Sat. Feb 10th, 2024

As Produced By SheriffSquinty


For a split second Gabriel looked uncertain before he resumed his unfathomable

expression. His posture had relaxed slightly although he still looked somewhat

uneasy. I couldn’t blame him. It was especially difficult to focus with my Wolf

conjuring up inappropriate images in the back of my mind. Although Gabriel stood a good ten feet from me, I could feel the tension crackling in the air; it was nearly unbearable.

“You could have asked me first,” I finally said, breaking the taut silence.

“You were unconscious when I made the decision.” He replied unapologetically.






“It would have been easier to wake me up than to threaten my family.” I stated, unable to keep the accusatory tone out of my voice. I didn’t like the idea of them being bullied by my Mate just because he always got what he wanted.

“Threaten?” He asked, slightly incredulous. “If you thought that was me truly threatening them, you’re morenaïve than I thought.”

I blinked, feeling a surge of irritation athis condescending tone. I had a pride streak a mile wide and did not like being spoken to like that. “Well you were talking about Commanding them-” I began but he cut me off.

“I will Command them if they try to argue,” He replied dismissively.

“Do I get no choice in the matter?” I demanded, feeling a surge of bravery despite Gabriel’s intimidating presence.

His gaze hardened. “Not when you do reckless things, like goto a town infested with vampires.”

I clenched my fists, feeling my anger rise. “How was I supposed to know there

were vampires there? I didn’t even know vampires existed! Unlike you, apparently, because they knew all about you!”

Gabriel actually looked slightly guilty for a split second, taking a step forward.

“I’ve heard about them.” That answer seemed oddly vague tome, but I didn’t have time to argue before he continued, “I didn’t know they would come after you.”

I did not feel any less angry. “Well, they did. I don’t understand how I’m so

“reckless” when they only came after me to ask where YOU were!” The last few days had made me short tempered and braver than usual, or perhaps I was getting using to his presence. I was learning how to speak my mind in front of him.

“I didn’t think you’d leave your pack and go looking for trouble or I would have warned you.” He said, and the slightly condescending tone was back. I gritted my teeth as I felt another rush of anger.

“I wasn’t “looking for trouble,” I was trying to stop thinking about YOU!” I replied heatedly, my cheeks feeling exceptionally warm as I admitted that. He seemed

taken aback, staring at me with his inscrutable expression back in place.

“I went to town to clear my mind. I had no idea I’d be captured by beings that I

thought were mythical and then physically abused while they tried to get me to tell them your location.” I continued, my tone darkening as I remembered my painful experience. That, combined with Gabriel’s cold and antagonistic attitude right now, was incredibly aggravating and I had no idea why he was acting like this was

entirely my fault. Sure, I’d gone to the town, and I’d followed the scent of blood thinking someone was in trouble. Who would have guessed that I would be

captured by vampires?






But he had come after me to save me, right? Surely that meant something, despite his inexplicable attitude at the moment.

I blinked and took a shocked step backwards as Gabriel suddenly appeared in front of me, only a foot away. The electricity between us intensified and I felt my Wolf stirring with lust now that her Mate was within arm’s reach. I looked down at the

ground, afraid to look in his eyes. I wasn’t sure why he was acting the way he was but I was beginning to realize that I felt…hurt. Hurt that he seemed to blame me for the whole vampire incident.


“I tore them apart,” He said softly, his voice deep with suppressed emotion. I slowly looked up to see that his eyes were intense, burning with something

unrecognizable. “I gave those vampires what they deserved for touching you.” I felt goosebumps rise along my arms and inside I felt a small thrill athis

protective words, although I was still confused by his mood swings. I quickly

averted my gaze, afraid of what I would do if I looked at him for too long. A few tense seconds passed by before he spoke again.

“I want you to come with me so I can keep an eye on you. The vampires won’t give up on you.”

“But my family is here.” I replied softly, still looking away. I knew my argument was weak. It was normal for a wolf to leave their family behind when they found their Mate; I was just reaching for excuses now.

“I’m an Alpha. You can’t honestly think my Wolf will just standby and let you stay here.” He retorted.

“Bullying my pack is not the way to go about it,” I said, matching histone. I thought I heard a faint growl in his chest.

“Like I said, they don’t have a choice.” Histone had become unapologetic again. I detected atrace of irritation.

“But I do and-”

“Dammit, Skylar!” Gabriel snapped, my name sounding wonderful in his husky voice. I felt a flutter of fear as he advanced and suddenly I was backed up against

the wall as he leaned over me, his arms above my head on each side as he

supported his weight. His scent washed over me and my nostrils flared as I took it in. Despite his daunting stance I couldn’t help the butterflies that erupted in my

stomach as he said my name, nor could I help the secret invigoration as I saw the frustration etched on his face, although my attraction was mingled with unease.

“Do you have any idea what it is like to feel your Mate’s excruciating pain and not be able to do anything about it because she’s hours away? She’s suffering, and you






weren’t there to protect her?” Dimly I realized that my suspicions were confirmed, that he knew I was in danger when he felt the bite. He must have run incredibly

fast to make it all the way to town and meet up with the others in half a day. “I…” I began hesitantly.

“You could have died.” He said, quieter now, his eyes boring into mine. His voice had taken on a rough edge. I thought I could detect true emotion in his expression and it bewildered me, as I’d never seen him look vulnerable, even for a split

second. The moment passed but I could still feel the heat of his conviction. I was

hyper-aware of just how close we were and I urged to reach a hand up and stroke

his face, feel the muscles on his arms and chest. Instead I maintained a straight face and held my arms at my sides, trying not to let my body betray me.

“I am not risking that again. So whether you like it or not you are accompanying me back to my home.”

He backed away then and I felt a rush of disappointment at the lack of contact,

feeling as if air was being pulled out of my lungs. I wanted to be near him so badly it was like oxygen, and inhaling his scent was so compelling tome and my Wolf; the thought of that scared me. But I was even more frightened of the way my heart was beating erratically in my chest due to the brief glimmer of sincerity I had seen in his expression. He did care forme on some level and I was afraid of what he

was doing tome.

And deep inside of me, I knew I would go with him. Not only because my Wolf

was refusing to let me stay or because Gabriel might force my family into letting

me go if I refused, but because part of me truly did want to go. He may have been a emotionless asshole at times but there was something else there, something deep

down. Fate had given me Gabriel for a reason. Perhaps I was supposed to help him and balance him out. I knew it would be foolish to give away the only Mate I

would ever get without trying to get to know him. I would miss my family but we shared pack territory, and I knew there was away I’d be able to see them. As for the Black Mountains Pack, as much as they frightened me, I knew they couldn’t hurt me. My Mate was their Alpha.


This is the right decision, my Wolf whispered softly in my mind. She sounded so sure of herself, although I knew she was incredibly biased in this situation.

I slowly raised my gaze, finally meeting Gabriel’s. His emotionless mask was back in place but I wouldn’t forget that brief emotion I had seen in his dark eyes.

“If you promise to leave my family and pack alone I will go with you.” I said quietly. I was fully aware that he could be brutal and force me to come with no






promises, but I hoped he wouldn’t. Besides, if he gave his word not to harm my pack, it would help assuage some of my concerns.

Gabriel looked away, jaw clenched. “I have more significant problems at the

moment,” was his reply, and I took that as the best affirmative I was going to get. I exhaled wearily. “Atleast let me say goodbye? Can we wait until the morning?” I didn’t want to go very long before seeing my parents again but I figured it was not the best time to negotiate with Gabriel, he was wound tightly enough already.

“Make it quick. I’ve been away from my pack for long enough.” Histone was

clipped and I sighed internally. It seemed as if that slight glimpse of true emotion was all I would be getting for a while.

An hour or two later, I stood outside with my family and close friends around me in a semicircle. My father had not liked my decision to say the least. It had taken a considerable amount of arguing and pleading and reasoning to get him to fully

understand where I was coming from, and I could tell he only conceded my point because he didn’t want Gabriel resulting to more drastic measures to bring me back to his pack. Not that my father could have really stopped either one of us from the beginning; it was werewolf custom to live with one’s Mate.

Despite his reluctance I knew my father really did understand. After Gabriel had

come to help rescue me from the vampires he had earned the tiniest sliver of my

father’s trust, at least when it came tome. When I explained to him (and later my mother) that this is what I had decided, that I wanted to give my Mate a chance,

they eventually caved. I knew they disliked Gabriel but, as my Mate and an Alpha, it was his right by law to bring me to his pack if I chose to go. It was going against Nature to keep a wolf from her Mate, after all.

Alpha Brett gave me a gruff hug before walking away, leaving me with my

parents, Maria, and Will. My mom had tears in her bright blue eyes. We were currently standing in a clearing a couple of hours from my house. Gabriel was located near enough to hear our conversation but at a respectable distance, for which I was grateful. I didn’t need his unnerving presence when I felt so

vulnerable. He stood, poised and alert, gazing into the distance.

My mom wrapped me into what must have been my tenth hug, a blonde curl

touching my cheek as she nuzzled me. I felt a pang of sadness at the thought of leaving her. My father was next, pulling me into a secure embrace.

“Don’t forget to mind link with us every day,” he said softly, attempting to make a wry joke. I smiled slightly and his face grew serious. “Skylar, let me know if you






need anything.” His look was significant and I caught the double meaning behind his words.

Next Maria came forward, wrapping a dark tress of hair around her finger like she always did when she was nervous. “Skylar…” she began softly. Her eyes contained so much worry that I hugged her tightly on reflex.

“I never got to thankyou guys for everything,” I said, noticing Will had come

forward and was standing next to us. He tried to grin reassuringly but it came out more as a grimace.

“You would have done it forme,” Maria replied, smiling slightly. “I’m just glad

you’re okay.” She squeezed my hand tightly. “Come visit soon? We need to catch up on Law and Order.” I laughed at that and was passed over to Will. I relaxed into the familiarity of his hug, inhaling his scent. He had consistently been there forme, and I’d always appreciated his companionship.

He released me, raising one of his hands to gently cup my cheek. An unusual, almost haunted look came into his blue eyes as he studied me intensely, eyes examining every inch of my face.

“Will?” I queried, confused by his expression.

He licked his lips, almost appearing nervous. His thumb stroked my cheek and I

shifted slightly, aware of my Mate’s presence nearby. I got the impression that Will was gathering the courage for something, and the only reason he was about to say it was because it might be his last chance for a while.

“Skylar…I…” Will began, voice cracking slightly as he spoke. I frowned,

wondering what the hell was up with him. He hesitated, as if deciding if whatever he was about to say was really a good idea.

I got a strange sense of foreboding and quickly spoke.

“Don’t worry Will. I’ll be back soon.”

“I know it’s just….” He was interrupted by a low, threatening growl nearby. I

quickly stepped away from Will to see that Gabriel had come over to us and was standing next tome, glaring daggers at Will. His hands were balled into fists and his expression looked murderous.

“Get away from her, pup,” Gabriel snarled, and I was shocked by the venom in his tone. Will gave me a frustrated look as his face flushed a beet red. He quickly

turned and strode away, my Mate glaring after him. I shot Maria a confused look

but she just looked very uncomfortable, giving me a small wave before walking off as well.

“Calm down, you shouldn’t talk to-” I began, turning towards my Mate, but Gabriel had picked up my bag of necessities in one hand and was already striding towards






the trees. At least he was nice enough to carry it forme, I thought wryly, although it wasn’t heavy tome.

“We need to get going,” he snapped, anger still evident in his voice. Apparently he was not going to be in a good mood for this trip.

Sighing, I gave both of my parents one last hug before heading towards the green

fringe of the forest. I gave a final wave over my shoulder before entering the forest, where I would be running in Wolf form in front of my Mate for the first time.

And within a day I would be living with him. Despite my reservations, I couldn’t help but feel slightly hopeful as I thought about what the future held.



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