Carnal Secrets(3)By: Suzanne Wright
As Trey and Nick were close allies, the shifter guarding the perimeter gate didn’t flag them down; he simply gave them a respectful nod and let them pass through the gates of Phoenix Pack territory, which was disguised as a nature reserve. Nick’s wolf relaxed a little—content in the knowledge that he would soon see his mate.
Eli, Nick’s brother, drove the SUV to the mountain that was deep within the territory. Unlike most packs, including Nick’s own, the Phoenix wolves didn’t live in cabins. Instead, they lived inside the mountain—an ancient cave dwelling that had been modernized.
Once Eli had parked the SUV inside the concealed parking lot at the base of the mountain, Nick turned to him. “Stay here. Derren and I should only be fifteen minutes or so.” Nick was always careful not to bring too many wolves inside the caves. The Alpha, Trey, wasn’t the most stable of people, and his wolf easily felt threatened. As such, the arrival of three powerful, dominant wolves would instantly have him alert.
“Nick, maybe you—” Derren quickly cut himself off, sighing. “Never mind.”
Grateful he wasn’t going to have to listen to more of Derren’s shit, Nick exited the SUV. Both Eli and Derren knew that Shaya was his mate. Being someone who stayed out of other people’s business, Eli hadn’t said much about it—plus, he knew that pressing Nick on anything was an exercise in futility. Derren, however, had raised the matter plenty of times, badgering Nick to stop letting fear interfere with his decision to claim Shaya. It was getting real old.
With Derren close behind him, Nick climbed up the steps that had been carved into the face of the mountain until he finally came to the entrance. One of the enforcers, Marcus, was there, holding the door open. He didn’t look happy. That might not have given Nick cause to frown if it wasn’t for the fact that the tall, dark-haired wolf was usually cheery and flashing everyone a clown-wide smile. When Marcus didn’t even give him a nod of greeting, a feeling of disquiet came over Nick.
“Trey’s in the kitchen,” he said simply before gesturing with a tip of his head for Nick and Derren to follow him through the tunnels that would take them deeper into the mountain. After a series of turns, they eventually reached the very contemporary kitchen. Sitting at the long dining table were the other three enforcers, the Head Enforcer, the Beta pair, and the Alpha pair. Much like Marcus, they didn’t look happy to see him, particularly Taryn. And that could only mean one thing: they all knew the truth about Shaya being his mate. So either the Beta pair had finally told them, or Shaya herself had.
Well, it had only been a matter of time. Not one to play games, Nick didn’t bother with any pretense. Stopping in front of the table, he simply said, “So you know.”
“Oh, we know,” confirmed Taryn snappily. Her mate began kneading her nape, clearly trying to keep her from going for Nick’s throat. The blonde might be small and dainty, but she was powerful. And scary, for that matter. In fact, most of the shifter community feared her as her once latent wolf had overcome that suppression and surfaced.
“I suppose this is the part where you order me to stay away from Shaya.” If they thought they’d have any success with that, more fool them. Hell, he’d ordered himself to stay away from her, and not even that had worked.
“You owe her that,” gritted out Jaime; the Beta female was a close friend of Shaya’s. But that was his Shaya—she made friends easily, inspired loyalty and protectiveness in people, which was why the wolves in front of him were clearly fantasizing about killing him. He noticed that one of the enforcers looked particularly pissed with him. Dominic. Nick really did hate that wolf. Why? Because Dominic spent a lot of time with her—so much so that Nick had at one point suspected he was in a relationship with her.
Usually his wolf—who was prone to jealousy—would have most of his attention focused on the little prick, but not today. No, today his wolf was stressing over something and was annoyed with Nick for not realizing what his wolf had already sensed: Shaya’s scent was faint. Extremely faint, in fact. Unease tingled down Nick’s spine. “Where is she?”
“That’s not important,” stated Trey, his arctic-blue eyes drilling into Nick. “What’s important is that you listen carefully. We’re all very much aware that you and Shaya are mates and that you’ve both known it from the beginning. As it’s obvious that you don’t want to claim her, you are to butt out of her life and leave her alone. If you don’t butt out, well, you must want a war between our packs.”