Chapter 3: Still Protective

1348 Words
Dex spun around and Emma wished the earth would swallow her up. Lucien hung on a young woman, but his red eyes glared at Dex. A crowd had gathered, including the two dozen members of what Emma assumed were Dex's pack. She didn't recognize any of them and she knew all of the inhabitants of Fang City, ifonly by sight. Lucien turned his gaze to Emma. “You should be home." She dug her nails into her palms. She wouldn't say anything about the woman staring at her defiantly. She was just one of many. In some ways, Emma felt sorry for her. “I was looking for you," Dex said. “I'm the new Alpha of Wolf Woods." Lucien eyed him. “That doesn't mean you can talk to my wife." His wife. His Luna. He chose this moment to make that distinction? He didn't let her be part of the community, but in front of the pack, he wanted to claim her. Lucky her. “She was giving me some ideas where you might be." “My Luna doesn't always know where I am," Lucien said. Emma flinched. She glanced at the door to the bookstore, but it wouldn't provide an escape. Everyone was watching Lucien and Dex. Lucien had just admitted she couldn't keep track of him. As much as an Alpha took care of the pack, the Luna took care of the Alpha. She had no control over him and had never expected to, but she should at least have some idea how to contact him, if there was some trouble. “Well, she was helping me anyway," Dex said, then flashed a quick smile at Emma. Lucien c****d an eyebrow. “I'm the Alpha. I do what I want." His gaze raked over Emma. “And who I want." Emma shuddered. Just what she needed, public humiliation. Her life wasn't crappy enough with Lucien as it stood. Now he wanted everyone to know that she couldn't keep their Alpha satisfied. “Seems like that's something you do discreetly," Dex said. She wished he hadn't. Lucien's Beta laughed, and the Alpha's eyes turned a dark red. He bared his teeth, but his fangs did not descend. Emma breathed a sigh of relief; if they had, there would be no going back. “You telling me what to do?" Dex didn't step back. Instead, he took a step towards, Lucien but not into his personal space. “Just making a suggestion. She is your Luna. Yours to cherish." Lucien studied him. She suspected he was trying to find an insult in what Dex had said. “Mine to do with what I want," Lucien said, punctuating his words with a growl. Emma should step in and try to calm the situation, but she'd regret it later. Lucien didn't like to be shown up in front of the pack. He would take anything she did as a sign of disloyalty. “Yes, I guess so, but not all Alphas have a Luna so you would think that you would be invested in keeping yours." Emma swallowed hard and shook her head. “He was just asking me questions, Lucien." “Yeah? And you were more than willing to answer them." He said that as if she'd done something wrong. Emma searched her brain, but she couldn't figure out what he meant. “Of course. He needed help." “And you were perfectly willing to give him that help." Emma glanced at the woman hanging on Lucien. Something clicked in her brain and she realized what Lucien was intimating. “And you're perfectly willing to give her help." She should have bit back the words. Lucien's fangs came out, just a little. Only because he was now in her face did she see them. His eyes could have burnt a hole through her. “She didn't do anything wrong. She didn't give me any reason to think she didn't belong to someone," Dex said. Lucien took a step away from Emma and she was able to breathe again. The woman gave her a smug smile. It would be within Emma's rights to scratch out the woman's eyes. She wouldn't, but no one, but Lucien, would blame her if she did. Courting an Alpha was dangerous territory, but Lucien knew that Emma wouldn't stake her claim. Lucien studied them both as if looking for some connection between them. “What are you doing here?" “I told you. I'm the new Alpha in Wolf Woods." “I didn't know there was a pack there." “There is now. I've come to meet all the surrounding Alphas. Let them know we are here." Lucien looked Dex up and down, then he frowned. “You're that orphan." Dex blinked. “Yes. My pack is filled with orphans. They all now have a place to come and be taken care of. I'd think you'd like that. Fewer lone wolves roaming around." Lucien rubbed a hand down his face. “Maybe. You've introduced yourself. Now you can get back to your territory." He flicked a gaze at Emma. “Don't wait up." He tugged the woman with him, then left them there. Emma let out a breath, but she doubted she was out of the woods yet. *** Dex watched until Lucien was out of earshot. The Alpha was everything that his reputation said he was. “Why did you ever marry him?" Emma frowned, then looked at the ground. “My parents." Of course, but Dex wished she would have had more faith in him. “You never stood up to them." She shrugged. “No." “And now you're being run by your Alpha." The crowd had dissipated. Once they knew there wouldn't be a fight, they had left Emma and Dex to themselves. He knew he was pushing just how long he could talk to her. Especially since he'd bet that Lucien had spies watching them. His fingers itched to run through her hair. Find out if it was still as soft as he'd remembered. He shoved them in his pockets instead. “Please, Dex." “Please, what? You didn't see my potential when we were together." “That's not true." “You should have stayed with me." “And defied my parents?" If only he'd been just a little older. A little wiser. “Yes, Emma. Your father didn't care about anything, but his daughter marrying an Alpha." She frowned. She'd been whisked away from him before they could have that conversation. “They wanted what's best for me." “Did they succeed?" She glanced up at him and he admired her loyalty. She wouldn't speak against Lucien. At least not in public. If she was his Luna, they'd rule the pack as a team. “It's complicated, Dex. Lucien's under a lot of pressure." He raised a hand. She flinched. Crap. “Don't defend him, Emma." Instead of wrapping her in his arms and taking her away, he stepped back from her. “Dex." “Don't Emma. You made your choice and I've accepted it." Her eyes pleaded with him. They said the things she couldn't say. He couldn't save her: he needed a strong Luna. He looked away. “I've met Lucien and my stay in your territory is at an end. Best of luck, Emma." He took one long look at her to remember her by and then spun away. His pack fell in behind him and he resisted the urge to look back. She wasn't a strong enough Luna for him anyway. He needed a partner. Someone who could calm him when necessary and rile him if the situation called for it. He muttered to himself. “Hey, Dex, she called your name." He wasn't going to go back. He did look at her, but she'd already turned away. “Probably not a good idea to kidnap the Alpha's wife," someone said. Right now it sounded like a good idea. He would have a lot of trouble getting Emma out of his head tonight.
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