Seven watched Apex Prime carry Ryka’s limp form from the clearing. One of the shifters, Cason she’d heard him called, helped Kenna to her feet, and they trailed behind the Apex followed by the shifter called Jesup.
Alone in the clearing, she was fully aware that Lux still held her pressed to his chest as if reluctant to let her go. He should have been, because the second he released her she intended on running.
Breathing ragged and hands trembling, she couldn’t look up at him. She could feel him staring down at her and still she refused to meet his gaze.
“Hey, beautiful,” he whispered. “Everything’s gonna be okay.”
Everything’s gonna be okay? What in the hell was he talking about? Her Phena was down, their Beta was in the wind, and Kenna had just been taken back to their compound. Nothing was okay! “Let…let me go,” she demanded, curling her hands into fists to hide their trembling. God how she wished she were a fighter like Ash, she’d call Lux on and take her chances. Hell, she wasn’t even a leader like Ryka, so without guidance, she wasn’t sure what to do. “Please,” she tagged on, hoping to appeal to any sense of decency in this male who claimed she was his.
His arms loosened slightly, but he didn’t release her. Instead, he said, “Won’t you look at me?”
She shook her head. She wasn’t going to pretend to be strong like Ryka, or tough like Ash. She was going to just be herself. “We didn’t come here for mates. We came seeking permission.”
“Permission for what?” As if unable to stop himself, he lifted a hand and brushed gentle fingers along her cheek.
Seven closed her eyes, shying away from the warm brush of his fingers. “We wanted to stay in the town. We didn’t want any trouble.”
“Trouble?” She heard the worry in his voice. “What trouble? Where are you from?”
Eyes still closed, she swallowed hard and shook her head, wondering how much she should divulge.
“Can’t you just let me go?”
“If you’re in trouble, beautiful, then I’m going to do everything in my power to protect you, which means the safest place in the world for you is exactly where you are right now. With me!”