After a short ride in one of the three black SUV’s that everyone was packed in, we finally made it to our destination, or as close as a car could take us. We all piled out, and made our way into the thick, dense forest.
Everett held my hand and smiled down at me reassuringly.
"It's going to be fine." he said in a monotone voice that even I had a hard time to believe. Since when was it him reassuring me.
I nodded at him and held my head high in determination.
Everett chose a small clearing in the Shallow Lake territory to lure Chris and his men to. It was only a two mile walk from the SUV's we left behind on the road, and it had more than enough hiding spots for all of our men to hide and wait for the signal.
I was carrying the duffel bag that held all of the clothing that I could find, all of which had my scent covering them. Basically, if I wore it, it was in the bag.
We walked into the clearing and Everett, my dad, and the guards fanned out around the edges of the clearing. They stayed alert as I stayed in the middle of the clearing alone and dropped the bag onto the soft, moist ground. Goddess, please let this work. Just get him here, please. I silently prayed.
I dug through the bag and grabbed out a hand full of clothing and walked around the clearing dropping them periodically to the ground. Once I was done with the clothing, I walked around, making sure to brush my skin against anything that was close. I was desperately trying to leave my scent around the clearing in hopes that it caught Chris' attention.
With it being the dead of night, I kept my ears perked and alert, unsure of which direction he would come from. All we knew was that he was in California, because Everett had some men stationed close to the border and they had scented them on one of their patrols of the area. Shallow Lake was in Northern California so it was only a matter of time before Chris made it here, if he wasn't already here.
Deciding to take it one step further, I made my way over to the direction that I noticed Everett and my father take cover and broke off a small limb from a tree. I made sure to smile in their direction reassuringly as I snapped and chipped at the limb, making it sharper than it was.
I scrapped it against the skin of my arm, a hiss escaping my lips. A few drops of blood escaped from my skin before it healed over quickly. I swear I heard Everett growl in protest, but it was so quiet that I couldn't be for sure. I used the stick to wipe away the blood, and smeared it on the tree, making any attempt to cover the scents of the other wolves in the area.
I repeated this action through out the clearing until all I could smell was the distinct metallic, iron-rich smell of blood. I smiled to myself knowing that Chris would happily come over to investigate, sadistic bastard as he was, especially if it was mixed with my scent. I made my way back to the middle of the clearing, to patiently await the arrival of my lovely mate.
An hour or so later, I became discouraged. My confidence in my plan had started to diminish, when I heard a howl a short distance away.
My heart rate sped up and my breath hitched. This is it. He's here.
I stood up from the spot I had made myself comfortable in, and dusted off my pants. I focused all of my attention in the direction that the howl came from. Just a few more minutes.
As I nervously rubbed my hands together, waiting for Chris to make himself known, I scanned my eyes around the clearing in the direction I heard the howl come from. Bright green eyes shined through the thick brush of the forest, and I knew he was here, in wolf form.
I took in a small whiff just to confirm it was in fact Chris. That minty scent that I once loved, now made my stomach churn. It engulfed my nose causing me to wrinkle it in disgust. His large, gray wolf slowly crept into the clearing, looking at me as if I was the prey. As I look in his large bulky appearance, I think to myself how on earth I ever thought he was my destined mate, compared to Everett he is nothing. Love is blind, I guess. I mentally eye rolled.
He took in a deep breath, while closing his eyes as if he was relishing in my scent mixed with blood. Before I knew it he quickly shifted back to his human form and walked closer to me, his eyes never leaving mine. I let out a deep breath I didn't know I was holding and narrowed my eyes at him. He looked worn out and over ran, his hair was longer than the last I'd seen him and he had a sheet of stubble coating his jaw. His hazel eyes burned like fire as he took me in standing in front of him, but his face was as stoic as ever, not giving away a hint of emotion.
"Amelia, do you have any idea how long I have been looking for you?" He said, as he stopped walking and now stood about five feet away.
I scoffed, "I don't really care."
"You should, because you've been a bad mate, Amelia. You know what we do with bad mates, don't you?" he said as he let out an evil chuckle.
"I think I have a good idea on what your plans are for me, but Chris, do you have any idea what my plans are for you?" I asked with a smirk.
His burning eyes narrowed in irritation, but he quickly recovered and sent me a dazzling smile. At that moment, I heard the unmistakable sound of paws trampling the ground, and from the same direction that Chris emerged, came a dozen other wolves with the same green eyes that were adorned by all pack wolves. Shit. There weren't supposed to be that many.
I took a few steps back as my breathing quickened. "What is this Chris?" I asked with terror lacing my voice.
"Oh, you didn't think I wouldn't scent the other wolves surrounding us? Come on now, Amelia. You're smarter than that. Just come with me and no harm will come to them." He called out loud enough for everyone to hear.
I looked at him in disbelief. Chris was a liar and he would hurt anyone that ever thought about helping me. Before I could think any more on the situation Everett and my father came from their hiding spots and walked up behind me.
"Chris, leave now. You are on my territory and if you cause any more problems than you already have, your entire pack will suffer." Everett stated with a growl.
Chris laughed manically. With a sinister smile he said, "You think we're scared of you? Of Shallow Lake?"
Everett let out a growl confirming the rumors of how fierce he really was. It almost made me cower in fear, and I was his mate. "You disrespect me? In my territory? Do you not know my reputation, Beta?" His brilliant emerald green eyes burned with hatred at being disrespected by a low-life wolf, such as Chris.
Chris shook his head and backed away with his hands in the air as if in surrender, his devilish smirk never leaving his face. Coward.
He made his way behind two of his guards and snapped his fingers. At that moment, chaos ensued. The Carmichael wolves lunged forward in attack and our men came running from the forest and began shooting the tranquilizers at the beasts.
Everett pushed me behind him, causing me to stumble and fall to the ground. My father shifted into his massive black wolf, that was so similar to mine, and charged into the brawl, careful not to land any lethal blows or bites. Everett stayed protectively in front me, yelling at half of his men to shift and help get the enemy wolves to submit so the other half could tranquilize them.
My eyes stayed on my father and he ripped at the fur of the enemy. His gaze was trained on a much smaller red wolf and just as he was about to lunge at him, another red wolf came from his right and chomped its jaws down on his shoulder. My father growled out in pain, causing me to let out a whimper and Everett's gaze snapped to my father. "Go! Help him!" I screamed at him, still slumped on the ground.
He looked between me and my father with worried eyes. He knows I would be nothing without my father in my life, I couldn't lose him to Chris. "Please." I whispered. He hesitantly nodded and shifted into his wolf and took off to go help my father. I stood up, I was alone at the edge of the clearing now. I listening to the snapping and chomping of slobbery jaws and didn't hear as someone approached me from behind.
Chris came up from behind me and covered my mouth with his hand, not allowing me scream out. He pulled me into the thick cover of the trees and whispered in my ear, tauntingly while taking in my scent, "Hmm... you smell... different. What did you do while you were gone, Amelia?"
I struggled against his grip, thrashing around like a mad woman. He kept pulling me deeper into the forest and away from the chaos. Suddenly, I remembered the dagger under my tank top. I quickly reached under my shirt and unsheathed the knife. Knowing I needed to wait for my perfect moment, I let him believe he still had the upper hand. When we were far enough away that my screams wouldn't be heard over the chaos, he released his hold on my mouth only to use is hand to grip my upper arm.
"Why has your scent changed, Amelia? Why do you smell like him?" He asked.
"Because he is my mate." I growled out.
His grip loosened on my arms as I let the words out into the open, and I knew this was my chance. With a swift thrust, I jammed the blade into his side. A hiss left his lips as he released me from his grasp, and shoved me to the ground.
He gripped the blade that was still embedded in his abdomen and as he pulled it from his flesh, blood poured out of the wound. He gritted his teeth, and gave me a look filled with hatred, pointing the knife at me threateningly. "You bitch." he seethed.
He started walking towards me with the knife, and my instincts took over. I quickly shifted to my wolf, and lunged at him before he could take another step. I ripped and tore at his weak human flesh as he made any attempts to shift under me, but with the wolfsbane flowing through his blood he was unsuccessful. Hell hath no fury, like a woman scorned. I thought as I continued to tear into him. All of my hate and anger came through my actions as I thought about all of the terrible actions he and his pack have done to me and all of the countless other women.
I only stopped when Chris did. He wasn't fighting me anymore, just laying there in a heap of bloody flesh. His breaths were short and shallow and I knew his time was about to come to an end. After all he didn't have a mate, and he deserved everything he had coming to him. I stood above him and watched as he took in his final breath, eyes still wide with shock and I heard his heart beat stop. I shifted back to my human form, panting, still shaking with rage.
After I double checked his pulse and confirmed he was really gone, I made my way back to the clearing. I didn't notice how far away Chris had taken me, but after a few minutes I finally made it through the trees. Everett stood running a hand through his dark hair, shaking his head as if he was panicking. All the men and my father were surrounding him, faces full of shock and worry, waiting for his orders.
"Find her, I don't care what you have to do. Just find, Amelia. Kill them all if you-" He seethed, but I cut him off.
"S-stop. I'm fine." I whispered shakily, shock finally settling in.
Everett's and my dad's gazes shot towards me. Relief covered their faces as they ran towards me. Everett reached me first, and cupped my face. "My moon, what happened? Are you okay? Where did all of this blood come from?" He asked as his eyes scanned me, looking for any sign of injury.
"Chris..." I trailed off with shallow, labored breaths.
"Where is he? I will kill him. If he touched you, so help me Goddess, I will kill him." He growled out.
"I already did." was the last thing I said before I passed out, completely exhausted and overwhelmed with what I had just done.