Pack Alpha(8)

By: Crissy Smith

“Is there something you needed?” she asked, crossing her arms over her chest, feeling defensive. She was too skinny, her hair was a mess, and she was tired.

Gage followed the gesture with his eyes, and Marissa blushed when she realized she had just brought more attention to herself.

“I came to welcome you to my territory as is proper for any Pack Alpha,” Gage said, taking a step closer. “And to go over some rules.”

Marissa stiffened at his words, although unsurprised by them. She could guess what rules he was going to make sure she knew. She’d heard them all her life.

“You were raised in a Pack?” he asked.

Marissa nodded a second time, though he was asking a question he already had the answer to. Elizabeth had already told her that Gage was aware of her secret. Marissa had not been happy with her sister but she could understand why Elizabeth had felt it necessary to tell him.

“I don’t expect things will be much different here,” he said.

Marissa didn’t either. “I understand,” she said, stiffening her shoulders and fisting her hands at her side.

“Do you have any questions for me?”

The pep talk she had given herself on the drive allowed her to speak calmly. “No, I don’t believe I have any questions about my behavior here. I assure you that I have no interest in your Pack. One week—seven days—I’ll be here. I think you can deal with it as I have to. Then I’ll be gone and you won’t have to worry about me corrupting your precious Pack.”

When she finished, something like surprise crossed his face briefly, and he growled. No one had probably ever spoken to him that way before. But Marissa wasn’t going to be intimidated.

When he took a step closer, she could sense the anger and confusion from him.

“I’ll warn you once about the way you talk to me. I don’t know how your Alpha reacted, but that kind of disrespect will not be tolerated here.”

Marissa didn’t tell him that she’d never been brave enough to talk to her old Alpha like that. Marissa backed up as the Alpha stepped closer.

“Also, I know how long you are here for. I know a selfish woman like you wouldn’t give up more than a week for the sister who loves her. Someone who has waited far too long to be happy because of you.”

His words stopped her retreat. “Selfish? You just called me selfish.”

Even with the smile that touched his lips, he didn’t look any less furious. “I did.”

“Well, let me tell you something, Mr. Wolf. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t love my sister. I wouldn’t set foot in this territory if it had not meant so much to Elizabeth. I gave my blessing to her a long time ago.” Marissa took a deep breath as she wound down. She realized she was explaining herself to him and, not wanting to give him any information he could use on her later, she quickly tried to cover her outburst. “Not that it’s any of your business.”

Marissa backed up until she touched the wall and Gage closed the distance between them.

“You do know who I am. My status here?”

Marissa didn’t trust the smooth smile or easy tone. “Yes.”

“So are you trying to piss me off? Any intelligent person would know better than to tell an Alpha a Pack member wasn’t his business or make the comments you have.” When he reached forward and grabbed her arm, it was too fast for Marissa to avoid. “I feel sorry for the troubles you must have given to your Pack leader.”

The electricity that flowed through Marissa’s body at Gage’s touch drew a startled breath from her. He must have felt it too, because he immediately let go of her. Marissa stared at him as neither spoke for several minutes. She grasped at anything she could say to make him go away.

“I don’t have a Pack leader. But I do know how to address the Alpha of a Pack who has been kind enough to let me visit. I apologize. My attitude and disrespectful comments were uncalled for.” Fear and uncertainty had her lowering her eyes to the floor in a submissive gesture. It galled her to show any submission to him, but his touch unnerved her.

She could feel his stare even though she wasn’t looking at him and barely stopped herself from shuffling her feet. The urge to run coursed strongly through her body.