Garth was striding across the clearing..

One button undone, Eileen froze.

He stopped a few feet away. "How much did he hurt you?"

As Eileen stared into his face, she mentally cursed his sister.

Anger radiated from his tense body. "Tell me where he is and I’ll kill him."

Tears welled in her eyes. Why did he have to be so damn noble? Blinking, she shook her head. "No. He’s not worth it."

A deep growl rumbled from his chest. "Any Were who treats his – mate – in such a way deserves to die. That – Were – deserves to die for what he did to you."

She lifted her hand. "Oh Garth...."

She’d never seen him so angry.

Then she smelled blood, his blood. Her gaze snapped to his rib cage.

Though they were beginning to crust over, three parallel cuts still seeped blood. More of it was dried on his abdomen and hip.

"What happened?" She looked closer.

The nasty gashes on his ribs weren’t his only injuries. His left ear lobe was crusted with dried blood, and there were bites on his shoulder and calf. His right eye looked puffy. Most of his body was covered with a mixture of dirt and bloody mud.

After another quick perusal of his body, she looked up into his face. "How did this happen?"

His eyes looked as hard as steel. "The bear and I sparred."

"Sparred! Bullshit. This isn’t sparring! It looks like George tried to gut you. Why? And those bites aren’t from a bear. They’re from another wolf."

Shrugging, he rubbed his wrist. "Belle got mad at me." His stare never left her face.

As she bit her lip, Eileen felt her anger flare higher. Bill had never answered her questions either. Whenever she questioned him he told her it was none of her business or not to worry about it. She wasn’t going to be treated like her thoughts and opinions didn’t matter ever again. "Damn it, Garth. You picked a fight, didn’t you? Two fights. One with Belle and one with George. You weren’t sparring with him, you were fighting. I remember how you and your brothers used to ‘spar’!"

He narrowed his eyes. "What do you care?"

Curling her hands into fists, Eileen glared at him. "What do I care? You ass. Why wouldn’t I care?"

He cocked an eyebrow. His stare became more intense. "You mated someone else."

Digging her nails into her palms, Eileen stamped her foot. Damn him. How could he not understand being taken away from him was the most traumatic experience of her life. "I was kidnapped – by my own parents, dragged off to a pack where I didn’t know anyone in a place I’d never been before with no way to leave! I was lied to, manipulated into believing I was unacceptable to your family! I was pushed into mating another Were."

He wiped some dirt off his arm. "So?"

She gaped. She blinked back the tears that threatened to fall. "So? So! You are such an ass." Balling her fist, she punched him – on the still seeping cuts.

Fresh blood splattered, then more blood began to flow.

Shock and surprised leaped onto his face.

Eileen didn’t even try to hide her smug smile.

He grimaced, grunted, sucked in a breath. "Fuck, that hurt."

She wiped her hand on her shirt, stretching her fingers to bring the feeling back. Punching him was like punching a wall. "Good. It was supposed to. Now let me stitch you up before you bleed to death or those cuts get infected."

"Why should I?"

"Because, you stupid ass, I love you."


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