“Kolt, you are 21. It is natural for the royals to claim a female to mate through the Mondblume Elixir,” Kane told him darkly. “I did it. Your brother will do it.” He paused, looking unhappy. “Louisa will have to do it when she comes of age.” Yes. He was definitely unhappy about his younger sister finding her mate.
“You’re the king!” Kolton told him, his silver eyes narrowing on his brother. “You can make exceptions to the rule! You could throw the whole damned rulebook out entirely if you wanted. No one would question it. You are the golden boy with the commoner queen whom all the kingdom loves!”
“And as king, I will see to it that you are mated and wed,” Kane said. “If you are not to choose, I will have myself or Father do it.”
Kolton scowled, dark thoughts cluttering his mind. He could run away or escape the island, maybe join the military. He already had the haircut for it.
Running a rough hand over his head, Kolton shook his head vehemently.
“I will not have a ball. I will not choose,” he told them both, King and prior King. “I do not want a mate. Not now anyway. I am young and free and wish to remain so until I am ready.”
Kane and Xavier shared a glance. Some sort of silent conversation went on for a minute before anyone else said anything.
Xavier stood up slowly before making his way to the door of his own office.
“You try to speak sense to him,” he told his son. “There has never been a Reifenberg without a mate upon their 21st birthday, and I will not have it happen during my lifetime.”
“I was thinking I could fly out to LA in July for your show,” I said, hearing the rasp of his zipper and palming his thick cock through his pants with the other hand. “I can take a four-day weekend and get Gary to cover me with The Caustics.”
JB’s sexy smile faltered, leading me to think that wasn’t an altogether welcome idea.
“What?” I asked, hand stilled for the moment. “Got your other girlfriend coming that weekend?” I was kidding, but the lack of his smile worried me.
“I was just thinking,” he said. “About maybe not having you come to any of the shows at all.”
I drew back, shocked. We had talked about this in the months preceding. He had already been okay with me flying out to see him a few times. This was old news. It was just up to me to tell him when I could make it and where.
“Not... not any? Why?”
“Well... it’s our first tour. The guys and I thought it would be better if we all appeared to be unattached. It would make us seem more approachable.”
Approachable? He was fucking kidding me. He had to be. Approachable meant fuckable to all the would-be groupies.
“You’re taking relationship tips from three fuckboys and a cokehead?” Un-fucking-real.
“I... well, not only that.” Oh, God. What now?
“What else? You want to break up?” I asked, fear shooting up my spine like a shot of adrenaline to the heart. The heart that was currently being fisted by both of his hands and squeezing my circulatory system to a halt.
“No! Not break up,” he said, alarmed. “Just... on a break.”
God. Not a break. Breaks were like break-ups. Only more tenuous. It was like walking a tightrope, never knowing which end was going to send you ass over teacup.
“What? Like a Ross and Rachel break? I sit at home wondering what you are doing when what you are doing is actually a who-you-are-doing? No way.” I gritted my teeth, trying to reign in my anger and failing. “We take a break and it’s a break-up. You wanna know why?”
He shrugged, his tongue flicking out to wet his lips.
“You want to know why?!?” I practically screamed it.
“Because a break means free-for-all on the groupies. I break means that you get to go out and have guiltless fun while I wonder whose back you’re blowing out while I sit at home and wonder if the break was really just a nice way of saying break-up!”
“I told you-”
“I’m not finished!” I interrupted loudly. I stepped back again, shaking my head. “You know what? Forget it. And fuck this! Even talking about taking a break just shows me how uninvested in us you are. Even suggesting it should have made me realize that I was in this for the long-haul and you’re out to get your dick wet as many times as you can while rocking out to sold-out crowds in Cleveland and Squirrel-fucking-vagina, Missouri! Forget about your stupid fucking break because you don’t need one now. It’s over.”
And with that, I grabbed my purse, my phone, keys to my beat up Honda I named Shirley after drinking my weight in spiked Shirley Temples one night, and walked out the door of our shared apartment.
As I sped off in the direction of the Catalina Foothills where my best friend Mandy lived, I never looked back. And I never answered my phone for him. Not the first time, and not the time before I moved when I decided to change my number.
Bait And Switch
“Happy birthday, babe,” Helena said as she presented him with the homemade cake he had requested. Double chocolate with a fudge icing. His favorite.
“Thank you, angel,” he replied as his eyes glowed from the candles she had quickly lit for him to celebrate his 29th birthday. She must have used several packs of them to get the right number.
“Don’t forget to make a wish,” she told him as she sat down next to him at the small dining table in their modest little home.
Webb closed his eyes, paused, and blew them out. One remained lit, and Helena - who had shortened her name to Lena - blew that one out for him.
“What did you wish for?” she asked, knowing that since he hadn’t answered her the years before, he probably wouldn’t today.
She was wrong.
“I wished for our own little family,” he said, smiling sadly at her.
Lena looked down, unable to take Webb’s intense stare.
“I thought you wanted to wait one more year,” she said softly. “If you don’t find your mate by the time you’re 30-”
“I won’t,” he said gruffly. “Who’s ever heard of finding one this late in life? Mine is most likely dead or has taken a Chosen by now.”
“If we start now... who’s to say you won’t find her - or him - in a couple of months from now, or maybe a year.” These were the things that always gnawed at her when he mentioned trying to start their own little family.
Lena and Webb had an odd relationship. Both were without mates, though for different reasons. In the shifter world, nothing was more important than the other half of your soul. Lena’s mate had died many years ago when she was only 19. Webb - he had never found his, male or female. He was bisexual and so, his mate could have been anyone.
The problem didn’t lie necessarily wholly on Lena and Webb. In their pack, Shadow Creek, the age-old custom of mating was held in the utmost regard. Hence, choosing your mate was forbidden, no matter what the circumstance. The Alpha, Lenon, upheld the centuries-old rule, though, in Lena and Webb’s case, he was very tempted to allow their coupling.
A female with a dead mate. A man who had gone longer than he’s ever heard of - without their mate being already dead - to wait for his true mate. It was a pickle. Fucked up royally. Lenon really wished he could find some sort of loophole, but the law was clear. He would have had to take up removing it with the elders, most of which preferred the law to stay in place.
“I don’t want to wait any longer,” Webb told her. “I want children with you, even if the law states we aren’t allowed to mark each other as mates. This won’t change. Ever.”
“We could even marry in the human courts. Lena, please. It’s my birthday wish,” he said. “It’s my birthday so you have to grant it now that I’ve told you.”
His eyes pleaded with her and her heart went soft and gooey. She loved this man, as much as anyone could love another person, but that mating pull she had with her true mate - that was missing.
But it didn’t make her love him any less. He was her person - wolf - and she found herself agreeing.
“Okay,” she said, smiling. “Let’s do it.”
He smiled, a big, face-splitting grin that couldn’t be torn from his countenance if he tried.
And they tried. A lot. For months.
Lena wondered if it was fate’s way of telling her that they weren’t meant to be, that this was a mistake.
That they should have waited that extra year to make this decision.
If they had, maybe things wouldn’t have been so fucked up in the end. Maybe her heart wouldn’t have been wrecked twice in one day.
The Beta’s Daughter
He was statuesque and power rolled off him in waves. His hair was short and blond and he had piercing blue eyes and a scruffy looking 5 o’clock shadow. He was the most delicious thing she had ever seen.
“What is your name, strange wolf?” she asked of him. “And why are you here, so close to my land? You don’t smell of rogue, nor does your presence emanate the feral qualities of one.”
“I am Hunter Douglass of the Lassen pack, son of William Douglass, Alpha to said pack,” he told her. He had a deep baritone that made Adeline shiver with its huskiness. “And you, my future Luna? What is your name, my beauty?”
Adeline stopped herself from flushing at his words and cleared her throat before speaking again.
“My name is Adeline Warner of the Willow pack. I am daughter to our pack’s Beta, Corbin Warner,” she replied. Her voice was strong, proud.
Walking toward his mate clad only in red basketball shorts, he cupped her chin in his hand while he looked down on her.
“You, my beautiful mate, should take me to your father. I would like to meet my future father-in-law and the mother of the woman that stands before me.”
Adeline nodded, her voice tight at the powerful force of his words. “Come this way.”
The two walked in silence for a while before Adeline broke it.
“My mother has passed,” Adeline said quietly. “You only have my father to worry about. As for other kin, I have no one.”
“How did your mother pass, if I may ask?” Hunter asked after a brief pause.
“Hunters, over a decade ago,” she replied.
There was a blood-curdlingly low growl that sent shivers up her spine, and Adeline had to turn around to find out where it came from. She looked over at Hunter as he stood still, his fists balled at his sides.
“Are- are you okay?” she asked of him.
“Hunters? Here?” he asked in a gravelly tone. It was immediately clear that his wolf was fighting to take over.
“Not for many years,” she said understandingly. “The hunter that killed my mother was part of a small group some miles from here. We are pretty much off the beaten path when it comes to civilization. We haven’t had problems since then. I hear many of them moved on to the northern states or Canada.”
Hunter seemed to gain some control over himself. At least he started to move again, though a little stiffer. He sniffed the air many times and looked behind him as if a hunter might pop out from behind a tree at any given moment. He also came close enough to Adeline so that their arms brushed as they walked.
Hunter indeed was trying to control his wolf. It was begging to be let out so that it could defend its mate. It was already very protective of her.
A/N: Conquering Kolton will be a new story coming out in a few months. It will be updated on Patreon ahead of time, as always. The Beta’s Daughter and Savage Melody will be exclusively put up on Patreon on the $3 and $5 tiers. Bait and Switch will be uploaded on Patreon as well and ahead of schedule on Patreon in a couple of months.