Installment No. 47
Sofia’s scent, ever-present in his nose, intensified as her temperature ratcheted skyward, and German moved to her side without a thought, making his way around their end of the table as neat as a professional waiter in a bustling restaurant. Within seconds, he was behind her, his lips brushing her nape, nuzzling the heat flaring along her flushed skin.
“Breathe, Red.” Her shoulders lifted as she responded to his whispered command, while he rubbed his palms along her shoulders, his fingertips caressing the silk of her dress. Such a lovely dress, but nowhere as breathtaking as her red fur. He loved his Sofia in her fur, but now wasn’t the time to indulge. Not when shit was just about ready to hit the fan.
German pinned a hard stare on the Alpha who’d rung the starting bell. Good of you to finally join us. He figured the confrontation would come when there were witnesses present. The fact he had returned with the rogue meant nothing, just as he suspected. His mother’s bizarre behavior had alerted him to that. To the ambush. She’d greeted them, which hadn’t happened in years. She’d supplied a dress for his mate, one chosen with care. Suspicious? A tad. So when he and Sofia entered the dining room, he’d been ready, and had immediately sought out the placement of the other Alphas without letting them know he’d done so.
It wasn’t hard. The three wolf-men were hardly hunters, so they knew nothing of camouflage. They were like human politicians: wolves with the stink of perversion. Who were so far beneath his mother even the rogue picked up on it. Granted, Sofia wasn’t just any rogue, but still. Like a good wolf, she’d pinned her attention on the one who truly held the power to rule as an alpha wolf: Kyrenn, his mother. Not these pathetic wimps who had helped to make his life a living hell.
How he would love to settle this matter fang and claw, the way it should be. Which was why he was in this mess in the first place, now wasn’t it? He loved being wolf, a truth he’d never denied. Until now. Dragging his glare off the wolf-man who’d spoken, German made eye contact with the other two Alphas, holding their gazes until they averted their eyes. Like the lesser wolves they were. Bastards. And they were going to mete out his punishment despite the fact he’d returned with a living rogue.
Not that he was surprised. Nor did it mean he had to like it. However, he would suffer it for Sofia’s sake, since he was the one who had irrevocably bonded to her in the true way of his ancestors. Selfish to do so? Absolutely. Sliding the tip of his tongue across the knobby bones at her nape, he tasted her. Her flavor permeated his every cell, drowning any regrets. He would take his punishment for his past behavior to make this transition into the wolf world easier for his beautiful rogue. For his red wolf.
“It’s a great day for a zombie apocalypse.”
Who just asked for mercy from the situation. Once she’d sat down, she’d noticed the other three Alphas, their antagonism sparking her wolf to life. Such bastards. They knew how hard it would be for her to maintain her human form, yet they attacked to force her into breaking their rules.
He should have known they would. They were cowards, and would strike when German was sure to play nice so others wouldn’t get hurt. They also knew Sofia would make him vulnerable. Bonded in the old way, he would suffer no harm to come to his mate. They would prove before a room full of witnesses that German was a feral beast who needed caging
Idiots. They could have had him without the fight. He would have suffered the humiliation, the figurative castration. Not gladly by a long shot, but he would have done it for his mate. They could have collared him for the rest of his life, so long as Sofia was happy in her new home, with her new family. Now they’d gone and riled the hornets’ nest, stirring up trouble where there would have been none. Before he could tamp it down, a growl rumbled up through his chest.
“I hear you, Sofe.” He straightened, leaving his hands to cup her shoulders in a silent bid to have her rise with him. Every eye was on the two of them once again, and German scanned every face. Some were his old friends from cub-hood, wolf-men and women he’d left behind when he’d set out on his own. They had stayed to raise families, to lead human-like lives.
He had never appreciated their need for the safety of the pack before. But now that he was mated, he could see how some would sacrifice their heritage so their pups would be safe. He got it. Even though bonding in the old way was sheer, heart wrenching bliss. He’d snub his nose at the New Order a thousand more times to feel this connection to another wolf. He wanted her pups, because his Sofia was…
His Sofia was pissed?
Shit. True to her nature, she homed in on the subtle attack without needing the semantics. Good wolf. But without her control fully mastered, her anger was besting her. “Come on, baby.” He wanted her away from the others before she shifted. Couldn’t have dog hair on the fancy chair cushions, now could they?
Christ. Call him a masochist, but he loved her brass. He didn’t care if it was going to lodge him in the thick of the shit catapulting toward that fan. What the hell. Her inability to sit quiet while people mind-fucked each other was what he adored about her. Dear Luna, had he really thought she’d want to fit in here?
Truly, he was the idiot. His wolf shivered through his heating blood, crept to the surface to peer out of his eyes, to see the worry on the faces watching them. “I came in good faith, and this…,” German swallowed to keep his voice from getting too guttural, to keep himself from losing it to his wolf. “…this is my welcome? You intentionally upset the woman I love?” He couldn’t feel her warm skin under his hands, which meant he and Sofia were both burning. He had to cool it. If only to navigate his mate through this mess.
German took a deep breath.
Sofia took advantage of the pause. “Upset me? I wouldn’t call what I’m feeling right now upset.”
“No, German. You’ve given these…people what they wanted. I’m here. Alive and kicking, proof that you’re no monster. They have no right to pull this shit.” Well, she wasn’t eloquent, but she got her point across. Confident sneers faltered from the faces of the Alphas. His mother remained stoic. An iron will could do that.
Sofia’s muscles were quivering under the smooth sheath of her dress, and the feel of her in distress pissed him off, too. So much for his being civilized. Across the table, Bryce stood up, carefully setting his napkin down beside his plate. Deliberate. Not a good sign from the wolf-man assigned as head of Security. German had grown up with Bryce, knew the wolf-man’s stubbornness intimately. How many times had they clashed, had German finally been forced into pinning the other one down just to win an argument?
This time there was no sense of fun, just the settling of his guts as he went predator quiet.
Behind his old friend, six other wolf-men entered the dining room and lined up along the wall. One held an iron collar and two lengths of chain in his muscled arms. Sofia growled.
Christ on the cross. They were going to mete out his punishment with theatrics.
Sofia growled. The only warning he had before she dropped from his hold on her.
~S. C. Dane
~Installment No. 48 coming Saturday, April 26, 2014.