Once they’d reached the cabin, Becca had announced she wanted to cook for them. Where others might’ve politely declined, Russ encouraged her. Food was food and between himself and Clint, they could put away quite a bit at one sitting. So while she cooked they discussed Becca’s current predicament and she had asked for their opinions. Russ gave his first.
“Well princess I somehow doubt it’d stay proper if ya keep goin’ back there. Because above everything else he’s a man and yer a beautiful woman. He can only resist temptation for so long. Hence ya kissed each other and now he’s coming after ya.” Russ winked at their girl and rumbled low for her, “Trust me I know.”
Becca scooped out the first nicely browned empanadas and added more to the frying pan as she thought about what her brother said. Then she thought back on what Sebastian had warned her about when she requested to stay.
“Funny, Lord Sebastian warned me of the same thing. About men being lonely and that even though he trusted Cody, he wasn’t sure. And a week and some went by with no issues. Of course, I didn’t come on to him. I was proper, too. But then, I didn’t feel like having sex either. I was still getting well, and sex isn’t something you really want when you’re in that situation. But maybe you’re right. If I went toward him like I was prowling, things might’ve turned out differently.” Becca shrugged her shoulders. “When we kissed, I was the one to make the first move. I felt better. I’m just now getting a little bit of my figure back since being sick. Maybe up until that moment, he had kept himself in complete control?” Becca looked up at Russ.
Clint thanked the Goddess he wasn’t eating right then! Otherwise he would’ve spit food everywhere. She was definitely their mama’s daughter. But then he remembered what she had told them earlier about this charmer.
“How the hell does Sebastian know a bear without the Council having him on file?” Clint asked as he patiently waited for the food while stomach growled loudly.
“Cody said I would be safe there, because nobody knew where he was and that was how he wanted it. He…” Becca paused because she didn’t like sharing Cody’s business. They had talked about their experiences to one another and no one else. “He escaped after they took his people from him. I think he owed Lord Evansworth for his freedom somehow. I’m not sure how. I guess I was just lucky for all of it. I…I couldn’t drink from a bag. It made me gag.” She closed her eyes and shook her head slowly. Just the thought of it made her want to gag right then and there. Russ took the spatula from her hand and motioned for her to go sit across the bar from them as he and Clint cooked. He didn’t need her yacking all over their good food.
“What’s the matter?” Russ asked. “A lot of people live off the grid of the Council and Crimson.” Their uncle and many other dragons, for instance. One in particular that he’d kind of been missing since his return home.
Devon walked in from the celebration. He and Eva had overseen the beginning and the announcements, but there were no special events planned for this particular celebration. Therefore, they were free to go check on their daughter. Both of them knew she was in a bad place. She loved that bear and he still hadn’t shown up. Of course, Cody had to actually find her pack, find where she was, and then travel to the pack. No one was making this easy for him. If he loved Becca, he would make it happen. The problem was – Becca.
“Just to give ya’ll an idea, I haven’t seen an ursa in decades.” He took a deep breath and let it out. Closing the door behind them, he moved to see what their pups were cooking.
Russ looked at their folks, “What brought ya’ll in? We figured we’d have the place to ourselves till mornin’ at least.”
“Watched ya’ll head in and decided we’d come and see that everything was alright.”
“I don’t need a reason to be in my own kitchen, but maybe I don’t want the house burnt down,” Eva said to her pups. They might’ve been raised proper and she might’ve taught them all how to cook, didn’t mean she couldn’t tease.
Clint cleared his throat, “Anyway, back to the subject at hand. You are gorgeous sweetheart, and that’s not just from a brother’s point of view, it’s from a man’s. Trust me if I see that so does he. Maybe he doesn’t think he’s good enough for you.”
As this was said Devon looked at Eva. She had felt that way when they’d met. He’d had to prove her wrong.
“Thank you for the compliments. I guess since being sick, I just… I still think I’m… sick. It may take me awhile to feel pretty again.” She smiled at her new father. She lifted the last of the empanadas out and let them drain on the towels. “I don’t know what he thinks. I just hope he’s okay.” She cut one of the vegetable yummies in half and held half out to each of her parents. “It’s how you get a lycan to eat vegetables when you don’t have any meat.” She smirked.
“Oh..” Eva took the offered food happily. It smelled so good!
She had at least given him a note through Lord Evansworth. Becca hoped he wasn’t lonely or mad. Maybe she was right. Maybe he’d be happy to be rid of her for a while. Maybe he’d had second thoughts. Maybe since she was gone, he’d realized she wasn’t worth the effort.
“These are good.” Devon chewed the piece and contemplated what she had said.
“Personally, Becca, no – I wouldn’t be happy if I had helped take care of a person to the point that I’d even started teaching them things and then they left. That’s a form of sharing that means I give enough of a damn about ya that I want you to learn. We tend to form bonds that way.” Clint pulled the last of the pork chops from the skillet and set the plate to the side.
“Really?” Becca was more than a little worried when he told her this. But she stayed quiet, and took some pork from her brother’s finished pile and one of the savory pastries from her own onto a plate so she could move out of the way. She was supposed to be getting to know these people, so that’s what she set her mind to doing. Becca told herself that it was just a very tiny part of her that couldn’t stop thinking of the big man with the gentle touch and the patient eyes.
And that’s when she heard the howling begin… at the edge of the packlands and moving inward toward the very house they were standing in. Someone outside the pack was approaching. Eva looked to Devon, as did his other two boys.
“Seems it’s going to be quite a busy night all around.” The elder male rumbled softly to them all. “Wonder who that could be?”
“Cody!” Becca hopped around the kitchen island and moved toward the door, only to find herself grabbed.
“Hold up spitfire.” Clint had made his around the island to grasp his sister before she made it to the door.
“But he came all this way! He’s mine!” Her fangs were popped in an instant.
“Not yet he isn’t. Hang with us abit longer lil bit and let our folks do their thing.” Russell moved to stand with Becca as he pulled her free of Clint’s grasp and slid his arm around her shoulder.
“But…” Becca’s eyes sparkled a lot like Raven’s would when she was pissed off. She growled, but when she tried to turn again, she felt her brother’s strength keep her from getting far. Maybe she could’ve gotten free of the bigger of the two, but this one? Russell was small and wiry. He knew what she was up to.
Still dressed as the Alpha’s they were, Devon took his mate’s hand and walked her back outside, down their front steps and towards the gathering warriors who were walking with their unexpected guest.
At sight of the approaching Alpha’s, the ursa removed his cowboy hat and held by the brim in one hand at his side. It was obvious he’d been traveling a while as his clothes were a little dusty and he looked road weary. “Ma’am, Sir.. I’m sorry to interrupt, but I’ve traveled a long way and would just like to see Becca a moment.”
The intrusion had garnered Pack attention and Cody felt himself go on edge as more and more seemed to make their way close and close around him forming damn near a circle around him and the Alpha’s.
“Well now that would depend on yer intentions towards our pup. If it’s just to continue what started at yer place then ya need to start yer long trip back home and leave her be here with her family.” Devon rumbled and the Pack rumbled in response.
Instead of going further with Becca’s papa, Cody looked to her mama, “I’d never hurt her. I love her daughter and I want her as my mate. That ain’t wrong is it?”
“That depends on dependency,” Eva stated point blank. She took a deep breath and let it exhale from her nose. “I don’t want my daughter overlooking others, just because she finds in you someone that has been through similar. You can both be friends of one another and find peace that way. I want to be sure you should be mates and not friends. Does that make sense to you?” For once, Eva’s speech was slightly slurred with an undertone of growling – something she had learned from her ursa friend Milo back in their own slavery. It was her way of showing Cody respect and also getting his attention.
“I am a patient male.” The soft low rumble beneath his words may seem disrespectful to the lycan but it was the exact opposite. As she had shown him respect, he had returned in ursa fashion. “I ain’t here to snatch her away ma’am. I believe family is very important and I even told Becca she needed ya’ll in her life. I just wanna be part of her life too.. as much as she’ll have me in it.”
“Then I suppose yer gonna be around for a while and will need a cabin.” Devon lifted a brow to the large male. Becca had been kidding when she’d said Cody was bigger, but then he was an ursa and not lycan.
“If ya don’t mind sir.” Cody addressed the Alpha male as he looked at the elder. He remained respectful to both regardless how edgy he was feeling as the Pack remained around him.
“CODYYYY!!! AHHHHHHHWOOOOOOOO…….” Becca was still wrestling with Russ and Clint to get free when her instincts took over. She had to get to the one she saw as her mate and no matter family or not they were in her way! She shifted to her hybrid form and cried out in pain as she did, but then, the shifting just took her. She bit Russ and landed backward, knocking Clint into a wall on the other side before trying to find a window or a door to get out.
The howl had familial answers from the celebration and out beyond it. The Waylyn kids had no idea what was happening, all they knew was that one of their own was in trouble.
Without a bit of concern for himself Cody took off running towards Becca’s calling. He rumbled as his path was blocked by a whole line of lycan. He turned to the left and met the same, the right was no better. They were barring him from reaching the cabin she was in and seemed to be trying to box him in.
“Don’t make me do this.. I don’t wanna hurt anyone.” Cody looked back at Becca’s folks. “She’ll calm down, just let me help her. Ya got my word I’ll do it all yer way, but let me help her before she hurts herself or someone else.”
Devon looked to his mate for guidance in the matter.
“Your word, don’t take her from the house!” Eva asked for the promise. Her eyes shimmered and looked very much like those of the woman he loved.
“My word.” Cody didn’t hesitate to give it as he pressed his hand over his heart to vow it to the Alpha female.
“Go to her,” she turned and growled and howled to those surrounding the bear, her hand was in Devon’s hand. They would follow and if he needed to help, Devon would. He had a way with all their pups. Becca included.
As the way opened Cody moved up the stairs and stopped at the door as it was opened by what had to be two of Becca’s brothers. At least one of them had been bitten. They stood their ground until their mama growled at them too.
As they stepped out he stepped into the open doorway but went no further in nor did he close the door. Cody rumbled low, deep and slow as he let his gaze move over the interior, “Becca.. come out to me. I’m here to see ya. I told ya I’d come.”
The big chair in the corner of the room shook and moved. There was a worried whine and when he looked, Becca. In her wolf form was looking up at him apologetically. She moved outward an inch at a time until she was hopping all into his arms, tail wagging and licking his face in her happiness.
Right in the middle of it all, she shifted again, and kissed his face with her lips and hugged him tightly around the neck.
“I thought you didn’t want me!” she was scared but happy in the same moment and hadn’t noticed she was nude.
“What? Why?” Cody held her close and kept his gaze locked with her own, “I can’t portal and I had to track yer Pack down from Texas.. that takes a while..”
There was a deep rumble from Devon as he watched what went on.
Eva answered Dev on the run, “Yep, on it!” She went to the linen closet.
The Pack dispersed as Devon gave another order as his mate moved to tend their daughter. He watched as the ursa shielded Becca from the eyes of the others by keeping her in his arms until her mama had something to wrap her in.
Once Becca was thoroughly covered Cody let her back down to her feet. He had given his word and was holding to it. He’d calmed Becca and had not left the house with her. When Becca looked up at him, he explained. “I’ll be stayin’ in a cabin here until things are sorted out.” That should tell her a lot because his ranch was left in others hand while he was gone.
“But General? And Asa… and…” She was naming the names of the cat and the horse that was her favorite. “What about …” Becca clutched the sheet to her body, but ignored everything but her worry about the farm. She knew how much it meant to Cody. And it had come to mean a lot to her, too.
“My neighbors are tendin’ to em.”
“Okay,” Her eyes were filled with tears and she tried to hide her fangs by tucking her face slightly beneath the covers she was also wearing. She was suddenly very acutely aware of everyone around her. Even if they were in other rooms or a bit further away, they seemed to be staring at her. “I’m sorry. I really thought…” she had so many things zinging through her mind at the same time. How she didn’t deserve him, how she had hurt her brothers and caused her parents to be upset, how she’d disrupted his life and now… and now she was hungry!
“Hey, hey now what’s this about?” Cody reached out to wipe away her tears.
“You found me.” Becca moved into Cody’s arms whether anybody else liked it or not. She was overwhelmed and she needed to just feel him and know he was real.
He was really there.