I would have in the days or weeks that followed when I would have revealed myself to you in the matter I meant to do today before we were interrupted. But to seal the matebond and claim you as mine would turn you into a werewolf like me. A choice you have the right to make and not be forced into.” He brushed his fingers along her jaw. “Until we seal the matebond, our cravings and urges for each other will only intensify and we will fight and argue the more we resist its magnetic pull.”

He closed the gap between their bodies. Her nipples puckered in her bra as her chest brushed against his. The air was thin around them and she struggled to breathe.

“So now you know. What more do I need to say?”

Her head was whirling with everything she saw, everything he told her, and his sheer closeness that affected her body in ways she had no control over.

“Come back in one piece,” she whispered.

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