Gather the Alphas
Two Months Later
Alpha Keith Jenkin’s POV, Colorado
I looked at my top staff, my lead Beta Charles, my Gamma and head of security Donovan, and my father and advisor Ken. I held the invitation in my hand, turning it slowly. “Gabriel is working something here. His Pack isn’t large, they don’t control any territory, they aren’t a threat to us. So, what do they really want?”
My Dad just scoffed. “Who knows with those guys, they are a bunch of Luna freaks. For almost two decades they’ve been blaming the plague on Alphas, saying that it was a curse because we took choice mates, and allowed forced matings occasionally. They’re a bunch of monks on bikes, I hear they don’t even fuck human women.”
“That may be true,” I said, “But they invite every Alpha in the country to Chicago for a two-day summit, all expenses paid, top staff included. It seems like a lot of money to just talk, unless you’re going to get something out of it.”
Charles leaned forward and pointed to a paragraph. “See this wording? They invited all never-mated males to attend a dinner and reception on Saturday night. That wording is intentional- and it excludes almost every remaining Alpha and Beta in the country. Most all of them, including your father, had mates, sometimes multiple mates as the plague continued on.”
“They Knights are all about purity, about finding and mating only the true mate Luna has for you. If you’ve been mated, you lost your connection to your true mate.”
“So, he’s looking for people who are pure?” I didn’t see where he was going with this.
“No.” He leaned back, smiling. “I think they have a shewolf.”
The objections rang out, I could hardly hear myself think above all the shouting. I smacked my hand on the desk, everyone stopped immediately. “Explain,” I said.
“About, oh, 1998 I guess, I ran into one of the Knights at Sturgis,” he said. “I’d lost my Emily the year before, and the only females left in our Pack were still underage. We had a few beers, we were the only werewolves in that part of the bar, so we’d been swapping stories. His name was Michael, he was the Vice President of the Knights.” He sat down before continuing. “The President, Gabriel, he said he had a vision shortly after the plague started. He said Luna appeared to him, told him the plague was her judgment to her people, and there was only one way for the curse to be broken.”
He nodded. “He called her the Promised One, and that they had all sworn an oath to find her and protect her until she could find her true mate and break the curse.”
“And if they are calling for a gathering now,” my Dad said.
“She’s of age,” I finished. “I want her.”
Charles laughed. “What makes you think you are her true mate?”
“It only makes sense, I’m the only Alpha of a major pack who hadn’t mated already. Luna wouldn’t take the most treasured resource in our world and give her to a wolf without rank, or a minor Alpha or Beta. If we are to rebuild the species, you would start with the best bloodline. Mine.”
“And if it isn’t you,” Charles asked.
“Then we let her find her true mate, fulfill the prophecy and break the curse,” I said. “Then I’ll kill her mate and take her for myself. This last shewolf is the key to Pack survival, without control of her we will slowly die off. With her, we control her offspring, and we can ask anything for one of them and the other Packs will gladly give it to us to save their own.”
“The Knights won’t allow that,” Charles said.
“Then the Knights will have to go away when we bring her into our Pack,” I said. “We have no need for them after we have her.”
The men looked at me for direction. “Put all our resources into finding out where these Knights are, and let’s get eyes on them. Numbers, security, and if we can get a look at the shewolf, do it. Just keep our guys far enough away we don’t spook them.”
“Are you going to the gathering, Alpha?” Donovan had to know, he was in charge of my security.
“Yes, and we will bring every never-mated male with us,” I said. “Then we’ll bring the rest in on our own dime. We don’t let her leave Chicago unless she’s coming home as my mate.”
Bored. I was completely, utterly bored.
As my eighteenth birthday approached, you’d think I be excited to be an official adult, ready to take on the college world as a new high school graduate. You’d be right unless you were me.
The restrictions Gabriel, Viper and Snake had placed on me remained in place and had been tightened even more. I couldn’t leave the building, couldn’t go outside. Even the Club rides I had grown to love were off limits for me now; the Riders would ride without me, locked down in the Clubhouse, surrounded by Knights. My beloved Sportster was left in the corner of the garage.
Even my art had stopped being an escape for me. The fuel tank I had on my desk was half done, because I lost interest in it. I had stopped painting completely, hiding up in my room, watching others live the lives I’d never have.
My Dad had even refused to let me apply for college next year, because “once you find your true mate you’ll be with him.” They had this destiny in mind for me, and no matter how I objected or tried to go another direction, they kept going back to it. In two weeks, at a hotel near O’Hare airport in Chicago, I would be led to the wolves as a well-dressed and primped lamb.
I had half a mind to walk into the ballroom in an orange jumpsuit.
I pulled out my phone, sending a quick text to Mitch. I hadn’t seen him in six weeks, ever since he moved out of the Clubhouse. The members still let him visit, but they kept me upstairs when he was here. They just didn’t know that I was talking to him almost every night. “RU busy?”
He called me back. “Little Miss Troublemaker, how are you doing?”
“Bored,” I said. “I have no motivation to do anything. I mean, what’s the point? Everyone believes that a week from Saturday I’ll be happily married to some guy I just met, moving to wherever he lives.”
“You don’t HAVE to do anything, Eve. You’re an adult, you’re entitled to live a little before you have to settle down and think about a family. Don’t let them force you into anything you don’t want.”
“You don’t understand,” I said as I sat down heavily in my chair in my room. I hadn’t told him what I really was, he wasn’t a club member, not even a prospect, and without that background he’d never see what I was facing.
“You’re right. You know, they try to control me, told me over and over to leave you alone, forget you and move on. I can’t. All it did was drive my feelings for you into hiding, leaving me waiting all night for these phone calls. If they take away your phone, I’ll find another way. I don’t care if I have to tunnel into the basement and sneak up to your room, I’ll find a way to be with you, Eve. I’m absolutely, totally enthralled with you. Tell me you want to escape, and I’ll bust you out of that prison and take you away.”
I just laughed. “You’ll get yourself killed,” I said. “And even if you did get me, how exactly does that work? I have no money, no job, you are renting a tiny basement apartment and living off your disability payments. Not exactly the recipe for a life on the lam, and that’s what it would be. We’d be on the run, and if you’re lucky it would be my Dad who finds you.”
“Why, he’d show me mercy because he loves you?”
“No, he’d kill you quick.”
He just laughed for a moment. “Well, the offer is still open. If you need out of there, I’ll help you if you ask. It would be worth it to be alone with you, even for a few days.” I just sighed. “I have to go, get some sleep, love.”
“Goodnight, Mitch.” I hung up the phone, tossing it on my bed. Tomorrow, Kelly and the girls were doing evening gown fittings with me. I may not want to be the prize, but I was going to look good.
I called Michael into my office, he was running point on the arrangements for the Summit in Chicago. “How is it going,” I said as I looked out the window of the apartment building that served as our Pack House.
“Good,” he said, “We have all the arrangements made with the hotel. The staff understands the restrictions, they will set up and tear down, but no staff will enter the rooms during the event. We have the room blocks reserved at the hotel and two nearby ones for overflow. Things are filling up nicely,” he said.
“Any Packs turn us down yet?”
“None so far, although a few have asked a lot of questions. They want to understand better what the agenda for the meeting is going to be, and two don’t understand why we want their never-mated males there.”
“What did you tell them?” This is where it would get sticky.
“I told them Luna had a word for them, that they should not give up hope of finding a true mate someday,” I said. “Most of them just laughed at the idea. You know, many of the younger wolves are finding human consorts, even marrying them. Some are giving up their wolves to become as human as they can be.”
I nodded, I had heard the same. “To be so without hope you reject Luna’s gift, reject what you were made to be… I was almost there once.”
“We all thought about it after losing our mates, Gabriel.” We continued to work through the planning, I assigned extra help to him in places he needed it. “Have you talked to Abaddon about security for Eve?”
“I have,” he said. “I was going to brief her on the plan tomorrow morning, her, Viper and Snake.”
“Good. Make sure she understands how important it is that she cooperate completely with us on this. With all the wolves nearby, even the slightest hesitation could be costly.” I was nervous about this, but I didn’t have a better way to do it. Trying to do it pack by pack, the word would get out and I’d have more problems. Better to take the band-aid approach and do it all at once.
“I will, and I’m sure her father will make sure she understands.” We had waited two decades for this, and we couldn’t screw it up now. Luna’s will would be done.