Beyond the Were War

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Chapter 7: Sacrifice

Cartel Safe House

Outskirts of El Paso

Juan answered the phone, it seemed like that was all he could do now. “Boss, it’s Ricardo. The safe house on Mesa Drive is under attack. There are at least a dozen men out there, we’re completely defensive. We need help now!”

“Ricardo, you aren’t the only one. Dig in, do what you can to hold out until I can get reinforcements there. Make sure you destroy the communications and the information in the safe now, got it? I’ll have people there in thirty minutes, just hang on.”

“Yes sir. We’ll hold for you.” The line went dead.

Carlos looked over. “Who are you sending?”

Juan looked over at him. “I don’t fucking HAVE anyone to send. They’re already out or dead. I just can’t tell them that or those fuckers would just surrender and not finish the job.” He paced back over to the desk. Carlos was busy working communications, everything had gone to complete shit in the last hour.

They had alarms at three different safe houses, two of their distribution centers were under attack, and a number of smuggling teams were missing. The spotters they employed reported it wasn’t the Feds, it looked like Cartel “rip teams.” These were highly trained mercenaries that specialized in stealing from other Cartel smugglers and taking their cargo from them. They seemed to be everywhere at once, and it was overwhelming them.

They just didn’t have enough people to defend everything after all the losses they had suffered in the aborted Gila attack.

Juan was furious beyond words. The safe houses were his biggest concern, few people knew their locations yet they had still been attacked. There were no places left he trusted to hide in since he didn’t know for sure who the spy was and how much information they had been given. “Carlos, I’ve seen enough. Give the order to evacuate the remaining safe houses and locations. Have them load up everything they can, then tell them to go hide and call in when they are in a secure location.” He slammed his fists on the desk in frustration, his empire was crumbling and he was powerless to stop it.

“Already done, boss. Out of the eight safe houses, we now have four under attack, none of those are still responding. I’ve told everyone to go silent for the next 24 hours, I don’t want anyone tipping off the other cartels as to where they have gone. My concern now is you. We need to get you out of here, I don’t know if this location was compromised as well.” He was already starting to disconnect the computers and communication equipment for the move.

“Not yet. I know Hastings is behind this somehow, he must be in league with the other Cartels. He probably used my money to buy them off. Before we go, we’re going to send him a message. Set up the Skype up here, and bring Renee up here. Make sure the Doc wakes her up, I want her screams to be heard loud and clear.”

Carlos hesitated, everything in him said to flee but he saw the look in Juan’s eyes. “OK, boss. I’ll have it set up in twenty minutes. Meanwhile, you should pack. As soon as we’re done with the conference we need to get going, find some place to hide for a few days.”

El Paso Pack Territory

Western end

Hector led the three person patrol along the border of their pack territory, his gray and white wolf in the lead of the column. His Pack was on a war footing now, with everything happening with the Socorro cartel his Alpha had brought everyone in to the main house. The ones who couldn’t fight, the children, pregnant women and elderly were in the basement of the Pack house near their safe room. The basement was guarded by the last line, including his mate Corona. Alpha Merino had kept about half his best warriors back to guard the house itself, while others secured the borders.

Hector stopped and growled as he picked up the recent scents where they came through the barbed wire fence that marked the outside of their territory. There were twenty or so humans, he could also smell the marijuana and the weapons. He broadcasted his findings over the Pack link. “Alpha, it’s a small group, on foot, heading north east. By the scent it was recent, they are still on our territory.

Alpha Merino wasn’t taking any chances, he didn’t want any Cartel members anywhere near his Pack and in the direction they were going it would be uncomfortably close. He also had agreed with the other Alphas to hit Socorro cartel people when they could, and it was their smuggling routes that went through this area, the Gulf cartel operated further east. “Track them and observe, report in when you find them. Mike, take three warriors with you and move to intercept. Let’s figure out what they are doing.

Yes Alpha. Let’s move, Joe you stay to the east and keep an eye out for anyone else while we are tracking. I don’t want them getting close to the Pack house without warning. Move from hill to hill quickly and move on when we have caught up. Mark, you’re with me, I’ll track, you keep your eyes up.” The group moved out, Joe moving a half mile to the east in the grassy rolling hillsides. Tracking wasn’t really a challenge, the trail looked to have been used many times before from the old scents and the trash left behind. Empty water bottles and food wrappers were tossed onto the ground, Mike was a little pissed at this as it was their territory. They hadn’t patrolled much of it during the War but now it was time to assert their ownership again.

The wolves moved quickly since the scent trail was so clear, it only took them ten minutes before they had the group in sight. “Alpha, warriors, we count twenty-six in the group. Three men are armed, the rest appear to be mules and are carrying water jugs and a bale of marijuana. Of the mules, there are eight women and twelve men, of those a half dozen are underage and three are babies.”

There was a pause before their Alpha responded. “Mike, you and your men get ahead of them and set an ambush. Use the rifles and take out the armed men. Hector, you and your team stay in wolf form and follow at a distance. When the attack starts, you go in and finish off any resistance.”

“What about the people, boss?”

“Have them drop their loads and escort them off Pack lands if you don’t deem them a threat. Let’s try and keep the collateral damage down, remember that these migrants aren’t the ones we are at war with, we are at war with those who exploit them.

Mike spoke up. “I know a good ambush point, it’s about a half hour’s walk from where they are now. We’ll head there and set up, I’ll let you know when we are in place.”

“Good,” Alpha Merino responded. “Remember to coordinate your attack. I don’t want them to have a chance to get a shot off, stay safe out there.”

Gila Pack SUV

Near Vado, New Mexico

Maria jumped out to open the cattle fence that led into the foothills east of town. As soon as it was open, Caleb rolled through, waiting only until she hopped back in before he floored it down the dirt trail. “I think if we can get to those hills, we can be out of sight and far enough away that if he goes feral, we have time to deal with it before he gets to any human population.” His look betrayed his careful wording, taking down an enraged newly turned wolf was dangerous, and he’d prefer his mate was nowhere near it.

Maria reached over for his hand. “Anna will do what she needs to do, I have faith that she can bring him through the change.”

He squeezed her hand tight, his left hand gripping the wheel as they bounced along the dirt path. “Anna, what is your plan?”

Anna poked her head back above the seat, she had been using a towel and ice water to keep Enrique’s temperature down as the change started to hit his body. “Renee told us what she did with Gary and his forced change, it is basically the same. I’m going to stay as close to him as I can, bury him in my scent, and hope that his wolf recognizes his mate and that calms him down.”

“And if he doesn’t?”

“He will have to tear me apart before I let him go. I need you to promise me, if I can’t stop him, you’ll do what you need to do. I don’t want you hurt, I don’t want others hurt because of him.”

Maria looked back at the gun case under the back seat. “We will give you time and space, and keep the vehicle well away. Caleb, if this goes bad you will take care of Enrique and I will go to Anna.”

“Agreed. But it’s going to be fine. If anyone can find a way to calm the beast, it’s Anna.”

They wound through the hills for another ten minutes before Caleb pulled over. “There. That looks like a good place.” There was a small spring feeding a stream, and a grassy area under a large oak tree that would give them shade and comfort. “Come on, let’s get him out.” Working as a team, they passed Enrique out to a waiting Caleb who carried him bridal style to the grass where Anna had run ahead to lay down a blanket.

“Thank you, I’ve got it from here.” Anna jumped up and gave Maria a big hug. “If something happens to me, I want you two to forgive yourselves and move on. You are going to have a long, happy life together and raise a bunch of pups.”

“Anna, you’re going to be there to spoil them and give them treats when they come see you in the kitchen. You do whatever it takes to be with your man, do you hear me?” She nodded. “OK, we are going to pull back and wait back there. We won’t get out of the car unless you tell us to or we see it isn’t working. Good luck, Anna, may the luck of the Luna be with you.”

Anna turned around, not wanting them to see her tears as they walked away. She arranged Enrique on the blanket, stripping her dress off she folded it and placed it under his head. She would shift when he did, she thought. She noted his fever was down as she lay beside him, her head on his shoulder on the side away from the injury. Every time he twitched or made a noise, she hugged him tighter. She kept her hair near his face, making sure that with every breath he took in the smell of his mate.

El Paso Pack Territory

Western Side

Everyone, it looks like they are taking a break. They stopped near that tree up ahead and are taking the packs off.” Hector watched as one armed man stayed on point while two others walked along the line. “Joe, come back to us. We need you here, the ambush point is only two more miles ahead.”

“Coming, Hector. Mike, how far is your team from the ambush site?

Mike’s team had moved by vehicle to a point well ahead of the intruders then dismounted to go on foot to the ambush site. They had stayed in human form since they were armed with high powered rifles. “We’ve got another mile to go, should be in place in the next fifteen minutes.”

Joe’s tan and black wolf moved quickly back to them, covering the half mile in just a couple minutes. “Good, should be plenty of time now that they’ve...” Joe froze, his nose to the ground as he picked up the trail. His tail raised high in the air as he started sniffing and jumping around.

Hector looked at him. “Joe, what’s going on?”

“MATE!! Mate is here. She’s here. She’s here. Must get her.”

Hector jumped in front of him. “OK, she’s here, you can keep her safe, but first we have to take care of the bad guys, right? We don’t want her getting hurt because you do something stupid.” Joe’s ears went back at the rebuke, he wanted to find her but he knew Hector was right. “When the attack starts, I want you to go to the unarmed people and keep them safe. Mark and I will go in and make sure the Cartel guys are dead. OK?” Joe nodded his head. “Good. We wait for the ambush and follow the plan.”

Hector turned around at the sound of the screaming. The two armed men had pulled two young women from the line and were pulling them over to a tree. They were resisting, at least they were until one was brutally backhanded to the ground. They pulled them over, tying their hands to ropes already hanging from the tree, before cutting their clothes off and tossing them into the branches. He remembered reading something about this in the paper.

Joe recognized what it was first. “It’s a fucking rape tree. Those bastards! They are going to rape my...” He took off at a dead run. His mate was in danger, there was nothing they could say or do to stop him, so they went after him. Joe was blazing over the ground straight for the tree, his paws tearing up the ground.

Hector linked to everyone. “Change of plans, we’re going in now. Mark, you follow Joe in and take care of those two guards. I’ll take the one back at the people. Mike, drop your stuff and shift, get here now because if Joe’s mate is hurt I don’t know what kind of rage he’ll go into.”

Alpha Merino was about to cut in and order Joe to stop, but he knew no Alpha command would stop a wolf protecting his mate. “Kill the fuckers, and do it quickly.”

Cartel Safe House

Outskirts of El Paso

Dr. Martinez was once again locked into the room with Renee, but this time a guard was waiting outside for him to get done. He reached into his bag and prepared an injection. “This will counteract the sedative so she can move and feel again. It also contains enough wolfsbane to keep that side dormant for another six hours.”

“Just shoot her up, Doc, the boss wants her upstairs now.”

“OK, let me just check her vitals.” He leaned his head over hers as he listened to her heartbeat, close enough to whisper knowing her hearing was better than the guard’s. “Mrs. Hastings, they are going to move you soon but they will torture you first. You can’t shift or show signs of it until you have the opportunity to escape, or they will kill us both.” He continued to examine her, then checked the condition of her babies. Looking back, he motioned to the guard. “Give her a couple minutes and she will be able to walk.”

“Get out of here, Doc, you should return to your room until we call you to fix her up.” Doc stood and nodded, he was under no illusions as to what that meant, he had patched up enough people after these sessions. He went up the stairs and out.

The guard unlocked her wrists from the shackles and chains, then sat her up, keeping the ankle chains on while he handcuffed her with silver-coated shackles behind her back. He then freed her feet, shifting her feet to the concrete floor below the bed. “Don’t give me any problems, lady, you’ll get enough pain without what I can give you.” He pulled her roughly up, she faked being unsteady on her legs so he had to assist her out and up the stairs. He pulled her into the living room of the house, it was well lit but not from natural light, the windows were all covered. The room was rustic, with hand hewn wooden beams running across the short length. There were only a few couches along the outside, and some video equipment on a tripod.

Trigger warning- torture scene

It would have been a comfortable place to visit, if it wasn’t for the evil men on those couches, or chains hanging from those beams. The guard led her to the center of the room, facing Juan and Carlos. She was about to say something when she heard a noise, a chain was being lowered in front of her face, a steel ring at the bottom of it. A guard to her right was operating the controls and stopped it when it was at the level of her chest. He then moved in front of her, opened the hinged ring, and placed it around her neck, locking it with a padlock that was in his pocket.

“Strip her.” Juan was staring at her like the sexual predator he was, his eyes flashing lust and evil. The first guard withdrew a knife and cut her clothing from her, leaving her naked, her arms still bound and unable to hide the swell of her belly from them. “Renee Hastings, thank you for coming. You’re going to be in another video soon, the good news is that you get to see your mate again. Before we do that, though, we need to set the tone of the conversation. I need to make sure that he does what I tell him without question.”

“Fuck you, Juan. You’re a dead man walking.”

Juan laughed, then gestured at the guard by the winch. The cable tightened, pulling her under it then up on her toes. He watched her struggle helplessly as she was lifted off the ground, the steel bar pressing hard into her neck and cutting off her breath. Renee stopped moving to conserve her air, and for half a minute she swung gently in the air as her face turned purple before she was let back down. She gasped in the air through her sore throat, not yet able to get her heels down she stayed on her toes.

“You’ll learn to watch your mouth and do what you’re told. If you don’t, we’ll do it again. Now, let’s get you ready, shall we?”

Juan walked over in front of her and pulled out his favorite whip. “Remove the cuffs and secure her arms out of the way.” The guards moved forward with manacles and chain, quickly attaching them to chains hanging from adjacent beams so she couldn’t lower her arms below her shoulders. The new position kept her from twisting her body much, but her arms were too wide to be of use in pulling herself up to breathe better. Juan gestured and gave her a little more slack on her neck ring, allowing her feet to go flat at shoulder width.

“Get the video ready to go.” The man brought a portable phone over, setting it up for the call to the Gila Pack Alpha. “First, I have a few frustrations to work out, and with what your Pack has done to mine, this will feel pretty good. Please don’t pass out too soon, and feel free to scream as much as you want, the walls are soundproofed and no one will hear you except us and your mate.” He nodded to the cameraman to start the call, meanwhile he moved around behind the helpless Renee. He waited for the screen to show Robert in his pack office. His voice was muted.

“Robert, Robert... what have you done. It would have been so much easier if you had just cooperated. Don’t say anything, I’m not listening anyway. I just want you to watch the woman you love suffer for what you have done. It’s a pity, she is a beautiful young lady, and pregnant too.”

CRACK! The whip scored her back, leaving torn skin behind in a line from shoulder to hip.


The camera moved around her as he continued to lay into her, moving from her teeth gritted with pain to the bloody mess that now extended down past her butt to her upper legs. “Come on, bitch, don’t be shy. I know it hurts.”

“Fuck you, Juan. We will have our revenge, and you will suffer long before you die.” Juan pointed at the guard, she was once again hoisted into the air by her neck, this time he left her until just before she passed out. He grinned as he watched Robert on the video link, his wolf was going crazy in him as he watched his mate approach death. He wasn’t satisfied with her reaction to the whipping, and watching her being tortured in front of the man she loved had made him impossibly hard.

“Let her down, and give her some slack again.” When she had caught her breath, he went around and grabbed her hair, lifting her head up to the camera and her mate. “Your heart may belong to him, but your ass is mine.” He continued to whip her as blood sprayed across the room.

Renee screamed, but she was helpless to stop it. His face was a mask of evil, satisfied that he was getting the reaction he needed to find his pleasure. Renee kept trying to move away, but couldn’t. It seemed like hours but was only a few minutes before Juan stopped.

Juan looked into the camera. “YOU did this. Everything that happens to her is YOUR fault, you proud sonafabitch. Look at how well you protected the most important thing in your life.” He gestured to the cameraman to unmute the other side of the conversation.

“I’LL FUCKING SKIN YOU ALIVE! YOU ARE DEAD!” Robert was on the verge of shifting, his nails lengthening and cutting the skin of his palms as he fought for control.

“No... you won’t. You will do EXACTLY what I tell you or your woman here will spend the rest of her short and pain filled life as the fuck toy of every dieseased dick who owes me a favor. She will be well used, trust me on that. So, here is what you will do. Have you loaded all my money back into a truck for me?”

Robert closed his eyes, then relaxed and opened them. “Yes, I have it ready to go.”

“And Maria, you must bring her.”

“I can’t, she’s not here. She went to visit relatives in Texas.”

Juan looked at him, trying to see if he was lying. “You call her and tell her to meet you at the Super 8 hotel off University Avenue in El Paso tomorrow at noon. If she doesn’t show up...”

“I know, Renee dies.”

“Good, you understand me now. Bring only your driver’s license and cash, no phones. You are going to drive it out of your Pack lands and head east on I-10 towards Texas. One of my associates will meet up with you. He is going to scan it for bugs, communications devices and any other crap you might think of pulling. He will then join you in the cab and you will drive where he tells you to go. Nobody else leaves your Pack lands, I have people watching. If you try anything, if anyone follows you, if a cop even takes an interest in your truck, she will die. You will die. I will kill every member of your pack and you will become just a memory. Do you understand me?”

“Yes, I understand.” Robert sat back, defeated.

“I hope so, for her sake.” He gestured across his throat and cut the phone call. “Take her down, knock her out and load her up.”

El Paso Pack SUV

West El Paso, Texas

Andy was furiously clenching and relaxing his fists, trying to fight off the change. Renee had been broadcasting what was happening over the link, and what they were doing to his Luna had him seeing blood. Linda was near a breakdown as she drove a few miles away, they were desperately seeking her scent in the area they suspected she was being held but they were running out of time. They needed to do something different. “Renee, can you give me any more details on where you might be?”

Renee came back, even her mental bond showed the pain she was enduring. “Residential area, rambler construction. It has a four pane picture window to the right of the front door, probably set apart from other houses as he said no one would hear me. It has exposed wood beams in the ceiling, so look for something built in the 50′s or 60′s, it isn’t that big a house either.”

“OK, that helps. Hang in there, Renee, we’re coming for you.” Pulling up Google, they started to narrow down the possible locations to a few neighborhoods. Using Street View, he started looking for possibles as they car sped to the first location.

“Andy, they’ve given me a... shot... shit.”

“Renee?” Nothing. “RENEE!” Andy looked at the El Paso betas. “They’ve knocked her out again.” He sighed, this was making the job much tougher, and they were running out of time.

Near Vado, New Mexico

Anna watched nervously as the change started to come upon her mate. His eyes hadn’t opened, but the random pops and moves under his skin told her everything she needed to know. The next few minutes would see him through or send him spinning into madness. She removed her underwear, tossing it aside as she rolled over the top of him. Her plan was simple- cling tight to him through the change and make sure her scent was in his nose until he recognized her as his mate and calmed down.

She looked back to where the SUV was parked with Caleb and Maria. They were well back, for their safety as well as hers. A new werewolf with his mate could be dangerous to anyone around as they sorted through the emotions and the instincts. She nodded her head, then turned back to her mate. His face was starting to reform, his nose lengthening into a snout, his teeth growing in and sharpening. Fur was erupting on his naked form, and his limbs started to flail about. She dropped herself onto him, pressing her entire body close to his as she gripped his legs with hers and her arms held tight around his shoulders. She kept her head down and away from his teeth, pressing it into the junction of his shoulder and neck so her hair would be in his face. The sound of bones popping and reforming became rapid like a machine gun, then just as soon as it stopped. She lifted up as he rolled onto his side. He was a good looking wolf, she thought appreciatively, mostly black with some brown and tan spots and white socks. She moved her head to stare into the eyes of her mate.

That’s when he lunged forward and bit her.

She screamed as his teeth tore through the flesh of her shoulder, tearing muscle and sinew as he shook his head. She rolled onto her back as he let her go, her eyes begging him to stop as he bit into the arm that was trying to protect her neck. There was a sickening crunch as his jaws crushed the bones in her arm, then he let go again. He stood over her, teeth exposed and growling, as she begged him to stop. He was about to tear into her again when the pain hit his back leg, followed by the sound of a gunshot. He spun around, seeing the vehicle and the man with the rifle, and paused briefly before taking off into the bushes.

By the time Maria reached Anna, the blood was spurting in streams from her torn shoulder to the rock and sand below. She tore her shirt off and slapped it on the flesh, causing Anna to scream as she applied pressure. Caleb had run past them hoping to get in another shot, but Enrique’s wolf had taken him too quickly away, he knew without shifting to wolf form he’d never catch him. He looked back, he couldn’t lose Anna either, and from the bond he knew she wouldn’t last long without assistance. He ran back to them, picking Anna up along with the blanket as Maria kept the pressure on the wound. They loaded her in the back of the SUV and Caleb jumped into the drivers seat.

They tore back to the interstate at high speed. He pulled out his cell phone and dialed 911, he needed help and he needed it now. A State Patrol cruiser met them back at the interstate and escorted them to the clinic in Las Cruces. It was a tough day for the dispatcher, not only did they have a severely injured werewolf coming to a human hospital, but they had a feral wolf on the loose out there.

El Paso Pack Territory

Western Side

Joe was completely focused on the woman at the tree and the man who was slapping her, trying to get her to open her mouth and take his semi-hard cock in it. His vision was tunneled on her eyes as he flew into the clearing at full speed. He leaped into the air, jaws open, and before the man could turn around he had his neck pinned in his powerful jaws. He chomped down, his wolf giddy at the taste of his blood as his momentum pulled him off his feet. Twisting and shaking his head, there was a sickening crunch and the man dropped to the ground.

Mark entered the clearing just as the second man had dropped his captive and was bringing his rifle up. It wasn’t fast enough, Mark’s chocolate colored wolf slammed into his chest at full speed. He heard the sound of multiple ribs breaking as the guard was knocked off his feet. Mark skidded to a stop, turned and pounced. He got to his throat and with a strong jerk he tore it open. While the arterial spray was covering them with blood, he jumped in again and bit the hand off that was holding the rifle. He spat the appendange at his feet, then jumped back in for his belly. He tore him to pieces within seconds, ignoring the screams of the women still tied to the tree.

Hector was last, his man saw the wolves and tried to run for it.

Bad idea to run from a wolf.

Hector quickly caught up to him and launched himself onto his back, pushing him roughly to the ground. There was a wet thunk as his head hit a rock and he went still. “Everyone good?” He got an assent from his team members, then opened the link to the other patrol and his Alpha. “Alpha, we have two guards dead and I have one knocked out. What do you want me to do with him?

See if he knows anything that would justify saving his life. If not, kill him.”

Hector tied his man up using zip ties he found in his pockets, then threw him over his shoulder and carried him back to the others. He looked over to Joe and Mark; Joe had a young woman in his lap, hugging her tightly while he whispered in her ear. Mark was cutting the second woman down, she had passed out from the fright of the incident. The men and women who had been taking a break were now in small clusters, holding on to each other in fear. “You are now under the protection of Alpha Merino and the El Paso pack. We mean you no harm.”

One of the men looked up. “What will happen to us?”

“You will leave your burdens here and come with us. We will talk to each of you and if you are no threat we will drive you to the northern border and let you go there. Our fight is only with the Cartel.”

An hour later, vehicles were being loaded to take most of them away. The two dead guards were buried, and the last one was wishing he was dead. He gave up a key piece of information in exchange for his life- the location of the wholesale distribution center near their territory.

Six hours later, the El Paso pack had gained a new Pack member, eliminated another twenty Cartel men, and confiscated 6.7 million in cash an gold. The drugs they left for the DEA to find with an anonymous phone call. Given everything else that had happened that day, it was all blamed on a Cartel war and no one suspected a thing.

Gila Pack House

New Mexico

“Boss, are you sure you want to do this?” His Betas were lined up by the truck, worry clear on their faces. It went against every instinct they had to let their Alpha leave them for certain death. Rico jumped down from the cab of the truck, the radio in his hand, the GPS disabled. “Madam Alpha Renee did tell us that we shouldn’t do it, that rescue was coming.”

Robert let a long breath out. “I got a call from Alpha Merino. They found the place in El Paso where Renee was being held, but she wasn’t there. She was taken in a truck by Juan and Carlos. They were unable to find her.” He turned to them all. “I’m not the future of this pack, Renee and the pups she is carrying is. I don’t care about the money, I care about her. So if I have to die to give her that future, then that is what I will do. My final command to you all is that no one is to go after me, no one leaves the territory. Thank you all, and may Luna bless you and your families.” He turned his back on his men and stepped up into the truck. He put it in gear and started to move out the driveway.

Tears filled his eyes, his Pack members had turned out lining the long driveway. Most were shifted and lifted their heads and howled as he passed by. Using the Pack link, he talked to them all. “I love each and every one of you, and I want you all to live your lives to your fullest. Support Alpha Renee when she returns.”

No one followed as he drove to the interstate.

Foothills near Vado, New Mexico

Enrique battled the wolf in his mind for control. The long run had allowed some of the adrenaline to leave his body, and his wolf collapsed down to the sand. He licked at the bullet wound in his rear leg, cleaning the dried blood off his fur. It was a clean through and through wound and was already healing up. As he panted heavily, his mind kept going back to what happened when he woke up and shifted.

He had hurt her.

Anna was his mate, and he had torn her apart.

Her blood was on his fur, and his wolf was arguing with him in his mind. He wanted to go back to her, to see her again, but Enrique knew that they would be hunted. He didn’t want to be shot again.

Eventually, he was able to merge his human side with his wolf side and bring the emotions under control again. He rose up on his four legs and started to circle back to where he had come from, but kept himself a good five hundred yards away from his original track. He moved quickly and quietly, his wolf side understanding the importance of stealth as they returned.

When he crept to the top of the hill, he could see they were all gone. Trotting down to where he changed, he could smell the blood and the stale scent of his mate; moving further west, he tracked them to the tire tracks. There was nothing else to do but find her. He sat and let out a mournful howl, listening for a reply but there was none. He started to trot along the road, his mind reliving that moment over and over. He had to hope she was still alive, if he had killed her he didn’t want to live.

I-25 Southbound

Just north of Los Cruces, NM

Alpha Hastings continued to drive at the posted speed limit towards his death. He looked over at Victor, a Cartel hit man who had stopped him just outside Pack lands. He didn’t say much, he just kept his nickel-plated .45 in his lap as he watched Robert. He could smell the wolfsbane that no doubt covered the silver ammunition he would be carrying. He had handcuffed his right wrist to the steering wheel to make sure he didn’t try something. He never said a word, just gestured to drive.

Robert had followed instructions and had left everyone on his territory, but the Cartel didn’t know about the people he already had in Texas, and they couldn’t detect his mind linking. His Alpha call was sent out periodically, but he didn’t expect a response yet.

He was shocked when a voice replied. “Alpha, it’s Caleb, where are you?”

I’m on I-25 just coming south into Los Cruces, and I need help. The Cartel is forcing me to trade myself and the money for Renee, and I don’t have any backup. I need you guys to get ahead of me and wait for my signal.”

There was a pause. “I can help, but the others are busy. Anna is in surgery, Enrique hurt her badly and is now rogue. I have to leave Maria with her. Linda and Andy went back to El Paso to search for Renee. I’ll head out to the vehicle. Where are they sending you?”

Texas. It won’t be El Paso, though, Alpha Merino already hit their safe house and Renee was gone.”

“Or somewhere in between. I’m going to gas up and check my guns, let me know when you are coming up on Lohman Avenue and I’ll jump on the freeway ahead of you. I also have to call Alpha Merino and see if he can send someone to help Anna and Maria while I am gone.”

“OK, just be generic when you talk to them, remember we don’t know how much of our communications is monitored. Maria, you stay strong for us, link with me if you get scared. You can do this.” He sent feelings of love and acceptance down the bond, and she instantly felt better.

Got it boss, good luck.”

For the first time since leaving, Robert began to think they might get out of this. Backup would help, but until Renee was free he had to go along with their plan.

El Paso Pack House

Alpha Merino took the call from Caleb. “I need help, Alpha, a friend of ours is hurt and in surgery at the Los Cruces Area Hospital. She will need someone to help the human doctors, and we will need transport for her when she is released. Can you help us?”

His response was immediate. “Yes, I think we can do that. I will send your friends your way as well. Let me call you back.” Mind linking with his Betas in town, he directed them to leave for the Los Cruces area immediately with Linda and Andy, then he mind linked with the pack doctor and asked her to take a driver and go as well.

He was taking a chance, but when Alpha Hastings described the directions he was given he figured that was a good direction for now. Julia was on the road ten minutes later, using her cellphone she called ahead to the hospital and gave them her contact info should the surgeon have any questions about working on werewolves. She found out she was still in surgery, they had stopped the major blood loss and were doing reconstruction of her shoulder at the time. She should be in recovery by the time they arrived.

Cartel Van

South of Los Cruces

Carlos exited the interstate at the Vado exit and headed east past the gas station. “There is nothing out her but dirt and rock, I’ve used it before to hide bodies. It will work for what we need.” They made their way down the rough track before taking a dirt path off towards the foothills. “Boss, how are we going to play this?”

“We’ll get him here, bind him up, then rape and kill his woman in front of him before we kill him. Then we go back to El Paso and pick up Maria.” Juan made a call to his man in the truck, and told him directions. He smiled, revenge was a dish best served cold, and it was very cold out in the desert at night.

Gila Truck

South of Los Cruces, NM

Robert drove along the interstate, the sun setting to his right. His hearing had allowed him to hear the directions, so he passed them along the Pack bond to Caleb and Maria. Maria agreed to use a hospital phone to call Andy, and Caleb raced ahead to the exit before they could arrive. Robert preached caution, though. “I don’t know if they will have lookouts or something already set up, so you can’t approach by vehicle. Find a place to park and go wolf, head east and wait for me.”

“Got it, boss. I’ll be at the exit in ten minutes then I’ll run ahead. Keep in touch, all right?”

Foothills east of Vado, NM

Caleb worked his way through the brush and scrub, moving towards the foothills ahead. He figured they wouldn’t do anything in the wide open expanses so he kept going. His mind was so focused on where he was going he didn’t notice a wolf was coming towards him until it was nearly on him. He spun around at the noise, his hackles up as he faced a wolf. Not just any wolf. Enrique. The rogue who nearly killed Anna.

Without thinking, he attacked. Lunging forward he got his teeth on the back of his neck and bit down, but something was different. Enrique didn’t fight him, he just fell to the ground and went limp.

His submission triggered something in him, so Caleb let go. Enrique stayed down, exposing his throat and stomach to him in the universal language of submission. “Enrique... are you in control of your wolf?” He tried to get through, but Enrique wasn’t accepted into the pack yet so there was no bond that would work. He stepped back and shifted into his human form. “Enrique... you need to shift. Close your eyes and look into your mind, find your wolf. Let your human walk forward and your wolf retreat.” He tried to coach him through the change but couldn’t make it work. “All right, we’ll have to do it this way. I need your help, Alpha Hastings is in trouble and they are coming this way. I need you to stay with me and help us. Can you do that?” Enrique nodded his head, then stood up. “OK, follow me. We’re heading towards the hills to wait for them.”

As they walked along, he tried to contact Maria but they were too far away. He tried a different tact. “Alpha, I’m nearly in place and I have some good news for you.”

“I could use some, Caleb. We’re a mile away from the exit now.”

“I found help. Enrique came back, he gained control of his wolf. I can’t talk him through shifting back but he is with me now and all right. Can you let Maria and Anna know?”

“Of course. I’m so glad he pulled through, Anna needs him to get better.

They pushed forward, knowing time was short. His senses were paying attention, and they smelled the humans before they came into view. They slowly crept to the top of the hill and looked over at the van. Two men were in view, they were drinking beer and smoking marijuana. Both carried pistols, and one had an AK-47 strapped to his back. The van was closed, they focused on scent and identified Renee as being in the van.

Caleb tried the link to her, but she didn’t respond. “Alpha, we found them. Two men, both armed, Renee is in the van, I can’t tell for sure if someone else is in there with her.”

“Stay put. You wait for our signal, if you do it at the wrong time they will kill both of us. We just exited, we’ll be there soon.”

Caleb moved back down the hill out of sight and shifted back to human form to talk to Enrique. “OK, Robert is coming. There is one armed guard with him, plus these two. Your responsibility is to take out the guard who is coming with the Alpha. I’ll take care of the other two. You understand?” Enrique shook his head. “Good. They will drive through that way, I need you to loop around behind them and get as close to them as you can without being seen. Don’t do a thing until you see one of us start the attack. And Enrique- don’t hold back. These guys are evil, you kill your man and only then do you think about helping us. Can you do that?”

He shook his head again, then moved off. Caleb moved around the other way, setting himself in a place where he could see the back of the van and the area where the men were. It stopped in the clearing, its lights illuminating the area flat area and the men standing behind it.

“Leave it running and get out.” Robert exited the van, his guard coming up behind him. He used the silver handcuffs to bind his arms behind him before marching him forward, his pistol to the back of his head. Juan looked back at Carlos. “Wake her up and bring her out here. It’s time for the show.”

Carlos returned a minute later, half dragging a near unconscious and naked Renee out of the van and pulled her towards the circle. He pushed her to Juan, who grabbed her by the hair and forced her to her knees.

Renee looked like she needed a standing 8-count, but her mental command was clear. “I’m better than I look, wait for my signal then do whatever you need to do to get free. Juan is mine, you get the others. Got me?” Robert and Caleb answered, Caleb letting them know that Enrique was standing by to take out Robert’s guard. Renee was hardly listening as Juan raged at Robert, blaming him for all the losses he had suffered. It was a long list, and when he was done they got to the part she was looking for.

Trigger warning- rape scene

Juan sneered. “When people do me wrong, I don’t just kill them. I have them watch as their entire world is stripped away. She was your mate, but she’s my bitch now. “ He unzipped his jeans and pulled his dick out, then pushed it into her face. “Suck it, bitch. The better you suck the quicker I’ll make his death.”

Renee looked over at Robert, then looked at the eyes of the man above her. She sighed and looked back down, trying to look defeated. She reached up with her hands, cupping his balls and lifting his rod to her lips, then drew it slowly into her mouth. She got it all the way into her throat before letting it go, repeating it a few times until she saw him take his eyes off her as the pleasure coursed through him.

She blasted through the link. “Three, two, one...” As she was counting down, she let her teeth partially shift, becoming sharper as her canines lengthened. They would never know that trusting the Doctor to keep her pumped with wolfsbane was their downfall, she thought.

She drew him deep again before biting down HARD and pulling back.

His scream kicked everything into action. Renee shifted into her wolf and knocked Juan to the ground. When he went for his gun, she bit his fingers off and tossed it away.

Caleb rushed forward from his spot just behind the van and leaped onto Carlos’ back. His teeth clamped down on the back of his neck, and twisting and pulling down he heard a loud crack as they fell to the ground. Caleb kept pulling until his head was detached from his body.

Robert used the distraction to drop to his knees, getting the gun away from his head. He spun and kicked his leg, with his werewolf strength he collapsed the guard’s knee from the side. The man screamed and dropped his gun. Robert was leaping to his feet but wasn’t needed.

Enrique raced into the clearing and tore his throat out.

The clearing was silent except for their breathing, and the pain filled cries of Juan.

“Everyone all right?” Robert got nods, then turned to Caleb who had shifted back. “Get the key and unlock me.” While he was doing that, Renee picked up the torn dick off the ground and walked towards Juan.

“I wish every person you hurt could see this now,” Renee said. She forced his jaw open, then shoved the appendage into his throat, cutting off his air supply. He struggled against her, but she pinned his arms to his sides. She watched his eyes roll back as death started to take him. With one last twitch, he went still and she dropped him to the ground.

Robert turned her to him, pulling him into his strong arms. “Baby, are you all right?”

“I’m fine. It’s over now. Can we just go home?”

“We have to pick up some people along the way, but yes.” They walked over to Enrique, who was on his stomach and watching. He rolled on his belly as they approached. “Enrique, it is good to see you. Anna is going to pull through, we’ll take you to her as soon as you can shift.” He put his hand around his throat. “I accept you into the Gila Pack and offer my thanks for what you have done for us.” He felt the Alpha bond form, and with that was able to mind link.

Robert talked him through the shift, and soon he was standing in front of them. Both embraced him, then were joined by Caleb.

“Come on, let’s find some clothes and get out of here.” They managed to find enough to cover up things until they could get to town, even though they were bloodstained. “Leave them for the scavengers,” Robert said as they stripped the bodies of weapons and cash. Renee and Robert headed for the truck while Caleb and Enrique took the van. They used Caleb’s cell phone to update Alpha Merino, then stopped at a Target to get clothing and food for the trip.

Renee rushed into the hospital waiting room and hugged Maria tightly. “How is she doing?”

“She’s out of surgery now and in the recovery room. With her healing kicking in, Julia thinks she can be released tomorrow. She’ll have one impressive mating mark, though.”

“Good.” She looked over at Enrique, he was relieved but apprehensive. The guilt of hurting his mate still affected him, he wasn’t sure if she would ever forgive him for what he had done.

Maria spoke up. “She’s already forgiven you, she did that as you were running away. She knows you didn’t mean to harm her.”

They waited patiently until Linda and Andy came in. Eventually, Anna was in a private room and they were all able to see her for a few minutes.

“We need to get back home,” said Robert, “but not until tomorrow. We all need some rest.” They checked in to a local hotel, Enrique volunteering to stay with the truck. Caleb and Maria would take shifts through the night so they could each get some sleep. It wasn’t wise to leave hundreds of millions of dollars unattended.

They got adjoining suites, and it was soon clear the rooms were not soundproofed to werewolf standards. Andy pulled Linda to the bathroom, climbing in the shower with her and making energetic and loud love for the next hour.

Robert was older and more patient, so he took his time. Drawing the Jacuzzi bath, he slowly undressed Renee, covering each inch of exposed skin with his kisses. “I can’t lose you again, I never want you away from my side for as long as we live.” She ran her fingers through his hair as he moved down her body, shivering as he gently licked at her puckered nipples before moving on to her sensitive stomach. On his knees, he kissed her swollen belly and wrapped his arms around her waist as he pressed his ears to it. “I can hear them, they are strong, just like you.”

“I just want things to be simple again, Robert.” Renee shivered as his breath went over her newly exposed sex as her panties dropped to her ankles. “All I could think about was getting back to you. I would go through anything to get back to you.” She caressed his arms as he moved back up, taking her hands he helped her down into the bath.

“Let me love you, my love.” Robert sat across from her in the bath, he lifted her legs up above his. She rested her head back on the edge of the tub, her hands gripping the edge as he floated her body to the top of the water. The bubbles and bath oils washed her tension away as Robert started kissing his way up her thighs. She moaned as his fingers spread across her ass, lifting her slightly out of the water where his lips were waiting for her. She moved her hips up, trying to force his face into her, but he wouldn’t allow it. His tongue lightly traced her lips, spreading them open and exposing her fully to him. He moved slowly, using more and more of his tongue with each circle until his mouth was pressed upon her. He used his tongue to lick deeply into her, shifting it slightly to reach every nook and cranny as he drove her to the brink, only to slow down and leave her panting.

“Please, don’t tease me...” She looked down and his eyes told her to be patient. She laid her head back and stared at the ceiling as the burning started deep in her sex, the need increasing as he moved a hand up and started rubbing her button while he rapidly licked at her tunnel. She took a few quick breaths, trying to hold it off but he would have none of that. When he sucked hard on her clit while flicking his tongue rapidly over it, she broke. Her body went taut, jerking once, then again, finally she almost came out of the tub as she lost control and her legs straightened. She screamed his name as her juices squirted onto her face. He stroked her body as she came back down, easing her back into the tub as she regained control. It took a few minutes before she could raise her head and look at him. He was smug, knowing he had rocked her world, but the lust was also clear in his eyes.

“I’m sorry, love, but I have to reclaim you. I can’t bear to have another man’s scent on any part of you.” He pulled her shoulders and laid her on his chest, roughly taking her mouth with his. She was lost in the sensation of it all, her lips and tongue were tingling, her breasts were moving slowly up and down on his chest hairs, and his rod was rubbing against her in a delicious way. He didn’t stop the kiss, he just lifted her by the hips and positioned her above his throbbing erection. She moaned into his mouth as she slowly lowered herself on to him.

“I love you, Robert. Take me, and don’t hold back. I need you to possess me.” He looked into her eyes and saw the need, he moved slowly in her but the water kept him from truly moving as he wanted.

“Wrap around me, love, we’re going to bed.” Lifting her slowly, he walked out of the tub, his cock buried deep within her as she clung to his neck. He moved to the king sized bed and laid his love out on it, following down as they never stopped contact. She kept her legs in place around him as he started to drive into her, harder and harder, his arms extended just enough to keep weight off her belly. He leaned down and possessed her mouth with his kiss as they came together, this time he bit her shoulder as his seed poured deep into her.

They lay together catching their breath when Andy’s voice came over the Pack link. “Alphas... I apologize in advance if you don’t get sleep tonight, but Linda is in heat, so...”

They laughed. Renee answered for them, “You better take care of her then, we’ll have room service send up something for you when you take a break.”

The next morning, you couldn’t get the smile off their faces. “Her scent changed,” said Andy. “We’re pregnant!” Renee hugged them both, while Robert gave a hug and a back slap.

“Congratulations, we’ll be sure to give you practice changing diapers before your little ones arrive!” Andy looked at Robert with horror, somehow diapers drove home his impending fatherhood more than her scent did. It was going to be quite the baby boom, they thought.

Renee looked over the group as they loaded into the vehicles after leaving the hospital the next day. She was happy, mated, pregnant and her pack was prospering. Life was good.

The procession headed north, back to their home.

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