The Forgotten Claim - The Claim: Book 1

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Chapter 5 - Cameron (Part 2)

He paused to shake his head at a creek before lapping up some of the cool water and setting out again.

He shouldn’t plant ideas in his mind until he had more information but he couldn’t help it.

The thought of having a pup and not knowing about her or being there in her life was as crushing as not being there for his mate when she needed him most. He was supposed to protect them, take care of them, and provide for them until the day he breathed his last. Abandoning a mate and pup was the most shameful thing any wolf could do. Such horrible acts were almost impossible to repair.

He ran around the territory for hours, pushing himself hard in an effort to push out the multitude of questions plaguing him and wreaking havoc on his heart and soul.

He lost Sam along the way. Sam had a good head on his shoulders and understood Cameron needed space to work through his thoughts and burn off his energy.

When his muscles finally gave out and he collapsed to the earth, he was only a mile away from his cabin and the packhouse. He lay there panting and whimpering.

He couldn’t get her out of his head. The way her auburn hair cascaded in gentle waves over her shoulders, the dusting of freckles over her nose and cheekbones, the flustered red hue that warmed her flesh, the green eyes that pierced daggers into his heart and drew forth another cry of pain from within him.

Her face was a portrait of beauty that he wanted to hold in his palms, kiss, and spend hours every day gazing at. She was average height for a human female, her hips wide and breasts full after carrying and supporting a child. Not overweight but curvy with strong lean legs that chased after the little one and spent hours standing and walking around.

Simply stunning—she could have any human male she set her eyes on.

And she regarded him with utmost fear and hostility.

What the fuck had he done?

Pushing himself up from the ground, he dragged his worthless ass to his cabin where he shifted, showered, and headed to the alpha and luna’s cabin not far off with his head down and non-existent tail tucked between his legs.

Alpha Noodin greeted him at the door and let him in, a look of concern passing on his tanned face that reflected his mate’s when she glanced at him. He motioned for Cameron to take a seat on the couch and make himself comfortable. He sat on the couch across from him with a coffee table between them while Luna Aki asked if she could get anything for Cameron to drink.

He mumbled something strong in response. Nodding, she fetched a pair of glasses and a bottle of gin. She filled two glasses with ice and gin and set them in front of her mate and Cameron and took a seat next to her mate with a glass of water for herself.

Cameron studied the glass of water in her hand, sniffed the air, and smiled at her as bittersweet agony squeezed his heart.

“Congratulations,” he said, giving them a smile.

She was pregnant, in the early stages, so word hadn’t gotten out yet.

“Thank you.” Her face lifted in a bright smile and she tilted her head in appreciation before looking up and catching the equally bright and proud smile of her mate.

This would be their fourth pup and both of them well into their thirties now. They lost their eldest two in the battle five years ago. The heartbreak crushed both of them but only made their love and devotion for each other and the pack that much stronger.

Cameron lifted his glass and sipped at the clear liquid. The burn warmed him from within as the juniper-spice flavor slid down his throat.

Staring down at his glass, he explained his encounter at the beach and all the different puzzle pieces of thoughts he had but couldn’t put together until he found her again.

He gulped down the last swallow before pouring himself another glass. “I’m requesting a leave of absence from my duties to find her and find out everything I can. Even if things don’t work out, I need that closure. I won’t be able to focus on anything until that happens.”

They nodded in agreement without much to say, only to listen, knowing that it was better to not feed the negative questions fueled by fear and guilt until more information was available. They knew Cameron’s story, his life, and his struggles and had always been supportive in his recovery and pursuit to find his mate.

“If you can, bring her back here to the pack. If the child is yours, she’ll need to be with her kind as well in order to grow into her wolf and find her place. She won’t find that in the human world once she comes of age,” Alpha said.

Cameron nodded. “And if she is not mine?”

Alpha sighed and glanced at his mate. She held his hand against his thigh and squeezed it.

“They’re both welcome to come and stay here if they wish. We both know how much you’ll need your mate by your side and you can’t take the child from her mother. We will figure out the details then if that’s the case.”

Cameron tilted his head in appreciation.

“I’ll give you the keys to our packhouse in the city.” Alpha stood up and walked to a small room to his left that served as his office. He returned a minute later and gave Cameron a set of keys and a slip of paper with the address. “Report back a week from now, no matter what you’ve found. Do you want the motorcycle or the BMW?”

A small grin spread across his face and Alpha Noodin turned to grab the motorcycle key without uttering a word.

Everyone preferred motorcycles given the option. The power and thrill fed their inner wolves like drugs to an addict—even for females.

He downed his second glass of gin, coughed, and thanked them as he accepted the second set of keys and left.

A lightness filled him as he sauntered to the packhouse in search for a few males to drink a few more rounds with before calling it a night and crashing in his bed. After dousing himself with a little liquid hope and courage, he crawled his sorry-ass to bed and fell into a deep sleep that would have otherwise been filled with tossing and turning.

In the morning, he clutched his head, hopped in the shower for a quick, cold rinse, downed a cup of coffee and scarfed down a bagel after popping a couple of painkillers. He reclined on the couch with his feet in the air over the arm and waited for the headache to pass before getting up, packing a bag of clothes and heading out.

He looked up the address of the packhouse in the city on his phone as he walked to the garage and fetch his motorcycle.

Sam was waiting for him inside, leaning up against one of the slick black machines with four more behind him.

“What are you doing here? Come to see me off?” Cameron asked, reaching for a helmet on the shelf.

“I told you, we’d find her. I got Alpha’s approval to help you.”

Cameron’s lips lifted up as he punched Sam lightly in the shoulder. “Thanks.”

He climbed onto the motorcycle next to Sam’s and pulled on his helmet. Kicking it up to life, he revved the engine before they roared out of the garage.

Trees blurred past them until they entered the city and slowed their speed. He opened his visor and let his nose take in the scents of the city, not knowing when or where he would find his mate again.

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