Axton’s growl shook the room as he grabbed Michael by his throat, choking the life out of him. Scrambling out of the bed, I latched onto his arm, trying to pull him away from Michael, “Axton, let him go! Axton!”
“He took you away from me! He broke our mate bond!” he snarled out as his hand squeezed Michael’s throat tighter, “And you just want me to let him go.”
“Yes! He can’t tell us why if he’s dead,” I pleaded with him, “Please Axton, not with Zea in the room.”
Shoving Michael one more time against the wall, he finally released him as he pulled me back into his arms.
“Reid, take Zea back to the house. I want guards watching her at all times,” Axton said in his Alpha voice as Reid nodded his head and picked Zea up from the toys she had been playing with, leaving the room.
“You know,” Michael coughed as he rubbed his throat, “I technically didn’t break your mate bond, I just hid it for a while.”
Axton growled again as his grip on me tightened a bit, as if our bond could disappear at any minute. Again.
“Why would you do that, Michael?” I asked him.
“He did it for me,” a voice spoke out. From the corner of the room, I could see Jade standing there with her eyes solely focused on one thing. Michael. Neither one of them said anything as they each looked each other up and down, “At least that’s what he tried to tell me before he left with Cortez.”
“You know I had no other choice, Jade,” his voice just above a whisper, “He would have killed you. I would never allow that to happen.”
“Why don’t you start from the beginning,” Sawyer said as Walker held her close. It was as if both he and Axton were afraid that Michael would attack the mate bonds unless they were in constant contact with their mates. If the situation was anything else, I might have thought this reaction was funny.
“Alright, I’ll tell you all everything, but not here.”
“Why not?” Walker asked.
“Because Cortez isn’t the only ones with spies in your pack.”
“Why would you want to separate me and Axton?” I asked as we all settled into Axton’s office.
“If I’m going to tell you what happened, I’m going to have to explain the whole story. It’s more complicated than just one event,” Michael started.
We nodded our heads, allowing him to start. He looked to Jade who was sitting on the couch in the back of the room with her head down, “It started the day I found her.
When I first saw Jade, we both knew immediately that we were mates. I had always known that warlocks could have mates, but they are so much rarer in my world that I never thought I would find her. But when I did, it was like love at first sight.
Jade and I had become inseparable. Within a week, I was completely in love with her, but werewolf law dictates that mates must join the same pack. This was put into place so no mate could be kept from each other and no pack would go to war over it.
The problem was that I was a warlock.
You see, seven years ago, werewolves weren’t too kind to witches and warlocks. Your father, Axton, had banned warlocks from ever entering his territory many years before that after what had happened to his sister and the Hollower Pack. I was supposed to be killed on sight. No exceptions.
You see that’s the funny thing about mates. No matter what, a mate is the exception to every rule.
I thought I could talk to your father. Make him see that Jade and I were mates and that I would never do anything that would harm him or his pack; so, he might let me stay with her. I never wanted to leave her, but I would never ask her to leave her family or her pack. She was to be your next healer and the pack needed her. So, I set a meeting with your father.”
“My father would have let you stay,” Axton said.
“I have no doubt that he would, and even if he disagreed, I’m sure your mother would have talked him into it. She was always the voice of reason in the room. But I never made it to that meeting.
On my way to the pack house, I was captured by a few wolves, Cortez’s men. You see, this was right after Cortez had been poisoned. Only a few members in his rogue pack were even trusted to know that he was sick, and those few had set every rogue across the country in search of warlocks and witches. Cortez wanted a cure and thought magic could do it.
I was brought to Cortez’s compound, where he asked not so gently for me to heal him. But the poison was of witch design. I told him over and over again that the only cure was with the witch who created it. He told me he had killed her, so I told him that there would be no cure. He didn’t take to kindly to that answer.”
“What did he do?” Sawyer asked.
“He tortured me. Kept me in a cell for weeks, and injected me with mistletoe. Like wolfsbane and silver are for you, mistletoe is for those with magic. It eats away at your soul from the inside out.
One day, he came into the cells and told me he had a job for me to do. He had an ally within the Black Stone Pack, your pack, and they wanted the current alpha ‘dethroned’ and to destroy the soon-to-be alpha. I refused, at least I did until he showed me pictures of Jade.
They were of her working, her in her home. The scariest thing was that some of them were from weeks earlier when I had been with her. I was in a few of the photos. Cortez or whoever his spy was had been watching Jade and me for a very long time.
So, I agreed. I told him that I would destroy the alpha and his family.”
Axton growled again, but didn’t say anything. His look was enough to kill though as I squeezed his arm to try and calm him down.
“The next day, Cortez released me. He said that I had three days to do what he wanted or he would slaughter Jade. So, I went back to Jade and told her what had happened.”
“I found you lying on my doorstep, almost dead!” Jade shouted as she stood up from the corner of the room, “When you told me what had happened, you promised me that you wouldn’t do what he wanted. You promised me.”
Michael looked broken as he stared at his mate, “I never wanted to break that promise. It killed me to hurt you.”
“Yet you don’t seem to be six feet under so I guess it wasn’t as hard on you as you thought,” she snapped at him.
“Jade,” Michael whispered, his eyes never leaving hers. They just stared at each other for a few moments before Michael finally broke and looked towards the ground. I watched his shoulders move up and down as he took a breath before continuing.
“I had told Jade what had happened and I had promised her that I wasn’t going to do what Cortez, or what his spy wanted. But then I got a vision.”
“A vision?” Walker spoke up.
“A vision is like a premunition. It’s a glimpse into the future.”
“What did you see?” he asked.
“I saw an attack on Black Stone. Waves of rogues attacked and almost wiped out the pack. I watched as a rogue tore into Jade,” his eyes glossed over as he pictured the image in his mind, a sight no mate should see, “But she wasn’t the only one I saw die, “His eyes pierced mine, “I saw you Ellie. You tried to stop the rogue from killing Jade and in your condition, you weren’t able to overpower him and he killed you.”
I ignored the chill that went through my spine as he told me I died, “What do you mean by my condition?”
“You were about eight, maybe nine, months pregnant. Axton had felt the pain and he found you, but it was too late. Both you and Zea died in your mate’s arms.”
Axton’s grip around my waist tightened even more as we both thought about what Michael had told us. Our little girl would have died before even taking her first breathe.
“That night, I left told Jade to go to the bonfire and I went to the pack house. I cast a spell for Ellie to see Axton instead of me and I told her what I had to,” he said as he watched Axton and I, “I said whatever I could to make you believe that Axton didn’t want you and to make sure that you wouldn’t come back here.
After I finally got you to leave, I used another spell to destroy the house and make it look like rogues had attacked and killed you. I made sure, or at least tried to, make Axton think you were gone and that he would never find you.
I used an ancient spell from a dark witch to hide your mate bond. The pain would feel like it was breaking, like the bond was being destroyed. The longer you guys stayed away from each other, the less more the bond faded, so when the spell wore off, you didn’t feel it.
After the bonfire, I was on my way to Jade when Cortez found me again. He congratulated me on destroying the soon-to-be alpha and because I had done what he wanted so quickly, he told me that he wanted me to come join him. I refused on the spot. He told me to think about it and left.
When I made it back to Jade, she already knew what I had done. She nearly rejected me on the spot. I told her that I would make sure you would be safe. I promised her that you would be brought back.”
“But I didn’t trust you anymore. You broke that,” Jade said.
“I know,” Michael nodded his head, “I tracked Ellie for weeks and when I discovered she had been captured my Cortez, I decided to join him. He was still watching Jade; if I disobeyed to come back, I know he would have killed her.
When I first saw Ellie in the cells, I told Cortez that I could try a spell that would make her talk. He didn’t know which Luna she was because he had never seen Ellie with Axton before and apparently his spy didn’t inform him of the news either.
But, instead of making it so she would talk, I cast a protection spell on Zea. No matter what Cortez did to you, he could never hurt Zea. She would be untouchable and perfectly healthy. When I performed the spell, I felt Zea’s power. I knew from then on what she was.”
“Why not just tell me who you were?” I asked.
“If I had told you, you would have gone back to Axton and the premonition was still in place. You still died that day if you were anywhere near the pack.”
“That’s why when I tried to bring Ellie back six months after she had left, we saw Axton hiring people to kill her,” Reid spoke up, realizing something I hadn’t even thought of.
“Yes, I had put a boundary around the border so if Ellie got anywhere close within a year of her leaving, she would turn around and leave again. She wasn’t safe until after that attacked happened.
After Ellie escaped Cortez, he sent out every warlock and wolf he had to get her back. I made sure to always know where she was and I would steer the search parties away from her. She now not only had Axton trying to find her, but Cortez was hunting her too. So, I stayed in Cortez’s service. I didn’t have much of a choice with his willingness to kill Jade, but at least this way I would be a step ahead of him.
I wrote to Jade with information about Cortez’s movements and I had told her to what I knew about the spy. I tried to help, but I’m afraid I may have failed in some regard.”
“You’re damn right you did,” Axton growled.
Michael shook his head as his eyes reconnected with Jade , “I do not regret my actions in trying to make sure Ellie and Zea lived. The only regret I have is that by trying to protect my mate, I ended up losing her.”