by Lilly Rayman
Copyright 2017 Rachel Lillyman
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Warning: contains mature
content, which includes but is not limited to sexual scenes, swearing
I would like
to dedicate this book to every reader that has ever picked
up a book, enjoyed it and left a review.
would like to also say how much I love my husband and his (as he sees
it) long-term sufferance at my addiction to literature, whether that
be reading or writing.
By Lilly Rayman
With Lilly Rayman
NUMITO DUCKED HIS HEAD as Rhea
Silvia launched a pewter wolf-head ornament across the lounge room.
Her eyes flashed entirely amber, and he knew he
was dealing with his mate's wolf. Her eyes narrowed on him.
"Don't you dare duck when I
throw something at you, Romero! If you'd only been home in time, then
I wouldn't have to throw anything at you."
Growling, he jumped across the
sofa standing between him and his enraged mate. "Now, Rhea, calm
down. It was not my fault O'Connor held up the meeting. Besides,"
he added as he tried to gather the shaking woman in his arms, "I
didn't KNOW you had planned an empty pack house and candlelit
The vicious snarls erupting from
the small woman in his arms was the only warning he had said the
wrong thing. A nasty kick to his shin had him
dropping his arms from her as she pushed away from him. Groaning, he
watched her storm out of the main living room. He knew the route this
argument was taking. He reached out along their bond, sending her as
many romantic images as possible.
It was always the way. She would
get mad at something he did or didn't do, usually outside of his
actual control. She would yell and scream, throw things at his head
and explode out of the house in wolf form, with fur
as fiery as her temper.
the time to strip off his clothes as he followed her out of the
house, shaking his head at the sight of her torn summer dress,
lifting an eyebrow as he realised that was ALL she had been wearing.
Without further ado, he shifted to his own wolf and followed her
scent out into the woods towards the lake.
She came out of nowhere. Numito
rolled onto the forest floor as Rhea knocked him off his feet. The
growls rumbling from her chest held a playful tone. Numito growled
back, snapping his teeth at her as he pushed her off him, rolling
back and up onto his feet. The red she-wolf recovered quickly,
meeting Numito's brown wolf as he launched at her. Paws settled on
shoulders as playful bites were nipped at the back of necks.
As they both fell to the ground
together, they shifted. No longer two wolves fighting, but a tangle
of tanned bare flesh, lips locked together in a passionate kiss.
Numito felt Silvia's desire match his own. The fiery aggression of
Rhea was tempered by the sweet tenderness of Silvia.
Numito rolled to his back,
keeping Rhea Silvia locked in his arms. Their tongues fought for
dominance of the kiss that stole his breath. Twigs, rocks and other
sharp and pointy forest litter dug into the hard planes of his body.
The sharp claw-tipped fingers of Rhea dug into his chest as she
rolled back and took his hardness inside with
one swift movement.
Numito felt his wolf push to the
forefront of his mind and knew his eyes would be heavily amber as he
watched his mate arch her back and take her pleasure from him. Their
connection seemed deeper than ever before, and
he felt his wolf join with Rhea in their minds while
he and Silvia were physically connected.
Her movements became more wild,
more erratic. Her claws scraped down his chest
drawing blood from welts that closed moments later. As Rhea Silvia
reached her peak, Numito felt like he was drowning in the sheer
eroticism of the moment. He moved his own hips, thrusting up to meet
her, his fingers locked on her thighs holding her steady.
They peaked together. The tight
contractions of her walls around his
cock milking him for every drop of seed he
could possibly give her. His groan turned into a
growl that ripped through the forest with enough force to startle
nearby birds from the trees.
Silvia collapsed against his
chest. Claws withdrew from his flesh with a sting, the scent of his
blood a hint on the breeze. Numito felt Rhea slip into the background
of Silvia's consciousness and knew he had a rare moment of quiet with
his beautiful mate without the aggressive dominance of her wolf.
He pressed a kiss into the
tangle of red curls on her head as he basked in the afterglow of
"I feel different, Toe.
I feel complete."
Numito grinned and thrust up,
"Of course you do, love. I'm still half hard in you."
He laughed as she slapped at his
chest. Silvia's more demure nature blushing with his cockiness. "I'm
serious, Toe. I think we were in heat. It's why Rhea was so
explosive this evening."
Numito felt hope soar in his
heart, only the knowledge that in the thirty years they had been
mated, Rhea Silvia had yet to go into heat, kept his heart tethered
close to the ground. Instead, he laughed. "Hate
to break it to you, darling, but Rhea is always that explosive. It's
not the first time she's thrown objects at my head."
Silvia lifted, her hard nipples
now grazing sensually across Numito's hard chest. "It was
different this time. Didn't you feel how it was different? For once
in my life, I felt separated from Rhea, yet
connected more completely with you."
Numito smiled softly at his
mate, his hands running up the length of her soft body until they
rounded over her shoulders and across the swell of her bosom. "I
will admit I felt our wolves make a deeper mental connection
together. I just don't want you getting your hopes up. I didn't
Silvia moved her hips in a slow
sensual thrust. "No? We're still joined now."
Numito growled as he sat up,
locking his arms around Silvia as he thrust up into her. "Babe!
I'm always hard for you and ready for more."
Silvia's laughter turned to
moans as Numito arched her back so he could take one breast in his
mouth while he started a deep slow rock into her tight body.
IT WAS QUIET. TOO quiet in fact.
Numito frowned as he pulled his Harley up in front of the pack house.
Straddling the bike at a half stand he rested both wrists over the
ape hanger styled handlebar and listened.
Nothing stirred, not even a mouse.
reached out to his Beta through the mind link. "Where is
"Thank heavens you're
back." Relief trickled through Cato's mental tone.
"Rhea is in the foulest of moods. The teens have hit the
beach and have taken tents to camp out. Most single males have gone
for a night on the town, and young
families are hiding in their quarters." The relief
shifted to exasperation, and Numito wondered
where exactly Cato had decided to hide.
Numito sighed as he rocked the
bike back onto the kickstand before throwing his leg over. He jogged
up to the front door, opening it cautiously.
"Honey? I'm home!" His
voice echoed through the disturbingly quiet
ground floor. The place really had been deserted. Frowning he
wandered through the multitude of recreation and sitting rooms until
he reached the kitchen. He had heard the
sniffling before he stepped through the door. His brow drew in
tighter as he failed to see who was making the noise. He followed the
sound past the industrial sized kitchen and into the large open plan
"Hey!" He whispered as
he spotted his mate sat in front of the deep chest freezer. "What's
wrong?" If it weren't for the tears
streaming down her ruddy cheeks, he would have found the sight of
Rhea Silvia amusing. Her legs were spread out in front of her, a
gallon of ice cream upended in a melting mess between her knees. It
was the swollen belly looking like a beach ball under her shirt that
provided the most comic value to the image. Watery blue eyes turned
up to him and his heart twisted at the sadness in Silvia's eyes.
"I'm a complete and utter
mess. Rhea started snarling and snapping at anyone and anything. Next
thing I know, everyone has disappeared. I can't even satisfy my
cravings for ice cream without dropping the damn tub cause my fingers
are so bloody swollen. Then because everyone has disappeared to god
knows where I can't even find help to clean up the mess. I try to do
it myself only to find I can't move when I get
down here cause I'm a friggin whale on sticks
only some sick bastard went and filled the sticks with fluid,
so they are humungous too! Top it all off, my back has been aching
all bloody day, and now
even Rhea has pissed off to leave me to it!"
Numito was amazed he managed to
keep a straight face as he listened to the blubbering tirade from his
gentle mate. Centring his stance over her he offered her both hands,
she just looked at him.
"Well?" He waggled his
fingers at her, "did you want to get up off
the cold tiles and have some TLC from the man who loves you more than
anything in the world?"
It was a rare dirty look that
Silvia shot him as she accepted his hands. "The man who loves me
more than anything in the world would never have buggered off and
left me to find myself in such a−"
she paused, her face going white and her eyes as round as saucers.
Numito looked down in disbelief
to find the sound of splashing of water was puddling around Silvia's
feet and thickly mixing into the melted mess of ice cream. He seemed
frozen to the spot as he watched the mucus and blood streaked liquid
create patterns on the tiles.
Hands squeezed tight around his
own. "Don't you bloody lose the plot on me
now, Toe. I'm not prepared to have your bloody
pup in the damned pantry for heaven’s sake!"
The snap of Rhea in his mates’
voice pulled Numito to action, he pulled Silvia into his arms for a
side on hug as he pressed a kiss to her red curls. "No. No, I
don't suppose you would want to. Come on, let's get you up to our
room and on the bed."
He surprised himself with his
own calmness as the next few hours seemed to drag him through the
ordeal of childbirth. Cato had luckily been hiding in the pack
house and had been able to organise the maternity she-wolf and
prepare the Alpha's bedroom by the time Numito
and his mate, who had by that point seemed to have been in full blown
labour, had gotten there. He'd also disappeared with some off-handed
reference to cleaning up the snail trail back to its source.
Numito had stood stoically
beside his mate through every contraction, keeping her calm and
centred until the need to push brought a whole
new wave of pain and she had started to cry out that she couldn't do
it anymore and she needed it to be over. He doubted she heard the old
she-wolf monitoring the progress from the end of the bed telling
Silvia that things were moving nicely along. But then when the woman
mentioned seeing a full head of hair crowning, Rhea decided to throw
in her two cents and snarled at the birthing attendant to “grab
a bloody handful of its hair and drag the baby out”. Numito
nearly laughed until he saw the mortified expression on Silvia's face
at her wolf's suggestion.
Numito had been amazed at how
quickly the whole ordeal seemed to take place
after only couple more pushes he heard his
child's screams for the first time. He'd been congratulated on having
a son while having a pair of scissors shoved in
his hand and directed to cut the terrifying cord that led from his
mate to his first born.
Now as he sat watching the
silently sleeping pair he marvelled at the miracle that all that
excitement could produce. Standing up from the chair in the window he
pressed a gentle kiss against Rhea Silvia's forehead before leaning
over the child nuzzled at her breast. With a deep breath of his
scent, Numito rubbed his son's damp head with
"Welcome to the world,
LAUGHTER ECHOED AROUND THE large
garden. The young pups ran around chasing each other, their antics
and laughter fuelled the adult’s own laughter. Numito couldn't help
but grin as he watched his mini-me dodge away from his friends who
tried to tug a scrap of cloth away from the
waistband of his little shorts. Marcus stumbled over his little feet
and took out Quinn. The pair rolled about laughing as Pablo and
Caesar dodged around them and tackled a distracted Julio to the lawn
themselves. The Alpha was unsure if it was coincidence or if the four
young friends of his son had planned that manoeuvre to capture the
flag from Julio.
Numito tightened his arm around
Rhea Silvia's waist as she jerked forward to go to their son. "He's
okay, love. See? He's laughing. Let him enjoy
his birthday party without you hovering over him like a clucky hen."
Rhea Silvia grumbled under her
breath, yet she listened to her mate and leant back against his side
once more. Shaking his head, he turned to Cato who stepped up beside
him. Cato laughed silently at his Alpha and passed him an icy cold
bottle of beer.
"No problem. I'm still
finding it hard to believe that four years have passed since Julio
was born. I never really thought the years flew by as a wolf
but watching a pup grow up? That makes time fly."
"I can't believe the pups
are going to preschool in September."
Rhea Silvia started to growl,
her grumbling vibrating through Numito. "Don't remind me.
I don't want any of the pack pups, let alone my own going to school.
I want to keep them all small and innocent forever."
Numito and Cato had shared
a glance before the Alpha turned his head to nuzzle in his mates’
neck. "We talked about this, love. We agreed that the pups need
to be educated. They are smart enough to start early,
and they will excel from the challenge of integrating into the human
The she-wolf lowered the tone of
her growl, but she was still unhappy. "We may have agreed,
but it doesn't mean I have to like it."
He smiled against her neck
before nipping gently on the soft flesh. "I don't like it
either, my love. Julio, however, is excited as
can be at the thought of going to school. He will be surrounded by
his pack mates, and one of our own she-wolves was successful in
getting the position of teacher for Julio's class. We couldn't ask
for better protection for our pup."
Their conversation came to a
halt as Julio came skidding to a stop in front of them. "Mama?
Papa? Can we have cake yet? Please?"
Instantly, Rhea Silvia changed
from a growling she-wolf to a doting mother. "Of
course, you can, little man. I made the most fantastic cake for you
as well. You will love it. Gather up your friends,
and I will bring it out to you."
Numito laughed at the joy of his
son, especially as he bounced away, fingers crossed muttering to
himself, "Please be a Hulk cake. Please be a Hulk cake."
Rhea Silvia laughed lightly as
she watched their son, she turned to look at Cato with a wink before
pressing a kiss to Numito's stubbled jaw. "He will be over the
moon when he sees the green monstrosity that is his birthday cake."
As she stood up,
Numito slapped her ass to grab her attention. "You're a great
mother, Rhea Silvia. He'll be buzzing for hours."
hazel eyes seemed to sparkle with amber as she winked at her mate.
"Thank you, Toe." She whispered before moving towards the
Cato chuckled as he clinked his
beer bottle against his Alpha's own drink. "The amount of sugar
all the pups have eaten will have them all buzzing for hours. Makes
me glad I'm not a parent. I won't have to deal with their sugar highs
before they crash tonight."
Numito arched an eyebrow at his
beta, watching him take a long pull from his beer. "Didn't you
get the memo? You're helping with the kid’s camp out tonight. We
both have to deal with them all on a sugar hype."
The beta wolf spat out his beer
as he choked. It took him a minute of spluttering with no help from
his Alpha before he could form words. "What? Since when?"
"Since I volunteered you
for your jackass remarks."
With a groan, Cato dropped his
head in his hands, muttering to himself about keeping his mouth shut
before looking sideways at Numito. "Ghost stories and s'mores
round the campfire?"
Numito grinned as he added, "And
now we're adding wolf-back rides since they are all so hyped up."
His best friend groaned again
before standing up swiftly. "Guess I better go cancel my date
with the pretty little redhead from the gas
station then." He flipped Numito a baleful look over his
shoulder in hopes of being told he could go on his date instead. When
Numito only grinned at him, he sighed again before walking back to
Numito wondered if he should
feel sorry for his friend, but the squeals from the pups reminded him
he needed the backup. It had been his own mate
that had promised their son and his four mates a camp out with the
Alpha for his birthday. It was also his lovely mate that had then
proceeded to fill the already excitable four-year olds with Tang,
cupcakes and every other sugar fuelled food available. The lot of
them were ready to explode from the high they were on right now.
Julio's little voice shouted out
with glee as he spotted his mother approaching with his cake. Numito
grinned when he saw the hulking mammoth of green frosted cake topped
with four burning sparklers. Jumping up he headed over to stand
behind the kids, his own voice joining in with the rest of his pack
as they sang "Happy Birthday" to the bounciest child ever.
He had never been more proud of
Rhea Silvia for the fantastic cake she had made, nor had he felt more
joy than he did seeing his sons’ happiness. He truly felt like fate
had blessed him, and prayed that nothing would upset this perfect
life they currently lived.
THE LOUD BANG THAT followed the
severely shaking steering wheel
told Rhea Silvia she had blown a tyre. Cursing she was careful not to
brake hard and throw the car into a tailspin. Instead,
she glided to a stop on the side of the deserted road bathed only in
the weak sliver of moonlight from the waning crescent.
The car phone was out of
service. It was starting to look like she shouldn't have been in such
a rush to get home to her mate and pup. Although maybe she shouldn't
have left New Hampshire after all. Especially since
the client, she had been going to meet never
bothered to show up, especially after all the pleading they had done
to get Rhea Silvia out to Albany, New York for the lucrative photo
shoot deal that had been too good to turn down.
Hitting her fists against the
steering wheel with a growl, Rhea Silvia killed the engine and
climbed out the Chevrolet sedan. The night seemed preternaturally
silent, as she opened the boot to grab the spare wheel, jack and
brace. A breeze slipped over her bare arms, lifting the hair on the
back of her neck as Rhea went on high alert.
Scenting the air, she looked
around, her ears listening hard for any sign of danger. Nothing.
Reaching into the wheel well had Rhea swearing. The damn spare was
missing. The unease she felt had Rhea hesitant to remain by the car
and wait for help. At two in the morning it was likely to be a long
wait, so instead, she
grabbed her wallet, tucking it into her back pocket before locking up
the car and pocketing the keys. Deciding to keep
moving up the road was her best choice, she started walking down the
Clouds drifted across what
little moon there was, plunging Rhea into near total darkness. Her
eyes adjusted with a slight shift, so she was
using more of her wolf sense to see into the night. A crack of a twig
to her left had her turning around, searching for the source, hackles
When a twig snapped from the
opposite direction, she spun again, sure
now she was being toyed with.
"Show yourself, cowards."
She snarled into the empty night air, sure she was being watched. She
snapped her head back and forth, nostrils flared as she searched for
the scent that would identify her paranoia or not. One by one six
pairs of amber glowing eyes stepped into her line of sight. Her claws
lengthened in response, her need to shift
pressing upon her.
That's when she spotted him,
walking towards her. An enormous hulking mass of
a man stalking up the middle of the highway. The clouds moved away
from the moon, and the bright
light bounced off his highly defined muscles,
highlighting the fact he was naked. The wind shifted and teased her
with his familiar scent then.
"Hello, Rhea Silvia."
Despite the neutral tone of his voice, Rhea felt unease at his
"What do you want, Amulius?
You're a long way from daddy's shirt tails back in Arizona."
He growled at her barb. "I'm
looking at what I want, bitch."
"Too bad. I'm not
interested in a daddy's boy starved for
"Oh, I don't want to fuck a
burnt out old she-wolf like you. I just want to see you dead."
Rhea laughed. "Yeah? And
what do you hope to achieve by that? Numito will
decimate your pack before you can pull your cock out for a piss if
you tried to harm me."
"I'm going to do more than
try, Rhea Silvia. And with you dead at the hands of a vampire? Romero
won't even look at the Remus pack. Besides he'll be too busy mourning
you, it won't be long until I can take over Romulus pack. Between my
father on the West coast, and me here on the East
coast, we'll be able to overthrow the whole of the Wolf
Movement from behind had the
she-wolf turning quickly to assess the threat. Her eyes widened as
she saw two men tugging a blood-starved vampire between them. Fear
slithered up her spine as the vampires crazed eyes landed on her.
She startled as she felt an arm
snap around her middle like a vice grip, the cold metal of a knife
pressed into her neck. The tangy scent of her blood hitting her nose
was the only warning the sharp blade had entered her skin before the
cut tingled as it healed.
It didn't matter,
though, the blood that had welled up from the cut had been enough to
attract the starving vampires’ attention, its eyes almost rolling
in its head at the speed in which the blood-lust created a red haze
The two men that restrained the
vampire dropped the poles that held a noose each around its neck,
allowing the creature free to close the twenty-foot distance between
them in the blinking of an eye.
Rhea found herself shoved into
the vampires wicked grasp before she could shift. She released a howl
of pain as teeth savagely latched onto her neck, yet she fought to
break free. Her knee connecting with its groin
and her fist into its stomach. It stumbled back for a moment, but the
hit of blood it had already taken from her sent it into a frenzy.
Despite how many times she kicked and punched at the creature, it
kept on, biting into her body wherever it could, taking out chunks of
flesh whenever she knocked it away.
Rhea started to falter, the
pounding rush of blood through her ears slowing down to a sluggish
thud as she lost dangerous amounts of blood. She could hear the
laughter of Amulius, sounding like her head was underwater with how
muffled the sound was. She heard him shout out his orders as the
vampire fastened its teeth into her ruined neck once more.
"Make sure the vamp is dead
and left with her body the moment the bitch is dead. I want Romero to
know a vampire killed his mate."
Rhea Silvia tried to reach along
her bond towards her mate, only he was two states away. Her eyes
fluttered shut and her consciousness faded as she sent her last words
of love for her pup and mate out into the world.
THE SOUNDS OF THE day starting
for the pack house stirred
Numito from his sleep. The moment awareness came back to him, he
remembered. His bed and his heart were empty.
Rhea Silvia was gone. Torn apart by a vampire on her way home from a
business trip. He nearly died himself when he realised what had
happened, feeling the mating bond snap so fiercely with little
warning. He hadn't been happy she was so far away from him that their
bond wouldn't allow them to talk to each other. However, he was at a
council of Alpha's meeting, and he couldn't
travel with her. He had paid the ultimate price for allowing his
strong and independent mate her freedom to
travel on her own.
He heard the door of his room
creak open slowly, his pups scent teased his senses. Julio. The poor
little man had lost not only a mother but a
father too. Numito barely raised his head from his pillow for the
last month, the only time he did was when he wanted to drown himself
in as much of a case of hard liquor as he could handle before sinking
into the oblivion of sleep.
There was a dip on the bed near
his feet, the acrid smell of fear from his son nearly shattered
Numito. Hazy memories of yelling at his son to go away followed by a
kick caused a tsunami of guilt to wash over the broken Alpha. It
wasn't Julio's fault his mother was gone, and
his father was a wreck, a shadow of his former
self. Tears threatened to spill over his cheeks, only this time guilt
was the driving force and not grief.
Numito rolled onto his back,
opening his arms to his son, he invited his boy to come and hold him.
Julio didn't hesitate to launch himself across the bed, burrowing his
head under his father’s chin and his arms shaking with the effort
of how hard he was holding on.
"I'm so sorry, little man."
"I miss you, Papa.
I miss Mama."
"I know. Let's do something
today, just you and me."
The joy that flooded towards
Numito from his son was what was needed for him to mentally close the
door on his grief and silently promise his son that things would be
different from now on. He vowed he would be strong once more, he
needed to be for Julio's sake, for the benefit of the
Little Julio raced away from the
incoming tide, giggling with delight as he beat the water before it
moved back out to sea. Numito felt a tug on the corner of his mouth
as he watched his son run back into the water. His heart was too sore
to allow the smile to develop. It was because his Julio needed him he
got his sorry arse out of bed every day since the death of his
A sudden wind blew across the
beach, whipping up the waves and knocking the young wolf pup off his
feet. In an instant, Numito was on his feet and
racing across the sand. Before he reached the crying child, a woman
with long black curls scooped the sodden boy out of the freezing
Numito arrived at the water's
edge, ignoring the cold water as it swirled around his feet and
soaked the denim around his ankles. "Julio, it's okay, little
man. Papa's here!" He allowed the young lad's grasping hands to
fist into his shirt as he pulled him into his arms. As he looked up
from his son, he startled a
little as he found himself mesmerised by the warm brown eyes and
friendly smile of the pale-skinned woman. "Thank you so much for
helping. I didn't expect such a strong wind on such a beautiful
A dimple deepened in her
wind-blushed cheek as she smiled wider. "Oh, it was no hassle. I
was already walking along the edge of the water."
Numito shifted the sniffling
Julio in his arms and offered his hand to her. "I'm Numito.
Her small hand slipped into his,
and he marvelled at the tingle chasing up his
arm as he enfolded his large fingers around hers. "Helena."
A sense of rightness filled him.
Before he put his brain in gear, the words tumbled from his mouth.
"Would you like to come and have a coffee with me?"
Her smile dazzled more than he
thought possible. "I'd love to."
Numito felt his heart lighten a
little. Julio rubbed his face against his father’s shoulder,
and his sobs subsided. A shiver raced up Julio's wet
body as the wind whipped past them again.
"Although, your little boy
probably needs to go home and have a change of clothes,"
Helena said while rubbing a hand up Julio's
Fighting within himself against
the desire to have coffee with this stimulating
woman and feel something again, or locking down his heart caused
Numito surprise when he answered. "Drive back with us, we'll get
him changed then go for coffee."
She raised a delicate hand, palm
out towards him. "I wouldn't want to get in your way or put you
"You promised we'd get ice
cream today, Papa." Piped up, Julio.
"And you will most
definitely get your ice cream." Numito gave Helena a crooked
smile, "See, Julio and I will be going out again anyway."
He cringed inwardly at how desperate he thought he sounded. "But
if you're busy, a boyfriend or something you have to get back to−."
"I don't have anyone."
She whispered, a sad smile on her face. "I'd love to accompany
you and your darling boy."
Numito as he tugged his car keys from his hip pocket as they reached
the parking lot on the edge of the sand. He headed straight for the
Firebird and opened the passenger door for Helena. She gave him an
almost startled look before settling into the seat. Numito had felt
a moment of pride before he passed Julio to the woman that had made
him feel more in five minutes than he had in six months.
THE PACK GROUNDS LOOKED amazing.
No expense had been spared by any of his pack
members. Ornamental cherry blossom trees in huge white terracotta
pots lined the huge lawn, swathes of sheer white
fabric were draped between the trees, white fairy lights entwined
within the fabric.
Numito had been blown away when
he had stepped outside just before noon. He walked up the aisle
between two sections of white linen draped chairs to take his place
in the small white rose lined arbour. His pack had huge grins on
their faces as they sat in their seats, bowing their heads as he
passed. It was the first wedding to take place in the Romulus pack,
but then it was the first time a wolf had taken a human as a mate. It
had seemed to be the right thing to do for Numito when he fell in
love with Helena. She may not be a true mate
like Rhea Silvia had been, but she eased his heartache
and was a good mother figure for his son. So, he had decided to do
the human thing and propose to Helena.
The pack had accepted her
readily, loving her for who she was and recognising her for what she
was to their beloved Alpha. She was the balm to his broken heart and
shattered soul. She brought life and happiness
back to the Romulus wolves. And that love and acceptance had been
shown in the way in which the pack had worked hard to transform the
pack grounds into the most beautiful of wedding venues.
He'd been nervous, waiting at
that arbour, O'Connor at his side and the human
celebrant ignorant to the significance of the wolf pack before him.
But then a hush had fallen, and a keyboard
player began Canon in D, the patio door slid open and Cato in a
morning suit stepped out, on his arm was the most breathtaking vision
Numito had ever seen.
Helena's dark hair tumbled in
lazy waves over bare shoulders of creamy skin that he itched to
taste. The bohemian style ivory lace gown clung to her slender frame.
A layer of lace fell down her upper arms and over her breasts,
emphasising the gentle swell of her bosom. Her smile was soft and
tender, full of the love they shared.
Numito was fixated on his bride,
barely registering Julio in a mini tux, his face serious as he
proceeded down the aisle before his new Mom and
Cato. The white silk square of cushion balanced in his trembling
hands carrying the simple gold bands that would seal the ceremony.
Only now the ceremony was over,
his bride was his wife, and he wore a gold band
on his left hand rather than a claim mark on his
neck. They both smiled happily, laughing with Cato, O'Connor and his
beta while the chairs were swiftly shifted
around tables on the other side of the lawn and a dance floor hastily
laid out. In less than half an hour the garden was transformed once
Cato slipped away, heading
towards the DJ, a younger member of O'Connor's pack, now set up in
the white rose lined arbour. There was a squeal over the sound system
before Cato cleared his throat.
"I'd like everyone's
attention, please. Thank you. Well,
as wolves, today was something out of the ordinary for us, but
I must say, Bella and Giselle, you excelled yourselves in planning
and maybe should go into the wedding planning business this place
looks great. Thanks, everyone for helping set up. I believe there
will be speeches later, at least that's what my study of weddings has
revealed, but right now, I'd like to invite Mr and Mrs Romero to the
floor for their first dance."
The pack went wild with applause
as Numito, Helena under his arm, made their way onto the dance floor.
As they reached the centre music began to play,
and Numito couldn't slow his heart rate as he heard Roberta Flack
start to sing; "The first time ever I saw your face."
The moved together on the dance
floor, the centre of everyone’s enraptured
attention. "I love you," murmured Numito in his new wife's
ear. She rubbed her head against his chest and whispered back.
"I love you too, Numito."
As soon as the song ended more
music began, and everyone flooded the dance
floor to dance along with Abba's favourite song,
There had been plenty of
laughter, food and drink all afternoon and now, as evening started to
fall the fairy lights came on, and the
space was transformed again. Helena tugged her hand out of
Numito's hot one.
"I'll be back in a moment."
Numito watched her float through
the pack, talking with everyone she passed. Cato handed him and
O'Connor a bottle of beer each and the three men watched as Helena
whispered to the DJ. Her face was alive with mischief,
and the DJ frowned, leaning back to look at her. Numito wondered what
she was up to when the young wolf's face turned resigned and nodded
before moving away to one of the many cases of records he had set up
Helena was half way back to him
when the song changed to one of the popular songs in the charts. The
pack hushed and looked at their groaning Alpha as everyone heard
Warren Zevon sing out that he had seen “a
werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hands.”
Helena was laughing now, she
loved this song, and Numito groaned every time he heard it. But it
made her happy, so as Warren Zevon tried to howl through the chorus,
Numito lifted his head.
"Werewolves of London..."
sang through the sound system.
As Numito lifted his head to
howl again, the whole pack joined in. Their voices raised as one,
singing together into the night sky. Celebrating the love of their
Alpha and his bride and the renewal of their pack.
THERE WAS LAUGHTER RINGING out
across the back lawn of the Romulus pack house. Numito watched
from inside the French windows of the main lounge room. Julio,
Marcus, Quinn, Caesar and Pablo had been back from Manchester
Community College for about three hours. Long
enough to have given Julio's favourite, and only, little sister Livia
a karaoke machine for her fourteenth birthday. They'd all been
singing songs for most of the time since she'd opened her present in
a flurry of squeals and hollers. He couldn't stop smiling at the
sight of the young wolves bouncing around singing "I want it
that way" and trying to imitate the popular boy band, Backstreet
Their song came to an end with
cheers from Livia and some of the other pack members that were
hanging around. He sensed his wife approaching, Helena laughed. "He
is most definitely your son, darling."
at her, brow raised in query,
she simply smiled and nodded back towards where Julio was now
parading in front of his laughing friends and sister. He held the mic
close, but as he was belting out "I'm too sexy."
While he was wiggling his hips, and touching himself provocatively.
Laughing Numito circled
his arms around Helena's shoulders and pulled her towards his side,
frowning a little at how skinny she felt under his fingers. He
noticed a few things lately, things that by themselves meant very
little, but added together disturbed him. Her appetite was
reduced, her skin was losing her natural rosy bloom, and her hair had
been thinning too. She always said she was fine and brushed him off.
And in truth, he threw himself into his work as Alpha because it was
easier than facing the truth that his wife was beginning to appear
The hollers of laughter from
outside drew his attention again. Livia had pushed her brother over
and grabbed the mic from him. She gave him a wicked grin before she
started to belt out the latest release on the charts. Numito groaned
and looked down at his wife. "She is most definitely your
daughter." He retorted as
Livia got louder against the protests of her brother and his pack
"Who let the dogs out?
Woof! Woof! Woof!" Her voice rang out clearly across the
lawn, her amusement clearly heard by her parents.
She didn't get very far through
the song before she was tackled by Julio and Quinn. Numito laughed
at the sound of his baby girls giggles that peeled through the
karaoke machines sound system. She swiftly recovered from her
laughter and fought back against her brother, wrestling with him as
her father had been teaching her. She held her own for a few moments,
making Numito proud
of her. As a yet unshifted she-wolf,
she could wrestle with a young Alpha wolf,
slipping out of his holds and pinning him in her own
all the boys started to gang up on her, one by
one piling on top until it seemed to be a Livia pile-up.
"I better break them up."
Sighed Helena as she pulled away from her husband. She grabbed a box
of cookies and a bag of marshmallows before stepping out the house.
you lot! Who wants s'mores?"
Called Helena without raising her voice. S'mores had always been a
favourite of Livia's, well anything to do with sitting around a
roaring fire. Singing camp songs, toasting marshmallows for s'mores,
or telling stories. He knew she was also looking forward to when she
was fifteen, and she would be shifting for the
first time by the bonfire under the first full moon of winter.
With Helena's words, as one,
everyone stopped wrestling and stood up. Julio lifted a flushed and
rather flustered looking Livia up off the ground and set her on her
feet again. She grinned at him before digging her
elbow into his
ribs and running towards her mother. Caesar was lighting the fire in
the prepared fire pit as Pablo and Marcus packed away the karaoke
machine. Quinn walked into the house and headed
for the fridge where the boys had put their six packs earlier. With a
root beer and six bottles of beer in hand,
the young wolf approached him.
"Would you like a beer,
Alpha?" He asked offering him the extra bottle.
with a smile, "Thanks, Quinn." He took the proffered bottle
and twisted the cap off.
The young man inclined his head
respectfully and stepped back out to join the others at the now
roaring fire pit.
Helena stepped back into the
house, looking tired yet happy. "I always worry about our Livia,
whether she is happy or not. She doesn't have many friends, but then
I see her with her brother and his friends, and
I know she is happy."
"They are close despite the
ten years between them. It's been hard for Livia with Julio off at
college. At least she does have a couple of school friends."
Helena grinned knowingly as she
slipped into his arms once more. "It's not only Livia who misses
the smile as he kissed her head. "No, she's not. I'm not scared
to admit that I miss him too. It's hard to believe my boy is growing
up already. Before long the pair of them will be
off out in the world and making their
Helena laughed. "You're
getting ahead of yourself, darling. Livia has only just turned
fourteen, she'll be your baby girl for a while yet, and she'll be at
your side until she finds her mate. And well, Julio? Well,
Julio will be home when he finishes his business
course and will be working by your side to help you and learn the
ropes of being an Alpha."
"As always, my dear, you
"Of course, I am. Now,
let's leave the kids to celebrate Livia's birthday, and you can take
me to the movie room for some us time."
He hid his emotions at the
finality of his wife's words. He heard the implication behind
Helena's opinion that Livia would be by his side. He would have to
face his fears sooner or later to challenge Helena as to what was
going on with her, but today he was happy to let it slide once more.
NUMITO BLINKED BACK TRAITOROUS
tears as he applied the parking brake outside
Washington Middle School. It had been a tough six months since he had
found out the truth from Helena as to what was going on. She had an
appointment booked with a Doctor to get the results of testing she
had secretly been getting. He wouldn't allow her
to go on her own and was glad he had been with her when the Doctor
told her she had M1 stage stomach cancer. Her body was riddled with
secondary cancer. It was the worst possible diagnosis they could have
expected, but she had left it rather late to see her Doctor in the
She had chosen not to have any
treatment since her odds were not good, she wanted to live out what
was left of her days with her family without being made sicker from
treatment that likely would fail her. Despite Numito's instances,
that she should do whatever the Doctor
recommended, she was not prepared to budge.
Now, after five months at home,
the cancer had made her so sick,
and in so much pain she had been moved into a palliative care
hospice. The Kindred. Their pack doctor had been at a loss of how to
help Numito's human wife who was literally being eaten away from the
inside. The last month in the Hospice had been hard for the pack,
especially on Numito, Julio and Livia, but it had been easier for
Julio had called him from the
Hospice that morning, he'd been at her bedside for the last twelve
hours. He was also the one to talk to the Doctor who had advised that
maybe the rest of the family should come in and say their goodbyes.
So here Numito was, sitting in his Honda, parked outside Livia's
school trying to get his life together to be able to walk in with
some modicum of self-respect to ask for Livia to be released early
from her classes. Although some shameless side of him muttered that
the school understood Mrs Romero was dying and would fully understand
if he walked in crying. It was the Alpha wolf within him that refused
to show weakness to anyone, human or not outside of his pack.
With the thought of being able
to hold one life mate in her final hour, he took a deep fortifying
breath and grabbed his keys and climbed out of the Accord in one
swift movement. A click of the fob locked the door with a flash of
lights and a chirping beep of the locking system.
The heavy scent of adolescent
angst hit Numito like a brick as he walked in through the main doors
of the school. He shook it off and continued to the administration
office a hundred feet away. The older administrator looked up sharply
as she heard the door open. Instantly her demeanour changed to
"Do you need Livvie, Mr
Grateful to not need to speak he
She gave him a tight smile, more
of a twist of her thin lips before she tapped at the computer. "She's
in History. I'll be back in a moment."
She hadn't been gone long when
the door opened again and the welcome scent of his baby girl met his
"Momma?" she whispered
out on a terrified voice.
He nodded. "I'm sorry, Baby
Girl. Julio called. We really should be there soon."
She blinked back tears and
straightened her spine as she moved towards the desk and signed the
book that the administrator had pulled out for her. "Thank you,
Mrs Wells." She murmured as she put her pen down. Hitching her
bag higher up her shoulder she slipped her smaller hand in her
father’s larger one.
The journey from Washington
Middle School to The Kindred Hospice was filled with silence, Livia
even turned the radio off and gazed out the window watching rain
start to fall and track down the windows. The staff at Kindred were
even more sympathetic in their demeanour than Mrs Wells and quickly
ushered the pair into the bright and cheerful private room where
Helena had been confined to her bed for the last month.
Julio looked up with tired,
red-rimmed eyes as the door opened. His larger hand was wrapped
around his step-mothers frail one. She appeared
to be sleeping when Livia and Numito approached the bed, but as soon
as they were both at her side, she lifted her
pale face towards them and smiled brightly. The same smile that had
first dazzled Numito nearly twenty years ago.
"Livia, my beautiful baby
girl. Come give Momma a kiss."
Livia fell on her mother’s
bed, her face buried into her mother’s frail body. Julio released
her hand so both her arms could wrap around Livia’s shoulders.
There was only the sound of
their sobs for a moment or two before Helena lifted her head, her
tear-filled eyes met Numito's own watery gaze.
Helena took as deep a breath as
she could manage before she spoke, her voice stronger than her body.
"Now you three listen to
me. You are the most important people I've ever had in my life. You
three are what made life for me worth living. I
don't want you to remember me with sadness, I want you to remember
all the love and happiness we have shared. I'll be watching over you
all. Livia, you will have the most beautiful wolf, I am certain, and
I'm only sorry I won't get to meet her."
Numito moved closer, edging his
hip on the bed beside Livia so he could wrap his arm around Helena as
she kept talking.
"Julio, you are so handsome
and strong. I am very proud of you, as I am sure your own mother
would be if she could see you. I've always loved you as my own, and I
will always watch over you."
"I love you too, Momma."
Croaked Julio as he fought back tears.
Helena rubbed her head against
Numito's chest. "My love. My heart. Don't let yourself fall in
despair. Our children need you, the pack needs you. I know you wanted
to try and claim me, but it never felt right to me. I thank you for
respecting my wishes every day for the last two decades. I feel as if
my life is complete and my purpose has been fulfilled with you all."
She started to cough, one hand
lifted off Livia to cover her mouth, trying to hide the trickle of
blood that gathered at the corner of her mouth. Eventually,
her coughing ended, and she collapsed back
exhausted against her husband.
With her family gathered as
tightly as they could around her, she breathed out her final goodbye.
"I love you all."
IT WAS THE FIRST full moon of
winter. The air was crisp with the coming chill indicating the
arrival of winter. The pale bark of the tall trees glowed in the
moonlight, disappearing high in the dying autumnal leaves. Numito,
in his Wolf form,
watched Livia. Around her were the newly shifted
forms of her peers, the young pack members who had turned fifteen
since the last first full winter moon.
Looks of pity were sent her way
as she sat upon the mulched leaf litter of the forest floor, a
shivering naked human form bathed in moonlight. Her cheeks were red
as she sat shaking with the early winter chill, awaiting the
emergence of her inner wolf. Yet it seemed there was no wolf to
welcome into the pack. He was a little surprised that she was still
human, even if her mother had only been human. There had always been
a secret hope, and a whispered thought
throughout the pack, that the strength of Numito's wolf would be
enough to share with his daughter a wolf spirit, yet it seemed she
was destined to be like her dearly departed mother.
Julio's russet wolf brushed up
alongside Numito, nipping at the massive Alpha's
jaw in affection. Numito rubbed his jaw against Julio's head before
licking at his muzzle.
I want you to lead the pack
run. Your sister needs me.
Julio whined a little as he
looked at his sister, but his voice was loud
within Numito's mind.
Numito trotted over to the trees
and shifting swiftly and pulling on a pair of sweatpants
and a hoodie. He grabbed another hoodie from the pile and walked over
to Livia. He pulled the soft material over her head, startling her
from her introspective connection with the bonfire.
Julio howled once, calling the
pack together. All the wolves new and old lifted their own heads,
their eyes gleaming in the moonlight. With another longer howl
from Julio, the pack moved
as one, following the young Alpha into the woods, running as one in
celebration of the joy and freedom of being a wolf.
As the last wolf disappeared
from the clearing Livia turned around and buried herself into
Numito's arms. Her sobs breaking his heart.
"Come on, Baby Girl."
He murmured into her hair, wrapping his arms around her and lifting
her up. He settled her securely in his arms before walking back
towards the pack house. Another round of howls
lifted into the night sky and Livia sobbed louder again.
"Do you want to go to the
movies, or to the ice cream parlour?" He asked, knowing
immediately that she would be unable to settle tonight,
hearing so many wolves calling out, reminding her of her lack
of wolf. She rubbed her face against his hoodie, sniffling loudly.
"I don't really want to be
seen in public right now, Papa. But I don't want to stay here. Can
you take me to see The One?"
Numito gave her a small smile.
"Is that the new Jet Li movie?"
She nodded against his chest.
"Sure thing, Baby Girl. I
don't mind watching Jet Li." He juggled her briefly in his arms
so he could open the door to the house and
stepped into the warm kitchen. "How about you go get dressed,
and then we can go into town, load up on all
your favourite snacks at the cinema before we watch the movie."
Livia nodded and jumped down
from his arms. "Ok, Papa. Ten minutes?"
He smiled at her, proud of how
strong she was being. Feeling his heart swell with emotion as he
watched her run through the kitchen into the house, he hands tugging
the hoodie down over the back of her thighs. He followed her, heading
to his room to change into jeans and shirt.
When they arrived at the movie
complex, they found they had a forty-minute wait before their film
started. Numito bought their tickets and then headed to the nearby
Olive Garden for a coffee and a bite to eat while
waiting for their movie to start.
They sat in silence as they
waited for their order of fried mozzarella and fried beef and pork
ravioli to come. Livia slid the salt shaker back and forth between
her hands on the table as she waited. Numito found it hard to watch
her seem so lost. It hadn't really been a topic of discussion,
whether she would or wouldn't have a wolf soul when she turned
fifteen. Watching her, he saw his little girl was on the cusp of
becoming a young woman, and it scared him. He was terrified of losing
her, but at the same time proud of the young woman she was becoming.
Losing her mother at fourteen had matured her quicker than he would
have liked. This last two months though had seen her bursting with
excitement at the thought of finally becoming a wolf.
Their platter of food arrived
and was placed between them. Livia finally stopped playing with the
salt, settling instead for selecting a piece of fried mozzarella and
biting into it. She seemed to be working hard at keeping her mouth
full of food and avoid talking as much as she could.
When there was nothing left
Numito smiled at her, placing his hand over hers. "You can speak
to me, Baby Girl. You don't have to keep this to yourself."
She looked up, her chocolate
eyes watery with unshed tears. "I'm not good enough. That's why
I had Momma taken from me, and I wasn't given a wolf."
Numito's heart splintered with
her words. "Oh, Livia, my darling. You are good enough, in fact,
you are better than good enough. I love you so much, and I won't ever
stop loving you. The pack loves you too. You don't need a wolf to be
pack. And as for your Momma, that was sheer bad luck that she got
sick. It had nothing to do with you."
Livia nodded, a big fat tear
rolling down each cheek before she swept them away with her hand.
"Ok, Papa." She
murmured before looking at her phone. "Hey, we better get moving
if we want to catch the trailers."
She tried to smile at him, but
it never reached her eyes.
Most of the Alpha's from the
phone conference had clicked off. Only O'Connor remained on the line
"How you doing, my friend?"
Numito grimaced at the phone.
Somehow his friend always knew when he was struggling with some
element of his personal life. "I'm well enough."
"I sense a but there, old
friend." Drifted through the phone.
The laugh he let out held no
humour. "My Baby Girl wants to leave home."
Despite the conversation over
the phone, he could still hear his friends shock. "Oh, she found
Numito growled at the idea of
some unknown wolf putting his paws on his Baby
Girl. "No, thank goodness. She wants to travel America, try and
find herself. Apparently, she feels stifled here as the only
wolf-less pack member. I told her I would have to think about it, but
the truth is, I just don't want to let her go."
"I can understand that.
But, you must ask yourself, what's the best thing for Livia? I can't
imagine how difficult it must be for her, not only is she wolf-less
but she is also the daughter of a very dominant Alpha. It must make
her feel insecure around the pack when she can't take part in pack
hunts or runs."