Eve’s crying woke me, she still woke every three to four hours to feed. I looked at the clock, it was one thirty in the morning, I’d gotten a solid two hours of sleep in. I sat up, wiping the sleep out of my eyes. Snake started to move, but I put my hand on his chest. “I’ve got her,” I said.
I pulled on a robe from the hook by my bed and put it on as I looked into the crib. Eve was looking at me, gurgling and cooing as I came into view. I picked her up in my arm as I went over to the refrigerator where we kept bottles ready to go. I got one heating up before I changed her, then when baby and bottle were ready I sat in the rocking chair with her to feed.
She was truly a miracle baby, a strong fighter despite being sixteen weeks premature. Jessica’s gift to me was her daughter to raise, and I loved her like nothing else. My wolf felt the same, we would kill to protect her, die if needed to make sure she lived. I told her about her mother, stories about our time in Grenada, as she sucked the bottle down to empty. I got a good burp out of her, but she didn’t want to sleep yet. I set her down, pulling on some clothes before I picked her up again. Snake was fast asleep, so I left the nightlight on and slipped out into the hallway.
I went to the clinic, knocking gently before I opened the door. Zephaniel was lying on the bed in wolf form, his eyes open, the bandage across his stomach soaked in blood. Maalik sat in a chair next to him. “I was just about to come get you, he woke up a few minutes ago.”
I passed him Eve, he held her gently as she grabbed at his shirt. Washing up first, I removed the IV needle from his front leg, then removed the bandages as the sutures were starting to heal. I ordered him to shift back, and he let out a howl of pain before he was in human form, grimacing in pain. “How are you feeling,” I asked him.
“Like I got shot in the gut,” he said. “Thank you for saving me, Blessed One.”
I just shook my head. “Doc or Vivian, please. My part was easy, it’s Meghan you need to thank. Without her you’re being burned right now.”
“That young girl saved me?”
“Yes, she did emergency surgery to remove the silver bullet fragments in your stomach, I did a quick examination, his blood pressure was back up, no fever. “You’re a lucky man. Not only did Meghan save you on the road, it was her yell that caused her mom to flinch just enough so it wasn’t a kill shot. Teri is a crack shot, she wouldn’t have missed without being startled.”
“Figures. Normally I don’t have to worry about a mother shooting me until AFTER the first date.” He chuckled a little, grimacing in pain.
“Maybe you’ll learn to stick to the older ones then,” Maalik teased.
“She’s human and underage, anyone touches her, and I’ll rip them apart myself and make them wish to be shot instead,” I said. “She’s my assistant, she’s like extended family to me.”
“I’m just kidding, Doc. She’s a good kid. Now, can you give me something for the pain?”
I drew a dose and injected him with it, I could see him relax as it started to take effect. “You suffered some severe wounds, so you won’t be able to eat until your intestines heal a bit.” I hung another IV bag, placing the needle on the back of his hand. “No leaving the bed for a day, and you’ll be taking it easy for three more after that. No working out or anything until I clear you,” I told the obviously fit young man. “And don’t test me, I’ll strap you to the bed if you don’t behave.”
“I’ll make sure he behaves,” Maalik said.
“Thank you. He should get some rest. I’m going back to bed, two doors down to the left on the left side.”
“No problem, Doc. She’s a beautiful baby,” Maalik said as he handed her back. “Thank you for letting me hold her, it’s the closest I’ll ever get to a child of my own. I’ll protect her like she is,” he said.
“Goodnight,” I said as I walked out.
She wasn’t ready to sleep yet, and I was a little hungry so I went downstairs to see if any food was left over. The majority of the club had gone home, but Crash, Shakes, Scrape and Viking were all sitting at a table with some of the Knights. I recognized Michael, the VP, who sat at the head of the table. I also recognized Uriel from when they brought Zephaniel in, but the big, brooding man with the dark hair and piercing eyes I hadn’t met yet. I walked over to Michael, who with a nod had everyone moving down a chair to make room for me. The Knights all stood before I waved for them to sit. “I wasn’t sure anyone would still be up,” I said as I sat down, Michael helping with my chair.
“We have a lot to think about,” the scary man said. “I am Abaddon, the Master at Arms for the Knights, and I am at your service,” he said. “This is Azazel, he is our weapons expert.” I shook both of their hands before we all sat down.
“What I really need is a sandwich and a milk,” I said as Eve started to fuss a little.
“I’ll get it,” Viking said as he got up.
“He feels guilty about what happened at the farm,” Crash said. “He went to investigate the wolf at the back fence, and left the women exposed in the house.”
“Teri handled it,” I said. Eve was looking at Abaddon to my right, her hands reaching for him. “Would you like to hold her,” I asked him.
He looked a little shocked, but quickly agreed. I handed her to him, he held her in his arms gently as a smile painted his face. “She’s so beautiful,” he said. Tears started flowing down his face as she grabbed at his beard, her little hands tugging gently. “My mate was one of the ones who died the first year,” he said. “Her eyes look just like Lori’s.”
“I’m sure Lori is proud of what you have become,” I said as I touched his shoulder. “You and your friends are doing a good thing. You are far different than the other wolves I have had contact with.” I looked at the other Knights. “I’m so glad I found you, I feel so much safer with friends around.”
Viking brought out a sub sandwich, chips and milk and I ate while I got to know the new boys a little better. Their stories were different, yet the same; lost mates or revulsion at what their Alphas were doing led them to become lone wolves, and Gabriel had found them in his travels. They functioned as a biker gang the same way a Pack might; just like when I joined the Northwoods Riders, it provided them structure and the social interaction our wolves needed. Eve was passed around the table as I ate, all the men thrilled that I was finally comfortable enough to do so.
Soon my food was gone, and Eve was yawning and fighting sleep. “Goodnight, boys,” I said.
“DeWalt, Viper is calling for church at lunch tomorrow to talk about the Sheridan pack,” Crash said.
“I’ll be there.” I took Eve back from a reluctant Viking and went back upstairs. Eve was sleeping when I put her in, and I crawled into bed next to Snake and quickly fell asleep.
I woke up to Eve’s fussing, checking the clock it was almost six. I hadn’t gotten up for her middle of the night feeding, so I quickly got up before she woke Vivian and picked her out of her crib. “Good morning, my love,” I said as I walked over to the changing table. I quickly changed her, then grabbed a bottle out of the fridge and walked out of the room. Vivian was exhausted, she could sleep a while longer.
I had breakfast to make anyway.
Heading downstairs, it was quiet. One of the prospects, Fumes, was up early to clean up for breakfast. “Where did everyone go,” I asked.
“A few of the Knights crashed in the guest rooms, the rest went back to their hotel or are on patrol,” he said. “They said they will keep four people out there at all times.” That was good, it made me feel better to know that they had Vivian’s back. The Sheridan Beta and his men might be dead, but there were still lone wolves and evil Packs out there. If the men had reported back they found us, who knows who could be coming.
I sat for a while and fed Eve in one of the booths, catching up on SportsCenter and what the Vikings were doing. She was almost done when Viper and Kelly came in, she had Andrew in a carrier. Kelly put him in the booth across from me and sat down while Viper moved me over and sat down. “Did anyone fill you in on last night,” he asked.
“No, after we went upstairs I fell asleep. Vivian’s out of it, she won’t be down for a while.”
“We’re going after the Sheridan Pack, our club is joining forces with the Knights. The Alpha knows about us, maybe even the farm, and he could send or hire more people after Vivian. They are enough of a threat that Gabriel wants them eliminated, plus Zephaniel gave everyone a rundown on what has been happening. Stanton is a bad Alpha, you know that from how he treated us with the blood purchase and what they did to Carson. Both of our clubs have a beef with him, so we will work together to take him and his leadership out.”
I averted my eyes as Kelly whipped her boob out to feed Andrew. No one needs to see their mother-in-law’s tits, especially a biker President’s old lady. “Zephaniel’s sister is the Luna now.”
“That does create some problems. We’re hoping that after we break the bond, she’ll come with us.”
Bringing an unmated female, even if she is thirteen, creates new problems. “Where will she stay?”
“I don’t know. There’s a lot we have to figure out before we do this.”
“If we take out their leadership and leave their women and children, they could end up worse off than before. We can’t break the Pack and then leave the women to be raped again.” Eve had finished, so I burped her while I tried to calm down. “When are we going?”
“As soon as we are ready. Church at noon to talk about this. Now give me my granddaughter, you’re late on breakfast prep.” He got out and took Eve from me as I went back to fire up the grill. Waffles, bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs and orange juice were on the menu today, and soon the clubhouse was filling with members and their families.
Eve had been passed around like a football on a desperation lateral play with no time left. She was a happy baby, and that’s how Vivian found her when she came down just before nine, being bounced in Gabriel’s arms. I was cleaning up the kitchen by then, but I’d saved her a plate and Fumes brought it out to her. I got done just as she finished; she was sitting at a large table with the leaders of both clubs. Giving her a quick kiss, I ran upstairs to shower and change.
By the time I got back down, they were well into a discussion on what to do with the innocents from the Sheridan Pack. Vivian wanted them protected, not abandoned. “Are there any good Packs out there that we could send them to? Packs that won’t mate them until they are of age, who don’t allow force matings?”
Gabriel just shrugged his shoulders. “We’ve mostly avoided the remaining Packs, knowing that the Promised One was elsewhere. It wouldn’t help much anyway; the strongest ones have been the most active in taking over other Packs and their women. The longer we go, the more debased the Packs become.”
“What about moving them somewhere safe? Maybe we should take all the unmated women to Grenada or something. It’s safer than here,” I said.
“It won’t stop the curse, but it might let them grow up and have a chance at life,” Vivian added.
“Their fate is the same, Luna’s curse will kill them until Eve is the only one left,” Michael said. “Luna will make sure of that.”
A smile came over Vivian’s face. “What if they were no longer subject to the will of the Goddess?”
Gabriel shook his head. “We thought about killing their wolves, but their DNA is unchanged, they could still be used as a breeder, and then the curse still gets them.”
“IF they can breed, yes,” she said. “But, if they can’t get pregnant, the curse can’t get them because it functions through the placenta. We’ve not done abortions because their wolves would never let it happen, but if you kill the wolves first, I could give them a hysterectomy. They’d never be able to get pregnant or form a placenta, they’d be useless to wolves, they would essentially be humans.”
“But they could live,” Gabriel said. “It’s a better alternative than what we have now.”
“We can’t use human hospitals, but I can do the work. It’s a fairly simple surgery, and killing their wolf is a simple overdose of wolfsbane. Most of the Packs keep supplies of that for battle, we need to capture some.”
“We can at least give them the option.”
I looked over at Vivian. “What about you? Would you do it?”
“Eventually,” she said. “There’s no point in killing my wolf early, and I can’t operate on myself. At some point Meghan will be capable, and we’ll see about it then. I love you, Snake, the last thing I want is to be taken from you and our baby.” I pulled her into my arms, there was no way in hell that would ever happen.