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Chapter 3



The sound of a door being hammered on with a fist woke her.

“Wha…?” She struggled to consciousness and as the noise continued, she blinked herself awake and stumbled to the door with her sleep-shirt falling over her backside to settle at her knees. Her dream had been very vivid and her heart still pounded in her chest.

The knock led her to the back door. She peeked through the window and blinked in surprise. Standing there were two of the most stunning people she had ever seen. Well, humans anyway. She had seen plenty of attractive elves and dragons.

A male with stunning auburn hair and piercing green eyes stood next to a woman of the same coloration. Hormones that Jinx didn’t know she had came surging to the fore.

As she stood transfixed, they met her eyes through the glass and he imperiously knocked again. They definitely were not there selling cookies.

Blushing furiously, she opened the door and said, “Yes, how can I help you?”

“We are your neighbours.” Wow, his voice was just as heavenly as the rest of him.

Then his sentence hit her. She merely blinked at them. There was no house anywhere near her grandmother’s cottage.

“She is still waking up, Sirn.” The woman was exceptionally amused. “Melissande? May we come in?” She was very polite but something told Jinx that a 'no' was not acceptabl

“Uh, sure. Just give me a moment to get dressed.” The door swung wide and she darted for her bedroom.

She heard something that sounded like ‘Don’t bother on my account’, as she closed the door and dove for her jeans, bra, panties and t-shirt. In under a minute she was dressed and as she passed the mirror she groaned at the wild morning hair that crowned her head.

Since they had already seen it, she sighed and opened the door, almost running into her male guest who had been approaching her bedroom.

“I was just coming to ask you if we could start some coffee for you. It looks like you need it.” His eyes flitted regretfully over her hips and thighs, and she wondered exactly how much had been revealed by her worn pyjamas.

“Uh, no. I usually drink herbal tea in the mornings. I can make coffee for you two if you like.” The blush was back. She could feel it. She dropped her gaze and shuffled past him quickly, not sure how to treat these invaders in her territory.

“Tea will be fine.”

“Ok then.” She quickly moved to her kitchen and started a kettle for tea. The woman was sitting at the table smiling at her. “I don’t mean to be rude, but who are you? There aren’t any homes nearby.”

The woman coloured slightly, realizing her lapse in manners. “Oh I’m sorry, my name is Rebecca, and this is my brother, Sirnel. We are members of the local were pack.”

“Oh.” She leaned hard against the counter, unconsciously pressing her breasts against the thin fabric of her shirt. “So, why are you here?”

“We are here to protect you.”

This had to be a weird dream, “From what?”

“From the Magus Guild hunting parties that began to flood our territory yesterday while looking for you.” Sirnel had moved closer to her as she spoke to his sister and was watching for her reaction to his news.

The counter slipped out of her grip and her butt headed to the floor. Sirnel caught her just before impact.


* * * *


He stood with her limp in his arms. “Becs, I don’t think that she was expecting that.”

Rebecca stood and checked Mel’s breathing carefully. “She’s out cold. Funny. I didn’t think that she would be so frail.”

“She’s light as a feather. Where should I put her?”

“The bed would be odd with us there; lay her on the couch in the living room.” She moved ahead of her brother and flipped the afghan off the couch, prepping the pillows to receive his burden.

“Do you really think that she didn’t know about the Magus Council searching for her?”

“I think that it is a safe assumption.”

“If old lady Simpson hadn’t tipped the clan off and offered her in exchange for protection, they probably would have had her already.”

“Yeah, but then our clan wouldn’t have had the chance to lay claim to its first Archive. Does it matter to you that she’s a half-breed?”

Sirnel thought about it for a moment, and then noticed that his hand was gently stroking the hair from Melissande’s face in an absent manner. “It doesn’t matter to me, but there are the rest of the clan males to contend with. The gathering is only two days away. I’ll take my chances just like the rest of them.”

“Based on the way she looked at you, I am pretty sure that your chances are considerably better than theirs.”

“The way she looked at me? She wouldn’t even raise her eyes to me.”

“Exactly, my dear brother. Exactly.” Becs went off to the kitchen and got a towel that she dampened with cool water.

Sirnel was still watching the woman intently when she returned. His expression was that of someone memorizing everything in front of him for further reference. Her brother definitely wanted this one-trick witch, but how far would he be willing to go for her?

As if the thought had woken her she began to stir.

Her eyes opened to see the two werewolves hovering over her. “This has to be the weirdest dream I have ever had. But usually I am alone with the guy and there is no girl.”

Sirnel applied the compress that his sister had obtained, “We aren’t part of a dream, and there are Magi on your trail. There has been an alert that an Archive is loose in the world and they are ready and willing to fight to possess you.”

“But how did they find me? For that matter, how did you find me?”

“Your grandmother knew that knowledge of your existence was only a matter of time, and so she met with our Alpha to arrange for a bodyguard for you. Years ago. But, as long as you remain on your grandmother’s property or our lands, you are free from their intervention. But not free from ours.”


* * * *


“From yours.” Her mind was whirling “Your clan wants something from me?”

“They want possession of the only living Archive.”

“Well, I am currently in your custody.” Her tone ended with a hopeful note. She knew that there was more to it, but she could dream. “Will that do for now?”

“They want it on a permanent basis, Melissande.”

“What does that mean?” She raised a hand to hold the compress to her head and she turned to his sister for clarification. “What did he mean, Rebecca?”

“In two days, all interested unmated males of the clan will make a play for your affections by holding a games day. Each game designed to highlight the strength and abilities of the wolves involved. Only the five highest scoring participants will be presented to you for choosing.”

“Oh, great. Speed dating for complete idiots.” She closed her eyes and shook her head; she couldn’t believe that she had forgotten her grandmother’s property was within a pack territory. Her grandma had been pressing her to start dating seriously, but she had just brushed it off as grandmotherly pestering. Apparently, Grandma had taken matters into her own hands.

“Sirnel, maybe you should get some of the other alpha females here to help out. I don’t think that the guys will be much use.” Rebecca shook her head at her brother and frowned.

“Why do you say that?”

“Well if you had been able to get
brain out of
pants for more than a few moments, I would say let you stay. But we can’t contaminate the games by getting her too familiar with you. It would be cheating.” She smiled slightly as Melissande coloured brightly, red flooding into her cheeks.

A heavy sigh broke through him. “Yes, I guess you are right. I don’t want her sent off with someone who won’t respect her just because I became too familiar.”

“He’s leaving?” Disappointed was a mild word. Crushed was the only one that fit.

“Yes, Melissande, I have to leave. That way I have a chance to be presented to you at the games, if I am a winner.” He sat next to her and leaned forward for a delicate kiss. She tasted his breath for an instant, spicy and wild, then his lips gently pressed into hers. Her lids fluttered closed and her entire focus was the soft strength of his mouth on her. It was as if her entire body was using that light touch as a spur to its arousal. Her pulse pounded in her veins, and then he was gone.


* * * *


As he drew away, the skin across his cheekbones was flushed and tight.

He really wanted this woman in his bed, and he was willing to kill to have her there. She tasted right, perfect, and he wanted more.








Chapter 4



The females that the pack leader sent over were all the sisters or relatives of her ‘suitors’, and therefore all interested in keeping her relaxed and in a good mood. They put aside their normal snobbery toward the child of a beta, and treated her as one of them. Mostly. There was little fighting and posturing, as would normally occur in that situation.

The first night was a giant sleepover with a pillow fight and lots of pedicures. The women were obsessed with nails and hygiene. A kit appeared out of nowhere, and before she knew it, her fingers and toes were soaking in warm water, with a movie in the
player. The night flew by in giggles and whispers.

Mel woke in the morning to her toenails being an unlikely shade of cherry. Her fingernails were tinted a metallic blue. She sighed softly as she remembered all the times that the half-blood club had gathered in just such a way to the same results. More unlikely color combinations, but a similar result in the long run.

Mind you, the wer women didn’t drink, so there was a glaring difference right there.

They spent the day gossiping about the guys, each woman making her brother out to be a combination of Superman and Laurence Olivier, and all the others shooting the ideals down.

It was surprisingly fun, even if she was behind on her scripting schedule. There was no way that she would be able to write with all of these women here. It was frustrating. She needed to write out the spells. And that meant distracting the wolves.

Having one of the girls send her brother out for barbeque supplies struck her as an inspired idea. They were all in favour of meat for lunch. The big giggling match came when the brother came to make the delivery. All the girls formed a wall to keep Melissande and him from meeting. The rest of the day was uneventful; the ladies did housework while trying to get information from her on her preferences in a man.

Her virginity was not a matter for public discussion, so she could hardly tell them that she had no idea of what she wanted in a man. Let alone a werewolf.

The magic was building in her, and she had to let it out. The urge only grew in her as the day waned on. Finally she had had enough just as the sun was going down.

“Ladies! I need some privacy.”

Becs was their spokesperson and she piped up, “But Melissande, we are having so much fun!”

“I just need to do some paperwork. And I need privacy to do it.”

One of the younger women piped up, “Paperwork? Like homework?” Bright blue eyes were looking at her curiously.

She tried not to roll her eyes in exasperation. “Yeah, I just have to do a bit of homework right now. I will be back in half an hour. Put another movie in, ladies. I will be with you shortly.”

Pulling rank in a room full of wolves was not something for the faint of heart. She drew herself straight and stared them down.

The betas tried to meet her gaze and looked away when the set of her jaw indicated the determination with which she was insisting on her privacy. The alphas were tougher. Their wills clashed with hers and she steeled herself to fight for her rights in her own house.

“You will remain here while I do what I have to. Go ahead and make yourself some popcorn.” By assigning them tasks, she was asserting her status within her household. It was hard for her to do, but her mother had drilled her on the basics of pack behaviour when she was a teen.

At that time, it had been in case her grandfather made contact, but since that never happened it was coming into practice now. Her mom’s beta status would have kept her in the pack, if it hadn’t been her lack of power and her pack’s birth rate. Three females for every male. They could spare a few powerless females.

It was those lessons that kept her back straight and her will strong. After a few minutes, the two alphas nodded and moved the other women into the kitchen.

As soon as they had gone and she could hear them puttering in the other room, she grabbed her equipment and headed off to her bedroom.

Silently she rolled out the scroll that would house the spell and began to concentrate on the effect that is should have. Ten minutes later she had a scribble that she couldn’t read, but she was under the gun in the energy department, so kept going on the other.

Now that they were written, there was just one more step. Holding the writing up to her face, she blew across every letter and smirked as magic swirled from within her to wrap around the inks and take them into the parchment. The first went quickly, but the second one took quite a bit out of her as she tried to focus and blow her magic across the page.

The words fought her, but finally fell into the spell-script that she couldn’t read. Jinx had always been able to put the magic into the spells, just not able to make them work. She would need a magic user to read the spell to determine its actual purpose. She thought that one would induce impotence and the other was a fire-proofing spell, but she couldn’t be sure unless someone used them.

Now all she had to do was face a room of ticked-off werewolves with pedicures. Why didn’t life get any easier?


* * * *


It wasn’t nearly as awkward as she had anticipated. The ladies accepted her right to privacy on her own territory with surprising grace, and she just knew that she would be in for a heck of a time when she was on pack land.

They watched a movie and then their sleeping bags flared out. Tomorrow was going to be a busy day, they needed their rest.

And so, Melissande slept in a house full of wolves. A very surreal experience.


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