As Cody’s arms wrapped around her, Becca all but vanished into his embrace. There was a low protective rumble from the big male as he soothed her further. One thing was very obvious to the big bear.

“She needs to feed.” Cody looked at Becca’s folks, “I don’t feed in front of others.”

“Then we have a predicament cause I ain’t closin’ ya in nowhere alone with our girl right now.” Devon’s golden gaze never wavered and the way he stood with his mate watching the pair would tell both Eva and Cody he wouldn’t be swayed on that.

There was the sound of a zippo being flicked and then the sweet scent of Turkish tobacco hit the air, “I’ll stay inside while he feeds her.” Russell stepped past the big male to enter the Weylyn family cabin and stood between the couple and his folks as he tucked the lit smoke between his lips with his healing hand.

“I’m fine with that. She’s in no state to be left alone with you, Cody. Even you can see that.” Eva was forcing the bear to try and look beyond himself to Becca. This was not up for debate. She was definitely not in control of herself.

“I don’t feed in front of others.” Cody tried again as the fingers of one of his big hands moved through Becca’s hair as he cupped her head in it.

Becca grasped her bear’s shirt in her fists and balled the material along with her sheet. She was scared they’d take him away from her.

“Yeah we heard ya but ya will this time. You’ll forget I’m in the room and feed my sister so she gets her head on fuckin’ straight or I’ll feed her myself and you can take yer big ass outta here or watch I could care less either way as long as she’s fed.” Russell was extremely calm given the situation and the fact that his sister had bitten him. Any other time there’d be cause for concern, but right now it seemed Russ was still in full control with no signs of his beast in sight.

“No..” Cody actually pulled Becca against even more as his gaze dropped to the floor.

“Don’t go. Please?” Becca whispered. She knew this meant a lot and this was breaking his rules. But he’d come so far. She’d been doing good without him, but the idea of letting him go again hurt her deep in her soul.

“I..I’ll do it.” He didn’t look at any of them as he took a seat without letting Becca go. He turned her in his lap and then rolled his sleeve up to reveal the tattoos at his feeding points. His heart was racing and he fought back the rush of panic and memories as he felt the gazes of her kinfolk. His hand fisted as he lifted his forearm up to Becca’s mouth. It shook just a little but he couldn’t help that. He was fighting himself right then as he urged, “Drink.. Becca.. it’s alright.” He kept his gaze on her. So many had taken pleasure out of watching others drink from him that Cody knew that though this was different… his stomach was still flipping. He’d come so far for her that he would not quit no matter what they demanded of him. For Becca he’d survive hell all over again.

“Everyone else out.” Eva ordered before tugging Devon with her back to the kitchen. Of them all, Eva trusted Russ implicitly. And when she saw Becca and Russ together, it was so magical! His big sister just seemed to brighten their most dangerous pup’s mood. So she knew he would look out for her.

As everyone filed out, Becca looked around the empty room from the safety of her bear’s arms. Her eyes landed on Russ. The relief she showed and the love she had in her expression for him would topple any words she might have uttered.

Russell turned away to show he wasn’t there to gawk.

Relaxing, she looked up at Cody’s face. Instead of drinking immediately, she put her hand on his cheek and smiled for him.

Cody’s eyes closed as he breathed her scent in and let it wash over him. He was still on edge, but he was controlling it for her.

“It’s okay. They’re gone. It’s just us. We can do this. I love you, Cody Bear,” she whispered.

Turning properly as he had urged her to do, Becca kissed his arm and then bit perfectly into the spots as he had taught her. His blood flowed into her mouth and she forced herself not to make even a peep of sound. She didn’t want to do anything but feed right now.

“I love you, Becca.” As she fed Cody’s gaze lifted from her to rest on the leather clad back of her brother. The smoke curled up letting Cody know he was still enjoying his smoke. “She bit ya, are ya alright?”

“Nothin’ but a scratch. I’ve had worse.” Without turning, Russ lifted his hand so the bear could see it was already pretty much mended.

Cody took in the healing wound as well as the magic laced bits the male wore. “Yer a Tasker then?” Talking eased the moment for him and with this brother it seemed a little easier to do for some reason.

“I’m a lotta things, but yeah Tasker’s one of em.” Russell took another drag off his smoke and stared at one of his mother’s pictures she had hanging on the wall. “Best finish up lil bit, pops won’t be held up by mama long.” When it came to his mate and their pups Devon Weylyn was all types of protective and defensive. He figured by now their sister would know that.

Becca extracted her fangs and licked Cody’s wounds. She was all sorts of wanting, but she was trying to think of anything non-sexual to calm her instincts down. Looking at Russell, she asked, “Can I take a drag? Please?”

Turning to face them, Russell held his smoke out to her. He wasn’t averse to sharing.

When she did, she sucked in too hard and then held it back out for her brother. It was pretty obvious that she’d done it on purpose, so she’d start coughing. For one thing, now she had diminished her scent with the smoke and for another, she was focused on gaining control of her breathing and stopping the fit of coughs – not on anything else. Of course, the action brought with it the consequences of concerned parents and siblings coming back to the room. That’d put her nerves on end, which would double down keeping her need in check at least. So, all in all? A good plan.

Devon looked to each one before his gaze went back to their daughter where she was perched on the ursa’s lap wrapped in nothing but a sheet. “Now that yer fed, upstairs, clothes, now. Then yer welcome to come back down and join us, lil bit.”

“Yes, sir.” Becca let Cody help her up and she wrapped the sheeting around her better before moving to the stairs. She stopped at Russ and whispered, “Sorry, bubba.” The term had, up until now, been reserved for only Evan and Avery.

At the endearment, Russell smirked as he watched her head quickly up the stairs.

Smiling, she walked past and then sped up as she moved upstairs.

“Come on let’s go out to the porch for some air. We can talk more while yer head clears.” Devon started for the front door with Eva. He knew Russ would wait for Cody to step out before he did.

Cody actually accepted a smoke himself as he sat on the front porch waiting to hear what Becca’s folks had to say.

“Have ya put hands on our girl or already marked her as yer own?” Devon rumbled just to see the reaction he’d get in return.

“Excuse me?” Cody rumbled low and took a step towards the railing.

“Ya heard me. I said have ya touched our girl in ways you ain’t got the right to? Evansworth says ya almost claimed her and if he’d been just a few minutes more he would have caught ya mount..” That was all it took as Cody grabbed the front of the Alpha’s shirt and hauled him off his feet as he pressed him to the wall. That was no easy feet given the fact that they were almost equal in height and build.

When her pups moved, Eva pushed a cautionary growl and huff their way. Devon knew what he was doing. But he was used to lycan who were of the lupus order, not ursa. What happened scared her, but she had to have faith that if Cody were the man Becca had described to her on more than one occasion – he wouldn’t hurt Devon more than her mate deserved. She looked to her pups. She didn’t want them to interfere unless they had to.

“Don’t ya talk like that about her.” Cody was in the other man’s face snarling but he held control of himself. He could have lost it and shifted before any of them pulled him off the Alpha. Bears were dangerous when riled and it would have taken several lycan just to get him down. “I never touched her like that nor looked at her when I shouldn’t have. I protected her, fed her, clothed her and taught her but I never overstepped no matter how bad I wanted to. She deserves better. She deserves a choice and I wasn’t gonna take it away from her.”

Russell was instantly there to cut in if he needed to. His siblings were right there down the few steps and all ready to pounce. If not for their mama they would’ve already done so.

Devon was calm even as his feet dangled about an inch above the porch. He hadn’t even lost his cigar which would tell them all he wasn’t angry or the least bit upset. He actually grinned as he applied pressure to Cody’s wrists and forced him to let go.

“Good answers all the way around big guy. Now let’s sit out here a minute and talk out the plans before Becca comes out here.”

Eva watched as Cody did as he was asked, though the look on his face was saying he was just as uncertain about all of this as they were.

“Russell get him a chair then you and yer brothers go back to the fires while yer mama and I handle this.”

With a low rumble Russell brought a chair for the ursa, but he didn’t actually leave until his mama said for him to.

“Thank you, Russ,” Eva moved to her son while watching the others go. “We have this. I believe you had plans tonight for mischief with your best friend? Don’t miss out because of this.” She moved her fingers through is wild dark hair.

Pressing a kiss to his mate’s lips Devon was now going from cute and cuddly to papa wolf of an injured pup who had a male prowling around her like she was in heat. Eva turned in his arms. They were looking over the bear and she was reading his aura. They had a lot of practice with these situations with hyper emotional and hormonal young adults. But never had they dealt with adult-adults.

Thumping ash over the rail Devon rumbled to let those inside the house and all around it know that things were okay.

“First off ya’ll will be chaperoned and that ain’t up for debate. Mama’s wish is my command. Second ya see that cabin out by itself near the trees? It’s for you to use as ya like. None of the others will trouble ya there. Ya wanna see princess then ya come have a seat on this here porch and she’ll come out to visit ya. Yer still watched so be on ya toes.”

“Yes, you’re both adults. But you’re both suffering inside. You help each other because you share some of the same pain. But, I want you both to understand something that I know for a fact Becca isn’t capable of understanding for herself, yet. Sometimes love based on such likenesses won’t work. It seems perfect, but soon, you wind up hurting each other all the more for trying. Becca is very naive. I’ve studied her since she came home to me, Cody. They kept her and those in her position intentionally ignorant of a lot about their own bodies and their own abilities and even – this world. As her parents, it’s our job to be sure she learns about everything she can before mating. She needs to know herself before she can truly know you.”

“I won’t disagree with ya on that ma’am. I told her somethin’ similar myself while she was at the ranch.” Cody rumbled softly.

“We’re asking for just a little bit more time. You can spend your days together so long as someone is here with you. Namely, me or Devon, but I can also assign someone. That way you don’t fail this to temptation. She’s gotten better and I thank you for that jumpstart you helped with. But she has to finish getting well all the way through her body before we can have her tattooed to keep from getting caught up. And that’s another thing we don’t want her to deal with immediately if we can help it.”

“Well? Go on… find your voice. I only know enough about ursa tradition and culture to probably trip over myself – so tell us what it is that we need to do and we can see about compromises as needed.” Eva was willing. She knew they weren’t exactly the most traditional pack out there anyway. So, this was the respectful thing to do. She squeezed Devon’s hand as Becca came back to the porch in her jeans and a t-shirt that Raven had given to her. She immediately headed for Cody.

“I don’t know about courtin’.. ursa’s don’t do that. We find our mates and we claim ’em. This is all new to me. We don’t have large groups like yer Packs. Our Clans are small and most stay on the move. But after my time with the vampires I didn’t return. I have my ranch and don’t mind the solitude one bit. Becca came out and at first I won’t lie I resented her being there. But it was because I was attracted from the first moment and it scared the hell out of me. I realized though that she needed help. I could give her more than my blood. I taught her to be okay with her feral side. We were good out there until Sebastian showed up and brought her here.”

Cody took Becca’s hand and pulled her close. “But I will abide by what ya say and honor your customs.” He looked down at Becca, “That’s if ya want me to court ya. I’ll step aside so ya can meet others if that’s what ya want Rebecca.”

“I’ve already met others. I promised I would give everyone a chance to please me and I did. They look at me and they don’t like when they see my fangs. Or they like what I look like, but they don’t understand why I don’t like quick movements and being close to them when they want to be close to me. They take offense easily, but they don’t understand why I take it. One has bad intentions completely, for he doesn’t like what I am, but he wants to court me because of who I am. There’s only two who are truly interested in me for me and are polite about everything. But they’re still cautious and so am I. I find one to be more brotherly than anything else and maybe that’s my fault. But I can’t help it. The other, he has eyes for another girl. Talks about her non-stop. But he likes me and his parents want him to try harder for me.”

“With Cody, I was scared and didn’t know what to think. We went through the same amount of time trying to figure each other out as I’ve given these suitors. And when I knew he was here, I hurt my own brother trying to get to him because I realized how much I want to be his mate…in my heart, I am.” She turned to lean against his chest. “I don’t feel this way about anyone else, not even the mate I had in the coven.”

Eva looked to Devon, her eyes large. What? A mate?

“What mate? Becca, we don’t know what you went through in the Coven. What we do know is that you need to give yourself time. We aren’t saying you can’t be with Cody. We are saying take some time and truly know what is between the two of you.” Devon explained as he enjoyed more of his cigar.

“And you and I’ll need to talk about those suitors some other time,” Eva wanted to know who and what. She was quite a matchmaker and if suitors were not courting properly, no…she wouldn’t have it.

“Yes, sir… and ma’am. I’ll take my time with Cody, I’ll let him court me and I’ll court him, too. It’s not just about me. We need to learn about each other and each other’s past. There’s stuff that, it doesn’t come up until you’re in a moment explaining things, like just now. Yes, Papa, I had a mate. We were expected to have pups, but we made sure that didn’t happen. Neither of us wanted to bring more children into our keeping in the Coven. I was afraid of losing them like Mama lost me. He was nice. His name was Legere. And we were friends.” She smiled sheepishly. There were good memories.

“Was?” Eva asked.

“He took the bullet that was meant to put me down.”

Cody rumbled low, “I’m glad he was there for ya when ya needed him.” He hugged her and heard the Alpha male rumble too. Becca, in response closed her eyes. Her breathing was calming.

“Tomorrow yer mama can take ya to see Angelus. He’ll put a design on ya that’ll keep ya from gettin’ caught up until yer ready to.” Devon stubbed out the rest of the cigar as he stretched and heard his back pop. “But for now, say yer good nights and let’s all get some sleep.”

“Good night,” Rebecca smirked and held onto Cody. He could feel her hold in a giggle against him.

Eva raised a brow and shook her head. “My child…” she whispered.

There was a slow smile on Cody’s lips as he felt the Alpha’s watching them. He leaned down to kiss the shell of her ear and rumbled for her. “I think they mean it’s time for me to go to that cabin and you up to yer room. And from the way yer papa is glarin’ at me if ya insist on anything else he may try and take a chunk outta me.”

“Don’t be mad, I was just joking,” Becca sat up and yawned. She looked over at her papa bear. “I’ll do as you say so you all can get to know each other better.” She said it that way, because as far as she was concerned, she didn’t care what more Cody brought to the table. He was her bear. She’d waited all these years to feel something like this and she wasn’t about to turn away from it.

Holding her close a moment longer he breathed in her scent and nuzzled her ear. She couldn’t help but smile. She had never dreamt of having a moment like this with this stern, angry man. She couldn’t wait to open up more to him and she hoped… for him to open up more to her.

“Good night, Becca. I’ll see ya in the morning and we’ll go for a walk so you can show me this place of yer Pack’s.” Did he want more? Yes. Did she want more? Yes. He could smell it, but he didn’t act on his natural instincts. Instead Cody fought against his ursa instincts to respect her lycan culture.

Becca got up and immediately moved between Devon and Eva. She needed them to remind her that she couldn’t just go with him. She knew they were right. She just had to fight her desires. She watched him get up and took a deep breath.

“Tomorrow at the well?”

“Yeah. I’ll find ya.” Cody parted from her then, though it was hard as hell to do after traveling so far to have her in his arms. He touched a calloused finger tip to the tip of Becca’s nose and winked at her as he reached for his hat. Putting it back on, the ursa moved down the steps and started across the way to the cabin her papa had pointed out to him earlier.

“Yer cute princess but get yer tail in this house and up those stairs. Don’t even think of creepin’ out either. His cabin is under watch and yer tail will be carried right back here.” Devon rumbled and looked as stern as possible.

“I won’t, you know?” Becca moved in front of them and looked at both of her parents. “Not because of you tellin’ me to do so. I respect you, and I love you. But I’m an adult and I can make my own decisions. It’s just…you’re right. At first, I thought this was some kind of double standard. But, when we were talking just now, I realized how much I’ve never told anybody about me. And he’s not told me an awful lot about him. So, yeah… we need this time to learn each other. And maybe…maybe you need to know more stuff, too?”

Eva and Devon looked at each other dumbfounded. If only all of their knuckleheads had these moments of clarity before they jumped into something.  Eva was the first to turn back to their daughter. Her smile was warm.

“We love you and adore you, Becca. We’re not doing anything to harm you or Cody. It’s all about making sure this is right for both of your hearts. I sincerely hope it is. And yes, I think I speak for the both of us when I say, we want to get to know everything about you. But for right now? Right now, you need to rest. Go sleep and sleep easy knowing you get to spend the day with your bear.”

Becca smiled and turned to make her way up the stairs to her room.

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