Little red and ryder wol.., p.5
Little Red & Ryder Wolfe (Iron Hills Pack Book 3), page 5
“No one is harming you, or our child, without going through me.” He placed a hand over her belly. “I told you I was claiming you both, and I will fight for our family. Never doubt that.”
She nodded. “If you think we’re safer at Weston’s, I’ll go, as long as you’re with me. But if anything happened to Maggie or Abril, I would never forgive myself.”
He caressed her jaw. “You want to stay here, don’t you?”
“It’s my home. Our home. I know we’re isolated out here, but Zach said wolves would patrol the area, and I have you here to protect me. If we run away, and hide in someone else’s home, then Martin wins.”
“Ma’am, there’s safety in numbers,” the officer said. “I understand you want to stay in your home, but shouldn’t you do what’s best for your baby? If Martin gets ahold of you, I doubt he’s going to let you live.”
Ryder growled at the officer, who promptly shut up.
Zach placed a hand on Saxen’s shoulder. “If you want to stay in your home, I will make sure the area is as safe as I can make it. There will be no less than five wolves surrounding the house and barn at any given time.”
“Are you armed, Dr. Wolfe?” the officer asked.
Ryder flashed a fang. “I don’t need a weapon; I am one.”
“Well, I’ve done all I can here,” the officer said. “I think you’re making a mistake staying in your home. I hope for your sake, you don’t lose your mate because the two of you are being stubborn.”
The officer walked out and Ryder heard the door shut a moment later. Zach folded his arms across his chest and smiled a little.
“What’s so amusing?” Ryder asked.
“You. All settled and everything. For a while, I thought your work was going to be your life, and you’d never have a mate, but I’m glad you found Saxen.”
“I know you think I’m making a mistake,” Ryder said, “but if she’s more comfortable here, then here is where we’ll stay. I appreciate the offer to stay at Weston’s, and I’ll call him later to tell him so. I’d appreciate it, if whoever did Weston’s security would come out today to install an alarm, and anything else he thinks we need.”
“That would be Wyn. Since he’s pack, I’m sure he’ll shuffle his schedule to fit you in today. I’ll tell him it’s a priority.”
“Tell him I’ll make something special for lunch, if he can come out and get started this morning. The sooner the better. Hell, next time we’re at the Blue Coyote, I’ll buy him a pitcher of beer.” Ryder hugged Saxen tight. “I want her safe, Zach.”
“I’ll call him now, on my way home. Lock up behind me. Don’t be alarmed if you hear or see anyone on your property. The first shift should be arriving any moment, if they aren’t already here.”
“When this is over, I’ll host a barbeque to thank everyone. We’ll grill hamburgers and I’ll fry some chicken.”
Zach nodded. “They’ll appreciate it, but we’re family, and family always sticks together. You two stay safe. I’ll see myself out.”
Ryder kissed the top of Saxen’s head, then went to lock up behind Zach. It had been one hell of a morning, and it was only going to get worse. Part of him wished that Martin would show his face, just to get the inevitable fight out of the way. Unless he was picked up before he made it to Ryder’s, it was only a matter of time before the killer arrived on his doorstep.
Saxen’s stomach growled and Ryder grinned. Now that was something he could take care of. He took her by the hand and led her into the kitchen. Maybe it was selfish of him, but he liked having her around when he was cooking. It made the room feel cozy and homey. It had been so long since he’d cooked for someone, other than himself, that he found he was rather enjoying it.
“Anything in particular you want for breakfast?” he asked as he pulled out a chair for her at the kitchen table.
“Anything but fruit.”
“How about my famous skillet breakfast?” he asked.
“Everything you cook is amazing, so I’m sure I’ll love it.” She traced the grains in the wooden table. “Did your mom teach you to cook?”
He nodded. “She taught me the basics, and then I broke my leg when I was a teen and ended up watching a bunch of cooking shows on daytime TV. Some of the recipes stuck in my head and I decided to try them when I was able to get up and walk around again.”
“Isn’t it uncommon for a wolf to break a bone?” she asked.
“It happens, especially to the younger ones, but we heal a lot faster. Two weeks and I was back to running and jumping.”
“Where’s your mom now? Will I get to meet her?”
Ryder grew quiet as he pulled ingredients from the fridge and freezer.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to say something wrong,” she said.
Ryder set everything down and turned to face her. “My parents were killed when I was away at college. They went for a full moon run and ventured onto someone’s land. The farmer didn’t realize they weren’t regular wolves and shot them. He didn’t realize his mistake until they shifted back, but the shots had been fatal.”
“Oh, Ryder. I’m so sorry!”
“My sister was living with them when it happened. She’d just turned eighteen, and by the time I got home, she was long gone. Every now and then, she’ll call or send a postcard, but she hasn’t been home since and never stays in one place for long. I tried tracking her a few times, but by the time I reached the location of her last postcard, she’d already moved on.”
“So you’re alone.”
“No, sweetheart. Not anymore. Now I have a beautiful mate and a baby on the way.”
She smiled warmly.
“Now, let me whip up something to feed you. That baby needs nourishment so it can keep growing.”
She rubbed her belly. “I don’t know exactly how far along I am, but I’m guessing about four months. When can we find out if we’re having a boy or a girl?”
“About four and a half to five months. As soon as this Martin issue is behind us, I’ll take you to my office in town and we’ll figure out how far along you are, and see if we can tell the sex of the baby. I’ll write you a prescription for prenatal vitamins then too. The over the counter ones are okay, but the prescription ones are stronger.”
“I guess it’s going to be handy having a doctor in the family.” She smiled. “I’ve only been to one once before, at the free clinic. I was about ten and started running a really high fever at school. They sent me home and my mom sent me back to school the next day. They called her to pick me up and she told them she couldn’t get off work, so they sent me to the free clinic in a cab. She was so furious because she had to leave work anyway.”
Ryder frowned. “She doesn’t sound like she was much of a mother.”
“She did the best she could. It was just the two of us, and I sometimes thought she would have preferred it if I just didn’t exist. Looking back now, as an adult, I can see that she was trying to provide me with a safe and stable home, and it meant working long hours. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to be bothered with me, when she took off that day, it was that she was worried she’d lose her job.”
Ryder nodded and added the hashbrowns to the skillet, sprinkling them with shredded cheese. He threw in some diced onion and chives. Then he pulled out the bacon and cut it into small pieces before adding it to the skillet as well. He moved the hash browns around until he had created a space for four eggs, then he cracked the eggs and added them too. After adding a few dashes of seasoning, Ryder put the lid on the skillet and set the timer for ten minutes.
“I don’t know what you’re making, but it smells really good.” Saxen smiled. “You’re going to make me fat if you keep feeding me so well.”
“Nothing wrong with a little weight on a woman. Besides, you’re eating for two.”
He put the leftover ingredients in the fridge then wiped down the counters while he waited for the timer to go off. When it buzzed, he scooped out a portion for Saxen and slid it onto a plat
Saxen’s eyes went wide at the first bite. “This is amazing.”
“I know you said your mom never taught you to cook. If you ever want to learn, I’ll be happy to teach you. Not that I expect you to suddenly start making our meals. I actually love being in the kitchen, so if you never pick up a spatula that will be fine by me.”
“I don’t know about cooking, but I’d like to learn how to bake. My friends at school were always bringing in treats their moms had made. I want to be able to do that for our kids. Send them homemade cookies or rice crispy treats. I’ve heard there’s something called a no-bake cookie. Maybe I could start with that.”
Ryder nodded. “We can look up some recipes online, if you want. You could even try something today, if I have the right ingredients.”
Her eyes lit up. “Really?”
“The day is yours. Just tell me what you want to do and we’ll do it. Providing we don’t leave the house and our security detail outside.”
Ryder’s phone rang and he pulled it out of his pocket. Wyn’s name flashed on the screen.
“Zach tells me that you need a state of the art security system, and you pretty much needed it yesterday. As it happens, I think I have everything I need to set you up with an alarm, and video surveillance, if you want to go that far.”
“Whatever you can provide, I’ll take. My mate’s ex-boyfriend is a killer who is at large and heading this way. I want to do whatever I can to keep her safe.”
“Just let me finish loading my work van and I’ll head your way.”
Ryder disconnected the call and smiled at Saxen. “That was Wyn and he’s on his way to set up the alarm system. After he gets here and gets to work, we can pull out my laptop and look for some recipes. I keep a pretty well-stocked kitchen, but I don’t do much baking. Don’t be disappointed if we can’t make something right away. I’ll just have to ask Mason to bring more supplies over.”
“I love you,” she said softly.
Ryder froze in the middle of getting up with his plate. “What?”
Her cheeks flushed. “I said I love you. I know it’s too soon, and we barely know each other, despite everything, but…”
He leaned down and pressed his lips to hers. “I love you too.”
“I don’t know what’s going to happen with Martin, but if things get bad, I want you to know how much you mean to me. I’m so thankful that I climbed into the back of you truck, Ryder. You’re everything I’ve ever wanted and thought I’d never have.”
“Don’t do that.” He growled softly. “Don’t you dare tell me goodbye. You’re going to be fine. We’re going to be fine. The police, or the pack, will catch Martin, and we’ll be able to move on with our lives.”
She nodded, but he saw the sheen of tears in her eyes.
Ryder finished cleaning up the breakfast dishes and pulled out his laptop. He set it up at the kitchen table, right as the doorbell rang. He brushed a kiss on Saxen’s forehead then went to let in Wyn.
The other wolf smiled in greeting. “I’m here to take care of all your security needs, and you’ve got me for the entire day. I’ll work all night if I have to.”
“Thanks, Wyn. I’ll make sure lunch is something fantastic.”
Wyn rubbed his belly. “That’s almost payment enough. Tell you what, you throw in some of your fried chicken, that I can take with me when I leave, and I’ll only charge you for the equipment.”
Ryder raised an eyebrow. “That doesn’t seem like a fair deal if you’re planning to work all day.”
Wyn sobered. “Your mate is new to our pack and I hear she’s expecting. I want to do my part to make sure she’s protected. I wouldn’t even charge for the equipment, but some of it is rather pricey, and I know you can afford it. Does your mate know you’re loaded?”
“It hasn’t come up.”
“Better lay all that shit out on the table, before she finds out from someone else.”
Ryder nodded. “If you need anything, we’ll be in the kitchen. She wants to try baking for the first time and I promised we’d look at some recipes.”
“I won’t need anything until it’s time to choose your alarm code. I know my way around, so as long as you don’t mind me having free run of the house, I should be all set. I’ll make sure the doors stay locked, and any window I open will be closed and locked as well. I’ll protect your family at all costs.”
“Thank you, Wyn. Let me know if you need anything. If you get hungry, just say something. The kitchen is stocked with both meal type food and snack foods. Although, the snacks are more like nuts and fruits, not sweets.”
“You teach that mate of yours to bake and I will happily be a guinea pig for whatever she whips up.”
Ryder clapped him on the back and went back to Saxen. She’d already pulled up the internet and had Googled no-bake cookies. He smiled as he watched her. Her nose was scrunched as she read the recipe in front of her.
“What about this one?” she asked.
Ryder braced a hand on the table and read the recipe. “I think I have everything you need. Do you want to try them now or later?”
She yawned. “Could I take a nap first? I wasn’t ready to get up this morning.”
“It’s probably going to be noisy in the house while Wyn sets up the alarm system, but if you’re tired, you should rest. You can close the bedroom door, just don’t lock it. Wyn will eventually need in there to wire the windows, and I want to be able to reach you if you should need me.”
Saxen kissed him. “I’ll leave it unlocked. I’d ask you to lie down with me, but I know you should stay down here in case Wyn needs you.”
“Go get some sleep.”
Saxen kissed him again before heading upstairs. He heard her speak to Wyn for a moment and he smiled. The pack was very welcoming of his new mate. He may not have blood family around anymore, but the pack was even better. He missed his mom and dad, and there were days he missed his bratty little sister. But now he was going to have a family of his own. The thought of holding his son or daughter was thrilling, and he couldn’t wait to find out the sex of the baby.
He looked at the recipe for her cookies once more and made sure he had everything she would need, then he printed off a copy for her to use later. Before he shut down his laptop, he searched for a few more recipes for her, including a chocolate mousse pie and a chocolate raspberry trifle. He didn’t think he had the ingredients for those last two, but the cookies wouldn’t be a problem.
Ryder checked his email and social media, and with a huge smile on his face, he changed his relationship status to married. He wondered if Saxen had a page and he searched for her. Nothing came up, but he wasn’t surprised. If Martin was as controlling as Ryder assumed he’d been, then it was doubtful he’d allowed Saxen the freedom to join social media, or even use a computer unsupervised. Her life was going to change so much, and for the better.
Now he just had to keep her and the baby alive long enough for their fairytale ending to happen.
Saxen stretched and yawned as she slowly came awake. The clock on the bedside table said she’d been asleep for almost three hours. She was surprised Ryder hadn’t woken her. She rubbed the sleep from her eyes and made her way downstairs. The sound of drilling seemed to be farther away and she wondered if Wyn was working outside. Ryder was stretched out on the sofa flipping through channels on the TV, a bored look on his face. It made her wonder what he typically did on his days off. She’d noticed he didn’t seem to care too much for watching TV.
“Did I sleep too long?” she asked as she stepped into the room.
Ryder bolted upright and smiled at her. “No. Do you feel better?”
“I printed off the recipe for your cookies earlier and made sure
“Can we make them now?”
“Of course.” He stood and placed his hand on her back as they walked through the house.
Ryder showed her the recipe and let her gather the ingredients herself. She only had to ask where he stored the peanut butter because she hadn’t seen it on the top shelf of the pantry. When she had everything out, Ryder pulled out a large mixing bowl and laid out some wax paper sheets for her. Saxen read the instructions and started mixing her ingredients. She felt like an idiot when she had to ask him what the abbreviations were.
“Tsp. is teaspoon; tbsp. is tablespoon, and c stands for cup.”
She nodded and went back to mixing. Some of her ingredients had to be boiled on the stove and he showed her where to find the best pot for the job. She chewed on her nail as she watched the ingredients cook, worried that she would boil them too long, or not long enough. Ryder, for the most part, stood back and let her work, only offering assistance when she asked for it. When her pot was finished boiling, she poured the mix into her mixing bowl and stirred everything together.
“Now you scoop it out and set it on the wax paper,” Ryder said. “And then you just let it set. It doesn’t say for how long, but I’d guess maybe an hour. We can go watch a movie or something and check on them in a bit.”
She nodded and began scooping out the cookie mix. When she was finished, she washed her hands and cleaned up her mess. A wide smile graced her lips as she looked at her handiwork. It hadn’t been as difficult as she’d thought and she couldn’t wait to try something else. Maybe she’d let Ryder do all the cooking and she’d handle all the baking, or in this case, no-baking.
There were shouts outside and Ryder tensed. “Stay here.”
He bolted out the back door as Saxen’s heart raced in her chest. More shouting could be heard along with the howl of a wolf. Something told her that wolf was Ryder, and if he’d shifted, it could only mean one thing. Martin had found her. Saxen felt her knees go weak, but she knew she had to stay strong. She grabbed a knife out of the butcher block and gripped it tight.
by Jessica Coulter Smith / Romance / Young Adult / Science Fiction have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes