Seducing The Wolf (Chapter Fourteen)
Royce headed for the stairs. Since Billie would be moving her furniture in soon, he decided there was no time like the present to make some room for it. He was going to start upstairs in their bedroom. It would also help keep him distracted while Billie was away from him.
He was about to start up the stairs when he caught the scent of another in the room. Curling his upper lip in a snarl, he turned around to face the intruder. "Get out of my house, Gren."
The other werewolf leapt at him. Royce caught him in midair and grappled him to the floor. Gren went down hard, but he somehow managed to take Royce down with him. Rolling into a crouched position, Royce saw the evil smile on the other man's face a split second before Gren charged him once again. This time Royce felt something enter his side when Gren slammed into him.
Gren pushed Royce away and got to his feet. "You made it too easy for me, lone wolf. You really shouldn't leave your backdoor unlocked. There's no telling who may just walk in and decide to take whatever they want."
Royce felt the room begin to tilt at an alarming angle as he fell to his knees. Looking down, he pulled out the syringe that was still in his side. The plunger had been pushed in all the way. It fell from his fingers as his world started to fade. Fighting to stay conscious, Royce sat down on the floor and shook his head.
"Don't worry, I didn't poison you. You're just going to go to sleep for a while." Gren came to stand over him. "You left me no other choice."
Unable to fight whatever drug Gren had injected into his system, Royce slumped onto his side. His last thought before everything went black was that Billie was safe. That was all that mattered.
* * * *
The gym was pretty quiet when Billie arrived. There were only a dozen or so members working out on the gym floor. She saw that three of her brothers were already there. Eli met up with her as she headed for her desk.
"How was your day off, Billie? Did you spend all of it with Royce?"
"It was good, and yes, I did. Is Dad in?"
"Yeah, he's in his office. Why?"
"I just need to talk to him."
Billie put her purse in her desk drawer and slammed it shut with more force than was necessary. "Don't start, Eli. Where is Finn, by the way?"
Eli chuckled. "Finn got lucky last night at Wulf's Den. He managed to hook up with this really hot chick. So I don't imagine he'll be in until later. He's probably still recovering from a hot night of sex."
Rolling her eyes, Billie walked around Eli and headed for their father's office. "I really didn't need to know all that. I was just curious where Finn was since you two seem practically joined at the hip."
"We aren't that bad."
"Eli, you two live together. You couldn't even move out of the house and get separate places of your own."
"Hey, we only did that to save money. It's not as if we plan to live together for the rest of our lives," Eli said defensively.
Billie stopped and kissed Eli on the cheek. "See, not much fun to have a sibling put you through the third degree, is it? I know you and Finn have the whole twin thing going on."
Eli scowled at her. "Fine, you made your point. I'll back off. After what happened with Royce the other day, we're all a little worried about you."
"Don't be. Now get out of here and leave me alone so I can talk to Dad."
"You're still not going to tell me what you want to talk to him about, are you?" When she narrowed her gaze on him, Eli held up his hands and slowly started to back away. "I'm going, I'm going."
After a quick knock on the door, Billie walked into her father's office. He had been sitting slumped in his chair staring off into space, but when he saw her, he sat up and gave her a half smile. Billie noticed the dark circles under his eyes and how haggard he looked. Whatever was going on with him obviously kept him up at night.
Billie sat down in the chair in front of his desk. "Have to say, Dad, you look like crap. What's going on?"
"That's my girl, always to the point. I'm just not sleeping well these days." He then quickly changed the subject. "What can I do for you?"
Now that she was here, Billie didn't know where to start. She was beginning to wonder if maybe she should have taken Royce up on his offer to come along, but it was too late for second thoughts. With a deep breath, she jumped in feet first.
"Okay, first of all, I'm moving out of my apartment. So as my landlord, you've just received your notice. I'm moving in with Royce." When her father opened his mouth to interrupt, Billie shook her head. "Please, Dad, let me finish first, then you can say whatever it is you want." Once he sat back in his chair and nodded for her to continue, she pushed on. "I know you think this is all very sudden, but it really was meant to be. Now here is where you're going to think I've lost all my marbles, but I really haven't. Royce is different. I mean really different. He's a werewolf, Dad. Not the scary werewolf from horror movies though. He can only change into a wolf, and his eyes glow, and he can make all the sounds a wolf does. I'm getting off track with all that, but Royce knew I was his mate the first time we met and he smelled my scent. To make a long story short, he claimed me as his mate and our souls have joined together, which means I don't like being away from him and he doesn't like being away from me. That's why I've been so out of sorts for the last couple days when I've been here working. And since I am his mate, that means we're basically married. So you have a new son-in-law."
As she spoke her father's face lost all emotion. When she stopped talking he just continued to stare at her, not reacting to anything she had said. Billie began to worry that maybe it hadn't been such a good idea to just dump it all on him like that. "Dad? Are you going to say anything at all?"
"Royce is a werewolf?" His voice held no emotion either.
"Yes. I know it's hard to believe. I know I didn't believe him at first when he told me, but seeing him go wolf was more than enough to convince me he wasn't crazy. He is willing to show you if you don't think I'm telling the truth."
Her father slowly shook his head. "That won't be necessary. I believe you."
Billie hadn't expected him to be so accepting, nor had she expected him to look so sad about it either. He seemed to withdraw into himself. "Dad, you're scaring me here. This is not at all how I pictured you would react."
He sighed deeply. "I guess it's time you knew. I wanted to keep this from you, but after hearing you tell me Royce is a werewolf, you should know."
"Know about what?" Billie felt a chill run down her spine. She couldn't help but feel that what her father was going to tell her next would have a profound effect on her life as she knew it.
"It has to do with your mother, Billie."
"What about her? She took off when I was a baby and that was the last you heard or saw of her."
"That is only what I told you when you were old enough to start asking about your mother."
"You mean that isn't what happened?"
"No. I'm afraid it's much worse than just your mother abandoning you as a baby. You see, your mother has her own gift as you do, except with her she can see things before they actually happen. Unlike you, she isn't a strong person. She always hated her ability to see into the future. It affected her. It didn't come to her very often, but when it did, sometimes it wasn't something she wanted to see. Once you kids started coming, her gift seemed to go away. She was happy that she no longer had it. But it really hadn't gone away. When you were about a month old, she had a vision. I don't know exactly everything she saw, but it caused something to snap inside her." Her father's voice cracked with the emotion he was now feeling. Once he brought himself back together he continued. "I came home from the gym one day to find all hell had broken loose. Your brothers were screaming, yelling at your mother to stop. I found Keegan desperately trying to pull your mother off of you. She had a pillow over your face, Billie. She was trying to smother you. If I hadn't have come home when I had you would have died that day."
Billie gripped the arms of her chair until her knuckles turned white. "Why did she do it? What did she see?"
"After I pulled her off you, she kept repeating over and over again that she couldn't allow her baby to turn into a wolf."
All the blood drained out of Billie's face. "Where is she now, Dad?"
"She's in a place where she can be looked after properly. She never came back mentally, and there was no way I could leave her alone with you ever again."
"She's in a mental institution?"
"No. It's more like a home for people who have mental conditions. She is well taken care of."
"She's been there all these years and you never said a word to me about it?"
"I wanted to protect you from this, Billie. And if it wasn't for what you just told me, I probably would have taken it to my grave. Even your brothers swore they would never tell you the truth. But your mother took a turn for the worst a couple of days ago. They've had to heavily sedate her almost around the clock. She keeps screaming about her baby being turned into a wolf. That the wolf will kill and she doesn't want her baby to be a killer."
Billie sucked in a sharp breath. "The spell. She must have seen something about the spell."
"There's an ancient spell that can turn a mortal into a werewolf. It has only worked twice before, but it has been offered to me so I can be like Royce. If Mom saw me change into a wolf, then the spell will work on me."
"Are you saying you would willingly want to become a werewolf?"
"Yes. You have to understand something, Dad. Werewolves live very long lives. Royce is over fifteen hundred years old and he can live to be three thousand. Without the spell, I'll die long before he does. I can't let him mourn me for the next thousand or so years when there is a chance I can be with him until the end."
"You love Royce that much?"
"Yes. I came here to get your blessing, if you want to call it that."
Her father got up and came around the desk until he stood in front of her chair. He took her hand and helped her up onto her feet. Once she was standing, he pulled her into a hug. Billie closed her eyes and leaned into him. "You have my blessing. I don't really understand all of it, but I'm sure you'll explain it better after it's all done. Just know I love you and I want you to be happy."
"I promise I will."
"I hope you don't think any less of me because I didn't tell you the truth about your mother."
Billie looked up at her father. "Never. I know you did it to protect me, but I'm a big girl now. It is a shock to hear what she tried to do, but I can handle it. I have a feeling it affected the boys more than it will me."
"It did, sorry to say. After that day, all four of them became fiercely protective of you. They haven't grown out of it I'm afraid."
"I'm used to it, and now I can understand their motives."
Stepping back, her father let her go. "Get out of here and go be with your husband. I can't believe I said that."
"Believe me, Dad, it took a lot of getting used to for me as well."
Giving her father a kiss, Billie left his office. There was no point in trying to work. Now that she had made up her mind about the spell she needed to tell Royce. There was no way she would be able to concentrate on anything until she did.
* * * *
Billie pushed open the front door and called out to Royce. "Royce, I'm home." When she didn't get an answer, she walked to the bottom of the stairs and called up to him. He still didn't answer her. Thinking maybe he was outside in the backyard, she headed to the kitchen. The door that led out to the backyard stood wide open. Billie walked out onto the deck and looked around. She couldn't see any sign of Royce anywhere. She wondered where he could be. He had to be home. His car was still in the driveway, and the front door had been unlocked. As she walked back into the kitchen, she took her cell phone out of her purse and dialed his. After the first couple of rings, she could hear it ringing somewhere inside the house. Following the sound, she found Royce's cell phone sitting on the dining room table along with his keys.
A feeling of something not being right started to creep over her as she snapped her cell phone closed. It was when she walked back into the front entrance hallway that her foot kicked something that had been lying on the floor. Billie bent down and picked it up. It was an empty syringe, the type diabetics used. She knew it wasn't Royce's. He had told her werewolves rarely, if ever, got sick, and they didn't suffer from the diseases mortals did. So the big question was how had the syringe ended up in the house in the first place.
As her uneasiness grew, Billie did a thorough search of the house. Nothing looked out of place. It almost appeared as if Royce had just walked out of the house, but Billie knew finding the syringe said otherwise. Once again on the lower level, she took a deep breath to stop herself from panicking. It wasn't as if she couldn't find Royce no matter where he was. Closing her eyes, she concentrated on his face, focusing on it. A second later, she gasped. She had seen exactly where Royce was, and he wasn't alone. Gren had not only taken Royce, he had also taken her brother Finn.