Home > Matefinder (Matefinder #1)(15)

Matefinder (Matefinder #1)(15)
Author: Leia Stone

Kai stood tall, nodding to the men. “We are just retrieving our friend and we will be on the next plane back to Oregon. Give our thanks and respect to Steven for allowing us to spend the day in your territory.”

One of the men, a tall, broad-shouldered, thirty-something guy with a scruffy beard, nodded his head and locked eyes with me. I inhaled deeply. Second in command, I could tell. He wasn’t looking away and neither was I. I wasn’t sure what the protocol was for meeting other packs, but I sure as hell wasn’t going to look weak in front of a stranger. ‘Threat,’ my wolf told me. Should I look away? I didn’t want to start a fight. ‘Stare for as long as you are able. Don’t look weak,’ Kai told me. With that permission, I stood taller and took a step towards the man lifting my chin. The man grinned and I could see tension creasing his forehead. I flared my nostrils in anger. How dare he challenge me. I came with permission, with my Alpha to retrieve a frail human. Who the hell did he think he was?

‘Stop it. Calm down. You’re shifting,’ Kai told me. Shit! I could feel my fingers turn to claws. The man broke his gaze and I took a cleansing breath.

Kai stepped forward. “Now that we have had a little fun, I think we will be going.”

I stepped forward to get in the car when the second in command took a deep breath. “She smells new and unmated.” He grinned, licking his lips. Kai’s arm flew out faster than my eye could track and grabbed the man by the back of the head. He slammed his head into the hood of the car.

“Did I give you permission to smell my mate? Do you want to start a war? We asked your Alpha for permission and it was granted, safe passage for the day. You were curious about my mate and how dominant she was, so I allowed you to have a little fun. Your fun stops here. If you want to fight, I would be happy to oblige that request.” Kai released him and opened the door for me. I stood there in shock for a second and then sank myself into the seat. Holy crap! This possessive mate thing was real.

A few more words were exchanged outside the car and then the two men walked off. Anna looked shaken but allowed Jake to hoist her into the car. He tenderly buckled her next to me. She leaned into me and whispered, “You’re not cancer researchers, are you?”

I gently held her hand. “You’re going to be okay.” An edited version of the truth was best.

“I’m too tired to care,” she said a little louder and leaned her head on my shoulder, falling asleep. Her hand was clammy. I didn’t let go.

We flew back to Oregon in a private jet. I was going to have to ask Kai what he did for a living. Once we had Anna back at the house and asleep in my bed, Jake, Devon, Emma, Max, Sadie, Kai and I were in the kitchen whispering.

“How do we change her? Who should change her? What if she doesn’t survive?”

Jake stepped forward. “She is my mate. I am changing her!”

Kai nodded. “If you want to be the one, I will grant it.”

“No.” I spoke through the hushed voices. I stared at Jake, holding his gaze. He started to argue, but I spoke first. “Jake, this is the woman you will spend the rest of your life with. Have children with. Do you want her to remember you as a monster or a savior? Take it from me. Being the one to change your mate isn’t always a positive thing. Some images you can never get out of your head.”

I could hear Kai’s breath leave him in a rush. The look of hurt that crossed his face was undeniable. I knew it would hurt him, but I wanted better for Anna. I didn’t want her to see her lover with shreds of flesh in his mouth and yellow murderous eyes.

I placed a hand on Kai’s shoulder, but he brushed it off. “I’ll change her then. I seem to have no problem being a monster.”

Dammit. That didn’t go as planned. Note to self: Talk less. We all agreed that a quick attack was best. We shouldn’t tell her of our kind until after her change. No use in frightening her more. Kai had a few private words with Jake and then took a sleeping Anna, draped in his arms, to the basement.

We all waited anxiously upstairs. Jake was pacing back and forth. Maybe Kai would forget what I said and we could talk about when my mom could visit.

‘Do you think I enjoy this? Enjoy attacking a young, innocent girl? I’m doing this to give her life!’ Kai screamed into my head. Well, there goes that idea. He wasn’t letting this go.

‘No, I don’t think you enjoy it! I’m sorry. It was scary for me and I didn’t want that for Anna… for her to see Jake like that,’ I responded. No reply.

A few moments later, a hair-raising scream ripped through the house. Anna. Jake began changing into wolf form on instinct. I changed instantly into my wolf. If this went wrong and my vision was wrong and Anna didn’t survive the change, then I had to protect Kai from Jake. I was already in full wolf form and in front of the basement door before Jake was halfway changed. Jake bolted for the door with his hackles raised. More screams. I prepared to pounce. Sadie stepped in front of me facing Jake. “Jake, you aren’t thinking clearly. Kai isn’t hurting her. Not in the long run. I know how you feel. I’m going mad sitting around while we get your mate changed, knowing my mate is a three-hour drive away in Seattle. He is so close! But I have to be patient. It has to be like Aurora’s vision. The timing needs to be right. You have to be patient. Trust her vision. Anna will survive the change, and she will be your mate. You wouldn’t know that if Aurora hadn’t told you. She’s on our side.” Jake whined and rolled over exposing his belly. My inner wolf was pleased. I relaxed and approached Jake, giving his muzzle a nudge. He stood and we both began to change back.

   
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