Accepting Their Claim Excerpt
Agony. For a few minutes that was all that Hideki could understand. His wolf had retreated, exhausted after healing his body, and whimpered softly in his head. Hideki groaned, shifting slightly on a hard surface. He could smell Tobias beside him, feel his heat, and was happy, at least, that he was with him. With that thought memories flooded him. He and Tobias had left the Haus to scout the surrounding areas for safety. With the impending birth of Z’s twins, Quin and Rion, Alpha and Beta to the South Texas Clan, weren’t taking any chances. That also meant that Jezzie was worried about her best friend, and if she was worried that pissed off Andrzej, head of the South Texas Clan’s security. As beta to Andrzej, Hideki could do nothing but protect his boss. After the women had been taken by Andrzej’s old enemy Soren and Jezzie’s hated stepfather, the Alpha, Beta, and Gamma of the Clan had become crazed with the women’s safety. Hideki’s job was to scout, nightly for any encroaching danger to Z or Jezzie. Tobias had agreed to go with him, his skill with communication devices and strategic planning unparalleled.
They hadn’t thought they’d meet any resistance. It was supposed to be routine. And then they’d chanced upon Zealots and all hell had broken loose. One minute they’d had their muzzles to the air, scenting humans, and the next they’d been fighting for their lives. Tobias had been hit first, the bullet barreling past Hideki to graze Tobias’s shoulder. The slow-healing wound had told them the Zealots had armed themselves with silver bullets. Hideki had seen red and fought like a wolf possessed, ripping through bodes, crunching bone, and snapping necks within his deadly jaws, all while dodging bullets. Tobias had been right at his side, tearing down any that challenged them, running away from the Haus so that no danger would come to the pack. Eventually, though, the Zealots were dead, but Hideki and Tobias had been too weak to contact Rion, Quin, or Andrzej. The silver bullets burned Hideki’s insides as he pushed Tobias into some bushes to hide him, and then he’d fallen to darkness himself.
All because of fucking Zealots, men who believed in shifters and vampyres, made it their mission to eradicate or breed them for their own ambitions.
Now he was lying on what felt like cold metal, his body mended, his mind clearing, and he had no idea where the hell he was. He sat up as gently as he could. He may be healed, but the phantom pain of the bullet wounds were still a bitch. He looked around, seeing a room set up like a surgery room, but a bookcase lined one side, pictures of wolves all over the walls, and he decided that he must have been in a house. Muzzles and leashes hung on the wall to his right, next to him two neat rows of large cages, one housing a small red wolf who watched him with an unblinking stare. Yipping at the wolf in greeting, Hideki took stock of his surroundings. A veterinarian’s home then. He would have laughed but the danger of the situation stopped him. They’d been wolves when the unknown vet had brought them in, they weren’t now. If that vet came back in now, there would be a lot of explaining to do, and Hideki wasn’t really in the mood.
They’d have to get out of here. There was no other choice. He turned slightly and reached for Tobias to wake him just as a moan filled the air. Something about the breathless murmur made Hideki swig around, his body tensing. A woman lay on the floor, light brown hair fanning around her. Her full lips were slack, her slender face all sharp lines and curves. Her eyes were closed, so he couldn’t mark their color, but her body was curvy. Her breasts, round and full, were unfettered, he could see her nipples pebbling in the cool air, and he wanted nothing more than to take a taste of her. Her narrow waist flowed into flaring hips and thick thighs. Her caramel skin looked like the sun was flaring from the inside. She was beautiful. Even prone, and awkwardly so, she was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen.
He stood slowly, the pains of his ordeal fading as he stepped closer to her. Her scent wrapped around him, clean, earthy, and sweet like honey, and full of life. His wolf crawled from the shadows, no longer tired, and howled. Hideki could feel the vibration of the howl, that long wail, shaking his entire body. Mate, his wolf was crying. Hideki never thought he’d find her. He’d always thought that he and Tobias…well it didn’t matter now. All that mattered was the woman lying in front of him, and, if the dropped bowl with gauze, towels, and tools were anything to go by, she was also the vet that had saved their lives. What a glorious coincidence. He would be thanking her in the best way he knew how. The little red in the cage yipped, sensing within him the wolf, and acknowledged the call of a mate his wolf had sent out. Hideki huffed in thanks and then squatted to lift the woman off the floor.
The growl filtering behind him was dangerous, much different than the red’s happiness.
Hideki froze, looking over his shoulder. Tobias was standing there, as nude as he. His body was tense, muscles bunching, his fists clenching at his sides. Hideki had never seen him so angry. He was staring at the woman on the floor.
“Mine,” he growled and Hideki felt the shock roll through him. There was, without a doubt, the sound of a wolf’s mate call in the words. But it was impossible. He and Tobias were not brother wolves. There was no blood shared between them. Their mates should have been two very different women. Something was wrong.
“She is mine,” Hideki growled back, standing slowly. He was the dominant wolf. He was Beta to Andrzej’s Gamma of the Clan. He ran Bravo team, one of the Clan’s security details, that Tobias was a part of. The woman was his, and he would not submit.
“Mine,” Tobias said back, snapping at Hideki. Hideki felt his mate move but didn’t look away from the challenge in Tobias’s stance. He was never one for words, never one for an excess of emotions, but when it came to his mate he would tear anyone a part, even Tobias, who shared a bond with him many in the Clan didn’t even know.
“Don’t do this, Tobias. You know how it will end,” Hideki said then. The woman slowly sat up behind him, gasping to see them standing, but he didn’t acknowledge her. He couldn’t.
“I will take her. She saved our lives, and my wolf recognizes her,” Tobias said, stepping forward. Hideki stepped with him.
“Not going to happen, watashi no tomodachi.”
“I have been more than a friend for some time, Hideki, but that doesn’t matter here.”
“What the hell are you talking about?” the woman asked. Tobias’s gaze swung to her.
“Mate,” Tobias howled. The woman scrambled to her feet, hair falling in disarray around her shoulders.
“Look, I don’t know who you are but you better get the hell out of my house before I call the cops.”
“She comes with me,” Hideki said, preparing to turn.
“No,” Tobias challenged.
“Hello? Do you not hear me? I’m not going anywhere. You are. Get the hell out of my house.”
“No,” Hideki finally answered.
“Yes. Forget this. I’m calling the cops.” Hideki heard her movement as she prepared to leave, but Tobias was moving, streaking to the door to block her way. Hideki turned, finally, to look at his mate.
“You have to come with me,” he said to her, noting now that her eyes were golden. He was momentarily frozen in the liquid gold of her gaze. If she moved just right it was like the eyes of a wolf in the darkness. With her standing he could see the lines of her face better. Her bones were along classical lines, her eyes slightly almond-shaped and wide. Her nose was straight and turned up slightly at the tip. Her bow mouth was wide, and pouty. He was again struck by how beautiful she was. Tobias was behind her, his broad chest heaving, muscles bunching as he shifted behind the woman. Hideki was drawn to the scene, the beauty of both of them standing there, the knowledge that she wore no bra to hold her pert breasts and that Tobias was bare so close by. What was wrong with him? Why was his wolf howling now in a frenzy to see them standing there together? She was his mate. She didn’t belong to Tobias, and Tobias couldn’t belong to him, not any longer.
“Screw this,” she said and spun to run past Tobias, but he grasped her in his arms. Hideki growled, hackles rising to see his mate in another’s arms. And yet, desire flared as well, hot and heavy until his cock tightened with it. His wolf wanted Tobias to turn her around, hold her in place for his claiming, mold her so she couldn’t escape as Hideki pounded into her.
“Release her!” he cried, confused by his internal struggle. Until he figured out what was going on, he’d take no step to claim his mate.
“Let me go, you overgrown orangutan!” his mate screamed, struggling against Tobias.
“She reminds me of Z,” Hideki said then, awed by the similarities of her smart mouth to his Alpha and Beta’s mate.
“Who the hell is that?” she asked, eyes narrowing.
“She’s my Alpha and Beta’s mate.” Tobias supplied before Hideki could and sat his mate on her feet, rubbing her arms.
“Mate? Like a…wolf. Oh my God. Ohmygodohmygodohmygod. You’re the wolves. The wolves I saved. You’re werewolves?” she squeaked at the end.
“Shifters is what we prefer to be called,” Hideki said.
“I think I’m going to pass out again,” she said before falling limp in Tobias’s arms.
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