|Ramsey has returned to Ashton Grove with Luna. They're only friends, but she wants to be much more, and she isn't shy about letting people know. Knowing that Ramsey doesn't want her, Luna will stop at nothing to make him her own.|
But Ramsey has someone else in mind as his mate. When he meets his best friend's sister, he can't take his eyes off her. While having Harper by his side is wonderful, they have a bumpy road ahead of them. Especially when a werewolf from her past moves to Ashton Grove.
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Ramsey had been in Silver Mist for six months. His first day in town he’d chased away the alpha’s nephew, who had been a pest ever since. Not that Luna had helped. She’d announced that Ramsey was her mate, which had only infuriated the young werewolf and made him even more persistent. Ramsey hadn’t wanted to get romantically involved with her, not even for pretend, but he’d had no choice. They’d been on display every day. At first, they’d just shared hugs and brief kisses, what appeared to be intimate whispers, hand holding… but that hadn’t been enough to scare off the local wolves. When they’d started spying on them at night, Ramsey had had no other option but to up the game and he’d ended up sleeping with Luna. The worst part had been discovering that she was a virgin. She’d saved herself all these years only to lose her virginity to someone who could never love her in return. Ramsey hated himself for it.
With her reddish brown hair shot through with gold, soulful chocolate eyes, and petite slender figure, he had to admit that she was a tempting little thing. She barely reached his chest and he constantly reminded himself that she was fragile. It was like being with a china doll. Oh she spit and hissed like a furious kitten, but she was softhearted.
Although the most surprising thing he’d learned about her was her ability to shape shift. And not into just anything… no, little Luna, who wanted to live with wolves, shifted into an adorable, fluffy brown rabbit. He remembered staring at her incredulously when she’d first told him. He, of course, had called to tell his alpha immediately. He knew that Gabriel wasn’t aware of that little bit of news and he wasn’t sure how he would take it. Thankfully, the alpha had taken it in stride and had still welcomed Luna into the pack.
Now, after extensive work to Luna’s house and months of packing and sorting, it was time to return to Ashton Grove. Ramsey would be lying if he said he wasn’t nervous. Even being away all this time, his feelings for Chloe hadn’t diminished. He knew that if he couldn’t hide it, there would be problems when he returned home. Gabriel wouldn’t stand idly by while he stared at Chloe, and Ramsey wasn’t sure he would be able to keep his eyes off her.
He’d heard from Kiera off and on during his stay with Luna and knew that the baby had been born – a boy. From what he gathered, Chloe and Michael were madly in love with one another. It ripped him apart just hearing about it. Thinking about her with someone else, especially Michael, was a bitter pill to swallow.
On a positive note, the second alpha, Connor, had found his mate. That made four mated wolves out of the pack now. Their numbers were growing weekly according to Kiera so she was happy for the additional women. They were up to twenty-two wolves and four women. Well, five once he delivered Luna safely. It would be nice if they could find a few more unattached females to add to their numbers. Short of sending out a notice to the other packs across the nation, he knew that wasn’t going to happen.
Luna stepped into the room and smiled at him.
“Morning,” she chirped.
He grimaced and took a sip of his coffee. “Don’t remind me.”
“Not ready to go home?” she asked softly.
“Not really. Well, yes and no. I’ve had someone keeping an eye on my house, and I have to admit it will be nice to sleep in my own bed again – no offense – but I’m not anxious to…”
“To see Chloe,” she finished for him.
“Well, on the positive side, you won’t have to pretend to be mated to me anymore. I know how you feel about it.” She gave him a sad smile. “I’m sorry I pulled you into this.”
“It’s fine, Luna.”
“No, it isn’t. You don’t want a mate, and you certainly don’t want a pretend one. I know that… I know it’s been hard, being intimate with me these past months, but I appreciate everything you’ve done for me. I can never repay you.”
She shook her head. “No, I need to say this. I need to get this off my chest.
“I’m not the easiest person to live with. And with the pack constantly watching us, I know it’s been difficult for you. This wasn’t what you signed up for and I know it. But I think you should know, I’ve come to care for you since you’ve been here. I’m not saying it to scare you, but I think we’ve come to be friends, and I want you to know that I’m here for you. I know that going home is going to be hard on you and I’ll be there with you, every step of the way. Whatever you need from me, all you have to do is ask.”
He grinned and took her hand. “Thanks, Luna. That means a lot to me.” He cleared his throat. “I’ve come to care for you, too. I don’t think I could have done… well, everything we did without having some sort of feelings for you. But it isn’t love. I can’t ever love you, Luna. When we get to Ashton Grove, you should ask to be mated to one of the single wolves in the pack. They’ll protect you and help you forget.”
“What if I don’t want to forget? Ramsey, you were my first. That isn’t a memory I’m likely to ever lose. And being with someone else isn’t going to change that.”
“I know. I’m sorry. I just thought… you need to understand, Luna. I’ve seen the way you look at me when you think I’m not looking. You don’t just care about me, Luna, and you can’t deny it.”
“No,” she said softly. “You’re right. I love you and I can’t help it. But I know that you still love her, and I’m okay with that. You need to know that someone loves you, Ramsey, someone cares. No matter what, I’ll be there for you. I know you just want to be friends, and if that’s all you can give, then I’ll take it.”
“Luna, why are you doing this? Why now?”
“Because we’re going home tomorrow.”
“Do you think I want to know that you love me while I watch you with someone else, knowing that you feel the same way I do when I see Chloe? Do you think I want to know that you’ll be miserable?”
“I’ll have my memories to cherish so how could I ever be miserable? Besides, who said I would take a mate?”
Ramsey snorted. “Who said you’d be given a choice? You know the alpha is going to mate you to someone. It’s just a matter of when. If you’re lucky, he’ll let you get settled in first, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. We have too many males in the pack who have been dying to have a mate. Having a single woman around, especially since there’s just one of you, would cause chaos.”
“Knowing I turn into a rabbit will scare off quite a few.”
“You’d be surprised.”
She sighed. “Look. Why don’t we just finish up here and hit the road? Arguing over what may or may not happen in Ashton Grove isn’t going to do us any good. I’ll have other things on my mind besides finding a mate, like finding for a job and a permanent place to live. I appreciate the use of your garage apartment, but I can’t stay there forever.”
“It’s not like anyone else is using it.”
“Fine, we’ll head out in an hour.”
It had been more like two hours before they’d left town. Luna had wanted to bring her car with her, but Ramsey had argued that it would be quicker and more efficient if they just took his Hummer. Finally, she’d relented. He’d promised to have someone from the pack come and pick it up for her later in the week.
Now they were halfway to Ashton Grove and she was fidgeting in her seat.
“Do you need a break? Want to stretch your legs?” he asked.
“No, I’m fine.”
He watched out of the corner of his eye. “No, you’re not fine. You haven’t been able to sit still for the last hour. What’s wrong?”
“What if they don’t like me?”
“Excuse me?” He hadn’t expected that question in the slightest. Of all the things for her to worry about, she didn’t think the pack would like her?
“It’s just… I’ve had so much trouble from the pack at home. The women didn’t like me much and the guys, well… they were typical guys. I want a different kind of life in Ashton Grove. I want to be accepted, to be part of something. I want friends.”
He grinned. “They’ll love you, Luna, especially Kiera.” The grin slipped from his face. “And I know that Chloe will like you too.”
“I have to admit that I’m curious about her. She must be wonderful.”
“Why do you say that?”
“She has two men who love her, you and her husband. How could she not be wonderful? I know you wouldn’t fall in love with someone who wasn’t special, Ramsey. She must be a remarkable woman.”
“It’s her smile.”
Luna eyed him curiously.
“The moment I saw her smile I knew that I wanted to get to know her better. We’d already been told that she was Michael’s, or that she was living with him. It was easy to see that she was pregnant, and we all knew the baby was his. But that didn’t stop me.
“And once I started talking to her, I wanted to know even more about her. She’s delicate and I wanted to protect her. I wanted…” He swallowed hard. “I wanted to be the man she spent the rest of her life with. The one who would help raise her child and have others with her. And in return, I would have given her anything and everything. She owned me, heart, body and soul. And she never even knew it.”
“In other words, we aren’t very much alike,” Luna said softly.
“No, you aren’t. You’re about the same height, and you have a little red in your hair, but that’s it. You’re daring and bold, ready to tackle anything and do whatever it takes to get the job done. You’re a strong woman who really doesn’t need anyone to solve her problems.”
She grinned. “Not so much or the alpha wouldn’t have sent you to me.”
“You could have stood up to them. It was just easier with me there. Having a mate by your side kept them at bay until you were able to leave town. Now that you’re not in Silver Mist anymore, you don’t really need me.”
“Of course I do.”
He shook his head. “Trust me, you won’t need me in Ashton Grove. Kiera will take you under her wing and Gabriel will help guide you along the right path. You’ll have a ton of friends before the week is over, possibly even before the day is over.”
“Ramsey, no matter how many friends I have, there will always be room in my life for you.”
He grinned. “Thanks.”