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Chosen Mate: A Short Love Story Part 2

Updated: Apr 4, 2022

Chapter 13 - Stephan

I’m pretty sure the only reason I could fall asleep at all was exhaustion. When I lost Lexia, I thought life was basically over. And if not over, I would be living a half-life. After all, what kind of happiness is out there when you don’t have your mate?

Amelia may not have been the mate fated for me, but she is my mate now and forever. Our souls are joined, and nothing will ever change that.

I am never letting anyone hurt her again. Be it physically or emotionally. I’ll throw down with anyone that tries.

She’s far too sweet, and I know she’s too delicate for the way people have treated her under that hard shell. The scars of her past run deep and may never go away.

All I can do is be here for her and love her. To show her all those people were wrong and heal what damage I can from her past.

I could certainly get used to falling asleep with her in my arms. I didn’t really hold her much at the hospital. Not unless you count to stop the pains her ex-mate caused. I like calling Ignazio her ex-mate. He didn’t deserve her.

I’d been sleeping contently when I heard Captain Darren’s voice in my head. It was a general all-pack communication. He probably didn’t consider excluding me when he sent this out to everyone.

‘All Bloodmoon warriors are to report for assignment. Today we take the fight to Ignazio. As always, non-lethal force is encouraged. We hope to end this today. Find Collin Kearney for assignments.’

I’m not usually the most coherent person in the morning. But I am wide awake now. This will be the last battle. That means this is the day Ignazio dies if our mating last night didn’t do the job.

In the dim morning light, I looked at Amelia sleeping soundly. Her long dirty blonde hair hid part of her face. All I could feel from her through the bond was happiness and tranquility. I’m glad she’s just as happy as I am to be mates.

I just hope she doesn’t get mad that I’m not going to wake her. Her sleep at the hospital was constantly interrupted, but that won’t happen now. I won’t cause her pain. And I need to know Ignazio is dead. I need to see his dead body with my own eyes.

If I don’t, I’m afraid I’ll feel that gnawing worry that he’ll come back and hurt her. Carefully I moved the hair from her face placing a soft kiss on her temple. “Sleep well, Amelia. I’ll be back soon.” I promised in a whisper.

I encouraged sleep and peace using the bond as I carefully dislodged myself from her and the blankets. I winced as the floor squeaked under my feet, but thankfully, when I looked to the bed, my mate was still sleeping.

As quietly as I could, I got dressed and grabbed the notepad. I wrote Amelia a quick note along with a map so she can find our room, the bathroom, lounge, and kitchen while I’m gone. I don’t want her to worry, and I don’t want her to sit around the room alone.


I hope you don’t get too angry that I didn’t wake you before leaving. I was called to fight. It’s supposed to be the last battle. So after this, the war will be over, and we can start our lives together without any fears.

I made a little map so you can find your way around. Please stay in the town hall until I’m back. I’ll be back as soon as I can.

Love you,


I was uncertain as I wrote the love you part but left it because I’m feeling it in my heart. I left the note and map near the bed for her to easily find. I took one last look at my sleeping mate with a sigh before leaving to report.

When I arrived, Collin raised an eyebrow at me. “Are you supposed to be here? Shouldn’t you be with Amelia?” he questioned, coming to stand in front of me.

I stood a little straighter. “I received the all Bloodmoon pack link from Captain Delaney. So I am reporting as requested. My mate will be safe here. And I... I need to know he’s dead.”

Collin frowned. I could feel him wanting to disapprove. To tell me to go back to my room. “Wouldn’t you want the same if someone hurt your mate?” I questioned.

Collin’s whole demeanor changed in a flash. No longer was he the easy-going Collin Kearney. There was a darkness in him that the very thought of his mate hurt unleashed. “I would rip the heart out of anyone who dared lay a finger on my mate.” He growled.

“And that’s why I have to be here, sir. He hurt her, and he needs to pay with his life. I need to know he’s gone. I need to be able to see it for myself.” I implored, hoping he would side with me on this.

“Very well. I want to keep an eye on you. So you’ll be in my group. Don’t do anything foolish. Your mate will probably have all our heads if you don’t return in one piece.” Collin conceded before going through the line giving out assignments.

I made sure to stay with those I’d be fighting with, especially when I saw Clement had been taken out of his statue time out. I sure the fuck am not speaking to him untill he apoplogizes for what he said and how he treated Amelia. I might hit him again if I hear his voice.

While we waited for the go-ahead, each group broke into small teams and started doing some light training to get ready. I was exchanging blows with one of the Incubi warriors when everyone’s heads turned, hearing the call to fight. The time was finally here.

My eyes widened when Alpha Alec proclaimed those in his group would be switching targets and heading to the northern outpost. Ignazio is still alive, and he’s at the northern outpost. Conway growled, eager to fight and ensure Ignazio doesn’t walk away from this fight alive.

As I shifted and started running with the rest of my unit, I felt something I hadn’t in years. ‘Conway? Are you? Are we?’ I questioned. I hadn’t felt this strong since before Lexia died.

‘We’re back. I can feel it, Stephen. The strength I lost with Lexia is back since we mated Amelia.’ Conway confirmed. I can’t believe it. We’re back to our full strength. Just one more reason to be grateful to our mate.

The urge to go rushing to kill Ignazio was strong. It was taking every ounce of control to contain not just Conway but myself when I spotted him. I may not know what the bastard looks like, but it was easy to know.

Of everyone at the camp, he had the most pungent odor of malice and envy. I slowly drew closer, coming up on Darren’s flank. I wanted to rush forward and pounce on Ignazio and rip his throat out.

‘Stephen, what are you doing here? You should be back at the town hall with Amelia.’ Darren questioned through the link.

‘My mate is safe in our room. She was asleep when I left. I left a note, so she knows where I am.’ I answered, unable to contain the rage in my tone. I need Ignazio to be dead.

‘You shouldn’t be here. Go back.’ Darren instructed.

‘No. I have to be here. I need to see Ignazio die. I need to know that bastard can never hurt Amelia again. I need that closure.’ My voice overlapped with Conways as we agreed.

‘Fine. But whatever you do, do not go after Ignazio yourself. I know you want to, but he is Alpha Alec’s to kill. If you and Conway can promise me that, I will allow you to stay.’ Darren offered.

I growled, eyes locked on Ignazio. It took a moment, but I finally nodded. ‘Agreed. Alpha Alec can have his head. I just need to see him dead.’

If the Madonie weren’t ready for Alpha André’s sudden appearance, taunting them, you could imagine how the rest of us felt. I think the only one that expected this was Captain Darren. He seemed to be on the same wavelength as the Alpha.

I surged forward when Darren called for the attack. Conway jumped at a tree, using it to launch himself sharply to the right, taking down a Madonie wolf. I didn’t look back, but I heard the tree crack at his strength. Fuck, it’s good to have Conway back to full power.

I made sure to stay in formation, always staying back-to-back with either a fellow Bloodmoon or an Incubi warrior to ensure our backs were protected. I couldn’t take out Ignazio personally, but I would make sure to bring down his followers.

I did my best to not kill, though. At the end of the day, these were my mate’s pack. I don’t want their deaths on my head. I don’t know if they were retreating, but Alpha Alec had gone chasing Ignazio down in the direction they were running.

With other warriors, I chased them down only to come to a stop to see why the Madonie had run. Alpha Alec stood victorious over the crumbled, lifeless body of Ignazio.

I was breathing heavily, letting the sight sink in. Ignazio’s dead. Ignazio is dead and can never hurt my Amelia again. I can’t wait to return and tell her. Hopefully, it will offset any anger from waking up alone.

Chapter 14 - Amelia

I can’t remember the last time I slept this well. Even before finding out Ignazio was my fated mate, I didn’t sleep well. I was too scared to sleep. Worried about Ivan and crying, missing my parents.

Yet as I open my eyes, I realize I slept the whole night, and given the sun’s position through the window, I may have slept in late. I frowned, sitting up rubbing my eyes, confused.

‘Where is Stephen?’ I questioned, feeling panic, anger, and disappointment to find he wasn’t in the room and his side of the bed was cold. I’ve seen enough movies and read books about guys ditching a girl after sex.

‘Stephen’s our mate, he marked us, and we marked him. So, stop with your wild ideas. He’s not going to leave us. He can’t. So don’t jump to such conclusions.’ Faith calmly suggested.

I sighed, nodding as I looked around. I sighed, seeing the notepad left by the bed. Instinctively pulling the blanket to keep my naked body covered, I reached for the paper thinking maybe Stephen had left a note.

I smiled as I scanned the note. At least Stephen left a note and obviously had a good reason to go. He did come here to fight in this war, and I’ve kept him from that for three days.

Though it worries me that he’s going to fight. What if Stephen gets hurt? What if he gets hurt by Ignazio? What if our mating didn’t kill Ignazio, and he’s out there?

‘Please stop with the what-ifs. Our mate is strong, and he won’t do anything foolish. Fighting Ignazio, if he’s still alive, is the responsibility of the Incubi Alpha. Stephen won’t be the one to face him.’ Faith once again managed to calm me.

I smiled, touching the words ‘love you’. I’m not sure if he means them or that’s just how he felt he should end a note to his mate. Either way, I’ll take it.

I chuckled a little as I saw the makeshift map with four locations marked. Our room was marked with a ‘you are here,’ and the other three locations had an x. It was very considerate of Stephen to ensure I could find my way around.

I sighed, putting the map and note down climbing out of bed. I quickly collected my clothes that had gotten thrown aside last night. Maybe with the war ending, I can go home. I can actually wear clothes that are mine.

Will my home still be standing? Or would Ignazio have destroyed the Furlan villa in the capital? Would he have destroyed our home at the coast where I’d been staying?

I hope not. Ignazio already took so much from me. I want to at least have the pictures and memories of my family. I want to be able to show Stephen my family’s home and pictures of my parents since he can’t meet them.

I started digging through Stephen’s bag, hoping to find some bath supplies. I can deal with smelling like his soap. I was relieved to find a plastic bag with bathroom supplies.

With the bag, map, notepad, and pen in hand, I quietly made my way in the direction of the bathroom. It was so quiet here it was creepy. But I suppose it makes sense that it would be. Everyone has reported in for the battle.

I hadn’t run into anyone after my shower and wondered if I should have stayed in the room. Perhaps it’s not safe to be wandering the halls like this? I finally ran into someone when I went to the kitchens, searching for something to eat.

Based on the scent, they were Incubi Omegas that work here. They froze, turning to look at me, eyes narrowing. Why are they looking at me like that? Then it made sense, my scent. I’m from Madonie, and they are at war with my pack.

I held a finger up, asking them silently to wait as I quickly wrote on the paper. Turning the page to them, one of the girls raised an eyebrow reading my message aloud.

“I am not an enemy. I’m mated to a Bloodmoon warrior.” She read the message skeptically. I sighed, moving my hair to show my mark. I’d gotten a look at it in the bathroom.

It was rather cute, like a combination of marks. I know my parents’ mark was just a wolf head outline, but the wolf head has a cherry blossom, unlike my parents. That must be from Stephen’s family.

The three she-wolves nodded, relaxing as they determined I wasn’t a threat. “Why are you using a piece of paper to talk?” One of them questioned as they returned to food prep.

I sighed, but I just opened my mouth, showing them why, rather than writing it down. “Oh, my Goddess! You poor dear! Sit, we’ll make you something to eat. What’s your name?” The older looking of the trio encouraged.

I nodded in gratitude sitting at a table in the kitchen. I wrote my name down, holding it up, so they knew what to call me. I left my last name off just to avoid more questions.

“Nice to meet you, Amelia. Here, you eat up. Our Alpha will end this war fast, so you’ll have your mate back soon.” The older she-wolf smiled, putting out dishes for me. I bowed my head in silent thanks.

After eating and leaving a note thanking them for the meal, I went back to Stephen’s room. I considered looking at the lounge he marked, but I didn’t want to run into more people and have to explain who I am and why I can’t speak.

It was really boring sitting in his room. I had found his cell phone, but beyond that, it was locked. I wasn’t going to do more than check the time with it.

His phone wallpaper was adorable. It was him with what I guess is his family.

They looked so happy having a picnic at a beach. Stephen looks like his father, but he has his mother’s cinnamon eyes. His little sister looks more like their mother but with their father’s green eyes. I’m eager to meet them. I hope they’ll like them.

I hadn’t realized how quickly the day had gone as soon I could hear the clamoring of people in the halls. Cautiously I poked my head out, seeing warriors returning. Stephen must be with them.

I can feel it, feel him nearby. So I let the string of the bond guide me through the hallways. My heart started beating faster as I smelled the aroma of cinnamon and knew it was him.

I pushed through the sea of people. It pays to be big. And there he was talking to another male. “Tanner, I’m happy for you, really, man. But I want to get to my mate.” Stephen sighed.

‘She’s right behind you.’ I called out through our link. I felt the spark of joy from him and saw it in his eyes as she turned and looked at me.

“Amelia.” His face lit up as he cupped my face. He’s just so adorable. I couldn’t help myself. I kissed him. He’s back, and he’s safe.

‘I’m sorry I left without waking you this morning.’ He apologized in the link, pulling back from the kiss rubbing his nose against mine sweetly.

‘It’s okay. I understand you had a job to do. And you did leave me that note. The map was beneficial too.’ I assured him.

A cough brought us apart, and I blushed, realizing his friend was still there. “Right. Um, Amelia, this is my packmate, Tanner Alston. He found his mate during the fight. She’s from Madonie too.” Stephen explained.

“Tanner, meet my mate Amelia Furlan.” He introduced me, slipping his arm around me. This is my first time being introduced in such a manner. I nodded my head in greeting.

“Good to meet you. If you’re from Madonie, you might know my mate, Zelma. I would have brought her with me, but she was injured. I should get to the hospital to check on her.” Tanner was so happy talking about Zelma.

I nodded, keeping my smile. I won’t burst Tanner’s bubble by telling him Zelma used to date my brother. Or Zelma was a two-faced bitch that would be sweet as sugar to me when Ivan was around but a cruel, hateful bitch when he wasn’t.

“It’ll have to wait.” Stephen frowned. I cocked my head, not sure what was happening.

“Captain Darren has requested everyone to report out front.” He explained, keeping me at his side as we went outside with the rest of his packmates.

There are probably many reasons that Darren would call everyone out. The war did end, so he would want to debrief or be sure everyone was safe.

I thought after the headcount we could go back inside, but Darren called Stephen and me to him. I was surprised to hear the Crone knew of my power. I barely knew what I could do. But if my gift can save my people, I’m in.

I wasn’t shocked to hear that Darren is the Incubi Alpha heir’s mate. The way the two behaved did not seem like just good friends. And I don’t know Darren well, but even I took a step back when he slammed that male into the wall for insulting his mate.

I had been worried about using a spray from some witch on my people, but if it could rid them of the curse that bitch placed on them, I was willing to try. To my relief, it worked.

As happy as I was that we could free my people of this curse, I was overjoyed when Darren told me I could see my brother as a reward.

I have missed Ivan so much. I hope he won’t be upset or disappointed that I’m mated to Stephen.

We made quick use of the spray on everyone I saw magic emanating from. I don’t think my pack has ever been so happy to see me or expressed their gratitude to me like this. It was a bit weird to have them thanking me with tears in their eyes.

But finally, it was time to see Ivan. I could feel Stephen tense next to me as we headed where Darren said we’d find my brother. I reached out, holding his hand to reassure him.

‘It’ll be okay. Ivan is just a big teddy bear, I promise.’ I smiled, pushing the door open.

My heart broke to see my brother sitting cross-legged on the floor with silver shackles on his ankles, wrists, and even around his neck. I knew I couldn’t use our link with all the silver he was bound with.

Ian’s head raised, his eyes softening as he looked at me. I saw a single tear drip down his scruffy cheek. I pulled from Stephen’s hand, rushing forward, reaching to try and touch him, but Ivan shook his head.

I frowned and looked back at Stephen. ‘Why wouldn’t he want me to touch him?’

‘Probably some security used on the cell. Ivan doesn’t want you to be hurt.’ Stephen explained.

“I’m glad you’re safe, Amelia. They told me what Ignazio did to you. What he is to you. I’m so sorry.” Ivan apologized before his eyes narrowed, looking at Stephen.

“Who is this outsider? The one they told me about?” Ivan basically growled.

I felt Stephen tense next to me and started to step back. I took his hand, stopping him. ‘Can you speak for me?’ I questioned through our link.

Stephen sighed but nodded. ‘Good. Repeat what I say, please.’ I sighed.

“I’m going to speak for her, only the words she tells me to say. Please do not get offended.” Stephen warned.

“This is my chosen mate, Stephen Walterson. And don’t you dare growl at him. He has shown me more kindness and love than anyone outside our family ever did.” It was strange to hear my words coming out of Stephen’s mouth, but he was true to his word to say only what I said.

Ivan blinked, taken back by what was being said.

“He was the one that held me as I cried, feeling like my body was ripping apart when Ignazio would be intimate with another. He is the one that freed me from that pain and has given me a future with a mate who will treat me with love and respect.”

I could tell it wasn’t just Ivan affected by my words. I admitted to things I hadn’t yet and made Stephen say them.

I pushed aside my hair to show my mark. “And as of last night, I am free of Ignazio and bound to this sweet and patient man at my side. And as of, I suppose a few hours ago, our pack was freed from Ignazio by Alpha Alec.”

I smiled at my brother. “I don’t know what the future will hold, but I am hopeful for it. I love you, big brother, and hope you will accept my choices and Stephen as family.”

Ivan sighed. “You made your choice, so I must accept it. I wish you all the best, Amie. You deserve happiness.” He assured me.

Chapter 15 - Stephen

We didn’t stay at Ivan’s cell much longer. He kept giving me this look that said he would rip my head off and use my skull as a coffee mug. It was more than a bit weird to be talking to him for Amelia.

I was more than a little relieved when Beta Alexander showed up. “Hey, you two. Visiting time is up.” He called out, gesturing for us to leave with him.

Amelia frowned, looking torn as she looked from me to her brother. I sighed and looked at Beta Alexander. I don’t think I have the clout to be asking favors, but if it makes my mate happy, I’ll owe the Beta heir.

“Beta Alexander. I will understand if you deny this request. But I want you to please hear me out. And perhaps listen as a brother rather than a Beta.” I prefaced.

I know he has two sisters, Zoe being older, but I’ve been told he has a little sister. So as a big brother, he has to know how this feels and maybe have some compassion.

“He’s her big brother… and soon we will be sent back to my pack half a world away. Will you let them say goodbye properly?” I gestured back to Amelia’s sad eyes as she gazed at her brother in chains.

Alexander closed his eyes, letting out a breath slowly. I’m not sure if this is a good or bad sign. Usually, it’s a frustrated gesture. So anyone’s guess.

“Fine. You get five minutes and know if Ivan does anything that makes me think he will try to escape….” Alexander warned.

“We understand, Beta Alexander. Thank you.” I smiled, bowing my head, feeling the happiness bubbling in my mate as she heard Alexander’s words.

Ivan raised an eyebrow as Alexander walked over to his cell.

“You heard me. I’m doing this because I have a little sister too. And if I was possibly never going to see her again, I’d want to say goodbye. No funny business.” Alexander warned as he not only entered a code but used his handprint to open the cell.

Amelia looked so happy, her eyes lighting up as Alexander unlocked Ivan from his chains so he could say goodbye and not hurt Amelia with the silver.

“I accepted my fate the moment I was captured. I am not a flight risk, Alexander.” Ivan assured while still managing to not give Beta Alexander the respect his title as an heir is owed.

I just hope that Alexander will let it slide. I don’t need this turning into a shit show. Captain Darren will have my head if that happens. He did trust us to visit Ivan alone.

Alexander said nothing, just rolled his eyes, and stepped aside. “You have five minutes, Amelia.”

Amelia smiled and rushed past Alexander into the cell, launching herself at her brother hugging him. Even though Amelia thinks she’s too big, something I disagree with, she couldn’t even get her arms around her massive brother.

He’d managed to stand up just in time to catch her, and fuck is he is enormous. Amelia’s description of him didn’t entirely do him justice, and him sitting in the cell hadn’t given me the best idea.

And to think her father was just as big as Ivan. Some fascinating genetics at work there.

‘Just imagine how those genetics will blend with ours.’ Conway commented.

I went wide-eyed. Fucking wolf. Why did he have to say that? We’ve barely been mated a full day, and he’s talking pups?

‘We have time to think about starting a family. Amelia and I are both young.’ I shook that thought away.

Without the silver blinding him, I suppose Amelia and Ivan could talk through their family link. Huh. Actually, without the silver, I can feel the link to Ivan.

Not that I’ll intrude. I wanted to give Amelia a chance to really say goodbye to him. I don’t know when or if she’ll see him again. And as annoying as Suzie can be, I don’t think I could stand to not hug her goodbye if I was in such a scenario.

“Five minutes are up. Amelia, you need to leave with your mate.” Alexander gently instructed. He at least isn’t cold. He understands this is hard for her.

I could feel her reluctance, but she eventually let Ivan go. His dark eyes locked on mine, narrowing. ‘You better take extremely good care of my sister. If not, I will break out of this cell and find you to kill you.’ Ivan’s menacing deep voice filled my head.

I nodded my head. ‘I will never hurt her.’ I assured him as I wrapped an arm around Amelia.

“Once again, thank you, Beta Alexander.” I bowed my head to him as he started to chain Ivan up again.

Amelia sighed, leaning into me. ‘Thank you, Stephen. I didn’t think I’d get to hug him goodbye.’

I smiled, kissing her temple as we walked down the hall. ‘I know how much you wanted to say a proper goodbye. And as a big brother, I couldn’t imagine not getting to say goodbye to Suzie.’

Back at the town hall, I introduced Amelia to my packmates. She wouldn’t tell me why but she was very distant when Tanner brought his mate Zelma to meet us. There was some apparent tension between the two females.

Feeling Amelia’s unease being near Zelma, I made an excuse it’s been a long day to get out of further interaction. ‘Thank you.’ Amelia sighed as we headed back to our room.

‘Do you want to talk about it?’ I offered as we paused at our door.

‘Not really. But I suppose I should. Especially since Zelma’s be going to Bloodmoon too.’ Amelia sighed.

‘Zelma used to date Ivan. A total two-faced bitch. She would be sweet as sugar if Ivan was around but as cruel as Gastone and Ignazio when he wasn’t.’ Amelia admitted.

I growled, resisting the urge to go back to the lounge and have some words with Zelma and Tanner. But I also don’t want to be the one to tell Tanner his mate used to date a former Gamma who’s three times his size and was a bully.

‘Leave it. Please.’ Amelia softly pleaded, holding my forearm.

I was willing to let it go for now. Conway, however, wasn’t. He’s very protective of our new mate. I need to distract him.

‘Why don’t we go for a run nearby? Let Conway meet Faith officially?’ I offered, gesturing to the exit down the hall.

‘Can we?’ Faith eagerly asked.

I chuckled and nodded. ‘Of course, we can. Come on. I think you and Conway deserve some freedom.’ I smiled, leading Amelia out to the edge of the forest.

‘We shouldn’t go too far as I’m unfamiliar with this area.’ I warned, starting to strip.

Amelia was blushing, looking away slightly, but I caught her stealing glances. ‘You’re my mate. You can look all you want. Now, are you going to undress, or should I undress you?’ I offered

Her face turned a brighter pink. ‘I… I can do it myself.’ She stammered, turning away from me to undress.

I raised an eyebrow folding my arms watching. ‘You realize turning around gives me a different but equally beautiful view.’ I teased.

She glanced back, still blushing. ‘Stop teasing me. I’m far from beautiful.’

‘Eyes of the beholder, sweetheart. I think you’re beautiful. To hell with everyone else. Now let’s shift. Conway is getting antsy.’ I smiled, shifting, letting Conway take control.

I hadn’t seen Faith, so I was in awe of her when Amelia shifted. Conway was just as enamored. Dazzling silver eyes sparkled like the stars and golden fur that shined like the sun.

‘Beautiful…’ Conway was breathless as he circled Faith. She’s actually a little bigger than him, but he wasn’t bothered by that. Especially as she nuzzled her head against him.

‘Catch me if you can.’ Faith taunted playfully, nipping at his neck before taking off in a run. Conway hurried after her.

They have more than earned spending time together. Even if it’s more than a little awkward to be in my head trying to look away when they got a bit too frisky.

Reminding myself, it’s perfectly normal for wolves to want to mate as well. Once they’d had their, ahem, fun, we returned to the town hall.

Thankfully during dinner, we weren’t seated near Tanner and his mate. I didn’t want Amelia to feel uncomfortable.

‘Your packmates seem very nice and welcoming.’ Amelia commented as we returned to our room.

‘I know that meeting Clement probably didn’t give the best impression of what my pack is like. But trust me, he’s the anomaly. What you’ve seen tonight during dinner is how most people are.’ I assured her, starting to undress.

There she goes, blushing again. ‘Would you prefer I sleep in clothes? I can wear a t-shirt and shorts to bed.’ I offered.

‘No…I mean, it’s okay. I’m just not used to this, but I’ll get over it in time.’ Amelia assured me as she once again turned away from me to undress.

I sighed, stepping closer, wrapping my arms around her waist, pressing my chest to her bareback. ‘Maybe the first step in getting accustomed to the fact we will be sharing a bed is not hiding from me.’ I suggested pressing a kiss to her shoulder.

‘I can feel your anxiety. And I can’t wave a wand or something to make that disappear. But what I can and will continue to do is remind you multiple times a day that you’re beautiful, gorgeous, and sexy. I’ll remind you as often as necessary that I want, desire, and love you.’

I was still kissing along her shoulder, brushing her hair away as I started kissing up her neck as I spoke through our link. With each kiss, each word I spoke, she shivered.

‘You can’t mean that.’ Amelia softly refuted. But when I said those last two words for a moment she froze in my arms before melting into me.

‘Can and do. I’ll show you the rest of our lives just how much.’ I promised, kissing her mark as one of my hands moved higher to caress her breasts while the other went lower to dip into her track pants.

Now that we were fully mated, I felt more confident touching her, giving her pleasure, and making love. The bond is a wonderful thing, allowing me to know what she wants and how without her having to say it or direct me.

As everyone assembled for breakfast, Collin and Kurt called everyone’s attention the following day. “So, as most of you have realized, our illustrious Captain Darren is missing this morning.” Collin started.

“Shocking, I know. But just wait till you learn why.” Kurt was smirking.

They are seriously going to out Captain Darren as Alpha André’s mate like this? They’re lucky Captain Darren isn’t here.

“Darren has found his mate here in Incubi.” Collin announced. A few gasps and whispers started as people speculated who it could be.

Kurt held his hands up, gesturing everyone to be quiet. “You’ve all met his mate, many times. And now I’m sure you’re all wracking your brain about the possibilities. So we’ll put you out of your misery.”

“Darren’s mate is none other than the fabulous Alpha heir André D’Amore.” Kurt was grinning ear to ear as he made the announcement.

Of course, there were a few shocked faces. But not as many as you’d think. Probably given how closely and efficiently Captain Darren and Alpha André worked together during this war.

“Now, before anyone has the low IQ to comment about this being a same-sex mating, shut up, or I’ll knock out all your teeth.” Collin warned, narrowing his eyes as he looked around the room.

“Okay, so with that warning out of the way. We want to celebrate this. Show Darren and André our support and give André a proper Bloodmoon welcome.” Kurt’s eyes had a mischievous grin.

‘What is a proper Bloodmoon welcome?’ Amelia questioned, nudging me.

‘I’m not sure what they have planned, but I’m fairly certain it’s not something the Captain will like. They both look far too happy and mischievous.’ I shrugged.

And oh, was I right as they started handing out glitter and streamer poppers. I don’t claim to know Captain Darren as well as Collin, does. Collin’s his in-law, after all. But even I am confident he will not like getting shot with glitter.

Chapter 16 - Amelia

Stephen was right. Captain Darren did not look happy with getting glitter shot at him. I don’t blame him. Though at its core, the gesture was very sweet.

The Bloodmoon wolves wanted to show their support and congratulate their Captain on his mating to the Alpha heir. There are far worse things people can do to you and claim it was in good fun.

Like that time Ignazio and Gastone ran my clothes up the school flagpole and said it was just a joke. Or when Zelma and some other she-wolves decided to douse me with olive oil and then throw feathers at me.

They’d laugh their heads off at me and take pictures. But when Ivan showed up, they were all ‘it was just a joke’ and apologies. Zelma tried to claim she tried to stop it.

And now I’m going to continue being stuck with her moving to Bloodmoon with Stephen. Which we apparently will be going tomorrow. Or at least that’s what Darren said before he rushed out of the lounge.

I hope everything is okay. Darren looked panicked. And I don’t think he’s the type to usually panic about anything.

I nudged Stephen and nodded to Collin. ‘Ask him if I can return home… I mean to go to my family’s home to get my things before we have to leave for Bloodmoon.’

“Collin, sir?” Stephen shot his hand up to get Collin’s attention while others were already swarming him, wanting to ask questions.

“One at a time. Fuck, you wouldn’t be all chaos and shit if Darren was still here.” Collin grumbled.

“He said the injured go first and then those of us with mates. Yes, that will mean if you, like me, have a mate waiting back home, you go home tomorrow. You single fuckers will have to wait another day.” Collin shouted above the noise.

It apparently answered most of their questions but mine. “Collin? I have a question for those of us who have mates from Madonie. Can we get permission to travel to Madonie and retrieve some of their belongings?”

This time Stephen didn’t wait for Collin to acknowledge him before asking his question.

“Yes, I wanted to know that too. It would also be nice to have a chance to meet my mate’s parents.” Tanner called out his arm around the she-devil’s waist.

Collin sighed. “Yes. I suppose that should be fine. Let me check with at least Beta Alexander of his father first. Then you two can carpool over.”

I paled. I do not want to be in a car with Zelma, but I can’t really protest. We are the only two with Bloodmoon mates. It would be wasteful to take separate cars.

“I’ll drive. I know where Amelia lived.” Zelma volunteered in her sugary-sweet voice.

“Oh, I’m sure you’re very familiar with her family home.” Stephen snorted.

Zelma’s eyes narrowed at me. She knows I must have told my mate that she used to fuck around with my brother and how she used to treat me.

As Zelma started to take a step closer to me, her gaze was interrupted. Stephen had moved to stand in front of me.

“I’ll be polite because Tanner is a nice guy. But don’t think the shit you got away with in Madonie will fly in Bloodmoon.”

Stephen warned. “We do not take kindly to bullies in our pack.”

“What’s going on? Stephen? Zelma? Someone want to fill me in on what the beef is here?” Tanner questioned.

“Your packmate is just being mean to me. I don’t know why. I was just going to congratulate Amelia on finding a mate willing to take her.” Zelma put on the victim tone, but her words were cutting and held double meanings.

“Oh, you want to play that? Fine. Gloves off, bitch.” Stephen growled.

“You want to know the issue, Tanner? Let me fill you in.” Stephen smiled, turning his attention to Tanner.

This is very much not like my sweet Stephen. I haven’t seen this side of him yet. I kind of like it.

‘He’s our mate and will protect us.’ Faith nodded in approval. ‘If we could speak, we should be the one doing the talking.’

“Your mate is a bully that used to fuck my mate’s brother. And the malice coming off her is like cheap perfume. You better make sure she keeps that attitude in check.” Stephen scoffed.

Zelma went pale as she got outed. “Tanner… that was before I met you. You wouldn’t hold it against me that I had a boyfriend before you.”

Tanner sighed. “I don’t care that you have been with someone else. I’ve had girlfriends too. What I care about is the bully part. I think we should speak privately, though.”

Tanner nodded to Stephen as he took Zelma’s hand and led her away. Zelma looked worried. Good.

‘You didn’t have to do that.’ I sighed, slipping my hand into Stephen’s.

‘Yes, I did. I will not let anyone mistreat you. And Tanner has the right to know the type of mate he has. Better he knows now than back in Bloodmoon where she might say the wrong thing to the wrong person.’ Stephen assured me, squeezing my hand.

“Okay, well, that was fun. So… you can take a separate car.” Collin rolled his eyes.

I moved a little closer to Stephen because I didn’t know. It’s just a habit that I expect people to side with Zelma.

Collin cocked his head at me. “No sweat, Amelia. You aren’t in trouble or anything. If Stephen hadn’t spoken up to Tanner about what the girl is really like, it would come out eventually. And probably get the girl hurt. Like saying stupid to or about Princess Hana.”

‘Who is Princess Hana? And why would Zelma risk saying something about what I assume is your Alpha’s daughter?’ I questioned.

‘She’s our Alpha’s adopted, human daughter.’ Stephen explained.

“I’ll assume Stephen is filling you in. Enjoy going to your house today. I’m sure you’ll like Bloodmoon. My mate and I will have to have you guys over for dinner.” Collin smiled before wandering off.

I could see how Zelma would screw up and say something wrong. We don’t have any humans or hybrids in Madonie. Or well, we didn’t. With André becoming Alpha we… I mean, they… will now be run by a hybrid.

A couple hours later, Stephen and I were getting into a borrowed jeep. I hadn’t gotten my license yet. So Stephen was driving, and I gave him directions as necessary.

Rather than driving to the coast, we only went to the capital and my family home there.

My heart clenched as we pulled up, and I saw it in such disrepair. Windows had been broken, and there was some highly inappropriate graffiti on the walls.

I suppose I can’t blame people. They probably saw Ivan taking the Gamma role after our father’s murder as him approving of Ignazio’s actions. But I know my brother. He wouldn’t have supported Ignazio. Anything he did was probably to protect me.

‘You okay?’ Stephen’s warm voice drew me from my thoughts as he squeezed my hand.

I nodded, climbing out of the jeep. ‘Yes. I just haven’t been home … since my parents were alive. Ivan sent me away before they were killed so I would be safe.’

With Stephen at my side, I took a breath. Finding our still hidden spare key, I walked inside. I cringed as I saw the place had been trashed. Art smashed and torn off the walls, broken vases, and more graffiti.

I let out a gasp and rushed forward into the living room when I saw my family portrait smashed in the fireplace. I fell to my knees, crying as I pulled what was left out. You could barely make out our faces from the smoke damage, and over half the picture was burned away.

I felt warm, loving arms engulfing me and knew it was Stephen. I turned into his embrace, still crying. Crying about the damage to my family home. Crying because I’ll never see my parents again. I'm crying because this may be the last time I’m even in this home.

‘I’m so sorry, Amelia. I’m sure there must be more pictures and mementos. We’ll find them. And you can bring as much as you want with us and send for anything else.’ He promised, kissing my hair.

I sniffled a little but gathered my emotions. ‘Thank you. We should get my stuff, though. We still have to drive back.’

Stephen nodded, helping me to my feet. Slowly we made our way through the house. I filled a suitcase with as much of my clothes and personal supplies as possible.

I was thankful to find my family’s safe still untouched in the back of my parent’s closet. I took a photo album and a few pieces of my mother’s jewelry. I could send for the rest like Stephen suggested.

I spent the evening when we got back to our room looking through the album with Stephen. Trying to not be embarrassed by most of the pictures of me.

I was thankful that on the flight to Bloodmoon, I didn’t have to sit anywhere near Zelma. Things seemed to be a bit tense between her and Tanner. I can hope that they can move past it for their mate bond, and maybe she can grow as a person.

I was thankful to have Stephen there to hold my hand. I’ve never been on a plane before, and it terrified me. So having him calm me helped.

Plus, he’s rather comfy to lean against. Unlike traveling on a commercial flight, we didn’t have to change planes. I ended up sleeping during the flight. I only woke up when we made stops to refuel.

‘Amelia… wake up beautiful. We’re here.’ Stephen’s voice filled my head as I felt him nudging me.

I grumbled, sitting up rubbing sleep from my eyes. I smiled a little. Who wouldn’t smile when you’re greeted by Stephen’s sweet loving face.

“I told my parents I would be arriving today with a surprise. I didn’t want to tell them about you over the phone. So let’s go surprise my family.” Stephen smiled, offering his hand.

Taking a deep breath, preparing myself to meet my new family, I took his hand. It felt strange that we left before dawn in Sicily, and after a twenty-hour flight, we arrived near sunset.

Many families were waiting on the tarmac. As people exited the plane, I saw she-wolves rushing, throwing themselves at their mates.

Collin’s mate was pretty and, despite throwing herself into his arms, was shy about the sudden outburst as she blushed.

I looked around, trying to spot the family from the picture on Stephen’s phone. I blinked, frozen with nervous energy as I spotted them. A little girl barreled through the crowd hugging Stephen’s waist.

“You’re alive! I lost ten bucks on you. I said you’d at least come back injured.” The little girl taunted, but I could tell how much she cared.

Her eyes went round as saucers as she looked at me. The family link clicked into place now that we weren’t thousands of miles away.

“OH MY GOD! MOMMY! DADDY! HE HAS A MATE!” Suzie shrieked, launching herself at me.

Chapter 17 - Stephen

I honestly can’t begin to imagine or comprehend how much Amelia has been through. I probably never will fully know. But I do know she’s the strongest person on this planet.

‘She’s amazing. That’s what our mate is.’ Conway stated as I watched her sleeping, head on my shoulder on our flight.

I’m not sure how my family will take the news that I have a mate. I mean, I know mom wanted me to find someone.

Though I think she was hoping more along the lines of a second chance fated mate, which is ridiculous. I know my mom will love Amelia, but I also know she’ll be worried we jumped the gun in being chosen mates so quickly.

I can’t explain it. I know the pull to Amelia is a mate bond, so she’s not my second chance mate. But I still felt something pulling me to her. Some force that wouldn’t let me leave her.

Maybe it’s like those silly fairy tales Suzie likes to read. The ones about love at first sight. Because the moment I saw Amelia, I knew nothing would be the same again.

Today is the first official step into our future. Technically, mating back in Incubi was that first step. But our lives will be here in Bloodmoon. This is where we will start our life together.

I wasn’t surprised that Suzie tried to tackle me or that she’d bet I would end up injured. “Rude.” I grumbled but sighed, smiling softly as she detached from me and instantly hugged Amelia when she realized who she was.

I could feel the uncertainty bordering on fear from Amelia as my sister hugged her with all her might. That feeling spiking at my parents got through the crowd.

“What are you….” Mom started questioning her words trailing off as she looked at Amelia. Like Suzie, I’m guessing she and dad just felt that click of the family link.

I smiled, managing to detach Suzie from Amelia and wrapping an arm around her waist. ‘It’s okay, Amelia. I’m right here.’ I assured her through our private link.

“Mom, dad, Suzie.” I introduced them to Amelia. “I want you to meet Amelia Furlan, my mate.”

“Amelia, meet our family. The twerp is Suzie. My mom, Edith. And my dad Maxton.” I gestured to my family as I said their names.

Amelia gave a small, timid wave. I could tell my family was brimming with questions. But I also knew that Amelia wasn’t ready to answer those, at least not here in such a public setting.

“I know you probably have a lot of questions. We can go into details when we get home. It’s been a long flight. I think Amelia and I could both go for a shower and something to eat.” I suggested.

“Right…of course.” Mom shook her head with a warm smile on her face.

“This way, kids.” Dad waved his hand for us to follow as he took mom’s hand, leading the way back to our car.

“Hurry up!” Suzie exclaimed, tugging at Amelia’s hand.

“We’re coming.” I sighed, shaking my head with a slight smile.

‘I know my sister can be a lot to get used to. But I promise with time she’s less annoying… sometimes.’ I assured Amelia as we followed my family, piling into the car.

It was a tight fit, given there were five of us. Suzie squeezed in the middle between Amelia and me in the back seat. I don’t think she minded too much.

The whole drive home, Suzie was asking Amelia questions nonstop. She didn’t even notice Amelia didn’t answer her. My sister just rambled.

“Did you use those condoms he took? I found them in his bag before he….” Suzie was continuing her line of rambling questions when I put a hand over her mouth.

“Okay, that’s enough, Suzie.” I sighed. Amelia was turning bright pink as my little sister casually asked if we had been having sex.

“Suzie! Don’t ask questions like that. It’s not appropriate, least of all from a pup.” Mom scolded.

“Please excuse her manners, Amelia. We did teach her better, but her filter sometimes is broken.” Dad apologized with a shrug.

Amelia nodded silently as we climbed out of the car. I sighed, hurrying around the car to grab our bags from the trunk. I smiled at Amelia as she tried to take her bag from me.

‘I can carry my bag. And do you think your family has noticed I don’t talk?’ She sighed.

‘Suzie didn’t notice anything, and she was talking too much for my parents to tell either. Now I’ll make you a deal. I’ll let you carry your bag if I get to carry you.’ I countered by raising an eyebrow.

‘W..what? No way. I’m far too….’ She started to protest, and I’m having none of her talking that way about herself.

So I left the bags on the ground and scooped her up in a bridal style. ‘Too beautiful and probably tired to walk. I agree.’ I teased.

Amelia was blushing not just because I was carrying her but because my sister was giggling on the porch while my parents simply smiled and shook their heads.

‘You’re embarrassing me.’ Amelia sighed, trying to hide her face.

‘You make it so easy and fun.’ I winked, carrying her into the house before setting her down.

“I would say this is unusual for Stephen, but given he’s just like his father, I can just warn you that Walterson men tend to be overly sweet in their treatment of their mate.” Mom assured or perhaps warned Amelia.

Amelia nodded a little wringing her hands.

“I’m going to show Amelia upstairs to our room and where the bathroom is so, she can grab a shower while I throw our clothes in the wash.” I suggested wanting to get her out of the uncomfortable situation.

“Oh, of course. I can imagine after such a long flight. Dinner will be ready soon, so we can talk over a good meal.” Mom patted Amelia’s shoulder with a smile heading for the kitchen.

I showed Amelia where our room was and the bathroom. ‘I’ll get clothes in the wash. Don’t overthink and worry. My family will love you, and we have the link so you can talk to them that way.’ I assured her, giving her a quick kiss before heading to the basement to wash clothes.

“She’s really quiet. Did something happen? We haven’t intimidated her too much, have we? I mean, I know Suzie can be a bit much.” Mom questioned as I came back up from the basement.

I sighed because she’s exactly where Suzie gets it. “No, mom. It’s not that. We’ll discuss it later, okay. It’ll be easier to say it one time than repeat it.” I promised, kissing her cheek before heading back upstairs to grab a shower while Amelia got changed.

I smiled when I came into my bedroom, towel around my waist to see Amelia sitting on the bed, picking at her nails nervously. “It’s going to be okay.” I assured her as I crouched in front of her.

‘How can you be so sure? What parents want their son mated to a girl like me?’ Amelia frowned.

‘I’m sure because they are my family. I love you, and so will they. If anything, they will think you are too good to have settled for a nobody like me.’ I smiled, cupping her cheek.

Amelia rolled her eyes but leaned into my touch. ‘I promise they are going to adore you.’ I sighed, pressing my lips to hers before standing up.

I quickly changed into nice-ish clothes. I generally wouldn’t care too much about what I was wearing for dinner with my family. But this is dinner with Amelia.

And she looks beautiful in an a-line round neck cream color dress with pale green floral print accenting where it narrows at her waist. I need to look at least a fraction as good as her.

“Did you just pick that shirt to match her?” Suzie laughed as we came downstairs. I rolled my eyes, keeping my arm around Amelia.

“I think it’s cute. You look lovely, Amelia. Of course, Stephen had to up his game from wearing whatever random tee that didn’t smell.” Mom teased, setting the last serving dish out.

“Thank mom. Feeling loved.” I sighed, pulling a chair out for Amelia before sitting next to her.

“Well, now that we are all at the table, tell us how you met. We want to know everything.” Mom encouraged as she started portioning out pot roast, baby carrots, and potatoes on everyone’s plates.

Amelia sent me a nervous look. I nodded, taking her hand to reassure her. “Well, there are some things you will need to understand. So just listen first, and we’ll answer questions after.” I prefaced.

“Of course, son. Go ahead.” Dad nodded, looking to mom and Suzie, clearly telling them to hold their questions.

“Amelia is from the Gamma family of Madonie. Yes, the same Madonie that was at war with Incubi.” I started to explain.

“Amelia’s original mate….” I frowned, glancing at Amelia, silently wanting her permission to speak about it. She nodded.

“He was the Madonie Alpha. A cruel and psychotic male. Rather than rejecting Amelia or letting her reject him, he made her suffer. Both from abuse of the mate bond but to stop her from rejecting him… he cut off her tongue.” I choked on my words, the rage starting to boil to the surface, thinking of what Ignazio did to her.

My mother gasped, hands over her mouth with tears in her eyes as she looked across the table at Amelia. I know my mother wanted to leap from her chair and hug her.

“She was sent into Incubi with others. She had the misfortune to cross paths with Captain Darren and Alpha heir André. When I arrived as backup, she and the others had already been knocked out.” I sighed.

“It took one look at her, and I knew. She’s not a second chance, mate but something pulled Conway and me to her. I went to the hospital with her and was there when she woke up. After Captain Darren explained the best way to save her life and break the bond tethering her to her mate was for her to take a chosen mate….” I explained.

“I volunteered.”

“She was against it at first.” I smiled, squeezing her hand.

“But I was persistent and spent the next few days convincing her that I truly care for her and wanted this. Obviously we completed our chosen bond. She wasn’t affected when Alpha Alec of Incubi ended the war by killing her ex-mate.”

“So to summarize. We are chosen mates, and Amelia can only communicate via the link or writing.” I concluded.

Chapter 18 - Amelia

I’d been so nervous about how his family would react to my past. My stomach was in knots. Even the aroma of the meal Signora Walterson cooked turned my stomach.

Thankfully I didn’t have to tell the story. It had been hard enough to write it to tell it back at the hospital in Incubi. I don’t know if I could do that again.

I’d thought hearing about Ignazio would affect me more. He had been my mate even if neither of us accepted it, and I broke the bond to be with Stephen. I’d thought something would twinge for Faith or me.

I was relieved when Stephen told me Ignazio was dead. But all I felt was rage. Rage at what he’d done to me. But I didn’t feel pain or loss. Does that make me a bad person?

As soon as Stephen finished telling his family the story, I braced myself for all the questions. But what happened wasn’t something I’d considered a reaction.

Without a word, Signora Walterson had pushed out of her chair and rushed around the table, pulling me from my chair and into an embrace that I think even Ivan would feel his bones crushing under.

‘Dear Goddess….your mother is stronger than Ivan.’ I gasped at Stephen in our link.

“Oh, you poor sweet thing. I’m not one to approve killing, but I’m glad that butcher is dead.” Signora Walterson snorted, squeezing me tighter.

We must be an odd sight as I’m at least fifteen centimeters taller than her. I had to hunch for her to have me pressed to her chest like this, and it’s getting uncomfortable.

‘Sorry. Mom forgets her strength sometimes.’ Stephen apologized as he stood up.

“Let her go, mom. You’re crushing her.” Stephen sighed, managing to pry her arms from around me.

“Oh… I’m sorry, dear.” Signora Walterson apologized sheepishly.

“Why don’t you sit back down, Edith. Then we can eat. Now that we know Amelia can communicate through the family link, the conversation can flow naturally.” Signore Walterson suggested.

He smiled at his mate with that same warm smile that Stephen gave me. Stephen really is like his father.

“Of course. And Suzie, that doesn’t mean you get to ask inappropriate things.” Signora Walterson warned the little girl as she went back to her seat.

Suzie pouted as she stuffed a fork full of pot roast into her mouth. Stephen chuckled, pulling my chair out for me to sit before retaking his seat.

‘Now that you and Stephen are mated, I assume you plan to move here. We’ll have to go apartment hunting since I can’t imagine any newly mated pair wants to live with their parents.’ Signora Walterston kicked off the family link conversation.

I blushed because I could only imagine the reasons for that. I mean, I can’t be loud during sex in the aspect of crying out, but there are still noises I would rather Stephen’s parents and sister not hear.

‘Yes, mom. I wanted to get over jet lag and start looking for a place closer to work and school while still accessible to public transit in a couple of days. I’ll also have to see about buying a car.’ Stephen sighed.

‘Yes, you can’t keep relying on Clement or us to give you a ride. And Amelia will need to get her license and transfer to the school here.’ Signore Walterson nodded.

Stephen and I both frowned at the mention of Clement. ‘Why are you both frowning? Being independent is a good thing for your couples.’ Signora Walterson questioned.

‘Clement was one of the wounded sent home first. He lost a leg during the last fight.’ Stephen explained.

‘Oh, that poor boy. I know he’s a bit troubled, but Hale did the best he could raising him alone.’ Signora Walterson frowned.

‘No wolf, least of all a pack warrior with aspirations, wants to lose a limb.’ Signore Walterson nodded.

‘Clement’s a jerk. He always says mean and sexist things.’ Suzie scoffed.

‘Suzie.’ Signore Walterson sighed.

‘She’s not wrong. I only interacted with Clement once, and it was not a pleasant interaction.’ I chimed in, feeling someone should say it.

I blushed as the rest of the family looked at me. I looked down at my plate with a sigh. Great, I’m probably coming off as some heartless person.

‘I’m not going to say he deserved losing his leg. But the Goddess, like all deities, does punish people.’ I tried to explain.

‘I’ll say it. Clement deserved what he got. He broke formation and paid the price for it. Do I feel bad for him? Sure to some degree. But he proved too many times while in Incubi he needed to be brought down a peg.’ Stephen snorted.

‘Stephen.’ Signora Walterson scolded.

‘No, he did. Mom, he messed up a lot. First, he slapped the Beta’s daughter on the ass and propositioned her when she and the Beta female, her mother, were showing us our rooms.’ Stephen shook his head.

‘The Beta’s daughter turned him to stone, and Captain Darren put him on house arrest so he couldn’t leave his room without permission.’ Stephen started to list Clement’s errors.

‘Then he insulted the Alpha heir, not once but twice. He called the Alpha heir a slur about being gay. He even got his ass kicked in front of everyone but the Alpha heir after nearly losing his head to Captain Darren’s wolf for that one.’ Stephen shook his head.

‘He got his arm broken by the Beta heir because he almost attacked civilians sent as decoys.” He frowned.

‘And then when I brought Amelia to my room after her stay in the hospital, he insulted her and said some derogatory things that got him punched by me and turned to stone by the Beta’s daughter when she overheard him.’

I reached over, taking Stephen’s hand in mine as I felt him getting angry and saw how tight he was gripping his fork.

“Suffice to say, mom, while I feel bad that our pack is down a warrior, it couldn’t have happened to a more deserving wolf. He needed to be humbled, and the Goddess saw to it. Maybe this will actually get through to him. Maybe this is why Alpha Logan even sent him. The Goddess willed it so.’ Stephen shrugged.

Suzie nodded in agreement with her brother, and honestly, I agree with him too. I believe the Goddess always has a plan. It’s the only way I can wrap my head around my life.

She had a plan for me. Ignazio may have been the mate she originally intended for me, but when that witch sent him down a different path, the Goddess was prepared, and she sent Stephen to me.

‘I think that’s enough conversation about Clement. Amelia, why don’t you tell us more about yourself.’ Signore Walterson smiled kindly at me.

The rest of dinner passed pleasantly with typical conversation. Stephen’s family asked about my aspirations, and I talked about how I wanted to go to University for early child development and work with children.

But as the dinner was starting to end, I didn’t feel good. My head felt funny, and I felt hot. I thought maybe it was jet lag or something.

Stephen stiffened next to me, and I felt his eyes on me with a look of worry and hunger that confused me. His parents exchanged a look before Signore Walterson got up and took a set of keys from a drawer.

“You can take my truck. Go stay at your grandparents’ cottage at the farm. Your mother will bring you clothes and some supplies.” Signore Walterson instructed.

I was still confused, but maybe it was because I felt a fire starting to boil in my stomach.

‘We’re going into heat.’ Faith whimpered though not exactly in pain.

Oh crap. I didn’t think I’d go into heat because Stephen is a chosen mate.

But I guess it’s not really covered. Mamma only said a she-wolf goes into heat a day up to a week after their mate marks them based on their rank.

“Come on, Amelia. Looks like we are going into quarantine.” Stephen helped me up, wrapping his arm around my waist.

The touch sent intense sparks through me, making my knees weak. ‘Okay.’ I nodded, trying to keep my head as an urge to jump him hit me strongly.

We didn’t grab any of our things. We just went out the kitchen door and to an old red truck in the driveway. Mamma had given me a basic idea of what heat would be like.

I’m emitting a pheromone that would attract every unmated male nearby. And worse, I could get so out of my head with desire I would sleep with anyone. So I understood why we were being quarantined.

Faith was trying to help me, but she was far worse than I was, as heat is a wolf thing. I tried to hold it together while we were driving.

‘Stephen…’ I whimpered, unable to stop myself as I reached to try and unzip his jeans.

‘We’re almost… oh fuck….’ Stephen groaned as my hand wrapped around his length.

‘We’re almost there.’ He panted, taking a hand off the wheel to reach under my dress.

It was probably not the safest thing to do while driving, but at least him fingering me in time with my strokes was helping. It wasn’t enough, but it was at least enough for us to reach the little cottage.

I barely paid attention to anything as Stephen parked the truck, unbuckling our seatbelts as he pulled me into a feverish kiss. We didn’t make it into the house. Removing or a more accurate description would be ripping off what clothes necessary for him to enter me.

Unlike any previous times, this wasn’t sweet and loving. We fucked well like animals fogging up the windows of the truck cab, claws tearing the worn leather bench seat.

With my first bout of heat finally sated, we went into the small cottage. I was blushing at what had just happened.

‘I’m sorry.’ I apologized.

I felt I should because we just damaged his father’s truck. And we’ll have to pay for the repairs, or at least I’m assuming and planning to pay for them.

Chapter 19 - Amelia

‘It’s okay, Amelia. My understanding is that things get wild during heat. That’s why our pack has a rule that mated couples are put on quarantine during heat. So we’ll stay here until your heat is over.’ Stephen assured me, hugging me as we stood in the middle of the one-room cabin.

I nodded, leaning into his embrace, feeling that urge already trying to boil to the surface. ‘I really hope there aren’t a lot of heirlooms here. I would feel terrible if we broke anything.’ I frowned as I looked around the quaint space.

Stephen chuckled, placing loving kisses on my neck as he unzipped my dress. ‘No heirlooms to break.’ He assured me as the dress slipped to the floor.

We spent the next week in that cabin, rarely bothering to get dressed. Even though Signora Walterson did bring us clothes when she dropped off supplies and, with embarrassment of her own, a large box of condoms.

After my heat was finally over, we returned to the Walterson family home. No one said anything though I can tell they were all thinking it. Wondering if during my heat I had gotten pregnant.

It’s not unheard of. Many she-wolfs end up pregnant after their heat. The whole point of heat is to procreate. I wouldn’t know for sure for a few weeks anyway. But I’ll make an appointment to be sure closer to when I could find out.

Stephen frowned as he looked at his phone, finally able to check it. ‘Is something wrong?’ I questioned, peering over his shoulder.

‘I have seven missed calls from Captain Darren.’ Stephen explained, turning his phone so I could see the missed calls.

‘Well, call him back.’ I encouraged him.

Gulping, Stephen hit the call button. “Captain Darren. I’m sorry I didn’t have my phone. We were in heat quarantine.” Stephen explained.

“That’s fine. We weren’t actually trying to talk to you.” I could hear Darren explain. “André wants to talk to Amelia.”

“I’m putting this on speaker phone. You’ll have to speak for her of course.”

Why would Alpha André want to talk to me? Stephen raised an eyebrow but set his phone down and hit the speaker button.

“I have you on speaker, sir.” Stephen confirmed. “Amelia is here with me.”

“Amelia! Hey, girl! So first, congrats on surviving the baby-making week. I’m sure it was lots of fun. Honestly, I wish same-sex couples got heat. Then I’d have an excuse to lock Darren away with me for a week of sex.”

Stephen and I were both turning bright pink with embarrassment as Alpha André spoke so casually.

“André, knock it off. You’re calling on official Alpha business. That means you don’t casually discuss heat and sex in general. “ Darren sighed.

I sat up straighter. ‘Official Alpha business? What’s happened in Madonie? Is Ivan okay? Are my people okay?’ I started to question.

“Okay, hold on. Amelia has a lot of questions.” Stephen sighed.

“What do you mean by Alpha business. Has something happened in Madonie or to the Madonie people? Is her brother okay?” Stephen questioned on my behalf.

“Ivan is fine. We put him on house arrest at the Furlan coastal home.” Darren started to explain.

“We figured it was unfair to leave him in my papa’s jail, but we couldn’t reinstate him to his power or let him walk free as many are still angry about what happened. As the only survivor of that regime, the people don’t like him.” André explained.

I sighed in relief. ‘I’m so glad that Ivan won’t be kept in jail. And he always loved our home on the coast. But when what’s happening?’

“Thank you, Alpha André. We appreciate that you have given Ivan at least that much freedom. Amelia says their family home on the coast was his favorite. But this doesn’t explain why you called.” Stephen sighed.

“Well, I’m getting there. Amelia, I need a Gamma. I need a Gamma of Madonie. One that lives, breaths, and bleeds for the people. I need you.” André passionately pleaded.

I went pale. ‘Did André? Did he just? Is he asking ME to be his Gamma? But I’m a she-wolf and Ivan’s sister. Won’t the people hate me? Not to mention they were never very kind to me.’

“Alpha André, she is concerned that the people may not like this. She is Ivan’s sister, and well, they weren’t the kindest to her growing up.” Stephen voiced my concerns.

“She suffered the most at Ignazio’s hands. And everyone who had been under Melania’s spell. The people that Amelia identified and used the potion to save. They remember what she did. They remember it was her who saved them.” Darren explained.

“I can’t make you accept Amelia. But I need you with me, girl. You know this pack. You know who’s two-faced and who I can trust. So please, you can’t see it, but I’m giving the puppy eyes and pout. Please come home and be my Gamma.” André pleaded.

An Alpha is begging me to come home and be his Gamma. I looked at Stephen because this choice affects us both. Stephen smiled softly and nodded at me. ‘Tell them to send a plane.’

“She says yes, Alpha André. Just tell us when you want us there.” Stephen answered.

We both winced as André squealed with delight. “Darren will text you with all the details. Pack your things, Stephen, and we’ll see you two very soon. Arrivederci!” André made a kiss sound, and then the line went dead.

I lept off the bed and let out what was the best squeal of delight and a howl. ‘I’m going to be Gamma! I get to take my father’s title! There’s never been a female-ranked wolf in Madonie! Just she-wolves mated to ranked wolves. Oh, my Goddess. Stephen! This… this is incredible!’

I was so happy it took a moment before things started to dawn on me. Stephen smiled up at me but wasn’t jumping with joy alongside me.

He’ll have to leave his family, pack, everything he knows to be with me. I frowned, my joy faltering as I slipped onto his lap, wrapping my arms around his neck.

‘Stephen? You are okay with this, right? If you don’t want to leave Bloodmoon, we can call them back.’ I offered.

Stephen shook his head, wrapping his arms around me. He sighed, pressing his forehead to mine.

‘No. You deserve this. It is your birthright. You were meant to rule Madonie as their Luna. How can I speak against you getting to still serve your people as their Gamma.’

‘But you are my mate, not Ignazio. My life is tied to yours forever. And if remaining in Bloodmoon is what you want, then we will. I boarded that plane, intending to start my life here with you. That doesn’t have to change.’ I offered.

‘This is a huge opportunity for your Amelia. And I mean for both of us, really. You would serve your birth pack, proving to anyone who ever doubted how amazing you are. And while you work with Alpha André, I will serve as Gamma to Captain, or I’m not sure what his title is now, Darren. I should count myself lucky to work for him.’ Stephen assured me.

‘But?’ I asked.

‘I’ll miss my friends and family. But I’ll have you, and that’s all I want and need. You are all I want and need in life.’ Stephen smiled, pressing a sweet kiss to my lips.

“Ugh, you just got back from quarantine and are still kissing? You aren’t going to have sex with the door open, right?” Suzie startled us both.

I blushed, moving off his lap as Stephen sighed, annoyed. “No, Suzie, we aren’t going to have sex. Goddess, you need to learn to think before you speak.”

Stephen took my hand, helping me up. “Come on, we should tell my family.” he smiled.

“Tell us what? What’s going on?” Suzie shouted as we walked past her to find his parents in the living room.

“Mom. Dad. We have an announcement.” Stephen smiled, holding my hand.

“Well, you can’t already know if she’s pregnant. So you aren’t announcing we are grandparents.” Signora Walterson concluded.

“No, mom. It’s not that. We received a call from Alpha André, the Incubi heir who has taken over Madonie.” Stephen started to explain.

“As Amelia is of Gamma blood and someone who has earned his trust Alpha André has offered her the title of Gamma. His mate, Captain Darren, will be sending details for our travel arrangements. But we are moving to Madonie.” He explained.

I wasn’t sure how they would react, but his parents jumped from their seats with joy, hugging us.

“That’s so wonderful. Congratulations. Our son and his mate will be Gammas.” Signora Walterson teared up as she hugged us tightly.

“Edith has always wanted to see Italy. Now we’ll have a good reason to visit.” Signore Walterson smiled.

“That’s so cool! I can’t wait to visit! Italy always sounded so romantic and awesome.” Suzie grinned, brimming with excitement.

It took a couple of weeks, but we packed all of Stephen’s things and were on a private flight back to Madonie. I was eager to help rebuild my pack and start a life in my family’s home with Stephen.

Chapter 20 - Stephen

When Alpha André offered Amelia the role of Gamma, I won’t lie, it scared me. Her accepting it meant I had to move and leave everything behind. I didn’t want to move, to uproot my life.

It’s utterly selfish of me, of course. And I realized it when I looked at Amelia. When I saw how excited she was to represent her family and pack.

She’d done exactly what I was afraid of. She left her only family behind to be with me in a foreign country. She uprooted her life and came all the way to Oregon for me.

If she could do that for me, I sure the hell can do that for her. If anyone deserves a rank in a pack, it’s my mate. She was born to be a Luna and lost that chance.

I would be a total asshole and a failure as a mate if I tried to take away this opportunity for my own insecurities. I won’t be alone. I’ll have Amelia.

I know Darren, not like a friend, but I know him. And he’s who I’d be working with, so it won’t be so bad. I’m sure my current credits can transfer, and I can continue my civil engineering degree in Madonie.

I will make this work. I need to support Amelia like a mate is supposed to. And this will also mean I’m going to be a Gamma. Not sure what that will mean for my duties, but I’ll support Amelia and the pack the best I can.

My family was certainly on board with it. And I’m glad they are.

Amelia needs to know she’s supported and not just by me. Not that I doubted my family would be supportive, it’s how we do things in the Walterson family.

We packed up my stuff, shipping most of it in advance to Amelia’s family home in the Madonie capital. And given that Darren said the pack induction ceremony would be right after we arrived, we weren’t the only ones on the private flight.

The whole Delaney Family was on the flight with us. Colby and Azriel are so different in their personalities compared to Darren. But I was still nervous as hell to meet them.

These are the Beta’s bodyguards! They were entrusted with the safety of our pack’s Beta and the first human to be fated to a wolf in Bloodmoon history. Amelia did a double-take when Colby walked onto the plane since he’s Darren’s identical twin.

The long flight to Madonie was at least entertaining. Colby and Azriel kept pranking each other. And worse, they got Suzie to help them.

We were nearly there when I noticed Suzie wasn’t in her seat. Carefully moving Amelia’s head from my shoulder, I found my sister.

I found her stifling a giggle behind her hand as she helped Colby spray shaving cream into Azriel’s hand while he drew a… oh Goddess, he’s drawing a very detailed penis and testicles on Azriel’s face near his mouth.

And to make it worse, Azriel’s mate Sadria, Collin’s sister, was just snickering next to her mate, not trying to stop them. ‘Suzie, get back to your seat.’ I scolded through our family link.

She stuck her tongue out at me and sprayed the shaving cream on my face. I growled and yanked her off the ground. ‘

That’s enough. If Colby wants to prank his brother, that’s fine. But you don’t need to be involved.’ I sighed as I carried her back to her seat and not so gently set her down next to mom.

“What on earth?” Mom blinked as she looked at the shaving cream I was wiping off my face and shirt.

“Talk to your daughter.” I grumbled.

“Suzanne Bernice Walterson, what trouble are you starting?” Mom narrowed her eyes at Suzie, using her full name.

“It was just a joke, mom. Colby asked me to help him prank Azriel. Stephen’s the one with his underwear in a knot over it.” Suzie snorted.

“Goddess, give me strength.” Mom sighed, eyes looking to the ceiling.

“Suzie, if the Delaney boys want to prank each other, that’s their business. We are guests on this planet and are only here to see your brother and Amelia take their oaths as Gammas. That’s a great honor. We shouldn’t show any disrespect to Alpha André and Aleph Darren. So you better be on your best behavior.” Mom scolded, taking the shaving cream canister away.

I sighed and went back to my seat. Amelia was still asleep, at least. I settled back in and rested my head on her, falling asleep.

We both woke up to shouting. “WHAT THE FUCK! COLBY, YOU SON OF A BITCH!” Azriel shouted, sputtering as he stood up, spitting out shaving cream.

“Azriel James Delaney, you will watch your language! There are children on this flight, and how dare you disrespect me.” Mrs. Delaney scolded.

“I don’t care if that word is used to describe female canines. You use it about me again, and it won’t be shaving cream you’re coughing on but a bar of soap.” Mrs. Delaney reprimanded, yanking her son by his ear down to her level.

“I’m sorry, mom. I didn’t mean it like that.” Azriel whimpered his apology.

Mrs. Delaney sighed and grabbed Colby’s ear with her other hand. “You two listen here. You will not embarrass me. We are here for your brother’s Aleph ceremony.” she warned them.

“You will not embarrass him in front of his mate and new pack. He is to be their leader and needs to earn their respect. Now go clean up. You better be presentable by the time we land.” Mrs. Delaney snorted, letting them both go.

‘Is she where Darren got his take-charge attitude?’ Amelia questioned.

I shrugged, though it made sense as Mr. Delaney was snickering behind his hand. ‘That would be my guess.’ I agreed.

Azriel and Colby were both clean and presentable by the time we landed. I’d also changed because I didn’t want to smell shaving cream.

As we exited the plane, I saw we were being welcomed by Darren and André and Beta Alexander, and a couple I didn’t recognize. But one other person was standing to the side, casting a large shadow… Ivan.

I could tell how eager Amelia was to run to her brother, but we had to greet André and Darren first. It’s only proper. So we stopped in front of them, bowing our heads respectfully.

“Thank you for coming to meet us, Alpha André and Aleph Darren.” I greeted. “And thank you for allowing my family to come for the ceremony.” I added as I felt my parents and sister right behind me.

“Welcome to Madonie.” Darren nodded politely. André, however, had an opposite reaction. He hugged Amelia with a grin.

“Welcome back. Now go hug your brother. It’s the only reason I brought him.” André laughed, freeing her with a slight shove in her brother’s direction.

Blushing a little at the interaction, Amelia instantly hurried to her brother, engulfed in his massive arms. “Thank you, Alpha.” I bowed my head, stepping aside.

I introduced. “May I introduce my parents, Edith and Maxton. And my little sister Suzie. Everyone meet, Alpha André, Aleph Darren, Beta Alexander, and I’m afraid I’m unfamiliar with the others.”

“You raised a charming boy. Do you provide insulin shots necessary to be around him?” André chuckled while greeting my family. “Oh yes, meet our Deltas, Gildo and Alissa.” he grinned, gesturing to the couple.

I groaned, not sure what to even say to that. “My brother isn’t sweet. He’s a dweeb.” Suzie scoffed as my father quickly covered her mouth with his hand.

“Pardon her. She tends to speak without thinking, Alpha André.” Dad apologized while André simply laughed, giving Suzie a wink.

I bowed my head to them in greeting. “It’s nice to meet you both. I look forward to working with you. Please excuse us. We should greet my mate’s brother.”

As I guided my family to meet Ivan, I heard a squeal and turned my head, worried something had happened. No, it was just Alpha André hugging Sadira and Alison, squealing about finally meeting them.

“And to think their mother was worried about offending the Alpha.” Mom sighed.

Ivan had finally let Amelia go and looked at me with narrowed eyes before offering his hand. Cautiously I took his hand.

“Good to see you, Ivan. These are my parents, Edith and Maxton. And my little sister, Suzie.” I introduced them. “This is Amelia’s brother, Ivan.”

Suzie tilted her head back to look up at Ivan. “HOLY SH… I mean poop! You’re a mountain!” Suzie exclaimed, stopping herself from cruising as mom glared at her.

There was a tense moment before Ivan’s lips twitched into a smile. He reached down with one massive hand and plucked my ten-year-old sister off the ground like she weighed nothing and put her on his shoulder.

“Oh wow!” Suzie giggled in delight at her sudden change of elevation.

“Stephen! Amelia! Come on! Load up into the car. The driver will take you to the Furlan house first, then meet us at the packhouse to go over details for tonight’s ceremony.” Darren called, waving us to the row of black SUVs.

We were split into two SUVs since Ivan was with us, and no way would six of us fit in one car along with a driver. My family rode in one while Amelia and I rode with Ivan.

‘Sit in the back with your brother. I’ll take shotgun so you two can catch up.’ I encouraged Amelia, opening the rear passenger door for her.

‘Thank you.’ Amelia grinned and kissed me quickly before getting into the back with her brother.

“I’ll show your family around the house. Amelia should get to her meeting with the Alpha.” Ivan offered as we arrived at their family home.

I remember what it looked like when we came to get her things. But it was different. Someone had it cleaned up, windows were replaced, and everything looked perfect and in order.

‘Oh my… did… did Alpha André and Aleph Darren do this? Have the house cleaned up?’ Amelia questioned as she looked around.

‘I guess so. We’ll have to thank them.’ I nodded, taking her hand.

“We’ll see you later, probably at the ceremony. Ivan knows the property, so stick with him, and you’ll be fine.” I smiled as I said goodbye to my family, getting into the car with Amelia for our first official meeting as ranked pack members.

Chapter 21 - Amelia

I was so nervous about the ranked wolf meeting. Especially because Gildo and Alissa are part of that. Not that I have anything personally against either of them.

They are much older than me, so I never had any issues with them. But they know my family and are aware of how I’ve been treated in the past.

I feel like a fraud or something sitting here in this. I’m not sure how to describe Alpha André’s office other than over-the-top space. I don’t belong here. Why am I here? I should have stayed in Bloodmoon and started fresh with a new pack.

‘You belong here. More than anyone in this room, you belong here.’ Stephen encouraged me through our link, squeezing my hand.

‘You are the only rank blood Madonie wolf in this room. Never forget that, Amelia.’ I smiled before the meeting began.

I nodded, taking a calming breath. Stephen’s right. I am the only Madonie ranked wolf in this room. André and Alexander may be of rank bloodlines, but those bloodlines are tied to Incubi.

“Why don’t we get to business?” Darren called us to order. “We all still have to get ready.” He reminded us.

I’m not even sure what I’m wearing tonight, so perhaps getting through this meeting quickly would be best. I don’t think I have anything appropriate to wear for a Gamma oath ceremony.

“Okay. So obviously, we all know each other now. And we all know what will be expected during our oaths. Agreeing to protect the pack and pledging to serve as my, insert rank here, yadda yadda.” André shrugged.

Well, that’s one way to gloss over a rank oath ceremony. But I’m guessing I shouldn’t be surprised and be prepared for more similar conversations with André.

“The seven of us taking our oaths isn’t really what we’re worried about. There is still probably quite a bit of bad blood within Madonie.” Darren started to explain.

“You mean people that hold a grudge against Incubi because of the war.” Gildo nodded.

“Basically. But not just those with a grudge against Incubi. While I’m sure, most people were against the war in the first place, some may have supported Ignazio.” Alexander picked up.

I tried to contain my urge to snarl. The mention of Ignazio and anyone that would have supported that asshole made my blood boil. Stephen squeezed my hand, trying to calm me through the bond.

‘Are you going to be okay?’ Stephen questioned.

‘Yes. I just…. It makes me angry that anyone would have supported that bastard.’ I sighed, letting his touch calm me.

“What does our Gamma say?” Darren questioned.

‘Just repeat what I tell you.’ I instructed.

Stephen nodded since he’s used to this. I can’t wait for the oaths to be completed and connected to the pack again and not rely on Stephen to talk for me.

“Amelia says anyone that supported Ignazio massacring the ranked wolves, her parents included, and starting a multipack war at the behest of a wrinkled old hag is no Madonie pack member.”

Stephen used my words precisely as I said them through

our link. He even added the attitude and conveyed my anger.

“Amen, little sister. Preach it, girl.” André grinned, holding a hand up in support.

I cocked my head, trying to not laugh. He will be a fascinating person to work for and with.

“Which is where the two of you come in.” Darren nodded to us.

Gildo and Alissa, of course, looked confused. They don’t know what our gifts are. I’m not sure how Darren and André plan to use them though

“How are Amelia and Stephen going to help with that? I mean this with no disrespect. But anyone who supported Ignazio would not like Amelia. And anyone who didn’t also may hold a grudge due to her brother.” Gildo questioned.

“Understable questions. And allow me to answer them.” André grinned as he stood up.

I raised an eyebrow, not sure what was about to happen as André sashayed to stand in front of the fireplace, becoming the focus of the sitting area.

“Gildo! I don’t think you quite realize who we’ve got here. So why don’t you just ruminate whilst I illuminate the possibilities.” André grinned, spreading his arms dramatically.

I furrowed my brow because that was just weird. I mean weird even for André. It’s like he’s waiting for a reaction, and we aren’t giving him the one he expected.

André sighed, not getting the reaction he desired. “Their gifts will make all the difference.” he began to explain.

“Amelia’s gift allows her to detect when someone is using or under the influence of magic. That’s how she knew about Melania before others. It’s also how she was able to identify those under her spell after the final battle so they could be freed from it.” André was beaming as he gestured to me.

I am not big on being the center of attention. So I smiled slightly, feeling my cheeks turning pink at being called out.

“Do you think there may still be those under Melania’s influence?” Gildo questioned.

“It’s always a possibility. We cannot be sure without Amelia’s help. And as my Papa says, it’s better to be safe than sorry.” André shrugged.

“And lastly, another key player in this is Stephen. Because that sweet boy can smell malice. Literally, he can sniff out anyone with ill intentions.” André now pointed to Stephen.

My poor mate looked as embarrassed as I was at being called out. I held his hand, trying to give him some comfort.

“Well, it’s not… I mean, yes. But it has to be intense. It can’t just be some mild annoyance or dislike.” Stephen meekly spoke up.

“And that’s what we need to know about. The people who are just mildly discontent we can handle. We can change those minds. They aren’t the ones that would pose an immediate threat to us and the pack.” Darren explained.

I’m willing to do whatever it takes for the safety of my pack. No one should be forced to obey someone else’s will. If Melania wasn’t already dead, I’d want to rip her throat out myself.

“What will you have us do, Alpha?” Stephen questioned as I nodded in agreement.

“Excellent.” André grinned mischievously, tapping his fingers together in a villainous manner.

“Please don’t do that. It’s weird and makes you seem villainous. Mister Burns was the bad guy, not someone to emulate.” Darren rolled his eyes as he lowered André’s hands.

“Spoilsport.” André stuck his tongue out.

“Anyways, your jobs will be simple. As the ceremony continues, people will have to individually pledge to me. I want the two to identify if any are under a magical influence and otherwise are dangerous to us.” André explained.

Stephen looked to me for confirmation, and I nodded. “We can do that, Alpha.”

“Good. I’m going to have my brothers and father moving through the crowd undetected. When you see someone that fits the criteria, you link me, and I’ll tell my family to detain them. We want to handle it quietly and quickly.” Darren explained.

I have witnessed the Delaney gift. He used it to sneak up on me and the others when we wandered aimlessly in Incubi territory trying to find the hospital.

The irony is that he and André are the ones that put us in the hospital. So I wasn’t surprised when he disappeared.

“Where… where did Aleph Darren go?” Alissa gasped.

André was snickering while Stephen was amused, given he was trying to hide a smile.

“I’m right here, Alissa.” Darren startled the Delta couple as he reappeared behind them, leaning between the chairs they were sitting in.

“Fuck… the hell was that?” Gildo questioned, obviously surprised by Darren’s gift.

“That, my dear Deltas, is the power of a Delaney. My darling mate and his brothers and father can all do that. They can cloak themselves from all forms of detection. Only their mates or close family can track their movements.” André beamed with pride.

“So, as you can see, it will be easy enough for my family to move through the crowd without being noticed to detain anyone necessary.” Darren smiled, walking back to stand with André.

“And to be clear, when we say detain, no one will be hurt. Especially if the person is under the influence of some magic Melania may have left.” He added.

“Anyone under the influence of magic will be held until we can have the magic reversed. The ones that Stephen identifies will be questioned and have to make their own hard choice of if they can be loyal to the pack and André or if they’d rather take their chances as a rogue.” Alexander shrugged.

“Does anyone have questions or concerns about the plan? Because we need to all start getting ready for the ceremony.” André questioned, looking everyone in the eyes.

“None, Alpha.” Was the general consensus as we all nodded, getting to our feet.

If I wasn’t nervous about taking the Gamma oath, I added more pressure because Faith and I needed to be on high alert, watching the crowd for anyone under the influence of magic.

‘It’ll be okay. We can do this. And there may not be many, if any, out there. I’m more worried for Stephen and Conway. They have to filter through different levels of malice in a crowd.’ Faith frowned.

I nodded, glancing at Stephen before leaning my head on his shoulder as the driver took us home. ‘He’ll be okay. They’ll be okay because they will have us to support them.’ I promised.

Stephen smiled, kissing my head as we reached the house. His family quickly poured out the front doors to greet us.

“How was your first meeting?” Signore Walterson questioned.

“Are you ready for tonight? Is there anything you need help with? I made sure Stephen’s suit was pressed and ready for him in your room.” Signora Walterson questioned.

I shook my head a little. ‘I think we are okay. I just need to figure out what I can wear. It’ll be fine.’ I assured her through the link.

My eyes lifted when I heard Ivan clear his throat and his large shadow fall over us. I cocked my head as he smiled, and then I noticed he was holding a garment bag.

‘Ivan?’ I questioned.

Still smiling slightly, he slowly opened the bag, and I gasped. Inside was an A-line tee length, which means just above my knee, white tulle and lace sleeveless v-neck dress with its embroidered floral pattern at the bust trickling down like vines.

“Amelia?” Stephen questioned, not sure if my reaction was good or bad.

“Oh, that is a lovely dress, Ivan. How sweet of you to have selected one for her.” Signora Walterson gushed.

‘It’s…it’s my mamma’s dress. She wore it when she took her Gamma oath after mating to Papa.’ I explained, sniffling as I hurried up the steps and hugged my brother.

“She’d have wanted you to wear it. Go get ready, sorellina.” Ivan smiled, handing me the garment bag.

Even as tall as I am, I had to pull him down to kiss his cheek. ‘Grazie, fratello maggiore.’ I smiled before I happily hurried up to my room. I had so much to do to get ready now that I had a dress to wear.

With the help of Signora Walterson and under the apparent supervision of Suzie, I did my make-up and hair. We used one of my mamma’s diamond and pearl hair combs that accented the french twist updo Signora Walterson put my hair into. And Suzie found my mamma’s diamond and pearl white gold earrings and necklace set.

“You look beautiful, Amelia. Stephen is going to fall over himself.” Suzie giggled as I tapped her nose with a make-up brush as I finished doing a very light amount of make for her.

I wasn’t sure Stephen’s reaction would be over the top. But as we came downstairs, I couldn’t help but blush at the way Stephen was looking at me.

‘Wow. You look… I mean, you always look beautiful. This… you look gorgeous.’ Stephen stammered out his compliment in our link.

‘You look very handsome too.’ I commented, nodding to his gray three-piece suit and blue striped tie. I blushed brighter, chewing my bottom lip.

“Well, if you two are done making eyes at each other, the cars are waiting.” Signore Walterson taunted, wrapping his arm around his mate’s waist.

“Yes, we don’t want to be late for our own oath ceremony.” Stephen nodded, offering me his arm. I smiled, taking his arm letting him escort me out to the car.

We weren’t the last ones to arrive, at least. We said our goodbyes to Stephen’s family and Ivan before heading to the stage to join the rest of the ranked wolves.

As we lined up, I felt a knot forming in my stomach. ‘I’m right here with you.’ Stephen assured me, placing his hand on my lower back as we walked out onto the stage.

I nodded. We would step into this new role and begin this journey together. I’m glad I have Stephen with me.

Chapter 22 - Stephen

This was nerve-wracking. Since high school graduation last spring, I haven’t been on a stage in front of a crowd. And even then, it hadn’t been this many people. Just the family of those in my graduating class.

Several hundred Madonie wolves are sitting in the amphitheater. That’s a lot of people looking at us.

The only thing keeping me from freaking out is that I’m touching the small of Amelia’s back. She’s just as nervous as I am. I need to remain calm so we both can remain calm.

‘How am I supposed to make my oath if I can’t talk to anyone but you?’ Amelia frowned as Darren stepped aside so Alexander could take his oath.

‘Drink first to make the link, then say your pledge to Alpha André.’ I suggested. I certainly can’t say her oath for her. It was the only way I could think of.

‘You’ll be fine.’ I encouraged her as it was her turn.

I watched as Amelia nervously approached and carefully knelt, not wanting to ruin her dress. In silence, she took her sip.

I saw André smile as he gestured her to rise, so I knew she must have said her oath in the link. I involuntarily winced when she had to cut her wrist to include her blood in the goblet.

I took a deep breath, slowly letting it out as I moved to kneel before André. ‘It’ll be okay.’ Amelia whispered through our link.

“I, Stephen Rhett Walterson, solemnly swear that I will faithfully serve the Madonie people, ALpha André, and Aleph Darren as their Gamma. And will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Madonie Pack.”

Having said my oath, I took my sip, standing as André gestured me to rise. I cut my wrist, letting my blood drip into the cup before stepping aside.

Amelia quickly took my hand in hers. ‘You both did well.’ Darren encouraged through the link, his eyes on the crowd.

‘The hard part is about to come. Be ready. We can’t let anyone who’s looking to harm André through.’ Alexander chimed in.

I blinked because shit, that was weird. The realization dawned on me that a new Madonie pack link was created as we pledged. I hadn’t thought about it until I heard Alexander speak.

I’m used to Darren as we were both Bloodmoon. I felt sad that my bond to Bloodmoon was forever severed, except for my family.

‘We are so proud of both of you.’ Mom beamed from her seat in the audience with tears in her eyes.

‘Stephen. Amelia.’ André’s voice filled my head, making me stand at attention. ‘Now is your time to shine, darlings.’

Right. Now we have to watch the crowd and point out anyone that will be a danger.

A chorus of gasps started as Ivan Furlan stood up from the crowd and made his way down the center aisle and up the steps to the stage. Amelia and I weren’t surprised.

We knew he’d pledge. He didn’t have loyalty to Ignazio. Anything he did was to protect Amelia. Even if he spends his life under house arrest, he would rather do it as a loyal pack member watching over his sister than a rogue.

“I, Ivan Noé Furlan, do swear by the Moon that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Alpha André of Madonie, his heirs and successors. So help me, Goddess.”

‘Conway, we need to put all our energy into this. There are many people, and we can’t let anyone get through.’ I called Conway, who was at the ready.

‘We’ve got this.’ He assured me as I felt his power pushing forward.

Whoa, this was new. Conway has grown stronger since Amelia and I mated, but this was different. This must be from becoming Gamma. I certainly won’t say no to a power boost.

I started focusing on the crowd taking a deep breath, and sorted through the collective scents around me to seek those with malice. Those with the intent to hurt or even kill.

Amelia and I started to point people out in the crowd through the link. Darren was quick to inform his family, who started popping up without warning in the crowd to take away those we were pointing out.

“Be calm.” André called out to everyone, and some of the people were making a scene at being taken away.

“Tonight is a celebration as we move forward as a pack. Anyone you see being detained is not here for those reasons. Place your trust in your ranked wolves and me.” André assured the crowd.

Everyone who’s already pledged seems to be at ease with his words. But those yet to pledge still emitted unease.

Crap! A strong scent of malice was close. ‘ALEPH! The male next in line! I’m sorry I didn’t pick it up sooner.’ I called out just before the male rushed for the stage.

“I won’t bow to an outsider! Madonie belongs to those born here!” The male shouted.

I was worried my warning was too late. But in a blur of blue, André went from center stage to having one hand on the male’s throat while the other still gripped the goblet. Not even a single drop had dripped from the goblet.

“Madonie belongs to those who will live, breathe, and fight for it. Madonie belongs to the one who will protect and serve its people. Madonie belongs to me!” André’s wolf snarled as his eyes turned yellow.

‘That guy is in for it now. He’s pissed Duilio off enough to come out.’ Alexander smirked, folding his arms as he watched, poised to move if our Alpha needed him.

“Anyone that supported Ignazio, that felt the whelp who would slay his own parents for power was a worthy Alpha doesn’t belong in a pack, least of all mine!” Duilio’s voice boomed throughout the amphitheater.

“Know this. If you felt Ignazio’s massacre of your previous ranked wolves, his massacre of the peaceful Nebrodi, and his war against the Incubi were justified, leave now. Leave now and live your life as rogues because you are not welcome in my territory!” He commanded.

The male was gasping for breath as Duilio still held him tightly.

“Then kill me.” The male demanded.

“If you think I am such a danger to your authority, kill me. Prove how strong you are.” He tried to sound confident as he spoke between gasps for air.

Duilio scoffed, dropping him to the ground. “I kill only to protect my pack and only when I am left with no choice. A true Alpha’s power isn’t in how ruthless he is. I give you your life. That is my mercy. Now get out of my territory, rogue.”

The guards finally got to us and hauled the male up by his arms. “Take him to the edge of the territory and let him go. Do not harm him.” André instructed, his eyes returning to their natural blue.

A clear message was being conveyed on stage. I could smell the change in the wind. The amount of malice and hate for those of us on stage was diluted. Duilio’s words had their effect.

As the last person pledged there had only been fifteen people taken away. Five of them Amelia had called out for being influenced by magic. Five sleeper agents, I suppose, leftover from Melania’s influence on Ignazio.

“My people! Thank you for joining us tonight and solidifying our bond as a pack. To celebrate this first step to the future of Madonie, we shall have a pack run! If you cannot shift, please make your way to the pack villa where the party is waiting to get started!”

André exclaimed, his excitement infectious as the crowd eagerly started to either change clothes to shift or filed out to head for the packhouse. I followed Alexander’s cue and went off stage to start undressing for the run.

‘Are you still shy about shifting in front of people?’ I questioned Amelia through our mate link.

Amelia blushed, shrugging a little as I shrugged off my dress shirt. I was down to my slacks and underwear when André and Darren joined us.

“Alissa? Amelia? Not joining the run for any particular reason? Or just bashful about being naked?” André arched an eyebrow as he started to undress.

“Oh… um well… Alpha, I’m….” Alissa shyly smiled, holding a hand to her stomach.

“Oh, that’s wonderful news! The first ranked heir is already on its way. Congrats to you and Gildo. And they get to have the distinct pleasure of growing up with my little brother or sister.” He grinned.

New life. After a war that resulted in so many deaths it was good to know those numbers will grow again. That is good news indeed.

“Thank you, Alpha. I’ll make sure everyone’s clothes are taken back to the villa and that the party starts without issue.” Alissa bowed her head as she gathered her mate’s clothes, kissing his cheek before he shifted to his wolf.

“Amelia? Are you going to tell me you have a pup on the way too?” André arched an eyebrow with a teasing smile at my blushing Gamma.

My back stiffened as he asked Amelia if she was pregnant. I know that heat is the most likely time for a she-wolf to get pregnant.

But we were careful, for the most part. We still ensured before coming to Madonie if she was, but the test was negative. And I’m okay with that. I want to be a dad, but Amelia and I are both too young and need more time together before adding a pup.

‘No… I… it’s not that. But I’m just not the most comfortable….’ Amelia explained through the pack link.

“Don’t worry, darling. The only person who will take notice of your nudity before your shift is Stephen. And no one is ever going to bad mouth you again. You are Gamma of Madonie, a gorgeous she-wolf with a hottie for a mate at her beck and call. Own it, sister.” André winked, shedding his clothes last before shifting to his massive black wolf with blue streaks along the flanks.

I’m not sure how I should feel that my Alpha called me a hottie. But whatever, I’ll chalk it up to André being André.

Darren rolled his eyes, turning his attention to Amelia. “You can shift last if it makes you more comfortable.” He suggested. “Then meet up with the rest of us at the front of the pack.”

Amelia was blushing bright red, looking up at the sky to not look at Darren as he stood naked for a moment before shifting to Cardinal.

With a howl, André led everyone else away to start the pack run. Leaving just Amelia and me standing in the side area of the stage.

‘It’s just us now. You should undress so we can join the others.’ I encouraged. ‘Do you want help?’ I offered, toying with the zipper of the dress.

Blushing, Amelia nodded as I unzipped the dress. I was careful as I removed the dress. It was her mother’s, after all.

‘We should also take care of the jewelry.’ I suggested kissing her bare shoulders as I carefully removed her necklace, earrings, and hair comb.

I smiled as she shivered, not because she was cold, her body melting against mine. ‘We… we need to catch up with the others.’ Amelia sighed as I unclasped her bra.

‘We’ve got time.’ I assured, slipping her bra off, taking the opportunity to palm her breasts.

‘But if you want me to stop, I will.’ I assured, scraping my teeth over her mark as my hands slid along her curves to start tugging down the lacy white underwear.

Her breath hitched as her ass unconsciously, or maybe it was on purpose, rubbed against my crotch. I groaned, nipping at her mark.

‘Do you want me to stop?’ I questioned, letting my hand slip between her thighs. I growled, finding her wet.

‘No…’ She whimpered, arching into my hand.

Oh, thank Goddess. I know I would have stopped if she said so, but I’m glad she didn’t. And well at least I don’t have to feel bad or weird that I did put condoms in my jacket pocket. Even if we have to be quick.

It was probably a good thing everyone was gone because the sounds of our quick lovemaking echoed in the amphitheater enough that I was embarrassed. We’d just shifted when Nicolao, the butler from the packhouse, stepped out.

“Just here to collect any discarded clothes, Gamma Amelia and Gamma Stephen.” The older male bowed his head to our wolves.

I nodded to him before rushing to catch up with Amelia and Faith. ‘Oh, Goddess. What if he… what if he heard us? What if he saw us?’ Amelia questioned.

‘I doubt he did. And if he did, he obviously isn’t going to say anything. We are the Gammas now. It’ll be okay, And honestly, with an Alpha like André, I’m sure stumbling on us together is the least scary thing Nicolao will deal with.’ I chuckled.

Amelia sighed, shaking her head as we finally caught up with everyone else. The run was fun. It was good to stretch Conway’s legs, and he always enjoys getting to run with Faith.

‘Alexander, you will come with André and me to deal with those we detained. Amelia and Gildo, and your mates, will be responsible for entertaining at the party till we can get there.’ Darren instructed as we reached the packhouse.

‘We can handle that.’ Gildo assured through the link before trotting off in the direction of his mate to change.

‘We’ll do our best.’ Amelia agreed. ‘We won’t let you down, Ca…I mean Aleph.’ I nodded before spotting Ivan and my family waiting for us.

My mom and Suzie had Amelia’s things and went with her for her to change while dad handed me my clothes as I shifted without much concern about being naked while I got dressed.

Ivan grunted, picking something off the ground and nudging my ribs. I raised an eyebrow as he opened his massive hand, and I paled when he handed me a condom that had fallen out of my jacket.

“Um… thanks.” I gulped, putting it back into my pocket, avoiding eye contact.

“At least they are practicing safe sex.” Dad, the helpful man, snickered.

“Come on, Ivan, let’s find you a large glass of something to drink.” Dad patted his shoulder, directing the giant inside.

Ivan left but not without glaring at me over his shoulder. If he had laser vision would have cut straight through me.

‘Everything okay?’ Amelia questioned as her hand slipped into mine.

‘Perfect now that you’re here. Let’s go mingle and show ourselves to be good Gammas.’ I suggested. I smiled and kissed her temple.

With smiles on our faces, we entered the party. There were some cautious glances thrown our way. And a few people that Amelia tensed when they approached.

But Amelia showed she held no hard feelings against those who bullied her. She is genuinely the better wolf.

There is not a petty bone in my mate’s body. And tonight, as she smiled and was kind to her childhood bullies. She even consoled a few who lost their families to this war.

She’s proving to them that she will be a caring and supportive Gamma for the pack. As I watched her with people, especially the orphan children, I could see how perfect she is for this role and how great a mother she’ll be someday.

This is our new life. We will support this pack, support Alpha André and Aleph Darren. And always support each other. I will spend my life supporting her and showing her every day how much I love her and how happy I am that she chose me.

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That was so sad and sweet at the same time.


Lorena Koolman
Lorena Koolman
Apr 03, 2022

This was an amazing short story, i laugh i cry. I could wait to read more. Truly your an amazing writer. Thank you very much for giving us so much. I really appreciate your work, I don’t know how hard it is to update chapter, to write stories and entertainment so many people. But you do it everyday giving and giving. Hope you know how much this means to at least me. Your stories are light in a world full of darkness. Thank you

Lorena Koolman
Lorena Koolman
Apr 03, 2022
Replying to

P.S i had a question do we have to wait to read a pov from Alexander in his book ? Because delihah is at the ceremony dancing i just wonder


Author Bryant
Author Bryant
Apr 02, 2022

The End! Or at least for this part of their tale! Two epilogues showing their future are coming next!


Penny Angeles-Tan
Penny Angeles-Tan
Apr 01, 2022

One of these days Darren will pull a Cheshire Cat grin before disappearing. Bad influence of Andre, of course, tee hee :D

Apr 01, 2022
Replying to

OMG I love this idea!!!! 🤣🤣🤣


Amanda Gerner
Amanda Gerner
Apr 01, 2022

That is the best ever, they found her mother’s dress and jewelry! Considering how bad the house was when they got back to it from Incubi before going to Bloodmoon, it is a near miracle of the best kind.

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