Seducing The Wolf (Chapter Ten)

"So what exactly are you going to do about the Gren problem?" Royce asked Roxie.

They were sitting in the living room of her parents' house. Belinda, Roxie's mother, sat with them. He had called Roxie after he had left Billie at the gym and asked her to meet him here.

Roxie shook her head. "I don't really know. If we had some kind of werewolf jail or something, I'd be all for locking Gren up and throwing away the key, but we don't."

Before Royce could say anything more, Belinda spoke up. "Roxie, I know you don't want to be the one to make the hard decisions, but you have to. You rule over the packs. That means you are the one responsible for keeping them in line. Maybe it's time to do something to stop Gren, permanently."

"You aren't suggesting what I think you're suggesting?" Roxie asked. "I never knew you were so bloodthirsty, Mom."

Her mother, who was sitting next to her on the couch, patted her hand. "Well I was raised by a werewolf, my dear." Belinda looked over at Royce and smiled before she turned back to her daughter. "Dad may have been a lone wolf, but over the years he made sure he kept tabs on what was happening in werewolf society. When I was growing up I wasn't sheltered from it as you were."

"I'm seeing a whole different side to you." Roxie looked over at Royce. "I guess I have you to thank for raising my mother to be so tough. Way to go, Grandpa."

Royce scowled at Roxie. "I've told you a thousand times not to call me that."

"You are my grandfather, aren't you? And you let my mother call you dad."

"That's different. I raised your mother as my daughter. I'm the only father she's known. You on the other hand only call me that to try and get a rise out of me."

"Whatever." Roxie grew serious. "Leave the Gren problem with me for now. I'll have a talk with Beowulf about it and see what he thinks. All I can say is try to be more careful. Now what was the other thing you wanted to discuss?"

Royce took a deep breath before he answered. "It's actually a favor I want to ask of you and your mother. It has to do with Billie."

"You haven't told her about you being a werewolf, have you?"

"No. I thought maybe you and your mother could help explain it to her. She may accept it more if you both were here when I told her."

"Unbelievable," Roxie said. "First Beowulf, then Wade, and now you. What is with you idiot male werewolves claiming mortal women as mates without letting them know what exactly they are getting themselves into?"

"It just happened. You know how strong the mating urge is, Roxie. I admit, I should have said something to Billie before, but it isn't something you can just lay onto a mortal and expect them to believe. Look what you did to Beowulf when he went wolf on you. You used your magic to keep him in wolf form for twenty-four hours. I don't call that taking it well."

Roxie flicked his comment away with her hand. "I wasn't exactly thinking straight that night. Sorry if seeing you and Gren go at each other at Wulf's Den upset me. Fine, I'll talk to Billie with Mom. When are you going to bring her around?"

"I was thinking today. Say in the next hour or so."

Roxie narrowed her eyes at him. "Why the big rush all of a sudden?" She then swore under her breath. "Billie was there when Gren gave his ultimatum to you. She was a witness to it all. Nice one."

Before Royce could try and stand up for himself, the doorbell rang. Belinda got up to answer it. He heard her greet the person who stood at the door. Much to his shock, it was Billie's voice he heard answering back. He had no idea how she knew where to find him. He hadn't had a chance to call her.

Belinda returned to the room with Billie in tow. Billie nodded her head at Roxie before she moved to stand in front of Royce. "I thought you were going to call me."

"I was going to. I had to discuss something with Roxie and her mother before I did. How did you know where to find me?"

"I have my ways."

"That is what you said when you showed up on my doorstep." Royce had a feeling it couldn't be a coincidence that Billie could seemingly find him so easily. "Seriously, how did you find me?"

Billie rolled her eyes. "Fine. I sort have a little secret as well."

"And that would be?"

"I guess you want me to go first. All right. I have an ability that lets me locate people I've come in contact with, no matter how briefly I've associated with them."

"Really?" Roxie asked with interest in her voice. "You can find anyone you want?"

"Yes. So long as I've seen your face I will be able to find you."

"How does it work? Do you get flashes of images in your head, or do you get complete addresses?"

"I bring the person's face up in my mind then I focus on them. I don't really get an address or images. It's like I just know where to go to find them. It's kind of hard to explain."

Royce chuckled. "Now I understand why your brother Hayes wasn't thrilled to see you that night at Wulf's Den. He hadn't told you where he was going and still you found him."

"I've lost count the number of times I've had to bring his drunken ass home. Without fail, when Hayes gets into a fight with his wife, he goes somewhere to get sloshed. Then Janice calls me to find him and bring him home. He hasn't been able to get away from me yet, though he does try. You wouldn't believe some of the places he has gone to hoping I wouldn't be able to find him." Billie shuddered dramatically. "At least the others don't make me go hunt them down."

"The others?" Roxie asked.

"My brothers. I have three older brothers besides Hayes."

Roxie gave a low whistle. "Four older brothers? Dating must have been fun for you when you were growing up."

"It was rough at times. Add my father into the mix and sometimes I was lucky to date at all."

"I can sympathize with you, dear," Belinda said. "I grew up with a father who took great relish in scaring off almost every boy I brought home."

"Hey, I wasn't that bad," Royce said with a laugh.

It wasn't until he felt Billie's eyes boring into him did he realize what he had said. Turning his gaze onto her, he could see her looking at Belinda and then back at him. It wasn't hard to see that she was trying to figure out how he could be Belinda's father when he looked much younger than she did. Clearing his throat, Royce motioned for Billie to come sit down beside him on the loveseat.

After she was seated next to him, Royce took a deep breath before he began. "I guess this is where I say it's my turn now. I can see from the look on your face you're finding it hard to believe I'm Belinda's father."

Billie snorted. "You think? There is no way you can be her father. You look to be the same age as Roxie."

"Looks can be deceiving, Billie. In actual fact, I'm Belinda's grandfather, not her father. I only raised her as my daughter when her parents died."

"Okay, you're losing me here."

"I don't know of any other way to explain this without just coming out with it. So here it goes. Billie, I'm a werewolf."

Billie started to laugh. "You're kidding, right? There are no such things as werewolves."

Royce had known she wouldn't believe him, but it still didn't make it any easier for him. "No, I'm not kidding, and werewolves are indeed real."

"No, they aren't." Billie must have realized he was serious because she stopped laughing. "Royce, you can cut the crap. I'm not that naive to believe that werewolves exist. Next you'll be telling me the bogeyman is real too."

Belinda broke into their conversation. "If I may make a small suggestion, Dad, I think maybe you should show Billie or you're not going to get anywhere."

Royce nodded his head. Belinda was right. He could sit here and argue with Billie until he was blue in the face and she still wouldn't believe him.

Moving off the loveseat, Royce stood so he could look down at Billie. He kept eye contact with her as he drew on the magic inside him and willed the change upon himself. Billie's eyes grew round as his eyes began to glow and his body began to shimmer, blurring as it took on his wolf form. Once the change was complete, Royce shoved his muzzle under her limp hand. Billie then fell back onto the loveseat in a dead faint.

* * * *

Billie could hear someone calling her name as if they were a great distance away. Pushing through the darkness that surrounded her, she blinked open her eyes. Royce, Roxie and Roxie's mother were all hanging over her.

"What happened?" She tried to sit up, but Royce wouldn't let her.

"Give yourself a minute, Billie. You may still feel a bit woozy."

It then all came rushing back to her. Royce had actually changed into a wolf before her very eyes. One minute he was a man, and the next he was a wolf with fur the exact same color as his hair. She then groaned with disgust when she remembered how her world had suddenly gone black when he had pushed his muzzle into her hand.

"Tell me I didn't faint."

Royce chuckled. "You were out like a light."

"I've never fainted before in my entire life. I can't be one of those women who faint."

"Why not? Is it too much of a woman thing for you?"

"No. It's just something those wimpy women do, and I'm no wimp."

Royce chuckled again. "No one would call you a wimp, Billie. I've seen you put all four of your brothers in their place. You're definitely not a wimp."

This time when she tried to sit up, Royce helped her. He sat down next to her and took her hand in his. "Do you believe me now, Billie, that I'm a werewolf?"

How couldn't she believe it? The proof had been enough to make her faint, much to her disgust. "I'd be fooling myself if I didn't. Change again. I promise this time I won't faint."

"Are you sure?"

"Of course I'm sure or I wouldn't have asked you to do it. I didn't get to see much of you in your wolf form."

Not bothering to get off the loveseat this time, Royce shifted into wolf form. Billie was surprised by how quickly, and seemingly painless, the change took place. Looking into the large wolf's eyes, she knew it was Royce looking back at her. As a man he was exceedingly handsome, but as a wolf, Billie could only think of one word to describe Royce – beautiful.

He edged closer as she reached out and placed her hand on the top of his head. His golden brown fur was soft to the touch. She let her hand drift down to his back where she dug her fingers into his thick fur. Royce leaned closer and licked her cheek. Billie gave him a hard stare.

"You can lick my face as long as you don't go around licking your privates while you're a wolf. That's just disgusting."

Royce snorted and shook his large head. Roxie who was standing nearby began to laugh, reminding Billie that she and her mother were still in the room. Billie turned to Roxie.

"Okay, Roxie, it's your turn. Gren said you were a werewolf as well. I want to see you as a wolf."

Roxie smiled. "With pleasure. And don't worry, I don't lick myself either. But I do have one nifty trick that Royce can't do."

Billie watched Roxie shift into her wolf form. She was slightly smaller than Royce, and her fur was just a touch lighter than his. Billie felt all the air leave her lungs in a whoosh as Roxie shifted again. Instead of shifting back into her human form, Roxie shifted into a form that only could be described as half human and half wolf. Roxie was much taller, even taller than Royce. Her body was covered in the same golden brown fur that she had as a wolf. Billie also noticed she had a wolf's tail.

"Damn, Roxie. You could kick some serious butt in that form. You're huge."

"Been there, done that," Roxie said in a voice that was gruffer than her normal voice.

"Nice, you can talk as well. I'm jealous. I'd love to be able to change like that, even if it was only into a wolf. My brothers would freak."

Something unreadable flickered in Roxie's eyes just before she shifted back into human form. Out of the corner of her eye, Billie saw Royce had changed back as well and was shaking his head at Roxie.

Roxie ignored Royce. "Would you really like to be like Royce and me, Billie?"

"Don't even suggest it, Roxie," Royce said in a hard voice. "We don't know for sure it will work on Billie."

"You're talking about the spell Gren wants Royce's blood for, aren't you?" Billie asked Roxie. When Royce turned to look at her, she said, "Don't look at me like that. I do have more than half a brain, and I was in the same room as the two of you. I can assure you I have perfect hearing."

Roxie bit back a smile. "I can see you're not going to have any problems handling Royce, Billie. And yes, I mean that spell. Gren used it to change me into a werewolf. Little did he know his doing so also fulfilled an ancient prophecy."

"Royce told Gren that was the only reason why the spell worked on you when it had failed with the others Gren tried it on."

"Well, that isn't exactly true. As far as Gren knows, I'm the only one the spell has changed into a werewolf. He doesn't know I used it on Taryn."

"You used it to change Taryn into a werewolf?" Billie asked with wonder.

"Yes. And contrary to what Gren thinks, Royce's blood isn't the key to making the spell work either. It's my blood."

"So you can make anyone into a werewolf then?"

"That is something we don't know for sure," Royce answered. "Taryn was born half werewolf. Her father is a werewolf and her mother was a mortal. She already had werewolf genes, just as Roxie had them through me."

"I also thought at first the spell only worked on me because Gren used your blood, the sire of my bloodline, with the spell," Roxie added. "I was proven wrong when we first attempted the spell on Taryn using her father's blood. It was my blood that changed her."

"But who is to say it only worked because you both possess werewolf genes to start with? I'm pretty sure Billie won't be having any relatives who happen to be werewolves popping out of the woodwork anytime soon as Taryn did."

"That could be true, but what if it had no bearing on the spell's validity? You claimed Billie as your mate, wouldn't you rather take the chance and have the spell work than not and watch her grow old and die as you live on for a great many more years?" At Royce's groan, Roxie cringed. "Sorry. I forgot Billie doesn't yet know about the whole mate thing."

Billie didn't know what to feel. Listening to Royce and Roxie talk was bringing home to her that there was a lot more going on than the fact that they were werewolves. She wasn't particularly thrilled to hear Roxie say Royce had claimed her as his mate. It sounded too cavemanish for her liking.

Before Royce and Roxie could continue to argue whether or not the spell would work, Billie broke into the conversation. "Let's drop the spell business for a minute. Explain how Royce claimed me as his mate. As far as I knew we haven't reached that permanent commitment stage yet."

Roxie gestured for Royce to take over. He turned sideways on the loveseat so he could look at Billie. "When a male werewolf meets a female who is his mate, her scent sets off his mating urge. That alone tells him she is the one for him. It's not something he can ignore. It will ride him hard until he claims her."

"And how exactly does he do that?"

"By making love to her."

"Let me get this straight. So when you made love to me for the first time you knew you would be claiming me as your mate?"

Royce nodded. "Correct. That's when our souls joined together. That is also why you started to feel uncomfortable being separated from me for long periods of time. Just as I do when I'm not around you."

Billie grew quiet as she mulled that bit of information over in her mind. "Okay, now I know I'm not going crazy. For a while there I thought I lost it when I started to miss you and it really hadn't been that long since I had last seen you."

"It will get easier to handle with time."

"Next question. How can you be both Roxie and her mother's grandfather? You don't look that old."

Royce sighed. "Werewolves don't age the same as mortals. Our kind can live up to three thousand years old."

"Three thousand years old," Billie repeated softly. "How old are you, Royce?"

At first Billie didn't think he was going to answer her when he didn't say anything right away. "I'm a little over fifteen hundred years old."

Billie took a few deep breaths as the room started to spin. I'm not going to faint again, I'm not going to faint again. She repeated that inside her head like a mantra until the room righted itself once more. She had no idea why now of all times she was turning into such a ninny. She was tough, and prided herself on it. Stuff like this shouldn't be sending her into an old fashioned case of the vapors. She was made of sterner stuff than that.

"All right. All I can say to that is, holy shit, you're too old for me."

"That is what I said to Beowulf when he told me exactly how old he was," Roxie said with a laugh. "Beowulf is close in age to Royce."

Billie shook her head. "Unbelievable." She looked down at her hands, which were clasped tightly together in her lap. "So I'm mated to a fifteen hundred year old werewolf. I'm only twenty-five, but you'll still outlive me by at least another thousand years. Unless I agree to let Roxie try the spell on me." She looked back up at Royce.

Royce reached out to take one of her hands in his. When she didn't unclasp her hands, he pulled away. "Even if you do let Roxie try the spell, Billie, there is still no guarantee it will work. Your being a mortal doesn't change how I feel about you. My first mate was a mortal as well."

Billie felt an emotion that could only be described as jealousy wash over her at hearing Royce say he already had a mate in his life before her. It was an emotion she didn't normally feel. Of course Royce had to have had another woman who meant something to him, one he had to have had a child with. You couldn't have grandchildren without having a child first. Obviously this other woman was no longer in his life. At least Billie hoped she wasn't. "What happened to your first mate?"

A look of pain flashed across Royce's face. "Alicia was different. She could do things no one else in her village could do. She had magic of her own. Because of that, the rest of the villagers shunned her, forcing her to live on her own outside of the village. A village boy watched me go wolf one day outside her hut. When the villagers heard his story, they rose up against Alicia. They accused her of witchcraft, dragged her out of her hut and then burned her. Alicia was able to save our daughter by hiding her inside the hut when she heard the villagers approaching. I later found Nina. I was too late to save her mother, but I was able to save her. I stepped down as pack leader and left to raise my daughter where she would be safe. And I've watched over all her decedents since then."

Billie kicked herself for being jealous of a woman who had died hundreds of years before she had even been born. That Royce had loved Alicia was apparent. The look of pain that had quickly passed over his face said it all. It also made Billie wonder if she had a chance of filling the empty place in Royce's heart that had been created when Alicia had died. She couldn't help feeling she wouldn't be able to. Now that she knew the story about Royce's first mate, Billie understood why he had resisted her in the beginning. He didn't want another mate to take Alicia's place. Only with the mating urge riding him, and unable to resist it, had he claimed her as his own.

Suddenly feeling the need that to get away, to try and sort this all out without Royce sitting next to her, Billie stood up. "I have to go. I need to think this through before we go any further. It's an awful lot to just dump in my lap."

Royce stood up beside her with a look of concern on his face. "Are you going to be all right?"

She nodded. "I think so. I just can't be here right now, with you."

Not wanting to give Royce a chance to try and change her mind about leaving, Billie turned around and quickly walked out of the house.