Ch. 3 Homecoming

Colton’s POV

Two years later

“I don’t understand why a family dinner has suddenly become a formal event.” I complained to my mother, pulling at my tie to loosen it. 

I hated wearing a suit and tie, preferring sweatpants and a muscle tee, jeans and a t-shirt for dressier occasions. Both my brother’s looked equally miserable.

“Mallory will be here any minute. We haven’t seen her in almost two years. We are all going to have a nice dinner together to celebrate her homecoming. The least you can do is look presentable.” Mom lectured. “Now quit whining and go help set the table.”

I turned to go, rolling my eyes at my mother’s attitude. Darcy, my girlfriend of two years, was shaking her head at my antics with an amused smirk on her face. I stalked in her direction, intent on showing her what I thought of her laughing at me.

“You’re incorrigible.” She teased, looking up at me with an adoring smile on her face. 

There was so much affection in her gaze. It melted my heart and I couldn’t help but kiss her.

“Could you stop sucking face with your girlfriend long enough to come help us out?” Cary griped at me. 

My youngest brother made no secret of his dislike for Darcy, though for the life of me I couldn’t say why. At least Clay tolerated her without being rude. I picked up a napkin ring from the table and was about to fling it at Cary’s head when a delicious scent wafted into the room, capturing my attention. 

It smelled of jasmine and lavender and fresh citrus. I knew mom had baked cookies, but this was something completely different and intensely captivating. Searching for the source of the intoxicating new smell, I caught sight of my brothers who looked equally enthralled.

Before I could look further, the sound of footsteps approaching brought the scent even closer. And in the next moment, the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen walked into the room. I was struggling to pick my jaw up off the floor.

She had long midnight brown hair that hung in silky waves down to her waist. Her skin had a sun-kissed glow about it and looked impossibly soft, making my fingers twitch with the urge to touch her. And her lips. Fuck, those lips! They were so full and plush, I couldn’t stop wondering what it would feel like to sink my teeth into them while I kissed her senseless.

She was wearing a figure hugging wrap dress that proved she had a toned physique but still had ample curves. The hem hit her mid-thigh, showing off legs a man would die to have wrapped around him while she came screaming his name. I was momentarily speechless.

“Mallory?” Clay questioned, sounding utterly shocked. 

What? No! That couldn’t be Mallory, could it? The girl that had irritated me since I was ten years old, joined our family out of nowhere like she’d always belonged to it and was too sassy for her own damned good?

“Hey,” she greeted him with a small wave and shy smile.

Then I looked again, really looked this time. And that’s when I noticed them, those hazel eyes with the gold starburst that always enchanted me. The unique eyes that unmistakably belonged to Mallory Edwards. Only now, they had a maturity about them they hadn’t before. But they were still sparkling with mischief. 

I’d always felt an unexplainable pull to the little omega and I’d always resented her for it, not understanding why my Alpha wolf found her so attractive. But, I’d always been able to fight it, pushing her away. Now though, I had a sneaking suspicion it wouldn’t be that easy. 

My brothers were obviously as stunned as I was, but neither of them was even attempting to hide their appreciation for the woman in front of them. Cary was even licking his lips. Then he practically lunged for her.

“Mallory! Fuck, I missed you!” Cary blurted out, picking her up and twirling her around.

“Hey, little wolf! “Clay was next, wrapping her in a tight hug. “Looks like you grew up!” 

What the fuck was going on with those two? They’d never been that happy to see her before she left.

Neither had you. But now you’re practically drooling over her.” My wolf unhelpfully remarked. 

“Um, I missed you guys too, I guess.” Mallory mumbled noncommittally.

She smells amazing! Go hug her!” Kai, my wolf, prodded.

I was about to follow his advice when a small hand on my arm stopped me in my tracks. Darcy. Shit! I’d been so consumed by my thoughts of Mallory, I’d totally forgotten about my girlfriend. How the fuck could I forget about her just like that? 

I was pissed at myself. Darcy was beautiful too and I was not about to ruin what I had with her for Mallory, no matter how good she looked. Kai whined at my refusal but I wasn’t having it. 

Is she our mate?’ I asked him.

Can’t tell.” He shrugged at me. “She doesn’t have a wolf yet.

Then drop it!” I demanded. “I love Darcy and I’m not giving her up for anyone.” 

He just stomped away in a huff without another word. I flashed Darcy a reassuring smile. I didn’t want her to feel insecure with Mallory back. She had no reason to be. When I looked back up, everyone was staring at me expectantly.

“Hi Colton. Hi Darcy.” Mallory offered another small wave and a half-smile.

“Welcome home, Mallory.” I replied curtly.

Mallory had never been very good at hiding her attraction to us when she was younger. I hoped she wouldn’t make things difficult by following us around like a puppy now that she was back. I would have to talk to my brothers about not encouraging her with another display like the one they’d just given her. 

Just then, the front door slammed and Maeve ran screaming into the room.

“Where’s my baby girl?” she screeched, then nearly knocked Mal over with her overzealous hug.

“Hi Mom!” Mallory squealed, clearly excited to see her mother again after so long.

The commotion brought my parents into the room, awaiting their turn to greet the prodigal child. All eyes were on the mother-daughter reunion, but something was irritating my wolf, making him pace in my head. 

All at once, I registered the cause of his agitation. He had picked up an unfamiliar scent that now had me on high alert as well. I scanned the room to see a man I didn’t recognize taking in the scene with, casually standing in our dining room with his hands in his pockets and a grin on his face. 

He looked perfectly at ease, like he wasn’t a stranger in a house full of dangerous wolves. I took a step in his direction, intent on finding out exactly who the fuck he was and why he was in my packhouse, when Mal’s reaction stopped me in my tracks. 

Mal seemed to scent him at the same time as the rest of us, looking around until her eyes landed on him. Her whole face lit up at seeing him there, making Kai snarl in my head. Something about the way her body relaxed and the tension left her eyes the moment she detected his presence didn’t sit right with me. 

“Nathan! Come join us!” She waved him over. He immediately went to her, snaking his arm around her waist and pulling her closer. “Everyone, this is Nathan Richardson, Alpha of the Winter Woods Pack, and my boyfriend!”

A growl rumbled through my chest at that. I tried to play it off by clearing my throat but nobody was fooled. From the corner of my eye I could see Darcy’s worried expression. I just squeezed her hand, refusing to meet her gaze while I struggled to force Kai back.

“Uh, I’ll just see if they need help in the kitchen.” I excused myself, walking away quickly.

Bro, what was that all about?” Clay’s voice entered my head. I should have known he wouldn’t let it go. 

Nothing.” I insisted. “Kai’s just a little wired tonight is all.

I get it! Gunner has been going nuts since he caught Mal’s scent tonight. But who can blame him. Seems our little wolf is not so little anymore!” He rambled on. “But Darcy looks a little flustered. You should probably come sort her out.” 

Yeah, I’ll be there in a minute.” I said, closing the link. 

But I knew I couldn’t go back out there until I got my shit together and brought my wolf to heel. If I kept behaving that way, it would hurt Darcy and that’s the last thing I wanted to do. I knew I shouldn’t care that Mal had a boyfriend, but damn if it didn’t piss me the fuck off! I just wish I understood why.

I hid in the kitchen, pretending to be useful, until dinner was served. My wolf still seemed rattled but had stopped trying to act out. I took my place at the table next to Darcy and leaned over to give her a soft kiss.

“Tell us all about your Luna training, Mallory! We can’t wait to hear all about it!” her mom gushed. “What specialty did you choose?”

“Well, um . . .” Mallory started, hesitantly. 

“Let me guess! You chose Healer, right?” Clay guessed.

“No, no! Mal hates the sight of blood. She chose Tracker.” Cary said with certainty.

When did they become the resident experts on what Mallory did or did not hate?

“My girl is fierce. Why wouldn’t you guess Warrior?” Alpha Rhcardson inserted.

Kai grumbled softly in my head at hearing him claim her as his but I quickly silenced him before he could alert the whole table to his presence.

“No way! Mallory, a warrior?” Clay sounded incredulous. “She may have changed but nobody changes that much.”

Apparently, Mallory didn’t like his lack of faith in her because she squared her shoulders, a deep frown on her face as she prepared to snap his head off. There’s the sassy, un-Luna like Mallory I remember, I thought to myself. But instead, she took a deep breath, smoothed out her features, and responded calmly.

“I actually completed all three tracks. I earned designations as Master Healer, Expert Tracker, and Warrior, First-Class.” She stated simply, not boasting but just relaying facts.

“What?” My father was the first to respond, sounding stupefied. “But no one’s ever done that before.”

“Well, my girl did it! And she graduated with honors!” Nathan beamed with pride, scooting Mallory’s chair closer to him and kissing the top of her head. Kai rumbled in disapproval and I could feel my brothers’ wolves were equally unhappy. 

Mallory’s answering smile was full of adoration as she returned Nathan’s gaze. The rest of the room had fallen silent, too astounded to speak. I could have heard a pin drop if it weren’t for my wolf snarling in my head at the sight of Mallory cozying up to her so-called boyfriend. Beside me, Darcy looked pale, unconsciously digging her nails into my skin where she gripped my arm.

I understood her concern. Omega or not, what Mallory accomplished would be enough to attract any Alpha to want her as their Luna. She obviously already had one drooling over her. I would just have to work harder to reassure Darcy that Mallory was no threat to her. I made her a promise and I couldn’t go back on that. I wouldn’t. 

Are you sure about that?” My wolf hounded me.

Shut up, Kai!” I growled, ending the conversation. Because the truth was, I didn’t have an answer. 

Comments (2)
goodnovel comment avatar
Charlotte Setterlund
wow that was a great turn. I'm really excited to read the next chapter
goodnovel comment avatar
Dawn Cochran
Darcy's gonna be t-r-o-u-b-l-e with a capital T lol

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