Little red and ryder wol.., p.2
Little Red & Ryder Wolfe (Iron Hills Pack Book 3), page 2
Ryder had no idea what to do with the red-headed woman at his side. She’d fallen asleep during the movie and he hadn’t wanted to move her just yet. He knew he needed to put her in the guest room, but his beast wanted her closer. That one sniff had been enough to confirm his suspicions. She wasn’t just some random woman. She’d found him because they were destined to meet.
Somehow, telling her that she was his mate didn’t seem like the best idea right now. She was scared, and for good reason. Nothing, and no one, would harm her as long as she was under his roof. It didn’t even matter to him that she carried another man’s child. Once he claimed her, both of them would be his. His bite would not only mark her as his mate, but would claim her unborn child as well. No one would ever doubt that the mother and child belonged to him.
The news came on and he turned down the volume so it wouldn’t wake up Saxen. He waited, hoping they would discuss the body in her apartment, and that there would be good news that the nasty Martin had been captured. There was a brief mention of a drug related homicide, but no details. Ryder continued watching, hoping they would talk more about it before the news went off.
Toward the end of the program, they flashed a picture of a man wanted in connection with the homicide, and a picture of Saxen as a possible missing person. He knew they would have to let the police know she was safe, but he wasn’t sure how to do it. He didn’t want to tip off Martin that she was here, and until he knew the Crosgove Corners Police Department didn’t have a mole, he wasn’t going to say shit to anyone. The safety of his mate came first, and if the law didn’t like it, they could kiss his ass.
Ryder lifted Saxen into his arms and carried her upstairs. He paused outside of the guest room, but then kept walking to the master suite. Easing her down onto the bed, he removed her shoes and covered her with the comforter. He stripped out of his clothes and pulled on a pair of pajama pants before slipping under the covers and pulling her into his arms. She molded to his body, as if she sensed that she was safe with him. Ryder held her close and vowed to do whatever it took to make sure Martin never bothered her again.
Sleep never came for him, and as the sun began to stream through the bedroom windows, the beast inside grew restless. The wolf wanted to provide for their mate, but Ryder wanted to hold her… just a little longer. No doubt, she would wake and wonder why she was in his bed. He’d have to come up with a reason pretty quick or risk losing her. If she thought he was romantically interested in her, she might bolt. Not only would she be in harm’s way out in the world, but his beast would go insane with worry for her.
Saxen began to stir in his arms and her eyes fluttered open. There was curiosity in her gaze, but not fear, for which he was thankful. She closed her eyes and snuggled closer, letting out a sigh. Ryder wasn’t sure what to make of it, but he wasn’t going to argue if she wanted to get closer. He’d hold her all day, if she’d let him. Eventually, she pulled back a little to look at him once more.
“I’m in your bed.”
“Yes, you are.”
“Why?” she asked.
“I’d have worried all night if you slept down the hall. I wanted to make sure you were safe.”
“Is this a wolf thing?” she asked.
He smiled a little. “It’s definitely a wolf thing. You aren’t angry?”
“Do you know how long it’s been since I was held? Too long.”
His hand skimmed over her rounded stomach. “It couldn’t have been too long ago. You only look about three or four months along.”
She bit her lip, and the hesitation made him wonder what she wasn’t saying. Tears misted her eyes and his heart ached for her. Maybe he shouldn’t have reminded her about her ex? He felt like an ass. Would she always think of him when she held her baby? He hoped not, because he was determined to keep both her and the baby.
“I said something wrong.” Ryder caressed her cheek. “I’m sorry.”
“It’s not you. The night the baby was conceived isn’t one of my better memories. I’m glad that Martin won’t be part of his or her life. He would have been a shitty father, but I was too scared to leave. I had nowhere to go, and I guess, I figured the apartment with him was better than a shelter somewhere.”
“Did he hurt you?” Ryder asked with a bit of growl in his voice.
“It doesn’t matter. It’s over. Can we just focus on the future, please? I know I can’t stay here forever, but do you think it would be okay if I rested for a few days and tried to figure out my next move?”
“Saxen, you can stay as long as you like. Don’t feel like you need to rush off. I didn’t want to tell you, but the dead body in your apartment was on the news last night. They’re looking for Martin, as a suspect, and are questioning your whereabouts, as a missing person.”
Her eyes widened. “Then I need to go to the police.”
“No. Not until we know it’s safe. I don’t know anyone at the Crosgove Corners Police Department and I don’t trust them not to have a leak somewhere. Your safety is too important to do anything just yet.”
She snuggled into him again and Ryder was content to hold her for a while. When her stomach rumbled, he kissed the top of her head and eased off the bed. He felt her gaze on him as he pulled a T-shirt over his head and headed out of the bedroom, but she remained comfy in the bed. As a doctor, he knew plenty about nutrition for pregnant women, and he was determined she would have a well-balanced meal. He made whole wheat pancakes, with sugar cane maple syrup that he got from a bear shifter in town, and some eggs with turkey bacon. As an afterthought, he fixed a batch of oatmeal and tossed some blueberries on top.
Ryder placed everything on a tray, along with a cup of milk, and carried it up to the bedroom. Saxen had fallen asleep again and he set the tray down before waking her. He gently rubbed her arm until she blinked up at him sleepily. Her nose twitched and her eyes widened when she saw the tray filled with food.
“You made me breakfast in bed?” she asked.
“I wasn’t sure if you were ready to get up yet, but you need to eat.”
He settled the tray over her legs and handed the silverware to her.
“No one has ever done something so nice for me before. Thank you.”
He sat on the edge of the bed while she daintily ate her food. She asked why he wasn’t eating and he assured her that he’d nibbled plenty while he was cooking. Truthfully, there was another plate downstairs waiting on him. When she was finished, he picked up the tray and headed back downstairs. He’d barely reached the bedroom door before she was covered up and dozing again. After everything she’d been through, he wouldn’t be surprised if she slept most of the day. At least he knew she was safe in his bedroom.
Ryder knew he should touch base with his alpha. Harboring a missing person in his home, one connected to a murder, could make his life messy. The last thing he needed to do was piss off Zach. The older wolf may have settled down a bit since finding his mate, but that didn’t mean everyone could just do whatever the hell they wanted. He picked up his cell phone and made the call, almost hoping it would go to voicemail.
“What’s up, Ryder?” Zach asked as he answered. “I’m assuming you have a good reason for calling so damn early.”
“I found my mate, or rather, she found me.”
“Well, that’s some excellent news, and definitely worthy of an early phone call.”
Ryder cleared his throat. “That’s not why I’m calling. She’s human, and I haven’t told her yet that she’s mine, but she’s in some trouble. Her ex is wanted for murder, and there’s a chance the bastard knows she was there when it happened.”
“Are the police looking for her?”
“As a missing person, but she’s not a suspect.”
It sounded like the alpha was pacing as the line went quiet.
“Don’t tell anyone else you have her there. Do you have all the supplies you need?”
“I sent a message to Mason last night asking him to pick
“She’s pregnant?” Zach asked.
“Yeah. It belongs to the asshole, but I’m okay with that. As far as I’m concerned, that baby will be mine, and no one had better fuck with him or her. I just have to convince Saxen that we belong together. She’s rattled, and rightly so. I don’t want to dump more on her right now, so I’ll just have to keep my beast in check.”
Zach snorted. “Easier said than done, my friend. Trust me.”
“I put her in bed with me last night. My wolf didn’t want her to be too far away, and she seemed okay with it when she woke up this morning. She’s still up there sleeping.”
“She’s okay though?” Zach asked.
“As far as I can tell. I’d like to get her into my office in town and do an ultrasound to check on the baby. She said she’s four months along, but she doesn’t seem to know the sex. I wondered if maybe she hadn’t had any prenatal care to date. For now, I know it’s better to keep her here at the house, and out of sight. Doesn’t stop my beast from wanting to take care of her and the baby though, in every way we can.”
“Keep me posted. If there’s anything you need, you know you have our support. I’ll call Mason and tell him to keep quiet about the prenatal vitamins. If anyone can keep a secret in the pack, it’s him. Don’t mention your mate to anyone, other than Mason or me, until we know she’s safe.”
“You’ve got it, alpha. I don’t want to leave her alone, so anytime we need supplies, I’ll have to have Mason bring them here. I guess if anyone asks, just tell them I’m sick and to keep away for now. I don’t want the pack seeking me out for medical attention until I know that Saxen is in the clear.”
“Understood,” Zach said. “I’ll put the word out. They can either go to the human doctor or they can choose to wait.”
“Thanks. If you see anything on the news about the murder in Crosgove Corners, or anything on Saxen Blake, please let me know. I don’t want to watch the news, when she’s with me, in case it upsets her.”
“I’ll take care of it.”
Ryder disconnected the call, ate his breakfast, and then cleaned the dishes. When the kitchen was put back to rights, he went to check on Saxen. She was curled up in the middle of the bed, hugging his pillow. Once he was satisfied that she was alright, he went downstairs to kill some time. His house was already neat and tidy, but he dusted and swept the hardwood floors. He mopped the kitchen and bathroom before checking on Saxen once more and then settling on the sofa to watch a movie.
Since she wasn’t around, he tuned into the morning news and saw that Martin was still evading the police. It seemed like a longshot but he called his friend, Paul, to see if he’d heard anything. Not that he wanted to tip Paul off that he knew where Saxen was, but he needed to know more.
The phone rang three times before Paul answered.
“Miss me already?” his friend joked.
“Smartass. I was just watching the news and saw your complex was the main story.”
Paul sighed. “Yeah, some dumbass that lives upstairs killed a man. They’re saying it’s a drug deal gone bad, or some shit like that. I honestly never talked to the guy so I don’t know much about it. The cops were swarming all over this place last night.”
“How did they know someone died?”
“I guess someone heard a gunshot and called it in. The police rolled in about ten minutes after you left. They found a dead body in the apartment, and they said it looked like the asshole’s girlfriend had been there and is now missing. They’re wondering if he killed her too, or maybe took her hostage.”
Not good. Not good at all.
“No one has seen the guy who’s responsible?” Ryder asked.
“Not so far, but I’m watching for him. Jackass comes to my apartment and I’m going to put a bullet in his brain. Maybe it’s time to move. These were nice apartments when I first moved in, but more and more of the bad element are moving in. Now we’re having drug related murders? I don’t need this shit.”
“Why do you stay?” Ryder asked softly. He knew it couldn’t be easy living in that apartment, now that Paul’s wife was gone. They’d shared the apartment together for the last few years.
“I guess it was just hard to let go, but maybe I’m ready now. I know she wouldn’t want me to stay here if it’s not safe. Maybe I’ll pack up and head your way.”
“You’re always welcome here.”
“If I hear anything on the murder, I’ll let you know,” Paul said.
“Thanks. Call me anytime you need to talk. You know I’m always here for you.”
“Appreciate it, man.”
They hung up and Ryder stared at the TV. The fact Martin was evading the police didn’t bode well for Saxen. The good news was that no one knew she was in Grover Falls. Unless someone witnessed her sneaking into the back of his truck, she should be safe. And chances were good, that if they’d seen anything, they would have already told the police. There were too many towns she could have escaped to from Crosgove Corners for Martin to be much of a threat right now. It didn’t mean Ryder was going to relax his guard though.
After letting Saxen sleep another hour, he went to check on her again. He knew the stress and shock of seeing a man being killed could make her sleep quite a bit, especially since she was pregnant, but he’d prefer to see her up and moving around. He’d give her until lunch, and then he’d wake her and make sure she ate something. In the meantime, he wondered what was taking Mason so long to bring his delivery.
He sent a text to the other wolf, and when he didn’t get a reply, he began to worry. It wasn’t like Mason to flake out on something, and certainly wasn’t like him to not respond to a text. After another half hour of no communication from the young wolf, Ryder called Zach to let him know something might be up. When he hung up, he was still bothered, but knew the alpha would look into things.
He heard his mate’s sleepy voice and moved to the foot of the stairs. “I’m down here.”
She slowly made her way down the stairs and rubbed the sleep from her eyes. He wanted to pull her into his arms and kiss her, but it was too soon. Instead, he took her by the hand and led her into the kitchen, where he pulled out a chair for her.
“It’s close to lunch. Any requests? I can make hamburgers, pasta, meatloaf…I think I may have some chicken breasts.”
“A sandwich would be fine.”
He frowned. “You’re pregnant and need to eat better than that.”
She smiled a little. “Is the meatloaf the kind you put in the microwave?”
He hoped he didn’t look as horrified as he felt. “No, it’s the kind I make from scratch.”
“While that sounds delicious, it’s too much trouble for lunch. A hamburger would be fine. Do you have fries?”
“We can have sweet potato fries.”
“I’ve never tried those, but I love sweet potatoes.”
He nodded and started pulling out everything he’d need. They talked as he mixed the ground beef with Worcestershire sauce, diced onions, a little minced garlic, a bit of teriyaki sauce, and then added an egg to help hold the meat together while it cooked. He set the mixture aside while he cut the sweet potatoes into wedges. He tossed them with a mixture of olive oil, sea salt, and pepper, then spread them on a baking sheet. While the hamburger patties and wedges cooked, he mixed a dipping sauce for the fries with Greek yogurt, a hint of lime juice and peppers. It would be a little warm to the taste, but not hot.
When everything was finished, he noticed that Saxen was giving him a strange look. “What?” he asked.
“Do you always cook everything from scratch?”
He looked at the food and back at her. “Is there something wrong with it?”
“No, I’m sure it’s the best thing I’ve ever had. It just seems like a lot of work. I’m afraid I’m not much of a domestic goddess. My mom never tau
He winced. “Not good for the baby.”
“Then I guess you’ll have to keep feeding us.”
Now that was something he’d gladly do. For the rest of their lives, if she’d let him.
Several days passed and Saxen grew more and more comfortable with Ryder. His friend, Mason, had finally shown up with their supplies and had promised not to breathe a word about Saxen’s whereabouts. He’d seemed nice, and close to her age, but he wasn’t anywhere near as yummy looking as Ryder. The more time she spent with the wolf, the more she became aware of him as a man. Sleeping in his arms every night made her yearn for something more from him.
Despite the fact she enjoyed hanging out with Ryder, she was growing restless being stuck in the house. She wanted to explore the town, see his office, and meet the rest of his pack. She hated that Martin was still ruining her life, even after she’d escaped him. Why was is taking the police so long to capture him? Had he left the area? Maybe even the country? Not knowing was going to drive her crazy.
“You said you have friends in the police department here,” she said. “Why can’t we go into town? If they aren’t going to blab about me being here, what’s the harm?”
“I don’t want to chance Martin being able to find you.”
“Ryder, if anyone had seen me hiding in your truck, don’t you think they would have turned that information over to the Crosgove Corners police by now? Martin doesn’t have any idea where I am, no one does. I’m safe. But staying in this house another day is going to drive me crazy. I need fresh air and a change of scenery.”
He studied her a moment. “Do you like dancing?”
“I don’t do it very well, but I like listening to the music.”
“I’ll have Zach make sure the Blue Coyote is occupied by pack only tonight. No one in my pack will betray you, and it will give you a chance to get out of the house for a little while. Might take him a few hours to put it together though.”
by Jessica Coulter Smith / Romance / Young Adult / Science Fiction have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes