I watched Zea as I fully took in what Ellie had told me about her. I think in some part of my mind, I knew. I knew she was special before I knew she was mine. Maybe that’s why I just didn’t want to listen to Ellie when she kept saying that she wasn’t a healer. Zea was in even more danger than I ever wanted my child to be in, “Why didn’t you tell me about this sooner?” I tore my eyes back to my mate.
She looked down for a moment before lifting her eyes to look into mine, “I learned a long time ago that a secret known by only one person remains a secret,” she tried to explain, “The less people who knew the truth, the safer Zea would be.”
I picked up her hand and held it in mine, “I understand why you kept it a secret, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t need to know.”
“In this case, you didn’t,” Michael spoke up, making me growl at him again for interrupting and for just being here.
Why is he still here? Knox growled out and honestly, I was asking the same question.
“This doesn’t concern you,” I growled.
“But you see, it does,” he says as he enters the room and Reid takes a stand in front of him before even I moved. Michael looked him up and down, “Down guard dog. I’m not the threat.”
“You sure as hell look like the threat right now,” Reid snarled lowly.
“Reid, it’s okay. Michael won’t hurt me,” Ellie spoke.
Michael smirked at Reid as he moved past him to the foot of Ellie’s bed, “Like I said, Alpha. You didn’t need to know about Zea.”
“And why is that?” I spat at him, annoyed that I was even listening to him.
“Simple, you are an Alpha,” he stated, very nonchalantly.
“What?” I asked, shocked at his statement, “What does that have to do with anything.”
“As an Alpha, you are more possessive and protective. It’s just your nature. You will automatically try to protect Zea in every way and that would have exposed the truth to Cortez,” he explained.
“He’s right, Axton,” Ellie whispered as she squeezed my hand, “It’s who you are to be protective and I love that about you, but that would have put Zea in danger the second Cortez found out about it. He has spies everywhere, even here.”
“Then why tell me now? What’s changed?”
“Cortez discovered Zea’s existence so he tested Ellie. She didn’t heal herself, which means she wasn’t the healer he thought her to be. His sickness is warping his mind, and he’s become even more irrational and angrier. He will be here soon enough,” Michael said.
“What are we looking at?” Walker asked him, already thinking of battle strategies.
“Cortez has maybe two hundred rogues working for him,” Michael says.
“We have hundreds of warriors. Rogues don’t stand a chance,” Walker said.
“These aren’t normal rogues. They have been enhanced by the handful of warlocks at Cortez’s disposal. They are stronger, faster, and more ferocious than any other wolf.”
“Warlocks? I thought the witches stuck with their own kind. They don’t usually meddle in wolf business,” Reid said, watching Michael like a hawk.
“We don’t. At least most of us don’t. Cortez only has maybe two warlocks that are on his side by choice, the rest of us were forced to join him.”
“Can the warlocks be turned against him?” Reid asked.
“Possibly. Cortez has most of their families under his control so many won’t take that risk. The ones that chose to join him, don’t believe in his cause but are there for the dark magic.”
“What did he do to you?” Walker asked.
“He threatened the one I love. She is the reason I do everything,” Michael says and I can see that light in his eyes, the same one I’ve been told I have whenever I think of Ellie.
“That’s why she asked about you,” Ellie said, practically shouted it. She smiled at him, “She’s your mate.”
“She asked about me?” Michael perked up.
“Of course she did,” Ellie said, “She’s known where you have been and she’s scared for you.”
Michael gave her a remorseful look before fixing his gaze to the floor.
“Who are we talking about?” Sawyer asked as she walked up to Walker.
“Jade,” Ellie said, “Jade is his mate.”
“The doc?” Walker asked, “She’s your mate?”
“Yes, but I did not think she would ever care for me again. Not after what I did,” Michael voice barely broke a whisper.
“But you have spoken to her,” Ellie said, “She couldn’t have known about Zea and Cortez if you didn’t.”
“I had tried to keep her informed of any information I could smuggle out of Cortez, but those were just letters. It’s been so many years. After the last time we spoke face to face, I didn’t think we could have what we once did.”
“What happened?” Ellie asked as her grip on my hand tightened again.
“I did something, something that I couldn’t take back,” he whispered.
“What did you do?” she asked.
He paused a second as he stared between Ellie and I, “I broke you and Axton’s mate bond.”