I didn’t get wasted at Pop’s place. There were better places to get drunk. I was feeling lonely while Drew was nesting that night. I knew he didn’t want me pestering him when he needed to put everything in their perfect little places.
The cups of coffee I downed, wasn’t to sober up. I drank my coffee black to stay awake so I could spend as much time with Drew as possible. I sat up against the sofa, my whole being reacting to Drew as he walked back into the living room with the First-Aid kit. He tossed an ice pack at me. With a snort, I slapped it against my black eye. The cold had a bite, but I savored it. Everywhere those scumbags at the bar hit me pulsed and every move I made stung.
It was totally worth it.
If only Drew could see the other guys.
Drew’s black hair was always fixed out of his face, but tonight the rain frizzed his hair a little. I also had to admit that seeing Drew wearing my sweatpants and my sweatshirt that was slightly too big for him made my head swim. My smile had a life of its own, admiring the man that took a seat on the floor in front of me. I promptly joined him.
I was in love with everything Drew did and especially the way Drew’s deep furrowed brow drew a line down his forehead. I resisted the urge to smooth it down with my finger. If I touched him, I might not stop.
Drew had a strong jawline and a long swan neck. Once, when he was seventeen, when we were nothing more than friends, Drew came home with hickey on that pale canvas and I burned with so much jealously, I punched a hole through my bedroom wall. My mom still gave me shit for it.
“So...” Drew began, glancing up with hooded eyes, eyes like a wise cat. Usually my attention fell to his soft lips. Drew asked, “when are you going to tell me what happened?”
I’m not the only one that noticed Drew’s attractiveness. I wasn’t the only one who watched Drew kick puberty’s ass and became the prince of this small town he was today. The news of Drew’s eighteenth birthday didn’t go ignored. Drew, a wolf with beautiful silver fur, who was of age and with no mate... well, as far as everybody else knew he had no mate.
Michael Rodrigues got a little mouthy and started talking about the curve of Drew’s ass a little too loudly, which forced me to claim my territory. Drew would gut me like a fish if he heard me say that. However, it was exactly what I did. After I knocked a couple of the guy’s teeth out, I told Mikey and his buddies to spread the word that if anyone touched Drew, they’d lose their hands and then, how else would they jack off?
Honestly, this was all my fault.
At nineteen, when I finally met Drew, I knew he was my mate. I drove into a chicken coop just because of his smell alone. When he leaned over me, he was haloed by the sun like the angel he would turn out to be.
I also knew myself and that I was a terror and if I started dating Drew then, I would have made him miserable between all the fighting I did for no reason and running around the whole town like a mad man causing trouble. I even skipped town on occasion without warning because I just couldn’t stand how everyone was in everyone else’s business.
I needed to grow up.
Soon, after I finished my apprenticeship with Dominic, I’d become a proper mechanic. I’d have an income and I’d be able to get out of this house with two other guys. Somewhere near Drew’s school, I would get an apartment. I’d finally be the man Drew deserved, sweet and indescribably gentle Drew.
Only the Alpha and Drew’s grandmother knew I was Drew’s mate. In a way, I think Drew could sense it, but his wolf instincts weren’t strong enough to figure it out. No one knew where Drew was from and Drew’s grandma Aggie said he could have been only half a werewolf, but she wasn’t sure. They kept my secret regardless.
After Ezra promised, he apologized. He thought that the timing of my life was so painfully out of sync. He always said I would have made a great Beta, but I thanked Christ I was too young to be Ezra’s second in command and too old to help his oldest kid rise to the top of the pack. I just wanted to be by Drew’s side. That was all I cared about. Every decision I made had Drew in-mind. Being Beta meant taking the health and safety of the entire pack into consideration. Watching out for Drew was my full-time job.
I chuckled and slid my hands through Drew’s still damped bangs, letting my fingers fall across his jaw line. I sighed, “you don’t want to know. Besides,” I smiled and gave Drew my hand for him to mend. “I’d rather hear about your first day at college.”
Drew’s mouth quirked, suppressing his smile. He shrugged and started lying. He was a terrible liar. “It wasn’t my first day... technically.” He shook his head and wrapped bandages around and around my knuckles. “It’s really not that interesting.”
“Tell me anyways.”
He let his smile shine and I rested my arm on the couch, holding my head as I just stared at him. I worshiped him. His excitement bubbled to the surface as he explained “so my room is smaller than a broom closet.”
“You want me to rough up a kid to get you a nicer place?” I nudged his leg with my foot. He set the First-Aid kit aside, all done and I was put back together once again.
“No! It’s perfect!” He scooted closer, settling by my side. He pressed against me so naturally and his smell enraptured me. “All the stuff I wanted to bring, fits perfectly.” He eagerly nodded and I wanted to kiss that smile.
“Then how did you organize your library?”
“I’m glad you asked,” he was shot out of a canon, talking with his hands. I could tell he was trying very deeply to stay demur. He always had trouble letting loose. “It’s alphabetized of course.”
“But by genre too! And I have a space reserved for my textbooks, well my future text books! Is that lame?”
“Not at all. I can’t wait to see it,” I smiled.
“Yeah,” he nodded and I knew he meant it. He placed his hands in his lap, playing with his fingers. “I want to give you the grand tour and I’ve already noticed a few roads that you could ride your bike down-”
“Ugh,” I groaned, feeling a pang for my poor man hood. “Stop calling it a bike. It makes me feel like I’m riding around on a tricycle mine. He took my hand and he could have it. He could have everything he wanted. Just ask. All he needed to do was ask. “So you’re not going to tell me? Really?” He asked again.
“No,” I said and rubbed his soft fingers.
“It’d be really nice for my sanity if I knew I could leave you alone for five minutes.”
“Sorry,” I said, hoping my sadness didn’t register to him. “Today was a fluke, okay?” I was doing it again, disappointing him. I shifted, moving around so we would face each other, so we could look each other in the eyes. “You won’t have to worry much longer.”
I reached over, resting my fingers on his neck and rubbing my thumb up and down his jaw. His heart beat was sitting in my hands, speeding up and pulsating. I leaned closer, smirking at the beat I felt that was skipped. I promised, keeping my voice as firm as steel “one day soon, I’m going to be the one taking care of you.”
“I’ll believe it when I see it,” he could barely make out the words. His smell wafted over me until I was trapped inside a dreamy haze. Temptation clouded my senses. My urges were wrapped up in my instincts to mate.
Leaning in closer, our noses brushed against each other. Drew closed his eyes, expectantly and my wolf growled with a lust that set my skin on fire. Before I could satisfy my own demand, a howl tore through the night. Drew jumped in my hand, his eyes popping open. We broke apart as I took to my feet. That was a wolf’s cry, a warning to other wolves nearby. Us.
“Something isn’t right,” I told Drew, knowing he probably didn’t understand.
I stormed through the front door to my porch. Rain beat down on the roof as water gushed from the pipes into big muddy puddles in the yard. At this time of night, with the house surrounded by nothing but trees, it was like being surrounded by a black void. Closing my eyes, I took a big whiff of the cold autumn air. However, I could smell the robust scent of wolves and the metallic tang of the blood between their paws and teeth.
“Something is very wrong,” I announced, closing and locking the door behind me.
Drew was already on his feet, ringing his hands. “What is it? How do you know?”
I shook my head, putting my hands on his arms as I led him to the closet. “You’re just going to have to trust me.” I opened the door and he hesitated.
“But,” he stared up at me, his brow scrunched together. He grabbed my arm. “But what about you?”
“You’re my top priority.”
“Drew, this is not up for discussion.” I said, forcing him inside and setting him on the floor behind the coats. The hair on the back of my neck stood and I could feel it in my bones that whatever was coming, was getting closer. “Do not leave this closet. No matter what, do you understand?” I pulled a quilt off the top shelf and wrapped it around him, wrapped him in my smell. It was a good thing he was already wearing my clothes.
“What if you need help?” He insisted. “What if-”
Pulling the quilt, I forced Drew forward and kissed him once. I kissed him softly and not for long enough. “If you think I need help,” I said. “I don’t want it.”
“But Jess-” he barely whispered, blushing up to his ears. Before he could finish it, I pulled the quilt over his face and backed away. I closed the door, wishing it had a lock. I ran my hand through my hair and then tightened my hands, a strike of pain from my earlier fight hit my fingers. I cursed and thought I might not win this fight. Not like this. Not when I was distracted by Drew.
I didn’t have time to prepare, not when I heard paws scrapping my porch. Their roars faded from animalistic to something more human. They didn’t knock. Suddenly, the door was just knocked off its hinges and tumbled across the room. I had to jump out of its way, my heart already pulsing in my ears and pumping adrenaline through my body.
Thomas Farmer stood at my threshold with his foot resting back on the floor from kicking the door open. His hands sat in his pockets and a smile stretched his lips. Even from there, the smell of blood was overwhelming. Bile bubbled up to the back of my throat.
He stepped inside, followed by a few other guys I knew from around town. They were all simple small town guys. Guys I walked by at the store. Guys I took care of at Dominic’s shop. These were members from my pack. Their hands were covered in dirt and blood, just like I thought.
The men parted and Jacob Coldwell arrived. He was a big man in both stature and muscle. Blood caked the corner of his mouth and chin. I hardly recognized him. He projected power and the men around him ducked their heads just slightly. He wasn’t just acting like the Alpha, he smelled like one too.
A terrible thought hit me and I couldn’t stop the accusation flying out of my mouth “Oh god. What have you done?”