TAMING THE ZOOKEEPER - Werewolf

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Chapter 37

Melena

After meeting Conner’s mother this morning and spending a bit of time getting to know her better, I felt less anxious about our new relationship and what the future might hold for us.

His mother was sweet, incredibly funny and very easy to talk to. In short, she seemed like everything a mother should be, not that I really knew, since my mom had been euthanized many years ago, leaving me in the sole care of the pack, which I didn’t blame her for at all. After my father was killed in a vicious attack, she had gone from bad to worse. At first, she tried to stay strong for me, but I saw her deteriorate day by day until only a shell of a woman remained, and she practically begged Doctor Keller to put her out of her misery.

It was horrible.

I was only thirteen at the time but remembered it like it was yesterday. The way her eyes had sunken in and her hair grew frail and started falling out in bunches was something that had stayed with me all those years. I never wanted that for her. I didn’t want her to stick around just because she thought I needed her. I did need her. But not as much as she needed my dad.

It broke my heart. And in the end, I was the one to accompany her on her final visit to Doctor Keller’s office. I was the one who sat with her, held her hand and watched the last glimpses of light fade out of her once lively eyes.

Maybe not ever having kids wasn’t such a bad idea after all. Being a wolf can be a wonderful blessing, but it can also be a terrible curse.

“Melena? Are you busy?” I heard Marcus asking from my office door, pulling me out of my thoughts and back to reality.

“Just finishing up some paperwork, what’s up?”

Marcus stepped inside quickly and closed the door behind him. He looked a bit edgy and out of place, which made me feel nervous also.

“I spoke to my dad and some of the other high-ranking wolves earlier today, about Catalina, they are very happy for me, but concerned that she is not on pack grounds yet, which puts all of us at great risk.”

I nodded in understanding and waited for him to continue.

“My father thought it best if we lead a small, under-the-radar operation as soon as possible to retrieve her and bring her here, where she could be better protected.”

“Sure, that sounds great. I totally agree.”

Marcus still looked a bit hesitant and didn’t even bother to sit down. Something was troubling him, I could see it in his body language, “we need to leave, NOW.”

My eyes shot up in surprise and I scanned his face for any signs of humour. There was none. He was being very serious.

“You’re serious?” I asked slightly dazed.

“Yes, my father had already given me permission and ordered me to take you along as both my warrior and medic. No one else knows about this.”

“Wow, uh, ok. I don’t know what to say, where is she, Catalina I mean?”

“Two packs over, on Malice Creek’s grounds. My father is getting permission for us to cross over Shadow Flame’s territory as we speak. So, we should be protected as long as we abide by their rules.”

Again, all I could do was nod. My mind was racing, and I felt very conflicted. This seemed like a mission that could either go extremely well, or extremely badly, and to make matters worse, I suddenly felt a strange, uncomfortable foreboding feeling creep slowly over my insides, digging its claws deep into my consciousness.

Something was going to happen; I just knew it.

“Please, Melena, you are my most trusted warrior, I need you on this. My mate’s life is at stake here.”

I have never seen Marcus look so desperate before and it tugged at my heart, after all, he wasn’t just my future Alpha, he was also a dear friend.

“Ok, but can I make a phone call quickly? Before we go?”

“Sure, get geared up and meet me in about thirty minutes?” He asked and I nodded in confirmation, “I will leave my SUV unlocked. It is parked behind the packhouse. Exit out the back door of the packhouse and get in once you are done and I will meet you there as soon as I am done also. The windows are tinted, so just stay put. I will be there.”

Wow, things were really escalating quickly, and I needed to get my head in the game, FAST.

“Ok,” I replied when I saw him waiting for my reply.

With that, he exited my office and left me to gather my medical supplies.

Without wasting any more precious time, I pulled my already stacked backpack out and scanned through its contents to make sure I had everything I needed in case of an emergency.

Once I was completely satisfied with it, I threw it over my shoulder and left swiftly, making my way towards the room I shared with Fran. In the back of my mind, I hoped that she wasn’t home, because I didn’t want to lie to her. This was a secret mission of great importance and I was under strict orders from the Alpha himself to keep it quiet, so what else could I do?

I sighed in relief when I stepped in the door and didn’t smell Fran’s scent, indicating that she wasn’t home. Throwing the bag onto the bed, I rummaged through my closet and practically threw my tactical gear on. The last was my boots. I pulled the heavy boots onto my feet and glanced at the phone hanging from the wall.

With a heavy heart, I made my way over to the phone and dialed the zoo’s number. It rang for a while, but nobody picked up.

No, no, come on!

I just needed to hear Conner’s voice one last time before I left on this crazy, suicide mission. I didn’t know any other numbers that I could reach him at, so my only other option was mind-linking, which unfortunately could only go in one direction since he was not a wolf. I could link him, but he wouldn’t be able to respond.

How do I mind-link Conner, without sounding too stressed or giving away precious confidential information?

With a frustrated huff, I plopped down onto the bed again and began tying my shoelaces.

“Conner, I just wanted to let you know that I am thinking about you and that I cannot wait to see you again. Hope your day is going well.”

I finally sent him the mind-link I have been practising in my mind over and over again and grabbed the medical bag off the bed to head out.

Let’s just get this over with.

Conner

It was right after lunchtime that had I received the sweetest mind-link from Melena saying that she was thinking of me. To be honest, I was thinking about her too, nonstop. Whenever I found myself daydreaming, it was about her. Everything about her just agreed with me and I couldn’t wait to get out of here so that I could see her again.

Oh, snap, I almost forgot about the Alpha’s request to come and see him today after work. Well, I guess that should make for the perfect excuse to meet up with Mel after. I looked down and saw the pale white markings on my shirt from this morning’s escapades. I had tried to scrub the damn vomit off numerous times throughout the day, but it sticks like white on rice and keeps reappearing every time the shirt dries, and I look down. Maybe I should just stop by the flat first, grab a quick shower and a clean shirt before heading their way. I don’t want to scar any of the wolves’ sensitive sense of smell for life.

I was grateful for Melena’s mind-link because it had calmed me down. Strangely, I had the weirdest feeling of foreboding about half an hour before receiving her link. It was odd because I had no reason to feel that way at all and it came out of nowhere. For a moment I had thought that it could have been one of her feelings projecting through the mate bond, but then I got her mind-link and it seemed very unlikely.

Whatever it was, it was gone now, and I had about three hours left to go before finishing my shift.

Probably should go and replace the old rusty lock by the crocodile’s enclosure before some fool decides to take it off and go for a swim.

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