Home > Matefinder (Matefinder #1)(10)

Matefinder (Matefinder #1)(10)
Author: Leia Stone

“And how will I recognize my mate?” I asked him, pressing my body against his and staring into his eyes, watching them go yellow. His hands found their way to my hips.

“Have you seen my wolf? It’s markings?” I nodded and lowered my eyes to his lips. I didn’t want to be someone else’s mate. I wanted to choose for myself. “Well, my mate’s marking will be the exact opposite of mine. Instead of a black coat with a white star, she will have a white coat with a black star. Mates were made for each other, a union blessed by Spirit. When mates meet for the first time in wolf form, it’s said to be indescribable. Your mate might not even be on this continent, but I wanted to warn you in case he is.”

“Let’s get this over with then.” I pulled out of his grasp, afraid of getting too close. One thing was certain. I wouldn’t be anyone’s mate unless I wanted to be. I don’t care what Spirit thought. I could feel his eyes burning into the back of my head.

The entire pack was assembled. I noticed some of the men staring at me with longing.

“The first shift is painful and it takes a while. Since you’re a changed wolf you will have a gift. We may not know what it is right away, just be patient,” Kai told me.

“How do I shift?” I felt stupid for asking.

I heard Akash chuckle behind me. "You let your wolf out. No pun intended. Let her bubble to the surface. Then push with everything you are and it just happens. I threw up my first shift, so don’t feel bad if you do."

I laughed. “Okay, just don’t get too close to me. I might throw up on you.”

He smiled and then ran to be with his friends. The pack began undressing around me, including Kai, but I noticed everyone kept their eyes on the ground. Here goes nothing, I thought, and began peeling off my clothes. When I was about to unclip my bra, I looked up. Kai was staring into my eyes. I blushed. He shifted in seconds while the rest of the pack slowly started. I heard cracking bones all around me and took a deep breath calling to my inner wolf. ‘Pack. Run.’

Once I felt her at the surface, I pushed. It was like screaming with no sound. I felt the blood rush to my face. My blood felt like it was carbonated, and my skin felt like Jell-O. One second I was standing on two legs,  then I felt like someone had taken a knife and filleted me in half, and then I was standing on four paws. The other wolves hadn't finished shifting but all eyes were on me. They went from me, to Kai, and back to me. I thought they must be staring at us because we had the same gift; the gift of shifting instantly, being super-fast… but then I heard it. ‘Mate.’

I looked up at Kai in his wolf form. A thousand images passed between us. Him as a little boy in India hanging clothes on a clothes line with his mother. Me as a little girl being rocked back and forth to sleep by my mother. Him as a young man being attacked by a wolf pack, being changed. Me around 12 years old covering my ears as my father screamed at my mother. Him as a young wolf fighting for dominance. I felt every bite. I felt his pain. Me as a teenager standing over my father in the kitchen; a knife dripping blood in my hand. My father’s dead body on the tile next to my unconscious mother. Kai happy as an Alpha of his first pack. Me happy when my mom and I moved into our first place. It was like a life review of what each other had missed up until now.

He jumped on my wolf, rolling me down the grassy hill nipping at my neck playfully. I breathed him in. Cedar, mint, and home. ‘Mate,’ I heard my wolf say. ‘You're mine,’ Kai said. My inner wolf howled.

‘I wanted it to be true from the first time I saw you. Your markings are beautiful, white with a black star and black socks,’ he told me.

Kai was my mate. I could feel it now, the rightness of it. My wolf was pleased and my human side didn’t have time to process it. I heard a painful howl behind me and turned to see a wolf with glaring black eyes. Sadie. My wolf recognized her. She ran off through the woods without waiting for the pack. I felt sorry for her. Kai nipped my leg and I jumped over him and began to run. ‘Chase,’ my wolf said. Kai took off after me, grinning. The rest of the pack was at our heels. I could feel them. ‘Pack. Run.’ I pushed myself faster, harder. Kai was right next to me.

‘You’re fast like me,’ he said. I pushed faster delighting in the feeling of my body, then I circled around to meet up with the pack.

A small, reddish wolf with two white spots on her back pounced on me playfully, yipping. Emma. My wolf nuzzled her and then I noticed Devon circling Kai. They seemed to be talking. Devon’s markings were the exact opposite of Emma’s. He was stark white with two reddish spots on his back.

‘You found your mate!’ Emma’s voice said. I froze startled. ‘The pack can communicate through the pack bond while in wolf form.’

‘Oh, cool.’ I tried.

A medium-sized tawny wolf with a white paintbrush tail and a thin, white line along his back, came up to me. Akash, my pack sense told me. He nipped my left paw and then took off running. My wolf yipped and ran after him. ‘Chase.’

One second I was chasing him and the next I was slammed with a vision. Like a movie screen playing in my head. I could feel my legs running, but I couldn’t see Akash or the forest in front of me. I saw Sadie in human form, in a grove; the downtown Seattle space needle peeked out of the skyline behind her. She then changed into her wolf. She was a large, female wolf with brown and reddish markings. A wolf pack came out of the clearing and a wolf with the opposite markings to Sadie howled and sprinted towards her. They nipped each other running in circles. Then I was shown Sadie looking at Kai. He nodded. She was saying goodbye.

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