“He left with his tail between his legs,” Maxwell shrugged. I could see a truck driving very quickly off into the distance, followed by several cars; it looked as if Kray and family was leaving the property.
I imagined he’d brought his younger brother Kimball, who was always by his side and who also had a terrible reputation, and various cousins and uncles. Now that Kray was an Alpha, they all had started throwing their weight around, bullying other shifters and picking fights, from what I’d heard. Kray’s cousin Roberta, for instance, had a shoplifting habit, but whenever a storeowner caught her, she’d call them a liar and threaten that Kray would issue a death challenge to them and they’d back down.
The men looked me over curiously. “She’s not going to be able to run too fast in that getup,” one of them observed.
Run? Why would I need to run on my wedding day? I suddenly felt very out of place in my illusory gown and veil. I thought this was a perfect wedding day outfit. Should I have had the shaman conjure up jeans and a tank top?
“She’ll change later,” Maxwell said. “There’s been a change of plan. I’m taking her to the parson to be married right now, and then we’ll come over to the reception hall in a couple of hours. Don’t worry, we’ll be at the feast, and we’ll still do the Running and Claiming this afternoon.”
Running and Claiming?
I knew that every pack had their own unique wedding traditions, especially for their Alphas. I hadn’t bothered to study up on Timber Valley, because I refused to acknowledge this as a real wedding day. Maybe I should have done a little more research.
I barely had time to wonder what I’d gotten myself into, when all the other wolves threw back their heads and howled their approval.
“He can’t wait to get her back to the bridal chamber!” one of them bayed.
“Maybe she’ll outrun him. I’ll claim her any day of the week, if he can’t catch her!” another one howled.
“Watch it,” Maxwell growled at him. “And don’t worry, I will catch her and I will be Claiming her.”
The shifters kept whooping and hollering their approval. I blushed furiously as he held the passenger door open for me and helped me into the truck.
We pulled away, and he stuck his arm out the window and waved at his relatives, who were still baying happily. “Don’t mind my brothers and cousins,” he said. “An Alpha wedding is a big deal around here.”
“What’s Running and Claiming?” I demanded.
“Oh, you’ll find out soon enough.” He flashed me a taunting grin.
No, I wouldn’t. I’d be calling for a ride soon enough, I thought, feeling oddly disappointed. Whatever Claiming was, I had a feeling that I wouldn’t mind having Maxwell do it to me.
“So what are we doing now?” I asked, as we headed down the road in his truck.
“Well, normally, we’d go introduce you to everybody, then we’d have the ceremony in front of everybody, and then we’d commence with the next part of the marriage ritual. “
Which involves what, for heaven’s sake? I wanted to scream.
“Given how your uncle acted this morning, I’ve decided on a change of plan. We’re going to get married right away. That way your uncle won’t get the chance to change his mind,” Maxwell said, pulling up in front of a log cabin style building . A white gravel path led to the front door, and there were pretty flower beds lining the pathway.
Yeah, yeah, wouldn’t want the business deal to go south, I thought, as he rushed me inside.