Catch Me, Alpha

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Chapter 4

Sunlight flooded in through our bedroom window, and I inhaled the sweet scent of pancakes. I stretched in the bed, rolling over to wrap my arms around Ares but only got a facefull of pillow instead. I groaned and curled into the pillow anyway because it smelt like him.

My neck--the unmarked side--burned slightly, and I rubbed it with my palm. Goddess, this Luna ceremony couldn’t come sooner. I had been craving Mars’s bite, his mark, his claim on me for so long now… but I knew that he wouldn’t do it, at least until the Luna ceremony.

“Kitten,” Ares said through the doorway. His shirt was thrown over his shoulder, body covered in a layer of thick sweat, muscles swollen--the damn veins in his biceps pumping from his morning run. I narrowed my eyes at him and sat up, my gaze drifting down his body. And, by the looks of it, he was teasing me too, trying to get me riled up for him.

It was driving me insane.

His gaze flickered to his pillow pulled tightly to his chest. “Looking for me?” he asked, eyes a playful gold.

I hopped out of bed and stripped my shirt, watching him watch me. His eyes drifted down my body, and I smirked. “As if…” I grabbed one of his oversized shirts from his closet and tugged it over my body--knowing that it would drive him wild. I wanted payback.

After tossing him my shorts and my panties, I walked right past him, down the hall, and into the kitchen. There were two stacks of pancakes waiting for me on the kitchen table, drenched in a layer of maple syrup running along the sides and pooling at the bottom. I pulled them both closer to me and stuck my fork into one.

Ares appeared at the door, tossing me my shorts and pushing my underwear into his jean pocket. “This one’s for me,” he said, grabbing the plate that had significantly more pancakes on it and by significantly I meant at least ten more. He hopped onto the counter, placed the plate of pancakes on his lap, and pulled something out of one of the cupboards. “I bought you something while I was out.”

He smirked in my direction and tossed me a white plastic bag. I placed my fork down, hesitantly peered inside the bag, and cracked a smile. “Are you serious?” I asked, a giggle escaping my mouth.

“Put it on.”

“Ares! No!”

He hopped off the counter, pulled out the blue hat, and slapped it right on my head. “Thought I’d get you one, since you’ve been jealous of Ruffles.” He pulled it down until it was firm on my head and stepped back. He gazed at me with the brightest golden eyes, and my heart felt warm.

Something about being with him… I couldn’t place it. Though he was violent, arrogant, and so damn rude sometimes, he was mine and he made me feel things I never thought I’d feel before.

“Hey Ruffles! Come here and bring your hat!”

Usually when Ares called Ruffles she came sprinting down the hallway faster than a damn wolf, but I didn’t hear any paws hitting the ground. “Ruffles?” I asked, brows furrowed together. Ares peered out into the hallway and called her name again. But still she didn’t come.

My heart raced a bit faster than usual, the Hounds fresh on my mind, but then I took a deep breath. No, nothing like that would happen. She was either taking a really good cat nap… or she had one too many chips this morning and had the best hangover of her entire life.

I hurried down the hall to her bedroom door which was open and peered inside, just to make sure. But Ruffles wasn’t laying on the bed or hiding in the closet, or lounging under the bed frame. All I could think was the absolute worst. Hounds finding a lost Ruffles, taking her, killing her.

“Did you go out this morning and leave the door open?” I asked Ares who stood in the doorway, smiling at my blue hat.

“I went out but didn’t leave the door open.” He gazed toward the open window, which I had opened only slightly because she was meowing at me last night. The screen was pushed out of it, just enough for Ruffles to squeeze her body through.

I muttered under my breath and hurried to the window, gazing down at the jump. It was a good two story jump that I knew Ruffles could definitely make. After sighing under my breath, I threw a hand over my face. “She’s been getting wild ever since she met you.”

Ares gave me a smug smirk. “Are you saying I’m--”

“Don’t even start.” I paced back and forth in front of him, rubbing my palms together. “Do you think she got far? Will she be back? She doesn’t just leave without telling me.”

Ares paused for a moment, then looked under the bed where she usually keeps her blue hat. “Looks like she was off on a mission. Put her hat on by herself and left.”

My lips curled into a half-smile, and I pushed his shoulder. Well, at least, she knew where she was going. While I was terrified of the Hounds attacking and coming to take her, I knew Ruffles wasn’t stupid. She wouldn’t go anywhere that she hadn’t been before or that she knew was dangerous. Hell, she warned us away from the cave.

Ares pulled me into a hug and rested his chin on my shoulder. “She’ll be fine. If she’s not back by tonight, we can go look for her. But… everyone in this pack already knows who she is. They’ll return her.”

I gave him the blankest stare. “Everyone already knows who Ruffles is… but not me?”

He playfully rolled his eyes. “Of course, they know who you are. The Luna Ceremony is just… to introduce you…” He paused. “Better.”

I raised a brow at him. “Better?”

“There are far too many warriors in this pack who’d die to take you away from me,” he said, hold on me tightlining only slightly. “And when they see my marks on your neck during the Luna Ceremony, they’ll know not to even think about touching what’s mine.” He shrugged. “Ruffles, on the other hand, can go out and be a hoe.”

I nearly snorted and pushed him away. “If she’s not back by five, then we’re going to go look for her. But now…” I pushed him out of the room. “We have to go to the alpha meeting.”

After we found those undead Hounds in the cave, Ares called an alpha meeting with all the packs in the nearby area. Fourteen packs in total planned to come today--at least, that’s what Ares had told me. It was definitely short notice… but this problem was bigger than us. We needed other packs on our side because we would not be able to defeat thousands upon thousands of Hounds by ourselves.

I dressed properly for the day--a pair of jeans and Ares’s oversized shirt, stuffing it into my waistband. He eyed me when I walked downstairs into the meeting room and sat on one of his oh-so-comfy black chairs, rocking back and forth in it. “You’re wearing my shirt in the meeting?”

“Would you rather I take it off and be naked?” I asked. And for good measure, I added, “In front of all the other alphas?”

He let out a guttural growl, his jaw clenching, his eyes intensifying into golden suns. “Don’t push me, Aurora.”

I stood up and walked around the large meeting room, drawing my finger across Ares’s shoulders. “And if I do?” I asked, brushing my fingers down the center of his chest, down his abdomen, down the front of his pants. “What’s the big, bad alpha going to do to me?”

There was rustling down the hall, and I could hear some of the alphas chatting. I smirked at Ares and grabbed him through his jeans, feeling him get harder. He wrapped a hand around my throat and pulled me closer to him until our lips were nearly touching. “You don’t want to know, Kitten.” Just before the other alphas came into the room, he pushed me away and smoothed out his jeans which definitely had the biggest damn imprint of his cock.

Two alphas from nearby packs--Alpha Vulcan and Alpha Minerva--walked into the room, followed by their betas. They smiled at me which earned them a growl from Ares, and I smiled back… just to be nice. Ares cut his eyes to me, his canines emerging from under his lips.

“I decided to go braless today,” I said through the mindlink, winking at him. I squeezed his shoulder and walked to the door. “I’m going to go see where Elijah is.”

Without speaking another word, I walked out of the room--knowing he was watching me the entire time. I passed three more alphas on the way out and hurried to the front door, scanning the woods for Elijah.

I expected more alphas to arrived, but none did. Not even five minutes after the meeting started. Elijah arrived five minutes later with his hair disheveled and his eyes tired. “Sorry. I was up all night,” he muttered to me at the door.

I glanced out the door again. “Did you see anyone else on your way here?”

“No, why?”

“Not even half the alphas Ares invited showed up.”

Elijah pressed his lips together and took a deep breath through his nose “That’s what happens when you tear up the entire fucking world to find the stone. Nobody trusts Ares not to hurt them, anymore.”

I rested my head on his shoulder and groaned internally. We had a mess to clean up. And I needed to clean it up really fast because these Hounds weren’t a joke. Elijah went to walk toward the meeting room, but I caught his wrist. “Before we go in there, about the stone… you will still put it into Charolette, right?”

He paused for a moment, rocked back on his heels, and stuffed his hands into his pockets. “I heard that she didn’t want it.”

“She doesn’t… yet. But I’ll convince her. I just wanted to be sure.”

“You know…” He lowered his voice. “You know that you can always use the stone. Nobody will judge you for wanting to use the stone that kept your brother alive, so you can shift easily.”

I frowned at him, the thought crossing my mind for the briefest moment. A piece of Jeremy… It was the only thing I had left of him. But, then, I shook my head. “No. I can’t do that to Ares. He hurts too much already.”

Elijah held his hands up in the air. “Look, all I’m saying, is that if you use that stone… you’ll be stronger than he is. This war with the Hound means life or death for so many of us, and you just might be the one to stop it, if you used the stone. You’d be smart and strong, a deadly combination.”

My breath caught in my throat. Me? Stopping it? I couldn’t. There was no way I could even with the stone.

He shrugged again. “Just think about it.” And then he walked down the stairs, leaving me with that one thought… that even I had thought before: If I used the stone on myself, I wouldn’t just be stronger. I would be alpha-strong.

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