Molten: Bayou Bear Chronicles #5 is almost done and will be released on June 1!
Here's the first chapter (unedited).
With Aspen gone with Acacia to school, I knew it was only a matter of time before Hawke called me in. I’d been on temporary beta duty for a couple of months, but the Alpha might have not liked what he saw in me.
Either way, Rev would have me pulling patrols.
The man couldn’t help himself—he had to be in charge of something, even if what he was in charge of was that asinine clipboard.
When the Alpha called that morning to ask me to come into his office on a Saturday, I knew something was up. Usually the weekends were for him and Echo and their now almost one-year old Colt to privately enjoy their family time.
I passed by the cypress tree that held the clipboard in place and checked the schedule for next week, but as I approached it, I saw only the last week’s schedule in place.
Rev must’ve been off his game.
I knocked on the door to the Alpha’s home and heard him from inside beckon me to come in. I walked in slowly and tried to shut the door quietly in case Colt was taking a nap. Our alpha was fierce, but the Coeur would rip you a new asshole if you dared wake up her sleeping babe from his nap.
I didn’t blame her. She went to school along with helping to run this pack and now she was a mother. That nap time was probably sacred shit.
I had let go of the doorknob as silently as possible when the Alpha’s voice boomed, making me jump. “Pine, we are all awake!”
“Oh, I see that.” I said, turning around to see the three of them on the couch reading a book together.
I had to admit, I was envious of Hawke. He had it all.
“Come to my office. Let’s let Colt finish his reading time.” I nodded my head at Echo, our Coeur, and ruffled Colt’s hair. He was our future alpha.
“Good luck, Pine,” Echo called out to me before I entered the office.
A wave of nervousness plowed through me. I hoped I wasn’t in trouble. I immediately shuffled through my thoughts wondering what I’d done wrong but came up with nothing.
I did so at my Alpha’s bidding.
“You’ve been fulfilling Aspen’s duties well. And before that have acted as a beta when I’ve needed you to. You were there when Martha was kidnapped as well.”
I had been. Rev didn’t even know my name at that point, but my loyalty to the pack was unweilding.
“Yes, Alpha. It was my honor.”
Hawke sat down in the faded leather chair and with his elbows on the top of the desk leaned forward and smiled. “I’m glad you feel that way. I would like to know what your plans are—for the future.”
I scoffed. I’d love to know those too.
“What’s funny?” He pressed, the line across his forehead now more pronounced.
“I’m working hard and running patrols. Not much of anything.”
He sighed heavy and long. “Waiting on your mate?”
The word mate sent a sword right through my heart. Fuck yeah, I was waiting on my mate. I’d been waiting on her since I hit puberty. Sounded stupid to admit it, even to myself, but it was true. I needed her like my next breath, but yet, I didn’t even know her name.
“Yes, Alpha. Always waiting.”
He nodded. “She will come when the Creator decides it is time.”
I pushed back on the arms of the chair I sat in and blew out a long breath. “But where, Alpha? Let’s be honest. Aspen and Tarrow found their mates off pack lands. Other than that, there’s no females around my age. Not in this pack.”
Hawke mimicked my action and leaned back in his chair. “I don’t know, Pine. I really don’t. What I do know is that the Creator has a mate for you. She’s out there somewhere.” His eyes lied to me while his mouth poured truth. I knew my mate as somewhere in the world, but waiting for that chance meeting shredded my insides day by day.
I didn’t even think Hawke believed himself.
“Did you call me in here to talk about my mate, Alpha?” I hated to be so abrupt but wringing my heart out like a washcloth wasn’t getting anything done.
“Right to the point. Well, I’m sure you’re not surprised that I’d like you to be my beta.”
I shook my head.
“Good, do you accept the position?” I opened my mouth and then shut it. I should’ve been grateful to accept without saying another word. “What? Just say it.”
“Is this temporary? I mean, are you simply needing a beta because Aspen is at school or do you really choose me to be your beta?”
Hawke stared me down. Shit, now I’d really done it.
“Pine, when I choose a beta, I do so because he has proved his worth. No beta is ever just a placeholder. A beta holds this pack’s life and my family’s life in their hands every single day. Yes, Aspen is gone and when he comes back he will choose if he wants to be a beta, but there is no set number of beta slots to be filled. I expect you to be beta for as long as you are able or willing.”
Just as I was about to answer and accept my place as a beta, Echo, opened the door to the office and was breathless. Hawke and I both jumped and asked her what was wrong. A beaming smile crept up on her face.
“Your son just walked his first steps. Come and see, my love.”
Hawke didn’t waste a second and I followed after him. Colt was our beloved future alpha and precious to every member of the pack.
“I can’t believe I missed it,” Hawke grumbled.
“I got it on video. And watch,” Echo reached out to touch the Alpha’s arm to soothe him the way only mates could do. I’d seen it plenty of times with the mated couples in the pack. “Come on, now, walk to Daddy.”
She stood the black-haired toddler with one turquoise eye and one brown eye on his feet. Hawke crouched down and held his hands out. I felt like I should leave this intimate family moment and made a move to do so when Hawk ticked his gaze to me. “Stay, beta.”
I hadn’t even accepted. Oh, who the fuck was I kidding? I would have already accepted had we not been interrupted by Echo.
I heeded my Alpha’s words, but took a few steps back to let them have their space. Hawke called to his son and the toddler giggled but didn’t move until Hawke crept a little closer like a crab.
And then I got to witness a tiny miracle.
Colt, with pinked cheeks, took one step, still holding onto his mother’s pinkies, then two and let go, and then three and four and five, more like running to his father.
There wasn’t a dry eye in the room.
“Alpha, I would take my leave now. Thank you for allowing me to stay.”
He waved me off , enthralled with his son and his mate, now in his arms.
Again, I envied his finding of her.