Mating Brand Page 27

“Don’t bears hate everyone? I heard stories that they eat our kind.”

“Yes.” He chuckled. “That’s why I think Braden should go find one to bring home. He’ll be on toast the first time he pisses her off, which shouldn’t take too long.”

She laughed, shook her head and pulled out of his arms. “He’s young and his intentions were good.”

“I’ll try to remember that. Lock the door and don’t answer it. I’ll be back soon. Get the phone if it rings.”

“I will.”

He leaned down to kiss her lips. “I’ll be home real soon. I can’t be away for long.” He growled softly and a hungry look filled his gaze as it traveled down her body. “I’m already hurting for you.”

“I’ll eat and wait for you on the bed.” She backed away. “Naked.”

A pained look crossed his handsome features. “Now I’m really hurting. Damn, hon, don’t torment me while I’m in heat. I’ll hurry. Lock the door.” He spun on his heel and left the house.

* * * * *

Brand shot dirty looks at Braden the entire trip to the Harris Pack alpha house. “You don’t speak to my mate of such things,” he ordered.

“I’m sorry.” His cousin shifted a little closer to the door to keep space between them. “Where’s your sense of humor? Gaining a mate has made you kind of a dick.”

“You could have hurt her feelings. I didn’t want her to know about the runnings. It’s not cool to discuss fucking other women in front of your mate.”

“She would have heard the truth from someone at some point. She didn’t seem angry.”

“You’re lucky.” Brand slowed the truck and parked behind a line of vehicles near the driveway. “Just don’t talk when you’re around her.”

“Really? I’m living in your basement.”

Brand growled softly. “Fine. Just don’t discuss sex with her, or bitches, and take hints when I shoot a glare your way. That means shut your trap.”

“I’m sure cats have runnings.”

“You’d be wrong.” Brand jerked on the handle and slid out of his truck. “The females can take pills to stop the heat. They only allow it to happen when they are with someone they trust or when they’re already mated. It’s frowned upon if they get pregnant otherwise.”

“Tell it to those pussies who wanted to hurt Shannon.”

“Only prides with low birthrates are willing to do that breeding-for-litters bullshit and from what I heard, they force the half-breed mothers to give up those babies to barren full-blooded women to raise.”

“That’s some fucked-up shit.”

“Agreed. Just watch your mouth around Charma and remember that she’s different from us.”


They walked side by side to the front door. Braden opened it and stalked inside first. The scent of pack filled the entire house and it didn’t surprise Brand that they’d met in the large living room instead of going downstairs to hold their usual family meetings. He nodded at his packmates but ignored the shocked expressions as they got a whiff of him. He’d expected the scent of Charma to draw plenty of attention.

Rave met his gaze across the room. He watched his cousin sniff the air and a grin spread across his face. “Glad you dragged your ass out of bed.”

Grady walked out of the kitchen with a beer in his hand. His head snapped in Brand’s direction and then his eyebrows lifted.

“Charma came home to me.”

“The spotted leopard from college?” A smile curved Grady’s lips. “I heard something about her from Rave.”

“She’s not leaving me a second time.” He lifted his chin to level a fierce look at the faces around the room. “She’s my mate. Got it? Anyone have a problem with that? Say so now and I’ll kill you before the meeting starts.”

“We welcome your mate so don’t slaughter anyone.” Anton’s deep voice resonated as he entered the room carrying a big tray of food. “Congratulations. Tell her thanks for the heads-up on the pride threat.” He shot a menacing look around the room. “Is everyone cool with she-cats as protected mates in our pack? If not, step outside to get your ass kicked. You can pick who you want to fight but there will be no killings. I’d hate to get stains on Dad’s carpet so we definitely will take it to the backyard. There’s a hose out there to wash away the blood.”

No one spoke or moved toward the door. Brand relaxed. He’d never worried that his cousins would have a problem with Charma but the other wolves were another matter. Some of them were older, set in their ways, and cats were considered to be the enemy, no exceptions made. He had a suspicion that some weren’t cool with it but they were too afraid to protest. They’d get their asses handed to them by a Harris family member.

Anton placed the tray on the coffee table and moved to sit in a chair by the fireplace, apparently relaxed. Brand knew better. His cousin’s eyes were solemn, his fingers clawed a little on the arms of the chair. He took a seat on the couch opposite him.

“We have pride males lurking outside of town and they think they can take us.” Anton leaned forward a little. His cold smile didn’t reach his eyes and his voice was gruff. “The runnings are officially canceled. Spread the word to your family and neighbors. Any visitors we have need to leave. It’s too dangerous to be caught unaware that way. I want them gone, even if they offer to stay. The last thing we need are other packs pissed that they lost some of their own in our war. Turn your cell phones on and keep them close. I’m ordering families to go to house lockdown. The more family members in one home, the better. If you scent cat, call for help. We’ll be there with the enforcers immediately.”

Raymond Borl protested. “I don’t want my son-by-mate fucking my daughter under my roof. That’s why they have their own home.”

“Would you prefer to hear she was killed when they were slaughtered at their home?” Grady crossed his arms over his chest. “We’re better off staying in large numbers since I’m sure those pride males will attack en masse. They would be stupid to separate into smaller groups to come at us.”

“What if you’re attacked inside your home with no one else there, Raymond?” Braden snorted. “Bob is a good fighter and you’d want him at your side to defend his mate and yours until help reached you.”

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