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ONCE UPON A TIME

NATHANIEL, ONCE UPON A TIME

Harou snarls in fury and I have to walk away from her to calm his ass down. Kill. Who are you going to kill? We don’t know anything else yet about this fucker, so let’s find out more so we can hunt him down and tear him to pieces. Kill! Kill! Kill! Jesus. The angrier he gets, the stronger he becomes. I feel Emery approach me, and I know she is standing right behind me. Christ, she has so much to learn about the dangers of shifters. If I were less in control, or Harou were to act on his impulse to claim her… God… we could hurt her so easily without meaning to. Hunt! Kill!

I turn around and face her, and she gasps. Harou is brimming at the surface, and our internal struggle will be written all over my face. As if by instinct, she opens her arms to me and lets me bury my face in her neck to inhale deeply. Christ yes. Oranges and chocolate. Mate. Oranges and chocolate. Luv.

Only when Harou and I are calm enough do I lift my head and look at her again. She places her hands on either side of my face, her gaze deep in mine. Luuuuuv. She has you wrapped around her little finger, my friend. Fuck you. Luv. I know. I’m sorry. I love her too.

“Stephen is a member of a gang, Nathaniel.” She pauses, waiting for me to absorb her words. A gang. Ok, so what? “Nathaniel, I’m talking about the kind of gang you hear about on the bad parts of the news.” Oh. Ok. Now I get it. Murder, guns, stealing… all the big no-no’s in the bible. Harou is back at attention again, sensing her anxiety. I nod so she knows I understand what she means.

“I have to leave Nathaniel,” she holds her hand up to stop Harou’s growl. She continues with glassy eyes full of tears, and his growl turns to whimpering. “He’ll come for me Nathaniel. If I stay here, everyone in the area whether we’ve met or not will be in danger,” and now her voice hitches as she starts to sob. Oh Christ, what is happening? “Nathaniel, if I stay – you’ll be in danger.”

I lift her easily into my lap as she cries. Harou is torn between crying in sympathy for our mate who is sending out waves of grief or losing his shit over her life before us. How any man can hurt a woman is beyond our understanding, and while I know we feel more intensely because she’s our mate – any man who hits a woman is a piece of shit. Especially since – Christ, she’s fucking tiny – I doubt she puts up much of a fight. Harou has made up his mind, and his anger has taken over. We won’t claim Emery until this situation is resolved, as much as that pisses us both off. We need to know she’s safe first.

I mindlink my pack and call a meeting in two days, in the meantime I increase patrols around town and my place. All I say is that we have an imminent threat against my guest, and I want to know the second anyone new enters our territory. I don’t say my mate, but they know who I’m talking about. Until it is official, I’m scared to say it out loud. Mate! I know Harou has had no problem claiming Emery as Luna but being Luna of any pack comes with a lot of responsibilities and being Luna to my Alpha comes with a lot of dangers too. We have enemies, and I know some will use her as leverage to get to me, especially since she’s more vulnerable as a human. Until she’s safe and knows everything, she isn’t mine to ‘claim’. Fuck you. Yeah. I agree. The less people know, the better and the safer she will be.

But first I need to convince her to stay.

I want to take these two days to be alone with her and get to know her, if she’ll let me. Mate. There is so much we have yet to learn about one another. I wait for her crying to slow down before I sit her up, so I can see her face.

“My love, it takes a lot to kill a werewolf my size,” she starts to interrupt but I continue to talk over her. “And normal bullets won’t do it until there is a fuck ton of them, and they have to be in the right spot.” Ok, that clearly didn’t make her feel better as all the colour drains from her face, images of Harou being riddled with bullets likely in her head. Dumb. Fucking helpful as always! “I’m also not alone, my love. I’m Alpha to my pack, and I have the support of many.” I wait for her to absorb that, and I know she’s torn between being reassured by the numbers and worried about placing so many at risk.

“Nathaniel, he will kill anyone and everyone without hesitation. The man is a fucking monster wearing a human disguise,” she shudders. Harou fills my mind with images of tearing the man limb from fucking limb, while I try to keep my voice calm and reassuring.

“I’ve already put everyone on alert,” her eyes widen with alarm or shock, maybe both. “I’ve increased patrols and called a pack meeting in two days,” she is now shaking her head in confusion. “Werewolves can mindlink with one another in wolf form, but as Alpha, I can mindlink with all of them in human form whenever I want.” Now she’s nodding her head, almost in approval.

“That would save on long distance charges.” Her comment is innocent and off-hand, but the perfect thing we both need in that moment. My laughter is instant and from the heart, and after a few beats she joins in. Only Harou remains unmoved, his fury not relenting one bit. Humour isn’t his strong point.

When we both relax again, I brush my fingers against her cheek. Jesus. She’s only here because some asshole didn’t know what an amazing treasure he had… thank God she got away. I don’t pursue thoughts of her trapped with him because if only makes Harou more agitated.

“Will you please give me these two days? We’re safe here Emery, and I want to get to know you better.” I kiss the tips of her fingers, unable to not taste her in some way. “But I won’t claim you Emery,” her eyes snap to mine sharply. “Not until everything is taken care of, my love.” I feel Harou push his way forward again, silently telling Emery that this topic is not up for discussion.

I know she sees the swirling black, and she nods her head. I take her acceptance as yes to both my invitation to stay and that I’m We are going to kill Stephen Brown. It is only a matter of time, and the clock is already ticking.

That son of a bitch is going to die.

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