Home > Matefinder (Matefinder #1)(4)

Matefinder (Matefinder #1)(4)
Author: Leia Stone

She smiled and grabbed my hand. “Come on, I’ll introduce you to my mate.”

That word again. Kai had said some of the men here were wondering if I was their mate.

“Your mate…” I left the sentence open.

“Yeah, Devon. We just had our mating ceremony a few months ago. You missed it.”

“So that’s like a wedding?” I inquired. I glanced around. The backyard had a large green space with four large rectangle tables and a few grills that were smoking. I wondered if they had any veggie burgers.  Yeah, right.

“Kind of like a wedding, except mates are extremely rare and once a werewolf mates, they mate for life. And instead of exchanging rings, like I’ve seen humans do on TV, you exchange blood.”

My eyes must have bulged out of my head.

“Not like drinking blood! Just a little nip, a marking.” She pulled up her long shirt sleeve to reveal a teeth bite mark on her wrist. “It’s infused with magic. Devon and I are mated for life and now we can have children.” She smiled.

“Talking about me, I hope?” A tall guy with sandy blonde hair and blue eyes came up behind us.

Emma blushed. “Aurora, this is Devon. My mate and husband.”

Devon grasped my hand and bowed slightly. “A pleasure. Welcome to the pack. We are all really excited to have you. Most of us anyway.” He gestured to Sadie and a few other guys that sat at one of the tables, scowling. Emma smacked him and he kissed her cheek before heading over to tend to one of the grills. I remembered Devon being towards the middle of the pack.

“So it’s not a problem that you’re submissive and Devon’s…”

“Dominant?” Emma threw the word out there. “It’s actually the best combination for mates. Two wolves that are too close within pack rank could either be very powerful together or have underlying tension. If you have two highly dominant wolves and danger comes, who protects who? If the less dominant tries to protect the more dominant, it’s like saying they can’t protect themselves. It could start a fight. With Devon and I, we know our place. If something ever happened and he was hurt, I would protect him with my last breath, but generally, I let him take the lead.” She smiled. “Enough Wolf 101, let’s mingle. We have plenty of time to talk in the coming centuries. Did I forget to tell you? Unless killed, werewolves pretty much live forever.” She walked towards the crowd.

Okay. I was immortal. No big deal. Holy crap!

A young Indian boy that was the spitting image of Kai set a large bloody steak in front of me. “For you, my lady.” He grinned. He looked about sixteen but who knew what his real age was. I covered my nose; the smell of meat made me nauseous.

“Thank you, but actually I’m a vegetarian.”

The boy’s face fell. Werewolves must have good hearing because every voice stopped and you could see all heads turn towards me. The boy began laughing, a deep throaty laugh. “My brother’s new second in command. A vegetarian?”

I smirked back at him. “Yes. Key words, second in command.” Power radiated out of my voice. I hadn’t meant to be like that. The boy immediately stopped laughing, dropped his gaze and everyone went back to talking. Kai came over with a plate of corn on the cob and mashed potatoes and set it in front of me. He ruffled his brother’s hair.

“That will teach you to mess with a dominant vegetarian,” he joked.

His brother sulked, then turned to me. “I’m Akash. Welcome to the pack.”

I smiled at him. “Thank you. I will try to remember all of these names but remind me if I can’t, and thanks for bringing me the steak. It was very sweet of you.”

Akash blushed from head to toe… and was that a low growl I heard from Kai? Akash looked at his brother grinning then ran off to get his food.

“What part of India are you from?” I asked Kai.

“Are you assuming because I have dark skin I’m from India?” His face was blank.

“Oh. I’m sorry.” I didn’t know what to say.

He grinned. “I’m joking. I’m from Delhi and so is Akash.”

I wanted to smack him but thought better of it. “I’ve been to Delhi. Amazing food. Wonderful people.”  It was then his turn to look shocked with nothing to say. Five o’clock shadow dotted his strong jaw and I couldn’t help but think again of how attractive he was.

“You have been to Delhi?” he challenged.

“Yep. Six months volunteering. I set up a domestic violence shelter there. God, I miss the food.” My mind wandered to my history with domestic violence. Snippets from my childhood rushed through my mind. I looked up and Kai’s jaw was clenched and his eyes turned from black to golden yellow. I jerked my head back in fear but he recovered and forced a smile.

“That’s nice of you to do that kind of work.” His voice was raw. Had he picked up on my thoughts, my very private thoughts? Anger took hold of me. I grabbed my plate and stood.

“I think I’m going to mingle, then you and I need to talk about my old life and what to do with it.” My voice was clipped and I stalked off. Two words came through our bond and into my head. ‘I’m sorry.’

I shook off the conversation and sat down with Emma and Devon. I spent the next two hours talking and getting to know the other wolves. I found that I could immediately tell which ones were submissive and which ones were more dominant. My inner wolf could sense it. I fell into easy conversations, letting my inner wolf instinctually guide me. This was my pack, my new family. I felt more protective over the more submissive wolves. One thing was for sure; Sadie was shooting me daggers all night. I would have to ask Emma about that later. I was in the middle of telling Luke, a mid pack wolf, about my favorite hiking spot on Mt. Hood, when Kai placed his hand on my shoulder.

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