logan's choice (dark hollow wolf pack #3) Page 13

“I’ve always loved this forest. You can see the national park from here, can’t you?”

“Our land stretches from Nantahala National Park in Georgia near the North Carolina line to Asheville, North Carolina and into Tennessee, all pretty much wild land like you can see from the window.”

“How do you afford it, all of this? I know now it’s not from stealing, not the way they claim.”

“No, we don’t steal. We have mines, sapphire and ruby. Other packs and clans have other mines, farms, etc. Some work the stock market.”

“The mines arenear here, but you don’t work them.”

“No, but we oversee them. We hire our friends in Brevard to work them. Many of them are working here now too, on the construction.”

“That explains why they couldn’t get anyone in town to talk to them about what goes on up here.”

“The employment we provide supports the town, and we support ourselves, Logan, and share equally.”

“Not equally,” he murmured, fingering his collar. He was silent for a long moment before he whirled to face Ian.“I know I’ve been fed a pack of lies all these years by the Hunters.” Not just about wolves or by the Hunters.“I want to help shut them down. I can lead a raid on them and put an end to this.”

“Absolutely not.”

“What? What the hell do you mean, absolutely not?”

“I mean working in the field and combat are out of the question for you, Logan.”

Logan’s mouth fell open,and he stared at Ian like he’d just grown another head. He snarled at Ian.“You don’t get to decide that.”

“The hell I don’t.” Ian folded his arms across his chest belligerently and glared at Logan. “You won’t be leaving Mountainwood. Not just no, but hell no.”

Logan opened his mouth a time or two and stared at Ian, totally at a loss for something to say. He took in a couple of deep breaths and couldn’t hold it in any longer.

“Fuck you, Ian! I’m not a damned child, or your dog, or whatever it is you’re trying to make me.” He reached up, unsnapped the leather collar, and threw it on the floor.

Ian’s face darkened, and he stood up and walked toward Logan. “Fuck me, huh? Fuck me?Yeah, you’ll fuck me all right!I couldn’t handle knowing you were in danger. If I was worried about you in combat, I wouldn’t be able to do my job as beta effectively, and Marco relies on me. The good of the pack has to come first. I can’t let you fight against the Hunters and that’s final. End of fucking discussion!”

Ian was intimidating as hell, but Logan took a deep breath and stood his ground. He was pretty sure Ian wouldn’t hit him. Hadn’t he said the wolves cherished their pets? Time to find out. He lifted his chin and folded his arms across his chest, mimicking what Ian had done earlier. “No, it’s not the end of the discussion. I’m an adult, and I’ll do whatever I damn please. You’re not going to control my entire life.”

Ian narrowed his eyes. “Logan, you’re skating on very thin ice. If you continue with this disrespect and defiance, you’ll leave me no choice but to discipline you.”

“Discipline me?” Logan’s eyes squinted as he glared. “Discipline me? You’re full of shit! I hate you!”

“Right,” Ian said with a nod of his head. “Time for you and me to get a few things straight.”

He ripped Logan’s T-shirt from his body in one powerful swing of his hands. Logan’s mouth dropped open. “That was the only one I had! You asshole!”

“I suggest you remove those pants,or you’ll be walking around here naked, because they’re next.”

Logan took a step backward.

“Take them off,” Ian said softly, “Or you won’t be wearing clothes for a month.”

Logan shook with anger, but he knew Ian would probably be a big enough asshole to make him walk around the compound naked. He unsnapped his pants and stepped out of them, throwing them on the chair. He stood naked in front of Ian, his whole body red with rage. “I hate you, damn you! Fucking wolf!”

Ian thinned his lips, but said nothing. He pulled out the wingback chair next to Logan. “Drape yourself across the chair, Logan. Ass in the air.”

Logan flushed again and shook his head. “No, you’re not going to do this.”

“It’s not up for discussion, Logan.” Ian pulled his belt off and held it in his hand thoughtfully. “Drape yourself across the chair and I’m giving you ten. Fight me and you won’t sit for a week.”

Between wanting to defy him and knowing with certainty he couldn’t stop what Ian was about to do to him, Logan was torn.If he didn’t cooperate, Ian would probably tie him down. Hating himself for giving in, hating Ian for making him, he bent awkwardly over the chair, suspecting the concession Ian had made earlier was as much behind what he was doing as being mouthed off to. Ian had to reassert his dominance. Ian stepped up behind him and put a hand between his legs, boosting him up on his toes by his balls to where one hand held him firmly in place across the chair. Doubling up the belt, he snapped it sharply againstLogan’s ass, not holding back much. Logan hissed in a breath.He couldn’t stop him, but he damn sure wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of seeing how much it hurt. Before he was ready, another came and another, crisscrossing his buttocks till he couldn’t hold back the tears in his eyes. Almost choking, he endured it until Ian finished and pulled him to his feet. His hands went back to rub his ass, and he tried to stalk away, but Ian held him in place with a tight hold of his arm.

“What have you learned, Logan?”

Logan groaned and bit his lip. He struggled hard for a moment and mumbled something.

“Louder.”

“Not to talk back to you.”

“That’s right. Are you going to do it again?”

“No. Sir.”

“Do you understand why you shouldn’t?”

“Hell, no. Sir.”

Ian sighedat Logan’s sarcasm. “Put your pants back on, Logan.”

Logan walked stiffly over to retrieve them and put them back on, forcing himself not to squirm over the pressure on his abused ass. He looked up to see Ian holding out his collar. “Put it on.”

He squeezed his eyes shut, but managed to avoid snatching the collar. Just barely. He put it back around his neck and fastened it.

Ian put his belt back on and walked toward the door. “I’m going to the council meeting. When I get back we are going to have a talk about your duties here at the compound. If you want so badly to assist against the Hunters, I’ll consider it .”

Logan gazed at him in disbelief. “You just whipped my ass because I suggested the same thing.”

“No, Logan, I whipped your ass because you were rude to your mate and more importantly, to your beta. You called me names and told me you hated me. The pack has a hierarchy. You should understand that as a military man. If you talked like that to a superior officer in the Hunters, what would have happened? There would have been punishment involved, I think.”

“Yeah, I’d have lost a stripe, been on report, but I wouldn’t have been humiliated by beingstripped naked and whipped like a dog. I’m just curious, why is it you’re trying to destroy everything you said attracted you? Is it because I fucked you in the ass?”

Ian stared at him for a moment, obviously thinking about what Logan said, before he took a step back. He raised his head and regarded him directly.“Okay, Logan. Decide what you want. Be very sure. You can’t be my mate and talk to me like that or refuse to accept and acknowledge your submissive position. You’re right. You’re an adult, and you can decide what you want. I hope you decide you want me. I love you, and I never want to lose you, but if you want to reject me as your mate, you have the right.” He turned and walked to the door, leaving Logan standing open-mouthed behind him.

“Wait a minute! What do you mean I can reject you?I can’t leave here, and you know it.”

“You’re Werekin, Logan, and you have every right to stay here, with or without me. I can arrange separate quarters for you and someone else to give you the feedings you’ll need. No doubt there would be plenty of volunteers.Like I said, you need to make a decision.”

Ian didn’t return until bedtime. Logan was already in bed, feigning sleep when Ian came in the front door to their rooms. Ian walked into the bedroom softly and sat down on the side of the bed, lowering his head in his hands. “I know you’re awake. You need to just say it and get it over with.”

Logan was still angry. He kept his back turned against Ian. “Say what? Are you expecting me to tell you I want out? We had a fight. I’m pissed. That doesn’t mean I don’t love you.”

“It doesn’t?”

“No. Unless you want me to go?”

“No! I mean, I love you too, sweetheart.” Ian stood and paced around the room for a few minutes before falling heavily in bed beside him, taking a deep, shuddering breath. “I know this is all hard for you to adjust to, but you sounded pretty positive about hating me. I thought you wanted to reject our mating.”

“Where the hell would I go? It’s not like the local drug store carries wolf blood.” “No, you’d have to stay in Mountainwood, but I told you other wolves can feed you. Don’t stay with me only because of that.”

“I don’t want another wolf.” Logan rolled over on his back and reached for Ian’s hand.

Gripping it tightly, he spoke in the darkness. “So you can’t handle the idea of me being in danger, huh? Guess that means you’re pretty crazy about me.” Ian squeezed his hand. “You have no idea.”

“Uh, it’s…it’s kind of nice for a change, you know? That you want me safe. No one’s felt that way about me since my mother died.” Ian started to turn toward him, but Logan put out a hand to stop him. “That damned belt hurt though. My ass has welts all over it.” “You’ll heal faster now than you ever did before.” Ian turned and took him in his arms, ignoring his little sounds of protest. “Let me kiss it and make it better.”