Chapter 7: Fine Then, I Don't Trust You Either

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The night after Ian and I mated wasn't the best night of sleep I'd ever had.

Strike that, it was the worst. For one, Ian hogged the bed. That shouldn't have surprised me, since in all fairness he should have gotten two thirds of it to start with. But I ended up with a tiny little sliver of mattress, and only sleeping against the wall -- and I do mean against the wall, squished on my side with my spine crammed against a wood panel -- kept me from toppling off and rolling under the bed, possibly never to be seen again. I'd glanced around a little more while Ian was at the pack house getting food, and it quickly became obvious that the only part of the floor Ian swept was the middle.

For two, I was still hungry. Ian's idea of "food that came from a grocery store" was a dented can of minestrone soup and half a loaf of whole-wheat bread with all the gross seeds in it. Without butter.

And third, even if my fucking useless mate had scrounged up something more to eat and had a better mattress -- seriously, weren't alpha werewolves instinctively driven to provide, or something? This was bullshit -- worry would have kept me awake.

I tried to ask Ian what the hell was going on while we choked down our sad soup. He'd seen Matthew, after all. They'd talked. Presumably about, you know, the other pack that was trying to kill us all in various subtle and exciting magical ways? And probably direct not-so-magical ways too, since werewolves weren't all that creative, in general? They were more for the ripping out throats with their claws, and less for the careful planning that really ought to go along with that.

"You don't need to know," Ian growled at me, setting down his spoon.

I put mine down too, with a little more force. Okay, if we're being honest, I threw it at him and he dodged, and it clattered onto the floor. "What the fuck happened to getting along? What do you mean I don't need to know? They kidnapped me, Ian! And if their shaman is the one behind this, which, hello, he obviously is, then we're going to need to work together --"

"You aren't working on anything. You're staying here, where you're sa--out of the way while Matt and I figure out --"

"Oh, like fuck I am! For one thing, how long has it been since you strengthened the wards around the territory, hmm? You have someone else to do that for you?"

That was mostly a rhetorical question, since I knew perfectly well they couldn't afford any of the witches in the area. My father had done some magic for the Armitage pack way back in the day, but they'd had more money then -- although probably a lot less once he finished invoicing them.

So I expected a grouchy deflection. I didn't expect the shifty way Ian tapped his fingers on the milk crate we were using to eat our dinner off of, or the way he couldn't quite look me in the eye.

After a second, the penny dropped. "Oh, for fuck's sake. Really? No wards at all?" My magic had been too messed up when I crossed into their territory for me to notice wards or the lack of them, but I'd just assumed. Which made an ass out of me, et cetera. And made real idiots out of Matthew and Ian, because wards on the boundary were the first page in Holding Your Territory for Dummies.

Ian just pressed his lips together.

I wished I hadn't thrown my spoon, because I wanted it back. It would work pretty well for whacking the top of his head. I reached for his, and he grabbed it before I could get to it.

"Ten points for good instincts with the spoon, Ian. Minus a million for leaving your territory boundary totally unprotected. What the fuck is wrong with you?"

He finally looked up, his blue eyes narrowed in anger. "It's not unprotected. We patrol it constantly. And don't fucking talk that way about Matt. He's done a good job leading the pack since Dad stepped down."

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