Authors: Leia Stone
Matefinder: Next Generation
By: Leia Stone
For Jaymin Eve: Your imagination is amazing, and I love ya, girl. Thanks for being the most amazing friend and writing partner ever and for keepin’ me sane.
Copyright © 2016 by Leia Stone. All rights reserved.
Cover Art by Adithya Kaushik, Copyright © 2016 by Leia Stone
Keeper, Matefinder, Matefinder Next Generation characters, names and related items are trademarks owned by Leia Stone.
No part of this publication may be reproduced. Stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission of the author.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, live or dead are purely coincidental.
Keeper – Matefinder Next Generation
1. Paranormal Romance
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I awoke panting, the sheets stuck to my sweaty skin. My hands shook as I pulled my hair into a pony tail. The dreams … my God, they felt so real. Always about the guy – the human– a gorgeous, freaking human with eyes that were mint green and had burnt flecks of gold. He had wild, dark brown hair and the chiseled body of a professional athlete. I brought my hand to my forehead and recoiled; I was burning up. Again! What the hell was going on with me?
Throwing off my sheets, I quickly crossed my bedroom and stripped off my sweaty clothes. I grabbed a dry t-shirt and yoga pants and shrugged into them, tossing my wet ones in the corner. The hallway was dark and quiet as I padded silently through the house, careful not to wake my parents. My dad, Kai, was the Alpha of the largest werewolf pack in the Pacific Northwest. Our territory encompassed almost all of Oregon. From Mount Hood, where we lived, through Portland, and all the way to the ocean. My mom, Aurora, let’s just say she was special, and waking either of them was not a good idea because it would be interrogation central.
I opened the front door and the crisp, cold air hit my face, bringing with it a welcome relief from the heat that radiated within my body. Closing the door softly behind me, I took in a deep breath and stood on our front porch that overlooked the thick forested trees surrounding our property. Shit. What girl had dreams of a sexy ass human and woke up burning hot? Total freakville. Well, maybe some girls did, but this wasn’t a normal turned on type of hot, this was 105 degrees fever and illness hot. As a werewolf, I could withstand certain injuries and heal from things quickly. We didn’t get cancer or the flu or any other illness and I had never had a fever. So this fever that encompassed my body after the dreams was frightening. Something was wrong with me and I was no closer to finding out what it was than when the dreams began a few months ago.
I stared out onto the mountain and let my mind wander. Years ago, before I was born, the mountain was a mix of humans and my father’s pack. But ever since he outed the werewolf and vampire races to the humans, the mountain was strictly for werewolves. Our numbers, once small, were now in the millions thanks to my mom. She is a Matefinder, which means she can find werewolf mates. Which is HUGE since only mated couples can have children and grow our race, otherwise you are infertile. Before my mom, our numbers were dying out. I’m also a Matefinder and inherited her gift, well, sort of. I had yet to get a vision of my first pair of mates. Just recently, the dreams, the human, was this a part of my inherited gift? Was he someone’s mate? Lucky girl, whoever she was.
The door opened behind me and I groaned as I turned around.
My mother was gorgeous. She was tall, thin, had silky long blonde hair, and fierce blue eyes. She looked like a Danish super model, where as I took after my dad who was from India. My skin was caramel and I had thick, dark brown wild hair. I was tall but with a more muscular build but I did have my mom’s striking blue eyes.
“Anya? Why are you out here? The dreams again?” She frowned, hugging her arms against the cold, and gracefully strode over to where I stood on the porch.
“Mom, seriously? I’m twenty years old. You don’t have to check up on me.” I groaned. She was being super overprotective lately, more than usual if that was possible. Matefinders were notoriously hunted for their gift, as legend says that mates can be found by force if using dark magic.
My mom’s gaze went from sweet mom to Alpha glare in a nanosecond. Shit. I looked at the floor even though I wanted to hold her gaze. My twin brother, Jax, and I always tried to test our dominance with each other but we didn’t test it on our parents. Although my mom liked to challenge my dad all the time, she was technically his second in pack rank, but we all knew she could be Alpha if she wanted.
“I’m not checking up on you. I’m trying to help you figure out the dreams,” she said curtly.
I sighed and stared at her chin. “Sorry. Are they visions? Is he someone’s mate?” I asked her desperately. If anyone would know, she would. The Matefinder, half-witch, half-werewolf. Jax and I were the same unique breed of both species. Interspecies childbearing was unheard of and made us hunted, protected, and coveted. That was us. A life of always looking over your shoulder, and having every unmated werewolf you met ask who their mate was. It didn’t work like that; the mate visions came from Spirit and didn’t come on demand. And at twenty years old I still hadn’t found any.
Even though my mom was twenty-three when she had me twenty years ago, she only looked late twenties now. Werewolf aging was awesome. People thought we were sisters, but I knew better. She would rip me a new one in a second if I stepped out of line. She was all mom.
She felt my forehead with her hand and pulled back quickly, sucking air through her teeth. “Shit,” she cussed and I grinned. My mom was always letting stray cuss words fly. My dad? Never.
“You’re burning up.” She rubbed her chin as in deep thought. “You know, I didn’t ease into my Matefinding gift. I was changed and then I shifted, found out your father was my mate and bam!” She clapped her hands together for added drama. “My first vision.”
I rolled my eyes. I had heard this story a thousand times. “So never a dream. Always an awake vision?”
She shrugged. “Pretty much.”
I threw my hands up. “Great. A week before I leave for college and I’m a freak who dreams of some hot human guy and then heats up in her sleep.”
My mother smiled. “You didn’t say he was hot.” She raised an eyebrow.
I rolled my eyes. “Whatever. He’s good looking. For a human.”
Reaching out, she touched the small wolf tattoo on my neck, frowning as a deep sadness crossed her elegant features. “I’m sorry you have to go to college with this. Branded. Your father and I fought it for as long as we could.”
I nodded. It was a sore subject. I ran my fingers over the somewhat fresh tattoo there. On our eighteenth birthday, every werewolf had to get the mark; a small wolf tattoo. That way humans would know what we were and could choose whether or not to trust us or do business with us. It was total bullshit, but my father said it was the price to pay for having my mom here with us. If he hadn’t told the humans of our kind, they wouldn’t have had enough help to end the vampire war. In the end it was the human militias that banded together with the small werewolf packs and took out the evil bloodsuckers.
I squeezed her hand. “I know, but I’ll be staying in a werewolf-friendly dorm and Avery will be my roomie. Don’t worry.” God, please don’t worry! It took two years of community college here on the mountain before all of our parents would agree to let us go off to state college over two hours away. Having your dad as pack Alpha didn’t leave room for much freedom. I was dying to leave!
She nodded but her face showed her true feelings. My Aunt Emma and my mom were inseparable. They had been worrying non-stop about us going off to college. Emma’s daughter Avery was my best friend and we were beyond thrilled to be getting our own life. My Aunt Diya and Uncle Trent had a son named Mason who was our age and one of seven siblings. Avery, Mason, Jax, and I were best friends, our own little pack, and we were all going off to college together. No doubt all of the parents would be in a panic once we left.
Then, mom and I both smelled it at the same time. Our nostrils flared as we grinned. Chai. “Dad’s up.” She ushered me inside.
I took one last deep breath, letting the crisp air fill my lungs, and followed mom into the house.
Sitting at the kitchen table, I clutched the Chai and inhaled, smiling. My dad, being from India, made the best damn Chai in the world. Although Uncle Jai would argue that. Being an Alpha, my father was privy to my emotions and sometimes thoughts if I let them be loud enough. After years of practice, I was pretty good at keeping him out of my head. But tonight was different. My thoughts were loud, my emotions raw.
He brushed his thick, wild brown hair out of his face, a nervous gesture that was so Dad. Then he leveled his yellow Alpha gaze on me; those yellow eyes meant his wolf was at the surface. I met his gaze and tried not to squirm.
“Who is this human boy you keep dreaming of?” His voice was stern. My mom kicked him under the table and his eyes went brown.
“Dad, it’s just a dream. Nothing can happen in dreams.” As soon as the words left my mouth, I winced. That wasn’t technically true. A witch that used dark magic had once trapped my mother in a dream and almost hurt her.
“Maybe if you told us more details we could help you figure it out,” my mother said sweetly, but my father was probing my thoughts with his Alpha power. I could feel it.
“Dad.” I growled and felt my own eyes go yellow.
He threw his hands up. “Well, excuse me for trying to protect my only daughter!” he shot off in rapid fire Hindi. My mom looked confused and annoyed.
“It’s okay to protect me but don’t get into my head,” I told him in Hindi as I tapped my forehead.
My mom growled. She encouraged us to learn Hindi but didn’t appreciate the private conversations in front of her.
“Sorry,” Dad mumbled in English and stroked her arm.
As if on cue, my twin brother Jaxon shuffled down the hall. Matefinders were always born in a set of twins. The girl had the gift; the boy was her protector. My brother took his role seriously. Dare I say, even more than my dad did.
“Is she dreaming about that guy again?” Jax asked. His light brown hair was a mess. It had streaks of gold in it, a trait he shared with my mother. We shared the same blue eyes, but Jaxon towered over all of us with his 6 foot-4 inch muscular frame.
I shot him a death glare.
“Why are you awake this early?” my father asked him knowing Jax liked to sleep in.
“Dad, I’m a werewolf. You made Chai. I woke up salivating. That smell!” He gestured wildly.
We all chuckled and Dad poured him a cup. Jax was the family’s comedic relief. Taking a sip, I moaned.
. Cardamom, ginger and just a touch of milk.
‘The dream, tell us.’
My father spoke into my head. As Alpha, he could talk to any member of the pack in their head. Otherwise, that was a gift reserved for mates or when we were in wolf form with other pack members. But as humans, normally the pack could only communicate if they spoke out loud.
I threw my arms up. “Nothing. It’s like the shortest, lamest dream ever. Some human guy standing in a crowded room, looking at his phone. He looks up at me, smiles, I smile back, start feeling warm and I wake up.”
“Hot,” my mother interrupted.
“Huh?” I asked.
She smirked. “Earlier you said the human guy was hot.”
My dad growled as my cheeks went red and Jax made kissing noises.
“Grow up,” I shot at Jax.
“Yeah, okay he is good looking, for a human.” If I didn’t admit that, I was a damn liar because he was more than hot. He was drop dead gorgeous. Tall, dark brown hair, dimples, piercing green eyes; the whole package. My body heated up again just thinking about him.
With his eyebrows creased, my father looked at me.
“How do you know he was human? Did you smell it or sense it?” my father asked.
“I just knew,” I told them all, and my mother nodded as if she understood.
Jax raised his hand. “I have a theory.”
Jax and I were an exception to the mental communication rule. Because we were twins, and I was the Matefinder, we were able to communicate with each other without talking.
‘Don’t say anything that would piss me off,
’ I warned him.
He looked at me before quickly looking away.
“I think he is her mate,” he stated out loud.
I sucked in a breath at the same time my mother did.
“Jax! He’s human,” I roared.
He put his arms up in defense. “It’s a theory. But you’re the Matefinder. You have yet to start getting visions of mated couples because you haven’t found your mate yet. Now, these dreams in which you awake pretty hot and heavy–”
“Jaxon!” my father roared, and I bit the inside of my cheek to keep from laughing.
‘I’m gonna kill you.’
I would throttle him later. He may have a longer reach, but I was more dominant and if I could take him to the ground, it was over. I was the wrestling champion of this pack; learned from the best: my mom.
‘I’m your protector, you can’t kill me.’
He winked in typical Jax charm.
My mother was staring at me. “Jax might be right. Did he smell sick? Cancer? Who was he with? Did you get any feelings that he may be in danger?”
I groaned and leaned forward, letting my forehead rest on the table. “No, no one, and no. He was a human guy. That’s it.”
My mom put a cool hand on my back.
“Okay. Maybe we can see the witches about this.” Mom’s voice was calm, but I knew she was worried. It was kind of worrying when I stopped to think about it. The dream had been reoccurring for weeks now and the body heating up thing was weird. Always the same dream, except sometimes I felt like he looked right at me.
I shrugged. “Okay.”
I adored our coven but they didn’t usually like to get mixed in with the werewolf stuff. Twenty years ago, my father outed our race to the humans along with the vampires, but the witches managed to stay hidden. They didn’t mingle with our werewolf kind much anymore for fear of being found out. We had to go to spell casting and coven meetings in secret. Recently, Jax and I had taken our affinity test. I had an affinity for future sight, like my mom, and Jax was a powerful spell caster. Any spell he did was ten times more powerful than one I did. Lucky bastard. Seeing the witches about this was a good idea. It felt right, and maybe a dark witch was doing magic on me and this guy from my dreams didn’t even exist.