Chapter 7: What a Wolf Wants
I looked at his men. “Guys, there is a buck we hunted just over that hill, if you’re hungry go get it.” Shay nodded and a few men ran off. Moose had gone back for his clothes and was now standing next to Beta Kurt.
“So you see now why you can’t just run after her,” I told Shay as we walked back with his Pack towards the former territory of Luna Kirsten and the Red Moon Pack. “Nancy was unmated, a virgin daughter of an Alpha when that Alpha and his allies attacked her Pack. Her parents were killed, making her the Alpha at seventeen. She was taken as his trophy back to his Pack lands where she was forced to watch her Pack reject her before being brutally gang raped and abused. She’s known nothing else from men but lust, pain and force. The past year she has been barely hanging on.”
He was quiet for a minute. “How did she survive?”
“Day to day, that’s how we all did,” I said. “We had each other, and that’s who we lived for. The depression hit all of us hard after we were taken. Each of us wished for death, even tried to find it, but our captivity prevented us from even finding that freedom. We had each other, and we had the dream of someday getting our revenge. We finally got it; I managed to break a gas line in the kitchen from the basement we were held in. The explosion nearly killed us all, and we would have been all right with that.” Shay growled lowly at the thought. “We survived, but the entire Pack house, senior leadership and almost all the warriors died that night. Survivors that had participated in our abuse were killed as well.”
We walked in silence for a bit. “You seem to have come through it all right.”
I laughed at him. “All right? I’m a long damn way from all right. I spent eleven years in a silver collar, detached from my wolf and my strength, abused and raped daily, with nothing to look forward to except death. This freedom?” I gestured at the woods and the sky. “It feels like a dream to me, like I could wake up any minute to find myself bound to the cross, being whipped until I pass out. Again. I can’t sleep more than a few hours at a time, I can’t fall asleep without being around my girls, and now I have to run a Pack again. I haven’t been all right since I was taken.”
“You’re strong, a natural Alpha. Each of us saw that in you, and you had to be to do what you did. You have our respect, Luna Catherine, and our friendship.”
“Thank you. We will see how long it lasts.”
Beta Kurt had been following a few paces behind us, and he couldn’t help but ask I guess. “How long it lasts? What are you talking about?”
“Until someone takes it from me.” This time it wasn’t just Shay growling, even the warriors behind him were mad. “Think about it. The old Alpha and Pack is gone, and word of his demise WILL get out. He made enemies, and his allies will be worse. When they find out a female, the same slave who was forced to serve them as a sex slave is now in charge, they’ll be attacking immediately. Frankly, I’m surprised they aren’t here already. That’s what I thought you were when I saw you. The first thought, anyway.”
“That at least it would be over. You need to understand how we were. I didn’t dare dream beyond killing him, I always assumed that if I did, I and my girls would die in the process. These other Packs would just do it in a delayed fashion. I’d be lucky to hold off one, if they band together I have no chance. I won’t surrender either, I can’t. I’ll never submit myself to another again, I’ll kill myself first. If I can’t, my girls will do it for me. We made a pact when we survived the blast. We will all die before being collared again.”
A few of my Pack members met us in the woods, we were close to the Pack house now. My Lunas were in front, all but Mary and Nancy. “You’re damn right we won’t be collared,” shouted Vivian. She saw who I was with and started running, jumping into Shay’s arms as he spun her around. “By Luna it’s good to see you again, Shaky.”
“You too, Vivs.” He let her go and she embraced Kurt next. I stood by awkwardly as she greeted many of the Pack members by name. “I’m so sorry this happened to you all.”
Vivian was crying by now. “You couldn’t have stopped it, Shay. Kirsten did what she had to do, a true Luna to the end. She’s with Jackson now, in Luna’s embrace, and those bastards are burning in hell.”
Shay hugged her again. “I know you must miss Marcus, but you’re alive and free now. I don’t want to lose you too.”
“You won’t. It’s been a long three years without him, but I decided the best revenge is to live well. My girls and I won’t go down without a fight.”
The rest of the girls had made it to us by now, so I introduced the Cascade Creek guests to my Betas and Warriors. Normally, this kind of meeting with a distant Pack held the prospect of finding mates, but all of us had already been mated except Luna Nancy. I could smell the food roasting, word of their arrival had spread and the entire Pack was now gathered in Luna Kirsten’s former territory to greet her cousin and his Pack. We crested the last hill and I watched as Shay paused, a tear coming to his eye, as he saw what was left.
The buildings were intact, but the once-thriving Pack was now a shell of its former self. He had been a visitor, so as we walked in he was greeted by several members. He walked slowly to the Alpha quarters, stiffening when he smelled his mate inside and could sense her distress. “Nancy?”
“She’s sleeping now, Mary is with her,” I told him. “Come on, lunch is ready.”
The members of his Pack soon settled in with ours, and cheers erupted when one of his warriors found his mate among the women preparing the meal. The happy couple came to our table, and after getting both our blessings on their match I had them sent to a more remote small home. We didn’t expect to see either for a few days, the other women would make sure their needs were taken care of while they consummated their mating bond.
I was at a larger table with my remaining Lunas, Moose, Craig and David. Shay was next to me, but nearby were Beta Carl, Head Warrior Terry and a few others. When the food frenzy had died down a little, I knew the talking would start and it did. Shay was first. “So what is your plan to keep your Pack, Luna?”
I looked down at my food. “I really don’t know what to do, Shay. When my Pack was taken, I was your typical Luna, more concerned with the day to day running of the Pack and the women than battle strategy and defense. I trained and learned, but my mate wouldn’t risk me in battle so I was in charge of the safe room.”
“That’s what all of our mates did,” Luna Tandy said, “And that’s why we were captured. We were kept safe until we had to surrender to save what was left of our Packs. We know fighting theory, but none of us have been in a real fight.”
“Who is your biggest threat,” Carl asked.
Craig leaned forward. “OK, there are four Packs adjoining our territory. The Whiskey River and Coal Creek packs are allies mainly because they preferred working for him more than being taken over by them. They aren’t aggressive, but they will join in if they can gain something from it. The Bighorn Pack isn’t large, but their Alpha is young and ambitious. He will see this as an opportunity to gain people and territory, but he won’t move unless Alpha Zane of the Black Death pack says it is all right. He’s the strongest Alpha left now, and the biggest threat. If he hasn’t started to move his men here already, he will soon.”
“Weaknesses?” Shay looked at Craig hopefully.
“He’s not mated, and he ruled much the same way. His Pack fears him, they will do without question what he tells them, but the loyalty is not deep. Take him out and the Pack could be turned into a good one again, even an ally.”
I leaned back, thinking for a minute. War right now wasn’t a good option, even with Shay’s help we couldn’t field enough warriors to win. We had to do this differently, and I knew how to make it work. “Shay, would you mind a little road trip?”
He grinned. “What do you have in mind?”
“Zane was the worst of the guests, he wouldn’t just rape us. He liked to tie us down and cut us with silver,” Sheri said. “He was an honored guest at Kirsten’s ‘welcoming party’ and his Pack helped take hers down. You want revenge, he’s the best opportunity to get it.”
“Oh hell yeah, I want revenge,” Shay growled. “I’ll fucking flay him.”
“No, you won’t.” Tandy put her hand over her twins and stared him down. “You see, I’ve been held for six years, her for five. Zane had been his close ally for years, when my Pack was taken down, he was the one restraining me and forcing me to watch as my mate was killed. He’s a sick bastard who enjoys it. Zane took a particular liking to us, when he visited he would always ask to be given the two of us for the night. The things he did… let’s just say that I understand how you feel, but NO ONE has more of a claim to his death than us. He’s ours, but you can watch.”
I smiled a little as the plan came together in my mind. “Alpha challenge?”
“Yep.” Tandy smiled as she looked at her sister. “It’s unconventional, but Zane won’t see us as a threat, and if we challenge him together, he’ll accept it. He will think that by forcing a couple mere women to submit, he will have both of us as his own.”
“So where do I come in,” Shay asked.
“We need to survive long enough to get to the challenge,” I said. “If I show up with my group we’ll be slaughtered. I need an Alpha he respects, and warriors he fears, to get past that initial meeting and get to the point where we can even make the challenge.”
Shay smiled as he caught on. “I’m in. Fair warning though, if I find my cousin’s scent on any of those bastards OTHER than Zane, they are fucking MINE to deal with.” I knew what he meant, the scent of a she-wolf you had sex with lingered for a week or so, and was easily detected by an Alpha.
“The ring will be yours as soon as the challenge is over,” I said. “Tandy, Sheri, are you up for this?”
“I’ve been dreaming about this day for years,” Tandy said. “He has no idea what he will be agreeing to. My wolf is salivating at the prospect of killing him.”
“I trust my wolf,” Sheri said. “We can take him, or die trying. I’m all right with either one.”
“I can run to their Pack lands now and request a meeting between Zane and the new Alpha of our Pack,” Craig said. “I just won’t tell them it’s you.” He smiled at me as got up. “If you leave in an hour or so, you can be at the border early enough to make their challenge circle by moonrise.”
“Go,” I told him. “Tell them we will be arriving shortly.” He pulled his clothes off as he moved to the trees, putting them into a satchel around his neck before shifting and running off. “We better get ready then.”
“Can I say goodbye to her,” Shay asked. “I mean, just in case something happens, I want her to know how I feel about her.”
I thought about it for a moment. Nancy would freak out if he climbed into bed with her, mate bond or no. “In wolf form. I don’t think she’ll be threatened by that.” He smiled and pulled his clothes off, handing them to his Beta before he shifted. His huge black wolf followed me, his shoulder was even with mine in wolf form, he was quite impressive up close. I opened the door and he followed me upstairs like a puppy, his tail whipping back and forth against the walls as we went. I held out my hand to make him wait, then opened the door to my room. Nancy was asleep on her side in the middle of the bed, Mary was cuddling with her from behind. They were naked with only a thin sheet covering them, the blankets had been pushed to the floor.
I grabbed Shay’s jaw and looked into his pitch black eyes. “You need to take it slow, nothing sexual, just let the bond work on her. I’ll be right outside. If she freaks, you back away and let Mary handle it, you understand?” He nodded and I let him go.
He crept into the room, his nose smelling the scent of his mate. He used his teeth to grab the corner of the sheet and pull it down a little. He jumped up on the bed, it creaked a little from his weight but didn’t break. He laid on his stomach and crept forward, using his muzzle to lift her arm up and push his head underneath until his head was next to hers. She moaned softly, shifting to pull him closer as her subconscious mind craved his presence. He rolled onto his side so his back was against her front, then settled in.
Mary’s eyes opened and she looked at me. “It’s all right, I told him it was ok as long as he stays in wolf form. Stay in the room, if she freaks he’s going to leave.”
“She doesn’t want a mate.”
“Her human part doesn’t, but her wolf will. You’ll see, he’ll win her human side over eventually.”
I closed the door and went downstairs. I was starting to feel something foreign in my mind, something missing for a long time.
Hope. If Nancy could find happiness, maybe there was hope for us all.