— Darren —
Not everyone has heard stories of the Hellhound, but I have. They say he was crazy strong, and dangerous, really dangerous. They say he’s an Alpha. Some say with a pack, others without one. Michael says he has a pack of Alphas—whatever that is—and his pack is one of the biggest and most powerful in the world. The stories say he’s also over seventy years old. Given that the man in front of me looked like he was in his thirties, either some of those stories were wrong, or he had an insane skincare regiment.
Or it wasn’t him.
Although, he did look like he bench-pressed European cars every morning as a warm-up for the day, so if he wasn’t strong, then at least he looked it.
I saw my father walk to the man, exchanged a couple of words, a handshake, then move on.
It’s only when I felt Eva’s hand leave mine that I realized she was moving towards the guy.
I felt a little uncomfortable and walked closer. I’m sure no one would do something blatant in front of everyone, but this guy’s face screams dangerous.
And I stopped dead behind her as she hugged him, and kissed his cheeks.
I turned around slightly disoriented, and spotted Michael. I went to him.
“Who is he?” I asked him.
“Alpha Kaden Devon,” he smiled. “The Hellhound.”
“He was invited?”
“Nope. But one of our guests had his little sister over, and invited her along. We got word today he would join us late to pick her up and leave in the morning.”
Micheal looked at the guy like a kid catching Santa in the living room on Christmas night. While I began adding things Eva had told me, to what I was seeing, and what Michael had just said.
The realization of whom Eva is just floored me.
I don’t know if I should be impressed, scared, or just worried.
After a few words, Eva left with the Hellhound, and I was left staring at empty space. I saw her look around as she left. I don’t know if she was looking for me, but our eyes didn’t meet, and that was it, she was gone. No hand wave, no goodbyes, nothing. I didn’t know how I should feel about that.
“What’s up with you man?” asked Michael.
“It was a pretty eventful night, I guess.”
We headed to the bar to grab drinks.
“Well, for one thing, I found my mate. Gin tonic,” I said to the barman then turned to watch Michael standing a few steps back with his mouth open. After maybe three seconds, he came to me.
“You sure?” Two of our brothers had found their mates, but not Michael, which had frustrated him a lot more than he let out. He was getting closer to thirty and generally, the older you get, the less likely you are to have one.
“Who is it?”
“Eva.” I racked my brain. “Eveline from Blakemore.”
“Eveline Devon?” he asked carefully, his face a mask.
“She didn’t tell me her last name, but her bodyguard mention meeting an Alpha Devon. She said she worked for her brother, seeing you called the guy she was kissing Kaden Devon, I suppose we could assume it’s her name.”
“You telling me your mate is the Hellhound’s sister?”
“I guess,” I said, emptying my glass after the third sip.
Then Michael burst out laughing.
“Yeah. Right. Keep this up. Real hilarious,” he said, slapping his hand on my shoulder.
“I’m not pulling your leg,” I said to his back, as he left me there.
I don’t know if he heard me, or if he even cared.
“Jerk,” I said to no one in particular, and ordered another drink.
I felt like crap. Maybe it was the revelation that my possible future brother-in-law was a guy more legend than fact, and whom terrified a lot of people. Or the fact that my brother mocked me for it. Or that my mate was not around anymore. Or even the fact that from what I heard, the Hellhound was really not from around here, and I didn’t hear of a Blakemore pack in the vicinity, which meant the distance could very soon become an issue in this relationship, if relationship there was. Or that I was tired. Or drinking too much too fast. Or maybe it’s just my natural disposition that was resurfacing now that Eva was not around anymore, and my Zen vibe died away.
Either way, it sucked.
And then I realized how a single woman that I barely knew could so suddenly, so thoroughly, affect my mood, which was a little unnerving—and my scowl soured some more.
I was so lost in my brooding that I didn’t realize right away that bodyguard Mads was here.
“Mr Darren Thomas?”
“Yes.” I brighten a little.
“Someone would like to see you. If you would follow me.”
I didn’t stall with questions and just went with it. If Eva was already up to seeing me again, that was good news. And it was late, really late, maybe she wanted me to join her in her room. Which cheered me up even more. It was weird that she sent her bodyguard to get me for that, but on the other hand, we didn’t even take the time to exchange phone numbers, which occurred to me was a ridiculous omission on my part. Which I should correct has soon as possible.
I pulled my phone and began filling the contact page: Eveline, Devon, Blakemore pack. Then in the nickname box I wrote Eva with a little heart emoji, which I quickly erased.
What the Hell is wrong with me?
I saved the contact and raised my head as Mads was opening a door, and not to a bedroom, but to one of the drawing rooms.
On one of the big chairs in the middle sat Big Brother Hellhound, looking straight at me.
Is this how I’m gonna die?
I mean, I’m not too shabby myself. I learned how to fight. I’m from an Alpha bloodline, and thus my wolf was neither tiny, nor weak. But something about that guy made me reconsider my whole position regarding my own capabilities.
He gestured for me to take the seat in from of him, and I just obeyed.
I haven’t always been known for my capacity at following orders, but somehow I was attached to the idea of living to a ripe old age, and this felt like a good way to achieve this goal.
I heard Mads close the doors behind us with an impermeable finality, leaving me alone with the man with the reputation of being one of the scariest wolf alive.
I mean, there’s a freaking long list of nasty things’ death that as been attributed to him.
The silence stretched for nearly a full minute as he looked at me. And me breaking it felt like betraying my emotions, so I just waited.
“My sister told me she found her mate,” he finally said.
“If your sister is Eva, then yes.”
“You’re Alpha Thomas’s son?”
“But not his eldest?”
“Nope.” Good, I think I was slowly reconnecting with my spine.
“How far down?”
“That’s a lot of sons.”
“…Out of six. So yeah, my father doesn’t lack sons.”
“You have a job?”
“Nope, just an internship.”
“What are you studying?”
“You don’t sound like someone enjoying accounting?”
“Not really, but I’m not too bad at it.”
“Then why do you study in accounting?”
“Because my father said it’d be more useful for his business than a business degree, and he’s the one with the check-book, and Uni is ridiculously expensive.”
“So you didn’t study business?”
“I did, I just didn’t finish.”
“And what position are you to take in the pack?”
“It sounds wasteful.”
“My eldest brother got trained to become Alpha after my father, the two next in line receive some training to replace him if something happens, or if another rank position get left without someone to take over. But my father considered this enough of a contingency plan, and decided to let the other three fend for themselves. Didn’t pay for the ivy league like he did my brothers, didn’t offer rank or anything. I’m pretty sure I’m not gonna be thrown with the Omegas, but that’s pretty much it.”
“And you’re okay with this?”
“Not exactly, but there is a limit to what I can do. And tantrums aren’t my thing.”
“So no real plan for the future?”
That didn’t sound good.
“Not yet,” I corrected. “I don’t just sit back and do nothing, I’m just not sure where to start. But once my internship is over, and I start bringing in money of my own, I’ll get a little bit more flexibility to try my hand at options.”
“You want Eva to join you here?”
I thought a few seconds before answering.
“She has a stable job. I just have an internship. And she seems to like hers. Financially and career-wise, hers seems a priority over mine, as for the rest…” I shrugged. “I don’t know. We haven’t talked about any of this yet. I guess she doesn’t live around here.”
“So we’re gonna have to have this conversation sooner or later.”
I hesitated. What did that mean?
“Unless you called me over to force me to reject her?” I asked him.
“And why would I do that?” His tone of voice was the same throughout the entire conversation, with the same kind of enthusiasm you have while shopping for a dishwasher. But his eyes, they were glued on me, and made me feel strangely little.
I shrugged. “I don’t have a title. I don’t have money, or a career. I’m from an Alpha bloodline, but that’s pretty much it. For some, it could be not enough.”
“Is that what you’re looking for? Titles, bloodlines, career and money?”
“From a mate?” I took my time to answer. “Not really. I’d be lying if I said it’s not worth consideration, because it is. It can change things.” I looked him straight in the eyes. “But it’s no deciding factor.”
“And you expect me to interfere in my sister’s love-life?”
“You called me here.”
He thought for a second.
“I don’t like making decision uninformed,” he said.
The corner of his mouth rose in the faintest of smiles.
“What do you intend to do now?” He asked me.
“Get her phone number. I forgot to ask,” I said truthfully. “Talk. See what she wants to do. Learn about her. We haven’t talked for more than a minute or two.”
“So I heard,” he said dangerously.
I tried not to gulp audibly.
“I’d like to get to know her.”
“What if she doesn’t want to leave her home?”
I shrugged. “Maybe I’ll look into somewhere closer to finish my degree. Spend time with her. See if we can make this work.”
“You’d leave home?”
“It’s a possibility, yes.”
“Won’t you miss it?”
“Probably not as much as I’d like it too.”
“I’ve a pretty limited future here.”
“And it would be better elsewhere?”
“Maybe, maybe not. That what it means ‘not to know’. I can only try.”
“Wise enough,” he mirrored. “But what if she doesn’t want to?”
He gave me a single nod.
“That would suck,” I blurted. “But I can’t force her now can’t I?”
“For your survival, I would advise you against it,” he said. It wasn’t a threat, but a fact. Like the sky his blue, the rain is wet, and you do that to her and you’ll be hanged by your own entrails.
Of course I had no intentions of hurting her, but stalker-ish behaviours were not unheard of with mates. Especially when one is not as interested as the other. So I understood his reaction. If I had a little sister, I’d probably do something similar. Only, I’m pretty sure I could never speak so lightly, and make the other feel like there was a dozen little sniper red dots appearing on his chest, like I’m ready to blow his brain out, and it wouldn’t even make me blink.
And this was scarier than any words he said. Those eyes were the eyes of a predator.
Wolves are natural predators, you get used to the feeling when you live in a pack. But this guy’s eyes were something quieter, deeper, and more primal. What I felt was probably the kind of feeling other prisoners and criminals had felt when they brought Hannibal Lector inside the prison.
He looked like he hunted predators in his off time.
It felt like a whole new level of fear.
Given my Alpha blood, I’ve never scared easy, so this was a little new to me.
And again, maybe, the stories I heard were influencing me somehow, but my instincts told me not to mess with this dude.
“I would suggest you make sure of what she wants before you make any decisions. I’m not gonna push for a rejection. I wouldn’t cause her that kind of harm. This is her life and her choice. But I will do everything in my power to protect her, and I will do so with extreme prejudice.” He left his words hanging for a few seconds then rose up. “If you’re up for it, and she wishes you too.” I rose too and he pulled his wallet out. “Here.” He gave me a business card. “I’m not gonna pull strings. Send your CV, if you cut it, you could transfer your internship. Or get a job. It’s up to you.”
Then he walked out.
I didn’t know what this conversation would be, but I didn’t quite expect this.
I looked at the business card.
It was of a company I didn’t know. Well, I guess he just gave me options.
Yet, I still didn’t know where she lived. Could be on the other side of the Earth for all I know.