"I-I can't," I mutter and bite my lip. How can I lead a bunch of killers towards innocent people? What if they actually hurt my family, all I have left. Surely I cannot trust any of these men. "I can't tell you, but if you just let me go..."
"I can't let you go alone."
My fingers tug at the bottom of my shirt. "Then come with me. Nothing bad would happen, and I'm not going with him." Glancing back at Landon, he groans, tired of my finger pointing.
He takes a moment before answering. "Is it far?"
"Do you shift?"
I peer down at my twiddling fingers. "Yes."
My mate gives me time to walk behind a thick tree and strip my clothes off because I don't want to shred them up. How embarrassing would it be to get there and have no clothes to change into? Quickly my body molds, bones rearrange, dark hairs spurt from my skin, and my eyes evolve into an emerald green from my dusky, pale green ones. Immediately, I warm up from my thick coat. Emerging from behind the tree I see the three men with a very large, intimidating, inky wolf. My mate.
Clouds flood from my nose as I take in the wonderful feeling of being shifted. It has been a while since I have had the opportunity since Kendra cannot shift yet. Nervously, I move closer towards him and he motions ahead. Soon enough we are off, running wildly through the trees. Everything moves by in green and brown blurs as I dash beside him. Weaving through the trees, we head further northeast. After a few moments, I realize that I never picked up my clothes from behind the tree, and when I look over to my mate I notice he is holding clothing loosely in his mouth. Hopefully, there are supplies in the safe house.
The dirt kicks up under my paws as I hurry along, know that I am leading him. My mind curses at my body for not moving fast enough, hoping that my mate doesn't think I'm weak.
We pass by the area where I left Kendra, but as I suspected it is bare. Continuing in the direction I glance up at the sky and notice light peeking through the trees— morning. It has been so long since I have seen her or my mother.
Thankfully, I spot a small wooden building up ahead and I rush towards it with my mate behind me. The scent of my sister floods my nose and my heart picks up pace. She's inside.
The door opens and my mother appears in the frame with an expression of relief. "I thought I smelt you." Coming up to her, she runs her hand along my back. "I'll grab something for you to cover up."
"Isabella!" I see my sister come shooting out of the hut and she wraps her arms around me the best that she can. "I thought they got you!"
"Move honey, let her shift." My mother comes back with a blanket and we move to the side of the hut. After I shift back she quickly covers me with the blanket. "What happened to you? Where did he take you? Did he lay a hand on you?"
"I'm fine, everything is fine," I lie and she hugs me tightly.
"Who are you?" I hear Kendra say and my mind darts back to my mate.
My mother looks at me with worry before walking back to the front of the building. I trail behind with my fingers crossed. At the site of my mate with Kendra, I swallow. "Alpha Tate." The words leave my mother like a whisper of pure worry.
"Kendra," I call her over but she only looks at me.
"Please, we don't want any trouble."
I step forward. "Mom he's not going to hurt us. He came with me."
"Came with you? You were running from him?"
A spark of amusement appears on my mate's face. "No mom, he... He's my mate," I explain lowly so Kendra will not hear.
In a flash, her eyes grow wide and her mouth hangs slightly open. "Mate!" She shouts. "Your mate, how?"
"Mate?" Kendra gazes at me with big doe-like eyes of innocence. "Like mom and dad were?"
I feel my throat begin to close up and just to make the situation better another person emerges from the hut. My Luna. "What is going on out... Alpha Tate." She states and straightens up. "I thought I smelt a wild dog."
I curse under my breath.
"Luna, I thought I saw your Alpha struggling out there." He comes closer. "I was going to take your land, but seeing how the tides have changed I'll leave it for you to pick up the broken pieces."
"I would thank you, but knowing you, there must be a catch."
I grab Kendra and hold her close while trying to keep the blanket over me.
"No catch, not this time anyways. My mother would be terribly disappointed if I ruined the pack of someone so attached to me." He explains calmly.
My Luna chuckles. "Someone attached to you, and from my pack? What is this some kind of joke? Are you trying to humor me?"
"I'm his mate," I step forward and my Luna looks to me with surprise.
"This one," she motions to me, "she's a good one, a good girl. I won't let you ruin her."
I turn to my Luna in surprise. "What's happening?"
"The Luna is right, you have to stay here with us, with our pack," my mother glances at me. "You'll be safest here."
"Safest here?" He cuts in. "She's safest with me."
A stand in between with Kendra in my grasp. She peers up at me with a confused look, obviously not understanding what is happening, but neither do I to be honest. When he said that I am safest with him, my heart did flutter and I cannot lie to myself that it didn't make me feel good. Even though we just met, I do feel that he can keep me safe. So far that is all he's been focused on. "Why are you arguing about this?" I pipe up and they fall silent. "It is my decision."
Standing in the cold with only a blanket to shield the weather away, I can only hope that I'm thinking clearly. I look to my mate and find that his eyes are already on me. How can I saw no? These feelings I have for him, our mate bond, it's all too strong to ignore. Every time I look at his face I want to attack his lips with my own— and my thoughts are getting off topic. "I feel that... I feel that I should go with him."
Kendra's grip on me tightens.
It is awkward saying these things right in front of him.
"Honey, but..." My mother struggles. "I mean, are you sure?"
"Isabella," the Luna says to me, "I know you feel that you have to do this, but you don't."
"No I don't, you're right. But what happened in the past is in the past and the present is a gift, so I have to run with this. I would never forgive myself if I didn't take this chance. But what hurts me that most is that; If he wasn't this Alpha, then there would be no problem. I have to keep an open mind and learn things for myself, only then can I have my own opinion." My gaze connects with his and I have to fight back my blush. "He may come off as a bad man, but that doesn't mean there's no good inside him."