Authors: Crissy Smith
Tags: #Erotic Romance Fiction
“And by others?” Alpha Shawn questioned.
She clenched her fist, bracing for the reaction. “Justin and I are Day Walkers.”
“What does that mean exactly?” Max asked after several moments of silence.
Angel jerked in surprise when Alex covered her hand with his. Grateful, she smiled slightly at him before addressing the Alpha in training. “A Day Walker is the closest thing to what mythology calls the vampire.”
The gasps were expected.
“I’m sorry, did you just say vampire?” Cassie Wilson demanded as she jumped to her feet.
Angel wasn’t afraid of the pretty wolf shifter but since she was Alex’s sister, Angel really wanted Cassie to accept their bond. “I can tell you that almost everything people believe about our kind is untrue.”
“Do you drink blood?” Cassie challenged.
Since Alex stiffened next to her Angel knew her desire for a calm conversation wasn’t going to happen. “We do.”
The room exploded. Questions were shouted out as several of the shifters moved quickly to place their mates behind them. Looking up, Angel tried not to let her hurt show.
The Alpha of the Pack was closest to her, standing in the middle of the room and trying to calm everyone down. Max had pushed Cassie against one wall while using his body as a shield. Chase and Kayla warily looked around while Alex was now up from the couch with the entire length of it between them.
Raising her gaze to the most powerful man in the room, she met Shawn eye to eye. He turned to his Pack members. “We need to hear her out,” he insisted.
“You knew about this!” Max accused.
It was a good thing she wasn’t a shifter when Shawn let out a low, spine-tingling growl. All shifters in the room dropped their gazes and she could even feel the power radiating from the Alpha.
“I’m sorry, Alpha”—Max dropped down to one knee—“I was out of line.”
“Raise, my son,” Shawn ordered gently. “Everyone sit back down and listen.”
As they moved to follow the Alpha’s direction, Angel’s heart broke with the distance Alex put between the two of them as he returned to the couch.
“Yes, I am aware of what Angel and Justin are. I have been since Marcus came to live with the Pack and informed me of his previous profession. This information is to be kept as a Pack secret. You’re complete obedience is required or you will deal with me,” Shawn stated firmly. He peered back at Angel. “Please continue.”
“Because of what history has twisted about Day Walkers,” Angel told them, “it is impossible for our kind to be revealed. We would be wiped out of existence without thought. That’s why the Guardians were originally founded. At first our ranks were only made up of Day Walkers but over the years we’ve added other shifters, and even humans, to our goal of protecting those who don’t know the real dangers out there.”
“Kind of like the Wolf Council?” Max commented.
Nodding, she agreed. “We work closely with your council on matters that have to do with wolf shifters. The newly founded Shifter Coalition has also given us more options to expand our help.”
She chanced a peek in Alex’s direction but his entire posture was closed off to her. He sat hunched into himself with his jaw clenched.
“I can’t believe you never told me.” Kayla pointed at Angel’s brother.
“I couldn’t!” Justin exclaimed. “It’s against the rules.”
“So why are you telling us now?” Max inquired, suspicion tainting his tone.
Since Angel didn’t think Alex would appreciate her revealing their destiny to everyone, she went with a second truth. “My boss and a few others are on their way to pick up Emilio. I’ve reported in everything that has happened and was given permission for you all to be brought up to speed. Working with Alpha Shawn, we hope to be able to prevent your Pack from being harmed because of a few rogue agents. They’ve targeted your family and we have to stop them.”
She didn’t mention the only reason Caspar had allowed her to share the information so soon was because she’d claimed Alex. Since they were close to her mate they’d benefit from Alex’s connection to her.
“The first thing we need to do is send out the guards we have available into town and have them start patrolling. We don’t want to cause a panic,” Max spoke up.
“Why don’t you call Jacob and the two of you work out rotations?” Shawn asked Max. “Chase, I need you to contact Kurt Moore with the council. They need to be aware of our situation. I don’t know if he had any knowledge of the Guardians so for now, keep that under wraps.”
“Yes, sir.” Chase rose. “Are we to remain here?”
Shawn nodded. “At least until the other Guardians arrive and I get to speak with them.”
“What about me?” Alex asked from where he still sat.
“I hate to impose on you further, but can you make up a few more guest rooms? The Guardians will have traveled far in a short amount of time and will probably appreciate some time to rest.”
Alex nodded sharply before fleeing the room.
There was no doubt that he was trying to put as much distance between the two of them as possible. Tears threatened to fall as a feeling of devastation overwhelmed her.
“Thank you for trusting us.” Shawn stood in front of her, pulling her attention to the large man.
“I only did what I thought was best for everyone,” she responded sincerely.
“I know it’s not easy.”
Angel rose. “I didn’t expect any other reaction. If you’ll excuse me, I’d like some air.”
She didn’t even wait for the Alpha to agree. She quickly made her way over to the sliding glass doors and pulled one open. Stepping out onto the beautiful wood deck, Angel stopped to appreciate the large space. She didn’t have an area like this at her residence. It reminded her of television shows and movies were family gathered. A spike of jealousy shot through her. Alex had family and friends that surrounded him. She ached to be part of his world there.
The dark color of the deck flowed from one beam to another while the entire surface gleamed in the sunlight. A huge barbeque pit was located on one side while a long picnic table dominated the middle. Closest to her she could see a stack of toys inside a box that must belong to the children of Alex’s brother Jacob.
She stepped out, before closing the door behind her. The Texas heat had already warmed the area. Lifting her face to the sky, she soaked in the rays. The day before, she’d gotten to see the entire Wilson ranch while they’d been searching for Emilio.
It was a lovely piece of land located on the edge and inside the canyon. Angel had never seen such a beautiful property and would have loved to get a personal tour from Alex.
All she could do was give Alex time while praying he’d eventually want a relationship with her. If Alex rejected her she would move on and be alone for the rest of her life. She was used to being on her own but in the back of her mind she’d always held on to the fact that she could meet her mate.
Alex was everything she could have dreamed up. With him being a couple inches taller, she’d loved it when he’d pinned her to the wall and their bodies had fit together. His expressive deep-brown eyes flickered with gold when arousal hit him.
It was his body, though, that had filled her fantasies for the last several nights. Since she worked with heavily muscled, military-trained men, she truly appreciated Alex’s compact, athletic build.
A warm breeze carrying the scent of horses lifted her hair from her back. Angel wasn’t used to be around the big creatures but she’d had the urge to visit them since she’d arrived.
Well, no time like the present.
After slowly walking down the wide steps, she felt the first touch of grass under her feet and smiled. If Angel ever got a home of her own she wanted acres and acres of grass. She still remembered the garden that had been one of her favorite spots in her parents’ house.
Even though she hardly ever visited anymore, Angel would always cherish the few short years that she’d lived in the big rambling house.
Taken for training at seven years of age, most of Angel’s earliest memories were of the compound. Almost thirty years she’d stayed in the same small one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment located in the large structure claimed by the Guardians.
She’d never had a real home. Even her family treated her differently than they did one another. While her parents remained close with her brother, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, there was a noticeable distance with her as the oldest Salvatore child.
Even though Angel knew her parents loved her, she had grown so far apart from them. Being on the Wilson ranch, and seeing the affection and loyalty that the entire Pack had for one another, was a reminder that she’d never belonged anywhere like that.
Pushing the longing aside, she strode toward the large barn. The doors stood open already so she was able to slip inside unnoticed. She scented two shifters close by but managed to avoid coming in contact with them.
had her popping her head up from where she was pressed against one of the stables. She peered over the door with caution, unsure what she’d find. Her breath caught as she stared in amazement.
The beast was magnificent. Dark brown hair gleamed in the light that came in through a small window. Looking up at the huge brown eyes, Angel felt the power radiating from the animal.
Holding up a hand, she called softly to the horse.
Barely able to keep standing still she waited in excitement until the mare had brushed up against her palm.
She jerked her hand back before reaching out once again. Cautiously, she patted the neck of the large animal.
There was no way she’d step inside the enclosure, although she really wanted to. Leaning forward, Angel watched as the horse sniffed her. Before she knew what was happening, the mare had her nose buried in Angel’s chest.
“Uh—” She froze in her spot. “Easy there.”
“She’s looking for treats.”
“Ugh!” Angel turned and jumped back, getting her feet tangled. She hit the side of the stable before going down hard.
“You okay?” Alex stood in front of her with a hand out to help her up.
This really wasn’t how she’d wanted to see the man again. Accepting his help, she allowed Alex to pull her back onto her feet. She expected him to release her immediately, but instead, he actually hauled her closer.
Stiffening against him, she prepared for rejection.
“I’m sorry,” he told her quietly.
Sure that she hadn’t heard him correctly, she just blinked up at him.
“I don’t know what I started to freak out about. I think everything just caught up to me and I panicked.”
“I understand,” she replied, unsure what else to say.
“I hurt you,” he said as he placed two fingers under her chin to make her look up at him.
She started to shake her head.
“I hurt you and I am sorry,” he repeated.
Finally Angel lifted her gaze to meet Alex’s. Right away she could see the sincerity in the chocolate-colored depths.
“I know I don’t deserve it but I would like to learn more about you.”
Shrugging, Angel wasn’t going to deny her mate anything. If the shoe were on the other foot then she would want to know about his kind. “I’ll answer any questions you have.”
“No.” He drew her closer, and Angel was powerless to resist.
Settling her hands against his chest, she could feel the muscles in his pecs moving.
“I want to get to know you. Not just what you are but who you are.”
Overcome with emotion and relief, Angel wrapped her arms around Alex’s back, burying her face in his chest. Feeling Alex’s hands on the back of her head relaxed her even more. When she was sure that she once again had control, she pulled away and peered up at him.
He smiled. “First let me introduce you to Rebel Princess.”
Confused, she looked around until she heard the horse behind her snort. “Rebel Princess?”
“Cassie named her but it fits. I call her Reba,” he explained with a wide grin.
“She is so beautiful,” she told Alex. He came back around, standing close.
“I’ve always thought so. I was driving Cassie out to college and on the west side of the highway there was this horse ranch. This one ran up and down the fence line over and over. I couldn’t get the picture of her out of my head. She was just a little one back then. After the weekend I drove back by myself and pulled over to the side when I saw her playing again.”
“I knew I had to have her. I spun around and drove straight to the office. Two weeks later she was mine.”
Once again she raised a hand toward Reba. The horse pawed the ground but came closer. This time the animal didn’t hesitate to sniff her.
“I think she likes you,” Alex commented with a chuckle.
“The feeling is mutual,” Angel whispered back in awe.
“Have you ever ridden?”
“No, no, this is the closest that I’ve ever come to one.”
“We have a tradition of taking the horses on a sunset ride down the canyon. I’d love for you to join us sometime.”
“Really?” she asked, glancing over her shoulder.
“Yes, like I said, I want to get to know you.”
“I want that too,” she agreed.
Reba backed away, so Angel spun back to Alex. “What now?”
“I want to show you something,” he told her as he held out his hand.
Linking her fingers with his, Angel followed behind her mate. She was counting her blessings that somehow he had overcome his fear and was at least open to the possibilities of learning more about her.
He led her farther back into the barn where she caught the faint sound of something rustling around. Alex winked over his shoulder before pausing in front of one of the half doors.
“Oh my,” Angel exclaimed softly. Right in front of her eyes, a tiny colt was leaning against a much larger mare.
“He’s only three weeks old,” Alex told her.
“He’s so little.”
“The best part of having the ranch with the horses is watching the young ones grow up,” he confided.
That sounded good to Angel. Alex had such a great life that she wasn’t certain she would be able to fit in. Had fate made a mistake matching the two of them together? She didn’t want to believe that Alex wouldn’t be able to accept her.