It was past midnight before we pulled in to the driveway of the Kstovo Pack House. The house was a lot like the wolves- strong, understated and completely lacking in ornamentation. Made of concrete and steel, it would withstand anything short of artillery.
I got out, my clothes still covered in blood and dirt. I looked at the top of the stairs, four people stood there waiting for us. Sergey talked to me as we walked towards the bottom of the stairs. “That’s the Alpha family. The big guy is the Alpha, Viktor Kirolinko. To his right is his mate Marina, then his daughter Mischa. The Alpha heir, Konstantin, is on his right.”
“I’ve met Alpha Viktor at the last meeting, but he didn’t bring his son. Big guy, isn’t he?”
“Yeah, he takes after his father in that.” When you think of a man who looks like a Russian bear, it would be Viktor. Huge chest, thick arms, hardly any neck. He looked like he could snap you in half without breaking a sweat. His son was almost as wide, but more muscled with a narrower waist. His mate was tall, with waist-length straight blonde hair and high cheekbones. It was the daughter who took my breath away.
She was like her mother, but taller and with a fuller figure. She was wearing a floral print dress, a white band holding her hair back from her face. Her lips were full, her features delicate, and as I walked up the stairs I saw her eyes widen, the ice blue color taking my breath away.
Then I caught her scent. ’MATE,” my wolf yelled at me. “MATE MATE MATE,” I could feel him spinning around, pushing to take over so he could have her. I held him back, barely, as I ran towards her. Konstantin moved to intercept me, but it didn’t matter- he grabbed me, but Mischa ducked under his arm and threw her own arms around me. “MINE,” I growled loudly.
“MINE,” her beautiful voice said in agreement. I barely noticed Konstantin letting me go as I embraced my mate and lowered my mouth to hers. We kissed, and it was the greatest feeling I’d ever experienced. You learn as a pup about mates, about the signs, but their descriptions could never convey what I was feeling right now. We lost ourselves in the bond that was growing between us, nothing else existed.
“Beta Patrick.” I heard it, but I ignored it. “MISCHA.” She stilled, then pulled back from me. I growled and tried to pull her closer, but the dominance of Alpha Viktor was soon present in my face. My wolf wasn’t happy, but he submitted, and I stepped back. The Alpha took his daughter’s hand and handed her off to her mother. “Congratulations, Beta Patrick. A mating is a wonderful thing, worthy of a celebration. Unfortunately for you, Mischa will not be of age for four more months. You may mark her at a ceremony, but you must wait to mate.”
My wolf calmed, the Alpha was not taking her from me. “I will wait an eternity for her if I must,” I said as I looked into her eyes. Her mother was hugging her from behind, while Konstantin stared me down.
“It will only seem like that,” he said with a laugh. “Come, we drink to your good fortune in finding your mates at a young age. You are how old?”
“Good, good. Come on, meet my son Konstantin properly.” He walked me to him, and I reached out my hand to shake it but he didn’t take it.
He moved forward and pulled me into a hug. “Welcome to Kstovo, my future brother,” he said loudly. In my ear, he whispered, “Hurt my sister and they’ll never find your body.”
“I could never hurt her, she is already my life,” I said.
“And the human female you are here with?”
“My charge to protect, she is the mate of another Beta.” Satisfied, he clapped my back a little too hard then stepped back. “This is our Mama, Luna Marina.”
I bowed my head to her, keeping my eyes low in a sign of respect. She pulled me into a hug, she was thrilled at what had just happened. “I’m so happy for my Mischa! Come inside, we need to talk.” She took one of my arms, and I reached out my hand and Mischa took the other. I kissed the back of her hand as she blushed, and we were all pulled inside the building. The interior was beautiful, completely different than the outside. Stone floors, plastered walls and antique furniture filled the hall, with a large stairway ahead and rooms to each side. “It’s late, and you look a mess,” she said as we reached the table where a pack member was setting out shots of vodka. We all took one.
“To Patrick and Mischa, may your mated life be filled with joy and pups,” Viktor said as a toast. We raised our glasses and gulped it down. The strong drink reminded me of something my father had told me on the way to the airport: never EVER try to out-drink a Russian. “Now, Ekatarina here will show you to your room, and we can talk in the morning.” A young Omega nervously approached and waited for me.
I was so caught up in Mischa I forgot about why I was here. “How is my charge doing? Is Jessie all right?”
Viktor nodded. “She is in surgery now, the Doctor said she has a fractured skull and many other injuries. Tomorrow we will talk about this Father Kempechny.”
I nodded, I wanted to talk as well. “Can I see her?”
“The surgery is expected to go on for several more hours. I will have someone get you when she is placed in a room. Now, get some sleep and a change of clothes, the smell of human blood and witchcraft is not a good one.”
“Yes, Alpha. Luna, thank you for your hospitality.” I bowed and turned to Mischa, who was looking up at me with a mixture of love and lust in her eyes. “Soon, my mate, we will be tied together.” I put my hand to her face, she melted into it, then I kissed her. “Goodnight.”
“Goodnight.” I reluctantly let her go, following the Omega towards the door.
Behind me, I heard Viktor talking to Konstantin. “Mischa is your responsibility. She doesn’t leave her room without an escort as long as he is here,” he said.
I continued walking to my room and took advantage of the shower before falling into bed. My dreams were of my beautiful mate, and I was happy.
Alpha Viktor’s POV
I watched as Konstantin led my reluctant daughter away, and Marina hugged into my side. She was happy and sad at the same time, I could feel it through the mate link. “I’m not ready for this,” I told her.
“They grow up quickly, but this is a good thing for her. Finding your mate before you are of age is a blessing.” I kissed her head. “I’m sad because this means she will go to America.”
“Not yet,” I said as I led her to the wing where our quarters were. “I need to contact his Alpha, there is much to discuss.”
“I’ll sit with you,” she said. It was always better when she was there, her presence helped to calm me. Sometimes two Alphas didn’t get along all so well. “We will be tied by blood to his Pack soon, it is good that we are helping each other now.”
We sat at my desk and I booted up my computer. “We’re eight hours ahead of them, so it should be around dinnertime in Minnesota.” I brought up Skype, it was an encrypted connection, so we could talk freely. It took a few rings for Alpha Stan to pick up; in the background was the dining room, full of people. “Alpha Larsen, I’m sorry to disturb you but I need to speak to you and Larissa immediately about some private business.”
“Viktor, I’m surprised you are still up. I was going to call you in your morning.”
“Events dictated the time, Alpha. If you could call me as soon as you are in your office, and please have your Beta and his mate there too since this affects them.”
He looked worried. “Patrick?”
“He’s fine, but I can’t talk until we are in private.”
Stan looked off for a moment, talking to some people, then turned back to me. “Five minutes, Viktor.” He closed the connection, he probably had to wolf down the rest of dinner and walk to his office.
“Patrick’s parents should be here for the claiming ceremony,” my mate said as she wiggled in my lap a little. “It would be a good opportunity to invite the Alphas, and build the alliance between our Packs.”
I nodded. “Maybe more than that.” I sent to my Pack Doctor. “Oleg, how is our patient doing?”
“I am just closing up, Alpha. The head injury is the most concerning, but I also had to remove the metal shard from her abdomen and put plates in her lower leg to stabilize the break, it was almost crushed. She will survive, but it’s too early to tell if there will be permanent damage.”
“When will she wake up?”
“I need to keep her in a medically-induced coma for a week or so to make sure the swelling on her brain is controlled. If she was a werewolf, she’d be healed in a week. As a human, she needs months of rehabilitation, even with the magic healing. What healing she got was hurried, it was just enough to close wounds and stop bleeding. The tissues underneath will need time to knit back together.”
I pinched my nose, for her own safety she needed to be out of here before the St. Petersburg pack could find out we were harboring her. “How soon could she be sent home?”
“Ten days IF she has medical supervision and a flight that can handle the bed. A month If she has to fly commercial.”
“Thank you, Oleg.” I turned to Marina, she had been listening in on the link. “What do you think?”
“Let’s have the mating ceremony a week from Sunday, that’s nine days from now. The St. Croix Pack members can fly over and take her home with them if they make the proper arrangements.”
“A private flight would be best. That will give Mischa time to get to know her new mate before he returns home.”
“The separation will not be easy for them,” she said as she laid her head on my shoulder.
“She is not of age, and they will have to find a way,” I said. “What is better, finding your mate before you are of age, or not finding your mate after?”
“Earlier the better. I want grandchildren,” she said.
We were interrupted by the incoming call. I answered immediately, and Marina sat up in my lap for the call. We could see Alpha Stan, his mate Larissa on his lap, and next to him was Beta Peter Clarke with his mate Abigail. “Alpha Viktor, Marina, is everyone all right?” Stan was clearly concerned with the sudden call.
“I’m afraid not. Somehow, Jessie’s true identity was discovered, and she was nearly killed in a Mob assassination attempt earlier today. The car bomb killed Father Kempechny, and seriously injured Jessie. Patrick and my men were able to remove her from the scene and brought her here. She is alive, but her injuries are significant.” I briefed them on what had happened, and what the doctor had said. I also told them about the good Father being a white witch, and how his last act had been to help heal her. “We are treating her as best we can until she can be moved. Long term, she needs to get out of Russia and go back into hiding. Yuri doesn’t know where she is, but you can be assured that he will find out eventually. She’s worth too much for him to let this go.”
“You think he knows that she is Yevgheny’s daughter?” Peter looked ashen.
“It’s the only explanation. Control over a Pack and a fortune is at stake, there’s no other reason she would be targeted like this.”
Peter nodded. “Patrick did well? He’s all right?”
“He was shaken up by the event, but my men report he kept his control and helped to stabilize her. That’s not all, though.”
“What else could possibly happen now,” Stan said with a shake of his head.
“When they arrived, we found out my seventeen-year-old daughter, Mischa, is his mate.” Marina and I shared a chuckle as jaws dropped, and Peter’s head turned to the side like a wolf cub trying to figure out something. “She does not come of age for four more months, but we are going to hold a claiming ceremony for them in nine days. We would like to invite you and your families to attend.”
Abigail was bouncing with joy and excitement at the news. “Of course, we’d love to visit for that.”
“It solves another problem if you can do this right. If you can arrange for a private aircraft capable of handling a medical evacuation, along with a doctor, we can release Jessie to you. This is the fastest and most secure way to remove her from danger. Traveling with you will not raise suspicions.”
I saw them look at each other, then Alpha Stan nodded. “It will take a few days to arrange, but we can do that.” He scratched his chin. “Jessie is actually being protected by the Highlands Pack. I’m sure he will want to bring her back. Is it all right if Alpha Esca or his men travel with us?”
“Of course, Alpha Esca is always welcome here. You will contact him?”
“We will.” Stan looked at his Beta female. “Can we speak to Patrick?”
I shook my head. “He was exhausted, I sent him to bed and will be letting him sleep. There is nothing he can do for Jessie now, she needs to rest and heal. I will tell him to call you when he wakes.”
“Thank you, Alpha Viktor. Thank you for everything.” Stan was pulling Abigail close to his side as he talked.
“Thank you, Alpha Stan. I’m looking forward to having blood ties with your Pack, and Patrick is a good mate for my daughter. Luna has truly blessed us.” We said our goodbyes, and Stan said he would call us as soon as they had arrangements made.