First of all, let me start off by saying that I am forever grateful for the way you have handled my last few weeks in this pack. I’m not stupid, I know the end is near, but it doesn’t make it any easier to accept – especially as I know the clock is against me and I don’t want to take these secrets to my grave. Call me selfish, but I would rather face the Moon Goddess with a clear conscience before she makes her judgement. But more on that in a moment.
I’ve instructed the pack doctor to write this letter for me, word for word as I speak it. You can confirm this with them, but make sure you read the entire thing. They won’t allow you to confront them, they will always be bound by doctor/patient confidentiality, even against an Alpha’s orders. I couldn’t take the risk that you would somehow find this letter early and demand answers. I may have been your father’s most powerful Beta, but I was always a coward when it came to confronting my own mistakes. The doctor will simply confirm that what they have written is the truth as far as they know – straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.
I have seen the way you look at me Duke, you don’t fully trust the things I told you about that night and what happened with Grace. Sometimes I look back at it, and I’m amazed myself that I got away with it. But a desperate man will do what he needs to do, he will tell the lies that he needs to tell in order to survive. And that’s exactly what I did.
So, in order for you to understand, completely understand, I’m going to take you back, right back to the beginning. You see, this pack has always been built on dangerous foundations. The loyalty you think you have stems from the lies we told, the threats we put in place. The bricks that made your houses are poisoned with the truths of the past. The walls all have secrets, Duke, they’ve all seen things. If you listen closely enough, the ghosts that inhabit the memories of this place will whisper all the things that they have witnessed, you just either couldn’t or didn’t want to, pay close enough attention.
I only hope that I haven’t left things too late and that you can still find it in your heart to forgive a lonely old man for all that he did wrong…
Helen - Flasback
I’ve had enough of this place! Alpha Stephen has been throwing me the eye, far more often than I would like. It was fun to flirt with the Alpha, to show him that he might rule this pack, but I am very much in charge of his hormones and the reaction I can get from him.
It was like a game of chess, and, like most women, I seemed to have the checkmate move well and truly ingrained in my personality. I could trip him up at every move, and ever since he had lost his queen in childbirth, the game almost seemed too easy.
Poor Luna. She had wanted children for as long as I could remember. She always talked about having her own little pups running around the place. We had gone to school together, and she had always been the prettiest, the nicest, the most popular – everyone knew she was Luna material, so it was no surprise that she found herself mated to Stephen before she had turned eighteen. Obviously, she had not felt the bond, but she had not denied him when he came to her and told her that he recognised her as his mate. They completed the mating on her eighteenth birthday, and she was knocked up within a week.
Who knew that she would only have 6 months to experience the joys of being the Luna of this pack before the Moon Goddess called her away to her eternal resting place, leaving the young alpha in training without a mum and the reigning Alpha without a woman by his side… or in his bed.
For years I had played the game. I had been by his side as his Beta, taking over from my own parents. Always the promise of what we could be was dangled before me. I never spoke out of line, I always did as I was told, always hoping that my reward was coming.
It never did.
Alpha Stephen was not interested in taking his Beta into his bed, not as a playmate and not as his chosen mate.
For fifteen years I had been by his side, helping to raise his son. And for what? I may have lost my chance at finding my own mate, all because I was hooked on the promise of something that I should have known would never be.
But being a Beta wasn’t enough for me. I wanted more, I needed more. I was so hungry for the taste of a life that wasn’t mine, I could almost taste it.
So, when Stephen told me that guests were due tonight, I knew that I had to take my chance.
I couldn’t take the risk that this was all I would ever know. I had to have more, I had to have a chance to escape this pack that I knew was smothering me. How else would I be able to embrace my destiny?
The Moon Goddess had more planned for me. I knew it, I fucking knew it.
What was that smell? I couldn’t get it out of my mind – it was sweet, yet manly. Warm. Earthy. Sensual.
“Have you seen to it that our guests will be well taken care of?”
Where did it come from? It seemed to be growing closer, but it didn’t come from this pack. I knew that much. So where was it from?
“Helen? Are the guest suite all sorted out?”
What was it? It was heady, filling my senses with a warm, fuzzy feeling that had the blood boiling in my veins, my skin itching. I had never responded this way to a mere smell before.
“Helen?! What the fuck has gotten into you today? Are you even listening to a word that I have said?”
I snapped back to the room, reading the anger all over Stephen’s face and gave him a sheepish grimace. “Forgive me, Alpha. I was miles away.” In my mind, my wolf was free. She was chasing down this scent, finally pinpointing its location, screaming out her euphoria as she found… what? What was it that was waiting for me? What was my pot of gold at the end of the fucking rainbow? I almost growled with the intense need to know.
“You can say that again, Beta. What is happening with you today? I need you calm and collected, not cold and distant. It's up to you to see that our guests are welcome today, you know your job here more than anybody else. If I can no longer rely on you, all you have to do is let me know. I know how you women can be…”
I straightened my spine. Us women?! The nerve! “You have no need to worry, Stephen. I’ve never let you down before, and I don’t intend to start today. The guest suites have all been cleaned to the highest standard, I oversaw the entire procedure myself. Your guest will be more than welcome here, I assure you.” Here it was again, another wave of that delicious aroma that was almost bringing me to my knees.
“Well, that’s good to know. And perfect timing too, here he comes now.”
I followed his gaze across the courtyard, seeing the wolf come running in from the West. Goddess, the smell was thicker than ever. My mouth watered, my canines elongated, and my wolf seemed to be brushing up against every sensitive, erotic nerve I had, making me shiver and clench in excitement.
Was this what a fever felt like? I had never been sick before. Maybe I should link the pack doctor, just to be sure?
The sounds of the wolf’s paws thundering across the dirt had me looking back towards him, grateful to focus on something other than the way my knees were knocking together, my legs shaking and unsteady. I bit down on the inside of my cheek, my eyes rolling into the pack of my head as I did my best to smother a moan.
I felt enveloped in the smell, overwhelmed by the raw emotion it was bringing out in me.
Focus on the wolf, Helen. Don’t think about anything else. Control yourself! I hissed to myself, ignoring the snort of derision from my wolf.
Our guest finally reached the pebbles of the courtyard, his fast approach having slowed so that he didn’t alert the guards patrolling or the warriors surrounding the Alpha. He wanted to make it clear that he was here on friendly terms, he had no malicious intent.
Well, he had no malicious intent for our Alpha.
I couldn’t say the same for myself.
As he approached us, he transformed from that of his wolf, into the skin of a stunningly handsome male man, and my mouth dropped open. I was once again floored by the smell that had been haunting me all day, only this time I had found my gold.
“Helen, I would like you to meet Beta Fang, brother to Alpha Grey of the Blood Moon Pack.”