Wolves of Mateo: Wolf Moon

Austin was taken by the hunters by the banks of Wolf Lake - deep in the forests of Mateo, Wyoming. Searching for him is Riley and Dante - his closest friends yet worst enemies. They both have very little time to save him from what's likely to come - a sacrifice for the Wolf Moon - a hunter legend engrained in their traditions. Trying to save their friend is only part of the deal, as new enemies emerge threatening the whole balance of things back home as both Riley and Dante set on a trail out of state in Colorado before they realise the real threat is oozing out from within. A new chapter unfolds. BOOK TWO IN WOLVES OF MATEO DUOLOGY.

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5. Chapter 5

Dunsmore was larger than I had anticipated. I wasn’t sure how large in comparison to Mateo, but the map in front of me done a good job in making this task seem impossible. Hunters could be anywhere. The rogue hunters were easy to catch – their scent was good at betraying them. A human hunter could smell like a hunter but it was a lot easier to get it wrong and the consequence for killing a human were big.

Dante nodded along with Lay as if he had a clue what he was doing. I certainly didn’t. “Is that all the reported sightings of suspicious individuals?” Lay asked him.

Dante gave the map a quizzical stare before looking back up at Lay. “You tell me.”

“Have there really been this many?” I asked, as I stared at the map covering the entire table top in Lay’s office. Dozens of pins pierced the map and into the table below – not that Lay seemed to mind. Most of the pins were in the forested areas, placed at a rough estimate.

Lay lifted a final pin in his hand – “All of these are only suspicious individuals. Only one trusted sighting of a hunter and now to account for yesterday – our unidentified Rogue.”

“Got any further with the guy?” Dante asked, as he came to my side and squeezed my hand.

Lay shook his head before taking a seat. “Won’t open up for anyone. Got a few grunts out of him when we shook him about a little, but he’s being tough. We get along with the rogues here in Dunsmore, but they aren’t allowed on pack land, no exceptions.”

I disagreed with their methods, but what could I do when I didn’t belong to this pack and I was simply a guest?

Dante nodded again. “Try threats, torture, anything. We don’t lose anything by killing him, we won’t fall back a step with his refusal to talk. Make sure he knows that.”

“I think you’re forgetting your place,” Lay warned, giving Dante a look that told him to back off and let their pack do the work. “You’re our guest, nothing more.”

I would have liked to argue that fact – without us ever telling them about the hunter problem in Mateo, they’d have ben oblivious to the threat and not on alert. “You can’t kill the guy,” I piped up.

Lay didn’t meet my eye, or address my point at all. “Dante, leave me to it just now, I’ll update you both later.” His way of asking us to leave, obviously, while both Lay and Dante both held their cool.

Dante had to bite his tongue as his hand clenched around my own painfully. I endured it as he looked up from the seemingly puzzling ground and signalled to the door with his head. It wasn’t like Dante at all.

“Did you hear me alright? You can’t kill him,” I responded back before Lay kicked us out, hoping to get my point across without any consequences.

Lay this time looked up from the map after a few tense seconds and blinked without a care in the world. “I heard you fine.”

Dante tugged my hand. “Come on…”

“I’d understand if he was a hunter. He trespassed on your land, that’s it,” I said again.

Lay banged his fist on the table. “Who’s he to you that you want to protect a rogue? A rogue can die for trespassing, but what’s was his reason for doing it in the first place, to spy?”

I recoiled a little into Dante’s tense back, himself also close to also joining this battle. I made sure to let him know I didn’t want him involved by nudging his side. “He’s no one to you, but by killing him does that make us a better person than these hunters or whoever this rogue is? You don’t know what he’s up to, whether he’s guilty or innocent!”

Lay paused in his rage and seemed to consider that point, but his face quickly contorted with disgust. “Nothing can be compared to the vile acts of those hunters, and any pack in North America would be willing to go to any length to eradicate then, even if it means killing rogues. The rogue we have prisoner has trace of a hunter scent – subtle, but it’s there. We’ll be protecting many by removing him.”

I shook my head in pity. “You’re deluded.”

I felt Dante’s arms pull me back by the waist, but I resisted as gracefully as I could while Lay looked on with what could only be described as utter fiery rage. “Get her out of here before I escort you both from my land.”

Dante didn’t bode well taking commands from others, but he must have known what situation awaited if he didn’t carry through this one because next second with all his strength, he’d hauled me from the room and out the door.

***

“Dante, let me go! I’ll hurt you so bad once you do you won’t even believe-.” Suddenly he’d set me down on my feet. I lost my balance briefly, but he steadied me well before embracing me tightly.

“Breathe, Riley. You’re getting yourself worked up for nothing,” He mumbled into my ear. I felt like a spoilt rotten child kicking up a fuss, but it didn’t matter at this point – because as a spoilt rotten kid, nothing mattered but myself.

No tears surfaced either, only anger. A sign of the impending full moon, I guessed. Would it be a few days, maybe more? I’d not been keeping track. “I swear to god, Dante, if your pack ever pulls something like this and kill without any reason, I will leave you.”

He ignored the threat and instead rubbed my back ever so gently with his large rough hands. “I won’t ever, not unless you give me the go ahead. You’re my alpha female, I listen to you and you only.”

His reassurance seemed to cool me down, but it was still there. “I’m sorry, Dante, just everything-.”

“It’s Austin, it’s the full moon, it’s the hunters, it’s the curse fate stupidly gave us, it’s me? I know, I know, Riley… And I’m sorry but you have to endure, ok?”

Ok, now I felt bad. He was the one asking me to endure it, but I was sure it should have been me telling him that by this point, after all he was out to save his enemy because the girl he was destined to have a forever with asked him to – save another man. I’d have been a green monster if I were in his position. I couldn’t fault his actions right now in any way.

I hugged him as tightly as I could back. “Sorry,” I blurted out, so fast I wasn’t sure he heard.

His reply was a simple kiss to my temple. Dante took a step back, keeping both hands on my upper arms rubbing them in circles. “Are we okay now? I need to go for now, help out with the others. You can do whatever – just don’t leave the house or garden – I’m not sure how safe it is here anymore and I’m not risking anything.” Dante made sure I was aware of what he wanted me to do.

I nodded my head, agreeing.

He grinned in a way I hadn’t seen him do in a while, almost as if nothing bad had ever happened between us two. Almost like the start of something normal.

Dante left suddenly and left me alone. It gave me a chance to clean up, which lead to wasting half an hour in the shower. Thoughts struck me hard, the steam gave me freedom to think as it not only relaxed my muscles but a barricade on my thoughts.

Normal. Dante and I were never normal, were we? Never a single moment. It’s been just under half a year since I met him, but not a single simple moment of normality? From day one there’d been conflict with the Dimera, threat from the hunters, and then a conflict between both of us and now this – rescuing the enemy to please his mate. What even was this stupid situation?

The situation was beyond the realms of absurd, stupid, and slightly terrifying. Yet here I was in the shower wasting time with thoughts. I felt useless – a useless female living up to her gender stereotypes.

“What should I do?” I groaned to myself, shutting off the water and drying myself off.

We weren’t even in safe territory – we were guests of Santoro, but by no means were we any kind of high and mighty that automatically had those of Santoro bowing to protect us. There were threats all around us now – hunters we couldn’t seem to find, rogues of Dunsmore, and even members of the Santoro pack if you considered how hostile the man was in the boutique.

The fact the rogues and packs of this area chose to live in harmony was confusing, there must have been a pact outlined – stay off our land, stay away from us? I wasn’t too sure, but either way the rogue they had found injured was either a regular rogue, or in fact a hunter if he did carry the scent like Bianca’s father – working for the other side, betraying his own kind out of his own twisted delusions. It seemed everyone here had a somewhat warped perception of reality and what of course was in the best interest of everyone. Starting with Lay – his seemed only in the best interest of himself, which made me dislike him further as an alpha.

I clothed myself quickly and busied myself with pointless things like reorganising what little items we had with us to preoccupy myself. In the end I found myself tiptoeing down the wooden stairs, finding no trace of anybody and made my way through the small corridor and out the back door to the larger wooden porch.

I had to admit, though – the smell in their air had a much nicer scent than Mateo… It made her inner wolf almost… Happy?

“Riley, right?” A voice asked from behind, startling me slightly.

I spun around and met another girl – possibly my age. She held a book in her hand and sat on a canopied bench to the left of the backdoor. “Yeah, who are you?” I asked back, recognising the girl from when I’d first arrived – one of the two apparent sister who hadn’t introduced themselves.

“Samira,” she replied, nodding her head at me letting her brown hair catch a glint in the sun. “I’ve heard you’ve been causing quite a… stir,” she laughed.

She reminded me somewhat of Megan. I hadn’t seen her in months… and I had to admit, I hadn’t thought much about her either. “Yeah, sorry about that…”

She waved her hand at me, dismissing the apology. “Don’t be – it’d be boring without you. Our pack never has much drama going on, it sort of bothers me.”

“That nothing bad happens?” I quizzed, thinking I’d want nothing more than a drama free life.

“Yeah,” she laughed, “In all my existence, nothing exciting has ever happened – until now. With the hunters and all.”

I raised an eyebrow and sat back comfortably beside her. “What makes you think anything exciting will come out of this, whatever this may be?”

“Just… I can feel it, you know? It was my sister and I who first spotted the hunters, actually. Haven’t seen them since but it was a few days after we got news of Austin’s kidnapping,” she explained, offering me information I would never have gotten otherwise. I thought back to the map with Lay early – pinned suspicious sightings, only one trusted hunter sighting. That sighting much have been from these girls.

I decide against pointing out how wrong she was in wanting drama and instead smiled politely. It was refreshing, I thought, that someone felt anything but fear in the face of hunters who wanted nothing more than our kind dead. It was then and there I decided we could be friends.

After a few silent minutes, I piped up, “What book are you reading?”

Samira looked startled, as if she’d been so absorbed in the pages. “Just some stupid book about werewolves. Funny isn’t it, how humans think werewolves actually live.”

I choked out laughing as I took in what she said. “I can second that. I wouldn’t be able to read past the second page of a werewolf novel… or at least now that I’m living in one.”

Samira sighed as she gazed across the backyard. “How nice would it be to live normally? I read normal books like how humans would read Fantasy.”

“Someone understands!” I exclaimed playfully, gently taking the book from her hand and reading the back.

It was stupid, really – but despite my earlier word I did find myself on the second chapter in the blink of an eye – laughing at each and every word.

“Craving the taste of human flesh? I thought that was vampires!” I choked between cries of laughter, quoting the page.

“Now we know better, though!” Samira responded as she wiped her own tear and took the book back into her own hands. “You know what, I’m never going to be able to finish this book now. You’ve ruined it,” she playfully shoved.

“Yeah, yeah,” I brushed off. Samira gave me her phone number and I logged it into my phone book. I grinned as I stood up and said a quick bye, promising to talk later whether face to face or over the phone. I knew we’d get on well, and maybe making friends with someone from the Santoro pack would solidify our bonds. It was just a bonus that she was also the last known person with sightings of a hunter now we weren’t getting on with Lay.

I walked the same hall as earlier and spotted more people around than I had before. It seemed everyone was home for the night.

Then I saw Dante going up the stairs, probably expecting me to be up there waiting on him. I followed up behind him, sneaking through the people who didn’t notice me.

“Dante!” I called out.

He turned around at the top of the stairs and looked down, watching me follow on up after. “What have you been doing? Half way through a run with some of the men, I suddenly felt this surge of happiness through the mate bond. Never felt you laugh so hard before.”

I shrugged as I marched on up after and placed both hands on his chest. “Met someone who’ll be good at keeping me sane, and someone who might be able to help up with Austin seeing as Lay is useless.”

“I hope it’s a female,” he playfully mumbled, as he sniffed me – like he could decipher gender based on scent alone.

She was female, don’t worry,” I replied, as both hands slipped from his chest and dragged down his arms, grasping hold of his wrist.

Dante tilted his head to this side. “Are you okay?”

“I feel reenergised. I needed a good laugh, I really did.” I pulled him along as we entered the room and closed the door with a solid thud. The blankets had been changed as if we’d been at a hotel and the room had been serviced. The pack at least knew how to take care of us.

Dante got that cheeky look on his face. “Well I’m glad you got it,” he replied, pulling out my hold and made it his job to pull me closer by the waist. “It’s almost like the emotions are flowing right through to me,” he mumbled as gave me a quick peck on the lips.

With a fresh mind, I wasn’t settling for a little peck. I pulled him back to my level in a moment and we both kissed like it were our first, testing the dangerous waters.

“Is this what I’ve missed out on for a whole month?” he asked as he broke away and pressed his hands harder into my side, manoeuvring us away from the door.

“No one to blame but-,” I started to say, but had to silence myself as his lips pressed down onto the Bancroft mark between my neck and shoulder blade. An indescribable feeling enveloped my entire body like one I hadn’t felt before.

I didn’t even remember what I was going to say and he didn’t seem to notice I hadn’t finished.

“I’m sorry Riley,” Dante started to say, as his hand touched the side of my face. “And I love you.”

I grinned up at him as I pulled his face back down to mine, gently touching our lips. “Shut up,” I pressed between a kiss. “And I love you, too.”

 

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