Chapter 3 ~~Meeting Ethan~~
Ethan McGuire’s plane had landed about an hour ago and thankfully his BMW was right where he had parked it a week ago. He had been in Japan for the past week taking care of some pack business. He had to change planes in San Francisco and then fly to Seattle, where he had spent the day with his cousin, Gabe, who had claimed that he knew someone that might be a good mate for him.
Ethan normally would have passed but his mother had been on his case to at least check her out. “You are not getting any younger, Ethan. You are already twenty two and you should have found your mate by now. You work too much and don’t mingle hardly at all anymore. You have got to get around women if you ever hope to find a mate. Your pack needs a Luna if it is to remain strong.” His mother had tried not to sound angry but he could tell she was frustrated with him when he had called her from Japan.
Ethan wished she would just agree to continue to be Luna until he did find his mate but she was right. He had been working like mad for the past two years since he had been made Alpha by his father.
He hadn’t been on a date since high school and none of the females in his pack were his mate, even though several of them desperately wanted him to mark them and make them his mate. But he had grown up with them and they were more like sisters, than potential mates. Even Janice. She was the one that he usually used as his date when he needed a female companion to whatever event he had to attend that required he have a date.
But Janice, even though she was a beautiful woman with curves in all the right places, who knew how to dress and turned heads when she walked into a room, she was becoming possessive and clingy, which was something Ethan hated.
He had made it plain to her on several occasions, but short of being down right rude and hurtful, she wasn’t getting the fact that she would never be his Luna. Same thing went for any of the females in the packs in their area. Ethan wanted to find her but hadn’t really put much thought or effort into finding the one he was supposed to be destined to spend the rest of his life with.
So just to shut his mother up, he had agreed to detour up to Seattle to meet his cousin’s friend on his way back from his business trip to Japan.
“What a waste of time that was!” Ethan thought as he put his suitcase in the trunk of his car before unlocking the door and getting inside. A glance up at the sky told him that it would more than likely start raining before he got home. “Great. Perfect end to a horrible day.” He thought as he hit the start button and the engine turned over.
As he waited for his car to warm up, he wondered again “What the hell was Gabe thinking? She may be what rings his bells but YUCK!” Gabe’s friend, Gayle, had latched herself onto his arm and nuzzled up to him as soon as they had met. She had to be touching him the whole time they had sat together, having drinks at a local club where she had met them.
Ethan couldn’t stand clingy women. And that voice! She had squealed in delight over things he said as if it were the funniest thing in the world. It had sounded like someone was trying to butcher a pig and it was like fingernails on a blackboard to him.
And her scent! She had smelled like someone had sprayed some kind of old ladies perfume on old gym socks to him. Looks wise she hadn’t been hard on the eyes, for sure, but that was about the only positive thing about her. He hadn’t liked anything else about her so he had cut his visit short and caught the next flight back home as fast as he could.
He had landed in Omaha about an hour ago and was so glad to be home, finally. His wolf, Errol, was wanting to get out and run but he didn’t dare shift until he was safely back on his own pack lands. He hadn’t been able to let Errol out for over a week and he was getting impatient.
Ethan drove through the city streets and grew frustrated with all the construction detours he had to take to be able to get to the small county highway that would take him home. He was driving through a residential neighborhood that he had never been in before when he stopped at a stop sign.
Glancing first left then right, he noticed a young girl curled up on the bench at the bus stop to his right. She looked cold. He argued with himself that her reasons for being there were her own and none of his business but knowing that the bus service had ended hours ago, he couldn’t just drive away unless he at least offered her a ride home or to some place warm and dry.
He rolled down his window and the second it started to open Errol jumped alive in his mind and began to whine. The gentle breeze brought the scent of vanilla and cinnamon tainted slightly by oranges to his nose. MATE! Errol howled loudly in his head.
“What? She’s a human! And she looks really young! She can’t even be of age yet.” Ethan argued with his wolf but the pull to find out had him putting the car in park and pulling up the collar of his coat as he got out of the car and hurried over to her.
Ethan could barely make out what she looked like because she had her hands pulled up to the lower part of her face as if she had been blowing on them to keep them warm when she fell asleep.
Judging by the amount of space she took up on the bench and what he could see, she was very petite, almost tiny. Her dark chocolate hair was tightly braided and lay on the seat behind her almost to her bum. He could barely make out anything about her looks other than she seemed to have a natural tan. He needed to see more of her face so he bent down then put out his hand to touch her shoulder and felt a slight shock and then a heat ran up his arm.
Kia woke up with a start a couple of hours later to a slight shocking sensation and then someone shaking her shoulder.
“Hey! What are you doing sleeping out here?” A young man with bedroom eyes and a deep, smooth voice asked.
“What? Who are you?” Kia said as she pulled back and pushed his hand away. She may not be fully awake but Tia was going crazy in her mind.
“Hey, don’t be afraid. I’m just trying to help. My name is Ethan. I was passing by and saw you asleep on this bench. Did you miss your bus?” He said with a slight smile.
“Something like that.” Kia said, eyeing him warily as she began to sit up.
“What’s your name?” Ethan asked.
“Kia.” She replied.
“Very nice to meet you Miss Kia.” Ethan smiled at her and Kia felt her insides flip flop. Tia was panting heavily in her head and Kia got the sensation that she wanted to crawl into his lap and let him wrap those big strong looking arms around her.
“Why are you sleeping out here instead of at home in a nice warm bed?” Ethan asked.
Kia almost wanted to laugh at that but she really felt more like crying as she admitted “Don’t really have one of those at the moment.”
“What do you mean? Where are your parents?” Ethan asked in dismay.
Kia looked at him and remembered someone once saying that it’s always easier to tell your troubles to a stranger than it is to tell your closest friend. She figured “what can it hurt?” as she began talking.
“I’ve been in the “foster care system” (using her fingers to emphasize) since I was 7, after my parents were killed in a car accident. This last place was just one of many but they are not nice people and the first time the woman went out of town for the day, the man figured he would help himself to some fun time and was going to rape me. I kicked him in the privates and hightailed it out of there.
I called Ms. Kay but she had already left for the day so I left her a voicemail. I was going to catch the bus back to the group home but the buses stopped running before I got here.” Kia gave him a condensed version of what had happened to her today.
Hearing that someone had put their hands on his mate made his wolf want to kill and Ethan barely choked down the growl he felt building in his throat. Instead he asked, as he sat down on the seat next to her, “Who is Ms. Kay?”
“She’s my case worker for the foster care placement agency who finds homes for kids like me to stay in until we come of age to be on our own.” Kia admitted. “I don’t know what to do. She won’t be back to work until Monday but I can’t go back to that house. I don’t feel safe there.”
“Well, how about you come with me and we’ll find you some place warm and dry to sleep?” Ethan asked.
“Where?” Kia asked warily, expecting him to suggest his place. She couldn’t decide if the feelings she was getting from this man were because he was so damned handsome and seemingly nice or if he was someone she should avoid. It didn’t help that Tia became very excited at his suggestion and if Tia had her way, they would jump into this man’s arms and hold on tight.
Ethan chuckled. “Smart girl. Don’t worry, no one is going to hurt you. I just want to help.” He said without answering her question. He watched her face, trying to figure out what she was thinking as she sat there shivering as she looked him over like she was trying to decide if she could trust him or not.
Ethan had watched her for a few minutes as she seemed to be having a mental battle with herself. She is so beautiful but she looks really young.
Oh but that beautiful dark brown hair surrounding her small, heart shaped face, long dark eyelashes that lay gently on her cheeks, a small button nose and full pink lips that were slightly open, making him want to kiss her so badly but he knew he had to take this slow or he was going to scare her half to death.
Errol told him that she doesn’t know about her wolf yet, which meant she was not yet 18 and he wondered how old she really was but knew it was rude to ask outright, especially of someone he had just met.
Just then the wind began to pick up and it was getting colder causing her to shiver more. Kia knew that to stay out in this weather all night meant she would more than likely end up sick so she finally sighed and said “Can you give me a ride to the YWCA? I can get a room and a bed there for a night or two until the placement agency opens on Monday.”
Kia was still unsure if she should get in the very expensive looking car that was parked right in front of the bus stop with someone she didn’t know but the alternative was to stay here and very likely end up sick.
“Sure. Come on.” Ethan said, standing up and putting his hand out to her.
Kia looked up at him and then down at his hand. She picked up her bag and while she didn’t take his hand, she did let him take her bag and put it on the back seat then got in the front with him when he opened the door for her.
Kia’s heart was pounding, her stomach was full of butterflies but her mind seemed to still be fuzzy, probably from being woke up in the middle of the night. Or maybe it was the fact that Tia was mentally pushing her to go with him, as she tried to justify getting in the car. She couldn't explain it but there was something pulling her to stay with him that she just couldn’t figure out right now. Tia was telling her it was going to be OK and Tia had never led her wrong yet. Tia had always been her voice of reason when she was uncertain about something.
Ethan asked if she knew the address for the YWCA and Kia had to admit that she didn’t so he used the GPS system built into his dashboard to search for it and just as he thought, it was in the opposite direction from where he had been headed but he punched in the address and with a smile at Kia, pulled away from the curb and began driving.
Kia glanced at the clock on the dashboard and realized that it was already after 2 am. The inside of the car smelled like him, like the woods in the fall after a cleansing rain. It was nice and warm and the plush, leather seats were buttersoft and so comfortable after the hardness of the bus stop bench. Ethan’s radio was tuned to an easy listening channel and Ethan seemed to be a good driver as he slowly drove through the wet streets, gliding to an easy stop at each red light and Kia slowly began to feel at ease. So much so that it wasn’t long before her head began to sag and she began to fall asleep again.
Ethan drove carefully and wasn’t surprised when they finally pulled up in front of the YWCA that it was already closed for the night. Now what? Kia was sound asleep with her head resting gently on his shoulder. He looked down at her and his heart leaped in his chest. He couldn’t let her go! “She is our mate!” Errol growled at his thought of letting her go. After several minutes of trying to think of a better alternative, he gave her a soft kiss on the top of her head, drawing in her scent before he finally put his car in gear and headed for home.
An hour and a half later, he finally pulled into the garage of the pack house. No one was up at this hour except the guards and one of them opened the door for him as he carried Kia inside bridal style.
“Wow. You go to Japan on business and come back with your mate! Good going Alpha. Is she the one from Seattle that Luna told us about you stopping to meet?” Josh said. Josh was 6’4”, had shoulders about 3 feet wide and hands that could be compared to a grizzly bear’s paw. He was not only a life long friend and a clown, he is one of Ethan’s best warriors.
“No, definitely not. Keep your voice down. Are you the only one up?” Ethan whispered to him as he walked through the pack house and began to climb the stairs.
“Everette and Dale are working border patrol and Charlie is out back. It’s been quiet the past few days.” Josh whispered back as he followed Ethan upstairs. “Who is she?”
“I found her asleep on a bench at a bus stop in town. Her foster dad tried to rape her so she ran away.” Ethan whispered as they reached the door to his room and saw Josh’s eyes get big. “Wow! Did you kill him?”
Ethan rolled his eyes at him and said “No. I didn’t even meet him and he better pray I never do. Open the door for me.” Josh reached around him and opened his door and stood watching as Ethan carried Kia towards his bed. “Can you do me a favor? Her bag is on the back seat of my car and my suitcase is in the trunk. Can you get them and bring them up here for me?”
“Sure. I’ll be back in a flash. She sure is pretty.” Josh whispered as he grinned at his Alpha.
Ethan growled at him softly but stopped when Kia started to move in his arms. He walked over to the bed and gently lay her down. He gently pulled her sneakers off and then covered her with the comforter. Her hair had dried in the car on the drive home and her clothes had not felt wet.
He hoped she would be comfortable sleeping in her sweats as he felt it would be wrong of him to undress her, no matter how much he wanted to see her naked. He stood looking down at her as she curled to the side and got comfortable in his bed.
A thousand questions were running through his mind but all he could do was stand and stare at her. He had begun to think that he would never find his mate and now here she is! She is so damned beautiful! He didn’t know much about her but he knew deep in his heart that he could never let her go now that he had found her.
Josh came back and because the door was still open, he came right in and Ethan jumped when Josh dropped Kia’s duffel bag on the floor at the foot of the bed. He sat Ethan’s suitcase down next to it and grinned at Ethan as he stood glaring at him with his hand on his chest. He motioned for Josh to follow him into the hall where they could talk without having to whisper.
Ethan knew it was a waste of breath to tell Josh to keep his mouth shut about Kia but did ask him to tell everyone to not come knocking on his door in the morning since it was so late. “And wipe that stupid grin off your face. I don’t think she even knows she has a wolf because she’s not of age yet. I am going to have to break it to her slowly so I don’t scare the hell out of her. Tell my mom and dad I will come talk to them when I get up. Let them know that I didn’t get in until almost sunrise.” Ethan said.
“Ok. I’ll tell them.” Josh said. “Night Alpha. Sweet dreams.” he chuckled as he headed back downstairs.
Ethan chuckled as he reentered the bedroom and closed the door. He found a pair of work out shorts in his dresser and walked into the bathroom. He wasn’t going to shower right now because it was so late but he did want to use the toilet and brush his teeth before going to bed. The length of the day was fast catching up with him.
As soon as he was done in the bathroom, he climbed into bed with Kia and watched her sleep for a few minutes until he fell asleep himself. He felt so content and dreamed about her that night.
Kia smelled something heavenly when she began to wake up. Something familiar that smelled like the woods in the autumn after a cleansing rain. She finally woke up because the sun was shining in her face. She was reluctant to open her eyes because it seemed so bright.
She was nice and warm and she was laying on something soft but her eyes flew open when she realized that there was something heavy laying across her waist and she remembered where she had smelled that scent before.
Afraid to move, she tried to remember what had happened last night. She remembered running away from Doug and hiding under the enclosure of the bus stop and she remembered a very handsome man waking her up and offering her a ride to the YWCA.
She became aware that at least she was still dressed but as her eyes quickly scanned the lush bedroom, she knew this wasn’t the YWCA!
She saw a sink through a doorway on the opposite side of the room and the urge to pee became stronger but she wondered where he had brought her and her heart began to pound in her chest. She turned slightly but the arm around her tightened and suddenly a leg, a naked leg covered hers pinning her down even more. Kia almost screamed when suddenly a deep sexy voice said “Good morning. How did you sleep?”
“Where am I? How did I get here? Why are you in my bed?” Kia asked in rapid succession.
“You are in my house. I brought you here because the YWCA was closed and I didn’t know where else to take you. And this is my bed.” Ethan answered her questions.
“Can you let me up, please? I need to use the restroom.” Kia said and Ethan immediately released her.
Kia jumped off the bed and made a beeline across the room for the bathroom. She slammed the door and locked it and stood there shaking.
“How the hell did I get myself into this mess? And how do I get out of it?” Kia wondered as she looked at herself in the mirror. She took care of her business and washed her hands then splashed water on her face in an attempt to wake up.
She looked around the very well appointed and plush bathroom for a way to escape but the only window was too small for her to fit through and was well over her head, out of her reach. She was just going to have to pray that Ethan would take her back to town and not take advantage of her.
Tia finally put in her two cents and said “If he were going to do that, he could have already done it but you are still fully dressed in the clothes you had on last night and you got the best sleep you’ve had in a long time in that nice soft bed, warm and dry. Besides, I like him.”
Kia knew Tia was right and so far she had no reason not to trust Ethan. He had not been anything but nice to her and she really didn’t think he was lying about the YWCA being closed. It had been after 2 am when she got in his car. If he were going to rape or hurt her, he could have just done it while she was asleep in his car and left her on the side of the road somewhere.
“Kia? Are you going to be in there much longer?” Ethan’s voice came through the door.
Kia took a deep breath and opened the door. “Sorry.” She said then gasped when she realized that all he had on was a very small pair of workout shorts that did nothing to hide the fact that he had only lost half of his morning arousal.
His feet were bare, as well as his muscular legs, six pack stomach, wide well defined chest and his muscular arms causing Kia’s face to get redder and redder as her eyes got wider and wider as they wandered up his body from his feet to his very handsome face to find him grinning at her with a seductive look in his eyes. She ducked her head, threw her hands over her face and ran out of the bathroom with a slight squeal.
Ethan laughed as he turned, letting her pass then entered the bathroom. He took care of business first and then returned to the bedroom. He found Kia looking out the window.
“What are those men doing down there?” Kia asked, keeping her back to him, hoping he would get dressed soon.
Ethan came up behind her and heard her breath catch as he brushed up against her when he went to look out of the window at what she was seeing.
“Oh that’s just our guys working out.” Ethan answered.
“It looks like they are fighting with each other.” Kia said.
“They are battle training.” Ethan answered.
“Oh. Are you guys a gang or something?” Kia asked.
“Hahaha. No, not a gang. A pack.” Ethan chuckled. “Kia, how old are you?”
“I’ll be 18 next week. Why?” Kia replied.
“Ah, that explains it.” Ethan said. He pulled some clothes out of his dresser drawers and said “Would you rather go first in the shower?”
“Do I get to shower alone?” She asked, fearfully.
“If you want. Look, Kia. No one is going to hurt you here or ever again. I won’t allow it. And we will only go as far as you want at the pace you want.” Ethan said.
“Does that mean you are not going to take me back to the YWCA or the group home?” Kia asked, trying to keep her voice from quavering. She felt the tears building in her eyes as the fear began to build in her stomach.
This is something that Ethan had been debating about all the way home in the car last night. He should just take her back and try to court her like a normal guy would but he knew that with all of his Alpha duties that he would barely have time to see her if she were so far away. He wanted her close by where he could see her every day. He wanted her in his bed every night. Wanted to wake up with her every morning from now on.
But to hit her with all that right off the bat now was going to scare the hell out of her. She had not been brought up in the wolf community so she did not know the rules of mates and living in a pack community. He wondered about who her parents were. How is it she had not been taken in by their pack when her parents died. Were they rogues?
“Kia, um, there is something I want to ask you but I’m not sure about how to say it.” Ethan said. “I tell you what, why don’t we get our showers and go have some breakfast and then we’ll sit down and talk. OK?”
“OK. Can I go first? I feel dirty after last night.” Kia said in a small voice.
“Sure. There are clean towels in the cabinet. Do you need toothpaste or shampoo or anything? I can ask one of the women for something more feminine if you don’t like my shampoo and soap.” Without waiting for her to reply, he mind linked the household staff and told them to bring up some suitable female shampoo, conditioner and soap. “If you can hang on a second, there will be some here soon.”
Kia dug into her duffel and found some clean jeans, the new shirt she had bought just the other day and clean underwear. Just as she stood up, there was a knock at the door and then it opened to a woman dressed in a maid’s uniform standing there with a small basket of shampoo, hair conditioner and soap along with a net scrubbie to bathe with. She was an older woman with graying hair but an unwrinkled face, sparkling blue eyes and a kindly smile.
“Thanks Edith. Please tell everyone we will be down for breakfast soon.” Ethan said as he took the basket from her.
“Yes, Alpha.” Edith said and then turned to leave. “Welcome Luna.” She smiled at Kia.
Kia was shocked and after Ethan closed the door she asked. “What did she call me? Luna?”
“Go ahead and get your shower. I’ll explain it all later.” Ethan said, looking slightly uncomfortable. “Maybe I had better mind link everyone and let them know to call her Miss Kia until I have a chance to explain everything to her.” he thought as he watched her go into the bathroom. He heard her lock the door just as another knock sounded at the bedroom door. He knew before he answered it who was going to be standing there.
“Good morning mom!” Ethan said as he pulled open the door but was surprised to see his father standing there as well.
“Well? Where is she?” his mother asked as she stepped into the room.
“She’s in the shower. Mom, can’t you please wait until I have a chance to explain things to her? She doesn’t know she has a wolf yet and knows nothing about being in a pack. Her parents were killed in a car accident when she was very young and somehow she ended up in a human orphanage. She won’t be 18 until next week so she’s in for a lot of changes in her life and that is going to be tough enough. I don’t want to overwhelm her with a lot of questions, comments or strangers coming at her all at once.”
“Son, are you sure she is the one?” His father asked.
“Yes, sir! Without a doubt. Wait till you see her. She’s tiny but she’s beautiful.” Ethan said with a big smile.
“Alright. We’ll wait for you downstairs but don’t take all day. I have things to do today and I want a full report on your trip to Japan.” His father said. “Come on wife! You’ll get to meet her soon enough.”
“Alright. If you are sure?” She said looking at the big smile on her son’s face. She was happy that he had found his mate but she had to be sure that she was someone worthy of him.