Evie grabbed Jackson’s hand on their way into the large Shreveport Casino. “I can’t believe I’m so nervous now that we’re here. What if he isn’t interesting in meeting his brother? If he isn’t interested in Gideon, why would he want to talk to me? I’m just his father’s ex-mate.”
Jackson squeezed her hand. “First, you were never Maddox Trace’s mate. You were his captive. Second, I can’t imagine he wouldn’t want to know his brother. He isn’t affiliated with any of the Louisiana packs, which isn’t at all normal for wolves. He needs Gideon… he needs all of us.”
She looked around the ornate casino and then looked back up at her mate with a raised brow. “It looks like he’s doing just fine on his own. I just hope for Gideon’s sake that Daxton wants to know him. I’m going to be so disappointed if he doesn’t. That’s why I didn’t tell Gideon we were coming here.”
“We won’t know until we actually talk to him. No sense fretting about anything until you have his answer.” With that, Jackson began pulling her along behind him to the information desk.
Evie smiled. Her mate wasn’t a man to stand still and worry about something when there was a proactive action available.
Her son Gideon was the Alpha of the wolf pack in Wolf Creek, Texas. He and his mate were blissfully happy together but the specter of his father, Maddox Trace, was hanging over their heads. Her son needed his brothers Daxton and Ezra and now that she’d found them, she intended to bring them all together.
Jackson told the information desk that they were there to see Daxton Trace. When she asked who they were, he’d simply said they were long-lost relatives. The receptionist immediately rang the man in question and then directed them to a special elevator on the other side of the staff-only door.
Evie took a deep breath as they rode the elevator to the top floor of the casino and hotel. What if she’d made the wrong decision to pursue a relationship with Gideon’s siblings? Evie was pulled from her musings when the elevator doors opened and she realized they were in an apartment.
A very tall man with a thick build stepped up from what was obviously a living room. Her eyes widened as she took in his features; he looked like her Gideon with more of a red tint to his hair and a taller, bulkier build.
The man looked at them with a bored air. “Long-lost relatives, I presume?”
Dax looked at the older couple with a dispassionate frown. Then he caught their scent and growled low in his throat. They were shifters, which meant they could indeed be relatives, but that didn’t mean they were welcome.
“I’m Evie Harris, and this is my mate Jackson. Our son Gideon is your brother. Maddox Trace was his biological father.”
Dax almost laughed. The woman was tiny, no more than 5′2″ with shoulder-length brown hair and warm brown eyes. She certainly hadn’t wasted any time. “Maddox Trace was a sperm donor, nothing more, Ms. Harris. I’m afraid you’ve wasted your time here. I want nothing to do with him or any other relations looking for a handout.”
The woman’s mate immediately growled. The woman put a hand on her mate’s arm, patting him lightly. “Gideon wouldn’t react any better, Jackson. Can you blame him?”
“The boy should still show some respect for his elders,” the man replied in a gravelly voice that still had a slight rumbling growl.
Dax snorted. “No one has called me boy in a very long time.”
He was surprised when a soft smile came over the woman’s face and she moved closer to him. She reached up one hand to cup his cheek and he immediately felt himself softening toward her. “You look so like my Gideon, though he has a leaner build.”
Dax frowned. “Who in the hell is Gideon?”
“Don’t swear. It’s unbecoming,” the woman chided him gently, and to his surprise Dax had to fight back the impulse to apologize.
“Dammit!” He turned away from her in an effort to avoid the spell she seemed to be weaving over him.
“As I told you when I stepped off the elevator, Gideon is your brother, and he needs you.”
The rush of emotion he felt at her words was unexpected. He turned back to her almost involuntarily because he realized he wanted to hear more about what she had to say. “What makes you think he needs or wants a brother?” Dax couldn’t believe how hesitant his words were. He was never hesitant.
Evie smiled at him and took his arm. “Let’s sit down and have some tea. You have a lovely home. Just point to the kitchen and I’ll make us some.”
Dax cleared his throat, surprised that he was letting this little dynamo of a she-wolf take charge of him this way. “This is an office… not really a home, but there is a kitchenette around the corner to the left.” He didn’t feel the need to explain that he lived in his office. Long ago he’d decided to give up his high-rise apartment because he spent so much time here that it didn’t make sense to keep it.
Evie gave him a surprised look, then smiled. “I guess it isn’t really surprising. Most wolves like wide-open spaces. I’ll be right back.”
Dax found himself sitting down on the couch at her direction and could only blink when she patted his hand. Did she think he was having a case of the vapors or something?
He straightened warily when Evie’s mate sat down in a chair across from him. The man assessed him for a moment before speaking. “Thank you for hearing us out. Evie is determined to get the three of you together.”
Dax frowned. “The three of us? She only mentioned Gideon.”
“That’s because I haven’t met Ezra yet. He’s up in Oklahoma and I came to meet you first,” Evie said.
Dax watched as she set down a silver tea service complete with a silver cream dispenser and a little bowl of sugar cubes. Three ridiculously dainty china tea cups sat in the middle of the tray complete with saucers next to a plate of small lemon cookies.
Who in the world ate cookies that small and thin? Who drank tea?
Dax blinked; sugar cubes of all things… why did he even have those? “You actually found tea in there?”
Evie laughed. It was a joyful sound that seemed soothing to Dax’s ears. “You may not know what’s in there but someone has stocked that kitchenette thoroughly. I even found a little pack of lemon cookies to have with our tea.”
Dax supposed his secretary had done that, but who on earth had the woman imagined him serving tea to? The kind of people he met with for business usually drank scotch… he couldn’t imagine any of them enjoying this fancy tea service or drinking out of little teacups.
The shrill whistle of a teakettle he hadn’t known he had sounded, and Evie jumped up with a smile. “I’ll be right back.”
She’d returned with a silver teapot, then poured a cup of tea and handed it to him. Then she gave her husband his before pouring her own. After taking a small sip, Evie sat her cup down and picked up the plate of Barbie cookies. “Cookie?”
Dax took a cookie then sipped his tea with a grimace. He felt ridiculous holding the tiny cup, but dammed if he didn’t drink every drop while Evie explained to him how important it was for him and his siblings to get to know each other.
Almost before he’d known what was happening, he’d found himself agreeing to go to Wolf Creek to meet Gideon.
A few hours later, Dax stood looking out over the casino with a feeling of bemusement.
He shook his head as he remembered the different emotions that had swept over him as Evie made her case. Anger… fear… regret… even a little hope?
Dax had been surprised at the last emotion. He thought he’d long gotten over the need for anyone else’s approval, but somehow Evie Harris and her mate Jackson had made him long for something he’d given up on long ago… family.
Evie had told him all about the life she’d endured with Maddox right up to the time that Jackson Harris had taken over the Wolf Creek pack and rescued her and her small son Gideon.
Jackson had banished Maddox, but now he was slowly trying to work his way back into their territory through drug cartels and gangs. Evie said she’d remembered something Maddox had told her—that she was making Gideon weak by coddling him and that it was a good thing she wasn’t the only woman that had given him a pup. Then he’d told her there was one in Louisiana and another in Oklahoma, so she’d started looking.
“I don’t know what Maddox is planning, but I’m afraid none of you are safe unless you band together against him.”
Dax had taken a deep breath. “I can be in Wolf Creek by Saturday. I have to make arrangements to ensure my business is taken care of while I’m gone.”
Evie nodded. “I’ll go home before heading to Oklahoma. I need to prepare him to meet you and Ezra.”
“Does Ezra know you’re coming?” He wondered how Ezra would handle being mothered almost immediately by the small whirlwind.
“I found an Ezra Trace in a little town outside of Ardmore, Oklahoma. I plan to go to him next. You go to Gideon on Saturday and I’ll follow along shortly with Ezra.”
As he remembered Evie’s last words before she left, he shook his head as he stared at the people playing blackjack directly below him.
Dax could still scarcely believe that he’d agreed to go to Wolf Creek.
He’d been sure he was beyond the need for validation from family. Hell, between his father and his grandfather, it was a wonder he wasn’t a complete sociopath.
His grandfather, Farrington Denly, had kicked his eighteen-year-old daughter out of the house when he’d realized she was pregnant.
A prominent pastor in Jefferson Parish, he’d felt it was imperative to shield himself from the scandal of having an unwed mother as a daughter. So he’d thrown her out on the street and disowned her, telling her she’d have to get help from the brat’s father.
His mother had been desperate when she’d found Maddox Trace in his favorite bar. Trace had laughed at her. He told her he was on his way out of town, but he felt certain she could earn some good money on her back.
Then he’d told her he had a little cash to spend and had taken her on the floor of the bar despite her protests. When it was over, she’d pulled her skirt down and ignored the money he threw at her on her way out the door.
Dax closed his eyes as he remembered what his mother’s only friend Ruby had told him.
Ruby had taken pity on the girl who was little more than a child and brought her home to her own apartment. Jenny had stayed with Ruby for over a year, working three jobs as she prepared to deliver her son. She’d been weak and sick by the time the strapping baby boy was born.
Maddox Trace had neglected to mention he was a shifter, and the girl had needed extra protein to sustain her health during her pregnancy.
Dax smiled as he thought of his mother. She’d loved him fiercely. He remembered her soft scent as she sang to him at night. She always spent time holding him and singing to him even when she’d been tired to the bone. She worked hard to make sure he had a roof over his head and food to eat, but they’d lived in a shack on the edge of the Ninth Ward in New Orleans.
She’d never fully recovered her health after his birth and working long hours wore on her. By the time he was eight years old, she was dying of pneumonia. She’d called her father.
Farrington Denly had come to the shack and frowned disapprovingly down at his daughter. “This is what becomes of a woman that lives the life of a jezebel.”
“Please, Father, Daxton has nowhere else to go.” He remembered the way his mother had fought her way to a sitting position to plead with his grandfather.
“What kind of name is Daxton for a boy?” the big man had asked.
“His name is Daxton Farrington Trace. He’s a really smart boy,” Jenny had promised him.
Dax remembered the way the man had looked dispassionately from him to his mother before he’d heaved a big sigh. “Very well. I’ll take the boy, but not you. Come along, boy, it’s time to go.”
“No! I won’t go with you!” Dax had run to his mother, hugging her tight. “Mama, please don’t make me go.”
Tears had filled her eyes as she’d kissed him softly. “Go with Grandpa, baby. I can’t take care of you anymore, but you always remember your mama loves you.”
When he’d refused to leave, his grandfather had simply picked him up and carted him away like a sack of potatoes. Dax had cried for his mother all the way to his grandfather’s house.
Farrington Denly’s house had been a mansion decorated completely in white as he felt that denoted purity. It was not a house for children… especially not boy children. Dax learned pretty quickly that it was best to be neither seen nor heard.
A month later, his mother had died and his grandfather had taken him to her graveside for a short sermon about her many sins.
“Shed no tears for this fallen woman, young man. It will serve no purpose.”
Dax never cried again after that day. When he turned thirteen he experienced his first change and immediately ran away from his grandfather’s house. He was not only a wolf shifter, but he was also smart and could survive on his own. He ended up in Shreveport and did odd jobs around the casinos. He found out pretty quickly that he had a head for numbers and a talent at counting cards.
Dax always played small games and saved his money. When he was old enough to legally gamble in the casinos, he knew enough to be careful with his wins. He bought his first casino when he was twenty-five, and by the time he was thirty he’d owned the mortgage to both his grandfather’s house and his church.
It had been one of the most satisfying days of his life when he foreclosed on both and bulldozed them right in front of his grandfather, destroying everything the old geezer had held dear when he should have taken care of his daughter.
Dax shook his head to clear away the cobwebs of the past. No, he had no love for either his sperm donor or his grandfather.
Pouring himself a shot of whiskey, Dax tossed it back, enjoying the burn before he gave his reflection in the mirror above the bar a rueful smile. “At least Wolf Creek should be interesting.”
Wolf Creek had been a surprise. The pack had built up a community over the years, and it was basically a suburb designed around the needs of the pack. The large park area in the middle that the pack jokingly called Central Park was a huge grassy area with a large fire pit where they held bonfires at its center surrounded by picnic tables, a playground, a soccer field, and volleyball and tennis courts.
The streets that made up the Wolf Creek community fanned out in a circle from the park. The Alpha’s house was the largest and sat right across from the park on a double lot with houses on either side.
The houses were either regular ranch houses or cabins. Most of the cabins were actually for guests of the pack as Dax had discovered when he was shown to his cabin shortly after his arrival.
The community was well designed to protect the Alpha and the children by keeping them at the center of everything. The stores and gas stations were just outside of the neighborhood on the only road leading to and from the houses with the police station at the end.
It turned out that not only was his brother Gideon the Alpha of the Wolf Creek pack, he was the police chief of Wolf Creek as well.
Dax stood by a bonfire, enjoying the way the heat soaked into his body. He’d been in Wolf Creek for two weeks. He was still stunned to realize the depth of his sense of belonging… belonging to this family… his brother… his pack.
He’d never belonged anywhere, except to his casinos, which he owned so they didn’t really count.
Dax saw Gideon approaching with a beer in each hand and smiled. He had a brother; he’d been surprised to find the bond between them was immediate and unbreakable. In fact, he would kill to protect Gideon and his wife Shasta and the adorable baby girl Shasta always seemed to have attached to her hip.
His niece Rosie had been a revelation. He had never loved anything as fiercely as he did that small wisp of a baby. When he’d held her and smelled her sweet baby scent, he’d known he’d never let Maddox Trace near her or anyone one else in Wolf Creek.
If necessary, he’d die to keep them all safe. He, who’d never laid claim to anyone, had now claimed an entire wolf pack. He was a brother and uncle and oddly enough a son.
Evie and her mate Jackson treated him like one of their own and he felt a need to make them proud—which was pretty surreal. They’d still been in Wolf Creek the day he’d arrived. They hadn’t gone to see Ezra in Oklahoma until this past week and had just gotten home a couple of days before.
When he had asked Evie what Ezra had been like, she’d given them an enigmatic smile and said, “Surprising.”
That was all either of them had been able to get her to say on the subject of Ezra, though she’d told them Ezra would arrive in Wolf Creek in a few days. There were apparently some things that had to be wrapped up in Oklahoma before he could make the trip.
“Shasta thought you looked thirsty.” Gideon handed him a beer and took a deep drink from his own bottle.
“She’s a thoughtful woman,” Dax said with a smile. “When do you think Ezra will arrive?”
“Mom’s been pretty sketchy on the subject of Ezra but she said sometime this afternoon. All I know for sure is that our baby brother obviously made a big impression on Mom. Though I don’t understand why she’d being so cagey about the subject.” Gideon shook his head and took another drink.
Suddenly Evie ran toward the bonfire excitedly. “I think I can hear Ezra’s motorcycle!”
Gideon frowned. “Motorcycle?”
She grinned. “Yes, it’s a hog!”
“What do you know about hogs?” Gideon asked incredulously.
Evie pursed her lips primly. “Ezra explained it to me.”
Then Dax could hear the roar of the big motorcycle and caught sight of it as it came around the bend of the drive. He frowned as he studied Ezra’s figure. He certainly wasn’t a very big guy though his legs did look pretty long. Then his jaw dropped. “Fuck me running.”
“Holy shit. It’s a girl,” Gideon said under his breath.
Evie reached up to swat them both on the side of their heads. “Language, boys! Don’t cuss in front of your sister.” Then she was rushing off to greet Ezra.
“Who in the hell names a girl Ezra?” Dax muttered.
Gideon looked just as confused as he was as they both slowly followed Evie to greet their visitor.
When she climbed off the bike, Dax sucked air in between his teeth; he hadn’t been expecting a sister but he certainly hadn’t expected one dressed to the teeth in leather and built like a brick shithouse. “How in the hell are we supposed to keep a pack of randy wolves off her?”
She turned to face them as she pulled her helmet off, freeing long waves of ash blonde hair to cascade down her back. She had a delicate face with large almond-shaped eyes that seemed to tilt up on the outer edges. Her eyes were a startling bottle green just as intense as the blue of Gideon’s and his own. Ezra was stunningly beautiful.
Tucking the helmet under one arm, she looked Dax and Gideon up and down. “I don’t need either of you to keep any randy wolves off of me. I can take care of myself.”
Dax blinked. “How in the hell did you hear that?”
Ezra smiled. “It’s easy when you calm your mind and block out the distractions. I am pleased to meet you, Gideon and Daxton.” She bowed deeply at the waist.
“You don’t have to bow. He might be the Alpha of the pack but he isn’t royalty,” Dax said as he poked Gideon in the side.
A very serene look came over her face. “The bow is a form of respect but does not in any way equate to me feeling like either of you are of higher rank, so to speak.”
“Boys, don’t tease your sister. Bring her inside, dinner is almost ready,” Evie commanded as she walked toward the house.
“Your mother is a force to be reckoned with,” Ezra said to Gideon.
“You got that right,” Dax said with a shake of his head. “What do you mean, calm your mind?”
“My stepfather taught me martial arts as a way to protect myself and calm the restlessness of my spirit. It was the way of the monks in his temple where I grew up,” she explained.
“You learned to fight in a monastery?” Gideon asked as they walked.
“Yes, but I actually became much more proficient than my stepfather ever imagined. He sent me to the Sohei in Japan to ensure I reached the upper limits of my capabilities once he realized I was serious.” They walked into Gideon’s house as Shasta and Evie were setting food on the table.
“So how did you end up with a monk as your stepfather? I thought monks were celibate,” Dax inquired.
Ezra nodded. “Most monks are celibate and don’t generally marry. My mother didn’t have any family, so when she found herself pregnant with a criminal as the father of her baby, she knew she had to find someplace safe to have me. She was Japanese American and she knew about the monastery outside of Ardmore so she went to them. My stepfather decided to marry her to ensure the safety of her and her unborn child. Since he was also a rat shifter, it didn’t take long for him to figure out she was carrying a shifter child.”
“Your stepfather was a rat shifter and a monk?” Gideon asked incredulously.
“It is not uncommon for rat shifters to learn martial arts as a way to defend themselves since they are naturally so much smaller than other shifters. All of the monks in the monastery were rat shifters. They were very good to me as a child, especially after my mother died when I was four,” Ezra said quietly.
Dax suddenly felt a deeper kinship with Ezra. “My mom died when I was eight. Her body never fully recovered after carrying a shifter child.”
She nodded again. “Though my stepfather tried to get her to eat more protein, my mother was a vegetarian and couldn’t be convinced so her body was weakened irreparably by my birth.”
They all sat in relative silence as they contemplated the many sins of Maddox Trace. Thankfully, that was when Evie called them to dinner.
“Wash your hands, children,” Evie called out to them as they came inside.
“You do realize we’re all adults, don’t you, Mom?” Gideon asked with a grin.
“You’re all mine and I will call you what I please,” she informed them.
Dax saw tears gathering in the corners of Ezra’s eyes. “It’s a shock at first.”
Ezra blinked rapidly to clear her eyes then looked up at him. “What’s a shock?”
“Being loved so immediately and unconditionally; it really threw me at first. I didn’t know how to react,” he admitted.
Ezra nodded. “I must admit my mother has been gone for a long time and Evie’s affection is not unwelcome.”
Dax smiled. “Not at all.”
They all washed their hands then started toward the table.
“No swords at the table, please!” Evie called, causing Dax and Gideon to freeze and look at their newly found sister.
Ezra smiled sheepishly and reached up to each shoulder to pull two huge swords from the crossed sheaths on her back.
“What in the Sam Hill are those?” Gideon asked. Dax recognized that his brother had just turned into the chief of police in an instant.
“My swords; I am a black belt in karate and skilled in the arts of kenjutsu and ninjutsu. Don’t worry, I would never cut anyone unintentionally.” She moved quickly to put her swords away in the top of the coat closet and out of the reach of children, Dax supposed.
“You would cut people intentionally?” Gideon was obviously getting upset.
“Not without provocation, brother,” Ezra assured him. She patted Gideon lightly on the back before sitting down at the table next to Evie.
Gideon stared after her with his mouth hanging open. Dax slapped Gideon on the back then shrugged when Gideon looked at him as if he was asking ‘what the hell?’
“Gideon, the food is getting cold. Come and sit down with the rest of us. It’s your turn to say grace,” Evie called.
Dax grinned as Ezra passed him the mashed potatoes. Boring was one thing no one could say about his family.
A few hours later the siblings found themselves back outside by the bonfire. Dax was sitting on a big log watching Gideon and Ezra spar. Gideon wanted to make sure she could really fight and wasn’t just trying to impress them.
Ezra removed her swords, and then they both watched her slack-jawed as she pulled several knives from hidden areas in her clothes and laid them down as well. She smiled at them. “I believe in always being prepared.”
Then she’d moved to stand opposite from Gideon, taking what appeared to be a very relaxed pose. Gideon rushed her and she moved smoothly and gracefully to catch him right below his left knee, shifting his center of gravity, then tossed him on his ass.
Dax sat up straighter with a grin as Gideon got back to his feet to go again.
Dax laughed when Ezra threw Gideon on his ass for the third time. The girl could really fight.
Gideon glared at him and pointed. “Do you want a turn?”
Dax lifted his hands as if in surrender with a grin. Truth be told, he could hold his own in a fight. He’d grown up on the street so fighting had sometimes been his only option, but he had no desire to fight either his brother or his sister even in practice. He would fight alongside them but never with them.
It was weird; he’d only known they’d existed for a few weeks, but for someone like him who had never had a family or belonged anywhere, family was precious… far too precious to risk either of them over a squabble.
Ezra laughed at something Gideon said and then held a hand out to help him to his feet. Gideon smiled good-naturedly about being knocked on his ass like a girl.
“Ezra, you’re going to have to teach me some of those moves,” Shasta said as she walked up and handed Rosie to Gideon.
“Absolutely not,” Gideon said firmly.
Ezra’s back went stiff. “I would never hurt anyone in my family.”
Shasta rolled her eyes. “It’s not you, Ezra. It’s because I’m pregnant.”
Dax felt his eyes widen as he looked from Gideon to Shasta and back. “Damn, isn’t Rosie only six months old?”
“Don’t start,” Gideon growled.
“Can I help it if I can’t keep my hands off him?” Shasta asked with a wink at Ezra who promptly turned pink.
Dax made a gagging sound and immediately got the desired result. Gideon and Shasta both glared at him.
“There is nothing at all gross about a woman desiring her man,” Shasta said firmly. Then she took Rosie from Gideon and shoved her at Dax. “Kiss your niece goodnight.”
Dax dutifully took Rosie, kissing her soft round cheek and giving her belly a tickle. The baby cooed up at him delightfully and melted his heart all over again. If he stayed here much longer, he would end up a pile of mush.
Handing Rosie back to her mother, he kissed Shasta’s cheek as well. “I know. I just enjoy giving you both a hard time.”
Shasta patted his cheek. “Just you wait until you and Ezra meet your mates. You won’t know what hit you.”
Dax and Ezra gave Shasta’s parting back equally horrified looks. “No, thanks,” they said in unison.
Gideon and Ezra sat down in the chairs situated around the bonfire next to Dax after Shasta left with the baby. They all stared into the flames, each lost in their own thoughts.
“It’s not as bad as you think,” Gideon said quietly.
Ezra and he both looked at Gideon questioningly. “Mating,” he said in answer to their unspoken question. “I never thought I cared one way or another until I met Shasta. Now being without her would be like losing the ability to breathe.”
“That sounds lovely,” Ezra said sarcastically.
Dax kept his thoughts to himself. He had to admit now that he had witnessed Jackson and Evie’s as well as Gideon and Shasta’s relationships—both true mate situations—he was not nearly as opposed as he had been previously. The love between the mates was obvious in every look… every touch… in everything the couples did.
He’d had plenty of sex… that was something very different from the love he saw between the mates. Now that he’d seen it, he coveted it. Dax knew he wanted a mate of his own, but he also knew that no one he’d met was her.
Shaking himself out of his musings, Dax looked at Ezra. “How long are you planning to stay?”
“Only a day or two, then I have to get back to Ardmore. I’m a private detective, and I have a few open cases I need to tie up. Then I’ll come for a longer visit.” Ezra pulled a piece of crabgrass up and began to nibble on the end of it.
He wasn’t sure if it was an Oklahoma thing or a Japanese thing but he’d never had a hankering to eat grass. Of course, maybe Texans ate it too. Personally, he’d rather stick with a good steak or some of the excellent seafood regularly pulled out of the Gulf Coast. Louisiana was worth the trip for the seafood alone.
They all looked up when they heard a truck coming down the drive. Gideon stood. “That will be Brody bringing Layla home. She was causing all sorts of havoc with the young males of the pack so I sent her to spend some time with the pack up in Arkansas.”
“What kind of trouble?” Dax wondered just how much trouble a female could be.
“We had a female in the pack that kind of stunted Layla’s ability to grow into womanhood normally. Now that Maura is gone, Layla has discovered her effect on men. She’s been enjoying it a little too much. She had them all fighting and rabble rousing over her attentions. It was all a bunch of silliness from young’uns that haven’t any sense. They aren’t mates so there was no need for all the fuss,” Gideon said.
Ezra grimaced. “She shouldn’t sow her wild oats at home. She should have just gone to town to find someone to experiment sexually with.”
Dax looked at Ezra and opened his mouth then just closed it again. This wasn’t a conversation he wanted to have.
Gideon looked a tad poleaxed, but decided to talk about Layla’s situation rather than pursue Ezra’s topic. “Anyway, I’d sent her to the pack in Arkansas, but she did the same kind of thing there so they wanted us to come and get her. I will need to have a talk with Layla about her behavior.”
“I still say she should go into Dallas or Ft. Worth to explore her sexuality; no muss, no fuss.”
Dax and Gideon both stared at their sister.
Ezra looked back and forth between them. “What, I can’t have a sex life because I’m your sister?”
They both sprang up from their seats. “We don’t want to know about it!” Gideon said firmly and Dax nodded his agreement.
Dax held his hands out placatingly when she opened her mouth with fire sparking in her pale green eyes. “Yes, it’s a double standard but please give me some illusions. I just found out I have a baby sister. I don’t want to know if she’s a hoochie mama.”
“I never said I was that!” Ezra exclaimed.
“We need to pretend that you don’t know what sex is, please,” Gideon said quickly. “Please.”
Ezra started laughing and then a young man walked up to greet Gideon. Dax noticed her laughter stopped abruptly but he figured it was because the man was a stranger. “Alpha.”
“Brody, it’s good to have you back. Where’s Layla?” Gideon asked.
“You know Layla, she had to hurry in to see Shasta and the baby. It’s all she’s talked about since I picked her up. Though she did say she found some fantastic vintage glass while she was in Arkansas,” Brody explained.
“Brody, this is my brother, Dax and my sister, Ezra.” Gideon introduced his beta to his siblings.
Brody shook Dax’s hand and then turned to greet Ezra and froze. Ezra rose to her feet and they both stood still as statues staring at each other.
Ezra was the first to move. She glared at Brody then spit out a disgruntled, “Dammit!” She continued to glare as she walked up to Brody and grabbed him by his shirt, pulling him to her and kissing him hard. She pushed him away just as fast. “I don’t have time for this shit.”
Before anyone could react she was gone.
“What in the hell?” Gideon asked no one in particular.
Brody stared after her and whispered one word. “Mate.”
“Well, hell,” Dax said as they all heard the sound of Ezra’s hog firing up and driving away. “I guess she’s cutting her visit short.”