Peyton brings Kyle to a pack meeting and they're both dealt a surprise from his Alpha uncle. In private, they come together for the first time since they mated and their hunger for each other is undeniable.

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“My uncle is motioning us to join him,” Peyton said. “We can leave after we talk to him if you want.”

“If you want,” Kyle corrected. “I’m not uncomfortable. I can handle a little posturing.”

Peyton took his hand and nodded. “Right, well, I’ll let you know. Honestly, I haven’t gotten laid two whole weeks.”

That statement caused a smattering of laughter around them. On the whole, Kyle thought, werewolves were some of the nosiest people on Earth. Roger Newton favored Peyton with a genuine, affectionate smile as they approached. It was an expression Kyle had often seen on the faces of the older wolves in the Newton pack where Peyton was concerned. His mate was obviously beloved among them, and Kyle found comfort in that.

Roger held out a hand for Kyle. “Good to see you in person, young man.”

“Thank you, sir.” Kyle saw speculation and no small amount of amusement in the older Alpha’s gaze.

“Let’s go to my office,” Roger said. He motioned them through a door to his left and followed them inside. He shut the door behind them. “You’ve got some of my boys nervous, Kyle.”

“Not my intention, sir,” Kyle said as he and Peyton took seats on a loveseat.

Roger smirked as he dropped down into a recliner. “Hell, man, you can’t help what you are.” He pulled a cigar out of a box on the table by the chair, cut the end and lit it with practiced ease. “I talked to your father when you moved into the area.”

“Pardon me?”

“He called me,” Roger continued, “to let me know you were in my territory and that it would be a favor to him if I’d keep an eye on you. I think he’s come to regret his actions, but such things once done can’t be easily undone.”

“No,” Kyle agreed. “They really can’t. I forgave him, but there is no road home for me.” He rubbed his thumb over the top of Peyton’s hand. “I’ve made a life here and I’m pretty content with it.”

“And you should be,” Roger agreed. “I send him an email now and again letting him know what I know of you. I hope that’s not a problem for you.”

“That’s…a little disconcerting to be honest. But it’s not upsetting. I call home once a year to speak with my mother and that phone call is normally monitored by him. He never mentioned communicating with you.”

Roger nodded. “He took the news of your mating a little hard. That email resulted in another phone call. He had a few questions about Peyton, but nothing untoward. Didn’t seem angry, just upset to be so disconnected from your life that you didn’t notify him that you’d bonded.”

“I didn’t think he’d care,” Kyle said carefully. “And I usually call my mother on Mother’s Day.”

“Your cousin Michael is the new Alpha of your family pack,” Roger said. “Your father stepped down and called the Alphas in your family together for challenge. I understand both of your brothers were defeated early on in the challenge.”

“So perhaps he regrets the loss of power more than the loss of his oldest son,” Kyle said.

“The first time we spoke, he was still Alpha. I think he mourned the loss of you practically from the minute you answered his obscene ultimatum.”

“So you were never tempted to cast Peyton out?” Kyle asked.

Roger blinked in surprise. “I…no, of course not. The children of our pack, no matter their sex, gender, or orientation, are precious to us. He could’ve come home and told us he wanted to be a woman and that would’ve been fine. Financially taxing, but fine.”

Peyton laughed. “Might’ve cost more than getting my degree in accounting.”

“Certainly,” Roger agreed. “But it would’ve been done if it meant your happiness. We support, love, and protect each other—that’s what it means to be pack.”

“I’m not going to challenge your sons,” Kyle said abruptly.

“I wish you would,” Roger returned.

Kyle felt the blood drain from his face, and the quickening of Peyton’s breath was enough to know that his mate was just as shocked as he was. “Excuse me?”

“You’re the strongest Alpha in the region, and I include myself in that. You’re a genuine beast, lad, and that’s what it takes to lead and protect a pack. I’m thinking of our entire family, not just my sons. They’re good boys—each in their own way—but they don’t see leadership of the pack in the way I taught them to. They don’t embrace their wolf the way you do.”

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