Chapter 2- Averie
When I woke up, I was warm. Too warm. My eyes fluttered open and I took in my surroundings. I didn’t recognise the room I was in. Or why I was so warm. Despite being a werewolf I was usually always cold. I felt someone squeeze me. I tried moving away, but whoever had me in their arms had a vice grip around me. Finally able to roll over I looked at my captor. Kane. Oh. Somehow I’d already forgotten yesterday’s events. Meeting Kane. Agreeing to leave my pack and join him.
His pack house was gigantic. It was hidden in the back of the forest, surrounded on all sides by endless miles of trees. The smell of the woods was everywhere. Not only was the pack house huge, it was gorgeous. From the outside it looked like any normal log cabin, but the closer you got you could see how the intricate design incorporated into the tree line, hiding the multi level estate from any wandering eyes. I was sure at least one hundred people could easily live there. His alpha suite had taken my breath away too. It was modernly decorated in creams and blacks. I’d only seen the living room at the entryway, his bedroom and the bathroom. The flatscreen TV was at least 72 inches and the couch could sit ten people comfortably. There was a painting of a large white wolf with forest green eyes above the mantle, that shockingly resembled my wolf.
Once he’d pulled me to his bedroom I was determined to find somewhere else to sleep, but the room was beautiful. An extra large king size bed sat in the middle. The dark green sheets looked soft and inviting. And the bathroom. The shower was tiled in white with dark grey accents and built in shelving. The rain shower head had eased my stress as it beat down on me. I had wanted to climb into the tub. It was so big that even at nearly 6′ tall I could stretch out completely. It was sunken into the floor and so inviting. I chose the shower because I wanted to be done quickly. I was exhausted. When I was finished I put my pyjamas on and had gone back into the bedroom. I noticed the open empty drawers and the open closet. Empty space he’d cleared for me to move my stuff into. That was sweet. But that didn’t mean anything. He was still a cruel, heartless killer.
If I had just stayed hidden like my parents had told me I wouldn’t be in this situation. I blamed Athena, my wolf. Yesterday she was restless the entire day, begging me to go to the field. I didn’t know why she was so restless, but when I hid on the outskirts of the field and the smell of rosewood and cinnamon assaulted my senses I knew why she’d wanted me here. Instincts told her we’d meet our mate.
He’s perfect. She said through our mind link.
He’s a ruthless, heartless killer. He killed Darren.
And dad killed his brother, Kody. And his Dad. It was war. Can’t you see the Moon Goddess brought you two together to bring peace. And Tobias. She moaned Kane’s wolf’s name in my mind, panting. Rolling my eyes, I cut her off before she could say anything else. Kane had promised to sleep on the couch, but here he was, in his bed, holding me hostage. I pushed my hands against his chest roughly, trying to release myself. “Stop moving,” he whispered.
“Let. Me. Go.” I growled. His eyes opened slowly, staring at my face. He was handsome, there was no denying that. I even found his man-bun sexy. He took a deep breath, inhaling my scent and the action made me even angrier. “Now!” Releasing me he rolled away, allowing me to escape to the bathroom. Give him a chance. Athena chastised me. I couldn’t. Because of his pack Darren was dead. My older brother. My protector. Tears filled my eyes as I cursed the Moon Goddess. This was a mistake. After changing into a pair of ripped black jeans and a simple grey t-shirt I walked out of the bathroom. Kane stood at the foot of his bed, black jeans around his muscular thighs while he pulled a grey t-shirt over his head. Seriously. He smirked at me noticing our matching outfits. Childishly I wanted to change, but I decided against it. He’d already seen my chosen outfit anyways.
“Are you hungry?” He asked. I nodded, refusing to answer him. I followed him out of the bedroom, he took a right, going deeper into the apartment. Even the kitchen was gorgeous. Stainless steel appliances, sleek white cupboards and a marble countertop. “Have a seat,” he said motioning to the bar stools at the breakfast bar. I sat down while he pulled pots, pans and random ingredients out. The first thing he did was make me a cup of coffee, using a reusable Keurig cup. He set the steaming mug in front of me, milk, French vanilla creamer, hazelnut creamer and sugar next to it. He could try his best, but I wasn’t going to fall for his act.
I added hazelnut creamer before mumbling out a thanks. He made his own cup before sipping on it black. I watched him work. He beat eggs, milk, vanilla and cinnamon in a bowl before dipping bread into it and frying it. Next he fried bacon and sausage and scrambled eggs. While everything was cooking he set two empty plates, forks, knives and two glasses of fresh squeezed orange juice on the counter. Plating French toast, bacon, sausage and scrambled eggs he set them on the breakfast bar before coming to sit next to me. He motioned for me to go first. “Do you have any peanut butter?” I asked, grabbing two pieces of French toast and some sausage.
“Peanut butter?” He questioned. “Yeah.” He walked back around the counter, grabbing a jar of peanut butter and setting it down next to me. I spread some on the French toast, while he watched me the entire time. You could at least make an effort. Athena barked at me while I ate my breakfast. I ignored her.
“This is delicious. Thank you,” I mumbled, trying to appease Athena with minimal effort.
“Thanks,” he said with a smile. He had one adorable dimple on the side of his left cheek. His brown eyes bore into mine and it was one of those moments all mated couples tell the story of to their kids. The ones where you can’t fight the pull anymore. I wanted to. I’d grown up hating this man. My mate. But as he sat next to me, his lips moving closer to me while he held eye contact. A loud ringing stopped his motion. “Doorbell,” he said at my confused expression while he pulled away from me and walked towards the door. I breathed a sigh of relief when he was no longer invading my personal space. That was so close. Athena chirped happily, rolling around in the back of my mind. I growled low in my throat. Less than 24 hours in and I was already succumbing to the mate pull. I couldn’t allow that to happen. After a moment I followed him. Hearing him open the door, I hid around the corner, peeking out.
“Hey, sexy,” a high pitched voice said. Who is that?
“Tiffany,” he said in reply. “Now isn’t a good time.” Now? Now? Never is a good time if you have a mate.
“But I miss you,” she whined causing me to gag. Sneaking another look I saw her rubbing her hands down his large arms. “You know I’m the best you ever had,” she purred. Oh hell no. Athena growled. If you don’t handle her I will. Unexplainable jealousy exploded through me.
“Who’s this?” I said sweetly with a sinister grin plastered on my face as I entered the living room. Kane immediately took a step back.
“Who are you?” She snarled at me.
“Averie. His mate.”
“Yeah, right,” she laughed. I looked at Kane.
“Leave Tiffany. And don’t come back.” She huffed but complied, all her instincts telling her to obey her alpha. Giving me an icy look she left the suite.
“Averie,” he began.
“Don’t!” I yelled. “I don’t care. The Moon Goddess clearly made a mistake. There’s no way she would mate me with someone who is low enough to have no waited for his mate.”
“I’m sorry,” he whispered. “I don’t have an excuse. You deserve better.”
“How many what?”
“How many women have you fucked in your bed?” I said blankly.
“In our bed? None.”
“I don’t believe you.”
“Look. I won’t lie to you. I’ve been with other women. But never here, not in the home I built for my mate.”
“I don’t think I can do this.”
“What do you mean?”
“I’m going home,” I told him, turning around.
“This is your home,” he said grabbing my wrist.
“No. It’s not. I’ve hated you my entire life. Your pack killed my brother.”
“And your pack killed my father. And my brother.”
“Which is why this will never work. We only met yesterday and there’s already too much history between us. Too much hurt.”
“Give us a chance please. The Moon Goddess doesn’t make mistakes.” His brown eyes were full of desperation and sadness as he begged me. “Give me a chance.” I wanted to fight him; I wanted to run as fast and far as I could, but the pull was already getting to me. Why can’t you show him the real you? ”I mean we’ve known each other 18 hours and were already dressing in matching outfits,” he smirked at me. I hated the way the corners of my mouth twitched, itching to pull up and smile back at him.
“Can you show me around?” I asked, needing to get out of the apartment. I didn’t trust myself around him. The mate pull and Athena were begging me to stake my claim, make sure all the other Tiffany’s in his life knew he was taken. But we weren’t ready for that. I wasn’t ready for that.
“Come on,” he said, reaching his hand out. I took it hesitantly, sparks literally flying through my body at the feel of his hand engulfing my smaller one. Cursing both the mate pull and the Moon Goddess I let the warm tingly feeling run through me while he pulled me towards the door. Opening it, we came face to face with a petite brunette, big brown doe eyes taking up most of her face. She was cute and a little younger than I was. I saw red immediately.
“Another one? Seriously, Kane?” I accused, pulling my hand away from his in anger.
“Freckles,” he sighed, his eyes easily finding mine. “This is my sister.” My mouth formed an O while my cheeks flamed in embarrassment at my outburst. “Kaylee, this is Averie, my mate.”
“So the rumours are true?” She asked with a quirked eyebrow. “You found your mate?”
“Yes,” he smiled happily. Why was he so happy about finding his mate? Especially when it was me. “I was just going to show her around the pack house.”
“Should I get started on the Luna ceremony?” She asked with excitement.
“No!” I exclaimed. Kane frowned while his sister cast her eyes down. “I mean,” I began, back peddling in my statement. “We’re taking things slow.” It wasn’t a lie.
“Can I come with you?” She asked.
She seemed excited to know me. I went to tell her yes at the same time Kane said, “no.” She looked disappointed. “Why don’t you and Michael come here for dinner tomorrow?” She nodded before standing on her toes and kissing his cheek.
“See you tomorrow, big brother.” Once she was gone we stood in front of the open door. Kane stared at me, his eyes going back and forth between mine as if searching them. He looked like he wanted to say something, but eventually decided against it.
“Here,” he said, taking my hand and pulling me outside. We stopped in front of the door. He pushed a bunch of codes on the keypad before taking my right index finger and placing it on the scanner, lifting it and changing positions a few times. “It locks automatically when it closes,” he murmured, pulling the door shut. “Try.” Placing my finger on the scanner I heard the door unlock. I pushed it open and pulled it shut again.
I followed him as we walked down the steps. The next level below was his Beta’s floor, whose name I learned was Zander. The floor beneath that one was for his Delta, Carter. Beneath that was the huge house kitchen. Most families chose to make their own meals in their own suites, but the kitchen was always fully stocked and almost always full of people. That same floor housed the game room, video game room and theatre, where most of the teenagers spent their time. The three floors beneath that were divided into family suites. 10 suites per floor was 30 suites. Each one could house a family of 5 comfortably. 150 people. That was a lot. “How big is the pack?” I asked, curiosity getting the better of me.
“Not as big as it used to be,” he said sombrely. Yeah, neither was mine. “About 350 people.” I nodded as we continued walking. We were on the ground floor now. The entryway was simple, with full glass windows allowing natural light to pour into the space. “Our offices are down here.” He walked around the staircase. “This one,” he said pointing to the first door on the right, “is Carter’s.” A few paces further he pointed to the left, “This is Zander.” He walked all the way to the end of the hall, putting his finger on yet another scanner and opened a door to a room that was nearly as big as the living room in our suite. “This is ours.” Athena panted at the way he said ours. Girl was going to need to learn to keep it in her pants. One side of the room had a large modern, black desk. Behind it were books, and it was stacked high with papers. “This is your desk,” he said softly, walking behind a white desk on the opposite side of the room. There was a desktop sitting on the desk and miscellaneous office supplies. I went and stood behind him. Sitting on the desk were three picture frames. One had my parents, a picture from a few years ago when we’d been able to take a day trip to a nearby lake. The second was of my brother, Darren. Taken just days before his death, he was smiling brightly at the camera. The third was a picture of Kane. His pose and smile were just like Darren’s.
“How?” I asked.
“I have my ways,” he smirked. Unsatisfied with his answer I stared at him blankly.
“I wanted to make it feel more personal to you,” he admitted. “I know how much your family means to you,” he continued. “I asked Zander to contact your dad. He picked up the pictures this morning. I admit the one of me may be presumptuous, but I want matter to you the way your family does.” He reached his hand out, taking mine and squeezing it gently as he confessed.
“Do you know why our packs have been waring for almost 100 years?” I asked.
“Your great-grandfather stole my great-grandfather’s mate,” he answered.
“Is that what you’ve been told?”
“It’s the truth,” he said confused.
“No. It’s not. Your great-grandfather tried to claim her as his, when her true mate was mine. She ran away from him and ran to my great-grandfather causing yours to declare war. She died in one of the battles, but not before giving birth to my grandfather. Your great-grandfather found his true mate a few years later, but for some reason the war never stopped.”
“Prideful old men,” he shook his head. I nodded in agreement.
“All the war. All the death. It’s all been for nothing,” I said, my eyes filling with tears remembering all the loss I’ve known.
“Not for nothing,” he said. “Not if it brought us together.” I shook my head, refusing to let the tears fall. “And it’s over now. The treaty is in place. Our packs will be joined as soon as we’re mated.”
“If we’re mated,” I said before I could stop myself, making his face fall.
“I need to call alpha Jackson,” he said, not acknowledging my remark. “I need to apologise and tell him his second born won’t be an alpha after all.”
“Don’t.” I said, cutting him off. “Listen. My dad doesn’t want to be alpha anymore. He hasn’t since Darren died. My pack. My father’s pack, they won’t follow you. Let his second son take over. Offer my father a place here. If you go back on your agreement it may start an entirely different war. But if it goes through, we’ll have two strong allies.”
He nodded at me. I could see his mind weighing the options as he went through the different scenarios, his alpha brain at work. “You’re right,” he conceded. He planted a kiss to my forehead, causing familiar sparks to race across my skin and my heart to beat faster, which I’m sure he could hear. “You’re going to be an amazing Luna,” he whispered softly. “Are you hungry?” He asked me. Before I could answer my stomach growled loudly, causing him to laugh. “Come on then,” he said taking my hand. This time I let him hold my hand all the way to the stairs.
As we started to climb the steps the front door opened and a gaggle of young women came in, all carrying shopping bags. Kane went white as he looked at them. A tall redhead stepped forward. “Hi Kane,” she crooned at him, ignoring my presence and his hand holding mine.
“Amber,” he said. “I’d like you to meet my mate, Averie.” He pulled me close, releasing my hand and wrapping his arm around my waist. His lips were on my forehead again, the action already familiar.
“Yeah. Sure,” she mocked.
“Come on, Superman,” I called him, cringing at the nickname I’d just dubbed him with. Oh well. I was too far in to back out now. Kissing his cheek easily I eyed Amber sharply, daring her to say something. “You promised me lunch,” I said, turning my back to her, making sure his eyes were glued to mine and not looking at her. He nodded before unwrapping himself from around me and continuing up the stairs, walking two steps ahead of me the entire time.
By the time we’d climbed the exorbitant amount of steps to get to our suite I was seething. When he opened the door I pushed past him, huffing loudly as I turned to face him. He swallowed loudly as he closed the door. “How many more times is that going to happen?” I asked, my face red rom anger.
“Freckles,” he said, coming closer to me.
“No. You don’t get to call me that right now. Tell me how many.”
“Two more,” he admitted defeatedly.
“You’ve been with four women?” I screeched in outrage.
“Five,” he whispered.
“So three more?” I asked in disbelief.
“One isn’t from my pack.” I turned, storming towards the bedroom. Before I could get far his arms wrapped around my waist from behind, his front flush with my back as he buried his face in my neck, inhaling my scent. I felt waves of calm radiate from him and his wolf. It had the same effect on me; a fact I hated. “I’m sorry,” he whispered in my ear.
“Sorry doesn’t change the fact that it happened. Say what you want, but in the past 100 years, in my pack there hasn’t been a single wolf, alpha or otherwise, who didn’t wait for their mate.”
“It’s no excuse, but I’ve been waiting for you for six years. I thought you didn’t exist or worse that you’d already been killed. I’ll never be able to change what I did. I would take it back if I could.” His eyes were pleading with mine, desperation in his voice to believe him. It would be easier if I could hate him, but the mate bond prevented it. “I’d like to do something I’ve never done with anyone else,” he said timidly. The big, bad alpha being timid. What an oxymoron.
“There’s stuff you haven’t done?” I challenged. Pain flashed across his face but I couldn’t let myself feel bad about it. Knowing he’d been with another wolf before me, more than one at that, would hurt me for the rest of my life.
“Let me take you out on date,” he pleaded while my mouth fell open at his words.