Keeper (Matefinder Next Generation Book 1)(5)

By: Leia Stone


He sighed. ‘Not possible.’

*

After showering, I threw on an all-white Indian top over leggings. In India when honoring the dead, you wore white, not black. It felt more uplifting and Emma appreciated it, so now the whole pack wore white on Devon’s Remembrance Day. Jax and I scarfed breakfast and headed out the door to Avery’s house.

“I think mates are weird,” Jax stated randomly.

I chuckled. “Okay. What do you mean?” As much as we argued and messed with each other, he was my very best friend. We could talk about anything together.

He shrugged as we cut through the woods. “I mean, I’m happy dating Avery right now. We aren’t mates but we are happy. So one day I feel like you are going to touch me and get a vision, and I have to break up with Avery and marry a stranger. Because we’re mates.”

I frowned. “Well, shit, Debbie Downer, when you put it that way it sounds awful.”

He shrugged again. “I’m just saying it’s weird.”

I nodded. “It is a little weird when you put it like that. But remember Dad was dating Aunt Sadie for like five years before Mom. I’m sure they were happy, but–”

“They weren’t mates.” He ducked to avoid a low-hanging branch as we trekked through the thick woods leading from our property to Aunt Emma’s.

“Yeah. I’m sure one day when you meet your mate you will take back those words.” I elbowed him.

“Maybe if she’s hotter than Avery.” He grinned, wagging his eyebrows and showcasing his undeniable charm and male pigness.

I laughed, elbowing him in the ribs. “You pig. That’s not possible.”

As we approached Avery’s house, we saw that she was already outside. She was wearing a short white sun dress and her long deep-red hair fell down across her shoulders in silky waves. She was tall and slender with fair skin, green eyes, and a light smattering of freckles. My bestie was drop dead gorgeous. Hearing our approach, she turned to face us.

“Hey, babe,” Jax greeted her, reaching out and giving her a kiss on the forehead.

She smiled and broke away from Jax to hug me. I inhaled; she smelled like lemon and lavender, like my best friend.

“How’re you doing?” I asked her. It was hard for Avery during this time. She didn’t remember her dad, only had stories, pictures, and a handful of videos to go by. But her mom, her mom had lost her mate. This day always threw Aunt Emma into a funk. To clear the funk, she stayed up all night baking.

She shrugged. “Fine, but mom is a bit depressing.”

I decided to change the subject. “I had that dream again, about the guy.”

Avery gave me a coy smile. “The hottie?”

Before I could answer, the sound of crunching gravel made us all turn. “Hottie? Talking about me?” Mason asked, then flashed us a dimple-filled grin.

We all laughed. Mason looked like he could be Jax and my brother instead of our cousin. Tall, caramel skin, light brown hair, and blue eyes.

“You wish,” I shot back as he gave me a fist bump and snuck a kiss on Avery’s cheek.

He and Jax started pushing each other and wrestling on the ground. Guys were so weird. Why did they always feel the need to show off?

I leaned into Avery. “Jax thinks the dream guy is my mate,” I whispered.

Her perfectly manicured eyebrows shot up in genuine surprise. Out of all the possible things she and I had thought of, we never thought he could be my mate.

“He said so in front of my dad!” I added.

Avery shook her head, her long red hair settling on her shoulders. “That’s Jax. Diarrhea of the mouth. But he might be right.”

Shit. What the hell were best friends for? She shouldn’t be agreeing with Jax. Dream guy was human and I was twenty years old. He couldn’t be my mate. I didn’t think I was ready, even if he was.

“So, what are you going to do?” Avery whispered.

I shrugged. “We’re going to see the witches.”

Before she could answer, I heard Aunt Emma.

“Hi, kids. Thanks for coming.” Aunt Emma came out onto the front porch and greeted us. You wanna talk about weird? Emma only looked about twenty-five years old; her and Avery could be twins. She wasn’t my real aunt. That would make Avery and Jax cousins. Gross. But close enough, her and my mom were there for each other through thick and thin. The whole pack was like one big, happy family. We had each other’s back through everything.

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