Gage wanted to talk.
Why did he want to talk?
She got it. They were in this confusing relationship that she wasn’t entirely sure about herself. Her heart raced.
He’d seen her completely na*ked.
Even though he’d touched her pvssy and made her come with his mouth, this felt entirely more intimate. He’d been in her bedroom, the bathroom, so close she had felt the heat of him.
She went to her room, drying off as she did. Her pajamas lay on her bed. She had every intention of moping, thinking about all the things that made Gage unappealing.
When she had watched Gage take the cookies, she’d been so heartbroken. She knew he’d been given food in the past, lots of food, but this was different. Lana was different. This was a woman she knew, one who would love to be his mate. She was sure of it.
Even some of the mated women would leave their men for Gage. Not only was he a good-looking man, but he was also the alpha.
She’d heard rumors of alphas in other packs who demanded mated females to adorn his bed, to be at his beck and call. Obviously, they were just rumors because if any pack alpha did that, they wouldn’t be around for long, surely.
L!cking her dry l!ps, she slipped on a pair of sweats, a large shirt that was much too big for her, and a pair of slippers. Her hair was nearly dry as she’d rubbed it vigorously with a towel. She was put together.
She could handle talking with Gage. These feelings about him accepting cookies from other women, oddly enough, she couldn’t handle. The jealousy was too much, and it made no sense to her, because … well, because he’d been given food by plenty of women all the time. This was no different.
“I’m an idiot.”
She left her bedroom, going toward the stairs to take her down toward the kitchen, which already had amazing scents coming from it.
Constance stopped when she saw Tiffany heading upstairs. There was no time to hide or to avoid the other woman seeing her. Not that she had any reason to hide.
Tiffany looked up, and the scowl on her face could strike down even the worst of foes.
“We need to talk.”
“No, we really don’t.” She wasn’t interested in getting into an argument with Tiffany.
“I don’t know what you think you’re doing, but you can stop.”
Tiffany got to the steps, and Constance had two choices, ignore her or finally have it out with her. She stood her ground and turned to the other woman. “What do I need to stop now? What could I have possibly done to upset or offend you?” she asked.
“I want you to stay away from Tanner. He’s mine.”
Constance started to laugh. The worst reaction to have as Tiffany wrapped her fingers around her neck, and within seconds, she was pressed to the floor.
Sinking her nails into Tiffany’s wrist, she held on, stopping the woman from hurting her. The flash of pain across her face had Constance holding back, trying not to hurt her. She knew she was a strong person, always had been. She never showed it though as she didn’t believe in violence, and being late to transition, she didn’t want to get her a*ss beat.
“We clearly are not understanding each other, Tiffany. You can have Tanner. I don’t want him.”
“Yeah, because he rejected your a*ss.”
“Yeah, he did that but only because he got over his shock first. I want nothing to do with him. I can’t stand him. He’s an a*ssh0le, and to be honest, I don’t like him. I would never mate with him. I’d never want to mate with him. You can keep on doing this, acting all tough and hard, and I get it, I do, but I’m not the person you need to be worrying about. I heard he likes to spread it around. Go and show your claws to someone who wants to claim him. I’m not that woman.” She took a deep breath, wondering if Tiffany would believe her.
It felt good to finally say it out loud to someone like Tiffany.
The pack had kicked her a*ss to the curb before she could voice her own words. From that point on, she’d been dealing with the never-ending cold.
She hadn’t felt it all day, until Lana gave Gage those cookies.
Even Tiffany’s hatred wasn’t affecting her, which was nice.
She took a deep breath, expecting Tiffany to try to hurt her some more. The other woman surprised her by letting her go.
“Fine. I understand.” Tiffany stepped away.
They didn’t turn their backs on each other, but walked away, keeping an eye on the other until finally, they were able to go their separate ways.
Gage was at the bottom of the steps.
“You heard that?” she asked.
“I heard. I was prepared to step between if I needed.”
“There was no need to. We’re on the same page. Not exactly sure what that is, but hopefully she understands I want nothing to do with her boyfriend.”
Gage held out his hand.
She stared at it. “I don’t want you accepting cookies from anyone else but me.” She just let that one out in the open. There was no reason to hide it. He already knew how she felt. There was no point in denying it.
“Then I accept. You cannot be with any other male. If Tanner asks to be mated to you, you’re to turn him down.”
She frowned. “Huh?”
“I’ve seen the way my son looks at you. He wants you. Has for some time now.”
Constance couldn’t help but laugh. “You’re kidding, right? You know he rejected me. The words he said and all that?”
“I heard some of what he said, but I also know my son and what he wants. Tanner might come to his senses, but I don’t want him to.” Gage took a step toward her.
She tilted her head back, looking at him.
“When it comes to you, I want you all to myself. No sharing. No giving you to anyone.” He touched her cheek, and she closed her eyes, leaning against his touch, not wanting him to stop. There was no one else for her.
“I can live with that.”
“Good. I’ve made you some dinner.”
“I didn’t want you starving.”
Her stomach chose that moment to growl, and he chuckled. “Come on, let us eat.”
He held out his hand, and she took it, thankful for the warmth of his touch. Gage made her feel whole.
Now she just needed him to understand she was in this with him, one hundred percent.
Gage was pissed.
No, he was fvcking fuming.
At the building site, William took him through all the raw materials, showing the difference in quality, and it wasn’t a minute one at that. Wood was way too thin. Cables were the wrong size. The steel bent on pressure.
He’d been the one to organize all the necessary materials, and after seeing what the pack was having to deal with, he ordered for them to pack it all up and send it right back.
Pulling out his cell phone, he began to dial the number to the supply company when Lana came rushing onto the site.
“Alpha, you’re needed. We don’t know what to do.”
“What is it?” He hung up his cell phone.
“It’s Constance. She was reading to the kids and collapsed. She is screaming in agony. I’ve got the library closed, and the kids are safe. She didn’t hurt anyone, but I think … I think she’s dying.”
Gage took off, aware of his son following close behind him. He picked up speed, using all of his strength to sprint in the direction he needed to go. Fear for Connie filled him. Last night after they had made their conditions, he had felt another step closer to making her his.
He couldn’t lose her.
The wolf in him demanded he change, to get there faster, but he wasn’t going to scare her.
Within minutes, he arrived at the library with Tanner hot on his heels.
“You will stay outside.”
“No, I’ve got to go inside. I’ve got to help in some way.”
Gage growled. Some of the pack had come close to the library. He didn’t need his son testing his authority right now.
Connie’s screams filled the air.
“You cannot help.”
“She is my mate!”
Gage grabbed his son’s shirt and pulled him close. “You gave up that right when you rejected her. You will not help here. You will only hurt her. She doesn’t need a mate right now. She needs an alpha. I know what is going on with her. Do you?”
Another scream filled the air.
Tanner went pale and shook his head.
“Then stay the fvck back.” He let go of his son and stepped into the library.
The energy within the room was off the charts, and as he went past the reception desk, he saw her on the floor, writhing in agony. Sweat covered her flesh that was exposed. Some of the clothes she’d been wearing had torn off.
He understood this.
It was rare to have late transitioners, but not uncommon. His grandfather had prepared him for all manner of problems.
Connie had turned once since she was eighteen. Her control wasn’t as good as his or Tanner’s.
The full moon was not for a couple of weeks, but her body, her wolf, the emotions of the past few days, it all had started to take its toll. The wolf within her wanted out. He sensed the wolf, and she was a strong little thing.
“Help me,” Connie said. “It hurts so much.” She closed her eyes, her back twisting at an odd angle. With her fighting it, she had to be in more pain.
He went to her side, putting his hands on either side of her body. “I’m here. I’m here, Connie.”
“It hurts so much.”
“I want you to breathe.”
“I’m not pregnant,” she said, laughing, which turned into another scream. “Fvck! Make it stop.”
“I cannot make it stop. I can help guide you to stop it.”
She whimpered, curling up into a ball then going onto all fours. “I can’t do this.”
He put his hand on her back, and the wolf snapped, bending Connie almost in two. Unable to watch, Gage wrapped his arms around his woman, holding her close as her body threatened to split in two. The wolf within her recognized the alpha, appreciated his scent, and slowly calmed down, but Gage wasn’t fooled. This wolf wanted out.
“I … I scared the kids. I was reading and I was fine.” She sniffled.
“The kids will be fine. We will deal with them.”
“I’m going to get fired again.”
“No, you’re not. You’re going to focus on your body. On your wolf. Think about what she wants.”
Connie sniffled. “I know what she wants.”
“What does she want?”
“You’re not going to like it.”
Connie sighed, resting her head against his chest. “She wants you to fvck me.” The wolf rocked against her center, threatening to spill out.
This was always a risk.
A rejected mate, seeing the potential threat of expulsion, would latch onto him, wanting him to pick her. His wolf wanted her, but he craved Connie’s acceptance over his beast.
“You’re the one in control, Connie. Tell me what you want.”
She m0aned. “For all this pain to stop would be pretty good. I wouldn’t argue with that. Being fvcked by you sounds like fun.” She laughed then groaned. “I don’t know if this is the pain or the wanting sex, but I’ve got a confession to make.”
“I have had the biggest crush on you for the longest time.” She chuckled and then winced again. He tightened his hold on her as her body gave way to another spasm. They were stronger because of her wolf.
He needed to get her out of the library, to the forest, guiding her into a transition. Without the full moon, she was going to be exhausted and sore tomorrow, but this was what was needed.
“We’ve had this conversation, remember? I know all about your crush, Connie.”
She frowned. “Crap. Yes, you were the perfect gentleman. When you picked me that night at the town hall, I was so happy. I didn’t want you to pity me though. I never wanted your son. Tanner is nothing like you.” She m0aned. “Please, make it stop.”
“I’ve got to get you out of this library safely. When I do, I can take you out to the woods and make this all stop, or at least, lessen. You think you’ve got it in you to do this with me?” he asked.
She sniffled. “I don’t have a choice. I don’t want to die.”
“You’re not going to die, but bringing out your wolf in the library, you won’t have a building to come back to. She needs to have a good run. To allow the wind to help her feel freedom.”
“I can do that. Please, get me out of here. If I destroy this library, all the kids will think they can too and I don’t want to clean up their mess.”
Getting to his feet, he pulled Connie into his arms.
“I can walk.” But she made no move to pull out of his arms, and he had no problem with holding her against him, inhaling her sweet scent. The pack, the earth, she was flooded in it.
He took slow steps, leaving the library behind. When her wolf seemed to want to come to the surface, he pressed a k!ss against her cheek, trying to distract her, which seemed to work.
Her wolf wasn’t coming out to play. Hurting Connie wouldn’t help.
Leaving the library, he noticed more of the pack had gathered around. He didn’t know if they planned on watching, helping, or laughing at her.
“Go back to work. I will help her. There’s nothing to see.”
“Is Miss Button okay?” a little red-headed girl asked.
He smiled at her, but Connie groaned.
“She will be.”
“Tell her to get better soon.”
He loved that the kids hadn’t run away in fear. Connie would have hated herself even more if they were afraid of her.
Tanner moved in a little closer, and Connie tensed up in his arms. Her eyes went a shade of black. The wolf knew her mate was close and that he had rejected her.
“I’ve got you, Connie,” Gage said.
She growled. The sound started low, but it soon spilled out like a warning. Tanner stopped and Connie tensed up in his arms. Gage sensed her need to take out the danger, but he held her.
“I suggest you take a step back,” he said.
“Dad, I can help.”
“Get away from me,” Connie said. Her anger was clear. There was no pain in her voice, just a firm need for him to leave her the hell alone.
“Don’t make me tell you again,” he said.
Tanner sighed, but he stepped to one side. Tiffany was close to him. If his son wanted to mate with that girl, then he was going to have to start getting his shit together because Tiffany wasn’t going to keep on waiting around to be second best.
No one else stopped him.
Connie blinked, and her eyes went back to the usual brown. “I hate him,” she said.
“He is just trying to do the right thing.”
“The right thing is leaving me alone. He already made his choice, and believe me, I’m more than happy about it,” she said.
He had gotten the signal loud and clear.
Her wolf allowed them to get as far as the forest edge before demanding to come out.
Gage called upon his alpha, lowering her to the ground and stepping back, giving her enough space to allow the transition to go through. He took a deep breath, and slowly, his skin began to shed and make way for his large wolf.
The awe coming from her filled him up with so much happiness. He couldn’t contain it.
She was everything, and he wanted to be all that she needed. Every single thing her heart desired, he wanted to be the one to give it to her.
“Gage?” she asked.
He nudged her head with his muzzle, and she pressed her face against him. Now it was her turn.
It would take time for her to get used to the breaking of bones, and he hated doing this. Hated it more than anything he had ever done before.
She wasn’t used to her beast, but the moment he called her forward, he made sure it was a swift transition, one with minimum pain.
Her sobs filled the air. The unmistakable sounds of broken bones seeming to echo all around him, sickening him. He didn’t stop until her wolf had come forward, and when she had, he stared at her.
A brown beauty.
She bowed her head, submitting to him. He nudged her away, to let her wolf explore, to allow this time to belong to her.
Gage followed. He was there by her side, helping her, guiding her. She was like a newborn, not sure of her body or her skin, and he took his time.
He remembered his grandfather doing this with him and with several of the pack during their first couple of transitions. It wouldn’t be long before she gained track of her body, understanding what every little detail meant.
She sniffed the air and took off. She landed face-first on the ground a few times, and he tried not to laugh as she looked so adorable when she did it.
Gage allowed her to play, to prance about, to love her new body.
After a couple of hours, though, he sensed the wolf within her had grown tired. As she came close to a lake, she collapsed as a human on the ground, gasping.
“Holy shit,” she said. Her chest heaved with deep inhales.
He let his beast go and stood before her na*ked.
As he stared down at her, his ar0usal hit again, and he wanted her so fvcking badly.