So here we are once again. This is the last story I'll be writing in the Wolf series but from what my beta has read she thinks it's going to be one of my best. Don't worry, i'm not giving up on writing after this series I'm just going to be trying something different. Already the wheels in my head are turning, trust me we'll all be fine. Now i warned you last week that Ryan is going to be frustrating but I'll warn you again. Also, we're going back to weekly updates, now for those of you that have been with me a long time, you'll realise that this is perfectly normal. I like to have a few buffer chapters between what you're reading and what i'm writing because i write with no plan at all so things tend to change as i go, in some cases drastically. Did you know that in the beginning of A Wolf's Oath Anna was genuinely going to be a good person? As you can see that changed. Now i'm also restricted to weekly updates because i'm really, really busy so my writing time is very short. At present i work full time, am away from my computer every other weekend when i travel out of London to see my boyfriend and then when i'm not working or seeing him, i'm volunteering at a primary school. Life is very busy for me right now but don't worry, we'll probably go back to doubles soon enough so in answer to romanceaddict's question, some chapters may be longer than the norm but they won't be anything drastic. I'm so so sorry it's late, all i can say is work, work, work. Anyway, that's enough from me. On to Ryan!!!!!!
A Wolf's Pride
It had been several months since his brother had found and claimed his mate and Ryan found that he was suffering as a result of the aftermath. His mother had given birth to twin girls not too long ago, naming them Vivian and Sophia, and while she adored his little sisters as much as he did, after their birth she had turned her attention to her last single son. Her incessant demands for him to claim a mate were heaped upon the demands of his wolf, giving him continental sized headaches. He wanted a mate just as much as his mother and his wolf did. More so even, the combined mating scents of his brother and his cousin were driving him insane. It was more than any wolf could be asked to withstand. And that was the reason why he was here, within the halls of another clan, dressed in his best yet again as he continued his search for a mate. He tugged on his suit's tie feeling uncomfortable in the formal attire but he wanted to appear his best, to show his mate that he could provide and protect her.
He turned to look into the bright green eyes of the Lord of the South Eastern clan. The man was tall, as was typical for their people with a large frame that projected an image contrary to his gentle nature. "Yes," he replied.
"The females of our clan are ready, are you prepared to receive them?"
His spine stiffened in anticipation, hope rising within him. He had been through this procedure many times in the last few months and though he had yet to find his mate he was still optimistic. "Yes, show them in."
The large double doors opened and women of all shapes and sizes were shown in. When he had first started his search he had thought that only a few women would respond to his summons but he had been proved wrong time and time again since that first day, apparently his title worked in his best interests during times like these. He forced a smile to his face, if his mate was among these women he wanted her to have a good first impression of him, they were important. The females lined up before the small stage he was standing on, surprisingly coordinated for having only just met. Once they had finished moving, Ryan began his quest.
He walked down the stone steps that separated them and approached the first woman in the line. She was pretty, he supposed, with thick auburn hair and shimmering grey eyes but he could tell instantly that she wasn't the one. Nevertheless for the sake of appearances he moved very close to her and inhaled deeply. Her scent did nothing for him as he had expected and he shook his head and walked down the line. He continued this procedure, moving in close to a woman, breathing deeply and shaking his head as he discovered another failure, until he reached the end of the line. Again his mate was nowhere to be found. This is getting ridiculous, he growled.
You're telling me. His wolf inserted, thoroughly disappointed that once again they would be returning home empty handed. I want our mate Ryan, you should be doing more to find her.
I'm doing all I can. Pulling himself from his mental musings, he turned to once again regard the leader of this particular clan. "Thank you for your time and assistance, but it appears that my mate isn't here. I'll simply have to continue my search." The man moved as though to speak but Ryan turned on his heel and began to walk towards the entrance; he was not in the mood to deal with people right now.
As he walked down the halls, making his way to the exit, he began to disassemble his formal attire, pulling off his tie and undoing the buttons on his shirt. Another day, another failure. I've checked all the clans again this month and once again nothing. How long will I have to wait? It had become part of his routine to check each and every clan each and every month. He was convinced that his mate was alive, he could feel it in his bones, and the knowledge that she existed was also probably what was driving his wolf to such extremes in behaviour. He had therefore theorised that she had probably not reached maturity, which was why he had not found her yet, and if he made regular trips to the clans he would come across her eventually.
I want our mate! His wolf screamed. I want our mate. I want our mate. I want our mate. Since his wolf had begun making these demands he had learnt how to tune its voice out so that it was simply background music to his thoughts. The ringing of his phone provided a welcome reprieve from his practically rabid wolf and he answered quickly, barely suppressing a groan when he realised who was on the phone.
"Well Ryan?" his mother inquired, her voice hopeful. "Any luck this time?"
"No, she wasn't here either."
Elaine sighed, disappointed. "Well there are other clans for you to look at this month, hopefully she'll be in one of those."
"I sincerely hope so," he groaned, his wolf's demands escalating in volume. "How are Vivian and Sophia?"
"Fine, growing like weeds, I think they'll be able to transform any day now." The sound of a baby's cries floated to his ears through the phone. "And apparently they're hungry. I have to go love. I'll speak to you when you get home and then we can makes plans for which clans you can go to next. Maybe instead of just asking the women to present themselves we should ask the Lords to give us directions to where they live. If Sebastian had gone about things with Erica like you are, he might never have found her. Times are changing and we have to change with them. See you soon love." His mother hung up and he groaned, her plans had already begun, apparently he was not needed to make them.
The phone within his hand rang again and he snapped it open, expecting a follow up call from his mother. "Yes?"
"Ryan, it's Sebastian." Ryan groaned in relief at hearing his brother's voice rather than his mother's. "Look, I know that you're looking for your mate right now, how did that go by the way?"
"Another failure," he answered simply.
"Oh, well don't worry, you'll find her soon enough. Anyway, I need you to go to San Francisco."
"There's a meeting for one of our businesses there, I've already prepared all the paper work and information, all you need to do is be there to represent us and get us the best deal."
"I can do that, it's what I'm good at." And hopefully it will get me away from mother's matchmaking. "When do you need me to go?"
"You're expected on Monday."
"Thanks Sebastian, you've saved me."
"Your mother is making plans."
Sebastian groaned. "You know that now you won't be here she's going to turn her attentions on to me."
Finally arriving at the double doors that led out of the clan, Ryan threw them open and strode into the warm sunlight. "I don't know what you're complaining about, it isn't as though you have anything to worry about, you have a mate."
"Yes, and she, mother and Alex are ganging up on us. I blame Tobias. He's so protective of Alex that she can only get away when she's with them and then they rant and rave over our protective ways."
"It's not as though you can say anything Sebastian, you're just as bad with Erica, I never imagined that you would become this paranoid when you found your mate. And Alex? She's pregnant with the heir to the throne; it's understandable that Tobias would be worried. Have you seen her lately? She looks like she's either going to topple over or give birth early and the doctors said that's a possibility. She's so small and triplets? Nope, I'm siding with Tobias on this one. Get used to being ganged up on in my absence," he laughed. "Right, well I'm coming back now. I'll get the info from you and then be on my way."
"You'll get there early." Sebastian remarked calmly.
"I know but it means I escape your mother's schemes. See you soon." He ended the call, pocketed the phone and was off eager to be free of the stresses that failing to find his mate were heaping upon him.
As was tradition, Chloe crept into her father's house on Sunday morning and headed straight for the kitchen to prepare breakfast for her large but culinary incompetent family. The tradition had first started ten years ago, she had been thirteen and her mother had died in a car crash. She had left behind four children and a grieving husband. Her father had thrown himself wholeheartedly into work and his private hobby, hunting and had roped her three older brothers into joining him. They had expressly forbidden her from joining them claiming that it was too dangerous for her to come along. So to maintain close ties with her family she had decided to implement this tradition. Every Sunday without fail she made her family a large breakfast and they all sat down to enjoy it, ensuring that they were never in the dark too long about what was going on in each others lives. She had managed to keep the tradition going all through her time at university and even though she had officially moved away from home six months ago, she was determined to uphold her record. Having lived most of her life as the sole female amidst a hoard of men, they had initially asked her to cook food for them on a daily basis. While her mother may have believed in cooking healthy food daily for her family, Chloe couldn't bring herself to do it. If they were so lazy that they couldn't be bothered to cook for themselves then they should either starve or hire a chef.
Her family had chosen to do neither and the house reflected that decision. Old takeout boxes littered the living room, covering all available surfaces and a large portion of the floor. She made her way through the treacherous terrain, years of practice serving her well. The house that she had grown up in was large, but it had had to be to fit her large family, sprawled out over two floors with enough bedrooms for each of her father's children. The only room in the house that was clean was the kitchen because it was rarely used and she made sure to severely scold her family if they left it in a disgusting state. She had once threatened to never cook for them again should they leave it in the same condition as the rest of the house and they had apparently taken the threat to heart.
Once she was firmly in the kitchen, her hands moved automatically, cooking with the kind of skill that came from years of practise. She knew exactly what each member of her family wanted for their breakfasts and cooked accordingly. There was no point in cooking what was likely the only home cooked meal they would eat for the week if it weren't made to their exact specifications.
As she moved about the kitchen she felt a sense of comfort wash over her. She had moved out a few months ago determined to show the overprotective males that made up her family that she could take care of herself. Her family were the very definition of overprotective. While she loved them, they had not made her life easy when she was growing up. Every one of them was tall and very well built, making her feel excruciatingly small in comparison. Unfortunately, they had also made any male that had expressed even a modicum of interest in her experience similar feelings. She had never had the most attractive figure in the world, years of living with a group of males who lived on nothing but takeouts had seen to that. The pickings had been slim even without the help of her family. If any of the few males that had liked her and she had liked in return had chosen to brave the dangers of her family, they had gone out of their way to inspire fear in them and make sure that whoever they were knew they weren't wanted. Every member of her family was convinced that the world was a dangerous place and every man had circumspect intentions. Needless to say it had made dating very difficult and moving out even more so. They had done their best to convince her to stay within the safe protection of their home but she had been adamant in her determination to move. They had eventually accepted her decision though they made sure she was aware that they disapproved.
The scent of cooking food seemed to draw her family from their beds and the sound of heavy footfalls on the stairs was soon heard. Jonathon, her eldest brother at 27, was the first to crawl from his bed and down the stairs, closely followed by her younger brothers, Christian and Daniel. Her brother's had all inherited their dark hair and stocky builds from their father, making Chloe with her bright blonde hair seem sort of an outside now that her mother was no longer alive. The only thing that they shared was their unusual violet eyes. Mumbled grunts of appreciation were thrown in her general direction as she placed plates of food in front of them.
"Now that isn't the way to say thank you to your sister is it?" The sharp reprimand had Chloe turning to look at her father as he descended the stairs.
"Don't worry about it daddy, I'm used to it by now." She smiled, moving to his side and placing an affectionate kiss against his cheek. "I've been trying to change them for years and nothing I've done has affected them in the slightest, they're too old and stuck in their ways to change now."
"Daddy, just eat your breakfast," she sighed, placing a plate of food in front of him.
Harry picked at his breakfast, his eyes focused instead on his only daughter. "So Chloe, how is the new apartment?"
"Yeah Chloe," Christian inserted. "How goes independent living?"
"It's wonderful. I love it."
Harry mulled over the latest piece of information before slamming his cutlery against the table. "Chloe, come home. I don't like the idea of you living away from us."
"No," she replied calmly, continuing to eat her breakfast as though her father had not spoken.
"Chloe, I'm serious," Harry growled.
"So am I daddy. I'm not moving back home. I like being independent, I like having my own place and I like my job. There's nothing you can say to me to change those facts."
"The world isn't a safe place, especially for someone like you."
"Daddy, you're paranoid. I'm aware of the dangers that lurk around corners and I know how to avoid them so stop worrying."
"Chloe," Harry was cut off as his mobile began to ring. It never left his side. He answered with a sharp, "What?" His attention began to be absorbed by what the person on the other end of the line was saying and Chloe sighed, disappointed. She knew where that look led. "We'll be there as soon as we can," he stated calmly.
Her brothers had stopped eating when her father had answered the phone and were now looking at him expectantly. "Get dressed, we're leaving."
"A hunt or reconnaissance?" Jonathan asked.
"Reconnaissance, but Robert thinks that this is a genuine lead."
Her brothers stood and Chloe frowned. "Daddy," Chloe groaned. "We're eating breakfast."
"I know sugar but this is important."
"Daddy, werewolves don't exist. You're wasting your time and Jonathan's, Christian's and Daniel's. Just come and sit back down and we can pretend that you didn't get that phone call."
"We can't Chloe, I'm sorry about breakfast," he apologised, placing a kiss against her cheek before he left the room and walked back up the stairs.
Chloe began moving around the kitchen cleaning up the barely eaten breakfast that she had made. Her family leaving half way through the meal was as much a part of the tradition as the breakfast itself. Her father enjoyed hunting and while she had initially had nothing against his hobby, it had helped him overcome his grief when her mother died, it was now getting ridiculous. Her father was obsessed with the idea of werewolves and had ingrained the obsession onto his sons. They had even gone so far as to get tattoos permanently engraved into their skin. It was ridiculous. Her grandfather had been just as obsessed so it was to be expected. Werewolves didn't exist, why couldn't they accept that?
Oooo, what's this going to mean for Ryan? You'll have to wait until next week to find out. Review and let me know what you think. =D