Claimed (Wolf Essence Book 1)
Now the hard part begins, schooling her on Pack Life. Our rules, the hierarchy, and most of all what it means to be part of something bigger than oneself. Mya will understand in time that once she’s in my world, she can never leave; this isn’t a lifestyle it’s a complete way of life.
“I know you have questions. Let me start explaining things, and you can ask me questions along the way. Sound good?” When Mya nodded, I started. “Pack life starts with the ultimate sharing, shifting, and running together. Learning that your physical body is just cover for the outside world and your true self is inside until your wolf is released. I’m sure it’ll be a touch unnerving, being naked in front of strangers, but you will adapt in time. We run together, eat together, and live in harmony with our Packs.” She looked like she might ask a question, but I needed her to listen, so I continued.
“Not that there aren’t disagreements, but Pack is family and bonded to one another in ways no human family could ever comprehend.
“Our rules are basic, we protect our own. We’ll take down all who try to destroy our world. The Alpha has the final word, without question and there are Male and Female Alphas who rule together.”
“We have our Hierarchy. Alphas, Alpha Family, Inner Circle, Enforcers, Trackers, and it goes down the list. No one treats any other as if they are insignificant; there is no room for that here. “
“We’ve fought bloody wars to maintain our way of life and lost many members, namely your birth parents. Celia and Jasper were close friends with my parents and had been part of our community for a long time, and cherished their only child, Mya.”
“I was anxious to meet you as an adult, to talk with you and learn how your mind works. Whenever I am near you, that sweet bouquet that blankets your body speaks to my wolf. It drives us crazy and takes everything I have to control it instead of letting it control me.”
“We searched for you after the move your ‘parents’ made when I came to you in my wolf form.”
Her ‘parents’ scared her enough that she became weary of my presence; but had I known that they planned a move that would sever any ties that I formed with her, I would’ve pulled her into the woods and taken her with me.
At that moment I noticed her face contort like she was trying to remember something. “Mya, what do you remember?”
“You said something about it being odd that I hadn’t had my first shift. Could someone stop a were from shifting? See, my mom made me drink this horrible concoction every thirty days I wonder if it was to stop me from shifting?”
Shit, that answers that question.
Cade’s words resonated down into my being; he wanted me but would never hurt me or use me.
We sat together after he explained some things and we started sharing stories of our youth, just getting to know one another. I was comfortable being here with him. It gave me hope that maybe things might go well for not just me, but for us.
Once the bar closed, Starling came up with another woman and joined us. “Hey boss, we thought you wouldn’t mind if we popped in. I brought a few bottles of wine too.” Starling smiled as she placed them in the small fridge.
“Absolutely, Starling; Mya this is Arabella,” Cade introduced us. “If you have any questions about our world, and don’t feel comfortable talking to me, Arabella would be a perfect friend to talk to.
“It’s good to meet you.”
“You too Mya, how’s everything going so far,” she asked.
“Well, it’s different and a bit freaky to be told you’re a wolf shifter. Then I shifted for the first time in the office, and I’m rambling!” I laughed.
“Hey, is there a party up in here?” Denver howled, as he bounded out onto the rooftop. Of course, with gorgeous friends accompanying him. Honestly, if you weren’t comfortable in your skin and confident, being around, all these pretty people could severely derail a person.
“Hey, these are Drake and Morgan. Drake, is the Alpha’s fifth and Morgan, is a pack brother.”
“Guys, this is, Mya,” Denver introduced his friends to me.
Once everyone had drinks, they grabbed some chairs and gathered around Cade and me. Denver smacked Starling’s rear, making her get up, just to have him pull her down on his lap. Starling left nothing to the imagination; she was all over Denver as if he minded. However, he was oblivious to Arabella’s pain or more likely hadn’t noticed.
Denver’s friend Morgan seemed to notice this too and called him out on it, “You two are idiots. Why are trying to hurt Arabella, Denver? Fuck, like you have to flaunt your nasty little affair in her face.”
“Fuck off, Morgan, we’ve come to an understanding, right, Bella?” His hot gaze pegged her.
“What exactly is the understanding, Denver?” Cade asked.
“She had her chance; I wanted to mate with her. You are my mate, Bella,” Denver seethed. You’re the one that said no! I’m not waiting around for you to come to your fucking senses. And I’m sure as hell am not going to stop having sex.”
“I don’t care what you do, Denver. But, at least have enough respect for Mya to not act like horny teenagers in front of her. Think for once in your life, and I don’t mean with the little head either,” Arabella scolded Denver.
“Whatever, Arabella,” Denver grunted as he got up. “I’ll talk to you in the morning, Cade.” Then Denver stormed off, followed closely by Starling.
“Wow is he bitter. That doesn’t mean he can be a total douchebag, though,” Morgan muttered as he took a seat next to Arabella. “Don’t let him bother you, Bella.” He smiled and reached for her hand.
“He can be a fucking idiot, we all know that but there’s no reason for him to act that way with you,” Drake reiterated. “We know what happened to you two, so how can he say it’s your fault?”
“It’s not for us to judge, Drake. It’s something Arabella needs to work out with him. If they want my help, I’m here for them.” Cade nodded to Bella.
“He’s just out of sorts right now. I think he’ll come to understand the circumstances in time. Well, at least, I hope so,” Arabella confirmed.
“You’re too good for him, Bella. I won’t let him treat you this way again,” Morgan announced.
“Are you tossing your hat into the proverbial ring, Morgan? You two have been spending a lot of time together,” Cade remarked.
“Arabella is a lady. She deserves better than that,” he winked, making her blush. “It’s so sexy when you blush,” he muttered, bringing her hand to his lips. “Come on, Arabella, I’ll drive you home. Okay?” She stood up, not saying a word, Morgan trailing behind her. He pulled her to him and gently kissed the top of her head.
* * *
I try to take in what just happened as another person entered the roof, this time a very beautiful woman.
“Hey, I just saw Bella and Morgan in the elevator. In what you would call, a compromising position. What brought that on?” she said towards Cade.
“Hi Lara,” Drake got up to greet her, as she walked toward him. “Come meet, Mya. This sweet little thing is my girl.”
“Hi, Mya, it’s nice to finally meet you,” she smiled warmly. “So, what’s the deal with those two? Does anyone know?”
“Looks like Arabella, might have found someone to connect with, Morgan is a good guy. I guess we’ll have to wait and see if they mate.” Cade smirked as he glanced at me. “We all know what season this is; everyone will be partnering up soon. It should be interesting, to say the least.”
I looked at him and asked, “What season is it?”
He winked at me and smiled. “This is when our pack goes into heat.”
“Ah, you’re probably going to have to explain that to her, Cade?” Drake added with a sly smirk.
“No Drake, I think I’d rather show her. It’ll be a lot more fun that way.”
“Love the way you think, Alpha. Your little wolf will be going crazy, Mya. You’re going to find out quickly what’s about to happen.” Lara raked her nails down Drake’s arm, signaling that it was time to leave.
“See you tomorrow.” Cade smiled. “Don’t forget about the meeting.”
After they left, I had even more questions. “When does this ‘Heat’ thing start? Is it going to affect me hard?” The strange thing was that I already wanted to jump the arrogant Alpha. My body and mind were at war with one another; my brain said to stay away, but I could not ignore the ache in my core.
“Well,” he whispered as his thumb caressed my cheek with featherlike strokes. “It will be soon, and I guess it’ll hit you hard,” he paused, letting me digest that tidbit. “It guarantees that our race will grow and survive; besides it’s a great tension reliever.”
Cade’s touch sent shivers over my skin, I wanted those lips on mine, to feel them plundering my sex and exploring me from head to toe. God, how I wanted him, to have his body pressed against mine again, but how could I just give myself to him? I was here under his command, he was in charge, and I had no say in the matter. My body betrayed my every thought, and something kept me riveted to him.
Was it the mate thing? Maybe it was because he exuded raw power and sex, I didn’t know, and that drove me crazy. What I did know was that I had never had this reaction to another man.
Cade cleared his throat and pulled me from the lust-induced thoughts. His gaze was full of turmoil, as his eyes rolled down my body. “Uh, let me show you to your room,” and took my hand in his. He groaned when our hands met, but never looked at me as we headed for the stairs and down through the living room. “Your room is down this hall with an ensuite, everything that you need is in your room.” He opened the door at the end of the hall. “Go on in, Mya,” he coaxed. I wasn’t expecting what was waiting for me before I could understand all I was seeing Cade asked, “Is it okay?”
“It’s perfect,” I told him while taking in the splendor, smiling back at him.
He stood in the doorway, not stepping in any further. “I wanted you to feel at home; this is your room, Mya.” His eyes sought out mine. “This must all be strange and overwhelming for you, especially because I can’t let you leave.” He gazed around the room, then turned back to me, “I wanted this to be your space.” He was arrogant, infuriating, controlling, and hotter than a sizzling summer day but he had a sweet side, this room showed me that fact.
He seemed a bit bewildered. “You’re my mate. I don’t want anyone else, only you.” He raked his hands through his hair and looked at me through his long lashes. “Can you understand what that means to me. I tried to find you and track you,” he stated, I could see his uncertainty and tension in his face. I went towards him and wrapped my arms around his waist.
“I’m sorry, Cade. I didn’t mean to say anything to upset you.” I laid my head on his chest and listened to the beat of his heart. The rhythmic sound soothed me as I looked up at him.
“You are so beautiful, Mya. I hope that our relationship won’t suffer because I can’t let you leave.” His left hand came up and settled below my ear, his thumb swiping across my bottom lip. “I want you to feel safe wherever I am.” Cade’s right hand stayed on the small of my back. “Good night, Mya,” and he dipped his head, stopping just before our lips touched.
I brushed my nose against his and took in his masculine scent, licking my lips and flicking my tongue over his. Cade’s eyes fluttered closed, he groaned before his mouth descended on mine. It was not a chaste kiss but one full of lust, hope, and confusion. My fingers clung to his thick locks, trying desperately to bring him closer; I wanted more, I shouldn’t, but I couldn’t help it as the ache between my legs throbbed.
Cade moaned as our tongues danced together; the sound spread through my soul enveloping my body. His hardened length rubbed against my belly, and all I could think of was getting that bulge in his pants inside me. Then, everything came to a halt as my damned wolf howled or was that a whimper. Ugh!
“I, uh, better say, good night,” I whispered, breathlessly as his eyes dragged over my body. Without a word, Cade turned and pulled the door closed behind him.
Well, there’s no need to worry about attraction, I groaned and flopped on the bed.
* * *
I hardly got any sleep last night, had me feeling like being hungover. After tossing and turning all day, I decided to get up at six thirty. I took a shower, trying to make myself look decent, but that would’ve required a miracle.
Cade was sitting at the kitchen table reading the paper. He smiled at me. “How did you sleep?” he asked as he stood to get me a coffee.
“Not at all,” I chuckled. “You seem to know quite a bit about me. How is that? I mean you know my favorite color, that I like my coffee black, what else do you know about me?”
He laughed. “I know a bit. I know that if I push too hard, you’ll come out fighting.”
“Ah, that’s true,” I smirked at him.
“Are you hungry? Whatever you want, I’ll cook it for you.”
“You,” I pointed at him, “are cooking, for me?”
“Yeah,” he smiled. “I’m an Alpha, not a Prima Donna. I take care of myself, and yes, that includes cooking.” He bent to grab a pan, “Omelet sound good?” Cade grabbed some eggs, onions, mushrooms, and cream from the fridge.
“Sounds like heaven, do you have cheese? I’ll grate some up.”
“Yes, it’s in the crisper.” He bumped my hip, “See, we do make a good pair.”
“Of all the things that are going on, that never crossed my mind.” I grabbed the grater from the cupboard and started shredding.
As Cade finished off the omelet and made toast, I set the table. He served me, then brought the coffee pot over and sat next to me. “Thank you, Cade. This is a nice surprise this morning.”
“You’re welcome, but you don’t need to thank me. I want you to feel at home, and I want to stay,” Cade confessed.
There was a knock on the door, and before either of us said anything, it opened. “Yo, Cade, I’m home. I got back late last night, and I would’ve come here, but Bella told me that Mya showed up. I didn’t want to disturb you two.”
Cade rolled his eyes, and I looked up at a man who bore an uncanny resemblance to him. “Mya, this is my younger brother, Dane. Dane, this is Mya.”
“Well, hello, sweet lady, you sure are a stunner.” Cade let out a guttural growl and cuffed Dane on the back of the head. “Respect, Dane.”
“Damn, Cade,” he bellowed. “I was just complimenting, Mya. You know I’m like that, what gives?” He grabbed a cup as he continued rubbing the back of his head.
“This time, I’ll let it go, but next time I’ll take you out,” Cade hissed.
“So,” I turned to Dane, “where were you? By the way, it is nice to meet you, too. I didn’t know that Cade had siblings.”
“Well, he doesn’t want to share his new-found mate. That is understandable; Cade has always been a bit possessive. He never did share much growing up.” Dane commented as he slurped his coffee. “He’s probably worried that my gorgeous mug will steal you away from him.”
“You and Cade have the same sense of humor,” I laughed. Cade didn’t find it funny and grabbed Dane by the scruff of the neck, forcibly shoving him toward the living room.
“What the hell, is going on with you, Dane? You’re purposely acting like a dick in front of Mya. I guess you didn’t understand what I said, so let me make myself clear,” he growled.
“Cade,” I murmured and placed my hand on his free arm. “Dane is just playing, come back in the kitchen and sit down.” Cade clenched his jaw as his eyes glittered with shards of amber.
He seethed, “Yeah he is, and he's pushing my buttons. I don’t take shit from anyone. And of all people, you know that, Dane.” Cade released his brother. “I’ve got a lot on my plate right now, and I don’t need you adding to it.” Then he took my hand and led us back to the kitchen.
“Cade, I know you’ve been under a shitload of pressure. You and Mya should head out for a few days. You two could spend some time at home, get to know each other,” Dane assured him. “Denver, Starling, and I can handle stuff around here. Besides, you wouldn’t be that far away if we needed you.” Dane’s face was sincere, “Let me do this for you.”
“We’ll talk after we have the meeting. I’m sure Mya and I could use a few days alone.”
“Sure, and home is where?” I asked them.
“We call it our compound. It’s a place where we are free to let our wolf run free. We farm our food and land.”
“Cowboys that are wolves and other animals aren’t afraid?” I questioned.
“No, I never had issues with other animals, only the two-legged kind that frequent the bar. Anyway, we should finish our breakfast. The Pack Elders meeting is soon. Dane, make sure everyone’s here, check if mom and dad are here too,” Cade asked.
“They weren’t here when I came up, but no need to worry, you know they’ll be here,” Dane smirked. “Dad’s never missed a meeting unless mom got him in a compromising position,” he chuckled. “You know how mom can be.”
“Ugh, that’s just disgusting,” Cade scrunched up his face, which made me laugh. “What,” he asked somewhat annoyed, “Who wants to think of their parents doing the nasty?”
“Cade’s a bit squeamish when it comes to our mom and dad, ah, coming.” Cade heaved and ran after Dane. “Aww, Cade, I know you love me, no need to demonstrate.” He yelled as Cade grabbed him and tossed him on the couch.
Here, I thought they were going to beat the crap out of each other. Instead, Cade tickled him until he couldn’t catch his breath; it was comical watching two grown men act like children.
“Okay,” Dane howled, “I give.” Cade rolled off him, laughing so hard tears streamed down his face.
“Oh my God, is this how you two usually are?” I asked them.
“Sometimes,” Dane said between gulps of air. “Cade works too hard and doesn’t know how to relax, just like our dad.” Cade got up off the floor and went into the kitchen for some water. “And that hard-ass regimen is what got him thrust into the Alpha spot.” Dane whistled and turned to me, “That was only six months ago.”
“Huh,” I smiled at Cade. “That’s pretty impressive.”
“Yeah, it is, and now with you here, I don’t know how you do it, bro?” Dane said, looking at him with admiration.
“Thanks, Dane. Mya, I would like you to meet the elders. This weekend we have our annual summer barbecue at the compound. It’ll be fun, everyone will be there.” Cade stood in front of me, lifting my chin up with his finger. “I’ll make sure you have fun.” When his lips touched mine, my mind became hazy, all I could see, feel, hear, and want, was Cade James.
Dane cleared his throat, effectively breaking our connection. “Of course, you’ll get to meet our other brother, and we have a sister, Willow. Hey, by the way, Cade, have you talked to, Milo? I haven’t been able to get in touch with him.”
“He came here to see me and left a few days back, said he was going to visit, Willow out in Yellowknife. Why are you asking?”
“Well, I called him yesterday, and his phone went straight to his voicemail. Did you call Willow, and check if he was there, yet?”
“I’ll call her to check and make sure everything is good. But, come on Dane, we know how Milo is. Partying and fucking are the only things that concern him. Maybe he hooked up with some girl or girls, in a town he was going through.”
Dane tensed, and Cade caught the genuine concern he had for their brother. “Alright, alright, I’ll call her now.” He took out his cell and rang up Willow’s number. There was no answer, so Cade left a message explaining the situation and asking her to call back to confirm that Milo was there. “She’ll call back, Dane. I am sure everything is fine, don’t worry.”
“Yeah, I guess the little shit is probably just getting his rocks off with some...,” he stopped midsentence and looked at me.
I chuckled, “Don’t stop on my account, I’m no angel.”
“Good to know, Future Sister. Anyway, I have to pick up Marley, we won’t be long” with that, he was out the door.