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Riding Red(10)

By:Alexa Riley

I’m running out of time, and I have no fucking clue what I’m going to do. I need to get close to her and get into her good graces because come Saturday night when the moon hits high in the sky, my wolf will take control.

But right at this second I have a more pressing issue. Looking out into the woods, I hope Xavier hasn’t gotten far. I let my wolf out a little, picking up his scent, and then I dart into the woods, hot on his trail. I’m not a half-mile in when I finally catch up to him, sitting next to a stream, his head buried in his hands. He doesn’t act like he hears me, but I know he does as I slowly walk up and sit beside him,

“I thought—” He lets his words hang in the air because they are hard to finish. I know just how hard it is.

“You thought you found her, I know.”

He turns his head and glares at me, his wolf always present in his eyes. That’s what happens when you let yourself stay in the wild too long. You become more beast than man. I’m surprised his wolf hasn’t taken him fully already, never letting the man in him break to the surface again.

“You have yours and you haven’t even marked her,” he snarls at me, clenching his jaw tightly. He’s clearly agitated that I haven’t claimed my own mate. That makes two of us.

“You know I can’t fully mate her until the full moon,” I respond in a level voice, not wanting to provoke him. It’s not fair to beat down on a broken man, even with all the aggression coursing through my body. My wolf wouldn’t even enjoy it.

“You haven’t even scented her. I smelled nothing of you on her. What if a human takes her from you?”

“They won’t. I stay close, and she’ll be mine.” I say the words through gritted teeth, thinking about some human coming and snatching her up. Another wolf wouldn’t. Wolves can only mate with fated mates; they’re the only mate a wolf wants.

His eyes narrow a little on me. “If she was mine, I would’ve taken her home, scented and marked her, and she wouldn’t be running around giving my cookies out to everyone.” I know he believes that’s true, that he could just stomp off with his mate. Maybe he could if she was a wolf like him. That would make things a whole lot easier. But what if his mate was human? Even if she wasn’t, wolves don’t like being picked up and carted away. Females hold a lot of the power when it comes to mating.

That’s all I need—Xavier actually scenting his mate and charging into town to steal her. With the way he was acting today, I guess Ruby’s scent must match the scent of his mate pretty closely to have drawn him out of the woods. Xavier never leaves the woods, not since he lost his sister and mother to hunters a few years back.

I know there’s no telling Xavier he can’t chase down his mate like a dog in heat; it would be lost on him. He’ll do what he wants to do. While I might be stronger than Xavier right now, I couldn’t take him if I really stood between him and his mate. Shifters lose all reason when it comes to mates.

Before Xavier lost his sister and mother, he could probably take our alpha on a good day if he wanted, but Xavier wasn’t an alpha nor did he want to be one. He had to have a desire to lead, and that often comes with backing down and doing what’s for the good of the pack. That wasn’t Xavier.

Now it looks like Xavier barely eats at all. As if he heard my thoughts, he reaches down and snatches up one of the cookies, chomping down on it. I go to reach for one, but he growls at me and snaps his teeth.


Raising my hands in the air to show him I’m not going to eat one, I debate my next words, but he beats me to it.

“My mate. I taste it on my cookies, but it’s not the woman who gave them to me.” He picks up another cookie, eyeing it, clearly confused. I’m just as confused. How could he taste his mate?

Then it hits me like a fucking ton of bricks. It’s something I don’t even want to wrap my mind around, something that’s going to make the alpha lose his fucking shit.

He barely lets Xavier stay in the area as it is. The only reason he let him stay was because Xavier swore he’d stay away from humans, something he clearly didn’t do tonight with Ruby. He also okayed it because Xavier makes sure no wild animals get too close to town, and he’s also great at tracking. He might have one of the best noses in the pack because he’s more in touch with his wolf than any of us. That’s probably how he smelled his mate from so far out in the woods.

“You want your mate, Xavier?” I ask, already knowing the answer. Every male shifter wants their mate from the day they’re born. Some start to go crazy as they get older, some never find them.