The Mournful Howl

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Chapter 35

"Are you almost ready love?" Gabriel asked, stepping up behind his mate, placing a kiss on her shoulder, his arms wrapping around her waist.

"I guess," Jayne sighed, shivering at the goosebumps that traveled up her spine.

"Do I really have to so this?" she asked, looking at his reflection in the mirror.

"We agreed to reach out to your family," he reminded her, tightening his grip. "And I promise to be there with you the whole time."

"Is Gabby dressed?" she asked, leaning against his muscular chest.

"I asked Angel to take over," he explained. "Every time I got one leg into her stockings and started to put the other side on, she'd manage to get the first one out."

Jayne couldn't help but giggle. At three months old, their daughter was feisty, mischievous, and had her father wrapped around her little finger.

"I find it amusing how you can keep an entire pack going day in and day out," she chuckled, "but you are incapable of getting your daughter into tights."

"Hey," Gabriel replied, spinning her in his arms, his lips descending to within an inch of hers, "let's see you do better. You'd rather let her be naked than try to wrestle her into clothes."

Without giving her her a chance to reply, his lips captured hers in a passionate demanding kiss.

"Your lipstick is smudged," he smirked looking down at her when he lifted his head.

"Worth it," his mate replied, looking up into his eyes.

"I need to go check on things," Gabriel sighed, stepping reluctantly away form her. "Don't be too long. The pack will be gathering in half an hour."

"I'll be down soon," Jayne replied, turning to refresh her makeup.

Gabriel took one last look at the love of his life before closing the door to their room.

Making his way down the stairs, he nodded to passing pack members as they checked on last minute touches.

Stepping onto the back porch, he surveyed the picnic tables, the game area set up for the children, and off to the side, the already smoking grills.

It had taken a lot of convincing to get Jayne to contact her parents and today they were scheduled to arrive for a week long visit.

Determined to make sure everything went well, Gabriel had taken on the party planning himself, wanting Jayne to have as few things to worry about as possible... aside from the impending arrival of her estranged family.

Nodding his head in approval, he returned to his daughters room to find Evangelina and Jayne both still trying to get Gabby's stockings on.

Chuckling to himself he watched as Jayne threw the offending article of clothing to the floor and grab a pair of lace fringed socks instead.

"Monster baby one," she breathed, a small smile on her face, "mommy, daddy and Auntie Angel zilch!"

"I think she might be a nudist," Evangelina exclaimed, sliding on the baby's shoes as soon as her socks were in place.

Hearing him laugh, both women turned to give him the stink eye.

"I had the same problem you two did," Gabriel said, holding up his hands in a sign of surrender. "At least you two came up with another plan. I was gonna just let her go without."

"You know," Jayne cooed, stepping up to him, "if you weren't so cute I'd be irritated with you."

"Alright, break it up," Evangelina said behind them.

"Alpha. Luna," one of the border guards said over the mind-link, "your guests have just passed the border. Their car should reach the pack house in about five minutes."

"Crap," Jayne said, looking at her mate. "Is it too late to come down with whooping cough... or measles?"

"Jayne..." Gabriel growled, giving her a look of disapproval.

"I was just asking," she replied with an eye roll.

Taking Gabby from Evangelina, Jayne felt Gabriel wrap his arm around her shoulders before allowing him to lead her out of their daughters room, down the stairs and out the front door of their home to wait for her parents and brothers to arrive.

"Why do I feel like I'm waiting for the firing squad to arrive?" she asked her mate under her breath when she saw her parents car slowly rolling towards them.

"Love," Gabriel purred to her, "behave for the next week and promise to make it worth your while."

To emphasize his point, he lowered his hand to give her backside a gentle squeeze before returning his hand to her waist.

"I'm holding you to that," Jayne replied quickly before plastering a smile onto her lips.

Before the car had even stopped, Jayne watched as her mother jumped out of the passenger side door and ran towards her, her arms wrapping themselves around her in a crushing hug.

"Oh Jayne!" her mom sobbed. "I've missed you so much!!"

"I missed you too mom," Jayne replied, patting her mom awkwardly on the back.

Of all the times she'd imagined reuniting with her family, tears of joy and hugs had never been in any of them.

"Jayne!" her father called, adding his arms to those of his mate.

Suddenly, Gabby began to fuss, not liking the fact the she was being crushed in the arms of strangers.

"Let me take her," Gabriel offered, lifting the irritated infant to his shoulder.

Before Jayne could introduce her parents to her mate, both of her brothers ran up and embraced her in alternating bear hugs, her feet lifted off the ground.

After everyone had squeezed the breath from her, Jayne slumped against her mate trying to get her breath back.

"Mom, Dad, Ethan, William," she said once she could form words, "this is my mate, Gabriel, Alpha of the Blood Claw Pack.

"And this," she added taking the calmed infant back, "is our daughter, your granddaughter and niece, Gabby."

"Gabriel, these are my parents, Claudette and Jerry, and my brothers Ethan and William."

Gabriel nodded a polite greeting.

Jayne saw her mother open her mouth to say something, but she stopped when William pushed past them all, heading towards the door, ignoring everyone when they called out to him.

When he reached the steps, the door opened and a shy looking Evangelina looked out at them.

"Mine," her brother breathed, reaching for the young, blushing woman.

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