Chapter 20: Carmen
“No. I haven’t let poppy seeds, blow or, umm…… err I … no.” I retort, face flaming, mumbling, babbling,
as excruciating shyness almost kills me. Face reddening and unable to look her in the eye. I can feel
Carmen’s eyes boring down on me, waiting for my answer with vicious suspicion. I can feel her poised
body getting ready for my take down if she thinks Colton has touched me sexually. “We haven’t done
anything… nothing.” How can I tell them I turned, ripped him half to shreds, and then called him weak?
I don’t think that would go down well with his crew.
“Hmmm, disappointing. Well I can help with that.” She gestures again for me to follow and when I
hesitate, eyes roaming the enraged Carmen sitting near the doorway, she catches my sleeve and
yanks me. Carmen is poised with a reply to what Meadow said, but I can see she’s holding it in and
simmering, despite the knives she’s throwing with her eyes. I’m not sure what the story between
Meadow and Carmen is, but I don’t get happy bonded packmate vibes from either of them.
“Colton will be a while and my room is not far. We look around the same size if you roll up the legs a
little. I’m sure I have something that makes you look less vagabunda.”
“You’ll help her with nothing. She’s not and will never be his mate. You know who he chose and that he
rejected her, so stop playing games, Meadow, and leave her be. The trash look suits her because it’s
what she is.” Carmen couldn’t hold it for much longer, and that flash of rage has Meadow spinning her
way, almost taking me with her.
“Green is not a good color on you, Puta! I don’t think you are in any position to make demands,
considering whose bed I caught you in. You should be thanking your stars that I’ve not excised my right
to punish such a betraying Perra as you. Don’t make me reconsider it!”
There’s a shocked silence and Carmen’s eyes dart around the rest of them, obvious shame written
across her face as all the others avert and avoid her. They all know, of course they do, and the silent
tense moment tells me they’re mad at her for betraying Colton as much as he is. She committed a sin
that in the eyes of wolf law, is non comparable to his.
He was bonded and he kissed his fated mate. She had sex while promised to another, in a bid to
wound him. It doesn’t matter how double a standard it is, it’s how this works, and our laws on
commitment and betrayal are clear. She was linked to Colton and she chose to punish him with defiling
their union after he already rejected the mate the fates gave him.
Packs are weird in they can fight all day long, get aggressive with one another, nip, and tease, but you
wound one of them and they will turn on you. Even if you were one of their own. They have a special
bond with their alpha, and I can see Carmen is in the doghouse. None of them like her right now.
“You have less than half an hour before Colton most likely shows. You know Juan likes to keep things
short.” Matteo points out and Meadow claps her hands happily.
“Plenty time. Come, we have some girl stuff to do. Carmen isn’t welcome, she can sit over there and
think about what she’s done.” Meadow tosses her hair back, that long sleek hair shining as it flies over
her shoulder sassily, throwing her a pointed look and leads the way, yanking me with her once more.
Cesar and Jesus, still standing in the entranceway, move out of the way and I catch the slight up and
down appraisals as they size me up in passing.
The twin’s eyes follow me and although it’s not outright hostility I can tell none of the males, with the
exception of maybe Matteo, are sure they want me here. I’m an outsider to them, an intruder to their
pack, and not worthy to be bonded to their alpha.
As soon as we get to the corridor, Meadow slides her arm in mine and hauls me close a little
aggressively for my liking. Leaning in so her perfume and natural wolf scent mingle and hit me with a
“I know we’re supposed to follow Juan in his hatred of all the orphans he threw behind the mountain,
but I lost family in that war and it could have well been me. Some of us were lucky enough to see some
come back…. I don’t believe for a second that only our strongest bloodlines came home. You can trust
me, Amiga. I’m not like most of the pack. I have a mind of my own.” She whispers it in hushed silence
and throws me a soft look, that despite feeling her crazy vibes, rings true, she has an underlying
kindness and I can feel it when we’re this close. “Colton’s a good boy, but he’s also Juan’s son. He
knows his place in the pack and he knows if he defies his father and breaks that kind of respect for our
laws, he’ll never have the respect when his time comes to lead. I know what he wants, and I know why
he can’t have it… but it doesn’t mean I don’t want to have a little fun and make him suffer.” A smile,
wink, and almost mischievous laugh, and I frown in confusion. Unsure if I should question her or not. If
she is close to Colton, then I literally have no idea what she means about having fun and making him
She leads the way, pulls me with her, up a stair and then down a left hall before we come to a polished
wooden door with her name staring back at us from a polished and engraved gold plate. The scent up
here is mainly female, and I guess they keep the sexes on different floors, although Cesar’s scent
lingers around the door and I guess because they’re mated, he gets to stay in here too. Being mated is
marriage and once you’re marked, no one has the authority to stop you being together in every way,
every second of every hour.
“I’m the queen of hair and makeup and you my, amiga, need a little Santo makeover, because like it or
not, you’re now our pack and our problem. As long as you live, so does Cole, and it’s our job to keep it
that way. That means you need to fit in and look the part…. not like this.” She casts me an up down eye
flicker of disapproval and exaggerated expression of ‘yuck’. She scans her palm, pushes open the door
and leads the way inside. Flicking on a light switch and grinning when it comes on.
“They finally replaced mine, thankfully. That was some show you put on in the hallway, and some mess
you made. Impressive! I think you smashed every glass bottle I owned.” She wiggles away from me to
a dresser and starts rifling through the contents, throwing me devilish smiles. I relax a little, nerves
winding down and anxiety untangling my internal organs, easing into the aura that surrounds her.
There’s something infectious and alluring that pulls you in and makes you feel like you can open up to
her, and I stand awkwardly by the door watching her.
“I’m sorry. I honestly don’t know what happened or how I did it, Colton thinks I …” I start to revert into
excuses, ingrained from years of being a reject.
“I know what he thinks. Colton tells me everything and I mean everything! I know he thinks you have an
absorption gift and I’m guessing his lack of presence this afternoon was when he came to you to test
his theory. How did that go? Or is what I’m looking at the result of getting down and dirty, and
distracted?” She has the filthiest way of laughing that implies sexual innuendos, and the crudest
mindset, turning any sentence into a much more loaded one with just a chuckle, and I blush again.
“We haven’t had sex. We haven’t done anything since that first time he kissed me. He pushed me to
turn, and figured I can do what he says, effectively.” I don’t know how much information I should be
giving away as I don’t know her, but I can find nothing in my mind to tell me that Colton doesn’t trust
her. She’s his second in command and I’m sure that comes with the highest kind of bond.
“No, he won’t, not if he ain’t gonna mark you. Colton may be a lot of things, but he’s very straight in
upholding a moral code. He can be spoiled, a little self-absorbed, and center of his own universe, but
he has a code and he’s the kinda guy who would drop everything to have your back if you needed him.
He’s not like his father, but he does cower a little in his shadow. He’s young still, I hope he grows out of
it soon. Becomes the man hidden in the boy.”
I find myself nodding at that because I know it’s true, even I can see and admit it, and jump when she
spins back at me holding up see through lace scraps that I can’t even tell what they are.
“Black or red, Chica? A good feeling starts with sexy lingerie and I’ve never yet worn either, so you can
My eyes bulge out of my skull a little and my mouth runs dry.
“Ummmm.” I clear my throat, shifting from one foot to the other and try to stop gawping at what she’s
holding. It doesn’t look like there’s enough on any of what she’s holding to cover even a tiny part of me.
No belief in the fact it’s a full set of lingerie or that she buys the right size to cover her own assets.
“Let me guess, you’re a tidy whites and sports bra girl? Do you even own a push up a bra, or a thong?”
I catch the jest in her tone as she mocks me and rolls her eyes, as I begin to shake my head, eyes
wide and completely shellshocked we are even discussing my underwear habits. I mean, we only just
met, and far from the fact I thought all Santos hated my kind, here she is trying to gift me her
“Ai, Papi!” She mutters to herself with a hint of disappointment. “Colton seems more like a black lace
kind. The boy has hidden kinks for sure.… So, we’ll go with that. It has a little push to give your sisters
some lift.” She wiggles her breast with one hand as though to demonstrate and tosses the black scrap
towards the four-poster bed.
“I really don’t need…” I stammer out, embarrassed to the core, but she shushes me mid refusal of
uplifting man traps with a finger jab, and I fall silent, too intimidated to continue arguing.
“Okay… so now we need something sexy, but casual. Not trying too hard but has to make him think
about banging you whenever he sees you.” She wanders to a closet and yanks it open. Enjoying this
make over a little too much and really getting into it.
“I don’t want to make him … bang… me.” I point out, unable to really believe we’re having this
conversation and all I get in reply is a heart, sexy, laugh.
“Oh, I know, and knowing him, he won’t. Whether you want a man to bang you or not is beside the
point, Chica. You have sexuality and the goods to make men want you. Work it, play a little. Make
Colton regret the day he ever said I don’t. I mean, why make it easy on the boy when it’s so much more
fun to make him squirm.” She swings her hips and makes a pelvic thrusting jerk, giggling at her own
motion, and goes back to hauling clothes out of the closet and throwing them across to the bed
between us. My nerves catapulting to the ceiling as I watch an array of tiny clothing items, with low cut,
or short almost not there cut, flying by.
“I don’t want to play games or make this hard for him. He made his choice and I don’t, I mean, I’m
not….” I stammer awkwardly, really overheating with shame at the skimpy choices she’s laying out.
She shushes me again me from afar, with a finger on her lips, and fixes me with a penetrating look,
resting her hand on her hip and leaning into it.
“I get it. You’re a virgin and you think that all there is, is marked mate, or eternal untouched while you
wait to be marked. A good girl just trying to find her place somewhere she don’t wanna be. Why are
you pushing yourself into the shadows and becoming invisible? You’re a pretty girl. You’ve more right
than Carmen to be in our pack, and trust me, nothing will piss her off more than to see you take your
place, making our alpha more besotted with you than he already is. “
“You don’t like her much, do you?” I blanche at her and can’t get my head around this. She doesn’t
seem like she has all that much care in her heart for someone who’s run with their sub pack for two
years. Since Carmen paired up with Colton.
“She was never my choice. We’ve never warmed. Stupid girl, far too jealous for her own good and tried
to damage the bond I have with Colton. She made that mistake one too many times and now, she don’t
got herself a sister who is sad to see her pushed out. She brings nothing but drama to our unit. She
needs to go.” Meadow stops, mid throwing items my way and sighs heavily, her eyes darting back at
me and she delivers a soft smile.
“I have an ulterior motive, Chica. For this….” She waves her arms around us at the chaos of clothes
and comes back to stand in front of me, reaching out and tugging a strand of my hair through her
“Which is?” I ask brazenly, feeling somehow deep down that I can trust her, there’s something about
her that tells me she’s not my enemy.
“Juan has given Colton an order that by the next cycle he has to have marked Carmen and put an end
to this. The moon is full in under two weeks and he’s looking for every reason to delay this and
convince his father that he doesn’t want that bond. He wants to be with you, and he can’t keep denying
it. I’m sorry, Chica.” Meadow seems devastated over her confession, true sympathy in that narrowed
brow and glistening eyes.
“What?” It almost winds me as it falls out of my mouth, her face falling sad as a droplet glistens in her
eye more obviously. It overwhelms me, insides churning in that agonizing way I felt when he and I were
apart, and I too begin to cry, silent painful tears.
“Juan has no right to force that of him, but Colton, he needs a shove. He needs to stop obeying
everything he commands and fight for his right to choose his own mate. The law is on his side in this.
Juan oversteps his boundaries all of the time and Colton is so used to toeing his line and obeying, that
he doesn’t even think he can question it.” The anger simmers below her surface yet I feel it vibrating
from her as it fuels my own.
“Juan is forcing him to mark Carmen before the next full moon, even though they’re no longer even
dating?” It’s almost a sob as pain slices into my throat and threatens to choke me. Legs giving out and I
stumble to the bed nearby to slump down heavily, stunned with the reality of this. “He didn’t tell me.” I
heave in air as the tears start to wrack my body, and Meadow comes to perch beside me, running her
hand down my hair in a bid to console me.
“I think Colton is hoping he can convince him of another way before that time comes. That your gift is
enough to show him you’re special.” She soothes quietly.
“Juan will never accept me, even with a special power. Juan hates anything to do with my kind.” I don’t
know where it comes from, but a world of pain floods my heart and twists my insides in such an
excruciating way I think my heart stops beating. I can’t bear to think about him marking her for all
eternity. I don’t know what that would do to our bond, or how much that would kill me, but all of a
sudden, I can see what she is hinting at.
She thinks dressing up and looking good will turn his head more than it already is. Make him want me
more, in hopes he will find the will to stand up and claim what is rightfully his. Maybe push his lust
buttons enough to force his hand, to mark me in the heat of passion like he almost did that night in the
study. When the hormones of imprinting were at their strongest.
Colton isn’t like that though and I don’t think flirting and sashaying around in skimpy clothes will alter
his commitment to his honor and obedience. Especially not now the insane need and hunger has faded
to manageable levels. It only stays that strong in the first days to ensure the mark is made.
That first kiss was hormone fueled, after the imprint being so new, it’s calmer now. The feelings settling
in and the raging lust giving way to a deeper connection. That’s how it works. It’s meant to make you
finalize the bond with sex and marking, because you can’t control the need for each other… and then it
fades to love, and care, and taking care of one another, with a less intense need for sex. I can’t make
him lust crazy like that again and push him to defy his father with some makeup and a pair of booty
shorts. He has way more control than most.
“We can’t fight this. Colton has to be the one, and he is a little preoccupied with Vampire wars and
changes to everything now.” I point out dejectedly, sighing heavily with my own logic.
“Look, I’m going to level. I don’t want that skanky Puta becoming a permanent fixture in my sub pack. I
loathe her, and have done since Colton brought her in. If sexing you up gets Colton to find his spine
and maybe at least delay this somehow, we can find a way to change Juan’s mind together. We’re his
pack, and whether the boys agree with this or not, they got his back, and mine. Carmen was never one
of us……. I saw what you could do in the hallway, and if that was an ounce of untrained, uncontrolled
gift, then there’s no telling how much power you have inside of you, Chica. I know about your eyes and
that has to mean something. There are rumors about wolves from time gone by with special gifts and
blood-filled eyes that we cannot ignore.”
“I’m not special… I’m scared, and out of my depth.” I admit honestly, taking comfort from her stroke
skimming my hair repetitively. Meadow has a maternal quality and I think that’s the feeling that’s pulling
me to her. She has the same spirit my mom had, the same fierce but gentle nature. She takes no crap
and she has an aura that tells you she’s loyal to a fault, bold with her opinions, yet a heart always at the
core of her plans. It’s been missing from my life for so long.
Colton may be the boy to follow his father, but I know he’s trying to find a way to be with me, even after
he rejected me. I have a hold over him that runs deep, that neither can fight. If I gave him more, gave
him a reason to throw all in, then maybe he would find it inside of him to defy him, and mark a mate on
the full moon that isn’t Carmen. Up until now I’ve let him be the one to keep pulling us together, maybe
that’s why he’s able to resist. Maybe Meadow has a point.
I’ve been distant, mad at him, and combative. I haven’t made any of this easy, and at times, I’ve
pushed him away. Maybe she’s right and not in the dress sexy way, but maybe I need to strengthen our
bond and pull him to me. Apply the affection he shows me and give him a reason to fight for us.
All I have is how he feels about me, and I know that sex with your fated does something more when
you finally come together. There’s a second level of imprinting when you unify. I should aim for that,
seduce him, even if I’m not sure he’ll yield, and Meadow isn’t sure either.
She doesn’t see how hard he tries to keep his hands to himself and maybe with a push, I can prove us
both wrong. Unify my mate, and solidify his mind set into marking me no matter what Juan says. I
belong with him, and my future in this pack, these lands, all rely on getting this out of the way and
having him finally unite us.
Juan can go to hell. I need to get Colton to man up. Once that’s done his father can’t do a damn thing
about it and it can’t be undone without killing us both. His hands will be tied and then we can focus on
the impending war and all that comes with it. This needs to be done.
“Show me how to put these on.” I pick up the scraps of lace and wipe my face with the back of my
hand, pulling myself together with some kind of a plan. Be it a haphazard one. It’s a step to stop hating
on him and start encouraging him to find his own spine, like Meadow said.
Your mate is meant to help you grow, and up until now, he’s the only one doing anything like that. It’s
my turn to help Colton find his own strengths.
“Now you’re talking. Seduction, Chica, is a tried and tested weapon that no man is capable of denying
for any length of time when it’s from the woman he already loves. Ignore Carmen, her time has passed,
and she broke his trust. She brought shame to our pack when she slept with TJ. Colton can never be
bonded to her.”
I inhale sharply, that name registering as I run through my memory bank and stop on a face to go with
it. I know who he is, and I can see why Colton’s remaining feelings for Carmen died a death. TJ is
Colton’s own first cousin, his direct blood, and was raised as a brother to him, literally. He’s Juan’s
younger brother’s son and at twenty-eight, he’s an alpha to another sub pack. He’s always had a subtle
sibling rivalry to Colton, and I guess he saw an opportunity for the upper hand. That had to have stung
and wounded Colton so deeply.
I now know why Colton never named and shamed and made their betrayal public. Juan would never
allow him to bring a black mark to his own bloodline like that, and his insistence to still mark Carmen as
Colton’s mate is proof, he’s trying to act like it didn’t happen. He’s denying our own laws to suit his own
purpose. He would rather see his son bonded to someone who shamed his own pack than see him
bonded to me.
Screw you, Juan.
If learning to seduce Colton puts him in a place to defy him then I’m throwing myself in and not coming
back out until it’s done. That boy is mine and I have all kinds of pull to make him beat to the march of
my drum, a strong loud thrum that will drown out Juan’s tenfold.
Bring it on Santo.