As time went on, Annabelle found herself growing progressively more and more suspicious of Lana. Annabelle would catch Lana occasionally staring at Zade like she knew something he didn’t. Something bad. Maybe not bad in the sense of death and murder but bad nevertheless.
When they had stopped for the night in the woods they had been in just yesterday, Annabelle pulled Zade aside to talk to him.
“We’ll return shortly, Lana,” Annabelle said. “We’re just getting some water.” Annabelle held up a hand with a leather-skin canteen as reassurance. Zade and Annabelle walked wordlessly to the water’s edge of the creek (Annabelle was utterly surprised she remembered its location) and he stopped suddenly.
“What’s going on, Annabelle?” he demanded to know, his voice thick with concern and a hidden hostility, but she knew it wasn’t towards her.
“I don’t trust her,” she replied. “She has to go. I will not travel with her.”
Zade’s face stretched with perplexity. “Are you positive about this?” he asked her quietly, his hand reaching out for the canteen.
“She cannot be trusted,” Annabelle whispered. She placed the canteen in his grasp and he knelt to the dirt, leaning over the edge of the bank slightly as he slid the container under the water’s surface. When it couldn’t hold anymore water, he lifted it from the creek and screwed the cap on.
“Then we will leave her behind tonight and seek shelter elsewhere,” he told Annabelle, gently ushering her forward by tenderly touching the small of her back. They meandered back to the campsite, ready to gather their things up and leave.
Lana was sitting up, waiting for them to return. She twiddled her fingers anxiously, but when she glanced up and met Zade’s stern, cold eyes, Lana’s fingers stilled.
“I wish to speak with you,” she told Zade. Then she regarded Annabelle. “Alone, if you don’t mind.”
Annabelle shot Zade a wary look, but he shook it off, acting as normal as possible in front of Lana. “Yes. Of course.”
He bent forward and kissed Annabelle swiftly on the lips. “I’ll be back. Don’t worry,” he said.
And then Zade and Lana disappeared into the distance, leaving Annabelle to herself for the moment.
“What is it?” Zade asked Lana curiously.
“You’re the first male werewolf within a twelve-mile radius of here,” she whispered, a strange, almost painfully pitiful seductive tone lingering in her voice. Zade had no time to respond—Lana had abruptly crushed her lips to his.
Disgusted, he pushed her away violently, but her arms clung to him, nails digging into the skin on his arm. When she kept trying to reach his face, he growled at her menacingly.
She pulled back, afraid.
“You don’t…you don’t want me?” she asked timidly.
“Of course not!” he hissed in frustration. “Why would I?”
Lana stared at him as if he was completely stupid. “It’s breeding season…”
“Your point is?”
“You can only mate with another werewolf—”
Zade was seething. “I would never hurt Annabelle that way! I love her!”
“She’s just a human though! She can’t bear your children!”
“I don’t want children with anyone but her!” he screamed, his voice quavering with rage.
“Leave, Lana,” Annabelle said from behind the pair. “Zade is mine. Mine. Nothing can come between us. Not you. Not anybody. So I suggest you leave now. Before I haul your body into the forest myself.”
Lana was threatened by the distinct change behind Annabelle’s sweet melodic voice. Annabelle had challenged Lana, whether she had done so intentionally or not was debatable.
Regardless, Lana did not like to be challenged.
So in a paroxysm of pure fury, Lana leapt for Annabelle, her face already morphing into a black snout, teeth chomping wildly in the air as Lana tore through the clothes on her back and shifted fully into her true form.
Annabelle did not flinch. She remained steady with her feet firmly placed feet widely and her arms folded across her chest. Zade was stunned by her courage, but he could never allow Annabelle to stand up for him.
He stood protectively in front of Annabelle, his strong arm colliding with Lana’s face. She yelped in pain and realized that she may have been a decent challenger to Annabelle, the human, but to Zade, she was nothing more than a speck of dust beneath his feet. Lana, cowardly instincts coursing through her, scampered off into the woods.
Neither saw her again. Zade couldn’t smell her, so she was far enough away that Annabelle and Zade were safe from her wrath.
“I’ve never heard you so possessive of me before, Bella,” Zade remarked with a sly smirk.
“No one’s going to steal you away from me as long as I’m alive,” she explained to him, a lovely, sexy smile gracing her face.
His eyes darkened, shocked at the way she made him feel when she smiled at him that way. Zade pulled her into his arms and lowered them both to the ground, where their clothes were quickly stripped away and the sounds of their passionate love echoed through the trees.