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Moonlight savior, p.6

Moonlight Savior, page 6

 

Moonlight Savior
 


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  Kiera opened the door before he even reached the top step. “It’s about time you two showed up.”

  “It’s good to see you too Kiera.”

  Ramey ushered Harper into the house and they followed Kiera into the kitchen. Gabriel sat at the table with a cup of coffee in front of him. He glanced up at the couple, but didn’t say anything. He merely inclined his head to the two empty chairs across from him.

  They sat and waited to see what Gabriel would say or do.

  The alpha took a sip of his coffee and eyed the two of them. He addressed Harper first.

  “I hear you’ve been in my town for a few weeks now.”

  She nodded. “I decided to leave the pack in California and came here to be with my brother.”

  “Since you’ve lived with a werewolf pack your whole life, I’m sure you know that you’re supposed to check in with the alpha of the territory when you arrive.”

  “Yes, I’m aware.”

  “Then why didn’t you?” he asked.

  “Because of the number of wolves you have compared to the number of females, I was scared you would force me to be someone’s mate before I had a chance to get to know anyone. I was already facing something similar back home,” she answered. “I was scared.”

  “And yet you paired yourself with the first male you met.”

  She blushed and looked up at Ramsey before returning her gaze to the alpha. “He’s different. I’m not with him just to be with someone, if that’s what you mean. I’m with him because I want to be.”

  Gabriel turned his gaze toward Ramsey. “And you. Where do I even begin? First you take off without a word as to where you’re going, not to mention that you missed work without calling in. Then to make matters worse, I find out that you’re living with someone and only Hunter knows about it. Did it not occur to you that I might plan to mate you with Luna? She was living on your property after all.”

  “I let her live there as a courtesy,” Ramsey replied. “I never held any feelings toward her other than friendship. The things that happened in Mississippi happened as part of the job and nothing else. I don’t think of her that way.”

  “You know why you need to find a mate. I won’t spell it out for you. I have my concerns and I believe they are justified. I understand your relationship with Harper is new, but I’m going to give you a month to make a decision.”

  “A decision?” Ramsey asked.

  “Either mate with Harper, or find someone else. But by the end of the month, I want you mated to someone. Is that clear?”

  “A month isn’t a long time.”

  “It’s all you’ve got.”

  “And at the end of the month? What happens if I don’t have a mate?” Ramsey asked.

  “As much as it pains me to say it, I’ll have to ask you to leave the pack. I can’t afford for you to wreck what Michael and Chloe have together.”

  “I know you won’t believe me, but Chloe is in my past. I won’t bother her.”

  “She wasn’t in your past when you came back from Mississippi and that hasn’t been long ago. So what changed? Why should I believe that things are different suddenly?”

  Ramsey looked down at Harper and smiled before looking at the alpha again. “Harper came into my life. Being with her has shown me that while I could have had a good life with Chloe, she wasn’t destined to be my mate like I had thought.”

  Gabriel studied him a moment. “Regardless, I want you mated to someone by the end of the month. If you and Harper aren’t mated to one another, as I said, you’ll need to find someone else. I know you’re living together so that should be plenty of time to make a decision.”

  “You know, things aren’t as simple for some of us as they were for you and Kiera. You’re the alpha. You knew she was your mate. Plus, you didn’t have a choice but to marry her. The rest of us have to do things the hard way.”

  “I have to do what’s right for the pack. You have to keep in mind, if Harper isn’t your mate, then she belongs with someone else. It isn’t fair for you to monopolize her if things aren’t meant to be.”

  Ramsey nodded, left with no other choice but to accept the alpha’s terms. Gabriel had always been fair with him. He’d screwed up with Chloe, and had screwed up even more by defying Gabriel’s orders right after her wedding to Michael. Now he was still paying the price. He wasn’t sure if he would ever be let off the hook from his transgression. He didn’t know what he had to do to get back in Gabriel’s good graces. If finding a mate was what it took, then that’s what he would do. He had four weeks to figure out of Harper was the right woman for him. And if she wasn’t… if she wasn’t, he didn’t know what he would do. It wasn’t likely that he would find anyone in town that would marry him on such short notice, especially if he told her he was a werewolf.

  Ramsey watched Gabriel stand up and leave the table. He knew he was dismissed, but he had a hard time getting up to leave. He needed to speak with Kiera first. They’d been friends since he’d first been called to aid the pack, and he hoped they still were. He knew she had gotten friendly with Luna and he hoped she wasn’t behind Gabriel’s attempt to mate him with the little were-rabbit.

  When Kiera walked into the room, she smiled at them. “I take it your meeting with Gabriel went well?”

  He shrugged. “It’s gone better.”

  Her gaze switched to Harper. “You must be Harper. I have to say I was surprised to hear you were living with Ramsey. Actually, I was surprised to hear about you at all. My husband wasn’t too happy with you the other day.”

  Harper frowned. “He isn’t too pleased with me now, either. But at least I got the initial meeting out of the way.”

  Ramsey sighed, detecting a hint of frost in Kiera’s tone despite her smile. “Kiera, can’t we all be friends? You know you mean a lot to me, and I know I’ve screwed up – again. But I would hate to lose your friendship over it.”

  “Why would you think you’d lost my friendship?”

  “You’re stiff and formal at the moment. What am I supposed to think? You’re acting very un-Kiera-like.”

  “I had thought you would be mated to Luna. I’ve come to consider her my friend.”

  “No one said you can’t be friends with her. Just don’t try to force her on me. I already told Gabriel, I don’t think of her that way and I never will. Pushing her on me won’t end well.”

  Kiera shrugged. “Gabriel has decided that he’s going to mate her to someone else. Maybe he’ll mate her to Lucas. They might do well together.”

  “Why doesn’t he just let her find her own mate? I’m sure the guys would love the chance to fight for her. Let her date a few of them and figure out who she wants. She should have a choice in the matter.”

  Kiera speared him with a look. “She had a choice. She chose you.”

  “I’m not available.”

  Harper cleared her throat. “Maybe I should wait outside, or in the Hummer.”

  Ramsey reached for her hand. “No, you’re fine where you are. I had wanted you to meet Kiera. I just thought she’d be friendlier.”

  Kiera pursed her lips, but didn’t say anything. She watched as he and Harper walked out of the room, letting them leave without another word. It was unlike her and Ramsey was worried. If he’d lost Kiera, what else had changed while he was gone?

  At work the next day, the guys gave him grief over his new relationship with Harper. Apparently, everyone had heard about their living arrangements, and knew about his impromptu trip to the lake. Once the teasing had died down to a minimum, they got to work.

  Ramsey was under an Impala when he scented her. Glancing to his right, he saw her walk up to him and stop. He knew he should acknowledge her, but part of him just hoped she’d go away. When they didn’t look likely, he slid out from under the car and rose to his feet, wiping his hands off on a rag.

  “What do you want, Luna?”

  “I thought we could talk.”

  He gestured toward the car. “I’m working. Now isn
t a good time.”

  “Please?”

  With a sigh, he motioned for her to head outside and followed her. When they were a safe distance away from the garage so no one would hear them, he stopped.

  “There’s nothing to talk about, Luna.”

  She bit her lip and looked up at him with her large, expressive eyes. “What did I do wrong?”

  “Nothing. You didn’t do anything wrong. You knew when we came here that I was going to move on with my life. I told you before that what happened in Mississippi was part of a job for me. We got to be friends, but that’s it.”

  “You know I love you.”

  “I know, and I’m sorry, but I don’t feel the same way about you. I can’t.”

  “Why can’t you just give me a chance? I know I could make you happy!”

  “Luna, I’m seeing someone. Hell, I’m living with someone! And don’t act like you didn’t know. You’re living with Kiera so I’m sure she told you, or that you heard it from Gabriel. Either way, I’m happy just the way I am.”

  “I heard about the ultimatum. I know you have to mate with someone or leave.”

  He rubbed the back of his neck. “Luna, no matter what happens, I won’t mate with you. I’m sorry, but that’s just the way it is.”

  She looked stricken and Ramsey felt horrible for hurting her, but she needed to hear the truth. She couldn’t hold on to the belief that things would ever progress beyond friendship with them. Even if it meant leaving the pack, he wouldn’t claim her as his mate. He couldn’t subject either of them to that. She’d be stuck with a man who could never love her and he’d the stuck with a woman he would one day come to hate.

  She gave a quick nod and scurried back across the street like a whipped puppy. He hated that he’d been the one to cause her pain, but it couldn’t be helped. The sooner she accepted the way things were between them the better off they’d both be. She couldn’t hold out hope that things would change, because they never would.

  Getting back to work, he tried to focus on his work and keep his mind off Luna and his problems, but it wasn’t easy. He was on a strict schedule and he didn’t know what to do about it. How in the hell was he supposed to find a mate in a month? If it was Harper, great! But how could he be sure? He didn’t want her stuck with him forever if they weren’t truly meant to be together. He’d never do that to her. Even though he’d only known her a short time, he cared about her too much for that.

  When he’d left her this morning, he’d wanted nothing more than to take her in his arms and carry her back to bed. But he knew a relationship had to be based on more than just great sex. They didn’t know each other well enough to claim a lasting bond yet, and he worried that it would be the same when his month was up. They talked a lot so he was learning a lot about her, and she about him, but that wasn’t enough. There was more to getting to know someone than learning about their past, things that only time could show him.

  He knew that she slept curled up on her right side with one hand tucked under her cheek, that she preferred orange juice to coffee, but would drink it if she needed a jolt in the morning. He knew that she smelled like cherry blossoms because of her shower gel and shampoo and that she didn’t like wearing perfume except for special occasions, and that she only wore make-up when she felt like it. And he knew that she was more of a night owl than a morning person. But that wasn’t enough to decide that she was his mate.

  He knew that Hunter was going to ask how things were going, but he didn’t know what he’d say. He thought things were going well, but with Gabriel’s ultimatum, he was nervous. He didn’t want to leave the pack, but he wanted to give Harper the full month to see if they would suit. And yet, if he did that and it didn’t work out, then he would be left with no choice other than to leave. So how did he answer the question: How are things going with you and Harper?

  Ramsey knew the best thing to do would be to take things day by day, but he worried that the days would blur together and before long his time would run out. And yet, he didn’t know what else to do. He hadn’t discussed his concerns with Harper because he didn’t want to worry her. One of them stressed out was enough in the relationship. But she had to know something was bothering him, he’d seen it in her eyes when she’d looked at him this morning. She hadn’t pressed him though and for that he was grateful.

  He had thought to go home for lunch, but now he wasn’t so sure. He had to think and he knew he’d do that better if he were alone. Then again, being alone with his thoughts probably wasn’t good for him either. He wasn’t sure there was a way to figure out the situation, and he’d probably just make himself sick thinking it to death.

  When lunchtime came, Hunter approached him.

  “Want to grab a bite to eat?” Hunter asked.

  Ramsey shrugged. “Sure.”

  They both washed up before leaving and went to the nearest diner. After their orders were placed, Hunter grinned at him.

  “What?” Ramsey asked.

  “I talked to Harper earlier.”

  “And?”

  “She seems happy. I take it you had a good time at the lake?”

  Ramsey shook his head. “You know, this isn’t typically something a guy discusses with his girlfriend’s brother.”

  “Yeah well, we’re not your typical brother and sister. We share everything with each other. Well, mostly everything.”

  “Then you already know how the trip went.”

  “No, I know how she thinks it went. I want to know how you feel about it.”

  Ramsey shrugged. “I thought things were going great, until we got back. Gabriel gave me an ultimatum that I can’t get off my mind. If I’m not mated to someone within a month’s time, then I’m gone. It isn’t fair to Harper.”

  “Why do you say that?” Hunter asked.

  “Because it isn’t enough time to get to know someone. What if we don’t know each other well enough to take that step by then? She’ll have wasted a month of her life with me, and I’ll be without a mate and have to leave the pack.”

  “From what I gathered from her this morning, I don’t think you’ll have a problem convincing her to be your mate. I haven’t heard her that happy before.”

  “I don’t want to convince her to be my mate. I want her to want to be with me. There’s a difference,” Ramsey pointed out. “Would you want to spend the rest of your life with someone you had to convince to be with you?”

  “No, I guess not. Still, I think you should consider taking her as your mate. I don’t think she’d tell you no.”

  “I have some time to figure it out. And who knows, she may decide she doesn’t want to stay with me during that time. She may come to find out that she doesn’t have feelings for me at all and want to be free to find someone else.”

  “There’s always Luna,” Hunter said.

  Ramsey scowled at him. “No, there isn’t. She isn’t even an option. I’d rather be forced to leave than spend the rest of my life with her. She’s nice, don’t get me wrong, but she isn’t someone I want to be mated to. But something tells me she isn’t going to go away. She thinks she’s in love with me.”

  “I thought Gabriel was going to mate her to someone else?”

  “That’s what I heard, but if he doesn’t move quickly then I think she could cause trouble for me. It’s just a feeling I have. I could be wrong. She may fall in line with his plans without a single complaint.”

  “For your sake, I hope so.”

  They finished their lunch and got back to work. After having talked to Hunter, Ramsey felt a little better, but he was still concerned for his future. Was Hunter right? Could Harper be willing to be his mate? It was too soon to ask her, but he was glad to hear that she might be willing. It was enough to make him smile and the rest of his day passed quickly.

  Chapter Eight

  At home, Ramsey walked in to a house that smelled like meatloaf. It had been a while since someone had cooked a meal for him in his home and it briefly brought Chloe to mind
. But instead of the pain he usually felt with her memories, he only felt the pleasant warmth of a happy remembrance. With a grin, he walked into the kitchen and watched Harper as she cooked. It took her a moment to realize he was there.

  “You’re home sooner than I thought,” she said with a smile.

 
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