"What do you mean?" My brows drew together in worry.
I wouldn't be safe? Why wouldn't I?
It worked all the years before.
"You're not going back to your hut during the Mating Moon tonight." He clarified.
My brow furrowed as I gave him a questioning look. I reached over the leaves to grab my sketchbook. Thinking I would grab it and flee.
Jaecar was scaring me.
But he slapped a hand over atop it. Holding it firmly enough I couldn't pull it away. Eventually my gaze drifted from the book slowly back to his face. My stomach dropping.
"Yes. I am." I said more firmly. "As soon as we leave here, I'm going."
"No." His solid green gaze burned into me and I felt the need to evade it. "I've chosen you for my mate."
"I have. Since you haven't chosen one for yourself, the Alpha is perilously close to selecting one for you. We're going to meet about it here shortly."
"About finding a mate for me?"
"For all the young ones."
I noticed he kindly refrained from using that word I hated. Breedables.
I tried to toss him off, but I was a little thing, and he was one of the strongest males in the pack. One of the border guards.
What prayer have I to dislodge him?
Suddenly, coming out here every day with him seemed very dangerous. What had I been thinking?
He was watching my emotions pour over my face. Waiting.
"You can't just do that!" Determination locked my chin.
"I already have. I've lured you out of your hut and I have you. And when it's time tonight, I'll spill my wolf seed in you and mark you as mine."
The Hell you will! I glared hotly at him.
"You can't!" I voiced my objection.
He has to be jesting!
The Jaecar I knew would never say such things to me!
"I can." His mouth whitened. "And I will. If I don't, someone else will."
I shook my head, refusing to listen. Who are you?
"You can't be the man I know."
"The one you thought your friend." He sneered the word. "Come on, Samantha. I've tried enough to warn you. You just wouldn't listen."
I chewed my lip. Was that what he was trying to do last night? Why he'd kissed me?
He sighed. "You've gone too long without a mate, Samantha. How long did you think Draven would stand for it?"
I did know that the alpha expected all the females of breeding age to soon be reproducing heirs for the pack.
Edrick, Draven's father, had wanted that for us until he was killed by the NightHunters Alpha.
I lurched up again. Trying to buck Jaecar off me, but he wouldn't budge.
"Come on, Samantha. You've been drawing me all these years. Fixated on my face and it hasn't occurred to you its because, at the core of it, we're mates."
"I don't see you as my mate! You said last night you had one picked out."
His eyes went hooded as he gave me a long look.
He meant me!
Okay. Calm down. I tried to slow my breathing. Tried to think. But my heart was pounding and there was thrumming in my ears that made rational thought impossible.
Feeling overwhelmingly panicked I began striking his shoulders with my fists. "Get off of me, Jaecar!"
He caught my wrists and pinned them above my head in one of his large hands. "Be realistic, Sam. There are nearly forty unmated male wolves in our pack. And there are seven of you females of breeding age. Some of you will not only be taken tonight but have to be shared with multiple males to keep pack peace. I don't want you to endure that. You'll undoubtedly suffer enough at my hands..."
His gaze fell to the leaves next to me and for a moment he looked suddenly, deeply morose. But though I recognized the look, I was unable to think about anything other than my own distress in that moment.
I knew what he'd said was true, but I'd always thought he would protect me. I thought, somehow that he'd look out for me forever.
"Why would you do this to me?" I blinked at him in shock. "It's me!"
"I know. That's why I'm disinclined to share..." He said bitterly.
"Jaecar!" I objected. Struggling against his viselike hold.
I have to get back to my hut and lock myself in. Cower throughout the night armed with knife to protect myself.
As I have all the Mating Moons prior to this one.
"Shh..." Jaecar whispered almost against my lips. "I could've not told you. I could've kept you out here until later and just taken you when the moon unleashed my beast."