Unlikely Mates Chapter 12

Kira

Having Talia here is more than I could ever ask for. She’s my best friend, my soul mate in a sense. Talia is one of those people who infects you with life. She makes sure you know your worth and that you never doubt yourself, building you up from the inside out.

“You’re mean,” I say through a laugh.

“He called me a pup,” Talia scoffs. “Of course I was going to be mean.”

We are sitting at the kitchen counter, having a glass of wine, just catching up.

“True, but I do feel sorry for him,” I say after taking a sip of my rosé.

“Do tell.” Talia leans forward.

“It’s the second time this month his men have had their a*sses handed to them by a female,” I reply sheepishly.

Laughter bubbles from Talia, and it’s so infectious I can help but join in.

“Ladies,” Rowan says as he walks into the kitchen. He circles the counter and k!sses me deeply. “Glad to see you’re having fun.”

“Oh, just a little,” Talia replies with a grin.

“At the cost of my beta, no doubt,” Rowan says from where he rummages inside the fridge.

“Lasagna is in the green Tupperware, Rowan,” I tell him without looking at him.

“Thanks, love.” He k!sses the top of my head before finding himself a plate.

“First,” Talia starts explaining, “it’s not my fault his men aren’t trained properly.”

I nod in agreement.

“Second, he called me a pup. How would you feel if I walked around saying hi kitty-kitty?”

Rowan raises his hands in surrender. “I’m not arguing with you. Just requesting that you take it easy on him. He’s had to deal with a lot these past two weeks.”

“He’s right, Tal,” I add. “Me being here hasn’t made things easy for Silas.”

Talia scoffs but doesn’t say anything.

“I was thinking,” Rowan interjects. “That if Talia isn’t in a rush to head home, she might like to stay for a while. She could stay with us.”

Talia gags loudly. “You guys are all love, cuddles, and sex. I break out in hives if I’m too close to that shit.”

“Or she could stay in your dad’s house,” Rowan said. “Maybe the two of you could help Silas with the training.”

“I love that idea.” I smile at Rowan. “But it’s your choice, Tal.” I look toward her.

“I could hang around for a couple of days.” She smiles brightly.


Rowan

I don’t know why I’m nervous, but my hands are clammy, and my heart is about to beat right out of my chest. Kira is already my mate. This is just a formality to show the pack the new hierarchy. They need to accept Kira and try to start making amends for the past.

We were wrong, all of us, including me and my father. No child should ever have to carry the burden of something their parents did. And no child will ever be put through that in this pack again. I have seen the damage first-hand, and I won’t allow it.

“Are you ready?” Silas asks.

“Yeah. Let’s get going,” I reply. “I don’t want Kira to be out there waiting for me.”

Silas and I walk through the forest toward the clearing where all the alphas have been mated before me. This may be a special occasion, but for an outsider looking in, they wouldn’t see anything out of the ordinary. The clearing is just an open piece of field with some patches of wildflowers scattered throughout.

The moonlight shines down on all the gathered pack members as we wait for Kira to arrive. Talia bounds through the grass in a pink sundress to stand on the other side of Mavis, who will be making our mating official. She frowns at Silas before smiling brightly at me.

“Stop looking so worried.” Talia laughs softly. “She’s right behind me.”

I release a breath I didn’t realize I was holding. Looking back toward the tree line, I see Kira emerge in a similar sundress but red. I’m dressed in jeans and a white button-down shirt. The rest of the pack is all semi-formal. It is a mating ritual after all, not a wedding, but we do want to look good.

A hush falls over the crowd as I wait for her to reach me. Kira keeps her shoulders back, head held high, as she walks toward me at an even pace. She’s going to stand beside me and lead these people, and she’s going to do it with dignity. Kira has promised to put the past behind her and to judge the pack on their current actions and not the past.

I’m not sure I would be able to do the same if I stood in her shoes, but I am damn grateful for the woman she is. Even if the pack has hurt her in the past, she is now firm, impartial, and passionate. I couldn’t ask for more in a mate.

When she reaches me, I pull her to my side and hold on tight. I haven’t seen her in two hours, and it’s the longest we’ve been separated since the cabin.

Mavis smiles at us brightly before starting the ceremony. “As shifters, we’re all granted a fated mate. If you are lucky enough, you find that mate early in life as Rowan and Kira have found each other,” she says loudly so all the members in attendance can hear her. “An alpha is even more dependent on his mate than the rest of us. We really aren’t that easy to keep in line, and Rowan needs all the help he can get.”

Pack members laugh and jest at the joke before quieting down.

“We all know this is simply a formality, a pack tradition, but Rowan and Kira have chosen to be formally mated before the Zwart Pack to show their commitment to each other,” Mavis continues.

“A mating that happened under false pretenses.” Odette’s voice rings through the clearing.

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