I looked around at the clubhouse, so proud of my club and how we had rallied. Outside the gates, the fire had been put out in the SUV they had tried to drive Eve away in. We had collected all the dead, stuffing them in the back of a cargo van in the shop for now until they could be disposed of. Everyone involved in the fight or cleanup had showered and changed, and a front came through bringing torrential rains and cooler temperatures, washing any blood away in the parking lots.
We just might get out of this unscathed, I thought.
Donuts was still out there with the White Bear Lake police, planting the idea it was a stolen car some gangbangers had taken from Colorado to Minnesota with a load of weed. To back that up, I had my resident computer whiz member, Mitch, file a stolen vehicle report in Colorado dated yesterday. There wasn’t much left of the vehicle, the glass had all blown out and it was completely gutted by the firebomb.
Upstairs, Meghan was still patching people up. Viper was cranky as he waited on a cot outside the room, his foot bandaged and elevated. Down the hall, Crash was lying in a cot with a bandage on his arm and an IV. “Michael still in there,” I asked.
“Yeah, he was in bad shape. Meghan said I could wait.”
Kelly was in a chair next to him. “She said he caught a ricochet in the foot, she’ll remove it after Michael and Crash are done. Crash will be fine, he took a through-and-through to his upper arm.”
“Good.” I patted Viper’s shoulder and gave Kelly a hug before I went back downstairs. Everyone was finished with the fast cleanup, we couldn’t do more until the cops left. “Anything new on Eve?”
“No,” one of the Knights said. “We followed her trail to an alley about eight blocks away where it disappeared. She must have gotten in a vehicle. It wasn’t them, we’re pretty sure. We tracked the two wolves that chased her as they searched for her after she disappeared, then they took off.”
I was happy she had gotten away, but terrified of what may be going on with her now. A thought came to mind. “Hey, who took out the car Eve was in?”
A bunch of people looked around at each other. “We didn’t fire on it,” Shakes finally said. “Too risky with Eve in the back.”
Moose thought for a minute. “The driver was shot through the side window, not from the back,” he said. “Plus, the Alpha and Beta were shot before we even got our rifles out. It wasn’t us.”
“Mitchell. It had to be him,” Tiny said. With Viper injured, he was in charge now. He read the text, the warning text Mitchell had sent Donut before the attack. “He must have been here and set up a hide. Moose, take a Knight and sniff around out there, figure out where he was. I’m going to have Donuts stop by his house, maybe he took her there.” Moose left with two men, and Tiny pulled out his phone. Donuts responded right away, he told us he was done out there and would get his car and drive over to his apartment.
“Rocket, take the two prospects,” he pointed at Chewie and Tony. “As soon as the cops leave, drive the van with the bodies out to our property in Wisconsin. Leave it there and drive back with them,” he said.
“What about Gabriel?” He was on his way, he had left Chicago with his men as soon as word of the attack got out.
“He’ll be here in a few hours, but I’ve texted him our plan. He’s going to leave some of his men at the property to take care of the bodies. Four of them are his men, after all. Rocket, you’ll have to pull into the loading dock of their building to get the other two.”
“I hope they leave soon, that van isn’t going to smell good,” Rocket said.
“Good reason for you to not get caught. Don’t speed, don’t be stupid. Prospects, if he’s getting pulled over you do something to get them to chase you instead, got it?” They nodded.
“Snake, you, Shakes and Mitch start doing what you can to find out where Eve went. Hack traffic cams, check their phones, whatever you need.”
I nodded. “I think her phone is still in her bag in the car outside, I’ll get it,” I said.
“I’ll get it, you get your skinny fry-cook ass in the kitchen and make us breakfast,” he ordered. “We’re hungry.”
I just nodded, at least cooking would give me something to do other than lose my mind. “OK, for everyone else, we don’t need any attention drawn to us, so it’s business as usual.” There was some nervous laughter at this. “Well, as usual as we can make it seem, except the whole picking up spent brass and making sure the bloodstains are gone thing. Send the kids to school, go to work. When we know where Eve is, we’ll let everyone know.”
I went back into the kitchen, turning on the grill as I prepped something fast. Twenty minutes later, I had eggs, bacon, and French toast flying out of the kitchen to the grateful crowd. I finished breakfast myself before wiping things down and going back out. “Any word?”
“We found his sniper hide, it’s definitely Mitchell who did the shooting,” Tiny said. “He used over a magazine from his AR-15, and he isn’t going to miss many. I’m sure he’s the one who took out the Alpha, he waited until she was out of the line of fire, then took them both out. They’re boxing up his gear and bringing it back.”
“What about his apartment?”
“Empty, neighbor said he heard him come and go well before sunrise. Said a girl was with him.” I let out a breath, at least she was with someone on our side, even if he did look at her like he wanted to bang her on the table in front of us. “Oh, and Snake? Moose said from the looks of his hide, he’s been watching the clubhouse for weeks.”
I was up to a rolling boil now. “The little fuck, spying on us like that?”
“Probably trying to see Eve coming out of the shower or something, since you don’t let her out of her room when he’s here,” Tiny said. I wanted to punch him just for suggesting that, but then I looked at Tiny and my sane side prevailed.
“His ass is MINE when we catch up with them,” I said. “Any word on that, Mitch?”
He nodded. “I’ve been checking traffic cams, hoping to see them,” he said. “I caught this a block from where they lost her scent.” It was a blurry image, but enough to make out a naked Eve on the back of Mitch’s motorcycle. “I didn’t pick them up again for another twenty minutes, this time they were on a ramp to I-35E north.” He showed that image, she was now dressed in sweats, her arms tight around his waist. “That was an hour ago. I’ve been checking cameras farther north, trying to see if they left the Cities or not.”
I texted Donuts, asking if he knew anyplace in the North Metro that Mitchell might go to lay low for a while. “Anything else we can do?”
“Not really. I checked their phones, we have hers and his was found at the sniper hide. He’s good, if he wants to hide, he’s not leaving much for us to go on.”
I went up and sat by Viper and Kelly, quickly updating them on what was going on. “Any idea where they may have gone?”
“Away from you, I bet,” Kelly said. “Look at this from her perspective for a change. Her whole life she’s been told she’s some Werewolf Princess who has been sheltered from everything. Her friends, her brother, they go to school, go on dates, dances. What does she do? She gets to go on motorcycle rides where she’s completely surrounded by dozens of old men, unable to even look at anyone else.” She snorted. “At least she could do that until you stopped even THAT. Then you take her to Chicago, parade a couple hundred horny men past her, then rush back here because your plan didn’t work. She knows she’s bringing danger to the Club, everyone knows about her now, so running might just make sense.”
“She’s vulnerable out there!”
“She was vulnerable HERE, Snake. At her home, with her friends held at gunpoint as we waited for her. Look, we know Mitch likes her, she may like him. She feels safer hiding with him than us right now.”
I shook my head. “She’s NOT safer, we need to find her. Do you know anyone in the North Metro she might run to for help?”
“No, but you can check her social media. See if she’s talking to anyone up that way.” I nodded. “By the way, Michael is out of surgery and Crash is being patched up now, we’re on deck.” I gave her a hug and went back downstairs.
Donut came running in to the clubhouse, still in full uniform. “I got a text from Mitchell,” he said, a little out of breath. “He said he’s got her, they are safe, and they’ll call again at dinnertime.”
“Give that to Mitch,” I said before he handed it over.
Mitch looked at the phone number, then did some stuff on his computer. “That phone number is a burner phone. He probably just bought it.”
“Can you tell where?”
“Working on it.” Ten minutes later he had the answer, a Wal-Mart just off I-35 near Forest Lake.” I looked at the map; they were out of the cities and heading north. “Can you track the phone?”
“He turned it off, so no. Not until he uses it again.”
We kept at it for an hour until Kelly pulled me aside. “Snake, assume they don’t want to get in touch. How are you going to protect them if you aren’t close to them?”
It was like a light went off. “Tiny, we need to send some guys north, we can go a little farther than where this shows. If you find them, you pass us the location and we’re an hour closer at least.”
He nodded, it made sense. “As soon as Gabriel is here, we’ll set it up. We need his men too, just in case other wolves get involved.” I ran upstairs to grab some clothes and supplies for my backpack, among them my silver-bullet pistols and a pair of handcuffs. We’d have to take the SUV, because Eve sure as hell wasn’t riding on the back of his bike again, ever.
It had been hard for me to let go of my anger, both at the Alpha and myself. The whole ride back from Chicago, I was beating myself up for failing my charge yet again. “We’re almost here, Alpha,” my driver said.
We were making a short stop at our land in Wisconsin to pay our respects to our four men who had died today. I left a half-dozen men there to take care of the bodies, then we continued into the Cities. I had been getting updates throughout the drive from my men, and I had talked to Tiny about Eve. Right now we didn’t know where she was, so I was going to keep some men in reserve with his men to go get her if she turned up. My first priority was taking care of the Colorado Pack.
I had my men set up a videoconference with our Allied Packs at noon, that would give me enough time to get back and prepare. The Colorado pack was not small, and they would be out for blood. It was my job to ensure the threat to Eve from them was gone. When we arrived at our Pack House, I sent Abaddon and a few others to the Clubhouse to link up with Tiny.
Abaddon called me back a few minutes later, he was taking six men with him to go after Eve based on the last location they had on her. He was going to ride with Snake and a driver, so they could stay in touch, the rest of the men were riding motorcycles. The plan was simple; she wouldn’t be doubling back, so we were going to stagger one wolf and one human every fifty miles or so between Forest Lake and Duluth. We’d keep an eye on the freeway and wait for the next position, hoping at least one of us would be close enough to get to her quickly.
The videoconference went well; our allies were outraged that after all that had happened at the Conference, one of the guests tried to do this. Three Packs much closer to them than us vowed to take care of the problem for us, and I was happy to let them. That was one less problem for me to deal with right now.
I went over to the Clubhouse late in the afternoon, after it was clear to me that the surviving Pack members had left town. Tensions were high, everyone was worried, including me. I checked on Michael, he was awake after surgery and alive thanks to Meghan. He would be out for a few days. Crash and Viper were downstairs, Viper’s foot in a protective boot as he got around on crutches.
We ate a nervous dinner together, takeout Chinese as both of our cooks were gone. Finally, Kelly got a phone call, and when she said it was Eve we all got quiet. The conversation didn’t go well, Eve ended up hanging up on them. “Mitch, did you get a location?”
His fingers were flying over the keyboard. “It’s a cell tower in Moose Lake,” he said. “Can’t narrow it down closer than that, not enough time.”
“Still moving north, not that quickly,” I said. “I think we should move more people up that way. Ask around if anyone has seen them, check the motels and stuff.”
“Do it,” Viper said. “Let’s get ahead of them for a change.” More men were sent north, but that was all we could do for now.
Viper wasn’t sleeping well, he had to get up to take pain pills and the boot made him uncomfortable. I was worried about my granddaughter, so we made quite the pair in our bed at home. I’d finally talked him into leaving the Clubhouse when it was clear nothing else would be happening tonight.
I woke up from a dead sleep, my subconscious brought something to my memory. I immediately woke Viper. “Baby, remember five years ago when we were telling Eve about her birth mother and Vivian’s history?”
“Yeah, you two were looking through Jessica’s stuff,” he said.
“I think I know where she is going,” I said. “She wanted to go visit Jessica’s pack lands, and we told her no. Gabriel didn’t want to risk it, he said that area still has a lot of lone wolves about, even if the organized Packs are gone. Remember how disappointed she was? How she kept asking until we finally told her it was never going to happen?”
“SHIT.” He reached for the phone, calling a number. “Gabriel, it’s Viper. We think Eve is headed for Jessica’s old Pack grounds. Yes, the North Shore Pack.” He listened for a minute. “You know where it is, right? Get some men up there right away.”
We both couldn’t sleep, hoping that I was right and we got there in time.