Wolf's Kiss Ch. 07byTemptedAngel©
Shayna resented Jake's commanding tone when he told her to stay in her bedroom. After all, it was her apartment and whoever was at the door was most likely there to see her. It was probably her next door neighbor needing her spare key again. She was forever locking herself out of her apartment so she gave Shayna a spare for such occasions.
Since Jake wouldn't know where to find the key, Shayna put on her bathrobe and went into the living room. She stopped dead in her tracks when she saw the woman from the airport standing there glaring at Jake. And Jake looked like he'd just gotten the shock of his life.
"Um, hello," Shayna said. Her wariness was evident in her tone as she wondered what was going on. Jake's expression didn't change as his eyes swung to her face.
However, the woman's expression softened when she turned to face Shayna. Then she seemed worried and stepped forward placing her hands on Shayna's shoulders.
"Shayna, are you alright?" she asked, genuinely concerned. "I believe someone I know was here a little while ago. Did anything happen? Did he say anything to you?"
Shayna's brow furrowed. "Who was here?" she asked. She glanced at Jake who now appeared pensive. "Jake?"
Before Jake could answer, she turned back to the woman. "I'm sorry, do I know you? I remember bumping into you at the airport a couple of days ago and I thought you looked familiar."
The woman let go of Shayna's shoulders and stepped back, taking a deep breath. "My name is Marisa and you probably do know me, sort of. I'll tell you everything but first I need to know that you're alright. You didn't have any other visitors today?" she asked.
Shayna shook her head then looked at Jake. She had been asleep for most of the afternoon and evening. Jake would have told her if someone had been here to see her, wouldn't he?
Looking back at Shayna, Jake knew he had to tell her what happened. Her expressive face mirrored her thoughts and he couldn't afford to lose her trust in him. He'd planned to get her out of her apartment before he told her about the intruder but now he had no choice.
"There was somebody here earlier this evening. I don't know who he was or what he wanted and he got away before I could find out," he said. His tone and his expression were neutral but he was seething inside. He wished he'd been able to catch the guy, beat the shit out of him, then find out what he was up to. But protecting Shayna was more important than anything else. Vengeance would have to wait.
Marisa spoke, interrupting his thoughts. "His name is Tomas. I was in the area and I had a feeling that he may have been as well. It isn't a coincidence that he was here."
"Who is he and what does he want with my mate?" Jake growled, his stance becoming more aggressive. His wolf was lurking just beneath the surface, angry and restless.
Shayna instinctively went to Jake and rested her hand on his arm. She'd meant to keep her distance from him but she didn't like seeing him so angry. At her touch, he seemed to calm down a bit and pulled her into his arms. He rested his chin on top of her head and inhaled deeply, letting her scent wash over him.
Marisa felt her tension lessen as well taking in the scene that unfolded in front of her. It was as she had suspected, this wolf had staked his claim on Shayna and she knew he would risk his own life to protect her. Her only concern was whether Shayna knew what he was and if she was ready for the choices that lay ahead of her.
Softly clearing her throat, she said, "I hate to interrupt but I don't think we have much time. Tomas is a member of the St. Simon, uh, family. Do you know them?" she asked Jake.
His head snapped up at the mention of the St. Simons. "Yes, I do," he said. That business of Gerard St. Simon wanting to cross pack lands to find his mate was still unresolved and it made him wonder if that was the reason this Tomas guy had been here.
Holding his stare, Marisa mouthed silently, 'Does she know about you?' and was mildly surprised at his brief nod in the affirmative.
Shayna was unaware of the silent exchange between the two of them. Her face was buried in Jake's chest as she tried to steady her own nerves. So much was going on that she was afraid she wouldn't be able to keep up. But she didn't miss Jake referring to her as his "mate". Just what the hell did that mean?
Jake spoke again and she had to force herself to pay attention to what was going on around her.
"Why would he come here?" Jake asked. "Shayna doesn't have anything to do with the St. Simons."
He held her a little more tightly and Shayna relished the feeling of being loved and protected by him. But she had to move, put some distance between them to focus on the situation. Jake resisted at first but relented when she turned around in his arms to hear Marisa's reply.
Marisa thought for a moment before she answered Jake's question. "I believe he was looking for me. He saw me briefly standing near Shayna at the airport a few days ago and probably wanted to check up on her as a lead to get to me."
She turned to Shayna and smiled ruefully. "When you bumped into me it was an unexpected and unfortunate coincidence. Under better circumstances, I would have been delighted to have made your acquaintance at last."
Shayna watched Marisa as she spoke and kept getting the feeling that she should know her. And what Marisa just said reinforced that notion but Shayna couldn't quite put her finger on it.
"I tried to play it off as the random incident it was and quickly disappeared. Tomas probably wouldn't have taken any further notice of you," Marisa continued. "But I knew he would pick up on the very same thing I'd noticed about you in that instant."
Shayna stared blankly at her not understanding what she was referring to but one glance at Jake and she knew he understood.
Catching Shayna's glance, he said softly, "My scent." Shayna still seemed lost so he clarified, "My scent has been on you since our first night together. He could tell you'd been with a male wolf."
Jake could hear the connections forming in her mind as it dawned on her that the intruder must also be a Werewolf. Then that led her to another thought.
Turning back to Marisa, she asked, "Are you a Werewolf, too?"
Marisa was caught off guard by Shayna's question. She looked at Jake and saw the curiosity in his expression as well.
"Yes," she replied. "I am."
Jake's eyebrow quirked in mild surprise. "I was wondering what you could be. How is it that you have no scent? You might as well be a ghost standing there," he said.
Marisa had been expecting Jake to ask that from the start. "I learned some time ago how to mask my scent. Something I picked up from a Siberian Tiger while I was in Asia."
"A what...?" Shayna asked, dumbfounded.
Marisa's mouth twisted in a half-smile. "You'll find there are all kinds of shifters. Not just wolves, but other canines, cats, and other species as well. I've been all over the world and I don't think I've ever encountered them all."
Shayna closed her eyes and pinched the bridge of her nose. Her head was spinning and a headache was fast approaching. This was just too much all at once and she didn't think she could take much more. But there was no turning back now.
Opening her eyes, she asked Marisa, "So how do you know me?"
"I'll tell you all of it soon. But right now, we have to get out of here," Marisa replied. "I wouldn't be surprised if Tomas returns with backup. His superior probably wanted to assess the situation before making his next move. And your involvement with another Were may not seem coincidental to them."
"Whose orders do you think he's under, Guillaume's or Gerard's?" Jake asked.
Marisa answered without hesitation. "Gerard's," she stated. "We have a brief history, very brief but significant nonetheless."
"Before we go anywhere, you need to tell me why your business with Gerard St. Simon suddenly involves Shayna," Jake demanded. "I can call him now and get to the bottom of this unless you want to tell me yourself."
Marisa sighed in defeat. Jake wasn't giving her much choice so she had to tell them what happened as quickly as possible. She looked at Shayna and her heart filled with pride. She was probably a mess inside but outwardly she put up a brave front. It took all of her restraint to keep her from giving Shayna a big, reassuring hug. It had been extremely difficult not to step in over these many years but the safety of her family required she remain in the shadows. Maybe at least with Shayna she could now have a real connection with her family.
Marisa could see that Jake wasn't about to budge, at least not until he knew enough to assess the situation for himself. Then maybe he would see the wisdom of leaving Shayna's apartment for a safer location as soon as possible.
"Time is of the essence so I'll try to be brief," Marisa said. "I have something Gerard wants, something he gave me a long time ago when I spent some time with the St. Simon Pack. I had to leave abruptly and I've been in hiding ever since but recent events forced me to move closer to my family. I tried to be discreet, wearing disguises and masking my scent, but I still managed to be spotted by the very people I wanted to avoid."
Marisa took in the set expressions on Shayna's and Jake's faces and new she had to explain further.
"Shayna, you and I share a family connection. I came here because I don't want to take a chance on Gerard finding out and hurting you in an attempt to get to me," she said.
Turning to Jake, Marisa said, "We really need to get moving. Can't you sense them coming?"
Jake knew there was a lot Marisa wasn't telling them but he agreed they had to move fast. He'd made the trip from New York on his motorcycle to get to D.C. quickly. While that would be the quickest way to travel, with this new situation, he didn't want to risk having Shayna out in the open. That left only one other option.
Turning Shayna back around in his arms, he said, "Get dressed quickly. We'll have to take your car."
"We can take mine," Marisa said. "It's faster and it's cloaked. No one will be able to scent us while we're inside."
Jake nodded his agreement and nudged Shayna into her bedroom. As he put on his socks and boots, Shayna pulled some underclothes and a t-shirt from her dresser and quickly put them on. Jake watched her every move as she crossed to her closet and grabbed a pair of jeans and some sneakers. He was aware that she was frightened of whatever danger she could be in but she didn't let it show in her expression. She seemed somehow detached as she hurriedly dressed and emptied her purse into a small backpack.
Putting her cellphone in her pocket, she turned to Jake. "Do I have time to pack some necessities?" she asked.
Jake shook his head. "We can pick up whatever you need later. Right now we have to move."
Frowning, Shayna turned away from him and left the room, Jake following closely on her heels. When they entered the living room, Marisa was standing on the balcony watching for Tomas or any other Were who might be lurking near the complex.
Hearing Shayna and Jake in the living room, Marisa stepped back inside and secured the sliding door. "All set?" she asked.
Shayna nodded her head but kept her eyes averted. There was so much to take in, so much going on that she didn't understand that all she wanted to do was shut down mentally and physically. But she knew she couldn't afford to so she kept moving.
Glancing around her home, Shayna made sure everything was in its place, hoping it would stay that way until she returned. Scary images of big men ransacking her apartment looking for God knew what made her shiver and brought Jake to her side instantly.
Wrapping her in his arms and giving her a reassuring squeeze, he leaned down to whisper in her ear, "Hopefully they won't come in but we need to get you out of here in case they do. I can't let anything happen to you."
She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Opening them again, she looked toward the door. "Okay, let's go," she said tonelessly.
They quickly left the apartment and took the stairs to the lobby. So far, there was no sign of any other Weres in the immediate area but Jake and Marisa could sense them coming. They both knew they could take care of themselves but were worried about protecting Shayna. It wasn't just that she was an innocent human caught in the middle of something she knew nothing about, she was also very precious to both of them. Neither of them wanted to take any unnecessary chances with her safety.
"I have a safe-house about half an hour from here," Marisa said as they made their way to the parking lot.
Jake shook his head. "It would be better if we go to my family's compound. There's safety in numbers and we'll be under the protection of the Montrose Pack. St. Simon wouldn't dare make a move against us."
Marisa saw the wisdom of his plan and readily agreed. However, Shayna bristled. Marisa pressed a button on her keychain and unlocked the doors to a medium-sized SUV. Tossing the keys to Jake, she opened the back door and got in. Jake slid into the driver's seat and started the engine but Shayna found herself rooted to the spot standing beside the back door that Marisa left open.
Marisa leaned forward and looked at Shayna, concern furrowing her brow. "Shayna get in."
Shayna looked from Marisa to Jake, seeing the same concern on his face but not really registering it. "I can't just take off to New York. My life is here," she said sounding a little panicked.
Jake knew this was too much for her so he tamped down his disappointment that she didn't want to go with him. But before he could respond, Marisa unbuckled her seatbelt and hopped out of the truck.
Taking Shayna's hands in her own, she said soothingly, "Shayna, honey, we have to go. We'll get to the bottom of this as soon as we can so you can get back to your life." Marisa's hackles rose as she scented at least three wolves coming fast on motorcycles. "Get in now, Shayna. They're almost here!" she said more forcefully.
Feeling Marisa's urgency, Shayna got in the backseat and buckled her seatbelt. Jake took off as soon as Marisa climbed in beside Shayna, barely giving her time to close the door. A few blocks from the apartment complex, three motorcycles whizzed by them going in the opposite direction. Jake's eyes met Marisa's in the rearview mirror and Shayna knew the guys that just passed them were on their way to her home.
Fear raced through her and she wrapped her arms around herself in an effort to control the shaking in her body but it wouldn't stop. The scent of her fear filled the vehicle and Jake pulled over into a vacant parking lot. He was out of the truck in a shot and opened Shayna's door to wrap her in his arms.
"It's okay, baby, it's okay," he whispered against her neck. "I promise no one will ever hurt you. I'll always do whatever it takes to protect you, I swear."
With Jake's strong arms around her and his softly spoken words in her ear, Shayna felt herself slowly begin to relax. She knew he meant every word he said and she had complete faith in him that he would keep her safe. Turning her face into his neck, she inhaled deeply taking in his intoxicating aroma. It served to calm her nerves even more and she took a deep breath as she pulled back from him a little.
Looking up into his mesmerizing eyes, she whispered, "Thank you, Jake."
Jake smiled down at her and kissed her lightly before setting her back in her seat and closing the door. Double-checking that the Weres hadn't backtracked yet, he got back into the SUV and headed out of the city to the highway.
Shayna leaned back and closed her eyes, suddenly very tired. She opened her eyes for a brief moment when she felt Marisa brushing her hair away from her face but her lids were too heavy to keep them open. Her last thought was that Marisa reminded her of her cousin as she half-smiled and continued to stroke Shayna's hair.
Jake drove in silence thinking about all that had just transpired that day. He'd pinned Shayna earlier in the afternoon, chased away a Were who'd broken into her apartment, and partially shifted while making love to her which forced him to come clean about what he is. He'd even confessed his love for her, which he didn't regret, yet it stung a bit that she didn't reciprocate. He knew she felt the same but hearing her say the words would've been nice.
But what she didn't know yet was the woman sitting beside her was claiming to be her grandmother. In a day full of shocks and surprises, he didn't know if she could handle yet another major revelation. Briefly glancing in the rearview mirror, he marveled that Marisa certainly seemed maternal toward Shayna. She kept fussing over Shayna as she slept, straightening her head if she was at an odd angle, brushing her hair away from her face. In his world it wasn't hard to believe two women who appeared to be the same age were actually generations apart but he didn't think Shayna would believe it.
They'd been travelling for just over an hour with no sign of anyone following them and Jake felt reasonably confident that they'd gotten a decent head start on their visitors. He figured they were searching the city for them since they couldn't pick up their scents. Jake dug into his jeans pocket and pulled out his cell phone. Sebastian answered on the first ring sounding anxious.
"Jake, where are you?" he immediately asked.
"We're still about a couple of hours away. Something, uh, someone came up," Jake answered.
"What are you talking about? What happened?" Sebastian was definitely confused as his brother was being cryptic.
Jake grimaced. "A relative of Shayna's came to visit. She's coming with us." It wasn't a lie but it didn't give Sebastian much to go on either. "Let Mom and Dad know we're coming and that I'll come to see them first thing in the morning. My guests will be staying in my cabin with me."
Sebastian sighed. "Mom and Dad already know you and Shayna are coming, but I'm not waking them up to tell them you're bringing a complete stranger to the compound. You can do the honors when you see them."
"Fine," Jake grumbled. "I forgot I got the bigger balls when we were born."
Sebastian just laughed at the insult, his self-confidence still intact. He knew Jake was trying to bully him into doing his dirty work but he'd stopped falling for that crap centuries ago.
"Call me when you get home so you can fill me in on everything," Sebastian said.
Jake just grunted and ended the call. He was aware that Marisa could hear the entire conversation so he didn't want to say too much about her to Sebastian. Besides, he had his own suspicions about her involvement with Gerard St. Simon but he wanted to hear it from her before meeting with his parents.
Checking for oncoming traffic although it was the middle of the night, Jake turned the headlights back on and pulled onto the highway. His chat with his brother lasted only a couple of minutes but he felt the need to make up for lost time and sped along hoping no troopers were out to meet their quotas.
Another hour passed in silence as Jake drove them to the safety of Montrose Pack territory. His eyes flew to the rearview mirror as three sets of lights suddenly appeared. He instantly bristled, knowing it was the three men they'd passed earlier on their way out of D.C. They were passing through a heavily wooded stretch of road but he could see a small town just a little further ahead.
Jake looked in the rearview mirror again. Shayna was still asleep but Marisa had turned around in her seat to stare out of the back window.
"Do you think we should pull over at the next town?" she asked.
Jake had thought that very thing but changed his mind. "It might look suspicious if we suddenly get off the highway just because they're coming. Just stay down so they can't see you."