“This is the pack kitchen,” he explained as we walked through to the common area. “Anyone who wants to come eat here is welcome. We feed anywhere from fifteen to thirty people per meal.”
“That’s amazing,” I replied, taking in the house. It was bright and inviting in the pack house and I could see the appeal.
“All done with work?” Amalia hollered as we entered the pack kitchen and dining hall.
“For now, we’ve got a bit more to do after lunch.” Jackson smiled brightly at his mother and I could tell he was comfortable here.
As pack members started trickling in for lunch I could feel my anxiety creeping back. I could feel their eyes on me, they knew I wasn’t part of their pack. It was easy to sniff out a rogue. As if sensing my fear Jackson gave me a reassuring smile, “Remember, nobody will hurt you in this pack.”
I gave him a half-hearted smile as he handed me a plate and we walked to one of the large tables. I was grateful that they all pretty much ignored me until a woman walked up to us with a big belly and a smile. “Jack, is this your new PA?” She sang sweetly, sitting down haphazardly onto the bench.
Jackson stood quickly grabbing her hand, "Gosh Ash, careful!" He helped her onto the bench and I glanced at him sideways. Who the hell was this man I was seeing? Because it wasn't the guy who almost rejected me, or scared me, or yelled at me.
"I'm Ashley, Jim's mate." I was brought back by her sweet tone and a soft handshake.
"Hi, I'm Sasha. When are you due?" I asked, eyeing her very swollen belly.
"Any day now. So excited to no longer resemble some beached mammal," she replied sarcastically. "Wow, Jim said you were pretty but that was an understatement for sure. Sasha you're gorgeous." She turned her gaze up to Jackson, "How the hell did this grump end up getting such a wonderful girl?"
I could see Jackson roll his eyes. Apparently she knew we were mates and wasn't supposed to say anything. I laughed, "I don't think he knows either? Probably why he fights it so much." I gave him a good long smirk, hoping he'd know I was teasing. I could see his gaze darken a bit before his mother burst into laughter.
"We are going to have SO much fun with this one!" she cried.
"If I had known it meant being outnumbered by you lot I would have rejected her on the spot," he mumbled.
Amalia straightened up and smacked the back of her son's head. "You take that back, Jackson Thorpe."
"Ouch! Mom, I was joking," he rubbed his head, "You do know you can't be smacking around the Alpha right?" The look she gave him could turn a man to stone. "Okay, I take it back."
I attempted to stifle a laugh but was unsuccessful. I quickly bit my lip when his head snapped to me, his gaze full of irritation and something else I couldn't quite place.
Ashley laughed at her brother-in-law, "Lighten up Jack, we were just teasing you. Someone has to keep you grounded. Can't be letting your Alpha get a big head now can we?"
Jackson rolled his eyes. "Okay. If you're finished corrupting my PA we have work to get back to." He stood and that was my cue to bid the ladies goodbye and follow him back to the office.
He closed the door to the office and stood close to me. I could feel his breath. "Didn't I tell you something about teasing your boss?" He whispered.
I inhaled sharply, "I..."
I was interrupted when his lips crashed into mine. He wound his arms around me, pulling my body close to his. I kissed him back, knowing I shouldn't but my mate bond had made it impossible to resist. I wanted him. His lips pressed to mine sending shockwaves through my whole body and I could feel myself melt into him. I wrapped my arms around his neck and my hands tangled in his hair. My lips parted and his tongue made his way in to taste mine. His hands traveled down from my waist to below my hips. He picked me up, my legs wrapping around his waist as he pushed me against the wall, kissing a trail down my jaw to my neck. I let out a quiet moan as he sucked on place just above my collarbone where my mark should be. I could feel his desire for me bulging through his pants and I could feel my own arousal stirring. Then suddenly I was brought back. I was not going to sleep with him just because he had been nice for a few days. I could feel Raya whine in my head when I pushed off from him, stopping our moment. He placed his forehead on mine and searched my eyes before placing a gentle kiss on my cheek. He took a deep breath and walked to his desk. I exhaled, my breath still ragged from our intimate few minutes and I sat down in the chair across from his desk.
He ran his hand through his hair, "So.."
I smiled, "What's next on the agenda, Mr. Thorpe?"
He looked up at me and I could see the desire in his eyes before lowering his gaze. "We have a big monthly pack meeting coming up. We have a meeting every week but once a month we make it a big deal- dinner, dancing, games for the kids. It's this Friday and time got away from me. Would you mind helping me get everything planned? I'm the worst at planning parties."
I smiled warmly at him, "Of course. How many people?"
"There will be two hundred attending."
I wrote down notes as we continued talking about food, music, games, who to call for set up and catering.
I gave him the list I had made when we were finished, "Okay, here it all is. Give these numbers to your food people and put someone in charge of setting up and supervising the games for the kids. Do you want me to send out an email reminder?"
"That would be great actually."
I gave him a smile before grabbing my laptop out of my bag and sending one out real quick to the pack. "Done."
Jackson leaned back in his chair and gave me a smile, "Thank you for your help today. I know how hard it was for you to come here."
"I'm glad I did. I can't be scared of this place forever right?" I had to admit I was feeling better. The day had gone so well and I had become a bit more comfortable. "It'll take some time, but I'm warming up to it."
I gathered my things and he walked me out. As we reached my car he took my hands in his, holding them tightly but gentle. He looked down to me, his voice quiet, "Thank you, Sasha."
I looked up at him, meeting his deep, crisp blue eyes. "You're welcome, Jackson." I gave him a smile and squeezed his hand before letting go and climbing in the car, hoping he couldn't hear the massive pounding of my heart.