Sain chuckled. “Yes, well Alpha, once you have a mate you will see that when they put their mind to something there is not a whole lot you can do to sway them.”
Vasile frowned at the man’s words. He did not like to think that Alina would not listen to his council. Surely, she would know that he would always have her best interest at heart. As they reached a slightly larger cottage, he noticed the road that ran alongside it wound back around to Alina’s house. It took every bit of his will power not to just keep walking until he was there with her, holding her, smelling her. He stepped into the home, ducking beneath the doorframe as he often had to do. For a moment he was surprised at how keen his imagination had become because he swore he could smell her, as if she were here in the house with him.
They ushered him to a table in the kitchen. He noticed a door just to the right of the kitchen that led to a bedroom, and then several feet to the right of that, he saw another door. As he sat down a young man emerged from the door closest to the kitchen.
“Alpha, this is my son, Serghei,” Sain said.
Serghei took a step towards him holding out his hand. Vasile stood and the younger man had to look up just a little to look at his face. Vasile was six foot four inches tall, so he guessed Serghei to be around six foot even. He took a step even closer so that the boy’s hand was nearly touching his stomach. When Vasile took the hand he saw Serghei flinch. He would have loosened his grip, had he cared that he was hurting him.
“Would you please explain to me why you reek of my mate’s scent?” Vasile’s words were slow and measured. Serghei tried to take a step back but Vasile’s grip was too tight for him to move.
“I uh, I do not know who your mate is, Alpha,” he sputtered as he tried not to look Vasile in the eyes.
Vasile closed his eyes and tilted his head in the direction of the room Serghei had just exited. He did not even have to breathe deep to catch it. He pushed the boy into Ion’s hold. “Do not let go of him.”
Ion nodded and gripped his charge by the arms.
“Vasile,” Sain spoke up. “If you please, tell me what this is about. There must be some misunderstanding.”
Vasile ignored the man as he entered the room. It was not a large room and there was no window for light. Only the flame of a gas lantern pierced the darkness. The further he walked into the room, the stronger her scent became. And when he was standing directly next to the bed, it overwhelmed him. He reached down and tossed the pillow out of the way and a low, deadly growl rumbled as he picked up a piece of clothing that was obviously meant for a woman. He held it to his face, and when he caught the other male’s scent mixed with Alina’s, he nearly lost it. The carefully controlled rage that he kept under tight reign pulled and pushed at the constraints. Vasile did not allow himself to growl and snarl as many males did when they were angry. He did not have that luxury. He knew that if he were to release his wrath, many, many people would die. The wolves who knew him had learned very quickly that the quieter he became, the more deadly his fury would be.
Once he was sure that he would not kill everyone in the other room, he allowed himself to walk out. Several of the men from the meeting had followed them, and so the living area and kitchen were full. All eyes were on him. When he held up the blouse, the gasp was collective from the males followed by growls. They knew the pup was not mated and, therefore, had no excuse for having female belongings in his possession, let alone his bed.
The only one not growling was Theris, Sain’s wife. She walked right past Vasile and into her son’s space. Her eyes were narrowed and her jaw was clenched so tightly it was a wonder she did not break her teeth.
“What have you done?” she growled as only a female could. Like a whip striking skin her words slapped the male and he recoiled.
“I did not do anything. I swear, I did not t-t-touch her,” he pleaded, first looking at his mother and then at Vasile.
It was the stutter that had given him away. “If you lie to me again, I will force your phase and skin you.”
Serghei paled and swallowed hard. “I kissed her. That is all.”
Vasile stepped back and leaned against the wall behind him. The thought of Alina in the pup’s arms, in that bed, kissing, touching, and doing other things, was nearly too much. The shirt was gripped tightly in his hand, and he struggled not to shove it down the young man’s throat. Maybe he was overreacting. I found my mate’s blouse in another man’s bed, he thought to himself. No, I am definitely not overreacting. There was a part of him that knew―knew that Alina had not been in Serghei’s bed. He knew that she had not compromised her virtue, but the jealous beast in him did not care. It wanted blood.
“Vasile.” Her voice cut through the thick silence, penetrating the haze of fury that had begun to consume his logical thinking mind.
His eyes opened slowly and he saw her standing in the open door. The group had parted making a straight path for her. She did not move. She met his gaze and held it. He growled. Now was not the time for her to challenge him.
“Alina, please,” Serghei started but Vasile’s power rushed through the room dropping everyone to their knees.
“You are not allowed to speak, especially not to her.” He did not have to look at the male for him to know to whom he was speaking. His eyes were still on Alina, who was the only one still on her feet. He could tell the force of his authority was weighing on her, but she was his equal and therefore the only one who would never have to kneel before him.
He waited, waited to see if she would come to him, waited to see if she would defend the male as a lover, and waited to see if she would rip his heart from his chest.
She took a step towards him, and then another, and another until he could feel her breath on the skin of his arms that were folded against his chest. Her eyes did not waver as she kept her shoulders pulled back wearing the confidence of a female twice her age. Her hand reached up and she laid it softly on his arm as her eyes implored him. “Can we step outside, please?”
He wanted to give her what she wanted. He wanted to sweep her off of her feet and get her as far from the room full of males as he could. Instead he shook his head. “Explain this to me.” He held up the now crumpled blouse.
“I gave it to him to give to his sister. She had asked to borrow it.”
“Where was his sister at the time?”
“She was still at the pack gathering. Serghei….”