Wolves of Mateo

After a prank gone wrong, Riley is left abandoned in the forest with snapping wolves approaching her from across Lake Mateo. She wakes up in the Dimera house but soon comes to learn their act of hospitality wasn't just out of kindness, but out of something much deeper and terrifying - to a mere human anyway. Werewolves live among us and Riley finds herself between two of the most powerful werewolves in Wyoming. While her heart is being torn in two, her head is telling her to do the right thing - but it's always easier said than done. Fighting in a whole new world, she must overcome the danger and settle in where she now truly belongs. Werewolf hunters, Mate claims, Alpha rivalry, and Pack wars... Welcome to Mateo, home of the Wolves. *EDITED VERSION NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON, PUBLISHED BY MOVELLAS http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01GFUK45O* {{COMMENT FOR CC SWAP}}
The Wolves of Mateo - Episode 121:00 min.
The Wolves of Mateo - Episode 216:00 min.
The Wolves of Mateo - Episode 319:00 min.
The Wolves of Mateo - Episode 418:00 min.
The Wolves of Mateo - Episode 516:00 min.
The Wolves of Mateo - Episode 619:00 min.


22. Chapter 22

Dante reached into a small nook in a tree trunk and produced a semi-dirtied shirt. He held it out for me to take, noticing my visible shivers. I put it on silently as we walked further into the dense forest. Dante led me through an unfamiliar path towards home, wherever that was. The night wildlife came alive around us.

“Not long now,” Dante said as he picked up his pace and I struggled to keep up. I concentrated on not falling over.

As if I’d put a blockade up in my brain that filtered everything negative, I couldn’t think of much more than now and where I was going. I didn’t linger on thoughts of Austin and I didn’t think about the Dimera’s… Even if I wanted to.

The trees were thinning out and beyond Dante’s body I could see illuminated windows of a small cabin-like house, unlike the Dimera’s home which looked like any normal home except it just so happened to be in the middle of the forest.

It gave me a thoughts such as, perhaps Dante and his family preferred a rougher more animalistic lifestyle. They didn’t seem as uptight as the Dimera’s, nor as sophisticated. I had to remind myself to reign in the judgements. I hadn’t met his actual family yet.

As we approach the cabin, I saw smoke billowing into the night sky above us telling me others were home, some perhaps awake. He probably lived with family like Austin. He certainly looked young enough.

Dante reached out for my hand and gently towed me towards the door. The house had a small sign nailed onto the wall but it was too dark to read it. The door clicked open and Dante let me inside.

A wave of warmth hit my face as soon as I entered through the doorframe. There was an electrical buzz that fumbled with the silence. Nervously, I looked around.

My eyes fell on a small petite teenage girl, maybe fourteen years old. She opened her mouth to speak and said, “You didn’t tell me you’d be bringing another-,” she looked me up and down, scrutinizing me, “-friend home to stay.” I knew young teenagers well enough to know friend wasn’t the word she wanted to say.

My face scrunched at her attitude and looked the girl over as if that’d tell me all about her problem. I felt Dante glance at me from the side.

“Where’s mom?” He asked finally, sounding bored.

The teenager moodily snapped her gum and shrugged. “Upstairs with dad, they’re sleeping.”

Dante peered up at the clock on the wall before he replied, “It’s nearly eleven at night and you have work to do tomorrow. Why aren’t you sleeping?” I awkwardly fidgeted around in the background of this brother-sister conversation.

I supposed it was odd to see Dante in family mode. I’d seen him very few times but none of those left nice impressions. There was the angry Dante, smug Dante, and threatening Dante. He seemed a lot more pleasant when he didn’t try to act like a douche.

The girl crossed her arms and confidently looked away. “Why aren’t you and your girlfriend sleeping?”

He must have brought home girls often, I thought. Why else would she assume a girl she hadn’t seen before was her brother’s girlfriend? Maybe that’d explain her attitude. I wasn’t any more understanding.

“We don’t have anything to do tomorrow, Amanda. Just go to sleep or I’ll wake dad up.” Ah, the casual parent threat worked like a charm. If only I had a sibling to use it on.

She gave us one final glare before ‘Amanda’ mumbled, “Whatever,” And trotted up the stairs by the door.

Dante sheepishly smiled back at me. “Sorry about her,” he muttered before he turned away.

“It’s not you that should be saying sorry. Is she always that rude?” I quietly asked, now knowing most of the family were asleep.

He didn’t answer as he sat down in front of a computer which sat on a desk near the fireplace. “For the record, I don’t have girlfriends often. She just doesn’t like the fact that I’ve been in a relationship and she hadn’t. Not on the best terms right now.” His eyes looked trustworthy, but I didn’t want to believe it.

I snorted before taking a few steps closer and stood over his shoulder at the computer. “Oh, really? She seemed awfully familiar with the situation,” I said as I tried to sound unamused. Every truth inside of me screamed I was bored and didn’t care but my werewolf, with another mind of its own, hurt with jealousy. 

He laughed as if I’d told a joke and said, “I’ve had girlfriends, Riley, just girlfriends. Surely you’ve had boyfriends?” He logged onto his computer and I was glad we were talking about something normal – something human. I couldn’t say I’d spoken about such normal things with Austin.

I shrugged, although he wouldn’t have seen. “I’ve had a few...” I lied. I’ve had interests but no official boyfriends. He didn’t respond as he sat back on the spinning chair and the seat groaned under his weight. “Why are you on the computer?” I asked.

He sighed tiredly. “It would be awkward sitting with nothing to do over at the couch.” He signalled over to the two small leather seats.

After a few seconds pause, I said, “Thank you, Dante.” It taken all I had to say it. I wasn’t sure what I was thankful for, or if it was right to be thankful towards Dante after the trouble I could honesty say was his fault.

He turned from the computer screen and a small smile touched his lips. I didn’t see the controlling, nasty alpha-to-be like I’d seen in the past. A normal face with normal intentions.

I had to forcefully remind myself that Dante wasn’t an ally or an enemy quite yet.

“No need to thank me,” he replied, “I’m not going to argue with fate.”

And I wouldn’t argue with Dante.

I backed away and sat on the comfortable leather couches that Dante had purposely not sat on. Maybe he wanted to avoid conversation? I didn’t want to though. In fact, I wanted to talk as much as we could to figure things out before someone could disturb us.

“So where is everyone?” I questioned nervously.

Dante snorted a laugh, only half paying attention as he moved the mouse for the computer. “You sound scared.” He half-heartedly tried to sound sympathetic but didn’t succeed. His voice was laced with distaste. “What have the Dimera’s told you?”

I could hear light snoring from upstairs reminding me his family were home. Would they welcome me to their family? A nervous twinge shot through me.

“Would you stop being so paranoid, it’s putting me on edge,” Dante muttered. “I don’t think you seem to understand that what you feel, I feel as well as long as you’re close by… Because of the mate thing, you know?”

I clearly had a lot to learn. It sounded invasive to know constantly how the other was feeling.

More worries set in.

Dante sat back and grumbled under his breath. He rolled his head around on his shoulders and said, “You really need to relax.” He got up from his seat and slowly made his way towards the seated area. “It’s not good for you.”

“No harm in wallowing once in a while,” I muttered as he sat beside me. I sank further into the chair.

He sat a small distance away on the same seat and said, “In all seriousness, you really don’t need to act so scared. I have no doubt that Austin was exaggerating whatever he’s told you in true Dimera style.”

I grabbed the cloth lining on the couch and played with it in my fingers to distract myself. It didn’t seem to be working. “It doesn’t matter what he said, because I’m here despite whatever it was they’ve told me,” I said. They hadn’t told me very much about the Bancroft, in all fairness.

“Yeah, that’s always a good start,” he muttered sarcastically. “We’re not evil or anything like that, Riley. We have our reasons for everything we do. Or at least my father does.”

I grasped the bull by its horns thinking this was the best time to get the truth out of his. “And what’s your pack’s reasoning for creating the Dimera pack in the first place?” I asked him.

Dante inhaled a large breath as if it’d be a long explanation. He glanced my way, hoping to see something that’d tell him he could bypass the explanation. He resigned and continued to say, “Our pack was dying out, members on the brink. We were struggling to find mates and humans kept being born into the pack. We needed pure born werewolves,” he said. Dante shrugged his shoulders before he then said, “Our alpha at the time turned someone by accident and that gave them the ability to create a pack. It was unintentional. We turned those wolves so they could join our pack, not create their own. Technically what we did was against werewolf law, but no one ever bothered trying to enforce them. We are the biggest pack around,” He finished as he yawned, stretching his arms above his head. I felt guilty for the trouble I was causing him, keeping him up late at night.

 “Maybe someone should have enforced them,” I mumbled, hoping for a slight reaction. “And it’s quite hilarious how you created your own opponent through a failed plan to expand your pack and territories.”

He laughed unexpectedly. “And kill my parents before I’m born? You do realise they would have killed the werewolves we turned and you wouldn’t have met Austin because he would never have existed. And I would never have existed either.”

Yes, I do realise. As nasty as it sounded, if someone had enforced those laws, Bancroft pack wouldn’t exist and neither would Dimera pack. Everything and everyone would be in peace. My family would be fine, my dad would be at home with my mom, and those hikers from the beginning that set this off like a set of dominoes would either have not existed or not have been killed. Whether they were werewolves or human, that doesn’t matter

If one event hadn’t happened, it would have stopped a ton of misery in my life. I had no problem in passing all the blame of my life problems to Bancroft and their people.

“But, I wouldn’t be...” I began to say, but decided against it.

He shook his head like he was disappointed. “You wouldn’t be what? A werewolf?” Dante asked. He shifted uncomfortably before he said, “What’s so bad about being a werewolf? You transform into a powerful, magical wolf every two weeks, you get to live in a pack that would die to protect you.” he sounded like he just couldn’t understand why anyone would want to be human. “And if you’re into all that romantic sappy stuff, you have a mate that will forever and eternally be in love with you no matter what you do.”

I was sad to even admit it to myself, but the pros outweighed the cons.

“So what’s the deal between you and the Dimera’s?” I asked, moving on.

Dante looked around in thought, giving me an excuse to study his sharp features. “It isn’t as bad as it seems,” he tried to explain, “It’s just a family thing. You know, like, if a brother hates a person, usually the sister will hate that person too and then it turns into a family versus family thing. It’s like that for us, but it’s continued for generations. If you ask me, Dimera’s take things far too seriously. I wouldn’t have held any grudge against them if they hadn’t have said and done what they did.”

I turned to him sceptically, wonder what that could be. “Oh yeah, what exactly did they say to piss you off?”

Dante was growing fed up with the way I spoke to him, but I couldn’t help myself. Dante said, “They have every right to be mad, I give them that. We changed their lives for eternity. But when my grandfather passed away…” He paused for a second. Dante looked upset. “They dug up his grave days after he died in petty revenge just because they could. To make us mad. We’ve never got his body back. That alpha of theirs is a right piece of work.” Anger tinted his voice and I realised then it was a touchy subject. I could understand why – the actions of Dimera, assuming it was the truth, had caused such a huge rift that now they were at each other’s throat to kill.

I could understand the anger. The instigator of the initial conflict – Dante’s grandfather – had died. Bancroft wanted to put the war behind them. They were ready to stand down. Then Dimera disrespected the dead and stole the body before that could happen.

So heartless, I thought, but how was I to know who was telling the truth.

“No, they wouldn’t have done that, the Dimera’s are good people-,” I tried to defend them, despite an anger that was very much alive inside me towards the Dimera’s. Mr. Dimera for being a terrible leader, Austin for being spineless enough to do exactly as his father had said, and Rose for watching on the side-lines and not saying what was on her mind. I tried to defend them but couldn’t defend them to even myself.

I couldn’t defend Dimera and what they had done to me. They hadn’t done anything to deserve my forgiveness. The friendship between Austin and I suddenly meant nothing. The feelings that had begun to develop between us a few weeks prior meant even less.

Of course Austin meant less to me. Internally, my animal instincts and werewolf opinions were growing stronger. My human, pre-werewolf mind tried to defend Austin hopelessly. My ever-strengthening werewolf mind did not condone the Dimera’s and wanted nothing more than to join Bancroft.

“The Dimera’s are good people just like how you thought Bancroft’s are bad people? Ever heard of the phrase ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’?” He laughed. “Turn the tables, honey. The Dimera’s are bad, and us? Before we were driven by greed, I admit, but today? We’re driven by hate. Who now do you think are doing wrong, the grave robber who just can’t drop it, or the pack that won’t stand for it?”

I spat my reply before I could think it through and said, “In all my time with the Dimera’s, I didn’t see them once attack you. You always came to them. You brought it on yourself.”

Dante got to his feet as if the sudden anger prevented him from keeping still. “You think they couldn’t provoke us without you knowing? Maybe you were sleeping, maybe you were out the house – I don’t know! They’ve killed our men needlessly and I can’t forgive that. This is an old war they’ve chosen to continue. They brought it on themselves.”

Suddenly I could recall a dozen occasions I spotted the Dimera’s out in the woods in the middle of the night. Austin and his father returning home early in the morning before anyone was awake. What had they been up to? Had they really been doing this?

There was a light beep from the computer, only momentarily distracting us.

Dante made his way towards the computer, but he was still shouting while ignoring the risk of waking his family. “You know, I thought you’d be more understanding than this,” he said angrily.

I rolled my eyes. “I do understand, but both sides are to blame for what’s happened,” I replied. Although my sympathy was screaming with Dante, I still couldn’t fully understand that Mr. Dimera had been behind a plot to dig up a grave. How disgusting!

I heard some typing at the computing and I turned away to give him privacy, being able to feel how angry he was from the other side of the room.

“Shit!” Dante swore behind me.

My ears perked up and I risked another question. “What is it?” I asked.

“Just an email,” he replied quickly, omitting any details.

I choose to wait before I asked anything else but as I watched him read further into his email, I could tell it wasn’t good news. He stood, sending the chair back into the wall with a crash. “I’ll kill them!” Dante exclaimed. He began to storm around the room like even a brick wall couldn’t stop him.

This time I couldn’t sit back. I got up and hastily made my way towards him and stood by the computer. “What did it say?” I asked.

I read a bit for myself.

I saw the sender had something to do with the Touren pack and it immediately caught my attention.

Bancroft, sorry for the late night emails. We’ve just discovered three dead Bancroft wolves on our land and thought it only right to inform you immediately. You’re welcome on our land to collect the bodies and nothing more, we’re sorry for your loss.

The email was short and snappy, straight to the point. Dante was still kicking about the room in a rage.

What could have killed them? Who killed them? Why were they on Touren land?

“Dante, stop,” I yelled before he could break anything. “We’ll go to Touren and get back the bodies,” I reassured, hoping Dante was making more sense of this than I was.

Dante shook his head and clamped both hands hopelessly on my shoulders. “That’s not the point, Riley,” he said, “Do you know how many members our pack is down to? We have one hundred and fifty six members and now with the loss of three strong male wolves, we now only have twelve wolves that are trained to protect. No thanks to Dimera who’ve killed around ten over the past month. This is why my grandfather turned the Dimera’s, so we wouldn’t die out. Our pack has an extremely low werewolf birth rate. All humans. All of them have to be turned - very few turn out to be strong.”

Disagreeing with him, I tried to comfort Dante despite how much I thought he didn’t deserve it inside. “Things could change,” I said.

“Not overnight. It’ll take decades to repopulate to our previous size. The Dimera pack and those alike still think we’re strong in members, they don’t realize how low we are. Heck, I bet Touren has more trained wolves than us now,” Dante sighed. “They knew we had an issue with falling member numbers, but they have no idea how bad it’s really getting. If they find out, Bancroft won’t survive for much longer.” His lip curled at the idea. I resisted my werewolf’s urge to hug him.

“Then you’ll just have to pretend, tell a few lies. I’m sure you’re good at that,” I teased.

Dante snorted. “We’ve been lying about a lot of things for a while. Acting like the tougher and stronger pack when in reality Touren could probably take us on these days.” Dante’s nose twitched in disgust. “Our pack has become pathetic. My grandfather would be disappointed - we couldn’t even protect his body.”

I suddenly took hold of his hands to anchor him in one spot. I said, “You’re not pathetic. We need time. This can be overcome – just wait for it.”



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