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Meeting Lottie: River's POV

Updated: Mar 28, 2022

I’ve been covering for Warren at the pub since our lunch together earlier. I’ve got nothing going on today at the office, and with the human coming, I need to be out of the way.

Humans don’t react well with supernatural creatures, usually getting some kind of internal warning that we’re dangerous. With me being a hybrid, it’s just not worth the risk. I’m generally too much for them to handle. I’m powerful, and since I have the added power boost of being a Beta wolf, my energy terrifies them.

Although, to be fair, it’s definitely a good thing for them. I have very little time for whiny humans.

Even more so than Caden and Noah, my Alphas. My role is purely protection and punishment-based, and I don’t just protect the pack from other wolves… humans fall onto the list. Fate designed our system to be one of checks and balances, so I think bringing her here will cause more issues than we need.

Today has been a day I’ve been dreading since she delayed her move in date. That simple action has had my wolf anxious and on edge for weeks, which in turn has been causing my vampire to react in a more hostile way. The asshole is already unhinged, but adding stressors only makes him worse. Hopefully, things settle soon, but until then, being in my happy place is what I need—and since hunting is banned for today, the bar is a good second.

“Hey,” Jamie calls, distracting me from the nerves.

“Hi,” I answer. “You good?”

He nods, and I pour him another beer as he fills me in on the developments with his family. I don’t really contribute to the conversation, but he’s giving me something to focus on. Once he’s paid, I watch him go sit with his mate and their friend. His mate is a lovely woman and pregnant with their second child, and Jamie is one of the pack’s best enforcers. I get busy cleaning and distracting myself, waiting to hear news from one of the guys. I don’t know what time she is arriving, which doesn’t help me either.

“River!” Warren exclaims. I turn to look at him, and he seems nervous and angry. His curly black hair is even messier than usual, a common sign that my brother is distressed. What has happened?

“What?” I demand. “What’s wrong?”

“I’ve met my mate,” he says, glancing around anxiously. Fuck. I motion to Jared that I’m heading out, and he nods before I lead Warren outside. We start to walk away from the town into the woods, and it takes some time for him to calm down. It’s not until he’s stopped hyperventilating—an action both my wolf and vampire find fucking hilarious—that he sighs. “I’ve met my mate.”

“Who?” I ask. I don’t understand how it’s possible. We haven’t had anyone new people move to the area, and we haven’t approved any visitors either. Not whilst we have the… shit.

“Charlotte,” he whispers, looking up at me in panic. “Lottie. The human. She’s Caden’s mate too.”

“What? How?”

“I don’t know.”

He grips my arm anxiously—although my vampire doesn’t care about our brother’s emotional needs and thinks breaking it would be good revenge—and I glance at him with an eyebrow raised. I get that it’s strange for her to be human, but that doesn’t explain why he’s this stressed. Unless he already scared her off.

Meeting your mate, even if she’s human and it’s never happened before, should be a cause for celebration. He’s met his life partner, the only one he’s likely going to get since she’s Caden’s mate too. He’s met the other half of his soul. I’m jealous, obviously, but also so pleased for my brother. He deserves a mate, especially after all the sacrifices he has made for me.

He launches a stick through the hair, the whistling sound exciting my wolf. “She fucking hates me.”

“What did you do?” I sigh, understanding his frustration now. It doesn’t surprise me in the slightest that Warren’s already managed to piss her off. Elijah’s the good brother, and then Warren and I are good at fighting for the last place.

“I was just trying to get to know her,” he mumbles, and I let out a loud guffaw. Even the punch he delivers to my stomach doesn’t deter me. He’s a fucking fool. “And I don’t think I did a good job.”

“Probably not. You do manage to come across as an asshole.” When he punches me again, I smirk but don’t respond despite my wolf wanting to show our brother that we’re stronger than he is.

“What do I do?”

I stop walking, and he turns to me. “You fix it. Give her the night to settle in, and then go over to see her tomorrow and change your attitude. Stop acting like a prick and be nice to your mate.”

“She’s human,” he reminds me. What, and that means he can’t be nice to her? I swear I have no idea how the fuck he functions. “And I have to share her. She’s not just mine.”

“Luckily you’re both assholes,” I tease, ignoring the empty pang I feel. “So, I bet it won’t just be you who needs to make things up to her. You just get to be first. She must be amazing if she’s been matched with the two of you. Be grateful you get to share your mate with one of your best friends and that you’ve actually met her. I’m so pleased for you, Warren.”

A small smile appears on his face, and I’m glad we’ve worked through some of his worries. I go to continue but pause when Noah connects with our minds. “Hey. Meet at the cottage we’ve prepared for the human. I have news.”

He disconnects, and I turn to Warren.

“What are the chances that he’s her mate too?” he asks, frowning.

“High,” I say, clasping his shoulder. “He’s a twin. Twins share. Let’s go.”

I start walking, wanting to speed off and meet this mysterious woman, but pause when I notice he hasn’t moved.

“Give me a few minutes. I just need some time alone.”

I nod, understanding, and head off. Hopefully, he doesn’t take too long. I wanted to avoid her—in fact, it was firmly at the top of my list—but now that she’s mated to three of the men closest to me... that needs to change. She’s going to be in our lives for better or for worse. I better get on good terms with her.

I speed over to the cottage and see the most breathtaking woman standing with Noah. Fuck. Warren’s going to be furious… but I’m so fucking happy. My wolf sits up in my mind, on edge, and I can’t believe what I’m feeling from my vampire. I’ve never seen felt him act this way… but I know this woman could ask me to murder someone in front of her, and he’d do it with a grin on his face.

She’s my mate too.

The woman on my mind is fucking gorgeous. Her long blonde hair reaches her hips, and the smart outfit she’s wearing only accentuates her curves.

“Bro,” I call out. I want to see her face, and I’m rewarded with her turn. I smirk when she starts checking me out, but I’m doing the exact same thing, so I can’t say anything. She has bright green eyes, a small button nose and a gorgeous red tint to her cheeks. She’s the prettiest woman I have ever seen. She’s tiny, really tiny, and relatively slim too. I bet I weigh triple what she does, and yet, I couldn’t imagine her any other way.

My wolf is purring in my mind, already in love with our mate. He doesn’t have the same kind of emotions as humans and instead has already formed an attachment with her. My vampire, well, as I’m aware, I am now second on his priority list. The word love is too weak for the level of affection he has for her. She’s not said a single word, and he’s devoted.

She’s definitely human, though, and I’m stunned about that. Considering she’s now up to three, potentially four, mates… I’m at a loss. I never thought that we could mate with humans…

“River,” Noah says, his voice portraying his amusement. Asshole. “Meet Charlotte. The new vet.”

“Nice to meet you,” I say, stepping forward with my hand outstretched, ready to shake hers. This isn’t me being polite. I just need to touch her. My wolf understands we’re not marking her now, something my vampire doesn’t get, but we need some contact. This blonde beauty is ours. Mine. I’ll share, but she needs to know she is mine. When she smiles at me, two dimples appear in her cheeks, and I love how her eyes light up. They’re so expressive.

“And you.”

“Where are the others?” Noah demands. Fuck off. Let me spend some time alone, talking to my mate. I don’t give a fuck where the others are. He has had his time. Warren has had his time. Fuck. Just give me a minute more with her.

I don’t let my annoyance show, though, not wanting to upset my pretty little mate and respond with, “Coming. Your brother had an issue at the vet’s office, and Warren cased a scene, apparently.”

She scrunches up her nose, making a cute expression that has my wolf whining in my head, and asks, “What does your brother look like? I was just there. Who is Warren?”

“Identical twins,” Noah says, smiling at us. “So, you would recognise if you had seen him.”

“Oh, no, he wasn’t there when I was.” She’s so fucking adorable. I can’t believe I have met my mate. I smirk at Noah, enjoying this answer a little too much. Of course, she’s not going to have noticed Caden since he was probably in wolf form. I’m just surprised she doesn’t know who Warren is, especially with the way he has decided she hates him. I’m ashamed that my brother hasn’t introduced himself to our mate, especially when she’s our mate and not just his.

Those two punches I let slide earlier are going to be paid back with interest. Nobody upsets my mate and gets away with it.

I smell the others appearing, and I love getting to see her reaction to the others. Her face portrays her emotions, not hiding anything from me. My wolf is jealous that we no longer have her attention, but my vampire is pleased we’re getting to observe her. That sounds creepy even to me, and by the smirk, on Noah’s face, I can tell he’s thinking the same thing. Fucking asshole.

We’re all going to be this way, especially at first. We’ve met our other half. She’s now the singular most important thing, to me, to us. She’s ours. Even if she doesn’t know it yet.

“So how the tables have turned,” Warren drawls. What happened to him making it up to her? Be nice, Warren. Honestly, our mum will be so pissed off when she realises how he acted when he met our mate.

She took me in when I was only seven years old, and she’s done her best to help me with my dual nature. She’s raised us to be good men, and the way Warren’s acting will only piss her off. I can’t wait.

“I didn’t ask you to come here,” Charlotte snaps at him, frostiness in her gaze. Fucking hell. My wolf loves this feisty side of her and is whining, pleading actually, to mate with her. I’m going to need to go on a run tonight to calm him down. She shrugs, trying to show that she doesn’t care, but we’re not fooled. His actions are hurting her feelings. “And personally, I would rather struggle alone than have your help.”

Noah decides to cut in. “Whoa. What’s going on?”

“This stuck up princess refused to give me her name at the Vet Clinic. Then when I tried to talk to her about it, she got into her car and drove off.” I try to connect with his mind, to get him to shut the fuck up, but he doesn’t allow me in. The asshole knows precisely what he’s doing. Looks like the interest just got doubled.

“Threatened me more like,” Charlotte replies. I love that she’s not backing down. Her spirit, her fire, is desirable. She’s small, but I love that she’s not super shy and easily intimidated. I’m excited to get to know her.

“Threatened? I was only warning you about how things work around here.”

“Get a thesaurus, Growly,” Charlotte mutters, rolling her eyes. The flippant attitude has me smirking. “They are synonyms.”

“Synonyms?” he asks. I smirk because I don’t even know what that is, and I’m a lot smarter than him.

“Words that are interchangeable,” Dillon answers, walking up to us. “Similar meanings.” Charlotte smiles at him, and we all lock in on those dimples. She’s gorgeous. How are we really this lucky? I get to share my mate with my family. We’re going to be together for the rest of our life, and I couldn’t be happier about it.

She opens her mouth, but the truck pulls up, so I walk over with Warren. Time to start on the payback.

“What the fuck?” I hiss.

“I can’t help myself. She’s just so easy to rile up.”

“She’s gorgeous whilst doing it.” She is. He snarls, and the smugness radiating from me is riling his vampire up. Oh, brother, the games are only just beginning.

“She’s my mate too, jackass.”

“Fucking hell.” Warren sighs, glancing back at her. “We’re going to need a family meeting after this.”

“Too right,” I say, nodding. I’m listening to her conversation with Dillon, Caden and Noah too. It seems she prefers to go by Lottie.

Over the next couple of hours, we build her furniture up and make this place liveable. She’s too sweet, constantly trying to help, but those of us with wolves couldn’t fathom allowing our mate to do this for herself. We need to prove we can take care of her, and this period now is us showcasing how good of mates we can be. She doesn’t understand it because she doesn’t have a wolf, but it’s important to us.

Once we finished, we’re all trying to delay leaving. This has been a relaxing afternoon—ignoring the snipes between Caden, Warren and I—and none of us wants it to end. Hell, Caden has moved her blankets about six times.

“Why don’t we go out for food?” Dillon suggests, and I smile. There’s a reason he’s the smart one.

“Sounds fun,” Noah adds.

“Sure,” Lottie says. “Can I change?”

“Of course,” Noah replies. “We’ll wait for you. The restaurant is a casual setting.” What does that matter? She heads into her room.

“What the fuck?” Caden asks, laughing. “A casual setting?”

“So, she can dress right,” Noah says, shrugging even though we can all see his blush. “I don’t fucking know.”

“We need a family meeting once we’re done,” Warren demands. He’s already made this clear to me earlier, and I’m eager for us to discuss this.

“Five mates,” Dillon murmurs. “And she’s human.”

“Four,” I tease, and their eyes all flash black, wondering who I’m cutting out. “Warren might end up dead if he continues with his attitude.”

“True,” Noah says, laughing. “Although she gives as good as she gets.”

We listen as she moves around in her room, and I ignore the anxiety pouring off my vampire. He’s scared that something will happen to her with her out of our sight and can’t understand why I won’t go next door with her.

She emerges from her room, wearing a pair of skinny trousers and a red top that highlights her boobs. Fuck. My mate is gorgeous. How can I be this lucky? Seriously, what did I do right in a previous life to end up with her by my side?

“You look nice,” Noah says. Asshole. I wanted to compliment her first. We stand up and head outside as a group. It’s not till we’ve got away from the door that we realise an issue.

“What’s wrong?” Caden asks.

“Lottie,” Noah says sternly. “Why didn’t you lock your door?”

A blush appears, and she moves back. “My old apartment automatically locked, so I never had to do that.”

“Okay,” Noah says. He connects with us and instructs us to make sure we’re checking her apartment each day and that when we’re with her—which will be all the time—that we remind her to do it. Our mate needs to be safe, and even though nothing inside these boundaries will hurt her, our wolves need the reassurance.

“Why did you all just nod?”

“Nothing,” Dillon replies, looking down at her. “So, I heard you met Harper earlier?”

“Yes. She walked up to me whilst I was in the square.” Harper is cute. Really cute. Noah and Caden are the only ones of us with a younger sibling, and we’ve all adopted her as ours.

“She told Lottie that she smells funny,” Noah says. That’s amusing. Humans do smell funny, and it’s such a Harper comment to make. She’s got no filter and comes out with some funny shit.

“So, what made you move here?” Caden asks.

“Dr Patterson reached out to me during my last year at university, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity,” she says.

“What did you study?” Noah asks.

“I’ll give you one guess,” Lottie counters. She’s honestly so fast with her banter, and I love how she subconsciously walks closer to us. She’s brushed my arm five times. My wolf loves it, and quite frankly, so do I.

“Veterinary studies, you fucking fool,” Caden informs him when Noah doesn’t say anything. Fucking hell Noah. Lottie bursts out laughing, and her laugh is like tiny little bells. It’s high pitched but soft, and I think it’s my new favourite sound.

When we reach the restaurant, we’re seated almost immediately despite the queue, and I smile at the pack members around. They’re confused as to why the human is with us, and it takes everything in me to not lay claim now. She’s my mate, not ‘some human’ as they’re calling her. Just because the volume of their words is below what human ears can pick up doesn’t mean the people making the comments aren’t being added to my list. I won’t have them disrespecting my mate.

The entire meal is great, and despite being my usual quiet self, I’ve learnt so much about my new mate. She moves her hair quite often, twirling it around her fingers or tucking it behind her ears. I don’t know if it’s a nervous habit or just something that comforts her, but I like it.

It isn’t until the end of the meal that problems arise. Lottie attempts to pay, and our wolves won’t allow that. She’s our mate. Someone we’re meant to cherish, love, and take care of. It’s insulting that she feels she needs to pay for us. The worst part about our instincts is that she doesn’t understand them. They’re so normal to us, so natural, but to her… they come across as overbearing.

I struggle on a daily basis to keep both my wolf and vampire in line, and there’s a lot I can’t ignore, just like there’s a lot I can.

Unfortunately for her, this is something I get outvoted on. Every single wolf and vampire—man or woman—has this urge.

Lottie sighs and says, “It’s meant to be a thank you dinner. It’s not much of a thank you if you guys then have to pay for the meal. Please let me pay for it as a thank you for building my things.”

“If you think any mate of ours will pay, you’re mistaken,” Caden lectures. He stands up and heads over to pay, blissfully ignorant to her shock. Asshole. He could have been nicer about it.

“Thank you,” she says once he sits back down. She doesn’t seem mad, so we all relax.

“Anytime,” he promises. “Now, what are your plans?”

Lottie gets a thoughtful expression on her face before answering. “I need to get groceries. Then home to go to bed. It’s getting late, and I have to work early tomorrow.”

“We’ll come with you to the store,” I insist. I don’t want to say goodbye yet. My plans for the night include shifting and patrolling her house. I won’t be able to sleep with her being so far away from me and susceptible to danger. But I do want to spend more time with her first.

“I need to go home to get the car,” she tells us.

“We can carry your bags,” I say. My wolf is prancing around in my head, acting like a fucking peacock. He wants to show off for his mate, show her how strong and powerful he is. My vampire is surprisingly in agreement.

“I know, but if I get my car, you don’t need to.”

“Do you think we can’t provide for you?” Caden snaps. She doesn’t understand that her words are offensive to us. That’s not her fault. She’s human. She’s entirely unaware of the mating process, and it’s going to be a long couple of months. Perfect months, but long nonetheless.

Our wolves aren’t going to understand why she’s not giving in to the bond immediately, which means these behaviours are only going to get worse. We’re going to need to take it slowly with her, which means we’re going to need to get better at controlling ourselves.

She has a dazed and confused expression on her face as she looks at Caden.

“That’s a no,” Warren hisses. He storms off, and Caden follows. Fucking idiots.

“What just happened?” Lottie whispers.

“Nothing,” Dillon reassures. “Let’s go shopping.”

She sighs but nods. Let’s hope our fucking brothers get their act together and come back and apologise to our mate. She doesn’t understand how male wolves get in the pre-bond stage, and we can’t expect her to. Caden and Warren are going to need to adjust their attitudes and explain things to our mate. Otherwise, none of us will be happy. Tonight though, I’m going to spend time with my mate.

I can fix their shitty attitudes tomorrow. What better way to take out your frustration than on the faces of the men who have upset your mate?

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