Beta John’s POV
“PEARSON! Visitor.” I looked up from the game of chess I was playing with Doc Smith and nodded. Doc was a good player, he was doing ten years for fraud after getting caught in an insurance scam. I got up, my orange jumpsuit bulging with my muscles underneath it.
“I’ll wait for you,” Doc said as he went back to watching television. The medium-security prison had a few amenities if you could behave, since those who didn’t were sent elsewhere. I walked through the common room in my cellblock, the other inmates not meeting my eyes. I had been challenged my first day here by the dominant inmate, but he had never met a man like me. I wasn’t scared, and I was calm and dispassionate as I ignored him. When he tried to hit me, I leaned back, and while he had his weight on his front leg my instep hit the outside of his knee. It collapsed on him, and I walked away before anyone could notice I’d just blown his knee out. He was still in the prison infirmary.
I hadn’t had any problems since.
I followed the guard through the doors and hallways, allowing him to shackle my feet prior to being allowed into the visiting area. The visiting room had tables fixed to the floor along with benches, and families mixed with inmates as I walked to the table my new Alpha was sitting at. “Mr. Larsen,” I said to Stan as I sat down.
“How are you doing, John?” He was a lot younger than Esca, but he was a good Alpha to his Pack. When I was first allowed visitation after jail, Esca ordered me to temporarily join his Pack. It wasn’t a good idea to be so far from an Alpha, or so long in another Pack’s territory.
“No problems thus far.” It was true, I was determined to stay on good behavior and get out of this place as soon as I could. The smells, the fear, the food, the confinement- all of it made it difficult for me to handle. It was another reason my Alpha visited once a week, to make sure my wolf stayed under control. “I’m a model inmate. Ten more weeks and I’m eligible for release.”
“Keep it that way, I’m looking forward to your kilted ass getting back on the other side of the pond,” he teased. “Anything you need?”
“No, my canteen fund is full and there isn’t much to use it on. I’m trying to keep busy, I’m doing a lot of reading and playing a lot of chess.”
“You should try something new, learn a language or something.”
He was hiding something. “Like what?”
“Russian.” I looked at him funny. “It turns out your little mate is actually Russian. She’s over there now, trying to find out about her birth mother and who her father was. The birth certificate didn’t say, but she contacted a priest over there who knows.”
My hands gripped the table, I’m sure my eyes were starting to shift. The Alpha stared me down, forcing my wolf back until I calmed. “She’s over in Russia? Alone?”
“Of course not,” Stan said. “I sent Patrick over there with her. She trusts him, and his cover is that he needed to go there for business and decided to see the sights with her.”
“You’re not helping, Alpha. Having her over there alone may be preferable to having her with an unmated Beta male.”
He just laughed. “You don’t have to worry about Jessie, she has him so deep in the Friendzone he’ll never find his way back. He is waiting for his mate, and he has been made aware of what happens to him if he touches another man’s mate. He is there solely to protect her until she can return to us, and be under our Pack protection again.”
I thought about it, as long as he kept his hands off of her, it was better than not being protected at all. My wolf chafed at me, I told him it was HIS damn fault we were stuck in this prison, so he better back off. He chuffed and laid down in the back of my mind. “Is she doing better? Healed?”
“Physically, she is fine. The dislocated shoulder was almost fully healed. Mentally? She’s having issues. She’s lost her mother, found out her parents weren’t, her mother was killed by her father, had a stranger beat the shit out of a guy in front of her, lose her job, and move. I’d say she needs a vacation.”
“Very funny,” I said. “I’m more interested in how she is handling everything.”
“She is strong, but she talked about it last week and had a good cry. It’s the start of healing for her.”
“I wish I could talk to her, write her even. Damned Order of Protection.” I looked up at the doors. “Has our lawyer figured out any way to get me out of being deported? Or at least to void the no-contact part of my parole?”
He shook his head no. “Don’t risk it, in here even trying to send her a letter could cost you your early release. He did say that after you are being deported, you aren’t technically on parole. A violation of the order would mean nothing, they can’t enforce it. However, you still can’t get back into the country. That to me is a good reason to learn some Russian.” I still didn’t get it. “Idiot, she’s got no reason to vacation in Scotland, but she probably will visit Russia again. She could even apply for dual citizenship. She’ll probably go back there again, and that’s when you’ll have to try and get her to love you and agree to mate you, since you won’t be let in the United States.”
I leaned forward and placed my head in my hands. “This isn’t going to be easy, is it Alpha?”
“Nope.” He patted my shoulder. “But learning Russian will give you something to do, and it shows her you are interested in her heritage. I talked to the prison staff, they accepted my donation of the language software and will have it available to use on the computers there. Take advantage of your time.”
“I’ll ask around and see if anyone speaks it,” I said. “Thanks, Alpha.”
“You’re welcome. Get through this quickly and get back to your home, John. You’ve been nothing but trouble for me.” He laughed as he said this, I knew I’d been a pain in his ass. At least Jessie was no problem, she’d just fit right in. My woman could never cause trouble.
Mikhail Gustova’s POV
It had taken me days to arrange, but I finally had a meeting set up with Aleksandr Kurkova, a Beta in the St. Petersburg Pack. He ran the prostitution racket in the area, and reported directly to the Boss and Alpha. If I could convince him to let me transfer Packs, I’d have a job and a place to live. Moscow was too hot anymore.
I was going through in my head my criminal resume. I was a normal ranked member of the Moscow Pack, working for a now-dead Beta who coordinated the political and influence-peddling portion of the empire. Essentially, I delivered bribes, gathered information that could be used to ensure compliance, and occasionally eliminated obstacles to our Pack. One of the Omegas had picked me up from the train station and was bringing me to the meeting. I still had my phone, but not for long. It would be left in the car, and I would be thoroughly searched before going in. No one was taking risks now.
I saw the email come in from my twin sister Svetlana, she had finally made it home after texting me a few hours ago. I had an earphone in, so I listened to the audio file attached. My jaw dropped as I listened, and a smile came over my face. I was so proud of her; this information would not only secure our entrance to his Pack, it would make my name with my new Alpha. How much was it worth to give him information that could keep him from losing billions of rubles?
Certainly enough to set up my sister and I with a new life in a new city.
The driver stopped in a parking garage where a Mercedes was waiting. I got out, at the same time Aleksandr did with a bodyguard. “Change of plans, Beta Kurkova,” I said. “I need to see the Alpha.”
He laughed. “The Alpha is a busy man, he doesn’t have time for low-level recruiting. Maks, search him.”
I allowed the search but refused to give up my phone. “You can’t have a phone, Mikhail. Leave it in the car or you can go back to Moscow now.”
“Sorry.” I looked at the Beta, not in his eyes in a challenging way, but to show my determination. “I have found information that directly affects the Alpha and this Pack. I need to see him to provide him with this information directly.”
“Give it to me, I’ll see it gets to him,” he said dismissively.
“You’re not understanding, and you’re wasting time. I have information on a person who is going to try and take billions of rubles away from the Alpha, don’t you think he’d want to hear that immediately?” He tried to get me to hand it over, but I stayed firm- this was my chance to see the Alpha and be rewarded directly.
Aleksandr finally made a call, and gestured for me to get in. “The Alpha will see you, but he’s in a mood. If you’re wasting his time, your throat will be ripped out before you get to your third sentence.”
“Two sentences is all I need, Beta.” An hour later, in the back room of a building at the docks, I proved it to him. “Alpha Zubkov, your brother Yevgheny has an illegitimate daughter. She is filing to be declared his heir, but I know how to find her.”
I slept most of the way back to the village, the jet lag catching up with me. “We’re here,” Father said as he shook my shoulder. I looked up, we were in the parking lot, a long white building looming over it.
“The Old Monastery Hotel,” he said. “I got you a room. I’m not far away in my Church quarters, but there is no place there to house you unless you want to be in with the nuns. Here, they at least have internet and television.”
We walked in, the place was rather nice I thought. The old building had been restored beautifully, and I waved goodbye to the good Father as I was led by the bellhop up to my room. I managed to brush my teeth and take my clothes off before I fell into bed.
I had trouble getting to sleep. My mind kept flipping between visions of being rich beyond imagination or being killed in a mob hit. I had to keep my lives and names apart, because if the connection was ever found, I’d be dead.
It wasn’t until I started to think of the look on John’s face as he was led out of the courthouse that I started to relax. “I love you,” he had mouthed to me. Did he, really? Was there such a thing as love at first sight? Or was he an abusive creep?
Sleep found me before any answers did.