“Well, I had heard through the town gossip that he had marked you, but damn, you have got yourself one possessive alpha!” Lana’s hands were on her h!ps as she gave her a wink.
Constance touched the spot on her neck. She had seen the mark last night. Gage hadn’t come back to her. She’d gone to her own bedroom, waiting to see if he arrived, but nothing.
Tanner had needed him last night.
Part of her felt a little guilty for being jealous. Tanner was his son, and of course, he’d need his father, but she was a little confused.
Gage had mated with her.
He hadn’t waited.
He had taken her.
Her body responded to the sheer alphaness of it, but at the same time, what did this mean? Did he want her? Was he bored?
She couldn’t help the insecurity that plagued her. Even as she hated herself for thinking it, she couldn’t help but wonder if Gage had done it in order to stop spending time with her.
She rubbed at her temple, feeling the start of a headache.
Lana wanted to hear the details of what happened, but Constance avoided it by dealing with the library books. She seemed to be the only one who enjoyed putting the books back on the shelves, and so for the first part of the morning, that was exactly what she did, she restocked the shelves with the books.
All that time, she thought about Gage.
She was aware of the bite to her neck. Every single person she had come into contact with had pointed it out as if it was some beacon. Hiding it had been the last thing on her mind, but now she had to wonder if she should.
Would people hate her for picking Gage over Tanner?
After finishing the trolley full of books, she headed back to the main reception to see Lana on the phone.
“Okay, I’ll tell her.” She put the phone down. “That was for you. Gage wants you at the building site.”
Constance frowned. “He does?”
“Yep. It’s urgent, apparently. Don’t worry, I’ll hold down the fort here.” Lana winked at her. “Go and have fun.”
There was a time she would have enjoyed talking with Lana. Then she’d been fired after the Tanner thing, and since then, well, she hadn’t exactly been enjoying much fun with the librarian.
Nothing like getting her heart broken and hurt to see people in a different light.
Grabbing her bag, she took off and walked toward the building site. Even though it was busy, no one stopped her as she made her way there. No one was there.
She knew Gage had told his friend and the guys to stop work on the new houses until he dealt with the supply problem. He hadn’t told her the full details of what was going on, and she only knew what she heard.
Constance went to the door and saw the chain unlocked. Entering the building site, she went straight to the office. No one was there either.
She glanced around and saw a note on the desk.
She read it aloud. “Come to the second floor.”
“What is this about?” Leaving the main office, she looked at the building site and saw the scaffolding entrance.
After gripping the handle, she moved toward the second floor, entering one of the buildings. It felt sturdy under her foot, and she spun around.
“Gage? Hello? Are you here?”
Had Lana heard the wrong information? Why would Gage want to meet her at a building site?
“I have no idea what he sees in you.”
Constance spun around again, and there was Tiffany standing behind her, holding a knife. A rather large knife.
Her heart started to race when she also saw the anger in the woman’s eyes. The amber gold of her eyes as she stepped forward.
Connie felt sick.
“Tiffany, you’re with Tanner. You have nothing to do with Gage.”
“This isn’t about Gage. You think I don’t know what Tanner did to you? How he bit your neck? How he intends to claim you as his own and me, I’m nothing. I’ve given my whole life to him. Let him do whatever he wanted to me. He even begged me to wear a wig and let him call me fvcking Constance as he fvcked me. I did everything for him, and now he’s going to pick you over me. The ugly, fat wolf who doesn’t deserve him.”
“You’re not going to take from me, Constance. You were never good enough. Your parents saw that. Everyone sees that but Tanner and Gage. You’ve got the alpha at your beck and call.”
“Tanner didn’t give me this mark,” she said. “Gage did. I don’t want to belong to Tanner. I never loved him. I never found him attractive. I only ever wanted Gage.”
“No. I’m not lying. I swear. I have no reason to lie to you. None at all. I don’t love Tanner. I told you this before.”
Tiffany wasn’t listening to her. She struck out with the knife, and Constance screamed as it sliced her arm. She tried to ward off the blow.
She did miss a couple of strikes of the blade, but in doing so, she moved to far to the edge.
Glancing behind her, she knew there was nowhere for her to go. Panic filled her.
“Tiffany, please, stop this. I don’t know what has gotten into you. I would never take Tanner from you. I know you love him. You will always love him.”
“I will, and I will love him when you’re gone. I will make sure everyone believes you have run away. You’re pathetic, useless, and no one will miss you.”
Tiffany struck out, and Constance couldn’t keep her balance. She screamed as she fell from the ledge to the ground below. A spike was sticking up. There was nothing covering it, and Constance fell onto it, feeling it tear through the flesh of her leg. The impact knocked the wind right out of her.
Looking up, she saw Tiffany looking down. “You’ll die quickly.”
Tears fell thick and fast as she watched Tiffany go.
The building site was off-limits. No one was going to come to save her.
She couldn’t move. The wolf was hurt. She didn’t have the strength to turn, and she knew she didn’t have a lot of time before she died with her blood leaking out of her. Someone needed to rescue her soon.
She wanted Gage so badly. To at least tell him once that she loved him. That she wanted to spend the rest of her life with him.
Whimpering, she tried to move her leg, but the pain was too much.
“Help!” She began to yell at the top of her lungs. Each movement sent another shockwave of pain through her entire system.
No one came. No one was around to answer.
Her heart broke for the chances she wouldn’t get to take. She loved Gage so much. She wanted to be his mate, and she would never get the chance.
How could life be so cruel to her?
“I don’t think going to lunch is a good idea,” Tanner said.
“It’s the perfect chance. You and Connie need to mend fences. You’re my son, and there’s a chance you could be friends. For me?” Gage asked.
“Dad, we weren’t friends in high school.”
“Son, Connie is important to me.”
“No, I mean, I am in love with her. This is not some pity scenario. I am in love with Constance and I want to make her my wife. I want to spend the rest of my life with her. To have wolves, to guide this pack together. You are my son, and I want you to be part of that, but I don’t want to hurt you.”
He looked at his son.
Tanner’s mouth was open. “Have you told her any of this?”
“No, I just mated with her instead. I was hoping action would help me along.”
Tanner shook his head. “Yeah, I got a feeling that Constance isn’t like that. And hey, you totally called her that rather than Connie. Why do you call her that, anyway?”
Gage smiled. “Because I am the only one who does. No one else calls her anything else.”
“It’s a pet name?”
He glared at his son, who held his hands up. “Look, I’m just trying to put it all into perspective here. I’m doing my job.”
They entered the library and he saw the main reception desk was empty. No sign of Connie or Lana.
Leaning against the counter, he looked at his son.
Last night had been rough on Tanner, but this morning, waking up, his kid looked … relieved. “You’re sure you’re okay?” he asked.
“Dad, I know you’re worried, and I get it. Last night was rough. I felt it. Rejecting Constance was my choice. I deserved what I got last night, but today, I feel … free. I feel like I can be myself. I don’t have to pretend with anyone. I’m not hurting anyone. Constance is going to be looked after, and I’m free.”
He nodded at his son.
Gage had read the books, knew the consequences his son was going to have to deal with in the event of him mating with Connie. In the beginning, he intended to take his time and to allow it to be a slow process, only he’d become impatient.
Mating with Connie, feeling his wolf, it had all felt right, and he didn’t regret a thing.
He didn’t have to wait long before Lana appeared.
“Alpha, what are you doing here?”
“I’ve come to take Connie out to lunch. Where is she?”
Lana looked at him and Tanner, who gave her a smile and a wave.
“I’m confused. I had a call saying that you wanted to meet Constance at the construction site.”
Gage frowned. “Why would I want to meet her there? I haven’t called anyone.”
Lana glanced at the phone. “Tiffany said she had a direct message from the alpha. Constance was to meet Gage at the construction site. I … you didn’t call?”
“The mark,” Tanner said.
“I gave her the mark.”
“But if someone has told her I did?” Tanner asked.
Gage took off, running out of the library. He had to get to the construction site.
“Dad, I’ll grab the car.”
“No time.” He called upon his wolf, shedding his skin right there in front of the pack. He didn’t even care if there were any humans close by. He needed to get to his woman.
The moment his wolf was upon him, his senses went on hyper-alert, and he heard everything.
“Help. Please help.”
He heard his mate. She was hurt. There was no time to waste.
He took off, running in her direction. He needed to get to her. The wolf didn’t hold back. Charging forward, determined to get as close as possible to their mate.
Have to protect her.
Keep her safe.
Gage sensed his son was close as well. Ignoring all distractions, he went straight to his mate, breaking out in speed as he ran, getting to the clearing and close to the building site. The door that had been locked was now open, swinging in invitation.
A growl emitted.
After going through the gate, he felt the ground beneath him, sensed her close.
Changing back into human form, his wolf wanted to come back out, to get her, and then exact his revenge.
He kept a firm grip on his wolf, knowing if he allowed him out, there would be nothing left of Tiffany.
Connie’s screams hit him in the core. Panic seized, and he followed the sound, finding her in one of the pits with a spike protruding from her leg. The scent of blood was heavy in the air.
Rushing toward her, he cupped her face as she breathed a sigh of relief.
“You found me.” Her tears turned into full-on sobs.
“I’ve got you. I’m here.”
“I don’t think it’s good, Gage. I’m so sorry. I thought you had called.”
“I know what happened. I’m here to take care of you.” The damage was bad. “Fvck!” He could lift her off the spike, but right now, it was helping to stop the blood flow.
“Please, get me out of here.”
He cupped her cheek. “I need you to turn. I need you to let me bring the wolf.”
“Connie, if you don’t, you’re as good as dead, and I can’t have that. I love you, baby. You hear me? I love you, and this is not how it ends. Not for us. You’re going to be my wife. You’re already my mate, and I did that because I lost patience with waiting. I want you, always. Don’t leave me. Trust me.”
She gasped. “You love me?”
“Yes. I love you so damn much. Didn’t you know?”
She shook her head. “I hoped, but I thought you were getting bored with dealing with me. I didn’t know what to think.”
He k!ssed her. “I’ve loved you for a long time, Constance. My Connie. You’re mine. Please, trust me.”
“I love you too. That’s all I could think about. I don’t want to die here. I wanted you to know how I felt.” She sniffled. “I had the biggest crush on you, and now, this is a dream come true. I could never love your son because I loved you. Always you.”
Gage k!ssed her again. He knew this already. He’d heard Connie tell his son how she felt about him. She had never told him to his face. “So let’s do this. Let me bring your wolf. She can heal faster.”
“It’s going to hurt?”
“Like a son of a bitch, but you will make it. If I pull you off that spike, you’re going to bleed out. There are limits to what we can do. You know this.”
She nodded, and he saw the tears in her eyes. “I love you.”
“I love you.”
“Are you ready?”
She shook her head but told him yes.
His heart broke as he tapped into his energy, bringing forth the alpha, commanding Connie, his mate, to change. He’d hated the sounds of her screams before, but now, they were worse. Bones broke, shattered, and came apart. Her body morphing, changing, twisting until finally, the wolf emerged, and without his help, she pulled her leg free with a whimper.
However, Connie didn’t linger. She took off, and Gage watched her just as Tanner came to the construction site with Tiffany at his side.
“Get the fvck off me. She deserved it. I know you want her. You don’t want me!”
“That’s all she has been saying. Mike found her spewing hatred, laughing about what she’d done. The pack is gathered.”
Gage took steps toward her. He wanted to go chase after Connie, but he had to be the alpha. He had to make sure the threat was gone.
“Lock her up. Her fate will be decided by the pack.”
“Dad, just fvcking kill her,” Tanner said. “You know you want to.”
“My wants do not count. She will be judged.” His grandfather had always taught him to keep his emotions in check. To not let them run free and risk his Alphaship. This was one of those moments.
He tilted his head up to the sky and sent a thank you to the man looking down on him. Without his guidance, he wouldn’t have been able to make such a clear-headed decision.
Tanner took Tiffany away.
Without another thought to the pack, Gage took off, following the smell of his mate.
Halfway into the forest, the blood had stopped. There were no tracks of it, and it was gone from the air.
He heard her up ahead and he walked on, finding Connie sitting on the ground, completely na*ked, with her back against a fallen tree.
She looked up at him.
Her leg was healed. Not a single mark.
“You knew?” she asked.
“It was the only way to keep you safe,” he said.
He went to her, pulling her into his arms. He sat with her close, pressing his face against her neck. “Don’t ever scare me like that.”
She snorted. “Because that was all on me.”
“What will happen to Tiffany?”
“The pack will decide.”
Connie cupped his face. “You really do love me?”
“With all my heart. Marry me, Connie?”
“You don’t want to think about it?”
She chuckled. “There’s nothing to think about. When I’m with you, I’m the happiest woman on the planet.”
“I will make you happy, Connie, that I can promise you.”
“I have no doubt.”
He grabbed the back of her neck, k!ssing her head.
She spun in his arms, straddling his wa!st, and he felt the heat of her pvssy. “I want you, Gage.”
He was already na*ked, so lifting her and putting her on his c0ck wasn’t a problem at all.
He loved her. He was never going to fail her again.
Connie was his, and that was the way it was going to stay.