Jaecar could hear the distant footfalls of females on the run.
Afraid of us, thanks to Marta’s tales.
Females that thought they might be killed during the mating or marking because of the myths spread by the older females in the pack. So now some of the females were terrified of mating.
Females like Sam.
Guilt burned through Jaecar as he imagined the things tearing through her mind while she was tied up and tucked down in that tree. Afraid of what all he’d do to her.
He couldn’t really blame her for that when even he was afraid of what he might do once his beast began taking over. Especially considering how long he’d craved her.
I’m afraid of what I could do to her. He knew how much his beast wanted to brutalize her. Take her like the animal he was.
Just thinking it had his eyes shimmering yellow and his skin bubbling as muscles yearned to adjust into wolf form.
But doing so under the Mating Moon will make it nearly impossible to turn back. And Jaecar knew that as the animal, he’d be even more heedless of how much he harmed Sam.
I already want to force her down and shove into her.
As the beast I’d bite her to hold her and possess her mercilessly. Sam would never forgive me for that.
But the question was would she forgive him anyway?
“Jaecar.” Draven lowered his head in greeting.
Jaecar turned his head to the side in a slight imitation of a bow which also exposed his neck to the alpha. The sign of respect due him as their leader.
“Let’s began declaring our intent.” Draven said. “I intend to mate Lyra Lani.”
No surprise there. Jaecar almost snorted but instead kept his head lowered to hide his smile. His one weakness...
“Zyra Momay.” Magus said proudly. “Marked, mounted or both.”
“Aloira, mounted.” Fury said lifting his head slightly. The scars down the sides of his face seeming darker in the shadows of the firelight and his permanently yellow eyes glowing ominously. Damaged from the same attack that had killed the former alpha Edrick.
Fury had been young then. Barely old enough to go on the hunts for strays.
Rather a shame. Jaecar thought. It had turned the wolf bitter and violent. His scars were permanent testament to his failure to protect the alpha.
That’s how he sees it anyway.
The other wolves knew better.
It’d been an ambush by the NightHunter pack with the sole objective of murdering the Asara Alpha and no amount of intervention by the few Asara with him would’ve stopped their numbers.
But Fury had tried.
Jaecar, as well as the others, all knew the tale.
Though they thought no less of him for his efforts they steered clear of him just the same. The smallest offense could have him sinking in teeth.
Jaecar almost pitied Aloira but he knew she was receptive to any males that’d wish to mount her tonight.
She and Lydia were the most submissive of the females and enjoyed being taken roughly.
Jaecar knew that for a fact from the years before he’d realized Samantha was his fate.
“Cindy. Mounted.” Another male next to Jaecar declared of Aloira’s friend.
Finally, it was Jaecar’s turn. “Samantha. Marked.”
His eyes darkened and he lowered his head in challenge, eyeing the others warningly.
By the time the rest had declared their intent. Two others intended to mark Samantha and seven planned to mount her if they could catch her.
They can’t have her. Jaecar ducked away from the camp. Head lowered as he attempted to hide his small triumph. I already do.
A hand on his shoulder made him jump. He whirled around and faced the alpha who lifted his hands to show he was non-aggressive.
Jaecar gave a low warning growl in his throat in reflex.
Draven’s hands fell and he echoed the sound more viciously.
Jaecar hushed and his gaze fell as he recognized he meant no challenge to the pack leader.
“Where are you going?”
“You have her set aside?”
Jaecar tilted his head grudgingly. Unwilling to admit to even the alpha where she is. He can’t have her either.
“She’ll make you a good mate. I only wished to tell you good luck. You know I’d far rather have the innocent females marked than mounted and left to bear pups.”
“But we need them.” Jaecar echoed in understanding.
“We do.” Draven nodded solemnly. “Our pack has no heirs yet. That’s why this year is so important. We have enough breedables that they need marked or bred so we can carry on the pack.”
Draven hesitated as though he thought perhaps to ask Jaecar where he’d take her but thought better.
The males didn’t like to disclose their hunting grounds under the Mating Moon.
Draven turned abruptly and headed back toward camp.
Jaecar’s voice stopped him, but he didn’t turn.
“Good luck with Lyra Lani. She’d make us a fine leader.”
“That she would.”
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