SERIES: Siberian Volkov Pack
Margot Martin has been searching for her mate for years. When she couldn’t find a mate in her pack, she started looking for a mate in the human population, earning her a rather shady reputation. Now one of her human admirers has turned stalker and Margot can only turn to the head of pack security, Mathis Levesque, for help.
Margot Martin wanted to disappear instead of going to the first of many Christmas parties she was scheduled to attend. She’d rather spend a quiet evening at home, sitting in front of the fireplace and reading. As the final touch to her evening ensemble, she put on the diamond earrings her father gave her on her sixteenth birthday. He made it clear that tonight’s attendance was mandatory. He would be entertaining several business associates and their families. When she was little, Margot enjoyed dressing up and socializing with her peers. Now all she felt was alone.
Margot checked her appearance one last time before she slipped into her pumps. Dancing would be expected of her, even if it was only with her father’s friends, or worse, the sons of her father’s friends. Gathering her courage, Margot left the resort suite her family always used to dress on party nights. No one would guess the Martin heiress was actually a shy, introverted lycan.
One of the ever present security guards followed her to the elevator. She glanced at him. Though he looked familiar, she’d never seen him before. This one emitted a strange scent that was unfamiliar. He smelled like a human with a hint of something that reminded her of a snow storm. Surprised, she stared at the man. Could he be wearing a different cologne? He was broad and muscular with black hair. The type she would normally be attracted to. He wore the same dark blue uniform as all the security guards, his eyes hidden behind dark glasses. She wanted to laugh. It was already dark outside.
He must be good at his job if Mathis Levesque, the head of security, allowed him to guard a family member. Something about the man reminded her of Mathis. Shaking her head, she pressed the call button for the elevator. The security guard spoke into his radio, informing control “the princess” was on the move.
Margot hated the name her father insisted the guards use. She wasn’t a princess, she was a woman, the same as everyone else. The elevator door opened and she stepped inside, her long ice blue dress brushing against her feet. The security guard followed her and pressed the button for the ballroom floor.
Mathis had been extra careful with security since Margot and her mother were kidnapped by Samuel Ouelette, a man she met at a dance club. Mathis and a group of lycans from the local pack rescued them. Nothing would keep him from performing his sworn duty to keep her and her family safe. The rescue was the first time Mathis had ever touched her, skin to skin. The first time she had felt completely safe.
At the ballroom level, Margot stepped into the crowd. The security guard walked close beside her, towering over the masses, as she made her way to the room entrance.
A large Christmas tree decorated in red and gold stood outside the door, and another larger tree was inside the ballroom. Margot personally supervised the decorating of the lodge hotel and ski resort. She loved Christmas and it was their busiest time of the season. For a little while, Margot could believe in the goodness of mankind and felt that magic existed in the world. Plus, it was a romantic time of year and Margot was a romantic at heart. She looked up at the large ball of mistletoe hanging in the middle of the hall. No one else seemed to take much notice of it. She sighed.
Margot looked from the mistletoe to Mathis standing quietly beside her parents. His gaze found her in the crowd and ensnared her. His eyes, a piercing chocolate brown, seemed to see right through her. She shivered. Her father turned at that moment, his boisterous voice easily heard over the crowd. “Margot. Here she is. My little princess. Come here, dear, and kiss your old dad.”
Margot pasted on her brightest smile and dutifully walked up and kissed her father. He smiled and patted her back. “Margot, this is Louis Jardin, and his son, Wade. I’m sure Wade would like a dance. Why don’t you take him inside?”
Margot groaned in her mind, but turned to find the thin man leering at her. “Mr. Jardin, how nice to meet you. Can I interest you in a dance?”
“Call me Wade, please…” He put his hand on her back and ushered her into the ballroom.
Thank goodness, she didn’t wear a backless dress. Lately, it was almost painful to be touched by anyone other than her parents. Now if only she had worn gloves. Something about Wade gave her the creeps. She wasn’t sure if it was the way he looked at her chest instead of her eyes, or the strange comb over he sported. Still, if her father wanted her to dance with him, then his father must be important to the business of the resort.
She walked onto the dance floor and let Wade pull her into an embrace. Margot pushed lightly against him, trying to keep some distance. Wade kept pulling her closer. The dance was the longest three minutes of an already dreadful night. Finally, the music stopped and she disentangled herself. Wade possessed the arms of an octopus. The band changed to a quicker tempo and Wade frowned.
“I like the slow dances. Let me see if I can convince the band to play another one.” He pulled a bunch of bills from his pocket. “Now, don’t go anywhere, I’ll be right back.”
“I’ll try not to get lost.” Margot smiled at him. As soon as Wade was out of sight, she hurried to the other side of the room next to the huge Christmas tree. People packed the area laughing and chatting. She wove her way through the crowd until she was on the side of the tree, concealed by a blind spot behind the huge limbs. If she was lucky, she could stay hidden from Wade for a little while.
The band finished playing the upbeat Christmas song and began another slow one. Wade must have given them a big tip, the show off. Margot peeked out from behind the tree, but didn’t see him. She ducked back again and almost screamed when hands at her waist stopped her from stepping back. She quickly turned, prepared to defend herself, when she realized it was Mathis.
“Don’t sneak up on me like that,” she hissed at him.
“Easy, I didn’t mean to scare you,” Mathis said, his deep voice flowing over her like warm honey. She loved his voice, loved the slight French accent that softened the consonants of his words. She shivered in response to his touch.
“I’m not afraid of you,” Margot said, looking up at him.
Mathis was broad, even for a lycan. He radiated power that both excited and terrified her, not that she’d ever admit it. Underneath all that, she felt a sense of complete acceptance and safety when she was with him. As if he saw the real Margot she kept hidden inside. No one would hurt her with Mathis at her side.
“You’re cold, you’re trembling,” Mathis said, his tone accusing. “Come here.” He pulled her into his arms, wrapping her close.
They danced slowly to the music. Margot slipped her hands inside Mathis’s coat and around his waist. He was so warm, she melted against him. She pressed her nose to his chest, taking his scent of fir into her lungs, along with the smell of a frosty morning. She wanted to stay right here, forever. Safe, hidden from the eyes of her father and his friends.
Margot didn’t have many friends. She might be rich in human standards, but that didn’t mean she had real friends, someone to talk to, or go shopping with. It was just her and her mother, and a couple of lycans from the pack on the other side of the mountain.
Most people saw her as the rich debutante, who rebelled against her family. There weren’t many unmated women in the pack and Margot alienated most of them by trying to find her mate.
It might be wrong to flirt and tease the males, but how else could she get the mating bond to snap into place. First, Margot hoped the Alpha, Jared Wolfe, might be her mate, then his best friend, Granger Thibault. She went through the other single males, and no hint of the mating bond appeared.
When that didn’t work, she started looking in the human population. Her mother mated a human, so maybe she would too. Going to dance clubs, she’d lure the men into touching her, but if the mating bond didn’t snap into place, she moved on.
Unfortunately, she developed a reputation that many looked down upon. She’d even caught Mathis’s disapproving looks when she’d dress to go clubbing. That hurt. If anyone would understand it would be him. He always seemed to know how lonely she felt, wanting someone to love her, wanting a family. Why couldn’t she have a man to love her and children to fill their house with laughter?
The music stopped, and so did Mathis. He didn’t release her and she didn’t let go. Why couldn’t he be her mate?
His radio squawked and Mathis reluctantly pulled her away from him. “I have to go. Some teens are trying to sneak into the party.”
“Thank you for the dance. I know it isn’t in your job description.” Margot smiled trying to cover the quiver in her lip. She wanted Mathis to hold her, to take her away from her life of parties and socializing. Already she ached to be back in his arms.
“It’s not about the job.” He brushed his fingers against her cheek in the lightest of caresses. Then he turned, and walked away, talking on his radio as he went.
“Hey, there you are. I told you not to disappear.” Wade walked up frowning.
“Mr. Jardin, I’m sorry, I saw another friend I needed to speak to. Now, you must excuse me, I’m developing a headache.”
“Oh, no you don’t. I’ve heard about you, Margot.” Wade slipped his arm around her waist and pulled her close. “I thought you and I could get better acquainted. If you’re feeling like leaving the party, then I’m going with you.”
Suddenly a large hand landed on Wade’s shoulder. Margot wanted to smile in relief, but something in Mathis’s gaze kept her frozen in place.
“I’m sorry, sir. Miss Martin needs to come with me.” Mathis pulled Wade away from her before leaning down and catching the man’s gaze.
“Repeat after me, I like Miss Martin very much, but there isn’t any spark between us. I’m sure I can find someone more exciting at this great party.” Margot realized, Mathis gave the man a mental push.
Wade obediently repeated what Mathis said, then wandered back into the crowd. Mathis turned and took Margot’s arm. “Let’s go.”
“Wait, you mean I’m leaving for real?” Margot looked around. Where was the danger? Something must be wrong for Mathis to take her out of her father’s party.
“That’s what I said, now come on.” Mathis maneuvered them through the crowd, heading for the side door.
“Mathis, what is it? What’s wrong?”