His eyes danced around the living room, taking in the soft, teal blue linen curtains. Then he spotted a typical houseplant in the corner where a small ray of sunlight infiltrated through the blinds. Max cocked his head to the side, wondering what kind of house plant it was. In his mind, his wolf rolled over and his tongue lulled to the side as saliva dripped to the ground at the thought of chewing it to pieces. You’re not eating the plant. Now knock it off—we need to be on our best behavior. Unless you want the witch to use her magic on us? The wolf growled in response, pushing himself to the back of Max’s mind.
Max looked again through clear eyes, noticing that the plant’s green leaves glowed in the light. Something about the plant put him on edge. His nose could tell magic was in the air all around him. I wonder if the plant gives some kind of protective magic over the house. A clicking sound flicked through his ears as he tried to figure out where the noise was coming from. My god that noise is irritating. Max turned his head slightly to take in a large grandfather clock. That must be where the clicking is coming from, he thought.
The voices in the kitchen were soft for the time being as the two women conversed. If only they knew how easy it is for me to eavesdrop on their conversation. Humming a soft tune, the voices fell away as he looked at the TV screen. Inside the shadowy glass, he thought he saw a face. It was a woman looking at him with large owl-like eyes. Max stood up and walked closer to the screen. The closer he got, the smaller the head became—then poof, it was gone. Huh, could have sworn there was something in there. Max leaned forward to get a better look, then yelling broke out.
He turned around as Cassie stormed into the living room. Her mother stood in the kitchen doorway looking distraught. The door slammed a few seconds later, and through the living room windows, he saw Cassie moving down the sidewalk at breakneck speed. Great, and I thought I had family drama.
A sob captured his attention as he turned to see tears streaming down Cassie’s mom’s face. “I need to go talk to her. I need to explain,” she said through gasps of air.
Crap, that is all I need. Those two going at it out on the street. Max walked over to Cassie’s mom and put his hand on her shoulder. He instantly regretted it, feeling a surge of electricity coming off the woman. Her eyes were like daggers piercing into his flesh. “What the hell are you doing?” she yelled. His wolf instantly came alert and ready to fight. Max gulped as he watched her power form around her. Crap! Crap! Crap!
“Uh…just trying to help.”
“I don’t need your filthy hands on me you mangy wolf!”
His hackles raised as his wolf threatened to take over. Max pushed back a growl and the urge to flash his fangs at the ungrateful woman. “Sorry. You just looked like you needed touch for reassurance.”
She crossed her arms together and looked at him with regret. He took a deep breath, calming himself along with his temperamental inner beast. We can prove her right by acting like an animal. We need to show we can keep a level head. You with me? The beast nodded his head once in agreement and sat back to watch things unfold. Max took a step back from Cassie’s mom and put his hands up to prove he meant no harm. She arched an eyebrow at him in curiosity.
“Don’t worry Mrs. Armel, I’ll go talk to Cassie and get her back here for you.” She looked at him with surprise, the devil stare wiped clean from her face. What? Hard to believe a werewolf is capable of feelings? Damn witches and their prejudice. He stepped away from the emotional woman and made his way towards the front door. Then he heard the one thing he never expected.
“Thank you,” Maddy said around a sniffle.
He looked over his shoulder and said, “You’re welcome.” Then he flung open the door and hit the sidewalk. He turned in the direction Cassie had gone then let his nose tell him the story of her journey. Better get this over fast. All I need is a witch hunting me down. Not that being a partner to one isn’t bad enough already.
Max had gone about three blocks when he came across a small park. The jungle gym was impressive for this neighborhood, but not a kid was around as he stepped closer. Monkey bars, slides, rock climbing walls—anything you could think of, they had it. Max whistled in surprise at the sight. Wish I had this when I was a pup, he mused. His eyes trailed around the outskirts of the park, taking in the flower beds and trees when he saw two feet sticking out below a tiny house built into the underside of the gym. Max walked around the bend to find they belonged to Cassie. She was sitting on the swing swaying back and forth. He took a deep breath and prepared himself for a snapping fest. God, I hope she doesn’t eat me alive.
Without a word, Max slowly approached her. She looked up at him and glared for a second. Then she took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Are you here to tell me I overreacted?”
He shook his head ‘no’ and sat down in the swing next to her. I’m not stupid enough to say that to your face. Max kicked his legs out, making his body lift farther and farther off the ground. Once he got enough momentum, he stopped kicking and let himself swing for a few minutes until he came to a complete stop.
“No, I came to see if you were okay.”
Cassie turned to look at him then let her head fall forward with a slight smile on her face. She has a delicate smile when she lets it out, he thought. The smell of flowers hit his nose with a hint of fruity goodness. He leaned down a smidge more realizing it was Cassie’s hair. Max tried for another sniff when Cassie leaned away and stood up.
“I’m okay,” she said. “I just need answers.”
“Well I think your mother is ready to give you those answers,” Max said making eye contact with her. “She was distraught when you left. I don’t think she enjoyed keeping this secret from you.”
Cassie’s shoulders tensed. “Perhaps.” The tension came off of her in thick sheets, putting his wolf on edge inside his head. The fury beast crouched down like he was preparing to attack. His teeth flashed as he growled and snapped his jaws in irritation.
Stop that! She will not bring harm to us. Cassie is just upset.
The beast fell to his stomach then put his head between his paws and wagged his tail. Max shook himself back to reality and saw Cassie relax.
“I should probably let her explain,” she said. “I just couldn’t sit there and wait for her to make some kind of excuse for lying to me my entire life. I mean, this isn’t something small. How can someone keep being a witch a secret for 21 years?”
“I can’t give you that answer, only she can.”
Cassie paced in front of him trying to decide what to do. He twisted back and forth on the swing, enjoying the scenery. There was a sizeable garden towards the front of the park with a name plaque hanging above it. He couldn’t read the name of the park and he hadn’t bothered to look at it when he’d walked up. Max just watched the wind dance among the daffodils and green plants. Bees buzzed around them and he found himself hypnotized by their movements.
Cassie came to a dead stop in front of him blocking his view. He turned his blue eyes towards her. She looked determined. She must have decided on a course of action. “What do you plan to do?” he asked. A frown marked her face. He couldn’t help but think about the brief smile that had graced her lips only moments before. Warmth filled his chest at the memory. Wait, stop! Stupid…we can’t have feelings for our partner, he said to his wolf. The beast laughed inside his head and ran playfully through his mind. Max shook himself once again when Cassie spoke.
“I’ll talk to her,” she said. “This time I won’t walk away. I’ll face what she has to tell me.”
“Will you go with me?”
Max looked up, surprised. She was looking down at him. He didn’t know what to say. This could be bad. Her mother might kill us! The golden wolf sat tall waiting for him to face the truth. No matter what, he would stand at her side. She saved our lives, his wolf said. Yes, but that doesn’t mean we need to intervene in her life. I mean, they are witches for crying out loud. She was putting a lot of trust in him, and he wasn’t entirely sure if his place was in that house during their conversation. But the desperate look in Cassie’s eyes decided for him.
“I’ll be happy to stand at your side.”
Cassie let out a long breath she hadn’t realized she was holding. Then she squared her shoulders and took three steps forward. Max’s wolf wagged his tail in satisfaction. He couldn’t help but admire her for her strength. Plus, she isn’t too bad looking from the back, either. A grin slid across his lips as his eyes ran up and down her body. He froze the moment he saw her looking back at him. “Well, are you coming?”
He grinned from ear to ear, trying to hide his flushed skin. “Of course.” Max jumped to his feet and took up position at her side. They made their way back to the house where Cassie’s mom waited patiently.
They stepped up to the sidewalk that led to her front porch. Sitting on the stairs was Cassie’s mom. Her eyes were red rimmed from crying. She smiled at Max when she saw Cassie coming forward. Guess I left a good impression. Cassie stood before her mother and said, “I’m ready to listen.”
Thank you for reading Chapter 12: Part 2 of my Vortex Series: Book 1. Want to keep on reading? Click here for Chapter 13.
Each chapter is released on a month to month basis to my Dragon Ryder VIP Reader List. If you have missed a chapter feel free to check out the Library. The library will list all the available chapters.
Disclaimer: You are reading the first draft of this book. When the book is finished it will go through an extensive edit. It will also have a read through with my beta team. Then once completed ebook copies will get sent out to all members.