Werewolves in Love 2: Yours, Mine and Howls (2 page)

BOOK: Werewolves in Love 2: Yours, Mine and Howls
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Sindri didn’t turn to look at him. “Yes. She is the Healer. Death is not her equal.”

“So. If Eir can raise the dead, and if my mother was beloved of her—” Eirny MacDougall had been named for her, in fact “—then why didn’t Eir save her? Why didn’t she pull Ma…my mother out of the sea?”

The brownie’s voice softened. “Your mother made a choice,
barn.
Eir would not save her from herself.”

Just inside the door, Sindri stopped again. Still without turning around, he added, “Your mother belonged to the sea.”

Cade had hoped for a little more than that, thirty-three years after watching his mother throw herself into the North Atlantic.

Chapter Three

Ally awoke in time to see
Fremont—40 miles
go whizzing past the window.

Seth drove. Their roommate of four years, Declan, slept behind him, his long frame sprawled across half the backseat, shaggy black hair in his face.

Dylan sulked in the other corner, behind her. She always rode shotgun unless she drove. The backseat didn’t bother her, but Seth hated seeing her face in the rearview mirror. He said it gave him flashbacks.

“I still don’t see why we had to leave like that. Just, like, boom, no warning,” Dylan said.

Shouldn’t an eighteen-year-old be past the petulant stage?
She
wasn’t petulant at eighteen. She was dead at eighteen.
Kids today.

“We didn’t leave just like that,” Seth snapped. “We’ve been planning this for three months.”

“No, we’ve
talked
about it for three months. Then all of a sudden, we pack up and go. You didn’t give me any warning, or ask if I wanted to go. I’m eighteen, in case you don’t remember…”

Nothing set her teeth on edge like teenage sarcasm.

“Hey!” She sat up straight and turned to look first at Seth, then Dylan. Dec stirred in his corner. “Y’all have been arguing since we left home. Shut it, right now, or we’re listening to Sarah McLachlan the rest of the way.”

A terrified silence settled on the car.

Fremont straddled the Arkansas River two hundred miles south of Denver. Dec had lived in mountains before—it seemed Dec had lived everywhere before—but the other three hailed from a notably flat region where the only hills were freeway overpasses. They gawked with awe at the Rockies in the distant west.

“I gotta pee. Let’s take a break,” she announced as they drove into the city.

“Me too and I need to stretch my legs.” Seth had been driving all morning. This close to their destination, everyone was antsy.

Highway 50 became Main Street as it entered Fremont. The scenic little town of eight thousand boasted the best climate in Colorado. Tree-lined, partially cobblestoned Main Street ran through the downtown area and featured a mix of modern architecture and Old West-looking buildings. It was an altogether more picturesque place than the sprawling suburbs of Houston, Texas.

Seth turned into an unpicturesque gas station and fast food restaurant complex. “Don’t take too long, people. I told Michael we’d be there by two.”

“Whatever,” muttered Dylan.

“I hate teenagers,” Dec said with a crooked grin before heading off to the convenience store.

Dylan grabbed her from behind as she walked into the little restaurant, wrapping his arms around her waist and carrying her up to the order counter. He paused to jiggle her a little bit. He’d started picking her up when he was fourteen. He hated when she did it to him.

She laughed as she shrieked, “What? What do you want?”

“I’m rattling the piggy bank.” He dropped his voice a couple of octaves. “Hungry. Feed me.”

“Okay, but put me down! I have to pee and you’re squeezing my stomach.” She pulled out her wallet and peeled off a ten. Then she thought about Dylan’s appetite and peeled off another ten. “Here. Get me a Diet Coke.”

“You’ll just have to stop and pee again.”

“And shut up.”

Dylan grinned and turned toward the counter. She put a hand on his arm.

“Hey.”

He looked down. “What?”

“You know I love you, right? We both do.”

“Jesus, Ally, why are you…?”

She reached up to butt his forehead with the heel of her hand. “Watch your language. I asked you a question. You know I love you?”

He rolled his eyes. “Yes, I know you love me.”

“And you know I’ll do what I think is best for you, even if it pisses you off?”

“What am I, six?”

“No, you just act like it. Fine.” She pushed him away. “Go feed your face. Don’t forget my Diet Coke.”

She came out of the restroom to find Dylan didn’t have his food yet, so she sat down at a table near the counter. This part of the restaurant was deserted but for two werewolves in the far corner.

She could hear their whispered conversation. As always, it made her acutely uncomfortable—it wasn’t as if she tried to eavesdrop. She tapped her foot, whistled tunelessly and tried hard not to look in their direction.

The guy with the deep voice sounded young, frightened and angry. “I said I’d call if I had anything to report. I don’t.”

The other guy’s voice was higher. He sounded confident, belligerent. “Aaron, you’re not going to ignore me. We have an arrangement. That means you talk to me.”

“But I don’t want anyone to see us together!” Deep Voice Guy—Aaron—sounded a little frantic. “This could get me kicked out of the pack! That’s why I want to talk on the phone.”

As if on cue, her cell phone rang. Her stomach roiled when she saw the number. Unanswered, the call went to voicemail.

On the other side of the restaurant, the werewolves’ heated discussion continued. No matter how much she tried not to listen, she still caught the words “I don’t want to do this” and “you don’t have a choice”.

By the time Dylan returned with her Diet Coke, he had to go to the bathroom himself, so she decided to wait for him in the car.

She reached the door at the same time as the remaining wolf. Average in height, he had short brown hair and soft brown eyes. He held the door with a quiet, “Please, you first,” and she realized this was Aaron.

Seth was alone in the car when she slid into the front seat.

“Seventy bucks. Seventy damn dollars to fill up the car.”

She shrugged. “When the Fae give us that stuff they say everything can run on—”

“Yeah. When the Fae give us the formula for perpetual motion.” Seth, a master mechanic, would be out of a job. “And when the Fae give us the secret to time travel, I’ll tell my daddy not to go swimming when he’s drunk off his ass.”

She laughed and buckled her seat belt.

“I just got off the phone with Tomas.” Seth’s deep-set eyes were filled with worry.

“Yeah, he called me too, but I didn’t answer.” Tomas Alcevedo, a Fort Bend County sheriff’s deputy, was a friend of theirs back home. “What did he want?”

“He said Lind’s been talking about you around town. Says the guy looks like shit and he’s telling people you beat the hell out of him. Tomas asked me flat out if one of us did it.”

When werewolves and humans fought, the wolves were usually assumed guilty until proven innocent.

Her stomachache got worse. She did some deep breathing exercises and focused on slowing her blood pressure, not wanting Dylan or Dec to smell her anxiety.

“What did you tell him?”

Dec and Dylan piled into the car before Seth could answer.

No one said anything for the next couple of miles, but Dylan’s twitchy restlessness was audible. He inhaled the burgers he’d just bought. Then he fidgeted, and he sighed, and he shifted position over and over. His long legs kept banging into the back of Ally’s seat, but she grit her teeth and didn’t say anything, lest the tension in the car be ratcheted up still further. Although she didn’t turn around, in her mind’s eye she pictured Dec slouched in the corner, grinning at the adolescent angstfest.

She babied Dylan. Seth argued with him and Dec laughed at him. Not one of them had any idea what to do with a remarkably strong alpha werewolf poised on the brink of adulthood. He still regarded Seth as a father figure, and so, for the moment, the beta still retained a measure of control. That couldn’t last. Dec was a beta too, a cross between an uncle and a big brother. Two betas and a female, even one as strong as Ally, were not enough. Dylan needed a real pack, with a real Pack Alpha.

Hopefully, he needed Cade MacDougall.

And Ally needed to get out of Houston, but she kept telling herself that they would’ve made this trip anyway.

“Sweetie—” she began.

“Look, y’all, I—” Dylan said at the same time.

They both stopped.

“Go ahead, Dylan,” Seth said quietly. “What is it?”

“I just—I know I can be a pain in the ass, okay? But that’s not what I’m trying to do here, I swear.”

As Dylan spoke, she and Seth communicated via sidelong glances.

“I know you didn’t want to come up here, pup,” Seth replied in a tone both gruff and tender. “But we wouldn’t be doing this if we didn’t think it was a good idea. Can’t you just chill and see what happens?”

“Seth’s right, baby.”

“Seth’s right, baby,” Dylan echoed in a sing-song, nyah-nyah, toddler voice.

When he grinned, she started laughing herself. “You’re such a brat.”

“I wish Dec had never told us about the databank,” the teenager groused.

A national databank specialized in connecting werewolves who’d lost track of their relatives during the social upheavals of decades past. At Dec’s suggestion, they’d submitted Dylan’s DNA and learned the identity of his birth father. Carson MacDougall had died a few years ago, but Carson’s brother, Cade, wanted to meet his nephew.

She reached into the backseat to pat Dylan’s leg. He didn’t push her hand away. Lately, she’d take any affection she could get from the moody teenager. “Dylan, I love you. We all do.”

“I wouldn’t say I
love
you,” Dec muttered.

“Shut up, Dec,” she laughed. “Our weird little family’s been pretty happy, yeah?” Dylan started to speak; she didn’t stop to let him. “But you need a pack to help you finish growing up. And we need to figure out what to do next. Seth and I are just thirty-one.”

No one knew Dec’s age. All werewolves between thirty and seventy looked thirty-five.

“No, listen,” she said when Dylan tried to interrupt again. “Most teenagers would love to find out they’ve got a rich relative. I mean, does this sound so awful? We’re going to a ranch with horses. We’ll be in the country, with mountains and rivers. Maybe you could look at this as an adventure or a vacation, not some kind of torture we dreamed up just to make you miserable. You know?”

She paused, but he didn’t say anything. “Okay. You can talk now.”

Dylan said nothing for a minute. Then, sounding less like the sullen stranger he’d been lately and more like the pup she’d loved all his life, he said, “It sort of sounds like…well, like you just want to get rid of me.”

“Well,” she echoed, “that’s just dumb.”

Everyone laughed, even Dylan.

“We don’t have to drive a thousand miles to get rid of you, pup. We could just kick you out of the house,” said Seth.

“That’s what I voted for,” Dec said.

“But I reminded him you were there first, and he didn’t get a vote,” she interjected.

“What if I hate this guy?” asked Dylan. “What if he doesn’t like us?”

“Everybody likes me,” Dec answered promptly. “You and Seth might have a problem. But if he takes a shine to Ally, maybe we’ll all get a free ride.”

“You’d really pimp me out?” she asked, feigning insult.

“Sure, if you’re his type.” Dec’s Irish accent got stronger when he teased her. “He might just like ’em little and cute.”

“What if he’s not
my
type?”

“I don’t see how a rich and handsome wolf with lots of horses wouldn’t be your type. And don’t tell me you don’t need a man, darlin’. Or a wolf.”

Dylan snorted in disgust. “You don’t know what she needs, Dec.”

Dylan hated any mention of her dating. Or having sex. Or being a girl.

Dec just grinned at him. “New days, pup. No more Lost Boys, no more Wendy. Allison Kendall, how long’s it been since you spent time with a man you really fancied? The Dane doesn’t count.”

No, Jakob Lind didn’t count. “I can’t remember.”

Dec sighed. “You see there? That’s just sad, that is.”

Maybe so, but it didn’t matter. She no longer trusted her own judgment.

Dylan wouldn’t be distracted. “But what if he’s a dick? What if we all hate it there? We can just turn around and go home, right?”

You can
.
I probably can’t.

“If MacDougall turns out to be a jerk, we’ll deal,” she said, trying to sound breezy and unconcerned, “but Nick Wargman said he was a nice guy.”

Nick, the Houston Pack Alpha, had put them in touch with Cade MacDougall.

“That’s not what he said.” Seth brushed his dirty blond hair out of his face. He was overdue for a cut. “Nick called MacDougall a strong leader and an honorable wolf. That’s not the same thing as a nice guy.”

“Seth…”
Breezy!
Keep it breezy!

“Let’s be realistic.” Seth did breezy the way Dec did somber. “Pack Alphas don’t become Pack Alphas by being nice guys. They’re tough. They’re dominant.”

She rolled her eyes. “In other words, they’re alphas.”

“That’s not what I mean. Pack Alphas…” Seth waved a hand in frustration. “You know what it takes to
be
one? To make a bunch of wolves do what you tell them? Nick, MacDougall, guys like them—they’ve killed. And a lot of the Rocky Mountain Pack are Lones and outcasts. They’re even harder to control.”

Dylan and Seth had never lived in a pack. Dec had obviously not liked living in a pack. Yet here they were, possibly joining a pack. Once again, she wished they’d had more time to think this through.

“I just think we shouldn’t count on hugs and kisses. We don’t know what MacDougall’s expecting. Does he think Dylan is joining the pack? Me and Dec? How long’s he going to let
you
stick around?”

They hadn’t discussed any of this with the Rocky Mountain Alpha. MacDougall’s offer came just when they—she—needed it. They were making this up as they went along. For the second time in their lives, Seth, Ally and Dylan were on the run.

BOOK: Werewolves in Love 2: Yours, Mine and Howls
7.17Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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