I was a little surprised by a few things other than Mitchell showing up at Adam’s place, and they looked to be good things. Abaddon, my moody and serious Master at Arms, was openly playful and showing affection for Meghan, who was like a niece to me. They couldn’t go more than a few seconds without being in contact with each other. Now that they had confessed their feelings for each other, their love was obvious to see. I was glad, he deserved a good woman, and Meghan was one of the best I’d ever met.
Snake was a little more shocking. For eighteen years, he had moped and pined after his lost love. Vivian had been an amazing shewolf, their love was intense, and her loss had almost destroyed him. Only now did I see some of the Snake I remembered coming out again, thanks to the little fireball sitting next to him. Mia was a riot. She knew what she wanted, said what she wanted, and did what she wanted. Mostly, she wanted Snake. I was glad this was a public place, because they looked at each other like they wanted to go at it right then.
Eve might have been embarrassed for her Dad, but she was also thrilled he was starting to live again. She was sitting across from Mia, getting to know his girlfriend as Snake was learning about his new son. Michael and I just looked at each other and shook our heads, love was in the air and we had nothing.
I pulled out my phone after eating; I had a bunch of phone messages and texts, but I’d only called back Netzach at our apartment building. One of the newer guys, he’d been left behind to oversee repairs to our buildings and answer the phone. It took me a while as we were waiting for our table to calm him down after he lost the Pack bond. I told him we’d be returning soon, and we’d figure it out.
Netzach was messaging me, telling me I had to call back Alpha Thurber of the North Carolina Pack, that it was ‘extremely urgent’ and he had been calling nonstop. “I have to step outside and make a call,” I told the others as I stood. I walked out into the bright sunlight, finding a quiet spot at the edge of the parking lot I could talk without interruption. I never gave out my cell number, I had things routed through the duty person at our Pack House; I was old fashioned that way. My caller ID was blocked.
I dialed the number, he picked up immediately. “Dennis, it’s Alpha Gabriel,” I said.
“Thank Luna. Gabriel, has it happened with your Pack as well? Has Luna really done this to us?”
“Apparently so,” I said. “I have no more Alpha influence, no Pack bond, no link. For some reason, Luna took it all away,” I said.
“Wait, you have your wolf?”
“Yes, but no Pack. What happened to you?”
He didn’t say anything for a second, there was a heavy sigh. “My wolf isn’t there, Gabriel. All of our wolves are gone. We can’t shift, communicate, I can’t feel him. There’s just nothing. We’re fucking humans now.”
My mind was reeling. “When did this happen?”
“Almost three hours ago. What happened?”
“Wow,” I said. “This morning, the Promised One mated with her Fated Mate. The curse has been broken.”
“AND A NEW CURSE WAS UNLEASHED,” he thundered. “What have you done, Gabriel? What did my Pack do to deserve such a fate? We’re NOTHING now.”
“I don’t know, Dennis.” I couldn’t believe it. “What about the other Packs?”
“I talked to Alphas in Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont and Maine,” he said. “We all had the same story. Our wolves, our Packs, all gone. We’re stumped, Gabriel. What do we do now?”
“I don’t know. I’m going to call some of the other Packs in the Midwest and West, see what they know. I’ll organize a videoconference call tomorrow, I’ll text you the information,” I told him. “I’m still away from base, I’ll be out of touch until tonight.”
“Set it up for 10 am Eastern time, I’ll contact everyone east of the Mississippi and Europe. You take Russia and Canada along with the west. We need to figure this out, Gabriel. I need to know why, because if Eve screwed this all up by mating, we might have to stop that.”
“YOU WON’T TOUCH HER,” I thundered back.
“We’ll see. 10 am, email me the videoconference data and I’ll pass it along. Tomorrow, Gabriel.” He hung up.
I quickly called Netzach back, telling him to set up a videoconference for the leaders and email them the information on how to join at nine tomorrow, since we were Central time. He said he’d take care of it. “Dennis said he and a number of other Alphas and their Packs have lost their wolves as well as their Pack bonds,” I told him. “If any call, find out if that is the case and text me the results. Start calling on my behalf, invite them to join on the call. I’ll be back late tonight.”
“I’ll take care of it, Alpha,” he said.
“Gabriel,” I said. “There are no more Alphas. Call me Gabriel.” I hung up the phone and sat down on a boulder, trying to figure out what was going on. Michael walked up and sat next to me, he’d heard everything. I patted him on the back. “Everything has changed,” I told my old friend.
“Not everything, Gabriel. Our friendship will not.”
I nodded looking back at the restaurant where some of our group was starting to come out. “Did they send you to find me?”
“The waitress dropped off the check, so yeah,” he said as we laughed. I got up and fished out my wallet. “I may not be Alpha, but at least I’m still needed,” I said. “Gather them up by the bikes, we need to talk quickly before we leave.” I walked back across the lot, going back in I used the restroom before going back to my place at the table. I handed our Pack credit card to the harried waitress, who with two busboys was cleaning the mass of plates from the table. “Thank you for the service, the food was excellent, Amy.”
She smiled and thanked me as she took the card. I looked over at Adam and Eve. “I hate to do this to you, but I need to ask you both to return with us to St. Paul now. With what has happened with my Pack and others, we need to have Church tonight with the Northwoods Riders. In the morning, I have a conference call with the Alphas.”
Eve looked disappointed. “We can’t stay here?”
“We can return later, but this has to be done and I need everyone together for what I have to talk about. I can’t leave enough men up here to protect you, and there’s a new danger.”
“The other Packs didn’t just lose their Pack links and their Alpha influence. They lost their wolves.” The table suddenly got silent. “The Alpha I just spoke to, he blames it on these two mating. It wouldn’t shock me if someone thought they’d get their wolf back if she was no longer mated to Adam and tried to kill him and take her.”
“Fuck, it never ends,” Snake said.
“We will go,” Adam said as Eve held on to him. “We need to meet the family, and her safety is the most important thing. I will call my brother and let him know I’ll be in the cities for a few days.”
“I’ll go with you,” Mia said. “It won’t be comfortable, but I don’t want to be apart from you.”
I looked at her, the bruises on her body were obvious and her arm was in a sling to rest it. “If you wish, we have some cars, you could ride back in one of them. I could get one of the guys to ride your Harley back, Snake.”
He started to nod before she elbowed him. “No way. I’m not arriving to meet the members of his Club in a cage. I’ve got some good drugs, my ass will make it.”
“Fine,” Snake said, “But let me know if it gets too uncomfortable and we can swap for a while. We can even stop before the clubhouse so you’re on my bike before we get there.” He leaned down and kissed her. “It isn’t the North Shore adventure you wanted, I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be, the last few days have been good, even though they had their ups and downs.” She leaned in and kissed him again. “We get home, there will be a lot of ups and downs,” she whispered. I laughed, Eve blushed and Snake just looked at here with a ‘like you won’t’ smirk.
“You realize whispering is useless around wolves, right?” She shook her head. “I hope you two are having safe sex, unless you’re trying to give me a pregnancy buddy,” Eve said. Snake got a deer in the headlight look. “You are, right?”
“We haven’t talked about…”
“Why I can’t have children yet,” Mia said. “I was going to tell you, I can’t have them.” She took his hand and looked at his face. “After my mother died of ovarian cancer, I was told I had a high risk of developing it as well due to family history and other risk factors. My husband didn’t want children, and I was thirty-five, so I elected to have a risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy. It’s a long way to say my ovaries and fallopian tubes are gone. Since we both had been in long-term relationships before a period of nothing, I wasn’t worried about STD’s.”
“I’m sorry,” Snake told her. “It’s all right, I’m old and I have a wonderful daughter who just got mated and will give me beautiful grandchildren we can spoil.”
“I’d like that,” she said as they kissed again.
They needed time together. “Knights, we need to meet by the bikes,” I said to those remaining. “We leave in ten minutes.”
“Thanks for lunch, Gabriel. We’ll be out in a few minutes.” I got up and led my men outside. As we gathered around our motorcycles, I made it short and sweet. “Guys, there is no Pack, I’m no longer an Alpha. We are blessed in that we still have our wolves, other Packs have lost those as well. I don’t know yet what our future is, but I do know that I can’t compel you to stay with me. Your vow to protect the Promised One until she broke the curse is complete, your service to Luna is as well. If you wish to leave, to go back home, to do something else, you have my thanks and my blessing to do so. If you want to stay with me and figure out what we will do next, you may do that as well. I would just ask that if you want to leave, you do so now.”
I looked around at my men, the ones I had recruited and led for up to two decades, and a smile crossed my face as they all smiled back at me. Not a one wanted to leave. “I do plan to get married,” Abaddon said. “As long as you don’t move away from the Riders, I’ll stay with you,” he said.
“Eve is still vulnerable,” Azazel said. “The curse may be broken, but the future of our race still depends on them raising a new generation. I will make a new vow if I need to, but I will protect them with my life even now.” The others nodded their heads. I knew why, protecting Eve gave us purpose and meaning, since we didn’t have families of our own. Who knows, maybe we would find our own women, find our own happiness. Maybe we could have both.
“Thank you,” I said. “Drain it if you have to, we leave in five. Club run to St. Paul, standard formation, we keep the humans and our protection in the middle and the cars trail us. Make sure you’re carrying, and if you see any threats, you all know what to do.”
Snake, Mia, Eve and Adam came out last, they had given us time to talk without interruption. “I talked to my brother, and Snake let Viper know we are coming. Ready to ride?”
“I’m always ready to ride,” I said with a smile. “MOUNT UP!” Michael and I led everyone out of the lot, side by side, just like normal. Well, except Meghan was tucked in with Abaddon behind me, and Snake had Mia on his bike while Adam had Eve with him. I looked in my mirror and smiled. I bet that a year from now, we’d have a lot more couples on the ride.
Luna may have taken away my Pack and my Alpha, but she left me with loyal men and friends. That was even better.