Authors: Flora Dare
Text copyright ©2016 by the Author.
This work was made possible by a special license through the Kindle Worlds publishing program and has not necessarily been reviewed by Three Cats, LLC. All characters, scenes, events, plots and related elements appearing in the original Grayslake: More than Mated remain the exclusive copyrighted and/or trademarked property of Three Cats, LLC, or their affiliates or licensors.
For more information on Kindle Worlds: http://www.amazon.com/kindleworlds
Make Her Howl
A Grayslake Paranormal Romance
by Flora Dare
When you’ve loved and lost a fated mate, can you dare to hope for a second chance?
After her human mate was tragically killed years ago, wolf shifter Magda fled Grayslake and all it meant. She only returned to protect her adopted daughter and she’s determined to stay out of local shifter politics.
Marc has spent years protecting Grayslake’s shifters after a tragedy of his own. When Magda walks into his life, his inner wolf awakens. He never thought it possible, but she’s living proof that miracles happen. She’s his mate.
Now he just has to convince her that everyone gets a second chance at love.
A low growl filled the air and the combatants faced off—shoulders squared and jaws clenched—neither willing to back down.
"Over my dead body," Magda's voice ripped through the air with a snarl and a bared fang. "If you try and drag Lira off, it will be over my dead body. Literally." Her hands flexed and she could almost feel her opponent’s blood flowing over her fingers. Lira was her daughter—adopted or not—and Magda wasn’t about to let her daughter’s mate drag her off without so much as a by your leave.
"Momma, I think that might be excessive." Lira's hand softly stroked Magda's shoulder. "I kind of promised I would get married right away."
"Jake should have known better than to even ask for that promise!" Magda didn't bother to hide her indignation. Or her rapidly descending fangs as she flashed them at Jake. "Just because he’s your mate, that doesn’t mean he should force you to deny your family and his clan!"
"The Itan is desperately avoiding dealing with this." A soft voice interrupted and a smiling brunette peered around the door. "He sent me to see who survived."
"Mia!" Relief filled Jake's voice. "Magda won't let us get married!"
Magda snapped back, "No, I don't want you to run her through a fast courthouse thing like you’re ashamed of her."
"Momma, he's simply eager. So am I." Lira's voice was soft, trying to soothe her outraged mother.
Magda faced her daughter. She couldn't stop herself from taking Lira's hand. "It's only… You've always talked about having a big wedding. With a beautiful dress and surrounded by your people. Not a quick judge and a lonely courthouse." She squeezed her daughter’s hand. "I don't want you to start your new life being steamrolled. I don’t want you to someday resent it."
A sharp hiss came from Jake—even if he was a werebear. "I wasn't trying to make her do anything she didn't want."
Magda didn't even look at the man and simply raised a disdainful eyebrow. "Uh-huh. So she showed you her scrapbook? The one she's built over the years. The one that’s filled with pictures and cutouts from other weddings and events?"
Lira dropped her gaze, suddenly very interested in the carpet. She muttered, "It's all happening quickly, Momma."
The Itana, Mia, stepped into the room, her attention focused on Jake. "Well, Jake?"
"I don't want to wait a moment longer than needed." Jake couldn't look away from his mate, Lira. "
I don't want to start my married life with my mother-in-law trying to kill me with her mind." He glanced down at the half shifted hands of his soon to be mother-in-law. "Or her hands."
Mia settled into a chair in the middle of the room, between her and Jake. "I have an offer from the Itan that might make this work for all of you.” Magda doubted it, but she listened as Mia continued. “We have a really lovely gazebo at the den that would make a gorgeous spot for the ceremony."
Jake narrowed his eyes at the Itana. "How did you even know we were having this fight?"
Mia snorted. "Really? The whole town knows. Dogs, cats, werebear cubs… Everyone can hear you. Also, Memaw Grace called. Said if she had to clean up anymore blood there would be hell to pay and she'd have all the boys—I’m assuming she meant Ty, Van, Keen and Isaac—scrubbing her floors. And that if she had to come interrupt this fight, there would most certainly be blood."
Jake sighed and then groaned. "Fine, we can do a ceremony." He pointed a finger at Magda. "But we do it tonight!"
Lira smacked his hand so hard the sound reverberated through the room. "Be nice to my Momma."
Magda wailed and threw her hands in the air with frustration. "It’ll take at least a month to plan anything!"
Jake's brow furrowed. "Fine, tomorrow. I can give you til tomorrow."
But Magda smelled the blood on the water and she knew she had him on the run. Jake had given in on something. Now she had to see how far she could push. "Tomorrow! You might as well wish for a castle in the clouds." She pressed her advantage a little more. "Finding a dress will take a week!"
Jake's voice rose again. " I'm not waiting a month to put a ring on Lira's finger."
Mia leapt into the fray, rising to her feet again. "If you and Lira focus on the dress,” The Itana focused on Magda. “The rest of the clan is looking forward to helping with the reception. How does having the ceremony a week from Saturday work? Is that enough time to find a dress?"
She narrowed her eyes and tilted her head, weighing Mia's words. "We can do that.” She nodded slowly. “I assume Lira gets approval of plans?"
Mia grinned. "Of course! I have like, a pile of binders for literally everything."
"Do you think that Jake is the first impatient bear needing to get married right this second this clan has had?" Mia laughed at Jake's suddenly shamefaced expression. "I don't think we've ever had a month to plan anything, not since I've been here."
Lira giggled with the other woman. "Well, it would be nice to not have to do everything myself. I had my fill of planning when I was engaged to Ethan." She held Jake's hand and stared up at him with adoring eyes.
Magda remembered that feeling. Remembered her own mate and—and it didn’t matter. Not since
Lira continued. "I would like a bit of ceremony,” Lira’s tone turned coaxing. “in front of the clan and my mother."
Magda was happy she wasn’t the only one who fell for her daughter’s pout.
The mulish look melted from Jake's face. "Anything for you. I can wait a week and a bit." Lira beamed up at him and he pulled her in for a kiss. One that deepened by the second.
Mia cleared her throat before the couple forgot they weren't alone. "Well, that's settled. Jake, how involved do you want to be in decisions?"
He barely lifted his mouth from Lira’s. "I trust Lira's choices. I never really thought about what would be involved in a wedding, to be honest. Maybe having an open bar for the reception."
Mia nodded. "We can work with that." She pointed at Lira and Magda. "You ladies come with me, we'll run through the checklist. I think we can have all the major decisions wrapped by dinner. I'll be the wedding planner, because I can knock all the lunk-headed bears into shape." The woman grinned. “I’m the Itana. They can’t say no.”
Jake headed for the door, backing away slowly. "I'll clear out of your way." He smiled at his mate, "Meet you for dinner?"
Mia stopped him in his tracks. “Lira will be eating with the clan tonight. You've hidden her away and everyone wants to meet her. So, big meal. The Itan rather insists. After dinner, I'll give you the list of what you'll need to handle."
"Hey, I didn't want all this ceremony stuff.” Jake whined and Magda fought not to grin at the pouting werebear. “I thought I merely had to show up in a suit." Three sets of eyes skewered him through and through, Magda’s narrowed the most. She no longer found him funny. "Except obviously I will help, because I love Lira and this will make her happy." And then he turned and ran.
"Jake, you are an idiot." Van frowned at the poof of lace in his hands. "At the very least, if you'd been involved, you could have put a stop to all the frippery part of it."
Jake laughed at the clan Enforcer, the male sitting across from him and counting Jordan almonds before putting them in the middle of the fabric circle. "I tried to get out of it. I had no idea what they were going to whip up. I thought, 'How much could they possible plan with only a week?'"
Ty, the Itan, sat down next to him. "Oh, you blithering idiot. Mia has a firm stance on teaching lessons to stubborn bears. And if I have to learn how to tie pretty little bows, I expect every single bear here to do it and do it well." He held up a beautifully done wedding favor. "Because if Mia thinks we tried not to do it well? She's not going to do it for us. She'll make my life misery. And if my life is misery?" He let his bears fill in the blank.
Van sighed and redid his sloppy bow. "It's not only Mia that will come down like a ton of bricks. I'd prefer if my mate was speaking to me. And it's not like they aren't working their asses off."
Jake said, "Still, I'm sorry. I literally had no idea what kind of shit they could come up with in such a short time." He shook the almonds at the other men. "Who actually likes to eat these stupid candied almonds?"
A cheerful laugh filled the room as a man entered. "Hey bears! We heard there was a wedding commotion. Bates sent me and this keg as a peace offering."
Ty waved the man in. "Doc! Hope your surgical experience extends to decent stitching. We're going to start the fiddly bits of the centerpieces."
"Everything goes better with a cold beer." He quickly set up the keg and tapped it. Then brought a frothy cup over to Jake before sitting down. "Oh, Jordan almonds. I love these things."
Jake groaned. "Well, I guess we found the one person glad to see them. I don't think Lira cared much, but Memaw and Gran had definite feelings about it." He extended his hand to the stranger. "I'm Jake, the groom whose fault all this is."
"I'm Dr. Marc Lincoln. How is Lira doing? You know I'm the one who treated her after she was shot." He deftly tied a bow before moving on to the next favor.
"She's doing great. Pretty much healed, as far as I can tell. I can barely keep up with her. Her mother is still fussing over her a bit, but honestly, I can't really blame her." He went silent for a moment. "It was pretty scary."
"Her mother is Magda? I met her." The doc's eyes went soft. "I admit, I volunteered to be the pack's sacrificial lamb in the hopes that I'd run into her. She's a lot of lady."
Jake grinned at the man. "Well, I can definitely arrange for you to run into her." He suddenly frowned. "You do have honorable intentions though, right? Because while I'd enjoy her being distracted, she is my mother-in-law. And I'd hate to have to kill you."
Marc snorted. "I'd like to see you try. Old age and treachery win out over youth every time. That being said, I'd simply like to get to know her." He wasn't going to tell some young cub that he hadn't been able to stop thinking about her since he saw her in the hospital.
He'd been without a mate a very long time and he thought he'd bumble through the rest of his life alone. Until he saw her and her scent wrapped itself around him. Hell, it wrapped around his cock if he was being honest.
No, Magda wasn't going to get hurt, not by him. Although he'd do almost anything he could to keep her by his side, including making silly wedding favors.
Jake interrupted his musing. "Well, in that case, they’re going dress shopping tomorrow. I believe Maybelle's Boutique is their destination." He paused and a worried look crept over his face. "Mind you, they will be very focused. Keep it light or I'm pretty sure they'll destroy you in their dress frenzy."
"I've been around women before, you know. I'm not going to stroll in and try to disrupt their shopping. Not when a wedding dress is on the line." Two, if Marc had his way. "But I can certainly bump into them for a moment without causing a lot of chaos. Miss Maybelle is overdue for a checkup." He grinned and winked, happy he’d found an ally in the bear.
Ty joined their conversation. "The pack is invited to the wedding. Lots of dancing and an open bar. Weddings make people sentimental." He tossed a favor into the growing pile. "If you can figure out a way to keep the meddling grannies busy? I'll make sure you get locked in a cabin with Magda for a month."
Marc laughed. "No way am I messing with those ladies. Just keep them on your side, and enjoy the ride."
"You say that now.” Jake grumbled. “But wait til they realize you're interested in Magda. Before you can say 'Who really likes Jordan almonds?' they'll have you making wedding favors and sleeping very, very alone."
Van slapped Jake on the back. "They still keeping Lira far away from you?"
Jake snorted. "It's not funny. It's awful. I feel like I'm a teenager sneaking around. It's ridiculous. When I tried to talk to my Gran, she gave me the look." He tried to replicate her face, failing much to the other men's amusement. "She said it would make me enjoy the wedding night that much more. Mostly, I think they’re bored."
Ty said, "Well, a few rounds of grandchildren ought to chill them out and keep them occupied."
Jake cocked his eyebrow at the Itan. "Really? You really think anything will settle them down?"