Werewolves in Love 2: Yours, Mine and Howls (9 page)

BOOK: Werewolves in Love 2: Yours, Mine and Howls
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“That’s Snowmane. We’re on standby. She’ll drop in the next day or two.”

Ally cocked her head to the side. “Snowmane. That’s a horse in Tolkien, right?”

“Very good. Yes. Tolkien used a lot of Icelandic and Old Norse names. My mother liked naming horses from his books.”

“Do you ride the Icelandics?” asked Dylan, eyeing the little animals doubtfully.

Cade laughed. “No. I feel silly as hell on a horse that short. Some wolves don’t care, though. A lot of them like the ponies for their kids. I ride a Hunter. His name is Sleipnir.”

Ally said, “That’s not Tolkien, is it?”

“No. Sleipnir was Odin’s eight-legged horse.”

“You’re into Norse mythology?”

“My mother was an acolyte of Eir, an Old One. The Norse thought she was a goddess. They made her one of the valkyrie.”

“Really,” she said quietly.

She had a strange look on her face—shock, maybe, or fear? A lot of people didn’t even like to admit the existence of the Old Ones. Some, like Apocalyptics, found human contact with them abhorrent.

Cade crossed his arms and regarded her steadily. “Does observance of the Old Ones disturb you? I don’t pay much attention to it, but I should tell you that Sindri is devoted to Eir.”

She shook herself and smiled apologetically. “No, no, that’s not it at all. I’ve got Apocalyptic relatives and they offend me. No, I just… I used to know an old lady in service to Eir. I was just surprised. I didn’t think she had many acolytes in the U.S.”

“You’re right. She’s not widely known outside Scandinavia. Sindri’s from Iceland, like my mom—he came to the States with her when she married my dad.”

She gave a little laugh and shook her head again. “Well, anyway. I’ve read Tolkien two or three times. I always thought if I ever had a horse of my own, I’d name him Shadowfax.”

She turned to stare at Snowmane again, looking downright dreamy.

Dylan grinned. “Horses make her happy.”

“I can tell.” He returned his nephew’s smile, oddly relieved. “When I get back from Denver, we’ll go for a ride. We don’t have time today. I’m taking the Wrangler to show you around the property.”

“Oh, that’s right—you were supposed to meet with Aaron’s father tomorrow, weren’t you?”

“How’d you know that?”

She looked embarrassed. “I’m sorry. It’s just… Shawn and I were talking about Aaron last night, and the pack, and he mentioned it.”

“Shawn talks too much.”

Ally tilted her head back. For a second, once again, he thought she was going to look him in the eye. “Cade, if I’ve annoyed you again, I’m sorry. I promise I’m not doing it on purpose. I’ll head back to the house and you can show Dylan around without me.”

“Wait a minute—”

“Hush, Dylan.” She backhanded the teen lightly across the shoulder and then looked up at Cade again, still a little red-faced. “I mean it. I just talked to Shawn a little bit before you got back from the hospital. I don’t want my mouth getting him in trouble.”

Cade didn’t want her mouth getting
in trouble, so he quit staring at it. “I’m in a crappy mood,” he muttered. “It’s making me snap more than usual.”

And that was all he’d give her. He wasn’t in the habit of apologizing to cheeky females, not even ones with bottomless dimples and smooth lips and perfect tits.

Dylan had watched the whole exchange in mortified silence. His nephew cleared his throat diffidently. “Look, I was gonna go for a run anyway. Y’all can go without me, I don’t—”

“You can go for a run later, son.”

“Yes, sir.”

Ally’s eyes widened at that. She looked like she was struggling to keep a straight face. Those fucking dimples were showing, though.



Soon they were out on the property, bouncing up and down the hills and cutting through acres of uncleared brush and trees. He’d taken the doors and top off the Wrangler.

He didn’t attempt to cover all ten thousand acres but showed them his favorite parts of it. On the western side of the property, about five miles behind the main house and separated from it by dense trees, they got out of the Jeep and hiked down to an offshoot of the Arkansas River that cut through a shallow ravine.

This was one of Cade’s favorite spots. The pine and cedar trees stretching out over the water on either side kept it cool even in the height of summer, providing the prettiest and most peaceful spot on the ranch. Ally and Dylan were excited with everything Cade showed them. It surprised him how happy their reaction made him.

He’d loved this land since he was old enough to recognize it. He remembered his life here until the age of eleven like some kind of dream world—he didn’t remember ever being unhappy, or scared, or sad, or his parents arguing, or anything bad at all ever happening. He knew it wasn’t so, of course. The MacDougalls had been a normal, albeit wealthy and very happy, family. They had had problems like anyone else. But because the events of his eleventh summer were so horrific, everything that went before tasted impossibly sweet in his memory.

When he’d returned fifteen years ago, to find Sindri and Shawn living in the main house while the cabins and outbuildings crumbled around them, he knew he’d never leave again.

Screams of laughter startled him. He’d just run the passenger side of the Wrangler through a big patch of muddy water, drenching Ally. Wet and dirty for the second day in a row, she laughed it off.

So did Dylan, perched in the backseat. “Dude, you totally soaked her! That was so awesome!”

“Don’t ever call me dude. But you’re right, that was pretty awesome.”

“Did you do that on purpose?” Ally shrieked.

“No, I swear.” He almost managed not to laugh as he said it.

The sun wouldn’t set for a few hours, but the temperature had dropped. She shivered.

“Dylan. You said you wanted to run, didn’t you?”


“Strip off and give your shirt to Ally. You can get back to the house on four feet.”


He threw his clothes to Ally. Minutes later, furry, he bounded away.

Cade looked at Ally. “Damn. He changes almost as fast as I do.”

“Dec and Seth couldn’t believe how fast he does it in broad daylight. I don’t think he’s finished growing yet.”

The stronger the wolf, the faster and less painful the change, and the less vulnerable he was to changing against his will. Alphas as powerful as Cade could change at any time and could resist the change under duress.

“Turn around,” Ally said.

He turned his back and waited ’til she said “Okay.” When he turned back, she was out of her wet T-shirt and into Dylan’s much larger one. She rolled her shirt up—and bra? Yep, she’d taken her bra off—and threw them in the backseat.

He needed to get to Denver in a hurry.

“Now. Can we check out that swimming pool?”

“Fine with me, ma’am.”

After a few minutes of driving in companionable silence, she said, “Can I ask you something personal without pissing you off?”

“What the hell do you care? Pissing me off doesn’t bother you much.”

“It does too! I swear I’m not doing it on purpose.” Her ponytail was coming loose, strands of dark blond hair whipping across her face. Her cheeks were rosy from the wind and her eyes still shone with glee. She smelled of lavender and sweat, and he’d swear he could smell happiness on her as well. He wanted to put his face to the back of her neck and inhale her.

This had to stop.

“Oh, all right,” he grumbled. “Ask.”

“Okay.” She paused a minute, choosing her words. “When you get mad at me for arguing with you, or the way I talk to you—is it because you’re a Pack Alpha or because I’m a woman?”

“It’s both,” he said carefully. “I’m not used to women arguing with me, and I can’t remember the last time someone told me to shut up.” And he couldn’t understand why it hadn’t made him angrier—that kind of defiance would normally trip all his alpha wires.

“Well, I shouldn’t have said shut up. That was ugly. So when you were surprised, thinking Seth obeyed me—that was because I’m a woman? And even betas shouldn’t obey a woman?”

He knew where she was going with this. It came up with a lot of women, and it was one of the reasons Cade avoided serious dating. “It’s unusual. It’s just weird to see a woman dominate two wolves, even if they’re both betas.”

She made that contemptuous clicking sound with her tongue that only females could do. He could feel her rolling her eyes at him.

“I don’t dominate them. I just tell them what to do. ’Cause…they’re laid back, and I’m not, so it’s easier that way.”

“Whatever you say, Ally. It’s still weird.”

“Are all alphas sexist?”

Now he laughed out loud. “I knew you’d get to that. No. Wolves aren’t sexist. We’re just wolves. We don’t submit to women. Not permanently, not… It’s tough to explain.”

“What about mates?”

“Oh, well, mates are different. That’s a whole other psychological, physical relationship. When a wolf bonds to a mate…yeah, it’s different. It’s not really submission, but I guess it’s similar. My parents were mated, and my mother could play my dad like a piano. And he knew it.”

did he know it? Cade had never thought about that before. He frowned to himself as he downshifted to get up a small hill and back onto the paved road.

“So…Becca’s mother isn’t your mate?”

“No, she wasn’t.” He carefully emphasized the last word and waited for the question he knew would come next.

“Where is she? Is she still involved with Becca?”

“Mary Ann’s not around. I paid her a lot of money to go away, and I expect her to stay there. It’s best for Rebecca.”

She didn’t say anything after that.

They were back on the main road leading to the complex. It was easier to hear and talk now that that they weren’t bucking across the bumpy terrain.

“Now I have something to ask
,” he said.

“And you don’t particularly care if it pisses me off.”

“Not really.” Somehow she made him smile when he should’ve been annoyed. When he actually was, in fact, annoyed. “You haven’t spent much time around any wolves but yours, have you?”

“No, just casual acquaintances. Seth’s the only one I was related to—well, him and Dylan. Since we left Lake Charles, we’ve avoided other packs.” She turned toward him with newfound animation. “See, when we first got to Texas, we kept a low profile. I think Lake Charles suspected Seth killed Guy, and they let him get away with it because Gracie was his sister. They must’ve figured he had a right. But even though they didn’t come after us, we decided it was best to stay out of Louisiana. So—”

“Hang on,” he interrupted, holding up a hand and glancing at her as he drove. “About that. What happened with Guy’s body? The cops? Your trailer?”

“Seth made an anonymous call and told the cops they’d find Gracie in her trailer and Guy in mine.” Her accent had gotten a little twangier as she talked about the past. It was sexy as hell. She chattered on, oblivious to the way he was staring at her and probably risking a rollover. “Once the cops realized Guy had killed Gracie, they didn’t care who killed Guy.”

“Yeah, but, I mean, what about

She shrugged. The wind had whipped more hair out of her ponytail. He fought the urge to reach out and tuck the silky strands behind her ear.

“I called a friend, told her to send me a few things I wanted and I’d deed the trailer and everything in it over to her. All it cost her was getting the place cleaned up, so she was happy. And then we—”

“No, wait, Allison, that’s not what I meant. How did y’all explain
disappearance? Yours and Dylan’s? Even if the cops didn’t care who killed Guy, he’s dead in your trailer, and you’re nowhere around, and neither is the pup. What did they think when they saw all that blood?”

She cocked her head with a lopsided little grin, like he’d said something funny and she knew he didn’t realize it. “Cade, we lived in an empty trailer park on a bayou fifteen miles outside of town—me, a drunk werewolf, his stripper wife and their little boy. The cops don’t wonder about folks like us.”

When he didn’t say anything—what the hell could he say? He had no idea what it was like to grow up like that—she went on cheerfully.

“I’m still not sure what stories are out there, but the Houston wolves weren’t anxious to have Seth around. I think Nick would’ve let him in anyway, after he got to know us, but Seth never wanted to join. I don’t think Seth is a born Lone, it just worked out that way. Dec is definitely a born Lone.”

“MacSorley is strange,” Cade muttered.

She busied herself redoing her ponytail before saying, a little crossly, “I’ll take your word for it. He’s popular back home. There aren’t many wolves in Sugar Land, just a few young betas who followed Dylan around. They didn’t have fathers.”

Wolves needed to be raised by wolves, if not necessarily in packs. Fatherless wolves had higher rates of alcoholism, domestic violence and imprisonment.

“That’s one of the reasons I decided to bring him here.” Finished messing with her hair, she turned her attention back to him, where it belonged. “Dylan needs to be around werewolves, and I didn’t think Houston was the best choice.”

“Of course it wasn’t. You had to bring him here.”

She cocked her head at him. “Well, no, I didn’t
to. I wanted him to meet his only paternal relative.”

He couldn’t let that one go. “You had to bring him here. I’m his uncle.”

She shrugged deliberately. “So is Seth.”

“I wanted to meet him. You didn’t have a choice.”

“I always have a choice,” she responded calmly.

He threw the Jeep into park. For a split second, he feared she’d bang her head into the windshield, but she had amazing reflexes. She simply stretched out a hand for the dashboard. He would’ve been ashamed to hurt her, but goddamn. She took turns pissing him off and turning him on.

“Do you enjoy baiting me, little girl? Is that why you keep doing it?”

“No. But let’s get something straight.” She took a deep breath and bit her lip. He could smell her anger and her fear, but she didn’t cower. Her words were clipped and precise. “Dylan’s not just my cousin, he’s my kid. I saved him, I raised him, he’s mine. If he wants to join your pack, fine. If he wants to leave, fine. But I didn’t have to bring him. I don’t have to do anything.”

BOOK: Werewolves in Love 2: Yours, Mine and Howls
4.51Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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