MoboReader> Horror > Bound

   Chapter 5 No.5

Bound By Julie Embleton Characters: 16482

Updated: 2018-02-11 12:01

"What do you think?" Tanya performed a slow, careful turn to show off her dress. "Do I look enormous?"

"You look beautiful, not enormous, " Nyah smiled from where she sat on the edge of Tanya's bed. "The dress is perfect."

Tanya lowered herself back onto the chair at her dressing table and picked up her hair brush. "I'm excited about tonight, are you?"

"Yes. It's going to be great fun. The last time we had a Pack Welcoming night I had just turned seven and the Carverbacks and Greycoats were only half the size they are now."

"I know, Alan said there are over one hundred in each of the packs at the moment."

"It's good we're connecting with them again. I know their territories are hundreds of miles away, but they're still our neighbours."

"I agree – and who knows – you might even meet your mate."

Nyah groaned at Tanya's wiggling eyebrows and flopped back onto Tanya's soft bed. 'Let's find a mate for Nyah' was Tanya's pet project and no matter how big or small the event, Tanya was always brimming with hope it would provide the magic moment.

"You'll be twenty in a few months; it's high time you found your mate, " Tanya declared in her all too familiar lecturing voice.

"Mm hmm."

"Don't mm hmm me. You know I'm right."

"And you know I hate talking about this."

"Well, it's going to happen sooner or later and pretending it won't isn't going to change the fact, " Tanya warned, pulling the brush through her hair.

"It's such a big thing, " Nyah sighed, propping herself up on her elbows, "and I don't know if I'm ready."

"You'll never be ready, " Tanya said wisely, turning around to face her mirror. "Trust me; nothing will ever prepare you for the moment you find your mate."

"Especially if it's in the frozen aisle of the supermarket?" Nyah grinned, knowing that if she distracted Tanya enough, she wouldn't have to listen to another lecture about how super fabulously wonderful her life would become once she found her mate.

Tanya's face melted into a dreamy smile. "I still get chills when I walk down that aisle, you know. I'll never forget that day."

"Tell me about it again, " Nyah asked, "I love hearing about how you and Alan met."

Tanya gave her hair a final pat and swivelled around to face Nyah. "It was eleven fifteen on a Wednesday morning and I was in the fruit and veg aisle trying to decide if I wanted two melons for the price of one or six grapefruit for the price of four."

The opening lines of Tanya's account were so well known to Nyah she could have said the words for her. 'All of sudden, ' she narrated silently, the story committed to her memory.

"All of a sudden, " Tanya continued, "I got the most delicious, toe-curling, stomach-knotting scent, but when I looked up there was no-one in the aisle with me. So – I dropped the fruit back onto the display, stuck my nose in the air and began to follow the scent. I walked up the cereal aisle, down the biscuit aisle, up one chilled aisle and then down another before I rounded the corner of the frozen aisle, where I clapped eyes on the most beautiful wolf ever made." Tanya sighed dramatically and Nyah rolled her eyes. "The moon Goddess was in a good mood on the day she created my Alan, " she breathed. "He stood in that aisle, shaggy, blonde hair hanging over his eyes, a tight, white t-shirt clinging to his body and a pair of jeans moulded to his perfect, perfect ass."

"I wonder what our new Alpha would say if he knew his wife was talking about his behind in such a way, " Nyah laughed. Tanya dismissed Alan's probable horror with a quick wave and carried on.

"I thought I was in heaven – until of course he got my scent and looked up at me. I tell you Nyah, it's the most powerful thing in the world. Even more powerful than the moment you lay eyes on your new-born baby. It's so incredible. In that one second, when our eyes met, I felt as if an invisible rope had suddenly been tied around the two of us and was tugging hard, trying to draw us together. When you find your mate you never feel fully content unless you're right beside him, physically touching him in some way. When Alan isn't close to me I feel distracted, on edge. It feels like everything's off kilter until he's beside me again."

"That there is why I'm so nervous, " Nyah confessed sitting up straight again. "I don't know if I'm ready for those all-consuming emotions. I mean, I'd like to meet my mate, but I don't want it changing who I am or what I want to do with my life. Sometimes I worry that finding my mate will morph me into a completely different person."

"No, no it won't, " Tanya assured her. "The emotions are all-consuming, but in a good way, a positive way. And it doesn't change who you are, really." She smiled at Nyah again. "You'll find out for yourself soon, " she promised. "Although he'll have to fight his way through all the admirers that'll be gathered around you tonight, " she said seriously, pointing towards her dress. "You look stunning."

Nyah slid off the bed and stood up. "Thanks, it's been so long since I've had the chance to wear something as nice as this." She smoothed down the front of her dress. The dark green silk clung to her figure and when she looked back up, catching a glimpse of her reflection in the mirror, she barely recognized herself; her usual attire was jeans, t-shirt, hoodies and trainers.

Tanya stood up too. Her loose, flowing dress reached to the ground, the sand-coloured fabric a perfect contrast to her deeply tanned skin and thick glossy chestnut hair. "I'm a bit nervous about meeting Alpha Black's wife, " she admitted. "I hear she can be a bit aloof."

"Yeah, I've heard that too, " Nyah said, "so if you get stuck with her, just fiddle with your necklace and I'll come and rescue you."

"Deal, " Tanya smiled, "And you do the same with your bracelet if you get landed with an over-zealous pup and I'll come and rescue you."

When Nyah stepped out onto the porch of the pack house it was as if she had been magically transported to another territory. Blackwater Ridge had been transformed for the night. Paper lanterns were strung from the trees, mismatched sets of tables and chairs were set out on the lawns, and in the middle of the street, inside a wide rectangular area marked out with a jumble of tall potted plants, was a dance floor – complete with flashing lights and a mirror-ball dangling from the overhead street light.

"Courtesy of Blake, " Tanya revealed as Nyah stared open-mouthed at the sparkling globe. "Apparently, he just happened to have it stashed in his garage."

"Good, they've the barbeques fired up, " Alan said appearing behind them, just as the first mouth-watering smells of barbequing meat drifted towards them.

"Settle down, " Tanya whispered, gently rubbing her hand over her stomach. "I swear this pup can smell meat, " she said.

"Well he wouldn't be mine if he couldn't, " Alan laughed, sliding his arms around her. He kissed her cheek, but then lifted his head suddenly, turning towards the east of their territory. "The Greycoats are here, " he said, "and the Carverbacks too, " he added a second later when Blake announced their arrival by mind-link. "I'll go and meet them." He gave Tanya another kiss, whispered something in her ear which made her blush and jogged off.

"You ready?" Tanya winked at Nyah.

"As I'll ever be."

"Crikey, my poor, poor feet, " Karen moaned, flopping onto the bench beside Nyah long after midnight had come and gone.

Nyah held up her shoeless feet and wiggled her bare toes. "Put them on the cool grass and feel the relief, " she smiled. "I think I've danced holes in the bottom of mine."

Karen's eyes fluttered with pleasure as her throbbing soles absorbed the chill. "Perfect, " she sighed.

The Pack Welcoming night had been a huge success. Almost the two hundred members of the Greycoats and Carverbacks had descended upon Blackwater Ridge and the atmosphere was electric. Nyah had heard that three of her pack had met their mates; two from the Greycoats pack and one from the Carverbacks, and although Karen would never experience a mate connection again, she and a very handsome member of the Carverbacks had been dancing

together all night.

As Karen continued to enjoy the relief from the cooling grass Nyah saw her Carverback admirer hovering patiently at the edge of the dance floor, polite enough not to disturb Karen while she sat with her friend, but eager enough not to take his eyes off her.

"Mr Tall and Handsome is waiting for you, " Nyah whispered.

Karen blushed and ducked her head. "Isn't he though?" she said, lowering her voice. "He's got the brownest eyes I've ever seen. I've been dancing with him all evening."

"I noticed. I think he's got a great big crush on you."

Karen's blush turned a deeper crimson.

"What?" Nyah laughed. "Don't be embarrassed!"

"I can't help it." Karen pressed her cool fingers against her hot cheeks. "I never thought I'd feel attracted to anyone again after Peter died. I feel kind of guilty and yet, I really want to see Tom again after tonight, " she admitted. "Is that bad of me?"

"No, of course not, " Nyah answered. "You deserve to find someone. Peter would have wanted you to be happy."

"Tom lost his mate too, " Karen whispered, angling away from his direction. "So we're both kind of in the same situation."

"Which means he may want to see you again too, " Nyah said.

Karen chewed on her bottom lip. "I wonder?"

"Well, judging by the way he can't take his eyes off you right now, I think that would be a yes, " Nyah said, subtly nodding in Tom's direction.

"What about you?" she said, taking a sweeping look around the whole street as she tried to turn the attention away from herself. "Is there anyone for you here? Have you met anyone?"

Nyah shook her head and Karen's shoulders sagged with disappointment. "Aw, that's a pity."

"It's fine, I'll meet Mr Wonderfully Fabulous when the time is right, " she comforted her, "and I'm having a really good time, so I'm not bothered about it one bit."

Karen stared determinedly into the crush of people on the dance-floor as if hoping to spot the mate Nyah had somehow missed.

"Okay, that's it, " Nyah laughed, grabbing Karen's shoulders so she would turn back around. "Tanya is bad enough, I don't need you joining forces with her, and anyway, you really need to go back over there. Toms is in a knot waiting for you."

Karen did her best to hold back the huge smile that lit her face as she slipped her feet back into her shoes. Giving Nyah's hand a quick squeeze she skipped off, Tom immediately dropping his pretence of casual lingering to meet her halfway across the lawn.

With her attention focused on Tom's adoring looks towards Karen, Nyah missed the approach of a figure from behind the bench. By the time she had become aware of his presence, Simon had already taken a seat beside her.

"May I say you look absolutely beautiful tonight, " he smarmed.

"Thank you." Nyah made to stand up, but his hand was quick to fly out and take hold of her arm.

"Please, for a moment, grace me with a little conversation."

Gritting her teeth, she sat back. If he wanted conversation he could do the talking, she had nothing to say.

"Are you enjoying your evening?"

As tempting as it was to say 'up until now, yes', Nyah gave him a simple yes instead.

"I admire Alpha Stenson's hospitality. Expanding our pack is something we must consider."

Nyah continued to stare ahead, hoping someone would see who had cornered her.

"I take it by your unaccompanied presence on this bench that you did not meet your mate tonight?" Simon queried.

"No, not tonight, " she replied, seeing Michael's curly hair amongst the dancers.

"All in good time, " he said, sounding annoyingly patronizing.

Michael had the attention of some females from the Carverbacks and was not likely to lift his gaze off them anytime soon. Nyah began searching for Karen instead.

"And for the sake of our pack I hope your mate will be deserving of your bloodline, " Simon continued.

Nyah whipped her head around to face him. "What do you mean by that?"

"Your bloodline is a pure and powerful force, " he replied, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. "To join it with anything less would be a crime."

"Whoever I join with, " she answered, "will be none of your business."

"Perhaps not, but I hope Alpha Stenson makes it his."

Nyah shied away from him in disgust. "It's nobody's business. No-one gets to pick and choose my mate."

"Despite what a poor matching would mean for our pack?" When her mouth failed to work Simon was quick to carry on. "You should consider your future with a little less selfishness, Nyah. Do you not think you owe it to your pack to find a mate who can equal the strength of your bloodline? Is it wise to allow chance to select your mate and risk diluting the power of your heritage?"

"Arranged bondings are a crime, " she snapped at him. "Forcing non-mated wolves into a union is forbidden."

Simon held up his hands. "I am merely giving my opinion on your duty to produce pups of -."

"Keep your opinions to yourself, " Nyah hissed, jumping up. "My mating is none of your business."

"It should be somebody's business, " he said calmly, rising to his feet also. "Your father -."

"Don't you dare speak of my father!" she spat. "And don't even try to suggest he would have wanted an arranged bonding!"

"He would have wanted what is best for this pack."

"Which is something you have no concept of!" With rage scalding her veins Nyah knew it would be best to leave before she said something she'd truly regret, but when she began to turn away from him he quickly grabbed her arms and held her in place.

"Don't disrespect me, Nyah, " he warned, his beady, dark eyes narrowing as he pushed his face closer to her. "I have -."

Two large hands, attached to two thickly muscled arms, suddenly ripped Simon's bony hands off her. Being released so abruptly made her stagger backwards, but instead of falling onto her ass, she crashed against a hard wall of muscle. "I've got you, " Blake's voice reassured.

Michael gave Simon a hefty shove. "Leave Nyah alone, " he warned, and before she could hear Simon's reply, Blake was wheeling her around and hauling her away. "Let's go, come on."

Michael and Simon's growls were quick to fade as Blake hustled her through the crowds. "Damned idiot, " Blake muttered.

"Why is he even still here? Why hasn't he been kicked out?" she griped, allowing Blake to steer her amongst the visitors.

"Because technically, he hasn't done anything wrong, " Blake answered. "He hasn't hurt or threatened anyone."

"Isn't it enough that he pisses everyone off?" Nyah snapped.

Blake gave a deep chesty laugh. "I wish it was, " he chuckled.

Once they were on the far side of the dance floor and well out of Simon's sight, Blake released Nyah's hand. "I think I'll stay with you for the rest of the night, " he decided. "Simon isn't one to take no for an answer. What did he want anyway?"

Nyah allowed a shiver of repulsion to roll through her. "He's decided to take an interest in who I mate with, " she answered. "I think if he had his own way he'd be handpicking mates for me based on the strength of their bloodline."

"That's none of his business." Blake's expression was appalled. "He actually said that to you?"

"Oh, he's all on for arranged bondings. I mustn't dilute my heritage, you know."

"That's disgusting."

Nyah shivered again. "He's disgusting."

"Alan will be furious – Simon has absolutely no business talking to you like that."

"Let's just leave it for now, " Nyah said taking his hand again. "Come and dance with me for a while."

Blake was still frowning as they squeezed onto the dance floor, but when his favourite song blasted out from the speakers he perked up and shouted over the heads of the bouncing crowd to Michael who, judging by his thumbs up and massive grin, liked the track too. Michael made his way over to where they danced, his adoring fans following him, and realising there were far more pleasant things to be thinking about she shunted her encounter with Simon aside. Alan would deal with it, she told herself, and with any luck it would involve him handing Simon an empty suitcase and detailed directions to somewhere very, very, far away.

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