Under the Werewolf's Tree
Published by: eXtasy Books
Word Count :5356
Publication Date :2016-12-11
Series : Puck's Pack#0
Heat Level :
- Product Code: 978-1-4874-0934-0
Christmas Eve might just be the best time for this werewolf to find forgiveness.
Gideon has a long seated hatred and mistrust of vampires, with good reason. Vampires murdered his parents when he was a child and he’s had no reason to forgive them for what they did.
But Darryl isn’t like the vampires he’s encountered in the past. He wants a place in the pack that has welcomed a vampire before, but to have a new home, he’ll have to win Gideon’s trust first.
On a cold Christmas Eve night, it’ll take a miracle for this werewolf to open up to the likes of a vampire, but it might be just what they both need.
A year since Puck had become alpha of the pack and Gideon had almost grown used to seeing Armand, Puck’s vampire, there at the dining room table with them in the evenings. The pack ate together, as was tradition. All twelve of them gathered around a long wooden table, plus the one vampire next to the head seat. Armand had been quiet in all these months, but there were plenty in the pack who didn’t trust him. They had good reason too. Vampires were bloodthirsty monsters, and Gideon wanted nothing to do with them.
“Gideon,” Puck drew his attention. “Armand’s friend is coming to visit tonight. I’d like you to show him around for a bit. He’s a vampire, in case you were wondering.”
He tried to hide how much he did not want to have anything to with Puck’s order. Puck was his alpha, though, and he had no way of getting around what he wanted. Also, Armand was studying him closely. He nodded and looked down at his bowl of soup. “Yes. That’s fine.” Puck was still watching him, even after his acceptance of his order, and when he looked up at Puck, he was frowning.
“Darryl isn’t like the vampires you’re used to, he’s far more like Armand,” Puck assured him.
Armand cleared his throat. “Perhaps someone else would be better suited for the task.”
At the idea that he wasn’t good enough to show a vampire around, Gideon lifted his lips at Armand, who simply smiled back. Puck growled and Gideon dropped his gaze again.
“Is this going to be a problem for you?” Puck asked him directly.
Gideon shook his head. It wouldn’t be. His alpha had requested that he do something so he would to the best of his ability. “It’ll be fine.”
Puck nodded and the conversation around them moved to safer topics.
That evening, after the others had gone to their homes, Gideon stayed behind to talk to Puck. Armand was nearby, but he appeared disinterested in the conversation as he looked out the window.
“Why did you choose me for this?” Gideon quietly asked his alpha.
Puck rested his hand on Gideon’s shoulder. “Because, out of everyone in the pack, this task would be hardest for you. I know your history. I know who your parents were and what happened to them before you were brought to this pack as a child. I wasn’t born yet when that happened, but I’ve read my father’s journals. Vampires killed your parents, and they tried to kill you. I can’t change that. But, I’m hoping, by showing you that not all vampires are evil you might begin to heal just a little bit. Give Darryl a chance. It’s Christmas Eve. Take him to go see the lights downtown or something. The capital building is gorgeous right now.”
Gideon swallowed thickly. He hadn’t realized Puck had known his history. He glanced over at Armand to see him watching them intently.
“Puck, this isn’t a good idea. Not for either of them,” Armand began to argue.
But Puck held up his hand. “My pack, my choices,” he quietly said. Armand nodded and turned away again. Puck turned back to him and kissed Gideon on his cheek. “You’ll be fine. He’ll be well fed. It’s only until the day after tomorrow. Spend Christmas Eve and Christmas with him. Then you can shove him right out the door the next morning. I promise. If he’s an absolute horror, you come talk to me and I’ll make him behave.”
From the window, Armand laughed but said nothing more.
Gideon stepped back. “Okay.” He didn’t exactly have a choice. Puck had told him to do something so he would. He didn’t have to like his orders, he just had to do them. “Entertain the vampire, don’t kill him, got it.”
Puck grinned and let him go. “Perfect. This will be good. You’ll see, not all vampires are evil. Some are. That won’t change. But I’m hoping that by changing your mind, others in the pack will start to follow suit. Armand is mine, that’s not going to change, so I need all of you to adjust.”
“We don’t mind him,” Gideon protested.
Puck gave him a shrewd look. “Would you trust Armand not to bite you if you were bleeding out because you had a bullet in your side?”
Gideon shook his head. Of course not. Trusting any vampire in that situation would be pure madness. No werewolf in his right mind would ever do such a thing.
“Until that happens, there’s no true harmony or trust here. Go on now. It’s dark so I’m sure Darryl is waiting at your house.” With that Puck sent him away.
The snow started up as Gideon drove his pickup from Puck’s house to his own. It had been a fairly dry winter up to that point, but Gideon knew it had to end sometime and Christmas was the appropriate time for that. Most of the pack children would be excited by the white Christmas even if, for Gideon, it was just going to be another day.
Movement in the park caught Gideon’s attention. He slowed the truck and skidded a bit on the quickly icing pavement. Unbidden, a growl rumbled in his chest. Two people ran at supernatural speeds through the trees that bordered the edge of the park. One seemed intent on catching the other. Puck did his best to keep the other paranormals in the area under control. There weren’t many, but the few who weren’t aligned with the pack knew better than to draw attention to themselves. Chasing each other through the park was a good way to let the humans know they were there. Gideon pulled over and jumped out of the truck.
“Hey!” he shouted. Then the scent of blood hit him. He growled again. “What are you two up to?”