Werewolves in Love 2: Yours, Mine and Howls (8 page)

BOOK: Werewolves in Love 2: Yours, Mine and Howls
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He headed for the room behind the fireplace. “Shawn, get some rest. You’ve got a long day tomorrow.”

Ally made up her mind as he walked away. “Cade, can I speak with you?”

He turned to her. “I’m really beat. Can it wait ’til the morning?”

“I don’t know. It’s about Aaron Stapkis.”

“What about him?”

She stopped, suddenly self-conscious, and wondered if she should just tell him everything, here in front of Shawn. He sensed her hesitation.

“Shawn. Go get some sleep.”

Shawn didn’t protest being ordered off to bed like a child. He gave Ally a wide smile and a good night.

On his way out, he stopped and hugged his Alpha tightly. Cade returned the hug, ruffling Shawn’s bright red hair and planting a kiss on top of his head. Pack wolves were more demonstrative than Lones, but Ally doubted Cade MacDougall went around hugging and kissing all his wolves like that.

Watching Shawn leave, she asked, “Does everyone just do what you tell them?”

He gave her a tired smile. “Yes. That’s why I’m the Pack Alpha. What did you want to tell me about Aaron?”

His stare was direct and unnerving. “I saw him at a restaurant this afternoon, talking to another wolf. It sounded like they were having an argument, and—”

He raised an eyebrow and held up a hand to stop her. “Wait. Not here. In my office.”



He closed the curtained French doors and sat behind his desk, motioning her to one of the two leather chairs in front of it.

There were no Scandinavian-style pieces like those in the living room and the bedrooms she’d seen so far. This furniture was what she’d always thought of as
high cowboy
. Cade’s huge kneehole desk faced the foyer. Made of a dark, rough-hewn wood, it had a lovely dark green leather top.

A bookcase armoire covered almost the entire back wall of the room. It looked like something behind the bar of a fancy saloon in an old Western. It even had a large mirror stretching the length of it. People facing Cade’s desk were forced to either focus their attention on him or look at themselves in the mirror.

Taking her seat, she resolved to keep her focus on him for as long as she could handle it. It wouldn’t be that difficult. She’d never liked looking at herself, and she welcomed an excuse to stare at him.

MacDougall leaned back in his chair and ran his hands through his hair again, tugging at his dark curls. She found it strangely comforting to recognize a fellow hair torturer.

“Okay. You saw Aaron at a restaurant this afternoon. Can you describe the man he was with? How’d you know they were arguing?”

If she recounted the conversation, he’d have more questions about her, questions she didn’t want to answer. But a guy’s life might be at stake here, and she remembered Seth’s words earlier, about finding a new way to live. The small bit of honesty she’d tried so far tonight was like standing up straight for the first time in years, long after you’d grown used to the weight pressing on your shoulders.

She briefly explained the visit to the restaurant and what she’d overheard. “I got a good look at Aaron, but I didn’t see the wolf he was talking to, except from the back.”

He frowned. “How did you know they were wolves?”

“I…I can just tell.”

“Of course you can.” He did deadpan sarcasm quite well. “You can just tell werewolves by barely looking at them.”

“Yeah, I guess it’s from living with three of them.” She tried to smile and couldn’t quite make it. She tucked her hands under her legs to keep them out of her hair. Of course he could smell her nervousness.

“How close to them were you sitting? At the next booth over?”

“I don’t know— I mean, no, not right next to them. No. I was some distance away.”

“Some distance away. But you heard the conversation clearly, even though you weren’t looking at them. You weren’t looking at them, were you?”

“No. I didn’t want them to think I was listening, so…”

“But you

“Yeah, but not on purpose. I mean—”

“So you inadvertently heard two wolves having a confidential conversation clear across a restaurant.” He sat forward now, leaning on his desk and watching her closely. His expression was blandly polite, his posture tense. He smelled agitated. She reminded herself not to meet his eyes.


“Yes what?”

“Yes, I heard two wolves having a private conversation clear across a restaurant, and no, I wasn’t looking at them, and no, they didn’t realize I could hear them.” She blew out a long breath, leaned back in her chair and closed her eyes.

“That’s some damned good hearing you’ve got, Ally.”

She didn’t open her eyes. “Yeah. It’s not that fun, actually. I hear a lot of stuff I’d rather not.”

“Like maybe two wolves discussing your tits and ass?”

Her eyes flew open. She tried to keep her expression as neutral as his. He wanted her to say something, so she said nothing.

“Good night vision you’ve got too.”


“Obviously.” He flashed a beautiful, predatory smile, teeth bright white in his dark black beard. “Humans can’t maneuver in the woods at night, not without some kind of light. Yet you followed Dylan’s howls straight to Aaron. You got there almost as fast as I did. And you could tell from looking at Aaron, in the dark, that he wasn’t dead.”

She stood up and hugged her arms across her body, jiggling a leg nervously. “Look. You’re stressed out. I feel like I’ve been awake for three days. We barely know each other and we’ve already had a screaming fight. I wanted to tell you because I thought it might be important, and I did, so I’m going to bed now. Good night.”

She turned, walked to the door, and bumped into his forearm. He stood right behind her, one hand on the French doors to prevent her opening them.

“I can move faster than you. That’s a relief.”

Her face, scant millimeters from his arm, flushed hot. She couldn’t tell if the heat came from her or him. She wanted to taste the warm skin of his smooth, muscled arm.

She didn’t often yearn to press her tongue to unfamiliar flesh.

That heady scent of coffee, tobacco and Cade set her pulse racing and her skin tingling. His breath stirred her hair.

She had an absurd, and absurdly powerful, urge to relax and lean back against his chest. She’d thought he was looming over her earlier, in the yard outside, but that wasn’t looming.
was looming. He made her feel small and weak, which she hadn’t felt in thirteen years. He made her feel safe and warm, which she hadn’t felt in twenty-three years.

“Ally.” Even though they weren’t touching, she could feel the vibration of his voice in his chest. It soothed her.

“Ally. Turn around.” His voice was softer now, like earlier on the swing.

This was a power play. She wouldn’t submit, even though she’d love it if he touched her again.

Which he did, kneading the back of her neck with strong, skillful fingers. She couldn’t suppress a contented purr. His touch induced contradictory sensations. It was soporific—she wanted to curl up against him and go to sleep. It was electrifying—she wanted to curl up against him and…not go to sleep.

“What are you doing?” she asked irritably.

She could sense his smile. “I’m massaging your neck.”

“That’s wildly inappropriate, don’t you think? We hardly know each other. Do my shoulders too, they’re killing me.”

He chuckled and obliged, working deeply into tense muscles.

“Do you typically give massages to women you barely know?”

“No. Do you typically let strange wolves rub your shoulders?”

She smiled. “No. It’s been an odd night. I’m not really the touchy-feely type.”

“Me neither.”

“You hugged and kissed Shawn.” That sounded weird. “I mean, I thought it was sweet.”

“Shawn is like my little brother. I take special care of him.”

One hand moved to the base of her skull, where he began to massage her scalp gently. She loved it when someone played with her hair. In Cade MacDougall’s hands, it became an erogenous zone.

She really should stop this. She really didn’t want to.

When she turned around to face him, her nose hit him right at the sternum. Intoxicated by the scent of him, she stared at the strip of tan flesh framed by his unbuttoned polo. The outrageous desire to lick him returned.

She pressed her back against the door to look up at him. She couldn’t raise her gaze much past his mouth and those full, sensuous lips in the beard that looked soft to the touch. He rested his hands lightly on her upper arms.

“Thank you,” she murmured. “That was wonderful. I think I should leave now. Will you kick me out tomorrow?”

“No. I’m not going to kick you out ’til I’ve figured you out.”

“I wasn’t lying about what I heard at the restaurant.”

“I believe you. I don’t know why, but I do.” He released her arms—reluctantly, it seemed, but maybe that was just what she wanted to believe—and she groped behind her for the doorknob. She tried not to stumble as she walked out backwards, Cade following, still looming.

As they walked out into the foyer, he said, “Tomorrow I’ll show y’all around a bit and you can see the swimming pool.”

“That would be great. Thank you.”

“Good night, Ally.”

“Good night, Cade.”

She walked up the stairs without looking back. She could feel his eyes on her all the way to her room.

Chapter Nine

He slept like hell, woke up surly and called the hospital. Aaron’s condition remained unchanged.

The suicide attempt had blindsided him. His near-telepathic ability to read other people worsened the guilt. He hadn’t been looking after his pack as he should. He’d let personal matters—nanny drama, the other Alphas, Dylan’s discovery—absorb too much of his attention. Unfortunately, those were all important issues. He couldn’t ignore any of them, and certainly not the Alphas.

The phone call to Rufus Stapkis had been even worse than expected. Stapkis accused Cade outright of trying to kill Aaron. Stapkis and Cade had never even met. The meeting planned for tomorrow was supposed to facilitate some kind of détente. No chance of that now.

Stapkis would want to visit Aaron at the hospital. Protocol demanded he pay a visit to Cade first. But Stapkis didn’t recognize Rocky Mountain, and Cade couldn’t allow Stapkis to enter his territory without permission.

He might end up fighting the old wolf after all.

Michael had called Chicago and St. Louis to cancel the meeting. They’d indicated they still wanted to meet with Cade, so he would go to Denver tomorrow as planned. He’d worry about Stapkis after that.

Today, he would spend time with his guests. And tonight, with his wolves.

He went in search of Ally first. He told himself he did it because she’d know where the others were, and not because he wanted to see her the most.

Ally and Becca were getting along famously in Becca’s room, Ally clapping and cheering while Becca danced to
The Wiggles
on TV. Baby Girl begged to go with them. It reminded him that his daughter didn’t spend enough time with other children or with him. More guilt.

He filled Ally in on Aaron as they walked downstairs.

“I think Seth and Dec drove into town after lunch. They wanted to look around.”

“I guess it’s just you, me and Dylan,” he replied. The prospect of spending time with her, without the other wolves, pleased him—which annoyed him. He’d honor his deal with the Houston Alpha, but he didn’t want Ally staying any longer than necessary. He needed one less complication in his life.

Dylan was perched on the pasture fence chatting with the hands and observing the Nordic ponies. At Cade’s gesture, he jumped down and joined them as they walked to the stables.

“Have you ever been to Iceland?” Dylan asked him.

“I’ve always wanted to, but I just haven’t gotten around to it. Your grandmother never wanted to take us there. She lost her parents when she was young and said it made her sad to think of going back. But she was happy when my dad decided to raise Icelandics and Nordics. She rode them when she was young.”

“Where in Scotland did your parents die?”

“Dylan!” Ally gasped.

Cade put a hand up. “No, it’s okay.”

They had stopped just outside A-Barn. He cleared his throat and closed his eyes for a moment, startled at how the question had kicked him in the gut. Dylan look frightened.

“I’m sorry, Cade, I shouldn’t…”

“No, it’s okay,” he repeated. “Someday soon we’ll sit down, just the two of us, and I’ll tell you everything about our family. Anyway—” he cleared his throat and tried to smile at the pup “—they died on Scarista Beach, in the Outer Hebrides.”

“You went there, didn’t you?” Ally asked Dylan.

“Yeah!” the pup replied excitedly. “On the Isle of Harris. It was a really cool beach. I wanna go back.”

Ally caught Cade’s eye and mouthed, “I’m sorry.” He shook his head and grinned in spite of the pain. Eighteen was a heedless, invulnerable age. You didn’t think about dying at eighteen, and other peoples’ deaths didn’t seem completely real.

Allison Kendall had thought about dying at eighteen, though, hadn’t she? Did Dylan ever think about that? Did he ever stop to think that at his age, Ally had risked her life to save him?

She jolted him from his musings when they entered A-Barn.

“This is gorgeous! How many stalls do you have?”

“Forty. Twenty in A and twenty in B-Barn. We normally don’t have more than twenty horses at a time, though. Nordics and Icelandics here in A, and a few Irish Hunters in B-Barn.”

“Those are your only breeds?”

“For now, yeah. I keep thinking about Cobs, though. I was in Ireland last year and almost bought some stock.”

Her eyes lit up like sparklers as they walked down the runs between the stalls. He expected her to start jumping up and down, Becca-like, in her excitement. Christ, those dimples were going to kill him. Why did a brazen, lying little stealth-alpha female have to be so goddamned cute?

“You’ve never seen Icelandic horses?” Observing her glee made it hard to stay in a bad mood.

“No. They’re beautiful! Who’s the mare about to drop?”

BOOK: Werewolves in Love 2: Yours, Mine and Howls
2.74Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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