Redeemed: True Mates Book 4 (BBW Wolf Shifter Romance) (A Craggstone Paranormal Romance) (6 page)

BOOK: Redeemed: True Mates Book 4 (BBW Wolf Shifter Romance) (A Craggstone Paranormal Romance)
13.9Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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Jason brushed a hand against the small of my back, the gesture meant to comfort, but all it did was send a trickle of heat coursing down my spine to pool in my stomach. Something I definitely didn’t need right now. Especially with my dad in the room.

“And? I think I must be missing something here. Why does that affect Macey?”

My dad shrugged his shoulders. “It does, and it doesn’t. If people knew who she was, she might be targeted. Also, she is the only one of my line, which means she is most likely the one to rise in power to take my seat when I vacate, as I did when my father left this world, and he, his father, and so on.”

I nearly choked on the words, but they eventually made their way out. “But I’m a girl.”

“Targeted in what way?” Jason demanded, moving put his large frame a fraction in front of mine.

My dad eyed him thoughtfully, then answered, “You’ll do for my girl. It is a good match. The Mother of All has done well.”

“I said, targeted in what way?”

I had seen my dad bring a man to his knees for speaking to him like that, but this time, he just nodded, his lips curving up even more. “A very good match. Targeted for blackmail or ransom, that’s one option.”

“The other?”

It was like they were the only ones in the room, the others having fallen silent, listening with open mouths.

“Macey is a beautiful woman—I think you’ll agree with me there. Add to that, she most likely will hold a seat on the Shifter Council one day…a lot of men would go to great lengths to control that seat.”

Jason’s brow creased as he processed the information. “But you said that she is powerful, or that she will be one day. How would any man control her?”

“Through conditioning. If she were to be tamed and controlled
before
she came into her full power…”

“I see.”

And suddenly, so did I. My dad hadn’t wished I were a boy, hadn’t trained me so hard, pushed me so much, because he didn’t care—it was because he did care about me. He’d toughened me up out of love, to keep me safe. It was as if a cage had been unlocked, all the hurt and disillusion that had smothered me all my life floating away.

I launched myself into my dad’s arms, burrowing into his welcoming embrace, my mind reeling with the fact that I had been so wrong. I wasn’t a disappointment. I didn’t need to prove myself.

“I’m so sorry, Papa,” I whispered, using the endearment I hadn’t used since being a young pup.

Loving hands stroked my hair, hugging me tight. “I’ve always been proud of you, my little girl. And I’ve always loved you. It just had to be from afar, until you found your mate or came into your power fully. It was just too damn dangerous for you to be near me.”

 

 

***

Jason

I was glad that Macey was making up with her dad. From what I had gleaned so far, she’d had a tough childhood. It wasn’t right for any child to grow up thinking they were unwanted, that they were not
enough
. No child of mine would ever feel that way. I would love them no matter what, cherish every moment with them, because you never knew what was around the corner, when a family could get ripped apart.

But would you be able to love them unconditionally? Your child would be a shifter, like you…
The stray thought flashed through my mind, hitting me square in the chest. Would I try and change my own child? Teach them to ignore who they really were, to be ashamed? I wasn’t ashamed, but I had my own reasons for turning my back on my past. They wouldn’t even have that choice.

My gut instinct was to immediately deny the sly whispers of doubt, to insist that I would never consciously hurt my own flesh and blood like that, but was I
really
sure?

Shoving the disturbing revelations to the back of my mind, I replayed what Macey’s dad had just revealed. She was vulnerable. A target, especially now more people knew. I had no reason to trust this group of wolves; any one of them could betray her.

My pulse sped and my chest pinched as I sucked in a strangled breath. The low voices around me faded in and out, buzzing in my ears. I swallowed, my mouth suddenly dry and gritty.

The thought of something happening to Macey…my beautiful, vivacious, spunky mate. I couldn’t allow it. I had to get her out of here. Protect her.

“Macey, we need to leave.” I hadn’t meant my voice to sound so harsh, but it certainly caught her attention.

“Leave? You mean go to Sunclaw?”

“No. The others can deal with that. We need to go back to the city, disappear. It’s safer.” Change of plan, I would tell James the exact co-ordinates, once we were safe. Once Macey had agreed.

The room had fallen silent, everyone listening to our exchange.

Macey stood up, her mouth set in a thin line. “Jason, I’m not going to the city with you.”

Right. Because she didn’t believe me. In my panic I had forgotten that little fact. Frustration roared through me. Why couldn’t she just believe me? She felt the same pull toward me that I had to her. I could see it in her eyes, in the way her body reacted to mine. Sweet Mother! I could still remember the smell of her arousal, even now!

Okay, back to Plan A.

“If I take you to Sunclaw and prove to you that I am not working with them, will you then return to the city with me?”

Cole sprung to his feet, marching over to Macey and hugging her to his side. “You can’t make her go anywhere with you, coyote,” he growled, his large frame tense and ready for action.

“Move away from her, wolf.” My coyote reared up inside of me, coiled and ready to attack. Flashes of purple danced across the room, coherent thought bleeding into territorial reaction.

“Cole, move away from my daughter.” Gregg’s voice was low and firm. “You are messing with an Alpha shifter’s mate.”

“Alpha? Him?” Cole sneered, not moving.

“Did you think the Mother of All would pair my daughter with anyone less? He might be a loner, but he is still an Alpha. Now, I suggest you move before he rips off the arm you have curled around my daughter.”

Their voices sounded far off, in the distance. I could hear what they were saying, but it didn’t make any sense. All of my attention was on the aqua blue eyes in front of me. They were the only thing that was keeping me from drowning in a sea of rage. If she blinked or looked away…

“Stand down, Cole,” James ordered.

Shrugging, Cole let go of my mate, his movements nonchalant, trying to front that it was his decision all along.

“Calm your mate, before we have another interspecies war on our hands,” Gregg murmured in Macey’s ear.

“He’s
not
my mate! Not yet anyway. I haven’t decided.”

A low growl trickled from my lips as she glanced at her father, breaking our connection, denying my claim. I lurched forward a step, my eyes flitting around the room. The wolves were a threat. One I could easily eliminate. They were watching me, eyeing me, like I was eyeing them. Searching for weaknesses.

“Stop being stubborn. You’re just like your mother. She denied me at first, too, but it was inevitable.”

“I can make my own choices, thank you very much!”

Take down the one in the far corner first, then the one behind the desk. He is the most dangerous, but shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

“You’re running out of time. Look at his eyes. He’s held the coyote back for too long; it’s riding him now.”

“Well, fuck.”

A split second before I threw myself forward, she was in front of me, a small hand pressed against my chest, another gripping my chin and forcing my eyes down to meet hers.

“Stop!”

“They’re a threat. They’ll take you from me. Hurt you.” The words were nearly intelligible, my vocal chords already having started to shift.

“No. They won’t. They’re my friends.
And
I can look after myself, buster!”

I pushed forward, the urge to shift riding me, my bones aching, my jaw throbbing. “I have to protect you. Mate.”

“What you
need
to do is shift, but not here. Come with me and we’ll shift and run together. You’ve gone too long.”

My bones ached and my blood was on fire. “Hurts.”

“I know,” she whispered, stroking a finger along my jaw, her touch sparking a trail of heat, distracting me from my targets. “Come with me.”

I sucked her scent into my lungs, pure and clean. My coyote howled inside of me, racing forward.

She took my hand and turned toward the door.

My feet stayed frozen in place. I was unable to rip my eyes away from the wolves. The urge to fight, to dominate, surged through me. Sweet Mother, it hurt. I gritted my teeth, the sharp pinpricks against my lips a telltale sign that my fangs had lengthened.

She tugged on my hand insistently. “Jason, come with me.”

One of the men rose carefully from his seat, his eyes deliberately not meeting mine, not challenging. He was darkly tanned, with a scar running down one side of his face. A tattoo clung to his neck, wrapping around and disappearing into his t-shirt.

“I had a similar problem, bro. My beast rode me, and I hated him. So, I controlled him through force of will and discipline, just like you must have, to bury yours so deep. I’m telling you this because you’ve found your mate, which can either be your turning point or your ultimate failure. You have to accept him as a part of who you are. It can be a beautiful thing, but you have to work for it. I work hard
every goddamn
day
to stay sane.”

“Who are you?” My words were nearly unintelligible, gravelly and low.

“Sean. Bert is my father.”

The man said the words simply, without emotion, but I understood. If his father was the one who had killed my family, then his father was a monster. “I should kill you for what he did to me and mine,” I growled.

Sean shrugged, his hands stuck in his pockets as he stared at a point just above my head. “You could, but would you mind letting me kill him first, before you have a stab at me?” His eyes flicked down, meeting mine for the first time, brown bleeding into gold, his self-proclaimed
beast
peeking out. “It could be an interesting fight, and I, for one, wouldn’t mind a sparring match once you have him under control.”

Kinship.
That was the only word that sprang to mind as I stared at him. He understood. A feeling both strange and foreign, but also welcome.

I blinked, the tint of purple fading, vivid colors swimming back into focus.

Sean jerked his chin at me, a silent stamp of approval.

The battle might have been won, but a war still raged inside of me. I needed to get outside and shift. Stat.

This time it was me jerking Macey’s hand as I half ran from the room, tugging her behind me into the meadow outside.

 

 

CHAPTER SEVEN

Jason

I couldn’t stop running, the long grass whipping at my legs, the wind pelting me in the face. The forest called to me, beckoning seductively, a riot of tastes and smells begging to be sampled.

My only thought was on reaching the shadowed depths, of ripping my clothes off and letting the shift surge through me.

Laughter trailed behind me, the sound snatched away by the wind, soft and feminine, and full of life.

My mate
. She was running with me, not behind me anymore, her long legs striking the ground with purpose, her fingers linked with mine as we pushed each other faster, harder, trying to outrun the ghosts that chased us both.

Reaching the tall trees, we darted inside, and immediately she peeled off her top, her hands reaching for her jeans.

I couldn’t tear my eyes away. Her chest shook with the effort to breathe; her lacy bra cupped and barely contained her heavy breasts. Pink lace. I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was. Underneath the tough-girl-lieutenant front, she was delectably female, all pink lace and satin bows.

My cock thickened in my jeans, the rough fabric rubbing against my sensitive flesh. I had never wanted anyone the way I wanted Macey. I wanted to breathe her in, absorb her, know her inside out. What made her tick, what made her laugh.

Had I heard her laugh yet? The wind had stolen the sound, and I ached to hear her laugh out loud. To see tears of joy streaming down her face.

“What are you thinking?” Her voice was hoarse as she stared at me, one hand resting on the waistband of her jeans.

“You. All about you. Everything.” If I could have slapped myself, I would have.
Too much, too soon, idiot!

But her face broke out in a smile, pure pleasure reaching her eyes. “I should hope so, since you’re so insistent that we’re true mates, and I’m standing here half naked.”

“Not
exactly
half naked,” I growled, eyeing the lace that stood between me and what I was sure would be pure perfection.

Following my eyes, she plucked at a lacy strap thoughtfully. “You haven’t removed anything yet.”

BOOK: Redeemed: True Mates Book 4 (BBW Wolf Shifter Romance) (A Craggstone Paranormal Romance)
13.9Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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