Chapter 6: I Will Not Submit
The she-wolf loped her way along the riverbank, the sun warming her white fur as her black paws gripped the meadow grass. It was a glorious morning to be in wolf form; the smells of the forest surrounded her, and she had the freedom long denied to move through the open fields and woods without fear. Her long strides ate up the miles as she moved upstream to where the field gave way to a rocky canyon. She picked her way to the top and continued to parallel the river as it flowed through rapids below her.
It was then she picked up the smell.
He was around.
Her right ear, the black one, twitched as she scented the air, desperate to find him. She followed the wind upstream, her pace quickened, her heart rate increased, and the smell of her arousal followed behind her.
Rounding the next bend, she saw him. He was magnificent; young, strong and rippling with power. She froze as she stared at him. He just stood there on top of a rock at the other side of the river, gazing over the landscape with the confidence and bearing of an apex predator. His wavy brown coat seemed to glow in the bright sunlight. His head slowly turned and his eyes burned their way into her soul, the deep green flecked with brown forcing her to submit without thinking. She lowered her eyes, turned and presented her swollen sex to him, looking back to see that his erection was swelling to impressive size.
It remained that way when he shifted to human form, his gaze still on her. She shifted as well, her curly black hair framing her face and shoulders as she stared across the canyon at him. Evidence of her arousal was flowing down her thighs. She called to him. He knew she was close, he was walking towards her, and then he faded away.
“NO!!!” she screamed, running to the edge of the canyon, but he was gone before she could say another word.
Renee’s scream woke her up; she was in the tent, covered in sweat and breathing heavily, as yet another frustratingly erotic dream ended. Her eyes filled with tears as she lay back, the dreams of her mate that had filled her nights over the past few weeks always leaving her empty. Different, but the same; she hated the endings, but she would hate even more if she stopped dreaming of Gary, her lover, her mate... now gone. How could someone she knew for only a week turn her life so upside down? She missed him so, there was a huge hole within her that would never be filled.
She now understood why those who lost their mates lost their will to live. Her life plans ruined, her future so bleak. Here she was, widowed at eighteen, mated for only a few days. Left with so few memories to get her through the rest of her years. She could only look forward to years that were bound to be lonely and wanting; reincarnation would come, but when? Would she find love in a man twenty years or more her junior? Would she even find him again? Would it even happen while she was alive?
Suicide was just a means to hasten the next cycle and bring him back sooner, she thought. Having found and lost her true mate, she was left only with the evidence of their time together. Both hands rested over her lower stomach as she thought of her babies growing inside. She had been thrilled to be found pregnant, and the twins were recently confirmed with an ultrasound at a clinic in Denver. What had happened to her was exceedingly rare; she had never been in heat before and yet she must have been at some point, just even if she didn’t recognize it.
Doc theorized that her wolf, knowing her mate was gone, forced her body to release an egg while Gary’s sperm was still within her. It was a desperate attempt at carrying on his line at a time when their survival was uncertain. Without the promise of the babies, she would have gone mad.
Her head was spinning as it hit the pillow.
“Renee?” Amanda was at the door to her tent. “May I come in?”
“Of course.” Amanda unzipped the tent fly and crawled inside. Their accommodations were spartan; the pack had just returned to the old caves and were using camping equipment as there was nothing else there except the equipment for digging. She was dressed in a long T-shirt and shorts.
“The nightmare again?” Renee nodded and laid back again. “It all seems so real to me. Tonight I was out for a run, I could smell him, then I could see him. The dream got me excited, if you can’t tell.” Amanda grinned, the smell of her sex filled the tent. Half the pack probably knew how excited she had been by this dream, and it had happened almost every night since the funeral two weeks ago. “It was all so good, I was feeling like I was with him again, and he... just...” and then dissolved into sobs again.
Amanda sat next to her and drew her into her embrace. Although only a few years older than Renee, her time as Alpha Female had drawn our the loving and supporting part of her makeup. She considered Renee to be her baby sister, and watching her in pain cut into her.
It took a minute for Renee to stop crying, with Amanda stroking her face and softly talking to her the whole time. Finally Renee started to talk again. “I miss him so much. I miss the things we did together. I really miss the sex. He made me feel so good. Even in the dreams it is so good, but it always ends before I can come and I get so frustrated, it’s the worst way to wake up.”
“Honey, I can’t fix your dreams, and I don’t know if you even want them fixed. It’s your time together with him. I can help you out with your frustrations if you want, though. Now that you’re not under my mate’s forced virginity edict you can come out and play with the adult women if you want. And we do like to play...” Adult females had free reign to play with each other within the pack, and the men did not dare to interfere. Amanda stood up and doffed her T-shirt, then pushed her shorts down and joined Renee on the sleeping pad. “Just lay back, close your eyes, and replay that hot dream in your head while I help you out a bit.”
Renee lay back on the pillow, her arm over her eyes, as Amanda started to trail kisses down from her lips to her breasts. After sucking her nipples back to attention, she left her hands there while her mouth kept going lower. Her tongue tickled her belly button and then kissed the skin just above her sex, whispering to the babies inside that Mommy was not going to be alone and that she would be there to help. Renee went from whispering encouragement to thanks to moans and grunts as she quickly ascended back towards the peak she had been denied. Renee broke hard, her entire body tensing as she screamed her release into the pillow.
Taking her in her arms, Amanda rocked her slowly as she fell into a much needed sleep. She would do anything to help her adapt to her new role as mother of the first cubs that the pack would welcome in years. They wouldn’t be the last; mated females were going into heat left and right as the wolves in them celebrated the end of the war.
Santa Fe National Forest Mobile Command
West of Los Alomos, New Mexico
During Lieutenant Colonel’s Stan Montgomery’s time at West Point, they had a saying: “There’s always that ten percent that don’t get the word.”
The wisdom of that saying never failed, and in this case the problem was how to convince an isolated pack that peace had come after nothing but war over the past five years. High command had worked with Renee and some of the Alphas they were able to reach to get the cease fire in place over three weeks ago. These packs were then able to locate and convince neighboring packs to come into the fold.
The problem with that strategy was that the Santa Fe pack was isolated by hundreds of miles from other packs. To make it worse, the area did not have the dense natural cover of other areas in the Rocky Mountains, so their losses had been heavy. They were rarely seen, and did not respond to pamphlet drops, loudspeakers or envoys. The last attempt at contacting them had failed as the Red Cross helicopter was fired upon as it tried to land. Stan didn’t want to risk any other men on a plan that wasn’t working. He needed help. He called in to headquarters and explained what he wanted.
Former Den Caves
West of Cheyenne
Linda Remington emerged from her tent energized for another day. Her access to Derek’s pack had been a boon to her career, and she was taking advantage of it. She had arrived the previous evening along with her technician Len and cameraman Tony. They had been invited by Alpha Derek to observe and report on their recovery effort.
The MOAB crater they now camped in was starting to green up again as nature’s adaptability showed forth. The tent she was using was at the very outside edge; there were dozens of tents in use for the Pack and another dozen or so for military and civilian volunteers. After the funeral, Derek had been asked on camera about what they were doing next. His answer? “Find and bid farewell to our dead. We believe that in order for our spirit to return in the next life, the spirit needs to be released. That is why we have a funeral pyre. Our dead in the caves will not rise again unless we do this for them.”
It didn’t take long for help to arrive; the military provided airlift support, tents and mobile power, while a local construction company donated heavy equipment and volunteer operators. They had started opening the collapsed caves three days ago. So far, they had recovered 14 of 68 pack members, all near the cave entrances. Half of the pack would work the dig site, using their keen sense of smell to identify the next dig location, while the other half prepared a pyre. Each night, they would send off their dead.
Volunteers also manned a mobile kitchen, serving four meals a day. It reminded Linda of the scenes she had seen after 9/11; when a victim was found, all other work stopped and the whole pack would gather around. The body would be recovered and the men would place it on a stretcher, pack members lining each side of the route to the pyre. The military and volunteers had started to join in, removing their hats in a token of respect. Family members of the person would follow the stretcher, then those on each side would fall in behind until the whole group was gathered at the pyre. The victim was then wrapped in white linen and placed on top of the pyre to wait until evening. It was this operation that Linda was going to show the nation.
As she walked towards the latrine, she didn’t notice the reaction of the man she passed who couldn’t stop looking at her, even while two of his friends tackled him and held him down. He kept saying one word as he struggled against them. “MINE!”
The helicopter landed just after breakfast, a military transport carrying one passenger, Lt. Col. Montgomery. He was ushered to the Alpha’s tent immediately, where both Alphas were waiting. “Good morning Colonel, what brings you here?”
“Alpha, I need your help. We have been unable to establish contact with the Santa Fe pack; we know they are there, but they don’t trust us or our offer of peace. There are no nearby packs to reach out to either. What I would like is to borrow someone from you who has universal respect and trust among your kind, to seek out their Alpha and broker a meeting with me.”
“I’m sure we could find someone to help. What kind of time frame are we looking at?”
“Immediately, for a few days to a week. We don’t want just anyone, though. I’d like to use Renee.”
Derek sat back, his thoughts going all kinds of directions. “I’m not thinking that is a good idea. She has had a hard time adjusting to the loss of her mate, and she just found out she is having twins. I don’t like the idea of her being away from her family right now, much less doing anything dangerous.”
Just then Renee walked in. She had seen the VIP arrive, and as second in command and Next Alpha, she had come to see what was going on. “I believe I get to decide what I get to do. What is it you are looking for?” The Colonel repeated his request. “Give me five minutes to grab some stuff and we can go.”
Derek was shocked, she hadn’t even looked at him to get his assent. “Colonel, could you give me a moment to discuss this with her?”
As soon as he was out of the tent, Derek came around his makeshift desk and grabbed her arms. “What do you think you’re doing? You’re pregnant and I don’t want you risking yourself for another pack!”
Renee was defiant. “Everything I did to end this war was for our pack AND all the others! Gary’s goal was to end the hostilities so the killing would stop and we could be free again. I promised my children that they would grow up free. That doesn’t happen until I finish this. Besides, I’m not even showing yet. They are well protected and won’t slow me down. A week away may help, just some time for me to work some things out while I’m out running alone.”
The argument went on until Amanda pulled Derek aside. “Honey, she needs something like this. She’s holding on to the dream her mate had, and moving that forward makes her closer to him in her mind. Just think about it for a minute.” Derek sighed, he didn’t like it but he understood it. “OK, but I want her to have an escort along. Any suggestions?”
“I think we should send Red along. Like her, he lost a mate and is drifting. He’d probably welcome the chance to get out there and feel like he is contributing again, plus he was in her squad so they should be able to work together easily.”
An hour later, a chopper lifted off with Renee and Red on board, the Colonel showing them maps on his computer and briefing them on the limited intelligence they had on the Santa Fe pack.
As soon as Derek and Amanda returned to their tent after seeing them off, they found Andy waiting outside with Betas on each arm holding him in place. This was highly unusual; Andy was prior Army, had extensive combat experience and had distinguished himself as second in command of Renee’s squad. He had never been in trouble before, certainly nothing warranting the Alpha’s attention. He entered the tent, seated himself next to Amanda by the desk, and waited for the bad news. It didn’t take long.
Andy looked up at his Alpha pair, not making eye contact but looking at their throats, and bared his neck in submission. “Alpha, I found my mate today.” Derek grinned, knowing how important that was, until it sunk in that there was no one new in camp except... “She is the reporter, Linda Remington. I caught her scent as she left her tent this morning. They,” he pointed to the betas on his side, “kept me from her and brought me here to you. I am requesting your permission to mate with her and to change her into a werewolf if she assents.”
Derek paused for a moment to consider the ramifications of this statement. “Andy, first let me congratulate you on finding your mate. You know how big a deal this is for a wolf, and you are blessed by Luna to find her at a young age. My first question is, what does she say about this?”
“Alpha, I was stopped before I could say anything to her. She doesn’t even know I exist.”
“Then that is your first task. Humans aren’t the same as wolves, she won’t recognize you as her life mate by scent. You will have to get to know her slowly, the human way; get her to trust you and explain to her your side. Under the new laws, the two of you need permission from your Alpha and a human judge to change her, and that can’t happen unless she decides of her own free will that it is what she wants. It will not be an easy thing; you must hold back your wolf, who will want to claim her immediately. The penalty for a forced turning is death. You cannot lose control at any point if you want her to be with you.”
“I understand what is ahead. I have talked to my wolf already, and he understands, although he is impatient and does not want to wait forever. Sir, do I have your permission to pursue her?”
Derek took Amanda’s hand and they came around and hugged him tightly. “Of course. I can help you with one thing. This is an Alpha command: you may not have any physical contact with Ms. Remington unless she has granted you specific permission to do so.” His Alpha powers reached deep into Andy’s mind, forcing his wolf to roll over and bare his neck in submission to the command. “The rest is up to you. I recommend you clean yourself up and get ready. You just became the escort for the TV crew, reporting directly to me. You are to provide them full access to anything and anyone, and to explain anything they don’t understand. I am doing this so you have a chance to be with her constantly without appearing like a stalker. Use this access wisely. If she leaves without you at least having her friendship, it will be very difficult for you to take it any farther. And believe me, she will want your friendship first.”
Amanda followed up with a hand on his arm. “You need to learn all you can about her while allowing her to learn about you. Show her your strength, your wit, your character, and your attention. Make her feel like she is the center of your world, but do it in a way that doesn’t overwhelm her. That means you have to hold back on how you feel about her until she lets you know how she feels. It will be difficult, but is there anything you won’t do for your mate?”
Andy smiled. “No, Madam Alpha, there is nothing I would not do for her, up to my very life.”
“Come on then, let’s find her and I’ll introduce her to her new press liaison.” Amanda led him away to the press tents, while Derek closed his eyes and considered just how much trouble a woman could be. Life sure was interesting. “I heard that!”
Oops. Maybe he shouldn’t have left the bond open to his mate while pursuing THAT particular line of thinking. “Yes, my dear, but you are SO worth the trouble!”
20 miles west of Los Alamos
Red and Renee watched the helicopter disappear over the horizon. The best intel available said that the pack was in a 25 square mile area just north of the dropoff point, based on sniper fire and satellite imagery. Finding a wolf was a job best suited for a wolf, though. They stripped and placed their clothes in the simple packs they would carry, which also contained a satellite radio, water, and enough food for five days of travel. Renee shifted first with Red placing the pack onto her, then Red shifted and she used her teeth to pull his pack into place. “North it is, let’s stay aware for scents and activity.” Red nodded and they headed off to the nearby ridge-line.
They stopped for the first night after making five tough miles through the rockfall and trees along the ridge-line with no hits of any other wolves. A quick meal, their fill of water, and a downed tree for shelter would suffice. They both shifted to wolf form and curled up together to conserve heat through the cold mountain night.
Johnson Pack Caves
West of Cheyenne
Andy guided the TV team to the hillside overlooking the site of the funeral pyre while he explained what was going to be happening. The moon was just rising over the mountain, bathing the valley in its soft light. He had quickly proven himself invaluable to the crew, pointing out camera shots, introducing people, and helping them get interviews with the family members of those whose bodies were found. Linda’s reports were being broadcast on at least an hourly basis, and her reports were carried at the national level. Her network was already hard at work preparing the broadcast and extra footage into a documentary on Were life after the war that was sure to be highly rated. Derek didn’t want the press to turn his Pack’s old site into a circus, so he had limited access to the only person he had cause to trust. She was a fast rising star now in the news business, but all that would have to wait until the story was done.
He was using the down time between shots and stories to learn more about his mate. Her beauty was obvious, but there was far more to her. She had a depth of intelligence he did not expect, and a quick self-deprecating wit. He learned the story of her relationship with Gary and saw the loyalty and respect she still had for him. The more he learned, the more captivated he was. Meanwhile, she had quickly grown comfortable in his company and was learning more about the were life from him. He was explaining Were beliefs in Luna and reincarnation as the Pack began to gather around the pyre. The civilian and military personnel at the camp all formed up behind them.
The gathering fell silent as Alpha Derek ascended a rock outcropping and raised his hands. “Tonight we send off twenty two of our Pack to Luna’s embrace. We honor their lives and their memories, and wish them a speedy return.” Derek climbed down and started to work his way down the line of the Pack. As he announced each name, their closest living relatives came forward. He handed them a lit torch. There were several for which there were no remaining relatives, for these families that had come to an end he gave the torch to Amanda. There was total silence as they approached the pyre, spreading out around the perimeter. As one, they tossed their torches on the pyre and returned to the rest of the Pack. The pyre quickly caught fire and as the flames consumed the bodies, Derek stripped with the Pack following. They all changed into wolf form before Derek lifted his face to the moon and let out a mournful howl. The next howl the rest of the pack joined in, the sound echoing off the mountainsides.
Linda and her crew broadcast the entire ceremony live, with no commentary. She had blushed a little as Andy stripped down off camera, but when his gray wolf sat by her side she hugged him as the emotion of the day overcame her. Andy howled his grief while his wolf reveled in his mate taking comfort in him. When it was over, he tucked his head under her chin until she had stopped crying. When she let go, he looked up at her and licked her face to clean off her tears. She squealed, both in shock and realizing what he must be doing to her makeup as she needed to go back live in a few moments. Andy changed back to human form, noting she didn’t turn away from his naked form, and then got dressed. He took the crew to a location out of sight of the pyre for them to do the report.
The Pack members and guests slowly dispersed as the fire started to die down, while the families stayed behind. Derek and Amanda circulated among the groups, comforting each of the relatives and sharing memories of their lost. Until they were born again, it was only their memories that would keep them alive within the Pack.
West of Los Alamos
8 miles NW of dropoff site
Renee woke from yet another dream, mortified at her arousal around a male in her command. She got up and moved up the hill to survey the area, careful not to disturb Red as she did so. Sunrise would be in twenty minutes or so, and the faint glow over the horizon shadowed the rocks and canyons around them. Scenting as she went, she started to pick up faint traces of other wolves from the valley below. She let out a low howl, alerting Red. He immediately got up and put his pack on, then took hers in his teeth and carried it up the ridge. When he was next to her, he dropped the pack and deeply scented the air, picking up the same traces she had found. Once she was ready, they set off downhill until they had the trail. It took about four hours of tracking, backtracking and searching before the trail was fresh. Two males.
Since this was a goodwill trip and not a border invasion, Renee decided that they might as well help things out by bringing them to her. Moving to the top of a rock along the creek they were following, she let out a long howl of greeting. Listening for several minutes, she didn’t get an answer, so they moved on. Every half hour or so they would try again. The sun was high when they got an answer from four wolves about a half mile away. Hoping to defuse the situation, Renee and Red changed into human form and put on shorts and T-shirts as they stood by the creek waiting for the patrol to arrive. It didn’t take long before two of the wolves took position behind them as the leader changed to human form in front of them. “We come in peace to speak to your Alpha,” Renee said. “We have information for him regarding the end of the war.”
The leader softened his countenance slightly before responding, “Who are you and what pack are you from?”
“This is Red and I am Renee Johnson, Next Alpha of the Wyoming Johnson Pack.”
“I am Carlos, Beta of the Santa Fe pack. We will bring you to him. Stay between us and do not attempt to deviate or you will be attacked.” With that, he changed back to his wolf form and turned back towards where they came from. Renee and Red quickly doffed their clothes, packed them and put the packs on before following. The two wolves behind them trailed the group as it wound its way through the hills.
Renee used her bond to pass along making contact to Derek along with their approximate location and direction. Using the bond at this range took a lot of focus, but an Alpha heir could pull it off if she concentrated and didn’t try it too often. That kind of projection would give her a headache if done too long.
Press Tents, Johnson Pack Camp
Andy waited outside the tents for Linda to awaken. They had been up late last night with the broadcasts; in addition to the live coverage, there were multiple interviews and questions from various network affiliates. It was almost three AM by the time he walked them back to the tents, and he was hoping she would eat lunch with him. Her crew members made it to lunch, but she didn’t. Andy had asked the kitchen to make picnic lunch baskets for them, as he knew she would be hungry when she finally got up. From her crew he knew that she was not scheduled to provide coverage until that evening, and they were going to walk around and get some “file” shots they could use for the upcoming documentary. They were well enough known now that they were comfortable doing this without him, which suited his purposes as well.
When she finally exited her tent, it was clear just how tired she had been and how deeply she had slept. Her blonde shoulder length hair was mussed up, she wore no makeup, she had drool lines on the left side of her mouth and there were red lines on her face from creases on the pillow. She felt like no one should ever see her like this, but to Andy she was a vision. “Good afternoon, Linda! How did you sleep?”
“Like the dead. I needed that so bad, but I can’t believe I slept through breakfast and lunch! I haven’t done that since I was in college.”
“That’s OK. I saved you a lunch. Why don’t you go get freshened up and I’ll meet you back here? Len and Tony are out getting some background footage, I just talked to them and they will be busy for a couple hours.”
“Thank you for thinking of me! I’ll be back in a few minutes.” She went off to the field showers carrying a small bag and a change of clothes. Twenty minutes later, she felt much better about herself. For some reason she wanted to look her best for Andy. It was weird because they had just met, but she was immediately comfortable and felt safe around him. Her dreams last night had been filled with the image of him stripped before her before and after he changed into his wolf form. The thought of it made her sex heat up. It was too bad he was a werewolf, if he was human she would have been flirting with him until he asked her out. She knew enough to know that they only played around until they found their mate, and she didn’t want to start a relationship he wouldn’t finish. Even if he WAS hot. And strong.
When she got back to the tents, Andy was waiting there with a small backpack, water bottles secured on the sides. “If you trust me, I thought we could go eat a picnic lunch at a place I know. I give you my word I’ll keep you safe.”
“Andy, ever since I met you I’ve felt safe with you. It’s made me feel weird because I’m usually not that trusting, there are so many weirdos out there, and when you’re on TV you meet so many. I’d love to have lunch with you. A little relaxation is just what I need.” Her smile was soon met and exceeded by his. He handed her the backpack, then stripped naked in front of her and put the clothes in the pack as well.
“Put the backpack on, then you can climb on my back. If you keep your feet crossed above my tail, use your hands to grab onto my chest, and your legs to squeeze gently, you’ll stay in place. I’ll still understand you in wolf form, so just tell me if you feel uncomfortable or scared at any time and I’ll stop. This will be much faster than walking there.” With that, he changed into his gray wolf with a single white tip on his left ear. He was much larger than a normal wolf, really more of a small horse, since he was 6′1” and 220 pounds. He lay down for her to get on then rose up and set off to the west.
Her nervousness quickly faded as his lope turned into a run. She screamed her excitement as they rushed through the forest, her hair billowing behind her, her arms holding on as he moved left and right to avoid the trees. It was the most exhilarating ride of her life.
She realized that part of why it was so much fun was that she trusted him to keep her safe. She had not trusted for a long time, and it was a little disconcerting to find this trust in a man she barely knew. Her mind questioned, but her body betrayed her.
If a wolf could smile, Andy was doing that. He had his mate embracing him and her arousal was clearly evident. He picked up the pace even more, hoping to get to the waterfall as quickly as possible.
She heard the water before she saw it. Andy stopped at the top of the narrow canyon before picking his way down the trail to the deep pool below. Linda was awestruck; “It’s so beautiful!” She sat up as much as she could while she took in the sights. The water tumbled about thirty feet before churning into a deep, clear pool. There was rock surrounding the pool on all sides, but at the outlet of the pool there was a flat, grassy area shaded by a huge willow tree.
Andy stopped there and she hopped off. He changed into human form, but he was still breathing hard and sweaty from the run. Before she could say anything, he turned and dove into the water. She couldn’t tear her eyes from the sight of his muscled shoulders, torso and ass while he ran. He surfaced in the middle of the pool, treading water, and looked back at her, the challenge apparent in his eyes even though he said nothing. It took her moments to decide, and she quickly stripped off her clothes and dove in after him.
“AAAAAAAAAAAARGHHHHH! COLD COLD COLD COLD! You bastard, you tricked me!”
Andy laughed. “What did you expect from a mountain stream? Plus I never said anything, I just didn’t react like you thought I should.” He swam over to a flat-topped boulder on the near side. She watched him pull himself up and sit down, and she swam over by his dangling legs. Looking up, she raised her arm and he immediately grasped it and pulled her up next to him. “You have to admit the sun feels really good right now,” he said, “and I’m glad you aren’t freaked out by our casualness towards nudity. You kind of get used to it when it is required every time you shift.”
“Why don’t you stay clothed when you turn into wolf form?”
“I can’t afford to keep replacing clothes like that, when my body changes shape it will tear up anything I wear that is smaller than a tent. It’s easier just to wear clothes that are easy to take off. That is why you see most of the men wearing pullover shirts and shorts or pants, and the women prefer sun dresses or skirts and tops. We aren’t big on underwear, either.”
Linda blushed a little. “Yes, I kind of noticed. I was nervous at first, but when I realized that no one else cared it was easier to blend in. It is hard for me to avoid looking at some things, though. The technicians that blur the videos, they are getting a workout.” She stole a glance down and quickly turned her eyes back up to his.
“That is perfectly normal for us. It’s not that we don’t appreciate the human form, we do- but we have a more nuanced view of sexuality than humans. Since non-mated pairs can’t breed, sex for us is a fun activity, but we have a deep, instinctual drive to find our true mate. Until that person is found, we don’t experience the fullness of our existence. Only that person can bring us true joy, and from everything I’ve heard, mated sex is far better. It is kind of like eating at McDonalds all the time and suddenly you’re in a four-star hotel restaurant; it’s the same activity, but a completely different experience.”
“I know you find your mate by scent. How does that happen, and what happens next?”
“It can be a number of ways. The scent of your mate is imprinted on your mind when you reach puberty, and your wolf nature is constantly scenting the air and the people around you looking for it. When you recognize the scent, it could be across a room, or the person next to you, but your wolf notices and takes over. Sometimes all you hear is them saying MINE as they make their way to their mate, and it doesn’t matter who or what is between them. It is dangerous to get between a wolf and his mate. Your mate is experiencing the same thing, so coming together can be... well... intense and without restraint. It isn’t uncommon for two people who have never met to recognize each other, tear off their clothes and mate right there. It can make for an interesting dinner backdrop!”
“Then what happens?”
“Well, the actual mating takes place during sex. The male will bite the female on the neck or shoulder during her orgasm, and she will do the same during his. The mating bite forms the mate bond, which allows the pair to share thoughts, memories and emotions telepathically. The bite is also the only one that won’t heal without a scar; it’s the equivalent of our wedding ring. It tells all other Werewolves that the person is taken.”
“That sounds pretty intense. And this all happens with someone you just met a few moments before? Isn’t that risky? What if the two don’t get along?”
“That is the best part- they are always perfect for each other. We believe Luna ordains us a mate that is the perfect match for us. Our wolves accept that immediately, and our human sides grow into the love bond you see in the mated pairs around you. We mate for life. Once you are mated, you don’t look at other people, your desire is only for your mate. There is no divorce for us, and no need for it. It truly is until death do you part.”
“So when will you find your mate?”
“I already have. She just doesn’t realize it yet.”
Linda’s eyes flared with jealousy she didn’t recognize she had. “Who is it that is so foolish they won’t mate with a guy like you?”
“Linda, please look at me while I say this.” She raised her eyes to his. “The truth is in my eyes. YOU are my mate. While I live there will be no other. I will do anything, wait any time, and endure any trials until you say you will be mine.” Linda was shocked, but she couldn’t look away. His eyes weren’t lying; she was his mate. Deep down she knew it, and it scared the crap out of her, but it was also exciting. She looked away and buried her face in her hands, afraid she would break out in tears at any moment. “I know this is a lot to take, and I’ll give you some time to think about it. I’m going to get dressed and set out our lunch.” He moved off to do so, and it took her five minutes to calm down and follow him.
He had set out a blanket on the grass, and was reclining on his elbow with the sandwiches and juice in front of him. “Please, don’t say anything yet, let’s just relax and eat lunch. My wolf feels better knowing you are eating and being taken care of.” The meal was tasty, but awkward. She didn’t know what to say so she didn’t say anything. He could see the emotions flashing across her face in response to his looks. His calm acceptance of everything unnerved her, as her mind was still wrapping itself around the idea that she had a werewolf mate.
“I have a few questions for you. Don’t I have to be a werewolf to be mated to you, and what if I don’t want to be changed?”
“Yes, in order to be mated and share the pair bond you need to be changed into a werewolf. It isn’t like the forced turnings you saw so much of years ago; because you are voluntarily doing it, and the bite occurs when your body is in a euphoric state, your body doesn’t fight the change. I would have to bite you, and it would be like a bad flu for a couple hours and then you would receive your wolf. Once you are able to change, you could then bite me during my orgasm and it would form the bond. You don’t have to think about what to do, once you have a wolf she will know. If you refuse to be changed, we could still be together if you want, but we could never have babies and we would never have the pair bond. You could also refuse me completely and go on with your life, and I would have to respect your choice.”
“What if I agree?”
“Then we need to go before my Alpha and a county judge, declare our intention and get their permission to change you and to be mated. Once we mate, in addition to our pair bond you would become part of our Pack and have an Alpha bond with Derek and Amanda as well. They would be able to communicate with you telepathically just like they can with every other pack member. You would be tested for pack rank and we would be together for the rest of our lives.”
Linda was quiet for a while before she stood up and looked down at him. “I can’t make a decision now on being changed, but I do know one thing- I want you.” She pulled off her top, shucked her shorts, and laid herself down on the blanket, pulling him over to draw him into a kiss.
“I guess that’s an invitation then,” thought Andy to himself as he rolled himself over to capture her mouth with a kiss. His clothing didn’t last five seconds.
Santa Fe Pack Den
West of Los Alamos
Red and Renee were led before a dozen Werewolves in human form. The one in the center was obviously the leader, but he was younger and smaller than she expected. He looked upset as he addressed them. “I am Luis Gonzales, Alpha of the Santa Fe pack. Who is it that dares to trespass on my pack’s land?”
“I am Renee Johnson, Next Alpha of the Johnson Pack in Wyoming. I am here to speak with you about the treaty that has ended the Were War on the invitation of Colonel Stan Montgomery, US Army commander of this region. My traveling companion is Red Stillman, an Omega in my pack.”
She could tell he was speaking through the bond to his pack members. “LIAR! Kill him!”
Before she could respond, four rifles were raised and Red was gunned down. She would have shifted and attacked, except she couldn’t move. One of the people behind her had hit her with a Taser and she was twitching on the ground. As soon as it stopped, a hood was placed over her head and her hands were cuffed behind her back.
After they dumped her into a cell, it still took five minutes before she could sit up, and thirty minutes more before she could focus enough to contact her Alpha and give him the basic details.
The cavalry was coming, if she could just stay alive long enough to see it.
Creekside picnic site
10 miles west of Johnson Pack Camp
“Oh god! Oh god! I’m coming AGAAAAINNNNNN.....” Linda’s latest orgasm overcame her as she dropped her hips down to his, her legs quivering with the strain, and her face stretched in pleasure. Andy was in heaven, as was his wolf. His future mate had accepted him. She collapsed onto him, her face next to his, as they both tried to catch their breath.
“Holy shit. And you say mated sex is BETTER?” Andy smiled and nodded. “I might not survive you. I’ve never come that hard or that often in my life.”
Andy rolled her onto her side. He caressed her face as he kissed her again. “Love, I could do that for you forever.”
“I might hold you to that.” All of the sudden, a look of horror came over her. “Shit, we didn’t use protection...”
“I told you, Werewolves can only reproduce after they are mated. We can, however, make a real sticky mess out of a woman.” Linda looked down and saw what he was talking about. “Don’t worry, I clean up after myself.” He shifted into wolf form and pushed his head between her legs, lapping up their combined fluids with his long tongue. Her initial shock quickly turned to moans of pleasure as she found out just how effective a wolf tongue could be at driving her to orgasm. Three more and she was begging him to stop while she could still walk away. He cocked his head at her, wondering why she was worried about that when he was the one who would be carrying her back to camp!
Santa Fe Pack Den
Renee sat up in the cell as a young female omega was let in. One jailer came in and removed her handcuffs while another, armed with a taser and a baton, waited outside. When they left, they locked the door behind the two. “My name is Julie, I have been sent here to take care of you and prepare you for tonight.” She carried a tray of food on top of a cardboard box.
“My name is Renee, thank you for bringing me that,” she said as she lifted the tray and set it down next to the thin mattress she had been resting on. The meal was a rabbit stew and bread. “This is delicious, did you make it?”
“Yes, I do most of the cooking in the camp. We’ve all had to pick up new tasks since there are so few of us left.”
“I know what you mean. My pack was over five hundred five years ago and now is down to about thirty.”
“That is more than us, we only have 18 left. If your numbers are so down, why would they let a pregnant female leave? We haven’t had a cub in years, any female that got pregnant would be kept in a room and not allowed to do anything.”
“It’s what I needed to do. My mate was killed trying to end this war, and it did end, but your pack will not listen. We came in peace with the backing of Were and Human alike, but your Alpha wouldn’t listen to us, and now my traveling companion is dead. I can’t understand why an Alpha would behave so rashly.”
“Well, he’s not really an alpha. I can tell you are though.”
“Yes, my older brother and his mate are my Pack Alphas, I am Next Alpha and second in command.”
“Luis was a low level Beta until a year ago. An airstrike took out our upper leadership and he was the senior wolf left, so he became Alpha. He is vindictive and cruel; he uses his position to take what he wants, and he doesn’t care about mates or tradition.”
Renee put her hand on her right shoulder to comfort her, but could see her flinch. Moving her shirt out of the way, she could see the bruises and cuts that were almost healed. Her anger flared. “He did this to you?”
“Yes, he takes any woman he desires to his bed. If you don’t please him, he beats you. Last night was my turn. I fought back because I am mated to another, but I could not stop him, he was too strong. There are only a couple of Betas left and they are just as cruel. I have been praying to Luna that someone would come along and challenge Luis, someone with honor and compassion. Our pack is dying under him. That is why I’m glad he decided he was going to mate you instead of kill you. He thinks that with a true Alpha mate it will somehow make him a real Alpha.”
“There is no way in hell I’m going to mate with that man.”
“You won’t have a choice. Tonight you will be brought out to the altar, bound and gagged, and he will take you and give you the mating bite. Then he will kill your babies inside you.”
Renee’s eyes went bright as she fought back her wolf. It took a few moments to get control back. “Why would he do that?”
“They aren’t his. He will be your new mate. He knows that if your current pregnancy were to end prematurely, your wolf would force your body into heat again. That would be his chance to secure an heir. And once you are mated to him, you won’t be able to challenge him again, your wolf won’t let you. Some of us have talked, and we can’t allow that to happen.” She passed her a handcuff key. “You will know when to use it. Just don’t waste the chance, if he finds out we helped you we are all dead, along with your babies.” Renee was lost in thought as Julie washed her with a damp towel and then dressed her in a simple halter top dress. She then picked up the tray, called for the jailer and left her to her fate.
Johnson Pack Camp
Two helicopters had just arrived along with Colonel Montgomery and his escort. Derek and ten of his best fighters immediately climbed on board and they were off, heading south at maximum speed. Their faces were grim and determined, they had already lost one and they hoped they weren’t too late to save Renee. One way or another, the Pack that did this would pay.
Derek was lost in his own thoughts. He could concentrate and feel the bond was still there, so at least she was still alive. He could feel her grief and sorrow, so at least she wasn’t in immediate danger. His baby sister was strong, she would get out of this. His fists clenched and unclenched repeatedly as he tried to convince himself of that. He never should have let her out of his sight. They still had two hours of flight time ahead of them.
Santa Fe Camp
At sunset the entire Pack gathered at the ceremonial grounds. Omegas had decorated the altar with wildflowers. Luis was mating tonight and he insisted it be as much of a production as previous Alpha matings had been. He was still in his cave room, being prepared for the ceremony, while Carlos and another Beta brought Renee out of the cells and into the clearing. Bound and defiant, she was still beautiful to behold, the white dress clinging to her curvy figure. She carried herself with the confidence of a true Alpha as she was led to the altar. They didn’t think anything of it as she coughed and brought her hands to her mouth, and didn’t see the key being transferred, and didn’t hear the cuffs unlatch. That would be their last mistake.
Renee stumbled and pretended to fall. When Carlos grabbed her arm, she twisted and brought her left arm up to encircle his neck. Before he could react, she spun herself up onto his back and snapped his neck. Dropping his body, she turned to the second Beta. He came at her, but she was too fast and well trained for such a clumsy attack. She sidestepped his charge and brought her right knee up into his stomach, knocking the wind out of him. As he tried to push himself upright again, she grabbed a grapefruit-sized stone off the ground and brought it down on the back of his head with a loud crunch. He dropped immediately and did not move.
The Pack was shocked at the speed at which she had taken out two of their best fighters. None dared to look at her or stop her as she made her way to the center of the circle. “LUIS GONZALES! GET YOUR ASS OUT HERE AND FACE ME!” She saw him exit the cave, confusion then anger on his face as he saw her standing in the circle and his two Betas dead. “I am issuing you an Alpha challenge. There will be no mating. Only one of us will leave this circle alive.”
“So be it.” Luis removed his clothing and shifted to his wolf form, he was black with tan patches. Renee removed her dress, tossing it aside, and shifted to her own wolf form. She was at a disadvantage here, even with her training she was outweighed by 50 pounds. She knew she would have to win this battle with quickness and strategy and avoid wrestling. She expected him to bull rush her, and he did. Waiting until the last second, she jumped to the left, raking her claws along his back leg before darting away.
Luis looked in shock at the first blood she had drawn. Snarling, he charged again, but this time she ran towards the ceremonial altar. He was so focused on her flanks he didn’t have time to stop when she suddenly leaped up and launched herself back over his head. His shoulder painfully struck the rock, and before he could turn around she had latched on to his back leg and tore it open.
Renee darted away before he could counterattack. Luis was limping but still dangerous. He wouldn’t fall for the same trick again. He started to herd her towards the outside of the circle, looking for an opening. He suddenly turned towards her, putting his shoulder into her, but she had anticipated the move and dropped down to the ground, allowing him to tumble over the top of her. She dove after his neck as he rolled, yelping as his rear claws raked her stomach open. All the Pack could see was just a writhing ball of fur, spurting blood and dust.
Near Los Alamos
Derek was frantic as the helicopter hovered over the small clearing and the pack members jumped out, immediately shifting to wolf form. They had seen the Pack in the nearby clearing and he could feel her emotions as she fought, her pain, her anger, her worry over her babies. They took off at a dead run, their eyes glowing with their anger, ignoring the fatigue and the strain on their bodies.
Derek fell to the ground as he felt the bond with his sister dissolve. Howling in agony and grief, he got up and ran again, his wolf fully in control, eyes blazing with rage. They would pay for this. Not a soul would see the morning.