The Lost Slipper Page 22

I’m stalking him and looking for the best point of attack. He’s a very large shifter, close to seven feet. He’s probably as big as Xavier in height and muscle. He’s got brown wavy hair and dark-brown eyes that seem so familiar.

Finally, being this close to him, I breathe deeply and take in all of his scent. He’s a bear. The thought makes me snarl because he must be here to take my Winnie from me.

“She’s mine—” he says, but stops short when I feel X and Gwen approach behind me in wolf form. The three of us step closer to him, teeth bared and heads slightly lowered, ready for an attack.

I’m trying to concentrate and hold my wolf, knowing that he’s got my mate in his arms, and I can’t let anything happen to her.

Suddenly, Winnie stirs in his arms, and I still. I don’t want her frightened, and I need to wait for an opening to attack the male holding her. I’ll fight to the death to keep him from taking her.

Her eyes slowly blink open, and she looks up at the male holding her. “Koda,” she whispers, and it makes my heart tighten. Who is this male to her?

I growl low in my chest, and Winnie looks at me. It’s then her eyes glow golden. “Stone. Back away. Don’t attack.”

I shake my head. There’s no way I’m not going to kill this bear for daring to touch my mate.

In the blink of an eye, and before I can react, Winnie is out of his arm and shifting right in front of me. Her ability to change into her bear so fast is shocking, and no one moves.

She’s so beautiful, with her chocolate fur and glowing golden eyes. I go to take a step forward, and she lets out a roar that makes my ears ring.

Winnie moves between me and the male behind her, as if protecting him. I shake my head again, and she plants her paws firmly into the ground. She’s prepared to defend him, and it makes my heart ache. I’m her mate. I don’t know what’s happening.

I want to plead with her, but I won’t shift to human form. I can’t be vulnerable in case he shifts.

Suddenly, the male puts his hands up and walks closer to Winnie. “Please. Just listen to me. I’m her brother, Koda. I don’t mean anyone any harm. I was just trying to get Winnie alone so I could talk to her.”

I look between Koda and Winnie in her beautiful bear form, and suddenly, pain is rolling through me. Will she leave me now that her family has come for her? Maybe mating isn’t the same for bears. It was so hard for her to come to terms with being mated to me, and it hasn’t been that long. Will she leave me so easily and rip my heart in two?

15 Winnie

Stone runs his hands over my body, working the soap all over me before washing it away. He hasn’t said much since we got home. I thought we’d sit down and talk with everyone, but no. We’re in the shower while everyone waits for us downstairs.

After Koda spoke, I shifted back. I was scared I wouldn’t know how to do it again, but Stone was there, so I knew I could do it, and I just did it. Once I was back in human form, Stone hurried me back into the bakery and got my clothes from the upstairs apartment. Then he told everyone to come back to our house to sit down and talk. Other than that, he hasn’t really said much. Every time I’ve tried to talk since we’ve been alone, he’s just kissed me. The hard, sad look on his face has put a giant knot in my stomach.

He doesn’t seem too happy that my brother is here. It’s starting to freak me out a little. Shouldn’t he be happy for me? That I finally found out where I came from? All the memories came back in a flash. It was so weird to feel like I knew my brother, but I didn’t. It had been years, but he still looked the same.

I can see why Stone was worried when he saw me with Koda. He’s a freaking giant, but I remember everything about him, and he’s just a big teddy bear. Unless provoked. I can’t even begin to think about how life has been for him without me. It’s always just been him and me.

Stone’s hands work over my breasts, then up to my neck where he starts to rub. Leaning down, he kisses my mating mark, then just stares at it.

I reach up and cup his face, running my fingers into his beard, which is a little longer than normal. “Are you okay?”

“I just love you so damn much. I can’t live without you. You know that, right? If you leave me, I’ll be nothing. I can’t go back to living how I was. I need your sweetness. It balances me. Makes me feel whole. I just—”

“Stone,” I say, hearing my voice break at the one word. I can’t get anything else out or the floodgates might break.

“I know it’s fucked up, but I can’t let you leave. I won’t let you leave. I thought for a second I could be a better man and let you pick. It’s selfish, but I don’t care. You’re mine. Mine.”

He says the last word with such force and possessiveness, I feel a delicious chill run down my spine. I would never leave him, but he keeps talking without giving me a chance to tell him. And to be honest, I don’t want to stop him.

“I can’t leave the pack. They need us,” he says, going on as he tries to make his point. Like I’d ever leave him. My heart warms that he said ‘us.’ That the pack needs us. “You’re already making me a better alpha.” His hands come around my neck, his thumbs stroking my jaw. “I need you. They need you.”

“I’d never leave you,” I finally say. I love hearing him talk about how much he needs me after all these years thinking he wanted nothing to do with me. But I don’t want him to think that I’d ever leave him. We’ve waited so long to be together. Nothing will ever keep us apart again.

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