The Forgotten Claim - The Claim: Book 1

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Chapter 26 - Olivia (Part 2)

After dinner, everyone dispersed and Cameron led her and Chloe across the open green valley to a cabin tucked in among the trees in the forest that surrounded the valley. As they neared, he caught Olivia’s eye with a serious look and she knew this was it. He was going to show them his wolf.

When they were a dozen yards away from this log cabin that literally looked like it was out of some fairy tale book, he bent down in front of Chloe and asked her if she was interested in seeing his dog.

Her face lit up. “Yes! Yes! Where is he?”

“Wait here and I’ll get him. He’s really big, but don’t be scared. He will always protect you and Mommy. Okay?”

She nodded, her smile still large and eager.

Reassured, he smiled back and kissed her forehead. “Okay, I’ll be back soon.”

He hurried around to the back of the cabin as anxiety snaked around Olivia’s heart. She clutched Chloe’s hand—more for her own comfort than Chloe’s. Chloe didn’t notice as she was squirming in excitement.

Olivia stiffened as the large wolf emerged from behind the house, sniffing the ground, indifferent by their presence.

He looked larger than she remembered on the bank of the pond. His shoulders came up to her waist and if he raised his head, his head would touch her shoulders. He kept his head down though, making him look a little smaller, as he sniffed the ground, his one good ear perking every few seconds toward them and his tail relaxed down.

Tugging on Olivia’s hand, Chloe gasped. “Look, Mommy! He’s a big dog!”

Olivia hummed in acknowledgment as she mentally reminded herself that the wolf was still Cameron, the same man that gave her butterflies, the same man that brought Chloe into her life, and the same man that loved her no matter how stubborn she was.

As Cameron’s wolf approached, Olivia got down on her knees and held her hand out, palm up, for Cameron to sniff like she would when meeting a dog for the first time. His ears perked toward her and then back as he moved closer to sniff her.

“This is how you say hello to dogs,” Olivia guided. “Let him sniff you first.”

Chloe giggled as she held out her hand next to Olivia’s.

Cameron’s head tilted, the good ear pointed up at the sky toward them and the damaged one tucked down close to his head.

He sniffed Olivia’s hand and then Chloe’s before his tongue slipped out and licked her fingers. Chloe’s giggle made Olivia smile and her anxiety to dissipate a little. He closed his eyes and turned his head as he stepped forward, making her hand brush against the side of his head. He leaned into her palm and Olivia put her hand over Chloe’s.

“You can pet him like this,” she told her, guiding Chloe’s hand to brush down the thick fur of his neck. “Nice and gentle.”

Chloe was so happy and couldn’t stop the huge grin spreading across her face as her little hand gently stroked Cameron’s neck.

Cameron wrapped his paw around Chloe and pulled her closer so she leaned against him and her face fell into his neck.

Giggles tumbled profusely from her lips as she turned her head toward Olivia. “I think he likes me, Mommy.”

Cameron’s eyes were closed, but they looked to be smiling as Olivia kneaded her fingers deeper into the thick fur. She could feel herself warming up to him, her anxiety ebbing further away as she continued to pet him.

“He doesn’t just like you, Chloe, he loves you.”

He loves you too, she reminded herself as she watched Chloe wrap her arms around his neck, mumbling to him that he was a good boy, nice doggie, and that she loved him too.

Chloe wasn’t the least bit scared of him even though he was huge, towering over her head, and could rip her to shreds with his massive teeth like Olivia had seen him try to do to that other wolf. Not that he would, she knew, but the potential was there. He was capable of things she was still trying to grapple with—like turning into a wolf.

After a minute of petting him and admiring him, Chloe looked around and her face drew into a frown. “Where’s Daddy?”

Cameron’s cognac eyes caught Olivia’s for a second before she turned away and followed her hand as it brushed over his neck.

“He’s right here, sweetie. This is Daddy.”

“Huh?”

“Look at his eyes,” Olivia said, studying the mixture of colors in his fur as they shone in the sunlight. “They’re the same as Daddy’s, right?”

Peeking at Chloe, Olivia saw her face scrunch up as she studied the wolf’s eyes. His tongue draped from the corner of his mouth before licking her face and making her squeal. “Daddy’s not a dog!”

Cameron wrapped both of his paws around her and pulled her against his chest as his bones snapped and cracked. His body morphed quickly with Chloe in his arms as she cried out in surprise. Lifted from the ground, her head whipped around as Cameron finished his transformation and hoisted her on his hip.

Despite his nakedness, he grinned at her and tweaked her nose. “That’s right, Chloe-bear. Daddy’s not a dog. He’s a wolf.”

Shyness overtook Chloe again and she tried to hide behind her hands. “No way.”

“Yes way.”

He was grinning from ear-to-ear as he turned his attention to Olivia. Her heart was pounding as he stepped toward her, this broad-set man of muscle with this little fairy-child in his arms. He wrapped his other arm around Olivia and pressed a lingering kiss to her forehead. Her body relaxed into the warmth of his and her eyelids fluttered closed. Chloe patted Olivia’s head and she smiled back at her daughter resting her head on Cameron’s other shoulder. Sleep was tugging on her eyes as she popped her thumb in her mouth, something she occasionally did when she was beat and far away from her bed.

“And I’m going to be a daddy again,” he whispered. “We should go see Dr. Waaban now.”

She hummed in question, content in his arms with their daughter falling asleep against his chest.

His lips curved into a smile against her forehead. “Your scent has changed. I think you’re pregnant.”

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