Wolf on a Mission:Salvation Pack, Book 6(8)

By: N.J. Walters

Sage grinned. “That’s okay. Reece likes oatmeal cookies too.”

“Okay.” What the heck. A wolf who liked oatmeal cookies was no crazier than anything else that had happened this evening.

But first, she had to deal with her son. She dropped the rock that was still in her hand, crouched down and gripped Billy’s shoulders. “You don’t ever run off like that again. You hear me. You know you’re not supposed to go away from the house without me.”

His lower lip trembled and the wolf whined, but she stayed firm. “You scared me,” she told him.

“I’m sorry.” Her son’s whispered apology just about broke her heart.

“I know you are, honey.” She brushed his bangs out of his eyes. He was due for a haircut, but she was putting it off as close to his going to school as possible. She’d trim his bangs herself later.

She stood and took his hand. “Let’s go back to the house.” She led the way, very aware of the silent procession behind her. The hair on the back of her neck rose. It wasn’t that she was afraid of them, as much as she was aware of them. Especially the uncle.

Elias Gallagher was one handsome man. She didn’t need a man, she reminded herself. And certainly not one who was just passing through.

Elias followed Sue and her son. Reece, the young devil, was sticking close to Billy. As if sensing his uncle’s scrutiny, Reece turned around and sent him a pleading look before turning back.

The last of Elias’s annoyance bled away. Both his nephews had been through so much in the past few months. He couldn’t begrudge them their fun, especially since there didn’t seem to be any lasting harm done.

Sage walked quietly alongside him. Elias wrapped his arm around the boy’s shoulders and gave him a squeeze. Sage leaned into him for a moment and then hurried on ahead to walk beside Reece.

Elias kept his senses open and aware, watching for any danger, but his gaze kept being drawn back to Sue. The jeans she wore were old and faded, and they clung to her curves in a way that made him want to howl. Her hips swayed with each step she took.

His mouth watered and he licked his lips. He’d love to have a taste of her.

He made himself look away. No matter what he might want, he could never have her. First off, she was totally human and he was a werewolf. Secondly, she was the mother of a young boy and he had two nephews he was responsible for. And finally, he hoped to make a home for himself and the boys here. The last thing he needed to do was muddy the waters with a relationship with a local, especially one who could never be anything more than a short-term affair.

The last put a damper on his ardor and he pulled his wolf back in check as they rounded a turn. The cottage was small but well kept. He could smell the remains of a barbecue and see toys scattered over the back porch.

“Why don’t you have a seat and I’ll get the cookies and coffee.”

Elias was impressed. She managed to be welcoming without actually allowing them into her home. Smart lady.

“Billy, you can come and help me.” She started up the steps and turned to Sage. “I have lemonade if you’d prefer that to coffee. Or milk.”

Sage sat in one of the chairs and smiled. “Milk would be great. Thanks.”

The tenderness in Sue’s expression made Elias lose his breath. “You’re welcome. What about Reece?”

“He likes milk too,” Sage informed her.

Elias almost chuckled at the surprise on Sue’s face. “Of course, he does,” she muttered as she herded her son inside. “I won’t be long.”

Keeping one eye on the door, he turned to his nephews. “We’re supposed to be laying low,” he reminded them. He kept his voice low so Sue couldn’t hear him. The kitchen window was open and she was talking with Billy, not paying them any attention.

Sage rubbed the back of his neck, looking uncomfortable. “Sorry about that. We’d just been cooped up so long. We only went for a short walk.”

Reece went to Sage and rested his head on his brother’s shoulder. Sage ran his fingers through Reece’s fur. Elias swallowed heavily. Seeing the two of them together like this, looking so sad and isolated, hit him hard. He wanted so much more for them.

“I get it. I do,” he repeated when both of them looked at him. “If things work out here, you’ll be able to get out more. Not be so contained.”

Reece’s ears twitched and Elias hurried up the back steps and opened the door just as Sue went to push it open. “Thank you.” She carried a tray balanced on one hand and kept the other hand on her son’s shoulder.

The ease with which she handled the tray told him she’d had some experience waitressing. She set it down easily on the patio table and distributed a glass of milk to Sage, a smaller one for her son, and two mugs of coffee. She had cream and sugar and a plate of oatmeal cookies on the tray as well.