I didn’t realize it at first, but I had run straight into the enemy’s ambush and right out the other side.
Through my blurry tears of anguish, I had counted at least twenty-two vampires waiting in the cover of the forest just south of the packhouse’s main entrance.
Their red, piercing gazes snapped in my direction as I bolted past and I distinctly heard a few gasps, followed by a male voice hollering out, “GET HIM!”
I didn’t have time to respond or to think, so I just kept running away from the packhouse and screamed into the pack’s mind-link, “VAMPIRES! VAMPIRES! AMBUSH!”
“Where?” Came the reply immediately.
It was only when the unfamiliar, deep male voice responded that I grasped; I was no longer connected to Feral Grove anymore. My steps faltered a bit at the realization of it and a vampire took that opportunity to jump onto my back and dig its sickening, cold claws into my skin, slicing through muscle and wedging it in between two of my ribs running down the right side of my chest.
Unbearable pain shot through me and my wolf let out a loud, agonizing howl, which filled the once silent night sky with its low bellowed tune of sorrow.
Multiple birds shot up from their perches in the branches of trees, signalling my whereabouts to pretty much every living creature in the forest.
“I can see where you are, hold strong! Reinforcements heading your way!” The deep male voice spoke in my mind again as I tumbled into a nearby bush with the filthy creature still clinging to my back.
“EVERYBODY BACK TO THE PACK HOUSE! ONLY WARRIORS RESPOND TO DELTA GALE’S ORDERS!” I heard Malice Creek’s Alpha order loudly into the pack-link as I rolled around on the ground kicking and clawing at the assailant clinging to my back like a parasite.
The next moment I yelped in surprise as the vampire’s fangs pierced the sensitive skin in between my shoulder blades. My wolf whimpered in distress after which a loud, laboured howl ripped through the forest from somewhere behind us. I didn’t need anyone to tell me who it was. Maxwell.
He had felt my pain and at that very moment, I felt his determination flow through me. He was coming and he was angry.
I did not stop fighting. I bucked like a rodeo horse for a while but when that didn’t seem to work, I tried slamming my body backwards into things. The vampire clung fiercely and sucked the life out of me with every precious second that went by until finally, my head was starting to spin, and my fur started to retract back into my skin.
No, no, no! My wolf was growing weaker and was giving up control, making me shift back into human form.
My wolf, Beast, had woken me in the hospital, vividly communicating our mate’s distress call into my mind. I still felt incredibly sore and struggled to force my eyes open, but when I heard her yelp and whimper reverberate through my soul, I knew she was in serious danger and my wolf took over instantly, letting out an excruciating howl before he jumped off the bed.
We made it out the front door of the packhouse within seconds and I followed my gut to lead me towards her. Her fear and pain washed over me through our mate-link, and I dug my claws deeper into the ground with determination.
The entire forest was suddenly filled with warriors and vampires. All around me was fights breaking out and I had to weave in and out of trees, bushes, and brawls to get to my precious mate.
When I finally made it to her, my heart stopped, and Beast almost went feral.
Right there in front of me, stood a young male vampire, cradling my limp, naked mate in his arms while he had his filthy fangs in her back, sucking the life essence out of her now human body.
She was in her human form, which meant that she had grown too weak to take on wolf form and I had to act swiftly and efficiently if I wanted to save her.
Beast lunged himself at the sickening white creature and bit angrily into its side. He then proceeded to jerk and shake his head violently until the vampire’s horrifying screams became distorted and cold blood splattered everywhere.
It only took a few seconds for the vampire to lose consciousness and when it hit the ground, Beast ripped its face to shreds. It was like all rationality had left him and all he felt was blind, violent rage that someone had dared to hurt his mate.
When his eyes finally landed on Melena, lying limp, naked and covered in blood on the forest floor, he quickly gave me back control. I shifted immediately and scrambled towards her, pulling her head onto my lap.
“Melena? Can you hear me?” I asked in a worried, shaky voice as I gently brushed her matted hair out of her face.
Adrenaline was still pumping through my veins and I was trembling all over. All around me screams, snarls and breaking branches could be heard, but I blocked it out. I needed to focus on my mate’s heartbeat. I needed to make sure I wasn’t too late.
“Mel?” I tried again, searching her face frantically for any signs of life.
She looked incredibly pale under the moon’s deathly glow and I struggled to make out her very faint heartbeat. In one swift move, I pulled her into my arms, cradled her against my chest and began carrying her back home.
“The vampires are retreating, regroup at the packhouse,” I heard Alpha order into the pack-link, and I moved my legs faster.
When I felt Melena’s fingers glide softly along my chest, I stopped dead in my tracks and looked down, locking my warm brown orbs onto her blues. She had a strange look on her face as she stared back at me with eyes as big as saucers, so I bent down and gently placed her onto the soft undergrowth.
“Maxwell?” She asked sounding slightly confused and disorientated.
“I’m here,” I responded and steadied her with my right arm since she was beginning to fall over.
“Are you my mate?” She asked to which I had absolutely no idea how to respond. My mouth suddenly felt extremely dry, and my heart rate quickened.
“I, uh,” I mumbled awkwardly all the while keeping my eyes on her beautiful face.
“You saved me,” she breathed out although it sounded more like a question.
I nodded slowly and then my heart stopped.
She kissed me.
I was sure of it because I felt the soreness of my broken, split lip before tingles started to spread through it, flowing into my mouth and down my jaw. My eyes closed on instinct and when the tingles subsided, I flicked my eyes open and saw that she had passed out.
Shit. Without wasting another second, I picked her up again and carried her all the way back to the packhouse.
I didn’t want to think about the kiss, because I was pretty sure she was delirious at that stage from the amount of blood she had obviously lost. She didn’t mean it, and therefore, it would accompany me to my grave.
I would never tell a soul about what had happened in that blessed few seconds of my life.
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