Redeemed: True Mates Book 4 (BBW Wolf Shifter Romance) (A Craggstone Paranormal Romance) (4 page)

BOOK: Redeemed: True Mates Book 4 (BBW Wolf Shifter Romance) (A Craggstone Paranormal Romance)
2.46Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

“Because you
think
we might be true mates, I should abandon my pack? My job? Everything I have worked for?”

“You don’t need them anymore.”

What the fuck?
“Whoa! Stop right there! What I
need
or don’t need is not up to you. Never will be!”

“As your mate—”

“Possible mate. And even if I agreed to explore this
thing
—” I swirled my finger between us, mocking his earlier gesture, “—I wouldn’t give up my pack, or my job. And definitely not my right to choose what I do, and when I do it. My father didn’t have that authority over me, so you certainly wouldn’t!”

“And you haven’t met her father,” Cole piped up from the couch, his tone mocking.

Jason shifted back a step, his lips twisted in a grimace. “So, what are you saying? I can’t go back to that world. I have commitments, a business, a nice apartment.”

“Compromise, buster. If you want a chance at getting to know me, then you’ve got to work for it. Not just lay down the rules.
Your
rules. Help me find Sunclaw, let me get to know you. Hell, you might not even like me! I’m sure I’m not like the human women you must have been dating over the last twenty years.”

“That’s if he’s been getting any…”

“Not helping, Cole,” I snapped without turning around. “Let me get to know you, too. But you can forget the idea that you can click your fingers and I’ll turn into a nice obedient mate. So not gonna happen.”

His eyes flashed violet at my words, narrowing as he gazed at me. “Obedience is not what I am looking for in a mate. I like feisty, especially when I fuck,” he growled, taking a step toward me, invading my space, until I had to crane my neck to look up at him. “Maybe once you’ve had a taste you will be more amenable to my suggestions?”

Staring into the swirling violet of his eyes, I nearly forgot how to breathe, the heat from his skin radiating out, teasing me. I could finally admit it, I was scared. Petrified. Because he might be right. One touch from this man and I might lose myself. Shit, one kiss and I’d been ready to beg.

I swallowed hard, holding his gaze, knowing mine swirled with the silver of my wolf. “Any tasting will have to wait until we’ve completed out task and found Sunclaw.” Because I didn’t trust myself, not around him.

He must have read something in my eyes, seen my inner doubts, because he nodded, taking a step back. “Shall we go then?” he said, gesturing toward the door.

“Sounds good to me,” Cole muttered, striding out of the door and snagging his pizza off a stunned looking delivery boy. “Keep the change,” he called over his shoulder.

Muttering, I pulled a twenty out of my pocket and shoved in the kid’s hand before hurrying to catch up, Jason close at my heels.

 

 

CHAPTER FOUR

Jason

I could feel their eyes scrutinizing me. Assessing. Judging. It didn’t bother me. For one, I’d been dealing with similar stares all my life. And two, I didn’t give a shit what they thought about me.

The only eyes I bothered to meet were those of Macey’s Alpha. James Colstone. He was an impressive looking man, with dark hair and an understated strength. It was his eyes, though, that told of the power he held, of the wolf he hid inside.

Seated behind a monstrously large desk, he appeared relaxed, lounging in a high-back leather chair, his fingers tapping out a staccato rhythm on the scarred wooden surface.

Matching his easy posture, I sprawled on the couch directly opposite him, my fingers stroking the worn, soft material.

Posturing
. Like the animals we were.

Surrounding us, the rest of his lieutenants gathered in various states of agitation. Some, copying their Alpha, went for amused and relaxed. Others bristled with open hostility, shooting me agitated glances of disgust and apprehension.

Only Macey seemed truly relaxed, though maybe that wasn’t the right word for it. She was on edge, but I was nearly one hundred percent sure it was because she was fighting our attraction. Trying to hold back. Good thing I liked a challenge. Maybe by doing this for her, she would come around to my way of thinking. She couldn’t possibly enjoy all the pack fighting and squabbles. No, she would be much happier once we moved to the city. I was sure of it.

The room was silent, had been since I’d strolled through the door. Except for the
tap-tap
of Mr. I’m-a-high-and-mighty-alpha’s fingers.

Eventually, James’ hand froze and his lips stretched in what I believed to be an attempt at a smile, more like a grimace of bared teeth. “So, Jason. Macey has filled you in on why we need to find the Sunclaw Pack?”

I tilted my head in a brief nod.

I could see James visibly grit his teeth, his jaw clenching, before continuing, “I guess the question is, do you know where they are?”

“I do.”

Yes, his teeth were definitely gritted now.

“Will you share that information with us?”

“I might.”

James tensed, his eyes flashing molten silver, his wolf rising to the surface.

Just try it. Go on
, my eyes dared him as I allowed my coyote to surface. I might not live as a shifter anymore, but it didn’t make me any less powerful.

We locked gazes for what must have been a couple of seconds, the tension in the room mounting. I could feel his power curling out, circling me, testing me for weaknesses, and licking at my skin.

“I wouldn’t do that,” I murmured, my voice a low growl, letting my own power unfurl, tangling with his.

Macey slid down from her seat on the windowsill. “Stop it! It’s always the same with guys, thinking they’re all macho and shit. Well, it’s just bullshit, all this
testing
each other and stuff. We all get it—you’re both big deals. Whatever.”

“I think you’ll find it’s the coyote being difficult,” James growled, his back ramrod straight as he pushed harder at me.

She moved across the room, her walk smooth and gliding, a predator in her own right. “
He’s
on his own. You’ve got your whole pack here. What did you expect from him? Instant obedience.”

“Respect would have been nice.”

A laugh forced its way out of my mouth, the sound derisive, echoing my feelings perfectly. “
Respect?
Why would I give you that? You’re not my Alpha. Not a friend. You’re the son of the man responsible for killing my family. I think it is
you
who should earn my respect.”

James shot up out of his chair and rounded the desk. “My father had
nothing
to do with what happened to your family!”

Leaping up, I met him in the center of the room, my hands clenched into tight fists, rage pouring off me. “He had
everything
to do with it! He chose not to help our pack. He just sent me back with my dead Alpha and a message. I was fourteen years old! And he didn’t
do
anything—
that
is why I hold him responsible.
Now
you say you want to help my old pack, after the great and mighty Colstone Pack has wanted nothing to do with them for so long. Has looked the other way while we suffered.” I leaned closer, crowding his personal space. “You don’t want to help them, you want to help yourself. Like the Colstone Pack always has done. Don’t try and make out that you’re doing this because you care.”

I braced myself, expecting the other man to erupt, for the fists to start flying and the claws to come out. I didn’t care. I was sick of being lied to. For a short while, I had been in awe of his father, seeing in him the man I wanted to be. Thankfully, the idolization had been short lived, and I comforted myself with the fact that I had been a child, therefore easily impressed. But I was a man now, and I didn’t stand for people messing with me.

Rumbling growls filled the room, the tension in the air thick and tangible.

On a deep sigh, James ran a hand through his hair, leaning back slightly. Not completely, because he was an Alpha and it was not in his genetic makeup to back down, but just enough to let me know I had scored a point.

“Damn, you actually make a little sense. I hadn’t thought about it that way. I’ve been too wrapped up in what’s been happening to
my
pack and
my
people to even consider Sunclaw.” He scratched his chin thoughtfully, rocking back on his heels. “I suppose we’ve been considering Sunclaw as the enemy all this time, not as a pack who needed our help. I’m sorry for that.”

The fact that he had said sorry startled me. All the Alpha’s I had ever known would never have admitted they were in the wrong, not even a fraction. I tilted my head, eyeing him carefully. Was he playing with me? Easing me into a state of complacency before he struck the first blow?

“He means it, Jason. James wouldn’t mess with you like that. It’s not his style,” Macey murmured from behind me.

Damn! It was like the woman had read my mind. Was my wariness and mistrust that transparent?

My eyes flicked around the room, looking for any sign that James was lying to me. Every single packmember met my gaze, not one hiding their feelings. Sure, a lot of them still didn’t like me, didn’t trust me, but at least they were being honest about it.

“Okay,” I said, forcing my feet to take a step backwards, trying to convince myself I wasn’t backing down, just compromising.

Compromising.
The word echoed in my mind, the same word Macey had used back at my apartment. Maybe I could do this and prove to her that she should
compromise,
too.

“Thank you,” she whispered, her hand glancing against my bare arm.

James’ eyebrows flew up, nearly disappearing into his hairline. “Well, well,” he muttered under his breath before his lips curled up into a grin, a proper one this time. “Good luck there, she’s a tough nut.”

“With a gooey center,” Cole called out from across the room, rolling his eyes at Macey’s annoyed expression. “You should ask her who her dad is, then you’ll know where she gets it from.”

“Cole! Shut. Up!” my future mate hissed.

Future mate.
I liked it, had known from the second I had seen her, and James had just confirmed it for me. A tough nut, just like me. I raised an eyebrow at Macey, along with every other person in the room.

She just glared at us, her arms folded across her chest.

“Never thought I’d see the day when she kept something quiet,” James said in a low voice, chuckling when he received a quick shove from Macey.

If she didn’t want to share with the crowd, that was fine by me. I’d get it out of her later. Clearing my throat to grab everyone’s attention, I sat back down, grabbing a startled Macey and pulling her down with me. “I’ll tell you everything I know. I know where they were a couple of years ago, so, unless they’ve moved…”

She squirmed in the seat next to me, her leg sliding against mine, our arms brushing together. “You might want to stop doing that, unless you really
want
me to drag you out of the room in front of everyone?” I murmured into her ear, breathing in her lush scent.

She stilled instantly, but flashed me a sidelong glance, the heat in her eyes at odds with her immediate acquiescence.

Counting the minutes until I could get her alone again, I quickly started to explain what I knew about the Sunclaw Pack, skirting around one vital piece of information.

The
exact
location of the pack.

I had learned the hard way that it was always better to keep some things to yourself.

After all, if I gave them everything then Macey wouldn’t need me.

And then there would be no compromise.

 

 

CHAPTER FIVE

Macey

“I don’t get why you have to see him?”

The infuriating ice-king, one of the many names I had dubbed him, just glanced at me, his pale blue eyes giving nothing away.

I shuddered as we made our way out of the main house and around the corner to what I called Oliver’s workshop. It was actually an old coal house, now empty except for Oliver’s tools of the trade. He was the pack fixer, something I didn’t completely understand, and to be perfectly honest, didn’t want to. He also worked for the Council, which meant he worked for my father. Another reason for me not to question his work too closely.

James had given the go ahead for Jason to go see our prisoner, just on the off-chance that seeing a coyote might throw him for a loop, giving Oliver the chance to break him. James was willing to try anything apparently, because Gary hadn’t broken yet, despite Oliver having had him for at least a day now.

Resigning myself to the fact that Jason was playing the strong, silent card, I rapped my knuckles hard on the thick steel door. I heard a bolt being drawn back, then another, and finally the door slid open with an ominous creak.

The room within was cast in shadows, the only light source a single candle, flickering in the slight breeze that blew through the open door.

BOOK: Redeemed: True Mates Book 4 (BBW Wolf Shifter Romance) (A Craggstone Paranormal Romance)
2.46Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

That Man Simon by Anne Weale
Ghost of a Chance by Kelley Roos
Rush by Beth Yarnall
The Sekhmet Bed by L. M. Ironside
Wildfire by Chris Ryan
Direct Descent by Frank Herbert
Love in E Flat by Sweeney, Kate
The Last Noel by Heather Graham